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Who Am I?


Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer is widely remembered as a German author and pastor who was arrested in 1943 for his role in resisting the policies of the Nazi government.

While in prison he continued to write and was assisted by sympathetic guards who smuggled his letters to the outside.

He was executed on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime collapsed, just two weeks before Allied forces liberated the camp and three weeks before Hitler’s suicide.

While much about his life, theology, and role in the resistance continues to be debated, Bonhoeffer wrote something called, Who Am I? that expresses how aware he was of the ways that his life, like our  own, can be so easily misread.

I wasn’t aware of this poem until an older acquaintance stopped by my table in the coffee shop the other day and urged me Google “Bonhoeffer” and “Who am I”.

Who Am I?

Who am I? They often tell me
I stepped from my cell’s confinement
Calmly, cheerfully, firmly,
Like a Squire from his country house.

Who am I? They often tell me
I used to speak to my warders
Freely and friendly and clearly,
As thought it were mine to command.

Who am I? They also tell me
I bore the days of misfortune
Equably, smilingly, proudly,
like one accustomed to win.

Am I then really that which other men tell of?
Or am I only what I myself know of myself?
Restless and longing and sick, like a bird in a cage,
Struggling for breath, as though hands were compressing my throat,
Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
Tossing in expectations of great events,
Powerlessly trembling for friends at an infinite distance,
Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.

Who am I? This or the Other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptible woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?

Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!

According to an article in Wikipedia, at Bonhoeffer’s execution he was “stripped of his clothing and led naked into the execution yard, where he was hanged, along with fellow conspirators.”


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86 Responses to “Who Am I?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Who Am I in Christ;

    Romans 8:16 A child of God
    Ephesians 2:8 Saved by grace through faith
    Psalms 107:2 Redeemed from the hand of the foe
    1 John 5:11, 12 an heir of eternal life
    Ephesians 1:7 Forgiven
    Romans 8:14 Led by the Spirit of God
    2 Corinthians 5:17 A new creature
    Galatians 3:13 Redeemed from the curse of the law
    Isaiah 46:4 Kept in safety wherever I go
    Ephesians 6:10 Strong in the Lord and His mighty power
    2 Corinthians 5:7 Living by faith and not by sight
    Colossians 1:13 Rescued from the dominion of darkness
    Romans 5:1 Justified
    Romans 8:17 An heir of God and co-heir with Christ
    Ephesians 1:3 Blessed with every spiritual blessing, an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb
    Revelation 12:11 And the Word of my testimony
    Matthew 5:14 The light of the world
    Ephesians 5:1 An imitator off God
    1 Peter 2:24 Healed by His wounds
    Romans 12:2 Being transformed by the renewing of my mind


  2. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Such a moving post.

    Lord I believe, help my unbelief!

    Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

    Who am I? Whoever I am, You know oh God, I am Yours!

  3. street says:

    While much about his life, theology, and role in the resistance continues to be debated, Bonhoeffer wrote something called, Who Am I that expresses how aware he was of the ways that his life, like our own, can be so easily misread.

    and the darkness comprehend it not. John 1:5

    no debate in my mind that His light still shines in, on, and through dietrich bonhoeffer.

    been think about the captivity of the Lords love.

  4. remarutho says:

    Morning BTA —

    Bonhoeffer’s participation in the plot to assassinate Hitler is debated. Who would not be tempted to join in a move to rid the world of a powerful man with a demon? It seems to me history judges Bonhoeffer to be a man of principle — though he helped plan a murder.

    Sitting in a dark, colorless, Nazi prison cell, he remembers signs of hope — and God’s grace:

    “Yearning for colors, for flowers, for the voices of birds,
    Thirsting for words of kindness, for neighborliness,
    Tossing in expectations of great events,”

    Christ-followers taste a hint of the same ashes in the condition of the world’s current madness. The poet surely referred to news of the demise of the Reich as a “great event.” I pray to rise each day to the hope Dietrich Bonhoeffer found in those most desperate times:

    “Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
    Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!”

    We are shielded in the Rock of Salvation from the despair of the world. Lord, help me remember day by day that my identity — and the identity of the people of God is in you. Amen.

  5. phpatato says:

    For me, this poem is exactly what I lived for the 15 long years of being chronically, clinically depressed. The outward facade I wore for others while knowing “only what I myself know of myself?”

    I thank my God for His mighty and powerful unfailing love and protection for only He was able to save me deep inside the dense and dark abyss that I called life.

  6. phpatato says:


    Along the same thought line as yours…..

    Who is Jesus to you

    To the ARTIST He is the One Altogether Lovely.

    To the ARCHITECT He is the Chief Corner Stone.

    To the BAKER He is the Living Bread.

    To the BANKER He is the Hidden Treasure.

    To the BIOLOGIST He is the Life.

    To the BUILDER He is the Sure Foundation.

    To the CARPENTER He is the Door.

    To the DOCTOR He is the Great Physician.

    To the EDUCATOR He is the Great Teacher.

    To the ENGINEER He is the New and Living Way.

    To the FLORIST He is the Rose of Sharon and the Lily of the Valley.

    To the GEOLOGIST He is the Rock of Ages.

    To the HORTICULTURIST He is the True Vine.

    To the JUDGE He is the Righteous Judge.

    To the JEWELER He is the Pearl of Great Price.

    To the LAWYER He is the Counselor, the Lawgiver, and the Advocate.

    To the NEWSPAPER EDITOR He is the Good Tidings of Great Joy.

    To the OCULIST He is the Light of the Eyes.

    To the PHILANTHROPIST He is the Unspeakable Gift.

    To the PHILOSOPHER He is the Wisdom of God.

    To the PREACHER He is the Word of God.

    To the SCULPTOR He is the Living Stone.

    To the SERVANT He is the Good Master.

    To the STATESMAN He is the Desire of All Nations.

    To the STUDENT He is the Incarnate Truth.

    To the THEOLOGIAN He is the Author and Finisher of our Faith.

    To the TOILER He is the Giver of Rest.

    To the SINNER He is the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the World.

    To the CHRISTIAN He is the Son of the Living God, the Savior, the Redeemer and the Lord.

