“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults -Matthew 7:1 [The Message.]
“The Holy Spirit [the Comforter] is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding…” From Oswald Chambers — My Utmost for His Highest
This is a very good and wise plan God made. No one can stand up under criticism. I know that on a very personal level. The human response is to feel attacked. Attack offers two options; be destroyed or fight back. No transformation can occur if you’re in a fighting mood or if you’re completely wiped out by that criticism.
SO…from now on before criticizing another I’m going to pray this truth for them promised in Philippians 1:6: “There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.” [The Message.]
And believe on these things.
If there is Jesus…there is a comforter.
• And if there is a comforter there is security.
• And if there is security there is openness.
• And if there is openness there is new freedom
• And if there is that freedom there is opportunity.
• And if there is opportunity, change becomes an option.
• And if that option is accepted, there is transformation, and…
So Be It!
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven…
7 And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him…
17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting…
21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…
This reminded me of Ecclesiastes “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” That’s probably KJV. NIV says “meaningless.” That’s what we gain from our efforts without constant Recharging. It’s like the charging station for your cell phone or iPad. If you don’t recharge your battery regularly, it just shuts down completely. If you’re a techno-geek like me this imagery makes sense to you.
Those little electronic devices have opened up a “world” filled with information to us and we have loved it but for them and for us Recharging is a critical need.
That’s true of technology and faith as well. You don’t really need anything more than Jesus and a Bible but If you’re lucky enough to also have an iPad and/or iPhone, you can be blessed by using those resources too. Surf online and learn more and faster, about the Word of God. Jesus is our charging station and even Google can be used by God. Recharging can come just by thinking the question or the word from the scripture, typing it into your browser and then reading with discernment. Search as many different Bible versions as it takes to find a glimmer of understanding. Here’s a marvelous site with many versions of the bible in many languages. https://www.biblegateway.com. Then, here’s the key, reread your own go-to Bible version. Your eyes will see new treasure there, there your heart will be also and you’ll have grown beyond knowledge to “knowing.”
It’s the Sovereign God at work in new technology and in you. God is still in charge of our world and it’s developments, even technology. Let’s redeem these resources for His Kingdom and our growth! That’s Recharging in 2015.
Christians and non-Christians alike, if asked to name a Biblical figure could probably come up with this name with just a few hints. He was a faithful jew, he persecuted Christians, he was confronted by the Lord while taking a walk. Not only his life, but his name was changed because of that encounter! Got it? This great hero of the Bible then began a much recorded mission that would retain all of its radical impact thru today’s history and probably on thru timeless history. His name? The Impossible Paul.
That’s my affectionately inaccurate mutilation of his name. It’s brought on by my own personal struggle to live out his words “I have learned to be content in all things.” My inability to live those words is frustrating. I am as far from that reality as health is from illness, fear from security or youth from age. It may be embarrassing to admit that to you but it really makes me mad to have to admit it to myself.
And yet as impossible as these words from the Apostle seem, I believe them. His story of living them out has become my source of hope. It seems that the key is to accept what IS. Life has taught me to have goals but they all seem to be based on what I want and what is yet to come. I have to reexamine that whole area.
There’s the issue of using the past as a rehearsal stage for the future. That’s an area I’ve wasted far too much time on. Second guessing….if I’d done this, the outcome would have been that…..So next time I’ll do…and so on. You get the picture, a truly futile effort. I’m sure that “to be content in all things” is to be content in only one thing – Christ in me, here and now!
Here’s my dilemma. If you were to ask me has God been in charge of my past, my immediate answer would be YES! Of the future, YES! But the reality of today? Can he bridge the big gap between my answers and my actions? Can he build a bridge for me between health and illness, fear and security, youth and age? Can I give up wanting to know things I can’t know? What is God going to do? How is He going to do it? It is apparently going to take a lifetime to learn how to be content in only one thing.
Matthew 5 JB Phillips NT
“Happy are those who claim nothing, for the whole earth will belong to them!
From Deitrich Bonhoeffer – The Cost of Discipleship –
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” …what it means is that when the kingdom of heaven descends, the face of the earth will be renewed, and it will belong to the flock of Jesus.
…In the meantime…don’t waste energy demanding, fighting, struggling or complaining. Now that is a lifestyle that requires strength and commitment virtually unidentifiable in our powerful and rights-driven society today. It is hard to even try to imagine how this might look in real life, in fact. “Meek” may be the most hard to define word in MY language today. I know my definition tends to go to the negative side and then prompts a negative reaction followed with “but…” And yet it it’s what Jesus says.
Today I’m going to go with this group of statements which are odd because they all begin in that negative place; with that word “not” but lead to a much better ending. And maybe that’s the secret to understanding the property rights of the meek. You may well have to begin with that negative word but each statement carries the promise of the Blessing of Not.
• Not demanding Jesus be or do what I want…
• Not fighting against circumstance…
• Not struggling against obedience…
• Not complaining about the my rights, people and life…
• May you have the desire to go beyond millions of facts about God’s to His timeless truth…
• May your heart be eager to search…
• May you receive the blessing of awareness that you have been taught by God himself through the mystery of his indwelling Spirit…
• May you make it your practice to thoroughly think through the things you have easily believed…
• May you be able to honestly say I don’t know, but I want to…
What turns the wheat into bread?
It is pounded and ground ‘til it’s fine.
Then it’s mixed and it’s shaped to the Baker’s design.
You’ll be my bread in this world.
What turns the grape into wine?
It is crushed, and then in due time,
When the process is through, the wine will be new.
You’ll be my wine in this world.
Love, Jesus and Shirle
Romans 2:1 and 14 & 15
• You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.
• 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)
I’m remembering an exchange with a good man long ago who was not a believer. I just did not know how to respond to a discussion about good people without God who do good things and people who claim to love God who do bad things. So I took the well traveled legalist approach. They were wrong and he was wrong. Neither of these two areas of judgment ought to be practiced and I was wrong too. This part of Romans suggests these graceful alternatives:
I can give God the credit for the good that is accomplished even though the one doing it may not be giving Him the credit…and I can honor that person as well without judging his position with God.
Discrediting someone else’s relationship to God is a very risky proposition. It discredits my own relationship to God. It’s a flashing beacon that there’s something about myself God wants me to examined first. It’s a beacon that brings badly needed Grace into the picture. Grace that covers both of our situations and reminds me that neither of us can survive without it.