Friday, March 21, 2014

People of Truth 2

This past week on Facebook a friend asked this question: 

“if you could sit on a bench and chat for one hour with anyone from the past or present, who would it be?"

My answer came quickly: “Is this a trick question? For me this question only has one answer and we are free to sit on the bench and talk with Jesus anytime for as long as we choose. (“for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go”) Joshua 1:9

Click here to read People of Truth 1 before continuing

Quickly ... a man responded back to me as follows: “while a conversation with Jesus might be interesting, I think that conversation would be mostly me explaining the state of the world today to a person who died 2000 years ago. All I would get out of it is a bit more clarity on the whole Christian religion, which I don't really need. There are lots of historical figures who'd be interesting to converse with, however it seems to me that the most impact would be to converse with a person currently in power. Right now I'm leaning towards Obama.”

Obviously this man and I have a totally different perspective on both Jesus and Christianity. I would submit that “a bit more clarity” on Jesus and Christianity is what is needed in this man’s thinking. Although, I would surely agree with him if I believed Jesus was just another man in history 
such as Obama or any other world leader

In this worldview of professing Christians, Jesus is just another person (perhaps a great and wonderful teacher) but certainly not the omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent Creator of all things. The thought that any man needs to explain the state of the world today to Jesus is the evidence of this foolishness.

Another young Christian man I spoke with this week said to me; “I am a Libertarian and I believe all things are okay in moderation” You can only imagine the rest of our conversation when I asked; “oh really, how about a little bit of child molestation?” Actually we had a great discussion, and I now have a new friend.

A third Christian recently explained his belief that Genesis is poetry. I suppose the logic that reaches this conclusion would also allow us to call Genesis a murder mystery or any other fantasy that we might conger up? Poetry? Is the bible just another book? If yes, then Christianity may as well be Scientology.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”Matthew 7:24-27

This is a major problem in our world today. 

People have bought into the idea that there are no absolutes and that morality is whatever each person chooses for it to be. 

A majority of Americans have bought into this lie. Jesus says that these men have built their house upon sand.

How did so many Americans end up with a foundation built upon sand?

Years ago, Josh McDowell noted that most evangelical Christian youth in the United States no longer believe in absolute truth. “In 1991, 52% of our born again church kids said there is no absolute truth. In 1994: 62%, in 1999: 78%, and in 2002: 91 percent of our born again church kids said there is no absolute truth.

How can they be Christians and deny the everlasting Truth (Jesus) who became a man and died on their behalf? This logic is self-defeating. Only by God’s Grace can these be saved.

The primary cause of this deception appears to be the influence of secular education and secular media since the 1960’s.” It is amazing to see how much impact 40 hours a week for 20 or more years will have on a young person’s belief system. “There is no right or wrong. There are no moral absolutes. Everything is relative. Genesis is poetry. Everyone’s views and beliefs are equally valid. All paths lead to god. The end justifies the means. Everything is okay in moderation. There is no god.” … and many other false beliefs.

The idea of separation of church and state which was promoted by mostly socialists and atheists has resulted in a values neutral public education system where naturalism and atheistic views only ... are free to rule the day. How dare that anyone might question the politically correct status quo. Be prepared to be alienated as a fool.

Can you imagine where we would be without biblical teaching leading many? It seems that the best we can hope for now is a remnant. We have several generations of parents who have accepted these lies and follow mindlessly. These misguided kids of past decades are now the teachers, parents, and adults guiding today’s youth and our nation.

Many have chosen to accept the lie that there are no absolutes and that each person needs to discover their beliefs within the parameters established by the politically correct, tolerant, inclusive, secular elite. Freedom of thought becomes the god of each person’s beliefs. Evolution and atheism are at the heart of this deception. And in truth each person becomes a god in and of themselves.

People are drifting aimlessly. Our nation has abandoned the values that it was established upon. And now the entrenched system is based upon trillions of borrowed dollars that have financed the false promises of a morally bankrupt nation. This is the expected natural end result of a politically correct secular media and educational system promoting amorality, evolution, abortion, focus on self, and atheistic beliefs to generations of students since the 1960’s.

Is it too late for America? I certainly hope not.

America has done more good in the world than any other nation in history. But America has fallen away and must turn back to Jesus Christ; or we will all surely suffer the consequences.

“Arise, go to Nineveh the great city and cry against it,
for their wickedness has come up before Me.” Jonah 1:2

 Just more poetry, you say?
America has become the Nineveh of today.
Nineveh listened to God, turned to God, and was forgiven by God. 

 What are we to do? How can we become the People of Truth Jesus talks about?

We must decide where we stand.

We must stop “not believing” while we profess to believe.
A free thinker is who I used to be ... before I turned to Christ.
I am now one of the People of Truth that Jesus refers to, and not just another man.

We must see and acknowledge Jesus for who he is: “the Creator God and the King of all things” … and follow Him. We must recognize that Jesus is the eternal Truth and that He is the only true God and that His Word is eternal Truth. We must accept his Word as the guiding Truth of our lives; and test the teachings of the Republicans, Democrats, libertarians, communists, conservatives, liberals and the false religions of men up against God's eternal Truth.

We are citizens of His eternal kingdom (here and now) and we need to begin recognizing this fact and acting upon it.

“You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” John 18:37-38

God Bless you my friends, Bob

People of Truth

“So You are a king?”

Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king.

For this I have been born, 
and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.” 

Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”  

John 18:37-38

Jesus speaks here of people who are “of the Truth.”
And Pilate replied; “what is truth” … as if it is not possible to know the truth.

This is still the question today. 

Do Americans believe Jesus or Pilate? 

Are there spiritual absolutes that we can believe and build our lives upon?
Is there a solid rock of Truth that will never lead us down the wrong path ... or not?

Jesus says absolutely yes ... and Pilate is deaf to this truth.

How can we become these People of Truth that Jesus Speaks of?
Listen to the words of Jesus, believe in Him, and follow Him.

A house built upon the rock of salvation shall never fall.

But, this can only be true if Jesus is the eternal Truth as He claims.

So, what’s the problem?

The primary problem is that the words of God are clear and easy to understand ...
but in our world today people have chosen to instead follow the Pilates of the world.

 If we could talk to Jesus today, how would He define these People of Truth?
What qualities would be apparent, and who would and who wouldn’t they be?

There is much more to this question than I could possibly know or answer here ... 
but these 50 Truths have been made clear to me. The purpose of this list is to provide an easy way for Christians to measure the teachings of God up against the beliefs that are guiding their lives . This list is primarily for Christians to affirm as reality in their lives. Those who have chosen to "not believe" in Jesus Christ are not able to understand the eternal Truth of God.
I pray these biblical teachings will be of help to you in clarifying God's Truth in your life.
  • The People of Truth believe that God created the universe, all things, and man in His image; and that apart from Him there is nothing. Genesis 1:1-31 John 1:1-4
  • The People of Truth believe that God came to earth in the form of a man and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
  • The people of Truth believe that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are One. 1 Peter 1:1-2, Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14
  • The People of Truth are born again believers in Jesus Christ, and reject all other gods. John 3:16-18
  • The People of Truth are not conformed to the world, but rather are transformed by the renewing of their minds, by the leading of the Holy Spirit and the power of God's Truth. Romans 12:2
  • The love of Christ controls and compels us, and we no longer live for ourselves, but for Jesus who died and rose again on our behalf. 2 Corinthians 5:14-17
  • We are ambassadors for Christ with a ministry of reconciliation and God makes His appeal through us: be reconciled to God.  2 Corinthians 5:18-19
  • We strive to continually care more about others than ourselves. Mat. 7:12
  • We are encouragers. Hebrews 3:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:11
  • We do not worry ... but rather we rest in Jesus as we pray to Him. Philippians 4:6-7
  • We keep their mind focused on the things of God. Philippians 4:8
  • We believe all men and women are sinners in need of a Savior. Romans 3:21-26
  • We believe salvation is a free gift of God by his grace, and not of works or doing good deeds. Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 11:6
  • We believe we are justified for all eternity at the moment we believe in Jesus Christ. Rom. 5:1, 10:10
  • We believe God has given us His inerrant eternal Truth for training in righteousness and to do good works. Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17
  • We believe in all of the miracles and promises of God’s Word. Genesis 1:1-2:25, Genesis 6:1-9:17, Matthew 1:18-25, John 11:1-46, Mark 6:33-56
  • We are to forget the past … and focus on the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13-14
  • Our faith is in Jesus Christ and His eternal Truth, and not the teachings of men. John 14:6, 8:51
  • We are men and women of Grace and Peace. 2 Peter 1:2-11
  • We are humble. Matthew 23:12
  • We rejoice in the truth. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Romans 16:19
  • We do not take into account a wrong suffered. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • We are not jealous. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • We are not self seeking. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • We are not easily provoked. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8
  • Our forgiveness towards others would be never-ending. Colossians 3:12-17
  • We are quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger. James 1:19
  • We will not compromise the truth to please men or to appease others. 2 Peter 2:1-3
  • We believe in His promises and daily test and humble the teachings, wisdom, feelings, and logic of men up against His eternal Truth; and we take a stand for His Truth in the face of adversity. 2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Corinthians 3:18-20
  • We are men and women of continual prayer. 1 Thessalonians 1:3, 5:17
  • We continually meditate on the word of God to know His Truth. Joshua 1:8, Deut. 6:4-9
  • We are people of great mercy … caring for widows, orphans, the sick and the poor. Luke 6:36
  • We believe in the indwelling Holy Spirit and pray for His promised guidance and teaching of His Truth and wisdom. John 14: 26-27, John 15:26-27
  • We will stand for God’s Truth in the face of adversity. 2 Corinthians 10:5
  • We are not judgmental of others. Matthew 7:1-5
  • We evangelize and teach others. Matthew 28:18-20
  • We cannot tolerate evil men.  Revelation 2:2
  • We always remember their first love. Revelation 2:3
  • We persevere in fulfilling the God’s Will. John 7:14-17
  • We always test the teachings of Christian leaders and confront false teaching. Revelation 2:2
  • We are strong and courageous and never fearful or discouraged. Joshua 1:9
  • We hold fast the name of Jesus Christ in the face of evil. Matthew 7:15,    1 John 4:1-3
  • We will not tolerate sin and immorality in our midst. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5
  • We have a new covenant with God that will never end and lasts for eternity. Hebrews 9:15
  • We do not knowingly do anything that causes a brother to stumble.       Romans 14:21
  • We understand that when we love one another, this is the fulfillment of all of God’s laws. Romans 13:8-10
  • We put on the full armor of God daily to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.                Ephesians 6:10-18
  • We will no longer follow the lust and pride of their flesh. Galatians 5:16-24
  • We will walk by the Spirit and our lives will produce the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22
  • We will Worship and sing praises to the Lord. Psalm 104:33
  • We will rejoice in the Lord always. Philippians 3:1, Philippians 4:4

There is an amazing amount of Truth referenced above. This study has clearly provided me with a list of many areas where I need to grow. Perhaps you are humbled by this Truth as well? Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom and understanding as you meditate on these truths, and the Lord will richly multiple your knowledge of how to change in order to be the Christian He wants you to be. 

I realize that this list is only a good starting point for us to meditate upon. There are many other Truths that I could have listed as well. 

 “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
Read People of Truth 2 ... click here to continue

God Bless you my friends, Bob

Monday, March 10, 2014

What's in a Rainbow?

God said, "This is the sign of the covenant
which I am making between Me and you 
and every living creature that is with you, 
for all successive generations” 
Genesis 9:12-17

There is much more to a Rainbow than a Rainbow ...

A Rainbow is so much more ... 
than a beautiful multi -colored vision in the sky!

In Joshua 1:8 God told Joshua to meditate on his Truth and to follow his commands so that he would be Strong and courageous ... prosperous and successful. Meditation on the Word of God is a key to gaining wisdom and understanding. Today I have meditated on the truth above which was given to Noah. Meditating on God's Word is an encouraging blessing.

So If encouragement, prosperity, and success is the promise ...
why don’t more people meditate on God’s Word?

Here are some truths we can learn from the verse above.
We understand that a covenant or promise between two parties is to fulfill specific promises. There are key differences with a covenant between men; and with a covenant that comes from God. Men make covenants such as a contract signed when obtaining a home loan. Unlike a covenant with God; men's covenants are subject to default and contain conditions, and restrictions. Borrowers or lenders can break their promises causing great harm to the injured party ... but with God, the people are recipients only and not contributors, and God alone fulfills all of His covenants and promises.

