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Jerusalem Journal

On arriving in the Middle East my cab driver said that he used to be on “the left.” But said he had come to the conclusion that Arab and Jewish people would never be able to live together.

Later an Israeli friend said, regarding peace, “The United States has been the savior of the world.” Made me wonder how many Israelis might be looking to America for security the way ancient Israel looked to Egypt for help (Isa 31:1)?

Admittedly, such a view might sound pessimistic.

But, here in the Middle East, I find myself wondering how appropriate it is for followers of Christ to speak disparagingly of a peace process because the Bible foresees, in the last days, a false-Messiah bringing the illusion of peace to the Middle East—before leading the whole world into a series of apocalyptic battles.

Am quite sure that we don’t do our cause much good by using such predictions to speak against peace efforts in the Middle East… or anywhere else… as if we knew where we are on God’s calendar and time clock.

Woke up yesterday morning to find this view of Jerusalem. Rain and much colder weather had moved in over night… and Jerusalem sitting at 2550 feet above sea level was fogged in. Now our physical vision seemed to equal our understanding of what is going to happen next in this part of the world– or anywhere else.

Looking for better weather we decided to head to the Jordan Valley which, at the lowest dry point on earth is about 1300 feet below sea level (a drop of about 3800 feet).

When we got there we found that the rain had beaten us to the valley and was cascading down rock cliffs, shutting off the highway in its rush toward the Dead Sea.

Turns out that it was an event that drew a bit of attention.

The fact that Israeli citizens and media all showed up to see water here was an indication of its infrequency.

The water, as you can see from this picture, was very dirty because of all of fine dust and dirt that it had picked up along the way.

We watched as children and young people waded into water that looked pretty foul…

Some even played with the foam that was piling up in the pool at the base.

This wadi (which is usually a “dry river bed”) was actually Wadi Qumran from which the Dead Sea Scrolls surfaced in 1948 just as the modern State of Israel was being born.

Archeologists have found evidence that for infrequent occasions like this– when water rushes down to the valley– the ancient Qumran community, at the base of these cliffs, had devised a means of channeling the rain water into cisterns. Am wondering whether it was always this dirty by the time it reached here. Maybe it was just a matter of letting the sediment settle out.

We drove a short distance and found Qumran Cave number 1 where the large jars containing scrolls were found.

We used the “water event”, and the wilderness region to talk about the role of “empty times and spaces” in the unfolding story of the Bible. From Genesis to Jesus, the Bible makes clear that our God uses the wilderness places and times of life to help us see what matters.

Nearby we found this interesting building which was once a hotel on the beach of the Dead Sea. On the walls was a painting of a Medieval Map that, on opposite walls, depicted both sides of the Jordan valley.

Now the hotel lies a good distance from the shrinking Salt Sea. Behind it are a web of barbed wire and electric fences creating a barrier between the Israeli and Jordanian borders.

In light of the security challenges of the region we are scheduled today to work on programs dealing with Arab-Israeli issues. Our plan is to show how followers of Christ are called to rise above the political issues, identify with the humanity of those on both sides, and express a voice of peace in the middle of conflict.

We found this pile of rocks at Wadi Qumran. It’s the kind of memorial that people in the Middle East used even in Bible times to be a reminder of an important event.

Here at Qumran these stones seemed especially significant. The Scriptures found here remind us that our motive for making peace can be rooted in the sacrifice and suffering of God to reconcile us to himself.

But, someone might ask, doesn’t the Bible warn against those who declare peace where there is no peace (Jer 6:14). Yes. But that statement was made of those who were speaking words of reassurance and comfort to God’s people even when God’s people had turned away from Him.

Offering false spiritual assurance is different than wanting to help others wherever we can by seeking justice, loving mercy, and walking humbly with our God

Should we stop praying, working, and hoping for peace for ourselves, or for the Middle East– just because it won’t last?

Most of us know—that unless Christ (meaning Messiah) returns first, our bodies are going to prove mortal. But knowing that doesn’t keep us from trying to delay the inevitable by taking care of our health and by getting medical help when we need it. Life is so precious that those who have been told that they have only a short time, may still do whatever they can to buy time.

In a similar way, peace is precious… even if temporary. Not peace at any price. But the kind of peace that is based on mutual compromises that give mutual consideration under far from ideal conditions.

The Apostle Paul taught followers of Christ to pray for such peace for themselves (1Tim 2:2) And if we will pray that for ourselves… why not pray it for one another—including our conflicted neighbors of the Middle East…

This so different than using selected Bible texts to choose sides in the Middle East or anywhere, to honor some while dehumanizing or even demonizing others. How can we use then name of our Lord or predictions of the Bible to wish harm on anyone whether they agree with us spiritually or not?

Governments will continue use force and wage wars, based on their own logic, to protect the security of their people. But followers of Christ within these governments, even while being good citizens can rise above the political issues and military strategies to reflect concern for whatever measure of justice and peace are possible for now.

