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The Sniff Test

Five senses—to see, hear, taste, touch— and about this time of year the last reminds us that we are not alone.

A skunk smells. But what? Itself? Grubbs? Danger?

I recently read the words of someone who understood our human inclination to call out the wrongs of others—while giving ourselves a pass, a passing grade, or a get out of jail free card. Sensing the confusingly tiresome effect of endless disapproval and disagreement, this person said something like, “I’ve come to see the importance of the sniff test. Does it smell like Jesus? May sound a bit subjective. It is. But when we spend enough time around him it almost becomes natural.”

Too simplistic? If so, we can make it more complicated.  When the issue is whether we ourselves are approaching Christ-likeness, we could use all five senses to imagine what Jesus-like behavior looks like, what the tone of his Spirit sounds like; what the bread of his shared suffering tastes like, what the touch of his presence feels like; and what the fragrance of his love smells like.

But to keep it simple—who among us hasn’t been given the sense to smell the difference between a love that is patient, kind, and without envy… and “a love for goodness sake” that isn’t?

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141 Responses to “The Sniff Test”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Well that cinches it, Mart you do have continuity in your subjects. A smile and chuckle from me.

    There is a TV commercial on going out there about being “nose blind” to things around the house that stink.

    While the subject can be humorous, its serious side is that this is where the basis of non-Christians see Christians as hypocrites and why shouldn’t it be seen as such?

    Like any uniform one might wear, when one puts it on they represent what the uniform stands for.

    When we put on the “mantel” of Jesus Christ, our behavior not only represents us, but Him as a result of our “uniform” of saying we are a follower of Jesus.

    Non-Christians aren’t the only one that can smell a rat or that something is fishy.

    I am a little worried where we may go with this subject, but confession is as they say, good, for the soul.

    52 degrees and impending thunder storms.


  2. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    Driving along a country road, whether we see the creature or not, we know when a civet cat (skunk) has been there!

    So, likewise there is a whiff of a not-so-pleasant scent when sin rears its ugly head. I know when I have failed to be an encourager, a true friend or a faithful disciple of Jesus, I can smell myself. Ugh. Time for prayer, repentance, and asking forgiveness. As one preacher used to say, “Admit it, quit it and forget it.”

    Enjoyed the nature notes from all here. Living in the Redwood Forest for 19 years, I have bear stories, skunk stories, raccoon stories — and so on — even bobcat stories.
    Many a parable can come out of our encounters with our animal brothers and sisters!

    Am away at a conference this week-end, so time is at a premium. I prefer brief posts anyhow, don’t you?

    Perhaps if we understood how late in history is truly is, we would treat one another with more tenderness. We do perceive Kingdom things with the senses of the body of Christ, it seems to me. The sense by which we perceive Jesus is faith.

    I apologize all around for (usually) trying to stick to the topic of the original post. This may seem rude or heartless, but I hope to offer something worthwhile or interesting when I take up space on the blog. I do not mean to be a little stinker. :o)


    0C/32F in Seattle. Partly cloudy — with warming & rain forecast for later in the day.

  3. phpatato says:

    Good morning all

    I grew up listening to this phrase and it almost always came as a retort after someone exited the bathroom or when a person passed wind in a room…..a skunk smells its own smell. I have always felt sorry for a skunk, for that reason. I think, wow what a stink! Imagine not being able to run away from itself and the smell. The smell follows it wherever it goes. No getting away from it; no finding any relief. But then I wonder, what if a skunk likes the smell of itself. What if the skunk, like Steve said, has become nose blind to itself so it can well tolerate the smell it gives off? Suddenly, I find myself not feeling so sorry for it anymore. It is well able to stomach itself and so it becomes a situation where the smell is harder on me than it is on it. And so, I avoid a skunk whenever possible. I have even seen myself crossing to the other side of the road to avoid it. If only it knew just how cute it looked and how I have wished that sometimes I wish I could just get close enough to pet it.

    Maru, I hope your conference goes well as I have heard that sometimes they can be uneventful and almost like a waste of time. I always enjoy reading your posts…long ones, short ones…it don’t matter to me.

    Cloudy and rainy with a forecast high of 12C today.


  4. jeff1 says:

    Admit it, quit it and forget it.

    This is human nature we are talking about admission – my son assures me that I always come up with an excuse for my failings.

    Quit it – tomorrow never comes.

    Forget it – An elephant never forgets.

    I am a believer in Christ because I know that I do not qualify to be more then that. I do not refer myself to as a Christian because while I fail to be Christ-like in my endeavours the only persona I am fooling is myself.

  5. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning All

    I have been focused on a study bible commentary I read yesterday in regard to Mathew 10:34 . I think it relates heavily to this morning’s subject. “Jesus did not come to bring the kind of peace that glosses over deep differences for the sake of SUPERFICIAL harmony. Conflict and disagreement will arise between those who choose to follow Christ and those who don’t”
    Need to change computers….continue in a bit.

  6. Dinakar says:

    Before the first murder in the Bible God’s advise to Cain was ” sin is crouching at your door step and you must overcome it” my focus is to watch out for the sin that is always trying to get into my life and my responsibility to overcome it of course with God’s help.

  7. joycemb says:

    No apology needed Maru. You and street being the more mature posters here are of course wise to do that. Don’t want to be a stinker myself so will try to keep to the subject. I’ve tried to get along which was more trouble than it was worth, causing hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and even envy at times. So fleshly. Growing in Gods grace one day at a time,

  8. poohpity says:

    I can remember the times in the past early in my relationship with the Lord when listening to a sermon that I would say, “Boy I wish so and so were here to hear this”. The first friend I shared that with was a maturing Christian sister who said that God did not have that person here to hear but had you here so how can you apply that to your life? Then it happened again and another not the same one said something similar to me about how can you apply what you heard in your life? My answer was it is easier to apply it to others than to me but that lesson made such an impact on me now I ask God “what is it you want me to see and learn here?”.

    A Christian is a follower of Christ who came to believe that He was God incarnate, died on the Cross for my sins and was raised on the third day and now sits at the right hand of God the Father. The same grace that He gave me, touched my heart so much that I indeed desire to show that to others. The thing is that I often fail. So when others fail at it too I understand.

    The nose blind commercial is so fitting because it is often I become nose blind not to the smell of others but to myself, in my own home and life. If I spent as much time trying to get others to see the nature of their wrongs as I do seeing my own then I would without a doubt be more patient, kind, forgiving and grace filled. But as with applying sermons to others it is so much easier and less painful to smell others and leave my own stench out of it because if I fail my own sniff test that would mean I have no room to smell others.

    Thank God for His amazing grace because as an Ambassador of Christ please help me to show others that grace because I know I will never be perfect or without fault.

  9. poohpity says:

    Maru, I do not think it is rude or heartless to comment on the topic because after all that is what this blog used to be all about and I think it is admirable that you gear your comments towards that goal. It sure does prevent troubles doesn’t it?

  10. narrowpathseeker says:

    I’m back…For many years, I have been praying to be delivered from all the ugliness within and to be filled with His Love towards others. For awhile I thought that prayer had been unanswered inasmuch as there were still many I didn’t FEEL anything I thought was “love” towards them. Thinking about…”But to keep it simple—who among us hasn’t been given the sense to smell the difference between a love that is patient, kind, and without envy… and “a love for goodness sake” that isn’t?”

    Is it Love to condone or accept mal treatment of others? If I see someone else robbing or abusing someone…am I to ignore it and just be concerned that I don’t do that to anyone and come what may to the victim is not my concern? So WHAT is the LOVE of Christ?

    While I still had ugly feelings that sure felt like HATE, towards a horrible man that had treated me badly and continued to do so with no remorse whatsoever, I chose to help care for him for my daughter’s sake and because I believed God wanted me to do that. I prayed daily for strength to do what was I thought was right and to be delivered from those ugly feelings. I prayed for this man and I did what I thought God wanted me to do. So, if I have ugly feelings towards someone who I believe to be downright mean and cruel do I have to maintain some pretentious love for them? Must I condone/accept their deliberate attempts to rob what Love, Peace, Joy, Patience, etc that I do have? I don’t think so…I will pray for such a person and continue to pray to be delivered from all ugly feelings, but I will avoid them if possible. If the Lord places them at my doorstep in dyer need of care…I will try to do what He asks, but I doubt that I will be feeling anything like Love for any unremorseful person…

    May All have a Blessed day.

  11. jeff1 says:

    I agree Narrow, the difficulty I have forgiving my enemies is because they have shown no remorse for the atrocities they carried out.

    I cannot pretend to love people who have intimidated, maimed and murdered for their cause.

    Their cause is just that, it is not for the love of God or love for their fellowmen but because they feel justified in doing so.

    My thoughts towards them are sinful but I cannot lie to God that I do not have these thoughts which I believe I am justified in having.

    In the end we are all in need of Christ’s forgiveness (my enemies and me) and there is no point in me talking the talk when I cannot walk the walk.

    I just seem hypocritical to others listening and how does that advance God’s Kingdom when I am just as much part of the problem as the solution!

  12. mtman says:

    I have read the been thinking blog several times and still couldn’t understand it fully. I have had this happen to me frequently where a subject I am mulling over in my head is very clear while in my head but when I reduce it to a written form it loses its clarity and purpose.
    It wasn’t until I was able to change the focus from the smell of a skunk to the smell of a canine that it made sense to me. Us humans have 5 million scent receptors and a dog can have up to 300 receptors. Their brain also has 40 times more area that analyzes smell.
    With that understanding of the “smell test” it became clearer to me. They have a high sense of smell and we have only a small fraction of that. I then took their high sense of smell and our small sense and converted it to a telescope. If we were to reverse a telescope and look through the large end it would pin point the object. Our focus would be on the micro and not the macro.
    Where it says in 2 Cor. 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves, Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified”.
    This is how and why we are to examine ourselves and not others. We need to peer so acutely into ourselves that we see our flaws (micro) clearly and less of the flaws (macro) in others. “Do not try to remove the speck in another’s eye when you have a plank in your own eye”.
    When I took the skunk out of the blog and replaced it with a dog it made far more sense to me. If we convert our smell to that of a dog – we could see 3 miles when a dog could see 300.
    I have not visited this site for over 5 years but thought I would check it out again. After reading the blog numerous times it did not make much sense to me until I did some adjustment on the object. I almost gave up on the blog but persisted and found some insight by making adjustments. Those are my thoughts.

