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A Better Righteousness

On a California beach, young surfers use the word righteous to describe a big wave, a drug-induced high, or a sexual adventure.

In a nearby church, members of a prayer circle use the same word to talk about behavior that complies with the moral laws of the Bible.

I’m guessing the beach crowd knows they are giving their own spin to a word rooted in the language and story of the Bible. But could the church group also be missing something?

In Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes, author Kenneth E. Bailey explains that the Hebrew word translated righteousness is often used in the Bible as a term of relationship rather than morality. That’s an important difference. It helps us understand how the Bible can call people like us righteous, and why all of us can be so eternally grateful for the righteousness of God.

Bailey goes on to suggest that righteousness is like a cut diamond. What follows is based on what he sees as four of this rich word’s many facets.

1. In the Bible, God’s righteousness often refers to His mighty acts in history to save. For instance, the prophet Samuel recalls the righteous rescues of the LORD when confronting Israel for demanding a human king to protect them from their enemies. Samuel reminded them that they were forgetting the way the King of heaven had repeatedly kept His covenant commitment to save them from their enemies even after they had been unfaithful to Him (1 Samuel 12:6-12).

What was not clear in Samuel’s words, however, was how God could rightfully rescue a nation that had so often turned their backs on Him.

2. God’s rightness is seen in the sacrifice He makes to justify sinners like us. Only in an ultimate act of self-sacrifice could God bring a sinful people like us into a relationship with Himself.

This is the good news of the new covenant in Jesus. Through immeasurable suffering and death, followed by a bodily resurrection, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV).

But if sinners can be declared and accepted by God as righteous, what will keep those who come to God “just as they are” from going on with a “just as they were” attitude?

Bailey answers this question by reminding us that all relationships come with expectations of conduct.

3. A right relationship with God is honored by a desire to be right with others. By personifying the merciful righteousness of God, Jesus brought fullness of meaning to one of the oldest stories of the Bible. Thousands of years earlier God had said of a man named Job that there was no one else like him on earth (Job 1:8). Yet it was Job himself who helps us understand why he was singled out—first by God, and then by Satan. After suffering a series of terrible personal losses, Job reflected on how rich his life had been before his troubles began. In his own words, “I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth” (Job 29:14-17 NIV).

Looking back, the suffering of Job, together with his heart for others, foreshadows a far greater righteousness, suffering, and vision of Christ for the world.

4. Seeds of peace produce a harvest of righteousness. The prophets of Israel foresaw a day when people of all nations would be reconciled with God, with one another, and even with nature. In that day, the relational rightness of the King of kings will fill the earth. Weapons of war will be recycled into farming equipment, and the wolf will live with the lamb (Isaiah 2:4; 11:1-10).

For now, the prophet’s vision may seem like a dream too good to be true. But for those who have come to understand the relational meaning of the righteousness of God, doing whatever we can to anticipate the peace of the world to come is a worthy occupation.

It was such a vision that seems to have captured the heart of a New Testament author by the name of James. Seeing the relationship between real faith and the work of peacemaking, he urged his readers to show their relationship with God by planting seeds of peace. So he wrote, “Where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:16-18 NIV).

Father in heaven, in our best and most thoughtful moments, we long for such peace. Thank You for being so patient with us. We are learning slowly why our self-righteousness is so wrong—and why Your rightness is so good.

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57 Responses to “A Better Righteousness”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Back in “A Song for the Journey” topic I had shared that a prophet’s reward and a righteous man’s reward is the same (Matthew 10:41) and in Matthew 10:42 because we do the least kindness in Christ’s name we can not lose our reward.

    I also shared that found in Genesis 15:1 we learn that God is that reward. The presence of God is the reward of a righteous man.

    The issue is why is he righteous?

    He is only righteous because God is with him, and when God is with you *things* happen.

    Your righteous actions are a reflection of God not you. God uses you to produce His will and in so doing you are righteous and righteous only because God is with you.

    This is why we can marvel at the scoundrels God chose to use throughout His story, they become hero’s and righteous only because God was with them. Nothing of their character except for their faith was theirs and even that is a *gift* from God.

    We are nothing without God and can only be righteous because of God.

    Jesus made it possible for all to come to righteousness (in the presence of God) through faith, hope and trust in Him. “You believed God now believe me.” (John 14:1)


  2. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… beautifully presented truth which goes without contention for thos who know and believe God, and now know and believe Jesus Christ, who is that very God who changes from the distant Elohim, to the personal Yeshua.
    Where no longer do we see dreams come true, but prayers being answered.
    I’m reflecting that for all to see the last shared thought from today’s Two Listeners, God at Eventide. Where we are all blessed to know the difference! Gary

  3. oneg2dblu says:

    Steve… my being a copy-cat in using others words which do so fit my feelings about your comment today, that was sublime. Gary

  4. SFDBWV says:

    Gary it is perfectly ok for you or any to “copy cat” any thing I bring to the table, as anything I have constructive is from God and all of we Christians should strive to copy *Him* in all we say and do.

    So we are all “copy cats” of Christ or at least we try to be.


  5. oneg2dblu says:

    As far as the proper use, or current misuse, of the word righteuos is concerned…

    I see the word “right” as being the root, the very foundation.

    Who is really the “Only One,” truly righteous enough to define the very “basis of right” found in the word righteous?

    Should it be modern day thinkers teaching us, or the leanings of the Supreme Court currently split 4-5 on most social/moral issues ruling over us?

    Or, any of those who now idealize and worship things as right which are clearly may not be?

    Or should we idealize and worship Almighty God only, who must be rightly feeding the minds of the church, and His righteous among us, if God is truly the center of their lives and focus.

