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Am I Listening?

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAAm thinking it might be important to have another conversation about issues of authority and obedience.

Many of us have been taught to net out our relationship with God in two words— trust and obey.

Trust God. Do what he says.

Could anything make more sense than the thought that our Creator God deserves our trust and obedience?

Yet we all live in the shadow of another reality.

At Sinai, and then again on the threshold of the the Promised Land, the people of God tell Moses and Joshua, “We will do everything you tell us to do.”

(Exo 19:8) (Exo 24:7) (Jos 1:16)

But they don’t.

And I don’t. Instead I wonder whether I have ever loved God with all of my heart, or my neighbor as myself.

So what then are we to do with the thought that nothing makes more sense than to do what our God asks us to do?

Seems like there is a starting point in something we’ve talked about before. When we look closer at the word “obey” we find that the first meaning of the primary Hebrew and Greek words for obey and obedience is “to listen—as when someone gives attention to the knock on the door to see who’s calling.” (see i.e. Thayer’s Lexicon). The implication is action– but not without attention and discernment.

An example of this shows up in the meaning in the famous Hebrew confession (Shema’) “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.” (Deut 6:4). The word “Hear” is the same word that often is translated as “obey”.

When we bring that thought forward all the way to the last book of the Bible we find a resurrected Lord saying, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Rev 3:20).

At this point, we know something of the heart of the one who urges us to come to him with all of the heaviness of our concerns and failures… (Matt 11:28-29)…

Would he be insulted if he heard us say something like, “O Lord, I’ve done it again. I’ve been so quick to think about your words… and so slow to want to hear your heart… so quick to assume that I knew the right thing to do… and so slow to remember that it is only in your loving, merciful patience and grace, that my desire to please you becomes one with your desire to leave me grateful…”


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116 Responses to “Am I Listening?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    I love truth and honesty from people, I hate it when people put on a mask and try and present themselves dishonestly for any reason.

    We all perceive that God sees our hearts intent, and that it cannot be hidden from Him. I also believe that some of us possess discernment and see past the masquerade and the truth revealed.

    The problem being our own intent often clouds our view and our discernment becomes more of something else.

    So having said that, when I hear people say they love God with all their heart and souls and their neighbor as themselves, I wonder if they are being honest, even with themselves. Or is it that this is what they think God wants them to say or even perhaps that they want to; but do they really?

    Do I really?

    First of all I ask myself this question; why should I love God above all and everyone else?

    Is it because He insists that I do and if I don’t I will be severely punished? Or that if I don’t I won’t get the things I ask for or desire in my own life?

    Is it out of fear that I am to love God and obey Him; or out of love that I believe Him to be a Father to me and that as a tender loving Father I just want to make Him happy and in so doing make myself happy as well?

    It starts in whether I believe there is a God, that He exists and what that means to my being and life.

    This inward journey takes me in many directions in finding out who God is and what He wants from me.

    There is a great difference between hearing and listening as there is in hearing and heeding.

    The most aggressive combatant against my faith is unanswered prayer. It causes me to wonder if God is *listening* or cares when even the smallest request from Him goes unanswered. It also stirs up within me the resolve to stand on my faith believing that it is that stoic faith that God wants from me, not gratitude for Him giving me what I ask for.

    The desire still being trying to please God, so that the deepest hidden desires of my heart are safe in His care.

    My intellect telling me that I need to step across that line where my desires no longer matter to me, to accepting that only the desires of God matter.

    Giving up self.

    Easy to say, but very difficult to fully do.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    The human tendency to claim personal sovereignty is nearly impossible to eradicate. We are created with a kind of freedom that is the freedom to reject authority. Yet, the One who breathed humankind into being holds all authority in heaven and on earth. We are caught on the horns of a moral dilemma, it seems to me.

    Yet, Jesus told his disciple Peter that he must forgive a person who sins against him “not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Surely, the Lord is not offended by my complaints about my own willfulness — and my confession that I have not listened to Him and obeyed his commandments. Though I hope to listen, I often fail to do so. Still, I continue to pray for another chance, and for Jesus’ forgiveness. Jesus freely forgives those who are truly repentant.

    Conversation (as in a psalm for example) between a child of God and the Almighty continues day after day — for all of life. God is able to transform a contrite heart, and God is waiting to do this holy work in us. What can I do but depend upon God’s great, noble character? (Psalm 62:11, 12)

    Paul says something I believe is the bottom line on sinfulness and trustworthiness:

    “But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by any human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself. For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.”

    It must be, as the Apostle Paul says, we are not even qualified to judge ourselves.

    Advent Blessings,

  3. Bill says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends,

    Although Jesus taught us many things, to my knowledge he commanded only ONE thing:

    “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 ESV)

    The book “Love Revolution: Rediscovering the Lost Command of Jesus,” by Gaylord Enns, is an eye opener. It makes clear what I’ve long suspected: that Christians have Inattentional Blindness, a condition that means what people focus on determines what they miss.

    I’m not sure what Christians focus on. (Typically, it’s my, me, mine. What is God doing in my life? What does God want of me? What can I do to make sure mine are blessed?)

    But I do know what they miss: the ONE thing Jesus commanded – that we love one another. Clear as a bell. Even in red letters in some Bible editions.

    So, Mart, the point of your post is sound. Christians claim to listen. But they don’t. They didn’t listen to Jesus words then (check out Simon Peter’s response in John 13), they don’t listen now.

    Many Christians have postulated over the years what will exclude them from entering heaven. The “depart from me” words hang over our heads like specters haunting their every step.

    What if the ONE thing that would cause Jesus to turn people away is that they didn’t listen to the ONE command he gave? What if they did all sorts of things in his name. But they didn’t heed the one thing he commanded?

    What if love is the key to everything Jesus taught in the New Testament? What if it’s the most important thing?

    And we haven’t listened to Jesus’ words in 2,000 years…

    Just my two cents. Take it for what it’s worth.



  4. oneg2dblu says:

    Brother and Sisters… some good thoughts going out here, all around.
    On unanswered prayer, my thoughts are theat God always answers prayer, but not in our will or timing but His.

    There are three positions to His answer, Yes, No, Wait!
    To us waiting many times wait seems the same as no, but He knows whats best for us and His Will.

    One the one commandment issue, there must have been more than one because He said, I give a new commandment. So, there certainly are older ones given as well, and for good purpose.

    Why would we get to choose which “one/ones” we will or will not obey or not?

    On repentance, I would say that whatever sin you are still committing, that sin has not been truly repented from yet.

    When you really repent from a sin, then you are truly free of it.

    We are to Worship God alone, not Love.

    The first commandment is “first” for a reason.

    Exodus 20:3


  5. poohpity says:

    Listening for the heart of God, reading His word with a mind and heart that knows what we are given to know about that heart, I bet the scriptures would have a whole new meaning and seen in a whole new light. Is it all to easy? Is that why people want to put a heavy load on others?

    The immortal says to the mortal, “Hey this is all that I want from you to act just and right, be merciful, in fact love mercy and be humble as you walk with Me, know “I AM” God”. Gratitude and contentment will flow from your heart.


    Yet it seems this is what we hear and act on, “As you act just and right make sure you tell everyone else how to act too even though you are unable to do it perfectly make sure you impose on others what you are unable to do yourself. If a person deserves mercy show it only when they have a sorrowful, contrite spirit and ask for mercy but withhold it from those you feel are unworthy. Always think you know better than Me, trust yourself knowing I may not answer prayers the way you think I should so take charge. Never let anyone know you do not have all the answers and pull yourself up by your boot straps. Never admit the areas you often fail in, in fact do not pay attention to your own life, it is much easier to point to the failures of others and judge them by your standards.” If you do these things stress, hatred, anger, grumbling and complaining will surely follow.

  6. poohpity says:

    Gary if there we more than one would He have not said, I give you new commandments rather than “‘A’ new commandment” singular?

  7. poohpity says:

    Not “we” but “were”. ;-)

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    Here we may open ourselves in love, to other possibilities, but to me, the Only way to the Father is through the Son. Or, is love now the only way?
    Does this love trump our Faith in Christ?
    We probably all have read the many “by Faith” verses, no
    do we now dare eradicate the faith component?
    Is faith a clanging symbol?

  9. foreverblessed says:

    “We will do everything you tell us to do.”

    It is just THAT statement that is so naive. When I was a young christian, it is the thing I have always said to God.
    It is also the statement of the Old Covenant: God does His part , we do our part.
    Till we come to the point that we see that it is absolutely impossible that we do our part. It is as Remaru said, the self-will.
    We want to do it ourselves.

    In the New Covenant it is different: God promises that He does His part, and He assures us that we do our part, by changing our hearts form the inside, through the Holy Spirit that is given to us through Jesus who suffered on the Cross. At the end He gave the Spirit. The Spirit that was beaten when Jesus was beaten, the Spirit that was insulted when Jesus was insulted. All our loads, defeat, hurt, sin was carried on the Cross.
    It is the Spirit that does in us what we ourselves cannot do, just as the Israelites were not able to obey.
    (Andrew Murray talks about this in the Two Covenants, the second blessing.)

    Mart talks about listening, it is when we have come to the utmost end of ourselves, when we stop relying on ourselves that we are open for Gods Living Word.
    We are also open to get to know God better, get to know Him before you surrender to Him.
    And do we not get to know God better and better? Last week was so good for me, there I saw a little of the deep and great Peace God IS, at the bedside of my father in law who was in his last few days.
    God is so good, So lovely, so peaceful.

    God is love

  10. Bill says:

    Gary is incorrect.

    1. Jesus only gave one commandment. Check the New Testament. If you can find others, please let me know. He said, “A new commandment” because they were fully aware of the previous Ten Commandments.

    2. No one is choosing which commandments to obey and which ones not to (although I dare say nobody on the planet keeps them all). My point was Jesus was very clear in giving us a “new” commandment. If you wish to ignore that one, Gary, you’re free to do so. However, you seem like the kind of guy who obeys every jot and tittle – except for that one. Why?

    3. I’m not sure why every time I mention love, you provide all sorts of extreme examples, including NONE I mentioned. Obviously, the issue you have about love is not with me. It has to be with Jesus. He’s the one who gave it as a commandment. If you choose to tell me and everyone else here all the many reasons why Jesus didn’t mean it, that’s up to you.

    4. Did I say, “Love is the only way to the Father”? Did Jesus?

    Love is not something to be feared, Gary. That word is used many, many, many times in the New Testament. It is a commandment from Jesus. It is afforded its own chapter in 1 Corinthians. How much clearer do you want God’s message to be?

    I have no idea why the word “love” is a lightning rod for Gary. But it really bugs me.


  11. poohpity says:

    It seems in my recent conversations with some youth of today its meaning has been convoluted and they associate it with sex. I wonder if people who have problems in that area think of it under those terms? They may have been abused or are the abuser and the act was related as love? I know that 1 Cor 13 gives a look at what love is but if one has been conditioned another way it may have had a impact on their thoughts of it.

  12. joycemb says:

    Mart that is a beautifully humble prayer. I will be thinking about it all day as focusing on God always leaves me at peace.

  13. oneg2dblu says:

    I only want us not to forget there are other conditions written it the word of God, that exist there for a reason, as being both foundational and prerequisite.

    We can’t ignore those other things like the one found in Hebrews 11:6.

    What I do dislike is our not linking all things together like a well written recipe.

    Instead, we seem to reduce this whole topic to a “one ingredient only” solution.

    Like the body, it is written, there are many parts each having to do its own part to make the whole function properly.

    How one extrapolates, past sexual turmoil, sexual abuse, or hidden sexual misgivings in my words, must be those that find them in the white parts, written between the lines.

    Its not all about the _______.

    Where one will say, “the Cross,” another says, “Christ,” and another says “Love,” but the entire Word of God that says there are many things, all working together, for the good those who love God.

    Bill, you are correct, you never said, love is the only way, nor am I saying, that Christ didn’t mean what He said either.

    Yes, it seems that extremes do play out on all sides.

    We can’t just use the word love, for it appears to define many things, which are not all found to be profitable.

    “Love one another,” is what I believe was used as profitable, and, “love your neighbor as yourself.”

    But, “the love of money is the root of evil.”

    So, that love is clearly evil.

    Its is not the word love that I fear, but I do fear that the world who does not love and obey God, have misused and tainted love, into something inclusively corrupt.

    That is why I fear using love, as an all encompassing remedy.

    But, that is just the way my renewed mind works.


  14. street says:

    quick to listen, slow to speak,slow to anger.
    if you think about the slow part it is giving ourselves a chance to percolate the truth of God’s Word or to grasp what another says in regard to God’s truth. many times no verbal reply is a good coarse of action till prompted by the Holy Spirit. replies in the flesh or knee jerk reaction profit no one. May Christ richly dwell in our hearts.

  15. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill… I do not want to disagree with you on anything, but, about only one commandment ever given by Christ, you may want to read John 14:15,21.

    Actually there are 49 or 50 commands of Christ that may qualify as elements for us to obey, and which really should not be ignored.

    How about, “Follow Me,” or “Repent.”

    Maybe you are talking about a commandment as being only those things previously contained in the Old Written Law, or the original ten, but Christ expanded many of those as well through His teachings, didn’t He?

    “I say unto you,If you even look at a woman…”

    So, to me, all or any the newer expanded teachings about the existing law, should also be considered as commandments to us.

    Or, is it just this one that was expanded and given to the Disciples, which adds to the love commandments, saying, “As I have loved you?”

    Or, is it the “one” where Christ says, “All the law and the prophets…”

    It seems to me, His commands were given to us as a newer expanded law, given unto His believers for a reason.

    But, as we say today, “We are not under the law?”


  16. oneg2dblu says:

    Or, what street said!
    No answer, is sometimes the best answer.

  17. poohpity says:

    Gary, If it was only for today then why did Paul say Romans 6:14 NIV; Romans 7:6 NIV; Gal 5:18 NIV and John write John 1:17 NIV?

  18. poohpity says:

    John 14 was written after John 13:34-35 NIV and before John 15:12 NIV. Before any of that a person has to first believe in Jesus or nothing Godly is possible. We do not focus on law that causes one to focus on sin but now on how we can express the Love God showed to us as an outpouring of what we have experienced. It is not a list of do’s and don’ts it is an expression of gratitude to who we believe in and what He did for us.

  19. street says:

    mart said,”Yet we all live in the shadow of another reality.”
    that is absolutely loaded. can there be two different realities. that’s like saying there is no absolute truth.

    i have picked up on and idea that seems to play out rather consistently in the Bible in that God speaks, and man responds, that response is what gets us in a pickle. the idea of dissidence after receiving God’s Word is the norm. then God has to correct. it is in correcting we discover God’s person. if we get it right we become advocates and enjoy His presents much more.

    as for unanswered prayer. i believe God is a perfect Father and good all the time. our circumstances no matter how bad they, are for our good. there is no other reality to go to. Jesus said if you being evil know how to give gifts how can God, who is good, not do better.

    i am getting to the point i can no longer trust my own heart, mind, or strength. they have led me astray for all my life. i am beginning to understand the law is tell me how not to sin. paul says it is a tutor. when the Spirit comes it we start where the law left off and after Jesus ascended. this hear O Israel is the Testament we heard in the beginning. are we still being dissident? Father please pull down every lofty though raised up against you and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

  20. street says:

    Psalm 73

    a little more dissidence.

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    If you are led by the Spirit, then you are under the Spirit.

    If the Spirit is your master, then you are its slave.

    But, don’t you also walk in and obey your flesh when the flesh masters over you?

    Perhaps, I’ve read the verse in Galatians 5:18 incorrectly, but, to me, it says ,”If, you are led by the Spirit, you are no longer under the law.”

    If, you are led by the Spirit, and you are obediently following His commands, you will be walking in perfect harmony with the law so no conflict is ever present there accept the one that still remains in you about this obeying the law.

    Obedience then becomes your only conflict.

    For against such things, there is no law.

    If not, you aren’t under the Spirit either.

    For the Spirit of God does not oppose the things of God, it is the flesh that opposes such things.

  22. poohpity says:

    Without love nothing else matters, obedience does not matter without love, trust without love, faith without love, service without love, prophesying without love, teaching without love does not matter. One has to understand the white(the love of God, His heart) before the black/red of print makes any sense nor can one understand it. God is love, all creation reflects that love. Am I listening or is it more important to be heard?

  23. street says:

    i think faith is a response to God’s love. God’s love, repentance, propitiation,sorry, resurrection. remember we are armed aggressors when we come to faith. we become sons of God by adoption. yes Dad is a new master, much different than the old one. new birth is a beginning and we can try and figure it out all we want, but does the discussion improve our relationship to our Father or does it make us better debaters. i can see where obedience lets our fingers trace the face of God and debate can be a form of dissidence.

  24. foreverblessed says:

    IF we are led by the Spirit, then we are not under the law.
    I am crucified with Christ, and then I am no longer under the law.
    While Paul says: I am not under no law, I am under the law of Christ.
    That’s why the question is important, Whom do I listen to, the Spirit or the written law?
    I was very much into obeying the written law, and had some confusion as to what Law I had to obey, the Old Testament laws, the Commands Jesus told?
    There is a difference in the written law as to following in the Spirit, as some literal things are no longer done. Like, I kept the Sabbath day, the 7th day, and I was convinced that I did what God asked from me. Till there was a verse in the bible that struck me in the face:
    Gal 4:10-11 You are observing special days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you..

    The Spirit was instructing me on that point from that moment on. And I believe that I am being led. I believe that I now LIVE in the Sabbath, every day, every moment in faith in Jesus, that He will work in me what He is wanting to do in me. And I will listen and act on what He says.

    But in my church housegroup there is a lady who is convinced that the Sabbath is now the Sunday, and I have to keep it.
    I went to my pastor about this, and this is what he said to me: That is why Jesus told us to love one another.
    The one keeps a day, and does it for Christ, the other does not keep a day and does it also for Christ, and all love one another. Rom 14:5-6

    That was profound to me. Love one another do not quarrel about the law.
    If one wants to keep the law literally, then do so.
    If we listen to the Spirit, He will lead us eventually into a way that is higher. The way of love.

  25. SFDBWV says:

    A few years ago Mart had up a subject about which was more relevant the words of Jesus or the words of Paul. Were the two separate or in concert as equal in being God’s words and desires.

    Mart only recently had up a subject as to the Scriptures being about Jesus, every *word* about “The Word of God” who is known to me as Jesus of Nazareth.

    The heart of BTA has always been seen to me as being a forum where ideas and thoughts are presented, not necessarily a place where there are absolutes as in *right* or *wrong*.

    After all, none of us are God nor should any lay claim to being His only voice here.

    If we are to believe that The Holy Spirit came to the disciples at the day of Pentecost and that their recorded words are from that same Holy Spirit, there are a great many commandments given in their letters to the Church; though they all fall under the summary commandment of loving God first and others as we love ourselves, still they are directives as to how the Christian is to live a *holy* life.

    If we believe that the Bible is the last *Word* in Christian matters none of the warnings or directives should be ignored in favor of any other distraction or what may sound as the most noblest of causes.


  26. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed, I have to write in between many duties here in my home every time I do and once able to post, I seen your comments.

    I just wish to give encouragement and agreement with what you’ve said by reminding perhaps others that found in Acts 15:24 and Acts 15:28, 29 are the directives given by the council of Disciples by the Holy Spirit concerning following the Law of Moses.

    As we have also discussed even those directives found there pertain to getting the new converts out of pagan temple worship, which included prostitution within the temple (abstain from fornication).

    For all as well; I always take courage in the simple statement from Jesus in Revelation 3:11, just hold on to what you have and don’t let anyone take it from you.

    If I want to know how Jesus feels about my earthly living, I need only look at the messages to the churches found in Revelation 2:1-29 and Revelation 3:1-22 to see where I might fit in and or seek to improve while there is still time.


  27. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Mart, you shared this definition:
    “…the first meaning of the primary Hebrew and Greek words for obey and obedience is ‘to listen—as when someone gives attention to the knock on the door to see who’s calling.’ (see i.e. Thayer’s Lexicon). The implication is action– but not without attention and discernment.”

    Framing the act of listening in this way makes it proactive. As I hear the voice of God in Christ, I move to obey (listen). The Lord’s desire for me spurs me on to action, attentiveness and discernment of my own behavior. A Jesus follower clings to Him and desires to meet God’s great agape love with his/her lesser, mortal love.

    It seems to me there is continual attentiveness blended with discerning action in living, relationships and mission. We have the Holy Spirit to “teach (us) everything, and remind (us) of all that the Lord has said.” (John 14:26 paraphrased)

    Who but the Lord can love perfectly? I also question from time to time whether I even come close. My greatest hope is to abide in Jesus — and allow Him to abide in me!


  28. joycemb says:

    Maru the more I learn to abide in Christ the more profound the difference between what is in my heart and Gods. The bible says the heart is deceitful above all things. That is so true. We were created in sin, how can we be any different? Our only hope for fulfilling any law, is the help we get from Christ who alone, through the cross at Calvary and through the Holy Spirit, continues to teach and to guide us throuout our lives.

    The more I read what others write on this blog the more of the depth of Gods love I see for his fallen, ragtag bunch of believers we all are, mostly listening to our own broken hearts anh waiting and hoping for a glimpse into the perfect law of love

  29. joycemb says:

    Maru the more I learn to abide in Christ the more profound the difference between what is in my heart and Gods. The bible says the heart is deceitful above all things. That is so true. We were created in sin, how can we be any different? Our only hope for fulfilling any law, is the help we get from Christ who alone, through the cross at Calvary and through the Holy Spirit, continues to teach and to guide us throughout our lives.

    The more I read what others write on this blog the more of the depth of Gods love I see for the fallen, ragtag bunch of believers we all are, mostly listening to our own broken hearts and waiting and hoping for a glimpse into the perfect law of love that binds us all together.

    Blessings in Christ Jesus to all my fallen but hope-filled comrades.

  30. joycemb says:

    My apologies for posting twice.

  31. poohpity says:

    Obedience to what was written with pen and ink or on cold stone tablets seems to harden hearts, covering understanding and truth which leads to condemnation and death. Jesus revealed the heart of God. The heart of God shown in His constant pursuit of us desiring to have a relationship like in the garden walking and talking right here with us. Sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to Him rather than running around doing what we “assume” are the right things.

    There was a beautiful representation of really knowing the heart of God and His response to that desire being like the dawning of a new day or the showers in the spring that bring new life after a cold winter. (Hosea 6:3 NLT; Hosea 6:6 NLT) I think Jesus was trying to get us to understand the heart of God in His very presence here on earth.

  32. oneg2dblu says:

    Brothers and Sisters… we each have a part to do, and demeaning another is probably not our part if we are truly following the Holy Spirit, for we really only need to obey His commands.

    Is it not in God’s perfect will, that we as His children, would also obey our Father?

    Or, as we being His sheep, would recognize His voice, and follow Him, the Shepherd.

    “We are not capable of ever loving one another as Christ has loved us, unless we are also following His or God’s Commandments.”

    That is worthy of a double posing…

    Let us not pretend we do not know which laws Paul was addressing, and what lifestyles must be changed.

    We are not to get caught up in following the laws of circumcision, dietary laws, all those holy days and their rituals, and all those hundred other added laws.

    Paul boiled it down and tossed them all by saying, we do not want to burden you, in the verses Steve has shared.

    Later in Chapter 26 he explains his Damascus Road experience, and how it changed him, then he goes on to tell what we must do to change, if we are to change.

    If nothing changes,nothing changes!

    Hear the word of God and do what it says, is to me, all about obedience.

    You can call it love, if that is your fixed position, but the world who does not listen or obey, also loves, just ask them.

    So, lets start at the first commandment in all things, and we as Paul would say, (paraphrased) that it would go well with us.

  33. joycemb says:

    Amen Gary!

  34. joycemb says:

    I was just thinking about a book called “The Ragamiffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning I read many years ago that helped me out of a legalistic mindset. He was a former Catholic priest who struggled with alcoholism and a divorce. I recommend it to anyone that is caught up in a system that emphasizes law and limits grace only to salvation.

    (Not thinking of any posters here).

  35. street says:

    joycemb says: The bible says the heart is deceitful above all things. That is so true. We were created in sin, how can we be any different?

    this was my mindset for a long time. sinners sin. sons act like their father, good or evil.

    1 Corinthians 7:19

    Galatians 5:2 circumcision in the flesh

    Galatians 5:6

    Colossians 2:11

    Philippians 3:3

    Philippians 3:2

    born of God not of flesh. living as sons not hired hands. Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

    not walking in the futility of our thoughts, minds, strength,bodies, but on every Word that proceeds from the mouth of Dad. Praying God opens your hearts and minds to His Word.

    i have discovered in my life when pride is deep down in my heart and i am not aware of how evil it is that i will have a category 5 hurricane in my future. God will not leave His children in the state He found them in when He saves them and will make them and Honored Treasure like Himself, please learn to hate evil in all its forms, evil dishonors the Father and the children.

  36. street says:

    packerd says Fatherhood of God implies 4 things;





    David is a good place to go for more on this good or bad.

  37. jeff1 says:

    Pooh, you are so right. The times I do things because I feel I have too i.e., my duty or it’s what I was brought up to, I sometimes do these things with a double heart, my mind is saying one thing but my heart another. When I do things in the spirit of the moment because the spirit has prompt me too it is then I do it out of love. I know the other times in my heart that the law was telling me but I was not doing it out of love.

    It is God’s spirit that prompts me when I get it right but it is of my own understanding and not out of a heart of love when I do it out of duty i.e. brought up to do it because its the right thing to do. The difference being that you do not have to believe in Christ to do what you believe to be right for it is what you have been taught which is not from a heart of obedience to God.

    God knows the heart and the mind are deceptive that’s why he wants us to focus on Christ so that we are grounded in his teaching and not of our own understanding because in the last days there will be a falling away from the faith.

    If there is confusion it is brought about by my own double standards. I have often wondered how some so easily walk with God while people like myself struggle now I understand that I am not letting God have his way.

    God understands that I am my own worst enemy, how wonderful and amazing is that! You are right Pooh until I understand the heart of God is love nothing else makes sense and I am lost and confused. God knows when we do things out of love everything else falls into place and I know that is so true that it does.

    Thank You Pooh for your insight and sharing with others like myself who need it.

  38. joycemb says:

    Street I believe that godly living is what is expected of us but my not-so-well expressed point is that no matter how hard I try to walk in the spirit it is when I think that I’ve got it down pride (sin) always can be found, as you said. I am crucified with Christ, but not in any way like Him who had no sin. Yet because of God’s great love he became sin for us- thus the cross was necessary as Pooh has expressed.

  39. oneg2dblu says:

    Foreverblessed… I trust you realize there is one thing that rings out from your last post, when you found that verse, you found the truth in that word, and the truth is what set you free.

    Now to all who have ears…
    To me, Once you become a child of God, Obedience to God’s Commandments can not ever harden your heart, but being disobedient by ignoring them, or thinking they are of no use to you any longer because you walk in Grace, is pure deception, and certainly has already hardened your heart against simply following God’s Commandments, as they bring life and not death to those who Follow Christ.

    The easiest way to become hardhearted, is to ignore the Holy Spirit, which always leads us to follow both in the commandments and all the commands found in God’s Word.

    Hard hearts today are falsely taught to find obedience to be like a curse for them, but obedience is still commanded by Christ who said, “If you love me you will obey my commands.”

    I believe we have confused many souls by improperly applying the Love of God, as walking in Grace, instead of showing our love for God, by walking in and obeying His commands.

    His commands are not burdensome when you allow the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, or change you thinking, and change your life.

    It is not the flesh alone that overcomes the world, but the flesh working with and through the Spirit that overcomes, and that relationship of obedience is what brings about true godly change.

    The Hardened Heart is surely the sign of the unbelieving, the disobedient ones, the stiff necked ones, those who are ever hearing but never understanding, as they continue to reject the invitation to change.


  40. Bill says:

    @ joycemb you wrote (December 4, 2014 at 1:17 pm):

    * I was just thinking about a book called “The Ragamiffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning I read many years ago that helped me out of a legalistic mindset. He was a former Catholic priest who struggled with alcoholism and a divorce. I recommend it to anyone that is caught up in a system that emphasizes law and limits grace only to salvation.

    (Not thinking of any posters here). *

    You’re right. The Ragamuffin Gospel is an amazing book.

    You’re also right that it’s the perfect antidote for legalism. (And I, on the other hand, CAN think of posters here for whom that book may been written.)

    @ foreverblessed you wrote (December 4, 2014 at 6:03 am:

    “That was profound to me. Love one another do not quarrel about the law.
    If one wants to keep the law literally, then do so.
    If we listen to the Spirit, He will lead us eventually into a way that is higher. The way of love.”

    I believe that’s the message of the New Testament. Why? Because that’s what Jesus said by way of the only commandment he ever gave us…and by the Love Chapter also known as 1 Corinthians 13.

    Love is, as Paul wrote, “a more excellent way.”

    @ Gary, I do hope you get over yourself soon. Just because some people here do not agree with you does not means we’ve developed hardened hearts, disobedience, stiff necks, spiritual deafness, and a lack of understanding.

    It just means we disagree with YOUR OPINION about what YOU THINK the Bible says.

    You wrote:

    “The easiest way to become hardhearted, is to ignore the Holy Spirit, which always leads us to follow both in the commandments and all the commands found in God’s Word.”

    Do you honestly believe you keep “the commandments and all the commands found in God’s Word”? If so, I can think of only one other Person who ever lived who could make that claim and have it be true.

    What you wrote is the very definition of legalism. Not to mention failure, frustration, and a total disregard for Jesus’ promise that his yoke was easy and his burden was light.

    For whatever reason, you disbelieve Jesus. Or you simply disagree with him. So you pile very heavy burdens and a very thick yoke on people.

    Whenever someone here (like joycemb or foreverblessed or myself, among others) expresses joy in being burden-free and hip to the importance of love, you can’t wait to squash us – flat.

    Please, brother. I know you mean well. But your brand of Christianity is not what Jesus gave us. It’s not the Good News. It’s Gary’s News.

    Thank God for saving you. Be filled with his love.

    And let others express their faith in their own way, as God has led them to express it.

    Be at peace, man.



  41. cbrown says:

    Bill, please read your post again. Ending with Love does not make it in Love.

  42. street says:

    God made peace with men at the cross.
    He did not make peace with the flesh that is passing away.
    don’t make peace with the flesh. take up your cross. He must increase “i/me” must decrease. bury the pride and live.

  43. jeff1 says:

    I think Bill what Gary is referring to when he mentions stiff necked people, is the story of Israel. They as I understand it were never obedient to God but it is about God’s love for them that is at the beginning and the end of the Gospel. For the summary of the Gospel is that God will restore Israel to her former Glory not because of obedience but because God first loved Israel. It’s a promise from God and it is not about their worthiness but about God’s love.

    I also believe Gary is right when he says Christian teaching is leading many astray by improperly applying the Love of God as walking in Grace instead of showing our love for God by walking in and obeying his commands.

    It is a heart of gratitude that will want to obey his commands but I don’t believe we do it perfectly in this life nor is God saying that.

    We are to endeavour to on a daily basis, days we will fail, days we will not, but with such sacrifice God is well pleased.

    I love this quote from Tennyson:

    Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are
    One equal temper of heroic hearts,
    Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
    To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

  44. SFDBWV says:

    Don’t have much time, but have been trying to sort out Mart’s subject comments and others ensuing thoughts and wanted to just offer a short thought for reflection.

    Rorschach’s ink blot *test* offers an insight into the inner thoughts and personalities of the test subject.

    Very similar are the inner thoughts and personalities of us as we look at Scripture verses. We seem to get out of them what we put into them and our interpretation really only a reflection of the inner person we are.

    In fact if the interpretation doesn’t quite fit we, alter the meanings of some words in order to make it what we want to see.

    I agree with Joyce we are a rag tag bunch of misfits, fumbling with our instruction book and no one agreeing as to what it says.


  45. oneg2dblu says:

    Bill…. on the comments directed specifically to me, and with my flesh writing or speaking, “That was quite a diatribe you so eloquently rolled out of your loving learned heart.I trust they also were not led by the Holy Spirit living in you.

    To the rest of the folks, “Sorry you all had to bear listening to them or us, for who are we but double minded at best.

    We truly are like a “rag tag bunch of misfits,” trying hard to obey, “Love one another.”

    The Battle is always in the mind, and to me it is only the renewed part that wants to obey, so the battle continues…

    Be Blessed,

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    Quite a day here on the Space Coast, although I only have to walk out my door and look North to see the launches from the Space Center, I missed this one.
    It was overcast and distant viewing not optimal.
    With the temps at 72 degrees, that problem is not to much of a burden to have to bear, :)

  47. poohpity says:

    Or could it be that no one actually has put any time into listening to what God says and to seek, search or find what the heart of God is saying like looking for a treasure or a very rare pearl or a very expensive coin. So they stumble around in darkness without the light. The truth that has set us free is Jesus.

    It seems the very basics of our faith, the milk, is not understood and how can anyone grow any further in knowledge or knowing God without it. The very mission that was set into place from Genesis through Malachi. The blessing that was promised through the seed of Abraham. The One who stood along side Moses(law) and Elijah (prophets) at the transfiguration which points to the mission that Jesus was to complete. Jesus was obedient to the point of death on the Cross so that we can be made right with God.

    “And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.” (2 Cor 5:18-21 NLT)

    The old life was one of not knowing God now we can know God, our new life. It does not say that we will never sin again it says we believe in the One who paid our sin debt, took our punishment, the final sacrifice. That we can admit, “O Lord I did it again” and know we have been forgiven.

    That to me does not say I am a ragtag mess then that is how I will live, it says I am a sinner saved through the grace of God. If God went through all that to show how big His love is for me then it would figure I am a much loved, imperfect person precious in His sight, a saint through the blood of the Lamb. His child and God does not make junk. Oh how precious are the feet of those who bring this Good News, the milk of our faith to learn(Eph 3:17-19 NIV).

  48. poohpity says:

    So when folks speak of obedience what exactly are they being obedient to? If it is sharing what Christ has done in our life then one is being obedient to sharing the Gospel. If because of the love that was shown to us we show others grace, we are being obedient. If we see someone in any kind of need and we offer help then we are being obedient to treating others as you want to be treated. Obedience is not such a struggle when it comes from sharing the love we have experienced it just sort of comes pouring out from the overflow within our own hearts. So “Am I listening?” or “Have I heard?”.

  49. cbrown says:

    In my experience the first step in obedience has to be intentional but the follow through is a blessing.

  50. poohpity says:

    In my experience the first step in obedience is gratitude and then the follow through is continual gratitude recognizing the many blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon us.

  51. cas139 says:

    I like Steve’s image of “a rag tag bunch of misfits, fumbling with our instruction book and no one agreeing as to what it says.” I’ve recently been participating in a study of 1 Corinthians. I picture that group of early Christians that way, trying to figure out the way forward in light of their new knowledge of Christ. I can hear Paul’s frustration when he opens his letter addressing news of rivalries he had heard of among the group. Yet through the course of his letter, he patiently and meticulously tries to understand and respond to their concerns about the laws and rules and the ways to minister that they were trying to sort out.

    I suppose I might say that Paul presented an example of not only one who listened and responded to Christ’s commands. He also presented an example of how we might listen with love and respect to our fellow Christians. I can learn from his exhortation in the closing of his letter: “Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Your every act should be done with love.” (1Cor 16: 13,14) To me, Paul showed how the law and love work together.

    Personally, I am a relatively new reader and poster to this blog. Sometimes I am reluctant to share a thought for fear of a defensive response it might engender. As Paul also teaches in 1 Corinthians we are one body with many parts. He wrote, “God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended.”

  52. joycemb says:

    Cas139 I to used to be fearful about posting, until I finally figured out that those blasting others have their own issues and learned to pray for them. I just take whatever hurt or insult-whether directed to me specifically or to the pack-to Jesus, who certainly knows my feelings and understands.

    It is foreverblessed who has taught me so much on this blog about loving others. Forever I hope you are well and that your holidays will be a time of great joy and blessings with your family and church.

    Cas I am so glad you are here sister and appreciate your kind posts.

    blessings from one of Gods beloved misfits-Joyce

  53. street says:

    i distinctly remember paul saying that he knew nothing, save Christ and Him crucified. this is a guy who spent some time in 3rd heaven. like that is not something to brag about? paul didn’t think so. something to be understood here.

  54. street says:

    oh by the way paul’s ability to navigate through life and understand God came from spending time with Him, while he was waiting! God is very patient and purposeful. he was not even one of the 12. i do thank God for him and have been enriched because of his faithfulness.

    just thinking, david was given many promises of and related to a Kingdom, and great they are. paul was given promises too, and a Spirit with tools to build that Kingdom. just thinking.

  55. joycemb says:

    Jeff1 I too love that quote. If you google George Herbert- Love (II) and (III) you’ll find 2 of my favorites. You may already know of him, but he is known as the melancholy preacher. Probably why I so love his writing.

  56. SFDBWV says:

    Christine (cas139) Joyce has given you good advice, I would only add that even though I am one of those people who have no problem speaking in public, in this forum I have had to relearn to be quick to listen and slow to speak.

    Because all of us here carry scars and the pain of living, we have to remember that we have been hurt enough by others, to not be guilty of the same offence of inflicting pain on each other.

    As Joyce has already said, when it happens, (and it will) we just have to absorb it and realize it comes from a broken heart; pity and pray in secret for the offender.

    In fact as I think of it, this very topic title “Am I Listening?” can also be applied to whether or not we listen to each other and recognize the pain and suffering that has brought us all to this place and point in our lives.

    Being quicker to offer a hug rather than a rebuke.

    Blessing to all today.


  57. jeff1 says:


    My mother used to have a saying one person’s meat is another person’s poison, I was only very young and had no idea what she meant by it. Now I have an understanding of what she was getting at.

    I have often held views on people purely on a observational point of view for I did not know anything about them but I would sometimes form a not very favourable opinion of them. Then I would hear about something they done for someone and would be amazed how wrong I had judged that person.

    This is what my mother would say about life no matter how good a person seems she would say they probably have something to hide for no one is that perfect, and no matter how bad a person seems they will do a good turn for no one is that bad.

    So if you treat people you don’t know as neither being that good nor that bad then you will see them as more of an equal for you know in your own heart that you are neither that good nor that bad.

    I also found out my mother’s saying to be true for I have often heard in talking how one person would have such a good word on a person and then listening to another talking and they would only have a bad word to say hence what my mother meant by ‘one persons’s meat’ is another persons’s poison.

    What God I believe wants from me is basically very near to what my mother was saying treat people as your equal they are neither better nor worse than you, that way you do not judge them but treat them in a way you would like to be treated yourself.

    As I see it God wants me to leave the finer details to him for I can only understand from what I observe about a person which is my perception of them as another will observe differently and that will be their perception.

    We will not have the whole truth so how can we any of us pass judgement, it is our opinion based on our observation. I must stop judging people on my perception of them, my preconceived, my you don’t match up to my standards, my I don’t like the colour of your skin, my I don’t like your religion, I don’t like your culture.

    I can tell myself I don’t have these prejudices but a man once said to me ask yourself if your son or daughter comes home and tells you they are going to marry someone of a different colour, religion, culture THEM ask yourself if you have any prejudice and be honest with yourself.

    The mind can be as deceitful as the heart.

    Take my life and let it be
    Consecrated, Lord, to Thee
    ‘Take my moments and my days,
    Let them flow in endless praise

    Take my hands and let them move
    At the impulse of Thy love
    Take my feet and let them be
    Swift and beautiful for Thee.

    Take my voice and let me sing,
    Always, only for my King.
    Take my lips and let them be
    Filled with messages from Thee.

    Take my silver and my gold
    Not a mite would I withhold.
    Take my intellect and use
    Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

    Take my will and make it Thine.
    It shall be no longer mine.
    Take my heart, it is Thine own
    It shall be Thy Royal Throne.

    Take my love, my Lord, I pour
    At Thy feet its treasure store.
    Take myself and I will be
    Ever, only all for Thee.

  58. poohpity says:

    Wow Jeff, beautifully said. As the song says our focus is not on following others but on following the Lord. As you shared earlier we have struggles in our walk with the Lord. Oh yes we sure do. Jesus did not ask us to be perfect, he asked us to follow Him. To learn from Him, knowing it is a process of which He is so very patient with us during that process. We fall down and He helps us up.

    Bob Carlisle wrote a song “We Fall Down” I just so enjoy and puts everything in perspective.

    Cursing every step of the way, he bore a heavy load
    To the market ten miles away, the journey took its toll
    And every day he passed a monastery’s high cathedral walls
    And it made his life seem meaningless and small

    And he wondered how it would be to live in such a place
    To be warm, well fed and at peace, to shut the world away
    So when he saw a priest who walked, for once, beyond the iron gate
    He said, “Tell me of your life inside the place”, and the priest replied

    We fall down, we get up, we fall down, we get up
    We fall down, we get up
    And the saints are just the sinners
    Who fall down and get up

    Disappointment followed him home, he’d hoped for so much more
    But he saw himself in a light he had never seen before
    ‘Cause if the priest who fell could find the grace of God to be enough
    Then there must be some hope for the rest of us
    There must be some hope left for us

    ‘Cause we fall down, we get up, we fall down, we get up
    We fall down, we get up
    And the saints are just the sinners
    Who fall down and get up

  59. joycemb says:

    Good songs Pooh and Jeff!

    I’ve been researching the weaker brother principle of Paul’s in Romans 14 & 15. In the Life Application Study Bible the instruction on Romans 14:1 ends with this, ” Our principle should be: In essentials, unity; in nonessentials, liberty; in everything, love”.

    None of us have ‘arrived’ yet in loving perfectly, or understanding each other perfectly.

  60. street says:

    been thinking of lamps of the 10 virgins. they are to be filled with oil and trimmed. both filling and trimming are painful and difficult if they are living bodies. they are epic body modifications inaugurated by humility and sacrifice. we endure such things because we have passed out of death into life. after having much debt removed it is important to forgive the debts of others and pay closer attention to “fireworks” in our lives, lest we burn down the house and suffer some lose. God richly bless you on your journey.

  61. street says:

    started thinking. need to work in the though of extra oil. it does burn out often. more than i wish to admit.

  62. jeff1 says:

    So very true.

    We are all waiting on a better world either here or in the world to come. Amen

    We are travelling in the footsteps
    Of those who’ve gone before
    But we’ll all be reunited
    On a new and sunlit shore

    O when the Saints go marching in
    When the Saints go marching in
    O’Lord, I want to be in that Number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    And when the sun begins to shine
    And when the sun begins to shine
    O’Lord I, want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    when the moon turns red with blood
    When the moon turns red with blood
    O’Lord I, want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    On that hallelujah day
    On that hallelujah day
    O’Lord I want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    O when the trumpet sounds the call
    O when the trumpet sounds the call
    O’Lord I want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    Some say this world of trouble
    Is the only world we need
    But I’m waiting for that morning
    When the new world is revealed

    When the revelation comes
    When the revelation comes
    O’Lord I want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    When the rich go out and work
    When the rich go out and work
    O’Lord I want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    When the air is pure and clean
    When the air is pure and clean
    O’Lord I want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    When we all have food to eat
    When we all have food to eat
    O’Lord I want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

    When our leaders learn to cry
    When our leader learn to cry
    O’Lord I want to be in that number
    When the Saints go marching in.

  63. poohpity says:

    There is a wonderful video on Day Of Discovery called, “What Jesus Said About Following Him” if anyone has time to see it. Listening to Him above all.

  64. joycemb says:

    Also Discovery House publishers put out a wonderful CD called “Celtic Cry: The heart of a Martyr” a few years ago with songs dedicated to the Covenanters who signed a proclamation in Scotland in 1638 affirming Jesus Christ as the one true head of the church. For their stand many lost their lives.

    May we too be found faithful as those who have gone before, standing in unity under Jesus Christ, the head of the church.

  65. street says:

    i read this online. it’s from April 17, 1560, Philip Melanchthon, on dieing soon and being glad about the prospect. one of the things he wrote was,”You shall be free from trouble and vexations and from the fury of the theologians. ”
    i have to admit i thought it quite funny. i hope i am not a theologian and remain an Adopted son forever.

    He also wrote of what he looked forward too.

  66. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks for these songs they are beautiful
    All living in faith in Jesus, let His Heart beat in mine,

    We fall down, we get up, we fall down, we get up

    When you are being brought up in a legalistic church then you are being led to the law, which says: do not lie, do not cheat, do not commit adultery, etc

    But the law is written in ink, it does not move one finger to help you. It is Jesus IN you, that does prevent you from doing these things. It is the grace of God that keeps us away from sinning. If we keep our eyes fixed on Him, and sing songs like that of Jef, vehemently asking God to fill you with His life, His love, His peace.
    And the song of Pooh, which tells us we will fall,BUT we will get up, by the grace of God!

    Today we read in church Titus 2:11-15 (KJV)
    It is the Grace of God that teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness, and worldly passions and to live soberly lives, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

    Look what the Grace of God teaches us….

  67. foreverblessed says:

    The grace of God teaches us to say no to ungodliness, worldliness.
    Let me hear the Holy Spirit in teaching me others, in His way, not my way, I, knowing the law, that says, do not commit adultery. I have a dear friend, who was a christian, but has left the faith, and now lives in promiscuity, telling: there is no right or wrong. It is hard for me to see that, and me judging, is very close to condemning, just like Jeff was saying, Dec 6 10.30 am.
    How does this word, the Grace of God teaches us to say no to fleshly lusts?
    I ask God, to teach me, and I wait for Your answer. In the mean time I pray a prayer of intercession for this friend, as Jesus is always interceding for us, we do so too for others that we see sinning.

  68. joycemb says:

    Please pray for me as I am moving back to the city I lived in before Ieaving to be closer to my family last year. I know God will provide as I am single and need help with moving and finding an apt.

  69. cas139 says:

    The first lines in the song Jeff1 posted, “Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord to thee…” triggered something in my memory, and this morning I realized it was the similarity to some lines in Ron Block’s song, “A Living Prayer”

    In this world I walk alone
    With no place to call my home
    But there’s One who holds my hand
    The rugged road through barren lands

    The way is dark the road is steep
    But He’s become my eyes to see
    The strength to climb, my griefs to bear
    The Savior lives inside me there

    In Your love I find release
    A haven from my unbelief
    Take my life and let me be
    A living prayer my God to Thee

    In these trials of life I find
    Another voice inside my mind
    He comforts me and bids me live
    Inside the love the Father gives

    In Your love I find release
    A haven from my unbelief
    Take my life and let me be
    A living prayer my God to Thee

    Take my life and let me be
    A living prayer my God to Thee

    This song reminds me that in prayer I open my heart to God. I ask, I wait, I listen. I open my heart.

    Praying for you, Joyce.


  70. oneg2dblu says:

    Joyce… We walk by faith not by sight.So we go in faith that He who knows our heart, knows all your needs and He shall provide.
    Prayers for a peaceful relocation.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  71. oneg2dblu says:

    P.S. Keep your eyes open though. :)

  72. foreverblessed says:

    Dear Cas139, thank you very much for your song,I mailed your it to my son, I just talked to him today, and asked quietly, -you can ask God to help you-.
    He is in a depressed state, and doesn’t know what to do with his life, his girlfriend left him.
    Please pray for him, anyone who feels the urge inside.
    Joy, I also pray for you, that God may help you in your going in and going out!
    Thank you all! God is good!

  73. street says:

    Forever said,”I have a dear friend, who was a christian, but has left the faith, and now lives in promiscuity, telling: there is no right or wrong. It is hard for me to see that, and me judging, is very close to condemning, just like Jeff was saying, Dec 6 10.30 am.
    How does this word, the Grace of God teaches us to say no to fleshly lusts?”

    prodigal sons and wayward sheep, are under the Fathers care not matter how far away. it takes time for sin to catch up to some. when it does, they remember. they remember the Fathers love and return.

    we tended to get ourselves into sin because we love the frosting. we would not go near it if we had first hand knowledge of the truth. after the frosting is over we are left with a pig in a poke. not a fun place to be.

    1 John 2:15

  74. SFDBWV says:

    First things first; Joyce when people ask us for prayer it is almost an unction for us to do so immediately and so I have and will continue to, thank you for asking.

    I will share a local story that recently appeared in our newspaper about two young college students who are majoring in “adventure sports”. Upon the advice of one of their professors they were trekking in the “Canaan Wilderness Area” close to where I live. The young men were planning to do a little rock climbing and so had their gear with them when the opportunity presented itself.

    While walking along a trail they encountered a man who ask if they were part of a rescue team as his young toddler daughter had fallen into a crevasse and they couldn’t get to her.

    Less than a mile away from the child they ran to the site and immediately climbed down to the young girl who was standing, but wedged into the rocks.

    They got her free and was able to hoist her up to the waiting EMT’s from the local emergency center whereupon she was taken to the hospital and treated for cuts and bruises.

    A good ending to what could have been a tragedy.

    The thing that always makes me smile is the fact that in this story everyone who needed to be right there was. The young rock climbers with their gear right there when both were needed, all of the ingredients already on hand for a successful rescue and outcome for this family.

    Not seen by me to be a coincidence, but rather evidence of God’s eye upon the matter well into advance.

    As you go toward the unknown Joyce have faith that God has already been there and prepared the way for you, including the placement of people and angels to aid you on your journey,


  75. jeff1 says:

    As the youngest in our family I believe I was spoilt and as a result I expect too much for things to go my way. I huff with God because things aren’t the way I want them. This makes prayer difficult for me. I know a lady who prays well, she is a breath of fresh air to me. I told her of the problems with my son and she prays constantly for him. I can see the changes working out in his life and I am amazed.

    While I am over the moon at this, part of me is upset that I cannot pray this way. I have tried but if my heart is not in the right place i.e. I don’t feel thankful to God i.e. because my problems seem to be long running, that’s not to say I am not thankful for what I do have which is very good and I can still praise God for that, my difficulty is with the thorns that’s don’t seem to go away, it’s part of my life that is never dealt with.

    What I am asking how do you come to terms with unanswered prayers. I am surrounded with people who seem to be getting it so right their children are successful, they have successful careers, big houses and fancy cars, socially well connected.

    Life never goes smoothly for me and I wonder what I am doing wrong, is it because I don’t pray well or does God have favourites. I would just like to add it is not me who is bothered about how big my house is, how successful my career or the size of my car. I was brought up in a very working class environment where you got an average wage for your day’s work. You would never get rich on it nor were you expecting too. It’s the fact that I am separated and I believe my children are missing out because I have failed as a partner and a parent.

    Those who have can be cruel I remember putting my son in trainers’s that did not have a brand name. I noticed that he had started to wear his old trainer’s and I asked him why he wasn’t wearing the new one’s I got him and he said the other children were saying how he was wearing rubbish trainers. I don’t like it when cruel words hurt my children and they do hurt so my motives have nothing to do with me wanting to be rich but I know it makes my child feel inferior when he is treated like this and that does not make me very happy.

    Thankfully I have come a long way since then but I see the same things happening today where children are downright cruel to those who don’t have and its discouraging to see nothing changes when it comes to how the better off treat those who are not. Where do the children hear that their shoes/trainers/clothes are better but from the parents who you would think when they have so much would be thankful to God for it.

    While people boast and belittle others who have less than them then life in this world will not get any better and its not non-Christians who are just doing this so how will God ever be represented in a true light when all is guilty of doing it.

    Society has changed so much in that there are so many variations of wealth and this is not a good thing because it breeds discontentment i.e. God is not a fair God, everyone looking at each other wondering how they can afford this and the other cannot. I hear people grumbling how some on benefits can live better than them and there is no incentive to work as the people on benefits get other things paid as well and it seems the working man is always at the brunt of the Government.

    My mother used to say how in her day you had the rich and the poor and that was better because you either were one or the other but these days varied wealth is causing more unrest.
    We see it every day on the news workers unhappy because other workers are getting paid more, it all comes down to jealousy and its because the better off instead of being thankful are boasting and saying its your fault your not doing well in life. Society is becoming very cruel indeed.

    It proves that a world without God is not working for most people would claim to know God but the reality of this world says otherwise.

    We have all gone astray just has prophesied which is the good news for God knew human nature better than men did.
    Will the world every see this, I am not sure the world is meant to see it for God has good reason for working mysteriously. What I will say that the more wrong I see in this world the more I depend on God and not men so perhaps God is not so mysterious after all.

  76. SFDBWV says:

    Jeff1 you certainly opened up a lot of doors for discussion, and one could easily spend a great deal of time on each, but let me just say this…”Self” is at the base of all sin.

    Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s because their own motives were the cause of their actions, clearly Cain was jealous of Abel and the cause of Cain’s murdering his brother.

    One can take either of two positions from the very beginning of creation God lost control and so angels and mankind are out of control, or through disobedience and sin God is able to show a more honorable and nobler existence for us all through His sacrifice at the cross.

    As long as people only think of themselves first in every circumstance and not about easing the pain and suffering of another, nothing will ever change, not on its own.

    Only through a renewing of the nature of people can change occur, and it occurs one person at a time beginning with you and I


  77. joycemb says:

    Jeff I know what you are going through and am so glad you shared with us so we can pray more specifically for you and your family. I too have an angry prodigal but was reminded last night in a dream that as a child his faith and trust in God were real so am now having renewed hope for his return to the God he once knew.

    I have found My Utmost to be a wonderful guide for living out our daily Christian walk with God. Another favorite is Joy and Strength by Mary Wilder Tilston with quotes from Christians through the centuries. I am just trying to encourage you as you grow in faith as we all do. You may know these already though.

    Thanks to all for prayers and encouraging words of strength-Steve, Gary, Christine etc. I am so blessed to know you all and others here. The reason I am moving back is I didn’t appreciate the Christian fellowship I had until I moved away and thought my kids would be enough. Alas I was wrong and am in a very spiritually dry place and have learned through this blog how important good fellowship is.

    Anyway, I am listening, and have been drawn by the sweet Voice of Love to return to a place of being nurtured in my faith and to nurture others as well.

    Blessings, Joyce

  78. poohpity says:

    Rather than listening to understand and learn about the heart of God one may tend to project their own thinking as the way God thinks or acts or base Him on their social influence it is called False-consensus effect. Example if one tends to think of God as punishing, angry or controlling that is how they will read that into what is written in scripture and even find like minded people to agree with that bias. Often they will validate their beliefs by projecting their own characteristics let’s say anger or control onto others and God.

    If people feel they need to act one way to please God then they tend to find like minded people to confirm that bias rather than listening to the heart of God by the examples of grace, compassion and mercy that are interwoven throughout scripture and life experience as they walk with God.

  79. poohpity says:

    Jeff, your conclusion, “What I will say that the more wrong I see in this world the more I depend on God and not men so perhaps God is not so mysterious after all.” is so right on. When I hang around people who grumble and complain I tend to feed into it as well and it also happens when all I watch is news. I learned what Paul was talking about when he presented us with an alternative to think about things that are kind, gracious, loving, tenderhearted, noteworthy or praise worthy, to look for the good in others (paraphrase) of Phil 4:8 NLT then God’s peace will reign in our hearts. I do not know who said it but as a man thinks in his heart so he shall be.

