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Spiritual Math


Photo by: Michael Dr Gumtau

In a disturbing book titled, “You Lost Me”, author David Kinnaman attempts to tell the story of “Why Young Christians are Leaving Church… and Rethinking Faith”.

Kinnaman writes about “the irreverent, blunt, and often painful personal stories of young Christians— or young adults who once thought of themselves as Christians— who have left the church and sometimes the faith.

The author goes on to explain that his book’s title is an attempt to express the voice and mindset of a generation who has developed a “disdain for one-sided communication, disconnect from formulaic faith, and discomfort with apologetics that seem disconnected from the real world. You Lost Me is about their perceptions of churches, Christianity, and culture.

At the heart of the author’s own description of these young people is the rejection of a formulaic faith.

Looking back over the last few decades, many others have observed how much has been said, written, and repeated about how to practice the faith in order to have a happy and successful life. How to…

Yet the Bible itself seems to be full of formulas. “Seek first, the Kingdom of God,” Jesus says, “…”and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:33) Or , writes Daved, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 73:4)

Is this spiritual math?

I’m guessing that many of us have struggled with the thought that if we do the right things, we will get the results we are looking for? Has the Bible misled us? Or have we— or our young—missed something?


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122 Responses to “Spiritual Math”

  1. bubbles says:

    We need to understand that being a Christian is not about us doing certain things and “getting” because we do things. There are too many people on TV that preach a incorrect message about wealth. God never promises us an easy life. The prodigal son’s brother, I think, had this wrong mindset. God made promises to Abraham that he never saw fulfilled.

    Our society’s thinking is all about what we can “get.” That should not be.

    I think church needs to be about doctrine but also how to apply Scripture to practical living.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    Wow if I could singularly identify why people are disillusioned with Christianity, I would have to start with what their expectations of what becoming a Christian means to them.

    The problem there is that there are as many reasons as there are people.

    Bubbles is on the right track with the “gimme” culture most everyone has. As for them becoming a Christian has everything to do with what they can get from it.

    When they don’t win the lottery of get the husband or wife they want or job they are after or even if they don’t become the next Billy Graham they become disillusioned and leave the church. Unfortunately not until the sew discord, strife and have their last word as they wipe their feet and exit the door.

    It may have a lot to do with the changing culture we live in. In spite of all the social networking that goes on, people are not social and avoid coming together for the more comfortable pleasing of setting at home in front of the computer or TV instead of gathering together for the purpose of worship.

    In fact you can now choose which message and which messenger you want to hear and tune into that one instead of actually getting dressed and going to church.

    I believe that is why I don’t like the new translations of Scripture, because they play to a new audience instead of remaining the solid basics they were written to be.

    This subject will expand, I just hope it doesn’t become another book report.



  3. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    This is a great topic, Mart! It seems to me Kinnaman, at least in the little bit you’ve quoted, names three understandable responses to any annoying marketing plan or propositional exercise:

    “disdain for one-sided communication,
    disconnect from formulaic faith, and
    discomfort with apologetics that seem disconnected from the real world.”

    Let me just say that I respond the same way when it comes to
    state ads for the lottery being good for education, claims that fast food is wholesome and
    regimens that promise weight loss, hair growth, greater physical attractiveness…and so on.

    Jesus and David the psalmist were not making promises guaranteed by mindless compliance, it seems to me. These two people (who have lived in the flesh and who do live in the spirit) are speaking about the relationship they are enjoying with the Creator God who
    is love.

    The true objection to the existence of the supernatural God who lived a human existence — omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent — is the implied loss of individual sovereignty and freedom. The motto of Millennials, as far as I can tell, is “Don’t judge me!” This is the battle cry of atheists in all times and cultures, who fervently trust in their own power.

    I do not believe young people are any less spiritual than people of more years. Note the number of popular movies and tv shows with supernatural themes. Many seem to be barking up the wrong tree, spiritually speaking. Prayer may well be the key to the cultural trend we are experiencing. No easy answers…though some (e.g. McLaren, Tickle, Harper) claim we are experiencing another Reformation.

    Blessings all day,

  4. phpatato says:

    Good morning Everyone

    Proverbs 22:6
    Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it. KJ

    Deuteronomy 6:7
    Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. NIV

    Deuteronomy 11:19
    Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. NIV

    Could it be that the older generations are guilty of becoming lax in the impressing and the teaching department? It seems with each successive generation (and I can only truly speak for those generations that I have been involved with – starting with my grandparents and ending with my grandchildren), life has become so busy that there is less time to teach, less time to impress. Children and teens are left with seeking their own way to become impressed, their own way of who will teach them what and as Maru has said “are barking up the wrong tree”.

    Perhaps it’s too late for the young twenty-somethings of today to be taught by their parents because they are on their own and etching out their own paths in life but parents with young children, we grandparents with young grandchildren have a God-given duty to teach, impress and guide the “gifts” that God has given and blessed us with. And in today’s world, it will prove to be a tough go to find and make time to sit, talk and walk with our kids. But it must be done. We have to be disciplined to do it.

    Teaching isn’t just a Sunday morning routine of going to church. As spoken by God in Deuteronomy, it should be a constant task for every waking moment. Serious business!!

    And if parents/grandparents were to take up their God-given duty to teach, and if the child does wander away from what has been taught, God’s promise of “when he is old, he will not depart from it”, will take over.

    It takes a lot of storms to crack a well laid foundation. The trouble today is the foundation isn’t being laid properly.

    It’s time for people today to realize just how serious it is to be a mom and dad/grandma and grandpa. When a couple sits to decide whether to have children or not, they have to realize just how heavy the responsibility will be. They will be receiving a gift worth many talents. How will it be invested.

  5. joycemb says:

    Good morning all!

    John 6:66 comes to mind this morning reading Marts new post. If many left while walking with Jesus himself, why shouldn’t we expect many to leave today?

    I’ve been watching some shows about cults and thinking of how the group-think process is used to get people to conform. I see this process used in our bible camps and church youth groups also. My mother told about rushing up front when she was a little girl to accept Jesus as her savior. She said she was crying profusely, but unknown to all it was because she would be late getting home from church and was in fear of what her father would do to her (he was very abusive). Now to the rest it probably looked like a real conviction of sin, but it wasn’t the case. Youth are all about fitting in and being part of the group. As they mature and realize they have out-grown the group-think phenomenon they are left to decide and think on their own about their growing-up experiences. They can choose to become followers of Jesus or not. This is a process that may take a while. Some may even leave the faith altogether, or at least the church.

    I think as parents/caregivers we do the best we can and pray that God is speaking into their souls. Scripture has been used to manipulate to get the right results also, results that make us look good as parents and caregivers. What is needed is an intimate, personal relationship with Jesus, which can take a lifetime to develop depending on one’s upbringing and circumstances.

    I’d like to cut them some slack and pray more for them.

    Blessings, Joyce

  6. poohpity says:

    Mart, I think you may have transposed the 3 and the 7 in your Psalm reference.

    The Lord is screaming through our youth it does not add up.

  7. Bill says:

    Good Afternoon All!

    What an apropos topic, especially in light of the last one. They are connected, although their connection may not be obvious at first.

    bubbles, you wrote (September 2, 2014 at 5:22 am):

    “Our society’s thinking is all about what we can “get.” That should not be.

    “I think church needs to be about doctrine but also how to apply Scripture to practical living.”

    Those are two different things.

    The book Mart cited (which I also have), isn’t so much about what we can “get” as it is about what’s missing from church today – namely, love, compassion, acceptance, and a listening ear. Also missing is the second part of your post: application to “practical things.”

    That’s what people want from church today and, sadly, aren’t getting it. What they ARE getting are heavy-handed doctrines about how to live one’s life, and lots of judgment about what to do or not to do.

    *** NOTE: Please don’t misinterpret what I just wrote to make it apply to all churches, all Christians, and all denominations. I wrote in general terms because that’s how society thinks – in general terms, people putting their experiences into contexts that they understand. ***

    The quotes on the back of the book jacket will help illustrate what this topic is about:

    “I knew from church that I couldn’t believe in both science and God, so that was it. I didn’t believe in God anymore.”

    “When I write a song that’s not used in a way that every Christian agrees on, I get hammered. What am I supposed to be using my talents for exactly?”

    “I felt I had been punched in the stomach…I remember thinking on the way home, ‘My non-Christian friends would never do that to me.'”

    The book You Lost Me is based on Barna research. So it’s not just guesswork. It’s actual research, interviews, etc.

    From that, the authors conclude that what’s causing people to leave church in droves is a repressiveness and capriciousness that people can no longer relate to. One church teaches this – in a heavy-handed way – another church teaches this – in a light, anything-goes way – and people are confused. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? And where does it say in the Bible that pastors, church leaders, and members have all the answers all the time?

    Steve, you wrote (September 2, 2014 at 6:28 am):

    “I believe that is why I don’t like the new translations of Scripture, because they play to a new audience instead of remaining the solid basics they were written to be.”

    I’m not sure that’s an accurate description of why new translations come into being. I know because my wife works in the Bible publishing industry, and has for the last 11 years.

    New translations come into being because of a few things: (1) new discoveries in archaeology that shed new light on discovered parchments and texts, and (2) a desire to make sure the people today get the scriptures in their language, as they speak it today – not as they did in 1611 when the KJV was published.

    I prefer the KJV for its literary beauty and historical significance. But I’ve come to enjoy the English Standard Version for its ease of understanding and wonderful flow in the English language.

    I’m not sure any group translators takes their job lightly. They approach the Bible’s original texts with utmost care. So the “solid basics” are still intact. They’re just translated into different words that mean the same thing today.

    For example, I know enough about Hebrew and Greek to know that a one-to-one translation is rarely, if ever, possible. Any number of words in English could be chosen to translate/explain words in ancient languages. Which ones to chose? Are any wrong? Are they all right?

    I’m not sure modern translations are the culprit in today’s flight from church.

    pooh, you wrote (September 2, 2014 at 10:52 am):

    “The Lord is screaming through our youth it does not add up.”

    I believe she is correct.

    People today are not seeing the message of the Gospel “add up.” So much seems to be missing (Contemplativeness? Christian mysticism? Orthopraxy? Love as Christ lived and taught it?). So much seems to be added.

    This is a very, very important topic that I hope we comment on carefully and thoughtfully. I don’t think we’ll solve the problem of the exodus from Christianity. But I think we may be able to understand a bit more regarding why it’s happening if we keep our minds open to the facts at hand – people ARE leaving churches. And I don’t think it’s because they’re all self-centered, gimme-gimme people, either. I believe there are genuine challenges in the church today that we would be skillful to address.

    Love to All,


  8. joycemb says:

    Genuine humility may be what’s lacking in the churches, that’s what drew me to Christ, not heavy-handed or apathetic preaching.

  9. belleu says:

    I tried to raise my daughters as believing Christians. I expected them to marry Christian men and stay in the church. I didn’t work out that way and I am so sorry.

    My daughters hated the church because of the adults in it. They have always believed there is a God but they want nothing to do with his people. My oldest daughter was molested by a Bible school teacher. He also kicked a boy in the stomach and finally lost his job. Of course the church told no one and he was hired at the local high school.

    I could tell many ugly stories of what my daughters saw in church people, but I won’t. Probably my husband and I made some huge mistakes in raising our girls too. Since my grandson died, they have come to God lately in praying and a bit of reading but they waver back and forth between the world and Jesus right now. I do believe one day they will commit their whole lives to God. I pray for them constantly. If they are lost, what good has my life been?

  10. SFDBWV says:

    This is funny, at least I can smile about it any way.

    We spend so much energy saying that here in this blog we are all free to believe as we wish and simply give our 2 cents worth to any subject, yet each new subject discussion soon has the feel of taking a test to see if we get Mart’s message “right”.

    Why a person, any person, is disillusioned either by attending church or with Christianity to me is as individual as the person themselves.

    There cannot be a single issue that can be identified or there could easily be a single fix for the problem.

    But just for the discussion I agree with Pat in that it is a very serious responsibility of a parent to not only instill Christian theology in their children, but to be a living example for them as well to follow.

    Whether they adopt your faith or not will be a choice they will make on their own, but if you leave it up to chance you have made a grievous error in not following the teaching and instruction of Scripture, and made your children vulnerable to a long list of evils in the world.

    Only had a minute to see what had transpired and less time to devote to a comment.

    There is a storm approaching so I will have to get off here and attend to other more pressing matters.


  11. joycemb says:

    Belleu I am so sad hearing your story. It reminds me of my own. I have one child that is following the Lord today, the other won’t have the name of Jesus said in his house. And now I cannot use the name of Jesus with my granddaughter so am learning to as Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel always, and if necessary, use words”.

    When my children grew up (being raised by me mostly after the divorce) I went into a deep, deep depression, because I thought that God only needed me to raise the kids. I could not find God anywhere, He hid himself from me it seemed, but slowly through prayer He began to show himself to me through the contemplatives and other writers that spoke directly to my heart from theirs. What I heard finally was that God loved ME! Not just for what I could do for him, but just because I was as special to him as my children were to me and him also! God loves you Belleu, just the way you are. We may never know the impact (fruits) of our labors. But that’s ok. God’s in control and it’s His world after all.

    When our children leave the church and the faith, I know from personal experience that what is taught is never forgotten. God said His word would not return to him void. I believe it. It’s just the waiting that’s hard sometimes.

  12. street says:

    Spiritual Math?
    makes one wonder? reminds me of a young Samuel.
    abnormal birth, abnormal promise, abnormal obedience. Samuel was a peculiar kid on the block.He live at the tent of meeting. His parents abandon him there, poor Samuel. by other observation he was a son of a dedicated promise. He lived in close proximity to God. he was jewish. he was being taught by Eli the priest. yet God said in 1 Samuel3:7 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor had the word of the Lord yet been revealed to him.

    here is your answer Mart. all the murmuring and calmer has it’s base right here. Hear oh Israel…

  13. bubbles says:

    Another person and I had been communicating about God. Their initial response was he was a Christian. But as the conversation continued, I found out he was an atheist. He had been severely abused for years as a young person. He asked me if there was a God, then why did He let bad things happen to him as a child. I told him that bad things happen to good people all the time. He said if there was a God, then He would not have allowed the abuse to happen to him. He has a lot of anger and hate towards the abusers. I don’t know how to help someone like this.

    Could anyone here help me? I prayed with him and asked God to show Himself to this person and help him find peace. As I prayed, he cried.

    I prayed about this and how to help. I wanted to help and not brig more harm.

    He was raised in a church and the abusers “used” the Bible to justify the abuse. So therefore he hates anything related to church, Christians, the Bible.

    I hope this was not too far off topic. If it is off topic, please delete this. Thank you.

  14. belleu says:

    Bubbles, I would buy Philip Yancey’s books on pain and suffering. He has written many. Those books helped me to understand suffering. Of course your prayers are the most important. I will pray for him also.

  15. cbrown says:

    Bubbles,Jesus Christ was abused and religious people used incorrect application of scripture to justify there actions.He is now seated at the right hand of the Father and they are not. All who call on His name shall be saved.That is God’s math. You do not have to be a great scholar,poet or philosopher.

  16. belleu says:

    .Joyce, Thank you for your kind words. I do believe God is working for my daughters every day. I know he is doing all he can for them and that gives me peace.

  17. jeff1 says:

    This is surely what was prophesied for the end times a falling away from the faith. God’s plan for his chosen people to lead the lost is getting very near. It is not only the young people who are discouraged but older people too. Two men told me once that they didn’t need to go to church to feel near to God and at that time I thought they were making excuses for not attending but having become disillusioned with my own religion I now understand where they are coming from. My son went to his friends funeral who had died from drugs and the preacher at the service used this occasion to tell them they would end up in hell like where he went if they didn’t shape up. Since that he thinks God is not someone he needs to know. I am afraid the time has run out for preachers for since I was a child I have known more preach about a God of wrath than a God of love.

  18. bubbles says:

    Thank you. I won’t comment further because I don’t want to go off topic and change the path of this conversation.

  19. belleu says:

    Jeff, I’m sorry for what your son heard at the funeral. I’ll pray for your son.

  20. belleu says:

    Spiritual math? Like if I do this then God will do that? From experience, I don’t think it works like that. The Bible does give those formulas, but it seems to me that when God says, “…then I will do this for you.” He means when we are in heaven. God’s promises don’t make sense otherwise. You can’t count on God rescuing you from every situation no matter what the Bible says. He didn’t rescue Paul, James, etc…they were murdered.

    In the Psalms it says those who follow God will never be condemned, or be brought to shame. Yet many Christians have been condemned in courts and put to death so this has to mean in heaven.

    That’s why when people say to me, “You should just trust God,” – I think, “Hey, God could let anything happen to me! It could be something really horrible. I just have to accept whatever it is knowing he will give me the strength to go through it.”

    I used to think when the Bible said God wouldn’t let you go through anything you couldn’t handle that it meant just that. Then I had a nervous breakdown. So, I realized I didn’t interpret that verse correctly. Now, I don’t count on anything other than Jesus walks beside me through this crappy life. And actually, that’s good enough for me. I’m happy with that.

  21. poohpity says:

    That seems to be where some problems stem is the possibility of not understanding what we are given to know about our life here. God never promised in scripture that He would rescue us from trouble as a matter of fact one may run into more problems just being a Christian. We were told that we will experience many trails, tribulations, sorrows, struggles and troubles but how we perceive and handle them shows who we trust in. We grow through them and overcome the negative effects with Christ in our lives at least that is what I have noticed.

    belleu, I think that what you may be referring to is not that God would not let us go through anything you couldn’t handle i.e. nervous breakdown but rather God will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you can bear. 1 Cor 10:13 NLT

  22. SFDBWV says:

    Bubbles I don’t think your question or comments are off topic at all. Some fellow who thought he had answers wrote a book and from what Bill has shared gave personal examples of why some left church or were disillusioned with Christianity.

    Your friend is just another example.

    If I may offer any suggestion intended to help you deal with having answers for your friend let me say this. God will provide the healing your friend needs, you just need to provide a sympathetic ear and show compassion. Sometimes that is all any of us can do.


  23. SFDBWV says:

    Earthly happiness in the flesh, in the here and now.
    God’s will and purposes.

    If you make a study of the lives of people you will find that a lifetime of happiness void of pain is not only rare, but nearly impossible. No matter their faith or circumstances there are some horrible stories of sadness and what we may call undeserved tragedies suffered by many.

    For me such stories are evidence that there *has* to be an evening out, a balance somewhere in existence to correct such heartache.

    The balancing comes in the form of justice and mercy and in the person of Jesus.

    Whereas you and I may want justice, sometimes that in our minds means punishment; but mercy means forgiveness and so to balance justice with mercy for many of us seems in conflict.

    God in the Person of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is able to accomplish what we may feel impossible to do; perfect justice perfect mercy.

    I don’t know about any mathematical *exact* formula found in Scripture, because when God decides to exact His will into any situation the formula has an added component that changes its outcome.

    This is in and under the control of God not us, so the formula is only partially available to us.

    I believe most of the Book of Proverbs is dedicated to the assumption if we do this, this is the result or if we don’t do that this is the result. One could see *that* as math in both the positive and negative powers.

    What I also believe is that if we look, we find that music is math, that the building blocks of life are math, that math is used to explain the cosmos and that math is an integral part of all things.

    We find what we look for.


  24. poohpity says:

    Regular math works on certain rules to get to the answer but there are some equations that are so complex that the answers are hard to come up with. Spiritual math seems to work the same. We are given the equation; Jesus + nothing = an eternal relationship with God = loving others as He loved us. 1 John 3:23 NIV; John 6:29 NIV; John 13:34 NIV; John 15:12 NIV

  25. poohpity says:

    As it is with math if one does not the basics down then we are not able to do more complex systems i.e. loving our enemies; doing good to those who mistreat us; showing grace and mercy to those who do not deserve it; forgiving others; changing our attitude about life; going through trails, suffering, loss with joy; being a safe place for people to come; acceptance of others, etc..

  26. poohpity says:

    People are pushed away from knowing God because those who claim to know Christ have forgotten the basic equation and the results are what we see. They have the thinking; following a formula that did not work will work now so I demand it in my own life, so I will demand it in others = death and destruction by separation from God.

  27. Bill says:

    I believe Pooh’s point is a good one.

    Mart’s phrase “formulaic faith” and the title of his blog post (“Spiritual Math”) are definitely part of the reason why people leave the church today.

    Charismatic preachers (Joel Osteen, for example), and others down through the years (Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, et al), use the Bible in a formulaic away: This + this = that, which translates to this:

    This (proclaiming certain phrases) +

    This (believing them in faith) =

    God grants health, wealth, and happiness

    NOTE: I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, or with those preachers. I offer no criticism of their approach to the Bible.

    However, many non-Charismatics eschew that kind of formula.

    And yet many non-Charismatics use the same formula, only with different variables, like this:

    This (a perceived disobedience to something in the Bible) +

    This (a refusal to “repent”) =

    God punishes with sickness, calamity, misfortune, even death

    So, although most mainline Protestants look down their noses at the Charismatic formula, they use the same type of formula to judge others going through challenging times.

    Either way, it doesn’t add up.

    And Christians have been voting with their feet by leaving churches that try to brow beat them with the church’s/denomination’s interpretation of scriptures, for heaping guilt on them for not doing what the leaders tell them to every time, in precisely the way the leaders want it done, or for wielding the Bible like a spiritual club.

    We are all guilty of doing that. We don’t see the Bible as it is. We see the Bible as we are, and as we’ve been taught to see it.

    So, for example, I bring to the table a broader perspective, rooted in love and forgiveness. Others bring to the table a more rigid interpretation, rooted in the idea that salvation can be lost or that God can get ticked off if we don’t do x, y, z.

    Who’s right?

    We’ll never know in this lifetime.

    This is what younger people have figured out. They know pastors don’t know. But they also know that pastors don’t know they don’t know. So young people eschew the formulaic faith, the Spiritual Math. They want a REAL faith, a REAL God, a REAL relationship with the Creator of the universe. Not finding that in typical churches, they’ve gone in search of churches that do promise such things.

    Unfortunately, what often happens is that people perceive a church’s social ACTION for spiritual SUBSTANCE. They equate political activism for spiritual depth and authenticity. The end result is a church even more splintered and set against itself.

    This is a good topic, with no “right” or “wrong” answer. I certainly don’t know the answer.

    All I know is what my path is, and that I am on it. I don’t know what your path is, or if you’re on it or not. That’s up to you.

    Love to All,


  28. belleu says:

    So, Spiritual Math is used to prove you will prosper in this world & Spiritual Math is used to prove if you sin you will pay for it. Interesting. Spiritual Math seems to be about us knowing what God will do.

    Maybe we need to be more humble than that and say with Paul, ” For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 2:2.

    Still, when someone says, “Repent and be saved,” that is math too. I guess you can’t get away from it. Maybe it’s our attitude about the math that is to blame for young people leaving the church not the math itself.

  29. poohpity says:

    To me there are equations that make sense to basic spiritual math like the parents of the first journalist that was beheaded they forgave the man who did it and prayed for him with compassion even though the act was horrific.

    On the other hand the Christian bakers who refused to make a cake for the same sex couple that made the news. The basic equation was not heeded. They were demanding that others live up to the way they live their lives when scripture clearly teaches when Matt 5:41 then again in 1 Cor 5:12 NIV. Might it have been a better choice and show who lives in their heart to make a beautiful cake for them rather than to refuse service.

  30. poohpity says:

    The first trusted God and the second seemed to trust their self righteousness.

  31. poohpity says:

    Which would have been more likely to think about coming to Jesus? To me it may be the one who was shown compassion.

  32. Bill says:

    I disagree, Pooh.

    Some would argue that the parents were fools to forgive the evil done to their son. Others would argue that the Christian bakers should have made the most beautiful cake imaginable, despite their objections to the situation.

    Yet, I was not walking in either set of shoes. And neither was anyone else.

    Therefore, I believe both were actions taken as those Christians saw fit, given their walk with the Lord. In that regard, both were absolutely correct in their response. One was not better or more biblical than the other.

    So I believe BOTH trusted God, rather than their own self righteousness.

  33. poohpity says:

    Bill, you disagree with which one would have made a better case for Christ? Which was the point I was alluding to. I do not speak as one in authority which is why I will say things like it seems, could it be possible, or it might be. I presented two different scenarios to think about applicable to the topic.

  34. joycemb says:

    I Cor. 8:1-13 the discussion centers around the weaker brother. We can’t judge other Christians for what they decide is ok and for what is not.

  35. street says:

    spiritual math is not faith.

    we have faith in a Person who speaks Gods word or faith in the voice of the one who leads us in the way we should go. we do not listen to the voice of men, but men do have offices instituted by God and we need to pay attention. be a Berean check out what they say. we have seen that there is a lot of misleading go on. keep praying for those who serve and pray that your own serve would improve too.

  36. street says:

    been thinking about bubbles encounter in earlier post. cbrown gave some words that would encourage the one who was troubled. that is good and needed, but i think the most important thing is to point them in the direction of Jesus and the cross. always be compassionate and point them to God. sometimes we ourselves are overwhelmed by the horror of life. we all are! when that happens find out what He wants you to learn from this in hindsight.you can not go back and do it over but you can learn that He is always there and help in time of need. life is difficult, but a Joy when lived with Him. keep the faith, that is what save us, the object of our faith, Jesus! God’s grace and peace be with you.

  37. poohpity says:

    Amen, street faith has nothing to do with math and at times it makes no sense how even the name of Jesus spoken dispels darkness and brings people to their knees in praise. No logic, reason or calculation can touch that. Jesus my God, Friend, Brother, High Priest, Mighty Counselor, Prince of Peace, Lord of Lords, Provider, Protector, Healer, Author and Finisher of my faith.

  38. jeff1 says:

    I see it in my own community a falling away from the established church. I think part of the problem is that churches do not accept people warts and all they want to conform them first. Many young people have drug and drink problems and the attitude of congregations to them is not one of compassion. Part of this comes from the fact that we have been preached at since we were young by hell, fire and brimstone teachers that said shape up or you will burn in hell. In my community there are many preachers who still hold this stance. It is difficult to see a loving God in some pulpits these days. So the state has taken over the job, social services in our country are hard pressed with abuse cases which are drug and drink related and the church seems quite happy to let them get on with it. If I had a problem I would feel I would get more compassion from a counsellor from social services than a man of the cloth. I went myself to a cannon years ago when I had a nervous breakdown and what a godly man there is no comparison with the ministers of today. His genuineness shone through, straight from the heart not easy to find that kind of spirituality these days.

  39. belleu says:

    Jeff, I agree with you. Christians are more horrified by smoking, drinking and drugs than selfishness and pride. I do think that AA and NA are better equipped to help an addict or alcoholic than a pastor. But he/she should be sympathetic, a friend and a prayer partner.

    Pooh, I agree with you about forgiving the murderer and going the second mile. Jesus didn’t give us a choice about forgiveness or going the second mile- we must forgive if we want to be forgiven and we must be good to those we disagree with.

  40. poohpity says:

    I worked as a substance abuse counselor in an indigent detox unit. When our patients asked me about how I got clean I would share it was due to the Lord and I did not attend AA/NA. My boss really had issues with me sharing that. When I gave lectures I was unable to say anything about the Lord unless I referred to Him as a Higher Power but mentioning the name of Jesus was against the rules. I told my boss you want them to learn how to be rigorously honest yet you will not allow me to be. So there are problems in and out of church because people are just people. I much preferred being a Stephen Minister there we pointed people directly to God and one of the rules was not to give advice and walk along side them through their struggles. Being an active listener and really hearing what others are saying is about one of the best things anyone can learn and benefits every relationship one has. Yes listening is a learned skill. :-)

  41. bubbles says:

    Thank you for your suggestions and help. I have not encountered anyone like this before. He thinks all Christians are hypocrites and unfeeling sub humans. He says God does not exist.

  42. SFDBWV says:

    I remember a TV commercial some time back where as a man spoke all you seen was a pair of hands; he was holding an egg and said this is your brain then cracking it open into a frying pan as it fried he said this is your brain on drugs.

    More recently I see horribly disfigured people telling of their addiction to tobacco and why you should not use the product.

    When I was a teenager in school they showed all too graphic photographs of auto crash scenes in driver’s education.

    All of these examples were meant to shock or scare young people into seeing the results of making bad decisions.

    Jesus said not to be worried about those who could destroy your body, but rather be concerned about the one who can destroy your soul.

    Why do you suppose people do not want to hear a message from the pulpit that warns them of the destruction of their soul?

    Bubbles friend sees Christians as hypocrites, yet if he would look a little closer he would see that people in general show the same propensity to be hypocrites not just Christians.

    Way back in my yearly years there was a certain man here in our community who was just as disagreeable and uncomfortable to be around as anyone you might have known in your own lives. My wife hated him because he was married to her friend and she knew how abusive he was to her. Let’s call him “Gale”.

    Gale had an auto accident from blacking out, his blacking out stemmed from a heart condition. The entire incident caused him to very vocally accept the Lord and join one of the local churches. It just so happened the one I attended.

    After a while my wife’s assessment of Gale was that he was an a..hole before he got religion and now he’s just a religious a..hole.

    His presence in the church was very disruptive and he was credited with running off several who had been attending.

    The Pastor of the church was caught in the trap of attempting to show total inclusion for all by not attending to Gale’s disruptions he lost parishioners before Gale himself left for other churches and people who could appreciate him and let him control the services.

    Turns out my wife’s crude assessment of Gale was right.

    All of my little story is not an indictment of Church nor of Christianity, but rather of people’s inability to change.

    We have had plenty of people who have left this little “worldwide” community of BTA bloggers because of the personalities of some commenters. Does that mean BTA and RBC are to blame?

    If you have an opinion you cannot escape making a judgment call.

    Paul said to assemble together, Jesus said where two or more come together in His name He is there. Neither said there has to be a certain number of people that has to make up a gathering.

    For some of us a friend or a family is church enough, others may need the larger organization; once again the matter is as individual as the individual themselves.

    I will once again say that some larger organizations are needed in order to finance large scale relief aid and evangelism, you can support such organizations if you wish or tithe to whomever you feel led to do so.

    Jesus has not failed His followers, some of His followers have failed Him. There is a vast difference.


  43. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    The notion that Jesus (Matt 6:33) and David (Psalm 37:4) are offering a formula for happiness is the thinking of a spiritual newborn or toddler. After some time on the Way, Jesus-followers and God-fearers find that these words of Scripture are encouragement for holding the tiller steady in the storms and trials of the (long) journey.

    The journey out of the dark of self-absorption into the light of self-surrender is not the same as following a recipe for baking a cake or assembling a lasagna! Nobody, from the Patriarch Moses to the Apostle Paul ever said the life of faith was easy. Where is it written that those who “give up” in young adulthood cannot try again later? Isn’t that what we all do? — rise to each day trusting and hoping in God’s promises? Just asking…


  44. joycemb says:

    Good morning all!
    Steve after reading your post the words ‘shepherding school’
    come to my mind. But don’t we all know that school was never easy, that conformity makes the going easier and ‘rebels’ will be ostracized. I think we as adults have a lot of thinking to do about our own attitudes toward the young and how we can better serve them. Pooh as you said yesterday, listening is the key and takes practice and learning how to be a good listener. Maybe our churches need classes on how to listen to the youth and their struggles, not just the youth pastors? On a personal note I did fail my children miserably when they went through puberty as I was struggling with my own issues and did not have the time or skill set to ‘listen’ to them. But my daughter also sought counseling and learned how to ‘listen’ to her teens and they are doing marvelously, in the church and in their home.

    Maru I like the notion of grace as far as not giving up on young adults altogether. Yes God’s mercies are new EVERY MORNING, great is His faithfulness!

    Blessings abundant today in Christ Jesus,

  45. poohpity says:

    How refreshing grace to admit to your own struggles. If not only our kids but others knew of our own personal struggles rather than gossiping and picking apart others what a revolution.

    It seems we can never fail Jesus if we truly believe in who He is and what He did on the Cross. We can walk away from Him that does not mean He walks away from us because He is faithful to the faithless. I shared with my children my struggles of faith and admitted when I made wrong choices in my parenting and just in life in general. They saw me go and ask for forgiveness from others and to also ask them.

    My oldest son and his detour from the Lord for 2 years brought me sorrow only because of the thoughts that he felt the Lord had cast him away. It gave me hope that he still attended church to play in the band but His relationship with the Lord is strengthened. I did not push the issue with him. I prayed and had others pray and unlike my 21 year detour his only lasted 2 and I am sure of the fact that in the future life will present it’s self and his faith will be tested/purified again. My hope was in God not in my son and was based on my experience.

  46. poohpity says:

    It would have meant so much to me if my dad would have ever admitted when he was in the wrong.

  47. joycemb says:

    Pooh, if he had would it have made a difference in your life? Would you have gotten into or back into the church sooner do you think? Is there a lesson here for other fathers?

  48. poohpity says:

    Grace, who knows. There is a lesson there for any relationship.

  49. joycemb says:

    Pooh-I hope I’m not off on too far of a bunny trail, but for me to reconcile with my daughter it took years of me writing (in longhand) letters confessing how I had abandoned her (emotionally and psychologically) and asking forgiveness. It took her years to heal and accept my apologies and God’s grace in not only her life but mine. She also had to deal with a father who abandoned/emotionally abused her. I had to put up with very rage-filled notes and emails for a while, but the struggle was worth it. She confessed to me she could be angry with me because she knew I would still love her.
    Love wins! But it sure can be a messy battle sometimes-as you well know.

  50. poohpity says:

    Sad to hear you had to put up with her abuse. I told my daughter I was wrong and asked her to forgive me she told me, no. So I let it go. When she came around me and continued with the abuse through anger I told her to stay away from me. When she comes over and starts again I ask her to leave as I do with my son. If they can not respect me or my home then they do not need to be around me.

  51. poohpity says:

    Anger is used as a means to control others.

  52. joycemb says:

    I respectfully disagree, Pooh.

  53. joycemb says:

    Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    It wasn’t me my daughter was angry with, it was Christ who she felt had failed her by allowing her parents to divorce, and allowed her to go through the shame and embarrassment of being the only child of divorce among her friends. The anger of having parents who couldn’t work out their problems, the anger of having to parent her little brothers while her parents were busy with work and therapy.

    Being Jesus in the flesh means we will be disrespected, abused, maligned, misunderstood, etc, etc. Though not any more than what our Savior went through for us, all while we were still sinners. Jesus never demands respect. He only asks for our love and trust. That’s all. The respect follows as we get to know Him better. Dying to self means not demanding/expecting the respect of any person, not even my children.

  54. poohpity says:

    Jesus walked away from those who were going to abuse Him several times. I do not understand how you can disagree with how I treat my children. I do not allow them to walk all over me nor will I beg them to forgive me. There are more than a couple examples in the Bible of what happens when one does not discipline their children. I am only speaking about parent child relationships. If they are not taught respect they will not respect others. I will not allow my children to yell at me or talk rudely because I do not have to take abuse. I do not demand respect I model it to teach them if anyone treats them badly to walk away.

    Most abused people have not learned appropriate boundaries and allowing people to walk all over them and that has nothing to do with dying to self. Dying to self seems to be wanting God’s way not mine. Then one has to think how does God want us to parent.

    The lessons are;
    Love others the way you love yourself.

    I do not force my will on my children and I respect their boundaries.

  55. poohpity says:

    I respectfully disagree with your life application of what Jesus taught.

  56. SFDBWV says:

    Thinking with a smile this morning about Mart’s last paragraph in that he says “I’m guessing that many of us have struggled with the thought that if we do the right things, we will get the results we are looking for.”

    Well, yes I think that will always apply to every situation and process of making decisions and taking action.

    There is all too often a fly in the ointment or as I believe Shakespeare said “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.”

    If the outcome of making decisions and acting on them depended solely on our thought process and actions alone we would always succeed, just as hoped for.

    But the formula almost always has an added component that changes everything as especially the end result.

    The Bible indeed has a great many statements that challenges us to act upon with faith. The problem sometimes is that the result is not what we expect.

    If we are looking at why the solution turned out differently than we expected it may be because we see the formula only in part, or as Paul also said through dark glass.

    The story joycemb has shared with us concerning her life shows that there are almost no perfect families and that for the most part all of us come from and have what is today called “dysfunctional families”. However if we stay the course and believe and trust in God, somehow things have a way of working out.

    God adding Himself into the equation will always produce the best results, even if we don’t quite yet see it.

    Joycemb, a little later this morning I want to talk to you about listening to your (our) children or youth in general. Please bear with me I am always busy and have to work time for this blog in between things.


  57. cbrown says:

    Joyce,Poohpity and Steve,I have 4 sons. At times our home has resembled a 3 ring circus and now that they are all in their 20’s and my wife and I are in a different season we look back and see some things we could have done differently.We also seek God’s will for today though.The “Daily Bread”this morning was a blessing and all 3 of your comments had wisdom in them.Thank you for sharing.

  58. SFDBWV says:

    Though earlier I said I wanted to talk to joycemb, I don’t want anyone else to think it a private conversation and exclude everyone else, so it is an open comment to all as well.

    I remember a funny sketch Bill Cosby delivered in which he said his younger brother thought for several years his name was “damnit”.

    I’m still laughing at that portrayal of the frustration between parent and child.

    When kids are little they are into everything and many times things we as adults think they should leave alone. We tend to think we are wiser and more knowledgeable and so are simply looking out for their best interests. Especially when they are little and can get hurt so easily.

    However built into every human being, I think, is that innocent curiosity to challenge accepted thinking or rules or taboos. To see why we aren’t to do certain things.

    Little children are especially good at that, but one of those things that people who make a study of such things seem to agree on is that our personalities are pretty well set by age 6 and the remainder of our lives we just get better at being who we are from that time forward.

    As a culture nothing would ever change if we didn’t have challenges to accepted thought. This is the gift youth brings into any culture anywhere.

    If that challenge is stifled or snuffed out then our society stagnates and we just continue on never changing anything, our dress our science our ideals or our lives. We become no different than the vegetation or the animal kingdom of the earth.

    I have said these things to illustrate the importance of listening to not only our children, but the young in our society. But there is always a “but”.

    In Judeo Christian teaching there are very dangerous absolutes that we are warned of to avoid at the cost of ruined lives as well as the ultimate loss of our souls.

    Whereas we cannot stop our children from tasting from the tree, just as we did, we can and should warn them of the consequences of it and leave it up to them to know the right things to do. Not try and control them all their lives as if they were still 2 years old and love them always just the same.

    Sometimes all a parent can do is watch the train wreck, knowing its coming and unable to prevent it, only be there to help pick up the pieces when it’s all over.

    And of course trust God.

    Already out of time for the day, hope all of you are enjoying life and can still laugh at Bill Cosby’s look at it.


  59. joycemb says:

    Good morning all!

    Pooh thanks for explaining where you are coming from, I do get it, just disagree somewhat. There were times when I had to ask my daughter during our stormy years to please stop emailing me as I needed more time to process what she was saying to me. Time to look at my own failures to see exactly where she was coming from at the time. Praying for you and your adult children always, I love you gal!

    Steve I loved your Bill Cosby story! I think I do remember it from years ago. And I do agree that sometimes we have to stand back, when they are legal adults, and let consequences fall where they may. When my children were young and in my care I called law enforcement and school social workers more than once to help with raising my kids. It all paid off as far as neither are into anything illegal, they don’t even smoke any more! Ha! Yet I always trusted God, I believed that He loved them even more than I could and would always look out for them.

    As far as the church goes, the church is made up of more than one or two dysfunctional families trying to become functional members of the Body. Interesting that studies/polls don’t seem to break down the numbers into just what type of home life our youth come from. Might be a worth-while project, and a boost for the youth to know someone actually cares about them, not just as a number or a statistic.

