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Class Struggle

DSCF1596All over the world there are indicators of class struggle. In elections, protests, looting, crime-rates, joblessness, and unfair wages— ongoing wars of every kind and degree  reflect the struggle between those who have a voice in what happens to them that those who don’t.

In the middle of such tensions and conflict, one of the most common criticisms of the Bible is that it has been used to silence those who see a lack of justice in the way religious or governmental groups disregard the condition of the poor by affirming the God-given authority of home, church, and state—while encouraging those who hurt to wait for heaven.

I think it would be interesting to see how we could think and talk about this together in a way that reflects our own struggle to live in the name and spirit of Christ.


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180 Responses to “Class Struggle”

  1. bubbles says:

    Good morning.

    This post reminds me of Ruby Payne’s framework for understanding poverty. She also includes how the wealthy class does and views things differently from everyone else. She states that each socio-economic group has different viewpoints and ways of doing things. Understanding needs to be in place in order to be effective when working with people.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    Another old adage we all are familiar with is “the law of the jungle”.

    It refers to the animal society of the strong survive and the weak either don’t or do at the whim of the strong.

    In Matthew 15:21-28 that a woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon begged Jesus to heal her, Jesus said no because He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, not for a Canaanite (Matthew 15:24) she continued to worship Him and plead for her daughter again Jesus says it isn’t *right* to take food from the children and give it to the *dogs* (Matthew 15:26), yet it appears the woman’s wisdom convinced Jesus and her daughter healed (Matthew 15:27, 28).

    Clearly this story is one of class or racial differences and how, in this case, the lower class Canaanite woman was wise enough not to challenge Jesus’ remarks of comparing her to a dog, but rather play off of it to get Him to agree with her request.

    As Mart has mentioned the Bible is rife with class division, but the question is has God ordained a class system or rather just exposed it through the stories given in Scripture?

    Personally I think that is explained in John 15:15 when Jesus steps down as being Lord to His servants and says they are now His friend’s not just servants.

    However we live in the world of haves and have not’s, a world where Godly living should provide us with plenty enough to survive on and a world where some who have not would rather take it from those who have earned it for themselves without working for it.

    It will always come down to either living a God led life or not and its effect on any society we live in.

    When we have it is our responsibility to help the have not’s, but when the have not’s begin to resent us for having, the division is made from their perspective as well as any who might look down upon another and compare them to a dog or worse.

    Steve

  3. jeff1 says:

    My mother always said money was at the root of all evil and isn’t that so today in a world where money even decides whether or not we get good health care. My mother grew up one of the have not’s, went to school in her bare feet, and the stories she told us were any thing of grandeur. Having had a lot of difficulties she died a young woman. The words that stick with me are how she would say that those were the best days of her life. She would refer to how they would make sleighs for the wintertime when they would sleigh down the steepest hill they could find. It was the friendships that she made while doing this that my mother was thinking about not the hardships of her childhood. It is difficult for me to see at times how she could focus on the upside as I can not imagine how it was for her having been brought up with all my comforts. It is however apparent that my mother seen these friendships as more important than the difficulties she faced. Is’nt that how we should face our own life’s seeing how we are enriched by the people we meet on our journey and even if we meet people who are difficult or disappoint us we have learned that they may have had difficulties which hopefully we have helped them with. Friendship is one of God’s greatest gifts in my opinion.

  4. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All –

    Class struggle comes in and out of focus in our local community. There certainly are those who have a voice and those who do not have a voice. But, here in the western USA there are agencies and groups and congregations who devote themselves to their community, town or county. Where I live and hope to serve, we are currently joining our resources and efforts together with another ministry that serves people who need food at some point – occasionally or monthly.

    This “greater we” goes to (Matt 25:34, 35, 36) for inspiration both from Jesus and from the prophet (Isaiah 58:6, 7). Our motto is “Nobody should go hungry regardless of belief, ethnic origin, gender, language or skin color.” As it turns out, the two food pantries that are about to join together are from very different Christian denominations. Somehow, we are reading these Bible verses – and perhaps other parts of the Bible – in the same spirit, or close enough to agree on providing free food to those who are hungry. We also offer Bible study, advocacy for needs other than food, fellowship and welcome.

    We would have to read the Bible in a totally different way to come up with a motto like “God helps those who help themselves,” or “poverty is a punishment for wrong-doing.” Who is to say whether we are interpreting Scripture “correctly”? We believe what we try to do is pleasing to God. We also thank God we find ourselves in a society that permits this belief and action.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  5. Bill says:

    Good Morning,

    There are many mind traps (judgment words that create an illusion of opposites) in Mart’s post this morning.

    Here are three:

    “Class struggle.”

    “Unfair wages.”

    “Lack of justice.”

    The first two – “class struggle” and “unfair wages” – make my skin crawl. The last (“lack of justice”) is a wholly subjective judgment based on one’s own preconceived ideas regarding how things should be. (Which, as you know, varies from person to person and group to group. That – not the supposed lack – is what causes the conflict.)

    “Class struggle” is an ideology popularized by Karl Marx, picked up by Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Fidel Castro, and – most recently, Barack Obama. It is a phrase that has appeared throughout history…always associated with bloody revolutions and the rise of a government ruling class that oppresses the very people it claimed to liberate. (If you don’t think that’s happening in America today, you aren’t paying attention to the news.)

    In short, “class struggle” is a phrase designed not to help, but to create societal chaos and strife, to pit people against one another, to create the need for government to “fix” what the government says is the problem (and – most likely – caused in the first place). African-American politician Elbert Guillory is quoted as saying, “The King’s solution is always the same: ‘Let us tax the rich!’…and the rich get poorer. The poor get poorer. And the only one that gets rich…is the king. This was the society that our forefathers declared independence from, in 1776.”

    Try as you might, you will not find the phrase “class struggle” in the Bible. You will not find the phrase “income inequality,” either. You WILL find words like “rich” and “poor.”

    That’s because there always has been, and always will be, “rich” and “poor.”

    If God wanted everyone to be the same economically, socially, physically, ethnically, he would have made it so, right? He would simply have created the dreaded automatons people say he would have created without giving us free will. He would have been like McDonald’s – creating “McPeople,” all from the same mold.

    Despite not finding phrases like “class struggle’ in the Bible, Christians – and other social activists (another phrase that makes my skin crawl) – constantly feel the need to make everyone “equal” in those areas…totally ignoring the fact that the Bible never does, Jesus did not, and God did not.

    Equality in the Bible comes from all being equal in Christ – not from all of us having the same amount of money in our bank accounts:

    ** “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Galatians 3:27-29 ESV) **

    The “protests, looting, crime-rates…tensions and conflict…” of which Mart writes do not come from “class struggles” or “unfair wages” or “lack of justice.” They come from our sin nature – our innate desire to be (without Christ) the opposite of the fruits of the spirit. Without Christ, we are prone to want to take, to destroy, to kill, to covet. Such are the sources of “protests, looting, crime-rates…tensions and conflict…”

    Blaming supposed “inequalities” caused by “unfair wages” and “class struggle” is a fool’s errand. Why? Because the solution to such manufactured problems omits Christ as the solution. That’s why Marxism totally cuts religion out of the mix, calling it “the opiate of the masses.”

    Those who seek to “fix” the ills of society do so by declaring the “fix” is the responsibility of government or “activists,” or societal engineers – not Jesus. Not the Bible. Not the Holy Spirit. Not God. And certainly not church.

    This is biggest trap of all, into which many Christians have fallen…with predictable results: more poverty, not less, more oppression, not less, more “protests, looting, crime-rates…tensions and conflict…” – not less.

    If you wish to fix society, become a Marxist. If you wish to fix the human heart, become a Christian.

    The former results in confusion, destruction, and death.

    The latter results in peace, compassion, joy, love, and the only kind of “equality” that matters: unity through the spirit of God in Christ Jesus.

    Of course, take everything I just wrote with a grain of salt. I’m just one guy with one opinion.

    Love to All,

    Bill

  6. remarutho says:

    In the spirit of critique, I would like to see another empty chair at the humble table you present, Mart. The three places to sit mean something to me — and an additional chair might represent divine invitation and welcome. (The photo is stunning as it is.)

    Maru

  7. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Although this post starts with “class struggles”, and I agree completely with Bill’s comments in regards to that, it ends with Mart saying, “… in a way that reflects our own struggle to live in the name and spirit of Christ.”

    That sounds like two very different topics of discussion although I suppose I could tie them together by saying that the anger generated in me by contemplating “class struggles” does reflect my struggle to live in the name and spirit of Christ.

    Lord, help me love my neighbor regardless of their socioeconomic status and/or their political views.

  8. poohpity says:

    I would have a hard time encouraging those that hurt that their only hope is in heaven because they would miss the hope of healing that hurt in the here and now. I know for myself even though everything around me seems horrible, complicated, gloomy and dark if I look at it just for what it is and not considering God in it all it would make me very depressed which is how I feel when my eyes are fixed on the news channels all the time. Or thinking about how divisive our government is when keeping apprised of current events or even making informed decisions about who to give my vote to.

    I feel like what difference can I make but the Lord always encourages me by prompting me to leave everything to Him and just influence the people I come in contact with today. The smile given to a person in the store or the time listening to a person who needs to talk and share their heart or the little I can give to the person on the street corner in Jesus name. I have found when I ask God to show me what random act of kindness I can do today hope wells up inside of me. I do not have to do anything big because even the smallest thing God can use to brightened the day for someone who is hurting.

    The only class struggle I see mostly is in darkness and light, evil and good. I know it seems darkness/evil are winning but not for me when I allow my focus to be on the One who brings hope, peace and comfort in a troubled world.

  9. jeff1 says:

    Bill, thank you for your comments which has given me a better understanding. Christians cannot change others hearts, only God can do that and the person has to realize they need it changed.
    The problem for us Christians is that religions have changed the truth of the Gospel and all have went to their own denomination which is predicted that all would. In our need for acceptance we have stayed in our own comfort zones each believing that we all have the truth but no one has the whole truth which God never intended. We are to walk the walk and support each other and I think that is all we can do. As Poohpity says Christ as went before us and we must focus on him.

  10. belleu says:

    “The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice. And I sought for a man among them who should build up the wall and stand in the breach before me for the land, that I should not destroy it, but I found none. Ezekiel 22:29,30

    I think this verse speaks for itself.

    My sister just returned from Washington State where she was homeless and living out of her van. She said the state is trying to make sure the homeless get no benefits by enacting laws that say you must have a fixed home address before getting a new driver’s license, food stamps, donating plasma or any government assistance.

    Maybe you agree with these laws, but if you are too sick to work and your car is your home – what are you going to do if you can’t get a license? My sister met a woman at the laundrymat whose husband got cancer and they lost everything. She told my sister she didn’t care because she figures the end of the world was coming soon anyway. Most homeless people are either physically or mentally sick.

    So-called “Right to Work” states don’t pay people enough to live on. Why should any person in America have to work more than one job to just subsist? More taxes for the rich? Yes – a lot more. Years ago Elizabeth Taylor paid around 60% taxes and she lived pretty darn good. I think Paul McCartney lives pretty high on 90% taxes.

    “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.” Ezekiel 16:49

  11. joycemb says:

    Yes, I have struggled with class issues, but when I look at Jesus I see no ‘issues’. Jesus is the same to all, no matter what their walk of life or present circumstance.

  12. Bill says:

    @joy, amen.

    @belleu, neither of your quotes from the Bible empowers government to do anything. If the verses have any applicability to us at all, they are for men and women of God who act by the moving of the spirit, as well as obedience to the commandments of the Lord.

    You wrote:

    “Why should any person in America have to work more than one job to just subsist?”

    That’s a noble opinion. But it contains at least one hook: the word “should.” If America worked according to your rules, you could pull that off. Thankfully, America works according to the rule of law (at least it used to). So each person’s “should” is held in check so as to avoid anarchy.

    You wrote:

    “So-called “Right to Work” states don’t pay people enough to live on.”

    According to whom? Data from Right-to-Work states indicate people are doing well. In addition, DON’T we have a right to work without being forced to join a union? Unions are swell if you’re at the top. But it’s no picnic for those at the bottom.

    You wrote:

    “More taxes for the rich? Yes – a lot more. Years ago Elizabeth Taylor paid around 60% taxes and she lived pretty darn good. I think Paul McCartney lives pretty high on 90% taxes.”

    It’s worth noting that you, once again, determined what’s best for others. That level of capriciousness is part and parcel of social activists, Marxists, and the selfish. But it leads to chaos, war, and death. We are not on this earth to play Robin Hood, taking from whomever we think hasn’t paid enough. That’s evil.

    It’s not up to you to determine what a person should pay in taxes, what constitutes “rich,” and what to do with all the loot taken.

    Compassion and love, altruism and beneficence – for the Christian – do not come as laws from without; they are urgings from within. We are answerable to God for what WE do and do not – not for what we can extort from others.

    There are very, very, very sound economic and historical reasons why taking from “the rich ” to give to “the poor” does not work. America was not founded on that principle. Our Constitution was written to PREVENT robbery of that sort.

    If you want to help who you think are “the poor,” do so. Give 90% of your income – because you think that’s fair for others.

    It’s up to you.

    And the still, small voice of God.

    Love to All,

    Bill

  13. poohpity says:

    belleu, I worked as an eligibility worker for the state and I believe you have been wrongly informed about what it takes to get government benefits. It does take a drivers license to drive legally but not to get food stamps there are many homeless that use a PO Boxes and just give a rough estimate where they can be found. Sad someone has so poorly informed you all the way around.

  14. poohpity says:

    Actually one homeless person can get $200 a month in food stamps and with children it goes way up. :-) If one does not have the proper paper work to prove citizenship they will also help get that as well. I know you are in Canada is that where she is from too?

  15. belleu says:

    Pooh- Every state is different when it comes to food stamps. My sister was turned down in Washington for everything because she has no fixed address. My sister is American and also a veteran of the Gulf War. Thank God for the VA who has been giving her excellent medical care and free prescriptions.

