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Connecting the Inspired Dots

Since my comments to some of the questions and thoughts raised by the last post are too long to put in the form of a comment, here’s what I’m thinking, even though a lot of this has already come out in the discussion.

Much of what the God of the Bible tells people to do is not what turns out to be most important for those people (and us).

As the greatest of all dramas plays out, what the story tells us about the love and goodness of God comes to us with enormous moral and spiritual authority (and transforming power) in the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. By the time the story reaches its climax we discover that there is a connection between moments as different as Jesus’ conversation with the wealthy young Jewish man and the parable he told about the unforgiving servant. In both situations, Jesus is doing more than describing what it means to share his heart. He is also showing how lost we all of us would be without the sacrifice that was to follow.

When Jesus asked the question, “Why do you call me good?” he was indirectly pressing the issue of who he really was (God mysteriously emptied of his eternal glory and wrapped in human flesh to come to our rescue).

By the time we learn why Jesus allowed himself to be crucified, we also learn why he may have talked to the rich man about selling all and giving it to the poor, and then to come and follow him. Whatever else was involved, at the very minimum, the rich man (like the rest of us) needed to discover what was wrong with his own heart, and that he wasn’t in step with the law of God’s love as much as he thought he was.

Good questions came out in your comments. Here’s some quick, though incomplete thoughts:

a.  As for the “fires of accountability”, seems to me that they begin to touch us in this life, while reaching fullness in the judgment of the life to come.

b.  On the matter of the destruction of the Canaanites, and the immediate judgment of people like Achan (Joshua 7),  in many ways, people like Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5), Achan, the Canaanites, and the generation that died in the flood may have been far more like us than we want to think. On the surface, it appears that they were judged selectively and openly as God’s way of serving notice to all about the mortal dangers of trying to live apart from the one true God.

But on further reflection these events are also supporting elements of the story of the God who died in our place. So I’m convinced that the answers to our most difficult questions will be answered ultimately only in the day of judgment. Only when God reveals the extent of his holy goodness and love will we see how he uses the sacrifice of his Son to satisfy the demands of his justice, and the desires of his love for every Achan, Canaanite, or Sapphira who ever lived.

As God has given us the story by which to reflect on every detail of the stories of our own lives, so he has given us a crucifixion climax to that story by which to reflect on every inspired, supporting detail.

PS Take another look at Balaam’s donkey (Numbers 22:21-31). Balaam despised and hit him without realizing what the donkey was seeing of the angel of the Lord and for  telling him the truth.

Without suggesting allegory or the dangerous kind of spiritualizing that can turn a text into something it was not intended to be, think about how even the despising of the donkey who was bearing Balaam’s burden and acting in his behalf ends up being fulfilled ultimately in the One who was despised for serving us, bearing our weight, and telling us the truth.

Again, I’m not talking about seeing a hidden story.

I’m saying that, in addition to and beyond the important historical narrative that enables the Balaam chapter to be part of the supporting Israel-story-backdrop of the cross, every hint of goodness, truth, beauty, love, honor, or service that we find in the inspired Bible– or in all creation and history– is fulfilled ultimately in Christ, just as every hint of twistedness, wrongness, self-obsession, or malice  that we see in the inspired Bible–or in all creation and history– points to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

In other words, the inspired details of the story are not disconnected. The dots connect. In so many ways everything points to the One who lives and died– to reflect God’s goodness… in response to our need.

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90 Responses to “Connecting the Inspired Dots”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart –

    Thanks for this gem:

    “(God mysteriously emptied of his eternal glory and wrapped in human flesh to come to our rescue).”

    I remember the old chorus: “I owed a debt I could not pay – He paid a debt he did not owe…” Nobody but God in Christ could do what he has done for us! All that remains is our thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and Pentecost!

    This is not a philosophical position, but rather the fact of Jesus’ true identity – the resurrected firstborn from the dead, who makes a way where there was no way!


  2. poohpity says:

    God spent so much time through out scripture exposing the hearts of people but yet when it came to them admitting their own heart condition that is when they saw His faithful grace and mercy to those who were so undeserving of a place in heaven, the final reward.

    Only when we see or are open to look within do the dots ever get connected and the full meaning of the Cross comes to light. Only in having the truth exposed and accepting the fact that there nothing in us that is even close to what God can look upon without the atoning work of the Cross do we fall to our knees. If we are looking at the horrible acts we think God does we are not looking at the truth of what really comes pouring out of our own hearts.

  3. poohpity says:

    With the Pharisees, the rich young ruler, Jonah, Ananias and Sapphira it seems the only thing asked for was the truth, just to see the truth. Only then can one ask for mercy which is an ongoing daily activity as long as we live in this body.

  4. poohpity says:

    While reading the bible I have to admit that I saw some of what God did as harsh but after knowing Him longer I have come to realize who am I to judge God, in any way, shape or form for the actions He took. God see things and knows things I will never be able to comprehend but I do know one thing and that was Jesus left His deity because of a love and mercy that if we look within we do not deserve in anyway. If I am questioning God then my own heart is left without exposure and I will never be able to confess what lies in it’s secret places.

  5. narrowpathseeker says:

    First of all thank you Mart for your explanation on that which baffled me. It was pretty much a confirmation of that which others here offered me in varied words and I think I can take that pot off the stove now.

    Your use of the phrase “connecting the inspired dots” this morning solidified singular brief thoughts of scripture that kept coming in intervals the past few days. They consisted of, “the truth shall set you free, taking the mote out of your own eye, two are better than one because when one falls the other can lift him up, and confessing our sins to one another.” Those dots connected for me in this way. If I confess my sins to another, the Truth about MYSELF takes the mote out of my OWN eye to show my brother how to take the speck out of his eye and put us on level ground to help lift him up and set us both free. I know that this isn’t very articulate. I hope someone understands.

  6. poohpity says:

    I thought it was beautifully said and very understandable.:-)

  7. mtman says:

    Good explanation. I admit the previous thought was confusing and disjointed to me. When I was a child my parents, when they went to visit, would take along a book that was connect the dots. You would draw a line from dot to dot and the end result was a picture you could see.
    The dots in the previous topic did not provide me a picture that I could make sense out of.
    I also hope that no one takes the comment about a washing machine and agitator as negative. It was meant to be positive. The person who agitates may be trying to reinforce or develop their own faith, or they see something in yours that may need thought. We need agitators but not accusers or personal attackers. Seems to me we need someone to agitate now and again to keep us on focus. I don’t want that comment to be taken wrong.

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… here’s a thought, What if we don’t question God, the God that resides in our heart? Then we never expose what He is all about in the secret places where He lives! Asking God, “What were you thinking?” Is not absurd for it is really showing Him that we what to know all about Him. That what He says in return, will be the answer our questions, and we know He hears all our prayers, for His command is to Ask, Seek, Knock! So, why not Ask? Gary

  9. narrowpathseeker says:

    Poohpity..thank you…sometimes I have trouble condensing and sometimes I condense so much that it makes no sense to anyone but me….lol.

    Mtman..I didn’t take your comment as negative. I took it as all things work together for good………..

  10. poohpity says:

    Gary, I do not think I have ever said not to ask God questions that would be contrary to what scripture says. Scripture says to ask for wisdom in James 1:5. However if we question what God does then we are essentially saying that He does not know what He is doing and we do not trust Him even though we may not understand the why’s. There are many, many things I do not understand and may seem harsh to me but if I trust then I know there is a purpose and a reason for all that He does that ends in good for all. Assuming more that what we are given in the details of scripture can lead many down a wrong path and I would want to be very careful about that and a simple I do not know is OK. It all goes back to being honest and open.

  11. poohpity says:

    I think what is more important is how the Lord if we are open, questions us to show what is really in our hearts and exposes motives and intent.

  12. poohpity says:

    Gary, a good example of what happens when someone questions God is seen the Book of Job when God tells Job and His friends in Job 38-41. It would be nice and also show wisdom if our response was like Job in Job 42.

  13. poohpity says:

    A wise person seeks understanding but the fool offers opinions.

  14. poohpity says:

    That last statement was not directed at anyone. It was about Job’s friends offering opinions as to why Job was suffering. Later in scripture Solomon also repeats that as well written thousands of years after Job. Proverbs 18:2 and in others written in that same chapter. Connecting with the dots of Jesus as well when he confronted people with what they were saying with what they were doing.

  15. remarutho says:

    Hello MT —

    I love the washing machine agitator! It works for an individual — or for the church. Remember when the apostle Paul told Timothy: “Stir up the gift of God that is within you…” (2 Tim 1:6) That’s an agitator, isn’t it?


  16. remarutho says:

    I’m remembering the KJV “stir up the gift” — the Greek word is “rekindle.” I still like it, MT! :o)

  17. mtman says:

    Yes Maru, I have often found that those who vehemently proclaim their myopic version of scripture really are insecure in their belief. Some are simply sending out feelers to support their strict belief or lack thereof. An agitator is a very good thing and something we should all be aware of and welcome. We don’t have to be defensive over our faith. God doesn’t need our defense – he can take care of Himself. Agitators may stir the gift’ but unless you are past the tipping point of agitators you mostly grow from what they challenge.
    I don’t like to see it go personal or rude however. When you have to rely on sarcasm or a personal attack it reflects on all Christians and sets a bad example for marginal or non believers.
    Having made other similar comments in a positive manner in the past and had them labeled negative, I thought I should be absolutely clear from the start. I don’t mind criticism but I do not like being put on the defensive as it takes away from the gifts of others and growing in faith.

  18. poohpity says:

    Wow Bruce, glad you are back.

  19. poohpity says:

    Very convicting wisdom. :-)

  20. SFDBWV says:

    Since this topic is actually Mart’s response to the last, little more can be said by the most of us that have already commented in the last.

    I will add a little after thought;

    I, like some of you, worked for a company that had many levels of employees. From the President of the corporation down to the janitor who cleaned the toilets, each had a part in producing the company’s profit.

    Yet each employee was proficient basically at what ever job they were needed to perform at what ever rung in the ladder their job was seen at, all coming together as one, but each only needing to know how to do their own particular job.

    A term we all are familiar with is “on a need to know basis”; of all the levels of employment with any company information, though available to all. Was sometimes only given out in a need to know basis, with some information even classified as *confidential*.

    Because we have the Holy Spirit with us, we have available all of the information that the head of our faith possesses, however only the Holy Spirit knows what information is needed for each one of us in order to produce the *results* He wants for and from us.

    We are not the head of our *company* Christ is King we are not, but like any good *boss* He takes the time to try and explain to us what we *can* understand about the business, without it going too far over our heads. Knowing all the while that some of the company information *is* far above our ability to comprehend.

    Be satisfied in what Christ shares with you, and have peace in knowing that we are employed by a company that will never lay you off or fire you for being incompetent….only place you where even our incompetence has a use.


  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve.. I enjoyed your business take on each knowing and doing something for the greater whole. Knowing who the boss is, is also very relevant. We may serve all the other people, but keeping within the guidelines set by the boss, the company objective or mission stays on track, being directed, focused, and purposeful. Knowing your place may be more important that knowing everyone else’s business. In fact engaging in the pursuit of needing to know everything will distract you from doing what you were employed to do, as pooh has already stated, we don’t need to have all the answers.
    Like a lifeguard who jumps in the water to save someone then finds ten others drowning, as he tires to help them all the mission completely fails. All are lost!
    So, make your contribution, don’t put others on the defensive as (mt) has stated, and you are probably doing exactly what you were designed to do. Unless you were designed to be the agitator! I thought God made out a pretty good resume for that job title, and fulfilled the position perfectly as well, by giving us all a convicting spirit with lots to think about. If we could just let Him do His job… then we would know ours! Gary

  22. oneg2dblu says:

    Conviction addressed properly is Obedeince fulfilled!
    If God pushes your agitator button, then who gets to choose what cycle it is on? Gentle, Normal, or Heavy Duty? They all may tend to clean things up, but each in it’s own way. God does appoint some heavy lifters, some light sweepers. and a few other workers as well to keep His business runnig the way He wants. Just a thought…

  23. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart –

    The Baalam story shows the power of God in the supernatural appearance of God’s messenger (the angel) to the unfortunate prophet, and in the speech of the donkey. While Balaam acknowledged the power of the God of Israel, he pressed in to the material reward promised by King Balak. He ultimately bore the consequences for his greed and malice. (Numbers 31:8)

    The temptation to allegorize any Bible story, especially the stories of Jesus’ life, is dangerous. We receive the narratives of Scripture as true history. Jesus of Nazareth came in the flesh. His life cannot be distorted to portray the “Cosmic Christ” in any way that contradicts the actual, concrete facts.

    That balance is not easy for our poor, human mind: fully human – fully divine. He said, “…before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58) Yet, he did surrender himself to his Father’s will, as the Lamb of God. He endured true pain, bled and died on the cross.

    As you say, the whole history of God with his people is:
    “…the important historical narrative that enables the Balaam chapter to be part of the supporting Israel-story-backdrop of the cross…”

    A donkey also bore Jesus into Jerusalem a week before his sacrifice. (Matthew 21:5) (John 12:13-15)


  24. narrowpathseeker says:

    What great analogies this morning…Wisdom is flowing strongly..thank you all. I was very inspired.

    I woke this morning thinking of Yooper and then again while praying. I hope all is ok with you Jack. I have only been here a short time but I don’t remember experiencing your absence for this long and I miss your contributions.

  25. poohpity says:

    Rereading the topic I seem to come away with a new little pearl of wisdom just like reading the bible nothing gets old just new bits and pieces are revealed. Mart, you said, “Whatever else was involved, at the very minimum, the rich man (like the rest of us) needed to discover what was wrong with his own heart, and that he wasn’t in step with the law of God’s love as much as he thought he was.”. How many times does it take for me to learn a lesson? Many!! It is hard to see what is really in my heart, some things I like to see while there are so many others that I find repulsive and hard to swallow.

    Everyday and each morning if I do not drag things from the previous day along with me, I find mercies new to begin a day, lately all I have found is depression because I have allowed things to pile up without having resolution. Jack I was so wrong to tell you to shut-up as well as referring to you as a grumpy, foolish old man. Please forgive me that was so wrong.

  26. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, it seems that I fight some of the same battles as you do. Daily, I see things in myself that repulse me and ask for mercy and deliverance while thanking Him for his Patience with me. I’ve won a lot of those battles, but the war is never over…always more battles to fight. However, I still feel great joy when I win one and it seems to me that you can celebrate a Victory this morning. Good for you! Praise God for His Mercy, Patience, and Almighty Power.

  27. poohpity says:

    I wish I could celebrate a victory but the victory will come when I no longer react to situations and wait till my anger has cooled down before I respond. That will be a victory of allowing the Lord to work in my life and the glory will belong to Him. When I am hurt it would be nice to just say that rather than reacting in defensive anger. That is an area that I have long struggled with but the pain is getting worse and maybe one day the lesson will be learned.

    Absolutely praising God for His patience and mercy is what I live under and that is a battle won by Him and in that I am so very grateful.

  28. yooperjack says:

    Narrow: I’m fine just thought I’d be silent for a while and let things cool down.

    Poohpity: I didn’t mind you venting but sometimes that gets my old “Stupid and Stupider” game hat on. People play it all the time. One person says something stupid and the other retaliates with something stupider. Sometimes it gets violent.

    I do change the subject when the topic gets worn down, I don’t think Mart minds because we all learn from one another and it gives him a break.

    We just need to keep from personal attact; our anger should be against the evils in this world not one another. We are in a battle for righteousness sake.

    The wash machine is on gentle Gary

    Steve: We got 15 inches of snow yesterday our total is still only 150 inches.

  29. mtman says:

    Poohpity: I have the past few years checked in on this blog a few times. I have not posted any comment prior to recently.
    I am now kept busy writing a blog about our lifestyle here in the mountains for the second largest magazine in the country as well as maintain our own blog which if getting about 100 viewers a day.
    I will check in here from time to time when I have a free moment. This time of year is spent moving snow around only for the wind to rearrange it. We have 204″ to date and have our heaviest snow months ahead of us.
    Marts topics stimulate thinking and as such it is a good site to visit. I don’t always agree with his topics but then what kind of a world would it be if we always agreed with each other.
    I’ll drop in occasionally. Glad to see you are still doing well. I think you and Steve are the only two ‘old timers’ still participating on a regular basis. I’ll be around but not regular. Not sufficient time anymore.

  30. poohpity says:

    Jack I then wonder what the guidelines are for? If I think, which would be my opinion, that the topic is worn down and start another one then it would look like this blog is mine to run and not Mart’s. There are times when the new topic goes up and within the first few posts the topic gets changed, has it been worn down that soon or is that due to something else? If Mart did not want to prevent problems doing things at each individuals whim then why make the guidelines to begin with. He (Mart) has stated that there was only one thing that he did not mind and that was naming where we are in the world and what the weather is like and from past experience the ability to share prayer requests although when people offer their advice rather than just praying that also seems to complicate the prayer requests.

