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Inside Out and Outside In

DSC00228Am reading a book by a young author who decided to take her lack of religious faith undercover into the heart of the evangelical world, with the intent of writing about her experience.

The woman admits struggling for awhile with the lies she knew she was going to have to tell to pull off her research. But decides to go for the story.

Without a doubt, she found what she was looking for, and eventually came out the other side not only with a book, but also with her unbelief still intact.

In the middle of reading about her journey, I find myself with all kinds of mixed emotions. On one hand I’m amazed at how deeply she got into the lives and culture of one of America’s most well known churches. As a reader I find myself reliving her experience through the eyes of someone who is very much in touch with her own thoughts and feelings while discovering another world— that is, in so many ways, my own.

Sometimes I put down the book feeling like I’ve been in a twi-light zone, and need to try to find my way back to myself— and maybe moreso… to others.

It’s not comfortable to hear inside jokes, insider talk, and blind familiarity—described by someone who has found her way into too much of what we’d rather keep to ourselves, while looking at others through our own caricatures of “outsiders”/”them”.

So far, though, what I have also found  interesting is that the author takes note, and describes at some length some of those “individual people of faith” who seem as real as they are respectful, considerate, and loving.

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102 Responses to “Inside Out and Outside In”

  1. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Greetings from Atlanta! 50F with 58% humidity, partly cloudy.

    The author of the book you mention has much to recommend her if she “seems to be in touch with her own thoughts and feelings while discovering another world — that is, in so many ways, my own,” as you say.

    I note this because the community of Christians can so often indulge in “dangling doctrine and alleged affirmations,” as one pundit recently wrote. Professing Christians sometimes lose the question in a kind of snow-job of proclaiming faith that is empty of true passion.

    The author’s admission that she found some “people of faith who seem as real as they are respectful, considerate, and loving” is mercy on her part. Perhaps the very structure of the Church is about to change. The starting point for authentic love in action might be, “(The Lord) has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”

    Blessings all day,

  2. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I wish you and I both had the time to set on my porch on the swing and talk it out, this may be as close to that as it will ever get.

    Why am I a believer? What benefit does it give me here and now? Is the only hope for a better life only after losing this one?

    You didn’t give the name of the book or author, but if she was looking to find faith in Jesus of Nazareth she isn’t going to find it looking at the flaws of His believers or in the machinery of running a church of any size.

    The world is an ugly place and people are most often only concerned with themselves. But there is also beauty in the world and some very special people.

    We can dwell on either, but the other doesn’t go away just because we ignore them.

    One of the earliest lessons I learned in life was if lost go back to the beginning and start over.

    Though deep into spring it is 29 degrees this morning under a clear sky. We had some snow Wednesday and flurries yesterday…Nothing new there.


  3. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… I wonder, if we think we can’t find faith in Christ looking at this fallen world in all its faulted manifestations, where do we then find it?

    My position has always been, If God can use a donkey, He can use the flaws of His believers, the machinery of running a church of any size, or the headline of the New York Times, the death of a child, the bad report from the doctor, the onset of sudden illness, the verse in a song, the long black night, actually anything, if He elects to use it, and what then do we have to say?
    God can use all things for His Purposes!
    Be Blessed, Gary

  4. oneg2dblu says:

    I also would say that any unbeliever, like the said author claims to be, who is searching to find something not yet prepared in advance for them to find, they search blindly and unknowingly, even if to exhaustion, for something they themselves will never find by themselves.
    If anything we could imagine, could find faith in Christ, without Christ being involved, they have found a delusion or really nothing at all, or a genuine counterfeit, or
    a placebo which supports its own is deception.
    He who directs the steps, is also he who provides the answers.

  5. jeff1 says:

    I would say it is good that the author has found the individuals to be considerate, loving and respectful and perhaps she feels that it is the institute that is failing.
    Though she lacks faith perhaps finding people like this will give her hope and maybe that hope is just what she needs to find her way, for these people that she speaks of have behaved in the godly manner in which she so longs for.

  6. marma says:

    Mixed emotions here, too. Read this post sine my sister had shared it on FB.

    Recalling as a pre-believer getting mixed reviews from other unbelievers about the professing Christians in our sphere. However, a simple personal testimony from a friend was used by the Holy Spirit to get me interested in reading my bible, and then to Christ’s truth about me therein, and on to my salvation.

  7. poohpity says:

    Mart, what a hoot. I wonder what were her thoughts about what brought her there in the first place and caused the struggle with lying about what she believes? Did she think that human beings are going to be any different just because they were in a church? Like standing in a garage does not make one a car. When one looks at the sub-culture of professing Christians it comes to mind what is mankind that God even thinks about or cares for them much less sent His only Son to die for them.

    There will come a time when GOD will separate the wheat from the tares and that is not a job given to me. Like Steve said one will find what they look for. So she went looking not for God but how those who profess His name fail in living what they talk about. As Joyce would say, “Duh!”. Sinners go to church to receive forgiveness because God put a conviction in their hearts that only God can fill.

    How many believers at times doubt that God is? How many lack trust and dependence that He is able to provide? How many look at circumstances and wonder where is God in all this? How many say I believe help my unbelief? David, a man after God’s own heart, wrote several Psalms with all the those questions in mind.

    I think it is wonderful that she went looking. She may have come away with unbelief still but a seed was planted. Maybe she does not realize that even her curiosity was God calling to her ever so gently.

  8. SFDBWV says:

    Gary the ass that God used to stop Balaam wasn’t speaking in order for Balaam to find God, he spoke to stop Balaam from speaking a curse against His favored people Israel.

    We are not to speak against Israel.

    Whereas I certainly agree God can and will use anything in order to achieve His will, this is not the thrust of this topic.

    This woman went into the inner workings and personalities of the “evangelical world” in order to write a book about it. She went in and out without changing her attitude concerning her own lack of faith.

    She wasn’t looking to find God she was looking for what she found. Phony religious people who know how to run a business and others who only know how to play church, while also finding a few good honest people.

    I don’t know, but I would guess she found what she wanted, a story she could sell.

    Do you, Gary, see God in all of the flaws you think all the rest of us on this blog have, or is all you see our flaws as you perceive them to be? Bolstering your own view of your self-righteousness.

    Do you respond then as if you see God in us or respond as someone who can just quote Bible and show no tolerance to the flaws of others?

    It seems as if she went into this study with preconceived ideas and nothing was going to change that.

    What do you think she would think of our little group here?

    Just for the record, what I see in the flaws of the world is the need for a Savior, what I see in the character flaws in the Christian community are simple human flaws that everyone has and still showing a need for a Savior.

    I think what she was looking for, were just the flaws.


  9. joycemb says:

    If it’s the same book Mart is talking about I read that the author’s father was an athiest who taught her to whisper “there is no god” when forced to pray at school. Just goes to show that saying all the right things, singing the right songs, using Christianese and quoting scripture do not a Christian make. In all the things she experienced within a Christian school/church nothing ‘moved’ her to change her mind or heart. (Author Gina Welch) as yet, anyway. I’ve met people with the same kind of background. Hard to penetrate through.

  10. poohpity says:

    This blog is no different. It would be nice if the things we were looking at would be how well am I doing reflecting what I believe rather than looking at the lady who was only noting what she saw.

  11. joycemb says:

    Prayers for all today for God’s best! Be blessed.

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… Thanks for the telling of the ass story, but,
    I already know it completely.

    My point was only that God can use anything for His purposes.

    You’ve read something into my words that is not there and
    You quoted me incorrectly Sir.

