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The Gospel of Matthew

Two days ago, Steve from West Virginia took time to tell us about the unexpected kindness that he and his son Matt saw at a local Dairy Queen. Their experience reminds me of another Matthew and another story.

The New Testament Gospel according to Matthew shows how impressive and memorable mercy is when it shows up in discussions of moral and religious law. From Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) to his parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), he personified a kind of human compassion that experts in Mosaic law didn’t know what to do with—without getting rid of him.

Matthew’s Gospel builds to a conclusion: God identifies with the poor (Matthew 25:31-40)—and warns of irreversible loss for those who don’t see their King in the most challenged members of his family (Matthew 25:41-46).

But how are we to understand the second half of this parable? (vs 41, 46). If God, by nature, is patient, compassionate, and merciful, how can he judge without mercy those who don’t even realize that they are showing contempt for him— by ignoring the needs of others? How could Jesus urge us to be like our Father by loving our enemies if he shows no mercy in judgment (Matthew 5:43-48)?

At this point, those of us who are trying to be honest with the Bible come up with different answers. Some of us say that, from the beginning, it is evident that the judgment of God is punitive. Some of us work with the same Scriptures to conclude that the judgment of God is redemptive. Some of us conclude that God’s righteous wrath will result in eternal torment for all who don’t come to repentance and faith in Jesus before they die. Some of us quote Scriptures we believe indicate that, in the end, it will be clear that Jesus died for all rather than for some of all people. Some of us interpret some of the things Jesus said and did in light of some of the things the book of Revelation says. Some of us interpret some of what the book of Revelation says in light of some of the things that Jesus said and did.

The result is a different understanding of God’s holiness, goodness, and mercy.

For me such questions would be far more troubling if it weren’t for the fact that in the very next verse Matthew writes, “When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is two days away— and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified (Matthew 26:1-2).

If everything written up to this point in Matthew’s Gospel (and in the whole of Scripture) works together to help us see our need for who Jesus is—and what he was about to do, then could it be that— whatever it is that we can’t prove may not be as important as what we do know about the heart of our Father, and his intervention to love the loveless, to forgive the unforgivable, to show mercy to the unmerciful, and to give hope to the hopeless?

Regardless of our present differences in such questions, there are some things in which many of us can stand together in agreement. We can agree that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life. We can agree that this is Good News to those who believe. We can agree that this is the Good News that everyone desperately needs to hear and believe. We can agree that this is the Good News Jesus wants the whole world to see and know. We can agree that this is the Good News that—in our shared humanity, and in our shared confidence in God— we find reason to be patient, and kind to one another…


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145 Responses to “The Gospel of Matthew”

  1. Mart DeHaan says:

    Am copying here what jeff1 added to “Empathy” string earlier this a.m.

    jeff1 says:
    May 25, 2018 at 4:08 am (Edit)
    Thinking of how it is often the action or non action of others that causes so much of the misery in life and I am thinking here of my son battling with his present day demons.

    His dad never spent any time with his sons and today my son is struggling with the effects of that lack of attention from his dad.

    Today he finds it difficult to just have a conversation with his dad and when I think of the relationship I had with my dad it makes me sad as I know I cannot compensate for his dad’s lack of interest in his early life.

    Empathy can only be given if it is felt and my son’s dad did not have an easy relationship with his own dad. History repeats itself whether we see it or not and often we are left to deal with the aftermath.

    Being kind is sometimes just not enough nor are words as damage goes much more deeper and that’s why I look to God today to fix what I cannot not as He knows better how to mend broken lives, dreams and hearts and why leaving my son in his hands gives me peace in the midst of distress that might otherwise defeat me.

    God Know Best

    Our Father knows whats best for us,
    So why should we complain
    We always want the sunshine,
    But He knows there must be rain

    We love the sound of laughter
    And the merriment of cheer,
    But our hearts would loose their tenderness
    If we never shed a tear…

    Our Father tests us often
    With suffering and with sorrow,
    He tests us not to punish us,
    But to help us meet tomorrow…

    For growing trees strengthened
    When they withstand the storm,
    And the sharp cut of a chisel
    Gives the marble grace and form…

    God never hurts us needlessly,
    And He never wastes our pain
    For every loss He sends to us
    Is followed by rich gain…

    And when we count the blessings
    That God has so freely sent,
    We will find no cause for murmuring
    And no time to lament…

    For our Father loves His children,
    And to Him all things are plain,
    So He never sends us pleasure
    When the soul’s deep need is pain…

    So whenever we are troubled
    And when everything goes wrong,
    It is just God working in us
    To make our spirit strong.

  2. Mart DeHaan says:

    Am copying here what Steve from WV also added earlier this a.m. to the “Empathy” conversation:

    SFDBWV says:
    May 25, 2018 at 5:03 am (Edit)
    Today starts the long weekend of Memorial Day. When I was a boy it was still called “Decoration Day” and something more of a homecoming event in our little cemetery here in our little town.

    Prior to WWII the cemetery was administered by a committee of people and most all of their records lost to time. During the war the cemetery got in some bad shape with most of the men gone there were few able people left to keep it mowed and clear of shrubbery and advancing trees. The care of the cemetery became too much for the committee to manage and so in 1944 it was deeded over to the Municipality so that the Mayor and town council could see to its care.

    I have never thought of taking care of the cemetery as just that, but rather taking care of all of the people buried there and their families wherever they may be.

    Each marked and some unmarked graves represents someone. Not just a name, but a life lived. Some very short others very long, but each one was someone who loved and was loved, who laughed, cried and was known.

    Every veteran is provided a flag to “decorate” their last resting place and while “Memorial Day” is supposed to a time to remember the sacrifice of our veterans our cemetery is adorned with flowers on past family members as all are remembered. Remembering that the purpose of every veteran is to protect their family against all foes and our way of life.

    It is one holiday that nearly every one of us can have empathy with each other as we place a flower on a grave and remember the person for whom we honor.

    It will be a busy 3 or 4 days for us here, I hope wherever you are you are blessed with love, joy, happiness and contentment.

    45 and clear.

    Still wondering about Maru.

    Steve

  3. jeff1 says:

    It seems that we have all gone our own way and in doing so has caused confusion for non believers.

    I can remember when I was still with my husband he came home from work dismayed about religions because he had listened to some of his work mates, one a Baptist, one a Brethren, and one a Free Presbyterian arguing about passages from the Bible and taking different interpretations from it.

    Personalty speaking I think those who read the Bible for their own rebuke and encouragement and not to get into disagreements with their fellow believers are correct in their approach to the Gospel.

    Our journey’s are different in life and so is our growth and that depends very much on us as individuals and our relationship with God and why I should focus on what I can agree on and not on what divides us.

    My son pointed out to me how I had believed that everything about Protestantism was good while everything about Roman Catholicism was bad and he was correct as I had been raised in a culture that fed me that mindset and it was my dad who recognised and stayed clear of becoming entrenched in beliefs that were driven by patriotism rather than by God.

    My dad put God first and in doing so he had God’s truths and not the truths’s of the culture he was indoctrinated into as he knew that God is so much bigger than that.

    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
    Feed me now and evermore.

    Open now the crystal fountain
    Whence the healing steams do flow,
    Let the fiery cloudy pillar
    Lead me all my journey through,
    Strong Deliverer
    Be though 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
    I will ever give to Thee

  4. poohpity says:

    It does not seem to be about reading the scriptures, interpreting them then arguing about them but learning to do the good the scriptures teach and growing closer to God through them. The more you know someone the closer you get to them that is how it is in any relationship and the scriptures are a means to do that.

    On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ ; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denariiand gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’ “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”

    At the Home of Martha and Mary
    As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one.Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

  5. poohpity says:

    When we are growing up physically our parents had to teach us the basics of life that seems to be exactly how we grow up Spiritually as well, we have to be taught and who better to teach us than the One who is faithful and full of love for us because He not only teaches us but also models or is an example of what He teaches us.

  6. Beloved says:

    Thanks Mart. Gentle rebuke received. I will be thinking and praying about this.

  7. jeff1 says:

    I think what I know about God is that I can trust Him whereas understanding what He is doing in a complex world can overwhelm me. When I look back I can see how God worked in my life but that doesn’t mean I can see Him work in a world that gets more complex by the minute.

    To some extent it is the complexity of the world that drives me closer to God as I know only He has the answers to the unsolved difficulties in it.

    There is a green hill far away,
    Outside a city wall,
    Where the dear Lord was crucified,
    Who died to save us all.

    O dearly, dearly, has He loved,
    And we must love Him, too,
    And trust in His redeeming blood,
    And try His works to do.

    We may not know, we cannot tell,
    What pains He had to bear;
    But we believe it was for us
    He hung and suffered there.

    He died that we might be forgiv’n,
    He died to make us good,
    That we might to at last to Heav’n,
    Saved by His precious blood.

    There was no other good enough
    To pay the price of sin;
    He only could unlock the gate
    Of heaven and let us in.

    O dearly, dearly has He loved,
    And we must love Him, too,
    And trust in His redeeming blood,
    And try His works to do.

  8. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends —

    It is a.m. on the West Coast of N. America, though I realize times differ across BTA’s various locations. Beautiful late Spring day here!

    You mention the matters on which Jesus-followers can agree, Mart. I am with you in these:

    “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life…

    this is Good News to those who believe…

    this is the Good News that everyone desperately needs to hear and believe…

    this is the Good News Jesus wants the whole world to see and know…

    this is the Good News that—in our shared humanity, and in our shared confidence in God — gives us our best and most ultimate reasons to be patient, and kind to one another…”

    How to convey to the angry, resentful, doubting and accusing that the mercy and grace God gives all of us so freely in this time of His unlimited forbearance is actually a very costly thing — exacting the cruel death of Jesus…for our sakes?

    It seems to me it can only be lived out. It cannot be argued or proven or communicated in words — only in actions.

    Please pray for me as I care for my brother, who is filled with hatred for himself and for God.

    Blessings,
    Maru

    16C/60F here. Iris and rhododendron in full bloom. Blueberries and apples setting fruit. God is good.

  9. narrowpathseeker says:

    I am certainly not going to debate the meaning of scripture inasmuch as I have remembered scripture on at least 2 occasions that apparently doesn’t exist. I have looked up several of the words of these in Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and some of the WORDS aren’t even listed! SO, I looked this one up first.. I believe it to be another warning by Jesus similar to the one Mart cited above. The people Jesus is referring to, certainly knew scripture and what they were supposed to do and not supposed to do. Could it be that they were without conscience and thus no remorse as well? Would not bringing this to the attention of such people and advising them to ask for a conscience and whatever else they need as I think we ALL should do, be an act of kindness? … I pray daily to be delivered from, forgiven for, and mercy upon for ALL my sins….as did David. Mine are many and I know I must RECOGNIZE them, confess them, and be sorry for them. Hate begets hate…and YES, hate, anger, jealousy, self righteousnes, false pride, and gluttony are high on MY list of sins. But I KNOW I can’t erase them by making believe everybody else is afflicted with this ugliness and not me…not all are constant, but in this world filled with hate, greed, and ego, it gets on me and if I don’t pray it off immediately…it stays with me.

    Matthew 7:15-23 15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

    17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

    18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

    19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

    20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

    21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

    22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

    23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  10. bubbles says:

    Maru! Hello! Good to see your post.

  11. poohpity says:

    Jesus seemed to bring to the attention of the religious people that were so much more concerned about the outward appearance and actions but they missed or had never learned that being kind and merciful to others takes the whole of scriptures to heart. Matt 9:13; Hosea 6:6 KJV Kindness and mercy usually shows who we believe in and who we belong to.

    Hey Maru, good to hear from you dear lady. :o)

  12. jeff1 says:

    I agree, Maru, faith has to be lived out and trusting God is the only way to do that because I need Him every step of the way whether I see it or not.

    He will carry me if He has to.

    There is no problem too big God can not solve it
    There is no mountain to tall God cannot move it
    And there is no storm to dark God cannot calm it
    There is no sorrow too deep God cannot soothe it

    And if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders
    I know my brother that He will carry you
    And if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders
    I know my sister that He will carry you
    He said , “Come unto Me all who are weary, and I will give you rest.”

    There is no problem too big God cannot solve it
    There is no mountain too big God cannot move it
    And there is no storm too dark God cannot calm it
    There is no sorrow too deep He cannot soothe it

    And if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders
    Then I know my brother He will carry you
    And if He carried the weight of the world upon His shoulders
    Then I know my sister He will carry you

    I know my brother and I know my sister
    That He, He’s going to carry you
    Oh Yes, He will
    He’s going to carry you

  13. phpatato says:

    Dearest Maru

    I will keep you and your brother in my prayers. It can be very difficult to be a caregiver. I have empathy for you because I’ve been there, done that and still doing it in a small measured way at this point in time.

    God will supply all you need for the task at hand.

    His abundant Blessings to you

    Pat

  14. remarutho says:

    Thanks to each one for prayers and encouragement!

    Glad to be thinking about the great mercy of our Lord with all here! Hoping my own disappointments will not cloud my view of the unfailing work of God in all situations, whether we perceive it or not.

    May our great God watch over us.

    Yours,
    Maru

  15. Beloved says:

    Maru I like what you said about sharing the gospel in actions. Jesus did that, didn’t He. Since we who are in Christ not only have Christ living in us we died with Him so following our gentle Leaders’ way should be like a walk in the park even though the park is rough sometimes. And full of surprises. Praying your dear brothers’ anger will give in to release and find mercy for his soul.

  16. street says:

    dear mart thanks!
    it is with difficulty of coming to the truth and it’s painful to see see that sometimes christians come off as robbers and thieves and not generous merciful stewards of the grace and mercy of God. yet God in His patients and long suffering is creating love out vessels made of dust. a love that comes not from dust but from God Himself. Jesus asked us to come to Him and take His yoke upon our selves and learn from Him. He says His yoke is easy and light. first person invite is still good today as it was 2000 years ago. seems i need to pay closer attention. and God said it was good.

  17. SFDBWV says:

    Relieved and pleased to see Maru is still with us. I fully agree that we are to live Scripture, not just memorize it. I will join with others here in praying for your brother Maru and you.

    Mart’s subject this time has several subjects and I don’t want to cross over or mix them up so I will try hard not to get distracted and go off on tangents that I sometimes do.

    The Hebrew/Jewish religion was and is the life blood of their existing as a people. For all intents and purposes they were to repeat Scripture and the “Law” as a culture until it was second nature to every Jew. By second nature I mean that they knew what the Scriptures said from childhood up.

    Obedient to the Law under penalty of the Law.

    Jesus came upon the scene not with a new religion, but with a living example of living the Scripture.

    When ask how to get to heaven His answer was simple. Love your neighbor as you love yourself and in so doing all of the Law is obeyed.

    Not just know, but do that which you know.

    “Practice what you preach.”

    Why did this infuriate the religious leaders as recorded in Scripture? Because they knew that they did not present their Religion as Jesus was living it.
    They used their religion as a way of controlling the people by fear, and they being the people through whom either punishment was meted or atonement accepted, either by legal means given in the Mosaic Law or by bribes.

    Jesus offered forgiveness and atonement with God by bypassing such people and going straight to God.

    He Himself becoming the atonement.

    Jesus explained a way of living that fulfilled/satisfied the Law.

    The religious experts as well as their position and livelihood were threatened by Jesus’ preaching and when they conspired together with the “Supreme Court” the Sanhedrin and the Chief Priests of Israel, Jesus gave them the final death blow when He said He was the Son of God and did so by answered them by saying, “I Am”.

    They knew He meant that He was saying He was the Great I Am of the burning bush. So such a blasphemous comment could only be met with a death penalty.

    Jesus told the truth and was executed for it.

    The world don’t want to hear the truth, the world still wants to be comfortable with the lie.

    Yes the beginning of answering Mart’s questions in this subject are that we are to live Scripture. Our actions should always be in concert with the will of God and His will begins with mercy, kindness and love.

    However there is more to this subject, a lot more and I will be thinking about it today.

    A cool 58 and clear.

    Steve

  18. SFDBWV says:

    I just want to be clear, Jesus did not encourage bypassing the Law, He instructed all to do that which is required of them, but that the experts in Mosaic Law only seen what they wanted to and felt threatened by Him.

    Hope I didn’t confuse anyone.

    Steve

  19. poohpity says:

    It would seem that Jesus even took the law to a deeper place into the heart and Spirit of the law in Matt 5-7, places that only He and the person themselves would be aware of. Jesus knew what people were thinking before they even said anything. Reading God’s word opens our own eyes to what lies beneath the surface so that we can fully understand how all encompassing His grace, mercy and kindness really are then we are quicker to show it to others.

    Hebrews 4: For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it pierces even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.

    That could either scare us or comfort us. For me it brings comfort knowing that God knows everything about me yet still did all that He did to restore me to a right relationship with Him.

  20. street says:

    16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

    6
    Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever;
    a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.
    7
    You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
    therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
    by anointing you with the oil of joy.
    8
    All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
    from palaces adorned with ivory
    the music of the strings makes you glad.
    9
    Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
    at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.

    10
    Listen, daughter, and pay careful attention:
    Forget your people and your father’s house.
    11
    Let the king be enthralled by your beauty;
    honor him, for he is your lord.

    1
    The Lord is my light and my salvation—
    whom shall I fear?
    The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
    of whom shall I be afraid?

    2
    When the wicked advance against me
    to devour me,
    it is my enemies and my foes
    who will stumble and fall.
    3
    Though an army besiege me,
    my heart will not fear;
    though war break out against me,
    even then I will be confident.

    4
    One thing I ask from the Lord,
    this only do I seek:
    that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
    to gaze on the beauty of the Lord
    and to seek him in his temple.
    5
    For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
    he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock.

    6
    Then my head will be exalted
    above the enemies who surround me;
    at his sacred tent I will sacrifice with shouts of joy;
    I will sing and make music to the Lord.

    7
    Hear my voice when I call, Lord;
    be merciful to me and answer me.
    8
    My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
    Your face, Lord, I will seek.
    9
    Do not hide your face from me,
    do not turn your servant away in anger;
    you have been my helper.
    Do not reject me or forsake me,
    God my Savior.
    10
    Though my father and mother forsake me,
    the Lord will receive me.
    11
    Teach me your way, Lord;
    lead me in a straight path
    because of my oppressors.
    12
    Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes,
    for false witnesses rise up against me,
    spouting malicious accusations.

    13
    I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
    14
    Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

  21. street says:

    25 I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in, 26 and in this way all Israel will be saved. As it is written:

    “The deliverer will come from Zion;
    he will turn godlessness away from Jacob.
    27 And this is my covenant with them
    when I take away their sins.”

    28 As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies for your sake; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29 for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. 30 Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, 31 so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you. 32 For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

    Doxology
    33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
    How unsearchable his judgments,
    and his paths beyond tracing out!
    34 “Who has known the mind of the Lord?
    Or who has been his counselor?”
    35 “Who has ever given to God,
    that God should repay them?”
    36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.

  22. Beloved says:

    John 3:17NLT God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

  23. Beloved says:

    We can agree that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.

    Yes I think we agree on that. The rub comes, however–for me anyway– in dealing with current sin. Its hard to allow myself forgiveness even knowing how badly I need it. Today I found this quote from Watchman Nee in ‘The Normal Christian Life’ helpful; Man’s thought is always of the punishment that will come to Him if he sins but God’s thought is always of the glory man will miss if he sins.

    This reminds me God is actually for me as Paul argues in Romans, because I’m created for better things than I am surrounded by, emersed in and sometimes troubled by in my own memory and within my short life.
    For God so loved the world He gave, yes. To receive is sometimes hard, it takes trust that His way is better than mine. (Sigh) Faith is believing what we cannot see. Uffdah yes.

  24. jeff1 says:

    Faith is trusting God when I no longer understand or know what to do as He strengthens me so that I can rest in Him and He gives me the peace that I need so that I am not disturbed by the world around me.

    The more trials God brings me through the more I know He doesn’t forsake me even when I have often failed Him.

    It seems I doubt His friendship but He as the song says He is my Forever Friend non the less.

    Everybody needs a little help sometime
    No one stands alone
    Makes no difference if you’re just a child like me
    Or a king upon a throne
    For there are no exceptions
    We all stand in the line
    Everybody needs a friend
    Let me tell you of mine

    Chorus:
    He’s my forever friend
    My leave-me-never friend
    From darkest night to rainbow’s end
    He’s my forever friend

    Even when I turn away He cares for me
    His love no one can shake
    Even as I walk away He’s by my side
    With every breath I take
    And sometimes I forget Him
    My halo fails to shine
    Sometimes I’m not His friend
    But He is always mine

    Repeat Chorus:
    If you still don’t know the one I’m talking of
    I think its time you knew
    Long ago and far away upon a cross
    My friend died for you
    So if you’d like to meet Him
    And don’t know what to do
    Ask my friend into your heart
    And He’ll be your friend too

    Repeat Chorus:
    He’s my Forever Friend

  25. street says:

    living in a fallen world of work with a dead soul, earning/eaking out a “living” by sweat and pain with corruption attached to it is a far cry from eden of receiving everything freely and with a blessing. the contrast could not be greater. watching the goodness and generosity of Jesus in the New Testament in many different situations is met one miracle after another. we only see this kind of generosity in the pages of the Bible or in fiction with a twist added to it. watching Gods generosity with israel in he Old Testament is worth noting too. could i be the recipient of such grace and mercy kindness and forgivness too? what on earth is keeping hold of me onto a curse? is it the flesh? crucified with Jesus together. is it sins stain? washed by the blood of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world/earth/dirt/dust. is it lack of spirit? given a New Spirit in Christ Jesus. faith and Spirit as small as a muster seed? we are told to “live” by the perportion of faith that we have been given. remembering the verse that says something of returning to the joy of Salvation. yes we get soiled from time to time, but He is Faithful. keep up the pace or the rest whichever mode you are to be in, but make sure there is joy there, His Presents. it is easy to be distracted. if it competes with Christ it can not and the joy that is lost.

    thinking of ruth and the one small decision to return to Bethlehem, because she hear God had visited His people. i think we have heard much more. praying for my brothers and sisters who are walking in ruth’s shoes.

  26. street says:

    Psalm 81

  27. jeff1 says:

    Psalm 80

    Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock.
    You who sit enthroned between the cherubim,
    shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
    Awaken your might;
    come and save us.

    Restore us, O God;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

    How long, Lord God Almighty,
    will your anger smoulder
    against the prayers of your people?
    You have fed them with the bread of tears;
    you have made them drink tears by the bowlful.
    You have made us an object of derision to our neighbours,
    and our enemies mock us.

    Restore us, God Almighty,
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

    You transplanted a vine from Egypt;
    you drove out the nations and planted it.
    You cleared the ground for it,
    and it took root and filled the land.
    The mountains were covered with its shade,
    the mighty cedars with its branches.
    Its branches reached as far as the Sea,
    its shoots as far as the River.

    Why have you broken down its walls
    so that all who pass by pick its grapes?
    Boars from the forest ravage it,
    and insects from the field feed on it.
    Return to us, God Almighty!
    Look down from heaven and see!
    Watch over this vine,
    the root your right hand has planted,
    the son you have raised up for yourself.

    Your vine is cut down, it is burned with fire;
    at your rebuke your people perish.
    Let the hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.
    Then we will not turn away from you;
    revive us, and we will call on your name.

    Restore us, Lord God Almighty;
    make your face shine on us,
    that we may be saved.

  28. foreverblessed says:

    At this moment I am in the Alps, in Italy. It is beautiful here, these mountains are so impressive.
    And one night I was not yet asleep, and these thoughts came in,
    The whole world is full of God’s wonderful love. His thoughts to us are only LOVE, Salvation in Christ:
    ( As Watchman Nee was cited: God only thinks of what we miss in Glory, or maybe God sees only how we will be: as Lazarus, unwrapped from all the death-clothes)

    Psalm 92:4-5

    And I prayed, Oh God, let my eyes be always fixed on You, let me not be distracted by the evil in this world. For You were here before any evil was, You are greater than anything against You.
    You are Everything.

    I believe God looks to all with eyes of HOPE,
    With eyes that see through the grave-clothes,
    And sees the New man in Christ, that will be once, when we believe in Christ!

    Maru, I am praying for you, and your brother.
    I pray that God will give you more HOPE,
    Romans 15:13

    ( And remember, the work God is doing in a heart is a slow, but sure work. I waited, and prayed 20 years for my brother, and God has always listened to my prayers, but I did not “see” anything, till a half a year ago! Praise God, He works wonders in a heart!)

    Restore us Oh Lord,
    Make Your face shine on us,
    That we be saved.
    Psalm 80

  29. jeff1 says:

    From Sunday morning reflections.

    We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
    Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
    We pray for healing, for prosperity

    We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
    All the while You hear each spoken need
    Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

    ‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears?
    What if a thousand sleepless nights
    Are what it takes to know You’re near?

    What if trials of this life
    Are Your mercies in disguise?
    We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear

    We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
    We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love

    As if every promise from Your word is not enough
    And all the while you hear each desperate plea

    And long that we’d have faith to believe
    ‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears?
    And what if a thousand sleepless nights
    Are what it takes to know Your near?
    And what if the trials of this life
    Are Your mercies in disguise?
    When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win
    We know that pain reminds this heart
    That this is not, this is not our home
    It’s not our home
    ‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
    What if Your healing comes through tears
    And what if a thousand sleepless nights
    Are what it takes to know Your near
    What if my greatest disappointments
    Or the aching of this life
    is the revealing of a greater thirst
    This world can’t satisfy
    And what if trials of this life
    The rain, the storm, the hardest nights
    Are Your mercies in disguise

  30. poohpity says:

    None of the words of scripture help unless one is willing to do what they say, not to force them on anyone else but as a means of being taught another way of living life and trusting God in the process. A life of doing things my way to repenting(turning it over to God)and live following His advice and direction. I usually ask myself, “is what I am doing working?” or am I repeating the same behavior expecting different results and it is hard to let go of control but there is someone better suited to turn my plans over to and He has much better success than I ever could. His way of compassion, kindness and mercy never gets in the way of truth and that through the Holy Spirit we are convicted of that truth and without that acknowledgement one never comes to the point of knowing we need God.

    The disciples wanted Jesus to do things their way by preventing Him from dying but as He taught them it is best for them if He does. Sometimes doing things for the one’s we love is hard and it may not be how we would do things but His ways are best for everyone. John 16:7-15 NLT which says;

    But in fact, it is best for you that I go away, because if I don’t, the Advocate[a] won’t come. If I do go away, then I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment. 9 The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me. 10 Righteousness is available because I go to the Father, and you will see me no more. 11 Judgment will come because the ruler of this world has already been judged.

    12 “There is so much more I want to tell you, but you can’t bear it now. 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. 14 He will bring me glory by telling you whatever he receives from me. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine; this is why I said, ‘The Spirit will tell you whatever he receives from me.’

    As a human being I know that those things that the spirit does I often feel as if that is my job but it is NOT, my job is; “No, O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 NLT

  31. Beloved says:

    Blessed Sunday all!
    I woke up thinking about the fruits of the Spirit- love joy peace patience kindness gentleness goodness faithfulness and self-employed control. I thought of how precious to be on the receiving end of any one of these! Just think how giving these as we receive them from God blesses others!

    How Firm A Foundation

    1 How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
    is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
    What more can He say than to you He hath said,
    who unto the Savior for refuge have fled?
    2 “In every condition, in sickness, in health,
    in poverty’s vale, or abounding in wealth,
    at home and abroad, on the land, on the sea,
    as days may demand, shall thy strength ever be.”
    3 “Fear not, I am with thee; O be not dismayed,
    for I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
    I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand,
    upheld by My righteous, omnipotent hand.”
    4 “When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
    the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
    for I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
    and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.”
    5 “When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie,
    My grace, all-sufficient, shall be thy supply.
    The flame shall not hurt thee; I only design
    thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.”
    6 “The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
    I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
    that soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
    I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!”

  32. Beloved says:

    Sorry not self-employed ! Auto correct got me again.

  33. poohpity says:

    My daughter called this weekend and asked me how I ever changed my life around to get off the streets my reply was a very simple one; I looked around and found that doing things my way had lead me to be in the place I was in so to change was to put my trust in someone else and do things His way. Coming to a real honest evaluation of my current circumstances and my heart then the desire to want something different lead me to following the Lord rather than following me. I was blind but when it happened I was ready to see.

  34. Beloved says:

    Amazing Grace!

  35. Beloved says:

    Acts 20:24
    New Living Translation

    But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

  36. jeff1 says:

    Everyone has a very different journey but it is in God I can trust to direct my footsteps and see me safely home.

    Show Me The Way

    When I’m confused Lord, show me the way,
    Baffled and bruised Lord, show me the way.
    Still my heart and clear my mind
    Prepare my soul to hear
    Your still small voice, your word of truth.
    Peace be still your Lord is near.
    Always so close to show you the way.

    When I’m afraid Lord, show me the way.
    Weak and dismayed Lord, show me the way.
    Lift my spirit with your love,
    Bring courage, calm and peace,
    You who bore all for my sake,
    So I could walk from fear released,
    With you beside me showing the way
    Showing, showing the way.

  37. bubbles says:

    Pooh, It is good to read your daughter contacted you. I will be praying for her.

  38. poohpity says:

    Thank you so much bubbles. Half the time I do not know whether she is alive or not. Usually on Mother’s day I can depend on her calling not the guys but her and this year I did not hear from her until yesterday. I got so excited to hear her voice. My hope is in the Lord and that is what I hang on to. I would love to have the ability to change her life or fix the problems she faces but after many tries I had to realize it was not for me to do that work, I had to place her in God’s hands just like my mom had to do for me and when she stepped back, God stepped up.

  39. SFDBWV says:

    Mart sometimes uses the word “tensions” when discussing scripture that seems to be in contrast. As Mart explained, “those of us who are trying to be honest with the Bible” find there are many “contrasts” that seem to be opposite in comment.

    Indeed what do we do with such contradictory information?

    I think equally important is our settling in whether or not such contractions create doubts in our belief and or understanding of what it means to be a believer in the God of the burning bush and a believer that Jesus of Nazareth is the same entity.

    Many people try and make God fit into their own understanding, but the truth to me is that God is far above my ability to fully fathom and what I don’t know or understand He will either provide an answer or leave it to me to just trust Him to the things I don’t understand.

    As Mart gave notice to, this sometimes isn’t easy to those of us who try and understand all of what is written in the Bible.

    How do we reconcile a God who commands us to love our enemies while at the same time His enemies are condemned to eternal punishment?

    Many believe that much of the Book of Revelation is mostly symbolic, but however you look at it, God it is said will cast into that “lake of fire” death and hell.

    That being the end of both death and hell? If it had been written that only hell was thrown into the lake of fire, I might see it as this place of eternal punishment and all of its inhabitants were forever doomed to burn. However how can “death” be sentenced to eternal punishment?

    Perhaps it is that the place of eternal punishment and death are done away with, as any “thing” that would be forever consumed without any opportunity to exist ever again.

    Perhaps it is that same “thing” that is present in us all from the foundation of the world that separated us from a holy God is forever done away with in that lake of fire.

    Your enemies, my enemies, God’s enemies are all the same “thing” and when Jesus was nailed to the cross He took upon Himself the nature of that “thing” and in the end such is forever done away with.

    If we believe that every life is an eternal soul, then in the end every sick soul is healed by Jesus’ sacrifice and all become “new” void of that disease of “sin”. Incapable to ever sin again, because sin nature has been cast into that eternal lake of fire.

    So what then do I do with all the talk of separating the sheep from the goats, from the chaff from the wheat and the like?

    There is an answer or more speculation and I for one will try and take it up in my next opportunity to post.

    62 degrees and cloudy.

