Nope. The God of the Universe does not owe you a Detailed Explanation for Every Little Thing- Period

By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he left, not knowing where he was going. By faith he lived as a stranger in the land of promise, as in a foreign land- Hebrews 11:8-9a NASB

I have observed a rather troubling trend in Church world. 

Let’s say Joe or Jane Christian does not understand a doctrine—or they don’t grasp all the motivations and/or reasons for an instruction given by God. Even just a few years ago Joe or Jane Christian would have said to themselves: “well God is God and I’m not. I will obey anyway”. Times have changed. These days Joe Christian will most likely ignore anything he or she does not completely understand. Sometimes Joe or Jane will even blame God for their disobedience because He didn’t do an adequate job explaining the reasons for the command or doctrine in the Bible. 

This is not good Joe and Jane. 

Far too many Christians have determined it is perfectly okay to completely ignore God if they “don’t get it”. I belong to a couple of online apologetics groups. The members are (for the most part) Christians who routinely study God’s word and have desire to help other people understand the Bible. All-in-all I would say the vast majority of these people take their faith a bit more seriously than the average church-goer. However, even in these groups there are Christians who have decided that if they don’t understand all the ins-and-outs of a particular doctrine (the trinity, tithing, sexual ethics, etc.) they can just throw that issue out the window and do their own thing regardless of whether or not Scripture supports their belief (Judges 21:25).

This is real. 

Creationism is a prime example. Because we live in a culture where Darwinism has been more-or-less accepted as fact by the masses many Christians have niggling questions about creationism. Rather than accept what God says as fact or do some digging into the subject. Some have simply decided because God did not do an adequate job (in their opinion) of clarifying how He created the world they are going to go ahead and accept the evolutionist viewpoint. 


Pretty much all the commands concerning sexuality are another area where Christians tend to question God’s judgement. We live in a world where the rallying cry of the masses is “love is love” and “you can’t judge me”.  Many Christians do not understand why God would take such a hard line on homosexuality, sex before marriage and adultery. Some reason because God does not explain His “no” well enough in the Bible it is perfectly okay to throw out the biblical standards because those standards do not line up with popular culture or their feelings. 

Again, what? 


In Luke 18:8 Jesus asks a question:  

When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” 

I cannot help but wonder if this is at least part of what Jesus was talking about. The insistence we have to understand everything about God before we obey God is without question a serious sin of our age. It is already impacting our power to evangelize. The results of obedience to God’s commands always bring blessing and (usually) a more successful outcome. When non-Christians see Christianity working it makes them curious about God. If Christians only obey the itty-bit they understand non-Christians see very little obedience and have zero curiosity about Jesus.

So, a couple of things: 

First of all, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:20-26) One of the “works” every single Christian is called to is to obey God in faith without completely understanding all the reasons why we are supposed to obey (1st Samuel 15:22, Deuteronomy 5:33, John 14:23-24, 2nd John 1:6) . It’s faith that pleases God—not picture-perfect understanding of every issue under the sun (Hebrews 11:6). 


Second, no human, this side of heaven will ever have a complete understanding of God’s commands. We are simply not on the same level as God (Isaiah 55:8). Even being made in God’s image humans differ from God in significant ways (Genesis 1:27). Our understanding of God, His logic and His choices is probably on about the same level as a dog’s understanding of a human’s logic and choices. It would be insane for me to be okay with my dog peeing wherever he wants just because he doesn’t understand why I don’t want him to pee on my curtains. I have rules and boundaries around my dog’s pee-pee routines because I understand the chaos (and stench) it will create if I allow him to pee willy-nilly. My dog’s understanding is irrelevant and so is ours. Faith dictates we accept as fact the hard reality God knows more than we do about everything. Period. 

And finally, 

The more a person chooses to disobey God (whatever the reason why) the less they care about obeying Him. Every. Single. Time. When we willfully disregard God on any issue we make it harder on ourselves to hear His voice or care the things He cares about (Romans 1:18-23, Hebrews 5:11-14). Rebellion always hardens our hearts and makes us obstinate, willful and spiritually dull (Ephesians 4:17-24, Hebrews 3:7-15, Hebrews 4:7). No one who knows Jesus wants that. So, it just makes sense to remember God doesn’t owe us an explanation for every little thing and just obey already. 

What do the “Harsh” Passages in the Bible Teach us about Dealing with Hurt and Pain?

Let me not be put to shame, Lord, for I call upon You; Let the wicked be put to shame, let them be silent in Sheol. Let the lying lips be speechless. Which speak arrogantly against the righteous with pride and contempt- Psalm 31:17-18 NASB

About eighteen months ago I went through a situation that was ugly and unjust by any human standard.


 I will not be spilling the tea on all the details, suffice it to say it was a terrible deal that created a lot of unpleasant ripples in my life.  In the immediate aftermath I found myself completely shell-shocked and heartbroken by a situation I had zero control over.  


I did something I have only done twice in my Christian life and only under the direst of emotional and spiritual circumstances: I cried out to the Lord and asked Him to give me comfort from His word. Then I opened my Bible fully expecting it to open to exactly what I needed in that moment. 

For the record, this is not a method I recommend.  It is certainly not the greatest way to discern God’s will, obtain answers to life’s greatest questions or even get comfort from Gods word. There’s a lot that could go wrong with this technique. The devil could certainly produce all kinds of mayhem with this sort of spiritual practice. Discernment is critical; therefore, this is NOT a spiritual practice I support as standard part of one’s devotional routine. 

