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A Time to Ask

DSC01247In a book titled Humble Inquiry a social psychologist and retired MIT professor writes about three kinds of humility: 1) “humility that we feel around elders and dignitaries; 2) the humility that we feel in the presence of those who awe us with their achievements; and 3) Here-and-now Humility, which results from our being dependent from time to time on someone else in order to accomplish a task that we are committed to.”

The author, Edgar Schein,  goes on to describe how our respective cultures teach us rules of deference and demeanor: deference in the respect we show others who, for the above reasons, we regard as “having a status above our own;” rules of demeanor, in turn, to show how “superiors are supposed to act in a way that is appropriate to their status.” “For example ,” Schein adds, “when the superior is speaking, the subordinate is supposed to pay attention and not interrupt; the superior is supposed to make sense and behave in a dignified manner.”

P1010472What I found especially helpful is how the author then went to great lengths to show what it takes to get beyond a culture of expected behaviors—to trust and depth of relationship. This is where he saw the need to learn the gentle art of humble query that, when appropriate, teaches us to ask rather than to merely tell.

At the heart of Schein’s book is how important it is to know when it is timely and helpful to ask questions rather than to just give advice. This happens, he suggests, as we learn to ask questions that show an honest interest and curiosity about what others are feeling and thinking.

Interestingly, as I’ve thought about the book, I’ve been reminded of things written by James, the half-brother of Jesus who wrote about the wisdom of knowing when it’s important to be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). Have also recalled how James goes on to talk about the wisdom of humbling ourselves (going low) before the Lord who can then lift us higher than we ever could have gone on our own (James 4:6-8).

Then came a surprise. In recalling what Schein calls our need for an honest interest and curiosity about others—I began to wonder how often I’ve come  to the Lord of Heaven with an honest interest and curiosity in what he wants to do—rather than just asking in ways that are little more than “telling him” what I’m thinking…

…left wondering if I’ve even begun to know what it means to come to others, and to my God… in humble query?

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68 Responses to “A Time to Ask”

  1. bubbles says:

    Mart, thank you for sharing this because it is wonderful.

  2. tracey5tgbtg says:

    “…as we learn to ask questions that show an honest interest and curiosity about what others are feeling and thinking.”

    “…left wondering if I’ve even begun to know what it means to come to others, and to my God… in humble query?”

    Having an honest interest and curiosity in what others are feeling and thinking translates to truly caring about others which translates to loving my neighbor as I love myself.

    Very hard to set aside what I feel so strongly in myself and genuinely concentrate on another’s feelings. And to do so without looking for the flaws in their argument so I can try to convince them of my view.

    Lord, please don’t let me have that attitude with You.

  3. refump says:

    This really sheds a whole perspective on prayer! My “asking” has always been to ask God what I would like to see happen instead of asking Him what He would like to see happen. I think I maybe taking this approach because I might not like His answer if I ask Him what He wants. Great insight!

  4. quietgrace says:

    Good morning and thank you Mart for this interesting post.

    Actually very recently I am learning or rather unlearning telling God what I want Him to do, instead of the simple prayer, Your will be done. So now when I ask God for something (not material goods) I pour out my feelings and desires for myself and others, but always add, Nevertheless, Your will be done. I think it was something Oswald Chambers wrote that prompted me thinking in a different way.

    Blessings, Grace

  5. poohpity says:

    Mart, I have to say it seems to me that you know what humble query is all about or else you would not have a blog called “Been Thinking About”. From what I have witnessed when folks tell you that a topic is worthless or they think it has run it’s course so you need to change it or when all the ugliness comes out or even when people do not even discuss anything that has to do with the post, you just keep on keeping on. I don’t know for sure but it seems you may have lost the passion for this you once had.

  6. poohpity says:

    Going to counseling the counselor asks questions not only to fully understand the circumstance that the person is going through but to get the person to think about their thought and feeling processes. A good counselor does not give advice but is like a mirror to come to self awareness. Sometimes that awareness is hard to accept but you know they are not there to judge or condemn but to actively listen. They know how to ask questions to get to the real heart of the issues.

    Before reading each morning I ask God to open my mind and heart to receive His Word, to reveal His character and to give me wisdom but I have to believe that I will hear His voice. By actively listening to God one learns to determine what is His will and what is our own. I do not think God ever gets tired of us asking for wisdom.

