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Fill in the Blank

P1000370When we think of filling in the blank, we fill in the blank. The phrase itself doesn’t tell us in what sense we mean it. Is it a reference to the kind of test we took in school? If so, it we are reading in our recall of a testing method that was used by one or more of our teachers to determine what we knew. Or are we thinking of a questioning device that is commonly used by interviewers to help us get to know what the person who is being interviewed. If more than one possibility comes to mind, then we are moving to see in the phrase— an idea that has a range of meanings.

When the first Psalm refers to the enviable person who avoids certain practices and instead delights in the instruction of the Lord— and meditates on it day or night, the Scriptures lead us into a practice of filling in the blank.

In other words, enough information is given to us in the law of Moses, the songs and prophets of Israel, or the Gospel and apostles of Christ to give us a life-changing experience of filling in the blank— to find in a given context a meaning that has a range of necessary, probable or possible applications or implications.

While it’s possible to not make it a life long process of filling in the blanks when we read Scripture, it is impossible to not fill in the blanks any time we read the Bible. Saying the Bible says what it means doesn’t change the fact that we all tend to see the Bible not only as it is but as we are.

Even now you must fill in the blanks as to what I’m saying or implying. So it’s important for me to say some of what I don’t mean. I’m not suggesting that the Bible means whatever we want it to mean. Nor am I suggesting that the God of the Bible is whoever, or whatever we think of him when we read inspired words.

Just as Jonah knew his God well enough to fill in the blank, with the result that he tried to run from God… and to angrily resist him (Jonah 4:2), so we have an opportunity to get to know our God in the glory of the One who suffered and died to be the last Adam, the fulfillment of God’s warning to Satan (Gen 3:15); the One who lovingly became like Moses’s bronze serpent on a pole (John 3:14-15) and Savior of the world (John 3:16).

But these too are just words (and possibly even misleading words to us), until we get to know the God of the Cross well enough to delight in him, reflecting day and night on the necessary, probable, and possible implications of what he was revealing in his life, death, and resurrection about his love for us—and our troubled, dying world.


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130 Responses to “Fill in the Blank”

  1. foreverblessed says:

    I was at the church in our town today, an older lady who is a very believing lady, but she was not aware of the God of the Cross, that we can give all that besets us, all that hinders us, all, as it is calles, sins, we can give it to God on the Cross, and in Jesus the wrong is gone, as far as east is from the west. And we ask the good from Him, love mercy peace.
    Untill we get to know the God of the Cross…

  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning All —

    Mart, you write:

    “…enough information is given to us in the law of Moses, the songs and prophets of Israel, or the Gospel and apostles of Christ to give us a life-changing experience of filling in the blank — to find in a given context a meaning that has a range of necessary, probable or possible applications or implications.”

    Filling in the blank can be a pen and paper exercise — or a time of sharing thoughts and ideas around a (virtual) table as we do here.

    But, the action words that leap out from what you said, Mart, are:

    “life-changing experience”

    and

    “necessary, probable or possible application”

    Filling in the blank is alive where I choose to walk —

    Where I choose to stand —

    Where I choose to sit —

    “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,
    But the way of the wicked will perish.”

    God is faithful and wise, as Psalm 1 implies. Blessings dwell in how we fill in the blanks (make real choices) day by day.

    Blessings,
    Maru

    11C here and cloudy. Showers moving our way from the Pacific

  3. remarutho says:

    It seems to me life is also “multiple choice.” :o) Maru

  4. poohpity says:

    Just as teachers tested our knowledge by filling in the blanks which leaves no question to whether you had learned the lessons you were taught. With multiple choice you have a 1 in 4 chance of guessing answers but the fill in the blanks one has to know the information.

    Those in the OT who knew God and were close to Him like for instance David could more easily fill in the blanks. When God gave David three choices for consequences of taking the census, David made the choice to fall into the hands of the Lord because David filled in the blanks of knowing God’s mercy. (1 Chron 21:13 NLT) Just like Jonah who knew God’s mercy well.

    Peter taught us that growing in our knowledge of God, peace and grace would be multiplied to us. So filling in the blanks is a lot easier than guessing at multiple choice answers when one knows and has grown closer to God.(2 Peter 1:2-3; 2 Peter 2:20; 2 Peter 3:18) Peter would know about the grace, mercy and love of God since he experienced it first hand even after swearing he never knew Him. The same with anyone who has given time to grow in their knowledge of God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Come to think about it multiple choice questions are more easily answered when we know the information or we could go through life always guessing and never be secure in anything.

  5. joycemb says:

    Good morning,
    My devotional this morning says it takes a personal relationship with God before we can truly be able to as Mart said “fill in the blanks”, that when we say God is love, we may as well be saying God is wood for all we think we truly know Him and act as if we know Him.
    There ARE so many voices in the world, but getting to know His involves seeking with all our hearts. Then we find that God IS love, as the scriptures say.
    Blessings and Christs peace to all in your journey today.

  6. remarutho says:

    As you point out, Mart,

    “When the first Psalm refers to the enviable person who avoids certain practices and instead delights in the instruction of the Lord— and meditates on it day or night, the Scriptures lead us into a practice of filling in the blank.”

    Psalm 1 requires the reader to see the positive action that is the opposite of all those “does nots” at the beginning.

    The Apostle Paul reminds us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

    There is no written test for living in Christ. Every “answer” involves the responsibility to act.

    Maru

  7. SFDBWV says:

    Wow, trying to figure out God and even more difficult trying to figure out what He isn’t saying.

    Firstly just how important is it, with regards to our salvation, as to what we know visa-vi the scriptures?

    If we are straining to make sense of a verse of Scripture what is our motive?

    True, when Jesus was confronted by the Sadducees regarding life after death, His reply to their question of whose wife the woman of seven husbands would be at the resurrection, He got right to the real question as to whether or not there is life after death and so said to the Scribes that their error was in their ignorance of what the Scripture already had to say on the matter.

    This was not an answer by filling in the blank, this was an answer by quoting Scripture with meaning and understanding. “Even though these men are long dead, God say’s I am the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” I am denoting that these men still lived.

    Filling in the blank is either going to be done by what you have learned of what God has said, or by what you “think” God hasn’t said.
    Very dangerous territory. Perhaps best left blank and trust an unknown to God.

    Steve

  8. street says:

    filling in the blank.
    could any other test afford such freedom? is it less of a test and more of a testament to God’s greatness?

    (“Oh, that I had someone to hear me!
    I sign now my defense—let the Almighty answer me;
    let my accuser put his indictment in writing.
    36
    Surely I would wear it on my shoulder,
    I would put it on like a crown.
    37
    I would give him an account of my every step;
    I would present it to him as to a ruler.)—

    thank you God for my kinsman Redeemer …Jesus.

  9. jeff1 says:

    This world is not a better place without Him and what the bible does is illuminate to its readers that God is right!

    My experience of knowing God has been through trials and temptations and particularly failures.

    Strangely I seem to have learned more from my failures than I ever did from my good choices.

    When I was young I seen life in black and white but life has taught me that there are grey areas.

    It is in knowing that there are grey areas that I have learned the only authority on filling in the blanks is God Himself.

