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Discerning The Will Of God


Halcyon
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I was hoping others could give insight into how one "discerns the will of God" in their own lives, and if others believe that God has a plan for each of us, how we "hear" and live that plan.

 

Or perhaps some think that God has no plan for our individual lives, and that is up to us to figure that out..

 

Thank you.

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There are no Godly expectations. In The Shack Papa says that there is Godly expectancy.

Discerning action in the next moment might involve meditation, dreams, visioning, plans, asking a friend to prayer fully consider the question, observing events as they happen.

Over the years I have used one or the other of these.

 

Dutch

Edited by glintofpewter
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Hello Halcyon,

 

I have asked this question many times. This is my opinion drawn from reading and prayer:

 

I think God's Will in general is that we "be God", that is, be loving, to one another - whatever that means in any given situation, tough I have some doubts as to whether or not know God has a specific "will" or plan for each of us. Specifically, like Dutch said,I think if each of us brings our cares and concerns to prayer and are honest with outselves, I believe we can determine the best course of action. I think if we do that, and act in a loving way, we'll be okay. Will everything always work out? I doubt it - we are, after all, fallible and imperfect creatures. At least we can know we did the best we could with what we knew and I think that, in the end, is all that's expected of anyone.

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My prayers in matters involving discernment, what/which way might be best for me in some matter, are more like just going to a trusted one, I just talk about the matter, the problems, the possilbities, the questions, and I ask for 'suggestions', 'advice', yes, 'guidance'. I ask to be 'shown the way', even for doors to be opened if they are what are best.

Then i try to watch for, stay alert to, possible "signs", coincidenced too coincidental to be randome chance? Or, where there is one or more options I may be consdering, a choice, ask for "affirmatons." Then I try to be aware of sychronicties that may occur.

I don't know how to better describe it than that. I know that all sounds so "ignorant superstious-like", lol. But it often works. And if there's nothing, no presonse, I re-consider that maybe i'm asking the wrong questions, am off track entirely, in whatever it is. I've even had THAT inquiry "affirmed", lol, as once i remember clearly, I had come to wonder if I was really off-track on a particualr matter, how I was approaching it, and actually asked that in prayer, if I was off-track in it. and then proceeded over the next several days to witness a train derail and crash, screws coming out of my closet door assembly, resulting in my sliding closet doors falling off their tracks, and a piece of the rolling assembly in the track of the sliding side door of my van breaking so the door wouldn't open or close as it should. Ok, got the message, Lord, that idea is DEFINTELY off track! and things played out in the matters for which i'd been concerned, it did eventually become evident my previous thinking and evaluation in those matters had indeed been way off track, things eventually revealed much to be not as it had seemed.

 

As for "guidance" in making a choice, it had seemed much to me that there had been a sense of guidance,and of doors opening in amazing and unexpected ways, that led to my deciding to return to education, go to college, at 53 yrs old, with only a 9th grade formal education many years behind me, Not knowing how I would do, it beganas just a hope to get throgh math remeidals and an asscociate degree at a local Junior college. After completing my AA degree a few years ago at a local junior college had gone so well (3.75 gpa), I had decided to go on to a full University, shoot for the bachlor's. From where Iive NE of Houston, the two universities offering the kind of degree plan i was interested in, and within commuting distance, were Sam Houston in Huntsville, and U of Houston, in downtown Houston. The driving miles to both is almost exactlythe same, a bit over 100 miles round trip. However, Sam Houston is a pleasant drive across rural and timerland country, little traffic, and by far the most popular choice for those in my area attending college. U of Houston drive involves not only into Houston, but to opposite side of dowtown from here, and right smack dab through the middle of downtown Houston, on some very heavily traveled and crazy freeway interchanges. A no brainer decision, right? But, I decided to apply to both, and got accepted at both. Still no brainer, right? Except there was still something 'nagging' me about it, that made me hesitant to go ahead and enroll at Sam Houston. I took it to prayer, asked guidance.

And suddenly, I began seeing COUGARS (UH mascot) everywhere! In pictures in my junk mail, specials on tv, a local hunt for a cougar someone had let get out of a cage, strangers overheard in a cafe talking about cougar hunting out west, cougars everywhere! Ok, Lord, for whatever reason, insane as it seems, I'll go for U of Houston. Not having ANY rational reason for that choice. I got registered in late June, to begin the end of August. The first week of August, my sister's cancer doctors in Ft Worth got her into the clinical trial programs at world reknown M.D. Anderson Cancer center, and she arrived down here to begin what would turn into almost 5 yrs of treatment there, almost 5 yrs of weekly and often more than once weekly treatments and appointments there.

