Obedience in Relationships


I believe one of the biggest problems the unchurched have with religion is all of its rules. And let’s face it, if us Christians are being honest with ourselves, we know what they’re talking about. In my morning men’s group a friend of mine said something that really resonated with me. He stated, “Irrational changes only lead to regret”. That is so true. I’ve seen countless people come to Christ, make changes or give things up because someone else is telling them to, and then, because of the pressure to follow the rules, they end up falling away from Christ. Which leads us to this question…

Is it reasonable for God to have expectations?

In every healthy relationship changes are always necessary. These necessary changes are not, “The Rules of Relationship” but rather, the willingness to love the other person in they way they need to be loved. The same goes for our relationship with Christ. But again, is it reasonable for God to have expectations? Yes, because all love relationships do, and if we love him, we will be willing to grow into change with him. Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me, keep my commands.” Maybe it’s that we don’t like the word “commands”. Before getting to hung up on the word “commands”, ask yourself these questions; “what are the commands, why are they made, and are they reasonable”? When Jesus was approached by a young lawyer and asked “what is the great commandment?”, Jesus simply replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” To me, that sounds like something every good parent would require of their children. The reason it’s called a command is that it’s not optional, ever! Some say though that they want nothing to do with God because he’s an irrational tyrant. If we really look at the Bible and the requests God makes in it, his commands and punishments are really not any different than most parents. In all good parenting situations the punishment typically fits the crime. If you were to come home and find that your children had not only neglected their chores and homework, but also had gotten into a huge fight and during the scuffle broke several valuable items around the house, would you be considered an irrational tyrant for being upset and giving your children strong discipline? Of course not! When you’re in a loving relationship there’s not one scenario when love doesn’t have expectations, and when those expectations are not met, adjustments and correction are needed, and in extreme cases, demanded.

How To be a Good Christian

I will admit though, being a good Christian is easier said than done. As odd as this may sound, it’s due to the fact that God doesn’t punish us in the moment for our wrong doings. As it turns out, he typically allows the consequences of our poor choice to deal out their own blows. If we lie and get caught, people no longer trust us. If we get angry and hurt someone, we go to jail. Life punishes us when we misbehave, not God. At some point though, we just decide to stop being selfish, buckle down, and do the right thing, because that’s what the relationship is asking for. There’s an old ancient Chinese proverb that says this, “The journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step” and that’s what many of us need to do, just be willing to take that first step towards a healthy relationship with God. Not based off of fear, but love. Jesus said in 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear, because fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

Letting Go of Fear

The best part of letting go of fear and living in love, is that new ministry always becomes available to the willing and obedient. Not because obedience makes God happy, but rather the desire to be close to him will produce changes in you that will inevitably make you more healthy, and that makes God happy. There are so many people trapped in fear who don’t know how to be set free. God is needing those who understand the freedom of love to help set those captive free. Will you be one of those or will you continue to allow fear to control and dominate your life? “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" Isaiah 6:8.

The Christian Who Fell

A Christian friend of mine recently posed this question to our men’s group, “Can professing Christians fall way, proving that they were never truly in Christ?” That is a HUGE question, but what I felt like he was really asking was this, “once we are saved are we always saved?” Or, the ultimate way of asking that same question is, “once we are saved can we no longer go to hell… ever?” Again, these are some huge things to ponder.

The writer of Hebrews said this, “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left.” So I would start answering his question with one of my own; “What is sin?” When confronted with the question, “what is the greatest commandment (or law to follow)?” Jesus has this to say; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. And… Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.” So what I gather from the words of Jesus is this; sin is the selfishness inside of us all that stands opposite of both the love of Christ, and the love he asks us to have for one another. With that in mind, here’s my thought on the original question…

Because truly living is being fully present in the moment, if we spend even one of those moments worrying about heaven or hell, it’s a waisted moment. Jesus asked this question, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” So why spend our time worrying about heaven or hell? In my opinion the best question is this, “is my moment filled with love?” because if not, Christ is not ok with that moment. Another great question would be, “Am I justifying why love is not in this moment?” The act of selfishness or love can bring either heaven or hell into our current moment. I believe that once a person learns what love looks like but refuses to do it, God is displeased, no matter who they are, or how long they have been “saved”, because to deny love, is to deny Christ himself.