Who can we point to on any side, anywhere, and say, “For this man or woman… God’s Son has not suffered and died?”

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64 Responses to “Jerusalem Journal”

  1. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks for pointing to this: rise above the political agenda. Jesus died for everyone of us, even our enemies.

    Years ago when there was a split in my church, I had a dream: I was walking through a corridor, and could hear in different rooms all the different factions talking, there was no unity, then there appeared something like a metal framework, it was built very high, God showed me: Go in faith: climb the metal framework and be above everything that is going on the ground.
    And every time I see a bird sitting somewhere high on metal framework, or a tree, it remembers me that we should be far above warring factions, and in faith should follow Christ, not becoming angry, or emotional about the quarelling that is going around.

  2. foreverblessed says:

    Now I remember the dream even better: I was dancing on top of the iron framework.
    So instead of making war, be dancing for God!
    Sing praise to God!

    This might seem to be a bit of the world, but if we are focused on Christ, He will in His time give us inspiration to do certain things, not on the basis of our own human vision, which always takes sides, but on His vision, He knowing all things.

  3. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Thank you Mart.
    We are told to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, not to take sides.
    As you said, the Jordan Valley is 1300 feet below sea level and Mount Zion (Jerusalem) is high up for all to see. It seems even the Earth is divided at this point and a great rift scars the whole region.
    I like the idea of this metal framwork far above waring factions. It reminds me of those pictures of native Indians in New York eating their lunch without a care in the world on top of a metal girder hundreds of feet up. One wrong move and they would fall. Underneath are the everlasting arms of God waiting to catch us and put us back in that place of peace.
    Thanks again Mart for showing us about love, and careing for all peoples.


  4. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I like the idea of “….. dancing for God.” far better than eating lunch on top of the iron frame. :-)

  5. SFDBWV says:

    Arab Israeli issues…..Over the past few weeks we have discussed *tensions* in scripture that seem to be opposing each other.

    When I read the Holy Word of God, the tensions between Israel and the *Arab* world are clearly seen at the beginning. This problem is several thousand years old.

    God became flesh, the very people who produced the Christ rejected Him. Was this God’s will? Or was it just becaus God knows the beginning from the end, that all prophesey showed that Israel would indeed reject it’s Savior?

    But as to this issue…Jew,Arab, Christian.

    The Jew, identified as the descendants of Abraham to Issac to Jacob to the 12 sons to the 12 tribes to the nation of Israel. Also a specific religion.

    The Arab, some but not all, also descendants of Abraham, but not the continued line of Issac and Jacob. A people made up of ancestors of people who already lived in the regions of the world we now refere to as the Mid East.The Arab just like the rest of us are gentiles.

    The Arab world is dominated by the Islamic faith. Islam is a religion not a people.

    Christianity…Are all the peoples of the whole of the Earth, whether jew or gentile, who have accepted Jesus Christ to be their Savior and believe Him to be not only the true representitive of God, but the Son of God and in fact God Himself.

    The Christian has become ” a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an Holy nation, a peculiar people;” (1 Peter 2:9) Made up of every race and tribe and people of the earth.

    Without religion, would the Jew and Arab be able to co exist in a common home land?

    As I understand Islamic theology, they believe that the Jew rewrote the Bible to show the Jew as favored over the rest of her neighbors. When in fact they are guilty of perverting the writen record. That the true writen record was given to Mohamad and is what we know today as the Koran.

    So the conflict is a conflict of religions not a conflict of peoples.

    The Christian, must accept the Jewish representation of the one true scripture in order to accept all of what Jesus said concerning Himself and concerning God.

    Inso doing we become the enemy of Islam as well as the Jew.

    As a Christian, I can clearly accept all people and their cultures. But not their religion.

    I see their religion as false and their pathway clearly a road to hell.

    The difficulty for the Christian is to tell the unsaved that what they believe is false without creating an enemy.

    Yet it is our resposibility to point the unsaved world toward the truth of Christ. The Gospel.

    Te devil is a very religious creature, and wants to be worshiped.

    Paul rightly said that our enemy is not flesh and blood, but is a spiritual battle.

    But we have a battle to fight. Against a foe that has entrenched himself in every people and culture of the world.

    Preach the Gospel, preach a resurected Christ, bring the Good News. Then be ready for what comes next.

    Blessings to you and your efforts there in Israel,Mart.


  6. poohpity says:

    I was reminded in scripture today that no matter the people group that there are those who believe in every group. In Matthew 13 Jesus told the parable of sowing the good seed and during the night the enemy came and sowed weeds but to leave them to grow together until the harvest then they would be separated. There will always be both growing together no matter what the nationality.

    The Jewish people time after time sought the help from all others but God and they had to suffer the consequences of those choices and still never learn. How many times have I made that same decision to look somewhere else other than God for provision. Seems like history repeats itself until the lesson is learned.

