Why doesn’t God want me to have fun?

Before I met Jesus I sometimes thought that God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and Christians were BORING!!!  For example, if a man and woman who were not married wanted to be intimate, why would God want to stop them?  Love is good right?  They’re not hurting anyone so what’s the problem?  Why doesn’t God want people to have fun?

The Bible says sin definitely is fun.  God says in the Bible that you can “…enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” (Hebrews 11:25b NIV84).  The fun doesn’t last, however.  And the fun ultimately results in separation from God and his love forever.  Why?  Sin always hurts God or people or both.  And it always hurts ourselves.  God jealously loves us and He wants nothing to hurt us.  That’s why He gave us the Bible.  In it are His commands and principles for us to live by so that we can know how not to hurt God, others, and ourselves.  And how to truly love and do good.  But knowing that is not enough.  We need a heart transplant.  We need our spirits made alive.  Jesus says He will give us a heart of flesh for a heart of stone.  Jesus said he will make our dead spirits alive like His.  He said He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

For Jesus to change us we need to believe that He is and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.  Then we need to agree with Him (confess) that we have hurt Him, others and ourselves and that with His help we will try to never sin again (repentance).  Then we need to trust Him, that His death on the cross paid the full debt we owed God (faith).  Then ask Jesus to fill you with His Holy Spirit.  We then need to tell others about the wonderful thing God has done for us.  And repent if we sin again.

Now that I have a relationship with Jesus my life has never been more of a fun adventure.  The more I obey Him the more fulfilling it is.  I found out that satan’s “fun” was only a worthless imitation of the joy that Jesus freely gives.  Life with Jesus also has been more difficult in other ways.  Satan attacks my mind more now.   But now I have Jesus living inside me through the power of the Holy Spirit and He guides me and encourages me, He protects me and provides for me.  And, He helps me write about Him in this blog.

I hope you will choose Jesus over sin.  You will never regret it.

What if love is our purpose?

[Jesus said,] 

“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey.   
The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more.  So also, the one with the two talents gained two more.    
But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.    
“After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them.  The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ 
“The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’    
“Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed.  So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ 
“His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed?  Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. 
“‘Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents.  For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him.  And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”  (Matthew 25: 14-30, NIV84).

Jesus said in this parable that each servant was given resources in proportion to his ability to use them.  To one he gave five talents of silver (a talent of silver was worth about $360,000).  To another he gave two talents of silver.  And to another he gave one talent of silver.

This passage is many times interpreted as talking about developing your skills to the best of your ability.  And so, the word “talent” is being used today, not as a measure of a weight of silver, but a measure of skill.  Could it be that Jesus was talking about something much more valuable than skills?  Could He be talking about  loving others as God loves us?

If the ability to love is really the theme of this parable then how could the parable be interpreted?

We could say the man who was given five talents of silver had the ability to love “many” people.  He immediately went to work interacting with others and using the means his Master gave him to love and help them.  And the Master rewarded him.

The man who was given two talents of silver had the ability to love “some” people.  He too, immediately went out and interacted with others, and using his Master’s means, he loved and helped them.  And the Master rewarded him.

The man who was entrusted with one talent of silver had the ability to love “one” person.  He did not go out and interact with another, to love and help them.  He buried the Master’s means of loving and helping others and loved and helped no one.  Because of the reference of putting the money on deposit with the bankers in the parable, I can imagine Jesus asking  the man “Why didn’t you let my “means of loving and helping” at least be used by others, if you yourself weren’t going to use it?”  And Jesus will cast him away from His presence.

When I surrendered to Jesus I read this parable.  I didn’t know if I was a one, two or five talent person.  I prayed for God to make me a five or a two, but if I was a one, I asked that He help me to use my talent and not bury it.  God has been gracious to me and helped me to love other people.  What about you?  To truly love you need Jesus in you, loving the other person through you.  To do that you need to ask Him to forgive your sins, and surrender your life to His leadership, and ask to receive His Spirit so that you can do good.  You will start a journey with Him that He has designed just for you.

However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” —  but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 NIV84)

So if Jesus pays the bills, what do I do?

Jesus Christ said, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matthew 6:26 NIV84).

 Jesus isn’t against working hard (for the right reasons). Jesus isn’t  against planning for the future and putting something away for a rainy day.  I think the point of this verse is Jesus wants us to see our value to God.  And to know that if God cares enough about birds, to supply them with what they need to survive, He will with certainty care about us, to give us all that we need.  He wants us to stop worrying about what only He can provide, and wants to provide, for us.

Now, God doesn’t take the worm and bring it to the robin and put it in her and her young ones mouths.  The robin has to use its God-given abilities to hunt for the food and take it to her family.  We are no different.  We have to do what God wants us to do.  When God fed the Israelites manna from heaven they had to go out and collect it and grind it and bake it.  God does what only He can do, we do what we He tells us to do.

I think God wants us to trust Him for everything.  From trusting Him about food, clothing and shelter, to trusting Him enough to give Him back His 10% of our gross income by giving it to the local church.  And, trusting Him to make the other 90% meet our needs.  I think we also need to ask Him what He wants us to do with the skills, abilities, knowledge, and particularly the ability to practically show love to others, He has given us.

But, the process of growing in trust is HARD for me.  It involves risking the seen for the promise of the unseen.  I can risk looking stupid at times.  I can be at odds with society.  Hey, I didn’t have Christian role models in my life when I was growing up so I’ve never seen this done before.  As the Christian pop singer Carmen might say: if I step out on nothin’ will I find somethin’ there?  But taking the chance of obeying Him is the only way I can find out if He is trustworthy or not.  Jesus said that if anyone does His word he will find out if Jesus is from the Father.

I used to be afraid to tell Him I will obey anything He asks (okay, I still am a little;-).  Now that I have obeyed Him several times I have much more confidence that He is as good as He says He is.

As Charles F. Stanley might say, “[Trust and] obey God, and leave all the consequences to Him.”

Will Jesus pay the bills?

When I was a child I depended on my father to supply my needs.  I didn’t wonder where my next meal was coming from and I didn’t worry about how the mortgage payment would be paid.  My father loved me, I was his, and I assumed he would take care of me.  And he did.  Jesus said that to enter the kingdom of God I and you need to become like children.  We need to trust our Heavenly Father like I used to trust my earthly father.

Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33 NIV84).  Jesus said that He would supply our needs if we trusted Him as our Lord (His kingdom) and Savior (His righteousness).  He also said, that we could not serve God and Money.

We need to make a choice as to whom we want to trust.

We can see Money.  We can predict what Money will do.  And when we make Money our master we are deceived into thinking we control Money and that we are the master.  And it is very “normal” and natural to love Money.

But to trust God for the daily basics of life is not natural.  And very few people trust God with their lives.  We can’t control Him.  And we can’t predict everything that He will do or want us to do.  And we can’t even see Him.

So why do I attempt to make Him my King?  Why do I try to give up loving what I can see for the One I can’t see with my eyes?  Why do I trust Someone who lived 2000 years ago?

What I can see with my eyes doesn’t satisfy for long.  And then I need more and it still doesn’t satisfy.  Alcohol, drugs, sex, power, prestige do not fill the emptiness of the human heart.  Even good things like spouse, kids, work, and church busyness are empty without Jesus.  In the end, depending on this world that we can see, touch and hear will leave you helpless and hopeless.

The emptiness we feel and search the earth to fill was designed to be the home of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit.  He made you, He loves you and He died in place of you so that your sins could be forgiven.  Then He rose from the dead to give you a new heart, and a new living spirit.

Jesus loves you and wants you to know Him personally and have your soul satisfied with His infinite love and eternal care for you.  And you can know Him right now.  Agree with Him about your wrong attitudes and actions.  Ask Him to forgive you and to fill the empty spot in you with Himself through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Then tell others about Jesus.  Read the Bible.  Find a church that believes the Bible and preaches it.  (And tell me about it, I would love to pray with you!).

Are you going through something bad?

While God never does anything evil, He does do things that on the surface appear to be bad.  That is, until His wisdom is proved right by its results (Jesus said that wisdom is justified by its children).  I said to God when I was in my late teens that I wanted to be a Christian like they were in the Bible .  I wanted God to tell me how pleased he was with me, and congratulate me on how well I have done so far and that I was so close to being perfect.  Instead God told me I was “a sinner.”  Not your average church going sinner that we all are, but evil, vile, repulsive.  I recoiled at what He said about me.  I said, “No, I’m not” twice to Him.  And then He gave me mental illness for ten years.

