Stability

The world we live in is not stable. 

Humanity can make its best attempts to promote peace, health, prosperity and order, but it is unreliable at best. We as the human race can create organizations, agencies, and structures with the best of intentions. We can create rules for everyone's benefit. We can develop theories, knowledge, and technology, but in the end it can all fail.

One can achieve feats of which no one has ever dreamed. One can soar to heights of leadership and power. One can carefully and intricately put together every piece of their life in just the right place so everything is absolutely perfect. But all of it can be shattered in less time than it takes you to blink your eye.

Where can we find stability? Where can we find relief? What can save us from the uncertainty of everything? What can be our unfailing, everlasting source of strength?

There is only one that is stable. There is only one who is enduring, unfaltering, and unchanging. *Spoiler alert* That one is God.

Isaiah 45:22-24 says,

Let all the world look to me for salvation!

For I am God; there is no other.

I have sworn by my own name;

I have spoken the truth,

and I will never go back on my word:

Every knee will bend to me,

and every tongue will declare allegiance to me.”

The people will declare,

“The lord is the source of all my righteousness and strength.”

 

God is our salvation. He saves us not from, but through the uncertainty of this life. He is our strength not to prevent uncertainty and disaster, but in the midst of it. 

If we put our trust in our money, our status, and our relationships, we are putting our trust in things that are going to come to an end. Titles, positions, and offices come and go. People may betray us, leave us or even pass to the next life. Wealth becomes exhausted or consumed.

But God will never deteriorate. He will never become exhausted. He will never betray is. He is our salvation and the source of our strength forever.

Trust Him for an unending source of strength and stability.

The Things That Don't Fly Away

Proverbs 23:4-5

Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.

In life we can get so caught up in the newest technology, the next best thing, having the biggest house and driving fancy cars. We work long hours, get multiple jobs, and hoard money so we can live the high class life. Our appearance becomes the most important thing.  All though those things are not bad or evil; we need transportation, a home to live in and technology can be helpful, but it distracts us from the things that matter in this world. We forget what matters; we forget to love others, tell people about Jesus, and invest in advancing the plans that God has for us. Like Proverbs 23:4-5 states “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit, in the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.”  Focus on what God has for you and remember the things that do not fly away like an eagle.  

Trust in Him

Psalm 37:1-11

In today’s world of instant everything we are sometimes overcome with all we hear and see. Do you ever react without thinking? Remember the words of our Lord,” Do not lose your temper- it only leads to harm. Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.”

I find myself looking to these words often in my life. If you are wanting something or upset by things that are happening around you remember to”Trust him and he will help you.”

Worthy of Honor

Psalms 29:1-11

Do you know someone who does a job every day and neither gets nor expects any glory for it?  He or she may perform a job that is crucial to the wellbeing of their family, workplace or community. You might think of the Mom who has stayed up all night nursing a sick child and then has to get ready to put in a full 8 hours at work the next day. Or perhaps it’s the policeman working the night shift who patrols the neighborhood while all the residents are sleeping, looking out for trouble. Maybe when you come into your office every morning you don’t notice the labors of the cleaning people who keep the floors clean, windows free of smudges and the air so fresh.

 We may not give it a second thought, but the God of the universe works behind the scenes too. Every time our heart pumps blood to our vital organs, or the earth is kept in its orbit or the seas stay within their boundaries do we give Him honor and thank Him? Most would say “No”!

We are created in God’s image. Even so, on our best day we could not equal His mercy, omniscience and patience. However, we do share many of the attributes of our God. Our omnipotent Father feels anger and jealousy. As we do, He desires to be honored, which is to be esteemed and respected. Day after day we see His glory and power in the thundering waves, bolts of lightning and earthquakes, just as the psalmist says. But we also see His majesty in how a baby grows in his mother’s womb. When a hardened drug addict comes the end of her road and climbs into the loving arms of the Savior, we should thank Him for this miracle.

