Tag: grace

Jesus Says Do Not Judge

Jesus Says Do Not Judge

Encouragment
It's a simple rule of nature. If you plant a kernel of corn you will get corn. Assuming that a healthy stalk of corn produces two ears that would be about 1600 kernels from that one seed. That same multiplication effect applies to every plant that I’m aware of, even thistles and nettles. It is that multiplication effect Jesus has in mind when He says, “do not judge.”  It would appear from the Gospel record that Jesus said this more than once. In Matthew’s record of the Sermon on the Mount we read, “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1–2, NASB95) But we have a tendency to think that this is a one for one exchange. If I judge someone harshly that I will be judged
Walking Through 2nd Peter – God’s Judgment, Our Preservation

Walking Through 2nd Peter – God’s Judgment, Our Preservation

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Betty and I enjoy hiking through the woods. We often plan our vacations around those hikes. Since we seek out those trails rated as moderate to rugged it not unusual for us to cross a bridgeless stream using stepping stones. Sometimes those stones are placed and maintained by the Park Service. Sometimes they’re the natural stones and logs that make up the stream bed. Care is taken as we test the surety of each stone, a hiking stick at the ready to provide additional support. Our next steps in the Walk Through 2nd Peter is like crossing a broad stream on stepping stones. Please read 2 Peter 2:4-11. For the sake of space, I won’t reprint it here. In order to continue Peter’s flow, we must reach back for a moment to verse 3. “Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruct
Walking Through 1st Peter: Peace to All in Christ

Walking Through 1st Peter: Peace to All in Christ

Encouragment
Twenty-four weeks ago we began a journey. We opened Peter’s first letter to the persecuted believers of Asia Minor and chose to walk through it instead of rushing through it. Along the way, we noticed familiar verses and discovered new vistas.  We watched as Peter returned several times to his main themes of suffering, triumph, and encouragement. Even in these last few closing verses, those same themes reverberate. Peter closed his letter in this way. “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that

Walking Through 1st Peter – Good Stewards of God’s Grace

Encouragment
One way or another we all care about something or someone. A child cares for their toys. A student stewards their time and focus. A factory worker sees to their machine. A husband and wife manage the home. Your pastor shepherds souls. A farmer husbands his field, flock, and harvest. We are all stewards of something. Peter reminds us that those who have chosen Jesus and walk with him are called to steward the gifts of God. Welcome to our 19th edition of our Walk Through 1st Peter. Feel free to join in even if this is the first article of this series you’ve seen. Previous articles are on our website – lambchow.com. Peter wrote, “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another
Walking Through 1st Peter – Work Matters

Walking Through 1st Peter – Work Matters

Encouragment
One of my first jobs outside of the family farm was laboring for a landscape contractor. It was a summer job between my Junior and Senior year of High School. Someone warned me that the boss could be difficult but that it was a good job. I would call it both enjoyable and difficult. He never yelled or anything but could wield a biting tongue if something was done wrong or we moved too slow. I was often on the receiving end of his worries about speed and was given the nickname turtle. I honestly didn’t think I was slower than my co-workers, it’s just the way he saw it. Welcome to the 13th installment of our Walk Through 1st Peter. We’re over half way through our journey and well into the meat of Peter’s instructions to his readers. Which also means that we’re delving deeply into things t
Loose Lips

Loose Lips

Encouragment
During WWII a warning became a part of our language. “Loose lips sink ships.” The message was often portrayed on stark colored posters with an image of a ship going down. It was a warning to all, both military and home front, that wayward words can have dire consequences. While the warning has become an idiom the message was very real. As goods and personnel moved across the oceans to support the war effort, enemy agents hoped to gain information to stop them. Loose slips could literally sink ships, and the person might be none the wiser. The book of Proverbs has a similar warning,  “The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; The one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” (Proverbs 13:3, NASB95) Let’s apply this generally and then more specifically to followers of Jesus. Many cal
When Grace Doesn’t Seem to Fit

When Grace Doesn’t Seem to Fit

Encouragment
Context is everything. A few days ago I felt impressed to write something on Luke 6:1-11. Those verses contain two similar stories.  In the first story, Jesus and some disciples are walking through a grain field on the Sabbath. Some Pharisees saw them picking grain by hand, rubbing it to remove the husk, and eating it because they were hungry. Threshing grain, even in a small amount, was considered unlawful Sabbath day work.  On another Sabbath, Jesus was teaching in a synagogue. In the congregation sat a man with a withered and useless hand. Also present were some watchful and critical Pharisees observing Jesus’ every move. Would Jesus heal on the Sabbath or not?  Well, He did. And that violated the pharisee’s sense of what it meant to “observe the Sabbath and keep it holy.”  But what was
God’s Golden Rule

God’s Golden Rule

Encouragment
It’s an established fact that many of the world's religions have some form of what is called the Golden Rule. Some statement or ethic of reciprocity that is meant to provide a foundation for civilized relationships.  In Brahmanism: “Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.” In Buddhism: “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.”  In Confucianism: “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" To be fair Confucius also wrote the positive form of the rule, “Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence." A form of the rule can also be found as far back as Ancient Egypt. "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do." On the su
Real Fruit: Joy

Real Fruit: Joy

Encouragment
If you’re a gardener you know joy. There’s just something special, something extra tasty, in the crops harvested from your own plot of dirt. It’s not just freshness. I can buy fresh-picked produce from the local market when the season is right. While good, our own green beans or corn or potatoes just seem to taste better. I think it’s because we can taste the hours of tilling, seeding, and weeding in them. That taste is what joy is all about. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23, NASB95) If you are just joining us, this is the eighth article in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. And yes, we’re working backward. For this series we are going
A Two-Sided Coin

A Two-Sided Coin

Encouragment
Some truths are so simple that we miss how profound they really are. One plus one is two. A simple truth that is foundational to all mathematics. The sun rises from the east and sets in the west like clockwork. How much of our day, even our lives, relies on that simple fact. We count days by it. We can know what direction we’re facing from it.  We can even figure out our latitude, how far north or south we are, even when there are no other landmarks to be seen. There is also a spiritual truth that is likewise so simple that we miss how utterly profound it is. What I have in mind is like a two-sided coin. On the surface they seem unconnected like heads and tails but taken together they change lives and even worlds. The first side of this truth is something we don’t want to hear. Ent
Who You Gonna Call?

Who You Gonna Call?

Encouragment
A family of beavers has decided to make their home in our creek. It’s not that I have anything personal against beavers, they aren’t ugly like possums or messy like raccoons or repulsive like skunks. I admire their work ethic and engineering ability. But did they really have to chew down all those trees and dam up the culvert? They just have to go. Not having the skills needed to trap beavers we searched for and called on an expert to come help us. He walked the land, gave us some lessons on beaver behavior, showed us an old lodge that has since fallen in, and basically told us that we need to wait until next fall when they start going after trees again. One of life’s lessons is knowing the right person for the problem at hand. You don’t call a plumber to fix your car, an electrician t
Real Fruit: Gentleness

Real Fruit: Gentleness

Encouragment
What do these images have in common? A shepherd gently carrying a lamb back to its mother. A mother cradling a newborn for the first time. A gardener carefully working the soil and removing weeds so as not to disturb the roots of what they have planted. A surgeon, slowly, deliberately, painstakingly using their hands to fix what is torn or remove something that doesn’t belong. A believer in Jesus listening with humility to the heartache and trouble of another. A kindergarten teacher patiently explaining for the fifth time why it is important to listen to her instructions. These are all pictures of our next Real Fruit, the Fruit of the Spirit called gentleness. If you are just joining us, this is the second article in a series on the Fruit of the Spirit. And yes, we’re working backwa