From The Desk of Dave McLean
Last month I asked the question; what kind of God are you looking for? I ask this because many people are critical of God. So this tells me that they must have a better vision for God. Hmm, interesting! One complaint near or at the top of everyone’s list is the fact that God judges sin. If God was loving, He wouldn’t judge people- right? That statement by the way is a judgment! We’re comfortable making judgments, we do it all day every day, we just don’t like it when others or God judge us.
*Defining and judging sin is essential to an orderly life and society.
Can you imagine living in a world where there was no law, justice or judgment of our sin or crimes? No judging leaves us with no definition of right or wrong, no law and order and no remorse or consequence. Our world would disintegrate into lawlessness, chaos and anarchy in short order. We are headed that direction today. In truth, those who oppose God’s Truth aren’t looking for a society void of standards and judgment, they just want their own “wiser” standards and judgment. Lord have mercy, because we won’t find it from man!
*Just judgments must be according to God’s Truth.
Truth be known, the only way to judge justly is to judge according to the Truth and Spirit of God! John 4:23 “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” Joh 5:30 “I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” Lord bless us with the heart of Jesus, not of our desire and will, but Yours!
*We are blessed to honor God’s Truth.
We’d be fools to not judge matters surrounding our lives. Pro 14:15-16 “The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident.” Pro 22:3 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Psa 119:7 “I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.” When we learn His way, we Praise Him and His Judgments.
*But doesn’t God’s Word tell us not to judge?
The following is a passage that many use to condemn judging. The irony is that when someone makes that statement, they are rendering a judgment. But if you follow the passage through, the Lord is not condemning judging, He’s condemning hypocrisy. Read verse 5.
Mat 7:1 "Do not judge lest you be judged. Mat 7:2 "For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Mat 7:3 "And why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Mat 7:4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? Mat 7:5 "You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
The Lord is not telling us not to judge, He’s telling us to judge ourselves first so that we can justly judge according to His Truth. But, we can only judge justly when we’ve dealt with our own sin first! The beauty of God’s way is that when we deal with our own sin first, we can exercise compassion with others and not just condemnation. When we are stuck in our own sin, we want to condemn others to justify ourselves. But when we have been set free from our sin, we are free to help others in their battle against sin.
I tell those in our A Ray of Hope Bible studies that I believe one of the greatest disciplines we can establish in our walk with Jesus is to learn to be grateful when we receive God’s judgments and corrections. This shows that we see that He is right and just and that we desire to grow in His way. The Christian walk is not about walking in perfection, that would be an exercise in frustration. Our walk is one of learning to love our Lord, which is His greatest command and greatest desire. As we learn to love Him, then our desire grows in wanting to please Him. The Lord knows that we will follow the desires of our hearts, so our best hope is for Him to be the desire of our heart.
The more we come to know the Lord, the more we come to love His judgments. This is hard to understand, but it’s only because we don’t know Him. People don’t want to be told that they are wrong when they don’t want to do right. But when you want to do right, then being corrected is a blessing.
It’s the difference between walking in bondage or freedom, turmoil or peace and guilt or forgiveness. His judgments are loving and just because He is loving and just. Thankfully we have a God Who has our best interests at heart. Isn’t it time for us to give Him our heart? Therein lies the key, as we learn to love Him, we learn to love His wisdom and judgments. It really comes down to Love, and He is so worth loving!
In Loving Memory of Bob Christensen
Bob Christensen, Co-Founder of A Ray of Hope, passed away on Sunday, February 20, 2022. Bob’s physical heart may have given out, but I assure you his heart of love hadn’t. As I look back over the years of my walk, there are a few individuals who have impacted my life in a substantial way, people who were driven by a burden to serve their Lord and love their fellow man, who helped people that many would avoid, pouring out their lives for others so they would have life, indeed. Bob, along with his wife, Peggy, were those people. Many spend their lives pursuing their own pleasures or wealth, but rarely will you find a person who gives that up in order to love others. Bob was that rare person.
In coming to Christ, Bob never gave up being Bob, but he did give up many of his own desires in order to fulfil the desires of the Lord. Even in his later years, as his health was failing, he gave his all to the very end. His final days remind me of Paul’s letter to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:7-8, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
Bob has passed the baton and, thankfully, he has passed a legacy and witness to go along with it!
With thanks and gratitude,
Dave McLean on behalf of all who have served or stayed at A Ray of Hope.
~Once the weather permits, there will be a
Celebration of Life for Bob in Helmville, MT~
About 3 months ago, I was evicted and left struggling to find a place to call home for my daughter and I. I had lived at A Ray of Hope once before, about 2 years prior, so I knew I could reach out to them. When I came to apply and I explained my situation to them, Nikkia basically dropped what she was doing to do my interview. They then accepted me and asked if I had somewhere to go for a couple days until they could do my intake. The place I had to rest my head for a couple nights had fallen through and I found myself back at Ray of Hope. Although it wasn't supposed to be for another night or two, knowing I had nowhere to go, they took me in that day. I have been living here ever since. In that time I have learned accountability, gained responsibility, and Rachelle even helped me to save over 3,000 dollars! With the encouragement of the staff, I find that I have the ability to be a bit more independent and am now moving forward into my own place. I have seen A Ray of Hope give second chances and provide the opportunity for a better life for men and women struggling in this valley. I am very grateful to know the people who run this facility.