Ways of hearing from God

An interesting tangent that we haven’t discussed here before came up on ‘The Ministry Mole is Back!’ thread, regarding writing as a means of knowing that we hear from God. Here is S&P’s comment:

…Try journalling. Write out questions you want to ask Him and if you feel like an answer has come – don’t withhold the pen. Keep writing.

Through scribing, I managed to hear and see His voice in the responses I wrote. I actually picked up a sheet of my writing with him two years ago. In what I believed I was writing that came from Him, I knew without a doubt it was.

What he spoke to me about what was going to happen in the following years, came absolutely true. I wrote His words and everything came true – each detail was incredibly accurate. It wasn’t vague.

I was asking what I was doing with my life and I didn’t see what He said until I rediscovered this prophecy.

It actually scared me.

What I am saying is that it is possible for all believers to hear from God. We’ve somehow convinced ourselves that we can’t and only the person preaching or those with obvious spiritual gifts can.

God speaks to us through our emotions, mind and spirit. Don’t believe me? Paul talks about our spirits with God’s Spirit groaning. Paul, also in an emotional letter to the Galatians wrote ‘in the Spirit’. The arguments, questions, rhetoric, satire and reason he also put forth in his letters, is ‘of the Spirit’…

Teddy responded:

Automatic writing is very much a new age channeling method – sorry, but I wouldn’t touch that stuff with a 10 foot pole.

S&P replied that he stopped once he was sure he could hear from God.

My own response is in the comment below – basically I wouldn’t touch automatic writing with a barge pole either, but journalling has had great value in my life at times in the assurance its given me over time that God hears my prayers, and that I hear from Him. Journalling is also great because it can show how God communicates with us at times in ways which we think are ordinary and forget about, but when you look back over the big picture, you can see what He has done. At other times, its proof you’ve really heard from God when you record a response that you ‘heard’ in some fashion, which is later confirmed by events. In that situation it can be tempting to doubt that you really did hear prior to events playing out, but the written testimony is there as personal evidence.

Can we use some kinds of things that are associated with the New Age as ways of learning about our own relationship with God? Has anyone got any examples where something that seems New Age is helpful in another context?

Are there any particular ways in which people here hear from God?


104 thoughts on “Ways of hearing from God

  1. Whoa! I actually wouldn’t go there with the automatic writing either, S&P, though I’m not discounting your personal experience. It is though very much New Age, so I wouldn’t dabble. But you may have been led to in your personal walk in some fashion, especially if you found things confirmed later. I had at one point a recurring image that occurred to me when I prayed, that changed a bit each time, as the event grew closer, and I guess would have been able to express that in prose, as a personal prophecy I guess.

    However – journalling is of great value I think. I’m not doing that at the moment, but its actually been a very valuable part of my walk in the past. Its a very worthwhile way of learning whether or not you are hearing from God – or whether He is hearing you (!) when it takes place over a period of time. I would forget I’d prayed about things, and later reading back, could see the prayers had been answered. Other times I recorded scriptures that came to mind, which were great to look back on and really helped me through specific periods. It can become an evolving testimony that strengthens your faith.

  2. Mark Virkler was the one who inspired me about 4 or 5 yrs ago to try it. We watched his material as a homegroup and we all thought it was legitimate what he said. I may now have some thoughts about it since people expressed their concern about the approach of me hearing from God.

    Virkler did mention that using your mind and even so-called ‘automatic writing’, (though he didn’t call it that, rather ‘journalling’).

    I was wary of the New Age entering the church way way back. But his grounded view on issues of our human make-up and how God uses our visual language in our head, mind and feeling I thought were right on.

    He talked about how fans want to get as close as they can to their favourite celebrity. In their own mind they visualise being next to their favourite celebrity. He was stressing the point we are naturally visual creatures and if we are in love with Jesus, we can do the same thing.

    He said that he could imagine himself sitting at the well, replacing himself with the Samarian woman and sit with Jesus. In that instance, he wouldn’t try harder to stay in that visual space – he would now be open to see what Jesus will say or do with him.

    He kept going to Haggai saying how Haggai saw something in a vision and God asked him ‘What do you see’. Obviously something happened inside of Haggai that made Haggai see something in his spirit.

    Interested to hear your thoughts on all this as well.

  3. Teddy’s reply from the other thread:

    teddy says:
    June 2, 2010 at 7:09 pm
    Tried posting on the topic before but kept getting distracted.

    More often than not, it’s the Word coming into my mind. Certain scriptures that so powerfully relate to situations I may find myself in – it’s very comforting and something that I have come to trust. Listening to verse by verse teaching has brought some great insight, still get a kick out of some scripture you think you know, but God brings something fresh!

    But day to day, just doing life knowing I’m His has been the most precious to me, hearing from Him is not a daily event for me (as some seem to claim).

    Just asked my husband, he says the Lord speaks to him through His word too – he reads his bible every morning and that has made a difference in how he deals with life, business, family etc. He did have an experience many years ago, when we were travelling north with our kids. Stopped in a motel overnight, and as we finished our meal in the restaurant, another family walked in, the husband obviously very ill, looked like he had been having chemo. My husband left us suddenly, went over to him and quietly said to him that he was a Christian and God had told him he would recover from his illness.

    This is totally out of character for my husband, but the man said “I’m a christian too and a Salvation Army officer and thankyou for telling me.”

    Back in our room my husband went to the bathroom and stayed there for a very long time. As I was concerned, I pushed open the door and found him crying. I thought he was crying for the man but he said he was crying because the Lord had spoken to him in the first place. A one-off event but never forgotten.

  4. Bull’s reply from the other thread:

    Bull says:
    June 2, 2010 at 7:19 pm
    “Automatic Writing” is, as Teddy has mentioned, associated with the New Age and Occult. It was extensively used by the US government in special “Black Ops” alongside “Remote Viewing”.

    If what S&P did was merely write out what the Lord said and read it much later to see it was true then I would call that keeping a diary or writing a journal.

    hmm.

    We do need to be very careful, don’t we?

    I do, particularly when I haven’t read the above posts at all carefully.

    I need a coffee!

  5. MN’s reply from the other thread:

    mn says:
    June 2, 2010 at 9:44 pm
    SP&P: “I believe you hear from God mn, just that you don’t realise it’s him.”

    Yes I think you are right S&P….the still small voice…

    I don’t think we are supposed to hear easily…we have to work at listening and discerning.

    I’m not as quick to write off how you learned to hear a bit better.

    The thing is it will never be ‘one size fits all’ as Teddy’s story about her husband indicates.

    There is a discipline to it….something I’ve never really liked that much….discipline that is…

  6. Teddy, that story of yours is very moving.

    Things like that don’t happen every day for most of us. And so consistent with God’s character of mercy and compassion.

  7. I’m not writing off S&P’s experience either. I think God can lead a person to do something, as He knows each of us uniquely. If He has led us, then no problem, and as Bull says, we don’t want to be too quick to dismiss things. Someone else might try to do something that sounds similar though and it could be quite a different matter.

    I had a friend who undertook some counselling recently which I was a little concerned about initially, especially hearing the initial effect on them, but speaking to them a month later and asking how it went, I heard such a transformation that it was clear it had been very helpful indeed. In fact, they sounded in a better frame of mind than I’d ever heard them. The counselling had been extraordinarily helpful, and my initial concerns were able to be completely dismissed.

  8. One thing I am interested in and have done some courses is “Christian meditation”. That is meditation in a similar sense to New Age or Eastern religions in which the principle is for the mind to be still or have no thought.

    I personally think these ideas and practices are quite useful, and the idea of the stilling the mind of thought ties in with some Pentecostal/evangelical ideas of the Body/Mind/Spirit nature of Man. The Mind or “Soul” or “flesh” in the sense of an individual intellect and will is not the thing to be developed but ultimately needs to be disciplined or decreased in order for the Spirit (and the Holy Spirit) to direct the person. This understanding is present in Pentecostalism, but it seems to be overtaken by another idea which is to build up the ego.

    Anyway I think that meditation is one very important way for us to “die to self, take up our cross and follow Jesus”. One thing I wouldnt do is use visualisations, mantras or other New Age techniques which I see as dangerous. But emptying the mind of thought, if it is indeed possible, I dont see as dangerous per se.

  9. umm.

    The question I would have on about meditation is “who will you be communing with?”

    I know, the usual argument put forward in favour of such practices is “if there is a counterfeit then there must be a real version.”