The Creator God who is all knowing, and all powerful ... 
rules over all things, and He can never lie. 

A covenant with God is everlasting and never-ending; and covenants from God are unilateral biblical absolutes. As you can see, God uses the words “EVERY living Creature, and ALL successive generations” … this promise is all inclusive. There are no exceptions. 

When spoken by God ... “All” means “all” and that’s all “all” means.
There is much more to a Rainbow than a Rainbow.

"I set My bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a sign of a covenant between Me and the earth. It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud" Genesis 9:12-17

What can we learn by meditating on this verse? For me a number of things come to mind. Not only has God given us a promise; but His miraculous fulfillment of this promise with mankind is happening somewhere in the world ... day after day, every day. God is in total control, and He is with us moment by moment, and He has given us never-ending evidence of this Truth: Rainbows.

God can never lie.
God has made this covenant not only with mankind, but also with every living creature, and with the earth. Men are not capable of negating a unilateral covenant from God to all creatures, and to the earth … are they? Some (including political and religious leaders) would have us believe that Global Warming is the most important issue, and the greatest danger facing mankind today. It is surely wise to be good stewards; but to somehow conclude and teach that men are capable of negating or in any way hindering an eternal promise of God is atheistic and heretical? 

And hasn't Jesus made it clear that sharing His Gospel is by far ... 
the most important thing?

With the Rainbow, God is continually showing us His power over all things. Men proudly suppose that there is no God; and that we must somehow change the climate and the weather to fit our comfort; but only the Creator of all things controls all things, and He proves this fact of life … every day with His Rainbow in the sky.

There is much more to a Rainbow than a Rainbow.

“It shall come about, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow will be seen in the cloud, and I will remember My covenant, which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and never again shall the water become a flood to destroy all flesh. Genesis 9:12-17

Men can have a negative impact on the environment; but only the Creator God is in control of our environment, and He will never lose control of the climate to men or anything else. We must acknowledge His presence and His power and He will always provide for us, and care for us, and our environment.

Make no mistake, the earth as we know it will be destroyed. Read ... Revelation 8:1-9:21 But this destruction will be brought about by God to fulfill His promises ... and it will not be a result of the deeds of men, the climate, or any other forces. "Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea." Revelation 21:1

Once again, when God says the key words (NEVER AGAIN) … yes another one of those bothersome absolute statements that only the Creator God can speak with His omnipotent authority. Barack Obama gives us his promises with the word … “PERIOD” as if he has truth, power, wisdom, and authority; and the people believe, and like sheep ... they follow his lies. But on the other hand, the Creator God says; “NEVER AGAIN” and millions of people (including Christians) ignore God's promises. How can this be? There is a price to pay for disregarding God and His promises.

God has exposed the pride of mankind for what it is, when they promote evolution and their manmade global warming myth. God will always maintain control of the climate and it is prideful, foolish, and futile for men to suppose that they can somehow gain control of our climate.

God says “I will remember” and we must conclude that He and only He will absolutely control the environment … and not men. Men will possibly be used by God to help fulfill His purposes. But God is not likely to lead us in his ways with the teachings and guidance of the atheist leaders and teachers of the world. Could it be possible that God is using the supposed wisdom of men (and the myth of man-made global warming) as a tool here … to humble prideful self-centered mankind?

“When the bow is in the cloud, then I will look upon it, to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” And God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant which I have established between Me and all flesh that is on the earth.” Genesis 9:12-17

Here we have it again those pesky “EVERLASTING” “EVERY” and “ALL” words. Atheists hate these divine absolutes. God's ways and promises are miraculous, and therefore beyond human comprehension. When God repeats Himself in the Bible, it is to drive home a point; so that we will never forget. It's true that Darwinian atheistic teachings have gained control of the minds of many, including professing Christians. And that they reject God’s conversations with Noah as if they are an allegory or a fable. But if what they say is true; then Jesus is proven a liar, and my faith in Him would be destroyed. Read: (In the Days of Noah) Our Christian beliefs will never be reconcilable with this atheistic Darwinian fallacy that they promote with an unending evangelistic fervor.

