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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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His posts are either funny or challenging. He is very friendly and nice.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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This post contains nothing that is of any use to me. What were you thinking? Anyway, it's probably the best I've read all day.
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Daniel, nicely done and much more original than Frank the Turk.
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There are some people who are smart, deep, or funny. There are not very many people that are all 3. Daniel is one of those people. His opinion, insight and humor have kept me coming back to his blog since I first visited earlier this year.
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Tuesday, February 13, 2007
To The New Believer...
I recall watching two men battle one another in one of those arcade style games that involves hitting the right button + joystick combinations to make certain moves. The one fellow seemed to know every move you could make - I think he had them all memorized, yet as he pounced upon his foe, he used the same two or three techniques over and over again. He could have used any of the dozens he knew, but having known all the moves, he used the ones that over time he knew to work the best.

Now come with me into the wilderness for a moment. Here we see our Lord Jesus - not at the end of His ministry, but right at the very beginning - baptized only moments or perhaps days ago, he is here in the wilderness because that is where the Holy Spirit has sent Him - why? To be tested.

Now, when we think of testing, we tend to think of a pass or fail situation, but here the test is more like testing fine gold to demonstrate that it is pure. The test wasn't for God to see if Jesus was the Christ, I mean, God knew that - and Jesus knew it too, but here the validity of His own claim would be revealed to Himself through these temptations.

Now it is interesting that God spoke to Jesus out of the Heavens only days before, declaring audibly that He was God's Son. But the devil finds him out there in the wilderness starving, and what is the first temptation? =IF= you are the son of God, turn this stone into bread.

That is the devil's ace in the hole. He may have trillions of "moves" - but he knows which ones are the most effective, and he uses them immediately on the Christ. He doesn't ask Christ to doubt that there is a God, He wants Christ to doubt that He is God's son, to deny the reality of the spiritual (as opposed to water) baptism He just received. To question if what happened yesterday still applies today - to demand a sign to show that God is still there.

The new believer faces the same temptation and it comes from the same source. They give their life to Christ, but they are babes, they do not know how to deal with indwelling sin in their life, and their failure to be perfect now that they are saved puts them in a wilderness where the enemy comes to them with his polished game - Are you really a Christian? Did you really mean it? Why all this sin then? If you are a son of God, do a miracle or something, call out to God in prayer and see if he obeys your voice?

Brother, sister, if you are new in the Lord expect these temptations - if the enemy plied them against our Lord, they must be the best weapons in his arsenal, and you can expect to be attacked this way.

Don't demand of God "proof" of your salvation by way of miracles. The natural man cannot receive the things of the Spirit of God - know this, if you have a genuine desire to know God, it didn't come from your own heart - scripture makes it plain, no man comes to the Son unless the Father draws him. The very fact that God called you into His Son and you believed is a miracle - and it is sufficient for the temptations to doubt.

Consider this truth - God doesn't hold heaven above you and keep it unattainable - men come to Christ every day, and they come through faith - and when they do their guilt over residual sin makes them vulnerable to the temptations of the enemy - they are primed and ready to doubt the validity of their sonship - and that is when they are most sorely attacked by these temptations.

Only the Holy Spirit can assure you that you are in fact a child of God, I don't pretend to offer any assurance to you on that ground - but assurance is not a feeling that comes to you and wraps you in its arms so that you never doubt - assurance comes from the kind of trust that only God can generate. When we struggle in this area we find little assurance - that is why the apostle Peter writes the following:
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. - 2 Peter 1:5-9 [ESV]
Assurance comes when we recognize that the Holy Spirit really is inside us prompting us to obey God - since no unsaved person would every do that (the unsaved mindset cannot obey God).

So take some strength in this thought if you are a new believer and full of doubt - your Savior has walked this same road before you - He was tempted in every way (yes even tempted to believe that He was not God's Son), and this is the same Savior who Himself put you into His own body (the church), and in doing so became inseparably united with you through that spiritual baptism. God did it, not you - and you certainly cannot undo what God has done. Turn your eyes therefore to your Savior when you are in trouble and doubt. He is there, and you can talk to Him. Read His word, see His faith, and rest in it rather than your own power.

Go in grace, you are beloved of God.

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posted by Daniel @ 6:22 AM  
2 Comments:
  • At 12:50 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger Sewing said…

    Wow, this is excellent advice. It really is a whole new ballgame when one is newly saved. God has intervened in my life both before and even after salvation in unbelievable ways, and yet I still sometimes find niggling doubts creeping in. Apart from the support I receive through my church, it's been good to find a lot of Christian blogs and forums online where born again, saved believers hash out their doubts and questions in a supportive, exploratory way. Doubt itself can be healthy—it sharpens our faith, if we're of the right frame of mind. But left unmanaged—with no positive reassurance to assuage it—doubt is certainly one of the ways Satan tries to get control over the world. Yes, that positive reassurance doesn't have to come in the form of divine miracles—after all, many people doubted Moses and Jesus, even though they were God's agents for such miracles!—but it needs to at least come from understanding, sympathetic fellow Christians, who are doing God's work through their words and actions. This positive reassurance also has to be understanding—"Look, I understand that it makes no sense; why would the crucifixion of some guy 2000 years ago have any bearing on your life? But it does!" rather than "Why do you have any doubt? Jesus died on the cross for our sins—what is there to understand?" (This is kind of a straw man argument...I haven't had an experience like this myself, but I can see how some people might.)

    Sorry for the rambling comment, but it's probably shorter than the 27 comments on the "Vasectomies and Birth Control" post put together! ;)

     
  • At 3:59 PM, February 21, 2007, Blogger Daniel said…

    Sewing, welcome to my blog! I am glad that this post was of interest to someone.

    I hope you hang around and comment often.

    Dan
    <><

     
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