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Inset for Part III, The Lord vs. Satan: SupCtHeaven; aka, the Trial of Human History.. aka, Did God err?
God's Script: NOW

Intra-page Links: [Tips to Maximize Spiritual Learning, Bema Blessing ]        [Tips to Maximize Spiritual 'Dung', Bema Burning ]

Tips To Maximize Your Daily Spiritual Life

Basically, the DAILY spiritual life IS using the steps in the section, "1Jn outlines God's Script" of Part I. The "God's System" link at pagetop gives you a short-yet-comprehensive overview to complement what Part I says. Additionally, if you are truly serious about learning God -- and don't do this UNLESS it's HIM Who interests you -- the tips below will make learning Him most profitable:

  1. The key to rapid growth is to learn to habitually MONITOR your thinking. Create two habits: first, use 1Jn1:9 like breathing. Chances are you are sinning and don't know it, for there are a bizillion ways to sin, now. So, whenever something bothers you, or you're feeling a tad cocky, learn to "associate" that feeling with using 1Jn1:9. BIG HINT: whatever 'sins' to which you react, those are the ones which YOU are sinning, too. Paul showed this point to his audience in Romans 2, when he said, "Do you steal?" See, they were reacting to thieves, but they were stealing the WORD from its rightful place in their lives! Another Dramatic Example: Moral degeneracy reacts against immorality because the moral degenerate is FORNICATING with idolized works! (See the Lord's comments about the Pharisees. Isaiah has some scathing sermons on this topic, passim. Paul does, too, in Galatians. See also "whose god is their emotion" clause in Philippians 3.)

      Maybe make a cassette tape you can play to awaken you with 1Jn1:9 reminders, and for others you find helpful. Also, I use 1Jn1:9 before saying grace -- every time I put something in my mouth. So, physical food is associated now with Divine Food, heh: I got that idea from Matt4:4. Maybe that habit will help you, too -- you decide.

      Another great monitoring device: PRAY as often as you can, in your thoughts. Prayer has many "offices": it's 'conversation', for God always 'replies' so you can learn more about His Son; it's a Crown Prince (YOU) expressing his Royal Voting (Opinion, request) Prerogative to the Father (cf Rom5:1); best of all, it's AWARENESS of Him, and that AWARENESS will shield you from temptation (because temptation becomes ever-more-boring compared to looking at Him). So, of course there's a ROYAL PROTOCOL for it: all prayer is addressed to the Father, just as Christ does in John 17; because we are bought by Christ, we pray IN THE NAME OF Christ; of course, be online using 1Jn1:9 during the prayer, and make sure what you ask lines up with doctrine. This protocol is due to the fact that we are "boldly before the Throne of Grace" so it's also a celebration, besides the proper recognition of authority. Christ did nothing apart from the Father's Will on it, so of course we shouldn't, either. Hence the protocol. Caution: If you ask for something you shouldn't, God might just give it to you to show you WHY it's no good! For, prayer is truly a weapon, truly effective, and as we saw in Corollary 3C, YOU have authority, too! It's the Royal authority and Royal intimacy the Lord bought for us which constitute the heart of the meaning of prayer. See, we are ROYAL Priests UNDER the Lord. We are thus given TREMENDOUS power. Use it wisely: and the only way to learn how to use it wisely, is to practice with REAL prayer, while online with the Spirit!

      Study the John 17 prayer carefully. Note both structure and tone: analytical, tracing the INTEGRITY of the doctrinal bases through to their conclusions; intimate; confident; succinct; thorough. Note how He's not saying some set prayer (the inane bane of religion), but is actually THINKING. Note how the Lord's Requests aim at uppermost goals, rather than specific mechanics. Note how ORDERED His Thought process is, and how He doesn't use flowery words or empty phrases ("pray not as the Gentiles do, with their many words", He'd told the disciples). Note also how He's not shy about saying what He wants; note how His statements have the form of acknowledgement, HONOR. See, God needs no chanting, Uriah Heeps!

    Second, "Baptise" (associate) whatever you see, hear, or think with something you know of Christ, of God, of the Bible. Make it a game, the way Christ did! For, such "baptising" is thoroughly enjoyable. With practice, DOCTRINAL ASSOCIATION BECOMES A NUCLEAR WEAPON against sin, as well as FOR more joy than you can imagine. This habit is the ultimate goal for all thoughts, the way to bring them into captivity to Christ. It is this habit which sustained Christ on the Cross, and thus enabled Him TO THINK DIVINELY, so to pay for our sins. For every thought, there will be a verse, or a doctrine "ruling" on it. Heh, God's Opinion! So you're "hearing" Him! Okay, How right is the thought? How wrong is it? What to do with it? Remember the 1st Commandment: God the Father hears each thought you think: will He be pleased? Will the Spirit groan at your thinking too much about "earthly things"? So, how to exploit, rule on that thought? See? YOU'RE RULING! And They hear you! Granted, it's extremely difficult to do, this association, but you'll grow to LOVE it: promise. Also, your spiritual life depends on this habit being developed. So, begin now, with whatever doctrine you know. Play with it, have a good time!

      Don't worry if you believe something incorrectly, when you associate. Don't become "anal" (abbreviation for a psychiatric term), quibbling over how you messed up. No athlete starts out competent. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE. (I like to think of this as spiritual racquetball -- you substitute your favorite sport, heh.) Start small, if this task seems too daunting. You don't have to get it "right" overnight. Practice a little more, try to keep it a game. (God means for this to become enjoyable, so don't grit your teeth.) For example, start by just being AWARE of what you are thinking, what motivates you. Not all thoughts which "hit" are really yours, but are picked up from outside of you (i.e., from news, your body, others). So don't fret over what might seem a bad thought. Attempt to use 1Jn1:9 as often as possible -- that will help develop your awareness. It will keep you on-line with the Spirit, too, which is essential. If you don't stay on-line, you're Satan fodder. Count on it. Satan&Co. are sending you thoughts all the time. So you NEED the protection 1Jn1:9 affords.

