Our Daily Thread 4-30-13

Good Morning!

I can’t believe it’s the last day of April already.

On this day in 1789 George Washington took office as first elected U.S. president.

In 1803 the U.S. purchased the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million. On this day in 1812 Louisiana became the 18th state.

In 1900 Hawaii was organized as an official U.S. territory.

Also on this day in 1900 Casey Jones was killed while trying to save the runaway train “Cannonball Express.”

In 1939 Lou Gehrig played his last game with the New York Yankees. 😦

In 1945 Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun committed suicide.

And in 1973 U.S. President Nixon announced the resignations of Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and other top aides.

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Quote of the Day

“Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

George Washington

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Today is also Willie Nelson’s birthday. So here’s Willie with a friend…

If you liked that, the full 43 minute live show is here,

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Here’s a QoD for ya’s…… Several in fact……

Were you saved at an early age, or as an adult?

Do you notice a difference in attitudes between those saved at a young age, and those saved as adults?

Do you think those saved as adults seem to have more difficulty understanding and putting into practice certain biblical concepts due to their life experiences?

Or is it just me? 😦

The reason I ask is because I’ve been struggling with the concept of loving ones enemies. I understand the commands about loving my neighbors and family, but that’s the easy part. But I struggle mightily with putting that into practice with those I view as hostile to Christians, life, and traditional values. I sometimes feel as if there is a contradiction between the commands about loving your enemies and other passages where God’s people dealt and spoke harshly with the evil in their midst. I understand this contradiction is in my understanding of it, and that it really isn’t a contradiction. I just can’t seem to get my head around it. I’d appreciate your opinions on this. Here’s an example of what I mean.

Psalm 5:8-10

8 Lead me, O Lord, in thy righteousness because of mine enemies; make thy way straight before my face.

9 For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue.

10 Destroy thou them, O God; let them fall by their own counsels; cast them out in the multitude of their transgressions; for they have rebelled against thee.

and

Matthew 5:43-45

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.

44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

And my last couple of questions is what scripture reading would you recommend to help me with this? And what helps you remember to be more like the person spoken of in Matthew, and less like the person who tends to want justice rather than mercy for his perceived enemies?

And do you think women, usually being the gentler sex, grasp this concept easier than men do?

Told ya’ I had a bunch. 🙂

52 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 4-30-13

  1. Saved as a young child, sitting on my mom’s knee. After passing an accident on the highway and realizing I could go to hell.

    Sorry, it’s too early to answer the other questions. Zzzzzz

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  2. I was an adult. It’s a long story. I may tell it later.
    I didn’t know who Jason Collins was until the headline on the sports page said, Collins comes out of closet. Making an issue where ther isn’t one.

    I’m not sure I understand the other question.
    But I do question that women are the gentler sex. Kipling said, “the female of the species is more deadly than the male”.

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  3. Sorry Chas,

    I sometimes have difficulty putting my thoughts into coherent writing. 😦

    Perhaps gentler wasn’t the right word. They seem to be better at showing empathy for others might be a better way to put it.

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  4. AJ I don’t really know the answers to all your questions. I don’t think there was a pivotal moment for me. I think I just “grew into” being a Christian. Perhaps it is because it was all around me always and I went to Christian school where it was expected. I do remember going out into the hall with my 5th grade teacher and praying the sinner’s prayer but it may have been formality.
    I do know that on September 9, 2010 I had an emotional breakdown and ended up in my former priest’s office going through the Reconciliation of Sinners.

    Loving or Hating my enemies. There have been people in my life that I have had to force myself to hate so that they could not do further harm to me. I have nursed that hate, going so far as to drift off to sleep repeating “I hate you, I hate you, I hate you”. No one understood at the time, but I knew it was the only way to protect myself. I plotted revenge and dozens of ways I could get even. I took no action on any of them and eventually the person (or people) ceased to matter. Today I don’t hate them. They simply don’t exist in my world.
    What works best for me is to remind myself that hate is like cancer. It will eat you up and not do a thing to the other person.

