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Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,
The people suffer and there is much suffering. This suffering will increase and come in many forms. People will find offense and nurse their wounds instead of joining their wounds to the wounds, to the woundedness of Jesus. Therefore they will carry offense and unforgiveness in their hearts that will fester and rise up to defile many in the Church. Churches will split and Satan will have a field day and wreak havoc.
Those that say, “Peace and love” will find that their compromises have brought them to the altars of demons because they forsook the truth.
I AM the truth. Therefore these forsake Me. Nevertheless, they will stand to appear before the Lord Jesus Christ at His appearing and what will they be? Vessels of gold and silver [teachers of the truth] or vessels of wood and earth [false teachers – 2 Timothy 2.20] (Word received by Mary Craig March12, 2010)
People will find offense. It is the word skandalon in Greek. This word referred to the name of the part of a trap on which the bait was placed and so it means a trap, a snare, an occasion to fall, as of stumbling, offense, something that offends, a stumbling block. In the NT it is used of something that causes prejudice, or that hinders, or that causes for any to fall or stumble. An offense is an obstacle that diverts us from the right direction, or keeps us back by being in the way, or provides the means for making us fall.
Christ is Himself to those who believe, precious; but to those who do not believe He is the stone which the builders rejected, the stone on which they may stumble, the rock on which they may fall. (See 1 Peter 2.6-8) There is offense in the gospel itself. The gospel is foolishness to the wise of this world. (1 Cor. 1.18-20) To the Jews, the gospel is a stumbling block. (1 Cor. 1, 23, 24) The gospel deprives someone of all credit for wisdom, virtue, and righteousness. It’s a low blow to things like pride. Talking about a blood sacrifice, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for sin, a new covenant in Christ’s blood, offends. Paul spoke of the offense of the cross. Such who are thus offended are enemies of the cross (Phil. 3.18).
Jesus’ talk about the denial of self, the crucifying of the old man, contempt for the world, embracing of the cross—all offend folks. Jesus had many hard sayings that His followers found offensive; and many turned away. (John 6) But the cross is carried and means that Jesus comes first in someone’s life. It speaks of death to our self-________. It speaks of separation. (Gal. 6.14) It means serving only one master. If the cross offends, we will not be loyal to Jesus Christ.
And then there are disturbances and quarrels, false teachings, bad examples, sorry times when ungodliness is brought to light, when those respected and in authority fall and cause others to fall. There’s also fictitious slander, far-fetched accusations, and just plain being hurt. Years ago there was so much bad stuff going on at this one church we were attending that I stood in my living room and said, “If this is what You honor, I want out. I want out of the church; I want out of Christianity; and if the blood covenant of Jesus Christ can be broken, I want it broken!”
God did get me out of that church and out of “churchianity”; but the blood covenant of Jesus Christ cannot be broken. The only thing that got broken was me. Offense so difficult for me to deal with at the time led me to feel betrayed and then want to be disloyal to Christ. The pain was so deep; but God in His grace and love drew me unto Himself and took all my woundedness to join to the woundedness of Jesus on the cross. He healed me and then, amazingly, called me into ministry… and the rest is history, folks.
It’s all a sign of the times, Jesus warned. There will be false Christs, wars and rumors of war, nation against nation, kingdom against kingdom, famines, pestilences, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, and the worldwide preaching of the gospel. “Many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (Matthew 24.10)
Woe unto the world because of offenses!
For it must needs be that offenses come;
But woe to that man by whom the offense comes!
Believers are exhorted not to give offense (1 Cor. 10.31-33), to be careful about how we live, what kind of witness we are before the watching world. Paul said that he gave no offense in anything, in order that his ministry could not be blamed. He ministered in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses. (2 Cor. 6.3, 4) Paul said he always strived to have a conscience without offense toward God and man. (Acts 24.16)
Churches and people suffer when “the brethren” cause division and offenses contrary to sound, healthy, correct doctrine. Paul said such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the simple. (Rom. 16.17, 18) An offended person is wounded, hurting, injured; and all of that limits “love one another.”
There are too many offended Christians out there today, and the devil is cackling with glee. When we get offended, things aren’t working out as we thought they would. We don’t agree. Pride rises up and that pride is evidenced by criticism, judgment, vindictiveness even. We get defensive and have pity parties longer than 30 seconds. We can start inflicting wounds on ourselves just to keep the offense gong. Offense leads to distrust which can lead to betrayal. Bitterness is betrayal’s baby. Bitterness can lead to resentment, envy, malice, even to murder. Many become defiled. (Hebrews 12.15)
When offense dominates, we make our own prison. (Proverbs 18.19) We have this stumbling block, this rock, this thing that is out to trap us that makes it hard for us to enjoy God’s love, joy, and peace. It’s so easy to be offended. In fact a few years back, Christians all seemed like they were running around the halls of churches saying, “That offends me!”
We get offended when someone rejects us, when we are ignored, overlooked, passed over for a promotion, not given the recognition we think we deserve, when there is gross unfairness, etc. Offense destroys. Yet we must remember that Jesus was despised and rejected of men.
We get offended when rejected by God, as Cain was when his sacrifice was rejected. Cain didn’t like it when his brother’s offering was accepted and not his own. He then went on to betray his brother; and out of envy and hatred, he killed Abel. (1 John 3.11, 12) Cain was void of brotherly love. Jude refers to the “way of Cain.” His heart was wicked; his life sinful. Abel had brought his offering by faith, a more excellent offering. (Hebrews 11.4) Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and spent his life in exile. Cain cried that his punishment was greater than he could bear.
The truth can offend. People rise up when it’s the Jesus who is and not the Jesus they want Him to be. People hold to their traditions and take offense, as in Matthew 15.2-14. People take offense when God indicts them for sin or convicts them of unrighteousness. They get defensive, mad.
If we don’t deal with offense, we can find it ruining our lives. We feel betrayed and so we betray. We can be filled with jealousy, envy, and hatred. Remember Joseph and his brothers? They were jealous, seriously offended, and hated him. Only by God’s grace did that whole story end well.
We must deal with the offense before we can truly be loyal to Jesus or in a relationship. We have to acknowledge the offense and that we are offended. We have to acknowledge that we have offended a holy God, failing to forgive, failing to love. (Hosea 5.15; 6.1) We must forgive and seek God for the grace to do it. (Mt 6.14, 15). We need to pray for those who have hurt us, bless, do good, and love. (Mt. 5.43-45) And if we are the offending party, we must not just ask for forgiveness, but also repent.
Let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve
not to put a stumbling block [offense] or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. Romans 14.13
One day we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. I call it, the cheese stands alone. We will account for our own lives, our own decisions and responses.
The answer is for our love to abound more and more in knowledge and discernment, that we may approve the things that are excellent, that we may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God. (Phil. 1.9-11) We need to be filled with Christ’s love, a love that never fails. We must love the truth at all costs and love the laws and ways of God, His Word and His commandments. Jesus Christ is loyal to us just as to the Father. He will never leave us.
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Serving the Lord of Glory,
P.S. Go to www.marycraig.org. Order books from our Catalog section using PayPal. Worship with us 4:30 p.m. Sundays. Grow and flourish in small group ministry at Craighouse®, located in the Pompano Plaza at 114 E. McNab Road, Pompano Beach, FL 33060. Log on to www.craighouse.org for a map and more events and Bible studies. Reach MCM at 954-491-7270. Send in your prayer requests.
Great peace have those who love Your law, and nothing causes them to stumble. Ps 119.165
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