    Just a thought… about what “is” right, and what seems right in the ways if man.

    “All a man’s ways seem right to him, but in the end lead to death.” -Almighty God

    How do we socially try to balance God’s apparent unbalance for the modern thinking masses and their desired dreams, dreams of many Lost Sheep who clearly do not know what answered prayer even looks like?

    If godliness and its resultant right living is considered righteousness by God, as Job was consoder righteous, then shouldn’t those led by He who is right, know how to live right from those who are currently lost?

    God defines what is right and what is evil in His word, which is certainly dreaded by those modern thinkers today, if it does not fit their desired dreams.

    They can only see that word, as hate speek.

    But shouldn’t others who see _ _ _ rightly, and know that _ _ _ is everywhere, also see answered prayer when they see it?

    Isn’t Jesus the answered prayer to those who know God?

  6. narrowpathseeker says:

    I believe there is a very narrow path here and I apparently lack map reading skills to find it. When we encounter someone sowing discord, where is that narrow path between>>> “I broke the fangs of the wicked and snatched the victims from their teeth” (Job 29:14-17 NIV) and the path of sowing seeds of peace?

    It seems to me at this point in time for me, I should know step by step just what to do in any given situation, but way too often I fail. It appears that when I am fairly sure I have done what God wants me to do, that shortly thereafter, my unwelcome but ever visiting false pride kicks in. Then when I kick false pride out the door, self condemnation moves in, then anger moves in an out as it pleases. While my stay on either side tends to get more brief, they still hinder efforts of peacemaking.

    I need help from some skilled map readers. Yet once again, I have started attending yet another church. My first visit compelled a second despite an antagonistic woman whose face I could not see across the aisle but whose mouth did not follow suit. On 3,4, or more occasions, she rudely interrupted the pastor and other speakers to “correct” them on some minor detail. Everything past that seemed right, so I returned.

    This week, this same woman( I recognized her mouth)came in late during worship service and parked two seats from me. She grabbed the shoulder of the woman in front of us who was lifting her hands to the Lord(that turned out to be the pastor’s wife) and started telling her all the “good” deeds she had done for the church that week and how difficult it had been. I tried to ignore her and stay focused on worship, but instead focused on ME and my anger, and pleading with Him to deliver me from the ugliness I was feeling towards this woman. When she finished talking(she went on for at least two full minutes) she started unpacking a bag and took out paint and started doing arts and crafts! I was still pleading with the Lord to help ME with the anger instead of truly worshipping Him. When worship was over, I got up and moved to the other side of the church. During announcements, I learned that she and her husband take on a lot of work for this large but small congregation church(about 35 max). I have a strong notion that she is one of the reasons the congregation is so small, yet she and her husband have asked for special offerings to sponsor an event to draw in new members!

    I believe it is yet another test that I am going to fail because of my own sinful nature. How do I sow seeds of peace with this woman or should I run for the hills?

  7. oneg2dblu says:

    narrow… I’m a professional map reader and I will share a little secret with you that I have found out for myself many times. Even when reading a map correctly it may not give you the information you desire because there is a thing called the map makers signature where he invents a path that really in not available. He puts a false street somewhere in there to protect his original work from being used by a copy-cat who wants to steal it, or claim it for themselves.
    You may well have encountered a false way that should not be there, but for you it is in your path.
    Only the Lord knows which path you are to take, and if He is telling you to leave, then leave.
    If He is testing your resolve with all this distraction, you are doing the right thing in praying for His purpose of exposing you to something which seems inappropriate for the setting you are in and asking Him first what to do.
    Sometimes a loving saint with way too much perfume for me, will sit near me. If it distracts me to the point of not keeping my thoughts where they need to be, I’ll move away. I’n not leaving the church because of it, but vacating for my own preservation the immediate place that was holding me captive, and freely move myself to a queiter in the spirity place.
    I hope that helps… and as I tell others who I pray for, your Help is on the way. Gary

  8. narrowpathseeker says:

    Thank you for responding Gary. It stopped raining for a bit and I am on the way to the river(my personal quiet sanctuary) hoping for Direction. Thanks for the prayer. The sun came out soon after I read your message that Help was on the way.. ;-)

  9. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon Mart & Friends –

    Appreciate Bailey’s facets of righteousness. One characteristic of righteousness, it seems to me, we cannot discount is that only God is righteous. We are vessels of God’s presence – and by that presence we are sanctified – but we are the moon to God’s sun, the mirror to God’s image. We do not stand except by God’s grace.

    Traveling home from Christian camp this afternoon, I saw a bumper sticker that said: “Purr more — hiss less.” Beyond being a “catty statement,” ;o) it seems to me the shalom/peace of God’s kingdom is expanded in expressing appreciation of our fellow human beings rather than in criticizing others’ errors.

    We need Jesus in enduring trouble-makers. Some must be confronted. True wickedness does rear its head, and prayerful action is needed, along with godly discernment. Perhaps peace-makers are gardeners or mid-wives: nurturing the seeds of faith into good fruit.


  10. SFDBWV says:

    A curse present in most all people is that desire to want everything immediately, no waiting, no working for it, just know what you want and have it.

    Pearl’s problem with a “church lady” is not unique to her church and I might add life experience in that where ever we go in what ever circumstance, we encounter *people*.

    Sometimes we forget we are people too and what we say and how we act and react has an effect on others just as their actions affect us.

    Job tells us he broke the fangs of the wicked and *snatched* the victims from their teeth.

    Mart has reminded us that in this light Job is a shadow image of Christ. There are many such stories of hero’s of Scripture who foreshadow the nature and work of Jesus.

