When I was a child (1st Corinthians 13:11)

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2012 1:26 pm    Post subject: When I was a child (1st Corinthians 13:11)  Reply with quote

“When I was a child…I understood like a child…”
It seemed to me that “faith” was a convenient insistence from God.  It seemed to me, that if you believe (or had faith) in most anything, it became “real” to you.  If I posed my questions to others regarding God, the answer was always “you just need to believe”.  I was a poor student, so I ultimately concluded that once again, I must have been missing something that everyone else understood.

I wondered, “Why faith?” Why doesn’t God make himself obvious and stop all my wondering?  I wondered how the death of one man extended eternal life to mankind.  I wondered how Christ could exist before his birth.  I wondered how if God was all present, powerful and knew everything, why was everything in such a mess? (I grew up during the Vietnam War Era!)  I wondered where God came from?  I wondered if Noah could really build an Arc that could house all living creatures, and was Jonah really swallowed by a whale?  Did the walls of Jericho really fall by the blast of trumpets?  I wondered what was wrong with Cain’s offering, and why was Uzza struck down for steadying the Arc of the Covenant?  What about all those innocent children that the Israelites killed by God’s command? Again, I just figured others understood what obviously escaped my own understanding.

”When I became a man, I put away childish things”…
I confronted God with my questions, and insisted that I was tired of pretending and I discovered that God was tired of my pretending as well.  I began to better understand things, for example, I understood that “faith” was essential to God’s love and that “faith” in God was transgressed in Eden, while the words of God’s adversary were trusted.  It made sense that faith transgressed so early in the beginning would have repercussions to all of mankind.  In the book of Hebrews, I discovered that faith made Abel’s offering to God better than Cain’s.  Through further study, I discovered that Cain did not receive by “faith” that which he offered to God, and likewise, we also must first receive life by faith from God.

I learned that spiritual death is separation from God and that the penalty for sin is death.  I learned that while Jesus Christ never sinned, He was yet separated from His Father in Heaven.  So, His sinless death does offer spiritual life to all that will receive His gift of grace by faith.  

I discovered that Jesus was credited with “creation” and learned that Jesus would someday return as the “Conquering King”. In fact, I discovered that everything that God has ever accomplished culminates in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the divine-doer of His Father’s will, and His work on the cross was another of His divine works.  In the gospel of John, I learned that the Greek word “logos” translated as “word” could also have been translated as “work”.  So the gospel of John could have been translated “In the beginning was the “work” and the “work” was with God and the “work” was God…and the “work” became flesh and dwelt amongst us”.  I now know that Jesus’ “work” on the cross eternally ratified all throughout time that have placed their faith in God’s grace.        

I now know that God has no beginning; to be eternal is to be without beginning or end.  God showed me that because this life is full of substance, an eternal reality has to be responsible.  If there was ever a time when there was absolutely nothing, then nothing is all that there could ever be. Nothing always begets itself, “nothing”.  It is impossible for “nothing” to be responsible for the “big bang” beginning.  Something, or Someone, has to have always been and it is much more sensible to believe that this unchangeable, eternal cause is God.  In contrast, everything that we encounter in the physical universe is in a constant state of change, having both beginning and end.  

So what is left?  Why did God order the execution of innocent children?  I am not sure children are not entirely innocent, and being wiped off the face of the Earth is not as tragic as eternal damnation.  What I now know is that departing from this life could mean, for some, entering into the presence of God!  We do not know if Uzza, after being struck dead for reaching out to support the Arc of God, went to Heaven or Hell. We only know that his time in this life was up and that God does not need man’s help propping Him up.  This is equally true with those that were destroyed according to God’s order by the Israelites.  It is in all likelihood that the children went to be with God, and had they been allowed to mature in their Godless societies, they may have had to endure eternal damnation.  In fact, we do not know the eternal destination of any man other than Jesus Christ Himself, Lazarus (the beggar) and the thief on the cross!  

Thus, it is not hard for me to accept that God (through Noah) could build an arc large enough to house all living creatures, or that Jonah could survive a whale of a ride, or that a sonic-blast sent the walls of Jericho crashing down.  God spoke into existence our physical universe.

