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Posts Tagged ‘the image of Christ’

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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haitian-girl-staring

 

One must be careful that their religious devotions does not come from a place of anger and/or fear. When that happens- wood, hay and stubble will be built into ones life. There is also a danger when one’s devotions to a certain creed or doctrine is centered wrong and out of balance. Many times it manifests itself in the way they are raising their own children. That fear and anger will be mirrored onto those precious little souls and will damage their perceptions of God and the world he has placed them in. They often times will be expected to be the “saved and sanctified” little examples of the family, not having matured nor developed enough to gain a true witness and relationship of their own with Christ. They often are beaten for small infractions and many harsh rules are laid on them that makes them feel different and unaccepted in general society. The one that holds their belief system from a center of fear and/or anger will preach the message to them from this center and therefore the children will grow to fear an angry God and will, in most cases, either subject themselves to all kinds of harsh religious forms to avoid his wrath or become discouraged and completely rebel. A belief in God and a true relationship with him and service to him should be centered on, in saturated in, LOVE! Just as Christ loved us, willing even to lay down his very life, that we might understand the true love of the Father.

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I believe that the ultimate lesson in life is what we were born knowing, something that is innate, but that we lose sight of along the way; And that is-

We are not the teachers, but the students; We are not the masters but the rather, the subjects. Life is our teacher and God is our master- he gave us life, and ultimately, he will take it back. He is the only true master. 

Very simplistic, yet profound. How many fights would end, wars would cease, religions would fold if people would just take a real hold of this one basic truth.

The Bible says, “And now abides faith, hope and love; but the greatest of these is LOVE.”

“God is love.”

Think about it!

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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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friends
“There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”
Proverbs 18:24

Finding a True Friend

When she met you face to face
and you smiled tenderly;
And you said, “How do you do, its so nice to see you.”
When she turned her back away. Did that smile fade away?
And the whispering began? Did you run to tell your friend?
“Guess who I saw today?
Guess what she was wearing today?
Guess who she was with today?
Guess what she looked like today?
Oh I am in so much dismay,
That she would go so much astray!”
Oh those naughty nasty words,
carried on by winds and birds,
Find their way back to the one,
Who was scourged from tongue to tongue.
And the wounds they cut so deep,
that she cannot even sleep;
She will never trust again,
Those she once thought were her friends;
For their smiles she learned were fake,
She had made a grave mistake.
But she learned through all the pain,
that a true friend would remain.
And so rare if truth be told,
they are worth their weight in gold.

Written by Elizabeth Ann Van Cleve

“We don’t lose friends, we just learn who our real ones are.”

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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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