Dec 302016
 

I spent most of yesterday at the hospital getting some tests done.

I’m headed back for more as soon as I hit “publish” on this article.

I’ve spent so much time in the place over the last year that I’m on a first name basis with much of the staff.

 

In some ways I like that, because it makes me feel like a person, instead of a number or an illness.

While I was waiting to be ushered back to all the machinery that would look inside me, I thought about the people waiting with me.

We all had something in common…we were all sick and looking for health and hope.

The waiting room leveled out all the class and economic distinction between us…we were all placing our faith in the ones we were waiting to see.

The best thing about the waiting room was that it was safe to be sick.

You didn’t have to make any excuses…if you were there, you were expected to be sick.

The objective was to make you well, not critique your health.

All of which brings me to where it always does…the church.

Wouldn’t it be great if the church really was a “hospital for sinners?”.

Wouldn’t it be great if we were known for who we are instead of for our sin?

Wouldn’t it be great if  the ground really was level at the foot of the cross?

Wouldn’t it be great if it was safe to be “sick?”

What if our sole objective in the church was to get sinners “well”?

What if our faith was completely on the One we are waiting to see?

The other thing we all had in common was that at some point we had to admit that we were sick…

Someday the staff will be sitting in the same chairs we are…

I know and confess that I’m sick and can’t cure myself.

You’re sick too.

I’ll be in the hospital for a while today and in church on Sunday.

I’ll walk out of one them healed.

Make your own application…

  127 Responses to “TGIF”

  1. Amen. The Lord be with you.

  2. “The thing the church needs most today is the ability to heal wounds and to warm the hearts of the faithful; it needs nearness, proximity. I see the church as a field hospital after battle. It is useless to ask a seriously injured person if he has high cholesterol and about the level of his blood sugars! You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else. Heal the wounds, heal the wounds. … And you have to start from the ground up.”

    Pope Francis

  3. “I know and confess that I’m sick and can’t cure myself.”
    We basically say these very words at the beginning of each divine service … on our knees and then the remainder of the service is 100% receiving God’s good medicines through his prescribed cures – the word and the sacraments – poured into our ears, and poured down our throats.

    We bring absolutely nothing of our own to Dr. Jesus.
    Michael, I hope you walk away from each place cured.

  4. Thank you. Amen. And, I also, hope you find answers and treatments that will strengthen your physical body and give you peace and hope for the future.
    Love you.
    God bless you.

    “All men will know you are My disciples by your love, one for another” John 13:35.

  5. Continuing to pray for you big brother may God hear our prayers and show His mercy strong.

  6. ((((Hugs)))))

  7. Here is a look at the 2017 Lutheran float for the Rose Parade. It will be the 84th in line of floats and bands.

    http://petalpushers.donorshops.com/2017.php

  8. My wife and I helped decorate this float several years ago.
    4,000 Lutherans come from all over to help decorate Rose Parade floats.

    1 min video

    https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-mozilla-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=mozilla&p=lutheran+hour+float+in+rose+parade#id=5&vid=776a35c050ef607981f95b357a35a919&action=click

  9. Hey, you guys have the real king! 😉

  10. 🙂

  11. Brilliant stuff, Michael. May God and the doctors bring healing to you. May 2017 be far better for you than 2016.

  12. “I’m not sure God wants us to be happy. I think he wants us to love, and be loved. But we are like children, thinking our toys will make us happy and the whole world is our nursery. Something must drive us out of that nursery and into the lives of others, and that something is suffering.”

    C.S. Lewis

    Michael, rest assured, you are loved by many here…

  13. Now i have this picture in my head… a hospital waiting room full of sickies and a couple of them are staggering around that room trying to tell the others what they’re doing wrong and why they are sick… what a wonderful analogy … again

    i wonder if one were to ask a church full of pew sitters why they are there, how many would, with a smug smile, answer, “I’m here because I love Jesus” and how many would say, “I’m here because I need Jesus?” … asking myself the same question…

    prayer continues for a good, good outcome from Michael’s upcoming procedures…

  14. “i wonder if one were to ask a church full of pew sitters why they are there, how many would, with a smug smile, answer, “I’m here because I love Jesus” and how many would say, “I’m here because I need Jesus?” … asking myself the same question…”

    John,
    One other question that might be asked is: Will I find Jesus here? What percentage of the service is devoted to him?

  15. It would be a shame if someone showed up at the doctor’s office with it’s “open” sign shining in the window only to be told that the doctor isn’t in today, or only stops in occasionally for a wave and a hand shake.

  16. It’s not necessarily safe to be sick in the hospital. Hospitals are dangerous places. You might go there with something minor and end up catching some kind of serious illness from the person sitting next to you in the waiting room. Pediatricians and family doctors specifically don’t want parents bringing their sick kids in for any and everything specifically because it’s so contagious. There have been warnings over in CA to call ahead and not just come in if you think you or your child might have measles. And do we even want to get into the number of people who are basically killed by doctors through mistakes and mismanagement of prescriptions etc?

    Hospitals are dangerous places. They are necessary and serve and important function, and there are people who desperately need their services, but they’re dangerous all the same. Kind of like churches can be I guess.

  17. good points, Jean… why go sit waiting to be cured, if all you have are the office clerical (not as in clerics) staff singing “zippity do dah – my oh my what a wonderful day – plenty of sunshine headed your way – zippity do dah – zippity ay…” …?…

    always liked that little ditty, tho 🙂

  18. j2 j- another great church analogy …
    that reminds me that my children’s pediatrician had 2 waiting rooms…

  19. Praying for the peace of God to guard your heart as His Spirit ministers to your physical health.

  20. The cancer center my mom goes to every few months is one of the most sacred places I know.

  21. We’ll, dammit. 🙁
    And yes, I hear you.

  22. Thanks for all the kind words and good comments, folks.
    Much appreciated…

  23. Great post Micheal! I hope to find wellness too and healing from a church. Unfortunately most places you are expected to put on an air of perfection and “all is honkey-dorey” facial expression, and boy of boy if you are not well, then you have sin in your life, blah blah blah…you all have heard it before.

    Wife and I are going to try a new church this weekend. Pray for us!

    Thanks!

  24. Angel voice!

  25. If this were all true, if your questions were answered in the affirmative, pesky god haters like me would likely need something else to hate.

    I believe that to be a matter of fact.

  26. Reubin, why do you hate God?

  27. Reubin, God loves you

  28. God, hear our cries for mercy! Heal Michael of his illness. Jesus said You would , please be willing.

  29. So many are praying for you big brother. I hope that gives you peace and strength. We all love you. I’m glad you went to see a doctor! You have to take care of yourself.

  30. One feature of the hospital for sinners is that the staff there are also patients.

  31. some people do hate God and maybe we’ve all had our moments when we’ve felt He’d betrayed our Faith, but people who have a declared an on-going hatred of God haven’t really seen Him or, if i may say so, they must be nuts …(humans that is – the devil knows God well and i don’t know that the devil is nuts… something’s wrong with him, tho) – speaking as one who hated God until i encountered Him on that cross and realized that i was ignorant and stupid along with it… when someone dies for you they’ve given all they have for you and if you don’t know why they did so? … well either the one who did the dying or you, yourself, must be very deluded… IMHO
    p.s. you can’t create and hold together a universe if you are stupid, so guess which player is the one with the mental vacuum… not God

  32. “Haven’t really seen him… nuts… stupid… deluded…”

    Well, in light of this post, I rest my case.

  33. I especially like “mental vaccuum”

    That. Is. Priceless.

  34. Michael…great analogies as usual!

    Praying for your healing, your health, your well-being, and wisdom for the doctors.

  35. I truly struggle with the New Testament aspect of Jesus healing people back then, but not so many now, it seems, who honestly could use a healing.

    I wonder if there really are people with the gifts of healing today.
    1 Corinthians 12:9

    Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
    James 5:14

    I wonder if anyone is doing this these day?

    John Piper on healing:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lc_x_vXWVyk

  36. Surfer,

    Piper sounds very reasonable in that video. What do you think about what he says?

  37. People need to respectably take Reuben at his word when he says he hates God. If one is not a Christian then by default you not only hate God but are at war with him.
    Jews hate God, Muslims hate God, Hindus hate God, Buddhists hate God, Atheists hate God etc. And they have all declared war against him.

  38. Our church believes in healing. We have a parish nurse who gives us flu shots and dispenses wise & sound health advise and distributes a monthly newsletter.

    Our pastors and elders go out and visit the housebound – serving communion and they do carry a vile of oil for healing – my preference is Del Monte brand.

  39. Jean,

    Pipers logic does make natural sense.