    Who is Jesus to you? ……

    by Anonymous

  7. jeff1 says:

    I watched the film on Bonhoeffer, such bravery and what an insightful poem, truly a man of God.

    To-day on films and TV the producers are more interested in showing us programmes on the Hitler’s of this World and the violence that men get up to. It is not surprising that people are feeling depressed when they watch it while the heroes like Bonhoeffer are hardly heard tell of.

    Why is it that human nature is more curious about what makes us do the bad rather than what makes us do good.

    Bonhoeffer got his courage from knowing that God was in charge regardless of his circumstances.

    With God’s help make me worthy by writing ‘Who am I in Christ’ on my heart so that in my own sometimes difficult circumstances my action is worthy of you Lord.

    Thank you for the verses Steve.

  8. joycemb says:

    Yesterday I asked myself the same question, who am I? And after searching my heart for a while decided on flesh, mind, and spirit. Sometimes I am not very happy with my flesh, mind, or spirit, but in the end redemption is my bottom line. And so I face another disappointing day alone yet not REALLY alone, as the God of the universe knows my name and cares about me. I can “pretend” to be ok when I am out in public and when people ask me how I have endured much suffering I always say because of Jesus. Takes the power out of haters blustery power and reminds me of Whose I am, not who I am.

    Bonhoeffer was raised in the privileged upper class which carries a lot of power and self-assuredness, his father being a prominent psychiatrist. I’m sure he was a powerful presence among the common guards. Yet he reveals the feelings common to all of us who deal with suffering the loss of everything. Some of us have less to lose than others, some only think we have lost more than others. Whatever happens in life physical death is the common denominator to us all as we are born naked and die bringing nothing with us.

    Even the preacher says vanity, vanity, all is vanity in the end.

  9. joycemb says:

    I am not as depressed as I may sound. Just a case of the wintertime blues I think, my antidepressant med is working well, thanks to modern science and the loving grace of God who provides what we need and then some!

  10. cas139 says:

    what a powerful and poignant poem, especially given the circumstances of Dietrich Boenhoffer’s life when he wrote it. How often have I had similar questions. Though I have pondered these questions within the safety of my comfortable lifestyle, so different from Dietrich Boenhoffer’s life of living out his faith and convictions at great personal peril, still I wonder: “Am I then really that which other men tell of? Or am I only what I myself know of myself?”

    I sometimes wonder as well if who I suppose myself to be–beneath the outer image, deep in my heart of hearts–matches what God knows of me. God knows me, from the inside out. He knows me in my waking, in my sleeping, in comfort, in distress, day and night. So I must keep my focus on the one who knows me best…and loves me best.

    Psalm #139 reminds me that I am known intimately by God, in every circumstance. Today I pray the last two verses: Psalm 139: 23,24

  11. poohpity says:

    Bonhoeffer’s struggle with whether to stay in the midst of the torments and turmoil his fellow country men were going through or hide from the battle in another country. The decision to go back sort of looks like the people who hide within the walls of a church and fail to reach out to those in need. Keeping hands clean or getting them dirty and calloused. Bonhoeffer chose the harder route as do all those who go because they follow the Lord.

    Recently I was thinking about those doctors that go back to helping with the Ebola virus. Those that leave the comfort of their homes to live or work within the communities that they were not part of but see a need. Similar to Peter stepping out of the safety of the boat to come to Jesus walking on water. Taking risks but admitting to the inner battles.

    Bonhoeffer seems to be both that person people saw that looked confident yet was scared inside. The person who really did not want to go back to the battle but the Lord put it in his heart to return. Not that he did not have to be scared but in spite of the fear went anyway. Through it all the most important thing was no matter the inner or outer struggles he knew he belonged to the One who knew him better than anyone, even himself.

  12. SFDBWV says:

    Just stopped in for a quick read; you are welcome Vivian. When we learn *who we are* now that we are Christian and in Christ our life takes on a more significant posture.

    We see our relationship with the Lord.

    When we start to dig deeper into “who we are” we soon come to terms with the fact that we are not confined to these bodies we now live in, but we are spirit beings as well and when we die and leave these bodies *we* go on. The real us the true us, our conscious being is eternal.

    I just wanted to stop in and say hello as we are in white out conditions, I just finished plowing off our hill after Matt got out of the shower and now am preparing his Monday DiGiorno’s pizza.

    Joyce I wish we were closer so I could help.

    Thanks for the poem Pat.


  13. joycemb says:

    Thanks for thinking of me Steve. I appreciate it! I just stopped in to the food shelf/ clothing bank I volunteer at and visited and had coffee with the ladies there; it was fun and we laughed with each other and the customers. Hope in the midst of gray. God tends to show up in the most unlikely of places, doesn’t He?

  14. SFDBWV says:

    For as long as men have recorded their thoughts, their thoughts have centered on who are we, why are we here and what happens when we die.

    Some find peace by the explanations given in the Hebrew texts we call the Old Testament and the Christian texts we call the New Testament.

    Yet just like Bonhoeffer we still ask who, what why when where, forgetting sometimes we are like Noah adrift on an endless sea, trusting that God will bring us to the place where He wants us, when He wants us and why He wants us to be who we are.

    I think Joyce that God is always there it is our awareness that awakens when His presence, for that moment, come into view. I am glad you had a good day.

    09 degrees, I just finished plowing and shoveling off things, it looks as if we might have a few sunny days ahead. The groundhog didn’t see its shadow here, but then I can’t count on good weather until June the 1st.


  15. poohpity says:

    It does not seem like Bonhoeffer did anything to lead the people who were watching him to think so highly of him I guess that is why he seemed confused about who they thought he was. Then he shared what was really going on inside. My sons did that with me also as I probably did with my parents. By the looks they seemed confident and sure of themselves but unlike them I shared the battles of loneliness, discouragement and fear that was often more of a companion to me than self assurance, courage, confidence and strength. When I got older watching and listening to my parents what I once saw as their confident strength was really a mask to hide insecurities and fears which most often was hidden by anger rather than openly admitting what was going on inside.

    Bonhoeffer was great at articulating his inner thoughts in this poem. I remember Mart when you had a topic about masks but the difference here Bonhoeffer did not intentionally seem to try to fool others.

  16. joycemb says:

    Steve you said,
    I think Joyce that God is always there it is our awareness that awakens when His presence, for that moment, come into view. I am glad you had a good day.

