What A Wonderful World It Could Be!

even-smaller-bug-light111 Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it.12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor? — James 4:11, 12 NIV

​If there is an area in the life of a Christian where we sin daily, and shall I dare say it, deliberately, it is in our thoughts and our words.  It is hard to look at someone and not immediately form some sort of opinion of that person before we even get to know them.  We are told over and over how important first impressions are in this world.  As Chritsians, we need to pray for discernment and patience before forming opinions of others.  We need to predetermine that we are going to love the people we meet every day. When we love someone, we usually give them the advantage of any doubts we have about their goodness.  We need to assume that they are good and show them the same respect we want them to show to us. We should look at every person, regardless of their station or situation, with the assumption that they are innocent until proven guilty. We should assume everyone is worthy of our love and affection until they prove by their words and actions that they are not.  We need to pray that we will see others with the eyes of Jesus, hear their words with the ears of Jesus and above all, filter every thought through the love of Jesus. 
 

3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.  5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: — Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV

What a wonderful world it could be, if each of us, each day, strived to have the same attitude toward others that Jesus has for us.

Post 12-03-2015

Discernment and Discipline in the Body

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolateror slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”—1 Cor. 5:9-13 NIV
Paul is not suggesting that we never associate with worldly people whose lives are controlled by their fleshly desires. Just as Jesus said, we “are in the world but not of the world”. We hold ourselves to different standards. We are not to think of ourselves as “better than” nor are we to think of ourselves as “holier than” anyone. What we are to do is to separate ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to live unholy lifestyles. We are as Paul puts it to “expel the wicked person from among you.” This seems harsh to us. We had rather hide behind verses such as “judge not lest you be judged” and “pull the plank out of your own eye before you point out the toothpick in your brother’s eye”. (my paraphrase) We must keep the Temple of Christ clean and holy.
1​ Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.—2 Cor. 7:1 NIV
Post 05-17-2015

There Are No Qualified Stone-Throwers

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.—1 Cor. 4:1-5 NIV
​Paul is instructing the​ Corinthians in what their attitude toward Paul should be. But it is also instructions to us in how we should regard those in Spiritual authority over us. They have been placed over us at God’s direction and they have been entrusted with messages that we need to hear and obey. Those over us are required to be faithful in delivering the truth to us. Paul is so concerned about being faithful and obedient to His calling in Christ Jesus that it makes it appear as if he has no regard for other’s opinions of him. He can do this with a clear conscience since he is being judged by the Lord. Not judging someone does not mean that we throw away all reason and discernment. We are still responsible for deciding to whom and to what message we listen and adhere to. We must be very humble in assessing the value of another person since we know that we will be measured by the same standards we use. None of us can qualify as stone-throwers.
“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” —John 8:7b NASB

Post–05-09-2015

Beautiful in the Eyes of the Lord

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

44 Then Jesus cried out, “Whoever believes in me is really believing in the One who sent me. 45 Whoever sees me sees the One who sent me. 46 I have come as light into the world so that whoever believes in me would not stay in darkness. 47″Anyone who hears my words and does not obey them, I do not judge, because I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 There is a judge for those who refuse to believe in me and do not accept my words. The word I have taught will be their judge on the last day. 49 The things I taught were not from myself. The Father who sent me told me what to say and what to teach. 50 And I know that eternal life comes from what the Father commands. So whatever I say is what the Father told me to say.”—John 12:44-50 (NCV)
​B​ecause of His great love and mercy, Jesus gives one more invitation to the crowd to believe in what He has said and who He is. He is telling them since you have seen and heard me, you have heard and seen the Father. Every word Jesus said and every act He committed came directly from the Father. On judgment day, the unbelievers will be judged by the words that Jesus was teaching. After all, Jesus was the Word Incarnate, the Living Word, the Word that was established in the beginning. In Jesus, there was life and that life was the light for all the people.
1 In the beginning there was the Word. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were made by him, and nothing was made without him. 4 In him there was life, and that life was the light of all people. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overpowered it.—John 1:1-5 NCV)
​Jesus is God, God is Jesus, Jesus is the Word and the Word is Jesus and in Him is life and light. God and Jesus are in perfect agreement and have been since the beginning. The Word that Jesus spoke was commanded by the Father and contained Life. It is the same Word that has saved us and will keep us until the day Jesus returns. The world needs to hear that Word today, so they can ask the Lord for help. ​
14 But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them; 15 and before someone can go and tell them, that person must be sent. It is written, “How beautiful is the person who comes to bring good news.”–Romans 10″14,15 (NCV)
Post 01-21-2015

Jesus Will Be Our Judge

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

28 Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, 29 and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment. 30 I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will. 31 “If I were to testify on my own behalf, my testimony would not be valid. 32 But someone else is also testifying about me, and I assure you that everything he says about me is true.—John 5:28-32 (NLT)
When Jesus returns to earth, the dead in Christ shall rise first, then those of us who are still alive will join with them to meet Jesus in the air. Others will arise from the graves to experience judgment and the second death, which is eternal damnation in hell.
​Jesus​ sets a great example for us to follow. We should never attempt to do anything on our own. Even though He has been given all authority in heaven and on earth, He still says what His Father says and does what His Father does. if we do the same thing, then we can know that our actions are just and our words are true. The Holy Spirit living in us testifies of the Father and of Jesus. He knows our minds as well as the minds of the Father and the Son so the Holy Spirit can guide us in our actions and our speech.
26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers[l] in harmony with God’s own will—Romans 8:26,27 (NLT)
Post 11-18-14

Work While We Wait!

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

7 Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. 8 You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near. 9 Don’t grumble about each other, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. For look—the Judge is standing at the door! 10 For examples of patience in suffering, dear brothers and sisters, look at the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.—James 5:7-10 (NLT)
​God has ​never failed to fulfill a single promise that He has made. Jesus said that He would be coming back one day and so He will. We wait with eager expectation for that day to come and it is nearer than it has ever been. Will He come in our lifetime? We have no way of knowing and it doesn’t really matter. Waiting, in a Biblical sense, does not mean that we sit around and twiddle our thumbs. God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We are to be redeeming the time while we are here on this earth. We do that by laboring in the harvest. Jesus said “the fields are white for harvest, but the laborers are few”. That doesn’t mean that we have to be pastors, ministers, preachers. missionaries, teachers, or involved full time in any Christian ministry. Our neighborhoods and our workplaces are just as much “fields white with harvest” as any foreign land. Work while you wait. If God hasn’t given you any new directions then keep laboring in the field that God has you in now. God will honor your faithfulness. Just like some of the old prophets, we may never see the results of our labors here on earth, but we can be sure that if we speak His Word, it is powerful and effective.
10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens​ and stay on the ground to water the earth.​ They cause the grain to grow,​ producing seed for the farmer​ and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.​ I send it out, and it always produces fruit.​ It will accomplish all I want it to,​ and it will prosper everywhere I send it.—Isaiah 55:10, 11 (NLT)

Post 09-01-14

We Should Not Show Favoritism

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1​ My brothers and sisters, practice your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ by not favoring one person over another. 2 For example, two men come to your worship service. One man is wearing gold rings and fine clothes; the other man, who is poor, is wearing shabby clothes. 3 Suppose you give special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say to him, “Please have a seat.” But you say to the poor man, “Stand over there,” or “Sit on the floor at my feet.” 4 Aren’t you discriminating against people and using a corrupt standard to make judgments?
—James 2:1-4 (GW)

​We​ must be careful not to make quick judgments and choices based on how someone looks or the price of the clothes they wear. God created each of us in His image and has a plan and a purpose for each of us. We must learn to look at people as God sees them.
7 But the Lord told Samuel, “Don’t look at his appearance or how tall he is, because I have rejected him. God does not see as humans see​.​ Humans look at outward appearances, but the Lord looks into the heart.”
–1 Samuel 16:7 (GW)

​Of course, we​ can’t actually see into their hearts. So, what we must learn to do is withhold our opinions of them until we get to know them. Until then, we should not show favoritism to one person over another. We must also remember that whatever standards we use to judge and form our opinions of others are the same standards that will be used to judge us.
1 “Stop judging so that you will not be judged. 2 Otherwise, you will be judged by the same standard you use to judge others. The standards you use for others will be applied to you.–Matt. 7:1,2 (GW)
Post 08-19-14