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The Voice

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Photo by: Beverly

Happened to bump into the last 3 programs on The Voice television series. Got caught up in the amazing and varied giftedness of the three finalists— that included a 16 year old who performed way beyond her years.

Started watching the final edition last night and announcement of the winner of season five, but ended up getting tired and deciding to find out in the morning about the winner. Wasn’t too surprised when I learned about the hard fought win of 28 year old Jamaica born Tessanne Chin. Yet the fact that the other two finalists got as many votes as they did says that there were many who were disappointed by the outcome.

Here my interest goes beyond The Voice of this morning’s buzz to The Word we’ve been talking about again recently.  Let’s use the good will of the friendship we share to take another step in thinking about our views of the trustworthiness of the Bible and the sufficiency of our One God and Savior.

One danger we encounter as we think about the trustworthiness of the Bible — is that we allow ourselves to invest too much interest in stars of lesser significance and argued interpretation.

Imagine every inspired word and story of the Bible as being like individual stars in the night sky. Take all of the individual thoughts and opinions that we have about the countless individual issues and differences that appear from our varying readings of those words and stories.

For example, let’s one of those stars represent our reading of what the Bible says and means about the time and end-time scenario of Jesus’ return. Let another star stand for our understanding of the time that the same Lord took to carry out the creation scenario of Genesis 1. Add now to the different readings we have of the beginning and the end of our human story all of our diverse readings of an endless series of issues embedded in the historical, spiritual, moral and relational details that have divided the minds and imaginations of the Body of Christ in every generation.

If our opinion of the trustworthiness of the Bible depends on our vote for the meaning of an individual star, we can distract one another from the glory of the real Voice and sustaining presence of the Bible.

Seems to me that the source of all truth and trustworthiness cannot be attached to anything other than the one Star that gives meaning and perspective to all of the other stars in our competing galaxies, theologies, cultures, and personal experience.

This, it seems to me, is the real meaning of Christmas. The real message goes far beyond our different explanations of the star that brought wise worshipers from the east. Aren’t all of the individual details given to bring us to the amazing, inexpressibly important discovery— that from a feed-trough in the ancestral village of David, the real light and glory of the Highest was gently shining…


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61 Responses to “The Voice”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I have read through this subject several times trying to grasp its center and a place to springboard from for a comment.

    It may be because I don’t watch the Voice nor am a party to all the social networking that is the world today that I struggle.

    Let me just say something like this; where does anyone’s faith originate?

    Is it an inner calling an unanswerable nagging that causes one to “look” for spiritual answers or fulfillment?

    Or is it “programming” that begins from childhood from parents or society?

    Is it possible that only when we “read” the Word of God that we *hear* the one true “Voice”?

    Is it possible that only when we read the writings of false religions that we realize they are dead and void of *His Voice* that we then also realize that His Voice only exists there in the Word of God and there in our inner beings.

    The real meaning of Christmas is the arrival of our salvation “Peace on Earth and good will toward men” a gift from God.

    Steve

  2. Mart De Haan says:

    Good morning, Steve, I realized when I wrote this that for many reasons, many would not have seen or be aware of The Voice. So I can appreciate your attempt to look for way into the conversation.

    In the process, you’ve raised questions that I certainly sure don’t have the answers to.

    But I know we are on the same page when it comes to where our faith rests. I’m pretty sure our shared desire is to:

    Let everything in the Bible, in ourselves, and in the world around us bring us to Christ…and then to the meaning of his death for us, and to the enabling life of his resurrected presence in us… and then to…

    Let everything in Christ bring us to his Father, to his Spirit, to those closest to us, and to those who because of our natural inclinations (misdirected fear/anger/desire) we’d like to forget or to avoid.

    Where I was trying to step lightly in today’s post is with the thought that all too often what we mean by the trustworthiness of the Bible is actually the trustworthiness of our understanding and interpretation of the Bible.

  3. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    The sound of talented amateur voices is a matter for a panel of judges in the program you reference. One judge, one vote – seems fair. Some number of the larger group of people listening to the sound of each voice will inevitably disagree with the experts. This is surely the case.

    I’m having some difficulty over here making the transfer
    From: listening to amateur singing voices
    To: the myriad readings of the Scriptures that occur every hour of every day – throughout the history of humanity. Gazillions, maybe.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Take all of the individual thoughts and opinions that we have about the countless individual issues and differences that appear from our varying readings of those words and stories.”

    Does God delight in each heart and mind that ponders God’s being – God’s will – set out in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation? Experience, and my understanding of what the Lord loves leads in my mind to the answer, “Yes, the Lord delights in each specific, individual soul.” As we billions and billions of “specks” respond to the sovereign character of God, God is pleased. Correction and instruction are ongoing processes in any heart that continues to “seek the Lord.” Though I do not begin to understand God’s eternal character, I believe nobody is born too late to please God by faith in him.

    In the light of the one star over the Bethlehem stable, we see our God indwelling the very same flesh we inhabit. It is a wonder. Small thinkers, big thinkers, the unthinking – all are welcome to kneel at the feet of Jesus. Dozens of writers have handed down this collection of Bible books. My prayer is for all the discussion – opinion – questions – and especially praise and worship – to continue, and increase.

    Christmas blessings,
    Maru

  4. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Mart for taking time this morning to help make me and perhaps some others to understand your direction in this current subject.

    Many years ago I talked in passing to a woman I know and told her some Mormons had been at my house and that they had some rather bazaar theology; she stopped me right there and said “Steve I have enough trouble understanding what I already know, I can’t take anything else right now.”

    I smile; because it is there that many of us find peace in the “trustworthiness” of the Bible or perhaps better said with our place in our faith.

    She had a *limit* to what she could absorb, and so rested on what she knew and was content with that.

    Ultimately it will always come down to our understanding and *view* as to how we interpret anything, including or especially Scripture.

    Some have limited view, some limited understanding, while others unlimited view and broader understanding may actually be a hindrance rather than an asset in finding peace with what they understand from Scripture.

    In truth Mart, I have to trust the Bible and ultimate authority of God, as any other view for me is dark, dismal and hopeless. Only in Jesus can I find any peace while in this world.

    Steve

  5. poohpity says:

    I tend to agree Mart, that there are many voices/authors/preachers who play off of peoples misdirected desires or fear/anger out there and especially in regards to the end times or healing that want their star to shine brighter than the One true Star. We were talking about how the Bible was used to support slavery, prejudices, Apartheid and the other day here a Christian hit a bell ringer because she said, “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”. Supporting anger or hatred using the Bible, go figure but it happens.

    Look at how many stars have written books out there interpreting scripture through their eyes it is a vast market and I think they play on the fact that it may be easier to read their book, watch a movie/TV or listen to sermon than it is to read the Bible and listen to the Voice of it’s true author.

  6. poohpity says:

    I was thinking about the warning of Paul in 1 Tim 1:3-5 NIV

  7. remarutho says:

    Dear All –

    I can remember, in my early Christian days, listening to broadcast preachers and teachers. I did try on their thinking — opinions — and their interpretation of the Bible. Meanwhile, I read it myself.

    As the years have rolled by, I have left many of those voices behind. I respect them as bringers of Bible teaching — but, no longer accept what they were saying. It is important just to assert “God exists — and his only Son is our Savior.” The market place contains more and more voices as time passes. Hearts that yearn for God are more plentiful, because there are more of us on earth.

    The call to read the Bible and to discern the Image and the Voice — the Person who emerges from that reading is more important now than ever, it seems to me. If there is deception, we can begin to share Bible study with a few other people. That circle might grow — and faithfully be in fellowship over many years. Fighting the “good fight,” as the Apostle Paul calls it, is simply remaining faithful and teachable, in my view.

    No individual Christ follower will right every wrong — and save the world. The Good News is the Lord who accomplishes that justice and mercy.

    Maru

  8. Artle says:

    I try to bear in mind that there is “one thing needful” which is listening to Jesus or in light of this topic, letting His Light shine.

    I grasp a little better the last topic and the thought that the reading of scripture is certainly affected by the eye and mind of the reader. The bible is trustworthy if you think it is and not if you think it is not. The heart believes or the heart does not. If the heart believes in Jesus, all else is practically irrelevant.

    Whether we simple minded folk agree on anything is of little value compared to whether we believe in Jesus. Someone mentioned finding the pearl (Matthew 13:46 NASB) and selling all that they had. All they had was of little value compared to the one pearl, the kingdom….. Jesus. Relating pearls to stars, we read and study and discuss, looking for the pearls that shine, but there is only one Pearl that we need.

  9. Artle says:

    Try to carry too many pearls and the weight is too much. Can’t understand everything at once.

  10. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes, and put too many in your mouth and none can understand you.

