Monday, January 25, 2010


Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling-block or an occasion to fall in his brother's way. (Romans 14:13)


I could not sleep for I was challenged
by an overheard remark.
'Call yourself a Christian? Then I don't need it!'
Not said to me personally,
but nevertheless a challenge.
For I am part of that body;
the Christian body
to which all believers belong.
It is the body of God's people;
called to be one; united in Him.
But we behave like separate parts;
by wrong actions that speak louder than right words,
thereby hurting that holy body.
Is our faith irrelevant? Like a rainless cloud?
Those not of Christ's body think so.
They will never find God, scorning Him
thanks to the members of His body; like you and me.

They despise our unconvincing pretensions to spirituality
that switch them away from learning about
He Who can give them Life Everlasting; Salvation.

'O, Lord, let it not be I
who cheapens Your image,
and withholds Your love for those not of Your body.
Correct me and all those in Your body
whose loveless deeds turn others off.
Make us one; united in Your love'.

With troubled mind
I slip out of bed and, broken,
bow my head low.
I unburden before God.
I weep for myself and my brethren.
I claim forgiveness for what I have done
to hurt my Lord and others.

God is so gracious!
Slow to anger; swift to forgive!

There is release! My burden is gone!
Yes, I, too am guilty but, hearing my confession,
my Lord forgives and forgets!
Praise His name!

I know I cannot change others;
only God can do that (if they ask Him to).
But He has changed me. Right after my confession.
With God's help I will learn to love all others.
Without conditions. Just as Jesus did.

And now I can sleep!



Key Verse: 'But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ'. 2 Peter 3:18
One advantage in having reached the age of 70 years is the many years of life from which I can learn lessons! There are those who, at the end of their lives, claim that they have no regrets about the way they have lived life. I can't say that; my biggest regret is that I did not allow God to have complete sway in my life from the day of my conversion. Had I done so I would not have been so arrogant and proud, so determined to be master of my Christian walk, and so sure that I understood the Bible better than others. As I think back I sometimes wish I could start again from the day of my conversion but with all my present experiences of life and understanding of the Bible. Ignorance of what an effective Christian walk is about caused me to hurt many. I wish I could undo those hurts; to have had the love of God flowing freely through me at all times; but we only have one crack at living our lives. As time went by I came to see how unkind a Christian I was. It took many years of worshipping Him and studying His Word before I understood that it was necessary for me to surrender my everything - my being; my hopes; my service - to God and allow Him to work through me. God has graciously used me in spite of my shortcomings as a minister; I can only imagine how many more people I would have blessed had I yielded my all to Him right from the start of my Christian walk. But I know He has forgiven me all my sins, so I don't have to live a life of remorse and regret. Nowadays I ask Him to cause me to live every day in total surrender to Him. It gets easier each day.
Two things that stand out as lessons from my life are:
(1) On a daily basis it pays to judge myself, confessing and making restitution for my sins where necessary (1 Corinthians 11:31; Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9). This is not about conducting a personal witch-hunt; I rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal to me those things that need my attention. For the rest, I live according to Paul's advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which reads, 'Rejoice evermore; pray without ceasing; and give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you'.
(2) My walk with God necessitates that I get to know Him and His Word better every day. It is a process called 'progressive revelation'. Just as a first grader will need years of study to acquire the depth of knowledge and understanding to cope with the tenth grade curriculum, so a new Christian needs to get to grips with God's word in order to grow in knowledge and understanding of His will. The speed of any Christian's spiritual growth depends on the determination to grow. The Holy Spirit will teach us whatever we need to know. Unfortunately, too many Christians remain 'infants' (1 Corinthians 3:2), not able to 'get their teeth into' the meat of God's Word. The ultimate Christian challenge is to obey God's command to love Him and our 'neighbours' with as much fervour as we love ourselves (Mark 12:30-31). I have found it easy enough to be nice to people who are nice to me, but still tend to reject those I find disagreeable. Although not anywhere near loving my neighbours, there is progress: I'm far more tolerant and less critical these days!