Text Size: Zoom In

An Unrealized Dream

DSC01570Over the years, I’ve dreamed of being part of a “safe place” where hurting people could feel welcome and feel free to be themselves while trying to make sense out of their lives.

In the process I’ve imagined finding a group of like-minded people who could hang out a shingle and an honest invitation that might sound something like:

Emotions In Crisis?

Welcome to a safe place. Here you will not be condemned, or diagnosed or told what you ought to do. Here we will try to treat you the way we would want to spoken to in the difficult times of our own lives.

We won’t claim to know how you are feeling or even why you are struggling as you are. We know that emotions are complex; that feelings like fear, and anger, and discouragement can be rooted in a tangle of factors including our physical health, present circumstances, past experiences, or the choices we have made.

What we will try to do is give you information, help you think through your choices, and explore together the perspectives of wisdom.

We believe that life is a journey and that one of its greatest needs was expressed in the words of St. Francis of Assisi who prayed, “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We would be honored to be counted as your friends and fellow travelers who together will look not for the easiest paths but for those that will lead to higher ground, to personal growth and to shared losses and discoveries.

Family In Crisis?

Welcome to our house. Kick off your shoes, help yourself to a cup of coffee and join the conversation. There’s a chair around the table for anyone who is willing to admit that family life is tougher than they expected it to be.

If you seem to be having more family trouble than your friends, we won’t claim to know why.  If we saw you at your worst we wouldn’t condemn you. We have plenty of our own problems. We know that family issues are complex; that behind closed doors all families struggle with disagreement, memories of past mistakes, and the wild cards of personal choice.

What we’ll try to do is let you know that, regardless of what you are wrestling with, you are not alone.

We believe that life is a Journey, that all of us lose our way from time to time, and that the only way to avoid the broken heart of a parent, a child, or a partner is not to love or hope or trust at all.

We would be honored to be counted as your friends and fellow travelers who are not looking for easy answers to difficult family problems but rather for perspectives of wisdom and insight even in the most difficult problems.

Faith In Crisis?

Welcome to our rest stop. Come as you are. Leave when you must. Here your questions and doubts are welcome. Here you will find yourself among others who have wondered whether they could ever believe again.

If you find yourself asking  how a good God could allow so much pain and suffering, don’t apologize. If you find that the Bible seems to contradict itself, or that life itself seems to contradict the Scriptures, you have come to the right place. We believe spiritual doubts are complex; that all honest people doubt, and that there is no real faith without a willingness to ask hard questions.

What we’ll try to do is let you know that, regardless of what your questions may be, you are free to ask them here.

We believe life is not only a Journey, but that it is also a mystery that cannot be fully explained. We are just as convinced that there are enough road markers along the way to make it to our destination.

We would be honored to be counted as your friends and fellow travelers who, like you, are looking for answers that can restore our faith while standing the test of reason.

The Unrealized Part:

What I’ve discovered along the way is that more than a few people seem to resonate with such a dream– but don’t think it is realistic for followers of Christ to position themselves like this.

Would be interesting in your thoughts? Won’t give you an argument. Just want to listen for awhile…


Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+39 rating, 39 votes)

127 Responses to “An Unrealized Dream”

  1. BruceC says:

    Interesting. It’s like a paradox. We; as Christians, desire to be that “place” for others and yet many times we turn away from being that place. Or, when we need a place like that ourselves sometimes we do not seek it. Do we not?
    What I see about the place you have imagined Mart is place where everything is not condoned but at the same time the people are not condemned. Where a person can find their way with others who need direction at times and discuss the best way to travel. I think the shingle would be named “Welcome”.
    God forgive us for failing to live up to that title so often.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  2. SFDBWV says:

    I have had plenty of unrealized dreams Mart, plenty. You want to know what gets in the way of them.

    Unrealistic expectations

    As I read your pleadings about a blog site where everyone is welcome and welcome to *be* themselves I realize how impossible it is to ask someone to be themselves open and honest all the while placing restrictions on that same attitude.

    I can be myself as long as I don’t say anything that is offence to another, whether intended or not.

    I can be myself as long as I harbor the same attitude and view as everyone else or else say nothing if contrary to them.

    I can be myself as long as I just set and let others be themselves without comment.

    There is no safe place from ourselves.


  3. tracey5tgbtg says:

    The majority of my struggles I do not feel safe to share with the majority of Christians that I know. Christians are well-meaning but they have a tendency to say “you should do this or that” whereas people who have no religious background tend to say “I know it’s rough. I understand.”

    Those people who have been to hell and back and then have come to accept Jesus are the most understanding people of all. They know how good is the grace of God.

    I sometimes wonder if Christians who have never had serious doubts and who have never done anything seriously bad really understand the depth of the forgiveness of God.

    We are forgiven and we totally don’t deserve it. This is good news.

    I would never say to someone “it’s okay to sin.” But I wouldn’t tell someone they are a sinner and they need to repent either. I would tell them that I am a sinner and I am saved by Jesus Christ, not condemned by him, and they can be too.

  4. foreverblessed says:

    This is not only a dream, this will be reality, this is the way we are aiming for.
    As Tracey wrote two topics ago, we stand by the sheep that is tugged in the fence, and say, we will stay with you till the Shepherd frees (? makes you free) you.
    I was very much touched by the confession of the personal struggles of Swagner and Narrow, about eating too much. That hit me in the heart, and I started praying for them. That is a struggle that something that in Jesus we will overcome, we are victorious in Jesus. And we stand by in their struggles.
    There are a lot of christians struggling with divers sins, it would indeed be nice if we stood side by side, and encouraged, loved prayed for healing, for freedom of ties that bind.
    But indeed most of the times you get a lot of advice, head knowledge, if only a heart that really cares is shown. We can go to Jesus and ask for a heart like He has.
    And help each other to overcome in Jesus’ power!

  5. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    The dream community is beautiful, Mart. Lord willing, this community exists – though in my experience it has no shingle up, particularly one that advertises crisis. Just an observation. I am still believing the cross of Christ is a sign that offers hope. Personally, I hope and work for an intentional, persistent and faithful prayer group that meets daily. This is the foundation. We who would offer a place love and transformation probably do have running lanes – something like a track – a running track at the Special Olympics. Come for coffee and pastry – come for a meal – come for a box of food – come for clothing and small household items. Shopping is completely free. Stay and visit, or come to a class – cooking & nutrition, crafts, gardening or social advocacy.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “Welcome to our rest stop. Come as you are. Leave when you must. Here your questions and doubts are welcome. Here you will find yourself among others who have wondered whether they could ever believe again.”

    The Good News of the Gospel is what is offered to those who come to the infield. Prayer is required. Time and friendliness are required. Listening is required. It seems to me this takes steady-on presence day by day. Plus, there are rules about language and behavior for everybody. My own journey has shown me that everybody involved must be willing to learn and to be changed, helpers and visitors alike.

    Dream on, Mart. :o)


  6. billystan454 says:

    Thank you very much for all of your comments this morning. In my own life I have discovered that my fear of being myself has only tended to make my grief deeper and myself more shallow.
    After coming to Christ a little over eight years ago, the study time in my day has taught me that even when our best friends, with good intentions, can be hurtful rather than helpful.
    What I got out of Mart’s post this morning reminded me of the predicament that Job found himself in. Well intentioned friends following the crowd. Imagine telling a friend, who’s child has passed: “If your sons have sinned against Him, He cast them away for their transgression.” (Job 8:4) Bildad’s advice while attempting to help Job? “Both the grey haired and the aged are among us, much older than your father.” (Job 15:10) In other words, we follow the opinion of the majority and what you are saying goes against that completely.
    I started out my day today in God’s Word followed by a small breakfast. After breakfast I turned my computer on, read Mart’s blog and started typing. After reading all of the blogs I wanted to share what was on my heart. I don’t know if the experiences all or some of you have lived through in their church life goes in the opposite direction, but in my eight years as a Christian I have been lucky enough to experience the kind of unselfish love described by Mart.
    I have in these eight years I have been helped by my fellow church members through some very trying times; the biggest being the death of my wife. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to learn Jesus’ teachings about forgiveness.
    I pray that all of you have had and still do have the same church experience I’ve been lucky enough to experience.

  7. SFDBWV says:

    My son Matthew, because of his brain injury, suffers from short term and long term memory loss.

    Without excuse as we try to muddle through each subject many here suffer from both maladies.

    Then of course there is the convenience of selected memory, whereby some only remember what they want to.

    Way back when I first started participating on this site several people said they had children who were homosexual, no one pointed a finger at them or their children only offered what comfort they could.

    When Bob in Cornwell said he was a non practicing homosexual there was a contributor by the name of Ben Yakoff who jumped into the middle of Bob chewed him up and did not apologize for it.

    However the remainder of us all accepted Bob into our *family* of contributors without discussion of his particular situation.

    When the subject of homosexuality became a subject of its own then the sin of homosexuality became the subject not specifically the person or persons who may be under its influence.

    How quickly then the way some looked at others as having an adverse opinion concerning the subject and chastised for it. Oddly enough even by the same person who wants everyone to have a place at the table without chastisement.

    The same goes for discussions of a political nature, or if we dare speak against Islam. We are restricted by Mart and by peer pressure if we have an opinion that is not liberal or is contrary to what Mart wants others to hear us say.

    I was re elected to another term of office Tuesday; I have now been the Mayor of my community for over 40 years. If you think I don’t have critics you don’t pay much attention to politics or community involvement.

    Whereas I don’t like hearing criticism I remember a comment from my father saying how important it is to listen to criticism as there is often truth spoken in them and we need to listen.

    You can either have a place for honest and open people ready willing and able to discuss freely any subject or you can restrict them and only hear what you want to feeding your ego with false input and starving out the truth.

    In order for God to bring forth His New City He has to send everyone He doesn’t want there to hell.

    So what is it to be, is everyone welcome at the table or should those of us who are not to go to…..another place?


  8. swwagner says:

    Alone in the presence of God is the only “safe place” I have found on this earth. He and He alone is the perfect person and place of peace. When I need to escape my own inner critic, when I am overwhelmed by my family, when my friends give conflicting advice…then I go to Jesus alone. There I find acceptance, understanding, forgiveness, and peace.

    In the garden before He was sacrificed, Jesus took his “inner circle” to a private place to pray. Jesus then left them and went further into the garden to be alone with His Father. There, he found strength for what was ahead.

    When Jesus returned to His friends, they were asleep. Some where in there came the conversations about the “spirit being willing, but the flesh being weak” and “being fed with bread you no not of”.

    Moses went alone to meet with God; John was exiled on the Isle of Patmos; Nicodemus went alone to Jesus by night; The woman at the well came alone, etc.

    Fellowship and conversation with others is a wonderful thing…but the need to be in a group is something that escapes me. My personal experience is that groups gravitate toward the take over individuals…even when the common ground is Christ.

  9. swwagner says:

    Thank you to all for your patience with me.

