Author Archives: Pete

About Pete

I love the Lord. Each day, he gives me words of praise and encouragement, and asks me to share them with you I pray that they minister to you as you read them, share them, or ponder on them. Have a blessed day!

Next Study – Timothy and Titus

I have been praying what direction to go next in our Bible adventures and feel the urge to head into the pastoral letters of Paul to Timothy and Titus.  These three letters contain many great timeless principles for the church and for church leaders.  These letters are generally accepted as written by Paul, although through the years there has been some discussion about possible other authors.  The writing style is very similar to Paul,s and Paul identifies himself as the author in all three.  I’m not sure why the controversy ever came up!  We will agree with the general opinion that Paul wrote these for this studies sake.

These letters are different than Paul’s other writings in that these are addressed to the church leadership, while all his other letters are for the entire body of believers at each church.  Contained in these short letters are guidelines which are still used today to ascertain the qualifications of deacons and elders.  We will ,learn a lot about our own walk as we go through these beautiful letters.

Timothy is first mentioned in scripture in Acts 16:1.  Timothy was mentored by Paul (Acts 16:3) and from all we can understand received salvation under Paul’s ministry.  Timothy was a Greek and most believe Paul met him at Ephesus and this letter was written shortly after that. Timothy’s mother and grandmother are both mentioned in scripture but there is no mention of Timothy’s father.  Paul considered him a son and was very close to him.  Timothy became an evangelist and traveled with Paul to many cities and on his own to some.  He also came to Paul’s aid when he was imprisoned in Philippi.

Titus was also a Greek thought to be from Antioch.  He too was converted under Paul’s ministry and traveled quite a bit with Paul.  Titus was used by Paul to settle things down in the Corinthian church after Paul’s first letter had them reeling.  Titus was also an evangelist  and a missionary, going on many journeys of his own.

As e go through these letters, we will be getting a glimpse into the early church and the discipline Paul saw necessary to make them witnesses in the early life of the church.  Separating out leaders was critical to the development of the church.  Timothy and Titus were two leaders who went on to teach other leaders.  I pray you will see that these leadership skills are needed today just as much as they were back in the first century church.

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Where is Your House Built

Matthew 7:24-27

24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

This is probably one of the most familiar little stories of Jesus. We sang it as a children’s song when we were young and I would guess all of us believe we know the meaning of this verse. We tell people we have built our house upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ and the wind and waves of life cannot topple our house. We think of Him as our great foundation, holding us up by His word and His promises. What more can I possible say about this verse to give it deeper meaning?

Jesus was a great orator. We don’t often think of Him like that. We think of His healing and miracles, about His parables and stories, and about the price He paid for us. We think about His birth, His baptism and His death and resurrection. We think about blind eyes being open, the dead rising up, lepers healed and demons cast out. But we don’t give much thought to what a great speaker He was.

I have seen many great speakers in my life. Zig Ziglar, Colin Powell, Brian Tracy, Billy Graham and many others have awed crowds with their use of the right words to motivate others and get their message across. I have been in Toastmasters for over 30 years and have won many a speech contest, once taking the Iowa Table Topics contest 1st place trophy. There are elements that make a speech great, and the conclusion is the most important.

The conclusion must make an appeal for action to the listener based upon everything else the speaker has said. It should sum up in a few short sentences what the speaker is trying to get the audience to understand and should leave them with a desire to do what the speaker is asking them to do. We’ve all seen preachers who “close” their sermons three or four times before it is finally over. This is not great speaking, but it can be effective. Here, Jesus closes once.

This little analogy is very powerful and very specific. It is about doing what Christ has asked us to do in the previous three chapters. It is about following through with all that He has said, not just part of it. Jesus does not want us to flounder and fall into the waves that life will toss at us. He wants us to have that solid foundation that is based on His word. This is a foundation that the world is trying to do away with. The world does not want to have a standard of morality. The world does not want anyone to tell them what is right and wrong.

Jesus says the choice is simple. You either follow the words He has said and stay on a solid foundation or you don’t do what he says and you fall. Real simple, real precise. The Sermon on the Mount is a revealing of the kingdom of heaven on earth, and we best heed His words and do His words if we want to be a part of that kingdom for all time. What Jesus reveals to us is God’s will for our lives. This is how God desires that we should live here on this earth. This is how we should treat one another – not just our brother, but everyone. This is the standard, this is the way. In our last lesson we went through all the various things Christ taught us in Chapter 5. Let’s move on now and review Chapters 6 & 7.

In Matthew 6, Jesus tells us to keep our giving to ourselves and not let others know what we are doing. We shouldn’t even let our right hand know what our left hand is doing. He says our prayer lives should be private, not public. They should be personal, not vain repetitions.. He teaches us a pattern of prayer with the Lord’s Prayer, then He tells us we should forgive or our father in heaven will not forgive us. That should be enough to get your attention! Jesus next addresses fasting, telling us we should not let others know we are fasting by our appearance, but make sure we look good even though we are fasting. It’s none of their business! He tells us that the most important treasure we can store up is that which we have in heaven not on this earth. What a contrary statement to the worlds thinking this is! He explains how we must be singularly focused on the Light and not darkness, and that we can only serve one master. Then He explains how important it is to trust God for the daily necessities and focus our attention first on the Kingdom of heaven. We should not worry what tomorrow will bring. That’s a lot to take in from one speech and we still have another chapter to go!

In Matthew 7 He starts out by telling us not to judge others. We have enough troubles of our own to figure out. We should take care of our own faults before trying to fix someone else’s. Keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking if you want an answer to pray is Jesus next point. We are told to do good things for each other, and He gives us the Golden Rule. He tells us the narrow gate leads to life. This narrow gate is at the end of a path that is straight and follows His words. He also says the broad gate has many people going to it because they do not want to follow His Word and stay on the straight path. We then are warned of false prophets and are told we will know them by what they produce. They are very deceptive, and we must be diligent. We must do the will of the Father or Christ will say He never knew us on that day when He returns. The will of the Father is all in this Sermon.

The conclusion is that we have a choice. We can choose to live out all the things that Christ taught us in Matthew 5-7 or we can choose to just do what we want to do and maybe follow some things but not others. We can strive to please the Father or we can aim to please ourselves. This is our choice. Jesus tells us that if we will follow His Word then we shall have a solid foundation to stand on. Our lives will be built on the rock, and no storm will be able to knock us down. This is a promise that there will be storms, and what we do with Jesus’s words will determine how well we will survive those storms.

Or we can choose to just go our own way and follow what we choose to follow. If we make that choice, our house is built on sand, which shifts whenever the tide comes in. There is no solidity to it. There is no sure foundation, but it changes all the time., When the storms come in, the sand can wash away, leaving us trying to stand up with little or no foundation. I do not want to ever be in that place. I want to be where I can firmly stand.

Please never take this story away from the previous three chapters and all that Jesus tells us we should be doing. God desires us to be so strong in the storm that our light will shine for all to see. He wants us to be a lighthouse to a lost and dying world because they are floundering in the storms with no foundation. They have chosen their own way and are falling farther down all the time. They need us to reach out and grab them by the hand and pull them back up on the firm foundation.

Will you be there for them, standing on the Rock?

Not Everyone

Matthew 7:21-23

21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Of all the things Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount, this is probably the most controversial and the most ignored. I will admit that for years I thought I was headed for heaven because I was working hard in the church, leading worship, doing evangelistic work, writing songs and choruses and being faithful to my local church. I prophesied on occasion, prayed for the sick and they were healed and did all kinds of wonderful works. Surely I was headed for heaven!

These words of Jesus “Not every one” should be taken literally. There are many who will come to Him at the judgment seat thinking they have done all these things for Him and in His name, only to be disappointed and asked to leave. Jesus will say He never even knew them. Those words will surprise many in that day. All these people worked hard in the church and thought they were all set. They had paid their dues. They had punched their ticket. They loved God and worked for Him all their lives. Why would Jesus say He never knew them?

Let’s look back quickly and see what He has taught us so far in this amazing sermon. First are the beatitudes, where He says we should be poor in spirit, we should mourn, we should be hungry for righteousness, we should be meek, we should be merciful and pure in heart. We are to be peacemakers and we should rejoice if we are persecuted for His name. Many of us can’t get past these first twelve verses in following what Jesus says is the Fathers will. This whole sermon tells us what the will of the Father is. This whole message, laid out methodically and with purpose, shows us the narrow road that brings us into God’s will.

Next, we are to be salt and light to a lost and dying world. We are to shine our light so God will be glorified, not us. Our righteousness should be better than the religious leaders. We should not be putting them on any type of pedestal and thinking we do not have to live up to that same standard. We must watch our anger and not call someone a fool. We must take the initiative to settle our differences swiftly. We must not lust after the opposite sex at all. We must not allow offenses to enter our body at any time. We should not divorce, for God instated marriage to be a life-long commitment. We should not make an oath that we will not fulfill, but just say yes or no when someone asks us something. We should go the extra mile and lend the extra clothes. We should bless those who persecute us and love our enemies. We should be perfect in these things and in God’s sight. This is all in Chapter 5.

I am not going to review all of Chapters 6 and 7 at this time, but if you want to see what Jesus was leading up to here, you should go back and read it for yourself. The Sermon on the Mount is one long message about what the will of God is. Jesus does not leave us wondering what it is. He does not tell us that we must do the Father’s will and then not explain what that means. I hear people going around all the time who say “I just don’t know what God’s will is for my life.” Here it is, in black and white. This is the pattern for everyone. If we don’t get this right, Jesus will say He never knew us.

Do I have it all figured out? No, I don’t. Everyday new truths explode in on me, helping me get through this life day by day/ Little by little He reveals my imperfections and starts to work on them. One by one, He shows me the areas of my life that still need to be molded and shaped into His image. Doing the Father’s will is also allowing Him unlimited access to my life, to mold and transform me into His image. I have a choice to make and so do you. Will I listen to the Holy Spirit when He speaks into an area of my life? Will I allow the Word to become a sword that will pierce me through and separate my desires and wants from the desire I have for Godly things? Will I let change happen in my life when He speaks to me to change?

This is a lifelong process. Salvation does not happen in a day. We are saved through grace by faith on the day we accept Christ as our Savior. On that day, we are bound for heaven. At that moment the transformation is real. From that moment on, it is up to us to work out that salvation into every nook and cranny of our lives. If we came to Jesus as a drunkard, God will appoint a time for that to be gone. If we come as a drug addict, He will work on that in His time. If we came as a prostitute, as the woman taken in adultery did, God tells us to go and sin no more once we are forgiven. We can no longer walk in sin.

Walking in the will of God is hot hard, but it is demanding. Jesus says here that if we are not doing our all to live our lives according to the Father’s will, He will say He never knew us. That should cause us to look hard at our lives right away. It should cause us to want to do everything we can to bring our lives in line with what we have been taught in the scriptures. If we are not doing that, we will miss the kingdom of heaven. I for one do not want to miss the mark! How about you?

Bear Good Fruit

Matthew 7:15-20

15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them

Genetic engineering these days is fascinating. I remember quite a few years ago visiting the Land O’ Lakes Answer Farm in Duncombe, Iowa. I was there to write an article for an Ag Issue our local shopper did every year. When I asked them what they did there, I was amazed. The have a weed plot across the street from the main facility. On this weed plot were several different types of weeds that corn can come up against as it develops. They test various chemicals to see what will work best against that weed to kill it’s growth.

Another thing that fascinated me back in the early 1980’s when I visited with them was how they worked with the corn to make it resistant against pests. Those of you who don’t know farming don’t realize how many different pests there can be out there. These pests attached themselves to the seedling or the stalk and can eat through it and destroy it. There is a constant search for the most resistant seeds.

Genetic engineering in plants has come a long way since then. I’m sure the same strategies are also used in apples and oranges and other crops. They are used for livestock as well. Anything to get a better yield. But no matter how much genetic engineering they do, a corn plant will always yield corn, and apple tree will always produce apples and a cow will always give birth to a cow. You will know them by their fruit!

In the creation account found in Genesis, one of the things that is said about the vegetation is that it has it’s seed inside itself (Gen 1:11). All living things are this way. The seed inside is what is seen as the fruit outside. That seed is what is reproduced by the plant or animal. God put the seed inside so that when anything comes forth from that particular plant or animal, you would know what kind of animal it is from what is produced. It’s a principal we all take for granted and easily overlook.

