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A Time to Listen

P1010917My guess is that more than a few of us remain pretty amazed at the opportunity to drop by once in a while, check out the conversation, and as we care to, compare notes, anonymously, with people from all over the world—about matters that are important to us.

But having said that, I wonder how many of us are satisfied with seeing blog subjects deteriorate into some of the same seemingly unresolvable disagreements over and over again?

How often do we sense our gratefulness to Christ deepening and our love for others growing in the middle of a group that ends up unraveling in disagreements over matters that we don’t think are biblical, reasonable, loving, or true?

I think I’ve heard some of you say that you find such disagreements tiresome. Others come and go sensing that they aren’t up for the debate. More than a few are looking for a spiritual lift and insight rather than hearing the same arguments over and over again.

Some graciously go along to get along. Sometimes we just talk around the posts or comments that we consider unnecessary and unimportant. The open, and largely unmanaged format, after all, does allow us to ignore what we don’t want to talk about. That’s not all bad.

But I’m wondering whether there might be a better way to deal with a wide range of subjects, while encouraging differing perspectives, and talking together in a way that actually deepens our understanding of one another— more than our trenches and battle lines.

What if, as we give one another space to express different thoughts, we also tried to do more storytelling, ask more questions, and see if we really understand one another rather than trying to prove that we are right?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that any of us give up our conscience, convictions, or understanding of what is true, and loving, and faithful. I’m just thinking that it could be so refreshing to hear people of differing positions telling their own stories, listening to one another, and asking questions that aren’t leading or loaded to make a point—but questions that are meant to encourage understanding—and therefore better decisions of faith, hope, and love.

I’m not saying either that this is not happening—only that I wish it could happen more… and not just here… but wherever followers of Christ talk to one another– or to those who have not yet discovered the kind of understanding, love, forgiveness, patience, hope and encouragement we are all looking for.

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106 Responses to “A Time to Listen”

  1. lovely says:

    Dear Mart & all
    Since Mart you mention on sharing stories I’ll share a little of my experience
    To Add on to Hate the Sin and love the Sinner
    Coming from a broken family, I don’t usually show love or affection easily in my past. Not even when I came to be a believer but through healing and relationship with Christ that has changed a lot. But That wasn’t really evidence until I did some ministering to some people that are unlovable. As I talk with them. This Compassion of God just flowed through me to them. I don’t know if any of you experience that but its kind of supernatural you just hugged them and the compassion flows from you to them… I think tht’s just awesome . I will never imagine myself hugging people like that.
    You all should try.. hugging someone unlovable.
    Heard of stories, Missionaries.. they don’t have to preach much sometimes . Just one hug it can change someone even with a hardened heart


  2. SFDBWV says:

    This is the time of day I have a clear and open opportunity to engage in any social networking, be it write emails or some comments here. If I going to it’s going to occur now with any further involvement rushed between what is always a busy day.

    A wiser man than me was quoted as saying “A wise man speaks because he has something to say, a fool because he has to say something.”

    Each and every time I set down to comment here I think of that comment and pray I am not just talking because I have an opportunity to.

    Like Mart has mentioned I like the personal stories people share best when discussing most of the subjects and as often as I can it is how I try and give commentary. I can also say that is how Jesus taught when he spoke to make a point understood.

    We all from time to time give Bible quotes to back up a position we may have and I ain’t saying that seems wrong, what I want to say is that too often then it becomes a battle of out quoting one another in order to have the final word on the subject.

    The nit picking and bickering that ensues does, as I made reference to in my last *story*, harm for our ability to show Jesus in our comments and witness for Him.

    What happens then is that we as a community get stuck in a rut or sound like a broken record.

    The result is that many people either just quit joining in or even leave BTA altogether.

    I remember only twice that Mart had to block someone from participating, one was because of a personal plea from the person blocked to be blocked, the other because of his constantly offensive comments about our Lord.

    I still believe if we just demonstrate common courtesy and mutual respect for each other that we can share our life’s struggles and opinions with each other without ridicule and without being under attack for it.

    I pray for the healing of BTA and thank Mart for his patience with us all.


  3. pegramsdell says:

    That’s awesome Lovely….I heard once that 4 hugs a day makes you happy. lol
    Idk if it’s true, but it can hurt! :))

  4. Artle says:

    This comment I planned to write before reading Mart”s topic.

    We are all very similar and not so much different. All our ideas are very similar and not so much different. I think the differences we do have are mostly perspective.

    Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all told essentially the same story, but told it from different perspectives. If you want to look at their perspectives, there are articles and probably books that go into detail why one looks at things one way and one another.

    Point is, we are the same as the four gospel writers, except we describe belief, something that is far less visible than what was written about in the New Testament. Furthering the confusion is we are not describing the same person or same event many times; we are describing our own personal experience and we do this even when we are not telling a story, because what we believe is who we are.

    I believe when we accept that all people who call on the name of Jesus are talking about the same thing, we can then begin to realize that our thoughts are additive and not subtractive. All our combined ways together add up to how we all we one day be together in the One who brings all things together for Himself.

    How many Christians does it take to describe God?

    All of them.

  5. Artle says:


    How many Christians does it take to describe what God has done for them?

    All of them.

  6. lindafrances says:

    I have been guilty of beating someone over the head with my words because I think I’m right about God or social issues…. Not necessarily on this site but other sites. At the time I think I’m defending God and His commands, but after time with God I realize my harsh words only add to the problem and only God can open eyes and change hearts. Many of us see the world around us changing towards the path of evil. Fear for the world my children and grandchildren will live in makes me think I’m a defender of the faith….Jesus is our defender. He told us not to fear. If we are living in the last days, all that is happening and much worse is to be expected. Our commission is to tells others the good news in love and pray for them. That’s something I have to remind myself daily, sometimes hourly.

  7. Artle says:

    I am guilty by the way of thinking other people should think like I think, but I believe as I stated above. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

  8. cbrown says:

    Steve,I think you have said several times, “we live in a broken world”. This blog offers me the opportunity to interact with people all over the world and some as close as 200 miles, Gary, to discuss things that I experience daily . I may not post for 2 weeks but I am blessed by comments posted . My strength is not the written word so I do not share as often as some but as the Lord leads me I will offer a comment. Today’s “Daily Bread” was a blessing! Let’s see “a story”. Monday night I was sharing with an inmate who is 59 years old. He was sentenced to life in prison when he was 21 after spending several years in a mental institution. At the time he could not read or write. In 1977 he accepted Christ as His Savior and his life changed. He studied for and received his GED along with several other degrees. He knows he will not get out of prison in this life time but he has become certified as a law clerk and he helps other inmates who have legal problems and can not afford an attorney. As the “Daily Bread” for December 27 emphasized , he is flourishing. Praise God!

  9. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day alll… I guess what we are saying is that this site should be a Praise and Worship site.
    A place to witness, to share, to experience God in others, and oursleves.
    Then I ask myself…
    “What other than the Word, or Light, the Truth, has brought more opposition and tension into this ever darkening world than God himself?
    Be Blessed, Gary

  10. oneg2dblu says:

    The answer is as Atrle has shared, “All of us, us who He uses.”

  11. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends –

    The very title, “Been Thinking About,” suggests that we visit the site, as you said Mart:

    “…to hear people of differing positions telling their own stories, listening to one another, and asking questions that aren’t leading or loaded to make a point…”

    There are some very positive qualities to such an open forum.
    • BTA is international, though in English.
    • It is free to subscribe – though support for RBC is welcome.
    • We may bring our musings, hypotheses and anecdotes to one another hopefully without hesitation or fear.

    For me, this is no platform for persuasion or for the “Propositional Gospel.” I contrast that with the “Lifestyle Gospel.” When such chiding and argument begin, I have found it most fruitful to stop posting. The major axiom of good conversation, it seems to me, is “think and let think.” I believe I have learned that lesson more deeply in my almost three years of visiting BTA. So, thank-you to all who have been so willing to teach me!

    It is interesting that some I have seen depart the midst express the feeling that the group is unkind and judgmental. Surely nothing so conscious and unfortunate is intended by anybody ever.

    Yours in Christ,

  12. quietgrace says:

    Good morning Mart and friends!
    When I took college writing we were taught to write, rewrite, and rewrite again-with the audience in mind. So sometimes I have wished there were an edit button to use as I have rethought something, but, in a way it’s more like real-life. When I say something off the top of my head is when I get into trouble and regret the feeling of judgment and hypocrisy that readily ensues. But thank God for the grace to start-over, everyday! As Christ followers we have more commonality than differences, and when we walk in the Spirit we produce fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control.(Galatians 5:22NIV) May this be my standard today and forever.
    Blessings to all this new day in Christ, Grace

  13. poohpity says:

    As I am learning to embrace my uniqueness then I can learn to embrace the uniqueness found in others.

    I still have so much to learn regarding communication especially in a written format but I have found whatever I am feeling in my heart comes out in my words. I know that I feed into discussions that are better left alone that only stir up the hornets nests after making the choice to leave well enough alone but I return. I really hope that I do not present what I say in a way that seems like I am right and you are wrong kinda light cause that is not how I feel or think before I write. I think in a, I wonder if you may have thought of it this way(critical thinking) or this is being said but the context does not follow the words(deductive reasoning).

    I love discussing and being stuck in the apartment most often I talk a lot. So Mart, I take your admonition joyfully knowing I have so much that needs work and I will take this to heart out of respect for you and the friends who read and comment. I regard it as a privilege to have a forum like this.

  14. poohpity says:

    Mart, what happens when one has never learned how to do what you suggested, “But I’m wondering whether there might be a better way to deal with a wide range of subjects, while encouraging differing perspectives, and talking together in a way that actually deepens our understanding of one another— more than our trenches and battle lines.”? Isn’t communication a learned skill?

  15. Artle says:

    Mart may be able to steer a little, but there is a spirit that is controlled by the group as a whole, that can only be adjusted by the group as a whole.

    I think one of the hardest things to do is realize that a comment that is not the same as we think does not automatically mean the one commenting thinks we think wrong. And along with that, it is hard not to reiterate when we think we our thinking has been challenged.

    A good friend of mine likes to use the word opinion instead of the word belief. We tend to guard our beliefs, as well we should, but they are in fact indistinguishable from our opinions in this setting. I think it may be as simple as, we cannot hear the tone of the voice or see the light in each others eyes as we listen.

    A little happiness in tense moments would not hurt either. After all, I am always right, right?? :-) :-) :-)

  16. Artle says:

    I can report that is does not matter how many times I proof read a comment, the extra we or the or some typo will get through. 

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    Artle… I’m sure I’m not the only one who has seen those little reading tests the have intentional mistakes in them that the eye will just not process.
    That is many times how it works even when we write ourselves.
    That is also why professional proof readers are worth their weight in words.

    My brother is one of those types professionally, and he obviously doesn’t help me here, but, he has given me one gift that does work for me, when I am writing something that will most likely be viewed by many, or needs to have a more professional quality which I by myself do not always produce.
    His tip is this… print what your writing out on another format, like get it off the screen and put it on paper, then read it.
    That one works quite well.
    Or leave it for a while, let your emotions and other extraneous distractions have a break also, and that works as well for me!
    It did not make me a grammatical professor, sentence structure expert, or a better speller either, but it did allow me to find many errors that I could not seen by rereading on the screen, and glasses help too.
    PS I always tell the person who I am giving my signature to that I hope I have spelled it correctly . :)

  18. oneg2dblu says:

    could not (have) seen…just to prove my my point.

  19. marma says:

    I guess I’m one of those who hasn’t posted in a long time but still come around for insight and encouragement both from Mart and the other posters. I, too, like the personal stories and prayer requests, and statuses; all of which remind me we are people, on a journey together. I appreciate those who have stuck around.

    Since I’ve been away, my Mom died (a year ago) and we are trying to find my brother, who suffers from mental illness,a new place to live. He is not a believer and is very suspicious of our help. Appreciate your prayers.

    Over the years RBC has been a tremendous help to me in reminding me to study scripture in context, and dig deeper. I’m very grateful.


  20. bubbles says:

    Burmese Mountain dogs are precious.

  21. lovely says:

    Thanks pegramsdell , wish I can hug you in person too.
    Well I Mart, I followed your instruction by sharing a little story of mine, but then after reading the first part of your blog I just think if there are any unraveling in disagreement in the group do we then fearlessly speak the truth or just walk away, like your previous post “hate the sin love the sinner?”
    I still believe the answer is in the word of God.
    Steve I agree the word should not becomes a battle of out quoting one another in order to have the final word on the subject.

    But if use with God’s wisdom & love word of God can also be building up, Healing , corrects and judges the soul
    Hebrews 4:12, Psalm 107:20

    May you all continue in an intimate relationship with God

  22. SFDBWV says:

    Lovely I also very much agree with you that there are times when what we may want to say is best served by a quote from God’s word.

    Has things settled down any there in Malaysia over the missing airplane? The news media here has forgotten it for the most part.

    For those of you who follow my personal stories of events in our lives, I have a small follow up of interest concerning my 95 year old mother in law.

    In the past year (Crick) had begun seeing and hearing people in her house that isn’t there. Maybe better said, is people the rest of us couldn’t see or hear.

    She kept seeing a little girl and the little girl would ask if she could sleep with her, Crick would agree, but later in the night the little girl would be gone from her bed. So Crick would get up and look all over the house for her, even open the front door and see if there were any tracks in the snow, in case the little girl had went outside in the cold.

    Many times she would see and talk to her deceased daughter Rita (my first wife) and at times she would hear from her deceased husband. Sometimes the little girl who remains nameless would be two little girls and Crick would try and figure out who they were.

    Every morning when Crick and I would talk of the nights events, we discussed all the possibilities, but I assured her the events were not real only in her imagination and tried to convince her of the danger of her wandering around her house at night with or without her walker and how it worried me she might go outside in the middle of the night in the middle of winter.

    One morning in January she said to me “Steve I put in a very rough night last night so I called Connie (her 70 year old daughter) and told her it was time for me to go and live with her”. Connie had been trying to get her mother to move over with her for the past several years.

    So within a week or ten days we made it happen.

    Over the ensuing weeks and months (less than 4) that past by Connie called every day to complain about her mother’s insisting on coming home. They argued and fought so intensely that everyone in Connie’s family got to a point of being very unhappy with Crick and her presence with them. Her daughter her grandchildren and even her great grandchildren all become very angry with Crick.

    So Friday a week ago Connie called me on a Friday and told me she was bringing her mother back the very next day (Saturday). She did and stayed only as long as it took to drop her mother off and unload her things.

    Back in her own home Crick is very happy once again and once again seeing the little girl and especially Rita her deceased daughter.

    Crick promises me she won’t go outside in her nocturnal wanderings and Glenna and I will do all we can to care for her needs, though it is an added workload for Glenna we feel it is God’s will and we accept the responsibility as being such.

    If there needs to be a point in my story this morning, it is that we all live lives that are constantly in motion always changing and always in need of healing and help from God. God puts people in a position of doing His work and obeying His will and it all becomes our life. We must always be prepared to do what is right and lend a hand to anyone around us, be prayerful for all we know and thankful for all we have.

    I pray all of you find happiness in your life’s walk today.


  23. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Mart, for bringing us back to the basics.
    My idea for joining this blog 4 years ago, was to be part of a group of christians that are living now, and relate in everyday life, and encourage one another to live our lives with Jesus. As I was reading devotionals, of people long time dead. Not that it matters as God’s Spirit is making new everyday what He wrote long ago through people.
    But anyway, connect with living people.
    What I have to admit is, that at times I would think over what was being said here on the blog, and I would meditate on it at night, and in the morning I would start to write. At some time it dawned upon me, that I was more busy communicating here on the blog then communicating with Jesus.
    Jesus first: Just wake up in the morning, and connect to Jesus, see Him in the faith, as real as can be. He is more real then a living person. Talk with Him, say all that is in my heart, thing weighing heavy on my heart, (come to Me you who are heavy laden and I will give you rest, Matt 11:28)
    So Jesus is first and foremost. This morning again, this day is for Him, and I should look forward and trust God He will keep me close to Him, and trust Jesus that His Spirit will lead me.
    It is all about believing that, faith, and then I am connected, and just as when the sap of the vine will flow through the branches and it will produce fruit, so it is in our lives, if I am connected I will produce fruit. So that is my point:
    Come to Him, abide in Him and come to rest.
    (see also God calling May 8)
    Believe who I am in Jesus Christ, I am bought with a price I am His, and all my worries, and daily care all my needs are His, and I should trust that more and more, till I am like Mary of Bethanie John 12:3, so full of passion for Jesus, that I give my all for Him.
    Some more information about me, and this one came after Steve wrote some time ago about christians saying they love Jesus…
    “Simon Peter, do you really love Me” John 21:16, a question that keeps entering my mind. (the scripture says, Simon son of John)
    I know I am being lived by Him, at least I think I know as it is so mysterious, Jesus dying for my sins saving me, and am who I am, a child of God.
    But do I love Him? Am I like Mary of Bethanie?
    Help me Jesus, that is what I want to be.

  24. foreverblessed says:

    typo, I am being loved by Him

  25. foreverblessed says:

    And to add a little more, the prayer requests are very precious to me, and I do pray Marma, for your brother, and Steve for your mother in law. And also in that, I ask for more faith, that as we pray, that God is more then able to do everything we ask in faith. It is His worry, and His to work out. That I ask in faith, not worrying again, how is this ever going to change? But asking God and go forward happy and in good cheer.

  26. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… I would say that if Christ is Lord of your life, everything else is going to be His also.
    If the world then has taken second place, you are still walking within the guidelines that God has set forth for us to follow.
    I also say that my blogging here took time away from something else, but it did not take me away from Him, as He is the focal point of the who, what, where, when, why, and how we are here.
    We are blessed to be here sharing with others who are blessed, grieving with others who grieve, and forming a family of believers who have all been touched by something other than the world around us, who also wants our time.
    Mart has given us a great thing to engaged in here, sharing something we’ve all, “Been Thinking About.”

  27. lovely says:

    Dear Steve
    The last I heard of the plane is about searching for the black box.. don’t think they found any there is nothing indicating that the search was successful. Nevertheless the newspaper wrote that the insurance are already paying out the compensation to the family members.
    I have a grandmother she forgot her way home so we have to place her in the nursing home. I visit her once a week & pray for her.I’ll let her read some scripture and and ask her to explain to me to keep her mind going. I pray that Jesus you heal both Steve’s mother in law and my grandmother
    Foreverblessed, praise the Lord you’re able to spend time in intimacy with the Lord. Keep on going. If we keep seeking Him deeper, He’ll show us how deep His love really is ,so then we can experience His love in depth enough we can permeate His love to the world

  28. lovely says:

    Dear Steve
    The last I heard of the plane is about searching for the black box.. don’t think they found any there is nothing indicating that the search was successful. Nevertheless the newspaper wrote that the insurance are already paying out the compensation to the family members.
    I have a grandmother she forgot her way home so we have to place her in the nursing home. I visit her once a week & pray for her.I’ll let her read some scripture and and ask her to explain to me to keep her mind going. I pray that Jesus you heal both Steve’s mother in law and my grandmother

  29. hera says:

    hello…to all it’s been a very long while since i last read this blog :) and this day when i decided to drop by..??…not a “writing on..” instead it’s more like a comment about this place, “arguments/arguing” again? i dont know if i am right about this, sorry if i am mistaken, but this is based on my own experience, “arguing” will never extinct or be completely eradicated in any area, any subject, any level… :) usually people FEEL that they are good people and have the “right” values (perhaps it’s sort of intrinsic, one of our means of survival??)and of course it also speaks of ego :) – i mean ego in the positive way, not the negative one. and sometimes this self image that i am a good person and have the right values can carry a bit too far… :)
    Mr De Haan, may you always be blessed with health, wisdom, patience, serenity and joy-filled life ! :)
    to everybody, may you all have a pleasant, great week-end! :)

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning to all. It is 60 degrees and wet this morning as last evening and overnight we had some drizzle that didn’t amount to much rain, but kept things wet.

    The morning sky is a mixture of puffy as well as angry clouds with the streaks of light that as soon as the sun rises will cause a beautiful blend of morning colors.

    I have about 10 humming birds that are all buzzing around the three feeders I have up and there is a symphony of bird songs filling the morning air.

    Matthew has had his breakfast and is comfortably napping in his big “lazy boy” chair, I ‘m having another cup of coffee and spending a little time here with you all.

    I have often said I envy, somewhat, people who can just accept things as they are and live in simple bliss not concerning themselves with deeper thoughts, but that is not me, it is in these quiet times that I tend to think too much and wonder what it’s all about.

    So often as I come before the Lord in my morning prayers I find myself confronted with asking for what I want specifically with asking for what God wants not knowing to what trials and tribulations His will may take me(us) in living out His will.

    I think back to a time when Matthew was just stepping out into the world as a young man and how he and I ask God to use us for His purpose; we believing that in doing so our lives would be filled with prosperity and blessings. Never did I or Matt ever imagine what lay ahead for us. If we had perhaps we would have just ask for nothing.

    However in asking God to use us, it seems He has, and the riches and prosperity I thought would be forthcoming has turned out to be treasure in heaven, while all of our earthly needs provided for here and now.

    He allowing me to see and experience a beautiful morning here, while also allowing me to know there is a morning coming so wonderful that I could never imagine just how beautiful it will be.

    It is indeed a difficult life knowing that there is one coming that will out shine this one, all the while knowing we have to endure this one. A live that would be unbearable if not for the comfort in having Jesus more than help bear the load.


  31. Artle says:

    Been thinking about the topic at hand. I generally think too much, and I might be over-thinking this, but here is what I see, from my perspective, which is only one of many available:

    In some respects, I think the questions that never go away are bigger then we are. Maybe not bigger than we are individually; individually we can decide for ourselves what we will believe and what we will not believe. It is a prerequisite to free will. But bigger then we are as a group, because as a group we cannot decide what we believe.

    The underlying reason is the diversity of the group, which is actual the same force that makes BTA a rather unique place.

    So, from my perspective, the group needs to realize that a group cannot have group-level free will and individually we need to respect the free will of each other to believe as we individually feel we need to believe.

    Remember, just my perspective.

    To Be Continued

  32. Artle says:


    Spiritually speaking, we each have a God given right to believe as we want. So, forcing a belief on someone else actually goes against the free will gifted to the individual by God.

    Christianity is built upon the sharing of belief between people, so we have to keep sharing our beliefs. I think the “unraveling in disagreements” begins when we offer our beliefs in such a manner that gives no choice and we effectively step on someone’s free will; not their belief, but their right to believe as they choose.

    So, let us each offer every belief we have for the benefit of all, while tempering our comments and responses with the realization that each individual has a God given right to accept or reject whatever they choose.

    Remember, just my perspective.

  33. poohpity says:

    As I have been sitting back listening and really hearing what Mart was saying it is almost comical that much like everything else it seems hardly noticeable that what he wrote was taken to heart. Rather than asking one’s self is Mart saying something to me/you it seems easier to apply this to others.

    It has been said in the past if Mart has a problem with the way we are doing his blog then he needs to say something but he has said something and it seems his words are not heard. “Who me?” “Surely he is not talking about me” instead of “wow in such a gentle rebuke I have been asked to change the way I write on his blog”. It is an art to have the ability to really listen to what someone is saying and then take personal responsibility.

  34. poohpity says:

    When I first came here Mart posted almost everyday and this was the first blog I have ever been a part of. So I read all about it before I ever logged in to post. I used this blog as part of my morning devotions because many talked about the topics from many views and perspectives. It was just great and I totally enjoyed it. Then slowly over the years it has gone from a devotion to commotion. I know I have played a role in that and for that I am so totally grieved.

    There were many people that showed their love of God and His Word, sharing it was the norm with just a few who bucked what was going on now it seems like the norm is something far different but there are still a few who really enjoy discussing what Mart has given us to think about but it is now the exception.

    Marma, I miss you and your wisdom. Even though I did not comment your son is in my prayers and also sharing in your grief for your mom. May the Lord bring peace and comfort to overflowing.

    Steve, your MIL is also in my prayers

  35. Artle says:

    Pooh, Re: 9:52 and in the spirit of “ask more questions, and see if we really understand one another”, and since it directly bears on the topic.

    When you say, “hardly noticeable”, that seems to be directed at everyone, which I’m thinking is not what you mean.

  36. poohpity says:

    Artle, anyone to which it applies. Thank you for asking for clarification. When I first read it I asked myself where are the needed changes in my comments but it seems(that does not mean it is true, just my observations)some think it is for others but does not apply to them. It is the comment guidelines with meat on them and more specific ways to respect each other and our blog host, in that way I think it applies to everyone.

