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Terrorists, Jonah, and Jesus


Flickr Photo: by Steve

Terrorists, whether trained abroad or at home, are succeeding in placing themselves center-stage of a global audience. The world is being transformed not by love and peace, but by fear, anger, hatred, and social confusion.

Every year on Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the story of Jonah is read in synagogues around the world. An amazing story is rehearsed in ways that go to the heart of our human experience.

Meanwhile Christendom uses the story of “Jonah and the Whale” to entertain our little ones.

Many of us grew up entertained by one of the most adult events in history, only to eventually learn that “the whale” wasn’t really a “whale” and eventually to doubt or defend whether the miracle of a prophet-eating fish ever happened.

On Yom Kippur, as in the minds of some Gentiles throughout the year, the real miracle of Jonah is still being considered. The thinking goes something like this. If God could show mercy to the terrorist nation of our archenemy, maybe he could forgive me/us too for all that I’ve/we’ve done.

But is there a greater miracle and question—if we think God could forgive us, is there anyone that we think God—at risk of his own goodness— could not, or should not, show mercy.

Jesus told a story about an employer who, in the morning, agreed to pay a group of day laborers a certain price for a days work. But then the employer seemed to betray his fairness. Late in the afternoon, he agreed to pay another group of laborers the same wage—for “an hour’s work”— that he had agreed to pay the others for a whole day (Matt 20:1-16).

Yet, as we all know, the long awaited Messiah of Israel did something far more than tell a provocative story that challenged his hearers sense of justice.

As a well-known former terrorist (Acts 9:1-2) would later recall, when the hope of a chosen people showed up, he didn’t crush their enemies— as expected, but instead allowed himself to be subjected to the most horrific form of terrorism— to show his own people not only how much God loved them and us…. but also  how much he loves those who hate us… and Him (Rom 5:8-21).

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85 Responses to “Terrorists, Jonah, and Jesus”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Thanks for the good word, Steve. Yes, we are not honed and sharpened unless we come to the Scriptures together and allow God to shape our hearts, minds and especially our ministry in the world.

    Thanks, Mart, for pointing out that the heart of the Apostle Paul (pre-Damascus Road) is evidence that the urge to terrorize and destroy comes out of every fallen human being. The perpetrator may wear a white or a black hat, but the sin is the same. We might be able to see in Paul’s transformation the miracle of Christ’s work in ourselves.

    Jesus comes to me, at least, with no illusions about the condition of my fallen heart. (John 2:24-25) Still working on the lesson that I cannot shine it on with the Creator — the Redeemer and the Sustainer of the universe.

    The Prophet Jonah was spiritually “water-boarded” before he began to question his own puffed up motives. How he hated the cruel Assyrians — and all they had done to his people! Why should he give the Assyrian capitol city, Nineveh, the time of day never mind the benefit of God’s love and compassion? But, the Lord is still working on Jonah when the story ends. The existential questions remain (“Who Am I?”), but salvation comes from God. Jesus is the proof, it seems to me.


  2. joycemb says:

    Good morning all!
    As a newer Christian I felt such zeal to save others from oppressors so joined the local child protection team. The very first meeting they showed pics and talked about how to confront abusers and rescue the little ones safely. The meeting was very heavy and somber, then the Lord spoke to my heart and said, But what of the abusers? Do you have the same love for them? In shame I said no Lord, teach me. I had been working in retail and felt the Lords nudge to work more closely with people, so became trained as a nurses aid-where I learned to love elderly abusers. The next step was working with abused/disabled children, where I had to learn to love the abuser. Then in the court system as a Guardian ad Litem where again I was confronted with loving the abuser. Finally I ended up going to college for psychology/Bible where I was confronted with more angry evangelical abusers (not all) but my challenge was to love them also, in spite of the damage done to me psychologically. Love love love, its all about love. The love of God so deep and so wide it’s reach is beyond our expectations or abilities even to love. God loves ALL, no matter what we have done, as Pooh has talked about regarding her former life so bravely because of her great confidence and trust in His love.
    Keeping our eyes on Jesus keeps us learning more about this great love that we all desire.


  3. rokdude5 says:

    Good morning
    Forgiveness is a done deal. That is what the Gospels (“Good message”) is all about. What comes to my mind are the Two Greatest Commandments: We are to love the Lord our God with all of a our heart, soul and strength. Then we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.

    God is love, but His love is so great that I am awestruck that He provided the Perfect Sacrifice through His Son, Jesus. God is so just and righteous that the day will come when He will take home those of us who believe and love from those who dont. In the meantime, we are commanded to follow the Second greatest Commandment.

  4. street says:

    Terrorists, Jonah, and Jesus

    i see a progression of sanctification here. where i like paul was an armed aggressor. followed by indifferent skeptic and finely into the present of Jesus.

    be forewarned that when you come into the presents of Jesus you will become like Him. that is the Fathers goal. His love and forgiveness is hard to turn down after discovering pride and self-righteousness are a lie. looking so forward to His completed work, even though i understand it is already completed. to Him be Riches Honor Glory Power Joy and Peace Forever.

