Pitiful Pride

Romans 14:11

“It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’””.

Sometimes personal opinions get in the way and cause problems within the body of believers, within our churches don’t they? We tend to have this ‘I’m right, your wrong’ attitude when it comes to how we should live our lives and put our faith into action. In our verse today, Paul addresses some of these issues because Jewish custom and culture was very different than Gentile culture and it showed in their manner of eating, and in other areas as well. Some were looking down their noses with contempt at others of the faith, who saw things very differently. Paul’s point here, is that these things do not matter in the big picture, because faith isn’t grounded on these issues. True Faith is grounded on the pure and simple gospel message of the cross , the Lord and the Christ who died to make atonement for our sins possible and bring salvation to the lost. It is God, who is the true and righteous Judge, who will deal with the flaws and shortcoming of His people, when every knee bows before Him and every tongue confesses Him as Lord. God will deal with it as He sees fit. Paul reminds the believers that each brother and sister in the Lord, is responsible for themselves personally, before God and judgment from others is unnecessary and uncalled for. In other words, we are not to judge! Plain and simple!

However, because of pride, we get caught up in this haughty mindset and take judgmental authority upon ourselves in order to straighten every one out. We begin to rebuke, criticize, condemn and slander, even cry ‘hypocrite’ to new or even seasoned believers, for not adhering to our self – made ‘laws’ that we govern our own lives by. Such non – graced action quickly leads to dissension, quarreling and divisive behavior, when it’s really no concern of ours, how others, who profess their faith in Christ, live their lives. Paul makes it clear that we are not too look with scorn on those weaker in faith or on those who live out their faith in the Lord differently than we do.

Have you been judged, criticized and ridiculed for something? Has it hurt you or made you leave the unity of the body of believers? It’s the enemy’s tactic for causing strife and bitterness. It’s sad and it shouldn’t happen! Or maybe you’ve been the judge and held the gavel over someone’s head while pronouncing them guilty as charged. That’s pride and is also the enemy’s tactic for causing division. It’s wrong and Paul says we have no business doing that! Instead, we need to take account of ourselves before God and make sure that our own hearts are right!

Now it can get really personal and this is where our true colors of the faith show. It’s where our mature, strong faith in Christ will show up or not! If our behavior causes others to question and doubt, then, we, who are strong in the faith, need to put the questionable behavior behind us and act in such a way that it will glorify Christ and speak lovingly to others. Why? Because as mature Christians, we need to take responsibility for our actions. Forgive and receive forgiveness if need be and put our self-righteousness behind us. Our main goal as a Christ One is to win the lost and be excellent representatives for the Lord and His work. If something we do, hurts someone, then we have a responsibility to own up to it and stop it! It’s our responsibility to maintain peace and share joy, compassion and love within our circles of influence. No, we don’t look at someone else but let’s look into the mirror and yeah, everyone let’s heed Paul’s words of wisdom and quit passing judgment on our brothers and sisters because according to us, they don’t measure up, and let’s make sure we don’t give others any reason to question our own testimony for the Lord. Friends, if we could all live in such a way, our world would be wonderful and our churches? Well…they would not be divided, for each one would settle their accounts before God, give grace where needed and maintain peace and unity within the body of believers.

Sweet Promises

Little Thoughts For Big Days
Little Thoughts For Big Days

So ~ what about those promises from God? Those sweet treasures, whispered into your ear, richer than riches themselves and going deeper into the soul than the deepest depths of the deepest sea! They’ve come to you at a low point ~ at some moment when God spoke directly to your heart, confirming His presence, His ability, His care, His compassion, His Power, His magnitude, His grace, His Healing, His restoration, and His mercy. The moment of promise when the scars in His hands sealed the hope in our heart. Hang on to them and don’t let ’em fade into the darkness or be tossed about by violent life storms! He speaks even here ~ above the jostling winds and waves, and beckons us to stand tall and firm in the faith before Him ~ with Him ~ focused on Him, because in His serene presence is peace ~ just what you need and just what you need now!!

