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Tom Durst
Sharing from my Spiritual Journey

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.”—Ecclesiastes 11:5 (ESV)

"The wind blows wherever it wants. Just as you can hear the wind but can’t tell where it comes from or where it is going, so you can’t explain how people are born of the Spirit.”—John 3:8 (NLT)

One of the worst possible mistakes that we could ever make is to try to reason out or explain the workings of God in our own life, in the life of some other person, or in the world in general.  To seek to understand the incomprehensible is actually a subtle ego trip.  It is sheer arrogance to limit God to any concepts that we may have.  The Spirit (wind, breath, life force) of God works in many ways, some of which appear really weird from a human standpoint.  There are many gifts in the body of Christ which bring encouragement, edification, and healing of body, soul, and spirit.  Being “born again” doesn’t always look the same for everyone.  Some folks have responded to evangelical altar calls and have truly found new life.  Others sit in Silence or simply read the Scriptures or some other spiritual writings and are transformed.  We need to remember that God is in the business of blessing people and meeting them wherever they may be.  We would do well to follow that pattern in the way we relate to everyone that we encounter.  While we should exercise discernment we need to be exceedingly careful that we don’t depreciate the workings of God through teachings or messengers that are outside of our “theological boxes.”  It is enough to keep each of us busy following the spiritual path that makes sense to us, that is fulfilling to us, and that empowers us to be the presence of healing and hope in a very needy world.  When it comes to the workings of God JUST GO WITH THE FLOW AND STOP TRYING TO EXPLAIN EVERYTHING.

My personal testimony of the goodness of God working in my own life is well expressed in this verse:  “Blessed be the Lord who has given rest to his people Israel, according to all that he promised. Not one word has failed of all his good promise, which he spoke by Moses his servant.”—1 Kings 8:56 (ESV)  God has been faithful and has met my needs all of these many years and I give Him all the praise and glory for that.

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Those of us who take the spiritual journey seriously need to be careful that we do not fall into the trap of a “works based” experience for such a path takes away joy and leads to great bondage.  I’ve seen a lot of very conscientious spiritual seekers who lived in fear and guilt, always worrying “whether they’re doing it right” and thus end up in self-condemnation.  Such a path can cause many physical, mental, and emotional problems.  In our Christian gospel we have Jesus Christ as our Savior and we are always covered with His perfect robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).  All of our devotions and acts of service service fall short of what we could be, should be, or would be.  Those who are “in Christ” are always righteous in the sight of our Heavenly Father.    Our spiritual disciplines are not done in any sense of the word to EARN God’s favor for we already have that in Jesus.  Our times of study and communion are in the sense of joyful fellowship and we should be careful not to judge them by how well we do them or how much time we spend.  We are to be guided by the Holy Spirit in these matters and each of us is completely unique and our devotional expressions are not to be patterned after those of even the greatest saints who’ve ever lived (Romans 8:14).  We do not live under law but totally under grace.  The writer below expresses it very clearly:

"It is grace at the beginning, and grace at the end. So that when you and I come to lie upon our death beds, the one thing that should comfort and help and strengthen us there is the thing that helped us in the beginning. Not what we have been, not what we have done, but the Grace of God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The Christian life starts with grace, it must continue with grace, it ends with grace. Grace wondrous grace. By the grace of God I am what I am. Yet not I, but the Grace of God which was with me."
- Martyn Lloyd-Jones


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"In those days Judah will be saved,
And Jerusalem will dwell safely.
And this is the name by which she will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”--Jeremiah 33:16 (NKJV)

Over all of these many years of study and prayer the topic that has always been the most important to me above all others is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.  I realize that my best works, diligent study, and prayer life fall far short of being perfect.  But in Jesus my Substitute I’m never under condemnation (Romans 8:1).  His perfect life stands for my life in the sight of God.  In Him I am the very righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Once the Holy Spirit reveals this wonderful truth to you life is filled with joy and peace even in the midst of challenges.  Focus on “the righteousness of God” that you are in Christ instead of on your faults, failures, and troubles.  In Him we are always MORE than conquerors (Romans 8:37).  I’ll be sharing more with you about this in subsequent posts.