    Yes Steve and that is what I have learned through my years of struggle that God IS always there; whether I am happy or sad, alone or overwhelmed by others. I no longer ask God where are you, but God what are you up to? Something good as always in the works because You are God and You are goodness and love.

    I think that if Bonhoeffer showed his true feelings to the guards they would not have respected him as much as they seemed to, by smuggling his writings out (although that was Gods doing unbeknownst to them). I have found that the therapeutic setting with a trusted advisor is the safest place to show my true feelings, or even my best friend. But have found that others can only offer judgement or pity, both of which do nothing to build up the sufferer. Polite conversation is still possible though and I think blesses the other even when we are in inner turmoil. I see nothing wrong with that.

  17. jeff1 says:

    I have found the same Joyce that why I miss my father so much he listened and advised but never judged me or over pitied me. It is difficult to get someone like this, he just got it while others don’t.

    I have a friend who had cancer and she told very few people until after she had treatment and thankfully recovered from it. The reason she said she could not bear to listen to how some people would pity her and as she put it some of them would have you in your grave whether they knew your prognosis or not. Sometimes the worst person to be around is those with good intentions.

  18. joycemb says:

    Vivien I can see why you miss your father so much, sounds so much like our Heavenly Father. But with skin on which is what we need sometimes. I was so blessed to have a few years with a Psychologist who I still think of fondly as he never judged me but loved me while helping to change my thinking and teaching me how to deal with PTS. Our loving God comes in all shapes and sizes sometimes, just when we need Him. He’s amazing.

  19. joycemb says:

    My Utmost today is very good and goes along with this topic.

  20. poohpity says:

    What I hear Bonhoeffer saying is the most important thing seems to be that Jesus knows me which far outweighs what others think of me or what I think of myself.

  21. joycemb says:

    Pooh I agree, nobody, NOBODY, knows us and loves us more completely than Jesus!

  22. street says:

    steve said.”Yet just like Bonhoeffer we still ask who, what why when where, forgetting sometimes we are like Noah adrift on an endless sea, trusting that God will bring us to the place where He wants us, when He wants us and why He wants us to be who we are.”

    1 John 3:2

    Colossians 3:4

  23. Mart De Haan says:

    Knowing who we are in Christ, as a number of you suggested, is the confidence of an otherwise desperate heart.

    And if this is so, can we begin to imagine what it means to look at our feared enemies through the eyes of our Savior as he suffered for Ninevites, Egyptians, and Americans?

  24. bubbles says:

    Very true.

    I am greatly angered by what occurred yesterday with the Jordanian pilot.

    I am sick of the cruelty and filth that goes on in this world.

  25. SFDBWV says:

    I’ve been taking something of a micro-vacation this morning as it’s been the first one in a while I haven’t had to shovel or plow snow. So I sat with Matt while he and I zoned in and out.

    Admittedly I was somewhat taken aback at Mart’s inclusion of Americans with what seemed to be enemies of the Hebrew people (Biblically speaking). However I am sure he just intended to mean all people everywhere including Americans.

    Like bubbles I was sickened at the cruel and heartless method of killing the young Jordanian pilot by ISIS.

    It did remind me though of how the Romans used to burn people alive in the arena just for the entertainment of onlookers as well as how witches were killed in like manor and may I say the preferred method of killing heretics by the early church.

    What do we do as a people when confronted with such evil?

    I dare say for the most of us, myself included, is the desire to kill into extinction those who would be so cruel. But Jesus handed us an almost impossible task of loving such people, of praying for them even returning kindness for cruelty.

    However the world scene prior to the return of Christ is an ugly picture of such people being empowered to march across the globe with its agenda of death and destruction, stopped only by God Himself.

    Who then after all efforts to allow the hearts of evil men to repent, will kill them into extinction and erase their memory from the earth.

    As it has been written “Vengeance is mine.” Romans 12:9, Hebrews 10:30, and 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8, 9

    God is much *bigger* than I and Jesus much more forgiving, as I am faced with two desires seeing such evil, to take up arms against these evil doers, and better yet to just not be in such a world anymore.


  26. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Bonhoeffer expresses the agony of holding fast to the Kingdom of Christ when all around is being bloodied by the Wehrmacht on several fronts — trying to appear optimistic about the victory of good while his heart is sinking.

    As you pointed out, Mart, his prayers were not in vain even though he did not live to see the defeat of Hitler’s imperialistc armies. The world was within days of defeating the war machine of the Axis powers:

    “Who am I? They also tell me
    I bore the days of misfortune
    Equably, smilingly, proudly,
    like one accustomed to win.”


    “Weary and empty at praying, at thinking, at making,
    Faint, and ready to say farewell to it all.”

    The Apostle Paul says, “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation and brings no regret, but worldly grief produces death.” (2 Cor 7:10) Bonhoeffer’s grief was a godly grief — and he suffered for it greatly, even questioning his own moral position.

    Surely we are also called to keep praying for the enemies of Christ’s Kingdom. It is a humbling discipline to bow down before the Father and pray for ourselves and our enemies, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Jesus can redeem the whole creation by his sacrifice. This is who we are.


  27. poohpity says:

    Steve I cracked up when I read what you said that you were taken back about Mart’s inclusion of Americans with enemies. Of all people you should remember the evil that whites did against natives or blacks in the south of which most called themselves Christians but it did not stop them from treating people as if they were not people but objects to beat, hang, denied entrance into shops or even having different bathrooms and water fountains.

    I so agree Mart that is where the rubber meets the road with what we say we believe and how we treat people we label as enemies or those who disagree or have different lifestyles or trains of thought. If our identity is so wrapped up in Jesus but yet actions look like something so much different by the proof of the pudding in how we treat our enemies not those who will love us back but those who do not.

  28. SFDBWV says:

    In the Book of Exodus on the night of the Passover the blood of a spotless lamb was painted over the doorposts of the houses of the Hebrew people so that when the death angel came he would “Passover” their homes.

    Yet inside their homes all of the people were yet guilty of a multitude of sins. The only reason they were spared was the blood of the lamb.

    Nothing anyone in the house did was deserving of being spared except that someone of them put that blood there in obedience to what God had instructed them to do.

