Text Size: Zoom In

Elephant Seals and Us

On a recent 40th anniversary trip to the West Coast my wife, Di, and I saw one of the most amazing sights. Just north of San Simeon on the Pacific Coast we caught these pictures of an elephant seal birthing and breeding colony.

Couldn’t believe the sights and sounds. All ages of males fighting in the water, on the beach, snorting, and roaring, while trying to protect their own territory, or raid the harem of another.

The alpha males were huge, the largest going about 3 to 5 thousand pounds. Seemed to use all of their strength to chase other bulls, before flopping exhausted to the sand, in between conquests of more females.

The cows were in the process of giving birth and nursing their pups for a month before breeding and heading back out to sea. Since they all have stopped feeding during this period, the i.e. 1,500 pound cows lose a lot of their weight while their pups quadruple theirs’ before going on their own.

The bulls are outrageous in their preoccupation with breeding as many cows as they can.

In the middle of all of this, any number of bulls are snorting, cows are screaming, and the pups are squealing, while hundreds of others seem to be trying to sleep off the commotion.

The sight draws a lot of visitors many of whom I sensed were just as astounded as we were by what we were seeing.

Volunteers helped a lot by mingling with the crowd by describing what was happening. They explained, for instance, that these seals travel to this stretch of beach from as far as the Aleutian Islands. On arrival, they stop feeding, give birth, and breed before heading out to sea again in about a month.

The volunteers showed us how to recognize the huge eight year old alpha-males that control their own stretch of beach while fighting off the younger bulls who have to be satisfied with quick raids on the big bull’s territory before being chased off. We watched the big alpha pictured to the left do his share of fighting and pursuing.

As I’ve been trying to process what we saw at San Simeon, am reminded again of the wonder of creation, the imagination of our Creator, and questions of why he designed such strange creatures… caught up in such a breathlessly desperate cycle of survival, reproduction, and sheer exhaustion.

Even in asking the question, I wonder whether one of his reasons might be to give us a reflection of ourselves, created in the likeness of God, but acting all too often like the amazing elephant seal– who lives from his Creator’s hand– without, I’m guessing– having a clue.

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+113 rating, 125 votes)

38 Responses to “Elephant Seals and Us”

  1. drkennyg says:

    God made us greater than the animals with power over them – fortunately most of us decide to take care of them. These creatures won’t see the new heaven and earth, but that’s fine cause God wants it that way. We can draw a few interesting conclusions about our own clamor as sinners for more sex not being too discriminating about the partner (promiscuity), fighting off jealousy of competitors till we are exhausted. I would agree that these creatures haven’t got a clue about why all this goes on; their instincts must make perfect sense to them and they behave unconcerned about that. We on the other hand must be concerned about it all for ourselves. Our choices are much better when they are aligned with God’s will for us. Our God is an awesome God. He has wonderful plans that are astonishing to us and the most amazing one for me has always been the defeat of Satan by His death on the cross and His resurrection. Satan’s mad and powerful against us BUT if we turn to our Lord we too can resist the devil and send him packin’. After all it’s his days that are “numbered” here and not ours. God has all the control and he deserves our worship and glorification. So praise Him with song and give Him all the glory always.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    For the most part Mart, the description you gave of all the males fighting over the females and all the noise accompyning it. Sounded like any street corner in America.

    However the Scripture says that the lion will lay down with the lamb. So I am guessing, things will be very different in the animal kingdom in the future to come.

    You won’t be suprised to hear that there is a lot of competition in nature. For food, for shelter, for reproduction. I hesitate to call it sex, though you have to wonder when watching monkeys.

    Anyway, watching the behavior of animals, is what led to Darwin and others thinking we were related to the animal world. And especialy to apes.

    If you watch a hord of locust devour everthing in sight, it does remind you of our use of our environment.

    Or watch voltures circile the wounded and dieing, or sharks around a helpless seal. The behavior of people do come to mind.

    But… I saw a little clip on the internet a few weeks ago, where a small dog dragged another injured dog out of harms way from automobiles and trucks on a freeway. Risking it’s own life to save it’s “friend”.

    Has anyone ever tried to mess with a cub when it’s mother bear is around?

    Howabout watching a bird pretend it’s wounded to distract a predetor away from it’s young?

    Yep, Mart, we are a lot like the animals we watch.

