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Living with Imagination

B - 1 (1)bbWhile watching a PGA golf match on television the other day, I caught an interview with the professional who, at that point, was on top of the leader board. When he was asked, “Do you have a strategy for what it’s going to take to handle the pressure and win this tournament?”, I expected him to say something like, “Going to have to keep focused, stay in the moment, play one shot at a time, and not worry about what others are doing.”

But the player caught my attention with a slightly different approach. While probably echoing the counsel of a sports psychologist, he said something that had it’s own sense of inner spirituality. Something like, “I need to stay focused on the truth of what I know—the lie of my ball, the distance to the hole, the club I need, and where my ball needs to land to set up the next shot. More than once he mentioned thinking about what is true.

His words acknowledge what we all know. It’s easy to get distracted by our imagination rather than using it to advance the truth of who we are, and what we are here to be and do.

Being so inclined to get ahead of myself—to worry about what might happen; or to lag behind the challenges of the present moment— reliving past mistakes, over and over, obsessing on what I can’t fix or control, I found the answer of a professional golfer life-like enough to be helpful.

It’s for some of these very reasons that, like life itself, golf has been described as one more game that is often won or lost— not on the ground of play, but between the ears.

The interview got me wondering. What does it take to focus on what we know is true— about ourselves, our God, and others, that can release the imagination of our minds—and hearts— for something far greater than a round of golf?

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171 Responses to “Living with Imagination”

  1. poohpity says:

    Knowing what is true. My that alone would ease so much for people especially when our balls lie in the ruff. Listening to imaginations founded in what is between the ears has lead to all kinds of distortions, philosophies, opinions and perspectives that often time have a shade of what is true but only just enough to get carried away into the twilight zone. Sometimes I wonder if the human race would much rather stay in that ruff because it is safe, all they know, and when the truth is found out they may have to change how they approach God, others and life.

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Mart, you wrote:
    “His (the pro-golfer’s) words acknowledge what we all know. It’s easy to get distracted by our imagination rather than using it to advance the truth of who we are, and what we are here to be and do.”

    Those who are of this world naturally cling tightly to the memories of the past and the fear of the future! Agree with you, Pooh, that we have supernatural freedom to reach for the best possible course of events — excellence in building on the “foundation which is laid” by God — that is Jesus. (1 Cor 3:11)

    Bottom line on holding fast to the truth of God’s sovereignty and power:

    We do not need to hide out from the fray. If the water is swirling and muddy, wade in! You’re in the right place. The blessed Holy Spirit can do His best work when faithful believers show up and simply speak the truth of Christ in love.

    Our Lord says:
    “Strange things will happen to the sun, moon, and stars. The nations on earth will be afraid of the roaring sea and tides, and they won’t know what to do. People will be so frightened that they will faint because of what is happening to the world. Every power in the sky will be shaken. Then the Son of Man will be seen, coming in a cloud with great power and glory…

    Then, the best part of what He says is this:

    “When all of this starts happening, stand up straight and be brave. You will soon be set free.” (Luke 21:25-28)

    Blessings all day,

  3. poohpity says:

    To follow what you said Maru; God told Jeremiah “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.(Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT) Believing in what is true but there are those who are not acquainted with what is true, yet and rely more on the imagination rather than the reality. Placing confidence in the things that are true rather than old wives tales, restrictive folk lore, superstitions or traditions.

  4. joycemb says:

    “Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought”. Oh to be like these trees! “In God we trust” which is still imprinted on our money in the US. Should be our anthem as Christians too, not allowing the ‘temperature’ of the climate to detract us from our God-given mission to love and serve one another. Still learning here, but God is faithful!

  5. SFDBWV says:

    I have to assume Mart that you also play golf as well as watch it on TV.

    One thing that comes across watching other people play golf is that the people who are watching along with the players are silent, even the announcers whisper as they make comment as the golfer prepares to putt, tee off or make their shot.

    The noise of others breaks their concentration and agitates their mental condition as they “play the game” in their head.

    Unfortunately even in this venue there are plenty of distractions and noise to thwart the best of us as we try to concentrate on the “game”.

    Far too many ready to tell us how to play the shot and what we do “wrong”.

    Good luck Mart, I hope to see more sportsmen like conduct demonstrated in the conversation that lay ahead.


  6. joycemb says:

    Thanks Steve I being one of those here who likes to tell others how to play the shot and what others do wrong would like to apologize to all I have offended and hopefully start over with a new game. Hopefully my past mistakes will not overshadow my present attempts as I ” wade in” and start anew. Each day has it’s own troubles, but: John 16:33 NLT says it all. Yay!

  7. street says:

    mart said,”The interview got me wondering. What does it take to focus on what we know is true— about ourselves, our God, and others, that can release the imagination of our minds—and hearts— for something far greater than a round of golf?”


  8. poohpity says:

    Yes, street listening to the Master.

    In golf there are folks that have been playing the game for a long time and when playing with duffers normally the duffers are open to correction. Things like you lifted your head, your arm was not straight, there was no follow through and all the feedback helps to learn to play the game better. Just as those who watch golf on TV I would submit they are also in a learning posture.

    People just don’t pick up clubs and go on a course then have the game down pat. It takes much instruction and practice to develop one’s game just like life it is a process. Humility says I do not know it all and there will always be ares left open for improvement especially in learning what is true if one is not stuck in the imagination station sealed off from the desire to go in those truths. It seems there is nothing that God likes better than a heart of a student learning from the Master. (Luke 10:39-42 NLT)

    Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. 40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

    41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  9. bubbles says:

    I read a book by a godly woman whose writings pointed me to Philippians 4:5-8. The “whatsoever things are TRUE” was emphasized in her book. I thought I knew what that meant. . to dwell on truth and not lies and false teaching. Verses 6-7 speak of not worrying. There have been some difficult times in my life and I would begin to ruminate over the “what ifs.” What if this happens or what if this never happens. I became almost fixated on the what if certain things would happen. I know to worry doesn’t please God.

    The author wrote that “whatsoever things are true” could mean to dwell on what is REAL and NOT on what hasn’t happened yet. Because what hasn’t happened is NOT real.
    And the peace of God, which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts AND MINDS through Christ Jesus.

    So now when I begin to have worrisome thoughts, this little verse about thinking about TRUE things help calm the worry. The three words: it IS NOT real helps.

  10. Regina says:

    Good Morning, All

    Pray all is well in your lives… Off topic here and will share more about what’s been going on in my life (hopefully) a little later today. I’m still reading the comments from the previous blog and I’m being “oh so blessed” by them all!! :-) However, just want to give a hardy “thank you” to Maru for this one…

    “marutho says:
    August 7, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Tracey —

    It seems to me I always notice the misspelled word on the page or the hole in someone else’s sock! Perhaps as we grow in grace, there are check-valves along the pipeline of our spirits that allow the flow (as in water or jet fuel or kool-ade) to go only in the direction of self-examination — not spewing out on the dear soul standing before us just being who they are.

    For one thing, it seems to me change comes to hearts — any- and everybody’s heart — through the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. He knows how to convict without making us feel bad.”

    Filling out an app for a full time job (working 2 (and sometimes 3) part-timers during the late Summer/Fall/Spring season) right now, but I should be able to share more on the BTA blog today.

    87 degrees and an ABUNDANCE of sunshine in Texas…

    Love to all,

  11. joycemb says:

    Phil. 4:8 8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” I’ve been thinking about this since Bubbles brought it up. One I memorized early on when I recognized the battle that goes on over the mind of a Christ follower. Works in golf or everyday life. Think on these things. We have our part and God gives the strength. And the want-to.

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes, the golfer has to himself take the swing, and play out all the things in his way/or head, and, he also welcomes the advice of the caddie who is holding the helpful little book and telling him what is written it, quoting things that will help keep him on course.
    All the greats not only listen to what is being shared, they act on it as well.

  13. oneg2dblu says:

    Do not merely listen to the word… do what it says!

  14. rokdude5 says:

    Hello BTA-ers
    I guess Im a bit confused because I take it the golfer wasnt fantasizing about his play. In other words instead of saying to himself, “Maybe with this club, I can get the ball over there.” He is saying, “To get the ball over there, I should use this particular club because I know from experience how far it would go.”

    For me in order to know God’s truth, I need to study the Word. When a particular situation comes along like looking for a new job, I know how I should handle the situation like not being anxious for anything.

  15. street says:

    i think of a golf coarse that had saul and all of israel paralyzed with fear day after day. till a shepard boy of no consequence to his family or the nation walked on to the coarse with his proven swing. it was over before any one realized it. david walked with God like other great men. makes me think God made them great and nothing else. who’s in your head?

  16. Regina says:

    Good Evening, All
    Off topic here, and gonna have to make a long story short… My dad’s funeral celebration was very memorable as relatives came from near and far to say farewell and to fellowship with their Texas relatives. My sister discovered (via some photos that she found in our childhood home) that our dad served in the military (Army). I don’t ever remember him talking about his military service to our country (maybe because it was a bad time in his life with painful memories). Neither of our parents shared information about that time in his life. Nevertheless, because my dad was a military veteran he qualified to be laid to rest in the DFW National Cemetery. He was given a military salute while the American flag was draped over his coffin.

    During his salute, I reflected on how he was honored in death (after his transition to glory), but, from what I could discern, he was not very happy with his life while on earth (that’s the long story part made short in my comment on this blog). My sister was one of the last members of his family to see him while he was in the hospital, and she assured me that she prayed with him; he asked the LORD for forgiveness of his sins and accepted Jesus as his LORD and Savior. So, my family members and I are thankful that he’s in a much better place now, and we believe that he’s finally happy…

    93 degrees in my neck of the woods…

    Love to all,

  17. Regina says:

    Mart asked, “The interview got me wondering. What does it take to focus on what we know is true— about ourselves, our God, and others, that can release the imagination of our minds—and hearts— for something far greater than a round of golf?”

    My answer: Fasting, prayer and studying God’s Word, which will help us to be more in sync with the mind and will of God (the Father, Son and Holy Spirit). I believe that will keep our focus on the spiritual truth about ourselves, our God and others… Phil. 4:8 comes to mind…

    Love to all,

  18. SFDBWV says:

    Staying focused myself on the comments Mart gave us concerning the golfer; “I need to stay focused on the truth of what I know-the lie of my ball, the distance to the hole, the club I need, and where my ball needs to land, to set up the next shot.”

    While this golfer is being detailed in his answer, as most of us need to be, it is his best attempt to explain his mindset for each play he makes. Apparently to his success.

    Continuing on with Mart’s question to us; “What does it take to focus on what we know is true, about ourselves, our God and others, that can release the imagination of our minds and hearts- for something far greater than a round of golf.”

    Matthew 11:7 and Luke 7:24 both give rise to help understand Ephesians 4:14 fully.

    A successful athlete relies on what he knows of his abilities. The ‘truth” of the Rocky movies is that no one believed in Rocky except Rocky.

    If we are going to compare our personal walk with God to the personal intensity of a successful athlete, the first thing we have to do is believe in ourselves and what we know of ourselves.

    In the concept of what this does in releasing the imagination of our minds, the first thing that comes to my mind is *doubt* and *over-confidence*.

    People outside of that space “between the ears” is usually going to stress one or the other in their attempt to influence our thinking.

    The successful athlete ultimately knows their ability and takes it to limits every time they play as a result always striving to do better.

    Within our heart is the voice of God, He will lead us to the *Truth*. It is when we try to make the *truth* align with our imagination/view and not His, where trouble begins; and heaven forbid, when we listen more intently to the imagination of another because we doubt ourselves that we become uprooted, unsettled and confused.

    The Holy Spirit bears witness of Himself, we *know* the *Truth* when we hear it, unless we are listening only with our carnal ears.

    51 degrees under a star filled sky. There was a very beautiful sight this morning as the moon was rising just ahead of the sun in the same area. The moon all black except for that little sliver of silver moon called the fingernail. One of those views that makes me appreciate the creative beauty of God.


  19. jeff1 says:

    Strangely enough Steve it was when I became uprooted, unsettled and confused that I stopped listening to others or what was going on in my head to focus on Christ for it was then I realized He is all I need for it was others empty promises and my doubts that God was more of a God of wrath than a God of mercy that uprooted, unsettled and confused me to begin with. Some of us have to learn the hard way and I would rather learn the hard way than not have seen the error of my ways. The difficulty is in trusting myself to discern when God has spoken for that seems to be my weakness. God has to work it us differently since our weaknesses are different.

  20. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes, knowing your personal limits and still pressing on to better them is a great strategy for any athlete, as every personal best, gives validation to our growing, our producing more fruit.
    If you will just let your imagination run wild for a moment, and come out of the confines of your own head, then, there may be room for the possibility that God could put others in your path, just to give you advice as well.
    All growth does not happen within the constraints of one’s experiences thinking only, but also ones openness to receiving another’s input, warnings, or council.
    But I may be wrong, but I think that some listen to the voice in the wilderness and still walk away unchanged by it.

  21. poohpity says:

    “the truth of who we are, and what we are here to be and do.”

    The truth of who I am is a forgiven, much loved child of God. Through that identity I am here to be His ambassador to represent Him to whomever I come in contact with as an example of His grace and mercy. As for what I am here to do; to act justly, show mercy and walk humbly with my God. To protect innocence, feed the hungry, cloth the naked, shelter the homeless, help the orphan and widows, give drink to the thirsty, care for the sick, comfort the brokenhearted and witness about what Jesus has done in my life so others can come to know Him.

    Just like it takes repetitive practice to learn the game of golf, it takes repetitive practice to put faith into action and leave the rest in the very capable hands of God. I can read the bible all I want and know it back and forth just like you can read a book about golf but it is way different to go out and actually play then it’s truth will be discovered which is the best learning method to understand how true the words in the Bible actually are.

  22. poohpity says:

    I can imagine I am the best golfer but until I play the game does the real truth come out. I can imagine I am the best Christian but if I have never done the things that I have been given to do then it is only vain words shouted with no follow through. I can point a finger and say sinner, sinner but until I realize that it was my sin that Jesus went to the Cross for I will never be able to tee up the ball to begin the game/journey. I will be living with imagination not reality.

  23. joycemb says:

    Imagination, thinking of imagining a God who is so much more than I can even begin to imagine. My mind is blown. We see through a glass darkly, as in a Monet or a bad trip on drugs. Imagine. Can’t wait to see Him face to face!

  24. street says:

    Living with Imagination
    thinking of living in peace with God because God has made peace through His Son.
    thinking of joy because God has determined to do good to me forever.
    thinking i can love correctly because i am loved!

    my imagination does need to live in Christ.

  25. jeff1 says:

    John Lennon wrote a song ‘Imagine’ and I wish I could imagine the world he envisages in it. Perhaps here we see a man who was a forward thinker and when God comes to live with His people on earth this may well be John Lennon’s dream.

    Imagine there’s no heaven
    It’s easy if you try
    No hell below us
    Above us only sky
    Imagine all the people living for today

    Imagine there’s no countries
    It isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to kill or die for
    And no religion too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace, you

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    A brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people sharing all the world, you

    You may say I’m a dreamer
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one

  26. street says:

    i wonder if john lennon was in denial of reality?
    no heaven no hell, just death?
    no good, no evil, just death?
    living for today, tomorrow you die.
    imagine no countries created by God,
    no foreign languages.
    no possession, no theft, no sin, no death.
    no hunger for God, no salvation in a Savior, no life!
    there are several thousand religions made up by man. one started in a garden based on a promise of hope. ratified in covenant at mt sinai and made new over dinner. sealed by the Holy Spirit from God. no tangle proof other than tangible works by faithful followers and a tangible Savior. preparing, waiting, looking for His return.

  27. pepper08 says:

    I like the spiritual song “I can only imagine” by Mercy Me.

  28. jeff1 says:

    I don’t see that John Lennon was in denial in the words of his song. Quite the opposite the reality of this world is that religions are the cause of hatred and killing. Also Countries like America and Russia, one is always trying to be the bigger power in the world. I do not see peace in this world while power and religions are at war and I think John Lennon’s song reflects a heart imagining a world where nations and religion do not have the power and won’t heaven be like that for God does not love a person more or less because of their religion, class or Country but because they behave like a Christian towards their fellow man. The song also says how he is thinking for he says you may say he is a dreamer but he is not the only one and we are all dreaming of a better land to come which will be Heaven here on earth but with God at the realm not men. This song he wrote in 1971 and I have still the same aspirations for this world as he had in this song except that I don’t see that happening until the fulfilment of God’s plan.

  29. foreverblessed says:

    Beyond all earth’s imaginings is priceless that Friendship between a soul that loves Me– and Me

    “God calling Aug 1, twolisteners

    Blessed Bond

    Jesus, let Thy Beautiful Presence be always with us.

    “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    There is no bond of union on earth to compare with the union between a soul that loves Me — and Me.

    Priceless beyond all earth’s imaginings is that Friendship.

    In the merging of heart and mind and will a oneness results that only those who experience it can even dimly realize.

    For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. Ephesians 2:14″

    Waking up in the morning, and thinking these truths over, making them in the foreground of my thinking, makes them more real.
    The unbeliever would say, it is all imagination.
    We call it faith, because we believe the words of the bible.

  30. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Not sure there are answers to the question of “Living with Imagination.” We live in the question — because the leading of the Holy Spirit by the Word of God gives no “proof” — only evidence. Same with personal experience in life. There are no rules, as in a game like golf. Rather, we follow a Ruler — the Life Jesus lived as He walked the roads and fields of Samaria, Judah and Jerusalem.

    Mart, you ask:

    “What does it take to focus on what we know is true— about ourselves, our God, and others, that can release the imagination of our minds—and hearts— for something far greater than a round of golf?”

    Just read last evening the tenth chapter of John’s Gospel (John 10:11). Perhaps what it takes to “focus on what is true” is the humility to confess and embrace that we are sheep, and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. Trusting Him affords the freedom to accept this life as the gift it truly is. What does any Jesus-follower have to do that is more wonderful and meaningful than to tell others about the Love and Goodness of our Shepherd?

    John Lennon had faith in his own creativity and his own self. God did not enter into the mix, as I see it.

    Lennon said: “Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn’t argue with that; I’m right and I will be proved right. We’re more popular than Jesus now; I don’t know which will go first – rock ‘n’ roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.”


  31. oneg2dblu says:

    How glad we are that there exists no wall of hostility in us.

    Just a wall of differences about which parts of the bible we choose to believe, and which we do not.

    Where the word says, “Christ died for many,” we choose to see Christ died for all instead.

    Where the bible says,”Narrow is the road and few will find it,” we choose to believe that all will eventually be saved.

    Where we see God forgives us our sins and sees them no more, but (leave out) the context, or what actually is preceding it, we again choose what we will, or will not believe.

    So, our faith is really only based on what we choose to believe, because we can not believe in all the words of the bible, especially,if they challenge our beliefs.

    Then, we must again choose which side of the wall best fits our thinking, imaginations, life experiences, teachings we have been exposed to, and which support our favorite church doctrines.

    Yet, according to the words in the bible, many will be led away because of false teaching, deception, failure to adhere to the warnings, and in ignoring the guide posts clearly set by the word.

    So to me, Our Claiming only the Promises, is more like our imagination at work, than the well balanced wall building warnings written in the word, for a reason.

    Our do I just imagine that there really is a wall created by what is written, and what we choose to believe?
    Just thinking…

  32. poohpity says:

    Viv, at one time I would have taken offense to the comparison of American with Russia but I know that trying to be a bigger power than the other is obfuscating Americas role in the world. Although we do have one thing in common they are both filled with people who desire a better life but that seems to be true of all countries doesn’t it?

    The battle being fought between the ears. The times I can not let go of the past and keep replaying things over on what I could have done better rather than just learning not to repeat but often it just so happens I do repeat. The wild imagination that I can be in control of events, people or just life such a futile waste of time. Worrying about things that have not even happened yet. Yes life and it’s perplexities does often happen between the ears rather than in reality. The great thing is to learn the difference. Some it seems never make the transition and in some areas I live it, so I know it to be true.

  33. poohpity says:

    pepper08, I enjoy that song as well.

  34. oneg2dblu says:

    My take is this… just keeping your eye on the ball, is not really what playing golf at all, there is so much more involved.
    But, I may be wrong.

  35. poohpity says:

    I can not remember anyone saying anything about in golf keeping one’s eye on the ball is what golf is about but that is normally how what we say is often misunderstood anyway. Par for the course.

  36. poohpity says:

    However keeping one’s eye and mind on Jesus is the way to live an abundant Christian life.

  37. foreverblessed says:

    “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”
    John 12:32 John 3:14

  38. poohpity says:

    Christ died for all but there will be those who do not make the choice to walk down that narrow path in faith they will be the many who chose to believe but it does not take away the fact that Jesus died for the sins of the World/All.

  39. remarutho says:

    Gary, you ask:

    “Our do I just imagine that there really is a wall created by what is written, and what we choose to believe?
    Just thinking…”

    The Apostle Paul has a word for the church at Ephesus (and for us) about what happened to the wall:

    “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity.”

    The “wall of hostility” stood in the temple at Jerusalem. Not only the wall, but the whole temple surrounding it have been broken down and destroyed!