  13. narrowpathseeker says:

    Vivian….you have NEVER sounded hypocritical to me!! To me, it seems that the ones that say they love others while condemning those that confess that they don’t love everybody but struggle to rise above it, are the hypocrites not those they are condemning. Didn’t Jesus tell the parable about the tax collector beating his chest unable to even look up at the Lord saying, Lord have mercy on me a sinner…vs the Pharisee that thought he knew it all and was superior to everybody and pretty much thanked God that he was so wonderful?

    You are certainly not a hypocrite in my eyes. Blessings to you today and always.

  14. poohpity says:

    Hey mtman it is good to hear from you again.

  15. jeff1 says:

    What I am saying, Narrowpathseeker, is that while I keep getting these thoughts, I feel like a hypocrite as I am not blameless before God as those who are obeying are.

    I need to rise about it but I am struggling because I see the victims and hear my unremorseful enemies and the ugly thoughts come back again, I desire God’s peace in my heart but my head says otherwise.

    I have stopped listening to the news and reading the newspapers so that I do not hear their menacing comments.

    They have no love for this country and their hearts are far from God and I cannot see any good coming from that.

  16. narrowpathseeker says:

    Vivian, I think the best we can do is “fight the good fight”, confess our sins and keep asking Him for His help while giving thanks and praise for His Patience, Mercy, Forgiveness, Love…and all the countless Blessings He has given us and pray for those enemies out of obedience……….we know who wins in the end…at least we are on the right side of the battle aren’t we?

  17. SFDBWV says:

    I too am glad to see you return mtman, I hope these past 5 years have been good to you. Guessing you are still in Colorado.

    I hope you decide to stay with us.


  18. SFDBWV says:

    Living myself in a small town nestled in the woodlands and mountains (nothing like mtman’s mountains), but still classified as such I am subjected to all the good and bad that nature provides.

    When the weather permits we sleep with windows open, there is just nothing quite like being awaken in the middle of the night by the unmistakable odor of a skunk just outside the window. Especially if it has mixed it up with a feral cat or a raccoon or a possum and or yes even a stray dog.

    Unfortunately for the animals I named the skunk smell is now attached to them as well and they aren’t very welcomed by others anywhere they go.

    It will gag the staunchest stomachs among us. Like us you will close the window.

    If it’s your dog that mixed it up with the skunk, I guarantee there is a tomato juice bath in store for your pet as soon as possible.

    Stepping over the line between the literal skunk and the implied stench of bad behavior between people, especially believers we are faced with some honest answers.

    I don’t think too many of us would recognize our own scent. Yet I could always recognize the smell of my parents on their clothing. Especially my dad’s old hat, it just smelled like him or my mother’s coat as like my dad’s hat her coat always smelled like her.

    Animals certainly recognize the scent of their own kind especially their young, and they also recognize danger by what they smell. It is a protective device God instilled in them for their own good and survival.

    So what happens when a stinker shows up among a group of people? And by stinker I mean a person who stinks up the room by introducing unpleasantness or as it is called in Scripture, strife, among the group.

    The smell/unpleasantness cannot be ignored, it has to be dealt with. Do we close the window and leave the smell outside, by avoiding the person or omitting them from the group? Do we suggest a bath, hoping, that, enough to get the offender to clean up their act themselves?

    Or do we just keep moving from chair to chair trying not to get so close to the smell as to have it attach itself to us as well; to where we also become offensive to others?
    What happens if we find out that it is us who are the offender, nose blind that we had an odor at all?

    Do we deny it and get angry at the person who told us, or do we try and do something about it so as not to offend another again?

    How are we sure we have succeeded?

    Questions I also need to explore for honest answers.

    Sorry Maru, no short comment this afternoon.


  19. jeff1 says:

    Narrow, yes, leave it in God’s hands, because He will make it right, I need to be patient and take strength from God as He has overcome evil.

    It is reminding myself that it is done, it is finished, God has overcome evil and all this is temporary.

    The best is yet to come, God’s goodness and mercy will prevail, victory is God’s and remaining faithful to that truth is what is imperative.

    Thank you again Narrow for encouragement and truth that I can fail to see in my moments of weakness.

  20. joycemb says:

    But to keep it simple—who among us hasn’t been given the sense to smell the difference between a love that is patient, kind, and without envy… and “a love for goodness sake” that isn’t?

    Mart you pose a question that we’ve been fighting about on this blog forever. But of course you know that! From what I feel the HS has been teaching me lately it comes down to whether one is a secular or a born-again believer. Our example from scripture are those pre born religious who demanded everyone act perfectly, and in full compliance with the Law of Moses. Paul himself said he was one who kept the law perfectly before he was born-again-“a law for goodness sake”. Not unlike a child hearing ‘be good’ their whole life then having justice come swiftly to the derrière or other punishments for messing up; but never hearing a well-done.

    God sends tests every day, not to condemn but to teach what is good and is His will and way of thinking. A true born again believer will suffer in this country more from secular “Christians” than from pagans. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference, but mostly it’s love as described here Mart that weeds the field. We may all fall down at times but when Jesus lifts us up again we know we smell like Christ. “We are the fragrance of Christ to those who are perishing”.

  21. joycemb says:

    But of course Jesus doesn’t judge us. I like Jesus.

  22. saled says:

    2 Corinthians 2:14-17 mentions the fragrance of Christ. I believe this is a metaphor, not a literal fragrance, but it fits. “Does it smell like Jesus?”

    When I was in my late teens or early twenties, I was befriended by an older coworker who sometimes took me for weekends to visit her family who lived a few hours away. I can tell you that there was the smell of Jesus on her parents as well as the families of her brothers and sisters. A visit with Hazel and her family was so refreshing for me. And when her Dad died years later, in the sympathy card I used that expression, that when she introduced me to her parents, I could sense the fragrance of Christ on their lives.

    Thinking back to the last topic and Steve’s story of the aircraft carrier, I would say the captain of that ship and his decision smells like Jesus.

  23. street says:

    Jeremiah 13:23
    “Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil.

  24. street says:

    a change of scent? a change of mind? a change of heart?

  25. joycemb says:

    Thinking of change also tonite street.

    1 Corinthians 1:26-29New Living Translation (NLT)
    26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy[a] when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. 28 God chose things despised by the world,[b] things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. 29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.

    Only God can change garbage into a garden!

  26. joycemb says:

    Saled I read that the fragrance he mentions is similar to incense used in important processions, which the people could relate to at the time. Oh I love my new Bible!

  27. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning to all. 22 degrees and snow flurries…I bet the Ladybugs and flies are confused that have been buzzing about the last few days.

    I do know of people who have said they have experienced a strange and pleasant aroma when in prayer or praise. In fact once I experienced it myself.

    Dolly Parton mentions it in one of her many songs as a “strange and wonderful perfume”.

    Some believe in speaking in tongues and some do not.

    I believe that whatever it takes for God to get through to us He is capable of doing.

    God will meet your “needs” whatever they may be.

    I still see an opportunity to explore this subject from a serious as well as humorous side. I would be interested in Mart’s definition of what a love that isn’t “patient, kind and without envy” looks like.

    Life always teaches me lessons I can relate to and understand easier than just an intellectual study.

    Matthew (my son) hurts all day long every day because all of the friends he had before he became house bound and crippled have abandoned him to his circumstances.

    They may say they love him, in fact there are family members who say they do, but where are they? Where have they been these past almost 18 years?

    In my experience talk is cheap. If people say they love and don’t follow through with it, love becomes a lie. A lie that they themselves believe for their own comfort or self-preservation.

    It is my belief that when God physically changed Cain because of the murder of his brother Able, God made him resemble the animal he had become. Part human, part animal in looks and nature.

    When we become more interested in self-preservation at any cost everything we do can be justified in our “hearts”. When we become more like Jesus the preservation, comfort, wellbeing and happiness of others becomes more important and the actions of our beings show it because our hearts are more like His.

    We may find then that we smell more like that strange and wonderful perfume, rather than old mister skunk.

    That people will open their door to us welcome us in and listen to what we have to say and may even want what we have in an acceptable variance of envy.


  28. poohpity says:

    Steve, would be very interested in where you learned that God turned Cain into part human and part animal?!?

    I really enjoy flowers but when you buy them from the store they look beautiful but most have no fragrance. It seems when they are produced in mass droves they have some signs of being flowers the most obvious is looks but underneath it seems counterfeit. However I do not know the real name for them but I call them little baby carnations. They are not only beautiful but they have the most wonderful smell and they come in all kinds of colors.

    Jesus it seems gives us the first smell test in John 13:35. A friend gave me this beautiful, lace cloth tapestry that says, “They will know we are Christian’s by our love”. As Jesus taught that is not only for those who will love us back but for those who don’t(Matt 5:44; Luke 6:27-28) just like Jesus did.(Romans 5:10 NIV)

    Then Paul gives us more comparisons of the foul stench of the flesh like strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, gossip and slander compared to the beautiful aroma of the Spirit within us like love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I must ask myself which do I smell more like and if I find it is a stench than an aroma I know God in His great mercy and grace will help change that fragrance.

  29. poohpity says:

    saled, very good verses and I take 2 Cor 2:14 NLT to heart but first we have to have that knowledge to be able to share.

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh if you look again you will see that I said it was my belief, not that I said I had learned it.

    There is no clear definition as to what it is that God did to “mark” Cain.

    The concept behind my comment is that animals react like animals. Feeding themselves, procreating and surviving their only goal.

    Christian’s should have a different goal and their actions should reflect it.

    I hope I have settled the matter for you about that particular part of my comment.


  31. jeff1 says:

    The desire of my heart is not at one with my thoughts.

    The truth is while I may have attributes of some of the above i.e patience, kindness, I lack in others faithfulness and self-control.

    It is not just God I have to be truthful with but myself also.

    I know when I should have behaved otherwise, it is for me to go to the person I offended and put it right.
    I can put it right with God but if I do not put it right with another then I have not went about trying to heal that relationship.

    God expects me to do what is right for all concerned and it is not until I act on it that the Holy Spirit sees me blameless.

    I am separated from God because I hold on to grudges and while God keeps His promise that Salvation is mine He does not condone my weaknesses. While He may use my weakness, it is still His desire that I overcome it because the reality of me overcoming is that I grow closer to Him in the process.

    The beautiful aroma of the Spirit i.e. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control comes from oneness with God i.e. dying to self.

    I am part of the ‘Body Of Christ’ in that what I lack in one attribute another follower does not so that together we make up the ‘Body Of Christ’.

    Christ is the Head i.e. the High Priest, who accepts us weaknesses and all but Paul proved his love for Jesus because He did not allow his weakness to divide the ‘Body Of Christ’ i.e. he put Christ before his own selfish goals.

