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th1bill
Jul 29th 2008, 01:19 PM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.

Rullion Green
Jul 29th 2008, 02:23 PM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.


I try to always say "in my opinion" when giving it.

I agree with what you say, i think new Christians should read the NT first before even seeking an opinion on something so the have a knowledge of what is biblical and whats not. I had to do that as a former catholic as i trusted no one because of my former religous teaching wich were unbiblical.

Tradition and men do not have the answers the word of God does. In my opinion lol

SammeyDW
Jul 29th 2008, 02:29 PM
Good advice th1bill.
I would only add that every Christian should check another's opinion of scripture.
Using scripture itself as the main comparison tool, and do this in prayer asking for wisdom and guidance.
Whether they are 'new' ,'young', 'old' or whatever in Christ.

Literalist-Luke
Jul 29th 2008, 04:25 PM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.Sounds like good advice. :thumbsup:

militarywife
Jul 29th 2008, 05:25 PM
:hug:Well praise His name. Thank you for the MUCH encouraging word. God wants us to continually renew ourselves in The Word.
"And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Romans 12:2):hug:

th1bill
Jul 29th 2008, 07:04 PM
Many thanks to each of you for the encouragement to those that are learning. And I do agree that a Christian that has been five years in the faith should be grounded in the Word, the sad truth is that most are not. After my first five years in the faith, three of those teaching Primaries, I was voted to lead the Men's Sunday Evening Study. I was often called down by two deacons, both better than twenty years in the faith and I had to take them to the scriptures in their own Bibles for them to see that they were not correct. I have, from that point done my best to point the babes in Christ to put their noses in the Bible for ten or fifteen minutes, every day.

I was lucky, our LORD gave me fifteen very curious 6, 7 and eight year olds that wanted an answer by next Sunday, they made me learn or fail.

Gard
Jul 29th 2008, 08:03 PM
Amen Bill. God's Word is the FINAL authority...and should be read and studied closely, carefully, and prayerfully.

ServantofTruth
Jul 29th 2008, 11:05 PM
Bill - you know you are a man i greatly respect, although we don't agree on everything. You are one of the members here who encouraged my already urgent need to be daily in the Word of God.

The key is as you say God's Will through his Word. If a person even quotes scripture - you must personally look it up and seek the complete context. Daily being in the Word makes this easier. :)

Many times i have read your posts and it is clear to all that the Holy Spirit is working daily through you. I am pleased to say many good things about you, that are true, because i also know you are humble. God bless.




BIG SofTy The Servant of Truth. :hug:

th1bill
Jul 29th 2008, 11:28 PM
Bill - you know you are a man i greatly respect, although we don't agree on everything. You are one of the members here who encouraged my already urgent need to be daily in the Word of God.

The key is as you say God's Will through his Word. If a person even quotes scripture - you must personally look it up and seek the complete context. Daily being in the Word makes this easier. :)

Many times i have read your posts and it is clear to all that the Holy Spirit is working daily through you. I am pleased to say many good things about you, that are true, because i also know you are humble. God bless.




BIG SofTy The Servant of Truth. :hug:
I really do hate it but like all men I'm prone to wander. I did that recently and I did not pay attention to the Spirit and I made a really bad mistake as a result of that, right here on this forum.

I would suggest to any of you that love the Word of God to download an mp3 copy of the scriptures from firefighters.org and you can study the Word of God just as it was in the beginning, orally. I just finished designing a set of disks (2) and have printed them with Lightscribe labeling so that theey will play on the new radio/CD players without hanging up. My pastor has the first two disks, the Old and the New Testaments, checking them out for a possible church give away. The KJV only folks will even approve because it is the KJV. It's much clearer when you here it instead of reading it.

stillforgiven
Jul 30th 2008, 12:41 AM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.


That's really good advise, even for the not-so-young in Christ. Thanks for the reminder.

DadBurnett
Jul 30th 2008, 09:25 AM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.


I agree with you! And I have been guilty, at times, of not providing scripture references. Thanks for the reminder. I would be so bold as to add to what you said by saying that sometimes identifying the translation is also helpful.
It is easy in ones haste to respond to offer opinion about, and perceptions of, what one thinks and believes without rechecking the Word. However, it is also sometimes helpful to offer ones opinion in order to stimulate further conversation and exploration.
I especially liked you comment about the ongoing study, Ive found over the years that scripture speaks to me in different ways relevant to where I am in my ongoing relationship with Christ. It is my experience that scripture is alive - dynamic ever able to meet my changing needs and understanding. It is about more than the literal meanings of words on paper, it is the stuff of Spirit I need the continual nourishment of our teacher, the Holy Spirit, working within me, in and through the Word.
Thank you for your post.

th1bill
Jul 30th 2008, 03:36 PM
Thanks again. I also posted this item in the same form, exactly, on a Catholic forum, you would not believe the drive to distort what I said.

Literalist-Luke
Jul 30th 2008, 08:30 PM
You would not believe the drive to distort what I said.Actually, I would not be the least bit surprised.

givemegrace
Jul 30th 2008, 09:37 PM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.


i appreciate what you are saying but is it not the case that individuals can interpret scripture differently? you may have a different understanding of scripture to that of someone else?

crawfish
Jul 31st 2008, 03:39 PM
i appreciate what you are saying but is it not the case that individuals can interpret scripture differently? you may have a different understanding of scripture to that of someone else?

Context is a great tool for understanding scripture. Too many times you'll see someone quote a passage ("I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me") for a purpose that takes it outside or beyond its context. However, context is hardly the only tool necessary to fully understand some scripture:

1) Parallel passages. Many bibles include these, which take you to passages with the same basic message.

2) Cultural context. Too many times, we assume our culture's built-in biases when reading scripture. For instance, Romans 3:16: "Because you are not hot or cold, I will spew you from my mouth". We see hot and cold as opposites, and thus, we tend to see Christ meaning "good or evil" by the terms. However, the truth is that the passage is talking about unpurified water (as the culture would have), and cold/hot water have the same property: purity. Lukewarm water is stagnant, bacteria-ridden and potentially dangerous to drink. In the proper context, "hot/cold" is the opposite of lukewarm - pure vs. impure.

3) Exegesis vs. eisegesis. We should be reading meaning out of the scriptures, not reading meaning into them. It is possible to justify all sorts of theologies by assuming their truth and finding biblical support; such a view rarely takes context or any other solid interpretive methods properly.

4) Ambiguity. We often have a hard time with this; we want God to be absolutely clear on something, but the bible doesn't make it absolutely clear. The wrong thing to do is to try and "fill in" the missing pieces; God uses ambiguity the same way He uses clarity; for His purposes. If God is ambiguous on a topic, then don't be dogmatic about it.

5) Genre. There are mutiple genres in scripture: narrative, poetry, song, wisdom, prophecy, etc. It is important to read each genre in an appropriate way. For instance, it would be wrong to read Proverbs in the same way you read Leviticus; the former are guides, the latter are laws. Don't read Isaiah the same way you would read Judges.

EarlyCall
Jul 31st 2008, 04:19 PM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.


If only it were this simple. You are right in what you say, but oh I wish it were this simple and that were enough..

Teke
Jul 31st 2008, 05:25 PM
... The single most practiced mistake I see perpetuated is the seeking of another's "opinion" of what a given scripture means. Often, the folks answering will give exactly what they are asked for, an opinion. The Bible is the very Word of God, used of men and preserved by The Omnipotent God and the single best commentary on the Bible is the Bible. God did not ask any of us for our opinion when He dictated the scriptures to the listed secretaries that penned them. (Rom. 2:11) And how can man ever hope for any level of understanding of God without ongoing study of the scriptures to show him or herself approved.
... To the young in Christ, never listen to anyone that is not giving you scripture address for the things they say and when they do, be like the Bereans and make sure they have not misused the scripture, it only takes a minute or two to read the paragraph or the chapter to see what the context is.


I agree with you on seeking other peoples opinions. But on the other hand, I believe that one studying holy writ ought to seek the original historical factual meaning of what they are reading, as what we read in our language doesn't express the meaning of the idioms used by the people who wrote them.
IOW a wooden translation won't tell you what the original author meant and one is left with guess work and circular reasoning from the rest of scripture.

For instance, there are hundreds of Hebrew idioms used in scripture, which if misunderstood take on a whole other meaning to the reader. I've expressed one of those idioms on this board, "the blood of the lamb", which means "will to do the will of God". There are many others.

