For a variety of reasons this was today's service was the first one I was able to attend in about a month. So, as God would have it, he gave me lots of little assignments to write out. Some are older, reminders as one might phrase it. Others, however, are new, more nuggets to consider. There are really not in any particular order, nor are they in any way complete. I just like to use the blog as a temporary holding place for my ideas until I get to refine and polish them into a more presentable fashion. So without further ado...
On one the few CD's I have with John Paul Jackson speaking, I remember him saying that he once read it takes 12 years for a prophet to be trained. I had calculated once upon a time that the first time I encountered Streams was late in 2004. So, starting the clock then, I have until 2017! Of course this is really just hypothetical musings that quietly pass through my mind. However, a few months ago I was praying about how long I would have to undergo some of my current training and character building exercises. I then had a moment where God pointed out some scripture to me. (There's a term I learned, ironically enough, from a New Age dictionary that describes when you open a book to the precise page you need. Something like fioritori...although I know that's really a philosophical phrase. It sounded like that.) In Daniel, shortly after Daniel and HMA are taken into train for three years then be released into the King's service. (See Daniel 1:5) It came across to me this morning as a my freshman assignment. Three years being 1/4th of 12. The first of four phases to train me up as I need to go. The irony is, it never is how you imagine it! And that is so true here.
Tithing by the numbers
While thinking of how my work week runs all over the map (anywhere from a slow 40 hours where time drags to a busy 90 hours) I noted that we are given one day to rest and give back to God a day of honor. Yet, what I noted there also was the fact that God took for himself 1/7th of the week for himself. When tithing, we are commanded to give one tenth. But, it seems that the numbers are significant here. 10 is a very human number (10 fingers, 10 toes, base 10 numerical system, etc). Not that Moses' recording of tithing as a 10th is human, but the idea that 10 is more human than 7 comes to mind. However, when considering that God requires 1/10th, he gave himself 1/7th in terms of the week. I think that, with 7 being a divine number, 1/7th seems a more fascinating ratio for tithing since it is giving to God as he took, not as he required.
Agree with the whole truth and nothing less, particularly 1/3rd
While recently reading an anti-Christian blog, I encountered a challenge that Christianity is ineffective intellectually (see post here). It attempted to assert that the only reason people convert to Chrisitianity is on emotional grounds by saying, "In fact, I would dare to say that there has not been one real conversion in history that can be entirely attributed to a simple, unemotional presentation of facts." First, I want to put facts to the matter, then, I want to touch on why this is faulty logic for testing the validity of Christianity on a more conceptual level.
The brilliant legal mind of William Law set to disprove Christianity on purely intellectual grounds only later to be converted to Christianity. Such a man would have undoubtedly taken every precaution to use logic as his tool of attack. Yet, in spite of his brilliance and extra caution to remain impartial, the power of the truth contained in Scripture humbled his mind and revealed not only that Law was incorrect but that he himself was to become what he set to destroy.
Another more recent example of a gifted mind set to destroy what it later was to succumb to was that of Josh McDowell. As a pre-law student McDowell took it upon himself to "write a book that would make an intellectual joke of Christianity." While building his case McDowell realized that he was unable to accomplish this. He admits, "I began to realize that I was being intellectually dishonest. My mind told me that the claims of Christ were indeed true." (xxv, The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict)
In both cases there are clear examples where people set to disprove the power of Christianity using intellectual means and intellectual means alone. Yet, in both cases, this dry, purely intellectual approach was the downfall of each man. And there is clear reason why: God made each person on earth with a tri-partite soul. The mind, will and emotions work together to create the whole of inner man. When intellectuals attempt to paint Christians in a corner with the idea that only intellectual proof of God is valid...and Christians accept these terms...the enemy has already won. The boundaries of argument, under these terms, require people to put down two of three defense systems for the fight. Futhermore, intellectuals wouldn't do this unless they knew they already had a guaranteed victory since they assume themselves superior to most Christians from the start.
Yet, there is an interesting phenomenon scientists and intellectuals often fail to admit. Intellectual argument resting solely on the merit of intellectual proof ultimately requires the acceptance of such proof. Here is one major trick many Christians fall for: after an intellectual has outwitted them or simply overpowered them they then try to force the Christian to ascribe this victory to every aspect of their soul. It's a foot in the door tactic. Once they have an admitted win, they try to bind the soul in other areas of subjected truth.
Here is where Christians have to be careful. Rule 1: don't get into an intellectual argument with an intellectual. By doing so, you are already giving them authority. If they demonstrate power over you in this manner, they can, because you agreed to the terms, attempt to subject the soul to their authority. Many Christians, in their defeat, feel humiliated (emotional response) and have a will reaction (either give up or fight). If the fight is over and they have clear, undeniable intellectual authority, many Christians simply concede the point in their soul and relinquish control.
That point is the most precarious. At times, we have to engage in intellectual combat as a part of everyday existence, but we can escape after wrestling outselves free. However, if we have openly accepted the challenge (or even provoked it) the stakes are more serious. In any case, when the antagonist aims to extend intellectual authority over the soul by indirectly saying, "I have truth on intellectual grounds, therefore, I have authority over emotions and will", you have to simply declare that you do not agree. You still have power, even though you may not have won the argument, over your own soul. And, as a Christian, must submit yourself to Christ as the head of your life, not this person you are arguing with.
Agreement is the real power that comes through argumentation. By agreeing with what is said after an intellectual loss, the Christian falls victim to at least, what I feel, Paul warned about when he wrote, "that no one may decieve you by fine-sounding arguments." (Colossians 2:4) Furthermore, complete understanding, as Paul mentions in verse 2, does not compartmentalize the human experience into boxes of intellectual truth and all other experience. That premise is one of the most devious that intellectuals possess and most Christians are unaware of a need to remain alert.
I clearly have strong feelings about this, mainly because I have been around people who unwittingly stand up as authorities, yet who possess no real mantle of holding ultimate truth. As a Christian, one must not accept for anything less than ultimate truth. And that is the most common thing which happens, Christians, after being boxed into a corner, compromise without even realizing it, because of mental sleight-of-hand. Refuse to accept what is put before you, for there is truth beyond the compulsion to agree with what seems undeniable! That is where faith comes in and gives strength to the Spirit-filled mind. Agree with nothing if God does not present it as true.