Remember to give God the glory He is worthy of with every sunrise and every act of mercy in your life. And don’t forget to show honor to the people in your family, workplace and community that might never ask for it; like your spouse, parents, co-worker, neighbor, pastor, doctor, firefighters……

To Love Yourself, Accrue Wisdom

Recently, I saw a friend post something on social media that was probably two complete paragraphs long about how they longed to be in a relationship. I wouldn’t say that I was surprised to read something like this, not because there was anything “wrong” with them, but because as a twenty-something-year-old, it is not uncommon to be surrounded by the constant pressure to be “In a Relationship”. It’s like you graduate High School one day, then the next day, you find your Facebook Newsfeed to be filled with photos of date night meals here, baby sonograms there, and “Oh, hey look! That awkward social outcast from Middle School is actually really pretty now and just got married to a really cute guy.” Ugh, the pressure of it all!

Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong to want to be in a relationship, but personally I think that it’s a waste of time to want something so badly that it hurts. But I suppose if you are dead set on the idea that you’re ready to start dating and “find your true love”, you can ask any professional counselor (or really just a do quick Google search) to find out that many people out there will tell you this:

“Before you love someone else, you must first love yourself.”

Don’t get me wrong - I believe this to be a very beneficial piece of advice, but I also believe that some of you are probably thinking, “Hey, this is too easy!” because obviously since you are so ready to be in a relationship, you probably already know that you’re loveable, right? And you’re probably also thinking that if you’re so great, then why can’t you seem to find that one person who can make you feel so special and loved, the way all your couple-friends feel loved? I can’t give you an answer to this (sorry), but I do feel that before you cross this advice off your “How to Make Someone Fall In Love With You” checklist and move on to the next one, it’s important to establish what “loving yourself” means, according to a verse in the Bible. It’s so easy to think that “loving yourself” means treating yourself to a nice meal, playing hookie to go to a relaxing day at the spa, buying 2-ply extra soft toilet paper that doesn’t crumble in your hands, and so on. These are all great, but according to the book of Proverbs, Solomon writes:

“To acquire wisdom is to love yourself; people who cherish understanding will prosper.” (Proverbs 19:8 NLT)

So contrary to popular belief, it turns out that “loving yourself” according to this verse isn’t so much of a selfish act that gives you a free ticket to be arrogant or to treat yourself to luxurious items all the time. Rather, Solomon tells us that if you really want to love yourself, you need to be studying to accrue wisdom. While this includes reading the Bible (and actually putting it into practice) and spending time in prayer throughout the day, it also includes reading other books on wisdom, learning from mistakes of people around you, and getting advice from leaders in your church. In another book in the Bible, it states:

For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.” (James 3:15 NLT)

We tell ourselves that we don't believe in fairytales, but we do dream of someone to come sweep us off our feet. Someone we can call our own. Someone who makes our eyes twinkle when that person walks in the door. Someone to grow old with - a person to look at in 50 years and say, “LOL you have more wrinkles than me” and laugh until you cough your lungs out. It’s normal. It’s not a bad thing to want any of these things, but what happens many times is that this want evolves into something greater and people end up entering a dangerous zone of desperation  and so much jealousy that they can’t allow themselves to be happy for the couples around then. This isn’t what God wants, and it is “not God’s kind of wisdom”. So stop feeling sorry for yourself! You can’t rush God because God knows what he’s doing.

Meanwhile, enjoy life with no strings attached.

Feel happy for people who are in love.

Love your friends and family with all you’ve got.

Most importantly, grow in your walk with God -- that means TRUST Him and love Him abundantly.

The more you invest in the Word, the wiser you will get. Instead of focusing on your wants all the time, ask God what He wants for you and don't worry about the future.  Then, once you finally find that person you want to date, you’ll be thankful that you had that period of time to acquire wisdom. Not to mention, that person (and all the people around you, for that matter) will also be thankful because wisdom is an attractive quality that will only help your relationships grow. It will guide your decisions to help you avoid plenty of hurt and heartache.

Proverbs 3:6-7 (NLT)

Don’t turn your back on wisdom, for she will protect you.

Love her, and she will guard you.

Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do!

And whatever else you do, develop good judgment.

In today's social media driven world we have access to more information in a split second then ever before in the history of our planet. Tales of joy that make us smile, tales of tragedy that make us weep, tales of courage that make us proud to be a part of the human race and sadly even tales of such horrible human wickedness that we sometimes wonder how we could be cut from the same cloth. As you might know the Bible teaches us things like:

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  -Philippians 2:3-4

Or...

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?   - Matthew 5:43-48

Or ever so simply put...

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  - 1 John 4:11

With unprecedented access to posts from friends, friends of friends, relatives and even Hollywood's who's who we are able to see what someone's opinions are on some very touchy subjects; things like politics, gun laws, gay marriage, mental health, racism, drugs, the list goes on and on. People's opinions can be based on 1st hand experience, research they have done or even just what the major news outlets shine their spotlight on. I have seen and even been involved in debates that have turned to full blown arguments because one party is so passionate about their side of the story. Imagine if these same people came to know Jesus? How passionate they could be about learning from and telling people about Jesus and what he did for us! Sadly I have seen people who were friends for years lose years of love and respect for each other over a difference of opinion. This leads me to one verse in this weeks reading:

"Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish."  - Proverbs 18:13

I apply this to my example as thus, you need to choose your words wisely.  How?

PRAY! Ask God for guidance and wisdom. Don't be so quick to give your opinion.  Ask God to speak to you through His Word and give you the right things to say and respond with love, respect and be a representative of Christ in your response.

The 2nd verse in this weeks reading that can relate to this situation is:

"An offended friend is harder to win back than a fortified city. Arguments separate friends like a gate locked with bars." - Proverbs 18:19

If we waste our energy arguing our opinions and damage our relationship with a friend or loved one over some hot button issue that possibly doesn't even pertain to person experiences in our lives, that friendship or level of mutual respect that was once had may never be repaired and we may not get the chance to tell them what really matters - that you love them and Jesus loves them and God loves them as a parent loves his children.  He did amazing things for them and will continue to do so through faith in Him.  Or hey, just invite them to church and see what happens.

Legacy

"O  lord, what are human beings that you should notice them, mere mortals that you should think about them? For they are like a breath of air; their days are like a passing shadow." - Psalm 144:3-4

The Bible compares human lives to fleeting things such as wisps of smoke, breaths of air, flowers that burn up many, many times (look to the book of Ecclesiastes for many other examples). So why would a God who loves us enough even to know the number of hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7) also equate you to a vapor in the wind? Our God is our fortress of safety and refuge as this reading in Psalm 144 says; our mortal bodies are temporary and are thus forfeit once our lives have ended. But if we tether ourselves to the rock that is our God, He will protect us and chase away our enemies as the passage says. A rock is eternal, passing from age to age. This passage references the prosperity of our children; but the Lord is not short-sighted like us. The scripture is referencing your lineage; setting the example of Christ in your household will change your family for generations to come. Where your mortal body is a wisp of smoke that will be nothing but a name to pass on, a Christ-centered foundation will convey access to the same Comforter we know and learned about a few weeks ago in the series, "The God I Never Knew", unto our future generations. The passage ends by saying, "Joyful indeed are those whose God is the Lord!" I am joyful to know the Lord, and I want that legacy of joy to permeate my family, down to my great-great-great grandchildren; making God the center of my life now allows me to have a testimony to pass down to them, a means of effectively saying once I am gone that nothing is impossible with God.

His Love Endures Forever

A family member recently received a new phone and upon arriving home with it, showed everyone its envy-provoking camera with all of its impressive features. This phone’s camera takes slow-mo videos unlike any phone I have ever seen. (Yes, I know we shouldn’t envy one another’s stuff, but that’s just going to have to be a devotion for another time!) We were then shown a video of a pencil being bounced off a table top, and the amount of detail this camera captured captivated me-from the way the pencil sprung back in the air and spun around after hitting its eraser head, to the small bits of lead that broke off and spread out from under its pointed tip after striking the hard surface. I was amazed and it left me wanting to view it again and again….and well, again! We’ll get back to this part of the story in just a minute.

In Psalm 136 every verse starts out with one of God’s attributes or mighty displays of power that He’s carried out on behalf of His people and ends with, “His faithful love endures forever.” It is a pretty upbeat Scripture-God is awesome and He loves us forever, repeated to us twenty-six times-what’s not to like? It might even take some of us back to the beginning of the decade and soon find ourselves singing Chris Tomlin’s catchy song; I can almost hear the rhythmic clapping of the congregation that once accompanied it as we sang. AND, as a bonus, Psalm 136 is a quick read so we can easily put a checkmark beside the verse on our Bible-in-a-Year Reading Plan! (Did I just write that for all to see? I guess rushing through our daily reading is also going to have to be a devotion for another time…okay, I lie it actually is going to be for this time. Wow, coveting and lying, that’s already two commandments broken in just a matter of minute! Please pray for this sinner.)

