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The Bible and English Majors

For those who like to discuss and debate theology. This is a forum for people who enjoy strong and lively debate with people who may not be likeminded. Participants are requested to always treat other opinions with respect.

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carpenterdaughter
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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby carpenterdaughter » Tue Mar 25, 2014 8:57 am

Thanks, Jo.

I hope you all will indulge me a bit here. I want to keep talking about this--this "truthtelling" that we do--because the conversations help me to see what I might not see on my own. (Isn't that what the Church is all about?) I want to keep sharing what I think the Lord is unfolding for me . . .

We must always speak truth--that is a "nonnegotiable" for me, and the bottom line is definitely very fundamental: without Christ, we will all surely die eternally. What I am examining in myself is HOW I've told that truth. I want to do it like Jesus did, but I have to admit that Jesus had something I don't have. He had "x-ray" vision and could see straight to a person's heart. He knew exactly what approach to take with the people He encountered. And, if I want to look at the complete story, I have to admit that there were times that Jesus was not patient. In fact, sometimes He was what some might call a "smart-alec." He knew when to punch and when to be gentle . . . He was the angriest at those who called themselves righteous but misused other people. He knew who was going to receive his message and who wasn't--He knew people's hearts and was definitely out to heal those hearts, and He knew how to scrape away the layers and get to the point.

Scraping away the layers is really, really hard. It takes time, sometimes--especially if you're dealing with people you've known for a long time . . . Dealing with people I don't know is a lot "safer," and if I'm honest, it's a lot easier to walk away from a virtual stranger and pat myself on the back and think I've done "something good for the kingdom." (I am absolutely NOT saying that we shouldn't be sharing the gospel with people we don't know--not saying that at all--I'm just discussing why it is so hard to do with those we see every day.)

Maybe the answer lies in what we do, ourselves, with Jesus and what He's doing in us--what we do every day with the truth of who He is for us and in us is going to come out of us eventually, isn't it? It's going to come out in our actions and our words . . .

Sorry, if I've taken the topic of this discussion "off course," but it's not "off course," either. The reason it matters very much how people interpret the Bible is always Jesus. We can wrangle all we want with different ways of looking at text, but none of our wranglings matter if they do not point to the message of God's redemption of man through Christ.

What's hard for me is knowing when and how and if it is my responsibility to correct someone else's "eyesight." Lately, my first response is anger. I get mad when I see people who I think are supposed to know better or are in a position to know better leading people away from the message of redemption and the Grace of God given to us through Christ. I get mad when people go to extremes either way--focusing on how sinful and terrible man is and leaving out Grace or expounding on Grace while glossing over our need for Grace. Maybe it's the teacher in me who thinks she has to make sure everybody "gets the right answer."

I don't know . . . just having a time of self-inspection, I guess, and really wishing that there was an easy "Do it this way," step by step plan. Maybe the answer is to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in the moment . . . and leave the results up to Him, knowing full well that there is most likely something I am going to learn in every exchange I have with another person. After all, like Paul, I am the "chief" sinner. I need the same Grace I peddle. Every single day.

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:08 am

Well Carpenter's Daughter, as I read what you wrote I was thinking of what helps me, to know I am the worst of all sinners if not for the grace of God.

It is difficult to look down on another from that place, and we can need reminding too . . .

Yet, you ended there. So, appears you know this.

One of my favorite quotes apart from scripture is: I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God. ~Oswald Chambers

Another thing is I also try and stay away from assuming I know another's heart. And, if the Lord reveals it (or if I feel He did), I know it is not for me to become critical in that negative way (mainly, from a place of superiority).

It is something I feel strongly about. If I sense someone is off and it continues, I will probably speak on the topic, but I am rarely ever sure of these things. Even if I feel the Lord may have revealed it to me, it is generally confirmed a second time before I may feel sure, usually with the person I am questioning admitting to their error themselves (as the person in my story before in this thread did eventually admit to several months after I felt the Lord revealed it to me).

Sometimes I hold in what I sense so long, because I am not sure, that when it comes out I am really mad by then and I am spewing fire. Then, I remember Jeremiah, if I say I will not speak, your words come out life fire (or however he said it). But is it really God giving me words? I don't think he gave me the punch that I threw at another (in fact, now I believe the night before He was trying to reveal to me the spirit that was looking to influence me with all that, and it wasn't his), but I got no condemnation afterwards and twice a time afterward was flooded with His peace. Of course, just afterwards I had to tell my head to shut up because it wanted to keep condemning me. It was right I believe, I shouldn't have done that, but I was not going to receive the condemnation that was trying to follow. . . and God knows I couldn't handle it then because I had serious, important matters still to take care of all in that timeframe.

If I am too upset and angered in the sense that I know my heart is bending towards bitterness, hatred, and such, I look to take myself out of the conversation / and or group.

Overall, I feel I've done my part in my past experiences there, and don't have too many regrets. God knows how right or wrong I've been . . . I don't always know, but I can keep my heart in front of Him.

I used to want to be more sure of these things you know. But, I like now that the Lord does at times show me things (and of course there is discernment that comes from knowing his Word, even if we may not be privileged to know the others heart), but doesn't for most part, leave me absolutely sure. It keeps me leaning on Him (and to look to keep close to his heart) instead of moving ahead in knowledge.

Thanks for sharing.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

jo555
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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:27 am

And fyi, the one I threw the punch at, later admitted that the Lord revealed to them that they had some right things in what they saw, but they had the wrong attitude and they had to work on themselves there.

And, I pray for them, that what I did won't negatively affect them and they can rise above it in Jesus name. Amen.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:02 am

Sista, I was looking for an article to post on another thread in this section, but ran into this and thought I would share here.

It is the first piece I ever wrote (a few years back).
Had my experiences there too, as I said.

