Saturday, October 27, 2012

Deja Vu all over again...

Job Chapter 11

Why do I feel like I know this guy, like he has given advice to me? He basically is saying that Job is full of b.s., and that Job should just listen to him. He even states, "God has even forgotten some of  your sin." Where does this come from? Did he just pull it from his behind? What line of thought does this come from, besides the line that says "this is what I want to believe?"

He asks Job if he can fathom the mysteries of God, and then proceeds to speak as if he can fathom the mysteries of God himself. It seems as if he want to boil the belief system down to the idea that if you just put away all evil, then life will be easy, you will have no problems with God or life. How is that working for anyone (besides Joel Osteen)?

The idea that I can live in comfort, that I need not fear God if I am doing right flies in the face of Scripture. Let's just think about Jonah here. He ran from God because he was not comfortable with what God wanted. He did not like the idea that God might show grace to these people. (Sometimes even grace can be an uncomfortable thing?) God finally does make him comfortable when he produces a plant to offer some shade, only to then provide a worm to cause the plant to die. Psyche! And perhaps just like Job, Jonah just needed to learn some things about God that God just does not teach in conventional ways.

Friday, October 19, 2012

What he didn't know mattered

I love the end of Chapter 8...Bildad says some things, surely meant in one context, but beautiful when taken in another. This is what I believe predicates Job's response of agreement. But then he asks Bildad to explain how it can be. And he again asserts God's sovereignty over every one and every thing. What have you made lately that can compare to the stars, mountains, or what control do you have over the sun or the ocean's waves?

God destroys both the blameless and the wicked, for are they not the same before Him? No wonder Job despises his life. (Note: The word despise carries the idea of rejection, not hatred. We are called to hate to reject our lives and embrace God.) If God is not in complete control, who is then? Who else or what else would Job embrace? But it is not easy, for who can understand the mind of God? Job will continue to struggle with this idea, not knowing the big picture.

Verse 33 of Chapter 9: If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together."

Let me tell you of my Savior! But Job did not know of this, though he longed for it. Amazing.

But Job does not understand, so he continues to struggle. But he will voice his complaints, both to his companions, and to God as well. He even seems to struggle with the choices that God must make. On one hand, God is just and holy, so our sins is an abomination to Him and cannot go unpunished. Yet God made us and shaped us, he molded us like clay, how can He destroy us? Why are we born only to face judgment and destruction, pain and suffering? Yes, we deserve it all, but how much better never to have existed if this is our fate!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Who can fix this?

Job's third friend now has a chance to speak. He too, starts out rough on Job, calling him "full of talk" and calling his words "babble."

One of my favorite lines of Zophar, "But oh, that God would speak and open his lips to you, and that he would tell you the secrets of his wisdom." It is a great line because God will do just that! And he will have some advice for Mr. Zophar too!

Zophar tells Job how high and mighty God's wisdom is. Apparently it is higher than Job can discern, but Mr. Zophar has it figured out. If Job will just put away his sin, and reach out for God, then all will be well again. It is works based. Here Job, just fix yourself and then you can confidently stand before God. But Job sees it differently. He seems to think that we cannot fix ourselves, that only God can do that.

I gotta side with Job on this one. It is not about what I have done for God, but will always be about what God has done for me. But I must stop babbling for now...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

This is what I deserve

Job has just endured the "advice" (verbal bashing) of another so-called friend. He is told that he is a fault for his problems, that God is punishing him, and if he will repent, God will restore his fortunes.

Job responds with an interesting (and certainly new) idea that no one can be righteous before God. We cannot contend with God, for God is amazing and all-powerful. He does what He pleases, who can ask God, "What do you think you are doing?" Job understands that he cannot approach God on his own righteousness, but only on the basis of God's mercy.

My favorite line..."If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty!" ...well, duh!

And this is a close second... "though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse." So what I call blameless, still stands as a sinner before a Holy God. Yes, Amen, there is no one righteous.

Job states in several ways, that though we may be blameless or though we may be sinners, we all fall short when standing before God, and whatever God brings our way, He is just in doing. Its not that Job enjoys this. In fact, I would say he thinks it sucks, but it is truth.

Yes, God makes us like clay, and can return us to dust! He is the creator, and had all rights and power. If I make a bowl out of clay, I can do as I please with it. I can fire it in the oven, smash it and start over, or fire it and then smash it. I own the clay, it has no say in the matter.

I believe that God is sovereign. He is an all-powerful creator, and any hope that I have is based on His mercy and grace, and not upon my righteousness or effort. That is why I love Him. It is not what I do to deserve His blessing, but it is His granting me, a sinner, grace that brings out my love for Him.

Go Job, tell them like it is!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

More friendly advice

Another of Job's "friends" replies. Here are some observations...

Verse 2: He calls Job's words a "blustering wind." So is he too, calling Job a blow hard? We have quickly gone from a week of silence to a complete lack of compassion. Isn't this how it is when it comes to questioning religion? We quickly throw out all reason, and seek to defend "our faith." Poor Job, searching, mourning, only to run into a brick wall similar to what Jesus endured from the Pharisees and similar to what many endure today.

In verse 3 he continues his assault, basically telling Job that his kids were sinners and got what they deserved. How comforting a thought is that? And he continues, telling Job that his fate will be the same unless he seeks God earnestly. He basically tells Job that if he is pleasing to God, things will be go well for him. (Can anyone say, "Joel Osteen?")

Verse 8 contains another wonderful theological premise that so many believe, "Ask the former generation and find out what their ancestors learned." In other words, what has experience taught us? While I believe that experience can be a valuable teacher, it is not faultless. My mom was raised Catholic. If I only trusted in what my previous generations believed, I would hold to a much different view.

He concludes with an interesting thought... "Surely God does not reject one who is blameless or strengthens the hands of evildoers." Were the events of Job's recent life a sign of rejection by God? I certainly cannot agree. If they were a rejection, then God would not have later conversed with Job to see what he had gained from this experience. I don't reject someone and then invite them to dinner. Why is it that we see misfortune as rejection? And the opposite is true as well, we often see fortune as acceptance. There are those who prey on the weak and unfortunate with this type of theology. Does not Matthew's gospel tell us that when it rains, it does so on the just and the unjust?

Bildad lives in a simple world, Good things are rewards from God and bad things are punishments. Job lived in a different world, because he knew that what was happening was not a punishment. I believe that Job believed that God was behind his misfortune, but not because he was punishing him. Job struggled with what was happening, but in his struggle he did not sin. He did not curse God. That had to be tough.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Who done it?

Job Chapters 6 and 7

Job is responding to Eliphaz. (See previous post)

Job begins by expressing how heavy his level of frustration is. I have also experienced high levels of frustration. No matter how much you hold on to God, it is a challenging experience to deal with things that you do not understand. Especially as those events continue or even get worse. I have learned to never day, "But at least it can't get any worse!" Job is learning the same. The experience is so heavy upon him that he wishes he were dead, that God would crush him and get it over with.

Verse 10 is an interesting one...

This would be my comfort;
I would even exult in pain unsparing,
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

So we see that even in this crushing time, he will not slander his God. He finds comfort in this.

Verse 24 carries these words...

“Teach me, and I will be silent;
make me understand how I have gone astray.

At first I thought Job was speaking these words to God, but now I think they are a question for Eliphaz. Eliphaz has basically laid the blame for Job's treatment at Job's feet. That this was God's response for some secret sin of Job's. But Job is not accepting this. Teach me my error, show me where I have gone wrong, is Job's response to this line of thinking.

In verses 28-30, Job continues...

“But now, be pleased to look at me,
for I will not lie to your face.
Please turn; let no injustice be done.
Turn now; my vindication is at stake.
Is there any injustice on my tongue?
Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?

Does this cound like a guilty man? Or does it sound like a man who is honestly pleading to be shown his error, if there be one.

Chapter 7:1-6 reveal job's thinking...

“Has not man a hard service on earth,
and are not his days like the days of a hired hand?
Like a slave who longs for the shadow,
and like a hired hand who looks for his wages,
so I am allotted months of emptiness,
and nights of misery are apportioned to me.
When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’
But the night is long,
and I am full of tossing till the dawn.
My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt;
my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh.
My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle
and come to their end without hope.

To me, he is saying that God, and not Job is in control. (An early Calvinist, perhaps?) Job's misery was not his choice, nor was it a response for his behavior, but more a part of his "allotted months of emptiness." He was merely a slave in the hand of God

Job finishes with verses 16-22...

16 I loathe my life; I would not live forever.
Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
17 What is man, that you make so much of him,
and that you set your heart on him,
18 visit him every morning
and test him every moment?
19 How long will you not look away from me,
nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit?
20 If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind?
Why have you made me your mark?
Why have I become a burden to you?
21 Why do you not pardon my transgression
and take away my iniquity?
For now I shall lie in the earth;
you will seek me, but I shall not be.”

Some of these verses remind me of Jesus, and perhaps what he felt in the garden. That was his human side showing, and perhaps that is just was is happening with Job here. He knows who God is and that God is sovereign and in control, but it is hard. He questions, "Why does God even care about man at all? Our lives are but a breath, a mist, so short in the realm of eternity. I love verse 20. Even though David knew that when he sinned, he sinned against God, Job shows us that our sin does not make God any lesser of a God

Verse 21 reminds me of Christ on the cross and in the tomb. Suffering for our transgressions, though He was innocent.

Unity or Conformity?

Another post found while digging through the archives and dredging up the drafts. Just couldn't delete it...

Christ calls for us to be united. But what does unity mean? Does it mean that we don't rock the boat? Does it mean that we never complain or confront? What does unity mean?

I have put together a few thoughts. Please feel free to share yours.

Unity means harmony, conformity means one note.
  • When everyone sings one note, it is easier to sing along, and harmony does takes effort. But it is harmony that makes the music beautiful.
Unity invites discussion, conformity demands you listen to it.
  • Discussion can be difficult. What if someone asks a question I don't like? What if I don't know an answer or have to struggle through something? I might even have to grow...
Unity is accomplished out of love, conformity is commanded out of fear.
  • There is a lot of control issues in the church. So many denominations, probably because when something gets difficult, we just leave or get kicked out. Is that the kind of love that God models for us? When the going gets tough, the tough get going...right out the door. (Sometimes with a shove)
Unity breeds compassion, conformity breeds contempt.
  • If you are different, you get treated different. I think the book of James addresses this well. (Don't read it unless you want to feel bad. Just saying...)
Unity allows for differences, conformity demands compliance.
  • When is the last time you saw a diverse church? Either in ethnicity, theology, etc. It's an anomoly, isn't it?
Unity comes from a clean inside, comformity looks good on the outside.
  • Matthew 23:25 anyone?
Unity seeks truth, conformity seeks to be right.
  • And only one can be right, right? And of course, it is me...
Unity comforts, conformity intimidates.
  • Even when we see someone in error (that does not lead to death), should our response be to beat them into submission? Is that how Jesus worked? Sure, he was tough on some, but had great compassion for others. What made the difference? (Think about it)
Unity plays by the rules, conformity makes its own rules.
  • Now, where is that found in the Bible? And doesn't this passage apply too?
Unity brings things to light, conformity hides things.
  • This is kind of a dysfunctional thing. Are there any dysfunctional churches out there?
Unity considers the body, conformity considers the self.
  • See that big toe? Do we really need him?
What about you> How do you see unity?

Unity is its own reward, conformity expects to be rewarded.

I was doomed to hell! (That is what I heard, anyway)

I was going through my old posts, and found this as a draft. I didn't want to discard it, so here it is...

A remembrance from childhood...

I was raised by a Catholic mom and Lutheran Dad, so we were sent to mass at a Catholic Church when we were younger. My older brother was even an altar boy, a fact I find very ironic! (You would have to know my brother to understand that.)

I must have been about 7 when this happened. It was a weekday evening, and my brother was at church. I was looking for him, so I stepped inside to see if he were there. I cracked the door open and scanned the sanctuary. I did not see him, so I left. Apparently, there was some kind of service going on at the time.

