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Simplicity and Complexity


Flickr Photo by: Ars Electronica

I found the conversation following the last post  thoughtful and encouraging.

Yet my heart aches for the friends who, as Jeff1 suggests, have been led to distraction, disappointment, and disillusionment by false leads about the Bible. In that regard, I think Pooh’s questions about how to recognize misinformation about the Spirit and Word especially helpful.

And, Jeff1, hope its O.K. with you if we think together about your experience of wanting to protect the simplicity of faith by keeping our focus on what Christ did for us on the Cross—yet without the resulting confidence in Scripture and  discernment Pooh described.

I get why some might be hesitant to study the Bible because of the ways it has been misused to mislead. Yet as Pooh and others have pointed out, the Scriptures provide the perspective and food for the soul that we desperately need.

Some of you who have followed this blog may have noticed that I’ve become increasingly convinced that most of the New Testament references to the Word, the word of truth, the engrafted word etc are references to the message of or about Christ the living Word. Some of these passages refer specifically to Him—rather than to the message about him.

Seems to me that such a conclusion comes with a needed simplicity and focus in the Son who offers to lead us to his Father. Yet, as we’ve also noted along the way, that simplicity is deepened and enriched through—rather than at the expense of— the whole revelation of God that we find from Genesis to Revelation—and Nature.

It is in this sense that I’ve come to think that the whole of inspired Scripture, as all Creation, helps to tell the story of our need of the living Word. Everything that is shadowed and twisted by self-centered desire and pride shows our need for his rescue. Everything that is good, beautiful and wonderful points us to the life that has its source in Him.

The simplicity is ours to cling to in the Gospel (good news of Christ)…

….And in our shadowy, broken world of fallen complexity, every story, song, and prayer of inspired Scripture… (and  in their light— maybe even the flight and plight of Philae)… all can add perspective and illustration for the help we need to find ourselves and our way, again, in the most personal Word of all.





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108 Responses to “Simplicity and Complexity”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    My heart aches also for those who love Jesus so much because of each one’s personal experience of His intervening love that shelters, shields, encourages, directs and heals. Yet, the daunting topics of Israelite Law, empire, prophecy and wisdom appear as a wall, not a door to a richer understanding of Messiah and Messiah’s kingdom.

    Perhaps that fire of love for our Savior can spur us on to the humbling task of hearing and understanding the stories of the patriarchs, kings, prophets and poets. Can these stories ever be truly part of simply following the Lord Jesus? How does the Word direct the youngest child of God?

    As you said, Mart:
    “Everything that is good, beautiful and wonderful points us to the life that has its source in Him.”

    I pray for us to be salted with fire (Mark 9:39) so that we would be thirsty for this Son of God, Son of Man. There is a worthy challenge here.


  2. remarutho says:

    My Scripture reference is Mark 9:49. Sorry. :o)

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Revelation 5:1-13 tells quite a lot about the Lamb of God, but the one thing that stands out in all the history of mankind upon the earth is that “no man was found worthy…” (Revelation 5:4) and that the “Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David has prevailed…” (Revelation 5:5) and very importantly “worthy is the Lamb…” (Revelation 5:12).

    If this was all you heard about Jesus you would be very confused, but all of the references to the Christ are found in the Bible within the pages of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. The only way you are going to learn what these references mean are either by reading the “Word” or hearing it read to you.

    This morning on life science news there is a story about a 7th or 8th century Egyptian handbook of spells being deciphered. Very interesting is that the codex was written by Coptic Christians. The decoders believe that perhaps these “Christians” may have been a group called “Sethians” who held Adam’s third son in high regard and had references to other individuals unfamiliar to what we are in our “Bible”. Yet heavy reference to Jesus as Lord.

    What kind of Christian are we if we have no Bible to refer to?

    Certainly the very early Christians only had the writings and word of mouth that the Apostle’s spread to other tongues and peoples, they also had the Holy Spirit to lead and direct.

    However without the written Word how could they make certain that what they believed was in sync with what we know of now as the written Word?

    Is it that every one of us believes that which their heart tells us is true?

    If we accept that the Holy Spirit orchestrated the compilation of Books into the Bible we have today as a result of making the “Word” clear and exposing some Christian followings as misdirected or false, then the Bible as it is written becomes the final word on our faith and beliefs. Everything then has to be confirmed by what we find written in Scripture, even when we feel it directed from the Holy Spirit, it has to agree with Scripture.

    I have to leave it here for now as I am continuously being interrupted and drawn away and it late in the morning for me to be able to do this.


  4. joycemb says:

    I too found Poohs information helpful, in fact am interested in reading more-Pooh who is the source of the article? So hard to find good clean direction in our complicated world of faith. Even many who claim to know Christ have fallen victim to deception. But for the written word our spiritual compass would be guided by seers and prophets like in older times. Isaiah 65:1,2 he seeks us out! Oh joy!

  5. poohpity says:

    Steve, the early church had the same scriptures that Jesus taught from in the scrolls from Moses through the prophets what we call them the Old Testament. Jesus revealed Himself in them from the beginning.

    Joyce, It came from “Come With Me” written by Elaine Martens Hamilton and Kathy Escobar through Discovery House Publishers.

  6. rokdude5 says:

    Good morning to all. A few years ago as I was doing my morning devotion, I came across Matthew 22:29. Of course, like so many times before where a previously read verse now jumps off the page, that one hit me like a sledge hammer.

    I didnt want God to say that I didnt know Scriptures either so I found myself digging deeper, memorizing and parting words from the original Hebrew and Greek. I now read not just one but three different commentaries. (By the way, all this is free on the internet.)

    Back in the day, Scriptures were written on scrolls. No page numbers, no chapters, no punctuation marks. You had to know which Scroll and where on the Scroll to find the verse youre looking for.

    But now with all of the new high tech tools, am I any closer to God? Am I living His Word out in my life more largely now? I will await His answer when I see Him.

  7. jeff1 says:

    Does it matter to God if I have not studied the Bible for I believe that he uses us as he sees fit. I seen somewhere that most younger people in America revere their bible as I do but do not know it. Surely if I have a heart for God then it is likely that I will know what is true, right and wonderful. My understanding is that I may stumble and fall at times but is that not so of those who have studied the bible or are you saying that biblical insight makes you more righteous in God’s sight. If that is so then surely it means God will use you accordingly. As the gospel song goes:

    Known only to him are the great hidden secrets
    I fear not the darkness when my flame shall dim
    I know not what the future holds but I know who holds the future,it’s a secret known only to him.

    In this World of fear and doubt
    On my knees I ask the question
    Why a lonely heavy Cross I must bear
    Then he tells me in my Prayers
    It’s because I am trust worthy
    He gives me strength
    Far more than my share

    Known only to him
    Are the great hidden secrets
    I fear not the darkness
    When my flame shall dim
    I know not what the future holds
    But I know who holds the future
    It’s a secret known only to him
    Only to Him.

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    Brothers and Sisters… If faith comes by hearing, and it does according to the scriptures, and hearing alone were all there is to the story of the Bible, then faith alone is enough, and no other references or thoughts would be needed to be conveyed in the Scriptures.

    But, there is so much more to the story then just professing our first glimpse of faith or revelation from God.

    There is, “The rest of the story.”

    Matthew 16:16 (NIV) Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.”

    Peter was expressing a “glimpse of revelation,” which Christ then declared in verse 17, “Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

    Yet, the very next part of the story takes us to another thought form Peter, this time it was a natural one, which was very strongly contended by Christ, “Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man.

    Upon which rock was the church built if not Peter’s thought or the revelation which came from God only?

    Clearly, the battle of the mind was not yet finished after Peter made his first God-given profession or revelation.

    Any revelation, or any thought in your mind that goes against the word of God, does not come from God.

    To qualify the origination or true authorship of each thought, even that still small voice you hear, it must be first held accountable to the scriptures, or the highest standard written by God, and not from any science books, or any of man’s other creative writings, or any of the world’s views.

    So, if you do not know the word, God’s Word, found in the Bible, or have never heard the word, or have no access to the word, then you can not fully trust any thought within you, even with the faith that you think God gave you, even if you confess with your mouth that Christ is Lord, the battle of the mind is not yet over.

