Searching For The Authentic Jesus

“I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of Vice President in the country,” Dan Quayle claimed before a panel of debate moderators and a television audience of millions. “I have as much experience in the congress as Jack [John] Kennedy did when he sought the presidency.”

In 1988, George H.W. Bush was running for president of the United States against Michael Dukakis. His vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle was participating in a debate against Lloyd Bentsen, Dukakis’ running mate.

“Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy,” Bentsen replied. “Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy…”

As the crowd cheered, Quayle tried to regain his composure. “That was really uncalled for, Senator,” he complained.

Knowing he had just won the debate, Bentsen moved in to finish the kill. “You’re the one that was making the comparison, Senator, and I’m one who knew him well. And frankly, I think you’re so far, far, from the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well taken.”

That day in Omaha, Nebraska, October 5, 1988, Lloyd Bentsen cemented his name in the annals of great (vice) presidential debates.

That’s Not The Jesus I Know…

Many years earlier, the apostle Peter probably felt a little like Lloyd Bentsen.

Thirty years after Jesus rose from the grave and ascended to heaven, he noticed some troubling developments. Christianity had been growing like wildfire and spreading throughout the Roman Empire. But then the Empire struck back. Under the direction of Emperor Nero, Christian leaders were being killed. The people in their congregations were afraid.

Then teachers appeared—teachers who didn’t even know Jesus, who never heard Jesus teach. They began telling people things Jesus never said, twisting his words, saying Jesus wasn’t a man; he was more like a ghost. They taught that our daily behavior has no bearing on our souls. That Jesus was never going to return. They claimed Jesus told them these things.

I can imagine Peter thinking to himself, I walked with Jesus. I knew him better than anyone. I stood next to him when he healed the man who was born blind. I watched him walk on the water and calm the sea. 

One time he was speaking before a crowd of 5000 hungry people. I told him, “Jesus, you need to dismiss them because they’re really hungry.” But he looked at me and said, “You feed them.” Then a little boy with five loaves and two fishes said, “Here, take this.” I passed out the food and somehow, all 5000 people were fed.

Another time, I joined him on a hike up a mountain when suddenly he looked as if his clothes were on fire. Then Moses and Elijah appeared. But most amazing of all, I heard the voice of God thundering from the skies saying, “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

And I did. Nearly everything he said over his three years in ministry, I was standing there right next to Jesus, listening to him. Finally, I watched him die on the cross and miraculously rise from the dead. 

He was a friend of mine—and still is. You’re referring to a different Jesus than the one I know.

If you knew that your days were numbered—Nero wanted you dead—what would you do?

You’d set the record straight—which is exactly what Peter did.

What Would Jesus Say?

Over the next few Fridays, we’re going to explore Peter’s response to a group of people who claimed to know Jesus, but didn’t. I think you’ll agree with me that his written response is very timely, both then and today. The document I’m referring to is his second epistle, which appears in the Bible as 2 Peter.

But I want to begin our discussion with this:

Every month or two it seems, a new documentary is released about the life of Jesus. The History Channel seems to spit them out right and left. They look at Jesus’ life from different angles, taking into account the cultural milieu, history, and other sociological elements. News websites like CNN.com offer “new” perspectives on the life of Jesus and what the Bible really says. When I watch them, something usually seems amiss. It doesn’t ring true with the Jesus I know. It doesn’t ring true with the people who knew him best.

If you want to get inside someone, but you can’t meet personally with him, you look to see what people who knew him said. People who were his closest friends.

We know that Peter, James, and John were Jesus’ closest friends. As I’ve already mentioned, Peter wrote two epistles, but you may not know that most theologians attribute the gospel of Mark to him as well. Papias, the earliest recorded church historian, wrote that the gospel of Mark is based on Peter’s preaching.

John, the second man in Jesus’ inner circle, wrote the gospel of John, as well as three epistles—1, 2, and 3 John.

James, the third man in Jesus’ inner circle, didn’t have enough time to write anything because he was martyred by King Herod about 10 years after Jesus’ death and resurrection (see Acts 12:2).

Interestingly enough, you could call the gospel of Luke “Mary’s gospel.” Luke, ever the thorough historian, likely relied on Jesus’ mother Mary for details in his account. Twice in his gospel he says that “Mary treasured theses things in her heart” (Luke 2:19,51). Why did she “treasure” them? To ensure that people knew the real Jesus.

Finally, a man by the name of “James” wrote an epistle about Jesus. While he wasn’t a member of Jesus’ inner circle, most historians believe he was the oldest of Jesus’ younger brothers (he is listed first in the order of his siblings in Matthew 13:15). He later became the leader of the Jerusalem council (see Acts 15).

Why is all of this important? Because if you want to know the real Jesus, the authentic Jesus, you need to know what his closest friends said about him.

Even in the early church, false teachers were offering a “different gospel” than what Jesus proclaimed (2 Corinthians 11:4). Jesus’ family and closest friends sought to correct it.

“I knew Jesus when he was here on earth—and that’s not the Jesus I know.”

At a time when “Christian” leaders are attempting tot contemporize Jesus and his teachings, this study is very timely for all of us.

I looked forward to exploring the book of 2 Peter with you in the coming weeks.

Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church in Littleton, Colorado with Eugene Scott. Since 1999, he has worked on over 30 study Bibles as a contributing writer or theological reviewer.

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11 responses to “Searching For The Authentic Jesus

  1. Georgie-ann

    mmmmm,… “the plot thickens,… ”

    When I was a really “new”/baby/young Christian, a lot of these matters addressed in these epistles “went right over my head,”… I don’t think I thought we’d ever really have to deal with this stuff, and I didn’t particularly focus on it either,… Or, you could say my attention “was easily distracted” while reading it,… It was “old”,… historically “old”,… “old world” nasty/bitter/narrow-minded/jealous/in-fighting people, events and issues,… How relevant could it possibly be to now, almost 2000 years later?,… Jesus had already died and resurrected, so things were logically(!) “destined” to be different,… weren’t they?,… God “had everything under control,” didn’t he?,… “we were in some spiritual phase of renewal or revival,” “life was good with God” and I was lapping it all up, and “not looking back,”….

    And then one day,… years down the road,… a thought/commentary/analysis came into my mind, that actually sounded like something “that unintelligible Paul” would say!,… I was quite taken aback at myself, and thought maybe “it was from the devil” messing with my mind,… After all, “Paul was a very great and martyred Apostle of the Faith,”… “God had called and anointed Paul,”… Paul had done great and mighty works, and seen many marvelous things,… How could I possibly “know”/see/say anything like a Paul would?,… Who was I to think I could “judge” something to be “not of God” in the Body of Christ?,… Well, I guess I had become solid and mature and committed enough to be able to “get off a little of the joy-juice,” and start admitting to myself that “all was not really as well as people were claiming” in Christianity-land, taken as a whole,… and not lose my faith, as a result,… or go hide under a rock,…

    Many circumstances were leading and had led to this point,… I had “no real problem” seeing (and fearing) the devil “in the world,”… But these issues were much closer to home,… They affected my “Christian World View,”… they concerned leaders, friends, acquaintances about whom I absolutely assumed “the best,”… or, that “forgiveness” and time and prayer and the Word and the working of the Holy Spirit, would “improve and take care of the things that needed it,”… certainly “it wasn’t MY problem, or MY business” to dissect and analyze, criticize and compare,… or,… was it?,…

    The Holy Spirit is “the Teacher” and He will confirm the Word and the Word will confirm Him,… as God the Father said of His Beloved Son,… “Hear ye Him,”…

    Matthew 17:5 “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.’ ”

    Sometimes we’re “listening” and yet God has to work a little harder to get us to understand things that are, so far, a little “beyond our comprehension,” or “our spiritual comfort zone,”… but He will not contradict His Word,… and His Truth is revealed in Love,… and sometimes it’s “Tough Love,”…

    “The Truth hurts,” it is sometimes said,… but it is the only thing with the power to “set us free,”…

    John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

  2. Georgie-ann
    I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha! Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!” I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,… Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.” The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result? I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-: Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,… Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,… Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.” Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,… I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!” The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog: “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…” Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,… What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves. I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm? So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,…
  3. Georgie-ann

    sorry that copied itself a zillion times from Brendan’s blog, where I was writing it,… but the window in this one was only 1″ big after I pasted it, so I couldn’t look it over very well,… the beginning & end looked OK, so I assumed incorrectly that everything else was too,… )-:

    if there’s a way to cut it back to one time through only, please feel free,…

    • Georgie-ann

      edit,… cont., …or delete the whole segment, as I did successfully copy a single segment below,…

  4. Georgie-ann

    hopefully, this is a one-time copy of the above mess:

    I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!”

    The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog:

    “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…”

    Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,…

    What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves.

    I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm?

    So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “assumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha!

    Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!”

    I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,…

    Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.”

    The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result?

    I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-:

    Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians”, puts a really different slant on it for me,…

    Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,…

    Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

    Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,… Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,…

    it seems to be,… so sorry!

    • Georgie-ann

      edit #1: (addition)

      (“What concerns me … … … In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves.”) ADD:

      It seems as if they’ve gone just so far with their “Christianity”, and are content to stay right there, repeating (and inducing) many things over and over, including the very same problems, as well as successes, happily “gaming everyone with their irrepressible personality,” and absolutely no concern about further personal “growth & development” or how they’re affecting everyone around them. Their “apparent” security in their demonstrated Christian persona, convinces (most) everyone around them that their “faith” is strong and secure,… “rock solid,” as they say,… For a long time you don’t worry about them,… until “something starts wearing a little thin”,… some repetitions become self-defeating/counter-productive, but never adjusted for appropriate “commonsense” reasons or a real further self-transforming self-sacrifice,… I’m now suspecting a hidden/(unconfessed) “darker” side to the person’s psyche, perhaps an aspect of their “faith” that doesn’t even really believe at all,… that has perhaps not been “touched or reached by their salvation”,… at least yet,… and we’re a little stunned and perplexed ourselves, because we didn’t even really “know it was there,”… and yet,… maybe we did, a little bit,… We love them, but we’re frustrated, and maybe getting more frustrated,… we may even feel a little helpless and paralyzed ouselves,… we feel we haven’t been “dealing with” the full Truth,…

      I’m reminded of this verse:

      Mark 9:24 “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; HELP MY UNBELIEF!’ ”

      So, what is going on?,… and what do we do?

      (“I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, … … … “)

      ******* ******* ******* ******* *******

      edit #2:

      “Our words, addressed to their “PRESUMED living-and-viable faith”, … … … “

      • Georgie-ann

        edit #3: (addition)

        “But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians” … … ADD:

        — (and basically, just a strong assertion and expression of their own “fallen” — self-preserving, self-promoting, and manipulating — will) —

        puts a really different slant on it for me,…”

        edit #4: ” … paralyzed ourselves, … ”

        I think I’d now be better off just re-printing it the “right”/corrected way,… my apologies:

        ********** ********** ********** ********** *********

        I could call this “Searching for an Authentic Christian Friend!”

        The next paragraph was at the end of my comment on Brendan’s last blog:

        “I’m beginning to realize that sometimes, as humans, we wish to do for others what only God can do for them,… or they may be looking to us and habitually attaching themselves to their fellow “Christian friends” as a kind of a “short cut” to a better prayer connection to God for themselves,… and I’m beginning to see how this may eventually reach a point of reckoning,… Of course we can love and pray, help, edify and encourage at all times, but there are some things that are God’s prerogative and realm of effective power and authority,… as such, allowing for goodwill prayers of faith and intercession, each soul must, even so, realize its own direct relationship of dependence on God,…”

        Along the lines of the paragraph above, I have continued to reflect on this situation. The realization that is coming to me, is that: in “humoring,” being sympathetic with, playing along with, encouraging “Christian friends” in their struggles, or frustrations, or boredom, we can sometimes be getting caught in a trap when, after awhile, things just seem to be “spinning their wheels.”,… And I’m talking about “years of (patient) friendships” passing here,…

        What concerns me, and the way I’ve “seen it” so far, is that people might get a habit of trying to “attach to” and “feed off” the (apparently) “stronger” soul and spirit of other “faith people”/Christians, rather than turning themselves more directly to God. In the beginning, it’s understandable enough, but everyone should eventually be trying to “draw closer to God” for their own selves.

        It seems as if they’ve gone just so far with their “Christianity”, and are content to stay right there, repeating (and inducing) many things over and over, including the very same problems, as well as successes, happily “gaming everyone with their irrepressible personality,” and absolutely no concern about further personal “growth & development” or how they’re affecting everyone around them. Their “apparent” security in their demonstrated Christian persona, convinces (most) everyone around them that their “faith” is strong and secure,… “rock solid,” as they say,… For a long time you don’t worry about them,… until “something starts wearing a little thin”,… some repetitions become self-defeating/counter-productive, but never adjusted for appropriate “commonsense” reasons or a real further self-transforming self-sacrifice,… I’m now suspecting a hidden/(unconfessed) “darker” side to the person’s psyche, perhaps an aspect of their “faith” that doesn’t even really believe at all,… that has perhaps not been “touched or reached by their salvation”,… at least yet,… and we’re a little stunned and perplexed ourselves, because we didn’t even really “know it was there,”… and yet,… maybe we did, a little bit,… We love them, but we’re frustrated, and maybe getting more frustrated,… we may even feel a little helpless and paralyzed ourselves,… we feel we haven’t been “dealing with” the full Truth,…

        I’m reminded of this verse:

        Mark 9:24 “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, ‘Lord, I believe; HELP MY UNBELIEF!’ ”

        So, what is going on?,… and what do we do?

        I’ve been trying to understand what’s happening, when I “get a little warning signal” about some situations. I’m certainly familiar with the resistance and impatience of “unbelievers” who do not “want to hear any more” about the Gospel, and I prefer to “let the Light shine” quietly with them. But what is it in “believers” who also seem to be very resistant to kind of “obviously” needed changes “somewhere inside”,… although they are very good at “yessing” people and “confessing Christian things” outwardly,… even doing a lot of really “good-looking works”,… & even with much enthusiasm?

        So, I think I’m finally “understanding”/(have touched on) something more about it. We are all born with what is called “the old nature,”… or “as natural man/woman.” “Natural man” is “naturally” motivated in many self-centered ways, but is actually quite rigidly blinded when it comes to truly godly or spiritual matters. They are surely “Greek” to him/her. Natural man, as a “Christian”, can “get on a roll” and make a lot of things happen, even very good things. BUT, “Natural man” DOES NOT WANT TO BE “SAVED OR CHANGED” — not at all. Natural man actually strongly desires to remain EXACTLY THE SAME (inside)! “Natural man” is what makes a carnal Christian carnal. “Natural man” is fallen, corrupt, the “old wineskin” that cannot “get saved” — period. So, we can actually be “barking up the wrong tree” when we’re caught up in trying help or relate to another “Christian” ‘s “mind and personality”, when they are, in truth, heavily dominated by this “old nature,” which is still very much “alive and well and at work” within them. Our words, addressed to their “presumed living-and-viable faith”, may — in fact — be falling on deaf ears,… They “like” themselves and their lives, exactly the way they are,… but they “know how to go along with you”, so that you don’t really suspect what “the real deal” is,… aha!

        Woah!,… I have quite a few long-standing “Christian” friends that fall at least somewhat into this category! And I feel that in having been simply a “faithful, more or less unquestioning, long-enduring, sympathetic Christian friend,” — who also automatically tries to give the “right kind of advice” (at times over and over again!) without really thinking about or challenging the substance of their spiritual claims, or their willingness to grow or change — I feel that “I’ve been missing something pretty important that might have been going on here!”

        I’ve been speaking to them as if something “spiritually empowered”/(born again) is actually listening/interacting, but it’s quite possible that instead their “old nature” is still really “running their show,” and this would explain very well why the “spiritual power” of the Word of God would then basically be having “no effect”,…

        Mark 7:13 “… making the word of God of no effect through your tradition … And many such things you do.”

        The Word of God is linked with “spiritual power”,… and the fixed/stubborn “old nature” is linked with man’s traditions/habits/patterns,… What I’m seeing that is “new” here for myself is: that we can be “conned” into playing along with/(and on the level of) a purported Christian’s “old nature,” attributing more spiritual interaction to the friendship than is actually going on,… NOW, the question becomes: seeing that it is pretty much a WASTE OF TIME (and energy) to interact “in faith” with a camouflaged “old nature,” is there some other aspect of this person/friend that we can still address — and in what way(s) — to bring out some better result?

        I don’t know the answer to this question,… yet,… but I’ll surely be working on it,… (-:

        Sometimes in the past, I have attributed some of these lingering “personal problems” to conditioning and psychology, woundedness, and even to the devil, as a separate entity, and have “believed” for healing, deliverance, etc.,… But to see the possibility of some of this as just being part/symptom of the dominating nature of “the old man/woman” still at work in the lives of some “Christians” — (and basically, just a strong assertion and expression of their own “fallen” — self-preserving, self-promoting, and manipulating — will) — puts a really different slant on it for me,…

        Spiritual freedom — Salvation — depends upon the reception of “a brand new/different spiritual nature,” the “spiritual rebirth,”… it is a Gift of God,…

        Mark 2:22 “And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

        Each individual, each friendship/relationship, is of course, unique/different,… I’ve been content with most of these “Christian” friendships for a very long time, — (and there are not a whole lot of enthusiastic Christians in this town!),… Certainly, no one is expecting some kind of cookie-cutter illusion of “perfection”,… “loving God” has been pretty much good enough for me,… But now I’m wondering,…

        Considering the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins and the oil for their lamps, and the times we are living in, it just might be time to give such things a closer look,…

        (… and … “all’s well that ends well” … thank you for your patience! … )

  5. Pingback: When Your Prodigal Comes Home | The Neighborhood Café

  6. Pingback: What Do You Need From God? | The Neighborhood Café

  7. Georgie-ann

    As I continue to “mull over” some of these ideas, the concept of “co-dependence” being operational in the Body of Christ, seems quite possible, and actually quite understandable,… We wish to be supportive to one another, to “love one another”, to learn and grow together, but as this term is now used and understood in problematic psychological situations — (involving relationships, families, addictions, etc.) — it is not considered to be healthy ultimately,… It may tend to hinder proper freedom and development,…

    I certainly glommed myself onto the Body of Christ as a new and very inexperienced Christian, held on tight, and closely followed those whom I believed knew better than I, what this was going to be all about,… I depended greatly on my Christian friends, and have in many ways over the years,… & I love them and our “Christian circles” very much,… blemishes and imperfections and uniqueness and all,… (plus all the really “good stuff” too!),…

    I guess there must come a point of maturing an independent personal relationship with God,… of deeper “knowing” for oneself, and stronger leadings in certain directions, that at some point will bring healthy differentiations and responsibilities for the “individual” and their own walk with God, that perhaps will not particularly be in sync with the earlier-established “groupiness” and accustomed “personality” and relationship patterns,…

    Such “changes” are probably normal and healthy,… not always comfortable,… challenging and maybe even confrontational sometimes,… We don’t always want to stretch and grow at the same time or in the same ways as someone else,… and it just might not be our own path either,… At this point, listening to God — and responding — is very important,…

    Being a Christian can be very interesting!,… we’ll never have it “all figured out!”

  8. Pingback: Why It’s Good that You’re Not God… | The Neighborhood Café

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