We obey because:1. He first loved us, 2.we owe a great debt,3. doing it His way couldn’t be any worse than doing it my way,4. we believe He exists and will reward those who diligently seek Him etc

For full motivation it is good to think through and let the Holy Spirit show us the BLESSINGS of doing it His way and the CURSES of doing it “our” way. Blessings to us,  to others, to His kingdom, to His name.

Lets take the example of God’s command to examine ourselves, to let ALL scripture reprove us, to ask God to search our hearts, to let iron sharpen iron.

If you remember; all scripture will first establish TRUTH and all TRUTH will REPROVE and REPROOF will lead to CORRECTING  the thing reproved and being CORRECTED will lead to EQUIPPING which will lead our developing the CHARACTER OF CHRIST which will lead to ministry. So many people want to jump reproof and correction and go straight to ministry or to declaring themselves equipped. THERE IS NO MOVING AROUND REPROOF. Without that, all the rest vanishes.

BLESSINGS         (in no particular order of importance)    OF FEEDBACK

  1. Understanding why others struggle
  2. No need for defense or blame or excuses or explanations which all tire us out and impress no one. Instead free to repent and grow.
  3. Enjoying shared fellowship with others who are being real.
  4. Have our ways directed: by God through friends, family, finances, health
  5. Understand Doctrine’s purpose and meaning,application, and “SO WHAT?” better.
  6. When we do mess up and then apologize, others listen and cut us slack.
  7. Experience continuous growth throughout our lives as friends are willing to have their iron sharpen ours’
  8. Enjoy the affirmation of others, that our lives have allowed God to minister to them.
  9. Find that we are in the position, by virtue of our allowing reproof and correction, to minister to others.
  10. Find tools and truth and support that helps us grow.
  11. Find forgiveness and new trust and involvement and relationship with those we have offended.
  12. Continue to receive valuable confrontation because the others are rewarded by our appreciation and change after their previous confrontation.


  1. Criticizing others for the same things we do.
  2. Constantly inventing explanations blame and excuses that no one accepts any longer.
  3. Losing the real relationships with those who call our bluff and only hang out with those who really don’t know us or won’t confront us.
  4. Unable to commit to responsibility that brings criticism, thus wander without direction, always becoming and never being, because all being is imperfect and thus leaves us open to evaluation.
  5. Be full of doctrine, quoting scripture but unable to apply it since the next step would be to let it reprove us.
  6. Always apologizing but never changing so that others grow weary of our apologies and we wonder why they won’t just drop it and trust us now.
  7. Slide slowly backwards, because growth requires ongoing self examination and feedback from others. (When I was in the military I found out that anyone over the rank of captain became steadily more irrational because they no longer received feedback.)
  8. Being always hungry for affirmation but winding up having to praise ourselves and still feeling no sense of value because any praise we receive is hollow, coming from people who don’t know us or from ourselves.
  9. Having initial opportunities to minister based on our command of doctrine; then finding them to fade as the lack of reproof correction transformation and true ministry are evident.
  10. Plagued with accountability and tools that do not work because we choose people who don’t know us or won’t confront
  11. Focus on touch-up change and not rebuilding the core, on fixing the NOW rather than healing the past results of our allergy to feedback. (It’s hard enough to admit the current need for growth but harder yet to see how this has hurt our Lord his ministry and others.
  12. Painting ourselves into a corner where by force of habit we can not hear, retain, and profit from feedback;and through ignoring the feedback or counter attacking or getting angry at anyone who calls our bluff; we are able to arrive at a place that no one confronts us and go back to pretending that this means that we are OK.                                                                                      etc  etc etc

This is one case in which it is more blessed to receive than to give. When we are receiving helpful feedback. One thought is that we must not focus on the timing or delivery of the feedback because our best feedback often comes through God from our enemies. Remember when David was being cursed. He said “leave the man alone, God is speaking to me through him”.  I had an acquaintance who understood these truths and asked his employees to give him feedback. He figured that he could use a little touch up here and there in his approach to being a boss. At first he got superficial useless feedback, but when he convinced them that God was asking him to do this and that there would not be negative consequences to the employee and that,by the grace of God, he would actually change as a result; he found that they went on and on with details of his need to shape up. He was a bit depressed to find out that HE WAS WORSE THAN HE HAD THOUGHT  but he did grow and change. He found out that he was about to lose key employees and probably his company as a result.




WATCH YOUR TONE, young man!

JAMES 1:6 If you put on a good show of being religious and do not control your tongue (including it’s tonal content) you fake yourself out and your heart is deceived. He who controls his tongue and uses it to build up the brethren is mightier that he who conquers a city.

This blog is for myself and possibly for you in improving God’s control over our communication. It is not primarily intended to use in judging others except for the need to pray for those who despitefully use us that they may see their problem and be delivered from all the damage sin produces.

We are to avoid the appearance of evil not just the evil itself.  In our depraved state, we love to inflict pain and we assert control over others, while convincing ourselves that we have nothing wrong, “All I said was-blah,blah,blah.” However our tone went far beyond the words to suggest that we considered the other person to be an idiot, ( the Lord considers this murder) or that the other person is being irritating, or that we feel that they are beneath us etc. We can cause hurt and pretend to ourselves and affirm to others that our intentions were pure and neutral.

Most of communications are not in the words but in the facial expression or tone of voice or posture with which they were delivered. However, these can be denied and ignored. Thus we can stab others and come out looking good to ourselves and others, but does God look on the outward appearance or on the thoughts and intents of the heart?

I have come to believe that the primary area for this games playing is in the issue of basic life information. The controlling person wants to know every little detail of the other’s activities to the point that it is irritating and the other feels controlled. “I just want to be part of your life and to be included because I care”. They create a situation where others feel guilty if they don’t share and controlled if they do . When others ask them for any information, they give as little as possible and in an irritated tone “I’m busy and you should already know that don’t you remember I told you blah blah blah .

Practice delivering directions: where things are at, when things will happen, in fact ANY thoughts or facts in a pleasant tone. I’ve noticed that everyone has the ability to control their tone because the whiny put down irritated tone only comes on when they are talking to the ones they want to, any can get away with, affect. Remember that the tone switch is subconscious, although arising from sinful urges, and you will have to listen carefully to spot yourself doing it.

I’ve seen this come out strongly in people dealing with older demented family members who have to ask the same question over and over again or make the samecomment over again. With them and with children we may need to help them do the best they can to think for themselves but still WATCH OUR TONE.

Giving it up will leave a void in which we were trying to make up for God’s slowness, in fixing the people around us, by pressuring them to see themselves our way through tonal communication. So fill the void with thanking God for the irritating people in our lives, asking Him to bless them, finding ways to minister to them, and if guided by God, talking directly and clearly to them about our concerns, apologizing for our past approaches, and being much more open to give out information ourselves. Remember that our heart’s are deceitful above all thing and desperately want to be wicked but now can’t just do deliberate open wicked acts so have sought out wickedness they can pretend just isn’t even there. Our hearts will not give up easily but if we genuinely ask the Holy Spirit to convict, He will convince us that the only way to see others change is by ceding control of their heart to the Holy Spirit and gaining more control of ourselves.

I remember a fellow Christian counselor whom I invited over for a meal and fellowship. He asked an exhaustive list of questions about me, my background, my approach to counseling, and as a brother in Christ seeking to know and be known I answered as best I could. I then ask a superficial starting question in order to return the favor and begin to get to know him more. He jumped up declaring that it was time to go, and was obviously irritated by my wanting a two way relationship!



Sorry for not blogging for a while, I’ve been overwhelmed and need to sort out priorities… and this is definitely a top priority. I even thought of setting the alarm to get up earlier and blog, but I’m always telling others that God gives his beloved sleep- Psalms 127- so pray for me to figure out the balance.

This is a tough blog post. I did not like what the Holy Spirit had to say to me as I wrote it, so if you are not wanting all of God and all of his blessing and a real relationship with Him, then please don’t read any further.

What do I mean by Adam’s apple?