Here is some of David Bivin, a person who has written much, and continues to write (at Jerusalem Perspective), on this subject


short quote from David Bivin

Think of such common English idioms as "hit the ceiling," "kill time," "eat one's heart out," "lose one's head," "be in hot water," "throw in the towel," or "kick the bucket." A non-English-speaker who heard these idioms translated literally into his own language would probably find them amusing. However, if he did not suspect that they were literal translations of English idioms and took them at face value, the information he received would be very misleading.

The Hebrew language has hundreds of idioms. For example: be'arba enayim, literally "with four eyes," means face to face without the presence of a third person, as in, "The two men met with four eyes." lo dubim ve lo ya'ar is literally "[There are] neither bears nor forest," but means that something is completely false. And taman et yado batsalahat, "buried his hand in the dish," means that someone idles away his time. A translator faced with putting these idioms into another language such as English must be careful to find an equivalent idiom for each Hebrew expression. If he merely translates them word for word, he will not end up with English but Hebrew in English dress.


Roots of a language are important.:)

crawfish
Jul 31st 2008, 06:34 PM
Roots of a language are important.:)

Good post. The more you study the bible, the more you realize that the only thing simple about it is God's offer of grace. :)

Luke34
Aug 1st 2008, 05:48 AM
I sort of agree with the last couple of posts--I mean, obviously it's important to know the content and context if you're going to discuss a Bible passage, but that doesn't mean you should not consider others' opinions if they conflict with your reading, or assume that however you interpret the passage is necessarily correct. This especially holds true if the opinions you've sought are from people who can put the passage in a larger context than just "the whole chapter"--like Crawfish said, I think, historians/anthropologists/etc. may be able to put the passage into its correct historic/social context, and Ancient Greek/Hebrew linguists can explain the particular connotations or social implications of a word in their respective languages of expertise. To reject these experts' opinions because your reading of a Bible passage per se clashes with them is, at best, stubborn and rather proud. I know this situation isn't neccessarily what the OP meant to imply, but saying "The Bible itself is the best commentary on the Bible" rather suggests it. Although I realize that quote sounds nice, it is absolutely meaningless and useless: Except I guess in post-modern or meta-textual literature, a passage of writing cannot comment upon itself, at least taking any sensible and useful definition of the word "comment." And just because one accepts the Bible as the word of God does not by any means indicate that all human interpretations of it are somehow reductive instead of explanatory. If a reader has read a Bible passage thoroughly and does not understand it, I cannot imagine how "read the Bible" counts as a sensible and helpful solution, as opposed to e.g. consulting a commentary on the passage written by experts which puts it in its proper context and/or explains any unclear expressions from a linguistic point of view.

th1bill
Aug 1st 2008, 06:09 AM
i appreciate what you are saying but is it not the case that individuals can interpret scripture differently? you may have a different understanding of scripture to that of someone else?
... That is the problem in a nut shell. When we, as individuals, begin to determine what God has said we are in very grave danger. That is the one thing that Satan has used so effectively for the past 6,000 years. The only way I know to avoid that trap is to allow scripture to interpret itself. Actually, when it is all boiled down to te core of the matter there is no better commentary on the Bible than the Bible itself. After all, God wrote the entire book and there is no finite man or woman that can ever completely understand the Infinite God of the Bible.
... Now, here's the hitch, every scripture in the Bible relates to every other scripture. Without spending fifteen to twenty minutes a day in the scriptures you cannot become familiar and remain that way, with the scriptures to understand them. In fifteen to twenty minutes a day one can read the Bible through and should do so every year.

threebigrocks
Aug 1st 2008, 06:11 AM
I really do hate it but like all men I'm prone to wander. I did that recently and I did not pay attention to the Spirit and I made a really bad mistake as a result of that, right here on this forum.

I would suggest to any of you that love the Word of God to download an mp3 copy of the scriptures from firefighters.org and you can study the Word of God just as it was in the beginning, orally. I just finished designing a set of disks (2) and have printed them with Lightscribe labeling so that theey will play on the new radio/CD players without hanging up. My pastor has the first two disks, the Old and the New Testaments, checking them out for a possible church give away. The KJV only folks will even approve because it is the KJV. It's much clearer when you here it instead of reading it.

May I suggest that when you can - follow along with the written Word. ;) It's great to listen to scripture like that, I've done a lot of it myself especially when driving. But to read along - best "book on CD" you will ever hear!! Things catch your ear in a way that they don't catch your eye. Give it a whirl!

th1bill
Aug 1st 2008, 06:13 AM
Context is a great tool for understanding scripture. Too many times you'll see someone quote a passage ("I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me") for a purpose that takes it outside or beyond its context. However, context is hardly the only tool necessary to fully understand some scripture:

1) Parallel passages. Many bibles include these, which take you to passages with the same basic message.

2) Cultural context. Too many times, we assume our culture's built-in biases when reading scripture. For instance, Romans 3:16: "Because you are not hot or cold, I will spew you from my mouth". We see hot and cold as opposites, and thus, we tend to see Christ meaning "good or evil" by the terms. However, the truth is that the passage is talking about unpurified water (as the culture would have), and cold/hot water have the same property: purity. Lukewarm water is stagnant, bacteria-ridden and potentially dangerous to drink. In the proper context, "hot/cold" is the opposite of lukewarm - pure vs. impure.

3) Exegesis vs. eisegesis. We should be reading meaning out of the scriptures, not reading meaning into them. It is possible to justify all sorts of theologies by assuming their truth and finding biblical support; such a view rarely takes context or any other solid interpretive methods properly.

4) Ambiguity. We often have a hard time with this; we want God to be absolutely clear on something, but the bible doesn't make it absolutely clear. The wrong thing to do is to try and "fill in" the missing pieces; God uses ambiguity the same way He uses clarity; for His purposes. If God is ambiguous on a topic, then don't be dogmatic about it.

5) Genre. There are mutiple genres in scripture: narrative, poetry, song, wisdom, prophecy, etc. It is important to read each genre in an appropriate way. For instance, it would be wrong to read Proverbs in the same way you read Leviticus; the former are guides, the latter are laws. Don't read Isaiah the same way you would read Judges.
Excellent post.

StevenC
Aug 2nd 2008, 01:55 AM
... That is the problem in a nut shell. When we, as individuals, begin to determine what God has said we are in very grave danger. That is the one thing that Satan has used so effectively for the past 6,000 years. The only way I know to avoid that trap is to allow scripture to interpret itself. Actually, when it is all boiled down to te core of the matter there is no better commentary on the Bible than the Bible itself. After all, God wrote the entire book and there is no finite man or woman that can ever completely understand the Infinite God of the Bible.
... Now, here's the hitch, every scripture in the Bible relates to every other scripture. Without spending fifteen to twenty minutes a day in the scriptures you cannot become familiar and remain that way, with the scriptures to understand them. In fifteen to twenty minutes a day one can read the Bible through and should do so every year.

Hello Bill,

Lately I have been contemplating my own beliefs, in particular, whether my interpretations are based on my own desire or whether it actually says what it think it says. To be honest, I must admit failure. The only thing I have concluded with any certainty is that I cannot trust my own interpretations anymore than I can trust anyone else's and that I have to be on guard against myself. The thing that bothers me the most, is the only person I have to worry about getting it wrong is myself. (I am not referring to core beliefs like belief that Jesus is the Son of God, but rather less important doctrines.)

It seems like you are saying that we should be able to be certain of our own interpretations.

-Steven

th1bill
Aug 2nd 2008, 04:07 AM
Hello Bill,

Lately I have been contemplating my own beliefs, in particular, whether my interpretations are based on my own desire or whether it actually says what it think it says. To be honest, I must admit failure. The only thing I have concluded with any certainty is that I cannot trust my own interpretations anymore than I can trust anyone else's and that I have to be on guard against myself. The thing that bothers me the most, is the only person I have to worry about getting it wrong is myself. (I am not referring to core beliefs like belief that Jesus is the Son of God, but rather less important doctrines.)

It seems like you are saying that we should be able to be certain of our own interpretations.

-Steven
Steven,
... Coming at you blind is a very risky thing to do but I'll try to remain general and give you the best answer I can with no knowledge of your spiritual walk. What I will do is give you the short version of my trip.
... The moment the Spirit of God overcame me I knew that I was different. I not only felt the presence of the Spirit of God, even the trees looked more beautiful. I had read some portions of scripture that made sense to me but there was the bulk of it that made no sense at all because I found no logic there. When I read those same sections after that night, everything the words had to say fit together perfectly with the rest of the Bible. When the Spirit of God took over my life I literally became a servant of God and He opened the scriptures up to me.
... As I've stated, I know nothing of your walk but there seem to be a couple of courses of action you might consider. I'm going to breeze past the first and most obvious and assume that you made that profession of faith from the heart but without the full understanding of what God wants from you. The second would seem the more likely in this case anyway. You might need to prepare yourself to go forward during an alter call and rededicate your life to the service of the LORD.
... If there is anything you believe I can help with, please let me know, like all of God's servants, I'm a very public person and easy to reach.

StevenC
Aug 2nd 2008, 04:51 AM
... As I've stated, I know nothing of your walk but there seem to be a couple of courses of action you might consider. I'm going to breeze past the first and most obvious and assume that you made that profession of faith from the heart but without the full understanding of what God wants from you. The second would seem the more likely in this case anyway. You might need to prepare yourself to go forward during an alter call and rededicate your life to the service of the LORD.
... If there is anything you believe I can help with, please let me know, like all of God's servants, I'm a very public person and easy to reach.


Hello Bill,

I believe that I have received the Holy Spirit, when the Spirit came upon me I was convicted in the knowledge of my own sin. God has helped me in ways unimaginable to conquer the very worst of my sins. They occasionally and sneak up on me, but God always helps me through it.

I feel the promise of salvation upon me, I know that no one outside myself spiritual or physical can do me any harm unless the Lord wills it and I desire to submit to his will no matter what...

But then there are doctrines.. Sabbaths, foods, eternal punishment, everlasting destruction, end times events, etc. These things I am less certain about.. I would like to believe I know them and I know God has revealed things too me, but there are times where I wonder if I really know or if I have deceived myself.

I reason that people who are deceiving themselves couldn't possibly know that they were doing so (why would anyone knowingly do such a thing.) Because of this I don't even trust myself. I trust God, I trust his promises but I don't trust myself. And I guess it seems a little strange.. If it is not how a believer should be then I still don't know what that means.

Maybe it will pass. I don't feel that I walk in darkness right now, there are times when I backslide and I feel the darkness upon me, but not now. I am just uncertain of myself. I recently (3-4 days ago) re-dedicated myself to God through prayer, I mention this only because you mentioned it might be good doing so.

I recently read this:

Job 38:
14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not.
15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;
16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,
17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.

I know that I have a weakness for pride, even in the things that are rightfully God's, I have often felt that God doesn't talk to me [much] and maybe this scripture explains why. Could my uncertainty be a blessing to save me from the pride I might have in knowing God's truth?

Just a thought...

-Steven

th1bill
Aug 2nd 2008, 03:52 PM
Steven,
... One of the most treasured tasks that I have ever performed for the LORD is to follow the Great Commission. In leading folks to the foot of the cross, I prefer the Roman Road but when one has prayed that prayer I go immediately to 1 Jon. 5:13 and remind them to reread that passage at least once a week because as long as they live Satan will be their enemy and will do his best to neutralize them with doubt. I would venture to guess that this is exactly the circumstance you find yourself in at this moment.
... I believe that the best thing you can do is to involve yourself in a men's ministry that meets on a weekly basis, where Bible study and accountability are stressed.
... Because you say you have drifted back and forth I would suspect that you have tried to maintain close ties with people that are not of the Christian mind set. This will sound hoaky but it is so very true and extremely important. The human brain is like unto a very good computer. If top rate information is put into the machine it will produce top rate results but if it is programmed with third rate software it will always produce substandard results. If you are clinging to the world (I have no idea and you need not answer) then the world is influencing your thought processes and when you mix the truth with a false idea it is neither clear nor solid in color, it's just misty and difficult to define.
... A life example would serve well here and I'll draw from mine to illustrate. In Vietnam I was responsible for a tent full of men to teach them how to survive the mess we found ourselves in. As an E-5 I was just above them in the food chain, so as to speak. The very first thing I tought them was to ignore, as much as possible, the advise of Junior Officers because they did not know enough to keep themselves alive, that was my job also. Every day my men left my side and came directly under the command of these officers so the hardening had to be thorough. A couple of times a Leutenant thanked me for training a man to ignore stupid commands because that man had saved his life in the thick of it when they had been shot down. The moral? You live in this world but you must remember that you are not of this world, you are a child of God and God is just like your father when you were five years old. To the five year old son there is no greater person in the world than "his" dad.
... I have grown, in my walk, to the point that the Bumper Sticker I've seen says it all for me, "God said it, I believe it and that settles it!" You are included in my prayers Steven.