    We can however overcome even our sin nature and our natural thoughts, If we know the scriptures and obey them.

    Simple and Complex…

    2 Corinthians 10: 3,4,5 (NIV) Wow,how simple!

    1 John 3:4,5,6 Lays down the law on what is a sin.

    It is Lawlessness. Wow, simple!

    1 John 3:7,8,9,10 (NIV) Tells us what actually constitutes a false teaching. A false teaching is certainly one which makes a way to allow for our continued sinning.

    Now it gets complicated…

    If your current belief system or teachings encountered has renewed your mind saying that today you are okay with your continued sinning because of God’s Unfailing Love and Grace, then you have been falsely taught, according the scriptures.

    It is true that we will never reach totally sinless perfection in these bodies, but we should sin less, should not allow ourselves to continually justify our sin just because we think it is something we must daily continue doing.

    We who are born again, no longer are compelled to have to following that old sin nature, we have a helper in the Holy Spirit, which can help us change our thoughts and our lives through the renewing of the mind.

    Be Blessed, Gary

    There must be a reason for the renewing of the mind, because all sin by its nature comes about through a thought first,before it comes an act.

    The battle we have is in the mind and each one of us battles daily with who directs each thought, and which thought then has its reign in us.

    Our first thought comes through our nature, or natural mindset, however, God has provided us with a Helper the Holy Spirit, which also has a voice inside every believer, renewing his mind, to align with God’s word, plan, and will.

    Which voice you chose to listen to and “obey,” is the voice that reigns over you.

    So, vital is this provision which only comes from God that God declares in ?is Word, that no one who belongs to Christ will continue to sin.

    That premise can only come to fruition by the renewing of the mind, for that which you think is right to you, you will follow and become.

    The battlefield of the mind is never settled while we live in these natural bodies, because our nature, or mindset, does not naturally align with God’s.

  9. street says:

    dear mart, it’s going to be a good week of blogging and reflecting.
    mart said,”Some of these passages refer specifically to Him—rather than to the message about him.” yep, if you apply scripture to yourself that is meant specifically for God you will find yourself in a very barren place or untenable place.

    “The simplicity is ours to cling to in the Gospel…”

    i think as followers we make it hard non believers or babes by using unfamiliar words…like gospel, trinity, or other theological words that require more than a pass in conversation. i think people use the word more as slang for truth, good news, or a story. if you substitute cross for gospel you will definitely raise the stakes and an eye brow. speech should please the One in whom you serve, no other.
    this brings me back to the Kings Highway and the false sense of fear that shows up in me and others along the way. fear takes our focus off the One we follow an places the focus on our selves. to be sure we need to fear God above all else. this fear is not the kind of fear wear the wrath of God is on us, since it as been remove by the cross, it the fear that He will accomplish His will in us with joy or discipline. and we know discipline is not so much fun. He is Faithful.

  10. street says:

    steve said,”If we accept that the Holy Spirit orchestrated the compilation of Books into the Bible we have today as a result of making the “Word” clear and exposing some Christian followings as misdirected or false, then the Bible as it is written becomes the final word on our faith and beliefs.”

    isn’t this what Genesis teaches, that God is the final authority on all life? you shall live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” guess i have more learning to do. i substituted “by” for on. one word changes everything.

  11. poohpity says:

    No one “has” to read the Bible. God does not force anything on us. It does not produce righteousness only Christ does that but how would you know that? How would one know that Christ died for our sins? What is the Gospel? What is Grace? Do not read the bible you do not have to do anything you do not want to do, it is that easy. Step away from those Bibles and just listen to others who said they have read it to tell you whats in it and is what they are telling you the truth? You will never know.

  12. street says:

    John 6:54
    John 6:55
    John 6:56

    do you think the Word of God is Jesus without the flesh?

    1 John 1:1 amazing that we can still hear Him, see Him and touch Him even today.

  13. poohpity says:

    Warning for those who do not want to read the Bible scroll past this one.

    How is that street? I believe we can hear Him but John was with Jesus so he could see and touch Him but blessed are those who do not see or touch yet still believe. John 20:29 NIV

  14. jeff1 says:

    I think that as followers Street is right you make it hard for believers/non believers who are struggling to understand biblical teaching. I was brought up with the gospel but I was taught to keep it simple we sang hymns, we prayed and went to our Church halls for outings. In life we took the rough with the smooth on the understanding that we were saved by God and as such would be a living sacrifice i.e. we who are crucified in Christ will rise in Glory. I know in my mind I have wandered many times from pure thinking but as Gary says while I am in this body its a battle I get on with in the knowledge that I am saved – it is finished. Christ risen. I endeavour to lead my life pleasing to God which I feel is more important and more likely to have an impact. Even my son who is not a believer said to me one day that at least I did good deeds not like many Christians he knew who talked the talk but did not walk the walk. If we want to draw people to Christ actions speak louder than words at least that is what I was brought with and find it to be true.

  15. poohpity says:

    Jeff, Where did you learn those things you are talking about i.e. crucified in Christ will rise in glory; living sacrifice; things pleasing to God; knowledge of salvation, etc,?

  16. poohpity says:

    jeff, I am sad that you feel I make it hard for believers/unbelievers struggling to understand biblical truths but thank you so much for being honest with me. I am not very good with writing what is in my heart. I will work on that.

  17. street says:

    poo said,”How is that street?”

    dear poo john is a first person witness to Jesus. we become first person witnesses, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. when did they become witness? before or after Pentecost?

    you can not testify of what you do not know. i hear things, see things and touch things that i can not know on my own. they have to be given to me. Luke 11:9

  18. poohpity says:

    You have seen and touched Jesus?

  19. poohpity says:

    You were born not of flesh and blood nor from the will of man? How were you born?

  20. poohpity says:

    You are so right I can not testify about how that came to be!

  21. joycemb says:

    If I may I believe street is talking about the “white” of scripture.

  22. foreverblessed says:

    Just before I read this new topic I found a little book I had lost, a bible handbook by Halley that was from my father:

    On the first printed page that is almost white but for one little sentence:

    “the Bible is the most priceless possession of the human race”

    That made me think: is that really so?
    What is the most precious gift for mankind?
    The exceeding great precious Jewell from Above for us man given by our Great Father in Heaven, what is it?

  23. foreverblessed says:

    By the way, that picture is beautiful!
    As always your pictures make me smile, what a gift to put a good one with the topic.
    A glimpse of heaven shown in daily life.
    Is that picture taken in Vienna?

  24. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    Have tried lots of ways of reading the whole Bible, plans that include several kinds of Scripture every day: Old Testament History (Samuel, Chronicles, Kings…); Gospel (Matt, Mk, Lk, Jn); Wisdom (Eccl, Ps, Pr…); Epistles and so on. A couple of years ago, I “stumbled” upon (meaning I was directed by the blessed Holy Spirit) Prof. Grant Horner’s Ten List Plan. It has been a great help in shedding the light of God’s presence upon all of life. As you put it, Mart:

    “…And in our shadowy, broken world of fallen complexity, every personal story, song, and prayer of inspired Scripture… and— in their light— maybe even the flight and plight of Philae… all can add perspective illustration for the help we need to find ourselves and our way, again, and again, in the Word.“

    We do need to “find ourselves and our way again and again,” as you say, Mart.

    Complexity, it seems to me, springs from the confusing mixture of truth and lies portrayed in the fallen culture around us – Horner says especially from movies, which are how we do philosophy in our time. The Word of God – on the pages of the Bible and in the presence of Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit develops a devoted hearer’s discernment so that (s)he can find “the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Tim 3:15, 16) The Apostle Paul urged Timothy to become a “man of God…adequate, equipped for every good work.” (v 17)

    Sorry my post is so long.


  25. SFDBWV says:

    Which came first the chicken or the egg?

    If you believe the simple explanation of Genesis it is obvious that the chicken came first.

    Satan said in a challenging delivery to Eve, “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the Garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Eve replied, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall Ye touch it, lest Ye die.

    Genesis 2:9 tells us that there were two trees in the midst of the garden, the Tree of Life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Eve when answering Satan added to what God had said by adding that God also said she and Adam were not to even touch the fruit. It is not written in Genesis that God said that at all.

    Eve may have been the first person recorded to do what all of us do, especially “experts”, by adding to what God says in order to make it sound more palatable or more pleasing to the ear.

    Today’s churches are grossly guilty of changing the meaning of Scripture to be more aligned with society and politically correct.

    Remembering who it was that twisted the truth in order to beguile Eve, we must be very vigilant in what we accept into our hearts as truth, no matter who we hear it from.

    Profoundly interesting in Genesis 3:22 it is written that God said “Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat and live forever: Genesis 3:23 “Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.”

    A great deal of thought and conjecture can be applied to those two verses, but the simple understanding is that man was cast out of Eden for his own good as well as part of the consequences of his actions.

    Which voice do you listen to, the written Word or what isn’t written only implied?


  26. poohpity says:

    Joyce, words printed on the pages (black/red) are just words until we gasp, hear, expereince the heart of God (white).

  27. joycemb says:

    I asked God once what was on His heart and He said Israel. It broke my heart to see the depth of love he still carries for his people. So thankful to be engrafted in to be one of his chosen, redeemed people who still loves us even in our rebellion. Reading scripture is a good way to find out the history of our collective journey throughout time and beyond. It also teaches godly behavior and intimacy with God as revealed by the prophets, apostles and yes the rejects of society such as I am depending on who I’m with- lol! I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see.

  28. poohpity says:

    Maru, I had followed many reading plans until one year ODB, which always has a read through the bible in a year guide, had a chronological reading plan. Oh my it put a whole new perspective on the Bible for me. I remember when BruceC did it too and he was fascinated and ended up reading through it faster than a year.

    There was a time when I was drifting away from God taking much for granted and reading the Bible no longer seemed that important to me. I still attended bible studies, went to church and was going through the motions with service in and out of church but something was missing. I missed the intimacy every morning having a cup of coffee, reading His Word and talking with the Lord before the start of the day. It was a very dry four years. I was thirsty for the Living Water and hungry for the Bread of Life.

  29. remarutho says:

    Love that chronological plan, Pooh!

    It really irons out the wrinkles in seeing where the prophets fit in the history of the kings — and where the epistles fit in the history of the 1st c. church in Acts, for example. So grateful for all the Bible teachers, Bible-in-a-years plans, online tools — and blog encouragement we are receiving in these days. God’s word has never been more accessible in any age. Seems like there is something for everybody.
    Come Lord Jesus!

    Joy all day,

  30. poohpity says:

    True dat!!! :-)

  31. poohpity says:

    Maru, the sad part is that in western culture where we have all those accesses to the Bible it is taken for granted and more Christians do not read it than those who do. In the countries where they do not have accesses like we do crave the Word. They covet even one page of the Bible and have to hide to read it yet would give anything for it.

  32. poohpity says:

    A friend that my daughter went to school with spent the first 14 years of their marriage and raised three children in the jungles of Papua New Guinea with the Mibu people group learning their language to translate the bible into their language. They had to be flown in by a helicopter to reach where they lived.

  33. oneg2dblu says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters… As I ponder the post that we are made of flesh by flesh, I have no real conflict with what that word says, because, “God’s Written Word” says that God knew us, even before we were formed in the womb.
    Also nothing that lives lives alone or for itself, and God alone gives life, all life. He made every living thing, and all other things, because He created all things.
    Yes, am I a living part of my parents coming together as one?
    Of course, we learned that in science class.
    But who made my parents parents, and their parents parents, and all other parents right back to the first pair of chickens, using Steve’s point, He Created in the Garden?
    The Creator of all things.
    It is written…
    He who makes the white between the words and the lines, that seem to speak to us.
    I must admit I have never stared at a piece of white paper for any other reason except when I was taught a lesson about vision and invention.
    That if you want to know the exact opposite of any color?
    First you need stare at one color for 10 seconds or longer, and then quickly place a peace of white paper before your eyes, and the eye, the eye that only God can make, will fill in the blank space with the perfect opposing color, or the perfect answer.
    Now, what happens if you’re are color blind????
    Probably the same thing that happens to those who have read all things ever produced in writing, yet God has blinded them from seeing Christ.
    They filled with many words, come up empty.
    Or, as my Pastor says, “Empty, Lonely, Guilty, and Afraid of Death.”
    Be Blessed

  34. jeff1 says:

    Pooh, we are dead to this World our life is with Christ (living sacrifice), God took us to himself before the World began we have inherited the Kingdom because God first loved us, this is not about our love for God, this is about God’s love for us. A people who would be peculiar to this World how do I know this is not important. What is important that God speaks to his Children differently because they are different. He speaks to the child in me if that is all I understand, he speaks to the maturity in you because that is what you understand. I have never read scripture yet when I go sightseeing I look at the beauty around me and wonder of creation and I know immediately this is not man’s work this is God’s work. When I listen to music in particular Gospel music I feel God’s presence, a soothing calmness comes over me. You ask me to explain these things I cannot. I am overwhelmed at times how simple God speaks to me but equally I am overwhelmed with the complexity of which it works out in my life. From I was a child I wondered about the suffering in the World, how complex it seemed to me and I would say to my Father why is there so much suffering and my Father would say Christ suffered. He did not have to explain it to me Child or not I understood what my Father meant ‘You are in Good Company.’ God never explains suffering, in my own experience it has been because of bad choices, actions of others or inaction on my part. How do I understand this when my own Children today seem to be looking to Science instead. God works in mysterious ways, it is beyond my comprehension yet I know in my heart that it is so. God works with us at our level that’s why he says ‘Come as you Are’, failure in this World makes us feel shame, unworthy, depressed, failure in God’s World, there isn’t any I can use you as you are. It breaks my heart when my family tell me I am crazy for believing what I do but I know God will bring them some day to him, I have no idea where and when or how but I know I can trust him. You see that’s what is more important to me trusting God than trying understand scripture. You see I grew up with people who could quote you chapter and verse of the bible and they did. Some could debate for hours but it did nothing for me. Sometimes they were talking way above my understanding so I decided that this was not for me. My mother used to say one persons meat is another persons poison
    i.e. what works for one doesn’t work for another. I am blessed to have an inherited Kingdom my desire now is for my Children to know they are too.

  35. SFDBWV says:

    I told the wife of my much younger nephew the other afternoon, in jest, that I have reached the age where I get to tell stories over again, not because I have forgotten them, only because I have forgotten whether I told them to whomever I am talking to.

    So I tell a little story again for its effect.

    Some thirty five or more years ago my Mormon cousin sent me a Mormon Bible as she had just converted to the faith and wanted to share her experience with me.

    In speaking with another lady friend afterwards I told her of receiving the book and she said shaking her head left to right, “hold it right there Steve, I have trouble enough just understanding what I think I know, I can’t take any more input at this time.”

    I laughed.

    My point is that everyone is different in their abilities to “take any more in” and many need to simply rest on the simplicity of salvation and not try and figure all the rest out.

    I think there may be a point at which all of us find ourselves in my friend Sandy’s position and I believe there not to be any problem with that.

    I wish more of us were like her in that she had no problem admitting where she was with her faith and not needing any more “distractions”.

    I have found it is only when others insist that we believe exactly as they do within these distractions that there is strife and turmoil within the body of Christ.

    Though there are some who may even disagree about salvation and attach addendums and codicils to even that.

    Best then to leave the matter to the Holy Spirit to work out.


  36. joycemb says:

    Just because we may misunderstand others in their relationship with Christ it is not ok or condoned by Christ or the apostles to condemn or shame others by expressing personal sadness because they don’t think the same way we think about faith. What is heard is “I feel sorry for you because you don’t think like I do”. Or, shame on you for not revering the Bible like I do. It may not be what’s in our heart, but words are so powerful for good or evil.

  37. poohpity says:

    Not everybody thinks the way you do Joyce, thankfully!!

  38. poohpity says:

    Trust me I really understand what you are saying Jeff about the harsh realities of those who have misused or used the Bible to beat people up, break them down, drown them in bondage and are swallowed up in religion. I am glad that I got to read the Word for myself before I meant people like that, they have turned people away from something so beautiful. Sad you had that experience that turned you away before you got to find out what is in it for yourself. At least you are getting parts of it in music. I totally understand.

  39. Mart De Haan says:

    Jeff1, yes, you’re right, I overlooked the fact that I was using “Gospel” as insider language/shortcut with meaning that was not clear. And I can also see how some of what I wrote could be taken as being condescending in tone– i.e. feeling bad for those who don’t see the Bible as being an important source of spiritual nourishment.

    Guess this is another indication of how important it is to remember that we all come from different experiences that shape what we hear, see, and say… and for that reason why it is important to be gentle in what we say, and patient in what we hear.

  40. jeff1 says:

    Please do not get me wrong Pooh, I do not believe it was their intention to put me off, they were zealous to learn and so did not realize I was not taking it in. The point I am trying to make is that God found away to speak to me through creation and music and that everyone’s journey is different. My problem with my friends was that they thought I should be doing it their way but I don’t believe there is a right or wrong way. God will speak to us in whatever way we need. He meets us where we are that is what is so mysterious that God knows his Children and can call them individually or collectively as he sees fit. Mart I know that the bible is an important source of spiritual nourishment for many and that is great when interpretated to use for correction and growth but I have seen it used to condemn and divide and the results are very damaging and that is why I choose another way.

  41. cbrown says:

    Pooh, on November 22, 2014 you posted to Philae sleeps a post that included the following excerpt; It goes on to say that sometimes we think it is God but what Satan tells us fits so well with our distortions and misunderstanding of how we think God feels about us like;
    1. Accusing, nagging, and mocking. Generates fear and causes confusion.
    2. Generates an overall sense of guilt, as if everything is wrong. Creates feelings of hopelessness and weakness.
    3. Discouraging attacks that makes you think you are worthless.
    4. Brings up the past by replaying poor choices, sin and shame.
    5. Produces feelings of rejection that God is angry and punitive.
    6. Pushes you to isolate and withdraw from others.
    7. Looks at the negative and the horrible way you feel as the way it is.” Several people read the entire post and commented on it positively. Good thoughts. Love in Christ, Chris

  42. poohpity says:

    Joyce, that was not meant to be an ouch. It was meant in the light of this blog, Been Thinking if we all thought alike what would be the use of even sharing. Really listening to others and not projecting the way we each think that is how we learn to not only know about but to know them. If we project the way we think on God then we are not listening to Him either. Like I do not believe God would tell anyone to “shut up” like you thought He said to you the other day. He seems to be much more patient, kind and gentle with us than that, to me.

    Jeff, I guess I do not understand if one has never read the Bible then how can they be against it? Is that assuming what is in it? Like I said before it does not seem like a have to, it is more like a want to.

  43. street says:

    9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will demand My [a]sheep [b]from them and make them cease from feeding [c]sheep. So the shepherds will not [d]feed themselves anymore, but I will deliver My flock from their mouth, so that they will not be food for them.”’”11 For thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out.

    15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you [f]love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [g]love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you [h]love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [i]love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you [j]love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you [k]love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I [l]love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.

  44. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    Not sure all is clearly either simplicity or complexity on the ground, as we make the journey of faith day by day. Mart, you clearly contrast evil and good as you write:

    “Everything that is shadowed and twisted by self-centered desire and pride shows our need for his rescue. Everything that is good, beautiful and wonderful points us to the life that has its source in Him”

    Each believing human heart contains things both twisted and good. We must learn that there is a deep well of living water in Jesus Christ (the source of living water) which cleanses and makes wiser and prevents us from becoming cynical in the world.

    How can we be transformed by the renewing of our mind — drawing on the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God if we do not continually seek the presence of Jesus?

    Wiping the slate of my heart clean does not seem helpful if it does not then have written on it the living Word. Christ died (we follow Him in baptism). Christ was buried (so is our moment under the water). Christ rose to new life (we emerge from the water of baptism). He ascended (we receive the Holy Spirit because he returned to heaven). The Law we keep is the Law of Love. How do we get to know this if we do not hear it from the first-hand reports of those who knew Jesus? I am not condemned by the Word, but rather transformed, it seems to me, if I hold still and allow the Lord to work.


  45. poohpity says:

    street, what is the comparison or the message you are making between what the Lord told Ezekiel and Peter?

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    Brothers and Sisters… To me, the Word convicts us into seeking a transformation or change, as it shows us our need for a Savior.
    Yet many refusing God’s help clearly see it only as a condemning list of don’ts, and those who feel that way may feel it is a snare to their freedom.
    They think it will trap them and they quickly put it aside, or bury it on a shelf somewhere.
    Like a contagion to be avoided.
    It can not bless them or release them, or renew their mind and their rejecting it, are they not also rejecting its message?

  47. joycemb says:

    That’s fine you don’t believe me Pooh, but in His love God tells me when to speak and when not to. It’s part of the relationship we have. Heb. 12:6-12. Because He loves me and wants me to be holy as He is though my physical life is under control, not so much my tongue. I consider it discipline when He tells to stop talking, wait, and listen.

  48. street says:

    dear poo, you will have to understand them in the context in which they are spoken and to whom they were spoken to. they my not apply to you or myself. the best part of both quotes is that God goes out of His way to speak to His own.

  49. street says:

    Simplicity and Complexity
    i think of the simplicity of understanding different things about God that morph into an unending richness in Himself. this plays out in our world as well. the complexity to me, seems more impersonal and mechanical. much like the letter of the law vs the Spirit.

  50. street says:

    joycemb i like the verse 13 of Hebrews 12 added to your post.

    Hebrews 12:12,13 12 Therefore, [g]strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

    strengthening and making straight paths seems to be difficult. after closer inspection this question came up, does this apply to ourselves or others? i suspect it applies to self. thanks joycemb

  51. street says:

    My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled. I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love, and teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:123-124

  52. jeff1 says:

    Pooh your 6.30 pm post says:

    I guess I do not understand if one has not read the bible how they can be against it? Is that assuming what is in it?

    You have made a presumption here probably because you do not know me that I am against the bible. That is not what I am saying I said I choose a different way to hear God i.e. through creation and gospel music because of the fact that I had a negative experience of biblical teachers. That is not saying I do not trust the Bible actually I do trust the Bible, it is the complexity of biblical interpretation that confused me and led me to take a different approach to listening for God’s word.

    History tells us that most of men’s wrongdoing has been fuelled by misinterpretation of the Bible, i.e. leading them to the conclusion that God is on their side. I listen to Discover the Word and have no doubt that the intention hear is to get biblical teaching right. Most of the people I was listening were not bothered about getting it right, on the contrary they were reading the verses that suited their beliefs and using it against others with different beliefs to prove they were right. They were not studying the bible to know God they were studying it to have a go at their adversaries.

    My father had taught me right from wrong and I knew this was wrong, they would not see it my way, they put it down to ignorance on my part, and that is partly true but it was a simple faith upbringing that took me away from wrong teaching.

    These people are my friends today and I love them very much but they still use the bible wrongly, God will correct them in his time and in his way.

    I do not believe I am the one he will do it through because they do not listen to me and I am too close to them which blinds me as well.

    I am not saying here that my motives have always been right but I do examine my own heart and realize this at times, my friends are not doing that. I know their reasons and they feel justified because of years of violence against them by their adversaries but that does not make it right, they are suffering and they are hurting, I have suffered and hurt with them but it has been a simple faith that has kept me knowing they are wrong in their motives.

  53. SFDBWV says:

    Personally, I have plenty of distractions. Learning to deal with distractions while paying attention to detail is part of life.

    I admit I have been having a tough time seizing the intent of this particular subject.

    Reading through everyone’s comments it seems there is a disagreement but I am not seeing what is being disagreed about.

    What good is it for us to be intellectually on top of what the Scriptures say if we are not living what they direct us to be?

    All of us know people who quote chapter and verse of Scripture, but show no actual following of them. In fact we see almost daily some big shot preacher get caught up in some embarrassing exposure of their particular sin.

    Even when I write that I hear the echo of Scripture saying “Your sin will find you out!” (Numbers 32:23)

    My point is that life is lived and whatever point in life we are right now dictates our feelings and varying needs. If we are “in” Christ, then our attitudes reflect that even as we feel tested or exhausted.

    Did Jesus feel abandoned? The Scriptures say he did. Did Jesus feel frustrated? The Scriptures say He did. Wherever we are in life, we can have hope because of Jesus of Nazareth. That alone is all some of us have to hold on to and enough to sustain us.


  54. street says:

    Like I do not believe God would tell anyone to “shut up” like you thought He said to you the other day. He seems to be much more patient, kind and gentle with us than that, to me.

    this patient, kind and gentle God kills people with the second death. He is Holy.

    along the same thought, people can not believe a Loving God would do all those things in the Old Testament. they need to look at what He has planed and spelled out in the New Testament. instead looking at past actions turn the pages of the Bible to the right to the last book, Revelation.

    the amazing thing is we all deserve the second death. God in His mercy saves by substitution. the price is still payed. His justice requires that. the cross is where His justice and love meet to save sinners. it is unmerited and only received by repentance/faith. this gift can be given by word of mouth. paul was very happy it was spreading, even by those who were not living it. God is never limited by us. we have to watch and pray. our advisory, although defeated, is still at large. it is so important to understand that Christ is our Champion in all things and we are Sons in whom the Sprite of God dwells by adoption. know God and know who you are in Christ Jesus.

  55. SFDBWV says:

    My apologies Jeff1, it took me almost an hour to write my last post amidst duties here this morning, as a result when I posted I seen your comments directed at pooh.

    If I may I would like to comment as to what you are saying.

    I believe that I am not alone in having seasons in life where I really don’t want to read the Bible, in fact if I think I *have* to, it really isn’t doing me much good.

    I also think this is why “Our Daily Bread” and many other daily devotionals get their purpose and following.

    I fully agree that when we walk with God, we sense His being and presence in almost everything. For me I find Him in music, poetry, art, nature and most certainly in the actions of goodness and kindness in people.

    If I understand you correctly, you have peace in your walk with God.

    If I may say this, meant as an encouragement, be at peace and don’t let anyone steal it from you.


  56. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Jeff – I have been given lots to think of from your comments, so thank you for sharing your views. Also, thanks for using paragraphs. :o)

    I just do not have time to voice everything I think from this topic. One thought I have is that in the Bible is the knowledge of good and evil. Will we be like God if we read it? Or will we only see how far we fall short of the goodness of the Holy One.

    Scripture that comes to mind: Romans 2:14-15 When outsiders who have never heard of God’s law follow it more or less by instinct, they confirm its truth by their obedience. They show that God’s law is not something alien, imposed on us from without, but woven into the very fabric of our creation. There is something deep within them that echoes God’s yes and no, right and wrong. The Message

    I don’t think God asks more of us than to trust Him. To surrender to Him. To love Him.

  57. jeff1 says:

    Steve your 7.45 am post

    I think Steve what I am trying to say is that I know in my heart I have peace with God but my mind sometimes tells me otherwise, the battle is in my mind, I always tell my friend that this is my song.

    ‘One day at a time, Sweet Jesus that’s all I’m asking from you give me the strength to do every day what I have to do, yesterday’s gone Sweet Jesus, tomorrow may never be mine, So for my sake, teach me to take, one day at a time.

    You are very perceptive in your understanding of what I am saying for you are right that is the biggest difficulty for me not letting others steal my joy.

    While I am fully aware it is not their intention they often make me angry and I want to shout at them, knowing of course this would only make matters worse I do not but this still leaves me to deal with the disappointment and pain of their words or actions.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement, it is knowing
    in my heart that God is with me and listening to gospel music that strengthens my resolve.

    This is one of my favourites:

    I come to the garden alone
    While the dew is still on the roses
    And the voice I hear falling on my ear
    The Son of God discloses

    And He walks with me
    And He talks with me
    And He tells me I am his own
    And the joy we share
    As we tarry there
    None other has ever known

    He speaks and the sound of His Voice
    Is so sweet the birds hush their singing
    And the melody that He gave to me
    Within my heart is ringing

    And He walks with me
    And He talks with me
    And He tells me I am his own
    And the joy we share
    As we tarry there
    None other has ever known.

    Thank you also tracey for this verse which says so much.

    In relation to trusting, surrendering, loving God I believe I am getting there with God’s help and I ask that all who are on the same journey and do not yet know it in their heart will one day be awakened to this as I am blessed to be.

  58. poohpity says:

    Jeff, you said, ” Most of the people I was listening were not bothered about getting it right, on the contrary they were reading the verses that suited their beliefs and using it against others with different beliefs to prove they were right.” Then used the folks on DTW as a contrast. I totally understand where you are coming from.

    There is a very huge contrast in people that pull out scriptures to prove their human reasoning, logic and trying to prove their point with those who are really searching the scriptures to learn about God’s intent, logic, reasoning and point. I would submit to you that the ones using scripture to prove their own motives are really not that familiar with God or His Word. Then when we listen to those like for instance on DTW they have understanding that is given them from above to teach about God’s intent, motives, reasoning and point. They have dug deep into scripture and have come away growing in their knowledge of the heart of God. It would seem few have the desire to grow in the knowledge of the heart of God, knowing we have not got it all down but are in the process.

    To speak as if, by using scripture to prove human logic, reasoning, etc. like taking verses out of context to prove a point is as you said using the scriptures wrongly. To me the intent of the scriptures is to learn about God and what loving others looks like by Gods’ standards.

    The best part of what you said to me was, “These people are my friends today and I love them very much but they still use the bible wrongly, God will correct them in his time and in his way. I do not believe I am the one he will use do it”. I agree that only God can see the motives within a person’s heart and he alone is capable of changing those motives if people are truly seeking Him and it is also up to Him if they are not. Paul put it so aptly in Gal 6:5 NLT.

  59. foreverblessed says:

    This is a great topic, the sense I got from it, is that Mart wanted to say, that it is the Living Word that we are to live by.
    The Bible is the written word, and Jesus is the Living Word.
    The Holy Spirit makes the written word alive spiritually. If He doesn’t you get a lot of many interpretations, many things that seem to be of utmost importance, while the most central theme is that Jesus had to come to save us, and by His life now lives in us through faith.
    This might get a long comment, just skip it if you do not have time.

    Many who have been here for a longer time know that I have had troubles with the bible too. Too much legalism in my old church upbringing. I read the bible a lot, as a young child, waking up in the morning early, and studying, and then praying, and then I would get myself ready for school.
    But did I know that the main theme of the bible was Jesus who came to rescue us from the dominion of darkness into His glorious light? No, but I knew that God was with me, maybe more in being in nature, looking at the sky, or trees, or anything that grows, more then when I read the bible, because it was intellectual knowledge.
    (thank you rockdude5, nov 23 at 11:37 am for sharing that Matt 22:29 hit you, that was awesome. God is great He will get to our hearts if we are honestly seeking Him, even if we are on a side path, an intellectual, He will touch our hearts some day).
    I also remember that when I read the verses about Jesus I was wondering: why do they not preach about Jesus in my church. What is that: grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. I remember asking myself, and I have to say, God in His great mercy did explain to me what that was, and I still do not get the full meaning, but am growing in it. (there are many churches who do not want to hear the Word Jesus too much, it irritates them, they rather hear the moral laws, and regulations, history stories prophecies. That is what my church was like)

    There has been a time when I could not read the bible at all, only christian books that had Jesus as a Savior as a central theme. As soon as I would open my bible the legalistic spirit came up. And still at that time, God was very very close to me. And He was talking to me too. So, yes the Living Word is real and we can make contact with Him.
    God understands that.
    Do any of you remember Kingsdaughter? One of her last posts was about that she could not read the bible, as soon as she opened it the condemnation would hit her in the face. She had lost her son a few years before that. I am still praying ofr her, I hope some of you will join me.
    I agree with Steve, Jeff, not to let your joy be taken away.
    There was a time I did not go to church either, and I did not tell other christians, because they would give a sermon that you had to. Just as you get a sermon when you say you do not read the bible, that you have to read the bible, or otherwise you cannot know God.
    God is greater then our reasoning. He understands that it is difficult, and He will lead you through.
    I now do read the bible, but the most precious thing I posses here on earth is Jesus Himself, He is my treasure!