    Steve

  40. jeff1 says:

    God tells me to keep my focus on Jesus for a very good reason because He knows of my tendency to human error. I need Him much more than I can imagine and I falter because I take my eyes of Him as I am not so unlike Peter and cannot see the forest for the trees.

    I watch the sunrise lighting the sky
    Casting its shadows near
    And on this morning
    Bright though it be
    I feel those shadows near me

    But you are always close to me
    Following all my ways
    May I be always close to you
    Following all your ways Lord

    I watch the sunlight shine through the clouds
    Warming the earth below
    And at the midday life seems to say
    I feel your brightness near me

    For you are always close to me
    Following all my ways
    May I be always close to you
    Following all your ways Lord

    I watch the sunset fading away
    Lighting the clouds and sea
    And as the evening, closes its eyes
    I feel your presence near me

    Yes, you are always close to me
    Following all my ways
    May I be always close to you
    Following all your ways Lord

  41. poohpity says:

    For those who’s names are written in the book of life will not taste the second death before it is thrown into the lake of fire. It says that in God’s new heaven and earth there will be no more need for death, it is a place of eternal joy being in the presence of God nothing will be allowed in there that will cause anything other than complete peace. No distractions, no one to fill our minds with anything else other than our relationship with God and those who believe in Him. Those who make the choice not to believe referred to as the goats or the tares want nothing to do with God already and most are already tormented here on earth and so further separation is their choice.

  42. poohpity says:

    Heaven is by invitation only and once someone is invited and they accept their name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Jesus explains it in the parable of the Great Banquet but just like any great occasion those who’s names are not on the list usually come in and cause problems but that will not be allowed because God knows in advance those who really want to be there and those who don’t but are bent on evil and destruction so they are not invited in and the only One fit to judge that is God Himself.

  43. poohpity says:

    1 Cor 15:26; Rev 20: 13The sea gave up its dead, and Death and Hades gave up their dead, and each one was judged according to his deeds. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death — the lake of fire. 15And if anyone was found whose name was not written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.…

  44. Beloved says:

    Steve I understand your dilemma. I just finished reading James 4:11-12 which uses brother and neighbor in the same instruction. It was helpful for me but I like simple instruction. How do you read it?

  45. Beloved says:

    Interestingly Romans 14:4 was running through my mind as I started going to a different church yesterday. Good sound biblical preaching and doctrine but I have a huge sin struggle with judging others. So thankful Steve you bring up this issue, God is good.

  46. poohpity says:

    “Battle Hymn of the Republic” which was sung today at the memorial service for our fallen soldiers

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
    He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
    He hath loosed the fateful lightning of His terrible swift sword:
    His truth is marching on.

    (Chorus)
    Glory, Glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    His truth is marching on.

    I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps,
    They have builded Him an altar in the evening dews and damps;
    I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps:
    His day is marching on.

    (Chorus)
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    His day is marching on.

    I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnished rows of steel:
    “As ye deal with my contemners, so with you my grace shall deal”;
    Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel,
    Since God is marching on.

    (Chorus)
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Since God is marching on.

    He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
    He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment-seat;
    Oh, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant, my feet!
    Our God is marching on.

    (Chorus)
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Our God is marching on.

    In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
    With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.
    As He died to make men holy, let us die* to make men free,
    While God is marching on.

    (Chorus)
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    Glory, glory, hallelujah!
    While God is marching on.

  47. jeff1 says:

    I think it is very important to keep focused on the fact that God is marching on so that I do not get caught up in the difficulties of this world which can overwhelm me.

    God’s plan is not thwarted by this world’s failings but as someone who has a struggle with ’bouts of depression’ I struggle at times to embrace this truth.

    I also struggle with judging others Beloved as I am much to inconsistent in my head to think about going there.

    Besides I don’t feel I can judge evil that I don’t understand nor even want to as I want to run from it rather than try to analyse it.

    I know I sin in thought and word but then I leave it with God so that I don’t act on it and I trust that in time He will change me from this creature that I am.

    The more I look to Jesus the more my thoughts are of Him and the less I have wrong thoughts.

  48. Beloved says:

    When I studied Revelation in college they told us there are 3 different prevailing views of interpretation. I could not choose one that I felt I could completely agree with. When I wrote my paper disputing them and offered my own interpretation my Prof was aghast and thundered that a lot smarter people than I had come up with those interpretations. He was right of course and I was arrogant with my little 4 year degree coming soon. My point here is that I agree with Marts thoughts on interpretation that they should be rooted in the gospel message of Jesus; who He is, His mission and plan from the beginning of time to create and sanctify a people for Himself and to share in His righteousness, goodness, Holiness and peace. His Kingdom.

    For My thoughts are not your thoughts and My ways are not your ways, saith the LORD.

  49. jeff1 says:

    The Bible is right each have went their own way and confused the world in the message of the gospel but that won’t stop God from sanctifying a people for Himself.

    Look at the world today and see what ignorance of God has created because religions or denominations are drawing God to themselves and not to the gospel of Christ.

    I have seen it myself and I have done it myself in my ignorance of God.

    Beliefs get in the way be they religions or cultural as they divide God’s word and why God chooses His own people and whom God chooses He sanctifies and they will be untouchable and unstoppable in His Kingdom as God Himself will be directing them.

    The Bible is not wrong and we should be taking heart in knowing that God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.

  50. poohpity says:

    I was taught that reading what someone writes follows a basic pattern. That pattern usually starts off with an introductory paragraph that draws people in to what the body of work will be about, then each paragraph after that fills in the bases for that introduction which the ending paragraph sums up or draws the conclusion of what the author wants to get across from the very first paragraph.

    It would seem many arguments are a result of adding to or taking away from what is actually written by adding our understanding and not trying to understand what the author is trying to get across which also seems to be the way most read the bible. Assuming or jumping to conclusion can lead us down many trails into the “twilight zone” and we can miss the original intent.

    Most prophesy is understood by hindsight, looking back at what was said in the past as applied to the future. Then some of the bible we will not understand until a future time but then what are we do with the plain as day things we are given for right now to do, it seems most often those are shoved to the side just so one can argue about what it does not say.

    If we look at life in regards to being compassionate, kind and patient with one another the things we can do our minds may not be so troubled about what we can not do. God never seems to ask us to do anything without His help. We show kindness, compassion and patience because that was what God showed us and is how He treats us.

  51. Beloved says:

    Marts thoughts focus on loving everyone. Since we just celebrated Memorial day here in the USA I’m reminded of the old war cry to kill them all and let God sort them out later. Human wisdom always falls far short of the Wisdom that sent a Redeemer to die for all. I enjoy the freedoms we have even though they are fruits of war at the expense of others, sadly, on both sides.

  52. jeff1 says:

    This world speaks volumes in telling us that God’s ways are not man’s ways.

    It is faith that pleases God because it says we are trusting Him in establishing His kingdom on earth and I don’t see non believers trusting Him when they don’t believe He exists to begin with.

    If God is for us then who is against us?

  53. poohpity says:

    Aren’t kindness, compassion and patience to be extended to all people whether a believer or not? It will be acting that way towards all people many will come to know and trust God. John 13:34-35

    We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
    We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord
    And we pray that our unity will one day be restored
    And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
    Yeah they’ll know we are Christians by our love

    We will work with each other, we will work side by side
    We will work with each other, we will work side by side
    And we’ll guard each man’s dignity and save each man’s pride
    And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love
    Yeah, they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

    I wish I could say that I always act in a loving manner towards others but I don’t and that makes me so grateful for God’s grace and gives me the ability to try again each day. Lamentations 3:22-23

  54. poohpity says:

    Viv, I so agree that it is faith that pleases God. If we have faith in God we can be kind, compassionate and caring towards others.

  55. poohpity says:

    James 2:1 NLT

  56. jeff1 says:

    I think the difficulty today is that people do not believe that it is necessary to be Christian to be kind and compassionate towards others as they see it as it being human decency rather than a requirement of being a follower of Christ.

    What identifies a follower of Christ today is not his good behaviour or good works but the fact that he identifies himself with Christ in his/her worship of God.

    Faith is my own personal relationship with God but what is difficult is getting others to see the truth of the gospel because this world is so far removed from that truth.

    Religions have done God no favours and the revelations of the abuse of children in the hands of men and woman who claimed to know God has shocked this world to its knees.

    That is no bad thing in my opinion as it says that being a follower of Christ carries with it responsibility in not just talking the talk but walking the walk as there is something terribly wrong in a society that allowed the abuse to go on without someone speaking out and the Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of his shame in reading the transcripts and reading the evidence of survivors and how horrifying it is because you see this extraordinary and atrocious willingness to turn a blind eye to things going very seriously wrong and entirely damaging human beings for their whole lifetimes.

    There are consequences to our actions or non actions and when I realise that then I am thankful to God to day that His will shall prevail and He will ensure His Kingdom is established where the vulnerable of society will be protected from such abuse of power and those who do God’s will shall be leading those who are being led astray by religions of this world who put their own righteousness before the righteousness of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    God knows what He is doing because this world sure does not know what it is doing!

  57. poohpity says:

    Yes you are right there are many who do not know Christ that are kind and compassionate and there are those who say they are Christians who are not kind or compassionate but are full of bitterness, hate and are angry most of the time. It is quite a conundrum isn’t it? So what is the point of faith and believing if there is no difference in one’s life, if we look like some of the world around us not those who are kind but those who are not?

  58. poohpity says:

    Kindness and compassion are not stand alone things for those who follow Christ there is more. They are only part of the whole picture.

  59. jeff1 says:

    It is God who asks for our faithfulness and not those around us.

    Those who do not believe in God are not seeking for His approval but do I stop believing in God just because the world is getting complicated or do I see a greater need of His guidance and assurance that He will not forsake me!

    As I see it faith is a life lived in trusting God and not on my own understanding which right at this time is limited as I am not understanding what God is doing in the world.

    The point of faith is that it matters to God and only God can answer why!

  60. poohpity says:

    I never asked why. I asked what is the point of faith. By that I mean if it does not lead to actions then there is no point, right?

  61. Beloved says:

    Hello Viv, I just finished reading this after I read your last post, I find it so encouraging, don’t you?

    5 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”
    ‘whoever comes to Me I will never drive away’, Jesus said. Isn’t that great news!!

  62. jeff1 says:

    Yes, Beloved, it is great news because it gives hope for all no matter how lost they may seem to be to us it is God’s will that is final.

    In answer to your comment, Pooh, I only know that the point of my faith has been to bring me closer to Jesus but I agree that it may not have done much for others around me as they either think I am mad for believing in God or are not bothered either way.

    Yet, when my non believing son commented to me that he seen me as at least trying to be a better person than other believers he knew, then it give me encouragement that I might be doing something right.

