If you invite the Devil to a fight…

… He’s gonna show up.

A good friend told me this a couple of weeks ago as I was in the midst of the worst week of one of the best months of this year so far. As I read that back , it sounds absolutely ridiculous ,but its also absolutely true.

Today is April the 30th . In the last 30 days I have had the opportunity to preach the Gospel 4 times at 3 different congregations in 2 different states and heard 1 outstanding sermon from a young Christian as I visited 1 another congregation just last night. While most would agree that the preacher is the one doing the encouraging, I have been encouraged more than I can express by the audience at each place. In addition to these moments I also was approached by a willing heart looking for truth in the scriptures and have a study with him later this week… Spiritually speaking – this month has been incredible . In losing myself in service to God , I found in myself both Strength and Peace.. This service no doubt was an invitation to the enemy to fight… and he showed up.

And although I have never been a materialistic person , its amazing the stress that losing or paralyzing the “necessities” of life can bring in to your life. As much as I wish it wasn’t , money is a necessity  , it is  – and the Devil knows this. Financial hits aside , I was also involved in a wreck  that not only cost me additional money -but also a week of work… again more loss of wages. I think anyone can identify with the stress that unexpected financial surprises can cause in every facet of your life ,and I like everyone else am not immune to the pressures of these…

But the devil didn’t win.. he threw me the punches and through trust in my God , prayer and the generosity of others  – I was able to roll with them…

Keith -1  / Satan -0

So for now – I have made it though and look forward to the beginning of a new month and look forward to both it’s challenges AND rewards. We are only affected by what we allow to affect us , and I for one have been showed grace ,mercy,generosity and favor and affect by ALL of them.

The most important things to take away from this best worst month is the lessons that God allowed me to learn – that being a Good Steward is MORE than just being frugal ,that being a Good Servant is MORE than serving,but allowing yourself to ALSO be served , and first and foremost that TRUSTING HIM is more important than all of these. Paul said in 2nd Corinthians 12:10 “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, THEN I am strong.”…

…and so AM I.

read 1 Peter 5:8 and 1 Corinthians 10:13

Have a great one people   😉

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Judging ,Making Judgments and being Judgemental..

You can’t judge me.

Only God can judge me.

“Judge not lest ye be judged”….. That one? That one is my favorite.

Maybe you have picked up on my discontent with the misuse of these sayings by the sarcasm I’m laying on? More than likely you yourself are ALREADY making a judgment about me…? I would think so , because we all are guilty of doing so – but who am I to judge? (sorry I couldn’t help myself , I had to throw that one in there too before I make my point).

Who am I to judge you?.. well ,nobody really. No one more than you are – but  , we make judgements EVERY DAY. We judge events ,entertainment ,politics etc…. and the things at the root of ALL of those… PEOPLE.

…And its OK.

The reason that  I sarcastically stated that  Mathew 7:1  was my favorite  is because of its flagrant misuse. You see , If we just leave it as “Judge not” it becomes a handy tool in keeping others from doing just that – judging us. But we MUST read the REST of the passage! You see it says ”  “Judge not, that you be not judged.2 For with the judgment you pronounce YOU ALSO WILL BE JUDGED, and with the measure YOU use it will be measured to YOU ALSO.….

That means that by whatever standard you are holding someone to , YOU also will be held to that – and that’s wrong????God Forbid..

It comes down to accountability , and a general lack of desire to be accountable … This undeniable disdain for accountability  brings forth words like “Tolerance” and “Acceptance”.  These words coupled with  Mathew 7:1 have become a doctrine all their own for the “Non-Judgmental” (who by the way judge everyone who is not as accepting ,tolerant and non judgmental as they are).

Contrary to popular belief , Gods rules DO apply to you whether you believe them or not. If that very statement is true , then his rules( or precepts ,commands etc) then become the standard that we measure against and by default required to hold one  another ACCOUNTABLE  – like it or  not (1 Corinthians 6:1-5   John 7:24)…

Biblical application aside ,common sense suggests that if no one ever judged other people, there would be no real human community. In a sinful world, no community can exist for long where nobody is ever held accountable: no teacher would grade a student’s performance; no citizen would sit on a jury or call a failed leader to account. And, when you come to think of it, nobody would ever forgive anyone for wrongs he had done; we only forgive people for what we blame them, and we blame them only after we have judged them.

