Quick Judgment

Romans 2:1   (KJV)   1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Often, people are guilty of the same things they judge others for. And since this is true, there really is no room and reason for hypocritical judgmental attitudes and actions.

It’s very easy for some of us to call others out on their mistakes or wrongdoings. We can be very good at making others feel guilty. We make sure of it. Somehow, it makes some of us feel more superior – that we’re better people. And we want that picture we portray seen well. Really? Perhaps the only advantage we have is that we found out about their faults and we were better in hiding ours. Some of us act so smug and untouchable. We want to create this separation between us and “the sinner.”

Interestingly, we are selective in this. We can be blind to the wrongs of the people we like; but we can be brutal to others we don’t like. The truth is, the knowledge of the sins of people we’re not really so enamored with just gives us the ace we need so we can treat them with disgusting cruelty and make everyone see that we’re justified in doing so. Give me a break. Any sin we know about anyone – people we like or people we don’t necessarily like is infinitesimal compared to all the sins we ourselves are guilty of – which we know, if we’ll only be honest to ourselves.

God wants us to be alleviated from the burden of pretense. No one’s perfect – not others, not us. We will sin. Let’s not excuse each other, but let’s accept each other’s reality. Then let’s help each other work out our salvation better and more seriously without the weight of condemnation hanging around our heads.

Dear God, the only perfectly holy Being in existence, thank You for the grace You’ve given us to be humble. Because of You, we can change. You’re working in us so that we will have a change of mind and attitude regarding others. You want us to be more gracious in dealing with people caught in their sins and to be honest regarding our own. You’ve shown us our true nature so that we won’t ever act arrogantly and proudly. We all have the dreaded “skeletons in our closet.” That’s why we desperately need a Savior. We realize that any holiness we enjoy and any victory we have is all because of You, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Adviser to the Wise

1 Kings 4:5  (KJV)   And Azariah the son of Nathan was over the officers: and Zabud the son of Nathan was principal officer, and the king’s friend:

1 Kings 4:5  (NIV)   Azariah son of Nathan—in charge of the district governors; Zabud son of Nathan—a priest and adviser to the king;

Ironically, Solomon, considered the wisest king who ever lived had an adviser. The adviser may very well have been a true friend to him, someone who cared for him, who would have been honest with him, who would have been concerned about his welfare. This was not someone who would be there to flatter him so that he could be closer to the king; they were already friends.

We can all learn from others. A king or a leader who learns from others shows a lot of security, maturity, humility, and real wisdom. The person of highest position or greatest knowledge or wisdom still doesn’t know it all. Even the label “know-it-all” can work both as a compliment or an insult.  Either way, it’s not literal. No one really knows it all (unless we’re God – and we’re not). Let’s glean wisdom from others. Let us be open to greater avenues of learning.

We ought to ask God for wisdom and discernment that we may recognize who the people are who really means the best for us – not for themselves. There are people who are obviously anti-us. There are people who are obvious enemies despite our goodness to them. But there are also people who know how to flow with the wind. This can be good. They can ride the tide for their own benefit. That can be good too. But there are those who will be there, going along, just for their own satisfaction, and won’t hesitate hurting others to get what they want. Let’s be careful.

Dear God, we praise You for Your Omniscience. If there’s anyone Who really knows it all, it’s You. We however, are not. Please remind us to be teachable always. Please lead us to the right people to listen to – divine connections – those who You have designed to pour into us important substances that will help us effectively navigate through our journey, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Don’t Push It!

1 Kings 2:23  (KJV)   23 Then king Solomon sware by the Lord, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.

Adonijah didn’t request for anything evil or wrong. But he has just been granted mercy for a serious treacherous act. He could have been killed for it. He was pardoned instead. His offense, though forgiven, was still so fresh. Instead of being grateful and conducting himself with humility, he pushes it and requests for the king to grant him a certain woman to be his wife. This seemingly harmless request cost him his life.

Let’s be careful of the steps we take especially as recipients of many graces and tremendous amount of forgiveness. We may have wronged others so many times. We may have hurt them repeatedly. We may be disrespecting people continuously without any regard for the pain we’re inflicting on them. We think we’re good people because we’re nice to others we choose to be nice to, but we may have become callously heartless to those who have done us the most good. We’ve grown comfortable with it; we’ve become so familiar with being a recipient of certain people’s goodness and we have bred contempt.

It’s not wrong to ask for more. But it’s wrong to be insensitive. People may still be in the process of recovering from the last wounds we’ve caused, and here we are again, showing our thick faces, not attempting to show even a little act of gratefulness for the huge favor we’ve just received. Feeling entitled, we ask for another favor.

We have a heart; we have brains; let’s use it.

Dear God, we praise You for being a God of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. We praise You as well for being God of order. Please help us. We need to have reservations sometimes. We need to show discretion. We need to employ wisdom. We need to have the right timing. We need to think about those who we’ve hurt, who helped us, who forgave us, on how we can be a blessing to them as well. Order our steps please, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Punishment for Believers?

1 Thessalonians 4:6-7   (KJV)   That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

1 Thessalonians 4:6-7   (NIV)   and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.

The context of these verses has to do with sexual sins.  God still avenges or punishes sexual immorality or uncleanness even under the Covenant of grace. He has given straightforward warning regarding this.

