Who art thou, O’ man, that thou canst proclaim thyself to be the righteous judge of all Israel? Who art thou to sit in judgment upon the condition of the house of thy brother or sister, when it is apparent that thine own house is in dire need of repairs?
Judge not so quickly what thou perceive to be the grave sins of others, when thou also art a sinner who is oft found weighing in the balances in need of a Savior.
Nay, instead of criticizing and condemning another, first take a long hard look at thyself in thine own mirror, and then render an honest answer as to whether you are justified in being so harsh in your words and actions towards others.
Be slow to tear down, but haste to encourage and edify your brothers and sisters that they may through thine own light that glows, seek after that light to illumine their own lives.
The word “Christian” literally means “Christ Like.” Therefore, a person who calls himself a Christian should exhibit Christ like characteristics both in their personal life as well as in the way they deal with their fellowman. Being a Christian is more than just going to Church on Sunday. It is an every day way of life. Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of a Christian.
A “Christian” is a person who is in Christ, his sins are forgiven, and his guilt is gone. He is a new creature. In 2 Corinthians 5:17 we read, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Christ lives within the surrendered Christian, cleansing and filling him with His Divine love. He is there to lead, guide, protect, and direct the footsteps of the Christian. He has already marked the pathway that the Christian must follow and He will give him the strength to endure all trials and to serve Him faithfully. In Philippians 4:13 we read, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
The desire of every Christian should be to act as Christ would act, to do the things that He would do, and to speak the words that He would speak. In any situation that the Christian finds himself in, he should pause and ask himself the question, “What would Christ do in this situation?” Christ is our Great Exemplar. In 1 Peter 2:21 we read, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” If we would learn to follow the Master’s example, we should be triumphant in every situation that we encounter in life. We learn of Christ’s example and become more like Him by reading the Scriptures daily, praying often, and treating others with kindness and compassion.
The Christian is for Christ as a good soldier is for his country. A Christian is willing to stand up for what he believes no matter how great the adversity. He is willing to endure afflictions and persecutions for Chrsit. The Christian should be ready at all times to share his testimony with others and to give his time, talents and treasures for Him. In 1 Peter 3:15-17 we read:
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.
Here and now and forever more, the Lord is with the Christian. He has promised that He would never leave nor forsake His own. Hereafter, with Christ, there will be no burdens, no trials, no suffering. The Christian shall forever be with the Lord. In 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18 we read, “Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
We may not ever realize it or care to take notice, but the life that we live and the example that we set before others tells more about the type of person that we truly are than a myriad of words could ever say. We, especially those of us who profess we are Christians, are the shining light of hope and inspiration to the world. We may be the only scriptures that some people will ever read. We need to live our lives in such a manner that others will see the Light of Christ through us. We need to realize that to preach a sermon is one thing, but to live that sermon is an entirely different ball game. People may be impressed by our eloquent elocution, but they will be even more impressed by the way we live our lives as living testimonies of the things that we declare we believe, teach, and preach. Some people would rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day;
I’d rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way.
The eye is a better pupil, more willing than the ear;
Fine counsel is confusing, but example is always clear,
And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,
For to see a good put in action is what everybody needs.
I can soon learn how to do it if you will let me see it done;
I can watch your hand in action, but your tongue too fast may run.
And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true,
But I’d rather get my lesson by observing what you do.
For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give,
But there is no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.
When I see a deed of kindness, I am eager to be kind.
When a weaker brother stumbles, and a strong man stands behind
Just to see if he can help him, then the wish grows strong in me
To become as big and thoughtful as I know that friend to be.
And all travelers can witness that the best of guides today
Is not the one who tells them, but the one who shows the way.
One good man teaches many; men believe what they behold;
One deed of kindness noted is worth forty that are told.
Who stands with men of honor learns to hold his honor dear,
For right living speaks a language which to everyone is clear.
Though an able speaker charms me with his eloquence, I say,
I’d rather see a sermon than hear one any day.
Scripture Lesson: 1 Peter 2: 2-3
“As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”
The following seven things that help to ensure a baby’s good health can be adopted and applied to a Christian’s spiritual growth as well:
1. Daily Food. Take in “the sincere milk of the word” through study and meditation.
This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. ~ Joshua 1:8
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. ~ 2 Timothy 2:15
2. Fresh Air. Pray often or you will faint. Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.
And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; there was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: and there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, though I fear not God, nor regard man; yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? ~ Luke 18:1-8
Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
3. Regular Exercise. Put into practice what you learn in God’s Word.
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. ~ James 1:22-25
4. Adequate Rest. Rely on God at all times in simple faith.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. ~ Psalm 37:7
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. ~ Matthew 11:28-30
5. Clean Surroundings. Avoid evil company and whatever will weaken you spiritually.
There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him. An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass. The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness. He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city. The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord. ~ Proverbs 16:25-33
He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed. ~ Proverbs 13:20-21
Let not then your good be evil spoken of: for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another. ~ Romans 14:16-19
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. ~ 1 Corinthians 15:33-34
6. Loving Care. Be an active part of the Church where you can benefit from teaching and fellowship.
Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. ~ Hebrews 10:25
7. Periodic Checkups. Regularly examine your spiritual health. (1 Corinthians 11:28)
For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:26-30
*If we neglect any of these rules, our progress will be hindered.
But grow in the grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. – 2 Peter 3:18
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints (Ephesians 6:10-18).
I sometimes feel that the biggest problems in the world today, especially among those in the Christian community, is that there is too much time and effort spent on criticizing, condemning, and judging other people because of their differences, and very little time, if any, spent on focusing on some of the commonalities that should unite us as brothers and sisters.
It is a wonderful thing that we have strong testimonies, but those testimonies do not make us any more holy or righteous than anyone else. What good is a strong testimony if that testimony does not somehow incorporate not only a sincere love for the Savior Himself, but also for all of His children – all of our brothers and sisters regardless of race, gender, background, culture, and YES, even sexual orientation?
The Savior Himself taught, “By this shall all know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Furthermore, let us not forget that the scriptures emphatically teach us, “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again” (Matthew 7:1,2). James also teaches us:
Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge. There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another? (James 4:11,12).
Therefore, the question before us is, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).
Love will always conquer more than tenacious judgment and pernicious condemnation of others ever will. We are not commanded to agree with a person’s beliefs or accept their doctrines, principles, or teachings about how we should live our lives. Furthermore, we are not commanded to accept another person’s lifestyle. However, we are commanded to love one another.
How can we honestly say that we love God, but hold malice, animosity, or indifference in our hearts towards our brothers and sisters because they hold different beliefs, or because they live a different lifestyle than our own? Are we so perfect ourselves that we can sit as judges of all Israel? Let us also be reminded that, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10). If it were not for the love, grace, and mercy of the Lord, we who are quick to judge another would be in no better place than the one or ones whom we judge.
If we as Christians claim that we are true disciples of Jesus Christ, then let us strive to meet together on common ground instead of on battle fields of hatred, blind mistrust, and misunderstanding, and show more love and compassion for ALL of our brothers and sisters. There is only one TRUE GOD and He is the Father of us ALL, and He loves us ALL equally and unconditionally.
When we finally begin to realize that the walls that seem to divide us are artificial and not God-made, and as we begin to dismantle those walls brick by brick instead of continuing to add mortar and more bricks to reinforce those walls, that will be the day when we will be able to sit down together at the banqueting table of brotherhood and sisterhood and live in peace and harmony with one another. That will be the day when we will truly understand what it means to love one another.
~ Keith Lionel Brown
15 April 2015
There has been something placed upon my heart. When you are a parent you want the best for your children. You do your best to teach them good morals and standards so that they can live a life that is pleasing to their Heavenly Father. You hope that what you teach them in the days of their youth will carry with them into their adult years. Sometimes, however, it may not seem as though the gospel lessons that you taught while doing your best to raise them in a Godly home with structure, morals, and standards has any positive influence in their lives. And so, as a parent you feel devastated and ask yourself, “Why would my son or daughter choose the path that they are on when I spent so much time teaching them the right way to go?” You find yourself in despair over the matter and soon begin to feel as though you have in some way failed in your duty as a parent.
There is a verse found in Proverbs 22:6 which says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”This verse not only applies to parents in raising their children, but it also applies to each of us as members of the Church because we are all children of God. The Church teaches us Godly principles to live by as we follow Jesus Christ’s commandments and are faithful to the covenants that we have made. When we are disobedient to God’s commandments and deny the covenants that we have made, we deny ourselves great blessings from the Lord. I am a witness of this as I have been a wayward member of the Church, and have found myself being disobedient to God’s commandments and not living the covenants that I have made. I cannot rationalize or prove the things that I have done as being right because they are not. God gave us commandments and covenants for a reason, and if we choose to live contrary to those things which we know are true, we can find ourselves falling into an empty pit of nothingness.
Because I know in my heart that the Church is true, I have repented and have come back to it, all the while experiencing the joy of knowing that my waywardness has been forgiven.
Karlyn Kay Stebbins
January 31, 2015
Karlyn Kay Stebbins’ Biography:
Karlyn Kay Stebbins is a guest writer for Morsels Of Bread. She is an addictions counselor and works in a drug rehabilitation center. She has a double major in Sociology and Psychology, and a minor in Communications. She is a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, having been baptized on 26 March 2011. Her hobbies are reading and writing. She also enjoys spending time with her son and his friends. She is also the Founder of The Conqueror Foundation and has a blog called “Reflection Pays” where she shares her insights.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” ~ Ephesians 6:12,13
The Lord knows my true heart and that it is never my intent to cause division, strife, or disharmony among my brothers and sisters, or in any way seem malcontent or deliberately offensive to anyone. However, I firmly believe that in these desperate times, we who profess that we are Christians (true disciples and followers of Jesus Christ), need to bolster our resolve by taking a more firm stand about what we believe.
We cannot continue shaking hands with the adversary at every turn, thus compromising our beliefs, morals, and standards. We dare not allow ourselves to find solace by riding a fence which is only held together by a glue consisting of complacency and mediocrity while the unabated waves of the destructive forces of the world continue to crash upon and erode the shores of truth. We MUST take a stand for TRUTH and RIGHT, and after we have done all that we can possibly do, we must continue to STAND.
We are either for Christ our Savior, or we are against Him. We either believe the things that we proclaim, teach, and preach, or we do not. There is a battle raging all about us and we must decide whose side we are on. Wanting to support neutrality or wandering aimlessly in the fields of compromise is not a viable option. We must suit up for battle to fight either on the Lord’s side, or on the side of the adversary. Either way, it is a decision which we must hasten to make because time is of the essence. If we so choose to stand on the side of right, then after all that we can do, WE MUST THEREFORE STAND.