Text Size: Zoom In

Israel, Gaza, and Good or Bad Faith

It has now been more than 2009 years since the birth of Jesus. The Middle East remains at the swirling center of worlds news. The descendants of Abraham and Sarah are still fighting over a small strip of land.

Many of us see the rockets going into and out of Gaza as being linked, not only to the most important story ever told, but in some mysterious way, to our own lives as well

Some of what happens next seems fairly predictable. Publicly the UN will call for a cease fire, while behind closed doors, government leaders around the world will try to exploit the political instability for their own purposes. Israeli forces will exact disproportionate destruction upon the small but deadly guns of Hamas. Yet Jewish people living on their island in a sea of Arab nations will see themselves as the people of the Holocaust and the undersized but courageous David against Goliath. Both Jewish and Palestinian families will bear the agony of loss one child at a time.

Many observing the violence from a safe distance will see the ongoing conflict as confirming of their faith in either the Bible or the Koran. Others will see any indication of a faith-based war as one more reason to reject all religion. And some of us will try once again to apply the troubled faith of Abraham and Sarah to our own hopes, dreams, and heartaches.

So in an attempt to see the difference between the right and wrong use of faith, I’ve been looking once again at the 11th chapter of the New Testament letter to the Hebrews. Among other things, this section of the Bible answers the question:

“What is faith?” The author goes on to write, “It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see… By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen…So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that there is a God and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him… Abel …Enoch …Noah …Abraham…Sarah… Isaac…Jacob… … All these faithful ones died without receiving what God had promised them, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed the promises of God. They agreed that they were no more than foreigners and nomads here on earth” (Hebrews 11:1,3,6,13 NLT).

With these inspired words in mind, I’ve been weighing questions like:

1.  How can we show a faith that pleases God rather than a faith that will end up hurting not only others but the name of our God in the process? What do the personal illustrations of Hebrews 11 show us?  Seems to me that no one could believe “the entire universe was formed at God’s command” without a  reliance on something that God himself took the initiative to reveal about himself.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans he wrote, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17).

But as the ongoing bloodshed in the Middle East shows, our minds and hearts have great capacity for self-deception. All sides of a conflict are inclined to morph the image of God into our own likeness by misquoting and misapplying what he has said, to believe what we want to believe.

2.  When Hebrews says anyone who comes to God must “believe that he is, and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him,” does “reward” imply that we have to earn the answers God promises? Since broken and humbled persons know they have fallen far short of the love and peace of God, the idea of “reward” can only refer to what God graciously gives to those who sincerely seek what they know they don’t deserve.

But, as the ongoing conflict in the Middle East shows, it goes against our human nature to seek God just because of who he is rather than for the results that we hope our prayers and tears are earning.

3.  Why does the inspired author emphasize that his models of faith “died without receiving what God had promised them?” The answer some of us don’t like to hear is that the real meaning of life as we know it cannot be found in what we now see. Rather the real meaning of this life is found by whether we will use our “traveler status” to look for the promised, yet unseen, “city”/goal of our journey. That confidence of faith rests in the assurance of who God is rather than in what he will do for us… when…and how.

But, as the ongoing unsolvable problem in the Middle East shows, we are far more inclined to use our faith to justify our strategies for immediate answers. Our natural, self-protective, if blind, instincts are to kill the children of our enemies, while unintentionally losing our own sons and daughters in the process.

Seems like these are reasons to keep talking together about what it takes to clarify the meaning of faith that pleases God… rather than one that gives him a bad name… in our town… and the middle east.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+68 rating, 69 votes)

61 Responses to “Israel, Gaza, and Good or Bad Faith”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    I too have been reading of the renewed war between Israel and her enemy. I also watched as Russian tanks and warfare rolled into Georgia last summer. Pirates terrorizing cruise ships. What seems an inexhaustable warfare and human suffering in Africa.

    What’s wrong in the world?

    The most difficult frustration to bear for me is when I must deal with unreasonable attitudes. Though you and I may see and seek a reasonable peace between people. There are people who are the exact opposit.

    All we can do is “Circle the Wagons” hold on to what faith we have and trust that God is indeed in control.

    One of my more enjoyable jobs is being the caretaker of our local cemetery. I enjoy seeing that it is well groomed and orderly. That when a family is faced with the grief of death, I can in some small way make things a little easier for them.

    This paticular cemetery only goes back a hundred and 30 years or so. Not like many in the world that goes back thousands of years. But one thing in common the cemeteries of 2,000 years ago and ours is the “awaiting”.

    In our cemetery, all face east toward Jerusalem. Awaiting the rising of the SON and the call from HIM to come forth.

    Each person who had put their faith in Christ died never seeing his return. Yet sleep in anticipation of it.

    We stand here alive today watching the results of sin corrupting every area of life on earth. Some wondering where is God. Others seeing God in the details of life as events unfold unto HIS coming.

    There is no political answer to resolve the conflicts in the world. Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. This is the way of the world.