    However, emptying one’s mind often leads to the enemy getting in. I often find God speaks to me when I am doing a rather mundane chore. While it is true I stop thinking my way through life’s problems and my thoughts drift towards God, the truth is, my mind isn’t emptied.

    It is filled with God’s Word, God’s deeds, God’s Son. It is full, not empty.

    And God speaks.

    I disagree with the notion that Meditation (in the the Eastern, emptying sense) can be christian in any way. The only Christian Meditation is meditating on God’s Word.

    Jesus and the Apostles never practiced it. Jesus never taught it. Why not? Jesus taught us how to pray, not to meditate.

    Sorry Wazza, but that’s what I think and feel on the subject.

    Shalom

  10. well, I take that point of view seriously, but I dont see any reason why it would not be God that the meditator is communing with.

    Yes, people do experience God speaking to them while their mind is occupied say in mundane chores. I think thats because they are no longer thinking about themselves, what they have to do, what they want to be. Thats the goal of meditation too.

    I guess my view is that we dont have to fill our minds with anything in order to make sure the bad things don’t come in. We invite the bad things in with our bad thoughts.

    God communes with our spirit, which I’ve always felt is separate from our minds anyway, it often feels like its not in the head but in the gut.

  11. To me, meditation is praying with the mind. I talk to God with mind like ‘Oh God – why did you have to have this happen to me?’.

    He really speaks back to me like I’m having a conversation with someone. I’m open to receive from Him, but I’ve also been attacked or led down other roads by other voices. But now I am more attuned to him than ever. We need to test the spirits that may come like a Christ-like voice.

    Here’s an example:

    I was talking to God about why I wasn’t feeling right. He started talking straight back to me with rebukes and corrections. He spoke the way a wife can hassle her husband and start listing off all his short-comings.

    Everything God said was spot on. From bad-habits, the way I spoke, to the way I chose to think on issues and other things. I decided to respond back.

    I remember saying (in my head, as I was praying with others), ‘Wow! These are some things I really need to pray about at another time with you’. I wanted to get back with what everyone was praying about.

    I felt God move above me, like I usually feel he does, and heard him say so audibly. ”Pray’ as in ‘conversation’? Like we are having now? Confronting issues right now?’.

    I was lovingly chastised and I felt great.

    His response was in pure love, but so… judging. I was angry with his response but so in love with him that he responded so lovingly – and with such wisdom. It was a complete reverent feeling I suddenly had for Him.

    – – – – –

    I’ve been encouraging another friend of mine to hear from God. He simply focused on receiving God’s grace and moving when he felt a peace with God. In doing this, He was able know when something was of God or not, because He was focused on simply receiving from God. Only last month, God had a full on conversation with Him.

    My friend told me he knew it was God because of the tone God was speaking in was similar to mine and His voice completely ministered to him on the spot. My friend was judged, corrected, loved and overjoyed and left the service straight away. The conversation He had with God answered so many personal questions. It was great to hear him speak about it.

    I am convinced if we focus on receiving God’s grace, we receive His voice too. To many, it starts out as feelings, assurances, unusual thoughts or moments of peace. Then slowly, you grow into finally recognizing his voice as you receive from His Spirit.

    Does that sound New Age to anyone?

  12. I find others usually find that God speaks to them through:

    Other Christians in normal conversation.
    Sunsets, mountains and creation engagements.
    Movies, stories and music.
    Worship music.
    The pastor’s message.
    Thoughts or quotes.

    Who actually receives what the pastor actually says anymore as ‘God speaking’ through them? Oddly enough, I still do. I get an awful lot out of what is said from Phil Pringle – but often because something in me is telling m

  13. At the moment, given I have very little time, I am enjoying experiencing God in creation, as I go about my day. For me, the Autumn leaves this year really glorify Him. I’ve been noticing them like never before, perhaps because I moved to a new area last year. It reminds me of Jesus pointing at the lilies in the field, and asking if men can make anything more beautiful than what God Himself has already created.

    I know that’s not the same as hearing Him speak directly to me on some subject, but it gives me moments of joy in my day, in the midst of feeling a bit stressed rushing around.

    Re meditation – I also am extremely wary of anything resembling eastern meditation. However, I don’t think I could just dismiss what Wazza is saying either.

    There has been much written over the centuries about silence as a discipline. I’ve been interested in the idea of silent retreats where we just meditate upon a scripture, in some kind of beautiful natural environment. Maybe we can create space to hear from God that way, which is sometimes hard in our busy lives. Plus, we have Psalm 46:10 – ‘Be still and know that I am God’. Harder to achieve these days than ever. If ‘meditation’ is just a way of stilling the mind, with the aim of hearing from and focussing on God our Father, it can be a form of prayer where we let go of our thoughts, as much as we can, and quiet our minds. By letting go of all the things that are stressing or occupying us, perhaps we allow some space to here from Him, rather than trying to solve all of our problems ourselves, particularly if we frame these times in prayer.

  14. There is a lot to be said from just hearing from God sometimes as you go about your day, a bit like what Bull describes I think. Sometimes, I’ve just asked God a question while I’m on the go, and an answer has popped into my head. Now you could say that’s just my imagination, but I’ve learnt to give these things a go. I’ve started on some good things that way.

  15. One thing is for sure. It is not necessary to find a guru to hear from God on your behalf!

  16. True Greg, but Paul didn’t teach us to empty our minds.

    It’s the emptiness which is dangerous. Many testimonies point to not just Christians being given extra-biblical revelation which is clearly ungodly, but the same practice leads to those of other faiths being enlightened.

    If these other faiths are validated by this experience and demonstrate ‘another’ way to God, that would make Jesus into a liar.
    For me, the fact that the Apostles did not teach this and especially Jesus never taught his disciples this practice is the killer blow to this whole thing.
    The fact that Catholic Mystics did this proves nothing. We rightly condemn the Inquisition … we don’t want to bring that back either.

    Regarding the New Age, there is nothing new about it. Gnosticism, the Cosmic Christ and so on is right smack bang in the Church now. It has been brought in under both emergent and NAR streams. (The NAR do want to bring back the inquisition, on their terms, when they have secular power to enforce it.)

    I know that this stance will likely distance me from others here. But I would encourage anyone who does wish to follow this eastern meditation practice to test absolutely everything they see and hear through it by God’s Word.

    ====================================================
    I do actively discourage people from doing this type of meditation. Those who do come to grief. Particularly if they are not already born-again.

    I remember David Icke (who was, at the time, a spokesperson for the green party) called a press conference. It turned out he had been in touch with a spirit guide.

    “Socrates” informed our David that he was in fact the second coming of Jesus and that as proof of his divinity, David would be given a gift of prophecy. Loads of natural disasters would happen, etc.

    Well, they didn’t happen. But David was by now, too far gone. He has written a number of books that have kept him financially sound. The jist of his books are that the world governments are run by a secret lizard alliance.

    =====================================================

    Shalom

  17. @ Bull – In total agreement with you. It’s not in the Bible as a practice for Christians – the secret things belong to God.

    Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”

  18. Is “fundamentalist” a dirty word Greg? Does it imply “narrow-mindedness”?

    If so, Paul was Narrow-minded and Jesus was narrow-minded. Paul was as fundamentalist as you could possibly get, along with being the most enthusiastic follower of Jesus ever.

    Lectio Divina is not a Christian discipline and was not taught by Jesus or the disciples. If you called it a catholic discipline I would agree.

    Why do we have the presumption of thinking that we are cleverer or “more in touch with the spirit” than the Son of God?

    Is it promoted because “it works”? Pragmatism should have nothing to do with the Faith.

    😡

  19. @ Greg – the last person I would call hardline fundamentalist is Bob Dewaay. He does classical scholarly research, he’s a very good teacher of the Word, very fair from all aspects. If he’s hardline then I am too, check out his work generally…….
    http://cicministry.org/articles.php

    I’m trying to track down a interview I heard from a woman who, in her search for closeness with God, involved herself with mediation. She had a horrific demonic encounter.

  20. From Michael Patton …….

    “Talk to God, control your will, stay broken before God, and diligently search for truth. These are the principles. When you do this—however you do this—Christ will be formed in you and others will see Christ in you. I promise. But, realize that there is not one path to Christ in you and God will not be controlled by your structure. If you got this, then call it spiritual formation, Christian discipline, or whatever. In the end, it is the Christian life where he who is at work in you will perfect his work in you. Your spirit will be conformed.”
    http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2009/06/why-i-dont-think-to-much-of-spiritual-formation/#more-2570

  21. Teddy I categorically know that you can come up with a 101 links to back your point.

    What I am interested in is you making a biblical case that ‘meditation’ – in all its forms is not of God. And quite simply it can’t be done.

