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The Hidden Right and Left

What were James and John thinking when they infuriated the other Ten by asking for the honor of sitting at Jesus’s right and left— in his coming Kingdom? (Mark 10:35-37, 41)

Jesus had just warned the Group, “We’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die and hand him over to the Romans. They will mock him, spit on him, flog him with a whip, and kill him, but after three days he will rise again.” (Mark 10:33-34).

With this dark prediction, and the way Mark tells it, we might wonder whether the two brothers wanted their Leader to know they trusted him. But Matthew tells us in his Gospel that it was their mother who prompted the request for her two sons (Matthew 20:20-28).

In any case, Jesus says the brothers (and their mother) don’t know what they are asking. He asks whether they are able to drink from the cup that he is about to drink from? When they indicate that they are ready to do whatever it takes to follow him, their Teacher says, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen” (Mark 10:38-40).

In N.T. Wright’s book, “The Day the Revolution Began”, the author says, “Only as Mark’s story reaches its grisly end do readers realize what is meant.

James and John have been asking for the places at Jesus’s right and left so as to accompany him as he completes the glorious work of bringing in God’s kingdom. . . . But those places are reserved for the two who are crucified alongside him as he hangs there with “King of the Jews” above the head.

Is it possible? Could a sign written in three languages, a crown of thorns, and two criminals hanging—at Jesus’s right and left— be hiding honor, goodness, glory, and power far greater than two brothers, their mother, and the rest of the family ever imagined?


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215 Responses to “The Hidden Right and Left”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    This is an interesting concept. I had always took the request of James and John to mean that when Jesus took His throne if they could be honored as being seated alongside Him, in power and glory.

    Yet in this look the honor goes to these two thieves remembered for all time as the two men who died alongside Jesus. Un-named but used By God to send a final message.

    Interesting given the “outrageous” debacle that we just left in our last subject that the thief whom Jesus said would join Him in Paradise rebuked the other for his comments.

    Lots more thinking to do regarding this new subject.

    Steve

  2. jeff1 says:

    When I survey the wondrous cross
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.

    Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the death of Christ my God!
    All the vain things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to His blood.

    See from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

    Where the whole realm of nature mine,
    That where a present far two small;
    Love so amazing; so divine,
    Demands my soul, my life, my all.

  3. SFDBWV says:

    When I looked in on BTA this morning and seen the mess there. I took the time to write a response to it. Upon going to post there was a new subject up titled “Outrageous”.

    So I deleted my response to the subject I had written about and then wrote a quick message to this new one.

    Whereupon when I went to post it the title had changed to “The Hidden Right and Left”.

    I think I will go lay down.

    Steve

  4. jeff1 says:

    Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
    Pilgrim through this barren land;
    I am weak, but Thou art mighty,
    Hold me with Thy powerful hand;
    Bread of heaven, bread of heaven
    Fill me till I want no more;
    Fill me till I want no more.

    Open now the crystal fountain
    Whence the healing stream doth flow;
    Let the fire and cloudy pillar
    Lead me all my journey through:
    Strong deliverer, strong deliverer;
    Be Thou still my strength and shield;
    Be Thou still my strength and shield.

    When I tread the verge of Jordan,
    Bid my anxious fears subside;
    Death of death, and hell’s destruction
    Land me safe on Canaan’s side:
    Songs of praises, songs of praises,
    I will ever give to Thee;
    I will ever give to Thee.

  5. poohpity says:

    It would seem that the disciples and their families often did not realize what following the King of Glory would entail while here. They often thought that Jesus was going to be a conquering King to over take the Roman oppression not the oppression of their sins, or the high esteem that the Religious leaders put their selves in rather than a suffering servant. The mother of the brothers seemed to want the kind of praise, glory and adoration that their peers gave to Kings, Princes, movie stars and rulers of this world rather than quiet submission to the will of the Father with no fanfare but persecution, crucifixion, hate, rejection, betrayal that Jesus went through. Talk about misunderstanding. If she only knew what she was asking.

    Who would ask that their sons be as James was executed by sword(Acts 12:1-2) for his beliefs or as John was exiled to the island of Patmos for the majority of his life?

  6. poohpity says:

    Did Paul see ahead from being a persecutor of the followers of Jesus held in high regard from the Pharisees and Roman government while boasting in their good works to;

    I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm.

    Would you still follow Jesus if you knew what was “The Hidden Right and Left”?

  7. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    Moving from the deeply cynical writing of George Steiner to the actual scene of Jesus’ sacrifice is jarring, to say the least.

    Smiled and shed a tear when I read your comment, Steve. Yes, the grisly reality of humans torturing other humans is enough to make any of us want to lie down a while. It is disturbing to the point of causing dizziness and nausea.

    Perhaps we have heard so many times the story of Jesus’ unjust execution — seen so many times the excruciating scenes of His torture and humiliation — that we have ceased to feel compassion any more. Can it be? James and John did not know what they were asking, it seems to me.

    Was interested to read the comment here that Steiner simply used the ugly persona of Adolf Hitler to express his own contempt for the things of God. What Hitler perpetrated echoes the hard cruelty of the Roman practice of hanging people on crosses until they died.

    The image of the three crosses of agony, with their hidden left and right, makes me think of Shusako Endo’s novel, “Silence,” recently made into a film When does what seems like dishonor in the world actually mean great and glorious honor in God’s kingdom? It is a disturbing question, especially when the faithful witness of Christ’s love brings certain horror, torture and death.

    Would I still embrace Jesus if doing so guaranteed suffering and execution?

    Blessings all day,
    Maru

    11C/52F here bright sunny morning — hot day forecast

  8. SFDBWV says:

    The Bible as a whole teaches in various vehicles. Like Jesus who taught with straight talk, parables and life.

    We are to show Him in our actions and deeds. Many honor Him with their mouths, but their deeds show otherwise.

    We being made in His image are a shadow reflection of Him.

    So we also teach by straight talk, parables and life.

    I have shared this with our group before, but it bears repeating in this subject.

    Matthew and I took communion together and ask the Lord to use us as we committed ourselves to Him.

    Within a month He was in a coma with traumatic brain injury, within 4 months my wife of 31 years discovered she had cancer and died one year later in October of 2000.

    Although I had worked a steady full time job since 17 years of age, I was forced to quit working altogether and take up the task of caring for my family with no understanding as how we could make it financially.

    God provided. He still does as I continue to care for Matt.

    If you want to be a follower of Jesus and be of use to Him, quickly understand that your plans and thoughts as to how are gone as He takes control of your life uses you where He wants you and provides the anointing to do so and provides for your needs.

    The two thieves who hung with Jesus had no knowledge that God would use them, but use them God did. If you seek service with God never expect honors and recognition from the world, but do expect others in service to God to recognize Jesus in your service. And see the hand of God as He also uses the unknowing that they too are being used of God as well.

    Praying for BTA.

    Steve

  9. street says:

    Is it possible? Could a sign written in three languages, a crown of thorns, and two criminals hanging—at Jesus’s right and left— be hiding honor, goodness, glory, and power far greater than two brothers, their mother, and the rest of the family ever imagined?

    The Power of True Love for God.

  10. street says:

    thinking of the right and the left coming together in Christ Jesus. is it possible? unity of the whole, undivided? reminded of no agreement between light and dark. choose this day Who/who you will serve. can you serve without changing your mind?

    unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’

    Luke 6:36
    Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

    Hebrews 2:17
    Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

    Hebrews 8:12
    “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.”

  11. street says:

    “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering. But I have no right to say who will sit on my right or my left. God has prepared those places for the ones he has chosen” (Mark 10:38-40).

    this makes me stop….it’s better to rest. i notice the complete selflessness and trust in His Fathers will in every detail. Loving God with all His Heart, Mind, Soul, and Strength.

  12. street says:

    thinking about Jesus separating the sheep and the goats to His right and left.

  13. street says:

    to mean that when Jesus took His throne if they could be honored as being seated alongside Him, in power and glory.

    to do this i would seem to me that one would have to drink from His cup of sorrow too. in all ways Christ was made like one of us, save sin, so that we could be made like Him.

  14. street says:

    thinking of communion and the price that was paid to participate in Christ joy. may every day and every step bring me closer to my Father.

    Isaiah 6:3 …“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of hosts,
    The whole earth is full of His glory.”

    John 14:18
    “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

    He did come to earth to save us and went away for a little while and He will come back. thinking of the talents He entrusted to us. the talents that have been through the water and fire.

  15. jeff1 says:

    I am not worthy, holy Lord,
    That Thou shouldst come to me;
    Speak but the word; one gracious word
    Can set the sinner free.

    I am not worthy; cold and bare
    The lodging of my soul;
    How canst Thou deign to enter there?
    Lord, speak, and make me whole.

    I am not worthy; yet my God,
    How can I say Thee nay;
    Thee, who didst give Thy flesh and blood
    My ransom price to pay?

    O come! in sweet morning hour
    Feed me with food divine;
    And fill with all Thy love and power
    This worthless heart of mine.

    Written by Henry Williams Baker
    whose friend John Ellerton reported that Baker’s dying words were from his famous hymn:

    Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
    But yet in love He sought me,
    And on His shoulder gently laid,
    And home, rejoicing, brought me.

  16. joycemb says:

    I was thinking about how my life changed after I gave myself over to God. The first about 6 weeks were ecstatically joyful. Then all hell broke loose. Some terribly awful things began to happen and the snowball effect is with me today. Many many disappointments, deep deep sadness and shock wondering how could God allow these things to happen to me. Going through the fire though changed my perspective like it did with the disciples, over time.

    There’s an old song that has been going through my mind lately that goes like this:
    Clowns to the left of me
    Jokers to the right
    Here I am-
    Stuck in the middle with you.

    There’s a lot of similarities to the topic I think.

  17. street says:

    lol

  18. street says:

    good to be stuck in love instead of emptyness

  19. joycemb says:

    Amen

  20. poohpity says:

    If Jesus said about those who would sit at His right or left, “but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.” how would N.T. Wright know it was for those who hung beside Jesus? Just like the people who say they know when the end times will come, when Jesus did not even know, isn’t that just an assumption?

    I think Jesus went on to explain the difference in wanting praise and glory like Jesus when Matthew continues by repeating what Jesus said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    Wouldn’t the request of the mother be sort of like coming from someone who may not really have a grasp at who Jesus is? I do not know how others may think but it would be like finding a sort of equality to God as Jesus is.

  21. poohpity says:

    I think there is a big difference in life happening and the things that happen because of one’s faith in Jesus.

  22. joycemb says:

    I just want to tell those who weren’t involved with the hippie/rock and roll culture as I once was the song I mentioned is about a successful band that discovered success brought out the vultures and the promoters/agents who wanted money from them all the time. they felt trapped and stuck. Yep street to be stuck in love- Christ- is true freedom! I’m so glad He rescued me! :-)

  23. Dinakar says:

    Surely when Jesus replied to the mother of the two He wasn’t talking about who would hang beside Him.

    The background to the incident is that both John and James were already in the inner circle of disciples and in some sense it goes against Peter rather than the others. James and John were the relatives of the high priest and as such were part of the ‘who is who’ in Jerusalem in the early 1st century. Their mother wanted to make sure in the new kingdom to come they had the best place secured. John had easy access to the High priest home post arrest of Jesus and helped Peter pass the gate and at the beautiful gate incident both Peter and John were released.

    Jesus was always about LOVE and serving others rather than prestige and pomp alongside with pride. To work along side Him with humility and a broken spirit is a privilege to be strived after.To forget yourself and take up your cross is a daily task

    Dinakar

  24. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Dinakar for your reality check.

    Steve

  25. jeff1 says:

    Thinking it is God who chooses His warriors just as it is He who chooses His peace makers because He knows the hearts of men. While I make assumptions based on my beliefs which lets face it were beliefs that I inherited and lived by for the most of my life until I woke up to the fact that Jesus is much more than one’s indoctrinated beliefs.

    Truthfully it is God who draws people to Himself and not Christians. Christians throughout history have according to their beliefs honoured God but what would God say about it?

    I have never read my bible but was raised in a community where I was listening to those who were well versed on it and that is why I ended up deciding I would rather listen to the stories of the characters in the bible rather than study it.

    For me as an outsider I was able to see that their interpretations was based on their beliefs and not on a heart given to God and drawn by the indwelling Spirit to know God.

    Why in a modern society are the younger generations looking elsewhere because it is us who fail God and not God who fails us.

    I am part of the body of Christ and as such when other Christians fail to understand God then I am part of that failure.

    Personally I may lead a life pleasing to God or not but the church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ on earth and it is the church that will imitate God that will to my way of thinking be the one that mirrors the one true God.

    I go to church for me because I feel closer to God in a church and when I take communion I feel closer to God but I do not look and make assumptions about others any more and I used to until I realized I do not know the heart of each man and women in this church anymore than they know mine.

    I have learned that my expectations of them was totally unrealistic because I put ‘law’ before ‘love’ and learned the hard way that Paul was right ‘without love’ all else is worthless.

  26. poohpity says:

    Dinkar, I have never heard those things about John and James, I thought their families were fisherman. I know John the Baptist came from the Priesthood from Elizabeth and Zechariah but not the sons of Zebedee and Salome. Interesting. It is neat to have someone dig deeper on the topic. Can you show me where you learned those things about what happened in the courtyard? I enjoy learning.

  27. poohpity says:

    I was thinking that the disciples often asked strange questions of Jesus but it seemed to be because they really had not yet understood the purpose and mission of Jesus. Like Peter telling Jesus not to go to Jerusalem to face what He was about to face(Matt 16:21-23). So in that I do think that no one surrounding Jesus then knew of the hiding honor, goodness, glory, and power far greater than they could have imagined. I do not think it really made any sense until after when they had the visits from the risen Savior and the help of the Holy Spirit.

  28. street says:

    I do not think it really made any sense until after when they had the visits from the risen Savior and the help of the Holy Spirit.

    44 He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

    45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day,

  29. street says:

    when Jesus opened their minds, this was before Pentecost. they were instructed to stay in the city till this happen.

  30. street says:

    just thinking what keeps a mind from being open? we understand the 11 were willing and following. thinking about the two pillars out in front of God’s Temple, Solomon built. they had names that meant “renew” and “strength”. coupled with the presents of God. with God not apart from Him. Ephesians 2:4-7

  31. poohpity says:

    street, hope this helps with your question about opening minds. Romans 8:5 NIV

  32. jeff1 says:

    Weary of earth, and laden with my sin,
    I look to heaven and long to enter in,
    But there no evil thing may find a home:
    And yet I hear a voice that bids me “Come.”

    So vile I am, how dare I hope to stand
    In the pure glory of that holy land?
    Before the whiteness of that Throne appear?
    Yet their are Hands stretch’d out to draw me near.

    The while I fain would tread the heavenly way,
    Evil is ever with me, day by day;
    Yet on my ears the gracious tidings fall,
    “Repent, confess, thou shall be loosed from all.”

    It is the voice of Jesus that I hear,
    His are the Hands stretch’d out to draw me near,
    And His the Blood that can for all atone,
    And set me faultless there before the Throne.

    ‘Twas He who found me on the deathly wild,
    And made me heir of heaven, the Father’s child,
    And day by day, whereby my soul may live,
    Give me His grace of pardon, and will give.

    Yea, Thou wilt answer for me, Righteous Lord;
    Thine all the merits, mine the great reward;
    Thine the sharp thorns, and mine the golden crown,
    Mine the life won, and Thine the life laid down.

  33. street says:

    street, hope this helps with your question about opening minds. Romans 8:5 NIV

    poo the point i was thinking of is not the state of the mind, but the emphasis on the presents of God. saul,the first king, God was with him early on but was rejected because of disobedience and a closed mind.

    remembering the disciples being told about bringing prayer into the picture when they could not cast out a demon in a child. could the fasting and prayer be,” i must decrease He must increase?” this is something we are not in control of , but a work of God in harmony with mans will and consent. there are a lot of things i don’t consent to, but God lets them happen because His thought are far higher than mine. the cup of sorrow and pain is deep, but let me not be found apart from Christ Who strengths and guides His flock.

  34. poohpity says:

    street, I will have remember when you ask a question like, “just thinking what keeps a mind from being open?”, that you really do not mean what you ask, so I will have to guess what you did not mean to answer what you did mean!

  35. street says:

    When does what seems like dishonor in the world actually mean great and glorious honor in God’s kingdom? It is a disturbing question, especially when the faithful witness of Christ’s love brings certain horror, torture and death.

    Would I still embrace Jesus if doing so guaranteed suffering and execution?

    thinking about poos quote of scripture of the mind fix on the flesh and the mind fixed on the Spirit. both are going to die. one is a self centered death the other live giving death. i guess how you see this is how you see the cross and the full measure of love or contempt.

    thinking of Christ sitting at the right hand of God waiting for His enemies to be made a footstool.
    called to walk before Him blameless.

    Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
    Who may live on your holy mountain?

    2
    The one whose walk is blameless,

    in Christ and walking. soaring is fun, but i know it starts with profound lowness or ends in humility.
    I will never leave you nor forsake you. thank You

  36. street says:

    But knowledge puffs up while love builds up.

  37. street says:

    street, I will have remember when you ask a question like, “just thinking what keeps a mind from being open?”, that you really do not mean what you ask, so I will have to guess what you did not mean to answer what you did mean!

    sorry poo the question i ask, my hope is the reader will understand the answer without a word being said. like pauls questions in Romans, than again i am no paul.

    things get real crazy till Jesus shows up.

    one of the things that mart has helped me understand is that how we read the Bible and other is how we read ourselves. the meeting of Jesus destroys every thought and idea that is raised against Him. the cross is the only way to go. every other way is a lie, a thief, and a destroyer.

  38. joycemb says:

    Thinking of Marts last paragraph, “Come, let us return to the Lord.
    For He has torn us, but He will heal us;
    He has [a]wounded us, but He will bandage us.” Hosea

    It’s always comforting for me to see the progression of Gods plan for the world.

  39. jeff1 says:

    Yes, Joyce, it is so comforting to both see God working in the world and to feel close to Him. Music is such a great way to feel close to God. It keeps my mind from allowing Satan to discourage me and gives me the peace of mind I need to stay well.

  40. joycemb says:

    Maru when I read/studied Silence in college lit I was stunned by it, but could not disagree, although many of my fellow students did. The painful humility of Christ’s death for us all still brings a tear to my eye also, sometimes more. Wonder when the full meaning of what Jesus had done really hit them. Must have been a very difficult day, knowing Him as intimately as they had. Sometimes I think we can only imagine, until we get to know Him more and more intimately as well.

  41. joycemb says:

    Oh I know Viv. I may have talked about this before but it warms my heart every time I remember how God gave the gift of music to Saul through David to calm and soothe him when he was tormented. God is so good.

  42. joycemb says:

    New American Standard 1977
    So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him.

  43. joycemb says:

    How merciful David was, not surprising our Messiah came from Davids blood line.

  44. poohpity says:

    lol street I will have to get my mind reading hat on but I have to say I am not very good at it so I would just rather read what is written but I thought that was fairly obvious but as usual I was wrong, sorry for the misunderstanding.

  45. SFDBWV says:

    For me there are differences in reading the Bible and studying the Bible. I may need a little uplifting and so read the Psalms, but then when reading such a “story” as Mart has given us may require more than what is given at the surface.

    Obviously the concern of a mother for her sons is foremost in this story. Understanding Jewish tradition she wanted her sons exalted in the social order of the life she knew and understood.

    It is obvious that nearly no one understood what Jesus had been telling them about the “son of man”. So confused were most that they were even afraid to ask Jesus what the heck was He talking about. Making them feel stupid. So they tried to guess using their earthly understanding of everything.

    Like all prophesy everything became clear “after” the fact.

    The Bible is a marvelous vehicle of giving a statement or a story that is literal, but also spiritual as well as an allegory. Key to the hidden view is held within our own hearts. We look for a meaning we may already have a prejudice for.

    Many will say that the Holy Spirit will explain. But is it their explanation or actually a supernatural intervention between that person and God?

    I have found that in my experience when the Holy Spirit is involved in such a revelation that along with it always comes conformation from another source. It may be another person, another verse or several verses, it may be a song that opens your eyes and heart to a supernatural understanding. But however comes the conformation it is accompanied with a secure peace. You know, because you know. Once instituted in your heart it is unshakeable.

    May your faith be unshakeable as you experience all today has in store for you.

    66 muggy under clear skies.

    Steve

  46. joycemb says:

    That is my experience with the Holy Spirit also, that when told something in my spirit its always confirmed in this fleshly plane, and it often comes in the most obscure ways! Oh that Holy Spirit is like the wind and you never know which way its going or where it came from, but you know it will show up, always!

  47. joycemb says:

    Just in case… Yes I know the Holy
    Spirit comes from God.

  48. SFDBWV says:

    Ok one of my abstract stories…

    I told earlier of having so many sunflower plants growing this year around my “feeding” rock. Later, as would have it one morning I looked out and there stood on its hind legs a huge groundhog eating his way up the stalk of the best of them.

    I quickly dispatched the whistle pig with my 22 caliber rifle I keep in the kitchen for just such “rats”.

    Sadly the plant was broken in half and mostly eaten, it could not be saved.

    At least there were still several others standing tall and growing healthy.

    Then one morning as I went out to feed I noticed some of the leaves of the next plant were chewed nearly off the stalk, but the head bud not bothered. This particular plant was my favorite as it had multiple buds coming on for a future bright yellow display.

    Discouraged, but watchful a few mornings later I found that all of the leaves on this plant were eaten except for the very top reaches of the plant. Given the size of the plant and the nature of how the leaves had been eaten it was clearly a deer who had been coming in to only eat on this one sunflower plant.

    To my joy this plant produced the brightest yellow sunflower of all and has for the past week or more greeted me every morning with its bright face toward the east.

    Then later this morning as I looked out, there on each side of the sunflowers bright mature flower are two other smaller flowers. One on each side of the bigger brighter flower. Hanging there in their full glory as if a representation of the three crosses at Calvary. Nearly in the shape of a cross.

    I took a picture of it for my Christmas cards and took the time to share it with you.

    I hope you all get the connection as I did.

    Steve

  49. poohpity says:

    Jesus seemed to always make them comfortable in asking questions by telling them to ask. Even when the questions as these were about seating questions about the Kingdom to come which were prideful and arrogant. He taught with words and deeds that pride and arrogance has no place with Him for His followers. Even after these questions and right before He went to the Cross He took off His outer garments and washed their feet telling them that since He was their Lord and Teacher and washed their feet which was a humbling experience they ought to do likewise.

    Repeatedly Jesus taught not only the disciples but also the religious leaders about humility. These next verses shows that among many many more.

    “When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

    10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14

  50. poohpity says:

    There has never been a teacher that is worth a hill of beans that does not promote asking questions actually many have said the only stupid questions are those not asked.

  51. poohpity says:

    Steve, are you saying in your sunflower story that one creature has the right to eat from nature while the other does not. If I remember right you said you did not know how those sunflower plants got there so if God had made them grow there then wouldn’t they be for all His creatures. One not being more deserving than another.

  52. poohpity says:

    I see the connection. The flesh decides when someone is better than another like John and James while to God all are the same and the lowliness of one may one day bring great glory and honor.

  53. joycemb says:

    uffdah

  54. joycemb says:

    Thanks steve, quite a story!

  55. poohpity says:

    Isaiah 29:13; Matthew 15:8-9; Mark 7:6

  56. poohpity says:

    The hearts that really worship God from these verses are those who are humble not arrogant, rude or prideful. Jesus also said that the disciples may not understand at the point of Him washing their feet what it all means but one day they would.

  57. joycemb says:

    So are you saying that Steve is arrogant, rude or prideful since you followed up on his story?

  58. joycemb says:

    Oh Lord I’m out of here. Have a good day all.

  59. SFDBWV says:

    My apologies to all in suggesting any of you may see what I seen in my sunflower story. It wasn’t fair of me to expect or even suggest that any of you might.

    It appears that my attempt to share a little uplifting story of nature was hijacked.

    Joyce, don’t let evil steal your joy, just recognize it for what it is and step over it.

    For what it is worth, I will not let another keep me from enjoying the natural things around me as I see God everywhere I look. He is there to be seen and enjoyed. As when such moments occur it is a gift from Him.

    Please be blessed today. Still praying for BTA.

    Steve

  60. poohpity says:

    Joyce, I know it is very uncommon on here but I was addressing the topic not anything else. No I was not calling Steve arrogant, rude or prideful, I was talking about John, James and their mom. I was following up on the topic and when I talked to Steve I said so.

  61. poohpity says:

    Joyce, always remember I do not think like you nor behave as you do. Not saying there is anything wrong with what you do or say but you are you and I am me. Each person being a unique individual and I am not a group thinker.

  62. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends —

    I also appreciate the sunflower story. The ruin of some that breaks our hearts is so often followed by that “resurrection” of others that blesses our socks off and gives great consolation.

    The Apostle Paul said we “see through a glass darkly.” So often the awesome glory of God in Christ is obscured by what Wright called the “grisly end” of things seen from a worldly perspective.

    What a wonder that the “baptism of suffering” brings in the kingdom of our God and His Christ. We can only marvel, it seems to me. There is no earthly explanation for this.

    Joy all day,
    Maru

    15C/59F here in the valley. Forecast to be clear and hot.

  63. joycemb says:

    Steve, don’t let one perspective steal YOUR joy. I was reminded that a devils advocate has a purpose also, that purpose to strengthen others in their faith. Remember Job, the disciples, the prophets, Jesus? Count it all joy! James 1:2

    You have nothing to apologize for. We are all learning here and growing in grace.
    Love in Christ Jesus,
    Joyce

  64. poohpity says:

    I was also repeating some of the teaching of Jesus and the examples He gave His followers in accordance to the topic.

  65. poohpity says:

    See Maru was talking about the topic which is most often the case.

  66. poohpity says:

    Steve asked about seeing the connection of the sunflower story with the topic and I simply saw how it did.

  67. joycemb says:

    Sure pooh. but your different thinking is so often contrary to God’s teachings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness etc.

  68. joycemb says:

    Romans 6:4 is appropriate here I think. But you may not agree pooh.

  69. joycemb says:

    Maru I enjoy listening to NT with his very British accent. It’s such a privilege to be able to learn from people all over the world. God’s world, indeed!!

  70. poohpity says:

    Joyce if you do not understand that my comments apply to the topic how would you know what the condition of my heart is? Talk about the topic and the teaching of Jesus and stop talking about me, please because it is all done in ugliness and lack of knowledge about what Jesus actually taught. It seems when people do not understand the topic it always goes to talking about people instead.

  71. joycemb says:

    You may have a point there pooh, although it’s hard to tell when you say something about someone’s post that’s negative that you are only thinking about Marts post. Perhaps you could explain better? Thanks

  72. poohpity says:

    Just know on a whole my comments are about the topic and the others are usually trying to defend myself which is wrong. If one reads the topic then they could see that.

  73. street says:

    —at Jesus’s right and left— be hiding honor, goodness, glory, and power far greater than two brothers, their mother, and the rest of the family ever imagined?

    hiding the honor of love,
    the goodness of love,
    the glory of love,
    and the power of love,
    that is far greater than understanding, comprehension or knowledge. God I hate myself.

  74. jeff1 says:

    The love of God is greater far
    Than tongue or pen can ever tell.
    It goes beyond the highest star
    And reaches to the lowest hell.
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled
    And pardoned from His sin.

    O love of God, how rich and pure!
    How measureless and strong!
    It shall forevermore endure–
    The saints’ and angels’ song.

    When hoary time shall pass away
    And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall;
    When men who hear refuse to pray,
    On rocks and hills and mountains call;
    God’s love, so sure, shall still endure,
    All measureless and strong;
    Redeeming grace to Adam’s race–
    The saints’ and angels’ song.

    Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made;
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.

  75. joycemb says:

    Street: As opposed to the honor of self-Goodness of self-Glory of self-Power of self?
    Yes it is I think.

  76. joycemb says:

    Yet God said to love Him with our whole selves and our neighbor as ourself. It means giving up our “selves” by dying just as James and John did. Death to self means esteeming God and others as better than ourselves.
    Unholy self is changed by death going through death, just as Jesus showed us. Could that be what Paul meant when he said we are changed from glory to glory? Sounds kind of gruesome which is why we resist it sometimes. I’d rather have a tiara and a place of honor. I understand the mom of the brothers. Who would want death for their children? I lost a child in a fire, the grief is horrific but the hope of future glory with everlasting life takes a bit of the sadness out of it. I digress.

  77. street says:

    A new commandment I give to you, that you love one,[Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.], another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

    i hate what i have become in the first adam and have great hope in the second Adam.

  78. joycemb says:

    Loving one another….I’m thinking that dialogue instead of relying on one’s instincts and intellect all the time is the way to go. Jesus talked a lot to those who didn’t know the depth of love that was standing right in front of them. He explained things to some but more often just talked about the scriptures and God’s plan for their lives, knowing they had not been given the ability to fully understand God’s plan of redemption.

    God always knows what He is doing. He knew James and Johns hearts before they even spoke, yet didn’t shame or talk down to them or ignore them even. It’s all part of Gods great plan. His will will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Gives me hope for myself and everyone. The journey may not be pleasant always, but the Future looks great!

  79. SFDBWV says:

    Once again, like a thousand times before, as I stood in the yard this morning with the sky mostly overcast, the eastern sky exploded with those brilliant colors of orange and red and pink and yellow as the coming light of a rising sun pushed the colors above the horizon.

    I am always awe struck at the beauty of the moment as it evolves before my eyes. I always feel so very close to God at such times. A feeling that is very difficult to adequately express with words. Perhaps enraptured or elated may come close.

    Reminded by Mart’s opening statement is that the other 10 disciples were “infuriated” at James and John for asking for such an honor from Jesus. I wonder had they known or suspected that the position on the left and right of Jesus would have been an equal crucifixion if they would have been so quick to get angry.

    Of course they were clueless as to what lay ahead for Jesus or for all of them for that matter and only looked at the request as an insult against the rest of them.

    I am reminded of what it is I ask from God every day every hour every time I talk to God. Each “official” prayer or each little moment when I just quietly talk to Him.

    Truth is I have never ask for anything special above another person. The things I ask for are common to us all.

    Publicly as in church services and even on some rather annoying TV preaching shows I don’t ever recall someone asking for such an honor from Jesus as to be on His left or right as He sets on His throne.

    Yet as you study the word, we are considered co heirs of His Kingdom. So while not so much as this one or that one among us as to His left or right, we are all behind Him and surround Him as His clouds of glory.

    In my imagination if any two of His disciples were to be considered #1 and #2 it would be Peter and Paul, though each of the others played out their roles unto their deaths and countless thousands have over these past 2 thousand years as well.

    As for me God told me many years ago I would make it, now I just want those I love to make it as well and please God in doing so. I want to fulfill my purpose for Him. My goal is between God and me, not between me and any others.

    Yes it is easy to see how others get “infuriated” when they think another is asking something special of God or maybe even seem to brag about how their relationship with God is.

    Equally understood is how if they really knew what that relationship involved they may not be so quick to get angry; or be jealous of.

    60 degrees under partial cloudy skies…muggy.

    Steve

  80. jeff1 says:

    Thinking it’s still God who has the greater love because while I love in part there are areas where I do not which leaves my love lacking.

    If my love is not whole then it is worthless because I cannot love those God wants me to love i.e. my enemies.

    God’s love goes deeper than mine because it looks at the whole person while I look at what I see and if I like what I see then love comes easy but when I don’t like what I see that is where I fail God.

    There is a big difference in believing God and following God to my way of thinking.

    Without knowing the depth of God’s love how can I love another as God loves it is just not possible?

    I struggle loving other followers of Christ let alone my enemies so I fall very short of what it is to follow Christ!

    When is a Christian a Christian when they believe in God or when they are fully committed to His ways?

  81. jeff1 says:

    When I think of what the disciples suffered I would say they proved themselves to be His disciples.

    How small my portion to the great warriors of Christ’s and how great my reward to know that God’s love extends to my portion.

    Nothing to this world I bring, simply to the cross I cling.

    Rock of Ages, cleft for me.
    Let me hide myself in Thee;
    Let the water and the blood,
    From Thy risen side which flowed.
    Be of sin the double cure,
    Cleanse me from its guilt and power.

    Not he labours of my hands
    Can fulfil Thy law’s demands;
    Could my zeal no respite know,
    Could my tears forever flow,
    All for sin could not atone;
    Thou must save and Thou alone.

    Nothing in my hand I bring,
    Simply to the cross I cling;
    Naked, come to Thee for dress;
    Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
    Foul, I to the Fountain fly;
    Wash me, Saviour, or I die.

    While I draw this fleeting breath,
    When my eye-strings break in death,
    When I soar through tracts unknown,
    See Thee on Thy judgement throne.
    Rock of Ages, cleft for me.
    Let me hide myself in Thee.

  82. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Viv, as one song/poem aficionado to another may I recommend another Leonard Cohen song “Show Me the Place”. I think you would like the words, I do.

    Always remember that the first 12 Disciples were also human and also had flaws, some of which we have discussed here.

    Personally I do not think you fail God at all Viv, I think you are just who God wants you to be. If He expected more of you He would anoint you and empower you to whatever task it was He wanted of you.

    Be happy with being Viv, I believe He is, I know I am.

    Steve

  83. poohpity says:

    Very good and thoughtful encouragement for Viv, Steve.

    God has lived with Human beings since He created them and it does not seem He has expectations like we human’s do of ourselves and each other. He knows!

    John later referred to Himself as the “disciple Jesus loved” not excluding others but it seems more like understanding the love God had for him and all others. It seems our faith in God is what pleases Him(Hebrews 11:6 NIV) and He seems to understand fully our inabilities that is why we were given the Holy Spirit to live this life, not perfectly but in the process of becoming more like Him.

    David referred to himself as “a man AFTER God’s own heart” but as with everyone else in the bible fell very short of perfection. He sought AFTER God, He searched for, learned about and spent time in communication Him.

  84. poohpity says:

    I was wrong that was not David who referred himself that way but God who called him that.

  85. joycemb says:

    Seedbed Daily Text has a very powerful message on John 15:9. It’s very short but brought tears to my eyes.

  86. poohpity says:

    Jesus taught us how we can come to love our enemies by praying for them and doing good things for them.

    Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets. “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Luke 6 and Proverbs 25:21; Matthew 5:44-45 NLT our hearts turn. Sometimes it happens right away but other times it takes time and effort.

  87. joycemb says:

    Amen pooh!

  88. joycemb says:

    Ever prayed so hard and so long for an enemy they became a friend? It’s awesome. We were all enemies of God at one time, but Jesus prayed for us. Even MORE awesome!

  89. joycemb says:

    I’m thinking if we are focusing on what others think/expect from us we have taken our eyes off God and heavenly things. I tried for years to live up to other’s expectations not understanding that if my focus was on God all the time I had access to as James said wisdom that is true, honest, just, lovely, pure etc etc. There is no guilt, judgement, condemnation, hypocrisy etc in wisdom from God. The flesh likes to cake up like mud sometimes doesn’t it. Washing of the Word breaks up the clods.

  90. joycemb says:

    Lol at myself!

  91. jeff1 says:

    Steve, I believe I fail God because it is I who still have hatred for my enemies and I have tried not to have by stopping listening to them but I find it hard because I lived with their hatred and the consequences of it which was devastating for us.

    Its hard to forget when you see reminders i.e. knowing many people who were victims of terrorism and seeing how their circumstances effected them.

    I had an aunt who lost her 19 year old and she and her husband never got over it so there is much suffering for those effected that you have to consider so it not just about my feelings but my feelings towards people I care about.

    I trust God but I have difficulty trusting people because they let you down when it matters.

    I still see myself as an enemy of God because love is what matters and I cannot feel that love which is sad but true.

    I watched a programme where this doctor was dying and he said to his friend when people ask me do I believe in life after death I said I’m not sure that there is life before death.

    I tend to agree with him because if I didn’t believe in a better world to come I would struggle even more to survive this one.

  92. SFDBWV says:

    We have had huge thunder storms and heavy rain all day. I had turned off the computer earlier and just turned it back on and so thought I would check in.

    It’s ok Viv, but I want to tell you this before I sign out again. You have not failed God in being a normal human being with feelings and emotions. Rather it is other people who have failed you. You are a victim of circumstances beyond your control.

    God loves you Viv and so do I.

    Steve

  93. street says:

    2
    before the sun and the light
    and the moon and the stars grow dark,
    and the clouds return after the rain;
    3
    when the keepers of the house tremble,
    and the strong men stoop,
    when the grinders cease because they are few,
    and those looking through the windows grow dim;
    4
    when the doors to the street are closed
    and the sound of grinding fades;
    when people rise up at the sound of birds,
    but all their songs grow faint;

    Your Word remains. unshakable unstoppable unchangeable and they are delightful, the full measure there of.

  94. street says:

    25
    When terror comes,
    they will seek peace in vain.
    26
    Calamity upon calamity will come,
    and rumor upon rumor.
    They will go searching for a vision from the prophet,
    priestly instruction in the law will cease,
    the counsel of the elders will come to an end.
    27
    The king will mourn,
    the prince will be clothed with despair,
    and the hands of the people of the land will tremble.
    I will deal with them according to their conduct,
    and by their own standards I will judge them.

    “‘Then they will know that I am the Lord.’”

    the urgency, and need to know the Lord.

  95. jeff1 says:

    Thank you Steve, for your reassurance of God’s love and yours. I know in my better days that it is true and listening to my hymns and songs does also give me peace of mind.

    I must focus on God’s and good people like your self’s love for me and not on those who hate otherwise they win and take my joy.

    Thanks again Steve, for you have your own trials and I should be strengthened by how you have coped with yours rather than allowing others to distract me to their bad deeds.

    God is always good and that is the truth that matters and you are such a fine example, Steve, of a Godly person and I am blessed to be here to share my fears and hear your words of encouragement.

  96. joycemb says:

    I like this perspective, “Instead of feeling embarrassed by brothers and sisters (myself also) who struggle with desperately weak assurance, with mental illness, or with traumas so severe that brains have been altered and minds shattered, perhaps we should recognize these as the true heroes of our faith.”

    Barb Duguid
    Author, Extravagant Grace: God’s Glory Displayed in Our Weakness

  97. joycemb says:

    Heros: those hanging to the left and right of Jesus. And the rest who follow in His footsteps, however falteringly.

  98. jeff1 says:

    Sung by an Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell, I love the simplicity of this song because often my walk with God seems anything but.

