How Should A Christian Respond To Critics?

It seems that people are against us, what can we do to cope and overcome against adversaries? The Bible tells of one who had trouble with critics.

"This is the answers they gave us, 'We are servants of the God of heaven and earth, and we are rebuilding the temple that was built many years ago." Ezra 5:11.

The people of Israel returned from captivity to a Jerusalem and temple that was destroyed.  Ezra's enemies demanded Ezra identify himself and his followers as they proceeded to rebuild the temple.

Maybe Ezra was not willing to reveal his identity and his followers, but this bold statement is full of significance.

First, we all serve somebody.  The universe is divided into two camps- the camp of the holy, and the camp of evil.  Jesus said it too, "He who is not with me is against me." (Matthew 12:30,  Luke 11:23).  Ezra was confident in who he served, this made him bold.

Ezra had perspective, his answer was like saying, "Don't ask us, instead you should ask our master, we are servants of God."  Our critics are not criticizing us they are criticizing God.

Ezra was accountable to his commission; his answer was like saying, "We do not need to answer you, we answer to God, and we report to him not any king."  If we are doing God's will those who criticize us do not stop us.

To say they are servants of God says that they are obeying the Almighty's command. If we are obeying The Lord we can have confidence in spite of what others say.

The place of a servant is a humble place. We must be humble as we serve.

The God of Heaven and Earth outranks a mere emperor, and he outranks our enemies.

The emperor's officials may worship another deity but the God of Heaven and Earth is still over the official and over his god.

Ezra did not serve some vague force or mystical being; he had a solid understanding of who God is.  His dedication to God must have led him to seek to learn, understand and know God.  This gave him confidence. If we do not know God this way we will not have this confidence.

They had a commission from God to rebuild His temple and so that is what they were going to do. No matter who opposed them they were still going to obey God. Our commission should be our confidence.

They were focused and were not going to let the critics distract them from the task. We must resolve to keep our focus.

Today we are servants of the same God and we have a commission to build up His church - His dwelling in the earth.   We need the same humble resolve as Ezra.

(c)Adron Dozat 

What Do You Do When Someone Wants to Start A New Program at Church? Hebrews 10:24

Sometimes people come up with a project or a program and we are sure it misses the point or purpose of church. How do we handle them and their proposed project?

"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24.

The first half of this verse is about us.

Life is full of choices. We must choose to be people who are focused on the wellbeing of others. The words, let us, is like an invitation, or a call to action. We can't have the attitude that it is the minister's job to encourage others to service, it is for all of us to do.

We need to think about ways of encouraging others. We can't just rely upon random opportunities to encourage people. We need to make plans to, and set goals.

A spur causes the horse to move forward. Soldiers would spur their horses into battle when the noise would cause the animal to flee another way. It is a painful goad which cannot be ignored. Some translations use the word, stir, which suggest bringing the good up to the top of the pot. We humans have a tendency to get settled and need frequent reminders to continue to serve Christ. Sometimes those reminders are uncomfortable.

We do not just spur our brothers in faith but we get to be spurred by them too. None of us are free from the need to be encouraged to serve God.

We don't do good deeds and act in love to obtain a good standing with God, but because he has made us able to stand through the blood of Christ.

Love and good deeds reflect the nature of Christ in us. We want to do them because he did them we are his hands and feet in this world.

The church is not an idle place- it is a place of activity, good works, service, and spiritual warfare. We must give and receive encouragement if the church is to move ahead and influence this generation. No time is better than any another for encouraging. Everyone who serves should be encouraged in their efforts.

Maybe the new project someone wants to start will fall flat or misses the mark of the church's mission, but we should resolve to encourage people in whatever good work they are doing; and if they are not doing any we should all the more encourage them to take up the command to love and serve through some good work.

(c)Adron Dozat

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Six Traits Of An Upright and Righteous Person, Proverbs 16:17

If someone was an upright person what traits would characterize them?  The Bible gives some clues.

"The highway of the upright avoids evil, those who guard their ways preserve their lives." Proverbs 16:17.

This suggests the path we walk through life and not just an occasional moment of clear thinking but a lifestyle of being upright. The righteous person keeps on the path and sees the pathway of life as too purposeful to wander away from.

Here is a person who can endure scrutiny and still be standing. His life is public and without secrets.

He has a definition of evil. It is not subjective or cultural and does not change with the fashion but absolute. He recognizes the way of evil and keeps off of it with intent.

This person does not explore evil, he doesn't look at it from a "safe distance," or toy with it; instead he plans intentionally to take actions which distance them from evil.

A guard is diligent; he does not sleep on watch but constantly looks for danger. The righteous man does not take a holiday from being righteous; he is disciplined and ready to deal decisively with evil.

They guard their habits. The way they go about life and the way they live is done with deliberation; they do not just drift through life.

Something that is preserved is cherished, cared for, and maintained. This is the end result of the life of the upright because of a constant view that righteousness is a pathway that must be intentionally pursued, guarded and stayed.

The upright may have sorrows in life but they do not have regrets. The good they did and the good they became is not lost. Theirs is a highway worth walking on.

(c) Adron Dozat

If you feel that righteousness is something you will never attain to see my other blog about knowing God in your life through the gift of salvation. 

How Can I Please God? 2 Corinthians 2:15

Since we are God's creatures he must have a purpose for us and that purpose must include pleasing him. If we please God part of our purpose will be fulfilled.

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place, For we are the fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? 2 Corinthians 2:15.

We must be in Christ. This Bible verse is for those who are "in Christ." They have chosen to accept his terms of salvation and give him allegiance and him fidelity.

It is not an option. This scripture states a fact that once we come to Christ we have become something. Coming to Christ not only gives salvation but makes us the fragrance of salvation to others.

You cannot stop the aroma. It goes where it will and you can't put it back in a box to keep others from experiencing it.

Fragrance reminds us of Old Testament worship. Our lives should be lived as an act of worship. If we are living worshipful lives those around us will take note that we are living a different way.

The Old Testament Priest were anointed with perfumed oil. You could not help but smell it; if you were anywhere near you shared an experience in it.

We do not just experience the goodness of God we become part of the goodness; we become the blessing he wants to bless others with.

The aroma of our lives is not just that we live good lives full of noble sacrifices and acts of service to others but it is the aroma of knowing God. Knowing God is not academic knowledge about God but personally experiencing God the way you know a beloved friend not the way you know the facts of a person you never met. Knowing God must be personal, this is only possible through Jesus.

Ancient Romans would burn incense during the triumphal parade. Enemies captured in battle would be paraded to their deaths smelling the incense, while the victors would be marching to reward and enjoying the promise of good things the incense suggested.

The vanquished enemies of Rome were condemned to death, when they marched in the procession it was a march to their death. Those who reject Jesus are marching toward their final days with the fear of death and an uncertain eternity.

Those who are given life by faith in Christ have a new life in this world and eternal life in the next.

The sweet aroma of our lives lived for Christ is not only a blessing to those around us but it pleases God. Just as fragrance was used in worship and consecration so also our lives are to be filled with worship and service.

It is only in Christ and obedient to him that we are able to please God. It is not because of anything special about us except we have been captured by Christ's love and are led by him daily in his triumphal procession.

If you want to knowmore about coming to Christ for salvation see my other blog.
(c)Adron Dozat

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What Can You Do When You Doubt Your Calling?

We may feel called by God to do something but after a while it looks like it is unraveling, we get discouraged and wonder if it is worth it. The Bible gives an example of someone who went through all that and made it to the hall of God's faithful.

"By faith Abraham when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going." Hebrews. 11:8.

God Calls Abraham 
Abraham's faith was not a sit in the church on Sunday type of thing but it was a go and doing kind of thing. He was called and he went. The word faith and the word obey are linked in this verse because there is no faith where there is no obedience.

We may hear a call from God to leave our lives behind and follow where he leads. Faith like Abraham's will go without needing to know where the end will lead to. Such faith looks not to its own wits and resources but to God's promises.

The test of Abraham's faith was the test of obedience. He did not look at the situation he looked at God.

Abraham may not have known where he was going, but God did. When God called Abraham He did not tell him where he would end up, only that he was going to a land that God was going to show him. Though Abraham did not know the destination he knew the one leading there and that was enough.

The scriptures do not indicate that Abraham put God to the test like Gideon did, or took time to think it over- in fact the indication is that Abraham obeyed swiftly.

Abraham's faith was not exhausted in the first efforts of going out, he dwelt in tents the rest of his life. Though he never received a palace as the owner of the estate, he kept on having faith. He has received far more than promised in heaven.

You may feel that you have started out on something you can't finish or you won't make it to the end; but you must refresh your faith by looking anew at the Almighty who is able to do abundantly more than you need. 

(c)Adron Dozat

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How Can I Find Strength To Carry On?

Sometimes we feel too tired of the struggle to go on, and ask, where can we find strength for another day?

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak." Isaiah 40:29.

We look for strength in many places like friendship, stoicism, education, and self-will; but there is one place where we are sure to find it. God is able to give you strength. God is willing and he is not one to give up. He will be there to give you strength when you come to him.

God gives strength freely, we do not have to buy or earn it- just ask.

The strength that God gives is strength of faith, and of spirit, and we can receive his strength for our weakness when we come to in faith.

Sometimes it is good to be weary. When we are aware of our need we are able to ask for help. If we are prideful we may be weary but no better off because we refuse to be humble and ask for God's grace.

We may grow weary of waiting for God to answer our prayers and bring deliverance by conquering our problems for us, but strength and power to endure through them may be the best answer for those prayers.

God can give what we need and more; he is willing to give not only strength but also power.

Strength is not enough if you can't act, but power is strength that moves with direction and purpose. Power is the releases strength.

In our weakness our faith can make us strong. The apostle experienced this and said "When I am weak then am I strong." We see in this testimony the power of God working through him in the situation. 2 Corinthians 12:10.

Though we are weak and faint we may find power and strength not in ourselves but in God when we look to him to supply it. It may not be the power to overcome trials but to thrive in them.

If you do not have a relationship with God then visit my other blog.

(c)Adron Dozat

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