  3. Natalie Augustin says:

    I believe it was Solomon who had many proverbs and songs and spoke of God’s creation, the trees, and beasts, and fowls, and creeping things, and fishes. Many came from all over to hear his wisdom in such matters. Job said to look to God’s creation and it would teach us. I think that as we do that, we do see ourselves – man is but beast without a new birth in Jesus Christ. He is the One who delivers us and brings us to the place where we can be one with Him. It is only through the power of His resurrection that we can be conformed to His image – the One True MAN.

  4. daisymarygoldr says:

    Belated Happy 40th Anniversary, to you and your wife! May God bless you with another year… filled with love, laughter and joys! Lovely pictures, of ugly creatures, sorry! No… though they don’t look all that cool, they are nevertheless God’s awesome handiwork.

    Do understand their significance in the food web of the ecosystem but it will take us a life time to really understand the mind of our Creator in creating all these strange creatures. The house that I’m living in presently is literally built on a nest of evil scorpions. Although I grew up in a tropical country, this is my very first encounter with a live scorpion crawling inside one of the saucepans!

    Bo-o-o to big Alpha male! Ok, I’m having some fun here trying to pull rdrcomp’s legs:) but seriously… the elephant seal needs to be reminded that God created them in pairs. Noah took them into the Ark by twos and there was absolutely no room provided for a male and his harem. I don’t know, just my thoughts…

    Enjoyed your detailed description of these interesting sea creatures. Unlike us, they do know God. Hence, God tells us to learn from them:
    “But ask the animals what they think—let them teach you; …learn the basics.
    Listen—the (elephant seal) in the ocean will tell you their stories.
    Isn’t it clear that they all know and agree
    that God is sovereign, that He holds all things in His hand…”(Job 12:7-10)!

  5. bellalinda52 says:

    Thanks Mart for this reflection. Personally I am full of wonder at the diversity and magnificence of the creation but not everyone agrees.

    I have an aunt who has become a committed atheist- and vegetarian – because of the natural order in the animal kingdom. She thinks that any God who would create/allow such a terrible system where animals eat each other and do violence to one another is no God she wants to believe in! She thinks it is immoral. What do you say to people on these issues?

  6. Laurielee says:

    Happy Belated anniversary, Mr. Mart! Love the animal pictures! They say that the platypus proves that God has a sense of humor!

    Living from the Creator’s hand…beautiful phraseology…and I admit to being pretty clueless sometimes, too…BUT, that’s the times I feel like a child at His feet.

    bellalinda, Isn’t it odd how people who claim to be atheists think that if there isn’t a God, then that must make it not so? Who are we that we think we can tell God what to do and what is right and wrong? We are so full of ourselves and our own intelligences! Indeed, what is man that God should be mindful of him? I am thankful that after Noah, God didn’t think that man was altogether a bad idea! There’s a Todd Agnew song, “Where Were You?” Pretty profound stuff!
    My daughter is a Vegan…no animal anything, 3rd year med student…BUT has seen and learned enough to know that there HAS to be a God. How can one see a birth and think it is just a case of atoms and molecules gone haywire?

    Matthew 24:13 was in part of my reading last night…”For many are called, but few are chosen” I’ve been pondering and pondering this…it’s after the story of the guests at the wedding feast where one man is found without wedding clothes and bound and thrown out….any thoughts on this? Is this like a church where there are many members, but few believers? But they were called…did they start the journey and find that they couldn’t finish? Is it like the seed planted in shallow ground? Is it like those who said, “Lord, look at all I did in your Name?” (paraphrased)

  7. Mart De Haan says:

    Interesting responses!! :-)…. sure enjoy listening to the different ways you all run with a subject like this. Thanks too for the congrats…

  8. sjd says:

    I believe you are correct in your understanding of Matthew 22:8-14. I looked at it more closely in the past and thought it was interesting how the one was thrown out for not being dressed right. The ones that finally came to the wedding were off the street and did not have a chance to get prepared so it was up to the king to provide the proper attire. The man thrown out had been willing to come to the wedding, but turned down the kings provision of the wedding clothes, which was a great insult to the king. That is a picture of utter rebellion.