Moving on and getting back to the camera, just as the mode needed to be switched in order to take such detail-capturing videos, in this fast-paced, multitasking world we also need to be able to switch modes in order to slow down and capture the details, the intricacies, of things that we’ve seen many times before, like a pencil dropping or the words of God’s love toward us printed on a page, in much greater depth. One way we can achieve this is by taking out a dictionary or concordance (whoops, I mean by pulling up a dictionary or concordance on one our devices that each of us purchased simply because we wanted to and not because we had coveted) and break the verse apart word by word, even the words we think we already fully know, so that when we read, “His faithful love endures forever,” we now read His loyal; constant; true; devoted; unwavering; dedicated; committed and reliable love abides; continues; persists; perseveres and remains for all future time; for always. It’s nice to know that whether I’m up or down or acting like a crazy person coveting and lying, that His love for me is unwavering and will continue to be that way for all future time. Those words, as well as the thoughts they provoke, do just as the video of the pencil did-they captivate me in a way that I want to read them again and again, and well, again! We are nearly halfway through the year, so as we continue our Bible reading plan I pray that we each take the time to allow ourselves to be captivated (filled with wonder and delight) and amazed (surprised greatly and filled with astonishment) by His words to us.

 

Even Your Enemies

When people's lives please the Lord,

even their enemies are at peace with them.

Proverbs 16:7


Have you ever met a Christian who had a complete confidence in the Lord? A person who is never afraid to speak the truth or do what is pleasing to God? if you know someone or you ARE someone like that, then you have seen this verse lived out in today's culture.

I had a coworker named Tim who was the associate pastor at a church and a full time worker at Starbucks. I was amazed when I started working there that not only did he (very loudly) sing Christmas hymns in the middle of June and bring his Bible and a journal to every shift, but he would have such an excitement about his job at the church., I always heard him say to other coworkers “I’m preaching today at my church you should come and listen!” He said what was on his mind and everyone respected him for it. Not only that, but the people who had every reason to find him annoying or pushy absolutely loved him. When we spend time with God and talk to Him, He will give us the confidence to speak out in His name, and when we follow His Word He will be with us along the way as we confront our enemies.

Living Water

John 4:34

Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.

As a man who loves to eat, this is a very challenging verse to me. Even as I sit here writing this devotional I’m thinking “Taco Bell sounds pretty good right about now!” Throughout John 4, it seems water and food is the ongoing theme. He tells the woman at the well “Anyone who drinks this water will soon become thirsty again. But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again.” Then to the disciples he says, “I have the food you know nothing about.”

Why do we eat and drink?  For comfort, for strength, for health, because we’re bored?

When I think about my walk with God, my ongoing thought is that I want to depend on God as much as I depend on my next meal. I want to turn to God for comfort, I want to depend on His word for strength, I want to go to Him first for health, I want God to be the first person I turn to when I’m bored and don’t know what to do, and I want to live by the example Jesus made by saying “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God.”  When Jesus is at the well talking to the Samaritan woman, she has no idea that she is speaking the the Savior of the world. He tells her “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

Well, we know who we are praying to and we know what he has done for us. And because we know who He is, we will ask for the Living Water.

What The Tear Means For You

Luke 23:45

In the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection there is a lot to take in.  The Son of God, sent to Earth, sinless, died to have me.  And he died to have you.  That’s news that we can never tire of hearing about.  And even if that was all that He accomplished, our salvation and eternity in heaven with Him, it would have been enough. One final sacrifice that would cover the sins of mankind and change our eternity. But in the midst of this dramatic narrative found in Luke 23, there’s a small, almost unnoticeable verse.  It states that the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple was torn in half.  It seems odd doesn’t it?  Right in the middle of the most important death to ever take place, seconds before the Son of God utters His last words, Luke draws our attention to the curtain in the temple.

