Category: God

A Rapist in Heaven

This is a shocking idea and one that will make you realize that God’s job is above your pay scale. I picked up the idea last week in a news comment online. If you ever want to read putrid hate from people, read the online comments to any news article.

Here is the scenario: 1) A man has given his life to Jesus and has followed the guidelines for eternal salvation. 2) Same man has sexual issues (you pick it – there are plenty). 3) Same man rapes a woman. 3) Woman has no relationship with God. Has never given her life to Jesus. She doesn’t forgive the man who raped her. Hates him for the rest of her life. 4) Both man and woman die on the same day and stand at judgment together. They recognize each other. Man asks for forgiveness for what he has done. Woman refuses to forgive and spats hatred at him for what he did.

God walks up to the judgment stand. 1) The man has clearly sinned but he has confessed and repented and has given his life to Jesus. 2) The woman has not confessed or repented to anything and has not given her life to Jesus. She clearly has not forgiven the man for what he did.

Looking at this scenario strictly from Biblical outlines, the man will walk into heaven and the woman will walk into hell. True or false? If you don’t like this scenario, pick another –  How about the guards in the concentration camps during WW2? How about the settlers and the Native Americans?

My pay scale of administering justice is very far from even imagining this. How about you?

Romans 14:10
You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.
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Church Hopper or Glued on Pew?

Let’s take a test. Are you a church hopper, glued on pew (will you die in the same church you were born in?), or do you make adjustments as God or your heart leads you?

Here’s a statistic: 13 percent have been attending their current congregation for less than a year. Another 16 percent have been at their current church for one to two years, 11 percent for three to four years, 18 percent for five to nine years, 16 percent for 10 to 19 years, and 26 percent for two decades or longer.

People who are 55 or older are particularly likely to be longtime participants in the same church, with a median length of attendance of 15 years.

Lutheran and Presbyterian denominations are particularly likely to have people attending the same church for years and years; the median length of attendance among Lutherans is 12.5 years, while it is 10.6 years for Presbyterian congregations. Nondenominational churches (median of 3.9 years) and Pentecostal/charismatic denominations (median of 5.0 years) are among those with the shortest time of attendance.

https://baptistcourier.com/2007/02/church-loyalty-reflects-length-of-membership/

The definition of a church-hopper in Urban Dictionary is:  A church-hopper is an attendant of different churches who avoids church accountability groups because of rejectionembarrassment, hostility, and control.

I don’t know if that is totally true. I know people who hop just because they get bored. I do know that most of them say “God led us to another congregation”.  I don’t know why God leads some people to different congregations but I guess it’s possible.

On the other hand, I know people who were born at a church, baptized in the same church, married in the same church and they will die in the same church. Not saying there is anything wrong with that, it just makes me scratch my head at times.  If they are happy and God doesn’t lead them away then I guess they should stay.

Most of us are in the middle. We change churches when we move or get married, change in life – (for example we have children and we want a church that has better children’s ministry), our worship style changes, our church’s worship style changes, leadership changes, etc.

I don’t know if there are any right and wrong answers. I’m just curious. How many times have you changed churches? Looking back, were those changes positive or negative? Would you do them again? Were they for good reasons or bad reasons? Did you change because you were hurt? – oh! there’s a touchy one! I bet you’re angry now! It’s ok. You can vent.

Here’s a bigger question. WWJD. Would Jesus hop churches or stay in one place his whole life? Would he attend yours? Would you leave if he did? Would your elders accept him? Would he accept your elders? Would he be allowed to preach on a Sunday morning? Would he dress right? C’mon. Think about it.

Matthew 21:12
Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

 

Mocking My Faith

The latest attack on Christians (from the media and Hollywood) is Jim Carrey posting an unattractive portrait of Sarah Huckabee Sanders with a tagline “This is the portrait of a so-called Christian whose only purpose in life is to lie for the wicked. Monstrous!” There have been a lot of comments on this from both sides of the aisle so I’ll add my two cents.

I know that Christians will be persecuted and mocked. No argument there. It says it in the Bible. None of us signed up to follow Jesus in order to make friends with the world.  I am not offended that believers are mocked or misunderstood. But, our society has moved into this inclusive, love and accept everybody, don’t bully mentality. Everyone is going out of their way to accept everybody and there is no tolerance for exclusion…unless you’re a Christian.  If you claim to follow Jesus, you still have a target on your forehead. Mike Pence – he is crazy according to The View. Sarah Huckabee is Monstrous. Christians in the media have always been portrayed as hicks, stupid, and ignorant people. What did Barack Obama say? We cling to our Bibles and guns?

Laugh all you want. Take away my business. Close down my free speech. Throw me in jail.

Just remember that you are not being inclusive when you remove a board member for their beliefs – even when you disagree. You are not accepting when you only accept your side. You are not loving everyone when you alienate one group. You are narrowing down the playing field and you are bullying. You are discriminating and it hurts.

It’s a joke you say. It’s funny. It’s comedy. Look at the rules. It’s not funny anymore. I love a good comedy but not when it’s cloaked in hatred.

Matthew 24:9
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
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Healing

I am working on my novel titled ‘Healing’. The character is faced with the challenge of praying for an amputee to be healed and for his leg to be restored. Just writing the text challenges me. I find it difficult to even write the chapter – in fiction. Why? Do I not have the faith that God can restore a lost limb? I believe in resurrection of the dead. Why do I struggle to believe that a lost limb can grow back? Is it that it is too freakish to imagine?

Consider where you limit God. Can He heal? Can He restore? What part of your life do you lack in faith for God to restore? Lay it out before Him. Remember that little mustard seed.

Matthew 17:20  He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Don’t Believe the lies

It’s a brand new year…again.  Time to set goals and to reflect on the past year.  My encouragement for this year is “Don’t believe the lies”.  We all battle the attacks of the enemy in some way.  For some we may be too fat.  For some we may be too old (or too young).  For others we may be worthless or without talent.  I’ve said it before that I battle with “Failure”.   Here’s my example today:

I’ve been playing the stupid (I call it stupid because it is very addicting!) game of ‘2 Dots’ on my phone.  I hit a level that I couldn’t pass.  Immediately I began to believe that I wasn’t good at the game and that I was a failure because I couldn’t pass one level.  God pointed out to me (as a lesson) that I was battling over level 775.  “If you are not good at this game, how could you have won 774 games before this level?”  Good point I said.  “Remember when you got frustrated at level 50 and you quit and deleted the app only to download it again the next day start over?”  Yes I said and I now I’m at 776 because I finally won 775 as I began writing this.

How many times do we look at one failure and believe that our whole life is a failure?  How many times have you loved your children but you sulk when you lash out in frustration or weariness and believe that you are a bad parent?  How many times have you sinned and felt like God will never love you again?  How many times have you ended a project and say you will never try again?

Don’t believe the lies.  You are not called to failure and you are not called to quit.  If you do it wrong this time, throw it out and start over.  God doesn’t love you because you are successful.  He loves you because you are you.  Count the 775 things that you have done right and don’t worry about the one that has you frustrated at the moment.   You have way more successes than failures.  Remember that!

Luke 1:37
For no word from God will ever fail.
hannahpraise

Space

I was sitting at a diner counter eating breakfast.  A man sat at the far end of the counter and all the other stools were empty.  I was comfortably positioned with room on either side.  My cell phone was out and my Kindle was propped up.  And then it happened . . . a lady came and sat down on the stool right next to me!  With all the other empty stools, she sat right next to me!  She invaded my space!  She spread out a newspaper to read and fidgeted around cleaning her silverware and making little noises.  I wanted to say “do you mind moving over?  Your’re in my  space!”.  I also thought about moving but I was all set up.  The whole experience made me eat faster and quickly leave.

Space is a funny thing – if the counter is full and I need to sit between two strangers I don’t mind.  But if someone comes and sits too close when there is room, it is uncomfortable.

Elevators are the same way.  Seats on a bus or plane.  There are appropriate and inappropriate space rules.

How close are you to God?  It may seem like a funny question because we are supposed to be as close to God as we can get.  But are we trying to get so close that we bother Him?   Are we trying to be so much like Him that we think we are on the same level?  Are we pressing so close that we cannot bow down before Him?

Come close to God and rejoice in His presence but don’t forget to bow and remember who you are approaching.

Exodus 3:5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

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Dog Haters

I can classify people into two groups – one group can’t pass by a dog without petting it and talking to it; the other group can pass by a dog and not even acknowledge it being there.  Dog lovers and dog haters.  I’m sure that some fit in the middle but if you watch people walking in a neighborhood or park, I bet you will find them closer to the simple two groups.

