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If Then

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ArtPrize Exhibit

Sometimes understatement says the most.

The other day, I was reading an author who caught my attention with just a few words. He said, “If God is anything like a father, and… if I am anything like his child… then…”

Since then, I’ve found no end to ways of adding to that one thought.

May the most important if/then of all help us step together over the threshold of a new year.


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69 Responses to “If Then”

  1. joycemb says:

    I will make it my New Years goal to love my Father with everything I have as I’ve received from Him, and my neighbor as myself.

  2. jeff1 says:

    This is a hymn written by our Rector and sung at our New Year’s Service.

    To everything in life there is a season,
    And everything in life must some day end.
    Yet every ending brings a new beginning
    If we will trust in Jesus Christ our friend,
    With Jesus as our guide and our companion
    We face the future without any fear.
    As hand in hand we walk through life together
    With Him, who leads us through each passing year.

    To everything in life there is a season,
    A time to get, a time to cast away,
    The years roll on, yet God’s the same forever,
    A thousand years to Him are like a day.
    The past is gone, no more, no more returning,
    With all its blessings, sorrows, joys and fears,
    The future’s bright and filled with hope eternal
    With Christ who leads us through each passing year.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    We Christians have the advantage over the other two faiths that seemingly share the belief in the same God.

    We have Jesus as an example of the true nature of “God”.

    While Islam and Judaism see God in their own ways, Jesus taught us to see God as “our heavenly Father”.

    As a child of God, what then is expected of me? The first thought that comes to mind is one of the Ten Commandments, “Honor thy Father and Thy mother. “To honor someone is to show them the respect they deserve, to never bring shame upon them.

    At the same time as a son of my earthly parents, I always knew they had my back in all matters. If I came to them for help I could expect help.

    They loved me no matter what, and I they.

    It was my pleasure and responsibility to help them in their older ages and see to their burials. I went as far as I could for them and they for me.

    Admittedly there are times when I don’t understand why God remains silent or seems to be cold to my problems, but during those times I blame my impatience and the emotion of the urgency of the situation as to my thoughts of feeling abandoned.

    When my earthly parents passed, I along with my siblings inherited all they had.

    In fact after my mother died my father and I went to a lawyer to get matters settled and the attorney told us to just have dad give to whomever what he had now, remaining a co-owner so that when he died it simply belonged to the person whom he had already titled it to.

    It is an interesting thought that we as children of God will co-inherit with Jesus all God has without His passing, but rather while we exist together as well.

    37 degrees and rain this morning.

    Steve

  4. Mart DeHaan says:

    Like a loving father Jesus affectionately called his disciples children. Like a child he showed them how to trust his Father.

    As a child revealing the ways of his Father he urged them not to worry, or to be afraid in the usual ways. As a child he showed us how to use whatever understanding we are given, and how to walk in the dark—when it is time to know nothing but the Father’s heart.

    Each step into a time and place we’ve never been before gives us a place and time to live as a son or daughter loved.

  5. SFDBWV says:

    One of those things that has forever really upset me concerning Christian authors and some TV preachers is when they lay the blame of why you have not received “your miracle” is because of some flaw in us.

    Either we don’t have enough faith, or am praying incorrectly, or that there must be something we aren’t doing right. Laying all the blame and responsibility on us for unanswered prayer.

    Nothing could be farther from the truth, and if you consider such “teachers” as to teaching children, what they are teaching a child is to not have confidence in their relationship with God.

    I said earlier in the “Child-Like Child-ish” subject that a child trusts until someone teaches them not to.

    No greater responsibility is upon us than to accurately represent God the Father to all, child or child-like adult alike.

    God the Father will love us above and beyond our ability to fully grasp and all we truly need to do is trust Him and trust that love.

    Jesus is the only true example of God and His sacrifice for all of us should be proof enough.

    There is a lot a child has to learn before becoming an adult, what Jesus is saying to us is that it is better to come to Him as a child who simply trusts rather than one looking for some conformation or proof that He/Jesus can be trusted.

    Steve

  6. poohpity says:

    If I trust God as my Father I know that he knows what is best then I can rely on the way He answers my prayers. If my earthly father were to have given me everything I asked for and did everything I wanted it would have been me running things not him. A child does not know what is in their own best interest but the parent does and that is earthly parents, so to take that even further how much more does our Heavenly Father know what is in our best interest since He even knows what is in our hearts and minds while our earthly parents only act in part.

    Earthly parents only act on a limited knowledge of how they were raised, give what they may not have had or try to learn from the mistakes their parents made, maybe in self interest not the well being of the child. Imperfect parenting is all we can offer a child but God offers perfect parenting. Do the children listen or do they rebel thinking they know best?

    Sometimes when children are given every request they turn out childish, selfish only thinking of themselves. Never growing up learning self control, patience, gratitude or respect for others. So if God does not give my everything I ask for then I realize there are reasons why because I trust Him because He has my best interest in mind.

    God never asked to me to trust blindly because he knows that trust is earned and I was given a brain to ask questions and to experience this relationship over time to grow in understanding just like any child does to see and taste that His ways are best. That does not mean to live a mindless life of a drone. As a parent I want my child to learn to think for themselves that does not mean to always think for them, learn that making mistakes is part of life to grow in wisdom and to make better choices next time.

