Text Size: Zoom In

A Story and a Prayer


A friend put me on to reading some 19th century novels by George MacDonald who, according to  Wikipedia, had an influence on such other writers as Oswald Chambers, CS Lewis, GK Chesterton, Lewis Carroll, WH Auden, and JRR Tolkien.

Even though the 19th century vocabulary and style are not always easy to push through, I’ve since been absorbed in MacDonald’s storytelling, understanding of human nature, and awareness of the love of God.

The first book I read is about a curate (i.e. Church of England parish minister) named Thomas Wingfold (The Curate’s Awakening) that tells about a young pastor who suddenly finds himself found out by a young atheist who senses the pastor’s lack of conviction and considers him a spiritual fraud.

As a result, Wingfold realizes that it’s true.  He doesn’t know what he believes— and hasn’t even made the effort to decide what he doesn’t believe.

The journey he begins, however, turns out to be as honest as it is unsettling to his upscale, self-satisfied congregation. In the twists and turns that follow, he ends up choosing to be mentored by two unlikely members of the community that others regard with pitiful dismissal. Before long he is expressing to his flock not only his personal struggle, but also his fascination with One he had long talked about without ever knowing.

In the grace that eventually wins Wingfold’s mind and heart, he finds himself needing answers for a young congregant who confides that she is hiding a dearly loved younger brother who is going mad in the awareness that, while high on drugs, he has murdered the young woman he loved.

Wingfold knows  there is no freedom in hidden wrongs. So he speaks to the young conflicted woman, and to his congregation, through a Sunday morning message.  He talks about what it is like to live in the awareness that we have committed a life-ending wrong that can never be erased, only to wake and realize it was only a dream. Then he went on to eloquently make his case that such relief and elation is nothing compared to the glory of the mercy and forgiveness of God for wrongs we have actually committed (without ignoring legal guilt and consequence).

In a sequel to that book,(Paul Faber, Surgeon) the subplots of human nature and grace multiply and deepen as Wingfold continues finds himself challenged by the bold atheism of a village doctor; the self-righteous meanness of the church community; and then the deep doubts of a older pastor who, though now retired, finds himself unable to live in the faith he had endorsed.

At some point, Wingfold prays in the presence of this older pastor in a manner that reveals the honesty of heart that I’ve alluded to above. I realize that pulling it out of context might not work, that this is fiction, and that the language is old. But see once if you sense any of the realism and honesty of a story that I’ve tried to summarize.

“God of justice,” Wingfold begins, “Thou knowest how hard it is for us, and Thou wilt be fair to us. We have seen no visions; we have never heard the voice of Thy Son, of whom those tales, so dear to us, have come down the ages; we have to fight on in much darkness of spirit and of mind, both from the ignorance we can not help, and from the fault we could have helped; we inherit blindness from the error of our fathers; and when fear, or the dread of shame, or the pains of death, come upon us, we are ready to despair, and cry out that there is no God, or, if there be, He has forgotten His children.

There are times when the darkness closes about us like a wall, and Thou appearest nowhere, either in our hearts, or in the outer universe; we can not tell whether the thing are ready to despair, and cry out that there is no God, or, if there be, He has forgotten His children.

There are times when the darkness closes about us like a wall, and Thou appearest nowhere, either in our hearts, or in the outer universe; we can not tell whether the things we seemed to do in Thy name, were not mere hypocrisies, and our very life is but a gulf of darkness. We cry aloud, and our despair is as a fire in our bones to make us cry; but to all our crying and listening, there seems neither hearing nor answer in the boundless waste.

Thou who knowest Thyself God, who knowest Thyself that for which we groan,

Thou whom Jesus called Father, we appeal to Thee, not as we imagine Thee, but as Thou seest Thyself, as Jesus knows Thee, to Thy very self we cry—help us, O Cause of us! O Thou from whom alone we are this weakness, through whom alone we can become strength, help us—be our Father.

We ask for nothing beyond what Thy Son has told us to ask. We beg for no signs or wonders, but for Thy breath upon our souls, Thy spirit in our hearts. We pray for no cloven tongues of fire—for no mighty rousing of brain or imagination; but we do, with all our power of prayer, pray for Thy spirit; we do not even pray to know that it is given to us; let us, if so it pleases Thee, remain in doubt of the gift for years to come—but lead us thereby. Knowing ourselves only as poor and feeble, aware only of ordinary and common movements of mind and soul, may we yet be possessed by the spirit of God, led by His will in ours.

For all things in a man, even those that seem to him the commonest and least uplifted, are the creation of Thy heart, and by the lowly doors of our wavering judgment, dull imagination, luke-warm love, and palsied will, Thou canst enter and glorify all. Give us patience because our hope is in Thee, not in ourselves. Work Thy will in us, and our prayers are ended. Amen.”    From, The Complete Works of George MacDonald

Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+20 rating, 22 votes)

147 Responses to “A Story and a Prayer”

  1. street says:

    Prayer of the Intercessor who knows full well their own heart.

  2. armando1961 says:

    Wow, that’s a very impressive story and those are very impressive and very moving words indeed. Food for thought, but then again, we are meant, I believe, to ponder about all those things –God’s grace, our inherent imperfection and all the rest– but trust, in the end, that God’s love and mercy will eventually put everything right, in this life or the next, and that everything will be OK.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    I relent that I have no time today to devote to this most excellent subject Mart, as this man speaks to and from all of our hearts.

    I suspect we all have questions of God and deal with them in a mixture of ways.

    I also sense Mart you too are searching for peace while living in the fire, like many of us….Awaiting that special moment that always seems close but just out of reach.


  4. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Was particularly touched by the shepherds you described from George Mac Donald’s stories who, upon honest refection, find after a life-time their own faith and love are shallow — not deep in Jesus Christ. Many leaders seem to be coming to that cross-roads in my experience. The honest search for the Lord is the only quest there is, it seems to me, whatever the state of my own spiritual circumstances.

    This prayer, in my opinion, is honest and true. Mart, you quote:

    “We ask for nothing beyond what Thy Son has told us to ask. We beg for no signs or wonders, but for Thy breath upon our souls, Thy spirit in our hearts. We pray for no cloven tongues of fire—for no mighty rousing of brain or imagination; but we do, with all our power of prayer, pray for Thy spirit; we do not even pray to know that it is given to us; let us, if so it pleases Thee, remain in doubt of the gift for years to come—but lead us thereby. Knowing ourselves only as poor and feeble, aware only of ordinary and common movements of mind and soul, may we yet be possessed by the spirit of God, led by His will in ours.”

    Am transfering this prayer to my journal today — to pray it and to ponder it. Thanks!


  5. quietgrace says:

    Good morning,

    What a beautiful prayer, reminds me of one with a child-like faith talking to a loving Father. God is…..well, none of the adjectives that come to mind even minutely justify Who He Is. God is out of the box again today.

    Thank you Mart
    Blessings, Grace

  6. poohpity says:

    Long talked about but never knew. It seems the fiction has basis in truth. Admitting honestly that although one talks about God yet never really has gotten to know Him is such a step in the right direction. Being open to listening to whom ever it may come from is seeing our selves through the eyes that are not clouded by self deception. Learning that God can and will work with whatever it is we present to Him in openness brings us from asking if He really is there or even cares to us knowing that if we come to honestly seek He will be found.

  7. poohpity says:

    It seems that many seek Jesus not for who He is but what He can do for them. Not saying that what He offers is not wonderful but if one looks at what He really wanted even in the garden was just to walk and talk with us personally like we would want from any other relationship except this one is with God.

    Having the thoughts that He does not speak with us or to us, leads people to believe that it is not possible when it is. There is a difference in talking about God and growing into a deeper relationship with Him that grows. Why pray/talk with God not expecting an answer? Why ask for wisdom? Why ask for guidance about scripture if one does not expect to hear from God? Talking about God puts the relationship as inaccessible when it is accessible.

  8. cbrown says:

    Pooh,I love your post.I did a couple of hours of research about George MacDonald’s theology and concluded that he was a gifted writer that influenced C.S. Lewis and others but he fell victim to the same virus as those he criticized, hyper Calvanist. He instinctively knew they were in error but he did not ask God to provide the answer,but tried to intellectually solve the problem.The prayer above could have been written by a Jewish Rabbi but not someone who has accepted God’s Salvation.