The Rainbow is God’s ongoing testimony that He is the all knowing (omniscient) and all powerful (omnipotent) Creator of all things; and that He is in absolute never-ending control. He has made covenants with us that cannot and will not ever be broken. The Gospel of Jesus Christ explains a better covenant … an eternal covenant that allows for each of us to be forgiven and reconciled to God forever. God’s Covenants are more serious than anything else that we can ever consider.

There is much more to a Rainbow than a Rainbow.

"so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.” Hebrews 7:22

God bless you my friends, Bob

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Deeper Truths

But God has revealed them to us by his Spirit: 
for the Spirit searches all things, 

yes, the deep things of God. 
1 Corinthians 2:10

Many would say that it's difficult to understand the Bible? 
Have you ever wondered why it is difficult?

Deeper Truths are a primary reason. 
They are often Paradox Principles. 

The deeper truths of God become known to us primarily by the power and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Some are easy for most of us to understand; such as loving others, and encouraging one another. But Deeper Truths are quite often contrary to our feelings, desires, pride, lust, and human logic. And they are also quite often contrary to the teachings of men. 

Therefore they are viewed as foolishness to those who reject the word of God.

I believe one other key answer to this question is quite simple. Most people do not want to know God’s Truth. Knowing might mean that they must now do something that they do not want to do.

It is no wonder that understanding the Bible is difficult for most everyone including Christians. There are a number of reasons. The Bible is not just another religious book; but … most people attempt to read the Bible in the same way they would read any other book. The Bible was written by more than 40 different men over a period of thousands of years. They were inspired by God who is actually speaking to all of mankind through these men.

There is one central theme throughout the Bible and that is: “God loves us and wants for us to follow Him and spend eternity with Him in Heaven. He calls us to know Him and trust Him.”  Not only do the writings of these men NOT contradict one another; but in reality they confirm one another. If these men were not inspired … the miraculous continuity and inerrancy of the Bible and its teachings would be impossible.

Well God has given us a solution to this challenge that provides wisdom and understanding beyond what we could ever hope for. The Bible is filled with hundreds of absolute statements which use words such as: all, forever, always, never and eternity.  These absolute statements, give us absolute truths which are the foundation of our faith and belief system. And they are used by God to test the measure of our faith. They are brought to mind by the leading of the Holy Spirit, and are sometimes referred to as Deeper Truths.

The temptation is always to trust in our feelings, experiences, human logic, and the teachings of the wise men of the world. After all, this is how we have been trained. But God’s Word is clear. Following the teachings of men is foolishness to God and will lead us away from Him and His eternal Truth. 
1 Corinthians 3:18-23

Paul refers to these truths above as: “the deep things of God.” So how can we hope to understand these deep things of God and how they apply to our life now and throughout eternity?

Jesus has promised that as His people, we can know and understand the deep things of God. And that when we believe in Him, He will send the Holy Spirit who will abide in our hearts and minds and guide us in understanding these eternal truths and how they apply to our daily lives.

“If you love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it sees him not, neither knows him: but you know him; for he dwells with you, and shall be in you.”  … "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:15-26

Now this is an amazing promise.  The Omniscient all-knowing Creator Savior God, the Holy Spirit will be in us and will teach us all things. Believing in Jesus Christ; and loving others and keeping His Commandments, are the only conditions to receiving the Holy Spirit as our indwelling ever present teacher. But we must all do our part as well. Unfortunately, it is clear that many Christians either do not believe this miraculous promise; or they have chosen not to seek the leading and teaching of the Holy Spirit through devotion, study, meditation, and prayer upon God’s eternal Truths ... for wisdom, understanding, and guidance.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the … elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you, and peace, be multiplied. 1Peter 1:1-2

Let’s think about (foreknowledge) for a moment … God knows all things past, present and future. 

Knowing the future or having foreknowledge is limited to the Creator and God of all things. He knows a baby in the womb at conception and all the days of its life. He knows our future thoughts. He knows in advance all things that we will and will not do; and all things that will happen at any moment throughout eternity. Can you comprehend what this means, and what an incredible miraculous statement this is? 

Who can know all things in the future … Only God the Creator? 

So now Jesus is telling us that God the Holy Spirit will come live inside of us and teach us all things. We are told to be strong and courageous, to obey God’s Truths, to meditate on them, and to teach them to our children day and night, and to not be discouraged or afraid. God promises to teach us, guide us, and deliver us … and that He will be with us and protect us wherever we go. Joshua 1:7-9

Does this mean God will allow me to know where the stock market is headed moment by moment for a day or a year ... or the future winning numbers to buy on that hundred million dollar lottery ticket? 