    The “Sermon on the Mount” as well as many instructions from Jesus leaves most of us with the understanding that we cannot live up to His standards. Even though we want to and try to most of us fail.

    Yet just like in the story of the Passover because we are covered by the blood of the Lamb, we are spared.

    Too many of us beat ourselves up for not being the person we want to be, but the fact is we never will be until that time when we are transformed fully at the resurrection/rapture.

    Would also just remind some that just after the “Passover” came the journey to the Promised Land complete with trials, tribulations, warfare and failures as well as victories before entering into the “land of promise”.

    The story of the Hebrew people is a living view of where we are today. Covered by the Blood of the Lamb, struggling through life complete with failures on our way to the Promised Land and soon to be taken up into the Ark safe from the destruction that the world will receive.


  29. joycemb says:

    I remember sitting in a SS class the day after Bin Laden had been found and killed. All were cheering and so happy that such an evil man was dead. I was saddened as I thought of how this man was created by God who loved him. Maybe death was the only way God could put an end to his lawlessness, we don’t know what happened to his soul, but can only speculate. The Bible does say that God will harden a heart that chooses evil over good. I still feel sad for the perpetrator, along with disgust for their evil deeds toward men.

    Mart I really like how you think. You make us stop and realize that actually we all have done disgusting acts of one kind or another, and but for the grace of God we are saved from the consequences of those acts through eternity.

    I still remember Karla Fay Tucker who was executed for the axe murders of innocent people while under the influence of both drugs and a well-known man still in prison for his offenses. She was interviewed by a Christian tv station and I will never forget her godly demeanor and testimony of how Christ had changed her. She was remorseful for what she had done, but the guilt and shame were gone, yet willingly went to her death if it was God’s will, and it was. We don’t always escape the consequences here on earth, but no matter what in Christ we have an eternal hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

  30. jeff1 says:

    I watched the UK news last night not something I do too often and it showed an abattoir, obviously they had put cameras in to watch the going’s on and they showed three men kicking and brutalising the animals. They said they showed only the lesser brutality for they could not show the worst they done. I do not believe that all people are of God’s seed. No one could do this kind of deed who has a heart for God, I know people who do not believe in God and they would not do this deed. There is people on this earth who are just downright evil and I do not believe the World will be read of evil permanently until God intervenes. You are right Steve if I am honest with myself I cannot live up to the standard of loving people who do evil, I can forgive people who have done evil and have turned away from it but for those still offending I do not have it in me, I just see the victims of the evil.

  31. joycemb says:

    Hi Vivien, I love your honesty also. I came across this in my readings this morning and feels appropriate to the conversation.
    “If you rely on God’s love, you will find yourself, so to speak, on a mountain. The higher up you go, the greater will be the horizon of your love. As you go up the mountain of the Lord, you will be astonished – the higher you go, the further your love will reach. Continue going up until you can love all people, as God loves the world.”

    Christoph Friedrich
    Source: The Gospel of God’s Reign

  32. phpatato says:

    Hi Viven

    I also agree. There are *people* on this earth that are not God’s seed. They are demonic. Filled with satan himself. God has angels that roam the earth and I believe satan has his demons roaming the earth to carry out his evil twisted diabolical will. Those *men* in the news story that you mentioned, I believe, can’t be other than demons.

    Ephesians 6:12

    What I have trouble with is….do I pray for satan’s demon angels when they are put into the context of these atrocities that fill the news?? Surely they aren’t human beings, are they?

  33. street says:

    joycemb said,”I remember sitting in a SS class the day after Bin Laden had been found and killed. All were cheering and so happy that such an evil man was dead.”

    the irony of this statement came through after thinking about it for awhile. what made me think about it was the “ss” acronym. might not want to use it here while talking about a death camp managed by the ss.

    also noted in my mind are these horrific atrocities are committed by godless societies to punish societies that have turned their backs on God. israel had a very difficult time processing this. if God had not saved us we would have become like sodom and gomorrah. we have no right to rejoice in the death of the wicked. God doesn’t. He dose take great pleasure in the home coming of the righteous.

  34. joycemb says:

    For street and any others,
    SS=Sunday School; a fairly common abbreviation for those who attend or have in the past attended church.

  35. joycemb says:

    (I wasn’t born yet when the Nazis were in power) LOL!

  36. joycemb says:

    I do apologize though for my insensitivity to the topic Street as you pointed out, and especially to those who were incarcerated or knew of people who were in the Nazi death camps. Please forgive me. Joyce

  37. cas139 says:

    I am not sure if it up to me to forgive those who commit atrocities. I keep thinking about how Jesus called the Pharisees a “brood of vipers” for their twisted words and false piety. (Matthew 12:34,35). I think about old film clips I’ve seen of Hitler and how he rallied so many to consider his campaign of atrocities a campaign of righteousness. Bonhoeffer did not sit by and agree with the masses. He resisted as he was able. I read one quote where Bonhoeffer stated, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil.” I think of how the current atrocities are filmed and glorified as righteous acts by those who commit them.

    It’s all very distressing and hard to navigate my feelings in the light of claiming myself as belonging to Christ. The only solution for me is to pray as Mart put it, to see through Christ’s eyes. As for judging those whose actions appall me, I leave that up to Jesus, for he is the one capable of judging: John 5:25-30

  38. foreverblessed says:

    Bonhoeffer was honost in his poem about his struggle:
    Bonhoeffer was honost in his poem about his struggle:
    trembling in the face of persecution, he faced a death sentence. By people, or rather a system that was demon possessed.
    To be full of faith, facing the end, that is one thing. Bonhoeffer was trembling to bits, but said deep inside he was sure, but he had to look very deep.
    Is that the meaning of:
    “deep calls to deep” sometime last year Mart talked about that Psalm 42:7

    It reminded me of Habakkuk 3:16
    He trembles, but…
    Habakkuk 3:17-19

  39. jeff1 says:

    I think you have to look deep inside yourself, if you believe something is very wrong you have to go with your gut feeling.
    I was brought up in a divided society which was at war, I often seen both sides of the troubles and wished that my side would behave in a way that would honour God but I also had to be honest with myself when I was younger I had behaved the same way the people I now disagreed with were behaving so I felt I did not have the right to say anything also when I was in this mind no one could have convinced me otherwise, my father had tried so why would these people be any different. It just caused more division and I soon realised that people have to be ready themselves to listen and hear and want to change.

    I often do not agree with the community I was brought up in but I disagree even more with the community who have demonised us so that they can force their beliefs and aims on ours.

    When you are in the situation of being between the devil and the deep blue sea it is sometimes difficult to know which way to jump.

    Thank you Joyce for your reading I do so hope that I will get there, I know it is my manic depression that causes my roller coaster thinking but in my heart I trust God and that’s what matters really.

    While I agree Street that there should not be rejoicing over the death of the wicked I cannot say I do not be relieved that these men have been removed from the earth. They are after all leading more young men astray by their teaching and young people are very impressionable and many these days looking for a cause to fight for.

    I would tend to agree with Bonhoeffer having seen such hatred and violence it is sometimes necessary to take a stand for what you believe is right and Bonhoeffer did just that, most of us do not have such a trial for God casts well when you see the heroes of the bible.

  40. street says:

    been thinking about how Jesus never condemned anyone while He was on the earth, but intrusted Himself to His Fathers will. it is quite staggering. bonhoeffer understood you have to speak the truth in love in the face of opposition and great evil, tough to do. he also understood you could not run away from it. it fallowed the rotten figs that left for egypt after the fall. the church did go underground after the nazi’s took them over. i would think bonhoeffer sympathizes with the conspirators, but being well versed in truth and the knowledge of david’s trials with saul would lead me to believe he would have non of it. will not know for sure on this side of eternity. God raises these vessel made for destruction to accomplish His will. He will not allow evil to circumvent His will no matter how dark it appears on the earth. think about playing chess with God who made your mind, your body, and the materials for the board. there are none like Him. Emanuel

  41. joycemb says:

    Vivien your statement: most of us do not have such a trial for God casts well when you see the heroes of the bible.

    I’ve also been thinking of the account of the death of Stephen Acts 7:54-60, and how his last words were to Jesus asking forgiveness for his murderers, just as Jesus did on the cross. Can I be like that in my dedication to serving and following Christ? I suspect I will not be called to such a death, but I believe there are many who are in countries where persecution is rampant. I thank God for ministries such as this that send out literature and teaching all over the world, spreading the Good News.

  42. joycemb says:

    Forever thank you for the reminder of Habakkuk. I once say many years ago a magnificent film about this book and still remember the longing Habakkuk had for God’s justice and his agony. Very powerful, like the poem.

  43. jeff1 says:

    Yes Joyce it is easy to forget how much persecution there is in the world and I too reiterate your thanks to God for these ministries.

    It was my friend who introduced me to ‘Our daily bread’ in book form many years ago and it has seen me through many difficult times.

    Street what you said that he will not evil to circumvent.
    I believe that is what my mother meant by saying murder would never lie, I never quite understood her saying but she would say the truth will always come out in the end. I think from my own perspective that is not always what I see for there are those in high places through very shady dealing.

    What my mother meant was in God’s time evil will not circumvent which is why like in Habakkuk 3:16 there
    is a longing in me for God’s justice not men’s justice which is temporary but God’s everlasting justice.

  44. hera says:

    …where does Osama bin Laden soul go…?
    I’d say to his belief he died a martyr, or something like that, so heaven is guaranteed.
    It is said that the ‘doctrine’ (?) of suicide bombing is that heaven is guaranteed, and not only for the person who does the suicide bombing but for his whole, big family – not sure how many, first cousins line, second cousins line…? just it was not only immediate family, but more than that…
    It all goes back to one’s beliefs, I think..

  45. poohpity says:

    I can believe because I have been taught all my life that a rose is a daisy but does it mean that the rose is actually not a rose because of my beliefs. Hitler believed that a master race only consisted of blue eyed blonde haired people because of his beliefs does that make it so? Just because we believe something does not make it so unless it is actually true that makes it so.

    I believe anger and hatred of any kind ruins a person not just because of my beliefs but it is proven to be true from history and research. How do any people that think they can go to heaven because they have committed suicide and taken others with them know it to be true there is no way but only by being taught it is true that is called brainwashing because there are no facts to back it up?

  46. poohpity says:

    The only way to stop ignorance is through education. People will take advantage often of ignorance and people will follow in fear just so they can belong. Look at communism and a majority of “isms”. Dominance, authoritarianism, oppression all can “make” people succumb to a person, party, government or beliefs but it is education that frees minds to think for themselves that is what God has given to all mankind.

  47. cbrown says:

    Good morning all! Have been blessed by the comments the last several weeks.I would like share a discovery that I made this morning. It is my habit to have my devotional time in the morning. This morning I sat down and had my devotional(“quiet time”)in “Our Daily Bread” and for the first time, after I had completed my prayer time, I played the audio version of ODB online. What a Blessing!I am going to make it my habit now listen to the audio version of “ODB” either while I am reading the devotional or after. We need to pray for the family and friends of the Jordanian pilot. Love in Christ, Chris

  48. hera says:

    I wonder, how can we obtain ‘facts’ about one is/will be in heaven? holy books? which, whose holy book? Can one say, he is in heaven now and that is a fact, factual…based on…?
    Isn’t ‘fact’ means something observeable..?

    A flower by a certain shape, traits etc is named a daisy, firstly, agreed upon, then a daisy it is….but if it was not named a daisy, a lily instead, the same flower – same shape, traits etc…then a lily t would be….?

    I am sorry I guess my English is inadequate…

  49. joycemb says:

    Good morning to you, Chris! So nice to hear from you. Yes I too enjoy listening to the ODB, when I think of it! Thanks for the reminder, yes, prayers are in order for this family. Blessings, Joyce

  50. hera says:

    ps: no, am not siding with Osama, not at all :-) in case I might have given that impression…just trying to see his possible view, which could be incorrrect, way off, after all :-)

  51. joycemb says:

    Hera your questions are very good. We Christians live by faith, faith that there is a God who loves us and created us all. How do we know, the Bible tells us so. If we believe the Bible is the story of God and His people, then we believe what the Bible says, that God created man then told Adam to name all the animals and man continues to name plants, etc per instructions from God. Faith is so different from fact/reality. It sometimes takes a ‘leap’ of faith to believe in a God we cannot see, feel, smell, taste, or touch. Am I understanding you correctly?