God bless you.
Love in Him,
Jo


Equality at the Cross

There is a character in the bible that holds a warm place in my heart. His name is Nebuchadnezzar. I know, probably not a favorite of many yet I have grown quite fond of him. I mean I just see the guy as ignorant and how many of us have never been blinded by ignorance? Did you know that he was an idol worshiper and a brute and the Lord called him to be his Deputy? He was Father's rod of correction in returning Israel back to Himself.

Nowhere else does his ignorance seem more apparent as when God would move on behalf of his people. See, Neb would boil with anger when others refused to bow down to his golden god so he would put them in a fiery furnace. Then when Neb saw God move on their behalf he would shout the most wonderful praises about the Mighty God of Israel. But here comes his ignorance in full bloom. He would then tell them that they all had better worship the one true and mighty God of Israel or he would tear them from limb to limb. Beyond the brutality, I find him comical at times. He's like the bad guy in some movie that you find endearing, even in his lack.

And here is one of my favorite praises to our wonderful Lord. It was delivered from the mouth of Neb after Father humbled him because he got this brilliant idea that his great success was the result of his own doing.

Check this out:
"After this time had passed, I, Nebuchadnezzar, looked up to heaven. My sanity returned, and I praised and worshiped the Most High and honored the one who lives forever. His rule is everlasting. All the people of the earth are nothing compared to him. He does as He pleases among the angels in heaven and among the people of the earth. No one can stop him or say to him, 'What do you mean by doing these things?'

When my sanity returned to me, so did my honor and glory and kingdom. My advisers and nobles sought me out, and I was restored as head of my kingdom, with even greater honor than before. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and glorify and honor the King of heaven. All his acts are just and true, and he is able to humble the proud." -Daniel 4:34-37


Isn't that awesome? I suspect Daniel knew this about Neb, that he was an ignorant brute. I mean when Daniel interpreted Neb's dream and realized what would happen to him, he told him he wished it would happen to his enemies instead. And that was after he threw his three buddies in that fiery fire.

In many ways we all suffer from ignorance. The bible tells us that eyes to see and ears to hear are gifts from God. Apart from the Lord no one truly sees and in our own efforts at sight we tend to partake of that forbidden fruit. That deceptively enticing apple, the product of abiding in the knowledge of good and evil apart from Jesus Christ, our tree of Life. We have been lulled into a deep sleep, living in a matrix of sorts, acting like God apart from Him. We trade in his righteousness for a false sense of self-righteousness and stand in the judgment seat that is Christ's alone. His kingdom is within and as the King of hearts only He can adequately judge another's heart for apart from his Spirit who imparts life we judge with eyes prone to short-sightedness. From this short-sightedness and surface view, we use inadequate measuring scales limited to our own understanding. There is none that can see all the threads that make up the fabric of our lives except the Lord's Spirit Himself. In understanding the differing variables in our lives we need to understand the only place we intersect and find our commonality is in the cross of Jesus Christ. It is the only view that holds true and leaves no room for pride and prejudice. The cross with its invading agents traveling through the recesses of our slumbering souls, sharpening our view. It is this view that gives testimony to our wretchedness apart from Jesus and how in all our efforts to be good, we fail miserably. The old covenant has already proven the "old man" cannot be rehabilitated, his sentence is death. And the beauty of our Lord comes shining through as He saw all our efforts were not enough to save us so He took it upon Himself to take on our most deserved sentencing for nothing He had done. May we come to understand the incredible grace and mercy that has been extended to us and as a result, become extensions of the same. Freely have we received, freely should we give.

I see a new man arising from the plain of injustice. He wears a handsome garment and carries a banner of justice. He surrounds himself in light, but it is a light of his own making, a product of dining on the wrong fruit, pleasant to the senses, but containing a worm of a snake at its pitted core. I recognize that man for in the recesses of my darkened soul I have found him hiding. His voice is not the voice of my Shepherd so I will choose not to follow.

I hope we learn to put down our double-edged swords and trade it in for the one who is sharper and sees right through our souls, piercing it, to the heart of the matter, the matter of the heart. Our Lord himself warned us that those who live by the sword will die by the sword. How often we wield that sword, leaving Christ behind. If we do such we will eventually realize what all of us does at one time or another, that the sword will come back and strike us, this double-edged sword with its double agent properties. It has only one loyalty, to the Master Swordsman, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Only by living in Christ will we be able to handle such a sharp and dangerous tool for in Him have we been joined with Father's heart and can now be moved by love Himself where the target will be clear and we will not leave behind a bloody scene of our own making.

Martin Luther King Jr. said quite effectively in these wonderful words, "But there is something I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads to the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking the cup of bitterness and hatred."

In our quest to become good Samaritans and discussing the issues, may we be aware of the dangers of becoming the thieves and batterers instead of the instruments used to bind up wounds. May we remain alert to the dangers of becoming what we claim to detest. And may we learn the meaning of these wise words by Oswald Chambers, "I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God."
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:43 pm

Here's another sista.

This is a topic close to my heart and I do believe it is a God thing, and I do believe He has confirmed that more than once to me, but yes, yes and yes, it starts with each individual. It starts with being In Him.

From a book I wrote, that speaks much of these things:

Here are two chapters:

Part 9:


Under the Influence


Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. ~Hebrews 12:14-15


The next day Sarah woke up early with a desire to return to her home church. When she had first discovered it she was nursing some hurts and wounds from the tensions that divided the body of Christ. With their focus on the love of God it became an oasis from it all; a place where she could heal and recover. Thus, it held a warm place in her heart.

After sufficient recovery she began to fade away, although today she found a renewed desire to attend service, not doubting a good deal of it had to do with the events that took place the previous day. Before falling asleep that evening she had already decided to return to Christian Stepfordville and felt this would help keep her grounded.

Pastor gave a lovely service about Jesus being our Shelter and help in time of need. It was exactly what she needed to hear that morning and she offered a whispered, "Thanks," heavenward.

Although Sarah noticed many of her neighbors still in attendance, she didn’t stick around after service for she was eager to be on her way. Sarah then drove her car right back to Christian Stepfordville and checked in with the guard. She made an attempt at some small talk in the hopes of breaking the ice, but he still didn’t warm up to her. So, after receiving clearance, she saw no reason to stick around and continued on her way.

Sarah came to a brief stop in front of Alex’s subdivision where she contemplated where to go next, and as she eyed the neighborhood across the street she spotted a young man motioning to her and waving her in. Shen then crossed over.

The setting was in stark contrast to that of their neighbors. The homes were what you would find in any low income neighborhood and in desperate need of repairs. Meanwhile, the streets were filled with teenagers playing loud music and buzzing with much activity, seemingly oblivious to the trash that spilled over from the yards.

Further along she came across a familiar sight. It appeared this neighborhood was also equipped with its own marketplace and that is where she decided to park. As she drew closer she was struck with a sense of déjà vu. Just a few yards away in the center of the plaza there stood a classy, contemporary diner with a retro-look. The exterior was a rich mixture of bold coloring, sharp lines, and distinctive features. Sarah was acutely aware of its stark contrast to the shops and restaurants looking as if they were condemned to demolition.

It’s the same contrast I saw in Alex’s neighborhood with the café and shops, but here it’s in reverse.

As Sarah contemplated the relevance of this she saw JC pass within her line of vision and enter that very diner. Her heart leaped at the sight of him and she immediately began to follow after him, but after just a few steps she was suddenly distracted by a young man that bumped into her as he came flying by. Sarah nearly lost her footing, although she was able to recover. She then turned to see if he was alright, but he had faded into a crowd huddled in a circle.

Wondering what all the commotion was about she walked over there and worked her way in with the intention of only staying for a moment; just enough time to check things out. On a platform in the center of the crowd there stood a young man with long, dark hair that appeared to be on fire. He was dressed all in black and overweight for his frame, but it was his strange glasses that captured most of her attention.

He spoke about a growing revolution, while pausing periodically to take long drags from the cigarette in his hand. "Let us continue the fight for our liberty and rights. Do not be bound again by the chains of religion with its controlling men full of self-indulgence and ill intentions. Don’t listen to them. They’ll make you sick, then blame you for it."

Sarah’s eyes followed the steady stream of smoke he exhaled into the crowd. She then witnessed others also engaged in their own unhealthy indulgences that they freely shared amongst themselves. Just then electrical currents began to pulsate through the crowd, igniting their flesh. It reminded her of the time her stove was not properly grounded and nearly caught fire. Then, as the sound of coughing broke out among them, she knew this atmosphere of second-hand smoke mingled with the stench of flesh was a ripe breeding ground for sickness and diseases.

Her vision then turned to two youngsters with slightly bulging stomachs. Alarmed, she worked her way towards them when she heard someone yell out, "Hey! You stepped on my foot! Did you see that? She stepped on my foot!"

Sarah offered a quick apology over her shoulder while continuing on her way intent on reaching the two. A sinking feeling ran through the pit of her stomach when she found them sharing a cigarette. With visible distress that was mounting by the minute, she began to address them, "You really shouldn’t be inhaling all this smoke. I know it isn’t always easy giving up a bad habit, but there is help out there available. This isn’t healthy, even life threatening . . ."

The younger of the two stared her down in bitter resentment before angrily replying, "You’re not my mother!"

The other got a good laugh at that. "He’s right, you know. They’re always trying to scare us into submission and control."

Sarah’s face dropped in astonishment. What is wrong with these kids? Has everyone gone mad?! The way others kept missing her heart in this community she was starting to feel invisible. Thinking a better route may be to try and reason with the young man, she began to walk away.

"Miss, are you ok?" The concerned query stopped her in her tracks. Recognizing a window of opportunity had opened she took a deep breath in an attempt to hold onto her own sanity, then turned to face them again and opened her mouth in the hopes of helping them see the light.

Before she could even get a word out their attention was diverted by an angry shout, "Get out of the way!" Sarah scanned the crowd to see where it was coming from, but instead she found everyone’s eyes glued to their host with such intensity. He now stood with his back towards them, while staring into the darkness before him. Her vision then zoomed in on the many wounds on his back. When he turned to face them again, he had a glass in hand and offered up a toast, "To liberty, equality, and justice for all. For this cause we continue to struggle and fight."

The crowd went wild, cheering and clapping, then rushed to a table filled with more glasses and joined in the toast. Suddenly, a chant broke out among them as they roared in unison about their cause and fighting for their rights. It reminded her of some of the wild, rock concerts she had attended as a teen and wondered if they were under the influence. Just then a dreadful chill filled the air and she thought she saw a dark figure float by, but she didn’t give it much attention as she quickly proceeded towards the table determined to see what they were consuming.

At the table she began to inspect its contents. Sure enough, it was filled with kegs of beer and strong drink. She even spotted tequila with worms in the bottle.

Sarah continued to watch in dismay as the young crowd reached for the liquor as if it were Kool-Aid. How irresponsible! she thought angrily. And where are their parents?!

With each consumption their shouts grew louder, the sound becoming deafening. To add to her distress, she saw their host approach with a cart filled with more strong drink that he used to replenish the bottles.

That’s it! her heart screamed. This can’t go on! Someone’s got to look out for these kids and care enough to say something!

And with her heart bent on their well-being, she approached the young man and abruptly asked, "What are you doing? These are just kids."

In a drunken stupor he muttered something about new wine. Then, with the expertise of a bartender, he prepared a mixed drink and offered it to her. It was then that she caught sight of that dark figure once again, now intently watching her as if to see what she would do.



Part 10:

The Revolutionary


My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other. ~John 15:12-17 


Sarah recognized the enemy behind it all and refused the intoxicating drink. She then leaned in and exclaimed, "Can’t you see what is happening?! You’re under the wrong influence!"

