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Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

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Random Cotton Pickin'' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sat May 16, 2009 1:48 am

I "discovered" this buried in my Internet files, from nine years ago...

Have I really heard what others are saying, or have I been so intent or distracted, that I have dismissed them. Have I really allowed others to have their own opinion, or have I been so convinced of the infallibility of my own ideas that I shut them down.

When I was younger I thought that God would be angry with me if I pursued a career in something I liked or loved to do. I believed that God had some "work" for me and He would some day reveal to me what that work was. I was afraid that if what I was doing did not have God's personal seal of approval on it, I would be condemned.

Until such time that God revealed his personal plan, I did not have any plan of my own, for what to do in the mean time. I believed that if I got involved in something I liked to do, when the time came for me to do what God wanted, I wouldn't want to leave what I liked doing, thereby inviting God's wrath and damnation for not obeying His divine call.

Also completely believing, that He was going to return at any minute, I had better be doing His work whatever that was. The attitude of imminent rapture also caused an attitude of non-involvement in career planning or development. If God was coming at any minute, going to school or training was a waste of time.
If God was going to show you what you were supposed to be doing, you didn't need to train for anything. The work of the Lord, in my mind, consisted of some form of church sanctioned ministry, or the foreign mission field. All other vocations (To my understanding) were not considered to be God's work. Therefore to engage in them was to be engaged in worldly pursuits and therefore loving the world more than God.

Also being of the mind that once you give your life to Jesus everything works out splendidly, does not give you encouragement to stay with something that is not going well, because if it is bad/evil (In your mind) you dump it.
My religious experiences were not conducive to positive self regard. Constant reminders of what was wrong with my human condition, how much God hates sin and how He is going to banish to an eternity of torment all sinners, did not cause me to be able to accept myself as having any worth that wasn't conditional. The question remains, how do you coax someone to improve his/her condition without reinforcing the negative so much that optimism and positive regard are crushed and only a very negative outlook remains?

Everything is evil, bad irreconcilable etc. The problem with this thinking, is that instead of concentrating on positive behavior changing methods, all one can think about when confronted with these situations is how bad thy feel, how sinful they are, that they will be rejected, cast into outer darkness etc. In other words, the behavior attitude etc. can never truly be dealt with from a position of resolution. We are not taught how to improve our behavior through modeling or mentoring, so much as we are commanded to change, or be destroyed. Often we don't really know where to begin. We can't readily see it any other way than how we are already seeing it.

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Sonshine on Sat May 16, 2009 2:12 am

I grew up under hellfire and brimstone teaching. Basically trying to scare you into accepting Jesus. Eventually I quit believing altogether. Then when I was 19 years old I lost everything in a housefire, including my first two kids. After seeing your child burn to death there's not a lot that scares you any more. So when people started preaching hell to me I just told them I had already lived through hell and it doesn't scare me any more. What finally brought me to my knees was unconditional love.

I believe there's a balance we all have to find when ministering to others, that's why it's so important to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some people need tough love, others need that gentle touch from the Master's hands. On our own, it's impossible to know who needs what, but the Holy Spirit will guide us in this if we listen to Him.

It's the same with life in general. We live our lives to serve God, but God can use us no matter where we are, as long as we are willing to be used.

I believe that we take each day as a new blessing from God, not worrying about what we need to do or need to learn, but we are also suppose to occupy until He comes. If our entire focus is on the rapture, we miss living in the day. We miss the opportunities and the blessings.

I personally don't believe we'll be here long enough for Tyler to finish his education, but that doesn't mean I stop homeschooling. No man knows the time when Jesus will return. We can see the signs He told us to watch for to know it's getting close, but it doesn't mean that life just stops.

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sat May 16, 2009 3:01 am

These things that you have both written about resonate with me. I grew up believing that the end of the world was at hand, and there was always the doom and gloom atmosphere. I remember being really young and being afraid to go to sleep, because it might be the last day the world stands. As I got older I hoped the world would last long enough so that I might find someone to marry, and experience what that would be like.

When I look back on it, my parents and grandparents had good reason to believe as they did..not just from a Biblical standpoint, but from all that they had experienced in their own lives.. There was so much worldwide hardship in the early part of the century - The Great Depression, WWII, Korean War, the cold war, the Russian threat, Cuba. I remember people saying 1964 might be when the world ended, because of the threat of nuclear war. Bomb shelters and practice drills in schools. On New Year's Day 1964, my girlfriend and I talked about this on the phone. The Tribulation, the Mark of the Beast, all of that.. and then the VietNam war. It was a very gloomy time.