  2. Try to keep an open mind to any doctrine you hear, and learn under the Spirit (1Jn1:9, a frequent habit). Even a "wrong" doctrine will yield added insight regarding 'correct' ones you've already learned. You'll be pleasantly surprised. So, you don't have to feel threatened by any falsehood you might hear. Try to figure out how that falsehood is created: what verse is used, what's the logic behind the interpretation? It's very profitable. You don't need to 'protect' yourself. Of course, you might find out that what you thought was a falsehood, proves true after all. Ahhh, then you REALLY profit, big-time. That's what God's Plan in Christ is all about: "the Riches" verses.

      If you are still under the authority of your parents, and they insist you learn under their choice of pastor, then that's what God wants, too -- for now. It doesn't matter if that pastor seems (or even is) wrong. If you are no longer under the authority of your parents, find a pastor-teacher (God will show you who He's appointed for you). Study under him, if possible, daily (no more than an hour, lest you burn out). Don't worry too much about where your pastor might be wrong, or right. In the early stages, being under authority does you the greater good, in God's hierarchy of values. Just as it didn't matter that your parents weren't perfect, so also it doesn't matter that your pastor isn't perfect. Nor, of course, does it matter that you aren't perfect.

      Any errors will be shown to you as time passes: God "waits" until you are ready to get the correction. He's VERY good at making a correction clear -- often, with humor! So this is fun -- not dreary. Remember, God's out to make you happy -- not to make you "sacrifice". So you don't have to worry about making mistakes. Christ died so you could GROW -- not so you could become paralyzed by guilt, like the paralytic in Matt9. Not so you could become obsessed with other believers' false ideas or sins, like the Pharisees. But so that you could "grow in Grace, and in the Knowledge of our Lord and Savior"..2Pet3:18. Look at that verse -- it ends with GLORY. So will you, if you keep on learning Him. THAT pleases the Father. THAT obeys the 1st Commandment. So it doesn't matter that you will make mistakes, during your learning of Him.

      What does matter: don't be bull-headed, don't be discouraged, don't give in to the peasant-argument you should be out there hustling for the Lord. Or, if you slip up (and we all do!), use 1Jn1:9. The Lord has a LOT bigger job in mind for the Church, than Satan's cheap "Brother Foot" garbage. After all, we have seen from Part II that works are just a mask for rebellion against God. So "works" is a minefield. Bible Doctrine will become your minefield detector -- IF IF IF you learn it. THEN you will be "mature, thoroughly furnished unto all good works". Not before. (Greek "artios" is variously translated in English Bibles. It means sufficiently-trained, hence mature.)

  3. "Let patience have its completing work" as James counsels in James 1. Keep plugging in your study. At the right time(s), God will give you plenty to "do" for others -- of FAR greater importance than you can imagine, now. 'Far greater than if you were Bill Gates, and gave all the money away. God blesses plodders; for, just as HE elected to become a plodder, plodding with our shortfall, our sins, our weaknesses, so also HE elects to bless those who plod along despite the unending obstacles of life (pleasant, or unpleasant, all of life is a type of obstacle to seeing Him FIRST).

  4. Claim that promise! Create your own list of favorite promises in the Bible: my pastor counsels his congregation to make promise notebooks of their own, meaningful to THEM. One of my longtime favorites is Ps46:10: "Be still: and KNOW that I am God." Rest! "Knowing this": because the Bible is the Word of God, it is 100% infallible, coherent, inerrant. So, every verse ties to every other verse. It's not possible to get a whole doctrine out of only one verse. So, it takes time to learn. You'll get the time: you're royal, and need it! By the way: Don't get tangled up in the many idiotic claims that the Bible has this-or-that 'flaw': those claims only end up proving the Word of God MORE inerrant and infallible than you already knew! You'll be tempted to prove the claims wrong -- don't bother. God the Holy Spirit will do that for you. He does it humorously. He "waits" until you've enough understanding, and -- for fun! -- will suddenly 'remind' you of some long-forgotten old chestnut, thus vindicating His Word. Then, you'll smile. Save time, then, and just focus on learning the Word. Save the naysayers embarrassment, too, once you DO know where they're wrong: they need the grace of time to learn privately, on their own, where they flubbed up. Just like we did.

  5. Give top priority to first learning the following key doctrines: Salvation, Essence of God and Trinity, Hypostatic Union, Ministries of the Spirit, spiritual mechanics (habitual use of 1Jn1:9 and study under one's pastor-teacher -- that "1Jn Script" in Part I); claiming promises, 1Jn1:9. The last two help keep you stable while you learn the first six. So, at FIRST just "do" 1Jn1:9 and study under your pastor, even before you understand why those two functions are valid.

      Salvation is the first doctrine to learn, because Scripture's authors frequently use it as an analogy to explain more-advanced teachings. They are building on the basics, building on what you would first know. For example, the term itself (sozo, verb; sotereia, cognate noun) has a WIDE VARIETY of meanings: to save, to deliver, to save from, to deliver from, to save to, to deliver to, to save (accumulate), to save (cost), etc etc etc. So, careful review of the verses with these words in them shows that "save" and "salvation" have EVERY kind of meaning, because saved to-Heaven BEGETS every other kind of saving and delivering, down here! Doctrine learned 'saves' you from sin, for example, in that it delivers you from carnality (one of 7 types of 'death' in Scripture), because you are looking at the DOCTRINE more than looking at the temptation; hanging on to the rope of Doctrine ('rope' being a metaphor for a type of Hebrew word for 'faith' in OT), and being pulled out of the chasm of sin. Saved, as in saving money, too: for, Doctrine is ultimate wealth ("riches" and "wisdom" verses). So you are saved and saving and being saved CONSTANTLY, in the sense that you are always growing in WEALTH if you keep using 1Jn1:9 and study under your right pastor.

      It's downright humourous, all these plays on "save": like Paul told Timothy to save something, "guard the noble deposit" (Bible Doctrine). Since guarding is for the purpose of saving something from attack or harm: LOL, we save Doctrine? YEP, we do! Hoarding it, even, delivering it from being a mere book in a hotelroom drawer, "redeeming the time"! See all the fabulous wordplay you can make with "save"? Awesome, beautimous Doctrine!

