Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Holocaust:  "any mass slaughter or reckless destruction of life" (

Last evening, I had the fascinating opportunity to listen to Esther Bauer speak about her survival of the holocaust.  Her story puts flesh on the horrific events that happened in Europe during World War 2 by Nazi Germany.  Though she admits, her story isn't nearly as horrific as many that she has encountered or we have heard, it is still incredible to think about the compartmentalization that this woman had to do to survive such heinous events.  She spoke of the events in a very matter of fact tone, almost as if she was watching the events take place but not experiencing them.  As a person who has studied psychology extensively and been a counselor for several years, I can understand that this is sometimes necessary to survive events like these.  I value the time I had listening to this nearly 90 year old woman speak first-hand of these events. 

When she completed her story, she asked if there were any questions.  One young woman asked her something along the lines of, "Did these events affect your faith in God?" And her response (as close as I can remember) was gut-wrenching or gut-punching to use a word from my author friend.  "I am an atheist.  If I thought there was a God that would allow all of those horrible things to occur, then I would have to kill myself.  There's just good people and bad people. That's what I think."  There was silence . . . so many impressionable minds in the room and such bitterness.  To have lived a life of such unforgiveness also helps me understand why she had to compartmentalize so much. 

Please don't get me wrong. I don't blame her for her feeling that way--that is a natural human response.  She has every "right" humanly speaking to feel that way. 

The instant I heard her statement, God immediately impressed on me to pray for protection for the impressionable minds in the room and then more importantly, that Esther Bauer would know true liberation in her life.  She is physically liberated, but emotionally and spiritually in bondage. 

I don't want this blog to be an attack on Esther Bauer; it is not my intention at all!  What I do want you to remember is Forgiveness.  God forgave us all for far more than Esther Bauer endured.  While hanging on a cross, suffering the most grueling and cruel death, He said, "Father, forgive them because they do not know what they are doing."  (Luke 23:34)  We are the ones that put Him on the cross.  If we were not sinners, then He would not have had to endure that . . . and yet, He chose to.  We must forgive all the time . . . not just for our own sanity, but because He gave us the opportunity to accept His forgiveness of so much more.

Secondly, I want you to hear that things like the holocaust have happened all throughout history.  Read the Old Testament.  Sometimes God had the Israelites slaughtering people, and sometimes God had other people slaughtering the Israelites.  It was all in His plan.  He has a reason for everything that He allows.  We have a hard time with this because we can't think from an eternal, all-knowing perspective . . . we can only see ourselves.  It doesn't make sense to us, so we reject God.  He knows that many will reject Him.  His eternal purposes do not align with our human purposes/understanding.  Even in my comments above, why did God allow sin?  Maybe so we could learn to forgive others through modeling.  (I don't claim to know God's purpose in anything, it is just my finite mind trying to understand.)

I am sure that I have offended someone, and I hope you aren't offended to the degree that you won't at least consider what I have said.  I have done a lot of studying of Scripture, and God has taught me a great deal during my short life.  This is what I understand.  You are free to disagree with me, but as Esther Bauer said last night, "You can believe what you want, but this is how I believe."

(Side note:  Read some books by Viktor Frankl or Corrie Ten Boom or Deitrich Bonhoeffer to see how some people grew in their faith as a result of their experiences in the holocaust.)

Saturday, August 10, 2013

And the Pendulum Swings . . .

I grew up in a pretty legalistic environment. Everything was wrong from music that had emphasis on the wrong beat to skirts that were above the middle of the knee.  Strict, blind obedience was highly valued, asking questions to understand was rebellion.  So I played along, and I pleased the people.  The problem with this was that the goal they were shooting for was pleasing God.  I don't blame the environment too much because they were trying to create an environment safe from sin.  Unfortunately, God is concerned about our hearts.  He wants the behavior to be a result of a heart change not a rule change. 

When I moved to South Florida, I began to understand the freedom of grace and how much God loves me.  Without realizing it, I had developed an understanding of God being this big guy in the sky who loved me so much that He was waiting for me to step out of line so He could punish me. I began to learn that God really does love me.  He wasn't waiting for me to step out of line so He could punish me.  I began to grow in the knowledge of God's love for me.

And the pendulum began to swing . . . I went from a god waiting to punish my every move to a god that doesn't really care what I do.  It is funny how when the pendulum begins to swing, it is hard to stop it in the middle.  So it swung hard to the other side.

Over time, God has shown me that He truly does love me.  He is more concerned about my heart motives than my actions . . . however, my heart motives will control my actions.  He is concerned about my heart motives and the actions that result.  My pride will make me do things that seem good on the surface but are extremely fleshly . . . for instance, all of those years of following all the rules.  I wanted people to think highly of me, so I followed the rules:  pride.  I looked good to everyone around me, but it was all rooted in pride. 

