Top Rule of Living

For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.” Matthew 7:2 NLT

That’s a lesson that we need to be reminded of, over and over, from the youngest age and on throughout life. We hear the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31) Do we apply it in our lives? It takes on a little more importance when they are learned together. Not only does how we treat others determine how we are treated, but we will be judged by how we treat them. As critical as it is to treat others with fairness and respect, keep this in mind also.

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you.” Matthew 7:6 NLT

That is not to say that we should treat those people with disrespect or with loathing. I believe that we – Christ followers – need to be especially circumspect in our treatment of those whom we view as unholy. There’s a fine line between loving the person and hating the sin, and losing the love altogether to hate both. It’s easy to lose ourselves and fall in with them, and get our hearts trampled in the process. This is why it is so important to stay in fellowship with other believers.

“….. and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24‭-‬25 NASB

Love one another, but don’t focus so hard on the person that you can’t see what surrounds them. Do you see positive people and things, or are they surrounded by chaos and insanity?

“Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.” Matthew 7:20 NLT

Are you constantly comparing yourself to others? Do you feel the need to “win” by beating everyone around you? (This is so me…..) Our “fruit” doesn’t have a chance to grow or mature when we are busy trying to “one-up” each other, or “keep up” with others. My actions need to reflect my beliefs, and not be dependent on anyone else’s behaviour. How I treat others needs to based on GOD’s Word, not man’s, and how I view myself needs to be from the Father’s focus, not mine. If – when – I view myself properly as a child of the King, a Princess in the Kingdom of the Almighty God, it is far easier to view others with a benevolent spirit.

It’s a much nicer view than the alternative!

Advertisements

First, Last ….. I AM

This is what the LORD says—Israel’s King and Redeemer, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies: “I AM the First and the Last; there is no other God. Who is like Me? Let him step forward and prove to you his power. Let him do as I have done since ancient times when I established a people and explained its future. Do not tremble; do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim My purposes for you long ago? You are My witnesses—is there any other God? No! There is no other Rock—not one!” Isaiah 44:6‭-‬8 NLT

This is what the LORD says— your Redeemer and Creator: “I AM the LORD , who made all things. I alone stretched out the heavens. Who was with Me when I made the earth?” Isaiah 44:24 NLT

Settle Down, Soul!

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The LORD is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the Peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of Peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:4‭-‬9 NASB

Amen! There’s no room for anxiety when the Peace of our LORD washes over you. It’s important we don’t cause others anxiety, too. When we dwell on these things, the honorable, pure, lovely, good …. not only do we free ourselves from the anxiety of the enemy, but we also free those around us of the burden of our anxiety. Our example can show them what a blessing prayer can be.

How is your soul? Are you anxious? Tell God about it. He doesn’t care if you are alone in a closet, knelling by your bed, sitting in a chair, lying on the ground….. He just wants a conversation with you. Anytime, anywhere. Tell Him what you are thankful for (remember, you can always be thankful for toilet paper!), then tell Him what’s bothering you. If you can’t put it into words, that’s okay, too. He knows. He promises us that His Holy Spirit is always with us, ready to carry our groans and unintelligible words and thoughts to Him. And if you’re mad at Him, tell Him! He can take it! Talk, and let your soul settle down.

Is it well with your soul?

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul

It is well
With my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, o my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

– Horatio Spafford, 1873


Mountain Fork River, McCurtain County, Oklahoma

The GOD of ALL Grace

C.S. Lewis was asked what separates Christianity from ALL other religions. His answer: Grace.

All-encompassing, all-inclusive Grace, AMAZING Grace. “Grace, Grace, Marvelous Grace, Grace that is greater than all my sins!” We serve the GOD of ALL Grace; every kind of Grace, every variety of Grace. Did you ever stop and realize there are different kinds of grace?

“For by Grace you have been saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the Gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” – Ephesians 2:8‭-‬9 NASB

We are offered Saving Grace, the gift God offers to sinful, lost people; completely undeserved. It is not offered because of anything we can say or do, but because of His great and incomprehensible LOVE for us. Salvation is ALL Grace, totally, 100%, guaranteed with His Promise.

“…… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus; …..” – Romans 3:23‭-‬24 NASB (also Romans 4:16, 11:6)

There is Suffering Grace. It is inevitable in this world that we will suffer, but it is temporary; a “little while” in light of eternity; and it is under God’s control. He uses suffering to temper us and to strengthen us, and we can bear it because He has all of eternity to make up for what we have suffered here. He will perfect us, mend us, make us whole. Remember Joel 2:25 “Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming locust has eaten, The creeping locust, the stripping locust and the gnawing locust…..” and 1 Peter 5:5b “….. and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives Grace to the humble.”

Paul understood Suffering Grace, perhaps more than any of us ever will. Read 2 Corinthians 11, especially verses 21-33. All of the Apostles suffered, but they knew it was temporary.

“For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of Glory far beyond all comparison …..” – 2 Corinthians 4:17 NASB

After you have suffered a little while, our God, Who is full of kindness through Christ, will give you His Eternal Glory. He personally will come and pick you up, and set you firmly in place, and make you stronger than ever. All Power to Him forever! Amen.” – 1 Peter 5:10‭-‬11‭ TLB

There is Sustaining, or Surviving Grace. This is our Eternal Glory, beyond the hurt and grind of this life. This is the Gospel of Grace – we are saved when we deserve the opposite…. and there is more to follow! All Grace is manifest in Christ. It is not, and can never be, our doing, because it was His dying on the cross that provides us with that Grace. Only the God of all Grace can see us to the end. (1 Corinthians 1:4-9, Philippians 1:6) The good news is that my past is my PAST, never to be lived again. I am Forgiven through Grace. Blessed be the LORD, The God of ALL Glory, He has an unlimited supply of forgiveness and salvation through Grace!