  16. joycemb says:

    1 John 2:15-17 NIV Being in the world but not of it has always been a difficult concept for me and many others to grasp. Barkley says that whatever redirects our love away from God is worldly (my paraphrase). So many (myself included) try to decide what is worldly and what is not, i.e. dancing, drinking, playing cards, working on Sunday, even basing political affiliations upon what one thinks Jesus would do in this culture. We get caught up in a love/hate relationship with this world. This seems to take attention away from the the pure and simple love for the Father. Matt. 22:37-40 NIV sums it all up. It’s simple, yet complicated.
    blessings, Joyce

  17. poohpity says:

    belleu, another bit of misinformation food stamps is a federal program and the rules are the same in every state. They will also provide a cell phone with 250 minutes a month. They can not be denied services due to homelessness that is a federal law. I would not have said it if it were not true.

  18. joycemb says:

    Belleu I thank God for how he is providing the help your sister needs through the VA. I had a brother (Christian) who was a vet but struggled with severe MI and addictions. It was that governmental help-along with his Christian wife and the church- that kept him going for several years before he eventually took a bottle of pain killers and ended it all. So thankful for the help he received.

  19. joycemb says:

    Pooh and Belleu I apologize for getting in the middle of your discussion. Often I start writing then 15 min later when I post I find more ahead of me. Hope I’m not confusing others.

  20. poohpity says:

    joyce, you have not gotten in the middle of our discussion what on earth are you apologizing for. Sometimes I wonder if I stepped on your foot if you wouldn’t apologize for it.

  21. joycemb says:

    Pooh, LOL! I might!

  22. poohpity says:

    :-)

  23. belleu says:

    Well, Pooh, I hope you are right about the food stamps. That isn’t what happened to my sister and that is all I know about that.

    Joyce, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. What can I say except that God understands depression and pain? I have attempted suicide myself so I can say I understand a bit of how your brother felt. My sister was suicidal about her pain but the VA finally found something that is helping her.

    I was reading this morning, “For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 I take this to mean all suffering since Christ suffered in everything.

    We all go through much suffering in this world but we also receive comfort in abundance from God. The verses before the one above are all about God’s comfort. I am slowly learning how to view pain and suffering. I’m a very slow learner (64 yrs. old).

  24. joycemb says:

    Yes Belleu that verse also has taught me that no suffering goes to waste! I’m glad your sister has gotten relief from her pain. I am just as slow a learner as you, I also being 64 years young!

  25. belleu says:

    Sorry Bill, I should have answered you. I’ve decided on this topic to just let those two verses I quoted be my stand on the issue. The Bible is chock full of verses telling us to give to the poor and help the needy. God even expected a sinful city like Sodom to help the poor. I think I would just be repeating myself if I kept commenting.

  26. Mart De Haan says:

    Sounds like the tension in some of our comments here have to do with our own experience with the poor we love, and the political policies we either advocate or disagree with.

    I raised the issue after thinking about economically fueled tensions around the world and also while working through the NT letter of James.

    James, as many of us know, addresses the issue of personal conflict among self-identifying followers of Christ, and tracks it down to the way we work through our own natural desires (James 4:1-3). He sees how the heart condition of persons on both sides of the issue contribute to the conflict (James 4:11). Yet, he does not back away from our need to use Christ-centered wisdom (James 1:9-12)(James 3:13-18) as a needed personal answer to the realism of class differences and conflict (James 2:1-4) (James 5:1-7).

  27. SFDBWV says:

    I usually have to comment here, if I am going to, early in the morning as the day wears on and my time and attention are pulled in too many directions.

    Matthew and I had an exhausting day yesterday and so slept in a little late this morning (for us). So I am getting at this later than I prefer, already feeling the pressures of another day.

    I read the thread of comments and had a direction to go then after taking the weather information and posting it to the National Weather Service and returning to BTA I found Mart’s new comments.

    My apologies to you Mart, but reading your post sounded like reading “stereo instructions”. So now I am trying to decide whether to continue with the thread of social conflict or gather a sense of what it is you are saying and then either go have coffee or step into the conversation.

    Let me say that just from my angle the economic tensions I see unfolding in the world are nothing when compared to the religious tensions I see in the news daily.

    Doesn’t it seem odd that the poorest nations in the world seem to have no problem buying guns and ammunition in order to wage war against helpless people who are just as poor as those they murder without any remorse?

    Will also say that the negative socioeconomic situations have a lot of help from alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse, and even laziness to name a few forms of evil.

    Welcome to Fall 2014.

    Steve

  28. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Though you will have moved on into the current of your day, Steve, the observation that the season has changed — at the autumnal equinox — is no small thing. We do struggle to sort out the economic-ideological morass of rhetoric and terror around the world, now with the added urgency of ebola outbreak and Islamic State insanity. True religion is often left behind in the battle, it seems to me.

    Yet, the covenants of God are sure eg (Gen 8:22), and we call upon the Lord with assurance especially when evidence indicates that all goodness has been overcome by evil. Nations do not keep the law of love well, but the discipline the New Covenant is clear. (Romans 12:18. 19, 20, 21)

    As the leaves lose their hold on the trees and swirl in the quickening breeze, each heart must ponder the truth of the Fall. We long to be the wind, but we are the leaves carried by the wind.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  29. kle0307 says:

    I am new to this site at the urging of a friend. After the most difficult time I’ve had (the last 4 yrs)and the loss of a home, vehicle and 2 horses in that time…. I can honestly say that things are definitely improving. I have reconnected with a friend that has been a great help and inspiration.

    There have been posts about state help for the people living in poverty….
    in my state, if you have no dependent children you are ineligible to receive help. I received a lot of help from a food pantry here and an organization that helped with prescriptions. Being so grateful for that help! I finally obtained a position that has brought me out of a lot of the issues. The depression I was feeling turned out was situational depression. Now I am back on track and feeling so much better about things.
    I finally realized that God gives you what you can handle is the truth. I am so grateful he did not give up on me the way I had given up on myself. There was no government help in the very early years and I needed to figure out how to get through poverty with his help, recommitting to life and my marriage.
    During this time, I had stopped going to the church I had been going to for years and not one person called me to see how I was or what was going on. The help I thought I might get did not come. So I reached out for help from a counselor and a daily devotional for spiritual growth and peace that I finally realized that I deserved. It is a daily struggle at times but God has always been there and now I am into life again.

  30. kle0307 says:

    I guess what I am saying is that in my situation I was able to improve things for my self with God’s help.
    Married 30 years I have been on a lifestyle change to be come healthy for myself and my husband has also become part of that journey. Figuring out that I deserved the good things, and with God’s help, I could do the work to improve my own situation.
    I am a helping person and am always there for others. Now, I am there for myself and do what I can for others, knowing that I cannot help everyone and also not expecting anyone else or any organization to help me. The key word here is not EXPECTING the help but grateful if it comes. I needed to become willing to help myself before I could be grateful if any help came. The help I received turned out to be reconnecting to a friend from my teenage years that is there for me, accepts me for me and is there with all of the encouragement that I need to keep pushing forward. What is that old saying,God helps those that helps themselves. How empowering and inspiring that is.

  31. joycemb says:

    Welcome, kle0307 and thanks for sharing about how God has helped you, even when you didn’t think you deserved it. That sister is what grace is all about! I am so glad He has empowered you to keep on keeping on. I too have found help with my spiritual walk with 1 close friend and daily devotionals along with this blog and online prayer groups.
    Blessings, Joyce

  32. poohpity says:

    God helps those of us who are unable to help ourselves. In our weaknesses He is our strength and our hope.

    Steve, it completely baffles me that someone would apologize for what they are going to say that would cause hurt and yet continues to say it. If one realizes it is something that needs an apology then it would then follow that maybe it is something that needs not to be said. Of course unless one has ears to hear the Words of the Lord which is what Mart was quoting then maybe it would be the Lord you would go to for understanding. Tell the Lord His Words are like stereo instructions to you, He understands and He will open your mind and heart to learn.

  33. poohpity says:

    One morning as I sat on my back patio with no food in my house I cried out to the Lord. I did not know how He was going to supply that need since I was sick and could do nothing to go anywhere to a food bank or anywhere else. After I came in it wasn’t even five minutes later and a neighbor knocked on my door. He had just came back from a store that was going to throw away items that were a little damaged, fruit and vegetables that were near expiration asking if I could use anything. I just started crying and praising God for the provisions. I shared with him my prayer and how God used him to answer it.

    That has been how my life is when I depended on God, He has supplied. If we depend on ourselves He will allow us to believe it is all us but trust me when I say everything, everything we have comes from the hand of God not matter if you think it is all you.

  34. belleu says:

    I really appreciate you coming here kle and your comments. I do believe God allows many, many people to lose everything so they will come to him. My sister has made a good friend who is also homeless. She has brought her to Christ. She has met many other believers who are homeless. God uses adversity to save us and I know it.

    However, that fact does not let the nations or people off the hook. The Lord says we will be judged by how we have treated people – Matthew 25:36. Most of the nations of the world treat their people horribly. They will one day pay for what they have done.

    I don’t think Steve said anything hurtful or wrong. He just needs time to think. I’m going to read the book of James today to get back into the conversation.

    remarutho- I like what you said about the discipline of the New Covenant. It is very clear how we should act towards our fellow man.

  35. joycemb says:

    James 5:1 catches my attention, it seems to be a call for repentance to those who are rich but deny help to the poor. James 5:7 instructs believers to be patient and wait for the coming of the Lord.

    I see nothing in there as far as complaining about, criticizing or trying to change those with wealth. Trusting in God seems to be the bottom line call of our walk of faith, with Jesus given as our example of humility.

  36. bubbles says:

    I’m not certain that laziness is the cause of some situations. Sometimes the only jobs available are low paying jobs that do not make ends meet. Sometimes I wonder if people aren’t sure how to get out of a life situation, especially when it’s the only situation they have ever known; perhaps they need assistance in many ways and they don’t know how or even know there is help out there. Just some thoughts and observations; I am probably wrong.

  37. belleu says:

    To those who wish to be rich James writes about envy and selfish ambition. James 3:16. In James 4 he talks about coveting. These are the temptations for the poor or those who are middle class. I guess the people he was writing to had a problem with this. I find that to be very sad.

    Paul said, “But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”
    1 Timothy 6:9

    Just desiring to be rich is something we must avoid. I’ve seen this in a lot of Christians because they say they want to help people, and I believe them, but it is still wrong.

    Chapter 5 talks about hoarding, living in luxury and self-indulgence. These are the temptations of the rich. Jesus warned us against these things. His most famous word on the rich was how hard it was for them to be saved. On that word alone we should never desire to be rich.

    I have often desired to be rich to help my family but God has shown me this was very wrong. I try never to think about money any more.

    Class warfare takes place when the poor feel oppressed by or envy the rich. Hatred of rich people came to the fore when the market crashed and people lost their savings and retirement funds. Meanwhile the rich gave themselves bonuses and raises in salary and celebrated the bail-outs.

    In Iceland, the government arrested and tried the bankers and gave money to all the ordinary citizens. Their economy, which was ruined, bounced back. The bankers went to jail. To me, that was the best way to react to the market crash and bank failures.

  38. Bill says:

    Good Evening,

    Belleu, you wrote:

    “I try never to think about money any more.”

    I find that hard to believe given what you’ve been writing in this thread. You seem to think about money a great deal, mostly about how to take it from those who have it.

    You wrote:

    “Class warfare takes place when the poor feel oppressed by or envy the rich.”

    That statement is only partially correct. Plus, it’s worth noting that envy is akin to coveting, which we all know is a sin. No coveting = no envy = no class warfare. Problem solved.

    I believe the flames of class warfare are fanned by government and the media, both of which greatly benefit from ginning up class warfare.

    All you need do to prove that is look at countries in which “class warfare” became a rallying cry – France in the late 1700s. Russia in the early 1900s. China in the mid 1900s. North Korea. Cuba. North Korea. And now America.

    Revolution, civil unrest, rioting, looting…and an ever-growing government that oppresses “the poor.” All spring from the rallying cry of “class warfare.” Marxism always pretends to arise from the people. But it actually starts at the top, from the governing class.

    People who do not care if others have more money do not feel or experience class warfare. People who refuse to be incited to unrest and violence do not succumb to class warfare. Those who are happy with who and what they are do not need the money of others to make them happy.

    Christians, for example.

    We have all the riches we need in Christ Jesus. We have no need to take “the rich” down a few pegs until they’re at our level before we are content with our lives.

    You wrote:

    “Hatred of rich people came to the fore when the market crashed and people lost their savings and retirement funds. Meanwhile the rich gave themselves bonuses and raises in salary and celebrated the bail-outs.”

    Hatred of “rich people” came from government and the media fanning the flames of hatred for “rich people.”

    Why did government and the media blame “the rich”? To divert attention from themselves.

    Take the housing bubble, for example.

    It wasn’t caused by “the rich” or “the greedy.” It was caused by the government imposing regulations on banks to lend money (so-called sub-prime mortgages) to people the bankers knew could not pay it back. When they didn’t, the housing market crashed.

    The scandal involved Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Countrywide Financial. And, in the aftermath, it was discovered that members of Congress (Sen. Chris Dodd, for example) had benefited from sweet mortgage deals.

    The scandal could have taken down members of Congress from both chambers. That’s why I think government enlisted the help of the media to divert everyone’s attention from what happened. To do that, a scapegoat was needed. Thankfully, one existed: “the rich.”

    People are greedy and envious by nature. So it didn’t take much convincing to get people to believe “the rich” caused the collapses. The whole bogus “Occupy Wall Street” movement was orchestrated by government and the media to keep people misinformed and jousting at windmills.

    Of course, there are always Bernie Madoffs who bilk people. There always has been. There always will be. But I’d rather be bilked by Bernie Madoff than our own government, which is the real source of our economic woes in this country. It’s Economics 101. Excessive borrowing and taxing and spending – and the printing of money out of thin air – causes the problems (especially high unemployment and inflation). Government, not “the rich,” are responsible for the problems you cite.

    You wrote:

    “In Iceland, the government arrested and tried the bankers and gave money to all the ordinary citizens. Their economy, which was ruined, bounced back. The bankers went to jail. To me, that was the best way to react to the market crash and bank failures.”

    Thankfully, we don’t live in Iceland.

    Here in America, we have laws against government seizing private property. We have freedom and liberty. Unfortunately, that means our government can do what all of us regular folks might think is stupid – like hire former members of Wall Street to fill out the administration. The $64,000 question: If Wall Street was really so awful, why would there be so many ex-members of Wall Street in the administration?

    You seem angry and vindictive about “the rich,” not to mention cavalier with other people’s property, especially their money, which you don’t believe they deserve.

    The verses you cited do not preclude people from being rich. They speak to people’s DESIRE to become rich. In short, this harkens to the most misquoted verse in the Bible. It’s not “money is the root of all evil.” It’s “The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.” So if people DESIRE money out love for money itself, they are seeking it for the wrong reason, and calamity will likely follow.

    But just being rich isn’t a sin. It is not wrong. Nor is being poor. That’s not wrong, either. People do not sin or not sin based on their possessions. They sin or not sin based on their ACTIONS.

    Class warfare is the sin because it is fueled by coveting, greedy, envy, anger, and the inability for people to NOT see everyone as equal.

    I am probably considered to be among “the poor.” Yet, I know I am equal to any member of “the rich” you care to put before me. In God’s eyes, there is no difference between us. If I make a difference between us, then it is I who am committing the sin – not “the rich” person and his/her money.

    Bill

  39. Bill says:

    kle0307, welcome!

    We’ve probably all been there. We’ve all lost something, sometimes everything. I’ve been laid off several times. In fact, my wife and I were both laid off AT THE SAME TIME from where we worked – a month to the day after we were married. And on Valentine’s Day to boot!

    In other words, we were newlyweds, both suddenly unemployed. With no warning. And no job prospects.

    We panicked for awhile. Then we dug in and got to work finding work.

    Thankfully, that was 11 years ago. The economy wasn’t as bad then as it is now. If that happened to us today, we’d probably be out of work for the rest of our lives.

    That’s the thing about life – it can change instantly. There are no guarantees.

    God doesn’t promise us riches or scarcity, plenty or a lack, adversity or peace. He promises us that whatever we go through, whether we call it good or bad, that he is there with us. It doesn’t do any good to try to figure out who caused whatever befalls us. That’s not relevant. It’s fruitless and pointless.

    All that matters is that we know we are not alone. God walks with us, every step of the way, though every step brings pain and uncertainty.

    Please keep coming back here to connect with us. We’d love to get to know you better, and learn from you as God works in your life.

    Bill

  40. remarutho says:

    Morning All –

    So glad you stopped by, kle. Hope you find a spiritual home here – as those challenges and trials you share are overcome by your and your husband’s faith and trust in Jesus. Your story is so inspiring!

    Mart, you wrote:

    “In the middle of such tensions and conflict, one of the most common criticisms of the Bible is that it has been used to silence those who see a lack of justice in the way religious or governmental groups disregard the condition of the poor by affirming the God-given authority of home, church, and state—while encouraging those who hurt to wait for heaven.”

    Mercy! When you come across such a twisted use of scripture, flee for your life! It seems to me that the ground-swell march to New York yesterday for the UN climate conference is one example of people acting on the belief that government groups and big money must take up the cause of those poor coastal and island nations that will be most impacted by glacier melt and extreme weather. Note that some faith-based groups are joining the movement, traveling from as far away as Rome to take part. The entire march (estimated over ½ million people) is made up of many social action, school, university, environmental, religious and business groups.

    It seems to me that Bible-believing people are no longer duped by the tired old defense by power brokers of some “divine right” to disregard the condition of the poor. Peoples’ opinion is being reshaped – and the authority of massive bastions of economic and political power is being hammered, if only by big business’ fear for its public image. Social media is emerging as a means of rallying all manner of people-movements.

    Is it really “class struggle” for people of conscience to take to the streets to speak out?

    Yours,
    Maru

  41. SFDBWV says:

    Well it looks as though we are back to the September 20th thread of comments on this subject.

    Interesting to me that when I was a young boy, just because my mother, a telephone operator, and my father, a city bus driver, worked to provide a place to live and food enough for their family they were *accused* by another for being *rich*.

    I remember how upset that made my dad; a man who used to bring home men who had nowhere else to go but ride the bus all night and get my mother up to fix them something to eat. He would let them sleep on the porch under blankets and they would always be gone in the morning.

    My parents were children of the depression, grew up in the timber and coal fields of West Virginia and forged a better life for themselves and for their children.

    My father lived with his mother and grandparents as he grew up; because they had a milk cow others thought them to be rich also. Of course having that cow meant his grandfather had to broker a deal to grow feed on someone’s unused land, as well as harvest it. They kept chickens, pigs and grew a garden all in order to survive.

    Their house was *marked* by hobos as a place to get a square deal and a meal. Hobos never begged for food, always worked for it.

    Life will always be a struggle; it is how we deal with that struggle that separates us.

    There is a lost set of rules that I bring to the conversation.

    “The Seven Deadly Sins”
    Lust
    Gluttony
    Greed
    Sloth
    Wrath
    Envy
    Pride

    Interesting that the only two times the word infidel is used in scripture is to ascribe it to a man who won’t provide for his own family (1 Timothy 5:8) and to warn those not to join with unbelievers (2 Corinthians 6:15).

    Look all you want, there is no Biblical validation to rioting and looting.

    What spirit lay behind looting, rioting, or desiring what others have?

    What spirit lay behind “class struggle”?

    A lot more to talk about here, and I will have more to say as the balance of the subject lay in the heart of the accuser and the healer.

    Steve

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Let me ask where do any of you place your trust? Is it in Jesus or in your government?

    Now let me ask where does your government place its trust? In its people or in God?

    In the beginning Adam was taken care of by God, but because of his unbelief, he, and now we have to scratch out a living from an accursed ground all our days just in order to survive.

    However God being full of grace and mercy still takes care of us if we just *believe*, the only difference is that it has to be done through this journey we all are on in a fallen and cursed world.

    The journey has a lot of names as well as experiences and lessons to be lived on our way back to God.

    Are any of you familiar with Andrew Carnegie? If not look him up.

    There are other men I could give as example, but Mr. Carnegie is a good example.

    Without such men, there are no work for the masses, without work for the masses there is no economy. Without an economy there is chaos, unbridled poverty, death, war and worse.

    Should we blame Mr. Carnegie for being rich or thank him for helping to provide a working economy for the masses?

    I once worked indirectly for such a man, Armand Hammer, and upon his death the working world I was privileged to enjoy died with him.

    God is not a genie in a bottle, He uses people to exact His will as well as exact His blessings upon His believers. When His believers are blessed and their cup runs over, even unbelievers are blessed as a result.

    But a person whose cup is empty, should not blame one whose is full, rather they should investigate why theirs is empty and why another’s runs over, perhaps finding God in the formula.

    What spirit works against God’s desire to bless us?

    Look and you will see why there is a “class struggle”.

    Steve

  43. Bill says:

    Good Morning All,

    Thank you for chiming in, Steve. I always appreciate your posts.

    Your point is unassailable.

    Here in Grand Rapids, if it were not for “the rich” like Fred Meijer (the Meijer grocery/clothing store chain throughout the Midwest), Peter Wege (Steelcase), Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel (Amway), and others there would not BE a Grand Rapids.

    These “rich” folks employ thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – pay them well, and give millions to charity, as well as to new buildings and industries.

    Even at that, there are some – some right here, I’ll wager a guess – who say “the rich” have too much money and it should be taken from them. Maybe up to, oh, 90% of their wealth, for example.

    Doing that would absolutely devastate the economy – and put those same tens or hundreds of thousands out of work, in the unemployment lines.

    The only class warfare that exists in the world exists in the minds of those who covet what others have.

    So, to speak to the second part of Mart’s blog, our struggle as Christians is often against our own who use politics as a weapon to do that of which God would not approve. When politics trumps the word of God, as well as the spirit of God, we have struggles. And divisions.

    The way to fix so-called “income inequality” is really quite simple:

    1. Don’t make “income inequality” a problem. It is neither good nor bad. It just is. And it will always be. Even in Communist countries where the rallying cry of “class struggle” and “the rich” is at a fever pitch, there are still “rich” and “poor.” Only “the rich” are those in government (surprise!) who suddenly found themselves in total control of everyone and everything.

    2. Give from what you have to others. The widow’s mite is a tearful story because it’s about a woman who had virtually nothing, but gave it anyway. If each of us gives what we can – even if it’s almost nothing – to others, we will be blessed. Others will be blessed. It is godly.

    3. Practice love and compassion. Daily. If you’re fortunate enough to be among “the rich,” let God work in your heart. See what happens. If you’re fortunate enough to be among “the poor,” let God work in your heart. See what happens.

    If people require the destruction of “the rich” and the tearing down of “evil corporations” to be happy, they will never be happy. Such people would not be happy in heaven.

    We can all be happy and content and overflowing with love RIGHT NOW – even if we have nothing.

    So, do you want to totally wipe out “class struggle” now and forever more?

    Then do so – right this second. Don’t make it an issue. Don’t let government and the media whip you into a frenzy about “inequalities” (another mind-trap word). Don’t covet. Practicing giving, rather than taking.

    You’d be surprised how quickly happiness and joy overtakes you – and all thoughts of taking from others evaporates.

    Bill

  44. remarutho says:

    Morning All –

    E Stanley Jones’ entry for today in “Growing Spiritually” references a great Bible story of people of faith versus the power of the state:

    “But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. When the jailer awoke and saw the prison doors opened, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. But Paul cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Do not harm yourself, for we are all here!’ And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’”

    Jones’ empowering word for today (Monday of the 38th week of the year) is “There is no prison for the Word of God.” We are free to allow all situations and circumstances to lift us to God by the excellent promises made and kept in Jesus. Paul and Silas belonged to the “class” of Christian rabble-rousers, but the outcome was strengthened character, greater resolve – and growth in the community of faith, when the jailer was baptized and entered the Truth.

    Maru

  45. poohpity says:

    James seems to be a book to help us look inward at what we say we believe and what we actually show by how we live our lives. A book of self discovery about anger, jealousy, causing divisions, lack of faith, lack of mercy, gossip, strife, rivalry, criticism, fault finding, bragging/boasting and those things are a pretty good measure of who has control over our lives. Trusting in ourselves or in God with the results of Gal 5:22-23 NLT.

    James seems to use comparisons of a heart that has been given over to the Lord by doing what one says they believe. In rereading James I can see the areas that God is still working on in me and seeing those areas it becomes very difficult for me not to desire the Lord’s mercy. The more I submit to His leading some other things just do not seem very important. I feel less likely to bash someone over the head with scriptures when I know there are so many areas I have yet to turn over to God.

    If our faith leads us to do the things James speaks of what a joy to be around peacemakers rather than troublemakers. Those who throw gas on fires or those who put them out. No one can be what they do not possess.

  46. jeff1 says:

    I don’t know if you remember or not but a few years back there was a lot of politicians in UK found to be frauding their expenses. If they had not been found out by the media I doubt if the public would have known about it. How can we trust Government when we have learned what they are up to behind our backs. Unfortunately like everything in this world there is corruption everywhere. Also peoples perception of corruption is different I know people who would say that it is right to fiddle the system if you can get away with it while I was not brought up that it was not right. Steve you are right we need rich people to provide work for the masses. My father however when he was working for Social Services said that a lot of the rich were paying their workers little and encouraging them to stay on benefits so as they could pay them less.
    I agree also we cannot tax the rich excessively for they would just leave the country but from what I have read it is very easy for them to avoid paying their taxes which should not be. I think that is why the working man/middleman feels the system is against him i.e. the rich can find a loophole to get away from paying their dues and at the other end people on benefits can also fiddle the system so the middle man is the one who cannot. In the UK the tory party is seen as representing the rich man while the labour supposingly to be for the working man is in reality representing the man on benefits.

  47. belleu says:

    Well Bill, I like to think of my anger and vindictiveness as “righteous indignation” against the “den of thieves” in this world. But you are entitled to your opinion. I don’t mind. I guess what I think should happen in the U.S. is a pie in the sky. I know it will never happen. No one need worry about that.

    Do you remember when Warren Buffet told us his secretary was paying more taxes than him? And without unions we wouldn’t have safety in the workplace or a just wage. I could look up facts online til I’m blue in the face and it would never convince one person to change their mind. I don’t feel like doing that. Too much work.

    But, I will tell everyone that I do appreciate hearing their points of view.

  48. poohpity says:

    The governments are made up of imperfect people like us so they make many mistakes and are surrounded by many temptations more than we can ever imagine. I feel I need to do what I can do that God has given me like voting and leave the outcome to Him. God has a plan and no one can change that plan even though we would like to give our opinions on how we want them to do their jobs with the limited facts we have at hand mainly we do not have a clue of all that entails but we can pray for them and the great responsibility they have been given. We do not have to feed into the divisions, differences or demonetization of others that disagree. We can rise above all that.

  49. jeff1 says:

    There is contradiction in what you are saying here for as imperfect people how can we rise above all that. We are part of the system whether we like it or not and as part of it we hold beliefs and opinions which we interact to others in society. Its passing the buck to say we can rise above it. In heaven we shall rise but not before our walk with mankind. Salvation is ours because of what Christ suffered on the Cross but we do not know what heaven is like or if we will suffer for mistakes in this life.

  50. Mart De Haan says:

    Before moving on, here’s something I wish we could do some more thinking about.

    In the New Testament letter of James, the author describes what happens to rich and poor when they are captured by the wisdom that comes from God. (James 1:9-10).

    As I read this short statement, neither is told what to do. Neither is given an ideological answer for which to vote, fight, or argue.

    Instead both (rich and poor) are simply represented (by implication) as real people of faith and followers of Christ… who cease being a threat to one another… while being freed to relate to one another as friends and family.

    Help me see what I’m oversimplifying or missing.

  51. poohpity says:

    jeff, we rise above by not feeding into divisions, differences and demonetization rather we are peacemakers and finding things that unite rather than divide. We are after all children of the King. Our hearts are for our Lord not our political party or a certain class or anything else that usually is what leads into what comes out of mouths from our hearts. That keeps our mouths from giving opinions that may hurt or demean another rather than building them up and encouraging them or treating other the same way we want to be treated.