All that being said:

 God is good and He deals graciously with His people where they are at in the moment. In that moment I felt overwhelmed, crushed in spirit and in desperate need of comfort. I needed to know God saw me and understood my situation. I wanted more than anything in the world to believe He was on my side. The Bible fell open to Psalm 35. Psalm 35 is a part of a collection of psalms known as the imprecatory or cursing psalms.  Following are the first eight verses: 

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
Fight against those who fight against me.
Take hold of buckler and shield
And rise up as my help.Draw also the spear and the battle-axe to meet those who pursue me;
Say to my soul, “I am your salvation.”Let those be ashamed and dishonored who seek my life;
Let those be turned back and humiliated who devise evil against me.
Let them be like chaff before the wind,
With the angel of the Lord driving them on.Let their way be dark and slippery,
With the angel of the Lord pursuing them.
For they hid their net for me without cause;
Without cause they dug a pit for my soul.

Let destruction come upon him when he is unaware,
And let the net which he hid catch him;
Let him fall into that very destruction.

I will not lie.

That psalm was a salve to my weary, confused and broken soul. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was seen, understood and loved by the God of the universe. At that moment I felt like God got me and He truly cared about the details of my situation. 


It also raised a few questions in my mind. I had read the imprecatory psalms before but never really thought much about what those psalms mean for Christians. Like most Christians I have been taught to forgive, forget, let go of hurt and pain and trust God to deal with things in His way and timing (Romans 12:10, Matthew 6:12, Matthew 18:21-22, Luke 6:37). The whole notion God would be okay with me asking Him to fight for me and bring humiliation on my enemies was a bit appalling even in the state I was in. 

There are a total of twenty imprecatory psalms. The primary purpose of these psalms is to make a an appeal to God for judgment or to call down curses on one’s enemies. The New Testament assumes Christians will have have enemies (Matthew 5:43-44, Luke 19:43). Therefore, imprecatory passages are not unique to the book of Psalms or even the Old Testament. Jesus even quoted two precatory psalms (John 2:17, John 15:25).  Matthew 11:2-24, Matthew 23:33, Matthew 26:24, 1st Corinthians 16:22, Galatians 1:8-9, James 5:1-6 and Revelation 6:10 are all New Testament examples of imprecatory New Testament passages. 

So. Why would the Bible call down curses on people?

These passages have a greater purpose that just calling down curses on the jerks who hurt us. These passages are gift to us. They prove beyond a shadow of a doubt God sees our suffering and painThere are times when it can feel as if God is AWOL in the most critical of situations. When we are cheated, slandered or hurt by someone and nothing awful happens to the people who harmed us it FEELS as if God is ignoring our situation. The imprecatory passages remind us God SEES everything. There is no act of injustice, unfairness or inequality that is overlooked or ignored by God. The existence of these psalms serve as a much-needed reminder cares about our pain. God cares so much about our pain that He records the tears of the righteous on a scroll and stores their tears in bottles (Psalm 56:8, Isaiah 25:8, Psalm 116:7-9). 

There is a lot of comfort in that knowledge.

Each imprecatory passage reminds us God is not sitting idly by, twiddling His thumbs while terrible people do terrible things. Justice delayed does not mean justice denied. God is the author of justice. When the timing is perfect God will right every wrong and avenge every misdeed (Revelation 20:11-15, Jude 5-7, 2nd Peter 2:4-10). David authored many of imprecatory psalms as he was running from Saul and living as an outlaw. Each one stands as a reminder that God has a way of turning hopeless, painful, awful situations around in His timing. 

Ultimately, I believe the imprecatory passages to give Christians a healthy place to vent our pain to the one who understands it most and is most horrified by it. It’s critical to note, each one of the imprecatory psalms reaches a turning point in the lament where the author moves from cursing his enemies to expressing peace with the situation and faith God will deal with evil-doers appropriately. When read with faith the imprecatory psalms take us to the same place. 

How Does a Christian Make a Difference in a “Day of Evil”?

 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is- Ephesians 5:15-17 NIV

How should a Christian live? 

 It’s a critical question serious Christians have been asking themselves and each other since the dawn of the Christian age. It’s also a question I have found myself pondering more frequently and with a greater sense of urgency. Anytime I pray about the times we live in and where we are headed two words come immediately to mind. Every. Single. Time.

Short and evil. 

My gut and all indications point to the reality that the time left maybe short and the days we live in are becoming progressively more evil. I don’t know if Jesus is coming back tomorrow, two decades from now or in a century. I do know we are closer now to Jesus’ return than we have ever been (2nd Timothy 3:1-5, 2nd Peter 3:2-3, Matthew 24). It’s simply a fact that the times we live in are more evil and much stranger than they have been since Jesus left the earth (Acts 1:3-9).    

War in the Middle East, economic turmoil, increased barbarity, sexual chaos,  gender lunacy, ceaseless social skirmishes and political machinations all point to a world in rapid and possibly irretrievable decline. Every square inch of our planet is crying out for the redemption Jesus will bring when He returns and restores all things to their pre-fall condition (Romans 8:18-25). 

