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Woke up in the middle of the night to the  sound of an unseasonal thunderstorm.  It’s unusual but not unheard of to have lightning and thunder with snow on the ground, in the middle of a Midwest winter.

The rumbling skies reminded me of how an unseasonal storm was once used as a wake-up call for the people of God. In a chapter of Israel’s history known as the days of the Judges, the prophet Samuel called on God to send thunder and lightning in the middle of a dry season wheat harvest to bring a nation to its senses.

When the skies darkened and thundered in response to the prophet’s call, the  storm had the intended effect. The people were shaken. The wheat harvest that they had worked so hard for was at risk of being lost. But more importantly, they realized what a mistake they had made.

The backstory is that in the days of the Judges, Israel had no king but God. This God had established a covenant with his showcase people at the foot of Mt Sinai. If his example-nation remembered and trusted him, he would prosper and deliver them from their enemies. If they forgot him, doing only what was right in their own eyes, he would send a curse to bring them to their senses. Only when they called on him, acknowledging their wrongs, and asking for his help, would he  answer from heaven and send help.

This time, however, when Israel was in trouble, it was different. They decided it was time for them to be like other nations that had real kings to lead and care for them (1 Sam 8:4-9; 1Sam 12:12).

So now comes the thunder (1Sam 12:16-17). It worked. The harvest time storm was an eye-opener. Realizing that there is a God in heaven who was holding them to the terms of the covenant he had made with him, they cried out for mercy (1Sam 12:18-19).

The response they got was as wonderful as they might have expected from the God who had rescued them from Egypt—and as disturbing as their own inclination to forget him. God told them that in spite of their wrong in demanding a king, and in spite of all of the natural consequences of their mistake, God would still keep his side of the covenant. He was still there for them. And if they abandoned him he would still keep his side of the agreement to do whatever it took to bring them to their senses  (1Sam 12:20-25).

From our perspective many centuries later, we know what happened. God’s assurances and warnings came to pass (1Sam 8:10-20; 1Sam 12:25).

The result is that now, with our own wake-up call, we might hear echoes of Samuel’s generation. Their story could remind us that even though we can so easily live like a goldfish in a plastic bag, there is more to life than what we can see and feel.

God is still king…

And now we know that the real King eventually took his throne– by the way of a tree…to show us that even though it is still true that God’s ways are not our ways… he still loves us… enough to bring his own– to himself.

So let’s think about the implications. Does this mean that trouble is always a wake-up call? How does our reality parallel the goldfish in a bag? :-)…

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50 Responses to “Thunder”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Thunder doesn’t always wake me in the middle of the night as we also have trains that can sound like thunder at times and I tend to *ignore* the night time booms. It may take a more explosive clap of thunder to *get my attention*.

    Is trouble always a call to wake up?

    I think that when trouble of any kind comes I tend to look at how it could have been avoided.

    When it presents itself as *unavoidable* I am then left to deal with it without a clear vision as to how to have escaped its season of darkness.

    If it leaves me wondering if it is a matter of God’s doing, then I am left to only seeking His Face and pleading for *a way out*.

    It becomes then a matter of Believing God and believing His Son because no matter the circumstances in my life I believe that “God will make a way”.


  2. SFDBWV says:

    I came across this quote this morning in the news paper and thought I might share it with all of you, it seems to agree with a lot of our feelings.

    “And were an epitaph to be my story I’d have a short one ready for my own. I would have written of me on my stone “I had a lovers quarrel with the world.’ “

    Robert Frost

    Gotta love that concept.


  3. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    What a great quote from Robert Frost, Steve! Hard to believe he’s been dead for 50 years. His poems are part of my/our American imagination.

    Thanks for this timely and thought-provoking post, Mart. You wrote:
    “So now comes the thunder (1Sam 12:16-17). It worked. The harvest time storm was an eye-opener. Realizing that there is a God in heaven who was holding them to the terms of the covenant he had made with him, they cried out for mercy (1Sam 12:18-19).”

    Samuel was assured by the Lord that the sign of a ruined wheat crop would be convincing to the people. That thunder and rain storm were the manifestation of God’s warning: Whoever your civil ruler, the God of creation is your Divine Sovereign. It seems to me there is a direct relationship between the willfulness of God’s people to have a worldly king like all the other nations – and the moving of God to manifest his power over all things including a crop that needs to be harvested, whoever is in charge in the nation of Israel. God showed the people mercy. God even allowed the crowning of a royal leader. But, God chose the king.

