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What Makes it Personal?

On the Way

After a couple of days of traveling I’ve joined a wonderful group of co-workers in South Africa. Will be learning a lot from them in the next few days.

Have found that my host here has the kind of wireless access that allows me to call home with the sound of being “next door”. This also should allow me to stay in touch with you.

Until I have the time to put something different on the table, I’m going to ask you to interact a bit more with some additional thoughts on what it means to have a personal relationship with God.

One of my concerns in this ongoing conversation is that we find a way of making what we have in Christ understandable to those who think that we are claiming to have with God the kind of phone, wireless, or e-mail connection that we have with others.

So I wish you would see which  of the following thoughts do or don’t work in clarifying  the kind of relationship with God many of us have come to experience.

How can the Bible be read as God’s personal words to us even though it was addressed to others living in different times and circumstances?

How can a relationship with God be personal if it rests on general truths, and if it lacks direct, visible, or audible interaction? If a relationship with God were to be anything like a normal human relationship, we could expect it to be marked by:

1. An introduction

2. First impressions

3. Discovery of common interests

4. Interaction of personality and character

5. Shared happiness and sorrow

6. Mutual commitment and loyalty

Normal friendships give us visual presence; body language, eye contact, facial expressions, or personal words spoken or written personally to us. So we may wonder whether words spoken to others can be considered God’s personal words to us?

Is it possible that, even though none of the Scriptures were written to us, they were all written for us (2Tim 3:16)?

One thing we learn from both nature and the Bible is that God is infinitely creative. Each of the stories of the Bible is remarkably different. Every person walks a fresh and unrepeatable path. God never becomes predictable.

Yet from Adam to Mary, Paul, and Peter, certain unchanging ideas emerge.

One of those revelations is that, in every generation, the God of creation wants to be known (Psalm 19). By what he has made, sustained, and revealed through his interactions with others, the God of the Bible shows his heart and personality (Psa 34:8). From one generation to the next, the God of the Bible shows himself to be true, loving, good, and faithful. In good times and bad, the same God asks hurting men and women to believe his offer to forgive their wrongs, to speak light into their darkness, to bring order out of chaos, and to replace personal barrenness with a joyful harvest.

In the process, he invites everyone, everywhere to personally respond to whatever they have learned about him. What he doesn’t do, though, is promise to respond audibly to those who pray to him. Neither does he allow himself to be predictable. Even though he promises to be working for the good of all who trust him, he does so in ways that call for trust rather than presumption (Rom 11:33).

How can talking to God without getting an audible response from him qualify as a personal relationship?

Many who claim a personal relationship with heaven say that God does personally respond to their prayers. Some weigh the impressions that come to their mind after prayer or during meditation, and embrace those thoughts that resonate with what they believe the God of the Bible is saying to them. Others look for words of the Bible that seem to speak specifically to what they are asking of God. Still others reflect on Scripture, their thoughts, and any indications of what they think God is saying through circumstance, or conversations with others.

Few claim to hear God speak audibly. Those who do may need to be taken seriously and watched carefully.  The New Testament Apostle Paul counseled his readers in Thessalonica not to put out the fire of the Holy Spirit, nor to automatically ignore those who claim to speak for God, but rather to test everything that was said (1Thess 5:19-21).

That those who claim to have heard from God can be tested suggests that, up to a point, the standards by which we can recognize the ways of the Holy Spirit are understandable (Gal 5:22-23). With certainty we can know that in any given circumstance he wants to help us act with grace, faith, hope, and love.

The mystery of the Spirit, however, comes in the ways an unseen God personally interacts with the expressed desires of our hearts. Even if we aren’t that familiar with the Bible, we might not be surprised to hear one of its prophets say, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:9).

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32 Responses to “What Makes it Personal?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Mart if you don’t have a personal relationship with God you have nothing but an intellectual awareness and observational understanding of Christianity.

    Every believer will at some point in their lives experience a broken heart and a broken spirit, these two experiences will bring you to the point of surrender to God and the need for comfort, strength and *hope* that can only be satisfied from the miraculous interaction of the Holy Spirit.

