Saturday, October 29, 2016

Is God Mad at Us

A Video Version

I want to tell you a true story:

One day I had a conversation with my friend Linda.  I asked what her God concept was and she began a litany of the typical phrases one might expect to hear.  “Oh, He’s kind and loving and forgiving,” and on and on.

I stopped her at one point and said, “That is all well and good, but what do you really think about God?

She thought for a moment and said …

“I think God is mad at me.”

I asked and she continued.

“Once, when Jen (her only child) was five, I was boiling some water on the stove.  She went over to the pot when I wasn’t looking, reached for it and poured the water on her head.  God must hate me to let something like that happen.”

How was I to respond to that?  Of course, Linda could have been more alert; she could have turned the handle toward the back of the stove, but she didn’t.  The curiosity of her five-year-old ruled the day and this horrible incident happened.  Linda’s daughter survived this incident and is now a grown woman. 

I suppose I could think God hates me because I gain ten pounds after eating a box of Snickers candy bars.  I could – but really …

Sometimes, if we get too close to the flame we get burned.  But God doesn’t push us into the flame you see.

I think the finest example of how God views us is told in the parable of the prodigal son.  The key word here is “parable”, for this is an illustrative story told by Jesus to demonstrate how much God loves us.

In my understanding of this story, the son was restored to his rightful place as a SON, not as a slave or servant.  He expected to have to live with the pigs.  He was invited back into the palace.

What he got was restoration.  He was given the best robe, a special ring, new sandals, and a banquet with the best food, the best drink and great merriment.  Read the full story in  Luke 15:11-23.

The words the son heard were the same words God offers to each of us.

Welcome home my son, my daughter.  Come on up to the big house where you belong.  The covers are turned down, a warm bath is waiting for you, and there is plenty of food on the table. 

That sounds like an accepting God to me.  He’s not mad at all.  He’s offering love, and a place at the table. 

We are often compared to sheep in the scriptures.  Sheep are not the brightest animals alive.  I saw this for myself once.  A stick was placed in front of the lead sheep and she jumped over it as did the next five sheep.  I removed the stick and the rest of the flock jumped at exactly the same spot, even though the stick was no longer there.

And yet God loves us.  Psalm 23  is a great example of God’s thoughts toward us in comparison to sheep. 

Hold these thoughts 
close to your hear
~God IS Love.
~God IS Grace.
~God IS Forgiveness.

Is God mad at us?

Not even a little bit!

That is one of the most encouraging thoughts one could hear.

  We are loved.
      We are accepted.
          We are cherished.



 God the Father is very fond of you and me. (Brennan Manning)


Thanks be to God.

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Even in Down Times, It Is Well

A Video Version


I have good news today – encouraging news actually.  Lace up your shoes and hang on.

When the seas are shaken and stirred … It is well.

When my eyes can’t see the next step … It is well.

When the mountain of problems and troubles obstruct your view of the promises of God … It is well.

When political parties rail against one another and you don’t know in whom to trust … It is well, for God IS in control.

In good times and bad, in happiness and heartache, God’s presence abides.  He is near, He sustains and He comforts.

The great Bible verse in Hebrews 13:5 says it this way:

“I will never leave you 
nor forsake you.”

In Psalm 146:1 we are reminded: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble.”

Here is my strategy for such a time as this …

Through it all my eyes are on HIM (God)
Through it all – It is well with my soul

Be encouraged by this great merging of a new melody and the old hymn.



Thanks be to God!

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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Why Should God Love You



Let’s talk about love and God and why we should or should not be loved.  I need to borrow some words from my mentor – Brennan Manning.  Though dead, he still speaks.  Instead of using the name “Brennan” in this text, you and I will insert our own name.  Here we go.

“Why are you loveable in the eyes of God? Is it because on such and such a date you made a life-altering decision to become a follower of Jesus Christ? 

~Does God love you because you go around the world proclaiming the good news of the gospel of grace?

~Does God love you because you give a portion of your income to the poor or to some other worthy cause?

~Does He love you because in your town you go down to skid row where the alcoholics and addicts, prostitutes and LGTB people hang out and you minister to them?

~Does God love you because you spend two hours every day in prayer? 

If you believe that stuff, then you are a hypocrite of hypocrites.  

Because of all these humanitarian and spiritual acts of kindness and compassion do you feel entitled to be comfortably close to Christ because of your good works?

No, my friend.  You and I are not entitled to any privilege nor should we gloat thinking we are especially close to Christ because of our good works.

The gospel of grace says this, “Man/woman, you’re loveable for one reason only – Because God loves you. Period.” 

We are loved!  Nothing else need be added. 
~Our money doesn’t earn us this love.
~Our societal status doesn’t earn us this love.
~Our good moral character doesn’t earn this.
~Our religion doesn’t earn us this love.

We are loved.

What a deal!

The children’s Sunday school song says it this way:  Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so 

In Romans 5:8 we read “And God shows us His love in that while we were still living in sin, Christ died for us.”

One more time:  The gospel of grace says this, “Man/woman, you are loveable for one reason only – Because God loves you."

Period.

Thanks be to God!


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