  40. jeff1 says:

    I do not doubt Lennon believed he was bigger than God and he is not alone when it comes to stardom there is many big egos out there. I do think he got it right though for I know in my own Country church attendance is on the decline and in particular a decline in young attenders. I believe it is the sign of the times that many are turning away from institutional religions but this may be for other reasons than non belief in God. My Country is a prime example of religion not working when they are hell bent on bringing each other down. I do believe that God will use this to his end for God I believe needs believers who are united rather than those who are out to devour each other.

    Gary, I am not sure that we are destined to get it right any more than our forefathers did. When did Israel obey God? This is God’s plan to redeem the world not ours and I am thankful for that for going by our track record if it were the case we would be doomed. I do believe when God changes us completely then we will forget the doom and gloom for it will be in His complete power we will be changed and not as we are now. Pooh,in my battle with manic depressive I have a big battle with what goes on between my ears. Paranoia is one of the main symptom’s of my illness and it is recognising this can be difficult for me. Family and friends have to tell me when I am over reacting or I can imagine that someone has it in for me when it is not the case. Have had it a long time now so getting much better at recognising the signs and listening to gospel music calms me. Heard on the radio this morning that they are going to use music during operations as it helps calm patients but I agree with the radio presenter, she said that a lot of surgeons like to listen to classical music while they carry out the operation so it makes more sense to have him listen to it.

  41. street says:

    gary said,”So, our faith is really only based on what we choose to believe, because we can not believe in all the words of the bible, especially,if they challenge our beliefs.”

    gary i think you missed the bulls-eye on this one. if we are saved by what we believe, then Christ died in vain. our choices or works could save us. i am pretty sure we are saved by a person not an idea. it was a Person Who went to the cross to condemn sin and save man from sin. He is the Ultimate Champion of man and his Creator, who is made in in His Infinite love. this barrier that was between jew and gentile is the same barrier between God and man. Jesus eliminated it at the cross or am i imagining things?

  42. joycemb says:

    Viv I am so glad your have found comfort in gospel music. I too find comfort in Christian music and in fact just yesterday afternoon was feeling in a bit stressed so played Gospel music all afternoon. The peace I get is astounding! I first recognized the power of the musical instrument and singing of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs when I read that when king Saul was disturbed God sent David with his harp to soothe him. What a wonderful God we serve who sends us helpers to get through our dark times. That’s why I love the psalms myself, and have put some to music in the past for my own pleasure.
    blessings, Joyce

  43. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I only made a challenging statement, saying, “My take is this… just keeping your eye on the ball, is not really what playing golf at all, there is so much more involved.
    But, I may be wrong.
    (BUT, I may be wrong.)

    You immediately started building a wall by saying, “I can not remember anyone saying anything about in golf keeping one’s eye on the ball is what golf is about but that is normally how what we say is often misunderstood anyway. Par for the course.

    Your very response is also, Par for the course.

    Argumentative, accusative, provocative, as usual.

    What I was trying to say is this, one sided thoughts do not make a full picture.

    By pulling apart my words, or using one verse, or part of a context, out of the bible to support a position, does not mean we are fully playing fair either.

    But, from your side of the wall you build, maybe it does.

  44. jeff1 says:

    Yes Joyce, It is so good to share how God finds a way to comfort us in times of distress and music is such a blessing and friends too. So glad to hear that we share in this love.

  45. SFDBWV says:

    Stopped in for a little look and ended up spending more time than I have. However while still on my mind I want to broach a few ‘thoughts”.

    Often in the past we have discussed the concept of comparing our walk and faith with *sports*; it just don’t compare, it can’t.

    It is the idea that sports is a about competition between sportsmen and winning at all costs that doesn’t mix well with being compassionate, forgiving and being of service to all in need that just don’t quite jive.

    However the idea that the sportsman is in total concentration on his game can mix with our faith if our concentration is fixed on being Christ-like.

    I am not quite sure where “imagination” comes into the issue unless it is applied to the sportsman fixing in his mind the successful golf shot or basketball shot or hitting the fast ball or whatever it is they want to have happen.

    This can also be applied to faith in “seeing” the desired result of answered prayer and acting upon it, before it actually does.

    Having faith for healing, or provision, or to get that job, or whatever it is you desire…believing you already have received your request and moving forward on faith alone.

    Maybe that is where imagination can come into the equation, and maybe “Living with Imagination” is like living by faith and we all should know the definition of faith…Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

    Having the faith to believe, just sounds better than having enough imagination to.


  46. poohpity says:

    Mart said things that take over our imaginations like; “to worry about what might happen; or to lag behind the challenges of the present moment— reliving past mistakes, over and over, obsessing on what I can’t fix or control,” rather than on the things we can focus our minds on like “Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” Col 3:12 NLT

  47. street says:

    thanks for the comment steve it really put the spot light on imagination for me. thinking what is an imagination for? i think we definitely got it from God along with creativity. it just we need to use it properly.

  48. SFDBWV says:

    You are very welcome street.

    As is often the case I thought about my comments concerning sports and have to reconsider the team playing aspect of sports in a comparison to being Christian.

    I guess I was focusing on the individual sports like golf or tennis and for you who enjoy auto racing, the race car driver.

    Team play is step by step in concept with being Christian in that we all work together for the same goal.

    As that old adage states “there is no *I* in team.”

    Whereas our personal relationship with God is very one on one, our relationship with other Christians should be a team effort, with Christ as the captain and we all doing what we are empowered to do as a part of the team.

    My apologies to sports minded people for my individual view.

    44 degrees under crystal clear skies.


  49. jeff1 says:

    I think we need to have imagination to live out our faith for we can not proof God nor does He ask us to. My faith has three dimensions faith, hope and love and the greatest is love. I know more of what it is to hate than to love for though I trust God I do not know what it is to love the way God loves us. I desire to be loved more than I know love. I know only man’s love but there are limitations to human love and there is no limitations to God’s. God loves us and there is no because, it is men who adds the because to justify there hatred. While hate is a cycle that men cannot escape from love is everlasting for love begets love and whether this world knows it or not it is God’s love that it needs for to break the cycle of hate requires love. As Christ was the answer in ancient times He is the answer to day for everything changes and nothing changes when God is not in it.

  50. jeff1 says:

    I meant to say prove God nor does He ask us to.

  51. oneg2dblu says:

    Oh, to just walk the talk, rather then copy and paste the word, that would really put some rubber on the road.

    I guess that really would show who’s behind the wheel. Who is in control, and also who is out of control.

    Sorry, for another sports analogy, but Steve brought up race car driving thing. :)

    “Don’t just listen to the word, do what it says.”

    Imagination, when it is applied to the athlete, which Paul used very effectively, is forward thinking visualization.

    Run the race, press on as to win the prize, make your best effort, which can all be applied to our walk with Christ as well.

    But, that may not agree with those who on the other side of the wall, who choose to find rest as the only answer.

    “Tear down the wall,”that one sided thinking of a wall, and you may find… on the other side, the rest of the story.

    Just thinking…

  52. oneg2dblu says:

    street… “gary said,”So, our faith is really only based on what we choose to believe, because we can not believe in all the words of the bible, especially,if they challenge our beliefs.”

    Yes street, to me, and according to the bible, there is both work and rest, each have their place in the full playing of the game/walk, because both must be believed and applied, to be properly played within the rules.

    Check the rule book and you will see both elements are there, and they are there, for a reason.

    Application is required…

    God may call all to himself, very true, but do all willingly listen and obey?

    I wonder what the word actually says that will happen, to all those who do not listen and obey?

    Jeremiah says, they may be numbered as many as the sand on the seashore, but only a remnant will be saved.

    Romans 9:27
    Romans 11:5

    Just a thought…

  53. poohpity says:

    It seems Mart’s whole premise was that our thinking effects the way we live life hence the game is “between the ears” comment. Solomon put it this way “For as he thinks within himself, so he is.” As several had copied and pasted what Paul said in Phil to think about “what is true” rather than our perception but what God has said for example just to consider our worth to God thinking on that will effect our confidence of who we are to God. Thinking about the undeserved grace we have receive will effect how we treat others. Thinking about the good we could do rather than always looking at bad all around will effect our joy.

    I learned that our thinking effects our behaviors and feelings but at the hub of it all is the Spirit. Having the Spirit of God at the center of our being effects our thinking, feeling and then behaviors.

  54. poohpity says:

    Gary, why is it so important for you to think that there are walls? If that is your between the ears thinking then it would then follow that you will build walls and maybe those walls will be to high for anyone to climb over rather than thinking there are no walls with God only a path from Jesus to the Father. One can either walk on the path or not no climbing involved.

  55. joycemb says:

    I was thinking the same thing, Steve, that there is no “I” in team. Team building is a messy process, isn’t it? But it’s God’s team we’re on so hopefully eventually on this side of Heaven we can all learn to work together. Paul talked about it a lot. Earlier I was meditating on Hebrews 6:10-12 NLT and praying for likemindedness with other believers. Praying the same on this blog especially.
    Hope your day isn’t too overwhelming.
    Blessings, Joyce

    To all: Sometimes it’s ok to agree to disagree instead of going over the same issue. Only the Holy Spirit can bring truth or correction without hurting others in the process. That’s Team building. Letting go means giving our ego’s a rest. Whew, I’m going to try to rest mine today!

  56. poohpity says:

    If we lean(between or ears) on our own imagination or understanding we often are lead down a wrong path but if our goal is to learn about what is true and grow to know God better so we are not lead astray we will supplement our faith with the things that are true.

    For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-8 This is a process of changing from our thinking to what is true and it is way different, upside down, topsy-turvy from our human thinking.

  57. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    The only sport I can think of just now involving a wall is a climbing-wall in a gym or on a playground! The sportsman Mart quotes is still a golfer who says:

    “I need to stay focused on the truth of what I know—the lie of my ball, the distance to the hole, the club I need, and where my ball needs to land to set up the next shot.”

    Mart, you added:
    “More than once he mentioned thinking about what is true.”

    Mart, you continued with this comment to guide our thinking as Jesus-followers gathered in this virtual space discussing what we imagine and what is true:

    “His words acknowledge what we all know. It’s easy to get distracted by our imagination rather than using it to advance the truth of who we are, and what we are here to be and do.”

    Most climbing walls are made of rocks or wood. Hope I don’t have either rocks or wood in my head, Brother Gary! No golf balls either. Lord, have mercy on us!

    I believe we are Jesus-followers here to proclaim His grace, mercy and righteousness.

    Joy all day,

  58. street says:

    one2gdblu said,”I wonder what the word actually says that will happen, to all those who do not listen and obey?”