    Righteousness belongs to Him and is always recognized in us when His nature shines through from our darkness.

    Jesus has *snatched* us from the teeth of the punishment of the fall and broke the fangs of the serpent who delivered the death blow in the garden. “O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55)

    Whereas it is not recorded how Job was able to assist the victims he spoke of, Jesus’ delivery of salvation is shown as self sacrifice.

    Jesus defeated wickedness and evil by the power of righteous *love*. There is also a hint of a future time when He will *snatch* us away from the wrath that is to come to the world in that verse from Job as well.

    Jesus did not ignore sin he confronted it with His righteousness and with the power of love.

    How we react to evil in others will either be seen as a reflection of Jesus or a reflection of us, whichever shines through.


  11. foreverblessed says:

    Have been away for awhile, but could read this blog on my smartphone, commenting is difficult, so I left that out.
    Righteousness, is such a hard word for people who have been raised in a law abiding church, who think that righteous is ” about behavior that complies with the moral laws of the Bible.” as Mart wrote. i was like that, and the thing is, you miss out on the real thing in life: being One with the Father through faith in Jesus. “And His resting place is glorious” Isa 11:10.
    This resting place is what I have been searching for since the law abiding thing makes you weary, and dried out. It is living in faith in His Presence that gives you live, and the spiritual power to overcome. It is the righteousness that we already have when we believe in Jesus, as the former topic said> Psalm 84:9
    “Look on our shield, O God;
    look with favour on your anointed one.”
    it is as this prayer says: look not to us, but look to Jesus in us, and so we are righteous in Your eyes.
    What a hard thing to learn for a law abiding christian like me. But now I am so thankful for having found this rest! Thank God, and I go to the piano and start singing Him praise.

  12. foreverblessed says:

    Steve you wrote “How we react to evil in others will either be seen as a reflection of Jesus or a reflection of us, whichever shines through.” and this is so true, if we found our resting place in Jesus, and someone irritates me, do I look to Jesus, or do I look to the irritating person and start focussing on him. Then the rest is gone, gone, and the struggle starts. It is our flesh that wants to deal swift with the intruder that takes our peace away. But he doesn’t, Jesus is our rest amidst the storm.
    So Narrow, keep focussed on Jesus, and your anger will reside. Start singing praise to God, and the anger will reside.
    I had a battle not with anger but with fear. And it took me years to conquer it. In Jesus power it is conquered, but it looks as if I had to battle it every morning. Sometimes I felt let down, as if nothing happens, but that is also a test: do we not give up on our faith in Jesus.
    I was saying: Jesus is stronger than fear, Jesus conquered all evil. Do I really believe it, and still believe it if nothing changes immediately? That is the test. Yes, Gary, our faith is tested. So we encourage one another not to give up.
    Narrow, when I read about your struggle with anger, thanks for being so open, I was thinking about my own struggle, and suddenly I realised, it has been a long time since the fear came up! Blessed be the Lord for helping me out. So be blessed Narrow, and fight the good fight!
    Love you all, and be you all blessed!

  13. saled says:

    “The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5.


  14. SFDBWV says:

    Good to see you are still with us Foreverblessed; I also hope all is well for Davids as we haven’t heard from him for a while.

    Yesterday was a washout trying to use the internet, after my morning time with the computer I was never able to get anywhere so I just turned it off until evening for Matt to email his friend in Beckley.

    I am guessing we haven’t heard from pooh because of the heat problems out there in AZ, I hope she is ok.

    Pearl I seen where CT had tornado activity, I do hope all is well for you and yours.

    I see where this topic is on the email list this month, I hope we hear from lots of people and perhaps make new friends.

    Foggy and wet in West Virginia, plenty of green growing things as well as birds at the feeders.


  15. narrowpathseeker says:

    Forever, thank you and welcome back…I missed you.

    This will seem strange but I am quite ill right now and I’m feeling very Blessed! Sunday before church, I went to speak and I had no voice but there was no physical discomfort whatsoever. Now I have the worst cold I have had in years. I have been pleading with the Lord to help me to rise above myself and to be more like Him.

    I eat too much, talk too much, and have FELT little to no compassion for someone who has been very cruel to me. I’ve made but feeble attempts to correct those things. NOW, my throat is so sore that eating is no pleasure, but CAN eat to survive. It is so difficult to speak that I make no effort to say more than what needs to be said and compassion for one who can’t breathe well is returning. I KNOW this is a Blessing and I am smiling and saying THANK YOU LORD!!

    Now if my fingers should cramp up……..;-)

    God Bless us All.


  16. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, thank you. I didn’t see your post before I wrote above, but all is well. I have been entertained by the hummingbirds for long periods of time just watching them swooping in and out in ALL kinds of weather. I am still baffled as to why they won’t eat together. Not only will they not eat together they swoop down when another is feeding to chase them away! They don’t seem to understand that I have more than enough to feed them ALL, all season…yet they don’t want to share…I somehow think there is yet another lesson for me in that observation, but one step at a time… ;-)

  17. oneg2dblu says:

    narrowpathseeker… Perhaps those birds were just playing tag. A “you’re it” kind of thing. :)
    I had a liitle handicapped child who I would tag when they got off the bus, saying to them, “You’re it!”
    They would light up with a great big smile, and I could not wait for them to get back on the next day to return the curse.
    Life’s harder challenges can become blessings, when you understand them as the testing of your faith.
    “You’re it!” Gary

  18. oneg2dblu says:

    forever… glad to hear your voice again. I am sorry that the keeping of the law was so difficult to you, making you feel all weary and dried out.

    To me, when we allow Christ to become yoked to us, keepng the law you were speaknig of, as in living moral, becomes very attainable as He changes us.

    Having been yoked to Jesus Christ for a while now, I find “not living a moral life” as unthinkable, where it was at one time a common place of resting in the flesh.

    It would take much more effort for me to become immorally enslaved now that He shares the yoke and directs as He does.

    But, I did not have your life experience, I had mine.

    In that old life I used to live, I did not see my past immorality as work either, because I did not know I was yoked to it.

    You were probably more blessed in your distress to live morally then I was in my freedom to live immorally.

    I carry the cross/wounds of those treaspasses daily
    even in my new forgiven life, those scars are still very visible to me.

    I know where I came from and where I am going to.

    I trust to not ever forget that old path that enslaved me, nor the freedom of where I now walk, abiding in Him and obeying His law, are to me one of the same, they are both Righteous!
    You are Forever Blessed for both being where you are now, and knowing where you came from.

    Now you are free from the law, and forever blessed.


  19. oneg2dblu says:

    Today’s ODB says that the god of this age has blinded many so that they can not see the freedom found in God’s word.(my take)
    To me, they are enslaved and yoked to the world and yet do not know it.
    Why would we not walk in such a way as to show we are different?
    Here’s an open question…
    What does walking in a better righteousness look like, or mean to you?
    Can others see that walk where they now can not see His word?
    Where Christ the word, is also the Way.

  20. poohpity says:

    narrow, I understand a beautiful spiritual meaning to the bird feeder. The bird feeder is the sweet nectar of God’s Holy Word with the abundance found inside to feed everyone but some would rather attack the ones who have chosen to sit there and drink from it when all the time there is more than enough room for all to enjoy it’s sweet nectar. Beautiful analogy, thank you for sharing.

  21. remarutho says:

    Good Morning BTA Friends –

    I am dwelling on the super-abundant grace of God poured out upon us in the fleshly atonement. Nobody could offer such a sacrifice but our God through Jesus Christ. This is stunning, and it surely is a Better Righteousness.

    Mart, you wrote:
    “2. God’s rightness is seen in the sacrifice He makes to justify sinners like us. Only in an ultimate act of self-sacrifice could God bring a sinful people like us into a relationship with Himself.”

    E. Stanley Jones points out today that the way of Christ is Reality. Jesus said “whosoever” when he offered the greatest gift of amazing grace. (John 3:16)

    He also said “whosoever” when he told the parable of one who builds on the rock (acting on his word). (Matt 7:24) The storms and turmoil of Reality are not kind to one who builds a house on sand. (Matt 7:26, 27)


  22. poohpity says:

    That could also be applied to the topic. The self righteous according to websters: : convinced of one’s own righteousness especially in contrast with the actions and beliefs of others : narrow-mindedly moralistic, are the attacking birds that drive others away from “The Better Righteousness” searching for that nectar of Gods’ that is available for all to come and drink. That keeps others away from that relationship offered to all by God. It compares or contrasts our own rightness to others rather than seeing how we all need to clothe our self with the rightness of Jesus which is pure and leads to what James is saying, “then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” and there is so much room around that feeder for all to enjoy.

  23. oneg2dblu says:

    So we are to see an evil intent in the birds who disturb those who are feeding? Or, are we to say God’s ways are higher than ours and we only dimmly now.
    Let them have their way, they are God’s!
    Why should we get to choose what their motivation is?
    Perhaps there is a pecking order we are not aware of!
    Glad to hear you up and taking notes pooh!

    Now on ot the ODB for today, in 2 Corintians 4:10.11 the word says, “revealed in our mortal body?”

    Revealed to the blinded world around us, or revealed only in the family of Christ, those who are given a new life in Christ?

    Is that “revealing” apart of how we live our lives, both moral or immoral, or is it only seen just in the moral parts that would show us as different?

  24. oneg2dblu says:

    I beleive that lesson is about how we display our mortal bodies, which when directed by the new life spiritual helper, where our walk looks righteous, as He is righteous.

  25. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, that isn’t exactly the lesson (for me) that I thought might be in the observation of the hummingbirds’ behavior. There doesn’t seem to be one particular victim in the scenario. They all take their turn feeding and they all take their turn aggressively chasing the other away(unless they are playing tag like Gary suggested ;-) ) I was more or less thinking like others have mentioned here over the years…”some days I am the pigeon and some days I am the statue”…or something of that nature. It sort of gives me a different slant on equality.. I’m not the “good guy” in every given situation…some times I’m feeding…sometimes I’m on the other side.

  26. dodi says:

    Sowing Seeds of Peace – just this morning while sitting in my car at the Cracker Barrel, I was waiting for my daughter to finish her browsing in the CB store and picked up this book with this mini story in it…. which then after logging on to this post, felt it worthy of sharing . . .

    Story of a young lad named Heinz (a good example of sowing seeds of peace and righteouss)

    It was in Europe 1934 when the plague of Hitler was infecting the continent of Europe. Some would escape and many would die. But eleven year old Heinz would learn the power of sowing seeds of peace. Heinz was a Jew and lived in the area over run by Hitler’s bullies.
    Heinz’s father a school-teacher lost his job.
    The clouds of persecution swelled and blackened. The streets soon became a battleground, Heinz and his familiy’s ancient precepts became a mighty rock for surival.
    Hitler and his bullies roamed the streets looking for any type trouble and would create it, if they couldn’t find it.
    It was during this time in his life young Heniz learned to walk with his eyes opened. When he saw a band of troublemakers, he would purposely step to the other side of the street, to escape a fight __ sometimes not.