  10. brooke says:

    This discussion brings to my mind a group called ‘celebrate recovery’, which was prepared by John Baker from saddleback church. It is a 12 step group, and based on the eight principles from the beatitudes. In your discussions above, what reminded me of CR, was the 3rd group guideline, ‘We are here to support one another, not fix another’, not to mention, Mart’s reference to the serenity prayer.
    I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for about 6 months. ‘Been thinking’ (and comments) often gives me more than I would have expected to think about.

  11. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning Everyone.. I just had a very strange realization. I read Mart’s opening statement and each comment here thus far with Brooke’s being the last one. I can pretty much relate and agree with each and yet each seems quite different! I am either really thinking far beyond my brain’s capacity to organize or I am just a few sheets from insanity!

    I don’t suppose after my last sentence that special kudos to Swwagner would be welcome, but he/she seems to be on a roll of profound comments. Yet I agree with everyone else as well…How can that be?!!! Yikes!!

  12. raven49 says:

    Congratualations! You’ve just given an accurate description of ALANON except being specifically Christian.
    Problem: as a reality check some of the emotionally disturbed allowed in would make it NOT a safe place for others.

  13. raven49 says:

    This is the only place:
    swwagner says:

    June 13, 2013 at 9:03 am

    Alone in the presence of God is the only “safe place” I have found on this earth. He and He alone is the perfect person and place of peace.

  14. poohpity says:

    Mart, I have been here for many years and have found that what you wanted a place to be you have been a very good example of what you have dreamed of. Only refereeing when the conversations have become so destructive to others who may read it that the comments were pulled but more often than not have allowed things to run their course.

    It would be nice for people to disagree without name calling and personal attacks but that takes some education and maturity with the absence of blame to reach that goal with some personal reflection on what triggered those type of responses.

    I went through those “Unrealized Dreams” to find the areas that still need much work in my life to be that safe place and I still have so many places that need work to have those dreams realized. I hope with continued connection to the Vine that He will continue that work within me because it sure would be ideal and I think that is the type of place Jesus always meant us to be.

    Trusting Him enough to send people to Him for answers to life’s perplexing questions with the understanding no one can teach anyone to be like Jesus like He can. Knowing that all my answers are just from a limited understanding of a much grander scheme of things and I am not all that but He is.

    When I first came here it was a very safe place to share my crisis’s in family, faith and emotions, for others to share as well but that was a long time ago.

    This morning as I was looking out into the parking lot from my back patio a neighbor hit another neighbor’s car while she was parking. She did not even take the time to look at the damage to the car she hit but walked off like nothing had happened. That is such a reflection of the times, no one cares how badly the other person is damaged as long as they get to say their piece.

  15. dust says:

    I haven’t joined in your conversations but I do read this blog all the time. I don’t feel I can remember enough information to participate, however I can write what I’m thinking right now and that is this is a safe place to be funerable (never could spell). I have doubts about what I should say, do, be, think etc. so I ask Jesus to take control of everything and then I trust (as best I am able)an infinite God (who is control of all things)to take control of this day (Jesus is in control of everything and He is good, kind, gentle, prefect in everything.

  16. phpatato says:

    Mart what you have described is beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes when I read it. Oh! how I wish with all my heart that there was a place on earth,such as that. I would rush to hang my shingle to join yours for I would consider it an honour for me to learn from you, be guided by you, to grow beside you, to serve with you. I would consider it all joy to be able to hold hands with others who have also decided to hang a shingle. In reality, I would move to wherever this dwelling is, in a heartbeat.

    I suspect that this was your hope and desire for this blog. You started this blog by hanging out a shingle. One by one, people for whatever their reasons, have stopped by to hang a “shingle” by commenting. They come, hoping to feel relaxed enough to speak on the topic matter (serving) or to just speak what’s on their heart (to be served on). Sadly though, they have been met with opposition of opinion to a degree of almost attack, have been force-fed with having to swallow the same food over and over again, have been “policed” by being read the guideline constitution and issued a warning of what they have posted is not the topic subject matter or have been censored with “you can’t say that here”. Freedom to relax and a come as you are seem to have conditions.

    So I think what I should ask is….Is what you posted in your topic matter today, what you envisioned for this blog or am I way out to lunch with what I am asking.

    And yes I realize that what I’ve said may have hurt and angered some here – Please forgive me. It is not my desire to hurt or anger or offend anyone.

    Just tryin’ to be sincerely honest.

  17. swwagner says:

    This blog as been a safe place for me as well…a refreshing place where others talk openly about the “unmentionable struggles” of Christian life. Seeing the words in black and white brings healing…and a reminder that God is not “taken aback” by the blunt conversations and raw emotions that I bring to Him.

  18. fadingman says:

    I am a ‘normie’, but my wife is a recovering person. Sometimes I go to AA meetings with her. I find that even though the meetings she goes to are secular (she goes as a voice for Jesus), there are some aspects of those meetings that we need – that used to be a part of the early church, but have somehow been organized out of today’s modern church (for the most part).

    One of the biggest things lacking in our churches today is humble openness to our struggles with temptation and sin. In the AA meetings, people are open and personal about their current struggles with their addiction. They don’t hide it from others in their fellowship because all are in the same boat. All have the same basic weakness, whatever form it may take. At the meetings, each shares the difficulties they are going through, the victories, or what gives them strength. They encourage each other, especially the newcomers. They have a fellowship of sufferings, and this is beneficial to them.

    As Christians, each of us has struggles with temptation and sin. But if we don’t have a close fellowship of brothers or sisters in Christ to share with, we’re missing out. There is no benefit to knowing verses like James 5:16 (“…confess your sins to one another…”) or Hebrews 3:13 (“…encourage each other daily…”) if we don’t practice them. Christians also need a fellowship of sufferings with one another. The only things that hinder this are tradition and pride.

    We have a weekly men’s fellowship in my town of between 6 to 8 men. We share what the Lord has revealed to us in scripture, share our struggles and victories, and encourage and pray for each other. There is no putting down of anyone who admits their sins. It’s very informal (not that I’m against formality), and we’re growing stronger in Christ because of it. If you don’t have a fellowship like this, find one, or find someone else like-minded and start one.


  19. SFDBWV says:

    Pearl I have been wanting to say hello to you for several posts but the restraints of my time and the urgency of the subject matter kept me from it, sorry.

    I very much enjoyed your remarks about your trip to Switzerland and Germany and got a full laugh concerning your thoughts about your weight.

    Not that feeling that one is over weight is funny, it was just in your delivery of it that was enjoyed by Matt and I both.

    There is not a woman I know who is happy with their weight and I know how difficult losing weight is especially for a woman, who has a much harder time then men dealing with the issue.

    Matt just finished his 30 minutes on the bike as is very tired and sweaty as he waits for 30 minutes to then get up and walk with me for eight trips from the living room to the kitchen and back, a combined effort of about 200 feet.

    I very much agree with you concerning Europe’s public transportation system being far and above ours; a casualty of the era of railroad barons and corrupt government in our development age as a nation.

    I even laughed when you said the Germans hung up on you when you ask in German if they spoke English; seems no one likes American’s only America’s money.

    It’s been raining all night and this morning with some lightning and thunder, and more on the way, I hope you don’t get too much of this rain as it goes east, after all you still like to go down to the river and commune with God without all the noise of human beings.

    I probably won’t be back again until in the morning, until then blessings to all of you.


  20. narrowpathseeker says:

    Raven49.. Your “reality check” trumps! I think that is pretty much why Swwagner’s notion of the only safe place being alone with God is right on target.

    I think that no matter how good we want to be or how hard we try or even how much we’ve progressed, we are still but humans dealing with our fleshly nature. We’ve been Directed to confess our sins to one another, maybe so we will know that we are truly equal. Unfortunately, my false pride, although not as dominant as used to be, is still alive and well, and when I encounter someone with their false pride in high gear, my own kicks back in full force. Then I, on my high horse, may trigger someone else’s flesh until many of us are behaving like “humans”. It takes but one that refuses to let go of the top dog mentality and to deny their sins, to ignite the worst of human nature. BUT,(sorry Bill, but there are “BUTS” that we ALL use at times) then we are Directed not to repay evil for evil…THUS like Swwagner says, the only safe place is alone with God…confessing our sins and praying for those that bring out the worst in us and for those that we have brought out the worst in.

  21. narrowpathseeker says:

    I would like to share a little humor from an experience in Germany. While entering parts of an old ship inside a museum there were two sets of stairs that went to the same platform. My sister and I got in the shortest line. I couldn’t see what the people in front of us were doing as the lights were dim as to reflect that era of lantern light. The one in the very front seemed to be stooped over looking for something on the stairs. After about 3 minutes of waiting patiently, I was trying to recall how to say something politely in German to allow us to get past them. Then my grandson came up behind us and told us that we had better get in the other line because those people were not going to move. I whispered, “I know, what is their problem?”. He smiled and said, “Gram, they are wax dummies!”…

  22. BruceC says:


    Congrats on your re-election. You must be doing something right. God Bless!

    If we get any wetter here I think we will become surface breathing aquatic mammals.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  23. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, yes, I still go to the river, but like you said, we’ve got the rain now. ;-) The river is raging and my glider in setting in about a foot of water, and it is still raining….doesn’t look like I will get to the river for awhile.

    The rain has not stopped the humming birds though. My daughter was complaining that they were being quite aggressive because they dive bomb her and hover just inches from her face… I told her they were just saying hello to her…she doesn’t buy it… ;-) We also have a mother cardinal laying on her nest in a Chinese maple close to the front porch(didn’t see a cardinal all winter). Our neighbor had a nest of babies last year in a bush right next to her deck, which a hawk came down to devour right in front of her. I am thinking they rather be closer to humans to be protected from the hawks. Unfortunately, the neighbor couldn’t help them, but I am going to keep my eye out for hawks coming too close to the house.

    Matt sure does well on that bike!! You are an admirable team to say the least and an encouragement to me and others, (I’m sure), who struggle with lesser trials, to hear of your great accomplishments, one step at a time.

    Love and Hugs

  24. poohpity says:

    Andrew, I came across a few of those verses this morning like; Matt 11:30 NLT; Matt 25:40 NLT; Eph 4:29 NLT and James 1:19 NLT that I need to apply to my life. Going into those meetings of AA/NA they say they always apply principles before personalities so it will stimulate more good than harm. One of the messages they send out is, “sweep off your own door step” like that found in Matt 7:1-5 NLT. Even the 12 steps help people identify their own issues and areas they need to work on and God is the One who is able to do what we are not. They let you know as long as you are looking outward the inward issues do not get taken care of.

    Mart, you stated, “but don’t think it is realistic for followers of Christ to position themselves like this.”. I wonder why that is? For me it is because I error in thinking it is my job to get people to be self aware then that shows how guilty I am of not trusting God to do what he does best for those who are truly seeking WWJD. I am sweeping another’s door step while neglecting my own. I am guilty, please forgive me?

  25. narrowpathseeker says:

    Bruce, I forgot where you reside. We are getting much rain here in CT too, but we are safe from flooding, even with the river raging very nearby the house(according to records kept in the past hundred + years or so) so it’s just an inconvenience at this point. How about you? I hope you’re safe.