    John 21: 2o-22 20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

  59. jeff1 says:

    There is truth in that we believe what we want to believe. I believe that God will still take care of my children even though they do not. There is something in our deepest being that hopes that God will have mercy on those who have not acknowledged His existence for they are not necessarily evil people but have various reasons for not believing. Indeed I know evil people who believes God exists so from our perspective it is not simple to say who deserves mercy and who does not. I must trust God with the big picture and examine myself for by looking at myself I agree with God that I have ulterior motives for even the good work that I do.
    As for loving our enemies I for one failed to do it. I think a person has to be honest with themselves and if you know you are righteous then let no one tell you different. Gary you make it sound that those who wish to rest are in some way lazy, I see that you are making judgements here. I rest in Christ because I have to. My mind was racing and out of control and I would have psychotic episodes which I can assure you is like being in hell on earth. We all have our reason for choosing to see it as finished with Christ but I still endeavour to do what is right and I believe so do most believers. As for being a forward thinker I believe it is a gift from God, my father was so far ahead any person I knew in his thinking but it has taken me a lifetime to see he had a gift for it. My father was a deep thinker and a God fearing man, but he was never judgemental even when I went against him. The sure sign of a person who has your interest at heart is the person who does not rub salt into your wound when you discover your wrongfulness.

  60. joycemb says:

    Viv sin cannot be around a holy God, “Be ye holy as I am holy” the bible says which is why we need to seek and receive forgiveness. Did Jesus die in vain? Even the devil believes there is a God, yet he is doomed, is he not?

    I do believe that God cares and takes care of us all, yet, there is a responsibility to accept Christ’s atonement for our sin. Atonement goes all the way back to Cain and Abel and ends with Jesus. “It is finished” Jesus said. I do not believe unbelievers and those who chose not to believe and follow Christ have a place in heaven. I could be wrong, but at this point I don’t think so.

  61. joycemb says:

    correction: delete “and follow Christ” from the second to the last sentence. sorry.

  62. joycemb says:

    Dear Vivien, I too have a son that has turned away from God and it may be the deepest heartache a mother can have. I also lost a son at age 20 in a housefire. The last words I spoke to him were “if you are ever afraid, call on Jesus and He will help you” just 2 nights before He died. He died struggling to get out of a room surrounded by fire. I believe that it was God who set up our meeting. And knowing how afraid he must have been, I believe he called on Jesus. God does care for the lost and brokenhearted ones, a lot!

  63. oneg2dblu says:

    joyce… I too hope he cried out the Lord, For all who call upon the Lord will be saved. :)

  64. oneg2dblu says:

    But if one believes everyone in the end gets saved anyway, does it really matter?
    Imagine a God who would send His Only Son to suffer and die on a cross, knowing in the end all would be saved anyhow?
    My point was not that people who rsst are lazy, but there is more involved in Following Christ, then to just rest.

  65. SFDBWV says:

    Gary and any others that want to listen in or join in. I ask this question; when Jesus spoke from the cross and ask the Father to forgive them, to whom do you believe Jesus was asking forgiveness for? Luke 23:34

    Are they the Roman soldiers who crucified Him? The Jewish leaders and people who denied Him? Is it you and I?

    Who isn’t it?

    Do you believe the Father honored Jesus’ request?

    I too believe that we are to live a holy life, but my duty to Jesus is to love others, not condemn them to hell.

    It is God who in the end will judge, so what difference is it to you or me if He forgives everyone in the end?

    Why are we warned of so many things in both the OT and the New? Is it to keep us out of hell or so that we can live a better life?

    Can we do anything that can keep us from hell, except accept Jesus as Lord? Those who crucified Him did not believe He was Lord, yet Jesus ask for them to be forgiven. So what happens now that they have been forgiven?

    There was some chatter about a wall earlier, I would rather say that we can never put God in a box and contain Him by our imaginations.

    I hope every dirt-bag in the world experiences the transforming power of God and is saved from eternal punishment…however it is that God decides to do it.

    The only reason any of us can be assured of not being eternally punished is because Jesus is the sacrifice God accepted in our place. Nothing we could ever do is on a par with Jesus’ place on the cross…nothing.

    Is everyone saved in the end? I hope so.

    Is everyone’s name written in the Book of Life? I hope so.

    Can god change a heart? I know so.


  66. oneg2dblu says:

    Yeah Steve, it should be as you say, we are all saved. That must have been God’s plan form the very beginning, right?
    So whether we believe or not, we’re saved.
    Whether we have Faith or not we’re saved.
    Regardless of our past, present, or future, we are all forgiven, and saved, right?
    We don’t need any faith?

  67. poohpity says:

    Well we had a bright sunny 114 in the shade and probably 120 in the sun today in Arizona. Of course walking barefoot is out of the question which is my favorite mode of transportation. In my friend’s car yesterday it was 130 so glad this is almost over. Someone in an act of sabotage poured sugar and threw eggs in the pool, whoever it was must need some love.

  68. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… thanks for taking the time for me and any others who might listen, and for posing questions and answering too.
    The duty we have is to love others and not condemn them to hell?
    Gee I thought only God could condemn anyone to hell, but I may be wrong.
    Steve, I do not see any relationship between the wall and saying anything about putting God in a box.
    But, if that comparison works for you, so be it.

    Why so many warnings in the OT and the New?

    Maybe the answer is both to allow us a clear path to right living, and to help keep us out of hell.

    And yes, God will decide.

    Funny isn’t it though… to think how after, “It is finished,” was echoed, that the church age begins, and the work of The Great Commission goes forth, but, for what reason?
    According to what has been posted here, it must not be forgiveness, or victory over sin, or anything else apparently, because in the end, according to some imaginations or thinkers, we all are saved anyhow?

    Heck, If it were really “all finished,” that should have been the end of the bible as well. Right?

    Kind of makes me think, when is it that people will no longer put up with sound doctrine?

    Be Blessed, Gary

  69. street says:

    steve and gary i am thinking of the parables of the two builders, the broad way and narrow way, and the rich fool. all three pertain to results from actions on the part of the individual. maybe if i live another 100 years i will be able to master them all together into a seamless faith of joyful live in Christ.

  70. street says:

    gary i think the struggle is with the heart of man in understanding and applying God’s Word. non christians could care less in the end about others, unless they could benefit from it. the struggle is old habits, common sense, ignorance, pride, and the same old sins of man. was thinking about imagination and creativity and how they are hindered and twisted by the heart of man. lennnon could not ditch his sinful heart by himself, but could you imagine what it might be like? that would be some very foreign ground to man. i am beginning to think we are here to learn to love like God. we are to be conformed to His Image. the hard part is denying yourself and taking up the cross daily. no one carried it without falling. sin truly is a wretched animal worthy of death. following Jesus makes us truly alive. alive in good times and bad times, richer or for poorer, in sickness and health, in persecution and exaltation. somewhere in there is correction, instruction and training in righteousness. we are definitely not done.

  71. joycemb says:

    Wisdom From Oswald Chambers

    Both nations and individuals have tried Christianity and abandoned it, because it has been found too difficult; but no man has ever gone through the crisis of deliberately making Jesus Lord and found Him to be a failure. The Love of God—The Making of a Christian, 680 R
    from My Utmost, 8/15

  72. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Joyce for mentioning the Utmost for His Highest August 15
    I started reading John 1:12, and studying it, the commentary on John 1 by Matthew Henry
    It is John, he came to bear witness to the Light.
    And so are we, bearing witness to Jesus.
    It is only through Jesus that we can be saved.
    Not only as a doctrine, but as a deep felt Friendship, a deep intimicy with Jesus, not just knowing about Him, but living with Him.
    “The new birth gives me a power of vision by which I begin to discern God’s control”
    I would say, it would start with being convinced of God’s control in my own life.
    I am no more in control, it is God who controls me, and I can trust God, as Hebrews 6:13-18,19-20
    We can be absolutely sure about God, He will not change His mind about us, we can count on Him,
    God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit who trains us, molds us, disciplines us, and makes our own human nature, our own natural strength subdued to Him.

  73. foreverblessed says:

    NOw about all being saved. We had a discussion about it lately in our housegroup. Someone mentioned they had a sermon preached by a person who is high in our church ministry, who said, we should be careful about preaching that all will be saved, as then Christ would have died for nothing.

    If half are saved, Christ died for the half, if 3/4 are saved, Christ died for the 3/4, if 7/8 are saved then He died for the 7/8.
    But….. if all are saved He died for nothing?

  74. SFDBWV says:

    Foreverblessed it is my opinion that Jesus died on the cross so that “all” could be saved.

    For all,

    In a forum that is supposed to be about “thinking about” it appears that Gary would have us think about nothing other than what he understands with no room for hearing or contemplating any other thoughts.

    Gary you completely missed the meaning and intent of my “thoughts” and in your usual style went on to sarcasm and acidic language in an attempt to make your point and hide your ignorance.

    I don’t have the time nor desire to set here and explain myself or my thoughts to you so that you can understand them. You just do not understand so you attack rather than try to.

    Have it your way Gary…goodbye.


  75. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Steve –
    I agree completely with your post of Aug 14 at 3:29 pm. You put your thoughts much more clearly than I can put mine.

    God sent Jesus, his Son, to make the atoning sacrifice for the sin of the world. Because we are sinners.

    The Law came before the One who fulfilled the law, because the law shows us we have all fallen short. No one has kept the law. The law was given, and we could not follow it perfectly. Without the law, we would not know we had broken it, and thus needed someone to make atonement for our sins.

    If Jesus had not died on the cross and rose again, none would be saved. None. But He did. He did so that all could be saved.

    Only God knows what the final outcome is, but I believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection made a way for anyone who wants it.

    Who thinks that since Jesus died on the cross for me, and followed the law for me, now I can just break every law, live with sloth, anger, hatred, jealousy, and pride and still go to heaven? Who thinks that? Who?

    We know the love of God and so we are filled with remorse every time we see that once again, we have crossed a line and let our humanity take over.

    Those who have rejected God don’t think they can sin and get away with it. Rather, they think that what they do is not sin. They think being human and following human inclinations is acceptable and not sin. They don’t think in terms of sin at all. They think everyone should be allowed to do whatever they want as long as they do not hurt someone else.

    And even that is some buried instinct of trying to be good. Or else, they think that whatever they do is justified as long as it gets them what they want, crave, and/or need. That is a self-survival instinct.

    Down deep everyone wants, longs to be good. It’s just a matter of do you think that you really are good, or do you know that you are not. Do you know that you are a sinner in need of a Savior.

    Can God decide to reveal Himself to everyone so that in the end their eyes are truly opened to what they are and that God loves them?

    I don’t know. I believe God is fully capable of saving all. I would be glad, glad, glad if He did. But only God knows what He will do, and His ways are just and merciful. I love Him and I trust Him. I trust only God, not any man.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by GRACE you have been saved, through faith, – and THIS not from yourselves, it is the GIFT of God, – not by works, so that NO ONE can boast.

    We all received our knowledge of God from Him because He decided it was the time for us to know. How can we determine the time when He will reveal Himself to every single human being?