  52. hera says:

    Yes Joyce, I understand what you are saying.. :-)
    Thank you for responding….and to Pooh too.

  53. street says:

    jeff said.”What my mother meant was in God’s time evil will not circumvent which is why like in Habakkuk 3:16 there
    is a longing in me for God’s justice not men’s justice which is temporary but God’s everlasting justice.”

    i was wondering if you were in heaven at the wedding feast of the Lamb and you were seated next to hitler with bin laden on the other side with stalin sitting across the table, what would go through your mind?

    been thinking about seeking justice. i know it is impossible to fix a murder. the state will deal with the assailant as best they can, but what of the collateral damage done to family and community? bothers, sisters, moms, dads and co-workers? i think seeking justice from God’s point of view is to minimize the suffering with love and truth. they are not the enemy they are you.

    i would have to say it is important to understand the difference of my will and God’s will or you can get into big trouble like job’s friends. drive your life safely and beware of dualistic rules of the road they will lead to accidents the differences is if you get in a wreck and you were doing God’s will you will be blameless. waiting, slowing down, and stopping can be good decisions. seek God’s best.

  54. street says:

    hera i understand what you are saying. Jesus met with a guy named nicodemus, a pharisees. He told him if you can not accept what i tell you about earthly things how can you accept what I tell you about heavenly things? God invites us to explore and to test His word. not to test Him, but what He says. He will likewise teach His Children and test them to see how well they mastered what He said. not that He doesn’t already know, but to shake all the lose ends to conform us to Christ. we get to understand Him much better this way. it’s real and personal. yes, painful too. Jesus proved love is painful at the cross. pain is not good, but in the hand of God it produces the genuine love and the fruit God is looking for. ” hear oh israel…..”

    John 3

  55. joycemb says:

    Jonah 4:11, Jonah was a prophet who also struggled as do we all with understanding the compassion of God. And I dare say He was harder on Jonah than on the evil doers. Nineveh was a godless, evil laden city devoid of any moral compass and renown for its brutal and sadistic fighters. Yet God pitied them and sent His messenger (though reluctant as he was) to tell them the good news. I have felt like Jonah, we all have I suspect, yet God remains the same, full of compassion and mercy.

  56. poohpity says:

    Hera, Heaven is not really the point the point seems to be how one lives this life. Being taught evil is the way to heaven is just like saying anything we can do in anyway will ever get us there. Even if there is no heaven hatred and anger only cause more hatred and anger, period. That is a lesson of history that can not be disputed. A rose by another name is still a rose.

  57. jeff1 says:

    We are born into a religion and taught by it, brainwashed, but some people are easier brainwashed than others so many get caught up in wrong doing or and wrong thinking.

    Street you said: I was wondering if you were in heaven at the wedding feast of the Lamb and you were seated next to hitler with bin laden on the other side with stalin sitting across the table, what would go through your mind.

    I believe I would be so thrilled to be there myself to be thinking too much about anyone else also I will be changed from the creature that I am.

    As you say Pooh hatred and anger, only causes more hatred and anger, but it takes time to come to this place of realization and in the meantime look at the damage is done to relationships so it becomes too difficult for man to break the cycle.

    I think perhaps that we are starting to see a change it attitude from the younger generations who are much better educated and are starting to see the world in a different light.

    I remember someone telling me that when a survey of younger people was taken to find out what they knew about Churchill and men like him they had not even heard of him.

    Younger people are less interested now in the wars for it seems such a long time ago to them and of course they do not even remember family members who were in them so eventually the hatred that was bread from them should die out.

  58. poohpity says:

    History has shown one thing that people are people no matter the era they live in. With technology as it is today we are more aware of it around the world. There is only One who can truly change the heart of man and that is God, if mankind let’s go of control and allows Him in.

  59. poohpity says:

    When a person experiences the grace and mercy of the Lord they do not want to keep it to themselves they usually want to share it. When they understand at one time we were considered an enemy of God and He gave His life for us then usually when they come in contact with one they call an enemy it is realized who am I to do any different.

  60. jeff1 says:

    It is hardly the same journey for everyone Pooh, some in the bible struggled more with God and their circumstances more than others. We are all very different which is why God casts us in different roles. It is very black and white for you but not for everyone. I have a friend who looked down the barrel of a gun and they would tell you that when faced with your enemy you do not react the way you would believe you should act, we are still capable of failure. Enemy or friend we are all in need of God’s mercy. My friend once preached on street corners but she said to me that she soon realised unless men’s hearts were ready to receive the gospel it falls on deaf hears. This is what happened through history so it is not surprising that it is still happening today.
    You said yourself the only one who can truly change the heart of man is God and if man thinks (mind being the problem) that he is alright with God which is usually through false teaching then he won’t see the need. Also there is an increasing number of the population who see science as the way because they want facts before they believe anything. Nothing ever changes in the world which proves God right man left to himself his heading for destruction. For people who do not have knowledge of God, the bible or prophecy they do not see this so they are not concerned as they say ignorance is bliss. It will be for us as believers to help people face darker days when we see the world system fail and our own faith put to the test as never before.

  61. SFDBWV says:

    It’s been a tough couple days for us, nothing serious, just demanding and as we all know the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    Hera I don’t know your native tongue, but I do know I don’t speak any of it and so want you to know that you do very well in communicating in mine.

    I wanted you to know what I believe about your question as to the spiritual placement of Bin Laden. It is written that it is once to die and then the judgment.

    Our heavenly Father will judge Bin Laden and all people according to His perfect wisdom and judgment and mercy. What separates we Christians is that we believe the blood of Christ covers our sins and our judgment is passed over as a result.

    We haven’t heard too much from or about Rob Bell for a while, but if I understand his assessment of things, in the end everyone is spared and forgiven.

    We earthlings are always thirsty for revenge and see justice tied to punishment.

    It seems that though God delivered a desired society that punishes for crimes, He also provided a way for mercy and an ultimate plan of mercy spiritually as He Himself took all peoples punishments upon Himself.

