Category Archives: Inspiration
After 30 years or so in the ministry there are things you start to notice, things that stand out. There are patterns of thought and behavior that seem to be deeply woven into the fabric of Bible Belt mentality. One such pattern that runs very deep among born again believers is that one can never do enough to get,….or stay, in good standing with God. If you wonder why I say that, here’s why; I hear it all the time; “I don’t go to church enough”, “I don’t pray enough”, “I don’t read the Bible enough”, “I don’t have enough faith”, “I’m not a very good Christian”, I hope I”m going to heaven”. I just heard this from a man yesterday, “I think God has given up on me”. I refuted that lie as quick as I could!
It’s a prevalent attitude with many people always thinking they can never do enough, or be good enough to satisfy the Lord. It gives the feeling they’re trying to serve a God that’s unreasonably demanding and impossible to please. It’s like being on a treadmill of performance in an effort to earn their righteousness; A state, in fact, that many never seem to arrive at. This is a problem of the highest order, in my opinion, because it gives an incorrect image of ‘Who’ God actually is. It’s one of the greatest misportrayals the world has ever seen. There are many out there who’ll live their entire lives believing they were never quite acceptable or good enough to please God. And, what’s worse is that it leads one to believe that the Father’s love based entirely on our behavior.
Sad,…. Sad,…. Sad!
The danger of ‘never enough’ exists anytime a mixture of law and grace are preached. And, sadly enough…..that’s what happens most of the time in the Bible Belt. Paul spent the last half of his life contrasting law and grace. He knew them both well….in fact better than anyone on the planet in his generation. He was a staunch defender of grace even after it caused him to be beaten more than once and left for dead. It was controversial then….it’s controversial now…..but only to those who believe their behavior is what makes them righteous.
So, tell me, what’s on your list of things to do that make you righteous? And, while you’re at it explain to me where the line is of, enough….or not enough. Truth is, if you never read your Bible, if you never went to church your righteousness isn’t diminished one bit. I’m not advocating that….just pointing it out! You’re not righteous because of what you do…..you’re righteous because of what He did! The Father doesn’t love you because you’re good…..He loves you because He’s good!
THAT, in itself, makes me want to do good!
Good fathers would never keep their children in limbo over such important things! So, pack your bags, enjoy your relationship with the Father….. and get out of the land of never enough!
Check out the Audio Version:
Well, I bet that got your attention right off! Sure makes you wonder what’s coming next, huh?! Well, here it is. That’s a phrase that I hardly ever hear. I have, actually, heard it a time or two and it really opened the door to some very constructive conversation. But the real reason we hardly ever hear that complaint is that most people, no matter what their life experience has been, still have a fairly favorable opinion of God. Most people want to believe that He’s good.
God’s not the problem; not by a long shot. In fact, not only is He not the problem, ….He’s actually the solution! “The solution for what?” you might ask. Well, He’s the solution for every single thing we encounter in the course of our life. I think we can boil it down to this; Most people don’t dislike God….they do, however, have some serious issues with those of us who are trying to represent Him. In fact, the few that I’ve ran into down through the years that admit they really don’t like Him, when questioned, it becomes apparent that their opinion of Him came from someone that represented Him inaccurately. That’s a pretty serious offense if you ask me.
Most people that represent God are doing the best they can. More often than not it’s how they’ve been taught. But the fix for this is simple. If we’re going to be a spokesman for Him it oughta be mandatory that we spend a little time with Him, don’t you think?! It’s when we spend time with Him that we take on His characteristics. It’s when we interact with Him that we learn who He really is. Now, I don’t want to be a hard a$$ about it but if we’re not going to hang out with Him some….we really shouldn’t be representing Him to anybody else. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
He’s often portrayed to be mad, impatient, intolerable….and never fully satisfied with our behavior. I don’t get it! I’ve found Him to be the polar opposite of those! He’s been really good to me even when He hasn’t had a good reason to be. He’s been patient with me when I’m at my worst. And, in the midst of some of the dumbest seasons of my life….I’ve never found Him, even remotely, to not be extremely loving toward me. That’s just ‘Who’ I know….that’s Who He is!
So, if you don’t like God,….or you happen to run into someone who doesn’t, …..stop and think for a minute. The problem might just be that He’s been inaccurately represented!
Check these out:
You remember Ross Perot, don’t you? He’s that Texas billionaire who made two very respectable presidential runs in the 90’s. He first ran on the Independent Party ticket and the second time as a candidate on the Reform Party ticket. And, even though he didn’t win the election he garnered over nineteen million votes in the 1992 election which amounted to, just under nineteen percent of the popular vote. Not a bad showing for a guy with practically no political experience. Because of his common sense approach he drew supporters from the liberal, conservative and moderate crowd.
Perot was a very confident, ‘no nonsense’ kind of guy. He was a huge proponent of balancing the federal budget, against gun control, and a staunch opposer of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which he described by telling listeners to listen for a giant sucking sound because of all the jobs he said would go to Mexico if ratified. He often spoke out against the laziness and incompetence of the D.C. political ‘fat cats’. A quote from 1992: “This city has become a town filled with sound bites, shell games, handlers, media stuntmen who posture, create images, talk, shoot off Roman candles, but don’t ever accomplish anything. We need deeds, not words, in this city.” Sounds like he had a pretty good handle on it!! Makes you wonder if we’d elected him in the 90’s that maybe the ‘swamp’ might’ve already been drained! lol
If you were paying attention to his campaign you’ll remember that he had a, seemingly unlimited, number of flip charts detailing everything from the economy to immigration. He really had his act together. One of the sayings I remember Ross repeating fairly regular was, “Measure twice, cut once”. Good advice no matter what you’re doing. Gives the idea that one should, first calculate, think about it, calculate again…..then move with swift determination. In other words, make dang sure…..then do it!! I like that line of thinking even though I haven’t done too good in making a practice of it.
I thought about that today as I, for the second time in a week, hit the “Publish” button on my WordPress blog page…..by accident. (Grrrrr!) Yep, been doing this for going on three years now and only made the blunder twice. …..and did I say in one week?! I have no less than fifty blogs started. Some are nearly complete, some only have a line or two…and some just have a title. When I feel the urge to work on one of them I may finish it, or just write a paragraph or two and revisit it later.
The second,….and mistake blog, that published today was titled, “Let’s Put it in Perspective”. Had I published it later, which I intended to do, that wouldn’t have been the title. I work hard to find a ‘catchy’ title. That one wasn’t. It was just the title holding the spot until I arrived at ‘the one’ I liked better. I was 90% done with the blog but had to finish that last 10% in 2 minutes. I hate cuttin’ an important topic short!
I said all that to say, the message in the blog is a very important one. So important, in fact, that I was extremely frustrated when I accidentally published it. It’s one that I really believe you should read. One that I think’ll provoke some good thought and be helpful to anyone who takes the time to read it. If a lot of people don’t read it I may post it again under a different name. So, if you see it again….that’s why. …..or you could just read it again…..it wouldn’t hurt!
I’m really being careful not to hit the “Publish” button again by accident.
I’m takin’ Ross’s advice: “Measure twice, …and cut once”!
What is the meaning of life?
Why am I here?
Will my life and existence on the planet make any difference at all?
These are all good questions. I expect that if we’re being honest some form of these questions roll around in the minds of all of us from time to time. It’s probably a good thing. I think we should all give them a visit fairly often, actually. If your question is “Why”,…. well….for starters I’d just say that I’d hate for anyone to miss the real reason they’re on the planet. That seems pretty serious to me! I’m afraid a lot of people will…but I’ve been on a mission for years to not let anyone within my influence do so.
Let’s face it, the worst possible thing that could possibly happen to us in this life is to miss our appointment to salvation. You know, the Bible says, that God is not willing that any should perish. And the Father has His own unique ways that serve to draw us all to Him. But right on the heels of that….it seems obvious that the second worse thing that could happen to us is to miss our destiny, the reason and purpose we’re on the planet in the first place.
We must first consider, and then hopefully come to the obvious conclusion, that we are on the planet, first and foremost, for spiritual reasons. Whatever your spiritual, or religious, persuasion is it only makes sense to believe that God has a plan for your life (“I know the plans I have for you….; Jeremiah 29:11); because He does!
Doesn’t matter how far off the path you think you might be….getting back on can be instantaneous! All it takes is a little ‘want to’ on your part! If I were you I’d be asking the Lord, “What’s my life all about?”
He doesn’t keep those things secret from us!
Get ready ’cause His plans for you are incredible!
Good luck, and blessings, on the journey to fulfilling your destiny!
I hear people asking that question fairly often. It’s a pretty important one, I guess. But I don’t ever ask it myself. I don’t ask anyone that question for several reasons…the main reason being is that I think most people, when asked, would answer it wrong. Our religious culture causes us to place the emphasis squarely in the wrong place most of the time. Nearly always the thought process leads people to look at their own life and make some serious determinations. Most people would tell you that they don’t read the Bible enough. Most of them, if they were comfortable enough to be totally honest with us, would also tell us that they don’t pray nearly as much as they should. And, by that, it leads them to think that they’re not right with God or that God, somehow, is displeased with them. I think that’s tragic!
Of course we should read the Bible; it’s good for us……for a lot of reasons. And prayer, well prayer is extremely important…again for a lot of good reasons. And while they benefit us in countless ways doing them doesn’t push our righteousness up the thermometer even one little tick.
But the question of , “Are you right with God?” must really be looked at from His perspective (as best we can with our little finite minds). You see, God is a Father….and that changes everything! Now, I’m not saying I have the total perspective of God. That’d be stretching it a bit! lol ….But I am a father,…been one for 39 years now. And I’m a father of 5 incredible kids (all grown now).….so I know a little bit about how a father thinks. My love for my kids is not based on how many good things they do. I hope they do a lot of good things….but whether they do or not doesn’t affect my love for them one little bit!
I’m not looking at the things that they do wrong and holding those things against them. I’m not withholding my love for them until they get everything right. That just sounds dumb! And if you were to ask me if my kids were ‘right’ with me…..I wouldn’t even have to think about it! It’d be a yes every single time. My love for them is not conditional….and neither is God’s love for you.
If you’re born again you’re right with God. It’s that simple. Truth is, you can’t get any more ‘good with God’ than you already are! You’re the apple of His eye! You were ‘given’ His perfect love, already.
You should live in that….and quit trying to ‘earn’ something you already have!
You might like these:
That’s the words that Dabo Swinney told his Clemson players at halftime of the NCAA Football National Championship in Tampa Monday night. Alabama, on a 27-0 run over the last couple of years, was the favorite pick by the oddsmakers. There were a lot of people who were pulling for Clemson but I don’t think many were willing to bet much on the game. The Crimson Tide has just been too tough. They’re athletic, big, strong, fast, intimidating and very well coached. Nobody has given them much of a scare for a couple of years. The closest anyone has come to beating Alabama came exactly a year ago also in the NCAA Championship by…..none other than the Clemson Tigers.
But the underdog Clemson Tigers believed! That’s what happens when a coach,….and I’m sure an entire coaching staff, fosters confidence and a winning attitude. People want to follow a leader who thinks he’s going to win! They’ll follow someone who’s not afraid or intimidated by the conditions at hand; Someone who doesn’t cut and run when chips are down….or when the tide (no pun intended) is against them.
There’s a need for great leaders in the body of Christ now more than at any other time in history of the world. But it almost seems like there’s a vacuum; a fear or timidity to ‘stand up’ and really lead. The world is longing for those who’ll defy the odds, go against the traditional religious grain, ….if they must….and empower the multitudes to take their place in the greatest move of God the planet might ever see!
Somebody needs to stand up in the midst of the adverse conditions we’re faced with today and declare, “We’re gonna win…..I don’t know how we’re gonna do it….but I just know we’re going to!”
Oh, and Dabo’s Clemson Tigers…..they did what he said they would…in a dramatic 35-31 comeback victory….scoring the winning touchdown with 1 second left on the clock!
Some more football blogs: