Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Judge Who Matters

Dear Friends,

Once, the Apostle Paul was having a difficult time with some of his critics.  Like Job, the people after him were leaders – in Paul’s case, leaders of the Corinthian church.  Yet he boldly defended his ministry and motives, reminding those who were criticizing him that he was only a servant of Christ, yet a servant trusted with “the secret things of God.”  Paul told the Corinthians that his Master required him, as a good steward, to be faithful to His trust.  Notice that the Master does not require us to be successful as the world defines success.  He does not require us to be popular either – just faithful.  If, as best as I know my heart, I have no known sin that is as yet unconfessed, and if I am doing my level best to serve Christ and people, then I can claim Paul’s words and philosophy.  I can do what both Job’s friend Elihu and Paul recommended.  I can say, “I care very little if I am judged by you” (1 Cor. 4:3).

It is hard, though, isn’t it, when we are under the gun to care “very little” if we are judged?  I usually care very much!  But very much might well be too much.  After all, it isn’t other people (even important ones), or any human, worldly assessment that matters in the end – it is God who judges us.  Paul points out, “He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.  At that time (Judgment Day) each will receive his praise from God: (1 Cor. 4:5). 

Elihu reminded Job that God is a just judge, and He alone knows what a person is like on the inside.  If we are first and foremost God pleasers, rather than people-pleasers, we will be able to cast ourselves on God’s merciful judgment and say, “Though all people forsake me, yet, Lord, I will continue to love and serve you.”


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


Monday, July 6, 2015

Recognizing a Counterfeit

Dear Friends,

How important it is to “learn God” – to understand how he thinks and works and feels! Over and over again during Job’s suffering, Job rejects his friends’ words, refuting them with truth.  Yet his friends’ arguments sound so correct.  They are mixed with enough truth that only the truly discerning can see something has gone wrong with the theology.

My husband worked in a bank before he went into full-time Christian work.  He was chief assistant to the chief inspector.  The job of the inspection team was to find and catch the bank employees who were getting the bank’s money mixed up with their own.  His training included sitting for hours and hours in a dusty vault, counting thousands of bank notes, among which had been hidden a handful of counterfeit ones.  The idea was, if you were so thoroughly cognizant of the real thing, the counterfeit would be easy to spot.

There is no greater argument in my mind for getting to know God than the anticipation of suffering!  Learning to know Him in the good times prepares us for what will be said to us in the bad times!  In fact, the more solid and grounded we can be before a “miserable Monday” arrives, the better we will fare spiritually.  Jesus said in John 10:27 that His “sheep” know His voice and will listen to Him.  If His voice becomes familiar to us, we will more readily detect the counterfeit when we hear it.

What often happens when humans try to make sense of life is that they rely on the little human knowledge they have.  We have our human systems, often quite logical to us, into which we try to fit the things that happen to us.  Sometimes they fit, but often these events are just a bit too large for our understanding.  It is in such situations that we must rely on God, whose understanding is big enough though ours is not.


Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine