Judge Not

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Matthew 7:1-2

Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Jesus’ love for me is quite apparent as He suffered and died for me. John 15:13 says, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus did not die for me because I was such an awesome human being nor because I would do such wonderful things for Him and add so much value to His life but rather He died for me simply because He loved me.

It is easy, after living in the love of Christ for a while, to slip into a judgmental attitude toward others. We do it unconsciously at first but there is an attitude that begins to surface that says something like, if they weren’t so ignorant they would just give their life to Christ and quit acting like that. That’s entirely different from, Jesus please let them find your love and forgiveness as I did. The first is a judgmental attitude and the second is the love of Jesus for others.

The hardest thing in the world to do is to see myself as I really am. The easiest thing in the world to do is to give someone advice.

There was a prophet by the name of Jonah who held a revival where an entire city got saved and turned to repent and follow the LORD. Yet Jonah had an issue seeing himself and went and sat outside the city so he could see if God would destroy the city or not. Jonah was convinced Nineveh should be destroyed even if they had all just repented and turned to the LORD. Yet Jonah was condemning, angry and unforgiving.

Jesus please teach me to see as you see with righteous judgment through eyes of love for all.

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Deliverance

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Joel 2:32

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

So deliverance can be found in mount Zion and in Jerusalem. However what you will not hear spoken of very often is that deliverance is also found in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

This remnant is a survivor or one who has escaped a great slaughter. This word is used in Numbers 21 when Israel came up against Og the king of Bashan and this heathen king intended to prevent Israel from doing what the LORD had called them to do. Numbers 21:35, “So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.” Until there was none left him alive means, there was no remnant.

In today’s world it can often seem as if christianity will be completely destroyed from our society. Any public profession or display of belief in a life of christianity is immediately attacked as inappropriate and offensive while any other expression of whatever “belief” someone wants to express is protected as free speech. Do not misunderstand. I am a firm believer in freedom of speech, even including those who disagree with my beliefs and value system. If someone will talk long enough you will know what kind of person they are and then can decide where they belong in your life. In spite of the very public attack on christianity I firmly believe there will be a remnant that survives.

The LORD has promised that there will be deliverance among the remnant. Those who have survived attacks possess the wisdom that comes from experience. If you feel like your world is being destroyed ask the LORD to lead you to someone who has survived what you are going through and they will be able to share with you the life saving wisdom that they have learned.

There is deliverance in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Look Up

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Psalm 5:3

My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.

David declares his intention of putting the LORD first in in his daily life by saying, “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning” and then “in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”

David was going to look up and set his eyes upon the LORD because in the LORD is no wickedness, evil, foolishness or iniquity. Instead of looking at all the corrupt confusion around him, David choose to look at purity and holiness.

There is much talk and discussion in the religious world about what holiness is and what it looks like. Many groups go to great lengths in dress, talk, social behavior and all sorts of outward gymnastics to prove they are holy and worthy of God’s presence. However we can never merit, earn or buy God’s favor. The only reason we can ever be near Christ is because of His death for our wrong on Calvary’s Cross. Ephesians 2:13, “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

I do not make myself clean and holy by some religious creed and then deserve the presence of God and thus receive the reward of Christ’s favor. Rather I come to Jesus through the soul cleansing blood of the Lamb of God slain at Calvary and then I am accepted into the presence of God Almighty. It is not because of what I did but because of who He is!

David was determined to immediately place his focus on the LORD in the morning and thus have the necessary mercy and grace of God Almighty that he needed in order to be able to walk with God that day.

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name!

Peace

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Proverbs 25:24

It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

This illustrates the value of peace in our lives. It is not an attack on women. I have known plenty of situations where the opposite of this was true and it was the man who was the brawler. This woman could be our alter ego, the church, our passions or just about anything that causes dispute and stress in our life.

This is not about the other person but rather it is about me. Psalm 119:165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” Then in Romans 12:18 we find these words, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.”