    My hope is in Jesus the Christ. The world is looking for the anti-christ and he will be found. He will bring about a false peace in the Mid East and cure the econamic woes of the world. The world will love him for it. And curse the name of God.

    We look to an unseen God, yet have faith that he is. Our gift from God is the HOLY SPIRIT. Who will lead us into all truth and bear witness of HIMSELF. So with confidence in my heart, today I will face the rising SON and bear all that this miserable world hurls at me. Because my faith sees beyond this world.

  2. macsisson22 says:

    How can we show a faith that pleases God, seek God just because of who He is, and continue looking for the promised, yet unseen?

    “…how unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out … for of Him through Him and to Him are all things, to Him be glory forever. I beseech you therefore breathren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice…(Rom. 11:33ff.).

    Can we walk in faith to the continual pleasure of God?

    I contend that we are able and do, not because of any effort on our part, but, because of the Righteous Requirement of God imparted to those of us whom have put their trust in the shed blood of His Son. We can commit to trying a little harder to be more Christ like this new year, working toward being filled with the Spirit and adorning His fruit.

    Seeking God just because of who He is!?

    Romans says, “There are none who understand, none who seek God.” Yet Jesus said, “Seek and ye shall find.” The natural man cannot nor will not, argues the Calvinist, the things of God are Spiritually discerned! (I am a 4 and 1/2 point – lol :)

    Naturally, “When I consider the heavens, the work of Your finger, the moon and the stars which You have ordained….” “The heavens declare the Glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day after day they utter speach….”

    It is an utter impossibility for me to believe that this is all there is. I look forward to the place He is preparing.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Mac, wanted to say how happy I was for your daughters wedding. Happy moments are a gift also. I am glad for her and you.
    Glad to see you back to work.

    Mart and all, I was thinking about the face of the antagonists there in this mess in Israel and Gaza. I can’t help but visualize the face of Paul before his moment with the Christ on the Damascus road. He also he was doing God”s work and doing it with a vengance. Yet once he came face to face with Jesus, that same stuborne stiffnecked attitude was put to work for Jesus.

    Christ is the gateway to a changed heart.

  4. pmpope68 says:

    “our minds and hearts have great capacity for self-deception. All sides of a conflict are inclined to morph the image of God into our own likeness by misquoting and misapplying what he has said, to believe what we want to believe.”
    “it goes against our human nature to seek God just because of who he is rather than for the results that we hope our prayers and tears are earning.”
    “we are far more inclined to use our faith to justify our strategies for immediate answers.”

    The quotes above are so appropo for any conflict. What comes to mind as a church leader are the many conflicts that arise in the local church — two sides, each thoroughly resolved that they are right. What it takes is for one side to humble themselves, compromise and believe God for the RIGHT resolution. Ultimately, when we cling to our beliefs so tightly that we are unwilling to compromise, it’s a sign of pride and we should beware.

  5. poohpity says:


    You are sooo right but it is not only in the church, it is in each individuals life. The whole is a sum of it’s parts.

    We hold big powers to high level of righteousness yet when we look in the mirror for that moment we see our reflection but as soon as we walk away it is much easier to rate someone else’s wrong heart or attitude.

    I know for myself it is easier for me to criticize my church, my family, my friends and my country before I start cleaning up my act. Like the bible says real faith is seen by the works we (I) do. There is so much baloney in just my own walk with the Lord I need to constantly watch and keep my eyes on HIM and the rest will follow. In the middle East or in my own home, I have to first clean up my act then put that faith into action. We really need revival individually and then it will be seen collectively.

  6. poohpity says:

    Enoch never died, he was taken to heaven. Just a little FYI. No matter what happens in Israel, GOD. Whatever it takes for God to achieve His plan for them He will do. The history of Israel shows repeatedly that God has pursued and they have ran to other countries for their protection even after miraculous deliverance’s. They are still seeking protection from other countries namely the U.S., while giving away land that they were given by God. They have never acquired all the land that God said is theirs yet they refuse to depend on God.

    Their military might is greater than their neighboring countries but in their dependence on that might they continue to overlook God. God has a plan and I do not believe that that plan includes kindness, war is Godly. He never called them to sugar coat what they had to do to follow God.

  7. poohpity says:

    Following God is not for sissies or the faint at heart. It takes guts!!!

  8. Mart De Haan says:

    For the sake of discussion, do those of you who are pulling for Israel to remain strong believe that their well-being and survival depends on their military superiority any more than on their reliance upon the US?

  9. isaiah68 says:

    I am so grateful for Been Thinking About and Mart De Haan. I always find balance and much to think about. Thank you for keeping a Godly perspective!

  10. SFDBWV says:

    Deborah, You are very right being a Christian isn’t for sissies. I said Christian, only becaus god is a word all religions use.

    Israel will have 144,000 people who will be marked with the seal of God. I use to think that was all that would be saved during the period of the tribulation. But I was wrong. It will take God to open the eyes of these 144,000 to finaly see that Jesus was and is the promised Messiah. Does that mean he has closed their eyes to recognise the Savior untill the appointed time?

    The more I learn of God the more I understand what it means to “Fear” God. He uses people to accomplish his plans. And their fate is secondary to his plans.

    One can see the military structuring in Scripture everywhere. Either as a reality or as a method of explanation. Angels have rank, even the armor of God speaks of shields and swords. War has been used by God to fashion the nations of the world. To accomplish HIS will, time and time again. Only when the Messiah comes as a triumphant King will swords be beaten into plows.

    The entire world is being formed for the coming King. However, while there is still time. Grace is available to “ANY” who seek it through Jesus.

    I believe time is running out. We are told to be vigilant and watch for his comming lest we be caught unaware. This to me means we can read the signs of the times. And know that HIS return is coming soon.

    This is why I believe in the pre-tribulation rapture. Because events that play out once the Anti Christ is in power, can be measured by the time lines explained in Daniel. Right up to CHRIST returning. Since no one knows the times God has appointed for the end. Thoes of us who could recognize it will be gone.

    Man thought that WW1 was the war to end all wars. However there is a coming war that will live up to that title.

  11. pegramsdell says:

    Isaiah 40:31 “But those who hope in the LORD
    will renew their strength.
    They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.”

    God told Israel not to put their faith in their horses and chariots, but on Him. If they don’t, they would not have victory. If they are not asking the Lord what to do, it doesn’t matter whose army they have, they will not win.
    “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
    Hebrews 2:14
    I pray for the peace of Jersusalem. I pray for a closer relationship with Jesus. For Him to fill me and use me to do His will and to KNOW His will.

  12. pegramsdell says:

    sorry eph 6:12 not heb 2:14

  13. wretch-like-me says:

    Marti, and all.
    Amazingly, I,too, have recently been pondering the Middle East Situation after reading a post on someone else’s blog.

    I agree with Marti’s assessment of the scripture in Hebrews. I take comfort in knowing that God judges the condition of my heart over the results of my efforts. It is not possible to live the Law. Only because of Christ(covered in His Blood) am I justified before God.

    I am reminded of the illustration of the metamorphosis of the butterfly when Marti brings up the ‘rewards’ aspect of working out our faith.

    A man, observing a young butterfly emerging, decided to ‘help’ the process along by cutting the butterfly free of the cocoon. What he found was that by reducing the butterfly’s struggle to free itself from its case, the wings of the butterfly were not fully developed. The wings are normally expanded fully when the pressure from squeezing out of the cocoon forces fluid into the wings. Without the pressure, without the struggle, the butterfly never develops its wings and cannot fly. It is hopelessly doomed to die as easy prey or starvation.

    Are not like the butterfly? Faith needs testing to strengthen our spiritual wings. Faith is believing in things unseen… Believing to the point of death.

    Our Spiritual Forefathers went to their graves believing. Reminds me of the faith of a paratrooper. He packs his own chute for two reasons. Obviously, he wants to make sure it gets done right. But, there is another reason. No One wants to be reminded that they were responsible for a chute that did not open.

    Each of us packs his own chute. I, and only I, am responsible before God for the decisions I make. My chute is Jesus Christ. I place my trust/faith in HIM and HIM Alone. But, what does that mean?

    I can make a statement of faith; but, it doesnt stop there. I am responsible to live out that statement. I may fail(and I do); but each time I fail, I confess my failure before Christ and God and I am restored.

    Believing in the process is in itself a sign of my faith. I grow each time I step out in faith. As I grow stronger, I am capable of more spiritually.

    My goal is to be a ‘Christian'(a little Christ-one); He is my hero, my mentor, my example as well as my Savior. That’s why we ask “What would Jesus Do?”

    What did He do while He lived among us?
    1. He came to serve rather than be served.
    2. He fed the hungry.
    3. He ministered to the sick and dying.
    4. He spent time daily with His Father, praying.
    5. He celebrated life with all who would join Him.
    6. He grieved with those who were suffering.
    7. He righted wrongs whenever possible.
    8. He was the ‘Living’ Word… and taught by example.
    9. He suffered the abuse of others without seeking revenge…because He knew they didnt understand.

    Can we do the same? …to the point of death?

    I sometimes wonder if we go overboard in our allegiance to Israel as a people. They rejected the Messiah. They will be held accountable for their actions, too. National fervor and battles over real estate are petty issues when it comes to eternity.

    I am reminded that God loves the descendants of Ishmael, too! They are descendants of Abraham as well. All have sinned and fallen short. God gave His Son that NONE should perish; but have everlasting life.

    I am convinced this ‘everlasting life’ cannot be achieved on earth. Even during the 1,000 years of Christ’s reign on earth, man will return to his corrupt nature. Can you believe it??? Read the final chapters in the Book.

    It is beyond me and yet, it is within me. This is spiritual battle that left to ourselves alone we will lose. That is why it is soooo important that we accept and share Christ, as He is, to people, as they are!

  14. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    My oldest daughter married a Palestinian and they have had two children. My grandchildren. He is very kind. However he is Islam in his beliefs. My daughter is a Christian. He doesn’t agree but allows. My daughter lived in Jordan for a few years, and grew to love the people. I was so pro Israel at one time in my life, but have learned Christ died for all people. So now I pray for Israel to accept the Messiah along side of the prayer I pray for all people to accept the Messiah. In the end It will be God who restores Israel. This is probably not politically correct thinking, but heartfelt.

  15. plumbape says:

    No Daisy since Merry Christmas…? :>(
    I’ll keep the stone throwers busy while you comment.

    Love you all!

  16. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, to respond to your question. I find myself pulling for Israel for many reasons. God will pull every nation on earth into the fight over Jerusalem. Militarily Israel is out numbered by all her neighbors who “hate” her. She did a very good job in 1967 at showing her military ability. But I am convinced God’s hand and protection for her is at play. His endtimes events described in prophesy show God as Israel’s protector. Not the USA.

    But I am sure God has used the USA as well as Great Britton as a friend and ally to bring Israel along to the culmination of the end of the age and Israel’s participation in this great event.

    I pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and consider myself to be a friend to Israel. I still remember Palastinians cheering in the streets when America was attacked on Sept 11, 2001.

  17. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I am missing Daisy too. I won’t throw stones.

  18. daisymarygoldr says:

    gr8grannyjacobs, yesterday, it was my birthday…with all of you here bragging about your ages, I am painfully aware of being w-a-a-a-y behind…hence, I’m keeping quiet. However, on second thoughts, I am not intimidated in the least because just for pretense, I feel 2009 years older than everyone else, here! Are you really a gr8granny…I mean a great grandmother? I would love to be like you someday:)

    plumbape, I’m keeping silent so I can hear you speak. Maybe you should share some of your thoughts on this topic. I know you very well by now… and that you know a lot… You can’t keep saying that you don’t know much… its only a lame excuse to simply have fun all the time… with your “old timers and toad-princess” or “I love you all” one-liners:)….which BTW, we all enjoy and appreciate! But, please, can we have some of your serious insights too…on “good and bad faith”? Michael, I am asking you because I do not know much about this… and seriously want to learn from you and the others…

    Aside: not convinced about either the “no throwing stones” or the “I’ll keep the stone throwers busy”…once bitten twice shy…

  19. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    Happy Birthday Daisy. Yes, I am a gr8granny 8 times. I am so glad you posted.

  20. Mart De Haan says:

    As those of you who have tracked my posts know, I have the same questions about partisan alignment with Israel, or the Palestinians, as I have with partisan alignment with the Republicans, or Democrats.

    As I understand it, the role of the church is very different than the role of political parties or national governments.

    As the body of Christ, we have so many reasons to feel indebted to Israel and so many reasons to love both Jewish and Palestinian people– all of whom– for whom Christ died.

    As followers of Christ, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation. What we have to offer is good news for all who put their faith in Christ. Our role as peacemakers gives us reason to be concerned about real issues of justice and mercy for people on every side of every national boundary and political aisle.

    Yes, I believe that the church has inherited a place in the faith of Abraham, and that God, for his own good name, has an inevitable plan to fulfill his promises to bring a lesser part of national Israel, and a fraction of the population of the nations of the world, to a change of heart, a recognition of Christ, and a place in his kingdom.

    But nationalistic aggressors, like political parties and campaigns, tend to demonize and dehumanize their enemies in an effort to win.

    Am thinking that all who take the name of Christ have so much reason to pull and push one another to higher ground– for the honor of our Lord– and the sake of all.

  21. refump says:

    Mart’s first question:1. How can we show a faith that pleases God rather than a faith that will end up hurting not only others but the name of our God in the process? My mind quickly goes to my workplace & how do those around me see Christ because of what I say & do. I know on more than one occasion God must be wincing as I was not being a representative of Jesus that was winsome. I was not walking the talk & could not blame anyone for being put off by Christianity by how I represented the name of Jesus. I pray that He changes me so that I can show a faith that pleases God & does not hurt His name. I pray that He gives me a true HUNGER & THIRST for Righteousness so that I can be open to that change he wants to make in my life to represent Him in a more godly way. I was reading Readers Digest today in the eye doctor’s office & there was a joke that illustrates this: the waitress had just waited on a group of people from church & she said to another table of folks about the measley tip left “that group of people came in with the ten commandments & a $10.00 bill & didn’t break any of them!” A sobering thought for me is that we may be the only Jesus people around us will know.

