Righteous Wrath—What A Relief

God is Just—And God is Fair

PREVIEW: Ask most people and they will tell you they prefer a God of love, not wrath. They like a Jesus who is “full of grace,” but they are not so sure about a Christ whose grace is perfectly balanced with “truth.” They have, at least in their minds, as Dorothy Sayers notes, “efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certified him ‘meek and mild’ and recommended him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.” You see, most people are very uncomfortable with a Deity who actually punishes sin, preferring a world where “all dogs go to heaven”—as do all people. All of which would render judgment, punishment, and hell entirely irrelevant. However, though perfectly loving, resplendent with grace, unequaled in patience, and a place of safety for his children, God is also a bit dangerous because he is organically just. God is just, and like it or not, we should all be eternally grateful!

Auto Righteous Wrath—What A Relief - Ray Noah

A JOURNEY OF WORSHIP // Psalms 76:7-9

It is you alone who are to be feared. Who can stand before you when you are angry? From heaven, you pronounced judgment, and the land feared and was quiet—when you, God, rose up to judge, to save all the afflicted of the land. Surely your wrath against mankind brings you praise, and the survivors of your wrath are restrained.

Ask most people, and they will tell you they prefer a God of love, not wrath. They like a Jesus who is “full of grace,” but they are not so sure about a Christ whose grace is perfectly balanced with “truth.” You see, most people are very uncomfortable with a Deity who actually punishes sin, preferring a world where “all dogs go to heaven,” as do all people. All of which would render judgment, punishment, and hell entirely irrelevant.

Yet throughout the Bible we find in the Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—a capacity for righteous wrath: Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by fire, moneychangers are given the bum’s rush right out of the temple, greedy Ananias and Sapphira drop dead in church, and at the proper time, the living and the dead will face the final judgment. Though perfectly loving, resplendent with grace, unequaled in patience, and a place of safety for his children, God is also a bit dangerous because he is organically just.

I prefer a God like that. I don’t want the syrupy, doting eternal Santa Claus who does nothing but dispense goodies to one and all—even the bad ones. I want a God who is fair and true and just…and dangerous.

However, what I prefer, what anyone prefers, matters little. Like it or not, the kind of God we get is a God of love—and of justice! Likewise, the kind of Savior we get wasn’t the sugary sweet version so many in our culture have made him to be—a sanitized, tame, Mr. Rogers version of Christ. Dorothy Sayers was right,

To do them justice, the people who crucified Jesus did not do so because he was a bore. Quite the contrary, he was too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have declawed the lion of Judah and made him a housecat for pale priests and pious old ladies… To those who knew him, however, he in no way suggests a milk-and-water person; they objected to him as a dangerous firebrand.

But the Bible is quite clear: Jesus is no pussycat—he is the Lion of Judah, and one day, as 2 Timothy 4:1 says, “Jesus Christ [will] judge the living and the dead.” And on that day, all of heaven will thunder, “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were the Holy One…Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.” (Revelation 16: 5,7)

All of creation, including you and I, will be utterly amazed at the justice and fairness of God’s judgment, and we will stand in solidarity to declare in unison, “That’s exactly right—true and just are your judgments!”

Justice will finally be served by the only One who can be trusted to judge in righteousness and fairness. What a relief!

MY OFFERING OF WORSHIP: As you read scripture, the next time you come across a passage where God is meting out punishment or issuing a law that seems so incredibly harsh to our modern, sophisticated ears, just stop and by faith, thank God that he is both just and fair.

God Rules—Live With It!

God's Sovereignty Means You Can Get a Good Night’s Rest

PREVIEW:

God Rules—Live With It! -Ray Noah

If we could truly absorb the truth that God rules over all—big and small—and embrace it as a guiding principle for our everyday lives, what a difference would it make in how we approach life! We would live with less anxiety about the current global climate. We would be a great deal less upset about our current leaders or a lot less dependent on them to solve our every problem. We would be a lot less worried about whether we would have a job, good health, or a happy family when the sun comes up tomorrow. In fact, we would not lose any sleep at all about the sun coming up tomorrow or not. Why? Because God truly does rule over all, big and small!