Jesus says to be careful we do not fall for the deception of false prophets. There are many who are preaching a false gospel in the world today. I know I have a Catholic friend reading who believes the Protestant church is a false doctrine. I would say the same of the Catholic Church. We disagree wholeheartedly and have had lengthy conversation about the subject. I will not get into that argument today. I preach Christ and Him crucified. That is the central message of the Gospel that we must stick to. It is when we veer off the track that we can easily get into false doctrine.
For example, those who say that we are saved by grace, and once we are saved we can go our merry way and not follow Christ are preaching false doctrine. Christ tells us we must follow His commands to get to heaven (this is part of the next lesson). The woman taken in adultery had her sins forgiven, but Jesus also told her to go and sin no more (John 8:11). We cannot accept Christ and ask Him for forgiveness only to pick up those sins again. Once He cleanses us, we must stay cleansed. Philippians 2:12 tells us we must “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” God helps us along the way but we have an obligation to Him to walk in the Light as He is in the Light (1 John 1:7). There is nowhere that the Bible says this is optional.

There are others who say if you are not baptized by immersion your will not go to heaven. They say that your salvation is not complete until that baptism takes place. This is false doctrine. If that is true, than they are also saying that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross was not enough to save you. I’m here to tell you that His sacrifice is enough. He gave His life so you could be saved. He did not say you had to be baptized as well.

There are many other preachers out there who bear the testimony of false prophets. Anyone who says you do not have to follow Christ’s teaching is a false prophet. Anyone who says the Bible is antiquated and we have to take it with a grain of salt is a false prophet. I hear there is a new movie coming out named “Corpus Christi” in which Christ and His disciples are pictured as homosexuals. False prophets for sure. The New Apostolic Reformation is one to really be careful of and stay away from. There are many false teaching in this church that closely mimic truth.

Jesus said we shall know false teachers by their fruit. The problem we have today is that many false doctrines so closely mimic the truth, a lot of the fruit looks real good to eat of. The NAR is a great example. Many of these churches are thriving and growing even though they teach so many things contrary to scripture. Their fruit looks good. Many churches that have been walking in the truth for years are falling for the deception. These are perilous times. Jesus said in the last days even many of the elect will be deceived (Matt 24:24). So how do we know?

You shall know them by their fruits. If what they are saying glorifies God and the Word of God, that is good fruit. If they are preaching Christ crucified as the way to heaven, that is good fruit. If they are preaching the resurrection as a way to eternal life, that is good fruit. If the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) is evidence in their lives that is good fruit. If they adhere to the tenants of scripture and don’t make up their own gospel, that is good fruit.

Those who are bearing false witness and putting forth bad fruit will eventually meet with judgment. Christ says they will be hewn down and cast into the fire. I believe that he means what He says. Anyone who says there is no hell, and God will not send anyone to hell is a false prophet. Christ is pretty clear here and in many other places where he spoke of the torments of hell. When we deny there is a hell, that is false teaching because it does not line up with what Christ taught.

Anyone who says you can be a part of the kingdom of heaven without being born again is a false prophet. Jesus was very emphatic. He said “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:3). That sounds pretty straightforward to me! How can we believe anything else? Anything else goes against what Jesus said and is false teaching. The fruit we must look for is if it lines up with what Jesus said. He said He is the way. The Baptist church is not the way. The Mormon church is not the way. The Catholic church is not the way. Your church is not the way, nor is your denomination. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the father except by Him (John 14:6). That is what He said and that is truth. Anything that says different is false teaching and we must beware.

The last part of this post is just as important. Make sure your fruit is good fruit. Make sure you are teaching and preaching the things that Christ did and that His Word still does today. Make sure you are doing good works, saying things that minister grace and thinking on those things that are good. Make sure you are walking in the Holy Spirit every day, seeking His guidance. The previous two and a half chapters tell us what good fruit is. Be fruitful!

The Narrow Gate

Matthew 7:13-14

13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

It saddens me to see what is going on in the church as a whole these days, and I think it saddens God as well. When the church was established, a standard was set by our Lord Jesus Christ that we live above the world, yet in the world. That we should turn our backs from the worlds ways and follow Him, even if it means turning away from our family and friends (Luke 9:23, Matthew 10:38). We are to come out from among them and be separate (2 Corinthians 6:17). We are to put away the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life because they are not of God (1 John 2:16).

Let’s start with one of the most glaring of the attacks against the church in our times: the LBGTQ (hope I didn’t miss a letter) community. Churches are folding left and right to this group of people. This community is bent on having to be accepted as they are, no questions asked, in every capacity the church has to offer. Ordained, youth leaders, deacons, marriage counselors – every area. They are determined to make same sex marriage be OK and demand it be performed by anyone they might decide to ask. They are determined to make Christians go against their moral foundation to serve them, even if they can get the service easily somewhere else. It is eroding the very fabric of our society.

The bible is clear on what the narrow gate is here. The narrow gate is traditional marriage between a man and a woman. The narrow gate is cleaving to one another for a lifetime. The narrow gate is to love one another through good times and bad, sickness and health, richer or poorer, until death do we part. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate is just give up because we don’t love each other anymore. The wide gate is marry anyone you like, no matter what sex they are. The wide gate is fool around and swing with as many as you want. The wide gate is the world and it leads to destruction. It destroys lives of the parents, lives of the children and the fabric of our society. More and more you see kids with two sets of parents. More and more you see children to apart by a world that has no sound foundation. The church has as many divorces as the world outside. Why? This should not be so – not by a long shot. The wide gate is everywhere. The wide gate leads to destruction

Then there is the acceptance of these individuals in the LBGTQ community. Many denominations have decided they are due every right and privilege that anyone else has. The Methodist church is riddled with this philosophy, and their churches are falling left and right. Lawsuits are brought against churches, schools and businesses who don’t fall to their demands, and the3y are being won. Our legal system has even said they are OK.

The narrow gate is that God created make and female (Gen 1:27). There are no more than two sexes, and the difference can be seen anatomically. God did that so there would be no doubt which was which. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate is be whoever you want to be and we will make sure this world will give you all it’s benefits. The wide gate is to not let parents talk to their children about being male and female as they were born, but to let them go the way they want to and just grin and bear. The wide gate is to turn aside and do nothing, say nothing and hear nothing as we slowly drift from the standard that our society has believed for it’s entire existence. The wide gate leads to destruction.

Then there is the question of creationism vs evolution. Evolution was theorized in in 1859 in Charles Darwin’s Book “The Origin of the Species.” The scientific community latched onto this idea because it could explain God out of the picture – they loved it. Evolution says that man evolved over millions years from protozoa in the ocean. He was the first to speculate the age of the earth was that long. In the 1927 the Big Bang Theory stated that the universe came out of one big simultaneous event, something Augustine said back in the 4th century. Augustine said it was God. Now the scientific community had to take one more stab at God. Taking Genesis out of the picture by saying it is a false account also takes God out of the picture of being in charge. Creation says the earth is 13.7 million years old

The narrow gate says God created the Heaven’s and the Earth (Gen 1:1) out of nothing, in essence a Big Bag. The narrow gate says the earth is 6,000 years old as the Bible says. The narrow gate says man was created individual, as were the animals and the plants. The narrow gate says that God did it all in six days. The narrow gate says we have dominion over all the earth. The narrow gate says the Light came before the Sun and the Moon. The Light is Jesus and He was here from the beginning. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate says we are just descended from apes. The wide gate says we are no better than the plants and animals, and that we should make sure they are protected above all else. The wide gate says we are not valuable. The wide gate says that man is capable of destroying what God created. The wide gate says that Genesis just cannot be taken as truth, we must believe man’s wisdom and not God’s The wide gate deems man’s wisdom to be higher than God’s in all things. The wide gate leads to destruction.

The last I will mention is morality. What is moral? What is just? What is right and what is wrong? Answers to these questions are challenged everyday by man. They are challenged everyday by a society that moves farther and farther away from any standard of living. They are deteriorating at a rapid rate around the world.

The narrow gate says that God has a standard. That standard is the Ten Commandments. Then there is the Golden Rule on top of that. If we could love by these two rules, all other rules would be unnecessary. The narrow gate says God’s ways are moral and right. The narrow gate says God executes judgment. The narrow gate leads to life.

The wide gate says that anything goes. The wide gate says that we do not have to be oral by any standard that already exists. We can make the standard as we go, The wide gate says whatever you think is right and Ok is right for you. The wide gate has no foundation in any kind of truth. The narrow gate leads to destruction

These are just a few things we have to consider. There are many more. What it boils down to is whether we believe the Word of God or not. Today, man is exalting his wisdom above Gods wisdom. In our schools our children are taught man’s wisdom, not God’s. It is sad and it is so wrong. As we trust more and more in man’s wisdom in our schools and our churches, more and more people will head to the wide gate.

Which gate are you headed toward? Are you walking in the wisdom of this world You are headed to the wide gate. Are you accepting this worlds idea of moral behavior? You are walking toward the wide gate. Are you discounting the truths of the Bible for what man says happened all those years ago? You are walking toward the wide gate.
Are you trusting in the Lord and His Word for the wisdom you walk in? You are walking toward the narrow gate. Are you walking in the morality God set forth in His word? You are walking toward the narrow gate. Are you a believer in the Genesis account and all the truths delivered there? You are walking toward the narrow gate.

And, last but most important. Are you a born again, Spirit filled, bible reading, praying and worshiping Christian, walking in the word and doing everything you can to obey it’s precepts? Have you accepted the atoning blood of Christ as your sacrifice for sin? Have you asked God to forgive your sins and have you repented and left them behind you? Are you a witness to His mercy and grace with all you come in contact with? Are you eagerly awaiting His return, knowing He could come any moment? You are walking toward the narrow gate!

The wide gate leads to destruction. The narrow gate leads to life.

How Do You Want to be Treated?

Matthew 7:12

7 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this fulfills the law and the prophets

We all know it. The “Golden Rule” it is called. It is known by cultures around the world, by Christian and non-Christian, by rich and poor, by big and small, by any race, sex or creed. This rule has been heard over and over again. Why is it that we have so much trouble understanding it?

Well, I can think of several reasons which I will share in this post. I’ll bet you can some up with a few more on your own. As I look at my own life and what I have witnessed and done myself, I can see so many ways that I fall flat on my face when it comes to this simple statement. It’s not on purpose, mind you. It’s a slip of the mental capacities, or it’s human nature, to just do what is best for me, not necessarily what is best for the other. I challenge you to see if you fit any of these patterns I am going to share.

The first is the “me first” or privileged society we live in today. It’s what I want ahead of all else. It’s my morality that matters. It’s my needs that trump yours. I must do what I have set out to do, and I’m not concerned whether you can fit into my plans or not. Have you heard that? I just heard it yesterday from one of my daughters! I hear it a lot. Once we have set course in a certain direction, we are not going to turn back and try and help someone else. This rule says to do what you would want someone to do for you, not what you want to do for them, or not for them.

We have one of our granddaughters living with us right now. Her cousins came down for Christmas this weekend. They spent the first night with us and had a blast. The last night they were staying in another city about 40 miles away so they could swim and head home in the morning. Our granddaughter wanted to go up swimming with them and needed a ride home if she did because I am not able to drive right now and my wife was working at a restaurant that night. But they had made their plans ahead and were not willing to drive her home. My lovely wife, who will do anything for her grandkids, drove up after work and picked her up. I rode with her and as always was amazed with her grace.

Would my daughter have liked us to bring her daughter home if a similar situation arose? We would have gladly done it. We would have figured out a way or altered our plans slightly to make it happen. But we would have done it, not because we would want the same, but because it is the right thing to do. Help someone else out if they ask, even if I have to go out of my way. Isn’t that what this rule says?

In our world today, we see this often. People will not go out of their way to help someone else out. They are stuck in their own little routines and heaven forbid someone should ask them to go out of their way to help. They forget that they might need that favor returned someday. When that day comes, they get mad because the other person won’t do what they would not do earlier.

The next thing is a simple thing called getting even. Well, they did this to me, so I’m going to do it right back! They gossiped about me, so I’m telling about them! They didn’t help me out at work, so I won’t help them! They didn’t wave at me so I’m going to snub my nose at them. How many times have we heard this, or been guilty of this? This is actually the exact opposite of the Golden Rule. It is saying they did it to me, so I’m going to do it to them because I did not like it! How backwards can it get? Yet our society seems to run on this sentiment.

This was me just the other day. I confess – I am guilty. I had ordered some things from a local gal who does a masterful job at couponing. She sells stuff out of her home that she has bought for pennies on the dollar and she is well below store prices. She was out of town when I sent in my order and hadn’t seen it, so I sent it again. She said she would get back with a price so I could write a check. She did not, so I prompted her. I got the price and asked her when I could come pick them up or could she deliver them. No response, for days. I asked again, three weeks after the order was placed, I still did not have the goods so I bought them at a local store.