I would suggest that, in our day and age, we need more—not less—judgment. Modern Americans suffer from a fear of judging. Passing judgment on the behavior of fellow human beings is considered an act of medieval, undemocratic intolerance.

Why? Because, our culture tells us, we are all flawed people, and people with flaws have no right to judge other people’s flaws. Furthermore, modern Americans do not believe that there are objective standards by which to judge. And where there are no standards, there is nothing by which to measure behavior.

I want to leave you with this –  if my judging you , or you judging me  is based on nothing more than opinions – then it should mean nothing and roll off of us like water down a ducks back. But if the judgment is based in Gods word and HIS sovereign standard , it should at a minimum cause a pause for thought , if not some serious discernment. You see ultimately ,If I see you doing wrong and I call you on it , it’s because I LOVE YOU  and I want you to go to heaven…

So how much do you have to HATE someone NOT to say anything????

Love me enough to make judgements about me and then love me enough to call me out – because I will for you.

We will all face God  , and he will make HIS judgment THEN… and it will be FINAL …

 

The invitation to study the Bible is STILL open , as always…  😉

 

Read 1 Corinthians 6 , John 7:24 , 1 Corinthians 4:5 and 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Lying , Justifying and the Lesser of Two Evils.

I’m not gonna lie.

What a strange phrase!? Yet I  , and the majority of people I know say it. Its almost as if  we are saying ” Normally at this point , I would belying to you -But right now I’m telling the truth”.. Putting it this way sounds completely absurd and I sometimes put things in absurd terms to help me to think about them- as absurd as THAT sounds.  The truth is (and there is another one) , I would hope that we are ALWAYS honest with each other , striving to not only seek the truth but to espouse it in all that we say and do.. But often , probably too often – we allow ourselves to be deceived and believe a lie or worse – we lie to ourselves… Why?

In my past , I struggled with the truth. I can easily tell you that it was a defense mechanism or a means of escape and while there is  SOME truth in those claims – its not the ENTIRE truth of the matter… And that’s the point. Sometimes we would much rather just have a little of the truth than ALL of it – Again I ask ,why? For the same reason that I struggled with telling the truth in my past – SELFISHNESS.

We as humans will often take the path of least resistance. We want to do the right thing ,but too often don’t want the work that comes with it. In this type of mindset we will look for justification .. Justification keeps us from feeling guilty about not doing the work and we feel better about ourselves. The root of the problem is not in the justification(although that is still a problem) but in the cause of it. Almost every lie carries with it a portion of the truth – sometimes its a small detail , other times its most of the story – either way, in the portion of truth – there lies our justification… So which is worse? A little truth in the lie, or a little lie in the truth?

Before you answer let me ask a different way- Lets say your making a cake . Your kitchen window is open because the spring weather outside is beautiful . As your are mixing the cake batter , a bird flies by and does what comes natural to him and drops his excrement and it lands on the window sill and in turn, a small amount splashes into your cake mix. What do you do? After all – it is just a small amount of bird poop ,and in the grand scheme of things – who will know? The heat from the oven should cook out the impurities and besides , you have worked SO hard on this cake it would be a real shame and a lot of work to throw it away and start over…

My hope is that you saw the absurdity in this description but also recognized the Progression of Justification. Sadly ,This seems to be the American mentality when it comes to the truth. We would rather believe that the cake is unaffected my the smallest impurity rather than toss the whole thing away. “The Greater Good” and “The Lesser of Two Evils” have become our “go-to” phrases when it comes to The Progression of Justification and we absolutely relish in these 2 phrases because it makes us feel GOOD about making a BAD choice.. But I have to ask , How much bird poop has to be in something before YOU wont eat it?

I hope your answer is NONE.

The truth is , When choosing the lesser of two evils , EVIL is still chosen…

So my final question is , What are you prepared to do about it?

Count the cost before you answer…they are high and great.. But absolutely worth it. There is no substitute for the truth..Nor a substitute for the one who gave it. If ANYTHING is true -its in God’s word . Jesus tells us plainly in John 14:15 ” If you love me , keep my commands.” .. Surely he didn’t mean just the ones that are convenient for you to keep , but ALL of them.

Stand Firm.

Tell the truth..no matter the consequence.

The invitation to study the bible is STILL open..   😉

Read  2 Thessalonians 2 :1-17…Yes, the whole chapter..  😉