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What Matters in the End!?

As the sun was setting, I got a shot of this milkweed.

Am thinking it might illustrate a way to move forward with our conversation about living in anticipation of end times.

There’s a bit of irony here. Many of us believe that being ready for Christ’s promised return prepares us for eternity. Yet, in such readiness, there must be a point of diminishing returns. More than a few have gotten so wrapped up in end time speculation that they have failed to live wisely now– while preparing for the possibility that Christ may not come in their lifetime.

So what “above all”  do we need to consider— in light of the fact that “the end of all things” deserves our attention.

This is a question that seems to have been in the mind of  the Apostle Peter from the beginning. He wrote, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1Pet 4:7-8).

In many ways, the Apostle is repeating the wisdom of the ages (Prov 10:12). More than a few ancient proverbs say things like “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression (Prov. 19:11).

Yet, in the course of trying to “overlook” and “cover-over” the wrongs of others, we might find ourselves with a question. How do we practice this “above all” counsel, in light of “the end of all things”? What do we do with all of the counter-counsel that tells us not to overlook and cover up the wrongs of others?

In fact, there is at least one wise saying that seems to affirm both concealment and confrontation: He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows for a fool (Prov 17:9-10).

Since both themes are advanced in the Bible, we need to find a way to know when to confront (James 5:20) (Gal 6:1) (Matt 18:15-17) (Prov 17:6) and when to look the other way (1Peter 4:8). How can love do both?

If I suggest that I think the answer to this riddle lies within itself, does that sound like double-talk?

And what about the milkweed facing its own end? Does the picture suggest anything about the wisdom of its/our Creator? Does it even give us reason to look at what Peter went on to say (1Peter 4:9-10)?

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49 Responses to “What Matters in the End!?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    My apologies for repeating myself so soon but once again this quote came to mind with this topic.

    “What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly.”
    Richard Bach

    Also another old saying that goes something like this; “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.”

    It seems to me that we speak of the end of the age not in a drone of sadness but rather in a hope that all the ills and unhappiness we all see around us as well as we are living through will soon end to a perfect conclusion.

    This is probably one of those very difficult points in a Christians life where if not seen properly can cause unwarranted conflict between common sense and faith.

    If I did not have others that depend on me to make good decisions for them and their future I could selfishly strip myself bare of all possessions go at set on the mountaintop and wait for God to call me home.

    However this to me is not what God wants from me. He wants me to be a responsible man and wisely take care of my family and those He has put in my care.

    So for me this means I prepare as well as I can with what I have and depend on God for what I don’t have to see us through the rest of our lives, while hoping that at any second Christ calls us up and being prepared as well for that moment in time.

    As to dealing with the seeming “double talk” Mart mentions referring to the overlooking or confronting transgressions of others; I am reminded of the famous verse, Ecclesiastes 3: 1 “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”

    Each and every situation will determine the course of action that is proper to answer whether to overlook a transgression or confront a transgressor.

    If at the moment the rapture comes and I am in an argument with another about a transgression they may have perpetrated upon me, have I lost my salvation because I have not overlooked it? I think not.

    God sees the purpose behind every thought we have, an ability we mere humans do not often possess.

    I feel undone here but must post for now.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart!

    Among your references is:

    The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:7-8)

    It seems the answer is in the question, at least in part. We are to hold the tiller steady as agents of Christ’s kingdom “for the sake of our prayers.” Perhaps we are tempted to pray for our own comfort: crying that the church is asleep in the Light, or that our neighbors seem to need a rise in their level of concern for ultimate things (aka a kick in the pants).

    But, Jesus told his closest disciples, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41) Paul taught the churches in Galatia, “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

    Our prayers, as disciples of Jesus, are to be for steadiness in witness especially when there is no visible change. At times, a witness for goodness and purity — truth and honor (Philippians 4:8)seems to be laughed at and scorned by those beyond the edge of the church’s reach. But, a witness for God in Christ is having an effect, by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are to pray for the church to awaken — perhaps to burst open with a planting of the seeds of the Word and the acts of mercy that convince hearts grown cold. God himself hears and undertakes in the matter. Part of our tribulation is that “lawlessness *is* increased and the love of many *has* grown cold. (Matthew 24:12)

    May the Lord, send us! God, by your power and love make us willing and able! Maru

  3. saled says:

    This is a big question: when to confront and when to look the other way. A year ago I struggled with this question over a situation where my 30 year-old niece had ‘borrowed’ a check from my mother and then used the account numbers to make payments on her own credit cards. It was only after Mom’s checking account was drained that her bank notified me that her checks were bouncing.

    My mother wanted this sin covered: she knew bringing it to light would cause this grandchild to lose yet another job, and perhaps her three year old twins. When I spoke privately to this niece, she blamed the credit card company and said she had a lawyer working on straightening it out. Over a year later, there is no mention of it. Mom has begun to recover financially, but I am afraid that I have done the niece a disservice by covering the matter.

    Like the milkweed in the picture, there are parts of us that must die before we are fit for the ‘end times’ that Peter said were at hand. Life here on earth would be more like heaven for my niece if she could do away with the selfishness that caused her to steal from her grandmother. I am not good at confronting; I’m afraid I may not have done my part in this matter.