    It is a picture of a person’s visible alignment with Christianity or the church, but they are unable to see their inability to stand in God’s presence on their own. They continue to exhibit their heart of stone, their enmity towards God. They need the righteousness of Christ to clothe them. And that clothing only comes as a person humbles himself before God in recognizing his or her “filthy rags” of unrighteousness, and receives God’s gracious gift that Jesus provides through His death, burial, and resurrection. At the moment of faith in Christ alone we receive that purity, that justification, that righteousness of Christ. This passage fits well with those who cry out “Lord, Lord……….” and to the parable of the sower and the seed where some “look the part”, before their true state is made apparent.

    “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Do we want to go there? I need to go to bed. Let’s leave it that there is at least a general call, “whosoever will”(Revelation 22:17), and there is a responsibility that man must respond. My bent is that we will not respond unless God draws an individual to Himself.(John 6:44). That makes me thank my Lord all the more for His grace in choosing me!

    Mart, I often feel like I do not have a clue, like your elephant seal. But, I am thankful that God has given me a heart to know Him, fear Him, and love Him. He has given me the desire for Him. I look forward to the day my “flesh” will not distract me from the “instinct” that God by His Spirit has graciously placed within me in the new birth.

  9. BobbiLee says:

    LauriLee, I agree with you about atheistic thinking. “…people who claim to be atheists think that if there isn’t a God, then that must make it not so”. The key word is “think”. It makes no difference what a person thinks or believes, it does not change the truth. How any thinking person can look around at the world, animals, mankind, and all creation, and still believe that it all happened by an atomic accident is beyond me.

    Mart, let me add my congratulations on your anniversary. My husband is a pastor and we work with mostly retirees. It is a true joy to see a couple celebrate 50, 60 or more years together.

  10. One American says:

    I agree that animals do violence to each other and therefore must be sinful. The animals did not rebel, but the whole earth is accursed because of Adam’s sin.

    belinda, what does your aunt say about the extremely competitive and violent attributes of plant life?
    Many plants use roots and stems to starve each other out. This seems just as violent.

  11. SFDBWV says:

    I used to work with a fellow named Charlie Wilhelm. He was one of thoes short stocky little Germans that reminded you of Gnomes. With just as gruff a disposition as well.

    His greatest pleasure in life was arguing. He seemed to disagree with everyone about anything.

    One day as he and I were discussing some deeper thoughts of life (as if either one of us “had a clue”) I finaly tired of the fray, and conceded. “Charlie!” says I ” you are absolutely right, I am absolutely wrong.” Whereby he immediately responded to me by saying,”Now, Steve, you have a good point too!”

    I am recounting the story to illustrate how I relate to “atheist’s” I cannot argue my way into changing the mind of people who want to believe there is no God. The Scripture says “Only a fool says in his heart there is no God.” So such fools can’t be brow beaten or pushed. They live for that so that they can push back and only entrench themselves into their own mind set. Content in their misery.

    “Many are called but few are choosen” I can relate quickly to this statement. Here in our own walk, after Matthew wound up being stuck in the house. Many of his friends were called upon to travel with him through his ordeal. They could have been transformed by the experiance. Many were called but very few responded.

    Because they chose to follow after their own personal pleasures of life, rather than sacrifice a small portion of their time to aid a friend. They have proved themselves unworthy. Yet, even still if anyone of them makes an attempt to reunite. Matthew is always willing to forgive.

    All this sounds familiar doesn’t it?

    I think many will think they should attend the wedding feast of the Lamb, but the wedding guests accepted are thoes who accepted the gift the Lamb offered. Clean white robes washed in the Blood of the Lamb.

    Many were called, but of thoes called only a few responded, and so were chosen.

  12. sjd says:

    We do see the curse of creation as a result of man’s sin, and also the “longing” of creation to be set free.

    Genesis 3:17-19 (NASB77)
    17 Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you shall eat of it All the days of your life.
    18 “Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you; And you shall eat the plants of the field;
    19 By the sweat of your face You shall eat bread, Till you return to the ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return.”

    Romans 8:19-22 (NASB77)
    19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
    20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope
    21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
    22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.

  13. BruceC says:

    Congrats! May the Lord bless you with many more!

    Love your take on the “wedding” scripture! While all are invited, without being clothed by Him we won’t see the wedding supper. It’s also a picture of the unbelievibg Jews. They are God’s chosen but refused for the most part to put on “His clothes”; so the bridegroom went to the streets-the Gentile world, and invited them.

