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Serious Comedy Then and Now

DSCN5300In the 8th chapter of 2 Kings, there’s a life and death story told in a somewhat comedic way.

The king of Aram (present day region of Syria) has been trying to conduct raids on the neighboring nation of Israel. But whenever he would come up with a new plan of attack the prophet Elisha would alert the king of Israel as to what the military of Aram was about to do. The result was maddening to the king of Aram who assumed that one of his own advisors must be passing state secrets to Israel. His officials tell him it’s not one of them, but that the prophet of God in Israel (Elisha) tells the king of Israel everything the king of Aram says, even the words he speaks in the privacy of his own bedroom.

Furious, the king of Aram wants to know where Elisha is staying, and when he finds out, sends his army to get him. When the young assistant to Elisha wakes up the next morning, he looks out and sees that they are surrounded by the army of Aram. The prophet tells him not to be afraid because “there are more on our side than on theirs.” Then Elisha asks the God of Israel to open his assistant’s eyes. When the young man looks again, he sees the mountains surrounding them filled with horses and chariots of fire.

When the soldiers of Aram start moving in, Elisha asks God to blind them. It would be interesting to know whether the Lord took away their physical sight or just their ability to make sense of what they were seeing. In either case Elisha asked them what they wanted. When they told him, he replied that they had come to the wrong place, to follow him, and he would bring them to their man.

The army complied, and blindly followed Elisha into the national stronghold of the northern capital of Israel (Samaria). Only when the prophet asked the Lord to open their eyes did they see they had walked into a trap.

When the king of Israel saw that Elisha had delivered the enemy into his hands, “he shouted to Elisha, “My father, should I kill them? Should I kill them?” “Of course not!” Elisha replied. “Do we kill prisoners of war? Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.” So the king made a great feast for them and then sent them home to their master. After that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel” (2Kings 6:21-23).

The smiles of that story are, as we all know, part of a far bigger story that moves to even higher ground in the days of “God with us”.

Yes, that was then as now is now. Th0se were the miraculous days of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. The story was the story of the God of Israel who wanted the hearts not only of his chosen people, but the hearts of their neighbors.

A question for us to think about together could be— once a life and death story of smiles like this finds fulness of meaning in the person of Jesus, how are we to read it as citizens of the kingdom of God? What applies and what doesn’t… when it comes to wondering how we can distinguish ourselves as servants and citizens of Christ— rather than as blind soldiers and clueless kings?

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74 Responses to “Serious Comedy Then and Now”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Zeroing in on Mart’s question; “how we can distinguish ourselves as servants and citizens of Christ-rather than blind soldiers and clueless kings”.

    Want to say up top that all too often I feel like a blind soldier following “The King” with my eyes fixed on Him rather than the circumstances of my life and life all around me.

    As I wade into how I feel about this subject I want also to say that many times I and my observation of some that in expecting the same results from stories of Scripture to manifest the same results I am often disappointed and left to assume it not God’s will.

    To distinguish myself as a follower of Jesus, I would have to say that that comes by my public affirmation as being a believer first and then the actions of how I conduct myself to follow. To demonstrate that in no matter what circumstances I may find myself that my faith remains steadfast and others can see my being a “Christian” by how I live.

    There is great frustration in being forced to deal with “clueless kings” and especially clueless people.

    In the case Mart has given us it took a “miracle of Biblical proportions” to open the eyes of the King of Aram and his soldiers. I suppose as Christians we need to remember that it is God who opens the eyes of a fool, not by our ability to convince them they are blind; especially when it is we who see only in part and through dark glass ourselves.

    40 degrees and damp.


  2. poohpity says:

    The life application of this story seems to be what if they had killed and butchered those enemies as they stood in the middle of Israel then more than likely that would have just made more war between them or any other neighboring nations in other words returning evil for evil then it just keeps on, keeping on. But rather they pulled out and took the high road by trusting God.

    As I apply that to today’s times I remember what Jesus taught; Matt 5:43-45; Luke 6:27-28 or what Solomon taught; Proverbs 25:21 or Paul in Romans 12:20-21. That is what seems to distinguishes us as followers of Christ and shows that we trust God with our enemies because of what He did for us while we were still His enemies. Retaliation, barbs, snipes, anger, bitterness just keeps it all going.

    Mercy begets mercy and calms a raging heart to trusting and depending on God.

  3. poohpity says:

    Those Armenians had already been defeated. A strong person/nation would not need to go any further by rubbing their nose in it, that would only have proven cowardliness.

  4. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends —

    There is a huge smile in this story! :o) And the details could be in any war-torn scene still being tragically played out in our own time with smart bombs, drones and ground troops fighting guerilla style. There is a serious resemblance between the two wars (then and now).

    But, the outcome of this passage from the sixth chapter of 2nd Kings is where I find Jesus. The key is the response of the Prophet Elisha to the king’s question:

    “My father, shall I strike them down? Shall I strike them down?”