Are you “all-in and sold-out” or do unanswered questions have you?  What are they?
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Russell Hoerman

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:11 am    Post subject: When I was a child.... Reply with quote

I'm in but not sure "sold out".   As always very thought provoking views and insights.
Tough questions are important to confront.  Belief in God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit can be taught, rationalized and accepted. Even revealed truths as the Trinity can be believed and accepted.  Faith on the other hand is not so rational, neat and clean.  There is plenty outside of our intellect that require faith and Gods nature is  the biggest.  Trying to rationalize hard questions with lots of belief and little faith will lead to sterile hopelessness.
Back to the tough questions we asked as children, we asked with belief and little faith.  It is through this gift of faith we can begin to confront the mystery of God, his merry and love for us.  Sanctifying grace is how we attain this gift of faith......but by no merit on our part.  
Nothing here implied, as if you missed this in your shared thoughts.  Just some elaborations on my thoughts.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2012 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It is interesting that while you and I are probably as similar as two people could be, we are yet uniquely different, as I believe God intended.  If I understand correctly, you are wisely pointing out that there is a faith-place called “mystery” and “mystery” houses the faith of many throughout this life.  So, what was pretending for me was the embracing of a mystery by faith for you and others.  I suppose the question for me is why was I not able to accept “by faith” as readily the mysteries of God?    

Your response allows me to clarify that I am not questioning the essence of one’s faith if they are not searching out answers to the mysteries of God.  More to the point, I wonder if there are others like myself that find themselves in a place of pretending.  If so, I am urging them onward to pursue the “truth”, for I am convinced that as they discover “truth” they will likewise discover God.
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Genesis 4:1 “And Adam knew Eve his wife”
John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life”
John 18:38 Pilate asks Christ  “What is truth?”
John 1 “in the beginning was the word…and the word was God”
John 4:24 God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth

When religious discussions arise today, it is common to hear “no one can know the truth completely”.  I certainly agree that no one can know the truth fully, but we can know the truth and we should share the truth with one another.  This is the wellspring of Christian community.    

When “Adam knew Eve” we understand that the knowing of Eve was more than a “Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” moment.  We are to have an intimate understanding of the “truth” because Jesus Christ is the “truth”.  Pilot, like so many today, was skeptical when the “truth” was in his midst, and carelessly allowed the “truth” to be crucified; yet the Truth rose again.  No man owns the “truth” but the “truth” should have a claim on our lives.      

Words are for others, for we are not to talk to our self.  Words are for fellowship, community, for sharing our knowledge of the “truth”, which is Jesus Christ (the Word that became flesh).  Clearly, an oneness relationship exists between Jesus Christ, the Word and the Truth.  Personal sanctification begins when we seek intimate understanding of truth; community is built on the authenticity of that shared truth.

Again, community is built from conversation, conversation from words employed to share knowledge of truth.  Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Mathew 18:20).  Christ’s name is “Divine Word”, “Divine Truth”, “Divine Way” and “Divine Life” All personal, but not private.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 05, 2012 5:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I enjoy reading these insights by both Rick and Russ.  The importance of these questions are eternal in their truth-quest, and putting these on the table for concurrence or criticism amongst fellow inquisitors is an important exercise.  By no means do I use the word "exercise" to patronize or minimize how critical these are to further uncovering His truth.  

NIV - Hebrews 11:1-3 says (1) "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  (2) This is what the ancients were commended for.  (3) By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

My perspective is simple in that I truly believe this life is a journey of the soul.  We can’t describe or define the soul from any scientific standpoint that I’m aware of.  Our soul is created by God and earthly flesh made of carbon, atoms, and molecules surrounds this soul.  The gift of life through God’s creation of individual souls is accompanied by His unending, free grace through Jesus’ death for our sins.  Like Rick, I also have difficulty understanding how individuals in Old Testament times had a path to salvation before Jesus’ life on Earth.  

I believe we’re blind to God’s grace in the beginning of our lives and through various spiritual eye doctors (parents, pastors, books, other spiritual connectors) around us we begin to develop sight little by little.  Some remain blinded to God’s grace for their entire life while others gain sight incrementally as the faith-veil is lifted through reading, listening to teaching, experience and understanding.  

Therefore the journey to discover God is a rocky path up a steep mountain.  To further the analogy, this mountain has no peak that we can reach here on Earth no matter how hard we press upward or how fast we try to climb.  That tip of the peak exists in the realm of Heaven.  Further logic would lead this theory further – Because that peak of the mountain of understanding God fully isn’t here on Earth, we aren’t capable of achieving complete knowledge or understanding of God here on Earth.  To some humans that would disappoint, to others it would relax.

I don’t need to fully understand God to have faith in His existence.  I get excited by the fact that there would be so much more revealed to the soul after this life.  That doesn’t stop me from searching to know Him better each and every day.  Our minds (though created by God) can’t fully comprehend His vastness or mystery.  Thank Him for the Bible and its glimpses into God’s nature.  We need this as a guide up the rocky path.  

Find peace in understanding that God is the only mystery worth pursuing because one day it will be solved.  It’s the most difficult thing to keep after, but the journey and struggles along the path will be worth it.  I can only hope one day God says about my journey, "I am pleased."
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 08, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wonderful, "Spiritual Eye Doctors"!  Have you read Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard or Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan? Life is a journey and a short one at that.

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