Tag Archives: judge

Falling Christians

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Have you ever been around a child who is absolutely sure they know everything? They correct everyone around them, even adults. They look at others with a huff of disgust as they realize the other person doesn’t know something they think is so simple. They are constantly spouting facts to make themselves look intelligent.

When you think of these kinds of people what words come to mind? Arrogant, conceited, proud, condescending, spoiled, self-centered?

Usually these people can’t even see what they are doing and how they are behaving because their need to be right supersedes their ability to consider others. Well meaning young people with no sense of humility.

I’m reminded of what Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, once said:

Proverbs 16:18
Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall.

As we examine our own lives we often find that we easily fall into this same attitude as adults. We are called to seek God, and the more we study and spend time with Him the more we realize just how little we know. The more we understand our sin, the more we realize just how benevolent and generous the grace and forgiveness of God really is.

Yet there is still an attitude among some church people today that is full of the kind of arrogance that scripture warns about time and time again. It is the arrogance of thinking we have it all figured out, and we know how to do this just right.

It is important for us to have standards and beliefs upon which we stand, but we also have to have an attitude of humility that is able to see that some don’t understand things the same way we do and that’s OK.

As you study scripture you see that some things are essentials, but many things that church people argue about are not. Salvation is essential, but Sunday morning dress code isn’t. Following Christ is essential, but having the right name on the door to the church is not. Worshipping God is essential, but the bible lists a variety of ways in which we do that with all of our being. Unity of the church is essential, but uniformity is not.

If we sit in judgment over another brother or sister then we have dethroned God and put ourselves in His place. He is the judge. We are called to love. We are called to serve. We are called to be selfless.

Some people think they have the right doctrine, but they can’t see the inconsistencies to which they themselves hold. They are busy pointing out the minute things others are doing wrong while ignoring the fact that Jesus got more angry about the arrogant religious people than the humble sinners. In their self-perceived spiritual maturity they don’t realize that they are being more immature than those they’re judging.

Some people think that just because a church has the “correct” name on the building then they are the true church. That too is arrogance. Again, we judge the hearts and motives of others whom we do not know just because they attend a church with a name different than ours.

Paul says this in Romans 12:3:
“Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.”

We must remember that Christ came and brought division, but only in families where some wanted to follow him and others didn’t. He came to bring unity to the church, and that is what he prayed for fervently in john 17. We cannot set ourselves as judge over another’s intentions, heart or even salvation and still maintain the unity of the body. Our job is to teach the truth. We can’t force people to listen, but we can love them no matter what.

The next time you see someone in church acting a way you think is in error check your attitude. Are you loving or condemning? Then pray for yourself and that other person that unity can prevail in spite of differences. Finally, go spend time serving and loving that person.

The church should be defined by its love and humility – not by its arrogance and judgmental attitudes. May you grow in your ability to love God, love Others, and be like Jesus.

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Sibling Rivalries and Outside Impressions

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“I don’t love you anymore!”

Whenever I think of these words I hear my daughter’s voice, and it makes me sad. My kids often play very well together. They are 4 and 6 years old, and when my son frustrates my daughter she spouts things like “I don’t love you anymore” and “I don’t forgive you”.

We are working diligently with her on this. She’s saying these things out of an immediate hurt, but she doesn’t really feel that way about him. We can see that in her eyes, but at the moment she doesn’t love or forgive him. Even though these feelings are difficult to process, and she doesn’t mean it permanently, it still hurts my son, and it hurts me too. I don’t want to see them fighting.

“I don’t forgive you.”

We don’t say things like my daughter says now that we are “grown-ups” (at least most of us don’t), but do we often think those very things?

Is there someone you are harboring a grudge against? Are you keeping a record of their wrongs? Do you hold it against them? Do you shun them because of your feelings toward them? Often times we act like my preschool daughter.

“The disciple whom Jesus loved” is how John describes himself in the fourth book of the New Testament. He went on to write three other books ingeniously titled 1, 2, and 3 John. In 1 John he talks about who we are called to be in Christ. He is remembering the words of Jesus from the night he was handed over to trial.