    One day Heniz found himself face to face with a Hitler bully. A beating seemed inevitable. But this time he just walked away unhurt – not because of what he did . . but because of what he said. He refuse to fight back, but chose to speak up, by convincing the Hitler bullies that a fight was unnecessary – it was on many occasions Heinz words of peace prevented many beatings to himself and those around him.

    Heinz believed that our tongue can create seeds of peace. He learned the skill of using words to avoid conflict and many times prevent harm. Heinz and his family escaped Hitler’s regime and made their way into America.

    After Heinz grew up his name became known for Peace Negotiations. His legacy would go on to build a bridge of peace for America. His earlier life of strife, bullying and peace making prepared him for his greatest role in life _ His Angliied name is Henry Kissinger.

    May we never under estimate the power of sowing seeds of peace and bearing fruits of righteousness.

    Henry Kissinger – Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and many other great American accomplishments –

    short stories from . . .
    Applause of Heaven

    the fruits of righteousness shall be – joy and peace in the Holy Spirit ~ (Romans 14:17)

  27. oneg2dblu says:

    I remember hearing a teaching about God’s provision and nectar sucking birds (maybe humming birds) in the desert.
    They are designed by nature (God) to only be able to eat from one type of flower, which belongs to one type of cactus, and their design alone makes them the only species that can reach the nectar. That in itself is a miracle of design. But, there is more to the story.
    They are so small that they can only take in so much nourishment at one feeding to provide them just enough energy to find the next flower.
    So, in a desert hostile to survival for many species this one small creature has provided for it a perfect existence that allows it to thrive.
    Christ in us is that perfect sustaining existence, it is God’s righteousness and design. Gary

  28. remarutho says:

    Good Evening BTA Friends —

    Thank you for the clarity of your remark at 1:44 p.m. today, Dodi:
    “May we never under estimate the power of sowing seeds of peace and bearing fruits of righteousness.”

    The witness offered by a follower of Jesus has only one sustaining virtue. That would be the grace given by God to open our mouth and speak a word of faith. To “anticipate the peace of the world to come is a worthy occupation.” (as Mart expresses it)

    John Baptist said, “The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:29. 30)

    Center stage belongs to Jesus alone.


  29. remarutho says:

    Note: It is still July 3rd here in the Pacific NW!

  30. SFDBWV says:

    Most of you have seen my feeding areas; on the rock and up at the stump are a wide variety of animals all feeding at the same time.

    Only the fox would eat alone and always very cautiously.

    In the summer months I have three hummingbird feeders, two on my porch and one out in the back yard. The two on the porch I have to refill every day, the one out back about every three days.

    It is not uncommon to see as many as 4 humming birds feeding off the same feeder at a time. Equally normal is the aggressive behavior of fighting for territory.

    It is interesting to watch one particular *dance* they do where one will set on the porch floor as the other one swoops back and forth in front of it in the shape of a U.

    These are the tiniest remainders of the dinosaur and have survived for a long time.

    I read in Genesis 1:31 that after God looked over all He had created He proclaimed it *very good*.

    We mankind have never seen creation in its original state nor have we seen the earth before the flood; we only have seen it in its present condition.

    Every once and a while we get a small peek at what life could be like in the *very good* condition God created it in and we dream of returning there.

    In the beginning Adam and Eve were righteous, because God walked with them, it was *very good*.

    A great deal has happened since Genesis and the separation of man from Eden. God remained righteous and only God is considered *good* according to Jesus.

    However our heavenly Father made a way for we His children to be restored to Him and restored to a place of sharing His righteousness. Though we don’t deserve it He deserves it and He chooses to give it to us.

    His gift to us is returning us to that state of being *very good*, all because He love us.


  31. SFDBWV says:

    Happy fourth of July United States.


  32. oneg2dblu says:


    Although that small cross in the center
    was not part of my design, or shown in
    our flag as we know it, and I’m not sure
    how that really happened I thought I
    would allow some creative license
    which put it there have its way.
    In God We Trust

  33. narrowpathseeker says:

    Good Morning All…Happy 4th of July

    Steve, I was going to ask you the other day, if your hummingbirds feed together. Friends and relatives speak of several feeding off the same feeder. Somewhere in the back of my head I think I may have seen this on mine at one time(darn memory!!)but definitely not this year. I have never seen the “dance”!! Could that be a mating ritual? I have seen the turkeys do a “dance” which is very interesting and comical as well. We are so Blessed to have such up close experiences with His amazing creations.

    Have a Blessed day ALL…


  34. narrowpathseeker says:

    Gary…..nice touch.

  35. poohpity says:

    Freedom comes at a cost. A lot of lives have been lost for our freedom in the USA. The freedom that Christ offers as He took our sin upon His sinless back and gave us righteousness. Does not seem like a very good trade off to me, that is where my gratitude comes into play. What did He ask us for in return? That we love God and in that love and gratitude, it will be seen in how we treat others. The place God has in our hearts will come pouring out in our actions. Do you really have a relationship with God? Is getting to know Him taking first place in my life or am I just satisfied with salvation with no understanding of what little we are given to know about God?

    I do not have bird feeders up but the hummingbirds find plenty of food in the flowers that surround my back patio. There is no fighting they just come, eat and go back to their nests which are in the trees in the front yard. Every once in a while they swoop down about 3 feet from my face and just hover. I bet that is the most humor they get all day, lol!! I live in an apartment building not as fortunate as those who live with nature all around but the people and commotion does not stop those beautiful little creatures from joining us here as we all live together with quail, road runners, cactus wren, cardinals, snakes, lizards, doves, the occasional coyote and about 300 people.

