Is God Angry? Vindictive?

For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Deu 5:9-10)

About five or six years ago, Dan Barker (a former evangelical pastor turned atheist) wrote a book lashing out at God. Amongst other nasty things, he called God a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.

Now think back to the God Job met in the whirlwind at the end of the book of Job. I don’t think the God pictured in that account worries much about what humanity thinks of Him. We are the ones who will suffer for such thoughts. He won’t because what we think of Him won’t change anything. He doesn’t need to defend himself.

God will not force anyone to serve Him. If someone wants to call Him a malevolent bully that is up to them.

However, I think it is only fair to note that God does have two sides to Him.

On the one side,

God is merciful, as the introductory passage from Deuteronomy states. Those who love Him and serve Him voluntarily will continue to live under His mercy.

But God has another side,

— His holiness and hatred for sin, which these verses also portray. This is the side of God that often makes the problem for today’s society.

Many people, even Christians, think God has a neutered personality — like the benevolent grandfather CS Lewis talked about. But that is not what God is like. God is not worried about political correctness or trampling on people’s toes. He is a man’s God, if you want to say it that way. A friend of mine wrote me recently…

Just been thinking about God this morning here in my office while I work. He flat scares the wits out of me… He’s no sissy, emasculated, cuddly thing. He is awesome.

Human leaders of democratic nations worry whether voters like them. They worry about re-election and approval ratings. Sometimes they make changes to their platform to maintain their popularity. Popularity means more than being right.

People don’t understand real leadership anymore. That is one reason that they don’t understand God.

God is on a constant balancing act between mercy and justice. All of us deserve punishment, but God would rather give us mercy. Because of this, He always offers mercy first. But when people reject mercy, they must live with the other side of God.

Does God get angry?


Does God get angry when someone tortures an innocent child?


Does God get angry when someone calls Him a malevolent bully to His face?


But His mercy and patience precede His anger and justice. People see this and they fool themselves into thinking that God either doesn’t exist, or He is some sort of a pansy that they can manipulate as they please.

Society today goes by feelings, not by facts. Punishing sin doesn’t seem nice, so we try to deny God His right to punish sinners. But that isn’t how things work. Someday there will be a culmination of all things, and God’s anger will fall on those who have deliberately snubbed their noses at him.

Hebrews 10:26 – 39 speaks of this, saying, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

We have done a serious discredit to society and the church by trying to hide this side of God. We do not need to be ashamed of Him. He’s not the family black sheep or local madman. He is not a genocidal murderer.

God is God almighty and we will NEVER turn Him into anything else.

Is God Fair?

Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do innocent children need to suffer? Why do good people get sick?

All these bad things and many more happen every day. Is that fair?


Some people will tell you that He doesn’t care enough to stop them. Others will tell you that He can’t—He doesn’t have the power to do it.

Neither of these answers are true. The Bible clearly indicates that God loves us. His heart aches when bad things happen to good people. The Bible also indicates clearly that God is all powerful. It isn’t the lack of initiative or power that stops God from wiping out evil and evil doers.

So what is it?

Sometime, before time existed, God made a momentous decision. He would allow intelligent beings to have the power of choice. The angels would have this power. Lucifer, the beautiful and powerful leader of the angels, would have the ability to turn against God.

Lucifer made this choice, and a third of the angels followed him. The first thing they tried to do was overthrow God. The Bible doesn’t give us any details about this war in the heavens, except to tell us that Lucifer and his angels lost the battle, and they were driven from heaven.

The chronology of all this is a mystery. But somewhere during all of this, God created the universe and man. He decided that even humans would have the power to choose against Him. We are not told why, but it seems that God wants all intelligent beings, whether angels or humans, to serve Him voluntarily. He has never forced anyone to serve Him and He never will.

The ability to choose led to the beginning of evil. Lucifer and his followers were the first to take advantage of it, probably soon after creation.[1] When he was turned out of heaven he came to earth, determined to take revenge on his loss by persuading Adam and Eve to also choose against God.

He persuaded Eve that having the knowledge of good and evil was worth the risk of offending God. He didn’t warn her that the only way to receive the knowledge of evil was through experience. Every human since then has lived under the curse of the knowledge of evil. That is why evil things happen.