  4. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart what a great see-saw you present here, in how to respond to the wrongs we see around us. Other than doing what the Holy Spirit prompts us to do, we should act with civility at all times. Having Christ as our center will keep us away from the radical edges of slipping into sin ourselves, as we try to resolve with our flesh, what cannot be resolved until the End of Times. Where we like the thistle get transplanted into the New Jerusalem, for today we are like that dying breed reaching if you will our earthly end, but like that weed we carry with us the seeds of our future.
    If we can learn to be accountable to that Spirit within us, He will guide us to rebuking those who will accept rebuke, and turning our cheeks to those who will not.
    As a Chrit Follower in this darkening world, we must stay accountable to others who walk with Christ, and give Godly guidence to those who don’t. But, we must not war against fools, lest we become just like them. Gary

  5. remarutho says:

    Hello Saled —

    This touches my heart as well. I have been disappointed in some of my own family’s materialistic behavior — and with my own quiet on the matter. My only amends have been to remind my brother, at least, that love does not do harm to others — especially Mom and Dad. I have asked him, “Did you forget you loved them?” If this is water off a duck’s back, then I have not persuaded him… Blessings, Maru

    PS I do not even begin to give advice on family matters — these are tender things! My experience seems a lot like yours, and I did not speak up for years and years.

  6. SFDBWV says:

    Saled your comments this morning align with a mother I spoke with just this morning. Her wayward son is setting in jail for his misadventures and she said this was the best *medicine* for him.

    I apologize to all for deviating from the heart of our topic, but must tell a milkweed story.

    A few years ago Glenna and I were setting on our porch swing enjoying the beauty and comfort of a warm fall day; when we both noticed the strangest sight high in the bright blue sky.

    Once our attention was directed toward the strange sight we could see what appeared to be bright white specks of light suddenly appearing out of nothing and swirling and darting around in the sky as they disappeared.

    We both were in awe of what we were seeing as both of us thought is this the *rapture*? I don’t believe in alien life in flying saucers but that idea also crossed my mind.

    This weird phenomena kept up for several minutes as I kept my attention fixed on it, suddenly one of the bright white lights appeared, between me and the dark pine trees across from us, as it seemed to float to the ground.

    So I went to investigate and to my surprise and laughter it was simply a seed from the many milkweed plants that grow on the hilltops above my home. The wind was blowing them up into the sky and the sun was illuminating them to appear as bright white specks of light that looked miles into the sky and was in fact only hundreds of feet above us.

    We still get a good laugh out of the adventure and pleased that we got to share the experience together so that we could both understand what we had seen and why it took us on an adventure of discovery.

    Thanks Mart for the picture and the memory.


  7. florida7sun says:

    Thank you Mart. Reading about milkweed this morning it was interesting to learn the plant has 1) medicinal qualities that can heal, and 2) poisons that are toxic. My thoughts took me to Ephesians and James:

    “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 5:1-2

    “Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” – James 3:18

    The psalmist cries out: “Save me, O LORD, from lying lips and from deceitful tongues.” – Psalm 120:2

    A big chasm exists between the love of man and the love of God. There are those that dispense poison by seeking the worldly esteem of men, and then there are those that cast seed lovingly in obedience to their Lord and Savior.


  8. poohpity says:

    It is a very sticky subject when to confront and when to ignore but I think it all goes back to the heart in any matter. If we are confronting someone to make our selves look better or more knowledgeable then the heart in the matter is not honorable. If we are looking out for the other persons best interest or those who listen to them and the manor in which it is done can show where the heart is. Even going to the person one on one, in private and addressing problems can turn into a mess especially if one already has problems accepting any type of feedback because of pride.

    Knowing that we all have areas that need work we can humbly accept when approached by a heart who really cares about us and wants to lead us back into a relationship that has been broken because of some sin. Proverbs has said over and over that someone who really cares about me will confront in love for me to be better then it is a gift but someone who does it with their own interest in mind will approach it by putting another person down and not considering their best interest. So I guess it has to do with the heart in any matter and who one is actually looking out for.

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… you are right about the heart, or the matter of the heart. It comes into play anytime a rebuke is given or recieved. Even if love drives us to issue a rebuke, if the heart of the recipient isn’t right in alignment with accepting that rebkue, a battle starts, and out come all the labels like accusing others of pride, put- downs, poiinting fingers and the like, because the intended recipient’s heart is not yet ready for correction, even if it is given in love. Many times it will go unheeded, unheard, unresolved, until God does the work in the heart, all things are flesh driven first. As our humanity does not like to be corrected, and especially by another human. We are all flesh first, unless God deals with our hearts! Praise God that He has given us a new heart, In Christ. Now we still have to listen to it! Everything we do boils down to choices, choices we choose, and battles we sometimes must even lose for Him. Be Blessed, Gary

  10. SFDBWV says:

    As I stand and exist here my senses alive with everything around me. Everything I feel I sense I know the end the absolute end of it all is here. I see it in the whirlwind I feel it in the silence, I know I just know. Everything I have known is gone and everything familiar is collapsing and fading away.

    Today has brought sadness to my soul, I’m not sure why. I’m just sure. All is so empty and bleak. Oh my soul cries for this place. It is the beginning of the end, the end of everything I am familiar with. I cannot see beyond the empty loneliness the dusty whirlwind brings. It is as though the curse of God is upon us. What can I do to stop it? What can I do to change it? Silence only silence. There is not the song of children playing nor the music of the noise of work, just the wind the birds and the silent sound of death.