      My pastor often alludes to this use of 'save' by means of a doctrine he teaches I find more 'saving' than almost all the others: what he calls, "the 4 Decisions". The moniker references the STRUCTURE of the Lord's Decision to take on Humanity (1Tim2:5, Greek), and also, His Thinking on the Cross: atonement, propitiation, reconciliation and redemption. Doctrine CONSTANTLY does all these things when used: an inviolable SPIRITUAL law -- FOR GOD, and FOR YOU. If you search on and then click on the "Fixes" links on the Home page, and then search on "4 Decisions" you'll find a LOT more is said there about this most important topic.

      Sadly, many Christians don't recognize the writers' use of salvation as analogy-building-block. As a consequence, Christians thus draw wrong conclusions, e.g., one can lose salvation. For example, Paul teaches eternal security by means of a fortiori logic in Romans 5:1-11, then builds on that to show how the royal rewards tie in, in the 2nd half of Romans 5 -- but again, starting with our death in Adam, and salvation. Check it out...

      Notice how the stress is on learning God, not trivia like whether women should have their heads covered with hats, or with long hair. (Every doctrine is important, but not all have equal priority. God is first, and by far, MOST Enjoyable.)

  6. Folks who know me personally tell me they find my pastor's Integrity series books helpful, in providing an outline they can use to target an integrated overview, in their own studies. My pastor's church NEVER: reveals names (e.g., sells out lists), asks for money, sends you mail you didn't first request. CLICK HERE for that website.
  7. The latest Integrity Books don't reflect his teaching after 1996, which mammothly upgraded how Divine Love Motive and Doctrine learning are mutually-dependent: for that upgrade, you need to get the "1992 Spiritual Dynamics" audiotapes (also on MP3), beginning in the year 1997. That's six years of daily lessons (through 2003), but you can get them free at about 20-30 lessons per month. Church policy on the limit each month is there so people don't overstudy. You'll have to ask them what's the latest limit, by writing or calling (website has address and phone data). They ship around the world. Again, you don't need money to get the material, and you shouldn't give until and unless you know what GOD says about it.

  8. Each book of the Bible is worded so to reveal how one should reason out doctrines. The NT epistles are especially helpful. The Book of Romans walks one through the way to think out a doctrine, step-by-step, for example. BIBLE USES KEYWORDS as bookends; this helps you organize not only the definitions of biblical doctrines, but also how they interrelate. So, when reading, spot the repeated words; carefully note how they are used throughout the Bible, not just in a verse, not even just in an epistle.
  9. The OT remains important, for its patterns are still "written for our benefit", says Paul (i.e., in Greek of 1Cor10:11). Sure, the Mosaic Law was set aside, but the Law of Christ incorporates most of the underlying Mosaic precepts, albeit no longer the ceremonial forms and (dietary, etc.)taboos. "For the Lord, is the Lord of the Sabbath" and we are to have a lifestyle of rest in the Word (last half of Heb 4). If you feel uncomfortable not following some OT rule, then tentatively follow it -- pending further learning, lest your conscience be troubled, the meanwhile.
  10. Thus, you learn how God's Grace works, so begin to know Him better -- you're learning how He thinks, so you develop what my pastor (and others) calls GRACE ORIENTATION. Remember what was said about the "middle" in Parts I-III so far? The ORIENTATION (positive or negative attitude) toward the "middle" determines the meaning of one's life (wonderful, or terrible). So also, with Grace. Grace-oriented people tend to be relaxed and happy; those against grace (i.e., the ones who rail about others' sins) tend to be uptight, and mentally ill. So, becoming grace-oriented is good for your mental health, too. Saving you, heh -- from a very miserable life.

      The OT usually provides examples of grace, as do the Gospels. These are analogous to "case law". The NT is best for learning WHY God's Grace works as it does. Grace orientation is a must, to rightly-divide when/if/how to do things like give to the poor, or write in the sand; to avoid getting tangled up in anger or irritation, etc. when someone or something doesn't accord with your standards.

      See, we are each different. We don't all learn Truth the same way, to the same extent, on the same topic, at the same time. So you will be 'ahead' of others on some truths; they will be ahead of you on others. Even, if you are younger than they. Even, if they are younger than you. So the trick is, to "cut some slack", "give the other space", and -- give YOURSELF the space, too. For, you will also fail to meet your own standards. But, you are human. But, you can't meet Divine Standards, and every attempt you make, you will always fail. But, with each attempt you make, you get CLOSER, if 1Jn1:9 is used, and you're studying under your right pastor. Just like with physical exercise. So, things won't meet standards, either; nor will people. LIFE GIVES US ALL TIME TO GET ENOUGH EXERCISE. That's GRACE!

      See, if you LOVE the Standard, you are YOURSELF expressing that love by trying to OBEY that standard yourself. If you DON'T love the Standard, you are trying to get benefit from others obeying some standard which gives you pleasure. What hypocrisy. How common. How depraved we all are! For who of us has NOT been guilty of this fake-love? So, we failed our own standards, but expected others to obey? Thank God for 1Jn1:9!

      So, the essence of grace is, "My standards apply to ME, no matter how right they may be for others. So I must live up to them (or improve); no one else is EXPECTED to meet my standards." That's HONOR talking. That's LOVE talking. That's GRACE talking. That's GOD TALKING (see 2nd half Rom5): for, again, the better benefit of studying is to learn how God thinks, and why He thinks as He does. It is extremely RELAXING and FREEING to know what Grace really is; how BIG it really is; how PERVASIVE and UNCONDITIONAL it really is; not simpering, whimpering, wimpy or pimpy. You don't give up common sense, you don't let the criminal go free, and you don't judge him, either. Boundary lines are essential, to understanding Truth, His Seeing -- and apart from grace orientation, the Christian will never make it out of spiritual childhood: such a legalist or hedonist will forever see things in black-and-white terms; that is to say, childishly. If you evaluate yourself to be in this category, don't worry, for GOD GIVES GRACE to grow you up (2Pet3:18)! So, just keep on keeping on with God's Script. For, it's OK to be a spiritual child, it's just NOT okay to REMAIN there, lol. And you won't remain that way, if you keep on with God's Script.

  11. Grace Orientation will lead to a Doctrinal Orientation, as you keep studying. "Doctrinal orientation" means 'how God sees things, 'decides' things'. So, you'll gain a grasp of His Attitude on any topic: this is THE reason to want to breathe, imo. Again, the same procedures outlined above can be used to ferret out the boundary lines of doctrines. (Hint: when you see what seem to be 'contradictory' Bible verses, you've instead found a boundary line, heh.) For example, what OT rules do not carry over to our "NOW", and why? When should you also confess some sin to the person against whom you committed it? Always? Never? Sometimes? If God is Triune, what impact does that have on His Policy? Who does what within the Godhead, and why? Learning here helps you get the data you need to form a frame of reference in decisionmaking. Again, the better benefit is to know Him better. His View and Opinion -- sheer delight. Sheer protection, too -- even more protection than the Ps119 people exulted in having, while on the death march to Babylon.

      Here's why: the TRUTH IS GORGEOUS. So Gorgeous, even the Cross was pure profit. "Fixes.htm" ("Fixes" link on Home page) explains this in great detail, in the (first) section, "Nature of God Topics". If you want to really see WHY Doctrine works so very well, absorb that material, and talk with Father about it while using 1Jn1:9. The spiritual life is about learning Truth, and learning to Love Truth. God's Truth, aka "Doctrine". BIBLE Doctrine. GORGEOUS DIAMONDS, which save you, and which you want to save, cherish, admire, look at forever: HIM. For, as He said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life" -- oh, how very TRUE! The same yesterday, today, and forever!

      So specialize in both Grace Orientation, and Doctrinal Orientation: the GODO team will 'save' you from spiritual childhood, 'deliver' you into spiritual adulthood; you won't have to wait for Godot, which is Satan's SATIRE of God's Grace and Truth (play by Samuel Beckett)! But, if you don't WANT to learn GODO, then..you'll wait forever for the fantasy of works/ emotionality/ whatever to 'pay off'. But if you DO want to learn GODO, then you will learn LOVE. Keep on keeping on, then, for "the law came through Moses; but Grace and Doctrine, through Jesus Christ" (Jn1:17); and "Confidence never disappoints, for the Love of God is poured out into our Hearts by means of the Spirit (Rom5:5)! [I'm quickly typing from memory, so maybe the quotes are a bit 'off'. However, "Doctrine" is depicted by many keywords in Bible, like "faith", "truth", "wisdom", "Word". I'm using "Doctrine" for such words, for Truth is ORGANIZED. GOD's DOCTRINE, not man's or Satan's. So also, "Hope" is a pregnant Greek word "elpis", and means "confident expectation"; Paul tweaks Plato's Philebus when he uses "elpis", for Plato had a wimpier definition of "elpis"; since, all man's doctrines are wimpy, compared with God's. Sadly, the English translators only translate parreseia (sp) as "confidence"; so the English reader who sees "hope" gets a WIMPY meaning!]

  12. To most speed your development of LOVE due to GODO, and thus prevent the "divorce" of Love from right/wrong learning (Satan's tragic flaw):

    Do what David always did, ever since he was a lad keeping sheep. Remember 1Jn1:9 (cf. Ps32:5), and talk with God (prayer, really, but conversationally) about what you think you're learning. After all, the entire Godhead Indwell you. Play with the concepts, ask the Father questions, pretend you're supposed to explain the doctrine you are learning "to" Him. The Spirit won't reply in "voices" or "visions", of course, but you'll be surprised how often you suddenly see the answer. (Holy Spirit recalls to your mind doctrinal principles which answer, prove, give insight: John14, 1Cor2.) Of all the believers I know, the most-advanced ones are always talking with Him about something. Why not? He's not a figment of our imaginations. ['Maybe don't talk to Him out loud in public, though..people won't understand :)]

    Don't avoid God, no matter how bad you feel about something; instead, pour your heart out, like David did, remembering what Peter says in 1Pet5:7 (Greek says throw your troubles on God as if He were a pack animal!); like the Lord poured out His Heart, in Hebrews 5:7-9. (Nerd Note: "perfect" in v.9 is mistranslated -- should be "completed" in spiritual growth.)

    Lack of conversation with God will kill your spiritual life, even as it kills any other relationship. People don't talk much with someone if they've got a problem in the relationship. So, this is where every Christian hits his big 'glitch' in the spiritual life, so he never learns LOVE. Instead, he gets his eyes stuck on earthly things, this world this humanity -- and especially, the DEFECTS thereof. He concludes, like Satan, that self-getting ought not to PERMIT what displeases. What a trap that is. And how difficult, to avoid! For, it's easy to love something or someone who pleases you, but NOT easy to love what displeases. Doctrine, Grace, Truth displease the sin nature; displease the one who wants, OF HIS OWN EFFORT, to be important before God.

      Total Depravity, as we saw in Part II (also "T" of "TULIPS?" link, and Spir.Pathology link at this page's ends), means we humans appropriate any "good" into a self-merit claim, rather than ENJOY the "good" of whatever the thing is. Lots of humans, then, work very hard at getting good at something, but not to enjoy IT; but rather, to preen over the self. It's heartbreaking to watch, for inevitably, if the goal is reached, the person ends up frustrated and empty. For, he WRECKED HIS ENJOYMENT by using 'good' to make self good, rather than to enjoy the good itself. That's why works-oriented Christians are so very boring, annoying, brittle, frustrated, legalistic, dry, shallow. They appropriate works into self-merit claims, and dissociatively hide that ABuse of Grace from themselves. Thus, they become very prickly over those who don't do as well as they consider themselves to do: "measuring themselves by themselves, are not wise" Paul told the Corinthians. Satan WANTS this result: get your eyes on self-merit, on people, so self-merit gets FED. Rather than, GRACE ENJOYMENT of what true good is: God's LOVE, God's provision.

