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In Search of a Safe Place

DSC01519In Old Testament times, innocent people could find temporary shelter by running to “cities of refuge” or by getting to and hanging on the “the horns the altar” of sacrifice.

But that was for those who i.e. unintentionally harmed others. What about those who were guilty?

Only with the Cross of Christ do we see a complete provision made for the kinds of wrongs that people like us have done, and are so inclined to do, to one another.

So in that light, am wondering if we would be taking a step toward the kind of place we all long for– by reading every word of the Bible— from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21— in light of its description of what Jesus suffered in being made sin for us?

Even though, in taking our place, he did what we could never do, is there a sense in which he does want us to bear the sins of one another?

Could the Spirit of new life be helping us to see what it takes for us to become part of a safe place in the way Paul begins and ends his description of love in 1Corinthians 13:4-7?

If these words were written in the shadow and light of the Cross, how far could they take us in putting our own wrongs, and the wrongs of one another, in perspective?

P.S. For other reasons, I’ve posted in the past this polyester resin likeness of a security guard stationed in a Milwaukee conference center. Even in person– looks so real.


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79 Responses to “In Search of a Safe Place”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    A long time ago a friend of mine and I were talking while at work, at that time he was somewhat newly married and still getting to know his wife. In the conversation he said that his wife had told him, when ask what was she thinking of, that she was thinking of nothing.

    He was still reeling from that answer as he ask me if there was ever a time when my mind was completely blank and I was just thinking of nothing as he could not imagine not thinking all the time while awake.

    In regards to Mart’s topic this morning, our souls have found a safe place to rest in Jesus Christ alone no where else. Safe from judgment and destruction.

    However apart from our eternal souls there in Christ, there is no safe place for our flesh to be completely safe from the evils and dangers of this world. Unless were are to be raptured up we are all going to die.

    Unless we live apart from every other human being we are vulnerable to every trouble and pain people can inflict upon one another.

    And we are never separated from our thoughts.

    Search all you want for a safe place, build all the walls around you that you can, put a hardness upon your heart seek out a loner’s life and become an island in the sea of humanity, but there is no safe place from people or from ourselves.

    We love others in spite of their shortcomings. That is the message of 1Corinthians 13. The only safety found there is that no matter how others are, we love them anyway.

    Jesus is able to do this completely, not I. The fullness of the meaning in 1 Corinthians 13 is filled only by Jesus, and the rest of us fall short in its promise, just as we do in the beatitudes.

    Only the Lamb is worthy. Only Jesus is able, and because so, I am forgiven for not being able and allowed in though I am not worthy.

    The search will always lead to Jesus of Nazareth the Christ.

    Steve

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    My experience has been that every living soul is in search of a safe place. The Scriptures convey that ease from suffering – that unconditional love – that shalom/peace for which we all hunger and thirst. What is revealed by the Bible is the unfathomable love of God. Mart, you mention the Spirit of God’s word as the “…description of what Jesus suffered in being made sin for us.” There it is: the appearance of the Light in the midst of our fallen, dark world. The Bible establishes the ground of the knowledge of God. Reading or hearing it from beginning to end brings the potential for our transformation.

    As we work to clear a place for God’s will to be done on earth as in heaven, we have only one perfect example to guide us. Jesus, in his life, death, resurrection and ascension – and the presence of the Holy Spirit – equip us to be his body.

    Mart, you ask concerning Jesus, “Even though, in taking our place, he did what we could never do, is there a sense in which he does want us to bear the sins of one another?” Jesus taught us to pray, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (Matt 6:12) Jesus even takes the time to emphasize forgiveness. (Matt 6:14, 15)

    While I do not think anyone should eagerly take on the sin of another person, our acceptance of a fellow child of God can mean that as a patient friend in Christ we can allow him/her to taste the goodness of God’s grace. (Matt 18:21, 22) I sometimes wonder what (we think)we have to do that is more important than this one thing…

    Blessings,
    Maru

  3. pegramsdell says:

    Forgiveness is the ultimate escape. We escape bitterness and strife by forgiving others. Like we were forgiven. Thank You Jesus!

  4. oneg2dblu says:

    Just to think that we do have a choice, we can choose our flesh and react, or choose the presence and guidence that the Holy Spirit gives us.
    sometimes we do both, and usually in that order.
    Only Christ turned that choice’s cadence upside down as He always chose to do the Will of His Father first.
    Thank God he was able to bend down and write in the ground first, and then cast upon the moment just what it deserves.
    We all have that same moment within us, that one tick of time before we switch on the flesh, if we would only stoop to the ground first and then react.
    To me that would be the safe place to visit before we react in the flesh.
    That guard at the door although frozen and not made of flesh, is catured resting in that moment as if contemplating his next move, and that makes him seem trust worthy and real enough.
    God give us that captured moment of reflection that comes just before our flesh reacts, but only if we choose to allow it, give us all your safe place first.
    Gary

  5. poohpity says:

    Yes, Mart, to me it would be a step in the right direction to be that place we long for by reading the Bible. We may at that point understand 1 Cor 13:4-7 of how God loves us but will also help us when we are in any other relationships to love them as we have been loved.

    How can one be obedient to God’s Word when most do not even know God’s Word. That is like someone calling themselves a Master Chef by reading the “Joy of Cooking” and never practicing any of the recipes then not going on to fill their minds with any other types of cooking methods or cook books but speak as an authority when they do not have a clue. It will be very obvious when someone eats their food that they only have limited knowledge but not enough to be considered a Master Chef. Or someone who calls themselves a Master Carpenter because they can swing a hammer yet has no idea how to even square something.

    So how can we love others as God loved us when we really do not understand all that encompasses because of a lack of knowledge, experience and application yet speak as if one has Mastered being a Christian because they have read a few chapters and memorized a few verses. I sure would not want that carpenter to build my house or that chef to prepare my banquet and I sure would not want to be taught the Bible by someone who has never read it but I would not mind standing with them as they continued their search to realize there is only One who has Mastered it all and knows we are all His apprentices in the process of learning.

  6. poohpity says:

    Our Daily Bread for today was wonderful.

  7. oneg2dblu says:

    Perhaps it was prepared by a Masterchef.

  8. poohpity says:

    Or maybe “The Master” Himself for such a day as this.

  9. BruceC says:

    There really is no safe place here. For the believer or unbeliever. At least not in the physical sense. It is fallen world. We who have put our faith in Christ have a safe place that He has prepared for us. And our hope in Him gives us the assurance of that safety while we are here. Until then we are all involved in spiritual warfare to one degree or another.
    He is our hiding place and our refuge. And there are many that need to find it. God give us strength and wisdom to show others the way to that “safe place”.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  10. poohpity says:

    Bruce, to say there is no safe place here, is that making excuses for not trying at least to be a place where people feel free to share their hearts, troubles and suffering? It is possible!! I know several people that that is a true statement they are a safe place to share so it is possible. To say there is no way for that to happen does that not give us permission to not even learn how? Jesus living in us affords us the ability to be a safe place and if we live in and for Him, the Holy Spirit will transform us into that safe place.

    That to me is like saying I can not forgive so I will not even go through the process.

  11. Dusty-B says:

    I heard this statement of a Marine who was a hard drinking, hard fighting and hard living man until he accepted Jesus Christ into his life. He said that the Christian life was great! He enjoyed serving Jesus in whatever way he could. Yet, he missed the bar, not the drinking, but the camaraderie, the friendship, the fellowship. You could be yourself, let your hair down and no one would criticize you. You could tell your war stories and not be judged. Someone has said, “the neighborhood bar is possibly the best counterfeit there is to the fellowship Christ wants His church to have…”
    Should not the church, corporately and locally, be far more than this? Where do you go the let down? Who or where is your refuge? We know ultimately it is Jesus, yet, we need the human contact, we desire to share ourselves with someone. I need to.

  12. bubbles says:

    But many times when we share ourselves with someone, that will turn it against you. Or the closest of friends will grow weary of listening. Chit chat is fine, and pleasant perfunctories are good. But to really share one’s heart with another, that is another story. I have learned in the past 3 years or so that no one is safe, except Jesus.

  13. Dusty-B says:

    Yes, I agree Bubbles yet Jesus, our example, shared His life with those whom He met, unconditionally. If we believe Jesus can meet our deepest need should we not bdelieve He can do so through us to meet someone elses and our own if need be?

  14. BruceC says:

    poohpity,

    I am sorry you misunderstood my post. When I used the word “here” I meant this world, this life. In Christ and and in the things of the Lord we have a safe place. Please don’t jump to conclusions. Maybe I did not make myself clear enough.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  15. BruceC says:

    I think sometimes we do not let “it all out” for fear of seeming like we are less than we should be. Ego??
    Or fear of judgment and criticism; whether for our good or bad. We do not want to appear as failures so-to-speak.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  16. SFDBWV says:

    The only things I know of God I find written in the Scriptures, the only things I know of the heavenly realm are also found only in the Scriptures.

    God created all that exists; in the beginning God’s heaven experienced a rebellion. Heaven was not a safe place from rebellion.

    In the beginning God created the earth and on it planted a special garden in where He put man, in the garden there was a danger so profound it would change all the course of man’s history, the garden was not safe from disobedience and punishment.

    Was it that God was unable to create existence without its dangers? Or is it that God created existence just the way He wanted it, with its dangers and its failures and its pain all for a purpose we can only begin to understand at the cross?

    I think God knows exactly what He is doing and that is what I have come to understand from reading all I know of Him in the Scriptures.

    Because I believe that, every day and night and off and on all day I ask for God to place me and my loved ones in His sphere of love and protection and trust our fate to His will.

    That is the only safe place I know of, here, there or anywhere.

    Steve

  17. SFDBWV says:

    One of the truths you can glean from reading the story of the Tower of Babel is that man thought he could build a safe place from future floods God may send and that he could reach right into the heavens himself, an affront to God.

    The very idea that one can *create* a utopian place here on earth is not a new idea and in more modern times many authors have written their takes on that concept, without exception they all fail.

    Was the “Promised Land” a safe place? No, not at all.

    I liked Dusty-B’s comments and whole heartedly agree that the neighborhood bar or local pub is a refuge from the storms of live for many. In fact if you take a closer look the bar crowd has nothing to hide because they are honest about themselves.

    Christian fellowship should also be as honest, but it rarely is.

    There is a difference between not condemning a person, but condemning sin. There is a difference between discussing sin and its consequences and labeling someone a sinner.

    It is that difference that created the unpleasantness Mart experienced in the earlier topics of homosexuality. No one condemned the homosexual, but did homosexuality.

    The rush to judgment that followed created such a stir as to hurt feelings and rise up anger in some and so bring us to this topic of looking for some place where no one is condemned.

    In the most outrageous brazen commentary of all, still all the while arguing for a safe place to not be condemned, some are condemned for not agreeing with the concept.

    There just is no safe place outside of God.

    The best we can do is be ourselves and allow each other to be themselves and deal with it.

    Steve

  18. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    When you mention the “Spirit of new life,” Mart, I immediately remember what the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Rome (Romans 8:1, 2) In your post, you asked:

    “Could the Spirit of new life be helping us to see what it takes for us to become part of a safe place in the way Paul begins and ends his description of love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7?”

    The Corinthians passage (vv 4-7) begins: “Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…” (v 4 & 5)

    The passage you cite ends with: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

    If every eye in this Shalom-Zone we hope for is fixed upon Jesus, would we be trusting in the Presence of God among us to do the heavy lifting on what Scripture is calling us to? Are we equipped to love as God loves by simply trusting him? Just asking.

    Yours,
    Maru

  19. remarutho says:

    When I say “Shalom-Zone,” I quote a mentor of mine of some years. Clyde has longed for the church to be such a place through his fifty-odd years of serving Jesus.

    Maru

  20. Dusty-B says:

    I agree there is no safe place outside of God, utimately. Yet Jesus stepped out of His safe place to a world that killed Him and, He knew it would happen. He gave us the example of a personal “safe” place that can be in each of us for others to come to and find refuge. Let me give you an example; my friend, Alex, who recently went to be with Jesus, was a refuge for me and others. He attracted people to himself. People would tell him their sordid stories, share there hurts and pain. He uncondemningly listened. He admitted he was not a counselor but people felt “safe” in confiding in him. I know I did. I strive to learn from his example. I realize that some people are natural listeners or comforters but as Christ followers we need to stretch ourselves to meet the needs of those we come in contact with each day, our mission field. This is where we look our refuge, Jesus, for the strength and ability to carry on. Further, this blog, is to be a place of refuge and it is. Each of us need a safe place and we must strive to be a safe place for others.

  21. poohpity says:

    Bruce, That is what I thought you were saying in this life, the here and now. I do believe it is possible to be a safe place for people but as long as I expect others to be one and not give my attention to working on that in my life then I have failed. Not saying I can do it perfectly but I can create an environment around me that people feel safe coming and sharing with me.

    I hope I have done that or I have failed in being a counselor. The area I fail in the most is people that act like than resin policeman they look so real but aren’t. That I have to work on because I have learned that those that wear such protection usually are really suffering inside.

  22. narrowpathseeker says:

    Dusty, I am sorry but I do not think this blog(or any other blog— Christian or otherwise)is a refuge. Yes, there are many inspiring, encouraging, lifting, teaching, loving, and comforting messages here. However, there are also just enough messages that are NONE of those things, that often create a battle zone.

    I don’t think anyone seeks a battleground for refuge. A battle ground may be a great place to practice turning the other cheek and learning NOT to repay evil for evil and practicing all the Christlike actions we are suppose to take, but I think Christ Jesus is our only REAL refuge before, during, and after the battle…win or lose it.

  23. poohpity says:

    I do not think God would have asked us to treat others like we want to be treated if it were not possible. Or to love others as He has loved us if it were not possible. To me being a safe place falls under those two things.

    There are those who are very angry, bitter people and often time they accuse others of that when in reality they see themselves in others. If one recognizes their own state of being then they will be more open to accept others and not meet them with condemnation or judgement but with empathy.

  24. narrowpathseeker says:

    EXACTLY!! Unfortunately, people who recognize that VERY thing in others STILL don’t recognize themselves as being the greatest offender of that very thing. AND yes I for one DO recognize my OWN ugliness that I openly confess AND I also recognize it in a few people that deny it. That is why although it is POSSIBLE, it isn’t going to happen by pretending.

  25. oneg2dblu says:

    First, I would like to say having an opposing view is not a form of condemnation. Some of us clearly tend to confuse our feeling of conviction as a condemnation. God alone condemns us, not others gathered here who may oppose our views, doctrines, beliefs, or judgments.
    Yes, the old law used to condemn sinners to physical death by following the punishment given in the law.
    But today that is not so common place, except death row and there the sentence is for the most heinous of crimes only, and not our more common place sins, like adultery.
    Judging others as not being real is making a judgment that we probably should not be making, especially if we are to be that Christ following lover of all people we claim to be.
    The only truly safe place I’ve found was in the arms of people, like my mother or father when I was a child, and only in the Arms of God once I became His Child.
    There msy be plsces we feel more corfortable than others, more trusting to be in than others, but none are truly safe haven’s unless God is there placing His Arms around us.
    Find you peace in Him. He commands it!
    IMHO Gary

  26. poohpity says:

    narrow, if one is angry and bitter it will never get any better as long as there is blame. Anger and bitterness are the result of hurt, oppression, abuse and depression as well as other issues but it is not the fault of another person. No one can cause us to feel anything we are responsible for our own reactions. So you accepting your own ugliness as you say then you can empathize with others and give them a break because you know how rough it is. That is what I was trying to say not directed at you but in general.

  27. oneg2dblu says:

    That it the beauty of coming to Christ, it opens you, where you then admit you are a sinner in need of a Saviour!
    Today’s post on the Two Listeners site, “God at Eventide,” is quite comforting as it explains where a safe place really exists for those who are in Christ Jesus.
    Gary

  28. BruceC says:

    In order for me to be more open about things I would have to change my blog name and not speak about the area I live in. This is viewed by others and quite frankly that is why I keep much to myself. I hope that does not offend anyone. Likely a hold over of my police career. If this were a completely private place then it would be a different matter. When I go to the Lord in prayer; that is my private place.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  29. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bruce, I have never been offended by anything you have ever posted or not posted, ;-) and I understand your position.

  30. robbieuk says:

    The irony was not lost on me today when the German Chancellor, who was born and brought up in the old East Germany made strong overtones to the leader of the so called free world, in Berlin, that he should be careful about the state (USA) spying on it’s own people and citizens of other countries.
    It seems she had plenty of experience of where it can lead to when the government uses security to give it the right to control information and peoples rights.
    Like Bruce has just said, maybe we should all use different names to protect ourselves, even on a Christian blog like this.
    Who can say how the words we use here will be used against us in the future if all communications are to be stored forever.
    There is only one communication that is 100% safe and that is between me and God via prayer.

  31. poohpity says:

    I guess although I do not like the government in our lives, I do not have anything to hide and I more than hope that my family or friends would come here and learn from Mart’s wonderful topics and from the comments. Everything I have is associated with my handle and I have a facebook account how much more public can you get. What you see is what you get. I just do not know how after being on the “do not call list” that I am getting all those sales and political calls again now that is who I would love to hide from.

