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Toxic Truth

Hand washing for ritual cleanness

Who among us hasn’t seen the pain we can bring to ourselves and others by thoughtlessly saying the truth without humility, love, or wisdom.

Those who accused Jesus of being a sinner, or worse (demon possessed) weren’t all wrong.

They were followers of Moses.

They had heard the rumors about Jesus’ birth, and were not about to follow an uncredentialed teacher from Nazareth who, in their eyes, seemed to disrespect not only their Law and their Leader, but the moral and spiritual leadership entrusted to them.

As they saw it, Jesus had broken their laws by working a miracle in a way that violated their no-work policy of the Sabbath.

Even worse, Jesus said to those who refused to believe in him just because he had healed a man who had been blind from birth, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains” (John 9:39-41).

How could religious leaders who had spent their lives studying the law of Moses accept such words from someone who seemed to engage them in double-talk? Not long before, he claimed to judge no one (John 8:15).

My reason for trying to look at this through the eyes of those who rejected Jesus is that if we try to put ourselves in their place, we might see how hard it is to believe in someone who seems to be claiming not to judge– while saying he came for judgment…and who appears to us to have a different approach to justice, morality, law, and order than we do…

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70 Responses to “Toxic Truth”

  1. mymia says:

    Is the judgement He came for reflected in the cross. Did He not bare the burden of sin which would be our judgement that He came for?

    I also think your caution about speaking the truth is wise (without humility, love and wisdom) However a thought has always occured to me. Why is it so hard to hear the truth and really listen? I also enjoy when someone says “I tell you this because I love you.” If your about to love me you shouldn’t have to prepare me or announce that it is an act of love!

    I think one reason we struggle with the truth is that no one really expects to hear it anymore. We are lied to all the time by all aspects of life. We as a society have become unsettled in what the concept of truth is. So when we “hear” it we still doubt.

    My opinion of course…

  2. SFDBWV says:

    I knew a man once who based his every thought on life after death on one verse of Scripture, Ecclesiastes 9: 5.

    No matter how many verses to the contrary I would put before him he would just continue to repeat that same verse over and over again.

    He blinded himself by not allowing the truth in, by already having an opinion and more than an opinion, by discounting even the very words of Jesus to the contrary.

    That was all he had to say on the subject.

    He had not yet the life changing experience of the awakening in him of the Holy Spirit.

    Obviously the Jew’s that confronted Jesus did not have the Holy Spirit all they had was the written Word and their interpretation and understanding of them. An understanding altered by generations of teaching from a plethora of objectives.

    We Christian’s claim to have the Holy Spirit, but I wonder sometimes how many actually hear Him over their own inner voices, or the voices of a new generation of objectives.

    In John 8:15 Jesus says to then “You judge after the flesh; I judge no man. In John 8:26 Jesus says “I have many things to say and to judge of you:”

    I can see a clear defined difference between judging the man and judging *of* you.

    Jumping forward through the conversation to John 9:39 Jesus has not only healed a blind man from birth, but it seems Jesus went further in this man’s miracle and made eyes for him to be able to see with.

    You might think such a miracle would transcend the religious understanding of the men arguing with Jesus, but their blindness is jealousy, envy, anger, misplaced allegiance, self righteousness all leading to hatred which blinds all who possess it.

    We are so comfortable and smug setting here *judging* these Jew’s and don’t realize how very much like them we all still are.

    We can’t get past our understanding of Scripture to be able to accept that the One who wrote it is above our understanding and not in need of us to agree with Him in order for Him to be who He is and able to do what He does.

    We are just as guilty as these blind religious leaders and just as much in need of forgiveness, especially when we claim we can see when in truth we are still blind.


  3. isaiah118 says:

    You said “Those who accused Jesus of being a sinner, or worse (demon possessed) weren’t all wrong”
    In what way were they not wrong? In what way is that TRUTH? Or what is your definition of “Truth”?

  4. swwagner says:

    to isaiah118says: I stumbled over that for a second too. “Those who accused Jesus of being a sinner, or worse (demon possessed)” is just an identifier of the group that was not all wrong. (They were very wrong about Jesus being a sinner and demon possessed.)

    “Weren’t all wrong” means they “were not wrong about some of the things they believed and taught”.

  5. fadingman says:

    “They were followers of Moses” …and yet at the same time, they weren’t, because they didn’t believe in the One Moses foretold (John 5:45-46).

    I think the same be said of many who say they follow Jesus.

  6. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    It seems to me the truth that remains in the objections and fault-finding the adherents of Moses bring to the discussion are the “toxic truth.” They raise superficial and technical objections to what Jesus is doing in healing and restoring peoples’ sight and hearing and ability to walk, and his claim of Sonship.

    Mart, you ask:
    “How could religious leaders who had spent their lives studying the law of Moses accept such words from someone who seemed to engage them in double-talk? Not long before, he claimed to judge no one (John 8:15).”

    Jesus said: “You people judge according to the flesh; I am not judging anyone.” He points out that the very fact of his being present in flesh is a judgment upon those engaging in finger-pointing and condemnation of what He is doing. He came first as a humble offering to be sacrificed. Later, he will appear as ultimate Judge. He was not judging at that moment.

    Paul, who was continually called out by members of the temple leadership, calls the Rock of Salvation not only the Cornerstone of faith in God, but also at the same time, the Rock of stumbling and the Stone of offense. Thus, the very fact of God in the flesh both beckons to and redeems those who believe; and crushes those who do not believe in Him.

    Paul wrote:
    “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness of faith; but Israel, pursuing the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Why? Because they did not seek it by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling stone. As it is written:
    ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offense,
    And whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.’” (Romans 9:30-33)


  7. narrowpathseeker says:

    This is AMAZING!! I just finished reading the book of John Sunday night. The “judging” and “not judging” verses that seemed to contradict, had jumped out at me during the course of reading it. I vaguely remembered that I had had problems with that in another time past. Most often when I don’t understand something, I tell the Lord that I don’t understand it, but that it doesn’t hinder my faith in Him.

    In regard to not understanding the judging, I was soon thinking strongly that it was the difference between judging MAN himself and judging the actions of MAN…..pretty much what Steve said.

    I just find it exciting that I will experience something or think about something and soon thereafter, Mart will have a topic relating to it and one or many here will share the same thought I had on a matter. I just can’t express how exciting it is to know that God is communicating with us continually…we just don’t always realize it.

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… you know a few things about judging if anyone does.

    There is a great difference between judging by the points of the law, and judging by our feelings, our flesh, our humanity.

    That is one reason why it is more appropriate to be judged by own’s peers as to how they would interpret the law.

    Even the issue of gender could have an effect on the outcome, not to mention race, religion, polictical bent, age and life experience.

    All factors can not always be proportionately applied though, because the word of law, like the word of God, can be interpreted differently.

    Just look at how Our Constitution which is Our Law of the Land is applied so differently today then it has ever been before. Whether it is the voice of the people who created it or not does not seem to matter.

    However, the divine peer relationship of the Holy Spirit that judges us today, perfectly aligns with God’s veiw of Law and Justice, so that is why we are given “his opinion” through His Spirit, to prompt us to do the right thing, the thing that God and Jesus would want us to do, as if they were Judging us themselves.

    Our problem is that our free will can change that learned judgement presented, into self-serving again any point, over-ruling even the Greatest Opinions of the Greatest minds.

    To me, all Christians are by Grace seemingly released on bail and they like all people who ever lived will have their day in court and the Final Judgement will be rendered as their Eternity were Justice for All is served! Gary

  9. Bill says:

    Mart, you wrote:

    “My reason for trying to look at this through the eyes of those who rejected Jesus is that if we try to put ourselves in their place, we might see how hard it is to believe in someone who seems to be claiming not to judge– while saying he came for judgment…and who appears to us to have a different approach to justice, morality, law, and order than we do…”

    I think trying to see through the eyes of others is a valuable exercise regardless of the specific issue at hand.

    In this case, I’m not sure we can come up with an adequate answer. We cannot even fully understand it ourselves. So we’re not really in a position to address what those who “rejected Jesus” think or wonder.

    However, I will say this: I think mymia is onto something. Mymia wrote (February 19, 2013 at 7:30 am):

    “Is the judgement He came for reflected in the cross. Did He not bare the burden of sin which would be our judgement that He came for?”

    For all of our talk about the cross, I’m not convinced we’ve fully grasped the magnitude or depth of that act or what it accomplished. So, I think a lot of the “judgment” we anticipate from Jesus has already been accomplished on the cross.