    These two paragraphs are taken out of a journal I keep and were written back in the summer of 1998.

    I never understood them, I could only write down my feelings as they came upon me while in prayer time with God.

    Today as I read the topic heading I was reminded of these thoughts I had written down so long ago.

    I had no idea what journey lay ahead for me at that time, as I look back now I see so much if it has come to pass yet more lies ahead. I can even see it clearer now ahead of me as events are unfolding even day by day.

    Sometimes I wish I was just numb and dumb to the events of life so that I could just be happy with a warm bed and hot meal and be satisfied with that. Never giving any thoughts to a future or to solving mine or anyone else’s problems. For I know people who are just like that.

    Just letting people step all over me or my loved ones and never even getting disturbed the least bit for it. I also know people like that

    Jesus said that the meek shall inherit the earth.

    Thinking of eternal life I wonder if this means if I do nothing say nothing stay meek and silent that my reward is the earth.

    However if I am bold and stand and fight for my self and family if I take a bold stand for Christ and be not meek concerning right living and living for Christ, would that then mean my reward is heaven.

    Let then the meek have the earth, I would prefer that heavenly realm to the one I now reside in.

    As I stated earlier each situation will merit either silence or action, let the Holy Spirit be my guide in such matters.


  11. petros says:

    As Christians we taught, instructed and urged to be able to have and exercise discernment in all kinds of situations. Sometimes in the name of being “salt and light” in a corrupt and dark culture. I wonder though if we may not be adequately taught how to apply this “discernment” that we posses.

    Throughout my own discipleship over the years, I’ve heard leaders admonish us to grow in the WORD and to be Grounded in the Word.

    But Peter’s last words were to grow in Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and Paul prayed for the saint’s at Ephesus and really us too that we would gain this expansive and vast indwelling of God’s love, that goes beyond anything we might have ever comprehended, and be rooted and grounded in it to the extent that we be filled with the fullness of God.

    This is a HUGE promise, and yet it so very seldom seems that the Body of Christ is pursuing it. We admit to being sinners our self but too often we seem to have this hyper concern that someone else’ Sin might escape our discerning eye.

    It’s quite likely that we may very well error either on the side of being either too critical or too gracious. As a conservative non-believer (I know to some that may seem like a contradiction) I knew how to be critical. So as a Christian it seemed a natural fit for me to be critical of others. But there really was no Grace in that.

    With so little time left I’ve decided that if I’m going to error, it will be on the side of Grace constantly trying to remind myself “What did Jesus do and what would he do?”


  12. wendyhunter says:

    Tons of food for thought here on top of Mart’s own thoughts! Years ago someone confronted me about something in their concern. The Holy Spirit was already bothering me about this and I’m sure it took much courage on her part to call me. She didn’t feel good about things and I know I sure didn’t either, but it took her courage to get me out of the danger I was in.
    So I believe the Body of Christ in America is so puddled in psychology and feel good at all costs, that we are paralyzed regarding the scriptural encouragement to admonish one another. In love for sure, in HUMILITY, for we ALL are in need. But for the sake of the Kingdom, lets DO IT!!

  13. davids says:

    I’m sorry, I don’t have fully formed thoughts to contribute on this. I just wanted to say that all of the responses so far have been very helpful and full of reflection. Thanks!

  14. poohpity says:

    I think in the end what really matters is that we sought justice, loved mercy and walked humbly with our Lord.

  15. remarutho says:

    Hello Mart and Friends —

    “What Matters in the End” is a stern topic, Mart, because it requires genuine self-examination. Paul told the Roman church, “So then each of us shall give account of him(her)self to God. Therefore let us not judge one another any more, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother(sister)’s way.” (Romans 14:12-13)

    Peter seems to be gazing steadily into the end-time. Persecution was a daily reality as he wrote to the churches. You asked:

    “And what about the milkweed facing its own end? Does the picture suggest anything about the wisdom of its/our Creator? Does it even give us reason to look at what Peter went on to say (1 Peter 4:9-10)?”

    God’s wisdom in the late first century seems to have been to scatter the Jews and the Christians. The photo of the burst milkweed pod represents this wisdom. The old form — and location — of the churches changed when Christians began to relocate to escape Roman persecution. The “reseeding” of the known world with Christian fellowships became not an ending, but a beginning.

    Peter equips us to meet the ending — which may actually be the end of history:

    “Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!”(1 Peter 4:9-11) The Message


  16. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Remaru for your insights. I want to add to what you wrote about looking at ourselves first.
    Thinking about the the life route of a christian, and that the Day of Atonement is not in the beginning but in recent Day of Atonement, that the realisation of how wrong we were in our old nature, the total feeling of being unable of doing any good ourselves, seeing the state of our fallen nature, that is Revival, that is the beginning of our real humble state.
    If we are in such a state, then we are able to be graceful to our neighbour, who is in sin. We know our own sinful nature, even if we have died to it. (It is only in this state that the Holy Spirit can work in us, when we are at our wits end, but from then on we know who we are, that it is Jesus who is working in us.)
    In the two topics ago, Israels Feasts and prophecies, the life route of a christian can be seen in the series of Festivals, and that the Day of Atonement is not in the beginning but after the summer. There we can see that many christians point a finger to another without fully realising their own old human nature. I think I was one like that, and pray I am not any more.
    BUt if we are humble as, Pooh wrote, then it is helpful to tell others where they have wronged you.

    Lately someone was making a joke that I was drinking herb tea during coffee time, I was not hurt, but would have been a few years ago. On the other hand, it was not nice to say such a thing, so I quietly went up to the lady and asked, “Why did you have to say that, I would rather drink coffee but I can’t, and even black tea gives me headaches”. Later she came to me and said, how thankful she was that I told her how I felt, while she herself when being hurt, did not have the courage to say anything to the offender. Last week she came back to me again, that she was so encouraged that I did say that to her. I did win a friend! (It is not always like that, many a time people get angry at you, but that’s their own problem.)
    If you can say something to another in how they have hurt you, then you keep it at your own side. Not giving motives to why they do these things.

  17. SFDBWV says:

    I would just like to address the topic title. “What Matters in the End?”

    2 Timothy 4: 7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.”

    If I can say as much when my end comes I will have done all God has allowed for me to do.


  18. Mart De Haan says:

    So many good thoughts and applications of the milkweed.

    On the question of when to confront or ignore, seems to me that the question always remains, (1) what does love require in this situation ( i.e. a real concern for the good of the other person that trumps our own feelings in importance; and then (2) how does real (and wise) love act.

    Paul said, that love is first patient, and then kind (1Cor 13:4). Even in confronting false teachers, he wrote that “A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient,in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth (2Tim 2:24-25).

    I thought of these characteristics as I looked at the milkweed. Just as its seeds need “lightness” to catch the wind, there is also a gentleness of spirit that we need in order to catch the wind of the Spirit when it comes to talking about difficult matters with others.

    Especially if our words are bringing an unwelcome message, we need our Lord’s help to communicate a real and honest concern for the other person.

    Unless we are in a situation that calls for urgent and strong action to protect “life and limb”, we need to keep asking not only “what does love look like in this situation?”, but also how can we show that love in the terms that the wisdom of the Bible calls for?

  19. SFDBWV says:

    Am wondering Mart if you have ever tried to free a trapped animal or separate fighting dogs?

    When two people are involved one can only attempt to control the actions of them self then deal with the action of the other.

    Even the best of intentions with an abundance of love, sometimes results in being bitten for your efforts.

    You just have to know what can happen and move forward with caution, as I said earlier hope for the best and prepare for the worst.


  20. oneg2dblu says:

    Just a thought…Can we really know how, what, where, and when, is the best time to make a Stand Against Evil, which by the way, we are Commanded to Hate!
    When God’s Word says “He” detests something, do we then show that same thing, the Justice, Mercy, and Humiltity
    of not standing against it, because we feel it is a more loving position, or do we posture ourselves for battle? If we Follow His Dictates, will there be a point of resistance at all costs, even death?
    His Wrath, He has shown us for a reason. His Grace, we now live under, is for a reason.
    What troubles me the most, is the now Silent Church who lives Under Grace today,being seen as always cheek- turning and accepting all sin as being a non-issue.
    Where is the Justice in that position?
    There is none, not in this dark world and Church Age world we live in today. There is only Mercy Under Grace, while God withholds His Wrath, as we come ever closer to the End Time of Judgement.
    “Well done my good and faithful servant, who has done nothing to stand against Evil?” Wow!
    That is something I do not believe is the Message of the Bible, but may be the well crafted words of Satan, as you enter his kingdom of being lost forever!
    What really matters in the end… is how we served Him. Gary

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Is the church today more like Milkweeds, or Milktoast?
    Maybe ii doesn’t really matter? Just a thought…

  22. bratimus says:

    When confronting others on issues, i found sometimes that instead of putting the person and the issue in a spotlight. Try using something from your own life and explain your life to the person and now your reflecting the spotlight.

    As Christ put Himself in place for are sin.

    Sometimes we need to put ourselves in the person place we are trying to help. Not in a physical way that Christ did, but in the emotional place where they might be.

    I remember when i would have some trouble when i was younger, my mother would first say i never did or got in to this trouble. Then tell me she wants to help. In my mind i would always think, if you never been through this how you going to help me.

    Can’t really help, if you can’t be on the same level as the person.

    And i Think this is what Paul speaks of the Mart mentioned.

    it is the emotional connection that is need over a Authoritarian connection.

  23. poohpity says:

    Mart, as I was raising my children both of which had ADHD, their behavior triggered others outside of really knowing them, to say a lot of unkind things and should’s and should not’s as they gave me their unsolicited advise on parenting. When I attended parenting classes those instructors made one very good point to me and that was I had to pick and choose what battles we would fight. That some things were just not as important as others while helping those children who received so much negative in their lives that I had to be that safe place to show them no matter what, that they were worth being loved.

    I find that same thing with grown ups, asking that question, “will this really matter in the end” or “am I causing undo harm that when it comes down to it, what difference will it make”? I really wish I could say that that lesson is learned but it is not fully functioning in my life yet.

    I have learned that as a women when another man says something to a man it will be better received than if I would say it no matter if the context is truth. The Lord will provide the right times and ways to present things if it is in His will to do so but we can step out of that timetable and cause more problems than what was there to begin with. To always remember who the person is that we are talking to because sometimes as Jesus points out we can not give spiritual things to depraved men because they will only turn and attack you. God through the Holy Spirit is the only One who can change a heart, that is something that is far beyond anything I will ever be able to accomplish so put those battles in God’s trustworthy hands.

    So much to learn for myself in this world of so many different personalities that have had so many things happen before our initial contact that have an impact on how things we say will be received. If a person has had a bad day bringing up something may not be the time or place to do so. We have to remember that each person we talk to has gone through something in their life that may prevent them from fully understanding what we may say so some things are better left unsaid. It is also knowing what our delivery may sound like and taking the stance of being a peace maker and showing humility covered by grace before we use our tongue to spark fires that we may never be able to put out.

    I cry often about what I may sound like to another because obviously they do not know my heart and the words often times I do not know how to write them in the correct manor and sometimes they are spoken out of anger. I have hurt so many without that intention and I am most thankful that God does not give up on me and I thank you guys on here for pointing out the times when I mess up on here. I am learning.

  24. pegramsdell says:

    Also, what if Jesus comes tonight? Or in the next hour? :)

  25. remarutho says:


    I hear you and am in accord! I pray to keep all my accounts with the Almighty “up to date.” Have I omitted an apology in the past few days? Have I given a friend (or enemy) in need the benefit of my prayer for their provision? Have I kept in touch with those who need to be reminded that Jesus loves them? — particularly the ornery and forsaken?

    About twenty years ago, I found Proverbs 15:1 in my Scripture reading: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I was corrected, and have yet to grow fully into that way of expressing myself. Jesus taught: “Blessed are the meek (praeis), for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Meekness is not wimping out — it is being mild, easy, humble. Jesus was meek. He applied the exact amount of force of character to accomplish what is needed. It is like a pro line-backer holding a newborn: plenty of strength — applied just so… Blessings, Maru

  26. poohpity says:

    Maru, that is the type of men I really respect are those that are so strong yet can hold a tiny baby they do not have to push their strength on anyone, very good analogy. Just like Jesus who was God but did not push it on anyone or force His ways. I have also found it is not just the delivery that is important but also have we receive things as well.

  27. remarutho says:

    Amen, Sister!

    Among the fruit of the Spirit, I believe. (Galatians 5:22-23) We all stumble in this, I’m pretty sure. We grab too hard — or push too hard…God is faithful to forgive us and send us on our way — remembering enough is plenty! Maru

  28. tracey5tgbtg says:

    I considered the opening post and the question about how we need to find a way to know when to confront and when to look the other way. And how can love do both?

    This made me think of the parable of the unmerciful servant. Matt 18:21-35 Everyone of us has was under sin we could not be good enough to overcome. Our sin is not overlooked, it’s washed away, at the bottom of the sea, cancelled. No one can owe us more than what we owe God. Matt 18:33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?

    That parable is about forgiveness and the topic was actually more about confronting someone in their sin.

    Also, of course, Matt 7:3-5 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own?

    And let him who is without sin cast the first stone.

    Always I see the same message: Before you try to fix your brother, consider all the fixing that needs to be done in you.

    So I came to the conclusion that love neither confronts NOR looks the other way. Love reaches out; love covers with prayer; love holds on and doesn’t let go; love shines a light in the darkness.

    Now if I could only remember that when I get mad at my husband.

  29. SFDBWV says:

    My thoughts are between two separate subjects this morning concerning Marts topic. Maybe because Marts topic takes me in two directions.

    What really matters in the end as well as, the diplomatic art of interacting with people we may have issue with.

    Diplomats are expert in smiling with a mouth full of teeth extending their hand to those they inwardly have little in common with except for the ruse of intent. Both saying the *right* things while not exposing the truth they harbor in their hearts.

    Am wondering if this is ever the right thing to do?

    Somehow our conversation has morphed into people who disagree whereas I understand that when someone has perpetrated a wrong on another as stealing from them or perpetuating a false witness against them or even do physical harm to them that this is what a trespass against them may be.

    So when I look at the Prayer Jesus gave us as a guide as to how to pray (Matthew 6: 9) and (Luke 11: 2) I am looking afresh for direction from the Holy Spirit as to what is said.

    Interesting that in Matthew it is recorded as thus; “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” And in Luke said “And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us.”

    Added to my understanding of these comments Jesus states in Matthew 6: 14-15 this; “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” Then “But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.”

    I find it interesting that the word debt is applied to someone doing something evil to another.

    Saying that when we do wrong against another somehow we owe them an apology and atonement or restitution.

    There isn’t instruction at this level as to whether or not the person who is in debt has ask for forgiveness or a way to restore matters, or not.

    We all are indebted to God for our sins against Him; Jesus made a way for us to be forgiven, by believing on Him and accepting His payment for our sins.

    It begins there and then we must acknowledge we need forgiveness and ask for this in Jesus’ name, before we can expect our heavenly Father to forgive us.

    So when someone sins against us do we automatically forgive them or is there a responsibility toward them to acknowledge their wrong against us ask forgiveness and expect it from us?

    If someone never asks God to forgive them nor accepts Christ as Lord, we are taught that they face judgment and possibly hell.

    Are we burdened differently? Are we to forgive without those indebted to us asking for it?

    It would appear that it is a commandment from Christ to give forgiveness to any and all who asks for it from me. Yet I see no such commandment in forgiving those who do not ask for it nor do I see example from Scripture to do so. With one exception and it is a prayer.