  7. blestsparrow says:

    My husband used to always say “humble yourself unto the Lord, you don’t want the Lord to humble you” it is a choice of something we must be willingly to do. Isn’t humility learning from Christ’s example? He always humbled himself before the Father. He lovingly says take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly. To die daily is a process not an event. Too suffer in silence is an act of humility, not always demanding my way, or my rights, not always having to be right or be the winner in a confrontation this is an act of humility.
    My daughter can sometimes be so, so argumentive and there are times I am dead wrong and times she is dead wrong, but sometimes I just have to walk away and pray “Lord, please take care of this situtation” I don’t know what to do or say. I am choosing to humble myself, not to say what I think or what I want”

    King David chose in humility not to kill Saul but humbly just cut off part of Saul’s robe in the cave, he could have killed him, but humbly walked away. Always seeking praise, or honoring yourself kills humility. God reminds us in his word he resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. It is a choice because Christ chose to humble himself.

  8. blestsparrow says:

    Mart, I read your topic again and the part where you mentioned …. when the superior’s are speaking the subordinates are to remain quiet and listen in humility. I thought about in Luke where Jesus warns his disciples to BEWARE of the Scribes and Pharisees who love to go around in their robes and love the upper seats and greetings in the market place, they demand your respect, not realizing that respect is something to be earned. In todays jargon I believe it is called “full of yourself” Christ never once thought of himself as a superior, quite the opposite, he wore a towel around his waist and stooped and washed his disciples feet.
    The superiors of today (not all, but many who think they’re superior) think of themselves as righteous despising others. God resists the proud and graces the humble.
    Humble yourself that God will lift you up, I don’t believe it means to lift you up in status, power, prosperity, titles, positions or fame etc…. I believe it means allowing you the blessed privledge of coming closer to learn of him and as we bow he reveals himself to us of his ways and his truths, Christ said come learn of me for I am meek and lowly.

  9. bubbles says:

    The photos associated with the posts are interesting and connect to the text very well. I enjoy seeing all of them.

  10. street says:

    So many tangents on this one. I like the quote,”cultures teach us rules of deference and demeanor,” Jesus taught us to Love and be patient. Humble query, without question, is a sincere quest for a deeper understanding of the one questioned, as if the two are seeking out truth. Two heads are better than one. Not a loaded question filled with treachery, like the Pharisees. Jesus always answered well. I marvel at His answers like the listeners of old. I think we all on this blog long for the day that we speak well and live well before God and man. Sin,pride, arrogance, or other ways of the flesh constantly assault like the constant force of gravity. I don’t think we will be free from the constant assault, but we can be free from it’s control by humbling ourselves to one who gives true freedom.
    “get beyond a culture of expected behaviors—to trust and depth of relationship.”/relationships based on Love, Faithfulness, and Sacrifice. Trust always gets a little beat up in relationships. Forgiveness, Grace and mercy go a long way in keeping a relationship alive! Isn’t that what He called us to do? To Live and not be dead? I also remember Jesus would never trust men because He knew what was in them. He is the perfect Adam.

  11. street says:

    I think humility is my kryptonite! It’s something God wants me to embrace.

    2 Corinthians 12:9

  12. SFDBWV says:

    If you go into any class room there are teachers and students. As a teacher gets to know the students a good teacher will know how each student is going to respond to being taught, ultimately so that they learn.

    A good teacher also knows that just telling students facts doesn’t necessarily teach them anything. A good teacher will also ask questions so that the student may come to the answer themselves and so experience the process of learning.

    As Christians we recognize Jesus to be the “good teacher”.

    The classroom is also filled with students, but when a student thinks they know more than the teacher, that student isn’t going to learn anything because they believe they already know everything.

    For such a student hearing more teaching evokes an obstacle that only by learning humility can they be cured and able to once again learn.

    The interaction of questioner and answerer requires humility from each party in order for the encounter to succeed.

    Life is a classroom and we all are at times students and teachers, unfortunately, unless we are humble enough to be taught, the most humble of teachers cannot reach us.

    It is when we are open to listen and learn, even the worst teacher can teach us something and nothing opens our eyes up better than being ask a question that by its own answer, teaches.


  13. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    I am grateful for your reminder of James’ instruction for approaching God, Mart: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God…” (James 4:6, 7)

    It seems to me, Jesus’ remarkable humility before his heavenly Father is a spiritual primer for anybody who wishes to get acquainted with the Creator God.

    The blurb for Edgar Schein’s book, Humble Inquiry, says:
    “the fine art of drawing someone out, of asking questions to which you do not know the answer, of building a relationship based on curiosity and interest in the other person.”

    Recalling how Jesus used Scripture and quoted Scripture, he always painted a picture of what the Father is looking for from us all — including himself as a man of flesh and blood. Jesus’ earthly journey took him out into the streets, the countryside, the fields and roads. He offered so many stories of what God is like, we cannot help knowing God better through them.