And in case you aren't familiar with the regional geography here, M.D. Anderson Cancer center, located in the big Houston Medical Center, is only a few blocks drive from the Univeristy of Houston main campus! Top all that off with, on my first day at UH, I glanced up as I walked past the big university campus library,where I would be spending much time in the years ahead....and saw the big letters, "M.D. Anderson Memorial Library." I completed the bachelors (3.68 gpa) 6 months before my sister lost her battle and passed away.

Now, I dare anyone to tell me my reliance on "spiritual guidance" is just silly superstitous nonsense! Something? Someone? coordinated all that, besides just me!

 

Jenell

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Some things I did 20-30 years ago for discernment I would not do today. I am a different person.

 

I don't think we become different persons, are just on different legs of our journeys, different stages in our growth and development. The biggest change in me, that I've often wish I had accomplished much sooner in my life than I did, was listening to my own intuition, and very often, that 'small still voice' of 'guidance', that can be so easy to rationalize away, or be drowned out by the many voices of others telling us what is best or what we should do or what is 'right.' Rationalizing intuition away was one of my bad weaknesses. As in my account above, of choosing the university I did, everything thing in my rational evaluation of the situation,as well as what everyone else, well meaning, were advising me, would have made the U at Huntsville, the pleeasant cross country drive to a small town, (and cheaper,too!) the clear and obvious 'best' choice. Had I done that, the turn of events that brought my sister here for prolonged treatment in Houston would have created an entirely unworkable situaton, I could not have done both. As it worked out, we were able to share gas costs for one car for those long trips several times weekly, as her drs there were almost always able to accomadate her appointments with my on-campus class days a few blocks away. I can look backand see many times in my life had I followed intuition, even when it didn't seem to make sense, instead of rationalizing, things would likely have gone much better.

 

But such indicents have been more than just 'convenient' in my own life, for many times, for many time such things in my life served also as 'witness' of something greater, of faith, to others that wereinvolved, watched them play out.

 

And, to think more of myself, my own worthiness....it was drilled so deeply into me from childhood to "don't be selfish, think of others first, before yourself." it took me many years into adulthood to 'see' that those that has done that, were actually themselves very selfish people had used it (not just on me but in general) to manipulate other through guilt trip and shame into giving them what they wanted. I had to learn, as a caring and giving person, that when i give out of my own desire to give, it is good, when it is in response to being manipulated by others, or at the expectation ofothers, I always end up getting burned.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Quieting the mind because when we are silent God speaks and then being aware every moment for correction.

 

 

That has to be about the HARDEST thing I've ever attempted to learn to do, lol! I am definitely AHDH and mildly bi-polar, its hard enough for me to make my mouth shut up, let alone my BRAIN!

 

Jenell

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Thank you, yes. I meditate and pray, but I have doubts.

 

Doubts are questions. Don't be afraid to ask them. Most of us have been taught doubts, about God, anyway, are 'bad', or 'wrong.' Show a 'lack of faith.'

I've found expressing my doubts, asking the questions, in my prayers and meditations, most productive. Even the hard ones, like,"Ok, God, are you really there, or am I just talking to myself like an idiot?"

But don't be surprised if what you get in response is yet more questions. It has seemed that so often for me, my questions are answered with more questions, but that eventually leads me to a satisfactory resolution.

Jenell

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Perhaps, Creation is made up of more than one kind of individual ... and this is a wisdom worth consideration.

 

I have a sense that I agree with you on this, but not entirely sure quite how you are meaning it. Of course we are all different as individuals, and then, too, according to various sets of criteria, might be classified into different categories with simlar shared characteristics in some ways. And we have developed some ways of measuring that to at least some rudimentary degree, such as the Myers'Briggs type Indicator (on which I score somewhat oddly, I think...I split it all right down the middle, in every section...in every section, I find my hardest 'choices' for responses between the closest to the middle on each side, wishing there were one in between..depending on my mood at any given time, I will fall just to one side or the other in the scores about equally often))

But do you mean this in kinds of indivuduals with different inherent capacities for how any one might experience such as here, the numinous, the "God experience?"

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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There are no Godly expectations. In The Shack Papa says that there is Godly expectancy.

Discerning action in the next moment might involve meditation, dreams, visioning, plans, asking a friend to prayer fully consider the question, observing events as they happen.

Over the years I have used one or the other of these.

 

Dutch

 

I've have to say I utilize all of these, too....every different kind of situation calls for different means and tactics. For all my 'spirituality' and faith in the numinous, i really AM a very deliberate and rational decision maker. I'm also very sharp on catching details that some might miss, inconsistencies in information or planning sequences. I've generally worked a project out to completion in my mind and on paper before I ever begin, I'm really not one to just jump into something and try to fly by the seat of my pants, hoping its going to work out right. In both employment and other activities, I've overseen planning of major projects and events, and very good at working it all out very well right down to the last detail and potential contengencies.

Yet, there is still 'something' that sometimes comes into play, that's hard to describe of define, except just as a 'feeling?' A 'sense?' of this just feels right, or it doesn't. That is where I find myself turning more to that intuitive guidance, even such as described in some here, observing "signs/synchroncities." Such as in the choice of the college, I did all the rational work, the planning, even drove the trip to each of them to compare. Cost at UH were going to be higher, as well, and money was certainly a serious consideration for me at the time. But there was just 'something' that 'nagged', wouldn't go away.

 

Jenell

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I have a sense that I agree with you on this, but not entirely sure quite how you are meaning it. Of course we are all different as individuals, and then, too, according to various sets of criteria, might be classified into different categories with simlar shared characteristics in some ways. And we have developed some ways of measuring that to at least some rudimentary degree, such as the Myers'Briggs type Indicator (on which I score somewhat oddly, I think...I split it all right down the middle, in every section...in every section, I find my hardest 'choices' for responses between the closest to the middle on each side, wishing there were one in between..depending on my mood at any given time, I will fall just to one side or the other in the scores about equally often))

But do you mean this in kinds of indivuduals with different inherent capacities for how any one might experience such as here, the numinous, the "God experience?"

 

Jenell

 

Why are some of our species trying to preserve genetic diversity? Because diversity is a key to resilience.

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Why are some of our species trying to preserve genetic diversity? Because diversity is a key to resilience.

 

True. Genetic diversity is also a key element to 'survivial of the fittest' in the evolutionary process. Though the vast majority of people, that haven't bothered to really understand how that works, are pretty clueless about what that actually means in practice.

Jenell

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Why are some of our species trying to preserve genetic diversity? Because diversity is a key to resilience.

True. Genetic diversity is also a key element to 'survivial of the fittest' in the evolutionary process. Though the vast majority of people, that haven't bothered to really understand how that works, are pretty clueless about what that actually means in practice.

Jenell

 

I would say that rather than diversity being the key in an evolutionary sense, I think it is more the ability to adapt. Diversity in itself would weaken that proposition as the diversification is not the strength but rather the ability to adapt to the circumstances is the strength. Many species have been obliterated due to their 'diversity' not being the strongest to suit the cirucmstances, whereas those that adpated, survived and succeeded.

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I would say that rather than diversity being the key in an evolutionary sense, I think it is more the ability to adapt. Diversity in itself would weaken that proposition as the diversification is not the strength but rather the ability to adapt to the circumstances is the strength. Many species have been obliterated due to their 'diversity' not being the strongest to suit the cirucmstances, whereas those that adpated, survived and succeeded.

 

Well, in the evolutionary selection process, diversity IS the key to the ability to adapt. So diversity does not weaken, but rather strengthens as specie or population's ability to adapt.

 

Selection is through some individuals having traits, or combinations of traits, that provide some advantage to environmental pressures and challenges. Those pressures and challenges can be food source/supply, weather/climate shift, predators, or disease organisms. When there are significant changes in any of those challenges, those individuals with traits most advantagous to survival and succesful reproduction under the new conditions will have the advantage, more will survive than others.

 

Since there could be any number of different changes in different pressures and challenges, the greater the diversity, the great the chances are SOME within the population will have advantageous traits. The traits that had been advantagous previously may actually become disadvantagous under the new conditions.

An example, in a specie of animals populating a landscape often covered most of the year with snow and ice, white or lighter colored ones have an advantage, whether they are predator or prey, because they are less visible. The occasional dark ones born are at a signficant advantage, because they stand out in contrast to the environment. But a warming trend in the climate that reduces the snow and ice changes the landscape to darker shades of browns, blacks, darker shadows under larger growing plants, and the situation reverses.

We did an experiment in a biology class using beans, of the same number if each of various colors and sizes. That was a 2301 sophomore bilogy class, lot sof wet behind the ears kids striaght out of conservatvie fundametnal homes....lots of confidenct volution DISbeleivers. The beans were scattered out over an area of dark soil, green grass, and brown fall leaves. We began with a count of each kind of bean scattered about, gathered up all we could find in 5 minutes. And of course, we found many more of the white and light (navy and cream white round peas, colored beans dark (black and red kidney)or mottled (pinto and cranberry) how many of each kind of bean we had NOT found, and for each bean NOT found, another one of the same kind (the offspring of the beans that 'escaped' our hunt...since more dark and mottled beans "escaped" we tossed out many more of those than white ones, becasue we had found more while ones, leaving the darker ones missed. In only three rounds of that process, we had found nearly every white or light colored beans but many dark ones remained missing. On the dark ground the white beans were so easy so see, we 'hunted them to extinction' while the population of dark beans increased. More of the mottled beans 'escaped' than white beans, but not as many as the dark beans.

So were the dark beans 'better' or 'stronger' than the white or mottled beans? No.

We then performed the same experiment in the same way in two other locations about the campus...one a rough, unpaved back packing area covered in crushed white road-bed rock, same selection of beans, equal numbers of each. The results were the opposite we soon hunterd the dark beans to extinction, leaving many white beans unfound and escaped to reproduce and amke more while beans, Again the mottled beans, the pintos and cranberry beans fared in the middle. Our third environement with our beans, again said number iof each kind, was an open jogging and walking lane covered in a deep layer of common river pea gravel, in shades of pinkish tans and yellow and creams and browns.... and they vanished into the pea gravel! We pretty much 'extincted' the dark beans and white but found very few light cream peas or few mottled beans.

 

The three hunts were then done again, each exactly he same, EXCEPT the students had to use a 'tool' in one hand only, to pcik up the beans and put then in their bag. An equal number got a plastic knife, others a plasticfork, anf others a set of tweezers. the beans were the prey of course, not "we" as predators had very different kind of 'mouths' to pick then up with. So no matter the kind of bean we found our tool might not do so good a job picking it up. Imagine trying to pick up a round cream white peas with a flat plastic knife or tweezers!

 

A small weak animal might be very vulnerable to large ferocious predators on open ground, but where they can dive into small cracks and crannies in rocks, they have an advatange over thier larger, plumper siblings.

 

Diversity increases odds SOME will survive, WHATEVER kind of changes happenes.

 

Now 3 real discoveries in human advantage in evolution...1. At even the worst of the black plague epidemics, a dew peopple eithr didn;t get sick at all or had a mild case they recovered from. Recent recearch has discovered those people had a certain mutated gene that gave them immunity or resistiance to plague, but the descendants carrying that same gene are peopel today with immunity or resistance to HIV/AIDS! 2, The red blood cell abnormality that occurs in people of Arfrican and mediteratian geneology to cause sickle-cell anemia has been fround to provide immunity or resistance to malaria! 3. Several populations prone to obesity and extremely high rates of diabetis, such as in the American SW nature tribes and regions in African and Austrsailia, responde well to exreme diet and excercise changes, that mimic the hunter-gatherer heritage when startvation was a cinstant threat...they are more food efficient!

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Still, isn't it the adaptation that is responsible for the diversity and not the other way around? The reason there is a diverse spread of species is because each of these have adapted in a specific way rather than diversified first and then adapted?

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Still, isn't it the adaptation that is responsible for the diversity and not the other way around? The reason there is a diverse spread of species is because each of these have adapted in a specific way rather than diversified first and then adapted?

 

No, the development of diversity comes first. There must be diversity there to begin with for changing survival condition to have a selection effect upon.

 

The idea you are holding here was what was called Lamarkism, a theory effectively discredited with the discovering of genetic inheretence. The mutations from among which may occur some that give advantage must already have developed in the population to be a slection option when conditions change. Mutations, diversity, does not develop in response to condtions.

 

Example: Lamarkism posited that at some time when drought or other conditions created famine for grazing/browsing animals on the African savanna, giraffes 'adapted' by growing longer necks so as to be able to reach foliage higher up into the trees. But think about it...here we have all these short necked giraffes standing around starving, and some of the 'decide' to just make their necks longer to they can reach what foliage is left in the taller trees?

Evolution of the present longer necked giraffe came because one of the diversties among giraffs was considerable variation in length of neck. At the time that had developed, it gave no particular advantage to the longer necked animals. However, in times of exteme drought and famine, when all lower foliage had been stripped bare, the shorter necked animals could not obtain food, and starved. The longer necked animals were able to reach higher into the trees for food than the shorter necked ones, so survived, and passed the genetic change on to some of their offspring...evenually, repeated cycles of such drought/famine in their environment resulted in only longer necked girraffs surviving.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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