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… How fitting your blog opens with “The Voice” today.
    Sorry, I missed the The Voice series you are talking about, so I have no let downs or inspiring moments to relate to or share pertainig to that program.
    However, I was awaked today by a hugely powerful, wondeful, and melodic voice in my head singing these words… ” The Door is Open, the News is Gone.”
    If I had the talent or gifting I would write it out on a score to music for others to hear.
    It was a male voice in perfect tune with an amazing building creshendo and the ending note ringing in my ears soon to be forgoten, but I wrote in down for further evaluation, as I do not take all dreams as folly.
    It was a very pleasing and fulfilling event leaving nothing musically missing accept for the meaning of its brief message.
    Then, I remebered this very inciteful and pleasing quote, “The Songbird does not sing because it has Message, it sings because it has a SONG.” :)

    This was certainly just a dream with no vision, certainly not an actual physical experience, but God can and does use both dreams and visions to speak to us, so I will spend some time with its words and see if there is revealed a greater interpretation which is meant for me, or perhaps for others to hear, I know not which, but only share, as this topic has opened a door for it.
    Gary

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    Sounds like we’re having a grown-ups discussion where like any VBS or Sunday School class for elementary kids even if they/we don’t fully understand the question, they/we already know Jesus is the Answer.
    We being more mature, more learned, well studied, or always studying, do we not through all our voices, whether in agreement or in debatable forums, find we must conclude the exact same answers, or as Paul says, We have believed in vain.
    I beleive God can and does use every voice to His advantage and all scripture actually ever read or quoted never returns void.
    Take for instance the well studied William Miller who set his world on fire for his Adventist thinking and the resulting changed lives through right living just because he erroneously came up with an End Time calculation which did not play out as a valid prophesy, but changed such a multitude of believers through using his God-given power and ability to deliver a message taken and “proofed to his way of thinking,” through the studying of the scriptures.
    Gary

  13. poohpity says:

    The problems come when we have listened to many voices and after a false prophesy is delivered then would not many of his others message come into question? This seems to be what brings syncretism into our churches and beliefs. The problems do not come in debate because that is healthy to discuss but it is not healthy to not challenge a belief or thought through careful study and knowledge of the Bible.

    It seems most often we listen to someone who says they have read the Bible but because one does not have that foundation themselves never question what that person says. From what I have read about our nations history having the Bible for every person to read was one of foremost thoughts in their journey here, freedom from going through what only the priest were allowed so the common person could read it too. So each of those stars who have contributed their stories, prophecies, experiences with God that have given us the 66 books found in our Bible are so full that it is quite a challenge and journey of fitting all the puzzle pieces together to learn of how much God loves us and gives us proof of that everyday single day.

    It is a satisfying journey to follow His Star, listen to His Voice and to be in His presence.

  14. belleu says:

    What I think I am hearing from Mart is, “The brightest star in the Bible is the birth of Jesus, his life and death. Jesus gives meaning and perspective to all the other stars – stories and commands in the Bible.”

    I think the question, “What would Jesus do?” comes into this. If we can try to look at something and do something the way we think he would, then we will probably do what is right.

    I listen to many sermons online, on TV and read books of sermons from the 1800s. These men, who are devout Christians, don’t always agree on the interpretations of some scriptures. Sometimes, I don’t agree with their interpretations. What to think of all this? I don’t know.

    Hopefully, these are not life and death issues. However, it becomes a life and death issue when someone says they will imprison or kill you if you don’t believe as they do. Then what? The persecutor and you both believe in Jesus birth and death; so then, how do you decide if a belief is worth dying for?

  15. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    Belleu, your description of engagement on a field with “low visibility” is poignant in the global, digital, culturally charged atmosphere of our day. You wrote:

    “Hopefully, these are not life and death issues. However, it becomes a life and death issue when someone says they will imprison or kill you if you don’t believe as they do. Then what? The persecutor and you both believe in Jesus birth and death; so then, how do you decide if a belief is worth dying for?”

    It seems to me as an ex-patriot, a believer must be in touch with the diplomatic mission of his/her country and mindful of the culture and laws of the host nation. But, many go out into the city or neighborhood setting just to share the gospel in their native context.

    Surely we are called to gentleness and persuasion by sharing the whole gospel (2 Timothy 2:24). Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside in Corinth to share about Jesus and the Holy Spirit, because he simply had not heard. Sharing the whole gospel of Jesus Christ seems to begin with praying for like-minded friends to join together. The calling leads to discipleship and accountability in a group of faithful Jesus followers. The greater the dependence upon Scripture, prayer and mutual encouragement, the more powerfully the Lord manifests his love. (James 5:19-20) The decision to die for Christ’s sake is part of his covenant of love, isn’t it?

    Yours,
    Maru

  16. SFDBWV says:

    I am still stuck on this idea of our judging the trustworthiness of God and the Bible from our own perspectives and life experiences.

