We need to learn to replace the words ‘blame’ and ‘fault’ with ‘responsible’.
Blame and fault are negative; Responsibility is positive.
Blame shifts responsibility or refuses to accept it.
Fault encourages one to pass the buck to protect themselves.
Have you ever blamed someone else when you were responsible?
Telling someone ‘I blame you’ or ‘it’s your fault will likely make them defensive.
But, telling them ‘It’s your responsibility’ or ‘we all make mistakes’ is more will likely make them be accountable.
The enemy is always looking for opportunities to provoke us to sin so he can blame and accuse us.
10 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.
Romans 14:11-12 (NKJV)
11 For it is written:
“AsI live, says theLord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God.”
12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
5 For each one shall bear his own load.
God expects us to hold one another responsible and accountable, sometimes with rebuke…
Proverbs 27:17 (NKJV)
17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
And, sometimes in gentleness…
Galatians 6:1-2 (NKJV)
6 Brethren, if a man is [a]overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
But always in wisdom. Remember, responsibility brings accountability and blame brings shame.
Let me first quickly say this. Warning people of consequences of sin is not judgement. That’s our responsibility. Judgment is deciding what’s in their heart and deciding in your heart that they aren’t worthy of God’s grace and mercy.
Telling someone “you can go to Hell for that” isn’t judgment. Telling someone “you will go to Hell for that” is judgment.
Judgement takes place in the heart, but is always ‘pronounced’, stated, verbalized.
How many times have on looked on in joy when something unfortunate happened to someone thinking, “That’s what you get”?
How many times has someone confronted you and you had to ‘eat your words’?
In the book of Isaiah God makes promise to those who love Him…
Isaiah 54:17 (NKJV)
17 No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord.
Here’s the Amplified Version…
Isaiah 54:17 (AMP)
17 “No weapon that is formed against you will succeed; And every tongue that rises against you in judgment you will condemn. This [peace, righteousness, security, and triumph over opposition] is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And this is their vindication from Me,” says the Lord.
God promises to give us vindication when people ‘put their mouths on us’ and say that we are deserving of ‘judgement’, the wrath of God, getting what you deserve…for whatever reason. God also promises that WE will be the ones who condemn those who rise up and open their mouths in judgement against us, and that condemnation comes from Him. So…
Be careful when you say someone is getting what they deserve.
Be careful in when you say that someone is not worthy of forgiveness for what they have done.
Be careful when you say that someone doesn’t love God because of their particular weaknesses with which they may be struggling.
Be careful when someone asks for forgiveness, says they’re sorry, or even accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and you say, “They don’t really mean it”.
Be careful when you say what someone else has in their heart…
Especially when they too are a part of the Body of Christ.
We all HAVE sinned and WILL CONTINUE to short of the glory of God…
Romans 3:23 (NKJV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Because just as much as God has promised to vindicate His children when people rise up in judgment against them, this promise also works among His children too. We must be very careful how we carelessly or with forethought open our mouths in judgement against one another within the Body of Christ.
We as Christians are going to have different political, social, economic and spiritual views. Those views can ignite passionate disagreements and feelings that lead to judgment of peoples’ faith and love for God.
Just as much as you may cling to this promise when someone has judged you, God will hold you accountable too when you judge someone else. God promises justice.
Be very careful how you talk about fellow believers, even when they are wrong because you are wrong sometimes too.
How many times have you heard someone say that actors, singers, athletes…those whose job is to entertain us should remain silent with it comes to American and world politics and social issues?
They say they are unfairly taking advantage of their platform and influence in matters that they do not know? They say they are using their notoriety to push their own personal agenda. Wow! How arrogant is that?
Doesn’t everyone use their notoriety, influence, platform, connections to push their own agenda?
Isn’t everyone in America supposed to have a voice no matter what their occupation?
I contend that any entertainer or actor who is a member of the Body of Christ has the responsibility to use their platform, influence and notoriety for the cause of Christ.
How better can you leverage your talent to entertain or athletic ability than to use your influence for any political or social cause that has godly implications?