  26. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I was very touched by your post at 1:11pm today. I think it was very humble, honest, courageous, and very encouraging. Thank you and God Bless.

  27. poohpity says:

    Pat, Is it wrong to follow the comment guidelines which were written for the purpose of being a safe place that Mart was referring to? If they were not shown to work which they do then why have them in the first place? Just like the principles in scripture were written to be followed. You are however correct in saying it is not my job to enforce or point out how others do not follow them because in that I am not following them. That I many times have failed to do. Does that hurt or anger me, no because it is true I have not followed them myself. I just wish as easy as it is to see the many areas I fail in or others have failed in aren’t there any areas that I or others can be encouraged in. Looking for the good not always being focused on the bad.

    That sad part is that more often than not those things which are so evident in others that they are guilty of doing is the exact same areas the accuser needs to watch out for in their own life. How do I know that because of experience.

  28. swwagner says:

    You all are an encouragement to me…thank you!

  29. poohpity says:

    narrow, I believe Bruce lives in PA.

  30. poohpity says:

    u r an encouragement too swwagner!!

  31. narrowpathseeker says:

    Swwagner, I agree whole heartedly with Poohpity.

  32. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pat, Happy Birthday to your twin grandsons! Time certainly can be confusing sometimes.. ;-) It seems like not too long ago we were bringing these little 4lb sticklike little girls home from the hospital…afraid they were going to break. They will be graduating HS on the 21st of this month and both have been accepted into UConn. I have no idea where those 18 years went, but they WENT… ;-) I can hardly remember them being 2yo…enjoy every minute you can with them.. it will seem like tomorrow they will be graduating HS!!

  33. narrowpathseeker says:

    It’s probably apparent that I have a lot of time on my hands today. It’s raining, so I can’t work outside. My great great children are in Switzerland visiting my son this week, so I haven’t been babysitting. All I’ve had to do today is get my other GGC off the bus and watch them for about an hour. Please forgive me if I am monopolizing the board.

    Thank you Pooh for the info on where Bruce may live.

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… That was a needed balm to the spirit just reading your dream of the safe place so brilliantly described. It touched many. Thank you for sharing what a gift you have, for the shingle RBC presents everyday as being a place for souls to come and learn, grow, and express their need to express, and in whatever fashion they do. Sometimes that is a tough place to visit, or to be exposed, and at those times, in those harder times, you excel.
    Sorry, I’m so late into this thread, but not sorry I left the other one for others to hash through, which I knew would possibly bring out more humanity than healing.
    But, the way this one opened, it opened a place in many others who are speaking more gently out instead of just listening.
    You give us all a place to take a deep safe breath. Thanks!

  35. swwagner says:

    It is apparent to me, that we all want to live by the standards of Christ. Even in disagreement, we prove (as did the first disciples) that Jesus Christ is not a neutral figure in history. Everyone has to make a decision about Him and He has a profound effect on all who meet Him.

    “The Pearl of Great Price” is worth every ounce of our passion, and our resolve, in short, our very lives. Hopefully, in our imperfect, messy ways, we are helping each other to more fully see our Savior.

    To paraphrase one of my favorite hymns:

    “Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
    Look full in His wonderful face.
    The things of earth shall grow strangely dim,
    In the light of His glory and grace”.

  36. narrowpathseeker says:

    Robbieuk , Royalpalm, thank you both for your suggestions that I requested. I will give it a try.

  37. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    I truly could have and could benefit from a place like this. I have been highly involved with different churches, but what God allowed and allows in my life is complex. It’s easier for people just to say, “We’re praying for you.” I mishandled some situations because I didn’t know how to handle them properly. (Still caught between not agreeing with a persons sin and loving them for who they are, but they feel rejected because I won’t agree..)It’s also made me dislike going to church. I’ve always been left alone to deal with tremendous tragedy. Don’t misunderstand, if you knew me you would know I’m not one to look for sympathy. Coincidentally, my prayers have been crying out, “Lord what do I do with all the tremendous things that have happened? There’s got to be a reason, I need someone to help me sort it out.” In a blog, it’s hard to address everyone. Private Facebook would work a little better and you can come incognito. IE: Ole Moley is my character that I use for humor. (Ole is famous for Ole Moley’s Lutefisk Ravioli. A poem tells the tale of how he won Lena’s heart.)

  38. narrowpathseeker says:

    AmazedbyHisgrace, first of all, I noticed that you returned about the time I was in Switzerland and I’ve been wanting to welcome you back for quite awhile but haven’t much time…that coupled with my bad memory…please forgive me. I thought about you and your daughter many times. I don’t do fb, but if you can tell me how to get on “incognito” I would be glad to TRY to help in whatever way I can. I am retiring for the night, but I will check for your reply in the morning. Meantime, keep praying, and I will pray for you as well.

  39. robbieuk says:

    Paul put it very well when he said it is by our own suffering and pain that we are able to comfort those who are also hurting.
    Didn’t he also say that we are to suffer with Christ, in other words, we have to daily put ourselves on the back burner for the sake of others.
    Mart wrote:
    “In the process I’ve imagined finding a group of like-minded people who could hang out a shingle and an honest invitation that might sound something like:”
    Not sure what a shingle is, as american english is my second language, but I assume it is like a sign or poster, surely this “safe place” of refuge and this “shingle” should be written in our hearts and seen on our faces and known by our actions.
    We are the salt of the earth and are here to take away the bitter taste that life throws at others.
    We are that place that Mart is dreaming of because Jesus lives in us.
    We are not here to or condemn or point a finger at another’s sin, God is the judge, we are to love one another as He has loved us. Then people will know they can turn to us in a time of need.
    I said in a previous topic that friendship and just being there for someone is all that is needed, God will do the rest.

  40. hera says:

    i like the name ‘rest stop’ combined with safe, it can be a safe resting place.. hehe, it could mean the final resting place (grave). but rest, to me, connotes with freedom, carefree. it’s been very awhile since i last visit this page, seems there has been some not so nice things happened? i have been questioning my own faith (i have problem understanding the concept of Three Persons yet is One along with many other things – daily life things- i experienced) and been wondering whether i should seek peace of mind in another kind of faith, that’s why i thought i dropped by and found this writing instead :)
    anyway, i hope this will always be a safe place, a sanctuary, a haven for anyone who needs it..
    blessings to everyone here, especially to Mr Mart De Haan who has spent much time/energy in building this place.

  41. robbieuk says:

    Keep hanging in there hera and you will find the peace you are looking for. Just keep looking with an open heart & mind and God will make Himself real to in ways that may seem odd to some here but will be right for you.

    Take care!

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Pearl Bruce lives in upstate NY.


  43. SFDBWV says:

    Mart’s gift to me is His blog; RBC has other blogs, but none like this one.

    I do not do any of the social network things going on today and honestly would not know how even if I thought I had the time, and I don’t.

    I have met some very nice people here and some have become close friends, our friend Charlotte (gr8granny) came here all the way from Austin TX for a visit even though she was at that time dying from lung cancer. She and Glenna became very special friends and she spoke with me on the phone a day before she died.

    In spite of Bob (Cornwall) being angry at us gun toting Americans he and I remain good friends from quite a distance.

    I can go down the list, but fear I may omit someone and offend them; I definitely do not want to do that as each of my friends here has become very special to me and my family.

    We discuss the trials and troubles you all encounter and we feel very blessed that the troubles we have are not the trials you have, but feel sad for every pain and glad for every smile.

    Mart may have wanted his dream to be different then the one he has created here, but I like this one just fine, warts and all.

    Thank you Mart for not pulling the plug even though I know you want to from time to time.


  44. swwagner says:

    Swwagner lives in Southwest Kansas. Mother of 2, Grandmother of 3. Married 37 yrs. Age 60. Born again since 1967. Disabled but not down!

    Sheryl Wray Wagner

  45. BruceC says:

    All is well here. The sun is out and my skin may get an allergic reaction. LOL.

    What happens from time to time on venues such as this is what I refer to as “blogitis” or “forumitis”. I go on some outdoors-men’s forums and the same things happen. I just don’t get as active anymore as I used to. It’s just the nature of them. Or should I say our nature. There is always something that will be missing when there is no face-to-face. I come here everyday but do not always respond. I just don’t want to completely burn out. Moderation.
    It’s one reason why I will not go on the popular social networks.
    Anyone that accesses this or other blogs can get a sense of where you live and even maybe who you are after a time. I just don’t wash my laundry in public places.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  46. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, thank you. Upstate NY is beautiful country. I hope Bruce is safe.

    AmazedbyHisgrace, I am having a lot of disturbing thoughts about joining fb. I would like to share with you what I do when I feel like I am at the end of my rope and hope it helps.

    First, I get alone with God, get on my knees, raise my hands to Him, confess all my sins in the Name of Christ Jesus and ask for forgiveness for them and for those I may not be aware of as well, pray the Lord’s prayer as He gave it to us, pray for our leaders, my enemies, my family, friends and their enemies(known and unknown, and tell Him I NEED Him to Guide me like a little child. I thank Him for all He has done for me and my family and friends and tell him I am sorry for not always appreciating my many blessings and for taking them for granted. Then sometimes I will just stay on my knees until I feel Renewed. Now, I KNOW this is no “magic formula” to hear from God. I pray in the B R, while working, driving, doing dishes, hanging clothes, etc…standing, sitting, walking….BUT, sometimes, I feel Directed to get on my knees and to lift my hands to Him.

    I pray in the Name of Christ Jesus that He will make His Presence strongly known to you, Bless you, Guide you, Comfort you like no one else can.


  47. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    Narrow, Thank you. I have been busy writing and finished my first novel and sequel; now editing it. (Least favorite.) You can create a FB account using any name you’d like. It sounds harder than it is. First set up a separate email acct; this will be used primarily for FB. Create an acct on FB using this email. This will sound shady but just for extra security: Use false birthday and location. FB will confirm on your email and you’re set. What if I just set up a FB site for all of us?

  48. narrowpathseeker says:

    Sorry Bruce, your post wasn’t there when I was writing the last one which seems to relate to yours.. I didn’t realize you would rather not have your whereabouts publicized.. sorry…

    I also have the same concerns about other blogs, as I stated in my last post…never thought much about this one.

    I am very glad the sun is out for you( I think it is trying to shine here too) and I am glad you are safe with no flooding or power outages..

    Again, I am sorry about the “where does Bruce live” matter.


  49. Jwigg says:

    Dear Mart,

    The Serenity Prayer is to be attributed more correctly to Reinhold Niehbur – a theologian whose career saw him move from theological liberalism to neo-orthodoxy. The most famous prayer of St Francis of Assisi focuses on the believer being made an instrument of that God for Whom nothing is too hard – the God with Whom all things are possible – even the salvation of the untroubled rich and comfortable of our world.

    That said, I am certain our Lord was not looking to hire a bunch of Job’s comforters when He said to certain men of Galilee, “Follow me!”. Christ Himself is God’s very personal answer to all our most anguished questions and problems: The Author of Life was hung up between heaven and earth by His own creatures – all because He loves them. The scandal of the Cross and the miracle of the empty tomb continue to confront and comfort us in all our broken relationships and all our ganwing doubts. Can we really write any more watertight catechism of responses to the questions of men and women in crisis?

