Monday, November 11, 2019

About Those Hypocrites That Keep You from Church

“Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.  And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?  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? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” – Matthew 7:1-5

The Preacher when to see Farmer Brown one day, and said to him, “I want to buy a pig.”  So the farmer took him to the pigs and they began to look them over.  Farmer Brown pointed out the big fat pigs, and named their prices. 

But the Preacher said, “How much for that skinny runt there in the back?” and pointed to a pig so thin you could see the bones of his ribs!  Farmer Brown looked at the preacher and said, “Preacher, you don’t want that one! Look at him! You wouldn’t be able to get a good slab of bacon off him!  I need to work on him and fatten him up!  I’ve got much better pigs.” 

The Preacher said, “No, that’s the one I want.  How much?”  Farmer Brown looked shocked, and said “Preacher, what on earth do you want that one for?”  And he said, “I’m going to load him into the back of my pick-up and ride him through town and tell everybody that’s the kind of pigs you have! 

Farmer Brown said, “Well why would you want to do something like that?  You know that’s not true! That’s just one bad pig!”  And the Pastor said, “Isn’t that what you did?  I’ve got a few hypocrites in church that are working on getting right with God, but they’re not there yet.  And yet you stop going to church and tell everyone in town about the hypocrites!”

I must thank my pastor for that story.  He shared it just yesterday.  I’ve been on all sides of the hypocrite issue.  I’ve been one, I’ve hated the others, I’ve changed churches to avoid them, and I’ve stayed out of church because of them.  In 56 years of serving God, I’ve danced this dance to all the tunes!  So, when I tell you what I’m about to say, understand that what I’m saying comes from the wisdom God gave me in the struggles.

First, read that passage at the top of this blog.  None of us are without sin.  None of us can judge another.  And with the knowledge that our judgement will come back to us on Judgement Day, who would want to judge! 

Secondly, most pig farmers do have a few runts, and most churches have a few hypocrites.  Church isn’t for the perfected, it’s for the ones who desire to be closer to God.  Would you go to a doctors office and say “ewe! I can’t be here with all these sick people!” or would you stay and get a cure for your own disease?  Think about it.

When we make worship about the people instead of about God, satan wins, and the body of Christ is once again, split.  Don’t be that lame limb that is laying out of church on Sunday.  The Body of Christ needs you to be active, growing, thriving.  We all help each other become stronger.  Instead of looking at the hypocrite (those that are struggling to live up to who they should be) in disdain, consider how you might help God to change them.  Sometimes it’s just your life played out before them as a servant. 

And to any and all that I’ve let down through my sins, I apologize, and ask you not to look to me for holiness, but to God.  I’m a work still under construction, clay that must be molded and modeled by my Father.  But I don’t give up on Him and He certainly will not give up on me.   Don’t you give up on me either.  Much Love!

Saturday, November 2, 2019

Serve Faithfully – Live Blamelessly

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life." - Genesis 17:1 (NLT)

Sometimes reading a different translation of the Bible can open your eyes to a new meaning of a passage.  I always accompany that difference with a quick study of the words used in Strong’s Concordance, which gives the meaning of the words in the verse, translated from the original Greek or Hebrew.  I would not recommend anyone to blindly read a translation of the Bible without backing it up with Strong’s.  I do know that many newer translations are created by groups of people who want to promote their denomination or way of thinking.  To follow God, we need to omit man’s thoughts and opinions.

The same verse reads as follows from the King James Version:
“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said to him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect."

The rules given are simple, are they not?

I reviewed Strong’s to find the meaning of “walk before me”.  It is to walk with, using the same Hebrew word (H1980 halak) as used when God’s word says that Enoch and Noah walked with God.  It is to walk in favor, to not turn from side to side, but to stay with.  I remember trying to walk with my kids when they were little and holding their hands.  If they wanted to go somewhere that I wasn’t going, there was a tiny struggle.  I had to pull them back into where I wanted us to go.  Walking with God is a journey without a struggle.

Next I reviewed the word used for Blameless and Perfect.  Can man truly be perfect?  Can we give up the struggle of sin? 

The word used is tamiym, a Hebrew word (H8549) which means without blemish, perfect, upright, without spot, uprightly, whole, sincerely, complete, full.

The Bible calls Noah perfect in Genesis 6:9, and Job in Job 12:4, so it can be done!  Man CAN walk in a way that God sees as perfect.

Serving God faithfully and living blamelessly come down not to our abilities, but a decision we must make.  God does not require anything impossible for us.  Though both are indeed so rare that we would assume they are impossible, they are not!
God’s reward to those that will walk with him and choose to be blameless are endless!

Psalms 84:11 uses the same Hebrew word tamiym when it says:

For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
The lord will give grace and glory;
No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.

It all does come down to a decision.  We either decide to be faithful and blameless, or in the absence of a decision, we are not.