Follow Up: I answer Steve Jobs' question and your questions raised by the post

Does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?

Does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?

Yesterday, a reader asked me to answer Steve Jobs’ question from this blog post.

Steve Jobs’ question:

“Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?”

The minister replied:

“Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”

My answer:

God knew these children. God knew each one’s name. God knew their suffering.

God used the evil choices of man to bring these children to a place where they would never know hunger. They would never know pain again. They would never again know loneliness. They would never cry again. Ever. They would never face evil.

What happened to those young children? They were ushered into eternity and have been in His presence since their death. God cares for them in His house.

Does God see man’s evil? Yes!

Does God give man the choice of good and evil? Yes!

We cannot want a God who gives us a choice, but removes evil choices and leaves only good choices. Either He allows us to choose evil and good.

Man chose sin over God. Sin separated man from God. God gives man a choice to respond to Him or reject Him. These who were obliterated in Nigeria, God knew everyone by name. He will hold those accountable

He is the Judge of the whole earth. He will always do right.

A reader asked 💬 :

God knew those children would face that abject poverty (just as He knows some will choose to go to Hell). So . . . knowing that, why did He create the people who would ultimately be in those situations?

I replied:

Steve Jobs asked why didn’t God do something about the evil which produced the terror in Biafra — Coastal Nigeria in 1968.

God also knows, on every continent, who will live in opulence and go to Hell. Why did He create those who chose to be, and are rich, to only know comfort and ease, to go to hell? Hell is still hell no matter the living conditions on earth.

God created man (poor or rich) in His image. He wired every man for light. (John 1:9) He sent His children on a mission to tell the world (Mark 16:15) He will adopt everyone in His family. (Galatians 4:4-5)

The rich and poor must be told the gospel. The rich and poor must obey the gospel. The rich and poor must have people sent to tell them the Gospel.

Man’s evil choice killed children. We cannot have a God who permits selective choices based on a provisional code of morality. And who, based on a provisional code of morality, remove choices.

A reader’s thought 💬 :

If any person keeps a wrong idea from age 14 to build their life decisions on as an adult SHAME ON THEMSELVES...

I replied:

I made a life decision based on a decision when I was four. I built my life on this choice; I chose Christ.

The original article from LIFE Magazine article which Steve Jobs read is found here. {Warning: Images are Disturbing}

How would you answer Steve Jobs’ question? We must always have an answer. 1 Peter 3:15

How a Lutheran minister reminded me of why I will listen and connect with children and teens and why you should too.

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In Walter Isaacson’s book. “Steve Jobs” the author tells of a pivotal moment in the Apple Founder’s teen years.

When I read this account I was reminded again why I stop and give answers when asked questions by young people.

“Even though they were not fervent about their faith, Jobs’s parents wanted him to have a religious upbringing, so they took him to the Lutheran church most Sundays. That came to an end when he was thirteen. In July 1968 Life magazine published a shocking cover showing a pair of starving children in Biafra. Jobs took it to Sunday school and confronted the church’s pastor. “If I raise my finger, will God know which one I’m going to raise even before I do it?”

The pastor answered, “Yes, God knows everything.”

Jobs then pulled out the Life cover and asked, “Well, does God know about this and what’s going to happen to those children?”

“Steve, I know you don’t understand, but yes, God knows about that.”

Jobs announced that he didn’t want to have anything to do with worshipping such a God, and he never went back to church. He did, however, spend years studying and trying to practice the tenets of Zen Buddhism. Reflecting years later on his spiritual feelings, he said that religion was at its best when it emphasized spiritual experiences rather than received dogma. ”

Excerpt From: Walter Isaacson. “Steve Jobs.” iBooks.

The Lutheran minister in Steve Job’s church missed an opportunity to make a difference.

I do not want to miss an opportunity.

I want to hear the hard questions. I want to listen to a person figuring out their crisis of faith and offer biblical answers I want to point to precepts when they exist. I want to share biblical principles when they apply. I want to point to when something is a preference and the wisdom of moving a personal fence-line far from the edge of what I perceive may lead to sin

I want our young people to have someone who will always listen with love, answer their questions, and point them to truth. I want young people to know their value to God at this age in life

If you dismiss a young person, you ignore their questions, and do not give satisfactory answers who will you drive away from God?

Who have you driven away from God?