    There may be forms of meditation or objects of it that you can.

    But meditation is by and large a tool which like all tools can be used for different purposes – good and bad.

    And Bull the absence of teaching in the NT on meditation, does not invalidate it as a tool for growing God.

    Fear is alive and well, and doing its usual work I would say.

  22. @ MN Is sarcasm necessary? – So we take what’s not taught in the Bible and put a Christian face to it? Let’s be interested in what the Bible has to say rather than what it doesn’t. And I’m not looking for a fight.

    Why on earth do I need to get into some meditative state? If I’m hungry or thirsty spiritually, all I need to do is open the Word of God – do I substitute “meditative experiences” for the Word! Not for me. That’s just my personal view, navel gazing is just not my thing.

    A question – do you think Christians today know how to use discernment and “test the spirits”? Considering the lack of decent teaching on the subject in most churches today and the accompanying general malaise of biblical illiteracy? So start introducing meditative practices to that group and where will they end up?

  23. In the interests of full disclosure, I’m not getting into the Word anywhere near enough, life in general keeps me from that particular “discipline”, let alone meditation!

  24. Seems to me there is Truth in everything. But where there is truth there is also deception. If you are happy to search for the Truth and sift out the deception – that’s great. If not, stick with the Truth you know.

  25. Personally, I can’t see how ‘meditating on the word’ – filling your mind with scripture and dwelling on it in the absence of other distractions – can be a practice that Jesus would disagree with. Its a way of seeking to hear God as you read or think on scripture.

    Even ’emptying’ our minds – if this is really ‘stilling our minds’ – there is nothing unscriptural about it. Perhaps our lives are so busy these days that we even fear silence! We may have so little experience of it that we just don’t know what we’d find if we grew still!

    If we are searching for spirit guides, then OK, there’s a big issue. Seeking to understand scripture more deeply isn’t that. We can test everything we hear or think against scripture though if we have a concern.

    The argument that because something isn’t in scripture we shouldn’t do it, doesn’t convince me I’m afraid. There are so many things in our lives today that aren’t in scripture. If we are going to go down that way of thinking, we get bound up by legalism that springs from what scripture doesn’t say! What hope do we have then? Potentially bound by law that is in scripture and bound by law that isn’t in scripture! If we start using that kind of thinking as our logical basis for rejecting things, then I would say its an alarm bell. We need to look at our hearts, seek the God of the Bible in whatever way works for us, as long as its not contravened in scripture. I haven’t contradicted myself because I’m just saying we don’t breach what _is_ clearly there, rather than what _isn’t_ there. Jesus did give us very simple guidelines on how we can pray, but did he limit us to those words alone? To think that would be to misinterpret Him I think.

    It’s understandable though to fear meditation if we think its the same as Eastern meditation. I don’t think what Greg has described above is the same. We are certainly not talking about seeking some kind of experience, spirit guide, realising our oneness with the universe, or seeking angels. Nor are we talking about using scriptures as a mantra.

    We are filled with the Holy Spirit. If we are truly seeking Christ and Father, surely we can trust that the Holy Spirit in us will allow us to recognise if we personally start to go in a direction that is not of Him. Do we recognise Him or not? He will not let another spirit harm us when it is truly Him that we are seeking.

  26. Late to this thread (et al). Lots of wisdom above and some initial talking at cross-purposes as well which is normal and good I guess 🙂

    Interested in your experience with Mark Virkler S&P. My church got into “Communion with God” (which he wrote) twenty years ago or so and I got into it with them. Virkler came out and gave seminars at the Church and around the country organised by our Church back then.

    It was a big deal for us and a bit controversial as well. I got into it with all the enthusiasm of youth and very little of the wisdom of age (for good reason :)). The logic went something like:
    * the desire to communicate with God is good
    * seems plain from scripture that He wants to communicate with us
    * communicating is an experience
    * so experience it with someone who seems to know what he is doing

    I was pretty keen I must say. The Charismatic movement had hit my part of the world and so life was good. The Charismatic movement was experiential and Virkler’s stuff was too. Just more of the same really. Tied in well with the Kenneth Hagin stuff I was into at the same time. So I went for it.

    Basically Virkler was about using visualisation techniques to prompt God to speak and trusting that what you heard back was from him. You picture a scene and place yourself in it and start talking and listen for the response.

    I think there was good stuff in some of the things Virkler said and some of his ideas explained scripture I had not understood before which was excellent. And I especially like his quip that you should keep your theology on a word processor (a word processor being a pretty new thing back then) because it is easier to change.

    Anyway in my experience the results of the technique are mixed. People got good stuff and people got stuff that seemed seriously strange. I got some stuff that seemed good and some stuff that did not stand the test of time. Some stuff I went out on a limb and told people about made me look really stupid when they did not happen. Oops – wrong.

    The problem was, of course, me. I am not capable of perfectly stilling my mind. I am not capable of never responding to my own questions.

    So is the technique right? Definitely not. Is the the technique wrong? Definitely not.

    I think there is a problem trusting any technique because anything we come to rely on can be faked by myself or by the enemy. There is nothing in this world that can be relied upon. I have experiences that I associate with hearing my Father speak but I cannot not rely on them as validating any experience I have because they can be faked.

    For example if I were to swoon every time Father spoke to me (which I don’t by the way – it is not a good look for a cyclist) then the enemy could easily speak to me then make me swoon to get me to believe a lie. So no technique is to be relied upon.

    So what can be relied upon? Faith.

    Faith in the sense of “the evidencing of things not seen” to quote an accurate translation. That is,experiential faith (not that there is any other kind that I am aware of). Unfortunately the concept of faith is badly misunderstood in my opinion so I expect some will understand what I am saying and some will not but here goes:

    * Faith tells me whether it is right to use this technique or that technique at that particular time. Faith (or lack thereof)is the evidence (for or against) that my Father is speaking to me in this way now.

    So I think it is right to use any technique from anywhere as long as Holy Spirit is confirming to you that that is the correct thing to do now. I also think it is wrong to replace faith with a technique. Or with fear for that matter. Best to obey Faith and not fear.

    Cheers.

  27. Teddy: “So we take what’s not taught in the Bible and put a Christian face to it?”

    There are at least 18 references to meditation in the OT – most in the Psalms.

    So what do we do? Ditch them because it doesn’t suit the argument that’s being made?

    I have had too many experiences of being in churches and with people who mindlessly adopt a position, are scared of something ‘new’, or just scared of stuffing things up and respond out of that.

    Not interested, and don’t expect me to be polite about it either.

    What I am interested in is what is God’s take on whatever the issue is. There are 7 billion people+ in this world. Together with the opinions of those that have been and gone and those to come it is very easy to get gridlocked, sidetracked and sent down a dead end. It is very important to be able have a filter to block out the white noise and general hub bub.

    My first point of reference is myself – the universe as I understand it and sense comes firstly through the filter of self. There are pitfalls with this because the heart is intrinsically deceitful, forget about the stuff ups we make (I have experienced similar clangers Heretic!!)

    The other things we have in no semblance of order are:
    our sense of reason, our interactions with others, the Holy Spirit, Creation itself, and the Bible if we consider it to be the Word of God.

    It becomes critical therefore amidst all this if we believe that there is a God to improve our ears to hear what God has to say to us.

    Meditation has a biblical role in that.

    To limit ourselves in this out of fear it that it is something that is shouldn’t be (especially when it is not) is not terribly bright.

    Other ways we can ‘hear God’ or learn more of Him is in our conversations with others.

    I make a statement here – God has a real expectation here that we use our reason, senses, brains, and heart in this – as individuals – this is part of being who He made us to be in Him.

    One of the things these conversations should do is periodically drive me back to the Scripture – if that the general measuring stick we use – to check my understanding of things – which in this forum I have done on the odd occasion.

    If this doesn’t happen either I am not listening or there is nothing worthwhile being said here.

    Part of this process is listening to what you have to say, third parties etc etc, but ultimately it is I who am accountable to God for how I live my life.

    While I may have regard for what others think, the simple fact is that will be irrelevant in what ever God asks of me on that Day.

    It will be too late to do anything about it then, so really I have to put in the hard yards now, and my excuses about needing to watch the footy, the impact of life and the universe will be moot.

