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Unexpected Answers

Photo by:TimmyGunz

The Bible answers the most important questions we can ask:

  • Where did we come from?
  • What matters?
  • Who can we trust?
  • Who is God?
  • Is he good?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • Why did he die?
  • Did his life end in failure?
  • How can we be counted among his followers?
  • How should we treat our enemy?
  • Where can we find acceptance, strength, hope, and love?
  • What does love look like?

But there are also many questions that the Bible leaves unanswered:

  • Why is there a God?
  • What did he do in eternity past?
  • How will he be just, fair, and merciful in the Day of Judgment?
  • What are the untold stories of heaven, hell, and eternity?

Then there are questions that we have about whether the Bible answers our questions:

  • How much money should we keep or give away?
  • How much time did God use and by what process did he speak the world and life into existence?
  • Is it ever right to terminate a pregnancy?
  • How much of the apparent age of the earth can be explained by the flood described in Genesis?
  • Is the authority that men exercise over women from God, or a fallen world?
  • To what extent can we know whether we are doing the will of God?

Because such issues can unnecessarily preoccupy and divide us– some down through the generations have suggested that we take the following approach:

  1. In essentials unity
  2. In non-essentials liberty
  3. In all things charity

The reason for the second and third lines of this formula for unity is that, as much as we might long for peace, we are bound—at some point—to disagree among ourselves about the difference between an essential or non-essential point of belief. We don’t doubt that there are some things that God has revealed and some things that God has kept to himself (Deut 29:29). But we are destined to disagree among ourselves about whether the Bible answers our questions in the way we think it does.

Such disagreement isn’t necessarily bad. Much of it is essential and healthy for many reasons: It humbles us. It tests our own thinking. It exposes our own tendency for self-deception. It helps us clarify our need for faith. It gives us a chance to love one another. It gives us an indication of whether we are being shaped by the flesh or the Spirit.

It is that last point about the flesh or the Spirit though that I find frightening. It reminds me of what the Apostle Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians. While trying to urge love and unity in a badly fractured church that was fighting even around “the Lord’s table” he wrote, “No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval” (1Cor 11:19).

Sounds like disagreements among followers of Christ might be far more important and necessary than we think… and that how we handle those disagreements may provide answers that are as important, and as unexpected, as the extent to which we are right and/or wrong.

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72 Responses to “Unexpected Answers”

  1. florida7sun says:

    Mart, as I considered BTA this morning, my heart wondered, “Why are you concerned about these things?” “Do you want to continue feasting on the tree that bears fruit of the knowledge of good and evil?”

    Can I ever be as wise as God? No. Do I want to be God? No

    The Lord gives me sufficient light each day to love Him and my neighbor.

    His Word is life. The tree of life satisfies and meets my every need. I have faith in Him and His Word. His Spirit shares with me what I need to know today.

    I want to keep instep with Jesus; not lagging behind or running ahead of Him. I need to take hold of Him. No one else. Only He gives me peace.

    Temperature and humidity taking us to a 105 heat index today.

    Grace and peace to all, Ray

  2. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… you’ve covered everything in this discovery process we call life, except one that is also the ODJ topic question, “Who are we?”
    The answer of course is we are exactly in life right now, where we want to be, and who we want to be!
    It can be a very frustrating position for some, and a blessed one for others. Becuase where we are, and who we are, make up our own choices.
    In reality we are His only when we choose to be, and we are Satan’s when we choose to be. That choice… is always ours!
    If your mad, you have chosen to be so, if your feeling blessed, you have also chosen to be blessed, and if you continue in your sin, that is your choice as well!
    Choose Right,Choose Christ, Choose Life!
    Just as I chose to put in my two sense, in on this topic, one being His sense, and the other mine. :) Gary

  3. oneg2dblu says:

    Ray… you’ve made a very fine choice, and you bless us all, being a true Brother in Christ. Gary

  4. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart…Great picture about choices. It makes me wonder, which way the light brown dog will pull? Will he even choose to get involved, or will he just watch life go by?

  5. SFDBWV says:

    As is my habit I looked in on BTA this morning and began reading the comments from yesterday afternoon and evening between my morning duties, and then as I sat down with coffee to drink it all in the subject topic had changed….

    Now after dismissing my thoughts I had circulating in my mind concerning yesterdays comments, I am challenged to begin to comment on a huge string of subjects. Mart has enough subject material in this new topic to last weeks if we wanted to actually explore them.

    So where to begin? Perhaps my first comment will be directed at the last question. Disagreements among believers.

    I don’t mind disagreeing opinions, but do get angry at the attitude of some who feel that I have to agree with them or else I am in some way “wrong”. That not being enough, that kind of person never quits digging at another’s opinion as if they enjoy being unpleasant toward another human being.

    Whereas I can agree with Mart in that good discussion about opposing points of view can be healthy, I also know the ugly face of some who feast off of controversy and strife and love to argue just so to keep an argument going.

    The victims usually being those who are not sure of a matter or are too timid to oppose the alpha personalities among us. It is for those people that I usually make a stand for and strike against the bullies among our conversations.

    There is a vast difference between exploring different views on a subject and nit picking word usage and always presenting a negative spin, not on the subject , but rather against another’s attempts to express themselves.

    Such people and such activity causes most of us to leave the table and perhaps further isolating ourselves from the opinions of others altogether.

    What spirit presides over a table filled with disagreement and strife? What Spirit can calm the storm?

    Ray I agree about feasting on that tree of knowledge as opposed to resting under the shade of the tree of life.


  6. SFDBWV says:

    Children possess the most wonderful attitude of innocence, no wonder Jesus said that we should be like them.

    Children have to learn everything, but already possess a trusting personality; they have to learn not to trust and not to believe.

    When I was a small child,I can remember my body shuddering and my mind quivering at the idea of forever. If I attempted to understand how the universe can go on forever with no end or how God could exist before anything existed and that too has no end.

    It would appear that my body as a small child reacted to such ponderings with a physical repulse. I had to learn how to quiet that natural repulsion with understanding confined to my human ability to do so.

    If we can agree that there are two forms of existence, one physical and the other spiritual and that the two of them parallel each other then we see that there is always going to be a problem with the two being in agreement with each other, as they come from different places.

    It would seem to me that God made a physical world that imitates the spiritual, but that there are differences in the physical world. In the spirit world it seems we can hurt or harm the spiritual, but in the physical we bruise and bleed. That the special existence of mankind is that he is both spirit and physical. Like God mankind is made complex, but unlike God man has weaknesses and flaws.

    Mankind’s limitations will keep him from being able to see as God sees and think as God thinks as God is a pure Spiritual being. In our last topic Mart had presented the quandary as God asking why we ask. It would seem that curiosity is a matter of both enlightenment and as has been said can “kill”…Spiritually and physically.


  7. poohpity says:

    I think sometimes discussions can be taken as disagreements for those who perceive them as such. I like to be challenged beyond my limited knowledge so that I can learn more and that is only accomplished by mutual respect and maturity. The bible says we are to be iron sharpening iron but if we think we know it all then when our thoughts are challenged we become defensive and start posturing for attack. Sort of like the politicians rather than making their case they begin to mud sling and tear their opponents up by defaming them rather than stating their platform and allowing others the liberty to make informed decisions. I think it all goes back to walking humbly with the Lord and if we put ourselves in that position then we will always be open to learning new things and even disagreements can be done in a no harm, no foul way.

  8. bratimus says:

    To me some of the disaggreements and arguements in the Church is what Christ dealt with the disciples, who is the greatest among us.

    It is as if there are still many in the church that are dueling to be Christ champion on Earth when Christ doesn’t need a champion. Everyone it trying to fight their way to the good seat up front, instead of waiting to be invited to sit. The God approved will be asked to sit here as someone is thrown out.

    I personally don’t claim to be right, I’m waiting on God to make me right.

  9. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Bratimus – interesting point that Christ doesn’t need a champion. It isn’t very humble of us to think that God is helpless without us. For some reason this makes me think of Uzzah reaching out to steady the ark when the oxen stumbled and God striking him dead. Why did Uzzah reach out to steady the ark? Did he think God needed his help?

    Pooh – thanks for your comments. Sometimes people think that if they don’t agree with something they must verbally disagree or else they will be perceived as agreeing. It’s hard to just listen and allow someone else to talk and make an effort to try and understand where they are coming from.

    Trying to understand someone doesn’t mean you agree with them!

  10. poohpity says:

    Life is to short to learn from our own mistakes why not learn from those who have already made them and have overcome.

  11. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Hope all is well in your lives. Interesting blog topic, Mart, and I LOVE the picture posted in this blog! It brings to mind the different cultures and ethnicities in the world and reminds me that our GOD loves variety! Sadly, it also reminds me of the struggle for unity and acceptance among the various races that exist in the world today.

    Now, I want to focus more specifically on what the dogs are doing in the picture. The white dog and the black dog seem to be having a disagreement (regarding who’s turn it is to play with the toy?), and the beige dog seems to be the “peacemaker” in the group. The two dogs who can’t seem to agree and the “peacemaker” dog brought to mind the civil rights era in America. There was racism, prejudice and disagreement between two races, in particular (black dog and white dog), but their were “peacemakers” among both races (the beige dog). The “peacemaker” dog also brought to mind Matt. 5:9, NIV, “Blessed are the *peacemakers,* for they will be called sons of God.” Thinking also of 1 Cor. 13:13, NIV, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

    You’re welcome, BruceC! (from previous blog topic) :-)

    Sunny and warm in Texas today (88 degrees right now).

    Love to all,

  12. Regina says:

    *sorry about the typo’s. Maybe a little sleepy right now.

  13. Regina says:

    Steve, your comment on disagreements among believers fits the picture in this blog topic perfectly. So, you would be the beige *peacemaker* dog protecting “The victims who are not sure of a matter or are too timid to oppose the alpha personalities among us.” I would imagine that if the beige dog could talk he would ask, Why are yall fighting over the toy? Why don’t we take turns playing with it? Your comment was well said.

  14. jazzpers says:

    Out there…somewhere… The “knowledge of good and evil” we have and it taints our being by influencing everyday actions depending on how much we choose to deliberately perceive, feast on and practice what was taken.

    I find myself rephrasing “Who are we?” by adding “despite everyday choices made be they conscience or unconscious?”

    Choice seems to be an extension of the “good and evil” conflict within myself, within the greater community around me and the interactions between the two.

    Choice and the conflict(s) it represents are necessary to living and must be pursued to live life well. But to my shame I find myself avoiding what I can being comfortable along the river of life’s shores among the flotsam and flowering weeds rather than in the bubbling middle risking bumps and bruises where choice and conflict could better shape the gift of my life and its living.

    Much of what is written in Romans comes to mind…

  15. royalpalm says:

    Mart, I agree with your post, “Such disagreement isn’t necessarily bad. Much of it is essential and healthy for
    many reasons: It humbles us. It tests our own thinking. It exposes our own tendency for self-deception. It helps us clarify our need for faith. It gives us a chance to love one another. It gives us an indication of whether we are being shaped by the flesh or the Spirit.”