  9. poohpity says:

    Chris, but what the plea of the prayer asks is for us to know what Jesus has given us to know and that to be our hearts desire above all the miracles. Just like Jesus told those around Him that they came to Him because He feed them and did healing but they were missing the most important part. So no matter who wrote it or their background or it being fiction the theme is still there.

  10. cbrown says:

    Pooh, the second to the last paragraph expresses something I do not know. I have no doubt of God’s Spirit in me.

  11. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    How often have I prayed, “Lord, let my will (small w) be in — and in accord with your Will (capital W)!”

    George MacDonald prays: “Knowing ourselves only as poor and feeble, aware only of ordinary and common movements of mind and soul, may we yet be possessed by the spirit of God, led by His will in ours.” No hubris there, it appears to me.

    Both the patriarch Job and St. Peter were sifted by the evil one. Did the sifting disprove their faith? An old friend of mine often says, “If the Lord brings you to it, the Lord will bring you through it.”


  12. SFDBWV says:

    I used to love to read and did as often as I could, however since Matthew’s misfortune and our daily living it is nearly impossible for me to be able to set and enjoy a book. Make no mistake I am not complaining, just explaining.

    What a wonderful gift imagination is and what a tremendous blessing to be able to use it to write.

    When we are children we all play make believe, we can be solders, princes, superman or batman it was just such fun to let your mind take you wherever you wanted to go.

    I’m not going to read George MacDonald, though I might like to, it sounds as though he used his imagination to explore possibilities he was not allowed to explore in an open honest forum, rather he used fictional novels to play out his thoughts as well as his faith.

    When you read such stories as “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe” or even “The Lord of the Rings” the author projects his persona and desires into his characters in order to show the more noble possibilities of mankind by the telling of a make believe story.

    Any good fiction has the ring of truth in it and is what makes it “believable”.

    From what I have gathered from Mart’s summation of the book he read, is reflective of the times in which MacDonald lived in as well as the real honest issues his characters dealt with. The issues not being restricted to a particular time in history and as relevant now as was then.

    The refreshing thing about it is that it is honest in looking at the intellect while dealing with a subject totally irrational.

    Just as cbrown (Chris) mentioned, there is a problem trying to be intellectual in expressing and living our Christian faith.

    The great intellectual minds of Athens listened to Paul, but left laughing when asked to believe that a man returned from the grave.

    It is forgotten that God calls people to do His work, not the other way around. Not that a person should not have the desire to be a preacher or leader in the Christian world, but it is God who calls a person to such duties and when God does so the person is not only empowered, but almost cannot fail in accomplishing their calling. I only say “almost” because of the example of Sampson.

    In any persons walk of faith there are what is often called “faith stealers” who come against their faith and none so effective as the power of intellect. And none quite as damaging as those who are among us who use the very words of the Bible to make us second guess what we believe.

    Which is one reason I believe Jesus tells us in Revelation to “return to our first love”.

    When our mind gets cluttered with too many attempts to answer every question and satisfy everyone’s curiosity and life becomes confusing, it is time to step back and remember where it all started from.


  13. tracey5tgbtg says:

    I read “The Light Princess”, “The Princess and the Goblin”, and “The Princess and Curdie” when I was a kid and loved the stories. The only other book by George MacDonald that I managed to get through was “Sir Gibbie” and I really enjoyed that one as well.

    For every Christian author that has touched my heart in some way and given me another glimpse, and I literally mean glimpse, of God’s glory, I can find an article where that author has been critiqued by someone else who claims that they weren’t a true Christian and had errors in their thinking. Of course, these critiques come from those who have never been in any error and who are correct in their thinking.

    I will never get to the point where I can say I am sure while I am in the flesh. And I thank God for those who have the honesty to admit that in themselves. Who walks in complete confidence every minute of their lives?

    Romans 8:23-26 …we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

    For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?

    But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

  14. bubbles says:

    Michael Phillips is an author who was influenced by George McDonald. Phillips wrote a series of books that, while fiction, read in parts almost like a devotional book. He caused me think about God in a way I never had before; what He wrote is based on Scripture. These books did not replace the Bible, but his writing caused me to want to read the Bible more and learn more about the character of God Himself.

  15. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Never having read George MacDonald’s novels, I have at hand only his “Unspoken Sermons, vols. I, II and III”. This can be downloaded online at Project Gutenberg. I agree that the 19th c. prose is convoluted — though not more difficult than previous theologians (Calvin, Luther or Wesley).

    It seems to me that MacDonald in the 19th c. wrote to correct poor theology (eg: Deism, Spiritualism, Rosicrucianism) — somewhat like the Gospel writer, John, wrote in the 1st c. to correct the heresy of the Gnostics. Just an impression, since I have not read each and every sermon in the series, nor do I rank the writings of MacDonald with the fourth Gospel!


  16. poohpity says:

    Chris, I hope you did not think that anything I said alluded to you not having the Spirit of God within you. I went back to read what was written to see if there was even the suggestion of that in anyway and came away puzzled.

    I think when we read anything we have to use our intellect to discern the spirit behind what is there but at times it seems we can become so rigid in our thinking we get closed off to learning new things. If God can use a donkey who’s to say who or what else he can use but it is up to us from our relationship to God to hear the voice of our Good Shepherd and that comes from being with Him and listening. That is available to everyone.

    Jesus used fictional stories/parables to teach His truths not trying to equate the above author with Jesus but just saying there seems to be no need to throw out the baby with the bath water.

  17. street says:

    Was particularly touched by the shepherds you described from George Mac Donald’s stories who, upon honest refection, find after a life-time their own faith and love are shallow — not deep in Jesus Christ.

    I find this true in my own life and think it is common for believers. I was taken aback a few weeks ago when i read Zechariah 7:5. i know God directs our hearts for His purposes. He asks us to consider our ways and His. He wants us to delight ourselves in Him. what are we delighting ourselves in? John 15:11.

    Hebrews 11:6

  18. cbrown says:

    Dear Tracy, I am sorry that I gave the impression that I think George MacDonald was not a true Christian. That determination is as they say above my pay grade. But he did teach theology that is adverse to what I believe.I believe that there is a definite time when a person accepts God’s Salvation(Christ’s Atonement)(John3:14-16)and at that moment he is born spiritually(John3:5-8).From my research, I do not think he held either of these beliefs.If someone has a better understanding of what he professed I would like to here it.He was a great writer and as you can see I can not write very well.

  19. phpatato says:

    If I may go off topic for a prayer request

    Please keep my husband in your prayers. He is going in within the hour for emergency surgery for a perforated bowel.

    God is so good! In Him I put my trust!

    Blessing to all


  20. remarutho says:

    Lifting your husband in prayer this morning, Pat.

  21. poohpity says:

    Pat, praying for your husband, you and your family.

  22. cbrown says:

    Pat, I am praying for your husband and your family. God bless you.

  23. poohpity says:

    The story of Wingfold finding out what grace truly is through the unlikely people shunned by his congregation resonates with me as well. Those who seem unlikely candidates really put our words to the test whether I practice what I preach or even really know the One I talk about. As his prayer goes from wondering about God to seeing himself as who seems to be the person who gets in way. I still do not understand all the twists and turns of the story but the more I read it the more comes to light.

  24. tiysha says:

    Pat, I pray for healing in the life of your husband. It is well

  25. belleu says:

    Pat, I am praying for your husband. May God’s hand be upon him.

    I grew up in a large family of second generation Adventists. All of them believed the teachings of the Bible and the church. I was brought up to believe God is real, he made the world and the Bible is his word. I believed it then and I believe it now. I’ve never had one doubt. But not everyone was converted. Even my mother would say she was not truly converted until she was in her forties. We can believe with all our heart in truth about God yet not know him personally.

    Then there is one of my sisters who still isn’t sure there even is a God. She battles with that constantly. She finds the Bible hard to understand – especially Jesus’ teachings. But the thought of missing out on heaven, “If there is one”, she says, keeps her praying and reading the Bible. She is like Winfold, who doesn’t know what to believe but he searches. She won’t give up searching and trying to believe, which I think God accepts. I like the sound of this book and will try to find it.

  26. belleu says:

    I was thinking I should add I wasn’t converted until I was 19. As for doubts about God, they arose in my mind in my forties. I never doubted he was there, but doubted his goodness – which is much worse. I guess doubts come in different ways to each person.