    And I think the phony speak-the-truth-in-love judgement we dole out now to those whose behavior or opinions we don’t personally agree with makes life harder for all concerned — and turns us into Pharisees. That’s why talk of “judgment” is not usually in my vocabulary. Pointing out the sins of others is not my forte. That’s between others and God. I point to to the love that held Jesus to the cross — and let God do the rest.

    Therefore, I’d not address the seeming contradictions with skeptics. That’s an either/or bifurcation, anyway. (“Did Jesus mean this? Or did he mean that?”) I’d simply say, “Yup. That’s a tough one. I have no idea what’s meant there. All I can do is love you, brother/sister, and point you to the cross. How may I help you?”

  10. herbalizer77 says:

    I used to think honesty at any cost was admirable, whether it caused pain or not. Now, older and wiser, I see it isn’t admirable. Honesty does need to be tempered with wisdom. The religious leaders of the day were so fixated on their laws, they totally missed the ‘spirit’ of the law, which Jesus tried to get across to them. They were too wrapped up in their ‘version’ of how the Messiah was to be, act and where he was supposed to come from. We are no different than they. Let someone come into our church and transgress our ‘norms’ from ignorance, etc., or pray differently from us, and see how Christlike WE act towards them.

  11. SFDBWV says:

    Just returned from getting Matthew and Glenna’s drivers license renewed. Once again had to decide whether or not we wanted a *federal* ID or just a standard WV drivers license.

    Seems by 2017 a federal ID will be required in order to go into a federal building or pass through an air port and that all citizens will be required to have such an ID.

    I told the very helpful and very co operative young lady that we just wanted to go home with a driver’s license. Glenna opted for the federal ID and so has to wait for a week to get hers from Fed Ex; sweet ain’t it.

    I liked the comment that Bill reminded us from “mymia” in that the judgment Jesus came for was the sacrifice of Himself *for* our sins, He took *judgment* for us.

    There is most likely a very good word for writing that has layered meanings and the whole of Scripture is rife with it.

    Every *living* Word of scripture is limitless it what can be taught from it, that is *if* we don’t get stuck on a meaning and never grow above it.

    Very tired, Matt is napping as is Glenna, I am getting Matt something in the oven for his dinner after he gets awake.

    I am enjoying the comments on the topic; personally I think all truth is toxic only to that which it cleans us of. (John 8:32)


  12. bubbles says:

    Jesus spoke of those who believed without seeing.
    I have often thought about how much faith those who saw Him had to have, because Jesus was brining a “different” teaching, something that was radically different in many ways. I admire the faith and trust of those early believers.

  13. BruceC says:

    When I read through the Gospels and the Pharisees or Sadducees come up I look at what Jesus says about them in a general way. Cannot quote the verses off my little brain but He speaks of a pride that comes from years of studying, following traditions, being respected by most people; even some of the Romans. All of that can put a very dark pair of glasses on someone who already may have tunnel vision. Just look at the church today in general. Some gasp if they see folks wearing jeans to church or singing those “new worship songs”. They are so steeped in tradition and what they may have or are being taught that they simply cannot “see”. Or they will not admit they are wrong. And isn’t that a real tough thing for ALL OF US? Admitting being wrong? Especially to another face-to-face? Don’t we sometimes; if not often, take the same size shoes as the Teachers of the Law? I know I do far more than I like. God forgive me.

    Soli DEo Gloria!

  14. BruceC says:


    Amazing how “subtle” things can be. Like getting a nice tan; we expose ourselves to the sun a little at a time so we don’t cook. Just like the Christ rejecting world that little by little accepts things without wondering.
    I don’t want you take this the wrong way; but do you notice how the “ID” thing just seems so harmless? Like tattoos being so common. Kind of makes me think about how easily and simply the world that doesn’t know Him will take a mark of allegiance. Curious times we are in.
    I can’t remember if got the ID or not. I’ll have to check my license. Can’t remember. LOL! Age I guess.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  15. bill34sl says:

    Jesus Christ brought positive judgement: the “blind” were able to see the truth and those who refused to see “blinded” themselves.(John 9) He did not come to be a judge between disputes as in a woman caught in adultery. (John 8) The two judgements mentioned here are not the same. We should always read in context (the previous verses and the latter verses).

    Greetings brothers and sisters in faith. May the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ abound in your lives now and always. While it is imortant that we come up with the right theology and outstanding knowledge of the Bible, let us not be carried away too much by the “feel good” feelings they bring. Let us be reminded that our goal is to lay hold of the salvation Christ has made accessible for us. We do this by believing in His mighty sacrifice, having genuine repentance and pursuing a life of holiness by continuously uprooting sins in our lives. Don’t believe in the Overboard Grace doctrine that says “Jesus Christ has done it all for us and all we have to do is believe in our minds, sit back, relax and do our things. We don’t have to work because salvation is by faith not by works”. Realize that Jesus didn’t teach this. He kept reiterating that it is not that easy. In Luke 13:24 Jesus said “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in and shall not be able”. It is certain He’s talking about believers here because unbelievers will not do that. The other Gospels mentioned about the “wide gate” where the unbelievers go. But Luke’s specifically zeroed-in on the narrow gate. Here, Jesus said even though MANY (believers), will seek to enter in, that MANY will fail. That’s alarming. Let us be warned that not all professing Christians will make it to the Kingdom of God. Review Matthew 7:21-23. I used to believe in the “unrevocable security of salvation” (OSAS) until God woke me up to the fact that this is a dangerous doctrine of false hope. Forsaking our sinful lifestyle and practicing a life of holiness is the way to go. Forgiving is also very necessary because even though we confess our sins to God, but do not forgive those who offended us, we will likewise not be forgiven and will end up in Hell. Therefore let’s make sure we don’t lose our precious salvation from our Savior Jesus Christ. Hell is a terrible place to go. Please heed this warning. Feeding our soul with spiritual food is important, but just like with this physical life, eating healthy food will not save it from the fury of an oncoming super hurricane. Heeding the warning and acting on it will.

    I apologize for the out of topic entry, but I believe warning you in this end time is top priority.
    God bless you all.

  16. foreverblessed says:

    What to react to: that Jesus came for judgment? I believe as others have written here, that the judgment He came for, was on taking the judgment on Himself. That whosoever beliefs in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
    It is this Faith, Grace and the next step is our own nature that is so strong, this has to be conquered, and we giving ourselves to Him as Paul said “It is not I that lives but Christ lives in me” Gal 2:20
    The pharisees were trying to get the righteousness by living out of the law. That is so hard to get rid of: our own nature wanting to please God. If our own nature is sinning, that is easy to detect, but if it is our own nature that wants to please God, that is so hard to get rid of.
    And many christians have difficulty with this, as we are so concerned about laws and morals, and telling people how “it” should be. Undiluted truth.
    As what we are to tell that Jesus came to free us from our bondage, (we could never do that ourselves) and He came to restore us, and in His love He will make us new, as we offer ourselves to Him, and seeing the strength of our own nature, and not being toxicated bu the doing of good, in our own strength, and not out of faith in Jesus. Living our lives every second breathing in His Love, His mercy, His patience. Our own love is so limited, our own patience wears off.
    Jacob had a long time in learning this, fighting his fight in his own way. It is this Jacob that is also in us, in christians.
    A christian meek and humble, full of love and joy, living life as if things come easily, as natural a breathing full of grace and truth, that is indeed a narrow way.

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    bill34sl… you are not far from the target, or off subject here when you care enough to tell others to fear God and shun evil.
    You are right on the mark.
    We all know this when we first come to the Lord full of repentence, but we leak that repentedness and allow the world to fill us up again, where we instead rest on our laurels thinking we are okay with the Lord, but that is exactly how we are slowly going right back to being filled with our old condition without making sure we are being refilled by the Holy Spirit that continually tells us to, Fear God and Shun Evil.
    Thay may sound like Toxic Truth to some though who do not want to hear it from anyone else’s voice, or their opinion either.
    I hear you loud and clear, and say thank you for keeping us on the right path, as we are all always needing redirection, back to the truth, and away from this toxic world and its ever so subtle trappings.
    Thanks for sharing, what we all already know, and many now may just take for granted.
    Where a little Toxic Truth becomes again like another Wake up Call! Gary

  18. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Foreverblessed – God bless you. Thanks for your words; they show your love and devotion to God. I was glad to see a comment from you. You haven’t posted anything for a while.

    Isaiah 66:2 …”This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word.”

  19. poohpity says:

    Mart, you so aptly said that “their” law and “their leaders while Jesus was breaking “their” laws. I have read that beyond the 600+ of the Mosaic law they had dreamed up many more hundreds of their own laws which were breaking the backs of those who followed them. Jesus seemed to be trying to point out that because of the additional laws beyond those of Moses their focus was now on them and their elevation so obviously they were blind to the identity of Jesus. So steeped in “their” additions they pushed God out.

    The judgment He said He came into the world to do was to those who were supposedly leading people to look to “them” and follow “their” laws not leading people to the Lord. How can one lead others to someone they do not know? There seems to be many who want to be leaders and teach but who actually do not even know the Lord they are hanging off of their own worldly knowledge and have yet to have the scales removed from their eyes.

    That intimate relationship that is more than words they have copied or have leaned on the understanding of man but need to learn from the hand and heart of our God which His teaching will turn everything we think we know upside down and push us beyond ourselves to the actual heart of God. Those who claim to have such spiritual insight but will be those who the Lord, when it does come time for the final judgement, will say depart from from me because you never really knew me.

  20. Bill says:

    I had a feeling Brother Gary would love, love, love what bill34sl wrote (February 19, 2013 at 9:51 pm):

    “I apologize for the out of topic entry, but I believe warning you in this end time is top priority.”


    Why is it Christians constantly feel the need to “warn” other Christians? Is our God so impotent, so utterly clueless, that He cannot keep us His own? Does our salvation depend on what we do or do not? Was what Jesus accomplished on the cross so anemic that it takes our works to help it along, bring its desired goal to fruition? Will one misstep on our part, one “false” belief, one “false” step, one “false” word, one “false” thought cast us into the pit of hell?

    If so, I’ve wasted 30+ years of my life with a faith so utterly powerless, so completely inept, that I may as well have become a Hindu. Or a Wiccan. Or an atheist. Or an Herbalife salesman. (Joking, people.)

    You want to know what “Toxic Truth” is? Here it is:


    More specifically, our *perception* of orthodoxy — what our opinion of it is. (And these are all opinions — Gary’s, bill34sl’s, mine.) We have turned the Bible into a State Farm road atlas, a kind of road map that we think if we follow it to the letter that we will reach our destination. Any wrong turn and we’re lost…forever.

    We think if we can sling enough of the Bible’s words at others (especially our own brothers and sisters), we’re doing God’s work, saving souls, keeping people (especially fellow believers!) from making that one tragic mistake that’ll separate them from us for all eternity.

    Where’s the Holy Spirit in all of this? Did the Holy Spirit go on vacation to a remote corner of the world, forget about us? Or is the Holy Spirit alive and well, and able to keep us safe and close to the Father?

    Where’s Jesus and the cross in all of this? Did Jesus merely bleed on those rough-hewn beams, agonizingly trying to breathe as the weight of His own tired body slowly suffocated Him — but His mission to save us from our sins was left there in the dirt, along with the drops of His precious blood, cracking and baking in the sun?

    Where’s God in all of this? Did God create a world that He knew ahead of time would fall into murderous, perverse ruin, so ugly and corrupt that it needed to be saved…but then create beings (us) so fragile, so helpless — like perpetual babies — that they needed help (serious, serious help), but then not give it to them? Worse, He made faith in Him so difficult, so treacherous, so prone to misstep that we’d STILL fall into hell, even after sending his son to die a slow, painful death to free us from sin?

    Does that make sense to anyone here?

    Orthodoxy. It’s an insidious trap that caught the Pharisees. It squeezes the Holy Spirit out of the equation, relegates the Spirit to the role of helpless bystander, as human beings lay down the law about who is saved — along with why, where, when, and how. Orthodoxy constricts, confines, turns church services into sterile operating rooms where nothing ever really happens other than the butts of bored attendees fall asleep.

    The “truth” we think we have to shove down the throats of the world has long ago lost its power — if it ever had any in the first place. Now, we’re just an Ebenezer Scrooge, poking our bony fingers in the faces of the Bob Cratchits of the world. We make salvation impossible, sins unbearable, and loads heavier than people can bear. We fill them with fear, doubt, worry…and an insatiable need to go and do likewise: poke fingers, “warn,” constantly reproof.

    What kind of Good News is that?!?!?!?! Did Jesus die just so we could tell people how many ways they can still go to hell if they don’t follow what we tell them the State Farm atlas says?

    This isn’t Christianity. This is biblicism. This is a works-based nightmare that demeans Jesus’ work on the cross, tells the Holy Spirit to take a hike, and turns God into a sadistic monster.

    I don’t know, guys. Maybe I’m in the wrong place. Or the wrong religion. Or maybe my “State Farm road atlas” contains different directions from yours.

    At the end of the day, I always come back to this passage:

    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    “Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” (John 13:34-36 ESV)

    Notice two things: “love one another, just as I have loved you.” Why? “By this all people will know that you are my disciples.”

    Jesus did NOT say, “By strict adherence to orthodoxy, by heated debates about theology, by hounding fellow believers until they do precisely as you tell them all people will know that you are my disciples.”

    Love. Not doctrine. Not theology. Not a Pharisee-like adherence to our notion of what’s orthodox or not. Love.

    2. Jesus just did something absolutely remarkable. He gave them a “new commandment.” Yet, what was Simon Peter’s first response to that news?

    He skipped over the remarkable commandment and instead asked a question, “Lord, where are you going?”

    The commandment was ignored then. And it’s still being ignored now.

    “…love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.”

    I’m done. I have nothing else to add to this post.

    Make of it what you will. It’s only my opinion.



  21. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    Mart, you wrote:
    “My reason for trying to look at this through the eyes of those who rejected Jesus is that if we try to put ourselves in their place, we might see how hard it is to believe in someone who seems to be claiming not to judge– while saying he came for judgment…and who appears to us to have a different approach to justice, morality, law, and order than we do…”

    The Gospel calls hearts and souls to a right relationship with God. For each one who hears the truth, there is a measure of conviction, a call to change, turn to the Lord, repent and receive the presence of Christ in our lives. The Gospel also tells the truth of the return of Messiah. The Bible tells of the coming day and describes the opening of the Book of Life and the exposure of all deeds to the light – faithful and unfaithful. Is that judgment? Is it a reckoning? Is it a reconciling of accounts? Are we to pretend it will not happen? I’m only asking.

    As I read the posts here working with this perceptual experiment, that is, “try(ing) to put ourselves in the place of unbelievers,” I begin to wonder whether sympathy for those who are fearful of judgment helps in the daily witness of those who follow Jesus. I experience creeping doubt that anything but a simple, straight forward expression of faith in Him will do unbelievers real good.

    The bottom line is really the Golden Rule – “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” When a relationship between a believer and an unbeliever takes root, that association reveals the world-view and the values of the two persons. Do we not meet “non-religious” folks one soul at a time?

    Mass people movements to faith are accomplished by God the Holy Spirit by the Gospel of Jesus. We here on the ground go about sharing the healing truth, not the toxic truth. Groups such as the temple leadership in 1st century Jerusalem, who are in close agreement against a religious change, create a strong resistance. An unbeliever who befriends a believer and meets the Savior has an opportunity to experience healing truth and the hope it brings.


  22. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Tracey for your interest in me, that does me good.
    I came across this writing, it has to say something about our battle with temptation, what Bill34 and onegotothebible talked about:

    “Oh yes, we know we should have victory, so when we meet with a temptation we take great care, and we watch, and we pray. We feel it is our duty to fight against that thing, and to reject it, so we make up our minds not to do so, exerting our wills to the utmost. But that is not our victory. Christ is our victory. We do not need willpower and determination to resist the tempter. We look to Him who is our life. `Lord, this is Your affair; I count on You. The victory is Yours, and You, not I, shall have the credit.’ So often we gain a kind of victory, and everyone knows about it! We achieved it ourselves; but communion is broken and there is no peace.

    Many of us live in constant fear of temptation. We know just how much we can stand, but alas, we have not discovered how much Christ can stand. `I can stand temptation up to a point, but beyond that point, I am done for.’ If two children cry, the mother can stand it, but if more than two cry together, under she goes. Yet it is not really a matter of whether two children cry, or three. It is all a question of whether I am getting the victory or Christ. If it is I, then I can stand two only. If Christ, it won’t matter if twenty cry at once! To be carried through by Christ is to be left wondering afterwards how it happened!

    This, too, is a matter that God delights to bring to us with a new flash of understanding. Suddenly one day we see that Christ is our life (Colossians 3. 4). That day everything is changed.”
    this is from Watchman Nee, In His likeness.

  23. poohpity says:

    Bill, do you do that careful of an examination in your own heart and your beliefs? I wonder what a dissertation on you would look like with Jesus as the author?

  24. Bill says:

    Absolutely, Pooh. Every single day.

  25. poohpity says:

    Hey guys, 1 inch of snow here in Mesa AZ, go figure!!

  26. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… I’m sending out prayers for your healing, because you do sound sooo very distressed. :0

    James 1:2,3 “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of you faith developes preseverence.”

    James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

    James 1:19,20 “My dear brothers, take note of this; Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

    Toxic Truth? Gary

  27. Bill says:

    I appreciate that, Gary. But I’m fine, personally. I just get tired of watching Christians arguing doctrine and condemning each other to hell.

    I care too much about people, and I feel badly watching Christ’s Church, the one He paid for with his life, fall apart into two factions: (1) dissension and disarray on one hand, or (2) heavy-handed doctrinal “unity” on the other.

    I spend too much time reading Facebook posts from prominent Christians, watching them call each other out as heretics, and watching regular rank-and-file Christians post comments like, “Why are you doing this, brother?”

    That’s where my heart is, Gary. I am grieved for the Church. The world is crumbling all around us. Things are falling apart more quickly than I ever thought possible. And yet Christians use Facebook (and even Mart’s blog) to argue.

    So maybe I do need prayer. I don’t know. My heart hurts.

  28. remarutho says:

    Pooh! Saw snow on the saguaros at a meeting just now. Phone pic of Tucson as a winter wonderland. Unusual!


    PS Topic is somewhat tangled from my perspective.
    No judgment intended here.

  29. s2inkzoo says:

    Like a couple of others have expressed, I think that when Jesus talked about coming for judgment He was talking about the purpose of His coming being to pay the price for our sins. Thinking of the whole Bible as one story, to me this seems to point back to Adam and the fall and the fact we are in sin. He could also have meant that he came so people could make better judgments – to help them see. That is how The Message renders it.

    So, like Paul tells us that the Old Testament was given to show us our sinfulness, Jesus came to illuminate the truth so better judgments can be made. The law was a mirror to show the sins in the heart, He was the light so we can better see our sins. I emphasize here “ours” and not others.

    As we put ourselves in the place of the Pharisees, we see that as Steve said, their blindness comes from jealousy, envy, anger and the like. I think we need to understand that our judgment on what is right or wrong can get clouded by the same things. We get “blinded”. They become the “planks” in our own eyes. The more we focus on ourselves to make such judgment, the more we can get blinded. I could also thrown in here blindly following tradition or focusing on “rules”. The more we look to Jesus to help bring light to the subject and make a right judgment, the more we can see correctly. To me, the focus is on our own moral conduct and not judging people. But, we can’t help but start to judge the moral conduct of others, especially if they are preaching to us (like Jesus was to the Pharisees).

    Jesus summarized all the law by saying “Love God with all your heart, soul and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself”. If that is the root of all law, then it becomes a root of all moral judgments. Is it out of a love for God and does it hurt or hinder my relationship with Him. And does it show love to others as I would want them to show to me?

    I think we can also learn that with the Pharisees, they got so blinded that they went from realizing their sinfulness and forgiving the woman, to condemning God himself, and looking to stone Him. They were blinded to the truth and couldn’t make right judgments (John 7:24). What would epitomize a bad decision on the law more than condemning the very one who created the law and embodied the law. We need to carefully consider our own blindness before throwing stones.


  30. SFDBWV says:

    A running joke goes something like this; “I’d hate to live in Hawaii because you can’t complain about the weather.”

    Of course it’s just a little joke, most people understand.

    I too watched the excitement on the weather channel about there being snow in Phoenix AZ; however instead of excitement people here are quite tired of this winter.

    Today is the 21st and it was snowed nearly every day this month to a total as of this morning of nearly 44 inches. Yesterday was windy and in the teens nearly all day with continuous flurries all 24 hours of it. It just won’t quit.

    Today I have to mark off a grave for someone’s loved one for burial Saturday. He was in his eighties; his wife had passed years ago. I was a pall bearer at his mother’s funeral and his sister and her husband are dear friends.

    It is just a reminder that in the midst of what ever may take center stage, life goes on.

    If I were to take a look at most conversations in the Bible it would sometimes seem as though people had little else to do except sit or stand around and discuss philosophy and religion and yet our philosophies and our religions are what are in place to help us cope with life.

    The men who hated Jesus hated Him because He confronted their traditions, their way of seeing life and their understanding of what they considered *truth*; their religious teachings.

    Very little evokes anger as does the subject of religious beliefs; it is on a par with *politics* and is given credit for the separation of friends and family; something Jesus said He do saying He came not to unite but divide.

    Knowing some of the people I do, I am confident that even once in heaven they will still argue their point.

    When I think of the word *toxic* one word that comes to mind is *lye*; a very caustic toxic substance that when used properly is a highly effective cleaner, but used improperly can be deadly.

    In this light I can understand how *truth* can be both *toxic* and *cleansing*.


  31. foreverblessed says:

    Bill, I must have missed your post yesterday, otherwise I would have reacted to you. I am with you, I feel what you mean to say. God bless you, and do yourself look up to Jesus, it is no use to get depressed by other christians. There are many who are not like that.

  32. Bill says:

    @Foreverblessed, thank you.

    My first thought when I read your words this morning was “missed [my] post yesterday”?!?!?!?! It was novel length!” :)

    Thank you for getting my meaning, even if my words sometimes get in the way.

    @Steve, remember the old Florida orange juice commercials? There’s something about your posts that make me think, “A day without Steve is like a day without sunshine.”

    Brother, I don’t know what you do for a living. But I hope writing is part of it. Or counseling. You have an eloquence about you, a quiet confidence that calms and illuminates.

    @Maru, topic looks absolutely on target to me. In fact, one of the more on-target threads I’ve seen in a long time. The topic is Toxic Truth. We’re all expressing our views of it.

    You wrote (February 20, 2013 at 11:10 am):

    “The Gospel calls hearts and souls to a right relationship with God.”

    Absolutely! I think where many differ, though, is in (a) how to express that, and (b) what happens after that.

    Approaching non-believers with the Gospel is easy. Not beating them up, confusing them, and discouraging them after that is, apparently, hard.

    You wrote:

    “The Bible tells of the coming day and describes the opening of the Book of Life and the exposure of all deeds to the light – faithful and unfaithful. Is that judgment? Is it a reckoning? Is it a reconciling of accounts? Are we to pretend it will not happen? I’m only asking.”

    What’s your point? Once a non-believer becomes a believer it is my hope that the condemnation, ridicule, constant badgering, labels of “heresy,” bickering, and burdens of sin will stop. Sadly, they don’t. Even here. We are constantly “warned” that we’re in danger of hell fire if we do not A-B-C, then D-E-F for good measure.

    It is not my job to shape believers in my image. It is my job to present the Gospel clearly and consistently in word and deed…then get out of their way so that God can have His work in them. If the Holy Spirit is so weak that my help is needed to urge people along (again, to do the things I think they should be doing), then I’m in the wrong religion.

    Typical West Michigan morning in February. It’s 23 degrees, gray, and wide open to possibilities. Directly in front of me at Panera Bread is a guy in a sharp suit talking too loudly on his phone. Two guys beside me are discussing letters of recommendation. Ahead and to the right, in a booth, is a little girl about three or four in a pink snowsuit sipping a bottle of juice and gesturing excitedly to her mother.

    Life is good.

  33. BruceC says:


    Thank you for your posts. It seems that as I have aged I seemed to have lost my ability to write down the words that I need to express my views. This morning I had no idea what I would find here. Even though we may not agree on every point(who does?), I do agree with your response to those who constantly tell us we are going to lose our salvation if we don’t do this or that. What ever good work we do is not of our flesh but by His Holy Spirit and only for His glory; and not for our salvation. They are just the proof of it. To add works to faith departs from grace. Works are for His glory and to point to Him; not our “goodness”. So thank you for your posts this AM. I was getting so weary with others pushing their doctrine upon all who read here that I was thinking about not coming anymore.