    It is *very* personal, and just as a hug from a family member or friend can give you some momentary comfort, that same *hug* from God can give you supernatural strength and endurance that life itself can not (Philippians 4: 7).

    Make no mistake about it, God does speak directly to us from the written Word and anyone who has experienced that can testify it to be true. God also speaks to our inner being to our hearts and spirit in a way that is difficult to express except to say you just *know* it and understand that it comes from the voice of our Shepard.

    And yes when God deems it necessary He will speak audibly to you, and when that happens as surprised as you may be, once again you *know* whose voice it is.

    Personally I believe He speaks to us when we need Him the most, and are ready to receive Him and I believe that to be understood only by the Holy Spirit. He knows when we are ready to listen and ready to understand, something we too often are oblivious to.

    Praise God and the devil will flee from you; it is in times of praise in the midst of troubles that He is faithful to come and fellowship with you. When things are calm again then testify to His love for you when things were not.

    All of this is very personal.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    This is a huge piece. Heard this morning, for example, that there are atheist objections to the National Day of Prayer observances in public. They explain that such excitement and fervor make them feel like second-class citizens. Each follower of Jesus should, where possible, make a meaningful effort to offer “an accounting for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15, 16) And, as Peter counsels, this is to be offered “with gentleness and reverence.”

    Mart, you begin by asking:

    “How can the Bible be read as God’s personal words to us even though it was addressed to others living in different times and circumstances?”

    I think of the way in which missionaries begin to explain the God of creation to peoples who have no knowledge – or perhaps an incorrect understanding of Scripture. Often, the creation story is told in pictures. It is vital to hear with the heart as well as the mind that God said, “Let us make humankind in our image…” (Genesis 1:26) The barrier to believing is rejecting that I could belong to God. Yet, in the Bible I can meet person after person, family after family, nation after nation whose experiences are very similar to my own. Jesus’ words to people in the 1st c. still apply: “Truly, I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15)

    God’s word to his people is a personal word because God is a person. It seems to me that non-believers see God’s authoritative Word as a move upon their personal sovereignty. In fact, this is true. We allow God’s word to penetrate the armor of our personal sovereignty. Then, we begin to receive the word as our own. It is a transformation – welcome or unwelcome.

    Let me thank the folks who offered prayers for my petition before the Lord. The changes I have asked for are in the process of being accomplished! I am grateful for your faithfulness in prayer. May the Lord bless each one!


  3. florida7sun says:

    Yesterday, one of Edvard Munch’s paintings of The Scream sold for a record $119.9 million.

    Reading about Munch’s inspiration for his creation, he expressed in his diary…

    “I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.”

    My thoughts took me to Romans 8:22… “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”

    Yes, there is much to scream about. The news is filled with demonic activity. There is evil all around us.

    But those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life have an understanding of Our Heavenly Father. We have a blessed bond, a so-called personal relationship. We rejoice knowing He loves us and by His love He has given to us Immanuel (“God is with us”) in the presence of His Spirit.

    Rather than scream, we rejoice in Christ Jesus.

    The blood of His Son is more precious than all of man’s paintings and all of man’s riches.

    Paintings may hang on a wall and be admired by the world. The contrast is startling. Jesus hung on a cross and was shunned by those who could not see.

    Yes, I have a personal relationship with Immanuel through His Word and His Spirit. It’s precious beyond measure… I have all the riches I need, and so much more, in Christ Jesus.

    I recommend Him to all that have a need to scream or condemn their fellow man, for He loves us all.

    The reality of His existence is seen throughout all of creation, if we open our eyes and seek Him with all of our heart. – Jeremiah 29:13

    Blessings to all, Ray

  4. Mart De Haan says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful opening comments this morning. The subject so important. So easy to lose touch with what Jesus meant when he said, “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).

    Having been in So Africa only a few hours, I’m already hearing that just because Apartheid was taken off the books in 1994 doesn’t mean that it was automatically rooted out of hearts.

    Seems to me that as Israel’s successes and failures are meant to reflect global timeless issues, so their struggles, like those of South Africa, Norway, and America, are reminders of what happens when a relationship with Christ becomes more cultural and nominal than a real matter of the heart.

  5. sasuga2 says:

    I was in Africa a few weeks ago working with some bible translators when the question of a personal relationship came up. The concern of the local Cameroonian pastor was the confusion of what a personal relationship with God might mean to new believers in the villages. He thought that a personal relationship could give man the freedom to turn God into whatever personal character he wanted. It might be like saying that ‘god & I have this special thing going or that “me and the man upstairs are tight in a unique way”. Instead the pastor wanted missionaries to help people develop an intimate relationship that does not change the character and essence of who God is. I did appreciate his concern.

    The question of personal relationship without an audible response is certainly a difficult one. I agree that one can get to know and develop a relationship through God’s written word and its validation in our daily walk. What continues to be difficult is the audible response that gives an answer and direction. I have not heard from God audibly…….but have certainly felt that I have been given direction and an answer via the Holy Spirit as I have taken time to seek and listen. And yes, I don’t fully understand the mystery of this communication
    What may be harder for all of us who seek to audibly hear from Him, is to do and follow what He tells us.

  6. BruceC says:

    I think it is difficult to explain a personal relationship with the Creator of everything to an unbeliever. I think it is because we are from two different kingdoms. As believers we are of God’s and as unbelievers they are of the world. God is our Father in Heaven; while unrepentant unbelievers sadly are under the domain of the evil one; as were all of us prior to putting faith in Christ.
    Like trying to tell a childhood friend how good your Dad is. He may understand that that is how you feel; but he truly can never know unless he also had the same Dad. Hope I am not talking in circles.
    My wife tried to explain this to one of her family members; that although a “church goer”, was much into works and the teachings of leaders. It didn’t sink in as he scooffed at the idea of knowing God intimately and that by doing “the good things” he was taught and believed in; that that was enough.
    Maybe living that relationship in front of them is a much better way to tell of the relationship. They may wonder ” What do they know; or Who do they know that would make them be that way?”

    Just some thoughts.

    Maybe just relying on the Holy Spirit to put the words in us when the time arises would be better than trying to think of the words in advance.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

    PS Thanks for the testimony Maru!!

  7. BruceC says:

    I think that many times God’s answer to prayer is by the use of “opened and closed doors”.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  8. fadingman says:

    We Christians sometimes use the phrase “relationship with God” hypocritically.

    We speak of having such a relationship (and encourage others to have the same), but for many of us, our relationship with God is one-sided (only asking God for things), occasional or intermittent, or hypocritical (i.e. acting out the part as if we’re close with God when we’re not – even fooling ourselves).

    It’s like marriage. A good marriage is not just in lack of conflict or just saying “I love you” to each other or just a lot of physical intimacy. A good marriage includes actively seeking the other’s good (at one’s own expense), actively listening to what the other has to say, confidence in the other’s love and care for oneself, sticking close by each other through difficult times, honoring each other in private and public, serving one another out of love (Ephesians 5:21), etc. A relationship is two-way.

    I see these things as what my relationship with God is supposed to be… even in mutual serving one another. Jesus is continually interceding for me and seeking my good; what am I doing for Him?

  9. poohpity says:

    Mart first off, I am so envious and it is obvious you see that there in S.A. freedom from oppression may be not be what we would imagine although it is better, somewhat, they still have far to go. I was just south of Botswana in Mafikeng, North-West Province of South Africa. Their faith and trust in Christ puts us in the US to shame but hopefully it will not become as westernized which is what I feared from what I experienced. Getting the children educated without the parents learning to read as well seemed so sad to me but there is change happening and the more education the more freedom they will experience. The number of children running around without some form of parental guidance is phenomenal and so very, very sad. Hopefully you will share your experience with us, I will be so interested.

    I remember the first tug on my heart from the Lord, or the first time I heard a sermon and thought it was spoken just for me, or each time I read the bible and knew that God had written it just for me. How do you explain that to anyone? How do you convey the fact when in a time of utter disparagement this voice comes into your mind and says “I am proud of you”? All I can say is that it can happen to anyone, I am no different than anyone. We are all undeserving of God wanting us to know Him but He does. There are thousands of years of it happening to billions of people recorded and some not recorded, it does not mean we are special but to God we are. What it does mean is that our God is so special and He is available to everyone.

