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Mindsight and Violence

P1000565In an unpredictably violent world it’s hard to think straight. This isn’t all bad. In dangerous moments our survival often depends on reactions that enable us to act quickly either in our own behalf or for the sake of others—when we don’t have time to think.

Way too often, however, we all end up doing or saying things that we later regret, especially when our survival reactions are clouded by past memories or a misunderstanding of what is really happening.

In a book called Mindsight by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., the author describes findings of neurobiology that help us understand how deeply rooted in our brains and memories our natural reactions are. In Siegel’s words, “Clusters of neurons in the brainstem…come into play when certain conditions seem to require a rapid mobilization of energy distribution throughout the body and brain. This so-called fight-flight-freeze array of responses is responsible for our survival at times of danger.”

To do this, Siegel goes on to say, the region of our brainstem actually overrides other parts of our brain in the cerebral cortex area that normally help us to be reasonable, relational, and emotionally attuned to others needs. In other words, the brainstem (that also regulates our hearts and lungs without conscious thought), can shut down the higher sense of reason that can keep us from unnecessarily losing our minds in moments of fear and anger.

According to Siegel, understanding how our brain function can help us to realize what is happening in us—in those meltdown moments, when we suddenly find ourselves doing and saying unreasonable things that unnecessarily disrupt both reason and relationships.

The Bible seems to be speaking to some of the same natural inclinations when it talks about our need learn the ways of the spirit to overcome the flesh (Gal 5:13-26). While the psychology of neurobiology speaks of the differences between our reptilian (lower brain) and our mammalian (higher brain), the Scriptures speak of cultivating minds renewed in the Spirit and ways of Christ.

In Christ, however, we find more than an understanding of the miraculous brains given to us by our Creator. We also get a “mindsight” that offers us mercy, grace, and love in our temporary, insecure, and all too often violent existence.

If it were not for the immortality, love, and security of an eternal Father, rescuing Son, and ever present Spirit, we wouldn’t have the ultimate answers that give us reason to not return insult for insult and evil for evil.

This is not to say that, in accepting the spirit and ways of Christ, we give up all sense of justice and self-protection. Rather it is to say that we have reason to help one another, day after day, to learn to rise above the kind of mindless, angry, self-protective trigger instincts that so often make matters worse.

May this day be refreshed with the mindsight of Christ— instead of the anger of mindless fear—where the ways of the spirit are still possible.


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110 Responses to “Mindsight and Violence”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    You would have to have seen Adam Sandler in the movie “Water Boy” to understand the humor in this subject. As Adam argued with his college professor about where emotions came from.

    I am reminded once again of the TV commercial for “L. Ron Hubbard’s Scientology” whereas a professor is holding a human brain in his hands and says to his class “everything you are, everything you will ever be, every thought you have is here in this organ”. And then drops it onto a table where you hear the splat and thud of it landing.

    Creation of this physical existence we are experiencing is a 3 dimensional physically tangible replication of what exists in a spiritual realm of existence we cannot see but can sense in our beings.

    If there is nothing more than the goings on between neurons in our brains we are the greatest of fools and worse off than the grass and microbes that are born, live and die around us.

    However, God has made a way for what exists in the Spiritual existence He is to be experienced by us here in this different realm of existence that He created for His pleasure.

    I got to hear plenty of brain talk when my son Matthew was in the hospital after suffering brain damage. Listening to the dismal outlook and futureless existence that lay ahead for him from scientists who know nothing of “faith” or of God or of why we are here and of miracles that transcend their understanding of how a brain functions.

    I am going to share a little story I read a few weeks ago on a CNN site.

    We all know of or have heard of “near death experiences”, but this story was of an additional phenomena that in some reported cases accompany both the experience of the near death experience as well as the death experience.

    In this story it isn’t about the patient’s experience, but rather the experience of someone with the patient as they die.

    There are reported experiences of the person going through the entire near death experience of floating above the room, of seeing the light, of the pure sense of peace, of seeing past loved ones, of heaven; but they are not the one dying, they are just setting with the one who either had the experience and returned or didn’t.

    There being no physical connection between the brains of either person, the explanation of what was experienced can rule out the neurons of a dying brain and can only be explained as a spiritual experience.

    I can take this further and will as time allows, but enough for now. No frozen water pipes this morning, 32 degrees and ice.

    Steve

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    This is a fascinating topic because we humans tend to invest the brain with all sorts of mythical characteristics both materially and spiritually. It seems to me all things are subject to the prime mover — the will of the Creator God — which is love (perhaps I should write it as Love). Am not in the habit of renaming the topic, Mart, so bear with me, but I would think of this contrast in terms of “Survival and Compassion.”

    Paul teaches in the fifth chapter of Galatians that: “…those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us be guided by the Spirit.” (Gal 5:24-25)

    Can it be that Christ in us changes the very working of our brains — even the medulla — to be directed to compassion, not survival? I ask, because there is evidence that surrender to the Lord — saying “yes” to the covenant of Christ’s love — makes a human being consistently perceive the needs, the hopes and the agony of another person as much as their own. Jesus appears weak to some because of his radical compassion.

    44F this morning, wet, no wind.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  3. SFDBWV says:

    Taking a few minutes to retell a story I read of a few decades ago.

    It involved two scientific experiments, one with bacteria another with trees.

    In the experiment with bacteria, the lab techs grew a culture in a petri dish connected electrodes to the culture and noticed that when they “fed” the culture there were what is described as an excited reaction to being fed and an electrical reading was detectable as a result.

    However when the culture was divided into two separate petri dishes and unconnected in any physical way, when one dish of the same original culture was “fed” both cultures in both dishes recorded the same “excitement” and reading.

    There seemed to be a connection between the two without any physical connection being made.

    The other story is about caterpillars and trees. A tree will instantly produce a chemical within its leaves that make the leaf “taste” bad to an invading caterpillar as a defense mechanism. What is extraordinary is that other trees in the same area of different species un-touched by branches or roots will also begin the same defense mechanism when the caterpillar attack begins.

    The evidence of some un-natural connection between these living organisms.

    More later on what un-natural influence acts upon our thought process as well as influencing our emotions.

    Steve

  4. rokdude5 says:

    Good morning.
    What came to my mind is that Jesus walked this earth during very violent days as well. Yes, our human nature is to fight or flight or freeze but Jesus didnt do that but submit Himself to this world. 1 Pe 2:23, Matt 26:53. This to me only underscore that though He was man, He is truly God.
    Blessings,
    RJ

  5. poohpity says:

    Human nature whether lower or higher is still human nature and being a new creation we now have a spiritual nature, a nature that trusts in God. Letting go of control and reactions to a new way of thinking and that thinking effects how we live. Our mind is now given over to listening, learning and allowing someone else to work in our lives. Replacing the old with something new which was proven to thinking of the welfare of others above self.

    Our human nature seems more reactionary depending on circumstances and the desire to please the senses even with the moral compass of the higher nature. To please appetites like pride, passions and desires right now. Instant gratification. The human nature that only human nature can satisfy but still left with a hole that nothing else seems to quench no matter how hard one tries there is still no peace or contentment. Well maybe temporarily but then back to striving all over again.

  6. joycemb says:

    Maru I can’t agree with you more. As one with complex PTSD the thing I noticed after I accepted Christ was that before I cared for no one but myself; afterward I cared for everyone! A true gift from above!

    Yesterday in my readings I came across this quote from Calvin Miller’s book “A Requiem For Love” that reminded of how God opens our eyes to see things more clearly to bring about good in the world:
    Beware of mirrors
    They lead us not to see ourselves
    But to love ourselves
    Like poor Narcissus,
    Who, grasping at his image died.
    They say that floating in the
    Water just above his
    Wide-eyed, silent face
    There was a butterfly.
    Had he let it lead him into wonder,
    He might have loved science, not himself,
    And lived to cure the world of plague.

    Steve glad for no frozen pipes today!

    Blessings in Christ to all today,
    Joyce

  7. joycemb says:

    Good morning Pooh! Rokduke your post made me smile!

  8. joycemb says:

    Sorry RJ I messed up your name.

  9. poohpity says:

    Good morning Joyce.

