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We’re at War

The fight will go on today in declared war zones, political debates, and maybe even a blog or two.

But an Apostle of Jesus teaches readers of his letters to rise above conventional forms of personal, military, or political conflict. He reminds us that our real struggle is not with flesh and blood (Eph 6:12).

The way Paul defines the enemy is important because human instinct is for both sides in a conflict to demonize the other. Demonizing is a spiritual parallel to the tactic of war whereby soldiers are prepared to kill another human by learning to think of the enemy as a devil or an animal.

But the kingdom of God doesn’t move forward by demonizing and dehumanizing people for whom Christ died.

That may be why when Paul writes to Timothy who has been left in Ephesus to face the intimidating challenge of false teachers. With a lot at stake for both Timothy and the Body of Christ, Paul writes, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.  (2 Timothy 2:24–26) (NKJV)

Seems like the reminder here is that, even if we end up on the wrong side of a conflict—acting in a Christ-like manner, even in a misinformed cause, will lessen the harm we do not only to people like ourselves, but to the name and mission of the God who loves our enemy.

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74 Responses to “We’re at War”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends –

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Seems like the reminder here is that, even if we end up on the wrong side of a conflict—acting in a Christ-like manner, even in a misinformed cause, will lessen the harm we do not only to people like ourselves, but to the name and mission of the God who loves our enemy.”

    My sense is that the air over parts of the world inhabited by human beings is filled with the dust of battle – as you say, “in declared war zones and in political debates.” Paul and Timothy lived in the midst of such turmoil as much as we do in our own time of history. In 2 Timothy 2, Paul admits “…I suffer hardship even to imprisonment as a criminal; but the word of God is not imprisoned.” (2 Timothy 2:9) The working of God is not confined to the battle-field, it seems to me. (Psalm 29:7, 8, 9)

    I pray we as followers of Jesus Christ will not always have to choose to “lessen the harm we do,” as you say. What a sad prospect, in my opinion! Surely, the blessed Holy Spirit will guide us to do good first of all, and to do no harm in any case. The weapons of our warfare are spiritual, as Ephesians 6:12 teaches. Ephesians 6:13 calls a follower of Jesus to put on the full armor of God. The only weapon in it is “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” Most of that array is for the protection of the one who is “strong in the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:10).

    In what way(s) do you believe contending for the faith looks like battle? Do we engage in “offense”?


  2. foreverblessed says:

    As Maru writes, the weapon we have is the sword, the word of God.
    But what if someone overhere joint the discussion and tells us that many things the apostle Paul wrote is of the devil, then where do we end up? Not person’s are demonised, but scripture, as happened the last few weeks. How do you suggest your advise works? What about people who are very new in their faith in Jesus Christ, would this be any good, upbuilding, uplifting for them?
    For me it is a learning process: It is good to read how things can be twisted, never heard of anybody who said that Jesus is not the Christ, meaning to say, that Christ is not the Jesus. I do not wish to rewrite all the othere things this person has said about Christ, it is not for the upbuilding of those that have been saved by Jesus Christ.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Ok Mart lets look at what is a spirit and what is a man.

    In Acts 15: 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41 we see that there was a sharp argument between Paul and Barnabas. So heated and deeply felt that Paul and Barnabas never seemed to reconcile their differences between them the remainder of their lives.

    In Daniel 10: 12, 13, 14 we get a peek into the principalities Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6: 12 and in Ephesians 6: 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, Paul gives us a warrior’s attire and in Ephesians 6: 19, 20 says not to be silent but to speak up (do battle).

    In Ecclesiastes 3: 7, 8 we see there is a time for silence and a time for war.

    Was the argument between Paul and Barnabas a result of spiritual influence or the stubbornness of man’s spirit?

    The angel who spoke to Daniel clearly explains that there is a spiritual power over Persia that influences those whom it can. It would appear that such principalities are in a symbiotic cycle with man.

    The spiritual influence is strengthened by those it influences as they more and more give in to the spirit, any alcoholic, drug abuser or pornographer understands this.

    Paul also explains the difference between living under the influence of the Holy Spirit and living under the influence of the flesh, the flesh not being a spirit, but rather the nature of *man*. (Galatians 5: 19, 20, 21)

    Jesus got upset, He even got angry now and then and He was certainly disappointed in those around Him from time to time, but He rebuked those who needed it and there is a time coming when He will return and at that time the Lamb will become the Lion.

    Romans 1: 17-32 Paul gives a biting oration and states in Romans 1: 28 that God gives such people over to a reprobate mind to do as they please, which will take them to judgment.

    We do the best we can, but sometimes even the best of us are only human after all.


  4. confeticat says:

    First I’ll comment on Mart’s and then I’ll get around to Steve’s.

    II Tim. 2:24-26 sets the wrong tone to begin with. The notion that if the teacher is humble God “may” grant their pupil repentance is really a terrible concept. You happen to get a bad teacher and you’re stuck in your sins? THAT is the snare of the devil. Repentance is available to everyone who has a change of heart. It is not dependant on anyone else. If the pupil repents because he admires his teacher it is for the wrong reason and will not last. This kind of thinking has done plenty of harm. Are we just going to lessen the harm? Is that really love?

    The last part of the passage is correct but will be achieved another way. Kingdom people are not in a visible war, but they are not going to capitulate to Satan or settle for the wrong side in a misinformed cause! This mealy-mouthed “Christ-like manner that lessens the harm” IS the enemy (Luke 11:20,21,22,23). God loves those caught in the snare, so if we obey we can leave the results to him.

  5. Bill says:

    Good Morning Mart and BTA Friends!

    Thank you for this post, Mart. It’s apropos.

    And already controversial. *Sigh.*

    I’d like to say two things:

    1. Maru wrote (quoting you, then commenting on what you wrote): “I pray we as followers of Jesus Christ will not always have to choose to “lessen the harm we do,” as you say. What a sad prospect, in my opinion! Surely, the blessed Holy Spirit will guide us to do good first of all, and to do no harm in any case.”