    It causes me to look at the trustworthiness of man, and I come up with man being predictable, but not often trustworthy in a sense of being noble or righteous or innocent and certainly not holy.

    If anything we can *trust* mankind to follow his own evil designs unto his end.

    However what gives us the privilege to judge God or His Word?

    Is it the act of living that provides us the opportunity say “where is God” in all of this evil and madness?

    We had a contributor here several months ago who ask very pointed questions about child abuse and worse. He ask how could God allow such to occur to little innocent children? It is a valid question we can not answer, none of us.

    I don’t know what the final outcome is for our past friend, but for most of us we are left to deciding that if we want to believe in God, or put another way *trust* that there is a God, we have to come to a point of total blind trust in every matter, especially such questions.

    The trustworthiness of God and His Word then become our resolve to have faith that what we don’t see or understand is still under the perfect control of an unseen God.

    God and His Word can not be scrutinized and judged by our standards and limited knowledge to be deemed *trustworthy*; but God can scrutinize mankind and judge him to be untrustworthy and very predictable.

    Mankind’s only hope is in God’s willingness to forgive and His avenue to forgiveness is found in Jesus of Nazareth His Son our Creator, *Scape Goat* and Sacrifice.

    His coming heralded in the age of Mercy, let us give thanks for Him as celebrate *Christmas* together in spirit.

    Steve

  17. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Steve, it seems to me the faithful reading and application of Scripture to life brings about the dynamic you describe. You wrote:

    “God and His Word cannot be scrutinized and judged by our standards and limited knowledge to be deemed *trustworthy*; but God can scrutinize mankind and judge him to be untrustworthy and very predictable.”

    I agree with your assessment of the sorry motives of human hearts, compared with the entire goodness of God as revealed in the Bible. It seems to me – and I have experienced it at least in some measure – the study of Scripture transforms the heart, mind and motives of the believer. The gospel stories of Jesus’ conception and birth – along with the Old Testament prophecies that come to us down the centuries – allow for extraordinary hope in God. This, if nurtured and embraced in the hearts of the hearers, builds trust and faith in God through Christ.

    It has been suggested before, but when we allow Scripture to “read” us as we take it in, we will grow in the knowledge and grace we are given by the Holy Spirit.

    Christmas Joy!
    Maru

  18. poohpity says:

    Why does God allow anyone to sin? Why does He give us freedom? God has given us clear guidelines for right living to prevent harm to others and to ourselves so why don’t people read and follow them? Does a child abuser or any other sinner stop what they are doing and ask God, is this right or wrong before they act? Why doesn’t God speak louder rather than that small voice in every person that says something is wrong, don’t do it? Do they even care about God? God does not allow child abuse or any other sin because He has given us a different way of living so maybe the question should be why do human beings make a choice to do such horrible things? Could it be they do not care what God says and do not want Him to be in their lives and God will not be where He is not wanted. It would not be love if one was forced into it.

  19. poohpity says:

    “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”

  20. cbrown says:

    Great posts the last 2 days by all!I especially like the quote in Gary’s post yesterday. “Then, I remembered this very inciteful and pleasing quote, ‘The Songbird does not sing because it has Message, it sings because it has a SONG.’

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    belleu… following up on your comment and question,
    “Hopefully, these are not life and death issues. However, it becomes a life and death issue when someone says they will imprison or kill you if you don’t believe as they do. Then what? The persecutor and you both believe in Jesus birth and death; so then, how do you decide if a belief is worth dying for?’
    This scenario is very much like the one found in many New Testament writings and many of Paul’s teachings
    he presented to the believer’s in the churches he loved and fed through his calling.
    He had to deal with this very issue, the issue of life or desth hinged on beleifs is clearly dealt with in his teachings and warnings about false prophets, wrong beleif, and the resulting wrong living, all seen to him to be worthy of his mentioning and suffering and dying for.
    He preached those things “for a reason,” and if one can reason their way around them, then they are of no use.

    I do not believe that he spoke out his own pursation
    or human thinking but out of the direction of the Holy Spirit which helped him form his words.
    Of course, we modern day beleivers who have the whole of the scriptures to debate can certainly debate his points as well.
    Romans 8:12, 13, 14 (NIV) “Therefore, dear brothers and sisters, you have no obligation to do what your sin nature urges you to do. For if you live by its dictates, you will die, but if through the Power of the Holy Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sin nature, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”
    To me, if you have any questions about Paul’s message, they should be directed upward as in spirit led, and not seeking the EASY approval of any fellow believers who choose to avoid hearing exactly what is written there for us, but still somehow ignored and not really believed by all.
    Gary

  22. belleu says:

    Hi, and thanks everyone for your great comments. I know that belief in Jesus is worth dying for. Many have died for him and I hope, if it came to that, I would also die for my belief in Jesus.