    Narcissism is pride in ones own physical attributes of beauty sort of like idolizing self but looking in the mirror and seeing the reflection of our true self can stop us from judging, criticizing, comparing or even devaluing others. We would see our need for all that we have been offered through Christ and then our eyes(spirit) would be on Him and the love, grace and mercy offered to us. I believe that is what brought us to the Cross in the first place then along the road we travel we lose sight of that. The person in the mirror becomes a dark, skewed reflection that we forget.

  10. joycemb says:

    Beautifully said Pooh.

  11. joycemb says:

    Or perhaps the reflection in the mirror starts looking like Christ!

  12. joycemb says:

    But as one smart person said to me once “We ain’t home yet!”

  13. poohpity says:

    That last sentence I meant that when we stop looking at the person in the mirror we forget the condition of our human nature and that leads to looking around rather than up. All the violence around us at this point seems to be by people who feel they a superior to others and in that superiority feel like others do not have the right to be. The opposite can be in the mindsight as well that one is inferior to others and by self abasement or self victimization which eventually will lead to anger and rage as well.

  14. joycemb says:

    I agree also, although we carry around the flesh till we die or ascend like Enoch! Enoch I am not!

  15. SFDBWV says:

    Do you believe what the Bible says? Fully?

    If you do then you believe in an unseen spiritual realm that coexists along with us; that has power to influence us and even in particular cases indwell us.

    In the “Star Wars” saga the good guys were followers of the “Force” the bad guys followed the “dark side of the Force”. Everyone else just lived among the influences of both, in most cases oblivious that there was a cosmic struggle taking place.

    It is that story line that touched so many people and made the movies work.

    It touches people because it borrows from the Truth of our actual existence.

    For whatever reason Mart chose to give explanation of how the brain works and where our deepest primal instincts come from clinically, there are also outside “forces” that influence and guide us.

    The Holy Spirit is the *Spirit* of God.
    The dictionary has a long and varied definition of the word spirit, as does the Concordance, but both give the same explanation as being breath, courage, vigor, soul, life, life principle, thinking, feeling, distinguished from the body.

    In the OT God’s Spirit came upon an individual, whereas in the NT believers receive the Holy Spirit into themselves. Believers become *one* with God’s *Spirit* by being “born again”.

    The result being that the believer become transformed into the better nature of God. God’s nature (Spirit) was shown and demonstrated by Jesus of Nazareth. So we become more and more like Him and less and less like the old nature we were before the rebirth.

    This entire matter is often in conflict with what Mart has shown as the workings of the brain.

    And so what distinguishes a Christian from the rest of the world is that our behavior reflects the opposite of what the brains of the world do.

    However the rest of the world can be led by outside influences as well. Outside of the brain, but working on its thought process, but not in alignment or in concert with the *Spirit* and nature of Jesus.

    Right away God says in Genesis 6:3 that His spirit shall not always strive with man, for he also is flesh (brain?).

    In Daniel 10:13 we read of a “prince” of Persia keeping a very special messenger from Daniel for 21 days.

    Principalities, dominions, powers….All too real and all able to influence people open to them.

    More later as I have already spent over by budget on this this morning.

    21 degrees and flurries

    Steve

  16. cbrown says:

    Steve, Thank you for the above post.

  17. street says:

    been thinking about this, mart said,”If it were not for the immortality, love, and security of an eternal Father, rescuing Son, and ever present Spirit, we wouldn’t have the ultimate answers that give us reason to not return insult for insult and evil for evil.”

    i was thinking how evil we would have become if we lived in an eternal sinful body with no consequences. God really knows what He is doing. it’s our ignorance and pride that get in the way. God says He is the reward of the those who seek Him. young men and woman look for a spouse and when they find one they are greatly rewarded. don’t be confused this is always true, it’s just that sin has a way of tarnishing things and people. God is able to accomplish His will regardless of our failures. He will not withhold any good gift from His children. it’s just that these gifts clash with our desires and expectations. through them God reveals our hearts and Himself. this leads to a response. choose wisely.

  18. joycemb says:

    Good post Steve. Jesus Himself contended with the dark forces in man-John 8:44. Even the Pharisees who knew scripture better than most were deceived and deceived others, all by the spirit of Satan. No matter how our brain functions Gods spirit can and will overcome the difficulty -including those with perfectly intact and functioning synapses. All according to the will of God as written in his word and in our hearts.

    Blessings to all in Christ Jesus
    Joyce

  19. poohpity says:

    There seems to be a very large difference in being mindless and being mindful. Being mindless we are governed by emotions which also originate in the mind but fear seems to be the basis. Being mindful we pull back and consider the consequences of our actions.

    Darth Vader is a very good example even though it is fantasy. He began his life as Anakin Skywalker but when the Sith dark lord fed his mind with fear then once that fear started it turned to anger and feeding that anger by self pity, doubt, confusion and then the need for power to dominate people also by fear. The writers were aware of how the mind works when fear takes hold of a person.

    The Bible being reality also shows many times that those who fear try to control or manipulate everyone and everything around them. It is mindless because if one really thinks about it, it is impossible to do without anger and violence which create fear.

    The mind and what we feed it is one of the most important parts of our person. The thing about fantasies like TV shows or movies they are apathetic towards God or treat God trivially even the ones that try to depict bible history they either add or take away from the actual happenings. So false ideas are planted but it is up to us to do the fact checking.

    We are taught to love God with all our minds and when we learn more about God, His attributes, actions and character and bring in our hearts(affection) our desires for Him and His ways grows but it is beyond our strength that we can do this, we need more which seems to be where the Holy Spirit comes in and then fear goes out. We can let go of what we think we know and learn from Him. (Matt 11:28-30 NIV; John 13:15 NIV; Phil 2:5 NIV) Living a mindful life of resting in Jesus and fear will fade overtimes of trusting. Then it seems the truth in God’s Word will be discovered as it is experienced. It will go from the head to the heart then to life.

  20. jeff1 says:

    Steve you said:

    And so what distinguishes a Christian from the rest of the world is that our behaviour reflects the opposite of what the brains of the world do.

    You are not hearing or witnessing the same behaviour as I am for unfortunately when non believers say why they don’t believe it is because the world is so divided and why is it always the poor who suffer the most etc. and I say that is man’s doing, then we are back to them saying but your God is an all powerful God who allows this.

    You are right that we are to represent Christ well but the truth is we do not for if we did the world would be a better place for our works would be seen by man, the fact they are not means God got it right when he said not one was worthy but all are guilty.

    We only occasionally get it right but more often get it wrong that is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, look how history keeps repeating itself which is basically man keeping handing down his mistakes from one generation to another never learning what is right.This is why man sees no difference in the Christian and himself because we do not appear to men as behaving differently.

    Look at those religious people the non-believer will say, they disagree on everything, on the bible, on doctrine, on abortion, on homosexuality etc. so the non-believer sees us as a confused lot who don’t know what we are talking about.
    There is truth in what they are saying for how many here can agree and that is not good for God’s image and that is down to failure on our part.

    We have to remember that non-believers see us religious people as Christ followers but only a small minority are followers the majority are believers who do not believe we can follow Christ to the law but when we are filled by the spirit, God’s spirit and in God’s time.

    We seem to be going over the same old ground but it all comes back to Christ died for all, for we are all guilty in God’s eyes but there will always be those who say they were not personally there and would not have let Christ be crucified, they would have put up a fight or stood by him and be crucified too.

    What we say we would do, what we think we would do and what we would actually do are very different senarios

    Above all else the heart is deceitful.

    This may be the way my heart sees it but I am being honest with myself and God for I do not owe anything to man but it is to God I have to be honest.

    This comes about by examining my motives, my actions, my thoughts daily and being as honest as I can with myself, I also take in opinions from people I hold in high regard but my main aim must be to act in a way that will honour God.

    I have failed on many occasions to do this and as a result others have seen a side of me they did not like, I seen a side of me I did not like and so did God.

    It is a daily battle for me so those of your who find it easy should be very grateful that Satan has not as tight a grip.

    Thank goodness I believe God is a merciful God.

  21. street says:

    In an unpredictably violent world it’s hard to think straight. This isn’t all bad. In dangerous moments our survival often depends on reactions that enable us to act quickly either in our own behalf or for the sake of others—when we don’t have time to think.

    Way too often, however, we all end up doing or saying things that we later regret, especially when our survival reactions are clouded by past memories or a misunderstanding of what is really happening.

    this struggle of violence that mart writes about in the world i find going on in my own mind and heart. my thinking or thoughts if played out becomes violent. Jesus tells us to watch and pray. God also tells us to guard our hearts. i think mind would fall into this guarding process too. i find it difficult to do with God’s Word because of lax of exercise or ignorance. i know it is impossible without God’s Word and we see the results in the news every day. mart is absolutely right in that,”we wouldn’t have the ultimate answers that give us reason to not return insult for insult and evil for evil.” He first loved us.

  22. joycemb says:

    I was going to say that Jeff your heart is broken as mine has been by Christ’s presence and thank you for exposing your humility.

    Street God bless you for your beautiful thoughts also. You always seem to leave the reader with hope which I very much appreciate in your posts.

  23. street says:

    jeff said,”You are not hearing or witnessing the same behaviour as I am for unfortunately when non believers say why they don’t believe it is because the world is so divided and why is it always the poor who suffer the most etc. and I say that is man’s doing, then we are back to them saying but your God is an all powerful God who allows this.”

    my question, being the devils advocate, how are you doing handling these problems? i understand that God uses mankind to confront these problems that are made by mankind not God, and fix them. how can you continue to live your life with total disregard for this suffering of injustice. i have already stated God uses man to correct these problems. He doesn’t work alone, you will find the answer to your problems is the cross of Christ. man is a sinner in need of salvation from the wrath of God. Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. true life begins in Jesus and the soul, garden, becomes fruitful. He becomes marvelous in our eyes.

  24. jeff1 says:

    Street you ask:

    How am I doing handling these problems and I can tell you not very well. I have a broken marriage, my children though now adults battle addictions, I am a manic depressive and on medication the rest of my life. The non-believers are my family and friends who do not see me as much of an example for believing in God.

    They are better at getting it right than I am so they see no good reason for believing in God.

    I have learned to say very little now as I make matters worse but that means once more I am failing in life to be what God wants me to be.

    How can I be a shinning light to others when I seem to have failure stamped across my forehead. You may say this is an overstatement but I failed at being a wife, if I had been a good mother my children would not have addictions, how many people end up with nervous breakdowns and on medication to keep them sane.

    On top of this I lost a very good job because of my manic depressive state so failed at work too. This is not me being self pitying but I am realistic about what I am.

    I know the answer for my salvation is the cross of Christ but the problem is that I seem to be the only sinner for those around me are already right or believe they are right.

    Also part of me believes that history repeats itself for my mother had a difficult life and I seem to be emulating hers.

    I am making progress and coming on this site helps me see that others have similar problems and not to give up when the going gets tough. I sometimes feel though that I take one step forward and two steps backward.

    Thank you for your encouragement as they say a problem shared is a problem halved don’t they.

  25. tracey5tgbtg says:

    jeff1 – thank you for sharing. I can relate to your story on many levels. You asked “How can I be a shinning light to others when I seem to have failure stamped across my forehead.”

    What immediately came to mind was 2 Corinthians 4:7-8
    But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

    Continue to put your hope and trust in Jesus Christ. Love Him for He loves you.

  26. foreverblessed says:

    So it is evident that we do not rely on ourselves, if we do not know how our brain will react.
    My mother always says: Do not say: I will never do this or that, because you do not know what you will do in unknown circumstances. As she had been in an accident where half of her family was badly injured, knocked unconscious, and badly wounded. At the first sight of it, just after the accident, looking at all the injured, the car wreck and then seeing the truck driver (who had been distracted and hit the car from the back) walking towards her….she felt a surge in her coming up wanting to attack the driver and kill him.
    She didn’t, but was so amazed at the hate that welled up from deep inside! So this is her message, do not say: I wont do this or that, Like Peter told Jesus I will never leave you…. and that same night he did leave Him

    We have already seen that point. a last week. Where Oswald Chambers writes on January 4
    -“Jesus answered him …The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice.” This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself, of what he was capable. –
    Matt 26:33-34

    We do not know ourselves!

  27. foreverblessed says:

    Psalm 139 also tells about that: the deepest of oceans, the highest of mountains. That is a despription of the depth of my being, it is so deep, I do not know what is going on.
    BUT- God goes deeper then deep, He knows all of me, just like Jesus knew Peter better then Peter knew himself.
    See: My Utmost for His Highest January 9

    The amazing thing is: our mind is changed through the Power of the Spirit, that works in us. And what do I have to do to let it work in me: Rest in Jesus, give all my worries and sins to Him, and look up to Him in faith, then the power that worked in Jesus works in me Eph 1:19-20

    Since a few weeks, after Mary had given Ephesians 3:14-21 I keep remembering these verses too: Gods Power in us works and changes us….
    bit by bit, so be patient… wait10 years 20 years, and see how different you have become, through the grace of God.

  28. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    It seems to me the violent character of the ways of the world always seeks to erode my confidence in God’s goodness, that wonderful “mindsight” that sustains faith and acting on my faith. At times, Jeff1, for me at least it comes down to reminding myself out loud, “Thank-you Lord that you love me dearly just the way I am. I know by the promises of your Word that you delight in me and will bring me through ___________.” (fill in as needed)

    Mart, you wrote:

    “If it were not for the immortality, love, and security of an eternal Father, rescuing Son, and ever present Spirit, we wouldn’t have the ultimate answers that give us reason to not return insult for insult and evil for evil.”

    What peace and assurance we are given by our triune God! Hang in there, Jeff1, things are always guaranteed to change — and change for the good in Jesus. (Philippians 3:12, 13, 14)

    Blessings,
    Maru

  29. SFDBWV says:

    Erik Von Daniken wrote several books broaching the idea that the creator and influencer of early mankind were Alien beings from outer space or other dimensions.

    There have been several other works of fiction that play off of that concept and in “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” at one point the French archeologist (bad guy) says to Jones , “Don’t you see what we have here is a radio to God.” Speaking of the Ark of the Covenant carried by the Hebrews in the wilderness and as they conquered the Promised Land.

    As Mart has alluded to, this marvelous organ the brain is so specially *designed* by our True Creator, it *is* our “radio” to God. At least our conscious ability to communicate with Him.

    But like a radio sometimes there is static, sometimes interference and sometimes we just use it as background noise while we go off doing whatever is center in our thoughts.

    Probably the most amazing Miracle, to me, that Jesus is recorded as accomplishing (aside from His own resurrection) is the resurrection of Lazarus.

    Here is a dead body 4 days dead. The rotting process already advanced, which included the brain. Jesus *speaks* and life returns (John 11:43, 44). Reminding me of Genesis whereby it is recorded that “God said” on every day of creation and so *spoke* creation and life into being.

    God still speaks to us, but there are other *voices* as well vying for our attention.

    These other dominions, principalities and powers are led by the “price of darkness” and are cohorts of his efforts to influence mankind away from God and intent on the destruction of a person’s life.

    God speaks life and the dark spirits speak death. It is a clear as that.

    We read in Galatians 5:19-26 what the *works* of the flesh are and in Galatians 5:17 we read that the flesh and Holy Spirit are in conflict with each other.

    This conflict will never end until the influencing power that causes the carnal flesh to desire the lusts of the flesh as described in Galatians 5:19-26 is silenced.

    In fact there just being such conflict within us allows us to know that the Holy Spirit is still with us.

    It is my contention that because of Adam we all have the seed of rebellion and sin in us and that part is an integral part of the brain and “mindsight” which can and will lead to not only violence, but all other sins as well. But I also contend that these base emotions are influenced and encouraged by outside “powers” and the more open we are to them, the stronger they become and the more control they have over us.

    I apologies for getting a late start on this this morning; life and its circumstances.

    I hope later to speak directly to you Jeff concerning your thoughts, but time is working against me for now. Let me just leave you with this one thought. Because of Christ we have Christians and because of Christians the world has been a better place since Christianity began. What you are seeing today is a foretaste of what the world will become when Christians are no longer in it.

    Steve

  30. joycemb says:

    Good morning all-
    In my devotion time this morning I watched Mother Angelica on EWTN and she was speaking about suffering. She said that God trusts us with suffering as He trusted Jesus to suffer. This puts a whole new perspective on it I think as it takes our eyes of of ourselves and onto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. We are to set our minds on things above and not below.

    In the Bible the word mind is akin to the heart, not the brain. (NLT Study Bible)

    Blessings, Joyce

  31. poohpity says:

    Oh my gosh jeff1 I am not concerned for those around you and how they see you but how you see you. Because one fails at something does not make them a failure. Because one experiences problems in life does not make them a problem. Our children make their own choices just like we do. You said you believe in Jesus but yet you still refer to yourself as a sinner which we still do sin but our new creation or new identity is a saint saved by grace, dearly loved by God, His child, brother/sister to Jesus. I would suggest we all take 2 steps forward and one step back and that one step forward always is the relationship with our God.

    There is not one person who claims to know God and that is also throughout scripture that had it easy without problems, trials, suffering and that can be either from our own decisions or the actions of others. In the bible we are promised there will be all those things. Let’s look at King David a man after God’s own heart. In reading the Psalms we see a man that was plagued with deep depression so much so that when he calls out to God to describe what he is going through he said he feels like his bones are made of wax and having depression myself I know what that feels like. His children not only slept with his wives but tried to take his kingdom from him and even tried to kill him, so he failed in his parenting but I can not remember one place that he referred to himself as a failure but a person who needed God to help him and then by the end of the Psalm was praising God for who God is and finding shelter under His wings.

    When we fail and we will, they are lessons. Look at the greatest baseball players although they are remembered for how many home runs they made they also are remembered for having more strike outs than any body else. With God we can look at things in a new light, we can look at ourselves in a new light by what we believe and who we believe in.

  32. joycemb says:

    After doing some research on Dr. Seigel discovered what I was thinking- that he is a follower of Theravada Buddhism. There is danger in trying to conform Buddhist teaching to Biblical theology.

    While I myself practice being mindful while focusing on God and his Word as I study the Bible and pray, Buddhist mindfulness teaching is to rid oneself of everything important to you and empty your mind. Emptying your mind is dangerous as there will always be SOMETHING that is eager to fill the void.

    Again, the Bible says to set our minds/heart on things above -meaning the kingdom of God coming and now here. Only God can teach us how He wants us to live, move, and be.

  33. joycemb says:

    Jeff
    Maru and Pooh have good guidance for you today. As one who also suffers the gift of being ‘set apart’ from unbelieving family and friends I can tell you that my greatest joy ihas been in letting go of those who can’t/won’t love me and finding the far greater love of Christ to be enough.

    I knew a man for several years who though he was a rather severe Schizophrenic still exuded his deep love for Christ in his words and his lifestyle. His brain was obviously damaged by the disease and he had to be taken care of by others, but the love he showed for staff and other peers was miraculous. He blessed everyone he came in contact with.

    Love can overcome any obstacle no matter the origin or difficulty.
    Keep shining His light and He will do the rest.
    Blessings sister!
    Joyce

  34. jeff1 says:

    Thank you all for your comments which have been very helpful to me. I think Maru you are right it is difficult to believe God loves me because I do not feel loveable and this is part down to me, part down to comments people make without realising how critical they sound and part down to being brought up in a culture that always as high expectations. It is hard to believe that God excepts me as I am for I seem to have great difficulty accepting myself as I am.

  35. joycemb says:

    Jeff can you find a Christian support group in your area. I was in one for a few years where we all struggled to find acceptance, but were able to share and receive prayer which was very powerful as the Holy Spirit often brought healing. None with organic brain diseases were healed, but the healings were more emotional. The average person- Christian or pagan- has a hard time relating to someone with any illness or disability. It often takes someone specifically trained or trained in their gifting to know how to minister the grace needed.

    To me and as I read the gospel accounts you and I are just the kind of people-along with prostitutes, tax collectors (extortionists), sinners that Jesus came to save.

    I am so glad for you that you are able to feel comfortable enough to let us into your life. You are in my prayers also as are all here. May God richly bless you on your journey.
    Joyce

  36. foreverblessed says:

    Dear Jeff, O boy, I thought you were a man! But you are living in England, aren’t you?
    I was reading in His Utmost for His Highest, January 12, it is about how unworthy we are on our own. Until we come to that place, God has hardly a place in us.
    You could see it as a plus that you see that you are unworthy. All the others that have it all fixed and going, but they are on their own, and God is nowhere.
    So be not jealous of them. See it as a great thing that you know that you yourself are nothing. We all have to come to that realization that we cannot even count on ourselves. We have to learn not to rely on ourselves.

    But after we know that, we have to train to look up to Jesus and tell Him that He is all worthy, and that He is all capable of changing us.
    He is all together beautiful, He is Lovely, He is Kindhearted to the meek and lowly, He is Strong, His Power is great enough to flow through us when we look up in faith in Him.

    Whenever there is a thought in you that comes up that you are worthless, say immediately: But in Jesus I am worthy, Jesus is everything for me that I need.

    And read more verses in the bible:
    Like
    Ephesians 1:3-10
    Ephesians 1:11-14
    Ephesians 1:15-21
    Ephesians 3:14-21

    You know what also helps: reading these verse out loud, and to do it often, so that you not only read them but also believe them! It must be you get more positive.

    And what also helps is to sing praises to God.
    Get your mind off from yourself, and focus on Jesus instead.
    And this is a training that is for more then a few days, and then stop it, no go on with it, but keep doing it till the mind of Christ fills you more and more.

    And another thing, if you are in a manic mode, give all your energy to Jesus, do not act on it, but sit still in His presence, read scripture, these positive ones who state who we are in Christ, and give everything you received from Him back to Jesus in prayer.

  37. foreverblessed says:

    O boy, that sounds like a school master, but I these things are the things that I have done, starting 18 years ago, I was greatly depressed, and maybe a bit manic too. But I believed in Jesus, and so do you, so you can do the same things I did, and still do. Focussing on Him. It took me more then a few years to know what it is to focus on Jesus. But I kept doing it.
    Because focus on myself was always depressing, so you see there is no other way to go then to Him. Keep doing it, even when seemingly nothing changes, hang on, do not let go.
    And I am positive that there will be a time that people will see that you have changed, that you are peaceful, and lovely in all circumstances, and people will be amazed at what they see in you.
    But the first changed are hidden ones, and I think for years and years.
    But keep on going! Jesus is with you, He is beneath you, and over you and around you Psalm 139:7-12,17-18

  38. jeff1 says:

    Thank you Joyce and foreverblessed I have been trying really hard and I feel that I am getting better at focussing on Christ and less on myself.

    I have also started some voluntary work which has given me a purpose in life and keeps me from getting depressed. I have still a son at home with me and though we have a few issues I do things for him and it makes me feel more useful.

    The danger is that he may get very dependent on me and I worry about that. He is young and easily lead at times and other times he seems so together but he has had a difficult time because I was ill from he was very young and he is 26 now.

    He has started into personal training and I am so pleased about that for he had a gambling addiction for a long time since he was in his teens. An elderly lady I visit as a volunteer prayed for him for I was so tired I was unable to pray and it was shortly after that he started in a gym taking personal training.

    It is good to come on here also and share with you and you with me for it is good to have others who understand how you feel when it is sometimes difficult to talk to those closest to you. So thank you for your advice.

  39. saled says:

    This is an intriguing subject. Like jeff1 I have looked around me and seen unbelievers who are much better at ‘getting it right’ than I am. At close to 60 years old, I am not the shining example that I thought I would be. In this ‘culture that sets high expectations’, I look like I haven’t tried very hard.

    But I’m convinced that there is more to us than even we realize. I’m convinced that there is something valuable about the desire produced by our failures, the desire to be made right, the desire to see our wrongs righted. Nothing is impossible with God.

    I wonder also about brain chemistry and how it figures into God’s plan. I know the effect that a lack of a simple substance like vitamin D has on my own behavior, and wonder at how those with serious imbalances can begin to function.

    Those who appear to be better at ‘getting it right’ may have no reason to seek a power higher than themselves, a hope greater than any that may be granted here on earth, a faith that allows them to simply be, rather than trying to become something respected by our culture.

  40. poohpity says:

    jeff1, I also want you to be secure in the fact that when we do not have strength or know what or how to pray the Spirit intercedes for us or for the others we bring to Him. So all we have to do is ask God for help and He seems more than pleased to help in fact that shows how much we need, trust and depend on/in Him. (Romans 8:25-27 NIV)

  41. poohpity says:

    saled, if you don’t mind I do not unerstand what is meant by “getting it right”? Getting it right by who’s standards? Isn’t that subjective? Often it seems that what people appear to be on the outside is not the reality of what is happening on the inside or in their life. All people share humanity even if they try and keep it a secret.