    I think Mart’s being realistic, Maru. Christians are not perfect. We do harm every single day, overtly and covertly. I think to admit that is the first step toward being more aware of the effect of our words and deeds, in our homes and in society.

    2. Comparative Religions is one of my interests. I like to observe other religious traditions and how those in them interact with one another and with the world.

    For example, Buddhists are keenly aware of such things as “harm.” The First Precept in Buddhism is “I vow to refrain from killing.” It is sometimes rendered, “I vow to do no harm.” To be sure they abide by the First Precept, Buddhists spend a great deal of time practicing mindfulness — being aware of every single moment, paying close attention to themselves and those around them. Being aware and awake.

    I think Christians could take a lesson from this example. Being mindful of our words and deeds would help us a great deal so that we don’t cause harm to others.

    So, when Mart writes,

    “Seems like the reminder here is that, even if we end up on the wrong side of a conflict—acting in a Christ-like manner, even in a misinformed cause, will lessen the harm we do not only to people like ourselves, but to the name and mission of the God who loves our enemy.”

    I believe he’s observing what Christians have done, and continue to do, in society — for example, protesting books like Harry Potter, movies with swear words, Chick-fil-A restaurant owners who speak in a non-PC manner…or taking up causes like the Occupy protests, or pro-life protests, etc…and then having things turn ugly through name-calling, angry posting online, even violence. Christians are known for protesting anything and everything — even things contrary to each other so that we’re on opposite ends of the same issue!

    So, no matter what we do, if we do things in a loving, Christ-like manner we will do far less harm to the cause of Christ than if we behave like a bull in a china shop. To remain loving and respectful — regardless of the cause or situation — speaks far more eloquently than whatever words we’re shouting into someone’s face.

    Thanks for reading.

    Have a great week, everyone!


  6. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Bill and Steve —

    To nudge my premise, it seems to me a follower of Jesus Christ is held in check by the bit of obedience:
    “Do no harm
    Do good
    Stay in love with God”
    I do not claim a person of faith does not get angry, or let slip a worldly attitude or word — but, do I lay down my life for the Way — or not? Perhaps my question is for myself only…The Word does a work we do not always predict or perceive — and we certainly do not initiate that work, God does.


  7. confeticat says:

    Steve, you’ve covered a lot of Scripture and I’ve been fitting it all together. The argument between Paul and Barnabas was just stubborn flesh but God may have been behind it. It has been repeated thousands if not millions of times throughout Church history.

    i could be wrong, but I believe the prince of Greece in Dan. 10:20 is Christ. The incongruity of the principalities and powers of the unseen world in Eph. 6:12 and Paul’s solution – the armor of God, is not noticed because of his comment in chapter 1 of us being in “heavenly places in Christ”. But picture a panoramic painting of the sky and warfare tsaking place there, and this puny little guy in a suit of armor standing down below making a fist. An artist could have a field day with that. It was probably no coincidence that David could not walk in Saul’s suit of armor and refused it.

    Though Daniel pictures warfare in heavenly places, the warfare Paul is arming Christians for is for right here on earth, and still it is piecemeal and inadequate.

    Jesus says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). That’s as close as we come right now to heavenly places.

  8. confeticat says:

    Bill, have you noticed how you invariably settle for “realistic”? Fallenness is realistic. Christian protests you don’t like, but they are realistic. Realistic is sin. And that makes it sad.

    If one is going to attempt to wear Paul’s armor, he must have mindfulness like the Buddhists. Being mindful of every single moment, paying keen attention to everything around them. I’m just being realistic.

  9. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart –

    I repeat a comment I made in a previous post. In general, I certainly do not expect the BTA friends to remember such a thing. I stated, and I still maintain that we who post here should be “clothed and in our right mind.” I refer to Mark 5:15, in which the Gerasene man was healed of a legion of unclean spirits. Do we consider the source of the thoughts and remarks we make? It is possible for a Christian to have a moment of weakness – but continued condemnation is not a true witness of Christ.

    Mart, you wrote:

    “The way Paul defines the enemy is important because human instinct is for both sides in a conflict to demonize the other. Demonizing is a spiritual parallel to the tactic of war whereby soldiers are prepared to kill another human by learning to think of the enemy as a devil or an animal.
    But the kingdom of God doesn’t move forward by demonizing and dehumanizing people for whom Christ died.”

    Giving one another the benefit of the doubt is part of Christian discourse – even simple civil discourse. We cannot treat a fellow child of God as a demon. Part of Christ likeness is discerning our own state of mind and offering the best we have. Accusation and comment upon the thought processes or moral value of another is not appropriate. May we all assume that we come here as those who serve Christ? I hope so.


  10. Bill says:

    Hi confeticat,

    I didn’t say I didn’t like Christian protests. I said (a) we can often end up on opposite sides of them, and (b) we can protest the wrong things in life, those things which are very minor in the grand scheme. But I cannot say whether Christians should protest or not. That’s between them and God.

    As far as reality goes, we live in it. We are surrounded by it. We cannot deny reality, or assume all reality is “fallenness,” meaning it is to be dismissed or overcome. Christian Scientists take that stand. They claim reality is a state of Mind (with a capital “M”) that can be dismissed and transcended with a thought.

    By mindfulness, I meant that we should take care to be aware of what we say to others, and how we say it. What we do as well. We should not undertake actions or words that cause harm because we’ve acted selfishly or thoughtlessly.

    God never called us to be apart from reality. He called us to be separate from the world, meaning we are to be different from the world.

    If the world is caught up in contention, strife, anger, violence, criticisms, and bickering, then we are not separate from it if we participate in the same kind of behavior.

    I hope you have a great day, con!


  11. confeticat says:

    Who is treating another like a demon? If a person can’t defend what he says, he shouldn’t say it.

  12. confeticat says:

    I had faith that you could do it by yourself!