    I think that it is very difficult to live the life of a follower of Jesus in the modern world as though my son was quick to compliment me in my efforts he would be just as quick to criticise me when I fail to behave as I should.

    Those who do not believe in God today do have high expectations of us and so there is great pressure to measure up but that is the consequence of living in a fallen world whereas God does not put pressure on us but instead invites us to rest in Him when the going gets tough.

    Faith it its early stages is very much about me but as I get to know God better than it should be about Him and then I will not have to force action as it will come more naturally to me as I will get to the stage where pleasing God is more important than how I appear to others.

    I’m only human I’m just a man/woman
    Help me to believe in what I could be and all that I am
    Show me the stairway that I have to climb
    Lord for my sake teach me to take one day at a time
    One day at a time sweet Jesus that’s all I’m asking from you
    Give me the strength to do every day what I have to do
    Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine
    So for my sake teach me to take one day at a time

    Do you remember when you walked among men
    Well Jesus you know if you’re looking below its worse now than then
    Pushing and shoving crowding my mind
    So for my sake teach me to take one day at a time
    One day at a time sweet Jesus that’s all I’m asking from you
    Give me the strength to do every day what I have to do
    Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus and tomorrow may never be mine
    Yes just for my sake teach me to take one day at a time

  63. poohpity says:

    That song says it all, we are just human beings however if we lead others to believe we are morally superior in some way then we are held to a higher standard than we are able to achieve when we are just forgiven human beings in Christ, nothing morally superior about us at all.

  64. jeff1 says:

    If I am trying to live a more moral life it is because I believe that is what God wants of me and has nothing to do with wanting to be superior.

    If I want to be more like Jesus then it stands that I also want to be a more moral person otherwise there is no desire to change and that would disappoint God I would imagine.

  65. Beloved says:

    God introduced morality into the world. It’s very important to follow Jesus example. If we don’t want to then I question whether one knows God at all.

  66. poohpity says:

    Well ladies I think you miss the point I was trying to make when I wrote, “Yes you are right there are many who do not know Christ that are kind and compassionate and there are those who say they are Christians who are not kind or compassionate but are full of bitterness, hate and are angry most of the time. It is quite a conundrum isn’t it? So what is the point of faith and believing if there is no difference in one’s life, if we look like some of the world around us not those who are kind but those who are not?” Then went on to say that there is more to the Christian life than just kindness and compassion.

    Here is another way to put what I was saying about moral superiority from Jesus in Luke 18

    9 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.”

  67. poohpity says:

    So Beloved, the example of Jesus was to be humble and not think we are more or less than what we are. He even laid down His deity to become a person like us and show us by example how to serve to others and think of their needs before our own.

  68. Beloved says:

    pooh I was responding only to Viv. I won’t argue scripture with you, it not beneficial. Have a good sleep.

  69. foreverblessed says:

    Mart was saying, can we discuss this in points that we can agree on:
    All need the Saviour, Jesus.

    And his remark: there are those of us who see God, His actions as being punitive,
    And there are who see God’s actions as being restorative.

    I am at the moment busy with a study on the vengeance of God, it is on thecharacterofgod website.
    And I keep reading the Bible verses he gives, the writer starts with Isaiah 1:23-31
    This passage he says, gives a clear vision, that whatever God is doing, the aim is to restore.
    So clearly he is one who sees God as being restorative.
    I want to see it like that too.

    Yesterday Lamentation 3:22

    His mercy never ends!!!

    How then, can we say:
    There is a time of judgement, and after that you are lost forever, if you missed it

    I, personally, cannot conclude this.
    I keep talking with God about it, God, You know…
    You know that You always Hope…
    So Your Hope never ends..

  70. jeff1 says:

    It isn’t for me to question what God can do in my life but be thankful that He can as on my own I have made a right mess and I have had many help me on the way so it will make a change to have God who knows what He is doing bring purpose from it. We are all on different journeys and God will teach us if we have the ears to hear and the eyes to see.

    If a believer is struggling with feeling morally superior then it is not a conundrum for God, Pooh, as God knows best how to deal with His children.

    Having blinded myself in the past I know how easy it is to falter and perhaps that is why God always seems to bring me back to being on my knees as I find it is the best place for me in staying humble and knowing my place as a servant rather than trying to play God.

    Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me
    I am tired and I need they strength and power
    To guide me over my darkest hour
    For just open my eyes that I might see
    Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me

    Lead me, guide me along the way
    For if you lead me I cannot stray
    Or just open my eyes that I may see
    Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me
    I am lost if you take your hand from me
    I am blind without thy light to see

    Lord just always let me Thy servant be
    Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me
    Lead me, guide me along the way
    For if you lead me I cannot stray

    Lord just open my eyes that I may see
    Lead me oh Lord, won’t you lead me

  71. SFDBWV says:

    When Matt was a youngster one of his favorite movies was “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”.

    For those of you who may not be familiar with the show it was a goofy sci-fi film about two seemingly misfits teenagers who were responsible for creating a future utopian world where everyone was “excellent to each other.”

    It was accomplished through their music…Once they learned how to play their guitars. Something they had overlooked in creating their garage band.

    Just an amusing farce for young teenagers at the time. It wouldn’t fit in today’s stark dark world of movies.

    Across time there have been several books or stories of finding that perfect world where there is no conflict no more wars and everyone is excellent to each other.

    Interesting that God through His Son Jesus gave the blueprint for just such a society, yet ironically within the very fabric of that society is the germ of disruption to it.

    It (that utopian society) is always recognized when seen, always appreciated when needed and for the most part honored among men. But only in part and only in glimpses, always just out of reach for it to be the true and constant action of society.

    Everyone seems to want it, but there seems to be something people don’t want to give up in order to have it and if attempted to be forced it has the opposite effect.

    In the news here is the tragic story of a man who died in Ellicott City Maryland during flooding this week. He was attempting to save a woman and her cat from the flood waters, they made it he didn’t.

    Then of course there is the national news story of Rosanne Barr and her callous insulting remarks about another’s physical appearance. A social firestorm without mercy for her.

    Contrasts in the fabric of our society.

    Our ideal world isn’t here yet, but each one of us can show a piece of it by simply being
    “excellent to each other.”

    63 with light fog and partially cloudy skies.

    Steve

  72. foreverblessed says:

    Yes, that’s so true, the only thing I can see to is that God’s will is done in my life.

    Your will be done on earth ( in my heart) as it is done in heaven.

    Steve, you mentioned that Bible verse, Rev 20:14 death and Hades thrown into the lake of fire.

    That reminds me of
    1 Cor 15:26
    The last enemy to be destroyed is death

    1 Cor 15:55
    54
    Then the saying that is written will come true:
    Death has been swallowed up in victory
    ( Isaiah 25:8)
    55
    Where, o death, is your victory?
    Where, o death, is your sting?
    ( Hosea 13:14)

    And this is what Mart is saying, however we interpret scripture, God being punitive, or God being restorative,
    This one thing we can agree on:

    V57
    But thanks be to God!
    He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    And then v58 is a very practical advice:
    1 Cor 15:58
    Our work in the Lord will not be in vain!
    What we do in Jesus will be fruitful,
    ( many more souls so be saved because of it, that is how I see) it.

  73. poohpity says:

    Beloved, if you think talking about something is arguing I feel bad for you. My response about kindness and compassion was in response to something that Viv had said about it in a conversation with her son that she shared.

    Viv, I did not say anything was a conundrum for God but for us. Actually it is more hypocrisy then anything else. Like you have said in the past talking the talk but not walking the walk. How does anyone know how Jesus would deal with anything if they have never taken the time to learn exactly how He did do things in the past or what it is that He teaches? It then comes down to just guess work, right?

    This reminds me of my bible study group which there are those who read what we are given to read through the week and those who never do read it but discuss what they have not read which is actually a bit impossible. Those who read it have a focus while those who don’t are all over place with assumptions and opinions. That is so much like our society today people want to talk about events happening yet base their opinions on emotion or their ideology rather than on facts actually many do not even want to find out the facts or truth but are satisfied with the propaganda they hear.

    Has anyone actually read the book of Matthew or Revelation to understand what Mart is talking about?

  74. poohpity says:

    Yes God is the righteous judge and yes God is punitive and yes God is restorative. There had to be punishment for what God judged as sin and Jesus bore it Himself for us so that we could be in a restored relationship with God. God took care of it all just because He loved His creation so much and wanted to live an eternity with us.

  75. Beloved says:

    Just to clarify what I mean by argue:
    ar·gue
    ˈärɡyo͞o/Submit
    verb
    1.
    give reasons or cite evidence in support of an idea, action, or theory, typically with the aim of persuading others to share one’s view.
    “defense attorneys argue that the police lacked “probable cause” to arrest the driver”
    synonyms: contend, assert, maintain, insist, hold, claim, reason, allege.

  76. jeff1 says:

    God asks us to put our faith in His judgements and there are times in a fallen world when it may seem that God is against us but as His children He asks us to trust that this is not so as He knows what is best for us and I believe that to be true.

    That is the difference in a believer and a non believer one trusts God and the other doesn’t.

    I don’t have to know the Bible or God to have that belief and why it is up to God and not down to us when it comes to God’s plan for the world.

  77. poohpity says:

    How would you know anything about Jesus, the cross or creation or Israel or anything regarding God if not for the bible? How would you know that there even was a God without the bible? That is just the weirdest thing I have ever heard. How would people write songs about God without having the bible? How would we know right from wrong without the bible? Maybe you ought to consider what you’re saying? Maybe saying I can depend on others to tell me what is in the bible rather than reading it for myself. Teacher, preachers, pastors could not teach without the bible.

    How would you know “it is up to God and not down to us when it comes to God’s plan for the world” without the bible? The bible is very necessary or God would not have made sure Moses wrote down what He told Him to nor the rest of the bible which has been the on the best seller list for thousands of years. It has lasted because God felt is was very needed and for most it is wanted.

  78. jeff1 says:

    I need to feel God’s love more than I need knowledge as I am tired of living in a world that has so much hate, violence and abuse.

    Knowledge doesn’t change this world but just causes more division among believers.

    It isn’t the fault of the Bible but those who interpretate it and it is my thinking that people need to know of God’s love which is easier for all to understand and there is no chance of misinterpretation.

    God loves us because He does. Amen

    Lets get back to the basic message of the gospel since man has been changing it since he decided he knew best when it is God who knows best.

  79. narrowpathseeker says:

    Amen. Vivian…I think that reading and learning anything and not putting that knowledge into practice is pretty much a waste of time.

    I have something I have wanted to share for a few weeks now, but I just haven’t the time.(I really don’t know why…I just get slower and slower at everything…you would think I was 94 instead of 74!!) I will certainly TRY to do that soon… It is from a devotional based on John Wesley’s sermon and I will have to type it out as it is not online and I can’t copy and paste… ……….May our loving God forgive us all, have mercy on us all and Bless us all.