We all have our “apples”, things in our life that we cling to in order to establish who is the real boss of our life. We know Eve’s apple was that she wanted to “be like god” and decide for herself what was right and wrong and not have to consult God or, horrors, her husband.

But our goose wasn’t cooked until Adam also ate from the tree. If he had refused, God could have used him as a perfect man to redeem his wife and this earth.

So why did he eat? Did he also resent not being the judge of what was right and wrong? Well, he must have or he would have waited till evening and asked God whether it was OK or not to do what his wife asked. I think his “apple” was worrying what his wife would feel and think if he said, “No I won’t just follow your lead, I’m going to find out from God if you have done wrong or if I may join with you.”

What’s your “apple?”

Our daughters decided that if they had to wear dresses that this was such an evil thing it justified plotting our deaths by burning down the house, (Thank God they never figured out how). Justified finding boyfriends on the side, and stealing our car leaving the family abandoned far away from home so they could run off with the boyfriend> Justified taking and taking and taking our help and finances and time without a scrap of gratitude> Justified a life of excitement seeking, etc. etc. All because we were so evil as to ask them to dress modestly.

My wife gave them a tool by which to fight the ancient curse of the “Adam’s apple”. She said,

“ask the following question, “Is my authority asking me to do something that is wrong?” If so, refer to the appeal that Daniel used. If not, then as an act of worship to the God that has placed that authority in your life, go ahead and co-operate with enthusiasm.”

I struggle with the co-dependant  “apple” of being willing to do anything for God except setting limits on others that would make them mad at me.

What’s your “Lord I’ll do anything but that, I’ll go anywhere except” apple? We all have bad genes from Adam and Eve and want to see ourselves as basically wanting to follow God,  EXCEPT IN THIS ONE LITTLE THING.

The opposite is not you running around and trying to be strong enough to let go of or face the “apple”. It is saying , “I can’t. You can. So here goes!” and moving my body parts, scared out of my wits, to obey.

It is good to remember that BOTH God and the devil want to bring about the “apple” in your life. God wants it because He wants to be God and if ANYTHING is bigger than He is then that is your god. The devil wants it because you have promises to mess up if he brings it about.

It might not be that big a deal until you turn it into an “apple”. But then it becomes the only deal!

I know someone who refused to go to the front of the church to ask God to forgive him of his sins and to accept the finished work of Jesus as full payment. He wanted to be saved but pointed out that one may be saved in the woods, at home, in the car, etc. That was true before he said, I’ll get saved anywhere else. God will wait for him at the altar in front of the church till he lets go of the apple.

There is no use trying to do so many things for God that he will look the other way in this one little area.

With the rich young ruler, it was his possessions, with Demas it was the love of the world, with Annanias and Saphira it was wanting to look as committed as the rest without being as committed as they were. Other “apples” are pain, reputation, jobs, ridicule, relationships, excitement, substances, education, family, hobbies, sports, entertainment, internet. You get the idea.

We call Him LORD because it sounds nice, but He isn’t lord of anything till He is lord of everything.




If you knew of someone who was trying to get their finances under control without using a budget, you’d be sceptical of their chances. The same is true about time control.I am given 988,8800 seconds a year to spend about a hundred million if I live to a hundred, that sounds like a lot but each one once spent is gone. The ones invested in eternity by asking the Lord how He wants them spent, will be significant forever. Thankfully, the Lord is good at restoring the years that the locust has eaten, but how precious are those who take to heart, “remember NOW thy creator in the days of thy youth or ever the days may come that you feel like Dr Bell with aches and pains and declining energy. Talk to the youth at church and fight the insane lie in our society that we have to rebel against family and sow our wild oats in order to emancipate and individuate and be “healthy”. The sooner the better, now is the day of salvation.

Just as with finances, where one takes a good look at what one is actually doing with ones’ money, we need to look at how we now spend our precious gift of time.

Is it crammed with too much,and a lot of it is pointless? Is it too empty, to focussed on self, or too focussed on others and no time to smell the roses and recuperated from the struggles of life?

If you have trouble with a schedule that is too empty and can’t figure out what to do, take a paper and write the hours down one side and fill in one thing that would be worth doing in each of the free hours and include time for exercise, fun and meditation. Next , give a copy of the schedule to your meanest friend and ask them to call you at random and see if you are doing what you purposed to do.

If you have trouble with a schedule that is too crammed, record it and show it to someone to help you find out what you can drop to have more time for the Lord and to respond to new opportunities.

I remember a lady who couldn’t say no to a request from church to help out. She was having devotions and the Lord said to her, “Woman you are in big trouble!” How so? she replied. “Well, the next time they ask you to do something at church, either you will say NO and then will be nervous about how they will think about you, OR you will say YES and then I will be angry with you!” God wanted her to take more time with Him and with her family.  Five min later she had a call asking her to play the piano for a ladies’ meeting. She wasn’t that good and it would have taken more time than she could spare to prepare, so she took a deep breath and said SORRY I CAN’T.  She then went to the meeting early but had to go to the back room to keep from screaming out ” OK I’ll do it!” She cried out to the Lord, and just then heard someone playing the piano in the other room. A new lady had showed up and HAPPENED to be a piano teacher and was drawn right in and given a role that would not have been available if the first lady had said yes. Sometimes God wants us to do less busyness and take time to think and pray and feel and worship.

So remember the tool: every week I need to stop and ask the Holy Spirit to show me how I am doing at living healthily by: 1. physical 2 schedule 3. relational  4. going through the day casting all my cares on Him, being in the present place and time and taking no thought for tomorrow but tackling the present problems and challanges with gusto.


We are told in scripture to continually examine ourselves; and if we humbly do so, we will realize that we are absolutely nothing without Christ, we have wicked hearts, and there is NO good in us (aside from Christ Himself). Also as we are deeply warned in scripture not to judge others (as we truly have no place to judge anybody); we should wind up seeing ourselves as the chief of sinners. I know I certainly do. So .. at what point is it appropriate to correct one another (as fellow believers)? Where is that fine line? We are told to ‘sharpen’ one another; however if we really examine ourselves, are we EVER truly in a position to do so? I would love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

We are told to be careful judging others because we will be judged by the same yardstick that we use to judge others. Good, so take a look at the judging that would bless you if others did it for you. Would it be helpful if others pointed out that you are living life apart from God’s principles and that you won’t like the results?  Perhaps they could provoke you to righteousness by holding you accountable for memorizing and applying the word to your life. Rebuke a wise man and he will be wiser still. This week I asked my boss to bless me by taking of his valuable time and coming and helping me see where I need to improve my dictating and computer skills.

So, first, we need to be people who see warning and feedback as a blessing not a put down. I find that I also want the criticizer to make a suggestion as to how I might improve.

Then we will be in a position of one beggar telling another beggar where we found food. We may point the other to the same source of comfort and teaching that we have found. “If any of you lack wisdom,  let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberaly and upbraideth not and it shall be given him.”

The friend sharpening iron refers to, well, friends.

So, if others see your progress and humble openness and ask for feedback the share your own struggle and process and how God is working in you. If a friend wants to give and receive ideas in a humble sharing of each’s understanding of God’s word practically applied to life’s struggles-then go ahead and share. If we all wait till we have mastered the Christian life before we share with others than there will be no sharing.

SETTING LIMITS, proper attitude

Let’s take a look at the attitude needed before we are in any position to judge ourselves superior to others and find fault with their faith. In this blog I ask you to just ponder the word and share what comes to mind, but remember to take heed to thyself, for all scripture will reprove correct and instruct to reader before it suggests we apply it to others. Please write your thoughts and add them to this discussion then I will share mine with you.

Galatians 5:14 KJV For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

15 But if ye bite and devour ONE ANOTHER, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

I Corinthians 11:28 But let a man examine HIMSELF, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

6:1BRETHREN, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, RESTORE such an one in the spirit of meekness; CONSIDERING THYSELF, lest thou also be tempted.

2 Bear ye ONE ANOTHER’S burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

4 But let every man prove HIS OWN work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.

9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men,ESPECIALLY unto them who are of the household of faith.