    Let he or she who has ears…..

  28. The New Age movements themselves, as I understand it, grew out of Theosophy. Theosophy started in the late 1800’s in the US, based on Spiritualist and Occult traditions. By the early 20th century they had moved their headquarters to India and incorporated many Hindu and eastern ideas into their philosophy.

    I admire some of the New Age for their bravery and experimentation, but I think ultimately whatever the initial motives of the people involved – it is built on the wrong foundation and will be harmful.

    Some Christians now however write off all New Age techniques, and also all Eastern religious thought, philosophy and practices as being both worthless and harmful. I dont think this is necessarily the case – the New Age has incorporated a lot of ideas from various sources. Some are harmful and some are beneficial. I think as Heretic said that the Holy Spirit will lead us to the helpful stuff and give us the discernment to avoid the harmful.

  29. If I find something taking hold of me in the bible, I can “meditate” on that truth – mulling it around in my mind until it takes hold of my whole thinking process. That’s what meditation means to me.

    @ MN – calm down, I don’t have an issue with you, so don’t try to pick a “fight” with me.

    God has a real expectation? I’ll settle for Christ’s finished work, because I can’t add anything to it.

  30. mn: “One of the things these conversations should do is periodically drive me back to the Scripture – if that the general measuring stick we use – to check my understanding of things – which in this forum I have done on the odd occasion.”

    Has to be true. And included in this scripture is a yardstick when measuring our conversations with our Father. I think we can assume that He will not contradict Himself (although he might appear to from our flawed point of view) so if what my faith is telling me is contradicting my understanding of scripture I have a problem. It is of course a good kind of problem because we are about to grow in some way.

    On the other hand Teddy I think your concept that we must only do what is expressly permitted by scripture is flawed. For example is it right to go to the movies? In my view doing so does not contradict scripture and so we can. But if I need the scripture to condone it first then I would not be able to – which would be incorrect I think.

  31. Movies! You’ve got to be kidding Heretic! You know we are travelling a little deeper than that here! What’s the deal then? I choose to allow God’s Word to put boundaries on my life, because, God knows, I need them! But I guess that statement will come acrossing as annoying too?

    I said “let’s be interested in what the bible says rather than what it doesn’t” – talking about meditation. The links, which seemed to annoy MN, referenced back to experiences that people have had doing “meditation” badly etc (experiencing demonic influences) You are reading a whole lot more into what I’ve said, but then my thoughts don’t always transcribe as well written down. At least I know what I mean! 🙂

  32. Teddy: “Movies! You’ve got to be kidding Heretic! You know we are travelling a little deeper than that here! What’s the deal then? I choose to allow God’s Word to put boundaries on my life”

    Yes but how do construct your “boundaries” from the scriptures? It sounds like you are saying that if the scriptures say it is OK then you can do it and if the scriptures do not mention it then it is wrong.

    Is this what you are saying (’cause that is what it sounds like you are saying)?

    If so then surely you have to apply it consistently. That is, if you apply your rule to one activity then surely to be consistent you have to apply it to all activities including movies. Otherwise it just you choosing what you want to do and using scripture to justify it.

    Personally I think it fine to do whatever as long as faith tells you that thing is fine to do. My own opinion is that trying to get the scriptures to create a list of rules to follow (calling them boundaries or something else) is not a correct use of scripture. Paul goes out of his way in Romans to warn against law (note his lower case “l” as in law generally – not “the” law, ie of Moses et al.

  33. Talk about “adventures in missing the point.” You’re reading far too much in to my life. Considering my background I would hardly to rebounding of into some religious fortress!

    Your words are a little confusing in one sense, perhaps that’s a Lifestream method of seeing things. Law is the last thing that has a hold over me, I’ve become very aware of teaching in ministries trying to use that to hold people back from the freedom Christ has won for us.

    Whether you like it or not we all live within “boundaries” defined by God Himself, Christian or not – He is totally sovereign’

    I read Wayne Jacobsen book “

  34. Clicked too soon – I read Wayne Jacobsen’s book “So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore”, a few years ago and initially was quite taken with his views but since found what suits me, is structure and service within a church community. Particlarly a church where there’s freedom to speak (and be heard), with a minister we can respect, a man who puts in the hard yards of serving his parish humbly and lovingly, no longer in a place bound up with “personalities” and shonky doctrine.

    I trust that God, having set up residence in me, is quite capable of leading me through His word, and if I recognise “boundaries” in my life because of it then all I can do is thank Him. We are all like children, in that sense, and what loving parent doesn’t set boundaries for the children they love.

  35. So Teddy, is it or is it not your position that it is wrong to do something unless it is explicitly permitted by scripture?

  36. Well, just a nibble – I made my case quite clear in previous comments.

    Game over. See ya.

  37. Ooo! I just read this conversation. Interesting.

    Re the Wayne Jacobsen book ‘So You Don’t Want To Go To Church Anymore’ – it was a good book for me to read at the time I was leaving my church! I know many other people who’ve moved on from churches though, and like you Teddy, the majority of them prefer the structure of a weekly service in a community that has leadership they can respect, and where the culture respects the congregation. However, that can mean different things to different people.

    In my mind, the problem arises when we try to find an approach that suits everyone. That is clearly doomed to failure.

    As you know, Ecclesiastes is one of my favourite books. It says over and over – ‘There is a season for everything’. The subject of this thread is hearing from God. Well, for me, one of the ways I hear from God is a sense of seasons in my life over time. For me, there was a season when attending C3 (PP’s one) was good, and God used that in my walk. Later, another season where I went to a different C3, which was much better for me at that time. Now its a season where I’m not attending anywhere.

    In each of these seasons, I’ve been completely confident that I am where God wants me at that time. Where I will finally go, or go to next, I don’t know. But at some stage, I’m sure I’ll get a sense of that. These seasonal senses are very strong for me, and are like a growing assurance in the direction God wants me to go in, until finally I am very confident and can’t do otherwise. So for example, right now, I couldn’t attend a church. It would be contrary to what I know is God’s path for me at the moment. If other people misunderstand or misinterpret that, its not my problem.

    In the same way, I can’t deny that others are on a path that sees them spending time in a traditional church group. For me to criticise that is to criticise the path that God has put them on, so I should really trust that God is working in their lives, as he has in my own when in those environments in the past.

    The same goes for theology. Its a journey of discovery for many of us, even the highly theologically educated, and if we trust that God will bring his work in us to completion, then we must trust that He will do so with other people and respect that process. That process might look different for different people, and include Christian meditation on scripture or just listening to God for some, but others may never use any kind of labelled discipline.

    One of the good things about Jacobsen’s books are that they do emphasise the personal relationship we have with God, and how that is the area in which we hope to grow in over time, regardless of where we do or do not attend church and regardless of what forms of spiritual discipline we may utilise. There is great freedom in this, and respect for others as well. Something that is missing in some churches where everyone is supposed to be remarkably similar. Most people here would agree with that I think.

  38. If we are in ‘one Spirit’ and are in Christ with ‘one mind’ and heart, than surely when someone says ‘This is what God said to me’, we can know straight away that it is or not true.

    If we have responded to the voice of the gospel, then surely it’s through that same calling or voice we can discern if something is said to us (or others), from God.

  39. Ah yes, the gift and discipline of discernment – another discipline….which I don’t think we practice near enough. Too busy building boxes and fences to keep people in or out…

  40. ok then,

    let’s deal with the idea that the Bible must be used for understanding what is permissible and what is disallowed.

    1) Is the teaching of Jesus and teh Apostles on what is needed for talking to God and gleaning understanding directly from the Father Sufficient for all our needs, or did they leave some stuff out? Why would Jesus leave us in the dark?

    2) For daily living, is the Bible all encompassing, or are there things which have come along since the first century that now need further clarification?

    R.E. Meditation. This word, for me, produces the “eastern” understanding. Particularly when it is coupled with Labyrinth walking and so on. “Christian” meditation involves taking some scripture and thinking deeply on it. We need a “christian” word for this practice, which I see nothing wrong with.
    Eastern meditation involves becoming still, physically and mentally. Deep relaxation allows the initiate to experience a bliss-like trance state.

    They can then encounter a spiritual being that speaks to them. This being is not God. It is a fallen angel.

    This is why I have condemned eastern meditation. The trouble for the Church is, our language for Christian practices has been hijacked by those who want to turn Christianity into another religion entirely.