    Jesus called the disciples to take a personal warning from dire events, such as the tower of Siloam falling on eighteen people (Luke 13:2). He said, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.” (v 5) It does not seem to be that Jesus drew a straight line from the deaths of the people to their own personal wickedness or sin. Rather, he draws our attention to our own keeping of the covenant of obedience to God.

    Our lives are in God’s hand – and the life we live here in the world is fragile, like the goldfish in a plastic bag. Massive storms, floods and earthquakes, as well as violent acts of war and terror take out the lives of people every day in our world. Jesus now calls us to consistent private prayer more than to public declarations of others’ guilt (Matthew 6:5, 6).


  4. narrowpathseeker says:

    Maru, I think your last sentence is very important for all of us….stay in constant communication with our God.
    I think prayer is one of the most powerful weapons we have to hold our ground in spiritual warfare. We are told to pray without ceasing. I think getting caught up in ANYTHING for more than an hour or two and forgetting to pray(giving a quick thank you or an I love you Lord at any given moment)may be like going into a war zone without a gun. Since my memory is so bad, I have asked the Lord to not let me forget this new lesson I have learned. I don’t want to wait for the thunder again, to remember to stay plugged into the Power source.

    Steve, I also love that Robert Frost quote! thank you for sharing that with us.

  5. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    When we are awakened in the night and come to our immediate senses of the Lord, I believe and have seen that He may be calling you. Perhaps like Samuel. Perhaps it’s to repent or understand something a little deeper, something that may open the pathway for others, etc. We tend to forget the Lord is alive and all knowing of our daily life choices. Like those in the garden, it’s better for us to stay alert and pray.
    I have said that I would probably sleep through anything in the night. I wonder if the Lord saw that as a challenge! I’ve been abruptly wakened in the night and the first thing that came to mind was something I mishandled. Interesting enough, through prayer, ideas for the resolution and glorification of the Lord worked out to be known in public. Once in a public school after a child’s behavior was intolerable. Loved that crowning of the Lord! Need to share this: Another seperate idea He blessed the path of (this time I had my halo on)was being able to share my faith with 120 public school students. During this time, they were studying different religions/cultures and had just visited a Buddhist temple. I was livid. Then an incident occurred which the Lord led me with an idea to resolve. To authorities, I pointed out that the children were able to go to this temple, why not a church? Long story but from there I was allowed to talk of personal circumstances and as long as I said, “in my faith” and that I didn’t try to convert, they allowed it. It’s the Holy Spirit that converts, not me, but thankfully the suthorities were blinded to that at the time.

  6. infiniti07 says:

    God has tremendous patience, love and his promise is unwavering. We are like children, who after being forewarned of the consequences of our decisions, choose to find out for ourselves. People today and in times past have that come thread that resulted from the inherent sin which could only be overcome by God’s grace through Christ. God desires to win our hearts through our free will – and as much as we try to do what’s right, all He desires is our sincerity and to lean on His Spirit and not our own strength (Ro 7:14-17)

  7. infiniti07 says:

    …meant to say “same” thread and not “come”…

  8. narrowpathseeker says:

    Just read the obituary of a young blind man(58 seems young to me)that used to play the violin at church. As a VERY young man he tried some kind of drug…maybe LSD…and voices told him to gouge his eyes out. He thought if was God’s voice and he blinded himself.

    When I met him about 7 years ago, I found him to have a beautiful attitude and his worship with his musical talent often brought me to tears. I always wanted to ask him about that dreadful experience, but I never did and now I never can. I only knew what a friend told me and I was afraid I would upset him to bring it up. There is a lesson for me here, but I am not quite sure what it is as yet. However, I am not going to get caught up in trying to figure it out on my own like I would have just months ago. I am going to trust God to show me what I need to know about the matter.

  9. Bill says:

    Hi Mart and Friends,

    Another wonderful blog entry. At face value, simple. However, there are much deeper implications. You’re good at that kind of writing. :)

    To answer your final questions (“Does this mean that trouble is always a wake-up call? How does our reality parallel the goldfish in a bag? :-)”), I think people get complacent, detached, self-centered. Sometimes it thunder — or a tragedy of some kind — wakes us up by altering our perspectives, changing our priorities.