  40. Reuben, i wasn’t picking on you, but you did get me thinking back on my own journey… i think you are processing still…
    i was speaking as one who has processed and come to a conclusion that surprised me (and dismayed my mother) – and i see that i can’t spell ‘vacuum’

    i pray someday that you will see the big picture thru the fog of this turbulent world and find how beautiful the grace and plan of God is…
    FWIW i, myself, think that this world is in process also

    nuts, stupid deluded? i was… well, i may still be nuts – dunno – probably

    perhaps, my one advantage is that my childhood taught me that people are all flawed – i was even told that i wasn’t welcome in church by some snooty little church girls 🙂 – so i never equated anybody’s walk or testimony with what the Faith is all about…

    don’t want to write a book here (heaven knows there are enough of them) – the folk i truly ache for are the intellectuals who are unable to accede the evidence before them pointing to any god and so never even search for, let alone find Him, … who and what He is

  41. I know a pastor who kept a small metal cylinder of olive oil in his pocket.

    He would put his hand in his pocket and touch the container and pray.

    He said that his prayers were that whom ever he was lead to pray for and anoint with the oil would be healed.

    Apparently it improved the experience of praying for the sick because people started getting healed.

    He called it “prepaying” in preparation for praying over others and anointing them with oil.

  42. I think Ruben lies about his attitude towards God.

    He would not come here if what he says about God were his reality.

    Why come here?

    Unless he cares about God?

  43. #38 – yes and no… FWIW and IMNSHO, creating religions such as you mention is an egotistic desire to have an explanation for life that pleases their own mortal desires … they ALL want a formula to better themselves first and their god must bow to that desire… they love themselves and their gods are just mirrors of their own affections … and delusions 🙂

    it’s been a long week and i’m probably not making cogent arguments – if i ever do so – dunno

    God keep all close and comforted

  44. Potatoehead,
    I don’t think Reuben is lying at all. He’s been around here for a very long time and has connections with many of us. No reason for him to lie.

  45. Thank you, London. Thank you, MLD.

    Potatoehead, I care a great deal about what god does to people, and more than that, what god’s people do to people, even, and especially within their own ranks.

    Your comment, not even addressed to me out of disrespect, smells quite a lot like the base problem. I don’t believe what you believe, so why are you tortured with my presence? It’s a dynamic that is so overpowering within Christianity, that it underscores one of the major problems I have, what god’s people do to their own people.

    Your religion has so fractured/fragmented itself… Lutherans can’t be bothered with Southern Baptists, and so on, the “church” has become a cool kids only club in which a person has numerous cool kids clubs to choose from. I am quite obviously aware of the fact that this is in part what makes the church a human battleground over a human hospital.

    My respect for Michael soars because his heart is for the people who have been left for dead by the church, because he openly acknowledges this prevailing behavior, and willingly attacks it. On this, we are like minded people.

    The reason the church is incapable of the list Michael gave is because it’s entirely too full of itself to be capable of true unfettered “healing”. I would use your quote about me as a prime example. You would rather not be bothered with the likes of me, so you shrug me off as a liar, following a post about a man who heals from a metal cylinder of oil and asks his god to select the special ones who get that healing.

    Just boil that for a while.

  46. Plus, I still like reading here, and enjoy the bantering. Lots of people here that I like. Dang, I was an author here once… that has to count for some sentimental value?

    😉

  47. Reubin i still like you

  48. Still praying for you Michael!

  49. Reuben,
    I always enjoyed reading your series on the 39 Articles. And like you, I left that other blog….. it is now the blog of which we do not speak…. 😉

    blessings………..

  50. Prayed fro you and your wife Dan, hope this new church went well

  51. Haha, Mike, “the blog of which we do not speak”

    I understand that to the blog owners church, I am the former youth pastor “of which we do not speak”. I went to the website to find a particular sermon of mine. It was deleted, along with all the rest of them. I thought for a second about getting the original sent to me, but I realized he likely destroyed that to.

    There is nothing quite like the glow of burning bridges… reminds us of where we have been.

  52. “There is nothing quite like the glow of burning bridges… reminds us of where we have been”

    Yes. It is never extinguished, and beckons you in the night watches…

  53. Reuben,
    “Lutherans can’t be bothered with Southern Baptists, ”

    We are bothered by them all the time. 😉

  54. Praying for
    Mk
    Nene
    Paige’s boys
    Michael
    Erunner, his wife and mom
    Linnea and her sister
    London’s mom
    Dan
    Captain kevin

    Lord show Your mercy i beg

  55. dusty…thank you so much for your continued prayers.