  52. saled says:

    I read a critique the other day about the new Ken Burns series on the Roosevelts that is currently being shown on PBS. The author of the column said that he came away from previewing the documentary questioning what is the difference between the wealthy today and the wealthy of Theodore, Franklin, and Elinor’s time. Back then, the wealthy who were in power somehow managed to truly care about the lives of those less powerful and wealthy, and were able to make changes in the government to better the lives of the common people. I’ve told the story here before about my very Republican grandmother and how she loved FDR. I grew up thinking Franklin Roosevelt must be Republican. Maybe the Roosevelts were capable of that humility that is mentioned in James 1:10

  53. joycemb says:

    Mart you said: Instead both (rich and poor) are simply represented (by implication) as real people of faith and followers of Christ… who cease being a threat to one another… while being freed to relate to one another as friends and family.
    I so wish this were the case, but I do not see it, at least in the churches I have been in. I see believers with wealth-nice clothes, homes, auto’s and I feel like there is something wrong with me that I could never afford to socialize with ‘those’ people, for one I couldn’t even afford the tip at the restaurants they go to. And forget about having the latest style for every changing season. How are we to feel free to relate to those brothers and sisters in the Lord who live so differently? I know this should not be, but I don’t think I am alone. I know envy is wrong, I know I am just as perfect in God’s eyes as the next repentant sinner, but especially when you hear about the extravagant salaries/lifestyles of even some preachers I wonder, where’s the equality? Do I need to change my thinking? Should I let-go of the blaring differences I see and be content bringing a meal to my neighbor in need, or a ride to the clinic in my older car? When we are in church, yes, we are all equal, but certainly not so outside the doors, it seems. I know this is highly judgemental and it makes me feel sick – shameful even putting the words down here. I am sick for what I bring to the table, and for how I know the problem has enough blame to go around.

    However, I do trust in the grace of God to begin to change me to James’ ideal of just how we should all, rich and poor, get along in this vast and diversified body of Christ.

    Thanks Mart. Good post.
    blessings, Joyce

  54. Bill says:

    Wonderful post, Joyce. Thank you.

    Some people aren’t aware of their envy or judgmentalism. You are. That’s good!

    Nobody – least of all God – promises equality the way you mean it.

    But whatdoes it matter if others wear Rolexes, drive Bimmers, live in a 20,000-square-foot house, and eat filet mignon every night? Look at Robin Williams. He had what to us appeared to be it all. Yet, he took his own life.

    There is no one on the planet who can be a better Joyce. You are it. Compare yourself to no one.

    Bill

  55. remarutho says:

    Afternoon All –

    James’ letter to the “twelve tribes” is very short. It seems to me he wrote a circular message meant to be passed on to other congregations “abroad.” The days in which James ministered among Jesus-followers were days of trouble, property confiscation, imprisonment and death for dissidents who found themselves crosswise with the Roman authorities. Even poor people in the 21st c. do not face such challenges for the most part in so-called 1st world nations. These things are happening in the 2/3 world every day.

    The verses preceding the passage you cite, Mart, (esp. James 1:2, 3, 4, 5) outline a worldview that is radical on account of the Master, Jesus Christ. The poor member of the fellowship glorying in his/her high position – and the rich member glorying in a low position can only be so when Jesus-followers have encountered various trials – been given endurance – and made “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Then, persons from “every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues” fellowship in Christ, who is in God. James surely meant for Jesus-followers to ultimately discount their worldly circumstances and to care for one another in everything. The reward is “the crown of life” (James 1:12)

    Could it be we have not yet lost enough wealth, property or prestige to receive the wisdom from above, which is “pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering and without hypocrisy?”

    Blessings,
    Maru

  56. cbrown says:

    Corrie Ten Boom
    “I have held many things in my hands,” Corrie once said, “and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God’s hands, that, I still possess.”
    -Corrie t…

  57. poohpity says:

    There are mean/kind rich people and there are mean/kind poor people. What a person has does not make them who they are. Nothing on the outside creates what is on the inside. It is where and in whom a person places their faith and trust. The things we can touch soon will pass away. Some of the stuff we once felt was so important soon losses it’s appeal in the greater scheme of things. We will all stand naked before God with nothing but ourselves, some without Christ standing with them, some with Him standing next to them.

  58. joycemb says:

    Maru you said,
    Could it be we have not yet lost enough wealth, property or prestige to receive the wisdom from above, which is “pure, peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering and without hypocrisy?”

    I for one never had much wealth, property or prestige to lose. I have been homeless for a time, severely mentally ill, and abused in and out of the church. Yet in my low regard I have given away my furniture/furnishings many times to someone more needy than I. Not to boast, but as I talked about earlier, I was convicted of my envy/discomfort around those who haven’t had my struggles.

    God is the great equalizer for sure. He makes all things new in His time. 64 and still learning! Bless God.

  59. poohpity says:

    sal, I watched that program it is very good and gives some insight in how our government has gotten so very, very big and involved in every area of our lives.

  60. belleu says:

    I will admit that I have felt hurt by what some have said here. I do not envy or hate the rich because they are rich as far as I know. Since I’m a pretty big sinner, that may be true about me though. I hate what the evil rich have done to others and that is all. I ask God daily to make me love everyone – even Republican politicians because those are the hardest people for me to love.

  61. remarutho says:

    Hi Joyce —

    I also have given away refrigerators, couches, mattresses, clothes, appliances, food, money…and so on. Have also been stolen from, abandoned, cheated and lied to. It seems to me we all have. Could be wrong about that. All that stuff is the way of the world.

    Somehow, I feel James is writing his letter to the churches to teach us how to see through the things of the world — all the way through to the things of the kingdom of Christ. Wealth and poverty mean little at the core of our being. God created us in God’s image — and we will finally look more and more like Jesus as we follow him. The Apostle Paul puts it well when he speaks of all he has lost:

    “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ…” (Philippians 3:8)

    James seems to give us a class-comparison of people who are launched out of wherever they have been into the love of Jesus — his love for us — and our love for one another in him:
    “But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.”

    Maru

  62. joycemb says:

    “But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position; and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.”

    And this is my struggle, but I keep on struggling. I know I am too easily distracted by the world and my emotions. I don’t think I am alone. I do appreciate those who have this under control and are patient enough to encourage those of us who don’t. Thanks Maru and Bill. I so appreciate you both.

  63. poohpity says:

    I do not know about others but I really dislike it when people say horrible things about themselves(self abasement). Created in God’s image yet so abusive to the person in the mirror. If you do that to yourselves then you will allow others to do it to you too. Then there is also the possibility of doing it to others as well.

  64. poohpity says:

    You are of much value and worth to the Lord. Look at yourself through His eyes. He loves you so very, very much.

  65. joycemb says:

    The Holy Spirit just told me that conviction of sin leads to Christlikeness. I am greatly encouraged.

  66. cbrown says:

    Mathew5:3 “[b]Blessed are the [c]poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

    5 “Blessed are the [d]gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.

    6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

    7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

    9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

    10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

  67. joycemb says:

    Jesus sermon says when the weak, sensitive, peace makers are persecuted by the world they are blessed by God. I am blessed to be a part of his kingdom and have reason to rejoice as my reward is coming…. It’s been a tough day, but all is well. Thank you also Chris for pointing me to our Hope.

  68. poohpity says:

    Being poor in spirit (humble) is not: humiliation. It’s not putting yourself down, believing you’re less deserving than everyone else, or letting others treat you poorly. You’re more likely to have humility if you practice healthy doses of open-mindedness, willingness, and self-honesty.

  69. belleu says:

    Well, being a Progressive among a sea of Conservatives is a risky business. My sister told me a story tonight I thought was worth sharing.

    My sister and her best friend were sitting together at the park when another friend came up to them and said, “Obama is a Muslim and was not born in the United States, and that’s a fact!” Then he turned and walked away.

    My sister turned to her friend, who has a terminal illness and is homeless, and said, “Just so you know, Obama is a Christian and was born in Hawaii.” Her friend looked at her and said, “I don’t give a —-.” My sis laughed pretty hard.
    I guess her friend has a good idea there.

  70. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Bellue!
    james talks to the poor and to the rich in his book: To the poor he says: rejoice in your high state! James 1:9-10
    But overall, James is talking very sternly to the rich!
    In first instance that they should give fair wages.
    But that wealth is but a breath, and soon gone, even our own life is soon gone, and nothing of what we have on earth can we take with us to heaven. What does God want us to do with our wealth, that what we do not need for a living now, but the extra’s? Shall we buy a bigger car, or a bigger house?
    Last week a poor person asked me for a loan. I gave that what was needed for the month. But now he asks for more. It turns out that he has huge debts.

    I have helped another person a few years ago. It was an great amount, but God gave me the exact amount back to me, in mysterious ways, So I gather God’s hand was in it.
    But did he change his ways? He hasnow even greater debts, ten times the amount that he was missing then. God gave me help in miraculous ways, even though. Some people cannot handle money, they do not save up money for the unexpected bills. The unexpected bills make them go into debt.
    Should I help, or not?
    I have said to God: I have given my life ot You, so also walking this path I want to walk with You, You show me the way.
    God helps us out in our shortcomings, we are poor in being patient, in being persevering, in being merciful, And every time when we ask Him again, He gives it to us, again and agian, we fall short, and He fills it up. In spiritual things speaking.
    When we say: poor people are taking advantage of us, and we do not help out. I am curious what God is saying about this. If am I scrutinizing the person, I do not think it has Gods blessing
    I know for sure that God likes it when we give, He blesses us greatly, as He did to me when I helped that person out, and it gave me a great joy, a joy that is from heaven.

  71. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed has reminded me of a lesson I learned in life concerning “loaning”.

    “Neither a lender or a borrower be.”

    For a short while my first wife and I tried our hand at operating a small convenience store. It turns out there is little or no convenience in doing so.

    People immediately ask for credit, feeling as though we needed to help such people we set up credit accounts, but what we learned is that very few people actually paid their bill unless we either cut off credit or took them to court in order to collect.

    The very people who ask for help, quickly resented us because they owed us money, and as soon as they ran up a tab, went to other businesses avoiding ours.

    “Neither a lender or a borrower be.”

    What I have learned about loaning things is to consider it a gift not a loan and not to expect any kind of repayment. In that way for my part there is no hard feelings when there is no attempt to make restitution.

    On the flip side, when I have had to borrow money, such as car loans or the like from a bank I have always paid back the loans as quickly as possible adding to the agreed upon monthly amount so as to get out from under debt altogether as quickly as possible.

    Just a quick Tuesday morning thought as I read the thread of yesterday’s comments.

    Steve

  72. SFDBWV says:

    Reading Mart’s September 22, 1:34pm comment, I am prodded to both try and help Mart as he has ask as well as try and understand what it is he is trying to express.

    First let me say that the verse in James 1:9-10, death is the great equalizer. No one in the cemetery is rich or poor, but all are equally dead.

    Let me just share this small piece of my prayer life with all of you. Each morning as I face the new day and have my private prayers with God, one of the things I ask for from Him is contentment.

    I ask for Matt, Glenna and I to be content and happy with the day. Because contentment brings peace no matter what the circumstances.

    Steve

  73. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Mart, you ask friends here to think more about the class struggle inside the church, if I understand. You wrote:

    “Instead both (rich and poor) are simply represented (by implication) as real people of faith and followers of Christ… who cease being a threat to one another… while being freed to relate to one another as friends and family.”

    The end of threat and the beginning of freedom to be friends and family is simple — and beautiful as James presents it. But, it is not easy to lay aside the economic/power struggle of the market-place. May growing faith in Jesus give both rich and poor a break-through in trusting one another. Times of real crisis have brought the faith community closer — then, as crisis eases, we seem to take up our old worldly ways again.

    It may be that greater faith will give us all greater courage…so much that mutual trust will continue…

    Blessings,
    Maru

  74. Mart De Haan says:

    Yes James 1:9-10 alludes to death as a great equalizer. But doesn’t he also indicate that life in Christ (received and lived now) begins to change the hearts of both rich and poor so that they can care (rather than fearing or hating) one another– in the presence of our God.

    The call of Christ comes to all of us– one at a time, where we are, with whatever opportunity and willingness to love we’ve been given.

    Class warfare is the problem– not the solution.

    Now, we struggle to even see past the problem, finding it to be so easy to excuse our own failures, and distracted by the wrongs of some and all.

  75. SFDBWV says:

    Yes Mart once either a wealthy person or a poor person come to be believers in Jesus as their Savior they are then equal in their belief.

    However one is still wealthy while the other poor.

    There is only a class struggle when the poor resent the wealthy for their wealth. There is no struggle for the wealthy to look upon a poor person and be envious that they are poor.

    What is it then that each person brings to their faith?

    Is it hope from the poor that they may have more than enough? Is it a responsibility for the wealthy to aid and help the poor so that their suffering is eased?

    Both will remain unequal in earthly wealth, yet both are equally forgiven their sins before God.

    Steve

  76. Bill says:

    Mart,

    You wrote (September 23, 2014 at 8:06 am):

    “Class warfare is the problem – not the solution.”

    Exactly.

    Haven’t I been posting that all along? :)

    We make our own problems in life by allowing ourselves to covet, to be greedy, to want, crave, desire – to see others (in this case, “the rich”) as the problem…when in reality WE are the problem. We are always our own worst enemy.

    This moment, this one moment, is all we have. We have none before. We are guaranteed none after. In THIS moment contains all the life, joy, beauty, hope, and love possible.

    How would you rather spend your moment – hating “the rich” and seeking to take their property from them? Or loving “the rich” (and everyone else, for that matter) and seeking to make each moment of your life meaningful – to yourself and others?

    I know what my choice is.

    Bill

  77. jeff1 says:

    That makes you a very mature Christian Bill, I cannot say I always resist these desires and you are right I feel I am my own worst enemy. That’s part of the problem for believers is how do we convince non believers when we struggle and they see us struggling ourselves. It won’t be the first time I have been told I am a hypocrite because someone has pointed out to me I am not behaving in a Christian manner. If I am honest I find it difficult to correct others when I struggle so much myself. Its one thing knowing what’s right but its a different thing doing it especially in society today which has moved very much away from God. I often feel I take one step forward and two steps back.

  78. joycemb says:

    Good morning all,

    Jeff, I couldn’t agree with you more. Also I think the struggle helps to bring our focus back to the Perfect One; who is full of mercy and grace.

    blessings, Joyce

  79. cas139 says:

    Class struggle does exist not just as a result of certain political theories or even as a result of government controls. Class struggle isn’t something new. Doesn’t the story of Exodus tell us something of class struggle in the ancient world?

    Humans tend to be greedy and greed leads to struggle among individuals, corporations, nations, and governments. It leads to some having much more than they need in the way of resources, worldly goods and gadgets and others having far less than they need in the way of resources required to subsist without the assistance of others. Of greed Jesus said, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

    As Mart said above, however, life in Christ begins to change our hearts. As followers of Jesus we are taught that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be (Matthew 6:21). When we become one with others in the body of Christ, the new treasure on which we focus becomes Christ. We attempt to follow in the footsteps of Christ toward love of God and Love of others over love of worldly goods.

    Paul describes the changes we take on when we put away the old life and put on a new life of being one in Christ. He describes how to treat one another, rich and poor alike, as fellow members of the Body of Christ Colossians 3:13-15. In verse 16 he tells us to “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.” (NAB translation) With the new riches Christ offers, the riches of this world and the struggles to attain them become less alluring as we fix our eyes on the treasure that is Christ.

  80. Bill says:

    @cas139, you wrote (September 23, 2014 at 10:35 am):

    “Class struggle does exist not just as a result of certain political theories or even as a result of government controls…Humans tend to be greedy and greed leads to struggle among individuals, corporations, nations, and governments. It leads to some having much more than they need in the way of resources, worldly goods and gadgets and others having far less than they need in the way of resources required to subsist without the assistance of others.”

    Two things to keep in mind regarding what you wrote:

    1. Class struggle BEGINS and EXISTS in the minds of those who wish to entertain it. If people did not entertain the notion of class struggle, it would not exist. There would simply be those with money and those with less (or no) money. No judgment about the situation. Government and media both have a vested interested in fanning the flames of unrest, which begins in the minds of people.

    2. This: “It leads to some having much more than they need in the way of resources, worldly goods and gadgets and others having far less than they need…” is a mind trap. It uses the subjective judgment word “need.” Who’s to say what some people “need”? Is it your place to dictate that? Is it mine? Life isn’t just about needs. If that’s all it was, you and I would lead very different lives from what we do now. We wouldn’t go to movies, buy an occasional expensive meal, buy an Apple Mac laptop instead of a very, very cheap PC version, take vacations, etc. “Need” is just food, water, shelter, and air. Anything more is want. And it’s none of my business what you want, or what “the rich” want.

    @jeff1, you wrote (September 23, 2014 at 9:39 am):

    “It won’t be the first time I have been told I am a hypocrite because someone has pointed out to me I am not behaving in a Christian manner. If I am honest I find it difficult to correct others when I struggle so much myself. Its one thing knowing what’s right but its a different thing doing it especially in society today which has moved very much away from God. I often feel I take one step forward and two steps back.”

    There isn’t a Christian on the planet who isn’t a “hypocrite” by the strict definition of the word. At times, we all say one thing and do another.

    The three most important words in what you wrote are: “If I am honest…”

    That’s all that matters. That’s what the world wants to hear. That’s what God wants to hear. That’s what your loved ones want to hear. That’s what you want/need to hear.

    If perfection – flawless adherence to every understood and/or imposed Christian doctrine – were required, we’d all burn in hell.

    I honestly think the number one problem Christians face is too much flaggelation – regret, doubt, worry, fear. We carry around way too many burdens, and worry about way too many things.

    Part of that comes from our pastors/teachers/authors who tell us to watch every step else we teeter and fall into the pit.

    Part of that comes from our upbringing and our own personalities that can be prone to self doubt and perfectionism.

    Regardless. There is a solution.

    Imagine all of your doubts and worries and regrets and fears and assumptions were very heavy suitcases you’ve been carrying around your whole life.

    All you need do to be free is…

    …let go of them.

    Drop them.

    Leave them behind.

    Walk away from them.

    Live your life unburdened. Live your life free.

    I cannot possibly tell you that’s what I do all the time. But whenever I feel myself falling into old patterns, I mentally drop the suitcases.

    Bill

  81. poohpity says:

    Gosh I guess I missed where it says we are to convince non believers we do not have struggles. Wouldn’t that be lying? I do have struggles and when I share those struggles I am being real. I do not have freedom from struggles I have God’s grace and help to go through them. What is it that would make me withhold that same grace from others? Vain conceit, evil desires, selfish ambition, greed, self righteousness, pride/ego and guess what both rich and poor have those same characteristics, every human being has them. Confess them and allow the Lord to change my heart through His forgiveness and mercy.

    Paul even after He believed struggled against the flesh as noted in Romans 7:14-21 NLT but also noted the battle was won by the grace of Jesus Christ our Lord Romans 7:22-25 NLT. So we do not try and convince others we do not still struggle and act like our way is the right way we have said we believe in Jesus then trust in Him. Love others they way He has loved us and the way we want to be loved. (John 13:34-35 NIV) So to convince others of anything other than God’s grace would be a futile and the very reason we can not have anyone believe what we do cause they do not see that one very important thing in our lives.

    If one does not know how to love themselves then they will not know how to love others. (Lev 19:18 NIV; Matt 22:39 NIV; Romans 13:8 NIV; Romans 13:10 NIV; Gal 5:14 NIV) None of that seems possible without first experiencing the love of Christ.

  82. poohpity says:

    cas139 good word, Amen!

  83. poohpity says:

    Mart, thank you for an example of a gentle rebuke.

  84. belleu says:

    I was curious what the reaction would be when I said I was hurt by some of the things said here. It doesn’t surprise me that no one was kind enough to say something nice to me or try to help me. It doesn’t surprise me that most people here think the government shouldn’t help the poor, that it isn’t their business. This is the time of the Laodicea church and most of you are a perfect example of it.

  85. smjane says:

    Hi to all… For me I try not to look at a person and determine their worth by the amount of money they may or may not have or their position. I have often felt that being on the lower end of the money chain that I have been dismissed or condescended upon even within the christian community. It does become a struggle spiritually to not strike back and self justify and to form unfounded opinions of others with more. For me, I guess it becomes a struggle of the will with the things on this earth that are temporary and only satisfy for the moment. Love to all of you…

  86. poohpity says:

    belleu, it maybe because you were not specific about how and who hurt you. I am feeling hurt because you assume that anyone has said they do not believe the government should help the poor cause I do not remember anyone saying any such thing. I also feel hurt because of the assuming that everyone here is a Republican and that is not true either. So maybe it is you that needs to apologize to those you have falsely accused without all the facts.

  87. cas139 says:

    Bill, clearly you and I have differing opinions. I don’t agree that need is a subjective judgment word. You said, “who’s to say what people need?” You then answered your question when you wrote, “Need is just food, water, shelter, and air. Anything more is want.” There are many in this world who struggle for those basic needs you mentioned, food, water, shelter…

    My point was that most of us, me included, lose sight of the treasure that is Christ in the pursuit of our worldly “wants.” I think Jesus warned us of the folly of that when he told us to be on our guard against greed in the Luke verse I cited (NAB translation uses the word greed while ESV uses covetousness). I think when we move our focus away from the pursuit of worldly treasures, we are better able to re-focus on love of God and love of neighbor as ourselves that Jesus taught are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).

    As you advised, I took you first post with a grain of salt. You can take my post in the same way…

  88. Bill says:

    Belleu,

    No one wrote anything that hurt anyone. Disagreements are not personal attacks. You’re okay. We’re all okay.

    Regarding the so-called Laodicean Church age, that’s a Scofield Bible Dispensationalist method of dividing the Bible into unprovable – and some would say unwise – expanses of time. Eras, if you will. Dispensationalism is one doctrine among many (Calvinism being another) that was created by people based on their best-guess opinions of the Bible. I prefer to read the Bible for myself and leave the man-made doctrines alone.

    Perhaps you misunderstand what the Laodicean Church age teaches. But GOVERNMENT helping the poor would be the very thing to which that term refers. God doesn’t instruct government to do much of anything. His message – especially in the Laodicean Church age – is to BELIEVERS. It is WE, not, government, that is supposed to help the poor. As a matter of fact, churches that abandon their responsibility to do that would very likely be among those Scofield would refer to as being of the Laodicean Church age.

  89. joycemb says:

    Belleu I hear you, and understand as I too have felt hurt by others here. We are all different and deal with pain differently though. Some are easily able to let it ‘slide off their shoulders’, while others rather skillfully are able to turn others pain into their own, while creating more pain in the process. All in the name of Christ. Challenging isn’t it? I’m sorry for what pain I have caused you, and apologize for my lack of empathy, as I too get kind of wrapped up in my own problems too often. I hear you are really hurting and wish to extend a hand of grace and friendship.
    Blessings, Joyce

  90. Bill says:

    Cas139, your post made me chuckle. I did that, didn’t I? Wrote that who’s to say what needs are, then wrote what needs are. That’s really funny. I’m sorry about that.

    I don’t disagree with what you wrote regarding our focus. My disagreement is that what you wrote earlier, and what Belleu has been writing, is NOT that focus. When we are more concerned about what others have – wealth, possessions, houses, jobs, jewelry, food, etc. – we have LOST the biblical vision you wrote about. What you have is not my concern. What Bill Gates has is not my concern. What people who live in the “wealthy” part of Grand Rapids is not my concern.

    What IS my concern is what you wrote above:

    “…when we move our focus away from the pursuit of worldly treasures, we are better able to re-focus on love of God and love of neighbor as ourselves that Jesus taught are the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40).”

    Yes. Precisely.

    But notice what you wrote: “…when WE move our focus…”

    You did not write – and the Bible does not say – “…when we get OTHERS to move THEIR focus…”

    That’s my point. God holds us responsible for what WE do with what we have.

    I hope what I wrote (and meant) is clearer now. Thank you for pointing out the error in what I wrote earlier.

  91. poohpity says:

    Bill, so are you saying practice what one preaches rather than preaching and expecting others to practice?

  92. Bill says:

    Well, Pooh, that’s about as succinct a representation as I could summon.

    Yeah. I’m saying that. Pretty closely, anyway.

    But it’s more than that, because someone could preach a Marxist Robin-Hood message and practice it as well, and yet still create unhappiness and unhealthy divisions for themselves and others.

    So it’s not quite practicing what one preaches. It’s more like practicing what Jesus preaches IN OUR OWN LIVES…and letting others have the freedom to practice as their consciences dictate as well – while, at the same time, trying as best we can to leave the man-made doctrines and our own prejudices and politics out of the mix.

    It’s a very, very tall order, I realize. And I don’t practice it with 100% faithfulness. But that’s my goal.

  93. poohpity says:

    Could it be needing Him as much as we do water or food to sustain us and to change us as we grow in grace because we know He does not expect us to walk this walk 100% so we also will not expect that from others?

  94. cas139 says:

    Bill, I appreciate that you responded and it seems we do hold some ideas in common. I was not trying to pass judgment on any group in my first post. Some have more and some have less. That’s a fact of life that we all live with and has been part of this discussion. I’m sorry the post read as judgmental. When I spoke of humans being greedy, I meant it as something that seems to be intrinsic to the human condition. It is not unique to any one group. I struggle with my own propensity to put too much stock in material possessions and to let my focus and worry linger there when Jesus clearly asks me to place my heart with the treasure that he offers.

    I was attempting in some way to answer Mart’s original question “in a way that reflects our own struggle to live in the name and spirit of Christ” while also recognizing some of the tensions and conflict that were a part of Mart’s original post. To me, Paul’s advise to “put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” offered a means of living in the spirit of Jesus, and that advise was what triggered my original reflection.

    Peace to you and thanks to all for helping me consider these questions.

  95. cbrown says:

    Bill, in your post on 3:57 you said” So it’s not quite practicing what one preaches. It’s more like practicing what Jesus preaches IN OUR OWN LIVES…and letting others have the freedom to practice as their consciences dictate as well – while, at the same time, trying as best we can to leave the man-made doctrines and our own prejudices and politics out of the mix.” Good point but not easy to do sometimes.” I think I bit through my tongue today.

  96. bubbles says:

    Happy first day of autumn. Ice was on the roof and back window of my car.

  97. jeff1 says:

    You may or not be interested in this book I am going to order. It is called ‘THE ROAD TO REALITY’ and can be ordered at gfauk.org/store cost of £5. It says do you find yourself conforming to the culture rather than transforming it. Do you ever wonder is this what Christ meant by ‘Follow Me’? The aim of the book is to help take your first steps toward living with simplicity and purpose and is grounded on timeless biblical principles, this revised edition of the book is for a new generation hungry for reality in their lives.

  98. Bill says:

    I’m always interested in book recommendations, Jeff.

    I have a bibliography of some 800 titles just for the one book I’m writing.

    My wife and I had to buy five bookshelves just to handle my purchases in the last two years. (She was not happy.). :)

    So I, for one, will take a look at this book.

    Thank you for the recommendation.

    Bill

  99. SFDBWV says:

    Reading over (somewhat) the comments on this subject I realized I missed something; in Mart’s September 23, 8:06 comments he changed “class struggle” to “class warfare”.

    Where is class warfare being *fought*?

    I have a friend who lives in Uganda Africa who once explained to me that in his homeland you can tell how much a person has by the height of the fence around their property.

    The fence of course is meant to deter thieves from stealing what they have while the thieves steal because they have nothing of their own.

    As I read the comments here I see plenty of *warfare* drawn along an imaginary line of how morality is viewed.

    It sometimes reads as though some comment without ever having read what others have said, or perhaps don’t understand what others have said.

    It is very frustrating in trying to *make* another accept your views, when they come to the table with stoic and unmovable attitudes on this or any subject.

    In that I clearly see a *warfare* of words.

    So then what should all of us who are Christian do? Do any of you want to sell all you have and give it to the poor?