    That’s a critical moment in time, however. As the saying goes, circumstances will either make us better…or bitter. So thunder is one thing. Cancer, a debilitating car accident, the loss of a job, divorce, etc., are more serious wake-up calls than a thunderstorm.

    Regarding your existential question about the fish in the bag, I think there are amazing implications and parallels to be drawn. I think we are the fish in the bag. God created the bag, filled it with water, and plunked us in. He owns the bag. He owns the fish in it. We think our world is huge, even in the bag. But the world outside the bag — God’s world — is vast. If we focus on our “world” in the bag, we miss the greater world outside of it.

    Just my two-cents worth on this rainy, 57-degree Tuesday morning.

  10. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bill, so glad to see you back and that all seems to be well……AND…your “2 cents” always seems to be far more valuable than just 2 cents to me.

  11. fadingman says:

    Trouble isn’t always a wake-up call: Thunder also happens during the day. But it does serve to keep us awake (alert) when we’re not asleep (assuming we haven’t gotten used to loud noises like Steve).

    I started looking up thunder and lightning in my Bible, finding it associated with God in quite a few places (i.e. Psalm 77:17-18, Psalm 81:7, Psalm 104:7). Then that led to other weather phenomenon: rain (Genesis 47:4, 1 Samuel 12:17), rainbows (Genesis 9:13), snow/frost (Psalm 147:16-17), and heat (Psalm 147:18, Revelation 16:8-9). I wonder if these also have analogies in our lives?


  12. fadingman says:

    Correction: Genesis 7:4

  13. poohpity says:

    I believe God can and does use anything as a wake up call some are just numbed to hearing from Him because they have learned to only look to what they can see, hear or touch. Dependence on self and our own abilities to bring to others what God is here for.

    God seemed to have already knew that even after His chosen people experienced all those wonderful miracles of deliverance, rescue, provision, protection, forgiveness and guidance because they were a stubborn, rebellious, and self absorbed lot they would want a king other than God. Something they could see, hear and touch even if it would cause problems God would allow it with guidelines so that God would still remain first.

    Deut 17:14-20 NLT although David seemed to be the only one who followed the guidelines, although not perfectly, which maybe why God called him a man after God’s own heart. Some of those guidelines were not to get excessively rich, or have many wives, the book of laws were to be his constant companion to be read from everyday so that he would not feel better than his fellow citizens and to always keep God first.

    I do not feel we are like a goldfish in a plastic bag because as believers we have been placed in a pond with the Lord which has room to grow and experience more than seeing, hearing and touch but those things which a lot of times words can not express the wonders of the experience. The comfort, peace, hope and faithfulness of God which no human being can give to us although some would like to try to be god to others they just can’t seem to make it like what happens when a the plastic bag breaks and the goldfish flounders around they need a awake up call.

  14. BruceC says:

    There are times when events in life; especially the life of a believer, may be a “wake-up call”. A type of warning or discipline from God to get things back on track and right in our life. And then there are times when it is just “rain upon both the just and the unjust”. The result of the fallen state of man and everything else in creation.

    When Israel; like a goldfish in a bag, wanted to have a king like other nations it was because they did not see through the plastic of this world to the truth that God had shown them. Are we any different in many ways? We worry over things that God says He will take of. We sometimes let seepage from the “world” enter our lives and our churches because we oft times desire to be more like them than what God calls us to be. It sometimes makes us feel that we are “part of things” going on. We can at times be like wayward children that have not heeded the teachings of a loving parent. In our little plastic bag we tend not to look out to where the picture may seem a little hazy, a little out of focus. Is this not where faith enters in? To believe what we cannot clearly see at the time.

    I had a sort of wake-up call this morning. I arose a 3:00 AM and could not get back to sleep. Quite quickly I turned my thoughts to God and thought about what a wretched creature I am and what a gracious and merciful God He is.
    I thought about Isaiah and being “ a man of unclean lips living amongst a people of unclean lips” and about the Lord removing his sin by His grace. Times like these bring tears down the cheeks. I pray that He always helps me to see beyond the bag.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  15. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… thanks for a new leading and for the direction it is already going, as any real wake up call can take us out of our complacency, or our little bags of self “we’ create, and bring us back into the greater reality of the world God has made for us.
    First, He has made us in His Image, so our attaching any animal characteristics does not really fit us all that well.