    Reuben, your experience and opinion counts. My teachings, too, were deleted. Perhaps I’m an optimist, but deep in my soul I know God has a heart for the heartbroken. His timing may not be ours, but I know He loves you and me. Your work for the kingdom has not gone unnoticed. I’m so glad you fellowship here.

    I have this quote from a Bangladeshi silk tapestry from The Widow’s Friend ministry…not sure who to attribute it to, but when life gets dark, I often read it:

    My life is but a weaving between my God and me.
    I do not choose the colors. He worketh steadily.
    Oftimes He weavith sorrow, and I in foolish pride
    forget He sees the upper, and I the underside.

    Not till the loom is silent and shuttles cease to fly
    Will God unroll the tapestry and show the reason why.
    The dark threads are as needful in the skillful weaver’s hand,
    as the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.

    Much love to you, Reuben…

  56. I’m out for an extended time…got hit with the worst bug I’ve had in years.
    Wiped me out.
    I’m not very functional.
    I have one thing to say, two things to say about Reuben.
    He’s not a liar and I love him like a son.
    I don’t really care what anyone else thinks.
    I’m going back to bed if I can get there…

  57. Sleep well, friend.

  58. I don’t think Ruben hates God.

    I hate sushi, so I don’t visit sushi restaurants.

    Ruben visits here…my concluding.

    But I could be wrong.

  59. Michael…praying for your quick recovery…

  60. Angel voice I’m glad to see you!

  61. ((((Hugs))))for Linnea

  62. well, there is much to hate in this world, isn’t there? as i’ve said so often, i couldn’t believe in God, if i didn’t believe in the devil…
    we are in the midst of a rather large cosmic drama down here on this planet (not sure planet earth is “down”… maybe just over or just…. here) and, while sci fi bores me… i think we’re going to feel a little presumptuous and puny when we see what all this has been about … human eye has not seen, human ears have not heard and neither has it entered into the hearts of men what’s really going on … the only beauty that i have found in this world always is rooted in the Creator – the creator of us as well and i, therefore, think that we were inserted into this scene for a reason that is so big it drives me to my knees thinking on it
    i pray for a God blessed, faith growing year for all

  63. Thank you Dusty for all your prayers for this PP community. You are precious.

    Michael – another well written article. Just lifted you in prayer for your flu bug to quickly go away my friend. And for healing with your current health situation.

  64. Michael, I’m just getting over the bug of you which you speak of. It came in 2 waves. The second wave has taken me 5 days to even begin to start feeling better. It is rampant here in Oregon.

    Sleep, sleep and more sleep.

  65. In agreement to London’s #21.

    I think doctors and nurses are the hands and feet of Christ. Those truly called into these roles – their compassion for the sick and desire to help those who are sick get well is truly amazing and greatly appreciated.

  66. dusty at 62…{{{{hugs}}}} back to you, dear dusty!

  67. mk… can i pass your #66 on to my nurse daughter? she came home from a late shift the other nite (wiped out as always): she’d finished her shift, left her patient for the nite, and was headed out of the bldg. when something came over the P.A. that prompted her to turn around and check on the patient she’d been treating… he wasn’t going to make it and when she walked into the room the man’s daughter said to him, “Daddy, it’s alright now, L**** is here…”
    my daughter said that exclamation really rocked her – for so many reasons and, of course, it wasn’t “alright,” but the man went peacefully and his daughter was comforted…
    any of us who have been thru such a drama know that a good nurse is just what mk observed… and yet they can’t save or forgive sins…
    thank God for all the compassionate people – some of them visit the PhxP

  68. I don’t hate Reuben – I feel very sorry for him.

    “Let God arise,
    Let His enemies be scattered;
    Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.” – Psalm 68:1

  69. Mrs odm, not the way to win reubin back!

  70. I flee before no god, Jackie.

    The gods have no power, no authority, except what you give them. I will tell you this, your god is not the god of Michael, or the people here. Christian and anti-christ alike know this to be true. You kick against things you think you have authority over, because you imagine that your god resides in your aggression.

    You, Jackie, have torn down more of your own people than anyone who has ever dared utter a word here, and you do the work of your enemy better than your so called enemy could do on it’s own. You have done it since before I was capable of understanding what kind of vile creature you were, and you will continue to do so, as you continue to be so. Some of these people call me a liar, but you, you call me the enemy, and you are correct. I am not the enemy of these people here. You are.

