Here's A Thought...

Here are some "THOUGHTS" that will hopefully answer some of the questions that you may have about what the Bible has to say about our everyday lives. These articles are here to provoke thought; provide answers, guidance and resources; all in an effort to bring you into a closer relationship with your Heavenly Father!


Sunday, February 26, 2012


I was engaged in a
conversation a short time ago where a woman was talking of her boyfriend’s
struggle to “get saved”. She had said he was waiting for it to feel right. He was
waiting for the Holy Spirit and then he would make his decision when the
feeling was right. Immediately, alarms started going off in my head. I wasn’t
quite sure why that just didn’t sound right.

This conversation led me
into several days of prayer and reflection over what had been said. The thought
that started me off was contemplating the foundation of relationships. Not just
our relationship with our Heavenly Father, but the relationships around us.
What about the foundation of relationships in marriage? What about the
relationships with our children or our parents?

The relationship we engage
in on a daily basis, could these be based on purely a feeling, on an emotion. I
began to ponder the emotional question. Do I have a relationship today with my
parents based on my feelings? The answer is no. I, like most children, have at
times in my life harbored anger and resentment towards my parents, even blaming
them for my “lot in life”. What about my children? It is certainly not my
feelings that have kept them around all this time. Heck, if based on feelings,
I would have killed them both years ago. What about my wife? Is my relationship
with her based on how we felt before we got married? (Give me a second to
compose myself after that one. I don’t want to say that I got a giggle out of
that, but I think I pulled a something.)

So is it purely about a
decision? Is it the other end of the spectrum? Do I love all these people
simply because I chose to, and now I’m stuck with them so I might as well love
them? Is it both? Is it an emotion or a decision; or a decision and
an emotion? And if it’s both; which one comes first? Is it a decision that
leads to an emotion or an emotion that leads to a decision? Is it the chicken
or the egg?

As you can tell, this has
been a very thoughtful week for me. And even though that I have suffered
through a few headaches this week, and just utter confusion; I believe that God
has revealed to me some of the answers to these questions. I hope that I can
successfully share with you what God has laid upon my heart.

First we have to identify
the players in this chess match. I have recently been reading and have written
on the condition of our heart. Let me tell you as simply as I can what I have
discovered about this precious organ. Our heart is a selfish, self-serving, schizophrenic,
bi-polar, angry, bitter, controlling, devious, deceiving, egomaniacal, misleading,
misguiding creature. (Feel free to read that again.) Our hearts, and the
desires of our hearts, are as easily swayed and more easily manipulated than a
crowd watching the commercials before a movie. Why do you think so much money
is spent today on and by advertisers? Because our hearts and our desires are so
easily manipulated!

Let me point out to you
what happens when me make decisions based on emotions. We buy a car that’s too
big, a house that’s too big and a spouse that’s too big! (Again, feel free to
take a moment.) If we enter into a relationship and make a decision to get
married based on an emotion; when that emotion changes, and it will, so will
our decision. Let me take that a step farther, to where this concept really
smacked me in the back of the head. If we make a decision to follow Christ
based purely on an emotion, when that emotion fades, and it will, we will
change our decision to follow Christ and fall away. Let me just stop there and
tell you that I was on my motorcycle on my way to work and nearly wrecked as I
broke into tears as that revelation hit me. There are so many times when my
feelings or my “heart” was hurt by a church, a pastor, or as I perceived by “God”;
and I would turn my back and walk away.

This is what I have now
come to believe. Our spouses and/or the Holy Spirit can prompt us, or get our
attention with an emotional feeling. However; I am coming to believe that it
must be a decision that has to guide our emotions. Let me explain; it must be a
decision to a lifelong commitment that is the foundation of a marriage. And out
of that a deeper, truer, more concrete emotional bond can be built. If not, it
is superficial and temporary.

The same is true with our
relationship with our Heavenly Father. It is only through a decision to commit
to an eternal relationship that lays the foundation for an emotional bond that
is deep, true, sincere, endless and unbreakable.

What if Noah felt stupid and didn’t build the arc. What
if Joseph felt abandoned and didn’t
stay faithful while in slavery in Egypt? What if Abraham felt betrayed and refused to sacrifice Isaac? What if Moses felt scared and didn’t go to Egypt to
free the Israelites? What if Jesus felt
selfish and said; “I’m not going through that for them”? What if the disciples felt…and decided not to follow Jesus? If
all of those mentioned made a decision based on a feeling; not only would
history be different, but imagine the impact those decisions would have had on
their relationship with their Heavenly Father? See what the impact has had in
making a decision for their Heavenly Father!

Where would we spend
eternity if we live in our feelings; if
we feel too unworthy, too frightened,
too doubtful, or too selfish to make the decision to accept Christ as our savior
and enter into a relationship with our Heavenly Father? Our life is about a relationship. Not one
based on emotion, but one founded in a decision; a decision from which the
greatest love and the greatest relationship can be discovered.

May God grant us the
strength, the courage, and the wisdom to stand firm in our decision to be
faithful to the greatest relationship, the greatest love, the purest emotion;
to the great “I AM”, Yahweh, Abba, Father.


Oh man do I have to tell
you how much I did not want to write on this
topic. It has been frightening and yet amazing the things God is putting on my
heart to face, to confront and illuminate in my own life. This subject has
grated at me since my first memories of being “dragged” to church every Sunday
by my parents. What I want you to know most of all is that this article is not
as much about pointing fingers as it is recognizing that despite my disgust and
frustration; I’ve become one of the biggest offenders I know. And that just
REALLY ticks me off! (As a side note I must confess that the more God holds the
mirror up in front of me, the less I like the image that exists. But it is
bringing forth growth and change; and for that I am grateful, no matter how
painful it has been.)

So back to the “Christian
Curtain”; what on earth is this guy talking about?! I am talking about the
mask, the facade, the fictitious and the fake. I’m talking about the sin on
Saturday, Deacon on Sunday mascaraed. It’s the Sunday morning dress with the
warm smile and cold hearts. Proclaiming how great your life is and “blessed”
your life has been; meanwhile hurting so bad inside you’re just begging for it
all to end. It’s the “Christian Curtain”. The curtain behind which we hide…hide
our hurts, our flaws, our shortcomings, our nature, our sin and even our
hearts. It’s the reason we don’t reach out. The reason we don’t ask for help. It’s
the reason we won’t let anyone in. It’s the reason that will cause us to
eventually leave the church. It’s the elephant in the room that NO ONE wants to
even look at! Let alone talk about.

Why do we do this?! Why do
we play these games?! Why do we step into roles and fall under expectations in
the one place where we should feel free to be safe and open; around other
Christians?!? These are the questions that have haunted me. These are the
issues that have so angered me about “Christians” since before puberty! By the
end of this I hope to shed some light on a toxic environment that causes so
much hurt and pain. Expose the lie that has driven more wedges and built more
walls between relationships, in the one place we are called as Christians to be

I want to bring to light
some of the causes of the “Christian Curtain”. I want to expose it, I want to
shine light on it, and point us to a place where we can say; “Mr. Gorbachev;
tear down that wall!” (How’s that for a “Cold War” reference.) My truest desire,
from the bottom of my heart, is that we can get past our issues and move
towards truer and real relationships with each other; for it is in those
relationships that people will really see Christ in us; us as Christians! That
is the testimony that makes the gospels real; that makes the Word of God real;
that makes a true relationship with Jesus Christ REAL!

So in my effort to better
understand the how and why this happens, I went to my study bible on the
computer and just typed in “pride”. In my ESV translation, the word appears 49
times. Of those only a couple had a positive connotation as in being proud of
someone; the rest…well, not so good. When I would see the word pride, it would
usually be in the context of how it caused some sort of separation from God or
how God was going to correct that pride; again…not good. As I continued to read,
I began to see some other words that kept popping up. Words like haughty and
arrogant. I came to read Jesus teaching;

And he said, “What comes
out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man,
come evil
thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting,
wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”(Mark
7:20-23 ESV)
Wow, a list of the evil that originates from deep inside
us. Our actions as they are born from the condition of our hearts.

The more I read, the more I began to understand that what
brings up the “Christian Curtain” is simply our sinful nature, the condition of
our heart. It comes from our natural desire to want to focus on self and not on
our Heavenly Father. It is in our focus on ourselves that we take our eyes off
God and we begin to worry about self. We begin the path of pride which is paved
in conceit and lined with fear. It is the fear that is conceived from worry; worry
of being accepted, worry of being good enough, and worry of being loved. It’s
all pride. In our pride we want to further hide our flaws; hide who we really
are! It is then we jump on our “self-righteous” pedestal and begin to beat up
on others. All in an effort to keep from being exposed for the broken spirits
that we are.

In essence, it can be simplified in saying that we as
prideful “Christians”, absolutely refuse to assume a humble posture, get down
on our knees, prostrate ourselves across the floor and be vulnerable. (That was
prostrate, not prostate…look it up.)

I am telling you, that if any of what I have said sounds
a little like you. Stop everything you are doing and examine your life. Pray to
your Heavenly Father to help you to see the pride in your life. And then just
STOP! Stop the pride, stop the vanity, stop the insanity (another 80’s
reference), stop the games…and stop the barriers that you have created not only
between yourself and others; but between you and God!

So here is my attempt to make a very philosophical,
evangelical, theological, hieratical subject very simple: God so loved us that
he created the world and the universe it is encased in for us to have a place
to be. He granted us free will to make our own choices. He sacrificed his son
so we wouldn’t even have to suffer the consequences of those choices. And in
all of this vastness, he created you, for no other reason than he loves you;
and wants nothing else than you allow Him the opportunity to love you and grow
in a relationship with you. You don’t have to earn His love, it is there for
you! He loves you. No competition. No first, second or last place. He loves
you! Your Heavenly Father wants a relationship with you and asks just a couple
things in return. That you love Him; and that you show that love to those
around you. Just show them your love; not your righteousness, not your
spiritual success, not your title, your place or your position…just your love.
Show them your hurt, your failures, your faults and your pains. Reveal to
others who you really are, so that in that…they can begin to see Christ in

May we all learn to earnestly pursue our Heavenly Father
with patience and humility.
May we learn to be the eager, anxious, yet broken and
needy bride of Christ.
May we strive to step out from behind the curtain and
engage each other with authentic love, humility and acceptance.
May God bless us on our journey past the curtain.

And Jesus cried out again with a
loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was
torn in two, from top to bottom. (Matthew 27:50,51)