“ME, CRITICAL?”

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”  Matthew 7:3 NIV READ:  Matthew 7:1-12   I had a lady call asking me what she should do.  It seems she had ‘tried’ a dozen different churches and found they were all full of “judgmental attendees.”  She complained that not one church had the spirit of JESUS.  She seemed to ignore the fact that she in her observations could be as judgmental as those she witnessed. How about you?  Are you ever critical or do you set in judgement of others? Ultimate judgment is for GOD alone.   When we set in judgment of others, we need to judge with compassion.   Judgment as a discernment is necessary and is a great gift from GOD.  Discernment is something that most of us don’t have enough.   Yet, critical judgment is dangerous. You probably know someone who it seems is always critical.  They always know more than anyone else and always have to get the last word in on any subject.   You can find them armchair coaching Sunday afternoon’s football game when they can’t even throw a football, arguing with their bullying son’s teacher or mumbling to others about what their pastor preached. Luke 6:37 mirrors JESUS’ words of Matthew in our daily reading above.  “Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”    It is so very simply written, how could we mess it up?  But we  do.   When you...

“FREE FROM SIN?”

“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin – because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.” Romans 6: 6-7 NIV Read: Romans 6: 1-23 A young lady was excited about accepting JESUS as her LORD and SAVIOUR. Yet, she was confused as to why she had the same thoughts as she had before being saved. She was concerned about these old thoughts and desires becoming real. Her pastor told her there are times we all have sinful thoughts. Although we should turn from them, they are unfortunately all a part of being human. He explained; Now, she was free from acting on those sinful thoughts. She is free to give those sinful temptations to GOD. He reminded her that sin is all around us. Being ‘free from sin’ is a promise JESUS made to us. When Adam and Eve took that first bite of the forbidden fruit, they brought sin to all mankind. We each carry their sinful actions today. A sinful thought is not to be feared as much as our reaction to it. If we acknowledge it and take it to GOD in prayer, HE can deal with it for us. We have to give it to HIM…all of it to HIM. If we act upon our sinful thought, we are playing into the devil’s plan. No one on this earth is free of the temptations of sin. We all have those moments, even when we do our best...

“DO YOU KNOW SIN?”

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,… For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.  Romans 6:12,14 NIV   Read:  Romans 6:1-18   Do you know sin?  ‘To see or know of sin and to ignore it is a sin itself.’   When we tolerate sin in any manner we are going against the will of GOD.   While we decide in our human nature that one sin is not as bad as another, there is no little sin.   Believing what you or others do are personal choices. Believing your  actions have no bearing or impact upon others is false.   Do you know sin?  Perhaps, the better question is when were you first introduced?   You probably first sinned when you proclaimed “NO!” to your mother or father as a toddler.   Through out your life your were re-introduced to sin in increasing numbers.  You learned to cheat at a childhood game.   You were introduced to sin when you told your first lie.  As you grew, you shook the hands of lust.  And the sins continued with fabrications on a resume or falsehoods on a tax return.  For many, there is so much sin in their lives they can no longer tell the difference.   So, think back.   When was the last time you sinned?  For a few, it was only seconds ago as you dismissed your latest sin. ‘To see or know of sin and to ignore it is a sin itself.’   We all have an opportunity to influence...

“AMERICAN BANDSTAND!”

“Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13 NIV Read: Jeremiah 10-14   If you are old enough, you may remember ‘American Bandstand’ or maybe you have seen re-runs. Dick Clark hosted this program during the phenomenal growth of early rock and roll. When introducing a new song, a small group was asked what they thought of the new song. Often, the response was “I did not pay attention to the lyrics, but it had a good beat and I could dance to it.”   Is that the way you are living your life? Are you not paying attention to the lyrics, but you dance to the beat? As we travel the roads of this earthly life, we are overwhelmed by Satan’s lies. His messages seem to have a ‘good beat’ and it is so easy for us to ‘dance’ to his songs filled with deceit.   It is easy to fall into the trap of ‘dancing with the devil’. So many of our friends, neighbors and relatives have fallen victim of ‘this is all right’, ‘it doesn’t hurt anyone’ and ‘no one will ever know’. They have unknowingly sold their soul for the ways of the world.   Unfortunately, our world today is no different than the the world of the ancient Israelites. When Moses came down from the mountain from his fellowship with GOD, he found the people dancing and worshiping the false god in an image of a golden calf they...

“PRAYER, NOT PRIDE!”

“This, then, is how you should pray…” Matthew 6:9a NIV  Read:  Matthew 6:9-13  He told me: “I don’t need your prayers.  I know I am going to hell.   No, he is not a hardened criminal.  He is a very successful business man.  He says he does not need GOD.  He has a tremendous ego and pride believing he alone is responsible for his financial success.  Again, I offered to pray with him.  His pride would not allow prayer. Prayer should come from your heart.   Is your pride keeping you from praying a prayer from your heart?  If your heart is full of pride, you can’t pray from your heart.   It takes a humble heart to pray the prayer you should pray.  How can you expect GOD to hear your prayers if they are from your pride and are not humble?  Is your heart humble or is it full of pride?   Do you reject others because you know more than they know or you have a position of authority or are socially above others?  Do you ever feel you simply are smarter than others?  If you ever answer ‘yes’ to these type questions, ask yourself if pride has replaced a humble heart. Jesus told us how to pray.  HE gave us a wonderful prayer as an example of how to pray.  Often called “The Lord’s Prayer”, it set out the stepping stones of how to pray. First is to give honor to our LORD.  Then be thankful for those things we often take for granted which GOD has provided.  You can thank GOD for the new job or new car,...