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In Mystery and Hope

IMG_0052As we recall the events of 2014, the tragic loss of AirAsia 8501 renews memories of the lingering sorrow and lack of closure on flight MH370.

The mystery of the missing Malaysian flight and all of the unanswered questions surrounding it are a reminder that, even in an age of instant access to global information, what we don’t know about just about everything and everyone is far greater than what we do know.

P1020402The same limitations of knowledge are true when it comes to how our great God and Savior is going to use eternity to comfort countless heartaches with justice and mercy.

The result is that many of us find ourselves being able to find nowhere to stand with certainty other than to side with Abraham when he asked, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Gen 18:25). Even though he asked these words as a bold challenge to the intentions of God, his words offer a comfort especially to those of us who in the Gospel of Christ have “tasted and seen that the Lord is good” (1Peter 2:2).

Like Abraham, even in the darkness of our deepest and most troubling questions, we have reason to hope, as he did— not only in the rightness of God, but in his goodness.

P1010018This is the hope we hear in the Apostle Paul who, in his own anguish over lost loved ones, said that he would give up his own relationship to Christ if it would result in the salvation of those he loved more than life itself (Rom 9:1-3). Yet, after expressing his own Abrahamic-like challenge to the goodness of God, Paul wrote, of his Jewish countrymen, So they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom 11:31-33).

P1010139_edited-2With a hope and confidence that rises above the raw emotion of questions and answers we must leave with God, Paul shows that he wants his readers to believe that our eternal Father is far better, and infinitely more loving— than we could ever imagine (Eph 3:14-21).

By the gift of such assurance, may our God enable us to come to the end of another year with gratefulness… and into the next with courage.

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185 Responses to “In Mystery and Hope”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    My father used to be fond of saying “What we don’t know would fill a lot bigger book than what we do know.”

    It still is the best answer to many questions.

    I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t have some form of heartache they are experiencing in life. You can go crazy trying to make the pain disappear by dwelling on “should have, could have, or would have, but it changes nothing.

    Equally you can be just as frustrated trying to understand *why* God didn’t produce a better outcome for you.

    So what we are left with is living one day at a time and in that one day and sometimes in that one moment learn to enjoy what you can and show love where you can and don’t waste time or energy on anger or sorrow, all the while trusting God to unseen unanswered questions.

    The choice is yours, sit in ashes or face life in spite of life.


  2. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you very much Mart!
    Love always hopes
    One of the characteristics of love is hope!

    And instead of saying that the many are on their way to be lost, rather have intercessory prayers: O God save them, like Abrham, and Paul…
    what a mindset, that we may be like that more and more, God give us that grace.

  3. remarutho says:

    Amen Mart & BTA Fellowship —

    Have thought of Mary of Nazareth especially this Advent and Christmas. She had only the prophecies of God to point the way to what was coming next. Yet, her soul “magnified the Lord,” and her spirit “rejoiced in God her Savior.”

    Without seeing or knowing what will come our way, may we bow before the Mystery that is our Triune God — always hoping in God’s goodness and love, in trials and triumphs. How, then, are we to live? John Wesley wrote:

    Do all the good you can,
    By all the means you can,
    In all the ways you can,
    In all the places you can,
    At all the times you can
    To all the people you can,
    As long as you ever can!

    May we go in praising God and rejoicing.
    Blessings in 2015,

  4. poohpity says:

    Proverbs 3:5 NLT I know when I read so many things in the Bible or even just experiencing life I do not understand so very, very much but I really do not have to understand when I trust. That song, “Trust His Heart” comes to mind when situations and life are just so confusing and twisted.

    All things work for our good
    Though sometimes we don’t
    See how they could
    Struggles that break our hearts in two
    Sometimes blind us to the truth
    Our Father knows what’s best for us
    His ways are not our own
    So when your pathway grows dim
    And you just don’t see him,
    Remember your never alone


    God is too wise to be mistaken
    God is too good to be unkind
    So when you don’t understand
    When don’t see his plan
    When you can’t trace his hand
    Trust His Heart

    He sees the master plan
    He holds the future in his hand,
    So don’t live as those who have no hope,
    ALL our hope is found in him.
    We see the present clearly
    He sees the first and last
    And like a tapestry He’s weaving you and me,
    To someday be just like him


    He alone is faithful and true
    He alone knows what is best for you


    When you can’t trace his hand
    When you don’t see his plan
    When you don’t understand
    Trust His Heart

  5. hera says:

    Hello…hope 2015 will be a better, much better year.
    In the midst of new year cheers, some left with memories only to cherish…of beloved departed.
    Amid budding dreams and goals, certain destination awaits us all..
    The morgue.
    Sometimes I wonder about the gift of emotions, for often it seems to be responsible for many mishaps..
    I read somewhere that in spirits form, after life, people/soul has different ’emotions’ and that angels have no ‘free will’..
    I guess I will never know for sure, another X-files :-)
    Hope everyone’s 2015 will be a pleasant, satisfying journey.

  6. joycemb says:

    Steve I find you’re comment today very encouraging. Your father was a wise man! God bless you and yours this coming year.

  7. joycemb says:

    That is a very lovely song that Poohpity posted!

    Thinking about being grateful for the past year this blog comes to mind; learning to love more deeply is such a gift we are given here.

    Truly love knows no bounds and when we come to the limits of our ability to love one look into His sweet eyes and I find such a deep well of love it takes my breath away….

    Praying all here will continue to grow in His love in the new year.
    Blessings, Joyce

  8. poohpity says:

    Hera, If angels do not have free will then how did they chose to follow Satan and Satan was a created angel of God who made the choice rather than serve the Lord wanted to be God? (Isaiah 14:12-14 NLT; Jude 1:6 NLT; Rev 12:7-9 NLT) Also don’t emotions separate us from animals and when the Bible speaks of the heart I believe although not for sure it is referring to our emotions. The whole of our being is contained within the heart, mind and soul; the whole person.

  9. street says:

    God knows everything about us before Genesis 1:1. the interesting things is we know nothing of God unless he reveals it to us. i think the best way to get to know Him better is by obedience and asking. that can only happen by listening to Him. the other voices need to be dealt with. His Holy Spirit and Word are of great importance in this endeavor. it is a striving.
    Galatians 1:10
    Philippians 1:27
    Colossians 1:29
    Hebrews 12:4

    you might object to the other voices mentioned above and need to go over the the temptations in the wilderness Jesus faced and how He dealt with them. the temptation come from our own heart, nowhere else. Jesus did not have a fallen heart like we do and yet never failed. fail is not in His Bio.

  10. hera says:

    I really can not remember where did I read it, about angel, I read from many sources and I don’t have a good memory, I am sorry.
    Just like I think there is an article saying that there is no hell, the writer even quoting Jesus…but, again I can not remember where it was…signs of dementia perhaps :-)

  11. jeff1 says:

    Trust is the important part for us to do, surely when we look at how men through the ages have messed up then trusting God is the very least we can do. Trust, hope and act when we can, to ensure that we are helping in some small way to bring about God’s will in this World which is so much in need of it. When I was younger I seen the World in black and white, good and bad, no grey, as I get older I see there are shades of grey, this has not changed my belief in God but in men/women. It is peoples motives that make a difference. I can react differently than I think when situations come about that are outside my comfort zone. We are all different and react differently because of upbringing/religion/culture. The characters in the Bible did not all react the same nor do we. We may hope we will react positively but when circumstances come that are outside our comfort zone we may react negatively. Guilt usually follows but so that we do not become discouraged we must overcome the guilt and do better the next time. Keep the company of like minded people, make sure your motives are right, I have found that I can deceive myself. Tell yourself God loves you sometimes I find that the hardest person to love is myself. This is because I have family/friends who are non believers and their negativity can rub off on me. Trusting in God is the easy part but walking with God is not, I can easy get out of step, this is my experience not necessary yours so don’t expect others to tell you they know what you are talking about for they may not.
    Remember that it is God who has eternity, we are caretakers here on earth with the emphasis on CARE. The best legacy we can leave our Children is to show we care for this World because Christ died for this World so we will be doing something right. GOD HELP US ALL IN 2015.

  12. street says:

    the word freewill came up. my brother-in-law reminded me it shows up one time in the Bible. it is in reference to a disposition of a slave by the owner. paul talks about slavery to sin in Romans and joyful slavery to God. freewill is not mentioned. Philemon 1:14

    oh about angels. yes they get to make decisions and the saints will judge them. 1 Corinthians 6:3

  13. SFDBWV says:

    Happy New Year to all.

    In the movie Forest Gump during the noise and clamor of a New Year’s Eve party there is a quiet moment when one of the prostitutes says with a faraway longing look, that she loves New Years as it is a new beginning, she gets to start all over again.

    Isn’t that what God offers us each day, each hour, a new beginning as we come before Him in the name of Jesus of Nazareth under the blood of the Lamb.

    A clean slate, a book with empty pages the year ahead to be filled in by us and the circumstances we live in.

    Often I think it best we don’t know what lay ahead for us as we couldn’t handle knowing some things and try and hurry to some others perhaps opening the package too soon when it isn’t ready.

    So once again it seems best to just enjoy today and spread a smile to all you can, appreciate what you have and especially each other.

    Thank you Joyce for telling me you were encouraged by my thoughts yesterday, as it is one of my daily goals and hopes to touch someone in that positive way.

    “Today is a day the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it.”


  14. joycemb says:

    Steve it is obvious that you have a very good heart as do most here. I am very glad to know you and all your years of walking by faith bring a smile and hope for getting through tough times as all encounter at one time or another.
    Blessings to all this promise-filled new year !

    Bubbles I am sorry to hear you are no longer posting but you will be on my prayers still. Ask God to show you why the negativity that pops up from time to time bothers you; there are unseen treasures in the annoyances of life.

  15. joycemb says:

    Jeff about black/white thinking-child vs adult- very good thoughts. Growing up is harder for some than others due to familial experiences they were born into and it takes a lot of patience dealing with the one-anothering we’re commanded to do in the Bible.
    I also agree that caring for the world, the world God created, is how we show our appreciation to him. Have a blessed new year.

  16. poohpity says:

    Happy New year everyone.

    street, the term “free will” does not have to be written in scripture to know that all beings have the ability to make choices. Even though those specific words are not there the Bible is full of decisions. God does not force Himself or His ways on anyone or it would not be love.

  17. street says:

    it been my experience that the choices i have made have been always wrong. even if i went in the right direction the motive and or effort would be wrong, nullifying my right choice. grace has been my only comfort for circumstances that are way beyond my abilities. i am glad there is no other way, even though i sometimes think there is. thankfulness instead of ignorance. david would be a go to guy for understanding this.

  18. joycemb says:

    Street I agree David is a great go-to guy when we struggle with our choices/motives. He truly was a man after Gods heart; as I hear you to be.

  19. poohpity says:

    street, sounds like you are very hard on yourself. You said David was your go to guy for understanding that is a good choice. You went to God, that is a good choice. You made the choice to believe in Jesus that is also good choice. I wonder if it would also be a good choice to think of yourself the way God thinks of you dearly loved and precious in His sight. God thought so much of you if you were the only person alive on this earth He still would have sent His Son to pay the penalty for all the wrong choices because God loves you so very much.

    BTA family like usual every year if the Lord puts it on your heart to join me in reading through the Bible. It is as easy as going to this blog everyday. Biblegateway dot com offers many translations and reading plans. Under reading plans is a Chronological reading plan which will bless you if you have never read it that way and then you can chose the easiest to read Bible translation to help in the journey. I promise it is an adventure well worth the time. It is only a couple of chapters a day taking about 15 minutes first thing in the morning to equip you for the day.

  20. rokdude5 says:

    Happy New Years fellow BTA-ers. There is a paradox that always goes through my mind about the providence of God – “It isnt about me yet it is about me.”

    Im just a small cog in the giant scheme of God. Yet God has made all of us important in His scheme. We are so important that He sent His Son to die for us. I have to maintain the faith that no matter whats goes on around me or to me,God has it ALREADY figured out.

    Imagine playing chess against God. Of course God has already made the first Giga-illion moves when I joined in. I still have the choices but God knows those choices and has already figured out what to do next no matter which move I make. In end God is still King but He still wants me (and the rest of us) to be a part of His glorious Kingdom. All we have to do is believe in Him, that He raised His Son from the dead and proclaim that He is Lord.

  21. street says:

    poo said
    street, sounds like you are very hard on yourself.

    i am not as hard on myself as God is on sin.

    the fruit of the Spirit is to be self control, gentle, and faithful.

    His grace and mercy are my true comfort. back to the valley.

  22. poohpity says:

    street, you are not sin, sin is something we do and God saw fit to extend a person grace through mercy. If you are unable to show yourself gentleness, patience, mercy, kindness, etc. how will you be able to show that to others. Matt 22:39

  23. poohpity says:

    Just because people claim to be Christian does not necessarily mean that they are Christian. Christianity is not something you add to your life. Becoming a Christian means that Jesus Christ comes into your life and takes over. It is a totally new outlook that is not satisfied with anything less than penetration into the furthest corners of the soul and the understanding.
    –Billy Graham’s–The Reason For My Hope

  24. joycemb says:

    Street some are more sensitive to their sin than others are. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for they shall see God. Matt. 5:3 NLT Enjoy your fellowship!

  25. poohpity says:

    I don’t think that verse means sensitivity to sin it seems to be more about being humble and elevating God above self and realizing our desperate need for a redeemer. The accuser is the one who keeps our focus on sin and if we are looking at our sin then our eyes are on us not on God. It is only God who gives new life and changes our hearts, it is not about what we can or can not do but what God has done, is doing and will do.

  26. joycemb says:

    The closer we get to God the more we are aware of our sin.

  27. joycemb says:

    The power of the accuser was broken at Calvary.

  28. oneg2dblu says:

    Yet, the power of conviction is what brings about our need for change.

  29. joycemb says:


  30. SFDBWV says:

    One of the Sunday sermons that often get used to make a point from the pulpit is the Mars Hill speech that Paul gives trying to use what the intellectual’s think they know as a way of opening up possibilities to what they don’t.

    These “thinkers” it turned out liked to believe they were open to hearing new ideas, but when confronted with what they seen as impossible, their liberal attitude soon turned into a stiff necked hard headed stoic one.

    We are told that this is why there was no church planted in Athens as was in other cities, including Rome.

    The term “Doubting Thomas” is often used in literature or in conversation as a way of explaining that some people need proof before they can believe/understand/get it.

    The term of course comes from the familiar encounter the Disciple Thomas had with the resurrected Jesus, who needed to see Jesus face to face, His wounds and touch them as proof before he could believe.

    Jesus used the encounter to explain that people who could believe without such proof were blessed.

    What is the blessing of believing without proof? Peace is the blessing that a believer receives. Peace of mind, peace in the spirit, peace that surpasses understanding.

    When we can finally understand that our sins are forgiven and given over to Jesus, we can have peace. When we finally understand that punishment for sin was exacted upon Jesus and removed from us we can have peace. When we quit trying to place the burden of overcoming sin on the shoulders of our brothers and sisters in Christ or upon ourselves we can have peace.

    It isn’t me that offers such peace through discussion or convincing, it is Jesus of Nazareth who offers it freely to all who just simply believe and trust in Him and His sacrifice.

    This is one gift that we don’t have to be suspicious of and add to, just accept it and have peace.


  31. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA —

    Grand array of comments today, which makes 2015 just as interesting as any other year in this fellowship! :o)

    Am always grateful when we glance at the topic before we comment. Mystery and Hope are keys to greeting the unfolding of anything that is before us, it seems to me. Encouraging words have great power, so we can shake off the shocking and hurtful events, attitudes and words that inevitably come our way. Jesus-followers have before us “the tragic loss of AirAsia 8501 renew(ing) memories of the lingering sorrow and lack of closure on flight MH370.” We who are not actually near these hundreds of families left to grieve, are called to pray for their comfort and hope, aren’t we? Just asking.

    Mother Theresa said: “Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness.”

    Joining you in reading through the Bible this year, Pooh. Trusting that the mystery and hope of God’s true character will seep into me like a handful of healing tea in a pot of hot water! Perhaps the blessed Holy Spirit will give me the great gift of “passing it on.”


  32. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… isn’t your point also that we are free now to finally obey his commands with the peace only He can give, which is not being burdened by them, but being blessed and now able to do so?

    That is also good news, right?

    Do we live free in disobedience?
    How about, just do it, be our own boss, live as lawless as you please and with no regrets, having only peace?

    Of course not, we have been given something freely, true.
    But with out any restraints?
    With out any guidance?
    Without any conviction?
    Without any need to change?

    That is not freedom, but that is where we once lived without God in our lives.

    Once we receive the Holy Spirit’s Seal, the Gift of Grace, the New Life, the seat at the table with the Family of God, are there any expected conditions?
    Any rule of order?

    God is a God of Order, not one of confusion, or of doubt, or an anything goes mentality.

    It is His Rules, His Gift, and His Commands that we are given for our good and the good of all who love Him and will obey Him.

    There will be peace at the table through divine order, and not a bunch of children having a pleasing food fight, or a tantrum, but peace achieved only through a willing of obedience.

    “Like God said to Cain, (in my own words,) Just do the right thing, then I will be pleased with you.
    But if I remember correctly… he just wasn’t able.
    Food for thought.
    Peace my Brother, Gary

  33. oneg2dblu says:

    Oh Happy Day, as we get another year, to again or for the first time, read through God’s word. We get a chance to serve Him, as we get chance to put on the armor daily, and we get another chance to obey His Commands.
    I am at peace knowing all that is possible, through Christ who strengthens us.
    Oh Happy Day, when Jesus comes!

  34. street says:

    gary been thinking about the cain story along with the temptations of Jesus in the wilderness and the gethsemane experience. the thing that comes back to mind is God’s instruction to cain that he must master sin. Gen 4:7.
    Jesus is the only one who mastered sin and is the One we are to trust with our will. He sent a Helper to give us a clear direction. the path gets fussy because our hearts and eyes get distracted or out of focus. guarding your heart and praying come to mind. darkness of heart and sin are the enemies of life and are very cruel. God is able to make new in all circumstances. His love and mercy make all the difference in world of indifference and sin. shine on.

  35. SFDBWV says:

    Gary no need to worry, I am at peace with Jesus’ gift of salvation and fully understand what the new covenant is. As well as what Jesus’ commandment for me to obey is.

    No one here among the BTA contributors as far as I have read believe that once you have accepted Jesus as Lord that it is ok to continue on in a life of sin. Whether those sins be horrific or minimal in our eyes.

    All here would agree it is still wrong to sleep with another’s wife or husband, but some would have to admit that not only have they, but some still have such thoughts.

    Jesus stated that just having the desire in your heart makes you just as guilty as actually doing it.

    Who among us here has not lied after accepting the Lord?

    Or even been so hurt as to be angry with God or go so far as to doubt His very existence.

    At what point in the remainder of a believer’s life can salvation be lost? At the very first sin they commit after accepting Christ? At some other point or time in their struggle? When?

    How then can one get salvation back again? Is it through some continual crucifixion of Jesus over and over?

    I know of only one event when Jesus was crucified, and it was once and for all.

    If you think you can live a sin free life the remainder of your life Gary you are very mistaken, and if you think that if you slip, if only just once, that you will lose your salvation then you can never be at peace.

    Trust Jesus’ act on the cross and receive peace that no matter what a failure you are at obeying the ridged law, you succeed in obeying His new commandment to show love and forgiveness to others just like you want it for yourself.

    Let the process transform you. Like a growing plant from a seed to a full adult tree producing fruit, it takes time.

    I am at peace.


  36. cbrown says:

    Good morning all. The start of a new year in Christ. Thank you Lord for Your loving kindness and mercy. I was going to post Romans 12:2 alone but as someone mentioned earlier all of Romans 12 is enlightening.Praise God who alone does all things good all the time.(even if we can not always understand)

  37. foreverblessed says:

    For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all. Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!” (Rom 11:31-33).

    What a very very comforting verse this is.
    It tells me that God wil have mercy on everyone, some time, some place.
    Just like Psalm 136 says over and over again: God’s goodness is forever.
    One of ths Psalms also says, sorrow is for the night, but in the morning comes new hope, or in some other wording.
    So the sorrow of the loss of all these people, is but for a moment, (relatively speaking).

    In my own country many are still coping with the loss of their loved ones over the airplane that crashed in the Ukraine. That airplane is found, but still a lot of mystery as to how it happened. Even that is very hard. In my own town there is a house, where the whole family isn’t going to come back. THeir remains are now being checked, some of them have been buried, some are still waiting. This house is as it was, all the furniture, all the clothes all ntheir belongnings in it. What a disaster for the parents, who lost not only their child, but his and her whole family with it.
    But these people of the plane that is missing do not have a thing, no debris of a plane, no bits and pieces of corpses, nothing.
    I pray that God may have mercy on them all, and comfort. That it is God who can turn everything around into something positive. With God all things are possible.
    Intercessory prayer is what is for me, and praying that God gives me more hope. the more hope I have, the more I can pray for others, as with the hope mixes with faith will bring about what we ask for, if it is all in Gods will, Hebrews 11:1

  38. oneg2dblu says:

    If only we all could believe that all roads lead to Heaven, or in a type of Universalism that forever seems to lovingly pray for.
    Then that ugly, harsh, and certainly unloving message of the Narrow Way, which Christ says few will find, will be considered as just another false teaching, because we know better, because God’s love for all mankind regardless of how they choose to live, or no matter what, is what we choose to believe instead.
    That would probably grieve and not please the Holy Spirit…but one could say the heart is right, but the teaching is wrong.
    The beauty of it all is this, now that we’re already forgiven, we get to choose that which we will or will not believe.
    To me, that type of teaching, popular in churches today, is where Grace is polluted by evil wishes, desires, and lifestyles, which now have become a perfect peace for humanity.
    I see wishful thinking and a perfect storm instead.

  39. joycemb says:

    Good morning all! I am enjoying reading through the Bible again, and may indulge in an ESV for my gift to myself this year. I love comparing different versions/translations as I always learn something new. Thanks to Poohpity for the suggestion.
    Blessings, Joyce

  40. SFDBWV says:

    Gary you have not answered any of the questions I ask you in my previous comment.

    All you have said is accusatory without detail or explanation. Just your opinion.

    I should be angry that you think my comments are false teaching, but I am not. In fact the only reason I reacted to your comments as I have isn’t meant only for you, but some innocent reader who needs to know their salvation doesn’t depend on them, or their inability to never sin again.

    How about you Gary do you keep the commandments? Do you do any work at all on the Sabbath? Which day is the Sabbath? Because I am certain that you do some form of work on the seventh day, does that mean you have now lost your salvation and need once again to be born again and go through baptism?

    Gary you are confusing living a Holy life with whatever it is you call trying to live a sinless life.

    Repeating myself, once again no one including me is saying that once you accept Christ into your heart that you purposely go on with a sinful life. What I am saying is that once you have accepted Christ into your heart that your sins are covered by the blood of Christ in spite of the fact that you cannot live out the remainder of your life, sinless.

    If you could live out the rest of your life sinless Gary you would no longer have any need for Christ at all, it would all be because of your ability, not His sacrifice.

    Build a bridge Gary not a wall.


  41. poohpity says:

    I guess it is wrong teaching to understand how great God’s love is for sinners that He sent His only Son to die for those sinners not those who think they are righteous but those who realize they are sinners. John 3:16; Romans 5:6,7,8,9,10,11; Matt 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31,32; Luke 18:10,11,12,13,14

  42. foreverblessed says:

    That God may have mercy on them all Rom 11:32, if that is universalism, then the bible itself says so.

    If God gives me a name to pray for, then I pray, if God gives me hope for that person, then I pray even more.
    If God could change the heart of Paul, formerly Saul, by using all kinds of circumstances to get Saul to that point, then God can change anybody. And I do believe that God is waiting for our prayers of intercession, that He will act on our prayer.
    If more christians do get to this belief, that THAT is what God wants them to do, Rom 12:2, then God can start to work at many that now are unbelievers, the many more will be saved, even if it is the narrow way.

    Because it is such narrow way, lots of intercessory prayers are needed.

    So lets pray more, if you get to see that that is what God wants you to do, But if the Holy Spirit tells you to just sit quietly with Him, then do so, because only the heart that is at rest and in peace with God, only through that heart can God work to others. And sitting quietly at His side will make you peaceful and at rest, not in a moment but slowly, day by day.
    I have been trying to sit quiet at His side for over more then 10 years. Just getting at rest, seeking His peace.

    THats why it is called, that we hold on to Him.

  43. joycemb says:

    Gary, take your fears to God and ask Him directly for guidance on what it means to walk the narrow way. He is alive and loves our questions along with our praise. He will show you personally what your walk with Him should look like. Blessings to you!

  44. joycemb says:

    Universalism says there is more than one way to get to God; through Mohamed, Buddah, Meditation, works, or Jesus.

  45. jeff1 says:

    We have to trust that God knows us best, the reason being the heart can be deceitful, I have often deceived myself, so I know this. Steve is correct most of us do not go out with the intention of doing wrong if we are trying to please God but I for one know it is not that easy. When someone has done me a wrong I have not always had good thoughts towards these people.

    In my favour I have not acted on it but I believe this is the holy spirit working in me and thank God for that.

    For me there is a battle going on, and Steve is right knowing that the war is won by Christ means I not only find peace for myself but others that I care for who do not yet understand that.

    Satan has messed with peoples minds and hearts but God has eternity to put that right so let us not get in the way of God’s will but let us be partakers in his will.

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    forever… your answer is a blessing to us all, your prayers are needed and that is your calling. Praise God for the intercessors.

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve.. I’ll go back and try to answer all your questions.
    Of course, you do not have to answer mine, they are posted more as a wake up for all eyes to read, more than a one person interrogation.
    I believe you already know from past conversations, that i I believe none of us reaches sinless perfection in this world.
    More Later…
    Thanks for not being offended personally.

  48. hera says:

    Hi…if I may, I would like to comment on comments :-) I hope it’s ok and it won’t offend anyone.

    Some time ago I posted, in ODB, about what if you sin after confessing your faith, for I know as long as I have emotions sins will always lurking..in the end I just assume that only God will know and decide that tho many will offer concept, theology, verses etc – mainly because I just would like to simplify my life, as I have mentioned am not good in remembering things :-) and I wonder, is God a complicated being and wants His followers to have a complicated faith-life by complicated directions?
    However, that may be true, He is a complicated God, for honestly I have never experienced one of those ‘receiving a (clear cut) answer’ so far, like some people do incl contributors of this blog.
    note: am wee bit jealous of that, seems like God is discriminating me on that :-)

    Is Universalism means tolerance? Tolerance is a form of loving others (or not?), and in today’s society, so diverse & multi-everything, it’s something we must do otherwise…
    However, there was a comment previously about ‘being with like-minded ppl’ and Bible has examples where one religion would influence another, e.g. Solomon’s wife who inlfluenced him to practice another belief..
    So….kind of dilemma..? and, carried too far it could be something like an exclusive-elite..? but then that’s quite common I think, ppl tend to group, bond more easily/closely with the same race, religion, social status etc..which could create gaps, gaps could create..misunderstandings? which may incur no peace..
    I am sorry I am rambling :-) I do hope it won’t offend anyone.

  49. joycemb says:

    Matt. 7:13, 14 NLT the narrow way is about the DECISION to follow Jesus as the Messiah. The wide gate and broad highway refer to the decision not to follow Jesus and his teachings. The highway to hell means being thrown into the fire, not entering the Kingdom of heaven, being banished from the presence of Jesus. NLT study Bible.

    For me personally I have never seen any road signs along the narrow path saying don’t do this or do that; but I always see Jesus just ahead leading me away from rules and regs toward listening for his voice which never condemns but fills my longings for peacefulness in his kingdom. The outcome as far as my “job” here and in the kingdom is good works. I am never judged by Christ for not conforming mysef to anyone’s standard but His, which is to love God and others.

    Once we make the decision to accept and follow Christ as our redeemer/Messiah our hope is sealed by the Holy Spirit. If we stumble-and we will, he will always pick us up- one way or another. The joy in the journey!

  50. joycemb says:

    As far as OSAS, I can leave Jesus any time I choose, as many now and then did. It is my choice. I choose not to. For those who decide to leave I feel sad. For those who think they are fooling others with their devotion to laws and appearance I feel sad. God is not mocked. He will reveal the wolves in sheeps’ clothing in due time.

  51. oneg2dblu says:

    If the war was won by Christ, and we all know it was, if we read the end of the story.
    Then, why are we all still stuck in the active daily battle of the mind?
    Because, Satan is still roaming freely today, crouching like a lion at our door waiting for an opportunity to devour us.
    Imagine if Christ could provide us with a Helper to overcome our advisory?
    Imagine if He truly gives us away to stand up under temptation, but, we don’t take it.
    Then what?
    Oh yeah, some teachers say it does not matter because the war is already won…
    I remember after Japan had surrendered, the war was over but, many more lost their lives fighting with those in the tunnels who were not yet informed.
    The enemy takes this time of freedom that he still has, very seriously, to still attack us daily, so we must put on the armor of God daily, or are we still protected even without it?
    Isn’t that a false teaching, telling us to put on the armor, then also saying the war is already won?
    Or telling us to run the race as to win the prize, when we already have the prize or victory?
    I can not yet, give a blind eye and deaf ear to all the warnings given to the believers in God’s word, those who already have their salvation.
    Wouldn’t it just be easier to say God loves you, it is His will that none should perish, so trust that you are already Saved?
    Our is salvation something that really has some conditions attached to it?
    Just asking a few minor things, knowing we are all today living Under Grace.

  52. oneg2dblu says:

    Joyce… refreshingly honest. If you choose to walk away, you can, but choose not to.
    That is precious and exactly where I am also.
    But, I see the warning posted everywhere…


  53. cbrown says:

    Jesus Christ has declared the conditions to salvation and He was specific. Love in Christ.

  54. cbrown says:

    John 3:5,6 and John 6:63

  55. poohpity says:

    Gary, the very first question, “Then, why are we all still stuck in the active daily battle of the mind?” is a real question while the rest seems to be statements with a question marked added at the end of the sentence. I can not answer that for anyone else but me, there are daily battles and especially when I am fighting against a temptation that has longed plagued my mind. Some thinking and actions were changed in my life right away and some others are going through a process of change. If I concentrate on the thing that I am battling it has won but if I believe that it no longer has control over me because of what Jesus has done, then Jesus has won.

    I used to lay flat on the floor praying for the Lord to take the desire for what my addiction was away from me and yet I experienced His love, forgiveness, grace and mercy and that is where the change came from not the conviction or condemnation of the sin or the thing I was battling. It seemed for me it was the thought and the experience of someone loving me unconditionally and like I finally belonged to someone who did so much for me even when I was like I was. Will there always be a battle yes but when I just do what the Lord has given me to do that is where the focus is, not on me.

  56. street says:

    jeff said,”Satan has messed with peoples minds and hearts but God has eternity to put that right so let us not get in the way of God’s will but let us be partakers in his will.”

    it’s my understanding He set things right about 2000 years ago. you may even say He did it before Gen 1:1.
    i think this is why so many early saints were joyful. even steven could face death and ask God to forgive his killers in the process. amazing faith in an amazing God.

  57. joycemb says:

    At Calvary death was defeated, we KNOW we are going to live. Satan gave up his keys to hell. That was and is certainly reason to be joyful!

  58. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… those moments of surrender are really a place that shapes us perfectly for His work, to do it’s work in us.
    Some of us have to go so far down, that the only place left to go is up.
    Yes, it is a long drink for some, this cup of suffering and surrender.
    Imagine our sinless Lord having to ask His Father to take the cup of suffering for our sins away from him, but not for his will, only if it is His Father’s Will.
    That divine moment of selflessness changed the whole world.

  59. jeff1 says:

    It is true Street that Christ’s death has set things right and if we don’t lift a finger in this world we are still saved by grace but it is because of this that I want to help others who do not have this assurance through ignorance, false teaching, or whatever cause. If I can help someone along the way is that not what it is about it may just be a small gesture but it might make a difference in a world where the problem is not whether people believe in God but whether they believe in a just God.

    When you have been brought up in an environment where men of God have abused their position you do not have the right take on God. Many have fallen away for this reason and need time to see God in a loving way.

    The problem for God is that when men get too saintly they all of a sudden forget what they were once and become critical of others who have not grown spiritually.

    We would do well to remember no matter where our walk takes us that the GOSPEL is inclusive not exclusive.

  60. poohpity says:

    Amen, Gary! That is what is so amazing about His wonderful grace.

    Satan still has free reign on this earth and he seems to just enjoy destroying a Christian’s relationship with the Lord by feeding their mind with thoughts of unworthiness, accusations, etc.. He can come looking like an angel of light to deceive so we need to be on guard by filling our minds, hearts and lives with truth.

  61. joycemb says:

    Yay Gary & Pooh are in agreement! It’s a great start to the new year!