    Am considering this morning just how great a gift we have in Jesus’ own reverence and love for God the Father while he lived out the same life we live. I am not up to these things, but hope to grow in that direction! Will download “Humble Inquiry” today.


  14. poohpity says:

    I think that most often people consider humility as self abasement but in what the scriptures teach it is an honest assessment of ourselves(Ro 12:3 NIV). It seems the better we know ourselves the less likely we will be to feel superior or self righteous.

    When I was young I looked at my parents and really believed they could no wrong not because they said that but because they never admitted when they messed up to us. My hunch was it may have been just because we were kids not giving any thought to we were there and saw with own eyes that they did. What they thought of as our ignorance was that our love for them was bigger than any wrong they did. But it was confusing as a child to hear one thing out of their mouths but the actions were not in tune with what they said, did or taught. It would have been nice for them to admit their humanity so that we would have known it was normal to mess up cause everyone does. Instead I grew up with this sense that because I fail so often I was a failure the self abasement part. When I would inquire about the inconsistencies which kids do they would get angry so I learned to not say anything and doubt what I really saw. So there was never a good time to ask.

    How nice it would be if all God’s children knew it is always a good time to ask. Rather than trying to teach others, we tried to reach others. If we look at Jesus as the Good Teacher then we would learn we are students throughout our lives then we could share with each other what we learn knowing we will never know it all. It is OK to be who we really are then we will allow others to be who they really are and become that safe place to come.

    The very best leaders are those who have learned to follow, that seems to be what Jesus taught by example.

  15. poohpity says:

    This is just me but when I meet someone sometimes it just may be in a casual way like Hi or a smile but to those who I would really like to know further they ask me questions and I ask them questions that to me shows that getting to know who they are is important. The Bible is a way to get to know God and who He is, that is a knowledge that is so vast we may never comprehend it all but we never stop asking, seeking and knocking that shows our heart interest. I have not yet ever met anyone who said they know enough about God that they no longer need to learn but there seems to be those who have. Col 1:9-10 NLT

  16. blestsparrow says:

    Pooh,I had a parent who was very stern and never did he apologize for the harshness in the way I was disciplined or talked to, I don’t think I ever remember hearing him say “I was wrong”. Pride is the greatest enemy of humility. Knowledge without grace will surely puff one up and/or talents and gifts w/out grace exhalts one’s self.
    I believe the Lord brings all of our life’s circumstances to teach us humility. I once heard that that in the kingom of God, Love was the queen of all virtues and….. Humility was the King of all virtues. God gave the Apostle Paul a thorn in his flesh to keep him from puffing up in pride because of the great revelations Paul had been blest with.
    Paul eventually learned to live with his thorn in the flesh and in humility as God told him “my grace is sufficient for you”
    The Lord may have told Paul, I have something far greater planned for your life, I want to make sure your cruel proud flesh will not end up destroying you. Your thorns, sufferings, trials keep’s you close to me.
    Paul said I die daily, he died to himself that Christ might live thru him.
    Remember when the Disciples came back rejoicing in their pride of their sucessful service and Christ rebuked them because they were puffed up.
    Several years ago there was asecular song out by the Oak Ridge Boys titled “No One Wants to Play Rythem Guitar behind Jesus, Everyone wants to be the Lead Singer in the Band”
    This still holds truth in todays world and even in the Church, David was so humble before God, he thought it to be the highest honor and privledge to just be a door keeper in the house of God, what blessed humilty.
    I believe there is a true humility and there is a false humility. True humility exalts Christ while false humility exalts self under the pretense of lifting up Christ.
    I use to work as a church secretary and from time to time we would have guest speakers, evangelists and visitors. By the time I finished typing up the bulletin insert of his/her page of titles, degrees and accomplishments, I struggled and wondered just where did Christ fit into the scheme of this. I believe everytime man is exhalted and esteemed above Christ, then humility has been lost.

  17. poohpity says:

    blest, it seems pride is one of the hardest beasts to overcome and the examples in scripture seem to appear more often than most all other sins. God knows each heart and for those who sincerely seek I am sure like all our other faults He will help us overcome hopefully without causing to much damage to others. I guess that is why God addressed it in the very first commandment Exodus 20:3.

  18. poohpity says:

    Self righteousness or pride is also what keeps folks from understanding how truly amazing grace really is.

  19. street says:

    I was wondering tonight if Paul’s thorn in the flesh was the ” sin nature of the flesh” ? He goes into great detail about it in Romans and the way to deal with it. the remedy seems to be future,but some how it is taken care of in Christ Jesus. This is difficult to put into words. one of the verses in chapter 7 “So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.” is an insight of what is going on inside Christians. even after receiving the righteousness of Christ by Faith I still see this law “or logic” war with God’s Word still taking place. I guess it would be like God won the war, but Satan is still fighting battles. i guess this goes back to the garden where we get the knowledge of good and evil. we only know evil till God reveals Himself to us through His Son. I know there is a lot more to this in chapter 8, but i still find this evil present in me and i must persevere not be enslaved all over again. this perseverance is not rooted in the flesh.