    As we enjoy those times of peace in our lives, no matter the commotion going on all around, we can still have peace of mind and heart for those who are in Christ Jesus and bring that along with us wherever we go. Yes Mart, it does seem to be a process we go through hopefully that will be something we strive for being at peace with God and others. How much beauty we would bring to this world if we acted like that.

  36. poohpity says:

    The flowers only allow for one bird to feed at a time. God’s ways seem to be the best in all ways and for always.

  37. phpatato says:

    To my American friends

    Happy 4th of July! May God continue to richly BLESS your nation. Canada and the USA were founded on God’s Holy Word, and explains why the 49th parallel is the world’s largest undefended border. Only a foundation such as this could keep a friendship going. My country celebrated it’s birthday this past Monday…July 1. Close ties, close birthdays, close friendships.

    May God continue to shine His face upon this part of the world. We will need each other to stand united, to face what God’s Word says will be a trying future.

    Hugs to all.


  38. narrowpathseeker says:

    Thank you Pat…that was beautiful and true..Happy Birthday and hugs back to you in Canada..


  39. SFDBWV says:

    Not all that far from where I sit July the 4th was also the decisive day of battle at Gettysburg and the turning point of the American Civil War.

    They were very different people than you meet today, yet very similar as well.

    It is a well know fact that these men were very devout in their beliefs of God and of their position with Christ, yet there they were in an all out effort to kill one another for a cause.

    How very interesting that we can reconcile our faith in Christ as we kill other human beings.

    Back when I worked in Winchester VA one morning as I stopped at a McDonalds to pick up some breakfast for Matthew and I there were two men in Confederate uniform setting in the restaurant, I remarked that that was a sight you didn’t see every day and everyone laughed including the two re-enactors. They then said while smiling yes but wouldn’t you like to.

    While the Civil War has been over for nearly 150 years sentiment over it has never been over.

    Freedom won at Gettysburg at a very high price and many a young man whose life was full of promise died believing they were on the right side of the issue and that God was with them.

    In the news today is the remarkable events in Egypt, it seems that people are making another attempt to not live under the heel of an oppressive government, and once again it is the men in uniform who will decide the issue while all concerned believe that God is on their side. I am happy for the events in Egypt to be progressing as they seem to be, and most pleased that the Egyptian people recognize the *Muslim Brotherhood* for what it is.

    One thing is for sure, God has always been moving in the events of man and directing mankind toward the end of the age, with most all of us believing we are on the right side of God.


  40. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, that is so mind boggling and so very true. Humanity is so divided into countless groups that each believe they are right and each of those groups are further divided in countless other beliefs of right and wrong. “Nation against nation…kingdom against kingdom”? I know that the way I sometimes feel towards certain groups of people often seems justified and right, but I know it is not…this is why I so very often end prayer with, “Lord have Mercy on us ALL”.

    I am one that automatically cries and sometimes even sobs when reading an article about strangers suffering a tragedy. While that may be taken as a sign of a loving compassionate heart, what I feel for some that I believe to be the cause of much suffering for cruel and selfish reasons, is anything but loving and compassionate. I have to take such thoughts and feelings to the Lord daily. When one battle is won, satan is not far off waiting to attack with more hate and division or get us back into the same battle. I think one of his strategies is to get us all focused on the false pride of our race, nationality, territory, gender, etc instead of focusing on Jesus. At least that is how he often engages me in battle. Lord have mercy on us all.


  41. SFDBWV says:

    Pearl I would so like to just have the time and opportunity to set with you and many others here and be able to talk and ponder all the mysteries that make us who we are and agree together that as we get older and hopefully wiser we see how very little we actually know.

    It is no surprise that the world is divided, but sad and scary that the Church is. I sometimes wonder if the separation from the church in Rome was the right thing for Protestants to do.

    The first separation came between the Eastern Empire and the Western Empire and the creation of the Roman church and the Eastern Orthodox Church. Look at how long ago that was and yet last Easter a fist fight broke out between men of the two churches over who was to perform some ritual in a *Holy* site in Bethlehem or Jerusalem or one of the many tourist stops in the Holy Land.

    Look also at the many people who died at the hands of other Christians during the period of the Reformation.

    Look then at how many Protestant churches there are all competing with each other over membership and the position of being *right* with God.

    I can not believe this is how Jesus wanted His Church to exist. Yet it could be that He wanted one faith out of many diverse groups.

    It sometimes seems as if people took charge of reforming the church instead of allowing God to.

    I have a great many issues with rituals, and have never been a catholic, yet I also know when Jesus returns there will be only one faith, Christianity. It is no wonder non Christians are confused.


  42. oneg2dblu says:

    Good day my brothers and sisters…I do not know for sure what the traditional church name will be called when Christ returns, but I do know that the faith that will be His faith will be shown by following Him, and by doing the will of His Father.
    Just as it is today, found in the Two Listeners cite, God at Eventide, July 5th.
    Only by those things do we recognize the ones who should be called our brothers and sisters, or those who are in Christ Jesus doing the will of the Father, just as it is today, it shall it be when Christ rerturns.
    In the Old Testament however, killing was part of following the word and will of God, it was divinely directed and used to conquer opposing forces, to attain the promise land, and to receive the blessings of God.
    Jesus Christ took all that approved killing to another level, as He overcame even death on the cross and took upon himself the sins of the world, which we all see as our path to forgiveness and freedom today.
    But true freedom to me, comes to the flesh when we stop walking in those things Christ gave up his life for, and when we actually do the will of God today, we sholud be walking in that new way.
    The way of the cross is displayed by our overcoming a world that wants us still held captive to it.
    Does Christ want us captive or free from that grasp of this world?
    If Satan, the father of all lies comes to kill, steal, and destroy, while freely roaming the earth, then his purpose is to capture and hold us in the world for his sinfilled ways.
    I believe, living like the rest of this world is surely part of evil’s plan to keep us invisible to the rest of this darkening world.
    But, God wants us to shine as a light, His Light!
    Does our looking like the rest of the world sound like that is God’s way to our being able to dsiplay a better righteousness?
    Heavy winds and chop while rowing today, so no dolphins showing themselves to me, but I thanked God anyhow because my faith is in all His unseen things, as well!

  43. poohpity says:

    There seems to always be a fight when people draw distinctions between themselves and others. If people were truly following the Lord rather than fighting, hatred, anger, strife and division there would be peacemakers. Treating ones’ enemies as they care for their own bodies or as people created in God’s image. God did not show any favoritism when He sent Jesus to redeem mankind and restore the relationship between them and God. Man in their attitude are jealous and have selfish ambition that is what causes divisions.

    The Gods’ law said, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). To value and care for someone as much as I value and care for myself, that alone would make someone stand away from the crowd and show a right relationship with God. Then Jesus explained what that really should look like as true sons/daughters of God in Matthew 5:43,44,45,46,47 and the last verse there says, “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” Matt 5:48. God in heaven did not distinguish any of His creation over any other.

    If we are to be peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere as James speaks of in being peacemakers then we have honored God over man. True followers of the Lord will consider others as better than themselves just as Jesus did. The understanding of that alone is a process of letting go of our desires and grabbing hold of God’s will. I see how many times I fail but God. God shows me patience that we are all in the process of letting go of our rights and bad intentions for the rightness of Christ, then it is easier to cut others a break and pray for God to do in us what we are unable to do ourselves. Turning our self-righteousness for “A Better Righteousness”.

  44. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, the pastor of the church I have visited twice now said that Christ’s Church is His collective followers and the Church as a whole needs to change. He explained that he thinks that each individual Christian needs to start SERIOUSLY devoting themselves fully to Him. He also said there was too much division in the collective congregations and not enough of Jesus for the world to see. I am hoping to see some Fruit, Gifts in Action and an all around world wide revival. I had read something about the dangers of division, then a day later, this pastor spoke of it, then you spoke of it today… I think this is a very important matter. I focus on Jesus often, but I don’t STAY focused on Him continuously and I think that results in a power outage. Can you imagine what would happen if Christians all over the world truly Plugged into His Power?! My fire has been stoked!

  45. narrowpathseeker says:

    Gary, were you rowing a boat in choppy seas? Be careful brother.. sorry you didn’t see any dolphins today.

  46. narrowpathseeker says:

    Pooh, I hope the weather cools down for you soon.

  47. SFDBWV says:

    I just read two stories in the news that is just hard to imagine; both involved babies who died after being left in vehicles *all day* by people who *forgot* they were in the vehicles.

    Life has a way of distracting us as we go about our waking lives and I suppose what is most important to us at the moment is what has our attention.

    When I think of how Christ’s Church can work together to dissolve disagreements and differences the only way I can imagine it happening is through the will and work of the Holy Spirit.

    It has to begin with Him and then through us.

    We can’t establish ad-hoc committees and organizational institutions in order to create unity and one church, it has to come about by the work and will of God.

    We see here in this small group of people how theological differences and personalities cause strife, we are no different than all the Christian world in this matter nor they any different than us.

    Such differences were in place at the very beginning and little has changed to take the human element out of the equation.

    It would seem to me as Pearl has put it for me to focus more of my live on Jesus and less on my opinions. I can only be responsible for me no other in that matter.

    It seems so simple yet is anything but; life distracts us, people distract us, sometimes sickness and even death distracts us so how do we remain *focused* on Jesus while we walk on this turbulent sea of life?

    For me it all must begin with me and my relationship with God, I must stay in constant prayer and thanksgiving, showing kindness and charity wherever I go and to all I meet. Not only showing a better righteousness but being a better righteousness, it begins there with me and each of us.


  48. narrowpathseeker says:

    Thank you Steve. I thought I had much of the corner on being “distracted” from focusing on Jesus. In my own determination to stay focused on Him, I have written myself notes, worn WWJD bracelets, crosses, keep gospel music going, kept the bible and devotionals handy, and have planned the day out in “stay focused on Jesus” mode…and STILL managed to get distracted from my goal!! However, it seems to me that I don’t stay distracted as long and that I don’t bite on those distractions as often, so progress is in motion. Thanks for the lift from feeling alone in that.

    I have FORGOTTEN about a child or two in my time too! One I forgot to put back IN the car!! Left him on a picnic table while I packed the car up and drove off…not far…not long, but I will never forget doing that!! It was with good intention to leave him for last because it was hot, he was sickly, and I didn’t want him in the hot car until the last minute.

    Steve, some of my family visit inlaws in N C. every Summer. They left yesterday morning…one of these years, maybe I can hitch a ride with them and have them drop me off in West Virginia…are there any motels near you? I would love to meet you, Matt, and Glenna in person someday!!

    I hope EVERYONE is ok…we haven’t heard from many of our brothers and sisters here for days. Bruce for one has not posted in quite awhile. I am going to be praying for His Help for each of us as well as each of His children, to stay focused on Him.


  49. SFDBWV says:

    Pearl I think if you email Mart he will get you in contact with me, if he reads this it is ok with me.