  62. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… so many questions, so little time.
    Since your questions are all salvation related
    I’ll use the best source I’ve ever found to answer them.
    I’m tempted to just dismiss them, but when tempted it is best to Follow Christ ans quote,”It is written”
    So, Do Not Be Deceived according to the Bible, to enter the Kingdom of God after getting “born again” you
    Think you are standing firm or you will fall
    1 Corinthians 10:12
    2 Peter 1:5,6,7,8,9,10

    Turn from your righteousness and do evil or you will die spiritually Romans 8:13
    Ezekiel 3:20; 18:24; 33:18

    Turn to crooked ways and get banished with evildoers
    Psalm 125:5

    Stray from the path of understanding and come to rest with the spiritually dead
    Proverbs 21:16

    Be overcome by evil but instead overcome evil with good
    Romans 12:21

    Disown Christ or He will disown you
    Matthew 10:33

    Fall from grace or Christ will be no benefit to you
    Galatians 5:4

    Worship the beast, his image or receive his mark, because all who do will be tormented forever with burning sulfur.
    Revelation 14: 9,10,11,12

    Take words away from this book of prophecy and have God take you from your share in the tree of life and the holy city
    Revelation 22:9

    Wander from the truth and remain unrepentant
    James 5:19,20

    Reject God by living an unholy life
    1 Thessalonians 4:7,8

    Believe for a while and in time of testing fall away
    Luke 8:13; Matthew 13:21

    Depart from the Father to a life of unrestrained sinning
    or you will become sp[iritually dead and lost
    Luke 15:24,32

    Preach a false gospel and become eternally condemned
    Galatians 1:8,9

    Choose to be a friend of this world or you will become an enemy of God
    James 4:4

    Look back now that ypou have put your hand to the plow
    or you won’t be fit for God’s kingdom
    Luke 9:62

    Become a drunkard, sexually immoral, greedy, a liar and etc.; which will cause you to not inherit the kingdom of God but instead end up in the lake of fire
    1 Corinthians 6:9,10; Mark 7:20,212,232,23; Galatians 5:19,20; Ephesians 5:5,6,7; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15

    Imagine finding a word in five places in the bible about wrong behaviors and still discount them just to protect OSAS?

    How dare we doubt all those witnesses.

    I’ve had enough for today, more to follow…

    Thank you all for putting up with my rambling on about what is written in God’s word for us to not do after receiving our salvation.

    Steve, I hope that answers a small part of your questions.

    Be Blessed, Gary

  63. joycemb says:

    You’re not shaking the dust off your fingers yet here, are you Gary?

  64. joycemb says:

    That was said in love with a smile, my phone won’t transfer emoticons on this site. I have a weird Irish sense of humor!

  65. poohpity says:

    Joyce why would Gary give up something he has put 4 years into and has yet to see that his point is always his point. God love him, as I have said in the past if anything he is tenacious.

  66. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Gary, I hope you’ve slept well and not spent too much time researching Bible quotes you feel support your fear of living.

    I can also give you plenty of Bible quotes to support my own peace, however the questions I ask you were personal ones and you still have not answered them.

    Do you continue to sin in spite of not wanting to? Do you think then you have lost your salvation as a result? How then do you get it back?

    Do you think one sin is all it takes to lose your salvation, if more than that, how many, which one is worse?

    Its ok Gary I am going to leave you alone, I have already spoken to the person who needed to hear the truth and receive the Peace of Jesus Christ. They know who they are.

    My message is a message of peace, of forgiveness through the action and effort of Jesus of Nazareth, not through any adherence to the Laws of Moses.

    Accept Christ into your heart and receive forgiveness, and fellowship with Him as He has restored our place with God.

    The key to my “testimony” is that *HE* restored the fellowship and bridged the gap between fallen man and God. Something man could not do before Jesus nor can do now by trying to live a sinless life, as no one can.

    I do not believe it possible for a person who has received salvation to lose it, because it is an action and institution from God, not man. If it were of mans design then yes he would lose it, but salvation is the free gift from God….”Free gift”.

    I only hope Gary that I have not hurt you in all of this discussion, I have said before that if this is how you need to feel at peace with God then do whatever it is that makes you feel *safe*.

    For me and many others we feel *safe* in Christ alone.


  67. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Came upon a phrase that leaped off the page for me just now: “…for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and ready to relent from punishing.” The Prophet Jonah, no matter how prejudiced against the Ninevites, has experienced the grace and mercy of God. Even in the 8th c. BC he has known the Lord — mysterious, yet offering hope to all — heathen, pagan, obedient and disobedient.

    If a stubborn, crusty ancient prophet sees the goodness of God without the benefit of Messiah, may we who follow Jesus Christ (who is Messiah) today not speak boldly of His amazing Love, the “wideness of His mercy and forgiveness?”


  68. remarutho says:

    Hope does not disappoint.

  69. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve my Brother… Thank you Judge for writing your
    opinion, or finding in the evidence I’ve presented so far, where you have extrapolated my life to be, “Fear of Living.”
    You must be reading between the lines, my Brother, and into my words what you want to see, because there is not fear in living and respecting, addressing, sharing, and being open to the whole word of God, not just those that support a modern popular false belief, which says, one can not ever lose their salvation, when the bible clearly tells us, in several places, but some false teaching will still deny the actual words written in the Holy Scriptures:

    Mark 3:29 NIV “But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin.”

    That one sin teaching says so, “It is written” to answer your question?

    Whoever, means everybody, (in my opinion,) and that means even those who now cling to OSAS, Eternal Security, Unconditional Security, Pre-election, Pre-destiny, whatever you like to call your current peace that allows for a secret ingredient brought on by false teaching that presents opposition to even that one eternal sin.

    False teaching has just crossed that verse out, and now those who are deceived, call even the one sin teaching by the Lord, as if it is a false teaching, because in your opinion it does not apply if your already saved.

    Have I misunderstood you thinking about that issue?

    Here’ another ” It is written” witness, to support, what you say is my opinion.

    Luke 12:10; NIV “And everyone who speaks a word against
    the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”

    In His Love, Gary

  70. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve my Brother… You asked another extreme question about, How many lies does it take to keep one from entering the kingdom of God, is it just one lie?

    Sorry if my words don’t exactly match your question, but they do address the flavor of what they present, as you try to put me on the spot, to answering what to me,is already written in the scriptures, for those who have eyes to see, and ears to hear.

    When I read the verse I presented for behaviors that will not enter the kingdom of God, I saw that word drunkard was the standard for defining a lifestyle, not a one drink expulsion from the kingdom, but a continuum
    of being out of control.

    So, how does one then answer, How many drinks does it take to produce a drunkard?

    I do not know a number that could answer that question, but I do know, that when one truly repents from a lifestyle of a repetitive sin, (you name their poison) they are both forgiven “and they are changed,” from hopelessly living in a constant lifestyle of sinning, into one who sins less. Not perfection, but not habitual either.
    How many encounters does it take see you are living in a a sexually immoral lifestyle, or you are a habitual liar, a non abstaining drunkard, an unstoppable serial killer?

    Those things I’ll have to leave to the Judge who judges all who will enter His Kingdom, and all who will not enter, according to His Written Word.

    In His Love, Gary

  71. SFDBWV says:

    Gary you sound angry and upset and continue to not answer my personal questions of you. Just rhetoric.

    Whereas I said I will leave you alone that doesn’t mean I will ignore you. Though time will soon run out for me to be at the computer for the remainder of the day.

    Since you are busying yourself with Bible quotes, show me where the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is defined by scripture, not conjecture. I didn’t think I had to be so specific as to include or exclude the unforgivable sin in our conversation as it isn’t relevant to the discussion between us…Losing salvation.

    The ISIS are successful by preaching a culture of fear and death by not strict adherence to their Quran, is your witness any different?


  72. poohpity says:

    Gary, what does it mean to blaspheme against the Holy Spirit? Mart gave a whole topic on the OSAS argument and found that it may be a matter of disagreement in the church for a long time but this topic is talking about assurance that gives hope. What you are presenting is lack of assurance or maybe we could call it deassurance or no assurance or nothing we can count on. If we can not depend on God then that is pretty hopeless.

  73. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… you asked, “Who among us has never lied after accepting the Lord?”

    My answer, “It is written,” “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth in not in us.”
    So, no one I’ve ever met so far, but I’ll bet there are some who may lie about that, and to lie, is a sin.

    “How can one get salvation back again?”

    My answer, Probably the same way, “It is written,” when they come to their senses, (realize their wayward position) and return.

    Basically, “It is written,” Ask, Seek, Knock, and the door will be opened.

    “Is it through some continual crucifixion of Christ over and over?”

    My answer, Heavens no, The father of the wayward son did not have to suffer for his lost son over and over again. He met him with open arms and accepted him back into the broken relationship, the loss of fellowship that had existed.

    In His Love, Gary

  74. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve my Brother… You asked, “Do you work at all on the Sabbath?”

    My answer, Of course I will work. I do not fall victim to any religious absurdity, or fear to work, or fear to live, because, It is written, “If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out?”

    “How about you Gary do you keep the commandments?”

    My answer, Well Steve I’m just a Christ Follower, and like you, I probably do best I can. But to tell you the truth, most only the ones that are not burdensome.
    It is written, “This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome.”

    In His Love, Gary

  75. cbrown says:

    So Gary when Jesus said “you must be born again”and Nicodemus said to Him John 3:4″ How can a man be born when he is old?He can not enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born,can he?” you can walk away from God and then God leaves you?

  76. joycemb says:

    Good morning all,
    Reading the thread this morning what jumps out at me is how uncomfortable it makes us when our chosen doctrine is challenged. We can be like the Wizard of Oz, hiding behind what we hope is truth, or what we can only understand according to our life’s experiences. But in the end we find we are only human after all so must rely on a power greater than ourselves to sort it all out and hope that in the end we were near to finding the Truth.
    I think we will all be pleasantly surprised in different ways when our lives here are over. My 2 cents worth.

  77. joycemb says:

    When I say “we all” I mean all Christ followers.

  78. street says:

    gary said
    It is His Rules, His Gift, and His Commands that we are given for our good and the good of all who love Him and will obey Him.

    this is all true, but the flesh can not abide or do this. it is God’s Holy Spirit that comes and we learn to yield. some circumstance more quickly than others. yes personal failures come, but Jesus said I have overcome the world. i think our understanding of who He Is and His love for us that keeps us from wanting another. Son’s return because of discipline encountered from turning away. the Father is greater than all and able to accomplish His will. His love for mankind, questioned by many, is revealed in Christ Jesus. think about this. when Jesus was on earth He was in the enemies territory or behind enemy lines. Christians are considered traitors by the world. somewhere it says we are to be considered sheep to be slaughtered. Job got it right, so will all the Children of God. don’t let your love for God and mankind grow cold. shine on.

  79. street says:

    jeff said,”The problem for God is that when men get too saintly they all of a sudden forget what they were once and become critical of others who have not grown spiritually.

    sorry jeff i had to chuckle a little on this one, problem for God? after the resurrection i think there is a true shortage of problems for God. man just has to go through the same ground his forefathers traveled. we like snowflakes are different, but history shows we still deal with the same issues. it’s quit a garden, can’t wait for the city who Architect and Builder are God.
    He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

    21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with [j]all. Amen.

  80. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… Sorry that answers only part of your many parted question, you also rambled on with, the Seventh day part saying, “Because I am certain you do some work on the seventh day does that mean you lost your salvation and and if you lose your salvation and need once again to be born again and go through baptism?”

    That is a tricky one, because the first mention of the Seventh Day was in Genesis, It is written, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

    So many questions, so little time.

    To me, in my opinion, first we have to establish a Sabbath we can live with, for we certainly do not all practice which day he will set aside as the Sabbath, do we?

    You being raised a Catholic must have kept your Sabbath on Sunday, and others hear possibly following other religions, chose another day.

    But, Ii is written… that Christ was crucified on the day before the Sabbath, and Rose Again on the Day after the Sabbath. God’s Manna fell with a double portion on the day before the Sabbath, so the Jews would not have to gather their God-provided food on their God-provided Sabbath. So, to pardon my expression, it was written in the word, like it was written in stone. Clearly, a Saturday according to the Jewish Law and the calendar they recognize.

    But, let’s not go there and cause a further riff in the process.

    As far as Baptism is concerned, it is a commandment which every Christ follower gets to participate in, to be obedient to the word, but it is not connected as a requirement of our Salvation.

    In His Love, Gary

  81. jeff1 says:

    God sure did get it right for history does repeat itself, the followers in Christ’s day were just like us today Peter taking his eye of Jesus and down he went. God sure did understand human nature we are all right except the person who is wrong and that person cannot be me, I mean heaven forbid I would never get it wrong. I wonder does God every get fed up listening to his squabbling children but then I guess he has had a lot of practice.

  82. joycemb says:

    Jeff that just shows how amazingly great Gods love is!!!!

  83. poohpity says:

    We are saved by “believing” Jesus is Lord, He died on the Cross and took the punishment for our sins then was raised in three days and sharing with others that this is what we believe.(Romans 10:9-10 NLT) It is that simple and that’s salvation by believing. Can one stop believing, yes and deny Christ, yes but that does not mean our Father ever stops being our Father even if we walk away thus the parable of the lost son, the lost coin, the lost treasure. If He loved us while we were sinners name any other condition other than being sinner that would prevent His love.(Romans 5:8)

    Now there are those who never believe that sounds like those who grieve the Holy Spirit but from what I know of the Lord, He is faithful and always has been even when man is not. Sin caused us to hide from God not the other way around(Genesis 3:8-10 NLT). Thinking that God acts in anyway like we do is to deny His sovereignty (1 Cor 13:4-7) that is how the Lord loves us. It is a mystery that we can not fully understand with our finite minds and that is where I place all my hope in an unmeasurable love of the Father for His children even those who do not know of that kind of love yet it is our job to tell them about it.

    Frankly Gary I would not even like to know the kind of God you normally talk about. It sounds like someone who is not trustworthy, or dependable but harsh, critical, demanding and punitive. That is not the Lord I know. The Lord drew me to Himself because of His mercy and amazing grace knowing that I do not need to hide from Him any longer because of the gift of faith that He gave me.

  84. oneg2dblu says:

    joyce… you are a blessing. You have eyes to see the actual problem, how much our humanity is raised up when our doctrine is challenged. Eyes to see and
    ears to hear, you are surly given divine discernment.

  85. oneg2dblu says:

    Someone please hit the “let’s all love each other” button
    and allow us to play fair with our words and not make us into something we do not want to be, even knowing that God has consigned us to disobedience, stop the food fight!
    Throwing dirt at your opponent only makes you lose more ground.

  86. oneg2dblu says:

    Is there any other here who is talking about another God?

    Maybe when we start using idioms like comparing another to having an ISIS like testimony, we’ve lost control of our tongues, and perhaps our testimony is losing something as well.

  87. cbrown says:

    Matthew 5:21-24English Standard Version (ESV)

    Mathew 5:21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother[a] will be liable to judgment; whoever insults[b] his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell[c] of fire. 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”

  88. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… is grieving the Holy Spirit, and blaspheming really only a problem for unbelievers, who do know or believe the Holy Spirit?

    I never thought of it that way, because I do not believe unbelievers would be wasting their time reading the warnings in the scriptures, but we sure are.

    I trust all the past discussion here on that topic, may have brought out these verses in Hebrews 10:26,27.

    May it shed some reasonable light on the subject of the deliberate unrelenting constancy of living a lifestyle of sin while knowing better, and not repenting, not taking your sin as serious, because your doctrine gives you a false sense of protection, through a possible secret ingredient called deception.

    Galatians 6:7,8 “Do not be deceived…”

    Romans 8:12 “Therefore brothers, (meaning those who have salvation) we have an obligation- but it is not to the sin nature, to live according to it,”

    Don’t you just love the word of God, how it gives us guidance and support when we think we can’t not sin!

    1 Corinthians 10:13, has become my weapon against such thoughts, for before we actually sin deliberately, aren’t we all first tempted?

    Be Blessed, Gary

  89. cas139 says:

    Perhaps the mystery and the hope and the chance to begin anew are all tied up in the concept of God’s mercy. It is hard to fathom the mercy God has shown and continues to show humankind, beginning in the Garden and continuing through the old and new testaments culminating in the ultimate mercy shown through the sacrifice of his Son, our Lord.

    Zachariah understood the message of mercy John was to announce. He goes so far as to say that it is because of God’s tender mercy, we are saved from the darkness: Luke 1: 78, 79. “because of the tender mercy of our God
    by which the daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

    God’s mercy is with us still, even in our imperfection.

  90. poohpity says:

    Gary , who has ever said on this blog that they continue to live for sin, the flesh or the world? But isn’t it you that constantly accuses us of it? Please stop accusing, it is getting old. If you really think one of us is stuck in a sin then go to that person one on one and gently lead them back to the Lord. Yes Gary I do love the Word of God and His written word as well. I pray I do not use it against others as a weapon for abuse but use it wisely for teaching and guiding people to the faithful love, mercy and grace of God.

  91. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon BTA Friends —

    The turn of a new year is always a good time to reassess — motives (just my own, thanks) — values — and practices. Our Daily Bread has a wonderful motto for today:
    “The good news of the gospel is too good to keep to ourselves.”

    It seems to me that if we Jesus-followers are filled with the hope that God gives, we would surely overflow by sharing this great good news everywhere.

    Thanks for the great blessing in your post, Mart, found in the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

    “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

    Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”


  92. oneg2dblu says:

    Actually pooh, it is the double edged sword of the word of God that divides the whole world really, and you would think it could bring us closer together, however, it sometimes, as even now, causes us to divide as well.
    I accuse no one but those who feel accused by the verses and what they bring to light, and they may have a greater reason why they feel so accused.
    I go back to saying again, as I have in the past, if they don’t apply to you, why then feel personally accused?

    I only respond to what others say, when they say things that can also be challenged by the word. I am nothing but the messenger getting slain for bringing the opposing message.

    Have a good night, Gary

  93. poohpity says:

    Gary, do you have a Pastor you feel comfortable enough with that you can go to for some help?

  94. joycemb says:

    Maru yes! Amen!

  95. joycemb says:

    Maru please pray for me that God would put His words on my lips as I get together with family tomorrow- thank you.

  96. street says:

    thanks gary for the other side of the sword. the tension of two sided sword plays no favorites. only a person properly trained by God can take full advantage of it and even then it is a work of God and not man. people do a lot of talking like myself and i am ashamed of the fact i did not honor God with my speech or time. i think it boils down to not watching and praying when i am suppose to.

    i wonder if some of these discussions are like when job painted God into a corner?

  97. street says:

    11 It is a trustworthy statement:

    For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him;
    12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him;
    If we [d]deny Him, He also will deny us;
    13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

  98. jeff1 says:

    I believe so Street and when we don’t always get an answer from God that is what we look at his wonderful creation and the stories from the Bible and friends which helps get us through the difficult times and remind us that their is support from like minded people when we sometimes do not get it from family and friends at home.

  99. remarutho says:

    Prayers going up, Joyce!

    Seems sometimes the ones closest to us are the hardest to share the good news with. I have a family member who simply says, “You are not wrong,” when I share how much Jesus loves everybody. Go away scratching my head, wondering why any human being would choose to face eternity without Jesus

    …Praying the Holy Spirit will go before you, Joyce — come behind you — walk with you on the left and on the right — above you and below you. May you be enfolded in God’s grace as you speak the truth in love.

    Yours in Christ,

  100. joycemb says:

    Thank you Maru

  101. SFDBWV says:

    Just a couple things this morning to share with the group.

    Joyce is right, when a person’s beliefs are challenged it is just that, a challenge.

    What happens though when what you believe is indefensible is frustration followed by anger; at least that is how things work on the world stage.

    What also happens when a person has no church or a group of like believers for support and especially a Pastor for guidance is that they create their own tenet and stand-alone not only against non-believers, but especially against other believers who do.

    This is not how Jesus began His Church nor wants it to exist.

    I am to show kindness, tolerance and love toward others, which includes ignoring insults and accusations leveled at me and this I will do, because it is what Christ expects me to do.

    Moving on… I hope all goes well for Joyce today as she seems anxious about her get together. I am sure our Lord will guide and encourage her in whatever she faces.


  102. foreverblessed says:

    What a few days here on the blog. I was praying, God, how can I see the good in this?
    Well. this is for me a time to learn to look to Jesus. Have my eyes fixed on Him.
    Every time my mind goes on what another uses scriptures to prove his point and I would get upset, Stop myself thinking in that direction, and focus on Jesus again. What a training that is.
    Thanks for the scriptures Cbrown, and Maru John 6:63 Eph 3:14-21
    I have been studying these scriptures over and over again, memorize them
    And look on Jesus, when I look on Him in faith, my inner being is strengthened, that is what Ephesians says.

    And in hte mean time, keep praying for one another,
    for Joyce and her family get together, may God bless them all.
    May God bless all those who have given their hearts to Jesus, in the mission of Cbrown, and the one who got a bible by Maru, May God protect them and bless them mightily

  103. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… that may be your understanding of matters you do not agree with, all my goings on, as you say, for the last four years.
    It is written, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him; and he will make your paths straight.”

    Are you saying that Christ in me, and all the scriptures, even the conflicts one’s that challenge you, in the words He feeds daily is not enough, and that only by seeking human counseling, can a man be able to find and remain on the Narrow Way?

    What feeds your feelings for counseling me, who uses the Divine, Inspired, Ever Challenging, words found in scripture, that somehow directly oppose your salvation experience or understanding?

    Could it possibly be from the same sources, either from the spirit, or from the flesh?

    Who decides for you, all these things you now reject, your understanding?

    In Christ, Gary

  104. street says:

    been thinking about my nephew who is atheist and my sons. my nephew grew up under hostile and godless circumstance. my sons grew up in a “christian home.” either way they both have to make there faith their own through trial and error. the struggle is most intense when our lives have something added to or taken away from what we expect or are accustom to. wood hay and stubble are quick and easy, but not sustainable. like running out of oil waiting for the Bridegroom. some how i think He is present and we don’t need to wait. we just need to turn to Him. yes, He will come back for us, He also said I will never leave you nor forsake you. My sheep hear My Voice they will not listen to another. some how i don’t see God arguing with Himself. there is a unity there that is so unlike the world.