  20. SFDBWV says:

    I’ve been thinking about Mart’s next to last paragraph in the opening topic. Mart wonders how often he comes to God with an honest interest in what it is God wants as opposed to what it is Mart is thinking.

    Straight away Philippians 4:4, 5, 6, 7 and Romans 8:26 comes to mind as a Biblical reply, but my own personal prayers are often a mixture of asking God for specific things as well as surrendering my wants for His desires without really knowing what they might be concerning what I had just ask for.

    Trusting that God ultimately knows what is best.

    Yet the deeper meaning of Mart’s question is am I really interested in What God is thinking above whatever it is I am asking for?

    This makes me smile, as in truth if I could know what God is thinking regarding what I am asking, the prayer would become an epiphany.

    Further thinking causes me to recall that not all but most such experiences I have had with God usually come during praise or extreme duress and have been given for my own comfort.

    Of course there is a vast difference in a conversation with God in prayer and a conversation with other people.

    You can be as humble and genuine as you are able with another up to a point, their reaction will determine your response, and your response will be seen by them by a reflection of their own heart and their own nature, not by yours.

    The fact is Mart that people don’t think alike, the problem is when others are offended by that fact and how they react to it.

    Memorial weekend is underway here in our world. We have the cemetery and park aptly decorated with all our dead remembered, both military and civilian alike.

    Hoping all of you have a nice day.


  21. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    The categories of humility are interesting in Dr. Schein’s thesis concerning basic human relationships. The “here and now” flavor of humility seems to have the most importance in actually doing things and moving toward goals and objectives we have before us as a community – or team – or work group. Mart you quote:

    “3) Here-and-now Humility, which results from our being dependent from time to time on someone else in order to accomplish a task that we are committed to.”

    Am wondering also at this point if this depth of humility doesn’t have something to do with relating to the Creator of the universe. Noted recently in an article on Christians leaving the Middle East, one of those world-religious pie charts. In the chart, Christians are the largest segment at 31.2% — Muslims next at 23.5% — but the “none” segment is growing (now 3rd largest) at 16.3%. (Pew Research Center)

    I mention religion because Shein claims that to accomplish any human interaction, from conversations to complex-task performances, “it is necessary for everyone to do their part”. He claims that good, interdependent communication requires:

    building a trusting relationship

    and building a trusting relationship requires:

    humble inquiry.

    I am wondering how a growing number of us can

    hear the questions – or ask the questions –

    when we (as a human race) seem to be surgically removing God from the life-equation – and have begun to trust only in ourselves. My wondering leads me to ask:

    Lord, how does the body of Christ present a picture of you – and help to build a bridge to you when so many do not trust that you exist?


  22. poohpity says:

    Maru, I think that question a lot of Christians could ask themselves, do you truly believe God exists? If one truly does would that not change the way we do things?

  23. poohpity says:

    Sometimes I wonder whether God exists.

  24. poohpity says:

    Steve, how do you know the deeper meaning of what Mart wrote without asking him to explain what it is? Isn’t that assuming based on what and how you think?

  25. remarutho says:

    Pooh, I have to agree that if you or I try to reason from the speech and behavior of human beings, no moral integrity shows. There is no pole-star, no fixed point of reference for anything.

    What about Boco Haran?

    What about one group (choose one) starving, maiming or shooting down another group? There have been seasons in my life when I have been knocked breathless by the evil done to humans by other humans.

    The writer of Hebrews says, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

    It may be time to ask, “Lord, do you exist?” — and to expect an answer, and to wait for it. Worth a try…?


  26. remarutho says:

    The verse quoted from the Letter to the Hebrews above is introduced by that beautiful statement I have held to tightly through the seasons I mentioned — Hebrews 11:1.


  27. blestsparrow says:

    A Missionary was once witnessing to an atheist and sharing the love and sacrifice of Christ. The atheist responded abruptly “God does not exist” The Missionary said “my friend, do you see that young man walking down the street with his hair down to his waist”? Yes, replied the atheist, the Missionary said “well do you see that shop he is now standing in front of?” Yes, replied the atheist, What then is the shop he is standing in front of? The atheist said….”a barber shop” The Missionary then said “does this mean that barber shops don’t exist? Many people walk around filthy and dirty on the outside, does this mean soap and water doesn’t exist?
    People slautering and killing one another… this does mean EVIL exists. The daily newspapers and t.v., internet constantly glorify evil, sex, pride, greed and everything imaginable to man’s fall.
    If God were glorified as much as evil was glorifed, then maybe others would believe in his existance.

    Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
    When Christ opened the blind man’s eyes, the pious rulers gave him the third degree, he said so simply put……
    “all I know is, I once was blind but now I see”

  28. poohpity says:

    Does God need us to prove His existence?

  29. poohpity says:

    One day a group of scientists got together and decided that man had come a long way and no longer needed God. So they picked one scientist to go and tell Him that they were done with Him.

    The scientist walked up to God and said, “God, we’ve decided that we no longer need you. We’re to the point that we can clone people and do many miraculous things, so why don’t you just go on and get lost.”

    God listened very patiently and kindly to the man and after the scientist was done talking, God said, “Very well, how about this, let’s say we have a man making contest.” To which the scientist replied, “OK, great!”

    But God added, “Now, we’re going to do this just like I did back in the old days with Adam.”

    The scientist said, “Sure, no problem” and bent down and grabbed himself a handful of dirt.

    God just looked at him and said, “No, no, no. You go get your own dirt!”

  30. street says:

    poohpity says:
    May 24, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    Does God need us to prove His existence?

    nope. Romans 1: 8 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth [l]in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident [m]within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not [n]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and [o]crawling creatures.

  31. SFDBWV says:

    Today is day 2 of the Memorial Day weekend, Glenna is spending all day at the cemetery collecting donations and providing an opportunity for everyone to set, rest and remember together.

    Just as soon as the mowing crews finished mowing the grass our oldest living veteran, George and his grown grandchildren, went about the task of placing American flags on each veteran buried in our cemetery. He is a member of our city council and when what was then our oldest veteran became unable to place the flags any more he volunteered.

    Many of the fellows he honors with a flag was fellow classmates and certainly friends from his youth as they grew up together here in our little town.

    The people who come and place flowers on their loved ones graves are the children and grandchildren of generations of familiar family names, even though not all related to one another all and extended family.

    I will be cooking a traditional “Thanksgiving” dinner today with all the trimmings as there will be family and friends stopping by and they are all welcome to set and have something to eat.

    We will all have stories to tell about someone, we will laugh and we may cry, but we all share something good, something valuable, we all share life from a common bond.

    Wherever you are today I hope you remember someone no longer with you with a smile.


  32. cbrown says:

    Steve, Thank you for the reminder of what this “Holiday”is about. God Bless You!

  33. bubbles says:

    Am thankful for the mercy of God this morning. He is so good to us.

  34. quietgrace says:

    Prayers going out today for the survivors of those loved and lost. Lord have mercy…

  35. street says:

    A verse has come up a couple times in the course of this discussion on humility. Mark 9:34-36….Mathew 20:15-16

    I guess this would encourage us to have the mind of Christ, because my thoughts get me into trouble.

  36. bubbles says:

    I’d like to share about God’s provision and protection, if that is all right to go off subject for just a little while. If it is not all right, please forgive me. I share this to honor my Heavenly Father.

    On Thursday this past week, I parked my car in a lot in town. A man came quickly across the street and approached me. I had my purse in one hand and was locking the car door with the other. He began talking in a bizarre manner. Something made me very uncomfortable, but he was probably harmless. I thought he was either going to grab my purse or get into my car because of things he was saying to me. It was then I heard the voice of someone who conducted a training for circumstances such as this. Her voice was as loud as if she was standing beside of me. It was directions that told me exactly what to do. Immediately I had a plan if he grabbed my purse. I couldn’t remember if my car was locked. He continued talking to me, and I had to put money in the parking meter. He was beside the meter, he was too close to me. He continued saying strange things and was talking too fast.

    It was then something in my peripheral vision moved. I looked that way, and the strange man did as well. It was the local Greek Orthodox priest sauntering across this same parking lot. The strange man ran over to him, and began talking in the same manner as he was doing with me.

    I think God put the priest in the parking lot that afternoon to help. His presence helped diffuse an uncomfortable situation. I am also thankful to God for giving peace, protection, and a plan. This incident lasted for less than a minute or two, but it felt like it lasted much longer.

  37. bubbles says:

    Thank you for allowing me to go off topic and share this with all of you.

  38. SFDBWV says:

    Bubbles personally I think giving our Lord credit and praise is always on topic.
    I too am grateful that your encounter with this disturbed man turned out ok


  39. SFDBWV says:

    We have had a string of subjects I think meant for us to reflect about how we interact with each other here and hopefully improve our behavior.