    On the cross Jesus asks God to forgive those who are killing Him, because they are ignorant of what they are doing.

    Admittedly I am able to put away many wrongs people have done to me, but only because it has become less important to me, yet the matter of there being restitution or atonement does not exist.

    So it comes to this, are we to forgive someone who has sinned against us without their asking for it? Are we penalized if we don’t? Is it enough that we are willing to forgive if ask?

    Sorry to muddy the waters and I am out of time for now.


  30. poohpity says:

    I guess Steve, if we want to be right with God no matter if a person asks for forgiveness or not the relationship with God is the most important. If Jesus came today and it was the end are we still harboring bitterness, resentment and anger towards a fellow human being because of a lack of forgiveness how would that impact our relationship with God? A lot of people get angry at others and never admit to their own fault in situations because they may be so consumed with how they are harmed. Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 that even being angry with someone we are in danger of judgment.

  31. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart, you’ve done it again, bringing out the best and the worst in one multi-faceted well packaged question.
    What really matters in the End… is the Beginnig, the Middle, and the End, as they are all really connected.
    Genisis through Revelation all count, and here we are in the Psalms of Life, trying to figure this stuff out for ourselves. Each making some kind of contribution to the whole, and hopefully not missing the Big Picture!
    I see many great thoughts coming out here, but one goes without saying it, as we package our thoughts in brightly covered parcels that we call love and forgiveness. We must never forget this one thing, Sin will always have IT’S consequences.
    Our Salvation does not cancel out sin’s consequence, as it does have it’s effect on the entire world, as it continues to sin daily.
    Until Satan is thrown in the Lake of Fire, Sin still prevails in the hearts of all mankind.
    As we forgive that sin in each one we encounter, feeling we are taking the more Noble Way, we have also slipped right into Satan’s plan… humbly forgiving sin, instead of standing agaist it, EVERY TIME IT SHOWS ITS UGLY HEAD!
    We cannot tell others they are okay with their sinning
    because they are Saved. We cannot do like many judges in this country are doing today, in their giving Rights to those who are doing wrong!
    They stand against God’s word when they do, and we allow them to do it, as we silently accept, turn the cheek, and constantly forgive.
    Satan roams the earth today, and our forgiveness of Sin is one of his greatest victories.
    It is the good news, wrapped in a plain brown and dirty paper bag! Sorry I must bring it to the table, lest we forget it is all connected. Gary

  32. florida7sun says:

    Thank you Steve. Your comments are always a blessing.

    I have discovered that my forgiveness of others releases me from a prison of my own making. When we pray as Jesus taught us we acknowledge and embrace the sovereignty of our God. Every breath we take, and every breath of anyone who has ever trespassed, is ordained by Him. He asked me to give Him my burdens, and I am happy (grateful) to do so.

    I am then set free to proclaim His Gospel and be a light in the darkness.

    Without forgiveness my thoughts dwell on a matter that separates me from all that is good and praiseworthy. In our carnal nature anger and resentment ferment and act as a cancer eating us alive from the inside out.

    The enemy of our souls seeks to kill and destroy all that is loved by our Father.

    So precious were the comments of Jesus and Stephen under their unjust persecutions, trials and imminent deaths: Luke 23:34 and Acts 7:60

    As each of us has a cross to bear, we can count on being abased and abused. The older I get the more I see the spiritual dimension that surrounds us. Looking at the leaves changing color, I also know time is coming to an end. Today is a great day to forgive.

    “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.” – 1 Peter 24-25

    I cannot do any of this in my own flesh. My eyes must stay focused on Him and the Way He has set before me.

    Love to all, Ray

  33. poohpity says:

    Mart, I was trying to consider how Proverbs 17:6 is applied to this topic, I am a bit confused.

    In my LAB 17:9 says, ” Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends” Also Proverbs 9:7-8 says, If you rebuke a mocker, you will only get a smart retort; yes, he will snarl at you. So don’t bother with him; he will only hate you for trying to help him. But a wise man, when rebuked, will love you all the more.” This suggests to me that we must evaluate the person who we approach in love whether they are able to accept guidance or if by their pride they are unable to receive any feedback.

  34. poohpity says:

    tracey, that was so spot on and beautiful. :-)

  35. poohpity says:

    Mart you may have included that scripture because of a recent birth of a grandchild. :-)

  36. remarutho says:

    Hello Ray —

    It is so true that unforgiveness is a dungeon — ultimately of my own making — stronger and darker the longer I hold fast to it!

    Jesus explained again and again to the crowds the freedom from sin that comes from trusting in God – and trusting in (or believing in) his only Son, standing there before them. Those who opposed Jesus went on about how their freedom from sin came from observing the Law – being saved by works.

    “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free’?” (John 8:31-33)

    Faith in Christ breaks the chains of sin.

    Even his disciples asked Jesus, “What must we do to perform the works of God?” Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.” (John 6:29) Each of us is to resist the devil; and it is the Presence of God and our faith in Christ that defeat Satan’s power. God wields the power – God gets the victory in the battle. It seems to me the vindication of a believer in Christ is faith and obedience to him.

    Paul described the church as different from the world: “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)


  37. florida7sun says:

    God bless you Maru. I was just watching TSO Photography on Vimeo’s latest time lapse movie entitled The Water.
    My thoughts took me to Ephesians 5:25-27. The beauty of BTA exists in references to the Word of God and their application to daily life. As water polishes stones, His Word when applied will shape us into His image and draw us all together. Your contributions are always a blessing. Keep them coming. :-)

  38. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you all for your comments.
    Here are some of my thoughts to add to what has been written:
    Forgiving means that you leave the punishment in Gods hands. Romans 2:16 Romans 12:19 God says: It is mine to avenge, I will repay.
    So we put the offence in God’s hands.
    Forgiving does not mean that you condone the sin,
    forgiving does not mean either that everything is back to usual.
    But as Ray wrote, it makes you own heart free.
    Forgiving is not reconciliation,
    Reconciliation is when the other party repents and says sorry.

    In the Lord’s prayer we are told to forgive.
    Matthew 6:12 Forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.

    The parable of the unmerciful servant Tracey brought up, that tells it all.
    Maybe this topic shifts to forgiveness, but you can only confront someone else when you know how great the forgiveness is that you yourself have received from God through the Cross of Jesus.
    Only in that spirit can we confront another.

  39. foreverblessed says:

    What matters in the end,
    Some have said it already, that Love is the answer,
    We can discuss here how love applies, in the human realm, with God’s Spirit.
    I read this devotion on love, and want to share it.
    Gods realm is spiritual, and sometimes reading things like this lift you above the human realm:
    God at eventide, by twolisteners october 11
    All Clear
    Love is the great power of understanding. Love explains all, makes all clear.
    How can you understand Me unless you love Me? How can men see My purposes unless they love Me?
    Love is indeed the fulfilling of the law. It is also the understanding of the law.
    He that loveth is born of God, because he enters into a new life in God who is Love. Live in that Love.
    Love it is that prepares the ground for My teaching, that softens the hardest heart, that disposes the most indifferent, that creates desire for My Kingdom.
    Therefore love. Love Me first. Then love all, and so you link them to Me.

    My own words: to confront another, there must also be done some work, ground work in the heart of the offender, Love makes it soft. Love from God, not our own. And I pray that God will show a way of how to work it out in each and everyone’s life who asks God for direction.

  40. florida7sun says:

    Thank you foreverblessed. Your name is so meaningful and true. This is a quote from Mother Teresa:

    “Spread love everywhere you go: first of all in your own house. Give love to your children, to your wife or husband, to a next door neighbor. Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”

    I love her emphasis on kindness and picture the Lord Jesus. He holds me tenderly and gives me assurance all is well. It is in Him we live and breathe.

    And, as we are forever blessed, we can be kind to all He puts in our path.

    God bless you, Ray

  41. cathyol07 says:

    reading all your comments made myself clear on everything that bothers my mind..what matters in the end is God..and our realtionship with Him..and also our relationship to those people God gave to us..

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Ray is 100% right, forgiveness frees both the offender and the offended. Even if not ask for forgiveness is an act of grace and very Christ like from us His followers.

    The act of forgiveness to an unbelieving world is alien and strange and provokes a closer look at why an offended person could find grace enough to forgive even the most heinous crime.

    Forgiveness (Love) wins.


  43. oneg2dblu says:

    Love covers all, seems to be the number one heart throb that gets constantly agreed upon here, and with great returns of rewarding words. I have a problem with that premise, not because love is wrong, but because it is not enough. Love alone can not cover “all” things.
    First, the Love of God, certainly is required to maintain a relationship with him, so why are we then given more than just those first two “love commandments” to obey? Because love does not cover all things!
    Love starts in Genesis, in the Garden I’m sure Adam loved God, and walked with him daily. I am also sure Adam loved Eve as well. But, did their love cover all things? Absolutely not! Just a thought…
    We can not escape, as we attempt to fashion for ourselves here, our love for Christ as a fig leaf covering we provide for each others transgressions,
    because in doing so, have we not first chosen to disobey the rest of God’s Word?
    Even love did not cover their disobedience, without something else dying for it.
    God knew that Adam and Eve both loved him and each other, but that love did not cover their problem of disobedience.
    Having chosen disobedience they automatically knew it, and made a covering for themselves.
    2 Corithians 11:3 Paul writes to those he loved,
    “But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”
    As we cover each others sins with “our love and forgiveness,” and somehow ignore the commands of God in the other commandments, and other scriptures.
    Do we also ignore Pauls words in 1 Corithians 5:9-12?
    Yes, we say it is not our position to judge each other.
    That my dearly loved is another fig leaf we have fashioned around ourselves, as we hide from God, and the rest of His Commands.
    I ask you this in love, just as God asked in the garden, “Where are you?”
    Do you know where we all are when we chose to disobey? Are we not all spiritually dead, and spearated as those in the garden at that very moment of treaspass?
    What if Adam had choosen to fall to his knees and immediately repented? Just a thought…given in love. Gary

  44. foreverblessed says:

    Gary, are you serious that God gave more commandments then just the two, love God above all else, and love your neighbour as yourself, because love does not cover everything?
    Did God give commandments to solve the problem of sin?

  45. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks for the qoute of Mother Theresa Ray, and Claudia for Stephen Grellet’s, and I pray that God will give me His love, because my own does not go so deep.

    The topic has gone on, so maybe tonights devotion of CH Spurgeon is good to share, Gary it is this love we talk about, and if we realise the depth of this love, how can we choose to disobey God, no, we want to follow Him:

    “Love is strong as death.”
    Song of Solomon 8:6
    Whose love can this be which is as mighty as the conqueror of monarchs, the destroyer of the human race? Would it not sound like satire if it were applied to my poor, weak, and scarcely living love to Jesus my Lord? I do love him, and perhaps by his grace, I could even die for him, but as for my love in itself, it can scarcely endure a scoffing jest, much less a cruel death. Surely it is my Beloved’s love which is here spoken of—the love of Jesus, the matchless lover of souls. His love was indeed stronger than the most terrible death, for it endured the trial of the cross triumphantly. It was a lingering death, but love survived the torment; a shameful death, but love despised the shame; a penal death, but love bore our iniquities; a forsaken, lonely death, from which the eternal Father hid his face, but love endured the curse, and gloried over all. Never such love, never such death. It was a desperate duel, but love bore the palm. What then, my heart? Hast thou no emotions excited within thee at the contemplation of such heavenly affection? Yes, my Lord, I long, I pant to feel thy love flaming like a furnace within me. Come thou thyself and excite the ardour of my spirit.

    “For every drop of crimson blood

    Thus shed to make me live,

    O wherefore, wherefore have not I

    A thousand lives to give?”

    Why should I despair of loving Jesus with a love as strong as death? He deserves it: I desire it. The martyrs felt such love, and they were but flesh and blood, then why not I? They mourned their weakness, and yet out of weakness were made strong. Grace gave them all their unflinching constancy—there is the same grace for me. Jesus, lover of my soul, shed abroad such love, even thy love in my heart, this evening.

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… Did God give us the commandments to solve the problem sin? “No!”
    No, no, no… nothing solves the problem of sin, for sin prevails in the heart of man. He gave us those commandments so we could not say, we can not see our sin.
    From the very first commandment given to the very first man, God said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die. The death God spoke of was immediate spiritual death, which both Adam and Eve encountered through their disobedience to God’s commandment. Then they tried to cover themselves, and hide from God.
    All the commandments were given to show us the good and evil of our free choices. For God knows our nature is to choose sin, and those other commandments which we all know today, show us what that sin looks like.
    Not because we could never love our neighbor,even Pagan’s can do that, but because he has given all of us freedom of choice, and knows our choices are not always to obey, even if we love Him. He gave us a set of rules to obey, and when we choose to disobey them, we can see both the good and the evil within us.
    Today God-fearing man still tries to cover up his own evil, by choosing to make some good choices for God, while making bad choices for ourselves. We sin even knowingly, and still claim His Salvation. But, what we fail to see is the immediate problem we have, as we claim Christ for our cover, our fig leaf, but do not Repent to God for our trespass seems to us to already be covered for us.
    What we do not see is the immediate spiritual death that our sin brings into the relationship with Him.
    We eat the forbidden, and feel nothing as we take for granted God’s Grace. Our disobedoence today is not life in Christ, it is spirtual separation and death. For those of us who remain unrepentant and hiding behind that fig leaf… I hope we can still hear his voice which is saying, “Where are you?” Gary

  47. bill845 says:

    I believe that we, as Christians, have the upper hand when it comes to making decisions of this nature. For one we have the experience of the Bible. And secondly we have tha powerful weapon known as prayer. The two combined give us a better insight into what offences to ignore and which ones to confront.
    I know that before I was saved I thought I had all the answers to life’s problems. But since becoming a Christian I am begining to realize just how little i know. That is why we must rely on God for our answers.

  48. steffer says:

    I’ve been forced to try to grasp things from an eternal perspective over the last five months. In June of this year my family-of-origin home place was burned to the ground. My parents had put this family gathering place on their ranch in 1978, and it became a place where many memories were built. As we grew in our faith, we opened it up to those who do fulltime Christian work, in order to be a blessing to them. Tragically, my older brother was expecting to find a place to stay in order to attend some local forestry meetings. He drove up to a 12-inch high pile of ashes and rubble. Our parents have been gone for awhile, and I’ve been thankful that they never had to witness this. We don’t know how or exactly when the fire happened. We just know this place is no longer there. Yes, it was just ‘stuff’. But it simply isn’t that easy to dismiss. Mom and Dad furnished it in the late ’70’s with tables, dressers, beds, bookshelves they had acquired when we were all very young. This last weekend we met my older brother and next younger sister at the site to sift through the dust and ruins to see what we could find. I kept asking God to give me an insight to take away from this experience. When my sister lifted part of the a/c shaft, underneath preserved from the fire was a blue ceramic pepper shaker that Mom had bought in Hawaii during the early ’80’s. The thought occurred to me that, just as the shaft covered and preserved that shaker, so Jesus covers me with His righteousness and preserves me from God’s wrath for all eternity. I am so thankful for God’s provision, for the truth that at any moment the shofar may sound, that His Spirit indwells me through faith in Christ and He teaches me these little pearls. But I’d be lying if I said that the grieving is over. But I also know the One Who can bring me through it. We have an exciting eternity awaiting us…and we have the day-to-day trials from which no one can escape. Psalm 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous,But the LORD delivers him out of them all.” 2 Cor. 1:3-4 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” We have suffering and we have a future and a hope.

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