  27. tiysha says:

    Good morning BTA friends, such a solemn prayer. But I believe we’ve all come to a point in our christian journey where we’ve had bits and pieces of these feelings as genuinely relected by the writer.
    I can identify with him now in the “quote” below;

    “There are times when the darkness closees us like a wall and thou appeareth to be nowhere, either in our hearts or in the outer universe ; we cannot tell wether the things we seem to do in thy name were not mere hypocrisis, and our very life is like a gulf of

    darkness………. but to all our crying and listening there seems neither hearing nor answer in the boundles …….”

    There are times you feel God so near, you cry you hear Him speak and wait, and yet you dont see any sign.

    There are times you want to take a step in relation to your request and you don’t know if you are moving ahead of God or you are working in His will.

    Yes I feel this way right now in my life. And I need a divine direction and revealation . I need a divine intervention . That’s all I need now.

    I know God is able to do it all.

    But the question still remains ?


  28. tiysha says:

    You do the things you aught to do as a Christian, people see you and they think all is well and yet you have some sort of burden that though thrown to Jesus seems to hang around you.

    I pray God you intervene now and give me a reason to smile genuinly.

  29. SFDBWV says:

    Tiysha you have captured the essence and purpose of this subject very well.

    Everyone who struggles with life wonders when their rescue is coming.

    An old regular sight at cemeteries used to be tombstones that read R.I.P. It would seem the only rest some got from the toils and troubles of life were in death, not in living.

    Yet we read in our Bibles, no matter which of the far too many translations available, that we can have rest from our troubles *if only we* give them to God, or put them on the altar and leave them there.

    Far too easy for some to tell us not to pick them back up again when they are part of our lives and constantly before us moment by moment.

    Here is the struggle of believing, not only in the God of the Bible, but in the Bible itself and certainly of Jesus of Nazareth as our doorway to God and the answer to our problems.

    Believing is contrary to reason and rational thought, it is illogical and makes no intellectual sense.

    Yet there is something in every believer that makes them hold on to even the slimmest of *hope* that what they have come to believe and more importantly *who* they believe in and trust in is more real than even the troubles they suffer.

    Because we are normal human beings it is only afterwards that we may see where we have been and because so, it is only in reflection that we may see that God was always there every step of the way while we went through whatever troubles we experience, even unto death. Blinded by our suffering we just never was able to see Him.

    Life isn’t easy and being an honest believer isn’t easy either. Far too many pretend believers and far too many *church* smiles masking the truth inside as well as far too many people who can *see* through both and why Christianity gets an undeserved bad reaction from honest unbelievers.

    Pat’s husband is in critical condition, please pray for her and her family as they deal with these next hours and days.


  30. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    I hear you, Tiysha. We are all walking in the dark many times, it seems to me. Am reminded of Morpheus’ words to Neo: “Knowing the path is not the same as walking the path.” (from the film Matrix 1))

    Some years ago I lived in the redwood forest. Walking on a moonless night, it was literally inky. There was a path, but I could easily wander off into the brambles. It was crucial to feel the ground — the gravel and bark dust underfoot, so that I could stay on the level and not get a face full of berry brambles. Best to walk with a flashlight on such a night or early morning.

    Psalm 91 declares that in the shelter of the Most High, and the shadow of the Almighty:

    “You will not fear the terror of the night, or the arrow that flies by day, or the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, or the destruction that wastes at noonday.” (Psalm 91:5, 6)

    As for the waiting, I have no answer to the question!

    Praying for you this morning, Tiysha. May the blessed Holy Spirit enfold you and give you peace in the midst of these unsettled days.


  31. quietgrace says:

    Praying also for you, Tiysha and Pat and family as well.

  32. tiysha says:

    Thanks BTA friends. For these encouraging words and prayer.

  33. poohpity says:

    Does one believe what they say they believe? Can a reason be given for the hope one has?(1 Peter 3:15-16NIV) It is not only the answer one gives but the way they present it. Or is it as the atheist doctor told Wingfold you seem to be full of it which caused him to take a journey of self discovery, is it only words or do I really believe what I say I do? When one takes that honest look and pours their heart out to the Lord as David did many times going from asking where are you Lord to knowing that God is indeed there. From an emotional reaction to a knowledgeable one based on faith.

    Psalm 69 David cried out to God so broken and overcome with grief, affliction and desperation came to a point to admitting his powerlessness, weakness and sorrow. I bring that poorness of spirit to the Lord that honesty of need and I can’t say how it is done but there comes joy. The journey of faith does not seem to be one that shows a constant but with ups and downs, ins and outs developed through testing. That seems to be shown in Wingfold’s prayer as well.

    I wonder even with the name Wingfold if it displays a contrite spirit ready to ride on the outstretched wings of an Eagle.

  34. poohpity says:

    tiysha, praying also for your journey. Thank you for sharing.

  35. street says:

    We have seen no visions; we have never heard the voice of Thy Son, of whom those tales, so dear to us, have come down the ages;

    this passage is giving me some trouble of thought. to say you have never heard His voice is one thing, but to use the word never? implying not hearing God while reading His Word? Granted a non-believer will have as much fun reading a phone book. And calling these “dear” stories tales???

    I can see why you don’t put this on the level with scripture!

  36. belleu says:

    I appreciate everyone’s comments so much. They are quite moving and helpful.

    I’m praying for Pat and her husband. I pray also for you, Tiysha. I’m not sure why God has us wait so long for answers. My mom and I were just talking about that. We have been praying for two family members for a long, long time and just received two gifts from the Lord which shows he has been working. Joyce Meyer says, “Just believe God is working.”

    One relative has just phoned his mother and told her he found life empty and very lonely. He said he has started reading the Bible. We are thrilled. We had long felt sorry for him because of his loneliness and his wife leaving him – and lo and behold Jesus used this to draw him to himself.

    God sent a friend to my sister in Washington. She is a Christian who is helping my sis and we are so grateful. One bad thing (or it seemed bad to us) after another has happened to my sister and my mom was despairing of having something good happen for her. But my sister has learned patience from the bad and thankfulness for the new friend.

    Daniel 10:12-14 tells how Gabriel himself was delayed in answering Daniel’s prayer by the king of Persia. How the spiritual world works is probably beyond us. I would guess the free will of others and ourselves has a lot to do with it.

  37. belleu says:

    Street, I agree with you about that passage. I have known many who have had dreams from God and I know one person who has had a vision. I feel God speaking to me too.

  38. quietgrace says:

    I had this post from Phillip Yancey on fb this morning:

    After two weeks of studying the Bible, I had a strong sense that God doesn’t care so much about being analyzed. Mainly, he wants to be loved. (Disappointed With God/p.57-58)

    I think that even in the prayer above it is about loving God rather than asking for anything more than to know Him better.

    -Work Thy will in us, and our prayers are ended. Amen.”

    Isn’t doing the will of God loving God?

  39. quietgrace says:

    I think the prayer is one of great humility to a God they thought they once knew, but realize they never really knew Him. How many times I have prayed something similar. This prayer comes out of great anquish of heart knowing that God doesn’t always make sense according to our sensibilities. And that there are not always pat answers to life’s difficulties.

  40. poohpity says:

    street, maybe if you try reading that in the full context of the whole sentence or thought that was being expressed. Then how in the end of the full prayer comes to a realization that it was not due to God that those were none existent but to the person who may not have been in a place to really hear or see because of what they had been taught or preconceived perceptions. Just a thought.

  41. poohpity says:

    Sort of like jumping to conclusions or assumptions without all the facts. Similar to how one can criticize people without knowing what one has gone through or an understanding of their heart.

  42. poohpity says:

    But forming an opinion nevertheless.

  43. foreverblessed says:

    That is courageous, for a pastor to tell of his struggles!
    I pray for you Tisya, and for Pat her husband!

    Here is some of my thoughts:
    They hang around the word: persevering.
    Without God I am nothing, but when life is going good, then it seems I can live without Him. The sun comes up, the weather is nice, the sun is shining, there is food, and if the fridge is empty I can buy food. I have legs that are functioning, I can take my bicylce and go to the shopThere is gas to cook a dinner, and all is well.
    But when trouble comes, illness, no job, not one week, but for years and years.

    Sometimes I thing that the life of a christian is like the Israelites, that were freed out of Egypt, they celebrate their freedom, and go into the desert, but when there is no water, and no food, they start grumbling.
    When God allows things to go hard, I started to pray, God help me! Deliver me!
    What if God does not answer immediately?
    I have had a struggle with migraine, for more then 7 years now. It is almost gone, now I call it headache.
    But God did not deliver me, and every two weeks I was out of order for 2 days, and nothing could be done.
    Where was God, I was searching, and searching, then started a problem with fear, fear would enter in, and I would not know why.
    The devotion of God calling helped me a lot.
    There is was said: seek Jesus in the morning, focus your eyes on Him, and then HIs life will flow through you, slowly, and cleanse you bit by bit.
    That I started to do.
    Praising God, despite the illness!
    No real miracle happened, but very very tiny ones. So it meant for me: Persevering.
    An other word in that devotion: When you praise Jesus, the evil that is around you, and within you, will eventually have to leave you. I believed that the fear was evil within me, that should not stay. And I started to praise God, but continuing doing that, even when the next day the fear would be there again. Not noticeably smaller.
    I believe that is also the path of faith we have to walk.
    Still believing God will help us eventually, some day, holding on, not legging go of faith.

    In searching for answers, God showed me that I had to change my way of thinking: Psalm 37:1-11
    About difficult people, not thinking over and over again what all they have done wrong, but rataher blessing them, because they need it.
    And being positive towards others, being an anchor of hope for those around me, because I believe in Jesus, He is my anchor. instead of hoping other people will carry me, and be my anchor.

    Why would there be so much on perseverance in the bible, even in Revelation, in the letters to the churches it is all about persevering, or stated in another word: overcoming. Rev 2 and Rev 3

    I could let the migraine overcome me, it takes me over, or I could decide, even if God does not heal me now, I still worship Him. If I hold on, and the migraine goes finally, after a few years, then I have overcome the illness, with Gods help, persevering is overcoming, is not letting go of faith in God, even if He is hiding in a black cloud.

    THat is called: waiting upon the Lord,
    and in the waiting, in faith our strength is growing, strength from God that fills our inner being, bit by bit.

    So my word is: Persevere, hang on, wait on the Lord!

  44. foreverblessed says:

    a shorter version:
    Psalm 27:14
    meaning that as you wait on the Lord, your strength is growing, strength flowing from God to you, when you keep your eyes on Jesus, Psalm 25:15

  45. cbrown says:

    Foreeverblessed one of the things that I do at times through the day is meditate on the 23rd Psalm and personalize it as a prayer from me to God.

    23 Lord You sre my shepherd,
    I shall not want.
    2 You makes me lie down in green pastures;
    You lead me beside quiet waters.
    3 You restores my soul;
    You guides me in the paths of righteousness
    For Your name’s sake.
    4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I fear no evil, for You are with me;
    Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
    5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
    You have anointed my head with oil;
    My cup overflows.
    6 Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life,
    And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. I get strength from God’s word and strive to not ” lean on my own understanding” which invariably gets me into trouble.

  46. cbrown says:

    I see when I added the Psalm I did not edit it well.2 You make me and 3You restore my soul

  47. hera says:

    Faith is having the patience to wait, knowing that all things will be done in God’s time. I only wish I owned one of His watches. Amen :-)

  48. hera says:

    that was of Kathy Buckley.

  49. poohpity says:

    Faith is knowing God does not need a watch. :-)

  50. SFDBWV says:

    In bold truth I tell you sometimes I get dizzy keeping up with our discussions…I think because they so often go in circles.

    Does faith come from what we *know* of the Bible or the supernatural indwelling of the Holy Spirit within us?

    Can we come to *know* Jesus without the Bible?

    Does the words of the Bible confirm our faith or is our faith based on what the words of the Bible say?

    How can we begin to convince someone else that there is a God if we aren’t sure ourselves? Why would we try to?

    Foreverblessed I agree with you that there is power in praise.

    Chris the 23rd Psalm carried me through those very difficult weeks when Matt was in intensive care following his automobile accident. My wife Glenna has verse one printed out and in full view of her in various places as a reminder for her strength.

    It is said that faith comes by hearing, and hearing the Word of God.

    What the Bible is to a believer is a history book as well as an instruction manual, it is conformation on every level.

    The Holy Spirit confirms *Truth* and specifically the Truth of God.

    If prayer and meditation comes up void in you, you need to reboot reconnect and start at the beginning; ask God for Jesus of Nazareth’s indwelling in you, and God will supply all your *needs*, but not necessarily all your wants. Be prepared for that and you won’t be disappointed.

    Have to step off the tilt a whirl and put my feet on the ground, I pray all of you are blessed today.

    48 degrees this morning.


  51. saled says:

    Mart, thank you for the link to The Curate’s Awakening. I have made it through the first 5 chapters, and like you said, it’s not easy to push through. I am highly motivated however by your description of his sermon dealing with the life ending wrong that can never be erased and waking to find that it was a dream. I am so anxious to find out how the brother’s real time and space wrong was dealt with.

    I have always hoped that Jesus’ sacrifice included the righting of my wrongs as well as forgiveness for them. Now that would be heaven.

  52. cbrown says:

    The Daily Bread was especially good this morning.I have to admit though, I had my morning devotional after I had read the posts on this blog.I thought I knew what I wanted to write but God changed my heart.The prayer at the end is so fitting for those on this board who are such an encouragement. Below is a quote from Joni Eareckson Tada “As a matter of fact, God isn’t asking you to be thankful. He’s asking you to give thanks. There’s a big difference. One response involves emotions, the other your choices, your decisions about a situation, your intent, your ‘step of faith.”
    ― Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty heart.

  53. poohpity says:

    saled, welcome to heaven if you believe that Jesus covered the consequences of your wrongs with forgiveness and mercy. Past, present and future it is finished.

  54. poohpity says:

    Paul considered false believers as dangerous and trying to pull us back into slavery under the law I can understand why it was so important what Wingfold pointed out in, “suddenly finds himself found out by a young atheist who senses the pastor’s lack of conviction and considers him a spiritual fraud.

    As a result, Wingfold realizes that it’s true. He doesn’t know what he believes— and hasn’t even made the effort to decide what he doesn’t believe.”

    I notice that he was not paying attention to anyone other than his own convictions or what he said he believed. I wonder often our words and actions are at war with each other. If I say I believe _______ then why do I do _______?

  55. street says:

    I have always hoped that Jesus’ sacrifice included the righting of my wrongs as well as forgiveness for them. Now that would be heaven.
    the story of Joseph comes to mind when he is restored to his family. also Romans 8:30

  56. quietgrace says:

    Street that is heaven isn’t it? Where all wrongs are righted and forgiven.

    Heb. 2:10. It was through Christ’s suffering he learned obedience, and like Joseph who was a ‘type’ of Christ so are we to others.

    In Christ all of our wrongs are righted.

  57. belleu says:

    Foreverblessed, after reading your last post I finally understood a bit better why the Bible stresses persevering. Every day can be a struggle with one thing or another and persevering in spite of everything is very important in the Christian walk. I used to think, “Why does God want us to have endurance and perseverance so much?” I mainly thought that because we get these two things through suffering,Romans 5:3, and I didn’t want to suffer. Well, I’m not the most mature Christian that’s for sure. I’d like a break from suffering and seeing those I love suffer, like a years long break, but I don’t think that is a practical wish in a world like this. I’ve learned from everyone here in the comments.

  58. quietgrace says:

    Going to try posting again…

    Street I used to think that God would restore things the way they should be, but some things can’t be undone in the physical. What I found out is that God’s plans are so much higher and better than our plans. Though He is entirely sympathetic to our sadness, grief, pain and suffering, He is able to use those things, those losses those sorrows, those mistakes, those sins to bring glory to Himself in ways we could never have imagined. And isn’t that the point of being a Christian, to bring glory to God? It’s not about us, ultimately, it’s about being creatures of a loving God returning to the God who created us in the first place.

    Often times forgiving ourselves is the hardest. I pray you God’s peace as you continue to pursue Him.


  59. poohpity says:

    I have not ever learned that our wrongs can be made right. Wrongs are wrong nothing right about them however as far as God is concerned from what I have learned of His amazing grace they can be forgiven and hopefully from others as well. We also live with the consequences of those wrongs that is why each action we take we need to consider what the effects of doing them will be. The fruit of self control helps us take time to step back and think before we act.

    Grace, I understand how cruel we can be to ourselves by withholding forgiveness but will that not effect in how we treat others? Will there be those we feel are unworthy of forgiveness too? Forgiveness is something that really none us deserve that would then prompt one to thinking that we deserve in some way God’s grace. Isn’t God’s love because of who He is not about us?