God will judge evil. He will eliminate it. But in His own time. Until then, we must live with the choice that Adam and Eve made to allow evil to enter this world.

Is this fair? It doesn’t seem that way to us. But God will not coerce people to do His will. He only reserves the right to give them the destiny that they have chosen for themselves. God is holy and God is just. He is merciful and He is love. God is good and He is great. He is fair.

It’s a matter of perspective. And it’s a matter of trust.

[1] I suppose it could have been a little before creation as well. But it appears that Lucifer fled to earth when he was cast out of heaven.

A Parable

To understand this parable, you need to remember that the Christians of the first centuries considered the pagan gods to be demons. We don’t think of them in those terms, but they might have been closer to right than we are.

The pagan gods of Rome were a hedonistic lot. They murdered each other, committed adultery, and had vast celestial parties where debauchery ruled the day. In fact, the gods of Rome were a lot like the men they ruled over.

You couldn’t expect a Roman god to pay attention to a human being unless you were a fair damsel and that god was lusting after you. (Then you better look out.) Roman gods had no feelings of love or mercy towards humans. They didn’t even pay any attention to humans unless they rebelled against their authority.

But, should another god show up and claim to offer something better to the humans who worshiped him, then the gods in the heavenly pantheon woke up. That was an insult that could NOT be allowed. A new god? No sir, the upstart had to go. The sooner the better.

So, they would gang up on him and the people who served him.

But what the Roman gods didn’t realize was that the new god in this case wasn’t new, nor an upstart. He had been around a long time before they existed. He had created humans, and He loved them. He knew that the unfortunate people who followed the demon gods in the pantheon were doomed to eternal destruction. And he decided to do something about it. Actually, He had been planning this for a long time, back from the very beginning.

But when God sent His son to earth to introduce Himself to men, the pantheon jumped him and killed him. Then they went back to their parties.

But it didn’t end there. God’s son wouldn’t stay dead. So, the pantheon attacked his followers. But death wouldn’t kill them either. The more people who died, the more new converts came along.

It didn’t make sense. But it did. If a God comes along who loves humans, and who is willing to die for them in order to rescue them, people are going to take note. And when his followers are willing to die as well, then they REALLY take note.

Turn the page and read on to see how it works in real life

This is the introduction to my newest book.

How do you Worship?

Worship is…

Find a quiet, secluded place so you won’t be tempted to role-play before God. Just be there as simply and honestly as you can manage. The focus will shift from you to God, and you will begin to sense his grace. (Matthew 6:6, The Message)


Lord, I have shut the door,
Speak now the word
Which in the din and throng
Could not be heard;
Hushed now my inner heart,
Whisper Thy will,
While I have come apart,
While all is still.

Lord, I have shut the door,
Here do I bow;
Speak, for my soul intent
Turns to Thee now.
Rebuke Thou what is vain,
Counsel my soul,
Thy holy will reveal,
My will control.

In this blest quietness
Clamorings cease;
Here in Thy presence dwells
Infinite peace;
Yonder, the strife and cry,
Yonder, the sin:
Lord, I have shut the door,
Thou art within!

Lord, I have shut the door,
Strengthen my heart;
Yonder awaits the task—
I share a part.
Only through grace bestowed
May I be true;
Here, while alone with Thee,
My strength renew.

© 1923, Ren. 1951 Hope Publishing Company , Carol Stream, IL 60188.
All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Near Dead Experiences?

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows— how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. (2 Co 12:2-4)

I probably first heard of the phenomenon of Near Dead Experiences from the Reader’s Digest decades ago. A doctor ran into enough of them experienced by patients who almost died that he set out to study it. This was from a secular perspective. Then I heard the talk of a man from a Mennonite church who had “died” and seen a scene from the final judgment, then came back. This one was from a Christian perspective.

I’m not here to make a judgment call on this kind of experience. Maybe they are visions, like one person stated recently. Or maybe they are real. It seems that Paul experienced this, in the passage I quoted above. He stated that he didn’t know if he was dead or if he wasn’t.

That isn’t my point. I want to share an experience that a close friend went through. His father was on his death bed, but wasn’t a Christian. This was at least partly because of his lack of understanding, rather than because of rebellion on his part. However, one day he came very close to dying, but was resuscitated.