  50. AmazedbyHis grace says:

    Jwigg, I believe because of human error the Lord often keeps people away from us so that we listen and depend on Him only. This would be my fear in an open forum as many may listen to false advice. Even on this blog, I believe there are people not Spirit led in their posts. You must be honed in Spiritually; we are held accountable just as Job’s friends. I do sense that one here is caught in a particular sin, giving in, trying to fight to have this sin and be a Christian, too. The Truth is making this person agitated. (There is more the Spirit of the Lord has revealed, but I will not state it.) To this person I say: The Lord will sustain you, give way to Him.
    Narrow, It’s hard for a parent, especially a mom, to totally turn their children over to the Lord. I believe the simple lesson of focusing on the Lord and let Him do the work is the hardest to accomplish. I’d appreciate your prayers (and others) for my daughter to step back onto the path of the Lord and live for Him and that I quit meddling in the Lord’s work!

  51. Bill says:


    Your “Unrealized Dream” is a great one. I share it.

    However, I’m not sure it will ever exist in this lifetime.

    It gets closest to existing in the following places:

    1. “Emergent” churches, which are often socially active, but politically liberal. Therefore, they accept just about anybody just they are — ironically with the exception of those on the other side of the political aisle. Republicans/conservatives are welcome in name/theory only. I’d say they’re more often tolerated than accepted.

    2. L’Abri-type organizations (founded by the late Dr. Francis and Edith Schaeffer) which make a point to serve all and accept all. They are seeker friendly, and exist as a kind of way station for those wanting their questions answered.

    3. Zen centers, which make it a point to accept all comers, especially atheists, Jews, Catholics, gays, women, and minorities. Like “Emergent” churches, Zen centers try to be as accepting as possible; however, they often have a problem with those on the political right, as well as with Christians.

    In other words, Christians who are politically and socially “liberal” tend to be the most accepting — to everyone but Christians who are politically and socially “conservative.”

    Other religions (including Buddhism, which tends to be the most open-minded of all) is the most accepting because it tends to be composed of socially and politically “liberal” people. However, a Christian may feel out of place there because the topics of discussion usually don’t run to conversations about God, the Bible, etc. A Christian would be least likely to be ridiculed at a Zen center, and maybe less so than at an “Emergent” church. But the conversations may run toward very liberal agendas.

    Bottom line: It takes a lot of work, and very strong leadership, to create the kind of place you describe. It seems to be easier to do when people leave religion and politics at the front door and enter with no expectations. If religion and politics are brought into the “safe haven” of which you wrote, the leadership has to be sure to tell everyone that all opinions are the same, equally valid, and that it’s okay to voice one’s opinion as long as it isn’t considered the ONLY opinion and all others are “wrong.”

    I truly apologize for being long-winded in this post. I know Gary, especially, dislikes it when I am. However, I’d like to share the reason why groups like Mart’s Unrealized Dream don’t exist, and only seem to get close to existing in “liberal” groups:

    Walls. Absolutes. Lines in the sand.

    Christianity doesn’t get along well with any other religion (with Fundamentalist, ultra-conversative Christians being the worse offenders) because we like to draw lines in the sand. THIS is the way it is. THIS is right. THAT is wrong. We do this with virtually every issue — from Harry Potter to playing cards to dancing to drinking to smoking to rock music to abortion to political candidates to gays to…you name it. We take a stand on anything and everything.

    Unfortunately, the very second we take a stand, we’re declaring the other person wrong. Even when it’s merely an opinion we’re sharing. MY opinion is correct. Therefore, YOUR opinion is wrong.

    These declarations of absolutes are barriers to inclusion. They are the reason why we get into arguments, even amongst ourselves. Walls, barriers, lines in the sand — all create opposites. Us against them. Me against you. Creating opposites fosters disharmony.

    That’s why the kind of “Dream” you have, Mart, is mostly unrealistic. Christians are prone to creating opposites. It takes great will, swallowing of pride, and a lowering of the idea that I am right/you are wrong to overcome this syndrome.

    If we can pull that off, your dream will be realized. If we cannot, it won’t be.

    Much Love to All,


    P.S. By the way, Steve, I never have a problem with your posts. Never. Your writing is crystal-clear and passionate. I dig that. I saw in a recent post or two where you alluded to me in some fashion. Please dispel the notion that I object to your posts or your positions. I may not always agree. But I agree far more often than not. Besides, who cares if I disagree? It’s merely my opinion. I could be wrong.

    What I often object to in Mart’s blogs is the notion that we — any of us (myself included) — can truly, absolutely, without error, unequivocally know for a certainty that what we believe about doctrines and theology is correct.

    I maintain — and, again, this is just my opinion — that we know what we’ve been taught by others who know what they were taught by others, who know what they were taught by others, who know…

    Until God sits across from me at a coffee shop and says, “Bill, this is what I meant by” or “Bill, I see you were interpreting this word this way. Actually, I meant this…” we cannot know for a fact what’s going on with — as Mart noted — the parts within the Bible that seem to contradict each other…or the parts of the Bible that seem to contradict what we see in the world.

    There is much that we do not know about the Bible or about God’s intention. So my bias is to be as open as possible about it all. If I am wrong, if I err, on the side of love…so be it. That’s between me and God. He’ll tell me I’m wrong when I see him.

    But I do not believe a Christian has to worry about how he or she interprets what the Bible says. If God is going to hold me to a standard of perfection in that area, if he expects me to flawlessly interpret the scriptures, then I’m hell-bound for sure. Because I can’t. And I never will.

    So, in my home, Mart’s Unrealized Dream is a reality (or as close to it as I can make it). You can enter through my door believing anything you want about any topic you want. You can be a raging atheist, or a dedicated practitioner of Wicca, or a lesbian, or a prostitute. Heck, I’ll even welcome tax collectors at my table. :)

    If conversations allow, if I am asked, I’l talk about my beliefs. If not, I’ll listen to the beliefs of others. If they are hungry, I will feed them. If they are thirsty, I will give them drink. If they are tired, they have a bed to sleep on.

    The only people I won’t tolerate are those who think I and everyone else in my home is wrong. The only intolerance I have is toward intolerance.

    Those are all my cards, folks. They’re on the table. That’s who I am.

  52. SFDBWV says:

    When God was born into the world he did not choose a perfect family or place to be born. He knew exactly what He was doing and what was right for His entry into this world.

    His family line is filled with hero’s and scoundrels alike and all the people He would encounter were no less a combination of good and bad characters.

    He too envisions a place and time far off in the future where everyone will be *safe* from sin and from sinners.

    But before that time and place can exist He and we have to wade through the waters of this world and all of its broken people and love them in spite of sin.

    As much as many have tried to create heaven on earth it is in vain because only God can do that and it takes a very long time to do so with many bridges to cross and battles to wage and win.

    As I said at the outset of this subject, I too have had many unrealized dreams and I have come to encapsulate them into one word *Faith* as it is the evidence of things *hoped* for.

    Another truth I have discovered is that it is darkest before the dawn and just when you think all hope is lost joy rises with the light of the morning sun. (Psalms 30:5)

    Trust God, *believe* His Word don’t argue against it or try to change it, submit to His authority and have peace.


  53. SFDBWV says:

    Bill I see you posted while I was writing, I am out of time for now, but will reply to your comments later today.

    Your friend

  54. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Steve, you wrote:

    “As much as many have tried to create heaven on earth it is in vain because only God can do that…”

    Thanks for that! Amen!


  55. phpatato says:

    Hello Sheryl Wray Wagner from Kansas! I’m glad you pulled up a chair to sit with us. I have so enjoyed reading your comments. Thank you!

    I am 59 years old. I was a stay-at-home Mom of two (girl and boy) and after they got all “growed” up, I helped my sister take care of our parents until they were called Home. Now as a Grandmother to 2 year old twin boys, I babysit when asked and when I see the need (they aren’t good sleepers so my daughter is sleep deprived). I am thanking the Lord that that is getting a bit better though! I live just outside Ottawa Ontario Canada. I gave my heart to the Lord at 9 years old. (From where I sit, younger is NO guarantee that one will grow up with a “handle on things”). I have shrunk 3 inches in height…from 5’11” to now being 5’8″. I started developing degenerative scoliosis in my 40’s. So in a sense, I am disabled but not down as well.

    Nice to meet you!


  56. BruceC says:


    No problem at all knowing the area I live in. What I was getting at was that because it may be known and because I use my real first name and last name initial it would be easy for people in my area to connect the dots if they wanted to. Anyone can view this on the internet. That is what I meant by not washing my clothes in public. There are some things or matters that I won’t talk about on the internet. I will discuss the Bible and my opinions about the culture, etc. because I would state them to anyone. But real personal stuff stays at home; between me, my wife, and my Lord.
    So I have no problem with folks here knowing the area I am from. God Bless!!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  57. BruceC says:

    God be with you phpotato! Canada is a lovely country with great people!

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  58. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… First, would like to say all things are not love, allowing for all things to have their way is not love, and beleiving all things are okay is not love, even if you choose to think so and no matter how many or little words to choose, even using,only Love Wins!
    Love may well be the most used and abused word in use today.
    Love allows a women to return to her abusing husband, a drunkard to crave his next drink, it creates fairytales, novels, supports addiction, supports lying, cheating, stealing and killing, allows a child to pick up a serpent. So, love does not always win.

    But, truth always wins… for knowing the truth will set you free, not finding your form of love.
    Because, man has too many loves that corrupt the truth and darken the world, starting with the love of self.

    I’m afraid that saying the bible is nothing but truth often offends those who have not found truth, thier truth, written the way they would prefere, and those are the ones who try their best through many words to change it to their liking.

    I’ll only cite two places here for brevity where that very attempt to cleverly massage the word into a slightly “better form” for man’s thinking, the over thinking of men not the intentions of God who wants us to come to him as mere children, possessing only a desire to be obedient to His words, not rewording the father’s requests, by teaching their father how to direct them.

    Both are religious belief systems which are taught as truth, but why they take so many words to defend their position is both troubling and disappointing.

    Steve, you hit it out of the park when you said, Faith, but faith in who’s word?

    Would that faith you speak of be found in the many many volumes written by the Catholic teachers about the praying to and worshiping of Mary as being their form of truth.

    Or, is it found in the over thirteen hundred words it took Calvin to justify his opposing position on just one verse very clearly recorded in the word of God, clearly written “simple form,” but it seems it can not be accepted by anyone other than the foolish ones it was clearly written for who had not yet been exposed, or do not see truth found for them in the Preservation of the Saints, the elect, or in the OSAS doctrine as defined by the truly learned or Calvinistic leaning today.

    I won’t write it out now because I do not want to mis-quote it and I’m away from my complete bible at the moment I only have the NT with me.

    Ezekiel 18:24, which was apparently way to threatening the way it was oringinally written. Go figure!


  59. Bill says:

    @Gary, when was the last time you were given a hug?

    You sure do seem to need one.