So I would say “YES!” professing Christians can fall away from Christ, because “God is love” and there is no scenario in which he will ever justify the absence of that love.

What Are We Left To Trust?


Should we put our trust in humans who are borne to other humans, who live and then die like all others them before them? Who lie and cheat to get by? Or, can we trust in the sun and moon, earth and water? We have no control over those, they do as they were made to do, day in and day out, year after year and decade after decade.

So what then, what do we have to put our trust in but God? Will he let us down or turn a deaf ear when we cry out to him? Will he leave when we come running? Sit and watch from a distance while we lay broken and crying? Maybe, he’s done it in the past when those before us came to him in arrogance, demanding he give to them what they thought they needed. So how then do we approach this God whom we so desperately need; this God that we are left to put our trust in?

What is it you think you need from him? What request do you bring to his feet? Who is this God to you? Is he the God of luck and fortune? The one you will finally make time for once things are approaching rock bottom? The God to whom you have ignored every one of his cries? The God who is ever speaking, calling, and reaching out? “How?” you say, “how is he ever speaking, calling, and reaching out to me?” Isn’t nature itself evidence enough for you? Do you not see the sunset and sun rises?! Do you not hear the song of the birds?! Do you not feel the rumble of the thunder? Are you deaf, and blind? What if there were no more sound but that of the other humans and the things they have created? What if the sun burned out and there were no more light? What if the dew and rain dried up and the trees withered away? What if God took away all of his handy work from you and I? Is not the gift of these things love in and of themselves? Did you earn the sun to rise or the rain to fall? Did you call for the birds to sing their songs? No! This was given to us by his great love! You did not earn it!

We sit in our arrogance say, “WHERE IS GOD! I need him and he is nowhere to be found!” Yet the sky still gives you it’s beautiful colors morning and evening, and the trees and plants yield to you their oxygen.

“Where is God!?” He is where you left him. He is at home, in his place of order. He is doing what he does best, loving all of us together, yet one at a time. He is there, calling out to you, reaching, and hoping. Hoping that you will get up from your place of self indulgence, isolation, and self pity. Why, oh why I wonder do we hurt so deeply, and cry so many tears when there is a God! And not just a God, but a God of love.

To some, love is just a word that negates the requirement of work for what God has already freely given to all of us, even the murders and pedophiles. That free gift is salvation from all that would destroy us. Many of us though, some Christians as well, refuse to take it. We are too busy trying to make our own way in this life, and where has that gotten us?… angry, and full of fear!

We lash out at those who don’t vote for the other human who will also die one day like all the rest of us. We lash out at those who believe in things that don’t line up with our beliefs, and somehow, we believe God approves… HE DOESN’T!

We are consumed by fear as we watch nature unfold around us and capture the entire world in its grip. This very nature that Jesus commanded “be still” and then turned to His disciples and asked, “why didn’t you speak to it?!” I want to know one thing, WHERE ARE YOU AND WHY ARE YOU SLEEPING!? Can we trust God, YES! What else is there to trust! Will He answer? YES! He is only waiting for you to start asking the right questions. Wake up you arrogant Christians! Wake up you fool who claims there is no God! Wake up those who claim there is a God but He doesn’t care about the fate of the world! Rise like a new day! Walk in the power of His love, and live like you never have before.

My New Year’s Resolution/Revelation

Child holding megaphone Have you ever looked at life as you’re living it in the “right here and now” and thought, “I’m just not happy with the way things are, but, after this or that happens, I’m going to be so much happier, and everything is going to be just the way I’ve always wanted it to be?”  I’m sure if you were being honest with yourself you would be saying “yes” to this question. Funny thing is, once we get to the new place or get that new thing, the happiness only lasts so long and we find ourselves back in the unhappy state we were before. There we are looking and waiting for the next thing that is going to help us take that step and finally become the person we’ve always wanted to be.