In John 13:35 Jesus tells his disciples that they will be identified in the world around them by their love for one another. This is a selfless love as described in 1 Corinthians 13. It is a defining love – the central characteristic that should describe Christ-followers.

In 1 John 3, he describes how this looks in a bit more detail. He explains that people who don’t do right aren’t children of God, and we get that. I think our world readily accepts the idea that doing right helps your journey to be connected to the Father. But then he adds a caveat that is unexpected. He said that you can’t be a child of God if you don’t love your brother or sister.

Please understand this: he didn’t say you have to say “I love you” to your fellow mankind. He said you have to actually love them. It’s an action, not an emotion. It’s a choice, not a feeling.

He then goes on to explain that if you don’t love your brothers and sisters whom you have seen you cannot love God whom you have not seen. He didn’t say you won’t; he said you can’t. It’s impossible for you.

Loving others isn’t always easy, but it is what we are called to do. If you don’t understand what love looks like then Paul gives a great definition in 1 Corinthians 13:
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud, it is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrong. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”

Now, take your name and place it in wherever you read the word “love”. Can you be described in this way? Would the world look at you and know you are a Christian because of your love?

If you can’t be described in this manner, then today is a day to seek God in prayer and ask His spirit to develop this quality of love in you. The truth is that we can never spread the message of God’s love through Jesus if we aren’t willing to sacrificially love others ourselves.

What say you? Do you find that the vast majority of the Christians professing Christ are truly loving this way, or are they more judgmental and condemning than the Savior they profess to follow? This is a dialogue that truly needs to be shared.

Feel free to let me know what you think! You can email me at jddobbs@verizon.net or comment on this article at http://www.mrdobbs.org. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

May God show you the areas in your life where you haven’t allowed His love to take over. May you. Be shown love by Christians that you know. And may you fall in love with Jesus who loves you perfectly. God bless you.


Olympians and Eating Grass

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Ever since I was a small boy I remember my family sitting in the living room glued to the tv as we watch the Olympics. We have always rooted for the USA, but we have also rooted for the other countries as we saw exceptional talent and ability to do wonders with the human body. Truly it is the spirit of unity around the world that makes the Olympic games so great.

For the last couple of games, our family has not had television that we paid for, nor did we have an antenna hooked up, so we got no channels. We had to follow the games on our computers, but this year is different.

This year our two youngest kids are in gymnastics, and we wanted them to be able to see what gymnasts do at Olympic levels. We finally broke down and got an antenna so that we could celebrate this year’s games as a family.

It has been great watching each of the teams in their various sports. Our kids are loving it. I think I am loving it more. But it is the spirit of the games that catches me. It is the spirit that says we are all human, and we can all come together for a common purpose. The Olympics are for every human on the planet.

This same spirit is evident in the Bible as well, though many people overlook it.

For many generations the Christian churches were places where prejudice and judgmental attitudes were fostered. They were exclusive places where you could come in if you were just right. Not all churches were like this, mind you. However, the ones that were accepting and loving to all people’s and races were ostracized by the other churches with great contempt.

This is the opposite of what we have been called to be.

Did you know that the king of Babylon wrote a chapter in the Bible? Nebuchadnezzar was king when Israel was taken into captivity. Now, many people believe that the Old a testament was written for the Jews. Here we have a pagan king writing a chapter in our Holy Book.

He had seen the miracle of the Fiery Furnace in Daniel 3, and then he had recognized Jehovah as the great God, but in Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar forgets what he has seen.

From his own perspective we read of his dream and how Daniel interpreted the dream for him. Shortly after this he was standing on the roof of his palace and gloating over all he had done, giving no credit to Jehovah. So God drove him out of his kingdom and turned him mad where he ate grass and grew wild like an animal. Finally he came back to his senses and prayed to Jehovah, and he was restored to his kingdom with even greater blessings.

This is an odd story, but the fact that the story is recorded in a Judeo-Christian Bible by a Babylonian king is even more odd.

I believe God is trying to send a message to us who grow so arrogant so quickly as to our election. He is trying to show us that the words of the Bible, and the hope in Christ, the Messiah, are for all mankind. We have no right to ostracize someone because of race or color. We shouldn’t be shunning someone because of their nationality. Jesus came to save me, and you, and the king of Iran too.

