Heaven Ministries

April/May 2005

  Heaven Ministries Newsletter

Let God Be The Judge

Bible Study

Let God Be The Judge

Christian's Judging Christians?

Daily Devotional *New
Inspiring, uplifting, and encouraging words -- by Joanne Lowe

A Punctured Balloon

Marriage

Making your marriage work

Honor and commitment in marriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Christianity is not a religion. Religion is humans trying to work their way to God through good works.

 Christianity is God coming to men and women through Jesus Christ offering them a relationship with Himself."

Josh Mcdowell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let God Be The Judge

Why do we judge our neighbor, fellow Christian's, and  friends? Who are we to judge the heart of another person?  Why do we insist on giving blind opinions and judgment even when it is not warranted? Well, I'll tell you why. Mostly it makes us look and feel better. If we can tear someone down it will certainly build us up? 

Jesus said "not to judge".  Matthew 7:1 Do not judge, or you too will be judged. Jesus teaches us to examine our own conduct and our own lives instead of passing judgment onto others. I know, it is easy to look at the way someone does things and pass judgment. But is their way really wrong just because it is different then our way? 

Matthew 7:3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye. Our judgment towards fellow Christian's should be discerning ones instead of negative ones. Meaning if you make it a habit to judge others, especially fellow Christian's than you had better do it with a sharp and perceptive eye. What if you are wrong in judging your brothers and sisters? Then what? 

Romans 14:13-18 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead make up your own mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died.  Do not allow what you consider good be spoken of as evil. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.

Christians Judging Christians


Biblically speaking we all know that we are not to judge the heart of another, but yet, we still do it. God doesn't say that it is a sin to judge others but He doesn't like it that we do it either. If we believe our self to be blameless than we will not judge our own actions. We will be too busy trying to find fault in everyone else to assess our self! This error in thinking makes us believe that we are done growing spiritually and our mission has been accomplished. Ultimately, because of this error in thinking we stop doing things for the Kingdom of God. We stop serving and ministering to those who are in need and who are calling out for hope, truth, light, love, wisdom and prayer.  

Christians must continue growing spiritually with Jesus Christ. It is a never-ending walk that goes on forever. When we stop growing and learning is when spiritual dissentions arise and we become self righteous in our thinking and believe that we are blameless. The fact of the matter is, not one of God's human creations is blameless. We are all sinners and have sinned. And, God loves us all with the same love no matter who we are or what we have done. God uses people in different ways according to where they are at in His life, but His love is still the same for all of us.  We must always keep pursuing His words and purpose for our lives and that means to keep walking with Him on the straight and narrow path. 

Some Christians are more mature (spiritually ripe) in their spiritual walk than others and God has instructed them to teach, serve, reach out, console, and assist those who are reaching out for God and His Kingdom here on earth. That is what servitude or being a good steward is all about. Romans 14:17 For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking, but of righteousness, peace, joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God.

The Kingdom of God is a matter of righteousness! (not self-righteousness.)  Roman's14:10-12  You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God's Judgment seat. It is written: "As surely as I live, says the Lord, every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God." So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Self righteous thinking is what formulates different denominations, religions, beliefs, regulations, rules, rites and the like. Who is to say what is right and wrong in spiritual matters? 

The bottom line is this, if you are not hurting anyone EMOTIONALLY, MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY OR SPIRITUALLY. then who is really God enough to judge the heart of another except for God himself? No one!  And this is my point. 

Roman 14:1-3 One man's faith allows him to eat everything, but another man's who faith is weak only eats vegetables. the man who eats everything must not look down on him who who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him. 

A persons walk with Jesus should not be made religious in nature, but rather should be made in and out of the love of what Jesus has done for us! If we continue to use certain religious concepts to accept, forgive, and to love others these things will never happen because of secular and religious views getting in the way. There will always be dissension and discourse among men in spiritual matters. Religions are too picky. The simple fact is Jesus Christ was not brought to the world to bring religion to the people, but love to the people. Jesus' purpose is to give eternal life to those who walk with Him and do His will.

Jesus is more concerned about our walk than our talk. He wants us to do what is right, not just say the right words. Your house (which represents your life and marriage, Matthew 7:24) will withstand the storms of life only if you do what is right instead of just talking about it. Jesus exposed the people who sounded religious but had no personal relationship with Him. On "that day" the day of judgment, only our relationship with Jesus Christ will matter. Our acceptance of Jesus Christ and our obedience to Him does matter in our life today. It is the most important aspect of our Christian walk! 

Are you walking with Jesus Christ? Or pretending to walk with Jesus Christ? Pretenders talk a big talk and to others around him, he sounds well informed in all religious aspects. But does He know Jesus? That's the question!

Galatians 6:3 If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. 

2 Corinthians 10:17-18 But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord," For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one who the Lord commends. 

Why are some people self-righteous in their Christian walk? Religion is  their authority instead of Jesus Christ. Religious regulations tell a person that their religion is better than another religion. But in all actuality, self-righteousness stunts the spiritual walk and keeps people close-minded to understanding the meaning of what real love is because they do not have a spiritual bond with the living Jesus Christ. 

Luke 18:9-14 To some who were confident about their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable, "Two men went up to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: God, I thank you that I am not like other men.--robbers, evil doers, adulterers --or even like the tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.
     But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breasts and said, "God, have mercy on me, a sinner."
     I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. 

     

Romans 13:10 And whatever other commandments there may be, are summed up in this one rule; "Love your neighbor as yourself". Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. 

Are we loving our neighbor when we are judging our neighbor?


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Dear friends,
I have been given a wonderful gift from a sister in Jesus Christ. She has blessed this ministry with her inspirational and encouraging words that will fill a spot in this newsletter each month with a daily devotional. I hope that you find it as uplifting and encouraging as I.  Thank you Joanne for your kind words of wisdom. 
A. Lewis -- Heaven Ministries


A PUNCTURED BALLOON
Daily Devotional
by Joanne Lowe

Have you ever seen a balloon that has been punctured by a fingernail or object? It only takes one little hole in the balloon to deflate it. It may take a while for it to completely deflate but eventually all the air goes out. You may try to patch it with something and it might help for a while but doesn't last.

It is the same with our hearts. When someone says something negative to us, a sarcastic remark, a discouraging word, or something that pulls us down, that is all it takes. It only takes one discouraging or sarcastic remark to put the hole in our hearts. That is why it is so important to choose your friends wisely.
People can try to encourage us and tell us not to listen to those people who delight in putting us down, but the hole is already there and nothing anybody says or does can take the hole out of our hearts. Jesus is the only One Who can reach down His Healing Love and completely make our hearts new.
Someone told me that I had written something in a writing that I had already put in another writing. I was unaware of it, but I think the reason I used the same illustration is first of all, when I write I have no idea what I am saying until I read it back.
Second, God probably inspired me to use the same illustration because of what a Pastor said in a sermon I heard years ago. He said, " I've had a lot of people ask me why I preach almost the same message Sunday after Sunday. It is because God told me to preach it until you grasp it and employ it in your daily lives."
Please don't say things to discourage people. 
     Joyce Landorf says on one of her teaching tapes: "Men and women are leaving full time ministry in droves because we have not encouraged them."

I urge you to be an encourager of others. Let's start building people up instead of putting them down.
Proverbs 16:24 "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones".
To see more of Joanne's inspirational and encouraging words please visit her web site at www.fromtheheartofjesus.com 

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MAKING YOUR MARRIAGE WORK

What's so hard about making marriage work? Why do some marriages work and most don't? How can you make your marriage strong and stable? 

A strong and stable marriage starts with having a a godly foundation to base the marriage upon.  And then using this foundation when issues and problems arise in the marriage. We should ask ourselves, what is God's will for my marriage? How can I have a peaceful marriage and be happy with my spouse? 

The biggest problem I see in marriage today is the lack of the Spiritual Jesus in the marriage. Even if one spouse is using their God-given knowledge to solve marital issues, the marriage will basically be standing on one leg. But if both spouses lack a spiritual source for the marriage it most likely will not have any leg to stand on and the marriage will fail. 

Jesus Christ is the spiritual source for the Christian marriage. In everything he or she does, the Holy Spirit should be the Christians right hand. Jesus said He left us His Spirit for comfort and council. We aren't alone when trouble heads our way. John 14:26-27 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things, and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do no let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. 

Wow! Jesus really loves us. Jesus wants our marriage to work! The Holy Spirit reminds us of everything that Jesus has said to us. It's all in the bible. We can go to the bible to find the answers! We can listen to our conscience and do what is right. And we can humble our self and turn the other cheek. We can do many wonderful and righteous things for our marriage that would be pleasing to God. 

Matthew 7:24-25 Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down , the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 

Knowing biblical truth such as this we can see that marriage can work if couples place their feet on the sure foundation of Jesus Christ.  Most couples when they first marry do not deliberately seek to build on a false or wrong foundation, society literally leads couples to place their hopes and dreams on the wrong foundation if they are not careful. We shouldn't be in such a big hurry to allow the world to tell us what is right and good for our marriage even if it looks or appears to be where all the answers are. 

It's like playing follow the leader. We follow the leader to seek out the truth because we want answers, but the leader hasn't gone to the source for the answers, instead the leader has taken matters into his own hands, which leads all the answer seekers down a blind alley. Most marriages are traveling down this blind alley thinking this is where hope, love and peace is. Society obviously doesn't know the answers to marriage; most marriages fail. We need to stop playing  follow the leader game with our life. 

Many marriages do not work because of error in foundation. couples are not heeding Christ's message!! Part of the responsibility as believers in Christ is to stop and think about where our life is going, what is our purpose for marriage, and what are the consequences of ignoring Christ's message? We need to seek out the source of marriage by going back to the beginning and talking with the designer of marriage.

Genesis 1:18 The Lord God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." 

Marriage was established and ordained by God from the beginning.

Genesis 1:24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

The proper foundation for marriage rest with God and God alone, not with society. Couples need to find the comfort and peace for their marriage that they are looking for through the word of God. 

Matthew 7:26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house (life and marriage) on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against the house, and it fell with a great crash. 

 

Honor and Commitment in Marriage

Christians have responsibilities in marriage.  If we do not honor those responsibilities, what then is the purpose for marriage and getting married? 

God gave marriage as a gift to Adam and Eve. They were created perfect for each other. Marriage was not just for convenience, nor was it brought about by any culture. It was established, instituted and designed by God. 

Marriage as three basic aspects that keep it strong and stable:

1.) the man leaves his parents and promises himself to his wife.

He PROMISES himself to his wife. A Christian man makes his yess a yes and his nos a no. Meaning he said yes to marriage, not no to marriage. If a man cannot honor his Christian promise to remain married then he should not get married. 

2.) the man and woman are joined together by taking responsibility for each other's welfare and loving each other above all others. (commitment) 

Marriage is more than just love but is a commitment for life. Marriage is the only contract that cannot be broken. The marriage contract is binding forever and is indissoluble. It cannot be broken. This is why God wanted us to be committed to our marriage. There is no way out of marriage except through death. By committing ourselves to the marriage, it shows that we love our spouse, but mostly it shows that we love and honor God as well. 

3.)in marriage the two become one flesh in the intimacy and commitment of the sexual union that is reserved for marriage. 

It is pleasing to God that sex be reserved for marriage. Christians need to honor this agreement and remain abstinent until marriage. Why? If Christians have sex with whomever they please and whenever they want, why should marriage be such a unique and special bond between married couples? It won't be. 

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. 

The bottom line is this: People tend to believe what they see and hear in society, which will eventually reinforce their own selfishness and give them justification for doing the very same things that they see and hear. 

Today, more than ever Christians need to be careful about the input they allow to form their beliefs.  Heaven Ministries motto is: what is generated in the heart will come out in our actions) and this is so true.

With so many misguided and worldly distractions like TV, music, movies, Internet, and the rest of the media (culture) presenting their beliefs, sinful lifestyles, and unwholesome values, we will find ourselves constantly bombarded by attitudes and beliefs that are in opposition to the bible. (word of God). 

Jesus says in Romans 8:12-13 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation--but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; for if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die. but if by the Spirit you put to the death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. 

So what should we as Christians do about the ungodliness around us? A few things we can't do anything about; sometimes it will be beyond our control to physically remove our self or eyes and ears from ungodliness. But we can live by the Spirit as Jesus Christ says and put to death the sinful nature so the sins of the world do not scathe us. But most things are in our control like watching unwholesome television or listening to foul lyrical music. These things can be eliminated from our lives all together. We can make choices for ourselves and we can choose to do what is right. 

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "NO" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.

Jesus Christ said that we will need to be on constant guard against the immorality around us. You know who you are. If you are a Christian act like a Christian. Read the bible as much as possible. Plant Christ's love in  your heart and talk to him silently throughout the day.  

Jesus Christ is always with the Christian. If something isn't going right in your marriage and you are having troubles, seek guidance from Christ. Tell Him your heart and He will guide you through it with His words of wisdom. Wisdom that you yourself as a Christian already know. It's all about doing what is right. 

For the Christian the bible is the only standard of truth. That means we should always strive to evaluate all other opinions, ideas and beliefs with careful discernment.

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