    He answered, “You shall not strike them down. Would you strike down those whom you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.

    “So he prepared for them a great feast, and when they had eaten and drunk, he sent them away, and they went to their master. And the Syrians did not come again on raids into the land of Israel.”

    Elisha taught his king love, mercy and kindness toward enemies. This is the hallmark of Messiah. The kingdom represented in those actions is not at all the political-military kingdom of either Aram or Israel (or the USA).

    As you point out, Mart:

    “The story was the story of the God of Israel who wanted the hearts not only of his chosen people, but the hearts of their neighbors.”

    We see in this the nearness of the God of Israel, Jesus of Nazareth risen to New Life, ruling the world and the universe. To follow Him is to treat enemies the way Israel treated Aram that day. In doing so, we bring into view our citizenship in Christ — in the New Jerusalem.

    Joy all day!

    41F with light rain.

  5. poohpity says:

    I believe that is where “The Geneva Convention” got it rules from.

  6. remarutho says:

    Thanks for the Scriptures, Pooh, especially Romans 12:21! This is serious comedy. May the Word penetrate my heart today.

  7. poohpity says:

    Maru, don’t we see the opposite being lived out by ISIL with their captive’s hands tied behind their backs unable to defend themselves then cut their heads off or set them on fire or hide behind children and woman or hospitals because they play on our compassion.

    Or with gangs who attack one with 5 or more who have no chance to overcome the odds difference?

  8. remarutho says:

    Sad but true, Pooh —

    How I yearn to have Elisha show me always the “horses and chariots of fire” — that fiery, angelic army battling in the Spirit for the souls of humans!

    Darkness seems to encroach more and more — in Syria, in Afghanistan, in the whole Middle East — even in our own urban battle-fields. Father, open our eyes! We want to see Jesus!


  9. poohpity says:

    It seems pretty useless to want God to open the eyes of others when at times our own eyes are so blinded. As David prayed for God to search him not others(Psalm 139:23-24) then and only then can we grasp that the battle belongs to the Lord (1 Sam 17:47 NLT; 2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT) It is God’s Spiritual armor that we put on everyday so that we can stand firm against the enemy thus giving us the ability to do good rather than evil.

  10. oneg2dblu says:

    Some good comments going on here…
    I wonder if some here, after being presented with this story of feeding and releasing, would equate it to our releasing those held in GTMO, and would relish an opening up the prisons doors throughout all America, just to make us a more Christ-like godly nation?
    I believe the Geneva Convention applies to only certain types of crimes, acts of war, but today, to push a political agenda, it is sometimes applied improperly, just like turning the cheek can be used to only advance evil, if applied everywhere.
    I guess if we could all only see the light in every situation, instead of also seeing darkness, we would all be snow blind as well.

    How many stories are there in the Word of God, about God’s completely snuffing out certain types of people who have also done what is detestable or wrong?

    There is a reason why the law was established in the first place, and why the laws of the land today, still need to be held, as the law needed in this Nation.

    Just thinking…

  11. SFDBWV says:

    On a huge departure from the norm I have about 20 minutes of time before leaving the computer for the day; normally I am done by 7:30 am on Saturday.

    There is no secret thing among the heats, thoughts and actions of men kept from God. Yet God keeps many things secret from man.

    I have said, as many here that the nature and being of Jesus is shown all throughout Scripture, and as Mart has illustrated here His forgiving nature is demonstrated very well.

    In this story it seemed to fit God’s will to have things done exactly as they were.

    Going far forward to another army and another enemy of Israel we read that the blood will run as deep as a horses bridle. No comedy in that scenario of warfare and no room for mercy either except for withholding enough to keep all of life from being erased from the face of the earth. (Revelation 6-7-8).

    The same victorious King is shown all throughout Scripture as well and was the Messiah Israel expected to see instead of the humble servant King seen in Jesus of Nazareth.

    Don’t take His mercies too lightly, they came at a very high price and the world will someday be judged for it.


  12. oneg2dblu says:

    To me, it seems that the good old US of A prefers to be more like, One Nation Under Supreme Courts Rulings.
    Looks like a few weaker words and their weaker principles have slowly slipped by our turning of cheeks, and our blinded eyes.

    “If my people who are called by my name …”

    Yes, “Open Our Eyes Lord!”


  13. street says:

    you know this story really made my day. it also reveals in me a little bit of racism or self righteousness. this all took place in samaria?!?! you got to be kidding me!!!
    God’s way of doing things is makes me want to give up completely like the army from aram. thinking…

    Proverbs 16:7
    When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.

    come Lord Jesus

  14. street says:

    mart said,” Yes, that was then as now is now. Th0se were the miraculous days of the prophets Elijah and Elisha. The story was the story of the God of Israel who wanted the hearts not only of his chosen people, but the hearts of their neighbors.”