    So, if you talk with Father about what you are learning, if you talk with Him about whatever is on your mind, you will avoid the trap of making-self-good. For, when you talk with God, you are AWARE of God; and AWARENESS is the #1 operational key to spiritual growth, as we saw in the Third Reason for Royalty's "Multisphere" table (link at pagetop). Being AWARE of God (oh, this is so important, I have reminders on every wall of my house), spiritual tfellin, means you become HABITUALLY AWARE of HIS VAST BEAUTY. So you avoid the trap of self-merit more quickly. You still fall in, but you get out sooner, wake up sooner, etc. -- because the habit of AWARENESS grows. So, LOVE grows.
  13. Ideally, seek an aerial-view understanding of the whole picture. For example, learn the Angelic Conflict (in a nonemotional way) and the Divine organization of history. These greatly help check the "fit" of any other interpretations you hear or learn. They give you the "big picture", God's overview. You'll begin to see why He created creation as He did, why history works as it does -- and your appreciation of Him will multiply. Also, you will become gradually able to assess any item you face currently in light of where it "fits" within the Divine Scheme of Things. Ephesians, Hebrews, Revelation are critical books on these latter two topics. Ironically, panoramic study is the most relaxing of all: for, in seeing the Whole, you better see the Who. Sadly, panoramic study is the least-explored way of studying God, among Christians I've seen.

By contrast...
Tips for MAKING DUNG out of Your Daily Spiritual Life

If you want to wreck your spiritual life and thus your happiness, engage in the fake-knowledge pitfalls, below. EVERY believer is hit by them all, in varying degrees, during his spiritual life. Read Corinthians, Timothy, Peter to see why these pitfalls are so destructive to your spiritual life. Also: folks who are self-trapped in these pitfalls become brittle, prickly, as they "age" in them. Their tempers flare easily, and their tolerance narrows. Where possible, and unobtrusive, "[a]void such persons as these", Paul warns (2Tim2:26-3:7). Paul oughta know: see Philippians 3:8 in the KJV.

  1. Lie to yourself about your true reason for pursuing a 'spiritual' life. Put everything in the name of God, but really have your motive be your spouse, your friend, your need to be accepted at some church, your ego, your insecurities. Any motive EXCEPT the desire to KNOW GOD, will tank. The only true Christian backsliding is a false motive. Sin is unavoidable, which is why we have the procedure of 1Jn1:9 available 24/7. But desire to know God can't be faked, can't be rah-rahed into you. Not even God 'can' fix a dead interest, since His Love never coerces. So if your own motive for being 'spiritual' is not due to wanting to KNOW Him better, then.. save yourself a lot of wear and tear. Just believe in Christ so you never go to hell, John 3:16.. and then FORGET IT. He will remember you, and at least you can say you were honest, when you face Him at the Bema.

      Millions of Christians with you at the Bema will not be able to say that, because their belief was FAKE -- sure, they're saved, but their many works and pious behavior was done la the Pharisees, la the Laodiceans in Rev3: to fit in or feel good, or preen. NO desire know God for HIMSELF. Which shows, because they don't care about the Word except to preen. You don't have to join them. They're a boring crowd, anyway.

      Having said this, it must also be said that everyone's at least SOMEWHAT curious about God Himself. So your motives will always be mixed. As you grow in the spiritual life the motive will coalesce into just wanting to know God Himself, gradually defeating whatever other motives you've had. So don't feel embarrassed if in your honest self-reflection, you realize you don't have much curiosity about God. But do consider this: whatever other motives you have, they won't carry you. So wherever you DO want to know God Himself, keep looking at that. The Holy Spirit expands whatever positive volition you have, so the trick is to keep focusing on the right motives. There's really only one right motive, but it takes time to develop: you want God for Himself. That motive blooms as you learn Him better via living on God's Script in God's System, and no one has but a dim curiosity, else. We aren't able to understand Him on our own, and the sin nature is AFRAID of Him, so practices every version of avoidance behavior it can.

      So focus on why you want to know Him better, and the Holy Spirit will use that motive to skyrocket your spiritual growth. That's how He did it to David, Moses, Abram, etc. It's not about being good, it's about being with God. Period.

      Oh: if you have geniune interest, try not to let it show too much. People will use it to 'get' you. Really weird phenomenon, people who are NOT interested in God, glomming onto you because you ARE interested in God. Read the Gospels on all Christ's many 'groupies', see for yourself.

  2. Fool yourself that the spiritual life is about works and how good you are. Satan will love it. That's how he tempted the Lord in Matt4, see. The Lord didn't fall for the good-deeds, be-good-myself EVIL that was the same ploy as Satan used on the woman and Adam in the Garden. So he needs his ego stroked by you succumbing to those good-deedy temptations, yes indeedy. Oh: he likes it even more if you thump your Bible and sing oh how you love Jesus, as you doo-doo your life away. And if you really want to get his praise, be sure to tell people you've "read the WHOLE Bible!" to impress people and yourself. As if it were a novel or something. Yeah, it's novel to you, and you'll never learn what's in there. That pleases Satan just fine.

      The Jews do all this, so you'll fit in well with them, too. Every Saturday all over the world, everyone gets his Torah soundbyte. Which is dutifully chanted and pontificated on, no one hearing a thing, shemah Yisroel. Which fact you can quickly prove, since the Dome of the Rock mutely testifies to Messiah's having ALREADY been here, as per Dan9:26 and Matt24. So you can join right in with your own brand of Phariseeism, which after all is the same as Satan's Fall, expressed in Isa14:13-14. Making SELF something. Yeah: doo-doo.

  3. Eschew use of 1Jn1:9 by deceiving yourself that you are in the light, baby. 1Jn is about this process. Verses 1:7-10 summarize the point. Truly weird how many Greek-geeks can't read Bible, claiming that verses like Eph1:7 and Col1:14 mean you don't have to name your sins after salvation. Guess they can't read Hebrew, either: Ps32:5, 66:18, the red heifer offering (by BELIEVERS, duh), the sin offering (by BELIEVERS, duh), etc. ad nauseam. This is what learning without 1Jn1:9 does -- turns your brain to MUSH.

  4. Political activist "knowledge". These people are truly dangerous. God is disciplining them "big-time". Eschew political activism, because it is spiritual "AIDS". No matter how "right" the cause may seem, crusading is ALWAYS satanic. Period. Why? Crusading is Satan's substitute for the 1st Commandment. Always. Better to be boiled in oil. Revelation 2-3 list how truly awful these folks are. Exodus records how nastily they die. ('Korah rebellion, Miriam, the manna complainers, etc, ad nauseam.) Philippians 3:18 weeps over them. James excoriates them. Don't imitate them, if you value your life at all. Don't believe in their causes, either, for every crusade has one "dot" of truth, but a TON of false doctrine. That is why crusades are so contagious. Don't "catch" that all-too-popular disease.