With that backdrop, I never thought I'd live to see adulthood much less middle age. I married a combat vet, who always had thoughts of a shortened lifespan - never thought he'd see 40 or 50, and here he is over 60. He is so surprised. And yet, the years went by.. good years, with all the blessings of life and family, and the things previous generations have always experienced. It would be easy to say - End of the World? Nah, hasn't happened yet - ain't gonna happen.

One of the ways that this idea of a shortened lifespan or not living to be old affected us is that we were not good at saving money... "live for today because there is no tomorrow" kind of thinking. Otherwise, we did leave a lot of the gloomy thinking behind, and tentatively began thinking that yes, we do have a future, our kids and grandkids have a future. We began to relax and enjoy life.

But the Bible says we do not know the day or the hour when Jesus returns. It could be today or 100 or 1,000 years from now. So we carry on.. in faith.
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Sonshine on Sat May 16, 2009 4:01 am

Marie, one part of your posts gives me food for thought. I've heard so many people speak of the end of the world as doom and gloom. To me, that is a time of rejoicing because we will be Home. I believe that before we are raptured we'll experience some very bad times, but the actual end of the world excites me, because I know that means that we'll have a new heaven and a new earth. Jesus will come back to take His rightful place.

I guess I have a weird way of looking at death and the end of time.

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sat May 16, 2009 4:11 am

Hi there.. I think it was from a child's point of view it seemed very dark and fearful. And we were taught that we would experience the tribulation. I know there are many different views on this though.

But I agree with Rev 22:20: He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

and Romans 8:18-25

I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sat May 16, 2009 4:25 am

Sonshine, I also come from a culture/ethnic group where "melancholy" is our middle name. pale Give me a hymn in minor key and I'm as happy as can be. Hey, that rhymes!
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Sonshine on Sat May 16, 2009 4:56 am

Marie,
LOL You would LOVE Janice, the one I keep requesting prayer for. She's Jewish and always tells me she can kevetch all she likes, it's in her genes.

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sat May 16, 2009 5:15 am

I do think there are many similarities.. Jewish music speaks to me!
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sat May 16, 2009 8:27 am

[quote="Cotton Picker"]I "discovered" this buried in my Internet files, from nine years ago...

Okay, it's your turn now, CP.. Smile
Have I really heard what others are saying, or have I been so intent or distracted, that I have dismissed them. Have I really allowed others to have their own opinion, or have I been so convinced of the infallibility of my own ideas that I shut them down.


This shows a lot of introspection, CP.. so if it was 9 years ago, you were in your early 40's.. anything special going on at that time? Your children getting into teen years, maybe.. Did people tell you that you weren't listening?

When I was younger I thought that God would be angry with me if I pursued a career in something I liked or loved to do. I believed that God had some "work" for me and He would some day reveal to me what that work was. I was afraid that if what I was doing did not have God's personal seal of approval on it, I would be condemned.

Until such time that God revealed his personal plan, I did not have any plan of my own, for what to do in the mean time. I believed that if I got involved in something I liked to do, when the time came for me to do what God wanted, I wouldn't want to leave what I liked doing, thereby inviting God's wrath and damnation for not obeying His divine call.


In other words, you were afraid that whatever you were doing was not in God's will.. that pursuing something you liked or loved to do, it would distract you when God called... so you avoided making a plan for your life because you might be busy when God called.... Do you still feel that way, or has that changed over the past 9 years...

Also completely believing, that He was going to return at any minute, I had better be doing His work whatever that was. The attitude of imminent rapture also caused an attitude of non-involvement in career planning or development. If God was coming at any minute, going to school or training was a waste of time.
If God was going to show you what you were supposed to be doing, you didn't need to train for anything. The work of the Lord, in my mind, consisted of some form of church sanctioned ministry, or the foreign mission field. All other vocations (To my understanding) were not considered to be God's work. Therefore to engage in them was to be engaged in worldly pursuits and therefore loving the world more than God.

Also being of the mind that once you give your life to Jesus everything works out splendidly, does not give you encouragement to stay with something that is not going well, because if it is bad/evil (In your mind) you dump it.