As I was leaving the building, a priest asked what I was doing. I told him I was looking for my brother, and did not see him, so I was leaving. He then proceeded to tell me that I had just committed a mortal sin. (I am not sure what that sin was, perhaps leaving a church service? Talking to a priest? Looking for my brother?) I remember thinking, "Well, that does it, I just blew it and now I am damned to hell for all of eternity." I don't recall if I had any further conversation with the priest, but I do recall going home, all the way thinking what it was going to be like in hell.

We tend to remember strange things from our childhood.

Jesus was there that day, as he always is. And he took care of me as he always does. I ended up leaving the Catholic Church a few years later, but story is for another time.

I see the signs now, "Catholic Come Home." They make me chuckle. Come home to eternal damnation is what I hear when I read those signs, and I am not interested in that. I read a lot about people who have left the institutional church for a variety of reasons. I can understand why sometimes. Is it just me, or has the church (as a whole, and not just the Catholic church) gotten away from what it was intended to be?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Does God punish sin?

Summary so far: Job is a righteous rich man, who loses everything except his life, and apparently his wife. His friends come to comfort him, and when they go to see him, can hardly recognize him. They spend seven days in silence together, and finally Job speaks, mourning the day he was born. Then Eliphaz speaks... I just want to highlight a few of the things he says. Wish I had time to go through it all. red letters are Scripture, black bold letters are comments.

Chapter 4 (ESV)
Your words have supported those who stumbled;
    you have strengthened faltering knees.
But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;
    it strikes you, and you are dismayed

Job, you have been helpful and supportive to many. Now it your time to receive help and support. Not a bad thought, but perhaps a little cold or blunt at the moment. 
“Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished? How about every single one. Every person eventually perishes. Part of the problem I see here is the same thing I see in modern preaching, it weighs experience and emotion over truth. Surely this man has seen or known of a child that died young, or a good person who suffered. But we attribute some evil to that person without a real basis. Perhaps that child would have become a murderer or thief. Surely Job has some hidden sin that makes him guilty. 

    Where were the upright ever destroyed? No and Yes. No one is really righteous, but several decent people have endured suffering while less desirable have prospered.

As I have observed, those who plow evil
    and those who sow trouble reap it. A generalization much like a proverb, but not a hard and fast rule. Unless you count judgment day, which I don't think he was.
17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Nope!
    Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker? No again.

Chapter 5 (ESV)

Resentment kills a fool,
    and envy slays the simple.
I myself have seen a fool taking root,
    but suddenly his house was cursed.

Is he calling Job a fool? Is he blaming Job for his calamity? It sure sounds like it. Why is it that everyone looking in from the outside wants to stand in judgment?

“But if I were you, I would appeal to God;
    I would lay my cause before him.

Cannot argue with this advice! It just seems to lack a little when placed in with everything else he has to day. A little bit of truth in with a lot of mush.

17 “Blessed is the one whom God corrects;
    so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

The word "discipline" is the Hebrew word "muwcar" and carries with it the idea of correction or chastening. Taken in the deepest sense, this means that Job, or anyone who endures trouble, can and should consider themselves blessed. (See James 1:3) Again, good advice, but taken in the context of his other comments, I think Eliphaz is more focused on the idea of God punishing Job for his sins, rather than focusing on the sovereignty of God, which I believe James is speaking of.

18 For he wounds, but he also binds up;
    he injures, but his hands also heal.

There is a very deep beauty in this verse. I wonder if either of them see it.

27 “We have examined this, and it is true.
    So hear it and apply it to yourself.”

This is what we believe, so it must be true. Listen to me. Yet did Eliphaz really hear himself? Was he listening to Job, feeling his pain, or was he just looking to justify his belief system by ascribing fault to Job and removing fault from God?

I think that there is both wisdom and foolishness in Eliphaz's response. He is a little harsh when it comes to his friend, who is frustrated and grieving. It sounds as if he begins by saying, "How does it feel now that the shoe is on the other foot? He speaks some truth, or perhaps regurgitates it without even understanding it. Again, it reminds me of those preachers I hear whose plan of study is to read someone else's book or sermon. They preach with passion, maybe even conviction, and perhaps one of the people they hope to convict is their own selves.

Or not.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Job's frustration and anger

For 7 days Job and his friends sat in silence. But sometimes, actions speak louder than words. How were those 7 days spent? Were there pats on the back and looks of sympathy? Or was there some whispering and looks of condensation. Whatever it was, when Job finally speaks, it seems to be out of frustration.

He curses the day he was born, and wishes he had died at birth. Depression has set in. Or is it anger, the second stage of grief. It appears that Job is angry. Why did this have to happen to him? Why had he been born? Why hadn't he died at birth? Why him?

How do you deal with a friend who is angry or hurting? One thing is sure, you deal with him in line with your belief system. In Chapter 4, one of Job's friends will begin speaking to him. He will speak from his belief system, from his depth of experience. Problem is, experience is not always a good theologian. Or is it?

Deja Vu all over again...

Chapter 2 of Job offers a repeat (somewhat) of Chapter 1. Satan has again been wandering around the earth again, probably wanting to taunt God because of the apparent failure of His creation. Yeah, there was that Job thing, but he is just one out of so many others. But again, God draws his attention to Job. (Remember, last time this did not go very well for Job.)

Of course, Satan has his excuse. Job 2:4-6

Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.”

 So it doesn't matter that you take all his stuff, you haven't touched him. But if you make him personally suffer, he will hate you. So God once again gives Satan limited reign to attack Job. Only Satan must not take his life.

Does anyone else find it interesting that Satan does not take Job's wife? Was this part of his master plan to increase Job's suffering? I digress...

So his wife sees all that has happened, and tells him to end it all, just curse God and die. What a great supporter, helpmate. Job's response is quite incredible (Vs. 10)

But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

I want to note two things from this verse. First, that Job views both good and bad as coming from God. This is not some kind of dualism, where good and evil are balanced forces. It is a view that God is sovereign, and in control of everything that happens. It is Job rejecting the view that this series of catastrophes is a consequence of his behavior as others will suppose. Second, note that in his reaction, Job did not sin with his lips. In other words, Job did not misspeak. Don't like this thought? Then you probably won't like these verses either...

Prov. 16:4  The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble.

Amos 3:6  Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid? Does disaster come to a city, unless the Lord has done it?

 Or Is 45:7, Is 53:10, 2 Ki 15:5, 2 Sam 24:1...I could go on.

So at the end of the chapter, enter 3 friends. They came to offer sympathy and comfort. For 7 days they just sat and said nothing. It must have been a difficult 7 days for all.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

He was that kind of man...

The book of job begins by describing Job, and 2 Hebrew words are used to describe him,

The first is "tam," and this word means perfect or complete. Now this can be taken in several ways. One way is in an earthly way, to say that someone is handsome, that they do not lack either in beauty or in need. They are rich. It can also be taken in a moral sense, to say that they are pure, innocent, of great integrity. Some versions say blameless. I don't know that I would take it that far, and no one other than Christ is truly without blame. But I would say that Job was likely handsome, definitely rich, and a person of great moral integrity.

 The second word is "yashar," which means straight, correct, right. I believe that this reinforces the first word, and lets us know that Job is a good man.

I think that this understanding of Job is going to be important was we see what happens to him, and as we listen to his and his friends response to those events. God was as pleased with Job as He could be with any human at that time.

Here is where things start to get interesting. Most people ascribe what happens next to Job to Satan, and only to Satan. I don't, as I see God is directly involved in the events that follow. Take a look at verses 6 - 8.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan also came among them. The Lord said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the Lord and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?”

 So Satan has been out observing mankind. God knew what was in Satan's heart when he said that he had been on earth. He knew that Satan was mocking God because of His creation, and how corrupt and evil it was. And then God, not Satan, brings Job into the picture! What about Job? He is not like the rest. He is like no other.

Yes, Satan knew of Job, and he was ready for this one human anomaly.  There was a reason Job was like he was, and it was because of how God had blessed him. Why, take away those blessings, and Job would be like everyone else.

