18 Mar 2014

The B-I-B-L-E

Submitted by theshovel
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The Bible. Is it inspired? Can we trust it? Is it our owner’s manual? Can we learn of God without it? Is it the complete revelation of God? In this new series, the B-I-B-L-E, Dominic (Adam) and I will be exploring questions and concerns regarding the Bible itself.

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Two minutes into the audio and I was being REFRESHED! Bringing into view the competitive nature of man, the origins of all of that garbagggge, you guys it is SO liberating when you call it for what it is! The 'bullying', ha! The senses are cleared, and without the words spoken I am refreshed by CHRIST! The Bible for me years and years ago, was the Rule book, the Law! The Standard! It is no wonder that people burn out and run from it! I did for the longest time. The beautiful day when it was opened up as a REVELATION of the Life of Christ! That so changes the reading of it. Honestly, I so love the revelation it brings of Christ. I loved the insight and understanding throughout the Audio! Christ is always lifted! Love you, both!

theshovel's picture

Thank you, so much, my dear Mary!! You have warmed my heart. :)

Jim

Let's assume someone is sincerely saved. The old man dead and the new man risen with Christ. A sincere experience here. As the believer walks with God he/she is starting anew but he/she is carrying around the scars & wounds (wounds emotional, mental, physical, etc.) in him/her of the pains, tragedies, disappointments, accusations, and/or lost from his/her past. He/She has encountered God, His Grace and Love is overwhelming, Yes!, a miracle has occurred., but the wounds and scars are still there. I say all this to state: The believer is confused when everyday challenges he/she encounters occur because the wounds and scars have shaped their mentality, emotions of his/her life for so many past years. For this type of believer, an understanding of who they are in Christ, to know their true identity in Christ, is extremely important as they work past the voices of the wounds & scars of the old self. To me an understanding of some type of structure (call it "doctrine" if you want)of real life is important to get pass the voices of deception. Many as I need to be grounded in real life. They as I have nothing else to stand on if some sort of structure or foundation is not laid out. The Love of God is wonderful as you have explained. But it sounds to flowery or 'pie in the sky' for many believers as illustrated above and that I have talked to with similar struggles. To put it another way, the audio sounds like you and Adam are talking on another realm (which is not criticism here, I am grateful for theshovel ministry), above my head, when many like my self who are trying to grab a hold of more of the reality of the real Life. Can "trusting Christ" or "real life" be recognized? Am I living this true life n Christ. My initial salvation experience says "YES!" but my journey is blurred. I love to read Jim's answers to the many people emailing with questions. I understand the people's questions much better than Jim's answers, I appreciate Jim's answers more than you will ever know, but more importantly, I wish I had the revelation (enlightment) in me to know the answers as well as Jim. Thank you for listening. -cp

theshovel's picture

Hello, my dear cp! I’ve been wondering where you’ve been, so it warms my heart to hear from you. :)

You had written:

I love to read Jim’s answers to the many people emailing with questions. I understand the people’s questions much better than Jim’s answers…

Sometimes when re-reading certain Q&A entries I, like you, understand their questions better than my own responses. Yeah, really! :) Although you may assume that my past experiences must be essentially different than yours, I can assure you, they are not. I used to search out and feed on the same kind of Biblically-centered and doctrinally-sound foundations you refer to. Week after week, for many years, I drove quite a few miles in my quest to become grounded in the faith.

If you ever get the idea that I regret what I’ve gone through, please know that I do not. For I value all of what God has brought me through — even the structures and doctrinal positions I so often assumed were necessary for my well-being in Christ. I no longer look back on my life in the same way I used to, for I would make conclusions about my spirituality based upon my own experiences. For example, I can remember having often shuddered at the thought that if my parents hadn’t decided to move to Florida I would not have heard the “clear gospel” and may have ended up in hell. The same goes for my fluctuating perceptions of being grounded in the truth and how that related to overcoming my own past and moving forward.

Please know that I do feel where you are coming from, and I do understand the sense of security that can be found in a listing or a doctrinal breakdown of certain aspects of what it means to be a Christian (identity, forgiveness, purpose, etc). In fact, I wrote and published two such listings in 1999: What if it is really finished? and What if God was really in us?.

Obviously, articles like those are exceptions to the rule on theShovel website, and I suspect that unless I had highlighted them from time to time very few people would have found them. For a long time, I had planned on writing a series of articles of that nature, but for one reason or another I never got around to it. Maybe I eventually will. But then again, anyone could search through my writings and compile a more understandable framework such as what you and I have desired. After all, don’t we all want to overcome the confusion of our blurred journeys?

Many as I need to be grounded in real life.

But what is real life? Haven’t your own perceptions of real life fluctuated over the years as mine have? You see, my own experiences have slowly adjusted and redefined the very basis of what I think real life actually is. Some of those adjustments were so slow in the coming that I didn’t notice how much my views had changed, while some have been triggered by traumatic events that made the adjustments absolutely necessary. The only thing that has delivered me through it all is the very life of Christ within me. Whether I speak of it as being his love or his grace or his faithfulness or his truth, it’s all the same. I don’t really need a special study on any given subject or virtue to bring it about, for I can see it in the midst of any and every truth. And I’ve come to realize that God could have taught me of his amazing love and grace through many different means, just as he obviously has in so many others.

What I have witnessed regarding many of the past insights that came to me through various doctrinal views and systematic structures of theology is that I too often came to assume that the more I got a handle on it the better I’d understand the truth. And too often just the opposite occurred, for I’d get lost in the system that was supposed to make it all clearer. That’s why I think so many people speak of being too heavenly minded to be of any earthy good, or why so many refer to having too much grace.