  80. Beloved says:

    Lol I’ve been drawn to James a lot lately and thought of this after reading your post Viv and Narrow:
    James 1:22-25 New International Version (NIV)
    22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

    Blessed! For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus blessed us by doing what He was told. How blessed He must be to have His creation with Him for all eternity!

  81. poohpity says:

    I guess the bible is wrong when it says, “From Your precepts I get understanding; Therefore I hate every false way. Nun. 105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path” from Psalm 119.

    Or 2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Through these He has given us His precious and magnificent promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, now that you have escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8For if you possess these qualities and continue to grow in them, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.…

    So according to God’s word growing in our knowledge of the Lord Jesus helps us be effective and productive in our service to Him and others and the results is becoming more loving and kind. So I will continue on the path of learning about the Lord because it is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I can see the difference it makes in people who love to read God’s word because it is about the God they love and those who don’t, it is very evident.

  82. narrowpathseeker says:

    Wow Joyce…your post at 5:15pm is very close to what I want to share from John Wesley and haven’t had time…I am working on it now in word, but need to get ready for bed…so I will try to finish it tomorrow.

  83. SFDBWV says:

    Pearl, I hope the recent heavy rains and flood threats have not impacted you.

    One of the lessons I learned long ago when studying Scripture was that once I had proven to myself that what I was seeking was the “Gospel Truth” trying to prove it to another who disagreed just didn’t matter anymore. And that along with learning that revelation knowledge there is always conformation given through another by way of the Holy Spirit.

    Only God can open the eyes of the blind when it comes to Scripture and once He does it is taken into our hearts and becomes a part of us, not just something we read.

    I do hope you are well and away from danger connected to these heavy rains.

    Steve

  84. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Steve, for your blessings!

    There are thunderstorms here as well, locally very severe.

    This morning I felt low, and slow

    Bible reading didn’t help ( immediately), so I listened to:

    Broken vessels, amazing grace, by Hillsong
    And the music was very soothing,
    And the words are the Gospel words out of the Bible

    All these pieces
    Broken and scattered
    In mercy gathered
    Mended and whole
    Empty handed
    But not forsaken
    I’ve been set free
    I’ve been set free

    Amazing grace
    How sweet the sound
    That saved a wretch like me
    I once was lost
    But now I am found
    Was blind but now I see

    Oh I can see You now
    Oh I can see the love in Your eyes
    Laying Yourself down
    Raising up the broken to life

    Verse 2
    You take our failure
    You take our weakness
    You set Your treasure
    In jars of clay
    So take this heart, Lord
    I’ll be Your vessel
    The world to see
    Your life in me

    Amazing grace
    How sweet the sound…
    Amazing

  85. foreverblessed says:

    We were blind,
    But see
    Through the Holy Spirit

    And I believe, keeps revealing more and more, deeper and deeper,
    the meaning of the bible verses.
    But He only does that, as we obey what He has revealed.

    So differences in understanding will always be there.

    The closer we have grown to Jesus, the more we do what He says, the deeper the meaning of the Bible verses become:
    The deeper the Grace we see.

    God sent His Son, for the sins of the whole world!!!

    And He starts with the first-fruits

  86. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning (here) Foreverblessed, I am sorry that you also are having heavy rains as a little rain is always good, but too much can be very bad.

    I completely understand, praise music has that effect on us all. As it lifts us up it also chases the devil away.

    I have always believed that our first allegiance is to God and our actions should be directed to both praise and honor Him.

    When misguided people use Bible verses as a base of argument, I personally believe it discredits the Word of God and dishonors God.

    We can and should present uplifting Scripture in order to encourage and bless, and to present the Gospel to unbelievers, but never as a weapon or as an argument against another.

    As I have already stated there are just far too many Scripture verses that seem to be in contrast with each other and an endless exchange of arguing does no good and when observed by non-believers it is a stumbling block to their accepting Christianity as a faith.

    Anyway I hope for sunny skies and better weather for you today and many blessings.

    Steve

  87. Beloved says:

    God is so good. I’ve been talking to God about my problems, anxieties, disappointment with myself as I lament not completing some goals I had set for myself. He has been helping me little by little to adjust from my plans to His. Then yesterday as I sat in a mall parking lot an older car with a faded and torn bumper sticker caught my attention. It said, Love all you can in the little things. Thinking now it reminds me of something Teresa of Avila would say. How little we really are in the grand scheme of things, like a grain of sand of God’s promise to Abraham I am just one of his many descendants. All because God so loved the world that He gave Jesus to save us, from death and ourselves.

  88. poohpity says:

    There are several different statements that people use rather than just coming out and honestly saying they are not familiar with scripture or not caring to read it like Viv so often has said. They use deception to insinuate that they have read it but in reality they really have not.

    1. The bible contradicts itself.(name five then we will talk)
    2. The bible is to confusing but not having read it, how do they really know.
    3. I don’t have time but for anything that is important to us we find time.
    4. People do not read it because it is like a mirror and looking into it is uncomfortable at times.
    5. It is boring
    6. I can not understand it
    7. The bible is full of errors

    The Gospel Coalition writes; “God has spoken to us in the Word of God. It is his letter to us. How can a person say that they truly love God but throw his “letter” aside in favor of other stuff? How can they give it less attention than things that don’t matter?

    Let’s be honest: if you don’t read your Bible it is because you don’t want to read your Bible. And to bottom line this further, this is indicative or your relationship with God. We cannot separate a love for the Word of God and the God of the Word.

    Action item: If we do find ourselves not reading our Bibles we should examine ourselves to see the true substance of our relationship with God. Is it dysfunctional? If so repent and speak to God in confession. Then you will find yourself finding joy in God and his Word.”

  89. Beloved says:

    To be taken with a grain of sand. Only the Spirit of God can move our hearts.

  90. poohpity says:

    You are right that only the Spirit of God can move our hearts but is anyone really listening or are they taking His direction with a grain of sand. God will find all the grains of sand that will hear when He calls and the little they do hear they will soon be given more. Matt 13:12 NLT; Matt 25:29 NLT; Mark 4:25 NLT; Luke 8:17-18 NLT

  91. poohpity says:

    It is God who puts the desire to learn more about Him in our hearts to where we hunger and thirst for Him and we will be satisfied. God knows!!!

  92. poohpity says:

    Who does one think it is that has anything to gain from leading people away from reading scripture? There is only one that has anything to gain by taking our eyes off the Lord and he started his work in the garden and will continue until the time when thrown into fiery pit.

  93. Beloved says:

    May the peace of Christ be with you, Pooh.

  94. Beloved says:

    Philippians 2:13-15 (NLT)

    13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

    14 Do everything without complaining and arguing,

    15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

  95. foreverblessed says:

    Do everything without complaining and arguing.

    That is a strong command!
    May God strengthen me, to live like that!!!

  96. foreverblessed says:

    I recall one night, when after a long time of no head problems, there it was again.
    I asked God: are You now forgetting me?
    Was I complaining there.
    But God was full of Grace. I have written about this before.
    That night it started to snow. (People with headproblems often have it when the weather changes, like with lightning, or as I said, the first snow)
    The next morning I felt a little better,candidate I went outside to clean the walkpath in front of the house.
    Here I saw one of the few miracles on the natural plane in my lifethere was no snow!
    None!!!
    But there was left and right, of the house, even at my neighbour who has a tree hanging over the path.
    I looked at it, and it was as if God said to me:
    See… I did not forget you!

    God is gracious to us. And long-suffering
    And that is what Mart is saying to us:
    So be to each other!

  97. foreverblessed says:

    When I logged out, the post of Street, May 26, 10.18 pm appeared.
    I enjoyed reading it! Thanks, and I pray everything is well with you!
    Thanks everybody, for all your efforts, in posting here, may God bless you all!!!

  98. narrowpathseeker says:

    Hello Steve…thank you for asking…no bad storms or flooding in our area…God is so good to us. Thank You Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

    The excerpts from John Wesley’s writings that I want to share were more for those of us that are very remorseful for our sins..and truly regret our offenses past and present.. It is an uplifting piece….well at least for me and I think several of our friends here will feel better about themselves too.

    I am sure one will take offense to part of it, but that is a given and not my intention to do nor debate or argue scripture. Especially since if it is not right before me I can remember things that aren’t there and forget much that is there. I fully agree with you that arguing over scripture and what it means is not a good thing. I will try to finish that up and post it tonight..

    PS…I got my first summer squash from the garden today!

  99. jeff1 says:

    It is judgemental Christians who have used the Bible to shame others in making them feel less of a believer for not reading it.

    God knows I have suffered from mental illness and so did my mum and my brother and God finds others way of communicating and so He speaks to my heart.

    I enjoy listening to sermons from preachers I trust and hymns and gospel music and I don’t believe God sees me as any less of a follower for not reading my Bible.

    I may not know God as well as others who do know it but I trust He loves me and that contents me because I need His love more than I need knowledge because when you have seen hatred and violence up personal as I have you know that it is love that matters in making this world a better place.

  100. Beloved says:

    Forever I need those directions from God. He reminds me all the time when I’m getting off the path, His staff gently guides me in my conduct. Its not burdensome to me at all. It feels good to be so cared for. Narrow I too forget more than I remember but I never tire of hearing from God through scripture. His word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. I’d love to read Wesley’s devotion.

    Street mentioned praying for those following in Ruth’s shoes. I’ve been thinking about that and taking it to heart. Thank you.

  101. Beloved says:

    First squash!!! We are just now setting our tomato plants out! Hope it’s a long summer:-)

  102. narrowpathseeker says:

    Yes, Joyce I have little cucumbers too!! It is amazing to me as well…having gardened most of my life in New England!!!

    Excerpts from a John Wesley sermon. THE PRESENT MARKS OF A CHRISTIAN
    Whatever one has or has not experienced in time past, there are certain present marks by which we may distinguish a child of God from a presumptious self deceiver. The scriptures describe that joy in the Lord which accompanies the witness of the Spirit as a lowly, humble joy, one that causes a pardoned sinner to exclaim, ” Now that I see You, O God, I abhor myself! What am I but a vile worm of the dust!” With this lowliness is meekness, patience, gentleness, longsuffering. There is a soft, yielding spirit, a mildness, sweetness, and tenderness of soul that words cannot express.