"Because of Jesus’ finished work, God doesn’t leave you or condemn you even when you fail. And if God is always with you and for you, no evil that tries to stand against you can prevail!”—Joseph Prince


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"Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.”--Hebrews 10:19-22 (NKJV)

These verses have been one of my major anchor points now for well over 50 years.  We can have boldness to enter the Holiest (the very presence of God) solely because of what Jesus has done.  Notice the three provisions which include everything:  (1) By His shed blood.  He is the slain Lamb of God who shed His blood for the forgiveness of all our sins; (2) By His flesh or His perfect, sinless life which He lived on our behalf.  When we accept Him as Savior His perfect life is imputed (accounted) to us so that we are perfect in God’s sight;  (3) He is our High Priest ever living to make intercession for us.  Because of what Jesus has done in His finished work we now have boldness and assurance in our life and are cleansed from an evil conscience.  Instead of having an evil conscience now we have a “righteousness conscience” since in Him we are the very righteousness of God (see Isaiah 61:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21).  We need no longer live in guilt, worry, fear, or condemnation always wondering whether “we are doing it right.”  Praise His name for such a great salvation (see Hebrews 2:3).

"Our sins, when laid upon Christ, were yet personally ours, not His; so His righteousness, when put upon us, is yet personally His, not ours."--John Bunyan (the author of Pilgrim’s Progress)


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The book of Galatians was written to address the problem of Jewish converts trying to impose the Law of Moses on Gentile converts who had no background in Judaism.  These Judaizers were essentially saying that the gospel of Jesus Christ was sort of like a beginning point but to be a full Christian the Law of Moses (or at least parts of it) must be observed.  So it was "the gospel PLUS the Law.”  Paul used the strongest possible words and said that such a gospel of “PLUS something” was really NO gospel at all but “another gospel” or totally false gospel.  The Galatian problem is still very much with us today and has caused no end of alienation of people from not only organized churches but often from Christianity altogether.  The reasoning runs something like this, “We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ but now for you to be fully mature you must DO (or observe). . . .”   The list often includes some very good things and varies considerably according to the denomination or preferences of the pastor.  Sincere people often turn away with disgust from all of the “rules and regulations” and give up on fellowship and sometimes on faith.  Over my 65 years of church attendance I’ve seen this happen over and over again.  So many people have been trampled under foot by all of the many things that are added to the simple gospel of Jesus Christ.  We haven’t taken Paul nearly as seriously as we should when he said, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.”—1 Corinthians 2:2 ESV.  I encourage you to once again give Paul’s message to the Galatians your prayerful consideration.

"What is the grace of God? Simply put, the grace of God is God blessing, healing and delivering you because of Jesus. The grace of God is His unearned, unmerited and undeserved favor toward you simply because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross.”—Joseph Prince


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Most people are hammered by many issues and they need to be uplifted and encouraged in every possible way.  Thinking about and talking about morbid things will only multiply these very things in your own life.  I hear so many conversations about "getting old" and all of the issues people are expecting to have and thus they prophesy their own future.  Others talk a lot about their doctoring, drugs, and surgeries they are planning to have.  At times it seems they eagerly anticipate these surgeries.  During a political season there are many people bashing one another and endless conspiracy theories in circulation.  Remember that we can be snared by the words of our mouth (see Proverbs 6:2).  The tongue can indeed be an instrument of life or death (see Proverbs 18:21).  Please use it to bring LIFE to the world that needs a Word of Life more than anything else.  It is so very important to draw near to God continually in order to be protected from the hypnotism of the masses that keeps them in bondage.  Jesus came to bring an abundant life and His children are privileged to partake of such a life (see John 10:10).  Read Philippians 4:8 in your own Bible and put into practice what it says.  You will avoid a lot of suffering by so doing.


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"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.”--1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (ESV)

These verses follow a lengthy discussion of spiritual gifts and their proper use in the church.  Lest people somehow lose perspective Paul gives a very succinct summary of what the gospel is all about and reminds them that this is “of first importance.”  We need the exact same reminder today when most of spirituality and religion is drowning in a sea of subjective experiences, rules and regulations, forms and ceremonies, and methods and techniques of many varieties.  The Christian gospel is not about any of these things.   Telling people to “do this” and “do that” is not the gospel.  The gospel is about something that is DONE, not about something to DO.  The gospel is good news, not good advice.  In Jesus Christ we have ALL blessings (see Ephesians 1-3 and Colossians 1-2 especially).  When Jesus said, “It is finished” on the cross He meant that the gates of Heaven itself were opened wide for those who truly believe in their heart in that finished work (see Romans 10:5-13).  Every blessing, whether temporal or spiritual, comes to us stamped with the cross of Christ.  We must never lose sight of that for it is the very foundation of our Christian faith (see Acts 4:12; 1 Corinthians 3:11).  I invite my friends to look up all of these verses in your own Bible and once again remind yourself of the absolute centrality of what CHRIST HAS DONE for our redemption.