    I know a very well known doctor who is a surgeon and his wife is also a very well known doctor. If one were to look at the outside with both having a flourishing practice, well respected in the community and in their church but they are now getting a divorce, the youngest child hung herself after she cut her own throat in their washroom. We can not see all that happens in peoples lives and people wear smiles when there is turmoil in their lives. So we never know.

    If we seek the praise and adoration of other people and when we receive some form of criticism it will throw us into deep emotional distress, self protective behaviors which are usually anger or another forms of violence. Everything is common to all mankind and the grass usually is not greener on another side. It took a long time for me to realize that and a lot of listening. People are insecure and use all kinds of things to cover that up rather than taking it to God who knows how weak we are and just how much we need Him.

  42. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Thanks for holding fast to the mindsight and violence topic, allowing us to go deeper. Blessings, Jeff1 in your journey of including yourself in the circle of God’s love. It seems to me, Pooh, that the condition of the grass on the other side is hard to know. What we do know is the grass is greener where it is watered! Please remember to put a water glass at your own place at the table.

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Way too often, however, we all end up doing or saying things that we later regret, especially when our survival reactions are clouded by past memories or a misunderstanding of what is really happening.”

    That goes for what we say to others — but what about what we say to ourselves? It seems to me you and I are to encourage ourselves in Christ, who deeply desires us to be filled with His joy. We are given the armor of light (Eph 6:13, 14, 15, 16, 17) to stand against Satan’s wiles.

    My personal “mantra” for this week is: “For it is the God who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ (Gen 1:3), who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Cor 4:6) When I cannot get it all done, or do things perfectly — or even do things well, I am asking the Lord to speak in me the words that bring New Life. Not my glory, but Jesus’ glory.

    By His wounds we are healed. (Is 53:5)

    Maru

  43. SFDBWV says:

    It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why cartoons are popular to any age.

    Everyone recognizes or can associate with a character having an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other while trying to decide what to do.

    I guess my point is that even though we are born with a natural inclination toward sin, there are outside spiritual forces vying for our obedience to them. That has nothing to do with what is already *built* into our brains be it our base instincts or higher psychology.

    When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness it wasn’t a thought process from within Jesus’ mind that produced Satan and his offers to persuade Jesus, it was the spiritual being of Satan.

    None of our life experiences are all that different. Sometimes our decisions are generated from within the working of our own brains and sometimes we are influenced and tempted toward decisions from *spirits* outside of ourselves.

    The power that these evil forces had over us were defeated by the action of the cross by Jesus, we were freed of being into bondage and chained to their *power* over us and we are given a new power that enables us to overcome them and make better decisions more in line with God’s will.

    We are both the tempted and the tempter at various occasions in our lives when we fall under the power of these evil forces and so must always be on guard. Which is why Paul encouraged us to put on the full armor of God as we contend with the unseen rulers of darkness (Ephesians 6:11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18).

    Every day I pray many times a day and always pray for the impenetrable sphere of God’s love and protection over my loved ones and myself as I have experienced its protection and recognize it.

    This armor of God that aids me in my journey along a very dangerous and difficult life is offered to all who simply ask for it, because we are precious all of us in God’s eyes and heart.

    So put on the armor and use a lamp to guide you along life’s path (Psalms 119:105) and don’t depend on your brains to either guide you or save you.

    Steve

  44. jeff1 says:

    I agree with you Steve we are both offender/offended also I find when you make a bad choice in life there is consequences which result in other consequences and once you get into that cycle of events it is difficult to get out of it. Knowing God sees my pain and is with me is a comfort but I still have to go through the difficult times and depending on my own personal experience i.e upbringing, culture, religion, faith in God during times of trial which is when I feel my faith is more hope while others I know have immense faith. Putting on the armor can seem easier for some than others and that is where I find the difficulty because that is where the guilt comes in, when others do it better. I am envious of those who look to me in this life as they are getting it right, a balanced life and they do not seem to have a care in the world while I seem to go from one problem to another.
    It’s not like the problems are there all the time but they keep raising their ugly head once in a while just to let me know Satan hasn’t gone away.

    I have heard today that the elderly lady who said prayers for my son and I has passed away at age 95. I will miss her immense faith, sharp mind and sense of humour and her guidance which was God inspired. I learnt much from her and I hope that I can be a better person for it.

  45. poohpity says:

    Maru, what prompted you to tell me about keeping the glass of water? I was trying to encourage people not to think that they are alone in their struggles? Being in the counseling field as well as going through my mega share I have listened to many people and know that we all share humanity and with that humanity comes struggles, problems, trials, temptations, sorrows, pains and grief. At times no one has it better or worse than others thus the grass analogy. That was a comfort to me and I thought it might bring comfort to others. Thanks for putting a negative spin on it that always helps and is exactly the reason why we can not depend on others who do not know our hearts and can misunderstand our motives.

  46. SFDBWV says:

    Mart,
    Am I the only one confused about the new/different home page and format for what I suppose used to be RBC Ministries and is now Our Daily Bread Ministries?

    Am I supposed to re-sign in all over again?

    I don’t like change.
    Steve

  47. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Jeff1, as Foreverblessed said I too was confused about your gender, I apologize for that and hope I didn’t sound to you like one of the “guys” instead of showing you the proper respect you should be receiving as a woman and mother.

    I am certain you have heard enough about my own struggles in life to appreciate that everyone has struggles. In fact one of the lessons life has taught me is that life is not easy nor pleasant for anyone and our moments of joy are usually just that, moments.

    My son as you know suffers from brain damage and so he suffers a great many things, but he also is very logical and like everyone else tries to understand why he is alive and what purpose he has in staying alive.

    He gets angry with God and I clearly understand why. In his logic he tries to piece together why a loving God would allow what has happened to him and continue to make him suffer as he does. Logic tells him there is no God or that God just doesn’t care about him.

    Yet every time anyone asks for him to pray for them he eagerly does, because in his logic he believes God does care for others.

    I thought I had a pretty good handle on things as a Bible reader and Christian until this tragic and unfortunate event occurred with my beloved family. These past 15 years has forced me to look deeper and search more franticly for comfort, answers and guidance from God.

    I can tell you that He is faithful and that some days all I have to hold onto is knowing that.

    It never is easy and isn’t intended to be.

    If I can offer you any advice it is only this, not to dwell too much on all the problems and difficulties and dwell instead on the promises Jesus has given us and keep focused on Him.

    Your salvation is safe with Jesus, and no struggle you and I have to endure will take that away.

    If we were neighbors you and I could set down together and perhaps share a cup of coffee or whatever you enjoy and talk it out. We all need that human touch for comfort and is the only thing missing from this site, that physical contact.

    Be blessed today jeff1 and remember our purpose in life is always for other persons not for ourselves.

    Steve

  48. joycemb says:

    Good morning all- had a nice chuckle already this morning, thanks!

    Steve am absorbing your advice also this morning to Jeff1, thanks for that also. A Godly perspective does much to take our eyes off of ourselves and where they should be, on Jesus. The violence of life quiets when our minds are set on Him.

  49. Mart De Haan says:

    Steve,
    You should be able to use your old user name and password to access the new Our Daily Bread Ministries site.

    The launch of our new name together with a wealth of fresh new resources has been something that our team has been working on for a couple of years now.

    For those who haven’t seen the new site, our new name, fresh resources, and a good explanation by my brother, Rick, can be accessed through this link.

    https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/?shva=1#inbox/14aed924d42ba1e8

  50. jeff1 says:

    There is no need to apologise for getting it wrong about my gender as I have signed in with my son’s name which confused you all.

    I like Steve find the new home page confusing and getting to this blogg was not as simple as usual but got there in the end.

    I come here Steve to share struggles so I am not tired of listening to yours or others on here. It encourages me to hear how you get through yours and makes me realise that it is not always God punishing me for getting it wrong which I seem to get into my head when things go wrong but just consequences of my bad decisions.

    I was brought up to believe God wanted to beat you with a big stick for getting it wrong and I guess its hard to get away from this way of thinking so your comments are very much appreciated.

    Also I am from Northern Ireland not England although being from the north of Ireland I am British.