    I’ve never met anyone who went so far out of his way to eschew love — even when the most famous verse in the Bible is John 3:16, which doesn’t say:

    “For God had so much TRUTH for the world that he gave his…”

    You seem to be unable to believe in both truth and love. You have adopted an either/or view of this. The truth will set us free, yes. But the truth about what?

    Love, as embodied in Jesus and demonstrated by his actions.

    “For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, ESV)

    That’s the truth that sets us free. It’s not the truth about truth. It’s the truth about LOVE.

    “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7-8, ESV)

    Love DOES win, Gary.

    So please consider yourself hugged.


  60. poohpity says:

    When I first realized that being a Christian meant more than just going to church on Sundays or to social gatherings with other believers I was amazed at what it truly was, an up close personal relationship with God. I went from a Lutheran background to a non-denominational church. When I first went on the campus from the sorted background I had just came from I wanted so much to be like all those smiling faces, all neat and tidy in their Sunday best. Little did I realize after a awhile that the smiles were just like their Sunday bests part of the uniform for show.

    I prayed Lord why do I struggle with all these things and those people seem to have it all together maybe this is not the place for me. That is when He opened my eyes that they indeed had all the same struggles they just did not talk about them for fear of being found out that their worlds were not so neat and tidy. I was so on fire for the Lord that seeking and searching for all I could about Him was not the norm but masks were. I was so disillusioned.

    Their need for God was just as dire as mine was but they did not share nor were they honest about their lives. When I would share my struggles they all were swift in giving advice, comfort and trying to fix my problems, very seldom except for one couple told me go to the Lord He will guide and direct you. Most of the others were very quick to offer their own wisdom and give what they thought was right yet did not live what they were saying, the confusion set in.

    After my first journey through God’s Word now there are the struggles I was going through written in black and white and I was hooked. It was real life although it was thousands of years ago it was the same.

    So Mart that may be why it is hard for those who are in Christ to be that safe place because they have a hard time being honest with themselves about the journey and the things they struggle with. It is only being honest about the struggles that we know we do not have the answers for others but will walk with them along this rugged road. Only in understanding that we do not have all the answers are we a safe place to listen. When we realize there are so many areas in our own life that need work we will not try and fix the problems in others peoples lives but direct them to the One who can and walk side by side with them in empathy and compassion.

    To be a safe place I have to treat others like I want to be treated but first I have to understand how I want to be treated. Some people think it is selfish to look within to identify their true self underneath the masks but only in that will it stop judgement, criticisms and condemnation to become that safe place.

  61. foreverblessed says:

    A group of people together, christians, if the group contains the same person, and after a while one by one they learn to be like Christ, not judging, but loving, accepting, the dream Mart has in mind,
    that would be a loving accepting group, the dream come true,
    there are always new ones coming in, who still have to learn this,
    and the ones who are there already, grow from being the lost son, to the redeemed son, from the redeemed lost son, back to the older, judging legalistic son, and from the legalistic to the loving son living under grace.

    So there are always things going wrong, and there is always room for growth…
    we are growing to the dream come true

  62. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… you see love, where I see truth given in love.

    To me, Hugs are to me a physical touch, and sharing truth is a spiritual touch.

    I’m not lacking the physical touch from others as you might think I am, but if you are hugging me to tell me my sins are okay, you are just really hugging yourself and your opiions instead.

    Flowery words never gloss over the truth for me, and if the truth is painful to some, there is a reason why it is so painful.

    So, when someone says I’m angry, lonely, guilty, and afraid of death, they do not see into my soul, but only look out of their own, they do not know my heart which Christ has filled and commissioned to be bold about what is sin and not make any excuses for it, especially sin which now embraces my fellow brothers and sisters who should be overcomers, but are still overcome by their sinfilled lifestyles.
    I am not speaking about the occaisional or momentary sins which we all suffer form but the ongoing ones we will not tolerate being taken from us.
    That is where some would rather dillute, redefine, or twist the truth instead.

  63. oneg2dblu says:

    sorry for any mis-spellings

  64. phpatato says:

    Gary, I know you addressed Steve, but if I may…I have faith!

    I have no clue what the Catholic form of faith is, so my faith is not based on that. Same goes for whoever Calvin is. (I do know there is a fight going on between Calvinists and ???? and the only reason I know that is because my first cousin, I am told is a Calvinist and he seems to be at odds with everybody who isn’t), so my faith isn’t based on whatever point you are making on that. Because if I don’t know the “history” that you speak of in these examples, how can I have faith based on what they say?

    My faith is based on the simple knowledge found in Jesus Christ. I have faith that when I gave my heart to the Lord at 9 years old, I am His, He is mine and because I opened the door to my heart (Rev 3:20), my name IS found in the Book of Life and I will live forever with Him. Simple. Uncomplicated. Nothing attached. And if I am wrong in thinking that and that there is more to it than that, I have FAITH that His Holy Spirit will let me know.

    Another thought just before I post…because I was only 9 years old when I placed my faith in Jesus Christ, does that mean because I had no idea what OSAS meant and because I was “ignorant and immature” to what it REALLY means to have faith (according to your belief standards), that me giving my heart to Him back then was a total waste of time????? In other words, you have a belief that there is a certain age limit to become born again, that you must know the proper meaning between faith and truth, and not on the age of accountability – knowing right from wrong????

    I also have faith that when I sit on a good chair, it won’t let me fall. Isn’t that simple faith too?


  65. poohpity says:

    Did God need our help to part the Red Sea? Does God need our help to determine when the sun rises or sets? Did God need our help in surrounding the earth with gravity to hold us all in place? Did God need our help to place the stars in the sky and to determine their locations? God did need our help to crucify His Son and give a reason for Jesus to be there. I really do not think God needs our help to teach spiritual truths or to give others faith or wisdom those are the areas we often times do more harm than good.

    God does need our help to be His skin when we reach out to others in their need not to be their consciences, I think He does a really good job of that on His own.

  66. Bill says:

    Pooh, That was one of the most eloquent, concise, and profound posts I’ve ever read.

    Simply beautiful.

    Thank you.

  67. SFDBWV says:

    There has been a great deal of conversation since my last post so it looks like a quick answer may not be in the cards until morning.

    However let me start in the middle for now.

    Gary you ask me “But faith in who’s word?”

    My faith is in the Lord who made heaven and earth, my faith is deeply rooted in Jesus of Nazareth and in every word He has spoken from Genesis to Revelation.

    My faith can be found in Jesus alone; reference to it is summed up in 1Peter 1:21 and given more description in 1 Peter 1:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

    I hope that answers in part your question.


  68. poohpity says:

    Thank you Bill but I borrowed it from the Bible. Specifically from Genesis, Job and the Gospels. I wish I could take some credit but I can’t.

  69. poohpity says:

    Neither can we take credit for our faith for that to is a gift from God. (Romans 12:3 NIV) If we do not use the measure of faith we have been given to point people to God rather than to us then we really have no faith at all it seems.

  70. oneg2dblu says:

    Pat… your faith and all faith really, according to the teaching I am currently under, assumes you sat in the chair and found that it did hold you, only then can your faith prove to you it can truly be trusted.

    I am sure your faith has been tested many times since you having given your life to Christ at age nine.

    I am not testing your faith here, or questioning it, so nothing personal is going on here, or is it?

    I have not heard the teachings you have heard, I have not been raised in the same family or church you have, and did not have the same life experience or reality you have witnessed in your life. So, I make no judgment on those things.

    I only have quoted a verse in scripture that you can read for yourself and apply that faith you now possess upon those words, and find your own reality in them.

    That reality will either approve of those words or deny them as written.

    That is the only point being made here.

    Does your current faith agree, or disagree with those words as written?

    Also, very simple…

    I can not answer that for any of you, or can anyone else, no matter how many flowery words others may use, you must decide for yourself what you will or will not believe for every verse you read.

    For once you read it, you have tasted it to be true or not, you then are responsible for how you will receive it.

    I did not make or shape the lens of faith you now look through, but your entire life experience, everything you have ever read, heard, tasted, touched, smelled, or imagined, or believed, or been taught to believe certainly has, and your free will choices are all part of it.

    For me, I now choose life, but I have not always done so, for my faith was in other things which then shaped my life experience to first choose my flesh, and that choice, choose wrongly.

  71. dodi says:

    thank you Pooh, I too struggled with Christian circles who seem to have it all together and unwilling to be real and I’m sure they too had their own struggles and trials. It is the sick who need the Physician not the whole. But you know in one way or another, we all have handicaps, some vibible, some invisible.

    The Safest Place of ALL Places to be …..Is…”The Secret Place Of the Most High”

    There is a safe and Secret Place
    beneath His wings divine (Psalms 32:7)
    Reserved for the heirs of grace, this
    secret place is yours and mine!

    The weakest and the strongest
    there may safely, securely abide,
    without guilt or without shame,
    In this secret place there is no blame

    Safely in this secret place, I
    release ALL my worries and my fears,
    His endless mercy and matchless grace
    with love and compassion wipe away my tears

    There is a safe and secret place,
    beneath His wings Divine (Psalms 32:7)
    Reserved for the heirs of grace, this
    safe abiding place is yours and mine!

    In this secret place of Safety, He
    teaches me day by day, to keep my inner
    life both clean and strong, and free my
    heart from any wrong.

    Beneath His wings Divine, Reserved for heirs
    of grace, this safe abiding place is yours
    and mine.

    The Psalms speak much about safety and resting places of refuge . . .it is the safest of all places where we can be out true self and be open and share all, zero performances needed, just be totally honest & real.


  72. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… I know your faith is in Christ.
    So, I do not question that.
    What I was referring to is what other “faith elements” have been built upon that initial foundation?
    For those very teachings, those strongly held Doctrines and those traditions of the churches we’ve attended all have helped shape the faith we now possess.
    They have built “additional things” upon the first child like faith we had, and those additional things we believe now, are what cause much of the division among the children of God today, and that is a great problem we all must answer for ourselves.
    Who, or expressly what, has changed us?
    Could it all be the same truth, or have other things now corrupted even that?
    Would you agree that we all grow up a little differently after we first believe?

  73. poohpity says:

    dodi, That is so true whether one can admit it or not, being real or not, honest or not, seen or secret, God knows and sees all hearts with the loving kindness to hold all in His hands where He is the only One who has ever been able to balance Truth with Grace. So it would be nice as we are looking up that the area around us is open, welcoming and safe as we all find shelter under His Wings.

  74. swwagner says:

    To Mart…

    Thank you for being willing to have this blog…even if it has not been the completely safe place that you envisioned. Have we been an encouragement for you to continue or have we made you want to give up? The last few topics have seemed more “where the tire meets the road” than usual. I for one, am glad to stretch my thinking and faith for a better look at the Savior. He has light for every question in doses that we can grasp for our time and maturity.

    Haven’t we all been exposed over and over to scriptures that seem hidden from understanding? Haven’t we all seen ourselves change or become stronger in faith little by little until we “get it”? Haven’t we all hit brick walls that make us simply say in child-like faith, “Your will be done”? Haven’t we all had to leave our questions at His feet and continue on without understanding? Haven’t we all embraced wrong thinking for a season only to come back to the truths that are once again “made new” to us? Haven’t we all had to take a “road less traveled” when we find that we either have to follow God or man (no matter how good a friend)?

    Every Christian (leader or not) encounters “upside down” situations that challenge previous thinking and/or attitudes. Sometimes what we “always believed” gets a good thrashing. Does what I believe hold up or does it fall apart under more careful scrutiny?? It can be a very painful and lonely time.

    It seems that other Christians should be able to reassure us when we are “shaken” and/or help us through the agony of leaving falsehood behind if change is needed. I confess, that I have fallen short of that ideal many times as a listener and writer.

    Just a few thoughts…

  75. poohpity says:

    Over the last three years this July it will be four years, I have lost both parents to cancer, an aunt, three really close friends, my service dog, three major surgeries and my 2 sons going out on their own leaving me with an empty nest from being a single parent, finding out my daughter has gone off the deep end from drugs and then this last death of my kids dad which we were very close friends. Ugh!!

    I received the most comfort in all this from a pastor I do not even know who told his story while dealing with ALS and death who also closed himself in with curtains drawn and not wanting to be around any people, Ed. Through his honest sharing the struggles he is going through I felt like somebody understands how I feel while not being here to weep with me, he knows. If he had decided to not share his story I would have felt like I was all alone with all these mounting feelings of despair. He was a pastor and he feels the same things I do how can it get any better than that. Not saying our feelings are good but they are common to man. Honesty, self revelation and just being real was so very important to me, I love him and I am so grateful that he shared his journey being able to identify and convey what he was feeling and thinking. Not how he “should” act or be but how he actually “is” acting and being.

  76. phpatato says:

    Thank you Bruce! I think we are both very Blessed to live in beautiful countries and I know your country has wonderful people living there because I see them here and you are most certainly one of them!!! I am also very grateful for my Neighbours to the South because I am right at this minute having a bowl of succulent, delicious strawberries grown in California! Ours will be ready in about 2 weeks. So my taste buds are very happy! :-)

  77. phpatato says:

    Gary – “””so nothing personal is going on here, or is it?”””

    On my end, I don’t consider it personal at all. No offense taken. You are passionate in what you believe and I am not questioning your faith or what your beliefs are one bit. We may not be twins in this world by agreeing with each other on things but you are still my relative as a brother in Christ.

    Have a good evening.


  78. remarutho says:

    Good Evening BTA Friends –

    “Unrealized Dream.” It seems to me that the long heritage of RBC has been to share the dream of access to the Word of God for people seeking God, in the most inclusive sense. My family sent for RBC’s Children’s Bible Treasure program by mail 20 years ago. We truly listened to the program on the radio!

    Through the past three generations, RBC has been there for families, individuals, those at peace and those in crisis.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “What we’ll try to do is let you know that, regardless of what your questions may be, you are free to ask them here.
    We believe life is not only a Journey, but that it is also a mystery that cannot be fully explained. We are just as convinced that there are enough road markers along the way to make it to our destination.”

    Stepping back and looking at the whole array of ministries RBC offers, the growth and evolution of the ministry is very clear. RBC states it this way:

    “Our mission is to make the life-changing wisdom of the Bible understandable and accessible to all.
    Our vision is to see people of all nations experiencing a personal relationship with Christ, growing to be more like Him, and serving in a local body of His family.”

    The dream is getting many closer to the destination.


  79. oneg2dblu says:

    Pat, my sister in Christ, we have much more linking us together, perhaps more than we can know for sure here, but I hear you now, and thank you for your loving response.

    We all release to Him that which we can not settle here and trust in our faith in Him, that He judges rightly and without prejudice but with justice, compassion, grace, and mercy.

    We clearly are not all called to express all things the same way or hear the same exact message through the same words, because we hear through the filters of our presumption, prejudice, pride, and worldly preoccupation and unfortunately even through being exposed to false teaching. UUnless our thinking all lines up with what is written, then we all have selective interpretations to deal with as well.

    Christ even spoke in parabels just so that those who do not have ears to hear His message, could not hear His message because the words He used tripped them up. Disciples included!
    But, when Christ quoted the scriptures, He spoke the truth using the very same words preserved for us today, and yet we are divided by them.
    Our human condition will always be a “dividing factor” while we live in these corruptable tents.
    In my opinion all humanity is not a safe place for all those who are in Christ, but Christ is.

    That has been my experience.

    We are the good, the bad, and the ugly, when we are found living in our humanity, but in the Spirit of Christ, we can and do change for the better when we live in His Will and Way. Gary

  80. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Evening Everyone. The sun came out here again, so I am back to catching up with yard work and probably won’t have much time to visit, but once again(before I get too busy and forget) I am going to follow Pat’s good manners and hospitable disposition and welcome SHERYL from KANSAS!

    It is really nice to know a little about one who contributes such encouraging messages. Thank you Sheryl
    and thank you Pat for letting me be your copy cat so often. ;-)


  81. Mart De Haan says:

    Am listening, and appreciate those who have passed this post along to their facebook circles. Am hoping that some new friends will take this opportunity to join the conversation. I think we all have something to contribute on our need for a safe and helpful place.

  82. robbieuk says:

    In view of the PRISM scandal and US authorities tracking our communications not sure facebook is the safe place you are looking for!

  83. SFDBWV says:

    Sheryl I hope you are not included in any of the fire dangers going on in eastern Colorado and west Kansas as reported in the news. Forgive me for not already formally welcoming you to the table, but I think Pat and Pearl have done nicely for us all.

    I have not been a reader or listener to RBC as long as many of you, my first introduction to RBC was through the Day of Discovery programs I would occasionally see on TV so when I received an invitation to receive the Daily Bread and Strength for the Journey booklets a dozen years ago I accepted. Once I bought a computer for Matthew and I, I began exploring the internet and also found RBC on line and so to this site and began cautiously contributing my thoughts as ask of by Mart.

    I am 66 this year and so when I received a notice from RBC in the mail telling me that the booklet Strength for the Journey was targeted for people between 25 and 40 I graciously declined to receive any further mailings of the booklet as it was not intended for my age group and don’t bother to read any of the devotional here on line as well.

    We believe in the importance of tithing our income; we believe it for several reasons, the first being God demands it and is the only place in Scripture where God asks me to put Him to the test is regarding tithing (Malachi 3:10).

    We tithe to our local church as well as local charities and on occasion to the some of the endless requests from Christian ministries that flood our mailbox each month.

    So when I put my two cents worth in here I literally mean it. All of the other Christian ministries are careful to thank us for our contributions but only RBC allows me an opportunity for input directly to its head man.

    I want to believe that Mart learns something as he listens to we lay people from across the globe instead of only hearing from the theologians and intellectuals he associates with and not only apply what he learns to his own understanding, but passes it along by way of his particular brand of ministry.

    One thing the past few subjects should teach us is that none of us can be force fed what others believe, and I am very glad for it.

    I won’t condemn you if I can’t force you to believe as I and I won’t expect to be condemned if I am not forced to believe as you.

    We can agree to disagree and leave it at that.

    Speaking of freedom, I know of nothing as free as love, it can’t be forced upon another, it can’t be demanded from another, it can only be freely offered and freely received.

    Love is a power unto itself.


  84. swwagner says:

    Thank you to all for making me feel at welcome.

  85. SFDBWV says:

    Bill as always I believe you did a great job in outlining liberal and conservative influences in the community of churches as well as a look at religion and how it *tolerates* the belief of others.

    I smile at the word tolerate as it is one of those diplomatic words that imply “I don’t like it but I’ll put up with it for whatever reason.” Which is why so many handshakes and smiles at the church door seem phony and insincere.

    We remain on the same page in most all areas of thinking, but it might scare me if we didn’t but heads once in a while (smiling).

    Gary you ask a reasonable question of me, where is my faith founded, I have answered it clearly, in Christ alone.

    Your second question of what influences outside of Scripture has an impact on my faith is in error. There is nothing outside of Christ that I put my faith in, nothing.

    In trying to answer your curiosity about whether or not other Christian writers or leaders influence my thinking and who they might be could be a little difficult for me to outline as I have listened to and read from many people of both genders and all nature of nationalities and views on the matter of Christianity in its many forms.

    All have contributed to why I believe as I do and none adopted as one particular tenet.

    I believe as Peter instructed me from Scripture to test every spirit and see if it aligns with the Word of God, to test every spirit by prayer and meditation and most importantly to listen to that still small voice in my heart, that sometimes isn’t so quiet as He screams out *Yes* or *No*.

    There are little and large bits of Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Protestantism (in its many forms), pieces of wisdom and common sense from dozens of writers and preachers that have come to confirm and corroborate my beliefs.

    My faith remains in Jesus of Nazareth, whether or not my understanding or beliefs are in agreement or in error with Him in absolute concert. If in error He will open my eyes when the time is right for Him and if in agreement He will strengthen my resolve; either way my faith remains in Him and His abilities not mine nor another’s.

    I hope that this answers your curiosity.


  86. tracey5tgbtg says:

    I really enjoy the BTA blog and check it every day and read every comment. To me it is like a Bible study 24/7. It’s always there, people are always sharing their journeys and thoughts. I like reading what people have “been thinking” especially when it is what they have been thinking about God.

    The topics I like best are the controversial ones. It is important to me to hear the thoughts of others who love God. Let us encourage one another… Hebrews 10:25.

    Being raised Catholic by parents who were indifferent Catholics at best, I did not even understand the concept of being born again until I was in my late 20’s.

    Even now my mother has a bad opinion of what she calls “those christians” which in her mind is the televangelists and their followers. She knows that I am a “christian” and she says if it makes me happy then it’s fine with her, but she does not want to talk about it or listen to me talk about it. She goes to mass on Sundays, she is a good law-abiding citizen and that’s it. No more discussion.

    My mom has shared a couple of experiences from her past where she has been hurt and confused by that televangelist type of preaching and hence, what she has come to think now. Her ideas are something I grew up with and that is one of the reasons why it is so important to me that believers don’t just preach “stop sinning or go to hell,” but instead listen and see where someone is coming from before trying to evangelize them.

    She is literally angered by people who come to the door or approach her in any way and try to tell her about their church and their beliefs and that is one reason why I don’t do that sort of thing because I know it can be more of a detriment to faith than a help.

    The things I most enjoy reading on this blog are the hard lessons that people have learned through experience and the honest confession of struggles. And I enjoy reading comments that express the love of God in someone’s heart.

    That is what we do – love Him and trust Him day by day. That’s all I can do.

    Thanks for listening and if you are someone who reads the blog, but has never commented, sign up and post a comment!

  87. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve you have answered my curiosity about how all our faith is being an abstract of many compilations, or contributions from many other sources as well, added
    to our initial foundation in Christ.
    Thank you!
    We all glean from what we have experienced, we are a part of the whole with each one developing our own form of worldly and spiritually directed outcomes.

    We are not really as boxed in as we think we are because we have free will expression and that is where everyone uses it, and goes their own way.

    For me, I make no excuses for my delivery, I just deliver.