    I do not feel it is ever right to vent my anger on anyone else, name call, be sarcastic or hurt anyone in anyway. No excuses it is wrong and hopefully I will take responsibility for my own behavior and ask God to help me change and for His forgiveness and then admit to the other person the nature of my wrongdoing and ask for forgiveness. 2 wrongs do not make a right no matter how one looks at it.

  31. poohpity says:

    Jack ask Mart if he minds only he can answer for himself.

  32. yooperjack says:

    Mart: Do you mind?

  33. poohpity says:

    mtman, actually there are quite a few old timers, like saled, claudia, wpleasant, rxman, scout, bob, bubbles, pat, and many others that I have not mentioned but have not forgotten who have been around 3 or more years.

  34. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I was referring to a victory over the anger, the humble confession, apology, and request for forgiveness. I may be wrong but I always consider the departure of anger at any given time, a victory. At one time it resided with me most of time. I think the Lord had to chisel away at my massive false pride that I think was the catalyst to much of my anger.

    Jack, I am glad to see you back and to learn that all is well.

  35. poohpity says:

    narrow, I hope I never get to the point of not admitting to being in the wrong that would be fatal to my walk with the Lord and being thrown back into the debtors prison. :-)

  36. SFDBWV says:

    Jackie my friend, I could never go head to head with the infamous UP of Michigan nor the Colorado Rockies where mtman lives, but though this has been the best winter for mild weather anyone can remember, two winters ago was the worst. Somehow it all seems to even itself out over time. We have had only 80 inches of snow so far this winter since September.

    I am sure everyone has just been fixed to their TV sets watching all of the Republican nominee debates….OK for the technocrats among us that was meant to be facetious.

    They operate their debates along strict rules of time and of not straying from the question.

    Have you ever noticed no one can communicate in that manor?

    If I were not allowed to feel free in my participation here, while of course not being nasty toward another person, I would not be here at all.

    There are times when the blog takes on a life of its own separate from the initial topic, as does the normal conversations among people everywhere in the world. That is called free and honest dialog.

    Censure it and the conversation dies of starvation.

    Our rules need to be the common courtesy we afford any one in our daily lives, it is for *no one* other than Mart to mention to another if they have crossed his line or rules concerning the participation on His blog.

    I just looked in to see what has been going on today; I am very pleased to hear from you Jackie.


  37. davids says:

    Steve, While I have been doing some chores around the house for a half hour, I have been reflecting on your “need to know” comment. Quite valuable. There might be a sermon in that the next time I am called to substitute. Thanks!

  38. poohpity says:

    As a precursor to the debates while mentioning the time factor and trying to answer the questions that the candidates are given the hosts of the debates say the time restraints are to give the other candidates time to respond so they are not hogging up all the limited time. They also ask the candidates to answer the questions given because that is what the public wants to know. Very seldom do the candidates say, “I really do not know all the facts to answer that question” but rather they deter the questions with rhetoric to take jabs at the other politicians to say how much better they are than the other. I guess it would be fair to compare the debates with the blog because that is how you feel Steve. I personally do not see the comparison in the discussions or the guidelines in fact it seems they are like night and day. It would be wonderful if they followed the rules it would bring so much more substance to the debates and we sure would have more informative information to base our votes on.

  39. SFDBWV says:

    Davids, I hope winter in Europe has lightened up for you, as we have been saying this has been a very mild winter for most of us in the US.

    I am glad to have helped you, things like said in my comment most of us already know we just need to hear things said sometimes in a way that “connects the dots”.


  40. SFDBWV says:

    My mother and father were raised by people who had never seen electricity in any form other than lightning and as darkness fell kerosene lights or candles were the only means of seeing in the darkened homes in which they resided.

    I don’t know how many of you have ever experienced such a evening as setting by a warm stove with the only sound being the crackle of the fire and the steady tick tock of the pendulum clock most homes had.

    If you were reading it was by this soft warm glow of the oil lamp and perhaps you had an old dog beside you on the floor who sometimes would yawn or scratch that being the only disruption to your thoughts.

    When I was a child I heard many ghost stories that originated out of those long silent nights and eerie treks in the dark from one neighbors home to another.

    One of the things I was told from such people were that they believed animals, especially dogs or cats and horses, could see into the spirit world.

    They believed it because as they would set in the quiet of their homes they would notice their house pets suddenly react to something only they could sense. Sometimes producing a hiss from a cat or a low growl from their dog, or perhaps a long stare and wag of their dogs tail or the sudden purring of their cat. If they were riding atop a horse or in a buggy, many times in the eerie darkness the horse might stop and refuse to move onward agitated or on alert as their ears would give away their anxiety.

    Then to add validity to the suspicion that their animals were seeing something outside mans ability to see, something other worldly, they were given the story of Balaam’s donkey to prove their case, from the very word of God.

    Such things influenced them and so have influenced me, to this day I also believe animals can see into the spirit world and like them before me, I also cite the story of Balaam’s donkey to validate it.

    Somehow it makes me have a better respect for animals and reminds me not to think too highly of myself over them.

    I hope I always stop and listen to whatever or whomever God is using to talk to me.


  41. yooperjack says:

    Steve: I asked my cat if she could see in the spirit world and she said: “meow” but I don’t know if that was a yes meow or a no meow. So we’ll have to just wait to know for sure.

    Animals do have better defence sences than we do and they can tell when a storm is coming. But then I have a friend that would rub his shoulder and say: “Ther’s a storm coming”. LOL

  42. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, your comments are always super interesting and seem to hit home more often than not. While feeding the birds I have watched on numerous occasions, birds looking up to the sky and singing before eating. I always believed they were giving thanks to God for their food before indulging in the seed I had left. I remember one bird in particular that seemed to be doing a dance(rocking from one side to the other) while looking up and singing. I watched it for several minutes and then got distracted and don’t know how long it continued with its Praise. However weird it may sound to anyone, no one can convince me that they are not praising and thanking the Lord. Thanks for triggering so many pleasant memories.