    To those who are constantly telling us we can lose our salvation all I can do is pray for you. I have attended churches that truly believed that and saw some good people that I loved go into ruin because they thought they could not be forgiven of what they did and that their salvation was gone. I do not attend that denomination anymore and never will again as I saw too much that was not Scriptural.

    I love hearing about how others are doing here and their need of prayers, but apart from that maybe the topic should followed and not used as a slightly open door to push doctrines that not all agree on.
    RBC has some wonderful booklets on our salvation and they can be had by anyone here. I have been saving the ones we get for years. They are like mini-studies and good for refreshing.

    God bless all. The phone co. should be here Friday as they never showed up yesterday. We now have our new refrigerator and it works great. God is always good; even when the times may be bad. Don’t forget to pray for our land and the lost therein.

    God Bless All!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  34. poohpity says:

    We can thoughtlessly share the truth without humility, love or wisdom. The humility shown by the religious Pharisees seemed to not live up to what they demanded of others and it would have been nice if they judged themselves by the law rather than others. They seemed to turn others away from God by demanding that not even good be done on the sabbath which displayed their blindness to the spirit of the law. They excused their own actions by criticizing others.

    Love when we share truth means to me we take into consideration that we too may also fail in many areas so use self evaluation before we approach others to find if it may be an area that we are also not struggling with.

    Wisdom used in how we share truth rather than publicly humiliating someone we pull them to the side and share our hearts with them hopefully for growth and enrichment in their lives rather than using a mob mentality used in stone throwing. Truth must always be tempered with grace or it can be toxic and does not benefit anyone but the one who elevates himself by thinking that there are not many areas we all need to grow in.

    The religious leaders were so preoccupied with their own superiority just because they wore the robes but the judgement Jesus spoke of in John 9:39 NLT was not the type of judgment we might have thought. But to bring light to those leaders that although they said one thing Jesus saw through those words but to the true condition of their hearts. They really did not want to know, love and honor God but to have people focus on them which actually broke the very first commandment in Exodus 20:3.

  35. Bill says:

    @Bruce, thank you. It’s always an honor to read your posts.

    @Pooh, you could not possibly have been any wiser or more helpful with your post (February 21, 2013 at 10:23 am). Truly, those were some of the most insightful words I’ve read in a long time. Very loving, compassionate, and kind. Truth tempered with those qualities cannot be faulted.

  36. foreverblessed says:

    Bill, indeed, how could I miss your post. Indeed this is possible, not all posts show up, sometimes I see all of them, and other times not all of them. I also wish we would not lecture each other, as if we know best. I am very concerned about orthodoxy, putting the law of God before God Himself, about us people trying to please God in keeping the laws. But that is because I myself was brought up in a legalistic church. I missed the Love, the Grace, and living out of Faith. I just skip the posts of those who constantly warn about losing salvation. I do not want to lose my salvation, neither do I want to stay in some ongoing sin, but I would like to be encouraged to seek the Lord of my life, He loved me so much that He gave Himself for me, the judgment that was on me, He took it upon Himself, and in His resurrected life I now can live. It is His love that draws people, and I pray that it may be through christians. Last week I heard a sermon of a cathlic priest, that was soooo about the Love of God through Christ, I was so impressed. To talk about God, and tell about His love for us, that you can’t stop talking about it, that is something I would like to be more filled with. So I can pray, fill me with Your Love! And bless all of the readers here with Your Love.

  37. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    The Pacific coastal basin is gradually warming up – spring things pushing up and leafing out – very damp and rainy. Good to remember the sun is still there above the cloud cover!

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Even worse, Jesus said to those who refused to believe in him just because he had healed a man who had been blind from birth, ‘For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.’”

    From the Pharisee’s and scribe’s perspective Jesus had quit being a street preacher (country boy with no credential) – and had gone to contradicting their authority. This is worse than offering healing from blindness on the Sabbath. They feared Jesus’ ability to tell the truth boldly. Guess they got their feelings hurt. Some, however, came to respect and love Jesus. Nicodemus is among these, I believe.

    Jesus claims that what little vision these temple leaders have, they will lose on account of their persistent insistence upon their own traditional power-position. (John 9:39) They are guilty, according to Jesus’ reckoning, because of hard-heartedness. (John 9:41)

    I am sure Jesus has great compassion upon the power-mongers, desiring for them to be healed along with the blind man. We should not be too hard on them, for he loved them.


  38. phpatato says:


    I agree with Forever, “I feel what you mean to say’. I enjoy reading your opinions. Like a nice tall glass of lemonade on a hot day, they go down nicely inside me.

    I was treated to a smile when you told Steve he was like Florida orange juice. Yes indeed, a day without Steve is like a day without sunshine.

    And everyone here has so many welcomed comments. When one of you go missing, please know you are truly missed!!

    As for the same old same old..osas needle that some like to jab…please…you’ve had your time on this stage. Surely you’ve covered everything you have to say on the matter. Let the matter rest, step aside and let the Holy Spirit do His work. He is far more able than you in convicting us of our wayward ways. Please don’t risk pushing people away from this blog because of your unrelenting “warning”. Remember, quite often, less is more.

    Narrow, a bit late but please know that I have Brianna in my prayers. I’ve been thinking of Cherielyn. I hope she is resting now that the move should be done.

    Hugs to everyone. May God bless each of you today.


  39. Bill says:

    @Pat, thank you! If Steve is the morning’s orange juice, you and Forever and others are the coffee, cereal, and newspaper beside it. Your posts are tremendously uplifting.

    @Maru, this was amazing:

    “I am sure Jesus has great compassion upon the power-mongers, desiring for them to be healed along with the blind man. We should not be too hard on them, for he loved them.”

    You are absolutely right. That one paragraph was worth the price of admission. I can’t thank you enough for writing it.

    @Forever, I hope you know I was kidding about missing my post. :)

    I only get see them all because this e-mail address is set up on my iPhone. I’ll be out somewhere with my wife and my phone will go “bing!” and I’ll want to post a reply. She’ll look at me with a frown.

    Thank you for your kind words, and for this:

    “I am very concerned about orthodoxy, putting the law of God before God Himself, about us people trying to please God in keeping the laws.”

    That was put so well that I am envious. I wish I could have captured my meaning so quickly, and so concisely. Wow.

    @Bruce, you may not be aging as ungracefully as you thought. Your posts are always clear and filled with both meaning and emotion. That’s a rare combination.

    Have a great day, all!


  40. tori says:

    I believe they rejected Jesus because they were blinded. Their hearts were so hardened that they had no mercy or could not rejoice at the healing of one who was suffering. I guess with their doctrine, the ailing deserved/had earned their plight. That’s the beauty of Jesus. He came and showed that anything devoid of love, anything based on personal pride is false, and is never of God. What a great guide and blessing, that we never rejoice in ourselves, but him alone. It relieves us of any form of pressure, and prevents the negative effects that often accompany pride and self-sufficiency.

  41. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… We are actually on the same page about our caring for the church today.
    We are just expressing it differently.
    I could care less about which church is what, and what name it we call it, but what I do care for are those souls who are churched by them.
    Those who when filling out a form might choose being a Christian as their preferred religion, but really have no daily relationship with Christ accept for their claiming to have some form of religion linked to Christ, but in name only.
    Those who say, “Lord, Lord,” but have no real relationship because there are some requirements that seem to go unmentioned, unheard of and unaddressed in their lives, and are disobeyed daily even perhaps practiced innocently with relish, because their church does not believe any requirements are necessary for their continued salvation.

    It will never be settled here. or in our lifetime, but there will come a day of settling all accounts.

    On that day every knee shall bow and every mouth shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, but that does not secure a proclamation of any inheritance into the Kingdom for them, it only settles the issue of who is the final Ruler and Judge over all, once and for all.

    So, If every knee shall bow and every mouth confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, and yet the Way is narrow, there is no other extrapolation to make, as we must all accept the toxic truth that many will not find it.

    To me, that means that confession alone is not the ultimate guarantee that soo many now hold in their beliefs.

    Some of us believe faith without works is dead.

    James 2:14 “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deads.

    James 2:17 ” In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”

    Without works, there would have been no ark built, and every living thing would have been destroyed in the flood. Without works, no temple would have been built, so there would have been no access to God, no altars built to worship Him,, no Great Commission ever to be fulfilled, no miracles ever performed, and certainly no leading of God’s chosen people out of the wilderness.

    Even the cross He carried and Our Savior giving up His life for ours, and all that that rest of the bible story without works would all seem so unreasonable to me.