We struggle and strive to prove we are the one that is right in a situation and we struggle and strive for possessions, positions and privilege. Yet true wealth and happiness is the peace of God which passeth all understanding.

There are many things that it seems we will never understand on this side of eternity while we live in a human body. There is a peace that goes beyond and excels all understanding however that money can’t buy. It is the peace of God that I find at the foot of Calvary’s Cross with my head under the feet of the crucified Christ.

Ephesians 1:22-23, “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Keeping the Faith

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2 Timothy 4:7-8

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

The great Apostle Paul was writing to Timothy and he says, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”. Paul goes on in this section of scripture to make it clear that he is ready to depart this life. Yet Paul is also aware that he will not receive his crown of victory until judgment day.

Since Paul had fought the good fight, then there must be a bad fight. In a fight you meet opposition. In a fight there is aggressive and there is defensive actions. In a fight the opposer sometimes lands some punches. The Apostle Paul was a human being just as we are and I’m certain that sometimes the opposer landed some punches on Paul. Paul’s testimony wasn’t that he had been perfect and had never failed or suffered some wounds at the hand of the enemy. Rather Paul’s testimony was, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith”.

Paul had finished his course. The course of life that had been appointed to him was complete and his claim to fame at the end of life’s journey was, “I have kept the faith”. Paul didn’t claim to have been perfect but rather simply, I have kept the faith.

We are not going to do it perfectly but even in the midst of suffering a few cuts and bruises and in the midst of getting knocked down sometimes, we can keep the faith.

I Am the LORD

Leviticus 19:18

Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

Based on my experiences in my humanity, this must be one of the toughest things we do as Christians. Personally I don’t have a big problem letting go of and separating from toxic and negative situations, however when it comes to not avenging or not bearing a grudge, it is an entirely different thing. That is something, that for me, takes more perseverance and determination. It’s not that we can overcome that spiritual battle on our own but rather it takes a determination and perseverance to not allow your humanity to drag you away from the foot of Calvary’s cross.

If my vision is on Christ’s sacrifice at Calvary when I find myself in those places of life where it would be easy to seek revenge and easy to bear a grudge, how can I not forgive and love my neighbor as myself?

When I think back to where I was when Jesus Christ forgave me and translated me from darkness into the Kingdom of Light it very quickly becomes easy to love my neighbor as myself. The first sign that I’ve forgotten what Jesus did for me is that I feel a desire to avenge myself and I’m holding a grudge.

It’s because of who Jesus is and not because of anything that I’ve done that Jesus accepted me and saved my soul. How can I possibly hold a grudge and feel the need to avenge myself if I truly understand what Jesus did for me when I came to Calvary in repentance and what He continues to do for me every time I return?

Dear Jesus please help us to understand what you did for us at Calvary and teach us to love our neighbor as ourself.

Jesus’ Love

Proverbs 20:9

Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

No one can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin.” As human beings we do not have the power to make our heart clean. The only person who can do that is Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ, the spotless Lamb of God, lived as a man and suffered the death of crucifixion, paying the price for my sin. As it says in Hebrews 4:15, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” I have never lived without sin therefore only Jesus is a worthy sacrifice and is able to pay the penalty of sin. What amazing inexplicable love that the spotless Lamb of God would pay the price for my sin that I may spend eternity with Him.

John 15:13, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Most human beings would not give their life for a righteous person much less a flawed and imperfect creature. Yet that is exactly what Jesus Christ did. Before I ever even knew I had a problem and needed a way out of it, he had already made a way for me.

What selfless infinite love!

As I’ve said before, we can refrain from sinning against our spouse because we feel like that is the right thing to do or we can refrain from sinning against our spouse because we love them so much. Likewise with Jesus. We can refrain from sinning against Him because that’s what the law says and because we are scared to death of Him or we can refrain from sinning because we love Him. How can we not love someone who choose to die in our place even though He is the only one who ever lived without sin. It is impossible for me to understand that kind of love. I want that kind of love.

Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? No one can say that but that is exactly what the love of Jesus Christ will bring to pass in our life.