  43. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jack, I think the animals can do a better job of predicting the weather than man with all todays’ high tech equipment. I have heard of many different animals and their predictions(don’t remember anything specific)but I see the accuracy with the “cats” prediction signs all the time. I don’t recall any of them ever being wrong…even if it was just a very brief flurry or a drizzle….the cat knew it was coming.

  44. SFDBWV says:

    Jackie you will have to find a good cat dictionary to be able to interpret the meow tones….:)

    Gary you are 100% correct, I listen every morning to the birds as they begin their morning and evening prayers. My 93 year old mother in-law doesn’t like hearing the lonely coos of the doves, but I think their soulful sound to be very connected to prayer; calling out to God and awaiting an answer.

    Narowpathseeker, my favorite extrasensory dog story is the scientific fact that dogs can predict seizures in their epileptic owners as much as 15 or 20 minuets before they occure.

    People should never take God’s creation for granted but take the time to listen to the cats meow, the dogs bark and the songs of birds.


  45. mtman says:

    Hmmmm, thought I would look in this morning and was surprised to see someone writing about how they believe in the supernatural. Does it exist? Possibly because even the demons recognized Jesus before anyone else did they perceive ghosts in another world. Because demons were cast out by Him. Demons exist because they are specifically addressed in scripture. But I don’t think I care to believe in the supernatural beyond that. The type of ghosts mentioned are not being regarded as the demons mentioned in the bible though.
    Our dogs do perceive things we do not because of their acute hearing and sense of smell. Do they see into the supernatural, I don’t know and I’m not about to put that burden on them. Anyone who loves dogs knows their capacity for love and loyalty and to say they see into the supernatural realm is a giant step that has no evidence to prove or disprove it. I don’t need that element to love and respect my dogs.
    Do animals know when the weather is going to change, I see that all the time and not just in dogs. When you start to believe in necromancers and the supernatural and present it as fact I think that detracts from being a committed Christian. Is this a camp fire discussion or ghosts and goblins or is this a Christian based blog?
    This blog seems to head in multiple directions and I agree that the topic is often abandoned and individual agendas are proclaimed and followed. I am in agreement with Pooh that the rules should be more closely adhered to, otherwise why post them in the first place. If some try to stay within the guidelines and others ignore them and drift into some weird areas like the supernatural, then maybe Mart should remove the guidelines and let this be more open and a free for all.
    I’m sure these comments will not set well with others but those are my own thoughts.
    It appears that rules don’t count for much as Mart has not addressed the question earlier whether it is okay to depart from his topic and go in a different direction. When I gets to accepting and believing in the supernatural or occult spirit world I get seriously alarmed. Is not Satan the chief of liars? The only spirit we should be interested in is the Holy Spirit. Seems to me that this blog is on a slippery slope Just my thoughts so go ahead and criticize me for expressing my true thought.

  46. yooperjack says:

    When you have animals a long time they communicate with you without saying a word. So do husbands and their wives. We can even finish sentences. It’s getting so that I think of a person (not intentionally) and they will call. It’s weird but maybe in heaven we’ll be able to read minds and travel by just thinking of some place we want to go. How cool is that?

  47. SFDBWV says:

    Mtman, I remember your last posting before returning to this blog a year or so ago; you were angry with me and disgusted with this blog. I am saddened to see nothing has changed.

    I am happy for you that you have your own blog and participate in other ones, and find pleasure in both, I am sorry that my comments here evoke such a negative spirit in you.

    I will not take up your challenge and criticize you for your thoughts even though you have done so for mine; rather I will leave you with an additional thought.

    You will always see what you want to in others and what you say (write) is what is in your heart.

    There are plenty of Martha’s among us and some Mary’s as well; allow the Mary’s among us the pleasure of worship amidst the duty of work without criticism.


  48. yooperjack says:

    mtman: I understand where you’re coming from I use to be a Baptist myself at one time.

    If it’s not demons working in people today then there has to be some every sick people out there. Puting a baby in a barbaque to creamate her, come on that is satanic.

  49. narrowpathseeker says:

    I have hesitated to express my view on the matter of topic changing because I don’t want to offend anyone, but this morning I feel compelled to share what I have seen here. Over the years I can’t count the number of times I have opposed something that I later realized I was guilty of myself. That is pretty much what I see here. I know I have started or engaged in off topic discussions. Therefore I know that if I was opposed to it only when someone else was doing it that I would tend to be more offensive than the offense itself could possibly be. Again, there is little that I have not been guilty of in thought, word, or deed over the years, so I am just sharing this view to encourage all to look at “self” before we point.

  50. mtman says:

    Steve: Perhaps you are mistaken there. I am not angry and I am not disgusted. Nice try but I left because after two years of posting comments you had attack me personally by asking if I were a Christian. You did the same to a friend of mine. Seems you only remember my leaving but not why.
    I am disappointed and I don’t appreciated being talked down to and demeaned by placating words. If you want to believe in super natural knock yourself out. Don’t try to demean me however by saying I am angry and negative. You questioned my core belief as a Christian and demeaned me before. I do not have a negative spirit but apparently you seem to consider yourself a good judge. I thought I would come back and try again. Clearly my mistake, some things never change. My thinking and belief apparently pose a threat to you and I do not believe I will stay around and let it continue. I have no problem with you what so ever. I do have a problem seeing this “Christian” blog site that inspires us to think be turned into a camp fire ghost story, or forum for you especially to judge others. Namely myself. I do not think this is the forum or place for such topics whether it be you or anyone else. I an once again out of here and you can find someone else to beat up. I do not want to be a negative distraction for anyone. Especially you.