    Exactly. If we are different from the world we don’t use “reality” as a crutch to defend participating in the same kind of behavior. But since you brought up the mindfulnes of Buddhists, that reminded me that is the same kind of alertness and readiness one needs to remember and to use the armor of God. So you have to be like the Buddhists in that respect to live the Christian life. This will go over in Christiandom like a lead balloon but it’s true.

  13. florida7sun says:

    The wonder of it all is we are comforted and strengthened through the presence of our Lord and Savior. No where else can I find true peace and His assurance of well-being.

    “God is God. Because he is God, He is worthy of my trust and obedience. I will find rest nowhere but in His holy will that is unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what he is up to.” – Elisabeth Elliot

    Isaac has moved on. The sun is out. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

    Blessings, Ray

  14. Mart De Haan says:

    Confeticat, I think maybe you should start your own blog. Carrying on your issues against “Christ” and Paul from post to post has taken over the mood and intent of our being here. I can’t let this continue.

  15. kingdomkid7 says:

    There is a lot going on here, and I don’t have time to comment on it all, because I have to get back to my job. But first I must affirm the message of the day: we do not war against flesh and blood. Then, I must say to confeticat that a “pupil who follows the teacher” who is modeling Jesus and who repents because that teacher is reflecting the conduct and character of Jesus — it certainly will last. It will last because Jesus Christ is the true source of that repentance. The teacher was just the willing vessel of honor. Also, Bill, in your list of protest activities you seem to mix up both “Christian” and arguably “non-Christian” protests. But your lead-in sentence suggests it’s all Christian protest. Obviously, not all protest is bad. Our own history in America shows that. Every year we honor Dr. King who protested stuff (yes I said stuff — just for expedience — no disrespect intended) all the time! Was it wrong of him and his cohorts?

  16. poohpity says:

    Glad you are safe from Isaac, Ray.

    It makes me chuckle because at one time I was an enemy of God. I did what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it and how I wanted to do it, not thinking of the harm I caused to my parents, my family, to friends, or to myself. Not to even mention the harm I caused selling drugs to those I only knew when they had money and what those drugs did to their parents, family, friends or to themselves. I had a safe full of money and I protected it with my guns and people no longer mattered just getting more. If I protect my beliefs with the guns of slander, name calling, indignation and strife then I am not trusting the One who while I was still His enemy died for me.

    If I do not protect my joy with the same determination that I guarded my money then I allow another control over who and what I am. I wonder what that says about me. How I react to irritating circumstances and people really shows who has my heart. When I am pushed to the end of my rope and my weaknesses come out that is when I kneel down and confess, Lord forgive me for acting like I did before you got a hold of my heart.

    Love is doing what is in the best interest of another, however some battles belong to the Lord. Jesus taught Matthew 5:46,47; John 13:34 our battle is not against someone who believes differently than we do our battle is against what happens to our heart in the process of trying to defend it.

    The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior over and over expecting different results. Hopefully the Son will come out rather than the darkness of our old nature. The battle is happening within me to allow the Lord to change my heart in how I respond to others no matter if I consider them friend or foe.

  17. poohpity says:

    Dr King was an excellent example of not copying the ugly behavior all around and that spoke louder than any ugliness. He reacted like the Lord wants us to act in peace to a hostile environment.

  18. cherielyn says:

    I have tried to post a comment more than a half dozen times & keep getting the following message:

    Nothing Found
    Sorry, but nothing was found to match your request.

    Anyone else having a problem posting today?

  19. poohpity says:

    Steve, about the Paul and Barnabas disagreement seemed to be because John Mark deserted them in Pamphylia so Paul did not want to take him, so they agreed to disagree but it was a blessing in disguise because then they went in 2 different directions and got the message out to more people. Later in the letter to the Colossians we see that John Mark (Barnebas’s cousin) was now not shrinking back but going forward and furthering the Good News. So from what we read I do not think it was something that caused a life long separation but only a temporary difference of opinion. Acts 13:13; Col 4:10; 2 Tim 4:11

  20. Mart De Haan says:

    Sorry you’ve had trouble. A number of us (even me :-) have had that happen. In the past, when I tried to check on it, our tech people could not find the reason. Then the problem suddenly cleared up just as it had started. Hope the fact that you finally were able to post a comment means the problem is no longer there.

  21. narrowpathseeker says:

    Yes, Cherielyn, I wrote for almost an hour and forgot once again to highlite and save. When I submitted it, it was lost after a similar message popped up. I haven’t time right now to do over, but I will try later.

  22. SFDBWV says:

    Interesting my study reference Bible connects Daniel 10: 20 to Revelation 12: 7. Especially interesting given today’s headlines and the world as it is today. Noting that the angel would be once again at fighting the prince if Persia.

    Equally interesting is the ensuing chapter of Daniel 11. The prophesy is fulfilled in the Persian empires of Cyrus thru to Xerxes and then conquered by The Greek Alexander the Great, who leads us all the way up to Antiochus. I am not certain if the Greek mentioned in Daniel 10: 20 is not Alexander, I can’t imagine why it would be Christ.

    The statue seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2: 31, 32, 33) clearly shows the *empire* of man’s rule on earth, and its demise in Daniel 2: 34. We know because of the place in Scripture history that we are in; that the stone cut without hands is Jesus of Nazareth our Lord and Savior.

    The head of gold being the Babylonian rule, the breast and arms of silver the Persian Empire, the belly and thighs of brass Alexander the Great, and the legs of Iron and feet part of Iron and clay being the Roman rule and the feet of mixed iron and clay being what most contend of as today.

    It seems that much of man’s history is wrapped around war and conquest, all leading to that great final battle we all recognize as the battle of Armageddon.

    Knowing that the Bible sews together the real and the spiritual at the same time, I am left often to wonder if the final battle in us all leads to that spiritual moment when the Rock that is cut without hands strikes our feet and brings us to our knees before our Creator, both physically and spiritually bringing us to that great final battle in us all when we finally surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ.


  23. florida7sun says:

    Thank you, Pooh. The Body of Christ is so very precious to our Lord and Savior. God loves you and so do I.

  24. cherielyn says:


    Thanks for the response. However, I am wondering why my post about having problems went through, but not the one with my comments on this subject. I tried to send it again, after finding that the above one had gone through, but it still didn’t work. It almost seems as if there is something in my post that is being rejected, but I don’t know what it might be.

    I have contacted RBC by email and sent what my post was so they can see if there is something in it that is objectionable.

  25. cherielyn says:

    And now that one went through, but the other one is still blocked!

  26. SFDBWV says:

    Gee, some of my last comment was in reference to confeticat’s remarks to me. reading it now it seems quite out of place. Sorry.

    Mart does this mean that you have totally blocked confeticat from posting?


  27. SFDBWV says:

    cherielyn this problem has happened to me on a couple different occasions and as Mart has already stated no answer was found that explained what was happening or why it suddenly disapeared.

    I had contacted MSN as well as Dell and they found nothing wrong in my computer or in the connections to RBC, suggesting the problem was somewhere in the protective measures somewhere at RBC’s computer.

    On a personal note, we have had a good day today and I know you know what that means as well as how well it is recieved.


  28. cherielyn says:

    I tried to post this a few hours ago, but it would not go through. Trying one more time!

    Regarding II Tim 2:24-26, the first portion of the verses tells us that “the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness” in verses 24-25a (in the ESV)

    The word “gentleness” ends the sentence (in the ESV).

    Then verses 25b-26It continues, “God may perhaps grant them repentance…………..”

    The THEM in that verse is not referring to the student, but to HIS OPPONENTS to whom God may grant THEM (the opponents) repentance.

    As I commented, in a previous topic, when a person does not have a good grasp of grammar, things read can be misinterpreted.

    II Tim 2:15(KJV)

    This is not directed at any of the above posters, but was meant for the one who is no longer here. I only tried again because although he is blocked, he may still be reading our comments. Perhaps this might help, in some small way, to enlighten him.

  29. cherielyn says:

    Above somewhat revised from that which I had first tried to post earlier this morning.

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh yes you are right about why Paul and Barnabas argued, but my Bible records it as a heated argument and that was my point.

    Paul never mentions Barnabas himself again in any mutual setting nor gives any reference to their ever restoring their friendship, which is why I have concluded that they did not. Perhaps only because the opportunity never presented itself again.

    But I understand your desire to see it another way. I guess that is one way of seeing the differences in how you and I may see the same thing *differently*.


  31. SFDBWV says:

    Mart forgive me I know RBC sells a lot of music CD’s and I have bought several, but I just wanted to recommend to anyone who likes the Rhythm and Blues Gospel music; the music of “The Blind Boys of Alabama”.

    Matt and I are listening to it as I write this and I do wish I could share it with you all.



  32. Mart De Haan says:

    The string up to the point of the block has been restored.

  33. poohpity says:

    The sad part is we are still here with the same heart attitude as we had before. Not learning the lessons that our responses said about us. Looking within is so very hard to do but we will continue to be confronted until we pay attention and consider our part in the problem. We can talk about things that are so far the from the meaning of this topic which stops us by not doing a little soul searching by blaming our responses on someone else rather taking personal responsibility for our own actions. It seems a lesson I learned from what happened was to show me what the condition of my soul, heart and mind is in.

  34. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Just a small comment on this Paul/Barnabas argument.
    I have always pondered how two great men of God could have fallen out over what seemed a trivial matter as they were inseparable and Barnabas was the only one to stand up for Paul at his conversion.
    It seems Barnabas went off into a cul de sac (assume you know what that means in the USA as we tend to use a lot of French words in UK English, just means dead end!) whereas Paul carried on with his church planting.
    John Mark went off with Barnabas to Cyprus but obviously returned to help Paul.
    I always feel it was very humble of Paul to admit His initial judgement of Mark was wrong and could place his trust in him as a coworker once again.
    I guess it shows we can all make wrong judgements and we should beware of first impressions.
    Also in John Marks case, just because we were unreliable in the past doesn’t mean we have to stay that way.


  35. poohpity says:

    Steve I guess I did not see that their relationship was ever broken just because they disagreed. That would show a bit of hypocrisy don’t you think? They could disagree without it harming their cause which is what united them in purpose. Yes Paul does mention Barnabas again on the Third missionary journey to Corinth 1 Cor 9:6 and again in the letter to the Galatians in Gal 2:1.

  36. Mart De Haan says:

    I went into to our administrator page to see if I could find anything that was unapproved and could not find anything that you had sent. Did you by any chance include a web link in the post that would not go through? If so, that could have been what kept it from taking. But having said that, other’s of us have had the same problem apart from trying to post a comment that included a link.

  37. poohpity says:

    It seems the initial dispute happened during Paul’s second missionary journey. It helps to read the letter’s written during each missionary journey and where they fit into the Book of Acts. The Acts were written over a very long period of time and many journeys recorded by Luke.

  38. poohpity says:

    Mart if we mention a certain name it will not allow us to submit the post.

  39. poohpity says:

    Bob, all those lessons show us a lot don’t they?

  40. Mart De Haan says:

    Oh, that’s interesting. I’ll look into that. Thanks.

  41. poohpity says:

    Steve I try not to read into the Bible to find things the way I would like them to say but normally by reading in context of what others parts say because it is not written in chronological order. So where it may not be clear in one part it may be different when read together as things happened within other books.

  42. cherielyn says:


    No, I did not have a web link in my post. The main difference between my post, above, that finally went through, and the one that repeatedly wouldn’t, was that I had actually quoted the full verses that I was referencing. I began wondering if it had to do with a copyright infringement, even though I noted where it was coming from. Therefore, in case that was the reason, I revised my post and only included parts of the verses.

    As to pooh’s comment, I did not use a person’s name, either.

    At any rate, it has gone through with basically the same idea I was trying to get across.

    Thanks again.

  43. Mart De Haan says:

    The lousy thing about having to block anyone out of the conversation is that there is so much to be learned when two sides of an issue talk with rather than at one another.

    For example, earlier today I got this interesting push back on my use of 2 Tim 2:24-26:

    Quote from comment at 7:05 a.m.: “II Tim. 2:24-26 sets the wrong tone to begin with. The notion that if the teacher is humble God “may” grant their pupil repentance is really a terrible concept. You happen to get a bad teacher and you’re stuck in your sins? THAT is the snare of the devil. Repentance is available to everyone who has a change of heart. It is not dependent on anyone else. If the pupil repents because he admires his teacher it is for the wrong reason and will not last. This kind of thinking has done plenty of harm. Are we just going to lessen the harm? Is that really love?” End of Quote from 7:05 a.m. comment

    MDH: In 2Tim 2:24-26 I think Paul is saying the equivalent of honey goes down easier than vinegar. Or, in other words, don’t give persons who need correction further excuse to dig in their heels. Don’t intimidate them with anger or aggressive argument. Instead adopt a non-threatening approach that gives them a better chance to be able to see the issues for what they are rather than making yourself the issue.

    In still other words, Paul is not saying that those who need correction will only have a change of heart if they get the right kind of teacher. He’s saying instead that the right kind of teacher will be there to help, while trying not to become part of the problem.

  44. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I guess it comes down being kind and gentle while being strong.
    Bill mentioned Buddhism and focusing our minds.
    Paul said to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds”
    Jesus gave us the “BE” Attitudes.
    So really it is our attitude that determines how we treat others.
    Saturday I saw a father trying to teach his, about, eight year old son how to row a Canadian Canoe on the local boating lake. Everything the boy did was wrong and all the father could do was talk at him in that whiny kind of voice we use to talk to a naughty dog.
    I doubt that young lad learnt anything about canoeing.
    Thank God He is not a Father like that.
    He is kind and Gentle, slow to anger.
    Jesus only raised His voice at those who would not listen, those who would not open their minds to the Truth.
    I have a lot to learn here!


  45. poohpity says:

    So do I Bob, oh my gosh it is never ending the areas that the Lord has to work on in me. Not being part of the problem but rather being part of the solution. (Proverbs 12:16; 1 Peter 2:23; 3:9) Just being aware not how others fail but how I have, humbles me to depend on exactly how much grace we all have been shown.

  46. foreverblessed says:

    This time I respond with the login, which is placed under the comments. If this is posted, then there is no problem.
    Mart, thank you very much for being here. I think that a blog is sort of a classroom, and a classroom needs a teacher. As a teacher you always have the odd one out, and there is a time to take measures.
    I pray for God’s wisdom for you, His love, and peace to be with you more and more.

  47. foreverblessed says:

    Mart, I am not saying that Gods’ wisdom was not with you, because it is with you. Thank God.
    Sorry, I did not get what Isaac meant, but it is a tropical storm going over the south of the US.

  48. poohpity says:

    When you really think about it all of us at one time or another have deserved to be censored or blocked but have been allowed the mercy, patience, and grace of being allowed to be instructed or corrected by God because Mart has placed us in His hands.

  49. kingdomkid7 says:

    True, pooh. Let’s pray for Gods’ mercy upon our country’s southeast corridor. Isaac is roaring a bit.

  50. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and BTA friends,
    First of all, thanks for your encouragement Steve, Bill, etc. from the previous topic, “What Opens the Bible”. I tried to post my acknowledgments but the topic was closed. I appreciate each of you and your loving concern. Thanks again…

    Mart you wrote, “But the kingdom of God doesn’t move forward by demonizing and dehumanizing people for whom Christ died.” I agree.

    Our perception of unbelievers should always be that they are lost, they are under the power of Satan and in bondage. We have to remember that behind the evil acts of people are spiritual hosts of evil forces that manipulate and use them. Eph 6:12

    Only the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ can bring spiritual sight and liberty. IMHO in 2 Tim 2:24-26 Paul was reminding Timothy and us that God is the only one who knows who will repent. It is our duty to share the gospel not through arguments but through patient teaching and correcting coupled with gentleness and humility. This is how we help people hear the truth and perhaps they will acknowledge the truth and be saved…

    Yesterday the guest speaker at our church was a miner. One km. below the surface he said it is so dark you cannot see anything. He is required to have a helmet with lights on all the time from the moment he steps into the elevator and back . In the darkness, even the smallest light can be seen from afar. When he wants to help someone find something he aims the light on that object, not on himself or on the person. Also while with co-workers he does not aim his light on someone’s face but on the floor. In the dark his light can be blinding. The light helps him find his way. It also helps others. His lamp should always be recharged.

    Jesus said we are the light of the world (Matt. 5:14) and David said, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psa. 119:105. The miner’s story and these verses made me think about the way I live and how I share God’s word with those who need to hear it …as well as this blog’s topic.

  51. royalpalm says:

    Ps. I was recently hired as full time ABE Math teacher to adult students, mostly First Nations in our community college.. I am busy enough without this job but God placed me there for His purpose… I will try to put my thoughts here whenever I could. May God bless each and everyone of you. You are dear to me. Thanks Mart!

  52. SFDBWV says:

    I greatly enjoyed reading Royalpalm’s remarks concerning the miner and his cap light story.

    Having been a coal miner I can appreciate the reference to just how dark, dark can be. I especially enjoyed the conversation about how bright the cap light is and how everyone spots the light on anything they might be directing people towards and at the same time avoiding looking straight at another blinding them with the light on your head….All very true.

    The down side of a life underground is that you have a tendency to still act as if you have that light on your head.

    I bought a smaller version of the cap light for my excursions in the dark morning as I feed the critters or prepare my truck for winter plowing and use it for the times I want to see in hard to see places as well.