But later, he talked about what happened to him. He was able to see down a corridor to where some people were gathered and watching him. One of these looked very much like his daughter. Since he had a daughter who died at three years old, he thought that maybe this was her.

He couldn’t forget this. He badly wanted to meet his daughter. It seemed that God gave him this “vision” to show him the reality of the hereafter, and to give him a push in the right direction. Anyway it was what he needed. A day or so later, my friend was able to lead him to God. Shortly afterward he died, a saved man.

You may see some weaknesses in this picture. We think that people die looking forward to seeing Christ. But we can’t put God in a box. I think this is a clear picture of how much God cares for people. He knew my friend’s father had a soft heart but didn’t understand. So, in His mercy, He gave him a vision that helped to open his heart’s door, then took him home.

That is the kind of God we serve—a God who will go the second mile for us if that is what it takes.


Enter into the joy of your Lord!

What Does the Resurrection Mean to You?

Is Easter a chance to go to church and show off your latest wardrobe? A chance for your worship team to show off its talents? A time for your pastor to use his greatest oratorical skills to impress the crowd? Maybe even the opportunity to fill the offering baskets to overflowing!

Most of us would say a hearty NO to the paragraph above. This is a day for us to think about what Jesus did for us. Good Friday is past, and this morning the tomb is empty. The work is finished, and Evil has received its death blow. Hallelujah!

Most Christians will agree with the latter paragraph in general terms. The thoughts may stir us and we may resolve to allow the risen Savior to be our King. But unfortunately, by the end of the week, too many of us will have forgotten all about it. Life will go on as normal.

Is that why Jesus died? And why He rose from the tomb? So that you and I can have an emotional high once a year? I wonder how often our Savior weeps at the callousness of those who claim to be His bride?

I think part of the problem is that we misunderstand why Jesus came in the first place. Did Jesus ever state that His main reason for coming to earth was so that I can escape hell fire? Isn’t that somewhat of a selfish reason for me to serve Him? Just because of pexels-photo-415571.jpegwhat I get out of it?

I think this concept is one of the keys to the fact that so many of us do such a poor job of serving Christ in our everyday life. It is great that He loved us and died for us. But Jesus said that He came to establish the Kingdom of Heaven. He is our King as well as our Savior. So I like to think of Easter as coronation day. Jesus rose to receive His crown. His kingdom has come, not for our benefit, but for His! We love Him and serve Him for who He is, not just for what we get out of it.

Its true that we still live in the shadowlands, as CS Lewis would have said. This is our apprenticeship. Someday, the clouds will roll back like a scroll and He will return to us. Then His Kingdom will take on a new reality. But in the meantime we need to show the world that the Kingdom is real, right now, and that we are serving a new King. The resurrection is the key to this new life of fellowship with our King and His servants.

We need to realize this every morning and through every day of our life. I am a servant of the King. On Easter we rejoice that our King rose, and that this is His day. But every day is a day to rejoice that He has saved us and made us worthy to serve Him.

JESUS: My Savior and my KING!

God, Who are You?

Someone challenged me recently to prove that God exists. He couldn’t find any reason to believe that there is a God. He felt that we are just a collection of atoms.

The concept of god just contradicts everything I know about science. The scientific method, atoms, biology, etc. all seem to prove otherwise. I have a hard time understanding why anyone believes in god.

It is difficult for me to understand this because the more that I learn about the intricacies of the natural world around me, the harder it is for me to understand why anyone would NOT believe in God. Just look at the beauty of the sky and the snow in the featured image with this post. So could a collection of atoms just accidentally reproduce a scene like this?

The universe is filled with intricate design. And it is all the result of an explosion once upon a time. Would you expect an accident to produce a John Deere tractor? If not, how can you possible believe that DNA is the product of an accident?

Henry Morris said, in an old book of his, that there is far more chance of a hundred monkeys with typewriters reproducing the Encyclopedia Britanicca by accident without a spelling mistake than there is of an mindless, meaningless process producing the universe.

I feel that the biggest evidence of a God, however, is the change that I see taking place in the lives of people who give themselves to serving Him. I met a man who was a multiple murderer before he became a Christian. The change in his life was phenomenal. Only God can do this kind of work in the heart of a man.

Do you know Him? Have you seen his handiwork? I have.

“For the choir director: A psalm of David. The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.”  (Psa 19:1-6)