The truth that I have to remember is:  GOD HATES SIN.  He cannot coexist with it.  He loved us so much, that He sent His son not only to die a painful death, but more importantly, to take on the sin of all mankind for all time.  He separated Himself from His son.  He put on His son the one thing that could separate them . . . so He could make a way for us sinful people to be with Him.  Jesus wasn't so concerned with the pain and agony of dying on a wooden cross (lesser men have sung praises to God as they were martyred).  He asked for the "cup to pass" (Matthew 26:39) to not have to be separated from His Father.  He knew what that really meant (Matthew 27:45-46). We don't get it. 

Side note: As I looked for a picture of Christ on the cross, many of the pictures were gorgeous with sunsets and beautiful clouds.  This painting seemed more realistic.  The sky was black in the middle of the day, and I often associate God's anger with thunder and lightning (though not necessarily; just an association that many of us make).

We sin and think little of it. Every time we sin, we should remember that Christ died and was separated from God for that "little white lie" or that slandering of another person or that envious heart, etc.

So what is my bottom line?  We serve a God Who loves us and demands holiness.  The love isn't all feel good, flowers, chocolate, cuddling . . . it is the deepest form of love there is.  Don't make God's love out to be similar to the way I love Reese's Peanut Butter cups or the way we see love on tv.  It isn't the same, but He does love you so much that He made a way for you to be with Him.

May you know the love of God more and more today and for eternity . . .

Thursday, June 20, 2013


I was talking to some friends on Sunday, and they were telling me a story about having a "funeral" for their bug that died.  The little boy told me he read a bible verse, and I asked him which one.  He said, "2 Timothy 1:7."  Knowing that verse very well, because I have needed it so much, I asked him, "What does that verse say?"  He said, " 2 Timothy 1:7, For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and sound mind."  I smiled as I enjoyed watching a young child remember God's Word.  It will probably stick with him for life. 

On Tuesday, we had some men come to put a new roof on our house.  I knew it was going to be loud, but I figured we would get used to it.  I never anticipated how much it would affect my dog, Max.  Now, you must understand we don't have children, and Max is our baby.  We tried desperately to calm him down as he barked and jumped at every noise.  He eventually stopped barking, but he had to be touching me or Miles, and his eyes and ears spoke volumes. He was scared to death.  He couldn't relax.  He was in a constant state of fear.  I hated watching the fear in his eyes.  It pained me to see that he couldn't relax.  So we spent the rest of the day and half of Wednesday trying to find places to take him where he could keep cool and be relaxed.  Poor guy was so exhausted on Tuesday night that he slept 12 hours straight! 

It is amazing how fear can wear us out.  It is amazing how it can paralyze us.  What amazed me even more than that was how much I hated seeing it in my helpless dog's eyes.  He couldn't understand, and I hurt for him.  This is just me and my dog.  I am certain this would be so much worse if it was your child. 

So I come back to 2 Timothy 1:7 . . . If I can't handle seeing fear in my dog, or a child, imagine how God feels. He gave us the answer to fear because fear doesn't come from Him, and many times we ignore what He has given us.  It must grieve Him so much!

God has given us power.  ". . . Greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world." (I Jn 4:4)  Believers have the ultimate power residing within them.  God has given us love through His son.  "Greater love has no one than this, that One lay down His life for His friends." (Jn 15:13) He has given us the greatest example of love.  God gave us a sound mind.  ". . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind." (Rom. 12:2).  He gave us a mind that can think clearly and rationally and with faith, and we can be transformed by it. 

So use those resources to fight off fear.  Fear is not from Him, and I am sure it grieves Him to see us in fear.   We should realize we are safe and have nothing to fear when our faith is in Him. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Center of the Universe

Geocentrism . . . the theory that the earth is the center of the universe.  It seemed to make sense at the time.  The sun rises and sets on the earth each day.  This theory was gradually proven wrong in the 16th century as we began to realize that the earth actually revolves around the sun which is heliocentrism.  Some things made much more sense when they realized that the sun is the center of the universe instead of the earth.

Egocentric . . . everything is about me and originates with me.  We are all, by nature, egocentric, I am the center of the universe.  We look at everything from our perspective.  How does this event, comment, person, truth, etc. affect me? 

One of the reasons it is hard to communicate biblical reality to modern, secular people is that the biblical mindset and the secular mindset move from radically different starting points.
What I mean by the secular mindset is not necessarily a mindset that rules God out or denies in principle that the Bible is true. It's a mindset that begins with man as the basic given reality in the universe. All of its thinking starts with the assumption that man has basic rights and basic needs and basic expectations. Then the secular mind moves out from this center and interprets the world, with man and his rights and needs as the measure of all things. *(Piper, 2012)
We, believers and unbelievers alike, need to understand that it isn't about us at all. It is all about God & His glory.  It is often difficult for us to accept things that we read in Scripture or that we see God doing around us, because we can't understand why God would allow that to happen to us or to our country.  We need to realize that things don't work out from an egocentric perspective, only from a Theocentric perspective . . . God is the center and Originator of all things.  Everything is about Him. 
Allow God to be your point of reference this year . . . things will make alot more sense.

*Piper, J.  (2012) Did Christ Die for Us or for God.