Until then we are in a war for the hearts, minds and souls of people (Ephesians 6:12-13). I am convinced in the coming days the church will see a great harvest of souls in the midst of growing evil and increasing social chaos. People will come to know Jesus, lives will be changed and destinies will be rewritten. How we choose to conduct ourselves now and in the coming years will greatly impact our level of usefulness to the Lord (Acts 2:16-18). Because we live in such critical times we have a real opportunity to make our lives matter in a significant way for eternity. But, in order to do that we must wake up every day and choose to:

Live as called people-

The Greek word for church is ekklesia. Ekklesia is a compound word with a prefix and a root. The prefix is ek, meaning “out of”.  The root is a form of the word kaleo meaning “to call”. The word church literally means “called out ones”. Christians are called people. We are called by Jesus out of our old way of life into a new life in Christ where our primary function is to tell the world about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (1st Corinthians 5:17, Romans 11:29, Ephesians 4:1, 2nd Thessalonians 1:10-12). The exact particulars of how we fulfill our calling depends on our giftings and the opportunities God gives us (Romans 12:3-8) Our success or failure in the area of calling depends primarily on how we see ourselves and the purpose of our lives. Are we here to gratify our own desires and to live for our own glory? Or are we called out for the purpose of glorifying God and proclaiming His truth? 

Be ready to give an answer- 

The world is growing darker and scarier all the time. Individuals who have never thought much about God find themselves experiencing anxiety over world events and never-ending social upheaval. Many of these individuals are seeking answers from people they never have before. Christians should be ready to use discussions about current events as a jumping off place to talk about Jesus, where all this is headed, faith in Jesus and what will happen to those who refuse to put their faith in Jesus (1st Peter 4:5, 1st Peter 3:15).  God is opening doors for spiritual conversation. It is up to us to make the most of these opportunities (Colossians 4:5-7)

Leave behind pride and selfishness-

Over the course of the last few years a spirit of competitiveness and kingdom building has taken root in the hearts of Christians and Christian leaders. A spirit of unity is missing in churches. This is simply unacceptable (Ephesians 4:1-3, Colossians 3:13-14). There is simply no place for pride, jealously or selfishness in these times (Galatians 5:13-26). There is too much at stake to waste time on such short-term thinking. 

Live filled with the Holy Spirit-

The Greek word Jesus used for the Holy Spirit in the book of John is parakletos. It means “advocate”, “helper”, “intercessor”, “counselor” and “comforter”.  The Holy Spirit is a gift given at salvation. Its purpose is to teach, help, comfort and guide God’s people as they do His will in this world (John 14:26, 1st Peter 1:12, 1st Thessalonians 1:5). Sadly, many Christians ignore or minimize the importance of the Holy Spirit out of fear of “being weird”. Being filled with the Holy Spirit isn’t weird, it’s biblical (Ephesians 5:8-20). All we have to do is ask and God will give us fresh inpouring of the Spirit (Acts 4:23-31, Acts 13:8-10, Ephesians 3:14-19). Being filled with the Spirit daily gives us invaluable access to God’s wisdom, power, knowledge and insight. The Holy Spirit empowers us to live holy lives and do God’s will in our sphere of influence.

And finally, 

Be available. Our availability is what God wants most from His people right now. Be ready and willing to pray for a friend, hold a hand, answer a spiritual question, fill a need and God will use you for His glory.

Getting Free from the Grip of a Spiritual Stronghold-

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness- Ephesians 4:22-24 NIV

One definition of a stronghold is: fortress. A fortress is defined as a place of safety, shelter and protection. A spiritual stronghold is a place of safety (a fortress) in our lives where sin has shelter to grow and flourish. If left unchecked a spiritual stronghold will eventually control much of our lives, destroy our spiritual effectiveness and steal the joy of our salvation (Psalm 51:1-12).  Just about any sin can become a spiritual stronghold. Some of the more common strongholds are unforgiveness, lust, jealously, dishonesty, pride, greed, covetousness, insecurity, control and sexually immorality. 

 Christians are susceptible to spiritual strongholds because Christians live life in a place of tension. We are saved (redeemed by Jesus) but also at the same time still very much in the process of being saved. Jesus is our Lord, heaven is our home and the Holy Spirit lives in us. Nonetheless, all Christians still possess a sin nature and are therefore capable of becoming entangled in all sorts of sin (Hebrews 12:1). 

Prior to salvation people are literally powerless over the impulse to sin (Romans 7:21-24). The Bible calls our sinful compulsions “being a slave to sin”. Once a person puts their faith in Jesus they are no longer slaves to sin and do not have to sin (Romans 6:6, Romans 7:25, Romans 8:1-2). Nonetheless, because our sin nature is still a part of our operating system Satan is able to set up shop in particular areas of our life and run the show. The Bible calls this “giving the devil a foothold” (Ephesians 4:27). 

Sometimes a person is very cognizant of the spiritual strongholds in their lives. Other times they are almost entirely clueless to their existence.  For example: a Christian who is addicted to pornography is likely very aware they have a stronghold of lust impacting their life in a significant way. However, a person who has a problem with control, fear, pride or insecurity might not even see these spiritual strongholds as problems. We can be so deceived by sin we actually begin to believe our sinful stronghold is somehow a healthy and beneficial part of our personality. Many a control freak has convinced themselves their efforts to control others are “helpful” rather than sinful and harmful to themselves and others. Those who have sinful strongholds of insecurity, covetousness or fear can easily deceive themselves into believing they are watchful, cautious or wise rather than fearful, greedy or jealous. 


The roots of the strongholds can run deep, often going back to our childhood or early adult years.  Sometimes strongholds take root because we were sinned against in some way. Abusive or neglectful parents can sow the seeds in a child’s life for strongholds of insecurity, mistrust, control and fear. Exposure to pornography and sexually abuse often help form a stronghold of lust. Being sexually abused, neglected or exposed to pornography is not a sin—we are not responsible before God for the evil or stupid choices other people make. However, most people rarely turn to God to deal with hurt or trauma. Instead we turn to sin in an effort to numb our pain and help us cope with life without God. We are very much responsible for those choices.