I think it’s because while Jesus’ death changed our eternity, it also changed our every day life.  And the tear in the curtain symbolized that.  This curtain was talked about in the Old Testament.  It separated what was dirty, filthy, disfigured and unworthy from the presence and the holiness of God. Only the high priest could go past the curtain and even then, only on special occasions. The curtain was a representation of the separation that the everyday man experienced from God.  And its tearing represented that now, everything that was filthy, dirty and disfigured was allowed to come to God and experience His grace not through someone else, not just on special occasions, but by themselves every day.  Accepting the free gift of salvation that was made possible by Jesus’ death is the biggest and most important decision that anyone could ever make.  But spending time daily in God’s presence, allowing Him to strengthen you, give you peace and guidance, allowing Him to take the disfigured, ugly things in our life and make us more like Him, that’s an every day decision.  Luke mentioned the tear in the curtain on purpose and God tore the curtain on purpose.  It wasn’t an afterthought or a coincidence.  So let’s make sure that our time spent with God isn’t either.  Make time with God on purpose today.  And watch how He changes your day to day life.

He Goes Before You

Deut. 31:8

 Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.

This is a pretty popular verse.  It can be found inside cards, on graphics with a majestic mountain range in the background and even on mugs and t-shirts.  But when we read it in context and we see who Moses is talking to and what he is really telling them, it takes on a much more personal meaning.  Moses, the man that lead them out of slavery, through the Red Sea and across the desert was about to die.  And in their future he predicted wars, sickness, dissension, and even their future disobedience.  And to top it off, they still didn't have the land that was promised to them. 

What kind of leader leaves at a time like this?  A human one.  But Moses promised that God himself would never fail them.  Moses may have failed to get them into the promise land, but God wouldn't.  It says in verse 8 that He will “personally” go ahead of them. What are you facing today that you need God to personally go before you for?  An important meeting?  A busy work schedule?  A doctor’s appointment? A job interview? The Israelites certainly had reason to be afraid or discouraged just based on Moses’ parting words.  And maybe you do too today.  But like the Israelites, you have a God that will never fail you, He will never abandon you and even better, He’s personally making a way for you ahead of time.

Babies in Barns

BABIES IN BARNS   Luke 2

 As we know, things don’t always go as we plan.   For most of her pregnancy, Mary anticipated that she would be near family and have what was needed when her baby arrived.  Yet, things didn’t go as expected.   She found herself in a barn with strangers and animals, and none of the necessities that a baby would need.  What did she do?   She did what she could with what she had (wrapped in him cloths and placed him in a manger).  Then she “pondered these things in her heart”.  Rather than get upset, she quietly trusted that God was in control and He had great things ahead for her and her new family.

 Most likely, none of us will ever have a baby in a barn.  But sometimes our expectations aren’t met or maybe our dreams are crushed.  Don’t be discouraged when things don’t go as you think they should.  Instead, follow Mary’s example.  Look around – see what He has given you, and use it to serve Him and His kingdom.  Quietly trust that He is in control.  Then watch and see how He will use this event for much greater things ahead.

If-Then

 If- Then   Leviticus 26

In school, we learned that if we changed any part of an equation or formula, then we could expect different results.  This spills over into many areas of our lives.  For example, “if” you decide to use salt instead of sugar in your favorite cake recipe, “then” you will not get the same pleasant results as you normally would.   “If” you take a different route to work in the morning, “then” the results will be a different arrival time at work.   Often, we want to change from the standard and try the “if”  because it is easier or seems better to us. 

 In Leviticus chapter 26, God reminds us that His instructions are the perfect standard for our lives, resulting in God’s favor, abundant provision, peace, safety, victory and more.  “If” we choose, instead, to do things our way, “then” we pull ourselves out of favor with God, resulting in calamities, losses and defeat.

By daily spending time with God through reading His word and prayer, we will be able to make good, Godly decisions regarding our life and lifestyle.  Today’s scripture promises that these decisions will yield a closer relationship with Him, and put God’s favor and blessing onto our lives.

When It's Time to Stretch Your Faith

Mark 2: 1-12

No way in, the house was packed with those wanting to be near Jesus. Those wanting to see and hear His words, maybe touch Him. Outside four men, committed to helping their paralyzed friend, climb to the top of the roof, open a hole and lower their friend to the feet of Jesus. We read of a dramatic scene that demonstrates Jesus’ authority. The obvious message is one of power and healing but what of the four roof climbers?