Sufficiency

John 3:11-12

Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

Jesus was speaking with Nicodemus in this passage of scripture. Nicodemus, whose name means conqueror, had come to Jesus by night because he had witnessed the miracles and works that Jesus had done. Nicodemus understood that Jesus was a teacher come from God because of the miracles Jesus had performed. However, Nicodemus’ understanding was still lacking when it came to the fact that Jesus is the only Begotten Son of God.

What Nicodemus saw happen wasn’t enough. He wanted to question Jesus about who Jesus was.

How often in our life have we taken the same position with Jesus? After all the difficult situations Jesus has brought us through in life, which has been nothing short of a miracle in mine, His Word should be enough for us.

He said in His Word, “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Yet we often look to money, a relationship with some human being or possessions as the thing we need to bring happiness and a sense of completeness into our world.

Jesus is enough. He loves us and died a death of crucifixion that we may spend eternity with Him. May God Almighty help us to embrace His sufficiency in this world.

Commit thy Works

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Proverbs 16:3

Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

 

If I commit my works unto the LORD then the LORD will put the thoughts in my mind that will guide me to where He has planned for me to be.

To commit is to roll away or to roll onto another. 1 Peter 5:7 says, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” It is like when the stone on Jesus’ tomb was rolled away. When we roll the thing holding us in the grave over on to the LORD, we can come out in resurrection power to do the Lord’s work of teaching all nations as the Great Commission requires of us.

The very thoughts of our mind will be established by the LORD. When we come to Jesus and empty ourselves of all judgments, opinions and bias, then the thoughts, imaginations and plots that come to us will be established and firmly fixed in Christ. As the LORD told Israel in Exodus 15:17, “Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance, in the place, O LORD, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in, in the Sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”

Shortly after the LORD said that to Israel in Exodus 15:17, she found herself at Elim, in verse 27, where there were twelve wells of water and seventy palm trees standing tall and straight, firmly established, planted and fixed around those wells of water. This is a beautiful picture of how we can grow straight and tall towards heaven, regardless of the situation we find ourselves in, when we commit our works unto the LORD and firmly resolve to stand upon the truth that we are children of a God that loves us so much He sent His only Begotten Son to die a death of crucifixion on an old rugged cross.

What more do we have need of? Jesus, this day I commit my works unto Thee.

He That Hath an Ear

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Revelation 3:19-20

As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

 

Each of the seven churches had their own particular set of issues and the Lord addressed each church in its individuality without comparing it to the other churches and yet there was one thing specifically that He said to all seven of the churches. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”.

The Lord never says something frivolously just to have something to say. If He says something you can believe that we will see that thing around the corner. For example He told Noah to build a boat and sure enough there came a flood.

Adam and his wife were instructed to dress and keep the garden and not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge and sure enough the serpent managed to find entrance into the Garden and lead them into eating from the Tree of Knowledge.

If the Lord is telling the churches, if you have ears you better use them and hear what the Spirit is saying, then it’s because the Church’s issue is in not hearing what the Spirit says to it.

It’s an awesome eternal privilege and joy unspeakable to be a part of God’s church but the thing we have to watch for, as the church, is the spiritual pride that sneaks in and stops the ear so that we can not hear what the Spirit is saying to the church. Psalm 58:4 says, “Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear;”.

Spiritual pride is a serpent that causes us to have ears that don’t hear what the Spirit says. Regardless of what church age or dispensation we are in personally in our walk with the Lord and regardless of the sign out in front our church home, the issue we Christians must watch for is spiritual pride. When we have experienced God’s love through the gift of His only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ, we begin to unconsciously feel like we are something and then we begin to judge and unconsciously look down our nose at those who have not accepted Jesus Christ and at those in other churches.

Let us beware today. The Lord said to all seven churches. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”. The first sign that I am susceptible to spiritual pride and to missing what the Spirit of God is saying to me is that I am a part of the Body of Christ.

Jesus please open our ears this day to hear what the Spirit is saying to the church.