Relating to God: Recognizing the Trap of Symbolic Pain

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Humans are big on symbolism.  This means that much of what you do and say in life is an attempt to communicate messages that are quite unrelated to the things you’re actually doing and saying.  For example, when Holly hears her boyfriend Todd say he loves blondes, Holly goes out and bleaches her brown hair blonde.  She does this not because she wants to change her hair, but because she wants to keep a secure hold on Todd’s affection.  When she then asks him “Do you like my hair?” what’s she’s really asking is, “Have I gained more of your approval by adjusting myself to be a better match to your preferences?”  For Holly, dyeing her hair was a symbolic act that was meant to communicate to Todd how much his approval means to her and how much she wants him in her life. 

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Understanding the Love of God: The Five Versions of You

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Think about another human you know. In your relationship with that person, you actually have five identities which you are juggling. There’s who you think you are, there’s who you wish you could be, there’s who the other person thinks you are, there’s how you think the other person views you, and there’s who you actually are. This makes for one messy situation.

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Unlocking Divine Secrets: Understanding How Intimate Knowledge of God is Acquired

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There are two ways to approach trying to learn more about the Beings who created us.  Which approach you use will depend on how you view your access to the information you want.

If you want to know who someone’s biological parents are, what do you do?  You get on the internet and start digging for birth certificates.  When it comes to finding out information about humans, a lot of data is out in the open.  The person you want to know about can’t control how data about them is stored.  Maybe they don’t like the fact that so much information is considered “public record,” but they’re stuck with it.  As long as people are  broadcasting personal facts about others into public data streams, anyone can dip into that stream and sift out the data they want.  In this situation, that data is out in the open–you just have to find your way to it.  All that is required is perseverance on your part.  You don’t need permission from the person you’re researching before you can learn things about them.  Instead, you can go around them and find out things that they don’t even want you to know. Continue reading

Understanding Your Complete Loss of Faith: Great News for Devastated Christians

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One of the most thrilling moments in a serious Christian’s life is when he suddenly finds his great confidence in God crumbling to dust right in front of him.  As his faith melts away like ice cubes in a pot of boiling water, the Christian is left feeling completely helpless and unable to stop the erosion process.  In a horrifyingly short period of time, he goes from being totally confident about so many things to being in serious doubt about everything–even the reality of God.  Beliefs that used to have such a clear ring of truth suddenly sound so ludicrous that the Christian can’t talk himself into accepting them any longer.  His doubts become so intense and his faith so non-existent, that he feels he has no choice but to thrust the whole concept of God away from him and find some way to try and deal with the dark, meaningless existence that fills the place where his confidence once was.     Continue reading

Interpreting God: Recognizing Errors in Your Method

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Joe is a man who carries around a bag that is well-stocked with medical supplies.  Inside of his bag are all sorts of surgical tools, syringes, and drugs.  With the components in his bag, Joe could really help a lot of people.  But he could also use the same components to do horrible things to people.  Joe is well equipped to do great good, or great harm.  If Joe should set his bag down in your presence, open it up, and start selecting certain components, what would his intentions be?  Would he be planning to help you or hurt you?  Just looking at the specific items Joe pulls out of his bag won’t give you the answer to that question, because the same items can be used to accomplish drastically different goals.  Continue reading

Talking to God: Why is He being so cryptic?

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AUDIO VERSION: YouTube  Podbean

Suppose you have a best friend named Sam who lives next door to you.  You both work from home and the two of you are in a habit of sending humorous text messages to each other throughout the day.  Well, one day, there aren’t any text messages from Sam.  You wonder what’s wrong.  You send him a text asking if he’s alright.  There’s no answer.  You look out your window to see if Sam is home.  There he is: standing in front of an open window holding a mirror.  He’s using the mirror to catch the sunlight which he’s reflecting at you in strange bursts.  Well, that’s odd.  You send him another text, asking what he’s doing.  There’s no response.  You look out your window and see him once again pick up his mirror and start flashing bursts of sunlight at you.  What on earth is he doing?  You’re starting to get annoyed, but then you get distracted by a phone call which leads to more distractions, and by the time you’re thinking about Sam again, it’s dark outside.  You send him another text—one which makes your annoyance with his evasive behavior quite clear.  There’s still no response.  Aggravated, you march out of your house, cross over to Sam’s and knock loudly on the door.  Much to your irritation, Sam won’t open up.  Instead, he peeks out at you through the living room window.  Now he’s got a flashlight in his hand which he’s flashing at you in strange, rhythmic bursts.  You go over to the window and demand to know why he’s acting so weird.  He finally pulls a sticky note out of his pocket and slaps it on the window.  It says “Morse Code.”  Then he keeps flashing his light at you.

Now you suddenly realize that all of these irritating flashes are actually a code which you’re supposed to be deciphering.  Long, short, long, short, short.  Sam’s simulating the dots and dashes of Morse code. Well, that’s irritating.  You’ve never used Morse code before. Sure, you could research it on the internet and struggle to start deciphering Sam’s message, but what a hassle that would be.  And it’s all so utterly unnecessary when Sam could just pick up his phone and text you or open his door and talk to you face to face.  Well, Sam isn’t going to.  Sam is on this strange trip with Morse code and he’s just not going to talk to you any other way.  If you want to keep communicating with your friend, you’ve only got one choice: you’re going to have to start learning Morse. Continue reading