    If we can not explain what it is like then do we really need to? Knowing that when the time comes to explain it to someone who really wants to know, God will give us the words to express what is in our hearts in a way that will bring Glory to Him and not exalt ourselves. We can always say “Try it for yourself you might like it”.

  10. poohpity says:

    I was wondering how does one explain their relationship with their spouse? One would have to be married to them to know. How can one explain their relationship to a friend? You would have to meet them to know, then that relationship would be different to each person because they would interact with them differently.

    How do you interact with someone who knows you so well they know exactly how many hairs you have on your head and when you are going to take a step and what direction you are going to go before you have even decided to take a step. I guess the intro would be first to meet them, then decide on how much you want to learn about them. If one wants a superficial relationship then just the intro is enough but those who want more will dig deeper.

    It is different than a relationship with another person because there are only certain parts of ourselves we are willing to share. God on the other hand already knows us even the secret places of who and what we are yet still wants a relationship with us. That all in it’s self is amazing because we think if someone really finds out what I am like they will not want to know me but God does.

  11. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart you are so far away I’ll raise my voice a notch or two so you can hear me. To me…When God steps into your life situation and saves you, that gets very personal.
    Christ is our hero, he took the bullet for us, he took the beating, he placed himself on the cross to take our place of eternal suffering. He calls us by name, the same name he writes in his book of life, and we know we are his forever.
    So, he knows my way, knows my hurts, my desires, and knows my heart.He knows my prayers before I speak them
    and many times answers them before I even get to ask.
    He blesses my every wsking moment, protects my every step, prepares my way and then watches over me as I walk in it.
    Yeah, it gets very personal this living concept of being called His.Gary

  12. davids says:

    It is so nice to see Steve feeling good again and jumping right into the topic. Praise God for Maru’s blessings. Nice to see others returning.

  13. davids says:

    Mart proposes six marks of a personal relationship, but they strike me as marks of a casual friendship. Jesus might be my friend, but not in an equal way. Our personal relationship is more like a superior and an inferior. That can also be personal, but it is different.

    I recognize that God is my superior. He sets the rules, and I am expected to obey. He understands that I have personal circumstances, and takes that into account.

    He listens to me personally when I pray. But He has the plan, and His decisions are final and for the good of everyone.

    I respect His judgement and authority and His love for all that are beneath Him. So our personal friendship and trust is built on my surrendering my will to His command.

    Our common interest are His sheep. His command is that I reflect his love and concern in how I personally treat others.

  14. fadingman says:

    Relationships come in a variety of levels. Everyone has a relationship with God whether they recognize it or not. For example, there is the creature and Creator relationship, the dependent mortal and Sustainer/Provider relationship, and the condemned sinner and righteous Judge relationship. While most of the unsaved are unaware of these relationships, some are. I know of unsaved people who have had prayers answered for temporal needs (just as Jesus healed many who didn’t follow Him). God is good to the righteous and the wicked.

    The relationship between believers and God also comes in different levels – in various degrees of closeness. Nobody has reached the ultimate level of perfect oneness with God, but that is the goal we need to be striving for. I hope never to be satisfied with where my walk with God is. I keep hearing C.S. Lewis’ phrase from The Last Battle calling to me: “Come further up and further in!”

    Any lack in our relationship with God is due to our weakness. God desires us to be as close to Him as possible. He has shown in it many ways.

    The Father took the initiative in sending His Son to die for us. As Michael Card says, He would rather die than live without us.

    Jesus said in John 14:23 “If a man love me, he will keep my word: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” God won’t just grant us our requests, or come and visit us occasionally. He’ll take up permanent residence with us! This is fulfilled in the Holy Spirit who doesn’t just live with us but dwells *inside* us (John 14:17). God can’t get closer to us than that!