    Until I am like Paul, I have a lot of growing to do, what Paul did not do was apportion blame onto others, he accepted his weaknesses hindered the Kingdom of God and knew without God’s Grace he was not blameless.

  32. SFDBWV says:

    Please understand this Viv, “Nothing” can separate you from God. Once you accepted Jesus you are His and no power on earth nor in heaven can change that.


  33. jeff1 says:

    A song from the Hollies and the words are inspirational, as brother and sisters in Christ sharing each others burdens, is loving each other, when, there is discord, sadly it hinders the ‘Kingdom Of God’ because the reality of it is that it does not draw others to God but as just the opposite effect.

    The road is long
    With many a winding turn
    That leads us to who knows where
    Who knows where
    But I’m strong
    Strong enough to carry him
    He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

    So on we go
    His welfare is of my concern
    No burden is he to bear
    We’ll get there

    For I know
    He would not encumber me
    He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

    If I’m laden at all
    I’m laden with sadness
    That everyone’s heart
    Isn’t filled with the gladness
    Of love for one another

    It’s a long, long road
    From which there is no return
    While we’re on the way to there
    Why not share

    And the load
    Doesn’t weigh me down at all
    He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

    He’s my brother
    He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother

  34. poohpity says:

    Steve, I understood that was your belief I was just wondering what gave you that belief. A mark is a mark and to see what that means we can look else where in scripture to find out what that means. A mark in other places was similar to something like a tattoo(Rev 3:12, 7:3, 14:1. 22:4) was to protect Cain but I have not ever read that God changed a person into an animal, the only place it comes close was Nebuchadnezzar was acting like an animal by eating grass but did not change his physical makeup to an animal but compared some of his features to that of an animal(Daniel 4:33 NLT). Please do not take offense I was just wondering where the belief came from.

    Viv, God looks at those who believe in Jesus covered by Him. So when He looks at us He sees Jesus. Paul is no different from us in his humanity and he explained that to us in Romans 7:18-21 “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[d] I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

    21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong.”

    So we all do things we would rather not but Paul finishes that with the answer which is the grace of God through Christ Jesus.

  35. jeff1 says:

    Yes, Pooh, we who believe are covered and it is indeed a blessing to know that the ‘Blood Of Christ’ covers my sins.

    The difference as ‘followers of Christ’ is that we have the peace and assurance ‘NOW’ of God’s Grace.

    Others are missing out in that, but, it is in knowing that God extends His Grace to those who are not yet aware of it, is where I find rest.

    Having family and friends that are wayward, in time, they will come to know Christ’s sacrifice is for them too.

    It took me a lifetime to know God’s Grace and it may take others a lifetime to come to that knowledge but God does not withdraw it from me, you, or those still to become aware of it.

    It is the Good News of the Gospel that ‘Christ’ died so that all may be saved and today we can rejoice in that truth and pray for those who, for whatever reason, have wandered from it.

  36. SFDBWV says:

    Pooh it is ok, I take no offence in your questioning me on my view of the mark of Cain.

    We have explored a lot of ideas that Mart has put forth here on BTA. Whereas I have often said that there is danger in “reading between the lines”, we all do just that and when there is no clear answer to some things it is there between the lines as well as a life time of learning and reading and experiences that sometimes brings us to what we may believe.

    Not one clearly stated thing, but a collection of stated things and all the combined knowledge experienced and learned.

    Just so you or any of you understand, I have to defend what I say or explain it repeatedly to Matthew all day long. It is because he either doesn’t understand or just needs a little help in order to.

    Matthew has taught me to be patient, and understand that just because something is clear to me, doesn’t mean it is always clear to anyone else.

    Even if I have to explain it over and over again, the goal is to be understood and everyone satisfied.

    Here on BTA if I share some of my personal beliefs, I should then expect sometimes for them to be challenged.

    The trick for me is not to turn a challenge into an offensive defense action and come out swinging, but to remember everyone doesn’t think like me or know what I know.

    One of my many faults.


  37. joycemb says:

    Steve i was told a few years ago on here I don’t think like some. The way it was stated offended me at the time but I grew to recognize there’s no shame in thinking differently. The shame came from closed mindedness on the part of the shamer. I was laughed at even! I can certainly understand your wanting to come here to seek some respit from your 24 hour life of service. I personally don’t know how you manage but for the grace of God. Thanks for your openness.
    blessings, Joyce

  38. street says:

    joycemb said,”Only God can change garbage into a garden!”

    i don’t think we can qualify a person as garbage, ever.
    i think this is true because God made man in His own image. the only thing separating a man from God is sin. when this is removed there is a restored relationship. Jesus said He is the only way to restore this relationship. a relationship that begins and ends with Jesus, who is eternal. a relationship that ends/begins in son-ship/adoption with God. encouraged and empowered by God to be Sons by faith, hope, and love.

    12 But as many as received Him, Jesus, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ, 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

  39. joycemb says:

    Street I was thinking of the smells!

  40. joycemb says:

    Being the fragrance of Christ in the world!

  41. joycemb says:

    2 cor 2:14-17 NIV

  42. joycemb says:

    2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NLT

  43. joycemb says:

    As opposed to Isaiah 65:5 NLT

  44. street says:

    so there really is a sniff test!!!!!!

  45. street says:

    14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession.

    like the idea of captive and victory!

  46. joycemb says:

    So do I street. I was just worrying about something yesterday when suddenly the thought came, ” wait a minute! Why am I worrying??? Gods my Father and He’s got this! EVERYTHING is under his control! No more worries! Love being his captive:-)

  47. SFDBWV says:

    OK, time for one of my “stories”; I’ve probably told before, but I am getting old and I enjoy repeating myself sometimes.

    I sleep on the sofa next to Matt’s bed in the living room as he needs me to help roll him over and for other emergency occasions at night.

    Several summers ago around 1am he and I would hear what sounded like a pretty large animal in the wall of the living room as it climbed up between the studs.

    Once it started the basement had the unmistaken odor of skunk, and every morning I would open all the windows of the basement and even use fans to try and get the smell out.

    It diluted the smell but then every morning the smell would be back, as every night that critter would be climbing around in our walls.

    Not needing to be said, I did a very exhausted examination of where anything could be getting in or was hiding and found no clue as to for sure what or where.

    But every night and every morning this continued for a couple weeks…Then!

    One morning when I went to the basement there in the middle of the basement was a huge possum grinning back at me.

    He ran and hid behind the washing machine and did what possums do and played dead.

    Well, let just say that once the possum was removed from my house so was the offending smell and nightly climbs in between my walls.

    It was a very long time before I could come up with even a plausible guess as to how this 20 pound creature got in the house to start with. My best guess is that it climbed up my brick chimney and fell down in the flue to the network of ventilation ducts that are a part of my furnace makeup. I have since put heavy duty screening over the flue to discourage it from reoccurring…Hopefully.

    If there is a moral to my story I guess it is that stinkers will always find a way into our lives even if they don’t intend to, but while their presence always gets our attention there can be no peace until the smell is gone. One way or another.

    21 degrees and partly cloudy.


  48. jeff1 says:

    Yes, Steve, it is one thing to proclaim to know Christ, the reality is very different.

    The closer I grow to God, the more I will be able to spot a stinker.

    My father who was closer to God always made sound judgements because he knew not to listen to those who proclaimed they knew Christ while their words and actions said otherwise.

    Paul warned those whose behaviour was not Christ like,
    having been immature himself, but was now mature enough to see the difference.

    As I grow closer to God, I will be able to discern the alien Spirit that may come from within or around me.

    When I stay close to Christ He gives me the Spirit of discernment so that I can spot waywardness in myself and others. Everything God does is out of love, and all I have to do is give Him access, and He will change me from this creature I have become.

    When God transforms, He does it out of love, His motives are pure, pure, pure.

    The miraculous work of God, how can anyone ever truly understand what is so overwhelming, so awesome, so unbelieving that God can change me from this creature that I have become to the image of His Son.

    Hallelujah! Praise the Lord.

  49. poohpity says:

    I wonder if because a skunk has a stink that is all it is able to smell in the world or in people. So accustomed to the dark, negative, stench and evil that is all one is trained to see, hear and smell. I guess that is what Paul was talking about when he said to change our focus; “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” One is thinking about and smelling the world around us and the other is allowing Christ as our focus which as He does to search for a sweet smelling aroma, the good in others and His hand in the world.

  50. poohpity says:

    I was thinking that a skunk has only it’s spray as a means of protection. When it feels threatened it sprays. It seems that all God’s creatures have been given a means of protection in some form or another. If we leave our protection to God it sure does have better results for everyone because when we take matters into our own hands destruction is sure to follow and wars begin. The only battle that seems important to God is that against spiritual darkness but rather than allowing God to fight that battle for us we chose the side of darkness to go against darkness a lose lose situation.

  51. jeff1 says:

    I know that not all of God’s people are walking in darkness. I had a father who knew the difference in walking in the light and walking in the dark otherwise I would not have learned that there was a difference.

    God knows those who are enlightened and those of us who are struggling.

    My father had a God given gift of sound judgements and his life reflected it.

    I can remain like the skunk or I can allow God access to my heart and mind and He will transform me from the creature to the image of His Son.

    It is a battle that some struggle more than others with and it is through focusing on Christ that I find the peace of mind to keep ‘fighting the good fight’.

  52. street says:

    sniff test
    as i think of the little stinkers walking around on the earth, i am reminded of my own flesh that needs washed and deodorized daily. this same flesh is the foothold or beach head the devil uses to accomplish his will. i am baffled that God chooses to work through the flesh! it is not till the Holy Spirit, the Word and grace is allowed free rein that i understand that God wants to dwell with/in man. the flesh and noise of the world rule till this happens and not all at once. the fun part will be seeing Christ the finish result. made in the image of God.

    it’s even more interesting that God calls the elect out of satans domain much like satan calling out in God’s domain. yet there is no comparison between the two.

  53. bubbles says:

    There are a handful of dear saints I have had the privilege to know. These people are so special…they are encouraging, uplifting, and kind. They are different from others I know. I think the difference is because they are godly people, and wisdom is evident in their mannerisms, words, and conduct. They have a special something in a quiet way that makes me glad to have been with them. They are an inspiration. In essence, they have a “fragrance” about them. (metaphor fragrance)

  54. poohpity says:

    “Don’t let your shortcomings discourage you and determine the course of your life. Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2Cor 12:9). When you depend on the Lord’s unmerited favor, His undeserved grace will turn you into a champion for His glory!” Joseph Prince

  55. street says:

    imagine what Jesus-like behavior looks like, what the tone of his Spirit sounds like; what the bread of his shared suffering tastes like, what the touch of his presence feels like; and what the fragrance of his love smells like.

    imagine broken bread and poured out wine.

  56. SFDBWV says:

    From the beginning God said that man should not be alone. (Genesis 2:18 KJV)

    If you look at the animal kingdom of the planet there are some creatures that live solitary lives, only coming together with another of its species in order to procreate.

    These types of animals fight fiercely with others of their own kind if they step over into each other’s “space” or territory.

    Skunks are one such creature, spending a life fighting with every other animal it encounters including members of its own kind.

    However God said, “It is not good that man should be alone.”

    The idea that God intended for Adam and Eve to have children and fill the earth with their own kind before the fall comes into conflict with Adam and Eve being created as eternal beings originally. But that is a subject for another study and one with theories on several fronts.

    My thoughts this morning is that we are not meant to live solitary lives, in fact our mental health depends on interacting and having a social life of some kind.

    Like everything in life there seems always to be a flaw or problem with all of the best intentions.

    When people come together there are always going to be differences.

    If we examine each and every person we will find everyone has a need for grace. Grace from God because of sin and grace from us because we are different.

    Is there a limit to God’s grace? Not as I believe. Is there a limit as to our grace given to others?

    If we actually are going to work at being more like Jesus, then no, there is no limit as to our giving grace to others.

    Yet no matter who we are there are some “stinkers” among us that while we may offer grace we would rather avoid.

    Does that then cause us to lose that fragrance of Christ?

    Jesus ate with, visited with interacted with lots of “stinkers” in the Testament, but kept company with His friends. Telling the one among them to leave and go about his business before settling down to the conversation and communion of the “last supper”.

    There may be more to this subject to explore or admit to ourselves then we want to admit. As living among others often requires sacrifice, patience and work from each of us in order to smell the sweet aroma of fellowship.

    But it can’t be a solitary act.

    29 degrees and cloudy.


  57. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning All. May all of us have a Blessed day and spend much time giving our Lord thanks for His Patience, Mercy, Forgiveness, and ALL the other countless Blessings He bestows upon us daily.

    Steve as usual you have contributed some profound analogies in dealing with people and skunks. Like Pat said, sometimes she would like to get close enough to pet the skunk because it is kind of cute…but of course nobody wants to get close enough to get the stench of skunk on them. While that thought can muster up compassion for the skunk and skunk like humans….the desire to show affection and compassion fades with one nasty offensive spray.

    I vaguely remember JM doing a series on the ways of Eagles It might be interesting to compare the ways of an eagle with the ways of a skunk…I don’t quite remember much about the Eagle other than it is used as a positive pitch for growing.

    Bubbles I too have known a handful of people that are EXCEPTIONALLY inspiring, loving, and kind. I find it so strange, because while I know I should feel very very small in their presence, they make me feel cleansed, hopeful, and joyful. While I never knew Albert Shweitzer personally of course, just reading about him fills me with joy to know that such people actually exist or existed in recent years.

    May All have a super Blessed day.


  58. jeff1 says:

    I think that depends on my expectations of that person as to whether I avoid or continue to interact with them i.e. as a believer I would expect more of them then I would of a non believer. Also the effect it is having on me as a person i.e., do they steal my joy in Christ.

    I have never intentionally avoided people for their different beliefs or disbeliefs. I am friends with both and I have family who are more agnostic then anything.

    Many do not feel my need for God’s help in leading their lives and they often make better decisions then I do.

    I believe I rely on God so much because I don’t trust myself when making decisions and that comes from past failures.

    I think people are driven to God for different reasons and mine was out of need but there are people who are very much in control of their lives who are Godly people and choose God not out of need but because they believe He has met their needs and more.

    I feel I am lacking because I have failed at relationships in that I do not react well to people when they disagree with me on God.

    I drive those I care for away from God because I become angry that they do not see it from my perspective.

    This is not the way to draw others to God, it is behaving Christ-like that matters.

    While my sons are critical of other believers whom they say their lives do not reflect their claims to be Christians they tell me that I do try and trust my sincerity that I want to be what a Christian should be like.

    I am learning that what non believers expect to see from believers is that their lives are sacrificial.

    I have to admit that it requires a big effort on my part to do this as ‘self’ still often gets in the way of Christ-like.

    Your last paragraph Steve i.e. living among others often requires sacrifice, patience and work and the truth is I do not always feel I can meet those requirements.

    My need for solitary is often greater than my need of fellowship.

  59. poohpity says:

    Like Mart was saying, “I recently read the words of someone who understood our human inclination to call out the wrongs of others—while giving ourselves a pass, a passing grade, or a get out of jail free card.” But Christ-likeness teaches us it is not their wrongs we need to be concerned about but our own. When we have the ability to see, smell or hear our own that is when we can understand the wonders of God’s grace.

    Human beings usually start acting like the people they hang around with. Hanging around daily with Jesus as we learn from Him, we emulate Him. Getting to know Him better and better our lives are changed because He transforms our minds. Garbage in, garbage out but Jesus in, Jesus out a process that takes a life time.
    I just never want it said from Him depart from me I never knew you.

    So it is not whether someone else passes the sniff test but do I? What does Jesus smell coming from me?

  60. poohpity says:

    The stench of acting like the world around me governed by the flesh or the sweet aroma that comes from the Holy Spirit living from inside me, guiding me through life.

  61. SFDBWV says:

    I think Mart’s comparison of the skunk’s smell being offensive to everyone except the skunk is a good example of someone who doesn’t recognize that their behavior is offensive to everyone except them.

    That is what this exercise is all about.

    Among the other senses Mart gave is the sense of touch. I could also ask who here has ever petted a porcupine.

    No one is going to pick up a porcupine and pet it.

    Not without gloves on they won’t.

    In dealing with the personalities of people we are subjected to there is also the word “abrasive”.

    If a person is claiming to be a follower of Christ, would their personality be unpleasant and abrasive to others around them?

    If so have they passed the sniff test or the abrasive test?

    Yes certainly we are to first look at our own behavior, but it is by our own behavior that we are to compare to others and perhaps learn to recognize bad behavior from better.

    Especially if everyone else points it out to us.

    I realize that when Jesus pointed out the flaws of people He came into contact with, it was Jesus who did so and He is above the negative side of criticism. It was for their own good that they heard their flaws from Him as the beginnings of their own growth and awareness of a need to change something in their character.

    If we come to a person who needs the same awakening, and do so in the Spirit and nature of Jesus are we not also doing it for their own good?

    Some folks need to wake up and smell the coffee, as it is time to wake up and face the truth.

    And the “Truth” will set them free.


  62. poohpity says:

    Jesus is the truth that sets us free. Since when did our pointing out the wrongs of others do anything but make us self righteous, self important thinking we are better than another? If you want to refer to what Jesus had said about that all one has to do is read the bible in several places He said that is not our job. The only flaws I ever heard Jesus address were that of the Pharisees who thought they were better than others and wanted people to follow them not God.

    When we are aware of our own shortcomings it makes one less likely to look at others. We are never to compare ourselves to others that is the epitome of pride and worldly thinking but if we want to compare to anyone compare yourself to Jesus then you will find no one has any room to talk about any one else.

  63. poohpity says:

    Here is just on place that Jesus taught about looking at others.

    “He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14

  64. joycemb says:

    Steve you make some good points. I watched a news documentary on stalking and harassment last weekend. While there was not much legally to be done about some it caused enduring anguish to those who did not want any part of them. And it’s our right to choose who we associate closely with and who we don’t. A stalker who insists on someone’s affection and attention for years on end is delusional at best. Best to keep distance. We are to be gentle as doves but wise as foxes.

  65. joycemb says:

    16 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matt 10 16

    Snakes, foxes whatever you get my drift. Jesus told them to be careful as it’s dangerous out there.

  66. street says:

    as i read. i started thinking about the relationship Jesus had with people. i think it would be like having a relationship with Nazi’s. He would not trust man because He knew what was in man. He trusted His Father in Heaven from an early age. think of this, a Father He could not touch or see physically. yet He loved is Father and did what he asked Him to do. lay down His life for Nazi’s and even calling some, His friends, in order that they could be adopted as Sons. Jesus died to remove what was in man so that a relationship could flourish. may we follow closely.

  67. poohpity says:

    “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32 and John 14:6 ” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    The emphasis is knowing Jesus and His teaching that is the truth He is speaking about not what we think of others because that is often not the whole truth but shaded by our perceptions. Sadly some teach acting like wolves among sheep, they teach what they do not know as if they do so we need to be on our toes. But if one does not have a good foundation of God’s word they will fall for anything because deception is often colored with bits of truth, so compare what some teach to what the Lord has taught.

  68. poohpity says:

    That was a mistake compare what not what “some teach” but whatever we are taught by anyone to what the Lord teaches.

  69. joycemb says:

    But street Jesus was God and man both. Remember he said ” I and the father are one”? Not sure it is so remarkable that Jesus would think of Him. I’ve been thinking about the new creation we become when we are born again (or from above). We too receive the divinity of Christ in us. Think of that!!! We are not our own any longer. His beloved creatures become His again as we once were before the fall. Doesn’t matter what titles we call ourselves or each other for that matter. “His” is the truthful title. Be His!

  70. jeff1 says:

    I am thinking that there is work only the Holy Spirit can achieve in me. I am thinking of when my father tried to show me the error of my thinking and I was not ready to hear it. My father did not keep repeating my wrongs to me because he knew it would not have the required effect.

    It took a long struggle with God, myself, and my conscience before I realized that what my father seen was the bigger picture.

    There is also physical danger my friend made an error of judgement trying to intervene with an alcoholic and the situation turned nasty and she was glad to retreat from it.

    While her good intentions where admirable, if your instincts tell you that you may be out of your depth then it is best to refer to someone who has knowledge in the field to intervene.

    I leave the heroics to those who are called to it i.e. police, authorities and I believe my friend has learned the same lesson from her liaison.

    Always learning something and I thought the older I would get the wiser I would get but there is no end to wisdom is there!

  71. narrowpathseeker says:

    The Lord’s Patience and Mercy is poured out so abundantly on us. I KNOW he has been extremely patient and merciful to me…..especially the parts of my journey when I didn’t recognize my own skunk odor in most given circumstances AT ALL. BUT, one Conviction at a time soon gave me two way sight.. I KNOW I am far from being the person He wants me to be…but in retrospect I can see SOME progress. Now, I am still convicted when I am using one way vision and I look within a little harder.

    I am fairly sure that if I had not accepted(reluctantly perhaps but accepted) the loving as well as the not so loving criticism of my offenses by friend and foe alike, that I would be just as continually “unpleasant and abrasive”(thank you Steve once again for excellence in analogy” as one who will NOT accept the truth about self

    I don’t think I have ever met anyone in my 72 years that can twist and turn scripture to support their offensive behavior as cunningly as the one who can’t smell their own foul odor. Lord have mercy on us ALL.

  72. SFDBWV says:

    2 Thessalonians 3:6, 3:7

    1 John 5:16

    Pooh as you see above I stared to lay out some Scripture to explain my comments in response to your comments, but I am stopping here.

    I apologize to you for it would appear that I have riled you up by my comments and I assure you that was not and is not my intention.

    As I said earlier one of my many faults is thinking others think like me, obviously I thought everyone understood that “Truth” used in quotations as I did represented Jesus.

    And that as a Christian it is our responsibility to gently show others in our faith when they are not representing Jesus properly.

    I will say no more to you about this matter, consider this comment to you to be my last. Again I apologize for anything I have said that you have taken personally.


  73. phpatato says:

    Steve, the Truth will set us free but on a level below Truth, the truth will set us free as well. The trouble is that there are some refusing to see the truth. As the saying goes, the truth hurts and because it can sear to the bone, they become too afraid of it, closing their eyes to it, wanting instead to believe the lies they have consoled themselves with. It takes a big person to be able to see the truth. And if the truth gives off a toxic unpleasant odor, it takes an even bigger person to willingly jump into the shower to try and wash themselves clean.

    There is a saying “God helps those who help themselves”. APART FROM SALVATION, that saying can hold water. It is with His *help* that we change. We don’t change by sitting idly back to expect God and His grace to somehow magically change us. We have to want to change and then we have to muster up the effort to try and change. There are times when hiding under the blanket of “I don’t have to do anything because He will do it for me” just won’t work. The stinking smell still permeates out from under it.

    The race of change is hard, the journey difficult but with God’s help and a sincere effort on our part, we can find victory in getting ahead.

  74. poohpity says:

    Actually that saying is not in the bible at all. God helps those who can not help themselves.

    What I was saying Steve is that none of us knows anyone well enough especially their heart to set in judgement of them or to pick out their faults only people who think they are faultless do those kind of things, people who still have worldly thinking. If we see a brother/sister caught in sin which is way different than having an opposing view then to go to them so that they be restored.

    Yes God does change us not magically but in His power but that is not magic. Yes we have a part in it our job is to stay close to Him, learn from Him and listen to Him which is called abiding in Jesus. The Holy Spirit transforms the way we think, the way we reason, how we look at life and others but more importantly our relationship with God. It depends on us too by how much we give of ourselves over to Him rather than trying to control others and life.

  75. poohpity says:

    Hating a brother or sister in Christ is a sin and the love of God is not in them. Correcting false teaching is not a sin nor it is against the person themselves only what is being taught and hopefully everyone when they hear false teaching will speak up and not shrink back even when they are attacked. It would be nice if everyone would stay true to scripture because God also had a very severe warning against that. Hopefully every follower of Christ will know His teachings and gladly search them to know Him better and better.

  76. narrowpathseeker says:

    NO ONE knows when someone is continuously unpleasant, abrasive, lying, jealous , or just plain offensive?!!!! Are all here thought to be deaf, blind, and totally senseless?!! And if you know that hating a brother or a sister in Christ is a sin then why do you work so hard to generate hate?!!!! It makes me wonder who you work for!!! ….You keep me praying I will say that much. I am not going to give into this anger, so don’t go celebrating another victory just yet.

  77. phpatato says:

    Pooh, if you allow me to clarify….. I know that “saying” is not found in the Bible. I didn’t say it was Biblical which is why I termed it a saying.

    And when I said magically, I didn’t not mean to imply that God’s power was magic – although there are Christians who are lazy and hope that His power will magically transform them with no effort from them at all. Seems to me that you are being picky but if there are others that are or were confused by my wording, I am sorry. I will endeavour to be more explicit next time.

    And if it is okay with you, I will disagree when you fall short of saying there need be no effort on our part to change; that to change all we have to do is stay close to Him, learn from Him and listen to Him. You see, when you listen to what He says, there is action by listening. When you do what He says, there is action by doing. Obey is an action word. If you fail to act, you fail to obey. There has to be action to change. It won’t just come. Just like praying for a job but you only sit on your butt waiting for the job to be handed to you. It is rare that God serves up (oh there’s another action word – serve) a job without you actively getting out there to look for one. That is what I mean by “hiding under the blanket of”. Excuse the bluntness but hiding behind the coat tail of God only goes so far. Crying poor me and portraying one’s self as a weak helpless victim is NOT what a soldier of the Cross does. A soldier stands up, faces reality and does what needs to be done in order to serve the Lord to full potential. At some point you have to put some kind of effort into changing. But it is the lazy soul that just sits back to be waited on hand and foot, relying on God and His power and hopefully wishing He does the work. God helps those who help themselves. Changing oneself takes action. It can’t be wished into existence.

    And yes it does depend on us as to how much we give ourselves over to Him. That includes accepting the truth about ourselves and then doing something to try and change. Yielding – action word, accepting – action word, humbling – action word, praying – action word…..I can give you a slew of action words that God requires from us. Hiding isn’t one of them. Consider the ant….they don’t sit back and wait for food to “powerfully” or “magically” appear. God requires some effort from us……just to clarify.

    Blessings to everyone

    Cloudy with rain in the forecast. Lots of rain.

  78. joycemb says:

    Steve you are wise in your decision.

  79. narrowpathseeker says:

    To Anyone without security…Norton would not let me on here earlier…saying there was a security threat on this site…someone was attempting to steal information …they updated and resolved all threats for the time being….

  80. phpatato says:


    I wasn’t able to post my last comment because of it saying the website wasn’t available or had been moved. Thank you for the warning. I will do a virus and malware scan as a precaution.


    Like Steve, I did a clarification. Like Steve, I will have nothing more to say to her about the matter. You can rest easy knowing that I have said all that I have to say. It is not my intent to stink up the conversation.

    Be Blessed

  81. joycemb says:

    Pat you are funny! You can say whatever you want!

    (I had the same on my FIRE a few minutes ago saying the site wasn’t secure but its fixed now).

    When I clear History a note comes up saying “You have no history”. I smile every time I see it, oh if only that were true some days. Thinking about years of posts here, some OK then again some I’d like to have “cleared”. Wondering does the stink linger or? Shutting up now.

  82. joycemb says:

    We need to be aware when we are being spiritually manipulated I think. Don’t let false guilt ruin the day. Freedom in Christ is peaceful.

  83. jeff1 says:

    A lovely hymn to finish the day and forget the difficulties that life brings, cannot think of anything better than:

    Just A Closer Walk With Thee

    I am weak but Thou art strong
    Jesus keep me from all wrong
    I’ll be satisfied as long
    As I walk, let me walk close to Thee

    Just a closer walk with Thee
    Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
    Daily walking close to Thee
    Let it be, dear Lord, let it be

    When my feeble life is o’er
    Time for me shall be no more
    Guide me, gently, safely o’er
    To Thy Kingdom’s shore, to Thy shore

    When life’s sun sinks in the west
    Lord, may I have done my best
    May I find sweet peace and rest
    In that happy home of the blessed

    Just a closer walk with Thee
    Grant it, Jesus, is my plea
    Daily walking close to Thee
    Let it be, dear Lord, let it be

  84. narrowpathseeker says:

    Vivian.. your peacemaking attempts with gospel lyrics are always appreciated. I heard a song on satellite radio in the car yesterday and I was thinking then that I was going to look up the lyrics and post them. Thanks for reminding me…not quite a peace making attempt but probably more in line with what I need to night. Recorded by Bobby Bare on you tube.
    Drop Kick Me Jesus
    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life
    End over end, neither left nor to right
    Straight through the heart of them, righteous up rights
    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life

    Make me, oh, make me, Lord, more than I am
    Make me a piece in Your master game plan
    Free from the earthly temptation below
    I’ve got the will, Lord, if You got the toe

    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life
    End over end, neither left nor to right
    Straight through the heart of them, righteous up rights
    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life

    Bring on the brothers who’ve gone on before
    And all of the sisters who’ve knocked on your door
    All the departed, dear, loved ones of mine
    Stick ’em up front in the offensive line

    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life
    End over end, neither left nor to right
    Straight through the heart of them, righteous up rights
    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life

    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life
    End over end, neither left nor to right
    Straight through the heart of them, righteous up rights
    Dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life

    Yeah, dropkick me, Jesus, through the goal posts of life
    End over end, neither left nor to right

  85. street says:

    And if you know that hating a brother or a sister in Christ is a sin then why do you work so hard to generate hate?!!!!

    i don’t know if i can agree with this. even the devil is allowed to bring accusations, false of coarse. it’s the examination part we cringe at. true divides naturally.

    8 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it. 19 For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you. 20 Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, 21 for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. 22 What!

  86. street says:

    joycemb in and earlier post i referred to little stinkers.
    the later one i referred to Nazi’s. it was for the purpose of increasing the severity of our plight as sinners. little stinkers could be considered cute. not in light of the cross or the result of the self righteous entering into judgement. when they do, others die. thank God for Grace and Mercy in Christ Jesus!!!

  87. joycemb says:

    This is from a FB ministry. I just read it and think its good advice.

    Test everything. (1 Thessalonians 5:20)

    One danger for a new Christian in the church is that you think, All Christians have the Spirit, so I can trust what they say. Then you find out that Christians sometimes disagree.

    You also have the Spirit, and that means that you can discern too. This is part of your freedom as a Christian. God does not want you to be controlled or manipulated by any other person – a pastor, priest, preacher, counselor, boyfriend, girlfriend, or family member.

    John Stott suggests five tests for discerning what comes from God:

    1. The plain truth of Scripture. “The Bereans …received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

    2. The human-divine person of Jesus. “… This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God…” (1 John 4:1-3)

    3. The gospel of God’s saving grace. “Even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!” (Galatians 1:8)

    4. The known character of the speaker. “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15-16)

    5. The benefit to the church. “Everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement, and comfort.” (1 Corinthians 14:3)

  88. joycemb says:

    OK thanks street. I’m so black and white when it comes to sin/righteousness already. I understand your intent now.

  89. joycemb says:

    Pearl you must be a football loving country western fan! Cute song.

  90. poohpity says:

    Joyce, your 8:06 pm comment was spot on in wisdom. But sadly many do not compare what one teaches when they idolize a person even though they get their theology from TV shows about God or movies about God which often prove to be incorrect. So when someone cares enough about people to share what the bible teaches that is when one finds what Jesus said about giving holy things to deprived people that they will only turn and attack you to be true, as is all that Jesus teaches.

  91. street says:

    So when someone cares enough about people to share what the bible teaches that is when one finds what Jesus said about giving holy things to deprived people that they will only turn and attack you to be true, as is all that Jesus teaches.

    dear poo, paul on several occasions asked for prayer in being able to present the good news to all little stinkers. he tried to establish relationships and trust.
    cultivating love is what God does through us. it’s not our nature to love. but we can stop look and listen for opportunities. the hardest part is discerning and being alert in and out of season. i would think it would get better with practice and walking with the Lord. requires study and prayer when confronted we new ground.

    recently went through a coarse on evangelism called sharing Jesus without fear, by william fay @ ralph hodge the interesting thing was the understanding what these fears are and how they address them. being non- confrontational and understanding what it is helped me understand myself better. i am very thankful for being in the class. i was familiar with ee and navigators, but this class changed my view of things.

  92. street says:

    does any one remember which blog post in here about judgment from poster at been thinking? i wanted to revisit and can’t find it.

  93. street says:

    can some one proof read these for me before i post! lol

  94. street says:

    But when we spend enough time around him it almost becomes natural.”

  95. jeff1 says:

    Narrow, I love your song especially the verse:

    Make me, oh, make me, Lord, more than I am
    Make me a piece in Your master game plan
    Free from the earthly temptation below
    I’ve got the will, Lord, if You’ve got the toe

    It appeals to my sense of humour because it addresses the reality of my life.

    A beautiful poem from Helen Steiner Rice:


    Let me not live a life that’s free
    From “the things” that draw me close to thee-
    For how can I ever hop to heal
    The wounds of others I do not feel-
    If my eyes are dry and I never weep,
    How do I know when the hurt is deep-
    If my heart is cold and it never bleeds,
    How can I tell what my brother needs-
    For when ears are deaf to the beggar’s plea
    And we close our eyes and refuse to see,
    And we steel our hearts and harden our mind,
    And we count it a weakness whenever we’re kind,
    We are no longer following the Father’s Way
    Or seeking His guidance from day to day-
    For, without “crosses to carry” and “burdens to bear,”
    We dance through a life that is frothy and fair,
    And “chasing the rainbow” we have no desire
    For “roads that are rough” and “realms that are higher”-
    So spare me no heartache or sorrow, dear Lord,
    For the heart that is hurt reaps the richest reward,
    And God enters the heart that is broken with sorrow
    As he open the door to a brighter tomorrow,
    For only through tears can we recognise
    The suffering that lies in another’s eyes.

  96. SFDBWV says:

    Like many of you this morning when I looked in on BTA I hoped to see either a new subject or a complete cleansing of the stench and smell that accompanies this one.

    The problem with the subject of the sniff test is that there will be some success and some failures.

    How do we tell if we fail the sniff test if we have become immune to the smell of skunk and are in fact smelling like a skunk to everyone else?

    How do we pass the sniff test? Is it by our own decision?

    Or is it by the testimony of others as to how we smell?

    It would seem that in a sniff test the only test results are in how we smell to others.

    Others have to help in order to tell us when we stink and when we don’t.

    A new subject won’t help the problem on BTA and a room deodorizer can’t cover this smell as just under the deodorant the stink remains a stink.

    In order to show God’s love in our actions we are not only to be sensitive to another’s feelings, but especially to another’s need.

    Every Prophet in Scripture told the king and or people what it was they were doing wrong and what to expect for it…Judgement from God.

    The warnings of the Prophets were for the good of everyone.

    The subject is about what to do if we find that we fail the sniff test. We are not going to know without the help of others around us.

    Getting angry because we are told we fail, will not clean us up. Only make us stink worse.

    And it only a matter of time when all we have left is the company of our odor.

    Rain mixed with some distant thunder this morning, 55 degrees…Snow Thursday and Friday predicted.


  97. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning Brothers and Sisters in Christ. I am thanking God that His mercies are fresh each morning. I am feeling good and invigorated and praying for the same for you.

    Joyce, no, I don’t even like football…country music ..yes…my brother played the guitar, another brother the piano, a sister the mandolin, and back in the forties when I was but a small and youngest child friends would gather at our house and just play county music..:-)

  98. poohpity says:

    All the prophets were killed, tortured, put in prison, beaten, excluded and even hated. Jesus was also treated the same and with contempt from those who could not hear what He was saying. They sniffed the prophets and Jesus but would not accept Him or His message or the messages that the prophets were told to share from God, so they were rejected. They treated the messengers badly but guess what the message still remains and is available to everyone who really cares or wants to know.

    Steve have you ever considered that it may be you or narrow, or Joyce, or Pat that is putting off that bad odor and blaming it on someone else. The funny old saying fits so apply here; The one who smells it dealt it.

  99. poohpity says:

    Explain to me why Mart would go to another topic when this one did not even sink in, as happens with most things he writes????

  100. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I could imagine you being in court charged with some offense and the prosecution had a full video of you committing the act, DNA evidence, and 12 eye witnesses to boot and you would proclaim your innocence and accuse the arresting officers. You got one thing right though…this subject matter didn’t sink in yet…but then nothing seems to sink in for you.

    Could you possibly get it through your head, that when you claim to spend all this time with the Lord and that doing so helps us to become more Christlike, that those not yet believers that are subjected to your continuous antiChristlike behavior probably run for the hills away from Christ?!!! Does THAT concern you at all? Can you sink that? Lord have mercy on us ALL!!!!

  101. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Pearl. In reading your comment this morning I am reminded of one of the troublesome matters of scripture that have divided and confounded scholars for centuries.

    We read in Job where Satan came into the presence of God. He and God had a little conversation and God enabled him to “test” Job.

    In the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness Satan talked and tempted/tested Jesus.

    Apparently just being in the presence of God wasn’t enough to have God’s “scent” rub off on Satan.

    Satan also is very acquainted with Scripture and tried to use it against Jesus.

    It is to be remembered that “all” of our senses especially the supernatural sense of the Holy Spirit is needed to identify the difference between truth and a lie, a skunk and a flower.

    Thank you Pearl for your strength and determination to help the blind see.


  102. poohpity says:

    Are you being a good example, to those around you or who read what you write, of Christ?

  103. poohpity says:

    How can any of your group be able to determine between truth and a lie if you do not know the truth to begin with?

  104. poohpity says:

    I am guilty of one thing answering fools according to their folly(Proverbs 26:4 NLT)but then there is Proverbs 26:5 NLT.

  105. poohpity says:

    I do not in any way think I am better than anyone else because God put the desire in my heart to learn about Him because I know it is available to everyone who so chooses to search and seek after Him. It does not make me any less of a sinner saved by His grace than anyone else. Yes I know my shortcomings better than anyone else because I know my heart which none of you do. I do know I am a child of God and that Jesus died for me that is who I would rather focus my life on than the shortcomings, faults and failures of others.

  106. poohpity says:

    When I read what others write about God from their understanding and it does not pass the sniff test of what we are taught in scripture I could just let it go which I hope anytime I write something that does not pass the sniff test someone brings it to my attention and I will gladly accept the correction because I know I do not know it all and never will but I always feel open to learning. But I hope I never attack a person on a personal level when I find something wrong with their teaching or disagree with them.

    If any of you find something wrong with anything I share from God’s word then please tell me or if you catch me in a sin please bring it to my attention but it is wrong to attack someone on a personal level because you have a personality clash.

  107. phpatato says:

    FOR PETE’S SAKE POOH would you just GIVE IT UP!!!! Just stop it will you. Take a day or 20 to go cool off.

  108. joycemb says:

    Good day folks, I’ve decided to get away from BTA for 40 days. May all be blessed richly in Christ Jesus. Joyce

  109. phpatato says:

    I’m right behind you Joyce. I am thoroughly disgusted…at myself mostly for failing to be strong enough to just X out without commenting. None is so blind as he who will not see.

    Please Lord forgive me for being blind and stupid.

    My apologies to everyone.

  110. poohpity says:

    Pat, I am not heated up. Why don’t you heed your own advice? Doesn’t all caps mean someone is yelling? So who is it that needs to cool down and give up trying to show me the nature of my wrongs while giving yourselves “a pass, a passing grade, or a get out of jail free card”. Isn’t that exactly what the subject is about.

  111. street says:

    Could you possibly get it through your head, that when you claim to spend all this time with the Lord and that doing so helps us to become more Christlike, that those not yet believers that are subjected to your continuous antiChristlike behavior probably run for the hills away from Christ?!!!

    show me the nature of my wrongs while giving yourselves “a pass, a passing grade, or a get out of jail free card”. Isn’t that exactly what the subject is about.

    “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

    been thinking of the narrow way today. it is narrow like a crowned road, the Kings Highway if you will. on either side is a ditch and the two can not meet because they are divided. look to the Crown in the road. yes. you must deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow your Lord.

    thinking further down the road, our Lord is the end of the law, He is the end of authority or the line of kings, He is the end of prophesy or the end of prophets. few pilgrims are on the road. i ask you is the road single file or broad?

  112. street says:

    the next thought that comes to mind is disputable matters and non disputable matters. i just pray it doesn’t become so dark that the righteous are wise in keeping silent.

    discernment and correct judgment are always gifts from God not man.

  113. street says:

    made in the image of God, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to create good works that will never pass away. love joy peace patients kindness goodness, faithfulness gentleness self control.

    truth is only gentle and self controlled in the absence of darkness and evil. therefor a cross and grace.

  114. mtman says:

    I came back for a visit on this site and found it has not changed much from when I left it 5 years ago. There is still bickering and dissension and some know how to hit others hot buttons and instigate.
    There have been to date 111 comments by 12 people and out of those 12 people 88 comments have been by five individuals. Condescending comments, baiting comments, personal attacks and arguments seem to still be the norm here.
    I’m wondering how those who do not comment see this site. Why would anyone want to join the site and be attack. That is why I left years ago because I was attack personally and I don’t really see any improvements. If a non Christian came to this site they would still be a non Christian because the example set is not a good one.
    I’m surprised that Mart has left the site up for this long. It seems to me that some contributors are so righteous that you have relieved God of a large responsibility by taking over for Him.
    I see no reason to continue with this site because from what I see nothing has changed in the 5 years I have left the site and in fact it is worse now than earlier.
    Some of you should be ashamed of yourselves.
    I thought it would be fun to return and maybe be inspired in the process. I’ll monitor for a while but if this continues I’ll be gone and never come back.

  115. SFDBWV says:

    Good afternoon mtman, I trust these past 5 years have went well for you.