  80. joycemb says:

    Good point Pooh! How then do we respond to those with skewed images of God? We pray and pray and pray some more when God shows us those who suffer under the tyranny of the devils’ lies. I myself never knew Love until He revealed it to me first through music, then personal revelation and confirmed through scripture and writings of saints who have gone ahead.
    How is your program coming? Thinking and praying for you.
    Blessings, Joyce

  81. poohpity says:

    I do not know if that is in our ability or responsibility to change a person’s image of God. I think that is way beyond our job description. God knows the heart of each person and if they seek to know Him, He will reveal His heart.

  82. joycemb says:

    Agreed! That’s why I said prayer is the way for God to affect change. Only He can heal a sin-shattered heart . He did mine; Praise God!

  83. joycemb says:

    I was so blessed when people told me they were praying for me to know God when they saw my need before I even knew I needed Him!

  84. poohpity says:

    Paul talked about people who have a wrong impression of God in Romans 1:20-22 NLT and then God’s response to that was He did not try and control what they thought but let them go on thinking it. Romans 1:28-31 NLT

  85. joycemb says:

    Yes and I did and was everything listed until I was touched by God through His glorious grace! Praise Jesus!!!!!!!

  86. joycemb says:

    Keep reading on in Romans and you will see Paul’s glorious revelation in Romans 7, 8.

  87. poohpity says:

    Joyce I was not applying that to you. I was just saying that people may not really want to get to know God and He does not seem to force Himself on anyone nor does He seem to defend Himself against wrong beliefs people have regarding Him. He seems to know those who truly want to know about Him. If we can not understand how compassionate, loving and merciful He is by what we see in nature or what Jesus revealed then there may be the possibility we are not really listening.

    If we feel our prayers are not being answered the way we would want and we know His heart we know there must be a reason for the yes, no or wait.

  88. joycemb says:

    Pooh I was just carrying on a conversation, not taking it personally at all. It was a good string and others not posting but “listening” may glean some truth to encourage them on their journey

  89. joycemb says:

    When I think of the thief on the cross I smile because you never know the time or circumstances when God swoops in and gives us what we didn’t even know we needed. (Goosebumps here)

  90. street says:

    jeff said,”My mother used to say how in her day you had the rich and the poor and that was better because you either were one or the other but these days varied wealth is causing more unrest.”

    I think if you are honest about it, your perspective is different and you pick up things more consciously than unconsciously as a child would. also you are more mature. the spirit of this world is unrest and when it rears, we need to turn back from pride. self pity is a form of pride.
    disappointment is a big hurdle to get over. it shows up from time to time and it comes from perceived lose. this my not be the case at all. remember your on a path as a follower. you have to pay attention and respond to what comes your way regardless of how bad you feel or what you might think. God’s Word and His Spirit are is the best resource for following. sure it’s going to be difficult,but He said He overcame the world. He also said he would restore the loses that Israel had experienced. i wonder if the loses are the times we missed His presents?

  91. jeff1 says:

    It is good that you understand for I have very little around me who do and sharing here on this blog has been very encouraging and a learning experience also.

    Thank you all for your input.

    Yes you are right Street about how we can misperceive at times because we are thinking too much on self. That’s why I have taken on charity work to have another focus outside my domain. I am enjoying it and helping out at the same time.

    I have stopped listening to news and reading the papers and I don’t miss them and I find that listening to people talking I keep up to date with what is going on in the world without having to read all the gory details.

  92. oneg2dblu says:

    It is the intended design of the world system, or the world’s cunning ability to shape humanity into its mold which only wants to distract you away from godly things, and take God out of the life, your dialogue, out of the schools, out of the minds of all who choose to embrace the world instead..
    The word of God is pretty explicit about how we should be on guard to not get caught up in the things of this world.
    We can not serve the world system and the Spirit at the same time, one must master us, not both.
    Choose wisely and you will choose life.
    Everything we encounter in the world system is temporal, and everything we encounter in the Spirit real eternal.
    Man was created to worship something, it is part of his nature.
    God knows we all will worship what is most valued in our heart, and that is why He gave us these directions in His Word, ” You are to worship the Lord your God and Him only.”
    Satan and the world system want your worship directed away from God, but Christ our teacher, when He was tempted, shows us the better way, in Matthew 4:10, “Away from me; Satan! For it is written: Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.”
    Luke 9:25 “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet lose or forfeit his very self?
    Be Blessed, Gary

  93. poohpity says:

    Gary, do you feel the world or Satan has that much power over Christians that we do not allow? 1 John 4:4 NLT; 1 John 5:4 NLT

  94. SFDBWV says:

    Want to center for the moment of Revelation3:20. Once again the less said the more said without changing a word.

    (One of those statements Jesus makes when wanting to make certain He has your attention)
    “I stand at the door and knock.”
    (Not, I will or may or someday, but right now He is at the doorway to your heart and mind)
    “If anyone hears my voice”
    (Whereas we Christians should already recognize His voice, He offers it to “anyone”)
    “and opens the door”
    (Here is the choice and decision to either open the door or keep it closed)
    “I will come into him”
    (Into him, into his heart, his being, his presence, his essence)
    “And eat with him and he with Me.”
    (A clear invitation to the wedding feast.)

    I read of no conditions other than hearing Him knock and opening the door as to being there with Christ in the end of all things.

    Bless someone today


  95. remarutho says:

    Returning after some time away, have not exactly picked up the thread from “Am I Listening?” on Dec. 3rd to this morning’s posts.

    You have brought us all the way from Deut 6:4 to Rev 3:20 — from ” Shema” to “acousay,” Mart. That is a long way in time, yet our God is the same yesterday, today and forever. The commandment has always been to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul and strength.” (Deut 6:5)

    Revelation 3:20 has been illustrated with the famous painting of Jesus knocking on the door that opens only from the inside. Our listening, hearing and obeying depend upon the moving of the Holy Spirit, it seems to me. Simply thinking about the words (in Scripture or from a fellow human being) does not get me to the heart of God. Love does that.

    It seems to me that we are quick to assume we know what the Lord expects. But, as you expressed in your closing prayer, Mart, “…it is only in your loving, merciful patience and grace, that my desire to please you becomes one with your desire to leave me grateful…”

    Advent Blessings,

  96. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh…. I believe we never lose our free will to choose which we will serve, the world or the Spirit, evil or good. darkness or light, right or wrong.
    Wouldn’t you agree?
    I believe we can follow the law and live right by it, or not follow and live outside of its design to bring us closer to the truth, the light, the good, the right, and godliness or holy, and we get to choose.
    We get to obey or disobey, and God will judge us all accordingly.
    What is “your view” about what I have just spoken?
    I could also use verses to answer, but chose to use my own words, because you asked me to, when you asked do you feel?

  97. street says:

    Bless someone today


    thanks steve it was good thinking and understanding. i think i’m a bigamist now. i am in two marriages. your post brought to remembrance of the word “behold” at Jesus trial before pilate.

  98. street says:

    cheap grace came up awhile ago and i ran across this quote today.

    Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. It is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, communion without confession, baptism without church discipline. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer, 1906-1945).

    Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my husband as at first, for then I was better off than now.’ [8] She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold- which they used for Baal. [9] “Therefore I will take away my grain when it ripens, and my new wine when it is ready. I will take back my wool and my linen, intended to cover her naked body. [10] So now I will expose her lewdness before the eyes of her lovers; no one will take her out of my hands. [11] I will stop all her celebrations: her yearly festivals, her New Moons, her Sabbath days-all her appointed festivals. [12] I will ruin her vines and her fig trees, which she said were her pay from her lovers; I will make them a thicket, and wild animals will devour them. [13] I will punish her for the days she burned incense to the Baals; she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,” declares the LORD.

    [14] “Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her. [15] There I will give her back her vineyards, and will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope. There she will respond as in the days of her youth, as in the day she came up out of Egypt. [16] “In that day,” declares the LORD, “you will call me ‘my husband’; you will no longer call me ‘my master.’

    God’s love. without it we would have become like sodom and gomorrah.

  99. street says:

    Isaiah 62:3-5

  100. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… I may be missing your point because there are conditions everywhere, all over the word, and they are written there for a reason.
    Again the word is confirming that the condition of our actions have promises and eternal consequences.
    Like the preceding verse to yours that says, “The ones I love I correct and discipline: so burn with zeal and repent.” Revelation 3:19.
    “If anyone listens and opens the door,” are to me, both conditions that must be obeyed first.

    To me, the absolute necessity for obedience to the word is so valued it is found throughout the entire bible.
    James 1:22,23
    In fact the very first commandment with a promise is attached to obedience is also in Ephesians 6:1,2,3.

    Ephesians 5:6
    Be Blessed, Gary

  101. jeff1 says:

    Am I not right in saying that even the great heroes in the bible did not always walk right with God. They all did up to a point but they all had their weaknesses. We can not be sure how well we are walking with God in this life, we are saved from this world and ourselves, surely means we are capable of still making bad choices for we have no idea of our future and when faced with unforeseen circumstances may be like Peter and make promises we cannot keep. God still uses us even when we behave badly the bible tells us this, we have no idea how much damage we are doing. we strive to get it right so did Peter and Jesus had to tell him to get behind me Satan.

