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No Questions Asked?


Flickr Photo: by Tubb

What do the questions we ask, or don’t ask, say…

About us?

About our thoughts of one another?

About what we think we already know?

What about the questions we ask,  or don’t ask, about God?

Why am I asking? Maybe because I’ve been listening to conversations, to the way people like us sometimes talk past one another… and wondering there’s more than we might think in the questions we ask— don’t ask— and maybe don’t want to admit we have.

Am also thinking that for all that Jesus knew, he sure asked a lot of questions.

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63 Responses to “No Questions Asked?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Mart.
    When God asked Adam where was he and subsequently asked who it was that told him he was naked and if he had eaten of the tree, I have to believe that God already knew the answers to all of his questions.
    He just wanted Adam to be honest, confess and show Adam who was to blame for what was to ensue.

    There are a lot of questions we might have added to what God asked of Adam, but sometimes we already know the answers and aren’t fooled by any twisted excuses of an answer we might end up hearing.

    We ask questions to get at the truth; that is if we want to hear the truth. We may not ask questions because we may not want to deal with the truth.


  2. phpatato says:

    Good morning everyone

    Thank you Steve for your kind words for me in the last subject. I am up drinking a couple of coffees before heading out. Thank you everyone for your prayers of concern for my sister. I was told, through my sister’s daughter, that at the moment she passed she smiled. I can only imagine Who and what she saw.

    On this topic Mart….you said “to the way people like us sometimes talk past one another”

    Sometimes????? In the years that I’ve been dropping by, it is more like ALWAYS. There comes a moment in every topic posted that there will be a “I’m from mars and you are from venus and mars is the only place anyone who loves God would even think of living, and because you don’t, you don’t love God”. Forgetting of course that God made both mars AND venus!

    Perhaps a prerequisite to joining this site is to show proof that one has completed a course on proper communication…not education, just communication. (if it was education based I wouldn’t be able to join because I only have one semester in college) Of course bringing a certificate in love to the table is ideal but one who hates can still be tolerable because they would at least know how to communicate. Mart I am hoping that we begin to ask more questions because what we may *think* we know may be nothing. But then, there will still be one or two who walk among us that think they know it all and will swear they are qualified to say so, no questions asked.

    Have a blessed day everyone


  3. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pat I am so sorry about your sister, but glad to hear of the smile on her face as she passed and also to know she is no longer suffering. The “smile” that was seen on your sister’s face made me smile as well..thank you for sharing that. I am also glad that Phillip is doing better. I hope you and your other sisters have a safe trip to comfort your sister’s family. May God Bless you and your family in this very difficult time.

  4. refump says:

    I read a book a few years a go with the title, “True Believers Don’t Ask Why” (with the word “Don’t” crossed off) written by John Fischer. Says Fischer: “Questions leave us vulnerable, weak, needy. They open up the gaping holes in our personality, our theology, or our lifestyle. Questions force an honesty that we are unwilling to confront an honesty that requires us to live with our lives unresolved. We don’t like that, especially when we’re trying to sell a theology that Christianity is the answer to every problem we face.”
    This kind of re-enforces what Steve said in his post “we may not ask questions because we may not want to deal with the truth”.
    I have found that I have more questions than answers in my life but I am okay with that because it makes me think & ponder things from different angles that eventually might shed more light and give me a better understanding. Plato said “to wonder is to begin to understand”.
    Not having the answers to all our questions right now is okay. GOD’S word says ” seek and you shall find, knock it will be open unto you, ask and it shall be given unto you”. It takes time but we have to be willing to ask.
    Also,To shoot first and ask questions later is never a good thing when it comes to communicating in blogs! If some posts something that hits you wrong why not ask them what they mean before attacking them which puts them on the defensive and leads to attacking back. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

  5. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, I am sorry to hear about your friend Bruce. The mention of his sharing the bounty from his garden with you made me smile.While sharing an abundant harvest makes the giver feel great, it is often not thought of as any great gift…(my daughter used to call me a veggielante.for “forcing” veggies on people lol) but you remembered that act in a very positive manner and I liked that.

    May God Bless you for your keen Discernment in so many matters as well as for your Wisdom in handling it. I love you..

  6. jeff1 says:

    When I went to work for the military I worked for a WO2 who was Scottish and he started to laugh at me when I was talking to him and I asked him what was so funny. He said to me I have noticed something about you that you always ask ‘Why’. No matter what I asked you to do you always ask ‘Why.’ He found it amusing but I did not even realise that I did it. I expect that our questions do say a lot about us but we probably do not pick up on that. I was also told at work that I went into too much detail which seemed to frustrate others while again I did not realise I was doing it. Sometimes I think the person I know least is myself because I think I know myself already plus I won’t ask what other people think in case they tell me something I don’t like and I can see enough faults in myself.

    My younger son said to me once that an intelligent person always ask questions because he knows he never knows enough for there is always more to know.

    I think that is something I find in life that when I was younger I thought as I got older I would be wiser only to find that there is still so much I don’t know and often don’t ask in fear of hearing what I don’t want to.

    Here I go again: WHY! does God and people have to be so complex. I am such a simple person at heart!