    It is so easy to look at politics or governments to be the one to get help from when in reality it is often them that lead us into trouble. As foreverblessed said we need to rise above. I believe as Christians we have been given our job to do and it is a good job. In that job we no longer look at anything but humanity and their needs. Let the governments cause wars and Christians cause justice, mercy and guidance to God.

  7. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Wow Steve, that was heavy.
    I do tend to agree that it is not people that do not get on but religions/philosophies. Most conflicts are caused because one group thinks it is superior to another or one religion thinks it is true and another wrong.
    John Lennons “Imagine” springs to mind!
    And I totally agree that we have to “Preach the Gospel, preach a resurected Christ, bring the Good News. Then be ready for what comes next.”
    How do we do that without taking sides?
    Are we as gulty of being right as the waring factions.
    Somehow we have to be different, as you say “a peculiar people” a “a royal priesthood” etc.
    If someone is needing we must be like the Good Samaritan, give what we have without questioning the other persons background, race or creed.
    Love one another as He has loved us.

    ps. Steve, you will get a suprise this week :-)

  8. poohpity says:

    Eph 2:10 NLT For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

  9. poohpity says:


  10. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    That is amazing. The Holy Spirit is so good.
    Just imagine if your friend had not been listening that day.
    Doesn’t bear thinking about.
    I know of many similar tales.
    Praise God!!

    Another Bob.

  11. Rajnesh says:

    Indeed Pooh…..WOW!

    Totally agree, Mart. Watching the news etc…I often tell my mum the same, that this Middle East crisis will “never” go away. Since long ago, I’ve filed it under the past, present and future category. Exactly, that does not mean that people should stop trying.

    Thanks Mart. I was “gripped” by this one from start to finish. Guess, I was focused. I pray that my “focus” on HIM just keep getting stronger.

  12. joyful says:

    This is my first comment on this blog, although I have been reading the contents of the blog for long time. So my first time comments is this: The topic is very interesting, and Mart gives always balanced view of the middle east situation- that we have to see like how Jesus sees the situation i.e., He sees the Arab’s and Isreal’s equally.

    God Bless You All!

  13. daisymarygoldr says:

    Good post and pics!

    There are many inspiring stories about followers of Christ on both sides… who have reached out across political and social barriers to form peaceful relationships with one another. In fact my husband was led to Christ by an Arab Christian right there in the very heart of Jerusalem!

    Pray? Yes! We should pray for peace… Work? Yes, we are called to faithfully spread the good news to all nations, including the Middle East. “Express a voice of peace in the middle of conflict”? Now that is something I am not sure how it can be translated…

    If followers of Christ are being called to express a voice of peace in the Middle East conflict, then we are barking up the wrong tree. Lest we forget, humanistic peace based on sentiments is not the same as the Shalom of God based on His eternal promises! Promises for both Israel and her neighbors… such as:

    “In that day Israel shall be the third, with Egypt and with Assyria [in a Messianic league], a blessing in the midst of the earth, Whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, Blessed be Egypt My people and Assyria the work of My hands and Israel My heritage.” (Isa 19: 24-25)

    BTW, one way to express for “the kind of peace that is based on mutual compromises that give mutual consideration”, is for Israel to give land in return for her neighbors to give up war attempts against Israel. Do you think this is even remotely possible?

    And remember, if followers of Christ on either side align themselves against Israel, then we have aligned ourselves to fight against God which again is impossible… No human effort can bring peace. It is the Lord in us, who will establish His peace. Isa 26: 12

  14. daisymarygoldr says:

    Hence, in our zeal to resolve these impossible political and religious issues between Jews and Arabs, we must be careful not to interfere or hinder in God’s eternal plan and proper timing for peace in the Middle East.

    To poke our fingers or noses into God’s processes is like disturbing the process of metamorphosis that causes a caterpillar within a cocoon to emerge as the most beautiful, colorful, winged creature ever! It is humble for a child of God to accept that temporal or lasting peace is possible only through the Messiah.

    The Scriptures are clear that peace is expressed only through righteousness i.e. to be right with God. Therefore, when we “weep and grieve until the Spirit is poured down on us from above, then Justice will move into the badlands desert. Right will build a home in the fertile field.

    And where there’s Right, there’ll be Peace and the progeny of Right: quiet lives and endless trust. My people will live in a peaceful neighborhood” Isa 32:17-18

    And how is righteousness possible? It comes from the judgments of the Lord
    “for [only] when Your judgments are in the earth will the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God).” (Isa. 26:9)!

    Note aside to Stacy (lively): Praying for all the surgeries and also for your littlest one…

  15. Lively says:

    A quick thanks for prayers!

  16. SFDBWV says:

    Read of another quake this morning in Haiti. Praying for the safety of thoes there.