    Revelation 22:20 He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

    21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

  105. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve.. I remember how blessed and strengthened you said you felt by being so challenged.
    I remember all the supporting verses on both sides and
    the hugely emotional outbursts from the flesh of my Brothers and Sisters here, whom I do forgive with the Help or the Holy Spirit of course, or it would only be a human forgiveness.
    I feel that we have all grown in these encounters, some with right motives, and possibly some with others.
    I know that I know, we need to be able to stand up under all the attacks that this world can bring and none of us here has has yet to shed blood, or die for our beliefs.
    But, you can find this word trustworthy, the attacks will increase all the more, as this world becomes darker and darker. As disobedience increases, false teaching increases, as sin increases, and God’s people suffer all the ways of the world which will come upon them, because, “It is written!”
    We must endure to the end.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  106. street says:

    jeff said,”I believe so Street and when we don’t always get an answer from God that is what we look at his wonderful creation and the stories from the Bible and friends which helps get us through the difficult times and remind us that their is support from like minded people when we sometimes do not get it from family and friends at home.

    i have looked for comfort, support, encouragement, from others and find it’s just not there. i am learning to find this in God by exercising faith and hope in Him, aka His Word. yes it’s double edge sword, but He loves me with an eternal love. remember He compares His Word to the words of others in the builders. He even talks about what kinda qualities the building materials can be used. He is note going to let me down, but conform me to the Image of His Son. i am so looking forward to Holiness and Perfection in an imperishable body in the presents of God. taking up our cross is part of it. God bless you in His eternal love, played out in grace and mercy.

  107. joycemb says:

    Maru and all thank you for your prayers. I used to pray that particular prayer many years ago and am so blessed to be reminded of it, and to feel the power of it today as God told me to be quiet and listen today. Immediately with the first offense thrown at me I just turned away and left the offender for God to deal with. It worked well! I recognized that it’s that persons problem to deal with and for once I was not offended. It was a good day for all and wonderful to see all their faces, even if there wasn’t much meaningful interaction. Even misery can be changed to hope – (yes that’s a play on words).ha ha ha

  108. remarutho says:

    Have thought of you through the morning, Joyce. Thanks for the praise report. I am rejoicing that you were not offended. That is a great victory, it seems to me! You are courageous to just show up and trust the Lord to show his glory through you! We cannot know what seeds were planted as you listened and moved through the hard feelings without reacting.

    Mystery and Hope! Praying that you will experience all that Jesus desires for you and your family.


  109. Regina says:

    Good Evening, All! Happy New Year and I pray all is well in your lives! I received the saddest news of my life on 1-1-15. :( My youngest brother passed away suddenly…My family and I were told that he had a heart attack, but we won’t find out the exact cause of death until we receive his death certificate. I’m so fortunate that he was a part of my life for 46 years because he was a very kind, compassionate, loving and humble brother. He will be *sorely* missed, and I can’t wait to see him again in heaven…
    Love to all,

  110. poohpity says:

    Oooh Regina, I am so sad to hear of your loss. No matter if we know we will see them in heaven it does not take away the pain and sorrow of the loss. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. Sending much comfort, many hugs and love your way, Deb

  111. cbrown says:

    Regina, praying for you and your family.Chris

  112. joycemb says:

    Regina my condolences to you and your family, will be praying for you. Joyce

  113. SFDBWV says:

    Very sorry to read of your loss Regina, I join with all here in praying for you and your family as you go through this time of grieving.


  114. foreverblessed says:

    May God comfort you and your whole family, Regina! 46 years, so young. What a great shock. May God hold you,bless you all and give you great peace!

    And Joyce, thanks for the update, we keep praying for all of them, especially for the one who insulted you, intercessory prayer: God forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing!

    Cbrown gave John 6:63, and I have been reading it the last couple of days, over and over again, and the whole of John 6. It is a mystery: Jesus is the bread of life from heaven.
    When we start out our journey as a christian, we may start in obeying the 10 commandments, that sounds clearcut, that is how I started, but these verses of Jesus being the Bread of Life, that we have to eat His flesh and drink His blood, that was kind of mystery to me.
    I do believe now that we follow a Person, Jesus Himself, and that is more than a set of rules.
    And that Jesus knows where He is going, but I do not know, I have to learn to trust in Him, Oswald Chambers talks about this, January 2 “Will you go out without knowing?” and all days after that slowly tell of our journey with Jesus.
    At first we think we know all, but the more we walk with Jesus, the more we do not know. And have to have more faith, that we may walk in faith behind Him.
    And that is sooooo not fit for the logic man in me. It sounds so ethereal. So unsure, I have no more control, but Jesus has. The reliance on Him has to grow in me. It talks about Peter who came to the point that he saw that he could not even rely on himself. (January 5) And that is where God wants us to come at that point: We see the unfittedness of myself, to even know what to do. The day of great defeat, is even the day of great victory.
    Then we can start to rely on God.

  115. foreverblessed says:

    Some have asked here on this topic, when Jesus has won victory over all, why is there still so much of a fight in us?

    How is that: because of lack of faith
    John 6: 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

    In starting to walk behind Him, we have to grow in that faith. When we get sick, very sick, we are shaken to our inner parts. We think God has not won the victory, we think we are defeated, we think God is defeated, and the enemy has won this battle. Yes, it takes a while, probably our whole life to learn to not be shaken, and to even rejoice in all our trials!
    So we encourage one another to hold fast to the faith, and not let go.

  116. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Foreverblessed – I appreciated your comments this morning. Very good reminder that we cannot rely on our own abilities and strengths. We follow Jesus and rely on His strength. I read today’s My Utmost for His Highest because of your comment. Very touching.

    Regina – I am so sorry to hear of your loss. Praying that God will comfort your heart with His peace.

  117. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Prayer this morning for you and your family, Regina. Your brother was young to leave us. May the Lord comfort you all in this time of loss.


  118. SFDBWV says:

    I worry and wonder about so many of our past friends here especially Cheryl whom we have not heard from for a while.

    But there are many others who have become silent.

    I can only hope they are ok and just tired of the blog.

    This place is something like a bus ride, where we meet people some of whom we get pretty close to, but then when their stop comes they leave the bus and all we have are those few moments to remember.

    Yet a part of them remains always with us.

    I am thankful that Bruce’s wife took the time to let us know of his passing; that was very considerate and much appreciated.

    Like many my time will someday come when I will get off at my next stop, my only hope is that I have made a positive difference in someone’s life.

    It was 60 degrees yesterday and 18 as I write this, looks like instead of a January thaw we are going to have a January freeze…One day closer to June the 1st.


  119. street says:

    foreverblessed says:
    January 5, 2015 at 7:57 am

    Some have asked here on this topic, when Jesus has won victory over all, why is there still so much of a fight in us?

    i love this comment, made my day. i will be thinking about it today. i started thinking about a fish struggling in a net or on a hook. it’s only when we realize it’s Jesus on the shore doing the fishing we don’t need to struggle against Him. He’s there to save us. i have to admit there is another struggle going on. try hanging on to His words, He will sustain you. sometimes the hook, feels painful, you could even call it discipline. i would think fear is a greater enemy than pain.

  120. poohpity says:

    I watched today as a friend shared a link to MAF(Mission Aviation Fellowship) showing the excited 3 day celebration of a 40 year endeavor to translate the Bible in the Hupla people’s own language in Soba in Papua, Indonesia. Their jubilation to have a Bible to read which the Gospel has brought once warring tribes together. Something we here take for granted they look forward expectantly to read and discuss with enthusiasm beyond anything I have witnessed is simply amazing. It brings back memories of my first journey through that precious book. To read God’s Word with enthusiasm what a virtue and a blessing.

  121. oneg2dblu says:

    Regina… God knows our journey from start to finish, and the word says these are but momentary troubles we all face now, and they can not compare, however tough they may be, to what lies ahead for all who will endure to the end. Then comes our Eternal Paradise with the Lord, and we will be with all those believers who have passed before us.
    Today we endure this passing away of life…
    2 Corinthians 4:16,17,18

  122. oneg2dblu says:

    Together we share our joys and our griefs, as all await the Banquet Feast prepared for us at the Lord’s Table.
    Be Blessed

  123. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… I too miss the voices of those who have shared here with us, some have certainly departed, some are just riding along still listening, others maybe too busy with the cares or distractions of this world, but all are truly remembered as being part of the family.
    We bless them all, as they have all blessed us.

  124. hera says:

    Joyce, I remember Eleanor Roosevelt’s – No one can make you feel inferior without your consent…
    It’s good to be able to walk away ‘unscathed’ isn’t it, I can relate….:-)

  125. joycemb says:

    Thanks Hera!

  126. poohpity says:

    I wonder why it was only a Pharisee of Pharisee’s that Jesus spoke to of being born again? In the next chapter talking with the woman at the well Jesus said nothing of being born again but did of drinking from a well of Living Water. Just thinking this morning.

  127. cbrown says:

    Pooh,in the context of his discussion with each of them I believe he was saying the same thing.

  128. poohpity says:

    While reading Job this morning it seems he was in the same type dilemma as this topic the mystery of all that had happened to him yet he still found his hope in the goodness of God. Job said even all nature from the animals to the plants shine with His Glory and so no matter what happens he still placed his hope in God yet that did not stop Job from sharing the confusion of why things happened as they did.

  129. poohpity says:

    Chris, This weekend I learned that the only time being born again was mentioned was to a Pharisee I think there had to be a reason. To the disciples He said “follow me”. Yet to the super religious steeped in tradition and rituals He said, “You must be born again”.

  130. street says:

    I wonder why it was only a Pharisee of Pharisee’s that Jesus spoke to of being born again?

    the pharisee is the only person who could put two and two together and get 4. he would be the only one with an intimate knowledge of God’s Word. create in me a new heart comes to mind because of the constant failure of the heart i began with. Jesus never talks over our head. He loves us to much for that. our time with Him is to be the most important thing in our lives, other than doing what He has told us to do. when we fail, and we will, we come back because there is no else to go to. His love keeps us going, not ours.

  131. cbrown says:

    Street, to quote you a while back Jesus knew Nicoemus’ heart and knew he was seeking the truth. The full text of what Jesus said is perfectly clear John 3:5-15English Standard Version (ESV)

    5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.[a] 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You[b] must be born again.’ 8 The wind[c] blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

    9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you[d] do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man.[e] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.[f] Foreverblessed referred to Oswald Chambers Devotional of January 5 (see January5:7;44 above)which points out the disciples followed Jesus because they were attracted to him but then look at John 20:22.

  132. poohpity says:

    The Phairsees had to be born in the line Levites to serve as priests in the Temple. They tried to follow the law but the law did not bring life it brought a steady ritual of bringing sacrifices to the Temple to offer for the atonement of sins of the people(read Leviticus and Deuteronomy) but Jesus became the final sacrifice for the atonement of sins and was the great High Priest so that old system no longer needed to be in place as was prophesied through the whole Old Testament now there would come a New Testament to replace the old. So it would seem that Nicodemus being born under the Old Covenant now could be born under the new one. The old placed it’s requirements on the flesh by following the law the new put it’s requirements on the Spirit by faith.

    Before the law was even given Abraham was saved by faith and the birth of both sons represented the two ways. Ismael was born by the flesh in man’s attempt to make things happen and Isaac was born of the promise by faith given by the Spirit and could only happen by an act of God to two people after their age of child birth was unnatural.

  133. poohpity says:

    Law vs Grace

  134. street says:

    6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

    you will see in this verse by implication the faithful keep/ subject them selves to the law by faith the same faith that saves in the Old and New Testaments. our faith has power when properly relying on God’s word.
    God’s law = God’s Word i remember the verse where people prefer the old wine vs the new wine. God has a way of changing our hearts over time. we will be conformed to the image of His Son.

  135. street says:

    i would have loved to be a dog in the home of God, but he went so far as to make me a son! Thank You Dad.