    Who are the poor?

    That old saw that starts off with “Is it alright for a man to steal bread to feed his family” comes to mind.
    But what happens to your generosity if the person who you perceive to be poor, smokes, drinks alcohol, uses or sells drugs or steals in order to feed his habits not his family? Are you going to take away from your own family by cashing in all you own and give it to such a person?

    Another adage that comes to mind is “Charity begins at home”.

    How is it reasonable for a man who has a wife and children to sell all they have and give it to people who won’t work and expect others to give them what they *want*; all in the name of charity?

    Paul said if you don’t work you don’t eat. Does that make Paul a right wing conservative *snob*?

    It is tough enough making a living, paying your tithes and trying to live a God led Christian life. I for one don’t like someone telling me that isn’t enough to fit *their* image of what they believe is a proper Christian attitude, all the while not actually living out their attitude, only telling others how they should.

    Steve

  100. joycemb says:

    Good morning all.

    Steve you asked:How is it reasonable for a man who has a wife and children to sell all they have and give it to people who won’t work and expect others to give them what they *want*; all in the name of charity?

    That word ‘reasonable’ makes me think. We are back to riddles again as Mart talked about in the last post. I think reason gets thrown out the window when the Holy Spirit of God nudges us to do something. I also think we are to use our sense of ‘reason’ when following scripture. I’ve seen too many stories of people hurting others because of something they took as a personal word from God that they read or thought they ‘heard’.

    Discernment I think is the key. When I worked at a food shelf we were told that if an unruly drunk came in we were to not turn him away but give him food so he could at least feed his children. And our director even gave them a ride home! We always kept in mind that the bottom line was filling empty stomachs and not concerning ourselves with how they got to the point of needing assistance.

    As for a personal story, quite a few years ago the Lord told me to sell all of my possessions. I had a 3 bedroom house with 3 teens who had recently moved out. What a job that was, and I argued the whole time with Him saying, I really need this or that. Long story short unbeknownst to me at the time 2 months later I would be enrolling in Bible college and of course took way too much with me, which I ended up giving/throwing away anyway. How I wished I had listened to Him earlier! Would have saved me a lot of extra work! Now of course I do listen much better. We are all in the process though I think.

    Blessings to all,
    Joyce

  101. joycemb says:

    I just remembered more of how my getting rid of my stuff played out. While at Bible school after living in an efficiency apt I decided to save money and moved into a bedroom of a friends house. I still had way too much stuff, until I heard of a pregnant teen who was kicked out of her house with nothing. I gladly gave her all the rest of my stuff, mostly kitchen goods, and she cried and was so happy. I was also blessed. Then, a few months later I had to move back to my home town and take in my teen aged boys. 2 teens and not one household item, not even a house! But some missionary friends let me live in their fully furnished home for 6 months-time enough to find a job again and be able to get a 2 bedroom apt to refurnish. God supplies, He ALWAYS supplies our need. Every day. How we define need is the question. I think it is different in every circumstance.

  102. poohpity says:

    I so agree Joyce if God put it on a heart to give, give but the judgement of the person receiving we need to leave up to Him. That all goes back to did we deserve the grace we received and believing that if everything we have comes from God we will more freely give.

    It seems there would be no class struggle/warfare if there was no need for comparison. A person’s ego is what causes people to compare themselves with others. I thought Jesus put an end to that but I could be wrong. Ego/pride seems to cause one to feel better/worse than others.

    God made each person unique with different qualities and no one can be you like you. He seems to have given each gifts to bring unity to His church and to better the world we live in.

  103. poohpity says:

    Bill, in 2008 I threw out my vast library because I found just exactly what Solomon was talking about when he wrote Ecclesiastes 1:18 NLT. People did not care how smart I was they wanted to know how much I cared.

  104. joycemb says:

    Pooh taming the ego is what spiritual formation is all about. We all are at different places in our journey. Best to look at ourselves and not others, I believe. I have enough of my own ego to deal with, Ha!

  105. joycemb says:

    Pooh throwing out your library was the direction given you by God. I used to write hymns and poetry until one day I felt the spirit tell me it was no longer needed. So I quit. I had one published, my last. We never know how God directs others. Thank you Pooh for your kind remarks.

  106. Bill says:

    Hi Everyone,

    Pooh, you wrote (September 24, 2014 at 10:37 am):

    “People did not care how smart I was they wanted to know how much I cared.”

    They are not mutually exclusive. One can be both well read/well educated AND compassionate and loving.

    Wisdom requires us to be both, in balance – perhaps the former in certain situations, perhaps the latter in other situations. But always both in every situation.

    Bill

  107. poohpity says:

    Bill, there seems to be a difference in being educated and gaining knowledge compared to how intelligent one is. There is also a vast difference in knowledge and wisdom. Some have a lot of knowledge but fail miserably in the wisdom department. Some very intelligent people do not have an education. One can be well read gaining the knowledge of others but isn’t that just gaining the knowledge of others which anyone can do. Being born with a high IQ is not something that is learned it is a gift hopefully to used for good.

    Yes compassion has nothing to do with an education or intelligence. It is where the heart and head meet. The head with understanding and the heart with feeling. I guess that why we called to love God with all our mind and heart together. Real wisdom requires God.

  108. poohpity says:

    I know many people who have very low IQ’s who are so blissful and loving. I also know some people that have high IQ’s who are miserable and hateful. So IQ has nothing to do with character nor does how will read anyone is. People will boast in how well read they are but the ones who are compassionate usually will not boast at all.

  109. joycemb says:

    Pooh just a thought, maybe what God was telling you was to learn to be more caring, and attaining more knowledge was getting in the way at the time? I agree Bill that learning is important. I also love to read what others write to see what wisdom I can glean. So much out there!

  110. cbrown says:

    This topic really has my attention. This morning I was driving to work and a song by Colton Dixon was on the radio. Below are the first 2 verses which were helpful.

    “I made my castle tall
    I built up every wall
    This is my kingdom and it needs to fall
    I want you and no one else
    Empty me of myself
    Until the only thing that’s left is

    [Chorus]
    More of You
    Less of me
    Make me who I’m meant to be
    You’re all I want all I need
    You’re everything
    Take it all I surrender
    Be my king
    God I choose
    More of You and Less of me
    I need more of you
    More of you

    [Verse 2]
    This life I hold so close
    Oh, God I let it go
    I refuse to gain the world and lose my soul
    So take it all I abandon everything I am
    You can have it
    The only thing I need is

    [Chorus]
    More of You”

    I can not solve the worlds problems and right every wrong but my God is sovereign.

  111. joycemb says:

    Chris, Amen!

  112. poohpity says:

    joyce, I know the lesson He was teaching me and what Book it is that I advocate in growing in our relationship with Him. That is the cause and purpose He has given me, guiding people to Him and His Word/word so they can recognize His voice when He speaks. God already knew how much I care.

  113. joycemb says:

    Pooh I see, that makes sense. But I know for a fact God speaks also through other books, people,and the natural world. So there are many ways. The Bible, however, is our final authority and written word/Word. What you are saying is why bother with other books when everything one needs to know about Christ can be found in the Bible? Very pragmatic, and efficient.

  114. poohpity says:

    joyce, I never said He doesn’t speak through everything or anything to draw us to Him or to experience what is taught in His word. What do you use to grow in your knowledge of Christ? Usually people go through what another has learned from the Bible so why not go directly to the source for yourself. That is more like a personal relationship. You said you have a best friend so do you use a go between to listen and talk to her like through her children or her other friends or do you talk and listen to her directly?

  115. joycemb says:

    Pooh, If she were God I would use whatever means including listening directly to her. If she wrote/spoke through a book I would read about her also. But she is not God, so I really don’t care what others have to say about her. I just love her. God is sovereign, she is not.

    Many experienced and learned believers know a lot more about God than I do. They write commentaries, dictionaries, and other books to help in the understanding of God. I appreciate all their efforts. As smart as I am I can’t/don’t know it all, and am certainly not the best at Bible interp, even though I have had classes on how to do it. I don’t have the inclination always to do the work of proper exegesis. That I leave to those who really love that kind of work! But I still get to read the fruits of their labors!

  116. joycemb says:

    Help! Someone please get up back on topic!

  117. poohpity says:

    How is it off topic when I could have sworn we were talking about the struggle to live in the name and spirit of Christ? If we are living in that spirit would we not guide people to Him being the good teacher or our best friend. It is a struggle because we can see not see Him but have faith that He is here and does not want us to measure ourselves by anyone around us but by who He says we are and what He thinks of us. Dearly loved (Eph 1:4 NLT), of much worth, one in Christ with other believers(Gal 3:28 NLT), we belong to Christ and are gifts to God (Eph 1:10-11 NLT) if we realize all this and more then does it not fit we will stop the struggles of class or anything else that promotes divisions or thinking more/less of ourselves?

  118. bubbles says:

    It would be nice to come home after a hard and long day and read comments that do not involve arguments. I can’t this this any more.

  119. joycemb says:

    bubbles I don’t think we are arguing, just discussing faith and our walk with God. It’s not mean spirited at all on my part. Sorry to have offended you.

  120. joycemb says:

    Pooh thanks for bringing it around where I can understand. Yes to your last question. I don’t think it will happen though on this side of eternity.

  121. foreverblessed says:

    In my own country we have a pretty good social program. I do not see that as unchristian, I really like that. Maybe they should be more stern in following up those who ask for welfare, see if they do not have income. Because a lot of fraud is around, but that is not a reason not to have a welfare. Even in the old testament there was a provision made for the poor:
    Deut 14:28 At the end of every three years, bring all the tithes of that year’s produce and store it in your towns, 29 so that the Levites (who have no allotment or inheritance of their own) and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns may come and eat and be satisfied, and so that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands.

    The class struggle
    “In the middle of such tensions and conflict, one of the most common criticisms of the Bible is that it has been used to silence those who see a lack of justice in the way religious or governmental groups disregard the condition of the poor by affirming the God-given authority of home, church, and state—while encouraging those who hurt to wait for heaven. ”

    I do have a problem with this: the poor have to wait for heaven. As I see that James is very hard on the rich. He says: “weep and wail for your low estate” James 1:10
    If we read what Jesus said: what you have done unto the least of them, you have done unto Me. What if the poor that are around us, we could see that they were Jesus, would we not immediately go and help them? We would not say, well the man must be scrutized to see if he really has a need.
    What if God wants us the share much more of our wealth with the poor. What if He wanted us to influence (pray for them) the government to have a good social program. That God wanted us to look around in our country and see what is not right, and start praying about it. And then wait what God is going to do.
    I read a book about Rees Howell, when he was touched by the Holy Spirit, he could hear Him speak clearly, and God told him, look what is wrong in your country, and Rees looked and saw that the widows in India were treated terribly. (India was part of England at that time around 1905). He started to pray, with a group of christians, and waited. Lo and behold, what happened: the laws in India were changed regarding widows, and they received a pension. See???
    ‘Rees Howells: Intercessor’ by Norman Grubb

    (I do also believe, that only those that have totally surrendered to God can do so, those who are a new man in Christ, who have killed the old man,. They are the ones who know how to pray, to pray in the line of what God is doing, “seek you first the kingdom of God” those who know what the Kingdom of God is all about, and if we hear the Spirit, He will teach us more and more what He wants us to do: Like the intercessory prayers of Rees Howell.)

  122. foreverblessed says:

    Bellue, the story about your sister is a sad one. Very sad that things are like they are: if you have no permanent address you will not be helped.
    In my country though, they have the same rule: you must have a home. But here is the difference: if you do not have a home, welfare will help you to get a social home, and even help you with part of the rent. Then you have a home address, and there you will get your allowance, your monthly welfare amount. And all the other help you may be entitled to.
    For the homeless it is different, they can sleep in homeless homes during the night, and get a meal, but as far as I know no money. Because they do not have a home address.
    This is done so that people will settle down, the authorities do not like it when people roam around the country. Like the Roma did, in 30 years time there was a program to make them live in secured areas, and not move around anymore. Many have been given homes in normal neighborhoods.
    There are however many who live in mobile homes on campsites, in the woods. It is not allowed to live there permanently, you must have a post address in a normal house, and live there for at least 3 weeks a year. (Who ever checks out on that?). So people get a friend and ask them if they could use their address. It is illegal though. But on the other hand, many counties now allow people to live on campsites all year round. So the rule is not so strict anymore. In my church there are a few people who live in such a campsite, in wooden homes, little homes. And they enjoy being out there in the woods. It is legal in my town, but not in the next one. So there you go, you have to find the area where they are not so strict.

    I pray for your sister, and I pray that you christians in the States wake up to the fact that you can be an intercessor like Rees Howell was, and so something for the poor among you. Pray for different laws for minimal wages, so that people do not have to have 2 or 3 jobs in order to be able to pay all the bills for a living.

  123. SFDBWV says:

    In the beginning Cain and Abel both offered God an offering, God accepted Abel’s and rejected Cain’s (Genesis 4:3-8). It was Cain’s wrong attitude regarding his offering as well as his wrong attitude that led him to kill his brother; not Abel’s attitude or action, but Cain’s.

    What follows is that God made a distinction between Cain and others (Genesis 4:9-15).

    When I first read this topic I was reminded of a different meaning of “class”.

    Some people have no class at all whereas others are a class act.

    It would seem in this meaning of class, money is not a factor.

    Yet watch and see how people with no class, soon resent those with class, just the same as they do concerning *money*.

    As in “Who does that so and so think he is”?

    The struggle is always going to be the same, it is all about attitude; God will accept the proper attitude and reject the improper attitude always.

    Steve

  124. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    We have grazed away from the issues of class struggle, and even warfare these past days. Incidentally, we have welcomed a new life into our family here — a boy born to my daughter and son-in-law — their first child. We are rejoicing!

    Mart, you wrote;
    “I think it would be interesting to see how we could think and talk about this together in a way that reflects our own struggle to live in the name and spirit of Christ.”

    What comes to mind this morning is a “class” of people who have seen a decline in their means over the past five or six years — this is global, not local. Income has been radically reduced. Some have been evicted from their homes for non-payment of mortgages that had tricky clauses increasing payment amounts for default. Young people have been unable to find jobs because of cut-backs in hiring or even massive lay-offs by all kinds of businesses.