  22. gabrielajayi says:

    I believe Israel will indeed continue to do what it thinks it needs to do to survive, i.e. remain strong militarily, but the survival of Israel ultimately depends on God, not on the strength of its army or the support of the US. God’s plan for Israel will be realized in His own way. I believe it is the responsibility of Christians to pray for a quick end to the current conflict so as to minimize the suffering of people in both countries. We should remember Christ died for all – Palestinians as well as Jews. There are many Bible-believing Christians among the Palestinians. Some of them are probably affected by the conflict. Our faith in Christ looks ahead to the time when wars will be banished. This faith calls us to love all, irrespective of their religious or political inclination.

  23. pegramsdell says:

    Who really wins? Or loses? In the end, Jesus kicks the devils but. Those who believe and are saved will be with Him. Those who don’t will be with him.
    God saved Hagar didn’t He?
    If you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord…….whoever bows their knee…..that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?
    Forgive me Lord for not screaming this on my rooftop.
    I need to be more loving to others and share the gospel.
    Who knows the day or hour?

  24. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    Good Faith Bad Faith . When I first got saved, I was so full of God. I can never explain the joy I felt or the love God revealed to me. Then I started trying to find a church. Each one wanted me to believe their doctrine. Problem was none of them seemed to agree about anything. So I prayed and ask God to lead me. He has led me. I don’t know for sure about many things, but I know for sure, that God is and God is just. He led me to RBC and for years God has used them to be my earthly contact, so to speak. They clarify and affirm for me in a gentle way. If I’m mistaken in someway of understanding a scripture, I have yet to feel condemned. So in this Israeli conflict, I don’t know for sure which side God is for, but I believe it is for all who will believe. Do we need to know more?

  25. poohpity says:

    In the past Israel used less military and less resources from allies to achieve what came before them to overcome but they also walked away from God. Now in a time when our world is infused with believers the only true enemy that exists is satan as it was then it is now. However the world does not recognize that we need to take a united front against evil rather than each other. So no matter what political party, hamas or islam, we know the end results. So I guess the question would be how do we go about solving the problems that are going on in the world with no violence or death and I do not think that is going to happen. I think now is the time Jesus was talking about in Luke 22:36.

  26. macsisson22 says:

    My response to rdrcomp:

    {5 Points of Calvinism = TULIP – total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistable grace, preserverance of the saints}

    My 1/2 point comes in at limited atonement. I see it as unlimited, open to whosoever and sufficient for ALL, but applicable ONLY to those who believe.

    I believe that you are confusing Calvinism with some Arminian and certainly amillenial doctrine.

    Arminians believe in previenient grace which places the burden on man to believe and continue to believe in order to be saved.

    As a Calvinist I believe that unless the Holy Spirit moves man remains in a natural state and will not respond to the gospel, {total depravity}(1 Cor.2), and
    that all who are saved are sealed and cannot lose their salvation.

    How much sin would be enough sin to loose your salvation?? Could you live the perfect christian life and slip at the end??

    I believe in election to salvation, not damnation. Jesus said all that do not believe are condenmed already (John 3:18).

    Election is a difficult thing to explain and I could spend weeks writing a thesis and still not convince everybody, if anybody.

    Some (not all) Arminians believe that Israel gave up their right to the kingdome in their rejection of Christ.

    Amillenialists hold that the church is the new Israel and the kingdom of God on earth. They do not see a rapture of the church, a thousand year reign of Christ, or a literal salvation of the nation of Israel.

    BTW, I believe that I briefly defined dispensationalism (economies of God and the failure of man in each) on the tough side of grace blog about a week or so ago. If you are so inclined you can go back and see what was written.

    Mart, Coodoes to those that see God as the final salvation of the Nation of Israel, but I do believe that they have the right to defend and conquer if necessary. Prayers for Jerusalem and our enemies!!!

  27. poohpity says:

    I believe that any term that ends with an “ism” is in trouble because it was created by man for man.

  28. sitsathisfeet says:

    Daiseymarygold Who threw stones at you? Tell me and I’ll have a talk with their parent (God) about it? If I was unknowingly involved, please forgive me. I miss your comments so much, your support and prayers! My computor is still acting really weird, but I was finally able to get on again today. I don’t have any particular insight into this topic even though I attended a Maranatha series on this very topic. Christian bible scholars explained it to us, how gog and magog are the countries today talked about in phrophecy, and how the Lord is unfolding his plans, what Israel is doing about it, the christians there. But, I’m with some of you on the blog, keep it simple I believe what it says in the Bible, it will all come to pass as the Lord says, so we must continue in faith and pray for Jesus to be accepted by all and his Kingdom come.

  29. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    sitathisfeet,I agree, keep it simple. I am glad I didn’t have to understand all of the doctrines before I met Jesus. I am so the woman at the well. I knew enough to believe.