Strongholds can also be a consequence of sinful choices we make all on our own. A person can have an idyllic childhood and still have a myriad of sinful strongholds in their life. Anytime we willfully chose to do wrong instead of right we harden our hearts, give the devil a foothold and make space for Satan to construct a stronghold in our lives. 

Any stronghold can be broken. 

Christians are never condemned to live a life of sin. John 8:36 is clear: those who the son sets free are free indeed. This verse means no one who knows Jesus as Lord has to be a slave to sin. 

That being said.

 It is critical we understand Satan’s number one goal for all people is to keep them from entering a relationship with Jesus Christ. If he cannot meet that goal, he will do his best to keep Christians bound up in sinful behaviors that limit their effectiveness and steal their joy. Once Satan has been given space to build a stronghold he does not give up that ground easily. All that to say: it is never easy to break a stronghold but it is one-hundred-percent possible (Matthew 19:36). 

In order to get free from a stronghold we must first acknowledge strongholds for what they are. We cannot make excuses for our sinful behaviors or attitudes by saying or thinking things like:

 “I was born this way” 

“This is just a part of my personality” 

“All abuse victims do this”

 “Everyone in my family acts like this”

Instead we must confess our sin as sin. It does not matter how our stronghold got its start. All that matters is what we do now. Once a sin is confessed to God we must invite God into our struggles through prayer.  We should pray first thing and throughout the day the Holy Spirit gives us the power needed to overcome our strongholds.  Inviting the God of the universe into our battle against sin deepens our relationship with Him and gives us the super natural power to overcome our struggles with sin. 

And finally, if we really want to break a stronghold, we must make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:12-14). Instead we must do whatever needs to be done to obey God in everything (John 3:36, Romans 6:16), then freedom will be ours. 

How Does God use Persecution Suffering and Trouble for Good?

We celebrate in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope- Romans 5:2b-4 NASB

Suffering is ubiquitous in this life (John 16:33, 1st Peter 4:12).   Every human irrespective of race, socio-economic status or religious affiliation will suffer in some way


The Bible tells us humans suffer because we live in a world that was broken by sin, rebellion and evil. When Adam and Eve chose to blow off God, go their own way and do their own thing they did way more than become free moral agents, they opened the door wide for sin, evil and suffering to enter the world (Genesis 3:1-24). Misery, pain and difficulty have been hard-baked into the human condition ever since. For people who don’t know Jesus suffering just sucks. This life is a whole lot of pain with no real promise of hope or gain. In a good many cases life just sucks and then you die (Ecclesiastes 2:17).  Christians have hope beyond the hardness of this life. God does not cause suffering but He will (if we let Him) use it as a force for good in our lives (Romans 8:28, Romans 8:38-39).  

Here’s how it works:

God uses suffering to take us from one place to another- 

Oftentimes God uses suffering, persecution and trouble to take His people out of a less-than-productive but comfortable spiritual situation into a far less comfortable but much-more-productive spiritual situation.   Such was the case with the early church. The early days of Christianity were in many ways idyllic. The early Christians love for Jesus and each other enabled them to create a beautiful little faith community where everyone was loved and cared for (Acts 2:42-47). Nonetheless, early Christians did little (like no) evangelizing outside of the Jewish community (Acts 2-7).  If it hadn’t been for some really nasty persecution Christianity would likely have remained a small sect of Judaism. It would have likely died out by the end of the first century. The stoning of Stephan and the persecution that followed changed the trajectory of Christianity forever. That awful event forced Christians out of their idyllic existence (Acts 8:1) and as a direct result of their suffering the gospel spread all over the world. If you are a gentile Christian you have directly benefitted from their hardship. God does the same thing today. Oftentimes, persecution, personal tragedy or job loss is a catalyst for change that brings about a whole new level of spiritual usefulness in our lives.

God uses sinful behavior to reveal spiritual truth to the sinner-

 God does not make anyone treat anyone else badly. However, the way people behave reveals a lot about who they really are and what they’re all about. Such was the case with Saul. Saul was rejected by God as King (1st Samuel 15), then over the course of the next ten to fifteen years Saul caused David to suffer horribly by treating him very badly. When it was all said and done everyone (including Saul) knew he one-hundred-percent deserved to be rejected as King.  God uses bad behavior as mirror to help individuals see their sin. What they do with that knowledge is entirely up to them. All we are responsible for in these situations is our own response. We can respond like David did and allow difficult situations to refine us and prepare us for the next big blessing or we can become just like the jerks who hurt us (Ephesians 4:26, Hebrews 12:15, Ephesians 4:30-31). 

Suffering produces wisdom-

Suffering and hardship cuts through the noise of life and makes us aware of all the things that really matter in life.  Suffering, pain and hardship cause us to cry out to God for help and wisdom in a way we just don’t in times of prosperity and ease. Anytime we ask God for wisdom two things happen: He gives it in abundance without finding fault and we grow closer to Him (Psalm 57:1-3, James 1:5, Proverbs 2:3-6)

Our suffering has the power to make us like Jesus- 

Suffering is hard. There is literally nothing fun about it. That being said, suffering is what makes us more like Jesus. In fact, suffering even made Jesus better (Hebrews 2:9-10, Hebrews 2:18, Hebrews 5:7-9) Suffering made Jesus more obedient, more able to sympathize with the pain of others, and more able to comfort the hurting (2ndCorinthians 1:5). Ultimately, it was Jesus’ suffering that gave Him glory in His resurrection (Luke 24:25-26, Romans 8:17) If we let it suffering does the same things for us that it did for Jesus. Suffering makes us better, kinder, more sympathetic and it gives us a better resurrection (Hebrews 11:35-38, Philippians 3:10-11, Revelation 20:6). 