So God told him to go. Verse 12.

And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.

Satan offered a challenge, but God was in charge. And to further prove His control, God limited what Satan could do to the man. And so Satan does what he does best, he attacks Job within the boundaries that God set. He lost flocks, servants, even his own children. So, now that Job is no longer within the hedge that Satan claimed God had provided for him, how would he respond? Verse 20.

Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped. 21 And he said, “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” 

Wow! Satan was wrong. In the face of unbelievable lost, Job does not blame God, and in fact praises Him. Amazing. 

Am I Being Misunderstood?

I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God.

I believe that God can do know wrong. He may do things that I do not like or understand, but my understanding is nothing compared to His infinite wisdom. There are times that I see the things God has done, and cannot make sense of them. But I am not here or able to comprehend, with my finite mind, the infinite wonders and actions of my God.

I believe that God sometimes takes action in response to our sin. Let me correct, He always takes action in response to our sin, but sometimes that action is appears to us as inaction. This action (or apparent inaction) is motivated out of His love for us, and His desire is to draw us to Him. David's son, Ananias and Sapphira, Jonah's dying plant come to mind as examples of his actions.

I believe that God sometimes takes action because He has a sovereign plan, and it has nothing to do with a response or a punishment for sin. While that action might appear punitive, or we might see it as punitive, it is not. I think of the man born blind. When asked whose sin was the reason for his blindness, Jesus responded that it was not due to anyone's sin, but that God might be glorified through him.

I believe that our God is a wonderful God. I believe this even though things don't always go the way I desire. My daughter will spend several hours today taking her IV treatment for the CIDP, a disease she contracted from taking a flu shot. Since she is not responding to these treatments alone, she has also been started on a large does steroid. This will have some side effects, especially at first, but it is the recommended course of treatment. I know that God could take this from her, but He has not chosen to do this yet. I love my daughter, but this does not make God any less precious to me. I don't know His purpose in this, but I believe that we are all in His hands, and that is all I need to know. Much like Paul, I want to be able to say that His grace is sufficient for me and for my family.

To sum up...I believe that God is sovereign, and in control of the universe. I believe that He acts as He will, sometimes healing and sometimes not, to fulfill His purposes. I believe that some actions of God are punitive, while others are not. And that it may be sometimes difficult for us to  know which it is. I trust God. Even should something even more traumatic happen tomorrow, this world is only a temporary place, and my eternity will far outweigh any suffering that takes place on earth. I don't always have to get my way.

That is what I believe.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Here's what I think...

I know that I am in a minority these days, as a Reformed believer. I haven't always believed this way. I was a part of the mainstream "evangelical" movement for many, many years. I even went to an "evangelical" Bible college where I majored in Bible and Christian Education. I spent several years in ministry. I was an elder in our local church which we had been attending for about 8 years. But then I started having some questions, and I made the mistake of trying to get some answers.

I started asking questions about what we believe and why. Why did we feel the need to take what the Bible says and change it to make it more appealing. The Bible says in our weakness we are strong, and that our inabilities show his glory as He uses us to accomplish His purposes. But that does not sell. So we changed it to say that God wants us to be happy and satisfied. He wants us to be full of esteem. We started showing how that our strengths are what glorify God. And that our abilities bring Him praise.

Who in the Bible thought this way? Well, David did, when he took saw Bathsheba. Maybe he thought God wanted him to be happy. Moses did, when he struck that rock. Jonah, when he complained about the plant that died. But those did not go well.

Well, those are OT, what about the NT? That was different, right? That was when God really wanted us to be happy, right?

Surely the praise of the believers would make Ananias and Sapphira happy. Peter telling Jesus that he shouldn't have to suffer, that was the right thing to do, wasn't it? What about those Galatians, and their desire to follow a different gospel? If it made them feel better, was that okay?

At first, it was just a feeling that something was off, and I was searching for answers. But the evangelical church does not like questions. It likes happy thoughts and good feelings and a smiling Jesus who loves you no matter what. While I am not questioning the depth of the love of Jesus, I do question the our response to Him and the consequences of that response.

Just how narrow is the narrow road?