Very quickly, unable to complete their mission of entering the home, the four quickly reach agreement on how to next pursue their goal. They craft a plan to scale the roof and create the opening they need to achieve their objective by lowering their paralyzed friend. They demonstrate immense creativity, how else can we explain the ability to accomplish what they did? Above all else they are willing to take a risk. They are responsible for the damages to the home but beyond that they take a risk of faith. Their faith is put on the line on behalf of a broken brother in a determined effort to place him before Jesus. It is easy to focus on the healing and we should marvel and praise God for this miracle but at the same time we should also recognize the miracle of faith rewarded.  Jesus recognizes the faith of the rooftop friends and acts in response to it (verse 5).

Each of us will have an opportunity to stretch our own faith, a time to rally to a cause, use the creativity the Lord has blessed us with to make a way and ultimately take the necessary risks as we place our trust in our God of the impossible. The question we have to ask ourselves is a simple one. It is the same question four men who climbed a roof answered when faced with a daunting challenge. Are we willing to trust God enough to be bold, take the risk regardless of cost while expecting to experience a demonstration of God’s authority and power? What if the four men in Mark II had not answered with a clear and certain yes? What if, facing the same question, we fail to do as they did?

Jesus as Our Fortress

Psalm 27: 1-6

David, chosen by God, victor over bears, lions and Goliath the Philistine giant. A mighty warrior who lived in victory and the blessings of God. Yet, as we all do at some point in our lives, he also knew the taste of fear, sorrow and defeat. In our reading we hear David’s praise and call to the Lord, His light and His protection.

Have you been there? It’s closing in on all sides and crumbling beneath your feet. Out of energy, answers and hope whatever we do it is not enough. “Focus on the solution and not the problem” is what we have all been told. Often we don’t appreciate the way that sounds but do you have any idea how true it is?

David lived understanding that even in the darkest of times, times of challenge, failure and defeat, that God alone was his answer and solution in every situation. That truth is no different for us. Our need is to focus on our praise and who God is. David understood that with God as his light and salvation (verse 1) there was not a reason or a place for uncertainty and fear. David’s truth is ours as well. Each of us, as David did, is able to live in a confidence rooted in our relationship with God. This is the confidence that releases us from any fear (verse 3).

Trouble and problem free; that is not the life we are promised. To the contrary, we live our lives in a sinful world and will be challenged daily. In that we need to know that we are promised that a life in Christ enables us to be released from fear enabling us to live in victory overcoming challenges and fear. Regardless of circumstance, as David chose to do, we can chose to live in the light and within our fortress Jesus Christ.

Jesus Is A Rule Breaker

Matthew 12

Jesus doesn’t follow the rules.  That may be surprising to some.  Many think Jesus to be a goody two-shoes who followed every rule and pointed fingers at anyone who didn’t.  While Jesus was perfect and never sinned, He broke A LOT of rules.  In our reading this morning in Matthew chapter twelve, we see the religious people trying to make Jesus follow their religious rules.  He didn’t and he wouldn’t.  At one point He quoted scripture at the Pharisees, “I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.”

Think of it this way.  Imagine you are in a church.  It is more like a cathedral.  Beautiful, magnificent, grandeur.  Far away at the front of the altar sits a poor impoverished beggar.  He is too weak to even pray out loud.  In his thoughts he cries out to God for help.  You are standing in the narthex of the church.  In your hands you hold fresh bread, a bowl of hot soup, and a can of Moxie.  You have just moments to bring sustenance to this man before he slips out of consciousness.  All that stands in the way of this man’s survival is a sign that reads, “No Food Or Drink In The Sanctuary”.  

What would Jesus do? 

Jesus would have fed the man.  Jesus would have broken the rules and He would have asked us to break the rules as well.  Contrary to popular belief, Jesus doesn’t want us to follow the rules.  He wants us to follow Him and change the world!  

Has Someone Been Lying About You?

Answer me when I call to you,
    O God who declares me innocent.
Free me from my troubles.
    Have mercy on me and hear my prayer.
Psalm 4:1

 

Have you ever been falsely accused?  Maybe someone questioned your motive or just outright called you a liar.  You can’t win in those situations.  You can yell out the truth of your innocence until you are blue in the face but they will still continue to tell people you are guilty and people will still believe them!  Instead of taking to Facebook to argue your defense, meditate on this line scripture from verse one of Psalms chapter four:

O God who declares me innocent

God knows the truth.  If you are innocent, He knows that and He declares your innocence.  Rest in that.  You can’t stop people from lying about you but you can be confident that they will not be able to lie to God about you.