    Great responses. Although nature is awesome and points to the immeasureable power and intellect of God, it sadly is also a mirror of us. Selfish, cruel, and savage. Unconcerned about others. It is our sin that has made it so. Our sin has polluted everything. Praise be to God that He did not leave us that way! And because of Jesus, someday all things will be made right and new! Hope is never lost. I have to go to a funeral for a fellow retired cop I worked with. He is one of those “I can’t believe he got saved types” (aren’t we all?). A relative on his wife’s side is a pastor and told Him the gospel and God had prepared the ground; likely using sickness as the plow. All praise to His name. May we all be ready and willing to join in the harvest with Christ!

  14. SFDBWV says:

    Job 12:10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

    Can’t and won’t disagree with the Word of God.

    I do not believe animals have partaken of the Tree of Knowledge. However because Man has, all of creation was effected. Even the Stars and the Cosmos.

    One only need to read the 139th Psalm to see that God is everywhere. And so he is in all of His creation. Look into the eyes of a dog or a horse, and what do you see? A soul looking back at you.

    In the Law of Moses God said animals that Kill a man are to be put to death. Punished.

    There are many many secrete things that God knows. As we search to know God more, we learn that we don’t know so much afterall.

  15. Robert Slone says:

    When I was a little kid, growing up on a farm, I did not feel like I do towards animals, as I do now. I would have to say, even though I was raised in what was called a good Christian home, we were cruel to animals compared to the way I feel now. It is kind of like, “uncertain” and his problems being raised in a strict religious home. I relate to, “uncertain”, a lot. It has taken me years to climb out of the hole that I fell in when looking toward people that called themselves Christians and lived in hyprocricy. I’m not judging the person as to wheather he or she is a Christian, just judging their works.
    We use to shoot and kill birds and other animals, just for fun, or my Dad had labeled it a bad animal that did harm around the farm.
    Once again, look at Jesus, not man.
    Today, I wouldn’t hurt an animal for no reason. I enjoy sitting on my back poarch and watching the birds eat out of the feeders, and spotting other animals (bob cat, deer, squirels, opossum, rabbits, etc.) and say to myself, how wonderful is our God, how can anyone say you do not exist. Learning is a life long process. Praise God.

  16. sjd says:

    Some earlier have mentioned how we can learn from the animal world. I used to love watching ants when I was a child. Proverbs 6:6 tells the sluggard to consider the ant. I love looking at creation to remind me of my Creator and His activity today, and of His promises. Genesis reminds us that it was the man and woman that was made in the image of God. We were the ones to fill the earth and image who God was as we reflected Him as we used our mind, will and emotions and as we were to fellowship with others and with God in that perfect love that others have spoken of in the last few days, of that perfect love between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Man is the one that now is born into sin and willfully rebels against God. Our dominion over the earth is flawed. Sin, certainly has affected every aspect of creation, but I have never considered the thought that animals actually sin, because they were not created in the image of God, and do not have the faculties to sin. Although when I see my dog quickly slip down off the couch when I walk in the room, it makes me wonder sometimes.

    Aren’t you glad for all the uses of the word NEW in Scripture, New Creation, New man, New Heavens and New earth, New covenant, new…..!?

    I agree with SFDBWV. The more I learn of God, I realize the less I know, although in one area I am realizing more and more, my depravity.

  17. gr8grannyjacobs says:

    I agree the Elephant Seal topic has taken us on another journey. I have been busy trying to find out why Day of Discovery doesn’t run all of the programs for viewing. Thought I would share my experience in that effort. I contacted Dell who then put me on the phone with a computer technician who happened to be in the Philippines. He assured me that it is not my computer. He verified that by going to all the stories that would and would not work from my computer and viewing them on his.They were the same ones that would and would not work from his. BTW I live in Texas. The point is he now knows about Day of Discovery and watched Search for Messiah as we were on the phone. I was happy to be sharing the story and wonder if all of my problems with dod.org were brought about to enable someone to hear the gospel. Just like the seals and nature God is in all of it whether we choose to notice is on us.

  18. drkennyg says:

    I also do not view the animals as “sinners” or even as imitators of us except in a few isolated teaching experiments with higher animals like chimps, etc. They are still not humans and therefore do not know sin. Bananas have over 50% of our genes and chimps have nearly 98% but neither is even close to being human. Rather it is our own behavior we can be reminded of when we watch animals do things that for us would be sinful. When for example our instincts for sex and power over others takes over we are likely to commit some very terrible behavior in an unfettered way. If we are lucky enough to notice we can pause and let reason prevail. We can come to the Savior for forgiveness and hearing His Word can change our ways. Mine have changed dramatically since knowing Christ and being born again. Thanks everyone.