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  5. Kim, “forcing yourself” to love the other person is every bit as effective, and better in other ways. I once had a viciously mean co-worker, in my vulnerable days (I was still pretty scared of people in general) who I decided to pray for daily, and it got to be where I’d feel a little pleasant thrill when I saw her, as though she were a friend, though she was in fact an enemy. But she no longer had any power over me once I began loving her and praying for her daily. (Now, if someone was dealing with someone truly wretched, for example someone who had raped them and gotten away with it, I wouldn’t tell them, “Do this and it will be all better,” but I do know from experience, with her and others, that it’s just as possible to choose to love as to choose to hate.)

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  6. AJ

    Those are hard questions. In fact some of those questions are what led me to leave organized religion. My view, FWIW, the message of Jesus was subversive — it is a message counter to our nature. Do good to those who trespass against you, forgive 7 times 7 times 7, give the shirt off your back. Human nature is more aligned with enlightened self interest — save me Oh God and smite my enemies. I think the Old Testament is an imperfect reflection of what God would have — so we see the Israelis having to have a king because they kept asking for one and couldn’t keep it together without a strong temporal authority. I think the New Testament — that which came to fulfill the law is meant as new beginning.

    The most revolutionary people and inspiring people I have met, tried to live the hardest parts of Christ’s message. It is not the faint of heart.

    BTW, I was 5 when I answered the altar call.

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  7. I totally believe that someone can know exactly when they were saved. But I also believe that there are those (like Kim and me) who don’t. I grew up in a Christian home and do not have a defining moment. When asked when and where I was saved, I say, “I was saved about 2,000 years ago on a hill that is about 20 minutes outside of Jerusalem.”

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  8. AJ, I was one of those who was probably saved as a very young child, four and a half. I was definitely reared in a Bible-centered home, family devotions daily, memorizing Scripture, attending church regularly and sometimes multiple times a week. I could go on and point out ways we were “hypocritical,” but that isn’t the question here. I grew up knowing the Bible, and knowing it well. When I was in my early twenties (at Bible college) I realized that all my pride about those sins I didn’t commit was just as much a sin–and maybe worse–than the sins “those other people” committed. My sister thinks I was probably actually saved then, and not earlier, but I had a genuine love for Jesus as a child, and a desire to obey Him, that I think went beyond “religiosity.” And whichever date was my true conversion, I’m a Christian and in His keeping, and that’s the important thing.

    I think all of us have different temptations to sin. My sister once talked to a woman who came from a family beset by sexual sin–she and every woman in her family had been pregnant when she got married, and she knew of adulteries and all sorts of “yuck” in her family. She was concerned about her own children, entering their teen years. My sister told her that our family hasn’t dealt with that particular pain, by God’s grace (we know of some teen pornography use, and that’s all; though it’s possible there are things we don’t know). But our own family sin is the one that made the devil fall–the ugly sin of pride. And she counseled the woman that repentance over sexual sin meant one was forgiven, and could teach one’s children of the family heartbreak.

    Other families have alcoholism, or the kind of greed that leads to theft or embezzelment or conning others. Some individuals struggle with sins that others in their families don’t deal with.

    One of the dearest Christians I know was saved around fifty years old, with some “biggies” in her life history (alcoholism, sexual sin, divorce). But she knows God’s Word, and she is infectiously in love with Christ.

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  9. Hubby believes that your perception of the Father has a lot to do with how old you were when you were saved. For example I was 11 and have always seen the Father as Abba, my protection, guide and provider. He was 21 and has struggled with only seeing the Father as Judge. Then again I am more simplistically legalistic than he is. For example I want the tithes paid on time. As for justice he has a much more mature and flexible attitude about it.

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  10. I was saved as an adult although all along I believe I was being drawn to that point so it was more like a process over a long time. I think somewhere else I described it like God kept putting things into the stew pot until it all came together when I was in my 30’s.

    There is a difference in those who were saved at a young age and those who were saved as an adult. I suspect most of the ones saved at adult age have more of a record of sin in their lives, but that may not be so in individual cases but just in general as a group. Being saved does not stop the sinning, but it is a strong deterrent and the process of sanctification goes a long way in keeping the saved from wanting to do anything that would bring on the conviction of the Holy Spirit. (It sounds like your questions, AJ, are ones generated by conviction from the Holy Spirit.)