  5. street says:

    maru said,” Still working on the lesson that I cannot shine it on with the Creator — the Redeemer and the Sustainer of the universe.

    i think the word that is tripping you up is “on” the meaning changes with the word “in”

    be careful of words that separate and words that bring together as one. pay close attention to thoughts and ideas that are counter to God’s truth. people try to bind the two together and it doesn’t work. sin and Holy have nothing in common. Christ is the only one who can remove sin and bring right thinking. he sent a helper, the Holy Spirit, to abide with us, much like the apostles in the presents of Jesus. the work of Christ continues because of the Holy Spirit. apart from Him you can do nothing. the word “on” is used by Jesus in His defense from temptation in the wilderness. saying life is supported and sustained by God’s word not the cosmos.

  6. poohpity says:

    street, you said, “he sent a helper, the Holy Spirit, to abide with us” pointing that Maru needs to be careful with words yet you say the Holy Spirit abides “with” us rather than “in”(1 John 3:24). I think that is how you get tripped up is telling others about being careful with how they use words yet seldom do you make your thoughts clear or understandable.

  7. street says:

    nice one poo.. my thinking was more along the thought Emanuel, God with us from a previous post. as you have stated it is easy to turn away from truth. where does the Holy Spirit go when we sin? i think He makes us very uncomfortable.

    mart, been thinking about shimei and jonah. how sometimes our response to circumstances can be overt or covert. thanks, for the reminder of the employer and how sometimes we truly miss judge Him. oh poo He is not an employer, but a Dad and He gives good gifts.

  8. remarutho says:

    Shucks, Street, I thought you were just shining me on — or in — or something! :o)

    All are welcomed into the Kingdom of Christ — those who hire on early and those who hire on late as the Master chooses — for we all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

    Whatever has gone before is washed away in His blood.


  9. foreverblessed says:

    That’s awesome Joyce, that God asked you: What about the abuser?
    The way God dealt with it, too, in the form of a question.
    How lovely God is. and that His Grace is for all, for the abuser, the abused, the terrorist, the dictator. Wouldn’t it be great to see a dictator in heaven? That would mean that he/she did repent, and came to his senses, and went to Christ for his salvation.
    But, o boy, what a work has to be done in my heart, to work on forgiveness, and grace for everybody.
    I am glad that God is gentle, and that the Holy Spirit is teaching us step by step, as He did with Joyce, thanks for sharing.
    And Jeff, thank you also for sharing of your life, in a country that was split by a religious war. May God bless you, and that you may be a blessing for many who will turn away from their hate too, as you have done, by the grace of God.

  10. poohpity says:

    street, you said, “oh poo He is not an employer, but a Dad and He gives good gifts.” As per Jesus using the parable of the employer or any other parable He said, “This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” I see God as everything to us even an employer because the works I do, I do for Him and on/in His behalf. This is exactly what I was saying to you about “getting tripped up in “telling others” about being careful with how they use words.”

  11. joycemb says:

    Maru, I wish I lived in your area, I would love to attend the church you attend. :O)

  12. poohpity says:

    The thief on the Cross next to Jesus seems to be a good example of one that was hired on in the last hour.

  13. remarutho says:

    Hey Joyce —

    It would be awesome to gather as the BTA fellowship, wouldn’t it? Someday…Lord willing!

  14. joycemb says:

    Maru Yes! Absolutely!

  15. hera says:

    Hi….reading comments about get together, just a few days ago I mentioned something similar in ODB.
    I think ODB held events, not sure about locations, perhaps by area, city..and also not sure about the type of events either..
    But I was not speaking about/for myself, it was because I read comments about being alone, and I thought it might be a good idea, for them, to meet since there is already a common thing shared – ODB.

    Reading about Pooh’s life-story…perhaps you could write a book, or a mini-series? – on it? Just a thought.
    It seems to be full of ‘events’ – ups, very ups, downs, rock-bottom, gliding up..dramas that usually make a story/films :-)
    Could also help other people having similar background, or bi-polar, or in any other area..
    I say that because my own life is such an everyday, humdrum, routine chores & bores…:-)
    Perhaps it also has to do with character, I don’t think I’d have the courage to join any gang, not even a high-school gang..:-)
    Am out of topic again, I am sorry.

  16. hera says:

    Oh, the ‘Could also help…’ sentence was referring to the book story – as it could help/inspire others… in case it was taken as a direct suggest in person, it was meant for the book..

  17. street says:

    maru said.”Whatever has gone before is washed away in His blood.”

    John 1:7
    7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

  18. jeff1 says:

    Hera, you are so right I would never have had the courage to join a gang either. I would say I am very much like you a bit of a scardy cat, but I remember playing with my cousin and he was ever so daring, we are all so different character wise.
    God uses us in different ways because of this and also God can give you courage when you focus on him and not on circumstances. Like Peter in the boat took his eye off Jesus and nearly drowned. Its what we do through life try to do things our way and fall flat on our face. I just keep getting back up knowing now that God hasn’t got a big stick to batter me with when I fail has helped me enormously and I pray someday soon others will know that too.

