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Looking for a Way Forward

Medium - 1As some of you have noticed, I have not been posting or commenting as often on this blog which is no longer connected to Our Daily Bread Ministries (formerly RBC Ministries).

Part of the reason for the change is that, on reaching the age of 65 (three years ago), I decided it was time for me to step out of my leadership role. Our Directors then appointed my younger brother Rick to become president of the ministry. Rick had been overseeing the operations of our US and international teams for several years and was better equipped than I was to take the ministry forward.

Once I was no longer leading the ministry, the monthly articles that were the original basis of this blog came to an end, and I indicated to members of our leadership team that I was not sure how long I could keep the blog going with fresh posts— without asking friends of the blog to repeat the same conversations over and over.

In some ways it would seem that there should never be a lack of things to talk about. All of us are living in ever changing circumstances that challenge our faith, hope, and love. Every text of inspired Scripture adds something to the story of the God who groans with and for us. I wanted to do what I could to give us a place to compare notes and grow together—in a way that would reflect the immeasurable truth, mercy, patience, grace, Spirit and love of Christ.

But then about a year and a half ago, something personal and very painful happened. Our adult daughter posted a comment to the blog, said she had been following our conversations for some time, told some of her story about being in a same sex marriage, and wondered how I could host a blog where conversations so often reflected a lack of heart and respect for people in her community. When I found out what had happened I acknowledged what some were wondering— yes this was our dearly loved daughter, and that I needed time with family before I could say more.

Our daughter and I met, reassured one another of our love, and then began to explore the possibility of writing a follow-up post together. She wanted to explain to readers of this blog that she had never asked her mother or me to agree with her decisions but only that we be able to continue to share the mutual love and respect that we had always had for one another.

At that point, however, those around us did not believe that such a personal and controversial family story should be exposed to the dangers of social media. I eventually agreed that I didn’t want to sacrifice our personal and private issues to a polarized moral and social debate… but in the process of hiding our truth, loss touch with our daughter… who could only assume that I was too afraid or embarrassed to come out with her in acknowledging our love and respect for one another in our differences.

The circumstances of estrangement have been devastating, and I went into a year of counseling that challenged the walls separating my personal and public life.

I am still trying to sort this all out, and at the same time coming to  believe that our God— while holding us all accountable for our words and actions— will, in the end, turn out to be an infinitely and eternally better Father and Person than any of us can imagine.

In the process, I’m finding that countless other families are facing problems and losses both similar and different than our own… and in this sense of shared loss am beginning to see the priceless value of every son and daughter—not in spite of, but in light of— our shared failures and struggles.

I don’t know what this means for this blog which speaks now only for me rather than for the ministry that I remain associated with and committed to. But I do know that I can no longer hide the pain that has left me, and a growing number of others, without a stomach for the kind of moral, political, social, and doctrinal arguments that treat laws and ideas as more important than any person for whom Christ died.

 


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65 Responses to “Looking for a Way Forward”

  1. bubbles says:

    Mart, thank you for sharing this. Thank you for giving us this place to meet many good friends here. My life has become fuller because of those I met because of this blog and because of your posts.

  2. SFDBWV says:

    If I may borrow a comment I said in my last post on the previous subject; Satan ask to *sift* Peter, I have never read that he was allowed to, so why should we *sift* each other?

    Mart your audience here has been and continues to be hurting people who are all going through their own personal pain of living. Those of us who have shared that pain have been given the opportunity to release some of the pain and anger that accompanies it.

    Agreeably we should be caring for, encouraging each other and helping one another to endure if not heal together, instead of adding to an already overburdened heart.

    Thank you for opening up, I think RBC has missed an opportunity to see and hear from real people and their real experience in living a life as a Christian in a world of broken hearts and damaged people by removing us from its offering.

    I am here with you friend and will remain with you until the end.

    Steve

  3. jayemem says:

    Mart, as Bubbles has said ‘thank you for sharing this’. I am having trouble trying to put into words how I admire you for opening up about your particular situation.

    However, what I do know is I have always appreciated your challenges in the BTA articles when I received them in paper form many years ago & online now. While I find that blogging is difficult for me – I much prefer a face to face or even a phone call which reflects my age – I hope you will continue to challenge us. Will continue to pray for you & your ministry.

  4. poohpity says:

    There are many of us out there that share the same griefs that you do as in “moral, political, social, and doctrinal arguments that treat laws and ideas as more important than any person for whom Christ died.”

    I remember when your daughter shared on here about how she felt when the conversations that even though the discussion had nothing to do with same sex relationships it was brought in. I will not rehash those attacks or by whom but she made her point and it was heard with heartfelt conviction and she was right. So much like her dad she has given us much to think about.

    Change is inevitable and I get my Mart fixes on DTW or your articles in ODB. I have so enjoyed your articles and topics over the years that have stirred me to think beyond what I think I know but the blog just doesn’t seem to be growing any more. God’s speed in whatever direction He has you go. You have blessed my life and I thank you.

  5. cbrown says:

    Looking for the Way forward is so much easier starting the day in God’s Word.Rom 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.” To some this verse is a cliche but to us who have experienced it’s truth it is the Way.I wanted to share with you Mart that last Thursday night I had the opportunity to make sure that all of the inmates in the 2 cell blocks that I mentor in had the current “Daily Bread”. Most received it thankfully. One inmate who has a 5 year old son asked me how he could grow strong in the Lord so that He could be a Godly father. Another mentor had just given the “Daily Bread” to him and I spent time going over how to have a morning and evening devotional time. Another inmate shared that that his mother who had been praying for 12 years that he would accept Christ as his Savior had just written to him that she had breast cancer.He told me that he wanted to surrender and receive Christ. We went through God’s plan of salvation and he is now a new man.I gave him a Bible and showed him how to use the “Daily Bread to have a time alone with God. Thank you Mart and RBC Ministries for all that you do and the impact you have had on my life. Love in Christ

  6. joycemb says:

    Mart thank you for your very personal vulnerability you share with us. I can appreciate the struggles you are dealing with. The world is a very different place with social media and someone always ready and happy to criticize/ condemn. On the other side, as I have been seeing more and more shows- not all silly but some very seriously dealing with the issues surrounding same sex attraction my own heart is beginning to understand more of the heart of God. In college we talked about it and I did some medical research on the topic which very much surprised me ( in the early 2000’s) but at the same time opened my mind to ways the black and white of scripture isn’t always as black and white as one may think at first glance.
    I also have a couple nieces/ cousin who struggle with this also.

    That said, your struggle gives greater insight into the heart of the Father of the prodigal. I too have a prodigal son who refuses to talk/ acknowledge me anymore as he has renounced Christ openly and without regret. It’s harder even as he was truly filled with the Spirit from the age of 3 on. Not saying your daughter has renounced Christ just the emotional separation between parent/ child is excruciating enough.

    Praying for you and your beloved daughter that through Gods grace the rift will be healed. Praying also for your daughter and the immense difficulty she is going through.
    Blessings, Joyce

  7. SFDBWV says:

    Chris I do so appreciate your comment and your devotion to those in jail.

    In spite of Mart thinking it a burden for us to repeat ourselves as I get older and have more stories to tell I can say I don’t mind repeating them.

    Here is one. When Matthew and I worked in Winchester, VA there was a young fellow we worked with (Kenny) who could be said to have been rather ridged in his religious beliefs. Some might have said too ridged and a tad hypocritical.

    He many times told me that those in jail belonged there because of the crimes they had committed and he had no sympathy for them.

    Then after seeking a more active use in his church’s outreach ministries his pastor put him with some other men in their prison ministry.

    Needless to say his outlook and view of these men quickly changed when challenged with facing his prejudice personally and for the purpose of the Gospel.

    So yes I also believe all things work together for the good for them that love the Lord.

    Steve

  8. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart —

    In looking for a way forward, I am trusting that sharing your personal struggles of the past year and a half will bring you release and comfort. Prayers over here for compassion and a tender heart from the media toward your family. Failing this, may the Lord shield and protect you all.

    Your transparency in these deeply personal matters is an encouragement to all who are struggling with the glbtq culture both inside and outside the family, the body of Christ and the marketplace. Thank-you for your genuine faith in the Lord and your witness in BTA.

    Maru

  9. poohpity says:

    Taking on the attitude of “us” verses “them” promotes and devalues the worth to God of any human being. That type of thinking seems to elevate self righteousness at the expense of the righteousness given to us from Christ. God’s love is not dependent on our behaviors but because of who God is and we were created in His image, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good” of much value and worth. Sure we can pick on specific things that people do but then we neglect the specific things we each are guilty of doing.

    God thought so much of us that He sent His Son and His Spirit to show us His faithful pursuit, love and desire for us to live in fellowship with Him now and for eternity. If God thinks that way about human beings who are we not to do the same. We can not think about others the way He does without His help.

    Just thinking that none of us ever gets what we fully deserve but rather we get grace and mercy. Remembering that God seems to look at the heart. “for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

  10. street says:

    dear friends been thinking about disappointment of sin and the wonder of grace. the call of Christ to hate father mother sister brother and even yourself. satan’s call is to give you what ever you want, up to half his kingdom. God’s call is to bring all that you have and give it to Him. the idea we can withhold from God is insane. the idea to disobey God is filled with sever and far reaching problems for all. we are told to separate ourselves from sin, not to be unkind to those who practice sin. if they practice sin and claim to be christians and insist in participating in the church the church has a command to kick them out just like the sinful thoughts that enter our minds on a daily basis. a healthy church and disciple obey the Lord in all things. let them kill the body, our reputations and our family,but do not let them kill our most Holy Faith in Christ Jesus. this Faith should be working it way out in love kindness and acts of mercy of which they will not witness anywhere else. He will not let you bear beyond your ability. john the baptist spoke of herod’s sin and it cost him his life. not to speak of what is sin will cost far more lives. Jesus said If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. Jesus loved them to the end.

  11. bobincornwalluk says:

    Hi Mart,
    Your post appeared on my facebook just now and, although I have been away from here for sometime, I thought I should recreate an account so that you would know that I will be lifting you and your daughter up to The Lord in Prayer.
    You know my circumstances and the problems I have had both with comments on here and from local church people.
    I still find it very difficult to come to terms with who I am spiritually in God’s kingdom and all that belongs to me in heavenly places where i am seated with Christ, a gift of grace through what Jesus did on the cross and who I am in the flesh.
    I can’t change who I am in the flesh, but I have learned that my attitudes and thought patterns are dependent on what I let my soul feed on. We are transformed by the renewing of our minds and it is so true what Jesus said that if your eye offends you or arm etc. then cut it out.
    Better to end up with Jesus in eternity than to spend it alone without Him.
    My 82 year friend asked Jesus last year “what is the worst way to die” and He immediately said “without me”.
    We are only responsible for ourselves and our own actions.
    We can only pray that The Holy Spirit will open and change others hearts.
    We must not judge others as He is our judge and knows what is in every heart.
    God has never changed my desires of the flesh, but He has allowed me to take them under my control.
    deny yourself, take up your cross daily and follow me.
    He has coquered sin and given us power over it. Go and sin no more.
    Understandably, I find the world accepts me as I am in the flesh but not in the spirit. The church does not accept who I am in the flesh but only in the spirit.
    God is Spirit and this is the part of us that needs to grow.
    Always reminds me of John the Baptist who said He (Jesus) must increase and I must decrease.
    Mart, you have proved here today that you are not ashamed of your daughter in any way.
    I am reading acts at the moment and I can see no distinction there between public and private life. Other than personal discretion and confidentiality.
    When two people lied to Peter trying to hide there finances they both dropped dead. We are told to walk in the light as He is in the light.
    Love is all we need to bring down the barriers between us.
    A friend put a text on my facebook today.
    “Do not pass by a man in need, for you may be the hand of God to him.”
    Proverbs 3:27
    don’t know what version that is from.

    Also would like to say hi to Steve in WV.

    Bob

  12. street says:

    i think of a verse paul gives to married people, “But this I say, brethren, the time has been shortened, so that from now on those who have wives should be as though they had none;”

    husbands and wives live to please each other. i think the idea paul is stressing is live to please the Lord. sure your still married but your focus is on the Lord. there will be unity for the faithful, but not in every case. life rarely is perfect with a cookie cutter experience. the uniqueness of conforming many different people to the image of Christ is staggering to the human mind. it’s not difficult for Him. be kind and generous to one an other abiding in His love.

  13. street says:

    26 On the following day he appeared to them as they were fighting together, and he tried to reconcile them in peace, saying, ‘Men, you are brethren, why do you injure one another?’ 27 But the one who was injuring his neighbor pushed him away, saying, ‘Who made you a ruler and judge over us? 28 You do not mean to kill me as you killed the Egyptian yesterday, do you?’

    11 While they were listening to these things, Jesus went on to tell a parable, because He was near Jerusalem, and they supposed that the kingdom of God was going to appear immediately. 12 So He said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to receive a kingdom for himself, and then return. 13 And he called ten of his slaves, and gave them ten [f]minas and said to them, ‘Do business with this [g]until I come back.’ 14 But his citizens hated him and sent [h]a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ 15 When he returned, after receiving the kingdom, he ordered that these slaves, to whom he had given the money, be called to him so that he might know what business they had done. 16 The first appeared, saying, ‘[i]Master, your [j]mina has made ten minas more.’ 17 And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’ 18 The second came, saying, ‘Your [k]mina, [l]master, has made five minas.’ 19 And he said to him also, ‘And you are to be over five cities.’ 20 Another came, saying, ‘Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief; 21 for I was afraid of you, because you are an exacting man; you take up what you did not lay down and reap what you did not sow.’ 22 He *said to him, ‘[m]By your own words I will judge you, you worthless slave. Did you know that I am an exacting man, taking up what I did not lay down and reaping what I did not sow? 23 Then why did you not put my money in the bank, and having come, I would have collected it with interest?’ 24 Then he said to the bystanders, ‘Take the mina away from him and give it to the one who has the ten minas.’ 25 And they said to him, ‘Master, he has ten minas already.’ 26 I tell you that to everyone who has, more shall be given, but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away. 27 But these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them in my presence.”

    i think the money is a metaphor for life. the water is getting muddy and i pray we settle on the rock of ages and let the tempest pass. ask God for wisdom for the next step. we only get them one at a time.

  14. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… you will never know the depth and breadth, of the hearts you have touched with you life, your witness, your example, your disciple, your gifts, and your voice which we all have come to know and hear.
    May God give you peace in spite of your circumstances, may He be your light in all the darkness of this ever changing world, and may your light continue to shine for Him.
    I do not have the words to describe how your daughters voice sounded to me, but I know that it sounds much different to you now, then when it was innocently clinging to the only safety ropes she knew then, her own parents, who loved her unconditionally then, and must also do so now.
    Parents suffer much more for their children ,than their children will ever know.
    Perhaps yet, the Peace that surpasses all understanding will penetrate your very being and bless you beyond your greatest imagination.
    May all divided families on earth, be reunited in Him, who rules both here and in Heaven.
    This is my prayer…
    Be Blessed, Gary

  15. bubbles says:

    Dear Mart,
    I remember when I was little that I would watch your father on Day of Discovery, and I remember when you began speaking on the program also. Even though I was very young, I enjoyed watching you.

    Thank you for everything you have done here. You are brilliant, and your wise words, kindness, gentleness and humble ways are more like Jesus than anyone I have read.

  16. street says:

    There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting. Philippians 1 the message

    i think of cain and the mercy he received and the stick gather who did not receive mercy. the pain each family received as a result of sin was not diminished. God promised to wipe away every tear. hold on to Him, He is faithful and true. everything else is sand. thinking and praying for the family, the time is indeed difficult.

  17. poohpity says:

    street, what is far more important than trusting in Christ? That is where we see His heart and thus can empathize with those who are suffering. Do you honestly think any of things you have said shows a heart of compassion. Then giving verses about the parable of the wasted talents when Mart has not wasted the talents he has been blessed with. What is your point? But it does exemplify exactly what he was guiding us to see when he said, “But I do know that I can no longer hide the pain that has left me, and a growing number of others, ‘without a stomach for the kind of moral, political, social, and doctrinal arguments that treat laws and ideas as more important than any person for whom Christ died’.”

  18. poohpity says:

    With the use of social media it takes the human aspect out of communication. People hide behind avatars and name handles completely taking the heart of the people they are talking to or about out of consideration. They can say whatever they want resulting in ruining peoples lives by crushing their heart but they can not see their tears, hurt or emotions like when we talk to each other face to face. So it is easy to say whatever pops onto the page not considering it is a real person who is reading it.

  19. Dinakar says:

    Dear Matt,
    Once again thank you for sharing your personal life and struggles on this blog. I believe this will definitely help a lot of other people in the same situation.

    I can only empathize with you as a father on the struggle you are going thru especially since your love for your daughter is being questioned by her! this apparently is causing you a lot of personal heartache.

    In the following text please let me dissect the situation into smaller sections and look at it from a biblical perspective. I am sure some of what we may encounter biblically may offend some people.
    At the heart of the matter is the question
    Does God love the sinner?
    A: A resounding ‘YES’
    Q: Does God love the sin a person commits?
    A: a resounding ‘NO’ God hates ‘Sin’
    The Question then is how does God love the sinner and still hate the Sin? the answer to this question will determine our Christian response to the issue at hand.
    Fortunately we have some parables that Jesus spoke of, from which we can draw some conclusions.