    This relationship is called a fellowship in 1 Corinthians 1:9, Philippians 2:1, 3:10, 1 John 1:6. Paul’s priority was his relationship with Jesus: “to know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being conformed to his death…” (Philippians 3:10). His attitude encourages to want the same.

  15. Mart De Haan says:

    Such good perspectives! Thanks to all of you!

  16. poohpity says:

    Sometimes I find it harder and am hesitate to talk about my relationship with God not to unbelievers but to believers. I have gotten more flak from some church friends which has caused me to not talk about my experiences. There are those who are open to listening who have experienced similar things but to some others they treat me like I am not all there or that I am boasting when in reality it is just because I am so excited to share. I guess we have to be mindful and use wisdom in who we are talking to in describing anything about our experiences with the Lord.

  17. saled says:

    Mart states above: “Even though he promises to be working for the good of all who trust him, he does so in ways that call for trust rather than presumption.” I think it is the presumption that turns people off.

    I believe that those who put the thought and effort into writing on this blog do indeed have a personal relationship with God, and I hope I don’t offend when I say that the phrase, “personal relationship with God (or Jesus Christ)” has become like fingers on a chalkboard for me. For those who are not accustomed to this American idiom, fingers on a chalkboard are extremely irritating.

    I have written on this blog before about the sad deaths in my state of a mother and her two children at the hands of her ex-husband, father of the children. He then killed himself, and in an interview with the local newspaper, the man’s father said he knew that his son was in heaven because he had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not arguing this man’s salvation; but how do you kill your children if you are abiding in Christ? So many times when people use this phrase, it appears to be presumption rather than trust.

    I have noticed Mart use this term, abiding in Christ, a few times lately. I remember the first time that I began to understand this concept. I was away from home, and so wanted to be home, when a Bible program came on the radio late at night. The speaker said that this phrase, abiding in Christ, meant to feel at home in Him. And a few topics back, Mart said that when we abide in Him, we will see the needs around us and reach out to fill those needs. This might be the best evidence of a relationship with God.

  18. SFDBWV says:

    When I speak of personal matters they can only pertain to me and from my own experience. The personal experiences of my life in part make me who I am.

    Like saled I too wince sometimes at some overused terms meant to express Christian tenets. However it is the topic of our host and an attempt to hear from each of us what that personal relationship with God means personally to each of us.

    In Marts opening comments he gives various observations of what he sees as others say concerning the matter, but stops short of saying what is personal to him.

    My personal relationship with God is at the heart of my faith. If I didn’t believe that He listens when I talk with Him I would be the greatest of fools and perhaps insane.; as I talk to God off and on all day and even when troubled for answers or directions to take.

    If I didn’t believe that God cared enough for me personally to hear my prayers and provide for me the hope of rescue or direction for decisions, then what phony pretense am I living.

    Because my relationship with God is personal, I can come to Him with every need and expect Him to be faithful to answer my requests (Philippians 4: 6). Hebrews 1: 14 tells me that angel’s purposes are to minister to me as an heir of salvation. I can testify that I have seen them and received their ministering as prescribed from God. This is very personal.

    What is it that Hebrews 11: 1 says to me, the Holy Spirit says to have faith and believe God and that that in itself is the evidence of what I can not yet see. Hebrews 11: 6 tells me that this *blind* faith is what pleases God. And Hebrews 13: 8 tells me Jesus is the same always, and John 15: 15 tells me that I am called a friend of Christ’s. A friend is a personal relationship, and as that old hymn states “Oh what a friend we have in Jesus”.

    Shall I go on and on telling of how God has interacted with me over my life; all being a personal need or trying times that He has weathered with me? Have I already forgotten the times He has rescued me? Could I ever deny His presence with me?

    It is my life and my faith and my experience of being a believer and follower of Christ that can only be expressed as personal. Any other comment is an observation and opinion of another’s faith and I am never qualified to judge that, only my own.


  19. freedom12 says:

    In response to “What Makes it Personal”

    My relationship with God became personal when I accepted Jesus as savior. Before that, my deal established that I should go to God only when I needed something.

    I believe this “act of faith” (acceptance of Jesus as Savior) represents my new contract with God, which establishes an ongoing/personal relationship.

    It is free of my own corruption, as it was sealed by Christ through the shedding of His blood, making Him my advocate and mediator. Freedom in Christ

  20. poohpity says:

    Mart you asked, “So we may wonder whether words spoken to others can be considered God’s personal words to us?” If those words did not come at a time when they fit right into what was going on in my life not one time or just 2 times but continually then I would consider that they were not for me but there are. That is why I am such a stickler for getting people to read the Bible so they can experience all those moments of God speaking to them. To pray for all things so that we can experience answers to those prayers and to open to answers that may not fit how we thought they would be answered but see that they are. To have our eyes open to everything around us having a spiritual value. It is abiding in Christ when we begin to realize through that relationship we continue to change not that we will ever be perfect but we will be growing and the fruit of the Spirit becomes more evident in our lives. We will be quicker to forgive, show gentleness, kindness, mercy, slower to get angry, willing to give people the benefit of doubt and the search for truth to be continual. Christ becomes our search and our trust grows more each day, that to me is what abiding in Christ looks like.

  21. BruceC says:

    Very well said Poohpity.
    The Word! The Word! The Word!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  22. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I hope while you are there in South Africa you are being rejuvenated and revitalized by the enthusiasm of the Christian people you meet and hopefully not burdened with the political atmosphere that may be present there.

    I for one would like to hear some of your travels and perhaps some pictures and of course some of the stories that perhaps you are picking up from the folks you have met.

    I am pretty sure I will never see the shores of Africa in this life, so it would be nice for me for you to share some of your trip with us.


  23. poohpity says:

    Are there any BTA friends who live in Portland, Oregon?

  24. foreverblessed says:

    Personal relationship with God.
    I have been thinking about this for a few days now, meditating on what Mart wrote with all the comments already given.
    Thank you all for writing, I will add my bit, manu thing have been said already
    What makes it personal, when God is not visible around us?
    How do I know that God is with me?

    -Faith is the first thing that entered my mind. as Steve andFreedom12 wrote about too.
    If I do not really believe that God IS, I cannot have contact with Him.
    It is through faith that we know that Jesus is with us, and in us.
    Faith is the line between us and God.

    About God not being physical here. God is Spirit, so making Him physical would not make Him more God. John 6:63
    In fact, when God makes Himself visible or to be heard, it is through the senses then we still have to get contact through the spirit.
    If we have not had seen or heard God it does not mean that we have not met Him in the Spirit.
    God must be found in Spirit and in truth. John 4:24

  25. foreverblessed says:

    So how do you explain all this to someone who is not a christian?
    I was thinking back to the time I was a christian but did not have a personal relation as I do have now.
    I was always wandering, what what this thing of Jesus, how could christians be so happy with Jesus.
    In my old church many would be offende when Jesus was worshipped. They would rather read the bible, and obey the commands, but this Jesus stuff was the easy way out: Just believe in Jesus and all is well.
    How could anyone at that time have explained that to me?

    As Davids said; accepting Jesus as the personal Savior is the start of a personal relationship.
    I and the Father are One John 10:30 and John 6:44

    The 7 -I AM- from the Gospel of John:
    1-Jesus is the Bread of Life John 6:35,
    2-The Light, John 9:5,
    3-The Gate John 10:7,
    4-The Good Shepherd John 10:11,
    5-the Resurrection and the Life John 11:25,
    6-The way the Truth and the Life John 14:6
    7-The Vine and you are the branches John 15:5
    (The past few weeks I have done some studying in the Gospel of John, and here I have to write some of these treasures that are connected with the topic)
    When Jesus told the disciples that they had to eat His flesh, and drink His blood, many were offended and left Him.
    John 6:53-54, 55-56, 57-58, 60-61

    How do you explain all this to others?
    How can we say that the bible is for us now?
    John 5:37-38,39-40
    John 8:47
    If our hearts are closed to God, then the bible is of no use to us. So prayer for the people who ask, prayer that the Spirit will open their minds and hearts.
    Prayer is needed to open hearts! The work of the Spirit!