    You disgust me. You are the arbiter of hate amongst your own kind, a people who can’t bring themselves to even consider you one of their own. You speak the written words, you claim to have obtained them, yet you know less of the utterances of lunacy than I. You are the lumberjack that swings the sledge against the wedge. Your life’s legacy is division. You take pride in it. You actually bask in your own glory, defining your own god amongst a sea of gods. Your definition is defense of a dead god that nobody knows. You have not been relevant since 1986 to anyone but sellers of gods, and you can only try to regain your brief value by condemning anyone who is not befitting your limited and vengeful god. Your unlettered lunacy has gone on too long without being called out for what it is: selling pencils from a cup.

    Jackie, in the name of Jesus, get thee lost.

  71. Don’t put His name on your hate-filled lips. Your argument is with Him, Whom I quoted, not with me. It’s Him you hate and I know why.

    “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.” – 1 John 3:18-20

  72. hate is most certainly the most misused emotion on the planet … love comes in a close second – IMNSHO

    both pride and shame can be very delusional … our emotions are eruptions of the contents of our souls … so?
    so most are better kept between us and God for the most part …

    just sayin ( to coin a phrase from a wise soul here)

  73. Michael, very, very sorry to hear that you are ill. Glad to see that God has given you some great prayer warriors, though. I know I am a relative newcomer here, but I humbly offer my prayers on your behalf, too. I hope to be in a position to check postings more so I can see how you are doing. In the meantime, may God’s mercies be upon us all as we start this New Year and upon you in particular as you convalesce.

  74. John 20:29 – Of course! Thanks for sharing @ #68 – I can understand and relate to the daughter in the story of being comforted when your own daughter walked back into the room. Nurses become like family to families in crisis. I remember a week and a half ago walking out of my own mom’s hospital room and couldn’t hold my tears back. A young nurse who couldn’t have been more then 27 saw me and said, “Whoa – what’s happening here?”. I began to crack with emotion and she wrapped her arms around me for what seemed like a minute and simply hugged me. That’s all I needed – a hug. She met me where I was and what struck me was it didn’t seem awkward for her. I’ll never forget her act of kindness.

  75. Reuben presents us with a scriptural point to deal with. What do WE do with Reuben? Jesus somewhere in the Gospels tells us that someone rejects our witness to him about Jesus, we are to shake the dust off our feet and leave and move on to the next person (town).

    Is this not our situation right now with Reuben? (I say this for Reuben’s sake and comfort here) Should we not listen to bth Reuben and Jesus?

  76. #76 – good point… what’s going on inside Reuben right now is between him and the God he’s attempting to negate… best to just pray perhaps?

  77. Em, the command is to shake the dust off – not to pray for them. Their time has come and gone.

  78. I agree with Luther’s boy — stop coddling this enemy of the cross of Christ. If Reuben spoke of someone you loved, like your dear old Mom, the way he speaks of the One we say we love, the LORD Jesus Christ, you coddlers would not smile back at the jerk. If he can’t insult your mom, why can he piss on your God?

  79. Well my motivation was a little different. My scriptural admonition was directed at the believer for their benefit. Not directed at Reuben for his scorn.
    But in the end it is the same.

  80. well, MLD, i don’t think that is exactly how the command is focused… if you bring the gospel to someone and they reject it… that is then their problem, wipe your beautiful feet and move on down the road…
    however, if someone is focused on voicing disrespect and derision (like Richard Dawkins was) … it’s pretty useless to feed their rant, but that doesn’t mean that one can’t pray for them to get straightened out (probably by God, Himself) IMHO
    “piss on your God?” i’d probably call him a fool or tell him the Bible does… however, i don’t think i am called to go one on one with a fool… and i don’t think i’m going to answer a fool who disses my mommy either – don’t take the bait
    and, for sure, my God handles His own vengeance … pray for the fools and the children

  81. Oh Jackie… 🙂

  82. Reubin, I’m sorry you were hurt so badly. I will keep you in my prayers

  83. I join Dusty in prayer.

  84. I do get curious – what is the prayer for Reuben?
    Our part is to shake the dust off our feet. Now scripture also says that if Reuben is a lost sheep, then Jesus will go find him and bring him back into the fold. Is the prayer to remind Jesus to do his job?

    Or perhaps when we pray, we all become Calvinists and tell God to grab Reuben by the back of his neck and change him against his will.

    So, what is the prayer? (please note that this is not about Reuben, it is about us. I find this a fascinating theological question up for discussion.

  85. Maybe I’m not recalling all the passages, but isn’t the “shake the dust off your feet” language in regards to towns or villages, and not individuals?

  86. Reuben, forgive us for making you a fascinating theoretical theological study for our own edification 🙂

    MLD, do you pray to God for the purpose of “reminding” Him to do His job or to “tell” God what to do? … hmmm – i recognize that is a hurdle to overcome for almost all of us …
    usually when i’m praying these days i find that i’m reminding myself of what i know of God and what He’s told me to do… part of which is to pray for folk and, if i’m not smart enough to know what to pray for (9 times out of 10 that’s the case), then i simply lift them up to the Throne and, somewhat like Xenia’s “Lord have mercy,” i just name them before Him and pray for grace and mercy, but above all, that God’s holy will will be done…

    just sayin …

    pray for Michael, BTW – he’s in no shape to deal with the flu, i don’t think

  87. Jean, I tied the 2 together in my first comment about this.
    Hey a town cannot reject Jesus – only the individuals who make up the town.

  88. Good grief, just pray for our old friend Reuben if you feel so inclined.

  89. Sometimes the need to analyze everything to death around here is insufferable.

  90. My friend the nurse told me I had to sit up.
    Before I lay back down I fully affirm Xenia at 89-90.

    Fully.

    I’ll try to stay upright longer tomorrow.

  91. 89-90

    I agree.

    What a bunch of idiots.

  92. you know, i don’t know a thing about Reuben, except Michael says he’s his friend and a good guy…

    but please, before you call us all idiots per this thread, remember that, with the exception of one intense lady, this discussion became theoretical and not focused on the man whose comments started everyone thinking about what God requires of us…
    anytime, folks explore the mind and will of God with reverence for the truth they are not idiots… these are real applications – not of the angels dancing on the head of the pin sort…

    in my humble opinion? of course

  93. Xenia – good grief back at ya. 😉
    So I asked back in my #85 – what is this prayer supposed to be? Are we sure God wants someone prayed for who has been publicly cursing him?

    Perhaps my prayer should be that God take this person (I am trying to keep from personalizing Reuben in this discussion) – but God take this person before they can do more damage to their eternal soul here on earth – or better, God take this person before they can do more eternal damage to others.

    I am fully prepared to listen to alternative prayers.

  94. How about these verses with respect to the discussion?

    1 Thessalonians 5:

    12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle,[c] encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

    23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.

    25 Brothers, pray for us.

    I think prayer is always the answer.

  95. Anon, name calling will do no good! And is not nice!

  96. Rick from Texas and i had alredy staŕed praying, then john20,29 joined in before xenia suggestions and michaels agreement. Then linnea aaid prayer is always the answer! Point is all roads led to prayer!

    So stop the name callimg!

  97. Reubin, still praying for you today friend

  98. still praying for you big brother, get well soon. love ya

  99. got the new prayer list up on the prayer thread, forgive me if I have forgotten a few requests, I was sick all weekend and was not able to keep up as I should have.

  100. “25 Brothers, pray for us.”
    Is Reuben a brother? (in the sense Paul uses here?) – it sounds like this is a prayer to be prayed for the faithful workers in God’s kingdom.

    Paul had a word on this – and I do not see Paul calling for repentance and / or prayer – “Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. 1 Tim 4″14-15

    I hate to keep pushing, but if a Muslim or Jew came to me today telling me of their prayers that I become a Muslim or Jew, I would be offended.

  101. “I hate to keep pushing, but if a Muslim or Jew came to me today telling me of their prayers that I become a Muslim or Jew, I would be offended.”

    This is why I don’t hyperventilate at department stores which during the holidays wish people “happy holidays”. Why would I wish a Muslim, Jew or atheist a “Merry Christmas”?

  102. I don’t care about holiday greetings. I don’t even care if a person says thank you. All I ever want a cashier to say to me is “Mr MLD, you saved $100.”

  103. “, you saved $100.”

    haha I get that one all the time at Kohl’s . 😉

  104. prayer… if you’re not sure, then pray… if you’re sure, pray… if, and this can happen if you’re being honest and tracking with God the Holy Spirit, you feel deep inside that this is not to be covered with prayer, don’t pray – doesn’t happen often, tho

    headed over to read and pray with dusty on the other thread

    God keep

  105. post script before leaving this topic…
    i once had three women set themselves against me with a vengeance – did a lot of damage with false gossip and i did not pray for them (wasn’t sure what was going on to be truthful)…
    within three years one died of a heart attack, one was diagnosed and died of cancer and the third, the queen bee, her husband left her for another woman… i knew these women were hostile and i set my mind against them per MLD’s post up there – i didn’t pray for them…
    now i wish i had and i do pray for their children – all grown now
    should i have prayed for these three back then? dunno – truly don’t – never resolved the question

  106. Upon reading Reuben’s comments here on the PhxP, a Christian’s first instinct should be to say to God “Lord, have mercy on his soul.”

    What is prayer…. conversation with God, is it not? It is also more than that, but at its most simplistic, it’s talking with our Father in heaven. I can say anything I want to Him, can I not? If I want to ask Him to have mercy on the soul of someone who was (and still may be, before all is said and done) a brother in Christ, must I search the scriptures to find a verse that forbades this conversation with my Father or find a scripture that gives me the green light? What is prayer?

  107. I was so hoping that this conversation would be over…
    When you know what Reuben witnessed and experienced in the “house of God” his current attitude is no surprise.
    But, rather than go after those who perpetrated this soul assault, we will pillory the victims before damning them to hell.

    Is it so complicated to simply be someone’s friend?

  108. I am

  109. Amen, Michael, #108. There are reasons why I wrote some of the things I wrote in earlier posts. I did not share the worst of it and probably never will. I may not even persist here much longer. I just want the abuse to stop and I proffered the only way I could see it happening. It might have been misunderstood to mean a sort of anarchy or annihilation of a certain system of churches. However, it was not. It was a cry for a new beginning. A way to start over sans all the sickness and blight. All I can say is that I am fortunate to exist and grateful to a patient God. I cannot imagine dissecting those that are struggling like Reuben. May God in His mercy restore him and may God give you a touch today, too, Michael.

  110. sorry must have posted the new prayer list to the wrong thread….let me look for it

  111. JM,

    I’ve been able to read very little over the last few days, but I know we already appreciate your contributions here.
    Your #110 has been the cry of thousands here over the years…well said, and thank you.

  112. Michael,
    “Is it so complicated to simply be someone’s friend?”
    This is why I moved the conversation to a theoretical “Reuben” – when is someone (the theoretical Reuben and perhaps not the real Reuben) when he is outside of our prayers and is turned over to God.

    I said early on, if theoretical Reuben is actually a child of God and not a child of the devil, then Jesus will rescue him as we see in the parable of the loat sheep.

    I wonder what the Apostle Paul’s response would be if he received a return letter from Timothy about Alexander the Coppersmith, saying – Paul, although you have turned Alex over to God for judgment, and you have warned us to stay away, we have set up prayer circles throughout our church praying that you and Alexander would reconcile.”

  113. And one last thing – and Reuben, the real Reuben can correct me if I am wrong – I do not see Reuben ‘struggling’ with this issue at all. He sounds to me like someone who has thought this through all the way and has made is decision. Most here don’t even listen to him – he is not an atheist – he is an anti theist.

    After all these years, I respect his choice.

    (this is no different than if he went off and now claimed to be a Muslim – am I going to argue with him and say “no you’re not!” ?

  114. long, long years ago i had a friend who left the Protestant arm of the Christian faith and turned to Mormonism… her reasoning was that her Mormon acquaintances were much nicer people than the Christians she knew… i told her that she had focused on the wrong thing…
    to tell the truth i have found so many really ugly posers in churches that i understand why so many stay outside the walls… (could be the result of “seeker friendly” non discerning leadership – dunno), but, as MLD points out, if you’re an honest soul seeking God, He’ll rescue you no matter where that local congregation has driven you… look for Him and ignore the masses

  115. Michael mentioned the “house of God,” a common reference to be sure, but perhaps we need to remind ourselves that God doesn’t dwell in a stick built building anymore…
    there are people i’ve known in whom God dwells so simply and so richly that just being their friend is to know in whom and where God dwells…
    i need to remind myself of this and the wheat and tares parable also… some fields are so full of weeds that we miss the wheat, i guess… dunno

  116. “but, as MLD points out, if you’re an honest soul seeking God, He’ll rescue you no matter where that local congregation has driven you… look for Him and ignore the masses”

    Well this is not what I said – in fact it may be the opposite as it assumes Reuben (real or theoretical) is seeking God – I say he is not.. In the parable of the lost sheep – the sheep was not seeking after the shepherd – in fact he had only his own interests at heart – that is why he wandered off. But because he belonged to the shepherd, the shepherd went after him.

    I do not need to pray that Jesus remember his role as shepherd.

    Mentioning the weeds also plays into this. Jesus was not concerned at all that the weeds “get saved” or turned into wheat. Jesus’ only concern was that there was no damage done to the wheat by the weeds being uprooted. Jesus didn’t care that the weeds would be burned up.

  117. Thank you, Michael, #112. That was encouraging and appreciated.

  118. MLD, I could not be more pleased with the direction you took this. You have drug up some pretty important soteriology, and it forces people to examine/understand god according to his own character. Let this line of reasoning play out, and you have a different looking god than what vast portions of the church choose to believe.

    Yes, I do believe your god willingly and purposefully directs Christians to simply run over the people that serve no purpose, leave people for dead, exile the ones who question, shun, shame, and run people through with spiritual swords, shake off the dust as it were, move on like nothing happened, and I have thought this stuff through quite a bit.

    You know I believe abuse in the church comes from the same abuse the master exemplified, and the church is just replicating what they saw… what else is there to do?

    The cool thing is, I did not have to explain it for it to simply flesh out on its own.

    From out here, the weeds in your churches are a different people than what you seem to define them to be, and I am basing that observation on common sense, not spiritual law. I am of no consequence to you, the sun comes up tomorrow regardless of my spiritual state, but people like Jackie Alnor are of consequence, and you have to figure out what to do with people like that. They are the ones who rip your churches apart. The self professed watchdogs, narrowing the path as every day passes, asuming the authority of god to do it, driving people to fear rather than freedom. The pastors who have no authority but the abusive god father they claim they directly answer to. The elders and leadership boards who are actual biblical illiterates running churches like shooting from the hip, like businesses, like sociopathic lunatics with god on their side, providing protection from the pew pigeons who have no power at all. The other elders and leadership boards who are built entirely of like-minded pastors, covering entire regions of churches under what amounts to inbred theology.

    It’s why I left that scene and turned to Anglicanism. Guess what? Church built on the family values of Henry the 8th has weeds too, and again from out here, I define weeds entirely different.

    But through it all, you have to examine what your god has turned you into, and your speculations on this matter, here in this thread, it reveals volumes. You did the right thing, you proposed the right questions, you opened up the mind of god just a bit more, and hopefully, people read and ponder, and ask god to reconcile those things.

  119. “You know I believe abuse in the church comes from the same abuse the master exemplified, and the church is just replicating what they saw… what else is there to do?”

    Wow, that’s a pretty serious accusation being leveled at the Lord Jesus Christ.

  120. Reuben,
    I doubt that I can associate with anything you listed above, but I w3anted the people here to understand that you are where you are because of what you think and have experienced. I just don’t want anyone to believe that you struggle with your ‘beliefs’ and that a little prayer or kind words on their part will sway you back into the fold.

    I know you are consistent in what you say and I take you at your word that you hate my God — and it doesn’t bother me … which is a good thing. 😉

  121. Scooter,
    “Wow, that’s a pretty serious accusation being leveled at the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    This accusation by Reuben is no different (other than he doesn’t mind saying it out loud) than what is said / thought be any unbeliever in Jesus Christ. That nice little Jewish lady down the street from you, this is exactly what she thinks – just won’t say it out loud. The Dali Lama, the great man of peace and love – these are his exact thought of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of them, if they are not a Christian, think this.

  122. I’ve been hurt and abused by leaders in the church, especially in my early years in the church. However, it never dawned on me, nor did I ever associate the abuse as having originated from Jesus’ example.

    The testimony of Christ as demonstrated in the gospels, is the antithesis of what Reuben has described. At least in my mind and experience.

  123. Scooter – I think Reuben is playing the angry God of the OT card. Jesus is God so Jesus is the angry God of the OT.

  124. MLD @ 121 “that a little prayer or kind words on their part will sway you back into the fold.”

    MLD, You have a pretty limited view of what prayer and God can accomplish. You pick and choose your verses and what you want to believe.

  125. Linnea – is it your belief that God saves someone because I pray? Would you also hold that God does not save if I do not pray?

    If my “kind words” would sway a person into the faith, they are there for the wrong reason and will not stay long.

    This is all between Reuben and God … leave me out of it.

  126. My prayers do not work very well anyway. I prayed that Mark Zuckerberg would no longer be an atheist and become a Christian. The best I got was that he became a Bu-jew.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4077102/Mark-Zuckerberg-says-NOT-atheist-believes-religion-important.html

    He was better off as an atheist.

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