Tag Archives: judgment

Good Judgment

Proverbs 9:10 says that knowledge of God produces good judgment. As we get to know God more, we will grow as people of God. We will dig deeper into His Word. We will seek Him more, and when we seek Him, we will find Him. With our eyes fixed on Him and His Word, we will experience growth. This growth will include using good discernment.

If you are praying for good discernment, recognize the importance of digging into your Bible to read God’s Word daily. Reading and hearing God’s Word will plant good seed in your life which will result in good judgment. If you are trying to make a difficult decision, pray and read your Bible. Seek counsel from God and His Word. You will not seek in vain.

“Fear of the LORD is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” – Proverbs 9:10 [NLT]

Strict Judgment

Many people want to be up front and in the limelight. With social media, more are encouraged to share everything and be in front of everyone. Being in charge, being a leader, being a teacher—these positions of authority come with a great warning. James notes that these people “will be judged more strictly.”

Remember that it is a huge responsibility to have the opportunity to teach others. When given this responsibility, it is important that we share God’s Word and not our own. It is crucial that we do not become a stumbling block. It is also important to share only the Truth, so you do not cause someone to get off course. You will be judged more strictly. Don’t allow your opportunity to be neglected or abused.

Today if you are a leader or teacher, make note of this warning. Even if you are not a teacher, be aware of what you are sharing online and in person. Are you sharing the Truth or lies? Are you making the most of every opportunity or are you wasting your opportunities? Are you focused on telling people what you think or are you adamant about sharing only what God thinks?

“Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly.” – James 3:1 [NLT]

The Road

The other night I left the van windows open. It’s so easy for me to overlook as I’m not sitting back there. Of course it rained that evening. Thankfully it did not rain inside the van. I did not learn my lesson. Last night, I left the van windows open again. This time, the outcome was different. At the end of the day, I understand that it is not good for me to keep the van windows open at night. Perhaps practicing this bad behavior does not have any consequences most of the time, but there comes the moment when the downpour arrives.

We live in a world where most people believe that every road leads to God. I won’t argue that statement. I agree. Every road leads to God. At the end of your life here on earth, you will in fact meet God. For some people, this meeting will not be pleasant. Judgment arrives. After all of those evenings of leaving the van windows open without much consequence, the final judgment comes. And without Jesus Christ, the road leads to hell. Why? Because every road does NOT lead to heaven. Only through Jesus Christ do you receive the free gift of salvation. Only through the grace of God do you receive eternal life. This is why they call the road to heaven a narrow road.

Today, consider how you are living your life. Consider also the lives of those around you. You can leave the van windows open every night, but one day the downpour will arrive. Don’t wait for the downpour. Close the van windows at night! Ask Jesus into your heart. Begin to do life with Him and then write His Word on your heart. Treasure His commands. Embrace His presence.

“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” – Matthew 7:14 [ESV]

“For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16 [NIV]

 

 

 

Balancing Truth and Grace

Some people have brought it to my attention that I have a problem balancing truth and grace, hence the reason the Spirit led me to speak often about truth and grace. Often we are not only preaching for others to hear, but God leads us to preach to ourselves as well. Jesus is grace and truth (John 1:17). Life is all about balance, and this is true when it comes to truth and grace. If we have too much truth and lack grace, we have judgment and condemnation. If we have too much grace and lack truth, we have tolerance of the ungodly.

At the start of Galatians, the Apostle Paul is astonished that the people were deserting the Gospel. People were “turning to a different gospel.” We notice in the New Testament that as the Early Church was spreading, there were people who wanted to introduce something else into the Gospel of Christ. People were teaching Christ, but adding to the Gospel. In doing so, it was as if Jesus wasn’t enough. In teaching something added to Jesus or something other than Jesus, it was taking away from the grace and the truth.