But in reality, everything we do is the Lord's work.. making a meal or changing a diaper is the Lord's work. Paying a bill or supporting a family is the Lord's work.

My religious experiences were not conducive to positive self regard. Constant reminders of what was wrong with my human condition, how much God hates sin and how He is going to banish to an eternity of torment all sinners, did not cause me to be able to accept myself as having any worth that wasn't conditional. The question remains, how do you coax someone to improve his/her condition without reinforcing the negative so much that optimism and positive regard are crushed and only a very negative outlook remains?

Everything is evil, bad irreconcilable etc. The problem with this thinking, is that instead of concentrating on positive behavior changing methods, all one can think about when confronted with these situations is how bad thy feel, how sinful they are, that they will be rejected, cast into outer darkness etc. In other words, the behavior attitude etc. can never truly be dealt with from a position of resolution. We are not taught how to improve our behavior through modeling or mentoring, so much as we are commanded to change, or be destroyed. Often we don't really know where to begin. We can't readily see it any other way than how we are already seeing it.

This is just really wrong.. all law and no grace. Impossible to fulfil! What are your thoughts about this now after 9 years?


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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sun May 17, 2009 12:10 am

Marie wrote:
Cotton Picker wrote:
I "discovered" this buried in my Internet files, from nine years ago...
Okay, it's your turn now, CP.. Smile
Okay...
Cotton Picker wrote:
Have I really heard what others are saying, or have I been so intent or distracted, that I have dismissed them. Have I really allowed others to have their own opinion, or have I been so convinced of the infallibility of my own ideas that I shut them down.
Marie wrote:
This shows a lot of introspection, CP.. so if it was 9 years ago, you were in your early 40's.. anything special going on at that time? Your children getting into teen years, maybe.. Did people tell you that you weren't listening?
In 1997, I was informed by my wife of 21 years, that her job was more important to her than I was (She kicked me to the curb on 02), In 1999, I was confronted with my eldest daughter living with her NCO in the barracks in Germany, when we went to visit her... (No prior knowledge of her relationship) In 1999, two of my four children, "Got pregnant".. Two grand children born in 00, three months apart, out of wedlock... My other son would shout profanities at me and flip me the bird, in my house, where he was living at the age of 19... I evicted him and his stuff... So you could say that I was possibly having a existential moment or two, about the same time I wrote this...
Cotton Picker wrote:
When I was younger I thought that God would be angry with me if I pursued a career in something I liked or loved to do. I believed that God had some "work" for me and He would some day reveal to me what that work was. I was afraid that if what I was doing did not have God's personal seal of approval on it, I would be condemned.

Until such time that God revealed his personal plan, I did not have any plan of my own, for what to do in the mean time. I believed that if I got involved in something I liked to do, when the time came for me to do what God wanted, I wouldn't want to leave what I liked doing, thereby inviting God's wrath and damnation for not obeying His divine call.

Marie wrote:
In other words, you were afraid that whatever you were doing was not in God's will.. that pursuing something you liked or loved to do, it would distract you when God called... so you avoided making a plan for your life because you might be busy when God called.... Do you still feel that way, or has that changed over the past 9 years...
That view has definitely mellowed with age... While I still acknowledge the need to put God first... I also realize the reality of "Bloom where you are planted"...
Cotton Picker wrote:
Also completely believing, that He was going to return at any minute, I had better be doing His work whatever that was. The attitude of imminent rapture also caused an attitude of non-involvement in career planning or development. If God was coming at any minute, going to school or training was a waste of time.

If God was going to show you what you were supposed to be doing, you didn't need to train for anything. The work of the Lord, in my mind, consisted of some form of church sanctioned ministry, or the foreign mission field. All other vocations (To my understanding) were not considered to be God's work. Therefore to engage in them was to be engaged in worldly pursuits and therefore loving the world more than God.

Also being of the mind that once you give your life to Jesus everything works out splendidly, does not give you encouragement to stay with something that is not going well, because if it is bad/evil (In your mind) you dump it.
Marie wrote:
But in reality, everything we do is the Lord's work.. making a meal or changing a diaper is the Lord's work. Paying a bill or supporting a family is the Lord's work.
That reality, at least for me, was all but drowned out by the shouting of how angry God is at mankind... How he hates this, and abhors that.... Cold war kids, hiding under their desks, living in fear of the bomb... Had nothing on me, living in constant fear of eternal damnation, every time I thought about God...
Cotton Picker wrote:
My religious experiences were not conducive to positive self regard. Constant reminders of what was wrong with my human condition, how much God hates sin and how He is going to banish to an eternity of torment all sinners, did not cause me to be able to accept myself as having any worth that wasn't conditional. The question remains, how do you coax someone to improve his/her condition without reinforcing the negative so much that optimism and positive regard are crushed and only a very negative outlook remains?