    Cbrown good to hear from you as always,

    Blessings in Christ Jesus to all,

  60. poohpity says:

    I often wonder if staying focused on where we come from prevents us from seeing where we are going and who is guiding us. What would happen if we were seen as people who live out our faith? Not a list of do’s and don’ts but of trust and dependence in/on God. Frankly that is a rarity.

  61. joycemb says:

    Absolutely Pooh, thank God it is a rarity, because then we would be ‘like God’ as Lucifer and many other false prophets have found out through the ages, and still do today. But being a follower means accepting and admitting sin-which we continue to do every day while still in the body of flesh-asking forgiveness of those we have wronged, and reconciling as much as is possible with those who have offended us. Romans 12:8

  62. joycemb says:

    Sorry, wrong reference, it’s Romans 12:18

  63. poohpity says:

    Oh my gosh really!! Having faith in God, trusting and depending on Him is a cause of pride? That is evidence of it’s rarity.

  64. jeff1 says:

    I believe you have hit the nail on the head their pooh
    I know from my own experience all I can remember is you should do this, this and this or you shouldn’t do this, this and this. Afterwards you discovered the people who said this had questionable ethics. I think God meant us to focus on what Christ done for us by going to the Cross. I here self confessed Christians saying how the Jews crucified Christ and I know these people to have studied their bible and they would still declare that they didn’t put Christ on the Cross. You cannot argue with people like that for they are convinced they are right. I am glad my church teaches us to focus on Christ for Christians have been arguing about this for Centuries and it gets boring after a while. After all God himself has said that Christ was crucified and resurrected to save the World. God is being inclusive here. I think the problem for us humans is that we have people we don’t want so see forgiven but we don’t have a say on this for we are told to trust God and not our own understanding so that is what we must do. I think its why God says we are forgiven past, present and future sins because some days we do it better than others. Sorry for going off topic but my friend’s father who is now deceased used to say ‘Keep you faith simple’ and I think he got it right. People keep adding and taking away and all of a sudden we don’t have anything that is the gospel of Christ but the gospel of Tom, Dick and Harry.

  65. joycemb says:

    Pooh I think we are talking in circles about two different things, I agree our faith should be pure and simple, like the Gospel, but in our relationships it takes more than to just say, well, all is well, I’m forgiven and have no more sin to repent of so now it’s your problem.

    I may be the one off center here, I apologize.

  66. street says:

    spiritual math?
    makes one wonder.

    Spiritual math is nothing more than witch craft, alkamy,or sorcery. You follow a recipe, say the right words or do the right thing, walla the product you were looking for. You were not looking for God or watching with Him, abiding with him, or walking before Him.
    The Father says come to Him and ask, He will give good gifts. Why ask for a particular self-interest when He can do more and give more than we can ask or think? mart you devil….nice post

  67. poohpity says:

    Joyce it seems you may have heard what you wanted to hear rather than what was said.

    My Jesus by Todd Agnew

    Which Jesus do you follow?
    Which Jesus do you serve?
    If Ephesians says to imitate Christ
    Then why do you look so much like the world?

    Cause my Jesus bled and died
    He spent His time with thieves and liars
    He loved the poor and accosted the arrogant
    So which one do you want to be?

    Blessed are the poor in spirit
    Or do we pray to be blessed with the wealth of this land
    Blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness
    Or do we ache for another taste of this world of shifting sand

    Cause my Jesus bled and died for my sins
    He spent His time with thieves and sluts and liars
    He loved the poor and accosted the rich
    So which one do you want to be?

    Who is this that you follow
    This picture of the American dream
    If Jesus was here would you walk right by on the other side or fall down and worship at His holy feet

    Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion
    Is how you see Him as He dies for Your sins
    But the Word says He was battered and scarred
    Or did you miss that part
    Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him

    Cause my Jesus bled and died
    He spent His time with thieves and the least of these
    He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable
    So which one do you want to be?

    Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church
    The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet
    But He reaches for the hurting and despises the proud.I think He’d prefer Beale St. to the stained glass crowd
    And I know that He can hear me if I cry out loud

    I want to be like my Jesus!
    I want to be like my Jesus!
    I want to be like my Jesus!
    I want to be like my Jesus!

    Not a posterchild for American prosperity, but like my Jesus
    You see I’m tired of living for success and popularity
    I want to be like my Jesus but I’m not sure what that means to be like You Jesus
    Cause You said to live like You, love like You but then You died for me
    Can I be like You Jesus?
    I want to be like you Jesus!
    I want to be like my Jesus!

  68. joycemb says:

    Yes I probably did! Again, I apologize for being off center.

  69. joycemb says:

    Mart you guessed that many of us have also struggled with formulaic faith. Yes! As a new believer I was told that the reason I didn’t have enough money to fix my fridge was because I wasn’t tithing properly. I actually quit tithing after a few years to find out if God was as easy to please as I was told. I found out that even though I was not titheing, enough money still came in to live on, and to fix broken things. Even when I could not afford to eat out once in a while, God would touch a friend who had no idea what was going on and ask me out for a meal. I learned that it was not up to me to ‘keep’ our relationship going well, as I had been taught. When a local organization brought Thanksgiving dinner for me and my kids my pastor was appalled because it did not come from God! Wow.

    I’m sure there are many others with similar stories.

  70. street says:

    I do not want to be ignorant. I have a plan….God?

  71. bubbles says:

    We should give money as a tithe and offering because we honor God and love Him. “Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase. . . ”
    We should not give in order to get from God. Our worship should be about God and not about what we are going to get out of it for ourselves. Giving is an act of worship.

  72. poohpity says:

    true dat bubbles, it is not a rule, it seems to be a cheerful acknowledgment that everything we have comes from the Lord and is done out of heartfelt appreciation. As is everything we do in our life having that relationship with the Lord, heartfelt appreciation.

  73. lovely says:

    Hi All
    I haven’t left the blog, I just have been busy. Spiritual Math , God is more than in just an equation because our God is a living God not a dead one. Matthew 22:32
    Like what has been mention, What’s been missing in the equation is a relationship with God. If Sufferring + tribulation= God doesn’t love us then this is the lie from the enemy because Romans 8:35 said other wise. Broken relationships has been the source of all these mess from the beginning, when our first parents took the fruit. That’s why God sent Jesus , to bring restoration . If we want our children to listen to us it starts with restoring our relationship. In order for God’s compassion to flow through you and to your children you need a relationship with God. Just like no family is perfect, no church is perfect. However by looking at the imperfection isn’t going to change anything only making us more bitter. Looking at Matt 6:33, Psalm 73:4 , is like God’s crying out for us to look to Him . Seek ME first. Don’t worry about all these things (physical needs). Delight in ME. Look to Me I’ll take care of the rest.
    Yes not denying the fact that some church have planned Jesus out of their service & programme causing them to loose the compassion of Christ. Without the Spirit and the presence of God the church is dead as it is in our lives and family. John 6:63 .Its no wonder that the younger generation have look elsewhere for the satisfaction of love when they can’t find it in church. But then, is an Imperfect church = imperfect God? My answer is no. Inside all of us is a hunger to look for that LIFE and love that God has created us for, we won’t find in the world. To God if you leave Him you will only find death. Deuteronomy 30:19-20. Despite what we see , or what storms we’re going through , disappointment in our church or pastors, we’re to keep looking to Jesus and not man and to keep pressing on not separating ourselves from the world but overcoming it. For He made us more than a conqueror Romans 8:37 After all isn’t that what faith is all about ? Believing in what we can’t see. Hebrews 11:1

  74. foreverblessed says:

    I so agree with the statement, that we should grow in the love of God, focus ourselves personally on God, and growing in His grace and love. And for the rest, it is God’s work, working it all out in the ones we love. So the more we love, the more effective our lives are in His hands.

    At the back of the book it “I knew from church that I couldn’t believe in both science and God, so that was it. I didn’t believe in God anymore.”
    If you believe in a creation of the earth six thousand years ago in 6 days, then do not read any further. Everybody is free to believe as they want, if some lose their faith in the bible, if it is not as they always have been tought in their christianupbringing at church, if they lose faith, it is no big deal to talk about it, so skip this.

    But to me, I have been brought up in a very fundamental church, bot for some strange reason they taught that Genesis 1 verse 1 and 2 had a vast time span in them. So it made my steps in science a lot easier. Why could science and God not go together? If science found out about the history of the earth, why would we as christians then say, well Genesis 1 says this and this. And so it is. I have stated this before here, and got some very stern warnings: I like the statement of the Catholic Church on creation and evolution. They clearly state that if God created through evolution, so science has found out, so it was, it does not make God any less God, who spoke and it came into being.
    At least the catholic church has learned their lesson with Copernicus and Gallileo!
    And furthermore: Why could God not have made the universe with a big bang: an explosion of energy that molded into atoms, first the Hydrogen then the Helium and so on and on, adding one up to another, and so making the atomic scale as it is, just math?

  75. SFDBWV says:

    Dear sister in Christ, Foreverblessed, I hope all is well for you and all you love.

    My belief in Genesis 1 in that God created all that exists in 6 days does not take away my love for people nor my faith in Christ, in fact it enforces it.

    I have a saying I have shared here before that goes like this; “History shows man’s inability to govern himself and science proves the existence of God.”

    I for one love both subjects as in the study of them I am constantly looking for the signature of God, and as I have also repeatedly said before “what you look for is what you find.”

    Our friend Bill has a saying that is a little disturbing to me, that is something like this “Bible worship”.

    It accuses one of wrongfully going to the Bible to substantiate their Faith or belief, as if what the Bible says is the last word on any particular subject.

    Therein lies the problem or the question; is the Bible the last word on any given subject it addresses?

    I believe that God created all that exists in 6 days because that is what Genesis says.

    Ask any medical scientist if a man can be dead for 3 and or 4 days then be able to stand back up walk talk and be as healthy as before his death and what scientific answer will you get?

    The Bible is filled with miracles, I never seen any of them, but believe them because not only because the Bible says so, but because my heart tells me it is so.

    The problem is what or who do you place your faith and trust in.

    These things are abstract matters and not as important as accepting the very unscientific concept that there is a God, that He became a man we know as Jesus and that we can obtain forgiveness for our sins against God and man by believing in and on Him. A concept and knowledge I learned from reading the Bible.

    I know you said if I believed the earth was made in 6 days not to read on, but I could not resist such a challenge. I hope your day has been good and that the rest of it even better.


  76. poohpity says:

    If the bible is wrong in that area how can one believe it is right in others, so we pick and chose. There is a big difference in worshiping the bible and worshiping God and believing the bible. God created and man studied which is science. Science is as faulty as man. Theories are not based on fact but just on a man’s hypothesis. Dating objects is also a theory there is not proof of any things being older than the time it can be proven to be so it is all hunches. Listen to the words scientists use. One presents something one way then another presents it another way. For example look at what some call “global warming” there are folks on both sides. What does that prove just that it is man seeking. It all comes back for us to faith.

  77. poohpity says:

    Why does the next generation not believe because their parents do not really believe or see it as an example.

  78. Bill says:


    Please don’t misrepresent my comments.

    You wrote (September 6, 2014 at 9:27 am):


    Our friend Bill has a saying that is a little disturbing to me, that is something like this “Bible worship”.

    It accuses one of wrongfully going to the Bible to substantiate their Faith or belief, as if what the Bible says is the last word on any particular subject.

    Therein lies the problem or the question; is the Bible the last word on any given subject it addresses?


    That’s not what I wrote, or meant, at all.

    For greater clarity on this matter please see Christian Smith’s book “The Bible Made Impossible.” Smith does a better job of explaining it than I do.

    But, essentially, I’ll try to explain it this way:

    1. Over the years, Christians have made the Bible a kind of talisman, a mystical device that they revere above actually LIVING the Bible. In other words, if the Bible doesn’t specifically address an issue (for example, spiritual experiences), then the conclusion is that the experience is wrong. Or, Christians “proof-text” life by looking at verses and using them to tell others how to live. (See #2 below why that’s an issue.)

    Sola Scriptura, in other words, can be a straightjacket that prevents God from doing anything other than what the Bible says he already did. If we worship God, he is free to do anything he pleases. If we worship the Bible, he can only do what the Bible says.

    Do you see the difference?

    2. “Wrongfully going to the Bible to substantiate their Faith or belief” is part of the problem, Steve.

    Which Bible version? Which Faith? Which belief? Which denomination? Which church? Which pastor? Which author? Which teacher? There is no one way to interpret the Bible. Why? Because there are a dozen major Bible versions, a dozen major seminaries, a dozen major theologians, tens of thousands of pastors, millions of Christians.

    Mart’s BTA blog is a classic example. There are a few dozen regular posters here. We all hold the Bible in high esteem and believe what it says. Yet, we can’t even agree among us. Multiply us by tens of thousands and you see the problem.

    3. Is the Bible “…the last word on any given subject it addresses?”

    That depends on the subject. And what your personal or denomination’s opinion is of it.

    How many ways are there to view homosexuality? War? Capital punishment? Taking care of the poor? Drinking alcohol? Dancing? Women keeping silent in church? Stoning witches to death?

    I don’t think it’s possible to have “a last word,” a definitive, biblical, answer to any of the above because either (a) the answer is to kill the offender (as the Bible clearly says), or (b) the answer is much, much more complex than any one or two or a dozen verses can explain. So we have to extrapolate and, ultimately, make our own decision based on what we believe the Bible says.

    As far as the “6 days” goes, I’m not sure what I believe about that. I know many credible theologians who suggest that “6 days” refers to six very long lengths of time. I also know theologians who suggest that the “6 days” means a literal six days.” If so, then the question is, is the earth really only about 6,000-10,000 years old? If so, why does everything appear much, much older?

    It all gets very messy.

    I don’t think my faith in Jesus rises or falls based on how old I think the earth is. If I did base it on what I think the first chapters of Genesis say, that would be “Bible worship,” in my opinion. Frankly, I don’t care how old the earth is. The earth is here, as are we. That’s all I can prove for an absolute fact.

    As you know, I hold you in very high regard, Steve. So please take my explanation of my opinion in the friendly spirit in which I wrote it.

    Love to All,


  79. poohpity says:

    Wouldn’t it be nice if we each lived out what we say we believe you know like minding our own business because when we don’t the things we are given to do are left undone. We are mean, harsh and demanding because we are busy interfering in the life of others wanting others to live what we fail to do(do as I say not as I do). This morning as I was reading Ezekiel it seems this is not a new problem but one people have struggled with for many years. Ezekiel 34:4 NLT

  80. joycemb says:

    Good morning,
    Bill I love reading your posts, you are a gracious, intelligent human being and I would probably enjoy you books (or maybe I have but don’t know it?)

    I believe it is people like yourself that do keep the church going amidst all the struggle, stain of sin, and hypocrisy we all share in. Going to be looking up a bit higher today in light of your finger pointing upward, not down, sideways, or inward.

    Blessings, Joyce

  81. cbrown says:

    I am totally confused.

  82. joycemb says:

    cbrown I am sorry, I confuse people a lot here, (and am often misunderstood also), but please just skip over my post and have a pleasant day! Joyce

  83. cbrown says:

    Love in Christ. Gal2:20 is powerful.

  84. poohpity says:

    I just got done watching Day Of Discovery for this week “What Jesus Said About Following Him”. Excellent program. Seems to blend in so well with what we have been talking about.

  85. joycemb says:

    Thank you cbrown, I will be thinking about that all day also!

  86. cbrown says:

    Pooh, first time I have watched “Day of Discovery” and it was good. Thanks

  87. joycemb says:

    cbrown says:
    September 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm
    Love in Christ. Gal2:20 is powerful.

    The Holy Spirit worked powerfully in me today. Thanks brother!

  88. foreverblessed says:

    Gal 2:20 and separation and death (separated to the Holy Spirit and death to self life)
    Andrew Murray in his study: absolute surrender written in 1897. If I may I put some of that here: under the heading: God blesses when you surrender
    that sounds like 1+1=blessing
    But you could also say: it is more like physics:
    when you are connected to God, (and your tube is clean of self-life), then His life can automatically flow through you

    Andrew Murray in 1897:
    Let us bow before God in humility, and in that humility confess before Him the state of the whole Church. No words can tell the sad state of the Church of Christ on earth. I wish I had words to speak what I sometimes feel about it. Just think of the Christians around you. I do not speak of nominal Christians, or of professing Christians, but I speak of hundreds and thousands of honest, earnest Christians who are not living a life in the power of God or to His glory. So little power, so little devotion or consecration to God, so little perception of the truth that a Christian is a man utterly surrendered to God’s will! Oh, we want to confess the sins of God’s people around us, and to humble ourselves.
    We are members of that sickly body. The sickliness of the body will hinder us and break us down, unless we come to God. We must, in confession, separate ourselves from partnership with worldliness, with coldness toward each other. We must give ourselves up to be entirely and wholly for God.
    How much Christian work is being done in the spirit of the flesh and in the power of self! How much work, day by day, in which human energy-our will and our thoughts about the work-is continually manifested, and in which there is little waiting upon God and upon the power of the Holy Spirit! Let us make a confession. But as we confess the state of the Church, and the feebleness and sinfulness of work for God among us, let us come back to ourselves. Who is there who truly longs to be delivered from the power of the self-life, who truly acknowledges that it is the power of self and the flesh, and who is willing to cast all at the feet of Christ? There is deliverance.
    I heard of one who had been an earnest Christian, and who spoke about the “cruel” thought of separation and death. But you do not think that, do you? What are we to think of separation and death? This-death was the path to glory for Christ. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross. The cross was the birthplace of His everlasting glory. Do you love Christ? Do you long to be in Christ, and yet not like Him? Let death be to you the most desirable thing on earth: death to self, and fellowship with Christ.
    Separation-do you think it a hard thing to be called to be entirely free from the world, and by that separation to be united to God and His love, by separation to become prepared for living and walking with God every day? Surely one ought to say: “Anything to bring me to separation, to death, for a life of full fellowship with God and Christ.”

    Come and cast this self-life and flesh-life at the feet of Jesus. Then trust Him. Do not worry yourselves with trying to understand all about it, but come in the living faith that Christ will come into you with the power of His death and the power of His life. Then the Holy Spirit will bring the whole Christ-Christ crucified and risen and living in glory-into your heart.

  89. foreverblessed says:

    He goes on in his study, the next chapter is:
    The fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, Gal 5:22, two verses down that other powerful verse
    The lack of love in the church is one of the reasons God cannot bless us.

    Andrew Murray: We read that “Love is the fulfilling of the law”‘ (Romans 13: 10), and my desire is to speak on love as a fruit of the Spirit with a twofold object. One is that this word may be a searchlight in our hearts, and give us a test by which to try all our thoughts about the Holy Spirit and all our experience of the holy life. Let us try ourselves by this word. Has this been our daily habit, to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of love? “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” Has it been our experience that the more we have of the Holy Spirit, the more loving we become? In claiming the Holy Spirit, we should make this the first object of our expectation. The Holy Spirit comes as a Spirit of love.

    Oh, if this were true in the Church of Christ , how different her state would be! May God help us to get hold of this simple, heavenly truth that the fruit of the Spirit is a love which appears in the life. Just as the Holy Spirit gets real possession of the life, the heart will be filled with real, divine, universal love.

    One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the lack of love. When the body is divided, there cannot be strength. In the time of their great religious wars, when Holland stood out so nobly against Spain , one of their mottoes was: “Unity gives strength.” It is only when God’s people stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love, one toward another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the world can see-it is only then that they will have power to secure the blessing which they ask of God. Remember that if a vessel that ought to be one whole is cracked into many pieces, it cannot be filled. You can take one part of the vessel and dip out a little water into that, but if you want the vessel full, the vessel must be whole. That is literally true of Christ’s Church. And if there is one thing we must pray for still, it is this-Lord, melt us together into one by the power of the Holy Spirit. Let the Holy Spirit, who at Pentecost made them all of one heart and one soul, do His blessed work among us. Praise God, we can love each other in a divine love, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” Give yourselves up to love, and the Holy Spirit will come; receive the Spirit, and He will teach you to love more.

  90. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Steve, for your kind comment, to love each other is Jesus’ command to us, thanks a lot, and so I do love you too, and Pooh. No matter the differences in some views,of side matters, matters that are not the christian core business: that we, through the great love of God for us, have been redeemed by Jesus Christ, through faith in Him, and following Him as disciples.

  91. SFDBWV says:

    I chanced upon a quote from a Linda Henley that goes as follows “If God had intended for us to follow recipes He wouldn’t have given us grandmothers.”

    It then hit me that what this author mistakes for math is actually a recipe, not so much math.

    Most any of us can relate to such terms as “a recipe for disaster” or “a recipe for success”.

    I think I like the statement “Spiritual Recipe” better than “Spiritual Math”.

    Thank you as well Foreverblessed.


  92. remarutho says:

    Dear All –

    It seems to me, Mart, that if we believe the words of the Lord Jesus and of David the psalmist are a way of living “by the numbers,” we are indeed missing something. The scriptures you present are about relationship, not an equation such as “doing this = success.”

    You quoted:

    “Seek first, the Kingdom of God,” Jesus says, “…”and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matt 6:33) Or, writes David, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4)

    Amazingly, after many comments the result appears the same to me. No final answer to this is really possible, in my opinion. Young people outside the structure of church are still seeking the Lord and still delighting in God’s presence – in Saturday night dinner-discussion groups, “learning circles”, home Bible studies, and fellowships that in general do not claim the label “church.”

    Perhaps these are recipes, rather than equations, Foreverblessed!


  93. joycemb says:

    John 7:38-39 Comes to mind reading your posts this morning. I too have read Andrew Murray, William Law, and am currently rereading Watchman Nee “The Normal Christian Life”, who all say the same thing, that the life comes from within, not by some sort of spiritual math some have resorted to in order to fill an imaginary, self-edifying quota; much like some police forces like to hand out tickets have.

    I heard a speaker (I believe it may even have been Mart on one of his videos) talk about the difference between ‘professing’ Christ and ‘believing’ in Christ, that professing is not the same.

    I confess that in my early years I remember thinking that if I were ever threatened with death unless I denounce Christ how easy it would be, to just say what was needed to save my life. But the more I got to really know Him, as the scriptures say, “I am crucified with Christ” Gal. 2:20, already, so I no longer worry about what they can do to the body. Or my mind for that matter.

    We do need each other to be reminded from time to time and I so appreciate all of you here who carry God’s word in your heart, and ‘on your sleeve’.

    Blessings, Joyce

  94. poohpity says:

    If one thinks that practicing faith to have a happy successful life then we and what we are teaching our young has certainly, no doubt about it, missed something. What one has missed is God. Practicing faith seems to mean that trusting and believing in God will get us through this life successfully with joy and peace knowing there will always be struggles and trials. Without God there is no faith, without faith there is no God. Faith is an exercise of trust. No formulas, recipes or equations it seems to be an experience.

  95. poohpity says:

    Arizona is the new Florida we are flooded from the constant rain since 2am this morning. The valley of the sun is flooded.

  96. belleu says:

    The quotes from Andrew Murray are appreciated. Love is the answer to everything – God’s love in each of us. How I wish Christianity was viewed as being all-loving.

    I read about a church that was falling apart in olden days because of quarrels. The pastor decided they would study love – and only love to see if the church could make it without breaking up into different factions. That church lasted another hundred years.

    Even though I have suffered, I do believe God has given me “the desires of my heart.” I read a lot of biographies and I’ve noticed that the lives of those who are not Christians usually end in confusion and emptiness. I once read about famous atheists online and most of them had committed suicide.

    Some math does work in Christianity. You + nothing= sadness, despair, suicide, loneliness, alcoholism, bitterness, cynicism and death. You + God= all good things (although we may not see them as good now) and then eternal life.

  97. jeff1 says:

    When is man going to stop trying to do God’s work. We cannot help the lost only God can do that. Focus on your own walk with God which is difficult enough to do. Keep your own mind on what is right. If the bible taught us anything is that no one does it perfectly the heroes in the bible are an example of that. You cannot prove God by saying he allows sadness, despair etc. in non-believers and not in Christians. The heroes of the bible suffered from many of these afflictions. Life is a rollercoaster for Christians and non-Christians. Everyone has difficulties at different stages in their life. We should support who ever our paths meet whether they believe or not. I have difficulty enough doing that when I come across what I presume to be difficult people but they could be saying the same about me. I am thankful that I am saved not just from the world but from myself.

  98. narrowpathseeker says:

    I remember waiting anxiously for my new monthly Daily Bread to read Mart’s monthly BTA tract. I found it pleasingly insightful, humble, knowledgeable, profound and any other positive adjectives that I can’t seem to retrieve right now. For years, I put Mart at the top of MY most real Christlike pastor ever list. Then I found this BTA blog and at first I eagerly started my day with it and it’s many seemingly genuine and insightful comments.
    Now I am sorry for what I am going to write but I believe that it needs to be said …someone needs to hear it, although I think it is too late…this potentially uplifting, teaching, (seemingly) God centered site has been destroyed and it doesn’t look too promising that anything is going to change.
    Unfortunately, it was but one person that seemed to intentionally use condescending, arrogant, rude, and downright cruel comments and caused more than a few to leave this blog. However, it wasn’t constant so it just helped me to pray more. Then it seemed the more rude and arrogant she got the more praise she got and then the more frequent the nastiness got. But if anyone called her on it, it was total denial of it being intentional or that she never meant any such thing because she just loves and respects this one and that one…she is only being “truthful” with “love”… BULL!!!
    Then another came that seemed so intelligent, knowledgeable, humble and genuine that I felt it was adequate compensation for the mean spirited one. He along with some very interesting Christ loving regulars kept this site afloat. Then after awhile his spirit was also revealed…he was a little more subtle and coy but his real character was finally exposed. He is always ending his insults with some garbage about being humble and holding his victims in high regard!! Her protege may be far more knowledgeable and a little more subtle, but he also is as transparent as a window.
    This is the way I imagine Satan to be…coming as an angel of light…. NOT Christ….Christ isn’t coy and deceitful!! I stay away from here so I won’t be here representing Christ as an angry old woman. Anger is mostly all that I feel coming here now and I’m sure I will be rightfully banned for posting this. However I have to wonder why deceitful and deliberate provokers have been allowed to rule this site?!!! Just because they end arrogant, condescending, insulting sentences with “I say this with Love and no harm intended” it is not ANGER they are expressing?!!! It is not just an occasional thing…it has been going on for YEARS over and over again… I have seen more Christlike messages written with far less anger and cunning in the mainstream news than some I see on here.
    YES, THIS is an equally rude and angry message, but I am not going to try to whitewash it with LIES….I am NOT going to write that this is written with Christian Love and respect or high regard. Satan is the father of lies……I am writing this as a sinner …. in anger and disgust for the two I mentioned…they know who they are. Lord have mercy on us all!!! Pray people PRAY!!

  99. Bill says:

    What’s eating at you, narrowpath?

    It really can’t be Mart’s blog. I read every post that comes to me via e-mail. I don’t see the stuff you’re talking about in such vehement terms.

    I see people here with different personalities, occasionally disagreeing, sometimes sharply. But I’m not seeing the “Satan is the father of lies” red flags that you’re seeing.

    Is there something bugging you outside of BTA that you could share with us? If your post is because of BTA, then I’d say you’re severely overreacting. If your post is because of something else, and BTA just exacerbated it, then I’d say we should all send our prayers your way.

    What can we do to help?


  100. belleu says:

    I don’t see narrowpathseeker as overreacting. I see what she is talking about.

  101. poohpity says:

    When one sees a fire rather than throwing gas on it wouldn’t it be better to throw some living water it.

  102. poohpity says:

    on it.

  103. belleu says:

    You know, I really don’t want to get into any arguments whatsoever on this site or any other site. I’m sorry narrowpath is so upset by things that she doesn’t want to come here. I hope and pray she will continue to come here and visit and comment in spite of negative comments by others. Just ignore what you don’t like, I guess. I try to do that, and if people want to ignore what I write that’s okay too.

  104. poohpity says:

    Just want you to know belleu my comment about the fire was not directed to you. If one is an angry person that is what they will see in others and shows the content of their heart even though they blame someone else, we are each responsible for our emotions. Anyone can find faults but someone special will look for the good and show patience. When a group of angry people get together and gossip they just fuel each other with bitterness and darkness.

    If there is ugliness on this blog rather than showing more of the same wouldn’t it be nice to show something different. Be the change you want to see.

  105. foreverblessed says:

    Pray, pray, pray, I agree with you Narrow.. this was also in Andrew Murray’s study on absolute surrender, that did ring in my heart this morning before I came to read here;

    ” A man may be an earnest Christian, an earnest minister, and a man may do good, but alas! how often he has to confess that he knows but little of what it is to tarry with God. May God give us the great gift of an intercessory spirit, a spirit of prayer and supplication! Let me ask you in the name of Jesus not to let a day pass without praying for all saints, and for all God’s people.

    I find there are Christians who think little of that. I find there are prayer unions where they pray for the members, and not for all believers. I pray you, take time to pray for the Church of Christ. It is right to pray for the heathen, as I have already said. God help us to pray more for them. It is right to pray for missionaries and for evangelistic work, and for the unconverted. But Paul did not tell people to pray for the heathen or the unconverted. Paul told them to pray for believers. Do make this your first prayer every day: “Lord,bless Thy saints everywhere.”

    The state of Christ’s Church is indescribably low. Plead for God’s people that He would visit them, plead for each other, plead for all believers who are trying to work for God. Let love fill your heart. Ask
    Christ to pour it out afresh into you every day. Try to get it into you by the Holy Spirit of God: I am separated unto the Holy Spirit, and the fruit of the Spirit is love. God help us to understand it.

    May God grant that we learn day by day to wait more quietly upon Him.
    Do not wait upon God only for ourselves, or the power to do so will soon be lost; but give ourselves up to the ministry and the love of intercession, and pray more for God’s people, for God’s people round about us, for the Spirit of love in ourselves and in them, and for the work of God we are connected with; and the answer will surely come, and our waiting upon God will be a source of untold blessing and power.
    “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”

  106. foreverblessed says:

    Do this and this and success will come.
    If we pray for one another, in faith believing God hears us, what is the success? It might not be seen with physical eyes, but with eyes of faith: just a little bit more love of God in our hearts, a little bit more unity in the Spirit.

  107. bubbles says:

    Reading the topic passage again made me think. Yes, I think we can all at times fall into a way of thinking that does not align with Scripture. If we listen to teachers who do not teach truth, we can become disillusioned.

    When the life of Joseph and Daniel and others are studied, we can see they did not have a perfect life even though they did right things.

    People have said God will never put more on us than we can handle. Is that what the Bible says, though? The verse they may use for this tells us that He will not allow us to be tempted above what we can bear but will make an escape from it. That sounds different from what people are saying.

    Their life stories can bring comfort because if God took care of them, he will take care of us.

    We have not been promised an easy life. When God is silent and times are bad, that is when faith has to really work. It’s not easy.

  108. bubbles says:

    Our children need to be taught that hard times in life will come. Being a Christian does not insulate us from difficult and trying times. Our children need to be shown that even though this happens, God still loves us.

    We live in a society of instant gratification. We want it now or yesterday. When we don’t get it, we become angry and upset. It’s the same way with God. God’s timing is NOT our timing. We may not like it or disagree with Him. It’s easy to forget this. It’s easy to get impatient and depressed even because we wonder what is God doing and why is He quiet. I think this is when faith has to grow.

  109. jeff1 says:

    I am relatively new to commenting on this blog but not to reading it. There is truth in what narrowpathseeker says but also in what Bill says in my opinion. Thank goodness before time began God new our human nature none of us can stop from bringing our own experiences to this table that’s why God told us to focus on Christ and his teaching because if we listen to each other we will become just what narrowpathseeker has become and get disillhusioned. We have all different circumstances and experiences in life and it is find to share them but if we start judging each other on how each of us handled those circumstances then we will not lift each other up but take each other down (Satantic). This is what God new, Christ died to save us from ourselves as much as from the World and each other. We cannot help each other get by commenting on how we think each other should have handled their circumstances because we will never agree, religion, culture, upbringing and attitudes will get in the way. Everyone on this blog is here because he/she believes they are a saved child of God start acting like one. It is obvious that narrowpathseeker is angry and has reason to be so. We as other members of the blog should learn from this, think more before we put our pens to paper, whether our words will lift up other bloggers or whether they are pointing the finger about how badly we think the other person handled their circumstances. Remember it is easy to see and point out other peoples failings but when it comes to ourselves we have all double standards.
    I hope narrowpathseeker, you, in time, will see how easy it is to get off the path of God’s will and on to our own. God help us all.

  110. SFDBWV says:

    You are loved, narrowpathseeker.


  111. Mart De Haan says:

    Seems to me that this site, or any other peopled place, ends up being not only a lot like life– but a lot like ourselves. Misunderstanding and being misunderstood. Speaking in a time to be silent, and being silent in a time to speak. Coming close to the truth and then missing it by a mile.

    Who among us has a relationship with anyone that is not marked by good weather and bad. Yet with the winds comes the possibility of clean-up; with the rain, growth; with the cold; change, loss, forced rest.. and the anticipation of renewal.

    Yet as a nineteenth century author said, “Oh how easily things go wrong. A sigh too deep, a kiss too long…”

    Turned for the good, every insult, hurt, loss, or missed opportunity helps us to see why we are called to love one another– as we have been loved—rather than to entrust ourselves more than love asks… to anyone or anything other than Immanuel.

  112. tracey5tgbtg says:

    I was going to post a comment, but I logged on and saw that Mart had just posted.

    This is Mart’s blog and I wish he would post more often. Always a thoughtful, gentle word.

    The gist of what I wanted to say is why would we need others on this blog to agree with us, or feel bad if we think we have been insulted?

    Narrowpathseeker, you seem to expect so much from people. Do not look to man as the ideal. Even proclaiming Christians. Even Jesus knew that. John 2:23-25

    “Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”

    He knew man, He knew us. He knows whats in our hearts, and still he died for us. He died for us because he knew what was in us.

  113. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Looking just now on a famous site that sells books (not RBC this time) I realize the classic by Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction was published fourteen years ago! I only mention it because the author we are currently considering (whose book I confess I have not read) produces concern and possibly anxiety — at least for your part, Mart.

    Yet, Peterson has offered us what the blurb calls “an old, dog-eared psalter” (a songbook) that has withstood the test of centuries for all peoples who have taken it up, from the children of Israel in the Sinai to the Puritans landing in the New World.

    We are hearing newscasters, preachers and each other’s emotional response to the situation(s) in the world today. Agree that events are taking place that shake our confidence and disturb our peace. I am always grateful when commenters here offer a word of faith and obedience in what they write.

    Would only ask that we edit, edit, edit! Brevity is a virtue, it seems to me — along with some measure of grace and forgiveness for our mutual failures and weakness.

    Blessings all day,

  114. belleu says:

    I really appreciate what everyone has said about this. I was thinking last night that this is a good place to learn patience and understanding. Trust – yes, that belongs to God.

  115. joycemb says:

    I for one am glad that we do have the freedom to speak our minds here. I agree belleu that this is a good place to learn patience and understanding, I certainly have, and at the same time am learning to be more understanding of myself as God is, yet pours on more grace daily.

  116. joycemb says:

    I have been thinking all day about what it means exactly to be a Christian. The conclusion I have come to is this; would I, or am I, willing to lay down my life for a brother, sister, friend or foe? There’s much more to this Christian walk than obeying a set of rules, a recipe, or a well-defined formula. So much more, you bet your life, there is more.

  117. bubbles says:

    Being a Christian is putting our faith in Jesus. Christians believe that Jesus is God, that He died and rose again. Jesus took the punishment for our sins on the cross. God punished His Son instead of us.

    Because Christians have faith in God, we will do things that show that faith. We will want to take care of our bodies because the Holy Spirit lives inside of us.

    Just as a prince or princess behaves in certain ways because of who their parents are, we, too, as Christians will want to behave in ways that reflect our Heavenly Father. It should not be a set of ‘rules,’ but we do or don’t do things to honor our Father.

    We are like a cup on a shelf. If we are clean, God can use us more effectively than a dirty cup. But, thankfully, God can use us in spite of ourselves. And best of all, he is faithful to forgive us of our sins every time we confess them to Him.

  118. lovely says:

    narrow path seeker , i hope you live out the name you’ve chosen and really seek God for the justification that you’re seeking for. I pray that God will free you from bitterness and bless you abundantly and reveal His compassion and forgiveness to you.
    Bill , you really got me thinking about science and i did research and realize that the bible did mention about dinasour. Job 40:15-24 “behemoth” is a monster Genesis 1:21 God created monster. Anyway, the first story in the bible doesn’t begin with Adam & Eve , begin with the fall of Lucifer. The spiritual beings was already created before man. If God could created such a powerful being why not dinasour? What do you think? just a thought

  119. Bill says:

    Good Morning Lovely,

    Truly, that is a wonderful screen name. Makes me smile. :)

    You mentioned dinosaurs. I have no problem with dinosaurs. Such “behemoths” clearly existed.

    One of the best web sites for matters of Creation Science is Ken Ham’s AnswersInGenesis dot org.

    I’m not against Creationism. I’m not in favor of Evolution. Or a combination of the two as in Theistic Evolution.

    My point is: What does it matter to us now? The earth is here. We are here. The entire world full of hurting people is here. We have a Great Commission to heed, and that doesn’t necessarily include debating about six literal days or six millennia. In fact, those debates often lead to divisions and alienation.

    I used to engage in such debates regularly. I have Ken Ham books. I have Henry Morris books. I could debate (some would say argue) in favor of Creationism for hours, whipping out scientific facts and commenting on the Second Law of Thermodynamics until the cows came home.

    One day, I realized I was expending precious time and energy debating issues instead of living my life as close to that of Jesus as I could.

    This is why I don’t argue or debate. I enjoy disagreements because I learn a lot from others. But life is way too short to spend it engaging in angry debates.

    I’ve enjoyed reading the comments here. It seems my name has come up several times. I’m glad people think what I’ve written is worth pondering. But I’d like to reiterate that I’m just one voice among many. I don’t have all the answers. I have a lot of questions. That’s how my mind works. I ponder. I research. I wonder. I talk to others. I piece things together in ways that make sense to me. But those kinds of epiphanies are mine, alone. They may not be yours. And my insights or discoveries or realizations may never be yours.

    So I’m not looking to create a Bill vs. Narrowpathseeker or Bill vs. Anyone scenario. I don’t want factions. Or sides of any kind. I have opinions, which I freely offer. But you don’t have to believe them. And I’d rather people didn’t if it means butting up against pooh or narrow or Steve or Maru or tracey or foreverblessed or any of the other dear brothers and sisters here.

    I’m grateful for the opportunity to express myself in Mart’s blog. But I don’t want my presence here to become a polarizing one.

    Love to All,


  120. belleu says:

    Your presence is far from polarizing. I so much enjoy reading what you have to say – whether I agree with you or not.

  121. street says:

    maru said
    The true objection to the existence of the supernatural God who lived a human existence — omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent — is the implied loss of individual sovereignty and freedom. The motto of Millennials, as far as I can tell, is “Don’t judge me!” This is the battle cry of atheists in all times and cultures, who fervently trust in their own power.

    i think it is the rejection of God the person /truth/ due to blindness and denial of sin which results in pride or making oneself god. God brings the consiquences of sin and the fall to highlight the fact we are not God. hopefully God will free them from the carnage with new eyes and His Light.

  122. jeff1 says:

    From the culture I was brought up in the rejection is of religion not a rejection of God. Each religious teacher is interpreting scripture to say something different and when people of different religions get together they find that they are being preached different teachings and they get confused. I am 60 years of age and preachers are still telling young people God will put them in hell for their sins. The teachings are not consistent because beliefs are not consistent. Some preachers still interpret the bible in that if people don’t stop sinning they will go to hell while others say we cannot not sin but are still saved. If teachers or preachers do not sing from the one hymn sheet then there will be confusion and a falling away from the churches which does not necessary mean a falling away from God. Thank the Lord.

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