    People can accuse me of throwing out the baby with the bath water … but as far as I am concerned, there was no baby to begin with, unless it has horns and a tail and carries a trident.

    ==================================================

    Heretic, you know as well as I do that the “movies” question you posed is a classic straw man argument. In many areas I would agree and say that we cannot argue from silence.
    However, the argument from silence really suggests that, in context, either the status quo is normative as Jesus doesn’t contradict it, it hasn’t happened yet so Jesus has no need to mention it, or the final reason would be that it will be revealed at some future time.

    If you look at Jesus explicit teaching we can see various examples of where he contradicts the status quo:
    “If any man divorces his wife and marries another woman, he is committing adultery.” Luke 16:19 – where do we go with that one?
    Look at a woman with Lust in your heart and you are committing adultery/call someone a fool you are a murderer – sermon on the mount – So I am an adulterer and a murderer.

    Jesus foretold His crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus foretold the second coming and the apocalypse.
    Jesus foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

    Jesus taught them how to pray. He taught them how heal the blind and lame. He taught them to walk on water … yet didn’t teach them Eastern meditation.

    Paul spread the gospel farther and faster than anyone else. Yet he did not teach Eastern Meditation.

    Neither Jesus nor Paul taught people to enter a bliss-trance state.

    Or is this insignificant or arguing from silence? Surely the Holy Spirit would have wanted such important knowledge in the Bible?

    ====================================================
    “Ye shall be as gods” said the serpent to Adam and Eve.

    What is FL’s perspective on this? I said for him to take a week off … some weeks ago.

    Anyway … having missed most of the debate as I am in Wales, not New South Wales, I am in a different time zone. Coffee Time!

  41. Bull : “Deep relaxation allows the initiate to experience a bliss-like trance state.

    They can then encounter a spiritual being that speaks to them. This being is not God. It is a fallen angel.”

    Although I have practiced and am interested in meditation, I would run a mile from anything that has those elements you described, Bull. Firstly I would never be an “initiate” – initiations are not needed and lead to deception.

    I’d never seek a bliss-like trance-state, I think that is another deception. As for the most part are encounters with spiritual beings. (Although I dont discount that some people see visions – but its not how my mind works).

    I really depends on what one’s aim is in meditation, and their expectation. You can go in with the expectation and hope of astral travel or some amazing experience, and if you seek that enough I suppose you will eventually get it.

    True meditation should be about dying to yourself – something that Jesus did mention. You can do this in many different ways – some formal techniques and some informal. It can be done just through living life in service to others and to Jesus – through practical works and in relationship with others. Some semi-formal techniques like having a quiet-time or a prayer meeting might be useful. And meditation might have its place if you feel lead.

  42. As for whether Jesus taught meditation, I think the link that Greg put up is quite good : http://www.heartawake.com/christianmed.pdf

    What was Jesus doing when he went out into the desert for so long? Was he only using petitional prayer, or was there other forms of communing with the Father? And were the forms of meditation found in monastic Christian communities from a least the 4th century a continuation of New Testament Christianity or a break from it? If they were a break from it, why is there no evidence of a controversy?

  43. I meditate. Sometimes a scripture wont leave me head and I will think… and think… and think about it. I’d even ask God about it.

    In that ‘season’, I’d see how that scripture would be applied practically to my spiritual walk, even if I wasn’t expecting it to be applicable and be amazed how God would use events to see that how scripture can be lived out daily.

    In ‘meditation’ also – he would give me revelation after revelation that connect interesting things with the bible.

    For example. I meditated on ‘I am the way the truth and the life. None can come through the Father except through me’.

    I was on this topic for half a year. Revelations came as Jesus being the ‘gate’, the ‘Jacobs ladder’ (John 1:51), the sacrificial atoning ‘way’. Then I’d get revelations on how that is related to the book of Proverbs – how in his declaration Jesus proved He was the Wisdom of God. For the Wisdom in proverbs was the Way, the Life and Truth.

    Meditating on this I came to discover that the Jewish Law was never ‘dead’ as Paul claimed it was (but rather the sin that added to the law which the Pharisees did). Through rebelation, the Torah was an act of grace by God to point the Israelites back to Him. It was through the Law, the teachings, the wisdom of the Law, that it revealed the Way the Truth and the Life.

    And then meditating on the time the Law was given when God was so present – He was their way, their truth and their life as he led through the wilderness, through the seas and conquering nations and armies. He was their wisdom and gave them life through His promise, provision and power.

    Meditating on this further bought me to the garden on the tree of life. Genesis 3:24 The ‘Way’ was guarded and ‘Life’ was prevented.
    This led me to also believe that the tree could also be the ‘Tree of Truth’ for the ‘Father of Lies’ was on the other.

    Meditating on this – feeling buffeted for some odd reason – I felt God wanted me to examine the fruit of knowledge without him – what it would produce. I discovered that even though God is 100% right, not only will he remain pure and righteous, but he is willing to not have the offender who is wrong remain in evil. That is love.

    In this train of thought I felt God say to me ‘The tree was never called ‘The Truth of Good and Evil’.’ This bought me into deeper thought and then saw that knowledge that is not of God (wordly/folly) is not truth. And if the tree of the knowledge of good and evil opposes that which is good – the tree of life would also be the tree of truth – the fruit of good teaching for our spirit.

    This led me to examine the Way, Truth and Life in us as believers. That is, Jesus’ Spirit. We indeed have the ability to walk in the Way, the Truth and the Life. This made me observe the scriptures Acts 9:2 and Acts 18:26. People explaining ‘The Way of God’ and the church being labeled as ‘The Way’.

    I never considered this to be meditation in a wrong way. I just found when I worked my thoughts would enquire on these things ans remain on these topics – questioning, churning, pondering the significance of these scriptures. Is this right meditation in people’s books? I just put myself on the spot with the above. Do you think God was guiding my thoughts or even teaching me?

  44. Firstly, it really doesn’t say what Jesus did during the 40 days beyond his temptations.

    So, an argument from Silence. It doesn’t appear in his teaching or the apostles teaching.

    When it comes to 4th Century practices, where exactly did they spring up? A mix and merge of ideas from the eastern Zoroastrian practices with a few other ideas from further east coming together in the melting pot of the middle east would indicate the kind of thing that eventually led to Mohammed encountering “Christians” who did not believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus or even the Divinity of Jesus.

    If it was a continuation of practices begun by Jesus or the Apostles it would have been mentioned but there is no trace of it.

    For me, I would want to know who promotes this practice (the big names I mean) and what is the rest of their doctrine like?

    Where are they now coming from in their teaching?

    Regarding the absence of controversy, well, the monasteries in the middle east were a law unto themselves and as long as they were good Catholics in other areas and did not dispute the legitimacy of apostolic succession through the bishops and the pontiff in Rome, where would be the controversy.

    In the end, the real controversies of the period come from gnosticism and Marcionism so this is small potatoes compared to outright heresy.

    This whole thing withered away and has only recently made a comeback in protestant circles. Why?

    1) It kinda works. People get some kind of result from this.

    2) You don’t need to be filled with the Holy Spirit for it to work. Transcendental Meditation ‘works’ after all.

    3) far too many people in Church who are “born-again” are not filled with the Spirit.

    I am making no value judgments on anyone here as this could apply to myself too.

    I spoke in a Church a few weekends ago. It was Pentecost Sunday and I asked the people why it was that Peter and the rest were able to see 3000 people saved and we cannot. Why isn’t Wales like it was in the 1904 revival?

    No amount of meditation is gonna achieve anything. Being filled with and transformed by the Holy Spirit will.

    Shalom

  45. I think my answer in having anyone hear from God, is allowing the Gospel to tune our ears to hear His still small voice in us. The Gospel is Jesus and His Spirit anyway. If we are learning to receive continually in our relationship with Him, than surely we will receive words, promptings, fruits, assurances, revelations, prayer burdens, joy and peace, conversation, ability to love and stand more firmly, etc.

    When I say ‘pray’ or ‘prayer’ – I mean conversation. I actually expect or hope God responds. To me this works. And this is what ‘communion’ is and what prayer is meant to be. It’s never meant to be a one way thing. We’ve been conditioned to think that God does not respond. Sometimes His silence is what we need to listen too. As he said to me once “My silence speaks volumes”.