  51. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart–

    Seems a coon’s age ago you wrote:

    “…every hint of goodness, truth, beauty, love, honor, or service that we find in the inspired Bible– or in all creation and history– is fulfilled ultimately in Christ, just as every hint of twistedness, wrongness, self-obsession, or malice that we see in the inspired Bible–or in all creation and history– points to the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.”

    I wonder who would beat the burro that bore the Beloved! Or do we admire domesticated and wild creatures more than we cherish one another?

    Do you not know you are of more value than many
    sparrows? (Luke 12:7)

    In Him,

  52. yooperjack says:

    I’ve seen this so many times here on this blog and wherever there are more than one person. Some people just love setting themselves up, they say or write things they know will bring a negative reaction then play the victim when attact or just opposed. Then they pout or walk away.

    It makes me sick; say what you mean and stand up for your opinion or don’t say anything. I wish people would stop apologizing for their stupidity, we all just say what we know when we know better we’ll make more sense.

    Just a thought.

  53. remarutho says:

    Jesus Christ is the main thing — that’s the plain truth. No apology intended. Maru

  54. oneg2dblu says:

    mtman… I agree with your not wanting to go off and run with the supernatural demonic possibilities of man’s creations, or how he might inflict them upon animals that seem to see them as well!
    I agree we should stay focused on the Holy Spirit here but we are all here to communicate our thoughts, and our thoughts like us, can sometimes wander as sheep with out a shepherd.
    I don’t want Mart to be burdened with coming in and posting against every off topic discussion, that would take away our freedom to express as it comes upon us.
    So, I enjoy the exchange of all parties, some more than others, but all in the grand symphony played out here where all the notes are needed.
    Our humanity gets the better of us at times, we are all guilty. Some guilty of holding back, and some of going on and on! Like me this morning…. :O

  55. poohpity says:

    Balaam claimed that he would not go against God but things came into his life that caused him in fact to go against God. People’s need for prestige or their desire to be leaders are usually those who have a very hard time being followers and following God by representing peace, kindness, gentleness, and joy are lacking in so many areas. God tried to get Balaam’s attention with the donkey to see the nature of his wrongs. The donkey made Balaam look like a fool which he was by saying he would not go against God but yet was going to curse God’s chosen people and breaking the rules God set forth. It would have been nice if Balaam would have gotten it right away and rather than taking responsibility for his own behavior he beat up his beloved donkey.

    Similar to when people try and help us see the nature of our wrongs rather than accepting it as a gift of God’s correction we turn and attack. davids your sarcastic put down rather than taken as correction was taken as a compliment. It is really hard to think we are in the wrong when we feel so right. It is really only God who will show a fool the nature of their folly if they are open to listening or have a heart to acknowledge wrongdoing because the more other people try, they begin to look just like the people they are trying to correct as narrow said.

    I have to keep on eye on whether I am Balaam and not understanding God’s inspired dots because of looking at others, I miss what God has for me. Is God trying to get my attention or am I looking at others to miss God’s gentle prodding for correction in my own life.

    I am so thankful for the grace and mercy of God who never gives up on us even when we can not see the forest for the trees.

    Mart, I respect you for not falling into the quicksand or entering the web. It would have been nice if I would have followed the wise teachings of Solomon my self.

  56. yooperjack says:

    Maru: You surly don’t believe I was talking about your post at 10:26 am?

    The ones I was speaking of know whom they are because they do it all the time and kick their selves in the butt after they do it but can’t help them selves. My advise to them, do like I did years ago “Stop doing IT”.

  57. remarutho says:

    Too often peace eludes me! I often hope, as Pooh says, that I can be as smart as my donkey. Old Balaam knew what God required of him — but he chose to do it his own way…the times I’ve been bogged down in that kind of rebellion have caused me guilt and pain…not worth it.

    No, Jack, I was hoping to be light-hearted — maybe get a :o)
    Perfect I ain’t. Maru

  58. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jack, I think you may be right about the baiting tactics that are often used by some in a group of people. My sister that passed away last year could be very kind, generous, and truthful, but a cruel spirit of false pride made her oppositional/argumentative/hateful beyond tolerance sometimes. She was mentally unstable and institutionalized for it for a short period at one time. She would argue things as trivial as which pencil was 1/32 of an inch shorter than the other. I always feared pushing her over the edge so I never knew how to deal with her until she was on her deathbed and by the Grace of God she heard me, AGREED!!,and accepted what I had to say. Until the time was right ..nothing I said had any positive influence on her. I am guessing that Jesus might say at this point…he who has ears let him hear.

  59. poohpity says:

    A person I knew used to go to church all the time and when they heard the message would come out saying I wish so and so were here because that message really applied to them. After many times of this happening came to the realization that the Lord had in fact been speaking to her the whole time. Correction eludes those who are right in their own eyes. ODB for today with the proverbs 15:21, 31, 32 NIV gave me understanding of how pointless it would have been for a person to confront Balaam so God used a donkey.

  60. foreverblessed says:

    Mart, the topic is difficult for me to understand, but what I get this far is, when reading the bible:
    if anything good happens, it points to Jesus
    if anything bad happens it points to the Cross of Jesus.
    And that in itself is a good advice, even when reading this blog this is helpful: something Good: Praise Jesus,
    something bad: Thank Him for the Cross.

    Thank you Narrow, that touched me. Your story makes me even more positive to keep praying for difficult people, and I was one of them too, the Grace of God softens me step by step.

  61. narrowpathseeker says:

    I was just thinking…didn’t Jesus Himself send the demonic spirits into the swine?

  62. narrowpathseeker says:

    As soon as I submitted that last one, I KNEW I shouldn’t have. Please disregard.

  63. narrowpathseeker says:

    Forever, you are not alone. I TOO was one of those difficult people. My sister was just one of the people God used along the way to help me see it in myself and start the Overhaul. Unfortunately, even confessing to her that I was much like her didn’t penetrate that false pride need to be the top dog in any given matter until the end. She would even make up imaginary friends to support, praise, and/or defend her. Fortunately, God got through to her in those last hours.