Now, I have said that “God gave me mental illness” to others and they have “corrected” me and said that God “allowed” me to have mental illness.  They said that He was not responsible for giving me mental illness.  Yet, when I rebelled against Him, He said He would “humble me for ten years.”  And what followed the statement was mental illness for ten years.

Dr. Charles F. Stanley of In Touch says that if God does something that we think is “bad” but God uses it for good, isn’t it ultimately “good” for us?  I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone.  Yet, now that I have the right meds and the pain is over I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  Because God used it to change me from being fake nice and self-centered, to being willing to surrender to Him and being very concerned about other people.

If you are going through something that is bad, God may be using it for your ultimate good.  He will only keep you in a problem until you have learned what He knows you need to learn.  And any pain you endure will not be wasted.  You will be able to offer credible help to others in a similar situation.  And the joy you experience helping others through what you went through will make the former pain worth it.

Does God speak?… to me?… to you?

When I first “got saved” (surrendered to Jesus) I was rude and wanted my own way (not much of a surrender at first was it?).  I told Him that I wanted Him to speak to me and that I wanted to hear an audible voice.  None of this whisper in my spirit stuff, I wanted to literally hear His voice.  I remember having the thought: Wouldn’t it be better to give you my thoughts?  I thought this wasn’t dramatic enough, I wanted the “miraculous”.  Well, God didn’t give me an audible voice, but I “heard” a strong voice in my mind and I decided that would have to do.  God’s voice told me what he wanted me to do and I obeyed Him.  But His voice got more and more demanding and confusing.  Then after a couple days of listening to Him, He told me that His voice was to be obeyed above the Bible.  I quickly thought about what was happening and I then knew it was satan that was behind “God’s voice”.  Even though I was a brand-new Christian I knew that the Holy Spirit would never contradict the Bible.

I was angry at being deceived.  But I learned.  If I don’t accept what God says there is someone who will gladly tell me what I want to hear (satan).  I was grateful for God giving me that lesson.  My first lesson was 10 years before when God gave me an extra 5 years of mental illness.  He did that because I was disrespectful to Him about Him giving me the original 5 years of mental illness (to humble me).  This was the beginning of me piecing together over time that my greatest enemy was myself and doing what I wanted to do.  And my best friend was the Father, who often wanted me to do what I didn’t want to do (but in His infinite wisdom knew was what I really needed to do).

God has graciously spoken to me since that day.  Not audibly, but in thoughts that I knew were too good to come from me.  He has also spoken to me through reading the Bible, from circumstances, listening to trusted friends and even at times through those who were against me.

  God is continuously speaking to us.  The question is: Will I make time for Him?  After all He is the King of the Universe, my Creator, the One who gave His life for me, the One who holds my future in His hands, the One who loves me the most.

And amazingly He desperately wants a two-way conversation with me… and you, through prayer and listening to God.

If you want to read a great book to learn how to listen to God I would suggest reading “How to Listen to God”, by Dr. Charles F. Stanley www.intouch.org.

Have you ever wanted to see God?

 Have you ever wanted to see God?  Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8 NIV84)  I think in this life, seeing God is like seeing the wind.  You can’t see the wind directly, but you can see what it does.  God is constantly revealing Himself through His work.  Sometimes, God is best seen against the contrast of His enemy’s work.  Satan’s acts, like the Boston bombing, are obvious.  But God was evident in the immediate actions of the people who helped the wounded – and the helper and helped now share a special bond.  9/11 was tragic, but there are countless stories of heroism and kindness from strangers to strangers – that are not strangers any longer.

God does not create evil.  Evil is the absence of God.  Because all people sin, to get rid of all evil God would have to get rid of all people.  Though we each sin, God loves us too much to destroy us.  So God turns satan’s terror into hearts touching hearts, each helping the other through the pain sin causes.

But pain is not the only backdrop where God can be seen.  Each person, from conception to birth to old age, is made in the image of God.  And the beauty and capacity to love of each person, displays the beauty and capacity to love of their Creator.

God’s beauty and capacity to love ultimately expressed itself to us in dying to take away my sins and yours and then rising from the dead to give us the free gift of His Life and Spirit.  And when we receive His forgiveness and make Him Lord of our life he promises to come back for us. And we will see Him face to face. And we will be like Him because we will see Him as He is.