Where is God Not?

When a person calls another person or group names expressing hatred, condemnation, and derision, God is not there.

When a person threatens another person or group with violence or vengeance, God is not there.

When a person attacks another person verbally or physically over their beliefs or opinions, God is not there.

When a person lies, repeats what they hear without checking the facts, or gossips, God is not there.

(Clarification: I know God is everywhere. So when I say “God is not there,” I don’t mean a place outside His presence. What I mean is a place where He chooses not to be involved or to abide. He says in Isaiah 1:15: “When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.” 1 John 4:12 says “No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.” To me, that implies that if we don’t love one another, He doesn’t abide in us. In other words, He’s not there.)

It doesn’t matter the label:

Republican or Democrat

Conservative, Liberal, or Independent

Black, White, Hispanic, or Asian

Gay, Straight, or Both

Male, Female, or Other

Atheist, Christian, Jew, or Muslim

White, Blue, Pink, or Green Collar

Rich, Poor, or Middle Class

Baby Boomer, Millennium, Generation X, or Z

If there is hatred, bitterness, and intimidation, God is not there.

Watching the news, scrolling through social media, and listening to people as they talk, I can see just how many places God is not in our country today.

Which is understandable with all the non-believers – not excusable, but explanatory.

But it is not understandable or acceptable for those who profess to follow Jesus. 

Jesus said some hard things when He was walking the earth – to people who were living in dangerous times. Like we are today.

Things like…

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”  (Matt. 5:9) 

 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!” will be liable to the hell of fire.” (Matt 5:21-22)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.” (Matt 5:38-41)

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt 5:43-48)

“In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” (Matt 7:12)

Paul had some more words…

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another, you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same thing.” (Rom 2:1)

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good and you will receive his approval.” (Rom 1:1-3)

“To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud – even your own brothers.” (1 Cor 6:7-8)

Hard words. Very hard words. In our humanness, we cannot do this. But when we professed Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His Spirit came to live in our hearts enabling us to live by the spirit and not by the flesh. Enabling, nor forcing. We have to choose day by day, sometimes moment by moment, to follow His way.

If we profess to believe and follow Jesus – then we need to follow all of what He said, not just what we like or is easy. If we don’t, then how are we different than non-Christians?

Maybe we aren’t really followers at all.

Something to think about.

Who Do You Choose?

Who Do You Choose?

She looked at him, confused by his reaction. She had worked hard on these vows. “Something wrong?” she asked.

“Well, there are a few things… what did you mean by this line?” He pointed to the first line on the print out.  “I love you, and choose you above all other men. Even when I flirt and play with other men, know that it’s you I choose.”

“What do you mean what do I mean? I mean I choose you to be my husband.”

“But what about the “other men” part? Are you saying you’re going to have relationships with other men?”

“Of course. Other men are all around. It would be crazy to think I would refuse to accept them. That would make me snobbish, wouldn’t it?”

“But I want your whole devotion.”

“Aww.. you sound jealous.”

“That’s because I am. I want you to set yourself apart for me. To love me more than anyone else. To be totally committed to me. To be faithful to me, just as I am with you.”

“I do. I am. Even though I love others too, I love you the most. What’s wrong with that?”

“If you go after other men, you’re not being faithful to me.”

“That’s a matter of opinion. I think I would still be faithful to you because I would be married to you. I wouldn’t marry anyone else. If I did, THEN I wouldn’t be faithful.”

“You’d be sharing your affection with other men. I want to be special to you. I want you to have all your affection focused on me.”

“So you’re saying I can’t love anyone else?”

“Not with your whole heart. I don’t want to be just one of the people you love.”

“I already said I loved you the most. What else do you want?

He sighed. “Let’s drop that for now. What about this other line?” He read aloud, “I promise to honor your values when I’m with you.”

“Oh, that means that I promise to do what’s important to you, to look at things your way.”

“That part is great. But what about the “when I’m with you” part?”

“Because I want to make you happy when we’re together.”

“And what about when you’re not with me?”

“Why would you care what I do when I’m not around you? You won’t be there to see it.”

“That’s not the point. I thought you agreed with my values.”

“I do, most of the time. But sometimes things aren’t so clear. And values in other places are different than yours. If I stuck to your values in those places, it would create problems. People would feel I was being biased or prejudices or critical or something. There wouldn’t be any peace. And you love peace. So by adopting their values when I’m with them, I’m actually living out one of your values.”

He shook his head. “I think you might be confused.”

“No, I just know what’s important.”

“It would also make you hypercritical. You should live by the same values wherever you are.”

“I do. I live by my values.”

Shaking his head again, he pointed to the paper.  “I promise to spend as much time with you as I can.” “As I can?” he quoted.

“Well, sure. I can’t spend all my time with you, can I? That wouldn’t be healthy. I need to spend time getting to know other people, other ideas, other personalities, other beliefs, other…”

“I get it. So how much time would you give me?”

“Oh, at least an hour every day, and maybe a couple of hours on the weekend.”

“That’s all?”

“There’s a lot of stuff to think about. I don’t think I could give you more time. But I promise to think about you more than any one other thing.”

He put the paper down. “So far you have promised to love me as long as you get to love other men too. And you promised to live by my values but only when you are with me. And you promised to spend a small part of each day with me, fitting me in around all your other pursuits. Do I have that right?”

She frowned and pouted her lips. “You make it sound so bad. It’s not really. It’s all about you. I love you. I choose you. Nothing else I do should matter.”

“But it does. I want you to love me with your whole heart, to desire me above all things, to keep me the center of your life, to set yourself apart for me, and to live by my values.”

“That sounds more extreme than it needs to be.”

“My love for you is extreme. My love for you is so much deeper than you can imagine. I long to be with you all day, every day. I long to give you riches beyond your understanding. And I desire for you to return my love. However I’m not going to force you. You can choose to walk away if you want. But if you choose to stay, then loving me with your whole heart, mind, soul, and strength is what I require.”

“Require? That’s kind of strong, don’t you think?”

“Yes, require. It comes down to what you want: life with me, or death of our relationship. I love you, and want to give you all I have. I want us to be together forever. But I am not going to force you to choose life with me. It’s important to me that whatever you to choose is of your own free will. ”

She shook her head.  She knew he intensely loved her and that he owned a lot that he promised to give her. And she had to admit no one could love her the way he did, or fill her with such a deep and satisfying joy. She did return his love, at least as much as she was able, but did she love him enough to choose him over her own wants? Was she willing to give up the world for him?

Finally she asked, “Why can’t I have both? You and your world, and me and mine? It’s not so hard to compromise on where we differ.”

“No. You either want me – all of me – or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways. You need to make a decision, and now is a good time. Who do you choose?”

We have each been asked this question by our Maker, who calls us to be His bride.

Who do YOU chose?


Mark 12:29-30  Jesus replied, “This is the most important: ‘Hear O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is One, and you shall love the LORD your god with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

1 John 2:15-16  Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not from the Father but from the world.

James 4:4 You adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God.

Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 

Ephesians 3:17-19  so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. Then you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with the fullness of God….

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Exodus 34:14  for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Hebrews 4:7 again he appoints a certain day, ‘Today,’ saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.”

Joshua 24:15 and if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”