14 Him that is weak in the faith RECEIVE ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.

3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

6 He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.

9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

12 So then every one of us shall give account of HIMSELF to God.

13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

12 As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to (follow the rules they pick); only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.

13 For neither they themselves… keep the law; but desire to have you (keep the laws they chose to emphasize) that they may glory in your flesh.

14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.

18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.Amen,Amen!

In the Old testament the Benjamites raped and slaughtered the concubine of a priest. He went to all the other tribes and roused them to action to punish the obviously evil Benjamites. The other tribes went to God at the tabernacle in Shilo and asked God “do you want us to punish the tribe of Benjamin?” God said that He did. Then the tribes went to battle and in the first two battles they were beaten badly by the Benjamites. Then God said that,”this time you will win,” and they did. If you count the number lost in the two first battles, it was exactly on tenth of the army. God was saying that they were not so great themselves and had not been serving him with the dedication of their firstborn and tithes and He couldn’t use them to wipe out the Benjamites until He had dealt with them. Judges 19

Matthew 5:7 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye

John 8:7 he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.

9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone,

Psalms 119:59 I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

60 I made haste, and delayed not to keep thy commandments.

Leviticus 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.

17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the Lord.

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against THEE, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone (Considering the high probability that you have misjudged the situation): if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

16 But if he will not hear thee,(and you are pretty sure you still have a case, but humbly realizing that you may still be mistaken) then take with thee one or two more (neutral parties that are not already on your side against the brother), that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

17 And if he shall neglect to hear them,( realizing that the two of you may still be mistaken) tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. ( This would be a church leadership decision never a personal one)


Some thoughts in regards to a friend who is being shunned by family:
God allows us to experience suffering and often does His best work in ways we would rather alter. Suffering hits us differently. It’s not so much the size of the loss or the physical pain as it is how personal the source of the pain is. There are the so-called “acts of God” you know, a tree falls on your car. This actually happened to my son William in Kalamazoo during a storm. Thank God he wasn’t hurt. Then there the losses caused by other’s carelessness. Then there the deliberate attacks of our enemies. The most emotionally painful suffering comes when we are attacked by family and friends, especially when they justify it by claiming that we deserve it and they are doing it “for your own good.”

Psalms 41:5 KJV Mine enemies speak evil of me, When shall he die, and his name perish? And if he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart gathereth iniquity to itself; when he goeth abroad, he telleth it. All that hate me whisper together against me: against me do they devise my hurt. An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more. YEA, MINE OWN FAMILIAR FRIEND, IN WHOM I TRUSTED, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me. But thou, O LORD, be merciful unto me, and raise me up, that I may requite them.

OK, pause and review all the tools we’ve covered and ask yourself, “where do I begin?”

You got it! Worship God by praying, THANKS! HELP! SHOW ME YOUR WILL!

Next ask God to show you if you are suffering for your own misdeeds. If so, it is no big deal to suffer patiently and learn the lesson involved. Is not, then happy are you for so persecuted the prophets which were before you. I Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

Next, ask yourself why the rejection and criticism hit you so hard. I, for example am a severe co-dependent and must always please everyone and have them approve me in order to feel OK about myself. Are you focussed, not on your own loss, but, on the loss that the judgment is causing a third party. (Such as grandchildren?) Remember that taking up a fault for a third party ALWAYS causes the third party more damage than whatever you would save them from. Have you considered the loss to the judgmental person themselves?

RULE: When someone sins and their choices cause you loss and pain, who is sinned against? Who is the victim? Who stands to benefit?
God is sinned against, the victim is the sinner, you are the one who stands to gain if you walk the fiery trial with God.

Psalm 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. .
I peter 3:4 But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled.

Read Psalm 73. Perhaps the most balancing and healing focus is to realize the awful consequences the other person is pulling down on themselves. Of course this is harder when the other person is all puffed up and believe that their sin is actually righteousness.How to decide if they are righteous judges and we are the sinners, or they are sinning in their judgment and we are suffering for righteousness? The key is in attitude more than in theology. Tune in on my next blog for thoughts on this.