Last night I toured the Mormon Temple Square in Salt Lake City.  It was an amazing place.  I walked away burdened, not only for the salvation of my Mormon friends, but for the state of which the Big-C church, particularly in America, is.

Why isn’t Christ making a difference in people’s lives in the nonMormon church?  Why is the divorce rate just as high in the church as it is among the unchurched?  Why isn’t the Church as a whole full of the same devotion and fervor as the Mormon church?  Why doesn’t the American church-goer really try to live the commandments of Christ?  Jesus himself commanded twice “Go and sin no more.” (John 5:14, 8:11)  He wouldn’t give a command that wasn’t “keepable”.  So why do we keep on intentionally sinning?  Because we either do not know God, or we do not fear God.

I can’t help but play Matt 7:21-23 over and over in my head.  (By the way relek95, I thought you were going to do the 10 scariest passages in the Bible… to my count, this was the first and only one you did… I’m looking forward to the other nine…)

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

So who are those that know Him?    That word “know” is an expression of intimacy. 27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. (Jn 10:27-28).

I am burdened that the American church-goer abuses the grace and mercy of our Father because we – as the American church – have no idea how much our sin hurts Him and how it is so disgusting and offensive to Him.  I wonder how many people in the American church really “fear’ Him, I mean, really, really, fear him.  We’ve so preached the goodness, mercy and grace of Father, that it’s almost like we’ve stripped Him of the awe-factor and honor and respect and fear that He is due.

I, for one, am choosing to live Christ’s commands, but not out of a “settling the scoresheet”, or “I owe Him so much”, or “I’m working for a higher position in eternity” mentality, but out of the knowledge that I cannot ever repay Him for the Grace and Mercy He’s shown me.  I am incapable of any works worthy.  “My righteousness is as a filthy rag” (Is. 64:6).  I choose to live his commands because I love him and intimately know him and hear His voice.  I do it out of relationship, not out of religion.  I do it out of gratefulness, not out of paying my debt, because He paid my debt for me. (Jn 3:16)

His Choice…

Romans 9:1-21 NLT

First thing that hit me:

2 My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief 3 for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them.

OK. Could I say that? Would I give up my relationship with Christ, would I go to Hell, in order for “my people” – whomever that might be – to be saved and spend eternity in Heaven? I don’t know that I could. I so love my relationship with the Lord. That’s a really hard question. I realize that I certainly don’t deserve the grace He affords me. God has been growing my love for people over the last few years. Honestly, there was a time not too long ago, that I really didn’t care about the eternity of others, particularly people I didn’t know. But He’s working on me. Seeing what Papa does when He really gets a hold of a man’s heart continues to soften my heart for the salvation of others and burdens me for the health of men as husbands and fathers.

Second thing that hit me:

15 For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” 16 So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. 17 For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” 18 So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. 19 Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” 20 No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?” 21 When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?

WHO AM I? “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose,” says the Lord God. He chose to show me both. He chose to show me what he showed me why? “… to spread my fame throughout the earth.” How’s that working in my life? Am I spreading His fame? Am I spreading His renown? Am I spreading His glory?


Daddy, I’m glad you chose me to be a recipient of your mercy and compassion. I surrender control of it all. Use me in whatever way brings your fame on the earth. Whatever that looks like, I’m all in. I love you. Amen.

A Kind Father

Romans 2:4

It didn’t take long for Dad to hit me between the eyes today (metaphorically speaking of course – especially since this blog is about the kindness of God!)

Romans 2:4 (ESV) Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

Lots of words in this verse.  I had to look up “forbearance” and it means “a refraining from the enforcement of something (as a debt, right, or obligation) that is due.

The NIV translates “presume” as “show contempt” while NKJV translates it as “despise.”  When I abuse his kindness, I basically spit in his face.

All of that to say this… while God has every right to punish, reprimand, destroy and wipe me from the face of the earth – because I deserve it – He chooses to use kindness, leniency, patience, mercy and grace to get me to repent – which in simplest terms means to change my mind.  For that, I am so grateful and thankful.

The application for me is: How do I mirror that, represent that, to my earthly children?  When they read this passage as an adult, will they have a hard time visualizing, understanding, or accepting the truth of it because of my actions as their father?  Will my parenting today, make it easier or more difficult for them to see Papa as their Heavenly Father?

Do I model grace to my children?  Do I show mercy to my children?  A more difficult question is will I impede their ability to accept Papa’s love, grace, and mercy as they mature in the Lord?  A sobering thought.

All that I am…

Psalm 103:1-5 (NLT) – you should really read this.  It’s good.

I am renewed thinking and meditating on all the Lord has done for me.  “Let all that I am praise the Lord…” is a repeated phrase all throughout the 103rd Psalm.  I’ve been thinking of this passage since I read it this morning.  It’s been gnawing at me… penetrating beneath the exterior and seeping into the depths of my heart.

v2 “… may I never forget the good things he does for me.”  I am a very forgetful person.  How difficult it is to remember all that He has done.  Why does it seem so easy to remember the bad stuff or the stuff He doesn’t do?  He has been good to me… very good.  Why he has, I’ll never fully understand.

What does it mean to praise him with “all that I am”?  I fear if I try to answer this now, it will only be a surface, “Christian” answer.  There is so much more meat on this bone.  This is going to take some time to digest….