    Bruce can they arrest me again for the same things they did before, 24 years ago and longer when I tell others about them? Like attempted murder, drugs, disorderly conduct in 3 states, encroachment or obstruction of justice? If not then I have nothing to fear but fear itself.

  32. Dusty-B says:

    This was in Jun 16 Strength for the Journey devotion,
    “One of history’s most tragic offenses to justice was the Holocaust. In Washington D.C., at the Holocaust Museum, there is a plaque with these words, ‘Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Above all, thou shalt not be a bystander.'”

  33. BruceC says:

    I need prayer for my nephew. He is 25 and we just learned his girlfriend is pregnant. His mom sounded proud about it to my wife on the phone and she and her quasi-husband(they are separated but live next to each other and he has had women live with him right in front of his kids) told him that it would be best for now if they didn’t get married. He is also afraid of winding up like his parents. Who would’nt? When he was younger he came to church with us several times and accepted Christ as His Saviour and was given a Bible by the Pastor. He then immediately fell off the radar and would not respond to our calls. So there was little follow-up. He started hanging with the wrong crowd. Friends whose parents never married and drug users. I really think that his atheist father got to him along with his mom who always put down my wife for her beliefs. My sister-in-law thinks that the only part of God’s character is love. The “I’m ok; you’re ok” type of thought.
    What a mess. That’s all the details for now. Please pray for him, his girlfriend, his parents, and especially the little baby.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  34. SFDBWV says:

    Bruce, prayers for your nephew, hie girlfriend, his parents, and the unborn child.

    Steve

  35. SFDBWV says:

    In its intended sense a blog place like this can be a safe place as far as hiding an identity or email address, but that information is still in the hands of the blog administrator and easily *hacked* by someone who knows how.

    So your identity isn’t completely safe here or anywhere on the internet.

    As for here on this site, I have always been personal about my comments as well as who and where I am, Dean Ohlman once Google earthed my very house and ask me about some things in my back yard.

    I know there are bad people out there, but I refuse to live in fear of them.

    The person you read from me is me. I am open and honest and I prefer it that way, for me. If any of you want to keep to hiding or believing that you are that’s fine with me, you should feel free to be yourself and follow your desires on this matter.

    What kind of church experience would it be if when you went in the door everyone wore a mask and only identified themselves by an alias, so as not to be vulnerable to the verbal slings and arrows from others?

    Jesus sent the Holy Spirit so that people could be reborn and start over. He didn’t put us in a turtle shell so we could retreat from each other, but rather that we could learn to love each other past our faults.

    The only way to face fear is to face it, the only way to heal differences are to expose them and the only way to learn of the pain of another is by dialog through which all concerned can be freed from trying to hide in a safe place instead of out in the fresh air of freedom.

    Happy Birthday West Virginia, 150 years old.

    Steve

  36. BruceC says:

    Steve,

    In a person-to-person I am what I am. On social blogs there are some things that I just don’t say. Some that are between me and the Lord or me and my wife.
    I am careful also about how I word some things that may be related to stories concerning real people in my area that they may not want all over the net either.
    I am not the biggest fan of “social networking” to begin with for several reasons. One of them being we are losing touch with people on a human level in our culture. Far too many have become just a name, some text, and some pictures on the web. Some have even lost the skill to communicate without the networks.
    Like with all things involving humanity…some good, some bad.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  37. SFDBWV says:

    I’m with you Bruce there are a great many things I don’t expose here as well as to others here in person it just is common sense and good manors.

    There is such a thing as too much information.

    Steve

  38. SFDBWV says:

    I read a story on the internet news a day or so ago about a mother who had discovered her son’s picture on a web site about a child dying from cancer.

    She had posted the little boy’s picture on her Facebook page and someone used it for their false blog site.

    Think of what other pictures and information others are using because of *sharing* on the social network.

    Steve

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve and Bruce I’m with you on that as well, but we are only guys and the ladies here may feel differently, because we know they are from another planet.
    Just joking, but there is a difference and there probably should be.
    Good manners and common sense should be required in all social settings to me, but some people use social settings as release therapy giving others way too much info.
    I had a friend who fit this type of incorrectness to a tee.
    If you asked him how he was doing, he would open his momentary life’s story, which was always depressing, without missing any details.
    Forty-five minutes later, you would leave carrying all his baggage.
    Socially when we ask someone, “How are you,” We don’t really want all their trivia which may be important for them to release, or, do we?
    This friend was a gentle soul and I always heard him out and would give him my best advice for his current needs, which he would embrace as an epiphany and with great joy, but nothing ever changed his need to dump or correct his overbearing life situation, he was stuck in a place of his own making or possibly a chemical imbalance. Therapist’s have drugs and labels for those things.
    Now church people, being a different breed, probably seek out others who can tolerate all the intimacy of their lives, and will in turn pray for them.
    That is what I have found in many private bible studies where things soon turn into weekly therapy sessions instead.
    That statement may seem cruel to some here, but when you don’t know people you should show some restraint or common sense.
    Where is God in all that honesty, or this really misplaced over the top intimate information which only the real people seem to spew out all over the place thinking they are just being honest?
    For instance…How many really personal intimate things do we need to know about Mart’s life displayed here? What you will find in that answer, you will find there is restraint, wisdom, and honesty as well.
    Like others have said about other topics “balance is a good,” and probably a good place to stand upon here as well.
    We all need forgiveness of sin, we all prayer, and we all need each other or this blog stops being interactive and so effective.
    May God contonue to help us all find the right amount of balance to know the difference, using our manners and common sense. Gary

  40. poohpity says:

    But!! Some share only that which will make them look good while not sharing the struggles they face because they think it will make them look weak, less than, vulnerable, and actually human as far as that goes. The problem is that we all go through that which is common to mankind. When everything in one’s life sounds so peachy that is the mask which leads others astray. When we share the struggles with others that is what makes us seem safer by acknowledging those areas then others will share their struggles as well.