    I did not say, God used the donkey to help anyone find God.

    I said, “God can use all things for His purposes.”

    I’ll forgive you on that misquote.

    But, now that you’ve brought it up the ass again, I guess God could use even a donkey to bring someone to Him.

    If fact He even used one once,when His Son entered Jerusalem. and I believe that story, God has used to bring many people to find Him.

    You can quote me on that one!

  13. oneg2dblu says:

    Like I did say Steve, “He who directs the steps, is also he who provides the answers.

    Meaning, If your flesh is directing your steps, then, your flesh will probably find the answers.

    If your distrust is directing your steps, then, your distrust will probably find the answers.

    But, If God is directing your steps?

    Then, you may not be looking at man for your answers.

    To me, It is like a self-fulfilling prophesy, that when Evil directs your steps, you will find evil in your answer.

    That is what I was trying to say.

    When an Atheist is using their disbelief to direct them, what else would you expect an Atheist to find?

    You Sir, have personally both misjudged, misquoted, and mis-categorized almost every effort I’ve made here, and you will probably continue to do the same every time you are provoked, until something else directs your steps.

    I know my messages are generally the hard ones shared hear, but, it is all about our needed accountability, obedience, and many times to address the written word, or the letter of the law, which I believe was a gospel standard for you also in your past efforts as a Judge.

    But, I may be wrong about that as well, not having as much court time or exposure to the musings of the criminal mindset and the workings of the law, as you have personally witnessed and dealt with.

  14. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry Folks… I though I would just clear up a few things before going to bed.
    Good Night…

  15. jeff1 says:

    I cannot believe what I have just read Gary that you deliberately provoke Steve into reacting in the way he does. I do not believe that this is Godly intent here for God wants us to help our brother/sister and not find fault with them.
    As for Atheist’s using their disbelief to direct them, what else would you expect an atheist to find, I think you will find that many Atheist’s find God or perhaps it is God who finds them! Since you are into hard messages you are starting to sound very much like a Pharisees and you know what Jesus said to them! Jesus looked for the good in people and told sinners to sin no more but he did not use sarcasm or judgement when dealing with people and that is why his teaching goes way beyond what any of us is capable of in our human flesh.

  16. SFDBWV says:

    My immediate and original comment at the top of the subject was heavily concerned with Mart’s condition. I worry about him.

    Apparently this woman’s observations are too close to home for him not to have already affected him; hence our topic.

    We read that every so often Jesus would leave the crowds and go off to rest and recover, as expected along His way still He ministered as situations presented themselves to Him, but He sought rest.

    I hope Mart that you have a friend you can unload on and give yourself the opportunity to just get mad and let it all out sometimes.

    Life isn’t fair, and is full of heart ache. The world I knew is changing and I feel more and more as though I don’t belong, and with the exception of “my cross” I may never have felt as if I fit in it.

    Moses must have felt the great weight of responsibility and great heartache as he watched his generation die away and realized he brought the next generation as far as he was allowed to and no further.

    I understand Mart why you like to watch sports on TV, Mart. Put the book down and go fishing.


  17. SFDBWV says:

    Gary this may be the last time I respond to any comment you make, so try and understand what I am saying and why.

    You think that I am provoked into commenting to you.

    Of all the people here you believe we must walk the straight and narrow, but are blind to the fact that when you get derailed yourself our comments are there in order to hopefully get you back on track.

    I will agree that you are contemptible, hard headed and stubborn and your comments can cause a blunt response from me. However it may be because you can’t be anything else and unable to change.

    So when you send barbs my way, and you, I and everyone else knows when you do, it may be best for me to just ignore you and scroll down to someone else.

    I am going to leave you alone Gary so please do the same for me.


  18. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    I send word from the “polite South,” as some call it. I believe the author being discussed is a former believer, so has an axe to grind. As you point out, Steve, what the writer set out to discover — is what she discovered. If I am reading the correct reviews of the correct book/author, her research is not so thorough as the reader might hope.

    The entire world can see the decline of the massive, multi-program churches. Does this necessarily mean that faith in Jesus Christ is waning? Please brush up on Christian history enough to realize that the harder worldly forces have tried to obliterate faith, the stronger faith in Christ has become. Am not convinced the form of the church matters so much.

    It seems to me the one thing all creatures can count on is change. The form of the church has morphed over the millennia. Every appearance is that we are living at the threshold of another paradigm shift.

    Jesus said, “Many false prophets will arise and will mislead many. Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.”

    Jesus told the disciples, “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

    62F and raining in Atlanta GA.

    If anybody feels or acts like a jackass, we should pray that one also will be a Christ-bearer! =:o)


  19. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Maru, I liked your jackass comment…

    I guess you are in Atlanta for your ministry, I pray you much success.

    I thought about you last week when I read of that horrible bridge accident that killed the youth Pastor, his wife and 2(?) month old baby out in the Pacific Northwest.

    I deeply agree as well there is change in the air and my hope is to, very soon, be snatched away with all my loved ones away from the troubles of this world.

    It was 29 here this morning and cloudy.


  20. saled says:

    Some atheists have good reason for their beliefs. I had an aunt who grew up in Nazi Germany. She came to America with my uncle and raised 5 children, two who are evangelical Christians. My cousins were never able to change her mind about God, and she died an atheist about a year ago. She could not reconcile what she had witnessed as a child with the idea that there might be a God.

    I have not read the book in question, but from what Mart has told us and the reviews that I’ve read, I think her purpose was to show that Christians aren’t who they think they are. In Maru’s words from her first post: “Professing Christians sometimes lose the question in a kind of snow-job of proclaiming faith that is empty of true passion.” Snow job is a great term for it.

    My husband was raised evangelical and was brought up to believe that he would be the next Billy Sunday. But he left Bible college and has spent his life trying to figure out the truth. There are lots of examples of hypocrisy in the church people who were part of his life, but he also talks about those who were “individual people of faith who seem as real as they are respectful, considerate, and loving.” I tell him that yes, it is still possible to find people who know God within the church. But maybe it is easier to find them outside the church. Like Maru says in todays post, the church is changing.

    I guess what angers my husband about his past life in the church is the ‘snow job.’ Dangling doctrine and alleged affirmations. That was a great quote, Maru, that I had not heard before. It’s like the story about the Emperor and his new clothes. Some of those most high up in the church are naked and only the outsiders can see it.

  21. SFDBWV says:

    Saled I think you are really on to a good subject here and one that needs discussing.

    Phonies are easily exposed, the problem seems to be that most Christian people feel uncomfortable exposing them. Whereas “outsiders” have no problem calling what they see for what it is.

    Non-believers get to express what they feel inside. Believers on the other hand feel guilt in doing the same because of the concept of not judging others.

    Quick thinking people learn fast how to use this Christian reluctance in order to posture themselves in a number of selfish motives.

    You may recall years ago Mart brought up the fact that modern Israel is mostly atheistic, I defended that attitude from the experience many of her inhabitants came out of the holocaust with.

    I would never judge a person’s lack of faith from watching what they considered a total abandonment from God. Rather I feel compassion for their pain and feel assured God knows best how to judge.

    I hope it is warming up some there in Maine.


  22. jeff1 says:

    My son served in Afghanistan and when he came back he decided there was no God, when I am in pain I tend to run too God
    but you are right Steve many people who see pain and suffering run away from God, I too feel compassion for them and I believe God does too. When we don’t start judging someone because they have fallen away I believe they are more likely to come back to the faith especially when they have families of their own their hearts soften again for a new life has a way of doing that.