Anyone who doesn’t use their God-given platform responsibly is wasting it.
God gave 12 unknown men notoriety and the platform to change the world and only one of them wasted it (Judas). Then comes Saul/Paul, who was well-known, a religious elite superstar in his fight against the church.
4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: 5 circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee;
Once converted by Jesus and appointed apostle to the Gentiles, he used his influence to build the kingdom of God instead of fight against it. Of course it got him in trouble with those in authority. He took his fight for the cause of Christ all the way to the political capital of the Roman empire by appealing to Caesar while on trial.
Acts 25:10-12 (NKJV)
10 So Paul said, “I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you very well know. 11 For if I am an offender, or have committed anything deserving of death, I do not object to dying; but if there is nothing in these things of which these men accuse me, no one can deliver me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”
12 Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, “You have appealed to Caesar? To Caesar you shall go!”
I may not agree with every entertainment and athlete activist, but they would be wasting their fame if they didn’t use it for what they believe in…especially those who call themselves Christian.
It seems that social media has revealed how much some people didn’t pay attention when they were being taught grammar in school. It’s amazing how people sometimes type the way they talk. Plus, understanding grammar and sentence structure is key to getting good understanding of scripture.
Think about how much one comma totally changes the meaning of this sentence…
Luke 23:43 (NKJV)
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Luke 23:43 New King James Version (NKJV)
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”
The first example is written in the NKJV. It implies that you will be in paradise today.
In the second example, I moved the comma. It implies that the statement is being said today, but not necessarily that you will be in paradise today.
Saying or writing ‘mines’, ‘these ones’, or I seen is never appropriate, but even at that, there are still at least 4 instances when bad grammar says it best…
When you quote someone, you can’t clean up the grammar to make it sound better. That’s not what they said. We must always work to quote people as accurately as possible.
2. CULTURALLY APPROPRIATE
In some conversations using incorrect grammar is simply more appropriate. It just doesn’t make sense to try to clean up cultural clichés, colloquialisms and idioms. Sometimes ‘y’all’, ‘you guys’, ‘up in here’, ‘alls I know is’, etc. makes more sense. Can you think of others?
3. MORE IMPACTFUL
Sometimes it’s just more impactful to say “I ain’t gonna do it” rather than “I’m not going to do it”! Plus, it can help prevent one from using profanity and unclean language to be more impactful.
4. IN A SONG, POEM OR WRITING
Many of our favorite or classic songs, poems, and literature would be ruined by proper grammar. Think of how silly the old spiritual, “Down By The Riverside” would sound if it said, “I’m not going to study war any more”. That language gives us the history, time, culture and context of when that song was created. Can you think of a song, poem, book or work of art when good grammar would totally mess it up?
It’s good to sound smart, but let us never be too smart for our own good.
All of us want to be appreciated and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes in when we allow not being appreciated to not only cause us disappointment and stress, but to allow us to stop doing what God expects us to do in regard to others and Him.
Learning to have joy, even when being unappreciated, is a part of being spiritually mature.
We are not going to be appreciated when we have selflessly given our best and sacrificed for others.
They won’t always get it…
They won’t always care…
They will sometimes even say, “I didn’t ask you to do it!”
The truth be told, when you’re honest with yourself, do you fully appreciate everyone that you should? Do you fully appreciate the sacrifice that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ made for our sins?
You won’t ever experience the true peace and joy that God intends for our lives until you learn to have joy when being unappreciated. God still loves us and gives us His best even when we don’t appreciate Him. Oh, yes we say we do, but our actions sometimes say otherwise. Every time we complain, we ‘say’ we don’t appreciate God’s sovereignty over our lives…
Philippians 2:14 N (NKJV)
14 Do all things without [a]complaining and disputing,[b]
1 Corinthians 10:10 (NKJV)
10 nor complain, as some of them also complained, and were destroyed by the destroyer.