    A friend of mine wrote on facebook a week ago, “Christians do not gossip the share prayer requests”. Why is it alright to share the life of another yet hold your own close to the vest by keeping it a secret. I know so everyone can say oh my gosh they are living such an ungodly life and not consider the areas in my own life that would show I doubt the Lord’s provisions so I do everything myself(pride). Or that while I claim not to judge, I do.

    The man in the picture is cold and has no heart yet looks so real.

    I struggle with doubt, anger, loneliness even in a room full of people, I do not understand so much in life but I do know hypocrisy. I know what it is to struggle with legalism. I know what it is to struggle with self reliance rather than God reliance. I have not conquered obedience and the list goes on.

  41. poohpity says:

    Be careful in what you say, it’s difficult to sling mud and keep your own hands clean.

    I read this morning there are endless opinions about life and philosophies about how one should live but the only thing worth studying and feeding on is the truths found in the Word of God. Reading that will lead to wisdom and that wisdom through faith will lead to action. Not applying it to the lives of others but to our own life knowing that God will one day judge every person for every hidden thing, good or bad. That helps us to put into perspective our wrongs and the wrongs of one another. Helping us to see and hear that we all fall short of God’s best design for how we treat each other and want to be treated. Sharing our burdens as Christ has been yoked with us to make those burdens lighter and we can do that as well with each other. Unless one feels they are to good, righteous or self sufficient to need that help.

  42. fadingman says:

    I agree with what Narrowpathseeker said, “I do not think this blog(or any other blog— Christian or otherwise)is a refuge”. This is also true of internet forums (as it was decades ago with electronic bulletin boards).

    I don’t think I’ll ever find a Christian forum that is entirely uplifting and edifying, although some come close. Whenever believers from different theological persuasions come together, heated debates arise leading to lack of respect for one another. I’m not against people being able to express opinions, just how those opinions are sometimes expressed. Christians can get very vicious online, which doesn’t build up the church, and doesn’t reflect well on Jesus Christ to the world.

    But I haven’t abandoned Christian social sites. The way I see it, it’s not so much about finding a place of refuge for myself, but about me trying to be a blessing (imperfect as that is). It is better to be a peacemaker than to find a place of peace (Matthew 5:9).

    Andrew

  43. phpatato says:

    Amen Gary….”May God continue to help us all find the right amount of balance to know the difference, using our manners and common sense”….

    Too much information can be a bad thing. There is a time and place for everything under the sun and an internet blog sharing too much personal information is rather distasteful. That kind of stuff…Common Sense says…is best left to a face to face conversation with someone you know well or you are paying to lie on their couch. I have friends on facebook that I have blocked because they post everything from “I had a good time snuggling last night with my new boyfriend” to other things that are just as classless and are better left unsaid. Give me a break already.

    Deb I feel you are using a wide brush when you said….”Some share only that which will make them look good while not sharing the struggles they face because they think it will make them look weak, less than, vulnerable, and actually human as far as that goes. The problem is that we all go through that which is common to mankind. When everything in one’s life sounds so peachy that is the mask which leads others astray”…..

    Not everyone feels comfortable exposing details of their lives over even a Christian blog site. We all know there are those who look forward to people spilling their guts out because they are either what I call “an armchair psycologist” busybody (a meddlesome, prying, or officious person) or they get smug satisfaction that “yes indeed, misery loves company and I’m not so bad after all, at least not as bad as them.

    People who keep their problems to themselves aren’t necessarily trying to mask things, they just have some class about them.

    My opinion anyway.

    Hugs to All

    Pat

  44. poohpity says:

    Is it really class? Or is it pride? The bible has shown us through out it’s history all the failings of those who went before us that is how I know of it’s authenticity because it did not hide anything. Can you imagine the story of David without Bathsheba, Abraham with out the lies to the Pharaoh, Peter as he denied Christ, Paul as he murdered followers of Christ just to name a few. The bible did not hide anything but in fact was very real about human struggles that is why it is important about reading it especially for those who do not know how to open and real.

    It seems people feel embarrassed because they have flaws rather than feeling the commonality in humanity. So I should ignore Gal 6:2-3 NLY; or James 5:16 NLT. So is it class or the thoughts of rejection, embarrassment, weakness, etc.?

    If it were for the class of not sharing that is why people do not come to those who do not share their real life issues especially Christians. That was the point of this topic and the last, as I understand it.

  45. poohpity says:

    I guess when Pastor’s have asked me to share my testimony they thought I had no class. They asked me to share because I have been changed, forgiven and live in God’s grace and mercy. Then the people who have come up to me afterwards have thanked me for sharing and being honest because they had a hard time sharing for the feelings of being judged by their fellow believers. What is it that is so hard to understand about being real, it is because most are so concerned about how another is going to react or what they are going to say. Just exactly like what has happened on here when they do.

  46. phpatato says:

    Deb Giving one’s testimony in church is completely different that opening up oneself on the internet. Completely different. I wasn’t talking of giving a testimony in church. I was talking about giving unnecessary information over the internet for the public world wide to read. Some people feel uncomfortable divulging private information about themselves for everybody to read. Saying that they don’t do it because they are masking their peachy life is unfair. To them, it is not in their character to spill their guts or bare their souls to people they don’t know. It’s not about being real. It’s about privacy.

    But

    if giving a testimony in church, I agree, if you are telling people what the Lord has done for you, the miracles He has performed in your life, that is certainly worth telling.

    I could be way out in left field and totally wrong about what I said but that is how I see it anyway.

  47. poohpity says:

    Is it any different? No matter where we are if there were more openness, realness and honestly it certainly would be a better, safer place no matter where we are. I do not live at church.