  76. foreverblessed says:

    This topic is about imagination, and Jeff came with the song: Imagine all the people.
    Imagine all the people being saved. Yes Steve, it is maybe between my ears too, this longing, but it is a hope that I have, that in the end all will be saved, meaning, all will eventually ask Jesus as their Savior.
    I should not preach that, but I can hope for it. Even when all these bible verses may seem to say that it is impossible. That those who do not choose for Jesus will go to hell forever. It seems to say so in many bible verses, that is true Gary.

    But…. it is also written that God’s lovingkindnes is forever (Psalm 136:1,2,3 etc)
    It is also written that all knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, Isaiah 45:23, Psalm 22:29
    (Many say, yes, some will say so in agony and in defeat, being in hell, and saying Jesus is Lord. But these things are not written in that Psalm, just that every knee will bow. So it could very well also mean that every knee will truly and in truth will see Jesus as Lord)

    That is my own hope. And I have some back up in the bible, where God tells Moses that He is done with Israel, and He will destroy them, and make from Moses children His chosen people. And then Moses starts to plead for the people of Israel, and the promises that God has given about them. That God should keep His promises. And on that pleading, God changes His thoughts, and listens to Moses’ words.
    Then I think, imagine us pleading with God, that He will be merciful for the ones that are in hell. Plead for them, with all these bible verses that say that God’s lovingkindnes is forever.
    That anyone “calls upon the name of the Lord” in truth will be saved, even when they are calling from the deep side of hell.
    That love is always hoping, 1 Cor 13, and that God is love.
    Imagine that….

    Anyway, these are my thoughts about the subject, anybody is free to have their own, I do not want to talk anybody into thinking the same. Indeed, Steve, this is a discussion blog. We can give our viewpoints, and leave it there. I read what others think and think it over.
    It is also true that the more we grow in truth and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, the more we change.
    As a man thinketh so is he, yes
    That reminds me of a movie (an English one), of a nanny who comes into a house where the children of widowed man are in a state of chaos, she comes in to help. She has ugly spots on her face. And every time the children see some part of their wrong behavior in truth, then one of the spots disappear. Bit by bit the children become more aware of their own nature, and how twisted it is. And they come to their senses. In the end the nanny has a beautiful face.

    Is that not a beautiful way of showing how our view of Christ, and of God, and of His judgments will change? From a God full of wrath, to a God full of love? But not wishy washy, only in Jesus’ blood will any body be cleansed and made whole, and being able to live in heaven.
    That we see Jesus as A Beautiful One.
    That we gaze at His face, and are stunned!
    That we cannot stop Praising His Name, and keep singing about it

    But, in the meantime, I want to live closer and closer to Jesus, my Lord, and see what He wants to do through me now. So as to save the many now, so they do not have to go to hell, but be saved now. Lots of work to be done. Praying is my job. Praying, and imagining that God works on my prayer. And I want to pray in line with God wants me to pray. For people around me, for my country, for Ukraine, for Syria.
    Lots of saving to be done now..
    As Oswald Chambers writes, lets be in the business of intercessory prayer, just you in the room, you and God, behind the curtain, our hope anchored in Him

  77. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Tracey, you can put your thoughts very well in words, that really touched me what you wrote!

  78. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    There has been a lot of Bible-based thinking and expression offered here on the topic of “living with imagination.” Thanks to all who have posted in a positive witness of Jesus Christ!

    This pro-golfer teaches a lesson in careful observation — the slope of the green — the side-wind blowing — the condition of the ground cover — all factors that come with the physical reality of being on planet earth and trying to make an effective golf shot.

    But, a golfer also has to have a healthy and hopeful state of mind in order to do their best. That may mean that (s)he has been encouraged by family and friends — has confidence that the laws of creation will yield the possibility of doing well — more personal matters that have bearing on self-image and faith in life.

    Am always grateful at BTA when an encouraging word is offered. Makes me think of the moral ship-wreck of Tiger Woods some years ago. I pray he will receive the Good News of Jesus’ power to save — and His great love for us when we stumble and fall. There is always hope in Christ.

    Blessings all day,

  79. bubbles says:

    Golf is a conducive for a good afternoon nap. I can turn on a TV golf game and sleep very well!

  80. poohpity says:

    I have understood Gary’s message that after we are saved our lives will be lived differently just like a beginning golfer plays a different game than an advanced golfer but the advanced golfer hopefully will instruct the newer one who has yet grown in their faith enough to trust God with all that He(God) does in a person’s life. Some still believe like in golf it is up to the golfer to better His game but for the believer the more one gives over to God it is God who does the work in us or in other words betters our game.

  81. poohpity says:

    God betters our game by transforming how we think about everything, including ourselves, with sober judgement according to the faith we have received not by the works we do. Romans 12:2-3

  82. poohpity says:

    I believe for myself I am still a student learning the best way I know how to learn and God has patience with me.

    Many people can get stuck in a way of life never growing, or being open to learning new ways. Most are able to determine that for themselves just by looking around and within, seeing if the minutes, days and years are the same ol’, same ol’ then there is no growth or new lesson learned. But no one has to stay that way especially a believer because God is at work in each of our lives and it will be very evident we will be able to see the fruit from His labor. A little more patient than yesterday, a little less anger/bitterness, showing more grace today than yesterday maybe not big changes but the little ones are just as important because after all it is still change.

  83. jeff1 says:

    For our ways are not His ways and our thought not His thoughts. This is why it is such a struggle in the flesh and our forefathers of the Bible proved that as they often made bad calls. This is why until God changes His children by His redemptive power we will have struggles. It is why Christ told us to follow would be difficult for we have to wait on promises to be fulfilled and in todays secular world everyone wants a quick fix and life just is not like that. If only Christians would be kinder to each other but because we are trying to be the best we tend to look at each others weaknesses and criticise and I do not believe that is what Christ taught for we are to help each other in our weaknesses. I sometimes find that non believers are not as critical as believers showing that we are not practising what Jesus taught!

  84. poohpity says:

    Amen Viv! I just learned today in ODB that those who expect themselves and others to live under the law are actually weak in faith. Boy seeing it from that perspective sure does give me food for thought and hopefully a change in my reactions.

  85. joycemb says:

    Our Daily Bread 8/15 is such a good reminder for me to focus on loving rather than tearing down. 1 John 4:21 NLT brings us to the nitty gritty of playing the game of fellowship. Imagine if golf players started throwing balls/clubs at each other, not to mention outsiders!!!! Praying God will show me how to love fellow Christians. I have a lot to learn but am willing to learn. Thank you a God for making me willing to learn.

  86. joycemb says:

    Mart you said: The interview got me wondering. What does it take to focus on what we know is true— about ourselves, our God, and others, that can release the imagination of our minds—and hearts— for something far greater than a round of golf?

    It takes Christ IN us to see and understand the Good News that hasn’t changed in 2000 yearrs and gives a New perspective on everything.

  87. poohpity says:

    I thought I would copy and paste the insight that was offered from ODB which may effect how we respond to each other.

    In Romans 14:1–15:7 Paul addressed a conflict between “strong” believers and “weak” believers that threatened the unity of the Roman church. The dispute was not over any core doctrines, but over some Old Testament laws (Rom. 14:1-6). The “strong”—or mature in faith—were those who believed that Christians no longer needed to observe these laws (vv. 2,15). Paul asked the mature believers not to despise the less mature, and the weak not to condemn the strong (v. 3). He called for tolerance and acceptance of each other’s convictions and practices. In today’s passage he lays the responsibility on the mature to be sensitive to the convictions of those weaker in faith and to help build them up (15:1-2). Sim Kay Tee

  88. poohpity says:

    I was sow wrong yesterday with my temp posting it was 117 in the shade as reported today so that would be 123 in the sun. wowzer!! Who needs a frying pan to cook an egg when you can just lay it on the ground. rofl wait it was to hot to roll on the floor. lol

  89. joycemb says:

    Here in the Midwest when the temps are hot for a few days we say it was hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk, or bake cookies in your car (I’ve seen pics of both done.) I was wondering Pooh if boiling eggs in swimming pools is the test for your part of the country.:-)

  90. poohpity says:

    Do not remember anyone ignorant enough to try to boil eggs in a swimming pool frankly I do not think pools ever get that hot or what would be the use of having a pool in the summer here. The eggs in the pool were from a person who was told it was against the rules to drink alcohol in a glass container in the pool area. So the sugar and raw eggs were retaliation so that the pool would be shut down so no one could swim. :-)

  91. oneg2dblu says:

    Funny how our humanity does not like to have take any outside orders, corrections, or rebuke for anybody, especially from another who we may so easily judge us as unloving, ignorant or unworthy, as we all can justify our rejection of another’s correction because we naturally just want to have our things go unchallenged.

    We are generally by nature reluctant to change, even if change would be in our best interest we sometimes still want what we want, and when we want it.

    “Give me patience Lord, and give it to me now!”

    Then along comes this ever challenging reality called God’s law/word, and the law/word shows us our faults by showing us what is acceptable to God, and what is detestable to Him.

    Without God’s calling upon our lives, and His gifting us with His Grace, we would always remain as enemies of God, and His Word, and we would probably never think we need to change our nature.

    But for the renewing of the mind… the battle ground is fully revealed as the word comes to life and lives within us, and we find we are forever challenged, even changed.

    The veil of separation that was once held up by the direction of God, placed there to keep man out of the Holy of Hollies for his own protection, is now forever torn, and free access to God is now open territory to all who will seek Him.

    Both Jew and Gentile, slave and free, male and female, sinner and saint, all have been granted access.

    But there is a challenge, a catch, a condition if you will, a rule of law, a word, a gate, a narrow way, actually the only way, which is now through Jesus Christ Our Lord, and according to the word, which may still challenge some of us, “Few will find it.”

    Yes, Christ died for the sins of the world, very true.

    The sins of the world were placed upon Him, as He took upon Himself the punishment of death for sin. He died on a tree and rose again to life as He overcame both the world of sin and death.

    Today, all mankind still lives in the flesh and still sins in the flesh because sin was not taken out of this world we live in, sin still exists, and both life and death in the flesh still exist.

    The sin nature by its nature is still alive in all mankind.

    But, Praise God, that Super-naturally and Spiritually a renewing can take place within us, where a Gift from God can challenge that natural evil in man, and in choosing His Spirit, it then can replace the old man, and as it does it gives us new life.

    According to the word, this renewing is available to all, through having a believing faith in Christ, and yes, it is God’s Will that none perish and for all to be saved.


  92. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve.. perhaps each of us is capable of misunderstanding another’s comments.
    Just a thought…

  93. Mart DeHaan says:

    Have been enjoying the conversation. Not sure though whether I did enough to help us think about the difference between an imagination that detracts from the truth, and the kind of focus on the truth that gives wings to our imagination— and the truth that inspires it.