    As one who did not take the Bible to heart in totality until I was in my 30’s, I think I have been trying to learn more and study more as a catch-up process than some people who have been Christians since a young age. It seems there is something new to learn each day. I think that if certain sin habits are hard to break for those who came to surrender to Christ’s love and gift of salvation as adults, they can keep turning to Him over and over and the sin habit will become less and less and will eventually be gone as He helps with His ability to overcome the world. Instead of allowing us to drown in sin, He rejoices with us as we are saved from our sins.

    As for loving enemies, the verses just following those in Matthew that you quoted speak of everyone being able to treat those who love them in a loving manner— even the heathen do that, but we, as Christians, are called to love our enemies. It is only because of Christ in us that we have the ability to do that. We can look on our enemies and see their potential to become believers if they are not. Christ looked at people and saw their potential to sin no more. It is not easy to see with His eyes and hear with His ears. I initially jump to anger when treated poorly. It is only over time that I let Christ take over and my anger dissolves and I can pray for the enemy. It always helps to remember what Jesus said on the cross, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” Those who act contrary to God really are to be pitied. He certainly pitied us and prayed us into salvation through the drawing of our souls to Him by the Holy Spirit. Shouldn’t we likewise pray for those we know who don’t see the light? We never know which prayer may be the tipping point.

    Ladies may be more in the habit of talking things out rather than jumping in with action so that delay may give the appearance that ladies have an easier time grasping this concept. Sometimes I am a bit shocked by the actions of enemies, and I may take time to think, “Did they really do that?” “I can’t believe someone would do such a horrid thing.” “Wow, God, what do You do with that?” “I can’t deal with that God, so I hand it over to You.” “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

    I hope that helps, AJ.

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  11. Kim, I’ve been drawn to some toxic people in my life, too. When I was in seventh grade, I was so desperate for friends that one girl in my class totally used me. She’d be my “friend” for a few days, and then I’d hear her laughing about me with her real friends; I think she took some perverse pleasure in my gullibility, since she did it multiple times. In fact, she ran for class office, and she buttered me up enough that I went up onto the roof of the overhang to the cafeteria to hang up one of her posters, in spite of being afraid of heights. As soon as that task was done, she dropped me like a hot potato, and I was glad she lost the election. (I doubt I voted for her.)

    I’ve had several people in my life who would explode all over me and then tell me what I was doing wrong rather than apologizing for their own very ugly behavior, and I tolerated it. It’s too easy for me to give people the benefit of the doubt. I even had one person who fought with me in practically every conversation we had . . . and yet she was actually amazed when her husband told her that she is “part” of the problem. She thought it was ALL on my end, and she told me so. And yet she’s one of three or four people in my life with whom I’ve fought, and most or all of them had some form of mental illness. My pastor wanted my husband and me to have some sort of fight while we were in premarital counseling, since he saw “working through a fight” as an important part of premarital counseling. But we joke sometimes that we still aren’t eligible for marriage on that grounds, after being together 24/7 for a year and a half. Neither of us is the type to pick a fight; we’d rather politely tell someone what is wrong, if we need to. We can “debate” for a long period of time (discuss two sides of a theological issue or the like), but it doesn’t descend to fighting. (Most of those people who pick fights with me are out of my life, BTW.)

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  12. Cheryl, Please don’t let anyone tell you that you need to fight to have a good marriage. I go ballistic when I hear that – and I’ve even heard pastors say it. My hubby and I are coming up on our 34th anniversary and have not ever had a fight. We’ve not even come close and NO we are not silently harboring ill feelings about each other or suppressing anything. So far, nothing has come up to fight about. Honestly I don’t get why couples do fight. My thinking is that it’s a big ugly world out there and if you find someone willing to take your hand and face it with you, why would you ever fight with them?

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  13. Linda, I don’t think he was saying we needed to fight to have a good marriage, but I guess he’s used to enaged couples having something to fight about, and he saw it as a chance to talk something through in counseling. We have had a couple times we disagreed about something, but that isn’t the same as fighting. I do think some personalities “enjoy” fighting more than others. I know someone who has a good marriage, and yet she told me she wouldn’t want to marry someone who wouldn’t sometimes “fight” with her, because she would see such a man as too passive. (But she’s pretty strong-willed.) In my twenties I knew a fairly young woman (probably early thirties) who was on her second marriage, and she said she and her first husband never had a fight–which left me to wonder how they ever had a divorce! But it did show me that “no fighting” isn’t actually the secret to a happy marriage, either.