    For others, be they more learned, or more well read, more mature, more gifted, more godly, more worldly, you name it, they in my eyes, do not seem to be able to make a stand on anything, without saying everything is acceptable to them.

    I wonder why and why we would call “that particular position” as love.

    I do not fit that particular mold, behaving as a bending reed or a shifting wind, and neither did Christ.

    I believe that this bending all the time leaves us all bent.

    But, standing up under temptation, or pressure, or PC, or the world, makes us both stronger and straighter.

    We must resist this temptation to call all things that are sin, as though they are not.

    Could that “dilluting the nature of sin. just be the love of world spoken through man, instead of the love of Christ speaking through the Will of God?

    All behaviors are not acceptable and all religions are not either according to the word of God, which is the only word ever spoken by Christ, be it as His only form of rigidity to not wander away from the will of His Father. That is where we all need to see there is a Way of differentiating the difference.

    Following Christ is the Way!

  88. oneg2dblu says:

    tracey… I love sharing this one message with others who know they are good people like your Mom…
    “Good people don’t go to Heaven, only Forgiven people do.”

    We know the truth about Who is the Only One who can actually forgive us our sins, because all of us have fallen short of the glory of God and equally need His presence in our lives to Save us from being placed outside the Will of God forever, regardless how good we feel we are.

    Is that bible bashing or just plain truth in love?
    In His Love, Gary

  89. poohpity says:

    Yep facebook is a good place to have some just regular one on one conversations. I have talked with several from here on there and carried our relationships a little further than topical discussions over the years. Have really enjoyed the interactions and seeing the faces of those we talk to. Was so excited when “Been Thinking” showed up.

    robbieuk, I understand how big this government listening thing is and do not like it but have realized for a long time every time I have done a search it is recorded and copied to the “google” browser so people can advertise to fit what they think I will buy. Same with “facebook” that is how they make their money. It is a different time and people really need to pay closer attention to what is going on but they don’t. They seem to just blindly trust those who are not so trustworthy. When we read those “accept and privacy rules” they inform but people normally do not read them but that is for the sites not the government.

  90. poohpity says:

    Gary, to me it does matter how things are delivered. We are given biblical principles, or guidelines if you will, but one has to know them to follow them. Just throwing our words out there or what we think are truths is without self control and consideration does not seem to be the way to go if one is so concerned with truth. Without kindness, being gentle, peace loving, patient, compassionate and empathetic it is more like those clanging cymbals we have talked about. No one will listen they will turn a deaf ear. Why would anyone want to be around someone like that? I sure wouldn’t. That is in no way treating others like one would like to be treated.

    What is so hard about loving others just like the Lord has loved us, he showed us grace and mercy? What is so hard about treating others like we want to be treated not how others have treated us but how we want to be treated?

    It must be horrible to have the mindset of always concentrating on sin, watching every step one takes, every thought, every action, not in yourself but in others. How can anyone experience the joy of salvation when sin is all they think about? Sin, sin ,sin ,sin, sin and then more sin. That is neither peaceful, restful or joyful nor is it trusting the Lord or believing His words. Truth, who’s truth?

  91. poohpity says:

    If our hearts are filled with praise and joy because of all that our Lord has done it will gush forth from our hearts in thanksgiving and praise and praise and then more praise. Praise the Lord all my soul and all that is within praise His Holy name. That can be our mindset or we can think about sin all the time is that really the heart of a believer who has experienced what was done on the Cross for such an undeserving lot. All praises and Glory to God the Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, praise that Holiness. You can not praise and curse at the same time. Speaking curses on people about sin rather than singing about God’s Mercy and loving kindness.

  92. Bill says:

    Gee whiz, Pooh, you sure are on a roll lately. I don’t think I need to post any more. You’re saying what I would have said, and using fewer words. You’ll have to show me that technique sometime. :)

    This was classic: “How can anyone experience the joy of salvation if sin is all they think about? Sin, sin, sin, sin and then more sin.” Wow. Nailed it!

    @Steve, your posts are insightful and fun, as always. This was brilliant: “Love is a power unto itself.”

    To me, the phrase “Speaking the truth in love” is only ever uttered by those with hands heavy on the former, and hearts light on the latter.” It is license to bludgeon others into submission. I never have used that phrase, and hope I never will.

    I still do not understand why people argue/debate what the Bible says about love. If I had to pick one word that summed up all of creation, and the entire theme of the Bible, it would be “love.” Without it, God would not have created everything, nor would he have died on the cross to redeem it. The only power that held Jesus on the cross was the power of love. Nothing else could have put him there, and nothing else could have kept him there.

  93. poohpity says:

    Bill, you did it. That last paragraph was right on.

  94. poohpity says:

    I just do not understand why someone would continually speak curses and not give the blessings of working out their salvation which is what Jesus did on the Cross. Give out what Jesus did on the Cross not what we can never do and that is to live a sinless life that is the curse of which we are shown grace and mercy. Curses vs blessings which would you rather receive. For me, I would rather receive blessings. Our suffering is the results of sin why give it any glory when we can give all that Glory and praise to the One who overcame it all.

  95. BruceC says:

    In Isaiah the Word says that Jesus was a man acquainted with sorrows. I sometimes feel like that. Don’t you?
    I think He was sorrowful because He saw the people of God living without the real love of God in their hearts. They were supposed to shine His light and had not done so.

    Soli Deo Gloria!

  96. oneg2dblu says:

    I agree Bruce…Looks like the real grown ups have spoken their love message again, by showing their intolerance, and any other voices expressed that do not align with them, forgetting of course all the warnings in the word of God, which apparently should be avoided, and tell anyone who would dare share those ugly things here, to do their messaging somewhere else, because here it just makes so many uncomfortable, we just can’t tolerate it.

    I hope you do not hang on to the deception of saying someone else only sees the sin in others as well, because that ugly seems to cement a certain thinking which fits so beautifully together.

    I already know as you do also, what the word of God says about the judging of others, but I would like to know more about these hostile opposing veiws on the warnings shared here, rightly placed for all to see.Praise God!

  97. Bill says:

    What are you talking about, Gary?

    And why, for heaven’s sake, do your posts frequently seem to drip with passive-aggressive sarcasm?

    If you’d like to name “the real grown ups,” please do.

    If you’d like to explain to us why you still think we’re all (or, at least, some of us are) going to hell in a hand basket, I’m sure we’d be riveted to your every word.

    Above all, I’d like to know why you keep telling us that we’re “hostile” and “judging” when all we’re doing is expressing our opinions about love being so incredibly important to the Christian life? If we don’t agree with you, so what? Why do we have to agree with you? You don’t have to agree with us. If you see the Bible differently, that’s great. You’re free to do so. How is that hostile or judging?

    I thought Bruce’s post was wonderfully compassionate and tender, a reminder that the Man of Sorrows seeks “the real love of God” that is supposed to “shine” through us all.

    That’s what we’re trying to do — shine. Like the stars at night, like the sun during the day. Shine for all to see, to be beacons.

    That’s all, Gary. We’re just sharing what’s on our hearts. We’re not trying to shout you down or gang up on you. Some of us merely have a different opinion from yours. No more, no less.

    Have another hug.


  98. bubbles says:

    Each day I check to see everyone’s posts. This place means a lot to me, and I care about each one of you who posts here.

    I appreciate Mart’s hard work, beautifully written words, and the courage he has to share his thoughts.

  99. poohpity says:

    Gary, I have a hunch that your hearts desire is to please the Lord so please do not take just because I may not agree with some of the things you say that I do not see that in you. I see your eagerness to do what you fully believe is the right thing and that is respectful.

  100. Bill says:

    Well put, Pooh. And I second every word.

    I don’t think anyone doubts Gary’s devotion and willingness to serve the Lord with his entire being. That comes through in spades with every post.

    Thank you for the reminder.

  101. robbieuk says:

    Tongues, knowledge etc. will all pass away but Love endures forever.
    The greatest of all is Love.
    No one can fully comprehend the height, length, width or depth of God’s Love.
    Is there anything else?

  102. SFDBWV says:

    Happy Fathers Day to all of you, even you mothers have had to be fathers sometimes.

    I think I have said all I want concerning the subject of Mart’s topic and will just say hello to all and to all a good day.


  103. poohpity says:

    Happy Father’s Day, Father. Thank you so much for your amazing, infinite love, mercy and grace. Please help us to understand the extent of that love like robbieuk said, the height, length, width and depth of it. Thank you so very much.

  104. robbieuk says:

    Our speaker today told us how much our heavenly father loves us and loves it when we worship and praise Him.
    Just as an earthly father gives good gifts to their children then how much more our heavenly father wants to give good things to us.
    On fathers day the children say thank you with a card or present.
    What can we give our heavenly father to show Him we love Him?
    What can we do for God after all He has done for us?
    Jesus did His father’s will by loving those who needed Him.
    There is a man in our local community who has had it laid on his heart to help street people. Not just telling them about Jesus or that he loves them but giving practical help.
    He found out that an Australian company makes a small rucksack that can be carried on the back with pockets to hold lots of stuff plus it opens out into a tent that also contains a bed. He has ordered some and every time he meets someone sleeping rough he gives them one of these packs, in effect giving them shelter.
    People need Jesus but before we can reach them we have to reach out to them.
    Reach out to your neighbour today and make your heavenly father happy.
    “You did to the least of these, you did it to Me”
    Show your Dad you love Him today.

  105. Dusty-B says:

    A place of refuge is what Mart is describing. As in the OT book of Numbers. A place where a person could go to escape those who would seek revenge on them. We all need a place like that. Or a friend like that. I had a friend that was my place of refuge. We shared deep and secret things of our lives. We accepted each other unconditionally. Love. But, uh, he was called home to Jesus recently at age 41. He was my refuge for four years. I am blessed by the friendship we had. I think the local church should strive to be a place such as Mart described.

  106. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart … and BTA friends,
    Thanks for the beautiful description of a “safe place” for the weary travelers of this world. Made me think of these things:

    I believe that followers of Christ should be in this position. This is part of our calling as Paul wrote, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Eph. 2:10 and in Titus 2:11-14 “…He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:14

    However, despite our best efforts and of God’s provision and enablement we fail. Our sin gets in the way. Paul compared us to vessels for use either for honor or dishonor and said, “ Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.” I need to be “clean” inorder that the Holy Spirit can empower me to help others and to reflect His character.

    Another reason we fail is that when we open ourselves to others we are exposed to their sin and their sinfulness. It is not easy to hate the sin and love the sinner. Paul had to contend with this and shared how: “ For the love of Christ compels us,” 2 Cor 2: 14 His love for us and our love for the Lord should compel us to look beyond their sin and love them.- His death also convinces us to die to ourselves and our own prejudices, self- centeredness, and apathy. “ because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; 15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” 2 Cor. 2:15

    Note that in everything Paul’s aim was to proclaim the gospel of Christ so that men will be reconciled to God. 2 Cor 5: 20, 21. This is the greatest thing we can do for others.