    I embraced this ‘silence’ and I felt such a beautiful peace. It felt like something descended on my head and was massaging my brain – I never knew silence was so intense. I suppose I am writing like crazy on this topic wanting to encourage people to actually really engage with God personally. I love it when I see God does speak back to people when I am with them and hear them say ‘Oh my gosh! Prayer actually works’. Well yeah! 🙂

  46. @ Specks – interesting you mention “the still small voice.” At church this past Sunday, the minister suddenly started talking about how we hear from God. In the general theme of sermons for the past few months we are going through 1&2 Kings. Talking about Elijah in 1 kings 19:9-18, the verses about the wind, the earthquake, and as Jason put it, the thin silence.

    Reading through those verses, God “speaks” in verse 11 and “speaks” again in verse 13. So what is the “thin silence”? The sound of silence, silence speaks volumes, a deafening silence? I’ve never looked at that whole passage in context before, actually seeing where God is speaking to Elijah. Has just got me thinking – the still small voice was how I’ve always read it, now I’m not so sure – in light of what God has actually told Elijah to do.

  47. S&P: “Is this right meditation in people’s books? I just put myself on the spot with the above. Do you think God was guiding my thoughts or even teaching me?”

    Absolutely – I thought twice before being so unequivocal, but the answer is yes.

    I’m sorry Bull all you have really told me is what you are afraid of – may be with good reason.

    I take it the Spirit resides within you so tell me what is right, rather what is wrong.

    What excites me is hearing people’s stories about how people have actually heard God, rather than trying perfect good technique, and exclude ‘bad’ technique.

    That was why we responded to Teddy’s story about her husband, and why I responded to S&P’s story.

    In this we encourage and teach each other, get to see something more of God working, and practice the discipline of discernment – which I think we are called to do – hearing is discernment as much as anything, isn’t it? No one said it is easy, and God didn’t make it easy very intentionally.

  48. Well, it seems to me that what either Wazza or S&P describe themselves as doing is not Eastern Meditation. It seems that none of us here mean that when we talk about Christian meditation, though there could be branches of churches that do mean something similar to Eastern meditation. Just to look on as an outsider though, both might look similar – people sitting meditating in silence for example. But none of us here consider that seeking an experience (astral travel perhaps), a spirit guide, or even recognising our oneness with creation is the goal. Everyone seems to agree that meditating (perhaps ‘dwelling’ or ‘turning it over in our minds’, not using it in the same way as a mantra) on scripture can be a good discipline, and that waiting silently on God’s voice in that context is also good.

    I agree with S&P that prayer is a two way thing. There are times when we could be imagining our own answers. However, over time, I think we do get a sense of what God is saying to us, whether we ‘hear’ His voice, or just get a feeling of growing affirmation or caution. I also think that the more space we allow for this in our lives, the more we really hear. God in His mercy though still speaks to us when we are too busy at times, I’ve found.

    S&P – I really like what you said here:
    ” I discovered that even though God is 100% right, not only will he remain pure and righteous, but he is willing to not have the offender who is wrong remain in evil. That is love.”

    I think that scripture shows this is true, and it is one of the reasons that God’s wrath can be seen as an expression of His love, not contradicting what we know to be His nature in the NT. Understanding this can help transform our understanding of Him.

    I still think that we are so busy these days that at times some of us might fear what we would hear if we were to stop and spend time ‘meditating’. Not necessarily anyone here (how would I know?) but there are people who have stuff to deal with, and busyness is one way of continually avoiding that. Perhaps if silence was a more regular part of our time with God, maybe even once a month for an afternoon or something, more people would find healing or understanding of some of these things, through private communion with their loving Father.

    However – even saying that – God does provide for all our needs. I think that means that in all circumstances He provides, including busy ones. Perhaps this is one of the reasons for seasons in our lives, when sometimes these things are brought to the fore, or other revelations God wants us to have in our ongoing walks.

    Bull, I think Jesus told us all we need to know, but not all there is to know, and not all that we will know in an ongoing way if we spend time with Him. He can reveal more of what he said when we do this, as I’m sure you would agree, and as S&P has described. Why else do we reread scripture? The same passages apply in new ways at different times of our lives. So ‘meditating’ on them can help us take the time to understand some of these things. When I kept a journal, I also used to include my own studies of scripture, which in its own way was a form of meditation – just using a pen. It was not automatic writing of course. I’d record everything that occurred to me about a passage, and that would lead to more. I think now that this is a form of meditating upon scripture. I think we do the same things here at times. We aren’t always right but we do learn a lot more. Doing this here sometimes has the added benefit that others can comment on what we understand and redirect, affirm or correct us. Privately though, we can apply it in a more personal way at times.

  49. The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.

    And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

    He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

    The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”
    Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

    Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

    He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”

    The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him.”

  50. Ha – yes, MN, I think that hearing is a form of discernment too. Also, to be unequivocal as well, I agree that God was teaching you, S&P.

    Doesn’t mean we can’t make mistakes in our personal time with God, but I think we can also trust God to correct us over time when we are genuinely seeking Him. He is much more patient than we are, too.

  51. Thanks for posting that scripture up, MN. Didn’t Elijah show great discernment, understanding that the gentle whisper was the Lord’s presence. Even though God has done great signs and wonders, it does kind of demonstrate that we should be seeking His voice when we seek His presence, rather than something more dramatic.

  52. There are three things at first blush that get my attention with this passage:

    1. Elijah feeling defeated inspite of everything ‘he’ had done.

    2. God didn’t abandon him, and God speaking wasn’t in all the speccy stuff – but in the stuff that you really have to struggle with or pay attention to.

    3. God’s response when Elijah heard Him – what are you doing here, Elijah (substitute my own name?)?

    Oops – just been made accountable. It one thing being filled with the Spirit, our response is another.

    Very sobering.

    Teddy: what do you mean by the ‘thin silence’?

  53. “Thin silence” is was I’m trying to research – it comes up in translations e.g. ESV footnotes “a.1 Kings 19:12 Or a sound, a thin silence”

    Have we been conditioned to that “still small voice” being what we are meant to hear? God spoke clearly before and after to Elijah, saying the same thing both times. I’m quite thrown by this for some reason, I haven’t got an answer, just my pre-conceived ideas.

    Interesting.

  54. @ RP His presence is quite dramatic in all three instances, isn’t it? This is quite an interesting section of scripture, in light of the topic being discussed. It seems a lot of people are talking about this lately – one of the women at church said she’s been in discussion with her daughter about this too. Then Jason brings it up in the sermon – I sat there quite bemused by the whole thing. Unfortunately we didn’t have Q&A after the service as usual but I’m keen to hear more on what he thinks – especially the “thin silence” – (he did hold up the Word as the most obvious way God is speaking to us).

    There’s a quote from a Jonathon Edwards sermon where he says “The voice of God to a sinner, when he gives him true comfort, is a still small voice. But this voice is preceded by a strong wind, and a terrible earthquake, and fire, as it was in Horeb when Elijah was there.”

    Again the question, are we reading this wrongly? I’m not sure – I do trust that Holy Spirit still small voice/gut-feeling.

  55. The notes from Strong’s concordance ref that “still small voice” 1826: talk of “damam; to be dumb; by impl, to be astonished, to stop; also to perish:-cease, be cut down (off), forbear, hold peace, quiet self, rest, be silent, keep(put to)silence, be(stand)still,tarry,wait.

    1827: “quiet;-calm,silence,still.

  56. There is assurance, moved by the spirit and ‘resting’ in him. These are all forms of silences I believe we can all have in knowing God’.

    In being in these – I found it more easier to discern and to hear God clearly. Working my bones off, I had the best encounters with God in a quiet chapel for a year. I was able to feel him just to descend and rest on me. It was not long after that I felt comfortable to attempt to have a two way conversation with him. I am still growing in this because my own voice gets in the way to interpret what I want him to say.

    I am aware of Buddhist techniques and oppose their practices. But there is some element of not twisting with your mind what you believe you are hearing God say. Very fine line I must say.

    BTW. I am very mindful on how touchy this subject can be on online forums. I don’t usually talk about my personal prayer-life with people because it is:

    1. fairly vulnerable
    2. you get vulnerable people online emailing you the same way they did Miriam Franklin wanting ‘prophecy’ or ‘words of knowledge’.
    3. it changes the entire mood or identity of the blogging community by getting more ‘spiro’ or ‘thus sayeth the Lord’.

    I will only talk about these things on topics such as this to encourage people to hear from God – not to get all boasty, proud and so-called ‘prophetic’ over others and church ministries.

    (BTW. Miriam Franklin’s EndTimesPropheticWord is down. She has been exposed.)

