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Monthly Archives: September 2013

To Judge or Not to Judge

Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. NKJV

This is probably one of the most misused and misquoted scriptures of the entire Bible. In the past, I have used this scripture incorrectly many, many times. Nine times out of ten, this scripture is quoted by people when they are confronted by others regarding their sin issues or bad fruit that they are producing. This scripture is used in defense to someone declaring the Word of God regarding known situations. However, using that scripture to defend bad fruit or actions is totally incorrect. Proclaiming the righteousness of God or stating a fact is NOT judging someone. Jesus Christ stated that we would know a man by his fruit, so in essence; the fruit speaks for itself. Or should I say that it speaks the judgment itself.

When Jesus spoke the words of Matthew, He was referring to judging someone’s motives or heart. We do not know what it is in someone’s heart, and so it is not wise for us to pronounce judgments because we will most likely be wrong. Unless there is visible fruit and information is in fact known, what you are doing is judging instead of simply examining fruit. According to Steve Foss, author of Satan’s Dirty Little Secret, most of these judgments come from a place of insecurity or inferiority. I believe that this why Jesus said to get the plank out of our own eye before trying to remove the splinter from our brother’s eye. Unless we know all of the information, we have a plank in our eye and should keep silent. These incorrect judgments will tear down relationships and cause divisions. They are really just a form of gossip and they usually proclaim untruths about people, which is basically slander. They are an assassination of someone’s character.

So the purpose of me even writing this post is from a place of REPENTANCE. I have been guilty of judging people and situations because I did not have all of the facts. I drew conclusions about people and situations that were sometimes hurtful or just incorrect. Once I gained an understanding of judgment as defined by Jesus, I am now very conscious of this behavior and am striving to not judge without information. I shudder at the thought of how many people I have unfairly judged over the years. Even though there might have been some visible evidence or fruit of what I felt, there was a much bigger picture that I did not see until much time later. Had I withheld my judgments, I would have regarded and treated them better. Due to my own insecurities and feelings of inferiority, I would cast judgments from a place of hurt and often times I was completely wrong. Meanwhile, I allowed the enemy and his forces entry into my own mind and into the atmosphere to cause further damage. This sin is simply another gateway for demonic activity and for confusion to arise.

gavel-judge

But I want to go into another aspect of judgments that we make. Sometimes they are not necessarily evil in their intent. They refer to viewing people and situations not necessarily in a negative light, but simply a wrong one. We all know the saying in the world about what happens when we assume. I won’t repeat it. ☺ These assumptions directly and indirectly influence how we react to situations and people. The truth is in fact that situations are not always what they appear. Can you see how much damage can be done due to judgments? Can you see the amount of confusion that can be caused?

I can think of different situations over the past number of years where I thought I was being “overlooked” or “disrespected.” Whether it involved ministry or the job, I would assign motives and intents to people who made the decisions in situations where I seemingly got the short end of the stick. I would immediately jump to conclusions about them and conjure up all kinds of thoughts and ideas surrounding the situation that usually had no relevance whatsoever. Over time, the Lord has shown me that I overreacted in many of these situations. The bottom line was that I simply needed to grow up and get over my inferiority complex and rejection issues. There will be times when it will appear like you’re being treated unfairly and unjustly, but sometimes God is testing you to see if you can keep your composure and refrain from drawing unnecessary conclusions. It may sound a little harsh but we all should grow some thicker skin, which will help keep us from forming judgments.

The reality is that only God can judge the heart or someone’s motives because He sees directly into our inward parts. Only He knows the deep things of our hearts.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

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Speak the Truth in Love

How many of you have tried to receive correction from a fellow believer, but they made you feel like a total loser in the process? Have you experienced the same thing in the world? I imagine these situations would likely come up in the workplace, with friends or acquaintances, recreational activities, etc. Well, I don’t know about you, but I have come to realize that it is not just about what you are saying. It is equally, if not more important, how you say it.

Ephesians 4:14-16 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (NKJV)

constructive criticism

When you give someone constructive criticism, it should be with a heart that echoes, “I love you and want to see you do better and be better.” It should always be for the best interest of the person, not your own. Unfortunately, there is something about the flesh that likes to “put people in their place.” There seems to be some twisted enjoyment in belittling others and that “I’m better than you” tone often times surfaces. I am thankful for people who are sensitive enough to go out of their way to consider other people’s feelings and emotions.

Now I know that some of you might be squirming because you might be thinking that I’m encouraging “coddling” or “sugar-coating” the issues when confronting or ministering to someone. Please be assured that that couldn’t be further from the truth. I know all too well that coddling and babying folks doesn’t work. If we love someone or at least have their best interests at heart, we tell them the truth no matter how hard it may be. These types of situations can even result in the loss of a friendship, but we have to trust the Lord even more. The Word even endorses a sharp rebuke, but it doesn’t endorse belittling and making people feel like crap.

Titus 1:13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, (NKJV)

People are going to naturally be offended by the truth. We can’t do anything to control that. However, when the truth is not spoken in love, it does more damage than good. The individual who needs to hear the truth is unable to because of how it was presented to them. Whether it is a nasty disposition, a mocking/taunting attitude, unnecessary facial expressions and body language, those things can get in the way of the person hearing the truth in their hearts. In essence we actually end up trying to play the Holy Spirit and the result often times is that the person gets hurt even more than before because of how they were addressed. Now I do want to clarify that a sharp rebuke is still supposed to be done in love. The problem comes in when one talks down to people instead of talking with them. We have to remember that the truth in itself is already going to hurt them to a degree. Truth does not need our help to get its point across.

I can recall various times when I have heard pastors and ministers in church talk about people with specific issues and it didn’t feel like ministry at all. There words and taunts might have been laced with Scripture, but they did not lead to godly sorrow, which leads to true repentance. The spirit in which they operated brought on belittlement and shame. There is a huge difference between the two! It is hard to receive truth and/or correction when someone is talking down to you and treating you like you are beneath them. Sometimes you can unconsciously do this and not be aware of it. I know I have done this over the years and it was brought to my attention a number of times. Thank God I have a changed heart and now I go out of my way to make sure that I’m showing people the proper level of respect when it comes to ministering or just giving constructive criticism. From personal experience, I can receive harsh correction from someone if I believe that they are coming from a sincere and loving heart. But if someone is talking at me and making me feel like some kind of idiot or even resorting to name-calling, it becomes nearly impossible to receive what is being spoken to me. At that point, I don’t even believe that it is necessarily correction. It’s just a form of bullying.

bullying

God shows us new mercies every day. He is more than patient with us, as well as gentle with us. He will chastise and rebuke, but He never does it in a way to trash or demean us. After all, He is The Father. No father would hurt his children in that way, at least not intentionally. So let’s all follow the example of Paul and remember to do our best to speak the truth to others with a spirit of love.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

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A Field of Tares

I want to start by saying that I don’t have a heaven or hell to put anyone in. We have all fallen short of the glory of God and have to be redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. However, according to John 3:3, we must be BORN AGAIN. Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” This means that we are supposed to become a new creature and that the old man dies so that the new man in Christ can live. Yes, we will still have struggles in our flesh and our minds have to be renewed. Yes, God’s grace is sufficient but that does not mean that our lifestyles don’t have to change. Jesus Himself asks in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me lord but don’t obey me?” (paraphrasing) God’s grace is not a license to sin. It is a window of opportunity to come be cleansed and made whole. The Bible clearly states that we must work out our soul salvation and it also says to study to show thyself approved. What this boils down to is that there is in fact a standard. We who are children of God live differently than those who don’t believe and are in the world. The New Testament, especially the letters of Paul, is essentially about our new life in Him. The Bible is the code book, the script, the instructions that we are to live by. No one is immune to this reality. We cannot simply live any old kind of way and still call ourselves children of the Most High.

John 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him

The reason I am writing this is because the below link is to a post on a blog that perfectly illustrates the reason why Christianity in this country is a complete joke. It is also a shining example of the pervasive lukewarmness that is in the American church. It is the reason why the body of Christ has no power and influence in this country. Those who share this mindset are tares and not wheat. This blog shows the kind of mindset that will cause many on that day to hear those words “Depart from Me, I never knew thee.”

Please click on the link below and read.

http://www.dontquotetheraven.com/2013/05/im-christian.html

Ok so now you’ve read it. I know; it’s pretty sad isn’t it? I can see why believers in other countries think Americans are CLUELESS when it comes to being disciples of Jesus Christ because too many folks have the exact same attitude as the blogger. By the way, if you saw the numerous comments in response to the post, you will find that the overwhelming majority are in agreement with the blogger. Thus, a field full of tares. Counterfeit… Scary!!!

weeds

The blogger made the statement that no where in the Bible does it state that someone has to be perfect. But according to Paul in Philippians 3:12, we are supposed to strive for perfection in Christ. The ultimate goal is to be like Him. Right? I want to live a life that is pleasing to him. The kind of mindset exemplified in the shared blog post will never lead to a life that pleases Him. How do I know? Because the Bible says so. If your life hasn’t changed since supposedly accepting the call to follow Jesus then your salvation is in serious question. The concept of grace has been severely perverted by the modern day church in this country.

Romans 6:1-4 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

I’m not trying to sound harsh; I just want to be real with you. Sadly, the author of the blog post I shared is truly lost in their own world of self-indulgence and wanting to live a life that centers around their desires, instead of a call to holiness and dying to self. I’m paraphrasing here but the Bible clearly states numerous times that the old man must die so that the new man can live. People want to stay stuck in their old ways and proclaim Christ as their lord, but it doesn’t work that way. We must become a NEW CREATURE. Wake up church.

Matthew 13:24-30 24 Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; 25 but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. 26 But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. 27 So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’

Matthew 13:36-41 36 Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field.”
37 He answered and said to them: “He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. 38 The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked one. 39 The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels. 40 Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age. 41 The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,

So there it is. Let’s remain wheat and not allow the DECEPTION of the age convert us into tares.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 
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Posted by on September 3, 2013 in Spirituality

 

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