We control how we respond to suffering.

We can shake our fists at God. We can let our personal pain transform us into harsh, angry, haters. Or we can allow God to take our suffering and transform us into something beautiful and precious. Faith is the key to becoming something beautiful in the midst of hardship. Hebrews eleven tells of those who lived by faith. All suffered. All were confused by their circumstances. Some were flogged and tortured. Some were imprisoned. Some even died for their faith. 

In spite of their circumstances the heroes of Hebrews eleven held tenaciously to the belief God is good. God’s assessment of these people is that they were so good and pure and beautiful this world was  literally not worthy of their presence. They trusted God with their suffering and He transformed them into spiritual gold. 

God is still in the business of doing beautiful things with hard situations.

Four Ways Humans Abuse, Misuse and/or Cheapen Grace-

Do to others as you would have them do to you- Luke 6:31 NIV

Grace is a big stinking deal. Grace is central to the Christian faith and vital to all Christian theology. Without the doctrine of grace there is literally no Christianity.


Grace is the word we use to describe God’s love for human beings and His mercy towards their sin (Ephesians 1:3-8, Ephesians 2:1-5). Grace is sometimes defined as “God’s unmerited favor”. There is nothing wrong with defining grace as favor, however grace is much more than simple favor, kindness or approval. God’s grace is best understood by what it does for us. God manifested His grace in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus died in the place of all humans so no human would be forced to pay the penalty (eternal separation from God) for their own sin.  Jesus got death so humans can, if they so choose, have grace (forgiveness, leniency, mercy) for their sins. God gifts grace to human beings who put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ and repent or turn away from their sins (Matthew 3:8, Acts 3:19, Acts 17:24-31). No one can earn grace through good works (Galatians 5:4). People just aren’t that good (Romans 3:23). Grace is a gift God gives those who choose faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:21, Hebrews 11:6).  

It has become a common feature of our Christian vernacular to say we ought to “give grace” or be “given grace”. This simply means we think someone should give or be given a break (leniency) for a sin or not be judged too harshly for something.  There is nothing wrong with looking at grace from this perspective. Grace is not just something we get. Grace is something we give to others. Once a sinful human has experienced the joy and peace that comes from being forgiven by God that sinful human is expected to turn around and extend the same favor to others and forgive like God forgives (Matthew 6:12-15).

All the wonders of grace aside, like all good things in life, the whole concept of grace can and sometimes is abused. We can misuse grace. We can cheapen grace. When grace is abused, cheapened or misunderstood Christianity becomes confusing to non-Christians and the Holy Spirit is grieved (Ephesians 4:30). Following are four common ways grace and be abused, exploited or misapplied: 

When we do not understand or care about the price paid for grace- 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote an entire book condemning the whole notion of “cheap grace”. We cheapen grace when we choose to live as if God puts no boundaries around Christian behavior (Ephesians 5:1-7, Hebrews 12:14, 2ndCorinthians 7:1).  Cheap grace is the belief people should be able to sin all they want as willfully as they please and then just assume grace will cover their premeditated, willful sin. This kind of thinking (whether conscience or subconscious) is a form of spiritual entitlement that clearly shows the person does not understand the high price that was paid for their sin and as a result, they do not value or understand grace (Luke 22-23).   

When we demand it from others as if it is owed to us-

Everyone wants to be extended grace (leniency for wrong behavior). However, any time a person demands grace from another there is a pretty good chance they are demanding it precisely because they have in some way violated the command to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31) or as James puts it: the “royal law of love” (Mark 12:31, James 2:8). It is categorically not okay for a Christian to have an affair, abuse their kids, slander someone or break any of the ten commandments and then loudly and proudly play the “you owe me grace” card. That is a clear violation of the law of love and an abuse of grace. 

When we stop being shocked by it-

The whole concept of grace should amaze us. Seriously. It should knock our socks off and blow our minds. The whole notion God (or anyone else) would simply let something as serious as sin go without some sort of punishment or at the very least a sternly worded lecture is stunning and beautiful and mind blowing. When we stop being shocked God (or anyone else) would forgive our sins there’s a decent chance we are taking advantage of the kindness of God and others. 

When we refuse to extend it- 

No one should ever sin intentionally and then demand grace. However, when we are forgiven we become fully capable of extending grace (forgiveness, kindness, favor) to others. Refusing to give someone else the gift of grace we have been given freely is in many ways the ultimate abuse of the gift of grace (Matthew 18:21-35). 

God’s grace is an amazing gift. Grace is amazing partly because it is about more than simple forgiveness. Grace does save us from the penalty of sin and death, but once we are saved grace becomes an empowering force in our lives that enables us to do more and endure more than we could ever imagine (2nd Corinthians 12:9, Acts 4:33, Acts 6:8). Grace gives us the power to live a holy life and fully obey God (Titus 2:11-12). Grace empowers us to forgive the unforgivable. Grace allows us to love the unlovable and live as Jesus lived. We show our gratitude for this gift by managing it well and extending it often. 

Is it Stupid and Selfish to have Kids in such a Messed-up World?

You have set your glory in the heavens.Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger- Psalm 8:1b-2 NIV

In recent weeks I have come across a plethora of articles all with a shared theme. Each one features women and/or men who have either: 

  1. Chosen not to have children. These folks universally feel really awesome about their decision and think everyone should do the same.


  • Chosen to have children and wish they hadn’t.

These articles are not a once in a blue moon kind of a thing. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t see a testimonial from someone who either wishes they had never had children or someone who is thrilled beyond words to be childless. Statistics prove this trend is not a figment of my imagination. In 2021 the birthrate fell by five percentage points to the lowest in a century. The birthrate continued to drop in 2022. The 2023 birthrate appears to be on track for another drop.