We are called to identify sin, and too many of us are all too happy to do that, but in identifying sin we are also called to reach out in love and help others out as brothers and sisters. God has called you to reach out to your neighbors and the world to tell them about the saving grace found in Jesus, for only He can take away your unrighteousness and make you whole.

So, I’m rooting for all the Olympians. And I’m rooting for all people to come to a knowledge of the saving grace of Jesus. His death and resurrection brings true life in a world that wants to live forever.

If you’d like to know more about the saving grace of Jesus, where you can have all the wrong you’ve ever done paid for, then please feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. I would love to point you to Him. And He would love for you to come home. God bless every one of you.


A Boy’s Favorite Bible Story

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One of my favorite stories in the bible is the story of Ehud the “judge” of Israel. You can find the story in Judges 3.

Israel had turned away from God, so He allowed them to be taken captive by Elgon, king of Moab. The Israelites didn’t like that very much, and they cried out to Jehovah to deliver them from this new oppression. By the way, the book of Judges is all about people getting comfortable and turning away from God. Then God allows them to be oppressed, so they cry out to Him. Then He delivers them, and the cycle starts over again.

God did send a deliverer, Ehud. Ehud was a left-handed man from the tribe of Benjamin, a tribe that was known for its warriors in the bible. Ehud had made a double edged dagger about 18 inches long that he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.

The Israelites decided to send Ehud to the king with a tribute from the nation. Upon arriving at their destination, they paid tribute to the king, and Ehud sent the men away who carried the tribute for him. Ehud began to walk out and had just gotten past the statues of the Moabite gods when he turned back and said he had a secret message for the king.

The king sent out everyone from the room and Ehud approached the king to deliver his message from God. As Elgon stood to receive the message, Ehud reached in and grabbed his sword.

Now it is necessary to describe Elgon a bit. He was fat. The bible describes him as overly obese. This fact will play into this story in a minute.

Eduh grabbed the dagger and plunged it into the king’s belly. The blade came out his back, and because he was so fat the sword was lost in the king’s belly and Ehud couldn’t remove it.

Ehud then slipped out quietly and locked the door. The guards didn’t go in because they assumed the king was going to the bathroom. When they waited an embarrassingly long time to check on the king they decided to go in and found him dead. Ehud had gotten away scot free.

This event motivated the Israelites to rise up and take back their freedom, and with God’s help they did just that.

I know. This seems like a really strange story to be someone’s favorite, but I read this as a boy and was fascinated that the bible would put so much detail and have so much humor in this story. I was shocked that the bible would talk about the king being fat. I was grossed out by the description of the stabbing. I chuckled at the guards thinking the king was on the other “throne”. Remember, I was just a boy when I read this.

I’m telling you the story now because I want you to see the color that is in the scriptures. So many people treat the bible like its some bland book of rules and regulations, but it is so much more! It is full of stories with excitement and humor. There is much sarcasm and laughter. There is weeping and comfort. Every emotion can be found there in the scriptures.

I read “The Hunger Games” in about a week – all three books. I was enthralled by the story. When was the last time you felt that way about the scriptures? How long has it been since you responded to a story from the bible with that sense of awe and wonder that a child has when hearing the story of Jonah for the first time?

Last week I wrote about the need for all of us to have a secure foundation of the scriptures in our lives. I hope that this week you can see just how vibrant and alive and entertaining and intense that collection of books truly is.

May you fall in love with scriptures once again – or maybe for the first time. Pick them up and read. Put yourself in the stories and watch them come alive. Listen to the messages God is trying to tell you therein. Once you meet God there, you will have a grander vision for meeting God in other places in your life.

These are not mere stories; they are history. They are true, and archaeology proves that a little more and more each year. But even though this is a historical book, it is not dull, and you can find yourself in so many stories as the characters are just like you and me.

Let’s get back to the bible. Let’s be excited once again about the Word of God.

If you’d like to talk more about this feel free to email me at jddobbs@verizon.net or comment on this article on my blog at http://www.mrdobbs.org. You can also call me at the office at 979-245-1611 extension 103. God bless you as His Word fills your heart!


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