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Friday, September 21, 2012

Surprising Incite from Coach Saban

The quote below is not really that surprising--he's a great coach! It's just
surprising that this TN fan would be quoting from the coach of the rival
Alabama Crimson Tide. Ha!

For some reason, for the past year I've been receiving "Fortune" magazine in
the office. I have enjoyed some of the articles in my "complimentary copy."
This month it was an article by Brian O'Keefe that caught my eye. O'Keefe
calls the article: "Management Lessons from Alabama Coach Saban."

In this article, O'Keefe writes about the leadership style and life of Coach
Saban--coach of one of the best college football teams in the country (ouch
that hurt).

The article talked about how Coach Saban surrounded himself with a staff
that addressed different areas of his players lives so that they could be
the best possible players and people that they could be. Here's one thing
that Coach Saban said:

It all goes back to helping the players, but individual players being
successful makes the team more successful. Now, everybody always says
there's no "I" in team, but there is an "I" in win, because the individuals
make the team what it is, and how they think and what they do is important
to the team. So when you act like the individual is not important, well, it
is [bleep] important who these people are and what they are.

I thought to myself about how that comment by the football coach is so
biblical.

You think about the church for a second. We know that the church is the
group of believers--Christians. The church is like a team. The better the
team the more successful the results.

Add to that is the fact that the team/church is made up of individuals. Each
individual has different talents (Eph. 4:11ff).

One may be great at conducting Bible studies.

One may have excellent skills in preaching or teaching.

One may be fantastic with benevolence.

One may be a master organizer and self-starter and have the ability to start
and run successful church programs.

The point is, everyone--that includes YOU!--has a place in the church. The
question is, are you living up to your abilities?

If the local church is to be a winner (to borrow from the sports
illustration above) then I must be an active team member.

I hope you have a great day!

For previous devotionals, visit www.NeilRichey.com.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Midnight Madness

Camping is different than it used to be. When I was a boy in Southeastern
Kentucky, my cousins and I would grab army blankets, a sack of potatoes, a
pound
of bacon and an iron skillet and head off into the woods. If a spot looked
good, we cleared off the site and unrolled our blankets. Life was simple
and
the camping was fine.

Today I just got off the phone to see about making a reservation for a camp
site
in a nearby national park. When the day arrives for our excursion, I'll run
down my check list of items to throw into the car. My load will be
considerably
more than when I was a child. But the experience begins with making sure
we'll
have a place to set up camp.

A couple of hundred miles from here another "camp" has been erected. Dozens
of
tents have popped up on the campus of the University of Kentucky. Tomorrow
tickets will be handed out so folks can watch "Midnight Madness", the first
official basketball practice for the Wildcats. These campers are making
sure
they have a spot in line to pick up those tickets. Yes, I'm a fan of UK
basketball, but I'm not that avid. And so I'll not have a seat in the arena
for
the madness.

But there is a spot I'm extremely anxious to secure. It has been on my mind
for
as long as I can remember (more than half a century!), and I plan to keep it
in
that mind as long as I'm alive. The spot I'm referring to is a place the
Bible
calls heaven.

Jesus taught us much of what we know about heaven. "In My Father's house
are
many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a
place for you" (John 14:2). That statement alone is enough to instill
strong
desire in my heart. I've seen beautiful places that people have prepared
(the
Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina comes to mind). How much more splendid
must
be the place Christ is preparing! I really want to go there.

Paul gives another reason to set our hopes on heaven: "For we know that if
our
earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house
not
made with hands, eternal in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1). I cannot deny
that my "tent" (my physical body) is wearing out. But that realization is
made
more tolerable by knowing an eternal home awaits God's people.

Securing a place in heaven takes more than wishful thinking. "But lay up
for
yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and
where
thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your
heart
will be also" (Matthew 6:20,21). Dedication and preparation are two
concepts
seen in those words of our Lord. And it begins by making heaven our
greatest
treasure.

Some who will read this are now living in their dream homes. How did this
become reality? Not by simply dreaming! Instead, it took passing on
trivial
pleasures so money could be laid aside. It required planning with
architects,
builders and interior designers to get every detail just right. There was
much
to be done if that dream home was to become a reality.

So it is with that "spot" we're hoping to enjoy throughout eternity. God
has
given us all the details on how to reserve our place (see 1 Peter 1:3-5).
Our
part of the deal is to study this Book carefully and do what must be done to
make our ultimate dream a reality.