    14 Then he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”

    15 The Lord said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus, and when you have arrived, you shall anoint Hazael king over Aram; 16 and Jehu the son of Nimshi you shall anoint king over Israel; and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abel-meholah you shall anoint as prophet in your place. 17 It shall come about, the one who escapes from the sword of Hazael, Jehu shall put to death, and the one who escapes from the sword of Jehu, Elisha shall put to death. 18 Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

    thanking God for His Mercy and faithfulness in the present.

  15. joycemb says:

    The story you told Mart brings to mind Jesus’ words in Luke 6:37-38 TLB

  16. joycemb says:

    37 “Never criticize or condemn—or it will all come back on you. Go easy on others; then they will do the same for you.[a] 38 For if you give, you will get! Your gift will return to you in full and overflowing measure, pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, and running over. Whatever measure you use to give—large or small—will be used to measure what is given back to you.”

  17. foreverblessed says:

    It is good to memorise these verses, because, when it actually would apply to us, when we face our enemy, just having done something terrible to us, we have this natural inclination:
    I must tell myself: when I want to follow Jesus I have to leave justice to Him, I must not require it for my enemy, instead, I give him food and drink. The king in the OT even prepared a feast for their enemies!
    But in order to be so loving to the ones that hurt us we have to get very very close to Jesus, and be filled with all the good and love from above!
    Come to Me… all who want to love their enemies from the heart and I will give you love.
    Paraphrasing Matt 11:28

  18. foreverblessed says:

    Discover the Word of March 10, is about that same theme:
    We have received mercy, we give mercy-
    Matt 18:21-35,33

  19. pepper08 says:

    I I think this is a good topic with very good comments. It is good to feel connected to other believers and deciples of Christ Jesus.

  20. jeff1 says:

    I would distinguish myself as a believer in Christ as I belong to a church of believers who praise God but having wandered from the truth, I see myself, in crisis with my faith.

    In my heart, I know I can trust God,but in my mind, I struggle with questions that remain unanswered because I am afraid to ask them.

    Doubts of my identity have been with me since the decline of my mental health as the past comes back to haunt me!

    Definitely much more a blind soldier and always struggling at being anything more!

    Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
    There’s a land that I’ve heard of once in a lullaby.
    Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
    And the dreams that you dare to dream,
    Really do come true.

    Someday I’ll wish upon a star
    And wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
    Where troubles melt like lemon drops.
    High above the chimney tops,
    That’s where you’ll find me.

    Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
    Birds fly over the rainbow
    Why then, oh why can’t I?
    If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow
    Why, oh why, can’t I?

  21. poohpity says:

    Viv, if you have confessed with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in you heart that God raised Him from the dead you are saved. He is faithful even when we doubt He can handle all our questions and our doubts and so enjoys for us to be honest about them to Him. If you did not believe He was even real you would have nothing to doubt.

  22. poohpity says:

    Never be afraid to ask God anything!!! If you do not ask then you will never know that He answers.

  23. street says:

    thinking of abigail and david. the story is quite similar. she kept david from much sin.

  24. street says:

    poo said,”Never be afraid to ask God anything!!! If you do not ask then you will never know that He answers.”

    the Lord is my Shepard”spearhead” i shall not want.

    then there is the parable of the unjust judge.

    fun stuff to work through.

  25. jeff1 says:

    Pooh, It is things that my mother told me when I was a child that my father said I was not to listen to her for she was unwell but I cannot get them out of my mind because of the fact that we have had bad luck when it comes to mental health and relationships.

    What she told me has come true and that means my father was wrong except that I know my father’s wisdom was God given but that does not stop me worrying that I will affect my children even though I do not mention it to them in the hope that I will not.

    It’s the fact that history is repeating itself for my mum’s mum (my grandmother) was mentally unwell too.

    I just want it to end with me so that my children are not affected and to do this I try to forget about it but since I am a manic depressive I can loose peace of mind when I listen to those I should not listen to and not focusing on God’s word.

    It is keeping my concentration that is difficult for I am easily distracted but keeping company of good people lately has helped greatly to make it easier.

  26. poohpity says:

    I understand that runs in my family too! I have learned that our minds can only focus on one thing at a time maybe other thoughts come in rapid succession but only one thought at a time. Lord have mercy on you and when bad thoughts come in just say Jesus.

  27. joycemb says:

    Vivien while preparing for bed tonite I read this prayer in a book called “God is Enough”, by Hannah Whitall Smith I thought of you as I was seeking God for myself also:

    “Here Lord, I abandon myself to You. I have tried in every way I could think of to manage myself and to make myself what I know I ought to be, but have always failed. Now I give it up to You. Take entire possession of me. Work in me all the good pleasure of Your will, according to Your promise, and make me into a vessel for Your own honor, ‘sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work'” (2 Tim. 2;21

    Here you must rest, trusting yourself to Him, continually and absolutely.

  28. joycemb says:

    Vivien I’m glad you are keeping company with good people.;-)

  29. SFDBWV says:

    Watching the news last evening there was a story on about the “genocide” of Christians in the Mid-East. Now there being only one country in that part of the world where Christians are safe, Israel.

