Monday, June 25, 2007

how would you know?

this is a question i have had for a bit now. yet, one that i think bears contemplation. if god wanted to do something new, something else... and he wanted you to be a part of it, how would you know?

i'm sure that the jews, at the time, thought that what they were doing was IT. god's chosen people. tried and tested through many trials and tribulations and exiles, and they weren't going to stray again. they had laid down several traditions and rules that made sure to keep everyone in line with the scriptures. and that was how things should be, or so they thought. and why shouldn't they?

but jesus came through and changed everything. he obliterated all the rules and traditions because the jews and their religion weren't the point. yet because they didn't have any precedent for his actions within their traditions of what's acceptable, they couldn't understand him.

would it be any different now? if god wanted to do something new, something outside of the scriptures, how would you know?


Valorosa said...


Jesus arrival and life here on earth was not "outside" the scriptures ... they knew He was coming and would be coming to 'save' the world ... so what He did here was not outside their prophetic teachings.

They just didn't recognize Him when He got here despite the fact that He came just the way He was prophesied to arrive. Or if they did recognize Him they weren't quick to say so if they held any status among the clergy of that day.
I believe that the reason they didn't recognize Him or acknowledge Him was because religion had become their god instead of the Great I Am. He was a god in name only ... the same thing happens today among those who claim to be Christian.

Jehovah has always been a God of mercy and love ... I wonder about some of the laws listed in the OT... some of their rules have no mercy attached to them and every Atheist will be quick to point that out ... The one and only true God says He prefers mercy over sacrifice ... so there is conflict there as well among what is written as adjuncts to the main ten commandments and the Lord's heart ...
Jesus let everyone know that when He came... He said I speak only what the Father tells me to and if you have seen me you have seen the Father ... filled with mercy, compassion and love ...
He had not come to judge
He had come to save.
He was clear that judgment would come later.

Anyway in answer to your main question? I think there are many times when we don't have a clue that we are playing a part in His plan anymore than Bathsheba did when she submitted to the King of Israel. In fact I think she probably thought she could never be part of any such Godly plan ...

Beautiful pic btw ... :-)

jON said...

LEV 20:10 ‘ If there is a man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, one who commits adultery with his friend’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

this was the law. and as i have been told my whole life, this was god's law set down by god and as moses warned the jews again and again, these commandments were to be obeyed. with disobedience would come peril. yet, in john 8, we have a story where jesus actually STOPS people from carrying out "god's law." this is what i mean by something new that is outside of the scriptures. to be sure, love, grace, and mercy are, in my opinion, what the bible is ultimately all about. yet, according to the letter of the law, jesus was advocating "disobedience to god" and coerced others into doing the same.

just one example.

and interestingly enough, you bring up OT laws that are without mercy... i have done a short study myself and found that in all but one instance when speaking of OT law, jesus attributes the law to moses and not to god.

hmmm... (right back atcha) ;)

Susan said...

Ok, this is how I see it.

Even in the OT I see God full of mercy, compassion and love. When I was a young Christian with no Christian background, I read the prophets and assumed that God was constantly sending the Israelites into exile because in book after book He kept telling them off and warning them but in reality there were only two exiles (one for Israel and one for Judah) because God kept on being merciful. The law that God gave Moses seems severe and harsh but that is only because we underestimate God's holiness and purity. Often the punishments were not carried out to their full extent (eg David and Bethsheba) because God kept on showing mercy and because he knew one day Jesus would take all the punishment for us. On the odd occasion when God did send punishment we think he is being harsh. We are surprised by the sudden death experiences of people like Uzzah, Nadab, Abihu, Ananias and Sapphira yet they are reminders that every sin is worthy of the death penalty. They are reminders of how much it cost God to forgive sin. I find Jonah 4 fascinating in this regard, Jonah was angry with God for being too merciful towards Nineveh and Jonah says he knew God would be too merciful (Jonah 4:2). So I actually think that Jesus' actions had a lot of precedents.

Getting back to your questions, would it be any different now? Probably not, there are still a lot of "Pharisees" around who want to measure spirituality by adherence to a set of rules which was never God intention.