    I have read a great deal of books written by people who have the means at their disposal to have their opinions expressed in print. Also their own personal experiances with different situation. How their faith seen them through.

    We can all gain something from such reading. However nothing beats the personal experiance you have lived.

    Am wondering which it is. That we are indeed having more earthquakes or a better ability to report them?

    Read also yeasterday of tremors in the Yellowstone Basin.

    Because we are a spiritual people, we tend to look for something spiritual behind big events.

    Jesus said that there would be an increase in such activities as earthquakes, as the earth expressed itself as birth pangs before His return. ( Matt 24:3-28). I have always read Matthew 24 as the period just before and during the great tribulation. Matthew also goes on to warn us to be doing the busniness the Lord has given us to do (MT 24:42), never realy knowing when that hour of His return comes.

    Also that the whole worlds eyes would be upon Israel, during that time.

    Evidenced by Marts visit to Israel and the daily news we see. All eyes are upon Israel in an attempt to keep the world from going to war over Her. As we try and try to broker peace between the forces there.

    Even as we watch, seemingly unable to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Knowing as soon as it has one it can deliver to Israel, it will.

    Should we try to make peace? Yes.

    Can any of us make a deal with the devil, expecting him to honor his word?

    Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, and be about our Fathers business. Placing all of our trust upon Him.


  17. SFDBWV says:

    In Daniel 10:13, we read of the angel being witheld from coming to Daniel, until Michael came and helped the angel overcome the “Prince” of Persia.

    The Holy Spirit taught us of an unseen world around us, a place of principalities, powers and dominions (Col 1:16)(Rom 8:38) (Eph 6:12).

    This same “Prince” mentioned is an evil spirit. That evil spirit both influences and is fed strength from the inhabitants of the land in which it dwells.

    This and perhaps even other spirits are the barrier between us and the people of that area of the world.

    Our battle is against this spirit and his like.

    We must be able to overcome that spirit before we can reach the heart on even one person under it’s influence.

    The *Good News* is, that Jesus Christ won the war and defeated the foe at the cross of Calvary. That through Him, we too have power over such spirits.

    We can and must take possession of the power Christ has given us, through His sacrifice. Through prayer and action, present the Gospel to thoes who have not yet accepted Jesus of Nazareth. One person at a time, under the influence of what ever spirit that dominates them.

    Be it the spirit of pride or hate or the evidence of all the works of the flesh lain out in Galatians 5:19-21.

    Prayer and action.



  18. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I am not sure I should say this, but I feel something big is going to happen this year,in the USA, and Steve you have just put a pointer on it.
    I had a dream two weeks ago that there was a massive volcanic eruption, and my instinct said it would be at the Yellowstone Basin. I hope this is not correct as this is a super volcano and would be an horrendous disaster for all around.
    I dreamt that Concorde(the aircraft) crashed into a building six months before it happend. I thought it was Bristol, but it happened in Paris.
    I also dreamt of a cloud/wall of dust/smoke rolling down a street with people running ahead of it to get away.
    I thought it was London, but we all know where it was.
    That was six months before it happened. Lets hope I am wrong again about the location and hopefully the whole event.

  19. poohpity says:

    I thought the Concorde’s last flight was in 2003???

  20. poohpity says:

    So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.

    ~ James 2:17, NLT

  21. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    No Pooh, I had the dream six months before the Paris crash, as with 11th sept 01.
    Very off topic, I am sorry.
    I also had a dream that my dad would die if he had his prostate operation and I was to tell him not to bother with it.
    But I was in Rome when he had a cancelled apointment with the Hospital and was dead on my return. I was away one week and travelled back on a bus from Rome with a girl whose father was in a crash and she was rushing to his side. I spent 24hours comforting her and reasuring her that her dad would be fine.
    On the sea crossing to Dover it was flat calm and I Knew something was wrong. When I got back to my lodgings in London my flat mate just said your dad died today. If only I had phoned from Italy.. Who knows.
    It seems some things just can’t be changed.

    I am so glad I only get these dreams once or twice a decade. My dad died in 1980, I was 27years old.


  22. poohpity says:

    Oh! I misunderstood.

    Yes, God gives us dreams and visions. I had a hunch in 2001 when my mom had breast cancer and begged her to not have the reconstruction surgery because I had a real bad feeling. She had it anyway and was in the ICU for two months. The doc’s gave her no chance to live but she went another eight years and worked full time on top of it. I guess our breathes are in His hands and He knows the length of our time. I guess that is why it is so important to make the best out of the life we live.

    Hey I am not going to be picky anymore if someone wants to go off topic or does not quote right the ball is in someone elses court. I give up the right to be the Been Thinking police. lol :-)

  23. plumbape says:

    I always wanted to be a cop, lol

  24. poohpity says:

    Me too! I guess that may be why I spent so much time with them so I could learn, lol.

  25. poohpity says:

    I needed to learn in Oregon, Arizona, Ohio and Florida. I have to admit, I learned. Now I can be a detective in theology not criminology, lol. :-)

  26. Lively says:

    Surgery(s) went well – back is amazingly better! Thanks for the prayers.

    Enjoying reading – not much to add in my slightly addled state.

  27. kaliko88 says:

    I’m not sure anything written here is off topic. There is a connection through it all and I think the links are our prayers.

  28. SFDBWV says:

    Many years ago I watched a TV show with Tom Snyder called the “Tommrow Show”. It came on after the “Tonight Show”.

    On that paticular program there were some people from the then USSR. During the course of the program everyone laughed, talked, was sad about some things and happy about others.

    Everyone on the pannel was the same, no matter what country they came from.

    At the end of the program Tom said, let’s not work to blow all of us up, lets go have a drink. All agreed it was a better idea.

    I often think of the group especialy when the Berlin Wall came down and the whole world felt a sense of relief.

    If we were to be in any of the countries of the Mid East, spoke their language, and was able to set down with any in a friendly conversation about the things that make us all the same. We would find ourselves wondering what was all the fuss about.

    Nothing changes the atmosphere of friendship as the mention and discusion of personal religion, and it’s theologies. The subject is often friendship killers.

    Todays Daily Bread speaks of Jesus calling His Disciples “friends”. If the attitude of the Disciples were that they didn’t believe nor accept Jesus’s teaching; would He have called them His friends?

    Yes Jesus the suffering Messiah would still have died for them, but could He have considered them to be His friends?

    Thoes who did not accept Him, spit on Him, struck Him in the face, mocked Him, and set Him up to be crucified. He ask the Father to forgive them, but I don’t remember there being any reciprical friendship involved.

    Christ still offers His hand toward the unbelieving world, to be His friends.

    How in the world can a person of Islam, so intent on following the destructive teachings of their religion change their minds?…By being reborn again.

    Paul was just such a fanatic as we see in many of the faces of the people there set against Israel. It took a special intervention from Christ Himself to convince Paul.

    It may take just such an encounter with Christ before many can “See the light”.

    Praying for souls there in the tinderbox of Israel and her neighbors.


  29. poohpity says:

    I was reminded today in scripture about the struggle that Israel has always had not only with conquering the promised land but also obtaining all the land that God has promised them. Then on top of everything else to have to live in a constant state of war. I know when one lives that way all their life it is the status quo but I just can’t wrap my thoughts around it.

    Jesus never promised us that life would be easy; John 16:33; 33″I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”. But He did promise us that in Him we could have peace; John 14:27; “7Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid”.

    For those in the countries that are always waring having a relationship with Christ would be the only peace I would be able cling to. I think that is why it is so important to not take sides in any political stance but to be about that safe place for people to come to.

    It is not only the countries fighting it is also the raging battles that go on inside of every human being. The loses, hurt, abuse, loneliness, and struggles that are just common to mankind. 1 Corinthians 10:13
    No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

  30. poohpity says:

    I guess to simplify, “God is everywhere and in everything” and just waiting with open arms.

  31. SFDBWV says:

    I just couldn’t pass up this item of insanity from Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez…

    He stated in a ABC a Spanish speaking Newspaper that the United States had caused the earthquake in Haiti, by testing a new tectonic weapon, to create eco disaters, “playing God”.

    I would suppose he too needs our prayers.


  32. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Steve, from where I sit I would not put it past your government to create such a weapon to allow them to take control of the the world.
    Thank God I have more faith in your current president than most of you do. I also have faith in Jesus The Messiiah.
    The world IS crazy, but so are we.

    Bob :-)

  33. SFDBWV says:

    Also from “Israel News” a story about the Vatican blaming Israel for all the problems Christians are suffering in the Mideast.

    Seems Arab Christian Bishops have stated in a document to the Pope that Israel occupation of Arab claimed lands, is the root cause for the exodus and troubles Christians suffer throughout the mideast.

    The document also appeared to justify the use of terrorist violence by Muslims in both Israel and Iraq.

    The Vatican officials said that the Catholic church is not trying to take sides but that the Middleeast Bishops know the situation well.



  34. poohpity says:

    First I have to ask if anyone has hip boots or waders the rain has formed a pond in my front yard. lol :-) The desert landscaping has become an ocean view.

  35. poohpity says:

    Can you tell I’m bored. lol :-)

  36. SFDBWV says:

    Actualy Pooh I was more drawn to the news prediction of 7 feet of snow for Flagstaff….

    We are getting sleet and freezinfg rain, with still lots of snow on the ground.

    Enjoy the rain.


  37. poohpity says:

    All the major highways up there are all closed.

    You may need some hip boots too!

    The valley does not handle rain very well. We have flood alerts and we also have a law called the “Stupid Driver Law” because folks drive through the flooded areas and get stranded in the water. What a hoot.

    Being from Florida originally I love rain but the ground here seems allergic to it rather than soaking it up, it spits it out, lol.

  38. Lively says:

    I figured we’re about 2.5 hours away from you, Steve – they’re calling for sleet, freezing rain and snow over the next 24 hours for us. Should be tons of fun.

    I’ve hip waders if you want to borrow them, Pooh. just hop a plane :-0

    Not commenting on the suject at hand, my thoughts are more secular than Christian. Well, I guess I will say one thing about it – intolerance and zealous fanatics on all sides make the situation in the middle east much worse. Trying to ram ones beliefs down another throat has never worked well – I’m not sure why people keep trying to do it. Trying to blame one side or another and not taking responsibility of the past actions of your “own side” just sets people against each other.

    I find Chavez to be a sanctimonious blowhard who enjoys his own soundbytes.

  39. poohpity says:

    Lively, My legs are bad. I am disabled so hopping may be an issue but I could always roll to the airport, lol :-) Or I could go barefoot through the water that sounds like more fun. When you get rain make mud angels. Yea!! There is always mud wrestling. Oh, wait we do not have mud we have gravel. Now that sounds painful.

  40. Lively says:

    Pooh – hmm, yes hopping might be an issue. Rolling might be hard with all that mud – okay it’s settled – I’ll just have to hop a plane and bring you the hip waders :-)

  41. poohpity says:

    The airport has stopped all air traffic at this point but thank you for the offer. It would be great to meet you.

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Read this morning in the Israeli news that the American effort to *broker peace* in the Mideast is in the face of George Mitchel. We (American government) are asking now for the Nation of Israel to return to it’s 1949 boundries.

    I am amazed and disgusted at our attempts to preasure our only friend in the area to keep backing up and giving in to the whinning of the Arab losers.

    We need to stay out of the business of telling Israel how to govern itself, and be the true friend we claim to be. By standing by her and her decisions. Not forcing our fickle political whims on her.

    I suppose America should give California,Arizona,Texas and New Mexico back to Mexico, as well as nearly all of America back to the Indians that we *took* it from.

    I do take sides, I am not apologizing, if I am forced to, I side with Israel. My hand will forever be offered to the Arab world, in friendship. But if my back is to the wall and I have to decide…I side with Israel.


  43. Lively says:

    Another example of us (America) sticking our noses in – China and censorship free internet. Now, Google has the right to decide to pull out of China as a private enterprise. Our government should keep its nose out of it. Personally, I could not care less if China wants to censor the internet in China.
    Some might not agree with me, saying that the Chinese have a “right” to the information – but they don’t. No one does. We’re not going to change centuries of tradition by forcing them to do things the way we do things – it hasn’t worked out well for us in the past, I’m not sure how things are going to change now.

    9-11 was, in part, revenge for things that “we” did before I was even born. Stories passed down generation after generation keeps the fire of hate going and in many cultures a generation will die comforted by the knowledge that the slights that occurred in their lifetime will be avenged, if not by their children then by their grandchildren. The inculcation begins at birth – there is no way to fight against it and it’s not a wrong that we can fix.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know that there are times when we have a moral obligation to step in when gov’ts are committing genocide – but I think we have to take a more hands off approach and keep out of things.

    Prov 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger

  44. poohpity says:

    According to Dan Vander Lugt of RBC ministries, “If Matthew 5:38-42 were taken literally at all times, we would have to let everyone take advantage of us. Turning the other cheek would become an encouragement for evil. This isn’t what Jesus had in mind. His vivid examples illustrate His disciples’ need to give up any sense of entitlement to personal revenge, to be purged of the motivation of personal vengeance. By asking them to “turn the other cheek,” Jesus meant that His disciples should be motivated by love and a desire for the redemption and forgiveness of offenders—even when opposing their actions.”.

    I think this is what Mart has implied in many of his blogs about not taking sides but applying the Law of Love to all with the purpose of redemption. It is so easy to have hatred and revenge as a goal when we have been harmed but we are called to a higher standard.

  45. poohpity says:

    That was in an article in “Answers to tough questions” titled; “Is it right for a Christian to pray that God avenge him and give his enemies what they deserve?”

  46. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    While agree with Steve in that we should stand with Israel and not dictate to them about the territory God has given them, but I know for a fact that the so called “security wall” they have built is an abomination and an afront to humanity on both sides of the divide.
    I am glad you can see the need to allow other cultures to sort out their own problems in ways that only they know how.
    China is a massive people and economy and needs quite a lot of steering to get it moving in any direction.
    We had hundreds of years of forcing our culture on other nations and it took an horrific war to bring us to our economic knees so that in the end we had to give everyone their freedom to live as their own cultures allowed.
    India will soon be the most populous country in the world, with many languages and sub cultures, and democracy seems to work for them, but they to have lots of controlling laws to keep everyone inline.
    Yes, what you call 9-11, was not just some random attack on an inocent nation, but as you said it was from years of handed down hate caused by us(the west) trying to impose our culture and also exploiting the people(economically)

    I believe Mart is right, as Christians we should not take sides but love the people no matter which camp they come from.