    Let us examine Luke 15 – The parable of the prodigal son. The father in the parable going against the culture of his day gives the son the freedom to take his inheritance and leave even though he probably knew the son was taking a wrong turn. The Father then waited for the son’s repentance and the following reconciliation that took place.
    Matt I believe you are looking forward to the day of repentance and reconciliation and the period of ‘WAITING’ is wearing you down.
    To look at it from a different perspective I see a confrontation between your love for your daughter and your Love for God. In asking for you to publicly ‘accept’ her people she has put you in this situation.
    We as Christians accept the sinner but do not compromise on sin. The Church is in the business of correcting sin and overcoming it rather than ‘accepting’ sin. If accepting implies taking a leadership role in the ministry I do not think it is a good idea.(although the US government might disagree)
    Loving God and loving your daughter is a hard choice you have to make and live with the consequences.

  20. jeff1 says:

    Loving God and loving your daughter is not a hard choice for as a parent God understands how much you love your daughter. God is with you not against you Mart and with your daughter. The mistake Christians make is to decide what sin is acceptable and what is not to God and the truth is your daughter’s sin is no different to my own sin of struggling with hate for my enemies. If God made a connection with me in my sin and I have never read the Bible then God will be with your daughter Mart despite of our wrong behaviour God is with us in this life and the life that follows for it is He and He alone that understands our struggles with the flesh and sin not other people. God understands parenthood for we are His children and look at the mess we make of our lives but Christ died for all our messes not just yours or mine but your daughter’s too. When will Christians stop interfering in God’s judgement on others and be diligent in keeping their own heart right with God for human nature being what it is that should require examining it every minute of the day and not deceiving oneself into deciding they are somehow doing better than another in their walk when only God can decide such matters.

  21. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Mart for this topic. SHaring your deepest concern in public.

    My heart was hurting with you and your daughter, and family!

    All things work out for the good,

    that is a promise that God gave, and I stand on this promise for you and all yours!
    May God give you and your whole family a great fruitful life. May God work it out.

    Bob, soooo good to see you here. I have so often thought about you, and prayed for you.
    May God bless you, may you also be a fruitful vine!
    (wiht that I mean, may many souls be brought to Christ through you).
    God is stronger then anything,

    On my smartphone I have the website of Oswald Chambers, Utmost from ODB, of Sep 6, “the far reaching rivers of life” with a beautiful picture of a river flowing from the mountains, and flowing strong, around all kinds of stones.
    No matter how great the obstacle might seem, remember, the article says, the water WILL go around it. Be comforted by that fact of the living water flowing from God’s heart giving us life, love, power to overcome, strength to endure, comfort great enough to comfort others!

  22. jeff1 says:

    If the Church where in the business of correcting sin then God help us. It is God who has corrected our sins by Christ’s death, all of our sins, His death was inclusive to the human race not exclusive and it is God who judges the human race not one Christian judging another for what gives one Christian the right to judge another when we are equal in God’s eyes by the death of Christ. In judging sin we are playing God, we are deciding what sin is acceptable and what sin is not and that is for God alone and not for man to judge.

  23. foreverblessed says:

    Last night there was the moon that was darkened, at 5 in the morning I woke up, and saw the red moon, it was not red, it was a bleak brown orange color. Such a strange experience, it is easier to look at then the sun eclips, (that is tiring for the eyes).
    I stand on the earth but have no idea how big it is, but then, while the moon turns dark, you see that the earth is round, and has a shadow that falls on the moon.
    And then to see that the light side appeared again on the east side! While the moon goes from east to west every day. But in fact, the moon itself travels from west to east, and hour each day. And in a month it has gone around the earth.

    The moon comes up in the east, and goes to the west, Psalm 19:5-6
    But actually it turns the other way!
    It is not what it looks like.
    Then I thought, that is with many things in life, it might appear one way, but it may be different, and so it is with things of God. I should refrain from making judgments, and leave them to God!

  24. Mart DeHaan says:

    One day, in the middle of a controversy, Jesus bent down and wrote something in the sand. We don’t know what he wrote. But we do know what he said… and who suddenly stopped talking.

  25. SFDBWV says:

    There is so much to say I am not sure where to begin or upon which subject to begin with.

    To address Mart’s personal pain to me seems the highest priority, but I can only offer him my sympathy, prayers and heart felt concerns for he and his family.

    Nothing I can say will erase the situation or completely ease his pain.

    If he were here a hug or a hand is all else I could offer.

    Because he is a more high profile public figure his situation seems to be more illuminated to him and those associated with him, but the pain and situation is the same for any father or mother or child caught up in the same or similar circumstances.

    Here in my own little world I have been something of a public figure for most of my adult life and even before that living in a small town amongst other small towns all co-joined by friends and family, everybody’s business is everybody’s business.

    There are no secrets and any attempt to hide anything is a waste of time.

    Whereas on the surface that may sound bad and offensive and it can be when people use private knowledge of another to further some twisted objective of theirs. However it also can be good when people are genuinely concerned and show compassion and love for one another.

    In due time everyone’s dirty laundry is seen as not all that different from anyone else’s.

    The result being we all are in this together and no one above another.

    This open acceptance is a great relief and frees us of trying to live an unrealistic life.

    Learn this and the way forward is wide open without fear and with confidence that there is nothing to hide nor any reason to.

    This is not to say that there are some private things that need to stay private here in this blog amongst each of us and that those things need to be protected by respect and concern for each other’s feelings and privacy.

    What I am saying is all of us have dirty laundry, so we just as well accept it and not judge another for having some as well.

    There is a lot of other subject matter within the comment Mart has made, the last being the fact that many have grown tired of the nit picking of each other or as I said the “sifting* of one another.