  10. street says:

    Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, [18] for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips. [19] So that your trust may be in the LORD, I teach you today, even you.

  11. street says:

    for He as made us and not we ourselves comes to mind.

    Psalm 100

    lets us walk in the presents of the Almighty, delighting in all His ways, they are freedom and not bondage.

  12. joycemb says:

    Mart I had another thought about your last paragraph, that it is a POSITIVE quest we are on, and not a negative, scary, fear and trembling kind of quest. Looking for the God of Life should never be worrisome.

  13. street says:

    filling in the blank?

    joycemb said,”Looking for the God of Life should never be worrisome.”

    mart? do you think we could fill in the blank with God? if so, how? could it be by faith? thinking wisdom from God could go along way with this en-devour.

    joycemb thinking about what you said about looking for God should never be worrisome?? thinking of the narrow gate and the ones who get in by climbing over the wall. i don’t think i would want to meet a Holy God by trespassing. thinking, need to take a closer look at the cross, the narrow gate.

  14. joycemb says:

    Finding and following are two completely different things Street, right?

  15. joycemb says:

    Worry and fear come when we turn away from Him.

  16. joycemb says:

    I heard a Catholic evangelist say we need to follow but we can never know if we will be saved or not. That’s not how I read scripture. And that’s why I did not convert to Catholicism even though I love the services.

  17. street says:

    that makes sense ….perfect love cast out fear.

    repentance

    reconciled

    abiding

    finding and following ….i will have to think about that.

  18. street says:

    don’t love religion love God. one is a thing the Other is a Person. think it takes faith to love God.

  19. joycemb says:

    Yes it only takes faith. That’s all God asks of us, to believe, receive, and go and tell others. They can all be broken down into practical living steps as a follower of Christ.

  20. street says:

    thinking of love in Spirit and Truth.

  21. street says:

    filling in the blanks
    thinking of some things Elie Wiesel said about forgetting the dead makes them die a second time. the confrontation with death is a dead end till the light of the resurrection dawns. knowledge of the Resurrection changes everything. it certainly changed the world 2000 years ago. the darkness never went away but the light did come into the world. the light of the world today is the Holy Spirit.

  22. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Mart, you write:

    “Just as Jonah knew his God well enough to fill in the blank, with the result that he tried to run from God… and to angrily resist him (Jonah 4:2), so we have an opportunity to get to know our God in the glory of the One who suffered and died to be the last Adam…”

    Perhaps in the days the Book of Jonah was read on “the other side of the cross,” that is before the appearance of Messiah in the flesh, there existed a huge blank in human understanding of God’s unlimited grace and unending love. Jonah was plunged into darkness by God — and lifted into the light by God as well.

    Jonah rose from his three days in the pit and faced his great fear:

    God would save the people of Nineveh, the despised capital of the cruel and hated Assyrians who gobbled up Israel and threatened Judah. God loves the wicked as well as the righteous. What a scandal!

    God is unfailingly “compassionate, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, and the One who relents concerning calamity.” Only Jesus Messiah can fill in the blank of prophecy. He has come in the flesh for this troubled and dying world out of pure love for the lost.

    The ruins of Nineveh still lie around Mosul, Iraq. The great ancient city was judged and destroyed because the people stopped believing in the Creator God. Not sure the drama has ended yet…There is something stirring in the dust.

    ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) — intending to uncoil like a snake from there to dominate the entire eastern shore of the Mediterranean — is meeting the One who will bruise its head, it seems to me.

    O how He loves you and me, O how He loves you and me,
    He gave His life, what more could He give?
    O how He loves you, O how He loves me,
    O how He loves you and me.

    Jesus to Calv’ry did go, His love for mankind to show;
    What He did there bro’t hope from despair:
    O how He loves you, O how He loves me,
    O how He loves you and me.

    Blessings all day,
    Maru

    13C and clear

  23. SFDBWV says:

    Can it be said that meditating on the Word of God enables us to fill in the blank?

    First of all with regards to the exam style aforementioned filling in the blank comes with acquired knowledge of the subject. As per example; ( ) was the first man to walk on the moon.

    However if I am meditating on the “Law” or the Word of God what verse is left blank for me to fill in?

    Is meditating the searching of a deeper understanding of what is said? Again what is the motive of the search?

    The Law of Moses says that a murderer is to be put to death. However the Law of Moses also provides for mercy.

    In fact as you look further into all of Scripture mercy is a reoccurring theme. But then so also is obedience to the Law.

    Meditating then on whether or not a murderer should be put to death provides for an answer that may not be as cut and dried as yes or no. The answer not coming from my ability to fill in a blank, but rather to find the answer already given in Scripture.

    There is a price for disobedience, there is a time for mercy and a time for justice to be upheld.

    Caution in looking for a way around what God has said. But revelation to be found while seeking God as we meditate upon His Word, we will always find Jesus at the end of our search.

    Steve

  24. poohpity says:

    Stay true to ____ __ _____ for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.

  25. street says:

    maru said,” Jonah was plunged into darkness by God — and lifted into the light by God as well.”

    thinking jonah was plunged into darkness by wanting niniva to receive judgment and condemnation because of jaded unforgiving spirit. apparently jonah received forgiveness and suffered from shortsightedness. God did love niniva and jonah knew it and that He was gracious and merciful. yet the Shepard went after this wayward prophet and brought about a change of action. yet we are wondering if there was a change of heart?

    thinking of what joycemb said about finding and following. you can find and not follow or follow a current and not be alive. thinking of action and belief in harmony with God. you must be born again.

    we were talking about a kingdom earlier and this verse caught my attention.

    “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,”

  26. joycemb says:

    Street the Christians at that time were being persecuted and killed for their faith. Are you living in a place where your very life is in danger because of your faith? Then this applies to you also as encouragement to persevere.

  27. joycemb says:

    The Lord did a housecleaning with me this morning. Getting rid of sin is a daily thing, we never fully arrive until we get there. But the point of the verse is to persevere as I said, no matter how hard the battle. Some have more sin than others, such as myself—yet I won’t let-go no matter how difficult it is. The reward of a clean heart and knowledge of His grace and mercy are all I’ve ever needed and wanted, besides revenge, sadly. The sweetest revenge is mercy for ALL.

  28. jeff1 says:

    It is getting to know that God is present with me in those hardships that gives me the courage to get up, because while I used to believe that God would loose patience with me, I have discovered that it is myself/others that loose patience but it is God who remains faithful.

    THE WAY OF THE CROSS LEADS TO GOD

    He carried the cross to Calvary,
    Carried its burden for you and me,
    There on the cross He was crucified
    And because He suffered and bled and died,
    We know that whatever “our cross” may be,
    It leads to God and Eternity . . .
    For who can hope for a “crown of stars”
    Unless it is earned with suffering and scars,
    For how could we face the living Lord
    And rightfully claim His promised reward
    If we have not carried our cross of care
    And tasted the cup of bitter despair . . .
    Let those who yearn for the pleasures of life,
    And long to escape all suffering and strife,
    Rush recklessly on to an “empty goal”
    With never a thought of the spirit and soul . . .
    But if you are searching to find the way
    To life everlasting and eternal day—
    With Faith in your heart take the path He trod,
    For the way of the cross is the way to God.

