Hi everyone...I know we have been absent for a long time...we are going to change that a little. it is hard to keep up with life, facebook, a blog, a caringbridge page and all the new found hobbies that we all have going on around here. Seriously, I thought adding child was the problem...nope not really cuz that is almost a year ago...and she is really not the issue. hang with me folks, cuz I am sitting here by myself in a quiet house...and YES I am choosing to write this in my free time...YEPPERS it is that important to me.
I am still wheeling from our message at church yesterday. Ever have those...Well yesterday was a doosy...we were digging into the place in where Jesus calls out the pharasees' for putting their traditions before worshiping God and following him (Mark 7) If I was a good blogger I would go find it for you and post it so you knew exactly what I was talking about...but come on...if you are really interested I want you to dig out your bible. ok...here it is:
Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’[d]
8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
(don't worry you are going to want your bible...you are going to want to mark this part:
Then He goes on to talk about our hearts:
Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.[h]”
17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
I know that in my life when things are not going my way, or I am being challenged by something it is so easy to fall into these things that defile you. Don't worry, I have not committed murder, or slept with another man other than my husband. Crazy though that those are the frist things to come to mind like they are in someway worse than the ones that follow. When in fact the ones that follow really do more harm to the body of Christ. I thought about how easy it is to talk about a situation to a friend about another friend. most of the time I say I am just getting advice...or correct me if I am crazy, but this isn't right is it. That in all ways is Slander. I can't tell you how many times i have walked into someone's home or looked at someone and been envious of something they have. I also know that I lust after things...no not other men...things! Especially when I want to finish a project I have started or I feel, let me repeat that I FEEL we need it. These things get in the way of God if they are taking up your thought process obsessively. I know they get in the way of what God is teaching me.
I also thought how healthy the church would be if we all confessed these things and then forgave each other they way God calls us too. I know you are all thinking I am crazy, but seriously if we really forgave and didn't hold a grudge, there would be no fear of confession. In my world I fear confessing things I have done, because of the judgement of man, not the fear of God. I have made the stupidest mistakes already and God accepted me back. It is the people of God who have taught me that they are not always as forgiving. Me included....I have a very hard time forgiving people when i have felt taken advantage of. I also have a very hard time trusting them again. but this damage can never be restored unless their is full forgiveness. Unfortunately when others move forward and don't feel the same damage from a situation this can be hard to accomplish. So we need to do our part and leave the rest up to God.
Someone also brought up Paul calling to not associate with people like this. I agree with this in the case of unrepentant sinners...but someone needs to love on even the unrepentive sinner. Everyone can't abandon them, or where will we find them. Yep that is right. We will find them accepting something else, another belief that will lead them to a different place and not to the best place....HEAVEN! Sometimes I have been accused of being to Gracious. I have been accused of hanging with the wrong crowd. I have been accused of sticking up for someone with a different belief. I am ok with this...keep accusing me...I believe that my relationship with them will have far more power that anyone spitting out scripture at them. I know it was that way for me!! Thank you to all those people that didn't cast me out when I was letting sin control my life, instead you were loving and gracious and stuck by me.
I was challenged by how many of us, myself included, participate...and if not participate say nothing to our friends as they speak about others, as they knowingly write off too many things on their taxes, as they are envious or others and things, and as we watch people be greedy or we are greedy ourselves. I know it might sting at the beginning but I would much rather be called out than continue to be buried in this negativity. What a great safe place the body of Christ would be to reside!
I am challenged by this message and what a great time to focus on it. We are entering a week of reflection. A time to remember the sacrifice and the gift that was given to us, to celebrate the person who was not afraid to go against the norm, to speak out when His words were not going to be recieved well, and was always willing to have lunch with someone who had done something horrible without judgement.
I know...not something any of us want to hear....but really think about how much safer of a place it would be to reside. also this is what God will be looking at when we enter heaven: Not how much we did, but how much we learned to become more like him. How many of us don't want to hear: Well done good a faithful servant. I know I do and my actions are not dersearving in the last few months.