  37. poohpity says:

    But when it comes down to it the only person I am responsible for adhering to those guidelines is myself. That is the area I mess up the most.

  38. foreverblessed says:

    To listen to another thing Mart said, that we listen to one another, instead of bringing in some more views of mine, I would like to recall what lindafrances wrote May 8, 8.53 am, thank you very much for this insight you got, that we do not have to defend our faith, that if we do, we make matters worse. But rather we should show what Jesus in us means.
    Thank you very very much for sharing this insight.

    And lovely, thanks for your blessing, I accept it gratefully. And thanks for being so open about your past, and hugging the unlovable, yes, that is what we are told to do: bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate(hurt) you.
    Mostly I would go to God, and start whining about the hurt, but this command is christianity for the advanced. I guess it is, but maybe if I had listened to it while still a new christian I would have felt the blessing that is coming in obeying this command years sooner.
    If God gives a command: love you enemies, He also gives the power to do it, His power, not ours, because we cannot do it ourselves. His love poured out in us, and from us to those around us.

  39. quietgrace says:

    Good afternoon Pooh and thank you for your honesty. You are so right-we are only responsible for ourselves. You joked recently that you have been known as the ‘blog police’, what an exhausting job that must have been!LOL! And, frustrating at the same time. It sure is easy, isn’t it, to see where others are messing up, but as you have stated several times, we are only to look at ourselves when convicted.

    On that note my thoughts are that as Christians we are responsible to our God, ourselves, and others, which can get interesting to figure out sometimes. What is so easy to see in others can mean we are blind to our own problems, but grace gives us time to accept and make improvements as prompted by the Holy Spirit.

    I pray we all figure this out according to what God wants, not us, His followers, and when there is conviction, that we will gracefully accept and move forward.
    Blessings, Grace

  40. foreverblessed says:

    Grace, actually it is quite easy: that the thing that I see wrong in another person, or the thing that irritates me in another, is the exact thing that is wrong in me.
    It works!
    Because there are many things wrong in another, most of them I do not see, or they do not bother me, but the ones that do irritate me, hit a spot in myself.

    My own personal story of this week:
    I was talking on Monday that I would see a person who is abused in her childhood. After having walking alongside with her for 15 years, I slowly cannot take it anymore when she talks negatively about people abusing her, still. I was asking her to look to Jesus, and not focus on the abuse, but she said, I need healing, then I can see the good. So I thought that it was true, and listened some more years. But now she talked about a person I knew, that abused her, and now I saw that it was not the truth. It was her interpretation, I knew the person who so called abused her, did not have the the motivation to use her. Then I saw that there were still lying thoughts entering her mind, and she accepted them as her own, and would proceed in the thought line.
    And even more, that that was my way of handling hurting people too, far too long, suddenly I looked at her, and knew that is what I was like:
    Forgetting to look to Jesus. The right action is: stopping these thoughts entering in her mind. So I was adamant that she would stop this line of thinking! And finally she suddenly saw this truth: to look at Jesus, and stop the negative thoughts! And start blessing the person that is hurting her! Hallelujah!!
    Now the hard part for me is this: She accuses me of having been to harsh to her, and told me to be more polite. That hurts. So the command is for me: bless her, ask God to give her His Spirit of love, His Spirit of peace. “Bless those that hurt you, do good to them that despitefully use you.”

  41. foreverblessed says:

    Am I clear in my writing? Reading it over while it is online, let me rehearse: she says she now sees what God’s command is: bless those that use you.
    But she does not see that I awakened her in being quite adamant in stopping her negative story. The harshness was not too hard, actually it was needed that I said it, as she would not listen to my kinder asking, for more then 4 years now, bless them not because they deserve it, but because they need it: I again asked her nicely on Monday: Bless them.
    And she didn’t, she had to tell her story of evil the other person had been to her.
    So I repeated it more intensely: Stop it, I cannot hear this anymore, Bless her, for God’s sake!
    And now she sees it, that is the way God wants it. Up side down: do not be overcome by evil, overcome evil with good.

  42. quietgrace says:

    Foreverblessed reading your story makes me think of the story of the Prodigal by Henri Nouwen. He talks about not only the prodigal but the reactions of the brother. But, he ends up revealing how God wants us all to be like the father to each other. A very deep and profound truth.

    Your friend was able to accept the truth from you because she trusted you and had a relationship with you. Relationship is soooo important, knowing that the other is kindly empathetic but not willing to leave us where we are at. We sometimes need someone to get involved in our stories, but, at the same time it is easy to get caught in our own self-pity, as I am learning myself lately. Thank you for sharing this story!
    Blessings, Grace

  43. marma says:

    Foreverblessed: thank you for your comments on May 9th at 7:27, and for your prayers!


  44. poohpity says:

    Marma forgive me for not listening well enough that it is your brother that needs a home not your son?

  45. poohpity says:

    Grace when I was acting like a so called blog police it was mainly due the number of people that were being hurt by hate speech, judgement and people telling them they did not belong on this blog because they may have thought differently than some. I saw how not abiding by the guidelines caused harm but yet following them showed respect for others and Mart. I find it hard to just go along to get along not making waves but at least I let the hurt know someone heard.

    I treated them like I would want to be treated and I know how it feels not having someone stand up for me many times, so I stood up for them. Living in an abusive home and telling one parent the other one is mean with hitting, yelling and them saying you probably deserve what happens I would have loved someone in my corner.

  46. quietgrace says:

    Pooh yes I understand the need to reach-out and rescue the downtrodden. How old were you when you recognized that God was in your corner?

  47. lovely says:

    Foreverblessed. Your’re welcome and that’s good that you bring all your whining to God. Perhaps your friend should bring all her whining to God. But from experience , After whining God expect me to move on. That’s what forgiveness is all about. “ forgiveness doesn’t mean what the offender do is right but that you’re letting go and leaving the punishment to God.” Romans 12:19 . I am not at all saying that she doesn’t forgive but didn’t want her to go through the same thing I did.. if only I’ve known this earlier I won’t have had to carry this burden which is so heavy! I can’t do anything at all. I just stayed in my past doesn’t help me but make things worst. It build walls around me because I was afraid of getting hurt again.. the past haunts me because I hold on to it.I can’t do anything for God. Always thinking about the problem. The past. This is the price I paid for unforgiveness. Only until I let go & let God .. then I see things changed.
    I can see she has thoughts ,negative thoughts but honestly you can’t stop these thoughts unless you take her out of the world because that’s how our enemy break us down by thoughts. You see I tried that. Doesn’t work.. But one thing I know works replacing those thoughts with God’s word. It helps when you meditate on God’s word. That’s the key. Why else would the devil do all he can to stop us from reading God’s word. The parable of the sower in Matthew 13. The bird is the devil and the seed God’s word. The devil knows there is victory in the word of God. If we know the truth, his lies are broken. Perhaps some bible study with her could help
    May you be foreverblessed like your name


  48. SFDBWV says:

    Not knowing whether or not Mart may put up a Mother’s Day subject this morning I have been holding back from saying anything.

    The subject of mothers swirling around my head and all the possibilities connected with it.

    There is my own mother and her life and influence on me, there is Jesus’ mother and her special calling, and then there is the Mormon belief of a “Queen of Heaven”.

    So you can see the subject has many directions.

    Concerning the current topic and reading some of the comments, I am reminded of another old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt.”

    A long time ago speaking to a teenager who had ask me if listening to rock and roll music was a sin, I simply said this “ if you look for evil you will find it, but if you look for good this you will find as well.”

    So what is it we look for when we read the thoughts of another? Agreement, disagreement, honesty or information?

    Here in this connected yet unconnected relationship we have with each other some may feel safe to lie or exaggerate or try and present a false front, while others may feel safe to let down their hair and just be themselves away from people who know too much about them.

    Which is it we look for in each other’s comments? The good, the bad or are wounds exposed by God’s gift of discerning with love as a purpose?

    Here like anywhere in life we have an opportunity to love someone, even if they sometimes seem unlovable and show such love in all we say or don’t.

    Happy Mother’s Day to all you mothers out there and father’s who may have to be mother as well.


  49. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Saw Kevin Durant receive the NBA’s most valuable player award a few days ago. As he accepted, Kevin gave a wonderful tribute to his mom — calling her the MVP.

