Friday, January 25, 2013

Is It Ok, Some Of The Time??

As I have spent time in my thoughts ( looking out at snow however, not the ocean:)...and in prayer and scripture, there is something I have wondered. Is it OK at least some of the time to operate from the corrupt or carnal nature? In other words, is it OK sometimes to argue, be lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to authority, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, making enemies, treacherous, rash, having a form of godliness while denying it's power, provokes, conceited, lovers of pleasure, hatred, rivalry, arrogance, angry outbursts, selfish ambition, conflict, and factions? (These came from various versions)



I am perplexed I guess, because as I am sharing and getting more involved with other Christian-run blogs, I continue to see many of the above feelings and attitudes toward specific segments of society and government...and many of these feelings are in big bold print on their front pages! So, am I missing something?



As I search the scriptures I do not see anywhere where it either says or infers that it is OK to participate in any part of our old nature, no matter what the situation. My understanding is that our corrupt nature has been crucified, therefore not to be a part of us any now we are to be living in the light. Yes, I do slip...of course. However, I am aware of it and I am praying that you are also. I am also aware that there is no darkness in God at all, so how can we say it is OK to deliberately operate from the carnal nature when doing God's work, or anytime for that matter?



Gal. 5 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their corrupt nature along with its passions and desires.  25If we live by our spiritual nature, then our lives need to conform to our spiritual nature.(vs 22-23)  26We can't allow ourselves to act arrogantly and to provoke or envy each other.




When I have gotten in a conversation with those who believe it is their calling to deal with those elements in society or government that are evil, I respond with basically this same puzzlement. As it is OK to get angry, but then we must do so without sinning. However, I don't see how we can hate without sinning...and I do not see in scripture where we can either? Or deliberately be involved in factions or conflict without sinning or stepping out of the light? Yes, we find our selves in conflict and etc. at times for sure...however, God intends that we are working our way out of the conflict we find ourselves in, not the other way around!



Please also see URL about how we are to relate to government officials --


Another argument I hear is that (2 Tim. 3: 16-17)  "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness", therefore it is my job to tell sinners that the way they are living is against God! Yet, this is being read out of context, as this is for Christians, "so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work".




It is also apparent in scripture that it is never right or of God to retaliate when either wronged or persecuted. In fact if we are living for Christ, to please Him, we have to expect to be persecuted. Therefore we are not to rally the people around us who would back up any participation in carnality of any kind. We also have to consider that someone who has been called to ministry must walk as someone who belongs to God so no one can accuse them of doing any wrong (hate, slander, and etc) 



2 Tim. 4 1In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their (passions, fancies, desires and) itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.



2 Cor. 6 3We don't give people any opportunity to find fault with how we serve. 4Instead, our lives demonstrate that we are God's servants. We have endured many things: suffering, distress, anxiety, 5beatings, imprisonments, riots, hard work, sleepless nights, and lack of food. 6 People can see  our purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit's presence (Gal. 5:22-23) in our lives, our sincere love, 7truthfulness, and the presence of God's power. We demonstrate that we are God's servants 8as we are praised and dishonored, as we are slandered and honored, and as we use what is right to attack what is wrong and to defend the truth. We are treated as dishonest although we are honest, 9as unknown although we are well-known, as dying although, as you see, we go on living. We are punished, but we are not killed. 10People think we are sad although we're always glad, that we're beggars although we make many people spiritually rich, that we have nothing although we possess everything.



No matter how sinful someone is, Jesus wants them saved we are to be patient with them. The laws in society see sinners as such and deals with them as such. However, we as Christians are not to see them in a worldly point of view, but to see them as people that Christ died for.



As you read through the following verses please consider what Paul is trying to express and expound on. Some being - that there is a distinct difference between how we see and treat believers vs how we see and treat non-believers...even if they are considered the worst of sinners, of which he considered himself to be chief! 




1 Timothy 1  8We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. 9We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.


12I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. 13Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.


15Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life. 17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.




2 Cor. 5: 14For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 16So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sina for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.



Blessings and God's grace to you!!






Thursday, January 24, 2013

What Will You Say?

Will It Be...



1 Corinthians 7:23 God paid a high price for you, so don't be enslaved again by what the world does.



We said YES to Him when we called out to God for the evidence of His entrance into our lives naturally comes after, now we just follow His lead?What do you say? 




YES!?! ~ So then, what is it that grows more and more out of an authentic Christian? OH, I know! We naturally listen and obey Christ's know, because we are so happy to do whatever He wants!!!...or maybe our mind says, I DON'T LIKE THE WORD OBEY!!...and THE WORD COMMAND either!! ((BIG sigh))




Hmmm...BUT then why would those words scare us?? When the God who loves US and knows EVERYTHING is the One commanding!?! However, maybe He saved us for another reason???? Hmmm...To create a church that would enforce our idea of a moral society...or perhaps to form another special interest group and  stand up for our rights??? ?




Hmmm...Did He save us so we could enjoy life and send money to the missionaries so they could do the work...or make prayer shawls for Christian charitable organizations?  Hmmm...



 Wellmaybe we are supposed to rally together and make laws that keep certain sinners from choosing how to live! (Yeah! That'll show 'um!) Perhaps we ARE supposed to learn and understand the most important doctrines and mysteries of God so we can finally know how to please Him? ? 



Or did Jesus save us so we could become more like Him, so we serve when there is a need? Or, maybe so we could be more happy, successful and prosperous?


1 Cor. 2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.


Col. 2:2 I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God's mysterious plan, which is Christ himself.





So, why did God call us into the Christian life? To be really nice and friendly people with big grins on our face all the time? Or people that are authentic and truly treat others with the same care we would care about ourselves. Or maybe our purpose is to be a part of a body of believers that are glad and ready to help whenever another part of the body is in need? Well, those all sound good, but I think we have to spend our time now that we're saved, to focus on trying real hard to keep sin out of our lives!??





I KNOW why He saved us!!! It's all about His grace...and I mean, it is ALL because of grace that I have complete access to Jesus now ~ the King of Kings!! Halleluia! Perhaps the completely new person I am inside will naturally grow when I do just one simple thing ~ fix my attention on my Savior ~ then take His words and HIS ways in the Gospel AS my example! It is right then that I have accepted His yoke upon me!!...that yoke that is easy and light! Wow! Think of it! I can actually walk and talk with Him...the God of the universe...and learn from Him. AMAZING! 


Matthew 11:29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

1 John 2:6 Those who say they live in God must live their lives as Jesus did.



 Hmmm...Well!!! Was it so we could get holy, healed and relish in being abundantly blessed? OR, perhaps it's so we could warn people of God's wrath and form a group that only accepts those God deems truly worthy of being in church? You regular sinners who only gossip, quarrel and secretly lust - not those extreme ones who are homosexual!



Mark 2:17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to callthe righteous, but sinners."




OR maybe our purpose is to say YES to the call God has placed on each one of us - to show the mighty love of Christ as God gives us opportunity each day, so others can be drawn to Him and be saved too? BUT, doesn't the grace we have now free us to do nothing?But, that would be boring...and it sure would not be truly satisfying!


Galatians 5:13
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love.




Matthew 22: 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. ~ Love God and your neighbor as you love yourself.



So, what will you say when God calls you?



James 1:20 For the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.


Eph. 5:2 Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Gal. 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.


* I found this video on my friend's blog -  She is a wonderful servant of God...please also go on over and visit her inspiring  blog when you get the chance!!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hitting The Target I


When God tells us He does not want us to sin, what does He mean?



Well first, what is sin? We use this word so often I wonder if it has lost it's true meaning and application.




The OT has many hints and peeks of what was going to come. One of those peeks is into the life of a man who did everything right, Job. He obeyed the law about perfectly and was considered blameless....and so as he lay there in ashes, he had every reason to complain since he had done everything right and should be able to rest on his laurels for being so good, especially since the law was so difficult to obey on a consistent basis!



However, after everyone had been coming and going, a fella named Elihu came and finally began sharing with Job somethings that he really needed to hear. In Job 35: 1-16 Elihu begins to tell Job the truth. In vs 4 he tells Job to look up into the huge sky and then asked himself what he accomplishes against God if he sins? And even if he sins over and over again what effect will it have on God? Then, how about if he is good, is this some great gift to God? Is there anything that Job could possibly give to God? Then Elihu says, "No Job. Your sins and gifts only affect people."




We seem to think that it moves God when we sin. That He gets upset and reacts the same as we do. But God is not moved. He is never shaken or changed by it. Emotionally we are affected by the goings-on around us...but God is not. God is God. If someone wrongs us, they have essentially taken something from us and depleted us a little. But nothing we do can take anything away from God. If you continue to read Elihu's words to Job through chapter 35 to the end of 37 he continues to strongly remind Job that what we do or don't do has absolutely no comparison to God's greatness...and what God has already done or will do for us.



So we learn from Job's story that God is actually not moved by how good we are, or how bad we are for that matter. It doesn't add to Him or take away from Him either way. Then in Chapter 42  Job realizes something really important about God...that just knowing about Him, and obeying all His laws, and having it altogether on the outside, is not what pleases God. No.



Imagine you want things to be better in your household, so you put up a list of rules in your house and you strictly enforce them. After time the house is pretty clean and there are very few arguments anymore, and the doors don't get slammed, and everyone obeys when you speak...yet, you know that your desire for your family has still not actualized. What went wrong?





What pleases God is when we get to know Him first hand - when we have an ever-growing relationship with Him as our heart meets with His to the point where we become more and more what we were originally created to be when we walked and talked with Him in the garden. Rules can never do that.



 Which is why a robot, that can't have relationship at all can still successfully obey a list of rules...and which is why the list of rules that were put up in the previous paragraph didn't do the trick. Rules can affect outter behavior, but they cannot affect the inner-person.

Col. 2:23
These (rules) look like wisdom with their self-imposed worship, false humility, and harsh treatment of the body. But they have no value for holding back the constant desires of your (inner) nature.




Ok, back to the question...what is sin anyway? Another word for it is 'missing the mark'. Imagine the 'mark' is how we would be living with God before the fall. So, sin is actually not living God's way in any given situation. It's missing the mark.  





The OT law made us have to keep close watch on our behaviors so that we would be careful not to sin...however, it didn't work, as imperfect people could not keep each perfect law perfectly on a regular basis (except Job)...and scripture tells us that if we offend in one point of the law, then we have offended in every point.  



However, the New Covenant wasn't called New for nothing! So after God allowed us to experience being failures at keeping the perfect law, He chose to give us a new plan where we could not only have victory over sin, but transform us as well to be more like Him. This plan would do what the law never could for an imperfect people.




In the OT the law made people focus on not sinning.  And even though Job was meticulously good at it, it was still not enough to please we said before, being good at rules, does not make one good at relationships.       



It was kind of like putting your focus on the place on the target that you don't want to hit.  If you look at the above target, the goal would be to hit the 'hit the mark'. But how could you do that if your mind and focus was on where you don't want to hit (your sin) because you have to make very sure you don't hit there!



Sin is the ever looming fear for us humans. So, we have to try very hard and  keep our minds on not hitting those places! In fact it is in our human nature to focus on the 'don'ts' and the punitive...which is why Adam and Eve ran from God. In the minds of Adam and Eve, what they did overshadowed the love God had for them. That same love that they personally got to know as they walked and talked with God just shortly before became small in the light of their sin. So, they didn't just run, they also felt shame, and then tried to shift blame to the other as well!



Gods' new plan is to get our focus off the 'don'ts' and onto the 'dos'. His New Covenant is a plan where our sin is completely paid for and now we are to take our focus off of that...and put it behind us. Yes!! He wants our focus off our sin, and on to *Him! Then in so doing, the sin part of us naturally comes under subjection...and then we get off the rollercoaster that never allows us to stay ontop of things very long.  



 Now read again in Galatians 5: 16-26 where I know I've asked you to read before. God tells us in vs 16 that when we both focus and aim at the center (verses 22-23), then with practice... 


Heb. 5:14 But solid food is for mature people, who by practice learn to distinguish between good and evil.



...we begin hitting the center more and more. And it is obvious that if your dart is hitting the center, then it won't be 'missing the mark' just naturally! (vs  19-21) 



If you are practicing hitting the mark of kindness towards someone for instance, then it will get easier and easier to avoid hitting outside of the mark. In other words, it is hard to focus on being truly kind towards someone and then be indifferent towards them at the same time.  



* Heb. 12:2
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

* Heb. 13:21
May He equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen.



Part II coming soon... 





Tuesday, January 22, 2013

There Is No In Between II

To understand the brightness of God's light, I think it is also important to understand how utterly dark is the darkness of the fall.



When Adam and Eve walked and talked with God it was complete light, with no darkness at all. None. Then when the fall happened, it was indeed a long fall. It wasn't a partial fall, where it only affected the behaviors of some, and then to others they were able to avoid much of it's influence. No. It was a complete fall, where there became a wall separating us from God...and where there is no God, there is pitch black darkness. Then when Christ died, the curtain of separation was rent in that all people would have access to salvation. All people.



Matthew 27:51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split.


Many people say that they could NEVER, ever be a homosexual for instance...or as far as the most extreme behaviors a murderer, or NO WAY a Hitler! BUT, with the same circumstances as what befell them, you and I could have very well become just like them or any other person...or they just like us for that matter!



We live in a world that is trying very hard to make it's way in utter darkness. A condition that has permeated everything, the entire creation down to the cellular level. However, we are so used to living in it that we don't pay much attention to what had actually happened to us when Adam and Eve made that fatal choice. We treat others as though they could do better...but the fact is, that without Christ we only have the carnal nature, and many of us a seared conscience, to guide us, and so all we can hope for is that the world just do the best they can with what they have. 




Romans 8:18For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed to us. 19For the creation is eagerly awaiting the revelation of God’s children, 20because the creation has become subject to futility, though not by anything it did. The one who subjected it did so in the certainty  21that the creation itself would also be set free from corrupting bondage in order to share the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22For we know that all the rest of creation has been groaning with the pains of childbirth up to the present time. 23However, not only the creation, but we who have the first fruits of the Spirit also groan inwardly as we eagerly await our adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24For we were saved with this hope in mind.n Now a hope that can be observed is not really hope, for who hopes for what can be seen? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet observe, we eagerly wait for it with patience.



But to most, the world around them just seems 'dim', and then when they do think of real  'darkness' it only pertains to the ones their Pastor preached about on know, 'those' homosexuals over THEY are IN darkness! This attitude that the church (in general) has today is what is keeping many from coming to Paul speaks about in 1 Cor. 9-11. They have created for many an obstacle to coming to homosexuality has been chosen out of the long list of sins to point out and preach loudly against. Partiality stems from not understanding or accepting our own utter sinfulness, as well as our common vulnerability to the effects of the fall.



Take for instance Romans chapter 1. Spend a few minutes and read through Paul's letter to the Christians in Rome. It starts out greeting the believers there and then in about the middle of the chapter it begins sounding as though God seems pretty angry about all the sin that's in this world! Yea, those sinners!! It keeps on going too from verse 18 all the way to 32!  



But then He seems to do a switcheroo. While I am busy reading and thinking about all those sinners God is talking about, then He suddenly begins talking about me before I can say WOE!! 



He immediately begins telling me in the next chapter without warning that while I am pointing my fingers at those sinners over there, that I am just as guilty as they are! They may be engaged in sexual sin, but God sees my gossip, hate, pride, heartlessness, causing fights and so on just as much...and so I had better get myself right because in verse 11 He says that He does not show favoritism!  


Partiality/favoritism...or choosing this sin over all others...also stems from fear. A fear that keeps me from wanting to discuss it...because if there are gender issues that do have some genetic origin, then that would shake my core beliefs to the ground! What would I do then?? How would I handle this new information??



If I show disrespect for a ruling authority that I believe is making wrong decisions, then wouldn't I be doing right? Or are my actions to be ruled and regulated by the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5: 22-23) in any given circumstance? There is no in between.




To deal with partiality and fear one has to come to realize that nothing gets past God. This is something I've learned the hard way. I've also learned that God's written word has an answer to everything. This is why I've learned not to jump to conclusions or be afraid of discussing any topic, because I know that God has the answers...even if I am not aware of them yet.



Ok, but don't I have authority to judge sin? In the following- Jude is writing to a church that is being led by their carnal whim and human instinct! They have allowed some people to worm their way in who are saying they have been given the right (through their dreams) to scoff at authority as well as mock and talk about things they know nothing about!



Then Jude makes a comparison to remind them about what authority and rights are really they are not for using to one's own advantage or just according to how one feels. I may have the right to do this or that, but it does not mean I use this advantage. 




He reminds them about the angels that fell from heaven that are now chained in darkness because of their behavior, thinking they could take advantage of their authority. And even tho the Archangel Micheal himself had authority over Satan, he was still very careful not to take advantage even to the point of not directly rebuking the devil himself when he fought him. 



Jude 1:8-11

"8In the same way, these people—who claim authority from their dreams—live immoral lives, defy authority, and scoff at supernatural beings. 9But even Michael, one of the mightiest of the angels, did not dare accuse the devil of blasphemy, but simply said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (This took place when Michael was arguing with the devil about Moses’ body.)




10But these people scoff at things they do not understand. Like unthinking animals, they do whatever their instincts (carnal nature) tell them, and so they bring about their own destruction. 11What sorrow awaits them! For they follow in the footsteps of Cain, who killed his brother. Like Balaam, they deceive people for money. And like Korah, they perish in their rebellion."




I can not find anywhere in scripture where it says it is OK at times to step into the parameters of the carnal nature (Gal. 5:16-26) and operate from there. Even if I thought I had the right or authority to do so, God is still telling me I am not to use my authority to please my carnal slander, or scoff, or mock, or desire to cause harm to anyone! 



The following are two URLs that explicitly show many of the extreme conditions that the fall has created. The 1st URL is important to understand so that when this subject comes up we  WILL know at least a little bit about well as understand that many of these people are judged as sinners, when it was the fall and medical science that made a mess of their lives. These people (well, actually all people - John 3:16) need compassion so they come to Christ to be saved and healed.  


The 2nd URL shows what the fall is capable of doing...of  course there are images that were mixed in that are not real, but most of them are...please open this URL with caution. I volunteered at a hospital with my HS youth group that housed and cared for extremely deformed children, and so I can tell you that a majority of these images are real.







Monday, January 21, 2013

The Spiritual Abusers Of Jesus Day

Jesus rarely showed anger, so when He did, those were the times we had better take heed and ask ourselves, why?! The one segment of the population that He showed the majority of His anger towards were the Pharisees and the like.



I submit that there was one prevailing reason why He chose these guys to pour the majority of His wrath on...spiritual abuse!!



The Pharisees took their knowledge and used it to crush people by enthusiastically pointing out their sins and getting them to see the weight and darkness of their deeds, because of not having the humility that comes from seeing their own utter sinfulness.


This intimidating attitude in turn caused them to forcefully "be in people's face" about those giant sins, and then as a result, any redemption that would be offered would seem quite small  and ineffectual in comparison. So essentially, they, who looked and talked as though they represented God, completely misrepresented Him.


So, what the Pharisees actually did was to make people focus on their sin, instead of what is MUCH greater, the Redeemer that came to forgive all sin!




Most of the following verses are self-evident as to why the Pharisees were the obvious villains that they were...however, why is it apparent that so much of what Jesus said to them was recorded for us to read? To me, I see what was said to the Pharisees, was also meant for us as a warning, of what the gospel clearly is and what it isn' those who say they are presenting the gospel and to those who have been hurt by the Pharisees that are present today. 



If you notice in verse 11...Jesus, after reminding the Pharisees of all the things they do to try to be great in God's Kingdom, He then tells them in just a few words what it truly takes! Becoming a servant of all.



Then in 13 Jesus tells them that their behavior turns people away from coming to God, and then when they do happen to make a convert in verse 15 that person becomes even worse than they are.



From there as we read down...then in verse 24 where it says that they 'strain gnats"....this was a wonderful metaphor of what it is to major on the very minor things, instead of majoring on the things that should be majored on.



 The law spoke specifically about what they were not to eat, as in Deut. 14: "19All flying insects that swarm are unclean to you; do not eat them. 20But any winged creature that is clean you may eat." So, the Pharisees would sip their wine through their teeth so as to keep the gnats from being swallowed. This is what Jesus was referring to, that they were very careful about not swallowing gnats, but they absolutely ignored the important things that were so apparent!




Then as we read through to verses 29-36 God is telling them how they say they revere the Prophets, yet the ones God is sending today to speak the truth, they are fighting against....and they will not be the only ones that are accountable for this harm, but also those that allow this to happen.



Then He ends with His ultimate and contrasting desire....that we all be gathered together, and realize His mercy and tenderness, as His dear children.



Matthew 23: 1Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 2"The scribes and the Pharisees teach with Moses' authority. 3So be careful to do everything they tell you. But don't follow their example, because they don't practice what they preach. 4They make loads that are hard to carry and lay them on the shoulders of the people. However, they are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5"They do everything to attract people's attention. They make their headbands large and the tassels on their shawls long.



 6They love the place of honor at dinners and the front seats in synagogues. 7They love to be greeted in the marketplaces and to have people call them Rabbi. 8But don't make others call you Rabbi, because you have only one teacher, and you are all followers.



 9And don't call anyone on earth your father, because you have only one Father, and he is in heaven. 10Don't make others call you a leader, because you have only one leader, the Messiah. 11The person who is greatest among you will be a servant of all. 12Whoever honors himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be honored.


13"How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You don't enter it yourselves, and you don't permit others to enter when they try.


15"How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You cross land and sea to recruit a single follower, and when you do, you make that person twice as fit for hell as you are.


16"How horrible it will be for you, you blind guides! You say, 'To swear an oath by the temple doesn't mean a thing. But to swear an oath by the gold in the temple means a person must keep his oath.' 17You blind fools! What is more important, the gold or the temple that made the gold holy? 18Again you say, 'To swear an oath by the altar doesn't mean a thing. But to swear an oath by the gift on the altar means a person must keep his oath.'



 19You blind men! What is more important, the gift or the altar that makes the gift holy? 20To swear an oath by the altar is to swear by it and by everything on it. 21To swear an oath by the temple is to swear by it and by the one who lives there. 22And to swear an oath by heaven is to swear by God's throne and the one who sits on it.


23"How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You give [God] one-tenth of your mint, dill, and cumin. But you have neglected justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the most important things in Moses' Teachings. You should have done these things without neglecting the others. 24You blind guides! You strain gnats, but you swallow camels.


25"How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You clean the outside of cups and dishes. But inside they are full of greed and uncontrolled desires. 26You blind Pharisees! First clean the inside of the cups and dishes so that the outside may also be clean.


27"How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed graves that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead people's bones and every kind of impurity. 28So on the outside you look as though you have God's approval, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.



29"How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the monuments of those who had God's approval. 30Then you say, 'If we had lived at the time of our ancestors, we would not have helped to murder the prophets.' 31So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32Go ahead, finish what your ancestors started! 33"You snakes! You poisonous snakes! How can you escape being condemned to hell?




34I'm sending you prophets, wise men, and teachers of the Scriptures. You will kill and crucify some of them. Others you will whip in your synagogues and persecute from city to city. 35As a result, you will be held accountable for all the innocent blood of those murdered on earth, from the murder of righteous Abel to that of Zechariah, son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36I can guarantee this truth: The people living now will be held accountable for all these things.



37"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone to death those sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! But you were not willing! 38Your house will be abandoned, deserted. 39I can guarantee that you will not see me again until you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!'"




A Pastor I had a number of years ago once said, that if each and every human being truly realized the darkness of the sin that came into the world at the fall, of which we each are an equal part of, it would literally crush us. Conversely if we actually realized the profound love that God had that prompted Him to carry out His plan of redemption, we would not be able to contain it to where we would jump up and then run down the street screaming!



We must engage the mind and heart of Christ to get things done for the Kingdom...and make Him our pilot, not co-pilot. Repent of putting our opinions and attitudes ahead of God's. Let Christ's love He commanded. Become a servant of all.  Eph. 4:15