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Judge Not!

“Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and He will apply to you the same rules you apply to others”.
Matthew 7:1-2 GNT

As I rounded the corner while on my morning walk in the neighborhood, a car came barreling out of its driveway like a crazy person. Another car had just turned onto the street, saw the car, and stopped, patiently waiting for the speedy car to go on its way. My first thoughts were, “How rude! Man, they need to slow down before someone gets hurt! Some people care about nothing but themselves driving like that in this subdivision!”

The rushing car, with dark tinted windows, sped down the street and was gone. It all happened so fast; I couldn’t tell you who was in the car, how many were in the car, what they looked like, nothing. All I know is that I heaped lots of judgmental and critical thoughts upon them for a few seconds.

The waiting car proceeded on its way, and suddenly I felt the prick of the Holy Spirit in my heart. The driver had chosen to be kind and thoughtful to the rushing individual. No obscene gestures or look of disgust were made as they slowly drove by me. In fact, they had exhibited the loving character of Christ in their actions.

I felt ashamed of my critical feelings. What did I know about the scenario? Absolutely nothing. The person in a hurry may have overslept and was running late for work. Maybe someone was ill and needed medical attention. What if there had just been a heated argument, or worse yet, abuse of some kind, and the driver needed to flee? What if they were just being careless and thoughtless? Either way, it was not my place to judge. It was my place to show the love of Jesus without condemnation. I had failed.

As I continued my pace, all kind of thoughts filled my head. How would I have wanted others to treat me if I had been the hasty driver? What good had it done me to make assumptions and judgments that were unjustified? Why did I have those opinions in the first place?

The rest of my walk consisted of humble confession and quiet contemplation of my actions. I had learned a valuable lesson about not judging. What an amazing God we serve who loves us unconditionally, knows our hearts better than we know it ourselves, and is quick to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He alone is the great Judge and transformer of our hearts and minds. [Digging deeper – Matthew 7:1-5, 12; Romans 2:1-3, 12:21, 14:10-13; 1 Peter 2:23]

Walking free of judgment,

Beverly <><

Photo Credit: free public domain photo

Holes in the Darkness

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.”Daniel 12:3, NIV

Scottish novelist and poet Robert Louis Stevenson spent much of his childhood bedridden due to a chronic lung disease. One evening, he watched a lamplighter light gas lamps on the street outside his bedroom window. When his nurse came into his room and found him with his face pressed up against the glass pane, she asked, “What intrigues you so?”  He replied, “I’m watching a man punch holes in the darkness.”

 

God punched a hole in the darkness at creation when He said, “Let there be light!” (Genesis 1:3).

 

Jesus punched a hole in the darkness when He came to earth and said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12).

 

Christ-followers punch holes in the darkness whenever we let our lights shine. “You are the light of the world … let your light shine” (Matthew 5:14, 16).

 

Years ago, I received a phone call from a distraught friend. Her three-year-old was afraid of the dark. All of their attempts to comfort their daughter had failed. “Please pray,” she said. “Every morning we find her asleep in the hall. I don’t know what to do.” We agreed to pray against her child’s spirit of fear and the next morning my friend called to say her daughter had slept through the night.

 

Later that day, I bought a package of glow-in-the-dark plastic stars and took them to their home. When we led her daughter into the pantry and shut the door, the stars lit up the small room. I told her to ask her daddy to put them on the ceiling above her bed, then she could look at them and know that Jesus watches over her and would keep her safely through the night.

 

Once again, she slept.

 

Days later, I received a note from her mother. “Every night our daughter wants to turn out the nightlight so that she can see the stars. She says, ‘I can still see them, Mommy!’ It’s been a good reminder for us that sometimes we can see God shining brightly in our circumstances and at other times we have to look for him a little harder, but he is always there.”

 

To glow in the dark, phosphorus stars need continuous exposure to light. Likewise, in order for our lights to shine, we must position ourselves regularly in the presence of the Light Giver. Then, when we step into someone’s darkness, we’ll witness God punch holes in it and fill their soul holes with light.

 

Blessings,

Starr

 

Joy to the World, The Lord is Come

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” Psalm 98:4 ESV 

Isaac Watts was born in 1674 in Southampton England. As a child he loved creating rhymes (and was even reprimanded for it in church). He lived at a time when it was believed that only the Psalms should be sung in solemn services. Outside in the streets people merrily sang carols during the Christmas season, but inside the church the songs were serious and traditional. When he was a teenager, Isaac complained that the Psalms were too stagnant. He thought that people should be singing with joy and passion and that the songs should reflect Christian lives, not the Old Testament before Christ returned. Later in life, he was quoted as saying “To see the dull indifference, the negligent and thoughtless air that sits upon the faces fo a whole assembly, while the psalm is upon their lips, might even tempt a charitable observer to suspect the fervency of their inward religion.” His father eventually got so tired of his teenage son’s complaining that he challenged young Isaac to write something better. This began a lifetime of hymn writing.

In 1719 he wrote Psalms of David imitated in the language of the New Testament. These hymns were based on the words of David in the Old Testament but included the gospel of the New Testament. Many traditionalists were, not surprisingly, against his new music, and called his songs “whims and flights of fancy,” but on the other hand, many prominent people supported him, such as Samuel Johnson, Benjamin Franklin, Cotton Mather, and John Wesley.

Isaac Watts is considered The godfather of modern hymn writing and many of his songs are still recognizable to us today, such as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” and “This is the Day that the Lord hath Made.” His most famous Christmas carol is “Joy to the World” based on the joy David sang about in Psalm 98:4 (ESV). “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!” However, his words also reflect the good news that the angels sang to the shepherds the night Jesus was born. “The Lord is come, Let earth receive her king! Let every heart prepare him room and heaven and nature sing.” Even though this song was written in 1719, the message of it is timeless. In fact, it was the most popular hymn of the 20th century (based on how many hymnals it was printed in).

I think the popularity is because the message is so simple yet so profound. The angel in Luke 2:10 (ESV) said “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” The angels rejoiced and the good news of the birth of Christ was for all people of all time and for the whole world, so I agree with Isaac Watts. We should be singing with joy and passion about the miraculous entrance of our savior on the earth. “Joy to the world! The Lord is come!”

Sharing your joy in Christ,

Erin Tabor 

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of https://www.freeimages.com/photo/angel-christmas-ornament-1442351