  60. joycemb says:

    Forever you have spoken for many of us here. It is a good discussion however we can’t expect people’s minds to change overnight and I don’t think any of us does expect that. I believe more and more that faith is a very personal thing even though my fundamentalist early training taught that only those who could speak the ‘right’ words were the only ‘real’ believers. Now after years of reading scripture and how the left and the right both interpret I find myself somewhere in between without a label which is good , but not always easily understood as was pointed out. However, my faith and relationship with Jesus is as real to me as this phone I am typing on, as I believe both Jeff and Debs to be also. As for the Bible, even when I struggled to find the truth it was and always had been the roadmap I need to navigate by. When I finished college with a BA in Bible I found I knew less and less the more I studied- and still do. And that’s why I personally treasure it so.

    Blessings with thanks for all the lovely people on this blog and for all that God has done for us.

  61. street says:

    dear bloggers, we have covered the subject of reading or not reading, going to or not going to which brings me to my difficulty. every one has mentioned it but have not dealt with it directly. that is dealing with sinners on a regular basis. sure we know as mention, we can stay away from people who we do not hear the voice of the Shepherd of our souls. my problem is the fear of picking up a lie or misinterpreting scripture from know Christians, authority figures or even your own spouse. God warns us to build with gold, silver, precious stones not wood, hay, or stubble. being on the defensive all the time with my own heart and mind is taxing enough without dealing with others. some how he gives us the strength to get though it all and clean us up so that we can do His will to Love others. i guess it boils down to all the work and discomfort involved in taking up the cross. trials are not fun but He finds them necessary to accomplish His will, for my good. looking for strength and boldness for today.

  62. cas139 says:

    Reading through these comments has had me thinking about how varied our walks of faith are. It seems we all cling to Jesus, yet we hold on in different ways. It is simple in that we know to whom we are drawn, yet complex in how we maintain our relationship with the one to whom we are drawn. Jeff1’s words have stayed with me: “What is important is that God speaks to his Children differently because they are different.”

    Like others here, I have memories of Bible teaching that discouraged me from delving very deeply into the pages of scripture. I was raised in a church in which we were not encouraged to read the Bible for ourselves, but were told to accept the interpretations of those presumed to be more knowledgeable and somehow holier than us. We were discouraged from questioning the authority of those who taught us. In my mind, I equated Father God with the authoritarian ways of my teachers. He seemed fearful and distant and vindictive; yet I longed to hold his baby son who I encountered each year in the stories and carols of Christmas.

    I stayed away from any church and the Bible for many years. I do believe that God meets us where we are, though, and calls to us in ways suited to us individually. Sometimes, he calls us when life has brought us to our knees so to speak. For me that time was in the weeks and months and years following the sudden and unexpected death of my youngest son who was 31 at the time of his death–nearly six years ago now.
    I remember just putting one foot in front of the other. I also remember praying at the cemetery and in the dark before sleep. I remember listening to old gospel hymns that I had on my ipod as part of my “traditional music” collection. They unblocked tears and sometimes brought comfort.

    It’s a long story, but I was eventually led through the doors of one church and then another. I began reading the Bible and spent a lot of time with Exodus, reading about how the fearsome God I thought of in childhood was really a loving God who led his children from bondage.

    Now I attend church, I pray, I read the Bible. Some days I feel as if I meet Jesus face to face in the pages of scripture, and some days the meaning and impact of the words I read allude me. Some days I meet Jesus in prayer and some days my own busy mind is all I find. Some days I feel the spirit moving among us at church…some days not so much. Some days I see the love of Jesus in the eyes of a loved one or even occasionally in the eyes of a stranger. Other days I don’t bother to look into anyone’s eyes.

    It seems simple: Follow the One who loves me. Tarry with Him as the lovely hymn suggests. Yes, it sounds simple: cling to Jesus. For me it is the holding on that is the complex part. So I can only walk in the faith that, no matter what, Jesus is holding on to me.

  63. oneg2dblu says:

    Dear street… I can not tell you what is found in the white spaces on the pages of the bible, but, I can share what appears in writing pertaining to our position and sinners, James 5:20 (NIV) and Galatians 6:1,2,3 (NIV)
    may provide some help. “Tend My Sheep”

  64. poohpity says:

    The white of the Bible is “simply” this 1 Cor 13:1-3 NLT; 1 Cor 13:8-10 NLT; 1 Cor 13:11-12 NLT. These are the actions/attributes/characteristics that God displayed as love 1 Cor 13:4-7 NLT. It is very simple yet is so missing in the lives of those who only profess to know Christ not that those who do follow Christ do it perfectly but Gods’ holiness is displayed in the ability to forgive, show mercy and grace just like what God has done for us we do to others.

  65. joycemb says:

    Cas139- I lost my son age 20 suddenly also 18 years ago now. The pain is still there but not as intense after about 10 years. We all grieve differently though and however long is ok.I feel your pain though and pray God’s continued care as you live without him. Holidays can be especially hard. Hope you have people to be with and love you. And if not, I know that God is enough. Blessings, Joyce

  66. cas139 says:

    Thank you, Joyce. I have only been reading this blog for about a month, maybe a little longer. In that time I have found much to “think about.” I appreciate your posts and find help and enrichment in your thoughtful comments and those of others.

    I do have family near including my middle son and two grandchildren. They are indeed blessings from God.

    Blessings to you in this time of thanksgiving for the love God gives us. It truly is enough.

  67. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… thank you for sharing your verses on what you see as the white of the bible.

    They really are exactly like mine, as both express “love,”
    But, aren’t both found in the written part of the word and not the white between the lines?

    I may be using a different translation than you use.

    Here’s another “written word” that displays great love for others,the Great Commission, Matthew 28:18,19,20 (NIV)

    Verse 19 says, “teaching them everything I have commanded you.”

    “Feed My Sheep.”
    “If you love Me,you will Obey My commands.”

  68. street says:

    Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:17–18

  69. poohpity says:

    Gary, have you made any disciples, have you done the great commission or fed His sheep? What is it that Jesus commanded us to teach?

  70. jeff1 says:

    Pooh your 10.58 am post

    You said: ‘I agree that only God can see the motives in a person’s heart and He alone is capable of changing those motives if people are truly seeking Him and it is also up to Him if they are not. Paul put it so aptly in GAL 6:5 NLT.

    I don’t agree that we cannot always see peoples motives. I could see their motives by their words and their actions and the fact that I grew up with them. Their minds were set on revenge because of atrocities done to them. They were blinded by hatred and quoting parts of the Bible that would condemn their adversaries and make them feel righteous. My mind was in agreement with them I could not disagree having grown up in the same Society and knowing what I did. The difference for me was my Father had brought me up to know right and wrong, and my heart was not in align with their’s. I could not get them to see their heart’s were wrong and as I knew nothing of the Bible I could not get into debate with them as they quoted the Chapters and Verse that suited them.

    The problem is they are not truly seeking God they are seeking to prove they are right and quoting their knowledge of the Bible to do so.

    This is why in the modern World so many are falling away from God they use the Bible to make a point not to get to know Him.

    The Bible is becoming a hindrance to people getting to know God because of misuse. People assume if they know Chapter and Verse of the Bible they know God. How does God get to their hearts if in their minds they are convinced they already know him from what they have learned from the Bible.

    The religion that teaches us to focus on Christ first is the one drawing its people to God. My friends are caught up in the laws they have been keeping since they were Children, I was brought up with them to. They kept them to the Book, I did not. In their hearts and minds they have kept God’s law to the Good Book and knowing them as well as I do their is truth in what they are saying.

    My Father on the other hand taught me to focus on Christ’s suffering and not on laws which would harden my heart.
    My friend often says to me how the Jews crucified Christ and how they deserve hell.