  19. drkennyg says:

    One more little thingy. Atheism is self-defeating. As long as you don’t argue in a confrontational way you could gently point out to the one who regards himself an atheist that God doesn’t believe in them. You can also point out that if they are atheist (one who knows there is no God) then that means that they are the all knowing ones. Ask if they know how many particles of sand there are on Santa Monica beach. Then say that God does know all the time. Therefore they cannot be atheists because it is impossible to know there is no God. Believing there is no God means nothing – beliefs are not facts. There are many ways to show God’s power and creation. Go from that point and good luck.

  20. daisymarygoldr says:

    drkennyg, enjoyed your second post on bananas, chimps and human instincts!

    rdrcomp, you are right animals do not sin. Animals do not have souls and only those who have souls can sin. Having said that, it must be noted that God has allowed satan to exercise limited power over both the animate and inanimate elements of His creation. The serpent in Eden, the unruly wind and the storm and our very own sinful nature are examples of the enemy using God’s perfect creation for his evil purposes. This explains the aggressive nature of wild beasts, the sting of scorpions and snakes and natural disasters like the Tsunami. However, it is God who is sovereign and all-powerful. He could calm the storm or shut the lion’s mouth when Daniel was around or commanded the fishes to fill and break the nets of His disciples. Therefore, the lesson we are asked to learn from them is: If they do not question but readily obey their creator, is there any excuse for us humans to doubt, deny or disobey God?

    Steve (SFDBWV), Agree, “In the Law of Moses God said animals that Kill a man are to be put to death.” However, there is also good news for them in Hos 2:18 which speaks about God’s restoration that includes a peace treaty with the animals.

    Vegetarianism: Our first parents in Eden were vegetarians and in the new Earth we will be eating only fruits from the Tree of life (Rev 22:2). I know… “Meat lovers” (I am one) this sounds distasteful, but… if “the lion can eat straw like the ox”, I’ll not complain but will gladly comply to be contented with the fruits which is far better than the straw Just my thoughts…

  21. daisymarygoldr says:

    Correction: Please replace ? with a :) in the above post.

    Sjd, I do agree with your take on that wedding passage, and I also agree with what you said: “My bent is that we will not respond unless God draws an individual to Himself. (John 6:44). “How will you explain “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you?” (James 4:8)

  22. poohpity says:

    The elephant seals do remind me of humanity in a sense because as they pursue the fulfillment of their desires to spread their seed many are hurt, killed and injured. The young that were birthed are usually the ones that suffer the consequences of the males desire to procreate. As the males seek to defend their territory they squash the babies who do not have enough knowledge of the impending doom to move. It is reflected in our society by the multitude of children that are the ones harmed by the adults sin. Gosh the areas of harm caused to the offspring of every nation, every social economical class, every religion and everyone in general is what Jesus referred to as causing a little one to fall away from faith woe to them. You know the animals even seem to care for the little ones better than we do well except for the elephant seals lol.

    Hey Steve a little FYI for Matt is http://www.joniandfriends.org. He might find some comfort in the ministries they offer and some areas to serve. There might be a field office there where you all live.

  23. sjd says:

    Remember, this is coming from a “pigeon”.

    It appears that James is addressing unbelievers in that segment of James, as some of the words used can only be for the unbeliever, such as the word sinner, double minded…. Believers are never referred to as sinners elsewhere in the New Testament. James is calling unbelievers to Christ. As we see in many other places in Scripture, there is a call for sinners to repent and call upon the Lord. There is a call for a response from men and women. This is no different. He is calling them to submit to God, to draw near to God, to be cleansed, to be truly repentant. The promise to them is that if they do draw near to God, God will draw near to them(How true, as He can not get any closer as He places His Spirit within believers at conversion). What I perceive from the rest of Scripture is that they could not begin to humble themselves and draw near to God if He did not first do the drawing of them to Himself(John 6:44). We were dead in trespasses and sin. We were all like sheep going our own way. There was none seeking after God….. So my take is that even though it is saying “draw near to God” to unbelievers, that is simply speaking to their part of the process of salvation. God by His grace, mercy, love… must first do His part.

  24. poohpity says:

    God’s part is already done.

  25. plumbape says:

    pooppity last post is my thought exactly God did his part!

  26. plumbape says:

    I think animals have a soul, ie; emotions, but not a spirit. Men are body, soul and spirit. We are looking for God even when we don’t realize it only the world wins a great deal of the time. We find all these creative, seemingly good or bad things to fill a void to be somehow satisfied when God’s Holy Spirit by way of his Son Jesus is what we need the whole time, but we do have to ask!!
    Great pointing out about the wedding and the guest that thought what he was wearing was good enough, typical response by being SELF centered.

  27. sjd says:


    I appreciate the clarification. I love the words “It is finished”. I am a firm believer in the finished work of Christ, as well as the teachings of what God had purposed before the foundations of the world. I love the past tense of verbs that speak of what God has already done. It is worth emphasizing! My pigeon like attempt was simply to say that apart from God’s gracious drawing, we would remain lost.

    John 6:44 (NASB77)
    44 “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

    I often pray for those that have not trusted in Christ, that God would draw him or her to Christ. In the person’s “experience” it has not occured yet, or at a minimum he has not responded to God’s calling. So I will keep praying for God reaching into that person’s life.

    Does that make sense or am I still off the wall? I am open for any insight.

    Fortunately we do not need to know all the details. I am just so thankful for His shed blood, and the fact that He knows me, and I know Him.

  28. daisymarygoldr says:

    sjd, Thank you! for responding to this “pigeon” with different feathers. Agree that we were dead in trespasses and sin- like the lost coin. Agree that God by His grace, mercy, love, must first do His part…and so, Jesus shined His light to seek us out from the dark and saved us. Agree, that after we become the sheep of His fold, we tend to go astray. Jesus, the good shepherd leaves the 99 behind to find the lost sheep, heals ours wounds and brings us back to the fold.

    After being saved by grace, we become His children to enjoy a relationship with our Heavenly Father. Now, here is where things become different i.e. … if like the Prodigal son, we squander away all our inheritance (love and grace) in sinful living. This time the father does not go out to seek his lost son. The father simply waits for his son to return. In this situation, the love and mercy of the father is seen in not giving up on his lost son. The compassion of the father is in the way he waits longingly for his son to return. Only when the son realizes his lost condition, acknowledges his sin against Heaven and his father… repents and comes back, then and only then the father sees him from far, runs up to him, embraces and celebrates the return of the lost son.

    Therefore, I believe, as you said that God always makes the first move to love, seek and save repentant unbelievers. However, after receiving the gifts of His grace, love, salvation and a personal relationship with God if our sins have led us away from Him, it is we who have to respond by drawing near to God…i.e. if we want to resume our relationship with Him. The promise to such repentant believers is that if they do draw near to God, God will draw near to them. I think James is addressing believers, because he addresses them as brothers. I could be wrong…

  29. Laurielee says:

    That’s the way I pray, too…that the Father would draw them to Himself. It’s talked about many times in the OT where God has turned hearts to Himself…or hardened hearts. Or I pray that hearts would be opened to Him. Like someone stated before…the more I learn, the more I realize how much I have to learn…and that’s humbling, and the humbling makes me not rely on my own ‘smarts’, but draws me closer to Him. At times when we need to be corrected on things and we pay heed, it’s a very loving thing because it draws us closer. When we don’t heed, or become rebellious at admonition, it pushes us further away…hardens us to His voice.

    poohpity, I pray you are healing well!

  30. soloyo says:

    I’m not able to read so much, I have a head ache ’cause my stomach is out or order. but, first I realize about mart’s aniversary so: CONGRATULATIONS MAAAART BIG HOUGH TO YOUR WIFE!! GOD BLESS YOU BOTH MORE AND MORE!
    second, I can’t even read each post, but it seems today everybody is so euphoric, it feels like I’m missing this. but, not at all, you all make me smile in the middle of my ache.
    Pooh, by every ‘cardinal’ point of my heart, I pray 4 you to healing soon, remember, I ‘steel’ (oh, what a good game) love you so much.

  31. sjd says:

    Getting further and further away from those seals!

    James’s letter is definitely to believers “scattered”, but it may be that as in any church there are probably those that are unbelievers, and by the language in chapter 4 (adulteresses, sinners, double minded, enemy of God), it appears that maybe he is taking a break to deal with those that do not have the evidence of real faith as laid out in the first three chapters. He is giving them a chance to respond, “to draw near to God”. In 5:19-20 it also appears that he is concerned about those that turned from the truth and were in need of saving their souls from death. They are regarded as a “sinner”, which elsewhere in Scripture doesn’t refer to a believer unless you believe chapter 4’s reference of sinner is to a believer. (I won’t be too upset if you don’t agree with this:), I am still processing it.)

    What about God disciplining the church in Corinth for not discerning the body of Christ? It appears there that God disciplines to bring them back to right relationship, or even to bring them home, as some had “fallen asleep”. Could that be a form of God pursuing, after one’s salvation? I am overwhelmed in Scripture by God’s constant pursuit despite rebellion. I realize that most appears to be toward the unrighteous, but a Godly Father will discipline a son or daughter according to Hebrews 12, again what seems to be His active pursuit to restore.

    What do you do with Revelation 3:20? Is it to the “Church” as a whole in need of salvation, believers who have fallen away, or….? If it is not to unbelievers, then it would be a reference to pursuing believers, so they might be restored. It appears from the language in the letter however it could be towards unbelievers.

    Thank you for making me think. I marvel at God’s patience with me.

  32. Mart De Haan says:

    Am enjoying your comments to one another and the discussion so much. You all are taking this into some important areas.

    Yesterday had car broken into in another city and spent afternoon making insurance calls, filing a police report etc. In the middle of the broken glass, and commotion of moment I thought laptop, passport, and checkbook were also taken. Turns out that I had packed those in trunk of car with other luggage. How’s that for absent minded, turned-out-better-than-expected thinking :-)?

  33. SFDBWV says:

    Deborah, Thank you very much, I am aquiqnted with Joni and will look into this as a possibility. You have to understand, I live at the edge of everywhere and in the middle of nowhere.

    Sorry about your troubles Mart, This is one of thoes reasons I like living here. But will Praise God your ok and lost less than you had thought.

    Praying for all

  34. pegramsdell says:

    So sorry Mart for your troubles. I’m praying for you, that God will restore to you all you lost and more. He is faithful and just.

  35. sawaybon says:

    Mart, talk about a blessing in the midst of a trial! Sorry to hear about your misfortune, but thankful that your loss was not as great as you thought it was.

    I’ve been busy with my studies, and away to classes and a spiritual retreat, so I have some catching up to do here. I agree that animals do not sin, and that their actions that seem sinful are a result of the curse. Evil is not God’s will, but He permits it as part of Satan’s restricted and limited reign.

    The discussion about atheists has interested me. You’ve probably heard of their campaign to “advertize” by putting the following slogan on transit bus billboards: “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying, and enjoy your life.” I believe this started in the UK, where they were only allowed to do so if they included the word “probably”. It has now spread to New York, and even here in Canada (Toronto). In Canada, however, they could probably get away without the use of the word “probably”.

    For in our great tolerant land, we give in to such minorities. For example, an elementary school has stopped playing the national anthem during its morning exercises because a couple of parents complained that O Canada had the word “God” in it, which offended them. How absurd! Does that happen in the USA where you sing “God bless America” and your currency says “In God We Trust”? Your atheists must really struggle with that!

    Back here in Canada, the United Church proposed a counter campaign with this slogan on bus billboards: “There’s probably a God. Now stop worrying and enjoy life with Him.” I would be more inclined to use: “The fool has said in his heart there is no God.”, but that would never be allowed — much too confrontational. I liked drkennyg’s approach to dealing with atheists. Good advice.

  36. daisymarygoldr says:

    Sjd, Thank you so much for your lucid explanation! James’ address to unbelievers in the church is making perfect sense to me and so does Rev 3:20. Do agree about “sinner” not applicable to believers.

    It makes the angels wonder… and I’m also always overwhelmed by the unfailing love of the Father who relentlessly pursues to never leave nor forsake His created mortal beings. We did wander away from the seals but I’m really thankful for those seals that helped me learn this truth! Now, I’m actually beginning to know the mind of God in creating Elephant seals!

    Mart, so sorry to hear about your car being broken into…must have been pretty scary. Glad to know that your valuables were safe. Moral of the story- Absent mindedness can sometimes be a blessing in disguise!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.