The Unchanging Law Of Judgment

With what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you —Matthew 7:2

We tend to treat this statement of the Lord as hyperbole., an exaggeration. Surely, He did not mean this literally. According to OC, He very much means it. “This statement is not some haphazard theory, but it is an eternal law of God. 
We need to stop and think about this because we are, oh so quick to judge others. The sad thing is the things we judge others for are generally the things of which we ourselves are guilty. It is, after all, the reason we are so good at recognizing the fault in others: it’s all too familar.
Our course is to be as humble as possible. To recognize that even the vilest thing we observe in others lurks in our hearts. If such vileness has not arisen in our lives is not thanks to us, but to the enduring grace of God.The greatest characteristic of a saint is humility, as evidenced by being able to say honestly and humbly, “Yes, all those, as well as other evils, would have been exhibited in me if it were not for the grace of God. Therefore, I have no right to judge.”
Jesus said, “Judge not, that you be not judged” ( Matthew 7:1 ). He went on to say, in effect, “If you do judge, you will be judged in exactly the same way.” Who of us would dare to stand before God and say, “My God, judge me as I have judged others”? We have judged others as sinners— if God should judge us in the same way, we would be condemned to hell. Yet God judges us on the basis of the miraculous atonement by the Cross of Christ.
It, as always, goes back to the Cross. It’s where we should leave our judgments and from where we should rejoice in our blessings.

Minstry of the Inner Life

You are . . . a royal priesthood . . . —1 Peter 2:9

I am essentially a selfish creature. Selfishness is the basis of the sin which required my salvation in the first placed. But even after salvation, selfishness keeps arising. It is a continuing struggle to get my eyes off myself and onto my Lord and my brothers and sisters He loves.
We become “a royal priesthood” by the atonement of the Cross of Christ that this has been accomplished. If we can move from our self focus we can launch out in reckless, unrestrained belief that the redemption is complete. The work of the priesthood is intercession.  Pray with the realization that you are perfect only in Christ Jesus, not on the basis of this argument: “Oh, Lord, I have done my best; please hear me now.”
We must get to the point of being sick to death of ourselves, until there is no longer any surprise at anything God might tell us about ourselves. There is only one place where we are right with God, and that is in Christ Jesus.
When we finally realize who we are in Christ; we can begin the work of priests: intercession for those He loves.

Have You Come to "When" Yet?

The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends —Job 42:10

We keep slipping back to a belief that we can purify ourselves. Even after coming to the Lord and accepting his forgiveness and the benefit of His atoning death, we can still slip back to a self-improvement program. 
I cannot make myself right with God; I cannot make my life perfect. I can only be right with God if I accept the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ as an absolute gift. 
Satan wants to keep us focused on self, on improving and sanctifying ourselves. When we do so we are distracted for our real work and concern: others.
If you are not now receiving the “hundredfold” which Jesus promised (see Matthew 19:29 ), and not getting insight into God’s Word, then start praying for your friends— enter into the ministry of the inner life. “The Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends.” As a saved soul, the real business of your life is intercessory prayer. Whatever circumstances God may place you in, always pray immediately that His atonement may be recognized and as fully understood in the lives of others as it has been in yours. Pray for your friends now, and pray for those with whom you come in contact now.
Trust the work of God for making you everything you were meant to be. Intercede for others and find your blessing.

Do You Love Me? Tend My Sheep.

. . . do you love Me? . . . Tend My sheep —John 21:16

There is much confusion about love in today’s society. We kick the word around and use it to mean a variety of things. We associate it with feelings, emotions and passions; seldom with efforts on behalf of others. To care for another, is not just to be concerned about that person, but to do what it takes to ensure the well-being of another.
One of my favorite things about Kairos is that it is operated by Christians from a variety of denominations.  We make no attempt to “convert” anyone to a particular way of thinking. We just show love by visiting, feeding and listening to persons who have lost all hope that anyone cares for them, loves them.
Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him.
Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a “doormat.” The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies”— it will spring up and change the entire landscape ( John 12:24 ).
Do some tending for His sake and get some blessing.

Keep Recognizing Jesus

. . . Peter . . . walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid . . . —Matthew 14:29-30

Walking with Christ, like walking on water, is a matter of focus. If we can keep our focus on Jesus, everything is fine. When we start to notice the winds and the circumstances, we start to think.

The wind really was boisterous and the waves really were high, but Peter didn’t see them at first. He didn’t consider them at all; he simply recognized his Lord, stepped out in recognition of Him, and “walked on the water.” Then he began to take those things around him into account, and instantly, down he went. 

We step right out with recognition of God in some things, then self-consideration enters our lives and down we go. If you are truly recognizing your Lord, you have no business being concerned about how and where He engineers your circumstances. The things surrounding you are real, but when you look at them you are immediately overwhelmed, and even unable to recognize Jesus. Then comes His rebuke, “. . . why did you doubt?” ( Matthew 14:31  ). Let your actual circumstances be what they may, but keep recognizing Jesus, maintaining complete reliance upon Him.

If you debate for even one second when God has spoken, it is all over for you. Never start to say, “Well, I wonder if He really did speak to me?” Be reckless immediately— totally unrestrained and willing to risk everything— by casting your all upon Him. You do not know when His voice will come to you, but whenever the realization of God comes, even in the faintest way imaginable, be determined to recklessly abandon yourself, surrendering everything to Him. It is only through abandonment of yourself and your circumstances that you will recognize Him. You will only recognize His voice more clearly through recklessness— being willing to risk your all.
Isn’t it time to get out of the boat? Out on the water, that’s where the blessings are.

Beware of Criticizing Others

Judge not, that you be not judged —Matthew 7:1

A weekend spent with inmates at Angola can’t help but raise many issues. One, of course, is the issue of judging others. For most, the hardest part in bringing one to a life committed to Christ is to achieve recognition that we are all sinners. Most folks think they are “pretty good” relatively speaking. We need to learn that God doesn’t grade on the curve. For the inmate at a high security prison, sentenced often to life without benefit of probation or parole, their sinful state and guilt is not an issue, in fact, it is a mattr of public record. 
What they need to to learn of Jesus’ forgiveness and His commitment to love them unconditionally. That’s the message we try to bring. We go, listen and love them without condition or judgment;
Jesus’ instructions with regard to judging others is very simply put; He says, “Don’t.” The average Christian is the most piercingly critical individual known. One of the great inhibitors to church growth is the “judgmental attitude” of Christians. 
Criticism is one of the ordinary activities of people, but in the spiritual realm nothing is accomplished by it. The effect of criticism is the dividing up of the strengths of the one being criticized. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood. Criticism serves to make you harsh, vindictive, and cruel, and leaves you with the soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others. Jesus says that as His disciple you should cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This will not happen quickly but must be developed over a span of time. You must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person. Sometimes just a good, hard, honest look at ourselves is all it takes.
There is no escaping the penetrating search of my life by Jesus. If I see the little speck in your eye, it means that I have a plank of timber in my own (see Matthew 7:3-5 ). Every wrong thing that I see in you, God finds in me. Every time I judge, I condemn myself (see Romans 2:17-24 ). Stop having a measuring stick for other people. There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation. 
For these inmates, there has been a conviction of a violation of the law; but that’s never the whole story. There are always facts which the public never learns. These facts seldom excuse the crime; but would make one aware how close we are to being as guilty. We all need a cleansing.
The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.
When the spirit of criticism shows up; take a deep long look in the mirror; and be humble and, ultimately, blessed that God would love me.

Will You Lay Down Your Life

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. . . . I have called you friends . . . —John 15:13, 15

Laying down our lives, is not dying. Jesus does not ask me to die for Him, but to lay down my life for Him. He wants us to live for Him. It is much easier to die than to lay down your life day in and day out with the sense of the high calling of God. We are not made for the bright-shining moments of life, but we have to walk in the light of them in our everyday ways. 
We hold our lives in our hands. We “control” them or believe that we do. It is God’s gift of free will.  Jesus calls us to give it up and put Him in the driver’s seat. Put Him in control of our lives. There was only one bright-shining moment in the life of Jesus, and that was on the Mount of Transfiguration. It was there that He emptied Himself of His glory for the second time, and then came down into the demon-possessed valley (see Mark 9:1-29 ). For thirty-three years Jesus laid down His life to do the will of His Father. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” ( 1 John 3:16). Yet it is contrary to our human nature to do so.
If I am a friend of Jesus, I must deliberately and carefully lay down my life for Him. It is a difficult thing to do, and thank God that it is. Salvation is easy for us, because it cost God so much. But the exhibiting of salvation in my life is difficult. God saves a person, fills him with the Holy Spirit, and then says, in effect, “Now you work it out in your life, and be faithful to Me, even though the nature of everything around you is to cause you to be unfaithful.”

Like everything else, we need the help of Our Savior even to lay down our lives. To do so is to open the doors to blessings untold.


The Valley – Where there is Life and Growth

Also . . . add to your faith . . . —2 Peter 1:5
One of the “gems” I picked up this weekend was this. There is no growth on the mountain top. Growth and life is in the valleys.  It’s a hard truth. Think of the mountain tops, they have exciting views and the exhilaration of being “above it all” but there is little plant or animal life or fertile soil. All that’s down in the valley.
The days after a Kairos weekend are filled with prayer for the residents and the team as the valley of every day life  becomes real. We must take the spiritual high and turn it into a new day-by-day life. This is not automatic. We have God’s help, of course, but something from us is required.
What we are really trying to grow in the valley is our character. No one is born either naturally or supernaturally with character; it must be developed. Nor are we born with habits— we have to form godly habits on the basis of the new life God has placed within us. This consists of doing the things we should and ceasing to do the things we shouldn’t. It is said that if an act is repeated, or abandoned, for thirty days, then a new habit is formed. If we change our diet, or turn away from cigarettes, or  give up gossip for thirty days, we should have formed a new habit. Not to say that temptations to return to the old way will disappear, but we should be operating in a “new normal.”

The retreat experience is great. It is incredible to have four days devoted to God, his service and observation of his work. It’s a great spiritual fix. We all have those times when there are no flashes of light and no apparent thrill to life, where we experience nothing but the daily routine with its common everyday tasks. The routine of life is actually God’s way of saving us between our times of great inspiration which come from Him. Don’t always expect God to give you His thrilling moments, but learn to live in those common times of the drudgery of life by the power of God.
Press on and Be blessed.