Everything is evil, bad irreconcilable etc. The problem with this thinking, is that instead of concentrating on positive behavior changing methods, all one can think about when confronted with these situations is how bad thy feel, how sinful they are, that they will be rejected, cast into outer darkness etc. In other words, the behavior attitude etc. can never truly be dealt with from a position of resolution. We are not taught how to improve our behavior through modeling or mentoring, so much as we are commanded to change, or be destroyed. Often we don't really know where to begin. We can't readily see it any other way than how we are already seeing it.
Marie wrote:
This is just really wrong.. all law and no grace. Impossible to fulfil! What are your thoughts about this now after 9 years?
I was nearly 30 years of age, before I truly began to entertain the notion, that God did not hate my guts... That was when I made up my mind, that I could not go on living in terror of the wrath of God any longer... while I still hold God in reverent awe... It is no longer from a position of hopeless terror...

.

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sun May 17, 2009 1:22 am

{{{HUGS}}} to you, CP... that is really rough. But you know what? I had this "law" thing in my mind also, as our kids were growing up, and it is very destructive. They are going to rebel. I've written before how I was the 'enforcer' - of course, I was the one with them most of the time.. DH was not available for a number of reasons. I was the bad guy and he was the good guy by default! In many ways, the 'perfect' world I had worked so hard to build completely fell apart in the 90's.. I was in my 40's. Many things happened which I won't go into now, and no out-of-wedlock pregnancies occurred.. but it contributed to my having to quit working in 2003.. completely worn out.

If I had it do over, I would kick a lot of false ideas 'to the curb'.. I was extremely disillusioned with the religious right, especially, and all of its prominent members/sermons/books/magazines/radio programs which taught us how to have the 'perfect' family, using outward means of control and not matters of the heart.. It is THE great deception - to be Christian outwardly, and not in the spirit... I'd better not get going on that. But these things are so ingrained that it's only in the last year or two that I am taking baby steps to take a stand in other areas as well.... to say it's not right, I don't have to listen to it, I don't have to approve of it, I don't have to live it, or believe it.

We do what's right with what we know at any given time.. we can really do no other. I am so sorry that you had all of these things happen to you, and I hope that every day your understanding of grace increases!
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sun May 17, 2009 2:01 am

Sonshine wrote:Marie,
LOL You would LOVE Janice, the one I keep requesting prayer for. She's Jewish and always tells me she can kevetch all she likes, it's in her genes.

You know how the Jewish people have "oy vey" ? The Finnish people have "voi voi". Same thing lol
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Sonshine on Sun May 17, 2009 4:48 am

LOL Well, so far I've not heard Susan say "Oy vey", so guess we're ok in that department. I'll have to try the voi voi one. LOL

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by 7dawn on Sun May 17, 2009 5:24 am

CP, thanks for sharing all of your musings. I believe that almost all Christians go through those stages in their walk. I believe it brings us to maturity. Things that we would have fainted over 5 years ago we can laugh at now or at least get through them easier.

I know for me it has been a long haul and I still have a long way to go in many areas of my walk with Christ. It helps to see when others are struggling or have struggled in similar ways. Then you don't feel so alone. Very Happy

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sun May 17, 2009 5:37 am

Marie wrote:
{{{HUGS}}} to you, CP... that is really rough. But you know what?
Thank you for the cyber hug Marie... Not to sound weepy, but the events I described are pretty tame stuff, compared to some of my other life experiences.... I thank God that I am able to have the perspective on life, that I have now.....
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the
huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in
number, but they offer a sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one
thing: the last of the human freedoms…to chose one’s attitude in any given set of
circumstances, to choose one’s own way. “I have nothing to expect anymore” what sort
of answer can one give to that?...What was really needed was a fundamental change in
our attitude to life, we had to learn ourselves…that it really did not matter what we
expected from life, but rather what life expected of us…to think of ourselves as those
who were being questioned by life…
<snip>

The way in which a man accepts his fate and all the suffering it entails, the way in which
he takes up his cross, gives him ample opportunity…even under the most difficult
circumstances …to add deeper meaning to his life. It may remain brave, dignified and
unselfish. Or in the bitter fight for self preservation he may forget his human dignity and
become no more than an animal…this decides whether he is worthy of his sufferings or
not.