    Here in Ulster it is cooling down we had a lovely couple of weeks though and Easter passed peacefully so all is well.
    Thank God.

  23. poohpity says:

    I don’t think it is a Christian’s job to expose phonies the phonies expose themselves by the way they act, talk and relate to others. It seems what is truly inside a person’s heart can not be hidden it finds it’s way outside by some form or another. Even those who are experiencing self delusion or denial everyone around sees even if the person feels they are hiding it on the outside the inside finds it was out.

    For those who follow Jesus they know that He cleans out even the secret places and those people usually understand that they have such brokenness they do not spend time pointing out other peoples brokenness but hold tight to the only One who can heal those places and cling tight to the grace and mercy shown them by the all knowing God.

  24. poohpity says:

    In Matthew 23 Jesus exposed the inside of those who wanted places of honor and recognition looking good on the outside but inside they were filled with all kinds of evil. But it was Jesus who exposed them. (Matt 23:27-28 NLT; Prov 26:26 NIV)

  25. poohpity says:

    The really sad part is unless we recognize the condition of our own hearts one can go through life continually condemning, judging or criticizing others holding them to standards that we ourselves fail to live up to. So I guess the best thing to think of if a fly were on the wall in my house what would it see? That fly is Jesus so what does He see in our hearts.

  26. poohpity says:

    Search me, O God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
    Point out anything in me that offends you,
    and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

    It does not say God help me to examine other peoples heart and motives so I can tell them the nature of their wrongs because I think I can fix them because you are unable to help them.

  27. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… please reread my comment to Steve, and if I said in that comment that I deliberately provoke Steve, which I did not say, but, I did say, “when he gets provoked.”
    It is he who then acts in a certain provocative way toward me, using less than loving, many time demeaning retorts, meant to provoke me.
    His flesh just gets the better of him, his humanity shows up, and things get ugly.

    I would repeat some of the ugly he’s given me in the past, but, why did at old wounds, I’ve also forgiven him.

    We need to have this give and take here, or we completely lose the ability to express ourselves, only for our worrying how another will then react.

    The silencing of the lambs is not the purpose of this blog, as far as I can tell, everybody gets a turn to be human, or we all become silent.

    Now, I’ll go read the rest of the story, or contributions for today.
    Be Blessed,

  28. poohpity says:

    It seems when folks come on this blog out of respect for this ministry or compassion for fellow commenters fail to read the “Welcome” for the purpose of this blog or the guidelines for writing on here just to stop the ugliness and allow everyone to voice their thought on the TOPICS. Without those which are similar to the guidelines we are given in scripture on how to relate to one another it becomes chaos. Cliques develop and personalities take over where principles of mutual respect fails.

  29. remarutho says:

    Yes, am here in “Hotlanta” for a ministry meeting: Caring for God’s Creation. Many good folks have come seeking to be good stewards of what the Lord has entrusted to us.

    My hope at BTA is that each one will look at these little boxes full of words as the face, hands, heart, mind and spirit of a child of God. It is good to share a perspective on the topic at hand, and to interact with souls that seem to strike a chord in us.

    The respect piece is huge, it seems to me, as you say Pooh. We all answer the calling upon our hearts — hopefully with a healthy portion of Scripture and prayer to guide. Chaos lurks at the edges just looking for an inroad into the conversation…that old stinker Satan loves to stir the pot.

    Even we right here right now are the church — and we have God’s promise in Christ that unity and shalom surround us as we choose to honor Him in one another — in my humble opinion. Doesn’t mean we agree.

    Appreciate the affirmation, Saled.
    Traveling tomorrow after worship.


  30. bubbles says:

    jeff1: OH MY GOODNESS!!!! I am shocked!! My family is from Ulster! I have seen it on google earth and it’s a lovely place. Wow.

  31. jeff1 says:

    Yes when the sun is shining we have some spectacular views. We have some lovely golf courses Royal County Down being the top 3rd in the World. The Titanic centre for anyone into engineering is a must. Some great Restaurants and Hotels and not far from where I live we have the American Folk Park which is an outdoor museum which tells the story of emigration from Ulster to America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Would recommend and we love tourists to visit and are welcoming despite the bad press.

  32. saled says:

    Steve, maybe the problem is not that Christians feel uncomfortable exposing phonies. Maybe, as sheep, we like to follow rather than thinking for ourselves. I have heard people say that they follow the pastor because even if he is wrong, the responsibility will fall on him and not them. Which leads to this question: Does God want me to follow or think for myself? There is a quote that says, “The wind breaks the trees but only bends the grass.” Are the shepherds trees and the sheep the grass? Is this what God wants for us?

    Yes, it is warming up very slowly here in Maine. Not warm enough yet to bring the wood frogs and salamanders to the vernal pools, but soon. Our nearly 200 inches of snow from the past 3 months has disappeared from the fields and is slowly going from the woods. I raked the straw off my garlic beds this week and was happy to see tiny shoots there waiting for the sun. It’s such a relief to have winter behind us!

  33. jeff1 says:

    I think until God’s Kingdom is effective on earth we can not be sure of our roles. I have always been told to put my trust in authorities, that was what I was taught that the law was right. That trust has been turned on it’s head after the revelations of corruption at the highest level in Government and abuse in the Churches and their institutions are now raising their ugly head. What does truth look like? We have part truths but no whole truths. As prophesied no man is trustworthy only in his own eyes. We all have wrong beliefs no matter how much we think we are right, the way each of us look at life is all different so in effect we all go our own way. No way is the right way, what we have been taught is deep in our sub conscious and dying to self is the only answer. I long to be free of this body and yet it is the only one I know so God in the end has to decide.

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… Wow, my brother in Christ, when you don’t get your way, or when you feel challenged, you do strike out, and some times with showing very little restraint.

    You say…

    “Non-believers get to express what they feel inside. Believers on the other hand feel guilt in doing the same because of the concept of not judging others.”

    Yet, you also say things like this…

    “I will agree that you are contemptible, hard headed and stubborn and your comments can cause a blunt response from me. However it may be because you can’t be anything else and unable to change.”

    Perhaps sir, lest I be called a judge, it seems to me, that you can’t seem to change your ways either…

    As you have said in the past, you would ignore commenting on certain other peoples posts and to not even read them, closing your mind on them if you will, instead of ever granting them grace, you chose to go to extremes and place ultimatums, and feel you have judged correctly.

    If I recall properly, you also improperly used this venue, to personally insult and call out another here, or pooh, about your asking her to not ever email you again.

    I pray that we all can hear this, and we all can grow through hearing the hard things…

    As Maru says, “we are church,” and as Pooh says, “Sinners go to church to find forgiveness because God has placed a conviction on their heart that only God can fulfill.”

    As Steve says, “One of the earliest lessons I learned in life was if lost go back to the beginning and start over.”

    There’s a mistake about setting ultimatums, or closing your mind about others, a lesson which I learned from my Dad, was often found in stubbornly setting ultimatums.

    Then we find we’ve left no room for extending grace.

    Be Blessed, Gary

  35. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… great post.
    We are told in the word that it is God who grants authority to those who are in authority over us.
    But, that means that even Satan who has authority over some, has also been granted his leave, so we know that all authority does not represent all truth, or all righteousness, or all things.
    Accept, we know from God’s Word, which is Truth, that God’s One and Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, He has been given, “All Authority.”
    Come Jesus!
    Be Blessed, Gary

  36. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Saled, yours are good and valid thoughts this morning.

    I had looked in earlier and really didn’t have a sense of what I wanted to say and only after the early morning passed and I had my devotional time outside, what direction I wanted my comment to go in meshed perfectly with you.