    Maybe as sheep though… but only if He is considered Our Good Shepherd…:)

    I see us more as children, Children of God, ever needing a Father’s provision and protection, through his ever guiding hand.

    Second, He has given us His Holy Spirit, which has his sight and perspective already built in and we only need to choose to look through it instead of the world’s prism, or its prison bars that hold us captive,as they attempt to keep us in our lower self thinking ways, much lower than those higher ways that his Spirit would lead us.

    Just as in our following of the Good Shepherd as His Sheep, or all those who will listen when we hear his voice or his wake up call, it is as Maru stated, “Rather, he draws our attention to our own keeping of the convenant of obedience to God.”
    That to me is the coming to our senses, it is the then revealed fruit, or the following of His Word through our actions.

  16. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh and Bruce… It seems we were all on the same page at the same time. I wonder if that was a wake up call? Gary

  17. phpatato says:

    I see myself as that fish in the plastic bag. As long as I am willing to allow God to change my water and put fresh in, I will be content. If I think that I can live my life in the same water and refuse to have it changed, I am sure to find out that it will, over time, become murky and oxygen-depleted. Without His care, I will eventually asphyxiate. I also see that when the time comes for God to change my water, He has to pour me into another container so He can clean the bag. Those times of cleaning aren’t fun but oh they are so necessary. The end result is being poured back into a bag with the grime gone, the sides scrubbed and having fresh oxygenated air to breathe. And best of all, I have His promise that He will never leave me nor forsake me throughout this whole process.

    God is so good!!!!

    Hugs to all


  18. kingdomkid7 says:

    How does our reality parallel the goldfish in the bag, you ask, Mart? And how does that relate to the thunderous wake-up calls that life sometimes will bring? I wish I knew! But I want to say this: I simply love the sight of kids coming home from the circus (or wherever) holding their little bags with goldfish in them. Seeing adults holding the bags will also stir me, but not nearly as much as seeing kids holding on tightly to their new tiny pets. All that separates the fish from certain death is one careless step from the person holding the bag. But the fish seem not to notice — though I have NO way of knowing what the fish is “noticing” . . . .
    So are we the goldfish? Maybe. Though, like Gary, I’d relate even more to being a sheep, because I know I have a Shepard. I’ve been reading about sheep and find them fascinating. Many,many breeds of sheep. Much to think about. Thanks, Mart.

  19. kingdomkid7 says:

    Oops! I spelled Shepherd wrong. So sorry!!

  20. poohpity says:

    I reread this topic and am wondering if I do not live a life of safety like the goldfish from the plastic bag rather than stepping out in faith like Peter did when he climbed out of the boat. Never stepping out in faith for instance to share the good news with someone I have never meant before or trying any new things but cling to the safety of all that I already know. Doing the same things day in and day out looking through the safety of the plastic bag when then is so much more out there to experience but rather than trusting the protection of the plastic bag trusting in the care of God to do more and experience more to grow my faith, dependence and trust in God.

    The Israelites had experienced those moments of having to step out in faith because they could not do anything unless it was to return to their oppression, the plastic bag but that even to them felt like the safer place to be rather than trusting and depending on something they did not understand or could not see.

  21. foreverblessed says:

    Bruce, isn’t Gods grace wonderful? Thank you for sharing!
    God may send thunderstorms, but He is always looking for the best result, His mercy is everlasting.
    Samuel didn’t like that they had asked for a king, he asked the people: what did I do wrong to you, did I take money from you?
    Just for the record: our queen Beatrix announced on Monday that she is going to resign (on the next queens day, which will be on April 30). We will have a king after that, with an Argentine queen. She is very popular. The lady made our prince a real man! The queen was a stable influence, with all these elections and many different guys turning up as prime ministers. She is also a christian. The kings and queens in Europe bring the faith in, they mary in churches, and get buried in churches, they show the people where their faith is coming from, from our Father in heaven.
    (thanks for the hug Pat, have a big hug from me)

  22. foreverblessed says:

    May God give you all a big hug, and many blessing from above, for all of you!

  23. SFDBWV says:

    I am amused this morning thinking about our lives being like those of a goldfish in a bag. I love seeing through the eyes of Kingdomkid7 those proud little faces of children with their *prizes* held so carefully, their faces glowing with anticipation of having something of their own to care for.

    I wonder if that is how God may have felt just after His creation. And wonder still if it may be the same way He looks at us now.