    ISIS as well as other Islamist’s are killing, torturing, raping and enslaving Christians as the world watches and Obama won’t even acknowledge it.

    Where is the center of your heart? Is it in the concern for the evildoers or for your brothers and sisters in Christ who are being Martyred even as we write.

    Nero is famous for playing music while Rome burned. Un-named in history are those who watched in horror as it did or suffered because of it.

    No one knows the hour of Jesus’ return, but are given warnings of what the world is like as that time draws near. Take a look around, take stock in what we should be doing and whether or not we are.

    Pray for the peace of Israel.

    50 degrees and wet here in the mountains of West Virginia.


  30. SFDBWV says:

    Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

  31. poohpity says:

    Steve, it is horrible but not just limited to Christians they are also killing different sects of Muslims as well as those who practice Judaism anyone other than what they claim. I will continue to pray for them and our President. Lord have mercy. This has been happening for a couple of years now, I mean by ISIL, but the killing of Christians has been happening for thousands of years. If they hated Jesus what more can any of His followers expect.

  32. poohpity says:

    That is why Jesus explained before we follow Him to count the cost of what that truly means. Luke 14:25-33 NLT

  33. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    How then shall we live? That is a question with genuine outcomes — consequences. Mart, you ask:

    “…once a life and death story of smiles like this finds fulness of meaning in the person of Jesus, how are we to read it as citizens of the kingdom of God?”

    It seems to me we are called by this story of Elisha and the King of Israel to believe God for those fiery agents of grace to impact human hearts in times of crisis. Anna Whitall Smith’s prayer is a useful one.

    A prayer of my own to ask the Lord Jesus to have His will — to bring to pass His promises — to use me for His purpose — is the prophet’s challenge in times when livelihood, reputation or even survival are on the line. Nobody, it seems to me, knows the outcome until that crisis moment arrives.

    Blessings this 5th Sunday of Lent,

    PS 43F with light rain in the valley

  34. poohpity says:

    God reminded Israel just as reminds us that His mercies are not because of what we have done but because of who He is. God always knew that Israel was a rebellious stubborn lot but those around them only had wickedness and evil intent.

    This morning I was reminded of God’s grace to Israel just as it is to us through our belief in Jesus while reading in Deuteronomy 9:4-6 NLT

    “After the Lord your God has done this for you, don’t say in your hearts, ‘The Lord has given us this land because we are such good people!’ No, it is because of the wickedness of the other nations that he is pushing them out of your way. 5 It is not because you are so good or have such integrity that you are about to occupy their land. The Lord your God will drive these nations out ahead of you only because of their wickedness, and to fulfill the oath he swore to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 6 You must recognize that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land because you are good, for you are not—you are a stubborn people.

  35. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… Yes, “Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.”

    I do believe that God pushed their enemies out of the way,
    and I believe he also left some work for them to do as well.
    Weren’t they to destroy any and all other gods found in those places, take down and destroy their alters, and completely remove any trace of idol their worship?
    Sometimes even kill every man, women, and child?

    Pretty harsh stuff for us who today who are taught, that we are commanded to now turn the cheek to conquer evil.

    To only Love our enemies, and to Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem, which is currently under constant attack and must defend itself daily.

    Serious Comedy Then and Now?

    Just thinking…

  36. joycemb says:

    Yes stubborn people we are and slow to receive mercy!

  37. jeff1 says:

    Yes Pooh, it is God’s promise being fulfilled, let any man boast.

    Thank you Joyce for your beautiful prayer that I must say to myself and it will be a comfort when I need rest.

    I am also glad to have found good people whom I relate to and trust and also this site where you share your thoughts and teachings which I get so much comfort and growth from.

    I find rest here when I am weary and confused!

  38. oneg2dblu says:

    Why would God give the power to control or restrict the access of His People to the Temple Mound, over to the Muslim Dominance?
    Why do they not allow the, “Word of God”, the Bible, to be openly carried onto that site?
    Why would our only real Ally in the Middle East, Israel, be a place surrounded by a people who want to only do it harm, and our only current active position is to pray for them, which we do not do.

    We do not as One Nation Under God, gather together daily, just to Pray for that Peace?

    Perhaps we are acting more like a comedy of errors.

    Are we as a Nation, being as helpless as pawns on the board, who can not ever seem to move themselves?

    We like to claim that God has all things under His Control.

    Yeah, all things accept this One Nation Under God, which does not pray daily as One Nation Under God, because, if we did, He would do as His Word declares, Heal Our Land.

    “If my people who are called by my name would humble themselves and pray, then, I would hear from heaven and heal their land.”

    Then and Now, We reap what we sow.

  39. joycemb says:

    Gods timetable for events seem to be different from ours. Living in a “sound-bite” era we can never fully know what’s going on, but praying, resting, and waiting for our hope in Christ Jesus for a better Day is the best we can do.

  40. jeff1 says:

    It is God’s promise to Israel Gary that I am thinking of and it is also God’s plan how He brings it about.

    God’s ways are not man’s ways and God is just as aware today of man’s failings as He was in the days of our ancestors.

    Yes, you are right Gary we do reap what we sow and would continue to do so if it where not for the fact that God will intervene but it has to be in His time and in His way for man’s way will always end like a comedy of errors.

    Perhaps the best medicine is laughter for that is what I am doing now when I listen to our Politicians and I believe that yours are not much better.

    There is a British comedy called ‘Yes Minister’ which was shown in the 1980’s and it is hilarious. I have taken to watching it again as I have found it is better to laugh then to cry.

    It is a very true saying smile and the world smiles with you, cry and you cry alone.

    I will not let this world steal my joy in knowing that God knows best.

  41. joycemb says:

    Reaping and sowing are universal principles, yes, BUT we have a Savior who has become our justice and now mercy reigns!

  42. poohpity says:

    Amen Joyce, thank God we do not get the justice we deserve but rather God’s grace and mercy. That is true for all humanity. Those who truly reap what they sow are the one’s who never come to believe but that only happens in the end of the world as we know it. For now God sends the rain on the just and unjust alike. :-)

  43. foreverblessed says:

    Indeed, I believe that -what we sow we reap-
    is for those who do not go to Jesus.
    I was really struck by the Discover the Word, of the past 2 weeks,about the most prayed prayer:
    God have mercy on me.
    When we expect that we will reap what we sow, why would we pray: God have mercy?
    So pray: God have mercy,
    and see what God will do!
    Maybe He also absorbs the consequences of our sins in the Cross.

    I am sure that in the Cross everything is solved, can be cleansed and made new.

    We have been given mercy, we give mercy.

  44. joycemb says:


  45. joycemb says:

    Vivian I’m sure you meant you would pray to God by yourself, right? May be a language difficulty between us but I know your heart is always seeking God.

  46. joycemb says:

    Gary perhaps the reason Israel is surrounded by “enemy” nations is so that God can show His power in the world-power to keep His promises to Israel, and to maintain His first chosen people in the world? It’s very humbling.to be also one of the called. Very humbling,

  47. pepper08 says:

    Our Father in heaven
    Hallowed be your name
    Your Kingdom come
    Your will be done
    on earth as it is in heaven
    give us today our daily bread
    forgive us of our trespasses
    as we forgive those who
    trespass against us
    lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil
    for thine is the power, the glory
    and the honor forever and ever
    in faith I put on the full armor of God
    I put on the helmet of salvation
    (Protect my mind and my thoughts)
    I put on the breastplate of righteousness
    (Protect my emotions)
    I put on the belt of truth
    (lead me in all truth)
    I put on the the shoes of the gospel of peace
    ( may the Holy Spirit keep me at peace and I be
    a peacemaker wherever I go today)
    I pick up the shield of faith
    (to protect me from the attacks of the evil one)
    I pick up the sword of the Spirit
    (and keep it sharp by meditating on and
    praying the word of God)
    And I pray for the saints that they remain strong
    in the Lord. I pray also for the peace of Jerusalem.
    In the name of Jesus. amen.

  48. oneg2dblu says:

    pepper08… thank you for sharing, through your diligent obedience, that which you can not contain, but find you must share.
    You’ve brought peace, as a Peacemaker.

  49. oneg2dblu says:

    joyce… Yes, perhaps just to show the rest of the world that His People are His.
    Just as He did in the desert when He made a short journey very long, when He allowed them to hunger and thirst, so He could also show His People, His Provision.
    His manna, His water from a rock, His abundant giving of meat, in the form of Quail, showing them just how great their need, and how dependent on Him, they truly are.
    Then and Now…

  50. oneg2dblu says:

    I need Thee every hour…comes to mind.

  51. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pepper08. Thank you…very uplifting, beautiful, and comforting in a very ugly, scary, and uncomfortable time ..may you be super Blessed.

  52. SFDBWV says:

    Back when Matt and I first settled into where we are following the death of his mother and our “stand” here, I began buying Christian movies for he and I to watch. One trilogy concerned itself with the “tribulation” events.

    Bearing in mind it is a dramatization based on Biblical prophecy concerning the “end times”. It begins with two news reporters one in Israel one in a news room back in NYC.

    The reporter in NYC had a grandmother who kept warning her about the news in the world and for her to get right with Jesus because the end was near. The reporter (female) just did not believe in the “fairy tales” her grandmother believed.

    As the reporter (male) in Israel was reporting on a sneak attack by an Israeli neighboring country in violation of a peace agreement with the skies over Israel lit up with incoming missiles and war planes suddenly all of the nuclear missiles and war planes disappeared. And so did billions of people all over the globe.

    The news service had covered it all.

    And so the tribulation period of seven years began.

    Israel has had her enemies from her beginning her only allies being what we might call NATO countries today. Look what is taking place within those countries and what is taking place in the neighborhoods surrounding Israel today.

    It is all covered by CNN for us to watch. Coming soon will be an event told of whereby two men, two prophets of God will be killed and their bodies left to rot in the streets to the elation of the world as CNN covers it. But then as they watch the two men will arise up alive and ascend up into heaven as a world watches on TV.

    However before that particular event occurs it is believed that we the Church will be raptured out of the world as it is recorded in Scripture “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9) “Be comforted one another by these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, 18)

    Get ready, be ready, tell others.

    46 degrees and foggy in the mountains of West Virginia.


  53. joycemb says:

    Steve and pepper08 thank you for the very encouraging scripture and prayer.

  54. foreverblessed says:

    To preach that we will be taken up is one thing. But to prepare christians that severe persecution is always possible.
    I remember a writing of a Christian leader in China, who complained that the christians were told they would not suffer in persecution, as they were taught about being taken up to heaven.
    And then the persecution started in China, under Mao.
    The christians were totally unprepared.
    And it was fierce, anybody who admitted they were christians were filled.
    So he warned that christians should be taught that persecution is always around the corner, as it has since Christ ascended to heaven.

  55. foreverblessed says:

    filled should be killed.
    I hope you do not take it as if I am gainsaying you Steve, I want to add to what you wrote.

    In the beautitudes Jesus is also teaching about persecution.
    Matt 5:10-12
    but that is only at the end, there are 7 beautitudes before this one. I take the beautitudes as being progressive, we start our walk with Jesus with nummer one, Matt 5:3, that is our repentance, and feeling very incompetent by ourselves, (a thing Jeff is fully aware of
    And we slowly

  56. foreverblessed says:

    Sorry, it posted itself, we go from stage to stage, then we come to Matt 5:10, when we are being persecuted, and the first time we get there, we mourn.
    And God takes us back to stage 2, in Matt 5:4, and we will be comforted.

  57. foreverblessed says:

    Over and over again, and we are back to being comforted.
    Till there is a time that we come to stage 8, beautitude nr 8, that we realise, Jesus is telling us to rejoyce!
    But it needs us to die to our old self, and that takes a while.
    Thankfully we live under the New Covenant, as long as we abide in Jesus, we van be assured of the fact that the Holy Spirit will train us, and being us to beautitudes 8 and 9
    Matt 5:10-12

  58. poohpity says:

    “What applies and what doesn’t… when it comes to wondering how we can distinguish ourselves as servants and citizens of Christ— rather than as blind soldiers and clueless kings?” I wonder which category we fall into if we get our theology from anything other than the bible and the prophesies that it contains? Now that seems like a “Serious Comedy” or rather a tragic one. No longer resting in truth but clinging tightly to fiction or fantasies then wonder why we feel like we have gotten the short end of the stick, hopes dashed, discontent and discouraged.

    We have been warned what will happen in the future but we have also been given our safety net, the One that we find shelter under His wings to face the horrible things in life with hope.

  59. oneg2dblu says:

    I believe in the progressive theory, the progressive growing of our faith through testing, not just hope alone.

    Progressively growing our character though accepting a rebuke, or a pruning if you will.

    Yes, hurting a little at first, but then a healing comes, giving us the ability to produce more fruit.

    It is those who survive the testing, the pruning, and find their healing and growth come as a result from both, making them stronger and more productive.

    The progressive learning that God provides, that our faith when taken to move us into action, is what heals us, like the women with the issue of blood.

    Our testing is the process that proves itself worthy of God’s
    proving to us, we each have a part to do.

    By faith we pray, and know God listens and answers.

    By faith we step out, and know God rewards those who do.

    By faith we hold fast to the Promises of God.

    Knowing that what He says He will do, He will do.


  60. poohpity says:

    If we know that what He says He will do, then we know that it is not us who produces fruit, it is the Holy Spirit at work in our life that produces the fruit of the Spirit. We are totally not capable of doing that. Our part is to believe in Jesus and cling to Him.

    Our faith is tested by trusting God in circumstances without knowing what an outcome will be until we step out in faith then believing that no matter what happens God is in control. Just as Israel was told, “Give them food and drink and send them home again to their master.” and in faith they did that and “After that, the Aramean raiders stayed away from the land of Israel”.

  61. poohpity says:

    Thinking it is us that produces fruit is the exact opposite of faith, that is depending on ourselves not God.

  62. joycemb says:

    New Living Translation
    I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.

    It seems we produce by dying and not by trying.

  63. SFDBWV says:

    Not to worry (Rita) Foreverblessed my message was not intended to suggest Christians haven’t and don’t suffer persecution, rather to alert and encourage Christians that the coming great tribulation is not meant for them to endure, that the signs of the times are all around us and to live as if the next few minutes are our last.

    How well I know that throughout history there have been sects that thought the rapture were going to occur on such and such a date only to be shown as silly guessing or incorrect understanding of the issue.

    I suppose for me the events I see unfolding worldwide as well as the ability for anyone in the world to watch events ongoing anywhere in the world instantly adds to the scenario outlined in Scripture of the events leading up to Christ’s return.

    Also I see the matter as the ultimate surprise played out against Israel’s enemies as once again the children of the same enemies Israel has always endured think this time they have a victory in sight only to once again be thwarted by God.

    That time though the destruction will be unprecedented followed by a worldwide enjoyment of peace equally unprecedented in the history of man and God.

    God has set a trap for His enemies and offered them the same escape He offers us, If they make the right choice.

    Unrelated (sort of) I hope some of you might have watched “American Pickers” on the “History Channel” Sunday night, as for me it was odd to see our little town on TV and Johnny Tamborini showing the crew around his place.
    Johnny speaking of being the last of his family no longer needing to hold on to some of his things and expressing the sadness of our small town having seen our best times as time takes its toll on him and the town as well.

    Maybe it is my age, maybe my weariness or perhaps my folly of trying to make sense of events in my own life and the insanity I see unfolding in the world; but I sense that time is running out. Maybe for me, maybe for the whole of the world, maybe for us all and if so hopefully in alignment with the will of God outlined by a promise so great that it almost seems too good to be true.

    Every day here in my life we awake to the task of carrying our own cross and looking to God for every need. We are tired and without the supernatural strength to go on things would look very dark indeed, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that light keeps us trudging forward toward our heavenly goal.

    Time to rest now before things here ramp up.

    42 degrees and drizzle.


  64. poohpity says:

    In this story we see a miraculous event but there are many stories in God’s word that the outcomes do not take a movie like wonderful ending. Think of those in hall of faith in Hebrews they went to their grave not ever seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises, or Jeremiah who’s life was full of hardships just for doing what God had instructed him to do, or David’s life if it wasn’t one thing it was another and look at the life of our Savior.

    Our hope and praise go to God because of who He is. He let us know that there are going to be all kinds of hardships, sorrow and suffering but told us to take heart because Jesus has overcome the world and so can we. (John 16:33 NLT)

  65. poohpity says:

    Praying for you and your family Steve.

  66. jeff1 says:

    One night I dreamed a dream.
    As I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
    Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
    For each scene, I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
    One belonging to me and one to my Lord.

    After the last scene of my life flashed before me,
    I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
    I noticed that at many times along the path of my life,
    especially at the very lowest and saddest times,
    there was only one set of footprints.

    This really troubled me, so I asked the Lord about it.
    “Lord, you said once I decided to follow you,
    You’d walk with me all the way.
    But I noticed that during the saddest and most troublesome times of my life, there was only one set of footprints.
    I don’t understand why, when I needed You the most, You would leave me.”

    He whispered, “My precious child, I love you and will never leave you
    Never, ever, during your trials and testings.
    When you saw only one set of footprints,
    It was then that I carried you.”

    My father had a framed picture of this poem in his room, and I now have it and it reminds me of how God will not forsake me but I all too often forsake Him.

    Like Peter, with all good intentions, I make promises I cannot keep.

    Jesus loved Peter regardless of his failings.

    How many times have I not put conditions to my love, even my children that I love so much see me as always telling them when they are bad.

    I have expectations of them, and when they do not comply, I come down hard on them, and though I do it out of caring, they believe I just want to spoil their fun.

    Until they know what it is like to be responsible for another they will not understand my reasoning.

    I am so often like my children when it comes to how I see God when I do not understand His reasoning I doubt His motives and His love for me.

    This poem gives me peace of mind that I cannot explain, but I read it when I feel fearful, and I now understand why my father got much comfort from it.

  67. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Your comment tugs at my heart too, Steve, because we have all the duties of our calling and family and community here — and then we have to watch this tragi-comedy playing upon the stage of politics in our beloved nation. Some days it is surreal.

    Making sense of the absurd is always a challenge to those who wish to live out their principles and their faith in God through Christ, it seems to me. The contrast between outward events and inward convictions is painful for many in our time.

    It is amazing to think of the Prophet Elisha able to see the host of heaven deployed along the mountain-top. May the Lord give you the ability to see the ministers of grace He has sent to watch over you and yours in these days, Steve.

    May our God bless and keep you — and show you that His purpose is very great in you! He will strengthen you day by day.


  68. joycemb says:

    Thinking of you street and praying as you said you were having back surgery this month. Praying all goes well.

    Blessings, Joyce

  69. foreverblessed says:

    In the God calling of today is something about carrying our cross.
    The sins of the world, and so also my sins, shortcomings were carried on the Cross by Jesus, I do not need to carry them.
    That is foolishness. But hard to learn.
    All our worries are also carried by Jesus on the Cross, they are done away, if we believe in Jesus. But so hard to leave them at the Cross!
    I pray we will all do that. And I pray our faith will be increased.
    1 John 4:4-5
    God bless you all!