    What I am wondering is if you have beliefs like the old Quakers did; were those beliefs worth dying for? The other early Christians persecuted Quakers by imprisonment, whipping and death. The Quakers were very different than other Christian churches. They believed in Jesus and that salvation was open to everyone, but they wouldn’t pay tithe to the government religion, they wouldn’t take oaths in court, they refused to fight in wars. This is how they interpreted the Bible. Now, they believed these beliefs were worth dying for. Were they?

  23. poohpity says:

    I guess if they said those things were worth dying for and did then to them it was worth it but it sounds more like they were dying for their traditions and practices going against the norm. Dying for ones belief in Christ which is what many have went through as professing Christians is another thing in my thinking but often my thinking can be way off base.

  24. oneg2dblu says:

    Just to think of those today that are being killed for their Christian beliefs. Praise God that we are not asked to shed our blood for our beliefs today.
    Christianity is under attack and probably always has been and always will be as long as we are living in these earthly tents.
    Gary

  25. poohpity says:

    After you wrote that belleu I got to thinking how many Christians even give up their time to just read the Bible much less die for their beliefs or stand so firm in their convictions as the Quakers do. It has been said if you don’t stand for something then you fall for anything.

    Finding things that cause divisions rather than things that bring unity, seeing the bad in people rather than the good, thinking the worse of others rather than the best. I think how we think about many things shows the Voice we listen to and in hearing it how we respond to what we have heard. Is His light shinning in our life then we may not pay attention to how bright it is in others.

  26. belleu says:

    I remember reading that in the Dark Ages it was against the law to own a Bible. People died for that too. I guess everything we believe about God and also having a Bible is worth dying for.

  27. SFDBWV says:

    In an awkward attempt to align my comments this morning with Mart’s subject center, allow me to say that for a Christian to view their faith with any other *star* other than Christ is almost inane.

    Being Christian means being a worshiper and follower of Jesus, who is the Christ.

    However I do see distractions that can attach themselves to being Christ centered as a Christian.

    There is the *law*, some shine a broader spot light on the law rather than the Christ.
    Some center on judgment (of others) instead of the Christ.
    Some attempt to organize their belief so that is all lines up with their views of right and wrong rather than Christ.
    Some alter the view of Christ in order to be blameless in tasting all the forbidden fruits of life.

    Sometimes it seems the better representation of Christ from a Christian is to say only that God offers forgiveness in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to all who accept it and no more.

    I also want to say this concerning the discussion of life and death for Christ.

    Dying for our faith is a lot easier than *living* for our faith.

    Life is a challenge, Christian life an even greater challenge.

    Steve

  28. poohpity says:

    So true Steve, dying to self and allowing Christ to live through us, letting go of control over to the One who gives us the ability to live the Christian life is a daily struggle. I think the more we experience it the more a part of our lives it becomes, step by step.

  29. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    It seems to me we are trying to speak about the sounding of voices from Scripture. Mart has proposed that we discuss “the trustworthiness of the Bible and the sufficiency of our One God and Savior.” We hear the many narratives, poems and prophecies of the Bible – all the voices describing the long relationship of the Creator God with us human creatures made in God’s image.

    As the character of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit becomes clearer and clearer through God’s history with humanity described in Scripture, we readers are invited to trust and believe in him – the Mover of history – both cosmic and human. The writings are holy – inspired by God. This is our statement of faith.

    There are many people preaching and teaching about the Bible. In fact, many more have commented on the Bible than the total number of people who actually wrote the words. It seems to me talking about the Scriptures takes second place to making faith in God the guiding principle of the life we live.

    I hear what you say this morning, Steve:

    “Sometimes it seems the better representation of Christ from a Christian is to say only that God offers forgiveness in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to all who accept it and no more.”

    It is the Word of God that brings knowledge of and devotion to God. Yet, imparting faith is the work of God, by the Spirit and the gift of the Son, not by interpreters of the Word. We are “friends of the Bridegroom,” like John the Baptist. (John 3:29-30) We are vessels of faith, hope and love always ready to share the reason for our hope. (1 Peter 3:14, 15, 16)

    Maru

  30. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all…One would think that the personal knowing of God, and personal knowing of His Son, and personal knowing of His Holy Spirit by faith, is what we carry in our hearts daily.
    What we give up, what we suffer, and what we bring to light daily in this darkening world because of our faith, that is what is called our cross to bare, as we also choose to obey and follow, even our faith.
    Gary

  31. poohpity says:

    The individual reading of God’s word can determine our thoughts. People who have an opinion of God as being an angry, punitive and a far off God who is not concerned with our everyday lives seem to display that in their behaviors. Those who have read in God’s word a merciful, compassionate, loving personal God normally act in unison to those thoughts seeing and hearing the Voice of the Morning Star. Understanding God as acted out in the life of Jesus seem to understand more fully the grace and mercy shown to each individual gives meaning and perspective to everything else.

  32. Artle says:

    We all live in different worlds, some slightly different and maybe some drastically different. Each person’s understanding of the world is based on what they have learned and experienced. I imagine it is the same with the bible. Each person has a slightly differing view of the biblical world histories and prophesies that is simply affected by their own existence.

    Sure, there are many things that leave little to question, but then there are many things that are not so black and white. Does it matter? I don’t think it does if you trust God. If you do not trust God, then the minute interpretation matters, because you either have to trust yourself to know it all or trust someone else to know it all for you and to trust someone else to know it all for you, you have to know enough to know they can be trusted.

    Whew!!

    I’m going to endeavor to go with the easy yoke and the light burden of trusting Jesus and leave the heavy loads behind as best I can.

  33. poohpity says:

    But does not the craving in one’s heart desire to know the Word for themselves rather than going on what others say? Just like I do not know my friends on what others say but on what we have shared together personally.

  34. poohpity says:

    Also knowing someone’s voice in writing styles. Teachers know when someone is writing something themselves or whether they have copied something from someone else. They know their voice. I think that is true for the Bible as well.

  35. tracey5tgbtg says:

    I was wondering why Mart’s name has disappeared from the blog. Is it just my computer or does everyone show the opening title as posted by (guest blogger). Also, Mart’s comment to Steve has disappeared from the thread as well as any comments made in previous posts.

  36. poohpity says:

    I noticed that his morning as well but I did not go back and see those others things.

    You can not change his voice in the writing tho. smile

  37. poohpity says:

    Someone has stolen Mart.

  38. Artle says:

    Absence of Mart’s name would seem to indicate his user account has been accidentally or intentionally deleted. Hopefully something that can be remedied.

  39. Artle says:

    Thinking more on differences of people in how they view scripture. There are recorded differences in those who were closest to our Lord when He walked this earth. One that comes to mind is when the James and John asked that they could sit beside Jesus in Glory. Another difference was recorded when Paul opposed Peter. In both cases, those involved learned a better understanding.

    So, should be no surprise that we all cannot always agree. Couple other thoughts working to light, I will share shortly.

  40. Artle says:

    Everyone present at Pentecost heard a different voice, one that spoke to their own mind and heart. I think Jesus speaks to each of us in a similar fashion, in a voice that we can understand where He finds us.

  41. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    Mart, you wrote:
    “If our opinion of the trustworthiness of the Bible depends on our vote for the meaning of an individual star, we can distract one another from the glory of the real Voice and sustaining presence of the Bible.”

    It has seemed to me the voice of BTA has morphed over the past year. Mart has taken on duties as senior ministry adviser and director of content worldwide, leaving behind the work of day-to-day operations at RBC. You get support from fellow Christ-followers, as we all do.

    I pray to let go and let God lead the way. There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism. (Ephesians 4:5, 6, 7)

    Peace and Joy at Christmas,
    Maru

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Maru, You’ve touched upon a matter that is actually a couple years old; BTA has been going down hill for quite a while and though we have spoken of its brokenness before there has been no attempt to fix the problem.

    The best topics seem to be the ones that generate the most disputes, divisions and are more controversial. I would suppose because they are so close to our hearts.

    Quakers were known for having services with no one saying anything, unless the Holy Spirit moved them. That makes for a long set on the pew.

    Mart spoke of the “buzz” following the TV program the “Voice”, but no mention of the “buzz” of the controversy of “Duck Dynasty” and A&E suspending the patriarch of the family for having Biblical Christian values and speaking such.

    No mention of the murder of a Christian missionary in *developing* nation by Islamic forces, no mention of the Popes radical views to capitalism, no mention of the onslaught of the anti-Christian forces in the world who want to remove all vestiges of Christ at Christmas and call it a winter holiday season instead.

    There is a great long list of current issues worth our attention, but if we don’t want to offend anyone, we will remain silent and give strength to those who we are in opposition to as their *voice* the only one heard.

    Steve

  43. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    It would seem the blog operates by policies keeping hands off (voices off?) in all the important issues you have listed, Steve — and so RBC misses an opportunity to lift up the gospel message in a changing world.

    Careful Christianity will possibly touch hearts and minds — but voicing theological questions that explore a Biblical world-view will stir many pots. If BTA could move to the edge and stay there, hundreds of posts on every topic would pile up. Not sure someone in a leadership position in the ministry would have time to facilitate such a conversation. Somebody would have to ride the beast.

    Blessings,
    Maru

    PS I can say I have found friends at this site, come what may for the future. :o)

  44. poohpity says:

    I have not found that this blog has gone down hill except that Mart does not write as often as he used to which was all most everyday that is what I sorely miss. That was the most important thing to me cause whatever was written prompted thought outside the box. He has had to struggle over the years with testosterone of those who would like to take over leading the conversation but this blog is like everything else it is what one makes it.

    I agree Maru over the years I have found friends that share a common love of the Lord and His Word. :-)

  45. poohpity says:

    Writers do come to times in their lives when they reach a stage of dryness and have to pull away from the pen/keyboard for a while and I pray and hope that is all that is troubling Mart at this time. The Lord knows what is happening in his life/family and prayers are going up for whatever is happening Mart.

  46. poohpity says:

    I have to share a wondrous Christmas story with you all. With the recent loss of the kids dad and my friend we found not only would this Christmas be lean without him but also monetarily. So the boys called me and said they would like to spend the night after we watch my oldest play in church that night. So we would be each others Christmas presence rather than Christmas presents but being a mom I instantly thought what am I going to feed them. This is unusual because they usually spend Christmas day with their girlfriend’s family because we spend the eve together.

    I had not yet put up even one decoration until that call. I started decorating the apartment and was trying to figure out if I had enough to bake some Christmas candies for them. I prayed to God for wisdom and to make a little stretch to enough. I had received a note from the mailman that there was a package in the office from 2 days ago so I went to pick it up and check the mail.

    In the office I received a Christmas present from RBC ministries a new calender and a devotion book. In my mail box was an envelop with no name or return address but it contained several hundred dollars. That is enough for food and for gifts for each then some to bless someone else. I just broke out into tears with a very grateful heart. The Lord provided again for us and I am one truly grateful mom.

  47. SFDBWV says:

    I am happy for you pooh and thank you for the praise report.

    Steve

  48. SFDBWV says:

    If you look up you will see that Mart’s name and picture is absent from the subject title and now sports a guest blogger as the author, a glitch I suppose as I copy the subjects and guarantee it was posted by Mart originally.

    Steve

  49. SFDBWV says:

    Even stranger still Mart’s reply to my comment at the top of this string of comments has been removed???

    Steve

  50. SFDBWV says:

    Mart tells me he is ok and that the problem is with the web site,he can’t log in or comment.

    Steve

  51. remarutho says:

    So happy to hear of the cash gift in your mailbox, Pooh! Grand help at the moment of need. Also, encouraged to hear that Mart may yet have time to post on BTA from time to time, Steve.

    Blessings as we watch and wait for Messiah,
    Maru

  52. belleu says:

    How lovely the Lord made your Christmas so special, Pooh! What a gift. I’m very happy for you. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

  53. Mart De Haan says:

    Whew, got back in :-)…

    As Steve indicated above, it turns out that our Web team was making some system changes that for some reason temporarily left me unable to access the blog.

    What was unusual was the way the problem eliminated my picture, name, and string comment.

    Who knows maybe the glitch was our Lord’s gracious way of encouraging friends like you to pray for me.

    In any case, it gives me a chance to thank you for your friendship, conversation, and the thoughtfulness of your prayers and concern for one another.

  54. SFDBWV says:

    Yesterday’s adventure on BTA was quite interesting and still is. A friend here emailed me and ask why Mart’s picture and name had been removed. They had even gone back to previous topics and the same odd removal of Mart was in place in the past few topics.

    Such a rapid departure from the community seemed to say computer glitch, but then the removal of comment from the string of comments seemed bizarrely intentional.

    It all turns out to be just “techs” in the system, or gremlins, but as Mart has stated, the matter created concern for his wellbeing from us all.

    The entire incident reminds me of the uniqueness of this place and how we have for the most part all became friends, not just cyber talk. I am glad Mart is ok and hope he stays with us; a ship without a captain is adrift without direction and Mart’s direction is most definitely needed in order to keep this community together.

    I am sure the onus of being inventive and creating challenging subject matter is a strain on Mart, but one given him and not any one of us.

    See you all in the next subject.

    Steve

  55. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    The discussion of “The Voice” has been enriched by the intriguing electronic hiccups we have experienced! The fellowship here is unique to the internet, with some limitations and a certain richness all its own.

