Do You Judge Others?

Photo by  EngelFish

Photo by EngelFish

Matthew 7:1-5 1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

We all know that scripture, but we all tend to judge others to one degree or another anyway. Why is that?

We often judge people by their speech, such as vocabulary and slang. We judge them by how they dress; her skirt is too short, his pants are hanging down, he’s wearing high waters, someone that size shouldn’t be wearing that outfit, she looks like a criminal, etc.

How many of us have not looked at the websites of Wal-creatures, and made remarks? It is very hard not to judge others especially when so many people seem so contrary to the values and standards we hold.

We just judge people on a whole array of things, and most of the time we do it without giving it a thought; at least until after the fact.

The scriptures say that one day we will judge angels. (1 Corinthians 6:3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?) How can God trust us to fairly judge angels if we can’t fairly judge other people?

God wants and expects us to judge actions and behaviors. We need to be making judgments on what’s right and wrong, and what’s proper and improper. We have a responsibility to judge someone’s behavior as to whether it’s right or wrong especially as it relates to us, but we do not have the right to judge that person. There is a difference.

We have no idea what some ones been through, or the things that led them to be the way they are. Only God knows those things, which is why only God has the right to judge another person.

I don’t know about any of you reading this, but in my youth I had a bad drug problem and lived a life very contrary to God. Although it took some serious hard knocks, God brought me thought it. He saw something in me worth redeeming, which is the part we don’t often see.

We see bad behavior and condemn the person and want nothing to do with them. Many Christians I have known will only hang out with other Christians. They wouldn’t think of tainting themselves by hanging out with sinners. Are we not all sinners?

Let me ask you, who did Jesus go to, and surround Himself with? Those who are well don’t need a doctor, but those who are sick.

If we spend our time judging and looking down on people, how can we help make a difference in their life? Not everyone is going to make it to your church or fellowship group, so we need to go to where people are. We cannot let our light shine if we hide it under the bushel of our churches.

My 22 year old daughter got quite a compliment the other day. She works at a place where there are a lot of, lets say, very worldly people with very salty language. A lady that works near my daughter turned to her and said, “you don’t swear, do you”? My daughter smiled and just said no, but I’m no one’s judge. The lady apologized for her language, and asked her to let her know if she ever offends her.

Now some people might have wanted to judge that lady, and give her a piece of their righteousness, but my daughter chose not to do that. By her actions she let that lady see a glimmer of light she’s not used to seeing in others. It’s a light that people can see when we let God’s light shine through. When you let your light shine in the darkness, people notice and it plants a seed.

Making judgments about what is right and good is something we should do. But judging people because we don’t agree with them or because they offend our sensibilities is wrong.

Instead of judging people, pray for them.

I know from experience that not judging others is not easy, because I regularly have to repent of it.

I’m just glad that I am becoming more and more aware of it, which puts me in a better position to work on that part of me.

What do you say we all try and do a little better at not judging others?

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You’ve Got a Friend

Photo by VinothChandar

Photo by VinothChandar

What is one of the greatest desires any of us has? What is it we yearn for in the very depths of our being? What is it we crave and long for, that no amount of money or material possessions can fulfill in us? That would be the longing to belong, and the desire to be loved and wanted. It’s the need to fill a void that each one of us has within us.

We were created to need somebody special in our life; someone we know we can lean on, count on, and someone who will always be there for us. We find that to a point in very deep relationships like a marriage or in relationships with close friends. Unfortunately, those relationships can only fill us to a point, and are not meant to be the end all in our desire for love and connection

We were all created incomplete, but for a very important reason. God created us with a void to help point us in the direction we need to go. If God had not created us this way, we’d be like a ship on the sea with no compass, sail or rudder. We’d be floating around lost, directionless, with no control and no knowledge of our purpose.

Anyway, while I was thinking about all this, the song “You’ve Got a Friend” came to mind. I decided to look up the lyrics and share them with you. I don’t know the story behind Carol King writing the lyrics, but it is one of those songs that move people deeply.

I’ve also shared a link to James Taylor performing “You’ve Got a Friend” on YouTube, and would highly recommend you take the time to check it out. Watch the audience during this performance to see how much emotion is displayed in their faces. It’s not because it’s James Taylor singing it, it is the song and its promise for someone very special to fill a void in your life, and someone to be there when you really need them.

Now, read the words to “You’ve Got a Friend” below, and imagine its God sharing these words with you directly. Then watch the video, and again imagine it is God expressing His promise to be there for you when you need a helping hand.

“You’ve Got A Friend”

When you’re down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

If the sky above you
Grows dark and full of clouds
And that old north wind begins to blow
Keep your head together
And call my name out loud
Soon you’ll hear me knocking at your door

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there

Ain’t it good to know that you’ve got a friend
When people can be so cold
They’ll hurt you, and desert you
And take your soul if you let them
Oh, but don’t you let them

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I’ll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I’ll be there
You’ve got a friend

Now, please take the time to watch the video of James Taylor singing “You’ve Got a Friend“.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the Grandeur, and Immensity of God that we forget something very important. God wants a deep and personal relationship with us. He doesn’t just want our worship from afar; He wants an intimacy with us that is only shared between the deepest of friends. God doesn’t want to be just our Creator; He wants to be our best friend.

Remember when you’re down and troubled, or even when things are great; in God “You’ve Got a Friend”!

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How is Your Relationship With God?

Photo by marlonolram

Photo by marlonolram

Let me start by painting a picture for you. If you’re a parent, imagine every morning your children come to the kitchen, and take a seat for breakfast. As you’re serving them their breakfast, they tell you how much they love you and how much they appreciate all you do for them. They ask you to take care of a couple of problems for them, and they never speak to you the rest of the day. The next time you hear from them will be in the morning, or maybe they say good night, if they’re not too tired before going to sleep for the night.

If you’re not a parent, imagine yourself treating your parents that way.

That is the type of relationship many Christians have with God. I know, because for many years, that’s the kind of relationship I and most every I knew had with God.

We tell God thanks, go through our list of wants and needs, we maybe pray for some other people, and then we go about our business the rest of the day without giving God a second thought.  Why is that?

I think there are a couple things that come into play here. First, we live in a very busy and very distracting world. We are worried about the economy, our jobs, our bills, our future, and all the bad things happening around the world, etc. etc. etc.

What does God say about all these things?

Matthew 6:31-34 31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

God tells us not to worry about these things, yet so many of us put more thought and effort into what we’re going to wear to work, or what we’re going to eat today, than our relationship with God.

Beside the business of the world that seems to distract us so much, there is that subtle attitude that slips into our relationship with God. It’s the same one that slips into most marriages; that’s the attitude of taking others for granted.

Most of us hardly give a second thought to the miracle that happens every day of our lives. That’s the miracle of breath, and food, and water, and sunshine and shelter, etc. etc. etc. We just come to expect these things rather than appreciate the miracle they are.

Anyone that has been married for a while knows a marriage, at least a good one, takes work. You have to put an effort into that relationship if you want it to be a happy one, you have to appreciate your spouse. You have to think about the other person even when you’re not together. You have to think about how special they are to you, and what you can do to be a blessing to them. You have to communicate, and spend time together.

What happens to couples who quite putting in the effort, who quit talking together, who quit being intimate with each other? They drift apart, and in many cases get divorced.

Even though God is always faithful, and He is always there for us, we often become unfaithful by neglecting our relationship with Him. Now, we may still be going to church, and dust off the bible once in a while for a chapter or two. Maybe we even spend a few minutes saying hello in the morning and good night before going to bed. But, is that a relationship? Most people spend more time with their pets and hobbies than in the development of a deeper relationship with God.

Why are so many of us exhausted, and wearied by the world when Jesus has offered to take that burden from us and give us rest?

Matthew 11:27-29 27 All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Remember, God is faithful and He will always be there for us. If your relationship with Him is lacking, just ask, and He will help you turn that around today. Remember, He loves us beyond our human understanding, and all He asks, is for us to love Him in return. He wants to have an intimate relationship with us. Not a superficial relationship, but an intimate one.

Put God first in every area of your life, and you will live a much happier, peaceful, rewarding and content life.
Just knock and the door will be opened to you.
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Who Am I When No One Else is Looking?

Reprint from, April 17th, 2012

I once read a quote that stated, “You are, who you are, when no one else is looking”.

Is that true? I happen to believe it is, and that it says a lot about who we are.

Now, if you’re human like I am you might find this concept thought provoking, as well as, slightly convicting.

When we’re by ourselves we tend to let our guard down and relax. We’re less uptight and worried about what the rest of the world is thinking about us. We might even do a silly dance or sing a song when we would never do that in public. Things like that are good and even healthy.

On the other hand, when we’re in public most of us wear a mask.  Both to protect us, and to help hide our carnal nature from others.

Just as most of us learn to keep that nature in check while in public, we need to also keep it in check when no one is looking.

Here are a couple scenarios for you. You’re coming out of the grocery store and as you’re pushing your cart between two cars you become distracted and run your cart up against one of them and leave an ugly scrape. You look around and no one has seen what you did.

What do you do?

Do you rush off, put your groceries in the car and take off grateful that no one saw you? Or do you leave a note with your contact information on the windshield, or go into the store and have the owner of the car paged and take care of the situation?

Scenario two!

You come out of the store, put your groceries in the trunk, look at your receipt and realize that the cashier gave you too much change back or maybe you didn’t get charged for something.

What do you do?

Do you smile and think about how you were just blessed? Do you say to yourself, well it’s about time the shoe was on the other foot, how many times have they probably over charged me? Or do you go back into the store and explain what happened and give the money back or pay for the product?

Let me ask you a couple more questions.

Have you ever looked at things on the computer that you would never want anyone else to know about?

Have you ever taken supplies from work in the past that you did not pay for?

Have you bumped up against something in a store, knocked it down and scurried off without picking it up?

I will not cast the first stone, because I like most other people, have taken advantage of not being caught in the past. But, that was the past, and our past should not equal our present or future.

Fortunately, because we have an advocate, Jesus Christ, who has already taken the wrap for the things we did; we can repent and move beyond the things of the past.

And in moving beyond those things of the past, “who are we going to be now when no one else is looking”?
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Are You a Christian Warrior?

man kneeling pulling sword out of a stoneWikipedia describes a warrior as a person skilled in combat or warfare, especially within the context of a tribal or clan-based society that recognizes a separate warrior class.

Let me share an excerpt from “WAR AND THE SOUL” By Edward Tick on what a warrior is:

A Warrior is not just one who has been to war and returned. Warrior has been recognized as a basic ideal, pattern of thinking and behaving, and social role that has occurred since the beginning of time. Becoming a warrior is an achievement of character. . .

He continues: What are the characteristics of the warrior? The ideal warrior is assertive, active
and energized. He or she is clear-minded, strategic, and alert. A warrior uses both body and mind in harmony and cooperation. A warrior is disciplined. A warrior assesses both his own resources and skills and those arrayed against him. A warrior is a servant of civilization and its future, guiding, protecting, and passing on information and wisdom. A warrior is devoted to causes he judges to be more important and greater than himself or any personal relationships or gain. Having confronted death, a warrior knows how precious and fragile life is and does not abuse or profane it.

I cannot imagine a better description of a warrior than the above. If we were to take that description of a warrior and super impose it over our Christian walk, how would we rate as warriors?

Are we assertive, active and energized in our faith? I’m not talking about being pushy or in someone’s face asking them if they know Jesus. I’m talking about unshakable faith where we refuse to shrink with down cast eyes when challenged in our faith of an invisible God. Are we are willing to stand up to evil in all its forms, and cast down foul spirits in Jesus’ name? Would we fight for and die for our King?

Are we daily training in the art of spiritual warfare? Are we honing our skills and making sure the Armor of God fits us correctly, or do we need God’s help adjusting some of them.

Are we a servant of our civilization, and of the noble Christian walk that men and women once held honorable? Are we devoted to a cause we judge to be more important and greater than ourselves or any personal relationships or gain? Do we accept and understand how fragile, important and how precious every life is?

Do we walk with our heads held high, not in pride or vanity, but in deep spiritual honor of our God and King?

Jesus Christ was humble and meek, but He was not a push over. He was kind and gentle, but he was also strong and pulled no punches with spiritual pretenders like the Pharisees.

To be a Christian Warrior, we must train our hearts and minds, just as rigorously as Navy Seals train their bodies and minds. Many soldiers try out to become Navy Seals, but only a certain amount makes it. That doesn’t mean that they quit being solders or are no longer of great value? No, it just means they don’t have what it takes to become the ultimate warrior.

It’s the same with the Christian Warrior; not everyone has what it takes, or is willing to train and endure what’s necessary to become a Warrior for Christ. That doesn’t mean they’re not important or don’t have an important place in God’s Kingdom, it just means they might not have what it takes to be a Warrior for God.

It reminds me of: Matthew 22:14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” Do we give what it takes to be an Ultimate Warrior for Christ?

Again, from “WAR AND THE SOUL” By Edward Tick, “A Warrior has been recognized as a basic ideal, pattern of thinking and behaving, and social role that has occurred since the beginning of time. Becoming a warrior is an achievement of character”. Can this be said about our Christian walk?

What about you? Do you have what it takes?

This isn’t a matter of spiritual pride or haughtiness; it’s a matter of commitment, attitude, desire, and a willingness to give it all. Are you willing?

The way you become a Christian Warrior is to first become aware of what a Christian Warrior is. It’s not about perfection in your walk, it’s about attitude, dedication and commitment. It’s about loving and putting others before you, and being willing to lay it all down in the service of Jesus Christ.

None of us is perfect, and we all fall far short, but where is your commitment level? Are you willing to keep getting up every time you’re knocked down or fall down? Are you willing to give it all, even as imperfectly as it might be?

If you can answer yes to these questions, you are on the path of the Christian Warrior. No matter what happens, be willing to keep going and never give up. The closer you draw to God, the more the Adversary will try to trip you up, but remember, you have spiritual battle implements, and if you remain close to God, He will remain close to you.

I wish you God’s speed on your path as a Christian Warrior!