    Moms have carried us, nourished and watched over us — when we were well and when we were unwell. Moms also plant in us the first seeds of faith in God.

    Happy Mother’s Day to moms young and old!


  50. poohpity says:

    I wonder if we can not see ourselves very clearly how can we look into the lives of others clearly? Wouldn’t that mean that our judgments are clouded especially when we harbor anger and resentments?

    Grace, I came to believe at 9 but did not have a personal relationship with Jesus until 35 after 21 years of substance abuse. July 5th 1989 I ask for His help to get off drugs/alcohol which I tried many times before and He did, then started my first time through the Bible Christmas 1989 when my mom bought this wonderful Bible. Through my mom’s prayers, never giving up on me and finding out just how awesome the love of God is, I plunged totally into the Lord and His Word.

    I was homeless with a 6 month old and a 2 year old living in a van. I got an AAS when I was 40 and a BA when I was 50 and became a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor.

    It was my mom who was abusive but then she accepted Christ and became a new creation. She passed away in 2009 my best friend and Bible study partner. I am so grateful to her. Happy Mother’s day to all the mom’s/mum’s.

  51. quietgrace says:

    Pooh, happy Mother’s day to you and thanks for sharing about your life and especially the beauty of lives (yours and your mom’s)redeemed by the love of God. God certainly had a plan for your life, didn’t He! And wow how you have blessed so many!
    Blessings to you and all mothers today, Grace

  52. Artle says:

    Thinking of several things that have crept into my mind over the last several topics, but kind of refocused listening to Forever’s story.

    When someone seems unlovable, and we cannot love them, doesn’t that wound our hearts a little, when we want to love and cannot find a way? And when we do find a way, doesn’t our love for another heal our own heart. If I understood the story, just like forever’s friend was healed when she managed to bless (love) the one who had wounded her. I know for me, when I bless/forgive/love another, it is my heart that heals and the other may not even know about it.

    Love one another, not because our love will have a great power over another (though it might), but because our love will have a great power over our own heart.

    Subject change: There really is no way to avoid my ideas conflicting with another’s ideas in my mind and I assume in another’s mind as well. I am satisfied that belief in Jesus Christ is the # 1 single most important aspect of anything and that everything else falls way-way-back and far-far behind. Now, my added thought is that believing in Jesus Christ is 99.99999999999% of what is important, so all the things we discuss fall into the 0.00000000001%. Not saying that what we discuss is not important, because it is very important, but just putting it into perspective, because Jesus is so much more than we imagine. Of course, even this is subject to belief versus belief.

  53. poohpity says:

    As someone once said, “Great minds think for themselves”. With that said we all have the freedom to think for ourselves and just because someone disagrees most do not take it as a personal assault or insult. In the great think tanks in American or where freedoms are allowed everyone is allowed the privilege to express themselves. To share their own thoughts and feeling with no retribution and come up with some really good ideas.

    Nowadays when someone expresses an opposing view they are demonized, called names and oppressed, the sad part is that is even in Christian circles. Even within our families or spouses will not share how they really think or feel because everyone has to think and feel the same way as the dominate/domineering person because it starts almost an all out war. It is their way or the highway.

    Everyone brings a part of themselves to the table and everyone is important. I was reading Romans 14+15 yesterday about respecting the person and where they are coming from it was very educational.

    Look at just what is happening in America now such division and TV shows being cancelled because someone thinks differently. When we want someone to listen to us, it would be nice to extend the same to others and disagreeing is not a personal insult. We have the freedom to believe what we want and think what we want, if we want that freedom we need to show it to others.

  54. SFDBWV says:

    It seems every day that there is something *new* in the news that just is astonishing as it flies in the face of common sense or of what most of us view as the correct way of life.

    The politically correct police take aim at what someone said and their careers are over. They are burned at the stake of public opinion.

    The problem is that this politically correct police does not represent everyone, in fact they may actually be in a minority, but have control of what we hear and see and so sway public opinion as does a mob.

    Hitler thought that by burning books he could manipulate people toward his view of life, there is no difference in my mind between him and this *new* social order I see emerging in the world.

    Incredibly the political correct police do this in the name of freedom.

    Everyone is free to be themselves as long as it is exactly like them.

    If we are different or have a different opinion we are then labeled with a long list of ugly names meant to discredit and destroy us; which amounts to character assassination (murder).

    Don’t think that witch hunts or public executions are over, just watch the news or listen to public commentary.

    This little community of BTA is just a microcosm of the world, we may feel shielded from the world, but the world is here.

    The most active topics are political hot buttons, and religious disparities, but the ones most avoided so as to not offend anyone.

    It is ok to have different opinions, it is the delivery of opinions that raises emotions as much as the issues themselves. It should be said also that sometimes religious and political positions are an emotional issue and we should not be surprised then when people feel strongly about them.

    How do we deal with emotionally charged discussions then?

    There are different political parties and there are churches with different names on the door.

    We can either bed down with people of common interests and beliefs or listen to what others may have to say without insisting they be exactly like us.

    46 degrees this morning with fire trucks and ambulances speeding south of town, most likely a vehicle wreck.

    Someone’s tragedy beginning for them.


  55. SFDBWV says:

    So what kind of a community do you want BTA to be?

    A mutual admiration society where we all say nice things to each other on line, while privately feeling resentments?

    A politically correct gathering who shun any person who we feel is not on the same page as us concerning every issue.

    An exclusive gathering of Christian’s only.

    An inclusive gathering of anyone along with their baggage, whether it be a sin to us or not.

    A conservative view.

    A liberal view.

    None of the above.

    All of the above.

    My take on the matter is that all of the above show up on BTA, the thing is we should feel free to be any of the above without condemnation from any other.

    That has not been the case in the past and that condemnation is what sends people away and change the channel.

    I have only heard that the ambulance and fire trucks were sent to a single vehicle accident, and know nothing of any injured parties. I will inform you when I do.


  56. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Mart, you ask:

    “…I wonder how many of us are satisfied with seeing blog subjects deteriorate into some of the same seemingly unresolvable disagreements over and over again?”

    It seems to me, within the guidelines laid out at the top of the blog, all here have remarkable freedom to comment upon the topic. It seems to me we stray into the minefield of “pet opinions” to the extent that we comment upon, then object to, and finally argue with one another’s statements. We do not have to devolve either into a bland “bless-me-bless-you” forum — nor do we have to sharp-shoot one another.

    By the time a commenter has been aboard for a few topics, many will know the general direction of that one’s theological and/or political leaning. I hope to simply listen to and note the opinion — and then proceed with a positive statement reflecting my own. I confess I do not always succeed in this!

    Perhaps in a time of listening, we can hear ourselves — and note any repetition of closely held opinions.

    Last week at a senior lunch, asparagus was being served. I helped myself to several spears, and passed the plate. The gal next to me pushed it away and loudly said, “Yuck, I hate asparagus!” The tray of that vegetable moved on around the table, some taking a heap and some simply passing it on. The woman, long after the asparagus had been served shouted, “That stuff is nasty!” I looked into her eyes and said quietly, “Once is enough, Jo.” And so it is…in my opinion.


  57. poohpity says:

    Maru, that is what I really liked was commenting on the topic. Mart put forth his thoughts then asked us what we think about the subject creating an atmosphere of deeper relationships with God and others through them and it works, well unless.

    I play Pinochle and Cribbage in person and on the internet. The creator of the game made rules so it was fair for everyone. When playing in person here in our community they determined rule changes and point changes so when new people come and play they usually are baffled by the differences and rather than learning the correct rules they have to be taught the club house’s take on the game but because everyone likes to play people go along. There are times in the middle of the game a new rule will pop up according to club house. It would be nice if the same rules applied all the time so everyone could play with conformity and the sad part is as long as someone is winning it is fine.

    On the internet we all have to play by the rules of the game but then comes the disruptions. Several things happen, people after playing the first hand and losing the hand they just leave the table or if they continue to stay and losing then others are accused of cheating, they call names, they try and control how the partner plays, they cuss you out and the last thing is they bid the score up so high if they are going to lose they do it big not taking into account they are effecting the ratings of their partner’s as well.

    However there are those that win or lose they really enjoy just playing the game. I wish it was the norm for those who play and enjoy the game but the negative ones are the norm. Isn’t that true in so many areas in the life of this blog too.

