OK Lord! I Get It!

Scripture: They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.  You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.”And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death.’ But you say that if a man says to his father or mother: ‘Whatever help you might otherwise have received from me is Corban’ (that is, a gift devoted to God), then you no longer let him do anything for his father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”  Mark 7:7-10 Amplified

Observation: Jesus is talking with the Pharisees.  They are questioning him about ritual cleansing before eating, a man-made ritual.  Jesus answers them saying you put a higher priority on hand washing than encouraging the church to follow the laws made by God.  He also instructs them on the false notion that once the legal requirements were met as their parent’s welfare was concerned, they no longer had any responsibility towards caring for them.

There are two important concepts for life the Lord is sharing with us here:

1)  Don’t let the traditions made by man interfere with your relationship with the Lord.

2)  Honoring your father and mother is a lifelong pursuit.

Application: I will only address the second of the two concepts here, although both are equally important. I have a very difficult relationship with my Mom.  In a nutshell, we are like oil and water. We have, at times, gone years without communicating and now neither my brother nor I have the strength within ourselves to deal with her.  In September 2009 I went  to visit Mom and Dad for 10 days to help get my Dad home and on Hospice care. While I did accomplish the most important task of getting Dad situated, I fell short of the long list of things my Mom wanted done.  This lead to my husband and I leaving early and my mother and I having hard feelings towards each other.  Since that visit in September she has been hospitalized and my father has recently passed away.  My help has always been accepted by her conditionally and dealing with dad issues was no exception.  Fortunately dad’s social worker and I were able to maintain good communication.  Without that communication I would not have known of my Daddy’s passing.  This Sunday I was praying about this difficult situation.  The Lord began speaking loudly and clearly to me about my relationship with Mom. He told me that I can’t change the way that she behaves but I still have a responsibility to care for her to the best of my ability, that’s why he included that “honor your mother and father” thing in the commandments.  He also gave me Mark 7 to remind me of the importance he places on that issue.  I must admit, I have failed to fulfill my Heavenly Father’s desires where my mother has been concerned. On Sunday, the Lord promised to give me the strength and protection I would need to express my love to my mother and fulfill my duty as her daughter.  He revealed to me that only he can shield my heart, and yours, from someone who purposefully sets out to hurt you.  He has called me to see my mother through his eyes and to not give up hope.   I called her Monday night and, with the Lord’s help, I listened and I encouraged her and told her I love you.

The Lord is so good to me.  He protects me and gives me the strength to deal with the most difficult situations.  I’m so thankful that I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and that the bible gives good counsel on all of life’s experiences.

Prayer: Lord, my mother needs you in her life.  I fear that if she doesn’t come to know you soon it will be too late, she is 83 after all.  Please Heavenly Father send someone to share the truth with her in a way that she can understand.  Lord, please continue to give me the strength to serve you by serving her.  Protect my heart and allow me to let any hurtful behavior go through me without taking up residence and causing more hurt.  Lord, I do love my Mom and it is my wish to help her live out her remaining years with her family around her, loving her to the best of their abilities.  Lord that can only happen with your help!  Please refine my attitude and conform it to you Lord.  Amen

Laurie

With God

Scripture: “How many loaves do you have?” Jesus asked.  “Seven,” they replied.  He told the crowd to sit down on the ground. When he had taken the seven loaves and given thanks, he broke them and gave them to his disciples to set before the people, and they did so.  They had a few small fish as well; he gave thanks for them also and told the disciples to distribute them.  The people ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.  Mark 8:5-8 NIV

Observation: Jesus feeds the four thousand.

Application: A small amount of fish and bread does not a banquet make. However, a small amount of fish and bread and God feeds thousands. Don’t forget to thank the Lord for the provisions he provided for you today.

Prayer: Father, thank you so much for giving me a loving wife, God-loving healthy children, a good job, a home to live in, and a loving church family. Amen

Doug

Love

Scripture: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.  1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV

Observation: Paul speaking on love.

Application: God wants our inside, not our outside. We have to have a Christ-like attitude to be of value to the Lord. If we tithe begrudgingly we just as well put the money back in our pockets. If we give a kind or instructive word to a “brother or sister” and then gossip it’s just lip service and of no use to the Lord. He wants us to be Christ serving not self-serving.  God wants us to be truly changed on the inside.  We must humble ourselves and persevere in his love.  He wants us to have his love and he want us to give it away because we love him.

Prayer: Father, help me to truly want to love others because you have loved me. Amen

Doug

A Pleasing Aroma to the Lord

Scripture: Please read Numbers 28-29. Note the number of time the phrases “without defect” and “pleasing aroma” are found.

Observation: As I read these passages the Lord brought to my mind two statements of truth.  1) Jesus Christ is without defect and the ultimate offering for our sin.  He alone is capable to be without defect and he alone can bear the weight of my sin and yours.  2) His blood shed for our sin washes the smell of sin from us.  Because of Christ’s suffering and death on the cross we become a pleasing aroma to our Lord.  Throughout the old testament altars were built and offerings without blemish were made to heal our relationship to the Lord.  Jesus is the Lord’s blemish free sacrifice.  He is God himself and he paid the price for our sin so that we can have a healed relationship with our Father.

Application: How far am I willing to go to be a “pleasing aroma?”  What is my responsibility?  How can I begin to understand the sacrifice Christ made for me?

Prayer: Lord, it is my wish to be a pleasing aroma to you.  Lord,thank you for the blood shed for me on the cross.  Lord, direct me each and every day in new ways to serve you.  Teach me to share who you are with those around me.  Lord, if I am worthy and pleasing to you use me to further your kingdom.  I am willing to serve you according to your will not mine.  Amen

Laurie