    Aren’t we challenged to live out our call to generosity and kindness if we (and some here probably have) lost our income flow that allows for giving and sharing? How many men and women have become embittered against the huge banks and auto manufacturers who received bail-outs for their defaulted loans? Have you, as I have, developed a little “edge” of resentment when it comes to large multinational financial institutions that charge for every little service? Small depositors may decide it is safer to put their savings (what’s left of it) between the box springs and the mattress!

    Just musing this morning about the “Occupy” movement and some of the protests and even riots over basic needs all over the world. Is this class warfare?

    Blessings,
    Maru

  125. joycemb says:

    Good day all!

    I came upon this quote by Martin Luther King JR and it goes along with what you, foreverblessed had to say,

    We are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be beaten and robbed as they make their journey through life. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it understands that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.
    Source: April 4, 1967 “Beyond Vietnam” address at Riverside Church, New York

    I agree that the restructuring he talks about must begin with prayer, and the willingness to do what God tells us to do.

    Blessings, Joyce

  126. phpatato says:

    Congratulations Gramma Maru! The greatest thing about being a grandparent is that we have the time to cherish all the little joys that these wee ones bring. This little guy is blessed already! He will be able to look at his Gramma and see the love of the Lord in her eyes!

    Best wishes to you and your family

    Pat

  127. poohpity says:

    Maru, congratulations on the addition to your/our family! May God bless you with a quiver full. God bless the new parents with the realization he won’t break cause the first is a little intimidating. ;-)

  128. joycemb says:

    Congratulations Maru! Such a joy to be a grandparent. Blessings to all! Joyce

  129. street says:

    i have stayed away from this topic and really have not read though all 128 responses. i think it boils down to this. there is evil in the world, there is a blame game going on. what a person does reveals what is in the heart. God has given you a place in the world, be thankful! reminds me of the parable of the owner paying every one the same even though all did not work the same hours. God we are so covetous and unthankful. the wheat and the tares still grow side by side. children keep yours selves from idols.

    side note i was thinking of conscious and un conscious.
    consciousness is being in God’s presents
    unconsciousness is not being aware of God’s presents. God bless all your activities !

  130. hera says:

    Hello, just a little note if I may…I am not sure how in other place, but where I live there is a law against giving to beggars on the street coz many, if not most, of them are organized and some are actually rich by regular local standard, i.e. have nice homes w/comforts etc and some of them earns more than the salary of a manager level in a company, if you google there are stories of such apparently everywhere…
    As for class within church, I see that the haves will mingle with their groups, if they chat with the have-nots it’s of politeness (of course this is very individual kind of experience, others may not be the same), kind of like politicians do when they held, carry a baby of a slummy place and take pictures.. :-) I am sorry if this cause any inconvenience to any who read, just thought I share it
    May all have days of contentment wherever, in whatever walks of life we are…….(I like how Steve use feel of contentment to self-equip for the day) :-)

  131. belleu says:

    I just found out last night from my sister that I did not hear her right about the food stamps. She said they denied her because she didn’t have a postal box and she never went back because they were so rude to her.

    She called a friend of hers and he told her he went to the driver’s license place and found out if you fill out some papers you can get a license for driving. I guess they don’t tell you about it, but he went and asked what could be done. So, I made some mis-statements and I’m sorry.

  132. SFDBWV says:

    This is my favorite time of year; this morning it is 56 degrees gray skies and the forest around me is a mixture of greens, yellows and orange. The deeper colors won’t be here for a few more weeks of frost and freezing weather, but for now it is perfect.

    For now is all that I am promised.

    Yesterday I took Matt out to a local sit down restaurant. We had a great time as the people who operate it and own it are friends and they made us feel very welcome and made our outing a very pleasant experience.

    Last evening we gave thanks for a good day.

    Living among people, every day is given us the power to make another’s day a good or bad experience.

    What will you provide others today with, a smile or a frown?

    Steve

  133. Bill says:

    My favorite time of year, too, Steve – although, for some reason, it’s also my most melancholy.

    This morning, I’m sipping Light Roast coffee at Panera while listening to a CD of baritone Michael Nagy and pianist Helmut Deutsch performing some of Brahms’ vocal music. I have no idea what Nagy is singing; the songs are in German. But the melodies are interesting. Not Beethoven interesting. But compelling in their own way.

    As I was sitting here, your post popped into my laptop.

    What you wrote in your last sentence (“What will you provide others today with, a smile or a frown?”) reminded me of the movie Life Itself, the biography of the late film critic Roger Ebert. I saw it Wednesday. The love between Roger and his wife Chaz was deeply moving.

    Toward the end of the film (and also Roger’s life) one person said, “We have a saying in the Latino community: make your heart your face.”

    Because I was the only one in the theater for that mid-day showing, I had my iPhone out, taking notes. That phrase caught my attention:

    “Make your heart your face.”

    What a wonderful phrase!

    Yet, it’s also haunting in that I see so many frowns around me. Does that mean the hearts of so many are sad?

    I don’t know. However, I intend to make my heart my face today.

    And I want to smile.

    Bill

  134. phpatato says:

    Good morning

    I like the fall but for me my favourite time of the year is the month of March, with my favourite day being March 21.

    Some laugh questioningly at me when I say that. After a cold, snowy, dark winter, March brings fresh hope. New life. Warmer temperatures. And March 21 is the day that ushers that all in. Conversely, June 21 is the saddest day of the year for me because I know that when that longest day of the year is over, we are back into shorter darkening days again. Fall is a scenic transition so it’s not all so harsh.

    Today I have a wake to go to for a past co-worker who passed away this week. I also worked with his wife. They met each other through work and got married. They have 3 children 9, 10, and 12. I am hoping that even in this circumstance, I am able to bring a smile.

    Tell someone today you love them.

    Pat

  135. joycemb says:

    I love fall, mostly because it means the hot summers that I don’t like very well are ending, and everything green turns into beautiful colors. In fact I like fall so much my 8 ft. sofa is the colors of fall!

    I would like to share a quote from one of my favorite writers, Harold Buechner.

    The grace of God means something like:
    Here is your life,
    you might never have been but you are,
    because the party would never have been complete without you.
    Here is the world,
    beautiful and terrible things will happen.
    Don’t be afraid.
    I am with you.

    A reason to smile and tell someone you love them.

    Blessings, Joyce

  136. joycemb says:

    That’s Frederich not Harold.

  137. SFDBWV says:

    I was up very much earlier this morning and as a result looked in on BTA to see if there was anything new. Since I thought perhaps Mart may change it I let things be and looked in again now to see we are still where we left off yesterday early..

    So I will share a piece of my last night’s adventure.

    At 3am we heard a knocking at our front door. We immediately knew it wasn’t anyone who knows us as we never use the front entrance.

    When I went to the door what met me was an intoxicated and distraught woman who began talking in very fast bursts between crying.

    Her car was disabled setting in the east bound lane of traffic, disabled because her husband tore her gearshift mechanism out of her steering column, tore up the interior of the front seat roof and punched her.

    She kept begging me for help in getting her car off the road and “please, please don’t call the cops.” I always love that when such events as this happen and there has been several others, when they ask me not to notify the cop’s; they have no idea I am the Mayor and Police court Judge.

    Anyway, I got her settled down and she tells me she was a foster child who had been abused by her foster father, that she has an adult daughter living in another town in another state, but she don’t want to bother her. That even though she regularly gets beat up by her husband she still loves him and that they have a small child, a son.

    Asking her where the little boy was she said with her daughter.

    I took her in my car to her car to see what I was dealing with, then up to our chief of Police’s house and got him up to help me deal with this situation.

    As soon as she seen where I had taken her she began crying again and begging me not to let him take her to jail for DUI.

    The chief, she and I then went back to her car and was able to get it running and off the highway.

    The chief assured her he wasn’t going to take her to jail, but since he knew who she was and that there had been a flurry of domestic activity between her and her husband was going to take her to a safe place.

    We live on the border with Maryland and they live in Maryland where as we are in West Virginia this only compounded the situation.

    So by 4 am I left her in the capable hands of our police department and returned home to explain what had occurred.

    Just a little walk with me on a night in small town America. It is 37 degrees and a nice dense fog has set it.

    Have a nice day where ever you are.

    Steve

  138. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Appreciate the kind comments on a new grand-baby over my way! Thanks.

    It seems to me the trend in posts here on the topic “Class Struggle” offers a snap shot of our strategies for coping with the world’s power grab. Seeing the voiceless mass (millions) of people in refugee camps depending upon humanitarian supply: tents, clean water, food, blankets and cots, we look as long as we are able. We send help in the form hygiene kits, food packaged for homeless, and cash donations. Still, only those who have lost everything know how injustice feels.

    Distractions of daily life, it seems to me, prevent devotion to compassion and justice for the surge of unaccompanied Central American children streaming into the US, Ebola victims in Africa, or violence in the Middle East devastating entire villages and towns. There is tension between following Jesus and fear of being overwhelmed by the needs.

    May God increase our courage,

    Maru

  139. joycemb says:

    Good morning all!

    Every time I look at the picture in this post ‘brick wall’ immediately comes to mind. The cement slab on the table, analogous to me as a ‘brick wall’ laying down makes me think of how we all -if we ‘come to the table’ to discuss various hard-core issues- are better able to come to at least an understanding of where the other is coming from. Much like all the contributors to this blog. It seems only grace can make a brick wall lie down. Maybe someday the wall between us will be removed altogether?

    In Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand.

    blessings,
    Joyce

  140. poohpity says:

    Walls are usually self imposed. Created by each individual in their own life most often having nothing to do with someone else. Others may try and scale those walls only to find another in it’s place and after feeling the pain involved may not try to scale the next. The Lord is the only One who can break down walls that separate, divide and alienate to bring unity. Gal 3:27-28 NLT

  141. jeff1 says:

    Very true Pooh we all have our own demons lurking and sometimes (speaking for myself) I come out better than others. Life can be trying, I try myself (i.e. inner battles) and people that come into my life can try me and I them, so God help me please. I love that song:

    Lord teach me to take one day at a time
    Do you remember when you walked among men,
    Well Jesus, you know if your looking below its worse now then then, pushing and shoving and crowding my mind
    Lord for my sake teach me to take one day at a time.

    Not sure of all the words but sing this to myself when life overwhelms me.

  142. cas139 says:

    Thanks, Joyce. I have been looking at that picture and just couldn’t quite decide what the object on the table was. Your analogy of the brick wall being laid down so that we might be better able to see and hear each other around the table helped me better understand and view both the picture and this discussion in new light.

  143. poohpity says:

    jeff, the thing about walls is they prevent people from getting into our lives but they also prevent us from giving our heart out. There is always a risk of getting hurt but that stops us also from experiencing love. God can heal any broken heart when we realize that, it helps to give it out more freely. I think we also come to a place where it does not matter what we get back as long as we give.

  144. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    And here is me thinking that the table is covered by a big slab of bread!

    Blessings,
    Maru

  145. poohpity says:

    lol! Maybe that means you are very hungry! It is time to feed on the bread of life so pull your chair up and freely eat. I’ll join you. :-)

  146. cas139 says:

    Yes, that is another way to look at it. We are seated around the table, considering ways to answer the call to share in the bread of life.

    So…the picture itself shows how we view things from different perspectives. Seated around the table we can learn from those differences in perspective.

  147. poohpity says:

    So true no matter what class we find ourselves in, life still effects all the same. The rich have problems just as the poor do. They may not be the same problems but in this life journey it is still life. We all can agree it is a table with chairs around it. We can also agree that Jesus died for the sins of the world. Humans are the ones that have placed people in classes.

  148. poohpity says:

    1 Samuel 16:7

  149. street says:

    i wonder if this class problem is because of a lack of joy? face it, joyful people could care less about their circumstances. in Philippians joy comes up 7 times. it’s an underlying theme that gets over looked. paul really got it right and worked hard so others could too.

  150. poohpity says:

    street, good thought.

  151. joycemb says:

    street I love Philippians; it is all about joy and being joyful no matter what the circumstance!

    Genesis 6:5 points out the problem we have, but Philippians 2:5-11 provides the solution.

    Jesus is the answer and the solution to the problems we face with class struggles.

  152. joycemb says:

    Good day all!

    With all the turmoil in the world I am thinking about the wisdom of God in providing money, authority, and power to combat evil. I am rethinking my own sin of comparison, and how no matter what we have, we can use it for good. Just this morning I was able to give a very good piece of furniture to someone with mental illness who is just moving into their own apt, finally.

    It seems whether rich or poor, God expects the same from us, and to criticize or compare oneself to others of other classes and social status is not what God wants from us. I know well that if I were suddenly given a lot of money I wouldn’t have a clue how to handle it properly. Or if I were suddenly thrust onto the world stage of power I would be hiding in the kitchen somewhere without a clue of what was expected of me. So God in his great wisdom gives me just what I can handle. Some can handle giving large sums of money to help the less fortunate, some are given just what we need, and what we don’t need we can always find someone worse off to give it to.

    Just some Monday thoughts as I watch the leaves turn too quickly her in Mn.USA

    Blessings, Joyce

  153. poohpity says:

    Joyce, Philippians is a very good example as solutions to class struggles. If we feel in our hearts what Paul said in Phil 2:3 AMP Do nothing from factional motives [through contentiousness, strife, selfishness, or for unworthy ends] or prompted by conceit and empty arrogance. Instead, in the true spirit of humility (lowliness of mind) let each regard the others as better than and superior to himself [thinking more highly of one another than you do of yourselves]. At least for us class struggles as well as many others struggles sure would seem to take a lower place in our lives.

  154. joycemb says:

    Yes Pooh, with humility there is no struggle. So simple, yet we make it so hard, don’t we? The way of Jesus goes so against the grain of our fallen humanity. That’s why we need more and more of Him in our lives. That is true success!

  155. poohpity says:

    ???

  156. remarutho says:

    Morning All —

    How can a person of faith relate to the mass protest rallies covered in the media in Hong Kong this past couple of weeks? In my opinion, only the threat of world-wide horror over mass slaughter restrains the Chinese government. It is 25 years since Tien an Mien Square — a fact that reveals how long the hunger for representative democracy has gnawed at the voiceless people of that nation. Jesus says, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

    We can pray to God for the people who have no voice. We can speak for them and tell their stories…How will the truth make people free?

    Blessings,
    Maru

  157. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Maru, it is no secret that I have not agreed with this topic. As I have viewed it from the angle of those who aren’t happy with their position in life wanting what another has, believing if they do their life will be better.

    There is nothing Scriptural or Christian about that.

    There is plenty though wrong in the world.

    If God is all powerful and has His will exacted in all matters, if nothing nor no one can stop or prevent Him, why then is there so much evil and unhappiness in the world?

    Why are ISIS members crucifying Christians beheading all who stand in their path and stirring up the dark clouds of war?

    Why doesn’t God do something to stop the madness?

    The church answer is of course that we live in a fallen and broken world.

    Is it then that God has no immediate power over a fallen and broken world?

    Revelations provides an ugly picture of the events in the world including the murder of all who do not worship the beast. Of starvation and misery to all who do not join with those in opposition to God.

    Only after death on a scale not seen before on the planet, are we promised a halt to it by the return of Jesus.

    It would seem that events however unpleasant and ugly continue on in the world with the blessing from God in order to bring about the end.

    Events though are an entirely different matter than the one on one event of accepting salvation or aiding those who suffer.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

    Perhaps Christians should learn to wise up.

    Steve

  158. joycemb says:

    Good morning,

    Being a Christian in an unchristian world means living a paradox; in the world but not of it, love your enemies, do good to those who harm you, let this mind be in you, etc, etc. We have a history of suffering since the beginning of time, and also a history of messing up at times. Why does God wait? Every generation asks the same question. Some 2,700 years of waiting and watching for the final return of the Messiah and the new heaven and new earth. It may be another 2,700 years of waiting. Or it may be next month.

    The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. That’s obedience. We are to be obedient no matter our circumstance. We all have that choice I guess. And how we live our lives is what matters to God. Our particular, sacred lives.

    Blessings to all with love,
    Joyce

  159. poohpity says:

    There is a lack of justice in a home when one person is the domineering factor and the others in the home have no voice. It seems to be the same in churches and governments. A person or group of persons wanting to control and misuse their God given authority to oppress rather than allowing people freedom to think and express themselves. There is no fear of God in an authoritarian atmosphere because the person/persons who is/are controlling has put themselves in the place of God to be feared.

    We do not have to go to heaven to find joy, hope, peace or comfort even in the midst of turmoil. I do not think we have to struggle to change either that is something that God does as He works within our hearts and minds when we allow Him access.

    If enough people refuse to stand on the side of justice democracies would have never been formed, women would still be subjugated, races would still be oppressed, walls would remain standing, countries remain divided, evil allowed to prevail, voices would still be quieted. I know that all those still exist but not like it once was because enough good people took a stand for those who felt like there was no way out.

  160. SFDBWV says:

    Hello Joyce. Matt had a little setback in his schedule this morning and that sets everything off for the most of his day. Normally he would be getting up to his bike now, but we won’t be doing that until 12 today.

    I had to meet a monument company at the cemetery at 10 and that worked out well as Matt had just began his rest from his earlier exercises and I was able to skedaddle up there and get the grave marked for them.

    I was happy to see this fellow get a marker as I had feared he may not. His was a one car funeral if you understand that. He was mildly retarded and from a family of six children that lived in our neighboring state of Maryland. A very nice woman at the nursing home where he finished out his life made the arrangements for his burial and stone within this past year.

    When he was a teenager while he, his sisters and brothers were eating a fried chicken dinner at home, there was an argument over a piece of chicken and his father ended up killed with a large carving knife stuck in his chest.

    Knowing all involved as I do, I do not agree, but the others blamed the killing on this retarded teenager and so he spent most of his life in some form of institutional living up until his death at 62 years of age.

    What has any of this to do with our subject? Nothing except that life goes on one life at a time, no matter what circumstances of world events are forming the future.

    Sometimes the struggle is just in living and sometimes we need to concentrate on that rather than thinking we need to know everything or have all the answers and just be content with what happiness and joy we receive today and let that be enough.

    We have beautiful fall colors and a perfect fall day of 70 degrees as I write. Matt will be getting up to his bike in a few more minutes and I can still tell him I love him and hear it returned to me as well. I have a wife I love and live where I always wanted to. Today is a day the Lord has made and I will rejoice in it.

    Be blessed.

    Steve

  161. Bill says:

    Good Morning (just barely; it’s 11:50 as I type this),

    Steve, I cannot thank you enough for what you wrote (September 30, 2014 at 8:44 am):

    ** Good morning Maru, it is no secret that I have not agreed with this topic. As I have viewed it from the angle of those who aren’t happy with their position in life wanting what another has, believing if they do their life will be better.

    There is nothing Scriptural or Christian about that.

    There is plenty though wrong in the world.

    If God is all powerful and has His will exacted in all matters, if nothing nor no one can stop or prevent Him, why then is there so much evil and unhappiness in the world?

    Why are ISIS members crucifying Christians beheading all who stand in their path and stirring up the dark clouds of war?

    Why doesn’t God do something to stop the madness? **

    Amen, brother. Amen.

    What makes world events even more scary is how our own government is handling them – telling us it’s not Islamic, and that beheadings in the work place right here in America are ‘workplace violence” and not what they are – Jihad, carried out on American soil.

    There’s something very sinister, very evil, about what’s happening in America. We’re witnessing the rise of a force that has the potential to make Hitler’s Germany look like a gathering of Boy Scouts…and yet we’re told it’s nothing to worry about. Move along, there’s nothing to see here.

    Right. Our government’s assertions that we’re not in imminent danger reveal a force at work in Washington that we’ve never seen before in the United States.

    You wrote:

    “Perhaps Christians should learn to wise up.”

    Yes. While Christians align themselves with radical-left political ideology and seek to take from the Haves to give to the Have-Nots, there’s an evil afoot that has the potential to change our way of life – perhaps forever.

    We’re majoring in the minors, allowing politics to blind us to the very real and present danger.

    It saddens me. Deeply.

    Then, you wrote (September 30, 2014 at 10:22 am) what may be one of the most profound and important posts I’ve ever read on BTA:

    ** What has any of this to do with our subject? Nothing except that life goes on one life at a time, no matter what circumstances of world events are forming the future.

    Sometimes the struggle is just in living and sometimes we need to concentrate on that rather than thinking we need to know everything or have all the answers and just be content with what happiness and joy we receive today and let that be enough. **

    That, my learned friend, is precisely it.

    That’s been the basis of my posts from Day One, several years ago.

    Until we get a grip on our own lives, and actually live what Jesus taught – including his “New Commandment” to love one another – we will miss all the blessings God has given us right here, right now, in this moment, right where we live.

    It doesn’t matter how many “rich” people there are in the world, or how “unfair” we think it is that they have money, while we do not. That’s as irrelevant to the Scriptures as the East is from the West.

    I truly hope people reading your posts dig in and allow your wisdom to wash over them. I am not kidding when I tell you your two posts this morning are the very essence of the Gospel. They do the Lord proud.

    Thank you.

    Love to All,

    Bill

  162. remarutho says:

    Dear BTA Friends —

    What is happening in the body of Christ — the Church universal — does affect we who are so comfortable in middle America. Have you never wondered why Chinese, Nigerian, Syrian and Iraqi Jesus-followers continue to oppose their repressive governments — whether underground or above?

    The truth has a way of sending a powerful shaking through the institutions of repression. Jesus is that Truth. As Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.”

    We are called to pray and intercede for all these who struggle. We are involved — radical, liberal, knee-jerk conservative — all are called to watch and pray.

    Yours in Christ,
    Maru

  163. poohpity says:

    Nothing about the Gospel has to do with us it is about the Love of God to fallen humanity. A love we do not have to earn and the Lord knows we do not know how to do it as well as He does yet does not withhold it from us.

    Calling others names like; know it all, right/left wing, radical, have/have not’s, retarded, etc., shows that love is missing. They have totally forgotten if they ever knew what the gospel is all about.

    The gospel is simple. It is about Jesus, He is the good news. It is not about you. Christ is our righteousness, our obedience, our justification, our sanctification and He is sitting at the right hand of God with all those things that can not be corrupted by us, keeping them safe. Please do not distort the gospel with vain philosophies that lack true wisdom. Wisdom comes from above it is pure, lovely, filled with grace and mercy not cannibalistic tearing people apart by classifying them by their behaviors and not their names.

    It is no wonder so many who say they are Christians seem to live such miserable lives and since they are miserable they want to impose it on others. One can not share joy unless they are experiencing it and one can not experience true joy without knowing Jesus.

  164. phpatato says:

    Deb you said “Nothing about the Gospel has to do with us it is about the Love of God to fallen humanity.”

    I may be misunderstanding you but Nothing about the Gospel has to do with us????

    I believe the Bible has it filed under the Great Commission. It is found in Mark 16:15 – King James Bible –

    And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    The Gospel has everything to do with us.

    I also don’t understand your comment about calling names. In your paragraph, was the word retarded. It may not be politically correct but I don’t believe Steve was using that word to call anybody a name. He was simply stating a fact that this boy was Special Needs – I do believe that is the politically correct version now. (Give it 5 years and this phrase will likely become politically incorrect too depending of course on anybody who decides they don’t like that term and who possesses the gift of power of persuasion to sway the masses) There are haves and there are have-nots. That too is a fact in this world. Some people have more than others. What word or words are used to describe this does not alter the fact. I don’t believe it is name calling. It is only, in my opinion, stating a truth with different ways to coin the words.

  165. joycemb says:

    Steve I think there is great wisdom in what you say also.

    Simplicity.

    Simplicity is key to walking out the gospel.

  166. poohpity says:

    Pat, surely you are kidding. What is the gospel you share with others?

  167. poohpity says:

    Joyce, if someone said a purple plant was yellow you would agree with them and flatter them for saying it.

  168. joycemb says:

    Pooh,
    LOL! If I’m such a disappointment to you, which I really don’t care about, then don’t read my posts!
    I love you in the Lord!
    Joyce

  169. street says:

    …How will the truth make people free?

    the truth of the cross makes us free from sin and death!

    we were dead in our sin prior to the cross, especially from the point of view for being a gentile.

    now we are alive to a Living Savior/God!

    ok now back to the trenches……but if must, linger in the presents of your Living Savior as long as you like.

  170. poohpity says:

    Joyce, I have no expectations of you so there is no way you could disappoint me in the least but I did disappoint myself by what I said, that was rude and uncalled for. Will you forgive me?

    Sure you love me in the Lord, lol! That seems to be only words devoid of any real meaning.

  171. phpatato says:

    Deb surely you are the one kidding, although by the underlying tone of your words in your latest posts, I suspect you aren’t kidding; that you are perhaps in a bad mood?

    I share the Good News Deb. And that Good News IS the Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Surely I don’t have to explain this any further???

    I wish you a better day tomorrow.

  172. joycemb says:

    Pooh absolutely I forgive you. I really do love you in the Lord, as I do all Christian brothers and sisters. I also love those not yet believers and even those hostile to Him with the love that He gives me. Relentlessly, just like Him. Not perfectly, but as much as I am able until He shows me how to love them more.
    Blessings, Joyce

  173. poohpity says:

    Pat, if you know the good news then what in it has to do with us? Is it not about what Jesus did? By what you wrote it did not seem like you understood that.

    It does not seem like you know me well enough to understand what my tone is or isn’t without a preconceived notion of dislike that shades how you read what I write. I was not in a bad mood I was set back almost to tears at your reply and understanding of the gospel.

  174. phpatato says:

    Deb

    Quite honestly, I have to tell you, you have me rolling my eyes. There is nothing more I can say to this. Really.

  175. poohpity says:

    That is exactly what I was talking about. I know what you think of me and it influences how you read what I write even as far as the gospel. What you think of me is more a reflection of who you are not who I am.

  176. poohpity says:

    Pat, how is your husband doing? I have not ceased in praying for him and your family. I know how hard it is to watch those we love struggle under the weight of disease.

  177. Bill says:

    Deb,

    Please do not provoke or continue any more arguments.

    And, for Pete’s sake, don’t try to make Pat think she’s done something wrong for calling it straight regarding your posts. She’s not projecting herself or her feelings about you into them. Your posts – and the intent behind them – are quite clear.

    How about we all just quit with the thin skins and the constant need to apologize.

    Let’s put our big boy and big girl pants on and be adults here.

    BTA is a tremendous place to spend time with believers from all over the world. We shouldn’t be afraid to post comments for fear of being provoked into an argument…or made to feel like we need to beg forgiveness all the time.

    This is childish.

    Bill

  178. poohpity says:

    Yep I agree blaming others for our feelings, thoughts and actions is really childish. You are really on to something there Mr Bill.

  179. joycemb says:

    Bill, when I was in college and found out I had a narcissist for an advisor I figured I was sunk, but tried and prayed so hard to learn anyway, but ended up getting hurt very badly. Narcissists do not have the ability to empathize or think of others, only themselves. You can find good information about this online from Sam Vaknin, himself an narcissist who can tell you how they think and affect organizations, groups, etc.

    That said, I have decided to quit this blog, as no matter what is said, the narcissist in this group continues to reek havoc and its just not healthy.

    Sadly,
    Joyce

  180. narrowpathseeker says:

    Joyce, I come back here now and then to see if anything has changed and unfortunately it has changed only in the sense that things have gotten worse. Several very loving, kind, honest, and knowledgeable people have come and gone from this blog. Meantime, the major source of the problem not only stays on but is praised more often than not and excused for the rest. It is a very sad example for those coming here seeking a peek at Christianity, but I guess that is not as important as catering to this person for whatever reason that this is done. You are right….it’s just not healthy, but please do not feel ignored or alone. There are more people in that boat with you than you may realize. I enjoyed reading your views…I found them genuinely honest, humble, knowledgeable, and interesting. I believe BTA has lost another exceptionally REAL person.
    Blessings to you.

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