    I used the term “exposing phonies” as a descriptive understanding of what the author Mart presented as doing in part of her outside observation within the “evangelic church”.

    There is a huge subject just below what I see in your questions this morning.

    Originally there was one faith with many groups. Each group had very little or no traditional followings or institutional arrangements, perhaps framed only with the letters and groundwork instituted from Paul.

    It appears that to me that each group that met together leaned on the Holy Spirit to provide leadership, following what appeared to be anointed leadership, but always watchful for evidence that the leader may not be adhering to the precepts of their faith.

    To answer your question directly, I think in any “church” each office is responsible to those it serves.

    Whereas the Pastor should be anointed from God to be the Pastor that position while held responsible to God is also to be watched over by its elders and ultimately its parishioners.

    From my understanding, we are most certainly to think for ourselves, while respecting and trusting leadership.

    To step for a moment outside of the church arena into a political one. Hitler led his country and all that followed shared in the failure and results of that leadership. Just an example of what I am trying express.

    Of course there is always the extreme circumstances that can and will occur. There will be slick talkers who will undermine the work of a pastor or an elder or others in order to positon themselves in whatever self-motivated purpose they may be seeking.

    Such people need to be exposed by a combination of all the people in the group, leaders and lay alike.

    I am getting long and to distracted, but I want to say one more thing before posting.

    It was individual thinking that led to the separation of the Roman church from the Eastern Orthodox and the establishment of the Protestant church as well.

    Was these actions the proper things to do, or was it best to have exposed the “phonies” and wait for the work of the Holy Spirit to cleanse the church?

    Thanks Saled for this morning’s thoughts.


  37. poohpity says:

    I thought it was people finally getting and reading the bible that lead to separation in the churches. Funny how that worked the first church seemed to share so much in common with just their belief in Jesus and even then there was a split caused by Judaism, those who thought they still were under the Mosaic law, subjecting new believers with something none could successfully do. (Romans 8:2-3 NIV)

  38. poohpity says:

    Gary and Steve from what I have read since both have been on here that each does exactly what one accuses the other of doing. Maybe it would be better rather than focusing on each other even when applied to the topic on other Christians focus on Jesus and the things of the flesh will grow strangely dim in light of His grace. It seems people compare themselves to each for feelings of self worth when it is the Lord who gives us worth because we are His.

  39. SFDBWV says:

    Saled what was the major disillusionment that changed your husbands leaving Bible college? I know you said it was primarily because of the “snow job”, but was it because he seen a lack of passion from his teachers or hypocrisy prevalent in the teaching?

    Having no statistics to further my curiosity I also wonder how many men drop out of the Catholic seminary?

    I do hope your husband has found peace in his life long quest.

    200 inches of snow is quite a snow job of its own. Our past season to date has only produced 95 inches, just below our normal average of 108. However it was an exceptionally cold winter here.


  40. SFDBWV says:

    Before leaving for the remainder of the day, I did want to express my deep sympathy and extend my prayers to the many thousands of people affected by that horrible earthquake in Nepal.

    I don’t recall this many deaths from any earthquake in memory. Even killing 17 on Mt Everest as it shook and had landslides from the quake.


  41. fadingman says:

    Not being familiar with the book, it seems this woman was seeking an experience, but not truth. It was like going to a zoo and seeing a variety of animals. She saw different kinds of Christians, but there was no awareness that some were closer to Christ than others. By her subjective feelings, she saw some were more ‘real’, but she didn’t make the connection that they were like Christ. She was comparing believers with believers or with herself.

    Again, I haven’t read the book, so maybe I’m wrong.

  42. joycemb says:

    My thoughts also fadingman and to take your thoughts a step further am wondering if true Christlikeness can only really be observed while under persecution? I’ve been through the ‘bubble’ of a Christian college as we used to call it and although it can be very nurturing for all, and a foretaste, if you will of heaven, an outsider could love it or leave it, quite easily I think. For myself I did not want to leave the rich atmosphere of learning. Am thinking too that the authors mind was made up when she went undercover. We have no reason to be ashamed or feel guilty about our lives in the Body. Our enemy’s job is to try to detract and entice defection from the Kingdom. Mart your unease is heartfelt but a lie! Your work here is to strengthen the saints. A lot of us here did not have the upbringing you had and you are years ahead of most as far as teaching us about Gods love and grace. Even though at times you actually startle me with you love and patience my hat is off to you for putting yourself put there to be used by God. Thank you Mart and ODB ministry.
    (Guess I’ve answered my first question myself). In spite of the persecution here that we do to one another Christ’s face is always here. Like Sushako stepping on the image of Christ in the novel Silence, Jesus is ever patient and faithful to the elect.

  43. poohpity says:

    I was thinking that the flesh looks, judges and condemns flesh. Looking at the church through the eyes of Jesus without condemnation but in seeing their need of Him and His gracious mercy. So whether some seem to not resemble their Savior while others may but knowing that God does not give up on taking us through the process of becoming more like Him. We have not made it yet so maybe being real and acknowledging that there is much work to be done it will no longer look like the twi-light zone but a bunch of light seekers.

  44. jeff1 says:

    A Prayer for Peace

    Our Father, up in heaven,
    hear this fervent prayer:
    May the people of all nations
    be united in thy care,
    For earth’s peace and man’s salvation
    can come only by thy grace
    And not through bombs and missiles
    and our quest for outer space…
    For until all men recognise
    that “the battle is the Lord’s”
    And peace on earth cannot be won
    with strategy and swords,
    We will go on vainly fighting,
    as we have in ages past,
    Finding only empty victories
    and a peace that cannot last…
    But we’ve grown so rich and mighty
    and so arrogantly strong,
    We no longer ask in humbleness-
    “God, show us where we’re wrong”…
    We have come to trust completely
    in the power of man-made things,
    Unmindful of God’s mighty power
    and that He is “King of Kings”…
    We have turned our eyes away from Him
    to go our selfish way,
    And money, power and pleasure
    are the gods we serve today…
    And the good green earth God gave us
    to peacefully enjoy,
    Through greed and fear and hatred
    we are seeking to destroy…
    Oh, Father, up in heaven,
    stir and wake our sleeping souls,
    Renew our faith and lift us up
    and give us higher goals,
    And grant us heavenly guidance
    as war threatens us again
    Far, more than guided missiles,
    all the world needs guided men.

  45. phpatato says:

    I agree Fadingman with what you said. With just a brief summary of what Mart posted, and without knowing the book title or author name, we can only speculate. It’s like going into the dark with a flashlight whose batteries are just about to die. Without much light we can only guess as to what we see. And as Steve said, it seems she went with a certain mindset and was looking for only what her mind was set to find.

    One should never underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit though. If there is even a small spot of good soil for a seed from one of those “real” Christians to drop and fall into, I have no doubts that the Holy Spirit will find “waterers” to nurture that seed to sprout. This book is well able to have another chapter added to it. As they say, it’s not over until it is over.


  46. joycemb says:

    Prayer need for my 11 year old step granddaughter who is in the hospital after 6 days of high fever, bloody diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. All test results so far have been negative, more tests being done but results won’t come back until Tuesday. Thank you.

  47. street says:

    dear steve i remember 2 earthquakes, each on the day after Christmas. one killed 40,000 in Bam Iran. the other killed over 200,000 around the Indian Ocean. i have not forgot them.

  48. poohpity says:

    Joyce, I will be praying for your little granddaughter and her parents.

  49. poohpity says:

    There was also the tsunami in Japan which was the result of a earthquake that killed 18,000

  50. SFDBWV says:

    Street of course you are correct, earthquakes in Iran, Turkey, and the sea floor earthquake that produced the tsunami far out eclipse the disaster in Nepal.

    I guess I let current compassion fog up my memory, thanks for the wake up.

    28 degrees and heading to 27 before the sun comes up here beneath a star filled sky.


  51. SFDBWV says:

    Joyce that sounds very scary for you granddaughter. Of course we will be praying for her full and total recovery.


  52. SFDBWV says:

    I sometimes wonder if many of us come into Christianity like Mart’s author. With preconceived ideas.

    When our expectations aren’t met, we begin to question our faith and through questions continue to see Christianity through slanted vision.

    As is often expressed the Bible gives a historical picture of people who are chosen by God for a purpose, yet have lots of character flaws. We get to see them in all of their *nakedness*. Why do we think people have changed?

    The higher educated are considered to be above superstition. Yet I am willing to bet that most of them harbor their own personal quirks of superstition.

    Many choose to perhaps believe in *something* beyond our senses, but refrain from surrendering to many of the world’s offering of religions.

    The higher educated Christian is often looked down upon from unbelievers of an equal intellectual level and like the less educated Christian under the microscope of human observation awaiting some flaw that can be used or seen as a failure to being Christian.

    This book and its author is really just another attack against Christ and His rag tag group of misfits that need His help.

    We all have flaws and we all trip over ourselves from time to time. We all want to do better, but too often see our failures as something other than just being *human*.

    What did we think would immediately happen when we accepted Jesus as Lord? What do we think should be present in the lives of others other than the same failings we each have?

    Satan wants us to feel as if we have failed and more importantly as Jesus has failed us. He will use every half-truth in life to try and convince us of that. Yet while we struggle Jesus already knows our struggle and already has forgiven our weakness and loves us anyway.

    Never give up on someone you think is lost, keep loving them and praying for them as this is what I believe Jesus does for us all and wants us to do as well.


  53. jeff1 says:

    Thinking how God is on the inside looking out. I need to get alone with God to see me in my true colours. My son keeps telling me how I keep making excuses and I sometimes realize how right he is, instead of asking myself why, in case I don’t like the answer I avoid issues. I need to be honest with God because it is me who has issues. I keep asking God why this and why that but I never really ask Him the question that bothers me most and that is what do you love about me God, as a matter of fact what do you love about mankind that you sent your only son to such an horrific death for us.
    I realize why I do not ask this question and that is because there are mysteries about God that I will never understand and that is one. When I look at the real me and people like me I know God got it right for I could never love God like He loved me. My capacity to love God is limited, limited by my expectations of what love is to me and love to me is conditional I give love I expect love in return but God’s love is unconditional which is why I cannot understand it.
    How can I understand something that is not within me to understand. I believe that is why God told me to focus on Christ and His teaching so that I would in turn focus on his Grace and not look to understand a love which is beyond my feeble thinking. Focusing on the Cross is what keeps me going in the faith otherwise I become doubtful and confused. I doubt God could love me without conditions and the confusion sets in. That is not to say that it is right for everyone but not being a Biblical reader it is what works for me. Knowing myself is important to my walk with God for when I am honest with God then trust develops.

  54. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA —

    Prayers going up for your granddaughter, Joyce. Hoping the Drs find the cause of these troubling symptoms and a way to treat her. Home to 52F and clouds — sunshine forecast today.

    My best thought on “Outside In and Inside Out” is that our young author, by using deception and claiming conversion to faith in Jesus, may have taken on more than she can ultimately hold at arm’s length. Perhaps those believers she found “as real …respectful, considerate, and loving,” may have planted the smallest seed in her heart and mind. Maybe not. This is a “rest of my life” issue.

    The topic makes me think of Simon Magus (Acts 8:9-24), who deeply desired the power of the Holy Spirit — and was willing to pay the apostles money for it. Though the Bible does not say Simon came to real faith in Jesus, many writers outside the Scriptures have continued to consider his story and the outcome of it.

    Lord, may this young author experience the presence of the risen Christ — and may she receive the Holy Spirit in truth. Amen.

    Joy all day,

  55. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day all… I ponder now that we have put all Christians into one of two groups, dividing the house if you will, one higher educated and the other less educated, let’s actually search the scriptures about what God’s Word actually says about each group we feel compelled to label or bring to light, in this current discussion.

    God must have an opinion which we can without any doubt confirm through educating ourselves by just reading His uncontested and most learned word.

    1 Corinthians 1:25,26,27,28,29,30

    Matthew 11:25,26,27,28,29, 30

    Now, you can tell God which group you want to be in….

    Be Blessed, Gary

  56. SFDBWV says:

    Viv it may be that most of us have been where your son is.

    Here in the USA the state of Missouri’s unofficial motto is “Show me”, which means if you want me to believe it prove it.

    A well-known American actor and ex-professional wrestler, Jesse Ventura, has been quoted as saying Christian’s are weak and make excuses by using their faith as a crutch.

    I think he is closer to the truth than his intended insult. We are weak and need the help of God in every aspect of our lives, but we recognize it and God becomes our crutch in aiding our walk through this life.

    Once again people outside the faith are always looking for ways to discredit or test those within.

    For some, probably like your son, it is a hidden cry directed towards God for “help” in order to believe.

    The help will come, the answers will come, God is faithful.

    Just from my own attempts to understand things Viv, I believe God feels responsible for our being and no matter what the issue He is going to love us and do whatever it takes to spiritually and eternally save us from destruction.

    This step and stage of our being, living here in this world is part of the process God takes us through. There may be a huge connection between the sufferings we do here in this life compared against the joy awaiting us in His future time, at least I hope that is true.

    My faith isn’t an excuse, it is my hope.


  57. poohpity says:

    Yes Mart, the world she stepped into was very much our own little world inside the church. She went into the church for a story about those inside but I think if she really wanted a story about the church she might have gone outside to witness those who have given their lives to share what they learned from the inside. Those who risk their lives to feed, shelter, clothe and house those less fortunate or help those who have experienced/ experiencing prison, addiction or abuse.

    It seems the majority of those who follow Christ go into a church for learning and corporate worship but the results from that they go outside to do what they have learned so maybe if she wanted to get a clearer picture of Christ followers she needed to go outside.

    It seems that those stuck inside not just the church building because it can become some what of a social club, with social clubs often outsiders are not welcome nor feel they belong especially if they do not dress, act and look the same, but on a whole people who say they know Christ and refer to themselves as the body(church) are not very accepting of those outside of that culture. That is the very opposite of what believers are called to do.

  58. poohpity says:

    I did a little research this morning comparing the deaths found in natural disasters and those inflicted by human to human. Now this is just genocide not containing in these figures are rapes, murders, emotional abuse, child abuse, martial abuse, physical abuse, etc.. The number of just genocide alone is 24,000,000 low estimate to 100,000,000 the majority of which has happened in the 20th century. This is what humans do to humans from the evil that is inside. So when someone would blame God for the natural disaster who are they going to blame for how we treat each other. That seems more like what happens when there is an absence of God.

  59. jeff1 says:

    Yes Steve I believe to accept that God is in control of everything then I have to accept that suffering is necessary now, for the benefit of the Kingdom. It is God that is all knowing we have part truths so we have to trust God with the whole truth. Being part of this world and longing for a different one is always going to be difficult especially as today is no different than in Jesus’s day evil is just as real. We don’t struggle any different that our forefathers did in Biblical days but I do find that hard to accept because the world has had a long time since Christ was crucified and ascended to Heaven and you would expect men would become more civilised. I guess that is just wishful thinking on my part for God knew it wouldn’t happen like that or Biblical Scholars would not be able to relate the end times to Biblical prophecies. You said that some of us may come into Christianity with pre-conceived ideas. I did I believed that I had to keep the commandments but when I failed to do it I turned to Christ. That is why we all have a different journey because we are coming from different perspectives to begin with but I put my trust in God because He has saved me from myself because I was brought up to know better but listened to false teachers so when you know it was of your own doing then you have no one else to blame but yourself.

    Gary you say that we have put Christians into two groups the educated and uneducated. I take it that you mean by that one group are Biblically educated and the other is not. Do you believe that God only judges people on their knowledge of the Bible or do you think that how they lead their life may be just as important? I was brought up with very religious people Gary and they could quote me Chapter and Verse yet its usually the Chapter and Verse that suits their preconceived ideas. Those who believe in taking their own form of justice will quote an eye for an eye as their authority and forget the Chapters that say otherwise. Anyone whose heart is not in the right place can come away from the Bible having taken what they want from it and that happens a lot in my neck of the woods. I am not against the Bible but if like me you had listened to different denominations all with very different interpretations you would wonder how they came to their conclusions. I do not want to be like them, I would much rather focus on the Cross that as saved me which in turn makes me want to be a better person.

  60. poohpity says:

    This is a reflection of someone inside the church that has gone outside into the world to share what he experienced.

    With the craziness of the world’s tragic events, earthquake in Nepal, volcano in Chile, unrest worldwide….all we can do is pray and thank God that one day all this pain from the evil one will stop, and thank Him for Heaven. In the meantime we are to stand in the gap in pray and shine His light and love. This little boy, with no arms and missing half a leg, sobbed and wept after being brave enough in front of hundreds asking me how did i overcome bullying at school. My heart broke. That’s when I asked him to come up on stage in South Africa…he cried and cried and I did my best to encourage him and this is while I was praying over him and for him. If we all could be a true friend to someone, praying and encouraging one person somehow, that’s a first step in being part of making the world a better place. Nick Vujicic

    Nick goes out in the world born with no arms or legs spreading what he has experienced in the loving arms of our Savior.

  61. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… isn’t it just like our God to use a man without arms, knowing that he’s used by God to give a huge hug to so many more than we will ever know.

  62. oneg2dblu says:

    God is using Nick today, to be the Hands, and Feet, and Mouth of Christ to so many.

  63. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… I was trying to compartmentalize which group we each thought we would fit into, after reading these words,

    “The higher educated Christian is often looked down upon from unbelievers of an equal intellectual level
    (is that intellectual or spiritual thinking)

    and like the less educated Christian under the microscope of human observation awaiting some flaw that can be used or seen as a failure to being Christian.”

    Perhaps it is the higher intellect of man that often looks down on the higher things of God.

    And, in the also ran category, or the less educated, that is already held lower in standing according to the intellect of man, that searches for the flaws in man, so he can deny the spiritual gifts given by God.

    Things like the gift of prophesy, surely a conflict to the higher intellects among us, who would deny they even exist today.

    Even the “show me crowd,” would not be played into by Christ, who knew that even those who asked, and would witness miracles, would still not be able to believe.

    So, quoting the word may seem useless, but, faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God.

  64. poohpity says:

    There is nothing wrong with someone being intelligent or having an education or people who lack intelligence or education because either one can display behaviors that turn people away from Christ. That has nothing to do with anything. What does have an impact is people speaking “as if” they know facts, the Lord or people when they do not. One can fool some of the people some of the time but one can not fool all the people all the time. It is about being open, honest and real. The lady who wrote this was sharing what she observed and it would be nice if it spurred us as believers to really pay attention to our own behaviors and are we acting on what we say we believe. This type of thing gives us reason to look more in the mirror and take a personal inventory but those who are afraid of looking in the mirror find they must constantly do quality control of others because it seems so much easier.

    2 Cor 13:5 NLT It does not say examine others.

  65. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon All —

    Am wondering about the whole inside out and outside in dynamic in such an undertaking as the book in discussion. This young author has acted in bad faith. Am wondering whether the effort has produced a piece of investigative research — or merely a memoir. The flawed foundation of the work may be producing your sense of unreality. Mart, you wrote:

    “Sometimes I put down the book feeling like I’ve been in a twi-light zone, and need to try to find my way back to myself— and maybe moreso… to others.”

    Bad faith on this person’s part cannot not spoil the friendships you have in Christ, Mart. There are many, many people who choose honesty and truth over gain — and faith over any sense of triumph of knowledge or understanding.

    We can pray for this young woman. It is the best we can offer the Lord and her. Jesus knows her heart and knows exactly what it takes to bring her to Himself. What seems chiseled in stone can be swept away in a moment when God moves.


  66. joycemb says:

    Well said Maru.

  67. poohpity says:

    I know how Mart felt when I expressed a few weeks ago from reading what others write on this bog I felt like I was in the twi-light zone too. Sometimes I have to take a step back as well because I can get caught up in the madness reacting to what is being said rather than looking at people through the eyes and heart of Jesus. Getting in touch with that rather than in hate, cliques and ugliness often shared. I think that is what Mart was saying.

  68. remarutho says:

    Am chuckling, Pooh, since I cannot tell whether you purposely left the “l” out of blog — “bog” or not. What a hoot either way! Sometimes I also feel as though things get bogged down at BTA — the topic can’t keep its head above the ooze — blub, blub, blub…


  69. SFDBWV says:

    I agree Maru BTA gets “bogged down” on nearly every topic.

    After all how many ways can one describe something that soon begins to sound not only repetitive but difficult to listen to?

    In the hay-day of my observation of BTA the subject changed every 3 days or so, but put Mart in a very strained position of coming up with interesting subject matter for our dissection.

    Hidden within our conversations are always other subject matter that can be explored and Mart has often stated he enjoys how the conversation can take on a life of its own.

    The problem though is that people get nasty and pick at others for a host of reasons.

    I think, like this woman found in her exposé, that any good thing will come under attack until it is either defended successfully or destroyed totally.

    I read of riots in Baltimore this morning; very sad as so many people of all races have worked for so long to heal past mistakes to only see them repeated by thugs bent on chaos and evil doing.

    It is up to us to either allow our little community here to be destroyed or cleanse it and be healed.

    Or move away.

    35 degrees this morning under partly cloudy skies.


  70. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    The Good News is still the best news ever! Have been reading about Paul, Silas and the others in Philippi. If you think about it for a moment, they were “strangers in a strange land.” The only thing the folks there had in common with Paul’s mission team was the hateful Roman occupation of the entire region. Outsiders came in — and insiders went out.

    Have forgotten who first said it, but I rely on the saying, “If the water is muddy, jump in because you’re in the right place.” Things are seldom crystal clear in the church. There have always been people-issues in the work of the Gospel.

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


  71. jeff1 says:

    I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. That to me means that Christ’s death on the Cross is what saves me not MY words, actions or beliefs. If I am honest with myself while I may behave correctly some of the time I am as human as the unbeliever in that I criticize, judge, lack patience and love for my enemies. The guilt I feel is a heart convicted for failing to meet God’s commands. If I am honest I have nothing to give God, it is He who gave His life for mine. Man and religions have changed the Gospel causing a falling away from institutionalised religions by the younger generation. Nothing happens that God did not already know for Biblical prophecy speaks of many’s love growing cold. God is still at work in the world today even through people who would claim otherwise. Modern man is not a respector of God but likewise God is not a respector of men. The gospel is simple but man in his wisdom has complicated it. God does what He has to do because man fails to do what he should do, walk HUMBLY with the Lord.