    If we lived in a society that treats each other like we want to be treated and show love and kindness to all alike, there would never be any problems between people, but we don’t.

    Self-preservation causes all of us to protect ourselves against the evils of this world and we do so in a long complicated engagement of crime and punishment. The punishment intended to both teach the offender and satisfy the offended, but that most often fails and is empty.

    In our attempt to see beyond the veil into the workings of God, we try and put our own views of justice and judgment into the workings of God and may even feel disappointed if they don’t agree.

    Getting rid of self in favor of God is a very difficult battle within our own workings.

    As Vivian has stated so what if the worst despots of history get to stand in heaven with any of us; are we more deserving than they for mercy?

    Warmed up to 09 f. degrees as I write.


  62. poohpity says:

    jeff1, it is the same God even though we are different and I agree works in each life according to that person but with Christ living inside He produces the same fruit of His Spirit in each heart that seems to have the same results in every person that is His. Gal 5:22-23 NLT

  63. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Bonhoeffer’s poetic questions have been rattling around in my mind these past few days:

    “Am I then really that which other men tell of?
    Or am I only what I myself know of myself?”

    Perhaps it takes something like imprisonment or crisis to get alone and quiet enough to gather evidence for these two parts of the question “Who am I?” Pretty sure there are no final answers on this. Whatever, I think the answers should be simple not complicated. :o)

    Just took a moment to check in on Rob Bell, Steve. He is on the Oprah Winfrey Network — generating answers to all the “big questions.” He seems to be carefully avoiding any words that bring Scripture or doctrine into the conversation. I did like his answer to “What is the difference between religion and spirituality?” (asked by Oprah) His answer was “Religion should help, not hinder spirituality.”

    Blessings all day,

  64. remarutho says:

    Quote of Rob Bell is my paraphrase, not verbatim! Maru

  65. poohpity says:

    jeff1, I think of myself as a red, yellow, green, purple, orange, violet, blue, lavender thinker.

  66. poohpity says:

    Steve, did you read Rob Bell’s book?

  67. joycemb says:

    “Am I then really that which other men tell of?
    Or am I only what I myself know of myself?”

    Interesting question and played out here as some see one as a black/white thinker while the one sees themselves as a multicolored thinker. Interesting.

    I wonder how often we fool ourselves, or others? What is real? What is true? No answers, as you pointed out Maru.

  68. street says:

    “Am I then really that which other men tell of?
    Or am I only what I myself know of myself?”

    i was caught by this statement too but i did not linger on it or mull it over long because i understand that God is true and every man a lie. in other words i trust what God says about me and the world i live in. He says much and promised much. i look forward to what He has for me today even though some days can be quite difficult. i don’t know if it’s just me, but i seem to remember the difficult days better than the easy ones. even so over time the difficult days still fade like the others. looking forward to His presents even though i am never out of His presents.

  69. joycemb says:

    Street I agree that in the end, and even in the present time the only thing that matters is what God thinks. Jesus even said only God is good. That clarifies everything, don’t you think?

  70. jeff1 says:

    I believe in my own life it is not always about what I did but what I didn’t do neglected to love my enemies and still struggle with it. Thanks to God for my salvation but my demons still come back to haunt me.

    Nearer, my God, to Thee,
    nearer to Thee!
    E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,
    Still all my song shall be, nearer, my God, to Thee.

    Though like the wanderer, the sun gone down,
    Darkness be over me, my rest a stone;
    Yet in my dreams I’d be, nearer, my God, to Thee

  71. poohpity says:

    The greatest difference being accusations from one who does not know the other but only a few written words not knowing life experiences or background. The guards who commented on Bonhoeffer saw him everyday and interacted with him personally then noticed his actions. Bonhoeffer then commented on how he felt inside. There is a very big difference in some saying something about someone they do not know at all.

    People usually notice things in others that are a reflection of themselves or judge according to their own thinking not necessarily how the other actually is.

  72. joycemb says:

    Vivien thanks for posting that song, so full of meaning…

    Pooh am wondering if you have had your full body exam yet? Praying for a good report when you do.

  73. jeff1 says:

    Yes Joyce only God is good, it was man that made God an angry vengeful God and for many years that is the God people have followed. So false teaching has not only left the world angry but turned people away from a good God to look elsewhere for answers. It is good that God has a sense of humour for if you didn’t laugh you would cry.

    I can imagine God saying go to the back of the class the lot of you.

  74. poohpity says:

    I can comment about anger and hatred because I lived it. I was arrested in Oregon for attempted murder, in Arizona, Ohio and Florida for obstruction of justice/disorderly conduct. I was in the company of one of the ugliest bikers gangs in Arizona. That is the behaviors of what I acted on before Christ. As far as mental disorders I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder as well as Major Depressive Disorder. After I started walking with Christ my life changed I went and got help with medication and years of counseling. I have been off medication since 2008 but when I see that I need a tune-up I still will go and seek help. But bottom line the Lord has made the most difference in my life when I let go of blame and making excuses for my behavior and started accepting responsibility for my thoughts, feelings and actions. I now see in many colors backed in grace, forgiveness and mercy.

    “”For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48Then He said to me, “Your sins have been forgiven.”… Luke 7:47-48 NIV

  75. joycemb says:

    Street (Emanuel), thanks for sharing your name earlier. So glad you are here to discuss this journey of faith. Your name is very special you know. It is very comforting to know that God is with us, even in the darkest days.

    A few years ago I was at a home group fellowship of Christians in a very seedy part of town. While gathered a young woman with a little boy knocked and said she saw the cars, wondered if it was a ‘party’ and asked if she could come in. We told her it was a Bible study but she was welcome to come in. We gave her a Bible and she mentioned she had quit reading it a while a go but seemed eager to study with us. We soon noticed that she was hallucinating badly and asked her where she came from. She said she and her little boy had just been kicked out of her mothers home and didn’t have any place to go. We asked if she had eaten yet and said no, so we fixed a meal for her and her son. Noting that she appeared incapable of parenting her son at the time we decided to call law enforcement hoping she could be evaluated and get help for them both. Law enforcement came and said they had several calls about her. We all gathered around her and prayed for her as they dealt with her, and the little boy ran up to me and hugged me so tight around my leg. He was so happy for help. When I asked his name he said, Emanuel. I still think of that little boy and his mom and how God showed up just when this family needed His help.
    Emanuel, God is with us!

