Friday, May 27, 2011

Inside of the Cup

Hollen Boat-1
It is not the healthy that need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5:31,32. The gospel of Matthew expounds on this verse with these words, "But go and learn what it means :'I desire compassion, and not sacrifice,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." Matthew 9:13
The Pharisees' loved their rituals and religious ceremonies, they focused on the outward appearance of their faith and neglected the inward renewal of their heart. They were more concerned with appearances than dealing with the inner secret sins, the sins that put their rituals and religious ceremonies above human compassion. They believed the lie that righteousness was to be acheived by their works and sacrifices alone. Their salvation was all about them. It was an acts of service based religion. It was a religion based on appearances. Jesus, put's it this way, "Now you Pharisees clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but inside of you, you are full of robbery and wickedness. First clean the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also " Luke 11:39; Matthew 23:26 The people were more concerned with their outward appearances than with their inward morality.
I have found personally that it is much easier "to do" for the Lord than "to be" in the Lord and in His Holy Word. For when I am in the Word I am reminded of my need for Him and the inner sins that are lodged in my heart that He desires to forgive.
"I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance", What does this mean? This verse is directly linked to those who will likely oppose the message of Salvation. It will be the people, like the religious leaders, who do not recognize their need for a Savior. It will be people who replace their inner need of salvation with acts of service instead of repentance, which is a COMPLETE turn from self to God. Jesus came to save all who would come to repentance. When He stated that He came to save the sick but not the righteous, what He was saying was one has to realize they are sick to be saved. The religious leaders of Christ's day didn't recognize their need for the Savior. They trusted in their abilities and their ways and not in the way of repentance and inner renewal. Therefore, bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8

Post written December 2010

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"I Know That"

hannah jumping in waves-1

He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back. Isaiah 50:4,5

He awakens me morning by morning. He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple and yet it isn't enough for me to hear the Word of the Lord I must then act on it.

It isn't enough for me to say, "I know that", I must live as though I believe it. What we know is different than what we believe. For most of us know truth but few of us strive to live by the truth. Our actions are the looking glass into what we believe to be true.

I can not say, " I know that", and yet act as though I don't.

My little girl was caught in disobedience. Being her mommy, I said to her, "Please do not do that again." Now she knew what she was doing was wrong and this wasn't the first time she did this particular thing. Her response to me, "I know that". For the record, this response infuriates me, my response, "I didn't ask you if you KNEW that, I told you not to DO that!" Our actions are indicators to what we believe. It isn't enough for me to know it, I must obey and act as if I know it. It isn't enough for me to claim to love and trust Jesus, I must show I trust and love Him through my actions. Jesus, tells us, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." John 14:15 And "He who has my commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by my Father." John 14:21

Deeper thought, what do my actions imply that I believe? Who am I listening to? What ideas am I buying into? What school of thought am I living out of? Is the world's lingo and slogans resonating within my heart or am I awakened morning by morning to the sound of the gentle rolling waves of Truth?

It is the Lord who awakens the ear to listen as a disciple BUT am I obeying?

He awakens my ear to listen as a disciple. The Lord has opened My ear; And I was not disobedient Nor did I turn back. Isaiah 50:4,5

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weeds in My Garden

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. Proverbs 4:23

One of my favorite things to do in the spring time is to pull the weeds in my garden. There is satisfaction in knowing that every weed removed makes way for the beautiful flowers I have planted to flourish.
One thing I have notice while weeding is the biggest most noticeable weeds are oftentimes the easiest to remove. The reason being, some of the tallest weeds have the most shallow roots.
It is the small weeds that are the hardest to pull up. They are the ones, if left unattended, will grow and eventually overtake the garden. It is these creeping weeds that will choke out the beautiful flowers I have planted.
I find this is the same way with sin. You see the most noticeable sins are oftentimes the easiest sins to identify and turn away from. They are actions that indicate ones heart condition. For example, drunkenness, cussing, wild living, sex outside of marriage, cheating, course joking, fits of rage, lying, stealing, fighting, destructive behavior. Just to name a few.
I have found in my personal life, my behavior is an outpouring of what is in my heart. I have also found, it's much easier for me to change my behavior, than it is for me to change my heart.My Actions are just indicators of my heart condition.
Let's talk about the small weeds. These weeds if left unattended will choke out all the beautiful flowers the Lord has planted in your life. These sins will also strangle your faith and over take your garden. Oftentimes, these small weeds are the reasons we do what we do.
Most of the time, these sins go unnoticed to the outsider. They can easily be explained away by the insider. These weeds are dangerous because they are socially acceptable and often times not recognized for what they are WEEDS (sins)! They go unnoticed and over time wreck our faith and render us useless in the kingdom of God.
What are some examples of these creeping weeds? Fear, anger, jealousy, pride, control, complacency, bitterness, spirit of entitlement, relying on self rather than relying on God, blame shifting, complaining, selfish ambition, gossiping, vanity, greed, just to name a few. These sins reside in the heart and often times effect our behavior.
What are we doing to tend our garden of faith? We need to be diligent in asking the Lord to help us identify and pull up these faith choking weeds. We need to expose the heart conditions behind the sin and bring to light the deep roots of unforgiveness, hurt, disappointment, abandonment, abuse, dejection,rejection and perfection. We need to surrender to an Almighty, All Powerful, All Knowing God.

What weeds in your garden need tending?

Re-posting of Weeds, written Spring of 2009.