  19. SFDBWV says:

    In reading the material Mart has written a few things jumped out at me. Actually many things did, but I will try and not trail off into too many directions.

    Mart mentioned that for some modern Christians the concept of a big fish story and Jonah’s experience as being just that, a big fish story.

    If you followed the news in the past several weeks the terrorist group ISIS blew up Jonah’s tomb there in Northern Iraq.

    If you follow the story of Jesus in Scripture you know that Jesus mentioned Jonah in reference to His own death and resurrection while speaking to the religious leaders of Israel.

    I am betting that most of you didn’t know that there was a tomb where Jonah was buried. Some proof that this man did exist for those needing proof.

    And any professing Christian who doubts the Jonah story is not only going to have trouble believing the other supernatural miraculous stories of scripture, but by their own questioning of those stories will have doubts concerning the story of Jesus’ birth death and resurrection as well.

    Of course the amazing adventure of Jonah is a segue into, and a parallel of Jesus and how God can and will show mercy to all who ask for it.


    Punishment still came for future generations that forgot their own fortune and blessing from God.

    As Mart has mentioned the story of Jonah is much more than the story of a special fish and its use of God to rescue Jonah.


  20. hera says:

    Amen Jeff1.
    Hope that ‘someday’ is just around the corner.. :-)

  21. SFDBWV says:

    In something of a departure from my normal pattern of doing things I am working through the next subject from the bottom up.

    In Mart’s reference to Paul (Biblically famous terrorist) I am reminded that it was by no actions words or examples that Paul came to Christ. It was a direct intervention from Jesus Himself that transformed Paul.

    In looking at the cold hearted nature of today’s terrorists I often wonder within their own order how many Schindler’s or Bonhoeffer’s there may be?

    Mart ask is there anyone God should not or could not show mercy.

    Immediately my thought went to the famous mystery of the “unforgiveable sin”. For if there is an unforgiveable sin there has to be an unforgivable sinner.

    By my own comment that it was a direct intervention by Jesus that brought Paul to Christ, I was reminded that it is Jesus who draws everyone to Him, not we by example or oratory or threats or preaching, only by Jesus’ urging.

    The example of the employer and employee is of willing workers who either come early or late, but workers all the same.

    But what of the one who don’t bother to ask for work at all?

    The Book of Revelation speaks of an eternal end for hell and death, the devil, the beast, the false prophet and whoever was not found written in the book of life.

    Is this the answer to Mart’s question? Are they the ones whom God should, not, could not and will not show mercy?

    Who are they and more of a question, why are they who they are?

    Best to leave judgment to God and not try and figure it out from our limited knowledge and understanding of the whole story.

    Rather be at peace now, because Jesus chose you from the foundation of the world to be His.


  22. poohpity says:

    It seems that God will not show mercy to those who do not show mercy also it seems that those who refuse to forgive will not be forgiven(Matt 6:13-15 NIV). With the same measure that you give, it will be given to you.(Luke 6:37-38 NIV) That shows if one truly believes in what Jesus did for all mankind and if Jesus died for those who hated Him and were considered His enemies where does that leave those who refuse to show grace? I guess it would leave one really not understanding what Jesus has done for us.

    The people of Israel expected their Messiah to crush their enemy but it seems little did they know that the real enemy is anger, hatred, bitterness and lack of forgiveness which leads to terrorism. When we are even angry and especially with our brothers/sisters in Christ it is the same as murder then we are the terrorists and God’s peace will not be found.(Matt 5:43-45; Luke 6:27-28)

    We can make a choice to remain in the belly of the great fish grumbling, complaining with no compassion or get spit out to share God’s grace and forgiveness. The really great thing to me is we can not do it on our own we need Jesus. Just say, “Jesus”!

  23. joycemb says:

    Be Thou My Vision, a favorite hymn and a great reminder;

    Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
    Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art;
    Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
    Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
    Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
    I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
    Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
    Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
    Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
    Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
    Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tow’r:
    Raise Thou me heav’nward, O Pow’r of my pow’r.
    Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
    Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
    Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
    High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
    High King of Heaven, my victory won,
    May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun!
    Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall,
    Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

  24. jeff1 says:

    If I look at my Country there are very few willing to leave justice to God, there is enquiry after enquiry being set up for investigations of one kind of another into state collusion, terrorists who have never been brought to justice for atrocities, victims whose bodies have never been found, everyone is shouting for justice. You said it Pooh man is not capable of doing it without Jesus but who will tell man that for he is not listening either.

  25. street says:

    dear jeff read your last post and these thoughts came to mind. moses permitted a certificate of divorce because of the hardness of heart. it also help keep the peace. governments are permitted because of the hardness of heart too. God told samuel not to be upset about israel asking for a king. it was not a rejection of samuel but a rejection of God. remember when israel was before the mount and given the law? they ask that God would not speak anymore lest they die? i can see why they started building idols after the fact. Jesus tells us to take up are cross daily or we can not follow Him. oh, let His love and truth settle on the foundation of Jesus.

  26. jeff1 says:

    I think what you are saying Street is that we will never really understand such things but we must continue to accept what will be will be rather than try to figure out why the world never seems to get to a permanent peace.

    That was very much my father’s answer that we must accept the good with the bad and remember if there is suffering that we are in good company. This keeps us fighting the good fight with all of our might so to speak.

  27. street says:

    i would have to say the only peace that really matters is the peace with God through Jesus. the world is a zero sum game. you brought nothing in and you take nothing out. something different happen when God intervenes in human affairs. for example the the patriarchs, israel, the prophets, Jesus, the apostles, and the church. they all have left us much to think about and much hope for today and tomorrow. regardless of circumstances. faith on

  28. street says:

    i think you can ask Dad these questions. with patients and persistence He will lead you in the path of righteousness for His name sake. it is a lot easier with Jesus. He is the only trail guide worth His salt.

  29. street says:

    why the world never seems to get to a permanent peace.

    the world is a temporary garden.

  30. street says:

    God is a the only true Gardener. the fruit from His garden will last forever. Jesus is the First Fruit.

  31. joycemb says:

    Worldview makes all the difference!

  32. street says:

    Jesus makes all the difference in the world.
    He is the lynch pin
    He is the Alpha & Omega
    He is Savior
    He is God

  33. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    The chaos of terror in the 21st c. is not so different from that in Jonah’s time, the 8th c. BC except there was no International Criminal Court back then. The Assyrian army struck brutally and took down the ten northern tribes of Israel. You are right, Mart, that the world:

    “…is being transformed not by love and peace, but by fear, anger, hatred, and social confusion.”

    It seems to me that senseless, cruel execution (murder) is one weapon that has all people stunned and frozen with horror. Jonah was swallowed by God’s own Leviathan and given the chance to repent and answer God’s call to evangelize Nineveh.

    The question comes down to whether Jonah would passively allow the wickedness of Assyria to stop him from preaching God’s grace and love among them. The truth is that his own society, Israel, had become just as corrupt Gentile societies around it. Jonah’s hatred of his enemies could not have been based on their paganism, since Israel was just as pagan as any other nation.

    God’s calling is the same now as then.

    How will the world know about Christ’s love unless his followers live by it and share it freely? 1 John 1:9, 10, 11


  34. remarutho says:

    My Scripture is John 1:9. 10. 11, not 1 John! Slip of the keyboard. Maru

  35. Mart De Haan says:

    Was going to post something new this morning to talk about, but when I read string of comments and the way we are talking to one another from different perspectives with such realism and grace, I don’t want to cut this short…

  36. jeff1 says:

    I guess each generation thinks their time was violent until they look at the bigger picture and see that since time began the world has been violent.

    When you start reading into some things that man has done to man it is very horrific.

    I believe that is why the world has become obsessed with why people can become so evil. We can’t seem to get to the bottom of why men never learn that violence in the end never pays.

    I suppose we do get it but we don’t know what to do about it, we seem powerless to stop men of violence for you deal with one lot and another lot pops up.

    The gospel is falling on deaf ears when it comes to man having a change of heart, history tells us that and each generation lives with the hope it will change but again history tells us it doesn’t.

    It seems Street you are right that the world is only a temporary garden and the older I get the more I yearn for the permanent garden.

    There is a song which is ironic really:

    Everybody want to go to heaven but nobody wants to die. I know its because we will miss those we leave behind but how do we sound to unbelievers when we should really be glad that the final curtain means we at last get to our heavenly garden.

    This is Albert King’s version of this song showing perhaps the twisted side of our nature.

    Everybody wants to laugh
    Ah, but nobody wants to cry
    I say everybody wants to laugh
    But nobody wants to cry

    Everybody wants to go to heaven
    But nobody wants to die

    Everybody wants to hear the truth
    But yet, everybody wants to tell a lie
    I say everybody wants to hear the truth
    But they all still want to tell a lie

    Oh everybody wants to go to heaven
    But nobody wants to die

    Everybody wants to know the reason
    Without even askin’ why
    Oh, everybody wants to know the reason
    Oh, without ever askin’ why

    You know everybody wants to go to heaven
    But nobody wants to die.

  37. SFDBWV says:

    It is still dark here, foggy and a light misty drizzle falling. 37 degrees is better than snow, but there is ice everywhere snow has been packed down, 3 inches or more of solid compressed snow yet on the ground.

    Vivian and I are on the same train of thought in that the world has always been shaped by wars and catastrophes as we all hope for that ever elusive peace.

    The problem being someone always wants what someone else has and if not stopped will take it. As well as insisting everyone believe as they and if not hold them under the heel of their boot.

    Even in a peaceful lawful society it takes men of violence to maintain it.

    One of many things I have learned in life is that you can never reason with unreasonable people.

    Sadly there will never be peace on earth until that time God tells us of at the very end of all things.

    All any of us can do is love each other one person at a time and trust all the rest to God, even through tear filled eyes.

    There is also a country song sang by Kenny Chesney called “Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to go now”. Matthew, Glenna Crick and I disagree.


  38. poohpity says:

    Wow Steve it must be depressing to live in a home where everybody does not want to be there but thinks it would be better to die. I will be praying that y’all will find joy in the living and understand that the Lord has made it possible to not only to live with joy because of Him but live an abundant life looking forward to a new day full of God’s mercy. You have so much to be grateful for.