    Thanks for the memories Royalpalm.

    One thing about miners is that they spend a lot of time together in a confined space and all too often die together. Everyone talks to each other at whatever workplace you work at, but in the mines men talk a great deal about their faith.

    Certainly men would disagree about the little things, but generally agreed on the basics, I never heard anyone get livid over a religious matter as a matter of fact this was a place your attention had to be placed on surviving and aiding others to survive as well.

    Each man knew they were in the belly of the beast and each man could only breathe a sigh of relief once they exited the mine.

    Much like being in a front line combat unit in the military, people had to count on the person beside of them to help them survive, and the attention to surviving had to be keen all the time or else you may get yourself and others killed.

    Indeed Mart we are at war in our walk with Christianity, the great difference I see though is the selfishness of some people’s attitude. They don’t look out for the guy beside them, in fact they look for faults in them to expose, exposing them to all of the dangers the enemy has to attack them with.

    There is a lot of hypocrisy seen in the actions of some Christians, all too often that is what the world spotlights instead of the Christ in the title *Christian*.


  53. SFDBWV says:

    OK here I go again; I am remembering a movie I watched years ago staring Richard Thomas in “All Quiet on the Western Front”. A most excellent book by Erich Remarque. One of the many books Hitler had banned and burned during Nazi Germany’s rise to *glory*.

    What I am centering on this morning is the encounter in a bomb crater between Richard, a German soldier in WWI, and a French soldier who jumped into the same crater for safety.

    Suddenly the two were face to face with each other and wearing different uniforms they began the fight for their lives. Richard succeeds in stabbing the young Frenchman in the chest, but not killing him outright.

    As the two are huddled there underneath machine gun fire and artillery bombardment, Richard watches as the young Frenchman suffers under the wound Richard had delivered.

    Richard try’s to save the young mans life by dressing the wound and talking to him throughout the night though the young Frenchman is unconscious, in the end Richard begs forgiveness for the mortal wound he had inflicted, to the young mans corpse.

    The theme being the effect war has on people and the cheapness of human life during war.

    Am sometimes left to wonder where is compassion even in the warfare Paul speaks of, even as we war against evil, Jesus told us to show love and compassion to the enemy; a contrast to what most consider appropriate behavior in combat.


  54. Bill says:

    Morning All!

    Steve, I remember that movie. Actually, I remember the 1930, Academy Award-winning version. I never saw the remake with Richard Thomas. (I once watched every Oscar-winning movie, back to back, from 1927’s Wings — a silent film — to 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire. So I had to see All Quiet.)

    That scene was in the original movie, as well. I disliked that scene, and that movie, intensely. Once I “get” a movie’s theme, I don’t need to spend two hours having it hammered into my head. I get it. “War is hell.” as the famous saying goes. That’s a theme that comes up from time to time in Hollywood. Actually, that theme came up in the earliest Hollywood movies, and then in the later Hollywood movies. In between, the theme was “War is awful. But Americans and our allies can kick serious butt and win.”

    Wars are necessary. As long as there are fallen human beings in the world, there will be war. (Right now, I think we face an incredible threat from radical Islam. Talk about darkness! But that’s a topic for another thread.)

    There are times of compassion during war, such as the Christmas Truce that occurred between British and German soldiers during World War I. It’s a moving story. You can Google it and read its Wiki page entry.

    Your point about Jesus telling us to show compassion is an important one. There was very little compassion in the Old Testament. God wiped out nations, instructed His people to wipe out entire villages (men, women, children), laid down the law regarding stoning to death witches and non-virgin brides, and even destroyed the entire world via the flood. Compassion was not a theme in the Old Testament. Justice was. And it was often swift in its application.

    The New Testament is another story. It’s another side of a coin most people have trouble believing. The God of the Old Testament does not appear to be the God of the New Testament. And it’s the Old Testament that atheists throw in our face to discredit our faith. They don’t want to believe the New Testament’s message of love, forgiveness, and mercy.

    So your point is very good, as was your example of the scene in All Quiet On the Western Front.

    Your previous post (at 5:41am) was also very good. I think it’s message is essential to understanding our current situation. Being critical of those walking beside us is something that happens with greater frequency these days. I know in-laws who tell family members they’re going to hell — even though the family members are believers and have been for decades. But because they don’t believe every word John Piper or John MacArthur utters, or because they don’t believe every word of A.W. Pink’s book “The Sovereignty of God,” they’re hell-bound as surely as the sun rises in the East. To some hyper-fundamentalist Christians today, any variation from the path they walk (taught to them by their pastors) means heresy, apostasy, and hell.

    I believe it’s harder to be a Christian today than it has been in a long time. We’re not only at war with other nations, we’re often at war with our own brethren! (Westboro Baptist Church comes to mind as well. That place makes me shudder just thinking about it.)

    So this topic is timely and essential.

    Thanks to Mart for posting it…and everyone for chiming in to add to it.


  55. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Traveling yesterday p.m. Missed something, I think. The comments down the line are so apt to the battle/war topic! Thanks Royal Palm and Steve. I have never been in a mine, but I have been in large caves. At Carlsbad Caverns, the ranger takes the group into the King’s Cavern, I beleive it’s called. There, with some preparation, you are seated on a low stone wall either side of the path. Then, the ranger turns out all the lights in the huge space.

    As you sit in complete darkness, you find your eyes adjusting to the blackness. Funny how folks take out cell phones and lighters to have some personal light! The ranger asks everyone to put their small light sources away — and you sit for about three minutes, I guess. Nervous laughter and then stunned silence ensues. In the quiet, you can hear the creek off to one side of the trail. You realize, if you will imagine that you must get out on your own, that you would have to follow that creek upward. No other options.

    I appreciate the image of the miner’s hat on the heads of those who must stay together and must be support and help for all their fellow miners. Thanks for that. Of course I’ve seen miners emerging from the mine, with their lunch pails and their faces coated in coal dust — but this image will be with me a long time.