  7. jeff1 says:

    We Christians have the advantage over the other two faiths that seemingly share the belief in the same God.

    We have Jesus as an example of the true nature of “God”.

    While Islam and Judaism see God in their own ways, Jesus taught us to see God as “Our Heavenly Father”.

    Steve, I have been thinking about your words and can see where as a Christian I have omitted to keep the faith.

    I have not always kept my eyes on “Jesus” and when I wasn’t I was behaving more like the other two faiths in that I seen God as I wanted to see Him and not as He was.

    It is I, who changed God, but thankfully, God does not change, in as much as, He didn’t hate my enemies because I did, because He understood why they did what they did in the first place where I did not.

    God is an all knowing God and I am not an all knowing believer.

    What my earthly father did right, was consistently, keep his focus on ‘Christ’, and as such, was aligned with God’s heart and not his beliefs.

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
    He is tramping out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword;
    His truth is marching on.

    Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
    Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
    Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
    His truth is marching on.

    I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps:
    They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
    I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps,
    His day is marching on.

    I have read His fiery gospel writ in rows of burnished steel!
    “As ye deaf with my condemners, so with you My grace shall deal!
    Let the hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with His heel”.
    Since God is marching on.

    He hath sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgement seat;
    Oh, be swift, my soul to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet!
    Our God is marching on.

    In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea.
    With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me;
    As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free!
    While God is marching on.

    Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
    Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
    Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
    His truth is marching on.

  8. jeff1 says:

    Pooh, I am thinking that while God never asks me to trust blindly, if I have not seen an answer to my prayer, then it seems to me, that I am trusting God blindly, in relation to my prayer.

    I am really trusting God because of His character because I know God does not always answer as I expect Him or want Him too.

    Steve, I agree, that preachers and teachers do have a responsibility to ensure that followers do not feel it is their fault that God has not answered their prayer, because, they are not all knowing, as God is, and do not know why God works in some people lives differently to another.

    It is not their place to apportion blame but to encourage another’s faith and if they hold pre-conceived beliefs then it is their own will and not God’s they are laying.

  9. poohpity says:

    Are we really trusting blindly or have we seen from the past how our faith has grown in how much we trust God and in how He has answered other times. We have learned if we can not see God’s hand we can trust His heart from past experience. Isn’t that a way we mature in our faith? Not depending on feelings any more but on knowing God hears, listens and answers, trusting that He will answer in a way that is best for all concerned. If we believe that God is like Santa Claus then we will treat Him as such but if we realize He is God then we will also trust Him a such.

  10. street says:

    steve said,”We Christians have the advantage over the other two faiths that seemingly share the belief in the same God.

    We have Jesus as an example of the true nature of “God”.

    While Islam and Judaism see God in their own ways, Jesus taught us to see God as “our heavenly Father”.

    yes it is true all mankind and other religions do have elements of truth to them. truth is available to all mankind. yet without Christ there is Great Darkness. to not see God in Christ is the Great Darkness that continues in death. sure you can have hope apart from Christ/God. a hope that is temporal at best, Christ a sure hope.

    Jesus as an example of the true nature of “God”.

    1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much better than the angels, as He has inherited a more excellent name than they.

    18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

  11. SFDBWV says:

    “If Then”. It can be fun and enjoyable to leave for a time the strict academics of being technical for the adventure of “if”.

    As a man and father myself it is not new for me to consider the importance of being a father.

    Accepting God as my heavenly Father enables me to come to Him comfortably in prayer as one father to another, when speaking especially of things concerning our children.

    So if then seeing God as a “Father” I am then given the perfect example of what a father looks like and how as a father I am to be a father to my son.

    I remember when I got the ends of four fingers mashed off in a mining accident my own father came right into the operating room as soon as they would allow him. He wanted to make sure I was ok and with all sincerity told me he would rather it was his hand hurt then for mine to be.

    Every day I tell Matt I would gladly trade places with him and every day he says he would not want that.

    There is quite a love story in God the Father allowing God the Son to be punished for you and I. Any time you think yourself not worthy of such love remember that God does.

    Whereas I acknowledge that love I pray I never take it for granted and am always thankful for it.

    Yes I think in the end “Love Wins”.

    Steve

  12. jeff1 says:

    “Love Wins”, I will hang on to those words, Steve, because in this world it often seems that “Hate Wins” but men’s way is not God’s way and I believe that God is with us when we act in love in whatever circumstances we find ourselves.

    May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you. O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

  13. street says:

    “If Then”. It can be fun and enjoyable to leave for a time the strict academics of being technical for the adventure of “if”.

    the adventure of being Holy? makes me think there is only One place to be Holy and we are moving around so much and not at rest. but then again we are in a wilderness for a reason. you will love One and hate the other. just thinking

  14. SFDBWV says:

    I noticed in Mart’s picture that the depiction of Jesus shown is actually the Actor Robert Powel from the movie “Jesus of Nazareth” a production of Franco Zeffirelli and directed I think by Sir Lew Grade.

    I loved this movie and have in the VCR format, something I need to update to DVD.