Viktor Frankl... Man's Search For Meaning...
Marie wrote:
I had this "law" thing in my mind also, as our kids were growing up, and it is very destructive. They are going to rebel. I've written before how I was the 'enforcer' - of course, I was the one with them most of the time.. DH was not available for a number of reasons. I was the bad guy and he was the good guy by default! In many ways, the 'perfect' world I had worked so hard to build completely fell apart in the 90's.. I was in my 40's. Many things happened which I won't go into now, and no out-of-wedlock pregnancies occurred.. but it contributed to my having to quit working in 2003.. completely worn out.
I can relate....
Marie wrote:
If I had it do over, I would kick a lot of false ideas 'to the curb'.. I was extremely disillusioned with the religious right, especially, and all of its prominent members/sermons/books/magazines/radio programs which taught us how to have the 'perfect' family, using outward means of control and not matters of the heart.. It is THE great deception - to be Christian outwardly, and not in the spirit... I'd better not get going on that.
Like Frankl... I am fond of the quote...
That which does not kill me, makes me stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche
My life experiences are like my children... I wouldn't take a million dollars for them, but I wouldn't give a nickle, for another one just like them....

They say that we learn more from those who oppose us, than we do from those who agree with us.. I am here to tell you, that has been true for me...

I am a better man for what I have survived, than if I had never had the experiences I have had to endure....
Marie wrote:
But these things are so ingrained that it's only in the last year or two that I am taking baby steps to take a stand in other areas as well.... to say it's not right, I don't have to listen to it, I don't have to approve of it, I don't have to live it, or believe it.
We do what's right with what we know at any given time.. we can really do no other.
I am here to tell you... The effects of toxic religion.... Are very long lasting...
Marie wrote:
I am so sorry that you had all of these things happen to you
Thank you for your condolences... However, I thank God for allowing every painful experience to befall me that he has... For I am much more shock-proof, insult-resistant, disparage-proof, anti-consumerism, disappointment-resilient, and could care less what anyone besides my Heavenly Father, thinks of me... Than I have ever been, before now... I am closer to a Philippians 4:12-13 man, than than I have ever been, as well....
Marie wrote:
and I hope that every day your understanding of grace increases!
You can rest assured... That it does... Every day

Yesterday is history,
Tomorrow is a mystery,
Today is a gift,
That's why it is called, the present....

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sun May 17, 2009 5:51 am

7dawn wrote:
CP, thanks for sharing all of your musings.
I hope that by sharing.... Others are better able to learn life's lessons, sans the knuckle bumps...
7dawn wrote:
I believe that almost all Christians go through those stages in their walk. I believe it brings us to maturity. Things that we would have fainted over 5 years ago we can laugh at now or at least get through them easier.
Very true... Please check out the Nietzsche quote, in my previous post...

Here is something else that you might find interesting.....
“Emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering the moment we form a clear and precise picture of it.”

Spinoza’s Ethics
“To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the ’size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

Viktor Frankl... Man’s Search for Meaning
7dawn wrote:
I know for me it has been a long haul and I still have a long way to go in many areas of my walk with Christ. It helps to see when others are struggling or have struggled in similar ways. Then you don't feel so alone. Very Happy
Very True...

You know what they say... An optimist is someone who tells you to cheer up, when things are going their way... And another that is a guilty pleasure... If the world didn't suck.... We'd all fall off...

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by HomesteadBaker on Sun May 17, 2009 6:27 am

Cotton Picker... doesn't it make you glad to know now that we live under grace and not the law of the Old Testament? Doesn't it fill your spirit with hope to know that the greatest commandment Jesus gave is to love one another as He has loved us? We are under a New Covenant with Christ, one that is full of love and joy and hope... not condemnation for being imperfect.

I have been through some rather unpleasant experiences in my life (that is an understatement), and even done some things that haunted me for years until I experienced the boundless forgiveness of God's love and mercy. I can't put into words what God has done for me... but I am forever changed, and like the Word says I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Like the words of the song..... "our God is an awesome God"!