    I also wonder why Mart chose to have the fish in a bag and not in a bowl; is it because we haven’t made it to our permanent home yet and are still in transit in our temporary environment being carried to that final resting place under His careful hands.

    The bag doesn’t give much room to spread out and grow; if the fish were aware of where he was he might be frightened and worried even unhappy with his surroundings longing for a more satisfactory place to be. Who is to say that the fish isn’t aware, we people seem to assume a great deal.

    The fish had no choice in being in the bag, whoever is carrying it has placed him there and whoever that is, has a future plan for the little critter all without consulting the fish.

    As stated, if the fish is aware, it has to trust its future existence to the one carrying the bag.

    Metaphorically speaking if we are the fish in the bag and God is the one carrying it, aren’t you glad we are in the hands of God and not trusting another fish to be carrying us.


  24. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… now that you have theoretically put us individually in that bag, I would say that we had no existing power in overcoming what forces put us there,
    and in and of our own understanding, we also could see no way out!

    As we are really held captive and do not recognize our own condition.

    But, the Almighty does not want us to stay in that state
    for it is temporal at best.

    One day… and we all have that day when we come to our senses, where we are actually given that wake up call to see beyond our senses, to see a greater hope exists.

    For many that does not happen until one day our bag bursts, or we find a leak that we cannot stop and find that time for us is running out.

    It is then we call upon that greater hope which our Creator has placed within us.

    The goldfish in the bag is really captive but does not know it. He is captive by serving his own bag full of desire and never really living outside himself accept when overwhelming circumstances come upon him.

    Then he calls out to this unseen God, who through Mercy and Grace gives that caller both the wake up call
    and New Life, as it provides us with His Living Water, and a thirst to never get enough of it.

    But that is only my opinion, biased if you will, on my own personal experience. Gary

  25. poohpity says:

    I wonder how often we forget God? If we feel we can do it all on our own, we forget God. If we are not reminded daily of our need for a Savior we tend to become arrogant, we forget God. If we become so busy meeting the needs of others ourselves, we forget God. If we feel we are wise, we forget God. If we feel we are strong, we forget God. If we want to be in control, we forget God.

    Is God part of our decision making process? Is it God one turns to when they are scared and lonely or are there others around all the time for you to turn to and forget God? Do we only come to God when the thunder crashes or do we come to Him no matter what the situation we find ourselves in? Do we look to the God’s Word for direction or do we read something else?
    Wanting a king rather than God can be seen in many areas of our everyday life. Who do you really turn to? What you can see, hear and touch or to God?

  26. poohpity says:

    Good thoughts Gary.

  27. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… you have me thinking now about where the worldly turn. Those who do not have Christ as their Savior, and only have the things of this world to turn to?

    They must turn away from God if they do not turn toward God.

    They must seek other forms of love, the love of those who are like thinking, supporting of the loves of their own desires, not what God desires.
    They turn to drugs, and many other forms of self medication to help them cope with the very things that we, can and do now surrender to the Lord.

    Funny how even our church or our religion can become your god and actually keep one from hearing and answering the actual wake up call from God.

    So much can and does get in our way if we don’t actively pursue with all fervorency Our God on a daily basis.

    That is why being a life long disciple, under disciple, is a very worth every effort.

    It is how we know who is in control and most important to us.

    It is how we show we Love Him.

    Turning toward God is turning away from this world, that world which so desires to have us completely.

    It wants us completely distracted, completely deceived, completely living in our desires, and completely without God.

    It amazes me to think that even the flood that God brought bupon this earth did not cure the evil of this world, for it did not affect the spiritual, only the physical world.

    Christ is our only solution today, as He came to overcome both!


  28. kingdomkid7 says:

    I believe that the “desire to be like other nations” and to openly reject God is a desire that is still prevalent within the heart of many people today. It is much “cooler” to not be one who fears God or who uses the Bible as the guide for life. People who try to evangelize by showing how “cool” Jesus is are pandering to that same worldly spirit. Whenever I see churches trying to “out-world the world” with the coolness factor, I think about Samuel’s warning to God’s children.

  29. bubbles says:

    I am ashamed to say so, but I have found that twice in my life, when “trouble” comes along for whatever reason, I have a tendency to pull away from the Lord, rather than draw closer. When things are going along normally, I can pray easily, read the Bible. But when things are difficult, it becomes very hard for me to pray or read the Bible.