    I believe when you last was here you mentioned having your own blog, did that work out good for you?

    Since Mart took BTA off of the RBC/ODB’s menu the audience participation has indeed shrunk. Mart also leaves the topics up for several days now and so those of us who do participate are seen as being very repetitive.

    I trust your future comments will be uplifting and interesting and encouraging.

    Looking forward to a refreshing and non-judgmental fellowship should you decide to stay.


  116. mtman says:

    Steve: The last 5 years have indeed been good. My blog about living here in the mountains has been a huge success. We are now getting about 4-600 views a day and it has now gone world wide. We have regular readers from countries I didn’t know existed and some very nice positive comments. It is a positive blog and widely read. That is why I don’t waste time on blog’s that tend to attack or criticize.
    I also do a blog for a national magazine that gets roughly one million viewers a day. I have been doing that for 6 years and it too is widely read and positive. It seems people like to read about our lifestyle and wish they could do likewise or enjoy it vicariously.
    It was my hope that this site would be more positive and uplifting and I could contribute but quite frankly after reading the comments on this topic I’m afraid to write anything.
    These comments do not reflect Christ when they attack others. I’ll watch it for a few days and decide if it is for me or not. I have to many positive things going on that I don’t need to dwell in the negative. I’m also in my mid seventies and don’t want to waste my waning days on negative sites.
    Thanks for your comment, I’ll pause and decide if I want to contribute anything on this site. I’ll follow a few more days and see how things go.

  117. narrowpathseeker says:

    Hello Mtman. I am sorry but I don’t remember you. I am 72 ….. it is nothing personal…I just have a very bad memory. I would really like to check out your uplifting and positive blogs though.. It sounds very interesting…I just received a book I ordered on positive energy and it should couple nicely with your blog. I have family in Littleton CO. What part of the state do you live in? Again, I am sorry that I don’t remember you.

  118. mtman says:

    We live in the Southern part of the State. I don’t want to post my blog site here or mention the magazine I write for so message me on Facebook and I’ll send the sites to you. Put Bruce McElmurray in your search engine and it will take you to my site. You can also Google my name and there are numerous pages that reference my blogs.

  119. street says:

    Does it smell like Jesus? May sound a bit subjective. It is. But when we spend enough time around him it almost becomes natural.”

    i guess when you think about it mart maybe thinking if we come together it would encourage us to spend more time with Jesus not with each other. look at what he writes do you really think you are going to find answer looking to yourself or others? devotionals have there place, so do blogs.

    Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord.

    Psalm 40:4 How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.

    Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord.

    Colossians 2:…..God’s mystery, that is, Christ Himself, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

  120. SFDBWV says:

    For me there is an inseparable connection between the life I live and experience and my faith in God.

    I cannot imagine one separate from the other.

    Each sunrise, every drop of rain, the wind in the timber are all part of the fellowship I have with God.

    Everything reminds me of Him.

    I want my life to reflect that, to reflect Him. I know from time to time and more often than I would like I fail in that desire.

    Does it make me feel better that I know He is always ready to forgive me for my failures? Not whereas my desire is not to fail.

    I am ashamed when I fail and sickened to know that because I do is why our Lord was nailed to the cross.

    The debt He paid for me is one I could never repay to Him.

    It is equally my desire that the smell of my failures is ventilated by the breath of God and replaced by the sweet smell of that strange and wonderful perfume of Jesus of Nazareth our Lord and Savior.

    So when I live life and interact with others I am not offensive to anyone, because of my odor.


  121. SFDBWV says:

    Mtman I am happy for your success on your blog and ventures with being able to connect to other sites and comments. Very pleased for you.

    Life has handed me responsibilities that just don’t allow for much time at the computer. When I found this site of Mart’s it was a God send for me and one I quickly took to with joy and enthusiasm.

    Like so many good things in life they are always under attack from the enemy in an attempt to spoil any and every good thing.

    When BTA began to explode with people and a genuine enjoyable fellowship, one fellow said to Mart that he had better get ready for it to grow to unimaginable size.

    But what happened was that the cancer of strife invaded BTA.

    We participants were faced with leaving, ignoring or confronting it wherever it raised its ugly head.

    The results are a battle for either strife or fellowship to win.

    Every battlefield is messy and ugly.

    It is our desire that holiness, honor, righteousness, goodness and the sweet smell of Christ is at the end of the fight and not the stench of decay.

    You are so right no one wants to be a part of the battle nor even watch it.

    But it is a fight and the results are that BTA remains a place of fellowship or a casualty of the war.

    Yes I know Jesus has already won the battle and the war for us, but it is the enemy who doesn’t know it.

    Be blessed in all that you do. Thank you for your time to have read this and understanding that I too am just a man on the same journey as everyone else.


  122. jeff1 says:

    Street and Steve, your posts as usual are spot on.

    Those I see in Christ are those who reflect Him because their lifestyle reflects it.

    Words are not enough because an act has to be done out of love otherwise no action would be better.

    Paul was not wrong in his thinking that all our works are like filthy rags unless done with a heart for Christ.

    My mother had sayings like ‘too sweet to be wholesome’ meaning the person was not speaking from a heart that was pure.

    My mother was what I would call a ‘straight talker’ if she had a grievance against another she would say it to their face and not go behind their back to say it.

    I, personally am much more reluctant to offend and unless it causes me hurt I will overlook it.

    I believe people like my mothers type of person because you know where you stand with her.

    The truth is my mother knew she might as well say it as think it because she knew it was better for everyone that it was aired.

    What I like on this blog is that honesty and that if we are to learn from our failures we need to take others criticism for what it is ‘constructive criticism’ i.e that we accept it in the the Spirit in which it is given to build the ‘Body Of Christ’ so that we are growing towards Christ and not backsliding to old habits.

    Steve, you are right, when I fail, I feel ashamed enough without another adding to that shame. That’s why I commend so many who use words so as not to offend but to ‘enlighten’ and not to ‘heighten.’

    Learning from our failures is the way we grow in Christ and we are either here to learn from one and other or not and if not then then I know whom I see as the loser.

    God is with us so let Him see that we are with Him.

  123. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning All

    Bruce, I checked out one of your mountain living sites.. absolutely beautiful as well as seemingly fun loving activities…the one of (you?) sliding down your driveway into the road(is that a little on the side of dangerous?)…… almost makes me miss the snow!! Moved south a few years ago and we get very little snow if any. Thank you for sharing. Have a Blessed day.

    Steve, for what it is worth ..I have never detected any foul scent coming from you. However, I understand that you examine yourself closely and frequently and always want to do better. I am often tormented with shame by things I did as a child as well as things done throughout my life ..done in total ignorance or in vengeance before I learned that wasn’t MINE!! We reap WHAT we sow and the WHY of sowing it doesn’t even come into play. I too examine myself daily and find plenty of which to be ashamed, BUT, I don’t feel shame for false accusations against me nor for misunderstandings of those who may not see the big picture and nor do I believe should you. Have a wonderful Blessed day.

    Vivian…I don’t know you as well as Steve, but I believe you too examine yourself often with the desire to rise above SELF and your honesty is always a sweet smelling aroma to me and it is uplifting as is the way of your Mom…telling it like it is. Have a Blessed day.

  124. mtman says:

    Appreciate your comments Steve. Life is a battle ground and today it is amplified by stoic divisions. I can view this site differently since I was involved 5-6 years ago and just came back. As it grew back then it was more viewer friendly but there were a few dissenters even back then.
    One difference is it no longer is part of ODB as you stated which could be the end of the blog. As members leave there doesn’t seem to be an avenue to gain more participants and those that would come may not be dedicated Christians as in the early days.
    Next I recall that when squabbles broke out early on that Mart would participate more and quell them. I no longer see that and maybe he has lost interest or burned out.
    I also noticed his topic seemed to be lacking his old precision so maybe he has tired of the site which is a normal human trait, and just keeping it going for those few remaining remnants.

    The site has about 12 participants and I read two of them are taking a break. As those who take a break or leave happens the site will become smaller and smaller and more inclusive.

    I recognize several here that have been participating for a long time but now are involved in petty squabbles. I think those are the heart and core of the blog – like yourself. I also think that some forgiveness needs to occur and fences need to be mended with those who remain. Then the site needs to be broadcast to other Christians to join and maybe Mart needs an assistant to help him and work to keep the blog from its current and apparent downward spiral.

    Those are my observations from being a past participant and just revisiting the site. This has been going on a long time and keeping it going this long is a tribute to Mart. I think to keep it up it needs new blood involved and a broader base of participants so familiarity and petty squabbles won’t happen and rough up feelings.

    Your contributions to the blog have been a blessing for many as has some others. It doesn’t seem to me that having people quietly drop away or take a break from the site is going to help improve the site. Those are just my observations from a several year prospective.
    I will follow the site on occasion but like you I am now very busy for an old mountain man. Our lifestyle demands a lot of time and keeping up with blogs and managing two face book pages is time consuming. I will check in from time to time as long as the blog continues. What I see is that it is winding down and each person that pulls out diminishes it even further. It is a good idea and needs to be revitalized which I hope will happen.

    As I said before any visitor to the blog should not see bickering but committed Christian fellowship or else why participate. It should lose its club like appearance and those who participate should feel comfortable. Those are just my observations from the past to today. I could easily be completely wrong and I would hope I am.

    Appreciate your insight and I came over to the site hoping for more.

  125. phpatato says:

    Good morning MtMan

    I am one of the two who said they were taking a break. By me taking a break, as I have in the past, I retreat to sit on the sidelines to read only. I do not comment.

    Let me just say this……this blog needs an intervention if it is going to survive. And perhaps, based on this topic, this might be Mart’s intention of getting the air cleared of the stink that has become almost choking.

    I have been following this blog for several years. I remember you contributing “back in the day”. I agree with your assessment. This blog NEEDS a moderator to keep people accountable for what they say and how they say it. Perhaps with the threat of not being able to comment till a new topic has been posted, the perpetrator/s will be a little more guarded in their desire to cause trouble. There is strife in 99% of every topic Mart posts and I am guilty of being drawn into the nastiness on occasion. With an active moderator, one who is willing and able to block a person who becomes nasty, this room is bound to improve because the atmosphere will be nicer. There will be more people who are willing to come out from the shadows to contribute because they will know it is a safe environment; one that is free of having what you say picked apart or criticized.

    You spoke of…..” I also think that some forgiveness needs to occur and fences need to be mended with those who remain.”……Unfortunately, this has been a point of contention in past topics. There are some here that simply refuse to take ownership of their nastiness and humble themselves to say sorry. Time and time again, there have been attempts to mend fences. No sooner are new fences erected when they are ripped down, once again by sheer nastiness. It has now become instead of erecting fences, a brick wall has gone up. People feel safer behind a brick wall.

    Paul spoke on the need for church discipline. There are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who assemble here who are wanting to learn, to be encouraged and to simply enjoy some Christian fellowship. I know that is what I hope for. Can this blog not be considered a church? A gathering of Believers in Christ?

    I don’t know what the answer is but I do know that what is happening here is very shameful and sad. Again I would like to apologize to everyone for being subjected to my “fed right up” comments. Taking the high road is so difficult and I am disgusted with myself for being so immature by stooping to the low level. I know better.

  126. street says:

    5 Guard your steps as you go to the house of God and draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools; for they do not know they are doing evil. 2 Do not be hasty in word or impulsive in thought to bring up a matter in the presence of God. For God is in heaven and you are on the earth; therefore let your words be few. 3 For the dream comes through much effort and the voice of a fool through many words.

  127. narrowpathseeker says:

    I am reposting a study bible commentary on Matthew 10:34.
    “Jesus did not come to bring the kind of peace that glosses over deep differences just for the sake of superficial harmony”

    The MAJOR perpetrator here does not apologize…it is always the victims of the nasty behavior that end up ashamed, remorseful, and apologetic. AND just about everyone here has been the victim of this one person!!! The real problem here is that a wolf in sheep’s clothing is allowed in to devour the flock and when any of the sheep yell “wolf” the sheep are made to be ashamed. I AM sorry if I am expected to apologize for my part in this latest battle, because if I did it would not be genuine nor do I think it the right thing to do.

  128. mtman says:

    I have a hard enough time resolving my issues let alone anyone else’s. What I do know is that this site is a church. Where ever two or three are together in my name I am in their mist. (from memory). I also know that it says when one is wronged that they go to the person doing wrong (confront) and gently try to resolve it. If that fails then 2-3 go together to the wrong doer and try to right a wrong. If that doesn’t work then take it to the church. Most people avoid steps 2 & 3. I think our Lord had in mind that not only the offended be reconciled but the offender as well as to keep the family of believers whole. Both are precious to the Lord.

    It seems to me that two immovable objects rarely come together without both putting their hurt aside. The site needs a peacemaker appointed (not me) to cut these injuries off before they grow out of portion. I think Mart has done a remarkable job coming up with topics for this many years and I do suspect that he is simply burned out. I know often I have to pray and think long about a new blog to keep my readers interested. With the strife involved it would be easy for the human in Mart to throw up his hands and just give up. I’m sure those still involved know of a participant that can gently keep things civil and on topic.

    As I came back and read the comments it saddened me to see the blog slipping. At its present course it could totally fold and that would be a shame which I’m sure no one wants to happen. Person to person, eyeball to eyeball is the best way to deal with strife because the written word is not misunderstood nor taken wrongly.

    Maybe Mart could involve the participants in a discussion on how to keep the blog vital. If the strife can be eliminated maybe participants can ask their Facebook, Twitter friends to check it out and new participants could be incorporated into the discussion and revitalize it. I know I would be willing to do that.

  129. poohpity says:

    I know you guys keep pointing the finger at me believe me, I hear you and I KNOW THAT. When I have asked for examples of what I am accused of, no one gives me any and then when I have apologized for things or asked for forgiveness that my heart was not right the apologies got thrown back at me that they were not good enough. If you want me to bleed when I screw up trust me the hurt caused by the multiple names I am called and the constant accusations have made me bleed tears.

    Why is it you want me to be so perfect but yet fail yourselves at it? You expect me to do things you do not even do.

    mtman, when we talked on facebook a couple of years ago you asked me why do I stay here and take all the crap. I gave you my answer because I happen to care for everyone and really enjoy Mart’s teaching and the way he makes me look into my life deeper and my beliefs. You actually came back on here and spoke directly to a person to share your thoughts. So what is with the change now?

  130. poohpity says:

    It is impossible for anyone to make another person feel anyway that comes from within them and how they take what is being said comes from their perspective. Blaming me for all the anger and hate, I would take the blame if it were my fault but it is not that was in the person before they ever commented on this blog for some reason it is easier to point to me.

    Good grief I am so very very sorry if I have called anyone a name or challenged your thinking or corrected a teaching. My main cause is to point people to the Lord not to look at me in anyway but obviously I have failed at that so miserably. Help me to understand with examples of what I have done wrong!!!

  131. poohpity says:

    If it is just because I breath and am living, I can not change that.

  132. street says:

    Matthew 10:34 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

    Exodus 4:25
    Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.”

    thinking the cross brings peace.
    you could put people on it and condemn yourself, or you can pick up your cross and agree with God.

  133. mtman says:

    Deborah: Don’t get offended but if we talked on Facebook it has been a lot more than a couple years ago. I left this site many years ago and forgive me but I can’t recall that conversation. I’m not pointing any fingers at you or anyone else because the strife seems to equally distributed. I recall when I was involved in this blog that people irked each other but it was more no foul, no harm. I have been gone a long time and involved in other things. I do recall that your contributions were good ones back then and you did collect your share of criticism as did I and others. It was part of the growth.
    What I recall back then was your mother passed away or a close family member and I and others felt your grief and all were supportive and there for you. I don’t think you can deny that time in your life. Some of the same people supportive back then are still on this site. Think about that time and let your defense down a little.
    I’m sorry I don’t recall that conversation but at my age that is not unusual. We all drew criticism and used it to grow not withdraw. On occasion back then Mart had to get involved which I don’t see so much of now.
    I left because a participant made allegations and seriously questioned my commitment to Jesus. I took offense at that challenge and thought it went beyond what any participant could or should ask or challenge. As I recall Mart took the comment down but not before the harm was done and I left.
    It seems to me that some of those you are at odds with were there for you when you were grieving so badly. My advice is ease up and start anew by clearing the air with those who want to love you. Your contributions are as valid as anyone else.

  134. poohpity says:

    Forgive me for the miscalculations of years but the conversation also included our Native American friend on the facebook site for beenthinking because he had experienced the same thing as you and many others. We spoke on the discussion part at length.

    Yes there was more friendship than just mourning with me when my mom died, there was financial help, there were phone conversations with his family members and him for months, there was also mourning for my dad who died the next year after that, and so much more. The problems happened when I wrote a personal email about something that was really no big deal but it turned into one. I then apologized because I had seen I had caused hurt then the attacks started and have not quit. Then others started to join in on the movement and yes I have been so guilty of responding defensively which just caused more problems. People can be there for you in the past then get attitude and never get over it. I have not changed how I think or feel towards anyone. I do not have anger or hate towards anyone on here nor have I ever. I feel mostly hurt nothing else. Do I get frustrated, yes I do.

    I have tried to clear the air more than once in fact I can not even count how many times I have but it still does not stop it.

  135. phpatato says:

    Mtman You said today at 3:40….

    “I also know that it says when one is wronged that they go to the person doing wrong (confront) and gently try to resolve it. If that fails then 2-3 go together to the wrong doer and try to right a wrong. If that doesn’t work then take it to the church. Most people avoid steps 2 & 3.”

    In that same comment you also said….

    “Person to person, eyeball to eyeball is the best way to deal with strife because the written word is not misunderstood nor taken wrongly.”

    Going person to person, eyeball to eyeball IS the best way to deal with strife because the written word does get misunderstood and taken wrongly. I live in Ontario Canada. We have a contributor here from Holland and one from Ireland. Most everyone else lives in various States of the United States. Looking someone in the eye to deal with an offense is literally impossible under the circumstances.

    Step 1 is being done here. Because of the immaturity of the person who always seems to be at the core of the strife, step 2 is also being done. I personally have never seen step 3 being taken on this blog and I have oftentimes wished that it would be taken. With everyone involved, that saves the 2 or 3 people from always having to confront the nastiness. The question asked between those “2 or 3” people is this….do we let a raging dragon have full rein in the room or do we try and snuff out its fire before the whole room becomes empty. There doesn’t seem to be a Goliath but there are those faithful people who believe that right should always trump wrong and are willing to stand up to fight for it.

    And you want to know the funniest? Once the raging dragon has had some fun, it suddenly turns into a passive little pussycat meowing for a pity party. Never once in the pussycat persona does it meow “I know exactly what I have done wrong and I am sorry_________(person’s name).”

    And as Bill would say: This is my take on it. Your mileage may vary. And I do miss Bill. He’s another casualty.

  136. saled says:

    Mtman, good to hear from you again. But I want to say that I don’t think Mart is burnt out. What keeps me reading here are his topics. He is from the same conservative Christian background that I grew up in, and yet he leads us to think more deeply than that conservative Christian background allowed. For example, his recent “Between the Lines” topic. Reading the Been Thinking site has been freeing for me. I have to confess that I tend to just not read the comments that poke at each other. I think some of us are badly in need of attention and, like children, view negative attention as better than no attention. I hope Mart is able to continue the blog. I don’t often get to comment, but always read his topics. My faith is deeper and richer from the thoughts Mart has shared with us.

  137. poohpity says:

    mtman you see what I mean case in point very good example of what I was saying, lol However, I am still friends with many that have left here on facebook.

  138. poohpity says:

    Sally we posted at the same time but now Mart is still doing “Discover the Word” daily and writing more for ODB. I think he kept this site because for some this is the only church they get.

  139. bubbles says:

    saled, I also appreciate this site even though I don’t post frequently. I always read Mart’s thoughts. I think he is brilliant, and causes us to think more deeply, just as you said. Mart used to write BTA on paper, and it came in the mail with other RBC material. I remember one particular article about prayer in the 90s, that was especially helpful to me. I still have it in my Bible. Mart’s writing about prayer helped me more than any other thing I have read, aside from the Bible itself. I am grateful Mart continues to write and post his thoughts here for us.

  140. street says:

    i have been thinking again….i am wondering why some would want to pull out the tares and damage the harvest when our God said let them grow side by side and wait till the harvest? sure your allowed to confront sin in a church and rightly so. i can not agree with some that they would call this a church. members may be present, but i respectful submit even churches allow non-members to attend!

    as for a moderator …..i am deeply troubled by the fact those who claim to be a “christian” should understand there is One. all Christians have One. He’s called the Holy Spirit. i have to admit i am not completely under His control, but i don’t think that is what God is looking for. He wants us free from the influence of darkness and evil. in other words master sin that is at the door. then there is grace wonderful abundant grace. soon we will be completely His. don’t you just hate the wilderness!?

  141. street says:

    22 And have mercy on some, who are doubting; 23 save others, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear, hating even the garment polluted by the flesh.

    24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,

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