Skip to main content

Thoughts From Tim Gustafson

Dear Friends,

As one who loves the Lord, I have sometimes been tempted to defend Him against angry and sometimes unfounded attacks from people. After all, isn’t it necessary to defend those we love? What I have discovered over the years is that in the case of those who need our help in defending them, the answer is yes. But when it comes to the all-knowing and all-powerful God who “laughs” when “the nations conspire and the people’s plot in vain” (Psalm 2:1-6), it’s a very different story. The thought of me defending such a God actually seems rather silly! Sort of like an ant thinking it needs to (or can!) defend an elephant!

Do I challenge some ideas and thoughts people put forth? Yes. Do I now try to do it calmly and graciously? Yes. Why? Because oftentimes the person antagonistic to God is actually hoping for an angry tirade from believers. It helps them justify their unbelief. Many former church goers (I have found) actually received such a response when they expressed some honest doubts they were having and said that such a response actually drove them away from God. After all, angry responses are often evidence of an inner fear, insecurity, or faltering faith in the one who is responding. A faith that is itself teetering on the edge of collapse.

Therefore, I offer you this short but poignant devotion from “Our Daily Bread,” written by Tim Gustafson. I couldn’t agree with him more! Enjoy.

“The anti-God bumper stickers covering the car in front of him seized the attention of a university professor. As a former atheist himself, the professor thought perhaps the owner wanted to make believers angry. “The anger helps the atheist justify his atheism,” he explained. Then he warned, “All too often, the atheist gets exactly what he is looking for.”

In recalling his own journey to faith, this professor noted the concern of a Christian friend who invited him to consider the truth of Christ. His friend’s, “sense of urgency was conveyed without a trace of anger.” He never forgot the genuine respect and grace he received that day.

Believers in Jesus often take offense when people reject Him. But how does He feel about that rejection? Jesus constantly faced threats and hatred, yet He never took doubt about His deity personally. Once, when a village refused Him hospitality, James and John wanted instant retaliation. “Lord,” they said, “do you want us to call down fire from heaven to destroy them?” (Luke 9:54). Jesus didn’t want that, and He, “turned and rebuked them” (v. 55). After all, “God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him” (John 3:17).

It may surprise us to consider that God doesn’t need us to defend Him. Rather, He wants us to represent Him! That takes time, work, restraint, and love.

Prayer: Lord, when we are confronted with hate, help us not to be haters in return, but to respond as Your Son did: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
The best way to defend Jesus is to be like Him.”

A recent poll by the National Institute for Civil Discourse discovered that 94% of Americans believe we have a civility problem. 75% said they believe it’s at a crisis level. Maybe what we need is a refresher course in the book of Proverbs. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Or again, “A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back” (Prov. 29:11). And we must not forget Proverbs 16:32: “Whoever is slow to anger is better than a warrior, and he who controls his temper is greater than one who captures a city.”

One of the Fruit of the Spirit is self-control – which includes our words and emotions. Yet, when it comes to possible anger at insults to God, it also helps us to realize that God is much more capable of defending Himself than we are. Maybe that’s why He simply calls us to be His ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20) and represent Him, rather than defend Him, or worse yet, respond in a hostile manner toward those who are hostile to Him.

After all, it's rarely our responses, answers, or rational arguments that make the difference with people anyway. It’s the love and concern they sense from us in our interaction with them – even when they know we are speaking about things where we disagree greatly.

Oh, that we might be more like Him, Pastor Jeff


Popular posts from this blog

Thoughts On the Holy Spirit

Dear Friends, A. W. Tozer once said, “I think you will agree with me when I say that many people are confused about the Spirit of God.” What Christian who has walked in church circles for any length of time could disagree? That’s why I want to offer some helpful thoughts regarding the Holy Spirit from well-known saints, past and present. I trust you might find them useful in helping you listen to His guidance, respond to His leading, walk in His power, exercise His gifts, and be transformed by His presence in your life. Enjoy. “The Holy Spirit is not enthusiasm. Some people get enthusiastic and imagine it is the Holy Spirit. Some who get all worked up over a song imagine that this is the Spirit, but this does not necessarily follow. Some of these same people go out and live just like the sinful world. But the Holy Spirit never enters a man and then lets him live just like the world that hates God. In fact, that is the reason most people do not want to be filled with the

Thoughts From Diana Gruver

Dear Friends, In recent years I have found more and more people of all ages wrestling with depression, despite their faith in Christ and assurance of God’s goodness and faithfulness. Part of that (for the older folk) seems to be their struggle with a world so different from the one they grew up in, that they no longer feel at home in this world, while with younger people it seems to have a lot to do with the social isolation caused by their phones and social media. I know it sounds odd to say that social connectivity can lead to loneliness and depression, yet it’s true. It’s one thing to be connected electronically to others and another altogether to enjoy face to face “in the flesh” presence, eye contact, conversation, affection, laughter, and physical touch – even if it’s a simple handshake, hug or pat on the back. Better to have one committed, caring, loyal, ‘there in the flesh friend,’ than 1000 followers on Instagram merely leave a comment in your thread on occasion. Yet please do

Thoughts From Alianore Smith

Dear Friends, Today’s “thought” comes from “across the pond” as a couple of my friends in England like to say! It’s a short message on pride. Actually, the sin of pride – a suggestion that might come as a surprise to many in America where pride (especially pride of self) is seen as a virtue. And while it is true Paul does suggest there is a good form of pride (Galatians 6:4), we must be extremely careful that we do not in any way condone (or feed) those forms of sin which God condemns. Today’s excerpt from Alianore Smith - Associate Speaker for the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity - helps us to distinguish between the two forms of pride, and clarifies the types of pride God is sure to oppose. Enjoy. Amos and the Sin of Pride “The Sovereign LORD has sworn by himself – the LORD God Almighty declares: 'I abhor the pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver up the city and everything in it.'” Amos 6:8 Last week