  29. joycemb says:

    Street it’s interesting that our conversation is over how we “fill in the blanks”. Leading me to believe that just as we can’t NOT communicate, we also can’t NOT fill in the blanks, if we are thinkers and not ‘group think’ followers.

    As Christians, however, while filling in the blanks it’s vital to remember Who we follow and why, isn’t it? It’s easy to get pulled away in this world of syncretism and multi-gods. I can understand why the Israelites ran into trouble.

  30. street says:

    thinking of people who want nothing to do with the Bible because of the wrath genocide blood and gore of the Old Testament. add to it injustice. yet it gets worse, taking up our own cross! now it’s personal and painful. i think of Jesus talking to peter about how when he was young he dressed himself and went where he wanted to and how things where going to change for him.

    joycemb i think the struggle is with pleasure and pain. don’t really like pain affliction or discomfort. thinking of what woody allen said about death. something like he did not have a problem with it, it’s just he did not want to be there when it happen. thinking in the affliction we might not be struggling with death but struggling to live. humility vs exaltation. the is a Master-craftsman at work, yet He rested from “all” his work.

    mart thinking of filling in the blank……i rather speak correctly.

  31. bubbles says:

    It’s interesting that “fill in the blanks” topic appeared the very day I began a professional development course concerning reading comprehension. The author of the text reminded the reader that in order for true comprehension to take place, background knowledge must be utilized. Readers with limited background knowledge will encounter difficulty when attempting to comprehend a passage.

    Having said that, it is important for us to READ and study the whole Bible in order to have a bank of background knowledge to help us “fill in the blanks” when reading Scripture. This background knowledge, being grounded, as Paul said, will be used by the Holy Spirit to help us understand what God is saying to us through His Word. This will help prevent us from filling in the blanks with what we would want the Bible to say, or what we “think” it is saying.

    On a side note, Whew! This is the most difficult course I’ve taken in some time. Much material with jargon/specific numbers, so on.

  32. street says:

    i wonder if the first adam filled in the blank with out checking the background info?

  33. bubbles says:

    Adam had God Himself walking and talking with him in the cool of the evening. He made the choice to sin. Adam did not have Scripture to read to fill in blanks.

  34. fadingman says:

    This is an excellent, thought-provoking read… one that should encourage us taste the flavor of God’s word in a new way. Filling in the blanks in what he knew of God’s character is why Abraham was confident he would return from Mt Moriah with Isaac (Gem. 22:3).

  35. foreverblessed says:

    As someone said here, it is impossible not to fill in the blanks.
    But when I, as a Christian have said to God: Lord, have Your way with me, than I can be assured that my heart is changed and my thinking is changed by the Holy Spirit!

    When I was young, and a Christian, I had a legalistic view of the bible. When God had written we should keep the Sabbath on the 7th day, it cannot be changed into the first day.
    So my filling in of the blanks was always about the Sabbath.
    When the Holy Spirit worked that out in my thinking, than that Sabbath became a blessing to me.
    The Rest we have in Christ, through His Cross.
    Paul was saying, I want nothing else but Jesus and the Cross.

    But many christians have an agenda: like I had the Sabbath, some have hell, name any other thing but the saving Power through Christ.

    I am still wondering about the conversation I had Tuesday with two older christian ladies at the oecomenical church prayer, about us giving our worries, loads, fears, in other words: sins, to the Cross.
    That Jesus swallow them up, so to speak, and they are gone.
    And that instead we ask the good things from Him: peace, mercy, love, joy Gal 5:22-23.
    In other words:
    a big exchange at the Cross.

    Nothing but the Cross!
    But they did not know that! They believe Christ died for their sins, but do not know what daily impact that it has. They say, we follow God’s commandments to Love.
    And we trust God.
    Anyway, the Holy Spirit is well capable of instructing them.
    I am praying for them, and for myself, to be a blessing for them through the Holy Spirit, and not my own reasoning.

  36. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA —

    Interested to hear you tell of your two new friends at the prayer-time of your church, Forever. Some folks I speak with have “blanks” in life. Am sure I have a few myself.

    Keeping the commandments is good — and trusting God is very good. But until the now-and-forever meaning of Christ’s love hits home, human hearts are partial — missing the fire of His passion, it seems to me. Is Jesus’ Love what Mart is calling “a life-changing experience of filling in the blank?”

    Perhaps the missing thing — the blank in us — when filled — makes us whole, complete and able to experience Christ’s Law of Love (Matthew 22:37, 38, 39, 40)…

    Will be thinking about this today!

    Blessings,
    Maru

    14C and cloudy. Rain forecast here in the valley.

  37. jeff1 says:

    Like these two ladies I know I am a sinner who needs Salvation more than anything else in life!

    My younger life was spent with false beliefs because of my strict upbringing.

    It was not until I realized that I could not keep the ten commandments that I give in to being a sinner because while I was sure that I was keeping them I was oblivious to the fact.

    The Romans and the Jews where responsible for Christ on the Cross but I could hold my head high because I was better than that.

    Until I realize I am as big a sinner as the next person then I believe I am more righteous than I am and it takes the conviction of the Holy Spirit to enlighten me or I will not see that Christ’s death was “FOR MY SALVATION”.

    Until God presses it home to me that “I” put Christ on the Cross equally as much as the Romans and the Jews then I am no different to a non believer who thinks they do not need God for it is in seeking God that I find Him.

  38. poohpity says:

    Having read the bible through “the necessary, probable, and possible implications of what he was revealing in his life, death, and resurrection about his love for us—and our troubled, dying world.” I do not know what it would be like to read it any other way. However I have listened to several testimonies on ODB from those who were brought up not believing in Jesus or the NT but holding fast to only the OT. Their adventure trying to discredit that Jesus was who He said He was in other words filling the the blanks or “as they are” were opened to a new understanding and they used only the law and prophets that revealed to them what they fought so hard to disprove. They saw that the bible said what it said and lead them to Jesus.

  39. street says:

    All Efforts of Worth and Excellence Are Difficult
    from utmost for His Highest
    thinking of people swinging from ropes, mining ore in the earth in the old days.
    thinking of solders going into enemy territory to get water for their beloved master.
    thinking of namman washing in the dirty jordan river.

    thinking of the difficulty and snares involved in each of these stories. each of these stories the individuals gave up themselves to gain something else that they would lose. giving up self to gain wisdom and God is difficult, yet we really did not lose anything and gain everything.

  40. joycemb says:

    Hebrews 5:14 NLT Says there IS a growth process and until we are able to discern good from evil in how we live out our faith we crucify Christ over and over again; which is impossible. Which is why the laws of God and Christ are so important. We fill in the blanks also when we ignore the damage sin causes in our lives. (Not speaking here of the OT laws and rituals meant for Jews) However there is application to how we know what is pleasing to God i.e. abstaining from sin and loving God and others as we love ourselves,

  41. street says:

    [18] For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief. [1] I said to myself, “Come now, I will test you with pleasure to find out what is good.” But that also proved to be meaningless. [2] “Laughter,” I said, “is madness. And what does pleasure accomplish?”