I recommend, if you already don’t, that you make asking God for help in learning to have joy even when unappreciated a part of your regular prayer life. Yes, it’s hard, but that’s one of the reasons He told us through the apostle Paul that we can do all things through Christ…
Philippians 4:13 (NKJV)
13 I can do all things through [a]Christ who strengthens me.
Learn to have joy and be satisfied in seeing the fruit of the good seeds you’ve planted even when those who benefit don’t appreciate you or acknowledge you. And realize that some never will. Just as some never will appreciate God.
This is a spiritual post with political implications…
When Jesus’ disciples were observed eating without washing in the ‘prescribed’ manner they were criticized by those in authority, the Pharisees.
This expectation was a tradition that not only was accepted but expected. Anyone who didn’t do so had their loyalty to God and the tradition challenged. All in all, this was not something that God expected, but people. Just because it was the established expectation did not make it right.
Jesus sharply rebuked them and their silly traditions. The mere passion behind being compelled to defend a tradition, even to the point of death, makes it worship to me.
Any tradition that you cling to the point it is revered and question the loyalty of others if they feel it’s not right for them is too close to worship for me.
And, it was apparently too much for Jesus too…
5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked Him, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
6 He answered and said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of youhypocrites, as it is written:
‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—[a]the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
9 He said to them, “All too wellyou[b]reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Jesus said they REJECTED what God has said for their traditions.
This same dangerous thinking and practice continues today. Jesus said they set aside the commandments of God for the traditions of man.
For example, one of the hottest topics, debates and disagreements today is that of people disrespecting the American flag when they choose to ‘take a knee’ in protest to police brutality towards African-American men.
Personally, I love this country and would not want to live anywhere else in the world. I had uncles fight in World War ll and had two die just months before it was over. I had other uncles return home after fighting for their country to be treated like second class citizens. I currently have relatives serving in our armed services and have many friends who are police officers.
However, ever since I was able to read the bible for myself, I have felt uncomfortable standing and putting my hand over my heart for ANY flag. There’s a reason that God forbade us to honor, worship or acknowledge Him or anything else with graven images. The fact is that all idols aren’t made of stone, some are made of cloth. Does it take doing what seems to me as worshiping an idol to prove my respect? Just because this tradition was established doesn’t make it right. After all, there is also the established expectation to put one’s right hand on the bible and swear an oath while accepting an elected office or testifying in court…this is the same bible that our Lord clearly commands that we should never swear an oath. For more on this read WHY SWEAR IN COURT WHEN GOD FORBIDS IT?
Matthew 5:33-37 (NKJV)
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of [a]old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let [b]your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
James 5:12 (NKJV)
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into [a]judgment.
God’s expectation can’t be any more clear than here, but still we persist in swearing-in officials. What kind of rebuke would someone suffer if he or she refused to be sworn in?
How dare person A tell person B that they aren’t loyal because person B feels a beloved tradition is in direct conflict to God’s word. In fact, person B could contend that person A’s devotion to that tradition contradicts person A’s loyalty to God.
It is not God’s will to put our love for country or anything else before our love for Him or obedience to His word.
God has given us the freedom to assume several postures in approaching Him. He allows us to kneel, stand, raise our hands, lay before Him etc. I discuss this more in the post… 9 BIBLICALLY PROPER PRAYER POSTURES… If God allows us to show respect, honor and praise for Him in several manners, who are we to demand more for ourselves or what we create?
So many of us today have become modern-day Pharisees in our expectation of others to honor the traditions that are dear to us, but are NOT requirements of God. There are many traditions and expectations that have endured for years and people have killed to defend that are in direct conflict with the word of God…hazing for example, that includes language and behavior (getting drunk, sex and violence) has become expected to become a part of many organizations and even upheld by Christians. I discuss this topic in the post THE UNHOLINESS OF HAZING: TRADITIONS FROM HELL…
Again, I love this country but I would be irresponsible as a man of God if I didn’t challenge us to reexamine some of our traditions…that’s what Jesus and His apostles did.
Remember, some idols aren’t made of stone, but cloth.
God’s wisdom in how He designed us both physically and spiritually is truly amazing.
PAIN, we all know, whether it be physical, psychological or emotional is an indicator that something is wrong. It’s an alert that we need to take action to protect ourselves, to preserve ourselves…to survive.
