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It is TIME For Us To Look At Us!

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For it is time for judgment to begin with God's household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

I am well aware that there are times when I’m speaking where it seems like I am mad at the church. I rant and rave about where I think we should be in regards to our great calling and where we actually are. I firmly believe that the church of Jesus Christ, in America, is compromised. I think, in many parts of the church, that we have sold our souls to the culture. I am quite certain that the culture we were sent to capture has in many ways captured us instead.

I think we are failing God, not only in the “Great Commission;” but even in walking out a faithful walk day by day. While it might very well appear that I am mad about all of this, I would describe my emotions in different terms. I would say that I am more hurt and disappointed rather than angry.

I am saddened by how easy it is for Christians to disregard God’s word simply because some parts of it are not comfortable and not popular to culture. We are so fearful of not being liked, popular, or politically correct that we have compromised the very thing we were called to hold dearest. Need I remind us all that Jesus warned of this day. He warned, many times in scripture, that we would not be liked if we held to the truths of His Word.

I believe we are facing the moments He warned of even now. So, if it seems like I am being a little hard on the church; I need for you to know that it is by design. So often people nowadays are terrified to make judgments or hold others accountable. While I am well aware that Jesus in Matthew 7 said for us not to judge, I don’t think He was talking about us making assessments of the church and her devotion to Jesus.

The judgment He speaks of in Matthew 7 was one where He called us not to be judge and jury about who would and wouldn’t make it to heaven. He was NOT talking about the church holding the church accountable. In fact, Peter reminds us in 1 Peter chapter 4 that judgment concerning our devotion must start FIRST in the household of God (the church). He actually wants us to assess ourselves in honest ways. We are called to hold one another accountable.

It is NOW time for some honest judgment in the house of God. If we see some of our brothers and sisters in error where it pertains to His Word, we need to call it like it is. Our reputation depends on it. His gospel is at stake and it is past time that we honored His word like it deserves to be honored!

Posted by Mike Devine with
in Faith, Hope

Has No Limits

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I am amazed as I read through Scripture and contemplate what attracted men and women to Jesus. What was He like? Was He funny? Did He smile a lot? Of course He was full joy, gentleness, kindness and the other fruit of the Spirit! Was it these qualities that drew in massive crowds? Was it the possibility of seeing a miracle performed?

In Luke 5, Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee while teaching when He steps into Peter’s boat. When He finishes His teaching, He looks at Peter and says, “Go out to deeper water and cast down your nets.”
Poor Peter, he had been fishing all night, when a Stranger steps in his boat, then takes His time teaching the crowd, then has the nerve to tell Peter to go fish again. Would you have done it?
Well...Peter did. And He caught more than a boat-load of fish, he caught several boat-loads of fish! Peter’s response, he threw himself down at Jesus and declared himself a “sinful man.”
Wait. Did Jesus point out Peter’s sin? Did He tell Peter to repent? Hmmm...Keep that in mind as I move on to story number two, which is three years later in Jesus’ life.

Jesus is dying on the cross. (Luke 23) He has been placed in the middle of two criminals. One of them looks over and says, “Remember me when you go into your kingdom.”
Seriously? What did Jesus do to cause this response from the man beside Him? I have heard this story my whole life and it never hit me until recently: What would make you look at the Man who is dying on a cross beside you, and believe He is the Messiah? This man beside Jesus didn’t know Jesus was innocent. He didn’t know that Jesus had been betrayed. There is no way He could have known that Jesus was literally dying as a sacrifice for his sins. So, why in the world would this man ask Jesus to remember Him when He came into His kingdom? Was Jesus preaching from the cross? Was He defending His claim as being God’s Son? No, according to Scripture, He isn’t doing any of that. If you look at Luke 23:34, the only thing Jesus is saying that this criminal heard was one phrase, over and over, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”

It is my understanding through reading the Gospel of Luke, Peter is the first person to come to Jesus and the criminal on the cross was the last. Both of these men gave their lives to Jesus; not out of being shamed, belittled, or beat down; but rather they both witnessed the overwhelming love, grace, mercy, goodness, and forgiveness He freely gave. They both chose Jesus when they encountered and received what He was offering...Himself.

I really don’t know what else to add to that. God’s goodness, His grace, and His love know no bounds. He loves to love and it is in encountering this love that will lead to repentance and complete surrender of your life. Trust me, I know firsthand.

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