  5. Denominational-stubborn knowledge. Denominations are all too often demon-nations of thinking. This isn't to say that you should leave whatever denomination you might be in -- just beware of its tendency to stand pat on a few doctrines, as if its catechisms were the FULL and ONLY and COMPLETE truth. Denominations tend to arrogate to themselves this idea -- they are as right as the Bible. Satan is behind the arrogance. He seduces the person in a denomination to feel disloyal if the person questions the denomination's catechisms. In this way, the denomination replaces God in importance. It is a slow, subtle, and below-radar form of apostacy -- his top priority, for believers since the Fall (for example, in Isa44:9ff, Jude 9, Rev13).

      Of course, you can substitute "pastor" for "denomination" in the above paragraph, for yet another version of stubbornness to avoid. The "Who is Apollos?" verse in Corinthians depicts the problem of denominational-stubborn, or pastor-stubborn, knowledge. The Bible, and the Bible alone is truth. Denominations are just handy ways of trying to communicate the truth. And Satan uses them, as he does everything in Christendom -- to HIDE truth.

      While we're children in the playground, we feel compelled to say "My Daddy is better than your Daddy." Stay with your "daddy" (pastor) until and unless God shows you why you should leave. Then, leave quietly. Meanwhile, keep learning under his authority, "for this is the will of God, concerning you." You don't have to think he's the ONLY one who's got truth. You don't have to think he must be perfect, either. Satan will always try to make you think one or the other. Use 1Jn1:9, and be calm, for "greater is He who is in you, than he who is in the world."

  6. Flashcard knowledge. When initially learning something, or in the early stages of learning, it's easy to mistake learning the VOCABULARY for true knowledge. Children do this. Wow, I know my ABC's! But think: what do you really know, if you know vocabulary? Knowing how many Marys are in the Bible won't make you grow spiritually, will it? True learning means you first learn the names of things; then, you collect data on the characteristics of these things; then, you discern the relationships from ANALYSIS of the data, and USE that analysis, LIVE ON IT. Of course, such learning must be repeated and retested, over and over and over. This process is true for ALL learning. So, then: how much more true, for the spiritual life?

      Flashcard knowledge is the bane of mankind in every endeavor. Every day you see people mistake QUANTITY for quality. That's a flashcard goal, quantity. Quality, by contrast, is a WISDOM goal, which is TRUE (useable) knowledge. No one escapes the flashcard stage, and few grow past it. That's why this world is such a mess. We treat flashcard knowledge like coins, and so the more of them we have, the smarter we tell ourselves we are. Incredible STUPIDITY is thus demonstrated. Knowing what is WORTH knowing, and developing in the quality of THAT, is true wisdom. Alas, we hanker after the quantity, instead. So know NOTHING. If you REALLY want to know God for HIMSELF, you will grow out of this flashcard childhood, because at some point you will start wanting to know MORE, and WHY.. and you will GRADUATE OUT of having knowledge for its own sake. If your interest in Bible is to feel GOOD about yourself, by contrast, you will stay trapped in the flashcard playpen your entire life.

      Satan absolutely loves tangling us up in flashcard knowledge about Bible.. and any other topic. For by that seeming 'knowledge', he can more easily lead us by the nose wherever he wants us to go. Flashcard knowledge is flashy. So blinds the recipient, of it. If you want to really know GOD, by contrast, the flash is removed and the not-so-flashy task of learning WHY the verses say what they do, and -- bigger -- WHAT they really mean, faces you. But if you want to learn God instead of preen over how well YOU know a thing, then.. you will do the grunt work of thinking OVER what you think you know. Before Him, using 1Jn1:9 in God's System. Else, you will have fun with the flash Satan&Co. will use to make you think you're a spiritual giant because you can rattle off so much Bible data, etc.

      Even in my own church, which gets more Bible Doctrine more deeply than any other church I've ever been able to find (and that's why I'm still a student under that pastor) -- even the folks of my own church often get "stuck" here, with mere flashcard knowledge. My pastor develops many vocabulary words, so we can cycle the MEANING in our Spirit-filled brains much more quickly, so to grow up in the Lord faster --but many folks in my own church just preen with the vocabulary. Like children. It's positively scary. For awhile (until God spanked me enough!) I was like this, too. It's sooooo easy to slip into this fake-spirituality!

      Look: just because the words are the same words the "experts" supposedly use; just because the words sound IMPORTANT or because the words are in an important LOCATION (the Bible), doesn't mean that using the words makes you KNOW a thing. To claim that you actually UNDERSTAND something because you can mouth the words, is like thinking that if you wear Nike shoes, you'll be a star basketball player! This was the problem which felled the Jews. Why they insanely developed 613 Talmudic "laws". Why God disciplined them (cf Deut30:11ff, Zech7, almost any sermon of Isaiah's or Jeremiah's or Amos, etc). This is the problem which still fells Christendom: why the so-called "catholic" and like ecumenisms developed.

      Don't make the same mistake. You don't know "word processing" just because you have Microsoft Word on your computer. You don't know "word processing", if all you do, is hit the Return key at the end of every line! In fact, you WRECK your document if you do that (ask any secretarial service how they moan over anyone who brings in something to be reformatted)!

      So, then: Folks who collect "Bible facts" and/or Strong's meanings, then memorize them, thinking they thus "know Scripture" -- these folks are (as yet) insecure; they don't realize their human intelligence is irrelevant to learning Christ. They also don't yet know how Scripture is supposed to be studied. Their insecurity taps the me-be-good reflex, creating a defense mechanism of "rationalization", which exports as "I know Scripture". Yeah, what they know, is Satan-fodder! BEWARE BEWARE BEWARE. This problem is as bad as activism, and is in fact the base from which Satan has always cultivated activism in the human race. DON'T GET SUCKED IN TO IT.

      The DIFFERENCE between TRUE knowledge and flashcard knowledge, is that you understand MEANING in a FLUID way. Flashcard knowledge is cardboard-y, like the flashcards themselves. You can rattle off all kinds of data, but you have NO CLUE as to what it means; you only IMAGINE you know, because you can rattle off information. The ability to ANALYZE what you think you know, is a separate thinking skill. Then and only then do you BEGIN to acquire true knowledge. It's like school: tell me, how much of what you learned in school can you REALLY USE, in REAL LIFE? Very little. Know why? Because you really didn't LEARN anything, except how to get the grades you needed to get OUT. So take what you know of Bible and ASK WHY. WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY, over and over and over. The "why" helps train you to ANALYZE. And if you give up, then you won't learn to analyze. So you really never learn. Just a bunch of words in your head, will be the Bible, to you...

      By the way, if all you are familiar with is Strong's, you only are familiar with something of the sounds of the words. I can never use my Strong's on BibleWorks, because it is soooo incredibly shallow, telling me nothing. Kinda like Windows "help", it helps very little, and unintentionally misleads far more than it helps: Strong's was meant for people who just needed reminders of Greek and Hebrew they already KNEW, like an abridged English dictionary for native English speakers. It's not good for those unfamiliar with the original-language texts, therefore. This isn't to say Strong's is bad, but it's kindergarten, and if you insist on using it, you'll stay a spiritual child, but fantasize you are 'grown up'. I've seen the abuse of Strong's cause spiritual growth to arrest in far too many people who started out with a genuine interest in God. They are stunted, now. But think themselves, mature. Very sad.

  7. Titillated knowledge. Too many folks spend oodles of time on Bible Codes, try to date the Tribulation's beginning, look for dinosaurs in the Bible, and other such trivia. These things are sought as substitutes for learning Him, and aren't about Him at all: merely in His Name. Folks who do this are trying to buttress their weak faith against all the claims that the Bible is garbage. So, they're looking for spectacular proof that the Bible is from God. Don't get sucked into that nonsense. If you just study the topics in the yellow-brick table above, you'll get more proof of God than you want! If you can't wait that long, read Part IVa -- and see if by the end of it you have SO MUCH proof, you're too shocked to get up in the morning!

  8. Needing "NEW" knowledge. Like the titillated folks, the folks who are constantly questing after the new, learn nothing. Itchy ears: Paul talks about these folks in 2Tim3,4; Peter talks about them in his passage about the flood; Hebrews talks of them in Heb4:1-11, 5:11-6:6, 10:36 (a verse about the impending destruction of Jerusalem, which had long been prophesied), etc. If you hate repetition, you will end up hating God, and end up hating life. The small repetitions, the doctrinal repetitions by a pastor, these are CRITICAL to developing integrity. Close Order Drill. Beware always needing some "new" thing to titillate your boredom. Boredom is a conclusive characteristic of arrogance: enterTAIN ME ME ME ME ME ME Me...

  9. Puffed-up, or proxy knowledge. Too many Christians can quote the Church Fathers, or their denominations' creeds, but can't analyze what they quote. They parrot well, but understand nothing. Worse, they don't try to understand the Bible directly, piously claiming some second-hand source is right. How do they know? Will God say to them, "Well, it's ok, you didn't use My Power to grow up on your own?" If it was okay to rely solely on someone else's opinion, there would be no "judge for yourselves" verses (NIV), nor would Elihu have said that the "ear tests truth", in his discourse to Job. If it was okay to rely solely on old Councils and Popes, we wouldn't need to believe in Christ ourselves, even -- it could all be handled by proxy.

      Christ didn't die by proxy (an old gnostic and Muslim accusation) -- so we shouldn't learn by proxy. People who do this seek to avoid learning on their own, in the alleged-"holy" name of "expertise". It's a cop-out.

      Satan will use proxy knowledge to justify a claim that the Church is in the Tribulation. Parts IV and V will cover this topic in 'waves', as you keep reading. KEY TO THE PROXY PUFF-UP is respect for STATUS. Respect for oldsters, respect for old documents, respect for FORM, versus substance. Wrong "S", baby! STATUS IS STUPID, SUBSTANCE IS SOPHIA (one of the Greek words for "wisdom"). Satan is always SUBSTITUTING STATUS for SUBSTANCE, so people won't question CONTENT. Just as, folks today go "ooh-ahh" over someone with a degree or money, but don't look at the content of the person (oh, how many bad marriages are made this way); so also, the puffed-up idea that Dr. So-and-So knows so much, therefore he must be right -- because he has a degree or a nice personality or a nice presentation or, hallelujah! -- he's of an advanced AGE? Get Real! Satan's the most beautiful, smartest, AND OLDEST creature ever to come from the 'hand' of God -- but see how he USES his greatness? LOOK BENEATH, SEEK CONTENT, and above all, ASK WHY -- and thus better avoid Satan's pious, attractive, starry.. landmines.

  10. Trust in "education", or "expertise". Still others, armed with enough Bible knowledge to be dangerous, and some degree from a seminary, think themselves experts -- much like a newly-minted attorney is prone to so think. Guess again. Folks here have the same problem the puffed-up/proxy folks do; worse, they are trying to become the "experts". It's not wrong to go to seminary, of course. It is wrong to believe in one's own knowledge -- or, another's -- solely because people venerate "experts". God, by contrast, only venerates His Word: Ps138:2b.

      Oddly enough, over the last three years or so I've had occasion to talk to a lot of folks who graduated from seminary. Their knowledge is almost entirely in the "flashcard" category. Children..but with Degrees! They have no real UNDERSTANDING of the meaning of the Bible's words. Of course, they think they 'know' the Bible really well, and are hostile to any data which suggests that they do NOT know, because they have a DEGREE. Of course, such hostility makes it plain their degrees are obtained without use of 1Jn1:9 -- which is the only way for the vocabulary to BECOME understanding. For, the Bible is to be learned supernaturally, which only the Holy Spirit enables. And, there is no hostility in the Holy Spirit.

