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How do we know what we know, and what is faith all about

What do you mean when you say you trust God?

Postby Hey Potato » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:18 pm

When you say you "trust God", what are you trusting Him to actually do?

Do you expect God to intervene in your life? Does He intervene? What does he do?
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Re: What do you mean when you say you trust God?

Postby jimwalton » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:32 pm

To me, trust is belief, but it’s also knowledge, and it’s the love relationship itself. When we trust God, we are acknowledging before Him that we don’t know what the next minute will bring. Our ways, our thoughts, our intuitions, and preferences, have to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12.2). We have enough knowledge about His character and His ways that we can trust in him rather than ourselves. To trust God implies that we will not trust our own resources. We know who we are in Him and where we stand. We are open to his power and wisdom, and we know that He always treats his children with love.

Do I expect God to intervene in my life? Of course, and He does.

> What does he do?

1. When I was jobless, people showed up at my door with food. I had been praying, but didn't tell anyone.
2. Then my car died (oh great, I'm jobless!). I prayed. Somebody showed up at my door (no joke) and offered me their car at 1/3 of the price (which is about all the money I had to spend on a car. i didn't know how I was going to get one at that price). So WEIRD!
3. I couldn't get a job in my field despite an AWESOME resume and experiences. Sent out 80 resumes without a single interview (ouch). I was praying People started encouraging me to go in a different direction (that I didn't want to go in). I finally went in that direction despite not wanting to. It worked out FANTASTIC. I NEVER would have gone in this direction if any of those jobs opened up.
4. Sometimes I need guidance about what to do. I feel so stupid and clueless sometimes. But in the middle of the night, it's clear to me, and it works out well. I can easily interpret that God is helping me when I can't help myself.

I pray all the time. God takes care of me. We have food on the table, gas in the car, and guidance for life. We work through our difficulties, trying to learn to think how God thinks rather than how I would naturally and normally think. I have learned to recognize where He is at work and when He is putting thoughts in my head (always check that stuff, though. How many atrocities have been committed by people saying, "God told me so!" Yow.) We pray about health situations, relationships, decisions—everything. By putting my head in thoughts about God all day, and by mulling over what the Bible says all day, it's absolutely amazing what works out and what happens. I am staggered over and over. Lots of times I don't even ask specifically, not trusting my own thoughts, desires, or intuitions. I just talk to God about the situation and trust Him to work it out. And He does. This is not to imply it's all happy and fun. My daughter just went through a lousy divorce, but God held her up and helped her through it. We could see places that were just coincidences too weird to be coincidences. We have learned to trust God in all things.
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Re: What do you mean when you say you trust God?

Postby Hey Potato » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:27 pm

Thanks for that.

One more question, I think: what were your original reasons for believing, before you'd seen any of those supracoincidental "coincidences"?
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Re: What do you mean when you say you trust God?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Jul 12, 2018 1:37 pm

I was raised as a Christian, and taught about God from my earliest years. There were several times during adolescence and my 20s when I wrestled hard with the truth of it and my choice to believe. I came to the conclusion in those days because it made so much sense of life, sense of the world, seemed to portray existence in common with reality, described life with accuracy, and the evidence for the resurrection made sense to me, so I continued with Christianity.

About 12 years ago I went through a horrifyingly dark time in life: deep depression, got terrifyingly close to suicide, anger at God, frustration with prayer, wrestling with the Bible. I was very close to walking away from Christianity. What I couldn't get around was the evidence for the resurrection. As I continued to scream, cry, search, pray, read, and struggle, many things came clear to me. I continued with Christianity.

It was only after that time, say, in the past 10 years, that I've had this kind of prayer life, this kind of relationship with God, and the depth of understanding that I now have. Since then I have dived headlong and almost recklessly into reading all kinds of philosophy, science, and theology books, investigating other religions more thoroughly, interacting on forums like this, and journaling my experiences. My reasons for believing now are that I'm thoroughly convinced that the case for the existence of God is far stronger than the case against, the rationale for a creator is far more plausible than that of sheer natural processes, my study of the Bible makes me respect it more and more every day no matter how deep I go, my conversations on a forum like this cement my decisions in every more firmly as I interact with people who believe differently, and my experiences in life have confirmed my decisions to love Jesus, worship YHWH, honor the Bible, and live for Christ.
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Re: What do you mean when you say you trust God?

Postby Hey Potato » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:19 pm

Thanks for your answers, they're helpful to me.

> the case for the existence of God is far stronger than the case against, the rationale for a creator is far more plausible than that of sheer natural processes, my study of the Bible makes me respect it more and more every day no matter how deep I go

If you had to pick the most "knock-down convincing" apologetic to present to an audience of skeptics, what would it be?
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Re: What do you mean when you say you trust God?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:13 pm

The arguments, while good, don't stand above each other. They are most effective cumulatively. Any argument can be knocked down. I think each of them is strong, but when I post them on this forum, what happens is (1) people argue against them, despite their strength, despite (2) they don't have a stronger argument to offer. Arguments don't win the day.

I read "God and Other Minds" by Alvin Plantinga. He thinks the strongest argument is the teleological one. I've listened to debates about the existence of God by William Lane Craig. He offers five arguments against Christopher Hitchens to press his case. Hitchens has no stronger arguments in rebuttal, but he still doesn't accept Craig's case.

So I have to go with the total package: the collected arguments, the reliability of the Bible, the resurrection of Jesus, my experiences, evidences from science (theism poses a stronger case than naturalism), and the testimony of others. Taken all together, they provide a formidable case for the truth of Christianity. Isolate them, and each one becomes a target. And even though each one still has quite a bit of strength, none of them has ever won the day on this forum. People take scornful potshots even though their arguments are far weaker in comparison.


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