JANUARY 1

Today's Bible Readings
     Genesis 31
     Esther 7
     Mark 2
     Romans 2
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''Therefore you are inexcusable, 0h man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things." (Romans 2:1)
 
THE UNCHANGING LAW OF JUDGMENT
            The teaching of the Lord Jesus about judging others is very simple - ''don't do it." Perhaps the greatest blight on the Christian community is our incessant activity of criticizing and judging one another. Many believers are obsessed with being critical of their fellow believers.
            Only God has the ability to accurately and properly judge anyone else. The Holy Spirit is the only one in the proper position to criticize, and He alone is able to show what is wrong without hurting and wounding. It is impossible to enter into fellowship with God when you are in a critical mood. This criticism divides the strengths of the one being criticized. It also spiritually weakens the one doing the criticism. It serves to make you harsh, vindictive and cruel, and leaves you with a soothing and flattering idea that you are somehow superior to others.
I feel sorry for the guys who criticize and minimize the other guys
whose enterprise has made them rise above the guys who criticize and minimize.
            The clear teaching of Jesus is that His disciples should cultivate a temperament that is never critical. This can be developed only over a period of time. We must constantly beware of anything that causes you to think of yourself as a superior person.
            In Matthew 7:1 Jesus said, ''Judge not that you be not judged."  It illustrates that truth by saying that many believers can spot the speck (splinter) in the eye of a fellow believer and fail to see the plank of timber in their own eye.
            It would do us well to examine ourselves in the spiritual mirror of the Word of God and go to the altar for a thorough spiritual cleansing. We will discover that the only difference between ourselves at best and the most ungodly person in the world is the grace of God.
            In fact, Jesus made it very clear that we will be judged by the measure of judgment we use toward others. “For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Matthew 7:2)
There is a difference between retaliation and retribution. Jesus said that the basis of life is retribution - ''with the measure you use it will be measured back to you." The way you pay is the way life will pay you back. This eternal law works from God's throne down to us. (Psalm 18:25-26)
            In our text we see the one who criticizes another is guilty of the very same thing.  God looks not only at the act itself, but also at the possibility of committing it, which He sees by looking at our hearts. The reason we see hypocrisy, deceit and a lack of genuineness in others is that they are all in our own hearts. The attitude that God desires from us is that whatever wicked thing we see in others would be a part of our own life except for the grace of God; therefore, I have no right to judge.
            I am so glad that I have settled out of court, I have gone to the cross. I will not receive God's justice, but I am a recipient of His mercy and grace. I am so glad that ultimately God will not pass judgment on me as I have so often passed it unfairly on others.  Instead He will judge us on the basis of miraculous atonement by the cross of Christ.
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
Latin America and the Caribbean are where we want to focus our prayer concern today. This rapidly growing region of the world now has more than 600 million souls, and in less than 25 years will have more than 700 million people, most of which will be in need of Christ. Having traveled extensively in this region, my prayer is that this will become the launching pad for missionary personnel in the decades to come if the Lord tarries. This is a very real possibility, and should be a focus of prayer today.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''Applaud us when we run, console us when we fall, cheer us when we recover but, for God's sake, let us pass on."
Edmond Burke