    You see without works the entire story falls apart, because faith without works is dead, according to the Word of God, it clearly is a works based faith that built and recorded the entire story of the bible.

    That is how I see it because that is how I was taught it, and that is how I choose to obey it and live it, not by faith alone.

    It will cost us to Follow Jesus, and works like deny self are required, but it will cost us much more not to.

    IMHO Gary

  42. Bill says:

    @Gary, you’re not reading anything I — or others — post here, are you? Oh, you might scan our posts to see if they contain the right words and interpretation of verses to suit you. But if you don’t find what you’re looking for, you come right back with a post like this (February 21, 2013 at 5:30 pm).

    I’m going to point out two things you wrote in your latest post, just to give you something to think about:

    !. “That is how I see it because that is how I was taught it…”


    2. “…it clearly is a works based faith…”

    Have a great evening, Brother Gary.


  43. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill,,, you’ve finally got me where you want me.
    You will continue to believe in faith alone, even it is dead faith that has no works, and that is not scripture as I have been taught.
    To you, I’m lost as can be, and will take Pat’s learned advice, and not post any longer here.
    I was talking about the STORY of the Bible, if you read my words instead of just looknig for something to find fault in, and support your views about this salvation only issue.
    Salvation is based on faith, but the story of the bible is about both faith and works!
    I’ll go think about all this somewhere else my brother
    and sister, have a great evening yourself.

    Good bye to All the BTA family, I will still pray for you all, as you come into my thoughts.

    I know you all mean well in your ever opposing veiws.

    I meant well also, but have offended beyond forgiveness of those who are ruled by their feelings, and not by the Spirit of forgiveness.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  44. foreverblessed says:

    God bless you Gary, in your going in and in your going out, may God bless you with His Love, Mercy, Truth, and many other gifts from above!

  45. SFDBWV says:

    Watching “Quick Study” last evening Ron Embry mentioned briefly that in looking at what angered God, one of the things that did was murmuring against Him.

    The two principal purposes for the creation of the people Israel was to produce the Messiah and to present the person of God to the world.

    The world did not know Him only instinctively knew there was a *Him*.

    God chose a man out of Ur of the Chaldees, Abram, who was a descendant of Shem (8 generations). Now Shem had been a passenger on the Ark and knew about God in ways that his descendants did not, yet there was still enough of a connection that God chose Abram, not for a task, but for a hidden purpose God had in mind.

    Looking deeper into Abram’s character he was not all that special, only that he *believed* God.

    Through Abram/Abraham and Sari/Sarah God began a people, a seed if you will, in order to create a special nation of people and just like Abraham God only told them what they needed to know in order to carry out the plans and will of God.

    Even though God already told Abraham that the area and country He showed to him would be given to him and his descendants, God kept these descendants safe from the world hidden in Egypt until it was their time to move out and take the *Promised Land*.

    God was dealing with a nation of people who knew nothing of Him except from the stories and promises made to their ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    So God took them to school a classroom that took 40 years and one generation of them to be ready to take the land God had promised to their father Abraham.

    The descendants of these people stood there facing Jesus of Nazareth and could not recognize Him because their hearts and focus was only on the lessons taught in the classroom of their religion.

    He came in order to complete their training, but they thought they had already all the learning they needed, in fact they thought they were expert in knowing God. Sadly they, as it turns out, were not even expert in their own religion only stoic in what they believed.

    Jesus fulfilled His earthly purpose and then sent us a *Tutor* to help us learn further of God and His desires for all of us. We can not repeat the mistakes of those exposed in Scripture and remain stunted by our blindness and unwillingness to continue to learn.

    There is a long list of obstacles that stand in our way of hearing the Holy Spirit, pray that God remove them so you can recognize Jesus and not be stuck in your religion.

    I wonder if God is equally angered by the murmurings against His Church. If so I am thankful that He has agreed to forgive, even in advance of our weakness and inability not to fail, as we also like Abraham simply *believe* Him and accept His offer of salvation.


  46. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Mart, you wrote:

    “As they saw it, Jesus had broken their laws by working a miracle in a way that violated their no-work policy of the Sabbath.”

    This has always bothered me. Somehow, the religious leadership of Israel had got itself stuck in a limited number of categories. I suppose in a sense, there was no category for “miracle or signs” in their religious vocabulary – so these amazing healings were invisible to them. They saw only “no work on the Sabbath.” As you say, Steve, they knew only what they had been taught – never having followed God as a faithful believer – but, rather became the “behavior cops” of the nation.

    If there was a flawed, or even “toxic” reading of passages like Isaiah 65:17, 18 for example by the leaders of the temple in Jerusalem, then how can 21st century Christians avoid that error? Simple, humble faith seems to be an answer. It seems to me that faith in reading the Bible, in prayer and in loving others ignites faith by the working of the Holy Spirit.

    Blessings to all who are smarting from condemning remarks here,

  47. remarutho says:

    I hoped to say that true faith expressed freely ignites more faith. This is the moving of the Holy Spirit, not something we humans stir up ourselves. Maru

  48. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, last night I was reading Acts and when I came to Acts 5:32, I stopped to try to understand just what OBEY Him truly entails in that verse. “And we are witnesses to these things and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that OBEY Him”. I fell asleep still not understanding but somewhat confident that the Lord would help me understand when I needed to understand.

    When I read your message this morning, “There is a long list of obstacles that stand in our way of HEARING the Holy Spirit”, I thought immediately that it might be time to understand and He might be using YOU to do it. I always think of OBEY as doing exactly as told ALWAYS and of course I don’t DO that nor CAN I do that. However, I am CERTAIN that I have been baptized in the Holy Spirit and unmistakably encountered Him on several occasions and I have NEVER been 100% obedient…so I have to believe there is something specific in that verse that we have to obey.

    My mind isn’t working too well this morning. It has taken me almost an hour to draw on simple vocabulary to write this and then a few times I forgot what I was writing about so I can only hope that you will understand what I am asking about….I’m not even sure myself, but I am going to post it anyway.

  49. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pat, thank you for the prayers for Brianna. I am still believing for a miracle.

    I am also hoping that things are going well for Cherielyn and that she is resting…ALSO Pat I am hoping that your daughter and YOU are doing well and RESTING and that your grandsons are sleeping through the night.

  50. poohpity says:

    It seems that the credentialed teachers did not have all the facts before they formed their opinion of who Jesus was. If they had dug a little deeper or even asked Jesus where He was born rather going on rumors or just taking that he was from Nazareth they might have had the fact that He was born in Bethlehem which according to the prophecies was the birth place of the Messiah. I understand their jumping to conclusions without all the facts because I can not tell you how many times I do that too. We can form opinions without all the facts and cause others to follow our lead never considering the harm it may cause in someone’s life. Laying down stones to picking them up again.

    Forming opinions about others then when it comes time to witness the facts they had already been blinded by their assumptions. It is hard to undo preconceived notions once they have taken root in our minds. Jesus did things quite the opposite of what any man/woman of that time or even in our time. They wanted to push Him out of the play ground before they even really knew Him.

    I find it fascinating that Jesus’ approach to all people was gentle, patient even when others were spiritually blind He came to judge whether they could receive their spiritual sight and give it to them. The religious leaders were very quick to point out faults in others but when it came time for them to recognize the Lord they were blind and made assumptions on a lack of facts.

    I know for myself there is so much I have yet to understand about the Lord and His ways being far above my ways. If we each could look at the many areas we each are blind to spiritual things I do not think we would spend so much time pointing it out in others rather than praying for all our eyes to be opened and developing a heart and mind for Christ, one that is always seeking to know Him better. Only the Lord is justified in pointing out those who are blind that judgment is in His hands, the only One who knows our hearts.

  51. BruceC says:

    Good post pooh!

    Reminded me of police school and the term “hearsay”. How the preconceived notions that our flawed flesh carries about can distort truth. How “he said, she said” can be far from reality. I was also taught and observed later; that ten people can eye-witness the same crime or accident and yet many of the testimonies can be polar opposites. It’s the “eyes” we see things with. I pray that my Lord “smack” me if necessary to see things through the eyes of the Holy Spirit.
    I think that Christ was showing the leaders of the day the doctrine of love in comparison to the doctrine of legalism; but at the same time not disregarding the truth of our sins.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  52. SFDBWV says:

    Narrowpathseeker, be assured that we are to obey God and more specifically obey His Son and our Savior Jesus of Nazareth.

    What are Jesus’ commandments but to love God and love others?

    There are 10 original commandments given on Mount Sinai, but hundreds of ceremonial laws given to the Jew.

    There is no man or woman living or ever lived that has not violated one or more of these *laws*, no one can. The very purpose of the *law* was to show guilt and a need for forgiveness.

    Forgiveness is in God’s heart and since He has shown us that we fail in full obedience, He made a way for us to be rightfully forgiven, once and for all.

    Once we have the Holy Spirit in our heart, soul and mind His desires become our desires, we no longer *want* to disobey and so try to live the Holy life that God wants from us. It isn’t that hard, don’t do anything to another person something you wouldn’t want done to you. Think only as being an aid, a help, and rescuer, a friend, and comforter to any and all and you are in obedience to God’s will.

    Take a look at Isaiah 58:4 here God is speaking to these very men who confront Jesus and then reading on Isaiah 58:6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 we see what it means to obey God and its results.

    Be assured even in this you will fall short, not always doing as you should or intend, but be also assured that Jesus took your failures to the cross and when He said “It is finished” it is.

    When you stop listening to the voices of others and quiet yourself in prayer and meditation you will hear the voice of God and after a while you will hear Him above the din and noise of the world.

  53. Joshkyere says:


    I have been following the discussion on the topic “Toxic truth”. An interesting read, lots of different opinions..

    I have one simple question to ask, “Is following Doctrine wrong?”..

  54. Bill says:

    Depends on the doctrine, Joshkyere. Whose doctrine? Which doctrine? How are we being asked to follow it? Are we told to follow it? What happens if we don’t?

    I don’t think the issue is doctrine as much as it is legalism and orthodoxy forcing a particular doctrine upon us.

  55. poohpity says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we could hold fast to Jesus’ approach to justice, morality, law, and order. The people seemed to want it their way not His. They wanted to have honor and glory and people look to them rather to the One they claimed to be following. I have seen how hard it is for people to put themselves to the side so that the Lord has all the Honor and Glory due Him alone but they need the attention to feel good. If they in fact were wanting to really seek God they would have seen Him standing in front of them but then where would they be certainly not kneeling in His presence. How many people today have a heart condition of kneeling in His presence, I think they would have to have a ladder to climb down from their own pedestals first. Jesus did not even demand to be put on a pedestal, he wanted to be a friend, brother and servant and to bring Honor and Obedience to the Will of the Father.

    Usually doctrines are formed to meet specific needs of a church and can hinder a relationship with God. Doctrines are formed by man to give exclusivity and separation which can hinder folks from knowing the Lord. Folks normally follow the doctrines and fail to get to know God personally.

  56. Joshkyere says:

    Before the invention of internet, I believe information was not a-click-away like it is now, University students would either have to accept whatever they were taught by their Professors or write to other Professors for clarification. Little research was done and students were normally failed when they came up with thesis very different from what they(the professors) knew..

    Till date, even with the intervention of the internet,this Old tradition still continues.Well, before the latter, that was the most effective way of doing things then. By their standards the religious leaders “failed” Jesus because of his different way of doing things.

    That is how I see things from the point of view of the religious leaders, the religious leaders were following DOCTRINES(Mosaic, Jewish etc). That is why i asked the question
    “Is following Doctrine wrong?”

  57. bubbles says:

    I have always thought doctrine meant “teaching”.
    As in, the doctrine of the Holy Spirit: what the Bible teaches about Him. Doctrine to me is just studying the Word, and finding out what God teaches us about a particular subject.

  58. tracey5tgbtg says:

    I wouldn’t think following doctrine is wrong so much as it is not enough. It is not enough to simply follow rules. We must love God with all our hearts souls, minds and strength. This means we love God even more than “getting it right.”

    A heart that loves God above all else will not want to offend Him by killing, lying, stealing, sexual immorality, being prideful and self-seeking etc.

    A heart that loves God will practice justice, faithfulness and mercy and will desire to follow God’s laws out of love, not out of duty or to earn a reward or to escape punishment.

    It is all about God.

    The more we put our focus on God, the more we see how often we fall short of the Greatest Commandment.

    Those who know they are sinners love Jesus because they know they have been forgiven much. And when we truly love Jesus, we want to follow Him and obey Him.

  59. poohpity says:

    These religious leaders said they were followers of Moses but Moses was a follower of God. Moses’ job was to get people to look to God and the priesthood that was enacted in his time were intermediaries because the people did not want to hear God’s voice for themselves in fear. If we take that to the time of Jesus those that still held that position thought of themselves as superior when God told Moses in Duet 9 it was not because his people were special it was because of a promise that God had made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The people in Moses’ time were rebellious and stubborn and if Moses did not plead for them God would have just destroyed them and that is toxic truth the kind that says if it were not for the mercy of our God He would have never sent Jesus into the world. The toxic truth is we do not get what we really deserve we get God mercies. None of us really want to admit the truth that is within each of us or we could never hold our heads high again, we are a rebellious, stubborn lot that is the truth which would be toxic if God did not make a way.

  60. foreverblessed says:

    It seems not many are posting anymore. The toxic truth Mart talked about, I do not know where he was heading at, maybe he wanted to see where we were heading.
    Must our doctrines be right, or must our relation with God be right.
    Is our relation with God restored through right doctrines or is it through faith in Jesus Himself?
    Some wanted to talk about the toxic truth they believed was OSAS, sorry for starting that again, is it possible to go wrong when your doctrines are wrong, as the anti OSAS people can’t stop talking about.

    Consider this: you are walking as a pilgrim on your path. There is someone walking with you saying: watch out! Be aware, there is a cliff at the left side of the path, don’t go near it, or you will fall, and be gone forever! I look at the side, but I do not see a cliff, but even if there was a cliff, I do not want to go of the road, but keep on walking. And the person next to you keeps telling you that there is a cliff, and he wants you to confirm to him that you have seen the cliff.

    We tried to tell him: keep walking with us, but stop warning us about the cliff.
    Lets keep walking and celebrate our Lord and Savior Jesus, lets glorify Him, lets sing praises together with the harp, and the flute, and dancing on the road (just talking away in Psalm-terms, if there was a cliff how could we dance there, too dangerous to fall of)
    And lets rejoice together that we have been saved, and lets keep on walking on this path, not turning to the right or the left, but behind our Lord Jesus, together.
    God bless you all with His love, His mercy, His life flowing through you. We are connected to the Tree of Life, not to the tree of good and evil, if the Life flows through us, it will clear away the evil that is in us. Yes, that is it. Do not be overcome by evil, bu overcome evil with good, that is the Life of our Lord Jesus Himself!

  61. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Pooh, I would not like to post and say nothing about what you wrote, it is sometimes hard to include everything that was posted before, but it is nicer to talk with each other not at each other.
    But I agree, was it not for the mercy of God we would be nowhere. We would still be down under the cliff, right on the ground, but God lifted us p out of the deep pit and put us on the road, we know that without God and His saving act through Jesus we are nowhere. We have seen the dark places, and have gone up right on the slope of the cliff, we have seen how deep it is, and don’t want to go back there. Lets dance together on the road…

  62. cherielyn says:

    Sat down to try to catch up on the topics on BTA. I have missed so many good topics & posts this month. There are so many that I just couldn’t read them all.

    I desperately needed some respite from the intensive packing & visiting BTA has given me that needed respite & mental refreshment.

    Your post on Feb 21, 9:53 a.m. really spoke to me. I agree with you whole-heartedly!

    Thank you for keeping me in your thoughts. I didn’t think I was going to be finished with packing on time for the scheduled appt for inspection & turn in keys at 10:00 a.m. this morning, but have made it, miraculously, with help from church friends & my daughter-in-law.

    My husband insisted on missing church yesterday to try & get it finished on time. I hate missing church. I also hate working on a Sunday, but I wouldn’t have been ready for today’s appt if we hadn’t done it.

    The job really isn’t done just yet. We are no longer able to park our car in our garage. When warmer weather comes I need to start going through boxes & decide what to do with all the stuff Mike collected.

    To everyone else who has mentioned me in your thoughts & prayers, I thank God for all of you! It’s great to be a part of this wonderful BTA ‘family’ & can’t wait to meet you all in heaven someday.

  63. narrowpathseeker says:

    Forever, your post on the 24th at 1:41pm was that of a true peacemaker. It was encouraging, wise, loving, and kind. You are definitely Blessed and truly a Blessing. Thank you.

  64. narrowpathseeker says:

    Cherielyn, I was so happy to hear from you. I am glad things are winding down and that you are holding up. I hope that Mike is adjusting well to his new home and that you will have His Peace and that your road ahead will be overflowing with Blessings.

  65. foreverblessed says:

    Cherielyn, thanks for the update, it was very good of Narrow to think of you, she has a mind for everybody here, a true warm heart. I sometimes have a hard time to remember everything everybody has posted. Accept for Steve and Pooh, as they post here everyday.
    But now I remember, your son Michael had to go out of his apartment because he could no longer live on his own, and now lives in a, yes in what, a sort of place where people live together and someone looks after them? I pray that Michael will settle there and be on his place, And that you may relax, and know that God has everything in His hands.
    God bless you!

    Talking about InHisHands, haven’t read from her. And a long time no hear from Kingsdaughter. Was it 2 years ago, that on March 6, the day her son lost his life a year (or two) before. She had mentioned that date, and then the date came, and nothing was heard of her anymore. So that day must have been terrible for her. I pray that God will bless her, and comfort her, and be around her!

  66. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, just to help you out, I love you, this is not to put you down.
    And so I do love Bill.
    Let us see to it that we will use clashes, differences in a way: iron sharpening iron.
    When you wrote in the next topic:
    “At February 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm you wrote: “Bill, I would not expect you to understand that God is not in everything since it seems that you have such a proclivity against the Bible. I did not accuse Steve of being a Pantheist..”
    I was really surprised to read that you wrote about that proclivity of Bill. You often say that you jump into conclusions, but here you did. If you think that Bill has something against the bible, then you misunderstand what he wants to write. You often ask him questions that I think, wow, do you not see what he wants to say, the intent behind his writing?
    But Bill, you react very sharply to that, if you do not want to be as many other christians, you often talk about all the heresies calling etc, then you could react in a less harsh way, and first go to God and give all you frustration to Him, and then ask for His love, patience, and react in a more gracious manner.
    Boy, I am like a teacher now, sorry, once U was offended by someone who said to me specifically that I lived in my ongoing sin, and I asked him sharply to take back his words. He did not react in any way that week or the week after. Boy, what do you do with that? Was I gracious there? Or should I have disrecarded it from the beginning?
    I hope you see the intent of why I wrote this, where there is discord, there can be made peace, with the help of God.
    Like last week Bill wrote to me something I had written about living in faith in Jesus, He living in us, and His love going through us. Bill did not see the intent of what I wrote, and he had a very sharp remark to me. I didn’t like it. I forgive him for doing that, maybe somewhere he is right. Is it that people in general have love, and that is good, but we are christians, it is our goal to let Jesus live in us, that His life and His love is far superior to what humans are capable of having. Jesus Himself showed us the way: I can of Myself do nothing! Wow, Jesus was a very capable man, but He knew all He was was in God, He is God, and we in Him and so we are in God.
    That is our life, and our goal, and leave the nonbeliever alone, not putting down their love.

    But it is difficult when someone overhere wounds you, saying things about you that you didn’t know you were doing neither was the intent of what you wrote. Think about David who was accused bitterly when he fled for his son, see his reaction. Maybe there is a ground in the accusation, something that needs be repaired in us. May God bless us all with His mercy, and truth, the truth shall make us free, which also means: the truth of how things are deep inside us, when it comes out, then it can be taken to the cross, Jesus has taken it and threw it away. We rise up in a new life with Him, His risen life.

  67. Bill says:


    What a wonderful post! Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts and feelings. They came through loud and clear.

    This statement surprised me:

    “Like last week Bill wrote to me something I had written about living in faith in Jesus, He living in us, and His love going through us. Bill did not see the intent of what I wrote, and he had a very sharp remark to me. I didn’t like it. I forgive him for doing that, maybe somewhere he is right.”

    I had no idea this happened. If I wrote something that hurt you, I sincerely apologize. I don’t wish to dredge up previous wounds. But if you could remind me of the thread or the posts, I’d like to review what I wrote. Because my words came off harshly or injuriously then I am at fault. Please forgive me.

    You wrote this:

    “But Bill, you react very sharply to that, if you do not want to be as many other christians, you often talk about all the heresies calling etc, then you could react in a less harsh way, and first go to God and give all you frustration to Him, and then ask for His love, patience, and react in a more gracious manner.”

    I find that to be very good advice. You are correct. I can react “sharply.”

    In person, what may be seen as “sharp,” however, likely would not be. I am direct. I am honest. I cannot say “What you see is what you get” regarding me, though. I am more like an iceberg in that 90% of me is beneath the surface. I listen/take in a lot. I process/think a lot. I express only a small fraction of my internal dialogues or theories. That’s probably the writer in me — always observing and theorizing.

    I will say this: I am genuine. There is no B.S. about me. I mean everything I write in my posts.

    But your point is sound. None of that will matter if I am, at times, perceived as being sharp in my retorts to certain types of posts or people.

    So I will take your advice and be less sharp (direct), or choose my words more carefully.

    Thank you for forgiving me, and for offering such sage advice.

    @Pooh, if you ever wish to communicate with me directly, I can have Mart give you my e-mail address. It’s entirely possible we could come to a better understanding of, and appreciation for, each other in a more one-on-one format. I don’t understand what appears to be your need to look down on people (like me) who don’t use the Bible — or approach our Christian walk in the same way — as you do. That’s my perception. Perceptions can be wrong. So if I am incorrect in how I perceive your posts to me and others, please forgive me.

    Show me a non-prickly Pooh and I’ll show you a non-sharp Bill. :)

    Thanks again, Forever. And to all who wade through my sometimes voluminous posts. I appreciate your patience and your tolerance.



  68. poohpity says:

    I look down on no one. For those who do not know the Bible I certainly do not look down on them, it is more of a concern or care of how much they are missing. If I have a type of ice cream I just love then I tell folks about it that is the stance I take on the Bible. As far as looking down on anyone I really do not because that would mean that I elevate myself and in knowing my heart there is no room for elevation because I compare myself to no one except Christ, with that in mind the only place I find myself is on my knees and there is no room from my knees to look down on anyone except ants.

  69. foreverblessed says:

    Bill, that was very elegant of you. This is very good to talk like this, Thanks for picking it up so graciously.
    I do believe that you are too harsh for Pooh, but what you wrote to me,
    I looked it u, but at hindsight you are indeed not rude, just very direct. (You could be Dutch, they give you their straight undiluted opinion) but not harsh at all. So, a good thing I didn’t react straight away.

    Although I do not totally agree on what you wrote: “we are not called to perfect love”,
    And here I pick up the discussion we had then, Focus check, Feb 5, 12:14 pm
    “Be you perfect” is what Jesus told us. Matthew 5:48 This is impossible in ourselves, and that is what God knows, but the aim is there nevertheless. Nothing less.
    All that is done in our own strength and nature is not what God is looking for, that is not the fruit, (that is hay and stubble and it will burn) it is only that what is done in His Spirit that is everlasting fruit, (the gold and precious stones).
    So what to do? Living out of faith in Jesus, asking for the Spirit flowing through us like water, from our belly,John 8, Jesus promised, and that is the real love.
    It means we have to take everything away that blocks His stream of water, and that mostly is our own strength of nature, that is in the way. Doing things out of our own determinationa: now I am going to love this person, now I am going to be good.
    Instead of saying, have mercy on me God, fill me with you love, mine falls short.
    Again Matthew 19:21, now just now, I see what Jesus really meant, He meant it in a spiritual way “forsake all that you have” forsake your own human love. Not that we can say that human love is not good, but this is not the way of those who follow Christ, they forsake all they have and follow Him, We in Him, and He in us.
    We are in Him, everything that happened to Him happened to us, He died on the cross, we died on the cross, our old man is dead. He rose again, we rose with Him,to heavenly spheres (that is spiritually speaking the love is heavenly) and now He lives in us, His life in us, yes, that is it His love His mercy, His patience.

    About non believers:
    But God looks at the love of a person, if a person wants to love his neighbor as himself, then God knows He can start to work with this person. God looks at a change of heart, before He starts with us. And how that change of heart is coming, even that is a miracle.
    I believe that here comes in the prayer of us. Are we praying for unbelieving people, to prepare their heart in the spiritual sphere.
    Are we showing His love in our lives, is our heart a garden in the wilderness, a place where God can sent people to, people who are looking for Him?
    Love you all, be blessed, what a blessings we have in Him already!

    Now you inspired me to give a long post too.

  70. poohpity says:

    Bill, I am on facebook also on the beenthinking page. Deborah

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