    Identify the problem and it can be addressed, try and hide it and it will grow in the darkness it is kept in.

    59 and cloudy.

    Steve

  26. jeff1 says:

    It happens in every walk of life nit picking unfortunately in Christians it is where it is most detestable for it is Christians who claim to know Christ and it shows that me knowing about Christ is a far cry from knowing Christ! God give me a new heart one that can love my fellow Christian/man in the way you have loved us!Oh how hypocritical I can be when not guided by you and you alone! The heart is deceitful about all else!

  27. jeff1 says:

    should be above all else!

  28. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Mart – you said, “I am still trying to sort this all out, and at the same time coming to believe that our God— while holding us all accountable for our words and actions— will, in the end, turn out to be an infinitely and eternally better Father and Person than any of us can imagine.”

    That is how I feel in my heart about the trials of this life. We cannot fully understand God, but still He is worthy of all our love, trust and adoration.

    David said in 2 Samuel 24:10 “…I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, oh Lord, I beg You, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” After speaking with Gad, the prophet, who gave David some choices of punishment, David, says what I would say, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”

    Man has this fleshly tendency to decide who is right and who is wrong, especially when they look at others. Generally, thinking comes out, “I am right, and they are wrong.” Man usually thinks some punishment or retribution is in order.

    I know I deserve punishment. I know my loved ones deserve punishment. Always, I will trust in God alone. Though He slay me, yet I will trust Him. As David said, I say, “Let us fall in to the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great…”

  29. jeff1 says:

    It is human nature when someone hurts us or does us an injustice we cry out for justice but when we do it to someone else we look to justify our actions. God knows us better than we know ourselves for we are in denial when it comes to our own wrong doing but the opposite applies when we look at someone else’s wrong doing. Jesus did not die for human nature for any other reason than it was necessary to make us right with God and God did not get it wrong the world today is proof of that! If ever a world needs a Saviour this one does!

  30. street says:

    dear mart i am sorry if i have causes sorrow upon sorrow and have become a sorry comforter. forgive me and pray for me. i was not listening or obeying. only God can do what i hoped for. i spoke from fear forgetting Who holds you in His hand. God is faithful.

  31. poohpity says:

    Let the one who has never sinned, condemn! Jesus the One who never sinned did not condemn but came to save and gave His life as a ransom for many. I wonder if upon further evaluation the very One who knows our very hearts because nothing is hidden from Him is writing something in the dirt about me/you? Jesus’ did hold to the Mosaic law with a twist the only one who can condemn and punish another for sin is the one without sin. How many will think it is time to walk away?

    If one does not murder then murder is the most horrible sin in the world but a socially acceptable sin like gossip is fine but both kill. You are right Viv we judge sin by our standards not God’s. Would anyone here take the punishment the murderer deserves without realizing the punishment for the gossip is the same?

  32. poohpity says:

    street, it seem now you have discovered the truth in the comfort of Job’s three friends because you have experienced it which is far better than just being taught about it.

  33. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Mart you wrote:

    “But I do know that I can no longer hide the pain that has left me, and a growing number of others, without a stomach for the kind of moral, political, social, and doctrinal arguments that treat laws and ideas as more important than any person for whom Christ died.”

    It seems to me your sharing the story of your family’s struggle here brings up a huge issue for every family and individual who needs to feel and directly experience the loving presence of the Lord — not be confronted with some stone-cold debate about orthodoxy. We don’t “do” church, it seems to me. Rather, we are the church, on account of Jesus’ love.

    The growing spiritual discontent inside and outside the body of Christ is a symptom of this very real, deep pain where community has fragmented — and families are suffering alone. I can only pray that Jesus-followers keep calm and keep loving one another and the neighbors God has given us. Trust that your church family and the community around you, Mart, is there for you in these days of uncertainty.

    My family is facing a different challenge just now. But, the pain of loss and estrangement is real all the same. I agree that there is not a more loving and forgiving Parent than our God.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  34. joycemb says:

    Mart I studied up on John 8:3 this morning. I noticed Jesus did not force Himself on the Judaizers, he just quietly wrote (what we do not know) in the dust of the temple floor. It was enough to turn them away, from the oldest to the youngest until the woman’s accusers were all gone. So so much to glean out of this passage. but what strikes me the most after reading posts so far to day is that Jesus was gentle. He didn’t yell at them. I think that hitting people over the head with the Gospel is just as bad as hitting them over the head with a stone tablet of the Ten.

    Gentleness and mercy, yes. Patience, yes, tolerance until truth is finally revealed and accepted, yes. Still learning in my older age and loving it!

    Thank you to both you and your daughter for sharing your struggles. God has a purpose in them.

  35. street says:

    maart said,” Our adult daughter posted a comment to the blog, said she had been following our conversations for some time, told some of her story about being in a same sex marriage, and wondered how I could host a blog where conversations so often reflected a lack of heart and respect for people in her community.”

    it doesn’t surprise me of this rhetoric coming from a child. what does surprise me is a total disregard for your faith and what it stands for.thinking of the son who wished his father dead by asking for his inheritance or absolon seeking his father life and the thrown. i wonder who is showing a lack of respect. i know you taught her of your Lord and the truths of the God’s Word. i also know she is free to chose like me and fail. it is my hope the Word that was sown will have it’s intended purpose and return with a blessing. God hold you both firmly in His infinite grace and mercy.

    as for hosting, we are all host and we put up with a lot, for He is gracious. mart you are a very patient, gracious host and you have endured much. please continue we love happy endings.

  36. jeff1 says:

    Gossip makes me think of this song:

    A tongue can accuse or carry bad news;
    The seeds of distrust it will sow.
    So unless you have made no mistakes in your life,
    Be careful of stones that you throw.
    A neighbour was passing my garden one time;
    She smiled and I knew right away
    That it was gossip not flowers that she had on her mind,
    And this is what I heard my neighbour say:

    “That bad girl down the street, she should be run from our midst
    She drinks and she talks quite a lot.
    She knows not to speak to my child nor to me.”
    My neighbour then smiled, and I thought…

    A tongue can accuse and carry bad news;
    The seeds of distrust it will sow.

    So unless you have made no mistakes in your life,
    Be careful of stones that you throw.

    The car speeded by, the screaming of brakes
    A sound that made by blood chill,
    For my neighbour’s one child had been pulled from the path
    And saved by a girl lying still.

    Her child was unhurt and my neighbour cried out,
    “Oh, who is that brave girl so sweet?”
    I covered the crushed, broken body and said,
    “That bad girl down the street”.

    A tongue can accuse or carry bad news;
    The seeds of distrust it will sow.
    So unless you have made mistakes in your life,
    Be careful of stones that you throw.

  37. poohpity says:

    street, I guess I spoke to soon the lesson was not discovered yet. It seems you only read part of Mart’s statement and pulled out the part that seemed easiest to issue a personal attack.

  38. poohpity says:

    It is easiest to side with Job’s friends and copy their behavior than to be Christ like in refraining from condemnation.

  39. poohpity says:

    street you were not here when she posted nor do you know what she shared nor are you or anyone else able to know her heart or intentions but chose instead to jump to conclusion or assume without knowing her or Mart for that matter.

  40. poohpity says:

    So it was not the rhetoric of a child but the thoughts and observations of an adult reading what so called Christians wrote.

  41. street says:

    sin is always personal.
    God’s answer to sin is found in His Son at the cross.
    God accomplished much at the cross and it is our way forward. it is a tree of life.

    remember arrons rod budding?

  42. joycemb says:

    I’m rethinking my statement earlier about being ‘tolerant’. It sounds so nice and pleasant. I don’t think Jesus was ever tolerant though. I may be wrong but this is what I’m hashing over this afternoon. We are all on a journey, aren’t we.

  43. street says:

    Has it ever occurred to you that one hundred pianos all tuned to the same fork are automatically tuned to each other? They are of one accord by being tuned, not to each other, but to another standard to which each one must individually bow.

    So one hundred worshipers met together, each one looking away to Christ, are in heart nearer to each other than they could possibly be were they to become “unity” conscious and turn their eyes away from God to strive for closer fellowship.

    –A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Christian, 1982), 80

    Putting fellowship with one another above fellowship with God destroys both.

    i believe this is true in marriage too. israel found it quite difficult and dangerous to live next door to the Temple.

    the anchor holds.

  44. poohpity says:

    What do y’all think was the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah? Sexual sin? No. “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy.”

    The reason Jesus left was so that the Holy Spirit would come and this was what He would do, “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; 9concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;” So the sin of the world is disbelief. Then why do people feel it is their job to convict others of sin(found in the Mosaic law) especially when they themselves sin? Do you want to be judged according to the Law or according to grace?

  45. joycemb says:

    Losing one’s life for the sake of the Gospel. I wonder if we really ever know how difficult it is until we are asked to give up something dear to us. Mart I am praying for you.

    The hardest thing I had to give up was my marriage. I was sure my husband would get saved (and my pastor even promised to me he would if I prayed enough) and we would live happily ever after. Not so, and not because many many people weren’t praying daily for years. I even got him to go to a Billy Graham counseling seminar and he went to church with me for a month after our divorce, but he remained uncommitted to anything but his own happiness.
    I can tell you I questioned God for years after this. I searched the scriptures through tears, anger, and yelling even at times. But God remained steadfast throughout. God did not change because I could not live in peace with an unregenerate man. And I sure tried!!

    Then when our 20 year old son died suddenly in a house fire I thought sure it would change his heart. It only made him angrier at God and me! I’ve always felt such a deep deep ache over the loss of my family, but God has been true and steadfast to comfort, convict, and provide for my needs. Every day, all day. And now that I am one day closer to heaven than I was yesterday I find more to rejoice in. Hallelujah!

    Mart you have way more at stake than I did, but they were my world; just as your ministry and your family is to you. Whether we minister to our family or the world Jesus is the same God we serve. Some of us just have more to lose than others.
    (This is my 2 cents worth of personal insight) Feel free to ignore or delete.
    Love and blessings to you Mart on your journey,
    Joyce

  46. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry Folks… no matter how a thread starts out, even one as open, honest, sensitive, and vulnerable as this one about Mart personally sharing his troubled heart with us, soon becomes another car wreck as attacks start their flowing again.
    I only hope that another new thread would start soon, so the mud slinging in this one that is happening now, will not continue to dirty this thread.
    Let’s all start to show some respect for Mart here, and put aside all our attacking of others, for the peace of this thread which is so sensitive and for respect to Mart, please, please, stop.
    Give it to God, I am sure that Mart and others here do not want it placed here before us at this time.
    Thank You, for your respect to Mart and his position which does not need any of us to start judging another contribution as being a personal attack to Mart..

    Let’s just share our prayers and love for Mart here, and drop all our accusing scrutiny for the moment.
    Gary

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    joyce… thanks for sharing that very powerful story of heartache, and the collapsing of dreams that seem to never come to be.
    Although the bible says God gives us the desires of our heart, He can also deny us certain things for our own good.
    Our only position is to know He knows best, what is best for us, because we surely do not get all our prayers answered the way we want, but, they all do get answered.
    I have been taught, that there are three answers, Yes, No, and Wait…

  48. oneg2dblu says:

    For generations parents have prayed for their children, and the waiting perhaps is the one answer that tests our faith the most.
    Come Jesus!

  49. joycemb says:

    Gary it took me a long time to learn that God gives us the desires of our heart because He puts His desires there. I believe His desires are eternal and not physical. That’s just the understanding I’ve come to through the years. We keep looking Up, don’t we.

  50. street says:

    mart and family are in my prayers.