  39. poohpity says:

    I know that all these horrible acts have taken center stage and frankly it seems like glorifying these senseless acts. There are many good things being done in the world around us, in our homes, neighborhoods, communities and cities but of course that is more often not news worthy.

    I can not begin to tell you how many times I have prayed for justice only to have the Lord ask me, “Do you want me to show you justice or mercy?”. Of course I would like mercy and I know from my life that is what really changed my heart is realizing that I have received undeserved grace, mercy and forgiveness that is what makes it such an awesome, unfathomable gift.(Romans 2:1 NLT) I have to even consider that God looks at anger in the same manner as murder, or lying, or stealing, etc.

    To me God is a personal God and if I look around at others more than I do at how much I need mercy then I hear Jesus’ words to Peter, “what is it to you, just follow me”. The only effect I can have on the world in Jesus name is first in my home, neighborhood, community and pray for the ability to trust God with all the rest. To deal with people as He sees fit because I know in His heart it will be dealt with more grace and truth than I can even understand.

  40. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    The fact of God’s holiness and God’s grace together, it seems to me, is the most mysterious moral issue to we humans try to deal with when we seek to know our God. Without Jesus, God’s mercy is impossible to appreciate fully. See how He bore unspeakable injustice! I thank Him daily that the cross of death has come to be a sign of resurrection victory.

    The Arctic Express zeroed in on the Eastern Seaboard is a discouraging prospect over the next few hours/days! Prayers going up for all on that side of the US! Steve, sure hope you folks don’t get so much snow this time. One to two feet are forecast for Boston.

    48F and raining here this morning.


  41. joycemb says:

    Good morning all.

    Steve praying for you with your weather related duties along with your normal load and also all the folks out east. We are having an unusually warm, precipitation free winter in MN. I know that will change eventually though, it always does!

    I’ve been thinking about God’s justice and his grace. Paradoxical yet so complete, isn’t it?

  42. jeff1 says:

    You see what I mean about you seeing things in black and white Pooh, I certainly did not pick up from Steve that he was depressed and he and his family wanted to die.
    What he is saying is he is ready to die and be with the Lord. Maybe you should examine your heart more closely before making such a comment. God also understands that we all being different and in different circumstances may struggle and does not judge us either way. Also I am sure that like a parent loves to see their children when they have been away for any length of time God will not be displeased that we long to be with him. Thankfully as you say God is a personal God and will be much better at reading Steve’s heart than you seem to be.

  43. street says:

    so many thoughts going through my mind right now and it is hard to put them together in a unified manner. they all address the same thing from a different perspective. oh to see it all at once.

    in the parable of the employer, his actions, all though blameless, revealed the presents of evil. His generosity became light that exposed the hearts of the first hires. their response was evil, it could have been good, but they did not chose it. it was a days wage, every one needed it to live on. God did not shorten the day from 24 to 18, 14, 10, or 8 hours for those who worked less.

    the first hires are like terrorist who demanded more. through words and posture the tried to get more and the employer would have none of if and expose them as evil. in our world they would kill the employer and take over the vineyard for them selves. it’s a little harder to displace God from the cosmos. i guess this is why He lol sometimes.

    the story of jonah deals with God’s magnificent forgiveness through repentance. also how He deals with our wayward heart, like jonah’s. yes evil is real and horrific. even on the smallest scale before God. the part we struggle with is “going or abiding” like a lamp. to be a lamp in a dark world is not easy as pie as jonah finds out. obedience is costly. you can obey like balaam or you can obey from a pure heart. in the face of personal lose and/or broken heart will you cling to God and His Word or another?

  44. street says:

    i hope we are found “like” the employer who was generous in grace and mercy and had no part in evil.

  45. joycemb says:

    See how differently we all think and speak? One says, shame on you for being depressed, while the other says, I know this world is not my home, but it’s home for now and I will make the best of it.

    Nothing worse than being accused of ignoring the Lord when we know it is He who carries us throughout the day. Although black/white thinkers are incapable of seeing other views and empathizing, those like Street (who has a few more IQ points than most here) are profoundly capable of seeing all sides of the elephant in technicolor.

    Nevertheless, all are covered by the same grace.

  46. joycemb says:

    My devotional gift was from Psalm 69:20 NLT this morning, such a good reminder and a comfort.

  47. joycemb says:

    Oops I meant Psalm 68:20 NLT, but 69:20 certainly explains what the wounded feel and need. Thanks Lord!

  48. joycemb says:

    So sorry, it is supposed to be Psalm 68:19 NLT not either of the previous verses. So sorry. Uffdah.

  49. joycemb says:

    Street said,
    in the face of personal lose and/or broken heart will you cling to God and His Word or another?

    John 6:67-69

  50. poohpity says:

    jeff1, I have known Steve for a long time. He is tired and pushed to his last strength most often. I also know he tries to be everything to many people to hold things together and cheer them up. I was in no way putting him down for wanting to leave this life. I did not accuse of anything like you are doing towards me. I said it must be depressing not that it is. I know the struggles with his son, with his health and with his wife’s health it is a lot for any human being to bear. So back off.

  51. joycemb says:

    My apologies to any and all I have misjudged on this blog. Feeling very convicted right now-and am sure some are saying, “as well she should”. Please forgive me. Joyce

  52. street says:

    if we are witness of the light and we only see ourselves and others the light has not completed what God had intended.

    1 Corinthians 3:7

  53. joycemb says:

    Thanks Street for the hand up.

  54. street says:

    been thinking about joseph and all the misfortune and hurt that came his way. some how he understood that God was behind it all. his walk with God delivered a great people and his family from certain death. i love how judah guaranteed benjamin safety, like Jesus guarantees our safety in a wilderness with His own life. a life the grave or the devil can make no claim on.

  55. narrowpathseeker says:

    May the Lord forgive me but I can NOT not say anything in response to Pooh’s, “BACK OFF”! I stay away from this site that I once loved and looked forward to reading every morning to avoid the anger you seem to love to incite Pooh. YOU, judge and arrogantly put people down on a near daily basis and have the audacity to tell somebody to back off on giving you just a TAD of what you give everybody?!! Some of the stuff you write to people on here sounds like it came from somebody from Westboro church or whatever the name of that hate everybody church is. If you applied just a small portion of all that you know and write about for others to do to be people you think are ok by you, you would probably be a very likeable person. AND mental illness is not a license to do as we please and make everyone else apologize for giving it back to you after you seemingly intentionally try to make people boil over. I’m sorry but it’s time somebody set it straight.

  56. narrowpathseeker says:

    JOYCE.. I don’t think you have misjudged anybody or that you have any reason to apologize for anything. YOU are one of the reasons I come back here from time to time. Your posts like many others here are humble, honest, interesting, loving and just what I think a Christian site would be. THANK YOU for all that you share.

  57. joycemb says:

    Narrowpathseeker I don’t quite know how to respond except that I only have what I have been given. The Lord looks on the heart, not necessarily on how we conduct ourselves, though we are to try to get along as best we can. And as Jesus said, he did not trust man because he knew what was in their hearts. Even though I have been a Christian for 35 years now I still shock myself from time to time with some of the thoughts and feelings that come our of my flesh. Makes me downright depressed sometimes. However, his mercies are new EVERY MORNING, and in that I hope and trust. Glad you are still around :)

  58. joycemb says:

    Years ago we were told that if you have difficulty with someone PRAY for them and eventually your thoughts will change. I think that is still valid. I know it is because what I’ve found is that He changes ME, more than the other person. And that’s a good thing; as Martha Stewart says.

  59. narrowpathseeker says:

    Joyce, I know firsthand the ugly spirit that can take us over at times. I struggle with that everyday. The Lord has enabled me to very easily forgive remorseful people and to genuinely love them. He still has a lot of work to do in me with people thatI see as unremorseful. AND you are right again as in praying for our enemies…it has worked for me many times in many ways…….HIS way…One time after praying that He deliver me from my unforgiving spirit for someone and praying for that person…he created a circumstance where I ended up standing with this person in their defense in a school setting….being they in that instance were in the right and were standing alone against the establishment. It is always amazing to look back and see how He has worked various miracles that we don’t always recognize right away…or at least I don’t recognize right away.

    SOMETIMES it just doesn’t seem to work. I don’t know if it is to teach me more patience or if it to show me how mean spirited I can still be and how much more work I still need, but I try to avoid the things that ignite those uglies..then sometimes I think…Why should I miss out on good stuff so I tend to jump into the fire again and again. Hopefully one day the fire will get put out.

    Thank you again for sharing.

  60. narrowpathseeker says:

    Joyce…an afterthought…your HONESTY about your “uglies” makes you BEAUTIFUL. Maybe honesty, humbleness, and confession is like reconstructive surgery to the soul. ;-)

  61. hera says:

    Street on Feb 9, 11.57 am

    I guess this is why He lol sometimes. (end of 3rd paragraph).
    When God sees people trying to displace Him from the cosmos?
    – – – lol ? as in laugh out loud?
    Just trying imagining….it makes me wonder about God’s possible many expressions….
    (reminds me of that movie of Jim Carrey…having the power of God….)

  62. joycemb says:

    Narrow your honesty is also BEAUTIFUL! Just like how God sees us, as beautiful despite all the ugly stuff; because of Jesus.

  63. street says:

    this is for hera

    Psalm 2:4

    Psalm 37:12-14

    Proverbs 29:9

  64. hera says:

    Thankyou street.

  65. street says:

    been think about the fall and how manipulation change the course of mankind. terrorism does he same thing in getting you to act contrary to what would normally do. it’s just terrorism is overt where deception is covert. it’s going to be a bumpy ride. the stories in the Bible will confirm this.

    i like the story of abraham confronting terrorism when lot was taken. not much is told about it, but he did win and much was recorded about that and spoken of in the New Testament. confrontation of evil is not fun but it is something are hearts, minds and tongues must learn to do. sin is always crouching at the door and you must master it.