A JOURNEY OF WORSHIP // Psalm 75:6-7

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt a man. But it is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

What a great reminder! It is neither the Democratic nor the Republican National Committees that get their candidates elected; it is not how well organized the parties are at the grassroots level; it is not the hundreds of millions of dollars that we now spend to “buy” elections—although those factors certainly play into the outcome. But at the end of the day, it is what God permits that determines who will rise and who will fall.

The truth is we see only a little slice of history. From our perspective, the country was desperately needing change, or we were at war, and we needed a wartime leader in the Oval Office, or the economy was in shambles and we needed an administration with financial savvy to fix us, or whatever other scenario we used to describe our current context. But God lives outside of time and above circumstances, and he is moving human history to a foreordained conclusion. Daniel 2:20-21 reminds us,

Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.
He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning.

If we could truly absorb that truth and embrace it as a guiding principle for our everyday lives, what difference would it make in how we approach life? I think we would live with a lot less anxiety about the current global climate. I think we would be a great deal less upset about our current leaders or a lot less dependent on them to solve our every problem. I think we would be a lot less worried about whether we would have a job, good health, or a happy family when the sun comes up tomorrow. In fact, we would not lose any sleep at all about the sun coming up tomorrow or not.

Now, I’m not claiming that we should adopt a do-nothing, careless approach to life. Of course not—that would make us unworthy servants (see Matthew 25:24-30) of a Master who expects us to do our best with what we have been given (Colossians 3:23-24). But remembering that God rules over all, big and small, that God controls all, big and small, that God uses all the events of this world, big and small, to bring about his perfect plan, and helps me to live out my life in a much more purposeful, peaceful, and productive way.

Here’s the thing: God rules—live with it!

MY OFFERING OF WORSHIP: When you pray today, bring every concern that you have, big or small, to God’s throne. After you have expressed them to God, let your ending statement be, “God, you rule over them all.”

When God Is Silent

He’s Still There, Invisible, Yet Nonetheless Doing His Part

PREVIEW: You’ve had moments when you dared to be brutally honest with God. You said something to the effect, “God, where are you? You’re really letting me down!” Or worse! Don’t worry, Jesus had a moment like that, too: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” But Jesus would remind us that the best part of our walk with God is not what he does for us, as glorious as that may be, it is what he does in us! And those best things, faith, humility, trust, and Christlikeness, are best forged in the crucible of silence.

When God Is Silent - Ray Noah

A JOURNEY OF WORSHIP // Psalm 74:9

We are given no miraculous signs; no prophets are left, and none of us knows how long this will be.

Have you ever talked to God like the writer of this psalm did? I have! There have been times of desperation in my life that led me to frustration with God—when a loved one was on her death-bed, when a conflict arose that seemed to have no resolution, when a financial need was staring me in the eyes and I had absolutely no answer for it; when an attack came from out of nowhere that just sucked the life out of me.

You’ve had those moments, too. And if we dared to be brutally honest with God, we said something to the effect, “God, where are you? You are really letting me down on this one!” Or worse! Don’t worry, Jesus had a moment like that: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46)

Perhaps your desperate cry to God has been more general—like the one in this particular verse. Your holy discontent has led you to prayerfully complain to God that he never seems to show up in his power and glory, with signs, wonders, and miracles, as he did in days of old—and there seems to be no indication that he will anytime soon. You are desperate for God, but he doesn’t seem desperate for you.

The writer of this psalm most likely penned this prayerful lament after the destruction of Jerusalem in 587 BC. The Jews were deported to Babylon, the Holy Land had been overrun and defiled by pagans, and God’s people were in a bad way—with no end in sight. Worst of all, God was silent—he wasn’t acting (“no miracles”), he wasn’t talking (“no prophets”), and there was no game plan except for more of the same (“we don’t know how long this will be”).

So, the psalmist poured out his complaint—which is always a good thing. And even though it wasn’t in this psalm, God did give his people some profound advice (I guess his advice is always profound since, after all, he is God) through a prophet who served around the same time as the Palmist. His words are recorded in Jeremiah 29:1-23. I hope you will take the time to read them.