    For example, Franciscan Richard Rohr expresses a very simple yet (I think) powerful example while describing how Jesus taught his disciples by living with them. Rohr writes,

    “Can’t you just see the apostles standing at Jesus’ side, watching him, noticing how he does things: how he talks to people, how he waits, how he listens, how he’s patient, how he depends upon his Father, how he takes time for prayer, how he doesn’t respond cynically or bitterly but trustfully and yet truthfully?”

  94. jeff1 says:

    The one thing about living is that I never stop learning and I am amazed how that changes not only my thinking but my beliefs. If I do not self-examine myself i.e. my reasons and motives I will not see God’s truth but my own truth. I will not examine myself truthfully until I am ready to agree with God that He is right I am as great a wretch as any. Do I believe I am as wretched as the next that for myself personally is where I have failed for I have considered the evil in the world and as a result have a pre-conceived belief that I am not as wretched as some. I am in fact telling God that He got it wrong for I am an exception in that I am not as wretched as some but the truth is all have sinned and fall short of God’s mercy and until I get that into my head, I am not agreeing with God, in my heart I know God is right but the battle for me is believing I am a wretch. God knows that in my heart I have accepted His judgement but I still battle the voices in my head but the truth is God is helping me and not condemning me for my complete lack of trust in His judgement that I am a sinner saved by grace.

  95. jeff1 says:

    If you have ever any doubts that God will give up on His children let me assure you I am living proof that He will not. How can a sinner ever make a righteous person see God’s mercy when the reality is they are so overwhelmed with the fact that they are living proof of it.

  96. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA —

    Thanks for the redirect, Mart! The imaginative work of placing ourselves into the passages of Scripture is important, it seems to me.

    In our times, we are still able to “stand at Jesus’ side,” as you say. Imagination is essential in placing ourselves into the scenes of Jesus’ ministry described in the gospels and in the stories of the church He established. So, some of the changing work of the Word is through His disciples.

    As followers of Jesus we see Him in the temple courts or in Solomon’s Porch — down by the Sea of Galilee and even in Samaria — ministering among Jews and Gentiles. Perhaps this journey is the best possible use of imagination. The Lord is still our life coach — surely shaping us in ways far more meaningful than a round of golf.


  97. joycemb says:

    Mart I think what happens is when reading Jesus’ words they become ours out of our own understanding instead of what and who Jesus really is. Yes there is no cynicism or bitterness in Jesus’ words. I think that silence is golden until we fully understand the truth of His words and His message. The Truth of God brings light and life to the hearer. I long to be that kind of Truth bearer. Thankyou for direction this morning.

  98. poohpity says:

    For the many years I have been on here it would seem that Mart’s topics win in the most misunderstood arena. :-) Thank you for bringing some clarity back, that helps a lot.

  99. jeff1 says:

    The words of a gospel song from Elvis’s album ‘Peace in the Valley’.

    Well, He’s so high
    (So high, you can’t get over Him)
    So wide,
    (So wide, you can’t get around Him)

    So low
    (So low, you can’t get under Him
    Great God Almighty
    (Watch Him coming at your door)

    Oh well, He’s high
    (So high, you can’t get over Him)
    And He’s wide,
    (So wide, you can’t get around Him)

    So low,
    (So low, you can’t get under Him)
    The mighty Lamb
    (Watch Him coming at your door)

    Well, I went down in the valley
    You know I did over there ever stay
    My soul got happy in the valley
    You know I stayed right there all day

    Well He’s high
    (So high, you can’t get over Him)
    And He’s wide,
    (So wide, you can’t get around Him)

    I know He’s so low
    (So low you can’t get under Him)
    Hey, mighty Lamb
    Watch Him coming at your door

    Well, I ain’t been to Heaven, but I’m, I’m told
    The streets, the streets are pearls
    You know the mighty, mighty
    Mighty gates are gold

    And He’s high
    (So high you can’t get over Him)
    So wide
    (So wide you can’t get around Him)

    He’s so low,
    (So low, you can’t get under Him)
    The mighty Lamb
    Watch Him coming at your door

  100. poohpity says:

    I was thinking back to the imaginations of those in the OT not from those who got messages from God but to those who totally missed what God was trying to get people to understand about the relationship He wanted with the people He created. Their imaginations ran wild just as they ran wild in rebellion. Then God sent clarification, Jesus!

    Yet many, including me, still do not understand the full implications of that great act because we still get caught up in our own minds. I can not imagine the patience God must have with us, that to me is far beyond understanding.

  101. street says:

    mart said,”Have been enjoying the conversation. Not sure though whether I did enough to help us think about the difference between an imagination that detracts from the truth, and the kind of focus on the truth that gives wings to our imagination— and the truth that inspires it.”

    i think of oswald chambers devotional today. i think it sums up what you are trying to capture. like mary at the grave, doctrine did not matter too much to her, the only thing that mattered to her was when Jesus turn to her and said “Mary.” “yet His blessings were nothing to her in comparison with knowing Jesus Himself.”

    “how he talks to people, how he waits, how he listens, how he’s patient, how he depends upon his Father, how he takes time for prayer, how he doesn’t respond cynically or bitterly but trustfully and yet truthfully?”

    yes these things will come, but not before spending time with Him.

    Shield, Treasure, Sovereign, Counselor. Psalm 16

  102. joycemb says:

    Yet it takes no imagination at all when Jesus reveals Himself to me. It comes from Him, not my imagination. I wish He spoke to me more often, but His silences are crucial also as I learn to walk by faith and not by sight. Even though I can read about what He said, it does not come close to seeing/hearing Him personally. It’s the putting into practice what He says in those special times that is the work of the gospel.

  103. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve says… “In a forum that is supposed to be about “thinking about” it appears that Gary would have us think about nothing other than what he understands with no room for hearing or contemplating any other thoughts.

    Steve, “you completely missed the meaning and intent of my “thoughts” and in your usual style went on to sarcasm and acidic language in an attempt to make your point and hide your ignorance.

    I thought I signed off the posting of my thoughts many times by saying…
    “But I may be wrong,”
    “Just thinking,”
    or “Be Blessed,”

    If any words close the door to the possibility for any other thoughts, it is certainly not those…

    But your choice of signing off, “Have it your way Gary, goodbye…”

    Those words seem to me to resonate more closely with no room for hearing or contemplating any other thoughts.

    Just Thinking

  104. jeff1 says:

    They say practice makes perfect so let us practice being faithful servants for it is in doing so that we will reflect Christ in us and instead of non believers seeing us as critical and judgemental they will see us as kind and humble hearted, and the true image of what Christ was when on earth, which in turn will draw more people wanting to be like Him and we will not have to imagine any more for we will be living out God’s will on earth.

  105. oneg2dblu says:

    But, I may be wrong.

  106. oneg2dblu says:

    Here’s some rather hard to understand but true words directly from Christ the Lord,
    “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!”
    Luke 12:49

    “do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No.
    I have come to divide people against each other!
    Luke 12:51

    From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against- or two in favor and three against.”
    Luke 12:52

    “You fools!” You know how to how to interpret the weather signs of the earth and sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the present times.”
    Luke 12:56

    “You will perish too unless you repent of your sins and turn to God.”
    Luke 13:3

    Challenging and true isn’t it?

    Be Blessed, Gary

  107. remarutho says:

    Continuing in Luke Chapter 12, Jesus says:

    “And why do you not even on your own initiative judge what is right? For while you are going with your opponent to appear before the magistrate, on your way there make an effort to settle with him, so that he may not drag you before the judge, and the judge turn you over to the officer, and the officer throw you into prison.”
    (Luke 12, 57, 58)

    If you see every other person as an opponent, then you will endure the consequences of choosing that position for yourself. An opponent will appear who is better at opposition than you are.

    “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matt 5:9


  108. remarutho says:

    My first Scripture reference is Luke 12:57, 58 — slip of the keyboard. Maru

  109. pepper08 says:

    What do you do when life hit’s you hard?
    What do I do ?
    Breath taken away by pneumonia and flu.
    Family is out of sight.
    Money’s tight
    Casting down fear.
    Casting down vain imaginations.
    I see God ever more clearly.
    I see Him in the face of a white rose.
    I see Him in troubles.
    I see Him in the woes.
    He is the Great Omni.

    But I am so small.
    I have learn to trust Him.
    With who I am , with it all.

  110. foreverblessed says:

    God bless you and keep you,Pepper08!

    “I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

    Psalm 16:5-8

  111. oneg2dblu says:

    Pepper08… when Christ is all you have left, you have an abundance left. You have all you need, not all you want, for we want more than we need, but all you need is already what Christ is fully aware of, and currently providing.
    Inner peace through this type of struggle that appears to have no end in sight, can only come through our knowing, our already known needs are being met in Him, who will never Leave us, or Forsake us.
    Be Blessed,

  112. jeff1 says:

    I have not studied the Bible but I believe those whom I have listened to on this website who are experts in that field. I am talking of having listened to ‘Day of Discovery’. Is the world not as you say it is Gary, families are divided, my Children are looking to Science for answers rather than God. What you have quoted in Luke 12:49, Luke 12:51, Luke 12:52, Luke 12:56, Luke 13:3 is happening in the world today proof that the Bible foretells the future. People are still perishing in pursuit of the truth as the Bible says. There is a secular world who does not understand God but what are we here for, are we any different to our forefathers in that these are difficult times. Today people are still living without God’s love because just like in Jesus’s day religious people (dare I say it like us) failed them. If we are to practise what we preach we will fail the non-believers because our ways are not God’s ways, we must practice what Jesus preached and in doing so we will help others and ourselves to reflect Christ in a dying world. This to me is what being a faithful servant is all about but in your words Gary, ‘But I may be wrong’ and if I am I can trust God for being a forgiven child of God ensures my place in Heaven and in looking at what this world is now, I have little imagination to what lies beyond for while gospel music is my way of finding peace in a not so peaceful world, I long for the peace of the world to come for then and only then will God reign as the Bible says. I may not know the Bible but I sure do trust it for if every a world was in need of deliverance this world is.

  113. jeff1 says:

    By desire is not just to know all about Christ which is what religion has done for me, but by practising what He preached become like him for to know someone like that is to love them.

  114. joycemb says:

    John 21:15-25 NLT is on my mind this morning. It goes along with your thoughts, Vivien. God bless you.

  115. joycemb says:

    And God bless all the writers and readers here today.

  116. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    My dear mom, God rest her, loved to watch golf matches on TV. But, must agree with Bubbles in her comment of 8/15, at 9:07 am:

    “Golf is a conducive for a good afternoon nap. I can turn on a TV golf game and sleep very well!”

    The quiet, the vastness of the well-tended greens, the announcer whispering background information about the players…zzzzzz

    Another scorcher in the Willamette Valley — forecast to be 95F and no rain in sight.


  117. poohpity says:

    Maru, we have started today having rolling brownouts because of the drain on electrical grid with this heat. The hottest part of the day is still to come in a couple of hours.

  118. remarutho says:

    Yowza Pooh!

    It can get so hot in Phoenix! My heart goes out to you!

    Even at 90F here we are all sweltering. Our big risk is wildfire — sparked by farm equipment or any vehicle in the dry grass & weeds. Had a field fire here yesterday started by a farmer getting ready to disk his field after the wheat harvest. That stubble ignited & we had a three-engine fire in about 5 min.

    Scary. Drink plenty o’ water and keep as cool as you may, Pooh.


  119. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… yes, thanks for the confirmation about what we are experiencing in the world today, that it is just as it was written.

    For all,
    Here is the one thing I am afraid that we all miss, we are to be doing much better in all things, than our forefathers, because they may have had a saving faith, but they did nor also have the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Helper provided by God.
    But, after the church got its Super Natural send off in Acts, we possess the Holy Spirit.
    Unfortunately, that means we do not listen to that still small voice as we should, we do not practice what we preach, we do not listen properly to the word, because we do not do what is says.
    Instead, many Christians today are falsely claiming, “I can do nothing on my own.”

    But in reality, if we are still repeating the same failures of our forefather’s, then aren’t we really acting just like they were, on their own, and without having God’s Helper?

    Or, if we are saying, “I can’t not sin,” that to me, is the same as saying, even the Helper God Provided, can not help me!

    “Pity me O Lord, for I’m nothing but a helpless sinner.”

    That certanly should never be the standard or the scapegoat for any Christian today, who according to the word, is supposed to be a light in this ever darkening world.

    To me, A helpless sinner is not quite the same as a light.

    As the church continues to look more and more like the rest of the world, claiming it just to attract them in, aren’t we really falling for a well prepared falsehood, and wrapping it in words like, Inclusive, and Loving?

    Yes, I get the whole come as you are message, but, that does not say, “Come as you are and don’t bother to change.”

    Just Thinking…

  120. oneg2dblu says:

    If nothing changes, nothing changes.

  121. oneg2dblu says:

    Edit… “Come as you are, and be changed!”

  122. oneg2dblu says:

    “Most of us come to church by a means the church does not allow.”
    Flannery O’Connor

  123. poohpity says:

    I pray Gary the Lord will strengthen your faith.

  124. jeff1 says:

    We are like our forefathers in that we can not do this perfectly, we have the indwelling spirit but we are not perfect human beings, far from it. What made Christ such an outstanding leader is that He knew His disciples individual weaknesses but instead of focusing on their weaknesses He focused on their strengths and tried to build on their weaknesses but He knew they were not perfect as He was perfect for He came from Heaven to earth and was God in the flesh. His leadership is what Christians need, they need a leader who recognises their strengths and weaknesses and works with them and not against them. Not only did He build up the weak followers but He rebuked those mature followers for being judgemental towards the weaker ones. What a true leader as well as a Saviour and once you start to see Christ as the way, the truth and the life everything in this world fades into insignificance.

  125. oneg2dblu says:

    jeff1… very true Christ certainly knew the weaknesses of man, He knew even the Disciples didn’t understand His Parables, so He helped them through what they failed to recognize.
    Yet, knowing that the same man that He needed to help along, He also provided with a Helper, the Holy Spirit, and He also said, to those you will do even greater things.
    John 14:12

    So, is our claim to weakness today, really beyond His Helper’s ability?
    Does our weakness mean we can not ever fulfill His Commands?
    Just Thinking….

  126. poohpity says:

    Gary, are you having problems seeing the changes God has made in your life or admitting your weaknesses? After all the person that you are responsible to God for, is only you!

  127. oneg2dblu says:

    Can we, having His Helper living within us, never understand His words?
    Never rise above our sinful nature, or must we remain helpless to all temptation?

    My daily reading today was in the Old Testament, where Ezekiel is telling the false prophets of that day, about their false teachings in Ezekiel 13:9, and further in Ezekiel 13:21,22,23.
    Yet today the world has again tweaked the word, just to soot itching ears, as it pours out through false teaching upon those sitting in the pews of churches who are being corrupted by some man’s imaginations, saying, your future sins are already forgiven.
    You can do no wrong in the Eyes of the Lord…. He does not see your sin.

    Or, “You can never out sin the love of God.”

    Now there’s a clear path of false teaching going on today, that does not really support righteousness.
    But I may be wrong….

  128. oneg2dblu says:

    How can the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of God, ever help one see our sin, if the teaching we receive says, God himself can’t see your sin?
    twisted meaning….
    Even the Holy Spirit is now being deemed as useless to convict us, because we are falsely walking in this new, “Blindness of God,” teaching we receive from the pulpits of some men who clearly have been misled.

    As the word says, using my words for now, “Many today will be led astray by the following false teaching,” or the Lord would not have warned us about such things if it were a non issue.

    But I may be wrong…right?

  129. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… thanks for that encouraging word. As I too pray God will strengthen all our faith is well.

  130. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I do not have to admit my weakness to God or anyone else for God already knows them all, and that is precisely why He gives us His Holy Spirit, to Help us through them.

    I feel that any constant claiming of weakness, claims weakness like an idol that you feel you must follow.

    Or,to say it another way, “Where the mind goes, so goes the body.”

    Leaving for work now…
    Later, Gary

  131. poohpity says:

    Gary, I thought you always teach us to follow God’s commands which one is to admit our weaknesses to God and to others. So what commands are you accusing us of not following? Do you follow them yourself or just expect us to while you follow your imaginations of what we have actually been commanded to do?

  132. cbrown says:

    Good morning all. ‘The truth of what I know’, “The Daily Bread was on point this morning and I would like to add the following verses; Galatians:17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.”

  133. poohpity says:

    Here is faith in action by loving God first and your neighbor as yourself.

    James 2:15If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, 16and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? 17Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.…

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

    37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

    40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ (Matt 25:34-40)

    1 John 3:17
    If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?

    So one can imagine what is true, just, right, merciful and humble from their own estimations or learn from the Master what that truly means.

  134. joycemb says:

    Thank you for that Chris. I was just thinking how bickering over law is so human but unnecessary. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love one-another out of a pure heart.

  135. joycemb says:

    Self- examination is so necessary.

  136. foreverblessed says:

    That was Gal 2:17-21
    Cbrown, that verse is sooo hard to get by legalistic christians. I know, because I was one of them.
    For through the law I died to the law?
    that abacadabra.
    But thanks be to God, who in all these years has gotten it in my inner being:
    I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.

    What a precious thought that is.
    A thought I can imagine (or put in front of my thinking) every morning when I wake up, and every moment of the day:
    Christ is living in me! I do not have to do it myself, I must trust Jesus to do it in me.
    This morning I was not feeling well, but good enough to go on the bike to the city center, where in the Old Church, is a midday prayer for all the people who have written in the prayer book. We give these prayers to God, with singing, and reading Psalms. I was not feeling well, but then came into my mind: “When I am weak, you are strong”
    I trust that God answers the prayers! May God enlarge my trust in Him.

    Even Christ, when He was on earth said: Of myself I can do nothing
    John 5:30
    And I was thinking, Jesus could have done a lot on Himself. But He didn’t, He wants to do that what is done in unity with the Father.
    And so He set us an example, and not only that, He lives in us, and will do what the Father wants in us.
    I have the trouble of my own strength, my own doing, that still wants to work.
    The resting in Jesus is such a hard thing to do.
    But God is stronger then I am, and the Holy Spirit is leading me, and as He has led Peter to His hights, and Jacob, and Paul, e can anybody who keeps looking up to Him for guidance!

  137. foreverblessed says:

    It is vital that we KNOW Jesus Christ, knowing in meaning, we are intimately linked to Him.
    As the verse was given, “I do not know you” Luke 13:22-30
    Not knowing about Him, or knowing all about the bible, but knowing Him.
    The Utmost for His Highest July 18,
    does ring a great bell in me. As I was one who wanted to explain everything.
    There is only one Master of the human heart, and that is Jesus.
    But before He was that, many christians go by the mind, that what the mind can comprehend, and that is not the Spirit realm.
    While we were like that, we lead others in the likeminded state:
    ” If one rules another by saying, “You must do this,” and, “You will do that,” he breaks the human spirit, making it unfit for God. A person is simply a slave for obeying, unless behind his obedience is the recognition of a holy God.”
    that made me very silent, that is what I was, I do not want to be like that anymore.
    I want to KNOW Jesus, closely, and it is this imagination thing that comes up, every time my mind goes wandering, bring it back to living with Jesus.

  138. poohpity says:

    Sometimes the truth just seems to easy!

  139. joycemb says:

    Forever when I was in a law performing atmosphere years ago I think the reason I had trouble with it was because: 1. I knew I could never perform up to the given and expected standards, 2. Because it really went against everything I knew about Jesus.

    I knew Jesus personally and intimately and the tension between the human standards was and still is to this day a deal breaker for me. Oh how I long to find a church where grace abounds yet holiness is experienced as blessing and not judgement.

  140. remarutho says:

    Morning All —

    The weather is winding up already to pitch us a fiery-hot day today. Forecast to reach 100F in the greater Portland OR area. Whew!

    So, what would a Jesus-follower do if the sports commentator stuck a microphone in his/her face and asked, “Do you have a strategy for what it’s going to take to handle the pressure and win this tournament?”

    That’s the question Mart has described as having such an interesting answer from the golfer who was interviewed on TV.

    It seems to me, from the scriptural wisdom shared here so far, the answer for a believer would have to be, “My strategy is to surrender all that I am and all that I have to my God — Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

    Bottom line, Jesus is the Good Shepherd and the Door of the Sheep — the Way, the Truth and the Life — my all-in-all. Agreeing with you, Chris, that we die to the world and to self — and we are resurrected to New Life with Jesus. This is an impossible thing to do in the flesh — but it’s like falling off a log in the Spirit.

    Keep cool BTA Friends,

  141. street says:

    mart said, a reporter said,”Do you have a strategy for what it’s going to take to handle the pressure and win this tournament?”

    do you have a strategy for your “christian life” ?
    some how i understand we will not be living a resurrected life of perfection. i don’t think it possible without dieing. don’t you have to be dead first? how interesting we are asked to take up our cross daily, in His presents live. blessed is the one who is faithfully serving when their Lord returns. just thinking some more.

  142. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… thanks for sharing all those wonderful verses.
    Could you also show the one that confirms,”to admit our weaknesses to God and to others.
    In my ignorance, I can not for the life of me, remember where to find that one.
    Please give the book, chapter, and verse, so I can learn from the word myself.
    Thanks Pooh

  143. oneg2dblu says:

    I’m curious because even a false teacher uses verses, just like Satan uses the words of God in His twisted way to lead some astray.
    Just thinking…

  144. remarutho says:

    We are given a great blessing and privilege, it seems to me, that we can pray for one another. So God’s grace can soak into our inner being and transform our desires and motives.