For a brief moment she thought she was getting through to him and was about to say more, but that quickly another young man stepped in between them and interjected, "Jim, she’s just out here spying on us, looking to rob us of our liberty. I saw her across the street just yesterday."

Sarah watched in disbelief as the young man’s face became darkly distorted. In what she could only describe as rage, he then muttered, "You’re just like the rest of them, out for control. Well, we won’t be made into robots like them. We can think for ourselves. Next you’ll be telling me God wants us rich with material possessions. Lady, one time I too bought those lies they are selling, but my eyes have been opened. We’ve been delivered from those control freaks intoxicated by power and we won’t be bound again. Our mission is to free others by taking them down!"

All eyes were now fixed on her as if she were the enemy. The crowd then turned to a pile of branches and she watched in horror as the branches became arrows, spears, and nails in their hands. Others chose stones to stone her.

Astonished, Sarah shook her head and said, "No, I’m not your enemy. You don’t understand!" with a good deal of resentment. Her eyes then grew wide as she caught sight of a drink in her left hand. In her right hand she found a branch that began turning into a large, rugged nail. Horrified, she thought, My God, this looks like the nail that crucified our Lord.

How did they get there? Have I come that close to partaking?

With shock and disgust she threw them to the ground. When she spoke again her words were once again overflowing with the remorse and grief that weighed on her heart.

"The revolution Jesus called us to is to love," came her disheartened plea, but her words fell on deaf ears. Then, as the angry mob came within striking distance, she cried out, "Jesus!" fearing what would happen next.

Before she knew it someone had lifted her off the ground and carried her over their shoulder, walking straight through the crowd, and as they made their way out she heard names and accusations being thrown at them. That is, until a man entered the scene and captured their attention. Sarah watched in horror as half the crowd then turned on him while the others began to pierce each other. That quickly officers descended on the scene and began to make arrests.

Shaken by what had taken place, Sarah began to weep. Her rescuer took her a safe distance from the scene before putting her back on her feet. She then found herself standing before JC. It was he who had come to her rescue once again.

"We’ve got to do something," she anxiously cried out through her tears.

JC viewed her with such understanding, compassion, and . . .

Just then Sarah heard another familiar voice calling her name. Turning, she spotted Alex running their way.

"It’s alright Sarah," JC said. "Go in peace knowing I take others through what I have called them to do". His words were reassuring, yet she couldn’t help but note the pain in his voice. She then heard him say, "If you want to help and are willing, I have a place in mind for you."

Sarah turned to face him again to find that he was already heading back in the direction of the crowd.

"Are you alright?" Alex asked upon reaching her. "I came as fast as I could."

"Oh, it was awful . . . " she cried out, "but I’m not hurt. JC carried me out of there. How, how did you know? How did you find me?"

"JC . . ."

Alex paused for a moment as he turned to take in the scene. Then, with visible anger he asked, "What are you doing here?!"

His reaction caught her by surprise. "I . . . I don’t know. I’ve just been intrigued by this place. Oh, I’ve made a mess of things, haven’t I? Please don’t be angry."

Alex then softened. "You misunderstand my anger. It’s not directed at you. It’s hard to see how the enemy has taken advantage of their wounds and turned them against us."

Sarah stared blankly at him, feeling lost and confused. 

Alex then inquired, "How did you get here? Your bike is still in the shop."

"My car, it’s parked over there."

"Well let’s pick it up and get going."

  As they made their way out of the subdivision Sarah’s eyes once again moisted with tears. "Oh Alex, I feel so awful . . . and how they turned on that man."

The look he shot her conveyed the fact that he understood her pain. "We’ve all had our share of scars here Sarah. Reuben will be fine. I wouldn’t leave him there alone if I didn’t know that JC was with him and needed me elsewhere, and as you so aptly put it regarding our near collision yesterday, it happens. I don’t know the details of what took place back there, but I do know at times it isn’t about what we intentionally did wrong. Sometimes it’s unintentional negligence from being so focused on our own journey at the time that we miss others in traffic with us. Either way, there’s God’s grace to see us through."

Sarah nodded, understanding the analogy. "Yes, unintentional. I’m not sure what happened . . . It all happened so fast . . ." she replied in her confusion. Then, recalling the drink and rugged nail, she drew in a deep breath and her voice became a whisper, "I think it may have been a bit of both. I came so close . . . I was just so saddened by what I saw and before I knew it, I was getting sucked into it all . . . like some bad dream I couldn’t wake myself out of."

Alex nodded. "Or like being caught in a dark whirlwind."

"Yes!" Sarah exclaimed, realizing he did understand. She then asked, "You know that man then? Reuben?"

"Sure, Reuben and I both work for JC. We do the upkeep on this place. He oversees that subdivision, but we do work together, helping each other out when needed. He’s a wonderful brother in Christ."

Alex then pulled over, and with his eyes still on the road he asked, "Have you eaten yet?"

Sarah didn’t answer him right away as she was distracted by the utility workers who were now on the ground huddled in a circle still laughing at some inside joke. After a moment, she turned to give him her undivided attention. "Just a light breakfast before church."

"I was about to grab a bite myself before the call came through. Why don’t we get out of here and find a place to eat where we can discuss what happened more thoroughly." His voice grew softer, now feeling unsure of himself. "That is, if you’d like?"

She nodded in response and they were on their way.

At the gate they ran into a delay. Sarah watched as a law enforcement officer yanked the driver in front of them out of his vehicle while Alex rolled his window down for the officer approaching them. Through the open window she heard the disoriented driver yelling, "You can’t do dis! Dis, dis is a farce! Mmm, my rights . . . violated! You, you’ll hear from mmm, my lawyer sss, soon!" A third officer then approached the man from behind, twisted his arms behind his back, and slapped handcuffs on him.

"Hey Alex," the approaching officer greeted.

"Chris," Alex returned before looking ahead at the scene again and asking, "DUI?"

"Yep," he confirmed. "Hey, you haven’t been . . . have you?" Chris asked as he leaned in.

"Nope," Alex responded without hesitation, and recognizing the trick of the trade to catch the scent of another’s breath, he then breathed out at him.

Chris chuckled, realizing he’d been caught. "I didn’t think so. Just doing my job."

"Not a problem," Alex assured him. "Just trying to make your job easier for you."

Chris then looked back at the other officers. "It’s Alex. He’s clean."

"Well then, let him through," another yelled out.

With that he let them pass and they continued on their way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~Ok, will give ya a break now as I shared much and you now probably have overload. Yet, also wanted you to know that I can relate, and do feel this is something the Lord put close to my heart. I won't say I have it all right, but overall feel good with where I am at. Not complacent, but good with how it is coming along.

Maybe others may think I am wacked, but what matters most is what the Lord thinks and staying close to Him. And, won't say I am perfect there, but I try and the blood of Jesus carries me where I fail.

And yes, it starts with each individual being in right relationship with the Lord.

Abide in me, and I in you, for without Me, ye can do nothing ~Jesus
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Sat Apr 12, 2014 9:40 am

Was going over website I started and ran into another that you may appreciate. Was written awhile ago and probably needs quite a bit of editing / tweaking, but I like the message as it is something I have witnessed, and probably have gone there myself a time or two. It is an area that has grieved me deeply, the double blow.


Double Blow

Image

So a couple coworkers told you about this nightclub they joined. They say it has improved their on-the-job performance and invited you to attend. You didn’t think you really needed one, but being open-minded, you decide to check it out.

As you draw closer to your destination you realize it's in this shady side of town. You eventually pull up to the building and look for a street light to park under anticipating the illuminated spot will deter any temptations to vandalize your car. Driving by two, you notice their bulbs are out and hope it isn't an act of mischief, a deliberate attempt by others to conceal foul play. After circling around the block a few times you come across a functioning light. Feeling more at ease, you park your car in the lit spot.

Peering down at your wristwatch, you realize that you are running a bit late. You have some second-thoughts about attending, but you're already there and decide to see it through. You then proceed to the building with renewed interest.

As you approach the door and knock a large bouncer-looking dude opens to you. After introducing yourself, you tell him why you are there. He looks you over and, with what appears to be a good deal of effort on his part, lets you in. You get the impression he didn’t take to you, but you try not to jump to conclusions as you consider he may just be having a bad day. You then enter in.

Conversations come to a sudden halt as all eyes focus on you. Scanning the room you notice a good deal of the attendees are wearing shades and wonder why in such an already darkened environment. They eventually return to their respective conversations and you are left with that uneasy feeling of disapproval once again. You wonder if it may be your attire as it appears you came overdressed for the occasion. Generally an outgoing personality, you don’t mind introducing yourself and jumping right in, but you are feeling a bit depleted so you decide to find an empty seat and put it in park.

As you make like a fly on the wall, you take in the ongoing conversations in an attempt to get a feel for the place. You catch an earful from each and liken it to a volleyball match, the "subject in question" being the ball passed from side to side. Each side does their best to give a grand serve, hold their defenses, and come back with a winning offense. As you sit there trying to see what you can gain from this match, you notice things start to take a turn for the worst. Instead of continuing with the ball, some of the players on one side are now angrily facing off with those on the other side of the net.

The room starts to grow silent as they cross the line and deliver several blows to their opponents’ heads. You watch the scene in dismay and now witness the opposing side attempting to defend themselves by taking a swipe of their own. The initiators of the personal attacks are now hitting below the belt as they start to accuse their opponents of being troublemakers, even crazy and in need of counseling. Astonished that they seem oblivious to the role their aggressive actions played in the reaction they received, you wonder, 'Are they for real or are they trying to pull the wool over our eyes?'

The assaults continue and you sense the tide rising in the room as others get all worked up, appearing blind to the foul play. You want to scream, “Take off your shades so you can see!” But instead you find yourself standing up and yelling, “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

All eyes are once again fixed on you. Some appear to have heard you as you watch them remove their shades and toss them aside with a new sense of clarity written on their faces. Some appear to be trying to make out what you are saying. Yet others appear to grow the more hostile and look to turn on you. All sorts of accusations start being thrown your way, from religious nut to trying to rob others of their personal rights. In spite of it all, your eyes focus on this fellow that appears to be taking an unfair, brutal beating. You make your way towards him and take a few blows for him while offering him your hand. From his bloodied brow he also shoots you a disapproving look and you start to feel like Moses trying to save Israel from bondage in Egypt before God's time.

Sensing that your help is not appreciated or welcomed, you look for the exit doors to slip on out before you get caught up in the scene. You then get in your car and head on home, reminding yourself to have a chat with them coworkers about your view of the night.

So why did I offer this story? This is something I witness in our relationships with others. For instance, a husband may batter and / or cheat on his wife then when she starts to act up he acts as if she is nuts and in need of psychological help. It is a real shame how blind we can be regarding the role our actions play in others' lives. Less subtle forms of this can be when we continuously put down the differences in others (whether culture, personality, gifts, etc) and then wonder about their mental state or walk with God when they are not acting per our "view" of "the norm". This is what I consider delivering a double-blow. We take swipes at someone then expect them to shoulder the full weight of their behavior without taking into account how we may have negatively contributed to the situation. If they snap under the weight, we take another shot at them by labeling them as insane, trouble-makers, or some other choice words. To put it simply, imagine repeatedly kicking a dog then calling it crazy or mean if it snaps under the pressure and attempts to bite.

Only God is good and can make such demands on us. Even so, He offered us his helping hand by way of Jesus Christ. How much more should we be willing to do the same for our fellowman?