  30. kaliko88 says:

    How can we show a faith that pleases God rather than a faith that will end up hurting not only others but the name of our God in the process? This is hard to put into words but I believe by having a secure faith that is not afraid to ask questions. It has taken me many years, but I believe I have found answers to the core questions that are almost always barricades to belief. Once I answered those, the basis of my faith became a fairly solid foundation. But in order to build on it, I have to keep seeking more answers. I have to understand that I do not know it all and there is more about God to learn. My faith may get shaken now and then and the walls will crumble, but the foundation remains, and I can put the walls back up. I find this a very helpful illustration in the face of being married to a husband who has decided he does not believe and is sometimes quite nasty and cynical about it. My faith remains, hopefully with patience and love. Maybe someday he’ll come to realize there is something to a God that I continue to look for despite all the discouragement.

    When Hebrews says anyone who comes to God must “believe that he is, and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him,” does “reward” imply that we have to earn the answers God promises? No, but it might be a reassurance that our seeking has a purpose, that it is not just a whim or duty we must perform. I am reminded of Jane Eyre, where she said that she always knew who she was, but that she owed a debt to Mr. Rochester because he was the first to recognize her and to love what he saw. Maybe that is what we must seek honestly, the ability to see God and recognize him, and love what we see, not just fear or hold in awe. And maybe, just being able to love God and be with him is the real reward, recognizing the love we had forgotten.

    Why does the inspired author emphasize that his models of faith “died without receiving what God had promised them?” I think because they realized the promise wasn’t just for them.

    For the sake of discussion, do those of you who are pulling for Israel to remain strong believe that their well-being and survival depends on their military superiority any more than on their reliance upon the US? No, and yes. Military superiority isn’t just numbers or equipment or even allies. It is the willingness to use it and the wisdom to use it wisely. And sometimes it is the acknowledgement that support is needed from allies and outside sources. Thus, the ‘no, and yes’ answer. The survival of any culture or people during a crisis is knowing which to act on and choosing the right time to do so. Like many things in life, it is a balance, but one more like a teeter totter or pendulum that swings back and forth over many positions, and the objective is to keep the movement going smoothly. Which should they choose now? Considering how many seem to be siding against them, I’d say they should keep their friends close so they cannot be surrounded and cut off.

    But all that is from my own limited and slow growing point of view.

  31. daisymarygoldr says:

    gr8grannyjacobs, TY! 8 times? U rock!

    sitsathisfeet, :)

    kaliko88, gr8 thoughts!

  32. SFDBWV says:

    Mart, I can only speak for myself. I have been up front and honest with everyone and told personal things about myself so that we could feel more comfortable with each other. Knowing things about me may also help explain my background and why I may think the way I do about our various subject matter.

    I have not grown spiritualy enough to not feel nationalistic about my country. To not feel defensive about thoes who attack it and speak down and poorly of it.

    I may know that I should be the peace maker. But if I witness a mugging my first reaction is to come to the rescue and defense of the victim.

    If a neighbor takes up arms against me or other neighbors, my first reaction is to defend my family and come to the aid of my neighbors.

    There is a quote I read some months back I am sorry I don’t remember the author. But I would like to quote it.” We sleep peaceably tonight, because somewhere there are violent men prepared to do violence on our behalf.”

    I do put my faith and trust in God. For my protection and for my needs. But I also know God uses people to achieve his goals. I see the policeman on duty and the soldier at his post, for my protection as God’s hand at work.

    Israel as well as America as well as any other nation has the right to defend it’s self against the evil of this world. An evil some would do if not held accountable for their deeds.

    I hope that doesn’t make me less of a Christian. I pray for the time when Christ our King is on HIS throne and we then can enjoy real peace and freedom from evil.

  33. poohpity says:

    I with you Steve. We have all kinds of battles daily, spiritual, personal, defensive and offensive. The spiritual armor is named appropriately. There are victims no matter which kind of war is being fought.

    When we are not serving the Lord with the mission he gave us to do, the victims are the poor, destitute, widows, orphans and dejected. As Christians we walk by and do nothing and at times say, “This is the bed you made for yourself now suffer”. Gee it would be nice if everyone did a little something for the kingdom besides shatter lives.

  34. pegramsdell says:

    Right on Steve. My first reaction would also be to defend myself and my family. And I thank God for the violent men defending me and my family and my country. I pray for their protection as well. Peg

  35. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you and bless you, Deborah. You have a beautiful heart and that beauty shines out from you in every post.

  36. macsisson22 says:

    SFDBWV, “… but whoever smites you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also” Matt. 5:39

    Steve, When I think this verse through I believe that it is evident that Christ was not saying that we cannot defend ourselves on a personal, national, or judicial level. Since most of the population is right handed, this action would come in the form of a backhand or a slap of insult.

    I think the Lord wants us to walk away from stupid insults, and not act with personal vengence, but I believe we are to stand firm and strong against pure evil.

    I remember a few years back when some teens were walking past people and ‘cold-cocking’ them for no reason. A man was killed by one of these attacks. I don’t remember whether the individuals responsable were ever caught and convicted, but I dont’ think that Jesus was giving them a free pass!

    1st Timothy 5:8 says, “He who does not provide for his own, especially those of his own household, is worse than an infidel.”