  48. robbieuk says:

    I have a friend that will write every detail of his life on the internet and other friends are reluctant to phone him because he will talk for hours about his relationships. I know a girl who does similar, both have mental heath issues and suffer from depression. Because of this they seem to have no barriers or defences when it comes to emotions, so they get hurt because they just open strait up to others. This may seem a good thing on the surface but, in reality we have to be on our guard. Trust has to be earned and by trusting as my friends do like a child they become subject to abuse.
    A child will be open and honest about everything but as adults we learn to protect our feelings.
    You may say Jesus said we should be as children and that is so when we are trusting in Him, but He also told us to be as cunning as foxes while being as innocent as doves.

  49. narrowpathseeker says:

    I think once again, it is the BALANCE thing that so many have mentioned. I think we can give testimony without excessive detail. I tend to do drag out a conversation with excessive detail and my family or friends will point it out(kindly)so then I try to wrap it up too quickly and leave out important details! I am not too good at balance, but I try….maybe someday, I’ll get it right. However, there are just some things we just don’t need to know…like that ad for toilet tissue, “Let’s talk about what goes on in the bathroom” One time with several family members in the room when that came on, we all shouted at the same time, “NO, let’s NOT!!”

  50. poohpity says:

    I believe we were told to be as weary as serpents and harmless as doves when we face persecution for standing up for the Gospel because even our family and friends will often times come against us when we stand up for what we believe. I do not know if that has to do with sharing ourselves openly and honestly with others so that they will feel comfortable sharing with us, but it could.

    I wonder how good the friends are being reluctant to listen to him but if they shared how they feel about him talking for hours and how it is effecting their relationships it may help him learn self control.

  51. phpatato says:

    Pearl I think that balance is key or as Gary put it as well…common sense says. There is no way that I will bare my soul to a stranger. If I am permitted to get to know this person and become comfortable around this person, if I determined that this person is TRUSTWORTHY, then I will probably become more open and over time talk heart issues. I will not run into what says to be a “safe place” and not test it out beforehand to see how safe it really is. Anybody can say they are a safe place or trust me and in a perfect world, that may be the truth but we all know that this ain’t a perfect world and people can’t be trusted even though they say they can be. Not all mind you but there are those who are untrustworthy. As Robbie said…”be as cunning as foxes while being as innocent as doves.”

    ps. I tend to drag out a conversation as well and do the same as you. lol true!!!

  52. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pat, that is the reason I don’t comment here as much anymore. Sometimes, I write for an hour and have to edit/delete and then sometimes it doesn’t even make sense because I forgot the point I was trying to make, so I don’t post it. More often than not when I do post, it takes me well over an hour to compose a 3 minute message. ;-)

    I have an elementary school classmate coming down from Maine to visit tomorrow morning. I haven’t seen her in over 50 years!! Just started communicating via email this past year. She is a born again Christian and I am so looking forward to her visit. I need to get to sleep.

  53. robbieuk says:

    Sorry if I miss quoted scripture about the foxes & doves but it was 1am in the morning and I had had a long day. But I was just making the point that we must be very careful who we share with. Jesus was open and caring with the ordinary people but did not have a good word for the religious bigots.
    Yes I did tell my friend often not to tell mine and his private life to the world and his dog, but he has a need to share his inner feelings due to the fact he had an emotional breakdown years ago. I keep my private things private, between me and God. I no longer share with my friend and we just exchange pleasantries when we meet.

  54. BruceC says:

    My wife and I are going on a short trip to a family reunion in PA. On the way we will stay overnight with my brother and his family. Please pray for traveling mercies and that all goes well and that we glorify Him while away. Will give the details when we return. God bless all!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  55. SFDBWV says:

    Norman Rockwell painted a marvelous picture once of a series of different people telling each *special* friend a secret. At the end of the series the person who started the process was the last to hear it.

    Norman Rockwell possessed a wonderful ability to capture humanity on canvas; he remains my all time favorite artist.

    In truth I don’t know what heaven will be like, but without people it would be a very lonely place.

    People aren’t perfect, none are and wouldn’t it be more like hell then heaven if we all looked alike sounded alike and behaved more like ants than humans.

    I know in spirit Mart is looking for a place where people can be safe from criticism and judgmental aspersions, but I wonder if there is any such place where humans ever come together.

    In the best efforts and intentions there are always a spoiler who by the very nature of allowing all entry into a group feel free to be themselves never truly realizing the negative energy they bring to the group.

    Negative energy multiplies and like a cancer spreads, sooner or later all are affected by it and respond to it, most often negatively.

    Jesus loves the spoiler as well as the considerate and offers the spoiler an opportunity to learn to be more considerate as well as offering the considerate to be more tolerant of the spoiler.

    I guess the trick is how far do we go in allowing a spoiler to go before we tell them that they are, and are we willing to jeopardize the safe place for the freedom of one.

    Steve

  56. s2inkzoo says:

    I will be praying for you Bruce.

    I just happened to be going through “The pursuit of God” by A W Tozer and it fits in with this discussion, so I wanted to share it. It is Chapter 9 that is Meekness and rest. Now keep in mind, I had no one here in mind when I was going through this, nor do I now as I am sharing it. Indeed, I can see myself in these points.

    What he brings out is that to have Christ’s rest, we have to take on his Yoke which is the yoke of meekness (Matthew 5:5) (Matthew 11:28-30)(actually all the be-attitudes). To do that, we have to put off the yoke of the world. He goes on to list three things that we really carry as burdens and need to put off to be meek: 1) The burden of Pride. Trying to make sure someone is not pulling us down and working hard to make sure we can think of ourselves as big or important. 2) The burden of pretense which is defined as not hypocrisy, but trying not to look foolish. So putting so much effort into making sure you don’t show your inward poverty. 3) The burden of artificiality. This is the effort we put out so people don’t see the real us. So, we don’t let people see our limitations. I don’t think this is saying that people need to share “too much information” as has been discussed.

    I only bring these things up in the context of this being a place of rest. I was reflecting that the more we put these burdens on ourselves, the more we put these burdens on other people,which leads to the things people mentioned in the last post of not being able to have a restful place. It also does not let our churches be restful places.