    I think a really big key to marriage success is knowing that neither of you is going anywhere . . . and both of you realizing that if you’re “stuck” with each other, it’s in your best interest to make it a happy marriage! (I have known unhappy committed marriages. I still think that’s better than divorce, but it isn’t nearly as good as working to love each other.) We sometimes tease each other about being “stuck” with each other. But of course we’re very happy to be bound together inseparably.

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  14. Excellent questions, AJ, and I’ve enjoyed reading the responses so far. I will be contemplating these things as I go about my day, and will return with my thoughts later. I love having deep things to ponder. Thank you.

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  15. There are times when no fighting means that Spouse 1 is more strong willed and tells Spouse 2 just how things are. Spouse 2 never gets a say in anything and eventually becomes more and more submersive. Spouse 1 goes along happily thinking all is right in their world and they are free to do whatever they want when ever they want. Spouse 2 becomes more and more passive aggressive and one day shocks the world when they find their voice.

    Then there are times when Spouse 1 has had a few hard knocks in life and Spouse 2 has as well. They make an agreement that no matter what is wrong they will discuss it. Spouse 1 in this situation still has a very strong personality but is willing to hear what Spouse 2 has to say. There is never any argument…just discussion. Sometimes Spouse 2 smiles meekly and says “yes dear” and then does what they intended to do anyway, but the key in this situation is that Spouse 2 realizes it and doesn’t try to hide it.

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  16. Below is something I wrote in “Story of my life” booklet. This is a bit long. As I’ve said before, it a short recount of events in my life, accompanied by photos. Not an autobiography. A recount of events. Al Tolley died a year or so ago. I may have told this before.

    While at Keesler, I received a letter from mother that the entire family had found Christ, straightened out their lives and started going to the North Charleston Church of God. I wasn’t sure what that all meant. Velma and I had gone to the Methodist Church and Sunday School, but my parents had not gone to church since they lived in Winnsboro. While home on leave during the Christmas Holidays, on January 1, 1950, we attended a Sunday night service at their church. At the invitation, at the urging of Velma’s boy friend, I went down and knelt at the bench and “prayed through”. Actually, I don’t think I knew what I was doing. The Church of God certainly believes in salvation through faith in Christ, not works. But the emphasis, as I understood it, was “living right”. That is, to be a Christian, you get right with God and start living right. I believe that the New Birth is an event, not a process. But I’m not sure that this was the time of my new birth. ….(Concerning a certain church in which I felt rejected) …In any case, I never went back. I did attend the base chapel every Sunday that it was convenient, but I never went back to church. As for “living right”, I fell away and was somewhat worse than before. But I never cursed nor drank heavily. … At times, like when we were coming in with two engines out, I made God a lot of promises I never kept.

    But God was faithful – continued several pages and years later:

    Late in the fall of 1953, I met another guy who was to have a great impact on my life. Al Tolley was a veteran, former paratrooper from…I don’t remember how I met Al, but, he asked me if I was a Christian. I assured him that I was. He said, “Great!” and invited me to some meetings of the Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF). I attended the meetings and liked the Bible studies and people and fellowship so much that I became regular. …

    One Sunday afternoon, as I was returning from home to campus, I was listening to “The Old Fashioned Revival Hour”, a radio program by Charles Fuller out of Long Beach, California. I then decided that if I really were a Christian, I was only a nominal Christian and decided to give my heart to Christ without reservation. I have dated my conversion from Jan. 1, 1950, but this may have really been the time of my new birth. In any case, it was the turning point of my life.