My wife works with this gal at night, and she came home after I had bought them and said the gal was going to bring some stuff over because she felt bad. I told her that I had already bought it and didn’t need it. Then I said I would not order from her again. Yes, this is poor customer service, and in the eyes of the world, I would be justified in not purchasing from her again. But is this right? Is this the way I would want to be treated, or am I working the reverse of the rule?

According to this verse, the right thing to do is forgive her and give her another chance. I would want another chance if I messed up this bad! I have been in sales for over 30 years and know what it is to make mistakes and be given another chance. To be honest, it’s rare. But it’s the right thing to do. Remember our lesson on forgiveness? That applies so strongly in this verse. I would want to be forgiven my negligence. I should certainly forgive hers.

Then there is revenge. Christians should never take revenge into their own hands, but so often we want it so badly that we forget God told us vengeance was His, He would repay (Deuteronomy 32:3). We forget that God says to not avenge ourselves but leave room for God’s wrath (Romans 12:19). We want an immediate judgment! We want that matter settled now, and we will do it ourselves. After all, we are the ones who were wronged!

I can’t say I can give a good example of this one right off the top of my head, but you can all relate, I am sure. Someone does something bad to us, so we repay by doing something bad back. Or someone says something hurtful and we fire right back. My wife and I used to get into some of those types of arguments and no one ever wins. One party or the other gets deeply hurt and in our case it was always my wife. I can’t tell you how many times I fired back some off the cuff remark that I did not intend to say because she stirred my pot a bit. I’ve become a lot better at avoiding this, but it still creeps up every so often. I just don’t want to hurt her with my words anymore, so I am so careful. Revenge is never a good thing when we take it into our own hands. My wife always says “They will reap what they sow” and this is so true!

The last thing that I will mention is pride, I know I mention this a lot, but it is the major fault that keeps us going against the principles of God. Pride will want to make us stay on top, stay ahead, get even, get revenge and get our way. Pride will keep us from yielding to someone else’s need or to acknowledge someone made a mistake. Pride will keep us from forgiving someone and give them another chance. Pride needs to go and humility needs to rule and reign in our lives.

One last thought on this verse. Have you ever thought about the fact that you can take this verse and turn it a little around to show how powerful it really is? Do you realize that when you are gossiping about your neighbor, you are saying in effect it is alright if they gossip about you, according to this rule? After all, whatever I want done for me, I do for them, right? If I don’t give them a ride when they need one, I am telling them they don’t need to give me a ride when I need one, right? If I don’t help them, I don’t expect they should help me! What we do for or to others is what we want done for or to us is another way of looking at this verse.

Do you want others to take revenge on you? Take revenge on them! Do you want others to not help you out? Don’t help them out! Do you want others to put you down behind your back? Put them down behind their back! Do you want others to steal your joy? Steal their joy! Do you want others to be angry with you? Be angry with them!

Or, Do you want others to forgive you? Forgive them! Do you want others to be at peace with you? Be at peace with them! Do you want others to speak gently to you? Speak gently to them! Do you want others to help you? Help them! Do you want others to love you? Love them! Love them even if they don’t love you back. Forgive them even if they don’t forgive you back. Be at peace with them even if that peace is not returned.

Do to them as you want them to do to you. So simple, yet so profound!

New Web Site coming online

I would like your help, my friends.  I am developing a new web site that will be a hub for all the various things God has me doing these days, and there are a lot.  This site link to the following online tools that I have been using:

This blog – Bible teachings will continue (Currently the Sermon on the Mount)

“The Psalmist” (God inspired poetry)

“The A.S.K.Principle” web site – https://theaskprinciple.com – my new book web site where the book can be purchased from me

My YouTube channel – Containing many VERY rough clips of choruses and songs I have written plus my cancer testimony video.  I am also hoping to do some teaching on this channel as well.

My Facebook page – also called the Psalmist – this is  basically a mirror site to The Psalmist on WordPress.

This new site is petegardner.net

This site will carry reblogs from my current online presence plus much original content you will not see anywhere else from me.  God is moving me further into this writing world.  This is not intended to be another WordPress site that you will follow.  This is more a pure web site. You will be able to comment and like things posted here. My hope is you will visit, leave comments as you do, and give me feedback as the site is developing.  We have some things in place and a lot more to do.  Please stop by!

Thank you.  You have no idea how much I appreciate all of you!

Pete