And how would I know if God wanted me to do something new? I guess in the same way that Noah knew God wanted him to build a boat. I mean Noah had never even seen rain, let alone a boat.

jON said...

let me say that i think the pic is beautiful as well. for some reason, something in my head said a picture of a pregnant woman is just what this post needed. and this was the best one i found.

and i wholeheartedly agree that i think in many ways people's religion actually becomes their god instead of god himself. it is something i think that can be a very simple transition and has happened to me before. and something i don't want to have happen again. so i try not to judge others too hard for being caught in it. and i try to watch myself with honest self-appraisal.

noah!!! excellent example susan. (it can be hard for me to be concise with my thoughts and questions since they are so nuanced in my head.) someone for whom god asked something of them with no precedent. nothing written to consult and find out if it's not just a crazy idea, but really "god's will." many such examples in the OT. abraham, isaac, jacob, joseph just to name a few from the first book. the prophets. jesus. the apostles. i get the sense that even though these men knew what the scriptures contained, it was not the motivating factors behind their actions, nor was it the... (what's the word) measuring stick(?) by which they made their decisions about what was or was not god's request for their lives. they seem to hear him directly asking them to do very strange and even controversial things that did not fit with the religious paradigm they found themselves in.

so, the bigger question still remains for me... how did they know? how did they know, without having a scripture to back it up, that god wanted them to do all of the crazy things that he asked them to do?

i ask because sometimes it seems as if we, humans as a whole, don't really listen to god in this way. or think that he speaks to people in this way. in my own previous life, an idea would come my way, and then i would be counseled to find some sort of "scriptural ground" to back it up in order to know if the idea was of god. but really... if you read the scriptures, that doesn't seem to be at all the way these people went about making their decisions for god. so why have i?

Valorosa said...

Noah walked with God ... Enoch walked with God ... Abraham was a friend of God. David was a man after God's own heart ...
Moses spoke face to face with God...

Joseph was a just man and secretly plotted to put Mary away so she would not have to be stoned under Jewish law... note that just people did not follow the harsh side of the law but rather avoided and protected others from it. Even though this was supposedly God's law ... He was pleased with this kind of behaviour.
Standards impossible to keep for mere humans ... only enforced by rebellious and evil people. The white washed sepulchres. Conflict between law enforced and mercy shown annoys me ... LOL

Moses said they shall (future tense) be put to death ... maybe it wasn't the Israeli's who were supposed to carry that out at all .. maybe it was an act that the Lord would carry out after much patience and calling to repentance.

Christ, having been around since the beginning because He was God in the flesh and there is no shadow of turning with God ... He is the same yesterday today and forever ... we are told He does not change ...

Then Christ, being God himself was speaking for the same God of the Old Testament... the Father ... He said if you have seen me you have seen the Father ... and I speak only the words my Father tells me to speak ... there is no difference in the message Jesus brought and the message God the Father gave to the Israelis.

Something to think on >>>

jON said...

maybe i haven't been clear. my real question is how does one know they are hearing from god? and what is your experience in this realm, if any?

the only reason i brought up chief priests and pharisees is because they are a group of people who "searched the scriptures" in order to find out what they thought god wanted from them. and i find that to be much the same type of advice that is prevelant today among the evangelical christianity i have rubbed shoulders with the majority of my life. but as i read the bible, i find that it's more interesting characters, the ones who are described as truly hearing from god, did not do so through the scriptures. they just "heard." i have no doubt that jesus life was lived in accordance with the TRUE meaning of the scriptures which is love and justice, mercy and peace, and most of all GRACE.

yet, as a separate discussion that nuances my question is a curiosity about how jesus, while following the spirit of the law, did not seem to follow the letter. and that, i think, is one of the reasons he was killed. and i just find it interesting that we can, in our modern day, be surrounded by people who say they would not have taken part in the killing of jesus, yet exhibit the same characteristics as those who did kill jesus. these people can hold places of "authority" and "leadership" and it can be very confusing to know whether it is these people who are correct, as they have always told you, or if it is that small voice inside that tells you to rebel against them that is correct. because that seems to be more the case in keeping with what i have read and have experienced. but at the same time, i have met plenty of people who "hear from god" but i generally do not agree in the least that they actually are. you know, the ones who say "god gave me a message just for you" and then proceed to criticize everything about you?

i'm just curious how anyone here knows that they are hearing from god and how they learned to do it. if, in fact, you have.