    Before the movie hit the screen it took a great deal of negative criticism from “church” leaders without their ever even having watched it. Had they, their temperament may have been softened.

    The entire concept of making motion picture movies about Biblical events is a great big giant “if then”. The problem is of course being everyone sees each and every detail of Scripture differently and they tend to not budge from their view, connecting it to some championing of their faith and accomplishment of being “righteous” if you will.

    The actors and director of this film did a great job in sticking to Scripture and presenting the story of Jesus. I would recommend it to any.

    In taking in the concept that we “see” God as a father there are many elements that crop up. How did you “see” your own father, how were you treated as his child? How do you see God as a father and how do you think you should be treated as His child.

    What can you do to please Him, and is that really important in the relationship? Does God need to be pleased in you before He will love you?

    In the story of Jesus we see that God sacrificed His only Son for all of mankind that did not please Him. In fact Jesus is quoted as stating that He did not come for the righteous, but rather those that are not.

    As Mart has said, “If then” has a lot of directions, but only one conclusion. God is the perfect Father and Jesus the only perfect Son. Because of that, we are saved from eternal destruction and adopted as His children in spite of our imperfections.

    36 and rain.

    Steve

  15. jeff1 says:

    Pooh, In answer to your post Jan 2 12.28pm

    Are we really trusting God blindly or have we seen from the past how our faith has grown in how much we trust God and in how He has answered other times.

    I wish I could tell you my faith has been as straightforward as that but the truth is very different as our individual walks are very different.

    I had what you might call a confusing Christian upbringing in that my father was raised in what I would call a normal Christian home while my mother never knew her father and was raised by her mother and two brothers (not sure they where her biological brothers) and an adopted brother.

    My mum had not been baptized in any church as in those days being illegitimate meant exclusion from all churches and so she was critical of any kind of religion.

    Getting to know God personally can be more of a struggle for one person then another depending very much on other factors other then trusting God.

    My mother told me when I was ten that we had been cursed and my father immediately told me not to listen to my mother but we had what we Irish would call bad luck and I had difficulty not associating that bad luck with my mother’s belief that we where cursed because of her being what she was.

    Society at that time made my mother what she was as it treated her badly and so it is only in my latter years that I have started to trust that God is not punishing us but that Society is what it is because of imperfect people, and it was those people who punished my mother and it was not from the hand of God.

    It was by connecting with God and not listening to religion that I began to trust Him.

    My years going to Sunday School and Church because I inherited that way of life had made little impact until I made a connection with God and realized that God was not the ‘I am out to get you’ i.e. see you in hell for your sins that I had learned to believe by listening to the wrong preachers/teachers and other Christians.

    If there is mystery to God it is because so many see Him from their perspective and not as He is and I blame myself for not staying focused on ‘Christ’ because it is wandering that as lead to my confusion as to who God really is.

    My earthly dad was not confused about who God was because he stayed focused on ‘Christ’ and his words and actions were righteous in light of his knowledge of whom God is.

    God’s truth is what I should be seeking and not my belief either learned or inherited because to walk in the light is to have the truth of the ‘Gospel of Christ’.

    Religions can draw us away from that truth because we have pre-conceived beliefs as to what the truth should be, but when I stay focused on the ‘Source’ ‘Jesus’ I am connected to the light and that is where God wants me to be connected to, as it is where He can use me for His will and purpose in a wayward world.

  16. poohpity says:

    Viv, I guess I was more referring to the fact we have been given the bible which is full of facts that our trust does not have to be blind. We have proof.

    Steve, I understand those who had problems with that film because it was far from fact based. Which many movies are until recently like the “Passion of the Christ” which they paid very close attention to accuracy but most use their creative imagination to develop the Greatest Story ever told which really does not need the creativeness of producers but it seems they just can not help themselves. God’s story is awesome just like it is but that movie is far removed from sticking to scripture. Of course you have your bible right there and can check it out for yourself if you don’t believe me.

  17. joycemb says:

    Dear Viv,
    “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7b came to mind when you were talking about your family history. Aren’t you as glad as I am to be a part now of Gods family! I think all who came from difficult circumstances growing up often struggle with the past from time to time, that “if-then” tension we currently exist in.

  18. joycemb says:

    Street I think you are right about holiness being the goal of the “if-then”. It keeps us focused ahead rather than behind. Looking to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Amen

  19. joycemb says:

    On a side note, I had an interesting day yesterday. I decided to make wild rice mushroom burgers (wild rice is a staple up here where I live), and as I was cooking the rice the LORD brought the name of a Christian single man who struggles with Bipolar disorder to mind. He lives in my building but I don’t see him very often and just let it go. I decided to stop in the coffee room for a bit, and about 10 minutes laterhere he comes in and sits down next to me. He mentioned he was disappointed the senior center was closed because of the holiday and was eating a lot of cookies/treats while we were talking. I asked if he wanted a wild rice burger and he said yes rather heartily. In fact, I had cooked enough rice for everyone at the table and so we all enjoyed a late afternoon snack and fellowship. One never knows what God is doing, often just feeding a hungry soul in need is all the holiness we need, because knowing Jesus is enough sometimes!