    Somehow, without that mindfulness Bill mentioned, we forget we are light-bearers. How can it be?


    PS I deleted my BTA icon yesterday from the tool bar. Just so you’ll know, this a.m. the search array says after beenthinkingabout.org — site not accessible — “robot.txt.” I’ve never seen that message before.

  56. remarutho says:

    O Lord God, with all the things you could choose to flood this world — molten lava, all the water of all the oceans, showers of space debris — you have chosen to flood us with the light of your Presence. I bow down under the weight of my ingratitude. Thank you, Jesus. Amen

  57. poohpity says:

    I guess I am weird but I have never taken it as a personal insult for someone to disagree with me, or have read something in the Bible that I haven’t, or know something I don’t, or to call me on a negative behavior or even challenge me on my beliefs. To me those are the ways I grow and change. I believe I have a lot to learn and I know that there are many areas in my behavior that needs to change. If I am not standing firm on what the bible teaches then my beliefs are based on emotions and not truth and I know there is so much still to understand.

    For instance when Bill says that, “There was very little compassion in the Old Testament.” Do I just agree with that statement and say nothing or do I say I have read of so much compassion and list the areas. While people were cutting babies out of women’s stomachs and eating them and cannibalism of adults as well and orgies that included children and women sacrifices to their god’s and my God steps in first with a warning from a prophet or from the laws laid down to prevent these things from happening then takes action against these practices. Just alone the warning shows compassion to me but it is not just one warning it is warning upon warning to turn from these things, that is compassion and mercy all throughout the OT.

    Steve, when you say, “So heated and deeply felt that Paul and Barnabas never seemed to reconcile their differences between them the remainder of their lives.” and I know that it is different from what is written in other parts of the Bible. Do I just not say something and let people who read this think that is truth when it is just an assumption on your part. I am not putting you down or trying to make you look any way, I just know that it is not true because for one, friends do not let disagreements come in between their friendship that is just logic then because they are filled with the Spirit and Paul talks so much about love and in other books there is evidence that it did not separate them as friends. I should not say anything and let it go?

    Since when is it a put down to disagree, or to maybe have missed something in the Bible, or not to know everything? That is our human condition and is normal but how we disagree, how we go about teaching, how we go about doing anything shows what we believe. When we think it is against us as a person then we are not open to grow and change.

  58. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Pooh —

    I also hope to learn and grow. My ingratitude before the Lord is my own. It seems a good time to confess it, but in no way do I wish to implicate any other BTA friend — friend silent or heard.

    Blessed day all,

  59. poohpity says:

    I have written things that I know are not right in the Bible and have waited for correction but no one catches them. What does that say? It is never been anything that would cause someone to stumble but is just Bible knowledge but no one sees.

  60. Bill says:

    I obviously can’t speak for Steve. But I can tell you that you may feel free to disagree with me any time I post something. I learn from disagreements.

    Often, I’ll post a comment that takes a general, macro view of a topic. Just to make a comparison. There will always be specifics that disprove a macro view. And I fully accept them. You pointing them out wouldn’t insult me. Nor would they necessarily disprove something I wrote. We could both be right, merely seeing things — even the same thing — from two different vantage points. I love voicing opinions. But that doesn’t mean they’re right. I may be wrong.

    So, please, feel free to disagree. I learn from you and everyone here.

    As far as your “errors” go, I sometimes read to get the gist of something. I catch an emotion, a feeling. If the emotion over-rides a desire to “correct,” I stick with the emotion. Then comment on that. Or it may be that I never saw any “error” in your post — or in someone else’s, either. I never claimed to be the Bible Answer Man. There are others far more adept than I to offer correction regarding Scripture. So maybe others feel that way, too.

    I think the overall theme here is this: speak your piece in honesty and respect. Be humble. Be loving. Then let the chips fall where they may. Disagreements are part of the fun of learning together.

  61. poohpity says:

    Bill I have over the years tried in my sometimes bad way of doing things, have tried to get people to understand we are at war. Not the kind of war that is in your face but a war to know truth. So many listen to teachers and yet do not know what the Bible says, or read books, or listen to movies yet do not know the foundation of their beliefs. It is a challenge to all of us the war for our minds. When satan confronted those in the garden and Jesus in the wilderness used what sounded like what was in the Bible yet tweaked it enough to be deceptive because it was not full truth. We have to be aware everyday of deception it is the battle we face not each other.

    The book of Galatians was written during the second missionary journey not the third, FYI. The only weapon in our battle attire is the Sword of Truth and if we do not know that truth and allow ourselves not to be prepared for that battle by being grounded in the Word our defenses are down for our minds. Do not go on what anyone teaches find out for yourself, IMHO.

  62. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve and Royal, I liked your messages this morning as always. I have tried to post this since early this morning but my power went out and even what I saved is now gone.

    Ensuing my most recent battle,I have come to believe that the most important battle we need to fight is against our flesh, before we go on to conquer other territory. I have to do battle with my flesh daily. Everyday there is different facet of selfishness to get under control…..sometimes the whole nasty bunch are out to take over.

    I loved the gist of Steve and Royal’s messages that we need to help one another “finish the race”. It seems that some of us, compete to be first, best,and most knowledgeable and if it takes knocking someone out of our way or worse to achieve these goals then so be it. I think when we come across those of us that do it that we shove back. Then it’s the matter of the chicken or the egg…it doesn’t really matter….. they both ARE. I do not want to be like that, so it is important for me to battle my flesh to resist the temptation to compete with those of us who don’t battle our flesh.

  63. poohpity says:

    What if a person does not do things to be first, best or the most knowledgeable but because they really care about what goes into their brothers/sisters mind. What if a person wants people to realize how dearly loved they are from their Creator and it is found within the pages of scripture and how many are out there that do not teach those truths but lead folks down a path to tickle emotions based on feelings and not on fact. The facts that speak for themselves and show how much our God loves us. What if a person points people to scripture and not themselves or their take on things, is that pride?