Didn't mean to preach... just wanted to let you know you aren't alone.

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sun May 17, 2009 7:02 am

HomesteadBaker wrote:
Cotton Picker... doesn't it make you glad to know now that we live under grace and not the law of the Old Testament?
While we are under grace.. We must also remember this....
1Corinthians 10:23 You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is helpful. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial.
Galatians 5:13 For you have been called to live in freedom--not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love.
1Peter 2:16 You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God's slaves.
HomesteadBaker wrote:
Doesn't it fill your spirit with hope to know that the greatest commandment Jesus gave is to love one another as He has loved us? We are under a New Covenant with Christ, one that is full of love and joy and hope... not condemnation for being imperfect.
Actually... It goes like this....
Matthew 22:36 "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"

Mat 22:37 Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' [fn]
Footnote:
Deut 6:5.

Mat 22:38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

Mat 22:39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' [fn]
Footnote:
* Lev 19:18.

Mat 22:40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
And yes... I am glad for God's grace and mercy...
HomesteadBaker wrote:
I have been through some rather unpleasant experiences in my life (that is an understatement), and even done some things that haunted me for years until I experienced the boundless forgiveness of God's love and mercy. I can't put into words what God has done for me... but I am forever changed, and like the Word says I am a new creation in Christ Jesus.

Like the words of the song..... "our God is an awesome God"!

Didn't mean to preach... just wanted to let you know you aren't alone.

Kitty
Thank you Kitty... I have found it to be very inspiring when believers engage in this...
James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.
Because when we confess our weaknesses to one another... We find that we are drawn closer together..
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Philippians

Post by Marie on Sun May 17, 2009 7:55 pm

CP, you said this passage is you, or defines you at this time.. (I added the previous verse too)

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Contentment is a great gift.. often it takes suffering and trials to bring us to that place. Our strength comes from the Lord.
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by 7dawn on Sun May 17, 2009 9:05 pm

“To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the ’size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

Viktor Frankl... Man’s Search for Meaning

This is very true. While we go through suffering we often wonder why me. We may never have the answer to that particular question. I have often found myself angry at first, then contemplative, then acceptance comes. I do not always see God's big picture, but he does. I think one of the greatest reasons we go through certain things is to help someone we might meet down the road going through a similar experience.

That which does not kill me, makes me stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche

Another true statement. I have never really read Nietzsche. I have spoken to someone in the Ted Dekker community that loved his writings. There have been times when I have gone through things that I have asked God what He wanted me to learn so I could move on. Very Happy It didn't always work. I have often heard it said that you can't make what you are going through take less time, but you can make it take longer. I have done the longer part most of the time. One of my favorite Scriptures is in chapter 3 of Galatians where Paul says:

Oh, you foolish Galatian's who has bewitched you....

I often feel that way, like I have been bewitched by something when I am going through things. The whole law abiding mentality just about did me in because it wasn't me obeying the law but me being religious. I have to be very careful with myself in that respect. Over the years I have become more relaxed in my Christianity and a lot less judgemental. Ted Dekker has a book out called The Slumber of Christianity. Excellent read and a take on the church that I have never heard before.

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sun May 17, 2009 9:27 pm

Marie wrote:
CP, you said this passage is you, or defines you at this time.. (I added the previous verse too)

Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Contentment is a great gift.. often it takes suffering and trials to bring us to that place. Our strength comes from the Lord.
While I do agree that our strength is from the Lord.... Contentment is a gift that we give to ourselves.... It is a free-will choice to be content, to be at peace, to be in love.... Jesus came to set us free..... We are the ones who lock the doors and throw away the keys....

In good ways...
1Corinthians 7:22 And remember, if you were a slave when the Lord called you, the Lord has now set you free from the awful power of sin. And if you were free when the Lord called you, you are now a slave of Christ.
And sad ways...
2Peter 2:19 They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves to sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you.

2Pe 2:20 And when people escape from the wicked ways of the world by learning about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then get tangled up with sin and become its slave again, they are worse off than before.
It is so much more conducive to peace of heart and mind, to be this kind of slave...
Romans 6:22 But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
Because that is how Jesus has led us by his example...
Matthew 20:25 But Jesus called them together and said, "You know that in this world kings are tyrants, and officials lord it over the people beneath them.

Mat 20:26 But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,

Mat 20:27 and whoever wants to be first must become your slave.

Mat 20:28 For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many."


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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Sun May 17, 2009 9:36 pm

hmm.. is it really a choice to be content, to be at peace, to be in love? I don't know how much choice we have about those things...

to be content or at peace comes from the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives, perhaps...

and to be in love, well... I'm not so sure we have a choice about that either! lol
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sun May 17, 2009 10:36 pm

7dawn wrote:
“To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the ’size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

Viktor Frankl... Man’s Search for Meaning
This is very true. While we go through suffering we often wonder why me. We may never have the answer to that particular question. I have often found myself angry at first, then contemplative, then acceptance comes. I do not always see God's big picture, but he does. I think one of the greatest reasons we go through certain things is to help someone we might meet down the road going through a similar experience.
If you ask "Why me?".... You are sunk.... If you ask "Why knot me".... You will remain afloat... The difference between shipwreck or sailing on.... Often hinges, on the placement of but one small knot...
7dawn wrote:
That which does not kill me, makes me stronger. Friedrich Nietzsche...
Another true statement. I have never really read Nietzsche. I have spoken to someone in the Ted Dekker community that loved his writings. There have been times when I have gone through things that I have asked God what He wanted me to learn so I could move on. Very Happy It didn't always work. I have often heard it said that you can't make what you are going through take less time, but you can make it take longer. I have done the longer part most of the time. One of my favorite Scriptures is in chapter 3 of Galatians where Paul says:
Oh, you foolish Galatian's who has bewitched you....
The length of suffering is totally dependent upon us... Everything that comes into our lives is neutral... We are the ones who decide if it is to be good or bad... While we may, or may not, have been responsible for an event happening in our lives,... We are totally responsible for our reaction to it, once it happens... It is good to remember....
7dawn wrote:
Romans 8:28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.
I often feel that way, like I have been bewitched by something when I am going through things. The whole law abiding mentality just about did me in because it wasn't me obeying the law but me being religious. I have to be very careful with myself in that respect. Over the years I have become more relaxed in my Christianity and a lot less judgemental. Ted Dekker has a book out called The Slumber of Christianity. Excellent read and a take on the church that I have never heard before.
IMHO... Suffering under the weight of second-hand spirituality... All too often, crushes the joy out of the lives of multi-generational Christians...

Here is the best example of allegorical, second-hand spirituality, that I have ever found...
1Samuel 17:38 Then Saul gave David his own armor--a bronze helmet and a coat of mail.

1Sa 17:39 David put it on, strapped the sword over it, and took a step or two to see what it was like, for he had never worn such things before. "I can't go in these," he protested. "I'm not used to them." So he took them off again.

1Sa 17:40 He picked up five smooth stones from a stream and put them in his shepherd's bag. Then, armed only with his shepherd's staff and sling, he started across to fight Goliath.
When the generation before, hands down their spiritual armor...
Ephesians 6:10 A final word: Be strong with the Lord's mighty power.

Eph 6:11 Put on all of God's armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.

Eph 6:12 For we are not fighting against people made of flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against those mighty powers of darkness who rule this world, and against wicked spirits in the heavenly realms.

Eph 6:13 Use every piece of God's armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil, so that after the battle you will still be standing firm.

Eph 6:14 Stand your ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth and the body armor of God's righteousness.

Eph 6:15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so that you will be fully prepared.

Eph 6:16 In every battle you will need faith as your shield to stop the fiery arrows aimed at you by Satan.

Eph 6:17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

Eph 6:18 Pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all Christians everywhere.
To the generation coming up.....

From experience... I have seen that second-hand armor, accepted as-is... Often results in heartbreak and disaster...

Armor has to be custom fitted to the wearer... Second-hand armor, is not.... Swords in the hands of the inexperienced, are heavy and unwieldy.... This usually results on some fairly wild thrusts, parries and strikes... All too often these blows land upon friends and family... Too often the recipient of second-hand armor, places their confidence in the armor.. Rather than God... So they get spanked on the battlefield...

This compromises their confidence in the armor (misplaced faith) and they subsequently abandon the armor, piece by piece, along the road of life.... Much like the Pioneers, would abandon Grandma's piano, along the trail to Californey... Sadly, the true gift, of the Christ-child is thrown out with the bathwater of the abandoned pieces of second-hand armor that are cast aside... Now, the pilgrim is not only without the second-hand armor... They have also lost their compass, as well... They get stuck in the Sierra Nevada's at Donner Pass, by an unforeseen snowstorm.... And far too often, spend the rest of their lives, feasting on the flesh of their neighbor... Or eating their own hearts out...

