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Hating Religion and Family

One more look at the hate religion but love Jesus comparison. What if we hated religion the way Jesus asked us to hate the members of our own family?

May sound like a stretch. But Jesus seems to consider hatred of close relatives a condition of his kingdom. While fulfilling the law that requires us to honor our parents (Matt 5:17) (Exodus 20:12), he said that unless a man hates mother, father, wife, children, and even his own life, he cannot be his disciple (Luke 14:26).

Am guessing that we’d agree that such words makes no sense unless Jesus is warning against a competitive love that displaces him from the center of our heart. At that point love of family becomes idolatry.

Maybe that’s also when religion becomes a problem—when we begin thinking or speaking not only of our religion, but also of our church, faith, Bible, and  beliefs– with a focused “first love” that belong to God alone.

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79 Responses to “Hating Religion and Family”

  1. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Constantly, since I have been back with Jesus over this last six years or so, He has said go back to Bethel where you found your first Love.
    Like Jacob, I too restled with God when I was a teenager about my sexuality and He had to get me to a point where it no longer mattered and that’s when I fell in Love with Jesus and put Him first.
    Then one thing led to another and at 21 years old I fell in love with another man. It all went down hill from there with my relationship with God.
    Now, in the past six years or so, I have had to revisit “Bethel” and rediscover my first Love, JESUS. Now my sexuality is just a slight “thorn in the flesh” and really only serves to remind me where I am without my Lord.

    The word hate used above by Jesus is neant to mean the same as when Jesus said, “If your Eye offends you cut it out”. He knows it is better for you to get to heaven with only one Eye than to be “left behind”.
    Jesus Himself turned His back on His Mother and brothers when He was filled with the Holy Spirit.
    He also hated His own life unto death so He could “do the will of His Father”.
    “For me to LIVE is CHRIST to die is GAIN”


  2. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    The word “Hate” seems a strong word for Jesus to use, but that is the only way most of us can put Jesus First, by hating everything that comes between us & Him.

  3. Mart De Haan says:

    And Bob, what I find so amazingly compelling to think about is how all of this begins and then unfolds in Jesus’ relationship to his Father.

    Because his Father is infinitely holier (i.e. in the truest sense, perfectly loving) than any parent on earth, the Son could love and trust his Father to the point of “hating” the world (including us), and his own life– to offer all of us the sacrificial love, acceptance, and vision of reality we were made for.

    That sounds like double-talk even as I write it. But I don’t think so.

  4. Mikek says:

    That is the whole thing right there Mart. Because Jesus understood who He was, who His Father was, His mission, etc…He was able to accomplish His Fathers’s will.

    A careful review of His life reveals that He did not tolerate religion because religion always seemed to come between the man or woman and God.

    He pointed His disciples (and us) to Himself, it is not Him we are to cling, to run to, to believe in.We are to have our hope in Him and hate everything else by comparison.


  5. Mikek says:

    Today thoughts about Jesus seem to be limited to just that, thoughts. We have an idea about who He is, what He did, etc…and we are probably right according to scripture. However, does our belief in Him change the way we live? Do unbelievers know you love Jesus?

    When I read a lot about a lot of other things related to our faith, I am thinking…where is the discussion about Jesus? We haven’t mentioned Him at all.

    Believing in Jesus should change us (yes some more slowly than others) but there should be somethig that says he hates everything else by comparison.


  6. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    What you said made me think of the wealthy young man who came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to enter God’s Kingdom. We all know Jesus said for him to give all his wealth away and follow Him.
    But he went away sad because he loved his money too much.
    I think he probably had never worked in a job and lacked self belief that he could survive without his money to support him. He failed to realize Jesus was the source of all real wealth.
    On the other hand, all the diciples had some kind of job, Fishermen, Tax collectors, Physician? But they did not hesitate when Jesus called them. Only one wanted to say goodbye to his dad. I don’t really know why they just left all they had? Maybe they were just ready and God had prepared them in advance. Maybe they had the confidence of knowing who they were and their place in the world. Jesus offered them more than just a wage, He offered them LIFE!
    Just as Peter said when Jesus asked them if they were going to leave Him also.
    “Where else can we Go, you have the Words of eternal life”


  7. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    They were all young men, maybe it is in all of us, as youngsters, to “walk away” from what seems a life of drudgery at work to follow what was a “new way”.
    I suspect, as I have experienced, when Jesus comes into your life there is little else to compare with Him.

    That is it really!
    If we Love Jesus everything else is as nothing and if there is something, like a desire or a person or a possesion, then we should hate it with a passion until it is “dead”, placed on the cross.
    Then, like Peter, we can be ALIVE to HIM and Him only.

  8. BruceC says:

    When Jesus peers into the very core of our hearts; what will He see there? Pride, love of others, the church, ministry, self, materialism, money, lust, our job, etc., etc. The list goes on and on. What he desires to see is Himself at the core of our hearts. He asked Peter three times “Do you love me more than these?”
    It is hard to not let pride or works sneak in so we can pat ourselves on the back; or to put love of others or things to the forefront; is it not?
    We need to pray that the Holy Spirit keeps us and guide so He is at the core.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  9. foreverblessed says:

    Well Bob, this time you could start of the discussion head on, I was reading Mart’s and was thinking, where does he lead us, after your posts I really see what Jesus meant with “hating” anything that comes in between us and Him.
    In this light I can also tell of what I hated, my religion in my old church. We had a lot of religion, days to keep, food to not eat, houses to clean from leavened bread, etc. When I found out that these laws in the Old Testament were a shadow of the things to come, the Reality being Jesus Christ, now that Christ had come, we are to live in the reality and the shadow is no longer needed. Then I hated the religion with a great hate. And I was desperately seeking to live in faith in Jesus. Forget the rest, what is this treasure: Christ in us. At that time I was very impatient with all christians who gave me advice to keep to certain rules, structured etc. First show me Christ, and then we’ll see.
    I think that is what the essence is, Leading people to Jesus, and leave Him to open their eyes. The structures wont ave them, the rules wont save them. First Jesus, and after that Jesus, and after that, maybe a little organisation. If you know what I mean, and after reading what Mikek wrote he is must understand what I mean. If people like Mikek write about religion, they do not mean our faith life in Jesus, but all the things around our lives, the organisations, the programs the rituals. James was writing about religion as visiting the needy, we are not talking about that sort of religion, but the religion like that of the Pharisees, the doing of things without the heart of love, a love coming up out of the well of Jesus, a love that is willing to give yourself up for the benefit of those you serve. And yes Bruse, we need the Holy Spirit to lead us into that kind of life.

  10. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” — Jesus

    I am agreeing with what has been shared here so far, having just made a pilgrimage to a workshop that does not “look” as important as its place in my heart – just a ministry conference that actually happens periodically with different topics covered. I returned to visit some people who are doing things I am praying for – things that call for self-sacrifice and radical breaking with “status quo.”

    It seems to me we often miss how devoted Jesus was to his Father (technically God the Holy Spirit, joined with his mother, Mary of Nazareth). He communed with, prayed to, strove to please, listened to – his heavenly Father constantly during his short life on earth. I wonder how many who have the seeds of extreme devotion to Jesus Christ embedded in their hearts — just hit snooze, roll over and pull the covers over our heads. I believe Jesus’ words are there to awaken whoever can be awakened.


  11. florida7sun says:

    In presenting to Jesus our bodies as a living sacrifice, we have nothing to cling to but Him. That is true love. In speaking to the rich young ruler, Jesus did not say keep the Sabbath. In Christ we find our rest, our peace and our purpose; when He is the singular focus of our being. One with Jesus, His Word comes alive. We hunger to abide with Him as He encourages us to be transformed by His presence.

    This morning, on Groundhog Day, many tuned-in to see if Punxsutawney Phil would see his shadow signaling another six weeks of winter. He did. The winds of winter can be biting when we continually look for our shadow to make a mark in this world. Only in keeping our eyes focused on our Lord and Savior will shadows and despair disappear.

    The joy of the Lord is our strength. He is our Creator, our Redeemer and our Blessed Hope. In Him we live and breathe. In Him we discover what true love is all about.

  12. SFDBWV says:

    Just as it makes sense when Jesus said to the legalists that there are two commandments, obedience to which, causes there to be no offense against all the others (Mark 12: 29-31) to fist love the Lord your God and to second love others above yourself.

    It also makes sense when Paul tells us in Galatians 5: 23 that in exhibiting the fruits of the Spirit there is no violation against God

    If we can manage to follow the two commandments Jesus mentioned in Mark 12: 29-31 then we will exhibit the fruits of the Spirit Paul mentions in Galatians 5: 22-23 then having hate in our hearts is a mute issue.

    Once again looking at the word for hate used in Luke 14: 26 in the concordance I see it also translated as “love less” a lot different than the first impression one gets from the word *hate*.

    I am too tired and too old to waste my time and energy in the world of hate, it expends way too much energy and leaves me exhausted, spiritually uncomfortable and with a frown on my face.


  13. yooperjack says:

    *Religion* sucks.

    Steve you just don’t want to become a craby old man. LOL I fight it every day. LOL

    Marts last paragragh sumes it up as far as Christians go. It’s a lot deeper out side of the “Church”.

  14. jlewie says:

    I literally came to heart tears when I read this blog. I don’t have time right now to share how this read relates to me, but I have gone through an immense amount of pain by following Jesus’ leading in my life that has required me to “turn my back” on my family, or at least it looks like that. I have told him many times I am not strong enough for this. It has been a true test and great refinement, while I do not understand all of it and feel alone in it many times. It is hands down one of the most painful things I have endured. More on this soon… I have to go to work.

  15. oneg2dblu says:

    jlewie… we are suffering but momentary troubles for the Hope of Eternity. We have within us His Holy Spirit to hold us up to any of the attacks of despair that this current world may bring to us. We can not ever let go of him who called us by name to be His. But, if we slip, He is there to pick us up, dust us off, and restore us to the Path of Victory He has set us upon. Keep the Faith, and you keep the Pathway open, not with out bumps and not with out pain, but never without Him, and His Helper in Us all! We are blessed because even if we suffer with Him, we know we walk with Him also! Prayers to you in your hour of need! Gary

  16. SFDBWV says:

    Jackie thanks for the laugh this morning. I watched a PBS program last night about wolverines; it turns out instead of being just cranky mean old reclusive critters they just know how best to survive in their element…..Could be we could learn a lot from that grouchy old critter.


  17. BruceC says:

    My wife has felt the painful sting from her family for decades because she put Christ ahead of them and “their only true church” that she was raised in. She never recanted or went back either and suffered ridicule for it. Me? I guess I just got blamed for introducing her to Christ in a way. She came to the church I attended after we were married; heard the Word preached and accepted Christ. Now we both are treated differently by the family. His Name be praised!
    He comes first!!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  18. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Just been looking at Mart’s picture above.
    It reminded me of Christ and His Bride, the Church.

    Then I got to thinking, very dangerous for a simple west country man like me!

    God,The Father, so loved us He gave His only beggoten Son so that whosoever believes in HIM, SHALL be SAVED.
    What Love is that?
    Surely we are the Fathers First Love!
    The Father is Jesus First love in that He did His Fathers will in order to bring Joy to His Father by reuniting us with Him.
    Then the Father gave everything back to Jesus and Raised Him up above any other in Heaven or Earth. The Holy Spirit always there making every Word spoken by God a reality.
    That is true Love when there are only eyes for the other person in a relationship and all that we do is for them.
    If only we could grasp this just a little bit we would surely be One with God and One with each other.
    That is what God wants to do right now both in us and for His Church… Make us One with each other! Then His last days prophecy will be forefilled and His Spirit will be poured out on all flesh.

    Hallelujah…! (not a word I use often)


  19. poohpity says:

    Gosh Mart, this is so convicting. From that Luke passage I believe He was asking those following Him to consider the cost of following Him. It would seem that some who were going after Jesus at that time it was because of the miracles they had seen Him do but when it comes down to the nitty gritty were they really understanding what following Jesus meant. It seems easy when you leave something as my life was before this relationship with the Lord but what if I had a good job, nice family, wealth, and was asked to suffer with constant persecution, little money, and no home to follow Christ. Would my choice be different? What if Christ asked me to leave behind all that I know everyday now to go and tell people about Jesus?

    Some may say, oh yes, but how many times when you are just in the grocery store or at the bank have you shared the Good News with the person standing next to you in line? How many times have I passed up going to the lake to have fun, to clean my neighbors house because they were ill? This may seem easy to think about but is Jesus really first in our lives? It seems easy to follow Jesus while sitting in a pew or in your own home but what if you were asked to give that home up?

    A lot of things to think about.

  20. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Reminded of the song…

    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


  21. poohpity says:

    How about if God told you to sell everything and go minister to those of the Islam faith that are hated so much would you go? How to about minister to those who hate you or persecute you would you go? This is really a call to look deep within and think about all you see around you, would you give it up to go and do for the Lord?

  22. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    once I would have struggled with those questions due to having money, good job and all those things you mentioned.
    All I have now is debt, which would be easy to leave behind.
    I guess Jesus has already paid that debt, whichever way you look at it, so in reality what do we actually give up when Jesus has paid the price for it all anyway.


    I would miss my cat :-(

  23. poohpity says:

    I know Bob, when I look around I have nothing to give up except 2 cats and 2 dogs and because they boss me around all the time, in humor, it would be easy, lol. To some of us those things would be very easy but to some it would be very difficult especially those who are looked up to in their towns or churches holding places of honor would they let that go to pick up a towel and wash someones feet?

  24. Rocky says:


    Knowing that the American English language is so limited, and not a precise language perhaps the word “hate” as we read it in our bibles has a different meaning than the meaning that we are familiar with.

    Abraham loved his son so much that God put him through a tough test, to see where his love for God was.

    Did God really want him to hate/despise his son to the point of murdering him? Knowing that one of the commandments is: “thou shall not kill”

    A familiar example is the word love, it has so many meanings, but in our language we only have one word for it.

    The Bible says that true religion is to look after the widows & orphans, I’ve not seen one church that has a widow/orphan fund/offering. How do we fix it? A paradigm change is desperately needed.


  25. yooperjack says:

    Oh! No you don’t. If my *baby* my cat doesn’t go I don’t go. Are you kiding me? I even put in my request that she be in Heaven with me. LOL I don’t want to spend eternity looking for her. LOL

  26. poohpity says:

    Rocky so right I wonder if Jesus did pose these questions to show us just exactly where or hearts are and yet He went to the Cross for us. It used to be that churches had a benevolence funds to help but many have folded those programs because they began to judge those who came for help. If folks held religion as something to be adhered to rather than understanding the mercy and grace of our Lord then it would be following a religion rather than Jesus. I do not know if that makes sense.

  27. poohpity says:

    We would not even need a welfare program from the government if we as Christians would reach out to help the needy but instead churches or religions send the people that come to them to the government for help. That is a whole other topic.

  28. bratimus says:

    The problem with facing the word “Hate” is that we have let ourselves be herded into a politicially correct sheep pin.

    We have to say things like, i really dis-like that or i really disike that with extreme prejudice. We have to water everything down so no one is offended. They want you to use un-truthful instead of lying.

    Its the scale man puts to everything, man even puts sin on a scale. Man rates the sin!

    To God Love is Love, a sin is a sin, a lie is a lie, and we are to hate what is evil.

  29. poohpity says:

    I guess that is how I look at religion, man’s hand has touched it. I do not know about anyone else but there is so much to understand in the bible yet we try to take something God has intend for good and a relationship with Him to make it fit into our understanding and then putting ourselves in a position of rating or comparing ourselves to each other rather than to Jesus. I think if we all are completely honest there are things everyday that we put above God. Not to shame anyone but so that we are humbled with an honest view of ourselves which one would think causes us to look more intently to God.

  30. poohpity says:

    Don’t you ever get confused? Some places it say to hate then some places it says not to hate.

  31. yooperjack says:

    I *HATE* this topic!!!!!

  32. Mikek says:

    I am glad to see that the discussion is finally coming around.

    We have commercialized the faith, pastors and authors are our rock stars. Jesus is a by word, dropped to get elected to office or to be accepted among our peers.

    We have limited Jesus to a concept, an idea. We do not love Him on our knees or through our service to one another.

    We are no longer centrally focused on Jesus. The body of Christ is splintered, fractured and apparently content to have it that way.

    Renewing our love for Jesus, consuming ourselves with Jesus, our thoughts with thoughts of Jesus would eliminate most of our problems. We would be less religious quite frankly.

    If the word hate makes some uncomfortable, your religion makes me uncomfortable. I miss Jesus when He isn’t talked about, when He isn’t the central focus.

    Anyway, no more posts. You are all talking about Jesus again


  33. jlewie says:

    “The one passion of Paul’s life was to proclaim the gospel of God. He welcomed heartbreak, disillusionment, and tribulation for only one reason— these things kept him unmovable in his devotion to the gospel of God.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest.

    In regards to “wealth” which could be translated as relationships, material possessions, even knowledge, whatever is the “wealth” in our lives…. IS NOT a reflection of prosperity. It is not a reflection of victory or the lack of as loss. See matthew 5 to understand Jesus definition of RICH and POOR.

    A majority of so-called Christians specifically in America scare me, just saying.

  34. jlewie says:

    As for my previous comment about feeling that I have had to die to my family at this time (I hope it is only for a season), I have made this decision and “let go” of these relationships because they were a threat to my devotion to Jesus. I feel at peace during this time, though I don’t know what the heck God is doing in this process, and though it is extremely painful beyond words, I have to trust that because in my heart of hearts I am doing this at a crossroads of choosing between him or them, that it will all be ok. God is faithful and I am standing by his promise. Tears will last for the night, but joy comes in the morning. Thank you for your encouragement today.

  35. yooperjack says:

    jlewie: some times we get more love from our extended family that is: “freinds”, than our family members. And that is ok.

  36. SFDBWV says:

    In talking with Glenna’s daughter and her husband while they were in for a visit this winter; the subject of whether or not they had any success converting people to Christ in an Islamic country.

    They said they had some success as well as working with other missionaries within the same organization to help establish secret churches or gatherings what ever proper term you would like to use.

    The subject of just how much converts give up in such a setting was discussed as well. These new Christians love their families their fathers, mothers, sisters brothers and so on, but they themselves become hated for their choice by the very people they have loved their entire lives.

    They don’t now hate their families, they have made a choice to accept Jesus as Lord and have *began* the process of being Christ like, finding supernatural *love*.

    In some instances there is grave danger in accepting Christ especially if you are a woman in an Islamic society. Your father or brothers may kill you for bringing dishonor to your family.

    If you think it doesn’t happen here in the *West* as well, then you don’t read much.

    Jesus came to offer peace between man and God, there is no hate found in that, Jesus said he came also to divide and He has and will as people divide themselves into either accepting Him or not, even among members of ones own family.

    It is a very sad testimony to the narrow minded and ignorant among Christians to divide themselves even further by following church leaders rather that the Head of the Church. But that happens as well, we will all just have to let God sort it all out.


  37. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    I agree with separating family love from denominational church-love. Both family and church could become idols to a disciple of Jesus. But I believe that spouse and children can be part of ministry and mission together, when there is equal faith. Our congregation is in touch with missionary families who are making their homes in South America and Eastern Europe together.

    “Church-olotry,” on the other hand, is a hallmark of what is passing away in the body of Christ – or at least should be passing away. It seems to me the large, heavily institutionalized church is morphing. A congregation truly is made up of small groups who meet often, pray, confess, study and act together in ministry. The large worship body is not able to be accountable to itself – person to person and heart to heart. Jesus chose twelve – and that seems to be about the maximum number of persons who keep the Christian disciplines alive together.


  38. narrowpathseeker says:

    My collective family is massive in number and as diverse as my journey in this world has been. I battled against REAL hate for the father of my children for years. Through the Grace of God I was able to forgive for a long period of time. Then he started mocking God and thwarting my outreach to teach my adult children what I had learned the hard way about Jesus. Satan set the trap and I jumped right in with renewed hatred for a man that had by the grace of God once been forgiven unforgivable(in my own power) offenses. I prayed for deliverance from that hatred for years but everytime I saw him, I had flashbacks of some horrible offense I had endured at his hands and it was unbearable. During that time I thought of fleeing my family if I was to ever have the love of Christ in me. I didn’t. Finally, I was advised to pray for him everytime a hatefilled thought came to mind. I DID this for a few years. This man is now very ill and the love of Christ has once again delivered me from the ugliness of real hatred and guess who is his caregiver from 9-5 until my daughter gets home?! Only by the grace of God and focusing on Him has this happened! I feel no animosity…in fact I am feeling much joy in this mission, because I am very AWARE that I have experienced a bonafide Miracle. Without the Grace of God I would doing battle with the desire to pull the plug.