  51. bobincornwalluk says:

    Hi Mart,

    I came back on this blog because I really felt for you and your daughter in this situation. If it were not for this blog I expect this problem would not have arisen or at least been lovingly sorted by now.

    As Steve said about his community, as is similar here, there are no secrets and everyone knows everyone’s business.

    That is really a good thing as we are all then held accountable for our actions.

    Just as we are in Christ, walking in the light. Could say spotlight !

    I also feel for your daughter having to read the drivel and criticism that appears on this blog from time to time.

    While most gay people are quite happy with civil partnerships and having equality in the law regarding pensions and ownership of property etc. The fact that secular society wants to call it marriage is not really relevant or important to what matters in life. There have been far worse things in past societies !

    We are all different and have the right to live life as we please in a so called free state.

    I have sinned, we all have sinned and we all live under and by the grace of God.

    Your daughters relationships are her concern, no more a sin than the thoughts that run around my head from time to time.

    What is important is that we love one another.

    Love does not see the sin but the person and the heart.  That is why true love does not even notice when another gets it wrong.

    What really matters is our relationship with each other and our relationship ship with God.
    What happens on this earth is a mere spec in time and space compared to what has been and is to come.

    I left this blog along time ago because the comments were so petty and often bitingly critical, nothing seems to have changed !

    My prayers and love are with you both Mart and I hope you find peace in all this soon.

    Bob

  52. Mart DeHaan says:

    Bob,
    Your words and understanding, together with the thoughtfulness of others here, are like a breath of fresh air. I think of you so often with such deep appreciation for your courageous honesty, love, and faith.

  53. Motorcycleminister says:

    Mart,

    Please do not feel guilty. God loves you as we all do. If your daughter is happy then so be it. We can not control anyone else but ourselves. Only we can control our thoughts and our relationship with God, our Abba. Thank God your have that wonderful relationship with your daughter. It is not for us to judge what others do and say. However, it is our thoughts that matter. We all sin in one way or another. As Ecclesiastes states there is a time for…. Your time is NOW! Enjoy each day. We are so very BLESSED of all you have done and all you have contributed to the thousands if not millions of people around the world. You, Mart, have made a huge impact and contribution to millions of people around the world. Thank you so very much. With God’s Love, Barry

  54. SFDBWV says:

    When I was a child my greatest fear was the death of my parents. From time to time I would have a nightmare of their death only to wake to the relief that it was only a nightmare.

    As I became an adult dealing with adult realities and growing in Christ such fears left me and then in due season both did die only several weeks apart. I took care of their affairs and buried them as is as I suppose how things should work.

    Oddly I would then dream about them being alive only to wake to the reality that they were not.

    I thought once that absolutely nothing had prepared me for the season of my life that I have been in these past 16 years with regards to my son Matthews disabilities and dependence on my constant care.

    Neither he nor I wake from the nightmare our lives together has become for him.

    I said once I thought nothing had prepared me for where I am in life, but I was in err as over time I have come to realize that God prepared me for where I am in life throughout my entire life.

    Sometimes smoothly sometimes through briars and thickets God molded me and set every detail into motion and seen to their accomplishment for His purpose of having me here and now just as I am and just as he wanted.

    There is no nightmare in realizing this, only anxious anticipation mingled with hope and yes some desperation as I live each day awaiting the next and realizing God is in control not me.

    So all I can do is trust Him and the welfare of all I hold dear to His keeping.

    Enjoying all I can of the life I have amongst the trials and battles living produces all the while believing there is a higher purpose and better result from God then ever I could imagine or even ask for.

    Trust God in every circumstance and He will not disappoint.

    Rain 62 degrees.

    Steve

  55. poohpity says:

    So many people who find their selves in full time ministry not only them but the children are held to such high standards by the measuring stick of those around them that would be impossible for anyone to live up to and the minute someone takes a step in a different direction the boom comes down. Rather than walking alongside them people take out the high and mighty stones.

    Just in the last month my homeless 37 year old daughter had a brief stint in jail for 2 trespassing tickets and failure to appear. In one way I was glad she was safe but everyday I had to wrestle with my desire to get her out and her brothers reminding me, “mom you said if we got ourselves into that kind of fix we had to get ourselves out”. When she called at 2:40 in the morning when she was released I was so hoping that she may want to go get the help she needs with the offer that I would help in anyway but she made the choice not to.

    The son who went to college to become a youth pastor and changed half way through to social work because the pressure from those around was so great from legalism and picking him apart that he even walked away from the Lord. 2 weeks ago after his sis was released he got married and much to my amazement his old youth pastor performed the wedding which was very Christ centered. That pastor rather than sharing the love chapter(1 Cor 13) shared all the things Paul went through because of His love for the Lord(2 Cor 11:24-26) which my son spoke of afterward. Has he turned his heart back to the Lord I really don’t know?

    But God has guided me to understand they are in His hands and my job now is to love them and show His grace while fully trusting Him to work in their lives. Truthfully I wanted to be the one to who rescued them but I can’t, I do not know how without causing more problems. Opening my hands and letting go is my best course of action which is so easy to say but so hard to do.

  56. jeff1 says:

    When I decided it was best if I did not read my Bible, it was a good friend of mine who passed a copy of Our Daily Bread to me that got me reading Mart’s daily devotionals and I have been reading them in booklet form or on line now for the past 20 years. In the darker periods of my life I have turned to them to encourage me that God cares for me in a way I could never imagine. I have listened to many teachers who have sent me away feeling empty rather than inspired when it comes to God. I have to say that for me you have encouraged my continued walk with God where others have left me wondering if God is a God of love and mercy. My honest belief is that God can be both when He knows I need discipline he lets me know and I have gotten to know God in both dark and brighter days. Life is a journey of up’s and down’s and people we meet on the way who help us to trust God when we may feel He is not with us. Thank you Mart for being one of those who has kept me faithful for there where times I thought I might fail to trust God again and you are one who I can say keeps me on that journey while others have left me empty. You are truly a man of God, in my humble opinion, and while you may have come to a milestone in your life no one can take that from you. God is with you always and your daughter. I have wayward sons but I know God works in their life whether they want to know it or not. I have been wayward myself and He has continued to work in mine. God is a God of patience and patience in life is one of the most Godly virtues and I truly believe you have it in abundance. What ever decisions you make you should know I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being one of the truly Godly men in my life. It is a small world indeed.