Timothy D. Hall

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

George Merritt Truth for Today

A number of years ago, a fellow by the name of George Merritt wrote a book
called Truth for Today. It's a written copy of five minute radio sermons.
It's in that book that I read about a rather unusual grave marker in a
cemetery in Hamburg, Germany.

This unusual grave marker said, "It must never be opened." The person buried
there, it was reported, had no belief in the bodily resurrection.

This individual had such disdain for the concept of a bodily resurrection
that she said if I happen to be wrong, my body will never be raised. So, she
was careful to make sure that those who buried her put a large concrete
block over her grave and had it fastened down in such a way that it could
never be opened.

Well, over time, a seed that was in the ground near that closed tomb
sprouted and grew. It eventually forced it's way through the tiniest cracks
in that concrete block. As time went by that tree grew and cracked the
concrete splitting it in pieces.

What a reminder that the grave cannot hold that which God says He's going to
raise.

The Bible says that one day our body will be raised and that our spirit will
be ushered into eternity. Whether it's Heaven or Hell is up to us to decide
(1 Cor. 15; 2 Cor. 5:10). Something to think about.

I hope you have a great day!

For previous devotionals, visit www.NeilRichey.com.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

When the storms of life are raging, Stand by me2

As I'm sure that pretty much everyone knows, the Southern part of the nation was hit by Hurricane Isaac last week. I don't know about you, but it seemed like to me that the news media was almost hoping that it would upgrade to hurricane status to justify all there forecasts and preparations. Whatever the category is finally reached really doesn't matter because it still caused a lot of damage in some areas, mainly destruction by flooding.

Who knows when the next one will hit but, the "Good Lord willing," I'm sure that there will be one coming along. I get sort of tickled here in Southern California when it comes to storms. If we get a couple days of light rain our weather people our referring to it as the "mother of all storms." Obviously they've never spent any time in the mid-West or South or they'd know what a real storm is all about.

The general idea of my editorial today is, just like the physical storms have been plaguing the world since the flood of Noah, we've been plagued too by the "storms of life." Granted, lots of times, due to our own actions, we bring on our "storms" but, a lot of them are simply those that are common to all.

I see these common type "life-storms" as being like the ones depicted in the words of the old hymn mentioned at the onset. Our "life-storms" can be like the physical ones in that they are sometimes not so violent and yet, sometimes they rage. And here's a truism - everyone experiences them - both kinds.

When any of the "storms" come into our lives, what I see as being important is what sort of relief, what shelter do we have to help us survive them. As I mentioned earlier, some we can avoid altogether by living a Christian lifestyle, but we know and understand that there are some that are simply unavoidable in life.

I feel sorrow for the unbeliever at these times and I'll explain why. Have you ever been in a major storm such as a hurricane or typhoon? Perhaps even a tornado? Oh, you can witness the aftermath of one. You can see the devastation brought the area by the storm, but have you ever actually been in one?

If you have you'll understand what I'm about to say. If you haven't, words cannot express that experience. The phrase "awesome power" is not an adequate descriptor for that moment. There's a realization that comes to you of just how small and insignificant you really are. I've been there and done that and never did I not think about God at the time. About the awesome power of the storm and the realization that God's power is greater. The He controls those awesome forces of nature.

Every now and then, after a major storm has struck, you'll hear someone ask, "Why did God let this destruction come upon a lot of good people? Yeah, there's a lot of reprobates who lived there, but there's a lot of good people too. So why?"

In order to answer that I'm going to have to sort of back up and do a real quick Biblical history lesson, but I'll start my answer off with the same answer given by Peter in Acts 10:34. "Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons." This is a fundamental truth when it comes to the occurrence of things common to all.

But, let's go back a ways. Actually all the way back to the beginning. You'll find that it wasn't always this way for in the beginning God placed his most blessed creature, man, in the most beautiful and sheltered place the earth has ever known. Remember when I said that we can bring on "storms" by our own actions? Well, that's exactly what happened back then. Man sinned, violated the one rule he was given by God and since has been subject to, not only the "thorns and thistles" of life, but also the "storms." (Gen. 3:18)

Another good scriptural reference to look at about our question is the words of Jesus that we find in Matt. 5:45 where He says that God "makes HIS sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Note the emphasis on to whom the sun and the rain belong.

Yes, we occupy a world populated by both those who do evil and those who do good. A world wherein both believers and unbelievers reside next to each other. It's because of this, and what was said above, that we all have to endure the natural and common occurrences of life.

Since the "rain" falls on the "just and the unjust" the question arises, "What good does it do to be 'just' if you're going to get as wet as everyone else?" Well, here's how I see it. It's in how we endure these common "storms" that makes the difference. What differentiates the "believers" from the "unbelievers." And this is what brings me back to why I said that I feel sorry for the unbeliever.

The "believer" has the knowledge in his "heart", through faith in God's Word and promises, that provides him a lot of peace when passing through a particular storm. Like the words of another hymn says: "There is peace in the midst of the storm." And it's because the "believer" knows that there is a "shelter" from all storms that's prepared for them in eternity. So, whatever "storms" come our way during our stay here on earth, this is the only place where storms will be found. There will be no "storms" in heaven. (Rev. 21:4)

Plus, while here enduring our "storms" we have the avenue of prayer to give us peace and strength to weather it. To get us through it. I'll close with a little story told by my good friend, Bro. Russ Lawson.

It seems that, as a storm raged, the captain of a ship realized that it was sinking fast. He called out to his crew, "Anyone here know how to pray?" One man stepped forward, "Aye, Captain, I know how to pray." "Good," said the captain, "you pray while the rest of us put on our life jackets - we're one short."

Christians have a life jacket. Our life jacket has a name - Jesus Christ. The "unbeliever" does not possess this life jacket and when the "storm of life is raging" and the proverbial "ship is going down" his prayers will do him no good. That's why I have sorrow for the "unbeliever." Read Luke 6:46 with me in closing.

                    "And why call ye me Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say."

Ron Covey

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mark McGwire beat out Sammy Sosa

I was watching a documentary of the 1998 MLB season. That was the year when
Mark McGwire beat out Sammy Sosa in the number of home runs in a single
season. You may recall that McGwire hit 70 homers that year.

Most baseball fans remember his successes at bat, but what you may not
recall about McGwire's record that year was that he struck out 155 times.

I suppose one of the lessons for us in that is that sometimes you have to
fail in order to succeed. It's okay to fail. Now, I know that sounds counter
cultural. We don't like to think about our failures.

If you think about it though, the more failures that you have means the more
opportunities you're creating for yourself to succeed.

Here's what the apostle Paul said, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye
stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as
ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (1 Cor. 15:58).

While sometimes it seems like your striking out, just keep swinging. One of
these days, you're sure to hit a home run!

I hope you have a great day!

For previous devotionals, visit www.NeilRichey.com.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

9/11 - a day that changed some...

There are very few dates in our American History that are as well known as
9/11. How many dates come to your minds that have special meanings? July 4,
our Independence Day; then there is December 7th, Pearly Harbor Day. Sure
there are other special days; Christmas; Easter; Birthdays; Anniversaries
and such. But no one day has so touched our now living generations as
September Eleventh.

That day on which we were brutally attacked and thousands killed left an
indelible mark on our nation and on the hearts of those who were alive to
witness this exhibition of savagery.

At that time our nation was drawn together! People, who did not make it a
practice to worship God, flocked to our churches. Strangers came together
for comfort; people asked "How could anyone do such a thing?" People cried,
people prayed, people gave of themselves and their money; people searched
their souls, maybe some for the first time and considered their relationship
to God and eternal life.

What has changed over the passing of a few years? What has happened to the
overwhelming need to reconnect to God? Why are our churches not still
overflowing with people searching for something outside of themselves?

You know the answer as well as I, because you experience it and fight
against it just as I do. Satan, the one who twists men and women's hearts
has told folks, "Don't worry about it, it will never happen to you." And
they believe him! Now he doesn't tell them in those words, but he has drawn
off their attentions from God, from their souls, from what might happen in
eternity.

If you think about it, not much has changed in 2000 years. Our Lord and
Savior was subjected to savagery and brutality and murdered. The response
was fairly quick, within months there were literally thousands of people who
responded to the message of what has happened. They learned how much their
God could love them through the death of Jesus of Nazareth. The churches
grew, they dealt with more savage attacks and stood firm because they were
the generation which had experience it. But Satan used the same methods then
that he does now and many forgot, many quit attending, nothing has changed.

However there are always a faithful few, the hope of the world, the apple of
God's eye, the ones with hope and faith in their hearts that reject Satan's
lies. Which group are you in?

Do you remember what Jesus said in Revelation 2:5, "Remember therefore from
whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works ... " Jesus
warned he would spit folks (who were not keeping their promise to him), out
of his mouth."! Rev 3:16

Russ Lawson

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Speaking Your Spouse's Language


 
            Husbands and wives have been miscommunicating since the days Abraham and Sarah had a spat about Hagar in Genesis 16:1-6. H. Norman Wright, in his book Holding on to Romance, writes a chapter on how to speak your spouse's language.
 
            He writes that we all perceive the world through one of our senses - seeing, hearing and feeling. Usually one is dominant.
 
THE VISUAL PERSON
            A visual person, obviously, experiences the world through the eyes - memory is pictures. The visual person likes to look - movies, TV, sporting events, people, art exhibits, museums, scenery. A visual person tends to talk about how things look rather than how he/she feels. When a visual person gets upset, he or she tends to withdraw and sulk.
 
            Observe how Jesus appealed to visual learners - His use of the sparrows and the lilies of the field in Matthew 6. Look at Matthew 8:4; 13:13-17 and see how often Jesus calls on His audience to "See!"
 
AUDITORY PERSON
            The auditory person is interested in hearing about life. This individual relates more to sounds than to sights. When an auditory person reads, he hears words rather than seeing pictures. So - don't expect an auditory person to pay much attention to a new piece of clothing, hairdo or a new flower you've planted in the yard. He/she is not going to notice it. The auditory person prefers talking about something rather than looking at it.
 
            Listen to Jesus call on auditory people to respond to Him: "He who has ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15; James 2:5).
 
THE FEELINGS PERSON
            Feelings people tend to touch a lot. They crave closeness, love and affection. They tend to be intuitive-type people - "right brain". Feelings-oriented people are easy to read - happiness, sadness, anger, love, delight are easily seen on their faces. They are concerned about how others feel about them.
 
            Their vocabulary tends to revolve around "feeling-oriented" words - like vibes, sense, and close - sensitive, "I like being near you." The feeling oriented person will say - instead of "It sounds good to me" - "It feels good to me" or "I'm comfortable with that." You communicate with a feelings oriented person through her emotions.
 
            Again, the Bible uses language that appeals to feelings-oriented people: "For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come" (Hebrews 6:4-5). See also Matthew 16:28 and Psalm 34:8; 119:103.
 
            To communicate more effectively with our spouse, we need to learn their dominant love language and try to communicate with them in those terms.
--Paul Holland
 

What is Baptism for the Dead?

Not too long ago, I was asked this question: "Can you explain to me what
Paul meant when he said, 'Else what shall they do which are baptized for the
dead, if they dead rise not at all? What are they then baptized for the
dead?' (1 Cor. 15:29)." I love it when people ask questions like this
because it means they're studying the Bible. That's the point of our daily
devotionals--to give us little seed thoughts, or encouragement to study our
Bible more.

This text must be taken in context. I once heard the late Johnny Ramsey say,
"if you take a text out of context, it becomes a pretext for anything you
want to believe." Many good folks use this verse to prove that the living
can be baptized on behalf of the dead. This is a common belief and practice
of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints--Mormons. One Mormon
writes, "The living may be baptized for the dead. One who has received the
ordinances of the Gospel can stand proxy for departed ancestors who will
receive the benefit of the earthly ordinances or obedience to the Gospel in
spirit."
Is this what is to be understood from Paul's address to the Corinthian
brethren, or is there another meaning? Let's look a little closer at the
context.

Paul begins this chapter by declaring unto them that what he was speaking
was in fact the Gospel of Christ. He reminded them that they had received it
and obeyed it. Paul then states that the Gospel is the death, burial, and
resurrection of Jesus Christ (15:1-4). Next, Paul proved the resurrection of
the Lord and said, "…he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:…of about
five hundred brethren at once…of James; then of all the apostles. And last
of all he was seen of me also…" (15:5-8). In verse twelve, Paul asks a
question regarding the resurrection. "Now if Christ be preached that he rose
from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the
dead" (15:12)? It is clear that false teachers were denying the bodily
resurrection and thereby denying life after death. Furthermore, this false
teaching had infiltrated itself into some of the Corinthian brethren.

Paul is now ready to describe the consequences of denying the resurrection
(15:13-18). First, if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ was
not raised. Second, if Christ was not raised then the apostles preaching was
vain and so was the faith of the Corinthians. Third, if Christ was not
raised then the apostles were liars. Fourth, if Christ was not raised then
the Corinthians were still in their sins, and the dead in Christ are
perished.

Paul reminds the Corinthian brethren that to have hope in Christ only while
they live is misery. The joy is knowing that there is life with Christ after
death. Paul continues to appeal to the Corinthians sense of logic in the
next few verses. He says that a man dies, just like Adam. Likewise, man will
be resurrected just like Christ (15:21-22).

Paul's summarizing arguments for the resurrection of man can be seen in 1
Corinthians 15:25-33. Paul says that the very practice of the false teachers
is in direct opposition to their claim that there is no resurrection of the
dead. They baptized the living for the dead. Why baptize the living for the
dead to secure their state in the afterlife if there is no resurrection,
thus no afterlife?

Paul reminded the Corinthian brethren that there is life beyond the grave,
if not "…why stand we in jeopardy every hour" (15:30)? Paul said, "…I have
fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise
not…" (15:32)?

Paul concludes this particular discourse with words for us all to remember
when he says, "Be not deceived: evil communications [companions] corrupt
good manners [morals]" (15:33). In other words, he wanted the Corinthians to
be cautious that they not be entangled with the false doctrine that says
there is no resurrection and no life after death.

So, with all that said, the answer to the question about verse 29 becomes
quite simple. One is not baptized for the dead, but the living should be
baptized in preparation for death. For, when we leave this earth there will
be a bodily resurrection, and life after death. One thing I must do in order
to "live again" is be baptized (cf. Acts 2:38).

I hope you have a blessed day!

For previous devotionals, visit www.NeilRichey.com.







The Piedmont Road
church of Christ
* Home of the Georgia School of Preaching and Biblical Studies

1630 Piedmont Road NE
Marietta, GA 30066
770.971.9933
www.LifeInChrist.com

Sunday
9:30 a.m. Bible Study and 10:30 a.m. Worship
5:00 p.m. Children's Bible Time, followed by our evening Worship

Wednesday
7:15 p.m. Bible Study

We hope you'll join us this Lord's Day!

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Monday, September 3, 2012

Successful Marriage Secrets

#1 Connect with One Another.

Marriage, by design, is to do things together. "God made husbands and wives
interdependent, not independent." Take time for your marriage, and take time
for togetherness. Do projects together. Travel together. Be intimate with
one another. Share meals together. Enjoy entertainment and recreation
together. Share in eternal things together.

#2 Communicate with One Another.

Men are the primary culprit—less than ½ of 1% of men will say, "My wife will
not talk to me." Talk about the insignificant. Talk about the spiritual.
Talk about hopes, goals, and dreams. Don't forget that you also need to
communicate to God together. Some of that time let God talk to you through
the Scripture, while saving time to talk to God through prayer.

#3 Correct the Little Problems.

Every small problem has the potential for great problems. The Bible says,
"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines
have tender grapes," and "let not the sun go down upon your wrath." Deal
with every problem. "Don't play with problems; don't minimize them; don't
suppose that the passing of time will automatically take care of any
problem."

#4 Confess Your Mistakes and Vow to Do Better.

When's the last time you sought the forgiveness of a spouse, or your
children? The Bible says, "Confess your faults one to another (Jas. 5:16).
Don't hide behind pride. Be an adult and admit when you're wrong. Don't say,
"I love you" if you're not willing to show it with your life.

#5 Competent Help May be Needed from Time-to-Time.

None of us are perfect, and it could be that we need to ask for help, yes
even with our marriage. It can be embarrassing to ask for assistance. Where
do you turn? The key is to look for competent help. Well, who is that? Well
meaning friends? Physicians? Psychologists? Psychiatrists? Preachers?
Counselors? Parents?/In-laws? There's nothing wrong with asking for help on
occasion.

Marriage is tough. Making marriages happy, and keeping them that way is hard
work. With God's help, you can have a wonderful marriage!

I hope you have a marvelous Monday.

*Gleaned from several sources.

For previous devotionals, visit www.NeilRichey.com.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Judge not, that ye be not judged Matthew 7:1

I heard the other day that several years ago the most quoted Bible passage on college campuses was John 3:16. Remember when you couldn't watch a sporting event on TV without seeing someone holding up a sign reading "JOHN 3:16?" Well, we know it's true that time changes and in so doing, things change. Now it's reported that the most cited Bible passage on college campuses is the one shown above from Matt. 7:1 "Judge not, that ye be not judged."

I quoted you the passage in Matthew, however Luke also records Christ's sermon on the mount and later on we'll look at some of the passages recorded there. The point of my thoughts here today is why I think this passage has become #1 to collegians. They are basically using it to say that no one can make a judgment in regards to another person. That we can't judge another and they can't judge us. Therefore, everybody is OK and no one is wrong. That's my take on it anyway.

If what I heard about the new #1 passage on college campuses is true, then I see this as another example of someone using a passage from the Bible without truly understanding it. By their misunderstanding and misuse of this scripture, they are applying to it a meaning it was not intended to mean.

As you've no doubt heard before, to properly study and to understand something said in the Bible, we must look at several things. (1) who's talking, (2) who are they talking to,(3) the situation surrounding the statement and (4) the general context of the conversation. So, let's look at those things in relation to Christ's statement about "judging."

Of course, Christ is the speaker of it and He said it during His sermon on the mount which contains many great lessons that, basically, are pointing out how Christians should relate to the world and those around them. If you read this sermon in its entirety, beginning with chapter 5 of Matthew and the "beatitudes (blessings)" and through chapter 7 you'll discover that Jesus, by use of many short lessons, is pointing out the difference in how Christians should conduct themselves as opposed to how the Pharisees act. One of the things to note about the Pharisees is that Jesus made them the epitome of the word "hypocrite."

OK, we've set the scene. Jesus is talking and His disciples and followers are the audience. And the general context of His talk is that Christians are to be morally, spiritually and in general conversation, on a higher plane than the world about them. Especially more "righteous" than those who "profess" to be religious, the Pharisees, but really are only putting on a show.

So, when He says "Judge not, that ye be not judged." what is He getting at? Is He talking about a magistrate-type of judging? No, He's not. Is He talking about an act of judgment by the elders of a congregation? No, He isn't. Is He perhaps talking about forming an opinion of something? Again, the answer is - no.

The Bible is replete with passages regarding the authority of the civil courts and civil rulers and all citizens being subject to them. The 13th chapter of Romans is a prime example of this. And, of course, the Church is admonished to judge the difference between righteous and unrighteous behavior within a congregation and to take the appropriate steps to remove the wrong.

And don't we, as individuals, have to judge right from wrong in order to avoid corrupting ourselves? Of course we do. An easy example of this is found in Matt. 7 verses 15-16 (same sermon still) that we're to "beware of false prophets" who may not appear to be such at first glance. But that we'd be able to tell them "by their fruits." IE: We have to judge their actions rather than their words and when we determine them to be "false" - avoid them. Isn't this judging?

Well then, we've discussed what our reference verse DOESN'T mean, so let's look at what it DOES mean. And when we look at it in light of the aforementioned 4 rules of study we find that it's not really a complicated lesson. It's actually pretty simple.

Christ is telling His children, Christians, that they are not to be like the Pharisees, or any other hypocrites who go around finding faults in others and condemning them for it all the while considering themselves to be perfect. In other words, don't go around with a "holier-than-thou" attitude.

Jesus is telling His listeners there on the mount that they will be judged "as they judge." Said another way: you will be judged by the same rules which you use to judge other people. A good side passage to look at here is some more words of Jesus recorded in Mark 4:24 where He warns His followers to "take heed" (IE: be careful) and then tells them why: "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you."

Another good scripture refuting the misconception that we can't make any judgment towards another person is found in James 2:13 where we're told "For he shall have judgment without mercy that hath showed no mercy." It's not that we are NOT to judge, but rather, use the same rules for judgment to both everyone else AND ourselves.

Our original passage from Matt. 7:1 goes along with two great Bible principles. One we find given in Gal. 6:7 where it says: "Whatsover a man soweth, that shall he also reap."

The second is seen in Matt. 7:12, shortly after the "judge not" statement, and Christ is still the speaker and says: "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." I think it interesting to look a the first 5 verses of Matt. 7 and when we do I think we find the principle of verse 1 seen by the examples He cites there.

IE: Don't try to remove a speck of dust from someone else's eye while you've got a 2x4 in your own. The thought there: that Christians shouldn't be so quick to find faults in others while overlooking their own shortcomings. Or, before you condemn some one else, better make sure that your own life is in order. Perhaps this fits with the old saying about people living in glass houses and throwing stones.

My concluding thought on this subject today: "Judging" is just one of the many lessons Jesus teaches His disciples about how they are to be different from the world. How they are to treat each other as we go through life. That is how the world can tell if a Christian is truly one, or whether they are just another "false prophet" whose actions don't match their words. The point is, when we have to make a judgment, we are to do so considering our own soul and then judge righteously.

Ron Covey

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