  51. poohpity says:

    I know in my life God has taken the ashes of the consequences of bad choices and made beautiful things like empathy and compassion. I know what I was and the things I still go through to walk alongside people rather than being a judge, jury and executioner. I was arrested for attempted murder, I was a prostitute, hung around with outlaw biker gangs, sold and did drugs, etc.. I came from a family that was well off financially and because we moved so much tried to buy friends. I have been forgiven for so much and experiencing the love of the Lord really find it heartbreaking when people do not know how much the Lord truly loves and cares for us. If anyone deserved to be punished it was me but instead I found grace and mercy. There are consequences of my choices but I know they are not near as bad as they could be.

  52. poohpity says:

    I like the change and found if I type in the address bar the place in RBC ministries I want to go it takes me there. The appearance may be new but the content is just as good as it always has been. Without change there is no growth we become stagnant, same ol’ same ol’, trapped in the old. Stepping out of the boat of familiarity to explore, an adventure is waiting.

  53. poohpity says:

    Type in beenthinking dot org in the address bar it takes you there. Type in ODB dot org it takes you there. Type in discovertheword dot org it takes you there.

  54. joycemb says:

    ? I am still accessing the way I always have. Maybe if I sign out I will have to go through Google mail to get there though.

  55. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Poohpity —

    Am shocked and dismayed to read that you find a negative spin in my reminder that any and all need to put a water glass at my/their/our place at the table. Now I do regret adding to your “grass is greener” analogy. Clearly, it was not stated just so, since I was not criticizing anybody — certainly not you. Sad to lose your trust.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  56. SFDBWV says:

    Joyce I have RBC Ministries saved in my favorites, when I now click on it, it takes me to the new home page and I have found that if I scroll down to the bottom of the page I still can find “Been Thinking About” listed and so click on it.

    Once at BTA I have to navigate to the date on the calendar and so on to the subject.

    I couldn’t quite do that this morning, so I guess some things are in transition with the new home page, it looks as though it will be difficult for outsiders to just look in.

    My problem is my 68 year old brain can’t keep up with the technology or the 25 year old techs who think everything on these computer sites have to change every time I figure out how to use the one they think needs changing.

    Steve

  57. joycemb says:

    Steve I understand about technology issues. My almost 65 year old brain works slower than it used to so stresses me out when things change to keep the younger generation in touch and not bored. Ah the good old days of telephone on the wall and handwritten letters etc!

  58. poohpity says:

    Maru, there is no way you could lose my trust. I guess I misunderstood the intent. No harm no foul, just a confused state which is normal nowadays for me. :-)

  59. foreverblessed says:

    Jeff, there is a movie o Youtube that is worth seeing for you, just the first part is enough,
    It is called: The Life of Charled Spurgeon.
    It gave tears to my eyes.
    Don’t look at yourself, there is nothing there that can save you.
    Just look on Jesus and be saved Isaiah 45:22

  60. joycemb says:

    Forever that is our biggest challenge most days isn’t it-remembering to turn to God in our everyday struggles. I think that’s the gift in the storm we are blessed to receive free of charge with no strings attached.

  61. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, Joyce, that is so true, it has been my struggle for years and years, to turn my eyes upon Jesus, first to learn what it means, then to keep doing it, again and again. I believe that is the training I had from the Holy Spirit. There is nothing inside me that can save me. Nothing there. All good things come from above. But I kept looking if anything good was in me, and then be disappointed. O, how foolish, I should have looked up, and expect everything from Him. The bread from heaven!John 6:35,53 From the Father who gives free of charge, only that we look up in faith. Imagine the sick people from Israel in the desert, who were bitten by the snake. They only had to look up to the pole, and those who did were healed. What a great picture of the spiritual truth, if we look up we are spiritually healed!

  62. foreverblessed says:

    Good night, I have to go to bed. I was reading the Treasure of David, Psalm 96, and it is so uplifting. But now it is late. Have a good blessed afternoon you all, and especially Jeff, and you Joyce, may God, the Holy Spirit train you to look up to Jesus, God bless you!

  63. poohpity says:

    “RBC Ministry” is no longer the name of this ministry it is now called “Our Daily Bread Ministry”! I guess because it is way bigger than just the radio nowadays.

  64. remarutho says:

    So true!

    There were send-away-for Bible studies for kids back in the day when my children were young. We listened to the Radio Bible Course program every week. Now Our Daily Bread is a world-wide teaching mission. A new day with different platforms and formats for people who don’t even own a radio.

    Thanks for the good word, Pooh! Just hoping to offer a bit of encouragement for our friend Jeff1 — or any and all who stop by BTA.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  65. poohpity says:

    That is also my hearts desire with good sound sharing of God’s Word and His infinite love for all humanity.

  66. street says:

    Dear jeff1, been think about your post the last couple of days. many things come to “mindsight.” the story of ester comes to mind or any story of a Bible character for that matter. the struggles are real and intense. the verse in John 13:7 came up while thinking about your post. it afterwards that we can see better. i am not thinking about some one walking in darkness but one who knows the truth. it’s in the valley and the storms that we really begin to put down deep roots in God and get to know not only Him but ourselves. this anchor holds within the vale.

    i would also have to remind you that not all struggles are a result of something we did or did not do. He will never leave you nor forsake you. this is the promise i cling to the tightest. for i know He bore the cross for me. To Him be Power Glory Thanksgiving Honor Love and Worship forever. i know there are more adjectives, but you get my point.

  67. street says:

    oh jeff1 one more point i would like to bring up about ester. she lived in a foreign land with no control over anything or any one. her only friend in the whole world was her uncle. the same uncle who almost got her killed. God really works in far out, over the top, off the wall ways. the cross is one of them and i do not believe He is done with revealing Himself. i would have to say it’s a better focus not more new stuff even though it is new to us. Numbers 6:24-26

  68. street says:

    ok, ok, it was haman not mordecai.

  69. jeff1 says:

    I would not say my only friend was my father but he was the one whose word I could trust. When I was young he gave such good advice but I never really took it. Everything he said I found out to be true in later life. Since he past away I do not feel anyone else understands me like he did. He would listen and advise without being judgemental even when he did not agree with what I was saying.

    Every day when I was ill he visited me, walked with me talked with me, brought me chocolate which I love.

    He was my rock, his shoes are hard to fill for me anyway for I find that most will give you advice but few will give you the advice my father gave me for he was extremely insightful and always seen the bigger picture.

    He knew how to avoid trouble while I seem to be more like my Mum and would walk right into it.

    God does work in mysterious ways for although my son does not share me or my father’s belief’s in God he is so like my father in this way. When I hear him talk with such wisdom I hear my Dad talking.

    Also it was my father who was a Dad to him when he was growing up and my marriage was on the rocks so it is not so surprising he is following in his footsteps.

    You are all right I need to focus more on what is right in my life and not go over old ground about what went wrong.

    Thank you all for your sound advice, God has made a way for me since I’m missing my Dad.

  70. cbrown says:

    Steve,thanks for the tip on getting to BTA. That’s what I’ll do until I figure the site out. I am sitting in the Charlotte airport after missing my connecting flight from Phoenix to North Florida by one minute.Been following this topic all the while.After the last 15 hours my prayer is that God move the mountain and I faith he will.

  71. cbrown says:

    He

  72. SFDBWV says:

    Chris you are not far from our friend Pearl who now lives in NC instead of Conn. Hope you can fill your time pleasantly as you await your next connection to Fla.

    We are at 24 degrees under gray skies this morning, looks like we will be seeing snowfall today.

    I am sure this new look for “RBC” will become normal to all after a while, but it looks like BTA is not a priority nor an integral part of their future.

    As I told Mart, I don’t like change. Especially as it seems to come faster and faster the older I get.

    I pray you have a pleasant journey.

    Steve

  73. poohpity says:

    Gee Chris wish I would have known that you were at the Phx airport I would have come to meet you.

  74. cbrown says:

    Pooh,I thought about you.Our friendship is not limited by space but we are united in His Spirit.

  75. poohpity says:

    It is so neat to put a face and voice to our words. That is what I like about facebook at least we see a face but there is nothing better than hearing a voice to go along with that, then having them both together standing right there with ya the icing on the cake. :-)

  76. poohpity says:

    That is what was so very neat about Jesus, God incarnate. He put a face, behaviors and voice that we could relate too. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The enormity of God in a small package to show us how God felt about us since the beginning.

  77. joycemb says:

    Mart said,
    “May this day be refreshed with the mindsight of Christ— instead of the anger of mindless fear—where the ways of the spirit are still possible”.

    How do we do this? Col. 2:6 ends with be thankful in all things. I have learned over time to thank God through my fears, tears, and pain for whatever comes my way. This reminds me that God knows and is working out my salvation. Thus the command, “give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus to you”. I Thess. 5:12-22 NLT

  78. joycemb says:

    Col. 3:12-15 NLT rather than 2:6

  79. SFDBWV says:

    Our friend Pat in Canada needs our thoughts and prayers today as she has learned of her sister having terminal cancer and her brother in law whom she ask for prayer for earlier is not doing so well either.

    Steve

  80. joycemb says:

    Praying for you and your family Pat.

    I have a praise to tell all about. An hour ago I was looking at my food supply and recognizing I am down to 75cents and 10 days before I get a check I was beginning to panic so made cookies; my go to when panic begins to set in. I said to The Lord, I am panicking again help me. Just then a knock on the door and a neighbor with a box of food he doesn’t need. I am still shaking at the ever presence of God in my life who showed up just when I needed something. Needless to say I gave the warm cookies to my neighbor who doesn’t cook and he also was very happy. Bless God for His relentless pursuit and care for His people.

  81. remarutho says:

    Thanks for the inspiring witness of God’s provision, Joyce! A wonderful moment — offering fresh made cookies as a thank-you to the Lord and His agent (angel?), your very own neighbor!

    Prayers going up for you, Pat, in this time of crisis in your sister’s life.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  82. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Very hard to get to the blog this morning. I don’t see it anywhere on the new site. This page I’m on is old. It still says RBC ministries at the bottom. I wonder if this will even get through.

  83. poohpity says:

    Pat, without a doubt will join in praying for you and your family.

    Could it be that our host Mart is going to give been thinking a rest, put it out to pasture? It has been a long time and I could understand letting it go. It seems like being weaned with the topics getting less and less and then fewer and fewer. Even though I so enjoy the way you think Mart and the direction you have guided us I hope you do not pull away but if you make a choice to do so there are so many other places you are involved and your servants heart will be used. I know for myself I have learned so much from you and will be forever grateful. Respectfully Deb

  84. saled says:

    pooh, to answer your question from a few days ago, I agree that the term ‘getting it right’ is very subjective. Kind of like trying to define ‘success’. Your example of the two well known doctors illustrates this. Professionally, maybe they did get it right, but obviously not in their personal lives. I think of King David and his failures in his personal life and the impact on his family. We live in a difficult time in that, like jeff1 said, ‘this culture sets high expectations’. We are expected to ‘make something of ourselves’. As for myself, I am finding peace in learning to be in the moment, rather than striving to become.

  85. poohpity says:

    I am glad sal. You seem to excel as a gardener making my mouth water but I have yet to receive any tomatoes, :-). That takes time, work and much patience to see the fruits or vegetables of your labor. Pun intended, lol. All we have is today, this moment.

    I have figured out we can not please all the people all the time and there will always be someone to take offense or that does not like us. An old friend once taught me, “It is not by business what anyone else thinks” I am only in control of what I think, feel and act like. “If I live off the praise of man then I will be crushed under their criticism.”

  86. poohpity says:

    With all this anger and violence going around and it does not seem like it is unique to radical Islamist. I decided the other day to pay attention to how many times I get angry or judge in just the time it takes to drive to the store with all the snow birds here. I cracked up to see how my mind can go there in a knee jerk reaction, it takes patience and self control to pull back considering an action before I do it.

    On the other hand with all the snow birds here there were people parking in zones that were not parking zones then when someone said something to them they became eye rate with name calling and shouting in self defense even though they were in the wrong. Waving canes in the air. It is really sad. It seems to just come down to a lack of respect for others and I am sure they claimed to be Christians by the little fish on their cars.

    Jesus said that even anger in our hearts can be equated with murder and by the looks of those doing the shouting they could have hit someone with their canes or bags. Their mindset seems to be no regard for others in anyway.

  87. joycemb says:

    If we are Christians we don’t worry about pleasing anyone but God, do we. If others are pleased with us it is because they, being Christ followers will recognize the One they follow noting that that one has been with Christ!

    It is all about Him, not us, which goes contrary to some popular teaching these days.

  88. jeff1 says:

    What turns people away from God are the ones that call themselves Christian but behave in an unchristian way that is why I find it difficult to think myself as Christian because being a manic depressive my behaviour can be unpredictable and I would not be seen as a good example for Jesus. I have to take one day at a time and between my family and myself watch out for behaviour patterns. I try to avoid stressful situations as they tend to affect me. I don’t even watch the news on television because I can get depressed with it being so dark all the time. At home here at the moment there is a lot of abuse cases against children’s homes and the carer’s in the homes were nuns and priests. It’s sickening to hear grown men talk of how they were abused as children and how they have lived with the nightmares every since. This is the reason the young people are going away from organised religion. It is not just on the Roman Catholic side there is orphanages run by Protestants as well being investigated.
    Young people are saying we were brainwashed by these pillar’s of society and that Church’s don’t work and with all these revelation’s it’s not really surprising. When I was growing up all I heard about was hell and how you would burn in it for your sins. The idea of God then scared the life out of me. Nowadays the younger people are turning to Science because of false Preachers and Christians not behaving like they should there is a generation of younger people looking elsewhere for answers to life’s problems. I think it’s sad that it has come to this but it is a sign of the times we live in.

  89. poohpity says:

    I think if more Christians were honest about how unable we are to be perfect, righteous, etc. and point people to Christ rather than us as role models, all would be much better off. We are the reason that Jesus came and obviously not the ones to follow, the blind leading the blind. There are people who are injured by religious people but there are so many more that are helped by those who follow the Lord. Again at the foot of the Cross is level ground and if we continue to look around then we are not looking up. It is not about us, it is because of us.

    The more one stays hidden the more one is unable to see and understand humanity is humanity. We are not alone in our screw ups, mess ups and the exact reason to read the Bible to see all the same human behaviors through out history. Humanity messes up, screws up and sins or there would be no need for the Lord to do what He did.

  90. street says:

    On the other hand with all the snow birds here there were people parking in zones that were not parking zones then when someone said something to them they became eye rate with name calling and shouting in self defense even though they were in the wrong. Waving canes in the air. It is really sad. It seems to just come down to a lack of respect for others and I am sure they claimed to be Christians by the little fish on their cars.

    i would have to say people do things for a reason. we need to find there motive and we can only do that by asking or by a complete investigation. we are warned more than once not to judge not to condemn and to pardon freely. seek justice love mercy walk humble are from the same Author. we are not seeking justice if we judge and condemn them. you say they are a snow birds, old, and walk with a cane. might be handicapped to also a lot weaker than a healthy 25 year old. old people have a right to be angry because of all the injustice they have seen under the sun, but not in Christ
    Jesus.

  91. joycemb says:

    Jeff’s mom what I think of is the story of the prodigal son Luke 15:11-32 and how many of us fit into that category. But note that the prodigal returned when he was empty handed with nothing to offer, not works or remorse, but he was hungry, just hungry and knew his father would give him food to be able to survive. God gives us food too, spiritual and physical nourishment to survive and thrive in a hungry world that often has not become ‘hungry’ enough to receive all that God has for us.

    Jesus said now go and sin no more, and that is our battle with the flesh and the enemy.
    Battle on sister but always under the wings of grace!

  92. street says:

    jeff1 you are the perfect person for God to work in and through. 1 Corinthians 1:26 2 Corinthians 12:9
    Luke 21:34-36

    i have to do the same thing you do by not watching the news or tv for that matter it is a real soul and time killer. i just watch sports now and i can see that will end with the end of free tv. i think the the tv is another voice we have to deal with like so many others. i have made the switch from tv to internet. the pc gets old after awhile and i am more purposeful in it’s use. i am so thankful i can find so much more so quickly. especially with Bible searches. such a great tool. i could live with out it, but i could not live with out Gods promises. He is able!

    been thinking about what paul says about dwelling on the breath height width depth of God it keeps coming back over and over. it is something we are to be doing he definitely was praying for this.

  93. street says:

    ops…..Ephesians 3:17-19

  94. hera says:

    Hi,
    I didn’t really notice it before since I usually just type on the address bar the location/name of the site I want to go to, have no problem so far, but since everyone’s mentioning about the new design of ODB, I read the details and it seems Beenthinking is no longer listed under Resources like it used to be.
    I wonder why is that…
    Have a Happy Sunday to all… :-)
    Oh I think it’s about 28°C here, warm – very windy and humid perhaps, sweat producing weather :-)

  95. jeff1 says:

    Street you said I am just the perfect person for God to work in and through. That is very reassuring Street as I feel at times that I have very little purpose in life, apart from housework I do some voluntary work which keeps me in touch with people without having too much responsibility.

    In my heart I have often believed that but the voices in my head tell me I am being silly and now you have reassured me that it is a possibility.

  96. street says:

    jeff1 after i posted and puttered around the house this though came to mind that paralleled Romans 5:8

    Jesus is Jewish and He died to save me while i was still a nazi. sin is an armed rebellion against a Holy God. He really loved His enemies. God is at work even while joesph was in prison for 17 years for something he did not do. afterwards you will understand, but not now, we live by faith and on every Word that proceeds from the Mouth of God. He will not leave you helpless. the Helper has been sent to teach correct heal strengthen you. abide in Him for He abides in you.

  97. poohpity says:

    street, first it was very blatant that one person parked in a no parking zone and the other person simply said in a clam voice you can not park there or you will get a ticket. The one who was welding the cane around and yelling was absolutely in the wrong but rather than admit that caused quite a scene. Please explain how that was judging rather than just watching what was going on 10 feet away?

    Second you will find that Joseph was in prison for 2 years. (Genesis 41:1) However he was 17 years old when his brothers sold him. (Genesis 37:2)

  98. remarutho says:

    Good Evening All —

    Where I am in this time zone, the current 24-hour day is almost over. Realizing there are some at BTA for whom tomorrow is already well under way, I wonder at the comparison between the violence of the 1st c. AD when Jesus was on earth in human flesh and the violence of the 21st c. Can we truly say that the human heart has changed? Is it a new day, or is human nature the same as ever in its bent toward sinning?

    Mart, you wrote:

    “May this day be refreshed with the mindsight of Christ— instead of the anger of mindless fear—where the ways of the spirit are still possible.”

    We can only ever live one day at a time — then and now. It seems to me there is evidence that the human heart in general is as dark as ever. Considering what is going on in Nigeria with Boko Haram and in the Middle East with the Islamic State, wickedness is flourishing. The examples mentioned are only the most obvious evidence of “this present darkness.”

    May God the Holy Spirit continually give us hope and strength to follow our Lord, trusting that His New Creation will bring about “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Lord, let our prayers and our actions day by day bring peace — until you accomplish your final victory. Amen.

    Maru

  99. jeff1 says:

    You are reiterating what I said as in my country all these abuse of children cases are coming to light, the world seems to be getting darker. When I was at the funeral of my friend the minister said something which made me think, he spoke of Ruth’s life (my friend Ruth not Ruth in the Bible) and said how she would say in her small corner and he mentioned there is a passage where Christ mentioned about small corners. He did not elaborate as it was not a sermon but a funeral service. Do any of you know the passage he is referring too.

  100. street says:

    poo said The one who was welding the cane around and yelling was absolutely in the wrong but rather than admit that caused quite a scene. Please explain how that was judging rather than just watching what was going on 10 feet away?

    do you think he might have been reacting to an injustice? it is common practice to hid behind law as an excuse for not being interest in the needs of others or accommodating them in their plight. you said there were so many snow birds around that it caused stress for even a parking space. Herod built the temple mount to accommodate the huge crowds that participated in the annual gatherings in Jerusalem. till then we just have to be a little coo coo to borrow a phrase.

  101. poohpity says:

    Ooooh street, the person parked in a clearly marked no parking zone. If I tried to answer your questions I would be assuming or judging their motives. The stress I mentioned was mine so I can share how I felt. The reason I even shared it was an example about our topic on violence and anger.

    jeff1, I do not know a passage about little spaces but there are a couple that speak of minding our own business and not being busybodies or gossips.

  102. poohpity says:

    jeff1, as I was reading this morning there is a place that says “little place” in Genesis 19:21-22 NLT

  103. joycemb says:

    Street you too have an empathetic way of looking at the world. God bless you! I was thinking this morning of how many times I have been healed by being listened to and having someone really care about me, not trying to prove how much they have learned so they can judge me but to really love me as Christ has loved me. He did not judge our actions, like parking in a no parking zone which would be like a cop doing his job, but with compassion and grace. Takes a redeemed mind sight to do that perfectly. It also takes our whole lives to learn to live up to our calling as Christ followers. Don’t be too hard on others who are learning just as we all are; we all carry scars and wounds that may not be healed until Christ returns. Also it’s good for me to remember that Jesus still had His scars even after he rose from the grave.
    We never know how important those scars may be some day. But it’s all a part of Gods plan for the world.
    Blessings,
    Joyce

  104. street says:

    this thread reminds me of the difficulty issac had settling in the land and getting water. it takes patients and work. some how i believe there is a parallel in this with the violence we see in us and around us. think about a large family with one bathroom. it can get quite uncomfortable….hehe. poor planing on our part does not constitute an emergency on God’s part. do you think the poor planing is caused by our indifference? i think not. it only becomes indifference after the problem arises and we refuse to do the right thing. these problems are cultural and logistical not sin. sin is a completely different animal. one in which, if we are honest, only God and His word can deal with and have success. Isaiah 40:23

  105. joycemb says:

    Love the one bathroom many users analogy street! It does take us down to the basics, doesn’t it.

  106. street says:

    “Comfort, O comfort My people,” says your God.
    “Speak kindly to Jerusalem;
    And call out to her, that her warfare has ended,
    That her iniquity has been removed,
    That she has received of the Lord’s hand
    Double for all her sins.”

  107. joycemb says:

    Tried a new recipe today. Core a pear, sprinkle with brown sugar, cinnamon and drizzle with honey. Bake 350 for 30 min-delicious! Serve with ice cream or yogurt.

    Sunshine and 35 deg. In Mn today, nice!

  108. phpatato says:

    Thank you for your prayers for my sister. I so appreciate it. It looks dire but I am thankful that she knows Jesus Christ as her Lord and Saviour. Still trying to deal with the shock of such news.

    Street

    Thanks for the chuckle about the bathroom. Loved it! Large family, one bathroom….there are times when one bathroom 2 people are difficult. :-)

    I have copied that recipe Joyce. It sounds yummy!!

    I don’t know if being in Canada means getting things slower :-), but I still have the old BTA showing up. Mart, the link you provided came to me in an email that said, “this conversation is no longer available”. Just thought you’d like to know what I got. I access this page by typing beenthinking.org in the address bar. It also shows Been Thinking About listed under blogs at the bottom of the page.

    Mild today – high of 40 F but the mild weather is short-lived. Temps to drop to 1 F by tomorrow night after a couple of inches of snow.

    Pat

  109. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon All —

    51F with scattered showers — fast moving sky. Saw a rainbow on the way to worship this morning. What a promise!

    It seems to me, Street, that the preacher at Ruth’s funeral might have meant that she was a light in the small place she occupied in the life of the community. Perhaps Mark 4:21, 22, 23. We seem to have shortened the parable to “brighten the corner where you are.” See the old song by Ina Ogden —

    Do not wait until some deed of greatness you may do,
    Do not wait to shed your light afar;
    To the many duties ever near you now be true,
    Brighten the corner where you are.

    Refrain:
    Brighten the corner where you are!
    Brighten the corner where you are!
    Someone far from harbor you may guide across the bar;
    Brighten the corner where you are!

    Just above are clouded skies that you may help to clear,
    Let not narrow self your way debar;
    Though into one heart alone may fall your song of cheer,
    Brighten the corner where you are.

    Here for all your talent you may surely find a need,
    Here reflect the bright and Morning Star;
    Even from your humble hand the Bread of Life may feed,
    Brighten the corner where you are.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  110. joycemb says:

    Maru I just read Ina’s bio and the words take on even more meaning to me now. Thank you for sharing that old song so full of meaning!

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