  26. foreverblessed says:

    But maybe some reasoning is needed if the Spirit so guides us. I for myself was reasoning too much, talking too early, and it was of no use. People did not accept what I said about Jesus the Door, the Gate, in fact they get irritated. The Spirit must touch the hearts, and that is a spiritual matter. Of myself I was a reasoning man, and I have to recede, like John the Baptist said: John 3:30
    Now I try to just sit down and pray, and ask the Holy Spirit to guide me, I wait what comes up in my mind. If nothing comes up to say out loud I keep on praying for the person, asking God to bless them with His love.
    To do that I need to restrain myself a lot. Because my mind would like to think, and my mouth would like to explain.

    Then afcourse there is the next step, if we know all these things and do not do what God has shown us, what does it benefit us? John 14:23, that might also be the case for people not accepting Jesus, they do not like His teaching.(Love God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself, they would rather lover themselves above all, their only sure person they can trust is self, for they have not met the loving kindness of God yet). Maybe God must work in their lives a bit more, when they have lost a lot of securities they thought they had in this life, they are more open to what God has to say. When I lost my childhood church social gatherings I found Jesus.

    It all comes down on the leading of the Holy Spirit where the shoe fits for the person we come in contact with.
    The more I come closer to God personally the more I know how He leads me.
    So the worry for me is not what to say, but where to be:
    To be closer and closer to His heart, feel the beating of His loving heart, which is soooo big, so full of Grace, and Mercy for all of His creatures, all of them.
    His mercy is forever Psalm 136

  27. SFDBWV says:

    Very nice comments foreverblessed.

    On a side note; Happy Birthday to Bob in Corwall England today.


  28. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Pooh, with reference to your question of 5/7 at 10:13 a.m. — I am headed that way next month. Not Portland proper, but close! God is good!

    This season of transition has been about a year in length (maybe a bit longer). I have held to God’s promises which I learn from the Bible. To Judah, who finds herself in exile in Babylon, God says, “For surely I know the plans I have for you…plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, 12, 13, 14)

    Learning to trust the Lord, then learning to trust him more, it is possible to see his character and his utter faithfulness to his people. This Scripture I quote speaks to my heart and my spirit always, but especially at this moment. It is a personal word to me, as well as a prophetic word to God’s people from Jeremiah 2,400 years ago.


  29. poohpity says:

    Thank you Maru. My son who has been in bible college the last 4 years is on a trek this summer to experience God. He felt he needed to leave the books with all the head knowledge and try and find God through this journey for it to be planted in his heart. Of course as a mom I knew he did not need to go to such extremes as a journey across country but in his eyes and heart the trek is important. I pray that he finds what he is looking for outside of academia whether it is in Oregon, Washington, Alaska or Montana. The world of college has certainly done it’s damage to his faith and that is a bible college. Sometime when we look for God in all the different directions we find that He is right there with us the whole time. I pray for safety for my son’s journey and for God’s provision above what he has in his backpack.

    Happy Birthday Bob in England may your day be filled with love and enjoyment while celebrating your birth.

    I think what is so totally awesome is that our God never changes and so what we read in the bible although written many centuries ago still does the same things in this day and time. The more our faith is developed by trusting God more and more with each days cares and concerns. Then we are able to see how the truths written in the bible are for all times and in all seasons.

  30. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed.. why don’t you tell us how you really feel. :) Thanks!
    Maru… Truth is if we are not trusting Jesus then in whom or what or where do we then place our trust?
    It is in our walk of faith with Him that He puts even trust in our blessed way.
    I guess putting “In God We Trust” on your currency should mean first and formost that you must also Believe in God, and on that premise alone worldly sanctions are trying to remove God in every way they csn.
    Two of the greaestt errors for all mankind, Unbelief
    and Disobedience, and the flip side of that coin is Walking with Him. Gary

  31. oneg2dblu says:

    The third is not proofing before you post… :(

  32. poohpity says:

    Gary, it just shows how we lack perfection in many areas including and not limited to proof reading, lol. Yet God……!!

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