    Footsteps walking with me
    Footsteps I cannot see
    But every move I make
    And every step I take
    I know they’re there with me
    They walk with me all the way
    Beside me day by day
    Through good and bad
    Through happy and sad
    Those footsteps won’t go away

    I’ll never walk in life alone
    There’ll always be someone there
    I know He won’t let me down
    He’s with me everywhere
    The special things in life I’ve done
    Have been through Him and His love
    I’ve been blessed in so many ways
    Thanks to the Lord above

    Footsteps walking with me
    Footsteps I cannot see
    But every move I make
    And every step I take
    I know they’re there with me
    They walk with me all the way
    Beside me day by day
    Through good and bad
    Through happy and sad
    Those footsteps won’t go away

    I think that my life’s been planned
    By the one who’s guiding me
    When I’m led by the hand
    Of someone I can’t see
    I’m not always sure where to go
    That’s when I follow his lead
    I know that the pathways that He shows
    Will help me to succeed
    Footsteps walking with me (footsteps walking)
    Footsteps I cannot see (cannot see)
    But every more I make
    And every step I take
    I know they’re there with me
    They walk with me all the way
    Beside me day by day
    Through good and bad
    Through happy and sad
    Those footsteps won’t go away
    Through good and bad
    Through happy and sad
    By my side they will stay

  99. SFDBWV says:

    Thank you Viv for your kind words. It is very humbling for me to be compared to your beloved father. I will try always to live up to such an honor.

    For all as well. It occurred to me that Paul at the conclusion of nearly all of his letters gave credit and kudos to those people whom he felt were doing a good job.

    It seems to me that it is essential for we Christians to uplift each other with encouragements when appropriate. Paul had lots of help along his journey, sadly his biggest problems, aside from Jewish authorities and Roman law, were within the church fathers there in Jerusalem.

    The same problems were present from the beginning of the world, the beginning of the church and right here right now. Satan wanted to be worshiped or at least held in high esteem.
    Some people are no different, maybe all people given the right circumstance.

    When cults are established at first, similar to the communist or socialist ideology, everyone is equal and everyone works for the betterment of each other’s welfare.

    But that soon changes.

    In the story of King Arthur he used a “round’ table so as not to give the impression there was someone at the head of the table.

    But all of the knights knew who was King.

    I don’t know if N.T. Wright was right or not, it is an interesting look at the passage. But I believe if anyone wants to be “up there” with Jesus they have to start at the end of the line, in the back of the room. As His slave, under orders, intent to obey and please. With no regard as to position except to be used by Him for His purpose and His desires and His will.

    In fact “up there” could simply mean to be with Him. Not in any seat of power, just simply to be with Him.

    69 degrees with rain, 2.25 inches of rain yesterday and overnight.

    Steve

  100. jeff1 says:

    Satan wanted to be worshipped or at least held in high esteem. Some people are no different, maybe all people given the right circumstance.

    I think you are right, Steve, that if anyone of us found ourselves in different circumstances where others where looking at us with adoration then our struggle to be humble would be a much greater one.

    It is easy to say I will ‘never’ behave like that no matter what but if I have learned anything in life it is not to say ‘never’.

    God knows human nature better than we know ourselves because it is easy to see wrong behaviour in another and still be oblivious to the wrong behaviour in yourself.

    I think Steve like the song I posted says ‘footsteps walking with me, footsteps I cannot see’ is ‘God With Us’.

    This hymn I heard this morning and it always remains a favourite of mine and timeless.

    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.

    Through this world of toils and snares,
    If I falter, Lord, who cares?
    Who with me my burden shares?
    None but Thee, dear Lord, none but Thee.

    When my feeble life is o’er,
    Time for me will be no more;
    Guide me gently, safely o’er
    To Thy kingdom shore, to Thy shore.

    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.

  101. SFDBWV says:

    Viv among my books is a song book of “All Time Inspirational Favorites”. In it are many of the songs we have all heard or sung in church. Kenneth Morris’ “Just a Closer Walk With Thee” is one among many that I enjoy.

    The first year after having Matt home from the hospital I would sing along with him any or many of these songs. Just like love, music never dies when entrenched in the heart.

    I still joke about it with him, that I can remember the melody of most songs, but can’t remember the words. While he, even still, once nudged remembers the words to any song he ever heard.

    Thanks for the memory.

    Steve

  102. foreverblessed says:

    I also do think that Mart is focussed on unity between left and right in the US.

    That his topics aim at unity.

    I do go with what Dinakar has written.

    But as I have written before, that I was so amazed when it dawned on me, that the disciples were just oblivious to Jesus announcements of his upcoming death!
    This one of Mark 10:32-34 was not the first one.
    In Mark 8:31-38 He already had done that.
    Plus: whoever wants to follow Me, he must deny himself.

    So I am thinking, what do we take for granted now, as christians, that Christ meant differently?

  103. joycemb says:

    “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”

  104. jeff1 says:

    When I am down and oh my soul so weary
    When troubles come and my heart burdened be
    Then I am still and wait here in the silence
    Until you come and sit a while with me

    You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
    You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
    I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
    You raise me up, to more than I can be

    You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains
    Your raise me up, to walk on stormy seas
    I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
    You raise me up, to more than I can be

    Your raise me up, so I can stand on mountains (stand on mountains)
    You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas (stormy seas)
    I am strong, (I am strong), when I am on your shoulders (I am strong)
    You raise me up, to more than I can be

    You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains (stand on mountains)
    You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas (stormy seas)
    I am strong, when I am on your shoulders
    You raise me up, to more than I can be

    You raise me up, to more than I can be

  105. SFDBWV says:

    Looking deeper at Mart’s last comment/question as to whether a sign written in three languages, a crown of thorns, and two criminals hanging at Jesus’ left and right be hiding honor, goodness, glory far greater than two brothers, their mother, and the rest of the family ever imagined?

    The thrust of Jesus’ teaching is “selfless love”. Clearly here in this story we have people who as I said earlier are clueless as to what is about to happen, what it means and have yet to learn “selfless love”.

    Trying to figure out what might be hidden in the symbolic picture Mart has given, I have to look at the story of what occurs in those hours these three men are hanging on the hill.

    Hanging over the head of Jesus was the sign “Jesus of Nazareth the king of the Jews”. John 19:19 KJV
    The thief at Jesus’ right ask Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into His Kingdom. Luke 23:42 KJV whereby Jesus assures him that that very day he would be with Jesus in paradise. Luke 23:43 KJV

    The other thief railed against Jesus saying if He is the Christ save Himself and them with Him. Luke 23:39

    The thief whom Jesus says would be with Him in Paradise rebukes the other for his comments and declares their guilt and Jesus’ innocence. Luke 23:40,:41 KJV

    Jesus gives up His own Spirit and so dies. Luke 23:46 KJV, but the other two’s legs are broken to quicken their deaths. John 19:31,:32 KJV

    The soldiers seeing Jesus already dead pierced Him with a spear and water and blood came out. John 19:33,:34 KJV

    Also before His death Jesus gave charge of the care of His mother to John. John 19:26,:27 KJV and declared His thirst whereupon He was given vinegar. John 19:28,:29 KJV

    What is hiding in this “picture” that these two brothers, their mother and the rest of the family ever imagined?

    65 degrees muggy and cloudy.

    Steve

  106. jeff1 says:

    Thinking that it is hard not to imagine the suffering that Jesus endured and though the two thieves suffered they were guilty of the crimes.

    When I accept Jesus as my Saviour then He becomes my substitute on the cross with the exception being that I am as guilty as the two thieves who did not lead a ‘selfless’ life.

    There is nothing hidden in the message of the gospel that Jesus took my punishment so that I am blameless before God.

    It is me forgetting this ‘truth’ that causes me to wander and it is God in His mercy that convicts me of my wandering because it is finished, I am His.

    It is my inability to see that God is glorious that causes me to falter. He must increase and I must decrease.

    I need Thee every hour,
    most gracious Lord;
    no tender voice like Thine
    can peace afford.

    Refrain:

    I need Thee, oh I need Thee,
    every hour I need Thee.
    O bless me now, my Saviour;
    I come to Thee.

    I need Thee every hour;
    stay Thou near by;
    temptations loose their power
    when Thou art nigh. (Refrain)

    I need Thee every hour,
    in joy or pain;
    come quickly and abide,
    or life is vain. (Refrain)

    I need Thee every hour;
    teach me Thy will;
    and Thy rich promises
    to me fulfil. (Refrain)

    I need Thee every hour,
    Most Holy One;
    O make me Thine indeed,
    Thou Blessed Son! (Refrain)

  107. poohpity says:

    N.T. Wright said, “James and John have been asking for the places at Jesus’s right and left so as to accompany him as he completes the glorious work of bringing in God’s kingdom. . . . But those places are reserved for the two who are crucified alongside him as he hangs there with “King of the Jews” above the head.”

    I do not think that the brothers or mother were asking to be on Jesus’s right or left as He brought in God’s kingdom but it seems to want to be in those places after the suffering from this world when He is actually sitting at the right hand of the Father in His kingdom. Jesus patiently said that they would drink the cup of suffering but the seating arrangements in the Kingdom of God was up to God. I would think the only reassurance that was needed was just the fact that one day they would be with Jesus in His Kingdom. That alone should have been enough.

    They would suffer for sharing the Gospel but they would not suffer from being the Savior of the world who knew no sin. I still do not know how Wright could conclude that has anything to do with the criminals hanging next to Jesus.

  108. poohpity says:

    Within that specific conversation Jesus said “When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John. 42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

    So the greatest place of honor was in service to others not wanting to be the leader but to be the servant.

  109. poohpity says:

    Who in this world fights over being a servant???

  110. poohpity says:

    There are however all kinds of fights about being first, being the highest on the totem pole, being the smartest, the most spirit filled or godly so much so that there are often several that get crushed beneath them on their way to the top.

  111. joycemb says:

    The gospel is the good news of gracious acceptance…Christians who trust in Christ for their acceptance with God, rather than in their own moral character, commitment, or performance, are simul iustus et peccator – simultaneously sinful yet accepted. We are more flawed and sinful than we ever dared believe, yet we are more loved and accepted than we ever dared hope at the same time.
    Tim Keller

  112. poohpity says:

    Boy that Tim Keller can really teach can’t he? Amen and Amen.

    I was cracking myself up thinking of the games they have on TV striving to be the winner and thinking of the opposite like what we are taught by Christ.

    “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” compared to “Who Wants to Give Their Millions Away?” I am sure y’all can come up with others. “Wheel of Fortune” compared to “Wheel of Suffering”.

  113. street says:

    “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” compared to “Who Wants to Give Their Millions Away?” I am sure y’all can come up with others. “Wheel of Fortune” compared to “Wheel of Suffering”.

    i like this, in the fact it brought 1 Corinthians 13 to mind. paul already mentioned the futility of theses games. we never get tired of the lust of the flesh and the pride of life, pleasure is easier to sell than suffering, but one taste of love and you will never be satisfied with anything else.

  114. joycemb says:

    “Most of God’s people are contented to be saved from the hell that is without; they are not so anxious to be saved from the hell that is within.” Robert Murray M’Cheyne

  115. joycemb says:

    Mart, I just read that Haddon died. My condolences to you and the ODB ministries family.

  116. foreverblessed says:

    Thanks you Joyce, for mentioning this.
    I saw the video that ODB has put on Facebook, about Haddon Robinson’s parting, it brought tears to my eyes, Haddon himself is talking, that he is ready to meet the Lord!
    Beautiful witness!!!

    ” Today, there is nothing in my life that interferes with the second coming of Jesus “

  117. SFDBWV says:

    I have for now 45 years taken care of our cemetery. Over those years I have been involved in the burial of many friends, associates, acquaintances and a few strangers.

    Death is never welcome.

    Even when it comes to the old, the disabled, the sick and suffering; the pain of losing someone to death is never a welcomed event.

    Yes during the few days before burial while perhaps laid out at the funeral home friends and family can gather, smile and even laugh as they remember the deceased. But death is a somber sad event.

    While some today will remember Haddon Robinson and say nice things about him. I will remember that we should always say nice things to people or about them while they live.

    My condolences to Haddon’s family and his friends.

    On Golgotha’s hill that day no one was happy to see these three men die, except for those who wanted them dead perhaps.

    No there was great sadness and confusion and certainly nothing glorious about the crucifixion. Not on that day.

    But “Joy comes in the morning” as on that resurrection day the tomb was empty and the glory of the cross and our story began.

    53 degrees this morning earlier, 61 as I write this.

    Blessings to all today.

    Steve

  118. joycemb says:

    If you have a chance read Haddons story of his life. Amazing how God used this once troubled kid from Harlem ( the worst possible place to grow up) to become a teacher and trainer of pastors. In my Intro to Preaching class in college we used a book that contained Haddon’s expository teaching method along with Alice Mathews and others I forget right now. What strikes me about his life is how important teachers / preachers are for God to reach out and train the body in righteousness.

    God bless his family as they grieve the passing of one of Gods men who has gone on to receive his reward.

  119. joycemb says:

    This just seemed appropriate thinking of the death of disciples/followers 2000 years ago and today.

    “I was there to hear your borning cry,
    I’ll be there when you are old.
    I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
    to see your life unfold.
    I was there when you were but a child,
    with a faith to suit you well;
    In a blaze of light you wandered off
    to find where demons dwell.”

    “When you heard the wonder of the Word
    I was there to cheer you on;
    You were raised to praise the living Lord,
    to whom you now belong.
    If you find someone to share your time
    and you join your hearts as one,
    I’ll be there to make your verses rhyme
    from dusk ’till rising sun.”

    In the middle ages of your life,
    not too old, no longer young,
    I’ll be there to guide you through the night,
    complete what I’ve begun.
    When the evening gently closes in,
    and you shut your weary eyes,
    I’ll be there as I have always been
    with just one more surprise.”

    “I was there to hear your borning cry,
    I’ll be there when you are old.
    I rejoiced the day you were baptized,
    to see your life unfold.”

    John Ylvisaker

  120. street says:

    thinking about getting past the right and the left in myself, should be able to see Jesus and follow much better.

    the saying get over yourself comes to mind.
    it’s more graphic to take up the cross.
    Matthew 5
    thinking of the joy that was lost in eden and the return of joy in Christ Jesus.

  121. jeff1 says:

    Steve says, I will remember that we should always say nice things to people or about them while they live.

    The tongue is mightier than the sword I find as I have listened to wars of words enough to know.

    If I learned anything I learned it from my dad who always seemed to know when to speak or when to hold his tongue.

    Some people have wisdom beyond understanding and now I see that it is God given and not man driven which is why it is much more prominent in some more than others.

    I could see that my mum and dad did not make each other happy but also I could see why my mum needed my dad so much.

    If you have heard the expression ‘dragged up’ that is probably the best way to explain my mum’s upbringing compared to my dad who had a normal Christian upbringing.

    Love is not always the reason that one person is drawn to another and I firmly believe my mum did not love my dad but he made her feel ‘safe and secure’ and she needed that more than she needed anything.

    The reason I say this is that I never heard the words I love you used in our house, you took it for granted that you were loved because you were cared for and if ever a man was good at making you feel ‘safe and secure’ my dad was.

    The ability to make another feel safe and secure is love in action and so often those who are capable of the act are not always capable of saying the words.

    In my fathers house are many mansions
    If it where not true he would have told me so
    He has gone away to live in that bright city
    He’s preparing me a mansion there I know

    Jesus died upon the cross to bear my sorrow
    Freely died that souls like you might have new life
    But I know that soon there’ll come a bright tomorrow
    When the world will all be free from sin and strife

    (Do not shun the saviours love, from up in glory)
    (Or you won’t be there to sing the gospel story)
    In my fathers house are many mansions
    If you’re true then to this land you’ll surely go

  122. poohpity says:

    Jesus seemed to always accept His disciples the way they were. He knew that they would ask to have places of honor in the Kingdom to come, He knew they would desert Him, He knew that Peter would deny Him, He knew they did not fully understand who He is or the full relevance of the Cross and He knows everything about us and went to the Cross because of that very reason; the very intent of the heart of man.

    He knows when we put on fronts, masks, and anything else to make others think we are something we are not but that real person is what he embraced and called us by name. There is no way to hide anything from Him so why not be that very person that He loved so much, who cares what others think when the Lord of all creation just wants us to trust, delight and commit in/to Him just as I am.

    Just as I am, without one plea
    But that Thy blood was shed for me
    And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee
    O Lamb of God, I come! I come

    Just as I am, though tossed about
    With many a conflict, many a doubt
    Fighting and fears within without
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come

    Just as I am, and waiting not
    to rid my soul of one dark blot
    to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come

    Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind
    Sight, riches, healing of the mind
    Yea, all I need, in Thee to find
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come!

    Just as I am, Thou wilt receive
    Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve
    Because Thy promise I believe
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come

    Because Thy promise I believe
    O Lamb of God, I come, I come

  123. poohpity says:

    Although I only heard Mr Robinson a few times on RBC before it became “Discover The Word” nor have I read any of his writings or heard his sermons but his legacy has touched many lives in the name of Jesus. What a way to be remembered by pointing people to Jesus and the bible.

  124. jeff1 says:

    When I know I have ungodly thoughts or behave in an ungodly manner then in my humanness I hide from God because the Spirit convicts me.

    I have not found it possible not to have these thoughts nor do I always behave in a way that honours God.

    I know that believing that ‘Christ’ died for my sins does not stop me from sinning.

    Pooh, you say who cares what others thinks and my answer to that is if I call myself a Christian and fail to act like one then I am misrepresenting God and that to me is what turns many away from God and in a modern world that is what is happening and it troubles me greatly as I see that I am more the perpetrator than the solution.

    I am what I am which is honest and to my shame I do not always honour God and why I differentiate between ‘a believer’ and ‘a follower’.

    As you have said Mr Robinson whom I enjoyed very much listening to on RBC was an example of ‘a follower’ which means he was committed to being a Christian.

    If someone like myself has not got passed the wrong thoughts and behaviour then I am not committed and it takes from those who are for me to say otherwise.

    To my way of thinking I must see a change in my thoughts and my behaviour before I make such a commitment and the truth is I find that I am too inconsistent in both to consider taking that step.

  125. street says:

    thinking of what poo said about haddon . i too remember hearing him on the radio from time to time. i never had the opportunity to listen to him on a regular basis, but i do know this, his influence was felt by me, even remotely because of our Lord. wish i could have seen His entrance into our Saviors presents. then again Jesus is full of surprises.

    Psalm 16:3 As for the saints who are in the earth, They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight

  126. poohpity says:

    I did not say that about Mr Robinson first and that is not what I meant about who cares what others think if you read it within the whole sentence. Of course we want to act right, live justly and walk humbly with the Lord but we do mess up and if our eyes are always on ourselves or others then when do we have time to look to the Lord because it is after all His work in our lives that changes us as that song “Just As I Am” explains as does the bible but since not many read the bible they would not know. We still have to have awareness when we sin or our faults and failures but that is just for the moment to either confess or ask for help in those areas but it is not to be our focus, Jesus is.

    What is your definition of a Christian? Have you ever meant one that thinks they have it all together? If you have meant one that thinks they have it all together then I would argue that they are not much of a Christian. Read in the bible what even Paul says about himself in the last half of Romans 7, he admits to his humanity.

  127. poohpity says:

    Every follower of Christ struggles with the same things we struggle with for instance when a town did not welcome Jesus, James and John asked if He (Jesus)wanted them to call down fire from heaven to burn them up. Does that sound like a follower of Christ? But they were. When one reads the bible you see that all the messed up people that God uses, I really do not like the word uses because it insinuates like people use other people but that is not the same.

  128. bubbles says:

    A wise and godly woman used to pray to be the glove on the hand of God. That is a neat way to look at God “using” them. What do you think, Pooh?

  129. poohpity says:

    bubbles, I recently read a book called, “lies we believe about God”. The author had a chapter on “using”. He put it this way if you had a daughter and you told her when she grows up you are going to use her and equated that like a tool which may negatively impact people who have been used and abused. We do not have relationships with tools we use them as objects and God does not seem to use us as objects. So he suggested that in a relational style we “participate” with God in doing good or caring for others in love. Just something to think about, well it made me think anyway.

  130. poohpity says:

    Or participate in sharing the Good News or similar to Jesus revealing the Father by also teaching His words, we participate in His mission. When I hear new terms used for a while it takes me time to think of things in a different light but it made sense to me after some contemplation.

  131. bubbles says:

    Interesting. I’ve never thought of it that way. So do you think it is wrong to ask God to use us? I hear people pray that way. I wonder if this comes from the potter and the clay. St. Francis of Assisi wrote the poem, “Lord, Make Me and Instrument of Peace.” Please know I am not disagreeing with you. Thank you.

  132. poohpity says:

    I think the Lord knows a persons heart when they ask. It is OK if you disagree with me, you know me well enough to know I love a good discussion as long is there is no name calling, put downs or ugly remarks.;-) The guy who wrote that book works with people who have suffered abuse so He thought of another word to use.

  133. joycemb says:

    When they indicate that they are ready to do whatever it takes to follow him, their Teacher says, “You will indeed drink from my bitter cup and be baptized with my baptism of suffering.

    Like most I too try to avoid suffering but if we choose to follow Jesus its unavoidable, and, I think necessary, according to what Jesus taught.

  134. SFDBWV says:

    Oh my oh my…Matt and I went to Winchester VA yesterday to see about getting Matt back into aqua therapy again. It has been 14 years since we have been there. A long trip and tiring, but there is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. This is love in action.

    When a person becomes a follower of Jesus they should not just be an observer, but a follower.

    We are accepted just as we are, but once accepted we follow Him where ever it is He leads us. To whatever ends it is and on whatever road He chooses for us.

    Our life is no longer ours, but His.

    Good relationships are built on common ground, not on contentious disagreements.

    It is sad, just sad. BTA was once a place I enjoyed coming to, but I don’t like arguing nor the bitterness that is not only present here, but persistent.

    I will always challenge evil, never encourage it. I am not deceived, I pray none of you are either. See strife for what it is and avoid it. When Satan argued with Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus finally said “Get thee behind be Satan”. Get out of my sight, out of my way and behind me.

    When Satan argued with Gabriel over the body of Moses, the angel said “The Lord rebuke thee” and no more.

    There is nothing gained by disagreeable arguing and neither Jesus nor the angel Gabriel wasted any time on it either.

    Time to grow up and get out of the playground.

    56 degrees partially cloudy.

    Steve

  135. jeff1 says:

    While we as believers agree that Christ is our Salvation it is not surprising that non believers have difficulty understanding Christianity today.

    Many like myself have been brought up in religions that are more divisive than they are pointing others to Christ.

    The saying ‘birds of a feather stick together’ comes to mind and so we gather to hold each other up but we are still divided as Christians who believe that what they where indoctrinated to believe is correct and so others who do not share our view has to be wrong.

    To my way of thinking modern day Christianity is far removed from Christ and His followers.

    Christ was a revolutionary of His day while I see myself as a conformist. He went against the authorities of His day while I obey the laws of the land believing that they are under the authority of God.

    Christ understood His father’s will and allowed no one to distract or deter Him from doing it.

    I have a habit of wandering and messing up and unsure of whether I am doing God’s will or my own.

    If I were a non believer I would not see any resemblance of Christ in me so what role has Christianity in a modern world.

    It is not I as a Christian that draws others to Christ but the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is Preachers and teachers who point to Christ so I can understand why non believers would see me as not so much the ‘selfless’ follower of Christ but more like a Christian who gets the reward’s of his/her belief’s.

    How different am I from a non believer in this world today other than I take refuge in Christ when the going gets tough and so it is I who benefit from my faith and there is nothing ‘selfless’ in my relationship with Christ and no more suffering than anyone in this world suffers so I have sacrificed nothing but I am ensured my place in heaven because of Christ’s sacrifice and so it is for God to decide who sits by His side because I am grateful to have known all my days that I had a Saviour while others are still seeking and looking for answers in a world that often seems so alien.

  136. joycemb says:

    Steve I think it sometimes take almost a lifetime for contention and bitterness to resolve. Back in the early church they struggled with the same issues we do today. I don’t think the church will ever be perfectly conformed to the image of Christ because of the “dark glass” as Paul talked about that we can only see through now. But it does get irritating doesn’t it? I agree. But that’s where we have an opportunity to think about how the Ideal can be worked out in our own lives. In a devotion I read yesterday talking about church problems then and now it discussed how the Apostle Paul dealt with problems in the church at Corinth where he wrote the very famous chapter on how we should handle them, I Corinthians 13

    4 eLove is patient and fkind; love gdoes not envy or boast; it his not arrogant 5 or rude. It idoes not insist on its own way; it jis not irritable or resentful;2 6 it kdoes not rejoice at wrongdoing, but lrejoices with the truth. 7 mLove bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, eendures all things.
    So then we should ask ourselves:
    Am I patient?
    Am I kind?
    Am I envious or boastful?
    Am I arrogant or rude?
    Am I insisting on my own way?
    Am I irritated?
    Am I resentful?
    Am I rejoicing over wrongdoing?
    Am I rejoicing over truth?
    Am I bearing all things?
    Am I believing all things?
    Am I hoping all things?
    Am I enduring all things?

    It’s sobering isn’t it. I didn’t do so good if this is a test of my conviction to love at all costs. Something worth thinking about I think,

  137. joycemb says:

    One last though here, that love, like grace, is very costly. Am I willing to die for love? It’s a question only we can answer. Whether dying by violence or by putting my self to death, it’s all part of Jesus message and life as he showed us as a part of His Kingdom on earth.

  138. joycemb says:

    -thought-

  139. joycemb says:

    Oh another thought about the Satan. Why didn’t Job tell Satan to take a leap? Why did Jesus endure severe suffering and questioning by the Satan in the dessert? Is there a time allotted by God to allow severe testing for each individual, and if so then God must have a good purpose for it, right? Reminding myself that He’s a good and holy God, Just and righteous in all His ways, according to scripture,

  140. poohpity says:

    Joyce, I think the only One who can totally meet those standards of love is the Lord and when I realize I can’t I am just more dependent on the Lord and more open to showing grace.