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  17. Good Morning…it’s Spring here today…tomorrow winter returns with snow and freezing cold 😦
    The Lord Jesus called me His own as I turned over my life to Him when I was 22 years old..kneeling at the side of my bed as my husband lay there praying for me…a very sweet memory….1976
    AJ….struggling myself with praying for my enemy…I will be praying for us both…I have no answer other than constantly seeking the direction of our Lord and trusting He will care for us as the gently Shepherd….
    Paul and I have had our share of “fights”….we do have our occasional disagreements…not too often…but, when we do…we are older and wiser now…we tease one another and are very honest with each other…we never allow division to enter in….in August it will be 38 years…I am ever so thankful for our Lord’s faithfulness as we seek His direction for our lives…it’s all good… 🙂

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  18. Thank you all for the responses so far. You have given me much to consider, and I appreciate your help. This is something that’s been an issue for me for quite some time.

    As Janice suggested above, conviction is at play here. I’ve felt it before but ignored it I guess. But something Phos/Roscuro wrote last week brought it back to the front again. Then last night a “discussion” with my wife kinda brought home the need for me to address this. Both were correct in their thoughts on how we as Christians should be, yet I have such a hard time with it.

    I wasn’t saved until I was over 30. Life taught me lessons before then. Many of them the hard way. Some of what it taught me is contrary to scripture. I sometimes envy those who have had faith in Christ since they were young. They are able to see things from a perspective they’ve known all along. But alot of what I’ve learned and seen seems to taint my perspective, and inhibits me from seeing things as they do, and I should.

    As a younger man the military taught me how you deal with enemies. You face them head on, you give no quarter to evil men, you call bad things and people what they are. You do so honorably, without intentional cruelty, sacrificing for others, standing up for those duty calls you to protect. Mercy is for those who deserve it, not those who don’t. An enemy is just that, an enemy, and you treat them as such. I get all that easily enough. It’s been my nature. It’s what I learned was right. I am not a pacifist, and I never will be.

    Yet that causes me some complications when I lay that next to the Word. In some areas it’s glaringly obvious. There is a certain hardness required to be a soldier. I have that, always have. But being meek and gentle to my enemies is a completely alien concept to me.It does not compute. Yet I am called to do so. I need to be kinder and gentler to all and I know it. But how I do so has evaded me.

    I’ve appreciated your thoughts on it and will continue to pray and ask God’s help with this struggle, and read what I can to help me with this. I feel like I need to do that. So again, thank you for helping. 🙂

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  19. Wow, everyone’s very serious here this morning, with serious topics.

    Adult (in answer to the question). And I suspect also that women are not necessarily the “gentler” sex in some ways — we never forget a wrong. 😉 I often laugh when I hear people say that we’d have world peace if women were charge. Really? I think not …

    Just remember — one insider story had it that Hillary picked up and literally threw a lamp at Bill in the White House when the Lewinsky scandal went public (and, hey, who could blame her??). I don’t know if she missed her mark or not.

    I suspect people work through disagreements differently and that’s why “learning” how to do that effectively as a pair would be important in a marriage. I tend to shut down, for example, which is definitely not a good way to handle a problem with another person.

    (Sorry, my comments are all rather random and disjointed, I’m short on time this morning.)

    As for praying for an enemy, I’ve had the same experience that Cheryl has had — it really can alter your perception of someone and take away the “power” they may have over you, at least in your mind. It’s you and God conspiring to bring them good.

    On the Collins story, I also had never heard of him and kept thinking why does this even matter? But our newspaper splashed it ALL over the front page (and I do mean All Over) and then wrote an editorial proclaiming that this was comparable to Jackie Robinson’s playing in the major leagues. Even the liberal, pro-gay marriage reporter I sit next to (who’s black) disagreed with that take, it simply can’t be compared to the Civil Rights movement for blacks. Just not the same, he and I both said. Alas, we were alone in that view I guess.

    As for how to pray for our enemies, this article is good:

    http://www.ligonier.org/learn/devotionals/loving-your-enemies/

    From that piece: “Seeking retribution against those who oppress the weak and defenseless is not unloving. Sometimes, the only way we can love our enemies is to put them in a place (such as prison) where they will be hindered from doing more damage and incurring greater consequences for their sins.”

    OK, did I cover everything? Wanna know what I’m having for breakfast??

    Didn’t think so.

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  20. So what? Was my response to whoever this man is.

    I was raised a nominal Catholic in a household that gagged all religious talk, so while I was drawn to God, I didn’t have a way of articulating, nor did I really understand, what it means to be saved.

    I came to know the Lord at 15 at a local Lutheran Church that played volleyball on Friday nights and presented the Gospel in a clear way. It all made perfect sense to me, wasn’t that what I believed? 🙂

    CB, as usual, has an interesting take on the issue that I mostly agree with. 🙂

    Off to teach Bible study–Matthew 10 about Jesus sending his apostles out to preach the good news, heal the sick, throw out the demons and give sight to the blind.

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  21. Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not saying that folks who fight don’t have good marriages (although I, myself, don’t understand it). All I am saying is please don’t tell ME that I can’t have a good marriage because we don’t.

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  22. AJ, I am at work and busy so I didn’t read your whole post, but what I read reminded me of this that I received from College Boyfriend’s mother the other day:

    THE FINAL INSPECTION

    The Soldier stood and faced God,
    Which must always come to pass.
    He hoped his shoes were shining,
    Just as brightly as his brass.

    ‘Step forward now, Soldier,
    How shall I deal with you?
    Have you always turned the other cheek?
    To My Church have you been true?’

    The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
    ‘No, Lord, I guess I have not.
    Because those of us who carry guns,
    Can’t always be a saint

    I’ve had to work most Sundays,
    And at times my talk was tough.
    And sometimes I’ve been violent,
    Because the world is awfully rough.

    But, I never took a penny,
    That wasn’t mine to keep…
    Though I worked a lot of overtime,
    When the bills got just too steep.

    And I never passed a cry for help,
    Though at times I shook with fear..
    And sometimes, God, forgive me,
    I’ve wept unmanly tears.

    I know I don’t deserve a place,
    Among the people here.
    They never wanted me around,
    Except to calm their fears

    If you’ve a place for me here, Lord,
    It needn’t be so grand.
    I never expected or had too much,
    But if you don’t, I’ll understand.
    There was a silence all around the throne,
    Where the saints had often trod.
    As the Soldier waited quietly,
    For the judgment of his God.
    ‘Step forward now, you Soldier,
    You’ve borne your burdens well.
    Walk peacefully on Heaven’s streets,
    You’ve done your time in Hell.’
    Author Unknown~

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  23. Love your enemies: Look at them as sinners in need of a Savior Just as I am. In the case of evil done to one, we do tell our children to forgive the evil doers (and we are talking seriously evil) or it will tear them up with resentment. As they do, they become much more confident and no longer feel under the control of the perps. Came to Christ as a mid teen but did not have anybody but God to teach me how to live it.

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  24. Hubby and I worked together for years before we married. We didn’t not always get along as co-workers. It was our fighting that made other at work tell us that we should go ahead and get married. We must have gotten it out of our system because we hardly fought at all until the Kid came along. Things were better when we didn’t fight.

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  25. As a marriage outsider, I’d say not fighting at all, ever, is the best scenario — but probably extremely rare? 😉

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  26. Ten years ago today I moved to Nashville to become a freelancer. (I considered May 1 my “official start date” as a freelancer. I had my computer set up, but no internet yet, so I made a trip to the library, got a library card, and checked my new e-mail account online. I was “in business.”)

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  27. Thanks, AJ. I found it when I was scanning photos this week, and I probably took it in some butterfly garden. I think it looks a lot like a heart.

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  28. Down with a really nasty intestinal bug.

    For the QOD:
    1. I don’t really know – I made a profession of faith at five, but my salvation has been a work in progress. I really didn’t understand the extent of my sinfulness until I was a young teen and I didn’t become assured of my salvation until much later.

    2. No, I haven’t. My father was saved as an adult and my mother as a young child, and they grow in grace together. Each has their strengths and their weaknesses, but I look up to them both.

    3. Related to #2 – No, all Christians are strong in some areas and need to work on others. Life experiences do play a part, but the same kind of experience could make one person strong in one area and another person weak in that same area. We all are so varied in the way God molds us that comparisons aren’t helpful.

    4. A: Scripture readings: The Sufferings and Death of Christ in the four Gospels, the entire book of Jeremiah and Lamentations, I Peter, I John, James 3 and 4, and Psalm 37.

    B: I haven’t got it made in this respect. You have no idea how many bitter words I have typed out at different times and just managed to not post. I have thought out many more. I once knew all the answers, grasped all the concepts, memorized all the passages, and like the hypothetical Paul in I Corinthians 13:1-3, I was a sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. Since then, God has allowed me to become broken – spiritually, mentally, emotionally, economically, and even physically. Now, anything worthwhile which I do is on His strength. “When I am weak, then am I strong.” (II Corinthians 12:7-10) I empathize with others’ weaknesses, but only when I let the Lord remind me of my weakness (and I don’t like to be reminded).
    It is helpful when I want to generalize to remember every group is made up of individuals, who vary as widely as do the members of one’s own neighbourhood or family and thus must be dealt with as individuals. Christ lashed out at the Pharisees repeatedly, but He dearly loved the Jewish people over whom the Pharisees were the spiritual leaders, and He even cared about the leaders individually – if Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea are any indication.

    5. Short answer: No. Women are by nature more sympathetic – after all, to them falls the nurturing role in the nature of things. But when their hatred is aroused, it is more implacable and less to be reasoned with than a man’s.

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  29. Phos, I laughed at your point 5. It is true. However, often that implacable hatred comes when someone has done something to a woman’s child. There’s the nurturing role again.

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  30. Yes, amen.

    And I agree with your #5. Look out for us when we’re riled. 😉

    Feel better, Phos — anything intestinal is miserable.

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  31. OK, AJ, I did my homework — you asked questions, here are my answers; forgive me for what I’m quite sure is going to be a long ramble. 🙂

    Were you saved at an early age, or as an adult?

    I don’t have a specific date that I can point to as the date I was saved, so I don’t know whether it was in childhood or adulthood. I was baptized as an infant and grew up in a Christian home. We went to church every Sunday and had family devotions every night. When I was 13, I got confirmed.

    I remember the pastor who confirmed me; he frequently reminded our class of the importance of prayer in the life of a Christian. He would always tell us, “Do not neglect your morning prayers.”

    Well, I neglected my morning prayers, and all other prayers, too, for many, many years (until I was about 31), though that pastor’s words echoed in my ears all those years. I also did not read or study my bible during that time, though I continued attending church consistently.

    So on the one hand, I could say I have been a Christian my whole life. I was exposed to the Word of God from birth, always believed it, and never left it. Yet I did not really have a personal relationship with Jesus until my early 30’s.

    I think the turning point for me came after I resigned from my teaching position and came home to be with my children (ages 3 and infant). I got to know more mothers from my church who also stayed home with their children, and got invited to a bible study for moms that was held during school hours. I think that that bible study was the vehicle God used to ignite in me a fire to read and study the Word for myself, to hear God speak to me daily through the scriptures, and also to plant in me the desire to speak to Him through prayer.

    It was not an overnight change by any means, but in the nearly 20 years since coming home, I have slowly grown in my awareness of my sinfulness and my need for the Savior. Whereas I started out having little concept of reading the Word to know the will of the Lord, or praying for wisdom and guidance, I now have a much stronger desire to be obedient to the Word than I did years ago when I was more independent-minded, holding God at arms length, so to speak.

    So I guess I could say that it’s really been sometime in the last 20 years or so that I could personally say with all confidence that I am saved, though the actual length of time since I was saved may be much longer than that.

    Do you notice a difference in attitudes between those saved at a young age, and those saved as adults?

    Not really. Individual personalities vary so much. Two of my siblings married people who had not grown up in Christian homes. My SIL received instruction and got baptized when she was engaged to my brother, and my youngest sister’s husband started attending church and got baptized after they had been married a while. The differences in how my BIL and SIL express their faith in comparison to each other is vastly different. I’m not sure if that’s what you mean by attitudes, but they are very different people from each other in virtually all aspects of life. And all the people I know who grew up in a Christian family have different attitudes compared to each other and to others who didn’t become Christians until later.

    Do you think those saved as adults seem to have more difficulty understanding and putting into practice certain biblical concepts due to their life experiences?

    I think to a certain extent, we do become creatures of habit, and if there are many years of living a life contrary to biblical standards, there may very well be difficulties putting into practice the biblical concepts the Lord teaches us, even after we’ve acquired an understanding of the difference between worldly living and biblical living. That understanding may also be slow to come, to the extent that we still have worldly influences bombarding us from numerous directions.

    Or is it just me?

    No, it is not just you. 😉 But with the power of Christ resting on believers, we all, no matter when we were saved, can be conquerors, through His strength alone! Praise be to God!

    And my last couple of questions is what scripture reading would you recommend to help me with this? And what helps you remember to be more like the person spoken of in Matthew, and less like the person who tends to want justice rather than mercy for his perceived enemies?

    Romans 12:17-21, in particular, verse 19b: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.”

    Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

    The entirety of Romans 8 is excellent, in fact.

    Also, 1 Thessalonians 4:8-12.

    8 “He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

    9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

    10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;

    11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

    12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.”

    I guess verses 8-10 above are the most applicable, but I kept going after verse 10 to get to the end of the sentence. 😉

    And do you think women, usually being the gentler sex, grasp this concept easier than men do?

    Ahem. Women can get pretty…how shall I say it…intense. 😉 The concept of loving one’s enemies — how to show love to them — is not viewed or practiced in the same way.

    Without going into a lot of detail, I can tell you that at the other blog where I am a “regular”, I got myself involved in a “conversation” (to put it mildly) where Christian women were in vehement disagreement about how to respond to a pro-abortion commenter. Some used or condoned the use of sarcasm toward that commenter (I Kings 18, the account of Elijah mocking the prophets of Baal, was used as justification), while others (like myself) thought treating the commenter like an idiot when she may have had the pain of abortion in her past would not be the loving thing to do.

    Anyway, I’m still carrying battle scars from that confrontation…

    Well, I hope something in this long ramble (didn’t I tell you it would be?) is helpful to you, AJ. 🙂 Blessings to you, and I’ll keep you in my prayers.

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  32. Well, I guess I’ve arrived. Couple of shock jocks on local radio this morning — doing a segment on our bike lane story that ran on Monday — called me a “stupid journalist” (because I interviewed people from both sides, apparently). Then … THEN … They BOTCHED my name. I mean, really!

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  33. Oh wait, they said I was a “TYPICAL Stupid Journalist.” Sigh. 😉

    Well, I can take heart — that was nothing compared to what they called the city councilman.

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  34. Donna, you were mentioned on the radio? Wow, being mentioned in a newspaper is one thing, but on the radio?

    Can you return the favor? “Local Idiots Run Talk Show” 😉

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  35. I’m almost like a celebrity now.

    I think they were making fun of my name. One of them said something like, “What kind of a name is THAT?” after he had trouble pronouncing it. And it is such a difficult name to pronounce. Sheesh. Say what you want about me, but at least get my name right.

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  36. I see you got first today, Kare! I don’t remember you being first before. Maybe you did, though. 🙂

    Donna, it was nice to see your post at the end of yesterday’s thread, where you described going to the beach at sunset. That was a peaceful way for me to end the day last night, just reading it. I can only imagine what it must be like to actually be there. 😉

    Good night, all, and Happy May Day tomorrow.

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  37. It got me also thinking about those lazy summer days after work when I lived elsewhere and didn’t have dogs to tend to … I think I’m going to try to do that again, find a place here at the ocean cliffs, during the summer where I can take my Bible and just go and sit or walk for a while.

    May Day — lots of protests and marches in LA tomorrow.

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  38. I guess I should have looked up “May Day” on Wikipedia or somewhere else before wishing everyone a happy May Day, instead of afterwards. I didn’t realize the pagan roots behind it until I just read about it now. Always something, it seems. 😦

    Oh, well, May is still a good month for me — the nicest month (temperature-wise) in my favorite season. And, I met my husband, and two of our arrows were born on the anniversary of that date.

    Can I say happy first day of a great month? 😉

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  39. My mom said May Day was a very fun holiday in Iowa when she was growing up, they’d get to dance around a May pole with ribbons … It’s turned into more of an immigrants’ rights day in LA, lots of demonstrations in support of immigration, legal and otherwise.

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  40. One of my piano students brought me a little basket of flowers one year when her lesson day fell on May 1. That’s what I think of when I think of May Day. Sweet memories.

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  41. Wow, that preview is quite the contrast with the reading-the-bible-at-the-beach-at-sunset scene I have pictured in my mind. 😉

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