    Throughout the years, because of my passion for the word of God, I always find myself chosen to teach and facilitate Bible studies. I have taught groups of immigrants of various nationalities- Christians and non-
    Christians; groups of women of various professions and denominations,and currently 2 groups – one composed of
    professionals of different denominations and nationalities and another of older, mature Christians who have been meeting and studying the word weekly with me for more than 5 years…Our common bond is the desire to know God through His word…(I always encourage people to meet together for tea/coffee and invite me also “Ill bring snacks”:) This is a good opportunity to learn about people, their problems and to offer to pray, or share how God has helped or their spiritual beliefs and share what God says …)

    In these studies, where we normally study one book of the Bible at a time, questions and discussions are welcome. As the teacher/facilitator, I recognise the fact that each believer in indwelt by the Holy Spirit (John 7:39) and what each has to say is important. Disagreements occur and this is a great moment because we can search what the Scriptures say to help us know what has been said about it… Unanswered questions are given as assignments and comments are welcome. I am very happy and encouraged when I am corrected…- (the student is diligently studying the word on his own:)! There are topics that we can’t agree on and our conclusion: God is a God of truth and not of
    deception. He will reveal the meaning to us in His own time. Anyone who wants to teach is given the privilege!

    I remember the arguments/disagreements that followed when one lady insisted that “speaking in tongues is necessary so that the devil cannot understand our prayers”…(After much digging from the Scriptures, this idea was labelled as untrue…) So, I agree with your last paragraph…that disagreements are necessary so we can determine what is genuine.(1 Cor 11:19). When we are humble and teachable we learn a lot from the word of God and from each other.

  16. royalpalm says:

    Hello, tracey5tgbtg, re your post of 6:08 p.m.

    When I first read the account of how Uzzah died (2 Sam. 6:6-8), it seemed like a very harsh punishment, considering the fact that he was preventing the ark from falling when the oxen stumbled… However, when one reads again God’s command regarding the building of the ark and how it is to be carried – using the poles that were to remain and not to be removed from the rings…( Exodus 25:10-15) one can see that this instruction was not followed by Uzzah and Ahio who put the ark on a cart. Later on the ark was successfully brought to Jerusalem in the prescribed way (2 Sam 6:13) with rejoicing, sacrifices, dancing and eating…

  17. foreverblessed says:

    Mart I really do appreciate your statement:
    HOW we handle disagreement is more important then being right or wrong!
    THanks Royalpalm for your story.
    How can there be unity between christians when one of them is convinced they are right, and you are wrong?
    It still humbles me to remember that I was convinced that the sabbath, the 7th day should be kept as holy, and not the first day, sunday. I was so convinced that that was the truth the bible tought. And I thought: anybody who would keep a different day was in disobedience. You could say, I was concerned about the wellbeing of other christians to be sure they were obedient to God’s word. At that time, how could another christian be at peace with me? It was impossible.
    But with God everything is possible.
    It took a crisis to get me where God wanted me to be.
    It was a good lesson for me, to be humble, that even when studying the scripture diligently, you miss the point.
    That in everything it is about Jesus, who saves us from our sins. Matthew 1:21, or 1 Corinthians 1:21, 2Corinthians 1:21, Ephesians 1:21, Philippians 1:21, 1 Peter 1:21, Jude 1:21 (It was fun to find out what 1:21 verses in bible chaptre would read)

  18. foreverblessed says:

    Reading about Uzziah, it came to mind, that at that time I was like Uzziah, thinking I had to correct other christians to be sure to be obedient to God’s word about the Sabbath. God did not need my help to correct others. Instead I had to be corrected by the Holy Spirit, to teach me it is all about Life in Jesus.

    We have come to the tree of LIFE,
    not the tree of good and evil.

  19. SFDBWV says:

    Mart has asked 23 questions and a general question or comment concerning disagreements. Of the 23 questions he ask we can get a book filled with answers from us and in the doing a mine field through which we must tip toe so as not to offend the thoughts of another.

    Honesty and consideration should guide us through such studies. While we should concern ourselves with being correct scripturally, it is impossible to get agreement on any subject as nothing gets people’s feathers ruffled more that arguing religion…unless it is arguing politics. Sometimes here we have combined the discussion of both at the same time.

    So what then is the purpose of gathering and discussing any subject, is it to share knowledge, wisdom or experience? Or is it to show others there is something special about ourselves?

    The trick seems to be to put our personalities aside and speak or share what we can and allow others to do the same without sarcasm or being made to feel their comments somehow need correcting.

    I have always loved good conversation, and enjoy being able to contribute. Very few times have I not learned something new from a good exchange of subject matter. It seems when we do that face to face something in us causes us not to be rude, but when we are able to hide miles apart behind a computer screen a different person emerges…for some.

    But there are also many questions that the Bible leaves unanswered:
    • Why is there a God?
    • What did he do in eternity past?
    • How will he be just, fair, and merciful in the Day of Judgment?
    • What are the untold stories of heaven, hell, and eternity?

    I love these questions. The curious person in me immediately wonders if the Bible really does not answer these questions.

    Why is there a God? From the beginning I thought this question was like the pot asking why there is a potter. Personally I believe this is answered all throughout scripture but mostly and clearly outlined in the Psalms. We need God and He created in us that need that can only be satisfied when we are in His presence, under His wings and in His arms.

    Cool and cloudy in the mountains, I love this fall weather.


  20. florida7sun says:

    Good morning. Thank you all for sharing.

    I believe our learning is dependent on where we are at a given place and at a given time. A child may ask, “Why is the sky blue?” and classmates may offer a variety of reasons. An adult could ask the same question in an auditorium of peers and receive different answers. Those who are color blind may suggest the sky is not blue at all. Only those who perceive it as blue think of it as blue. Those of us without sight may ask, “What is blue?”