He could, but I doubt He would. Why not, you ask? He knows where the knowing of those things would surely lead us. But now let’s be more clear, God has many much more important things to teach us. Although winning the lottery and knowing the stock prices would be fun from a human point of view … these are temporal questions. God has promised to teach us much more important eternal Truths.

Let’s recap. What do we need to do in order for God to teach us these Deeper Truths?

  1. Believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
  2. Obey God and allow the love of Christ to guide you and control you, moment by moment, living your life for Jesus who died and rose again on your behalf.
  3. Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you His Truth and to guide you in fulfilling God’s will and purpose for your life.
  4. Meditate on the Word of God. This means to look to the Holy Spirit for guidance rather than men. To meditate means to look deeply, Memorize, study, cross reference and then ... be silent and wait until he reveals and leads. Faithfully listen for God’s direction … waiting for the presence, leading, and teaching of the Holy Spirit.
  5. Believe everything he makes clear to us.
  6. Be thankful to God in all things.

 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32

God bless you my friends, Bob

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Faithful Witness

But the brother of humble circumstances is to glory in his high position 

and the rich man is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.

For the sun rises with a scorching wind and withers the grass; 

and its flower falls off and the beauty of it's appearance is destroyed; 

so too the rich man in the midst of his pursuits will fade away.

James 1:9-11

If we are lucky, God will bless our lives with a person whose Godly qualities are etched in our memory so that we will never forget them. 

Although my sister Charlene died over 30 years ago, my memories of her ... 
are as if we were speaking yesterday.

Char was eight years older than me, and our childhood was not that close. 
And as adults she lived 8 hours away, so I did not see her often. 
But as you will learn here, the paradox verse above speaks to Char first, then me, and then Char and me.

I thought of Char this past week as I was writing about judging others, and memories of our conversations came to mind. She was my discipler, guide, counselor, mentor, and best friend during the first years of my conversion to Christianity in 1980.

We spoke for hours … two or three times a week every week during my initial spiritual growth up until her death from cancer. I can remember sobbing when I was told she had died. It was as if a part of me had been torn away.

Char’s impact on my life began to take hold in 1978 or 79. One day when I came home from work, my wife Cheryl said to me … “you’ll never believe what I just heard, Char and King have decided to move to Prairie Bible institute in Canada and live in a trailer. King walked away from his lucrative job in Silicon Valley and they sold their home. With eight kids living in a trailer in Canada? This was clearly a big deal.

Cheryl said to me; "can you believe it? What kind of religion would cause them to make this kind of a move?”  I replied: “I have no idea, but I wish I believed in something that gave me that kind of courage … something in my life that would give me the conviction to make that bold of a decision."

Later I would learn that Char and King and the missionaries in Canada were praying for Cheryl and me when we went to the Zig Ziglar Richer Life Course in Texas that changed our lives. Actually their church Sunday school group had been praying for us for more than five years.

After I became a Christian, the first person I called was Char. I wanted to know if there was a church she would recommend and what type of a Bible to buy. This was the beginning of our talks. She advised me on almost anything and everything. She always explained to me which scripture verses she based her views upon, and why they applied to my specific questions. Personal opinions or feelings were not the issue, the question was always: “what is God saying to you or leading you to do?”

Char taught me to study the Bible one verse and one word at a time ...  
always seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit.

As one example, when writing my post on Judging Others a specific conversation came to my mind. Char told me that she was going to have to tell one of her closest friends that she was no longer able to associate with her. Why, I asked? “She is a Christian who has moved in with a man in an immoral relationship. I love her very much, and only want the best for her. But the scripture is clear; she has chosen to defy her Lord and Savior and she needs to realize that there are consequences” Char explained.

Isn’t this judging her, I asked? Char replied; "In the case of another Christian, Jesus says I am to go to her privately and hopefully she will turn away from her sin. If she decides to follow Christ rather than her feelings, our relationship will be quickly restored. In the meantime I will be praying for her." 

Years later when I went to visit Char in the hospital in Mexico, we talked for more than twelve hours. Towards the end of our visit she said to me; "Bob you have grown a lot now, and I want to tell you something I have been afraid to share with you ... up to this point." 

"Before you became a Christian we were praying for you for years and your disregard for God was discouraging. You are a leader in our family and I knew that if you turned your life over to Christ it would have an impact on others. You were so successful in your business that it was as if you did not need God as long as everything was going so well for you. So I hope you won’t be mad at me; but I prayed that if the only way for you to trust your life to Christ was to suffer loss ... that God would bring you down and cause your business to fail. You can only imagine how this has weighed on my heart since your business has failed.” But at the same time, I am more than encouraged that you have believed in Jesus and will spend eternity in heaven.”

I then explained to Char that my family, personal, and spiritual lives were at an all-time high and Becoming a Christian by far out-weighted my business loss.  And that I still had the skills that had brought me success in business. In any event I would not change a thing if this is what was standing between me and God, and the forgiveness and redemption that comes only through faith in Jesus Christ.

Now when you read the Paradox Principle above (James 1:9-11) --- hopefully you will understand how it applies to both Char and me; and possibly you as well. The paradox is the the man in the humble circumstances is the one who is exalted in God's economy. God's ways are not man's ways. Char was the sister of humble circumstances who was sharing the glory of her high position; and I was the rich man in my humiliation. But now I am the brother of humble circumstances ... who is sharing the glory in my high position --- along with my sister Char.

This post is primarily written to Kathy, Lynda, John, Eric, Joe, Chris, Merrilyn, and King; but also to Char’s grand-children and nieces and nephews who were never really able to meet, or to really know her. If Charlene was alive today and she was able to answer your questions, whatever they might be.  I am convinced that her answers to you would always be pretty much the same: “Believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord, and follow the teachings of His eternal Truth. He will never leave you or forsake you … 
His word is Truth --- yesterday, today, and forever”

Charlene Anderson is in heaven now with the Lord Jesus Christ. She was a missionary to Vietnamese and Cambodians in the San Francisco Bay area. Hundreds of refugees and one very lost and hopeless real estate broker in Orange County were her mission. We were led to Christ and encouraged to maturity through the loving care of Charlene Anderson. I will always love you my wonderful sister.

God bless you my friends, Bob

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Judging Others?

Do not judge so that you will not be judged. 

For in the way you judge, you will be judged; 

and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2

Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. 
Matthew 7:15-16

Does Jesus Contradict Himself?

Jesus was quite clear here … don’t judge others. 
Is it possible for anyone to follow this command? 

We all make judgments every day.
And as a result, aren't we all under this judgment?
"For in the way you judge, you will be judged"

And as Christians, haven’t we been forgiven and redeemed by our Lord and Savior Christ on the Cross? Since our sins are forgiven: past, present, and future ... 
how can we now come under judgment, since we are eternally forgiven?

I often hear people say don’t be a fruit inspector, because that is being judgmental. A few verses later Jesus instructs us to: “Beware of the false prophets” and “You will know them by their fruits.” 
Matthew 7:15-16 

Isn't this an instruction to judge others?

And the love chapter tells us: “Love … does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:6-7.  If we rejoice in the truth and not unrighteousness; how can we live out the power of Christ's unending love without judging the difference between truth and unrighteousness up against God's definition of right and wrong … the difference between the truth and a lie? 

These teachings appear to be contradictory. How can we be aware of falsehood without judging? And how else would we recognize a wolf in sheep’s clothing?

We know God cannot contradict Himself and can never lie, so to think otherwise is to come to a wrong conclusion. So let’s try to better understand what God is saying here.

Truth is not ignoring the facts when people deliberately disregard God's Truth ... is it? 

The answer to this question is always NO ... but it can be different depending upon whether a person is a Christian or an unbeliever. For an unbeliever with a different worldview, the truth to them has a different meaning, but when their conclusions are contrary to God's truth they are always wrong. The only other option would be God lies.

Everything that Jesus says is in the context of  God's eternal truth.