    (Now, seeing MYSELF as a vile worm of the dust of sorts has long been the reason I ask for mercy many times daily…for myself and for others and I often feel…like I am a pathetic excuse for a Christian……. BUT this implies that this is how we should see ourselves… Now as far as the rest of it for me…I am very slowly becoming more meek, patient, gentle, yielding, sweet , tender, etc….BUT I am far closer to possessing some of those fruits than I have been since early childhood. BUT I DO see most of those fruits in Steve. I also believe most here…ESPECIALLY those that beat themselves up …….. have the marks of a Christian that Wesley mentions…that includes YOU Vivian and those who may put you down because you don’t read the bible may have the marks of a self deceiver as described next.)
    The fruits which accompany the supposed testimony of the Spirit in a presumptuous person are just the reverse. The more confident one is of the favor of God, the more he is lifted up: the more haughty and assuming is the whole behavior. The stronger witness he imagines himself to have, the more overbearing he is to all around him. He is the more incapable of receiving reproof; the more impatient of contradiction. Instead of being meek, gentle and teachable, he is more unready to learn of anyone, more fiery, and vehement in his temper, with a fierce impulsiveness in his speaking, in his whole deportment-as if he would take matters out of God’s hands and would himself devour his adversaries.

    Now isn’t it uplifting to know that seeing ourselves as we are is a mark of a Christian? Sweet dreams.

  103. Beloved says:

    Softly And Tenderly

    Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling
    Calling for you and for me
    See all the portholes
    He’s waiting and watching
    Watching for you and for me
    Come home, come home
    You who are weary come home
    Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
    Calling all sinners, come home.
    All for the wonderful love he has promised
    Promised for you and for me
    Through all our suffering
    He has mercy and pardon
    Pardon for you and for me
    Come home, come home
    You who are weary come home
    Earnestly, tenderly Jesus is calling
    Calling all sinners, come home

  104. jeff1 says:

    Thank you for the John Wesley sermon, Narrow, there is no doubt that the Saints of old have a lot to teach us.

    That has always been one of my favourites, Beloved, and I am thinking Softly and Tenderly is so different from the world we live in as my son will say to me it is a hard tough world out there mum and I am thinking so different from our real home.

    This song from Karen Peck and New River says a lot for me.

    My mommy and daddy talked about going home
    Since I was just a babe on their knees
    They said nothing compared to what was waiting up there
    how one day we would finally be free
    Well, I’ve never see it but I keep on believing it will be a place like I’ve never known
    I keep my eyes on the sky cause my soul wants to fly
    Lord my heart is ready to go

    Chorus:
    I want to know how it feels
    To make my way down the streets of gold
    I want to know how it feels
    To have a talk with the Saints of old
    I want to know what it’s like
    To rest by feet by the River of Life
    I’ve heard of heaven and I know that it’s real
    I want to know hot it feels

    Sometimes I get weary from the life that I live
    It seems that peace is something I’ll never find
    I try to lighten my load when all that I’ve got to show is seven hundred things on my mind
    Well, I’m seeing visions of a crystal clear river
    Where sin’s forgotten without a trace
    More than I’ve ever dreamed my eyes long to see the look of love on my Saviour’s face

    Chorus:
    I want to know how it feels
    To make my way down the streets of gold
    I want to know how it feels
    To have a talk with the Saints of old
    I want to know what it’s like
    To rest my feet by the River of Life
    I’ve heard of heaven and I know that it’s real
    I want to know how it feels
    I want to know how it feels
    I want to know how it feels

  105. foreverblessed says:

    Thank you Narrow, for that sermon. The only thing I can do is to see that I am teachable, and humble.

    This topic is about the Gospel of Matthew, Mart says: Is Jesus really saying, that if people have not accepted Him in this life, they are forever lost?

    Even if He seems to say so, I for myself will talk to God about it, I would say to God: It seems You say they are forever lost.
    But how can I match that with Your Word, where You say that Your mercies are forever? Psalm 136 Lam 3
    Please God, You say You are the same, yesterday, now and forever. If you are full of Grace now, You also will be anytime in the future!

    I had some talk here with other Christians, some were saying that God’s grace is up to the day of judgment. If the verdict has occurred, that’s it.
    And then my heart shrinks, and I cry inwardly to God:
    God, we have misunderstood You, please forgive us for portraying You as such.

    To conclude my thought: even if the Bible seems to say that God’s mercy is up to the day of judgment,
    I will still think: we have misunderstood.
    We ought to see everything in the Bible in light of Jesus Christ, willing to suffer for all of mankind, Jesus who left the 99 to go after the one lost, Jesus, who waits on the road till the prodigal son comes back, Jesus who says to the elder son: rejoice with Me, everything Mine is yours.

  106. SFDBWV says:

    Mart has stated that we can agree in the Gospel, that anyone who believes in Jesus will not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Also Mart believes that in God we have reason to be patient and kind to one another.

    Is living forever so important? Or is the idea that we have no option, that we as a soul, will live forever and our concern then being how we will spend eternity?

    Is the fear of God’s punishment the core reason for our accepting Christ? Or is it something else?

    Is it that fear of God that “makes” us be kind to others, or is it another reason?

    Is it because we want so bad to have a world that is void of hatred, anger, sickness, emotional and physical pain that we come to God to rescue us from it? Because nothing we can do can change it or prevent it.

    Are we still on the outside of Eden lamenting to be back inside?

    Yes there is no doubt that our hope can only be found in Jesus. For all of these thousands of years of mankind we have never even came close to restoring a perfect existence only the destruction of the one we have.

    We are offered “Hope”, hope for every ill and every heartache by coming to Jesus of Nazareth to rescue us from ourselves and from every tear.

    Instinctively we believe in God and instinctively we know right from wrong and instinctively we feel good in being kind to one another.

    Because we were created that way.

    Steve

  107. poohpity says:

    Pride can come to us in two ways one thinking more highly of ourselves and the other thinking to lowly of ourselves but both are pride(Romans 12:3 NLT). Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. Putting the good of others before yourself knowing that God will care for you(Phil 2:3 NLT). Being confident of who one is to God is not pride it is assurance.

    1 Peter 4: 10 As good stewards of the manifold grace of God, each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve one another. 11 If anyone speaks, he should speak as one conveying the words of God. If anyone serves, he should serve with the strength God supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.

    The book of Matthew is just like any other parts of the bible for us to look at ourselves so we see our need of a Savior not to look at whether anyone is a Christian or not but because most in humility realize that God is still working in us and we are all in process. (Phil 1:5-6 NLT)

  108. Beloved says:

    Let’s add faith to the mix this morning:
    “Without faith no one can please God. Anyone who comes to God must believe that he is real and that he rewards those who truly want to find him” (Heb. 11:6 NCV)

  109. poohpity says:

    Paul did not boast about how spirit filled and godly he was nor did he put any other human being on a pedestal or let anyone he preached the gospel to put him or anyone else as someone to be worshiped or glorified, only the Lord. Actually he rebuked harshly people when they bowed down to him, put him on a pedestal or any other apostle or disciple because they were just human beings saved by the grace of God. People can idolize people and Paul would not have it.

    However Paul did boast about what happened to him for sharing God’s Good News; The persecution, hate, rejection, how many times he was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked, etc.(2 Cor 11:23-28 NLT). Now if anyone on “Been Thinking” has suffered for their faith and sharing the Good News then I will listen to how godly and spirit filled they are or what good Christians they are because being kind to those who are kind back or loving those who love us back is nothing more than what every other person in the world does.

  110. Beloved says:

    Christians who don’t read their Bible are in the process also.

  111. Beloved says:

    We can agree that this is the Good News that—in our shared humanity, and in our shared confidence in God— we find reason to be patient, and kind to one another…

    Romans 13:8 comes to mind also.

  112. poohpity says:

    No one said they weren’t. I did not say anything about people who do not read their bible I quoted what the “Gospel Coalition” wrote and what the bible said about it. It is nothing out of the norm for many Christians, only 14% of professing believers are bible literate. The troubling part is the honesty part, some are honest about it while others rather than being honest deceive people into believing that they do read it when they don’t. Reading the bible is not the end all of being a Christian nor does it make anyone better than any one else in my opinion, it is just about the honesty. If one lies in that areas what else do they lie about?

  113. Beloved says:

    Judging another’s “honesty” ?

  114. Beloved says:

    Foreverblessed, the use of the word “forever” in the OT means until physical death. Hope that helps:-)

  115. Beloved says:

    @10:20 I mean’t to post Romans 13:7-8

  116. poohpity says:

    No Joyce not judging the honesty of anyone else because it is no difference to me but it is evident by what they themselves say or have said. If deception were easy to spot it would not be deception now would it? Aren’t we called to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves not letting anyone deceive us, so I guess it would be a matter of judging whether someone is truthful or not? (Matt 10:16; Mark 13:5)

  117. poohpity says:

    As believers in Christ we are called to be a Royal priesthood “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

  118. Beloved says:

    What does all this have to do with the topic anyway? I don’t see the connection.

  119. poohpity says:

    Look harder! Mart said, “If everything written up to this point in Matthew’s Gospel (and in the whole of Scripture) works together to help us see our need for who Jesus is—and what he was about to do, then could it be that— whatever it is that we can’t prove may not be as important as what we do know about the heart of our Father, and his intervention to love the loveless, to forgive the unforgivable, to show mercy to the unmerciful, and to give hope to the hopeless?”

    As ODB James Banks writes; “Do we carefully consider what we are feeding our eternal souls when we read or surf the web or watch TV? The Bible encourages us, “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good” (1 Peter 2:2–3). We need to fill ourselves daily with God’s Word and truth if we are to thrive as followers of Christ. Only then can we grow to maturity in Him.”

  120. Beloved says:

    heart of our Father, and his intervention to love the loveless, to forgive the unforgivable, to show mercy to the unmerciful, and to give hope to the hopeless?

    This is the point of the topic. Bringing up reading habits when you know our friend Vivien has a disability that precludes her from reading has nothing to do with love mercy and hope. Better to pray for her if perhaps God will heal her. But we know God does not always heal but uses our disability (thorn) so we don’t get all puffed up about ourselves. Knowledge can do that. God so loved the world He gave.. He gave Himself. We are called to do likewise. It’s good to get our head out of the books and gaze upon Jesus.

  121. Beloved says:

    Pooh you and I are never going to agree because we think so differently, but we can agree that God loved ALL so much He died to bring us back to the fellowship we once had with Him in a garden, long ago.

  122. poohpity says:

    Oh my gosh just as you did not understand how the topic had anything to do with reading the bible you would have understood that I praising Viv for her honesty about not reading it. She gets God’s word other ways in song and poetry but she does not try to fool anyone into believing she reads it but I was also trying to get her to see that just as she understands songs and poetry she can also find that in the bible without having to go through others. It is called encouragement to go beyond what we think we can do but was not in any way meant as a put down in any form or fashion. It is like saying I do not like cheesecake but have never taken a taste to see if you really don’t like it or you are just going on what others say, so encouraging someone to take a bite before they dislike the cheesecake. So Joyce rather than falsely accusing me of something make an effort to find out. Like I have said many times in the past don’t think I think like you because I don’t and what you write about me is the way you think not me, it is your opinion but far from reality of my heart or mind. If you got your head in the book and gazed on Jesus the blinders may come off.