I mean really, if we wanted more proof of this being true, just take a look at “New Year’s Resolutions”.  How many people use the starting of a new year as the solve-all benchmark of changing everything about themselves that they are unhappy with? Did you know that health clubs always have the greatest influx of new customers at the beginning of the year? But by the middle of the year more than eighty percent of the new members have ether dropped their membership, or just stopped coming all together.

Have you been successful with change?

     I’ve recently understood what it means to grasp, and hold onto change. Before God reviled the answer to me I often found myself frustrated and unsure of how to remain changed. I truly thought I had the answer and believed it was perfectly clear. My solution went something like this… First, I’ve got to be real sick of who I am or how I’ve let myself become. Then, I need to decide who or what I want to be, set some goals, and determine how I’m going to reach those goals. Once I’ve got all that down, it’s time for the major steps! Big step number one, go to God! Start out by telling Him what a failure I’ve been and how all that is going to change from here on out. Of course I need to make some big promises that I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to keep, because remember, I’m really sick of who I’ve become! Once that’s taken care of, it’s big step number two. Sit down with my family and drop the bomb of changes we are going to make, because let’s face it, we as a family have not been pleasing to God, so it’s time that we all “put the nose to the grind stone” and get the job done! That one always put a big damper on the family. I mean come on, I’ve been letting everyone get away with all this junk over the last year and now due to a “New Year’s Resolution” I’ve somehow magically become a super Christian that wants to please God all the time?! My family should understand and want get on board with the excitement and decide that they are as sick of their lives too, and want to please God as much as I do! Right? Sure… I could remain successful for a time, but in the end it almost always turned out the same, I would go back to my old way of living and let my family fall back into its old patterns. I hated the cycle! I had come to the conclusion that I just wasn’t a good Christian because I couldn’t keep up the promises I had made to God.

How to hold on to change

     The answer is simple. God wants us to let go of the things that are in our hands so we can take a hold of the things He is trying to offer us. It’s the understanding of “letting go” that has us troubled. I can promise you this, it’s easy to let go when we have a revelation of God’s love toward us. The first step of change is to grasp the simple concept that we can never earn more of God’s love. No matter how much we change our lives. He will always love us with a passionate love, one that desires us to be close to Him and Him to us. Nor can we lose out on God’s love because of how we have been living. It’s a revelation of His perfect love toward us that will begin to heal what’s been broken all along. 

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.”                    –1John 4:18

Revelation makes all the difference.  Revelation is simply having an understanding that we didn’t have before. An understanding that drives us to change! There is no condemnation in revelation! The apostle John had this to say about condemnation, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned:” (John 3:17-18). When you understand that He’s not beating you up because of the changes you need to make, it’s much easier to get started on making those changes.

How to make changes

     Revelation should always be the driving force behind every change. I remember when I used to beat myself up over not reading the Bible enough. I finally told God that I just really wanted to know Him more and I desired to understand Him in a way I never had before. He began to direct my attention toward the Bible, and for the first time, it truly spoke to me. As it spoke to me I received a revelation of His deep love toward me. It shook my world and changed me forever! It started with a hunger and ended with a revelation. This revelation of His love has not only changed me, but it has changed those who I have shared it with. And because of my willingness to share God’s revelation of love with others, He has given me revelations of others struggles and how to help them through them. It has resulted in being used in the gifts of the spirit and in other ways I could never have imagined.

The revelation will change those around you

     I used to beg God to use me in a powerful way but would always feel unworthy to be used. Until finally I got the revelation of His desire to use me, and to share His love for others. My family also began to respond to me and to my authority differently because I no longer felt like I had to hold it over their heads in order bring about the changes that needed to be accomplished. They could feel my excitement, love, and passion toward God. Not the weight of my authority. Revelation will always change the one who receives it, and in the end, the ones in their lives.

It’s revelation, not a new year’s resolution that will change your world and your family forever!