    Yes it is very surprising that Jesus asked a lot of questions since we would expect he did know it all. I would say that was to teach others. The reason I say that is when I went into my local chippy a lady I knew worked there and I asked her why (the WO2 sure got the measure of me) she used a food thermometer and she replied that she was there long enough to know when the food was cooked properly but the younger staff were not and in order for her to make sure they cooked it properly she needed them to use the food thermometer. She said if she did not use it then they would not see the need to use it either but they did not have the experience she had and the food may not be cooked properly which would ruin the business. I thought is was very perceptive of her to see that they would follow her actions rather than her words.

  7. street says:

    my struggle. as a son of God i have access to the throne room in the True Tabernacle in Heaven. when i go there what will i ask for? this question troubles me more than anything. it troubles me more than silence. He still commands me to keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking.
    if He is my joy and crown it’s time to remain in His presents and enjoy Him forever whether here or in heaven.

    my thoughts of job and solomon’s encounter with their questions and request will be on my mind again.

  8. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    I had the opportunity to be part of a retreat facilitated by Francis Dorff some years ago. He encouraged us to journal silently all during his presentations and even during our open conversations. Fran had rules:

    One speaker at a time —
    No commenting upon a person in any way or upon what they have said apart from the topic —
    and “It’s always polite to write.” (in your own journal)

    By the last, Father Dorff meant sometimes one refrains from speaking entirely. Of course, that retreat was in-person, face-to-face in the same room.

    My question is: What are the standards of Been Thinking About?

    I found this answer at the top of this page:

    “The purpose of this blog is to encourage discussion and community. The following will not be posted:

    Simple kudos for blog authors or content.
    Any comments not related to the blog topic.
    If you have something that you would like to comment on that is not related to the material in the blog, please contact us.”

    I try, and I do fail, to treat each one here as though we were sitting around a coffee table in comfortable chairs sharing thoughts on a topic introduced by Mart De Haan. The room is yours, Mart — along with the table, chairs, overhead expenses and talent. Thank you for your hospitality. :o)

    Is it not always polite to respond to the topic?

    Blessings all day,

  9. poohpity says:

    It seems controlling people do not like questions asked of them because their pride is challenged or ones who think they know it all don’t like questions because their ignorance will be revealed rather than being kept secret. Jesus seemed to use questions to challenge faith, thinking, beliefs and understanding like a skillful surgeon uses a scalpel. It seems His questions are still just as appropriate today as they were then.

    If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? (Matthew 5:46)

    If you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? (Matthew 5:47)

    Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? (Matthew 6:27)

    Why do you worry about clothes? (Matthew 6:28)

    Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Matthew 7:3)

    Why are you so afraid? (Matthew 8:26)

    Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? (Matthew 9:4)

    Do you believe that I am able to do this? (Matthew 9:28)

    Have you never read in the Scriptures? (Matthew 21:42)

    Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers? (Luke 10:36)

    Do you want to get well? (John 5:6)

    Where are they? Has no one condemned you? (John 8:10)

    Do you understand what I have done for you? (John 13:12)

    Do you love me? (John 21:17)

    What is that to you? (John 21:22)

  10. jeff1 says:

    remarutho post 11.23 am

    I must apologise to all for not adhering to the standards of the blog and especially to Mart De Haan for going off topic. I will clean up my act so to speak.

    Apologies again and thanks to remarutho for highlighting the conditions which I must confess I did not read before commenting.

  11. joycemb says:

    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.

  12. jeff1 says:

    Street your 11.15 post

    I know this sounds very childish but it is what I think I would say if I were in heaven right now ‘can I have a hug Please’.
    I know I shouldn’t struggle with the now but I do struggle with it, God knows my every move so I cannot deny it. I don’t have any doubt that God loves me but I have been messing up most of my life and they say a leopard doesn’t change its spots. It’s like it is meant to be that way for my Mum, God rest her always messed up and my Gran too so its in my genes.

  13. joycemb says:

    I think that asking questions, even if we know the answer already, puts us in a place of humility where we don’t need to judge or brag about what we know of human behavior. This was my challenge as I went through school. It was much easier to talk about a person–what they were thinking–than to become actually involved in a persons life as an equal by asking them what they were thinking and being relational. Of course not all people want to be relational so turning to psychological theories puts that needed distance between them and those who might really care about them.

  14. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Mart, you wrote:

    “Am also thinking that for all that Jesus knew, he sure asked a lot of questions.”

    It is remarkable the times (several pointed out by Pooh) that Jesus asks questions. And this behavior from the King of the universe! Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)

    Perhaps you meant by what you said, Mart, that we proclaim much in the questions we ask or do not ask. We are always revealing our own self by what we speak or leave unspoken. If my identity is in Jesus, then I must be always saying who He is by my expressions and choice of words. Much like putting a Christian fish on my car and then driving like a Philistine! — or by grace, driving like a Good Samaritan!

    Probably have shared recently that I am a grandma again. Having a wee one around certainly makes me conscious of what I say and how I say it. The baby, Max, isn’t talking yet, but when he does talk he will only be able to come up with things he has already heard us saying around him.