There are a couple of things that trouble me about this development.  First of all, our willingness as a society to allow these articles to be published reveals a disquieting approval of both callous and narcissistic behavior.  I, for one, cannot imagine the deep personal trauma I would have experienced if I had just happened to find an article written by my mother all about how giving birth to me was her supreme regret in life. I do not think I am extraordinarily sensitive to feel this way. In a culture obsessed with personal trauma, one would think there would be an understanding that these feelings (as real and valid as they may be) should never be made public or spoken of within earshot of the child. Period. 

Furthermore, parenthood is an onramp to adulthood that causes human beings to think deeply about issues outside themselves. When a young person becomes a parent, all of a sudden they begin to care a great deal about how their beliefs, political views, relational interactions and spending habits will affect future generations. I cannot help but wonder: if a majority are no longer having children will most of society stay stuck in a state of perpetual adolescence? Will enough people be capable of thinking about future generations to keep society from spiraling out of control? Seriously. This is real stuff we should think about. 

There are some practical reasons for this trend. 

The economy sucks. Life is far more expensive than at any point in my lifetime. Many large corporations have become greedy (James 5:4, Malachi 3:5). They are cutting back on employees and expecting the remaining employees to work harder and smarter for less money and fewer benefits. Inflation has made it nearly impossible for a family to survive on one income. The cost of housing in many areas makes it difficult to survive on even a “decent” salary. 

Those issues combined with higher societal expectations about what constitutes “being comfortable” and “financial stability” has made childlessness more attractive to many people. Others have delayed marriage to focus on educational and career goals, or because they have struggled to find a suitable partner. There is without question an expiration date on female fertility. Postponing childbearing will mean childlessness for some people. Additionally, people have become much more self-focused. Taking care of the needs of others and acting selflessly are thought to be at best, a bit silly, and at worst a sign of mental illness. Self-care, me-time and cutting toxic people out of our lives are believed to be the apex of good emotional health. Unfortunately, kids (especially young kids) are naturally kind of toxic (Proverbs 24:15, Proverbs 29:15). Furthermore, me-time is in short supply in the early years of childhood. In a civilization where selfishness is thought to be a virtue a falling birthrate is almost inevitable. 

 There is a spiritual reason as well. 

Christianity teaches every human life is sacred. Humans, regardless of age, social status or physical health are to be cherished and cared for because human beings are made in the image of God. Without the imago deo life is only sacred if we want it to be sacred.  Without the imago deo all of a sudden “being human” is a terrible thing. After all, humans are draining, they use resources and sometimes they just kind of suck. This reality makes procreation a selfish act rather than obedience to the command to “be fruitful and increase in number” (Genesis 1:28). As a result, the earth becomes more important than the people on it. One of the weirder consequences of this belief system is the insistence humans do dehumanizing things in order to atone for their humanness. This is one reason why there is a demand for people to live in smaller, less comfortable conditions and eat bugs. Many believe humans are bad. Therefore, humans should be punished for being human.  Humans should live in cramped apartments, never experience the joy of parenthood, feast on creepy-crawlies and be happy about it.

Unfortunately, the anti-kid movement will only worsen the condition of our world. It will make people more selfish, less future focused and increase depression. Christians can help change this trend by celebrating children, making family a priority and flat refusing to jump on the “kids are bad” bandwagon. As we choose to live obediently to Scripture the world will see a quality of life in Christianity that will make them thirst for “The Living Water” (John 4:1-24) and giver of life.

What is Christian Freedom and why does what we do with it Matter?

  “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor- 1st Corinthians 10:23-24 RSV 

What is Christian freedom exactly? 

Most Americans tend to see freedom as a God-given right to do what we want to do when we want to do it. Freedom means making our own rules and forging our own path in this world.  Freedom is being unrestricted by tyranny and oppression. Because those definitions are relatively squishy, we all get to decide for ourselves what is and is not tyrannical and oppressive. Most human beings (myself included) tend to define anything we don’t like or want to do as tyrannical and oppressive. 

When the word freedom is preceded by the word Christian all of a sudden freedom becomes less cut and dried. Anyone walking in step with the Holy Spirit knows deep down inside, Christianity was never intended to be an “anything goes” kind of a deal. Christians are commanded to live a life of holiness (1st Peter 1:16). God’s definition of holiness inevitably places constraints on what we do and don’t do (Colossians 3:1-14, Hebrews 12:14, James 1:21, 2nd Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 5:3). 


It’s also true, Christianity was never intended to be a straight-jacket of legalistic does and don’ts. Freedom is critical to Christianity because without it all the joy, beauty and fun of being in relationship with the living God is sucked out of the Christian experience. We are left with a cold, powerless religious shell that sucks for everyone. 


 It’s also critical we understand legalism rarely happens in a vacuum.  Oftentimes legalism is a reaction to a Romans 6:1 approach some believers take towards sin and grace. There are Christians who sincerely believe sin is no big deal because God’s grace will abound no matter what. 


How we parse this one out matters.

A lot. 

It matters because how we choose to use (or abuse) our Christian freedom will determine how we live. How we live will determine whether or not we make a positive impact or a negative impact on our little corner of the world. The footprint we leave on this world ultimately determines how much or how little we please the Lord and how many people we take to heaven with us (Matthew 25:14-30, 1st Peter 1:15-16, Jude 22-23, 2nd Timothy 4:1-3). 

Truth-be-told Christians are healthiest, happiest and most wise when we focus more on can and should rather than do and don’t in Christian walk. Paul says it like this: 

I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive- 1st Corinthians 10:23

Christians CAN do anything. We can sin. We can lie. We can skirt the edges of morality.  We can treat people like garbage. We can look at porn. We can go against every bit of wisdom found in the Bible concerning relationships. We can behave like absolute idiots. We can run our perfectly good lives into the dirt if we want to. If stupidity and bad choices are our jam we have the freedom to pursue that course with our whole heart and soul. God will be disappointed but He will not put up a lot of roadblocks. We might get a warning from a friend, hear a sermon that convicts or read a scripture that stings. We will feel guilty for a season but eventually our consciences will simmer down and we will feel perfectly fine with our choices. As much as God loves us and wants the best for us He will not stop us from doing what we want to do because He’s a gentleman and we have been gifted with freewill.  

Freewill means freedom. 


When Christians choose to sin willfully there are consequences and not one of them is pleasant or life-giving. We can do anything. However, all the things we can do but shouldn’t do create pain for ourselves and others, bondage and spiritual strongholds. A stronghold created by Christian due to willful premeditated sin is always much harder to break. A non-Christian who sins out of ignorance and later repents will have a much easier time getting free of whatever stronghold was created by their sin. Its critical New Testament believers understand there was no sacrifice in the Old Testament for intentional premeditated sin (Leviticus 4:2-24, Leviticus 5:15-18, Numbers 15:22-28). Like the Israelites, Christians live in a conventual relationship with God (Luke 22:20, Hebrews 8:6-8, Hebrews 9:15). One key difference between the Old and the New Covenant is the New Covenant designed to remove the power sin has over us, the Old Covenant could only cover the guilt of sin. Christians are not slaves to sin (Romans 6:6-22). Purposefully sinning in a conventual relationship expressly created to remove the power sin has over us is stupid. 

Stupid has consequences. 

Paul says this about Christians and willful sin:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery- Galatians 5:1

The truly beautiful thing about being “in Christ” is that we have the freedom not to sin. We can choose to say “no” and avoid the pain and misery of sin by choosing to do what we should do with our lives (2nd Peter 1:5-9, Colossians 3:1-17, Ephesians 4:1-32)

Andy Stanley Strikes Again-

They do not know nor do they understand; They walk around in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are shaken- Psalm 82:5 NASB

We live in an age of crumbling foundations (Psalm 11:3-4). 

Beliefs and doctrinal views once thought to be foundational to Christianity and one-hundred-percent settled in evangelical circles are now “up for debate”.  Once trusted sources of truth are leading the way in questioning previously settled issues of the faith.  Thanks to these blind guides many Christians are asking themselves the question: “did God really say that?” about a myriad of different topics (Matthew 15:14). 

 Andy Stanley, the lead Pastor at Northpoint Community Church in suburban Atlanta is an evangelical leader who bills himself as a conservative while actively attacking foundational truths of the faith. In past statements, interviews, books and sermons he has poked at the foundation of biblical inerrancy. In my opinion he has displayed a lack of respect for the Bible, even recommending Christians minimize the use of Scripture in witnessing and church services in the name of making Christianity “more accessible” to non-Christians.

As if. 

As a general rule, I make a point of criticizing ideas rather than people. It is not my intention to pile on anyone. My aim here is to report the news and clear up any misconceptions about what the Bible has to say concerning issues. You the reader get to decide what you think about said issues.  

So here goes:

Andy Stanley’s church is sponsoring a conference billed as the premier event for Christian parents with LGBTQ children. The marketing material for the conference encourages Christians to “stop taking sides” and find a quieter “middle space” on the issues of homosexuality and gender identity. The speakers chosen for the event include two men who are married to other men and a “theologian” who has “deconstructed” his views on homosexuality and come out the other side convinced the Bible is A-Okay with homosexuality as long as the relationships are “committed and loving”. 

Here’s the thing:

There is no such thing as a “middle space” when it comes to homosexuality and the Bible.  Nor is there an honest middle space or a path to neutrality concerning gender identity. The Bible is unequivocal about a number of different topics: homosexuality and gender are two of them (Genesis 1:26-27, Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Deuteronomy 23:17-18, Romans 1:26, 1st Corinthians 6:9, 1st Timothy 1:9-10). 


In recent years it has become popular to insist: a) the Bible does not really say what it appears to say about homosexuality. b) The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah had nothing to do with homosexuality. c) The Biblical text was changed by overzealous scholars sometime around 1800 to make it more condemning of homosexuality. d) Jesus never mentioned homosexuality. Therefore, it is okay under the New Covenant as long as the relationships are consensual, loving and committed.  

None of those views hold up to scrutiny. 

The sin of Sodom was a combination of sexual sin (homosexuality) coupled with a general disregard for the well-being of people (Genesis 19). Leviticus has always been condemning of all sorts of sexual behavior including homosexuality. No one has rewritten the New Testament or misinterpreted any of the Greek words. The Bible says what it says when it comes to sexual sin (not just homosexuality). It is true, Jesus is silent on the issue of homosexuality. However, to Jews homosexuality was a settled issue. Homosexuality was forbidden and the Jews universally agreed it was a sin. There was little point in discussing a settled issue the Jewish people had right. Jesus did tackle divorce, remarriage, the sabbath and myriad of other issues the Jewish people had gotten wrong.  Paul was not silent on homosexuality. This makes sense, he was the apostle to the gentiles. Many gentiles routinely practiced homosexuality. Homosexuality was far from a settled issue in Rome, Greece or Asia Minor.  For more information on these topics I highly recommend The Gay Gospel? By Joe Dallas and What does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality by Kevin DeYoung. Both authors treat the subject biblically while showing compassion for strugglers. 