  58. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all…
    Oops, is that now becoming an annoying recurring theme?

    Just joking!

    Or, is it only the things “we see” as being opposed to our opinions that become a, “Once said, enough said.”

    As Steve has so rightly exposed, “the world is already in here.”

    I would say, so is the world view that tags innocently along with it, and almost unnoticed until someone makes a stand, only to then be labeled critical or judgmental no less?

    That is where our words and our tone plays into the mix, and all the name calling and destructive labels and the like never add to any resolve, but always add to the noise of the battle.

    One example…Perhaps, before we label another as a liar, knowing what the word actually says, (no liars will enter the kingdom of heaven,) which really means our loosely thrown label is actually a condemning one, to those who believe that word is, as it is written.

    We might take a moment to temper our responses to something lighter, like perhaps, I think we may not be being completely truthful here, or possibly we have misunderstood each other’s comments, or position.

    I’m not saying I am capable of such control of the tongue myself, certainly not there yet, but, now that we are now taking time to listen and think about it…

  59. poohpity says:

    My son and I went and saw “God’s Not Dead” if any of you have the time it is a great movie.

  60. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry, I left out the verse I was referencing found in Revelation 21:8 NIV, which I believe is true for all those who now live as such.

  61. poohpity says:

    Gary, I guess we should ask ourselves are our words stirring each other to goodness, peace, joy, harmony and building each other up in faith? The most important reason for that is so that people will desire to have a relationship with God. What was it that brought you to God? Shouldn’t we want others to experience that same joy of being forgiven of our sins?

  62. cbrown says:

    Ephesians4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

  63. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… you ask, “What was it that brought you to God?”

    Although that many faceted jewel of a question, which could be answered with a, simple, God did, I would also have to say it was my parents who drove us to Sunday school for many years, who raised up in a household that prayed together, and who believed the word as it is written.
    Proverbs 22:6 NIV “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

    I believe that the prayers my mother ushered up before the Lord for her children in faith, were not left as Unheard or Unanswered.

    I believe that all the disobedience and darkness in my life through wrong my ungodly choices found in following the world that promised much but never really fulfilled me, never brought any real victory, and certainly brought me to a point of despair, that living an empty, lonely, guilty life,along with my fear of death, helped also to bring me into His Marvelous Light.
    Of course, it was the leading Hand of the Grace of God upon my life and knowing now that it was my destiny and my time, and my response to that being raised, prompted, called, and obeying that leading, all played their vital role in the who and where I am today, Following Christ!

    So, I ask you the same, What was it that brought you to God at such a young age in the first place, and then, living all those years as Prodigal after that, what brought you back?

  64. remarutho says:

    Yes, Pooh —

    Shifting rules are like being in “Wonderland.” Nothing is as it seems. Very unsettling, in my opinion. We may be creative and unconventional without insulting the other.

    Am reminded of a scene from an old romantic comedy — “French Kiss.” Jean Luc comments roughly upon Kate’s demeanor and even her thought process. Kate reminds him, “Interesting and rude are not the same thing.”

    Nobody loses a thing by extending to another the respect and dignity of consideration and status as a child of God. We stand upon the shoulders — not upon the faces — of our teachers, it seems to me. Common courtesy is refreshing in our time of history.

    “What am I trying to say? Have I given it my best effort?” is a good self-test as (or better, before) I click Submit Comment.


  65. oneg2dblu says:

    I wonder which category the actual sharing of the warnings found in the word, would fall into?
    A building up, or tearing down?
    Wholesome or unwholesome? talk?
    Godly or ungodly?
    Truth or consequences?
    Loving or unloving?
    Better to be left alone, or better to be revealed?

  66. oneg2dblu says:

    cbrown… interesting choice of words in that verses Ephesians 4:29 were it says,”according to their needs.”

    To everyone, I ask…

    I wonder how we determine what another’s needs are if they are already a believer?

    Do we then have to make a judgment about what we will, or will not share with them?

    To me, every confessing believer should be held accountable to live as holy, according to the word.

    Is that too harsh a judgment for anyone who claims to have the Holy Spirit living in them?


  67. remarutho says:

    “I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.”

    Abraham Lincoln

  68. quietgrace says:

    Gary, interesting questions you have asked! Paul says that our communications should “give grace to those who hear” in Ephesians 4:29 NIV. That is what I base my responses on, does my speech give grace, or judgement which corrupts.

  69. quietgrace says:

    OOps, the ESV uses the words I was quoting.

  70. cbrown says:

    Gary, actually The rest of the passage is good also. Good evening quietgrace,pooh and Maru. It is a beautiful evening in North Florida.

  71. poohpity says:

    Gary, you asked me, “What was it that brought you to God?”? It was the offer of forgiveness for my sins.

  72. poohpity says:

    Maru, do you feel I insulted someone?

  73. marma says:

    Pooh, yes, my brother. Mostly, I’m praying that he will allow us to help him.

  74. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    Just home from Bible study. Pooh! I do not feel anybody has insulted anybody — truly. I do, however, feel that the main point of the next-to-the-last chapter of John’s vision of heaven is Rev 21:3, 4.

    The Abraham Lincoln quote was in reference to how each of us might choose to inform others about Christ’s coming kingdom.


  75. poohpity says:

    marma, ok that is what I’ll pray for. Does he think it comes with strings attached or does he feel he is not deserving of any help?

    Maru, I am so glad you did not feel that way. I wanted to tell you that I am so thankful since you have been on here for being faithful to the topics and the gentle way you guide us back to it when we get taken in another direction.

  76. Artle says:

    The only problem anyone here or anywhere else in the world has is, they don’t know Jesus as well as they could.

    It is an all inclusive statement of the human race, from the one closest to God to the one farthest away, and no one is exempt.

    The only problem anyone here or anywhere else in the world has is, they don’t know Jesus as well as they could.

    Help people know Jesus. How is this so misunderstood?

  77. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, Maru, thanks for your upbuilding comments, and I noticed that most of the time nobody reacts to what you say, and yet you keep on going, great! Also, that: “once is enough” is great!
    Lovely, thank you for your own personal point. I guess that it is one of the profound truths of being a christian: that when Christ grows in us, the dark has to leave us. In my frends case this process is slow: she had dark thoughts 80% of the time 15 years ago, now it is 20% of the time. She has bible verses written out all over her house, she starts out with it. She sings chrsitans songs. It is a good suggestion, I will ask her about a bible study. She does these things and yet dark thoughts enter.
    Do you find it difficult now, to stop dark thoughts that (or when they) enter your mind? Isn’t this what Paul says in 2 Cor 10:5.

    Artle, yes, that is what I would like about this blog: encouraging each other to get to know Jesus better as our personal very very dear Friend. The One who is the great “I Am”
    John 6:35,51 the Bread of Life
    John 8:12 the Light of the world
    John 10:7,9 the Gate
    John 10:11,14 the Shepherd
    John 11:25 the Resurrection and the Life
    John 14:6 the Way the Truth and the Life
    He is our all in all!
    (I thought there were 7 “I am”s?)

  78. Artle says:

    Forever, John 15:1 NASB

  79. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… good answer, thanks for doing so.

    One must acknowledge they are “guilty” of being a sinner first, or in need of that forgiveness, and the only savior that provide, if you will.

    I agree, man’a greatest need is a savior, and Man’s greatest life changing moment, is in knowing which one he still constantly needs to sustain him today.

    However, when he is at the beach and finds he needs a worldly savior, any lifeguard will do.

    But, the one that saves us all from our guilty, empty, lonely feelings and our fear of death, that Saviour, the one who has that “iou,” is found only in God, or Jesus Christ alone.

    To me, that one word when spelled that way can only mean one thing, (if you can look it up) that is if it still exists in the world’s more modern versions that eventually will probably choose to phase it out if they are to have there way, just as they are trying so hard to remove all mention of Jesus Christ everywhere else.

    Yes, I agree forgiveness from your sin, brought you to Christ.

    But, for you and probably all others here, myself included, it was actually the your past guilt that convicted you, and that, was removed when we were forgiven, because the sin as you say, still goes on or exists in us all today, every time we choose to follow the desires of the flesh instead of the desires of the Spirit.
    To me, it is still he Daily Bread that provides us the daily strength to fight the daily moment, or battle.

  80. oneg2dblu says:

    quietgrace… thanks for sharing, another interesting choice of words, found in the ESV, “for those who hear.”

    I like then equally as well.

    “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.”

    To all…

    Please forgive me if I am being rudely repetitive for asking more than once, but no one here ever answered my original, open to all, question…

    So, what comes from “hearing the warnings” found in the word of God?

    I would say, much wisdom is found in both needing and in the hearing of warnings, and much blessings found in the adhering to them, much sin avoided in the application of them, and not any judgment or corruption,
    you think you see there, should not be found in the messenger, or the words.

    I hope I am not tearing anyone down here, just by asking such things, because I am only trying to share, and build us all up.


  81. foreverblessed says:

    sorry Gary, I did answer you, May 13 5 am. A very early comment
    not that I am up that early, but you in the States are a bit late.
    Sometimes I do get the impression that you do not listen very well. As this topic of you: the warnings in the bible, has been discussed by you many times before, And I have given you a long answer to, more then once. Do you remember what that answer is?
    (I sound like a primary school teacher now, sorry for that.)
    Be all blessed today! If God is for us, who can be against us?

  82. foreverblessed says:

    Artle, Yes, of course: the other “I am” of Jesus:
    I am the Vine
    John 15:1-11
    and we are the branches, remain in Me,
    Keep attached to Jesus, and the life of His life will automatically flow through us, and produce fruit. If we remain in Him it is impossible that we have not fruit! That is a very positive message that I give here, just believe these words and live by them. Believe that God is powerful to do as He has promised, all the promises in the bible, read them and believe them.

  83. poohpity says:

    Mart said, “But having said that, I wonder how many of us are satisfied with seeing blog subjects deteriorate into some of the same seemingly unresolvable disagreements over and over again?

    How often do we sense our gratefulness to Christ deepening and our love for others growing in the middle of a group that ends up unraveling in disagreements over matters that we don’t think are biblical, reasonable, loving, or true?

    I think I’ve heard some of you say that you find such disagreements tiresome.”

    Is this again what is happening, again and again? Could it be to hard to hear?

  84. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… yes, I may well be a poor listener and I do not see well either, or find any words directed to me in your post @5am.
    But, I did see thanks to Maru, thanks to Lovely and confirmationa or agreement with Artle though.
    Have a Blessed Day!

  85. foreverblessed says:

    Ok Gary, an indirect answer it was: “what I would like about this blog: encouraging each other to get to know Jesus better as our personal very very dear Friend.”

  86. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… I wonder how the vinedresser got that name?
    Did he actually dress the vines,like cutting off the bad ones, and also prune the less productive ones to produce even more?
    And what happens to those branches and trimings, aren’t they then gathered and thrown into the fire, according to the word of God as written?

  87. foreverblessed says:

    And I will tell you now what a personal Friend He is,
    Last Saturday we had the European Song Festival, just to inform you guys over there a little what is happening on the other side of the Ocean. Things are getting a bit tense here, with Russia doing business in the Ukraine. Both these countries particiapeted. The Netherlands was scoring high, so I stayed up to watch who was going to win. The other country that was scoring high was Austria. When I saw the singer, I immediately thought: Oh, no, God help me not to judge. I prayed earnestly about it. Mart is also encouraging us here to stay open, and see the good in each other.
    So I concentrated on the song, as it must be a good one, otherwise it wouldn’t get such high scores. And it was a good one: Rise like a Phoenix. It had some words like, out of the ashes rise!
    And what happened, a song came up in y mind,
    “…Out of the ashes we rise
    there is no one like You, none like You.
    Our God is greater …
    from the song “Water you turned into wine”
    Wasn’t that a dear answer from my God, my dear Friend? He gave me a song, and so He helped me not to judge the singer because of his appearance. Thank God, He is able to do what He promised us: keeping us close to Him, not judging, but encouraging, looking for the good.
    Anyway, Russian thinks western Europe is all degraded morally as they vote for such a performer.
    Bless that area, may God’s peace and love reign in that area!

  88. quietgrace says:

    Hi Gary! I thought I had answered your questions, albeit with more questions; do your answers to your own questions bring grace that heals, or judgement that further corrupts the hearer?

    Only you can answer your own questions. You can find people that will agree with you, of course, or disagree, but only you and the Holy Spirit within you can respond properly to another believer.

    In other words, I agree and disagree. Ha!
    Blessings to you, Grace

  89. foreverblessed says:

    Water you turned into wine
    Opened the eyes of the blind
    There’s no one like you
    None like you

    Into the darkness you shine
    Out of the ashes we rise
    There is no one like you
    None like you

    Our God is greater
    Our God is stronger
    God you are higher than any other
    Our God is Healer
    Awesome in power
    Our God
    Our God
    a song by Chris Tomlin

  90. poohpity says:

    Gary, I bet with all your heart you wish that your words could change us but it is only Jesus that changes people.

  91. poohpity says:

    And with all our hearts we can place you in His trustworthy hands as well.

  92. oneg2dblu says:

    quietgrace… are you saying that no one here should ask any questions of others, because only they will have that answers, or is that rule for just me?
    Gosh, I think I just asked another question. :O
    In His Love, Gary

  93. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… With all my heart I only want us all to hear God’s word, all the word and not just the promises, but the hard word as well, all were given to do the actual changing work they were written to do.
    Yes, even the work that should go on every day in the life of those who believe, even if they are wrongly taught or think they no longer need to change anything themselves.
    If He directs or wants to use me to bring some of those tough words into the mix, so be it.
    We all have a purpose and a place for our sharing here don’t we?
    I think today’s message about warnings in Two listeners, God at Eventide, speaks to what I am trying to say here.
    In His Love, Gary

  94. poohpity says:

    So are you saying you do not trust God in dealing with the tough words with much more truth and grace than you every could?

  95. poohpity says:

    Rather than “every” I meant “ever”.

  96. quietgrace says:

    LOL! Gary! Rule? I don’t have many rules in my repertoir any more. I have found that there are many answers to a question depending on many many factors such as background, current emotional status, church, education and the like. But, overall, faith, hope, and love I guess are my rule of life, along with grace given by God through Jesus Christ my savior.

    The problem of picking out a verse of scripture and using against someone as a ‘rule’ is that it more often than not brings condemnation and not grace, unless the Holy Spirit is shining the light of Christ through it. I have known and have also in the past used scripture to beat people up, judge, and to prove how much ‘holier than thou’ I am. It has taken me years to figure out that the ‘gift of criticism’ I had was not from God, but from the enemy who used my own dysfunctional past to bring others down.

    My view of scripture is that it is more than a rule book or roadmap for living the Christian life, but it is a wonderful, God sanctioned epic about life, death, and everything in between; containing the simplest of truths to the most profound glimpses of our creator. There is so much I don’t yet understand about God, but, I learn something new about Him every time I read this marvelous book.

    I love you, Gary. Grace

  97. poohpity says:

    Gary, when you sign off “In His Love” do you really understand or know what His Love looks like?

  98. Artle says:

    I used to know a lot, just like you do Gary. I used to try and be a better person, not that I’ve ever thought of myself as particularly bad, but always thought what I did was never enough and that I needed to do better. I used all the same scriptures you do to beat myself up, and I suppose if I was on a blog at that point I would have inflicted my pain on everyone too.

    I cannot speak for anyone else, but what you go on and on about is of no value to me and I am fairly certain it is of no value to you. I imagine you are in the same spot you have been for some time.

    I could be totally wrong, but I believe one day you will know less, just like I do now and in your lesser knowledge state, you will have better understanding. You will realize that all the effort you have will never be enough and you will embrace the Grace of God as the Grace of God is and not as the ineffectual gift you believe it to be now.

    If you want to continue as you are that is fine with me. It is your choice to be who you are, but you cannot make the choice for me. I for one would appreciate if you would quit trying.

  99. foreverblessed says:

    The Two Covenants, a book by Andrew Murray,
    This book has helped me a lot, as I found out that my former church, my childhood christian church was redeemed by Christ, and yet lived as if they lived under the Old Covenant: God promises us He will be our God, as long as we obey, if we don’t obey, He will leave us.

    Why is the New Covenant a better Covenant, because it deals with the one big problem:we do not obey, even if we long to do as God says, we cannot.
    What is the solution: Jesus!
    I wish I could write it as nicely as he did, because it is better to write it myself, but here it is:
    (from chapter X Jesus the Mediator of the New Covenant)

    I do not know how I can better set forth the glory of our Blessed Lord Jesus as He accomplishes this, the real object of His redeeming work, and as He takes entire possession of the heart He has bought and won and cleansed as a dwelling for 88His Father, than by pointing out the place He takes, and the work He does, in the case of a soul who is being led out of the Old Covenant bondage with its failure, into the real experience of the promise and power of the New Covenant.6 In thus studying the work of the Mediator in an individual, we may get a truer conception of the real glory and greatness of the work He actually accomplishes, than when we only think of the work He has done for all. It is in the application of the redemption here in the life of earth, where sin abounded, that its power is seen. Let us see how the entrance into the New Covenant blessing is attained.
    The first step towards it, in one who has been truly converted and assured of his acceptance with God, is the sense of sin. He sees that the New Covenant promises are not made true in his experience. There is not only indwelling sin, but he finds that he gives way to temper, and self-will, and worldliness, and other known transgressions of God’s law. The obedience to which God calls and will fit him, the life of abiding in Christ’s love which is 89his privilege, the power for a holy walk, well-pleasing to God,—in all this his conscience condemns him. It is in this conviction of sin that any thought or desire of the full New Covenant blessing must have its rise. Where the thought that obedience is an impossibility, and that nothing but a life of failure and self-condemnation is to be looked for, has wrought a secret despair of deliverance, or contentment with our present state, it is vain to speak of God’s promise or power. The heart does not respond: it knows well enough, it is sure, the liberty spoken of is a dream. But where the dissatisfaction with our state has wrought a longing for something better, the heart is open to receive the message.

  100. foreverblessed says:

    next part:
    The New Covenant is meant to be the deliverance from the power of sin; a keen longing for this is the indispensable preparation for entering fully into the Covenant.
    Now comes the second step. As the mind is directed to the literal meaning of the terms of the New Covenant, in its promises of cleansing from sin, and a heart filled with God’s fear and God’s law, and a power to keep God’s commands and never to depart from Him; as the eye is fixed 90on Jesus the Surety of the Covenant, who will Himself make it all true; and as the voice is heard of witnesses who can declare how, after years of bondage, all this has been fulfilled in them—the longing begins to grow into a hope, and the inquiry is made, as to what is needed to enter this blessed life.
    Then follows another step. The heart-searching question comes whether we are willing to give up every evil habit, all our own self-will, all that is of the spirit of the world, and surrender ourselves to be wholly and exclusively for Jesus. God cannot take so complete possession of a man, and bless him so wonderfully, and work in him so mightily, unless He has him very completely, yea, wholly for Himself. Happy the man who is ready for any sacrifice.

  101. foreverblessed says:

    next part:
    Now comes the last, the simplest, and yet often the most difficult step. And here it is we need to know Jesus as Mediator of the Covenant. As we hear of the life of holiness, and obedience, and victory over sin, which the Covenant promises, and hear that it will be to us according to our faith, so that if we claim it in faith it will surely be ours, the heart often fails for fear. I am willing, but have I the power to make, and what is more, to 91maintain this full surrender? Have I the power, the strong faith, so to grasp and hold this offered blessing, that it shall indeed be and continue mine? How such questions perplex the soul until it finds the answer to them in the one word: Jesus! It is He who will bestow the power to make the surrender and to believe. This is as surely and as exclusively His work, as atonement and intercession are His alone. As sure as it was His to win and ascend the throne, it is His to prove His dominion in the individual soul. It is He, the Living One, who is in Divine power to work and maintain the life of communion and victory within us. He is the Mediator and Surety of the Covenant—He, the God-man, who has undertaken not only for all that God requires, but for all that we need too.
    When this is seen, the believer learns that here, just as at conversion, it is all of faith. The one thing needed now is, with the eye definitely fixed on some promise of the New Covenant, to turn from self and anything it could or need do, to let go self, and fall into the arms of Jesus. He is the Mediator of the New Covenant: it is His to lead us into it. In the assurance that Jesus, and every New Covenant blessing, is already ours in virtue of 92our being God’s children; with the desire now to appropriate and enjoy what we have hitherto allowed to lie unused; in the faith that Jesus now gives us the needed strength in faith to claim and accept our heritage as a present possession; the will dares boldly to do the deed, and to take the heavenly gift—a life in Christ according to the better promises. By faith in Jesus you have seen and received Him as to you, in full truth, the Mediator of the New Covenant, both in heaven arid in your heart. He is the Mediator who makes it true between God and you, as your experience.

  102. foreverblessed says:

    the last part of chapter X
    The fear has sometimes been expressed that, if we press so urgently the work that Christ through the Spirit does in the heart, we may be drawn off from trusting in what He has done and ever is doing, to what we are experiencing of its working. The answer is simple. It is with the heart alone that Christ can be truly known or honoured. It is in the heart the work of grace is to be done, and the saving power of Christ to be displayed. It is in the heart alone the Holy Spirit has His sphere of work; there He is to work Christ’s likeness; it is there alone He can glorify Christ. The Spirit can only glorify Christ by revealing His saving power in us. If we were to speak of what we are to do in cleansing our heart and keeping it right, the fear would be well-grounded. But the New Covenant calls us to the very opposite. What it tells us of the Atonement, and the Righteousness of God it has won for us, will be our only glory even amid the highest holiness of heaven: Christ’s work of holiness here in the heart can only deepen the consciousness of that Righteousness as our only plea. The sanctification of the Spirit, as the fulfilment of the New Covenant promises, is all a taking of the things of Christ and revealing and imparting them to us. The deeper our entrance into and our possession of the New Covenant gift of a new heart, the fuller will be our knowledge and our love of Him who is its Mediator; the more we shall glory in Him alone. The Covenant deals with the heart, just that Christ may be found there, may dwell there by faith. As we look at the heart, not in the light of feeling or experience, but in the light of the faith of God’s Covenant, we shall learn to think and speak of it as God does, and begin to know what it is, that there Christ manifests Himself and there He and the Father come to make their abode.

  103. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… there is no communicating going on here, only two people being human, asking the other in ways that don’t need answers because the premise of the question sets its pointed answer and needs no reply.
    Sorry we can’t just talk to each other without the constant tension and turmoil that premise creates.
    Yes, we can both trust Jesus, so why premise any distrust, and to sign off In His Love is a higher one than I am capable of giving.
    In His Love, Gary

  104. oneg2dblu says:

    Artle… I am glad you have stopped being yourself, if that made you a better person.

    I too stopped being myself, when the word finally convicted me into becoming His.

    To become more with less knowledge must be quite comforting, and confusing to one who used to know a lot.

    Sounds like ignorance is bliss after all.

    But, that thinking does not quite follow scripture that says we are to tie the word to our foreheads does it?

    Or all the other verses that say we are to remember, teach them to our children, to take up our cross daily.

    “Do not just read the word and forget it, but put it into practice, or obey it.”

    That is my version… it is not to condemn or corrupt, but only to build up each other through knowing and sharing the word, and through doing what it says.

    “If you love me you will obey my commands.” Jesus Christ
    In His Love, Gary

  105. Artle says:

    “If you love me you will obey my commands.” Jesus Christ

    If you truly believe this was Jesus speaking to Gary, then you should also believe Jesus was talking to you when He said, “teaching them to observe all that I commanded you” Matthew 28:20 (NASB)

    Do you observe all Jesus commanded His disciples? Seems unlikely. If you study what Jesus commanded His disciples you will learn that you should be following all of the Law of Moses, not just the parts you want to follow, but all of it, at least that is what Jesus taught.

    If you truly believe Jesus was talking to Gary, then you would also fall into this category: “These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” Mark 16:17-18 (NASB)

    Perhaps you are a genuine 2000 year old disciple of Jesus Christ, but that seems unlikely.

    You missed the point of the last comment which was simply that Jesus is more when we are less. 1 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB) But you were too busy trying to be more.

  106. street says:

    However, when he is at the beach and finds he needs a worldly savior, any lifeguard will do.

    But, the one that saves us all from our guilty, empty, lonely feelings and our fear of death, that Saviour, the one who has that “iou,” is found only in God, or Jesus Christ alone.

    Just skimming through this post and found this. I was thinking Jesus saves us from an armed and willful rebellion against a Holy and Loving God. Death, loneliness, fear, emptiness are a result of sin, not from doing good.

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