  20. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, first of all thank you for explaining the reason for the very stiff punishment in the old testament vs the merciful mission of Christ in the new. I felt much better after reading your response.

    Now this morning I am worried again. My devotional made reference to Matthew 11:25-30 . So I skipped ahead in Matthew to read it. Now as I am writing this and reread those verses…it is NOT what I read this morning. NOW I am really worried as the Lord must have meant that for me…now I have to look for the passages I read by mistake or by Divine intervention….will get back here on this when I find them…it had to do with being accountable for EVERY careless word we speak and it was Jesus speaking. What bothered me most this morning was not being forgiven for anything against the Holy Spirit and I worried what I may have said or done something in days of yesteryear that could be unforgivable…BUT, now that I am thinking the mistake was Divine intervention …I am guessing He would not have Directed me to a passage that would encourage me to watch my mouth if I was not to be forgiven for another matter in this world nor the next. At least that is my hope at this time.

    OK…I am looking on pages before and after and I don’t see what I read.. I am still looking …get back when I find it. Thus Lord have Mercy on us all remains my most frequent prayer request. <3

  21. narrowpathseeker says:

    Great story Joyce. Amen….just sharing one’s pain goes a long way.. We had about 5 or 6 different children in foster care before my daughter adopted the twins that we got from birth as a foster family. Two little boys 1 and 2 when we got them were so precious. The mother is the one who called DCF as she was living in a shelter and couldn’t bare to watch her sons suffer…she worked at getting out of the shelter and got her boys back for a time, but things didn’t go well for her and she ended back in the shelter …she again called DCF…when the boys went up for adoption(she signed them over for THEIR sake) she came to see them for the last time. Her heart was breaking and my heart was breaking for her. She fell into my arms and I did my best to comfort her. I prayed for her many times over the years.. The family has stayed in touch with the boys and the adoptive parents….anyway the boys and their mother are friends on fb….The boys found their Mom and she is now my friend on fb…she said…. of course she remembers me…that my heart touched her soul… I have cried tears of joy several times in the past few days because I think I told her at the time that she would most likely see her boys again some day!!!

  22. narrowpathseeker says:

    OK I can see that my references to mother and Mom may sound confusing… …The boys and their adoptive Mom were my friends on fb…the boys found their biological mom and now SHE is my friend on fb. Sorry..

  23. poohpity says:

    narrow try looking in Matt 12

  24. SFDBWV says:

    Pearl if you are concerned about having committed the “unforgiveable sin”, let me just quote Billy Graham on the subject.

    “If you are worried you have committed the unforgivable sin, the very fact that you are concerned shows that you have not.”

    The matter has no consensus amongst theologians nor bible students as to what the passage actually means in so far as what the blasphemy actually is. Matthew 12:31-32

    As long as you have the Holy Spirit in you your salvation is “sealed” God will not take back your salvation.

    Be careful not to let a “spirit” of doubt steal your joy.

    Matthew is doing much better.

    Steve

  25. joycemb says:

    Pearl you have a very caring and tender heart. God bless you in your journey!

  26. joycemb says:

    When God speaks to us Pearl whether through scripture or whatever its meant to be encouragement or admonition but not condemnation. Only the enemy condemns. Smile, God is allowing your testing to prove to the devil your faithfulness to Him. Remember what happened to Job?

  27. phpatato says:

    I wish there was an emoticon where we could give a thumbs up to comments because I would definitely post Steve’s and Joyce’s advice to Pearl with one. Thank you Steve and Joyce – for your advice hit home to me too!

  28. phpatato says:

    Steve

    I am so glad to hear that Matthew is feeling much better!! My wish for you and your home is that it will be free of sickness for the rest of this “flu” season! As it is for everyone here!

    Hugs

    Pat

  29. narrowpathseeker says:

    Chapter 12 it is.. Thank you. I don’t know why I couldn’t see that earlier.

    Steve, I WAS worried about the unforgivable sin for a bit, but now I am more focused on 12:36-37 In the study bible it reads,36 “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgement for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned.

    I tend to run my mouth without thinking, way too often. Last week after reading a post on fb, 3 different parts of some passages came together for me to help me slow down my mouth. The first one is, God will not be mocked…man WILL reap what he sows. The second is, do not repay evil for evil.. and last, Vengeance is Mine saith the Lord…I will repay. So it doesn’t matter whether I sow out of “justifiable”(in my own mind) anger, or any other “noble”(again, in my mind)reason I will reap what I so it doesn’t matter WHY I sowed it But since God says that venegeance is His that He will repay…I don’t need to do anything but pray for the person that made me angry or hurt me or one of my loved ones….. Today Matthew 12:36-37 have motivated me to step up the slowing down of my mouth :-)

    Steve, I am so glad that Matthew is doing much better. You and Matthew are a daily inspiration to me as well as to many here.

  30. narrowpathseeker says:

    Sorry for the misspelled words, past and present tense errors, and overall poor grammar…the correction thingy didn’t seem to pick up on any of it!! lol

  31. jeff1 says:

    Joyce, your post 9.59 am

    Joyce, I am glad to be part of God’s family but it troubles me that my mother never knew she was part of God’s family because she was excluded in Society.

