Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I remember cases in my own life when God caused circumstances to come together to make a point. When I had first come back to following God, I was considering chickening out and not going to a meeting I had been invited to because I felt if I was a Christian I would never have any fun. I was sitting eating in the cafeteria by my college dorm when a group of people I did not know sat down at my table. They were laughing and joking and having a good time, when I noticed one of them was wearing a large cross. I thought it was probably just a piece of jewelry, but I was encouraged to go to the meeting anyway. After the meeting the same group of people came up and said that they should have said something when they sat down at my table. I have had other such experiences, but I have also had cases where nothing seemed to come together and I had no idea where God was leading me. Circumstances are relevant, but they should not be made the final judge for determining God's will.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Scriptural answer is that we live in a fallen world that is under the judgment of God (Romans 8:18-23; Revelation 21:1-5; Genesis 3:16-19). Now this does not mean that those who suffer calamity are greater sinners then those who do not (John 9:1-3); we are to realize that we are just as worthy of judgment as they are (Luke 13:1-5). We are all sinners (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9), worthy of God's wrath (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3; Revelation 20:11-15). But God is gracious, bestowing on us good things in spite of our rebellion against Him (Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17; James 1:17) that we might be brought to repentance (Romans 2:4). But nonetheless, in a fallen world there will be exhibitions of God's judgment of sin. Now this does not negate the need to have compassion on those who are suffering. God calls us to consider the poor and afflicted (Psalms 12:5; Luke 1:51-53; James 5:1-6) and has acted to save us while we were His enemies (Romans 5:6-8; Colossians 2:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24,25). So I do not want in any way to advocate indifference to the pain of those who are suffering. But we should not ascribe helplessness to God.
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The traditional charismatic approach is to see this gift as God's dropping statements into our minds without any previous basis for such knowledge. I have no problem in principle with this; I have had it happen to me on occasion. (There are limitations of privacy that prevent me from describing the circumstances.) Others, trying to avoid a blatantly miraculous understanding of the gift, have seen it as a gift of working with knowledge.This would be the type of gift you might find, for instance, in a seminary professor . I do not violently object to this either. After all, seminary professors need gifts too. Might I suggest something in the middle that perhaps would incorporate the extremes? Could the idea be that God leads you to the knowledge He wants you to have? It could mean the knowledge coming totally out of nowhere. But it could also mean picking up just the right book or just the right article to answer something you needed to know, even if it was not what you went to the book or article for. Or God's bringing to mind the right thing to say at the right time. Now it should be noted that some knowledge is valuable even if you do not know where it comes from, while other knowledge is only useful if you know the source. I realize this is highly conjectural, but it seems to fit with my experience and the substance of the text.
Now the one thing it clearly does not mean is that we can trust every impulse or thought that runs through our mind as being from God. We are commanded to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:21).Nor should the word of knowledge be equated with full, inspired revelation; it is in the same verse as prophecy, and why would there be three different terms for the same thing? It also clearly does not mean a person will know everything they want to know. Even full-blown prophets are sometimes not told everything (2 Kings 4:27). But I do find this approach helpful in understanding these two gifts.