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dont judge

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“Don’t judge me” is probably one of the most common phrases thrown out there by humanity. People do not like to be judged by others because they feel like others lack real insight into their own personal situation; and for the most part, this is absolutely true. Even the bible admonishes us about judging in scriptures such as Mathew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye may not be judged” and Romans 14:13 “Let us not therefore judge one another any more.”

But the reality is, we all judge. Insomuch as you declare, “do not judge me” you are judging; you have judged those you believe are judging you.

Judge: To form an opinion about something after careful thought; to regard as either good or bad

There really is no escaping judgement- neither giving or receiving it. So what are these scripture in the Bible about? Let us look at the amplified version of Matthew 7:1-2:

Do not judge and criticize and condemn others, so that you may not be judged and criticized and condemned yourselves. For just as you judge and criticize and condemn others, you will be judged and criticized and condemned, and in accordance with the measure you [use to] deal out to others, it will be dealt out again to you.

A problem arises when we sit on a pedestal, believing ourselves to be more special or deserving than the hypocrite, the murderer, the thief, the adulterous, the one who disobeys… We cease to see our own spiritual infidelities. Our hearts become unrepentant. We forget that we are all made of the same dirt and will all return to that dirt. Thinking we have judged rightly, we will find in the end that we have misjudged our own position before God. This also carries over to putting some people in higher esteem than others.Love3

You see, the one condemned in your eyes, is the one Jesus Christ died for. The one whom you think yourself superior too, this is the one that “God so loved, that he gave his only begotten Son” for. That one that you have disregarded? That is the one that Christ is seeking to save.

Most people believe they are not judging. But let us consider some trigger words. What sort of thoughts come to mind when you read these words. Ponder them each individually and slowly:

Homosexuality. Muslim. Abortion. Christian. Jesus. Buddha. Science. Family. Gandhi. Mother Theresa. Baptism. Salvation. Heaven. Hell.

This list could be infinite. Each word will conjure up something within your heart, and for each word, you have a personal judgement made about it. The problem does not lie in what your personal perception and understanding of these words is. The problem lies when you attach these labels to people and consequently praise or condemn, befriend or avoid them.

dont judge meOne of the most damaging thoughts out there in our time is the thought of “toxic people.” Many quotes are being circulated in our world about staying away from these toxic-humanoids. Yes, you may as well call it something different than human. This thought process is loaded with judgement and condemnation, because as soon as you have labeled somebody “toxic” you have judged them.

Does that mean that staying away from someone that may harm you or pressure you to go against your own conscience is wrong? No! That is healthy. But, remember, those that deserve our attention the least, may need it the most. If we must, for our own safety, put distance between us and another person, do so with love, praying that this person may get the healing and help they so desperately need. But pushing people out of our lives just because they are different, difficult or not what we expected, is harmful.

Life is not easy- no matter who is in it. This life is meant to teach us lessons and lessons are not learned through ease. We all have a powerful inner-critic at work all the time. Let us not be found guilty of strengthening the inner critic of others.

“Don’t judge me until you have walked a mile in my shoes.” 

Too many wear this like a badge of honor, yet do not honor this in others. We cannot sit a critic and condemner and love at the same time.

Most of religion is set up with walls- enclosing people, codes, regulations, laws, hierarchy and tradition inside walls and judging and excluding those who stay without them. There was a letter written to the Galatians dealing with this very thing in chapter 2 we read:

Even that question came up only because of some so-called believers there—false ones, really[b]—who were secretly brought in. They sneaked in to spy on us and take away the freedom we have in Christ Jesus. They wanted to enslave us and force us to follow their Jewish regulations. But we refused to give in to them for a single moment. . . 14 When I saw that they were not following the truth of the gospel message, I said to Peter in front of all the others, “Since you, a Jew by birth, have discarded the Jewish laws and are living like a Gentile, why are you now trying to make these Gentiles follow the Jewish traditions? . . . And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law. . . I am a sinner if I rebuild the old system of law I already tore down. 19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ.[e] It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.

Many times those who sit in judgement get angry when you highlight these scriptures, because they have turned the Bible into their God and have dissected its words and created another system of laws which was never the purpose of Christ. His purpose was to come and light the way of every man. His purpose was to turn us away from the incessant struggle of habitual fleshly sins, and to allow his light to come into our hearts and lead and guide us.

“Don’t judge me!”

This is impossible. No matter how you live your life, someone here will judge you and condemn you. But as we allow the light of Christ to illuminate our hearts and draw closer and closer to this unconditional love, we will no longer feel the need to defend ourselves, nor to judge others. God’s grace and love will suffice us!

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Jesus

 

“The best people possess a feeling for beauty,
the courage to take risks,
the discipline to tell the truth,
the capacity for sacrifice.
Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable:
they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed.”

~ Ernest Hemingway

Was this not true of our Savior? He felt the beauty in a poor widows few mites, and in drops of liquid love smearing dirt about his feet with long golden strands of silk; He bent his knees to receive the little children, declaring them to be the door to God’s own presence. He felt the thief’s pitiful cry for remembrance, and removed from him the bitter cup of death. He had the audacity to read from the Torah in the temple, “The spirit of God is upon me…”  the courage to weather forty weary, hot, parched days and nights in the wilderness, defying the powers of darkness. He walked across a stormy sea, tore apart the money hovels on the temple’s porch, and declared himself the Son of God in the face of Crucifixion. He ate from the fig trees and corn fields  and fed the people with manna from heaven. The crumbled dirt beneath was his bed and the stones were his pillow so he could bring rest to our souls. His closest friends wounded His heart, and his own people sought to destroy him. Yet, with his own pure blood he purchased their pardon. He was destroyed by a cruel and brutal death, and he he took away with him the sins of the world. Yet he lives! In the bright heavenly places of the humbled soul he abides. He lives that we might have more abundant life. Beautiful Savior! Beautiful friend is my Jesus!!!

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i am

The entire reason Christ came to earth was to reconcile mankind to God- God wants to completely embrace us in his love and spirit. He wants to immerse you in himself, just as Moses went up alone on that mountain. He met God after being alone for forty years in the desert.
God told Moses, “I Am that I Am.” 

And Christ told us, “I AM the bread of life;” “I AM the truth, the way, the life;” I AM the living water.” 

People have been looking for God in the wrong place. They keep “going to church,” and church keeps dividing and controlling and confusing them.

God said, “I AM that I AM!”

When Christ was conversing with the woman at the well she said to Him concerning the place they were at, “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you say in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” John 4:20

The woman was opening up a spiritual argument with Christ about where the right place of worship truly was. The Samaritans were divided against the Jews- they had religious division. 
Christ answered her, (21) “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither in THIS mountain, NOR at Jerusalem worship the Father. You do not even know what you are worshiping. We know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews. (23) But the hour comes, AND IS NOW, when the TRUE worshipers shall worship the Father in SPIRIT and in TRUTH. For the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit; and they that worship Him, must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (emphasis mine)
Jesus put to silence her argument and BROKE DOWN HER WALL OF DIVISION! Amen! Essentially he said, neither one is right- THIS WALL HAS GO! This is NOT what God cares about. What God wants is a true worshiper. (someone who worships from their spirit with honesty)

God wants to isolate you as an individual. Christ taught us that the “Kingdom of God is within you.” 

Religion is just division! “Babylon” is symbolic of religious confusion- all religions erected have become a “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. “ Rev. 18:2-3

They worship the “SYSTEM” instead of GOD- as Christ taught at the well. They cease to be intimate with the true God. They are entangled in their doctrines, creeds, rules and regulations and their belief that these things make them SUPERIOR to all else.  And They have made quite a market of the whole religious system.

Christ did not come to establish a “NEW LAW AND ORDER.” Yet that is exactly what so much of religion does. Most of them agree that the OLD LAW was done away with, but they take the New Testament Bible and each religious faction creates a new law and order out of its pages and with the dictate of Judge and Jury, they hammer out the New Testament scriptures as “Thus saith the Lord,” according to their own peculiar interpretation of them. Thus, faction upon faction is formed- Division, fighting and ugliness that Christ himself became martyred by, is created.

This is NOT what Christ died for.

What did Christ come into the world to do? Why did He die such a horrible death? And why did He rise from the dead?

In the simplest, purest form—- LOVE!

“For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son…”

He gave us Christ, and whoever believes in Him, listens to Him, HEARS him, will not perish, but will have eternal life.
WHY?

“I AM”

“I AM the life.”

Christ came to turn our hearts to God- the children’s hearts back to the Father. He came to reconnect us to the source of eternal life. We, who were/are walking in darkness, He came to connect us to the source of light; I AM

“I AM the light.”

We, who cannot find out way, who feel so lost. He came to reconnect us to the GREAT I AM!

“I AM the way.”

He came to SAVE us! Praise God!

He came to show us the beauty and value of our own soul.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matt. 10:29-31

God wants to immerse you in his Holy Spirit. He wants to encapsulate you in His love. He wants you to “be still” and to listen to HIM!

Religion will proselyte you and make you one of them. But Christ will clean you up and make you one with HIM!

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christmas joys

Every year at Christmas time I see so much increasing negativity about this holiday season; especially amongst religious people. They get out their research tools and begin to post all the history about the so-called “pagan” beginnings of Christmas and why Christmas is not Jesus’ birthday and how it is a tradition of men and why we as Christians shouldn’t partake of it.

Years ago, when the idea was first introduced to me that as a true Christian I should not celebrate Christmas because God never “ordained” it in the word of God as a holiday, I was troubled about it in my mind. I thought for a long time about it. I prayed over it. I looked around and I saw all the negative aspects that were obvious. Santa Clause was a pagan conceived idea that was a lie told to children every year. People were running around spending money they didn’t have to heap up more toys that their children didn’t need, while other children in the world were starving. Historically Christmas was obviously not a christian holiday but had evolved into one. So really, should we as Christians be celebrating this holiday?Christmas a little bit more

I thought of my little children. They were so excited about Christmas ~the most wonderful time of the year. How would I break the news to them that we would no longer partake of such a wonderful holiday celebration? I already never did teach them that there was a Santa Clause. We celebrated Christmas as a celebration of the birth of Christ.

I made this an earnest matter of prayer to get the mind of God crystal clear; At this time, this is the scriptures he brought me. It is from the book of Esther, at the very end of the story, when the Jews had experienced a great victory over their enemies who had tried to destroy them; They were rejoicing over their victory and here is what they did.

“This happened on the thirteenth day of the month of Adar, and on the fourteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy. The Jews in Susa, however, had assembled on the thirteenth and fourteenth, and then on the fifteenth they rested and made it a day of feasting and joy. That is why rural Jews—those living in villages—observe the fourteenth of the month of Adar as a day of joy and feasting, a day for giving presents to each other.” Esther 9:15-19

The Jews made a holiday of feasting and giving each other presents to celebrate the victory they had won that day. God had not told them to make this holiday. But they observed it year after year.

“But,” some argue, “we do not even know when Jesus was really born? And God did not tell us to celebrate his birthday.” Well, God did not tell you to celebrate your birthday either, yet most of you do and who cares if we know the exact day he was born or not. Many people throughout have never known their real day of birth but have designated a day to celebrate every year anyhow. It does no harm.

This year God has shown me even more. God has spoken to me in regards to the “pagan” beginnings of Christmas and said, “Every seed is sown in mud.” He also brought to mind the story of Joseph and how his brothers sold him into Egypt out of hatred and jealousy, but in the end of it all, Joseph said, “What you meant for evil, God used for good.”

true love

Many go to great lengths to point out of all the “bad” that comes with Christmas, but what about all the good that comes as well? In this world, in every home, in every neighborhood, distict, town, business, state, culture, religion etc… there is good and there is bad. God has placed us in a world of good and evil and we have a CHOICE ~ to choose the good. To say that Christmas is the cause of all kinds of evil, goes hand in hand with the argument that guns are the cause of crime. It makes no sense. Its not the celebration, but the heart of those who practice it that matters.

I have sung for years at the homes for the elderly and brought the message of Christ to them. I have seen them cry and rejoice and light up as we sing to them the familiar Christmas carols. I see shoe boxes for children being put together in abundance with love and sent all over the world to brighten up little children’s lives. I hear laughter and music and families that come together that may never otherwise see each other, but make that time, because its Christmas. This is just a tiny fraction of what goes on for good in the name of CHRISTmas!

Christmas room for JesusSome will practice with greed and malice and the absence of Christ; But others will lift up the babe, and once again, the beautiful story of the virgin birth will fill the land.

Christmas Jesus is born

I for one could not even imagine ending the year without the beautiful renewing spirit of Christmas. The spirit of giving, and forgiveness and the good news that a SAVIOR was born into the world. What a dry, empty, end of the year it would be without Christmas~ that one time of year that we hear the carols of ANGELS once again.

Yes, there are a lot of not-so-good things that come with the season as well, but let me end my rejoicing with a quote from the apostle Paul when he was imprisoned for his faith and some were slanderously speaking of the gospel throughout the palace;

“What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” Philippians 1:18

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR ~ GOD BLESS YOU!

A Christmas Poem

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PowerOfGod

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. (Colossians 3:16)

Each holiday season has its joys for some and its sorrows for others. Not everyone looks forward with joyful anticipation of the holidays. For far too many, the holidays heighten the heartaches that many are fighting desperately to subdue so that they can face their day to day life. When the holidays come with their cheery songs of family and love and happiness, instead of a repose, it only serves to mock them and magnify the intensity of the pain the wound has left in their lives. Amid families happily making their get together plans, suicide skyrockets. Drunkeness and drugs use increases along with the fatalities they impose on society.

As Thanks Giving is upon us, I am reminded of my own griefs, losses and heartaches. But the Spirit of Christ within me moves me and I also am reminded to give thanks. I take time to grieve the loss. I process and cry through and validate how I am feeling. That is okay. But now it is time to wipe away my tears. For there is also so much to be thankful for. And for each blessing ~ for my health, for my family that remains, for the shelter I enjoy, the food on my table, the freedoms God has blessed me with, the clothing on my back, yes, even for the gift of another day of life ~ For all these I will celebrate Thanks Giving! For the men who are protecting my country and their families I will celebrate. That I can hear, see and walk, I will celebrate. CELEBRATE! Not just be thankful, but CELEBRATE!!! I will wipe away my tears, put on a happy song; I will laugh, play, dance and sing! And above all, I will give thanks, to my GOD above.

Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart
Give Thanks to the Holy one
Give Thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ
His Son,

And Now, Let the weak say I am strong
Let the poor say I am rich
Because of what the Lord has done
for us!

Give Thanks, He forgave my sins
Give Thanks, For I have peace within
Give Thanks, Because I’ve found blessed liberty,
I’m Free!

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angel wings
Wednesday I was scheduled for surgery. I had originally thought this surgery was fairly simple and would take about an hour. But a few days before, I found out it was a little more complicated than I thought and would take closer to four hours. I became a little nervous even though the surgery was a procedure routinely and successfully done. I have never had surgery except to fix a broken nose back in 2000 and so this was major for me.

I have been under a huge spiritual battle due to some major shifts in my spiritual walk with God and fighting hard to take and maintain new ground. People everywhere all have different opinions about God, and in these days you really have to anchor yourself firmly in the solid rock of Jesus Christ. You have to know that you are hearing and following what HIS voice is speaking to your heart, and not another. Because we are on a battlefield right now and the battle is raging and in a battle, their in much confusion.

So prior to surgery the thoughts came that I could possibly die and since people all around me are questioning my position before God because of these changes I have made in my life, it has had an affect on my mind even though I fight hard against it. If you tell a smart person they are stupid, over an over again, after awhile, they will come to believe it. You can convince someone of anything. The mind is a powerful thing.  The apostle Paul says in  2 Corinthians 10: 5, concerning the mind,  “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

I asked two of my dear friends in Africa to pray for me and they were so earnest in their affections toward me and their Christian love and zeal was so fervent in my behalf. They told me they were going to be in prayer and fasting while I was in my surgery and assured me that God was already with me. I had such peace that morning. Then I put out a last minute prayer request on FB and many others added me to their prayer list.

I came out of surgery cradled in Gods arms. I was literally being borne on Angels wings. My husband said to me he has never seen someone smiling so much coming out of surgery. God was talking to me too. He was holding me in the most beautiful heavenly light I have ever known and I was full of peace and happiness and he was assuring me that I was his child and he was speaking a special message to me that I will not particularly speak of now. I could not help but smile. I was in heaven with God. It was incredible. The following poem began to form in my heart and this morning I finished it.

God also witnessed to me later that I was to pass through more trials and testings and the heavenly witness was given to me to strengthen me. Very soon after I was severely tried and wounded so much so that my heart despaired. But this morning I took my pen in hand and went back to the place of God and finished my poem and I am encouraged. God is my helper ~ therefore I will not fear!

 

Borne Up On Angel’s Wings

Cradle my heart, great God of mine
Upon Thy bosom , so soft divine;
Thou hast borne me up on Angel’s wings;
While heavenly choirs softly sing.

Raptured on wings, gentle and warm;
Cradled like a child,
Safe from all harm;
Embraced in your glory,
 Loved clear and bright;
Speaking to me
Your truth with delight;
Upon my heart you’ve written the call;
God is love! God is light!
In Him is no darkness at all!

For heaven came down and visited me
And Jesus has talked with me personally;
I understand now why nature joyfully sings
For I have been borne up on Angel’s wings!

Written By, Elizabeth Ann Van Cleve

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A spoonful of sugar

In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap, the job’s a game
And every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake
A lark, a spree, it’s very clear to see
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

~Marry Poppins

The morning was chilly as I poured a steamy hot cup of coffee before I sat down to read my bible and pray. I breathed in its aroma- mmm . . . and took a small sip. It was slightly bitter. For a moment I thought I would add my vanilla flavored stevia to sweeten it just a bit and then I just decided not to and headed for the lounge chair. But the Lord stopped me for an opportune object lesson that was to extend throughout my weekend.
“Liz, why not add that stevia to your coffee? The coffee is bitter. The stevia will sweeten it up a bit. There are no calories in it- nothing unhealthy about it. Go ahead. Add a little sweetness to your morning cup of coffee.”

So I went back and added a few drops to sweeten my coffee.

Recently, my youngest daughter and I watched “Marry Poppins” and so the song “Just a Spoonful of Sugar” came to my mind and I smiled to myself as God’s loving light began to spread its warmth throughout my soul once again.

In the past couple months, the course of my life has majorly shifted. My spiritual foundations have been broken. This has been a very emotionally difficult process. It as if God took pruning shears and pruned my spiritual life-tree back to the stump and I am in the winter waiting for the new growth. Needless to say, it is a painful time in my life, but full of hope and anticipation.

So throughout this weekend God spoke to me about the “spoonful of sugar” many times over again. I have had to pray much to keep my emotions in check and I have been praying about the restoration of the Joy of the Lord into my heart and many other burdens. That little bit of sugar that began in my morning cup of coffee, started popping up all throughout the day as God opened my eyes to the “spoonfuls of sugar” he gives us everyday.

It could be a sunrise, a cool morning breeze, a flock of geese flying overhead, beautiful billowly clouds shimmering in artistic majesty as we drive along the highway. The golden sunsets. A word of encouragement from one dear friend. Really they are innumerable. There really are bowlfuls of sugar all around us. But we need only to take a few spoonfuls to make a difference in the flavor of life.

“You see Liz, the sweetness is always there. Just like the stevia was there all along for your coffee. But you had a choice. You could drink your coffee bitter, or you could partake of the sweetness and add it to the coffee and when you did, it made the bitter sweet.”

Yes, life has much bitterness, much heartache, much woe and care. But all along the way are spoon-fulls of sugar, that if we keep our eyes open to, we can add them into our cup and it will help the medicine go down, in the most delightful way!

flowers

“The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord”

Psalms 33:5

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