  136. poohpity says:

    I think that means whoever is subject in the mind to live the law is living in the flesh and because we are unable to live the law we will always fail to please God because no man is able to live the law completely without fail but whoever lives by the Spirit has peace with God by faith. Faith says Jesus did it vs the law which says I need to do it.

  137. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    Agreeing with you in your comment, Pooh:

    “Faith says Jesus did it vs the law which says I need to do it.” This reflects Mart’s topic title “In Mystery and Hope.”

    The energy exerted in trying to accomplish righteousness or goodness on my own turns out to be wasted. Flight MH370 in March 2014 was a shock to the world. Indonesian authorities confronted with the numbing vastness of the Indian Ocean and the deep density of the Malaysian jungle, began to seek for problems inside the airplane. No evidence has emerged to satisfy the simple question: “Where is Flight MH370?”

    Mart, you conclude, “Like Abraham, even in the darkness of our deepest and most troubling questions, we have reason to hope, as he did— not only in the rightness of God, but in his goodness.”

    To trust in my own capacities is to cling hopelessly to a wisp that dissolves into a cold, mysterious ocean engulfing every confidence. May we all hold steadily to faith in the Almighty who created this vastness — and in his Christ who comes to us bringing true hope in our despair. It seems to me this is the best meaning of Epiphany today.


  138. oneg2dblu says:

    Funny how obedience to the law, I mean the Ten Original and not all those hundreds added later, are now received as a curse upon our faith if we are led like most modern sheep today who follow a doctrine of no good works, no law, no obedience, and a no rules type of salvation.
    But, of course that is not the wholeness of the bible, or its message, and we all know that faith without works is dead.
    Wake up oh sleeper.
    Today’s message is designed for the tickling of ears, it has totally watered down the whole word, and Satan,s greatest modern way, which is deception, or any thing that says, Do your own thing and your salvation is always yours, but obey the rules and your faith is certainly not only lacking, but literally destroyed.

    What part of the law of obedience do those followers not understand?

    I just read in GENESIS, that old book where the original law lives, that all humanity suffers with a sin nature today because of disobedience, and all nations are blessed by one man’s faith and works, by faith and works is where the blessing of God would come to all nations through Abraham’s descendants.
    Genesis 22:17,18
    But, now we are fed this presumptive lie about the law, which supports some peoples thinking here today, who say, that we are really following the flesh if we also follow the law!
    Taking God’s words found in the word, and twisting it to fit a preferred modern doctrinal belief.
    Thank God, that is not true, because obedience is never placed as a fleshly curse upon mankind, except to those who fall for or chose to follow a false teaching.
    Do not be deceived folks…
    Galatians 6: 7,8,9,10 is a true and valid word.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  139. poohpity says:

    Romans 3:20 NLT; Gal 2:16 NLT

  140. cbrown says:

    Gary, your post is so presumptive it is hard to respond to. In Christ we should not think the things the law says not to do much less do them. We have the Helper to strenthen us.But 1john 1:99 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

  141. cbrown says:

    1John 1:9

  142. joycemb says:

    Gary those verses you referenced in Galations 6:6-10 are not meant as a threat but an exhortation to not be caught up in a code of conduct but to love those who are caught up in sin so they will be restored to the right path.

  143. joycemb says:

    I hear no one caught up in sin here among those who are discussing the word of God.

  144. jeff1 says:

    There are religions that seem to teach do your own thing for salvation is always yours and if that is what people are taught then they don’t know any different.

    I have been taught that Christ covers my sins and because of this I should do what is right, however if by negligence (not intentional but due to temptations of a fallen world) through thought, word or deed I fail, I confess it and I am forgiven. I do not go out like some religions and commit murder or whatever and confess it and go back out and do it again because my religion says it’s ok.

    If I am taught correctly then I should behave correctly but not all are taught correctly which is why the world is in a mess.

    The onus is on us personally who have been taught not on those who have not been. God does expect more from those who know more do set an example to those who do not have the teaching.

    What I have been taught as a child has stayed with me so if others have been taught wrong beliefs that stays with them. We have to try and understand other believers thinking even if it is not in accordance with our own.

    As I see it we should first look to Christ, listen to what other believers are saying and explain our understanding of our teachings in a non-judgemental way so that there is an opportunity for discussion and learning from all concerned and maybe we can learn from each other instead of pre-judging each others comments which leads to criticism and division and some withdrawing from discussion as a result of it.

  145. joycemb says:

    Rightly dividing the word of truth is serious business and definitely worth reading the whole thing as written rather than taking sentences out of context to fit our or someone else’s agenda. We have the Holy Spirit now that confirms truth and makes Light in our hearts and minds; light is essential to the renewing process of our minds, body and spirit that though bound to decay in the physical will one day rise up in triumph! A great mystery indeed!

  146. joycemb says:

    To all,
    I know this discussion has been painful and weary-ing to some, as for myself at times, but it has been good for me to hear and study the word. My first experiences after I became a Christ-follower were being told that if I wanted to please God I must do a,b,c etc. this resulted in 20 years sitting in denominations that told me how to act, worship, and live under judgement. I was afraid of everything. I did this because my upbringing taught me that only by being obedient to mans rules could I avoid punishment. I was raised with constant punishment and fearful of when the next shoe would drop-so to speak. The churches I attended-because they fit my way of being in the world-emphasized what I knew.

    It was only through Bible college (non-denominational evangelical) that I started learning about the freedom we all have in Christ! Galatians 3:1 NLT could say, “oh foolish Joyce” easily, but thanks to God for teaching me BECAUSE I have the Holy Spirit. And many good teachers to help me find that freedom in the Bible.

    This is so long but felt I needed to tell my story.

    May we all discover that freedom we have in Christ, freedom to do good and love one-another.
    Blessings, Joyce

  147. oneg2dblu says:

    We all have the verses to support our thinking, our doctrines, our beliefs, just ask any cult member what they believe and the verses will fly.
    Now, back to godly living if that is still okay, let’ understand together.
    We all have “some” understanding, and we can never know it all in the here and now.
    But, to say that being in step with, or obeying, the the commands, commandments, or law, is being in the flesh and not being in the spirit, is absurd, making any obedience to God’s commands a failure, just like disobedience is certainly failure.
    Now it sounds that we must confess our law abiding injustices and lifestyles as failure as well.
    Then the new religion becomes… Forgive me Father for I have obeyed your commands, so I must be doing so in the flesh, For if I lived in the spirit, I certainly would not do such things.
    Yeah right.
    Good night and may God Bless us all, even the deceived who might be thinking, Let us not allow any law to get in the way our eternal security!
    I will ask this: “Does the first commandment get in the way of your eternal security teaching?”
    If it does, you have been falsely taught.

  148. smjane says:

    I don’t think I have seen any comments here stating their belief that it is acceptable to be disobedient to God’s laws or commandments. I believe Jesus himself taught that it wasn’t the Law he had a problem with but with the Jewish authority’s interpretation and or application of it. I think they missed the spirit and God’s intention for that law. I also believe the entire bible speaks to the fact that we are all fallen and unable to accomplish this on our own, no matter how many commandments we may be able to obey. That it is through faith in what Jesus has done for us that is able to cover the sins we may have committed. I sure hope that is not false teaching I am counting on it and what Jesus has done on my behalf and everyone who chooses to believe in Him. Just a casual observation from a complete sinner.

  149. street says:

    gary said Funny how obedience to the law, I mean the Ten Original and not all those hundreds added later, are now received as a curse upon our faith if we are led like most modern sheep today who follow a doctrine of no good works, no law, no obedience, and a no rules type of salvation.

    there doesn’t seem to be any need for salvation with this type of thinking or any need of the gospel. i mean no law, no works, no obedience, do what you like and be saved. saved from what? i would have to say all these things are done by faith in a heart and mind fixed on God. yes we sin. we sin after we are saved,but Dad will not let us remain in such a state.

    i was thinking there are many Bible Truth converging in this discussion and they all converge at the cross. He tied up all lose ends of sin at the cross and and began new life at the Resurrection. Romans 7 & 8 might help. reading Romans 7 remember paul is a member of the Church dealing with these personal difficulties.

  150. jayemem says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Here goes for my first time doing a blog. So please be kind to me in my first effort.

    I have been following the Been Thinking about blog for a while now. Just got my first personal lap top a little over a year ago.

    So let me first say Happy New Year to All & may it be a blessed year for you.

    In reading the various comments, wondered whether the explanation given under the web site – ‘Law – Definition and Meaning, Bible Dictionary’ might be of help. It is a long site but there is a part that refers to the New Testament.

    Some of you kindly share your temperature when signing off. Well I am in Ontario Canada & right now the temperature is -19 degrees Celsius – brrrr cold.

  151. Mart De Haan says:

    Jayemem, and all, it’s 10 degrees F in Grand Rapids Michigan this morning with weather forecast to deteriorate further. Cold air sweeping across the warmer waters of Lake Michigan before hitting lakeshore has given us most of our snow so far.

    My concern this morning though is the way the temperature keeps falling on our conversations no matter what the subject.

    Seems like no matter how much gratefulness and love we express for Christ, and even though no one has been arguing for a lawless, self-centered relationship to Christ, one of our friends keeps reminding us that if we don’t continue keeping the law we will lose our standing in the family of God.

    We’ve been given in Christ a better focus and way of moving forward that according to the Apostle Paul produces a fruit “against which there is no law.”

    Unless someone begins arguing here for a loveless, and faithless relation to the Spirit of Christ I’m asking now that this repeated attempt to return over and over to the same argument stop. I don’t want to block anyone who for their own reasons keeps pressing the same concern over and over, but will do so if the pattern continues.

    For some reason, when I went to post a new subject this morning I couldn’t find the right page to do it… so will check to see the problem when I get to the office.

    Stay warm in the north, and cool in the south :-)…

  152. SFDBWV says:

    While I await Mart’s arrival at his office and a new subject, I will also give a weather report from atop the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia.

    We have had over 10 inches of snow in the past few days and this morning it is -5 degrees Fahrenheit. Minus five degrees this morning and yesterday’s high was 8 degrees.

    It looks as if winter weather is trying to make up for lost time.

    Let me also say hello to you jayemem and welcome you to the conversations. Thank you for having a seat at the table. We also have two other’s from Canada that participate, Pat and Royal Palm.

    Blessings to all.


  153. jayemem says:

    Sorry Mart, I didn’t mean to emphasize law but rather have people look at the whole picture & that it does impact our lifestyle.


  154. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… thank you for your patience of a saint.
    I’m not the only one who has a recurring theme here, we all do.
    But, I am the one who will press on, run the race, keep my hand to the plow, not turn back, not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from a secure position, or be carried away by strange teachings,
    I will head the warnings, resist the devil, put on the armor of God daily, not turn to the right or left, or leave the straight way, fall away to the point where you can’t be renewed by repentance, become lukewarm, turn away from Him who warns from heaven, or have God take away your share in the tree of life, lose saltiness, drift away,or avoid the warnings in God’s word which are there for a reason, because they can happen and have happened , by some who claim all the promises without also heading the warnings.
    Unless, that type of response is no longer welcome, just as the word declares will happen, then in love for the rest and peace of this blog and its followers, as I have done in the past, several times, I will Fast and Pray for you all and myself, for forty days to that God who has all the answers to even this expanding exchange.