  123. poohpity says:

    Frankly I do not even know if we even do agree on the basics because I was never in the garden or knew what it was like to walk and talk personally with God or had that kind of fellowship until I gave my life to Christ. Maybe you did but I did not.

  124. Beloved says:

    See, we don’t think alike at all pooh. I love you as God says to love, with patience, kindness and self control. Lots more to work on though!

  125. Beloved says:

    I believe God said to love our enemies.

  126. jeff1 says:

    God is a personal God as in He meets us where we are and doesn’t put expectations on us.

    To my way of thinking that means He is much more merciful to each of us than we are to each other.

    So we should try harder to accept each other’s differences and agree on what we can agree on.

    As a parent I get upset when my sons quarrel and I just want them to make up and I am not bothered who started it but just that they agree to differ so that harmony can be restored so God must also feel hurt and disappointed when His children do the same.

    If we love God as we say we do then it should be our priority to please Him and as I see it that means bite your tongue if you have to rather than speaking unkindly towards others.

    Get into the habit of thinking what would Jesus do before you do or say anything against anyone and then you just won’t talk about being humble but you will actually be it.

    There is a television soap I watch and one of the children in it believes in Jesus and she will say to her parents ‘what would Jesus do’ when is in a situation she’s not sure about.

    I like that the soap has got a child character who is showing her parents how they should behave as it seems parents these days are far removed from when I was a young person.

  127. poohpity says:

    First, Beloved I am not your enemy. Second, I am just not a masochist that wants to continue to be harmed by YOUR kind of love or kindness.

  128. Beloved says:

    When I spoke about walking in the garden I meant mankind, not me personally.

    Good thoughts Viv, a lot like Marts.

  129. Beloved says:

    Truth hurts. But the hurt is worth the healing. God is sovereign. And often beyond our understanding no matter how much we study.

  130. Beloved says:

    The heart is deceitful above all things. I’m finding out that what hurts my heart doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. Gods good is so different from ours we often can’t stand the pain, but He is always good and does what’s best for us, according to His perfect standards. Love one another with a pure heart. If we do it out of human passion we will fail every time. His ways are not our ways.

  131. Beloved says:

    It doesn’t matter to me if I am liked or not liked. What matters to me is Christ first, and people second. I can name a list of those who don’t like me. We are not meant to be liked but to love, to give as God gave to us His love. Love hurts sometimes, it hurts the sin in us. Better now than when it’s too late!

  132. Beloved says:

    My apologies Viv. Seems as though the “Bad girls” rabbit trail ran off blog again. Cannot promise it won’t happen again though -(.

  133. jeff1 says:

    I understand, Beloved, it is a struggle and why God is so patient with us and I agree that God hurts us for the right reasons whereas people do it out of ignorance or malice.

    I have often distanced myself from God when I was younger as I didn’t understand this and got angry with God but I understand now that God is omniscient and that is why I can trust Him above all other.

    Peace comes through trusting God and not on my own understanding as I can only understand in part as God is working in others too and so it has to be His timing and not ours.

    God is teaching me patience with both myself and others because He cares for all and that speaks of a love that is greater than all the riches this earth has to offer and why it is worth any sacrifice so that all will know it.

  134. Beloved says:

    I have to change something I said @1:47. If we have accepted Jesus as our savior there is no condemnation awaiting us in the end. Spiritual formation is never-ending though as we walk with Jesus here. Learning to be like Jesus means dying to self daily.

  135. Beloved says:

    Street thinking of you. Blessings of Jesus to you.

  136. foreverblessed says:

    Mart is saying, let’s talk about what we can agree on,
    Not on what we disagree on!
    All of us need the Redemption through Jesus Christ.
    Today was the bread and wine,
    Commemorating Jesus death for us, so that He may live in us.

    Without being attached to Him we are nothing!!!

    But HOW the Holy Spirit leads each one of us, is very personal!!!
    God can lead Viv very well, we need to let go and let God.
    Today we had a sermon on the principle of the Sabbath.
    It was good instruction, but not quite the same as what God has led me through. But…..
    neither was that preacher brought up in a Sabbath’s keeping christian church. I have been crying out to God,bwgat is it that You wanted to say with the Sabbath.
    And He personally answered me. And I habe met few who have heard the same answer. But then again, who has cried so hard from their heart about that 7th day?
    Other people have wrestled through other topics, in which I haven’t thought about. God has opened their eyes to something, that I in turn don’t see.
    So, we cannot have the same understanding now, while we are still searching!

    We will have some day,
    And then Jesus says: You will ask me nothing…

    For when we know that we know that we are with Jesus,
    All is well

    It is well
    With my soul
    Because Jesus is with us, and we in Him

  137. foreverblessed says:

    So I can tell you what God tought me about the Sabbath, but that is just for me, you do not need to see it in such a way.

    If people ask me: Do you keep the Sabbath? I say, yes I do!
    I live IN the Sabbath, and I never want to be out of it.

    Then they ask me: that is not possible, we are human.
    Then I answer, it is as Jesus said: Be you perfect
    It is impossible for us to be imperfect, yet Jesus commands us anyway!
    Without Jesus it is impossible, but with Jesus everything is possible. He does give us a very high aim: perfect.
    As if He is saying, do not aim for anything less.

    So I aim to be always in the Sabbath.

    Oswald Chambers talks about this:
    Jesus was always in the Rest,
    If He was working, or praying, whatever He did, He did it while resting in God. He was never in a hurry.

    So yes, Jesus gave us a great example, only in His strength, and connected to Him we can become like Him.
    I aim for nothing less, but Perfect in Rest.

    He that rests from his own works, lets the Spirit work in him,
    In other words: who has died to the old self, as Beloved just wrote above, lets Jesus live in Him.

    May God bless you with His Rest!

  138. foreverblessed says:

    What did I write???
    It is impossible for us to be imperfect.

    I meant to say:
    It is impossible for us to be perfect.
    Yet Jesus commanded us anyway.

    Whatever He commanded He can do in us, if we surrender to Him.

    But now this list be stares me in the face:
    It is impossible for us to be imperfect!

    That is true, if we see it like this: when we are IN Jesus, it is impossible for us to be imperfect.
    Jesus is Perfect
    In Love
    In patience
    In Long-suffering
    In Mercy
    Gal 5:22-23

  139. Beloved says:

    Forever good reminder about Jesus being our Sabbath rest 24/7. I’m trying another church this morning, please pray for my anxiety as it’s a new group of people to deal with.

  140. foreverblessed says:

    Dear God, please be with Beloved!
    Strengthen her in Your Power,
    Your Everlasting arms around her,
    Bless that church she is going to, bless all the people who attend, and their loved ones at home.

    In Jesus’s name we pray…

  141. narrowpathseeker says:

    Foreverblessed…Thank you….that was a very moving message. It portrays to me your very heartfelt desire to do and say the right thing in Jesus and that makes me want to do better in that area as well… thank you.

  142. jeff1 says:

    Forever, you are so right we cannot have the same understanding as we are on different journey’s and why God asks us to trust Him.

    We need to support each other but God is using each of us differently depending on our strengths and weaknesses and we must allow Him to be our guide as He does know His children best.

    A beautiful song from Sunday morning reflections.

    We Are Broken

    I know your hurting your heart needs healing,
    Let me dry your eyes I know your feeling;
    Like the sun will never shine again,
    Like the pain inside will never end;
    Sometimes it takes a little faith to mend.

    We are broken to become more beautiful,
    Tried by fire to shine like gold;
    We are shattered to free the diamonds in our souls,
    We are broken to be whole.

    Love let you fall, now you’re in pieces,
    And your thoughts are scattered, what are the reasons?
    Oh, but time will work as medicine,
    And you’ll find your wings to fly again;
    Higher than you’ve ever been.

    We are broken to be beautiful,
    Tried by fire to shine like gold;
    We are shattered to free the diamonds in our souls,
    We are broken to be whole.

    Yeah, we are broken to be whole.
    We are broken to be whole.

  143. poohpity says:

    One thing we can be sure of is God remains the same, never changing although He does relate to each of us differently depending on our personality.

    When Jesus taught, “But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” He was talking about loving our enemies as God loved His. As He taught in Matt 5 one of the chapters Mart talked about. Matt 5: 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your Heavenly Father is perfect.…

    Jesus taught about the rich man who said he followed all the commandments but when Jesus said there is one more thing you can do for eternal life, go and sell everything you have and give it to the poor. The young ruler left discouraged because He was very rich, so His disciples asked who then can be saved which Jesus replied, “With God all things are possible” Matt 19:25-26 NLT

    I used to take parts of scripture to apply it to what I wanted to prove but then I learned over many,many years that my thinking was the reason Jesus had to come. When someone gets to know someone they love they want to learn about the way they think and are.

  144. Beloved says:

    Thank you for praying Foreverblessed. No less than a dozen people warmly greeted me and the gospel was clearly preached and woven throughout the sermon. He explained in great detail about salvation through faith alone not works. I was blessed and felt like I’m home. He’s a good teacher and plan to go again this evening. So blessed!

  145. jeff1 says:

    It is the fact that God relates to us differently because of our strengths and weaknesses that tells us God is all knowing whereas I am limited in knowing and that isn’t through lack of knowledge of the Bible (though I am lacking in knowledge) but because God requires obedience to His will to fulfil His purposes on earth more than He requires us to be more knowledgeable.

    Religions and individuals have used the Bible for their purposes rather than God’s which is why the world has so many interpretations and only the pure of heart have the right interpretation because it takes a person pure of heart to connect with God.

    My motives are what separates me from God as until my motives are pure God will not reveal His will to me and it is because He loves me to much to damage me more than I am.

    My dad knew God’s will better than any other person I knew and I can see now that my dad’s motives were for the greater good of all and not his own personal agenda as He stayed connected to the source and when I have God given righteousness rather than man driven righteousness then I will fulfil God’s purpose on earth and not my own beliefs of what is His purpose.

    God tells us to focus on Jesus for very good reasons because when I don’t and I am speaking from my own failing here I become judgemental and start playing God which was what I did while my dad didn’t but he didn’t try to tell me because he knew I was being judgemental and so God brought me down to earth with a jolt and now I am filled with guilt, because I wasn’t considering others, remorse, because I know the error of my ways, and pity because I am human and I want to find an excuse for my selfishness when it was what it was me playing God rather than following Him.

    God shows me the real me and the truth is I don’t always like what I see because I have to face the reality that without Him there’s nothing much to like.

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

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

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

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