  37. poohpity says:


    I do not know how man trying to formulate what is written benefits man but what I do know the best time spent was when man put the bible together in plain english for everyone to read. When we learned it was for all people to know what God has said to us. Now if we can get past trying to figure out how to put God into our plans and put our self into His plan things might work out a little better. After reading it continuously then God will reveal what He wants us to know. The hard part is when we read and do not do the little steps He reveals to us I do not think He will reveal any more. Now that is a dilemma. When our hearts are hardened to the experiences and direction we have been shown why show any more.

  38. poohpity says:


    Actually your love of the Lord is very evident in your posts. I have often wondered what it would be like to really meet everyone here because it takes all of us to make a whole. As it can also seen in my posts I am a bit of a rebel too! The only love I have ever really experienced is the love that has been given me from the Lord, He is the only one who has ever accepted me the way I am and loved me anyway which is not unique to only me but to everyone His love has touched now that is grace!!

    Oh, my oldest son is back home, boy am I a soft touch.

  39. macsisson22 says:

    rdcomp, I was not offended in the least. I have mentioned before that it is difficult to interpret tones and expressions via typed words.

    You had mentiond in that that ‘calvinists’, or many in my camp, viewed the church as the new Israel and I was not aware that any calvinsts held that view, though I guess there could be. My response was intended as merely a clearification.

    BTW, thank you for your post to Poohpity with regard to the “isms”!!! You stated perfectly what I would have liked to.

    And Poohpity and others, forgive me if like rd I am too logical and systematic in my thinking.

    KISS is a hard concept for me!

  40. poohpity says:

    Keep It Simple Saint (KISS) It works if you work it!!LOL :)

  41. SFDBWV says:

    Thanks, Peg. Mike, it is a very difficult thing to be Christ like. I do suppose it will take the remainder of our lives and or His returning to accomplish (if possible).

    I know there are good people living in Gaza. As I am sure there are in every Isamic country. Why don’t these good people gather together and purge the evil that has come to define there faith? Suicide bombers are sniveling cowards who murder women and children. The Hamas and Taliban fighters are also most often seen hiding their faces.

    I know a few Musilims. They are as normal as you or I. Or so it would seem. What is it about their faith that spews such hate at every one who is not of their faith? Has the Koran taught them that killing everyone in the world that doesn’t agree with them, gives them a special place in heaven? Have I been misled to understand that Allah was under the influence of a “dark” spirit, when he wrote the Koran?

    Am I only “thinking” I am on the “right” side of the issue? Or am I on the “right” side? The side I have choosen is Christ. This has made me a target for every non Christian. I will try my best to present Christ and bring the Gospel to the world. For their well being. But I will use the sword of truth instead of bombs and beheadings.

  42. wretch-like-me says:

    You guys deserve a big HUG…
    (reminds me of the end of the Mary Tyler Moore series when the newsroom said goodbye to each other…visions of heaven?)

    What a difficult task it is to determine how much depends on me and how much on God!

    We each face that decision… individually and nationally. In Israel’s case, how much should she depend on God to bring about and how much should the government/military?

    On the surface it would seem that all depends on God; however, ‘living out one’s faith’ lends itself to taking some responsibility.

    I grieve for those who have lost family, friends, and possessions in the struggle in the middle east; but, I tend to view the root of the problem as being universal in that we all suffer from the evil doers.

    I know that I often come off as ‘preachy’ and I am working to ‘soften’ my statements. (it is really not me …I am a big teddy bear inside…all 6’2″-275#).

    I struggle with wanting a pat answer to all situations. But, I have found that is the basic problem with the LAW. We cannot come up with a rule for every situation. It is the ‘Spirit of the Law’ that Christ gave us with His example and the Comforter/Teacher/Counselor of the Holy Spirit.

    This is why my focus is constantly on HOW the Lord handled similar situations when walked on the earth. He was hindered by a body of flesh and blood.

    Scripture says He struggled with ALL the same temptations we do. (think about that…hunger/gluttony/ greed/fear/distrust/fatigue/frustration/anger/desire/ sexuality/lust/… He endured everything that we have been tempted by and remained sinless…)I find that very humbling… and refreshingly encouraging.

    We need to start there and come full circle.
    My friends, we are all different and yet, the same. Some of us are Warriors; some Lovers(in the purist way) some teachers; some caregivers; some workers; some prayer warriors…We have families, friends, neighbors, coworkers, christian and non-christian.

    We all need the same thing(singular)and things(plural).
    We need Jesus(Singular)and all things(plural)will be given; all our needs met.

    Jesus said,”The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand(it has come)!” He brought us The Way(He is The Way). Coming to grips with that is soooooo EVERYTHING! We are living in the kingdom?

    I love you, all! And I praise God for Marti and this place to share our deeply felt concerns and innermost thoughts. Each of us is truly invaluable before God. Why else would He sacrifice His Only Begotten Son?

    How can we ‘defecate’ on any other human being with our actions and deny their value before God? Is that not a defiant, disobedient, childish reaction?

    Christ is the only Mature approach to solving the problem of EVIL! Christ went Meekly to the cross. Should we also do the same??? Is that a Pacifist approach to Life? I honestly don’t think so.

    God help us all as we struggle to understand and apply WWJD in our individual lives!

  43. wretch-like-me says:

    Needed to add one final comment after re reading my last post.

    The ‘Great Commission’ we received is effectively lived out when we concern ourselves with our neighbors. We cannot all be ‘foreign’ missionaries; however, we all live on a mission field.

    My background in Advertising/Broadcasting has been a blessing to me… in that I find many illustrations there.

    We need to ‘Reach Out, Reach Out and Touch Someone!”

  44. SFDBWV says:

    Wretch-like-me, Glad to see your feeling better. Thanks for the hug.


  45. wretch-like-me says:

    thanks, Steve…and all who prayed for me.

  46. pegramsdell says:

    Yeah, needed that hug, thanks

  47. pneumatika says:

    I saw this comment yesterday that got me thinking:
    “Hamas is a prisoner to a logic of hate, Israel to a logic of faith in force as the best response to hate. One must continue to search for a different way out, even if that may seem impossible.”
    – “A spokesman for the Vatican”

  48. uncertain says:

    These verses in Romans 12 don’t seem to leave a lot of room for self defense:
    “Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. . . . Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God. . . To the contrary, if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. . . . Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
    The issue of war and self defense have confused me, but I think we need to be willing to accept the radical implication of the Gospel.

  49. poohpity says:

    Hey folks what is your take on Luke 22:36.

  50. pegramsdell says:

    Not sure…..obviously they would be needing swords. But then He rebukes them for using it on the centurion.

  51. poohpity says:

    I also wanted to let you know that in 2000 my neighbor from Saudi Arabia had one of the safe house’s for the people from 9/11. I had to talk to the F.B.I. as well as my daughter because she flew to several places with them. Our government had him leave the country and when someone got upset about our government’s reaction to go to Iraq I thought if you only knew the things you do not know. Gosh we never really know what goes on behind the scenes.

  52. sitsathisfeet says:

    The Lord is so awesome, he just keeps revealing as we are ready to see. We pray so often at our church open the eyes of hearts Lord! When I attended the Maranatha series at our church, on DVD, there was one speaker an Israeli captain in their air force, who was also a Christian Jew – he guaranteed that. Israel would be on the offensive and bomb some more sites, before the swearing in of our new president. I thought he was talking concerning Iran, primarily. But he said the general consensus of their military is that the diplomacy wasn’t working, sanctions weren’t working, so they would take action as they knew how. That the Lord would shorten the days of war and destruction, so men would not completely destroy themselves in a nuclear war, and that God was not going to let Israel be defeated. Now I’m not sure about all that. And I have family in combat as well. The thing I can be sure about is that the Lord’s plans will be accomplished, his will be done. And he will reveal thse things to us in the fullness of time. Our part is to remain faithful to the end, live in peace wherever possible, and shine his light in the world. We are ambassadors of light, children of light in a dark world, because having accepted Jesus as the Messiah we have his light, the light of the world. The one who spoke light into darkness, that light is in us. I am so awed and amazed at his grace and mercy, I have no doubt he will light and show us the way.

  53. plumbape says:

    wretch-like-me thank you, my own ideas could not have been better written. I only hesitate to comment because I don’t know how to write it so it expresses my thoughts. I’m good at not saying much and listening. Ironically I’m losing my hearing as my Mother did and a sister. I’m on the third and last set of hearing aids which still help but not as they did a year ago. So it’s all good. I’m prepared to go and do what the Lord wants me to, And doing plumbing for people as best I can for whatever they think is fair seems like my calling for now.
    I really have a tendancy to get toooo serious and a joke, or smile or some one liner in a light hearted way helps me stay content and still get things done and focus on issues with the good people here. It’s all good!

    If the plumber does his job right no one should notice! lol!!!

  54. kaliko88 says:

    “a prisoner to a logic of hate” – I think that describes best of all why people succumb to such evil actions as violence and war. But I cannot quite agree with the quote about “violent men” protecting us. I am biased in that I have a wonderful brother who is a major in the army, but I do not see all of them as violent. I seem them instead as guardians, ones who recognize others who are not only violent but who, in their logic of hate, revel in violence. The guardians, however, are ones who would prefer not to act with violence, but when faced with it cannot stand by and do nothing.

    And that is why there is war. There are really just three forces to any major conflict – those who are filled with hate and choose violence, those who are filled with fear and choose to do nothing, and those who are filled with love and choose to act.

  55. Belma Connerley says:

    Act,– act in the living present. Heart within and God o’erhead
    Learn to labor and to wait From poem– A Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    The disciples asked years ago “Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom to Israel? and they were told “It’s not for you to know the time or the season but Go and make disciples of all nations.”

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.