    If allowed, and if I’m still as caring about those who are fed the promises along with the valid warnings, I would love to return and reengage with my Brothers and Sisters here.
    We already have to many who remain silent in this ever darkening world and let all kinds of evil have its day.
    The Intoxication of Gradualism, is happening everywhere in our society, and our churches.
    So, opposing voices are not well received in that atmosphere.
    “O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love and obey his commands…
    Nehemiah 1:5,6,7,8,9 may have been presented in the old days, but equally be found relevant to our churches and its people today.
    Be Blessed,
    In His Love, Gary

  155. cbrown says:

    Good morning all!It is 33F degrees.I appreciate the posts on this blog . I am technologically challenged and not a good writer so i try to keep my posts short. Mart thank you for this blog.

  156. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    It seems to me there is a healthy balance between dark mystery and bright hope:

    “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”


  157. remarutho says:

    41F in the Willamette Valley of Western Oregon — thick fog verging on drizzle.


  158. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Mart, for stepping in.
    The man means well, I know for sure. Reading his comments remind me of my old church, the legalistic one, who told us that the sure sign of a real christian was the 7th day Sabbath. And all other christians who did not see that were deceived.
    The law was pressed upon, Jesus came to save us so we were free to keep the law.
    There must have been someone praying for me, that now I see the Grace. The freedom in Christ to live a life of love, against such things there is no law.
    Not saying that we should not keep the Ten, but do so much more, namely: let the life of Jesus flow through us in faith.
    Cbrown has short comments, (this one of mine will be long) but one of them brought me to John 6, and there I read:
    the people asked Jesus: what is the work God requires us to do?
    And Jesus answers: The work of God is to believe the One He has send.
    WHat an answer, and it made me think, that in my earlier christian upbringing I would read it, and not know what it meant, because we still have to keep the law. I did hang on to the Law, in fear of sinning.
    And I did hang on to the law more then that I lived in faith in Jesus.
    So i missed the whole point of the New Covenant.
    THe New Covenant tells us that it is impossible to keep the Law, but that God does His part, and as long as we have faith in Jesus He will do our part in us as well.
    What a blow to our own strength: we have none.
    But it takes a long time till a legalistic christian comes to that point.

    But God already knew that! HE knows that the older son, as the legalistic christian is called will become very very tired and worn out.
    That is also why God calls Himself, the God of Abraham , the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. (I have written this here before)
    Jacob was a very strong self willed man. Legalistic christians are Jacobs. In our strength we want to keep the law, as Jacob did: he fought for his first birthright, it was the will of God. So the thing he did was lawful, only he brought it about in his own strength. And that how it was that I was a christian. I keep the law, and I ask the Holy Spirit to help me. So I was totally in control, I had not yet said:
    Have mercy on me, o God, a sinner.

    Pray for them. Pray much for them.

  159. foreverblessed says:

    Here in western Europe all of the news is about the killing of 12 in Paris, 11 journalists and one policeman.
    Not excepting different views is not good, we have to accept that someone thinks different.
    But when we have over and over talked about it, we can say: OK, lets bless each other.
    May God bless you and keep you.
    And not pick up guns, as these three guys did yesterday in Paris. Lets pray for them as well!

  160. foreverblessed says:

    The scripture Maru gave is Jer 31:33-34.
    There it is: The New Covenant, Jer 31:31-32
    But we can very well be a christian, read the bible with eyes of the old covenant:
    We have to do our part, otherwise God will not bless us.
    That is what the Israelites said: We will do everything You have commanded.
    That is what Peter said: I will never fall away! Matt 26:33
    Peter did not know himself very well, and neither did I as a young christian, I thought I could make a resolution: I will obey God! see His utmost for His Highest, January 5, (Yes Tracey, isn’t that a great mystery, and a great truth for us christians?)
    All these resolutions at the beginning of the year.
    That is Old Covenant thinking. And that is alright: God made the Old Covenant, so that we would know and get so totally fed up in trying ourselves, that we would be ready to accept the New Covenant!
    As Jesus knows that Peter WILL fail Him, and Jesus allows Peter to fail Him, so that from then on Peter would not rely on himself, but would exclaim: Have mercy on me, a sinner.

    The New Convenant:
    God promises to do His part, and He promises He does our part, as long as we look up in faith to His Son.
    (Hebrews 7 and 8)

  161. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed the murders in Paris is also the main news story here as well. It is seen by all the news services as an attack on free speech.

    I heard one news commentator say all of the media should start satirizing Islam’s prophet in a way of showing solidarity and confronting these evil people, but I think it will eventually come to a very bad confrontation between western religion and philosophy against Islam’s rise in the world.

    Interesting parallels between events in Revelation and the direction the world is going.

    I guess we should all continue to pray for the Peace of Jerusalem. Remembering that the return of our Lord comes with a heavy price upon the world.


  162. joycemb says:

    Good morning all and welcome to the new blogger Joyce! (Love that name for obvious reasons)
    Steve I agree that fighting fire with fire only extinguishes both, so we can fight the better way with prayer and truth when it can be heard.

    Forever I also agree prayer is the best and also to not enter into the law vs grace debate.

    Schools closing as a blizzard is forecast for today in the upper Midwest of the US. Whoopee! Good soup day, left over ham will be good for pea soup!

  163. poohpity says:

    forever, actually it was Esau who was the first born not Jacob and deserved the birthright.

    I think and I could be wrong but the law was given to the Hebrews not the Gentiles as was discussed in the early church; Acts 15

    5 But then some of the believers who belonged to the sect of the Pharisees stood up and insisted, “The Gentile converts must be circumcised and required to follow the law of Moses.”

    6 So the apostles and elders met together to resolve this issue. 7 At the meeting, after a long discussion, Peter stood and addressed them as follows: “Brothers, you all know that God chose me from among you some time ago to preach to the Gentiles so that they could hear the Good News and believe. 8 God knows people’s hearts, and he confirmed that he accepts Gentiles by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as he did to us. 9 He made no distinction between us and them, for he cleansed their hearts through faith. 10 So why are you now challenging God by burdening the Gentile believers[b] with a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors were able to bear? 11 We believe that we are all saved the same way, by the undeserved grace of the Lord Jesus.”

    Then this was the consensus they came to;

    “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood.

    The temp here right now is 58 and is expected to reach 72 as a high today. Like I have said before my door is open to those who wish to escape the freezer. It did however snow on New Years eve and was 32 which is very irregular.

  164. joycemb says:

    Good morning Gary, would be interested to hear what God reveals to you after your 40 days of fasting and prayer.
    Keep us posted,

  165. street says:

    And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Cor. 9:8).

  166. street says:

    nice post poo!

  167. poohpity says:

    Joyce, I know you have not been around that long but Gary has said he was going to do that at least 4 times in the past and has come back with exactly the same thing over and over again that was the reason I think that Mart said what he said because it is a continual barrage of the same accusations that none of us have actually ever said. I know I for one really care about Gary and always have as I am sure others here do as well however the broken record gets a little monotonous.

  168. foreverblessed says:

    O Yes, wanted also to welcome smjane and jayemem!
    I hope you feel free to comment, am looking forward to your input. I couldn’t find what you referred to, maybe you can be more specific, or give your own wording to it?

    And Pooh, have you forgotten what God told Rebecca?

  169. poohpity says:

    No. Oh I see what you are saying.

  170. poohpity says:

    Oh also wanted to say welcome to smjane and jayemen!!

  171. street says:

    the paris murders remind me how our words can kill a weak spirit in a human soul. the Old Testament talks about shepherds that did not take care of the sheep. it also talks about part of the herd that makes life difficult for the others in the herd. these thought come from our daily bread today and Ezekiel 34:25-31. the thing that is on my mind is God said He would do the things these shepherds have failed to do. in the New Testament Jesus is tell peter to feed, tend, and feed His sheep. thinking this gets done in the Holy Spirit not of our own will. i guess i would be missing the mark if i failed to mention Jesus question to peter before He told him to feed, tend, and feed, ” do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”

  172. joycemb says:

    Gary my spiritual gift is mercy, I can’t not encourage you and will be praying for you as us all. If any have a problem with that please take it to our Lord who distributes gifts.

  173. poohpity says:

    The gift of mercy is a fine gift to have; the ability to forgive as Jesus forgave, not holding grudges, slow to anger, thinking the best and looking for good in others, doing good to enemies or those one disagrees with, the heightened sense of love for others.

  174. joycemb says:

    I do have a complaint. I wish Mart that instead of warning people publicly and not using a name but insinuating who is being warned that you would speak to that person privately as you know us by our email and can do that. It would not leave openings for people to gossip about the past and cast aspersions on those some may not know as well. We all deserve to hear the truth in love and with respect. We all deserve to be heard unless our teaching is causing problems within the consensus; then action should be taken directly and not through vague threats. Just my thoughts….

  175. billystan454 says:

    Thank you very much all of y’all.

  176. street says:

    Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.

    28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

  177. street says:

    Matthew 11:11 Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force. 13 For all the prophets and the Law prophesied until John. 14 And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come. 15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.

  178. hera says:

    When I read about Gary’s intention to fast for 40days, I cant help thinking, what kind of fasting that would be…is there a duration in each day, any specific intake in food, drinks etc..
    I know about Jesus’ 40days fast but if am not mistaken there is no specific, detailed way was mentioned, the way I understand it, it was 40 whole, consecutive days, completely no food, no drink. I am not sure if any normal human is capable of that.
    As far as I know fasting is not a requirement/mandatory in Christianity as it is in Islam. Perhaps it is in Catholic tho, from certain food..?
    Islam directs the time, duration of the fasting.
    I know there is the Esther fasting, 3 whole days, non-stop, completely no food nor drink, that means 72hours of complete abstain of anything. That is very remarkable by my standard. I can not do that, at least not yet, hoping one will be able tho. So far the longest I can do is 24hour.
    Anyway, just wonder about fasting….

  179. hera says:

    Sorry, that was supposed to be – …one day will be able tho. (meaning me) – missing day (without the word ‘day’ it could be taken as one person).

  180. SFDBWV says:

    Hera, just a thought for your intrest, read all of Isaiah 58:1-11.


  181. hera says:

    Thankyou Steve.

  182. SFDBWV says:

    You are very welcome.


  183. street says:

    joycemb said.”I do have a complaint. I wish Mart that instead of warning people publicly and not using a name but insinuating who is being warned that you would speak to that person privately as you know us by our email and can do that.”

    i think mart is saying check your motives and your thoughts out with Scripture before you post. i have found myself deleting many times prior to posting or even walking away from a post i have written. the devil would love to destroy this forum. just be careful out there, the devil is a very crafty adversary and the flesh is way of getting a foothold. be wise in Christ a workman rightly dividing the truth.

  184. poohpity says:

    I believe Mart would never have to say anything if the comment guidelines were followed.

  185. street says:

    mart said.”The same limitations of knowledge are true when it comes to how our great God and Savior is going to use eternity to comfort countless heartaches with justice and mercy.”

    been think how interesting it is that God, even today, confronts all people with the tree of good and evil. not that we all have eat from the original tree, but that we are given an opportunity to trust Him. Psalm 34:8
    taste and see is almost a dare/invitation by God to experience this blessing. taste would be acting on what God said and seeing would be the results. we already know the results of the knowledge of good and evil. we experience it everyday. the difficulty is still there every day. it is better. i suspect it will be far better than i apprehend now.

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