  30. bubbles says:

    This is wrong to do, because for whatever reason that trobules come into our lives, it should cause us to run to God, not the other way. I am not angry with Him, because He know what is best.
    Does anyone else do this? What do you do?

  31. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Mart, you cite the prophet’s judgment:

    And Samuel said to the people, “Do not be afraid; you have done all this evil. Yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make you a people for himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and the right way. Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you. But if you still do wickedly, you shall be swept away, both you and your king.” (1 Samuel 12:20-25)

    Seeking political provision for spiritual needs is futile, in ancient Israel as well as in modern nations. No civil/military ruler can create awe for and faithfulness to God. Do we not campaign for a “solution” that side-steps our own responsibility to keep the covenant of the Lord by claiming an answer out of our own ability? As Samuel told Israel, “Do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty.” I take him to mean that seeking a temporal ruler is a solution empty of trust in the Lord – therefore no solution at all.

    All anyone can hope to do is, just as Samuel did, point to the true King. The call to trust in the Lord is a faithful word. Hearts that can hear the call will trust, those seeking the “empty” answer will not. Samuel finds for himself in the warning a renewed desire to pray for God’s people – who are still being shaped into a covenant community that always trusts and turns to their God for everything.

    It seems to me, Bubbles, that the continual practice of seeking the Lord in prayer and study is a habit that bears fruit (peace) when the going gets really tough. My own experience, when my personal world seems to be crumbling, is simply to praise the Lord when shock and grief have robbed me of the ability to formulate a prayer.


  32. SFDBWV says:

    Kingdomkid7 is totally right, if we want to remain “cool” and like other nations then we abandon our traditions and faith and join in by adopting their methods of governing.

    This should sound very currently familiar.

    In modern literature the prophet is usually depicted as some wandering nut holding a sign walking about the streets shouting out his warning, ignored and laughed at by passerby’s.

    Bubbles is deeply honest and exposes the fact that having faith in God and specifically in Jesus creates either a comfortable merging of the intellect and emotion or a constant collision of them.

    If we believe that warnings come from God and then fulfillment of that warning (unless we obey), then intellect says that the trouble we suffer is from God. How then does our emotions respond to this discovery, we blame God, even though the actions that led to the *punishment* were of our doing, intellect says that our troubles are from God and so we go to God to be rescued and when He doesn’t we are disillusioned and angry.

    Logic then says that when we have troubles without a warning, either we ignored the warning or there was none or possibly hidden in an enigma.

    Still the trouble we find ourselves in becomes God’s doing and as we stay under the onus of that trouble it remains God’s doing for not rescuing us. Faith is lost under these conditions for many people; because they have placed God in control of all things and we become as those little gold fish in the bag helpless and vulnerable left to trusting the one carrying the bag.

    The *fear* of God is the *beginning* of wisdom.


  33. BruceC says:

    Bear with me and keep me in prayer also my brothers and sisters. We just got our new PC hooked up and it has Windows 8. We are pulling our hair out trying to get things to work right. Not really sure how we are going to like it. Surprised I could get this far.

    God bless!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  34. remarutho says:

    Hello All –

    Thinkin of you, Bruce. Got a tablet for my birthday and I can’t even find the keypad. Hang in there!

    Steve, you have described well the moral dilemma of the intellectual Christian who has simply said, “I agree with the propositions of the Gospel; therefore I am a ‘believer’.”

    I agree with your statement at the end of your 7:26 a.m. post:
    “Faith is lost under these conditions for many people; because they have placed God in control of all things and we become as those little gold fish in the bag helpless and vulnerable left to trusting the one carrying the bag.”

    Woe to those who welcome a human being, just political ruler, bully or benevolent dictator, to be in control of “the bag.”

    It seems to me we do not *place* the Creator God anywhere except on the chess board of our own self-centered human worldview. The Lord is truly in control of all things, except our free-will choice to accept and uphold the covenant in Christ’s blood. The faith that is lost by those who have not acted on the covenant flows freely to those who acknowledge that all our hope derives from God’s faithfulness. The guarantee is God’s own lovingkindness and faithfulness.


  35. poohpity says:

    Gee, I must be weird because I have never felt like a goldfish in a bag with God carrying it. That seems so oppressive, punitive and not a very joyful at all. I know many people who live like that and put their families in that same position to live without much hope or joy. In those cases they really do need a wake up call.