I also truly recognize these situations can take place in our ignorance and as we are faced with hardships in our lives. Thank God He sees our hearts. Yet, as we become aware of such matters, we may be in a better state not to jump to our own conclusions.

One may also argue, "But who determines what a bark or bite is? Whose measuring scale do we use? Furthermore, aren't these things sometimes necessary for the greater good?"

There is a simple answer to the complexity of these questions. The answers lie in abiding in Jesus, our measuring scale, so his Spirit who sees the heart can continue to flood it with his glorious light and lead us by his love. I don't believe God is more interested in the accuracy and finesse of our surface details as He is in our bruised or stony hearts.

The scriptures are filled with stories on how our actions and behaviors can have far-reaching effects that move beyond ourselves. May we continue to reach for that higher ground in Jesus whose heart of love surpasses both sides of the fence. Likewise, we should take into account the progressive journey and God's wonderful grace on that narrow road that leads to life. When things seem complicated and fuzzy we need only draw close to our Lord and return to the simplicity that is in him for our view to come in clearer as we encounter him face-to-face. No matter how complex the questions are, the answer is always as simple as Jesus Christ.



Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

Further Reading: 1 Corinthians 13:8-13
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Sun Apr 13, 2014 9:53 am

Another. This one is one of my favorites. As I said, I've written quite a bit on the topic. It is a topic that has grieved me deeply and have prayed and written.

I got the idea of this one from a dream I was helping a Christian with interpretation. She said she was sitting in her living room when some dude just barges into her door and throws this meat at her. She would try and go to the other side of the room to avoid him, but he would continue to follow her and do the same.

I told her, for her prayerful consideration, that it was probably someone who was crossing the line and pushing into her personal space and trying to push some meat of the Word on her.

Jesus knocks on the door of our hearts and waits for us to hear Him and invite Him in so we can share a meal together. That is a great example for us to follow. Also, she did say he was dressed like a homeless person, which I believe spoke of his spiritual poverty so told her that he needed prayers. We are tempted to just get angry at others (not saying it isn't called for at times, God knows), yet we all need prayers.

Anyway, I thought the dream was a great analogy of what can happen in our interactions with others. Some time later, I wrote this piece and added some elements I have seen, whether in others and / or myself.


Food Fight


Have you ever sat at a gathering and had someone offer you food that didn't appeal to you? Maybe they offered you a steak and the thought of indulging in more red meat made your stomach turn in protest. For some time now you haven’t been feeling well and you suspect your excessive meat intake is taking its toll. You may have even scheduled an appointment with a specialist to try and determine the cause. Due to your concerns you look somewhat disdainfully at the contents in the plate and refuse the food. Instead, you reach for a tossed salad while eyeing the desert table that looks invitingly sweet.

Following your glance, the fellow that offered you his plate turns his head and looks somewhat disapprovingly at the frosted cake that captured your attention. He then makes several attempts to convince you to give his steak a try, but you shake your head and repeatedly decline.

Beside you sits your friend who seems pleased with your response, and even somewhat smug. Due to several ugly episodes of food poisoning in the past caused by tainted meat, he has sworn it all off. He likens it to the devil, certain all meat causes mad cow disease. Now he spends a good deal of his time crusading against it and appealing to others to have it banned, his version of a health insurance policy against insanity.

As you view his response that speaks louder than words, you roll your eyes at him and say, "Good grief, don't make more of this than there is. And please, not another speech. I'm already cutting back on my meat intake, but I am not convinced I need to convert to your vegetarian club. I'm telling you, I think you are starting a cult!" But he dismisses your distress with a chuckle, thinking your concern for him is cute. And just when you are about to deliver another speech, your attention is diverted by a loud clash.

Seems the fellow that offered you the meat is quite angry and dropped the plate in front of you as if insisting that you eat. Taken aback by his persistence, and even somewhat annoyed, you then get up from the table and find a different place to sit.

Boys, you think to yourself and wonder what happened to the real men.

To your horror, he follows you with the meat and tosses it at you. And as it goes airborne and heads straight for its target, your annoyance turns into shock, but it misses its mark as you gratefully don’t freeze up and quickly duck.

"Oh my goodness," you cry aloud, "this man is trying to assault me!"

Perturbed and angered by his rude behavior, you move to another part of the room trying to put some distance between the two of you in your attempt to fend off another attack, but this only seems to fuel his anger which continues to puzzle you.

What is he doing?! you ask yourself as you sense him at your heels, his angry words ringing in your ears. You're now convinced he is deranged and there may be more to this crazy theory regarding the root of mad cow disease. And just when you are about to give him a smack in an attempt to knock some sense into him, your friend comes to your aid and throws a pie in his face.

And there you stand, eyes wide open and mouth dropped as you watch the pie hit its mark. Your shock then turns to a grin, feeling the desert was just what he deserved and needed, but the amusement of the moment is quickly lost as others join in this pathetic display. Before you know it, a full-fledged food fight breaks out. Meats, pies, salads, beverages, and even silverware are swirling around the room as the tension continues to mount. As if that wasn't enough, you catch the terrified look on your host's cat as he goes flying by.

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Recognizing it has gotten way out of hand, you ask yourself, How did it come to this? Has everyone gone mad?! Sensing it is something in the air, you scan the room looking for a quick way out.

Then, to your relief, your host, who seemed to've been previously oblivious to the situation, gets up and tries to bring some order to the mounting tensions. You let out a sigh of relief as you see an end in sight, but your hopes are short-lived as you watch in disbelief the crowd quickly turn on him. In some odd way this attempt to bring order has united them in their rage. They are now rallying against him while yelling words regarding freedom of speech and other such liberties and rights. You then watch in dismay as they continue to shower their host with the remainder of the buffet.

Some scene huh?

You may be thinking, Oh Jo, that is really crazy. I mean those people are obviously insane.