"What is the grace of God? Simply put, the grace of God is God blessing, healing and delivering you because of Jesus. The grace of God is His unearned, unmerited and undeserved favor toward you simply because of Jesus’ finished work at the cross.”—Joseph Prince


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The Bible many times speaks of God as the Creator of the heavens and the earth, the one Who is above all, through all, and in all (see Ephesians 4:6).  Christ dwells in the hearts of His children through the Holy Spirit.  This is a mystery that can be experienced but not explained.  I believe that trying to overly explain the workings of God in our hearts and lives can do more harm than good.  Paul calls the experience of Christ indwelling a mystery and we need to accept that and just rejoice in the fact that we have a Savior Who indwells believers (see Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27, 28; 3:16).  The mystics have emphasized the indwelling Spirit sometimes to the point of seeming to deny that there is a Creator God outside of us that is to be worshipped (see Revelation 14:6-7).  I’ve learned some good devotional practices from the mystics for which I’m very grateful but at a certain point have had to part company with some of them because it seems in some cases they are denying even the need for a savior who is outside of our own inner being.  I have recently read some things online that I find quite alarming which seem to be saying that there is no God outside of us to worship or pray to.  The emphasis on the indwelling Spirit to the exclusion of a Creator God who dwells in light unapproachable can lead to an experience that borders on self-worship (see 1 Timothy 6:16).  I highly recommend that you carefully study Ephesians 1-3 and Colossians 1-2.  We have a Savior, Jesus the Son of God, who came to this earth and took upon Himself our humanity that we might be redeemed from this nightmare of sin, sickness, and death (see Philippians 2:5-11).  I choose to put my faith in this Savior rather than depending upon my own human resources or those of others.   Please look up all of the Bible passages I refer to above and give them very prayerful consideration.


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"O Lord, I know that the path of [life of] a man is not in himself; It is not within [the limited ability of] man [even one at his best] to choose and direct his steps [in life].”--Jeremiah 10:23 (AMP)

"The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?”--Jeremiah 17:9 (ESV)

None of the philosophies, behavioral sciences, or religions that do not accept the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ have any logical explanation for the perversity and outright insanity of human behavior.  Humanly speaking there is NO WAY of understanding the terrible things that are done by people.  “Who can understand it?”  No one can understand it apart from the clear teaching of the Scriptures about the nature of man and the potential for evil that is there.  “Deceitful above all things” and “desperately sick” are very strong words indeed but ABSOLUTELY 100% ACCURATE.  We see their truthfulness playing out before us everyday.  Genesis 1-11 tells us exactly why we are where we are in our deeply troubled and conflicted world.  I accept this record as inspired and historically accurate.  We do not have this clear teaching anywhere else except in the Scriptures.  A part of that Genesis record includes the promise of a Savior which was fulfilled in the mission of Jesus Christ (see Genesis 3:15; John 17:4; 19:30).  I thank God for the clarity that we have in the Bible about the root problem of evil and also for the plan of redemption.  Merely acknowledging these facts without actually experiencing the resurrection power of Jesus in our lives will not be sufficient to save us from the deceptions that engulf an unbelieving world.  Let us draw nearer to our Savior with every passing day (Hebrews 10:19-22; James 4:8).


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"And we also thank God continually for this, that when you received the word of God [concerning salvation] which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of [mere] men, but as it truly is, the word of God, which is effectually at work in you who believe [exercising its inherent, supernatural power in those of faith].”—1 Thessalonians 2:13 (AMP)

"For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”--Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

I believe with ALL of my heart that the Word of God as found in the Bible is far more powerful than we could ever even begin to imagine.  The enemy has been largely successful in getting people to either neglect, misuse, or reject the Bible altogether.  On one hand some scholars have been undermining confidence in the historicity and power of the Bible for a very long time.  On the other hand we have fundamentalists who claim to believe in the Bible who mostly are very ignorant of it in every regard.  These folks often use the Bible as a weapon against others and to support their judgmental and self-righteous spirit.  Thus they turn many thinking people away from the Christian faith altogether.  The Bible writers wrote under the inspiration and enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and when we prayerfully study these writings we are partaking of that very Spirit that inspired the writers. Think about that!!!  I believe that when God’s children really study and pray over the Scriptures they will begin to know freedom in Christ from popular bondages and experience true healing power. 

One thing that I’ve found so very helpful is using several Bible translations.  This brings out precious insights that I sometimes miss by only reading one version.  I highly recommend that Bible students use contemporary translations and compare them on any given verse or passage.  Some that I’ve been finding so very helpful recently are:  English Standard Version, New Living Translation, The Message, New King James Version, Good News Translation, and Amplified.  Mere casual reading will not be adequate (see Proverbs 4:20-22).

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