    What if we really do not spend time reading what some write to see what their personality is really like and just jump to conclusions without all the facts and base our opinions on suppositions? This life is not a competition but a battle against forces that are unseen and if we spend our time on battling each other and not being open to learning then the adversary wins. Could it be at all possible that we can be wrong about someone because we do not know them personally or what is truly in their hearts? Could it be possible that those who seem to want to teach may not have that spiritual gift or knowledge to do so? Could it be that we have so much to learn from each other but have such thin skin we take everything as a personal threat?

  64. Bob in Cornwall England says:


    Sat here and just find it mind blowing what is being said.
    Paralympics being chatted about on early evening TV as I type.
    Narrow, you seem to hit it on the nail when you say the battle with the flesh is our greatest test.
    I feel Paul knew this and always seemed to put the sins of the flesh on the same page as either fruits of the Spirit or the Spiritual weapons we need to fight both our flesh and the principalities & powers that seek to control us and keep us in bondage to sin.
    Steve mentioned “all quiet on the western front” and the fact that because the two solders formed a relationship and talked one felt remorse and saw his enemy as a human being.
    I want to turn this around and say the opposite.
    In the old testament God made it very clear to the Israelite’s that they should not tolerate the enemy and kill them rather than befriend them. There is an important lesson here. If the flesh & principalities & powers are our enemy then we must hate them, show then no mercy and not befriend them.
    If your arm offend thee cut it off etc.
    Now when it comes to fellow Humans who have different opinions or are darn rite aggressive to our belief in Jesus, we must be totally the opposite, come alongside and put our self to one side and become their friends.
    The exception to this is when Jesus sent His disciples out to basically preach and knock on doors.
    Then He said “if they don’t want to know just wash the dust off your feet bless them and move on”.
    I think this is because it is a total waste of time to argue. Jesus never argued, just stated the facts and moved on.
    Passion springs to mind in what you were saying about correcting errors in Bible teaching.
    You have incredible passion for the truth and the correct teaching and understanding of scripture.
    Never let go of that passion and learn to channel it in the Lords work wherever you are.

    I don’t know how you all, but I am looking forward with great excitement to the Paralympics which starts tomorrow. They are just about to light the flame at stoke Mandeville hospital in Buckinghamshire and then run it to London.
    It was a German Doctor who came to Britain to escape the Nazi’s who started the Para games with a hospital sports day during the 1948 London Olympics.
    It then became the Parallel Olympics in Rome in 1960.
    In 2012 it is absolutely sold out, no tickets left.
    What an achievement!
    One man with a vision, an old enemy, turned people from being disabled to being enabled to compete with the best in the world!
    One Man, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, did the same for those of us disabled and crippled by sin!

    Take Care!


  65. narrowpathseeker says:

    I think most of us know that any of those things CAN BE true of others and/or ourselves at any particular time. Again, I think it’s a matter of battling our own flesh which is what I am going to do right now and leave you to tend to yours. Copying Bill who sometimes copies Forrest Gump, “Thats all I have to say about that”. Have a good day.

  66. poohpity says:

    Thank you Bob, that is because you know me now and know it is not myself I wish to elevate but the Lord and His Word although at times I go about it in less than a wise way which I feel convicted about many times.

    Since I work with the disabled and am one also the Paralympics are very close to my heart and I will watch them over these horrible political campaigns. Shows us that people can over come some terrible odds in their lives rather than laying down, giving up and feeling self pity, very convicting to me as well.

    Love Deb
    Proverbs 16:20 NLT

  67. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Oh yes, I forgot that every Olympic year you also have to suffer presidential elections, lucky you.

    Hope and Pray Isaac leaves the people of New Orleans in peace tonight.
    One city I haven’t visited yet and would dearly love to.

  68. SFDBWV says:

    Bill seeing that you appreciate such things, I would recommend a song I have heard sung by John McDermott called “Christmas in the Trenches”, an excellent story set to music.

    I was just eating dinner with Matt and watching a bit of TV and happened upon the audio and video transmissions from Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders during the Apollo 8 Moon Mission on the History Channel.

    I guess either I had forgotten or may never had known but with the whole of the world watching the earth rise over the moon One of the astronauts began to read or quote from Genesis 1 and just as the sun came into view he had reached the part where God says and let there be light; he read the story of creation from the Christian Bible to the whole world on Christmas Eve 1968.

    Wow, have things changed since then.

    No arguments here, I just wanted to share a little something that touched me with you dear people.


  69. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I wanted to extend my heart to you today; in reading the Daily Bread I see today marks a painful memory for you I am sure, God bless you Mart and all of your family.


  70. SFDBWV says:

    Narrowpathseeker, I love you too.


  71. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Thanks for sharing the Apollo 8 mission Steve.
    Just looked up a Time Magazine report on U Tube about it.
    Seems the world was straining a bit in 1968 and that transmission was a source of hope for a future after all the deaths in Vietnam, Bobby & Martin to.
    I was 15 and met Jesus for the first time that year!

    I too wish you well Mart.
    Our Daily Bread is an inspirational resource that, as is this web site, has helped me to overcome and grow in The Lord.


  72. narrowpathseeker says:

    Mart, I went on line to read today’s ODB after Steve’s reference to it(I misplaced my August issue). I also offer my heartfelt condolences. I hope it is uplifting to you to realize you belong a beautiful family that seems to overflow with exceptional servants of God. I am so sorry that one of them was called home.

  73. poohpity says:

    How will you be able to determine if someone is a false teacher if it is something that is not an in your face type of contradiction? Will you be able to determine whether it is truth, fiction, or a vain imagination?

  74. myangel says:

    Howdy Minister Mart, So what you’re saying is, with this war that’s going on, I assume you’re talking about the politics,we as children of the Most High God are not to get involved with all the rhetoric that’s going on between the two parties?

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