  107. royalpalm says:

    Opps… Sorry references above should be 2 Cor. 5:14, 15. Also 2 Tim. 2:20

  108. robbieuk says:

    Someone in our church prayer meeting last night prayed a prayer, almost a prophesy that exactly reflected your dream of a church where everyone may come in and be accepted no matter what they looked liked or how they felt. An open place for all no matter what.
    After a week of pondering over this subject and knowing that Jesus return is very close, it just confirmed to me that we all need to be more open and aware of others needs, not looking at ourselves but reaching out in love.
    Something big is going to happen and it will start when we unite together in love and start to really care for one another.

  109. swwagner says:

    I forgot about this place of refuge mentioned in the book of Numbers. This will give me some things to “chew on” today. Is this a place for the guilty as well as for the not-guilty?

  110. oneg2dblu says:

    I beleive that palce in Numbers, or places of refuge, were only effective if you remained there. For if you wandered away, you would again be in peril for your life.
    So,knowing that an active constantcy was required for your protection was also a very large part of the equation.
    Today, people seem to find a place of protection in their numbers alone. But, God is not interested in our numbers, or the size of our churches, or organizations, He wants our constantcy of obedience to and for Him, for beleiving is not a “momentary thing” that protects us forever, as some have been wrongly taught.
    It is a continuous daily walk, work, and way, of remaing in Him, our only place of protection, lest we wander away. Gary

  111. oneg2dblu says:

    I know how to spell Believe, but my fingers do not, so when they walk their own away at times, they ruin my words.:(

  112. oneg2dblu says:

    People sometimes act just like my fingers, and when they walk their own way, they ruin their understanding of the very words of God within them.
    Like David’s plea in the Psalms where he asks God to search for him, being that he knew he had lost his way, saying, I still have your words within me, Lord!

    Psalm 119:176 NLT “I have wandered away like a lost sheep; come and find me, for I have not forgotten your commands.”

    At the end of the longest Psalm of David, with all his heartfelt confessions, he finds that he has wandered away from the very words within him, and finds he is separated from God, and asks God, “come and find me.”
    Just a thought…

  113. poohpity says:

    I was thinking to be that safe place we have to remember. Remembering when I went through some type or suffering, trial, crisis, or storm what would I have wanted someone to do for me. Taking the time to consider that to me helps to consider the needs of the other person. When I was grieving there was nothing worse than someone giving me advice or quoting scripture but to hold me when I was crying now that was comfort.

    There are time when others do not know how to receive comfort from the Lord but because I have received that comfort I can give it just like it was given to me. To me there is nothing that I have went through that can not be used to be empathic towards others when they are in their difficulties. (2 Cor 1:3-4 NLT) That makes all those trials, grieving, suffering and crisis’s worth while is to know how it feels to go through them so I will know how to offer that safe place to be.

  114. poohpity says:

    There are people however that are so proud and used to doing everything themselves they do not know how to receive help nor will they ask for it. Then often times complain how they had to do everything themselves and resent others who also can not do things on their own. The controllers those are normally the ones who offer advice and use scripture rather than a giving another their heart just because they may not know how. They may have never received comfort from God because they most often only trust in themselves. One can not give what they have not received.

  115. dodi says:

    One of the most vunerable times in my life was right
    after my husband passed away and as you say Pooh . . the last thing I wanted to hear was a scripture, advice or palatitude…. I had two different people call me and say . . . .
    ” how are you” and befoe I could finish my sentence, I was interuppted and they said again ” Oh, well you’re strong, you will be fine” and then said bye.

    I would have really appreciated hearing . . .
    I’m here if you need to talk or call me anytime or some other encouraging words of compassion . ..
    There were many things said that were un-necessary and intensively painful.

    Words can pierce or comfort / build up or teardown –
    I believe one of the greatest gifts you can give ….is just the gift of your presence . . . which makes more of a statement than un-necessary words.

    by this shall {ALL} men know that you are my disciples if you have love, one for another.

    John Wesley…> FAITH is not an arrival but a journey.

  116. oneg2dblu says:

    Whatever happened to, “My Grace is sufficient?”

    Or, our placing our faith in trusting in Paul’s teaching in Philippians 4:12,13 NIV. “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”

    If we can also embrace those words fully, as Paul has, we will not be dependant upon man to give us a hug, or complain about those who can not give us one either.

    But, in our humanity we many times choose otherwise, we rely on others to provide for us, and when they do not meet our needs, just as we can not always meet theirs, we can become defiant, depressed, devoured, and deceived.

    But, to have a Job-like fortitude that can stand up against the unmet expectations we place upon others, and then depend on the promises of God, instead of the world around us, then, we are truly free.

    Then, we have truly overcome and we are victorious in all we do regardless of what is falling down around us.

    2 Corinthians 4:16, 17, 18 NIV “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, and what is unseen is eternal.”

    It all depends on what we will bring upon ourselves
    when outward circumstances bring us to despair, disappointment and division, instead of to the place of real refuge, found only in Christ Jesus.

    That is easier said than done as we all get tested daily and many times fail the test.

    Faith is not a momentary point that is forever complete, but more of a daily process of testing and being proofed daily.

  117. Bill says:

    @Dodi, that was beautifully put. You are absolutely right. And I’m sorry you did not receive the comfort you needed when you needed it most. I hope since then that you’ve found other people who offer more compassion and, as you wrote, *presence.*

    @Gary, you just did to Dodi *again* what she said hurt her deeply — you ignored her.

    Sometimes all someone needs is a hug. In fact, often all someone needs is a hug. He or she just wants to feel that they matter, that people are listening to them, that people understand them…and their pain.

    Do you need a hug, Gary? Do you have people around you who will give you one?

  118. swwagner says:

    It is wonderful to have friends, spouses, church congregations or counselors to help us along the way. People can be instruments of the Lord to build up others, to protect others, to teach others, or to comfort others.
    Paul says not to neglect “the gathering of yourselves together”.
    The fruits of the spirit seem to be geared toward the harmony and growth of the church…which is made of individuals.
    God created Eve because it was,”not good for man to be alone”.
    To me, relationships and dependence on others is not against God’s will as long as He is first.

    Now that I am disabled, I depend on my husband more than I use to. I am thankful to God that I have him, and I believe that God blesses him because of his care to me. However, my husband is not equipped to handle all of my needs…he is not my savior, he doesn’t always understand me, he isn’t with me constantly, he grows weary. Even in marriage and friendship there is loneliness. I let others down…and they let me down too.

    The times in my life when I have “grown” spiritually are the times when I have been on my own with only the Lord. These are the times when I have had only His word and His promises on which to stand. Family and friends are great…but, God is greater.

    The older I get, the more I prefer to be alone. Church activities and meetings wear me out and seem more and more like “busy work”. I crave the peace of mind and spirit of “coming aside” to be alone with God. When everyone else is gone, when all I own is of no use or value…one thing remains. My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  119. poohpity says:

    Gee, I thought God freed us from the guilt and consequences of sin to do good works. To bind up those with a broken heart, to mourn with those who mourn, to feed the hungry, shelter to those with no homes, give water to the thirsty, comfort the weary, share the burdens of life, feel joy with those who are joyful, do kind things for our enemies, families and friends, pray with and for people. That was the reason for our restoration I thought. Eph 2:10 NLT

  120. poohpity says:

    We never retire. God can always use us no matter what.

  121. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… I did not ignore anyone, nor did I feel that Dodi’s post was presented to me as an open current need for a hug, as she was just relating to a past time in her life.
    Unless I missed her context completely…

    But, if you felt inclined to hug Dodi today, that is wonderful. That is what huggers do.

    I know because I am one, just ask my father.

    In fact, I was the only son of the four, who could actually hug my father as an adult.

    Go figure, as all my other brothers still crave getting their hugs, only they crave them from other men.

    My calling seems to run on helping others and myself, through the sharing the word of God, and you are right, some do find that it does not give them what they currently want to hear, or feel they need to hear.

    That would be their loss for not receiving it, not mine for sharing it.

    I know there was a time in my life when I rejected it as well, but then I was still unknowingly an enemy of God at that time.

    I disapproved it adamantly, but there was also a time when I was clearly called, and I clearly answered.

    There was also a time when I first called out to Christ in my greatest need, my darkest hour, and He answered!

    But, God has changed my “wanter” from that place of rejecting His word, to now craving it.

    I want to be in it daily, and share it with others as well.

    Sorry, if that misses the mark with you.

    Dodi, can speak for herself, on whether those verses I shared fed her, or upset her.

    Thanks for your always positive input that shows how you’ve viewed my actions today.

    There was a hug in there somewhere, and I trust you may find it.

    To me hearing the word of God as an obedient Christ Follower, should always bring to us a form of healing, and not pain.

    Although, rebuke can be painful for the moment, it does not destroy us, and eventually always builds us up, if we would only receive the word for the true purpose that it is given, and that is to change us.

    That has always my intent here when sharing His harder messages with their ever convicting words.

  122. poohpity says:

    When I was in the Stephen’s Ministry we were taught that God is the cure giver and we are the care givers. It is our job to point people to God while we care for them. Not for advice, or to boast our ego’s by trying to fix them but to offer the hope we have found in Christ Jesus by the things we do. Being the salt and light in dark places not by throwing salt on their wounds but by bandaging their ouchies with ointment and the balm of love. The internal ouchies are worse than those found externally like scraps and cuts. I think that is why Mart said, “but don’t think it is realistic for followers of Christ to position themselves like this.” most times they are not a very safe place to be. “An Unrealized Dream”

  123. worstofall says:

    Dear All,
    My name is Deep and I have been reading this blog for close to 3-4 years, though I have hardly commented in it.
    In my short life and even shorter Christian life (compared to most of you) I found that I needed love and understanding for my so many issues. Fellow believers surprised me with their goodness many times and few times disappointed me (that was probably I started expecting too much from them). I must say that disappointment did lead me to bitterness in my heart and I found I needed forgiveness from God for my sin and forgive them, which has been a lifetime process. I found that God wants me to love others passionately and receive that love too from others and find a way around when I am disappointed so as to not be bitter but continue to love however. I am finding it impossible to do right now…
    Is there some truth in what I shared?

  124. robbieuk says:


    People will always disappoint us if we we place too much hope in them and expect too much.
    We all find it difficult to deal with that inner feeling of being let down.
    All we can do is put it to one side, leave it with God and eventually our feelings will catch up with our hearts desire to forgive and love others.
    what we give is what we get so by showing our friends love and forgiveness that will, eventually, return to us many times over, not necessarily by the same people but you reap what you sow. Sow bitterness reap bitterness, so love reap love etc. It a law of nature as well as be a law of God.

  125. worstofall says:

    Thanks Robbieuk for the input.

  126. swwagner says:

    Robbieuk: This is so true!

    My last post was rather negative about preferring to be alone. The last 2 months have been a challenge with extra fatigue, pain, and limited mobility. It is during these times that I am especially glad that the Lord is a personal Savior who communes with us no matter where we are. It is a blessing to talk through this blog to other Christians as I stumble through life. Praise Him for gifts unspeakable!

  127. Bill says:

    Thank you, Deep. There is much truth in what you shared.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.