    That fact certainly gives me pause! Something I’ll be thinking about…


  15. poohpity says:

    I have been going through my memory pool to find the times that Jesus asked Peter what he thought of John or vise versa as well as any of the other disciples but could not remember any. I wonder if it was because being a sinful person how they look at other sinful people would be tainted in some way and that Jesus believed our eyes should only be on Him? He did ask where are your accusers to the women caught in adultery after giving the instructions only the one who has no sin is able to cast a judgement and if Jesus who was the only one without sin yet did not condemn how could they say anything? By Jesus’ questions it seems He wanted more self reflection than looking around and after directing to look within, look up to Him.

  16. jeff1 says:

    Joyce post 10 Feb 12 pm

    Was very helpful and answered questions I have and thanks that you understand.

  17. joycemb says:

    Just off the top of my head am thinking that mostly Jesus questions were to draw attention away from the Law and to God’s plan for the One Perfect sacrifice. Looking at Jesus takes our eyes off of ourselves and also external pressures to conform to man’s rules.

  18. hera says:

    I would like to apologize to all especially Mr De Haan if I have been posting stuff that were not adhering to the guidelines, negative, not enhancing Christianity or just plain stupid & annoying.

    I am not psychologically savvy nor could I be considered smart plus I have a language barrier :-)

    Hope this site will not extinct as Steve mention it is near extinction, instead it will thrive, a place to nurture its visitor’s spirituality.

    I hope the best for everyone here.
    Thank you for letting me expressed myself in the past and again, I m sorry for any, all, inconveniences I have caused.

    God bless.

  19. street says:

    affection from the Father. a couple sundays ago the pastor spoke about God showing affection to His children. he spoke about the baptism of Jesus and the voice that was heard from heaven, ” this is my Son in whom I am well pleased.” i understand this applies to those in Christ.
    it showed up a few days later in Psalm 18:16-19

    16 He sent from on high, He took me;
    He drew me out of many waters.
    17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
    And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
    18 They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
    But the Lord was my stay.
    19 He brought me forth also into a broad place;
    He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

    God delighted in me!
    sure we get tripped up,but He will not let us fall headlong. thanks Dad i hope this solves a few questions.

  20. poohpity says:

    street, actually that was an answer to a question I asked the Lord this morning in regards to hate and bullying. Thank you for being open to listening to Him and sharing.

  21. Mart De Haan says:

    I’m so glad you (and all others) are here with us. While I haven’t followed every comment in the past, I’m guessing you haven’t said anything less acceptable than the rest of us. The guidelines of the blog are not to be a straightjacket. They are meant to help us think twice about comments that could discourage honest doubts, questions, and struggles to grow in (or toward) the belief that our God loves us, and eternally worthy of our trust.

  22. jeff1 says:

    Being a parent I delight in my children even when they get it wrong I tell them what’s wrong but I never give up on them.
    Seeing God as a Dad is probably not how I would envisage him. I suppose its because God is so much more than that. It is however a good way of understanding how he loves us warts and all. Understanding this as well gives us patience with others for we have been there (ignorant for want of a better word)I believed I had to keep the laws or I was hell bound and of course I failed and beat myself up because I failed. Street the Psalm you choose says it all for me anyway.

  23. SFDBWV says:

    One of the alluring qualities of this site has for me been its friendly personality.

    It is friendly because we, its contributors, bring our own personalities into it.

    In essence we are allowed to be us.

    Not a classroom where there are only yes or no answers to questions or technical responses to the higher questions of life.

    We all have joys and struggles as well as questions of our own and so in sharing real life experience in how we deal with life is how we tackle the subject matter Mart seeds us with.

    In the interaction of people there will be tension, how we deal with it also shows our humanity and where we are in the ever growing transformation to being Christ like (Christian).

    There is a famous saying that goes something like this, “The only wrong question ask is the one not ask”.

    One of the most difficult situations, as a Christian, is when we ask God and don’t get an answer. Too many of us immediately invent an answer thinking we are answering for God when in fact we are only trying to reason things out so we can feel satisfactory.

    God, I have found, will in time answer all of our questions and sometimes by the most unexpected method, always testing our patience in doing so.

    Matthew and I had a good trip out yesterday, it is exhausting on us both, but always worth the extra effort. Today is another day and only starting. We will see what surprises today brings and at the end of it give thanks to God for it.


  24. SFDBWV says:

    I enjoyed a bit of humor this morning in reading a little news item that caught my eye.

    Probably the biggest question ask by mankind since forever has been “where did we come from when and how did it all begin”?

    Reading a story this morning about quantum physics it seems that some of the best minds in that field no longer believe in the “Big Bang Theory”. Rather they have come to the conclusion that the universe and all of its mysteries has always been here.

    Humorous for me because God’s creation is a reflection of Him and He is eternal. Look as we do our search and our deepest questions will end up with God.


  25. poohpity says:

    What do the questions asked or not asked say about us? IMHO God gave us these wonderful inquisitive things called minds and asking questions is the first step in recognizing that life is a learning process. Learning about God and the world we live in, learning about the people around us and learning to know ourselves.