    Steve, what a sad mindless world this would be if everyone agreed on all things. There are a couple different ways of looking at the argument. There is the kind of argument that creates strife and anger(unhealthy)usually in a close minded environment or the kind of argument that creates an environment for critical and evaluative thinking(i.e. healthy debate)where opposing sides present their case in a respectful manner, listening and learning from each other. In an authoritative atmosphere everyone must think like the head(controlling person) or there is hell to pay when someone voices their own opinion so everyone just agrees to stop from rocking the boat but that is on the most part an oppressive environment similar to communism, sadly there are a lot of households, relationships and marriages like that.

    Disagreeing is not a personal insult or attack for the person who is not a control freak but it can be taken that way from those who are. There are ways to reason without it becoming heated if one is open to listening and learning.

  141. poohpity says:

    Joyce, I think that God allowed Satan to have dominion over this world for a time until that day when He is cast into the lake of fire but he does not have dominion over the believers heart and the Lord is our shield of protection until the time of his demise. Untested faith seems to be found as no faith at all. 1 Peter 1:6-7 NLT

  142. poohpity says:

    1 Cor 13:11

  143. joycemb says:

    Some theological systems believe that man is over woman and that a woman is not being submissive if she disagrees with male leadership. That its their God given responsibility to keep others from rocking their theological conviction. I experienced this when I was in a church elders bible study and simply asked the pastor if there was another way of looking at a particular text. He slammed his Bible down and said he wouldn’t take it. The elders were so confused and gave him a minute to calm down then asked him what was going on. He said he was having problems with his wife, who happened to be just walking in the room and overheard. She left immediately and I followed seeing the pain in her eyes. But she would not talk, probably fearing the consequences. ( This being a pastor that used a belt on his then 2 and 4 year old daughters to teach them submission, which he told us about.) My experiences are probably extreme but his conviction was strong and wanted only to please God as a husband, father, and pastor.

  144. joycemb says:

    Right pooh, yet we are commanded to love God and others aren’t we? Each failure I have in loving as God loves I must lay before God and ask for mercy and forgiveness and help to do his will (love).

  145. poohpity says:

    I think those were the responses to what commandments were greater in an answer to a question but later one finds the commands of Jesus were John 13:34 and John 15:12.

  146. poohpity says:

    but those are only possible by the desire that God had for humanity to believe in the One He sent. John 6:29 NLT

  147. poohpity says:

    Yes Joyce I have found that a lot of church leadership and marriages fit into that pattern leaving out the most important part as Christ was submissive to God that meant Jesus never lorded over or controlled people. Any one person is willing to follow the leadership of someone when they know that that person has their best interest in mind but that kind of control that you mentioned only has cowardliness in mind and domineering another. Jesus never forced anything on anyone and that includes respect, love and submissiveness, people followed because they knew that Jesus loved them, a person who controls only has their self in mind.

  148. joycemb says:

    I disagree with your assessment pooh, I think those like my former pastor sincerely think they are doing Gods will, although their flesh may have a more dominant role than they think! I know I underestimate the flesh often. God gives grace enough for ALL sinners though, no matter how crippled.

  149. joycemb says:

    I think it’s dangerous to use words like controlling, domineering and cowardly when describing another sinner saved by grace. Like pointing a finger but having 3 pointing back at you. Eek.

  150. joycemb says:

    Let he who is without sin throw the first stone. None did.

  151. mtman says:

    Steve: I just read you July 27, 2017 at 5:37 am, post and I agree with you. I tend not to be as diplomatic in my disappointment as you have been. What I have noticed is that as soon as a good comment (like yours) is made two people or sometimes more niggle away at the edges of your comment and raise doubt or uncertain while masking it as honest Christian dispute or difference. It has been so since this blog was initiated but now it is more straight forward and those who are the culprits are impervious to seeing their own conduct and point fingers at others or engage in dispute and contention between themselves.

    I read your comment and the subsequent comments and the hopeless niggling away at your substance by moving it slightly off target is as Jeff says something that throws seekers off target. I have said it numerous times that non-believers coming to this site would find nothing to convince them to be Christians. It is very say and why I don’t feel inclined to contribute comments to this blog site nor do I read it on a regular basis.

    Your comment is either pushed off subject or you are attacked directly. I have no desire to strive for perfection and being all knowledgeable like some on this site come across. Maybe I’ll see you down the road but I have no desire to be a regular part of this site nor do I see any growth within it.

  152. joycemb says:

    Excerpt from Seedbed Daily Text July 27

    There’s a reason a big chunk of the New Testament deals with the issues and sins that come between us. Because the biggest problem with community is the posture, “Jesus loves you, I don’t have to.”

  153. joycemb says:

    I’m not surprised at the resistance to love. It’s been a problem for over 2000 years(wink).

  154. joycemb says:

    I could use your prayers. I quit my anti depressant after 12 years and my brain chemistry is not liking it. I’ve been working with a therapist on some anger issues from long ago and it’s been good, I feel mostly level and upbeat but the brain swooshing, dizziness etc are difficult. Thank you friends.

  155. poohpity says:

    Oh Joyce I should have known better not to get into a conversation with you! I guess just read what the bible says and the actions of Jesus about submission, control, domineering which are behaviors of the flesh not sins by the way.

  156. poohpity says:

    Or maybe actions of the flesh are sins, shoot I don’t know.

  157. street says:

    The Hidden Right and Left

    thinking about the same ole, same ole. moses grew up in egypt 40, then tended herds 40 years, followed by another 40 and we know how that turned out. during the 40’s there was definitely same ole, same ole. God is so patient and merciful, what is the right and the left missing?

  158. joycemb says:

    A long time-timeout in the desert I guess. Where are my sandals?

  159. joycemb says:

    Dear dr street, you are the professional amongst us. What words do you have for/about the blog ?

  160. joycemb says:

    Yes pooh but you and I aren’t Jesus, not even close:-).

  161. street says:

    if our words are about this blog, each other, or ourselves, i think we might be missing the purpose of the blog. God the Father God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are so much better to inquire of. yet He wants us to do this in a community of relationships. reading chambers today about Spiritual insight requires obedience. i guess it might be a good time to think about the parameters God has given us to live joyful vibrant lives before Him. He is good and has given us everything we need.

  162. joycemb says:

    Thank you, so much to think about.

  163. joycemb says:

    Been thinking about my part in the dis – ease on the blog. As much as I will miss the relationships here its probably best I spend more of my time seeking God. Putting my sandals on as I speak. Hope things get better. Bless all on your respective journeys. Joyce

  164. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning to all.

    Late yesterday afternoon the pastor at the church of God called me and ask if it was ok to block off the street in front of the Church and parking lot as they were having Summer Bible School and had some of those inflatable bouncy apparatuses for the kids to enjoy.

    We shared a laugh as we had just had a little 5 minute shower and the weather people were calling for severe thunderstorms and possible flooding rains.

    Of course I told him it was ok to block off the street and I would alert the police about it. And that I had just looked at the radar and it looked to me as if the storms might go south of us.

    It did not rain a single drop and the laughter of children is always a more pleasant sound than thunder.

    Also during that same ominous warning of wet weather a funeral director called me and they had an upcoming burial in our cemetery. The situation being that this was an immediate burial. That means no embalming and the body has to be buried within 48 hours.

    So it was a quick trip to the cemetery for me to mark off this man’s grave. That turned out to be more work than I had hoped in finding the corners and aligning where he is to be buried.

    So even though there was much noise on the weather channel about incoming storms, it appeared the Lord was good to the Pastor and I in allowing us to get done that which we needed to do.

    I thank Him for that.

    I thank Him for a lot of things, we have a good relationship and every now and then He lets me know just how that relationship is going.

    I would like to thank mtman for his understanding and common sense in what he sees on BTA. Like him I don’t know how I can fix the problem. The only fix for me as I have witnessed from far too many is just to walk away and shake the dust from my feet.

    I am not quite ready to do that yet and let evil win. Because it is evil that has attacked BTA. It is empowered and enabled by participating with it. Try as I may it won’t allow me to completely ignore it, but I choose to ignore it in hopes it will starve out and die, but as long as others feed it, it will stick around just like a stray cat.

    Praying for BTA.

    Would also like to say that the sunflower plant that the deer had dined on has now 7 bright yellow flowers on it with an 8th about to bloom.

    Steve

  165. poohpity says:

    Joyce, you are part of the blog and you at least do add some good things to the conversations about the topic.

    Speaking of evil the main intent of such is to distract from the things of God. Isn’t that what comes out of the heart of man as per Jesus? Couldn’t that be what prompted James, John and their mom to push the other disciples aside and want the places of honor in the Kingdom of God? Or evil could be what happened to Peter as he tried to get Jesus not to go to the Cross or wash his feet? Or to Thomas that he would not believe that Jesus was risen unless he saw with his eye or touch the wounds?

    It seems to be evil that keeps one from going to church, reading the bible, worshiping God or growing closer in a relationship with Him. Feeding evil would be talking against people who are made in God’s image and feeding the flames of malice, contempt, condemnation, alienation and rejection.(Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9-10 NLT; Matt 15:19 NIV; Mark 7:21-22) But the answer to that heart problem is turning to Jesus because He heals heart conditions. Matt 13:15; Acts 28:27

  166. poohpity says:

    After the crucifixion when the Holy Spirit came John, James and their mom seemed to have an understanding of what their arrogance was during the days before the Cross but do we still realize the totality and magnitude of what happen on that Cross? If we did then maybe one would treat people differently and live differently.

  167. poohpity says:

    Disagreeing or seeing things differently is not evil, rejecting people because they do those things, now that seems to be evil.

  168. poohpity says:

    That would fall into the category of arrogance and pride.

  169. poohpity says:

    There is a book out although I have never read it was mentioned on DTW this week about kindness being a forgotten Christian virtue.

  170. poohpity says:

    It actually mentions love and kindness being forgotten Christian virtues.

  171. jeff1 says:

    I believe my dad was wise beyond any other I have known in my lifetime and he always said look for the good in people and you will find it but look for the bad and you will find it too.

    My dad knew how to get the best out of people and how he did that was by being kind and generous himself.

    Food for thought!

  172. foreverblessed says:

    Oh Joyce, I was going to ask you if you would pray for my BIL, tomorrow we will go to Amsterdam and visit him, after church.
    I hope you still read this.

    And then I found this, maybe it will be helpful:

    ” The overcoming is not the overcoming of the troubled person, but the overcoming of the wrong within yourself that such a person arouses in you.”

    In my own words from:God calling, July 28, by twolisteners.

  173. jeff1 says:

    “The overcoming is not the overcoming of the troubled person, but the overcoming of the wrong within yourself that such a person arouses in you.”

    What truth, I learned how difficult this is to do when you have been hurt badly by others and for myself personally I do this by taking refuge in Christ because that is were I find the peace of mind I need.

    Christ rights all wrongs for me because He takes from me the responsibility of my own hurting and puts to right not just the hatred of my enemies but the sadness that overwhelms me when I cannot find it in my heart to forgive them for their trespass.

    When I leave it with God I know His judgements will be just and right where mine would only cause the same reaction that caused my enemies to hate in the first place.

    I had a dad who understood this when I did not and why I do not have to look to far to find an example of someone who not only understood God’s will but never hesitated to do it regardless of the opposition he faced from others who did not have his vision or his awareness.

    There is a vast difference in Christians because it is the mature Christian who understands God’s will without hindsight who walks the walk while sadly the reason Christianity fails in the modern world is that most are better at talking the talk.

    That does not seem to bother God because He has that covered but explains why non believer are not drawn to Christ through believers but by the indwelling Holy Spirit as God empowers those that act rather than those that procrastinate.

  174. jeff1 says:

    Morning has broken like the first morning
    Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
    Praise for the singing
    Praise for the morning
    Praise for them springing fresh from the world

    Sweet the rain’s new fall, sunlight from heaven
    Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
    Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden
    Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

    Mine is the sunlight
    Mine is the morning
    Born of the one light Eden saw play
    Praise with elation, praise ev’ry morning
    God’s recreation of the new day

    Morning has broken like the first morning
    Blackbird has spoken like the first bird
    Praise for the singing
    Praise for the morning
    Praise for them springing fresh from the world

  175. poohpity says:

    I pray for you forever that God would use your BIL to touch your heart just as that quote you wrote says; ” overcoming of the wrong within yourself that such a person arouses in you.” In His love, Deb

  176. jeff1 says:

    Thou hidden love of God, whose height,
    whose depth unfathomed no man knows,
    I see from afar thy beauteous light,
    and inly sigh for thy repose;
    my heart is pained, nor can it be
    at rest, till it finds rest in thee.

    The secret voice invites me still
    the sweetness of thy yoke to prove;
    and fain I would; but though my will
    seems fixed, yet wide my passions rove;
    yet hindrances stew all the way;
    I aim at thee, yet from thee stray.

    ‘Tis mercy all that thou hast brought
    my mind to seek its peace in thee;
    yet while I seek but find thee not,
    no peace my wandering soul shall see.
    O when shall all my wanderings end,
    And all my steps to theeward tend?

    Is there a thing beneath the sun
    that strives with thee my heart to share?
    Ah, tear it hence and reign alone,
    the Lord of every motion there;
    then shall my heart from earth be free,
    when it has found repose in thee.

    O hide this self from me, that I
    no more, but Christ in me, may live!
    my vile affections crucify,
    nor let one darling lust survive
    in all things nothing may I see,
    nothing desire or seek, but thee!

    O Love, thy sovereign aid impart
    to save me from low thought care;
    chase this self will from all my heart,
    from all its hidden mazes there;
    make me thy duteous child that I
    ceaseless may “Abba, Father” cry.

    Ah no! ne’er will I backward turn:
    thine wholly, thine alone I am!
    thrice happy he who views with scorn
    earth’s toys, for thee his constant Flame;
    O help that I may never move
    from the blest footsteps of thy love!

    Each moment draw from earth away
    my heart that lowly waits thy call;
    speak to my inmost soul and say,
    “I am thy love, thy God, thy all!”
    to feel thy power, to hear thy voice,
    to taste thy love, be all my choice.

  177. joycemb says:

    Forever bless your heart. I’m praying your bil will experience the love God has for him through you and other believers in his church. He’s so fortunate to have a real prayer warrior that cares so much for his soul. Your selflessness will surely be rewarded.

  178. SFDBWV says:

    My sunflower that the deer tried to eat has now 8 beautiful yellow flowers on it. It is a beautiful example of life never giving up and triumphing over the worst of odds.

    We experienced flooding in some areas of town yesterday with over 5 and a half inches of rain in 24 hours. As the afternoon clouds dissipated and the sun came out the landscape looked as if nothing had occurred at all.

    Life goes on.

    Those who have read the books or seen the movies of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” might remember the little Hobbit “Sam”. Here was, in my estimation, the real hero of the story as he never abandoned Frodo, especially when Frodo abandoned him.

    He never gave up and even when all seemed lost he carried Frodo the last mile of his journey.

    When you look for what is good and decent in the world, you will always see a reflection of God.

    When we stumble and fall and all seems lost, in spite of ourselves He is faithful to carry us that last mile, even if He finds someone else to do it for Him it is still of His doing to do so.

    Prayers for your brother in law Foreverblessed. As well as for BTA.

    Steve

  179. SFDBWV says:

    Wanted also to mention that we had a total of 6.79 inches of rain from the storm event of about 36 hours.

    The North Branch of the Potomac was almost as high as the 1985 flood.

    it is currently 43 degrees f and clear this morning.

    Steve

  180. jeff1 says:

    From Sunday morning reflections this morning.

    As morning dawns and evening fades
    You in- spire songs of praise
    That rise from earth to touch Your heart and glorify Your Name

    Chorus:

    Your Name is a strong and mighty tow- er
    Your Name is a shelter like no oth- er
    Your Name, let the nations sing it loud- er
    ‘Cause nothing has the pow- er to save
    But Your Name

    Jesus, in Your Name we pray
    Come and fill our hearts today
    Lord, give us strength to live for You and glorify Your Name

    Chorus:

    Your Name is a strong and mighty tow- er
    Your Name is a shelter like no oth- er
    Your Name, let the nations sing it loud- er
    ‘Cause nothing has the pow- er to save
    But Your Name

    Instrumental

    Chorus:

    Your Name is a strong and mighty tow- er
    Your Name is a shelter like no oth- er
    Your Name, let the nations sing it loud- er
    ‘Cause nothing has the pow- er to save but Your Name
    ‘Cause nothing has the power to save but Your Name
    ‘Cause nothing has the power to save but

    (Repeat Chorus)

    Your Name is a strong and mighty tow- er
    Your Name is a shelter like no oth- er
    Your Name, let the nations sing it loud- er
    ‘Cause nothing has the pow- er to save but
    ‘Cause nothing has the pow- er to save but Your Name
    ‘Cause nothing has the pow- er to save but Your Name

  181. mtman says:

    I just read some of the comments. I do not read this blog any more but on an irregular basis. In response to Steve’s comment on July 28, 2017 at 5:20 am, I don’t personally believe that evil will go away until after the second coming. It is present in various forms but taking a piece of scripture off its purpose is still one of the most obvious.

    I am reminded of Jesus temptations in the desert. He had fasted for 40 days and was in a weakened state and Satan tempted him not by a direct assault or challenge but by using scripture slightly off center. The same tactic used on Eve in the Garden.

    That is what I see happening here. A comment or topic has on its face solid scripture but it is then taken slightly off in the presentation by some commentators. I’m not calling those who contribute those comments evil but what I am saying is that some people seem to like to tweek scripture where it sounds good and proper but in reality it is off just enough to create doubt or false perceptions, especially in those not firmly grounded in scripture.

    If a person is not firmly grounded in scripture they are susceptible to being directed off center more easily. If anyone engages in dialog with such a person they will be sucked into a convincing dialog that will divert their attention to the instigators line of thinking eventually. That is what I have seen here and it will not go away. It will keep chipping away at the edges of belief to cause doubt and mis-understanding.

    So what is wrong with different opinions being exercised between people? Nothing but both opinions are not frequently both right and don’t involve the Holy Spirit’s interpretation and only tend to create dissension. No time apparently is taken to pray about a comment before it is made. It seems the solution is not bite on some of these comments that are designed to instigate. To not engage in dialog with the person is a wise decision.

    The person/s comes across persuasively and with authority but in fact is not. Challenging another persons statement is not the way to present scripture. It is not necessary to make it a personal disagreement but instead state you opinion and leave it at that. Let the reader of the comment decide if it meets the smell test or not.

    If someone has an improper opinion let it be. They will read other opinions and possible change their mind and not have it changed for them through argument.

    Once drawn into a dispute it is easy to have a winner/loser conversation and it distracts. Discussions like that should be carried on via other social media avenues between individuals and not on center stage. It stifles comments by others as they may not want to engage in controversy or say what is on their mind and heart, for fear of being the focus of an attack.

    For me I plan to visit from time to time and probably won’t make a comment unless I think it will benefit all readers. Hopefully the site will improve in the future and if not I will just drop away and look for a site or venue that will be more to my liking.

  182. street says:

    17 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the [d]Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and [f]a number of the leading women. 5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people. 6 When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also; 7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8 They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things. 9 And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.
    Paul at Berea

    10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. 13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

  183. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you all for your prayers, they greatly encouraged me, in joy: It is God who is working, and I can rejoice in what He is doing.

    And as I said before, He is sooooo patient, He leaves matters alone, maybe 10 years, 20 years, He is looking for the soul of the person. He takes time. And I am just amazed by His working!

    Thank you all!

    It was a lovely afternoon, it had been raining in Amsterdam, badly ever since Saturday night, we were half an hour late on Sunday afternoon, and he said: Just lucky enough, that you were dealyed half an hour, otherwise I would have been wet. But the rain stopped, and you came!

    (God is good in giving signs to us )

    ANd we went cycling in the “Amsterdam woods”. A very nice place to be, and the sun was shining, and it was just a lovely day!

  184. foreverblessed says:

    And about Jesus, hanging between two thieves, (or rather: between two people who had been stealing, and by the way: what a great punishment for stealing!!!):


    Real Influence

    Do not let one single link of influence go.

    Cords of true love and interest must never be broken. They must always be used for ME. Pray for those to whom you are bound by particular ties, then you will be ready, should I desire your special help for them.

    You must withstand as a sinner with a sinner before you can save him. Even I had to hang between two thieves to save My world.

    God at eventide, July 30

  185. jeff1 says:

    When I was younger I would say to my dad why so much suffering and he would answer ‘Christ suffered’ and those who understand this do not question suffering in their life because they expect it as part of life and not only do they expect it but they suffer well.

    They also leave justice in God’s hands and do not look for it in this life because they are aware that men’s efforts cannot meet with God’s standard of justice.

    In truth they are trusting God in their life while those who do not trust God demand that the law works in their favour and finds disillusionment when it doesn’t because it is man’s standard of justice and not God’s

    I am not sure how long I have been on this blog but I am an outsider in that I do not know anyone here personally so I am not prejudiced in any way for or against any person.

    I come to this site with no biblical knowledge because I believed from my own life’s experience that interpretation of the bible could be divisive depending on why one reads their bible.

    I had the experience of people reading it to enforce their point of view rather than getting to know God.

    No one on this site has in any way given me the view that they read their bible for any other purpose than to get to know God.

    There is one however who does quote verses of scripture when it suits to enforce her point of view.

    I will listen inventively to anyone whom I know is interpretation the bible with a heart for God but I have lived in a country where Christians objective was often to enforce their point rather than God’s and so I have discernment when it comes to knowing whom to listen to and whom not.

    I have prejudices regardless of what I tell myself.
    It was through the conviction of the indwelling Holy Spirit that made me aware of this.

    Once I am made aware of this I know that it is ‘Jesus’ who must increase and ‘I’ must decrease otherwise I continue to wander from God.

    I am either ‘submitted’ or ‘a wanderer’ i.e. obedient or not.

    My dad was submitted to God and his life proved it because he agreed with God because it was the right response and not because it aligned with his point of view.

    As a wanderer I submit to God when God’s response aligns with my point of view but when it doesn’t I fail to submit and my spiritual growth does not flourish and I blame God when it is my own blindness that stumps my growth.

    The struggle is in the mind and I am long enough on this earth to know struggles of the mind can be with us our lifetime.

    My dad was stable of mind and so submission to God was like breathing to him.

    I inherited my mum’s instability and so inconsistency is my struggle.

    Those like my dad can walk the walk but the truth is God will carry you which to my human way of thinking seems unfair to those like my dad but then my dad’s response would align with God’s because he just didn’t talk the talk he walked the walk.

    My God Is No Stranger

    I’ve never seen God,
    but I know how I feel,
    It’s people like you
    who make Him “so real” …
    My God is no stranger,
    He’s friendly and gay
    And He doesn’t ask me
    to weep when I pray …
    It seems that I pass Him
    so often each day
    In the faces of people
    I meet on the way …
    He’s the stars in the heaven,
    a smile on some face,
    A leaf on a tree
    or a rose in a vase …
    He’s winter and autumn
    and summer and spring,
    In short, God is every
    real, wonderful thing …
    I wish I might meet Him
    much more than I do,
    I would if there were
    more people like you.

    Even the negative responses on this blog remind me of my need of God so nothing is wasted in God’s economy.

  186. poohpity says:

    Yes there are some who “use” scripture to prove their points but there are also some that relay scripture to share the teachings of Jesus. Some scripture can stand alone to prove the points Jesus was making about the human condition and our need for Him but taking scripture out of context to be used to prove their own philosophy or human reasoning is also present. But no one can tell the difference if they are not rooted and grounded in the word or truth because deception is not easily detected without having something to compare it with. Often one might find that those they think are so spiritual or godly actually do not know the Lord very much at all but only human thinking depending on the flesh or the ways of the world.

    Are any of the above any better or worse than the others, of course not just some have spent their time after coming to believe getting to know God better and growing closer to Him but it still does not make anyone any better or worse than another in fact the one’s who know God better should be more understanding, patient and kind if any thing with those who don’t and more willing to share what is actually taught not in piece work but within the whole.

  187. poohpity says:

    Last week during our bible study which we do in a fast food restaurant, on the west side of us was a person who spoke to us about science, that there is not a God and the bible was written by men while on the east side was a couple that did know the Lord and believed in Him and His Word.

    The man from the west side came and shared his views which we welcomed and listened. There were some areas I was able to share with him about our hope but arguing with him about his own views of creation and his thoughts about the bible would have only lead to the kind of conversation that would have done no one any good. Well after he left we found that the Lord had given us an example about the very thing that we were learning that day before we even read it. Long story short the other believers and us joined together to pray that maybe a seed was planted and felt it was all God directed and sanctioned not for lessons for the non believer but for us in learning His Word which was Col 2. If one will read that chapter you see what the Lord was teaching us.

  188. poohpity says:

    I have found more often than not when reading the bible it is for correcting, rebuking and teaching me or the very person reading it while others use it as a means to do those very things to others and fail to apply it to themselves. Which I have to say I am guilty of as well. None of us meets up to the Lord’s standards that is the very reason Jesus came and the very significance of the Cross. So who do we think we are to try to sweep off our neighbors door step when the inside of our own very houses have rooms that the Lord is working diligently to sweep out for us and put into order. I think the reason is because one is so busy trying to hide their rooms from the sight of others like magicians do having the focus in one area to get take focus off the area that the trick is being done, slight of hand, thinking we are something when we are just all broken vessels in need of repair or a Savior.

    The person on the right of Jesus knew that while the one to the left held tight to the things he knew and died holding on to the very things that brought him death in the first place.

  189. poohpity says:

    Turn your eyes to Jesus then the things of earth grow strangely dim then there will be less of she said or he said and more of what Jesus says.

  190. jeff1 says:

    Christianity has failed to get the message of the gospel to the modern world because as you say we cannot meet God’s standards and so to non believers we look no different from them other than what we believe is different.

    That does not seem to bother God as He asks His followers to be faithful to Him and not the world.

    The ironic thing is that the message of the gospel has not changed but religious beliefs get in the way of the truth.

    There again the bible states that this will happen so again its not news to God.

    It seems to me that God is very much in control and it is my inability to see because of my tendency to wander.

    Thinking Pooh, that the problem is that we are all broken vessels but broken for a reason and that is very significant to the gospel story to my way of thinking.

    Trusting God in my brokenness may be what God requires of me!

    Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth
    Would care to know my name
    Would care to feel my hurt?
    Who am I that the bright and morning star
    Would choose to light the way
    For my every wandering heart?

    Not because of who I am
    But because of what you’ve done
    Not because of what I’ve done
    But because of who you are

    I am a flower quickly fading
    Here today and gone tomorrow
    A wave tossed in the ocean
    A vapor in the wind
    Still you hear me when I’m calling
    Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
    And you’ve told me who I am
    I am yours

    Who am I, that the eyes that see my sin
    Would look on me with love
    And watch me rise again?
    Who am I, that the voice that calmed the sea
    Would call out through the rain
    And calm the storm in me?

    Not because of who I am
    But because of what you’ve done
    Not because of what I’ve done
    But because of who you are

    I am a flower quickly fading
    Here today and gone tomorrow
    A wave tossed in the ocean
    A vapor in the wind
    Still you hear me when I’m calling
    Lord, you catch me when I’m falling
    And you’ve told me who I am
    I am yours

    Not because of who I am
    But because of what you’ve done
    Not because of what I’ve done
    But because of who you are

    I am a flower quickly fading
    Here today and gone tomorrow
    A wave tossed in the ocean
    A vapor in the wind
    Still you hear me when I’m calling
    Lord, you hear me when I’m falling
    And you have told me who I am
    I am yours

    I am yours
    I am yours
    Whom shall I fear, whom shall I fear?
    ‘Cause I am yours
    I am yours

  191. poohpity says:

    Oh my gosh there were only a little over 3000 Christians in the 1st Century to over 2.10 billion per a pew research study in 2010. That is just counting those who are living not those who have fallen asleep since then. There are many of us who share the gospel message and point people to Christ not to ourselves but to Christ to become His followers not ours. Yes often it is because we share how flawed we are yet forgiven and loved by God who wants a relationship with those who realize they are broken while people are turned away from those who think they are so righteous, godly and look down on others but that is the same as it was in the 1st century when Jesus shared the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector which is still applicable for today.

    “Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: 10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer[a]: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—cheaters, sinners, adulterers. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

    13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

  192. jeff1 says:

    What about those that God draws to Himself through the indwelling Holy Spirit, what of them who have no biblical knowledge Pooh but God still sees fit to save?

  193. poohpity says:

    Gee, look alone at the cabinet members in our government now most of which claim belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord more than has ever been since our early government was founded. They have bible studies, prayer meetings like I have never witnessed but they however do not claim perfection in any way but reliance on the Lord. It is no wonder they are being so grossly persecuted by the far left media and government officials but most do not see that because they are busy being accused of false information.

  194. poohpity says:

    It is from God that all are brought to Him but to share the gospel one has to know what it is. Viv, you get the gospel through songs, don’t you? Is that enough to share the message of the Good News? Only you can answer that but from reading some of the things you write you do share that message but there is so much more after salvation.

    I read the bible to get to know God better which He also put on my heart so it is all due to Him. He puts the desire in our hearts to trust, delight and commit to Him, it just does not come naturally it comes from Him. The natural fleshly thing would be not to desire to know anything about God.

    It is not a bad thing to read the bible nor is it a bad thing to share what it says in fact that is what a disciple does is to learn from God and we have a wonderful book to do that from. How do those who write songs get their information from, or those who teach from the pulpit, the reason bible translators have gone all over the world to put that word in the languages of all people around the world and why is the bible the most sold book all around the world. I do not how anyone can say anything negative about the bible without ever having read it, that is just pure assumption and jumping to uninformed conclusions.

    Who does one think puts the contrary nature to reading the bible? It would be the one who is against God and has always been against God.

    People give up their lives to get bibles into the hands of people that their countries do not allow bibles in them. People die learning languages to translate. People die for sharing the Gospel. So it is not about biblical knowledge it is the book we have to know God, that He has given us through the testimonies of many who have walked with God.

  195. poohpity says:

    Viv, when you came to believe in the Lord, He put the tug in your heart but didn’t you hear the message from a person that God may have participated with in bringing the Good News to you?

  196. poohpity says:

    For me reading the bible daily is part of my worship, as well as praying, reading daily devotions and listening to Christian music.

  197. jeff1 says:

    I inherited my belief in God because I was brought up in a Christian home. I spent most of my life running from God rather than running to Him and its hard to break the habit.

    I find it difficult to understand why God wants a relationship with me because I am much more of a wanderer and find commitment to God scars me.

    I believe Christ died for my sins and that gives me peace of mind and I need that more than I need knowledge.

    I love listening to Christian music, reading devotionals and inspirational poems and attend my local church on communion Sundays, Easter and Christmas. This makes me feel close to God.

    I know people who feel nearer to God when fishing or gardening and I say whatever is right for you do it because God delights that you feel closer to Him and not what makes you feel closer.

  198. poohpity says:

    Just being raised in a Christian home does not make one a Christian, each person has to make that commitment on their own. I could not get to heaven on the faith of my parents or siblings or the people I know that is a personal acknowledgement and belief. It is a way of life for each individual some days one can feel close to God and one day maybe they will not feel close to God but it is not about that either, it is about giving yourself to God and developing a relationship with Him, no matter what one feels.

  199. poohpity says:

    The bible explains why God wants a relationship with you, who you are to Him and what He thinks about you. I can tell you for sure it is different than what you think about yourself or what you think about Him. One can stick their toes in the water and never take the full plunge but boy are they missing out on a lot.

    It would be similar to getting married but only spending time with them certain times of the year but never sharing your real daily life or not even knowing what they like or dislike, what their favorite color is, what their favorite food is, what their dreams are and all the rest of the things that promote intimacy in a relationship. Gee when I think about it that is the kind of marriage I would like, lol.

  200. cbrown says:

    Pooh, you were on Fire, thank you.Viv I have never been to Ireland but it is the extreme of what you have explained and we have seen where we live. I know that your dad loved God’s Word or he would not have had the faith he demonstrated.

  201. cbrown says:

    Joyce, If I had the gift to write I would write every day.i have the gift to read you Pooh, Forever, Maru, Steve and street.Please continue.Oh and TGBTG.

  202. saled says:

    I love the Bible. It is the way that God came to me. But God is not confined to the Bible. Like Jeff1 says, some of us feel closer to God when gardening or fishing, and maybe that is because when doing those common activities, our hearts are quiet enough to sense Him. We need to remember that it has only been for the last hundred years or so that the average person has had the ability to read the Bible for themselves and it has only been for a few hundred years that the Bible itself has been available to the common man.

    I’ve read and participated in BTA for the last 5 years or more, and its value for me has been in the diversity of voices, such as Pooh’s emphasis on Bible reading and Jeff1’s steering clear of that and feeling free to say so. God is way more complicated and way more simple than I grew up believing. How can He be both? More complicated and more simple? He is God. He can meet us where He wants and take us where He wants. I, like Jeff1, need peace of mind more than knowledge.

    I also appreciate Mart’s topics. They almost always give me a new way to view something in the Bible. Such as this topic. I never related James and John’s request with the two thieves who hung beside Jesus. And like Steve mentioned, if you want to be a follower of Jesus and be of use to Him, understand that your plans and thoughts as to how are gone, and He will use you where He wants and supply the anointing and your needs. A year ago, I prayed that God would make me a blessing to my mother, sister, and brothers. I just felt out of touch with them, even though they live nearby. I was already busy with my husband, children and grandchildren and a job. It has been a tough year and I am just overwhelmed by the needs and although things are holding together, I am not truly meeting the needs of any of them. I had no idea that being a blessing could be so difficult!

  203. jeff1 says:

    Yes, Pooh, I do understand that having being brought up in a Christian home doesn’t make me a Christian and I don’t even believe that me believing in God makes me a Christian.

    I believe that it is God’s word that I am saved as a gift and not whether I behave like a Christian or not.

    I desire to behave like a Christian but fail miserably and why I choose to take refuge in Christ because I don’t understand what God is doing in my life nor in the world for that matter because I have a tendency to wander and know very little.

    I trust God because I had a dad who trusted God and I have never met anyone with the ability to understand God’s will the way my father did.

    My mother had a difficult upbringing and never seen the inside of a church but I can remember her and her friend going into chapels frequently because they were left open while our churches were locked.

    Some are more spiritual than religious and closer to God naturally but I have met some very good Christians that had religious upbringing, my dad being one of them so its God’s call when it comes to who’s who in heaven.

  204. poohpity says:

    Viv, I am sad that you are not understanding what I was saying. Behaving like a Christian, which is one who follows Christ, we do not have to have perfect behavior we KNOW we do not meet up to God’s standards. We forgive as we were forgiven, we show mercy and grace because we have been shown mercy and grace. We seek after the things of God, looking for Him in everything and to get to know Him better. God knew we would never be prefect in anyway nor does He expect the impossible, that is what is so amazing about His love for the unlovable and the grace we have been shown. We fully understand we are broken vessels, broken in heart matters, in mind matters and in spirit matters we need help so one looks to the Lord rather than to self as the remedy and solution.

  205. poohpity says:

    A real spiritual person is one who admits their need for a solution and healing who relies on God not their self or their abilities but on God’s capabilities, abilities, strength, wisdom, power and love. One who trusts, depends, delights and commits on and in the Lord, that is what the Lord seems to find pleasure in for us to look to Him, to come to Him and to follow Him. It does not seem to have a lot to do with our behavior but God’s love.

  206. poohpity says:

    Our behavior is the reason that Jesus came to show us a new way to live and to prove the love God has for ALL His creation.

  207. poohpity says:

    In the bible we find that God used flawed people to minister to a flawed world.

  208. jeff1 says:

    That is exactly what I don’t get because I don’t see flawed people helping other flawed people but often making them feel worse then they already do.

    The world doesn’t change if there is no progress and if flawed people remain flawed then history repeats itself.

    When I am weary I don’t look to another person to make me feel better I go to God’s music, poetry or devotionals.

    Physically I can help a person who has a physical disability but when it comes to the mind the struggle remains within you and God’s tools are there to support you through it but the weariness keeps returning and so it is very much your own cross to bear.

    God did not remove Paul’s thorn in his side so often we just have to keep going in our pain and as I get older I don’t find it gets any easier and so I am weary of this world.

    You say it doesn’t matter about how I feel but the truth is if I don’t feel well then do I want to go on living in this world and you get to the stage where you are asking never mind if there is life after death but is there life before death!

  209. jeff1 says:

    I may not contemplate committing suicide but that does not mean I do not understand what it feels like to be suicidal.

    I don’t think anyone can understand this feeling until they themselves have experienced it and yet find me a person who will not judge you for feeling this way.

  210. poohpity says:

    I have attempted suicide and have the scars on my arm to prove it and found that I can not trust my feelings because they ebb and flow depending on circumstances but the “knowing” that God is my firm foundation to trust in not my feelings.

  211. poohpity says:

    All there is in this world is flawed people. God uses them when they admit to those flaws then they learn to die to self then depend on God but that does not make them any less flawed. So it is not about their flaws but how much they depend on and believe in God those are the ones God can live through, not those who think themselves righteous or godly but those who admit to their weaknesses they lead the way to God and not themselves.

  212. street says:

    The Hidden Right and Left
    thinking about the left and the right,
    is it really hidden?
    i think the hidden part is the motive of the right and the left.
    we think we can love impartially? some peddle the gospel.
    makes me stop and think.
    Jesus said the road is very narrow that leads to life and the gate is very small. few find it.
    the narrow road ends at the cross.
    learning to love begins.

    love will testify before kings and the King of kings.

  213. jeff1 says:

    There are times when I am so sure that God works through me but it is so momentarily that it is like a dream and I am no longer sure that it is real.

    God isn’t easy to hold on to or else I am too much of a wanderer!

    Perhaps that’s why I seem to take refuge in Christ He’s much more real to me while God often seems distant.

    Is that God’s will or my fault for hiding that is what I wonder but I know it doesn’t stop God from loving me.

  214. poohpity says:

    Jesus is God revealed in the flesh, along with the Holy Spirit they are One. It is similar to an egg which is made up of three parts, yolk, white and shell but together they form an egg. Each has a distinct purpose in manifestation but are all One none the less. That is a primary understanding that leads to Salvation. Salvation includes belief in who Jesus is, what was done on the Cross and the resurrection, belief in those are what a person is saved by believing in. John 14:9 NLT; Romans 10:9-10 NLT

  215. Beloved says:

    Daily Dig for August 9
    Karl Barth

    They crucified him with the criminals. Do you know what this implies? Don’t be too surprised if I tell you that this was the first Christian fellowship, the first certain, indissoluble, and indestructible Christian community. Christian community is manifest wherever there is a group of people close to Jesus who are with him in such a way that they are directly and unambiguously affected by his promise and assurance. These may hear that everything he is, he is for them, and everything he does, he does for them. To live by this promise is to be a Christian community.

    Source: Deliverance to the Captives
    #christiancommunity #karlbarth

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