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… you left Christ out of the picture you painted about government welfare by saying the needy who come to the church and are sent away to the government for help. By needy you must have meant those who had material welfare needs only, needing only “a certain type of welfare.” But, could it be that God has sent them there for another purpose that was not mentioned? Instead of social welfare which they also have clearly needed and were helped to find, do they also need help with their spiritual welfare, which no government I know of can really help them with?
    Have those wrongly motivated churches and those religions sent them somewhere else for that also?
    Hasn’t the church actually helped a need, or must we just see “what we look for” when we point our fingers at them?
    Just suppose every church goer actually followed the commands about tithing, instead of the actual 5 or 6 percent who now really support many of these church “welfare” programs that now really do manage to exist.
    Then, the church could possibly feed, house, clothe, and take care of all medical, social, and mental needs of those who come in His Door. Did Christ send them away, or did He call them to His House and direct them
    to where meeting a particular need was actually met?
    I guess it is all perspective, and when we are church/religion bashing, all churches and religions get a bad rap, just like that first movie directed our thoughts as well!
    I see your point, do you also see mine?
    Paul says in Philippians 8, what ever is right, pure, lovely, admirable,excellent, or praiseworthy, think about such things. Aren’t we all like sheep soo easily led asrtay?
    Not pointing at you pooh, but really to all of us who use our words to paint our one-sided pictures. :) Gary

  40. oneg2dblu says:

    Maru… I like your twelves thinking. It makes things seem almost manageable. What if the Good Shepherd only cared for his “immediate flock” and wasn’t so busy reaching out to others or the whole world for that matter, by building on His Father’s Plan and creating a Whole World of Followers, then where would we be?
    Just a thought… Gary

  41. oneg2dblu says:

    I also agree that when organizations get really big, they can not be so easily contained. But, an organized heart can be very large place when directed by God, who knows where it will go? :)

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Narrowpathseeker, we share a lot aside from our love of Christ and journey toward that celestial shore. It is always right to do the right thing in spite of everything else.

    As a side thought there is a worse emotion than hate and that is indifference. If we hate someone they still have a control of some place in our lives, however once we reach that point where we don’t care anymore one way or another, that person is dead to us completely. No longer hated or loved, they just do not matter any longer.

    Well the official word is that that *rat* in PA seen his shadow and so we are stuck with 6 more weeks of winter. I would have to say that that too doesn’t matter as this winter of spring like weather for us has been very welcome, though not quite over yet.


  43. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, if I recall correctly, I think I traveled the path of indifference for a brief time as well. There were times that I thought He had left me alone in this matter because it took so long, but in retrospect I now think that He wanted to include Patience in the work. I think He also wanted me to see my part clearly as I engaged in “repaying evil for evil” at times and felt it was justified and really forgot those episodes.

    During the first period of forgiveness I fell into satan’s ego trap of thinking, “aren’t I wonderful for forgiving this person” and didn’t give much thought of my need to be forgiven for my part!”

    6 more weeks of Winter here in CT will not be bad if it keeps up as is. We’ve only had a few real Winter days.

  44. narrowpathseeker says:

    Maru, I also like your thoughts on the twelve. Keeping in mind that Judas was among the twelve, is there any written clues as to how the others dealt with Judas? I am thinking that they were not even aware of his offenses inasmuch as when Jesus said one of them would betray Him that some asked , if it was themselves. Were the disciples considered a family and if so how does that fit into this subject or am I way out in left field?

  45. poohpity says:

    narrow, I just wanted to let you know the person I had asked for prayers for to go to that bible study was the father of my children who left us destitute 22 years ago. At that time one of my children was 2 years old and the other was 6 months and the three of us lived out of my van while he lived with his parents with 3 square meals a day. Over the next 14 years we had little contact with him while I went back to college to get my BA while working and taking care of my (our) sons. Very little child support but a forgiving heart and much prayers is what has led him to going to church and bible studies. Looking back I am so glad things turned out as they had because both of our son’s/me have a relationship with the Lord and have been an example of forgiveness to him which in turn has opened the door for him to accept Christ and now go to bible studies. The boys and I have been praying for this for 18 years. He is now my friend after much, very much forgiveness. I think it is so admirable that you too are offering friendship even after much harm and hurt. That is what grace is all about. :-)

    Gary that church I was speaking of has fallen because they no longer were lead by the Lord but by the misdirection of a board of elders who’s gifts were mostly related to business and a church is not run like a business totally but by the leading of the Holy Spirit. When their compassion and mercy ceased the church fell.

  46. bill34sl says:

    If you’re sticking to your “church” despite your full awareness of it practicing “extra biblical teachings, traditions and ceremonies” and you’re just turning blind eyes on them, then you’re loving it more than the Lord. A lot of people think it is of utmost necessity to gather physically together to worship God. True, Jesus told His disciples not to forsake their assembly. But that time was far different from our time today. They needed to do that because the Church was still in its infancy. You don’t leave a child to fend for himself. On top of that, the disciples did not do any weird ceremonies and rituals every time they met together. I believe it was Gary who said that we can also get together in this site, in this part of the ministry, to strengthen each other and at the same time to worship our Lord God together. I agree with you brother. In John 4:21-24, Jesus pointed out that the physical place of worship in this present age is not important because we have to worship God in spirit. The Church of the disciples were long gone physically. The Dark Ages proved it. But it survived spiritually, it is alive spiritually today. That’s why we can gather together spiritually for that same purpose. Please don’t get me wrong. This is not a call to move out of your physical churches. Never. Never. This is for all who found courage in doing so and those contemplating to do so. Wherever your faith leads you to, then go in peace. May the Lord God bless you.

  47. narrowpathseeker says:

    Poohpity, we seemed to have traveled similar paths. I also went to college late in life, but after my children were grown. I was over 50 when I finished!! Before that I worked in a factory to keep a roof over our heads. ,…Were you always forgiving or did you lose a lot of battles against hatred before being Empowered to forgive? I don’t want to chance rekindling that hate so I am going to drop this and focus on our loving, forgiving, merciful, ALL POWERFUL GOD, and all the blessings He has poured out on me despite how undeserving I am. God has Blessed us both.

  48. narrowpathseeker says:

    I have been very blessed the past few days from many of the comments I have read on worshipping God whereever He leads us. God Bless you all.

  49. poohpity says:

    I think what helped me so much was looking at all the times I have messed up and the Lord has forgiven me. I had to do a lot of forgiving for his family too. When I truly understand the grace I had been given and then realizing that forgiveness is a process even today it is a continuing process with not just him but others the unforgiveness was causing my heart to be embittered and hardened. The Lord continues to show me the forgiveness I need daily which who am I to deny that to someone else. I got my BA when I was 50 and then on top of it, it wasn’t but another month or 2 that I my legs gave out on me then multiple surgeries and here I sit today. Always remember that forgiveness is a process, only God is able to give it then forget about the act even when it is repeated.

  50. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: Is this the man *animal* that knocked your eye out of it’s sochet?

  51. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, are you saying you are in a W/C to this day? I am so sorry. I will keep you in my prayers. I would like to know more. We could fast and pray if you would like.

    I wish I had understood as much about God over the years as I understand now. Then again, I think I may understand things now only because of the difficult times I endured, which I don’t think would have been so difficult had I understood.. I don’t know if I am conveying that as I mean it. The gist of what I am trying to say is that my spiritual growth has been a very very long, slow, and ongoing process….more like a very slow growing twisted oak instead of a fast growing nicely shaped fir tree. However, I am grateful for my troubles that turned me to God. I am beginning to feel more sorry for those who haven’t had enough troubles to seek God than for those that have many but KNOW God. AND “beginning” is the key word here….

  52. yooperjack says:

    Steve: the word you used; “indifference” is what I was talking about a while back when I said we need to write some people off. Yes, like as if they died. We need to leave them a lone and dust off our sandles.

  53. poohpity says:

    narrow, no I use a walker but I am unable to lay down for any length of time, walking is limited, sitting only for short periods of time but it is due to doctor error. It is my thorn. I had 4 hip surgeries before the age of 15 and 4 since 1997. Both my prostheses are loose again but my doctor just had a baby so they are on hold. All prayer is welcome but I would ask for just the times of self pity to turn to gratefulness.

    No Jack that was my 1st husband. The second husband I stabbed and this one just fathered my 2 sons. Gosh what a mess I was, now you know why I understand the grace of God and why it is so difficult for me not to forgive others because of the amount of mercy I have been shown.

  54. poohpity says:

    I was excommunicated from the religion I was confirmed into but after this life style it was when I learned that it was a personal relationship with Jesus that mattered and that was when the Lord put the desire in my heart to read and study His Word. All the religion in the world could not save me because I was detestable to them while Jesus loved me, accepted me and healed me.

  55. yooperjack says:

    Poohpity: Thank God.

    There are at least two types of animals that can’t be cured and in my opinion should be put out of their misery after the first offence like any other mad dog: Woman beaters and children molesters. And both are very good at manipulating their prey to thinking their normal human beings.

    Hate evil not the flesh and blood.

  56. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I am glad you are not in a w/c but still sorry that you have so much physical discomfort. I will be praying for all that God wants to do for you in addition to the “gratefulness” you desire. However, I think you have a pretty good grip on gratitude already. I smiled as I read some of your comments which make our paths closer to identical than to similar.

    I am feeling very blessed to be getting to know several of you as fellow travelers with many similar experiences to share and with the same goal to follow our Precious Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.

  57. poohpity says:

    We sure do have a lot to look forward to don’t we? ;-)

  58. narrowpathseeker says:

    Yooperjack, I had forgotten that verse about shaking the dust from our sandles. I never understood just when that would be the thing to do. Then there’s Mathew 7:6 about the dogs and swine and others that I am not sure of how it applies to any given matter at hand. Sometimes when I’m trying to find scripture to see what I should do in some situation, the words to the song The Gambler comes to mind. “you gotta know when to hold em…know when to fold them..know when to walk away…know when to run.” I don’t know any of that! LOL..What are your thoughts on when to shake the dust from our feet?

  59. poohpity says:

    That is Matthew 10:14 NIV, it says when someone does not listen to you or welcome you while the disciples were telling them the Kingdom of Heaven is near. To me that says do not force Jesus’ message on anyone.

  60. remarutho says:

    Mart & Friends –

    Mart, you wrote:

    “…Jesus is warning against a competitive love that displaces him from the center of our heart.”

    It is hard to call the difference in caring for our family appropriately and becoming so family-focused we are no use to the gospel project. Jesus traveled all over the region once he entered public ministry. Until then, he may have watched over his aging mother, Mary, seeing to his father Joseph’s carpentry business. Clearly he loved his mother and honored her – asking his disciple John to watch over her the day he died. (John 19:26, 27)

    It seems easier to be without family when working for the gospel – as Paul speaks of remaining free of family. (1 Corinthians 7:35) Yet, close relationships – whether family or close friends – are part of spiritual and emotional health. The sense of being gathered and nurtured and joined together in the love of God is important in kingdom life. (John 17:11, 23) Jesus certainly had little patience with the disciple who wanted to head home for a funeral. (Matthew 8:21, 22)

    It seems to me it is crucial to give our whole heart to Jesus, so that all other loves are understood in terms of his.


  61. yooperjack says:

    narrowpathseeker: Poohpity gave you what the Bible meaning is.

    I have had Christian people over the years that I have tried to renew a fellowship with but because I fell out of fellowship with the Baptist faith almost 50 years ago and was rescued by an Assemble of God preacher 3-9-1969. Those Baptist friends will not let me into their circle of friends to this day. They are civil to me but I am not family to them anymore. I never pushed speaking in tongues on them or any other spiritual gifts. I hope by the time we get to Heaven God will have it all sorted out.

    Note: When I fell away they dropping my membership in their Church without any effort to restore me to the Lord, not even a letter or phone call.

    After years of trying to restore the relationship I gave them up and “dusted off my sandals”.

    I would never give up the spiritual gifts, they’re too important in this day and age. Can’t Christian’s have fellowship even if we’re not always on the same page?

    Anyone in an abusive relationship has to get out. Life is way to short to live it in fear or let some one steal your joy. Dust off your sandals and move on.

    I hate *Religion.*

  62. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Maybe that’s also when religion becomes a problem—when we begin thinking or speaking not only of our religion, but also of our church, faith, Bible, and beliefs – with a focused ‘first love’ that belong to God alone.”

    I am struck by the Scripture quoted by David Roper in today’s ODB. (Isaiah 55:8, 9, 10, 11) The subject of the devotional is not that religion is a problem – which it is – but that we in our human thinking try to cram the Creator of the universe into a neat package that can be understood quickly. We swerve onto a path away from genuine worship and fellowship with our God when we think we can “edit” his character to fit on a bookmark or wristband.

    The idea of “mastering” spiritual things is foolish and dangerous. It is I who belong to him – not the other way around.


  63. SFDBWV says:

    Am wondering if man decided to do away with all doctrine and just became one people under God, what it might look like?

    Am also wondering what doctrine will be adhered to following the return of Jesus and His thousand year reign on earth?

    Already knowing that in Genesis God made the Sabbath holy (Genesis 2: 3) and that all nations are required to observe the feast of tabernacles (Zechariah 14: 16) with a very severe punishment for those who do not *keep* the feast (Zechariah 14: 17-19).

    What does a world that believes in God and believes that Jesus is His Son, look like? Void of any doctrine other than believing?

    Jesus seemed to have summed up doctrine in His comments to the Pharisees (Matthew 22: 37-40). Yet following His departure into heaven the Holy Spirit through Paul, primarily, established church structure and doctrine. The most of which has changed a great deal over these past 2000 years.

    We all have been hurt by the Pharisees and Sadducees in our lives and most of us that are old enough have been run out of or walked away from assemblies that we clashed with. The one thing remaining being Christ and our search to be *right* with Him alone.

    If you are a Christian at any level of growth you are always thinking of Him and He has become the focus of your life; you still have a life apart from that but He is more important than the other things that make up your life. That in no way means you *hate* these other things, it simply means these other matters matter less.

    Jackie, you would be a welcome addition as a neighbor to me, we could set in the morning air with some coffee and have quite the time agreeing about a great many things. After all if we are in agreement that makes us both pretty smart doesn’t it.


  64. yooperjack says:

    Steve: You said it well my brother in Christ.

  65. poohpity says:

    I think that one of the foremost problems that religion has is that it’s leaders led their congregations to believe that only they could understand the bible. It seems that is when people got directed to them rather to God for understanding. It is so true that anything that takes first place in our hearts has taken the place where God needs to be. With God in first place we do better at taking care of our families, jobs, religions, bible reading and life in general.

  66. narrowpathseeker says:

    This morning I awoke recollecting a time when a close young loved one told me she was giving up cancer treatment and that there was no more hope. That morning in tears, I addressed a group of Christians that had been praying for her,”Jesus healed the sick and even brought Lazarus back from the dead. He said if we had faith we could move mountains…do the impossible. Why are we such powerless Christians?!”

    While recalling that, I received the pounding thought, “Love covers a multitude of sins” and it is still ringing in my head as I write. It is my desire for all of His own, to become all He says we can be and do all He says we can do and show all those that don’t know Him, His Love, His Mercy, His Power!! I am at this moment convinced that the “hate” in this subject matter has got to mean, “love less” as some of you have stated. May our Love for Christ grow and flourish and conquer.

  67. narrowpathseeker says:

    For the past few days, when I submit a comment, all posts disappear and I get a window that says something like, “what you are looking for isn’t here”. LOL..I don’t agree…I am looking for His people and I think I have found some of them.

  68. Rocky says:


    I think you are exactly correct as to Jesus posing those questions simply to see where our hearts were/are.

    I remember the benevolence funds, not only were the recipients being judge, but so often the recipients were abusing the system, perhaps there wasn’t a wise sense of leadership/accountability to know how to distribute those funds correctly if I could use that word.

    Your last sentence concerning the potential of following religion vs. Jesus, I hear what you’re saying, but if we practice the “religion” that Jesus talked about and practice, then we would be following Jesus wouldn’t we? That is looking out for the poor, the widows & orphans in distress, aliens, & the priests/(pastors)


  69. bratimus says:

    So there are to men on a Sunday,

    One goes fishing, and one goes to church.

    The one that went fishing thinks about God all day long.

    The one that went to Church thinks about how he is going to go fishing after churh.

    A man of God and a religous man.

  70. bratimus says:

    yep i got that page that says the something I’m looking for ism’t there. Leave it to the computer to blame the user when it isn’t the users error

  71. bill34sl says:

    Narrowpathseeker, yes that’s a LOL. You’re not alone. That’s exactly what I experienced last week. I thought they didn’t like my comment so I tried creating a new account with a new username, but that didn’t work too. I even went to a public library thinking my computer was the problem, not that either. Finally, I gave up but tried to e-mail Rodney of RBC. Didn’t get a feedback but suddenly everything got fixed. Maybe WordPress got screwed up, not sure.

  72. bill34sl says:

    Poohpity: To me your 11:58am comment was absolutely correct. In my previous post I mentioned a major “Christian” group whose leaders do not encourage their members to even read the bible. If you dig deeper in history, we are told that the top leaders of this group put up a fight to those who tried to translate the Bible from Latin to the common language, because they did not want the common people to read it. Those leaders thought that domain belongs to themselves only.

  73. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bill, after that seeing that message, I clicked back on the current post at top left under Current Posts it took me right back to this site and found the comment had been posted. It is still doing that to me, but I thought as you did the first time, that my comment was rejected.

  74. poohpity says:

    Yes Rocky Jesus said, “give to those who ask”, I do not believe he said if they are doing what we ask of them but I could be mistaken. (Luke 6:30 NIV) I do not think there were conditions on the gifts. If what we have is the Lord’s and the principles set up in the bible by Him to care for the needy then I think we would do good to follow those instructions. Yes some misuse those gifts but in the end they will answer to God as we do for not giving them.

    Yes bill, about 6 years ago I did took an extensive look on how the bible came to being and those who gave their lives and risked imprisonment to get the bible out and also included in that is how the American bible society took it upon themselves to get bibles into the hands of Americans. It was very interesting. I am not for sure but I would venture to say religion may have had a lot to do with that.

  75. poohpity says:

    lol, I did an extensive look not I did took, lol.

  76. Rocky says:

    Poohpity, you are absolutely correct, although, we are told to be wise as serpents, but gentle as doves. Wisdom does have to be used, and in agreement with what you mentioned, I believe that if we withhold what God has asked us not to withhold, we will have to answer to Him.

    Deb, Lord willing I’ll be in Phoenix next weekend, I’m pretty excited. Hope we can meet up

    God bless


  77. bubbles says:

    Our church is located on a busy street. There is much foot traffic. Our pastor said we have many many people who come each day asking for money or food. There must be some sort of protocol they follow when giving from this fun. I don’t know how they do it. We have a benelovance fund, but I am not for sure how it works or how the deacons and/or pastor handle those who ask for money. It is a difficult situation. We almost always have homeless visit our church. I have never seen anyone be unkind to them. Their hands are always shaken and they are greeted warmly by members. That is what Jesus would do himself. There have been a few who have found places to live and have become members. It’s good to see them grow. One homeless man, in particular, found a place to live. He became ill, got better, but never returned to church. Please pray for him.

  78. poohpity says:

    Rocky, It seems Jesus used that phrase to prepare His disciples for persecution Matthew 10:16, I do not think it was about ministering to the needy but I could be wrong.

  79. poohpity says:

    If we are truly carrying the message of Christ there will be persecution but it will not be because of behaviors we display like telling everyone what their sins are or pushing them away by a holier than tho attitude but telling them that Jesus is number one in our lives and we depend on Him to get through with joy, trust, dependence on His mercy and grace while experiencing the trials, troubles and sorrows that this life brings.

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