Valorosa said...

Ahhh lol

It's amazing how many words we English speaking blokes need to get through to get to the heart of the matter ...

Just listen ... there is no mistaking the voice of love ...

Erin said...

I guess my answer is...I just don't know. What makes a question like yours Jon, especially confusing for me is when I consider past experiences with Christians who are unwavering in their belief that they are hearing from the Holy spirit, but end up hearing conflicting or even opposing things. Why would God do that? To test us, or make us crazy? I have also heard many times from other Christians that the HS would never lead anyone to do anything that was contrary to scripture. I am confused by this statement, as is my husband, who likes to ask where in the Bible that is actually stated.
Honestly, when I'm not sure when I'm hearing from God, I simply try to trust my instincts and go with my gut. I'm sure many people will disagree with that, as I have been taught as a Christian that my emotions and instincts are only going to lead me away from God. I have been further confused by people saying things like, "go with what gives you peace", because sometimes the truly right and seemingly "godly" thing only brings disquiet to my spirit. Just an example... My father in law had a massive stroke several years ago as a result of a surgery that he had to clear a blocked artery, and he claimed to have a feeling of peace about having the surgery after he prayed about it...only to have things go haywire almost right after the surgery. Also, why would I trust a "feeling" when I have been taught (by Christians) that my feelings are not to be counted on and would almost always lead me away from God's purpose. You know, the whole spirit against the flesh argument. I have also heard from Christians (and non) that sometimes what seems like the hardest thing to do is the right thing in disguise. Then that begs the question...if something seems easy or less complicated, am I to automatically assume that it's the wrong thing? I struggle with feeling confident that I'm hearing and doing is what God had in mind, and I'm sure I didn't actually answer any question, but raise more instead. Any thoughts?

Nate said...

Hey Jon, you stealing my topics? This is almost exactly what I talk about in "Within God's Will" February 27th this year.

This is mainly in response to Erin.

This will go along with my upcoming post on Grace vs Law. Nowhere in the bible does it say that these specific words are cuss words, and then go on to list them. So then christians will say, go with the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. Thus meaning the law is worthless and then subject to intereptation. Then man enters with his filters and screws everything up.

Law: Thou Shalt Not Kill

God to Abraham, go and kill your son.

There are churches who spout that left to ourselves we will revert to our pleasures of the flesh. What crap. There are many atheists who have a very secicfic and regemented life that does not degenerate into self fulfillment. Look at Budhist monks: celibate for life, not killing or doing others harm, very dedcated to eating regimens. No Christ there, no real evil either. It is just a way to get their hooks into you. Like a dealer to their junkie saying, "without me, you can't live." Not just like, it is exactly like that. "I Am Good and Worthy", another post by me on Feb 11th. It is just praying on insecurities of the believer.

"Conscience and the will of God" posted Dec 28th. Erin, you said, "Honestly, when I'm not sure when I'm hearing from God, I simply try to trust my instincts and go with my gut." Your gut is the Holy Spirit. Now when you say dad had a felling of peace about the surgery, that meant that he was within the will of God. Make no mistake about it, God allowed it to happen to him. That was what God intended. Yes God allows things like that to happen, and causew things like that to happen.

Erin said, "sometimes the truly right and seemingly "godly" thing only brings disquiet to my spirit." Right to what measuring stick? One taught to you in church? One taught to you by people you respect and love? Do what feels right in the true spirit of obedience to God, and you will be OK.

Valorosa said...

Wow ... a stroke ... how is he now .. did he survive it?

jON said...

yes. his stroke was back in 8 years ago. at the time, he lost mobility in his right(?) side and all of his speech. difficult thing for a pastor. people counseled my mothe to seel their house (3 floors...LOTS of stairs) and told my father he would never preach again.

long story short, he is up and around these days up to his same old brand of yardwork-tomfoolery and mad stair climbing capabilities. as well as the fact that slowly and surely his words keep coming back. he has been preaching since 2000 off and on being an interim pastor at different churches. he just accepted his first offer to be a full time pastor again. so now, at the respective ages of 67 and 64, my parents are ready to pack up, move on, and start over again somewhere else.

what a long strange trip indeed. the grateful dead were right on...