    When I was growing up my mom would often ask me, “why on earth did you do that?”. Sometimes I could give an answer as to my motivation but often I really did not know. I think that is why as I got older I studied human behaviors. I found so many answers to my questions through discovering God and His Word after all being the one who fashioned us(Creator) who would know better.

    Looking around at nature I discovered everything was so interlinked and really quite orderly except our actions or should I say reactions. It seemed people who needed to feel loved and accepted acted in such strange ways to go about getting it. If no questioned were ever asked we would not have the innovations, discoveries or inventions of course those can have negative impacts as well but I guess it all depend on how we look at things.

    How come people can look at the same thing and see it so differently? I wonder if it has to do with how we are trained to think or the life experiences that influence the process we use to evaluate. The glass half full compared to the glass half empty. I think questions help us sort through so many things and the only dumb question is the one not asked.

  26. poohpity says:

    Our friend peg shared this on facebook this morning and I thought about how asking a question may have helped so much in this instance, lol.

    A little humor….
    Leroy was in church and the preacher asked if anyone needed prayer.
    So Leroy went up to the altar and told the preacher he need prayer for his hearing.
    So the preacher put one hand over Leroy’s ear and one hand on Leroy’s head and started praying.
    He prayed for 5 whole minutes and the church was praying with the preacher. They were going to town!
    And afterwards, the preacher asked Leroy how his hearing was???
    And Leroy said “I don’t know….the hearing’s not till next week!” lol

  27. foreverblessed says:

    Pat, may God comfort you in the loss of your sister! And i a way, you were already comforted.
    And Steve, may God comfort you too with the loss of Bruce.
    And I also think of Regina, who lost her brother suddenly, may God be with her and her family.

    Thanks Refump, I agree with you, it is better to ask questions before reacting when feeling hurt.

    So here is my question to Pooh: do you think it is very normal to write: So back of. Do you feel that as a normal way of communicating?

  28. street says:

    bah bah bad? overt and covert communication can cause healing or injury. same with questions. it is hard to determine the difference. we know God’s hand is to call man back into a relationship with Him. the story of joseph is and example of bad motives in the hand of God to save many people. i find the story off the chart and beyond conventional thinking. i find myself more like joseph’s brothers. wish i could say otherwise but i can not. joseph understood that motives are important. joseph saw God’s motives as more important. emotional grief and turmoil on joseph’s part was just as real and intense as it was on his bothers part. it takes time.

  29. poohpity says:

    It would have been nice if I would have said, “jeff1 it would be nice if I was asked to clarify what I meant rather than attacking my character and assuming you know the condition of my heart.”

  30. joycemb says:

    “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks”
    Has your heart been changed, Pooh?
    Do sow fruit, or thorns? Just some rhetorical questions from my own heart.

  31. joycemb says:

    Please please please go to Jesus Pooh. He is the only one who can save you.

  32. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jeff1..please know that I think you are a major asset to this blog. Moreover, stand strong…far more than a few of us have been in your place and more than once. Like you, we were innocent of the charges as well. I thank YOU Jeff1, Street, Hera, and so many other newer people here for your honesty and humble nature and in “confessing one to another” what we are mostly all guilty of or have been at one time or another

  33. joycemb says:

    The weakest heart feels pain so deep that no man can cure it but God alone can and will.

  34. narrowpathseeker says:


  35. poohpity says:

    joyce and narrow, forever asked me a question and I answered with what I could have said rather than “back off”.

  36. joycemb says:

    Your response was like a jab pooh. Maybe you don’t see it, but what does it tell you that people through the years on this blog have left it because of the way you speak to people? Counselor, leave your street smarts behind and stop blaming/criticizing people for confronting you. When you are overwhelmed you immediately retreat to poor me: hated, bullied, misunderstood and then looking for sympathy to deflect the truth of the correction because you cannot bear anymore hurt on your already battered heart. Jeff1 was so right, this isn’t the OK corral. I don’t hate you, I feel very frustrated sometimes and in fact told Mart today I am on my last nerve with your behavior but I LOVE this group and don’t want to leave.

  37. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, in retrospect, I remember a time many years ago when I was so filled with false pride that I was much like you…I would not let anyone know the emotional pain I was feeling nor confess my uglies…like jealousy ..that it has been said, is one of the last things most people will admit.I thought I was hiding it but people are not stupid…our uglies are as transparent as clean glass..I prayed and friends prayed for me and I suspect a LOT of people that I didn’t even know were praying for me…and once I openly confessed and cried out for forgiveness it was like a heavy weight lifted off my heart. I STILL have to struggle with those uglies…so many people on here also openly confess that they still struggle…and so many are trying to tell you that there is no shame in admitting that you are in the same boat as everyone else. THE TRUTH shall set us free… I pray that you get convicted soon and get delivered from that false pride.

  38. poohpity says:

    I guess that is why I am such a grateful recipient of God’s amazing grace because I realize it is so undeserved.

  39. joycemb says:

    Hmmmm grace without accountability, am I hearing you correctly Pooh?

  40. joycemb says:

    Romans 6:1 NLT Pooh?

  41. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, thanks for answering, as I get it, you are very sensitive to what others write about you, as that is so, how is it that you feel so unrestrained in talking about Steve? The more since you said that you could not find anywhere in the NT that Jesus asked Peter, what do you think about John?

    I am asking this, not to attack your character at all, but I find duality in what you write, I cannot combine the two above things.

  42. SFDBWV says:

    Because life is about learning and learning leads to a better understanding of life and hopefully a better character and heart, I will tell a story of life and its brutal lessons.

    When I was a nineteen year old helicopter crew chief in the Marine Corps in Viet Nam one of my most unpleasant of duties was removing the dead out of the battle zones.

    Of course you must understand at 17 when I enlisted I was filled with youthful enthusiasm eager to go to war to fight and if need be die.

    My father tried to tell me not to make the mistakes in life he made, but I told him to let me make my own mistakes, with a knowing smile he did. My mother cried as I went off to be a Marine, but always prayed for my safe return to her.

    The very first time I seen a dead Marine was a horrible experience for me, as he had been dead for a few days and looked it from being in the humid jungle heat.

    At first I was horrified and wanted not to look, but I had to help pick him up and load him into the helicopter a very repulsive chore I would all too soon become accustomed to.
    The initial horror soon turned to curiosity and I began to examine the young man who lay before me.

    It dawned on me that this was someone’s son, perhaps a brother or even a husband or father. That this one death would touch many other people and break many hearts.

    It was there that day that I learned there is no glory in a battlefield death, only death.

    Part of an awakening that took me on a long journey home, not only to my family but to my God and a life He had put back together for me.

    Sometimes the only way some people learn is by the pain they are forced to experience. I am certain that parents don’t want their children to ever experience pain, but it is a parent’s pain that their children won’t listen and end up learning things the hard way.

    I suppose the important thing is that we take life’s experiences and learn from them to have better priorities and become better people. In our case to become more like our Lord and less like our old self.


  43. SFDBWV says:

    I want to thank all who expressed their sympathy for the passing of my friend Bruce, his burial was yesterday afternoon.

    I would also like to give a follow up to this story.

    His sister Shirley has been in John’s Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for pancreatic cancer. I spoke to her husband yesterday and he is going Friday to bring her home.

    They have done all they can do and give her maybe 6 months to live.

    It is winter outside cold and grey, with the promise of worse weather on the horizon. This family feels the cold grey season in their hearts and even though all are ready to go home to be with the Lord they are in for a rough last few miles along their journey.

    So today sometime when you can, please remember Emory and Shirley in your prayers.


  44. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning Steve, talk about a rough journey…!! It seems to me that your entire journey has been incredibly rough, but the Wisdom the Lord has bestowed upon you in those heart wrenching moments like the one you shared this morning of Vietnam, is priceless. Thank You

    Sorry about your weather…ours here in NC is wonderful. A few days ago it was very near 70 degrees while up North my family was snow bombed and cold. I hope it warms for you soon.

  45. jeff1 says:

    Steve Your 6.18 am post

    I went to visit the battlefields in Belgium and if ever anyone things war is the answer then they should first visit there.
    I noticed it in my father he never talked about his experience at war it was my mother who told us and he was not on his own most war veterans were trying to forget and by not talking was there way of doing that. My father was the most peace loving man I knew. At the height of the troubles here he never spoke any kind of hatred of any description and I can assure you that was rare back then. My father like you Steve had been at the heart of war and knew exactly what he was talking about. Did anyone listen, as usual they were in the minority and the majority rules on this earth.

    I think that last paragraph Steve that our experiences should make us better people and more like Christ. This requires much effort on our part. Firstly and most difficult for me anyway examining myself and finding some nasty little thoughts and heartfelt beliefs that were not in line with Christ’s teaching.

    Coming to terms with the fact that I was not as good as I thought I was brought me to the realisation how easy it is to hate. Now I hated them as much as they hated me. I understood them, I understood why they did what they did hatred consumed their minds and heart. It did not make it right but I could finally get how easy it is to go astray.

    After that I realised that the upbringing I had held me in good stead. My father’s influence and I did believe in God enough to want to do what pleased him changed me. It also makes me realise today that it is a slippery slope and I have fallen too many times to tell you that it gets any easier.

    What I know is that I want to be a better person, a person that God can say I am pleased to call you my own.

    What my heart knows now is still not in line with my head.
    The battle in my head is also affected by my upbringing, my mother cosseted her 3 children from life because she herself had an abusive upbringing. Living in a world of my own did not do much for me when it came to relationships. Hence why I fail at forming any new ones. I have pretty good relationships with my family and 3 very good friends. Not good though at making new ones due to mental issues.

    I see myself following in the footpaths of my mother whose mental health was affected but in those days was never diagnosed.

    Realising that it is God’s forgiveness and not any thing I have done or not done that has saved me from hell is what I am grateful for today.

    My perspective on life has changed, I never thought I would see why God could forgive a terrorist but now I think if God wants to let a terrorist into heaven who am I to argue for there but for his Grace go I.

