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Trying to Refocus

Every once in a while I try to to see if there is a way of arranging the most familiar of thoughts in a way that they look fresh again.

Here’s the way they are coming together for me today.

Wondering what you would add. (can click on picture to enlarge).

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36 Responses to “Trying to Refocus”

  1. jam200 says:

    Good morning all!

    Jesus is the centre of our life. He is our all in all. Praise God giving us a savior. Thus, as Christ is, we should be.

    Off to the gym then work.


  2. jam200 says:

    As an aside, where are all our east coast folks. Time to rise and shine.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Well Mart I am sure I am not alone in wondering what it is you want to discuss. I have looked at the balloon picture graph and have issue with the little blue balloons.

    Forgive as forgiven? No I am to forgive even if not forgiven
    Love as loved? No I am to love even when not loved
    Show mercy as shown mercy? No I am to be merciful to all, even if not shown mercy
    Give as given? I am to be a cheerful giver without being given anything.
    Be patient as shown patience? I am to be patient especially when others are not.
    Live as made alive? Accept life and live it?

    Now if your intent is to forgive as God has forgiven us, love as God has loved us, give mercy as God has shown us mercy, be patient as God has been patient with us, and finally live for Christ then your little blue balloons make sense.

    Clearly I see the little beige balloons as tying Christ’s existence and ours together.

    The Larger centered balloon I understand as Christ is the center, as Juan has mentioned.

    But I admit Mart I am lost here in what you want to discuss or for our input to grow the picture graph.

    Needing some enlightenment.


  4. Mart De Haan says:

    Can’t ask for more of you than the honest response you’ve given. Just think that it’s easy to forget how hard it is to keep what is most important front and center.

  5. BruceC says:

    I saved that in my computer for reference and printed a copy for one of our pastors.

    When I looked at it it brought tears to my eyes because I instantly realized that we are not deserving of any of His blessings. But we are showered by His grace.
    So….I was forgiven when I did not deserve to be forgiven, I was loved when I did not deserve such love, made alive while I deserved death, etc.
    So the whole graph is a picture of things done for us and things expected of His children.
    Thank you Mart; I needed that!

    10 degrees here this AM in upstate NY!!

    God Bless All!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  6. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart,That picture is without any challenge here, because how could we forgive,His way, if not forgiven by Christ first? Pagans forgive! How could we love, His way,if Christ did not first love us? Pagans love! What is missing in my eyes,are things like Obedience to the Commands of God that He has clearly given us. Pagan’s can’t do that! The work of spreading the Gospel. Pagan’s can’t do that! How about trusting God enough to change from your Pagan works, to doing His? Some here, feel that Christians can’t do that either, as it would be called works! Believing in certain doctines, don’t require “anything” but finding that moment of hope, a moment of faith, and regardless of your continued Paganese practices, even lifelong and no matter how vile, your moment, is all that is required! What’s missing for some here, is their insistance on being able to still sin freely, and Pagan’s do that!
    You see Mart, if you believe that doctrine, then all the outside ballooons are an ineffective, worthless waste, as they are not really needed! That is the conundrum for many Pagan’s today, they see no difference in many so called Christians, who continue to walk their own way! If nothing changes…Gary

  7. SFDBWV says:

    Thanks Mart.

    In my experience in life I come into contact with people every day, sometimes under the best of conditions sometimes not so. However the one common matter is not the conditions or reasons or even the demeanor of those I come into contact with, but my demeanor my attitude and the impression I leave on them.

    I can not control the thoughts or actions of another, but only my own. If I live a life of consciously putting Christ first then I have done my job and presented Christ in every encounter with another person. If I practice this long enough then it becomes an unconscious act of habit.

    I am aware of the little catch phrase “What Would Jesus Do?” but I sometimes think that Jesus wants us to make that decision for ourselves, not just because He said so, but because it is the right thing to do.

    What is most important? One thing is certain, I am least important, but even that comes into question when God became a man, gave up more than we can comprehend and allowed Himself to be brutalized and murdered in a horrible fashion…..for me.

    That act of God makes me more important to Him than His own…comfort. That idea then says that all people everywhere has value and not only value, but important enough to God for all of the lives and circumstances of life that God placed on Himself and on us in order to bring us all back into fellowship with Him.

    So what is most important? I suppose it could be said God’s will is, as His will encompasses all of us, all of creation all present and future events.

    How possibly can we aid God in His desire to have His will done here on earth in our lives as it is done in heaven?

    How is earth different than heaven in God not being able to have His will be done?

    God’s will, will be done of that I am certain. Unless you consider the fact that 1/3 of His angels and an un numbered gathering of people will be lost to extinction in that great sea of fire God has in store for them. That is if God’s will was for none to be lost from Him.

    Jesus said for us to take up our cross and follow Him. So our cross or our purpose is also important to Him.

    It is difficult to live among others and not become attached to them in the bonds of love at every level, as important as they are to us they are also important to God and how we interact with them becomes part of that ultimate will God.

    So living in the will of God and our interaction with each other also becomes important.

    Bruce it is 15 degrees here this morning so it looks like a warm up in on the way.


  8. yooperjack says:

    Because of Gods grace I am forgiven. Because of the measure faith He has given me, I can accept His gift of grace. “Thank you Lord”

  9. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart!

    So happy to be picking up my children at the airport today! It’s a great blessing.

    Mart, I’m intrigued to see the blue ovals differ in size, whereas the rectangles are the same magnitude. You have enlarged the one celebrating Christ’s love for
    us (as referenced in the central oval). See, I would have made the “Live as made alive”oval the same size as the “Love as loved” one. Merely a comment.

    This morning’s devo has E. Stanley Jones quoting the apostle Paul: “But we all mirror the glory of the Lord with face unveiled, and so we are being transformed into the same likeness as himself, passing from one glory to another – for this comes of the Lord the Spirit.” (Moffatt) 2 Corinthians 3:18

    The rectangles = our adoption as children and heirs of the kingdom of God.
    The blue ovals surrounding = our transformation through the gift of Jesus.

    I like your reasoning! Because…therefore. This is in direct opposition to the worldly – if…then!


  10. fadingman says:

    How about Humble self as He humbled Himself (Php 2)?

  11. InHisHands says:

    just for clarification, Mart, I read your balloons to means as God has done for us, we are to do for others. We become the vessel of His love, forgiveness, giving, etc.
    I think the major attribute is love as He loves us – seems like everything else will follow. When we LOVE (verb, action,) we forgive, give, show mercy, etc.

    Just a bit of rambling – cold here in the desert. 30 something and we are praying for snow, so we can have snow days and start our vaction early. Lord bless you all.

  12. poohpity says:

    Mart, good picture of what the last post was saying.

    I was thinking that Christianity since it’s first inception has had to face three different distortions.

    Judaized Christianity– Christians are Jews who have recognized Jesus as Savior. Therefore any Gentile desiring to become a Christian must first become a Jew. The danger is it tends to add human traditions and standards to God’s law. Also subtracts from the Scriptures God’s clear concern for all nations.

    Legalized Christianity– Christians are those that live by a long list of “Don’ts”. God’s favor is earned by good behavior. The danger is it tends to make God’s love something to earn rather than to accept freely. Would reduce Christianity to a set of impossible rules and transform the Good News into bad news.

    Law-less Christianity– Christians live above the law. They need no guidelines. God’s word is not as important as our personal sense of God’s guidance. The danger is it forgets that Christians are still human and fail consistently when trying to live only by what they “feel” God wants.

    True Christianity– Christians are those who believe inwardly and outwardly that Jesus’ death has allowed God to offer them forgiveness and eternal life as a gift. They have accepted that gift by faith and are seeking to live a life of obedient gratitude for what God has done for them. It avoids the above dangers.

    How would those closet to you describe your Christianity? Do they think you live so that God will accept you OR do they know that you live because God has accepted you “in Christ”?

    The center of the bubbles and how we see that determines what kind of Christianity we will live. In our own strength or “In Christ” because of all that was done for us not what we can do.

  13. poohpity says:

    The 4 forms of Christianity were taken from LAB pg 1797.

  14. yooperjack says:

    Pooh: I’m familier with the 4 forms of Christianity but what is LAB? Maybe a Blble?

  15. davids says:

    Pooh, thanks, that was a useful comment!

  16. davids says:

    Mart, I am a big fan of diagrams to help us visually undertand relationships between thoughts.

    Echoing Gary, Steve, and Pooh, I would say that this diagram captures a certain part of our walk, but the use of equivalence (“show AS I have been shown, etc.”), it leaves out an important component.

    There are points like “trust AS…” and “obey AS…”. These are not things that Jesus did for us, but rather what he did for the Father. Now we must also do them.

  17. poohpity says:

    yooperjack, LAB is the Life Application Bible in the living translation. My mom brought that for me in 1989 for Christmas.

    David, I did not say that the diagram captures a certain part of our walk. I said it was good picture of what the last post was saying. I think it is a very good representation of what our center should be, it is all about who CHRIST IS and what HE alone has done and what HE wants to do IN us, if we get our eyes off of us.

  18. poohpity says:

    David, I also disagree with the statement you made, “These are not things that Jesus did for us, but rather what he did for the Father. Now we must also do them.” If Jesus is Himself God incarnate then what He did while here on earth was FOR us the people of the nations. Not the Father because God is already Holy, Righteous, Just and merciful. So Jesus did what He alone could do for us so that HE could present us as Holy, Righteous, Just and sinless before the Father covered by the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. “Now we must do them” it is impossible for us to do that.

  19. SFDBWV says:

    Davids, I would suppose living where you do you are very familiar with the world of art and the masters of our best art.

    There sometimes is a little nun on our Public Broadcasting System that has a program whereby she will take us on a journey of understanding what it was the artist was showing hidden in their paintings.

    I love that show because all of what the artist hid was just that hidden, but once explained in such simple terms made sense.

    I suppose I am a lot too immature to get some picture graphs which is why I suppose I like cartoons.

    Usually when the blog goes out on the email circuit we get a load of extra input, I see this morning as yet this isn’t happening. It could be that like me a lot of others don’t quite get how to respond to the subject.

    I guess if I were to simplify this matter I would have to say that our relationship with each other should be a refection of the relationship between God the Father and Christ the Son and Christ the Son shown toward man.

    We still have snow on the ground but it is above freezing this morning at 32.5 degrees f, and they are forecasting rain today and tomorrow. I am starting to like this winter so far.


  20. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    As I sat down for a quiet time, I immediately thought of the diagram you have posted, Mart. The thought for the day from “How to Be a Transformed Person,” (Jones, Parthenon: Nashville, 1951)

    “I am no longer a comet, racing to my ruin. I’ve been caught by Christ, and now I revolve serenely around Him — forever.”

    By his grace, we may partake of that cluster of qualities you placed around the field.

    Your diagram is a wonderful picture of that Christ-centered “orbit!” Blessings, Maru

  21. Mart De Haan says:

    Hey all, thanks for weighing in. A diagram like this does leave a lot unsaid. One of the things that was behind this one was the nagging question of why being “people of the Book” often has the opposite effect of producing a Christlike life.

    We’re all too familiar with the fact that Jesus’ countrymen had that problem. Even though the law they loved was ultimately all about him, his heart, and his wisdom,too many of them unintentionally ended up with contempt not only for his Spirit but for him– and neighbors as well.

    Seeing him is what humbles us, and gives us the awareness and need we need to trust him, and love one another.

  22. BruceC says:

    Dear family in Christ,

    Please keep my mother-in-law in prayer. She came up here to stay at my wife’s sister’s house from downstate. Several weeks ago she had a fall and went into the local hospital and from there to a home for rehab. She had no broken bones. She is 86 years old. Last night she was returned to the hospital ER because she had a TIA (mini-stroke?).
    No one in the family is taking that well. My wife is beside herself if anything happens to her Mom as we are in real bad shape at this time and have no idea of how we could get downstate if the worst happens and there are funeral arrangements to be made. She still has a brother and sister down there so they could do that.
    The problem is that our backup heat is a gas furnace with only less than 20% in the tank, we would have to board out at least our dog and pay for updated shots, the cars heater is not blowing much heat and the fan works off and on like having a mind of its own. Plus we don’t have much money being on a small limited income.
    I know Mom is still with us but these thoughts do come up and my wife is stressed out. We have really been up against it so-to-speak for a long time; but it seems to be getting worse. We feel like we are in Job’s house.
    Please pray for Mom, us, and the rest of the family.
    God bless all!!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  23. BruceC says:

    By the way Mart; I click on my shortcut for RBC and get a message that says “IP address missing”. Are there problems? Had to do a Google and do each segment individually.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  24. SFDBWV says:

    Be at peace Bruce, God will meet your needs when the time comes to do so. You and your family remain in our prayers.


  25. BruceC says:

    Thank you for your words of kindness and strength! God bless you brother Steve!

    My shortcut is working now. I had probs at midnight and six this AM. OK now.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  26. poohpity says:

    Today’s ODB and Col 3:12=17 NIV, is something I crave and find that lately is very lacking in my soul and heart. I have found that when I surround myself with critical, catty people I start acting like that myself. I also know that my medication has a lot to do with it too which I will be going off of again this month. It makes me feel irritable and cranky. Even reading God’s word everyday I still let ugly spring up in me and react to others rather than allow the Lord to guide my heart in mercy and forgiveness. Yearning for a gentle, humble spirit does not always gain the results desired it takes understanding and patience which is a gift of the Holy Spirit and the closer I stay to Him I hope it will come again to me. They will know we are Christians by our love not by expecting myself and others to always do what goes against our gain but realizing that we trust God to do what we can not. Ugly gets ugly and sometimes love gets ugly back too but we can not give up on trying to make a difference in this world by showing kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering and bearing with each other as the example given to us by Christ.

    Bruce, I will pray for everything to come together for your family and will be giving praise for the Lord’s hand in this matter. Love Deb

  27. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I appreciate your open and honest observational question as to why confessing Christians behave anything except like Christ.

    My understanding of that quandary has multiple answers and are as diverse as the many different personalities everyone has.

    Immature Christians will see and act differently than a more mature one. Many truly believe they are acting exactly as Christ wants them too yet are seen by others as more of a Pharisee than a Christian.

    If you walk through a forest you will see the many stages of trees. Some tall and stately others dwarfed by living under the shadow of the larger ones. Some are yet seeds laying on the ground waiting for the right set of circumstances to open up and begin to grow, while others are at various stages of reaching for the light.

    I believe all Christians are like this, and all strain for their place in the Son-light, all the while feeling in competition for it. Though there is no need to compete, just like children anywhere with sisters and brothers they compete for the attention of their parents.

    Sometimes that competition produces some rather negative sounding and looking results. Yet all the while their hearts are like those little trees reaching up and straining to grow towards the light.

    Love to all today, light rain and 38 degrees f.


  28. poohpity says:

    I think the difference with us and the trees are they do not have minds, emotions or a soul. Usually do not go around cutting each other down it is us as humans who cut them down. Pun intended, lol.

  29. yooperjack says:

    To all you brothers and sister going through hard times.
    “The rose will bud again”
    Don’t let the Devil or anyone else steal your joy by putting stupid thoughs in your head.
    When ever I have a situation that I have no control over I just say: “Lord, I can do nothing about this, it’s in your hands, you take care of this one.”
    In most cases it turns out what I thought was going to happen never did. Don’t let your thinking go wild it just adds stress to your life.

  30. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and BTA friends…
    Bruce, I, too am praying for you and your family. God, who is our heavenly Father, in His grace, arranges
    circumstances in our lives where we are helpless so we can cry out to Him who is the source of all wisdom, power, and love. Jesus commands us to pray so He can answer us- so that our joy may be full. (John 16:24). May God bless you and your family always.

    As I meditate on Jesus’ teaching on how to pray, I am reminded again that Jesus wants us to pray, above all, to honor God’s, our Father’s, name; to pray that His will will be done in our and other’s lives; and that His kingdom be advanced in our and other’s lives.

    This writing on prayer, seems to digress from the topic of being Christlike just as Jesus has shown us… Mart, I like your visual. Scriptures tells us that how we live reflects our understanding of what God has done for us
    through Jesus. Our thoughts towards God and how we interact with others is the fruit and manifestation of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives. Towards God, I pray to have a life of gratitude, praise, and worship (submission) borne out of love. Towards others, the blue ovals express them well. As already added, Humility as He humbled Himself; to Serve as He served; to pray as He prayed…

    Season’s loving greetings as we celebrate God’s indescribable gift!

  31. foreverblessed says:

    Well, the middle cirlcle Mart put in says this:
    Because of who Christ is, what He has done for us, and what He wants to do in us,
    Doesn’t that say that we will follow Him? Doesn’t that mean that if we let Him work in us and through us, then we obey Him. So obedience is included in the diagram.
    And then the part: What He has done for us, isn’t that a great and unbelievable merciful act? Realising how much Jesus has done for us, is the start of our life. We are so greatful, so happy, so full of love, because He loved us and saved us from the kingdom of darkness.

    We are alive, because He made us alive,
    even that sentence is so profound! Living in His life is so different then living a set of rules that can be found in the bible. Then we are mere servants, but God wants sons and daughters, those that live in His life.
    (I feel like I am saying many things at a time, but I like this set of of Mart, a look at our basics.)

    BruceC, God is looking at you and your wife, right in the middle of His attention, there you are, I pray that your faith will not diminish, but will be strengthened.
    God will never leave us nor forsake us.
    And His word is sure!

  32. yooperjack says:

    Many Christians do many “Things for the Lord”. That is: things they want to do. I always say: “It’s not what I can do for God but what can God do “through” me. There is a very big differants.

  33. davids says:

    Catching up… Bruce, your mother-in-law and family are in my prayers.

    Pooh, you are correct. What I should have said was that Jesus did these things toward the father. His trust and obedience toward the Father was a model for us.

    Steve, it sounds like an interesting broadcast. The truth is that even here in Europe, much of the art is in museums and theatres that people rarely visit, and they spend much time in front of the television, bombarded by the same messages you see.

    Looking forward to the Christmas celebration!

  34. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Just thought I would pop in and see how you all are?

    Mart, I think I understand your diagram is just trying to make us take a fresh look at what can be “stail statements” of faith that we cling to sometimes but fail to really comprehend.
    In reality everything is made New and Fresh every morning and we are to live life as if every day is both our first day and last day on earth, seeing everthing New each day but not worrying about tomorrow.

    Bruce, Thank you for sharing your fears about what the future holds and I will be praying for you and your wife and mother-in-law. I know too well how difficult life can be and have many problems looming ahead of me and know that when I try a project my mind into future events it just all overwhelms me and I head for the pub and have a few pints to take away the pain. But I also know that when I just live one day at a time and leave everything with God each night, the next day the Son shines through and everything is fresh and New.

    Steve, Thanks for your wise words as ever and I am pleased the winter snow is keeping away this year.
    We are currently being battered by high winds and lots of rain and are expecting a severe storm Thursday afternoon with 80mph plus winds and a high tide.
    Currently 8C (46F) with 40mph gusts and lightning outside my window.
    11:30pm and off to bed.
    Looking forward to lashing seas tomorrow.

    Love to ALL

    Bob xxx

  35. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Hope all is well with you. Hi Bob (Cornwall)! You’ve been on my mind lately because I hadn’t seen any comments from you in awhile. I haven’t been able to be a part of the conversation myself as much as I would like to. It’s good to hear from you! :)

    Mart, Your intro comment is in perfect alignment with the ODB devotional for today. I want to share the portion of the devotional that really blessed me…spoke to me this morning:

    “The Horse & Her Boy”

    Do I respond with humility, meekness, and patience? (Col. 3:12). Or with intolerance and indignation?

    To overlook an offense. To forgive 70 times 7. To bear with human frailty and failure. To show mercy and kindness to those who exasperate us. To gain such control over our souls—this is the work of God.

    God of grace and God of goodness,
    Teach me to be ever kind,
    Always gentle and forgiving
    With the Savior first in mind. —Brandt

    Love that is born at Calvary bears and forbears, gives and forgives.

    An incident happened (at home) with a family member this weekend, and I think I responded with more intolerance and indignation than humility, meekness and patience. Wonder if it matters that I feel like I was pushed to my breaking point (I really feel like I snapped)?

    Have a deep desire…an earnest desire to respond in a Christ-like manner, no matter the situation or circumstance. Thinking of that old saying, “If at first you don’t succeed…”

    Love to all,

  36. Regina says:

    Oh, forgot to mention that we had lots of rain today, and the temp was low 60’s. Also want to share a blessing I received (today) with you. I didn’t know that I could kill my car battery if I left my car on idle with the radio and heater on while it’s in park. Well, that’s what happened this morning! I had some extra time before work, so I ate my breakfast in my car in a drug store parking lot, and I had the heater and radio on while the car was parked. When I attempted to start the car to drive to work, it wouldn’t start and (at that time) I didn’t know what was wrong with it. I called the school and explained my situation, then I went inside the drug store to get some help. The pharmacist told me that, more than likely, my battery was dead. He suggested that I ask some delivery guys (that were passing by) for help with recharging my battery. The delivery guys told me that they couldn’t help me because they didn’t have any jumper cables in their truck. Well, long story short, I finally found an employee who did have some jumper cables, but she didn’t know how to jump start my car. So, I had to wait for a random guy to come in or leave the store, and lo and behold a random guy who looked like he new how to jump start a car appeared out of nowhere! He was having a conversation on the phone, and when he ended his call I explained my situation and he said he wouldn’t mind helping me (the school secretary whom I don’t know was also willing to come help me). The really nice man showed me how to use jumper cables to restart my battery as he was re-charging it for me, and when he was finished I thanked him as sincerely as I could and drove home (the Teacher who I was replacing was able to come to work after all). When I arrived home, my husband (who knew what happened regarding my battery) told me that he had phoned the car repair shop (not far from our house) and someone was going to come out and put a brand new, top-of-the-line battery in my car! Praise the LORD for the many blessings He bestows on us on a daily basis!! :-)

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