Of course, this passage contains the verse that everyone loves: Jeremiah 29:11—I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and give you a hope and a future. But read the context. God is, in essence, saying to them, “This difficult time is going to take a while, and yes, I will see you through it. But in the meantime, bloom where I’ve planted you. Even though you don’t hear me or see me, I am still at work. I’m doing my part, so you do your part by staying faithful and useful to me.”

Here’s the deal: The best part of our walk with God is not what he does for us, as glorious as that may be, it is what he does in us! Faith, humility, trust, and Christlikeness are best forged in the crucible of adversity. God has done that with all the greats—Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Elijah, Job, Daniel, and Paul. And with each of those spiritual heroes, part of the crucible included God’s silence. As Oswald Chambers called silence “the first sign of his intimacy,” noting that,

God’s silence is the sign that He is bringing you into an even more wonderful understanding of Himself.

Are you frustrated with God’s silence in your time of desperation and adversity? Why should you be any different than the greats of our faith? Out of the fire of adversity, including the silence of God, comes deeper understanding and intimacy with God, along with the fruit of righteousness. So, while frustrating times seem to last far too long, fruitful people are those who have endured through them while trusting God to do his work … no matter how long it takes.

MY OFFERING OF WORSHIP: If you are going through a difficult time where it seems like God is invisible, distant, and deaf, begin to thank him for the grace of his silence.

For Every Leah

I Love You! Would You Be Mine? ~God

You are worthy to be loved, accepted, and valued simply because God created you perfectly. Unfortunately, in our world, we typically assign worth by arbitrary, unfair, and constantly shifting standards of physical attractiveness, and in so doing, we set the stage for untold misery for those who don’t measure up. But even if others don’t recognize you as an amazing creation of the Almighty, never forget that God sees you as something special.

The Journey // Focus: Genesis 29:16, 30-32

Now Laban had two daughters [that Jacob married]; the name of the older was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel… Jacob’s love for Rachel was greater than his love for Leah… When the Lord saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the Lord has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.”

You are worthy to be loved, accepted, and valued simply because God created you perfectly. Even if others don’t recognize that, never forget that God sees you as something special.

Unfortunately, in our world, we typically assign loveliness by arbitrary, unfair, and constantly shifting standards of attractiveness—and rarely are those internal qualities—and in so doing, we set the stage for untold misery for those who don’t measure up. And holidays like Valentine’s Day can exacerbate the feelings for those who receive no “Happy Vallentine’s, will you be mine?” card

In the Bible story found in Genesis 29, Jacob desires to marry the beautiful Rachel but is duped into marrying her not-so-attractive older sister Leah. (Genesis 29:16-23) Unfortunately for Leah, she wasn’t Jacob’s type. Genesis 29:17 tells us, “Leah had weak eyes, but Rachel was lovely in form and beautiful.” In Hebrew, that’s a polite way of saying Leah was ugly. Likely that is not news to her. She is fully aware of how people perceive her, and to add insult to injury, her little sister, Rachel, is absolutely beautiful.

Imagine the comparisons Leah lived her entire life—sometimes openly, sometimes in the not-so-subtle whispers and stares of others, including her family. Every day, Leah faced the pain of rejection that not having the right looks brings because, in truth, she—and every woman—wants to be told she is beautiful and desirable.

Picture her fear of going to bed with Jacob that night, knowing that the truth will be exposed in the first light of day. She will wake up yet again unwanted, unnoticed, unloved—again coming in second—because, as C.S. Lewis wrote, “in the morning it’s always Leah.”

Imagine that sinking feeling when she hears her new husband yelling at her father for foisting on him the ugly one—the one he didn’t want. And in her mind, her worthlessness is once again validated that the only way she will find love and get married is through pretense or a payoff.

But by hook or by crook she has gained a husband, and now she must command his affection. So in vain, Leah begins a creative attempt to capture Jacob’s heart—bearing babies. In Genesis 29:31-30:24, we become witness to a baby race: over the next 20 years, these two wives and their two concubines try to outdo each other to get the upper hand with Jacob by bearing 12 sons.