  57. poohpity says:

    The pain in parenting who knows it any better than Our Father.

  58. street says:

    i have to confess i will be struggling with this indefinitely. my thoughts go along this line. we think of an elephant in the room. it’s there i can not move it. if we change the elephant to a lion it takes on a more serious and deadly problem for those in the room. the struggle is to learn to “live” with these in our room. daniel did it and i thing God is capable of teaching and protecting His children the same way. maybe the elephant and the mountain can be moved? how did God move them for you?

  59. joycemb says:

    John 6:68 Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words to eternal life.

    This scripture comes to mind reading posts this morning. I believe that as long as WE continue in the faith our loved ones will know they can turn to us for guidance and comfort should they decide to return to the faith. Or maybe it will be the legacy of our testimony when we are gone that sparks questions?

    Another thought over the difficult question Mart struggles with as do we all is that whether we are right or whether we are dead wrong about just how far the love of God goes in the end we will all know and will be in everlasting peace, won’t we. Some things I have to let-go of and pray my favorite prayer, the Serenity prayer.

    God give me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change,
    Courage to change the things I can,
    And wisdom to know the difference.

    In acceptance lieth peace.

  60. joycemb says:

    This is a favorite song, composed of words by St. Teresa de Avila and put to music by the ecumenical monastic gathering at Taize, France. The Spanish title is Nada de Turbe

    Let Nothing Disturb You

    Let nothing disturb you,
    let nothing frighten you,
    everything passes,
    but God stays.
    Patience reaches it all;
    he who has God
    nothing lacks:
    God alone suffices.

    Lift your thinking,
    raise up to heaven,
    let nothing anguish you,
    let nothing disturb you.

    Follow Jesus Christ
    with an open heart,
    and, no matter what may come,
    let nothing frighten you.

    See the glory of the world?
    It’s vainglory;
    it is not everlasting,
    everything passes.

    Yearn for the celestial
    that lasts forever:
    faithful and rich in promises,
    God doesn’t change.

    Love it the way it deserves
    immense kindness;
    but there is not fine love
    without the patience.

    Confidence and alive faith
    let the soul maintain,
    that he who believes and hopes 1.
    reaches it all.

    Although harassed by hell
    one may see himself,
    he who has God
    will defeat its rage.

    Come abandonment,
    crosses, misfortune;
    God being your treasure,
    you lack nothing.

    Go, then, worldly goods
    go, vain happiness;
    even if everything is lost
    God alone suffices.

    Taken from http: //lyricstranslate.com/en/nada-te-turbe-let-nothing-disturb-you.html#ixzz3nFKBTVnH

  61. rivergal says:

    Mart, I will be praying for you as you seek a way forward in this decision where so many concerns, convictions, and feelings are in play.

    In other forums that discuss many of the similar topics found at BTA, a post like today would have created a fierce firestorm. While it’s clear that there are differing opinions here, what threads through is a genuine concern and empathy for what you are going through. If this was an IRL community would we have such high expectations for 100% unity at all times? I wonder.

    I don’t often post here, and am not the regular reader that another dear friend is, but I would miss this blog and it’s small but loyal posting community. I would miss it because you, Mart, don’t hesitate to put the hard questions out there, and give an answer of your own, that while I might not always agree with it entirely, it always causes me to think and weigh my own answer. I love how the community also weighs and considers — their discussion often blesses me as much as your post. I would really miss that, and I am sure I’m not alone.

    Something I might suggest, since the blog is no longer associated with ODB Ministries, that maybe it could become an alliance of a few writers, with you included. Just a thought, maybe a crazy one. I’d hate to see this community end.

  62. street says:

    mart said,”But I do know that I can no longer hide the pain that has left me, and a growing number of others, without a stomach for the kind of moral, political, social, and doctrinal arguments that treat laws and ideas as more important than any person for whom Christ died.”

    25 But she came and began to bow down before Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” 26 And He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.” 27 But she said, “Yes, Lord; but even the dogs feed on the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus said to her, “O woman, your faith is great; it shall be done for you as you wish.” And her daughter was healed at once.

  63. street says:

    i need that kind of faith and humility.

  64. Regina says:

    Good Evening, All
    Pray all is well in your lives. Mart, thank you for sharing your testimony (about what’s been going on in your life both professional and private) with us, your friends, on the BTA blog. Wow! You were at the helm of RBC Ministries for many years, and I totally understand why you would want to move into other areas of ministry at this time in your life. That being said, the BTA blog won’t be the same with you because you were the one who started it.

    I didn’t know RBC ministries had been around for that long, though I forgot that it was started by your dad or grandfather (?) I pray that the LORD’s blessings will be upon you (Num. 6:24-26, NLT) wherever God leads you for His glory and honor. Thank you so much for starting this blog as it has been a true blessing in my life and in the lives of countless others. I pray that your brother will “catch the (BTA blog) baton” (that you passed to him) and run with it until he needs to pass it to someone else.

    I also pray that the LORD will restore the relationship with you and your daughter (that’s one of his promises to you as his child).

    81 degrees and a calm night sky in my neck of the woods…

    Love to all,
    Regina

  65. Mart DeHaan says:

    Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read such a personal and difficult post, and especially to those of you who have expressed your care and friendship in words and prayers.

    I appreciate your understanding of the personal struggles I’ve expressed and also of the changes that have occurred here on the blog.

    Let’s see how far we can move forward together– with hearts-in-process, that reflect the One who has given himself for us.

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