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Photo by my son…

I just wanted to give the credit for the BEAUTIFUL photo at the top of this blog to my son Jeremy.  He has taken many great photos and I am grateful that he is allowing me to use this one.

Great job, Jeremy!

(c) Copyright Notice 2018.  The photos in this blog are Jeremy’s, unless otherwise noted, and need his express written permission to be used by anyone.  The words are mine and now you must get my express written permission to use them.  Also, you must give a clear credit and path back to james.bruce.mcnaughton@gmail.com and https://i-m-4-u.com/

Thank you!

Jim

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Welcome to I AM for You!

My goal is to share the love of Jesus that he has shared with me.  

Love does not condemn people, but love does condemn that which harms people, known in the Bible as “sin.”  These actions I am against, not the people doing them.  My life was sinful when I met Jesus.  I denied it.  And spent ten years under His wrath while He humbled me.  When I admitted my sin and accepted Jesus my life changed.  Now I am not sinless, but I do sin less.  I still fall short and need His forgiveness.

Join me as we discuss Jesus, Mental Illness, and the combination of both.

 

Overflow of reading the first half dozen Psalms

O Jesus, you are more faithful to me than I am to myself.
You alone care about me,
You alone care for me.
Though I or they speak a thousand lies as truth,
Your words alone will stand.
Come quickly to me
or I will fall.
Come quickly to me
or they will dishonor Your Name.
Vindicate me O Jesus
for Your Name’s sake.
Then I will stand and not be shaken.
Then they will know that You are God!

sin, scripture, solution

Those who exalt themselves will be humbled;
and those who humble themselves will be exalted. – Jesus

When I do something “good” to impress people with how great I am it turns their stomach once they discover my true motive. My attempt to “exalt myself” ends up showing others who I really am and I am “humbled” by my own actions.

But when I care about others (at least as much as I care about myself), and put that care into action for them, then my “humble” actions show how great God is, who is working through me. Others see this and realize how wonderful God and His love are, and marvel that he is able to give this love through ordinary people.

Taking the speck out of my eye. – from a parable of Jesus*

In the past couple months I have tried to impress others by telling them the “good” I’ve done. At first when I realized I had done this, I condemned myself (which is even more pride). Then I realized I had a need. I felt small and not worth much and I was trying to gain a feeling of importance and shed my feeling of worthlessness by “sharing” (boasting) about what I had done.

I have many faults (lust, gluttony, laziness, pride, and more). While I have condemned myself for these character flaws I am now seeing them as rooted in God-given needs I have and that I can trust Jesus to meet those needs.

Confess your sins one to another that you may be healed. – from the Book of James

My experience with Celebrate Recovery has taught me that this is where satan loses his strangle-hold on me. Confessing not only to God, but also to flesh and blood, brings freedom from satan and healing for my soul.

*
https://i-m-4-u.com/2018/10/13/dont-judge-me-please-help-me/

Condescending Christians…

I haven’t been to Celebrate Recovery (12-step group) lately because I’ve been sick. I met with my Fearless Leader (of our local CR) and he said, “I’d tell you we missed you but you said you don’t like that.” I explained… “I don’t like it when it doesn’t come from the heart, but used as an attack, a guilt ploy, and a manipulation.” Does this kind of thing happen among Christians? Surely not?

Do Christians have disapproving, holier than thou attitudes? Do some Christians talk to non-Christians in a condescending way? What does it mean when a Christian doesn’t act like Jesus?

Yes, I called myself a Christian when I was growing up and yet I still was far from Jesus. I don’t condemn myself though, I had been deceived. I was a modern-day Pharisee, or what Jesus called, a white-washed tomb. I looked good on the outside but inside I was full of pride and selfishness and I didn’t even know it.

Since I called myself a Christian and wasn’t one how can you know if a person that claims to belong to Jesus really does belong to Jesus?

Jesus said, “A tree is known by its fruit. You don’t collect grapes from briers and figs from thornbushes. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. Therefore you will know them by their fruit.”

Real Christians get a bad name, because satan convinces some of his followers that they are real Christians and then they say to the world they are real Christians, and then don’t love like Jesus.

So real Christians have to be perfect?

Jesus is perfect, His followers are not. But they love Jesus and because they love Jesus they love those He loves, that is, all other people. If someone tells you they are a Christian and they don’t love all other people, specifically you, Jesus is telling you they are not His.

So real Christians have to love all others perfectly?

I fail at loving God, and others, repeatedly. But Jesus loves me and forgives me and because I love Him I try again.

The prickily-ness of the “thorns” of false Christians is their consistent lack of love.

Opiate of the masses?

Someone I love believes Nietzsche’s statement: Religion is the opiate of the masses. I’ve been on both sides of this so I would like to unpack my interpretation of the statement.

To state the incredibly obvious, Nietzsche was condescending to Christians. They were stupid, easily-led fools who self-medicated their unthinking, worthless existence with the “opiate” that when they die everything will be made right. They don’t think enough to understand “science” and that evolution is fact, not just theory, and so there is no after-life. This is all you get, and you had better get it now while you can.

According to Nietzsche Christians are wasting their lives.

Now that I am a Christian I realize Nietzsche was reasoning out of ignorance. In frustration of not understanding Christians he condemned their behavior using human reasoning. Amazingly the Apostle Paul had the same reasoning as Nietzsche. “If this life is all there is, then we Christians are to be pitied above all people.” Without surrendering to Jesus, without knowing Him and His eternal power, without a relationship with him, you are not able to trust His guarantee of everything to come.

The someone I love lives for this world, what you can see, have, control. They are proud of their possessions and accomplishments. It is an attempt to create the appearance of value, hoping that others will be impressed and give them the value they long to have for themselves.

But they are already INFINITELY valuable. Just the way they are.

Jesus, the one they don’t trust because he could have stopped all the pain they have endured, is the only one that truly loves them and proved it by suffering to pay for all their sins; offering forever life with him and offering meaning for all the pain they have endured, so they can know the joy of loving and helping others who have been hurt as they have.


How to disciple your kids every day…

Thousands of years ago God taught us through Moses to teach our kids through daily life.  How can we do that today?

Get them hooked on VeggieTales and sing with your kids to a closer relationship with Jesus. And the best part is, VeggieTales is for “grown-ups” too! (Also, AutoBgood, 3-2-1 Penguins, Adventures in Odyssey…).

When they lose a toy ask them to pray with you, that Jesus would find it and show you where it is. Ask them if Jesus is going to bring the toy to you or whether he wants you to go to the toy. (Use birds and worms as an example… God feeds them, but they have to go out and work for the worm). Let your kids loose to learn Jesus is reliable. I encouraged but did not help my kids look. “My development” was not “helping” Jesus. I had to risk “Jesus failing” and what that would do to my relationship with him.   In twenty years we have lost many things… and only not found less than 5 of those things we prayed to find.

One time my kids lost a toy truck… Mater… in the lake 50 feet from shore. They yelled to me that they lost Mater and looked everywhere and can’t find it and should we Pray? I have never found ANYTHING I’ve dropped in a lake if I couldn’t see it immediately. With a dozen people I didn’t know near us on shore I yelled, “Dear Jesus, please find Mater.” My son’s next step landed on Mater.

When your mower or snowblower won’t start ask your kids to come over and pray with you that Jesus would start your machine. (if you know your machine takes 4 pulls to start, don’t pull 3 times and call your kids to pray. This is for when you have tried everything you know and it won’t start.) More than once it would start the next 1/2 pull.  My pulling hand would fly back to me away from the engine…  But spectacular or not it ALWAYS eventually started.  (Yes, I know about flooding an engine and it draining and starting, remember, if you DON’T think it will start then call your kids to pray and watch God work).

We started doing this twenty years ago.. YOU MAY HAVE BETTER OPTIONS NOW!… Go out and use them!

In the comments tell me how you have taught your kids about the reality of Jesus in our lives:

Do people ever really change?

Would you hire a trespasser? A felon?  A murderer?  A serial killer?  Someone who could have prevented a death and chose to deliberately let them die?  Hey, I’d think twice… or more.  But God uses these… these like me.  And we are in good company:

Murder?  Moses.

Serial killer?  Paul.

Negligent homicide?  Jesus.

Trespass?  Me.

You may be wondering about one of those: Jesus.  Jesus deliberately let Lazarus die even though he could have easily saved him (He did this for the greater good of displaying the Love and Power of the Father by raising His friend from the grave.  But as far as appearances, it looked like Jesus was negligent).

So how do you decide who to hire?  Do you believe that the past is the best predictor of the future?  For felons? murderers? the negligent?  How about for you?  Is your past the best predictor of your future?  If I was chained to my past I would be hopeless indeed.

Do for others what you would want them to do for you.

I would want another chance after I had met Jesus, and had a change of heart… because I literally had a new heart.

Would I hire just anyone?  Not a chance.  But if God gave them another chance, could you consider it, too? for the right person?

 

p.s.  Even after having a new heart I continue to sin at times.  And I hope that is not the predictor of my future.  Celebrate Recovery is a proven help for many and thank God, He is slowly changing my future toward living more like Jesus.

p.p.s.  This post was prompted by my concern for felons that I know, that even though they have repented, society doesn’t forgive them.