But for Leah, no matter how many babies are born, nothing changes—still no flowers, no candy, and no affection. With each new child, “in the morning, it’s still Leah.” Notice Leah’s diminishing expectations with each successive birth. In 29:32, when Reuben was born, there are still high hopes, “Now my husband will love me.” Thinking she can lure Jacob’s love, she names the baby Rueben, which means “a son.” After all, what husband wouldn’t love a wife who could give him a son? But those longings for a sizzling, romantic relationship become simply a fleeting hope for some expression of affection in Genesis 29:34 when her third son, Levi, is born: “This time my husband will become attached [attracted] to me.” Finally, many years later, in Genesis 30:20, when she bears her sixth and last son, Zebulun, Leah says, “Now will my husband dwell with me because I have given him six sons” By this time, she’d be satisfied with just a token—that Jacob would just spend more time with her.

Understandably, she’s looking to Jacob to meet a need that God had planted in her heart by design. But because of sin, the sad fact is, no other person will ever fully meet that need. Jacob can’t for Leah, and no one—husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend will do it for you. Only when we allow God to fill us will our deepest longing for belonging be met.

Leah began to get that along the way. When Judah was born in Genesis 29:35, she says, “Now will I praise the Lord.” The sad reality was, this relationship between Leah and Jacob never sizzled. But something did begin to happen in Leah’s character to win Jacob over. As you get to the end of this saga in Genesis 49:29-31, we find Jacob is an old widower. He has outlived both Leah and Rachel. His last recorded request is to be buried next to Leah. At death, Jacob made his last pledge of love to weak-eyed Leah, not the beautiful Rachel. In the end, Leah’s character, not her curves, won Jacob’s respect—and his heart.

The truth is, most likely we will never change the way sin-tainted people assign value to us. In the eyes of some, worth may continue to evade us. No matter what, “in the morning we will still be Leah.” But when we make God our primary source of love, acceptance, and affection, he can satisfy those deep longings.

While cultural standards of worth apart from Christ continually change—God’s standards don’t. He always finds you worthy of his love. So, while human love and value are wonderful, make God your first and primary source of significance. If you are looking to find fulfillment in another person, every relationship will be a desperate, never-ending search for another to complete you. Only God should occupy that role—and only he can meet that need!

God loves you! So much so that he sent his Son to die to redeem you, and you are his forever. Now that must mean you are something incredibly special. Never forget that.

Going Deeper: Take some time today to just soak in God’s love for you. I am not sure how you can do that, but in your own way, give him a chance to reveal just how special you are to him.

A Moment of Clarity

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

PREVIEW: We sometimes look at how the rich and famous live, and we envy them. Maybe we think, “Am I missing something? How come living the righteous life doesn’t bring those kinds of rewards?” After all, shouldn’t doing the right thing, living the holy life, and doing our best to honor God have some payoffs here and now? Perhaps you should do what the psalmist did to cure his bout with envy: Go into God’s sanctuary and there understand the destiny of the wicked. And remember: this earth is not your true home. You’re not home yet. Heaven is where you are headed, and my friend, it is no consolation prize. It is the grand prize for faithful living.

A Moment of Clarity - Ray Noah

A JOURNEY OF WORSHIP // Psalm 73:2-3,17

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked… Then I went into your sanctuary, O God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.

Haven’t we all had those moments when we’ve envied the prosperity of the wicked? We see the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous—the luxury cars they drive, the jewelry they wear, the vacations they take, the enormous homes they own—complete with walk-in closets the size of the average living room—a gaggle of sycophants who tend to their every need, hang on their every word, and stroke their bloated ego.

And what did they do to come by such prosperity? Certainly nothing worthy of eternal accolades! For that matter, they did nothing to add any real, lasting value to this world either except to look cool, rap out a few trashy lyrics, catch some air on a half-pipe, shoot the ball through a hoop, or perhaps appear on one of the thousands of reality shows on TV these days to get famous for being famous. It’s not like they discovered a cure for cancer, solved world hunger, or even made life better for even just one of the billions of people on this planet who could really use a helping hand.

So that’s my rant! And my point is we sometimes look at how people like that live and envy them. Perhaps we think, “Am I missing something? How come living the righteous life doesn’t bring those kinds of rewards?” After all, shouldn’t doing the right thing, living the holy life, and doing our best to honor God have some payoffs here and now?

I’m reminded of the story of Henry C. Morrison, who, after serving as a missionary for forty years in Africa in the late 1800s, became sick and had to return to America. As his ship docked in New York harbor, a great crowd gathered to welcome home another passenger on that boat. Morrison watched as President Teddy Roosevelt received a grand welcome home party after his African Safari. Resentment seized Morrison, and he turned to God in anger, “I have come back home after all this time and service to the church, and there is no one, not even one person here, to welcome me home.”

Then, a still small voice came to Morrison and said, “You’re not home yet.”

And neither are you!

Dear friend, don’t get so earthbound. Heaven is not the consolation prize; it is the grand prize. It is your real home, and it is way beyond any of the ephemeral stuff the rich and famous enjoy for this brief season on earth. The next time you’re tempted to envy, come into the sanctuary—that place of intimacy with God—and allow the Holy Spirit to give you that moment of clarity—and pray for that moment to become a way of thinking.

MY OFFERING OF WORSHIP: Spend some time thinking about heaven today. It is what Christians are meant to do.

Long Live the President!

Pray That God Will Endow Them With the Great Stuff of Leadership

PREVIEW: Wouldn’t it be great if our presidents-current and future—began their reign by declaring their utter dependence on God? Wouldn’t it be great if they saw their administration as a conduit of God’s blessing on us? Wouldn’t it be great if they played fair with both the bigwig and the little guy? Wouldn’t it be great if they fundamentally saw themselves as both servant of God and servant of the people? If we ever got a leader who was both an authentic servant of God as well as a public servant in the truest sense, we wouldn’t be crying out for term limits. As much as we wish for that kind of leadership in the White House…or in the governor’s mansion…or in the mayor’s office…or in the pulpit, we should be even more intent on praying for those very qualities to be endowed to them from on high. And, of course, we ought to pray that they would have the kind of heart into which God places the stuff of great leadership.

Long Live the President! - Ray Noah

MY JOURNEY OF WORSHIP // Psalm 72:15

Long live the king! May the gold of Sheba be given to him. May the people always pray for him and bless him all day long.

It has been a long time since we have had a national leader like the one described in this royal psalm. This is a psalm of Solomon, who, of course, was King David’s son and successor to the throne. Under Solomon’s reign, the nation of Israel expanded economically, educationally, militarily, and spiritually — “happy days were here again” for God’s people.

Solomon began his reign by declaring his utter dependence on God. You can see it here in this song, which is really a prayer to God declaring the kind of leader he wants to be. Notice what he prays for:

He speaks of being divinely endowed with justice and righteousness so that those same two qualities will characterize his leadership.: “Give your love of justice to the king, O God, and righteousness to the king’s son. Help him judge your people in the right way; let the poor always be treated fairly.” (Psalm 72:1-2).

He desires the nation to be prosperous and fruitful primarily as a result of his righteous rule: “May the mountains yield prosperity for all, and may the hills be fruitful….May all the godly flourish during his reign. May there be abundant prosperity until the moon is no more.” (Psalm 72:3,7)

He declares his intentions to look out for the little guy—the needy, poor, oppressed, and the innocents: “He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will redeem them from oppression and violence, for their lives are precious to him.” (Psalm 72:4,13-14).

No wonder he thinks his leadership can endure and his influence expands: “May they fear you as long as the sun shines, as long as the moon remains in the sky. Yes, forever!… May he reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 72:5,8)

People will not be crying out for term limits with this leader; he is both an authentic servant of God and a public servant in the truest sense. His people love him!

Wouldn’t it be great if our presidents began their reign by declaring their utter dependence on God? Wouldn’t it be great if they saw their administration as a conduit of God’s blessing on us? Wouldn’t it be great if they played fair with both the bigwig and the little guy? Wouldn’t it be great if they fundamentally saw themselves as both servant of God and servant of the people?

