Under Judgement

“For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon’; the Son of Man has come eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Look, a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ ” – Luke 7:33‭-‬34 NRSV

Which are you? Are you judged by the people around you because you don’t eat bread* or drink wine, or are you being judged because you do eat bread and have a glass of wine or beer? ‘Bread’ can be changed to many other foods – different meats, or any meats; being vegan or vegetarian or gluten-free or Kosher or avoiding any number of different foods – for many reasons. Just because I have wine or beer with my meal doesn’t make me a drunk, and if I should choose to eat a certain way my reasons shouldn’t be questioned or cause ridicule….. and yet it is. Not me in particular, although it has happened. Christians are not alone in judging other people. Look around at the negative posts on social media, the absolute ugliness and denigrating of each other in politics, the so-called ‘reality’ shows on television. So much name calling and general put downs. It’s really disgusting that so many people calling themselves Christian participate in this behavior.

JESUS said this to His disciples: “If any want to become My followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow Me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for My sake will save it.” – Luke 9:23‭-‬24 NRSV

I’m not very good at denying myself. Looking at myself and those around me, it doesn’t appear that many of us are any good at it. Credit cards maxed out, huge mortgages, vehicle loans, personal credit lines, store credits…. where does it all end? We are judged for what we have – and we are judged for what we don’t have. For it to end, we have to make a beginning. As we go through each day, beginning now, whenever a negative or judgemental thought forms, take a second to realize that you don’t know how or why that person is the way they are. The wealthiest person can be the most emotionally miserable and bereft, and the one whose appearance is of extreme poverty might be content in their soul. Until we know that person, we can’t understand their pain.

Are You Listening?

I follow Graham Allen on Rant Nation. Yes, he uses rough language at times, and yet I listen to him. He has lots of tatoos, and I watch him anyway. He posted a video (“The Light of the Lord,” in case you want to watch it 😁 ) about a comment a woman – who said she was a Christian – said to him about his tattoos. She didn’t like the tattoos; therefore, she “couldn’t stand to look at him.” Really??? Woman, did you hear yourself? Are you even listening? I’m working really hard not to be judgemental here…. JESUS has something to say about it, too.

But I say to you that listen, LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD to those who hate you, BLESS those who curse you, PRAY for who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. GIVE to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. DO TO OTHERS as you would have them do to you.

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive as much again.

But LOVE your enemies, DO GOOD, and LEND, expecting nothing in return. Your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for He is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. Be MERCIFUL, just as your Father is Merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. FORGIVE, and you will be forgiven; GIVE, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.” – Luke 6:27‭-‬38 NRSV

If that last sentence didn’t grab your attention, perhaps you should read it again. I did. I think maybe we, meaning every single person who claims the name of Christian, should print out those verses and post them on our mirrors so that we see them Every. Single. Day. You might not need it, but I need the reminder. Me. The person who doesn’t love my enemies (I hold grudges and have a hard time letting go of hurts), who has trouble doing good to people who don’t like me, and especially doesn’t want to pray for blessings on any of those people!! Then I read that sentence again ” ….. for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.Whatever I do will – and does – directly affect me. Not ‘karma’, JESUS. Thank you, Graham Allen and Rant Nation, for reminding me what, and WHO, is really important.

My Fortress

Satan tempted JESUS, saying to Him, “To You I will give all this [worldly] authority and their glory, for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If You, then, will worship me, it will all be Yours.” And Jesus answered him [Satan], “It is written, ” ‘You shall worship the LORD your GOD, and HIM only shall you serve.’ ” – Luke 4:6‭-‬8 ESV [Deuteronomy 6:13]

This same enemy who tempted JESUS looks for our weaknesses to exploit. The longing for power and authority as wielded by kings and goverments is a huge temptation for many. Watching the ‘rich and famous’ through media outlets, others want that same financial strength and public recognition. Sometimes, even good things like children are a source of weakness when we desire them and can’t have them. Satan looks at our desires and places correlating temptations in our path. Without JESUS (Listen to “Only JESUS” by Casting Crowns), we can’t withstand the enemy’s relentless assault of our hearts and minds.

“GOD is our Refuge and Strength, a very present Help in trouble. ….. ‘Be still, and know that I AM GOD. I Will be Exalted among the nations, I Will be Exalted in the earth!’ The LORD of hosts is with us; the GOD of Jacob is our Fortress. Selah” – Psalms 46:1‭, ‬10‭-‬11 ESV

Thank GOD for His Mighty Fortress! Thank Him for the Gift of Himself in the person of JESUS CHRIST and the HOLY SPIRIT to save us from an eternity of untold and unimaginable agony in hell. Remember the old hymn “A Mighty Fortress Is Our GOD….”? It was written by Martin Luther in the mid 1500’s, and it is as true today as it was 500 years ago.
A mighty fortress is our God,
A bulwark never failing:
Our helper He, amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing.
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work his woe;
His craft and power are great,
And armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side,
The Man of God’s own choosing.
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is he;
Lord Sabaoth is his name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us,
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us.
The Prince of Darkness grim,—
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! His doom is sure,—
One little word shall fell him.

That word above all earthly powers—
No thanks to them—abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth.
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also:
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is for ever.

(Credit Wikipedia.org for the information and lyrics)

Remember, with the LORD GOD as our Refuge and our Strength; our Fortress, we cannot lose! Oh, we will lose skirmishes while we are on earth, because the enemy has dominion over the earth…. for now, until our LORD creates the new heaven and earth! Unlike any earthly fortress, whether past, current, or future, our GOD’s Fortress will never fail. (Read the back of The Book – even the devil and all his little demons knows he loses!) AMEN!

(Photo from englishrussia.com )

GOD IS LOVE

“So we have come to know and to believe the Love that GOD has for us. GOD is Love, and whoever abides in Love abides in GOD, and GOD abides in Him. …. There is no fear in love, but Perfect Love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in Love.” – 1 John 4:16, 18 ESV

“The LORD your GOD is in your midst, a Mighty One Who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by His Love; He will exult over you with loud singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

“There is no fear in love…” A beautiful statement of Truth. I am that person who has spent most of her life ‘looking for love in all the wrong places’, as the song goes. All of the “love” I found was full of fear: fear of rejection, fear of disappointment, fear of discovery, fear of punishment, fear of physical and emotional pain. Looking back on it all, I wonder how on earth I was so blind, but then – I know how it happened. I took my eyes off of JESUS. It only takes a minute, sometimes, to fall off of the path of our LORD and into the grasp of our enemy. I fell hard, and the enemy had a death grip on me. He put blinders on me and turned me away from the Love Light of my LORD, and directed my gaze into the brightly shining bling and glamour of the world. I came to believe the enemy’s lies, and his deceitfulness was pretty complete. For years, I wandered in his world, turning away anyone who reached out to help me out of the swamp. I ‘knew’ I couldn’t escape; I was completely under his spell.

Thank GOD for His Son and the Absolute Love He has for us! No human could free me from Satan’s grip, but my SAVIOUR could …. and He did! He plucked me from death’s door, and I began to awaken from the trance-like life I had been living. It wasn’t instantaneous, and it required hard work on my part to crawl out of and away from the abyss, but I wasn’t doing it on my own. My LORD JESUS CHRIST was there, the HOLY SPIRIT and His angels, to hold my hand or free me as I would be stuck in the muck, and always shining His Light of Love and Clarity around me. Thank You, LORD! I lived in fear all of those years I was away from the LORD, when all I needed to do was to lift my eyes away from the ugliness to banish the fear. My LORD was always there, waiting patiently for me to see Him. It only took one word from me for Him to take my hand – JESUS. He IS Love, PERFECT Love, and no-one can defeat Him or destroy the Love He has for each and every one of us. His Love redeems us, completes us, heals us. There is no better, no higher love than the LOVE of our LORD GOD and our SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST.

“There is no fear in love…”

Let that be your strength and your courage! GOD is Love, and He wants to lavish His Love on us. It’s the only love that you will ever find, no matter how far and wide you look, the only unconditional, unchangeable, unremitting, and never failing LOVE that will never fail or leave. No fear. Amen!

American, My Home

“If at any time I [the LORD] announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down and destroyed, and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent and not inflict on it the disaster I had planned. And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built up and planted, and if it does evil in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider the good I had intended to do for it.” – Jeremiah 18:7‭-‬10 NIV

From history, we know the country we now call the United States of America was founded by early settlers who crossed the ocean, fleeing religious persecution, bigotry, and poverty. Yes, I am aware that there were already native people here, and yes, I will stipulate that the new settlers brought their own forms of bigotry with them, but that I don’t want that to be the focus here. Founded as a Christian nation, with Christian values written into the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, we have strayed far from the Founder’s vision of a united, free nation. It seems as though anything and everything is acceptable today – that is, anything except following JESUS CHRIST and proclaiming that He is LORD. I’m afraid that GOD was speaking directly to the U.S. in verses 9-10, and in these next verses, too:

“….. ‘This is what the LORD says: Look! I am preparing a disaster for you and devising a plan against you. So turn from your evil ways, each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.’ But they will reply, ‘It’s no use. We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.’ ” – Jeremiah 18:11‭-‬12 NIV

Why do we do that? Telling GOD, our Creator, no??? Here He is, telling us plainly what is going to happen to us, to our nation, if we don’t make some major changes, now. I can’t change the world, or the state I live in, by myself. Individually we aren’t very powerful, but together, especially when we allow GOD to work with us and within us, we can do anything. That’s what he tells us in 2 Chronicles, giving us hope of salvation for our nation, and even for our world.

“…. if My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My Face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV

To The Unknown GOD

“For as I was passing through and observing the objects of your worship, I even found an altar on which was inscribed: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. The GOD who made the world and everything in it — He is LORD of heaven and earth and does not live in shrines made by hands. Neither is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives everyone life and breath and all things. From one man He has made every nationality to live over the whole earth and has determined their appointed times and the boundaries of where they live. He did this so they might seek GOD, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us. For in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Being GOD’s offspring then, we shouldn’t think that the divine nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image fashioned by human art and imagination. Therefore, having overlooked the times of ignorance, GOD now commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He is going to judge the world in righteousness by the MAN He has appointed. He has provided proof of this to everyone by raising Him from the dead.” – Acts 17:23‭-‬31 HCSB

I found this on eBible.com, written by S. Michael Houdmann (http://www.gotquestions.org/normative-ethics.html).

CHRISTIAN ETHICS

Unlike the other normative ethical schools, Christian ethics answers the questions. It identifies truth (God), outlines the basis of ethics (principles found in the Bible), and even lists some universal laws that apply directly to the unchanging truth.The problem with manmade ethics is that they start with a false assumption of truth and try to build from there. Deontology says ethics are based on obligation, without basing that obligation on God’s truth. Consequentialism says that “good” is truth, but then can’t define what “good” is. Relativism says we cannot know the truth. And virtue ethics claims that we can work to embody truth ourselves. Only Christian ethics says that truth exists (Psalm 51:6), truth is knowable (Proverbs 3:3), and we will need help from the Creator of truth to find it (John 14:16-17). It is foolish to base a standard of behavior on our feeble notions of the truth of the cosmos when the Truth Himself is willing to guide us (John 14:6).

I love research!

Our LORD GOD is Absolute, the Alpha and the Omega, and He will sit as the Final Judgement on all of His creation. Are you prepared to stand before Him? I know I have been forgiven and redeemed by the MAN our GOD has appointed, and I know that this MAN, JESUS CHRIST, will be my Advocate and show me as Righteous in front of the ALMIGHTY at the Great White Throne Judgement. NO ONE is Righteous without the Covering of the Blood of JESUS, and the Saving Grace and Mercy this MAN JESUS CHRIST has provided us. I ask again, are you ready? Remember, only HIS Judgement matters!

WHAT? Me, Worry??

I grew up hearing my parents and grandparents say different derivative of this phrase, usually in the form of not to ‘borrow trouble’ or to ‘bring tomorrow’s troubles to today’. According to Wikipedia, the phrase debuted in 1954 in Mad Magazine as a slogan for the character Alfred E. Neumann. Although Mad used it as sarcasm and in derision, the source is actually from scriptures. JESUS taught the crowds who followed Him, saying to them:

“This is why I tell you: Don’t worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothing? …. So don’t worry, saying, ‘What will we eat? ’ or ‘What will we drink? ’ or ‘What will we wear? ’ For the idolaters eagerly seek all these things, and your heavenly FATHER knows that you need them. But seek first the Kingdom of GOD and HIS Righteousness, and all these things will be provided for you. Therefore don’t worry about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25‭, ‬31‭-‬34 HCSB

Worry comes so easily to us. I was having a conversation with my sister about circumstances we are facing, and she said that whenever she starts to worry how the situation will work out, she hears this little voice reminding her that GOD is in control of the situation. I hear that same voice whenever I begin to worry about my own situation. GOD isn’t telling us to just lie back and let the world run over us, or that we should expect to be taken care of without doing any of the work. Contrary to popular belief, He also doesn’t say anywhere in scripture that He ‘takes care of those who take care of themselves.’ I’ve found that when I’m ‘taking care of myself,’ I’m not leaning on Him!

I read the most inane comment on Twitter this morning. Avery Edison @aedison tweeted this “Remember babes, there’s nothing moral about work, and you are have {sic} basic human rights to food, water, shelter, health care (among other things) whether or not you work.” (Emphasis mine.) Now, I also read that she’s a comedian, and I suppose the comment could have been made solely for the purpose of getting people to respond – which it definitely achieved – but…… really? Someone has to work to build shelter, someone has to raise (or hunt) food and find a good water source, and someone has to acquire the knowledge to care for people. Sounds like ‘work’ to me. I’m also guessing that ‘among other things’ she’s including clothing, which also requires work. The truly sad thing about this tweet is that even if it is, indeed, made tongue-in-cheek, there are so many people today who assume that it is a truth; that they can coast along and expect society to take care of them.

What an apt analogy for socialism and the state our world is in today. While GOD doesn’t want us to waste our time in worry, neither does he intend for us to sit around and expect to be waited on. Look at Proverbs 12:24, 19:15, and 26:15, and Hosea 12:12. These are just a few examples of hundreds of scriptures referring to work and lifestyles, and especially in Psalms 107:

“Let them give thanks to the LORD for His Faithful Love and His wonderful works for all humanity. They saw the LORD’s works, His wonderful works in the deep.” – Psalms 107:21‭, ‬24 HCSB

Even the ALMIGHTY, the LORD GOD works! He spoke the universe into existence, but then He put His Hands in the dirt to create the clay and mold Adam, the first man, and He reached into Adam’s side to take the rib to create the Eve, the first woman, always to be at man’s side. Who are we to expect that we can do any less than the LORD?

(Photo credit to Vocations Journey – WordPress.com)