Friday, August 31, 2012

CLARIFICATION NEEDED

There have been a host of sermons where I have YEARNED to be able to raise my hand and say, "Ah, Pastor, pardon me, But what about......" during the service (whatever the medium - in person, t.v., radio, internet).

I am placing my Pastor on notice that I hang on every word you say.  You have my full attention when you are delivering God's Word.  When and if you think you do not have anybody linked-in with you on Sunday mornings or any special speaking engagement - I want you to know I am with you!

I say all this to let Pastor Dial know I listen (not just hear) and encourage the rest of you to really pay attention to what Teachers/Pastors are teaching and preaching.  Allow me to give you an example.

There is a well respected Pastor and writer, Rick Renner, whom I really like that wrote something I disagreed with or at the least I thought he could have written a whole lot better.  The main verse of the chapter was John 12:3 - 

"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair:  and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment." (KJV)

However, the author compared this verse to Matthew 6:21, which has Jesus saying,

"for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (KJV)

The writer then proceeded to spend a lot of time building and showing the case for money (Mary's "pound of ointment") needing to be a huge display, if not the main display, of one's support for the church as a means of showing that you have a proper relationship with God.  Mr. Renner says, "Jesus made it very clear that where a person's treasure is - where his money is - that's where his heart will be also.  So if you really want to know where a person's heart is, follow his money and you'll find out.  Again I say, money tells the truth!" (p.609, Sparkling Gems From the Greek)

"What does your giving reveal about how much you love Jesus?" (p.610)

Survey SAYS......."X" (Buzzer Sound).......Wrong Answer/Application!!

Mr. Renner, you have the wrong focus.  You have set your sights of treasure to low.  You place money as the key factor in determining someone's life priorities. You also use Mary the sister of Lazarus in John 12:3 as your go-to example - weak.

You can cite all the references and sources, even Scripture itself about how "costly" the "ointment" was that Mary used to anoint Jesus' feet with that day.  However, the "ointment" was NOT Mary's "treasure".  Jesus was Mary's treasure.  Jesus had touched her life miraculously and then raised her brother Lazarus from the dead (after 4 days in the grave).  Her service, her ministry that she could express to Jesus her gratitude while He was still alive was, interestingly enough, to anoint Him with the very substance that would be used later for His burial preservation.

Mr. Renner you are only taking one part of a life and saying that is the way to judge one's heart.  You are the one that selected money for the rest of us in your article.  What if ________is my treasure?  This is something you cannot make a dogmatic statement about.  There are too many people, places, and things in life that could be one's treasure.  I believe everybody's treasure should be Jesus Christ but many of us search a long time before finding that ultimate "Refined Gold" (Revelation 3:18).
_____________________________________________________________

The second quote - "What does your giving reveal about how much you love Jesus?" - alludes to a Dangerous and Incorrect way of thinking and believing.  It basically says the more you see a person throwing their money into church supported programs and events the more he/she must love Jesus.  To put it nicely - that is a bunch of cow pie or horse malarkey.  This is on the lines of those shady Televangelists I used to see growing up.  They would promise you healings and moves of God if you would just send in a certain amount of money.  I believe one's faith and service record on the whole is what needs to be viewed here.

Money is a big way to support "kingdom work".  But I strongly disagree with the notion that the giving contribution of anybody has a direct link with the amount of love I have for my Savior.  My finances are just one aspect of my life.  I serve my Lord in many other different fashions.  I sing in the choir, I sing on the Praise Team, I teach, I have even counseled some.  I have physically helped out those in need and the list could go on. 

In addition, you say "...someone may say he loves the local church.  But if he never gives one cent to the church, the principle stated in Matthew 6:21 says his heart is not in the church, no matter what he says. Where is his treasure?  If his treasure isn't in the church, his heart isn't in the church either." (p.608)  Wow!  Now your focus is off two-fold here Mr. Renner!  You have your eyes on money and the church.  It is my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ that I love and serve, not the church which you are pushing.  Don't get me wrong, I love my brothers/sisters in Christ, but I love and serve Jesus.  The church is where that love and service are displayed most of the time.
_____________________________

If I could sit down with you I would seek to find out if you are a "Program" type person.  There are those people out there that are sold on the more church functions or programs the better.  And I hear you saying loudly that if I am not contributing anything financially to any program of the local church that my heart is really not in the church, my treasure isn't really in the church, and that I don't love the church - therefore I must not love God.  That is a lie from the Pit of Hell and it sounds like you have bought into it somewhere along the way.

First, the focus needs to be Jesus.  He should be your ultimate "Treasure"!  Get your eyes off of money, the church, and programs as your main determination of commitment and love.  "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His Glory and grace."

Second, just love people.  If you desire to show off your Treasure; if you desire to show where your heart is and what is inside - love people.  Love God, Love People - Serve God, By Serving People.

Some verses to consider:

  • Matthew 20:26-28 -  "...whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave-- just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve"  
  • Ephesians 6:7 - "Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men,"
  • 1 Peter 4:10 - "Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms."
  • 1 Peter 5:1-2 - "To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed:  Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve;"

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

ONE REASON WHY

Interesting how on American currency it says, "In God We Trust", but in reality Americans have placed their trust in that currency they are holding.

In 2 Samuel 24 anybody can read how King David decided to take a census of all his fighting men.  This was an interesting move observing David's track record with the Lord.  The Lord had always favored David in his battles, so for David to stop trusting the Lord and place it in the number of troops he had in the land was a mistake.  David had a friend in the court, Joab, who warned him that this was not such a great idea.  "But Joab replied to the king, 'May the Lord your God multiply the troops a hundred times over, and may the eyes of my lord the king see it.  But why does my lord the king want to do such a thing?'"  Maybe it was success that blinded King David to these words of caution, but whatever the cause - "The king's word, however, overruled Joab and the army commanders; so they left the presence of the king to enroll the fighting men of Israel." (v.4)

The unfortunate thing with us, most of the time it seems, is that we see our mistake and come to our senses a little to late.  David was no different in this scenario.  Verse 10 says, "David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men and he said to the Lord, 'I have sinned greatly in what I have done.  Now, O Lord, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant.  I have done a very foolish thing." Talk about a big, affirmative head-nod from God.  Scripture records the Lord responding to David's prayer before the sun rose the next day.  "Before David got up the next morning, the word of the Lord had come to Gad, the prophet, David's seer:" (v.11)  This speaks volumes to me about how important this lesson was to God due to His quick response time.  God may respond by a longer time interval in other lessons, but this instance was expeditious.

God's answer to David was interesting.  Have your parents ever given you the choice of your punishment from a list of multiple considerations?  That is exactly what the Lord did.  "Go and tell David, 'This is what the Lord says, I am giving you three options.  Choose one of them for me to carry out against you.'" (v.12)
Let's skip forward a bit.  David hears the list of punishments to pick from and then does a curious thing - he places the decision of which punishment to administer back into God's hands.  "David said to Gad, 'I am in deep distress.  Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.'" (v.14)

Now, why would David do such a thing?  If we return to the Parent-Child analogy and I am the child, I believe I would keep the decision in my court because I am going to choose the lesser of all "hurtings".  Shall we take a look at what David had to select from now?  Behind door number one - "three years of famine in your land".  Door number two - "three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you".  Finally, behind door number three - "three days of plague in your land". (v.13)  The length of time might shorten from three years to three months to three days, but the punishment level increases from famine to enemies to plague to match the descending duration.  So, instead of splitting the difference I believe David's true senses finally returned and he realized that Father God knows best even in disciplining His own and relinquished judgment back into God's hands - "for his mercy is great".

Another avenue David explored was national sacrifice.  He offered himself and his family to God after seeing the actual angel of the plague and 70,000 people dead because of him.  David admitted that the wrong was his in the first place and questioned why others had to be punished.  Here is how the Scripture reads, "When David saw the angel who was striking down the people, he said to the Lord, 'I am the one who has sinned and done wrong.  These are but sheep.  What have they done?  Let your hand fall upon me and my family.'" (v.17)  Here is a huge example, in another country, thousands of years ago, why believers should pray for their leaders every chance they get.

Fast forward to present-day America.  Among many additional reasons, I believe our lost of trust in God has created the environment ripe for judgment, especially financial since that is now what America considers their God.  The currency might as well say, "In Us We Trust".  This is dangerous because God has been called the ultimate gentleman - yielding to our choices and then hearing our cries of "get me out of this mess and I promise...." later on when the situation fails miserably.   David placed his trust in the number of men in his army and he paid for it with a three-day national plague.  In my opinion, Americans have been surrendering their trust since the Gold Rush.  Our national history might have had some distractions along the way to prolong the impending judgment, but it seems our eyes are now fully fixed on the mighty dollar and our backs are turned toward God.  God help us!

Monday, August 13, 2012

MY HERO


I have heard it said that there are only seven types of stories to ever be told and we just keep re-inventing ways to retell those same stories.

1.      Defeating a threatening force = Overcoming (the Monster)
2.      A group in search of something = The Quest
3.      Main character journeys away from comfort zone to experience change for the better and then return = Journey and Return
4.      Main characters are split up at start due to misunderstanding, confusion, misdirection, but by the end are brought back together = ?
5.      Someone is tempted, trapped by their own actions, then dies = Tragedy
6.      Main character is oppressed throughout and when all hope seems lost, he/she is freed = Rebirth
7.      Rags to Riches

However, for the longest time now, at least in my memory, Hero or Superhero movies have been doing quite well.  What do all these hero/superhero movies mean (when observing society in between the lines)?  Can’t you hear Bonnie Tyler singing her song even now – 

“I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero till the end of the night, he’s got to be strong and he’s got to be fast, and he’s got to be fresh from the fight, I need a hero, I’m holding out for a hero till the morning light, he’s got to be sure, and it’s got to be soon, and he’s got to be larger than life,” larger than life.”


We all have a hero if we look outside ourselves.  Did you catch that previous sentence?  There have been songs about the hero within us just waiting to burst out, but if we are the ultimate definition or authority on life then we really are doomed.  Society uses this designation of Hero lightly and often.  I guess it comes down to your definition and standard of Hero.

A Hero, to me, is a title reserved only for one individual.  My Hero is someone who did not have to be my hero, but knowing the condition and price He chose to be my Hero anyway.  He freely gave up His life for my condition (body, mind, and spirit) and then gave me the opportunity to accept or reject His Heroic Act for me.

A “Superhero”, to me, is all that a Hero is plus a cheater of death and someone who desires communication/relationship with me.  This “Superhero” actually lived, taught, healed, performed miracles, took beatings for our healings, died for our broken relationship with The One and Only God, and rose again from death, hell, and the grave.  This Superhero is alive and well.  He appeared to many and taught many immediately after his resurrection and now sits at the right hand of The One who sent Him, making intercession for those who choose to believe in his heroism for their lives.  His name is not Clark Kent of Smallville or Metropolis (a.k.a. Superman).  His name is infinitely better – Jesus of Nazareth (a.k.a. Son of God)! 



Thursday, August 9, 2012

COSMETICS.......A DECEPTION?

Here is a blog off of my beaten path.  So, come down this bunny trail with me, please.

When it comes to the beautification of the face for women, I can understand taking care of one's complexion due to acne and rosacea or any other noticeable, unattractive skin disease.  However, if there is no problem with a woman's skin why are so many women wearing make-up or cosmetics as they go out their front door?

I have heard the expression - "Well, if the barn needs painting, Paint It!".  And truthfully, I have seen some before and after photos of women that support that statement (i.e. Oprah Winfrey among many others).  But those individuals are possibly two handfuls of people I could come up with that fit that bill.  Others that I have seen either would look just fine All-Naturale or they cake it on so thick it puts Tammy Faye Baker (younger years) to shame.

So, again why do women really wear cosmetics and who is the "paint" really for?
Their potential boyfriends?  Which might lead to a potential husband.  Their potential boss or employment?
A dinner party?  Society?

Who was it in history that made beautification, especially of the face, the ingrained, social, almost natural thing to do for women?  Did it start with the Egyptians?  It makes me wonder how far back in history we have to go to find who it was that possibly sold women on a deception that they needed to look a certain way because they were not good-looking enough the way they were.  Whenever it originated, it sounds like something from The Father of Lies himself would sell.  He originally placed doubt in the mind of Eve about what God said concerning the Tree and it's fruit - "Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" 2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.' " 4 "You will not surely die," the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:1-5)
So, once again somewhere along the line, The Deceiver could have beguiled someone into believing and accepting this beautification lie wholeheartedly.

I have found that the enemy whispers in a lot of different areas of my life and the lives of others - "Is that what you think of yourself?  You are not good enough!  Here is something I've conjured up that will help."
Be careful when you hear something along these lines.  If you are a True Believer in Christ allow those antenna to stand straight up and be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit is telling you if and when you receive these flash, deceptive messages.  Concerning beautification, these messages can come through the most innocent of ways of communication. They can arrive individually via a  friend with Mary Kay or the like.  They can saturate your mind through t.v. commercials/media.  In addition, a friend or celebrity could be using it and you figure why not you too.

The cosmetic industry is not hurting and will continue to boom as long as there is a draw upon this part of women's psyche.  If it is your judgment that "the barn needs painting" I understand.  I just ask you to pause and consider the source of it all.  Women of God and all potential women of God, consider Proverbs 31:30"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting [KJV="vain"]; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."  Maybe because "beauty is fleeting" women desire to hold on to beauty through cosmetics.  But I believe the most important person, God, and the most important people in your life will love and accept you just the way you are and cosmetics only goes skin deep.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A LIE FROM THE PIT

The Lie:  "What you don't know won't hurt/kill you."

Really?!  Now-a-days, there are many gods to choose from and many ways to those gods, but there is only one correct answer.  The true God and the only way to know Him was defined by Jesus when He said,  "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." - John 14:6  Even in a more general sense, Paul, in his letter to the believers in Rome, said,  "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." - Romans 1:20

However, it is one thing to Not deny that there is a creator-God.  It is another thing for that same person to have never heard the Good News about the Creator visiting humanity in human form to die for our fallen condition - sin.

What happens to people like this at the moment of death?  First, for those with the knowledge of Heaven and Hell, Salvation and Sin, the postmortem destination is cut-and-dry.  Those that have rejected the opportunity for salvation through Christ receive their reward - Hell.  Believers in Christ receive their eternal reward - Christ Himself and Heaven.

Be that as it may, those that are neutral on belief in God or those that believe in just a creator-God (without Christ in the picture) are already condemned or judged.  "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son." - John 3:17-18  We all have a pre-condition coming into this life that separates us from God - a sinful state.  Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,".  But true believers have the answer that has been provided - Jesus Christ our free gift sacrifice!  It is the best story every told and the best gift ever given.  Why wouldn't any believer want to share this Eternal, Amazing Grace with everyone else?  Neutrality is a deception.  What you don't know WILL kill you!

THE SPIRIT-LED LIFE (Romans 8)

The Spirit-led life has a "mind controlled by the Spirit [which] is life and peace." - Romans 8:6

Reverse this thought - "Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." - Romans 8:6
Those that are controlled by the Spirit of God can please God.

The Spirit-led life promises bodily resurrection.  "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit, who lives in you." - Romans 8:11

The Spirit-led life will "put to death the misdeeds of the body". - Romans 8:13
Here the Greek word for "misdeeds" is Praxis, meaning practices or actions.  So, the Spirit-led life will permanently stop the wrong and hurtful habits and practices performed by one's body.

The Spirit-led life has the benefit of sonship under God through Christ.  "...those who are led by the Spirit of God are Sons of God.  For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship." - Romans 8:14-15

The Spirit-led life has the Holy Spirit as our Kindred Spirit.  One of the first things the Holy Spirit will do when we are led by Him is He will confirm our relationship.  "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children." - Romans 8:16

The Spirit-led life has a little extra to offer.  Not only are we considered sons/daughters of God, but "heirs".
"Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory." - Romans 8:17
This goes beyond my comprehension right now, but I look forward to seeing it manifest.

The Spirit-led life has as a helper - the Holy Spirit.  When we are weak He comes alongside and helps.
"...the Spirit helps us in our weakness." - Romans 8:26

The Spirit-led life is awarded the Holy Spirit as his/her Interceder.
"We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.  ... the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will." - Romans 8:26-27

A Spirit-led life means....

  • God is working for the good of us who love Him... - Romans 8:28
  • God is for us not against us! - Romans 8:31
  • Nothing shall separate us from the love of God through Christ Jesus our Lord - Romans 8:35-39
  • We are more than conquerors! - Romans 8:37
*And it is all because of Jesus!!!

**  I'm sure there is more that can be put down concerning this topic, but this is what I observed only Romans 8 saying to the subject.  Be blessed and God be with you as you try to live the Spirit-led life!

Friday, August 3, 2012

IT IS YESHUA (yea-shoo-ah)

Have we got His name all wrong? 

"The first letter in the name Yeshua ("Jesus") is the yod. Yod represents the "Y" sound in Hebrew. Many names in the Bible that begin with yod are mispronounced by English speakers because the yod in these names was transliterated in English Bibles with the letter "J" rather than "Y". This came about because in early English the letter "J" was pronounced the way we pronounce "Y" today. All proper names in the Old Testament were transliterated into English according to their Hebrew pronunciation, but when English pronunciation shifted to what we know today, these transliterations were not altered. Thus, such Hebrew place names as ye-ru-sha-LA-yim, ye-ri-HO, and yar-DEN have become known to us as Jerusalem, Jericho, and Jordan; and Hebrew personal names such as yo-NA, yi-SHAI, and ye-SHU-a have become known to us as Jonah, Jesse, and Jesus.

The second sound in Yeshua's name is called tse-RE, and is pronounced almost like the letter "e" in the word "net". Just as the "Y" sound of the first letter is mispronounced in today's English, so too the first vowel sound in "Jesus". Before the Hebrew name "Yeshua" was transliterated into English, it was first transliterated into Greek. There was no difficulty in transliterating the tse-RE sound since the ancient Greek language had an equivalent letter which represented this sound. And there was no real difficulty in transcribing this same first vowel into English. The translators of the earliest versions of the English Bible transliterated the tse-RE in Yeshua with an "e". Unfortunately, later English speakers guessed wrongly that this "e" should be pronounced as in "me," and thus the first syllable of the English version of Yeshua came to be pronounced "Jee" instead of "Yeh". It is this pronunciation which produced such euphemistic profanities as "Gee" and "Geez".

The first sound of the second syllable of Yeshua is the "sh" sound. It is represented by the Hebrew letter shin. However Greek, like many other languages, has no "sh" sound. Instead, the closest approximation, the Greek sigma, was used when transcribing "Yeshua" as "Iesus". Translators of English versions of the New Testament transliterated the Greek transcription of a Hebrew name, instead of returning to the original Hebrew. This was doubly unfortunate, first because the "sh" sound exists in English, and second because in English the "s" sound can shift to the "z" sound, which is what happened in the case of the pronunciation of "Jesus".

The fourth sound one hears in the name Yeshua is the "u" sound, as in the word "true". Like the first three sounds, this also has come to be mispronounced but in this case it is not the fault of the translators. They transcribed this sound accurately, but English is not a phonetic language and "u" can be pronounced in more than one way. At some point the "u" in "Jesus" came to be pronounced as in "cut," and so we say "Jee-zuhs."

The "a" sound, as in the word "father," is the fifth sound in Jesus' name. It is followed by a guttural produced by contracting the lower throat muscles and retracting the tongue root- an unfamiliar task for English speakers. In an exception to the rule, the vowel sound "a" associated with the last letter "ayin" (the guttural) is pronounced before it, not after. While there is no equivalent in English or any other Indo-European language, it is somewhat similar to the last sound in the name of the composer, "Bach." In this position it is almost inaudible to the western ear. Some Israelis pronounce this last sound and some don't, depending on what part of the dispersion their families returned from. The Hebrew Language Academy, guardian of the purity of the language, has ruled that it should be sounded, and Israeli radio and television announcers are required to pronounce it correctly. There was no letter to represent them, and so these fifth and sixth sounds were dropped from the Greek transcription of "Yeshua," -the transcription from which the English "Jesus" is derived.

The name Yeshua literally means The LORD's Salvation, or Salvation from the LORD. In comparison, prior to being transliterated from the Hebrew Bible, the name Iesus did not exist in Greek. Through multiple translations and changes in pronunciation, a tradition of saying "Jesus" has obscured His name, "Yeshua." It has shifted His perceived message and identity from Hebrew to Greek.

In contrast to the early biblical period, there were relatively few different names in use among the Jewish population of the Land of Israel at the time of the Second Temple. The name Yeshua was one of the most common male names in that period, tied with Eleazer for fifth place behind Simon, Joseph, Judah, and John. Nearly one out of ten persons known from the period was named Yeshua.

Since Yeshua is spelled "Jeshua" and not "Jesus" in most English versions of the Old Testament (for example in Ezra 2:2 and 2 Chronicles 31:15), one easily gets the impression that the name is never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. Yet 'Yeshua' appears there twenty-nine times, and is the name of at least five different persons and one village in the southern part of Yehudah ("Judah")."

*Source - http://jesusisajew.org/YESHUA.php

Thursday, August 2, 2012

WATCH YOURSELF.......AND OTHERS

I have just ended a study on the Book of Romans in the Bible.  The information I will be sharing within this blog comes from certain parts of chapter 14 (1, 10-13, 19, 21) and a few beginning verses in chapter 15 (1,7).  However, if you want a good take on the context, read the entire chapters mentioned as well as the chapters before and after (13, all of 15).

The main lesson that I take away from chapter 14 is not to be a stumbling block in the Faith-Walk of a fellow brother/sister in Christ.  The main example that is used is food.  A personal scenario would be when I am out with believers that I know have dietary restrictions Based On Faith (i.e. - don't drink alcohol, fasting, don't eat meat, etc..), I should modify my behavior to accommodate their situation or at least ask before-hand if my drinking or whatever is going to bother them.  The behavior is called consideration.  It is also called being sensitive.  I am not the best by any means at this particular example.  However, food is not the only topic that Scripture speaks about concerning the sensitivity of believers around other believers.

Observe the following verses.

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters. - 14:1

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. 11 It is written: " 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' " 12 So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. - 14:10-13

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. - 14:19

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall. - 14:21

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. - 15:1

Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. - 15:7


There are things in our Faith-Walk that are "disputable matters".  Believers are told not to pass judgement on those matters but to "accept him whose faith is weak".   Paul goes on to challenge us to make the decision to not place "any" sort of "stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way".  The use of the word "any" makes clear that food is not the sole stumbling block we should be concerned with but is just an example.   Instead, Paul encourages us "to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification".  

Paul again displays his pattern of challenge then encouragement.  First, Paul charges "It is better not to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall".  Again, the words "anything else" spell out how all of life's pitfalls must be considered as a "stumbling block" and not just food.  Second, Paul stirs us "who are strong...to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves".  For it is easy to "please ourselves" by passing judgement on somebody and coming down hard on them with a lesson they will possibly learn gracefully in God's time by another means.  This does not mean that we say nothing to other believers in need of a word.  No!  By no means.  The words you choose, tone, and spirit in which you deliver those words are all critically important.  Leave the passing of judgment to God, find out and act on - "what leads to peace and to mutual edification" for that brother/sister in Christ, and "accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God."