    It was my mother who suffered being labelled a b…..in
    her life and not knowing God loved her.

    I would like to believe that Christianity works but I don’t believe it does because I see Christians who would treat my mother the same today as many did back then.

    I trust God but it is trusting people that I have great difficulty because often non believers behave more like Christians then Christians do.

    I always believed that it is Christians who should set the example but the reality of this world does not always reflect this.

    I can see why many non believers see Christians as using their beliefs to play God rather than to do His will and that is a sad fact of life for me anyway.

    It is one thing saying I know ‘Jesus’ is the true nature of God but it is quite another to reflect it in my life. I would rather call myself a believer who with God’s help is characteristic of Jesus.

    God’s ways are so much higher that it is an injustice I do Him when my words do not equal my actions.

  32. joycemb says:

    Steve good to hear Matt is feeling better!

  33. joycemb says:

    Viv to be a Christian means in the biblical sense to be a follower of Christ, which entails learning the lifestyle of Jesus teachings and applying them to our own life in our current culture. There are many who call themselves Christians but are still learning as are we all and the best thing we can do is to forgive, forget, and carry on with our journey. The same goes for the unbelievers who call themselves Christian and of course the atheist and agnostics among us also. But God has called us to peace, Paul said. Blessed be Jesus Christ who became our peace between God and all mankind.Amen

  34. joycemb says:

    I’m sad also for relatives who died not knowing the peace of God, though I really don’t know what happened at their passing, perhaps Jesus visited them one last time and offered them peace as they passed. I don’t know.

  35. SFDBWV says:

    Good afternoon Ladies. I have a council meeting to attend this evening and have most everything ready, but still have to get Matt’s dinner and him settled in before then.

    Having said that I really do not wish to rush the subject at hand, but do want to get some comment in before moving along.

    Pearl the subject of every word I have ever spoken coming into judgement has also grabbed my attention as well and led me into a lot of abstract theories and concepts, but the “key” is in the words “day of judgement”, we Christians all escape the day of judgement, because our Judge already paid the price for our mistakes.

    Viv your mother and my great grandmother both shared in the mistaken shame of being born out of wedlock. My great grandmother, Phoebe, worried about her salvation because of one line of Scripture that clearly did not have any meaning on one’s birth circumstances, but spoke about a false religion.

    It is also to be remembered that in these latter days’ mysteries of Scripture would be revealed to believers. Christianity has had a rough road since its inception because the world and especially the spirit of the anti-christ who has used every trick he knows and the most useful one always involves a half-truth instead of the actual truth. Causing confusion is his specialty.

    Pat, Glenna and I very much enjoyed the New Year’s video you sent, bless you and thank you.

    Joyce I sent you an email a few days ago, better check and see if it got through.

    Steve

  36. joycemb says:

    Steve I did not get your email. I don’t think you have my newer one though as I got hacked a few months ago and now only use it for online accounts mostly.

  37. jeff1 says:

    Joyce and Steve, thank you for your comments. I can remember my mother saying when she was being taken to the hospital in the ambulance that five nuns where with her and I felt she got peace from this and I know I did because I could see my mother was much more at ease then she usually was.

    God’s ways can seem mysterious but they can also become clearer as time goes on. It is then that we understand that His ways are the best.

    It is getting to understand God’s ways that gives us the peace that surpasses understanding.

  38. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, thank you again for sharing your Wisdom…never thought of it like that before.

    Pat, thank you for the New Years video..it was absolutely beautiful!! I posted it on fb.

    Joyce thank you also for your kind words and encouragement.

    May we all have a Blessed evening and sweet dreams…especially Matthew….after dealing with illness pre and post the New Year .

  39. poohpity says:

    If we believe in God then we have no skepticism, that is a false statement. I do not think God ever had a problem with skeptics and frankly asked us to search and seek. Many people have tried to disprove that there is a God only to find in their search that there is. Questions are healthy, curiosity is healthy and neither of those seems to scare God because He is and has always been. It is easier to prove His existence than it is to prove that He does not exist.

    Sometimes the only really wise question is, “am I behaving as a Christ follower” and what does that look like? The difference in a Christ follower and an unbeliever is one has received forgiveness and one has not. Of course IF one has receive forgiveness and grace THEN one will tend to act differently.

  40. SFDBWV says:

    Over the ages Christian “thinkers” have tried to come to terms with a great many statements of Scripture. Just because it has been over two thousand years the same questions still come up.

    It is accepted that we all reach an age of accountability, but who but God would know when a person reaches that age when they truly know right from wrong?

    In our earlier conversation we talked about the difference between child-like and childish behavior, yet we already agree that both children and adults demonstrate both.

    So at what age is it that we become responsible for our actions?

    We have all read of children as young as 12 or even younger who have committed murder. There are a great many other “sins” in play before the act of murder is committed. So is it possible for us to actually set an age when a person becomes responsible for their actions? Especially spiritually as an affront to God?

    I say all of this because as stated, Jesus says that every word a person has ever said will come into judgement.

    I say better a person never learns to talk. Unless there is forgiveness, mercy and above all else the Divine observation, understanding and yes “judgement” from God alone.

    I have often said that there is something very special about our words and have a little sermon I say often to cashiers and strangers I meet who casually ask “How are you today?”

    I answer as follows; “I am super excellent.” That comment always gets a surprised response and so I say then to them that I have a little sermon that goes with my answer. “It is said that God created all that exists by what He *said*, not by what He wished, or wanted or willed, but by what He *said*. Since we are created in His image we too have the ability to create with our words, and so I am having a super excellent day.”

    Psalms 141:3 KJV says it all, “Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”

    A good prayer and good advice.

    How long though before we as adults learn this wisdom? Even if it takes an entire lifetime to learn it remains relevant to when we learned it.

    Jesus remains the example of God and at His birth the angels proclaimed “Peace on earth, good will toward men.” This peace and this good will comes from God to mankind. Jesus’ message is one of forgiveness through Him.

    Remember that when someone or something tries to make you feel condemned.

    42 degrees with a mix of rain and snow.

    Steve

  41. poohpity says:

    Steve, that is a good question, “So at what age is it that we become responsible for our actions?” Some never do. Some their entire life blame others for what they feel, say and do or make excuses but fail to take any responsibility. If one never takes responsibility then how do they ever come to terms with the fact they need a Savior to forgive?

    One day we will face the Great White Throne judgement where all will be judged according to their deeds.

  42. poohpity says:

    It will be very wise to take responsibility for ourselves because before then when we confess our sins He is faithful to forgive then cast them away.

    The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.

    He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.(Psalm 103:8-13 NLT)

  43. joycemb says:

    Mart another “if then” comes to mind. IF God be for us, THEN who can be against us? For nothing shall separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! Yay!

  44. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve…..AMEN! Peace and Good Will towards man….and let no one and nothing make you feel condemned. You ARE super excellent and full of Wisdom!! Thank you!!! 3 days in a row you have helped to enhance my day. I have also asked the Lord to guard my mouth. When I was a child(right up to pre teen) I feared talking to anyone other than immediate family and even then I was very guarded with what I said. I must have known something then that I don’t remember now. I would get a big lump in my throat and nothing would come out!! I would like to get in the center of my loud mouth and silent mouth.. :-) I have not even been tempted to give it back to other loud mouths in recent days, so I am feeling very Blessed and protected.

  45. joycemb says:

    Mart I really like your FB post: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11

    As you said Pearl, Steve is a good witness for this exhortation and so are you!! The temptation is great to be like the enemy from CS Lewis’ Screwtape Letters. But God has the far better way!

  46. poohpity says:

    Joyce, that is a good verse that Mart shared and it’s meaning is very deep.

    Most people associate encouragement with flattery or compliments or trite little expressions, those are fine, nothing wrong with them, but they are not Biblical encouragement. Encouragement means to put courage in. Encouraging a fellow human being when instilling in his or her heart courage to face the world, that’s encouragement.

    Example: Paul after he had been converted, but no one trusted him early on. A fellow by the name of Bar-na-bas, the son of encouragement, went and stood at his side and put courage in his heart.

    We encourage each other to go to church because we need the help of other Christians to walk through life, hold tight to our faith, to do good works and grow closer to God. Teach to see the deceitfulness of sin, how the enemy works, build each other up when trails and hardships come. Also encourage others in God’s promises, prompting forgiveness, comfort and grace, helping when people want to give up and quit.

    So encouragement is much deeper than flattery and compliments. Or saying things are right when they are wrong and delivering false hope. Building others up in who they are in Christ.

  47. SFDBWV says:

    Just wanted to once again share some interesting information studying all those “begats” can produce.

    The genealogy of genesis 5
    Name Meaning
    Adam Man (is)
    Seth Appointed
    Enosh (Enos) Mortal
    Kenan (Cainan) Sorrow (but)
    Mahalalel the Blessed God
    Jared Shall come down
    Enoch Teaching
    Methuselah His death shall bring
    Lamech The despairing
    Noah Comfort, Rest

    The Gospel spelled out in the names given in the genealogy of Noah.

    One of the things I would do if I looked at God as my Father and I His son, I might just brag about Him. I find it really clever of Him to put such information within His written Word for our discovery, like opening up a plastic Easter egg and finding a surprise inside.

    16 degrees and a clear starry sky.

    Steve

  48. joycemb says:

    Steve thanks for the names.

    We are stuck in a deep freeze here with daytime temps hovering around minus 8 and windchills in minus 40. Oh it’s just winter :-)

    Looking at a silent blog mostly today it occurs to me that silence can be a powerful understatement. Actually enjoying the silence today.

  49. bubbles says:

    That is very cold. Hope you stay warm and safe and that your water pipes don’t freeze. We had a storm blowing in from the West that didn’t amount to anything even though we were sent home early from work. Take care and be safe.

  50. joycemb says:

    Thank you bubbles, actually my car won’t start when its this cold so am ‘grounded’ for a couple more days probably but am warm and cozy with cat on my lap and hot chocolate in hand. Its rare to have frozen pipes as they dig them down deep in the ground here. Black ice is a big issue though when temps are this low as salt won’t work on the roads so careful driving is a must. If its windy and sunny we get blow ice which is just as dangerous. Glad I’m not working anymore, drove on it for years!

  51. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Joyce and friends. You Joyce are located in an area known for its frigid weather. Best indeed for you to stay in where you and your cat are warm.

    Yesterday was just one of those busy days for me as was this morning. I got up at 3:15 shoveled off the back started my truck and when warmed up, began to plow. It is 14 degrees and snowing.

    Matt called me on the walkie talkie at 3:45 and had to get up, so I went in and got him taken care of his bed made, his breakfast in him and he settled in his big chair. Then finished what I plow here around me.

    Having coffee now at the computer.

    One of the things Jesus did with one exception was to drop whatever He was doing and attend to whomever it was that ask Him for healing. So I picture Him busy at some personal task when someone comes and says “Master I have need of thee.” Him dropping His tools and without haste going where needed.

    There are exceptions but very rare when I don’t drop what I am doing to attend to Matt’s needs and for that matter the needs of any who come for help.

    It may sound complicated but *if* we consider Jesus as demonstrating the true nature of God the Father, then as His child somewhere in our growing up around Him we imitate His behavior.

    It may sound like I do this only because God wants it, but it is the love for others that is the driving force, a love just like God has for us His children. And as His child, imitating Him over time, such attitude and behavior become natural behavior in us.

    I think Matt is asleep in his chair, I think I may join him in mine for a nap.

    7 inches of light fluffy snow this morning.

    Steve

  52. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning Everyone. Sorry about your cold weather Joyce and I imagine that Pat is probably having some of the same. We are supposed to get snow followed by zero temps here in NC today through the weekend, BUT the Lord has provided us all with food and warm shelters, so I am thanking Him for the MANY Blessings that I tend to forget about when things get a little uncomfortable.

    Steve, when I have a lot of trivial matters to take care of and I start feeling overloaded, I think of YOU and all that you do and almost immediately, I stop feeling pressured! You ARE an excellent example of what being a Christian is all about and I am sure most here would agree. Thank You

    May you ALL have a warm, safe, and super Blessed day.

    Pearl

  53. poohpity says:

    A little girl was sitting on a chair holding two apples in her hands…..Her Mother came to her and asked softly, “Honey can you share one of your apples with me?”. The girl looked at her mom for a second and took a bite of one apple. Then she quickly took a bite of the second apple.

    Seeing this made the mother feel sad, but she did not want to reveal her disappointment. After a few moments of silence, the little girl handed one of the apples to her mother and said, “Mom take this one. This is the sweeter one.”

    Suddenly, the mother realized the mistake of quickly judging her little girl before understanding her true intention. Likewise, in life, we should always avoid judging others by our own level of perception and understanding. There is usually more to the story than we first see, and we should always remain open-minded.

    If we see God as our Father then we know that He sees even the heart and if we are His child then we know we often don’t and often only see the outside.

  54. SFDBWV says:

    “May the most important if/then of all help us step together over the threshold of a new year.”
    Mart

    At council meeting the other evening while having a friendly exchange with my friend George a 93 year old veteran of WWII, he ask how I was doing and I jokingly said we are ok, but my wife is cranky (she was setting right there doing some secretarial duties). He laughed and said “Steve just wait until you have lived with her 70 years.”

    He and his wife Mary Louise celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last summer. They married just after he returned from the South Pacific, a Navy veteran of WWII.

    It seems to me that every day we step into a new year afresh. Never knowing what lay ahead and only after many thresholds have been passed over do we realize we have very little control of the events in our future.

    The gift of youth being that they really believe they can accomplish everything and anything that comes their way. It is why I love young people, because life has not yet jaded them and made them too cautious to not take chances.

    We need that in our society and in our leaders. Couple that with the belief that with God nothing is impossible and miracles occur and insurmountable obstacles melt away.

    As I said earlier every day is new years day and as Jesus said we are only promised today. So we shall see at the end of this year what surprises the year had in store for us, just as at the end of the day we can reflect on its events and wonder about tomorrow.

    15 degrees and a total of 8.3 inches of snow.

    Steve

  55. joycemb says:

    A neighbor came over yesterday and as we were chatting about not remembering things she suddenly brightened up and said, ” But I’ll never forget the day I was born-again!” And gave me the exact date. Isn’t that so true? We never know what the new year will bring but optimism doesn’t disappoint if we are focused on the right things. What are some of the right-things others are hoping for this year? I have a grandson that appears to be wavering in his faith after his ist semester in college (not surprised) so will be redoubling my prayers for him. That’s one right thing I have on my agenda do do.

  56. saled says:

    If God is anything like a father, and if I am anything like his child, then. .

    We’ve talked on here before about how the experience of ‘Father’ has differed for each of us. This week I read a beautiful picture book called Island Boy, written by Barbara Cooney. It tells the story of a father who cleared trees on an island to make a farm on which he raised a family. I think the father’s name was Matthias, and as he worked to provide for his family, he taught them to work along side him. It is a beautiful story of a family continuing for 3 generations on the little island.

    Reading Island Boy reminded me of this topic this week. And I thought ‘If God is anything like a father and if I am anything like his child, then I will cherish and be a steward of this piece of earth that he has given me to occupy for my sixty years. And I will cherish and care for these people that he has given me. And I will encourage them to cherish and care for both the place and the people that God has blessed them with.

  57. SFDBWV says:

    Saled that was a beautiful reflection of the topic, thank you.

    When I think of such men and families you described it reminds me once again of the multitudes of drama played out in the now unknown reaches of history.

    Every person has a story and only God knows each and every one. From the inside out He knows every detail of our lives and though theirs now lost to history soon ours will be too.

    It helps me remember how important right now is.

    I hope you don’t get too much snow from the coming storm, I would suppose Pearl in NC is getting hammered about now.

    Our weather story now is the temperatures, it is 07 as I write this morning.

    Prayers and blessing for you and all today.

    Steve

  58. tiysh says:

    thanks BTA friends
    and good morning to all
    Grace from the Most High God grant us the grace to continually see Him as our Father as we also live our lives as His Children.
    Let’s be seen by all men that indeed God is our father, keep trusting Him also to grant us our needs and heart desires always
    With God being our father, He knows best for us, He’ll grant to us what we need at the right time
    Yes, He would…………… In His time He makes all things beautiful…….. Continue oh Lord to Present us to the world as your Loving children whiles you grant us the grace also to be proud of You as our loving Father………..Lord give us songs and Testimonies as your children to bring others unto you
    Amen

  59. poohpity says:

    saled, that is a beautiful analogy. In the time of Jesus it was mostly an agrarian culture and I think that is why so many of His stories had to do with agriculture so they would understand. For instance; Col 2:7 NLT; 1 Cor 3:8-9 NLT; Matt 15:13; John 15:1

  60. tiysh says:

    Good morning BTA friends and lovely people of God
    Indeed God is our Father and we are His Children
    In times of difficulties its so easy to ask where is God my Father, lets continue HE still is and we still are His Children
    It doesn’t matter the state we find ourselves in today, God is still the loving Father who still care about us
    In His time, He makes all things beautiful
    Lets keep asking Him our needs as our Father and He would always provide to us as his children
    Truthfully it becomes difficult for as His children in times of difficulties, and sometimes ask questions as where is God my Father?
    The truth as Mart has rightly put it is God is still our father who cares for us
    He would surely meet us at the point of our needs in His own time which is always right and beautiful
    Lets keep trusting and Hoping as Children sees their Fathers and keep asking even if they have not received,
    Grace ohh Lord to also live our lives as your Children wherever we find our selves, that our lives shall draw men unto You.
    Our hope and trust is still in You Lord… You who have said it, would surely do it as our Father
    We look up unto You not unto man but You
    Do it as you have said it and let your will be done in our lives
    As your children Lord we look up unto You………Amen

  61. poohpity says:

    tiysh, yes, we know that our Father does not shelter us from everything because most of the things we experience can bring us closer to Him. The pain we often come across in this life are the times we learn the most. It would be nice if that were not so but it is. Romans 5:3-5 NLT

  62. joycemb says:

    Beautiful prayer tiysh thankyou. “That our lives shall draw men unto you”. That does take Gods grace as you asked. Believing we are loved unconditionally is key isn’t it? Then we can truly love others as ourselves.

    “IF God be for us, THEN who can be against us, for nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

  63. street says:

    if then
    thinking of the if then’s big brother encountered in the desert after being baptized. seems to me people always want us to to do something for them to prove something. an outside influence so to speak. yet an internal One is needed because we are so broke. i do know the seed is good, hoping the ground is too.

  64. joycemb says:

    Street I think the ground was broken in the garden and knowing we are broken is what separates us from those who think they are well. (Pharisees then and now) yep people will always test us. I do it in my mind sometimes, ugh.

  65. joycemb says:

    If anyone here wants to analyze me feel free but kindly do it only in your own head also. Thanks.

  66. street says:

    thinking does “if” lead to doubt?

  67. joycemb says:

    does “if” lead to doubt? Thinking only “if” one is uncertain of the outcome. Which outcome is expected? Maybe being surprised like CS Lewis was is the magical outcome we hope for?

  68. jeff1 says:

    Street says:

    “seems to me people always want us to do something for them to prove something. an outside influence so to speak”.

    Wrong expectations on their part for we are all fallen but it is in seeking God that we find only He has the answers to the ‘If’ and ‘Why’.

    Now the spell is badly broken
    There are no angels after all
    There’s only people, lonely people
    And a million ways to fall.

  69. Regina says:

    Good Morning, All! HAPPY NEW YEAR! :-) I’ve longed to chat with you, but I kept getting a “BAD Gateway” message. Every time I attempted to log on (sigh)… The last time I was able to long on was the week before, during and after Christmas. The BTA website came up briefly, on Jan. 2, and I was able to see this blog topic, but when I tried to comment I got that “Bad Gateway” message again. And for a couple of days, I could even log on to the ODB webpage. So, now, I’m so thankful to be able to chat with yall again, I’m gonna leave a message on both blog topics! I LOVE yall!

    53 degrees and a clear sky in my neck of the woods…

    Love to all,
    Regina

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