Only God sees intent, and even we may not know why we do everything we do and say, but the Lord knows.
Iím not even certain that I know all the reasons why I repented of my former way of life and became a born again Christian; I may know some of the reasons, but Iím not certain I know all the reasons, and I may never know, but God knows.
We may think we know the reason or reasons why someone else does something, but we can never be certain of the whole reason, for only God sees intent.
What about our personalities: why are we the way we are? Why are some of us happy, and others sad or angry?
Why are some of us peacemakers and other people are so violent against other humans, the animals, and the environment?
And think about the personalities of animals; are they that much different than human personalities? We donít believe they are for we are all created by God.
Why are some humans and animals jealous? Are they insecure, or is it a reflection of something else? We can never be completely sure, but God knows.
And even though we can never be absolutely sure of the intent that God sees, we do know enough about His heavenly will to live like it and by so doing we are much closer to living the way He wants us to, and much less apt to fall into the traps of the devil.
Only God sees intent, but we can also help bring people back into the heavenly will of the Lord even if we only see the results of their actions as we are told in Matthew 18:15-20Ö
15. "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
In this case, we believe that the word ďbrotherĒ refers to a fellow believer.
If this involves talking to someone of the opposite sex, we believe it may be prudent to take someone else along in the beginning.
16. "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.
Even as a pastor, I have encountered situations where the person expresses the opinion that I have some alternative reason for saying anything to them, but with others present who also know of the problem and that it is wrong in the eyes of God, then the person we are talking to no longer can make it a personal matter with the people who are present.
17. "And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.
This is also a good idea in cases of gossip when we donít know who or why it was started, for bringing it out into the open will reach the person who started the rumor or gossip and bring the whole congregation into the position of helping to stop this kind of behavior, and this kind of pressure can help change some peopleís attitude, even if they donít repent, in which case they will have to deal with God.
18. "Truly I say to you, whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Iím not sure if this always refers to the same person; as an example if someone did something wrong and they are truly sorry for what they did and repent, the Lord will forgive them, but if we are unwilling to forgive, God may be unwilling to forgive us.
19. "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.
We also believe that this only refers to things that are in the heavenly will of God, and this also doesnít mean that it will be done immediately; some things take time like the freeing of the animals from human exploitation.
20. "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst."
God is always there, but we need to remember that this also means that the reason for our gathering must also be in the heavenly will of God.
Letís take another look at how only God sees intent in Romans 13:8-10, and think about why people do the things they doÖ
8. Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
Animals live all around us; thus, they should be considered our neighbors as well as humans, and the animals very dearly need our love and protective care.
It is this kind of unconditional love that fulfills everything that God desires us to do.
9. For this, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
10. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.
Remember that if we love God with every aspect of our being, we will most likely love the whole of His creation, which includes both our human and animal neighbors.
With these thoughts in mind, letís close todayís discussion by looking at Psalm 149:1-9Ö
1. Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.
Singing a song of praise to the Lord reminds others of who God is, but as the psalmist points out, this praise only means something to those who already know God, and who no longer live in the corrupt and evil ways of this world, for only these are the godly ones.
2. Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
Let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King.
Today, this needs to be expanded to include the Christian church as well as Israel and the Jews who live in other parts of the world, but unfortunately most of these people seem to live in the corrupt ways of this world.
3. Let them praise His name with dancing;
Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
And we have seen the worldly ones of these Christians and Jews doing this in religious gatherings, but when they leave, they return to living in the ways of the world, but only God sees intent.
4. For the LORD takes pleasure in His people;
He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.
God does take pleasure in those who are truly born again and live in His heavenly will, so why test the Lord, by living in the world at all, and chance losing our salvation.
5. Let the godly ones exult in glory;
Let them sing for joy on their beds.
We believe that this is what most godly ones do in one way or another, and doing this also strengthens our faith.
6. Let the high praises of God be in their mouth,
And a two-edged sword in their hand,
The only way we believe that a two-edged sword should be in the hands of humans is when it refers to the word of God, which can cut to the conscience of some other people who follow the violent and corrupt ways of the devil, otherwise we believe that a two-edged sword only belongs in the hand of the Lord and His appointed angels.
7. To execute vengeance on the nations,
And punishment on the peoples;
And we need to remember that vengeance only belongs to the Lord, because only God sees intent and we humans in general cannot be trusted with making these decisions.
8. To bind their kings with chains,
And their nobles with fetters of iron;
Notice also that the psalmist only writes about binding them and not killing them to prevent them from doing any further damage,
9. To execute on them the judgment written;
This is an honor for all His godly ones.
Praise the LORD!
We may be honored by Godís vengeance upon the people who follow the ways of the devil and corrupt this world, but we are not to gloat over them and their misfortune; we are just to be thankful for being freed from their ungodly ways, for only God sees intent.
And who knows, maybe because God sees the intent of some of our hearts and souls, we may be saved.
Praise the Lord.
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