Something to Ponder

I asked many folks several months ago, “Do you think God is diappointed in you?”

The overwhelming answer was, “Yes!”

As I think about that this morning, I ask those of you who felt that way then, and perhaps still do, “Why? Why do you feel God is disappointed in you?”

Then listen — really listen — to your answer.

If you think God is disappointed in you because of something you did, something you said, something you felt, or… something you didn’t do, say, or feel… then I ask you to examine that further.

Or maybe you answered that way because you feel like you aren’t doing enough for God, but I would ask that you examine that further as well.

Let me ask you another question: If you did more for God… or were more obedient to Him… would He be more pleased with you?

If you answered, “Yes,” then it would stand to reason, with that logic in mind, that the more obedient you are, the more pleased God is. Therefore, God is most pleased with super-saints like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa, and on this grading scale, you and I are far, far down the heavenly social strata.

Does this sound valid to you? Is this how God really acts and works? The answer is a resounding, “No.”

With that kind of thinking, you’d have to continue to ask, “How good is good enough? How much service or obedience is enough to please God.”

God’s Word answers that for us:

“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

Perfection. That is what God is looking for. That is what He requires. God is not pleased without perfect obedience… without perfect actions… perfect words and perfect thoughts.

Perfection. How’re you doing with that? How’s that perfection thing coming along? Not so well, I assume. Me neither.

Thankfully, when God requires perfection, He supplies perfection in His own Son, Jesus. God shows us we have a dilemma. And then, praise Him, He provides the deliverance. Jesus, while He lived on this Earth, was perfect in word, thought, and deed. It was His perfect obedience that took Him to the Cross. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sin.

And because of that God said to Jesus, “This is my son with whom I am well pleased.”

And because of Jesus and what He did, God says to you and me, “This is my son (or daughter) with whom I am well pleased.”

Good News indeed.

Something to ponder.

For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy. (Hebrews 10:14)

(For those who think I’m saying that you shouldn’t be obedient to God, you’re missing the point; I’m not. I’m just asking you to examine WHY you think God is disappointed in you.)

Nothing More You Need To Do

There is nothing more you need to do to be a Christian.

That should get your attention. Not only is it an attention-getter, it’s true, too.

“Wait,” you cry. “What about obedience? What about living for God?” I’ll get to that, but, first, let me explain the first sentence of this post.

All that you need to do to be a Christian is believe and receive. Believe that Jesus paid the price of your sins and my sins, once and for all, on the Cross. Believe that He was raised from the dead, defeated death, again – once and for all, and is now seated at the right hand of God. Believe that He lives to intercede for us. Believe. But now comes the crucial part.

Receive. Receive this seemingly unbelievable gift of God’s overwhelming love.

Maybe I have it backwards. Maybe it should be Receive and Believe.

Receive the amazing show of God’s enduring love and then believe. But not only believe what I’ve already mentioned, but so much more.

Because of the love of God in Jesus, you are now accepted as you are right now. Believe that. There’s nothing more you need to do. Jesus Himself said, “It is finished.” It’s already been done. Rest. Take a deep breath. Believe that. Relax and receive. Oops. There it is again. Receive. Believe. Receive. Believe…

Now, about obedience…

Obedience comes from a thankful heart. A grateful heart obeys God’s commands because the grateful heart knows all about God’s love. God’s love has already paid the price. God’s love is always looking out for my best interests. Because of God’s love, I want to obey. He knows best.

I am free of all the requirements. I am free of all the checklists. I am free of trying to prove myself worthy of His love or His sacrifice. I am free of trying to pay Him back. The work’s already been done. He’s done the heavy-lifting. I am free. Because of the overwhelming love of God and the freedom that it brings, I am compelled to live my life for Him.

As Tullian Tchividjian says:

“Legalism says, ‘Obey, so God is pleased with you.’
The Gospel says, ‘Obey, BECAUSE God is pleased with you.'”

This is the Gospel. It was… and IS radical. It is good news not only to those who first believe and receive (or receive and believe). But it is also good news to those who’ve already believed and received.

There is nothing more you NEED to do.


“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

In The Message, it reads:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

A Perfect Storm…

During the Inspiration Cruise to Alaska that Sharon and I were on last week, Dr. David Jeremiah was the headline speaker. Phillips, Craig, and Dean each had morning devotions, and Michael W. Smith and Nicole Nordemann also spoke. The theme or main topic seemed (for me) to be dealing with fear.

Dr. Jeremiah preached three times and each time spoke on fear: “What Are You Afraid Of?”, “Fear of Failure”, etc. Although I’m not the fearful type (at least I thought so), my ears were perked up the entire trip because I was anticipating hearing from God during the trip.

In one of the sessions, Dr. Jeremiah taught from Mark 4:35-41 where Jesus calms the storm. We’ve all heard the story plenty of times and we think we know it well. I know I did.

Then Dr. Jeremiah said something profound: “A perfect storm can follow perfect obedience. Just look at the disciples of Jesus. He said, ‘Let’s go to the other side.’ They followed. They were obedient. And a storm ensued.”

I had never thought of that.

Many times folks think that the perfect will of God is a safe place. While it’s true that God is with you while you walk in the perfect will of God and therefore, and you can trust Him fully, the perfect will of God may be a dangerous place. It may be a risky place. It may make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

In all likelihood, it will require sacrifice and huge steps of faith. And as Dr. Jeremiah points out, although a “perfect storm” may result, the words of Jesus and God Almighty ring true:

“Do not fear” (Exodus 20:20, Isaiah 35:4, 41:10)
“I am with you” “I will be with you” (Genesis 28:15, Exodus 3:12, Isaiah 41:10)
“Why are you still afraid?” (Mark 4:40)
“Be strong and courageous” (Deuteronomy 31:6-7, Joshua 1:6-7,9,18, 1 Corinthians 16:13)
“I will go before you and be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12)
“I will never leave you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6,8, Joshua 1:5, Hebrews 13:5)

Although a perfect storm may follow perfect obedience, the answer is perfect love.

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” (1 John 4:18)

Hanging on every word…

When I (stupidly) mention to my dog, Bella, that we’re going for a ride, or use the word “go” or “going”, she hangs on every word I say thereafter. She looks expectantly, waiting on the next word I might say that she recognizes. She’s doing it right now, waiting for us to go.image

Our black lab, Sam, was a little different. He would perk up for things he heard that he recognized, but he lived to obey. Retrievers are wired that way. They love to obey their master, and they, too, hang on every word you say.

I wish I would live to obey my Master, Teacher, Father, and Friend! He is working everything out for my own good, whether it feels good or not. He can be trusted with every detail of my life. I just wish I could lie at His feet, hang on every Word, and look as expectantly to Jesus as Bella looks at me. She is obsessed.

I want to be obsessed with Jesus and following Him!