  46. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jeff1. Once again your humble honesty and confession of the uglies that we ALL struggle with makes you BEAUTIFUL ..like so many others on here.. I see no signs of mental illness, but rather the Imparting of Wisdom.

  47. poohpity says:

    forever, how did I attack Steve’s character by asking if it is depressing to be around people who ask or want to die often?

  48. SFDBWV says:

    I love to read the comics section of the daily paper. Threaded within the humor is always wisdom and reality.

    This morning in the Beetle Bailey strip Beetle said, “Men had been at war for generations.” and ask, “Why they didn’t ever learn?”

    The philosopher of the strip said, “Because every 30 years there is a new generation.”

    Here in the Appalachian coal fields there has been generations of people taught to hate and distrust the coal companies as well as the government that turns its eyes away from neglect and abuse of the miner.

    The generational hatred and murder suffered by your countrymen Vivian is not all that different than much of the history of coal mining here in America.

    In the early 70’s while on a nationwide coal strike I wrote an article for the local paper trying to garnish support for the miner. In it I quoted the official governmental records of there being over 0ne hundred thousand miners killed in the mines just during the 1900’s. A number that did not take into account the numbers who had already died from “Black Lung” disease and would die as a result of breathing in the poorly ventilated mines they worked in.

    Whereas in your country it is religion and control that is at the heart of the matter in mine it is greed and profit that drove and drives the hatred and mistrust forward.

    Over the years many good people have tried to mend the rift and fix the problems, but there is always some who won’t give up the anger no matter what and so infect another generation with their misery.

    In all of the paintings, drawings, or sculptures I have seen of Jesus on the cross it is always with a tortured expressions on His face.

    Tortured not because of His sacrifice, but rather because of the condition of men’s hearts and why He had to be there.

    I think you do very well Vivian in representing yourself, your faith and your countrymen.


  49. street says:

    Chapter 5

    Faith in the Son of God

    Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ* has become a child of God. And everyone who loves the Father loves his children, too. 2 We know we love God’s children if we love God and obey his commandments. 3 Loving God means keeping his commandments, and his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. 5 And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

    6 And Jesus Christ was revealed as God’s Son by his baptism in water and by shedding his blood on the cross* —not by water only, but by water and blood. And the Spirit, who is truth, confirms it with his testimony. 7 So we have these three witnesses* —8 the Spirit, the water, and the blood—and all three agree. 9 Since we believe human testimony, surely we can believe the greater testimony that comes from God. And God has testified about his Son. 10 All who believe in the Son of God know in their hearts that this testimony is true. Those who don’t believe this are actually calling God a liar because they don’t believe what God has testified about his Son.

    11 And this is what God has testified: He has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.


    13 I have written this to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know you have eternal life. 14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

    16 If you see a fellow believer* sinning in a way that does not lead to death, you should pray, and God will give that person life. But there is a sin that leads to death, and I am not saying you should pray for those who commit it. 17 All wicked actions are sin, but not every sin leads to death.

    18 We know that God’s children do not make a practice of sinning, for God’s Son holds them securely, and the evil one cannot touch them. 19 We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one.

    20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us understanding so that we can know the true God.* And now we live in fellowship with the true God because we live in fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ. He is the only true God, and he is eternal life.

    21 Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God’s place in your hearts.*

    2 John


    This letter is from John, the elder.*

    I am writing to the chosen lady and to her children,* whom I love in the truth—as does everyone else who knows the truth—2 because the truth lives in us and will be with us forever.

    3 Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

    Live in the Truth

    4 How happy I was to meet some of your children and find them living according to the truth, just as the Father commanded.

    5 I am writing to remind you, dear friends,* that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. 6 Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

    7 I say this because many deceivers have gone out into the world. They deny that Jesus Christ came* in a real body. Such a person is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we* have worked so hard to achieve. Be diligent so that you receive your full reward. 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

    10 If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. 11 Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.


    12 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to do it with paper and ink. For I hope to visit you soon and talk with you face to face. Then our joy will be complete.

    13 Greetings from the children of your sister,* chosen by God.

    3 John


    This letter is from John, the elder.*

    I am writing to Gaius, my dear friend, whom I love in the truth.

    2 Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. 3 Some of the traveling teachers* recently returned and made me very happy by telling me about your faithfulness and that you are living according to the truth. 4 I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.

    Caring for the Lord’s Workers

    5 Dear friend, you are being faithful to God when you care for the traveling teachers who pass through, even though they are strangers to you. 6 They have told the church here of your loving friendship. Please continue providing for such teachers in a manner that pleases God. 7 For they are traveling for the Lord,* and they accept nothing from people who are not believers.* 8 So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.

    9 I wrote to the church about this, but Diotrephes, who loves to be the leader, refuses to have anything to do with us. 10 When I come, I will report some of the things he is doing and the evil accusations he is making against us. Not only does he refuse to welcome the traveling teachers, he also tells others not to help them. And when they do help, he puts them out of the church.

    11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.*

    12 Everyone speaks highly of Demetrius, as does the truth itself. We ourselves can say the same for him, and you know we speak the truth.


    13 I have much more to say to you, but I don’t want to write it with pen and ink. 14 For I hope to see you soon, and then we will talk face to face.

    15 * Peace be with you.