    If you go to any news story and then view the string of comments that follow along at the end of the story, what you find are the very same types of personalities found here amongst us.

    There are even some who profess to be Christian and their comments then responded to with polite and impolite sarcasm, just like here.

    Life here and anywhere still follows the playground rules learned from our earliest youth as how to get along with each other.

    The experience of this place for me has been for the most part very enjoyable, though at times very upsetting, like life, a balance of smiles and frowns.

    Some of us are so honest that they strain and struggle at not getting angry with another, believing their slide into anger is a failure of their being Christ like. So when confronted with the conflict they just walk away rather than immerse themselves into a no win exchange of comments.

    I believe the examples and instruction Jesus gave as a testimony from God to us are meant as a guide for us to live by. The key is to *live* by and a *guide*.

    I won’t pretend to know what is so important about this life of only a few years when compared to a conscious eternity, but there is something special about it and it seems that God has given us these few short years in order to learn something meant to carry us forever.

    Though I’ve said it before I will say it again, the answer given to a question will always reflect the person who answers heart, not the person who ask the question.

    You can be as humble and sincere as possible in asking a question, but that won’t guarantee a humble or even an honest response.

    An absolute beautiful morning here in the Appalachia Mountains of West Virginia and 44 degrees.


  40. bubbles says:

    When we receive a sarcastic or harsh answer, it’s important that we respond in the right way. We aren’t responsible for how they answer us but in how we respond. I am referring to things in everyday life, not anything that goes on here.

  41. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Calm, clear dawn after last night’s rain in the Pacific Coastal Basin. Coral and mauve clouds in an azure sky — dozens of shades of green — and many spring blooms greet this morning: peony, rhododendron, azalea and lily.

    It seems to me, as someone has already said, “We live in the questions,” not in the answers…and there are some classic questions:

    “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

    “Where is your brother, Abel?”
    “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
    “What have you done?”

    “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?”

    “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?”

    Have asked myself the question Mart has posed these past few days:

    “…left wondering if I’ve even begun to know what it means to come to others, and to my God… in humble query?” (Micah 6:8) Perhaps the answer is in the question?

    Joyous and observant Memorial Day to all!

  42. bubbles says:

    When someone responds by yelling at me when I ask a question–especially a “how can I help” question, or makes a sarcastic remark, it’s the inside–anger will arise. The outside may look like I’m doing the right thing but the inside is not right, and that is what I am working on right now.

  43. poohpity says:

    Motives and motivation seem to temper every thing we do. The Lord seems to know what is going on within us down to our thoughts and feelings without even an utterance from our lips( Gen 18:12-13 NLT; Matt 9:4 NLT; Luke 5:22 NLT; Luke 6:8 NLT; John 2:25 NLT).

  44. poohpity says:

    bubbles could it have been the man just wanted someone to listen and give him moment to show they care?

  45. poohpity says:

    Maru, what I so enjoyed about that quote of Mart’s is that he was looking within himself.

  46. poohpity says:

    It seems when I am so busy setting myself in a place of honor I will tend to look down on others but if I consider others and their needs above my own I may be on the way to the heart of Christ (Phil 2:3-4 NLT). David knew how thorough God is when He looks within us (Psalm 139:2-5) and what is so totally amazing God knows even when we can not see inside cause we are to busy looking at the outside of others yet showed us grace and mercy and wants us to show that to others. How can we be merciful if we are to busy taking inventory of other people and neglect the inner parts that God sees in us? I think that would slow us down.

  47. quietgrace says:

    In your comments this morning I am convicted of my own proclivity to run from those I perceive to be bully’s and scoundrels, whether in the Body of Christ or out, as I have been hurt too many times by them to count. But early this morning the Lord asked me a question, Do bully’s and scoundrels deserve grace? How many times must you forgive? 70×7 times Lord? And do you really have anything to fear from those you love and forgive? No, not really, because Perfect love, You Lord, casts out all fear. Therefore, I really have no enemies, therefore, grace trumps again.

    Steve I’m still learning after all these years, and I thank you for your straightforward thoughts.

    Blessings, Grace

  48. quietgrace says:

    Too all-I must apologize for my previous post as I see now it was highly personal and not meant for any to take it personally as being targeted. Living alone and having no one to talk to for days on end about matters I consider important I tend to spill out onto the internet with my thoughts and feelings, then later wish there was a delete button. Grace

  49. poohpity says:

    It is humbling to give thanks to our men and women who have given their lives for the freedoms we enjoy and they unlike Christ do not even really know us but sacrificed their families and lives to keep us free. Thank you never seems enough. Lord give us direction as to how we can help those living with wounds from battle both physical and mental.