    Glad we are “on board” once again.

    Blessed Christmas week,
    Maru

  56. poohpity says:

    tracey, ;-)

    Mart, so often we seem quick to grumble or complain about our leaders and forget to pray for their needs. Glad to see the land of 0101000111 has let you back in it must have been 01010020111 that got you. :-) Will continue to pray any way and be thankful for the gifts that God has bestowed upon you that you hopefully will continue to share with us.

    I think that people do not spend time learning about the trustworthiness of God found in the Bible because it may tell them something they may not want to hear or change something they have held on to for so long. I do know one thing after reading it one will not remain the same as they were before searching in that Treasury of Riches being lead by the shinning Star that will leave an indelible mark on our lives. Listening for the Voice of our Good Shepherd as we give up our right to be heard to follow after Him.

  57. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… great post on the avoiding of those touchy feely hot topics of the day, where Christianity is being stifled at every turn.
    We must remember the shear volume of opposing voices when it comes to checking anyones behavior and certainly with expounding any scriptural integrity.
    It really makes getting the truth out there a very hard place to be, especially when you can so easily give the itching ears of this corrupted world, a softer, lukewarm, harmless and of course useless form of Christianity instad.
    But, like you say… things can get pretty heated even when we the holy ones, are the only ones voicing opinions.

    I do not find this constant turmoil to be a world driven only by testroterone alone, but more about our fallen humanity in general, and not really a gender specific problem.
    But, our always wanting our own way, our own desires, and evil desires as well, which will never find their footing in anything other than arguments and heated discussions, even hatred, a propensity found only in God and all humanity.
    God of course uses His “form of hatred” for His higher and justly righteous purposes, but our humanity which is not always driven our controled by scripture’s guardrails, finds a more self-serving or debased evil form of hatred, which only feeds our fallen humanity.

    Human hatred is always based on evil intentions, not on Godly purposes.

    Pooh… glad to hear about your recent Christmas miracle. I must remember to check the mailbox when I get home. :)
    Gary

  58. poohpity says:

    Yes God’s hatred was shown to us in the life of Jesus as He pursued all humanity to show them forgiveness. A useless form of Christianity is a lack of grace or mercy. For me that is the Voice I hear and the Star I follow learning the meaning of what God desires from us.(Hosea 6:6 NIV; Micah 6:8 NIV; Zech 7:9 NIV; Matt 5:7 NIV; Matt 9:13 NIV)

  59. remarutho says:

    Thanks for that, Pooh –

    The light of God’s glory is “gently shining” from on high — as the mysterious star did two thousand years ago.

    E. Stanley Jones is offering today (Abundant Living daily devotions): “We do not overcome a Herod or a Pilate by being like them. Rather, the kingdom taken by force is overcome by gentleness along with an unbroken spirit.” (my flawed paraphrase)

    Maru

  60. foreverblessed says:

    Mart wrote:
    “too often what we mean by the trustworthiness of the Bible is actually the trustworthiness of our understanding and interpretation of the Bible.”
    This is so true, but also so hard to get deep into our hearts. Many things that I as a christian thought was the truth in the bible, I found out later it was not the Big Truth. Like I have told you about the sabbath, it is not a day, Jesus is the Sabbath.
    And yet at that time I thought that all those who did not keep that day holy were christians, but deceived.
    And so I could think of many other issues, like, how old is the earth, where will we go when we die, all these things, that are not really about Jesus, about Him saving us, and there you go, you leave the path of the Great truth, Jesus saves those who believe in Him, and you go to details of things that cannot save you. Knowing how old the earth is, is not something that would save my soul. Only knowing Jesus can.
    Isaiah 66:2, those who are really very humble, not relying on their own interpretation of the Word of God.
    Yes, so true Pooh, mercy and compassion a heart for the lost, not being afraid for those who think differently, because we are safe in His Hands.

  61. foreverblessed says:

    Some more thoughts on differences in opinion among christians, as others have written here, I would like to say amen to that: it is OK to have differences:
    see Romans 14.
    So I wanted to add, if you keep a day holy, you do it for the Lord, if I do not keep a day holy, I also do that for the Lord, as I keep all my time holy for the Lord (try to). Both of us belong to the Lord. Bless the Lord o my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.

    the topic has moved on, and so must I doing things for Christmas eve. My mother is coming, and we are going to sing praises to our Lord and King in church tonight, but I want to do it already now, as I am moving along. Singing on the bike, going to town. Bless you all, God loves us so dearly, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoso believes in Him should not perish, but LIVE

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