  47. ChrisB says:

    The comments are always good and very deep and intelligent. It makes my questions and concerns seem too simple. How do I know if I am praying against God’s will? Do I pray for someone’s healing if they are sick and God has allowed it. Do I pray for peace when the war is between unjust killing and mercy? The older I get the more confused I become. Hanging on to my faith is a daily battle because of so many sides to issues and doesn’t one need to make a choice?

  48. Lively says:

    Bob –

    Sadly, history reports that Christians did their fair share of attempting to impose their (our) faith on others. It frustrates me to be judged by my forefathers actions.

    I remember years ago, an old Indian (American Indian) woman pointed at me and my husband and told us we were white devils and would go to hell for the sins our fathers commited against her people. The irony of it was, he was 1/4 american indian and i was born of two english citizens who were the first of my family to come to america.

    Mistakes made in the past by all must be forgiven – otherwise all future generations are doomed to repeat them. But, there are those who will use religion to propagate hate and discord against those who believe differently.

    Believe it or not, I’m not actually a pacifist – I just have very stong ideas about respecting other peoples beliefs, until you acknowledge thier with respect, they will not acknowledge yours and any chance you have to have them listen to what you have to say will most likely fall on deaf ears.


  49. Lively says:

    Chris – in my opinion there’s only one choice and that is your choice to be His child and you’re on His side. I often pray that no matter what happens, it serves to bring me closer to Him – especially when the outcome isn’t what I would want.


  50. poohpity says:


    I believe we can pray for anything along as in our hearts we are really asking the Lord for His will not ours to be done. The more we find delight in the Lord and recognize that His will is better than anything we could ask, even to know what to ask for or to even hope for. It is like finally opening our hands and heart to allow Him to do what is best for all. Our job is to love God and to love others the same way we would take care of and love ourselves.

    God knows our faith at times becomes weak but when we tell Him He works with the little we have. You are not alone in that department and sometimes we have to ride on the faith of another until ours is restored.

  51. saled says:

    I like what Mart said near the end about followers of Christ being able to rise above political issues and military strategies. I’ve always felt something lacking when hearing that there is no sense working for peace in the Middle East due to Bible prophecy. George Mitchell is from my home state, and I say bless him for trying to be a peace maker.

    I loved foreverblessed’s description of her dream. And I love her interpretation. This subject of rising above the issues to focus on the concerns of Christ is going to be a blessing to me in the next few months. Small town politics can be as explosive as the middle east issues. (George Mitchell learned his peace-making skills here Maine).

    In my little town, we are dealing with the issue of whether or not to close our school and send our children to another town. I work at the school, and also graduated from it 40 years ago. I don’t know what is best for the children, or the town, but all too easily I can get drawn into the politics. I find myself wanting to tell you about the evils of the people who want to close the school, but I’m going to try to rise above, to focus on the real concerns, the education of our children and the welfare of town residents who pay the taxes. Thank you to Mart and foreverblessed for this encouragement to rise above.

  52. Lively says:

    Isn’t there a bible verse that says something similar to, plan as if His return will not be in your lifetime, but live as if He will return tomorrow?

    saled – we’ve a similar situation in my area re: schools. My youngest girl goes to a tiny school – one classroom per grade. There’s talk about closing the school and farming the kids out to other larger schools. I’m completely torn about it, so it’s easy for me to stay out of the fray, yet in staying out of it, I’m dragged into it because I won’t take a side. Perhaps that is how it has been for our politicians – if I remember my history correctly, the US tried staying out of WII.

    Interesting how small town politics just gave me an insight I didn’t have before about global issues.

  53. poohpity says:

    Lively, you might look up Luke 12:35-40.

  54. tandgmartin says:

    Good thoughts, Mart. The issue of a Christian’s duty to rise above political differences has been an issue I’ve been dealing with lately in circumstances at work. I’m finding my stand on an issue is easy to take rhetorically, but when it reaches the personal, human level with names and relationships, things get much more difficult. Refocusing on the situation from Christ’s instructions has indeed brought me to a different conclusion.

  55. SFDBWV says:

    My younger brother has 3 children, all grown but all living, to the dismay of my brother, a long list of mistakes.

    In talking to me about it, I told him all you can do, in the end, is watch the train wreck.

    No matter what you know, no matter how wise life has taught you to be, you cannot pass that wisdom on to another who has a rebellious heart. Who refuses to “listen” or learn.

    If we do not learn from history, as Satcy has mentioned, we will repeat our mistakes.

    Saled, even if you find yourselves fighting against the tide of change, do all you can to keep your school in your community. The *progressive* thinkers who want to consolidate are thinking only from the money, not what is best for the children or your community. Without your school your town will lose it’s identity.

    Just as a side note, Saled, one of your states sons is one of my favorite people…Joshua Chamberlain, Christian,teacher,soldier,Governor.

    ChrisB, You are not alone in your thoughts. We discuss many issues and it always come around to God’s will having priority over ours. While we all can agree on the fact that God’s will is always right. It becomes very difficult to understand how God allows for the horrors of war, natural disaster, even sickness and suffering to achive His desired goals. But He does. He is God and in control of everything, even in allowing us to understand or not to understand.

    Stacy, read Revelation 3:3. You are much too close not to come and visit. Maybe after the weather improves.


  56. SFDBWV says:

    ChrisB,Read 1 John 5:15, and Psalms 37:4.

    The point is to have faith and believe, but as Jesus taught us in the garden of Gethsemine (sp?) It is God’s will not ours that we desire most.

    But show faith by believing.


  57. phpatato says:


    I am not really all that surprised by what you wrote about the Vatican. I have heard some speculate that the Vatican will play a pivotal role in the end times. This of course believing that the anti-christ will emerge from the revived Roman empire. I have heard these words all connected….Vatican, Rothschild, Hapsburg (these first 3 of course are the most wealthiest of All worth trillions of dollars) free masons and the illuminati….to the setting up of the world one government system from which the anti-christ will rule. There are people today that now have banking chips imbedded in their wrists. If you want to rob their banking information you simply cut off their wrist. The technology is now here for the “666” to become reality. The world’s one rule government is lining up. Will there be peace in the Mid-East? Yes! Israel and her neighbours will live in peace….for a short 3 and a half year period of time (whether that is in man’s 3 1/2 calculation time line or God’s one day is like a thousand and a thousand is like one day time line). For Christians to take sides politically in this war is futile. There are forces at play that won’t be stopped; that we cannot stop. So instead of wasting our time trying to sway political thoughts or by taking sides, we should – yes Foreverblessed! – rise above it, to see each person, in every city, in all countries as Christ does. He loves and He died for everyone of us. We should be staying the course, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ and reaching out in love…looking past those words “Jew, Muslim, Islam, Arab”, to see instead a human being whose only need in this world is Christ as their saviour. And for me personally, I can’t do much in the Mid-East, with them being there and me being here, except to pray for those who are witnessing. If they plant the seeds, the Holy Spirit will take it from there.


  58. Lively says:

    Hmm, both verses are close, but not what I was thinking of. I suppose I either heard my pastor say it, or I said it during one of my *long* conversations with my brother-in-law. He’s convinced we’re not long for this world.

    Steve – I’d like that. It will be March before hubby and daughter can travel over the mountians, they had sinus surgery.

    And re: the school thing. There are good points to moving kids to a larger school system. Larger schools often have more resources available and for kids who have a hard time making friends (like my own younger daughter) it gives them more opportunity. Small schools put new kids at a disadvantage, it’s hard to go into a classroom where the same 30 or so kids have been together since pre-k. Especially when one of the more “popular” kids takes a dislike to your child.

    But, on the flip side – the small school does promote a sense of community that is hard to find these days.


  59. SFDBWV says:

    Pat, teas have read also all the theories about the political part many play in the setting up of the one world government ect.
    I believe the 7 years of the anti-christ is a literal 7 year period because Daniel spells it out as weeks.

    Gen 12:3 “And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee:”
    Num 24:9 “Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee”

    It may be said we should not take sides in the Israel vs Arab issue, but God clearly has.

    Stacy, I am already excited about getting to meet you and your family. When the time comes I will give you easy directions. Just let me know.


  60. poohpity says:

    Steve, you said; “It may be said we should not take sides in the Israel vs Arab issue, but God clearly has.” Since I gave up being the been thinking police I will let that one go. My lips are sealed but my heart wants to speak.

  61. poohpity says:

    Well I tried to keep quite but I can not. God does not show favoritism. Paul says in Romans 2:6-11; God “will give to each person according to what he has done.” 7To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. 8But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. 9There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11For God does not show favoritism.

  62. phpatato says:

    Steve – I understand that these are theories but when the connections to each are explained and tied in, it makes for a pretty strong argument. Technologically speaking though (the mark of the beast), it is pretty amazing/scary how far the world has advanced to have what many (even half a century ago) would think as No Way, Impossible, Ludicrous. I believe that the 3 and a half years is what it is…3 and a half years. Daniel did spell it out in weeks.

  63. dodi says:

    In the book of James it reads from whence comes wars, strife, figtings within and without…. do they not come from your members reigning within your self……

    Peace comes only from God and from within…. one must be at peace with him/herself before being @ peace with others.

    Know God…….know peace
    No God………no peace ~

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