  64. poohpity says:

    Isn’t it God who gets through to us all. When we try we end up causing more damage than good and seeing our own shortcomings becomes apparent. We all fall short and having friends who care enough to not support our wrongs but will call to our attention how much we all need to be connected to the One who graciously took upon His back and died for all our sins even the unintentional ones.

  65. SFDBWV says:

    Mtman, wow, my man, what a tirade; you must have been saving that up for the past two years. I hope you feel better, and hope you’re watching your blood pressure.

    I got the mental picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger in his role in “Total Recall” when he stepped onto the surface of Mars without a space suit on.

    Seriously mtman seek help get some good therapy and learn about the base of what we have been discussing…..forgiveness. Real honest to goodness Christ like love for your fellow man.

    Love to all


  66. bubbles says:

    There is another blog site that is not full of fussing, fighting, jealousy and bickering. Most of those are not Christians there. But the difference between these two blogs is alarming. They speak of many topics, but not ONCE have I read bickering, jealousy, hatred and fussing. Yes, they do stray from the topic like natural conversations do, but they do not attack each other for doing so. They don’t stab each other in the back.

    It’s sad to see Christians being mean to each other.
    I cannot understand it.

  67. bubbles says:

    Eph. 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth but that which is good to the use of edyfying that it may minister grace unto the hearers.”

    Eph. 4:32 “Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

    Looks like these verses have been forgotten here. . . .

  68. foreverblessed says:

    It is very sorry it is like this, but I have noticed too that many christians have more illnesses then none christians. I see it to be like this, before people become christians, there life is pretty well in harmony, if it is, but when they become a christian, there is a struggle, between the old man and the new man, the one who has fully given over to Jesus. The none christians don’t have that. DO not look at the negative things, look at the fact that many, even if struggling overcome many things step by step. Keep looking at Jesus. Keep walking behind Him, step by step.

  69. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bubbles, I disagree. When I first came here there were times I would have agreed with you because I didn’t see the whole picture. Now I see that there may be at least one very tormenting thorn here, but I think this group in general handles that thorn exceptionally well. It seems to me that on occasion when the thorn gouges deep and repeatedly some may cry out but they are not backstabbing…it is more like pulling the thorn out of their flesh. Like Foreverblessed said, we are struggling to overcome, step by step. Well said Forever.

  70. bubbles says:

    Well, disagree. I know what some have written here for the past 2 years and 5 months. I have grown weary of the strife between the bloggers.

  71. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Just read through todays comments and can’t, for the life of me, see what all this bickering is about.
    Not coming from the USA I sometimes struggle with your culture, inability for self critisism and lack of humour. I appreciate the straight talking from some and enjoy the “off topic” disscusions of others, especialy when they involve personal testimony, shared experiences and prayer requests.
    How did the supernatural come into this discussion when Steves post at 7:39am was merely reflecting on a past age when people used to sit quietly and had few distractions and were more in tune with their environment and also the spirit world which surrounds us all.
    Animals, like Ballams Donkey, are also aware of all this and react in various ways.
    We proclaim to Live in The Kingdom of God and not in this world and as a result of our new spiritual awareness we will be influenced by and battle with spiritual realms that the “dead” people of this world will not even be aware of.
    Please let us remember that Jesus prayed to Our Father and asked that we, those that beleive without actually seeing, will also be one as Jesus and the Father are one and that we may be one together in Him.
    If Jesus prayed that for us then it must be a reality that we can live and strive for.

    I was thinking, during the day today, that time is too short and the work load is too hard for us to waste our time and energy here in fighting with each other.
    Like the five wise and awake virgins we need to be ready with our lamps lit and wicks trimmed as the Bridegroom, Master and our King is at the door knocking.

    If nothing else, let us have respect for Mart De Haan who is busy enough in his walk with Jesus without having to police our behaviour!


  72. narrowpathseeker says:

    Amen….Bob. I enjoy Mart’s brilliant yet humble approach to teaching and I further enjoy most of the messages posted. Not a day goes by that at least one if not several posters “make my day”. May God continue to Bless us all.

    Steve, I always find your messages enlightening as well as encouraging and quite interesting. Thank you

  73. abraham99 says:

    bubbles, I agree with you wholeheartedly about the bickering that goes on here; it’s pathetic and it always seems to be the same people sprouting forth their thoughtless writings. I’ve read some very mature postings on this site that some mindless parrots just don’t get. They flare up because they are too imature to understand; they should learn to be quiet.

  74. foreverblessed says:

    they should learn to be quiet,
    that somehow seems like a very good advice.
    The words ring in my ear.
    Be quiet when things or people upset you. Come to rest in Jesus first, that is a discipline I have undertaken since nothing else gets you anywhere anyway. Jesus is the Way, the Life, the Light and the Truth.

  75. poohpity says:

    I need to learn to be quiet. I only make matters worse when trying to make them better. No one can change another person only the Lord has that gift and I need so much work myself. Grace needs to be practiced then we will not need to preach it.

  76. oneg2dblu says:

    Greeting All,I was going to post a blank page for my message, but thought it might not appear. So, I posted this thought instead…
    One can almost hear that quiet coming about, it comes right after we all spew out of our mouths all of our discontent… Why we don’t ALL take it to the Lord first, is the real dilemma for me. (?) Gary

  77. narrowpathseeker says:

    Gary…”the blank page might not appear” LOL..I love your humor as well as your input on many topics. My oldest son’s name is Gary and he has a similar sense of humor. I know that it is silly but when someone shares one of my loved ones’ names I am alway glad when I like them….lol.

  78. bubbles says:

    I said I was weary of the jeaously and strife that was happening here. That was all. If I cannot voice my opinion and say that the strife and jealousy was upsetting and sad, then why bother to say anything at all. There were those here who became downright nasty towards each other and it made me sad.
    Some of you are denying what happened.
    Now several of you are telling me to be quiet?

    Some of you have allowed jealousy to make this place toxic. Who cares who is the “leader” of this blog? What difference does that make?

    I do not need to be part of this toxic place.

  79. bubbles says:

    This used to be a pleasant place to visit–especially after a hard day or early in the morning.
    But the fussing and fighting I have read in the recent past has been another point of discouragement. I would read the hateful words between some of you, and it made me want to cry. And then I am attacked elsewhere because I say that this strife is sad?

  80. oneg2dblu says:

    bubbles… I do not think anyone is saying not to speak.
    No speak= no blog!!! None of us want that. Those who remain here may all want more peace, but in this world we will always have strife as well. If other sites are more peaceful fine, but do they bring about truth, do they focus on the one element that came to cut to the marrow, break families in two, cause two against three, cause dissensions and bring about change all for the purpose of placing Christ first in our lives? I doubt it, but I may be wrong. Soft sites may just be all lukewarm and we all know what Christ thinks about that!
    Not that we can’t improve our speech, but that we choose to sometimes not! If it takes some strife to get the truth revealed, I say let’s get to it, get it done, and get over it! Agitation cleans! Just a thought…Gary

  81. bubbles says:

    re: 2/29 at 5:00 and 3/1 at 10:41. Both of those say to be quiet. Gary, if you enjoy discord, then have at it, but it makes me sad. I am through.

    I loved the time I was here. I have come to love many of you, and I miss the ones who aren’t here any longer.

  82. foreverblessed says:

    I agree Bubbles, Gary, the advice was: be quiet, until you have come to rest in Christ: and then you give your advice, which then will be full of God’s Spirit, but if we are agitated the Spirit cannot flow through us, and then we will have only more strife. We first must seek rest in Christ, calmness, peace. If you are posting and still feel the heat, the irritation, do not post. Go with these emotions to God in prayer, pray over it, until it is gone then post. If that takes a week, take a week, if it takes a month, take a month. In the end it only matters if we are close to Christ, a very intimate and loving relation. We call Him our Friend. A friend is someone who you can share all your troubles with, all your burdens. That is Him, Jesus.

  83. narrowpathseeker says:

    Amen…. Foreverblessed. Very lovingly and kindly expressed…….beautiful. Excellent advice.

  84. oneg2dblu says:

    Bubbles… I have taken it to the Lord and have come away with this as the result: Only one who is agitated can agitate, only one who knows hurt can hurt, and only one who is loved can love. So, if we take all things to the Cross, will we come away unforgiven, and then be unforgiving? Will we come away agitated, and then agitate? Do we leave the cross hurt, and hurt others? By no means! Only by ignoring the work of the cross do we step out and thrash others with our self-serving sinful nature. If we allow the cross to empty us of our sins, do we then continue sinning? Just a thought about why we sometimes speak outside His Grace that was shown to us through the Cross.
    But, Our Loving God is a God of second chances. Please, Stay and give us all a second chance! I do not believe any of us here, leave the cross mute. Just a thought. Gary

  85. oneg2dblu says:

    I wonder if any of us are capable of feeling true conviction about something we have not done already, or are not actively planning to do.
    Is hearing a commandment or a law an actual conviction, or is it just sound advice? If we stand convicted, to me it means a trespass has been committed, or is about to be…
    The conviction of the Holy Spirit that precedes our action can save us many troubles.
    We can all be labeled guilty of having a sin nature, but not really convicted unless we actually qualify ourselves; the Holy Spirit is given to qualify us. The Holy Spirit is given to Help us both before we commit a trespass, and also after to bring us back into right standing, for it causes us to repent as well. But, “during the act of our trespass” it is our freewill we serve. Just a thought… dot, dot, and dot. Gary

  86. poohpity says:

    My hunch is we do not feel conviction because we do not take responsibility for our own actions because it is easier to tell others how wrong they are.

  87. abraham99 says:

    With blogging and emailing we tend to express our opinions with not as much apptitude as if we were speaking to someone face to face. When we speak one on one, we are able to listen, ask questions, explain, etc and the conversation generally becomes appreciative. Years ago, before electronics, we used to carefully and thougtfully write our letters on sometimes well chosen writing paper; most of us expressed ourselves with respect and kindly words. But today, this world of tempo and velocity, through instant electronics, enables us to express our somtimes thoughtless and hasty conceptions on pages such as Twitter, Facebook etc with little circumspect of how it affect others. Let’s not be part of that world, let’s blog with respect for our family. We’re unique and just as we must watch our tongue, so we should watch our writings.

  88. poohpity says:

    I agree abraham and also think it would be wise to not take everything said so personally or as an attack. It would be nice to give thought to the benefits of some things said and keep a humble estimate that we all have areas that need work and be very quick to look at those areas in ourselves and less quick to see them in others. In it all let grace, compassion and mercy be our very first approach to any situation. Always be kind because we never know what another is going through.

  89. poohpity says:

    Understanding our uniqueness does not mean we are any better or any worse than any other human being on the face of the earth we are all struggling against some of the same things and within a community it would be nice if we felt safe to be individuals with different gifts to benefit the whole.

  90. poohpity says:

    A very wise spirit filled author once said, “BECAUSE WE BELIEVE each of us will give account of ourselves to God, we want to be so aware of OUR own sins that when it becomes necessary to give attention to the wrongs of others, we will do so with CARE rather than conceit and with conviction rather than condemnation.” “BECAUSE WE BELIEVE we are stewards of God’s creation, we want to be faithful caretakers of the spiritual, material and natural resources that have been entrusted to us, for the GOOD of our neighbor and for the honor of our God.” That to me includes our words and how we accept them from others.

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