      Look: education is important, but just as with anything else in life, it can be misused. Any educational system is avowedly designed to give you BUILDING BLOCKS, from which you are supposed to EXTRAPOLATE relationships, learning, etc., as we saw in the "flashcard knowledge" bullet, above. However, what universally happens, is this: people mistake all that building-block learning for true knowledge. Whereas, it's only MEANT to be a BASE. This is laziness, frankly. So "experts" in every field are largely incompetent. All that collegial learning wore them out, and they don't GROW IN WISDOM after that.

      For, the knowledge is useless until it becomes WISDOM, and WISDOM is consummately difficult to get, since YOU HAVE TO DO IT YOURSELF. No one can do it for you: even when under the Spirit, He won't spoonfeed you -- you have to keep on being positive to learning FROM Him, and you have to be AGGRESSIVE in trying to USE what you learn. Constantly.

      WISDOM is the ability to DISCERN relevant versus irrelevant, worthwhile versus unworthy, RELATIONSHIPS. Education cannot ever give a student wisdom; that, the student must do on his own. Worse, education itself, as an act of self-survival, PROMOTES people with degrees and published tomes, because the schools need to get new students, to stay alive. So, what happens is, nearly everyone IN education ends up being hopelessly stultified in his thinking. It goes with the territory. It does NOT go with learning under the Holy Spirit. Sure, in the beginning, you learn flashcard-like stuff: but under the Spirit, you progress from there to WISDOM, because HE wants you to grow up into your Royal Purpose. A King must become WISE, to rule. So you don't grow up, if you keep playing with building blocks and status-degrees!

      So, then: how scary is this problem? Very. For, seminaries turn out flashcard 'experts' by the droves. 'Not surprising, though -- for in every secular discipline, too, this kind of pseudo-knowledge has plagued us. Now, of course, our incompetently-puerile rottenness shows: if we who have so many degrees can think it proper to ruin the entire private sector by persecuting an Enron/Arthur Anderson, totally BLIND to the MEANING of this activity upon all the REST of the economy -- well, see how "flashcard" expertise is just a flash-in-the-pan? And the rest of us, will burn in its fiery wake?! See why Part II said fallen man has NO ability to 'improve'? No Osama could do as much damage as we flashcard-children do to our nation. Satan&Co. weep with laughter.

  11. Mindless Scripture citing. Many Christians are adept at citing verses, but have never examined the whole realm of the topics the verses address. So, they completely misunderstand the verses. They also misuse the verses: you can tell easily, because they are characteristically hostile to any suggestion that they are doing so. Worse, when they use these verses, it's often to beat up another Christian who sees the interpretation differently.

      This activity is the hallmark of normal spiritual childhood -- they are parroting, trying to play. If you evaluate yourself to be in this category, don't worry. Play! Just keep asking how the verse 'fits' in the whole (as you understand it thus far). That question will heighten your awareness to the idea that verses aren't to be interpreted in some soundbyte manner. So, when you see some other verse, you'll be more apt to note hitherto-unseen connections between the OTHER verses you know.

      The idea is to grow beyond the Dick-and-Jane, shallow citing and reading. If folks don't grow out of this childish phase, they will be spiritually-retarded. Many believers who started out really interested in God are trapped, here. ASK WHY. ASK WHY AGAIN. See if you can better UNDERSTAND WHY every time you ask. God responds to asking: "SEEK and you shall find." See also Mark 4:24. Religion reacts to asking, calling that impious, evil, bad.. because it CANNOT TAKE inquiry. Falsehood never stands up under audit, examination. Truth, always does. So GOD says, ASK ME (i.e., Mal3:10, "seek" and "sought" verses; hundreds of them in concept of ASKING WHY).

  12. Studying ONLY "solo". Still others, reacting to the hot air of folks in the above categories, reject the idea of studying under a pastor (or, secular equivalent -- learning in school). Don't fall for this trap: you only cut off your nose, to 'spite' your face! Granted, good pastors are disturbingly few, but God is the God of authority: He didn't cause Paul to write Eph4 and Timothy out of whimsy. Learning from a teacher means LEARNING. Not roteness, parroting -- or rejection. No pastor gets it all right. No pastor gets it all wrong, either. YOU ARE ROYAL: talk to God about what seems right, or wrong. He is IN YOU. Use 1Jn1:9, and then think. You WILL get the answer, over time: sometimes, instantly! Sometimes, years later. (I swear, this is the reason to live: 'hearing' Him.)

    WARNING: God vindicates His Word, ALWAYS; and ALWAYS vindicates through a pastor who teaches His Word. Don't fall into the arrogance that the Holy Spirit bypasses authority HE gifted to certain men. You'll be roundly disciplined by God for as long as you succumb to the arrogance of rejecting sitting "under" a pastor, just as anyone who scoffs at learning in school ends up being a loser in life. RightPT.htm is a much fuller explanation of this topic, including exegesis of Eph4:11-16, God's System for Growing up the Body into His Son.

  13. Studying "Only". It's very easy to get stuck here, especially if one grasps the supreme importance of learning Him. BEWARE! Satan&Co. will tease you into thinking that you aren't studying enough: they're angling to get you into a sort of spiritual bulimia. That makes you either burn out, or go mad. Limit study, balance it to your other duties and rest during the day. Follow the first two bullets in the yellow-brick table, above. BALANCE. Treat the rest of the day as time to practice the thinking you learned during that hour. Try to 'baptise' everything in the rest of your day with what you learned. That's how Christ grew up. So, if you do this, you'll get much more productive 'study', than bulimic learning. If you keep growing, you'll find that you'll have more time to study than a mere hour a day, due to the productivity of the 'baptising'. Still, remember: God is the God of BALANCE. You don't neglect other duties in the name of 'learning God', because you can 'learn Him' in ANYTHING you do -- by USING the Doctrine you know.

      Spiritual bulimia hits everyone who remains positive to God, at some point. The 'hunger' to know Him suddenly becomes so great, you can't get enough. (I suspect this is one reason why IRC Christian chat channels are so popular.) Some folks are hit early on in the spiritual life. Most get hit during late spiritual adolescence, or, adulthood. The danger of bulimia is to throw up the spiritual life -- to make it become bitter or nauseous to you, harmful. So, the antidote is to remember that life with God is WITH GOD -- a relationship, not a do-good, know-all contest. Sometimes, you just do nothing with someone you love, right? So, make sure you putter around with God, too. :)