If your hand gets too close to fire, God has designed us with a physical warning to immediately move.
CONSCIENCE is a God given indicator to those who aren’t saved that something is wrong spiritually. It lets us know that our thinking, our behavior, our attitude, our character has stepped outside of what is acceptable to God.
Conscience is our internal meter of right and wrong designed to lead us to God…
Paul elaborately describes this in the Romans chapter 2…
Romans 2:14-15 (NKJV)
14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, 15 who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)
And, it leads to reaction much like some of those to whom Peter preached in Acts chapter 2…
Acts 2:37 (NKJV)
37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
CONVICTION is when those who have accepted Christ Jesus as LORD and Savior and been filled with His Holy Spirit are convinced of their sin. There are times when we can become so hardened that our conscience doesn’t bother us, but when we have accepted God’s gift of salvation, it is impossible to be comfortable and content in sin without His Holy Spirit producing the spiritual guilt, godly sorrow and shame that leads to repentance and change.
Jesus told this to His disciples before He went to the cross, as recorded in John chapter 16…
John 16:7-8 (NKJV)
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
Conviction leads to reactions much like those in 2 Corinthians chapter 7, the response to His strict rebuke of the behavior of those who were in the Body of Christ.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (NKJV)
9 Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.
Conscience and Conviction are both necessary spiritual pain. So, just like physical pain…
If your hand gets too close to hell fire, God has designed us spiritual warnings to immediately move.
Have you ever had someone ask you for help or just want to talk at a time when you…
Were not interested…
Didn’t feel like talking…
For whatever reason felt that they didn’t deserve your time…
Or you were overwhelmed with your own issues, concerns or problems?
That ONE time someone calls you and you decline their call, may the ONE time that they needed you most.
That ONE time that someone needs you when the world seems heavy on your shoulders may be the one time you save their life.
God is building us up to be strong enough to still help someone else even when we are at our weakest point…and it’s not easy.
When Jesus told us that there’s no greater love than when we lay down our lives for our friends, He wasn’t necessarily talking about dying to do so. ( YOU DON’T HAVE DIE TO LAY DOWN YOUR LIFE FOR SOMEONE…) John 15:13(NKJV) 13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
Time is something that you can’t get back. Every time you give up your time to help someone else is giving up little portions of your life…
So if someone says they need you, please think twice before you decide you don’t have time for them.
Please don’t let this world and even many of those in the church’s perverted view of the word ‘blessed’. Here are quick reasons to stop right now to stop and tell God thank you…
There are many people in the world who have to walk for miles for access to dirty water. But, most of the people reading this today not only have access to clean water, but they have it on demand in their homes through multiple faucets. How much money do you spend on bottled water? Think about it, while some people have to dig…and dig…and dig searching for wells or have to drink the same water as their livestock, most of us have water to wash our vehicles and water our lawns.
Stop right now and thank God for the blessing of clean water.
ENOUGH FOOD FOR TODAY
God told us in His word that we are not to worry about what we should eat or drink. Not only that He told us not to worry about what we are to eat and drink tomorrow. There are people not only in third world countries without plenty of food to eat, but also many in lands of abundance.
Look again at Matthew Chapter 6…
Matthew 6:25-34 N (NKJV)
25 “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 Which of you by worrying can add one [a]cubit to his [b]stature?
28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not [c]arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.
If you went to bed last night with one slice of bed left or one can in your pantry, you went to bed with more than enough than yesterday…that’s overflow.
Stop right now and thank God for the blessing of enough food for today.
ABILITY TO BATHE YOURSELF
I think this is one of the most easy-to-overlook blessings. There are many people in the world who don’t have the full use of their body. Their minds are sharp, but their bodies, for whatever reason won’t do what their mind tells it to do. Having to depend on someone else to bathe your or clean you after you use the bathroom can be very humiliating. Many people have to deal with that daily.
Stop right now and thank God for the blessing of being able to bathe yourself.
Psalm 103:1-2 (NKJV)
Bless the Lord, O my soul;
And all that is within me, bless His holy name! 2 Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget not all His benefits: