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Reference Points

Singapore Transit

Traveling in Asia with co-workers, have been reminded again of the value of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty.

Have also seen how important it is to be able to honor together the values of truth and love without seeing ourselves as the measure of either.

Even more impressed with the deepening impression of what, in theory, we know: Jesus has no equals– apart from his Father and Spirit.

In so many ways I keep thinking that… nowhere can we find another measure of truth and love that reinforces so completely the values of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty.

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146 Responses to “Reference Points”

  1. florida7sun says:

    God bless you Mart on your travels. Wherever you go Jehovah Shammah… The Lord Is There. Rejoice in His Presence. Rest in His Peace.

  2. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends –

    I must confess I know little of the measure of truth in Singapore. The default setting is most likely secular. There must be many Muslims and traditional Chinese religious adherents as well. But, in such a mega-city, there is huge potential for the Gospel to take hold – supplanting the modern, secular measure of truth – establishing the divine connection.

    It seems to me that there is a growing Christian community all over the world – in places where there is hunger to be valued as a person – to be welcomed into relationships where trust and honesty displace the old fear and lies of dictatorship and repression. Singapore is a prime location for educated, young people seeking real meaning in Jesus Christ – the very opposite of the Maoist and utilitarian measure of human worth.

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

    You must have much to share from your travels in China!


  3. SFDBWV says:

    Almost everyone I know sees the world through their own perspective. It occurs but is rare that some can actually perceive the world through the life of another.

    It is a very mature heart that learns that people are different and are not us.

    In living, working or existing within any environment once we can accept that people are different, think differently, dress differently, speak differently and see problems differently and how to solve them differently as well, then we can live a much more peaceful life.

    The truth is that there is a limit to what others see, are willing to accept, and to act upon.

    Jesus wants us to melt together into a chorus of caring for each other and sacrificing for others without limit.

    Sorry…It has been my experience that people put limits on everything and especially in the relationship with each other.

    When I think of how close I am to Christ, such a topic reminds me of how far I am from being fully…..Christian.

    That I need more than ever the forgiveness He offers and the patience He shows me; and that it is what he requires from me….forgiveness and patience given toward others.

    Life is a tough ride, for some they draw a much tougher horse. Life is not equal at any level, so we must carry the load of others once in a while and help to balance it out.

    Before I act, before I judge, before I rush to an opinion, I must stop and try hard to see life through the eyes of another…..Maybe I will be a better person for it and maybe a better representative of Christ.


  4. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Mart – the new blog topic brought this verse to mind: Hebrews 12:2-3 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

  5. florida7sun says:

    This morning, in considering the title of Mart’s BTA offering, the Holy Spirit took me to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. – Matthew 5:3-15

    Given new life through the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, we embrace His Cross and have the priviledge of being His reference points throughout the world.

    The Body of Christ is the light of the world. Today, in my home and in my community, I pray that I am a blessing.

  6. Toml5169 says:

    Good Morning Everyone
    I am reminded by this post topic that we all have reference points in our lives. I am currently at a log home at Wollawa Lake in far Eastern Oregon with 3 men who completed our year long recovery program at the mission and our executive director. One man was an Olympic and professional boxer who turned to being a drug lord in the Portland area. Another is a Hispanic man who served in Afghanistan once and Iraq twice. Suffering greatly from PTSD he turned to gangs, robbery, gun running; you name it. The third is an African American who grew up in the deep South and lived much of the prejudice from his surroundings. During the past 2 years I have gotten to know these men well and see them become new creations in Christ. Yesterday the veteran and I spent the day together while I taught him to fly fish, and he opened up to me and shared the life shattering anchor points that led him to the mission. I thought I understood this man but after yesterdays I realized how much I had missed. He and his wife and son plan to reunite in March of next year after about 4 years of living separate lives not counting his years away on foreign soil. I now have key anchor points in his life that will make it possible to help him work through the issues they will face as a family reuniting. In every life key anchor points exist that have shaped who they are. If we fail to love them enough to discover them we cannot accurately apply the healing power of Christ to those anchoring wounds and though they may come to Christ they will often still be anchored to the past. I greatly respect every man and woman who comes through our life recovery program for the courage they have to express and address the old anchor points of life; but even more for the courage to pull up the anchor and sail to new horizons with new and positive anchor points to set in their lives. I simply have the blessing of walking with them as Jesus miraculously provides new anchor points for them to live by. Yes anchor points are important and we all have them but some take a lot of determined love in order to free ya from some and help create the new. It takes time and effort to love someone that much unless we stay anchored to Him!
    Be blessed and a blessing and stay anchored.

  7. dust says:


    i have been thinking of you and this has been running through my mind.

    In “The shack” (author WM Paul Young) this statement “all evil flows from independance” goes against my grain. I don’t do well with relationships. So, Gary, i hope you will continue in relationship with IBT and all of us who read this blog.

  8. davids says:

    Mart, there has been a three-part podcast on the BBC about “God in China”. It talks about the traditional religions and the third part is about the growth of Christianity.

    It is so exciting to hear about the increase of the faith in Asia. With 60-70 million praticing Christians in China, there are more people in church on Sunday than in all of Europe!

    Praise be to the God of the harvest that has brought this about, also in South Korea and other places. We need to remember and give thanks that the Word continues to spread!

  9. pegramsdell says:

    I went to Kenya with my church a few years ago. What an experience! I thought we were going there to minister (and we did) but, in reality, they ministered to me. We visited churches and orphanages in Molo, Nacurru, and places in between and everywhere we went we saw such faith in God. Even the little children were dancing and praising in church. Most of the time they didn’t even have shoes or food, and still they praised. God so loved the world…..not just my part of it.

  10. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart!

    Are you still with RBC in Singapore?
    Perhaps you will not say one way or another…

    You wrote:
    “…measure of truth and love that reinforces so completely the values of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty.”

    I agree with you that Jesus is the measure of truth and love — and that the love of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit sends us everywhere to make disciples for the transformation of the world. And, that transformation profoundly affects our “persons, relationships, trust, and honesty.”

    So, what’s going on at the RBC station in Singapore?
    Trusting that you are well, and flourishing and filled with the joy of the Lord! — Blessings, Maru

  11. SFDBWV says:

    How very right Mart is in stating thee is no equal in comparison to the Triune Spirit of God.

    It is only when misguided, misled and malevolent people attempt to present each fraudulently that we are presented with a plethora of false religions, false teaching, and false expectations.

    Whereas there is no equal for the real thing there are plenty of spurious representations of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit out there.

    So where is “Truth” found?

    God is found in the written history of the God of and the people of Israel, as well as the testimony of the witness of Jesus of Nazareth. The Bible.


  12. SFDBWV says:

    The God I speak of the Christ I speak of the Holy Spirit all are under a relentless attack, and though they have always been, the attacks are more obvious and alarming then ever.

    How is this unequaled unparalleled trio attacked? Not frontal as against them face to face, but rather against mankind who is weak and susceptible to being misled and vulnerable to the attack.

    It is not even God who is under attack so much as it is the faith and future of mankind, and the truth of God.

    We are so awash with the ridicules concept of not wanting to offend anyone’s beliefs that we offend the One True God, and worst of all offend His Son through whom all of us can find forgiveness and peace.

    God sent prophets to attempt to set mankind straight, they were killed for their efforts at telling the truth.

    So Just as Jesus said, God then sends His only Son and the same people kill Him as well….There will be prophesy that comes through His Church but no more prophets until the last two are sent as ascribed in Revelation.

    Any religion today that is based upon a prophets testimony is false and a lie and is meant to mislead and present an equal to the unequal.

    If I offend …well then “So be it”


  13. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All!

    It seems to me that the fragile free states surrounding China (Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and S. Korea — or the “4 Asian Tigers”) are among the few places where that huge, paranoid state cannot try to strangle and dilute the message of the Gospel. China gives Muslim-and Hindu-controlled majority populations no grief. They fear only the truth of Jesus Christ and the transformation it brings!

    Inside China, the “Three Self Patriotic Movement” — TSPM — has been established as the overseer of all Christian churches. All are supposed to register with the TSPM in order to open their doors and hold services. The majority of the unknown number of Christians in China attend churches that have chosen to remain outside the Chinese government’s official licensing program.

    The name of Watchman Nee, early leader of the Chinese Christian movement, is still banned in the Republic of China. Though he died after 20 years in a Chinese prison, we still have some things he wrote.

    Please pray for the Chinese who believe in Jesus. I would not be permitted to write such a post more than one time if we were in China.


  14. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    “Jesus has no equals– apart from his Father and Spirit.”

    The Lord our God is one God.

    And we are all one with Him through the blood of Jesus Messiah.

    That is all the relationship we need and were ever created to have in Him and with Him.


  15. poohpity says:

    A friend of mine went to China this year by getting in through an organization called “HOGS”. They witnessed the strong faith of the believers there most of them held church in their own home, in their backyards or in open fields and as peg said about those in Africa the believers in China their faith is so big. The have to depend on the Lord for so much unlike those of us in USA or other countries where we have religious freedoms yet take them for granted.

    What we may consider attacks on our spiritual freedoms would compare to a fly buzzing around our heads to birds of prey looking for mice in China and that is a mild comparison. Even being able to have bibles or pages of scriptures is demonized by that government. We take for granted the amount of bibles we have in our homes and to think how many are not used except for collecting dust and they find it an honor just to have a page from it that is read over and over again. They seem to be like sponges when it comes to the word of God never having enough of it and not allowed to have it.

    Mart, was there was some way RBC was able to get the Word into them? I remember that picture that was all black and white except for that yellow flower that was rising from the ashes. If a picture could talk that said so much about the faith and belief they hold many of us would be so humbled we may no longer argue over the bible but honor it as God’s Holy Word rather just a book to find fault in.

  16. SFDBWV says:

    You are so very right Maru; some of the best missionary books ever written came out of pre communist China.

    With the coming of Stalin and Mao, Christianity was outlawed in both the Soviet Union and Red China. There are countless unknown stories of real martyrdom and those who suffered as well as died for Christ in both arenas.

    Satan soon learned though that through the tight grip of control Christ thrives, so he turned his attention on making Christianity intellectually unacceptable.

    I have been to Taipei and can attest that the Chinese people are a generous polite and caring people, Christ will not abandon them but keep alive His Spirit in them. Indeed I will join with you Maru in praying for such people and the opening of doors in all of Asia to hear the Gospel before the time of the Gentile is fulfilled.


  17. oneg2dblu says:

    It is the living presence of Christ who reigns in my heart for others, and who speaks soo loudly, that we all must “stay in relationship.”
    To me, to be “in a relationship” we must remain, but if one chooses to walk away… it severs that very relationship’s underlying definition, of remaining.
    I wonder if the definition of the Lost Sheep, is somehow lost, when we claim that he is still in relationship, and walking alone? Just like us if we walk into our own desire and put Christ outside our lifestyle, or our actions. Our living testimony “should be shown,” in how we live, and not in just how we think we believe.
    To live for Him, and still be living in our old nature. seems counter productive to my thinking.
    Our living relationships are with those we choose to be with, not those we choose walk away from.
    I do not know how to remain in this blog family and also choose to walk away from it.
    Nor, do I know how to remain in Christ and choose to walk back into my old life of sin going unnoticed, or unrepented for. Nor, do I wish to test out that premise, but if that seems to work for some… who am I to judge?
    In that light, I choose to remain, and did not ignore the heatfelt words expressed by this loving family either. To be in Christ is to live! Be Blessed, Gary

  18. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… good scripture quote, “There will be prophesy that comes through His Church, but no prophets until the last two are sent as ascribed in Revelation.”
    Great revelation. No contest there,as it has not yet occurred.
    However, we who do beleive the “gift of prophesy still exists,also believe someone must be chosen to have it, and use that gift, or God’s Message will not be through His Church. Are we, all those of us who are Saved, not called His Church? If so, what do we call that person today, who delivers that prophesy?
    I wonder, how do any of us test this gifting and it’s message today? How do we deteremine that it does not come from a false teacher, who is misleading his church with his allowing his flock with falsehood as well?
    We must prove, or “judge everything” and hold it Captive to Christ, the very word of God, to prove it as truth, from God. Because, this body “we call church” is made up of the corrputable, and we are warned about such
    things as those, that are happening today. Is that message,which is given today, not also prophetic? Gary

  19. poohpity says:

    I also believe there are prophets today but as you said Gary their words need to be tested against what we have in scripture and not just truth in part but full of truth.

  20. SFDBWV says:

    Good afternoon Gary, glad to see you still with us. I am of course speaking of there being no more prophets as in the person of prophets chosen to speak for God as in the prophets of the OT.

    People who have the gift of prophesy may indeed be speaking prophesy through the Holy Spirit to the Church, but are not *Prophets* in the sense they are sent as the prophets of old.

    I would call a person who has the gift of prophesy within the Christian Church today a Christian with the gift of prophesy….not necessarily a *prophet*.

    Prophets had their season, but once the Son came, there is no more need of them until the two witnesses are sent to Israel at the prescribed time of Revelation. It turns out these two are two people who were already called as Prophets long ago before the coming of the Christ. Their reappearance shows their work was left undone until this moment in time when they will be killed for speaking the *truth*.

    After the Ascension of Jesus and the Day of Pentecost, the Church became the voice for God among men, and each of the gifts of the Spirit proof of the Churches authority to speak for God.

    So we have to be very careful what we now say, as we are held accountable for each and every word.

    God bless you Gary


  21. poohpity says:

    Prophet- Ones who revelations are divinely inspired and who is given words for future events. They are the same in the past, present and future no difference. At least that is what I understand from the pages of scripture.

    Those who call themselves prophets and only tell half truths as satan did to convince others of something they believe, are not truly prophets of God IMHO. Not even having some truth to what they say while not telling the whole truth compared to scripture which is our only weapon to protect our beliefs. The more we know scripture we can identify these half truths that should be our only “Reference Point”.

  22. florida7sun says:

    48 years ago I was a participant on a popular Goodson-Todman program hosted by Bud Collyer. The year was 1963, and the program was “To Tell the Truth.” Diane Sawyer’s reporting on the release of Jacquelyn Kennedy’s audio tapes brought that show to mind.

    Panelists included Sam Levinson, Lena Horne, and Barry Nelson. The show was scheduled to be broadcast on CBS-TV on November 25, 1963. A segment of the program spoke of laughter and good times at the Kennedy White House. Two weeks later there were tears throughout America, as the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Friday, November 23, 1963 erased broadcast schedules and ended the era of Camelot in our Nation’s Capital.

    During the show I was an imposter impersonating the youngest officer in the United States Army. It was difficult fooling panelists like Barry Nelson (an Army veteran) who asked me the difference in temperature from ground level to 10,000 feet in altitude.

    However, the humorist Sam Levinson did vote for me, and I took home a check for $67.

    This remembrance and Mark’s title (Reference Points) illustrates to me the importance of knowing the truth to discern imposters and untruths; as well as telling the truth (sharing God’s Word, not ours) wherever we go. God has revealed His truth throughout creation and through His Written Word.

    Jesus came into the world to “testify to the truth.” – John 18:37. In speaking to believers, Paul writes, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” – Colossians 2:8

    We are truly engaged in spiritual warfare, and our enemy is a skilled imposter. The Bible warns that many will choose him through his craftiness and lies. Satan is not playing a game.

    It is so important that we be grounded in the truth of Our Lord and Savior, strengthened by other believers. In Him we are set free, never again to be in bondage to sin.

    I also just learned that Bud Collyer (who passed on in 1969) taught a Sunday school class for 35 years. Wikipedia indicated that he wrote two inspirational books, “Thou Shalt Not Fear” (1962) and “With the Whole Heart” (1966).

    I just ordered the first one and look forward to reading both.

    Truth casts out fear, and we can both rejoice and find rest in Jesus.

    Blessings to all, Ray

  23. florida7sun says:

    Sorry Mart for the typo in mis-spelling your name.

  24. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… you and I are both correctly confused, or totally right, as I also feel that God uses people today to deliver His Message, prophetically speaking.
    The point about half truths though, is only half true. Because all truth is not bound to the “rule of fullness” to be true. If it were, we could never speak of one verse out of the bible to prove a point, because somewhere else there is another verse with more context and more fullness. IMHO if you are given to present a solitary verse, or half a verse even, you are not misleading or wrong. All quotes are not full teachings, and a prophetic word may be just one verse or word. If I were to say, “It is written, There is no Salvation without Repentance, We walk by Faith.” Would I be a speaking a half truth without devulging the fullness of each word? No, and we all do it sometimes, and not to mislead as much as to emphasize a point with brevity. As I have failed to do here. Sorry :)

  25. poohpity says:

    First Gary we were not speaking again of salvation. There are problems when someone takes scripture out of the context that it was written to prove a point that is not in adherence to the whole bible and principles that we are given in scripture. You admittedly have said that you are not familiar with the whole bible to find the scriptures to back up what you say. With that admission I would be concerned with what is being taught and leading someone astray. That may be a concern to be careful of. The is only one truth and one faith, on the other hand there may be different interpretations of scripture that can cause division which we are directed to stay away from because those of us who are saved can agree on the most important issues that bring unity to our faith in Jesus Christ. Who would even accept the invitation from our Lord and Savior for salvation without repentance? That is a given for those who are truly saved.

  26. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… you’ve almost given a full teaching on Prophets, and the gifting of prophesy. I agree with you on those points, they are well clarified and well done.
    Here’s some truth I’m given to share, which I feel can not be taken out of context, because it is truth!
    1 John 2:3-6
    “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, “I know him,” but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone obeys his word, God’s love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:
    Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”

    To me, that is a full and comlpete teaching, that stands on its own. “If we remain in him, we will obey his commands, and we must walk as Jesus did!”
    I’ve looked and looked, but I find “no excuse” for our disobedience or continued sinnig in this teaching. Gary

  27. poohpity says:

    Gary it was taken out of context if you do read the first two verses then how can you understand what the rest means here are the first two verses 1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

  28. poohpity says:

    Then in 1 John 2:7-8 you find the commandment that John was referring to which is “to love one another”. So as you can see how important it is to keep things in context.

  29. remarutho says:

    Good Evening Mart!

    Presuming you are still in Asia, it is “tomorrow afternoon or evening” where you are!

    Your blog holds very closely to the circle of Christ’s love — you and your colleagues moving about the region. When you say Asia, you are indicating the largest populated land mass on the planet!

    You wrote:
    “Have also seen how important it is to be able to honor together the values of truth and love without seeing ourselves as the measure of either.”

    What comes to mind is that wonderful “travel bulletin” Paul sent the church at Corinth: “Now I will come to you when I pass through Macedonia (for I am passing through Macedonia). And it may be that I will remain, or even spend the winter with you, that you may send me on my journey, wherever I go. For I do not wish to see you now on the way; but I hope to stay a while with you, if the Lord permits. But I will tarry in Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” (1 Corinthians 16:5-9)

    We are believing the Lord for your safekeeping and security as you move, possibly, into areas full of “adversaries!” Are you tip-toeing around the big Chinese dragon? Hope that old lizard is dozing peacefully!


  30. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Gary, John the Baptist was the last Prophet and Jesus says so in Matthew 11: 13, again it is stated in Malachi 4: 5, and again in Luke 16: 16.

    Found also in Luke 20: 9 is the parable Jesus tells of the man (God) who plants a vineyard (a lost, ignorant world of souls) and leaves it to others to care for and when he sends servants (Prophets) to get the fruit (results of a good job), but the husbandmen (Jews) beat the servant and sent him away empty, this was done 3 times until the man (God) sent His Son (Jesus) whom they kill…There are no more servants sent the man (God) has the husbandmen destroyed and the vineyard given to another.

    The Church is now in control of the vineyard and the Church is headed by none other than the Son and we are led and taught by none other than the Holy Spirit. Prophesy is alive in us and as a body of believers each of us have gifts that come together for the edification of the whole body as well as being individually connected to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit at the same time….we all become one united in Christ. With the responsibility of caring for the vineyard (the lost souls of this world) given to us.

    How well we do or don’t do will be determined by the Son and we will be judged for it. Not judged for our sins for we are covered by the blood of Christ, but judged for our works for Christ and rewarded accordingly (2 Corinthians 5: 10).

    31 degrees this morning…frost and ice.


  31. rxman says:


    Wondering what you meant by the following:Even more impressed with the deepening impression of what, in theory, we know: Jesus has no equals– apart from his Father and Spirit.

    What is meant by “in theory”?

  32. poohpity says:

    If I may Steve, the verses you quoted first from Mal 4:5; also in Mal 3:1; Isaiah 40:3 all were future references to John the Baptist coming to prepare the way of the Lord not that he will be the last prophet but just so those who listened could know what it would be like so they could identify the Messiah. In Matthew 11:13 if one goes back to verse 10 Jesus was informing them that John was truly who was prophesied about from the OT about the messenger that would proceed Jesus. Luke 16:16 was talking about the Law of Moses and the prophets were Israels guides until John the Baptist pointed that the Messiah would come and the kingdom of God was near. So as I read it but I could be wrong they were not speaking of the last of the prophets but only speaking about one that was like Elijah who would come to prepare the way for the Lord.

  33. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh of course you may as you wish, but there are no other prophets after John the Baptist as there is no need for any.

    Jesus says that the Prophets and the law were until John. The two witnesses that come in Revelation are two that God sends from the original list of Prophets sent before Christ.

    Christ fulfills the need of the prophets and the law. The Church now is the body through which prophesy comes….Not prophets.


  34. poohpity says:

    I was thinking that Mart meant by the statement “what, in theory, we know” of course I can not read his mind. One of the definitions of theory is “that it is a belief system that guides actions”. So if I look at it in that context of believing in the Trinity then I realize that is the full measure of truth and love. That relationship shows us the value or reinforces so completely the values of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty.

  35. poohpity says:

    I guess I always understood it to mean that Jesus was the fulfillment of what the OT prophets taught and the fulfillment totally of the Law. We still today have those who teach the inspired Word of God hence prophets. If that were they case of there not being any more prophets (one who delivers prophecy) after Jesus then can you explain Acts 21:7-14 for me.

  36. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh don’t confuse prophesy with revelation. I know of no prophet God has sent into the world since John. There are many great Christian men and women who have opened the eyes of many by being able to discern scripture. However that is not prophesy.

    I know of no writings or of any proclamations of someone claiming to be a Prophet from God except for false religions such as the Mormons and Islam. Also there is Buddha and the many false voices from the religions of the east. All claim to be a voice from the creator. But they are all false religions, and their spokes person’s false prophets.

    Because there is no other prophet since John the Baptist. Who introduced the fulfillment of the prophets and the law…Jesus of Nazareth the Christ.

    However the there is much revelation that comes from understanding the scripture, and many people who make up this body of Christ who are able to bring to light what the prophets have already disclosed.

    Do you know of any prophesy that has come forth from any person that is not already spoken and disclosed or hidden in scripture, completely different and outside of scripture? I do not, only false ones.

    I hope this helps answer your question.


  37. poohpity says:

    That was why I showed you those scriptures. There will always be those who claim to be prophets which we are directed to be careful of and compare what they say to the word of God but it is also a gift of the Spirit to minister to the church. I only try to go on what the bible teaches. 1 Cor 12; 14:1; Romans 12:6

  38. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh as to answering your question as how I might interpret Acts 21: 10, I refer to my earlier post to Gary September 15 at 12:45.

    “People who have the gift of prophesy may indeed be speaking prophesy through the Holy Spirit to the Church, but are not *Prophets* in the sense they are sent as the prophets of old.”

    I will stand by that statement.

    I do hope this clears up your questions about my position on this matter.


  39. poohpity says:

    Yes I do know of a lady that has been given the gift prophesy from God to the church and the way it was shown to be from God was it was fulfilled within three years after it was given. So, yes I fully believe that God still uses people to get His message out to those who will listen just like in the book of Acts which was after Jesus was on earth.

  40. poohpity says:

    Who else sends prophets if it is not God for messages to His church. I guess I do not understand what your definition then is of prophesies. I did not realize there was a difference between the OT and the NT prophets other than times in which they lived.

  41. bratimus says:

    The Prophet of the OT was one who spoke for God, through the spirit of God. Most all Prophets of the OT prophesied of the coming of Christ.

    With the arrival of Christ, Christ choose disciples or the Apostles.

    I look at it like the job title changed from Prophet to Disciple.

    After Christ Ascended into Heaven the arrival of the Holy Spirit came. This is the spirit of God that the prophets of the OT walked with.

    All who believe in the Son can be baptized in the Holy Spirit, which brings gifts one is the Gift of Prophecy.

  42. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends!

    Mart, the message you have sent us has “book-ends,” that is the exact repetition of the qualities of the fellowship of Jesus in your midst as you travel in a culture not your own. You write:

    “the value(s) of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty.” (at the beginning and at the end of your post)

    As the group has been discussing, the gift of prophecy comes from the working of the one Holy Spirit in the body of Christ. I pray you have found a true response to what your team is bringing the churches of Asia!

    Are you experiencing resonance among the churches you visit? Do they value “persons, relationships, trust, and honesty”?

    “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also (is) Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink(into) one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many.” (1 Corinthians 12:12-14)

    It is surely the presence of God the Holy Spirit bringing us all into this fellowship that is the body of Christ.


  43. poohpity says:

    bratimus, there were also OT prophets that had other messages from God like Jonah, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, and the list goes on that God directed to let people know to return to Him as well as foretelling of the coming Messiah. I guess that is a message from God that will never disappear, that God wants a personal relationship with all of those created in their image ( The God Head). It is still a wonderful message from God that we are loved so much and God wants to take care of us. An eternal message of hope and forgiveness.

  44. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well in your lives! Guess what? It’s finally raining in my neck-of-the woods! I hope every city in Texas received rain today. We’ve endured several days of drought and 100+ degree days. Texas wildlife was suffered too. Some animals abandoned their babies due to lack of water. The rain is such a welcomed reprieve. Please thank God with me for rain in Texas! Thank you, LORD, for rain! :-)

    Now, back to the blog topic…
    Mart said, “Have also seen how important it is to be able to honor together the values of truth and love without seeing ourselves as the measure of either.”

    This comment brought the words humility and selflessness to mind. The only (and ultimate) measure of true and love is Jesus.

  45. SFDBWV says:

    Ray, I think your story of being a participant on “To Tell the Truth” and the info about Bud Collyer was excellent. Just the fact that you were a contestant was pretty impressive, but to be connected to such an American event in history makes it all the more a blessed memory.

    I didn’t know about Mr. Collyer as I never followed TV or movie personalities that much, but it is refreshing to hear of his faith. It also tells of how America has changed since the 60’s into a downward spiral spiritually and culturally.

    Thanks for the story.

    Regina I am so glad you are getting some rain, we have had a very wet spring and summer, I am curious as to how that will transfer into fall and winter.


  46. florida7sun says:

    Thank you, Steve. I also appreciate so much your faithfulness to our Lord and Savior. Every contributor to BTA gives us an opportunity to get into His Word and see what Jesus has said. As John declares, then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. – John 8:32.

    God bless you, Ray

  47. dja says:

    Although I have been reading BTA each day, I have not written. Steve, I have been so blessed by your entries, as well as others. I know that this is off topic, but I ask that you would pray for the many people in Northeast and Central PA who have lost so much due to all the flooding of the Susquehanna River and all the creeks and streams. Many homes were completely destroyed- the mud and everything else that the river carries along and brings up from the ground is now what people are dealing with. VP Biden toured the area yesterday-It is worse than the flooding from Hurrican Angnes in 72, and that was devastating.

    Many from our church are working to help people clean. Thankfully, this week has been dry, so they haven’t had to deal with more water. Every year at this time, the Bloomsburg Fair takes place. It has been going on for 150 years, bringing in people from everywhere. This year, the fairgrounds were destroyed, even the agricultural hall, and the fair was cancelled for the first time ever. Although no one is in the mood for a fair, I can’t help but think about all the vendors who count on this weeklong fair for their income. One man said it is the one fair they look forward to because it is a big one. These vendors were right there trying to help clean, but it just couldn’t be done.

    I’m sorry to go on, but I wanted you to know just how bad this area has been hit, and ask that you would uphold these families in prayer.

    The sun is out today, and I am leaving right now for a brisk walk (41 degrees this morning).


  48. SFDBWV says:

    Della praying for the needs and comfort of others is never off topic. You have my prayers and the prayers of my family to add to yours in your request.

    How too quick the news moves on to unimportant political issues and leaves behind the stories of real struggles and suffering that are in our own back yards.

    Thank you Della for your request.

    We share the same temperature this morning.


  49. oneg2dblu says:

    bratimus… thank you for your definition on Prophets,
    being pre-church, and then through Disciples after Christ starts His Church. I think it is well founded. Prophets were sent by God, Disciples are those who first Follow Christ, becoming a member of the Body of Christ, His Church, and then are given a prophetic word from God. I trust I am not putting words into a context that does not exist, or trying change any meaning of yours.
    I do however want to leave room here by saying, God could use anybody He wants, to send any message He wants, anytime He wants. He certainly is not defined or limited, by our definitions. Praise God! Gary

  50. oneg2dblu says:

    I also understand that God is using dreams and visions to bring those who do not currently recognize His Church as an authority, or Christ as the Head. But some today are coming to Christ, and becoming members of His Body, the church we know today. Many are Muslim, which means to me, those visions must be also be some form of the prophetic nature chosen by God to bring about His Gospel filling the earth. But I may be wrong about this as a form of prophesy. Gary

  51. SFDBWV says:

    The great resulting problem with speaking or writing is that once something is said or written it belongs to its author.

    How often do we feel we wish we could take back something said or worse written down, yet once heard or read there is no taking it back.

    If words spoken were spoken without completely being able to express the thoughts or feelings of the author, sometimes they are more able to be misrepresented.

    Having said that, it is my belief that Mart certainly believes there are no equals to Jesus, but that somewhere in his thoughts “in theory” seemed to express his intended comments. Always leaving an open back door if need to retreat to.

    As we read the Word of God together and then are divided into many schools of thought, God being the author of scripture seems to have the same difficulty in not being understood clearly by all.

    Mart’s one intention I would suppose is for us to look deeper into what we read and seek out all the nooks and crannies. While this may and will create differences in concept, we should allow for each of us to have the freedom to take our journey without criticism for not being understood or not understanding another’s view.

    It is my hope that today we are able to extend love to one another, thank you all who have already extended it to me today.


  52. florida7sun says:

    Mart’s posting on Reference Points brings to my mind a story about Jesus and the game of golf. We know that sin is falling short of the Glory of God.

    A good golfer tries to measure his or her game by scoring or exceeding that considered to be “par” for the course. Some days can be better than others. Putting to practice knowledge of the game can certainly improve performance… but there are always hazards and traps that get in the way of personal perfection.

    Yes, we can see the flag. It’s right over there! We have our ball teed up. We can measure the distance and test the wind. All that is necessary is to make proper use of the woods and irons in our tool bag, and what could possibly go wrong?

    No matter how hard we try, we discover that no man is perfect… not one measures up to perfection throughout life.

    Only in Christ can we find purpose and fulfillment in living abundantly.

    Thirty years ago, several men and I invited professional golfer, Larry Nelson, to conduct a golf clinic in Lexington, Kentucky. Hundreds came out to see Larry; and later that evening, after dinner, he shared his personal testimony and love for Jesus Christ.

    What impressed me the most was the early morning prayer meeting seven of us had with Larry in the Club’s locker room. There we dedicated the day to Jesus in sharing the Gospel. Larry prayed that his testimony would be used mightily by the Lord in leading others to Christ, and Jesus responded in a glorious way!

    Two weeks later, I watched Larry on TV compete for the 1981 PGA Championship held in Atlanta, Georgia. I quietly prayed that Larry’s faithfulness in sharing his testimony and uplifting Christ would be rewarded by the Lord. Throughout my life I have seen the Glory of God on display in wondrous ways.

    What joy I had on August 9, 1981 when Larry won his first PGA Championship on the Highlands Course at the Atlanta Athletic Club. This year he was named the 2011 recipient of the PGA Distinguished Service Award. He continues to show people his reference point: the Cross.

    What wonderful joy we have in sharing the truth of the Gospel. That joy will be magnified in inexpressible ways when we see Jesus in all His Glory.

    Love to all and a blessed weekend, Ray

  53. SFDBWV says:

    Acts 2:17, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”

    Allow me to walk with you for a little while today Gary.

    Please clarify your last questions for me, are you asking if dreams and visions that people receive outside of the church are meant to drive or influence non believers toward acceptance of Christ? As well as asking if such an action is considered “prophesy”?

    Are you insinuating that the visions Mohammad received were a prophesy? As well as from the God of the burning bush?

    If I am able to talk with you I need to understand better your questions, I apologize for not being able to do so right away, but do not wish to be guilty of being too presumptuous.


  54. SFDBWV says:

    Ray you continue to uplift and amaze me, what a marvelous story.

    Thank You


  55. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… To me, any word from God, qualifies as truth and prophesy, because it all comes to be.I was talking about dreams and visions being poured out amoung non-believers today. If Mohammad came to Christ through his visions, then they may well have been from the same source. I do not know if Mohammad was a Born Again Believer, but that does not matter here, in the point I’m trying to make, for The Anchor Point, in all my discussion that it must be Christ, or it does not qualify. So, perhaps I did not stress that point well enough. Sometimes I feel we all come from a certain understanding, but clarification never hurts. I stand corrected if needed, and confessed of my shortcomings as well.
    PS The great resulting *truth* through owns words, once written or spoken, as they stand for them, and for God sometimes! It makes one wonder who really is the author… To God Be All the Glory! Gary

  56. SFDBWV says:

    Gary I do honestly believe I understand you better. As I have said before to you, hold tightly to your faith in Christ and let that be enough.

    Be blessed


  57. bratimus says:


    When i post now i try to keep it short, try to make my point in as few words as i can. I assumed everyone knew what the Prophets of the OT did, and if not they could go read about them. As same with the disciples.

    I was going to post the same verse as Steve did, then i read that Steve posted it.

    We do know that the Apostle John had a vision of the Revelation of Christ.

    When is comes to visions or dreams as in Acts 2:17 ( every time i read this verse i have the feeling of a warning in it, like the two are not alike.)

    Anyway when it comes to vision or dreams if it doesn’t follow the outline what is in the Bible, then it is not the direction of God.

  58. SFDBWV says:

    One of my abstract enjoyments in life is reading and even some movies. I am always amazed when an author makes a profound statement through their story.

    Many years ago there was a little movie out called “Legends” I believe it to be Tom Cruise’s first film. It was a fantasy that included Unicorns, Pixies, Goblins, Witches, Giants, heroes and villains. And a character called *Nightmare* (I think).

    Nightmare was the *Prince of Darkness* and lived under a giant Oak. It was interesting that he talked to and pled with one with higher authority. Yet he was bent on winning away the innocent young girl and lured her with beautiful gems and clothing.

    When she complained that he had stolen her dreams, he laughed and said “Ah yes dreams….something I use to influence mankind.”

    Of course the whole movie is a twist on the Garden of Eden and the story of evil and good eternally at battle and in balance.

    I too have had profound dreams which I have attributed as to coming from God, the problem for me is that though I will remember the dream I never fully recognize them to be a view into my future until the future happens then I can see where the two connect.

    Of late most of my dreams I attribute to the Holy Spirit are of a nature of encouragement. Enlightenment still comes from reading His Word.

    As with anything, dreams need to be paid attention to yet, with as our friend “Bratimus” has wisely said, need to be compared to scriptures guidelines.


  59. florida7sun says:

    Reading the New York Daily News this morning there is a report that candle sales are way up. “This is not a good thing,” the reporter goes on. “They burn for seven days,” said a woman at a Brooklyn company that supplies the candles. “Sometimes you get an extra day.”

    Candlelight vigils are becoming big business.

    The sad truth is that violence roams the streets with innocent victims being shot and killed. “”We used to have one shooting a week, now we have three or four. Young people don’t feel safe in their own environment; they don’t feel safe going to school,” said Iesha Sekou, of Street Corner Resources.

    The sad truth is that candles burn out. The prince of this world seeks to kill and destroy. Wax candles, like unworthy offerings, will not cast out demons.

    There is unspeakable violence throughout the world. Only one reference point changes the human heart, and that is the Cross.

    Our Lord and Savior hung on that Cross for the entire world to see His love, His light and His truth. All of creation cries out for His redemption, and He will soon return in glory.

    The Apostle John writes, “And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the candlesticks one like unto a son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about at the breasts with a golden girdle.” – Revelation 1:12-13

    The wonder of receiving Our Daily Bread from Our Father in Heaven is that our light is replenished with oil so that it can shine in a dark place. Once lit by our Lord’s Holy Spirit it will never go out. It may dim through neglect… but He resurrects the light when we earnestly pray and draw close to Him.

    The Church needs to draw close to Jesus. The Church needs to repent of its neglect.

    There is no need to doubt or question whether He is King of kings or Lord of lords.

    Do not let the deceiver disturb your heart with doubts, questions or theories of man.

    Trust no man, but look to the Cross. In Him your light will shine brightly and never go out.

  60. oneg2dblu says:

    bratimus… thank God we are on the same page, and i trust we have read it to be the same message. But, Dreams and visions have that same bent as scripture, we could each have the same one, but then interpret it differently.
    We each have the same Saviour, from the same Gospel, from the same Author, One recieves it as a Revelation, a moment in time that “once happened,” and the other sees it as continual Transformation, which then allows, or beckons us into lifelong application.
    The only difference to me is how we choose it to be either profound presumtion, or profound perseverence.
    The Life of Christ “as lived” shows us his application, and our believing in Christ, is our given Revelation.
    His Written Word clearly needs both to be complete.
    Faith to me is likened to presumption, and Following Christ daily, is the application. We can believe in anything we want, but how we actually walk, shows the way we actually believe. In the Scriptures we were given His Words, and His Walk, and they align perfectly. Praise God! Gary

  61. oneg2dblu says:

    “You sins are forgiven you, go and sin no more!”
    His forgiveness and his commands or both given as as message from Christ. Why not believe each equally?
    One presumes we already have something, and the other demands we then act differently. But I could be wrong in my interpretation as seeing both needed to be equally applied into our lives. Its the before and after, for even our Salvation is first believed, then it is recieved. Be Blessed, Gary

  62. poohpity says:

    Where, oh where can we find another measure of truth and love that reinforces so completely the values of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty than in our Triune God, nowhere.

  63. poohpity says:

    oops Triune God? Nowhere.

  64. poohpity says:

    And I am sure that God who began the good work within you will keep right on helping you grow in His grace until His task within you is finally finished on that day when Jesus Christ returns. Phil 1:6

  65. SFDBWV says:

    I took the time to watch the “Day of Discovery” videos “If God is God, Why do Bad Things Happen?” Whereas I enjoyed the calm discussion from the featured speaker and author the whole program could have been showed in one segment.

    I appreciated the comparison of Hindu, Buddhism, New Age theology to Christianity, and the philosophical discussion of the subject from a worldly view. However I found that after watching the program I was wondering what I had just listened to and that it did not bring any revelation as to answering the question that the topic ask.

    Sorry to criticize the program and perhaps I just expected too much of a discussion on the subject, others may have been fed better than I. I would hope others out here watch and draw their own conclusions.


  66. foreverblessed says:

    Who is equal to our Jesus?
    who will come down from heaven and take up the punishment we deserve, who will? Budha, a Hindu god,
    there is no one.
    That is our Jesus, instead of throwing us in hell, He says, let me take up their sins in their stead, and let them live.

    Who will give His own life into us, so we can live the New life, the Full life,
    there is no one,
    Buddha will not give us Spirit life,
    Confusius gives wise advice, but he doesn’t give the power to live according to them.
    new age says: you have it all within yourself, go and dig in your own well.
    While God tells us we can draw from His well, a never ending well of life.
    If we only believe in Jesus, (and to add what Gary points us to) leave our old ways and follow Him, and do everything He commands us.
    1 John 3:23,24,16

  67. oneg2dblu says:

    He gave us the all the authority and power to love Him freely, and to show the world around us who does not know him, the who, what, where, when, and why, we get to Love and Serve Him. We can only do this work of loving others, when we fully realise how empowered He makes us to see we are all His Creation, and His Desire. We get to serve those He loves, by serving them with the Love He Provides. In Him we truly get to love others, if we Obey His Commands. Gary

  68. poohpity says:

    Amen Gary, that is our command to love God with everything we are and to love others as we have been loved by the Father. Who humbled Himself to become a servant to give His life as a ransom for many even those who would not accept that love if we do that we will break no laws. Finding fault, criticizing, complaining and judging is not how I would like to be treated so as God works in my life with His love it transforms me into one who will be kind, gentle, compassionate, joyful, peace loving, and full of grace because that is how I have been treated by God.

  69. poohpity says:

    With the primary reference point of how we are treated by what Jesus did we will find values of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty.

  70. florida7sun says:

    Michael Hyatt, Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, recently indicated that “there were one million books published last year just in the U.S.”

    Worldwide the total number must be staggering. So many points-of-view, expressions, ideas and opinions to read… not counting DVDs, CDs, advertorials, blogs, articles, etc.

    With so much to take in, where does one find the truth?

    As Pontius Pilate exclaimed, “What is truth?” So many voices clamoring for attention, and Truth stood silently as a Lamb going to slaughter.

    God’s Word says man, apart from the Lord Jesus, is dead in his trespasses and sins. I have discovered that there is only one truth and one reference point where truth can be found: the Cross of Christ.

    The 1828 edition of Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, defines “Truth” as “conformity to fact or reality; exact accordance with that which is, or has been, or shall be. The truth of history constitutes its whole value. We rely on the truth of the scriptural prophecies… “My mouth shall speak truth.” – Proverbs 8:7; “Sanctify them through thy truth; Thy word is truth.” – John 17:17”

    Martin DeHaan wrote: “Be on guard against any tampering with the Word, whether disguised as a search for truth, or a scholarly attempt at apparently hidden meanings; and beware of the confusion created by the senseless rash of new versions, translations, editions, and improvements upon the tried and tested Bible of our fathers and grandfathers.”

    With our guard let down the 2011 Merriam-Webster Dictionary now defines “truth” as sincerity in action, character, and utterance. The state of being the case; the body of real things, events, and facts; a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality.”

    So many voices from the crowd crying for attention; demanding an execution. So many different worldviews.

    No wonder Pilate could not discern the Truth. Truth must be earnestly sought with a whole heart, and there is only one reference Our Father in Heaven has given us.

    Definitions in a dictionary can change by man over time. However, the Lord Jesus, once dead and buried, lives in the hearts of believers. He alone is the Alpha and Omega. He alone is The Way, The Truth, and The Life.

    Praise the Lord… “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” – John 1:1-4

  71. foreverblessed says:

    Amen florida7sun: Jesus being our Anchor point, it is good to learn to love Him, and not sinning is the result of that love.

    I read this tonight, might be helpful, even if it is a bit of topic, or a bit to the side of it.

    september 13 God at eventide by twolisteners
    Cause of sin
    No longer has sin any power over you unless of your own deliberate choice.

    The surest way to safeguard yourself against any temptation to sin is to learn to love to do My Will, and to love to have that Will done in all the little as well as in all the big things in your daily life.

    So often man puzzles over this — if I have conquered sin, why is it then so powerful an enemy?

    I conquered sin.

    It has no power over any soul that does not want to sin. Then all that could lead to sin is desire.

    I lay such stress on man’s loving Me. If his love, his desire, is set on Me — he wills only to do My Will. Thus he is saved from sin.

  72. davids says:


    I also watched the DOD videos. They were interesting, but I was looking for answers, since my teens put the same question to me: why does God allow suffering and evil?

    It is an ancient question and I apologize to readers now that I am heading way off topic. No one seems to have answered this question to my satisfaction.

    It got me thinking, and then I read somewhere, “Capitalism means free, not fair”. Then an analogy struck me.

    Most of us live in societies that are mainly capitalistic. We see that a single parent of two might have less income than a young person right out of university. Some people lose their jobs, and even every thing they own, through no fault of their own.

    We accept a system that even when tempered by socialistic measures sometimes results in monstorous inequalities and injustices. Why? because we know it is the only system that has been proven to work. Over the last 30 years large parts of the world have moved from communist-inspired systems to capitlaism.

    Maybe that is the reason for evil and suffering. As painful as it is, it is the only system that causes us to turn toward God, to help others, and to look for grace.

    I am not making an economic or political point here, just trying to understand something that is hard to comprehend sometimes. I don’t suppose it will give much solace to someone that is currently suffering greatly.

  73. poohpity says:

    I do not think it has to do with answers but trust in God. People harming people (evil) has been around and will be around until that time when Jesus will make all things new and there will be no more pain or suffering (Rev 21:4). I think what the question maybe is, “what can we do in our world around us to comfort those who have experienced evil or suffering in their lives?” rather than why it is there. Realizing that we all have the tendency to harm others in some shape or form should humble us enough to seek the only one who has the power to one day make a place that is free of evil and suffering and looking forward to that day.

  74. Regina says:

    Good Evening All

    Off topic here…
    Had a long day today and I’m sleepy this evening. Hope all is well with you all. We got a serious down pour of rain last night, and we loved every minute of it! Will be praying, Della, that the Lord will send yall plenty of sunshine to dry up all of the flood waters.

    So sorry to hear about the loss of major landmarks and business opportunities in PA, but the LORD will always provide for those who put their faith and hope in Him. Thanks for the well wishes, Steve. I’ve always loved rain, but never more so than now! :-)

    Love to all,

  75. foreverblessed says:

    Davids, going off topic, I go with you, but I agree with Pooh, it is not about answers but about trust in God.
    Wait till the end, as Pooh mentioned Rev 21:4, if we are at that point, when everything is new, and then look back, and see: Yes, it was good this way, it good not have been any other way.

    There is one thing: God does not want us to suffer, but we did not want to follow Him, in the garden we left him, Adam and Eve did, but if any of us were there we would have done the same. So it is about free will, God wants us to follow Him freely.
    And besides, we do have an answer: All evil and harm is being absorbed by Jesus on the cross,
    God allows evil because He has given the cure: the Cross.
    That’s why we have no one like Jesus, no not one!
    He allows us going off track, make a mess of it, He swallows all the evil we do, and He died in that mess.
    Who is like that? Most leaders become dictators,preventing people to go wrong. Not so with God!
    Thankfully Jesus could not be hold in that grave, He rose, and gives His New Risen Life to all who believe in Him and follow Him

  76. florida7sun says:

    We live in a dimension called time, a creation of Our Father in Heaven. Before time, God foreknew us and desired that we would be created in His image having the character displayed by His Son. Our Father loves us so much that He gave us Emmanuel (God is with us) to restore the relationship God first intended. He has given us His Holy Spirit to comfort and strengthen us through His Word.

    This realm of hate and pain, doubt and despair is not of God but of Lucifer who proved to be jealous of Adam and Eve. Lucifer, once glorious; the fairest of the angelic host, now seeks to destroy any semblance of God’s character.

    Time is just for an earthly season. Beyond this dimension, in Christ, we will be face-to-face with the One who loves us beyond our earthly comprehension. The One who desires we walk with Him in Paradise in newness of life.

    As Jesus proclaimed, “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me; because Jehovah hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the year of Jehovah’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of Jehovah, that he may be glorified. – Isaiah 61:1-3

    In Heaven there will be no more pain; no more sorrow; no more death; no more despair.

    As His Blessed Bride, we will see the glory of Emmanuel and be alive with Him forevermore. Be comforted by His Living Word.

  77. oneg2dblu says:

    florida7son… correct me if I’m wrong on this,
    As you have said, “In Heaven there will be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death, no more despair.”
    I’ll add this as well, There will also be no more looking back! The things of earth will pass away, and will be so caught up in the Presence of God, looking back is not an option. No repentence for us after death, It is finished. Forgotten, and the future will only be looking forward to Praisnig, Honoring, and Giving All Glory to Almightgy God.
    Now, for those who will be “with the many” caught up in the Eternity of Hell, there may well be some soul searching going on, but I could be wrong about that. Gary

  78. SFDBWV says:

    There is an old adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” It is a mostly true statement, I say mostly because if you look at the cover of “Playboy” you can pretty well figure what is inside. Same for such publications as “Guns and Ammo”, or “Birds and Blooms”.

    So titles have become important so as to grab our attention and then of course get us to the story inside.

    In so far as asking why questions, I am beyond that, as God dealt with me on that subject long ago. The “Day of Discovery” programs on the question of “If God is God, Why do Bad Things Happen” did however spark my interest as to how RBC was answering this question. So the title grabbed my attention but the story disappointed me.

    This is the same malady that I see every day when I read the news, “USA Today” thrives off of only presenting headings without story, the internet is worse.

    So if there is any story or interest that I wish to know more about, I have to look hard at ways to be fully informed.

    Of all the books in the world, the Bible is the most misrepresented, misquoted, studied, sifted and yes attacked.

    God gave us this “Book” as a reference point to enable us to dig into the subject for answers or for leading. He also gave His Church the Holy Spirit so as to lead us to all Truths. Jesus being that fulfillment of *Truth*.

    No modern book, no story, no catchy article or persons opinion is able to satisfy as does the *Living Word of God”. I must remember this when thumbing through publication about life issues and answers to them. As my reference points will always remain anchored in Christ.

    Rain again this morning in West Virginia and warmer at 56 degrees.


  79. florida7sun says:

    Gary, the beautiful hymn by Helen Lemmel (“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”) speaks volumes to my heart. I have been among people that curse God and those who have His light shining in their hearts. I agree. When we see the glory of our Lord and Savior, “there will also be no looking back.” Praise the Lord!

    We are troubled in this life when we take our eyes off Jesus. We sink like Peter when the tempest arrives at our doorstep. Like you, I have discovered that faith is complete trust in our Lord and Savior.

    My Mom passed away several years ago. She told me she was dying. In hospice food and water was removed.

    She loved the Lord with all her heart. It pained me to see her slowly leave, and there were tears in her eyes as she enter the canal of her transition into Heaven. However, her eyes were on Jesus, the author and perfector of her faith. She is now part of the cloud of witnesses that surround us.

    Those of us who love the Lord Jesus can claim victory in His death, burial and resurrection. He indwells you, Steve, Pooh, Bob, foreverblessed, and all BTA contributors that look forward to His soon return.

    You have all been a blessing to me.

    Here is Helen Lemmel’s hymn we can all sing in unison:

    “O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free!


    “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
    In the light of His glory and grace.

    “Through death into life everlasting He passed, and we follow Him there; O’er us sin no more hath dominion—
    For more than conqu’rors we are! His Word shall not fail you—He promised; Believe Him, and all will be well:
    Then go to a world that is dying, His perfect salvation to tell!

    God bless you all, Ray

  80. oneg2dblu says:

    Ray… you bless us all as well. “Oh Christ be the center of our lives, be the place we fix our eyes.”
    Where would we all be today, if God had not left us with His Marvelous Word, Jesus the Christ. The truth the light, and the very life we all aspire to be in daily? Praise His Holy Name! How blessed are those who He has called to truly know Him, and how blessed are we to be able to Confess this very same Jesus, as Our Personal Saviour?
    To see also the fields “white for harvest” as He quickens us. This is our time, our place, our challenge, and He makes it all possible. His Promises Eternal, and His Provision, never ending as well. Gary

  81. poohpity says:

    I thought the DOD program was very enlightening and interesting about the different views that people have of evil and suffering. It also impressed me that those in the midst of the most horrible evil found God while the atheists who denied that there is a god until they blamed Him for evil which is contrary to His very nature. It is so interesting to see how many people can watch the same story and get totally different takes on it’s relevance and significance. I guess it may be due to coming from different reference points. Shows to go ya don’t it. :-)

  82. davids says:

    Poohpity and ForeverBlessed, you are right. As a believer, I have faith, trust, and comfort. I don’t need answers.

    But as the father of two teens, someone that sometimes discusses his faith with non-believers, I am expected to give answers. I can’t just say, “Well, it’s because of Adam and Eve”, or, “It’s all Satan’ fault”.

    A stumbling block that people have when looking at our faith is, “If God is omnipotent, why does he allow such suffering?” That is what I was trying to address in my comment, but I might be wrong.

  83. bratimus says:

    i haven’t watched the DOD, when it comes to the question

    If God is God, why do bad things happen.

    Because God is God, God gave man the gift of free will.

    davids say he doesn’t want to tell his teens that eating from the tree of knowledge which Adam and Eve did its not because of that or that it is satans fault.

    This is the beginning of why bad things happen.

    Through out the Bible when bad things start happening is when we turn from God.

  84. poohpity says:

    When I had children at home or even now when they ask a question and I do not know the answer I simply say, “I don’t know” because I want them to understand that I do not have all the answers nor does anyone else and it is ok to admit that.

  85. SFDBWV says:

    For all who found the DOD video enlightening, I am sure you would have enjoyed the program that was featured on PBS last evening.

    It compared Hinduism with Buddhism and Judaism and somehow just skirted Christianity.

    Check your local listing it may be on again.



  86. foreverblessed says:

    Davids, I pray that you may receive wisdom to answer the questions. My children are out of their teen years, I do not think they liked my answers to their questions: something like: God does not want the evil, but He also wants free will. All the hurt can be turned around through the cross of Jesus.
    Anyway, I do not think they liked my answers. Now after a few years, I realise, that they wanted to go their own way, so my answers had to be wrong for them, if they were right, they had no reason not to follow God. WHile they want to be the master in their own life, they think it weak to give your life over to Someone else.
    I pray for them, and for your children, that God will talk to their hearts, that that Someone else is nobody less then Jesus, the One who made us, and who knows our own hearts and mind and needs better then we do. He is a better Master of our lives then we ourselves.
    I pray that God may open the eyes of their hearts to Jesus.

    Florida7sun That song: turn your eyes upon Jesus, is so beautiful..!
    First time I heard is was Cynthia Clawson, she sings it very slowly, but with such intent.
    When we look into the face of Jesus, all the things of this earth, the evil the hurt, will grow strangely dim in the light of HIs glory and grace

  87. poohpity says:

    Steve, most of the time when any article, book or program is made I usually check to see who is presenting the information and what their reference point is to understand their bias. I have found that shows on PBS, Discovery and History channel come from a secularist bias as well as a lot of news papers and news shows come from the far left so I try and get the other side’s opinions or observations before I come to any conclusions. Some truths are in the minds of the person delivering the information from their slant, perspective or biases.

  88. oneg2dblu says:

    What a great day to love one another. As Mart has so tactfully said, “How important it is to be able to honor together the values of truth and love without seeing ourselves, (or another’s bias) as the measure
    of either. Easier said then done, But, I could be biased and not fully undersdtand the anchor point he has given us. Have a blessed day as you encounter His Grace and spply it generously to others. Gary

  89. davids says:

    ForeverBlessed, thank you for your prayers. I think you know the challenges of raising children in a culture where Christianity is widely derided.

    With Mart, I celebrate the growth of the faith in Asia and other parts of the world, but I am pained to see the continual deterioration in Europe. There are millions here that also are thirsty. We need to pray for these people also, and not just look down on them as those fallen away.

  90. SFDBWV says:

    Davids and foreverblessed, you both are touching upon a subject that knows neither boundary nor nationality. It would seem that there is and has been a great falling away from our faith.

    Where to place the blame or how to correct the problem has been the bane of all the leaders of Christian denominations for quite some time.

    It would appear that since the coming of the industrial age there has been an adverse effect to people’s faith and especially Christianity.

    The real culprit is of course Satan or at least man’s desire for things forbidden from him. However the more choices people have the more opportunity to make the wrong choice.

    We discuss a great many issues here and though mature Christians can understand suffering and what appears as defeat as temporary, that it grows our faith and that in the end we are rewarded for that.

    That is a difficult sales pitch for non believers and especially developing minds of children.

    We can’t tell people that by believing in our faith they are immune to the many faces of evil that exist in the world. In fact by allying ourselves with Christ we are pitted against everything the world sees as desirable. And bad things will still happen!

    Which always brings the conversation around to punishment; Telling people that if you don’t believe as we you are going to spend an eternity of conscious suffering, isn’t a good selling point either.

    If we stick to our reference points of what the Bible says and to the gentle forgiving spirit Jesus brought to the world and not add to any of it then we can present our faith to children and non believers in a way they can accept it.

    Of course then there is the multitude of people who see everything differently and will argue with their last breath that they are right and I am wrong

    In the USA there is a running joke that the framers of our country wrote our constitution, bill of rights and established our written law in a printable display that couldn’t fill a magazine today. However now there exists libraries of amendments and explanations of what was said in a much simple and smaller format.in the beginning.

    So I have to say that we must present the simple truth of the gospel to people, believe on Jesus of Nazareth to be the son of God, believe that he died on the cross and rose from death by His own power and that through this act of sacrifice all of mankind can be reconciled to God. Believe this and you are forgiven, all of your past sins and God will give you new desires and the proper helper of Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit.

    When we start adding to this, we deviate from the simple and complicate the presentation of the Gospel and place stumbling blocks in the way of those we are trying to lead to salvation..

    In my simple opinion church has failed on several levels and though this may play into the story as there being a great falling away of the faith, we have to back up to the beginning and quit adding to what God said and present Him as He has stated and show enough faith to let that be enough to reach others on its own merits. Romans is one of the best letters of Paul to start from.

    Sorry to have gone on so long, this just grew; I guess I am as guilty as any for going on too long and not keeping it simple.


  91. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… God’s simple truth takes many or us a lifetime to express. You’ve done it much justice in your words today. I am blessed to have read such sinple truth, from a true believer. Who else can we love today, using God’s simple truth? Or who will accept it even if it goes against well learned past priciples, traditions, and practices? Think of where we once came from, and what His simple truth has already done for us.
    Be Blessed! Gary

  92. oneg2dblu says:

    Just to think of those who now think, that Hell is just an unending party with one’s friends who are also destined to go there, as they laugh about their current position of ungodliness and unbelief. Perhaps we could teach, happy is the man on the road to self-destruction, for he will truly be among many friends. Simple truth has many forms, as perversion is just perfect for the perverts, but, it is also forbidden in the Word of God, and thus it is called sin for a reason. It separates!! It is not forever forgiven by one’s past momment of long lost salvation, as they live like the Devil today, feeling Grace covers them forever. Simple truth to me is this…Just as this Grace we live under today is of this present age, so is His Judgement against unrepented sin embraced forever in the Eternal. Your sins are forgiven, IF, you believe, repent, and obey. Beleive repent and ignore without any falling away is not written the the Old Word, or God’s Original Word. His Original Constitution cannot be radified, ammended, or changed by our modern beliefs, and popular thinking.

  93. bubbles says:

    Evolution is trash and a lie straight out of hell.

    This is not being written in response to what anyone has said here.

    I am just sick of how so many things in every day life has evolutionary slants and references.

    I will never teach it as fact. I will always ask questions that will cause others to consider the “facts presented” may not be “facts” after all.

  94. bubbles says:

    Sorry to have changed the conversation. . . I have not even read the comments on this topic.

  95. SFDBWV says:

    Bubbles, How delightful to have read your angst this morning. Thank you for the smile. It has to be very difficult for you as a teacher to be presented with evolution as a teaching fact from your teaching material.

    When Matthew was a student he used to defend the early earth age and creationism in his science class. His teacher became a friend of mine and she always asked me to go on her field trips with her class.

    She too is a Christian who as a teacher was forced to present evolution to her students in silent protest.

    She has since married a Christian man who is also a science teacher and they have a science museum with a creation slant up near Wheeling, at least that was the last I heard of them as it has been many years since those days.

    I think believing creation is as vital to our faith as our Bible begins with it, if we choose not to believe that, what else will we pick and choose to not believe?


  96. SFDBWV says:

    I watched a very interesting program on PBS last evening about Catholicism. It was part of a larger multi volume program on Christianity and the church.

    The first program, about 40 minutes, centered on who Jesus was and is. I found it to be an excellent representation of our Lord.

    The second program centered on who or what God is. I found this program to be very intellectual in its approach to attempt to explain that God can’t be explained or more specifically controlled by man.

    If the programs continued on I missed out on the remainder of them as it was lights out for us, I will not be purchasing the set from PBS but will be looking to see if the programs are on line.

    I found it somewhat neat that 4 hours on Christianity followed up 1 hour of fragmented information on other religions in our world. It would seem even PBS does the will of God without realizing it.

    One major abstract point I deeply agreed with from the Priest commentator is that the symbol of the Cross is vital to our faith and as I see it disappearing from my nations institutions it is easy to see the results.

    Reference points…The Triune Spirit of God and His written history with man, the Bible.


  97. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    Still praying for you, Mart, in your travels and your fellowship with your co-workers. As Steve expressed above:

    “Reference points…The Triune Spirit of God and His written history with man, the Bible.”

    It is vital, as political and military lions and tigers and bears terrorize the countryside in our day, that we do not fall asleep to something like the “Three Self Patriotic Movement.” To Christians outside Asia, that pseudo-spiritual name for repression of religious expression seem stupid. Our brothers and sisters in Christ in the ROC have to deal with government action every day — and cling to their anchor in danger. We hold fast to our God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit — and to the Holy Scriptures he has given us. Christ has the final victory! — Maru

  98. florida7sun says:

    Bubbles and Steve, thank you for your posts. The big battle for souls is between 1) the humanistic view of man built upon the theory of evolution, and 2) the Biblical view of man built upon Truth as written in the Word of God.

    All around us is the dimension of EVIL magnified by man in his own selfish pursuits: SIN. Yet God so loved us he gave His Only Begotten Son so that we may LIVE eternally in Christ. Evolution is man’s made-up theory to justify his or her carnality. Theories are no substitute for Truth. Theories evolve over time.

    There is only One Truth: Truth that was. Truth that is, and Truth that will always be. That Truth died for us and rose again. His Name is I AM, more commonly known as Jesus.

    This morning I read that scientists at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) may have discovered particles that travel faster than the speed of light. “It’s a shock. It’s going to cause us problems, no doubt about that – if it’s true,” said Stephen Parke, head theoretician at the Fermilab near Chicago.

    Man’s theories evolve over time with each new generation and technological development. Even man’s declaration that nothing can move faster than the speed of light is under review by new discoveries in science.

    The Cross is our only reference point raised on a sure foundation: the Truth.

    Man’s free-will choice is EVIL or LIVE in knowledge of His Word and the comfort of His Spirit through acceptance of Our Father’s Precious Gift.

  99. SFDBWV says:

    Maru you speak volumes when you talk of the struggles of Chinese Christians and what I have to imagine is worse in North Korea.

    I have seen a few documentaries attempting to reach and aid these people who are in the battle of expressing their faith and a government that outlaws it.

    I am humbled and shamed by these marvelous people who place everything they have in jeopardy for Christ.

    I remember seeing the same attempt to repress Christ in the old USSR, that fell and I pray for the continued failure of communism to bring down the barriers in Asia as well.

    I remember when I was in Viet Nam the strong presence of the Catholic Church, especially in the area around what was the beautiful walled city of Hue. The Tet offensive in 1968 reduced it to rubble. I hope the church is alive and well there again.


  100. Toml5169 says:

    Good morning to all!
    I have been listening and contemplating more lately than posting and I have been very blessed by all of you. However I want to assure Bubbles that evolution is right on topic when discussing anchor points. Creation is a foundation of our faith that is under great attack and for good reason. When asked about divorce Jesus went back to “the beginning”, Luke traces the lineage of Jesus back to “Adam the son of God”. The very first promise of God’s salvation is found in Genesis “you will bruise his heel but He will crush your head”. If the original sin narrative is not truth and Adam and Eve are just an allegory then the entire basis of Jesus sacrifice is meaningless. As you know Ken Hamm has a lot to say about how the best way to attack the cross is remove the foundation; which is what evolution does. So thank you bubbles for bringing up a very critical anchor point of our faith. God bless all of you who try to bring truth to this lie in places where fiction is taught as fact.
    Be blessed

  101. oneg2dblu says:

    Great day to love on others. Ken Hamm has both the science degrees and the given spirit to back him up in all he claims and portrays for us who must live with this constant battle of the evolutionists. Their theories have a real hard time standing up against the reality of the fossil record, and the Bible, that each align with a perfection that man alone could never create. God bless him for his truth revealing work, museum, and testimony.
    His work is bible based and scientifically correct in every way, but those sold on ignoring it, will ignore it to their own deceptive delight. Let us love them anywsy, maybe they are still teachable, and what better way is there then to show them through the Love of Christ, which is our living fossil record within us, for it will stand for us after we are rerturned to the dust which the bible claims we all came from, even those evolutionists among us.

  102. remarutho says:

    Hi Steve!

    I am reading in what news there is out of China that church leaders are, as you say, placing everything in jeopardy for Christ. They still stay out of harm’s way as much as possible, but they do not associate with the TSPM. Those church leaders who try to work within the political system must always compromise the purity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    It is humbling to think what freedom we have in the USA — and that we so seldom exercise that freedom to proclaim Jesus as Lord — while the body of Christ is growing at a prodigious rate in China because people see their need for what Mart is calling the “measure of truth and love that reinforces so completely the values of persons, relationships, trust, and honesty,” that is, the blessed Savior of the world — God’s Messiah Jesus. Sometimes I am tempted to wonder: What does it take to reveal the Light of the world?

  103. poohpity says:

    I believe Maru that as long as we leave the full measure of truth and love in the hands of God and not believe that we are the measure of either of them then the Light will truly be revealed to the world. Allowing God to be the final judge of the peoples righteousness because of His perfect justice and flawless character will permit that Light to shine on God rather than on anything we can do, say or think.

  104. remarutho says:

    Hi Pooh!

    I believe the church is asleep in the Light.

    I say that because the contrast between the church in Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) and the church in Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) is so striking. Persecution makes the love of Christ burn white-hot in the hearts of the saints. Wealth and power seem to damp it down. I make the church in China to be like the one in Smyrna — the church in the USA like the one in Laodicea.

    The Lord loves his church — and even the whole world!

  105. SFDBWV says:

    Maru whereas I am sure you were not looking for quick clear answers to your question of “What does it take to reveal the Light of the world?” It did prompt me to a very quick thought in my spirit.

    We somehow must come to the realization that we are only part of a whole and that as a whole we can do much more to shine Christ’s light then any of us can alone.

    We must not be individuals but members of the “Church” in whatever capacity God enables us to be.

    Ah then “there is the rub”, as Shakespeare said.

    What church, which denomination….A great and terrible thing this is for the Church to be divided. Divided we are weaker and divided we are at war with our own members. A great victory for our enemy. Somehow we must get past the differences we harbor and dwell on the basics of our faith as a whole and be reunited in Christ alone.

    Just some thinking, Blessings to you and all.


  106. poohpity says:

    Maru, what I was trying to get across was just what Mart had said when we think that we (human kind) are any measure of the truth and love we proclaim, our message will me marred. On one hand we may have experienced the results of seeing the light but when it really comes down to it we as human beings are limited by space, time and our sinful nature and wanting people to look at us as Christians will do great harm to where the focus should actually be unless we direct the attention to the Lord who is the full measure of truth and love then we tend to take pride in ourselves and that shows that we truly are not any measure of truth and love. That full measure is only found in the Trinity.

  107. poohpity says:

    I do not feel I can look at the church in anyway and judge her because as I walk in the doors I bring my imperfections and that if I really understand the truth is why I need the faithful unmeasurable love of Christ. I have to admit I have judged the Church until the Lord pointed out to me, “Who are you to judge my bride? You along with all others need the full measure of my mercies and the covering of the atoning blood of the Lamb.” I was so very convicted and that truly humbled me to get the tiny glimpse of the truth not about anyone else but just about how I can not measure up without the Lord’s work.

    To me there is part of all the different churches in Revelations in all of us and only God is the measuring stick and trust me none of measure up but by only His grace are we allowed to come into a relationship with the Lord of all creation for now and eternity. I think that would allow the Light to show to the world if they really understand that we have been given forgiveness and mercy and it has nothing to do with us it is all about God.

  108. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… I do not see “the rub” about what church, or what denomination. But I do see the rub, in that there must continue to be this division in the church as we know it today, because as Paul has said, the wolves have already slipped in amoung us!
    So, we have those who can do “great looking church,” and those who serve Only Christ, by actually following his commands, and serving him.
    Unfortunately, we have to discern with the Holy Spirit in us, which is which, before we end up following their great sounding doctrines instead of following Christ.
    We can only know a good tree by its fruit, and those branches that do not produce good fruit… they will be cut off and thrown in the fire.
    We have boatloads of dead wood in the churches today,
    and because of false teaching they fail to repent and turn to God, instead they are hiding in the garden/church.
    I know, that you know what I’m talking about here, and thank God, Paul could use some very strong and clear words to identify “who” those wolves are. That is precisely why we have the same amount of divorced, addicted, drunkards, gamblers, and the rest which produce this discord you speak of, by those very sin bearing spiritually dead souls, we become as the rest of world, statistically. We, “the tainted church,” are no greater fruit bearing tree, then the world around us. We are dripping wet with the sin producing unchanged, who will not repent. I do not know if you experienced the worldwide telecast with Ann Grahm Lotts, but she addressed “this church” you speak of, and her message was none other than, we, the church people, all must Repent! If we really search our souls, we all know this is true. Sin is rampant in the church today, and no denomination can escape that truth.
    We must make a change, or we are no greater than the world, who now follow anything they desire… Gary

  109. phpatato says:

    I am thinking that the “church” today is without a voice. It is without leadership. My mind goes to Rev Billy Graham. It seems to my ears that the church has gone silent since he has stopped preaching.

    Stadiums are used for hockey and footballs games now. Sad isn’t it?

  110. remarutho says:

    I agree it is a great gift to have our delusions put down by the working of the Holy Spirit. My question about the church in the United States is: How much do we compromise with the ways of the world?

    The temptation to prosper by cooperating with the communist government in China is strong. No more harassment – no more having pastors and youth leaders put in jail – simply compromise the content of what you preach and teach – just go along with the Three Self Patriotic Movement. The house churches of China are growing and bringing the gospel message and keeping their integrity – even though they are breaking the law of the land.

    Let us not pretend that the church in the USA is not distracted by the temptations of the world, though we have no official repression of our freedoms. The current form of denominational church is passing away. A more radical way of following Jesus is coming into being here. Jesus’ message to the church at Laodicea is: “…you say, ‘I am rich. I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich…I reprove and discipline those whom I love.” (Revelation 3:17-19) It seems to me that message is for the denominational church in the USA.

    If the church in America is not compromised, Poohpity, then what I am saying does not apply.


  111. SFDBWV says:

    It is always odd to me how what we are discussing pops up in other mediums. Yesterday I read a news story in a newspaper in the Ottawa Citizen about the Pope rebuffing a plea from the Lutheran Church for compromise, and warned of a “new form of Christianity” that poses a challenge to mainline Protestants and Catholics alike.

    While not naming them he is referring to Evangelical and Pentecostal Churches that are attracting converts from more traditional churches.

    It is no wonder to me why non believers are confused and consider Christianity to be filled with hypocrisy.

    In the study of the book of Revelation, it is believed that the Holy Spirit is exposing a layered meaning behind the messages to the churches. First of all each church mentioned was an actual church, but then it seems that each church mentioned is also seen as a church age and lastly each church mentioned can be seen an individuals heart.

    I know of no better source to look for what Christ sees as proper and improper behavior of the Church than in the direct messages to the churches given in Revelation 2-3.

    If I look at the messages as being prophetic and showing the Church ages, it would seem that in general we are in the age of the church of Laodicea.

    But take heart Jesus though is angry with this church He is still offering a way to make things right….He is at the door knocking and ready to come in and fellowship with any who hear his voice (faith comes by hearing and hearing the Word of God).

    There is always hope through Jesus of Nazareth the Christ.


  112. remarutho says:

    Amen Steve!

    There is always hope in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. And his church is the agent of that deliverance, mercy, grace and salvation here and now.

    The apostle John reports:

    “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’”

    “He said to me: It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life…'” (Revelation 21:5-6)

    Surely we are called to change our ways if we have been slow in following him! Lord willing, I am teachable and will follow him when it is “too demanding.”


  113. SFDBWV says:

    Interesting also is the commentary given by a Rabbi who teaches at Georgetown University in one of the shows I *happened upon* on PBS this week. The Rabbi states that God never says He is the way, but that He shows the way through His law.

    Then on a following day and different program a Priest explains the uniqueness of Jesus as boldly asking His disciples “whom do men say that I the Son of man am?”(Matthew 16: 13) and proclaiming that He alone is the way (John 14: 6).

    Jesus of Nazareth the light of the world (John 8: 12).

    We are given a very clear choice, to either walk in darkness fumbling around searching for the worlds versions of truth.
    Or accept the Truth of Jesus of Nazareth and be enlightened and able to see by His light.

    An equal and added Amen to you as well Maru.


  114. oneg2dblu says:

    What a Blessed day to love others! My thoughts are today for the Chinese as well as the rest of us in this whole world. What Denomination is Christ calling us to?Absolutely None! He calls us to Himself right where we are, He doesn’t wait for us in some hollowed place on earth created by man. He waits within our next breath, trhought, and action. We choose how we walk in it, we choose which church we go to, we choose which doctrine we will support, but none of those are HIM. He calls us to not conform to the world, but be separated from it by the “discerning spirit” He places in us. We either hear and obey “that spirit,” or we choose to not obey it, and for ourselves our own destruction. It is the two great voices in the mind of man, even the one who knows Christ as well, but each man chooses differently today, and that is how we see the fruit they bare. Be Blessed as you choose Him over the world today, and let the world slip on the fallen fruit that they desire, if they so choose. We can’t change them either, but by His Spirit, they can choose to walk closer to Him…
    Be Blessed, Gary

  115. remarutho says:

    Just wondering, Steve, since I have not read the article you mention, exactly what Pope Benedict was referring to. You quoted:

    “…the Pope rebuffing a plea from the Lutheran Church for compromise, and warned of a “new form of Christianity” that poses a challenge to mainline Protestants and Catholics alike.”

    I do recall that year before last the Luteran Church made very bold to compromise not something small, but the very definition of “ordination” and “marriage.” When the national body of Lutherans (ELCA) met, they passed church law permitting their clergy to be in and to perform same sex unions. Or perhaps it was ordaining women…

    Could it be the Pope was talking about one of these massive shifts in church doctrine? Perhaps I’d better find the article, or the statement by the Pope — since I am laboring in ignorance on this!


  116. remarutho says:

    On the ecumenical meeting of Pope Benedict and the Lutheran Church. Excerpt from Pope Benedict’s remarks on ecumenism:

    “The risk of losing this, sadly, is not unreal. I would like to make two points here. The geography of Christianity has changed dramatically in recent times, and is in the process of changing further. Faced with a new form of Christianity, which is spreading with overpowering missionary dynamism, sometimes in frightening ways, the mainstream Christian denominations often seem at a loss. This is a form of Christianity with little institutional depth, little rationality and even less dogmatic content, and with little stability. This worldwide phenomenon poses a question to us all: what is this new form of Christianity saying to us, for better and for worse? In any event, it raises afresh the question about what has enduring validity and what can or must be changed – the question of our fundamental faith choice.” (Cyberbrethren – Lutheran Blog; from Romereports.com)

    It seems to me, Steve, without reading the full text of the long process between Rome and the Lutheran Church, the Pope is talking about the swift spread of the gospel in the 2/3 world — not some specific doctrinal difference…

    In my humble opinion, as Poohpity has said, we cannot judge this huge surge in the world — e.g. China, other parts of Asia, South America — we are too close to the phenomenon to see what the Lord (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) sees. (Something like ants on an oreo, as one commentator put it.) It is clear that this “new Christianity,” as the Pope calls it, is often in direct opposition to the governing powers in the world.

    Denominations build infrastructure — Jesus movements do not put down roots. I cannot call this outcome! God is good — all the time!


  117. SFDBWV says:

    Maru, The story I quote is found in the September 23rd edition of the Ottawa Citizen. One of the issues expressed was the matter of allowing Lutherans to receive the Holy Communion when married to a Catholic.

    The Pope stated that he had no “ecumenical gift” to offer, as well as saying “faith could not be negotiated”.

    The story is longer as there are 18 speeches and 4 days of his visit to report and many of the issues you mentioned may be reported or not in other venues.

    I found the article while browsing a web site, Rapture Ready news.


  118. poohpity says:

    There has been a problem with religious syncretism or heresy since the early church which is what Paul was addressing in the book of Colossians. People for as long as the first church even trying to blend Judaism with what Christ taught by following the law verses Christ atoning death plus nothing equals salvation. It seems that those who pursue the truth will find it and those who wish to mix false doctrine or theologies to form their own churches and beliefs will be the tares that will be allowed to grow along side the wheat. In the end it will be the angels of the Lord that will separate them. It is up to each individual to seek the truth and it has been obvious that during conversations about different doctrines we are unable in our human strength to cause anyone the change their minds on the way they currently think and it just causes anger, dissension, division and grief.

    If we trust God to reveal the truth, who is the source, then our time would be better served doing what the Lord has given us to do. The truth can be presented and then the Reference Point is established but only God can change a persons heart but we do not by our behavior and need to be right have to push them away from having the chance to know and understand the truth. We do not have to put down the church because it is not perfect because in each church there will be those who just go on worship day and do not follow the the rest of the week but maybe one day they will so we have to be careful when we put down the church because we are the church, the body of Christ. Just as there are no perfect memberships into that body that humbles us to look to the only perfect one and keep our eyes on Him alone.

  119. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart & Friends!

    As you travel in Asia, Mart, you must be seeing a great variety in churches — or ministries — as you go. In the conversation here, I am struck by the conclusion the prophet Jeremiah drew in the great siege, defeat and exile of Judah by Babylon.

    The weary prophet was given the vision of two baskets of figs. One was very good — fresh and good to eat. The other was spoiled and not fit to eat. The Lord told Jeremiah that the basket of good fruit was Judah in exile “for their own good.” (Jeremiah 24:5) The basket of rotten fruit was those who remained in Jerusalem and Egypt. They would receive “trouble.”

    It is a wonder that such upheaval and destruction led to the preservation of a faithful remnant under the “care” of the Chaldeans — the enemy. Those who clung to the land under Zedekiah, and who kept the old ways, were to become a “taunt and curse.” (Jeremiah 24:9)

    I am praying for the persecuted church in Asia, especially North Korea and China.


  120. poohpity says:

    Zechariah one of the minor prophets revealed one of the most hopeful books of the bible presenting the most apocalyptic and messianic messages of how dependence and trust in God and not taking matters into our own hands results in mighty works from God bringing unity to His followers and restoration from all over the world.

  121. oneg2dblu says:

    Maru..Speaking of people as basket of figs, some good and some bad, reminds me of this story about wise old man who was in his tent trying to eat his dinner of a great looking bowl of figs. He bit into the first one and found a worm inside, so he did not eat it. When the next few had the same result, he knew he had a both real hunger and a real problem. So, he blew out his candle, and in the “new found darkness” of his tent, he enjoyed the rest of the bowl.
    Here’s my take is this, many of those in churches today, who now happily recieve the watered-down word of
    Inclusivity to suit their unrepentant, sinnig masses, actually blow out the light of the word, through this false doctrine of being able to go on sinning freely and still being okay with God. Go fig-ure! Gary

  122. poohpity says:

    Mart, all I can say is I miss your wisdom, gentleness and kindness. I miss the new things you give me to think about and how I hear Jesus voice through the articles you post. It has been to long for me. :-)

  123. Toml5169 says:

    Amen Pooh
    I think it is good to remember that we see the church through our own lens. The church in America may in general resemble the church of Laodecia however if you were in North Korea or China I doubt that would be the lens with which you viewed the church. This amazing blood bought bride of Christ is not mine to judge nor is it adorned by my works; but by the precious blood and righteousness of Christ. I believe it was Pooh who made a great post earlier about not judging the body and bride of Christ. Please don’t misunderstand me as I agree with the believers around the world that the church in the US is clueless when it comes to trials and suffering, however the purification of us is more in the hands of Jesus than anything I can achieve. I find when I (and I am speaking for myself here) find fault with the church it is usually because I see it in myself. It is so much easier to speak of the problems with the church in general or in a vague others than to admit to this in me. Just as Jesus is refining me He is also refining His bride; of which I am an unworthy part. I believe the church in the US and in parts of Europe is facing a great tribulation which it is woefully unprepared,but I also believe Jesus knows best how to refine His bride. Just something to consider.
    Humbly a part of the Bride.

  124. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh and Tom… you both agree that your works are but filthy rags, and do nothing to change the church.
    I understand how humbling a position that employs.
    But… if we are to Follow Christ?
    Shall we wait for the spirit of Heaven till we get there, or cultivate it here and now?
    I only ask for others who are out there getting their hands and feet dirty every day for Him, while others who also follow,claim they can do nothing. This overly humble posture reeks of something, and I do not want to label it incorrectly, so would you define it for those of us, who must wash our own feet and the feet of others every day!
    How about Mart, is he also doing nothing for His Church as well?

  125. oneg2dblu says:

    What a glorious day to love others, but that may take some work on my part as well! Just thinking out loud and wondering how doing nothing really helps? Gary

  126. Toml5169 says:

    I was not referring to what I do for but what I say about the body of Christ. I get my hands “dirty” every day. If you want to get an idea how visit portlandrescuemission.org

  127. oneg2dblu says:

    Tom…Although I have not checked out that site yet I know you are a worker for the Lord, as we all others here are. Just thinking out loud about issues that may stifle others, as we all need to learn it somewhere.
    Be Blessed as you love others today. Now, I will go back and look it up! Gary

  128. oneg2dblu says:

    Tom… that is a never ending work. As Christ said, we will always have the poor with us, and He himself had no place on earth that we would call a home, to lay his head either.
    Every Christ Follower has an unending mission and the only thing that can cancel it is to choose to say, “I can do nothing.” Those words are so prophetic and cause many fall asleep on the job as a result of such, even the Disciples failed to obey at times, and slumbered!
    Our Mission started the day we met the Lord for the first time, finding He is Alive and Living in us, as
    He Blesses us with His Presence! Gary

  129. poohpity says:

    Gary, I do not feel the need to defend my relationship with the Lord or the service or suffering that is experienced everyday doing that service. I only speak that it is not my job now nor will it ever be to judge anothers relationship with the Lord and I do not take credit for any of the work that is done through me for others. It is now and will always be the Lord’s job to wake those who slumber, to change things in us that makes Jesus sad and forgive those who may admit to their daily sin. Your judgment holds no merit or conviction for me because it comes from you, straight from your heart not what the Lord teaches in His word. It normally is all about you and your opinions which I find sad and faulty. :-(

  130. Toml5169 says:

    Again I say amen!
    You seem to always revert to assuming those who focus on the Grace of God and His work in us as our only source of hope as doing nothing and sitting around in delusions, inactivity and sin. I have wanted all day to respond but have restrained myself from doing so. I now lay in bed and type on my phone as the Spirit within me will not let me sleep. You stated that the attitude expressed by Pooh and myself reeked of something. The truth is, speaking for myself, I know I reek of sin. Without the blood of Christ covering me daily I am a putrid stench of death. Yes all my works are as filthy rags and bring nothing to the kingdom. My work at the mission is in no way an effort to substantiate my faith, righteousness or assure my place in the kingdom. I work their solely because that is where God has placed me. It makes me no better or worse than any member of the Body of Christ. The only good that comes from my being there is all what Jesus does through Himself, bringing glory to the Father as He rescues shattered lives.
    Now to what is keeping me awake; your pious attitude and judgmental spirit offends me because I believe it offends the Grace of God brought about through Jesus death. Your attitude of superiority does more harm to the Body of Christ than you can ever know. I can assure you that tbe theology you express would be of little or no value in the ministry where I serve my Lord. We are all addicts of sin and will never be freed completely. Admission of that does not mean I sit back and accept sin but it does mean in the fight against it I will praise the grace of God that covers the stench you smell in so many. Jesus didn’t come to judge the world but to save it; I ask only that you try to follow in His steps. To amen Pooh; this makes me sad.

  131. Toml5169 says:

    To all
    I am going to leave for a time. I may keep reading but just feel frustrated within at this time and will keep quiet for a season.
    Steve: I have always been amazed at your ability to express truth and thought. Your teaching on prophets earlier I greatly appreciated.
    You all have inspired and challenged me greatly. You encourage me in knowing how profoundly you live out your faith.
    Mart: Thank you and all at RBC for the impact you have on this small group and the church at large. Keep the faith my brother.
    I greet you all with a holy kiss.
    Be blessed and a blessing.

  132. SFDBWV says:

    There is an old saying that company like fish start to stink after a few days.

    Whereas it is totally unfair to expect Mart to read daily this blog or to be able to participate as we all wish he could, what always seems to happen when a topic stays up too long is that it grows stale and becomes then a venue for negative energy.

    Many times I as well as others have expressed our displeasure at being drawn into a disagreeable conversation with unreasonable people. The great problem is that no one can reason with an unreasonable attitude.

    Tom does a great service for Christ and his fellow men in the way God has provided for him to. How I envy being able to center and concentrate all my energies for Christ.

    However I am pulled in many directions and it would seem clear that God has placed me in each and every direction. That in each I must put Christ’s face forward and apply Godly wisdom. That there is a battle around every corner and each battle takes something from me.

    Yesterday was far too busy for me to spend here on the blog, but I want to be able to stop in at least and say hello to my friends and maybe just maybe be a blessing to someone.

    Life is a battlefield, whereas we are all in the infantry in this world sometimes we also double up as corpsmen or medics and even sometimes just a back for someone to lean up against.

    I hope where ever God has placed you today that you are filled with Him and at peace.


  133. remarutho says:

    Hello Tom!

    I only wish to express my regret at your turmoil. I posted on Saturday morning — with no clue of pointing to any individual! If any of my rambling posts have hurt you, or questioned your motives in kingdom work, I apologize. My intention, in part, is to express my own (sometimes conflicted) thoughts and feelings about this amazing walk with our Lord Jesus. I hope to interact creatively and thoughtfully with any and all.

    You wrote:

    “The only good that comes from my being there is all what Jesus does through Himself, bringing glory to the Father as He rescues shattered lives.”

    No follower of Christ could say it better!
    Whether a saint sharpens the pencils in the pew rack — or travels into North Africa to serve the gospel — we all do what He has called us to.

    I remain frustrated with the Church in the 1/3 world — still, I would not argue or hold up an opinion that produces a toxic reaction in a brother or sister in Christ.

    Forgive me if you will!


  134. foreverblessed says:

    Hello everyone, have been away a couple of days, and read up.
    This is very good, posting here. It is a good training in staying in peace with Jesus. If some reaction unsettles us, go back to Jesus, and stay there until peace has come back into you. I pray for you Tom, that God will fill you again with His peace, comfort, and even joy! Keep up your work, and be a blessing.

    Jesus is our measure
    He said,
    I can do nothing of Myself John 5:30
    John 14:10
    It takes grace to understand what Jesus was saying there.
    I pray that our eyes will be opened more and more to the glory of Gods grace, and that fear of being idle because of us being incompetent of ourselves will be conquered by His love.

  135. poohpity says:

    I agree foreverblessed. I think that is what Mart was referring to when he stated that, “able to honor together the values of truth and love WITHOUT SEEING OURSELVES as the measure of either”. It seems when we realize that it is only the Lord who is the full measure of “Truth and Love” and how much we as human beings fall short I think we would tend to elevate those above anything we with our finite minds can understand or comprehend would come with bended knee to the throne of Grace. God’s love is so very big and it troubles me that some place fences around it that make it impossible to reach or would make us think there is anything we can do to earn it.

  136. oneg2dblu says:

    There are no perfect ones here, and I do not judge
    others to provoke, I just speak into others words,
    just as you speak into mine.
    Personal conflicts will come about in any open venue, and they do preplex us all.
    I’m no different about being challenged or offended
    through anothers words either. I’ve taken my share of hits here, and also removed myself before, to get away and search the Lord’s purpose for these times of testing, rest and growth.
    No one else can make you stay and battle, or make you stay and be at peace, but I trust the Lord is at work here also knowing, All things are for the good of those who love Him…
    Tom, you’ll do what you feel you must, but please know this, whatever you choose becomes your choice, and not mine. I never want any voice here to be stifled, or unplugged because of conflict created by a common man’s words. Only the Words of Christ have the ultimate authority here, so don’t give mine any merit unless they convict, because only He can really do that.
    Maybe, we are all here together for His purposes and find some voices so irritating we can’t even see any of Him in them. Just a thought!
    In this world there will be troubles, testing, trials and tribulation. Our place of peace in Him is to stand up under them, giving Him all ther Glory Honor and Praise,even in our most troubling times.
    In Him we are bigger than any other voice on this blog!
    Sorry I have offended a Brother in Christ to this point of frustration. We are all being tested through your response, as well. Be strong and take courage that this moment will pass, Please stay vocal! Gary

  137. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… Salvation is found in Christ only and on that one point we agree. It comes by Faith, and that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ, who is God. Wow, We still agree.
    Unfortunately, and for all here, it is from “that moment” we part. Not in Faith, not in Grace, not in Salvation, but only in what we choose to believe after that one moment of Faith. We believe in two distinctly different paths of understanding. Not that God chooses it, but because WE have choosen it. It is His will that none should Perish, but many will, and they will, by their own wrong choices.
    I speak only to and for, that meeting of the minds, which so far, has only more deeply been separated.
    How sad is that? Sorry, I was just asking God and found that I had typed it out!
    It is God’s place to bring this separation and ultimately for unity, but we stand in the way!
    We are both faulted in this lack, and for that, He is also sad! I pray that many hearts will be provoked here today, but only for a deeper undersdtanding that His Unity is much better served if we were to Follow Christ, rather than our chosen doctrinsl stances that would cause us to seoarate and oppose His Will.
    Only the minds of man stand in the way of this unity, and we each are guilty of possessing one.
    I’m extending a Hand of Love here Pooh! Gary

  138. poohpity says:

    The hand that seems to be extended again as one of judgment of your thoughts on my beliefs. I have no ill wishes or angry thoughts towards you Gary I just do not feel you are in a position to judge my service, faith or beliefs. That is God’s job and in a kind gentle manor He convicts me, restores me and guides me which if I am not mistaken is His job, there are only three Persons of the Trinity. As easily as the hand is extended it also seems to come with a slap or two to reinforce it’s presence.

  139. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh…Thanks for your heartfelt, and loving response. It speaks volumes about your character of forgiveness, your non-judgemental position, and your humility. But, like you have said, Who am I to judge even those wonderful qualities in another?
    Yes, there are only three in the Trinity. Again we have found some common ground.
    It only takes two opposing sides to continue to battle.
    Even the hand that you say appears to slap, was extended as an open one. But, an unforgiving closed mind, is like a fist of fury which can only trade blow for blow! How human we are. How tragic that even God’s people can not stand to agree without retort! Gary

  140. oneg2dblu says:

    Humility to me, is not what one claims to possess in themselves, as they also see pride in others. That in my opinion, is pure judgement!
    Judgement about others as it opposes God’s Word, is discernment, not a form of pride.
    Pride to me, is something we claim for ourselves, when we tell others about our wretched sinful state, our constant uncleanliness, our flithy works and complete uselessness for correcting anything in oursleves, or doing anything for the His Kingdom. “Woe is me!”
    It is a form of “reverse grandstanding” if you will, as one attempts to dig a pit of humility, but really brings all attention to themselves, as the one who claims to be the poorest, and most humlbe of believers. That is what reeks more than anything to me.
    Self emasculation is not humility, it is pride! Effeminate pride, and nothing else! The effeminate will not enter the Kingdom, they will gather with the rest of the list that Paul and the Lord speak about. They are the ones who continue in their unrighteous living by their own unrepentant choice, according to the Word of God.
    But, I may be wrong about how I interpret the word, because I’m only human, and I offend others when I try to express my thoughts here. Gary

  141. poohpity says:

    Gary, forgive me for judging you and your written word. I do not know your heart and that was wrong for me to do. Also forgive me for causing such anger and frustration rather than being a peace maker.

  142. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I accept your comments as written from the heart of God in you, where the flesh must surrender. We all fall short of His Perfection while living in these earthly tents, and only God can fix us. It has been a long and heated exchange we were caught up in, but the fires of the flesh can be overcome through the yeilding spirit that God gives us, and with the ablitiy to use it for Him. No Christ Follower bleeds alone here, we all suffer when one suffers. I trust a healing has been evoked for the good of all things. We can and will move past this moment of conflict that our flesh has brought. Praise God!
    He desires unity above our abilities. I have grown much here, and owe you my deepest appology for the strife my tough words have caused you, my sister in Christ. Gary

  143. oneg2dblu says:

    Claudia…. thank you. I’m sure you speak for others here as well.
    Please know that tom is out there and stays connected
    but may not respond for a while. Silence belongs to each one who chooses it. God’s word cannot be held under a bowl, or its light completely contained by any vessel.
    Who are we but those very vessels used by Him?
    The faultedness of our humanity is our own, I take full resposiblity for my faults and darkness,but the salt and light we choose to bring out, is always directed by Him, and for Him. It makes us breath to speak, walk, serve and worship the One Living God that breaths inside every believer, if we also choose to obey.
    If not we become like the rest of the unknowing world,
    who dim that light so they can see, turn down the voice so they can hear, and walk away so they can breath on their own. As they choose to lose their way as well.
    “Choose to Sin and you choose to lose?” I may be wrong about that outcome for others, but I choose to believe it is, what God has shown me, to be for me. Gary

  144. bubbles says:

    I can understand why Tom chose to leave.
    No one should judge why he left.

    There is wisdom in being quiet.

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