    Your friends here send you their greetings. Please give my personal greetings to each of our friends there.


    Greetings from Jude

    This letter is from Jude, a slave of Jesus Christ and a brother of James.

    I am writing to all who have been called by God the Father, who loves you and keeps you safe in the care of Jesus Christ.*

    2 May God give you more and more mercy, peace, and love.

    The Danger of False Teachers

    3 Dear friends, I had been eagerly planning to write to you about the salvation we all share. But now I find that I must write about something else, urging you to defend the faith that God has entrusted once for all time to his holy people. 4 I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

    5 So I want to remind you, though you already know these things, that Jesus* first rescued the nation of Israel from Egypt, but later he destroyed those who did not remain faithful. 6 And I remind you of the angels who did not stay within the limits of authority God gave them but left the place where they belonged. God has kept them securely chained in prisons of darkness, waiting for the great day of judgment. 7 And don’t forget Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring towns, which were filled with immorality and every kind of sexual perversion. Those cities were destroyed by fire and serve as a warning of the eternal fire of God’s judgment.

    8 In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings.* 9 But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels,* did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.) 10 But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11 What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion.

    12 When these people eat with you in your fellowship meals commemorating the Lord’s love, they are like dangerous reefs that can shipwreck you.* They are like shameless shepherds who care only for themselves. They are like clouds blowing over the land without giving any rain. They are like trees in autumn that are doubly dead, for they bear no fruit and have been pulled up by the roots. 13 They are like wild waves of the sea, churning up the foam of their shameful deeds. They are like wandering stars, doomed forever to blackest darkness.

    14 Enoch, who lived in the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about these people. He said, “Listen! The Lord is coming with countless thousands of his holy ones 15 to execute judgment on the people of the world. He will convict every person of all the ungodly things they have done and for all the insults that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”*

    16 These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.

    A Call to Remain Faithful

    17 But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. 18 They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. 19 These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.

    20 But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit,* 21 and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love.

    22 And you must show mercy to* those whose faith is wavering. 23 Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others,* but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.*

    A Prayer of Praise

    24 Now all glory to God, who is able to keep you from falling away and will bring you with great joy into his glorious presence without a single fault. 25 All glory to him who alone is God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord. All glory, majesty, power, and authority are his before all time, and in the present, and beyond all time! Amen.

    11 Dear friend, don’t let this bad example influence you. Follow only what is good. Remember that those who do good prove that they are God’s children, and those who do evil prove that they do not know God.*

  50. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Hope and trust the service celebrating Bruce’s life was a comfort to Emory and Shirley — and the whole community, Steve. I am asking the Lord, “Why?” at the death of Kayla Mueller, the ISIS hostage of 17 months reported dead in a bombing raid.

    It seems to me the human race is diminished when death is senseless and brought about by hatred and violence. The question “Why?” brings no fruit or comfort.

    For me, comfort lies in the understanding that our Creator God is very great and loving. In Jesus there is hope of being transformed and lifted up to full dignity as God’s creatures. Praying this morning that those we have loved and admired are in God’s presence at this moment.


  51. street says:

    5 This is what the Lord says:

    “Cursed is the one who trusts in man,
    who draws strength from mere flesh
    and whose heart turns away from the Lord.
    6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
    they will not see prosperity when it comes.
    They will dwell in the parched places of the desert,
    in a salt land where no one lives.

    7 “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.
    8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
    It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
    It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.”

    after you read this please remember the righteous man job and the difficulty he encountered in his confidence in God. Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,

  52. rokdude5 says:

    To Pat and Steve, I hope you will garner at least some small measure of comfort through my prayers for you for any loss for a love one is never easy.

    I pondered about the statement that Jesus “…asked a lot of questions”.

    Jesus asked in Luke 8:45 who touched His tunic. Of course He knew very well who touched Him but He wanted the woman with profuse bleeding to announce herself.

    In law school, students are not spoon fed what they need to know for a career in law. The Socratic method is used whereby the professor will ask one student at a time questions about the case the class is studying. The professor will usually not answer his or her own questions or even say that the response is correct or not but will leave the student to think it through.

    Jesus used this method in Matthew 6:28, Luke 12:24-26 and . John 10:34-37.


  53. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, neither was Jeff attacking your character.

    What would have been best, is to study: how would Jesus have reacted, when His person was attacked, was Jesus busy setting Himself right? Would He put all His energy for that cause?

  54. phpatato says:


    Thank you so very much for your prayers. I am struggling in my grief with the stage of anger. Being a sibling, I am angry with some unresolved issues that I didn’t realize I had buried. This anger swept over me quite suddenly and I am saddened that I can’t talk with my sister about them and I am scared that the anger won’t go away. I am also feeling heartless and so guilty that I should even feel this way. I loved her very much. Your prayers are so very much welcomed. Thank you :-(


    I wish you could tie in what you post with your thoughts. I am struggling to figure out what it is that you are trying to tell us by posting such a lengthy Bible reading. I’m sorry but it scares me to try and read between the lines as to why you posted what you did….if anything. I must admit it takes me awhile to figure out parables. If you could give a summary of why you posted what you did, I for one, would so appreciate it.

    RJ, this is why I would never make a good lawyer. I guess I am one who needs to be spoon fed and I am so grateful that our Dear Lord feeds us according to how well we can chew. It is rare that I can figure out the answers to riddles. I so appreciate those who can think outside the box. I just can’t do it on my own. Once I see the answer I think Wow great stuff! Why didn’t I think of that. lol

    Wishing a blessed day to all! Remember Jesus Loves you!


  55. jeff1 says:

    narrowpathseeker 8.52 am

    That is so good to hear that you see it as imparting of wisdom for it means that something good is coming from my waywardness and God is at work in me.

    Steve I have not represented God well though.
    I and my friend have issues on where God stands on our country. I have told her God does not take sides so it is up to us to do what is right in God’s eyes. She says getting into bed with Satan is not the answer and that’s what she sees happening in this country. I cannot disagree with her for the men involved in terrorist activity who are now in Government have never made any kind of gesture to say what they did was wrong. They make no move either to recover the bodies of victims that have been buried for years.

    Governments are playing along because of the threat of the violence starting up again but trust is the problem.
    State collusion means lack of trust in the Government, the two extreme parties are now in control of the country and nobody really trusts them.

    Most of the right thinking people desire to get on and work it out allowing each other to express their own culture without imposing one on the other.

    As you have said over the years many good people have tried but to no avail.

    This is sung on remembrance Sunday as a tribute to men of all wars and brings tears to my eyes for it is so beautiful.

    O Valiant Hearts who to your glory came
    Through dust of conflict and through battle. flame;
    Tranquil you lie, your knightly virtue proved,
    Your memory hallowed in the Land you loved.

    Proudly you gathered, rank on rank to war,
    As who had heard God’s message from afar;
    All you had hoped for, all you had, you gave;
    To save Mankind…yourselves you scorned to save.

    Splendid you passed, the great surrender made
    Into the light that nevermore shall fade;
    Deep your contentment in that blest abode,.
    Who wait the last triumphant call of God.

    Long years ago, as earth lay dark and still,
    Rose aloud cry upon a lonely hill,
    While in the fraility of our human clay
    Christ, our Redeemer, passed the selfsame way.

    Still stands His Cross from the dread hour to this,
    Like some bright star above the dark abyss
    Still, through the vail, the Victor’s pitying eyes
    Look down to bless our lessor Calvaries.

    These were His Servants, in His steps they trod
    Following through death, the martyred son of God;
    Victor He rose, victorious too,shall rise,
    They who have drunk His cup of Sacrifice.

    O, risen Lord, O Shepherd of our Dead,
    Whose Cross has brought them and whose Staff has led;
    In glorious hope their proud and sorrowing Land,
    Commits her Children to Thy gracious hand.

  56. phpatato says:

    I’d like to apologize for my err in that I didn’t thank all of you for your prayers. I didn’t mean to slight anyone. Forgive me. Thank you all for your prayers of concern. xo

  57. street says:

    dear pat i guess i will have to elaborate how that got put together. the last four lines i highlighted copy and pasted like i always do. where the rest came from i do not know. i did not purposely arrange it. i liked it’s arrangement an flow so i left it. i can not take credit for putting it together. i did delete some stuff that did not make sense to me that was not scripture. then again i should have checked to see if it was scripture before i posted it. will do next time.

  58. phpatato says:

    Hi Street

    Now that I know *how* you posted what you did, could I ask that you tell us *why* you posted what you did? LOL What is the subject behind your Biblical teaching are you are wanting us to ponder? I apologize that I may be a little more dense than usual this past week. lol

  59. narrowpathseeker says:

    Street…WOW!! You didn’t put that together?!! I thought it was quite a well formulated helping hand reaching out to one of us to help pull in to safer ground. God Bless your efforts.

  60. street says:

    no effort or thought on my part! i did think it deals with some of the issues that confront the church body and the world. just hope with God’s help we can keep the world out of our hearts and the church. won’t that be fun!

  61. phpatato says:

    Thanks Pearl for that! I had thought that is what Street was meaning to do but honestly I just simply don’t trust my thinking these days. I So in keeping with the topic of asking questions, I had asked just to be sure.

    Thank you Street!

    To be safe, I think it best that I just sit back at this point and view from the outside in.


  62. street says:

    dear pat, don’t trust my own thoughts and senses anymore either, but i know God watches over me like the Perfect Father He Is. do not be afraid ! ever hear that before? Jesus and angels are always telling us that. the others are telling us to doubt or try something that is sinful or selfish. we get in big trouble when we disobey. Zacharias comes to mind Luke 1:12-20.

    pat it’s much more important to be reading the Bible and then maybe devotionals and then blogs like this one. i have to say this is a very interesting experience here. thanks mart for hosting it.

  63. phpatato says:

    Oh Street I do have my Bible reading time each day and I do read at least 3 devotionals a day as well. I come here too because I enjoy the fellowship (even though it is a long distance one) that each of you bring to Mart’s sitting room. I’d like to say thank you to Mart for being such a wonderful host as well!

    God is so good isn’t He?


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