  102. poohpity says:

    The Jews were never expected to follow the law without failing that is why God put into place a sacrificial system until the final all encompassing work of Jesus on the Cross. Living one’s life by following the law is referred to as Judaism that is what Paul did before He met Jesus. Hopefully those who meet Jesus follow Him by faith. He never wanted us to go under the law. Romans 8:2-4 NLT; Romans 10:2-5 NLT; Romans 10:9-10 NLT

  103. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… Even for those who were/are practicing Judaism, or as you say being under the law of a religion, to obey is better than sacrifice.

    Brothers and Sisters,
    Perhaps Paul had it wrong because he also gave warnings to those who were living Under Grace, in his message about walking circumspectly: Ephesians 5;3,4,5,6,7.

    He never made excuses for any continued wrong behavior, he laid down the law of walking rightly, Ephesians 5:11,12,13,14,15.

    Only those with a predisposed and false-consensus could possibly read Paul’s letters of warnings written to those in the churches, and not see that how one lives after being saved, have both temporal and eternal consequences.

    But, don’t take my word on that, just read the word for yourself, not to just support your consensus possibly as false as some teaching going on today, but to be blessed by making better choices, choices for obedience are better than those for sacrifice, where only your disobedience is given grace and rewarded as the higher choice, where teachers wrongly say, you can’t ever out sin the love of God.
    The word says, you are not to test the Lord, Luke 4:12.

    There is however one test the Lord will accept, your obedience in tithing.
    Be Blessed,

  104. oneg2dblu says:

    Oops! Ephesians 5: 3,4,5,6,7. For those who do not have their bible handy.

  105. poohpity says:

    Gary, you misunderstood the question I asked about feeling that the world or Satan has power over us that we do not allow? Now saying that the law of religion that I spoke of which I plainly did not. Could it be that that same misunderstanding applies frequently to what you see as your law vs grace arguments?

  106. street says:

    Or do you not know what the Scripture says in the passage about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed Your prophets, they have torn down Your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what [b]is the divine response to him? “I have kept for Myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s [c]gracious choice. 6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer [d]on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.

    7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but [e]those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; 8 just as it is written,

    “God gave them a spirit of stupor,
    Eyes to see not and ears to hear not,
    Down to this very day.”

    9 And David says,

    “Let their table become a snare and a trap,
    And a stumbling block and a retribution to them.
    10 “Let their eyes be darkened to see not,
    And bend their backs forever.”

  107. foreverblessed says:

    Street, why do you write these verses?

    These verses struck me, when Pooh gave them a few days ago, and I have been thinking about them:
    1 John 5:4-5

    We are overcomers in Christ! What do I fear, it is the enemy who wants to make me believe that when I sin, and fail, who gives these thoughts: see, who do you think you are, you are not saved, you sin.
    Keep believing in Jesus, when you sin, confess and ask Jesus for forgiveness, and get up, and go on in faith.
    When you have faith in Jesus you HAVE overcome the world, overcome sin, hold on to that faith.

    And when you believe in Jesus, and live in love, live in grace, do you think that you can commit adultery? Do you think it is alright to live in fleshly lusts? as some would put it? How can you come to that conclusion?
    Those who come to that conclusion have not yet crucified the flesh, Gal 2:20 but how can you crucify the flesh when you have not first seen the love God had first for us. It is love that draws us to God, love first, and love last Alpha and Omega.
    How can we tell people to forsake the fleshly love, if we do not show them the spiritual love, the real love that is from above? The love where with God loved us first in giving His Son for our rescue?

    Grace is not free and easy, it did cost the life of Jesus Christ, it is costly

    And it is that Grace that teaches us to live holy and pure life in love, Titus 2:11,12,13,14

  108. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry, some more on love:
    God is Love and the Spirit of God is a Spirit of Love.

    Andrew Murray, in his book:
    Absolute surrender, chapter: the fruit of the Spirit is love

    Christian Work Requires Love

    “The fruit of the Spirit is love.” I ask once again, Why is it so? And the answer comes: That is the only power in which Christians really can do their work.

    Yes, it is that we need. We want not only love that is to bind us to each other, but we want a divine love in our work for the lost around us. Oh, do we not often undertake a great deal of work, just as men undertake work of philanthropy, from a natural spirit of compassion for our fellow-men? Do we not often undertake Christian work because our minister or friend calls us to it? And do we not often perform
    Christian work with a certain zeal but without having had a baptism of love?

    People often ask: “What is the baptism of fire?”

    I have answered more than once: I know no fire like the fire of God, the fire of everlasting love that consumed the sacrifice on Calvary.
    The baptism of love is what the Church needs, and to get that we must begin at once to get down upon our faces before God in confession, and plead:

    “Lord, let love from Heaven flow down into my heart. I am giving up my life to pray and live as one who has given himself up for the everlasting love to dwell in and fill him.”

    Ah, yes, if the love of God were in our hearts, what a difference it would make! There are hundreds of believers who say:

    “I work for Christ, and I feel I could work much harder, but I have not the gift. I do not know how or where to begin. I do not know what I can do.”

    Brother, sister, ask God to baptize you with the Spirit of love, and love will find its way. Love is a fire that will burn through every difficulty. You may be a shy, hesitating man, who cannot speak well, but love can burn through everything. God fill us with love! We need it for our work.

  109. poohpity says:

    I think the reason street gave those verses from Romans 11 is that some people essentially do not understand that grace is something that can not be earned by obedience to the law. So there is nothing we can do to deserve mercy but believe and trust in God to bestow it on us not because of us but because of who God is.

  110. oneg2dblu says:

    “Amen to that my Sister in Christ.”
    “Ask, Seek, Knock…”

  111. oneg2dblu says:

    Christianity is the only religion that is not works based,
    but all other religions are.
    We never get to go to Heaven because we are good enough, we get there because we are Forgiven, and only the forgiven get to Heaven.
    All that being said, where do all the unbelieving, the unrepentant, and all those who have not confessed, still have all the same promises found in the word which are promised to those who are obedient?

  112. jeff1 says:

    Religions have done the damage, and taught people wrong beliefs which suits their ends as was prophesied, and turned people away from God but God’s plan cannot fail for it is God’s promise not man’s and where in history has man succeeded except temporarily.

    There are many who have fallen away that God will restore.

    No power of hell, no scheme of man.
    Can every pluck me from his hand;
    Till he returns or calls me home,
    Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand.

  113. street says:

    Street, why do you write these verses?

    sorry blessed i did not write them.

    i think they are relevant to the discussion at hand.

  114. street says:

    in keeping with the discussion at hand. i have been thinking about my love for others comes with conditions, where as God’s love for me is unconditional. i think faith is a better way to promote love than self. it’s basis is God’s Word not my ever-changing weak self.

  115. joycemb says:

    Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
    that saved a wretch like me (like I once was).
    I once was lost
    But now am found
    Was blind but now I see.

    All because of love!

  116. foreverblessed says:

    Here I put last part of chapter 11 of Changed into His likeness, by Watchman Nee, the God of Abraham, Isaac

    t is now that we can begin to look at the difference between the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Isaac, as we have said, speaks to us of God’s impartation to us of Christ, whereas Jacob illustrates our disciplinary schooling by the Holy Spirit. Isaac reminds us of Gods gifts made over to us absolutely, a reminder that gives us wonderful confidence and assurance. Jacob, on the other hand, draws our attention to the Spirit’s inward working upon us to form Christ within, a working whose costliness draws forth rather our fear and trembling. Isaac is able to witness to victory in Christ. Jacob causes us to know our own extreme weakness and uselessness. In Isaac we boldly proclaim that sin is beneath our feet; yet in Jacob we tremblingly confess that as long as we live we may fall again. Isaac assures us that Christ’s fullness is ours, so that we may confidently praise Him. Jacob recalls our attention from Christ to the Christian, to our deficient and inadequate selves.

    The contrasts we have adduced above represent two experiences that run parallel throughout Scripture and are integral to our Christian life. The trouble is that we are apt to give our attention to one of the two only. There are, on the one hand, some very strong, almost extreme words in Scripture. `God . . . always leadeth us in triumph.’ `Sin shall not have dominion over you.’ `To me to live is Christ.’ `I can do all things through Christ.’ They are bold, strong, almost boastful affirmations. Yet the same people who say these things must also say: `I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.’ `I am chief of sinners.’ (Note there the present tense in the Greek. `We have no hope in ourselves.’ `The blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ `If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves.’ `We also are weak in him.’ `When I am weak, then am I strong.’ `Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses.’

    So we see another kind of Christian, utterly weak, sinful, trembling. We see another kind of Christian life, altogether lacking in self-confidence. These two together, Isaac with his confidence in Christ, and Jacob with his self-knowledge, are the life of the Christian.

    It is because we only see one side of this that there are so many divergencies among those who preach the victorious life. We must know Christ’s fullness, but we must also know our own corruption. These are things we must see, and these are what the God of Jacob shows us through the schooling of the Spirit, until we reach the place where we really know ourselves. In too many of us there is a departmental knowledge of God. We know the Fatherhood of God, but not the positiveness of Christ. Or we know this, but lack the brokenness of the Spirit. Some know the God of Jacob without knowing the God of Isaac; they see their own weakness, but do not know Christ’s strength. No wonder they feel depressed about it! If we want a full knowledge of God we must know Him in all of these three ways, and even then we shall find that we are constantly making further progress!..

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