    But, there is also the part that then lets us take on what Mart has brought up in this post, the burden of suffering for the sake of another. Not suffering in the sense of a cross, but suffering their anger and bitterness, and maybe even hatred. Suffering humiliation. But all of this only in the strength of Christ.

    stu

  57. s2inkzoo says:

    In reading Steve’s post, I thought i would post the prayer at the end of the chapter since all of this takes God’s hand.

    “Lord, make me childlike. Deliver me from the urge to compete with another for place or prestige or position. I would be simple and artless as a little child. Deliver me from pose and pretense. Forgive me for thinking of myself. Help me to forget myself and find my true peace in beholding You. That You ma answer this prayer I humble myself before You. Lay upon me your easy yoke of self forgetfulness that through it I may find rest.”

  58. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Thanks, Stu, for the words from Tozer. I think what he says fits very well into the topic.

    I confess that the initial reaction of my flesh is to see how I think his message points to others but I know I’ve got to apply it to myself.

    The freedom of self forgetfulness. I have a pamphlet on that topic written by Tim Keller. Good message; so hard to do!

    As you say, only in the strength of Christ. We forget ourselves when we focus our minds on Him.

  59. SFDBWV says:

    What is the purpose of a person reading and understanding the nature of God from Genesis to Revelation?

    Is it to try and be more Christlike or is it to see we can’t fully attain His holiness?

    Is the moral to the story that since we can’t attain Christ’s holiness we need never try or is it that we should strive to be more Christlike and overlook those who fail as we do along the way?

    Is the safe place Mart is looking for found in the confidence of God’s love and the armor He puts around our hearts so as to not be affected by the slings and arrows others throw our way?

    Such a safe place exists only between you and God.

    In a good marriage a husband and wife can share their hopes and dreams as well as their fears and failures. In a good marriage each person’s heart is safe with the other.

    Not every marriage is a safe place.

    Once a person is hurt it is very difficult to trust again. It can happen, but takes a lot of overcoming to do so.

    When someone you love betrays that trust can that broken heart ever be repaired and that trust restored?

    How many people do you know who feel betrayed by God? Have you ever felt betrayed by God or let down by your request to Him for help?

    Is your heart and hopes safe with God? If you are unsure is it His fault or yours; as you see it?

    Talk is cheap, but honest reflection is most always kept a secret to yourself.

    Steve

  60. phpatato says:

    I’d like to post a prayer request.

    My brother and his family live in Calgary Alberta. Heavy rains this spring has now caused serious flooding in areas between Banff and Calgary. Communities are being evacuated including downtown Calgary. My brother who is a Calgary firefighter said that they were all night moving expensive equipment/furniture from the first floor of the fire halls to the second floor. He was leaving work to go home, to monitor the sump pump in his home instead of sleeping. The hydro is out. As district fire chief, he expects to be called back into work as the flooding worsens..forsaking his own home to help others. The greatest fear is if a dam in Banff (upstream) breaks, Calgary will become a “third world city”.

    Prayers for EVERYONE affected by this flooding. Rain is in the forecast. Prayers for my brother and his wife, son and daughter. My brother knows Christ but is “off the narrow path” and his wife and children believe in everything, with God as an add-on.

    To God be the Glory!

    Pat

  61. SFDBWV says:

    Pat I knew you didn’t live in Calgary and so didn’t mention it this morning. I seen video of the flooding this morning on the news.

    My prayers to your brother and family as well as all effected.

    By the way Pat I think you are a class act all the way.

    Steve

  62. poohpity says:

    stu, wonderful words from Tozer. His writings are my favorite. Have you read “The Root of The Righteous”? True Spiritual awareness that man had. In bearing our inner selves we will step back to understand all that Christ has truly accomplished on the Cross and will be more understanding of all humanity. Those inner secrets we all share together when laid out there are the things that brings us together in humility rather than separate with pride.

    Like tracey said it is not how we want others to be to us, it is how we want to be to others.

  63. poohpity says:

    stu, by the way that seems to be exactly on target of what Mart was talking about.(YGI) The TMI has to do with things other than the struggles all mankind are faced with. It is not about trusting others it is about being a person others can trust because they understand.

  64. oneg2dblu says:

    When you go to the doctor for a script they need to know the particulars about your condition, so they should ask you about certain difficulties you are having, same with a physical therapist, or even a plumber. You don’t need to tell the neighborhood about it, and here we are the neighborhood of brothers and sisters in Christ, and others who may be searching for Him. We can ask for prayer from others without all the details because the great physician we are praying to for your concerns already knows all the details.
    But, if you are a gossip you may crave all the mess because it empowers you. If you think another is coming directly to you for your opinion you may want to know more, but here, as I see it, we do not come to get fixed, or put back in our place like an out of joint shoulder, we come to share our thoughts.
    “Been Thinking About” and we are asked to consider certain topics of thought and share.

    Yes, we are gathered together as family in Christ, all sharing our faith and praying for one another as well.

    I personally have no need to know, and do not want to know you shortcomings, addictions, past sins, and the like, to pray for you, or to be able to fully express my thoughts on the subject we are supposed to be discussing.
    We all love to hear another’s testimony and even share our own, but that is just being an open Christ Follower, not one seeking to gather gossip or slander another, or make ourselves feel less guilty than anyone else, with a plank in their eye, because we are all guilty and have fallen short of the Glory of God. Only God can forgive us, fix us, and that is where we should take out burdens.
    Confessing one’s sins to me, is another topic for another time and place.
    But, if you feel it is your time and place to share your mess, we will probably tolerate it just fine.
    In fact we already have. :0 Gary

  65. poohpity says:

    There once was a man stranded in the middle of the ocean. His ship had crashed and he was left with nothing but the clothes on his back and a slowly deflating air tube. So in this hopeless situation, he prayed, “God, please bring me a miracle! Rescue me! Send angels to help me! Get me out of here!”. No more than five minutes later, a boat came by to rescue the man; but the man didn’t get in the boat. When asked to get in he simply replied, “I don’t need your boat! God is going to save me”. So the ship went on. Exactly an hour later, a helicopter flew right above the man. The man in the helicopter begged the desperate man to climb into the safe helicopter, but the man just replied, “No! God is going to save me!”. So the helicopter went on. After another hour of floating aimlessly in the ocean, the man noticed a small island off in the distance. As he began to drift towards it he rapidly started paddling the opposite way, thinking, “I don’t want to be on that island, God is going to save me!”. Shortly after that, the man drowns. Once he got through the proverbial pearly gates of heaven, he went straight up to God, infuriated about his death. “Why didn’t you save me like I asked?”, the man said in frustration. God just looked at the man, and replied by saying, “I sent you a boat, a helicopter and an island! Why didn’t you use them??”

  66. phpatato says:

    Thank you Steve. XOXO

    You are one CLASSY guy too!!!!!!!

  67. poohpity says:

    Steve, yes I have felt betrayed by God. The person who wrote that story also felt betrayed by God. My hunch is there are many who have felt betrayed by God. Look at the Lamentations of Jeremiah, he felt betrayed by God.

  68. poohpity says:

    Job seemed to feel betrayed by God as well. The disciples seemed to feel betrayed by God because Jesus was not what they expected Him to do or be.

  69. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pat, praying for your brother, his family, and as Steve, all those effected by this flood. Also, like Steve said I think you’re a class act all the way as well. Now I am copying Steve!, but if I have to be a copy cat, I think I have chosen well in choosing to copy you and Steve ;-).

    Bruce, I am also praying for your nephew, his girlfriend and for safe travel for you and your wife. I hope you enjoy every minute of your family reunion.

    My elementary school friend that I haven’t seen in over 50 years visited me this morning and I am still on a high from the blessed reunion.

  70. dodi says:

    In John 14:21,22) then Judas (not Iscaroit) said to Christ ” but Lord why is it you share these things with us and not unto the world” this is an intimate and private relationship and a union between Christ and his people and not for the world. The Lord Jesus is our husband and he so desires for our personal intimacy.

    Christ in love responded and said because I call you friends. (the world is not our friend) Yes we should share our struggles, our weaknesses, our temptations, shortcomings,our victories and give the honor to him but the intimate things belongs (only for Him).

  71. poohpity says:

    Amen, dodi!!

  72. poohpity says:

    dodi, do you feel if we share those struggles also with the unbelieving world it would give us more credibility with the knowledge that although we believe in Jesus that does not mean we are free from those things?

  73. dodi says:

    I absolutely believe God doesn’t waste our sufferings or sorrows (2 Cor.1:3-7) Apostle Paul reminds us as God comforts us in ALL our sufferings, then we too must take his word and comfort those in their sufferings, he tells us it is for their consolation and their salvation (vs.6).

    God comforts us, so we may be a comfort to others, this Comfort God gives us is a pricless gift. We have his Holy Spirit indwelling within to comfort us, encourage us, warn us, guide us and to speak through us. We are so blest. But the world knows nothing of this pricless gift.
    Pooh as you said in an earlier post . .. “we must be forever careful to be caregivers and not curegivers”
    Our willingness to share with others reflects our sincerity of who we are as God’s child.

  74. poohpity says:

    Thank you for answering dodi. That is what I understand from scripture as well and believe with all my heart.

  75. poohpity says:

    I was thinking about betrayal and how many times I have betrayed God by not having the attitudes of trust and dependence on Him that He desires from me. Desiring His will above mine and not allowing the Holy Spirit to work through me. Then when I think about God betraying me by not giving me what I want I understand that if I trust Him then He has given me what he wants me to have and the grace to be grateful with however things are.

  76. s2inkzoo says:

    Pooh, I had not heard of “the root of the righteous”. I will have to look it up.

  77. BruceC says:

    Just checking in quickly from my brother’s PC in north New Jersey. “Bear Country”! Yup; I am in the same county that I was born in 1951 but the northern end of it. Lots of bears here. We came home early last evening just before dark after attending my grand niece’s pre-school graduation and found a sow with two cubs in the back yard.
    This morning I read the first page of a men’s devotional that all men in our church received for Father’s Day. It was about a safe place. It told of how David was led by God to many different places so as to teach him that safety is not in a place but in a person.
    For our Lord is present everywhere and in our hearts. So truly we carry His safe place with us wherever we go.
    Having a great time seeing family and all the little grand nieces we have. Met my nephew’s future bride too. That will be another trip this fall.
    Continue to pray for us. Around noon today we leave for the Allentown/Bethlehem area of Pennsylvania for my wife’s family reunion. Then the day after to Cabela’s and to a big muzzleloading store. Monday we will return to upstate NY and I sure hope it’s warmer. We had overnight temps in the mid to upper thirties for a few nights before we left. Had to buy extra firewood as the supply ran out. God bless all!!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  78. SFDBWV says:

    Kind of ironic that Mart posted a picture of the fake policeman in a discussion of searching for a safe place.

    All of mankind’s attempts to create a perfect place of any kind turns out to be fake.

    Even the best attempts by the most good of intentions still have the corrupted seed of humanity in the scenario.

    Rather than searching for “Shangri-La” or “Utopia” we should be learning how to comfort the brokenhearted, help the destitute, feed the hungry, clothe the poor and even suffer silently for some.

    We need to console not condemn, to direct people toward the light not tell them that their darkness is ok, we need to be encouragers not nay-Sayers, but most of all Jesus wants us out among the people, not hidden away in what we think of as a safe place.

    Steve

  79. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve, thanks for calling attention to my reason for using this picture. Am going to bring it forward to what I just posted.

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