  50. blestsparrow says:

    Today is a reminder of how precious and sacred is the gift of life. Pooh as you said “thank you never seems enough” but doesn’t thank you mean gratitude, gratefulness, appreciation that you actually stood in my place. If thank you is spoken thru the lips it means little, but spoken from the heart carries great weight.
    Last night I watched the PBS Memorial Special about the many Vets who sacrificed, the many Vets who lost their lives… and it really raises my bp when I think about how our USA troops are transferred from the states within 24 hours to another country and when they come back to the states many are fragmented, broken in body and broken in spirit . . . must wait for 24 days and many 24 weeks before getting help or seeing a Physician.
    In the late seventy’s and early eighty’s I was employed with a Health Care Firm, part of my job was working with Medicaid, SSecurity, Medicare and I said it then and I will say it again…. Bureaucracy, red tape, hoopla allows many to slip and fall thru the cracks, the many who desperately need our help.
    Formal rules, the redundancy of paper work, paperwork being more important than people to be completed while a human being is placed on the back burner to wait, suffer and even die.

    Corrie Ten Boone once said……. “I am just one person, I can’t do everything, but I can do something”

    If I were a Vet coming home …. I don’t believe I would want the Brass Band, the shallow hoorays .. but just a sincere “Thank You” or “How can I help You” or “Please know you are in my prayers” Yes, they are heroes, yes they receive medals and honors…. but the one thing I believe is most painful for them is to live with the memories, those things that are kept inside a man that are never spoken of that he/she must live with for the rest of life.

    A US Marine “Vet” once made this precious comment ” My life is now filled with my grandchildren who are playing in the sand, playing in a land that I was privledged to make a contribution to”

  51. phpatato says:


    I see no reason why you should apologise for your post this morning @10:24. It was a blessing for me to read it. Thank you!

    I do agree that I wish there was a delete button or at the very least an edit button. I know there have been times that I wished I could delete my comments or have the opportunity to reword what I have said. But as I think about this, I am reminded of the verse Colossians 4:6. If I practiced that, I would really have no need to delete or edit what I have said.

    I hope your day is full of Blessings!


  52. quietgrace says:

    Pat thank you!
    My day was full of blessings as well as the pain of being reminded of recent losses. Some of God’s greatest blessings, though, involve pain.
    Col.4:6 Good verse, thanks for the reminder!
    Blessings, Grace

  53. SFDBWV says:

    Grace, you are welcome for my straightforwardness, though it sometimes causes me trouble, it is who I am.

    Since I came to this site I have found it easier for me to just open up and be personal about who I am and how being Christian I view things as well as endure things. Because others have also opened up it makes the entire experience *personal* instead of just some bulletin board where people make statements or quote scripture.

    It has been my experience in carrying on conversation such as we all do here that at best it is a combination of walking on egg shells and a mine field.

    Whether here or in other places of our lives we have all been hurt by people we have opened up to. If we are to be out there amongst people it is a risk we take. The alternative is to seclude ourselves from the world around us and be alone with our thoughts.

    I sometimes like the idea of being solitary, but then for me I remember in solitude I can’t encourage someone or help lift someone up or interact with them in obedience to the urgings of the Holy Spirit, in essence I can’t help another or show them love if I just hide away.

    Yes I get my feeling hurt plenty of times, but I don’t let those who hurt me define me.

    Be who you are Grace and be free from the fear of the failures of others to be as gracious to you as you are to them.

    A little light thunder and lightning this morning with light drizzle, 59 degrees.


  54. poohpity says:

    Steve, are you saying that you have not hurt “many” people on here?

  55. poohpity says:

    Paul gave a very valuable lesson in his letter to the Christians in Rome and anywhere for that matter Roman 2:1 KJV or in today’s language; You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

    I do not think there is anything wrong with using scripture or making statements about the topic at hand it is after all a blog about “Been Thinking” not a chat site to talk about whatever we feel like talking about. There are all kinds of other social media places to do that. Normally we are talking about God and His Word so should someone feel shamed because they quote scripture?

  56. quietgrace says:

    Good day Steve-
    Who I am is one scared little girl, basically, but one that was washed in the Blood of the Lamb; a new creation, if you will. Yet, I don’t want to just be who I am, I want and strive to be better. The only way I can be better is by following Christ, who leads and guides me. I came to Christ -just as I am- and he accepted me. But change and growth are the blessings of learning new ways of living and being.
    Science now says that fear can be implanted at a cellular level, which helps me to understand my life-long struggles with it. It is for the grace of God I live, crippled as I am, yet beloved.
    Blessings, Grace

  57. SFDBWV says:

    Grace I am not a scared little girl, but am certain that there are many who read this blog who are just like you and are encouraged by your testimony.