    She cannot see that we all deserve Hell, that Christ died because we all deserve Hell. There is nothing wrong with reading the Bible when your heart is set on knowing God and I do not doubt your sincerity Pooh but I have grew up in a Bible community where God takes second place and I have to tell you Pooh it is ‘Hell on Earth’.

  71. bullwinkle says:

    Have been sitting on the sidelines for quite some time. I have especially enjoyed the tone that this blog has taken for the past few months. I would also like to welcome Gary back, I missed him when he was not contributing.
    Just a word of warning though: Gary and Deb seem to “go after” each other on occasion so I causiously add what I feel God through Jesus spoke was the intent of the law. Jesus stated it so well in Mk 12:29,30,31. If we are loving God and loving others, by default we are keeping the remainder of the commandments. We don’t need to keep a checklist.

  72. SFDBWV says:

    Having to deal with snow this morning I am a little late in commenting, glad I am.

    Christine yours and Joyce’s story touched my heart as this is what makes this web site work at its best, when we open up our heart and show our humanity.

    My first wife of 31 years died of cancer in October of 2000, her mother who will turn 96 in October, continues to grieve over her. Sadly these past couple years she imagines she sees her as a little girl there in her house, often.

    I worked in the coal mines with gnarled and tough men who lost children and the pain of that loss, though lessened, never went away.

    I know too many people who had to bury their children and in reflection I am reminded that in the very first death recorded, it was Adam and Eve who buried their son.

    Quoting scripture by well- meaning people don’t often help your pain, but does show their willingness to try and ease it.

    I look forward to your participation here as we get to know each other better.


  73. poohpity says:

    Jeff, I wonder if I might give you another way to think of it to see at times we do not know what is in a heart all the time even when actions may say something different. You seemed to have been raised in a home with a loving father and it may fit that you knew you did not have to earn his love and that was a reflection of Gods’ love but there are many who were raised in homes where they were made to feel that the only way they could get the love and acceptance of their father was to do things to earn it. Some people who struggle with the grace of God are those who seem to think it is to easy rather they have to follow the law so they will please God and in turn He will love and accept them. They may base God on human experience.

    So underneath that hard exterior is a broken life set on accusing others of their failure to follow the law because it is so much easier to look at others than to deal with their own inabilities. Yes I agree that they create an atmosphere that could be rather hellish but that seems to be displaying the hell they have within themselves but underneath they need love just like every other human being does. They seem to have to control others because they are so out of control in their own hearts and lives. I think that is where God can see motives where we can not. He sees the brokenness but we see anger, harshness, bitterness that following the law produces and it pushes people away and in reality they need love and grace to break down that ruff exterior.

  74. poohpity says:

    Hey Pete, good to hear from you again. :-) I do not feel however that I “go after” Gary, just need some clarification often times to understand. Sort of a law compared to grace type of thing in my heart.

  75. poohpity says:

    That article I wrote those lists from also stated, “However we often mistake Satan’s voice for God’s, because Satan’s voice fits so well with our own distortions and misunderstandings about God and how we think He(God)feels about us.”

    “The Bible is clear about the fact that God actively pursues a personal relationship with His children. He delights in you and desires to bring restoration to the painful places in your life. He offers Himself as a refuge from fear and anxiety. He holds out His strength to those who are weak, and He longs to mourn with those who are broken. He is here for you–anytime you come. He is gently calling, “Come with Me”.

  76. street says:

    bullwinkle’s comment made me think about the Commission, Mk 12:29,30,31, and Deuteronomy 6:4 . both are undertaken with humility of the cross and the Spirit of Matthew 5

    God bless you in your striving against sin and with His presents always.

  77. street says:

    just a reminder that all my fellow sojourners to have a blessed and enjoyable praise-full thanksgiving where ever you are and may God’s Glory visit you in your humble estate.

  78. joycemb says:

    Dear pooh, since I am the only one here who has stated “God said to me…” I want to clarify to you my post. When I said that God told me to shut up I wasn’t using His words. His were too long to write so I summarized them into language most can understand and short and to the point. If I still believed God was like my earthly father as I did for many years I would have kept on trying to prove I was right, without empathy or concern for where others are in their walk with God. This is what Jeff and others, myself included, encountered in previous church experiences, and have grown out of, by the grace of God.

    I was once in a church Sunday school class where someone talked about a friend who could not trust that God was loving and good. I asked if they had a father that was abusive and maybe were comparing them to God. To my surprise they said “We don’t think of God as father but as mother. I knew this church was not what I wanted but it taught me a lot as far as perceptions of God as viewed through a Jewish patriarchal system and others; egalitarian, complemtarianism etc. (Some churches even bow to the goddess Sophia as the divine one).

    Street I love your zeal and excitement for the scriptures! Bless you!’

  79. joycemb says:

    I should have said “without empathy or compassion/acceptance for where others are” as “concern” can be interpreted as judgement.

  80. jeff1 says:

    The good news Pooh is that God loves them and when all is said and done that is all that matters. I think that has been the problem for older generations they were taught the law and didn’t really get to know God, thank heavens the next generation will get to know the real God.

  81. oneg2dblu says:

    Brothers and Sisters… Who among us is qualified to know if each thing we blog here or we claim we see on the white parts of the page, whether it is prompted by the spirit or by the flesh or what motive lies in the heart of another?

    We only have their words, their copy, or their quotes, to identify them or qualify their intent.

    If one feels that any following the law leads to evil motives, then to me, it is not the written intention of the law, but the intention of the one who make such statements.

    If everything we discuss here can only fall into the love verses the law, then the sum of our adding up another’s thoughts will surely be lacking in love, and missing God’s.

    To me, the Written Law handed down to Moses and written by the Finger of God, and clearly puts the law on the side of love first.

    “Love the Lord your God,” seems to me as the first in line, and most valued command given by the Lord.

    Why then do we appear to call each other to account, and exposes certain verses to explain our thoughts?

    Simply because, It is written for us…

    2 Timothy 4:2 (NIV)
    “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    Who are we to question if a brother is acting out in love or not, just because they also use certain verses in the word, in teaching, correcting, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness?

    Is it not because sometimes we are in the flesh, and sometimes and in the spirit?

    I feel we place a burden on others when what we ask of them that which comes from our flesh.

    Spiritually discerning eyes and hearts know exactly what I am talking about, and sometimes we are tempted to answer back in the flesh as well.

    But, God is faithful, and when we are tempted, He will provide a way out from under it.

    I am blessed with that word, and bless others when I obey my God who says, “Shut up!”


  82. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… I trust and hope the real God will not be shown in this next generation just by their lawless living, or by their claiming of enjoying new unlawful freedoms wrapped in the deceptive covering of the word “they claim” as being love.
    Yes, my flesh is acting up and speaking hear because, what the world now calls love, is not exactly what God calls love.

  83. oneg2dblu says:

    Pete… thanks for you discerning words, I trust they will be heard in love.

    2 Timothy 3:16 (NIV) was what I meant to reference along with the quotations in that 4:27 post.

    PS If history repeats itself, and according to God’s word it does, then next generation with all its lawlessness will also need God’s Word to teach them that they will be in dire need a Savior.

    Now, I’ll “Shut up!” :O

  84. cbrown says:

    I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! The fellowship here is a blessing.

  85. street says:

    Deuteronomy 8:4-6

    Deuteronomy 11:1-3

    Job 5:16-18

    Psalm 118:17-19

    Proverbs 6:22-24

    Malachi 2:1-3

  86. oneg2dblu says:

    Romans 6:16,17,18 (NIV)

    Our Faith is tied to Obedience.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  87. cbrown says:

    Love is tied to God.

  88. cas139 says:

    Happy Thanksgiving to those who, as Steve so beautifully put it, “open up our heart(s) and show our humanity” here. It is a blessing and a privilege to have the freedom to ponder the many ways God moves in our lives and to consider the many gifts he bestows on us daily.

    Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks,for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  89. jeff1 says:

    The generation I grew up are claiming they are obedient to God by taking out the parts of scriptures that justify their actions. This false teaching has been wide spread and the reason the World is in the mess it is in today. That is the reason I have so much hope for the next generation, I see a generation who want to take the present into the future for the good of all, they do not care about religion, culture or beliefs. I see this as a good thing for all the problems in my lifetime were caused by religion, culture and beliefs. This also sounds to me more Godly for what man can judge any man other than by his words or actions, only God does see the heart.