“The Lord is faithful to all His promises and loving towards all He has made. The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts us all who are bowed down.. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time.. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”
Psalm 145: 13b, 14, 15, 16

❤ ❤ ❤

Hopeful In The Dark

Little Thoughts For Big Days
Little Thoughts For Big Days

So I let one of my furry girls out into the rainy, early morning darkness and at this time of year I’m always afraid of skunks that might be lurking in the dark corners. One episode with a skunk can turn a whole world upside down in a matter of seconds as I found out a few years back! It was not fun and I dealt with skunk for a long while after the fact. This particular furry girl is getting up in years and at 14 doesn’t see or hear well, but is still pretty spunky in her actions, so she can be very illusive and I can’t call her back quickly, if she decides to run off. So ~ I let her go prancing off into the darkness as I stood holding my breath and hoping for the best. While waiting with teeth clenched in the tense stillness a beautiful chorus of early birds from nearby trees, presented their sweet, morning aubade for a brand new day. Their song occupied my mind and made the anxious wait just a little sweeter. In a few seconds I thought of a lot of things…. Oh Yeah ~ the world is in a mess for sure, and we don’t know just what’s around the next government corner or any other corner for that matter and just what does lurk in the darkness waiting to take us down in defeat, but it’s a beautiful world just the same. It’s a frightening journey sometimes, ~ this journey of life! And it’s difficult to stay focused on the good of it all ~ if there even is any good at all, because some days just seem like that. It’s a beautiful world if we see it with our soul eyes and through the eyes of a God who we know cares about us and for us. He’s graciously given us the beauty of things created for our enjoyment while we wait it out! But while we wait it out, let’s stay out of the dark corners as much as possible with ourselves and our minds and our worries and our cares and our concerns and our issues. Instead of going there, step out with God to the front porch and listen to the birds of His fabulous creation sing their sweet and beautiful song into our soul ears. Those same ears that hear Him speak sweet promises, gentle comforts, and awesome peace into our pain and brokenness.

My little furry girl returned just fine from around that frightening, dark turn and came bounding back to the door to safety. I picked her up to carry her down the stairs since she doesn’t see well enough on her own and all was good once again. No skunks, no issues and thankfully not a problem this time. Isn’t that what God does for us when we wander off into the complicated areas and into issues and make a huge mess of things, then come bounding back to Him? His unconditional love carries us with grace over the rough places and the uneven steps where we don’t see clearly in our humanness and ah yes ~ back to safety once again. Aren’t we thankful for His mercy? That’s what He does! I love how He does it.

Deuteronomy 23: 26, 27
“There is none like the God of Jeshurun, Who rides the heavens to your help, And through the skies in His majesty. The eternal God is a dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms; And He drove out the enemy from before you, And said, ‘Destroy!’

Psalm 90:2
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

❤ ❤ ❤

Me Myself And I

Philippians 2: 3, 4

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

In the midst of their persecution Paul encourages the Philippians to be humble and to live a life like that of Christ, who was the perfect
example of humility. Self – centeredness and arrogance are not acceptable behavior patterns and have no place in the believer’s life. Watch a two-year old at play and see how irritating the “It’s mine” attitude is! Yet how often do we” Mature” adults confine ourselves to a small box called “self?” How often do we crawl in, close the door and
have to have it “my” way or no way? How often do we turn everyone’s world upside down because things aren’t right for us? Selfish, childish behavior does not have any interest, any sensitivity, or any compassion for another. Arrogance and jealousy tears apart and has no word of encouragement for one who has done well, or for one who needs a confidence boost. What a sorry sight “self” is and what destruction selfish ambition causes in a ministry, a church, a life, a family or a friendship. If the shoe fits lets wear it and cease from playing games with ourselves, or preying on the successes or failures of others to get ahead.

Paul’s advice is good advice for us to follow. Let’s be challenged to focus on Christ’s humility as we strive for unity among ourselves and yes within ourselves.
Enjoy a sweet and blessed day my friends.