  57. What’s your point with this Bull?

    I know someone who has sat under the ministry of Dallas Willard for a while, and it is very rare to see someone with such a heart for God with such a maturity at such a young age.

    I’ve also listened to Rob Bell a bit and I haven’t heard anything which offends me.

    If there is one thing I have learned in the Christian church of our Lord Jesus Christ the One crucified and risen from the dead for us, is that among his followers there is always – absolutely always – good upright people with axes to grind.

    It really is difficult to sort the wheat from the chaff.

  58. 1. Genesis 24:63
    Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening; and he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, camels were coming.

    2. Joshua 1:8
    ” This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.

    3. Job 15:4
    “Indeed, you do away with reverenceAnd hinder meditation before God.

    4. Psalm 1:2
    But his delight is in the law of the LORD,And in His law he meditates day and night.

    5. Psalm 4:4
    Tremble, and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.

    6. Psalm 19:14
    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heartBe acceptable in Your sight,O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.

    7. Psalm 27:4
    One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD And to meditate in His temple.

    8. Psalm 49:3
    My mouth will speak wisdom,And the meditation of my heart will be understanding.

    9. Psalm 63:6
    When I remember You on my bed,I meditate on You in the night watches,

    10. Psalm 77:6
    I will remember my song in the night; I will meditate with my heart, And my spirit ponders:

    11. Psalm 77:12
    I will meditate on all Your workAnd muse on Your deeds.

    12. Psalm 104:3
    Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the LORD.

    13. Psalm 119:1
    [ Meditations and Prayers Relating to the Law of God. ] [ A Aleph. ] How blessed are those whose way is blameless,Who walk in the law of the LORD.

    14. Psalm 119:15
    I will meditate on Your preceptsAnd regard Your ways.

    15. Psalm 119:23
    Even though princes sit and talk against me,Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

    16. Psalm 119:27
    Make me understand the way of Your precepts, So I will meditate on Your wonders.

    17. Psalm 119:48
    And I shall lift up my hands to Your commandments,Which I love; And I will meditate on Your statutes.

    18. Psalm 119:78
    May the arrogant be ashamed, for they subvert me with a lie; But I shall meditate on Your precepts.

    19. Psalm 119:97
    O how I love Your law!It is my meditation all the day.

    20. Psalm 119:99
    I have more insight than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation.

    21. Psalm 119:148
    My eyes anticipate the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.

    22. Psalm 143:5
    I remember the days of old; I meditate on all Your doings;I muse on the work of Your hands.

    23. Psalm 145:5
    On the glorious splendor of Your majesty And on Your wonderful works, I will meditate.

  59. @ MN – I aked the queston earlier, what is the definition of “meditation”. I don’t argue about the quoted scriptures but how is David meditating? Dwelling, thinking, reading, sealing the things of God deep in his heart? That’s what it is to me.

  60. I agree with your definition, but don’t exclude something which may a little broader. I would point out that not all verses above state meditate on the word.

    No one on this site has recommended eastern style meditation. And yet it would seem that Bull and perhaps you worry that some will or have already gone down that road without explicitly saying so.

    I have seen particular issues being blackballed within churches and by Christians repeatedly over the years and have myself been at the butt end of it in my younger days over that most pernicious of evils – rock music!

    And to really set the fur flying here I am becoming convinced that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura as I have seen it being used from time to time is right.

    Why? I believe the Bible is the Word of God, but we also have the Holy Spirit, Creation that none may be without excuse – even though they may have never heard of Jesus – God still speaks and expects to be heard – and our brains and ears – with which God expects us to do the hearing and interpreting.

    So when the sort of link that Bull posted gets put up as a position I take note, but also compare it to what else I know, and put a marker on it on the basis of what I don’t know as well. If not everything adds up, or the dots don’t connect, I don’t buy it. And I don’t buy it until I’m convinced, or I will only buy bits of it and recognise the rest of it for what it is.

    This is what God expects me to do.

    And neither am I willing to write off the experience of Christians that I know and respect, whose testimony is plain and honest, the fruit of which is there to see by many as being of the Holy Spirit by some obscure ministry with an axe to grind because their country is going to the dogs (I am talking about the author of the article on the link here) on the other side of the planet.

    I have ‘meditated’ (not and not very often my thing though) a few times just clearing my mind, and I am still here to tell the tale. No bliss trance state came, and I certainly wasn’t looking for one. Nothingness doesn’t appeal to me – I prefer steak and vegies.

    And in any case I prefer the risen Christ not some fake.

  61. Typo!!!

    And to really set the fur flying here I am becoming convinced that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura as I have seen it being used from time to time is ……

    wrong….for the reason below the statement above.

    The jury is still out, but am not liking how this doctrine is being used to justify a whole bunch of stuff that is really doubtful.

  62. A point of clarification.

    I take on board those things that I think are true, and will often have views about what I think is wrong.

    But there is a lot of stuff which ends up left out there, because I don’t know one way or the other. Perhaps it is possible to work out, but may be it is not important for now.

    In any case there is a lot stuff that I am not prepared to commit one way or the other based on whatever information I have seen.

  63. Sola scriptura, I’ll take that anyday and I’ll use my brain, and the discernment God gave me via the Holy Spirit.

    Off track – but say, for instance, Rob bell says something like “he longer believes the bible to be divine fiat”, that throws up a flashing red light. Say, for instance, and let’s hang with Rob Bell a moment, he sits down on a podium with the dalai lama and calls him his holiness – again hmmmmm. Guys who do that really bother me. Kind of brown nosing, pardon the expression – he can be respectful without calling him holy. All food for thought. (For some reason when I saw that on video, it really annoyed me!Only God is holy!)

    For me, the trip out C3 pushed me to do a lot of research, and a lot of that research really bugged me. I wanted truth after all the, excuse me, c..p.

    That makes me very leery of “experiences”, especially when the experience sometimes gets priority over the Word.

  64. Agreed, but there is a balancing somewhere to be had.

    A very wise friend said that the Bible is 90% descriptive and 10% prescriptive, yet depending on whose interests it serves that gets turned on its head throughout history.

    And as far as Bell goes or whoever, I’ll take on board that which I can accept as correct (which I reserve the right to change down the track as I get more information), and leave that which I can’t.

    I take it you C3 experience is of a bunch of Christians telling you what you should think and do, and you don’t buy it anymore.

    Well that is my experience too, but in a conservative evangelical and reformed setting.

    It happens everywhere, hence my skepticism.

  65. Here you go!

    Verb 1. ponder – reflect deeply on a subject; “I mulled over the events of the afternoon”; “philosophers have speculated on the question of God for thousands of years”; “The scientist must stop to observe and start to excogitate”
    meditate, mull, mull over, muse, chew over, think over, excogitate, reflect, ruminate, speculate, contemplate
    cerebrate, cogitate, think – use or exercise the mind or one’s power of reason in order to make inferences, decisions, or arrive at a solution or judgments; “I’ve been thinking all day and getting nowhere”
    premeditate – think or reflect beforehand or in advance; “I rarely premeditate, which is a mistake”
    theologise, theologize – make theoretical speculations about theology or discuss theological subjects
    introspect – reflect on one’s own thoughts and feelings
    bethink – consider or ponder something carefully; “She bethought her of their predicament”
    cogitate – consider carefully and deeply; reflect upon; turn over in one’s mind
    wonder, question – place in doubt or express doubtful speculation; “I wonder whether this was the right thing to do”; “she wondered whether it would snow tonight”
    puzzle – be uncertain about; think about without fully understanding or being able to decide; “We puzzled over her sudden departure”
    consider, study – give careful consideration to; “consider the possibility of moving”

    Enough? Lots to chew on there! 🙂

  66. Seems like we do a lot of that here.

    “I take it you C3 experience is of a bunch of Christians telling you what you should think and do, and you don’t buy it anymore.

    Well that is my experience too, but in a conservative evangelical and reformed setting.

    It happens everywhere, hence my skepticism.” – MN

    Yup, hence my skepticism too. It can happen anywhere, and I think we can all give examples of why various places claim they can do this too. Some because their excellent theological training gives them more authority, others because the Holy Spirit leads them, unlike the dead churches elsewhere. Yet others because of the line of authority they have from the early church, their links to the church Fathers, or their particularly inspired leader who is onto some fresh revelation. So they would each claim.

    All the more important then that we all meditate on the word and pray for ourselves, rather than being swayed by all these other agendas. Hopefully we can then see what is good and see through what is not.

