11:14:34 by Gerald
04:14:10 by Gerald
The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
When it comes to Christian Symbiosis, the above verse reflects a key design principle.
In other words, we not only believe the above verse, but also count on it!
05:04:39 by Gerald
The reference is to this verse in Proverbs 20:5:
Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
While reading this, I realized that this verse almost perfectly summarizes my methodology for personal spiritual counseling: spiritual things are spiritually discerned, so it requires the Holy Spirit's working to bring about an understanding of spiritual things. However, the Holy Spirit resides in the human heart, which here is likened to deep water because one cannot see directly what is in the heart. This is because the heart is the generator of human thoughts, and we do not perceive that generation process. Rather, we perceive the product of that process, which are thoughts. The Holy Spirit's residence in the Christian is in their heart, and thus cannot be directly perceived, but only indirectly through the thoughts that the Holy Spirit generates or whose generation He affects, and we use the Bible to help us identify which ones are from the Holy Spirit and which ones are not.
The problem with this process is that the thoughts thus generated by the Spirit require a context, a pre-existing structure and complex of thoughts, which which to fit the generated thoughts. The Spirit can convict anyone at any time of their sin, but if it is not done within the context of the Word of God (preached or remembered), then it becomes angst, that general feeling of disconnection and separation from the universe that afflicts so many today and drives them to all the addictions and compulsions we see and worry about our kids adopting.
I should not have worried so much! By having my kids in a good Church-based youth group and attending the main services, the preached and spoken word provided the framework within which the Spirit's moving was rightly interpreted. This is not to say that every kid in Church will not go bad, but I am saying is that angst will not be the cause of any such additions, as well as saying that angst is not the only reason for adopting an addiction or compulsion.
What this verse tells me is that this process of drawing the thoughts of the Spirit out into the consciousness of a man and putting them into a proper framework is something that another man of understanding can do. I showed, in this essay, that understanding comes from the Holy Spirit, who generates intelligent thoughts within the heart of the believer. Thus, the best thing that a believer can do to help another is to help them understand what the Holy Spirit is telling them. Because it is the same Spirit in both, He can generate the thouhts in the counseling believer that, when verbalized, helps create the mental context within the one being counseled to fit in the thought the Spirit is trying to convey. Because the Holy Spirit is wanting to help the believer, these thoughts could be called the "counsel of the Holy Spirit", and this process of the man of understanding drawing it out is likened to pulling into view that which was as well hidden as an object at the bottom of deep water.
The Process of Evangelization
03:00:00 by Gerald
Here is an aside from the December 17 update of "Debugging Manipulation" that I think is worth calling special attention to here:
An aside. I mentioned in the second paragraph that Conviction is the set of thoughts generated by the Holy Spirit in the mind of the unbeliever that are intended to convince him to be saved. When coupled with the doctrine of Total Depravity, we see the impossiblity of the mind of the natural man to generate the thoughts that represent true conviction. This should lead us to abandon the delusion of our being able to "debate" or "convince" people to be saved, as well as disabuse us of the delusion that we "convinced" or "won" repentant sinners to Christ. This understanding necessarily dictates a change in our Evangelization strategy to one more along the lines suggested by Blackaby and King in their book "Experiencing God", who suggest that one "experiences God" and discerns His Will by looking for evidence of God's working in the natural world that matches certain criteria outlined in scriptures. If we liken the Church to an army and our current situation in this world as a war, then our task is not to "independently launch sorties" against the enemy by proactively witnessing and preaching. Rather, we should wait for promptings from the Holy Spirit and "run to the sound of the guns" when someone formerly resistant to the Gospel and who knows we are Christians suddenly starts talking about God and religion in a receptive way. The latter case is clear evidence that the Spirit is working in the heart of the atheist, and our confidence in being able to "help birth" a new believer will be directly proportional to our relationship with the Holy Spirit as He works with us. This is not to say that evangelists are obsolete, but should be viewed in the "army of God" as "Special Forces" units that create the situations and opportunities that we "regular grunts" exploit. It appears that our current post-modern world resists attempts by men to sell them God, but is incredibly receptive and appreciative if informed that God Himself, in the form of the Holy Spirit, is miraculously interacting with them at that very moment. We need to adopt the strategy that Philip adopted when he told Nathanael about Jesus being the Messiah, and who, when met with skepticism, invited him to come see Jesus for himself: If Jesus/God cannot sell Himself to someone, then what hope do we have of succeeding where God fails? In 2 Timothy 2:24-26, Paul's advice to Timothy with regard to evangelization talks about meekness while trying to help those who oppose themselves and are taken in the snare of the Devil. This meekness is not toward the sinners Timothy is trying to reach, but toward God who, in response to Timothy's work with the lost, "peradventure give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth, and recover themselves out of the snare of the devil." Paul is clear about his view of the process of salvation: He (and Timothy) are to preach without any delusions of their ability to convert any hearers, but meekly submits to the timing and will of God for the necessary impartation of repentance to the wicked that comes from God alone. When they acknowledge the truth and are saved, they obtain the Holy Spirit which brings the authority to cast out demons. They then "recover themselves ouf\t the snare of the devil" by "casting the rascals out" as the first "miracle" that they work as believers. Our job is to tell them that they can do it and are supposed to do it.
06:01:29 by Gerald
I have been attending a "12 step" group at a church that explicitly spells out their position that Jesus Christ is their higher power. So far, so good, but I apparently have run afoul of some of the unoffiical "leaders" in the group for expanding on some of their comments with clarifications that appear to contradict what they say. I have puzzled over how to explain my purposes, and have come to the satifying explanation that what the True Church teaches from the Scriptures is true, but that the traditional terminology and word-usage is not precise.
"True, but not precise." What does that mean and how does it translate into practice?More...
04:14:43 by Gerald
The context for verses 6-8 of 2 Timothy 1 is verse 5, where Timothy is said to have the same "unfeigned faith" of his mother and grandmother, who taught him the Old Testament scriptures.
Clearly, the gift that Paul wants Timothy to stir up in verse 6 is by the same faith that is unfeigned in verse 5, and which also appears in 2 Corinthians 6:6, 1 Timothy 1:5, and 1 Peter 1:22 It is translated as "without dissimulation" in Romans 12:6, and as "without hypocrisy" in James 3:17. What is interesting is that it is also applied to love and to wisdom. That is, not only should one's faith be sincere, but also one's love and one's wisdom. In the ensuring passage, Paul tells Timothy that the Spirit underlying the spiritual gifts that he is stirring up is also the Spirit of Love (which should be sincere) and of a Sound Mind (same as the Wisdom in the James 3:17 passage).
It should be clear that unfeigned faith, unfeigned love, and unhypocritical wisdom is necessary, but not sufficient, to invoke spiritual gifts: there must be an anointing, an imparation, of the Spirit as well as a conscious decision to invoke (stir up) the gift.
03:16:14 by Gerald
In 2 Timothy 1:6, Paul urges Timothy to actively stir up the gift "which is in thee by the laying on of my hands." This is clearly a reference to a deliberate activating of a spiritual gift that is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Recall that Timothy is a relatively young pastor over a congregation containing older members who, in the wider cultural context, would be entititeld to belive they would have the right to tell him what to do, rather than he telling them what to do. Since this is a form of social programming that is done at an early age, there are components of fear involved when he goes against the social order.More...
07:28:21 by Gerald
I have updated the "Debugging Manipulation" essay with a new failure mechanism, along with the means to counteract it, that you can read here.
[Note: Comments on this update may have been lost due to a reset of the feeback system. I am in the process of debugging what happened. Gerald]
06:35:09 by Gerald
I asked for a bible passage from the Holy Spirit to help out a specific individual, and was given Hebrews 12:18, which expands to verses 18 to 24:
18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched , and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.
After looking at the passage, I agreed with the Spirit that this passage would definitely help the individual for whom I asked it.
However, as I re-read it again this morning, I looked a lot more closely, and realized that the Holy Spirit was not included in the list of those waiting for us to come to Mount Sion (Zion). So what's with that?More...
09:17:04 by Gerald
I was reading either Spiritual Canticle or the Dark Night of the Soul by Saint John of the Cross (I can't remember which), when John, commenting on the necessity of being able to endure suffering, pointed out that Job's reward for his suffering was the privilege of seeing God. At the time, I remember thinking, "Wow, John thought what happened to Job was terrific," then continued to the next chapter.
For some reason, It suddenly hit me how to "parable-ize" Job along the lines of how John of the Cross saw it, instead of how we read it.More...
06:25:41 by Gerald
Oh Lord have mercy, the Christmas decorations came out this year BEFORE Halloween! It makes one wonder what ever happened to being thankful during the month of November (which is becoming my favorite month of the year).
During my drive up to Atlanta for my 6 month contact lens check-up with my most excellent optometrist at Emory Clinic, I came up with a most satisfying "formula" for giving thanks to God. While I thank God all the time for my family, my church, and the many physical blessings I enjoy, one of the strengths of this Website is the emphasis on the specificity of truth as it relates to the Trinity: in considering the abuses of double predestinationist Calvinism, I have come to believe that one of the key causes is a munging together of God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit (the anointing that made Jesus into Jesus Christ). I mean, can you really believe that God predestines some people to hell and all men to sin when it is rephrased as "Jesus Christ has decided that some people must go to hell for his own glory"? You can't, which is why Calvinists talk about God in general terms instead of specific actions of The Father, of Jesus, or of the Holy Spirit.
And it's not bad having a "formula" for praying, provided one uses it the way the Lord's Prayer is used as a "formula" prayer that is used as a scaffold around which one builds their specific prayers.
My particular formula is to thank the Father through and by Jesus Christ for the Holy Spirit.More...
Progress as of November 10
07:21:06 by Gerald
I haven't been writing a lot recently since a lot of lines of speculation have been looking promising whose outcome will affect the content of some essays being worked upon. As usual, I was writing the essays, being led by the Spirit, and got the leads that I am currently pursuing. Here's a quick rundown of what's cooking for those who the Spirit can lead, or at least follow the rabbit-trail I'm cutting through the underbrush preparatory to laying down the highway:More...
ANOTHER rewrite of our concept of the Human Heart
12:07:23 by Gerald
I have been pursuing the concept in the previous link regarding relooking at the heart cited in Mark 11:23 from the point of view of how the Ancients understood it rather than from how we take it today. It doesn't look like a radical rewrite of what we know is necessary, but it may require another revision of the "good heart/evil heart" concept.More...
More entries prior