No Longer a Critic.

What does it mean to be a critic? Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines it as this: ‘one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique.’ So in short it means someone who expresses their opinion about something. And what is an opinion? An opinion is a view, a judgement, or a belief. Hmmm. This prods me to think about myself. Am I a critic? It seems so. I give my opinions on lots of things, movies, books, decor’, art, music, sermons, etc. I, by nature, enjoy discussing and even debating. I love to talk and love to listen. Could I be a successful critic? Surely I would meet the standards of a good one, but according to who’s standards? God is showing me that anyone can say something… or come up with something to say, but is that always a good thing? Sure it can be, as long as I am speaking God’s word or speaking His truth in love. But, maybe part of accomplishing that is not speaking in an audible voice at all. Maybe it’s just being quiet and listening for His still small voice. For quite awhile now, I have been measuring everything I hear or read with the Word of God. It’s something that was prodded in me by the Holy Spirit, and I think it is extremely important to do. But, today, I had a revelation about it. Measuring all I hear with the word started off great, producing peace in me and it remained that way for awhile. But somewhere along the way, it turned a bit chaotic. I think it happened because I made it like a project, and I became more like a critic instead of a child willing to learn. This hasn’t happened every time, but definitely some of the time. Doing this has caused me to experience occasional confusion. It is not my responsibility to question everything, and it is not my job to be critical either. The Holy Spirit searches ALL things and teaches me ALL things. I don’t have to do it. I don’t have to wonder or worry or critique anybody or anything. The Spirit will show me all I need to know! 
1st Corinthians 2:9-10 says this:
“However, as it is written:“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” 
So once again… the only responsibility I have is to abide in Him. It really does always come back to that. I don’t have to figure anything out! He will reveal all things to me! 

Speaking of Edifying

We are commanded by God to be slow to speak and slow to become angry. But, that’s not what I see among some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be edifying, but instead we tear down. This is not love. It is not powerful to place our own convictions on other people with our prideful words or quotes, but it is very powerful to hold our tongue and speak the truth in love. Remember…love does not envy it does not boast, it is not proud and certainly not rude. We should not be proud of who we are or what we ‘do’ because apart from God we can do nothing. Instead of expecting everyone to do what we do or be where we are, let’s love each other right where we’re at. Let’s give grace and mercy and love at all times. When I was a baby Christian I was often insulted for not being ‘spiritual’ enough, and now that I’m a little stronger in my faith, I’ve been criticized for ‘thinking I have it all together or thinking I’m perfect.’ But the truth is, Christ in me–the Hope of Glory, has set me free. I’m not held captive by what anyone says or thinks of me because I know who I am in Him. But there was a time when peoples words still had power over me, and lets be honest, the Bible does sat that the tongue can kill and destroy. There’s lots of people out there that just need to be encouraged or edified with an encouraging word. Let’s not be haughty and prideful thinking everyone should be where we are at. And let’s not be deceived into thinking we have got it all together. That can be a very scary place. I am constantly learning. Everyday God teaches me something new because His word is living and active! I make a choice each day to place myself—my everything, at The foot of His cross and the throne of His grace. I encourage myself in the Lord and chose to walk according to his perfect will for my life, and when I miss it, He is faithful to correct me becasue He loves me.
Let us be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry. Let’s think before we speak AND before we type. Let’s use our tongues to bring glory to God and edify Him while we edify one another, and let’s use Facebook for that, too! 

Jesus, I’m With You.

Why do we think we have so much power to do things on our own? I cannot do anything apart from Christ. If you only knew how many little journeys I’ve begun to change this about me, or change that about me, you’d have lots of trouble keeping up. What a revelation it was to realize this truth, that apart from Him I can do nothing. I can have the best intentions in the world, but without Christ it is impossible to make any progress…Faith and works go TOGETHER. We must have faith in the One who has rescued us if we want to make any progress here on this earth. ‘I can do all things through CHRIST who gives me strength!’ Not through, myself, not through my husband, not through my pastor, but through Christ alone. For a long time, I didn’t understand the true meaning of that scripture. I thought, ‘Ok. If I pray and I love Jesus, and I want to do good, it’ll happen.’ But that’s not it. It is abiding in Him, being intimate with Him, knowing Who He is and Who He has called me to be. He has equipped me for every good work, to do all things according to His purpose for my life, and it’s not a feeling, it is a knowing. It is a hope that’s unwavering. It’s just doing it—being it—acting it—all of that. Will we fall short? Sure, we will, but ONLY when we take our eyes of of Him! So keep your eyes fixed on Jesus! He is not only the author of our faith, but the PERFECTER of it, too!!