  42. joycemb says:

    Jeff none of us can keep the commandments perfectly, Christ did that for us. However we don’t ignore them, do we. Which is what get some in trouble as they try to ignore them and live like the devil all the while trusting Jesus for salvation. Ugh. A mockery.

  43. joycemb says:

    Poor old Solomon learned that though he had everything he could ever want it was very fleeting. Seeking things eternal I agree is where it’s at Street.

  44. street says:

    [24] A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, [25] for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?

  45. joycemb says:

    Excellent Street

  46. jeff1 says:

    “Without Him”

    Without Him I could do nothing
    Without Him I’d surely fail
    Without Him I would be drifting
    Like a ship without a sail

    Without Him I would be dying
    Without Him I’d be enslaved
    Without Him life would be worthless
    But with Jesus thank God I’m saved

    Oh Jesus, oh Jesus
    Do you know Him today
    Please don’t turn Him away
    Oh Jesus, my Jesus
    Without Him how lost I would be
    Without Him how lost I would be

  47. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks Jeff, beautifull song.
    But think of this, if you keep the 10 commandments, read the bible, be sensible, have a job, are healthy, and live in reasonable well run country, you could easily live your life on your own.

    But God calls us closer to Him, I read Oswald Chambers of today, and was led to Hebrews 3

  48. foreverblessed says:

    Hebr 3:1
    Therefore brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priester.

  49. street says:

    i wonder if filling in the blank is filling in the emptiness of a human soul?

    hunger and thirst can be a good thing.
    they make some turn the right way.
    faith truly is a great gift.
    learning to love.

  50. street says:

    jeff quoted a song, with out Him

    i take exception to the line,”Without Him I would be dying” thinking with out Him i am dead, with Him i live even though my body is crucified. as long as i open my eyes here i am commanded to take up my cross that leads to the death of self so that Christ may live in me.

  51. Regina says:

    Good Afternoon, All! :-)
    Pray all is well in your lives! Well, Happy (belated) 4th! I hope you all were able to spend good, godly fellowship with family and friends.

    Mart, your last paragraph was very thought-provoking to me… “But these too are just words (and possibly even misleading words to us), until we get to know the God of the Cross well enough to delight in him, reflecting day and night on the necessary, probable, and possible implications of what he was revealing in his life, death, and resurrection about his love for us—and our troubled, dying world.”

    Your last words, “our troubled, dying world” were especially thought provoking. Those words brought some scriptures to mind… the Lord said, “my people perish for lack of knowledge, and He also said if His people would humble themselves, seek His face and turn from their wicked ways, then He would hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land. Even the creation itself, the land/flora and fauna is groaning…waiting to be released from the curse of sin. More thoughts later…

    88 degrees and partly cloudy in my neck of the woods…

    LOVE to all,
    Regina

  52. street says:

    bubbles said,”Adam had God Himself walking and talking with him in the cool of the evening. He made the choice to sin. Adam did not have Scripture to read to fill in blanks.”

    adam also had no knowledge of evil sin or suffering at that time. don’t think he was ever exposed to deception either. thinking exposed or naked? i think the first adam is at rest now and we should be too.

    thinking we ate from the tree of good and evil in adam and we eat from the tree of life in Christ. this should give us rest even in life or death.

  53. jeff1 says:

    Street 1.15 pm post

    “Without Him I would be dying”

    Not sure why you take exception to this as physically we are all dying and I would say it is the only certainty in this world. It is the fact that by the miraculous work of God we shall be raised in incorruptible bodies and live eternally with Him in a world that shall be incorruptible that makes all the suffering we go through in this world acceptable to us because God promises us Heaven shall be our reward.

  54. street says:

    jeff i was thinking we were called to live. thinking we can live in His presents now through faith in Jesus.

  55. jeff1 says:

    I believe we are to enjoy our life as much as we can in a world that is becoming more alien to us but being united with Christ is about our frail bodies being resurrected and made one with His body and it is a mystery to man how God accomplishes this miraculous work for we live by faith and not by sight and our part is to trust God and be witnesses for it is God who remains faithful to us who are inheritor’s of His Kingdom.

    To God be the Glory great things He has done.

  56. SFDBWV says:

    Personally I don’t think that Mart is looking for a way to fill in a blank, but rather to interject an assumption or form a conclusion based on what the Bible or a specific verse of Scripture might say.

    Closely related is the conversation between Jesus and the young rich man. When the rich man asks what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells him to obey the law. Whereupon the young man says he does all that and Jesus adds yes but you lack one thing. Sell all you have, give it to the poor and come follow Him.

    In a sense Jesus is saying what isn’t said anywhere in Scripture, but by making such a demand on the young rich man exposes what is closest and dearest to the young man’s heart. Not adherence to God, but being wealthy.

    The same when Jesus has His conversation with Joseph and Joseph responds to Jesus’ question as to what is the most important law and says “To love the Lord God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus reply’s that Joseph is not far from the Kingdom of God, but says that Joseph needs to be born again.

    To be born again is not recorded anywhere in Scripture as far as I know until Jesus brings it into focus. Whereupon Jesus explains that after the corruption of man, his only salvation is to start over with a new heart replaced and guarded by the blood sacrifice He Himself would provide, the clues being given in the first moments of Genesis at the fall. As well as in the rituals of Mosaic Law.

    Whereas there is revelation in finding fuller meaning in Scripture, there is also danger of filling in an unknown or unenlightened concept with corrupted motives. It must be in agreement with the Word in Spirit and in deed.

    A secondary thought from experience is that sometimes in your search along the way you find it isn’t as important as you thought to find your answers and peace comes in realizing what is important and what is not.

    66 degrees and cloudy.

    Steve

  57. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Agreeing over here, Steve, that the journey is the thing. We don’t make the Way, we follow Him.

    Mart, you offered several examples from the Bible of those who came to understand and love God — Adam, Jonah, Moses and most of all Jesus — then you wrote:

    “But these too are just words (and possibly even misleading words to us), until we get to know the God of the Cross well enough to delight in him…”

    That huge blank, it seems to me, is the illusion of our own personal sovereignty. The most profound filling in of a blank is joyfully awakening to God’s sovereignty over every matter, great and small.

    Am reminded of John Wesley’s moment of truth at Aldersgate. He experienced the reality that God’s “exceedingly great promises” were for him. And, his heart was “strangely warmed.” He fell in love with Jesus!

    Blessings all day,
    Maru

    16C and cloudy

  58. joycemb says:

    Enjoyed your posts Steve and Maru.

  59. joycemb says:

    I’m feeling such grief and sadness over the senseless shooting of black people recently then the horrific slaughter of police officers in Dallas. Bitterness of heart no matter what the skin color leads to destruction. May God have mercy on us all.