The apostle Paul makes things more clear here:
“Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  For this, “YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET,” and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10

When Jesus says: “Do not judge” He is not saying Christians are to ignore and disregard evil acts such as: adultery, murder, stealing, lying, or to violate any of the other commandments ... because my act of love covers all of your sins. But rather, he is saying: when we love one another as we love ourselves we will not do these things. "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

The law of Christ does not negate the commandments ... the love of Christ fulfills the commandments. A key point here is that although we are not to judge others … the actions of others are not included in this command. There is a difference between judging people and judging evil actions. To judge evil actions, false thinking or false religions is not judging a person. Only God or the courts are allowed to do that. But it would obviously be wise for you to distance yourself from a cheat, a murderer, an adulterer, or a liar; as well as false religions, atheistic teachings, and all other evil and false teachings and philosophies.

Some examples: 
   1.  A business partner says to you, here is a great way we can double our profits 
       by maintaining two sets of books.
   2.  A married co-worker asks you to sleep with him or her on Friday afternoons.
   3. A man has a vasectomy and hides this fact from his bride who wants children. 
   4. Or anything else that someone asks you to do, which God has stated to be wrong, 
       and an unloving thing to do.

As Christians we should obviously judge all of these actions. 
And we can do that while not judging the other person.

Our witness should be to say; “I cannot do these things because they are a violation of the beliefs that God has given me. They are the foundation of my life. I would be the worst kind of a hypocrite to violate these beliefs. We should then attempt to help the other person to see the truth; because that is the loving thing to do in their regard. 

Isn't this how Joseph responded to Potiphar's wife?  ... "But Joseph refused. "With me in charge," he told her, "my master does not concern himself with anything in the house; everything he owns he has entrusted to my care. No one is greater in this house than I am. My master has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" Genesis 39:1-23

Judge the actions and not the person. 

The verse above says that we owe this love to one another.

To reject false religion, false gods, or false beliefs is not to judge the person; but rather the falsehood. For me to point out that the acceptance of evolution is the rejection of the Creator and Savior of the world may appear judgmental or closed-minded to some; but we must do our best to explain the difference. To be closed-minded to teachings that deny Christ is good and not a bad thing. To do otherwise is to allow evil to replace the truth of Christ.

When the opportunity arises, your purpose here should be to show others what God is leading you to do, and would have for them to do as well ... and why.

This is the perfect opening to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and the victory that Jesus has for us all. Some might think that this is judging them because it is convicting to them. 

But the truth is that sharing the gospel is the most loving thing that we can do for another person.

Judging others comes in many forms. Sometimes it can be as simple as the tone of your voice. It could also mean forgiving but never forgetting. For example, it was clearly wrong for the man above to not tell his bride about his vascectomy. But it would be judging him to first forgive him, and then to continue to bring it up and call him a liar for years in the future. 

But most often judging comes in the form of accusation or confrontation of the sinning person rather than the deed. Everyone knows the difference between right and wrong but some pretend that there are no absolutes. 

Christianity is based upon Biblical absolutes. These absolutes are not open to debate. 
God is not asking us to help Him determine what is right and wrong.

But those of the world have not accepted the teachings of our Lord and Savior and will always see you pointing out sinful acts as judging them. Men of the world, often believe that there are no moral absolutes. But it is easy to expose this foolish logic by asking a few questions ... such as: do they think child molestation, rape, or murder are acceptable behavior?

In my mind, the worst form of judging others often occurs when a believer is hurt by another Christian and is angered.  Then he judges that person and a seed of bitterness establishes a stronghold in his heart and mind. It is then nearly impossible for the person who caused the hurt to reason with him. Reconciliation is not even possible without both persons coming to understand the true meaning of loving others and living out the forgiveness that Christ has given to each of us.

"Be angry, and yet do not sin, do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity." Ephesians 4:26-27

In the situation where another Christian’s sin has become apparent to you, Jesus teaches us in this case as well. You should first make it clear that you are only following the instructions of the Lord and Savior that you both follow. Show them the verse below and explain to them the steps Jesus Christ has instructed. Jesus wants us to hold each other accountable; to help each other; to encourage one another; to confront one another when they have fallen away from the truth; and to teach us through the process.

 “If your brother sins; go to him and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. “But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Matthew 18:15-17

In a case where the church would be forced to put someone out of their fellowship, this too is not a judgment but rather an act of love, in hopes that they would return to following Christ; rather than stand firm in their lust or pride. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5

We must always remember: "the love of Christ controls us."

 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

God bless you my friends, Bob