Promises and Secrets
A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.
What do you do in the dry times? You know, those times when it seems like everyone around you is going their own way, it seems like your prayers are just like shouts into a strong wind, you feel like just sitting down and letting the world go on its merry way. And sometimes, you know that He is there, but no one seems to be listening to Him.
Sometimes it seems that God is not near.
What do you think?
Does it ever seem like God is just not listening?
No, not the times that you didn't get the new car you wanted, or you didn't win the lottery. You know, when no matter how hard it seems like you study and try to do the right thing, spread the Gospel, find and talk about the truth, it always seems like everyone thinks you are the problem. No, this is not just complaining because things are not going right just right now. Let's try it this way.
Say you look outside and see your neighbor trying to fix a flat on his car. He has a block of wood sitting next to the car and is grabbing the inside of the fender with his hands trying to lift the car high enough to kick the block under it so he can change the tire. Like a good neighbor, you go over and ask if you can help. "Sure", he says, and moves over so you can get a grip on the fender. When you came over, you brought your jack with you, so you suggest using it rather than hurting your back and his, to make the job easier.
Just trying to help
Now, there are several reactions you can expect from your neighbor. First, he can say something like, "No thanks, I always do it this way. It's the way my Dad did it, and it's good enough for me. Sometimes it takes several days, but I get the job done, eventually." Or, you might expect him to say, "Wow, that's a good idea. I've never tried that before! How does it work?" And 10 minutes later, the tire is changed, your neighbor is happy, and you feel good about helping him.
Now, a week later, you see that same neighbor again out fixing the same flat tire. You grab your jack and go out to help. This time he sees you coming and says, "Oh, no you don't. Get that thing out of here. Look what happened when I did it your way. It's flat again! Go away!"
As hard as it sounds, many people in this world are a lot like that neighbor. They live their lives in the way they learned from their parents, and have not grown - even when someone shows them an easier way that accomplishes more in a short time and allows them to get more done in less time. This neighbor's problem was a lack of education as well as a limited understanding of the real world. His education was limited in how the world works physically, so he could not find a better way to accomplish common tasks like lifting the car. His limited understanding of the real world prevented him from seeing that the jack did not cause the second flat. His limited view allows him only a small portion of the real world in which to operate, but something is also holding him back from the education and experience he needs.
Now, how does this pertain to the questions I asked up front about God? Throughout history, God has spoken to men. Sometimes this was directly as He did with Adam, Abraham, and Moses. Usually, it was through His word which was given to men and written down for the rest of us. Why didn't He just talk to us directly? Who knows for sure? That didn't work out too well for the Israelites (Exodus 20:18-21
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die."
20 Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning."
21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was.
), so He spoke to Moses and he wrote it all down.
The people wanted to know what God said, but they wanted someone to tell them what it was so they would not be responsible for its accuracy. That works fine when the spoken word of God matches what the people are told by the designated man. The trouble with current times is that, no matter how clear the word of God is written, the modern designated men (pastors) modify the meaning of God's word to fit what they think the people want to hear, often so that they will keep bringing their money to the church.
"How can you say that?"
Cynical? Maybe. Honest? Yes. You can point out accurate words of statements in the Bible, and everyone will argue about what it really means, even when the meaning is absolutely clear. Worse, you can read a clear black and white statement in the Bible, and the pastors of different churches will give different, often opposing, meanings to the same statement. In fact, the purpose of this page is to express my frustration with the obvious resistance to the real word.
No matter how clear the help is, remember the neighbor and the jack, the resistance returns when anyone compares notes with other people from their old belief structure. Not because they find the new information in error, but because people just cannot believe with any real faith that God would hold them to His rules. The truth requires faith in a real God, with real rules and expectations. In fact, if you suggest that anyone is required to do anything but emote, mush, and "love", you are called evil, mean, pushy, ornery, deceitful, stupid, calculating, and any other word designed to get you to shut up and stop telling the truth. Truth has been redefined to the point where each person can have a truth of their own that doesn't have to match any other truth.
How many Gods are there?
What does this do to belief in One True God? Each person's God seems to be different from another person's God, yet everyone can still say they believe in God. In fact, have you ever heard anyone say something like, "My God would never send anyone to Hell!"? Most people actually believe this, even though it's very likely that they would not want to live in a "Heaven" where everyone is "qualified" by a total lack of rules, no matter what they say they believe. Others say "My God wants everyone to speak in tongues, or else!" when even Paul doesn't go that far.
So, I am frustrated. I listen to God, read His word, repeat His message, and am told to shut up by most who won't even look at the evidence. Of course, everyone else claims to do the same, except for the "Shut up!" part. Yet, when you can point out the differences between what they do and what God asks of people, they deny it while they see it right there in front of them. It's getting old trying to communicate the plan that almost no one else follows, even when they can clearly see that God wants them to, but that's not how they learned things. No one else at their church does that, so it must be wrong...
So, now what?
So, what now? Do we take to not discussing any topic on the "edge"? Even my wife was ecstatic that I no longer said anything when she went to mass. She seems to think that since they have a mass on the Sabbath at 9:00 AM, I should realize that the Catholic church is trying to cross the bridge between true Biblical worship and their daily image-based, paganistic, man-centered, man interceding for Christ (the priests), martyr for every day of the year type of worship. Having a mass on the Sabbath is not the same as keeping the Sabbath. Sabbath is a holy day set apart (sanctified) weekly by God for our rest. But, I say nothing any more (because it doesn't help anyway), and at least that is keeping our marriage more stable. I just feel like I am sacrificing obedience to God for a stable marriage. That is wrong. I call it "Dry Times."
This year (2017), my wife found out about a new Bible published in September of 2016. We ordered one and used it during our daily Bible studies and reading. One day, about two weeks later, she said out loud, "I'm starting to see what you have been talking about. It makes much more sense when you read it in this Bible." Halleluiah!
Since then, we have ordered five more copies of the Complete Jewish Study Bible for our friends and family. It is written from the perspective of those who wrote the original documents (Jews) and the meaning of the passages becomes infinitely more clear than the typical versions on the market (NIV, KJB, NASB, NLT, etc). Since then, my wife has voluntarily stopped attending the Catholic mass, and even the Protestant/Methodist church we attended for a couple of years. But now, she knows exactly why.
I have to say that I am somewhat less frustrated now, and a little refreshing rain has begun to fall into our lives to ease the "Dry Times" I was experiencing. I am still told to "shut up" by some, but at least I know that when someone actually applies the Truth, they can discover what we have found.
The secret? Hang in there and keep praying, reading and studying
So what is the secret to making it through the Dry Times? Even though the discussions fell off, we kept abiding in the word of God. We read daily and kept our minds and hearts open to input from God. In this case, He pointed us to a source of input that better explained what He seems to be trying to tell the people of earth. Are we special people? - NO. What we learned is to stay close to Him and He will guide us in all truth. Where have I heard that before? (John 16:13
But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.
I think I am only afraid of one question when standing before the Lord - "Why didn't you tell them My truth?" Not staying close to Him will put me in jeopardy during that confrontation. At least I can say to Him that I have tried to stay close and it seems to have worked. But, how do you know if that is good enough by His standards? All we can do is keep studying. We must all practice what we truly believe is what He commands us, all the while keeping in mind Matthew 24:12
Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
. Anyone not paying attention can be deceived. Believing is good, but what we believe must be true and from Him.
Your love can be strong, but if it is love for something that is not true or is only mostly true, then you may wind up on the outside looking in. Remember what happened to a full half of the ten virgins who thought they were ready. Not our will but His be done.
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