God Sees Bad Church Leaders

God is not mocked

God is not mocked

When you see the visual devotion above, you may read its message and remember when a preacher, pastor, priest, or church leader hurt you.

If this occurred, I see you, I hear you, and I believe you. I apologize that bad people hurt you.

I remind myself, as I see myself in the mirror and look at my social media feed, good men can and do go bad.

Sometimes, once-good men do bad things, they say bad things, and sadly, they hurt people. Sometimes these men, who do bad things, say wrong things, and hurt people, are ordained ministers. Sometimes these ministers flex their vocal muscles and adopt the phrase that they are God's anointed and make themselves untouchable. These men who say and do bad things claim immunity and impunity because they declare themselves to be "A Man of God."

A real man of God, does not lord himself over anyone. A real man of God behaves. A real man of God does not promote himself nor does he put down others. A real man of God does not gossip. He stands for what is right but he is not combative, caustic, and cruel to his spouse, family, or anyone.

If you've been hurt, bruised, abused, dismayed, disillusioned, or crushed by a man, I regret your hurt. I urge you to allow God, who did not hurt you, to begin your healing process. Please don't build a shrine to your hurt and dwell there. Look beyond the person who hurt you to the One who will heal you.

Remember, Galatians 6:7 reminds us, God sees those who hurt others and will see to it that they will reap.

Douglas MacArthur prayed this. You should too.

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This appeared in The NY Times, April 6, 1964. I read it again this morning. It was an AP article from the day earlier. 

WASHINGTON, April 5 (AP) —General of the Army Douglas MacArthur is leaving a spiritual legacy to his son, Arthur —a father's prayer that he wrote in the Philippines during the desperate early days of the Pacific war.

According to the General's biographer and confidant, Maj. Gen. Courtney Whitney, the family repeated this MacArthur prayer many times during early morning devotions:

“Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory.

“Build me a son whose wishes will not take the place of deeds; a son who will know Thee—and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

“Lead him, I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn to stand up in the storm; here let him learn compassion for those who fail.

“Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high, a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men, one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past.

“And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously. Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity or true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, and the meekness of true strength.

“Then I, his father, will dare to whisper, ‘I have not lived in vain.’”

https://www.nytimes.com/1964/04/06/archives/macarthur-leaves-a-spiritual-legacy-prayer-for-his-son.html

Does God Weary?

Does God weary?

Does God weary?

While preparing a message from the book of Malachi the Lord illuminated Malachi 2:17. 

Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, And he delighteth in them; Or, Where is the God of judgment?

I pondered, “The Omnipotent God said their words wearied Him.” 

How? 

How is it, He who bears every care, He who wipes tears and records them, He who watches sparrows, and He who know the hairs of our head (my head included) said the words of His people wearied Him?

I reflected and researched. I learned: God wearies.  (see the passages below)

I never considered I could weary God. Do you weary God?

Scripture teaches God wearies with five things. He wearies with our wrongdoing, our sin-filled hearts, our spiritless worship, our resistance of His Spirit, and our silly objections.

Did you weary God yesterday? Are you wearying Him today? Last Sunday, did you bring spiritless and lifeless worship? Did you use silly words whining why God had not moved in a matter important to you?

Let us seek His word and ways. Let us evict spiritless formal worship from our lives. When His Spirit leads, follow. When the heathen prosper, don’t whine, remember God is working out His plan.

I do not want to weary Him. Do you?  Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.

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Below you will find the passages I thought of when I wrote the article above.
1. God wearies with our iniquities. (Iniquities are when I do wrong according to God’s righteousness.) Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, Neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: But thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities. Isaiah 43:24

2. God wearies with our formal Godless worship.  Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: They are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. Isaiah 1:14

3. God wearies with our sin-filled hearts and ignorance of God’s way. Forty years long was I grieved with this generation, And said, It is a people that do err in their heart, And they have not known my ways: Psalm 95:10

4. God wearies with our resistance of his Spirit.  But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: Therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Isaiah 63:10 

5. God wearies with our silly whining, objections, and rebellions. Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, And he delighteth in them; Or, Where is the God of judgment? Malachi 2:17 .

Ten things you can do to change a Toxic Culture - Number Six is my favorite

Photo by  Tina Floersch  on  Unsplash

Recently I spoke in a college class about lessons every missionary should know. The more I think about it, these are lessons which would serve all of us well in a day with toxic attitudes on every side.

When I think about the toxic attitudes displayed in Christianity, I think about a book entitled, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.” By Robert Fulgham.

Mr. Fulgham said what he learned in Kindergarten are really life-lessons. After mulling over these points, I made spiritual applications. These are good points for all people, especially for those of the household of faith.

1. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. — Give God and everyone else the credit.

2. Don’t hit people. — Never use social media or the platform to attack people

3. Hold hands, stick together. — We are brothers and sisters, do not fight with each other, stick together. 

4. Share. — You received nothing of your own in life, share everything.

5. Live a balanced life. — It is easy to go to extremes, stay centered in Christ.

6. Take a nap every afternoon. — The rest will help you be a better Christian.

7. Listen. — Seek to understand before seeking to be understood — Carnegie

8. Treat everyone the way you want to be treated. — Be kind to people. Love everybody, always.

9. Things change and come to an end. — Life changes, flex with the changes.

10. Be aware of wonder. — Never lose your sense of what God is doing.


Reading Romans 12:9-21 changes my disposition toward others. If you do not remember anything else, remember this: “And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.” Luke 10:27–28

Love God with ever fiber of your being. Love everyone, always.

An 11 year old slave, finds Jesus and then his mother before she dies

Samuel and Hannah

“The story of Hannah and her son Samuel has a modern counterpart in Adjai Samuel Crowther and his mother. Adjai, eleven years old, was seized by slavers near his village in West Africa about 1820. The terrified boy was thrown in a crowded slave pen, then chained aboard a slave ship. He suffered untold panic and pain until the ship was captured by a British steamer. Adjai was rescued and placed under the care of missionaries at Sierra Leone. There he was enrolled in school and heard of the Lord Jesus Christ. A benevolent clergyman, Samuel Crowther, financed his education. Adjai was baptized at age 16, and he took the name of his benefactor: Adjai Samuel Crowther.

By and by, Samuel, as he was called, traveled to England to further his studies. His keen mind quickly grasped languages and academics, as well as practical skills such as carpentry. When he returned as a minister to Africa, he settled near the Niger River, married, preached, began a boarding school for African children, and worked ceaselessly for the gospel.

Years passed, and one day Samuel was preaching at Freetown, not far from the spot of his kidnapping. In the corner of his eye, he saw an old woman, bowed and depressed. She appeared to have borne a heavy sorrow. As he talked with her, she opened her heart, telling him of her hard life and of the loss of all her children. “But the worst of all,” she wailed, “was losing my little boy Adjai.”

Samuel gazed into her eyes and recognized his own mother. Under his tender ministry, she shortly afterward became a Christian herself, and at her baptism she, too, took a Christian name. She chose Hannah—the mother of Samuel, the man of God."

I read this during my quiet time.

1 Samuel 1:1-11

https://ref.ly/o/thisvrs/82917?length=1696

Read why I told our Staff they looked "sweat-stained and soot-streaked"

In a recent Staff meeting I shared this account from Don McCullough's "Waking from the American Dream":

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During World War-II, England needed to increase its production of coal. Winston Churchill called together labor leaders to enlist their support. At the end of his presentation, he asked them to picture in their minds a parade which he knew would be held in Piccadilly Circus after the war. First, he said, would come the sailors who had kept the vital sea lanes open. Then would come the soldiers who had come home from Dunkirk and then gone on to defeat Rommel in Africa. Then would come the pilots who had driven the Luftwaffe from the sky.

Last, of all, he said, would come a long line of sweat-stained, soot-streaked men in miner’s caps. Someone would cry from the crowd, “And where were you during the critical days of our struggle?”

And from ten thousand throats would come the answer, “We were deep in the earth with our faces to the coal.”

I told our Staff at World Wide New Testament Baptist Missions that they work deep in the earth with their faces to the coal for the cause of the Great Commission. Most days they are unseen. They have a passion for their labors during the "critical days of our struggle."

When you pray for your missionaries, please mention the staff at World Wide New Testament Baptist Missions, and other mission agencies, whose faces are "deep in the earth" for the Soul Effort in which we are engaged.

There are many tasks you will do for the Lord. Most of them will be "deep in the earth" with your faces to the coal. God sees where you are and knows what you are doing. 

Keep at it until the battle is over and a crown is received to cast at His feet.