    I am too bold sometimes for my own good, but then that is how God uses me sometimes, by being bold as well as being meek.

    My last name is Durst and oddly enough in the old King James language it means “to be bold”…hmmm.

    Who you are in Christ has a long list from Scripture, I have a nice hanging on my wall to remind me and have posted it here before, and if you haven’t seen it I can copy and post it again.

    Just exactly like you I too strive to be a better person, sometimes I succeed sometimes I fail, but I can always count on the forgiveness of Jesus for my failures and credit Him for my successes.

    I have a doctor’s appointment this afternoon and Matt is going with me, after which he and I are going to the grocery store then out to eat. So my time is short, but sometime if you like we can talk about the implantation of not only fears, but memory as well into the cellular fiber of our offspring’s and why it is as the old saying goes “The apple don’t fall far from the tree.”

    And also why it is that we can be completely reborn as a new creature and we both know whose tree the seed of Jesus came from.


  58. quietgrace says:

    Hello again Steve,
    I am afraid I am just not up to a discussion about cellular goings on and how they affect our offspring, but I do want to ask about your last sentence where you state “we can be completely reborn as a new creature”. Are you saying that if one (such as myself) still carries scars/wounds, etc from childhood and before, that this person is not ‘completely’ reborn? Or, like Paul, is it possible for someone (such as myself) to carry about a thorn in the flesh, allowed by God to bring greater glory to Himself?
    Psychologists tell me I have done remarkably for all the abuse I have suffered, and marvel. Christians have tried to exorcize, deliver, and pronounce me healed. I have been slain in the spirit many times, prayed long tearful hours for healing, but God still allows me to struggle with this. (Although there have been many times He has healed particular parts of my personality to keep me functional)
    When I say I am a scared little girl, it’s not that bad, as this scared little girl knows Who to run to for help.
    And, when God has called me to be bold, I can do it in His strength, even though it’s not my natural leaning.
    It takes boldness sometimes to run/manage households and whatever else you do, and I certainly would not want your job! Not equipped for it! (I would not make a good president either for that matter)
    Blessings, Grace

  59. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon BTA Friends —

    Mart, you wrote:

    “What I found especially helpful is how the author (Edgar Schein) then went to great lengths to show what it takes to get beyond a culture of expected behaviors—to trust and depth of relationship. This is where he saw the need to learn the gentle art of humble query that, when appropriate, teaches us to ask rather than to merely tell.”

    It seems to me that “getting to trust and depth of relationship” requires time spent at the “gentle art of humble query.” How long might such questioning continue?

    Have been pondering Psalm 91 this morning. The last few verses seem to be an answer from the Lord to those who are seeking refuge in the shelter of the Most High:

    “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.
    When he calls to me, I will answer him;
    I will be with him in trouble;
    I will rescue him and honor him.
    With long life I will satisfy him
    and show him my salvation.”

    This seems very comforting to me just now. I am wondering whether this “calling to the Lord” could be a way of life. Could it put a different light on time itself?


  60. street says:

    18 At that [a]time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 And He called a child to Himself and set him [b]before them, 3 and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you [c]are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it [d]would be better for him to have a [e]heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

  61. street says:

    about being humble like a child. they understand they are week/powerless and they are so dependent. any one have any more on this?

  62. poohpity says:

    No that just about says it all.

  63. poohpity says:

    street, I would like to believe that I am as dependent as a child on the Lord but I would just be lying to myself. There are more times than I would like to admit that I go off on my own without even giving it a moments thought like a child strays from their parent. Thinking that life is about doing it my way and the sad part is after tough consequences you would think I would learn better but sad to say I don’t. God’s patience is so totally unbelievable but the consequences are not as bad as what I deserve.

  64. quietgrace says:

    Pooh and street, all children stray from time to time, but if they have a loving parent they know they can count on them to be there for them when they need them if only to bail them out of trouble. Just like our Lord. I believe that is the meaning of dependency.

    To tie this in with Marts question, I have to wonder and ask sometimes, Lord, why do you put up with me?

  65. poohpity says:

    Is asking the Lord, “why do you put up with me?” devaluing oneself? Human beings seem to have much value and worth to God.

  66. quietgrace says:

    I don’t think so, after all, He knows we are just dust but beloved dust. Which is why he loves us so much. He made us, why? To know how valuable and worthwhile we are? Not so sure, I think we are made in His image to show forth His works, which are to love of God and love others.

  67. quietgrace says:

    edit: drop the ‘of’ in the last sentence.

  68. poohpity says:

    I guess we have a way differing view of God and our relationship with Him.

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