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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Cotton Picker on Sun May 17, 2009 11:36 pm

Marie wrote:
hmm.. is it really a choice to be content, to be at peace, to be in love? I don't know how much choice we have about those things...

to be content or at peace comes from the operation of the Holy Spirit in our lives, perhaps...

and to be in love, well... I'm not so sure we have a choice about that either! lol

Either we are in control of our emotions... Or our emotions are in control of us... God unlocks the door... By faith we open it.... Or stay, in a self-imposed exile... Behind an unlocked door....

Here are two slants on that same thought....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtHGw9HcNfE ... Click on the (more info).. next to the avtar in the upper right of the screen...... TheClassicRock

Here is another viewpoint...
In his book Frankl again and again quotes Nietzsche's words: "He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how." If one understands the why of one's existence, one will be able to cope with the how, no matter how impossible that would seem. Understanding the why simply meant that people could find a meaning in their sufferings, and even probable death. "It can be said that they were worthy of their sufferings; the way they bore their suffering was a genuine inner achievement. It is this spiritual freedom - which cannot be taken away - that makes life meaningful and purposeful" (p. 87). If, on the other hand, people were unable to take that challenge, turning their lives into an inner triumph; if they believed that life was over, that all the real life opportunities had disappeared for good, then their days were numbered: they vegetated, progressively sliding down towards the imminent end.
<snip>

All agree that happiness comes to us as a direct result of high self-esteem, a positive attitude and the way in which we relate to other people. It's not as complicated as we make it out to be. But happiness may be different from what we think it is.

Happiness, I have learned, is a feeling of contentment and peace of mind. Life is a mixed bag of joy and sadness, laughter and tears, pain and growth. Happy people accept the whole package, realizing that happiness is only a part of life's puzzle.

Unfortunately, too many Americans have swallowed a bill of goods which states that happiness can be achieved 24 hours a day and will be found in success, fame, possessions, and marrying or having a relationship with the right individual.

I've discovered that, to be happy, we must have something to do, someone or something to love, and something to hope for. Our work must give us a sense of pride and satisfaction, use of our special talents and abilities, and provide us with the opportunity for recognition and contribution. If we work only for money at a job we hate, we deny ourselves the chance to be happy.

To be happy we must live for something outside ourselves - another individual or people, a cause, a belief in God. To live only for ourselves is to exist in a world of one - and that brings misery. To be happy we must have hope, which is our commitment of time and energy to the future. We need to dream. To have no dream is to have no hope, and to have no hope is to have no reason to live.

http://stuff.mit.edu/people/gkrasko/Frankl.html
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

Post by Marie on Mon May 18, 2009 4:47 am

CP, you said <<Either we are in control of our emotions... Or our emotions are in control of us... God unlocks the door... By faith we open it.... Or stay, in a self-imposed exile... Behind an unlocked door.... >>

I would come at this from a different angle.

I see that the attributes of a Christian life are passive, rather than active. I would go so far as to say we are passive recipients every step of the way. What Frankl and others seem to say is that we must "do". This puts the burden of our happiness, peace, contentment, faith, salvation, and life's meaning completely on ourselves and our choices: Make the choice to be happy not sad, contented rather than discontented, saved rather than lost.

This seems in opposition to what the Bible says.

John 15:5 I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

Ephesians 2
1And you hath he quickened, [/b]who were dead in trespasses and sins; (can a dead person make himself alive? Nope, we have been made alive) 2Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.



It is all God, and not us.

High self-esteem and a positive attitude are human and fleshly attributes. They affect the senses and the will, but they do not affect the undying and eternal spirit. This is like putting a band-aid on an infected wound. You must get to the root of the problem, cleanse it and purify it.. and then you can look toward true, longlasting and beneficial healing. If the inward spiritual problem is not addressed, then the flesh must work mightily to subdue sin. If the Holy Spirit has been allowed to do its work, then it is now the 'internal combustion engine' which motivates a person to good fruits, happiness, contentment, and so forth.


Last edited by Marie on Mon May 18, 2009 6:17 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Random Cotton Pickin' Musings

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