“In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyesî (Judges 21:25). ìLet all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).
You and I both have heard countless summations, questions, and explanations as to the trend toward violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and other deviant behaviors that tend to be so prevalent in our society. Frankly, I have not heard much, if anything, coming out of the secular press that approaches the truth regarding the social ills that exist today. Continue reading “Biblical Order”
“As he is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17c).
Friday of last week and on Monday of this week, I shared something of my testimony concerning my illness and the insight I gained as a consequence concerning our true identity versus an “illness identity.” After reading the message, my wife remarked that the principle I had outlined in the message regarding illness would also apply in any area of bondage. Since then I have received letters in which the writers confirmed that the truth I had shared was applicable to other needs in their lives.
Many of lifeís problems are a consequence of our losing sight of who we are. It is obvious that I am not speaking of our physical or natural identity but rather of who we are in Christ. When we are trapped in any form of bondage, it is because we have developed a concept of who we are that is in conflict with who/what the Word says that we are. This happens because of what we entertain in our though life. Continue reading “Reaffirming Our Identity”
Criticism in its most benevolent form can be demoralizing and at its extreme, totally debilitating. I don’t know of anyone who really likes to be criticized. Whether we are right or wrong in the issue involved is not the point, the point is that to be criticized tends to leave us feeling betrayed, deflated, and misunderstood.
I am perfectly aware there is helpful criticism that should be welcomed but if we are the ones being critical we should remember that even when we are right there is a right way and a wrong way to accomplish our objective. The scripture warns us that we should not let our good be evil spoken of. Many factors should be taken into consideration before we open our mouths.
- Unless the person has made himself accountable to us we have little or no right to offer criticism.
- We should not answer questions that haven’t been asked.
- We should always be aware that there may be considerations which have governed the actions or speech of others of which we may be unaware.
- Many things of which we are critical, if left alone have a way of resolving themselves.
- We could be motivated by envy or jealousy instead of concern for the welfare of the person of whom we are critical.
- We should be aware that to criticize others makes us vulnerable to criticism in return.
- Any form of criticism we offer should leave others feeling good about themselves and their self-esteem intact.
- Will Christ be honored through what we do?
If we are the recipients of criticism, we can feel completely demoralized and defeated on the one hand or we can humble ourselves and see the hand of God even in things which seem to be completely destructive. Some thoughts that might be helpful if we find ourselves the object of criticism:
- We should humble ourselves knowing that even criticism delivered with ill intent can actually be a helpful message from God. Knowing that God works all things together for good, if nothing else, it might be working a much needed humility.
- We should earnestly search to see if there is validity to the criticism and if so make the adjustments that may be required.
- Look beyond the messenger and message to see if this is a message from God. Remember, God can use a donkey to deliver a message.
- Do not surrender the control of your life to another by taking offense. We become the slave of any one who has defeated us (2 Peter 2:19b) and when we take offense at criticism we are defeated by the one who is critical. From that moment on, we will be unable to function with complete freedom without wondering if we are pleasing our detractor.
- Practice the principle of overpowering evil with good (Romans 12:21) by employing the principles detailed by Jesus in Matthew 5:44: a). Bless them that curse you. b). Do good to them that hate you. c). Pray for them who despitefully use you and persecute you.
- Learn to listen with love and grace.
- Forgive instantly if we feel the criticism is unkind or unjust.
I trust that these observations will be helpful in your life.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:11).
We are no more secure than the foundation on which our lives are built. All of us realize the importance of a solid foundation for any kind of structure. Jesus referred to its significance in Luke 6:47,48: “Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like: He is like a man who built an house, and dugged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock; and when a flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it; for it was founded upon a rock.”
Over the years I have ministered to countless numbers of people. I have seen some who have faced impossible opposition and odds in their walk of obedience and who have persevered. I have seen many who floundered and turned back–some physically and others mentally and emotionally while giving the appearance of going on. Continue reading “A Sure Foundation”