Erin said...

Hi Nate! Thanks for the validation. I didn't grow up in the church so trusting my instincts has always really felt like the right thing to me, and yes, it wsn't until I was integrated into a church body that I began to seriously doubt my ability to discern anything for myself. In fact I pretty much got the idea that what comes from my instincts or anything that is feeling or emotion based is not to be trusted.
Make no mistake, I know all to well that God lets "bad" things happen. I also am convinced that God is not some crazy glue sniffer who gets off on watching us suffer and try to make sense of tragedies that we'll never have all the answers for. I believe that "good" and "bad" are very fluid concepts that are objective and change with time and circumstances, according to each individual. I'm not saying that your Dad didn't have a genuine feeling of peace before his stroke, in fact, it makes more sense that he was supposed to have a stroke given all the miraculous and praise worthy things God has done in the wake of what was seen at first at an earth shaking travesty.
I have trouble trusting my gut more now, and believing I'm within the will of God, after seeing and going through this traumatic experience with Hope. Or what I like to refer to as "separation of church and jon". I know alot of Godly people who truly believe that they were acting within God's will and according to the scriptures who completely destroyed a man. People who I have respected and trusted, that I no longer feel a bond with because of their total lack of ability to accept anything that deviates from formulaic religion. I somehow have not lost faith in God, I have lost faith in man. I'm angry at the dehumanization of the man I love, at the hands of those who we've relied on to behave with compassion for their fellow man. I have more respect for the monks you referred to than most evangelicals, because they don't go around spouting things like "turn or burn". It breaks my heart to watch my husband live in fear of going to hell, because he can't get past the "what if?".
What good is hearing from the HS if all we're going to do with it is continually doubt ourselves and our ability to do so? Before I became a Christian I never used to grapple with whether I was doing the right thing, and admittedly, made mistakes. Now I am constantly wondering...and still making mistakes! I'm honestly on the verge of becoming an agnostic and just saying, Ya know what? I don't give a fuck who's right or wrong or if there's a heaven or hell, and who's going where! I just want to live in peace and try to be sane and happy with my life instead of wasting my time always doubting or questioning if what I'm doing is in line with God's plan. It is so presumptious of me to assume that God's plan will be unhinged if I do or don't do something. God's plan is gonna keep on keepin' on and I'm gonna be a part of it regardless of how much sleep I lose wondering if I'm always doing the right thing.
Peace out.

Valorosa said...

That is awesome news Jon ...
Erin !!! :-) ... this is the news I was hoping to hear ...the procedure you spoke of is an endarterectomy and if he hadn't had it done, he was looking down the barrel of a much larger and debilitating stroke than he had ... without the endarterectomy he would be half paralyzed and living in a wheelchair and bed right now with no hope whatsoever of regaining his speech... so, I indeed do think he heard from God on that one ... :-)
Hearing God and knowing His voice is so individual to us all as he has made us all unique.

jON said...

erin, i'm so sorry. i know that this whole ordeal has been an extrodinarily trying one. it seems as if my prophecy back in april of '06 was correct. "this is not going to end well."

and i'm also sorry for spending so many years angry with you for not being more "christian" and trying so hard to cram you into a mold you didn't fit into. and then being uproariously angry with you for not fitting into it. or even seeming like you cared when you didn't fit into it. in truth i was jealous. as you can now tell, i was just wound up so tight from a lifetime of being pushed towards a mold that i didn't fit into, and didn't even want to fit into, but was constantly told that i had no choice but to fit into it or be "lost" forever. a real mindfuck for such a sensitive young boy.

and all i can say is i'm sorry. i'm sorry for the way i acted. i'm sorry that i changed so drastically when i decided to be a "christian", and was such a dick to you because you didn't change instantly. and now, i'm sorry that you ever had to be involved in something like this. like i said last year, we've spent 10 years unraveling all of your emotional baggage and helping you into emotional and mental health. and now it's my turn. it's messy, but i know we can do this together. i love you. thanks for sticking it out with me.

Valorosa said...

Wow ... Yea that's about right ... that is what most organized churches do to people. I totally get this and I hope there is abundant love and forgiveness all around ...

My son found a new church to attend recently .. I went with him today ... we have been looking for that place of honesty and grace where everyone is accepted for who they are in Christ ...
There was something very different that happened today ... the preacher said and did something I have never heard before.
He confessed that when he went away from home and had to be in a hotel room alone, away from his family, he was tempted to watch porn ... and went on to say what he had done to help himself. One of those things was to confess this to a friend ... his wife knows about it as well.
He was teaching on the passage in James about temptation. I had to say I was impressed ... he will lead those in his congregation to confess their troubles to each other and thereby be healed ... that can only be good all around.

Erin, whatever you leave ... don't leave God ... leave everything this world has to offer but don't leave the one who loves you.

My very dear friends, don't get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.

James 1

Melody said...

Because you can feel it. It excites my entire being. He is moving differently because people need to be met on their level, not what we think is safe or right or anything to do with 'us'. Our soul purpose here isn't to exist quietly and to forcefully push non-believers into a faith that feels like old wooden church pews. It is to show the world through our being/having that something different in ways that THEY understand. And quite frankly, it's the best way that I understand too. Scriptures are a great reference and bearer of good news and encouraging things. But I believe that there is indeed more to faith than simply abiding by the word. You have to live, you have to enjoy, you have to experience otherwise you have nothing to gain common ground with those we have been sent to save.

Nate said...

All right Erin, in "On Our Own" January 5th posting, I talk about how each of us is in a different spiritual place. So those good people in the Hope church are in a different place. God knows that. I respect the fact that they at least tried to follow God. If they did not, I would have no respect for them. That is neither here nor there. Just don't lose your love for them.(the good people)

"What good is hearing from the HS if all we're going to do with it is continually doubt ourselves and our ability to do so?"

This is the really fun part that is the true liberator of the spirit. You Erin, (and Jon, if you are having the what ifs) are sealed by the Holy Spirit to God, and can not be torn away, NO MATTER WHAT other people do. It is only you. Are you going to make mstakes? OF COURSE, you are only human. Does God know you are going to make mistakes? OF COURSE, he made you and knows you are going to make mistakes. Even with all of your shortcomings, God stil wants you, because you return his love. To me, only his opinion matters on this. This is difficult for me to say, and I could not say it for many years, but I do not care what my father says about my faith. I respect him above all other men as an example of righteuosness and Godly living. His willingness, as well as my mother's, to obey God is incredible to me. To get up and walk away from a 20 year home on a couple days of decision making because God said go. My respect could not be higher for them. But, in MY PERSONAL, no one else's walk, MY walk with the Lord, only his opinion matters. When you do not worry about others, and you know that you are sealed to God, that is when there is true freedom.
The worrying about if you are doing it right is worrying about the judging of other humans on the earth. Ignor them. It is YOUR walk, and only God's opinion of you matters in that.

Lastly, the thing that judges whether you are in his ill or not is intent. Not the action itself. If an action you took was done to serve God, he accepts that act. So you do not have to doubt if you are doing it right, if all you are truly trying to do is please God with your actions. He will accept whatever you have to give, if it is givin with a true spirit of service. Isn't that easy, you can't screw up, if all you try to do is serve God by listening to the Holy Spirit.

That is just the coolest thing. That is what makes me wonderfully happy in God.

My suggestion, and you can tell me to go to hell if you want, is just try to figure out what you believe. Not what anyone else believes, just you. That is what my blog is about. Becoming secure in my own beliefs. I am always prying for you, Jon, Zaavan, and Rowyn, and will continue to.

wanting more said...

How funny that I ran across this post. I was pondering the same thing the other the law, God's law given to Moses, adultery was punishable by, a bunch of jews, were following the law, about to stone this woman, when all of a sudden, Jesus walks up and draws a line in the sand, and says, "Let you without sin cast the first stone at this woman." They must have thought he was so wrong - he was the one breaking the law!! And so often we are so caught up in doing it right and obeying the "law" that we probably miss the thing that God is trying to do..the thing that we would find incredibly awesome. Okay, I just read your response to the first comment and it is exactly my point here, so I feel like an idiot...too funny. He really did hit me with this same - exact same - example just last week!