But I find myself wondering how oblivious we may be to these words:

Romans 2:1

You may think you can condemn such people, but you are just as bad, and you have no excuse! When you say they are wicked and should be punished, you are condemning yourself, for you who judge others do these very same things.


At times we gather together with the wonderful treasures the Lord has given us and our past associations may blind us to the good intentions of others as they offer us the treasures from their hearts. We can even find ourselves reacting with disdain and contempt as our unhealed wounds and unresolved issues (dare we leave out borrowed knowledge) may have led to a closing of our hearts. Although we may need time and space, we don’t have to personally reject them for they are a beloved child of God. It would also serve us well to know we are not the only ones that have gone through things and have been hurt.

On the other side of the table, it can be a painful experience when we are eager to share our treasures and others don't appear to see the value in our heartfelt offering, toss it to the side, and opt for another dish. If we don't deal with it properly we can make a mess of things, festering anger and insisting on having our way. We should recognize that we are all on a progressive journey and keep our hearts before the Lord while allowing him to do the most important work.

There are generally two sides to a story and all too often we are only equipped with our side, but if we take the time to open up and honestly communicate, we will be given the view from the other side. If we go that route, let us also try to avoid making the discussion about a hurtful blame game. See, even though our neighbor plays a part and the Lord will allow our humanity to play out, we are all first and foremost responsible to Him. He is our answer and our Source and the One we are first accountable to. Know the higher view is the one seen from being connected to his heart.

Try talking about how it makes you feel, owning up to your feelings instead. And as you do, you may find that you are pleasantly surprised by your neighbor’s understanding and ability to relate. We tend to feel the need to protect ourselves from others' blame when they don't consider our view and validate our challenges and pain.

And if you share your heart and hurtful accusations come, feel free to guard it for out of it flows the wellsprings of life. The enemy is called the accuser of the brethren, but we can choose to leave his darkened ways behind and move forward in Christ. When the Holy Spirit puts his finger on something in our lives, it is to bring healing in Jesus, not to condemn. Do continue to love and pray for all for this offering is a sweet fragrance unto God.

Furthermore, just like we are all parts of Jesus' body, all foods that come from Him, whether physical or Spiritual, is acceptable and good. Even if we do not partake of a portion for whatever reason, we can see its significance. We shouldn't trample on another’s gift and start a crusade against it no matter how abused its been in the past. Our preferences and clubs need not be harmful, and even quite beneficial for a season as we grow up in Christ. We just need to be cautious about making them the way and leading others astray, instead of leading them to Christ.

May we also abandon our liberties centered on our cause that are not grounded in him. And as He captivates us by his love and leads us within, we will willingly abandon our rights and become his living sacrifice. As we do, we open the door for his Spirit to work through us and unite us in the strong ties of his love.

Romans 14:17-19

For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Sat Apr 19, 2014 12:43 am

I got one more . . .

Just kidding. :lol:

Actually, have some more, but just looking to have some fun now.

Well, had another joke, but wasn't sure if anyone would get it. And now I don't seem to have anything else to say.

This is a rare occasion for me.

Hmmm.

Be back another day. It is late and I been online more than I had anticipated tonight. Been working on my parent's yard and my home much lately, while doing the usual other things too. I've been sort of addicted to the DIY channel lately. Love it, and that "Yard Crashers" show. Works of art.

Thanks all.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby Mattguddat » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:54 am

What we have here is post-modernism vs. modernism.

Post-modern thinking refutes set truth. Modernism is the polar opposite (a basic generalisation in case these terms are new to you).

I think it terrifies people to challenge their world view. When Morgan (author of the article) challenged the Genesis 1 account of creation, calling it metaphorical, I too felt my hackles rise. Why? Because my world view and faith was challenged. It shakes my core.

Is that bad?

A friend once told me, "God isn't afraid of your questions Matt."

I think the real question is whether or not you are afraid of your own questions, and if so, why? The root of your uneasy feelings may give you the answer you need. Maybe you're wrong and an insecurity is holding you back, or maybe you're right, and that uneasy feeling will help you cement your beliefs.

I certainly wrestle with Christian modernism as it often claims it is standing on the Word of God, when in actuality it is standing on you're interpretation of the Word of God. Likewise post-modernism can defy any truth whatsoever, which equally irks me.

A balance between the two is my personal goal. I actually wrote an article in the critique circle on challenging world views recently. Shameless plug :wink: http://www.faithwriters.com/critique-circle-details.php?id=12689
Mattguddat.com Blog, Reviews and Resources

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:33 am

Tee hee, another shameless one.

I'm going by memory, yet what was an issue for me when I read what he wrote was that he appeared to be putting down those that didn't see things as he did. God knows for sure, yet I recall certain areas where he put down simple-minded thinking and such, in what appeared to me, in a superiority, prideful way.

Well, I don't claim to be exempt from such behavior for whatever reason . . . God knows as we don't always know ourselves.

Maybe there is more to it, but I do believe that at least inclusive, that is what Jesus meant regarding the beam in the eye. The splinter may be like someone being technically wrong while the beam is the pride / looking down on the other. Which is the bigger issue?

I thought he had some good things to say, but it was the attitude of superiority that I sensed that didn't sit well with me.

And sometimes the issue is ours . . . like just because we feel condemned by a message may not have anything to do with the messenger. Maybe, but maybe not. The issue may be more ours.

So, as I like to say, take what is beneficial and don't partake of the foul.

I like what you had to share regarding psychological issues. I personally just try and steer clear (let me know if I don't) of saying "go this route" in regards to technique, even as I see validity and make suggestions.

Speaking of dimensions,When it comes down to it, wouldn't you say the issue is a pride factor?

Yet, there may be a closing of the heart due to hurts and that doesn't necessarily mean that the person is being prideful. Just saying, where there is an issue amiss, I believe the issue is rooted in self and pride.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:56 am

So, tell me if you think I missed it, but I've often seen this . . . and again, don't claim to be totally exempt for whatever reason - The putting down of differences in others, instead of getting to the heart of the issue. Or, as the song goes, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

The bible has wonderful things to say about simplicity and I do believe simplicity is most important, yet there is also room for broadening on the subject, and that has wonderful things to share in the mix too, as long as we don't lose simplicity in the process.

I love exploring details. That in ways I feel is my thing, details, but God's been very clear to me, and also implanted in me not to lose simplicity along the way.

Yet, I believe He did it. Had this supernatural experience where He implanted that in me, the power and importance in simplicity in the gospel so even I must be cautious of looking down on others for not having that because it was something He did, not me.

It's neat too because He's shown me what He can do with my details. And not claiming I have it all right, just sharing how He didn't tell me to get rid of it, but don't lose the most important aspect in the process. If I get lost in the details, darkness comes (details should never overshadow simplicity), and that is what He uses to remind me to look to my light Jesus, return to simplicity, and with time the rest will come into the light of Christ too.

I know I went on about simplicity, just the guy seemed to be putting it down. You don't have to trade one for the other, just understand their place in Christ.

And, if details are overshadowing simplicity, then it is time to return to the simplicity in Christ.

And maybe I misunderstood him, haven't reread what he wrote, going by memory.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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Re: The Bible and English Majors

Postby jo555 » Thu Apr 24, 2014 11:09 am

Well I'm going to take a break for awhile as I feel that I've allowed conversations of late to pull me away from things at home.

I also think everyone may be tired of me talking . . . tee, hee. Not upset really, I did chuckle. Listen, I get tired of my own voice at times too. So, not upset. I understand.

Before I go though (you really didn't think I would take a break without leaving something, did you?) I want to share this . . .

After feeling deeply hurt by someone (although I don't doubt I hurt them too . . . was totally worn out from my mom being in sever pain and worried about her and losing sleep and such . . . and shared something I probably shouldn't have with the person at that time) I was feeling angry too and bitterness and hatred were moving in too after how they responded. It was so awful, how these feelings were overwhelming me in my pain and I cried out to the Lord to help me. I felt the presence of the Lord come in and dispense of the darkness, of it all, the bad and ugly (love when the Lord's Spirit does things because He's so fast), His peace also entered my heart, and then I fell asleep.

While sleeping I had this dream that I was looking for Jesus. In a scene there were branches falling from the sky and someone told me to go to the branches. I started doing that but I saw one turn into a spear. So, I was like, Oh no. And, I went the other way.

On the other side the branches were falling too. I watched two interwine and I reached for them as they were falling, but it turned into a large, rugged nail in my hands. I thought, My God, this looks like the nail that crucified Jesus.

So, I recognized it for what it was in my hands at that time.

Final scene I am still looking for Jesus with someone else who also was. It was towards night time I believe, but as we were walking I looked up and saw Jesus on the moon. He was upside down on the moon. He wasn't on top of the moon upside down, but his feet were on the bottom of the moon and he was standing upside down on the bottom of the moon.

There was a large tree limb piercing him. I mean it went straight through his body.

I woke up from the dream and began to cry for I knew the Lord knew my pain intimately. It didn't matter if others thought it was foolish or not, as the Lord's body He felt my pain intimately.

It was also sobering to realize that if we don't recognize it, we can be the ones that pierce are Lord through his body. I do believe He does feel our pain as if it were his own.

What you do to the least of these, you do to me.

So, I don't always know where I am coming from. Sometimes I wish I did and that God would make it more clear . . . He will at times, but other times I just need to keep tabs on my heart and what motivates it. Then, try to stay sensitive to the Lord.

And, I do feel that the Lord wants me to become what I have seen missing. To allow Him to shine Jesus through me. That it starts with me . . . or each one of us individually for without Him we can do nothing.

It's also sobering to realize that when we pierce each other, we, as Jesus body, pierce Jesus. Yet, we also shouldn't allow the fear of doing that to stop us from doing what He has called us to do (have had that issue before and the Lord began showing me what I needed was to use the discernment He has given me . . . another story).

Anyway, feel the branches are probably anything not rooted in Christ. The bible speaks of us as branches, but Colossians speaks of everything made through and for Christ so I see it all as branches that need to be rooted in Jesus.

The moon I felt represented the church / body of Christ too. How the moon reflects the light of the Sun, so should we reflect the Light of the Son.

I felt the Lord was showing me that I couldn't find Jesus because many have Him upside down and those severed from the Vine are piercing Him through his body.

Where am I in the mix. God knows as I don't always know, but I can keep tabs on my heart with Him and allow Him to reveal to me anything more He may need to.

So, ok, some may think I am wacked and that's ok. One more thing, if you are the one being pierced, the Lord also showed me how He implants things in us that, as long as we lean on Him, He's use to bring out the messages He's implanted in us.

God turns lemons into lemonade. Or, God uses crushed grapes to make wine.

We are all vessels that He uses to accomplish his will. The question is whether we are of honorable use or dishonorable use. Either way, his will, will be done.

Ok, time for a break. Been weary and sensitive lately as feel like I've spread myself out too much of late and so I will be pruning back for now.

Thanks all.

Hope I didn't unnecessarily hurt anyone in the process but if I did, please do accept my apologies. Anyway, hopefully you can see that I can relate. I find it nice to know that some one can relate, but if no one else seems to, I know the Lord can relate to my pain for as part of his body, He feels my pain intimately. That is most important, sharing that intimacy with Him.

And, feel free to ensure what I shared is scriptural. I am not standing on dreams and visions over God's Word and how his Spirit would reveal to us. I've said in the past that I have had some neat ones (along with those others have shared with me), and was considering posting some on a thread so others can help me ensure they are online with his Word . . . or at least, how I've interpreted them.
People may be right in their own eyes, but the Lord looks upon the heart - Proverbs

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