  67. I agree with you RP.

    An issue for me remains that in spite of all the things that I have just said, I still take on board or seriously consider what others have to say…..some more than others…but always looking for input…with the injunction to make certain my relationship with God remaining.

    In some ways this is difficult to talk about because to emphasise one thing runs the risk of overbalancing, and ignoring something else.

  68. Mmm – but we are human and finite, so we can’t focus on everything at once in a perfectly balanced way. I guess that’s why we and entire movements focus on some particular emphasis that separates us from others at times. Maybe then the risk is in identifying with one thing to that extent, rather than always coming back to our vital relationship with our Father. I think also that is why we just have to trust Him, that He will bring His work in us to completion, and our walk doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s- though again, it might. He can certainly speak to us through other people, so its good to consider the input of others I think. Actually (and I think Teddy would agree strongly here), some leaders seem to really go off the rails when they don’t seriously consider what others have to say, or only those voices they like.

    If He is leading us in our finiteness to look at a particular thing, then we can trust that He will also put that thing in its place in good time. He does the balancing and not us. So we needed worry about that unless we feel God is maybe showing us that we need to be more balanced – in which case again, He will no doubt confirm that in time in our minds.

    This brings to my mind the concept of us not striving to do His work in us ourselves. I think the key in that area is to trust Him and have our relationship with Him be more paramount than any other thing we are looking into at the time.

  69. In talking about meditation, its that balance which might worry people. Maybe one difference between ‘good’ meditation and ‘bad’ meditation is the degree to which an experience is being sought, rather than furthering our understanding or relationship with God?

  70. The doctrine of sola scriptura states that the Bible is the ultimate authority for doctrine – it dosent deny that there may be other subordinate authorities or other ways from hearing from God.

    Lets say some archeologists dug up what they believe is an ancient city located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. We look and find that it is not mentioned in the Bible. Do we therefore automatically suspect that the archeologists are deceived? Do we ascribe impure motives to them? No, because we recognise that although the Bible gives many historical and geographical truths, there may be other historical or geographical truths that it does not mention simply because it cannot say everything and it has a certain purpose.

    In the same way there must be spiritual things or techniques that are not mentioned in the Bible but nevertheless are true or helpful.

  71. RP: “I guess that’s why we and entire movements focus on some particular emphasis that separates us from others at times.”

    One thing I have noticed with all this revival crock is almost a creepy fulfillment of the Elijah passage quoted in this thread.

    I noticed this particularly when I started running the blog and Bentley started up. God wasn’t in the fire, but there are ‘Fresh Fire Ministries’, ‘Fire It Up Ministries’, ‘Unquenchable Ministries’, ‘Catch The Fire Ministries’ and other flaming pentecostal ministries that over-emphasise so badly ‘baptism of fire’.

    God wasn’t in the quake, but you have ‘Unshakable Ministries’, ‘Holy Ground Ministries’, ‘Planet Shakers’ and other ministries shaking the kingdoms here on earth for God’s sake.

    God wasn’t in the wind, but you have ministries that focus on Holy/Mighty wind, Pentecost wind, roaring/ rushing wind ministries. This aspect especially in song or church logo or design.

    But still, I find, very little emphasis on the still small voice of God in the church today. With leaders screaming ‘Fire! Fire! FIRE!’; or ‘Let’s SHAKE the heaven’s with our worship! Shout and SHAKE THE NATIONS! Lets roar with the Lion of Judah!’; or simply blow on people to ‘slay them in the Spirit’, sensationalism seems to override his voice when we allow it too.

  72. Revelation 15:4 “Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

  73. We will never measure up to His holiness this side of heaven – yes, we are redeemed but still subject to our sin nature.

    It says quite clearly “….you alone are holy”

    Exodus 15:11, “Who is like you, majestic in holiness?”

    1 Samuel 2:2, “There is no one holy like the Lord. There is no one beside You.”

    His is “being”, ours is “becoming”.

  74. Striving for personal holiness makes us aware of our own sin and yes, we should pursue holiness.

    But calling the Dalai Lama “His Holiness” is hardly appropriate for a Christian leader – I did quite clearly clarify a need to show respect, something that can be achieved without dignifying them with that name.

  75. I don’t think this is unique to ‘the church’. What we are talking about is a shared interest, which depending on the individuals and the entity/unity/organisation that is being shared/participated in etc will take on varying degrees of importance.

    You could say the same thing about belonging to a political organisation, lobby group, sports club.

    There is also a fair bit of top down. The simple reality is that there has to be leadership, but it is the substance of that that is at issue.

    Dare I say it the leadership that Jesus, Paul et al displayed is different to what we often experience.

    Apart from Jesus it is a collective style which submits one to another in respect. An even Jesus totally submitted to the Father’s leading even when He didn’t want to.

    And in the context of this thread there are a couple of points I suppose:

    Stuff that is clearly off I don’t mind stating it up front. A lot of the tokin’ smokin’ stuff is clearly off.

    Nevertheless I am wary of writing people and ministries off because they have differing emphases. The fact is the church I would suggest in practical terms on the things that clearly differentiates the church is how much we disagree with each other – Arminian/Calvinist, believers baptism/infant baptism, Catholic/Orthodox/everyone else, dissenting/non-dissenting, hi church/low church, miracles/no miracles – I could go on for a while here (said dryly)…

    And in fact some Christians stock in trade is actually bagging and slagging off other Christians because they are not ‘right’ – they seem to make their living out of it – which worries me in its own right.

    Now I enjoy robust discussion about doctrinal issues but there is a fine line often..

    Does this come from a desire to draw nearer to God, where the real issue is knowing and resting in God as our Saviour and strength?

    Or do we get our jollies from circling the wagons so we can be ‘right’, and trying to convince others to follow ‘us’? Is this about others, or our own sense of ‘rightness’ and the self importance that goes with that?

    Compare to Jesus and the disciples at this point in Mark 9…

    John said to Him, “Teacher, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we tried to prevent him because he was not following us.”

    But Jesus said, “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.”

    We all have things wrong….

  76. @ MN – you would have bee scratching your head perhaps with FL’s sycophantic way with Joel A’Bell’s blog on critics.
    http://joelabell.posterous.com/critics-92

    Especially loved the comment by Bill”….you keep popping your forked tongue into any and every blog associated with Lance or anyone critical of the Australian mega-church scene.”

    Talk about someone trying to get their jollies so they can be right!

  77. I just had a look.

    I don’t have enough time, and I don’t want to depress myself by what I think is ultimately pointless conversation in that HS will simply not deal with the issues put to it.

    Why bother?

    Same people arguing these issues 5 years ago.

    And to change tack a little….

    We all have things wrong…..should strive to eliminate those, work through constructive criticism that others give to sort the wheat from the chaff, refine our ears so we are able to hear what God tells us, and rest in Him. Love that word…’rest’.

    Not much of that in those conversations, unless individuals are specifically called by God to warn others.

    Don’t think I am.

    And in any case quite happy to shake the dust off my feet and move on.

  78. mn said: “Same people arguing these issues 5 years ago.”

    you are absolutely right there.

    It feels completely pointless these days. The real problem for the wider church is how to help people who come out of the mega-church scene in a bruised and battered way. How do we help people get healed and active witnesses again?

    ah well … eventually, we’ll see Him face-to-face, and we’ll have to give an account for what we did in this life. None of us will feel proud of our achievements.

    Time for caffeine. I have it on a drip these days … it’s quicker.

    Shalom

  79. Bull: “The real problem for the wider church is how to help people who come out of the mega-church scene in a bruised and battered way. How do we help people get healed and active witnesses again?”

    That has to be the point really doesn’t it?

    Criticism is fine.

    Defending for ‘correct’ doctrine, and I would suggest more importantly a better and living understanding of it is fine.

    But if that is all we have to offer we are screwed anyway.

    What part do we have to play in healing, redeeming, encouraging, comforting, nourishing, and here is an expression….building up.

    In Christ are we building others up for His sake…or ours…or are we pulling others down.

    And I acknowledge that justifiably go feral on false teaching… it was Paul who called those who wrongly taught cirumcision ‘dogs’ in Phillipians, and told the Galations he wished the would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.

    And Jesus visited the seven woes on the Pharisees…

    But if all we do is pull down, then we remain lost.

  80. “….and told the Galations he wished the would go the whole way and emasculate themselves.”

    The false teachers that is….

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