  72. oneg2dblu says:

    First the good news… we can by faith, believe that anyone trying to prove the false premise of Christianity, who engulfs themselves in that Evangelical muddy water, they have been immersed in the word of God, which never comes up avoid, and they has been exposed to the truth in the hearing of that word, and faith comes by that very vehicle.

    Having said that, it can also be rejected, just as many of us have rejected it in our old man living.

    Then, the rest of the story, we in this church, the blog, also hear truth, and many here also hear what is missing in that truth.

    But, if we add to it, or express another opinion, we then become the next topic of discord among the church her.

    My case in point is this… both pooh and Steve, craftily left the “I” quotient out of there almost true statements about behaviors displayed here.

    We all get a chance at being human here, and for that, as hard as it can be to hear, I praise Mart for allowing the topic to take on a life of its own.

    Once that stops, the silencing of the lambs will become the standard for the blog police, who now stand down and let expression, opinion, even some ugly behaviors seep into the muddy waters.


  73. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I totally agree with what your one verse says, and what your one verse does not say.
    But, that one verse alone is not the full story told in the scriptures about how a Christian is to act, or does it give license to make discerning judgments about the church and the people in it who are wrongly taught, acting inappropriately, or falsely following the herd there contained, because of certain Denominational followings, or Doctrines that can be challenged by the rest of the word.

    Like you personally always say, (using my selected words), unless one knows the entire word of God they probably should not voice anything.

    Yet, today you claim, it makes no difference whether one is well educated or not.

    “There is nothing wrong with someone being intelligent or having an education or people who lack intelligence or education because either one can display behaviors that turn people away from Christ.”

    I would like to add to your words, another thought…

    “Either one can display behaviors that turn people away from Christ, or they can be used by God, to turn people toward Christ as well.

    That would be more in tune with the rest of the story.

    Let us all take rest in it.

    God can use anything for His Purposes.
    Be Blessed,

  74. poohpity says:

    Steve, Mart has never enjoyed the topic going off topic. In fact when the discussion stays on topic he will come on and say good discussion. He has said that sharing the weather where we are was a nice addition or the prayers for each other but not even once has he ever given any positive reinforcement to taking the topic into the twi-light zone ever. Being the person that he is usually reinforcing the good. The guidelines are the same for every place on ODB ministries when there is human interaction so why would he support breaking the guidelines of this ministry that is simply ludicrous and defeating the very purpose and goals of what BTA was meant for.

  75. poohpity says:

    The only people who feel it is OK seems to be the ones who do it repeatedly over and over again under every topic. Just from observation it seems to be those who “do not understand” where Mart is leading us to think about so they change the subject/direction or cause strife and division or start an attack on personalities.

  76. jeff1 says:

    Gary your post April 27 2.58 pm

    I was trying to compartmentalize which group we each thought we would fit into, after reading these words.

    The higher educated Christian is often looked down upon from unbelievers of an equal intellectual level

    I do not like to compartmentalize for I do not believe that God stereotypes but sees us as individuals for we are individuals. When Scientists discovered DNA they discovered that not two people have the same DNA. God sees us as individuals and not as a pack. We run with the pack on this earth but in God’s eyes we are individuals with different personalities, and gifts. God knows each of our Characters our strengths and our weaknesses and uses us accordingly. I was born into a class, culture and creed and unless I have left my roots for reasons known to myself and God I die in that same class, culture and creed. When God takes me into the Kingdom I no longer belong to a pack, I am his completely.

  77. joycemb says:

    65 years young today! Praising God for His goodness to me all these difficult years of my life! God is good!

  78. jeff1 says:

    Many happy returns of the day Joyce, I am sure you don’t look a day over 60! which is my age. A few lines of a poem I am enjoying!

    For everything God ever made
    Is always resurrected;
    So trust God’s all-wise wisdom
    And doubt the Father never,
    For in His Heavenly Kingdom
    There is nothing lost forever.

    What comforting words this is when I find myself somewhat alone with my thoughts and cares that God has everything in hand.

  79. joycemb says:

    Thank you Viv! Yes I will celebrate alone as usual but am so joyful for the fact that I know Whom I have believed and am fully persuaded that He is able to keep me until the day He returns! Joyce

  80. remarutho says:

    Happy Birthday Joyce!

    Hope you receive a special blessing on your special day!


  81. joycemb says:

    Thank you Maru,
    Knowing Jesus is the greatest blessing I have EVER received, and He is enough.

  82. poohpity says:

    Happy Birthday Joyce!

  83. joycemb says:

    Thank you Pooh!

  84. cbrown says:

    Happy Birthday Joyce! Chris

  85. oneg2dblu says:

    joyce… happy birthday to you.
    I can almost see the light all those candles on your cake.
    If I know anything, about anything, You my sister in Christ, are never alone.
    Praise God

  86. oneg2dblu says:

    the word from got lost in my editing. :0

  87. joycemb says:

    Thank you Chris and Gary :-)

  88. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… Imagine a world where the only class, culture, and creed that exists, is expressed by truth, having only joy and light, to show its very existence.
    Then, Imagine it exists inside you already.

  89. poohpity says:

    Aren’t we all one in Christ Jesus? Gender does not matter, race does not matter, culture does not matter, nationality does not matter, what does matter is we are members of a family that brings us all together for the same goal. Gal 3:28

  90. poohpity says:

    John 17:11

  91. jeff1 says:

    While we are on this earth we do have to live as individuals, and we could not survive in a solitaire environment so we share it with those of the same culture and creed. That is where we face the difficulties of life and come across what Christ came across while He was on this earth, prejudice, hatred, division, wars. Our Daily Journey tells us Paul’s motivation for sharing the Gospel was out of love. I think I would find it hard today to find someone like Paul. I would say my motivation is fear of God having failed to obey his commands. There is no doubt in my mind that those like Paul will be the overcomer’s in a world that has forgotten God.
    I was speaking to a Roman Catholic and she said to me that the younger Catholics were not attending mass after learning of abuse from Priests in the Church. They do not want to listen to Preachers who do not practice what they preach and I cannot blame them. While I take her point (the Catholic I was speaking to) that you go there to worship God I would prefer to worship God through prayer, devotional reading and praise than listen to false teachers. My reason is of course that I have been there myself and know the consequences of false teaching. As individuals we take a stand for Christ but in a world that is much more focused on Science and technology than in God our efforts are God focused but we are not making much of an affect on a wayward world. This is the job for Governments and unless we have Leaders who are looking to God for guidance then the truth is we are doomed.
    That is this world is doomed, so is God happy to take his followers from this world rather than to change it, it seems to me that is what God does, if Moses himself did not enter the Promised Land because of failing God can I really expect too since I have failed myself! While we are on this earth we are all in the same boat, believers or unbelievers, for as I see it your believer today could be your unbeliever tomorrow and vice versa. There are many finding God but unfortunately there are many turning away from God. Does my motives matter to God? I am being honest with God that my motives are not as pure as others of faith! I am uncertain as to whether that pleases God or not? It seems to me that honesty is important between God and myself even if it goes against me, lying to others is one thing but I have searched my heart and soul when I go before God in an effort to be truthful to Him. This is because my greatest fear of all is that I do not please
    Him for there are times when I feel so very close to God or else I feel so very far away, there is not in between for me!

  92. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    I must agree with you Vivien. Each one who has a real sense that the Creator God exists, and that we are created to please Him, goes before the Lord realizing what is inside us is already known. Often, I too feel I have been a poor servant and must confess and repent. As you said:

    “It seems to me that honesty is important between God and myself even if it goes against me, lying to others is one thing but I have searched my heart and soul when I go before God in an effort to be truthful to Him. This is because my greatest fear of all is that I do not please Him for there are times when I feel so very close to God or else I feel so very far away, there is not in between for me!”

    Those who know God exists and loves each one of us must find a way to seek His cleansing within and then express our gratitude and love for God in Christ in outward ways that show forth God’s glory. When our outward witness is unworthy , the time has come to return to the Source and ask for the infilling of the Holy Spirit to guide and protect.

    This inside out and outside in rhythm is the walk of faith, it seems to me. All we can do is put one foot in front of the other, trusting Jesus all the way.

    Joy all day,

  93. cbrown says:

    I have just had a Glory Hallelujah!moment after reading this mornings”Our Daily Bread”. ” Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:16)”and add Hebrews 11:6
    “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”

  94. cbrown says:

    Maru,I was writing when I should have been reading your post.

  95. poohpity says:

    I saw this this morning, “We will never change the world by going to church. We will only change the world by being the church.” United as one is cause, purpose and goals. Taking what has happened inside of us to those outside.

  96. oneg2dblu says:

    What church are we to show the world other than this one?
    Matthew 16:16,17,18.
    The Kingdom is not built upon any foundations laid by man, but those which are already built by God.
    Be Blessed, Gary

  97. narrowpathseeker says:

    Jeff1 ….Your honesty is BEAUTIFUL!!! Steve, Regina, Joyce, Pat, Maru, Gary, and so many others here have that one thing in common also…HONESTY…Honesty is HEALING…when I come here and read a mind boggling deceptive post, I have to leave before I lose my peace and my last meal.. When I come back and read one such as yours….I find it soothing and it produces peace, joy, and a sense of brother/sisterhood. Even if there are things I don’t agree with in some of those honest and humble collective messages, I still feel the Love of Christ oozing from those posts and I thank each of you.

  98. poohpity says:

    Gary, I think the church that Jesus was speaking about in those verses is the one that believes in Jesus and His identity. Isn’t that what Peter was confessing? When one has that kind of faith in Jesus it effects every area of life, they act on what they believe(being the church).

  99. foreverblessed says:

    What a hard topic. Mart’s uneasiness I feel too. So many things that do not work well in a christian community. But yet, it is God who disciplines each person. It is His job.

    I agree with what Pat wrote, and Maru, leave it to God to touch the heart of this woman. A small seed of truth of a few honoust christians is sown. God bless that seed. and make it grow.

    This topic started on April 24.
    And the next day, the God calling had a very profound message: bless one another, especially the ones you are in disharmony with. Bless, and leave the correction to God, the Holy Spirit will discipline the other, (and me).
    It is also noted that the thing that bothers you in others is exactly the thing that still is within yourself. So if I do get irritated by a certain behavior of someone else, I can see that it is something in myself I have to work at, or rather, ask the Holy Spirit to work in me. It is therefore very very good to bless the other, in that you cover evil with good. Also the evil in yourself.

    What would our blog look like if we would obey this command of Jesus?:

    April 25 , God calling by twolisteners

    Say often, “God bless . . . ,” of any whom you find in disharmony with you, or whom you desire to help. Say it, willing that showers of blessings and joy and success may fall upon them.

    Leave to Me that necessary correcting or training; you must only desire joy and blessing for them. At present your prayers are that they should be taught and corrected.

    Oh! If My children would leave My work to Me and occupy themselves with the task I give them. Love, love, love. Love will break down all your difficulties. Love will build up all your successes.

    God the destroyer of evil, God the creator of good — is Love. To Love one another is to use God in your life. To use God in your life is to bring into manifestation all harmony, beauty, joy, and happiness.

    “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you,
    do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which
    despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

  100. foreverblessed says:

    But I should be honoust myself, I grew up in a very closed church.
    Socially a world apart from the rest, very inward looking.
    I had a good life in it, till my eyes were opened, and saw what was wrong:
    Jesus was not the center of the church, it was the head of the church who preached the Law. The Law was the center.
    So I had lived in a Old Covenant Church.
    And there I started my journey into what is the New Covenant.
    I do understand Jeff1, who says she can’t read the bible, I had the same problem, as soon as I would read I would see the Old Covenant interpretation again.I began reading christian books who explained bible verses, in the light of Grace.
    The book of Andrew Murray, the two covenants was very helpful too.

    The things I want to say is this, that I became critical. A lot of my critique was right, but you get in a critical mode, and I would say, it is a Spirit of criticism that takes over. Would I have obeyed Jesus command to bless right from the beginning when my eyes were opened, that critical spirit would not have taken me over. So I had to take the hard road,

    But here it is the Holy Spirit, He will work out within us, when we keep looking to God, and hold on to Him in faith.
    It is the New Covenant, God not only does His part of the Covenant, He also ensures that He does our part in us, when we yield to Him in faith,

    This woman has a critical spirit, and God bless her, as He did with me, and freed me from it.
    Now that message of blessing is deep within my heart:
    Matt 5:44

  101. jeff1 says:

    Its like you are telling my story foreverblessed, every so often that critical spirit creeps up on me and I long to be free of it but struggle to do so! It is easy for me to find reasons to be critical of my enemy for they have done violent deeds but it is not where I want to be for I want God to work in me. Living in an environment where there is still much hatred and prejudice also makes it difficult. I am not trying to make excuses for myself but I am telling it like it is! That is why I have found this blog so good for me to explain how I feel without being told to wise up or the other response I get is that I am too soft for my own good which I know is not so. I can be hard hearted when required but what I see as being supportive, others say I am being soft. Peoples attitude in the world today is that its a difficult world so you have to be tough to survive in it.
    Since the world has moved away from God then there is truth in that and there is where the difficulties lye. The unbelievers will say if God is in control how come the world is so tough. They fail to see that it is man’s selfishness that is at fault and since I myself struggle with the same selfishness I do not see myself in any position to judge any man. What I do see however is that man is very quick to judge me! That is why I am reluctant to call myself a Christian these days, I would rather call myself a believer for when you call yourself a Christian then unbelievers have very unrealistic expectations of you! I am so glad to hear foreverblessed that you feel free now from a critical spirit, I long to be too and will not give up on being so, God help me!

  102. oneg2dblu says:

    foreverblessed… your post is directed to the fallen humanity that lingers in us all.
    It is part of our DNA, to be born with and have a critical nature, all part of the possessiveness of the me, myself, and I mindset.
    I do not think that anyone who reads that will disagree.

    That may be the common denominator with why those INSIDE the church, the church that is run by man, is blamed for failings the world, and why those OUTSIDE the church are also equally blamed with the failings of the world.
    Each side pointing a selfish finger, some toward God, and others toward mankind.

    We, being Followers of Christ should have within us, the ability to see the whole picture, as we explain everything we see as being, God is in Control.

    But, how about those times that we being human, “excuse our wrong motives,” and refuse to take any responsibility for ourselves?

    Why then do we point a finger while knowing well that God does not ever force Himself upon anyone, all the while leaving us to decide who we will serve, or follow?

    Also, knowing well we are as the word says just like sheep in need of a Shepherd, unless we are already following one?

    Because, We all tend to Wander…

    Be Blessed, Gary

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