All that being said: 

I have no idea what the unpardonable sin is. However, I do know it’s NOT homosexuality (Isaiah 1:18, 1stCorinthians 6:9-11, 2nd Corinthians 5:17, 1st John 3:2-4). God does not classify sinners. As far as He is concerned an unsaved person is an unsaved person and a repentant sinner is a repentant sinner. Christians should not treat homosexuality differently than they treat any other sin. All sinners looking for a relationship with Jesus and seeking a lifestyle of repentance should be welcomed into the family of God and loved as if they were Jesus Himself (Mark 9:41, Matthew 25:31-45). 

All that being said:

The church should never embrace an activity God forbids just because its socially expedient to do so. That just might be the working definition of giving the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:27). 

And finally:

 There are few people in the church today who feel more isolated or who are more in need of love and support more than Christian parents of LGBTQ kids. I know this because I volunteer a good chunk of my time with two different organizations who offer support groups for parents with LGBTQ kids. If you are a parent with an LGBTQ child or know someone who is. I suggest you skip Andy Stanley’s conference and look up Portland Fellowship instead ( Portland Fellowship offers excellent in-person and on-line Bible-based support for parents. All support is designed to help parents love their children well without affirming ungodly choices because that is the path Christians are called to.

The Good-News Bad-News about the Abortion Guy-

 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires- 2nd Peter 3;3 NIV

A couple of years back I wrote a blogpost (a true story) about a parent who legally married their biological child. Because both the father the daughter were adults and the duo had no means to conceive children (the dad/husband had a vasectomy). The state of New York felt it was entirely reasonable to bless the incestuous union between a parent and their biological child.

At the time, I really could not imagine:

A. So few people would seem to care. I anticipated frothy moral outrage. I envisioned enraged individuals protesting angrily in the streets with pitchforks and torches. It didn’t happen. It turned out to be a great big nothing sandwich from a moral outrage perspective. 

Or that,

B. Society could possibly hit a lower low. I figured that was it. Jesus would either show up in no time or society would implode and we would have to start over. I immediately began hording food in anticipation of the apocalypse. I still have the food and Jesus has yet to appear.


C. We would hit a new low in record time. 

But we did it.

Last week, a news outlet aired a video of a man sharing his fondest wish with the world. This man dreams of medically transitioning into a woman, having a uterus and ovary transplant, then conceiving a child. He is not interested in experiencing the miracle of pregnancy or the joy of giving birth to a child. Nor does he care anything about having a sweet little tyke of his own raise. He just wants to be the first trans woman to have an abortion. He sincerely hopes his plan will leave “all the transphobes and homophobes scratching their heads”. 

I have no doubt it will. 

The good news is his fantasy is just that: a sad, little fantasy with no basis in reality. At this point, it is medically impossible to do what he wants done. The bad news is there is zero doubt in my mind that there is a squad of doctors and scientists working around the clock to make his dreams come true.


I had an argument with God over whether or not to write about this particular topic. I felt a nudging I was pretty sure was from the Holy Spirit, but to be perfectly honest, I just didn’t want to. Mostly because I’m tired of writing screeds about the moral collapse of our dumpster-fire culture. The lack of moral outrage over clearly outrageous situations and the continuing downward spiral of society is discouraging, to say the least. 

I would rather just about the Bible. 

However. As I was praying/arguing with God about this week’s topic, it occurred to me there is an irrefutable bright-side to this ugly Romans 1:18-32 story. This guy who wants to become a girl so he can have an abortion has laid the groundwork for a very cogent argument for why God prohibits sexual immorality. 

When our culture eagerly hopped on the sexual revolution bandwagon back in the early 1960’s no one could have possibly predicted we would end up here.  Don’t get me wrong. This is not the end. God has a long history of being slow to judge even the most horrifying cultures (Genesis 15:12-16). Consequently, I have a hunch there are many more (and much weirder) stops on the road to hell we have embarked on.  I do know that without God’s intervention we can absolutely, assuredly expect more, not less of this sort of moral chaos.  


This development makes a great case for biblical sexual ethics. Even many non-Christians who are resolutely pro-abortion find the idea of anyone becoming pregnant for the solitary purpose of aborting the “product of conception” morally repugnant. It’s just skeezy and depraved. The lengths this man fantasizes about going to takes the skeeziness to a whole new level.  

This ugly muddle creates a spiritual opportunity.

This is the perfect time to help our unsaved friends and family understand two things. First, God is smarter than we are. Second, God didn’t forbid sexual immorality because He’s a killjoy jerk. God forbids sexual immorality because He can see the end from the beginning. Therefore, He understands way better than we do that immorality is always progressive (Romans 1:17-32). Once the depravity train leaves the station it just keeps rolling and there’s no telling where the conductor (Satan) will take it. In ancient pagan cultures people would commit sexual acts as a form of “worship” and then burn the children who resulted from those acts on an altar to the god Moloch.  God knew way back in the 1960’s when the arguments for loosening moral restraints around sexuality were being made we would eventually land us here.

This dumpster-fire culture will not be changed through legal means. That ship has sailed. The Dobbs decision proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that rolling back a law changes nothing.   No manmade edict can or will change anyone’s heart or mind on sexuality (homo or hetero), abortion, gender or any other moral or cultural issue. 


We can have conversations with our friends, family and colleagues about the wisdom of God and where ignoring it inevitably lands us. Who knows enough of those conversations and we might see a glimmer of hope shining through the madness?