I know that I usually start this blog with a verse. However, this morning I was reading in Luke 11:37-53. These verses are labeled “Six Woes” in my Bible. Let me set the scene – Jesus is in the home of a Pharisee. While they are having dinner, Jesus tears into him. The Pharisee is upset because Jesus did not follow the customary washing before the meal. That gets the ball rolling for Jesus to instruct him on all the areas that the Pharisee needs to repair.
This doesn’t go over too well. In verses 45, the Pharisee says, “Teacher, when you say these things, you insult us also.” Maybe he thought Jesus didn’t realize what He was doing. That just encouraged Jesus all the more – like pouring gasoline on a fire.
My point is this: Jesus did not waste an opportunity. He knew that what He was saying was offending this guy. Yet, He felt that this guy needed correction so desperately that He was willing to risk it.
Now, I’m not saying that you need to go out there and start pointing out the wrongs in others lives. Remember what Jesus said in Luke 6:42 – “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
What I am saying is to be bold and be not afraid to take advantage of every opportunity given to you to tell others about Jesus. We are to follow Christ. And here, Christ was willing to be bold and not concerned about what others thought of Him.
So today, make sure the planks are removed from your vision so that you can see to show someone their need for Christ.
Micah 6:8 – “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
Look around you, princess. No matter what landscape you see, God is showing you His goodness. He made all of this just for you!
Upon salvation, which is the best “good” God has to offer, He wants you to do a few things. Here is the place where skeptics will say, “See! I knew there was a catch!” But really, when you look at these “catches”, they aren’t really “catches” at all. They are common sense actions.
“Act justly” – Be nice. Don’t try to be mean to people. Try to help them out and not cheat them out of the goodness you would ask someone else to show you. The “Golden Rule” concept.
“Love mercy” – Forgive. People are going to disappoint you. Forgive them. You are going to disappoint others and you would want them to forgive you. (Refer to above)
“Walk humbly with your God” – Listen to Him. Do what He tells you to do. He doesn’t need your advise as to how things should go. He just wants you to follow Him out of love.
Being a follower of Christ is not always easy. Sometimes we may feel as if our heart is on our sleeve and the people keep wiping their nose on it. Your love for Christ makes you more sensitive to things. You must learn to absorb them and not to take offense at them. That is easier said than done, I know. But don’t do it on your own, let God shoulder the burden and you just walk humbly beside Him.
1 Peter 5:6,7 – “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
Do you ever feel like you are fighting a blazing fire with a toy water gun?
Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Life is like that sometimes. Water, floods, fires – they all threaten to pull you down to the depths of despair.
However, we have a lifeline – Jesus. He wants you to reach out to Him and give Him all your burdens. All of them – from huge corporate problems to the tight budget at home. All your anxieties.
And don’t worry. When you drop off your burdens, leave them where they lie. Don’t try to straighten them up or make them more presentable. Leave the yucky old things just as they are.
Remember, you are not in this alone. He wants to help you through it all. Let Him. Shake it off, honey, and feel the freedom!
Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.”
Do you ever have one of those days where there are no need for words? Oh, there are several words you would like to say, but the Holy Spirit has held back your tongue.
The problem is Luke 6:45 – “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”
When our thoughts betray us but our mouth keeps us from evil, what do we do then? Pray. “Pray without ceasing.”(1 Thessalonians 5:17)
We live in the world. People are going to make us angry. Things are going to happen that we want to speak our mind. But dear princess, look back at the end of the verse in Ephesians. “…that it may benefit those who listen.” I am thankful for the filter of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I just want to let it fly, but I hear that still small voice saying, “Hold your tongue, dear one.” Of course, I have to confess the sins of my thoughts. But those are between me and God – not me, God and the rest of the world (who, by the way, would not be so easy at forgiving me).
So today, princess, let God stand guard at the opening of your heart and let Him guard your mind as well against the sins that so easily beset us.
Psalm 139:13,14 – “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
The other day, I was at the grocery store. Upon leaving the bathroom, I saw this little pink sign taped to the mirror. It said, “Warning – Reflections in mirror may be distorted by socially constructed ideas of “beauty” – you look great!” I had to take a picture if it because I loved it!
We have allowed society to tell us what beauty really is. The media shows us pictures constantly about what they fell beauty should be.
Well, I think it is high time we stepped away from all the outside influences and see what God sees – His beautiful creation. You see, God doesn’t make junk. He never has and He never will. When He looks at you, He sees beautiful – regardless if what any one else says.
So today, princess, remember that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” and that His “works are wonderful.” And that includes you!
Psalm 91:11 – “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways”
Have you heard the Chris Tomlin song “Whom shall I fear”? Yesterday in chapel, my daughter and her class sang that song. It was beautiful. They had hand motions that went with it. When they would say, “The God of angel armies”, they would hold up their right hand to heaven and look up. When they would say, “is always by my side”, they would bring their arm back to their side and look down. For some reason, this act of young children demonstrating their understanding of this truth brought me to tears. If you know me, this won’t surprise you – it doesn’t take much!
Just think about it for a minute. The God who commands the angel army of Heaven is willing to walk beside you every day. How awesome is that!
And to see your own child recognize that in her own short lived life is powerful!
So as you go through your day today, princess, remember this – the God of angel armies is willing to walk beside you, if you only invite Him to come along.
Luke 2:19 – “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:51b – “But his mother treasured all these things in her heart.”
Yes, I realize it is not Christmas time, but this story amazes me every time.
Prior to verse 19, the shepherds had come to visit the young family in the stable area. They told them of the angels and of their message. Mary had to be astounded! Yes, she had agreed to all of this, but hello, who could have imagine what all obedience could entail! She did not just pass them off as something cool, she thought about them. She was probably trying to wrap her brain around it all.
Then in verse 51b, she and Joseph had been looking for the 12 year old Jesus everywhere! For 3 days they searched Jerusalem. I would be having a heart attack! But after Jesus was found and he said that He had to be “in my Father’s house”, Mary had to once again wrap her brain around this child.
I can’t imagine being the mother of my Savior. It must have been wonderfully difficult and confusing. How do you teach some One who knows every thing? How do you not compare your other children to Him? I’m sure when we get to Heaven Mary will have some wonderful stories to tell us.
Ok, so the whole point of all this is not only to appreciate Mary’s efforts in bringing up our Savior but also to encourage you to treasure and ponder your own children. God has specifically given you your little people (or not so little people). He has a specific plan for you and them. So today, sit back, watch and ponder the children in your life. Treasure their uniqueness and make sure that they know how much you truly love them.