    I always loved western NC and spent a couple years in eastern NC while in the Marine Corps. Glenna has one daughter in the Raleigh area.

    No Pearl you are not alone in your suffering or in your wonderings and especially in your desire to all you can for Jesus.


  50. oneg2dblu says:

    narrowpathseeker… thank you for your concerns about my rowing in rough weather. It is not as threatening as it sounds, because I have built my boat to take heavy weather because I participate in a 20 mile open water event, and I must train in difficult water to test both my boats and myself.
    Just like in life it is not always smooth sailing, but by letting Him be our compass, we will always find we are going in the right direction, going home!
    I always pray for the Lord to just “bring me home” when I’m out there on the water and seas become challenging. I let Him decide which home He elects, and so far it has been my earthly one.
    But one day… “He will bring us all to His eternal home, perfectly designed just for us.”
    Where we are to be His perfected bride, designed for His perfect bridegroom, a match made in Heaven!
    Praise God! : )

  51. poohpity says:

    The church is compiled of believers. It seems to take the desire of each individual to hunger and thirst for a relationship with God, it would then seem that the church rather than holding fast to doctrines, religion, traditions, morality and trade those for that right relationship with God where He is the Head to have a functioning body.(Matt 5:6 NIV) You can not deprive a body of bread or water because it will die and most are spiritually starved and parched. (John 4:14; 6:35; 7:37-38 NIV; Matt 4:4; 6:11 NIV).

    The problem there is the body does not seem to desire above all else that personal one on one relationship with God. If it is not connected to the head or the root of the vine then the body loses it function. People come as they are but stay as they were when the lack of understanding of what it means to desire Jesus more than life itself. If and when that becomes the primary relationship then all the other relationships follow usually in one accord with one purpose and one goal, serving one Master. We become servants rather than trying to be masters all the time we submit our hearts, minds and souls to the only One, the only One who can help us be right with God not through our actions but through a relationship/belief/faith in Jesus.

    Usually the more one is around someone they begin to look like them. They start mimicking how they think/wisdom, how they treat others/actions and Jesus always put God and His will above His own. The more time we spend with Jesus through the Holy Spirit the more we will be like Him. It seems to be a process that will not be completed until he returns. (Phil 1:6 NLT) He patiently teaches us through His Word and prayer. He is faithful when we are not and that gives us reason not to be so hard on everyone else but to show them the same grace and mercy we have received ourselves which seems to produce a right relationship with those around us. Our righteousness which is self righteousness is so wrong and His rightness is so good, so very, very good.

  52. poohpity says:

    Avery wise teacher once said, “Without actions that show our faith, our relationship with God remains immature and unconfirmed in the sight of others.”. He also said, “We can’t afford to ever stop asking our God to give us the “daily” grace we need to show real ongoing evidence of a faith that works.” That is between the person and God not comparing or contrasting ourselves to others but knowing who we are compared or contrasted to the person of Jesus Christ. Then we will remain humbled and realize our need daily, hour by hour, moment by moment of the grace that was shown to us and that will reflect on our relationships to others.

  53. poohpity says:

    Those quotes were taken from an article written in November 2011 by Mart De Haan titled “A Faith That Works.”

  54. poohpity says:

    Spiritual maturity is not an automatic result of salvation it does take some effort on our part to learn more and more about God. Peter who walked with Jesus knew how much time it takes to get to learn about God to know Him better and better 2 Peter 1:2-3 NLT as a result 2 Peter 1:6-7 NLT. Growing Spiritually the more useful we will be to our Master 2 Peter 1:8 NLT.

  55. SFDBWV says:

    It is written that a day with the Lord is like a thousand years. I am certain that this is not literal as a day as we understand it is not present with the Lord. In fact I am led to understand that time as we know it does not exist with the Lord.

    It is also written that for 400 years there was no voice from the Lord with the descendants of Abraham. An eon to the people who longed to hear from their God, yet no time at all with God.

    Being human we often look ahead and behind in an attempt to imagine how we can or could have a better life. We do so with the limitations of our understanding, experience and under the agony life sometimes produces.

    We look to God to end our suffering and wonder then why he doesn’t. Time crawls by at an agonizing pace as we await delivery from our wretched circumstances and hope fades into hopelessness.

    In the movie “The Never Ending Story” when all hope was lost and the great nothing had erased nearly all that existed there in the hand of the princess was a tiny speck of their world, all that was left of all that once existed.

    All it took was the boy to have faith and believe for it to all exist again, in the end it was all up to him to have faith.

    We can imagine a perfect world, but all of our worlds would be different from each others, this would be our righteousness, but God can create a perfect world that becomes perfect for us all, that is His righteousness.

    It is always the same, from the beginning in the garden until now, who knows what is best for us, God or us.


  56. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart and Friends —

    Am struck once more by Samuel’s, Paul’s and James’ descriptions of the Almighty. Over eons God is faithful and patient with his people. Even before the atonement in Christ’s blood, God shielded and cared for those who acknowledged his covenant — even those who did not. After the atonement, God’s call and forgiveness goes out more and more widely.

    Hard to imagine how long God has watched for the transformation of hearts from self-will to the covenant love of his heart. Am still amazed and grateful when God cleans me up from unfaithfulness and self-centered words and behavior! It is God whose goodness sustains the world — his the only righteousness.


  57. poohpity says:

    We are no longer victims of our circumstances (hopelessness) in Christ we are victors over our circumstances (hope). Through faith we can see light in our suffering that it will bring about good if we believe in Gods’ promises. We have options we are no longer held captive to what we see around us, we can step out of the boat and try something new with the strength offered us through the Holy Spirit.

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