Who wouldn’t want to follow a leader like that?

But as much as we wish for that kind of leadership in the White House…or in the governor’s mansion…or in the mayor’s office…or in the pulpit, we should be even more intent on praying for those very qualities to be endowed to them from on high. And, of course, we ought to pray that they would have the kind of heart into which God places the stuff of great leadership.

Solomon was wise enough to know that he couldn’t be that kind of leader without the prayers of the people. That is why he includes a prayer request for himself in the song: “May people ever pray for him and bless him all day long.” (Psalm 72:15)

Wouldn’t it be great if we began praying and blessing our president like that? Who knows what good it might do him, and in the process of praying and blessing him, it might do us some good, too!

MY OFFERING OF WORSHIP: Do an honest assessment of your attitude toward our current president and the one who will be elected next. Do you criticize and complain about them more than you pray for them? Your biblical calling is to intercede for those in authority. So, try it! Who knows what God might do through them?

Evaluations—How Fun!

Only One Critic Ultimately Matters

PREVIEW: With trials come evaluations. For that matter, evaluations come no matter what, be it trials or triumphs. If you are alive, you are going to get evaluated! And if you have an influential position of some kind, just multiply that by the “nth degree.” Wow, that sounds like a barrel of fun! Until the day you die, you will be evaluated, i.e., criticized—and even after you die, at least for a while, others will still be talking about you. So what! Put your hope in God—after all, he’s the only critic who really matters.

Evaluations—How Fun! - Ray Noah

MY JOURNEY OF WORSHIP // Psalm 77:7-13

I have become like a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge… Do not cast me away when I am old; do not forsake me when my strength is gone. For my enemies speak against me; those who wait to kill me conspire together. They say, “God has forsaken him; pursue him and seize him, for no one will rescue him.” Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me. May my accusers perish in shame; may those who want to harm me be covered with scorn and disgrace.

The New Living Translation renders this verse, “My life has become an example to many.” The New King James says, “I have become a wonder.” Portent, example, wonder—whatever the case, people were talking about the writer of this psalm. He was being evaluated—how fun!

We’re unsure if David wrote this song or if it was one of his musicians. It is generally believed that the composer was in his old age and, surprisingly, still facing trials—reminding us that much like weird relatives, they never really go away!

As is always the case, with trials come evaluations. For that matter, evaluations come no matter what, be it trials or triumphs. If you are alive, you are going to get evaluated! And if you are in a position of influence of some kind, just multiply that to the “nth degree.” Again, how fun!

The psalmist was going through a challenge, and people were talking. Some thought his trial was proof that he was under God’s curse, while others saw that God was caring for him even in his trial. Now, if I were to venture a guess, more people were amazed that God’s loving care had yet again sustained him than those who were putting a negative spin on it. Yet the psalmist was more focused on his naysayers than his encouragers. (Psalm 71:4,10-11,13,24) He was simply doing what we human beings shouldn’t do but do anyway: Giving undue weight to the critic.

But he also did something right—something you and I need to practice when we are under the bright lights of another’s evaluation: Put our hope in God:

For you have been my hope, Sovereign Lord, my confidence since my youth…. As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more. (Psalm 71:5,14)

Whether the critics are dead on, or dead wrong, or perhaps even both (as they say, even a broken clock gets it right twice a day), leaning on God to see us through (“As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.” Psalm 71:12), and even to cover our goofs with his grace (“Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.” Psalm 71:20) is the only good way to go through challenging times and blunt the criticism of our evaluator.

Yes, you will be evaluated in life—how fun! Until the day you die, you will be evaluated—and even after you die. So what! Put your hope in God—after all, that’s the only thing that really matters.

As the Apostle Paul said, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.” (1 Corinthians 4:2-4)

My Offering of Worship: How do you respond to criticism? Do you wilt, get angry, respond in kind, withdraw, or get depressed? How about taking the criticism to the Lord to ask what he thinks? Listen to his response and ask him to take on his perspective. Then whatever he says, go with that!