A Strength and a Weakness?
Posted 09 April 2012 - 06:56 AM
- willa Bean likes this
Posted 10 April 2012 - 03:48 AM
- willa Bean likes this
Posted 10 April 2012 - 06:50 AM
Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Is your faith in God, or in your feelings? Are the experiences in danger of becoming an idol? It was right for Abraham to love Isaac, but not more than God. John of Cross talked about this in "Dark Night of the Soul" - http://www.ccel.org/...ark_night.html.
Posted 10 April 2012 - 01:17 PM
'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding." 2 Cor 5:7; Prov 3:5-7. God surely wants us to feel his manifest presence, and to know when he is moving us by his Spirit; however, these experiences are not to be what sustains us in our daily walk with him. Remember that he commands us to abide in him by spending time day and night in his word. Walking in the commandments of Christ, is the primary part of abiding in him. John 15:4-11 vs (10-11); Josh 1:8; Psm 1:1-3
- elizabethcog likes this
Posted 11 April 2012 - 06:06 PM
Posted 13 April 2012 - 04:22 PM
My first thought was to ask you how you would respond to this question if one of us had posted it, or if one of the members of your congregation came to you asking it. I still believe that might be a valid excercise, but I also believe you are in a position that requires more of an answer than that would give.
You my friend have "the calling" of being a Pastor, and I believe that does change the picture. You have more and different challenges than many of us do....and also more is expected of you...rightly or wrongly as that might be. So, I still ask the first question, but recognize that there is much more here. Do you have access to a group, or groups of ministers who gather together to share and to pray one for another? I would think that the better answers might come from those who have "been there, done that".
Another area I would bring to mind is one of personal time in The Word, and in Prayer. I know Pastors and teachers who start feeling like the time they spend preparing lessons/sermons is enough to count for devotion time as well. I can state from first hand experience, that it isn't so. When I'm spending hours in lesson prep, I am "working" just as if I were doing my electrician job, or mending fences here around the place. Lesson prep isn't the right kind of time in The Word for personal spiritual growth and healing. I discovered that I still require that personal, one on One, prayer closet time. I can be energized and excited by my lesson preparations, but that is not always an answer to what is going on in my own day to day life experiences. It is difficult to seperate the two.
Another area you might look at is what is required or expected of you by your Church. I firmly believe that we in the U.S. have an unscriptural idea of what a Pastor is called to do and to be. We expect the Pastor to be a prophet, a teacher, a leader, a counselor, a hand-holder in time of need, a friend to everyone, an emcee at church functions, and maybe even a music leader or youth leader. We want and expect the one person, the Pastor, to fulfill all the functions laid out in Scripture as belonging to "the body of Christ" so the rest of us can set back and listen to a well prepped sermon and feel good about all the wonderful works the Pastor is doing on Monday thru Saturday while we take care of our fat, lazy selves. In other words...are you being burned out by the very people you have been called to serve? I believe that is a major problem in our churches today....we try to pay someone to do our body of Christ jobs for us, and then wonder why he or she burns out in a few short years, while we haven't even broken a sweat yet.
Finally, I would direct you to the Psalms. So many of these wonderful songs begin with or include words of despair, words of being left alone by God, of not being aware of His presence. The book of Job comes to mind also. And not just there, but throughout the Bible we hear of just what you describe as happening. Is it a testing of Faith, a time of growing our Faith? I'm not sure, but I bet God has a reason for it being included in His Story.
1 How long, LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts
and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, LORD my God.
Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
4 and my enemy will say, â€œI have overcome him,â€
and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing the LORDâ€™s praise,
for he has been good to me.
- elizabethcog likes this
Posted 15 April 2012 - 06:47 AM
I read your post several days ago and was first struck by your authenticity and vulnerable honesty. I am reminded of an article I read recently:
'WHY CHRISTIAN FICTION IS OFTEN BAD'
Spoiler alert-- the point of the article is "Maybe our fiction lacks punch because, on the whole, weâ€™re afraid to be honest with who we are." The article ends with "The problem just might be that we are living a religious fiction and our bad art is merely its by-product."
I recently read a very fine book 'Prayer' by Philip Yancey. In it he profiles many profoundly spiritual people who struggle with exactly the same problem/questions which you have raised. Reading that and other thoughtful and respectful books by Yancey such as 'Soul Survivor' I am greatly comforted to find that I am not alone in my struggles and questions.
God speed on your God-given quest sir
Posted 27 April 2012 - 04:40 AM
(I should confess that I have been known to sulk and/or throw myself on the floor kicking and screaming when God seems to be withholding His presence.)
Posted 03 May 2012 - 09:55 AM
I definitely understand you on this one! For me, this happens when I am on a spiritual plateau (neither the low of the valley or the high of the mountain, but just in the realities of monotonous daily living). One of the things that has been an encouragement to me in these times is to remember that God is just as intentional in concealing a matter as He is when He reveals it. In other words, even in the times when I feel that He is distant, it doesn't change the truth that He is near and that He is at work. Above, C. Kirby mentioned the verse, "Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see..." In these times, I desperately cling onto the truth that God does see and know, and that He is working. Sometimes, this quite literally means writing His Word on my arms. Hope--to be assured that God is at work and that He will reveal Himself, even if in the moment I do not feel His presence. It is incredibly difficult to characterize those times as hope-filled, because they aren't happy. However, by choosing to rest in the things that I know to be true in my mind, hope-filled is what they become.
Posted 09 May 2012 - 03:53 PM
I can really identify with you. I am an Alliance missionary in Chile and have seen so man awesome demonstrations of Gods power to change people, but, each day, I need a new sense of Gods presence.
Spurgeon said, No matter level of spiritual maturity we are on, we need renewed appearances, fresh manifestations, new visitations from on high.
Like Solomon needed a refreshing manifestation from God...I do too. I think that part of our lesson in our spiritual journey is to always be knocking down the doors of heaven for Gods fresh presence in our life... watching the Lord work in new ways every day is the only way to live.
- Angela Sawtell likes this
Posted 15 May 2012 - 09:36 AM
May the God of the universebe with you as you proceed in your ministry. You sound like a man who loves the Lord and truely wants to do what He has for you to do.
In His Love,
Posted 16 May 2012 - 08:25 AM
Also I think the quiet times are the times of rooting.. the times we can also have the assurance that we are rooted and not blowing around with every wisp and doctrine but just Him and His Words and His Spirit, His Heart. What you give out at church service is often not left in your heart for your life. We all need to spend time with Him, getting our own life refreshed. He is our life...