  66. jeff1 says:

    Pooh post 1.10 pm

    I think Pooh your old self is raising its ugly head when using words like back off. This is not the OK corral. I am entitled to my opinion, maybe your choice of wording was just unfortunate but if I were Steve I would be asking for you to clarify. I am not here just to go along with what is said if I think it is not right, that would be hypocritical of me.

  67. hera says:

    I honestly thought that God would be sad if His people are doing bad things, as God is always described as loving.
    Apparently I was wrong.

    If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
    – ? –
    If that means I should have been quiet/not ask anything (the fool), then I am sorry I have written it.

  68. joycemb says:

    I was also wondering how that verse fit in with the others…

  69. joycemb says:

    Hera you said; I honestly thought that God would be sad if His people are doing bad things, as God is always described as loving.

    That is an interesting subject to study, does God have human attributes or do we see God as similar to us? Jesus was like us and He was God. Studying the life of Christ will reveal a lot about the Father.

  70. hera says:

    Perhaps so Joyce.

    However I read someone mentioned that actually only part of Jesus life was written/known.
    From His birth till he was about 13? or somewhere that age? then when He was entering His ministry, towards His 30s…
    So, missing about 17 years….. I am not sure that is correct/not.

    I am not trying to incite an argument here, pls don’t misconstrue.
    I will try to limit my posts again as I did. :-)

  71. joycemb says:

    No argument here! Just think it is interesting. Its always somewhat risky putting ourselves out there for anyone to read and interpret, but I have found over the past year that the risk is worth it, as it builds better understanding, communication, and confidence; particularly sharing among other Christians. We need each other, even when we have a headache or a sore foot or a hormonal shift or just having a plain old bad day. Please keep posting! ;-)

  72. poohpity says:

    jeff1, what is the difference in saying, “we can not wait to go to heaven” or “we can not wait to die” is one any different than the other? Are they not both the same? Steve has shared multiple times on here over the last 6 years the struggles with his son desiring to die as well as being tired himself looking forward to heaven and yes it can be depressing hearing that all the time which he shared from his own mouth I was not guessing or assuming or jumping to conclusions it was from listening when he speaks. I was simply understanding those thoughts with empathy and with prayer was hoping that there might come some joy in this life time if anything just the joy of experiencing God’s grace everyday.

    The back off to you was simply saying you do not know my heart nor do you know me so giving your opinion was not asked for since I was speaking to Steve cause you are speaking about things you know nothing about so why say anything.

  73. joycemb says:

    Yay, and when things start to get out of control we can always go to Dad to referee!

  74. joycemb says:

    My 8:48 post was meant for Hera.

  75. street says:

    John 14:8-10

    8 Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

  76. street says:

    Hebrews 1:3

    3 He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the [c]out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power.When He had by offering Himself accomplished our cleansing of sins and riddance of guilt, He sat down at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high,

  77. street says:

    hera i put Proverbs 29:9 in the post and should have explained. i figured it was not in keeping with the other two, to look for it played out in the world. most wise people avoid confrontation, fools run right into it. blessed are the peace makers. days are here when faith is tested but not before increasing difficult testing. like building a structure. building from foundation up. it also helps to build with good material. God’s Word. think of the Holy Spirit as a building inspector. He is a True Friend. i am thinking we build with Spirit and Truth and love is the bonding agent that holds it all together. our strength comes from Him. God bless you with His presents the greatest gift of all.

  78. hera says:

    Thanks for the explanation.
    Communication is 2-way, at least that’s what I think.
    True, people -each is unique in character, but since it’s 2-way, each party contributes regardless of percentage.
    So, if someone ‘attribute’ me this or that, then perhaps I might have contributed to its development somehow..
    I guess that’s why there is “silence is golden”… :-)

  79. SFDBWV says:

    Mart should have went with his original intent to put up a new subject yesterday morning. The result being why this site is in jeopardy of becoming extinct.

    Over the years here in this conversation group I have learned not to respond to negativity or attacks meant just as an attempt to twist or subvert my comments. The abuser acting in some perverted attempt to gain a spotlight that should not even be a goal or make my comments have less of an impact.

    When you hear the braying of a donkey, you immediately recognize the creature by its sound.

    I also have learned that a donkey can’t help being a donkey.

    When I read the thread this morning, it was indeed upsetting that no matter what I may say instead of some uplifting encouraging comment I may have wanted to share, I am faced with once again dealing with confrontation without reason.

    No one needs to apologize for being honest about their feelings and I appreciate that so many of you came to my defense, thank you all for your friendship and love.

    Our friend Pat emailed me last evening to tell me her sister passed and yesterday afternoon I learned of the passing of a dear friend here in my community.

    My friend Bruce loved us and when his health was better he always shared the bounty of his garden with us; the last thing I can do for him will be to mark off his gravesite this morning.

    Pat travels to her sister’s family for the business of saying goodbye to her sister and for the comfort of each other.

    Matt and I are going to the grocery store today and stopping at Domino’s for dinner, he has been planning it for weeks and excited to go.

    Tell someone you love today that you do and don’t give negativity the attention it craves.