    Although we may have problems in this life that can cause hearts to become hard but God brings joy, hope and freedom. We can be like Bruce with a new computer just because we may not know how to work it YET but once we do nothing can stop us and put us back in the plastic bad again unless we allow it. Freedom from the confines of this world are ours through Christ.

    Our King allows freedom, not oppressiveness under human rule even though many want to continue under that path. Folks look to people for advice, comfort, provision, help, wisdom and many other things while God takes a step back and eventually will ask us, “how’s that working for ya?” and until that wake up call comes when we start turning to God for those things and after experiencing He can meet all our needs will we point others to Him. An abundant life is found when the boundaries reach heaven not confined to a plastic bag. The God I know, trust and love would never treat us like those goldfish in a plastic bag but human beings would and would also do it to others so they can have control.

  36. poohpity says:

    God put fish in oceans, rivers and lakes, people put them in plastic bags.

  37. remarutho says:

    Hi Pooh!

    It seems to me we have many assurances that we are not swimming back and forth in a plastic bag of water — Romans 8:14, 15, 16, 17! Galatians 5:1!

    There is confinement in the delusions of self-determined moral action. It is a prison you described very well. You wrote: “That seems so oppressive, punitive and not a very joyful at all.”

    Thank the Lord for the freedom we have in Jesus!


  38. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bruce, I also received a new pc with Windows 8 for Christmas!! You are not alone…even savvy pc users have problems with window 8. I couldn’t figure out how to close a program! There was no X or any other icon for closing! I share your frustration, but am thanking God for my children’s thoughtful intent.However, every time one of the kids stop by, I have to ask them to help me with it.

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    BruceC… you are a better man than me, I’m avoiding Windows 8 like the plague right now, my XP is my happy place
    right now, but eventually I’ll have to succumb to the influx of this more “modern way” of living with technology.
    Maybe I can hang on long enough that this one shall pass as well and I’ll be basking in Windows 9 or higher, wondering where will it end?
    It seems our youth are all so “hooked” on this electronic age of texting as their prefered form of coomunication, that the next black plague could well be a geneic flaw of being born thumbless!
    Talk about a fish out of water… Gary

  40. oneg2dblu says:

    My pastor said last night, (not quoting him verbatim here) that those who now think they have their faith in God alone, are all missing the key to the kingdom which only Christ holds, and there is no inheritance or entry without Jesus Christ our only access to the fullness of God’s Kingdom.
    The fullness presented in the Trinity must be where your faith finds all it stability for if you remove even one leg of that perfect structure, like a three legged stool, it will fall.
    His point was that all other religions of the world and their beliefs, all other cultures who claim they have a god, don’t have the one true God Almighty of the bible.
    Their faith is built upon something else!
    Jesus Christ, was yesterday, is today, and forever will be the only way, He is the door, or the narrow gate by which one can enter the Kingdom, and no one enters through any other way, according to the Word of God.
    Unless our faith rests on this premise, you also are being misled.
    Perhaps this is a “wake up call” for someone here today.

  41. Bill says:

    @Gary, could you provide scriptures to support your pastor’s claims?

    I’ve never heard this before: “The fullness presented in the Trinity must be where your faith finds all it stability for if you remove even one leg of that perfect structure, like a three legged stool, it will fall.”

    That seems to run contrary to what the Bible says. It seems, at face value, to relegate Jesus to a tertiary role, rather than the primary one.

    Also, this: “…and there is no inheritance or entry without Jesus Christ our only access to the fullness of God’s Kingdom.”

    The idea of “fullness” seems to mean there is something more, or additional, that we must believe. In other words, not Jesus (or we’re missing the boat, somehow not “full”).

    And this: “Unless our faith rests on this premise, you also are being misled.”

    Your pastor seems to like make absolute statements. Either believe what he’s saying, or you’re lost.

    Does he preach like that all the time? If so, he seems to indicate that his interpretation of the Bible is the only way to believe. That doesn’t seem quite right to me.

  42. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… sorry again, but as I have stated, it is not a verbatim statement.
    It is merely my extrapulation! But, if I can give you any supporting verses, I will.

    Now I’ll go back and read the rest of your post, as I have just responded to only the opening line.

  43. poohpity says:

    @ Bill, do you believe in the bible and what it says? Or do you believe that it is dependent on our own interpretation which is what most people who are not believers say about the bible? I just get confused sometime on what you hold to be truth. When you asked Gary about “and there is no inheritance or entry without Jesus Christ our only access to the fullness of God’s Kingdom.” when the bible does say that Jesus is our only access to God’s kingdom and our eternal inheritance in John 14:6. That is not determent on interpretation. Jn 1:4; 10:9,10; Ro 5:2; Ep 3:18-19

  44. poohpity says:

    ooops not determent but determinant

  45. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… if you believe there is another way into the Kingdom of God for you, then through Jesus Christ, please give me the verses that support your thinking.

    I’m sorry that I believe so strongly that if there is no relationship with Christ in your present life, religion, culture, or faith system, then there really is no way to obtain any Inheritance into God’s Kingdom for you either, according to the bible as I understand it, and as Paul, Christ, and my pastor have also preached.

    Or, do you believe something else?

    If so, kindly do tell and share your opposing verses.

    Perhaps the Trinity is new to you, but I believe, as Paul believes, and as Christ believes, and my pastor believes and taught last night, that God is a three part being, having the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit all related as being in one, and together as expressing the full representation of God.

    Does that go against your beliefs?
    If so, please explain with verses if you will.

    Sorry if I’ve side stepped you questions intent, in your examination of my every word, though given in my own take on last nights preaching.

    I’m sure that you could find other things as well to pick apart.

    If I’ve misled you in some way, let me know the particulars that so undue you, and then we can discuss them more intently.

    As you’ve expressed before, all the verses in the bible may not be enough for you, to concur my position, which you always deem as being my opinion only.

    So, why would I now start to give them again to you?

    The long and short of his message is this… If you are without Jesus as the key part of your faith system, you are without any hope in the Kingdom of God, according to the bible. To coin a phrase, (not verbatim in the bible though,) “Jesus is the Key.”

    Please forgive me if I’ve caused you such problems in your belief system by being a harshly spoken wake up call.

    I may have entangled you somewhere, and my three legged stool has tripped you up!

    Verses alone do not change one’s already formulated opinions.

    Maybe I’ve totally mis-read you again. Gary

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill…Verses used in last night’s teaching are as follows,
    Hebrews 11:5, Revelation 4:11, Hebrews 1:1, 2, 3, Hebrews 10:36, 37, 38, 39, Hebrews 11:36, Hebrews 11:6 (Message)
    Genesis 15:1. Revelation 22:12, Then the word “SEEK” was given as being critical, saying you must earnestly seek Him, and put out some effort: breaking it down for us in these verses (S) for Spirit, John 14:26, (E) for Enable, 1 Timothy 1:12, (E) for Equipped, Ephesians 4:12, Hebrews 13:20,21, (K) Know, Romans 8:28.
    Further study… Proverbs 8:17, Isaiah 5:6, James 1:15.

    Please feel free to view the entire teaching with this pastor’s actual words on the CCM Melbourne, Florida website.
    Then you can give me your take on it!

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill.. sorry that 1-30-13 teaching is not yet posted. I believe it takes a couple of days to post, although it is broadcasted live. Gary

  48. Bill says:


    Your arrogance and condescension are overwhelming. So is your ability to twist my words. But I won’t take the bait.

    How do you know I was not directed by God to challenge you and your pastor’s absolute statements that draw lines in the sand that say, in effect, “You must believe my interpretation of the Bible or else…”?

    You make undue assumptions that come off as condescending. Maybe you don’t mean them that way. But they sure do seem so.

    For example, of course I’ve heard of the Trinity. And I never once said I didn’t believe Jesus was THE way.

    I have been a Christian for 30 years, Gary.

    You have not been a “wake- up call.” Nor have you “tripped [me] up.”

    Just because I don’t agree with everything you and your pastor say does NOT mean I’m not as genuine a believer as you claim to be. It’s sheer arrogance on your part to think otherwise, and I will not debate the matter with you.


  49. bubbles says:

    Ephesians 4:32

  50. oneg2dblu says:

    bubbles… thank you.
    Sometimes our humanity takes a hit, and in that spirit we lash out, but in the Spirit of the Trinity, love would prevail and truth would have its day revealed, and you have spoken out of that right Spirit.

    We never really know until we test a spirit, how it will react, unless it is God’s Spirit, then we know it is out of the love of truth that one speaks.

    This humanity is a difficult thing to possess, and the tongue is most of all, impossible to control. Gary

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