    Who is blind among us? Who has the right answer?

    The Lord has given us His Word to teach us through our passing of years. He formed us in our mother’s womb and guided us into the light of day. He continues to shape us as we work out our new birth and our salvation in Him.

    In love and respect we can share with each other what He is teaching us individually. And through fellowship we should draw close to one another in keeping His great commandments.

    However, we are of different ages spiritually. Our environments and life experiences are also vastly different.

    I am eternally grateful to loved ones and all who have shared Jesus with me. There is no greater gift you can give to your family, your neighbors and all you come into contact with.

    Personally though, as I view my vitae curriculum in light of Our Heavenly Father’s wisdom, I have not as yet even entered kindergarten. None of us have. Yet if we know Jesus, we have seen Our Father. Through faith, I simply look to the cross and trust my Lord and Savior.

    My sole desire is to point people to Jesus, for united in Him we have life, light and love.

    He gives us grace and peace.

    We do not have to fight each other for truth. He is more than sufficient. His Spirit will lead us and give us understanding.

    Please rest and enjoy your weekend. Love, Ray

  21. poohpity says:

    That three prong approach to any discussions about the Bible and our God is great. I hope to be able to learn that soon. It could be carried over to any important conversations we have with anyone.

    In essentials UNITY
    In non-essentials LIBERTY
    In all things CHARITY

    Sort of reminds me of 1 Cor 13:13 and the rest of the NT where somethings are just not as important as mercy and grace.

  22. SFDBWV says:

    I appreciate your perspectives Ray and agree nothing is more important than our relationship with Christ. My dad always had a little saying he liked to share as often as the opportunity allowed, it went something like this; “What I don’t know could fill a much larger book than what I do know.”

    We are only given one lifetime here in this world and it is to prepare us for eternity, best to pay attention to the things that really matter.


  23. tracey5tgbtg says:

    royalpalm – thanks for your insight on my question. I can see how if Uzzah and Ahio had followed God’s commands the ark wouldn’t have slipped.

    It is so important for us to follow definite commands that have been given us, even if at first we may not understand them.

    It’s when the commands aren’t so clear, as Mart brought up in his post, that fellow believers can get into disagreement. We all agree it is good to follow Gods’ commands, and we all want to do that. Does God sometimes impress a command on someone that he may not give to someone else?

  24. poohpity says:

    Mart I can see how in the last topic when you pointed out we can get so consumed with the details we miss the real point of Knowing God’s will. I see how that can happen with Unexpected Answers one gets so involved in all the questions the obvious loses it way. I wonder if that does not happen to us generally in life as well getting so distracted with life we lose focus of God and our hearts get hardened.

  25. poohpity says:

    I think tracey that God has commanded us all to do certain things that is where the Unity comes from but has given each different ways to go about doing them that would represent the Liberty and when we do not know, that is where Charity comes into play.

  26. cherielyn says:

    Wow! Such a long list of questions!

    A friend and I were discussing some things a several months ago. She shared her mother’s philosophy on worrying. Her mother would ask herself the question: “Will this matter 100 years from now?” If she decided that the answer was, “No!” then it was not worth worrying about at the present either.

    To that, I have added my own twist, “Will it matter for eternity?” Whether arguments about who is right and who is wrong on any given subject, or any other discourse on any subject we might entertain, none of it will matter in the future hereafter.

    No matter what the situation, the only thing that will matter for eternity is where we will spend it!

    Sunny, clear and 74 degrees at 10:25 am in my neck of the woods in Northeast Wisconsin


  27. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Pooh – I agree :)

  28. gerpie says:

    I am new on this “Been Thinking About.” Just have been reading all the comments (and previous comments from other topics)in the past about a week. I don’t remember particular names with particular comments too much (please forgive me – I’m 63 and my memory isn’t the greatest)- but I’ve found the comments very interesting and some enlightening, too. And I surely like the topics that Mart picks to think about.

    I have been feeling a little guilty for reading all your comments – without telling you that I am reading them – so today I figured out how to register and get a log in name. Some time I will tell you a little about myself – but I’ve had a rather rough time for awhile – and today I will just let you know that I am reading your comments and I hope it is ok with you. Thank you for being so open. I appreciate being able to start my day with open people’s thoughts – and checking occassionally throughout the day if anyone has added a thought. Thanks! Donna

  29. SFDBWV says:

    `Welcome Donna, I look forward to hearing from you. I will be 64 this fall, I sometimes wish there were things I could forget.

    I am certain lots of folks drop in just to read, and some to get a laugh. Both are always ok with me.


  30. cherielyn says:

    Let me also welcome you, Donna (gerpie).

    This is a nice group and I have learned a lot from everyone who contributes.

    I will be 65 this fall.

    Looking forward to your contributions.

  31. poohpity says:

    Welcome gerpie!!! Mart’s topics are always a blessing and he gives us plenty to think about. Looking forward to hearing from you. Deb

  32. gerpie says:

    Thank you Steve, cherielyn and Deb for your welcome – and I am so glad that you don’t mind that I read all the comments. :) I think continuing to read all all of Mart’s topics will be a blessing to me – and also all of the comments. Each was something for me to think about today.

    One I am going to mention in particular – royalpalm reading and mentioning exactly what the Bible says about Uzzah – I appreciated – because unless a person reads the whole thing – it is easy to misunderstand. Especially because of where I came from – to understand it as it is written is extremely important to me. So thank you royalpalm – I wouldn’t have caught that.

    And one more thing I wanted to say – it is sooo nice for me to have found a group of people who are so open – who all have their hope of salvation in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Donna

  33. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Donna (Gerpie),

    I, too, would like to welcome you. I am also new but BTA is now like family to me. There is love, care, and
    respect for each other’s views, and Mart’s topics always challenge us to think about our relationship with God and with each other. I am always encouraged by the faith and hope that is expressed in the posts and I praise God in how He works in each one’s life to draw us closer to Himself…May God accomplish His loving purpose in each of us here that His name maybe glorified wherever He has placed us!

    This is also a place where one can post his/her concerns and where we can pray for each other…So whether you just read, or express your opinion, you are welcome.

    Regarding God’s word – it is very important, as you say, to really read what it says. There is so much deception in the world, and it is God’s desire that we know His word ( Jeremiah 9:23-24)and to share His truth with others.

    The Bible is about God and His character. Each story tells us what He is like. As a follow-up to the story of
    Uzzah, do you know that the instructions how to make the ark and how to carry it was given to Moses around 1500
    B.C(Exodus 25:10,11)after the Israelites left Egypt, but the incident involving Uzzah occured about 500 yrs. later during the reign of David in 1000 B.C.? (2 Samuel) As tracey5tgbtg pointed out, God expects us to obey Him,
    whether the command was given today or 2000 yrs. ago!!!

    Another important lesson from this story is , “The ONLY way acceptable to God is HIS own way.” The whole Bible is a revelation of this truth.

  34. florida7sun says:

    Welcome Donna, and thank you royalpalm for sharing the story of Uzzah.

    God’s Word is to be revered and not taken for granted. As we know from Hebrews 4:12, “… the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    After working as a banker for 40 years, I joined the United States Postal Service as a letter carrier for eight. It was good exercise, and I enjoyed interacting with wonderful people on the routes I served. As I considered Uzzah I recalled picking up a package for delivery to a customer. It was smaller that the Ark but bigger than a bread box. It was also heavy.

    Like most packages shipped I went to the area where carriers pick up boxes for delivery. It appeared to be a regular package, and I reached for it.

    Soon after, blood was pouring down my left hand.

    The sender of the package shipped carving knives, which were not properly protected. The tips of the blades had penetrated the side of the box. When I picked it up and put it down in my truck, my hand was sliced.

    I simply took the parcel for granted. Consequences were hidden.

    So it is with mishandling the Word of God. We need to approach it with reverence.

    This morning the Lord revealed to me His teaching in Psalm 56:11-13: “In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me? Your vows are binding upon me, O God; I will render thank offerings to You. For You have delivered my soul from death, Indeed my feet from stumbling, So that I may walk before God in the light of the living.”

    The Word approached with a right heart will keep us from stumbling.

    Grace and peace, Ray

  35. SFDBWV says:

    “Then there are questions that we have about whether the Bible answers our questions:
    • How much money should we keep or give away?
    • How much time did God use and by what process did he speak the world and life into existence?
    • Is it ever right to terminate a pregnancy?
    • How much of the apparent age of the earth can be explained by the flood described in Genesis?
    • Is the authority that men exercise over women from God, or a fallen world?
    • To what extent can we know whether we are doing the will of God?”
    Mart certainly has a great many questions, I liked royalpalm’s comment “The ONLY way acceptable to God is HIS own way.” The whole Bible is a revelation of this truth.

    I think most all of Marts questions have answers either clearly given or hidden in “His Word”.

    Which by way of Mart’s topic he then goes on to state; “Because such issues can unnecessarily preoccupy and divide us– some down through the generations have suggested that we take the following approach:
    1. In essentials unity
    2. In non-essentials liberty
    3. In all things charity”
    I guess I have difficulty in accepting absolutes in the world of humans. For instance #1 in the formula is unity in essentials, but as I look at Christianity even what we consider essential is disagreed and argued among us.

    I see three main divisions in Christianity, Catholic-Orthodox-and Protestant. Certainly none are as divided as the third group the Protestant’s. There maybe being only one essential that all three agree upon…”Jesus is Lord!”

    #2 is without doubt is interlaced with disagreement over what may be seen as essential or non essential. It is in this arena where most all of the battles are waged between believers. Very heated and with lasting effect, disagreements that hurt and harm all three’s ability to witness to an unbelieving world.

    #3 Charity or better said perhaps, Love. Getting to a point in ones life where honest real love dwells in our hearts to the point of overlooking the things that divide us is at best illusive. Some say they love but what do their actions show? Some want to love but what actions prevent them from being able to? Some seem to be able to love as Jesus commanded us to, but is it only a public love or is it actually that supernatural love that only can be in place because of the Holy Spirit?

    I suppose it is as Paul ask; what kind of fruit do we produce in our lives? I also guess it is as has been said, we all try, we all fail, but only God knows what is in each and every heart.

    I am glad it is God alone who judges my life.

    A very cool 49 degrees this morning.


  36. gerpie says:

    Thank you so much for all the welcomes and the comments. As royalpalm said – you definately are caring and loving people. Above all I love that you are serious about what God says in His Word.

    I spent my morning looking up the places in the Bible that both royalpalm and Ray mentioned. And I will continue looking all that are mentioned because that is what I love more than anything to do. To know what God Himself says about all things.

    I am mainly going to keep reading each day but for now I am not going to say too much. I like to ‘listen’ and think about each topic and each comment. However one thing I will tell you about myself so that you can decide if any comments of mine ever are ever worthwhile (and believe me – it is totally ok with me if you think in the negative)- I am schizophrenic. That was the desease I got when I was 30 after I believed in Jesus Christ for my salvation. I did not mind in the least that – that was what God chose for me to deal with during my lifetime. I was more than willing for God to use any part of me or my life for His purpose. (Tho someone told me at the time that she would never give up her mind or her friends). But I consider my mind part of me that is God’s to use. –Anyway that is part of why I am not going to say too much for awhile. I’ve had a kind of rough time for awhile – and I’m trying to relax. — And it seems I’ve found a good place to relax – and read and study God’s Word. Donna

  37. poohpity says:

    Mart, I have also found that the “how” of handling the way we disagree gives us plenty of unexpected answers but also “how” we handle those who agree with us. The emotions that get stirred up in us when someone disagrees with us seems to be a good barometer of who our faith and trust are in. Whether it is in our human reasoning and understanding or in God.

    I wonder if the way in which we believe the essentials of our unity may not be the most important part that determines our reactions to any situation, again where our faith truly lies. Colossians 1:15-23

  38. poohpity says:

    Mart, I also wanted to let you I wept this morning while watching “The War Within”. Some tough battles to overcome for our military and those who suffer with emotional issues. But our God is so much bigger than all our struggles.

  39. florida7sun says:

    Donna, God bless you. You are precious to Jesus.

    My Mom was schizophrenic. With treatment for this chemical imbalance she lived a long and beautiful life. She loved the Lord Jesus with all of her heart and never said an unkind word about anyone. She spent most of her waking moments in prayer and reading God’s Word. I was richly blessed to have such a wonderful mother.

    When we enter into oneness with our Lord, he bestows upon us all the riches of Christ Jesus.

    In marriage 30 is symbolic of the pearl and diamond. David became king at the age of 30 (2 Samuel 5:4). Jesus began His ministry at the age of 30 (Luke 3:23).

    Gems radiate the light. The priests wore them in the Tabernacle.

    A favorite verse of mine is Hebrews 1:3: The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

    As my Mom is now in heaven, I know she and Jesus are praying for us.

    You are beautiful just the way to are, for His radiance shines throughout your being.

  40. florida7sun says:

    Donna, sorry for the typo. “You are beautiful just the way “you” are!” God bless you, Ray

  41. dust says:

    thank you donna (gerpie) for sharing with us. My family has a history of alhimisiers, demicia etc. and i have known (after Jesus reached down and saved me from myself) that all things work for the glory of God and for our best. I have fortunate at 76 to only have memory loss and slowing down of mind (it was buzzing arond getting me in trouble). So I am grateful you were willing to give up everything. May God bless you greatly

  42. poohpity says:

    I think one thing we all can agree on, we are broken and in need of the touch from the Master’s hand.

  43. gerpie says:

    I was not going to write again for at least a week – but I just have to say thank you again for all your comments and sharing – all of you. It makes a difference in my life – a difference of “peace like a river flows.” – And it helps me to that at least some of you are older – around my age and you know what life can be like.

    I think our Lord and Savior wanted me to write and tell you all that I am reading and enjoying all that you all write – because since I first wrote – now when I go back and slowly read all your comments – I ‘get it’ a lot more what you are saying. And as I said – it is “peace like a river flows.”

    Thank you Ray for sharing about your Mom – for I too am a Mom and have seven wonderful adult children. And grandchildren. Thank God for His care of them!

    And ‘dust’ – thank you for sharing about your life – and I love your login name!

    I enjoyed reading what Mart wrote and I enjoyed all the comments for yesterday and today – and myself I am totally content only knowing what God has revealed about Himself in His Word because what He has revealed will occupy my whole lifetime and more in learning.

    God bless you all! And thank you for being there! Donna

  44. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Hope all is well with you today. I would also like to extend a welcome to you, Donna (gerpie)! I’m 44 now, and if our LORD tarries, I’ll be BLESSED, indeed, to see the age of 63! :-)

    Proverbs 20:29, NIV
    The glory of young men is their strength, gray hair the splendor of the old.

    Isaiah 46:4, NIV
    Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

    Sunny and hot in Texas today (90 degrees right now). The day was beautiful, even though it was really hot!

    Love to all,

  45. Regina says:

    Loved your comment, Ray, thanks for sharing! :-)
    florida7sun (June 26, 2011 at 5:47 am)

  46. Regina says:

    Thanks for sharing, Steve. :-)
    SFDBWV (June 25, 2011 at 6:21 am)

  47. Regina says:

    I just want to say that I, too, have been blessed by all that was shared on this blog topic, blog topics in the past, and I’m sure I’ll be blessed by the BTA blog topics in the future! As I said before, I believe that I’m so much better in spirit, soul and body for having had the opportunity to be a part of BTA friends.

    I know that being able to fellowship with you all on this blog site is not a small thing. Makes me wonder what heaven will be like? Can you imagine what we will experience when we’re all sitting around the table at the marriage supper of the Lamb?

  48. Regina says:

    But there are also many questions that the Bible leaves unanswered:
    • Why is there a God?

    Was thinking about this question in particular, and I’m not so much concerned as to why there is a God, I’m just SO GLAD that He’s a GOOD GOD!!! He’s a mighty good God, indeed! :-)

  49. bratimus says:

    I personally dont ask the question

    Why is there a God?

    I got with the Satement!

    God is!

    asking the question, Why is there a God can plant a seed of doubt

  50. SFDBWV says:

    Bratimus I think that there are some who ask the question “is there a God? “I would agree that there is only one word between Mart’s question and that one.

    All people deal with doubts and have questions, only hearing the confidence of others and their answers sometimes can soothe their troubled minds. My wife agreed with you in the displeasure at some of these questions. As they are not encouraging for some who set on the fence.

    I love the connection between Ray and Donna, each will be able to bless the other in a special way….God is good and good things happen when we are in place to be of service to His will.