  60. poohpity says:

    Do we know the name of the Pharisee who was well versed in the law that asked Jesus, “What is the most important commandment in the law?”? (Matt 22:34-37)

    Who was the Pharisee that came to Jesus in the dark of the night and early in the mission of Jesus? (John 3:1-21 NIV)

    Are those things important for peace? I can not answer that for others but for me, I cling to the peace that comes from knowing and trusting in God. (John 16:33 NIV)

  61. joycemb says:

    Jesus wept over the death of his friend Lazarus, restored the ear of the cop Peter had cut off, sweat drops of blood in the garden and grieved over Jerusalem as he entered for the last time. All these before his death he obediently moved toward and embraced for us all. Oh what a Savior!

  62. bubbles says:

    A storm blew through here this afternoon. It felt like my car was being moved by the wind while sitting in a parking lot. When I got home I went around to the back to check on my bushes for damage. I came close to stepping on a power line. My power line has been torn out of my house and is laying on top of the fence in two places. I’m thanking God for his protection. I was barefoot in wet grass. I very well could have been killed today. I wouldn’t have known what hit me. I could have leaned against the fence. Lightning struck the neighbor’s tree and had the street blocked. I’m thankful it didn’t hit our houses.

  63. remarutho says:

    What a blessing, Bubbles!

    Sounds like a whopper of a storm. Thank goodness for the Lord’s hand on you.

    Yours,
    Maru

  64. SFDBWV says:

    “Filling in the Blanks” is still here this morning, so I will add how as people we are always filling in the blank; at work, at play, in relationships and in all of our attempts to make sense of things.

    Sometimes we are right, sometimes wrong and sometimes it just doesn’t matter.

    Somewhere within the recesses of our psyche everything needs to balance out.

    It is all very personal as we go about living our lives and certainly in our own relationship with God. Problems only arise when others think what you fill in the blank with is wrong when compared to what they fill in the blank with.

    Everyone here I am sure has heard that old saw “Better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

    Being Christian from my understanding should be all about giving. Giving encouragement, giving comfort, giving solidarity. Sometimes we may be in error when trying to make sense of all the questions of Scripture, but if we try to give instead of take away, if we try to smile instead of frown, if we place love ahead of any other motive, the blanks we may fill in will never be totally wrong only a varied view of being Christ like.

    We stumble, we fall, He helps us back up, but sometimes it may be your hand He uses to reach out with. Look for ways to be in agreement and encourageable, not for faults in another’s blank spaces.

    66 degrees f cloudy.

    Steve

  65. SFDBWV says:

    Bubbles we just had a few periods of misty drizzle yesterday morning. I did see on the Weather Channel last evening the storm that went through you neck of the woods and thought immediately of you and yours.

    Yes you are fortunate indeed to not have gotten electrocuted, we will thank the Lord for His protection of you. Hopefully you will get your power back on quickly.

    Be blessed all day our very special friend.

    Steve, Matt and Glenna.

  66. poohpity says:

    bubbles, praise God you are safe and it was only your neighbors tree that got hit.

  67. poohpity says:

    Job admitted to God that he spoke about things he knew nothing about and was sorrowful(Job 42:1-6 NLT). He did not seem to take that as a personal insult because as all of us realize there are many things we know nothing about especially when it comes to God. We are given some things to grow in knowledge and understanding of God but there is way, way to much to know everything and so for those blanks God seems to understand nor does He expect us to be all knowing as He is.

    However for those friends who tried to fill in blanks and rather than saying they did not know decided to act as if they did and God was angry with them.(Job 42:7 NLT)

    In the NT several times it was discussed regarding things of God that seems to be a process of learning and no one was looked down on for not knowing but they seemed more often than not open to learning since until the time we go home to be with the Lord we only see “as we are” as we grow in our knowledge and understanding. Students or disciples of Jesus are on a wonderful journey and at times being open to correction is just how life is after being born again.

    Like any child born to flesh has to learn to talk, walk, eat and everything else we as adults take for granted well so does the child of God, reborn of the Spirit. God seems to be very patient and slow to anger with us as we learn but He seems to realize that we are GROWING in our knowledge and understanding. Praise God we have brothers/sisters who can also be patient to help us along or God would not have given the spiritual gift of teaching. Most teachers of God’s word realize humbly they are still students.

  68. cbrown says:

    Thank you for the testimony of God’s power and protection.
    Chris

  69. cbrown says:

    On today’s topic,I was stuck in a dilemma of “filling in the blank between faith and Love. After reading today’s devoional in ODB I choose faith as described in 7/9 “Our Daily Bread”.

  70. bubbles says:

    Thank you. The storm has been classified as another derecho. I’m thankful for God’s protection yesterday. There was another inconvenience last week that caused me to see something else in the yard and made me stop walking and notice the power line. God is gracious and good!

  71. jeff1 says:

    Thinking how glad I am that I am a servant and not a leader.
    The chilcot inquiry has revealed how negligent the Government were in sending their soldiers into war in Iraq and Tony Blair who was Prime Minister at the time may be sued by the soldiers families.

    Tony Blair filled in the blanks and as a result a country is in a worse state than ever and soldiers where put into a situation where many lost their lives needlessly.

    I believe the good news to come from this is that Governments are now held accountable for entering wars and this may put a stop to those whose motivation for war is not always justified.

    It is God who has to clean up the messes when we fill in the blanks and cause more harm than good.

    While I agree Steve than being a Christian should be all about giving there are times when I fail to do so and others fail to give back.

    There are non believers today who are more giving than Christians so am I a Christian because I call myself one or am I a Christian because I behave like one.

    I believe in God but I still believe I fall short in being a good Christian. I wander, am critical and judge others and it is the same old cycle so I am never a better person for it.

    I believe the only one who can change me is God. It is like my father said about the alcoholic who could not manage his addiction. My father new he was out of his depth and said only God can fix brokenness that man cannot fix.

    It is like when we buy an appliance and we take it back to the retailer and they say they will have to return it to the manufacturer who made it because they understand the mechanics of it.

    Brokenness is God’s territory and not man’s and history proves that.

  72. joycemb says:

    Bubbles praising and thanking God for His continued care and protection of you. It was good to be reminded how He cares for us even when we aren’t looking!

  73. bubbles says:

    Yes! I am thankful He protected me in my ignorance yesterday. This has shaken me up because I could have been killed in the backyard.

  74. joycemb says:

    Thinking about filling in the blanks I got another slant on this from Hannah Whitall Smith; God Is Enough.

    She says that we are COMMANDED to love others John 13:34-35 “The law of love from God to us is exactly the same as the law of love from us to one another. What love demands from me to my brothers and sisters is what love demands from God to me. Wrong views of the love of God lie…at the root of most of our spiritual difficulties.”

    She goes on to explain how, “We take the worst elements from our own characters such as selfishness, suspiciousness, impatience, and other hard thoughts of one another as the key to interpret God, instead of taking our best elements of love, self-sacrifice, and patience, as the key. And so we subvert every single law of love in our interpretation of God, who is love itself”.

  75. joycemb says:

    Bubbles so glad God decided yesterday was not your day to be with Him, yet. I enjoy your presence here!

  76. joycemb says:

    Thinking further of loving one another. Love though is not a club we should use to get others to love us. God is at work in all our hearts, and if I am unlovable I need to ask God to search out what keeps ME from being more lovable to others. There are NO victims in God’s economy.

  77. street says:

    joycemb posted,”She goes on to explain how, “We take the worst elements from our own characters such as selfishness, suspiciousness, impatience, and other hard thoughts of one another as the key to interpret God, instead of taking our best elements of love, self-sacrifice, and patience, as the key. And so we subvert every single law of love in our interpretation of God, who is love itself”.

    thinking there is nothing in i and of myself that is love self sacrifice or patience’s from which to work from. ephasis on “work.” thinking love is never work for the One Who is at rest. work implies pay back. love never seeks it’s own but seeks out what is best in others. yet there is nothing in man that God should love him. God imputes this goodness to those who turn to Him and He “gives” them a new Spirit, a new heart. yet we live in mortal flesh. God really does like doing the impossible! He invite man to do the same, to love and trust Him in the face of mortality, in Christ Who is Immortal.

  78. street says:

    steve said,”To be born again is not recorded anywhere in Scripture as far as I know until Jesus brings it into focus. Whereupon Jesus explains that after the corruption of man..”

    it is my understanding that Jesus is chastising nicodemus for not knowing these things when he should have. he had much to catch-up too. that which is born of flesh is flesh, that which is born of Spirit is spirit.

  79. joycemb says:

    Street she says from our “best” elements of our character. I’ve know many non-believers and believers with more loving, giving, and self-sacrificing ways of being in the world. Christ can and does change our ugliness if we allow Him to, through perseverance, faith, and self/control-/- which He readily supplies.

  80. joycemb says:

    We are not robots sitting and waiting for change, we must do our part also.

  81. joycemb says:

    If there is no change happening I have to ask myself what I am doing to hinder growth and change. God is always willing.

  82. poohpity says:

    I have to ask a question. If someone knows something and shares that knowledge does that make them a bad, proud person? Like talking with someone and they know about botany while I have only a glimpse of knowledge in that area, do I feel insecure and put them down because they know more than I do? Or do I listen to them to learn respecting them and their knowledge? I know it doesn’t make me inferior to lack that knowledge, I have just not learn anything in that area yet but by listening to them I am learning and will possibly be able to fill in the blanks.

    In school people used to make fun of, bully and harass very intelligent people calling them geeks, etc.. Was it wrong for them to be intelligent and how did that hurt anyone else? My thoughts were they studied more than me and picked up facts quicker but I so enjoyed talking with them.

  83. jeff1 says:

    I think if you are a wise person you listen to them and learn from them and it is good of them to share because people I know who are knowledgeable won’t share but rather keep it to themselves.

    Unfortunately the schools still have those who will bully other children who are different i.e. geeks or my neighbor has two autistic boys and she is very protective of them because they go to a mainstream school and she is afraid they would get bullied.

    When I was at school I was bullied but my mother was a volatile woman and she got the bully and warned her off and my sister and I never had any bother after that.

    If you stand up to a bully they will leave you alone otherwise they will make your life hell because they hate weakness and they see your lack of fight as weak.

    My sister and I were quiet and did not fight back but the bully did not realize that our mother had been terrorized all her young life and was not going to allow the same thing to happen to her daughters.

    It can leave scars on people for life when they are bullied and they find it hard to trust again.

  84. street says:

    joycemb post,”Street she says from our “best” elements of our character. I’ve know many non-believers and believers with more loving, giving, and self-sacrificing ways of being in the world. Christ can and does change our ugliness if we allow Him to, through perseverance, faith, and self/control-/- which He readily supplies.”

    from my understanding of scripture our best is wicked before a Holy God. somewhere i read the kindness of the wicked is cruelty. i understand Jesus teaching that parents can give good gifts to there children, His emphasis was on how much better His Father is over earthly parents. we are not ugly before God we are sinners before God. take yourself your thoughts your sin your wicked heart to the cross each day. not easy, but we must. i am not saying we do not have a will, yes we do and we must be in harmony with His will. harmony in heart mind soul and strength.

    thinking of non-believers with more loving, giving, and self-sacrificing …..thinking of the women in the temple who gave more than all the others. many give out of their excess, like myself. yet i know there is a giving out of faith and love, that expects nothing in return. God’s love is so Grand it transcend all human understanding, and brings us to silence. my hope is it brings us to Him with Thanksgiving and Praise!

  85. street says:

    thinking of works, self-control, and love.
    works, like earning a paycheck
    self control, like not being a slave to sin, walking in ignorance, or darkness.
    love, doing it for nothing.

  86. joycemb says:

    All our righteousness ARE as filthy rags, yes. We lay them all down at His feet. Yet as followers we are told in scripture to love others as we love ourselves and God. Love shows in many ways. Listening, doing, caring, etc. We Do these things not for the praise but in honor of our God.

  87. street says:

    2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

  88. poohpity says:

    The Lord told Isaiah that He had planted His people in Israel to be sweet tasting grapes to those around but instead they turned out to be bitter grapes. He expected a crop of justice, but instead he found oppression. He expected to find righteousness, but instead he heard cries of violence. God attributed it to those who do not know Him.

  89. Regina says:

    Good Evening, All
    Pray all is well in your lives… I, too, thank God for your blessing, Bubbles! It’s so awesome how much God loves us! He takes care of us and protects us from dangers seen and unseen! Bless His holy name! We got some good rain in my neck of the woods today. It came out of nowhere! It was so hot, I sat in my car with the AC on and I fell asleep. When I woke up, I went inside a Department store to buy a few clothing items, and while I was in there I heard thunder… I thought to myself that’s strange? So, I asked a lady (who was in the fitting room next to mine) if she’d heard anything about the weather. She said she heard that a storm was suppose to hit in a suburb on the outskirts of our area. Well, long story short, it decided to mosey on down to our area too! Lol! We welcomed the rain, it was a sweet reprieve from the heat… a true blessing from the Lord!

    LOVE to all,
    Regina

  90. joycemb says:

    Filling in the blanks with life:

    3 Not only so, but we[a] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

  91. poohpity says:

    I have found in my life that I do not need to fill in the blanks and I especially hold back if I am not sure what the answer is because I trust that God knows. But I surely what to understand what He has given me to know and what He has given me to know is what happened on the Cross and all of it’s ramifications. Through that I understand who He is and who I am to Him, who we are all are to Him. If that is the only thing I get then that is enough.

  92. poohpity says:

    Even in what happened on the Cross there is so much more than meets the eye or more than our ears can hear to full extent of all that that means. Just when I think I get it, I act as if I do not especially in how I may treat others. In how I treat others shows whether I understand it or grasp all that it means. Sometimes in the process I have to go back to square one again.

  93. street says:

    poo said,” If that is the only thing I get then that is enough.”
    thinking of getting enough of the infinite from a finite perspective. God is not content with leaving us in our current condition. He has given His Holy Spirit to convict us of sin and testify of His Son. thinking of men who found their selves in the presents of God,in His full Glory, john, comes to mind, where he fell down as dead man and had to be touched to be made alive again. God’s Spirit convicts us of our sinfulness in the presents of a Holy God so we do fall into condemnation. we get humbled by His Spirit in order to live not die. He is protecting His Own. it is brutal to be convicted of sin and understand it is worthy of death. Thanks be to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Jesus makes us worthy of life. therefor live and not die.

  94. poohpity says:

    What I meant by that is that understanding all that the Cross means, all that Jesus has done if that is the only blank that is filled in that will be enough. I will not fall into condemnation because God did not condemn me but sin. Romans 8:1-4 NIV

    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

  95. street says:

    4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    i understand Jesus paying the requirements of the law in order to save people…..it is the living by the Spirit that drives my crazy because of evil desires of the flesh. these desires i think originate in the flesh of self interest, not in the freedom of love from God. it is note enough to have your account zeroed out, but to have it filled with life!

  96. poohpity says:

    But you do not have to be driven crazy by “trying” to live by the Spirit. Once you have accepted Christ know that the Spirit now lives in you and is in the process of changing you, so you do not have to try, just trust that the Spirit is working. Living by the flesh is in the trying but living by the Spirit seems to be allowing Him to work.

  97. street says:

    John 6:27
    Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

  98. street says:

    thinking that Jesus gives me work to accomplish. part of it is letting go and clinging to the cross He has given me. i am quite sure there are many things in me that God does not approve of and is working to remove shape and mold into the image of His Son. i do understand that the life of Christ is imputed to me when i passed through the narrow gate. already not yet comes to mind. yet the battle that paul speaks of doing and not doing in Romans. i do know the Bible speaks of the One who has suffered has ceased from sin, thinking physical death. thinking of the success Jesus had during His entire Life. our success is in Christ, not ourselves. self or flesh is a blank.

  99. street says:

    wondering, how do we work for that which He gives us?
    faith?

  100. street says:

    poo said,”But you do not have to be driven crazy by “trying” to live by the Spirit.”

    you go crazy when you don’t obey. when you obey the world thinks your crazy.do you think sarah would let abrham out of the house with her son for a sacrifice? more like she would take him to egypt in the middle of the night. i think they broke up after that little incident.

  101. joycemb says:

    Gnosticism denied the world of the seen (self and creation) and only paid attention to the spiritual world. While I was a part of the charismatic church there were many times I felt we were teetering on that very precipice. The body is how we, (just as Christ showed us), are to live out this life in holiness of conduct and thought. We choose to obey and by obedience become more and more Christ-like.

  102. street says:

    thinking the body is a vessel under pressure, hand of Master Craftman, that finds liberty life and happiness in Christ.

  103. poohpity says:

    We are given work to do but “trying” to be Christ like is not part of that. That part is the Spirit’s work within us. I will let you fill in the blanks as to what the work is we are to do. We are to believe in ______; share the ______; feed the ______; make _________; clothe the ______; walk ________ with God; act __________; show ______ and _______; care for the _____; promote _____; ____ others as we are _______; etc… We have lots to do.

  104. street says:

    looks Christ like to me.

  105. joycemb says:

    Trying and being obedient to do Gods will are two different things absolutely. Yet both important. Paul talks a lot about making his body obedient to the commands of Christ through bodily self-discipline, although not everyone agrees with Paul.

  106. joycemb says:

    The job of the Holy Spirit is not to change us, but to warn, comfort, and witness to the presence of a changed life because of Christ. Sometimes the HS brings about miraculous changes, but not always and not usually. We have a responsibility to change in ourselves those things that are hindering our witness and fellowship with God and others. That’s the obedience part. To deny that makes one question whether they really are in Christ. As street talks about its the dying to self thing that’s not easy or fun. That’s where the rubber meets the road so to speak. Refusing to die is dangerous. Unless one believes they can sit back and continue sinning because Gods got this so its OK. Were back to what I mentioned a couple years ago. Cheapgrace. Words spoken wrongly about God will be avenged and I don’t want to be on His bad side so to speak when the final judgement happens. If the heart and the flesh don’t line up while walking in the Spirit there’s something wrong. Search my heart, the psalmist said, and see if there be any wicked way about me.

  107. poohpity says:

    Joyce where on earth did you hear it is not the work of the Holy Spirit that changes us? lol

    The “fruit of the Spirit” are the qualities that God puts in your life when the Holy Spirit lives through you. They are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

    How does God produce the fruit in your life? Not by willpower. You don’t go out and say, “I’m going to be a more patient person!” That doesn’t work.

    The Holy Spirit has to grow it on the inside. You try to say, “I’m going to be more patient. I’m going to be more loving.” It’s like tying some oranges on a eucalyptus tree and calling it an orange tree. It doesn’t work that way. Fruit can only come from the inside — his Spirit living through you.

  108. joycemb says:

    Fruit comes from growth. . If it’s holy fruit there will be love, joy etc. Not so holy fruit is what I produce when I am disobedient to the work of God in me, no growth.

  109. street says:

    the idea a human heart can produce fruit on it’s own is from self. Jesus talked about people doing nice things, but He never said they could give you eternal life. thinking the idea of work/paycheck and merit are from the world economy not God’s. we were told to work rule manage the garden before the fall. work then was a blessing today a little more difficult. thinking in heaven mankind will be some kind of creature/creator that reflects the Glory of God. we see quite clearly what man is apart from God. we need to recognize drift, deception,evil at all times.

    Luke 19:26 John 6:63 John 15:5 John 9:33

    thinking the Children of God produce fruit that remains because it originated with God. thinking of that fig tree that produced no fruit. we were made to bear.

  110. poohpity says:

    Maybe it would be best to ask God to explain how He works in peoples lives.

  111. foreverblessed says:

    Someone has written here, it is all about surrendering to Jesus!
    Through the Holy Spirit in us we can.
    The HS is the One who changes us, if we surrendering. And say no to our old man.

    The Old Covenant is about man trying and trying,
    “All that the Lord has commanded we will do”
    Meaning: We can.

    Like Peter who said: “I will not deny you”
    And what did he do that same night?
    So from then on Peter knew he could not.
    He was now convinced he could not rely on himself.
    Just like Jeff keeps on saying, she cannot rely on herself.
    That is the perfect position for relying on the Son of Man, Jesus, our Savior. The One who is our Daily Bread, the Manna from heaven.

    Give us our Daily Bread

  112. joycemb says:

    Hello forever, yes it is God who changes us through the Holy Spirit’s work, not ours. Peter had not yet received the HS when he tried but denied Christ. Oh yes it is so much easier with the precious paraclete within.

    Pooh, glad you got a good chuckle out or my post! Laughter is good medicine!

  113. street says:

    joycemb posted,”Maybe it would be best to ask God to explain how He works in peoples lives.”

    all creation pours forth speech each day and wisdom calls at every corner everyday. few listen

    yet God has declared His wisdom and power at the cross. some think foolishness and some a stumbling block. yet Salvation for the elect. the few, the chosen.

  114. joycemb says:

    Street that was poos post

  115. joycemb says:

    How does God change us?
    It’s a mystery as mysterious as He is because He’s pure spirit and we are still encased in flesh. But when the Holy Spirt came at Pentecost it was described as a “mighty rushing wind”. When my personal Pentecost came it was as warm oil pouring over me and drenching every cell in my body with His presence, love. We can’t see the wind or His love either, but we can FEELS it and feel and see the changes He makes in us, that new, born again creation we are where we begin to walk ever so slowly and sometimes cautiously with our new Patron, (Father) striving everyday to be like Him. Just like children who strive to be like fathers of flesh.

    I can’t explain it, but He does change us, sometimes in spite of ourselves, yes. But I strive to be more like Him every day.

  116. street says:

    ops!

  117. poohpity says:

    Joyce do you feel that warm oil feeling often? Do you feel that when you are “striving” to be like Him? If you are striving doesn’t that mean it is you trying to do the changing?

  118. joycemb says:

    1. Yes
    2. Yes
    3. No

  119. joycemb says:

    When you are in love with someone it’s all good.

  120. poohpity says:

    Thank you for answering my questions.:-)

    I was wondering because I used to “feel” a warm glow come over me too but it has changed over the years. Sometimes I still get that but over the years it has grown to a confident assurance that there is nothing I have to do for God to love me anymore than He already does and He knows my heart toward Him so I do not have to perform but just rest in that. I am still learning and it is a process because it seems sometimes I have to go back to square one again.

  121. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    As I have thought about your post, Mart (Fill in the Blank) I am also reading the Kings/Chronicles narrative of the time of Hezekiah and his immediate successors — along with the prophets who served in those days (Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Nahum…).

    How does this story of the tightening noose of political and military defeat for God’s people impact my life as a disciple of Jesus?

    Mart, you wrote:

    “When the first Psalm refers to the enviable person who avoids certain practices and instead delights in the instruction of the Lord — and meditates on it day or night, the Scriptures lead us into a practice of filling in the blank.”

    The call is to put myself into the story as much as I can from this distance (time and culture). It is heart-breaking to see the faithful kings who came late in Judah’s history try to make the changes that are pleasing to God:

    putting away idols — learning about and loving the Lord — doing justice in daily life. The time of Hezekiah and Josiah’s reigns were blessed.

    But, it was too little too late. The people were stubborn and insistent that Baal, Asherah and even Molec (ugh) were worthy of their worship and devotion.

    Are there parallels in 21st c. living?

    Where are the faithful rulers?

    How can I stand for our Creator God — His Son — and the Holy Spirit in a time of idolatry and contempt for religion among the powerful?

    As you say, Mart, we are led by Scripture to fill in the blank — to supply what is missing — to adjust lifestyle, speech and values to align with the kingdom of the Lord Jesus. He is our guide.

    Joy all day,
    Maru

    14C and cloudy here

  122. jeff1 says:

    I’ve come too far to look back, again
    There is nothing behind me
    All the pleasures I used to love
    Have all faded from view
    There’s a new day ahead for me
    My heartache is over, you see
    I’ve left it at Calvary
    Where my new life began

    I’ve come too far to look back
    My feet have walked through the valley
    I’ve climbed mountains, crossed rivers
    Desert places I’ve known
    But I’m nearing the home shore
    The redeemed are rejoicing
    And Heaven’s Angels are singing
    I’ve come too fat to look back

    Look around, there’s unhappiness
    Some see no reason for living
    Life will give you a broken dream
    Full of heartache and fear
    Turn around, don’t look back again
    Face the new day before you
    Place your heartache in Jesus’s hand
    He will mend broken dreams

    I’ve come too far to look back
    My feet have walked through the valley
    And I’ve climbed mountains, crossed rivers
    Desert places I’ve known
    But I’m nearing the home shore
    The redeemed are rejoicing
    And Heaven’s Angels are singing
    I’ve come too far to look back

    But I’m nearing the home shore
    The redeemed are rejoicing
    And Heaven’s Angels are singing
    I’ve come too far to look back
    Too far to look back

  123. foreverblessed says:

    Today, I was in my local old people Home again, I walked into the room of a lady who is incapacitated due to a brain tumor, that was succesfully taken away, but left her lame on the right side. Her husband helped her very well, but died suddenly kast year. Imagine this! She started to cry, she said she felt lost.
    I started praying quietly, and took her out for a stroll, the sun started to shine, after a long day of constant rain.
    It is in God’s hand we put our fellow man. God can sort this out. She is a believer, a cathlic, but her relation with God is not very very personal.
    I was thinking, get to know God when you are young, that when these hard years start, you already have a very intimiteit contact with God our Father, and totally trust Him, that whatever happens to us, ” it is well with our soul”.

    There is a small chapel there in the house, and every morning a Mass. Often she goes there. So I keep praying to God that He takes her in His Arms.

    Is this all on topic?
    Fill in the blank: Get to know Jesus very very personal, very intimately, trust Him with all your heart.
    That when the old days come, you will be a blessing to all you meet.
    Or rather, all who come to meet you, will go away blessed, because Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, is with you.

  124. street says:

    thinking that those who know God never grow old, they mature, and are promised they will never die. thinking of caleb who walk through the wilderness with joshuah for 40 years. at 85 he was ready for war with the inhabitants of the land he was promised. even moses was told to climb a mountain because his days were coming to an end. not because he was in ill health or old, but because it was time. let us serve in faith,hope,love till he calls us home like enoch. your right forever it is good to get to know God because evil days are coming. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.

  125. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, Street, before we are old, that we totally trust Jesus, so much, that whatever may happen to us, we know that all is well
    This lady is going through a Job time. She said, she felt like God was punishing her. Like Job, who had all kinds of thoughts about God, why He was doing to Him as He did.
    Who knows that God wants to show the evil world, that His children love Him unconditional?!
    Who has thought of that??

  126. street says:

    it’s a very narrow gate forever. pray her through it?

  127. poohpity says:

    You could share with her that it was not God doing things to Job but Satan so that Job would deny God. Or share that it is God’s unconditional love for us not ours for Him. Or that Jesus took God’s punishment for us and that proves His unconditional love for us and nothing could ever separate us from that love, nothing.

    God forewarned us that we are going to go through all kinds of troubles, sorrows and pain while in this world and for us not to lose heart or give up hope. Share how God will never let her go because He is so faithful to us. Then ask her if she has ever asked Jesus into her heart and if not would she like to, then lead her in the prayer.

  128. foreverblessed says:

    May I ask you to pray for her? And for me, for I know what the procedures are, but what are the steps the Holy Spirit has in mind in this case, with this lovely but so unlucky lady.
    But I also know that whatever the working of the Holy Spirit, it is always preceded by much humble prayer:
    God, our Lord, we are at a loss, we can do nothing, You are our Savior, through Jesus.

  129. poohpity says:

    It would be my great pleasure to pray for you both and being open to the leading of the Holy Spirit in your conversations in fulfill His great commission. I am feeling very excited to hear back from you.

  130. street says:

    thought about this post while working in the yard today. had to revisit.

    11 While He was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing between Samaria and Galilee. 12 As He entered a village, ten leprous men who stood at a distance met Him; 13 and they raised their voices, saying, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” 14 When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they were going, they were cleansed. 15 Now one of them, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back, glorifying God with a loud voice, 16 and he fell on his face at His feet, giving thanks to Him. And he was a Samaritan. 17 Then Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But the nine—where are they? 18 Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?” 19 And He said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has made you well.”

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