The same natural mind that perpetuates those past scars and wounds also promotes the perception that claims through knowledge comes power. But does it? It used to confuse me even more that the Bible spoke not only of seeking knowledge, but also that knowledge puffs up (while love builds up). Wow, what was that fine line I was missing? LOL! :) I took me years to realize that I may have been seeking grace and truth to empower me in the same way those in the world were seeking truth to empower them in their fleshly pursuits. That’s a real shock to the system, I tell you!

I could write much more, but the day slips quickly past, and I have things I must attend to, so I’ll cut this off with this last thought:
You could gather a whole list of grace teachings with Biblical references regarding your identity in Christ, and yet find that confidence still eludes you. You might assume that you just need that one missing ingredient, and so you persevere in search of it. But then, in the midst of your disappointment, you sense that something remains. For in Christ, something has always remained that is connected to everything you’ve sifted through and overlooked and may have even discarded in your quest for the secret to Christ. There is a reason that you will be captivated by one simple truth, which is the truth that smashes that doubt and confusion to pieces, and that reason is Christ. As you are in him, he is in you, and he goes with you wherever you go and in everything that you do. You will see him in the truth of God’s love and in the truth of God’s grace and in the truth of God’s truth and in the truth of what you experience and what you hear and what you say and what you think and how you talk and how you hear … you get the picture. But there is nothing more real or more grounded or more necessary.

Jim

Jim, there is so much Truth is everything you have said.  Thanks for a great response, one that has food for thought for a long time to come.

Hello CP! I just read your post and I think I have somewhat of an idea of what you are frustrated with.[if that is a fitting word to use?]It's true, our “identity” in Him IS vital to get ahold of as Christ makes that real to us in this life. But as you know, so many folks have tried to systematize the truth of our identity in Christ as well as any other good things we have in Him. Personally I am fine with doctrine as you call it, as long as it is realized and enjoyed. We get hindered when that identity in Him gets pushed into a mental file folder as if it were a subject of study or “nice truth” that has no bearing on our real day to days.

 

As far as the reality of Love well, it's kind of the same set up. Many can talk around it as if it were just a subject or a “nice” thing about God. Fact is, God's love is a type of love that I believe, can not be found in human flesh as an origin. His love does indeed have the ability to penetrate even the deepest of scars. I'm sure of it. We all help each other in this love of God that's in us and through our varying gifts minister that very love to one another. Folks do indeed walk this life with plenty of hurts[I am one of them] but, the message of love of the Father is often kept away from those who have a voice to those in Christ[teachers and preachers] simply because they are trying too hard to hold to information as opposed to simply expressing His love in strait forward terms.

Honestly when we did the last audio I had the feeling that just putting a few words out there about God's love might serve to be somewhat a spiritual “tease” if you will. I don't want that unless of course it causes someone to ask more about His love. This love we are all learning to grasp in our day to days.

 

A few things I would say about His love that I am coming to see is that, He to us IS everything that this new covenant was meant to supply us. His covenant was put into place with us BECAUSE He so loved us. i think the “grace movement” has done a wonderful job in bringing out much more of the new covenant realities[as opposed to the old covenant so many were trying to commingle]but, has probably failed to see it was Love who put it into play for us to begin with! We are loved!

 

Adam

When I first read your post, my heart was greatly moved as I've been there, done that, thought that, struggled through that, etc. etc. I wanted to encourage you with my story of how faithfully Father took me through it all to the wonderful rest and peace that I now enjoy and live in….not that He's taken me out of this world and all it's happenings, but all is now differently seen, as yes, from a different realm.  

As I was thinking of all this, Jim posted and he was saying all that my heart wanted to say to you.  I know you have read it, and reread it, so I will just say a few words of encouragement to you….not to give you a formula, doctrine, system or whatever, but to bring your attention to the Christian life as simply being just Christ living Himself through you.  Now words don't explain that, not even those written ones, but HE does, as you live together with Him each day, and HE reveals Himself and all He would have you to understand in the most amazing ways.

I will close by relating a few of the things He brought me to understand on my journey with Him.  When all I could see was the hard road that I was on He brought me to see not the road ahead, but only Himself, and I soon learned that no matter what the road, they all take us to knowing Christ, ( and isn't this what our hearts yearn for).  I found that I did not understand all that I thought I knew (because I had sincerely  and diligently studied Scripture, to include the original Greek, and did I not live life all these years and know something about what life was all about)  I found my journey to be one of unlearning  as much as being opened up to understanding His definitions of the words He uses such as dependence, faith, trust, grace, love….  Let me emphasize, this is all, every bit of it, His work that  HE accomplishes within us, and HE does it in the most unique, exciting ways, and we live in the joy of it.  I have learned to rest and wait to be brought to what HE  has for me next.  

Please hear me when I say that this is all yours, this is not pie in the sky stuff, your struggle very much declares how lovingly HE is working within you, bringing you out of the old and into realizing the new.  Yes, we ( you and I) do live in a different realm, and we are continually being brought to understand that it is totally unlike the old, and nothing of the old can be brought into it.  I have found that here in this realm I live by HIS FAITH which always takes me to CHRIST ALONE.

Jim, Luvin, and Julie thank you so much for your reply ... Very helpful! I sense the genuine care (love) and all of you sharing from your own personal experiences. That means a lot. Thank you for being real. For now I need to ponder some of my own thoughts in relation to your comments. I will stay in touch. -cp

theshovel's picture

I look forward to our continuing communication! :)

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