  70. oneg2dblu says:

    Foreverblessed… I agree it would be foolishness to carry your sins, when forgiveness is but a prayer away for any believer.
    It is also foolishness to worry, when we are to put all our concerns before Christ, allowing Him to carry them, and us if need be, through every situation.
    In fact it is a sin to worry… so if your carry around worry, you carry around sin as well.
    Just thinking

  71. jeff1 says:

    If I could be you
    And you could be me
    For just one hour
    If we could find a way
    To get inside
    Each others mind, mmm
    If you could see you
    Through your eyes
    Instead of your ego
    I believe you’d be
    Surprised to see
    That you’d been blind ,mmm

    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
    Walk a mile in my shoes

    Now your whole world
    You see around you
    is just a reflection
    And the law of Karma
    Says your gonna reap
    Just what you sow, yes you will
    So unless
    You’ve lived a life of
    Total perfection
    You’d better be careful
    Of every stone
    That you should throw, yeah

    And yet we spend the day
    Throwing stones
    At one and other
    At one another
    ‘Cause I don’t think
    Or wear my hair
    The same way you do ,mmm
    Well I may be
    Common people
    But’t I’m your brother
    And when you strike out
    And try to hurt me
    it’s a-hurtin’ you, Lord have mercy

    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Hey, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
    Walk a mile in my shoes

    There are people
    On resevations
    And out in the ghettos
    And brother there
    But for the grace of God
    Go you and I, yeah, yeah
    If I only
    Had the wings
    Of a little angel
    Don’t you know I’d fly
    To the top of the mountain
    And then I’d cry

    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Hey before you abuse, criticize and accuse
    Better walk a mile in my shoes

    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Walk a mile in my shoes
    Uh, before you abuse, criticize and accuse
    Walk a mile in my shoes, yeah

    Walk a mile in my shoes

  72. remarutho says:

    Good Evening BTA Friends —

    It seems to me a Jesus follower needs the smiles that come from this very serious matter of speaking truth to power — as Elisha spoke to the king of Israel. We must not kill our prisoners of war. And we must not shoot our wounded.

    Mart you ask:

    “What applies and what doesn’t… when it comes to wondering how we can distinguish ourselves as servants and citizens of Christ— rather than as blind soldiers and clueless kings?”

    We may not find ourselves praying for enemy soldiers to be blinded as Elisha did — but we can, in our time of history, share our faith that God is active in events — and the law of love is powerful in the life of the individual, the family and the nation. The prophet trusted in God, not the military might of armies for his own safe-keeping.

    Our citizenship is first of all in Christ’s kingdom — and after that, in our earthly country. Elisha prayed for his servant to receive assurance from God — and God granted him eyes to see the heavenly host. We need to be such encouragers in our violent times.


  73. jeff1 says:

    Violence is the consequences of just the opposite putting our earthly country before our citizenship in Christ’s kingdom.

    Why has this beloved Country of mine seen so much violence because the people here cannot agree to share it. No matter which side you come from it comes down to territory.

    The animal instinct is great in man when it comes to what he believes he should own. Whose ancestors arrived first and worked the land?

    Oh yes, I can say I put Christ first but let anyone try to take my home from me and see who I put first!

    As I have heard it so often said from men of wisdom, I come into this world with nothing and I go out of it with nothing and in between I am taking care of what God give me to take care of.

    I talk like earth is just my temporary home but find me a man who acts like it is!

    Christ died on the Cross to save mankind from himself, I only have to look at the state of the world to see that His sacrifice was not in vain.

    I must agree with God, I am a sinner saved by grace, full stop, no buts, as my son says he is fed up listening to my excuses.

  74. SFDBWV says:

    In this subject of showing mercy to our enemy and upsetting his plans of having eradicated us it is remembered that only after his evil plans were thwarted by God could mercy be given.

    Learning from history I recall the finest act of mercy I recall being offered and it was at the end of a horrible deadly war that changed the course of American history.

    At the surrender of the Confederate Army by General Robert E. Lee General Grant simply said for Lee’s army to lay down their arms and go back home.

    President Lincoln offered a reconstruction effort to simply forgive and forget and rebuild a nation.

    I also remember that at the end of World War II the very enemies we fought so hard to defeat were given not only amnesty, but an all-out effort to rebuild their nations by we the victors. Only the worst of the enemy was singled out and executed or imprisoned for their part in the war.

    The enemies of each other during WWII are now allies as a result of mercy and generosity.

    However the world is changing and growing darker every day. Aptly stated by others here is that God is in control of events. He can empower and He can subdue according to His will and desires to be fulfilled.

    Noah was in the ark, not guiding it.

    Not wishing that any be misguided I want to clarify that the cross was Jesus’ purpose, when He said for us to take up “our” cross and follow Him it is meant for us to take up “our” purpose and follow Him.

    His purpose was the cross, our cross is our purpose.

    36 degrees under clear skies this morning in the mountains of West Virginia…Thank you all for your prayers and compassion for my family and me. Praying God blesses you all today.


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