Christians ought to be bold and brave in telling the truth as it is. We’re very vocal about grace and God’s forgiveness. And that’s good. But, there are those of us who put on our breaks in declaring that God still deals with disobedience. In dealing with consequences for our sins, we comfortably refer to God’s “discipline,” and that’s true too. But we’d like to avoid any possible consideration that God still has the right to deal with sin. Let’s remember: He has the divine prerogative to punish unbelievers for their sin, and (ready for this) believers for our sins.

Didn’t God punish Jesus for all our sins? Yes He has. But it seems like verses like the ones above tell us that we don’t get a free ride to sinful practices without any consequences. Jesus took all our sins that we may be saved. As saved, let’s watch our steps. Even if God forgives us for lying, or stealing, or sexual impurity, there may be consequences for our forgiven sins that are irreversible. That can be true as well in the spiritual dynamics. Let’s not buy into the lies that purity is evil and harmful and that we ought to just be free in living out all our sexual passions because it is through that that we can really enjoy the fullness of life. Powerful lies that has victimized even believers. Truth: unbridled ungodly sexual passions lead to tragic crashes.

Choose real freedom. Choose punishment-free living. Choose purity.

Dear God, thank You for Your grace and forgiveness and salvation. May our steps be that of the righteous and holy. Many of us have fallen into and excused our ungodly sexual behaviors and practices. Help us to be serious in ridding ourselves of them. Please help us to realize that You will still deal with us – punish us because of our ungodly sexual indulgences. Save us Lord from its power. Or save us Lord from our foolishness, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

It Really is God’s Word

1 Thessalonians 2:13   (KJV)   13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Men preached the words but it is God’s Word they preached. God’s Word really is God’s Word. That’s the reason why it works.

God’s Word will accomplish whatever its purpose every time. Some of us will believe. If we do, God’s Word will change us, cleanse us, strengthen us, encourage us, guide us, teach us, correct us, transform us, etc. We get the point.  Some of us won’t believe. If we don’t, God’s Word will still accomplish its purpose for us. It will be a witness against us; it will serve as our very judge. Instead of blessing, it will be a curse for us. Our belief or unbelief never renders the word of God powerless.

Dear God, thank You for graciously giving us Your Word, Your dependable, inerrant, infallible, irrevocable Word. I pray that we’ll learn to value it as it really is: God’s Word – Your Word. May we clearly see how precious Your gift is to us and how powerful it is. Oh Lord, I pray that You would save us and spare us for the many times when we receive Your clear instruction and guidance and yet we continue to choose the path of sin and disobedience.

Some of us have symptoms of callousness growing. We hear Your Word and we continue to do those things that displease you and we’ve become or are slowly becoming so comfortable about it, that we keep falling to the same sins repeatedly. Some of us have mastered the art of trampling on Your Word – Your exhortations, Your guidance and Your commands as long as we do it within the privacy of our own personal world. We’ve mastered the art of presenting ourselves to others as having a good grip of Your Word, of our spiritual condition. We’ve learned to carry ourselves so well, innocent lambs submitted to the Shepherd’s voice. We look innocent, we act innocent, but deep within us is a rotting spirit of rebellion that’s ready to step out in more serious ungodly acts given the chance.

Please strengthen us against ourselves. Save us from our weak use of Your powerful Word. May we choose to live out its power – out there in the world, and more importantly, in our very own private battefield, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Power to “Perfection”

2 Samuel 22:33  (KJV)   33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.

God is the unseen power behind our godly changes.

Many of us can change. But God is the real power behind any genuine and lasting positive or godly changes in us. Some may contend that people can change through their will power. Sure; we may have noticed unbelievers who have experienced awesome changes. Some changes may have had lasted. Conclusion: changes can be possible without God. Yes. That’s what the devil wants us to believe. That’s why he leaves others with the appearance of seeming success. That’s until the devil decides to test us above our power to will.

The devil knows our weaknesses. He can wisely predict how much temptations we can handle before we cave in. Our power against his, we’re no match. That’s why we need God to experience victory over him. The devil’s power against God’s power, God is the no-sweat winner – all the time. It doesn’t matter if the devil knows how much we can take – what our limit is, our dependence is on God; His power has no limits – big problem for the devil.

But believers still fail. The devil still succeeds. True. But the problem is not that our God is not powerful; it isn’t that He is not making our way perfect. He is. He is continually working in us to will and do His will, to be transformed into the image of his Son. If the devil succeeds, it’s not that he suddenly became more powerful than God; it’s because we choose not to yield to God and not to avail of His power. That’s unwise. He’s strong. He’s willing. He’s working in us to make us the best we can be. Let’s just be submissive, willing, pliable clays in the masterful hands of our Divine Potter.

Our all-powerful God, we appreciate You so much for patiently, continually, and powerfully working in us to become Christ-like, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Consider it Done

Matthew 28:6   (KJV)   He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Raising one’s self from the dead was impossible – until Jesus. It didn’t surprise Him; He said He would do it, and He did it.

Whatever Jesus said He would do, consider it done. I’m sure “impossible” is in His vocabulary, but He lives above it. We ought to really trust Him more.

Dear God, Your promises are true and amen – no matter how hard the obstacles are. Thank You; we have Someone we can really depend on, – in Jesus’ Name, amen.