  90. poohpity says:

    Gary, are you obedient to God and His Word?

  91. poohpity says:

    If one is so focused on obedience then where is that person’s focus, on themselves or on God? Normally on themselves.

  92. cas139 says:

    I remembered reading that the root of the word obey had something to do with listening so I looked it up in the online dictionary for the root information: “from Latin oboedīre, ‌to listen to‌ : ob-, ‌to‌; see ‌ ob-‌ + audīre, ‌to hear‌;” If obey means to listen or to hear, they it seems the focus would be on the one being obeyed. When we seek to obey God’s will, we are seeking to listen to God’s will for us.

  93. street says:

    Colossians 1:29 For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

  94. phpatato says:


    When I read your last comment I was reminded of the hymn Trust and Obey.

    First verse (there are 5) and chorus:

    When we walk with the Lord
    In the light of His Word
    What a glory He sheds on our way!
    While we do His good will;
    He abides with us still,
    And with all who will trust and obey.

    Trust and obey,
    For there’s no other way
    To be happy in Jesus,
    But to trust and obey.

  95. jeff1 says:


    The times when I was NOT doing this I did not have peace with God, it took me a lifetime to realize that I was listening to men and my own heart rather than trusting God. To continue trusting God for me is a struggle for my nature is to do things my way but God has always me by the hand and when he is tugging at my heart strings then I know to examine my motives.

    The message of the Gospel is simple but living it out in my life I have not found simple quite the contrary, my father taught me well for he would say to me let God have his way no matter how you feel. Even though he slay me and there are times in my life when that how it felt I will trust him.

    When I remind myself that God has a bigger audience than one (as in me) I begin to understand the complexity of God’s role and it overwhelms me, so for me it is important to keep the gospel simple.

    Everyone’s walk with God is different and I find that those who keep trying to tell me how much more they are getting it right compared to me do me no favours.

    To have peace with God I find is being content in the knowledge that God uses me even when I seem to be failing miserably because God does. I could be a beggar on the street
    or a King in a Palace and God can still use me.

    When I listened to men I was not hearing that message I was constantly trying to live up to the standards men set for themselves. In this World only the rich and famous matter and who is it that puts them there only us.

    God sees the heart that struggles, i.e. men fighting wars that they do not know why they are fighting, children being abused by men and women who probably have been abused themselves, prisoners abused by the systems who are supposed to be correcting them but whose vengeful hearts are set on what they call God’s justice except its not it’s man’s justice.

    I used to believe in my naivety that systems that were set up my Government were there to correct men unaware that the men running the systems were sometimes as corrupt as they were.

    Pooh you quoted GAL 6:5 NLT For we are each responsible for our own conduct.

    Let God be my judge for I know he will judge me fairly, punishment when I need it, correction when I need it, love when I need it and ultimately SALVATION – THE GREATEST GIFT FOR HE HAS SAVED ME FROM MYSELF.

  96. oneg2dblu says:

    Wow! What a great bunch of listeners we have HEAR, (PUN)
    Apparently I’ve been wrong in my thoughts about what obedience means, and want to thank all those who have so lovingly heard my misinterpretation.
    I absentmindedly thought that people took their unruly and disobedient dogs to Obedience School, to train them to ACT in Right Relationship with their master.
    But, if obey means to only listen, and all those dogs attending had no problem listening to the masters voice, they had problems “doing” what their master’s wanted them to do, and that was to be obedient and change their naturally acquired inappropriate and destruct behaviors.
    So, when the bible says, Ephesians 6:1,2,3 NIV “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother- which is the first commandment with a promise- that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on earth.”
    Does that mean they are to just listen, but not also act accordingly?”
    When the bible says, James 1:22 NIV “Don’t merely listen to the word, and deceive yourselves, Do what it says.”

    Apparently, James was not only barking up the wrong tree he was also trying to destroy the root.

    If we let the dictionary description alone, be that rooted guide for us, we might never actually fully understand or hear and obey God’s commands.

    I guess all words and verses we use to support our beliefs, are both simple and complex.


  97. poohpity says:

    To me people say obedience or obedience to the Will of God but really do not understand the simplicity of what that means. Often they think obedience is to the law of Moses but if that were the case then why did there have to be sacrifices when that law was broken. Salvation does not come from following that law because no one could ever obey it completely but One. So when someone says obedience what are they being obedient to?

    If one is being obedient to the Will of God, what is the Will of God that they are obeying? Again some come back to the law of Moses but it seems the simplicity of God’s Will is Micah 6:8 NLT; John 6:29 NLT then to be obedient to the command of Jesus is John 13:34 NIV; John 15:12 NLT. So yes trust and obey for there is no other way is a song but what is that song teaching? If we trust in Jesus believing He has paid the penalty for our sin(salvation) and obey Him by treating others the way He treated us in great grace and mercy then giving that gift to others by treating them as we want to be treated then simplicity has been reached. Bring the law back in then complexity begins.

  98. cas139 says:

    For me, if I think of listening as the “root” of obedience it makes sense. I cannot act on or carry out an instruction or command unless I first listen carefully to that instruction or command. Part of listening, as I understand it, is to attend to and take in what is being said.

    One saying of Jesus I have sometimes wondered about is, “Whoever has ears ought to hear.” He said that more than once in chapter 13 of Matthew when teaching us through the parable of the sower and the parable of the weeds. To me it seems as if Jesus was reminding us to pay attention, to listen carefully to the lessons in the parables. In Matthew 13:23 Jesus explains “the seed sown in rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold” To me this ties in with hearing, listening, and acting on what has been heard

    I know I sometimes have a tendency to appear to have heard what someone is saying to me, only to have to come back later and say something like, “what was that you were saying?” What this tells me is that I do need to remember to not only hear, but to listen.

  99. joycemb says:

    Christine I like the use of the word ‘attend’ as we try to navigate the complexity of scripture. When the Holy Spirit highlights for me scripture I find it much easier to attend to and absorb what God wants me to learn about Himself, with fewer mistakes of misinterpreting through my theological filter which is skewed by life experiences.

    As for the discussion about law vs grace I like what Bill said, though I can’t find it right now.

    I think both ‘sides’ are right and agreeing to disagree is a godly move at this point. No one’s salvation is at stake though the ego and the enemy may be enjoying it.

  100. oneg2dblu says:

    Dear Brothers and Sisters…. We seem confused, conflicted, and at each others words, we fill in the blanks with our own.
    I might add some to the dialogue we are engaged in, but, they are not my own.
    Luke 8:22
    Romans 6:16
    1 John 3:7,8
    Today, false teaching is embraced world wide as sin is down played by the teaching of eternal security, and you are right, Satan is enjoying it.

    Actually not only our own salvation, but the whole worlds salvation is at stake, if we only listen to the words, and fail to act on it, or and do what it says.

    It is so much more than Moses Law, because Christ expanded that law even more, but He did not take away even one word of it, according to what He preached,
    Matthew 4:17 “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.”

    Probably every one present heard that word, but clearly not all had responded in obedience, some will even reject it today, although His Words will never pass away, they are eternal.

    As my pastor says, “Chose to sin, chose to suffer.”

    I think there is a law at work in those words.

  101. oneg2dblu says:

    Luke 8:20 :O

  102. oneg2dblu says:

    Oh yeah, “You reap what you sow!”

  103. oneg2dblu says:

    1 John 3:9 completes the message.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  104. oneg2dblu says:

    Now if we read between the verses in Luke that I mistakenly posted, we read, verse 21 “My mother and brothers are those who hear God’s word and put it into practice.”

  105. jeff1 says:

    May God give his Church in these days people who are desperate to be right with Him and utterly dissatisfied with what they are apart from His GRACE.

    Quote from: Alan Redpath

  106. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… Amen to that Brother!
    Apart from His Grace we are exactly like the rest of the dark and dying world.

  107. joycemb says:

    Jeff I love that quote!

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