As Paul notes here, there is only one Gospel. There is the Good News of Jesus Christ. As John writes, Jesus is grace and truth. As we share this Good News to others and as we live this out in our own lives, we must always have grace and truth. If we live with a lot of truth, trying to uphold the Law, we will die to the law. We are not perfect. We all fall short (Romans 3:23). It won’t work. We will beat ourselves up, and for no good reason. If we pour this out to others, we will be the judgmental, finger pointer who turns everyone away. If we live with a lot of grace, we will never be confronted with the Truth. We cannot be molded into who God created us to be if we turn away from the conviction. We will find ourselves tolerating anything and everything that comes our way. Not only will we live a life tolerating sin in our own life, but we will live like that toward those around us. We will pour out the love, but we will love everyone to hell. This truth hurts. But it is truth that must be spoken. We need truth. We need grace. We need Jesus.

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.” – Galatians 1:6-7 [ESV]

Grace and Truth

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth… For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. – John 1:14, 17 [ESV]

God’s Word is Truth (John 17:17)

Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the life (John 14:6) – The Way to the Father, Truth itself, Life eternal

What about Grace?

Grace is Enough / Amazing Grace / Scandal of Grace / Sufficiency of Grace / Outrageous Grace

Grace Abounds / Only Grace / Saving Grace / Irresistible Grace / Unmeasured Grace

Beauty of Grace/ Fields of Grace / Grace Changes Everything / Grace Flood

 

Grace is the unmerited favor of God. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.

  • Gift – Gift from God (Romans 3:24)
  • Received – Received by Faith (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:16)
  • Available – Available to Everyone (Romans 4:16, Romans 10:13)
  • Christ – Grace comes through Christ (John 1:17, Romans 5:15, Galatians 2:21)
  • Eternity – It’s Extended Throughout Eternity (Romans 6:23)

(Acrostic Credit – Rick Warren)

Grace is…

  • Restoring – wipes out guilt & helps you start over (Isaiah 43:25)
  • Sustaining – gives you power to endure (Philippians 2:13)
  • Healing – does miracles in your life (Psalm 147:3)
  • Liberating – helps you break free from perfectionism / upholding the Law (Matthew 11:28-30)
  • Assuring – helps you defeat your fear & doubt (Romans 8:37)

Vertical Grace (God to us) vs. Horizontal Grace (us to others)

Love that reaches up is adoration. Love that reaches out is compassion. But love that stoops is grace.

– Charles Swindoll

Grace brings conviction faster than rebuke!

Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. – Ephesians 4:29 [NLT]

Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! – Romans 12:16 [NLT]

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 [ESV]

See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. – 1 Thessalonians 5:15 [NASB]

Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. – Ephesians 4:2 [NLT]

Deadly Stew

When Elisha gathered around with the sons of the prophets, there was a famine. Barrenness, sickness, affliction and famine were seen as judgment from God for sin. As we read again and again, the curse of sin is judgment and death.

These people were in search for food. When they went around to gather something to eat, they gathered wild gourds. From the text, it did not seem that they knew what the food would bring. They simply wanted to fill their need for food. But when they added this unknown item into the stew, it became deadly. They cried out, “There is DEATH IN THE POT.” Elisha had to add flour to the stew for it to become safe to eat.

We often try to add things into our daily lives to fill voids. We are facing a famine – the curse of sin. Through Christ alone the curse is no longer. We grab anything we can to fill our needs; however, we do not always understand what we truly need. Elisha poured flour into the deadly stew. In the same way, we can seek to eat from the Word of God, and become blessed by the “meal” of Christ. Through prayer and God’s Word we are sanctified. In 1 Timothy 4:4-5 we read: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer” (NASB). It doesn’t matter how deadly the stew of your life has become; nothing is too dead for God to raise back to life. He will repair. He will revive. He will restore. He will redeem.

“One of them went out into the field to gather herbs, and found a wild vine and gathered from it his lap full of wild gourds, and came and cut them up into the pot of stew, not knowing what they were. And they poured out some for the men to eat. But while they were eating of the stew, they cried out, ‘O man of God, there is death in the pot!’ And they could not eat it.” – 2 Kings 4:39-40 [ESV]

Lord Shut In

If you read the instructions to Noah, they were very specific. One of the instructions was in Genesis 6:16 where God told Noah to have a door on the side of the ark. One door. This door, this single door, was the only door to pass through to escape the judgment of God.

From this door we see two great things. First, Noah and his family by faith had to enter through the door. This demonstrates man’s responsibility. The second thing we see is God shutting the door. God alone could shut the door so Noah and his family could escape judgment. When God shut the door no one else could enter.

Salvation. We see it here with Noah and his family. We see how God spares them all and keeps them safe and secure in the ark. He shuts them in. This same salvation is offered to each of us. We too have only one door, one gate. Remember, Jesus said, “I am the gate for the sheep” (John 10:7 NIV). He continued, “Whoever enters through Me will be saved” (v. 9 NIV). When we enter His gate, when we give our life to Him, He promises that “no one can snatch [us] from the Father’s hand” (John 10:29 NLT). Safe. Secure. Salvation.

“And those that entered, male and female of all flesh, went in as God had commanded him. And the LORD shut him in.” – Genesis 7:16 [ESV]

One Sneaky Dog

10606005_10153078767998776_8901731169283629346_nHaving two dogs certainly can be entertaining. This morning as I was preparing to leave for work I noticed Marci was walking what looked to be an obstacle course underneath the kitchen table. I did not understand why she was weaving and turning through chairs until I saw where the course brought her. She was trying to sneak to Max’s bone, grab it, and then sneak away. She could have easily walked straight toward the bone and snatched it but she figured he would catch her and intervene. Instead, mom (me) spotted her naughty paws and repossessed the bone.

Marci was a sneak because she did not want to get caught. She was doing something wrong. It would not have made her actions right if she wasn’t caught; it was still wrong. She knew it was wrong too. In life there are times when we think something is not so bad so long as we don’t get caught. Guess what!?! Whether you are caught or not by human eyes, security cameras, etc., God sees all and knows all. You can deceive, lie, steal, cheat, and sin again and again without human detection but God sees. So why does that not bring us to reconsider these poor decisions? Why do we sneak around to do these bad things in an attempt to not get caught by people, rather than stop altogether with these bad things because they are wrong and we want to please God who sees all?

Tonight let us praise God and thank Him for His mercy. Let us remember that today we did things we were not meant to do, but we did them anyway. For some of us, we tried to hide what we did. For some of us, we were already alone and didn’t think anyone would find out. Pray that God will reveal these things to you and that the Holy Spirit would convict you and God would give you the strength to overcome and claim victory through Jesus. We have not yet achieved perfection, but we can make it to the finish line. Fix your eyes on Jesus.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.” – Hebrews 4:13 [NLT]

Bits and Pieces

I am not a fan of blueberries. I will admit that if there’s a fruit salad, I’ll try my best to not grab too many blueberries with the serving spoon. I pick out the bits and pieces that I like and leave the blueberries for those who like blueberries, or for those who happen to approach the bowl after I took all the good stuff. Sometimes that means someone gets stuck with a lot of blueberries.

The problem with picking out the bits and pieces is you then do not get all of the benefits of the fruit salad. In the same way, we cannot pick out bits and pieces of God’s Word and think that is enough. Too often people want to select particular passages, certain beliefs, only some things to live by, only certainly things to follow, and leave the rest. Everyone loves grace. Everyone loves blessings. But God’s Word speaks of things like obedience, humility, sacrifice, loving those who hate you, and judgment.

If you are opening your Bible only looking for bits and pieces of what works for you, I pray that you will come to see that the Bible is not a bag of trail mix where you pick out what you like. God’s Word, every single word of the Bible, is amazing. Let us be grateful for each bit, each piece, every single word. Psalm 63 is one of my favorite. Read it right now and pray for that thirst of which the Psalmist speaks.

“One final word of counsel, friends. Keep a sharp eye out for those who take bits and pieces of the teaching that you learned and then use them to make trouble. Give these people a wide berth. They have no intention of living for our Master Christ. They’re only in this for what they can get out of it, and aren’t above using pious sweet talk to dupe unsuspecting innocents.” – Romans 16:17-18 [MSG]