    Regina, I wish you could have some of our fall weather, 61 this morning with a little cooling mist.


  51. florida7sun says:

    Thank you Regina. “He’s a mighty good God, indeed!

    There are many who say, “There is no god.” Einstein suggested that all is relative and calculated that “energy = mass x the speed of light squared.” Some believe all of our universe is the result of a big bang.

    Through faith He has revealed to us that He alone is God. His energy is beyond our comprehension. All of life, light and love is revealed through His Word. He hides nothing. There is nothing up His sleeve. He hung naked on a cross atop Golgotha for all the world to see.

    He is all that is good. He is all that is great. He is all that is glorious.

    It takes a new heart to see Him in His Majesty. I have discovered that we cannot comprehend His Word unless we have the right kind of receiver.

    An AM radio cannot broadcast FM signals. Even with the right receiver we need to block out interference from other channels that continually distort His message.

    As we bend our knees at His cross and look into His face, all of our questions (if we have any in His presence) are answered. There is no noise. Only silence, and He speaks to us.

    Blessed Monday to all, Ray

  52. SFDBWV says:

    Looks like we are bumping heads this morning Ray, I am enjoying a growing respect for you each day, keep up the good work.


  53. BruceC says:

    I think (and of course I could be wrong) that there are questions about God and how/why he does things that He will never answer or tell us about. After all He is God. And who are we to think we need all of our questions answered? Look what happened to Adam and Eve. The deceiver tricked them into thinking that would have knowledge as God has; they would be like God. And he didn’t even say His power; just His knowledge of what good and evil is. God is so perfect in ALL His ways that I feel that I do not have a right to ask certain questions and expect an answer.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  54. alegria says:

    This blog topic has so much food for thought.

    First wanted to welcome Donna. You’ve already blessed us with your presence and your willingness to share. Thanks for blessing us with your testimony.

    Royalpalm – would love to be in one of your bible study classes.

    In looking over all the questions Mart posted in the blog, and pondering them for a bit, my reaction is: Isn’t it amazing that the God of the Universe has chosen to trust us to make decisions in so many crucial areas – like abortion, how we handle our finances and how we as men and women interact?

    He has given us freewill, and places so many decisions in our hands. Maybe some of OUr disagreements with others need to with that in mind. We will have different opinions. We need to treat each other with love and respect, realizing that we won’t always agree. It’s not my job to be someone else’s Holy Spirit…….especially in areas that aren’t spelled out clearly in the Scriptures.

    I came from a very liberal church background. My husband came from a legalistic church. It is a testimony to the work of the Spirit in our lives that we have managed to find churches where we can both worship. He’s brought us both closer to Him and each other and strengthened us through “most” of the disagreements. Wish I could say we’ve always been loving – but I’m sure not perfect.

    Would appreciate prayer from all of you this week. Later this morning Dan and the girls and I are taking our parents to a cabin in Southern IN for five days. Dan’s dad has terminal cancer. His mom has many health issues. My mom has Parkinsons and beginning dementia. We need to make some good memories. We’re also praying that 3 generations in one cabin don’t drive each other nuts.

    Thanks! Pam

  55. SFDBWV says:

    Pam here’s to a great retreat filled with memories in the cabin. Many of my own fondest memories are around a kerosene lamp at our old hunting cabin with my dad and some friends.

    Bruce I actually thought that Mart would have changed our topic by now this morning so his not doing so is my” Unexpected Answer”.

    Am wondering if he actually wants for us to attempt to answers some of these questions? If so maybe he should take them one day at a time. Though I am sure we may all sound like Job and his friends.


  56. poohpity says:

    Just for myself I did not think the topic was about the questions but about how we respond to discussions on them and how we react to others who may or may not agree with our conclusions. Or even maybe at times to the answers the bible may have that we also find topics to disagree over. Also that sometimes in the disagreements may prompt us to answers about ourselves we may have not been asking by the way we respond.

  57. poohpity says:

    Or sometimes by our replies whether we are walking in the flesh or in the spirit.

  58. poohpity says:

    Bruce that also reminds me of all the questions that Job had but once God started talking Job was silent and humbled and then God said I will answer your questions if you can answer mine.

  59. SFDBWV says:

    This past Wednesday news of an 18 month old child’s death in an entrapment from an automobile accident swept through our little community fast. It turns out the little fellow was 20 months old and the step grandson of one of Matthew’s friend’s father.

    She emailed Matt twice and ask for prayer for her dad as he is shaken to the core and a mess over the death of this little boy that lived with him. The funeral and burial is tomorrow.

    The little boy’s father is in the military over in Afghanistan, the mother is estranged from him and has been for several reasons unable to be mother to the little boy. So her mother was caring for the little boy along with her husband. The grandmother was also injured in the wreck.

    As well as I know neither grandmother or step grand father are confessing Christians.

    Such a tragedy touches all of us, I would ask for prayer for this family as they suffer a pain that can not ever be consoled, as well as the salvation of those who have not as yet come to the Lord.

    Matthew told Jennifer that she will always be his friend and in his prayers every night and has been praying for her dad as well as all of her family.

    Life is at best tough, for some it would seem a little more so then others, at times.


  60. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    “But there are also many questions that the Bible leaves unanswered:

    What did he do in eternity past?”

    This question did make me curious as to what God did to occupy His time. Thinking about how His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are not our ways (Isa. 55:8).

    It also brought another question to mind. Was God lonely before He created the heavens, the earth, birds, animals and man? Remember, God created male and female “beasts of the field,” male and female “birds of the air and man for companionship. Then, our loving, compassionate, gracious, merciful, wise, understanding, and kind God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him” (Gen. 2:18, NIV). Our God was SO attentive to man’s every need then as He is now. He LOVES us with a love that we can scarce comprehend! I truly stand in AWE of Him! :-)

    Steve, Have grown use to the extreme heat now…maybe because air conditioning is so readily available when I need it. lol! It would feel totally unnatural if it were 61 degrees (or cooler) at the end of June in Texas! :-)

    You’re welcome, Ray! :-) And your comment (today @ 6:13 am) was well said!

    Sunny and hot in Texas today (98 degrees right now).

    Love to all,

  61. narriag says:

    I understand “essentials” as fundamental doctrines where we are not called to “handle disagreements” but to stick to what the Bible says. A good example is the divinity of Christ or the divine inspiration of Scriptures. There is no place for agreements in topics like these. What are for you the essentials or fundamental doctrines of the Bible?
    Greetings from Chile…where is sunny but very cold…-2°C

    how we handle those disagreements may provide answers that are as important, and as unexpected

  62. narriag says:

    I understand “essentials” as fundamental doctrines where we are not called to “handle disagreements” but to stick to what the Bible says. A good example is the divinity of Christ or the divine inspiration of Scriptures. There is no place for agreements in topics like these. What are for you the essentials or fundamental doctrines of the Bible?
    Greetings from Chile…where is sunny but very cold…-2°C

  63. gerpie says:

    Steve – I just wanted to tell you I have prayed and will continue to pray for the Dad and grandparents you told us about. I could hardly stand to think of how horrendous it must be for them. Donna

  64. Regina says:

    Steve, your comment,
    “Life is at best tough, for some it would seem a little more so then others, at times.”

    brought two Bible verses to mind:

    Matt. 11:28, NLT
    Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

    Rev. 21:4, NKJV
    And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

    Want to add that when people don’t know the LORD, they have no one to turn to for help that’s beyond human capability. Only God can truly comfort a person’s heart; He can provide *supernatural* peace, comfort and rest for the body, soul and spirit.

  65. poohpity says:

    Hello narriag, here where I live it is 115F or 44C. I agree those are the very essentials of our faith. How we discuss that with others shows the basic essentials of our faith as well and is very eye opening when we try and shove those beliefs down someone else’s throat or believe God can open their eyes and heart better than we can.

  66. bratimus says:


    I say “I personally” don’t ask that question “Why is there a God”

    I wonder if God ever asks Himself “Why are there humans?” If we look to Noah and the flood we see Him asking and answering Himself.

    To me the question of “why is there a God?”, we are trying to rise ourselves equal to God. there is only one that sits at the right hand of God, and that is Christ.

  67. cherielyn says:

    gerpie – Donna,

    I can understand your medical situation. I had a younger sister who also suffered from schizoprenia. The Lord saw fit to take her from us in 2002, at the age of 47.

    We miss her, but know she is in a better place and released from the personal torment she felt over her condition.

    Please, never be afraid to share your thoughts and opinions on BTA. Everyone has something to say that will be edifying to someone. We all have our struggles and are grateful that God loves us “warts and all.”

    I am praying for you.


  68. gerpie says:

    Thank you so much for your prayers Cheryl. Maybe because you understand my medical condition – you also know how much I appreciate when someone prays for me.

    And thank you too for saying that God loves us “warts and all” – sometimes I don’t remember that and life can get pretty heavy then.


  69. gerpie says:

    Let’s see – it is almost tomorrow – so that in 5 minutes it will be yesterday that Steve told us all about the little child – baby really – that was killed in an auto accident. I could hardly stand thinking how horrendous that would be for the family especially under all the circumstances – and I prayed for them and have continued praying for them. And I kept looking here on BTA to see if anyone else was praying for them – and it appears no one was – and I was sick – WHAT ARE YOU ALL DOING????? Have you no COMPASSION????? Does no one have children??? Does no one have grandchildren??? Is anyone here a CHRISTIAN????? — So I texted my closest and dearest friend and she will pray, too – for tomorrow is the funeral – and that and the following days may be just horrid for these people. (I don’t have very many friends -though I had 5000 before I believed on Jesus Christ for my salvation). But before I go to bed – I have to say – I am AFRAID – in that NOT ONE OF US DESERVES SALVATION – God will tell us that if we care to read His Word – WE HAVE ALL GONE ASTRAY – and not one of us has manufactured faith to believe in Jesus Christ as Ephesians 2:8 says: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: (9) not of works, lest any man should boast. — So what are you all doing out there? Are you judging if these people deserve your prayers????? When you yourselves do not deserve salvation????? – I can’t help but wonder – and be afraid. Will God let us all go like He did all but 8 people at the time of the flood – because we supposedly being Christians have no compassion????? — Donna

  70. branch says:

    God does not want us to judge others. Over and over again we are told in the Bible that only God will judge and it is up to us to have mercy and compassion and to remember that no one is without sin.

  71. florida7sun says:

    The night is almost gone. Today is a new day. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

    This morning the Lord led me to John 14:27, “Peace 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.”

    In quietness of heart and reflection on His Word, let us comfort one another.

    Jesus is in control. Through all the suffering and pain, in good times and bad, with great jubilation… we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them. – Romans 8;28

    Whenever I am troubled I look to Him. He gives me His peace. Whenever storms blow and the waters rise to engulf me, He gives me assurance of His love.

    His peace is beyond understanding and guards our hearts.

    Blessed day to all, Ray

  72. poohpity says:

    gerpie, just because people do not write on this blog that they are praying does not mean that they are not praying. The people on this blog have always prayed for others whether they say so or not. So please be slow when jumping to conclusions. Being new here has not given you the opportunity to get to know us yet. It may be wise to read the welcome and comment guidelines.

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