    How wonderful that you, Gary and Pooh, are blood relatives! Each a beloved child of the Most High.

    Perhaps this great Bible verse will bring more light and less heat to the topic of Living With Imagination:

    “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” James 5:16


  145. joycemb says:

    Maru I was just thinking of post the same verse. It’s one of the ‘one-anothering’ verses of many that help us learn how to get along. I actually wrote a paper on one-anothering once. It’s a great topical study for anyone. I highly recommend it.

    From high 80’s all last weekend to 55 degrees and rain all day and into the evening. Yep, it’s Minnesota! Expecting snow soon. Love it!

  146. joycemb says:

    Expecting snow was said tongue-in-cheek. Not really expecting snow quite yet, but nothing surprises us.

  147. remarutho says:

    Have to agree, Joyce!

    Gene Roddenberry tried to tell us “space is the final frontier.” But I believe more and more “one-anothering is the final frontier.” Until we featherless bipeds learn to put ourselves in the place of our brother and sister, we are not going to amount to much. Only Jesus can lead us into that valuing of others.


  148. oneg2dblu says:

    Maru… thanks, that verse I know well.
    Confess your sins…Yew, but, is weaknesses a sin?
    If a person has weak eye sight, is that a sin?
    How about a weak limb, or weak hearing?
    Certainly, those are weaknesses, but are they sins?
    And can a sin be healed?
    Christ never related any weakness to being a sin, did he?
    Just thinking…

  149. oneg2dblu says:

    Oh wait, gluttony perhaps could be a sin, and boy are there a lot of obese people around today.
    Are they all considered to be sinners?

    There are those here who say all sins are the same, yet not all weaknesses are the same, are they?

    How about Depression, is that a weakness, or a sin?

    Or an addition, like smoking, is that a sin?

    Now stealing, that is certainly a weakness, if one feels they must steal, and that would be a sin, right?

    Unless, you are a mother stealing a piece of bread only to feed your starving child, then is that considered a sin?

    How about the flesh, certainly the flesh which covers all living creatures as part of their body, is not a sin.

    Is desire a sin? We all have desires…

    Thank God we have the word which defines sin for us, so we do not spend all our time here debating which is sin and which is a weakness, which things are acceptable to God, and which are detestable to God.

    Those things are written is his word, for a reason.

    Now, let us all reason…


  150. oneg2dblu says:

    The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
    Boy is that ever true.
    That is a very comforting verse to the righteous among us who will pray, for us, or for others.
    Yet, the prayer of every unrighteous sinner, the sinner’s prayer, the prayer that asks God to come into their hearts and change them, is the one prayer that the bible says, gets all the great commotion going in Heaven.
    To me, that one prayer is the greatest accomplishment of a Soul that one can ever muster up.
    But, I may be wrong…

  151. joycemb says:

    Hi Gary! Just wanted to mention that at 6:49 this am you said: Yet, knowing that the same man that He needed to help along, He also provided with a Helper, the Holy Spirit, and He also said, to those you will do even greater things.
    John 14:12

    When Jesus said ‘you will do even greater things’ it was because he was leaving and the disciples would carry on with the work He started. Not GREATER things, but MORE things, because they are alive to do these things on earth.

    I think you are using this scripture out of context and building an argument based on sand. Which will crumble. I agree with you on a lot, but we must not take scripture out of context to precipitate our own battle.

    Love and blessings,

  152. joycemb says:

    Gary I know you love the Lord dearly, your zeal is awesome! Keep reading as will I and all here, keep listening to the Spirit, even if what the preacher says goes against what he Spirit is telling you. I and others here have been deceived in the past. The devil wouldn’t be so crazy to destroy us if we didn’t belong to Jesus! March on, friend.

  153. oneg2dblu says:

    I thought even greater, means even greater, or does it mean not as great, but more?
    Then why not just say more things?

    To me, Christ was saying, He was only one, meaning He could only be in one place, at one time.

    But, those who He sends are many, and the Mission He commanded was even Greater, “Go into the whole world with the Good News, and Baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

    That was something He alone, being one man, could not do by Himself.

    But, to me, the Helper is more than anyone of us realizes, because we, meaning myself as well, are still stuck on stupid, as we continue to fail not only the Mission, we also deny the Spirit, as we continue to fall victim to temptation. And, believing in a Doctrine, to take place of personal responsibility, which says you no longer sin, that is pure imagination, and a mere fantasy.

    The sins of the forgiven Saints today, are just as damaging to the rest of the world as any sinner, and maybe even more so, because we are supposed to know better.
    “Live Holy as I am Holy.”
    Just thinking…

  154. joycemb says:

    Gary I don’t think you are giving God enough credit. He created the heavens and the earth, can we imagine that after all these years since creation God is able to bring redemption to the whole earth, with people also. All creation groans… scripture says. We sin, yes, but as Christians we don’t continue sinning as I John says. Sorry I’m being lazy and not posting scripture but the reader can google the references easily. I don’t believe that any sin is going to hold back God’s purposes. We are a mess, yes, but God loves us and He does have a remnant willing to walk the narrow road of redemption.
    Also, saying “I believe” in regards to scripture sends up a red flag and we need to really research and find out what scripture says, not what we ‘believe’ it says.

  155. joycemb says:

    I John 3:9

  156. joycemb says:

    Gary, what’s your take on the I John 3:9 ?

  157. oneg2dblu says:

    Joyce… thanks love, I will keep listening, reading, praying, worshiping, and serving as the Holy Spirit directs.
    There is a quote from Flannery O’Connor that says,
    “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.”
    “You don’t serve God by saying: the Church is ineffective, I’ll have none of it. Your pain at its lack of effectiveness is a sign of your nearness to God. We help overcome this lack of effectiveness, simply by suffering on account of it.”

  158. joycemb says:

    Suffer on Gary! I like her stories also. Sounds like you will continue on with your ‘take’ on God’s word. God bless you and us all with His truth. Joyce

  159. joycemb says:

    And maybe one day, we will all come together in peace with our own little pieces of the Truth to behold the Truth Bearer. We will have nothing to say on that Day when all will be revealed. Come Lord Jesus.

  160. oneg2dblu says:

    Joyce… the seed is the word of God.
    And those who are born of God, have this same seed in then that the Sower used in the parable.
    So, when we hear the word and believe it, we receive its life, and with that life, we receive the deposit of Holy Spirit.
    However, if that Spirit, is denied, ignored, and rejected in times of testing, means we really have either no root, or not good enough soil to sustain that life which we once had.

    But, if we, receiving the word and having the Holy Spirit, listen to that Spirit, obey that Spirit, and do what the word says, we continue to have this life, and live abundantly.

    I know that was probably not what you were looking for as answer, but that it what I believe.

    It is written, that many of those seeds actually sprang to life, but when tested, they withered and died. Or, the birds of the air, and the world, came and scooped them up, or crushed them, before they could take root.

    The Sower was none other than God, the Creator of all Life, the seed was none other than the word of God, and the life from that seed was that which the seed contained, but, not all of that seed continued to live forever.

    There were certain conditions that took it away, and certain conditions that helped it to continue to live.

    Whether one can stomach that truth or not, does not change the truth.

  161. joycemb says:

    Yes I hear you Gary, but is it the job of those who receive and are rooted and grounded in Christ to warn others, or is it our job to love as we have been loved and let God at harvest time separate the wheat from the tares?

  162. joycemb says:

    Didn’t Jesus say that He would build His church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it? Perhaps our dissatisfaction with the church is our dues for being in a world run by Satan yet? You may be on to something there. I’d never thought of it in that way before. Thank you Gary for talking to me about this. Blessings, Joyce

  163. poohpity says:

    Thanks Maru but Gary told me he knows what the word of God teaches so I thought he would already know how his statement was so wrong, “I do not have to admit my weakness to God or anyone else.” but I guess I was wrong because obviously he does not know. So as he continues feeding on God’s Word he will find out one day.

  164. poohpity says:

    However he did say one true thing that God already knows our weakness but God likes to know that we can admit to them in agreement with what He already knows then we are all are on the same page.

  165. poohpity says:

    If one can not admit to them then one will never see when God changes them.

  166. poohpity says:

    Or uses them to keep us humbly dependent on Him.

  167. poohpity says:

    Then we are depending on our own imagination rather than on God’s truth.

  168. oneg2dblu says:

    joyce… thanks for seeing there is another side to the story in seeing the failures of not only ourselves, but the church, and even in others in the family of God, which we are supposed to help. Because, if we fail see the needs/sins in others, then, how could we know we need to help them?
    Just thinking….

  169. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh… yes, thanks, God wants to hear from us all, and all our concerns, and we should all know that, through prayer, we can express those very things, even though we know He fully knows them even before we pray.

  170. jeff1 says:

    I was reluctant to admit my weakness in the beginning when I was struggling with God. I think we have to take our own nature into consideration when we struggle. I am a quite person by nature, this is not my thinking but most people I know would say I am quite. I have however a stubborn streak if I am convinced I am right. It is there that God challenged me for I was judging what was way beyond my understanding and God told me leave things which are of a higher understanding to HIM for I was in over my head. I will tell you how this happened me. I did not have a challenging job but the circumstances of the job were difficult in that it put me in certain danger from enemies. That on top of the responsibility of two children who were what I would call good children but boisterous and needed much attention. I had a husband who did not act like one but led the life of a bachelor and took no responsibility for our Children and as a result I was looking after three Children. Eventually I had a nervous breakdown which have left me with psychotic episodes, depression, anxiety and many times wishing God would end it for me for I did not have it in me to end it myself. Gradually with the help of family and two dear friends I recovered enough to live a ‘normal’ i.e. normal as in I have to monitor myself and be monitored by family for mood swings. If I never had a breakdown I may never have grown spiritually for I practiced a simple faith and I was content in that faith. I believe God works in me in ways I cannot see nor does He need me to for that is what He has told my heart that He has brought me this far and I can trust Him in the rest. As I see it this is my journey, your journey may not involve illness but whatever it involves God is in your journey too. Look how Jesus dealt with His disciples and know God works the same with us. I look at my own two Children and I see too very different natures. God looks at us His Children and has to deal with very different natures and He works accordingly so that no ones walk is the same but the one who leads us is the same God. One may be spiritually further on than another but God is still leading. I am not well learned on sin other than I am a sinner. I would say that I do not deliberately sin for I was brought up with the 10 commandments and still hold them as a guidance for living life. I do believe that most of my sin have been neglectful rather than pre-meditated. Not sure how God deals with that but will accept His judgement will be just but merciful because deep down I believe that is the God I serve.

  171. jeff1 says:

    Should have been quiet not quite has I have put.

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