  76. jeff1 says:

    Pooh your post 12.47 pm

    I am thinking of the anger of false religions that have led people astray and is still doing so today causing chaos in the world. People need to hear God is not angry for too long they were told God wanted to put us all in a big furnace, lies of false teachers and I for one am glad to see the truth at last. God loves the world and is not taking side of one religion or another but requires of us to be at peace with one and other.

    You have made peace with God for your past personal behaviour but there is no one to take responsibility for organised religions through false teachings leading believers to behaviour that is ungodly.

    My church has always taught what is right and I still was led astray in my youth but because of a good healthy church I did not continue in error.

    You are very fortunate that you too have found God’s grace, many are out there unaware that there is a loving God because man has managed to convince the world that we have an angry God who is more interested in punishment that forgiveness.

    The problem with the world today is that we do not have men like Bonhoeffer who took a stand against evil teaching and certainly someone I would love to meet in heaven.

  77. hera says:

    Thank you to Steve, Street, all who has responded.

    Have a good week-end to all.
    Nice, agreeable weather – literally & figuratively – for all of us :-)
    – hope no more plowing for Steve, sounds like a hard life living in that city during winter.
    Have to stay healthy and strong to cope with the weather.
    We have no snow here of course but floods and mudslide/landslides are common…

  78. street says:

    joycemb said,Street (Emanuel), thanks for sharing your name earlier. So glad you are here to discuss this journey of faith. Your name is very special you know. It is very comforting to know that God is with us, even in the darkest days. ”

    Emanuel,God with us, is the name of every Christian on earth. the Holy Spirit is give to each adopted member of God’s family. too bad we can not tell who is and who is not. charles spergons had that problem. we all do, we just need to trust God’s word. over time, towards the harvest, you will be able to tell the difference. follow Jesus closely so you will not get tripped up. you might slip up but He never does. He is a Great Champion! in Him I will Hope!

  79. street says:

    maybe i should have said He is The Great Champion! i can not believe how much one word can twist a thought so much. be careful!

  80. poohpity says:

    jeff1, it is because of false teaching why I am such an advocate for personal Bible reading with our personal guide to lead us (Holy Spirit) in it’s truths. :-)

  81. jeff1 says:

    Many of my friends studied the Bible but still took their own translation without the Holy Spirit to guide them so the result was the same as following religions with false teachings.

    If the heart is not right with God we cannot see the truth, I am not being awkward or difficult but that is the way I see it. It is because I have not always had a heart for God that I understand this now.

    It upsets me to see how many people blindly believe they understand God through the Bible, I have had it quoted to me constantly through life and all they do is choose the Chapter:verse that suits their beliefs.

    The heart must be right with God and for that we must first realize we need to look at our hearts. It took me a long time for me to get there and now I have to be patient with others. Thank goodness God is patient with us all.

  82. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning (here) Vivian, I was just out in my kitchen trying to get a good picture of a wild turkey just outside my window. They are always nervous and cautious and why they are difficult to hunt. However I have learned if I put out food for them they come right to my window.

    Over my lifetime I have read many books and between my wife and I we don’t really have enough room for all the books we still have and almost as a compulsion we continue to get more.

    Everyone that thinks they have a handle on life and especially what God says has written a book and desires to share their *discovery* with the world.

    Sometimes I agree, sometimes I disagree and sometimes I sort of agree.

    There is a quote from Scripture that says where there is no counsel the people fall (Proverbs 11:14).

    Because of the richness of the Word of God this quote can mean many things to many people. God speaks to the individual at a point in time when that individual is open to *hear* accept and learn. The individual doesn’t know when that time is, only the Holy Spirit does and so in a combination of fellowship between the individual and God, God opens their heart to understand what it is they are ready to *learn*.

    There is danger though when we only listen to what we *think* is the voice of God without the fellowship of others that can confirm what it is that the Holy Spirit is saying. That is one of the comforts that the Holy Spirit brings, is conformation from others concerning your understanding of Scripture.

    Which is why it is important to have a community of believers around us, and assemble together.

    Praying blessing on all today.


  83. poohpity says:

    jeff1, don’t you think we are each responsible to find out if what we are being taught is false or not? In the past I thought it was so neat that you were honest about not reading the Bible but many will hide that fact under quoting scripture verses but it is always up to us to seek out the truth. So rather than getting taken back by false teachers and those who misuse scripture to prove a point we are each responsible for our own belief systems and what we fill our minds with.

  84. jeff1 says:

    No, I was brought up to believe preachers and teachers were appointed by God so why would they misuse scripture. The preachers that I knew would not have done this so I could depend on their word. I would not dream of going to a Church that was not Christ focused but I was brought up with that.
    It would not have crossed my mind that each of us are responsible for knowing what is false or not. I would believe that a very big ask. It has always been my understanding that God has already chosen people to fulfill his word and therefore revere those who hold such positions.

  85. Regina says:

    Good Afternoon All,

    Hope all is well in your lives. Love this blog topic! Am so inspired by Bonhoeffer’s life, ministry and legacy of *radical* devotion to our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ! I’ve been reading his 40 day journal off and on (Bible Gateway homepage), and I would love to read his more intimate journal titled, “Radical for Christ”? Not sure if that’s the actual title… Read it hurriedly a couple of times on a grocery store bookshelf. Have only read about 3 or 4 of the comments, but I’m gonna read them all. I agree with Tracey regarding Bonhoeffer’s deeply intimate thoughts titled, “Who Am I?” Was deeply moved by his soul stirring, provocative thoughts and words of wisdom! Was moved by the way Steve answered that question too. Can hardly wait to read the rest of the comments on this topic, and I want to share the thought that most captivated me from Bonhoeffer’s journal entry (Who Am I?)…

    “Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
    Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am thine!”

    Sunny with blue skies and 56 degrees in Dallas right now (high today low 70s)…

    Love to all,

  86. poohpity says:

    jeff1, I was referring more to when we are adults not children. I also looked up to preachers, pastors and priests when I was a child and I still regard highly those who are gifted in the area of teaching but that still does not mean I trust blindly they are after all only people like you and me.

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