    Thank you all for your love.


  80. jeff1 says:

    Pooh post 9 Feb 8.47pm

    I know what Steve said in his post and I know I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I did get the picture of what he was saying. My comments were on the subject of everybody wanting to go to heaven but nobody wants to die not on Steve’s life of which you are right I know nothing of. I did not think however that the views posted here were only to be commented on if the post applied to you. Obviously I was wrong and in future if it does not affect me will keep my opinions to myself. As for knowing your heart I do not profess to know any person’s heart, for I believe that is for God to know. I know I have found my heart to be deceitful and that is why I am thankful for God’s mercy.

    As you say Steve as shared how he struggles with life and his desire for heaven. We are told to keep our eyes on heaven and our struggles help us do that. Like Steve I do not enjoy suffering but I am glad of it because I am being honest I am not sure that if I did not have struggles in life I would desire heaven, I might think being an earthling OK if everything in the garden were rosy.

    I know people who all their lives have been good people, in their church, in their community, in their jobs, at home. They do not even think about it it comes so natural to them.

    I am not one of them, my mother had an abusive upbringing and had cosseted us from the world as a result. I believed everything in this world was rosy and I would live happy ever after.

    As I spread my wings I discovered life was not going to be that black and white after all. God wasn’t this kind of God at all, others were preaching how God wanted to punish us for our sinfulness. By my 20’s I had heard so many different versions of God I decided he was much too complicated so I was contented to continue believing but other could do the figuring God out, it was just too hard for me.

    Whether it was bad choices on my part or God’s providence I don’t know but life dealt me some bitter blows in my personal life not to mention the war going on in our country which was bloody and as our enemies kept telling us of God’s displeasure with us I believed God was against me.

    My friend once told me I listened to other too easily and she was right, of course. After my mental breakdown, I discovered a new God, one that I did not know before. He was all that I wanted him to be, going through what I went through I learned that my values, perspective and thinking were way off mark.

    I don’t know if what happened in my life was God’s providence for me but I do know that God used my suffering to awaken me to my wayward heart.

    This was because I had a wayward heart to begin with so my story is different to someone who hadn’t. Also I learned that God used my suffering to get me to know that I was right with him. Suffering or blessings are between the person and God. The story of Job tells us that.

    You said I should not speak of things I know nothing about. If we all kept our opinions to ourselves this world would be a better place. The tongue is the deadliest of weapon in my opinion for it can cause more hurt and damage to people than any weapon.

    If we held our tongue more often God would be ecstatic.
    I think that’s probably were you men have the upper hand you are much better at this than us women.

    Don’t meant to be sexist but that has been my observation from working in a male dominated environment and finding they do not bitch like women do.

  81. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jeff 1, I have found your comments to be very interesting, honest, and caring…like so many others here. Nothing dull about you whatsoever IMO, so “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” just doesn’t apply to you.. ;-).. I find honesty to be one of most beautiful and loving character traits in any person and find deceit one of the hardest flaws to deal with.

  82. street says:

    i ran across the verse that can bring some of these thoughts together i believe paul said, ” for me to live is Christ, for me to die is gain.”

    as for things dying, yes they do. we believe the things in Christ do live on after. the things apart from Him do die and rightly so for he is the Author of Life.

  83. street says:

    ops He is the Author of Life.

  84. joycemb says:

    Good morning all
    Vivien your comment this morning;
    “Like Steve I do not enjoy suffering but I am glad of it because I am being honest I am not sure that if I did not have struggles in life I would desire heaven, I might think being an earthling OK if everything in the garden were rosy.”

    I find this to be my own struggle. When I was a newer believer and dealing with a stubborn husband who refused to have anything to do with God or me for that matter, I prayed so hard he would get saved so we could live happily ever after with the Lord. After we divorced finally he made a pseudo attempt at becoming a Christian only to gain control of me once again and continue his domination and abuse, which made him feel good and powerful. The Lord though opened my eyes to the deception, and wisely I retreated from any more attempts at reconciliation. As painful as the whole thing was, I do remember at one point thinking that if things were to work out then I didn’t really need God after all. This was long ago, but I do find my heart still struggling at times to not be dominated by anyone or anything, not even God sometimes. It is those times when I have to read about and remember that God only has my good in mind and that only He has the words to eternal life filled with joy and permanent peace and no hassles with pain, relationships, weather, loss, grief, or memories of evils’ devices. I’m rambling.

    Steve my condolences to you and your family and community for the loss of a dear friend, and to Pat-prayers for God’s comfort and that of family and friends for your loss as well.

    What I have learned here also is that if someone upsets me, which used to happen a lot, there is a reason for this physical reaction. And that as God is so good at making all things work out for our good, I learned that my upset was telling me I was up against an immoveable object so that ‘backing off’ becomes wisdom and a sign that that road is far too treacherous to navigate, so take another way. Or simply ignore when possible. Some days I skip commentators that I know are going to upset me. But I always ask ‘why God?’ Why is this upsetting me so, is it me, or is this an indication that I just need a peaceful day without drama/negativity. Usually the latter.

    Have a blessed day all,

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