  60. quietgrace says:

    Pooh- I find it much much easier to forgive others than to forgive myself, but that’s slowly changing.

    Street-just curious, are you an INFJ? If you are there is an INFJ Christians group that helps me a lot. Other types post as well though. Check it out on fb.

  61. poohpity says:

    Grace, do you believe Jesus forgave you?

  62. quietgrace says:

    Pooh, (smiling)

  63. poohpity says:

    Did Christ have to learn obedience? I wonder how that thought would follow with believing Jesus as being fully God/Man?

  64. poohpity says:

    belleu, don’t we gain those 2 things(endurance and perseverance) from trusting God through suffering not from the suffering itself? Suffering can produce resentment, frustration, self pity, hardheartedness but when we depend on God’s faithfulness we can overcome by knowing good in some way will come from it.

  65. belleu says:

    Yes, you are right Pooh. Suffering can make a person very angry. However, I found that road led nowhere and finally gave up being angry. Some people never do. But I can say I am so glad I did.

  66. poohpity says:

    In today’s ODB it stated, “The apostle Paul reinforced the idea that the way we view our circumstances is more important than the circumstances themselves.” Paul suffered more than most can even think of yet he said he has learned to be content in every circumstance. That is how much he trusted God, I pray that one day I will react in that manner. Another teacher I have learned from said that our attitude is 10% due to what happens and 90% how we look at it.

  67. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning all, its 44 degrees and I love it. Yesterday it only got to 68 and felt *great*. It reminds me of the 60’s when I was a youngster and we had several cool summer spells. However I also remember all good things come to an end.

    After all that’s what makes heaven, heaven that it is something *special*.

    Given the concept that we as believers will accompany Jesus upon His return and aid Him in ruling earth, I am left to wonder what the weather might be like for those last thousand years of life on the planet.

    “A Story and a Prayer”

    Remembering that what we have here is a *fictional* story accompanied with a *fictional* prayer meant to address the attitude and needs of the character in the story. The twist being it may speak from a fictional platform to the attitude and needs of some today.

    When Jesus tried to make a point while speaking to people in the Bible, He often would tell a story to illustrate His subject. Sometimes it was purely fictional and sometimes it was more biographical and about a real individual. There is an entire study done by some to determine which was which.

    Good fiction is always believable and the prayer offered up in this subject, though a work of fiction, can still speak to some as something they may need to *think about*.

    Anthropology is the study of mankind, and if it teaches anything it shows that people are people everywhere and from all ages.

    This story shows that what troubled some when it was written troubles some today, and in time will continue to trouble some in a future time as well. Until of course that day our Lord returns.

    The thing to remember is to use what you know of God learned from the Bible and to use “The Lord’s Prayer” as a guide in offering up *your own personal prayers* to your Heavenly Father, as they speak from your heart to God with a clear view of what is inside.

    Some day’s here in my world the strongest and most honest clear and shortest prayer I hear offered is simply “God” said in the throngs of despair.

    God is more than able to fill in the rest of what wasn’t said.


  68. phpatato says:

    Good Morning All

    Just a stop to say thank you so much for your prayers.

    He is in surgery within the hour again to close the wound from Monday’s surgery. He was so distended and swollen that they could not get enough tissue (fascia) and skin to close.

    His is listed as critically stable.

    Your continued prayers are so appreciated.


  69. poohpity says:

    Pat, the poison in his system I knew had to be bad and I have not ceased praying. I know God can. Love you Deb

  70. poohpity says:

    The cry of that prayer to know God as Jesus knows Him not what we think we know I had never given thought to but what a powerful thing to ask. The intimacy between the Father and the Son I wonder if that is even possible for us but if it is, wow! If that be the only pursuit of our lives how richly blessed we would be.

  71. street says:

    Steve said, When Jesus tried to make a point while speaking to people in the Bible, He often would tell a story to illustrate His subject. Sometimes it was purely fictional and sometimes it was more biographical and about a real individual. There is an entire study done by some to determine which was which.

    I wonder if this road is the road to become a Great Pharisee? It seems to bypass what is taught.

  72. quietgrace says:

    Steve what you said about the simplest prayer you can offer up some days is simply “God”, which reminds me of a contemporary writer named Anne Lamott who wrote a book about her simple prayer at times which goes,”Help, Thanks, Wow!

    The bible says that the holy spirit knows our heart and intercedes on our behalf. Romans 8:27 I rely on this in times where no words come to mind.

  73. street says:

    Poo said, He is able to use those things, those losses those sorrows, those mistakes, those sins to bring glory to Himself in ways we could never have imagined.

    Sin is evil and it is not God’s will. It is permitted by Him and it definitely has boundaries. we are never to be controlled by it or under it’s influence. I have to remind myself God is never the one carrying out evil. like when God gave Satan limits when sifting Job and Peter. I think sin and all the rest of life is to draw us closer to a Loving God who we have been running away from. even Job remarked after it all passed that he was closer to God, he never said he enjoyed all the loses. God says His cross will be the place where He will draw all men to Himself. lately I have been thinking apart from God we are only building a grave to lay our mortal body in like the Egyptian Pyramids. what a long lasting metaphor that has become. we are impressed by there size,age,and work the involved, but it is still a grave. the empty tomb of Jesus is the most extraordinary/joyful event in all human history!I can wait to be apart of what He is doing next! Even if it is picking up after my dogs in the back yard!

    poo said, We also live with the consequences of those wrongs that is why each action we take we need to consider what the effects of doing them will be. The fruit of self control helps us take time to step back and think before we act.

    the wages of sin is death, but sometimes God gives grace to accomplish a greater good. Sin has always been mans enemy, not God. God has been there for man from the beginning and will be there for him through out eternity.

    God’s grace and peace fill your hearts in Christ Jesus.

  74. cbrown says:

    Street,thank you for the above post. It speaks volumes to me.

  75. poohpity says:

    If we truly have believed in God’s grace then why does it seem all to familiar as that pastor thought, “the self-righteous meanness of the church community;” is more prevalent? Do you think it is because they have never understood their true state and feel they are deserving because of their seemingly moral behavior and have yet to recognize that at the basis of those thoughts is pride? The very thing that caused the fall in the first place.

  76. quietgrace says:

    Steve I have to apologize. I am re-reading the thread and recognized that I misquote you earlier. You said you hear “God” as a simple prayer in your world, not that you say it yourself.

    Pooh as far as the “meanness of the community church” goes from my experience it depends on which church you go to. I believe more churches have gotten more relationally interactive with more programs to help people with difficult problems like addictions, disabilities,and accountability groups where it’s more than ok to share problems, it’s expected. But some are more interested in the monthly potluck, women’s craft groups and such things and don’t have the opportunity or desire to be real about their struggles. Knowing they would be condemned or shunned even, they learn to play along to get along. (Just my opinion.)

  77. belleu says:

    Pat, I will continue praying for your husband and for you.

    Pooh, I think you got it right about why there are “mean” people running churches or going to them. Their meanness shows itself in being critical and condemning of anyone who doesn’t act and think like them. It is so sad when this becomes the central spirit of a church.

  78. poohpity says:

    belleu, I did not think I said that about mean people running churches or going to them I was quoting what the pastor said. The way I think is that we all have mean streaks, hypocrisy, anger, sin etc., etc. the problem is when we do not admit to it in ourselves but are quick to see it in others. What would church be without all of us sinners, empty. If we do not show grace to others doesn’t that show we do not believe what we say we believe?

  79. belleu says:

    I see the quote as – “the self-righteous meanness of the church community”. So, I take that to mean the main spirit of that church is meanness. Yes, the church and the whole world is full of sinners. We would hope though that we could find some love in the churches since they say they follow Christ. But if there is little or no love in a certain church or churches then I think we should leave and find a better church. If we can’t find one, we can worship at home or have our own group of believers get together in each other’s homes.

    I see no point in staying in a loveless church. Who could you bring to it? If you have tried to change things but they won’t stand for it, well, shake the dust off your feet and leave.

  80. poohpity says:

    Maybe God put you there to show His love through grace and leave the changing of their hearts up to Him. God is more than able. A lot of times we do not trust or depend on God who is the business of changing lives even though we say we believe in Him we think we have something to do with it. Isn’t that what this story is about talking about God but not really knowing Him or believing He is able to do more than what we even give Him credit for?

  81. poohpity says:

    I think shaking the dust off your feet is when people do not welcome us or the Gospel message. Maybe sometimes our rejection is due to own behavior not because we are sharing grace.

  82. belleu says:

    Yes, you are right about that Bible quote. Well, no one rejected me at my church. I guess I rejected them and I’m not sorry about it. As for God changing them, I hope he did.

  83. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry for this D-tour, but a tragedy happened yesterday, a plane crashed in Ukraine, just above the warzone. A Malaysian airplane, flying from Amsterdam to Malaysia.
    Lovely, another tragedy for your country! I pray for all those involved, for comfort, that God may carry them through this, and bring His message of peace in their hearts, through Jesus our Lord.
    176 of my countrymen have died. Many of them going on a holiday in Indonesia, having worked hard during the year, like teachers. Even Poetin called our prime minister to tell him his condolences. It is good these two have met during the winter olympics in Russia. For these things the big sport things are good, that country leaders get to know each other!

    God turns everything around, that is the message:

    “Then he went on to eloquently make his case that such relief and elation is nothing compared to the glory of the mercy and forgiveness of God for wrongs we have actually committed (without ignoring legal guilt and consequence).”

    God will turn this around, we may not see it in the physical, but with eyes seeing the spiritual things that God works out. All possible because Jesus has carried all our sins and all our wrongs, to the cross.
    He even carried the consequences of our sins (that is the curse) to the cross, as He wore the crown of thorns. The thorns and thistles that portray the curse for the disobedience of Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:17-18, John 19:2
    That is the message we preach, and I should look inside my heart, and see that I believe this. It is not too good to be true, it is true!
    God bless you all.

  84. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed I for one here on this side of the Atlantic seen the story of the murder of 298 people you speak of.

    In the shell game that occurs globally while the world watches that story, Israel and her enemies are locked in combat once again with the number of deaths rising each day.

    How can we deal with such madness?

    If we attempt to kill every “bad” character in these dramas as retaliation or some form of justice, we become the same as they. Yet it seems the enemies of peace and goodness in the world hold no value for human life nor understand any fear except death itself.

    My heart goes out to the families of the victims murdered in the sky over Ukraine as well as all the innocent lives lost in the battles in Israel and Gaza.

    Sad to say, but even in praying for the return of Jesus upon the earth, it is with knowing of bloodshed and destruction unheard of in human history.


  85. SFDBWV says:

    On the tone of our BTA subject, I would guess that many people who have an honest view of themselves at some point in their lives wonder if all the passions, beliefs and work of their lives has all been in vain or worse if they themselves have spent their lives as *phonies*.

    What a terrible place to find yourself looking in a mirror of truth and having to accept what is shown.

    Is this not what occurs at the “great white throne” spoken of in Revelation 20:11, 12, 13, 14, 15?

    Imagine then when faced with accepting all of your life’s mistakes God turns to you and says, you are forgiven, my own son is punished in your place.

    There is none in all the world not one who is worthy, only Jesus is worthy (Revelation 5:2-14).

    We are promised that for those of us who accept Jesus to be Lord we escape the great white throne of judgment, but when we look into that mirror of self being truly exposed do we see Jesus looking back at us or is there a struggle between our own image and His?

    I think until it is all over there will always be a struggle and the struggle means that His Spirit is still with us….Fear the day we no longer struggle and are pleased with ourselves.


  86. SFDBWV says:

    Grace, in an attempt to make you feel better, let me say many times the only prayer I could offer up was an exhausted and weary “God!”

    Be at peace my friend, no reason for an apology.


  87. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA —

    Have been “unplugged” from media for a few days. The current world news is a matter for devoted prayer, to put it mildly!

    In reading the original post and the comments once more, I must agree that my heart sinks — and I dare to believe, as somebody mentioned here, that our Lord desires to draw us into eternal fellowship and communion among the Father, his dear Son and the blessed Holy Spirit. Prayers going up for the family and loved ones of the 200+ destroyed — and the 200+ now dead from “collateral damage.” Lord, be merciful.

    Thank-you for your part of the prayers, Mart:

    “Thou whom Jesus called Father, we appeal to Thee, not as we imagine Thee, but as Thou seest Thyself, as Jesus knows Thee, to Thy very self we cry—help us, O Cause of us! O Thou from whom alone we are this weakness, through whom alone we can become strength, help us—be our Father.”

    Must wonder at the helplessness that is my earthly inheritance — and must hope in God’s loving presence, especially in Jesus — giving help to all who cry out with faith.

    Strength is yours, O Lord God. We long for your
    presence now! Amen.

  88. belleu says:

    It seems that every day there is heart-rending news. I also pray for everyone on that plane and their families. Wars are such terrible things – so many innocent people die. The middle east is in its usual state of chaos – killing and hatred. It does make one long for Jesus’ return.

    I downloaded ‘The Curate’s Awakening’ last night and started reading. I’m finding it very interesting and I know I will learn a lot from it.

  89. street says:

    this one is for Poo found on internet.

    “The mystery of iniquity is at work in the world during this interim time, and it is not always clear how its malignant work is being checked, overridden, or woven into the glorious purposes of God. We need to remember, though, that while Judas betrayed Christ, and woe to him for doing so, it was God’s plan that Christ was thus betrayed. Evil by its very nature opposes the purposes of God, but God, in his sovereignty, can make even this evil serve his purposes. ”
    — David F. Wells (via Of First Importance)

  90. street says:

    poohpity says:
    July 17, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    responding to Poo’s comment. yes people can claim to be Christian and respond poorly to God’s mercy! you have to wonder if they even know Him by what they do? My advises is to stay away from them like the Bible instructs us too. Matthew 8:21-35 they put them selves in a very bad spot.

  91. poohpity says:

    street, I do not see how that passage instructs us to stay away from Christians? There is one however that does 1 Cor 5:10-11 NLT and then one’s that talk about false believers in Gal 2:4-5 NIV and 2 Cor 11:26 NIV. I think it has to do more with believers do not usually influence others but the false ones that prompt ugliness seem to have more influence. I think it has more to do with our fallen nature being more at home with what comes natural rather than what comes from God which is so topsy turvy from the norm.

  92. poohpity says:

    Whoever we hang with most often is usually our influence I think that is why we are taught to abide in Christ then we start to emulate Him.

  93. street says:

    ops….it was Matthew 18:21-35 not Matthew 8

  94. poohpity says:

    Yes that one does show if we lack forgiveness we will not be forgiven. Each one of us has been forgiven so much and if we truly believe what has been done for us, who do we think we are not to give it to others from the heart. Doesn’t one have to come to grips with the condition of their own heart first? There are those who feel morally superior to others with denials like; well I was raised in a Christian home so I have never done anything that bad or are sure of their self righteous behavior but that is comparing to others(looking around) and not to God’s standards(looking up). God tells us all sin and fall short of the Glory of God. It seems we would be so much better off if our spirit was humbled as to our own condition and that would keep us from pointing out things in others.

    This story is about a man that did just that carefully examined his “own” spiritual condition.

  95. belleu says:

    I wonder why Jesus didn’t hang around the temple with the Pharisees, Saducees and priests. Would his example have changed them? No.

  96. belleu says:

    You know, I’m sorry about what I wrote in my last post. I really don’t want to have a debate on whether it is okay for me to quit church. No one but the Lord and I know the details and that’s okay. If he wants me to go to a church, he will let me know. Thanks though for the input.

  97. cbrown says:

    When my family is on vacation each summer we often do 1000 piece puzzles togather. There are some places we can not find the pieces that fit. We try forcing different pieces into a spot. Finally,when the puzzle is almost done the final pieces all fall into place. The ODB and “My Utmost for his Highest” were special this morning.Below is portion of “My Utmost for His Highest” ‘I and My Father are one’ (John 10:30). “. . . though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). The Son was obedient as our Redeemer, because He was the Son, not in order to become God’s Son.”

  98. quietgrace says:

    Belleu I hear what you are saying! Sometimes we just want to talk about where we are without getting feedback. Just to be heard as God hears us. I too left church a couple years back now, and every Sunday struggle with going but God has not led me back yet. Maybe never even, but I have found Christians online that I can talk to, pray,and fellowship with and God is in it! I have actually seen amazing answers to prayer just this past week. I also have a close friend and a couple Christian neighbors I can get together with most anytime. There is also accountability with people I can trust. God has surrounded me with church without walls, it seems. God bless on your walk with Him. Grace

  99. quietgrace says:

    Chris I love that also, and it reminds me that while we are alive that just as Christ, we too must suffer as suffering is the teaching ground for obedience.

    I know some say that we shouldn’t have to suffer because Christ suffered for us, so we don’t have to, but that is false and misleading and sets one up for condemnation because their suffering continues.

    Thinking of the plane downed in the Ukraine and the suffering and tragedy of so many people/families/friends.

    Lovely praying for God’s peace for you today also.

    Pat continuing to pray for your family.

    Enjoying also a lovely summer day as they don’t last long around here.

    Blessings, Grace

  100. street says:

    I think until it is all over there will always be a struggle and the struggle means that His Spirit is still with us….Fear the day we no longer struggle and are pleased with ourselves.

    Paul’s life is good starting point for Christians as to what they are going to face. they live through them for the purpose of One who calls them in Love. 2 Corinthians 6:4-10

  101. street says:

    cbrown said, The ODB and “My Utmost for his Highest” were special this morning.Below is portion of “My Utmost for His Highest” ‘I and My Father are one’ (John 10:30). “. . . though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered” (Hebrews 5:8). The Son was obedient as our Redeemer, because He was the Son, not in order to become God’s Son.”

    I wrote this in my journal today, my exsperence is leading me to believe God reviels Himself through our obediance to Him. it is quite difficult and causes strong squals where by it drives me closer to Him in prayer and His power is revieled in His control of the storm. Thank you Dad. 7/19/14

  102. quietgrace says:

    Street love your post, beautifully said!

  103. poohpity says:

    belleu, did you feel I was making a point for going to church? If you did I want you to know I wasn’t. I went to the same church for 23 years and served in a leadership role but about 3 years ago I stopped going to that church for many reasons. I have tried out churches closer to home during that time and I have not found a fit yet. Until I find one and feel well enough to go, I watch my favorite teachers on TV. I just tried a new one last week and they teach God’s Word right from the Bible it just so happens to be Hebrews and that got my attention. It is the Bible that teaches us to not forsake assembling together and there are many reasons it seems a few of which are sharing our burdens, praying, singing and accountability. I actually had not even given it a thought as to whether you were attending church or not. I make every attempt to talk about the topic which I fail at often but what everyone does is their own business not any of mine.

  104. poohpity says:

    In the Bible the church was groups of people meeting in homes sharing their love of the Lord, His Word and Sacraments then a meal. I long for that. I long to be around people that do not think they are perfect but know God is and share the same desires I do growing in a relationship with Him. All I find mostly are social clubs that are exclusive rather inclusive devoid of serving God unless that means to those that are in their social groups, gossiping, in everyone’s business sharing prayer requests as a means of gossip. I have watched people being destroyed by name calling, rumors and pushed away from knowing God. So my opinion of organized religion isn’t very good. :-( But they are not here to live up to my expectations thank God. God knows our hearts and finds many areas that need work even the secret places and yet shows us His boundless mercy.

  105. poohpity says:

    cbrown, still trying to figure out that Heb 5:8?

  106. poohpity says:

    “What does God see when He looks at You?”

  107. belleu says:

    Thanks everyone. When someone says, “The church of God…” I always think it means everyone in the world who has given their lives to God. We are all one family – one church.

    As for suffering, you are all right. We can’t expect not to suffer for Jesus suffered and of course all the disciples and Paul.

  108. street says:

    belleu says:
    July 18, 2014 at 11:36 pm

    I wonder why Jesus didn’t hang around the temple with the Pharisees, Saducees and priests. Would his example have changed them? No.

    Jesus separated Himself from them when they determined He was working with satan in spite of the evidence.

  109. SFDBWV says:

    I don’t know what is the oldest written stories in the world are, but the OT stories of the Bible is certainly one collection of them.

    “The Iliad”, and “Atlantis” are two that come to mind. Interesting that both of these two stories have serious scrutiny as having been factual rather than fiction.

    An old saying states that fact is stranger than fiction and in part what makes the Bible unique in the way its heroes are so often shown as scallywags.

    An author of fiction has the luxury of having events turn out exactly as they want to occur; unfortunately reality too often does not deliver happy endings.

    Equally enlightening are the not as old yet ancient Greek stories which have been used to exemplify twisted and heartbreaking endings known as “a Greek tragedy”.

    Charles Dickens is known for exposing the horrible conditions for the poor in England at the time of his writings. Though fiction, they were meant to speak to the conscience of the generation he wrote to.

    If George MacDonald was attempting to *speak* to the conscience of Pastors and congregations of his time, I don’t know, but for those of you who have the luxury and time I am certain there are a plethora of current Christian fictional novels from which to hear the complaints and successes of what it is like to be a Christian today. Whether a Pastor or laity, in or out of church.

    Read, glean, learn and grow; that is what the gift of good writing offers and provides…Just remember to be able to separate fact from fiction.


  110. poohpity says:

    I thought Jesus went into the Temple to teach often and then went to the home of a Pharisee to have a meal. However many did not recognize who He was because they seemed so wrapped up in themselves wanting the places of honor they failed to give honor to the One who deserved it.

  111. poohpity says:

    To me everything that has to do with God always results in a happy ending. Even what we see as tragedies in life when given to God can result in happy endings it all seems to be dependent on our attitude about them. God is the great attitude adjuster. Death has no power, suffering, trials, sorrows teach us to depend on God who is in complete control. That does not mean He controls us that is a human abuse but we can know that God is involved and faithful to never leave or forsake us. I guess it all comes down to whether we believe what the Bible teaches us through the Holy Spirit. So do we believe that what it says is fact or fiction? Sadly many even those who say they believe think of it as fiction.

  112. poohpity says:

    What does God see when He looks at you? Jesus!!

  113. quietgrace says:

    What does God see when He looks at you? Jesus!!

    Good morning Pooh, I’m not challenging your statement, just wonder where I can find it in scripture, thanks.

  114. poohpity says:

    What do you believe about what Jesus did on the Cross?

  115. remarutho says:

    Hi Deb & Grace —

    It seems to me Colossians 1:27, 28, 29 comes close to expressing the promise Jesus gives us — John 7:37, 38 — that Jesus himself dwells in us and brings to us the very life of God — eternal and indestructible.


  116. quietgrace says:

    Maru thanks I know and absolutely believe that Christ is in me, but I still think He sees me too! And that because the of the Spirit of Christ my spirit lives also. We are made new, but reside in the same old bodies, (getting older every day-trust me)mostly. I did not lose my personality-my essence-what makes me me. Even the Bible states that we struggle with the flesh and that the Holy Spirit within us guides and changes us according to the will of God.

  117. quietgrace says:

    LOL! I have a tendency to be a deep thinker and often people have a hard time following me when I am thinking on a different level. Nothing said here by anyone is wrong, just thinking! Ha!

  118. poohpity says:

    Do you really believe who you are in Christ Jesus? Gal 3:26-27 NIV

  119. quietgrace says:

    Pooh, as to your question I know full well what Jesus did on the cross, He paid the price for our sins-destroyed them if you will, but He did not destroy mankind in the process. God still sees us as we are and always will be while being born of man in the flesh.

  120. poohpity says:

    It does not mean we give up being ourselves it means we do not live in shame and guilt anymore which frees us to be all that we can be, not burdened any more trying to earn love.

  121. quietgrace says:

    Are you referencing ‘clothed in Christ’ as meaning we have a different physical appearance than we did before the Cross and that that is what God sees? Gal.3:27 NIV

    Because if you do, I see that as a spiritual clothing, not physical.

  122. quietgrace says:

    Yes, I see what you mean.

  123. quietgrace says:

    By shame you are talking about the shame of being separated from Christ, right? Like Adam and Eve who hid in the garden from God after they disobeyed Him?

  124. poohpity says:

    Do you really “know full well what Jesus did on the cross”? Our sins are destroyed?

  125. poohpity says:

    No grace the shame that results from sin.

  126. poohpity says:

    All of this has nothing what so ever to do with deep thinking it has to do with the garbage of the world that one clings to which only detracts from faith. Col 2:6-9 NIV

  127. quietgrace says:

    Garbage in, garbage out, thank you Jesus!

  128. street says:

    An author of fiction has the luxury of having events turn out exactly as they want to occur; unfortunately reality too often does not deliver happy endings.

    the author of the Bible has the wisdom and power to accomplish His will. many fireworks and a the BIG ENDING are on the way. struggle to abide in Him.

    Couple of thought on current events.

    Ester comes to mind.

    And on Gods scales the strength and power of nations can not move the scales at all. i think the prayers of His children can move the scales. look what He did to Nineveh!

  129. remarutho says:

    Dear BTA —

    It seems to me the work accomplished in the resurrection of Jesus is incomparably greater than what we think of as being “saved”. His work is nothing less than restoring our true humanity — and fellowship with God that Adam and Eve enjoyed before their unfortunate choice of the knowledge of good and evil.

    “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete and He is the head over all authority;” Col 2:9, 10

    His grace is super-abundant and able to deliver all creation from the curse of separation and alienation from God. The restoration is complete and whole. If I am reading the promise of Jesus correctly, the kingdom is at hand. The life of God is being freely given to those who believe in Jesus here and now. (Matt 4:17)


  130. quietgrace says:

    Beautifully said Maru. I’ve been doing some research on shame and as I can’t find a Biblical theology on it I read some other bloggers and have come to the conclusion that as you pointed out “The restoration is complete and whole” meaning we can be shamed by others, even other Christians, but in Christ “There is therefore now no condemnation” Romans 8:1 and while we or others may condemn us from time to time, a daily reminding of ourselves that “in Him you have been made complete” is important. It may take some a lifetime to truly live up to that vision, and in the mean time, there should be no shame placed on those of us that need more time than others to fully accept and understand the truth of that glorious promise. Thanks also Pooh for the thought-provoking chat!

    blessings, Grace

  131. poohpity says:

    Your welcome grace. No one can place shame on any of us that comes from within. A battle within our minds that can be combated with the truth and excitement of what Jesus did for us. This was a very good topic for asking ourselves some really tough questions about what we say we believe and no one can answer them but each person for themselves.

  132. quietgrace says:

    I disagree with your point that “No one can place shame on any of us that comes from within.” Jesus was shamed, but He didn’t have any shame within. The apostles and Paul were shamed, but they didn’t speak of having shame within.

    Or am I misunderstanding you?

  133. belleu says:

    I love what you said about shame, Grace. I’ve felt a lot of shame in my life but it is lovely to realize I have no shame before God. People have many ways of making you feel shamed but God’s forgiveness is so immediate and loving and there is no shame in it.

  134. quietgrace says:

    Belleu I agree that no matter how people try to shame us we can run to Jesus and find safety and grace. And that as often as needed. He never tires of us. Isn’t that such wonderful news!

  135. foreverblessed says:

    When God sees us, He sees Jesus!
    This is something that I have always regarded as: how does that work??
    Does God not see us? Quetgrace does very well in discussing this statement, thank you sooo much for writing:
    He also sees us
    When I read that yesterday, I suddenly saw a little, I say a little, more in what God is trying to tell us.
    He does see us too!
    He wanted us in the first place, new beings, with a free and own will, a unique personality. Not exact clones of Jesus, but with a unique essence, different. God was looking for people to interact with, to have a discussions with. This is the whole essence of all creation, He wants company. Not just slaves, but friends!

    When we say God sees Jesus when He sees us, it must mean something like this:
    He sees us, with all the dirt and sin unwrapped, and sees the unique inside, the essence of what is us. But now clean and made whole. Made whole because of what Jesus has done for us.
    Not only made whole but also full af all the character traits Jesus has, goodness mercy peace, Gal 5:22
    Just like Lazarus was with all the grave clothes still wrapped around him, God saw him, with the clothes unwrapped.
    And that is how we are to see our fellow man:
    2 Cor 5:16-17

    There are still question that I have, as to the fact that we are made clean in an instance, but the growing of the character traits of Jesus, that takes a lifetime, does God see them already when He sees Jesus in us, is that also the promise of the character that will come?

  136. foreverblessed says:

    One blog contributor, onego2tbible=Gary, often qouted George MacDonald. (I wander how Gary is doing?, God bless him mightily) At that time I searched for Mr MacDonald, and found it interestin, thought provoking. Chris, I also read that he believed that our change was not in an instance, and was suprised at the least, but I also read it in the devotional that I always read: God calling, by twolisteners. That the exact time of change into a christian is a mystery. So maybe there are things that will be clearer to me later. But to say that this is a reason to shun the man is too extreme in my opinion.

  137. quietgrace says:

    Good morning foreverblessed. So happy to hear that God has opened the eyes of your understanding. I think that character is what happens automatically while being obedient to God Heb.5:8,9. Not that Jesus was disobedient as we think of disobedience, but that by following God’s will,the suffering involved, He became our High Priest forever. And our character begins to reflect the life of Christ in us as we continue on in our journey.

  138. quietgrace says:

    I also think we think we know what Jesus thinks, but it’s not really until we are faced with catastrophe do come to understand what He is all about. I hate suffering myself, but I learn more and more about God’s love and grace that way. The character comes as I listen and trust God that His way of thinking/doing is the best way.

  139. quietgrace says:

    It’s called renewing of the mind, a process all must go through. But begins the moment we accept Christ into our lives.

  140. quietgrace says:

    Forever I also recall how Oswald Chambers handled the question of how we are to see others, “That man, that woman, perfect in Christ Jesus!” If we all did that it would sure put an end to a lot of quarreling and dissension, wouldn’t it? There’s so much grace in that statement.

  141. poohpity says:

    grace, I have learned to be responsible for my feelings no one can make me feel anyway unless I let them. It seems people often blame their feeling on others for example “you make me angry” that is giving another control over my emotions rather than “when this happens I feel angry”. In the garden no one else was around to blame shame and guilt on they felt that because in their hearts they did what God told them not to. Shame–they hid, guilt–they blamed.

  142. quietgrace says:

    Good for you Pooh! Some aren’t as strong as you are, and it takes a strong person to be a counselor.

    Foreverblessed there is a song that really speaks to the issue of shame, it’s called Shame by Fernando Ortega and you can find it on youtube.

  143. quietgrace says:

    Pooh, also being a good counselor you probably know when to stop pushing people, when they are at the place where they need to work-through their own issues and understandings of the Gospel. In my life I have been pushed too far by well-meaning counselors causing me great psychological damage which took me years to recover from. But by the grace of God I did! I’ve learned to be more cautious now with whom I share my life and walk with God. I feel pretty safe here on this blog, mostly.

  144. poohpity says:

    grace, please do not perceive my response to your disagreement about shame in any way to diminish you or push you around. I am not a counselor I am one who has been counseled. Your perception is not in anyway representative of how I think or feel. I feel sad you have taken it the way you have. Forgive me if I have caused you grief by answering you?

  145. quietgrace says:

    No, just sadness.

  146. poohpity says:

    What did I say to cause sadness? If I do not know what it was how can I change the way I talk with you.

  147. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, it is good to ask that question, let me say what happened to me, when Quietgrace wrote on July 20, 3.23 pm it gave me a moment of great spiritua insight, and I was praising God, but your next question, 2 minutes later was a bit odd at the least! It did not made me sad, but I was thinking, well….what is this??
    Why don’t you rejoice with her what she is saying?
    Anyway, this is all not to take you down, but to lift you higher in the image of Jesus, the thing we talk about.

    I am to grow more and more in that image too, I wrote about the tragedy with this airplane with so many of my countrymen in it. And I wrote in the next line: Jesus will turn around all the bad. He makes everything new. This is the truth, but it sounds so hard when you just wrote about a great disaster that whiped out many a family. I should have written something else, I should have sought for the heart of Jesus, and ask Him to make it mine, His heart, but entering mine, and making it my own. What do you say in view of this great evil? I cycled passed a house this morning, in my neighborhood, a with all the flowers and candles in front of it, this family will not come home to that house anymore, they are gone.
    There remains are in Ukraine, and even getting the bodies out of that area was a struggle. My country is involved in a war conflict, having to deal with warlords. I pray that God will give them wisdom, and mercy, and grace.

    I pray for the bereaved, that God will comfort them, I pray for the ones who did this, that God will have mercy on them, and may enter His light into their hearts, just as he did to the apostle Paul. may this spirit of Jesus lead our leaders in this journey with these war people.
    And for those who lost many loved ones this song:
    Till we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of His hands.
    God have mercy on us all, like Maru wrote here above, may God be like that, and He is like that!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.