“But by the Grace of God I am what I am, and His Grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the Grace of God with me.” – 1 Corinthians 15:10 NASB

Amazing Grace.

GOD is My Refuge and Strength

“GOD is our Refuge and Strength, A very present help in trouble.” – Psalms 46:1 NASB

Big Daddy Weave sings this song called Alive. Here’s an excerpt:

I am far from being perfect
There are days that I regret
On this battlefield I struggle
With the lies that I have lived
I have fallen short of glory
I can’t make it on my own
If You kept record of my past
I’d be sinking like a stone

But God, rich in mercy
You came to save me
Now I’m alive**

Without Him, where would I be? Probably not alive! Oh, God, how I need You in my life! There is nothing I can do or say that can negate that, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. His Mercy and Grace sustain me. Everyday life gets to me sometimes, tying my stomach in knots when siruations spiral out of my control….. which means my stomach is tied in knots a lot!

Can the God Who created the Universe care about me and my everyday concerns? Can He, does He, care about my feelings? Jesus says that not only He can care, He does care about each and every single one of us!

For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” ….. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25‭, ‬33‭-‬34 NASB

Whenever I catch myself getting tense and anxious, these are the verses I need to be thinking of. No matter what is going on, He is with me.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose Word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me? You have taken account of my wanderings; Put my tears in Your bottle. Are they not in Your book?” – Psalms 56:3‭-‬4‭, ‬8 NASB

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6‭-‬7 NASB

What are you anxious about today? What twists your mind and your stomach into knots; what are you afraid of? Spend time in prayer, just talking to the LORD. It still amazes me that I can have a conversation with Him!

Thank You, LORD, for sending Your Son so that I can have a life in eternity with You. All the petty things in this life that I get twisted into knots over – I know in my heart You have it all under control! Now, if you could just get my head to follow along….. The relationship I pray for is in your hands. My home, my finances, my health. Thank You for removing those burdens from my soul. In Your Precious Name, I lay my heart. Amen.

**Alive by Big Daddy Weave Publishing: © So Essential Tunes / Fellow Ships Music (SESAC). Admin by Essential Music., Be Essential Songs / Anthems of Hope / Westeria Drive (BMI). Admin by Essential Music., So Essential Tunes / Hickory Bill Doc (SESAC). Admin by Essential Music / Writer(s): Jason Ingram, Zach Williams, and Jonathan Smith

Of First Importance….

“For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures…..” – 1 CORINTHIANS 15:3‭-‬4 NASB

This is of first importance. Aside from this, does anything else in this world really matter? Do you believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of GOD; that He was born of a virgin and lived as a human so that He could be hung on the cross, the ultimate and final sacrifice for our/your sins? Do you believe that He came out of the grave on the third day, triumphant over death? If you do, congratulations!!! By believing this, we get to spend the rest of our lives and forever more with our Saviour! Can it be so simple? Hallelujah; yes!

For those who don’t believe ……. Why? What is keeping you from believing? Is it that Jesus can be God and man in one person, Son of the Creator of the Universe and a young, human, woman? Is it the idea of the virgin birth, or is it the idea of a Creator, rather than the “science” of the Big Bang Theory*? (*I challenge you to look up the definition of the word theory. It’s a hypothesis, a speculation; i.e. a guess, “without any assumption of truth.”) I’m not a scientist, nor do I claim to be a great intellect; however, I can (and do) read voraciously. If you need scientific proof of a greater power and a created universe, there is plenty of compeling evidence to be found. I won’t argue between a 24-hour 6 day creation and a “big bang” because we don’t know. I will say this: I believe both!

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – GENESIS 1:1 NASB

Were you there? He created the heavens and the earth out of nothing….. the atoms colliding had to come from somewhere, and, BANG, there it was! But, moving on to Jesus….. If God could create the heavens and the earth from nothing, why couldn’t He have His Son born to a virgin in order to save His people (that would be us, the human race) from our bad decisions? Giving us free will when He created us was His decision, because He wants us to choose to love Him and have a relationship with Him, just as we choose the humans we have relationships with.

Are you just not sure that Jesus really rose from the grave? Do you want to, can you, refute the testimony of hundreds of first-hand accounts, eyewitnesses to His resurrection?

“….. and {after} that He appeared to Cephas [Simon Peter], then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep [died]; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me [Paul] also.” – 1 CORINTHIANS 15:5‭-‬8‭

Still have doubts? I promise you that those doubts come straight from our enemy, the Father of Lies, who wants nothing more than to have you reject the Gospel. The enemy wants us to question the Bible, and especially to question the New Testament and its eyewitness accounts of the life of Jesus Christ. If he, the enemy, can get you to doubt and to question, he wins. The enemy knows that without Jesus, His sacrifice and resurrection, we have nothing. We know that with Jesus, with His sacrifice, we have everything.

Choose wisely. Remember what is of First Importance.

Image: The Incredulity of Saint Thomas by the Italian Baroque master Caravaggio, c. 1601–1602. Wikipedia

A Little Reminder…..

HALLELUJAH; OH GLORIOUS DAY!! Good Friday is over; Black Saturday is past us; Sunday has come – HE IS RISEN! The grave could not hold Him; death has NO power over Him!

“Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the grave.
And behold, a severe earthquake had occurred, for an angel of the LORD descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone and sat upon it.
And his appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow.
The guards shook for fear of him and became like dead men.
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.
HE IS NOT HERE, FOR HE HAS RISEN – just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.” ” – Matthew 28:1-6