Where do dog haters come from?  Some had bad experiences as children – maybe they got bit; maybe they were raised to not appreciate dogs; they never had one; they’re allergic;  they’re clean freaks; maybe they are just too busy to appreciate furry friends.

Some are a mystery.  My parents were both dog lovers and we always had a dog.  My oldest sister and me are extreme dog lovers.  My middle sister is a dog hater.  How did this happen?  She didn’t have a bad experience with a dog?  She should have had a biological temperament to loving dogs.  How did she turn out so different?

Most people learn to love dogs as children but some don’t until they are adults.  Some people aren’t exposed to dogs until they are adults so they don’t know the benefits.  Some grow up loving dogs as children but tire of them and only see their faults.  Some can’t be bothered by them as adults.  “They are too much work” they say.  Bad experiences can happen at any age and make a person afraid of all dogs.

Dog lovers – there are some who can’t have enough and some who tolerate.  Some will pet a neighbor’s dog but will never have the “challenge” in their own home.  Some will go overboard and have several dogs in the same house.

Are you a dog lover or dog hater?

Funny thing about the word “dog”.  If you turn it around, you get “God”.  What’s even funnier is that many of the same reactions to dogs applies to how people fit with God.  It seems that a person either “loves God” or they don’t.  Some will grow up in homes that love God but somehow they fall out of step and go another direction.  For some, there is an obvious reason – a hurt or a bad experience that turns them.  Others aren’t exposed to God as children.  Some may not find God until their adult years.  Some will grow up loving God but then get tired of the work involved or the mess that goes with being a follower.

Where do you fit in – are you a God lover or God hater?  There really isn’t room in the middle.

Revelation 3:15 (NIV)

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

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Hearing the Lyrics

The 1960’s and 70’s were an interesting time for music.  Rock music hit the airways and played on transistor radios and vinyl.  It was often hard to understand the words in songs and kids would gather and try to decipher what was really said.  Some albums came with lyrics written on the cover but most of the time we were stuck trying to figure it out.  Listeners called radio stations to ask for help.   We held cassette recorders in front of the radio to “record” the music so that we could listen over and over again.  Parents decried this music and said “how can you understand what they are saying?”

Jump ahead 50 years and lyrics are only a button away on the internet.  Spotify even plays the lyrics along with the music.  There is no point in guessing.  Just look it up.

Are you hearing God in 60’s style – poor reception, unclear words, cassette reproduction, meeting with friends to understand?  Are you guessing at what God is saying or do you have a better system to hear and translate?

We shouldn’t need to live in confusion.  We should be able to hear and understand.  The lyrics are available to read.

Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light;
    it gives understanding to the simple.

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Angry with God

There have been many times in my life that I was angry with God.  It’s not really smart getting into a fight with God . . .it is always a losing battle.

Sometimes we are angry at something He did or didn’t do.  Other times we are just angry at life (or ourselves) and we take it out on Him.   The longest stretch that I remember being mad at God was three months.  I don’t remember what it was about but I remember not talking to Him.  I’m sure He was really disappointed. . . maybe He was glad to not hear me complain for awhile!

I always end up apologizing later when I get over my tantrum.   God has big shoulders.  I imagine Him being happier that I am close enough to Him to get angry then not having any relationship at all.  How many of His children just don’t care and ignore Him?

Here is my suggestion: Tell God that you are angry.  Tell Him that you know it is not His fault but that you are angry anyway and apologize ahead of time.  He may send you to your room for a quiet time to calm down.  Maybe He will suggest a nap.  Maybe He will give you a snickers bar like in the commercial.  Walk it out.  Don’t walk away.  God used Jonah in his anger.  He can use you too.

Jonah 4:But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”

“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”

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Walking the Journey

I came across this verse totally by accident.  It spoke volumes to me.  We have all walked through valleys.  We have all struggled.  We have all faced a dark night.

Deuteronomy 2:7 The Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything.

Look at the promises:

The Lord has bless you in all the work of your hands.

He has watched over your journey.

Vast wilderness – He knows the wilderness you are in – you don’t need to point it out to Him!  He knows exactly where you are, where you have been and where you are going!  He knows your next challenge before you do.

God has always been with you.

You have not lacked anything.

The journey may not be easy but God is with us each step of the way!

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