Who do we honor?…

I’ve been walking through Matthew in a study of the words of Christ.  It has been a stroll, reading, praying and listening for the voice of the Holy Spirit within to bring understanding as promised.  It has been done intentionally without research.  I will be returning to points that need further explanation later, perhaps in the light of culture during Jesus’ time,  to research and delve deeper into what is said.  For now it has been a delightful stroll. 

Matthew 23:1-14

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,

The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels.  And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’

Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters.

And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father.

And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah.

The greatest among you must be a servant. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.

 Pasted from <http://nlt.scripturetext.com/matthew/23.htm>

Who do we honor?  Who do we give names of respect?  Who do we look to for direction, teaching, guiding?

We emulate Him, but do not take His place.  We follow His example, become His hands, feet, mouth, but never take His position, His name.

We teach, we guide and build up, but never become the source.  We are trained, equipped to continue His work through our study of His Word, prayer, the wise counsel of others who follow Him with His help, His example always before us.  But He receives the glory, it is all done in His name, , His strength, His power, not ours.

We provide leadership, under His direction – we provide instruction, under His administration – we stand beside one another, giving what is needed when it is needed, provision and guidance, but He is our source of provision.

Three points of service to one another; Rabbi – leadership, Teacher – instruction and understanding, Father – provider and guide.  He is who He says He is, and we are who He says we are.

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Are stress and worry indications of God neglect?

Reading author Francis Chan’s Crazy Love, specifically chapter 2, stimulated a response from me strong enough to write about it.  Read and then share what you think.

“Worry implies that we don’t quite trust that God is big enough, powerful enough, or loving enough to take care of what’s happening in our lives.”  This statement resonated in my soul – I agree!!

“Stress says that the things we are involved in are important enough to merit our impatience, our lack of grace toward others, or our tight grip of control.”  Again, I found agreement and recognized the actions.

“Basically, these two behaviors communicate that it’s OK to sin and not trust God because the stuff in my life is somehow exceptional”  Not sure I’d say it this way, more that it indicates looking at my situation rather than focusing on Jesus.  Pulling from myself first, before I give it to Him.  It’s an indication of how I start the day.  Asking for my assignment and help with what is necessary or deciding for myself what I will do.

These behaviors suggest I’m immersed in myself rather than Him.  Not that I’ve decided it’s OK to sin.  This statement would indicate a deliberate, conscious decision to disobey – I don’t think we’re even aware we made the shift from God-centerd decisions and actions, God-in-control, to self-in-control much of the time.

We arrived (the author and I) at the same place: “I am still dumb enough to forget that life is all about God and not about me at all.”

The question is asked:”How is it possible that we live as though it (life) is about us?  Answer: (mine) because it (life) is. God gave that life to us because He loved us and wanted that love returned.  So it is about us and Him and a love relationship.  Mankind so disappointed Him.  Mankind took the gift without a backward look  or thanks and ran with it.  Because mankind did this, God gave death also.  Now mankind must choose, life or death.  Do not be fooled, death comes as sure as life is given.  Do we also accept Christ, God’s second gift of life? and so doing defeat death.  Now upon accepting the second gift of life, does mankind turn and run again? or stay and love the God who gave the gift, showing that love by developing the love relationship God desired in the first place.  That response involves getting to know Him, spending time with Him, waking with Him, going to bed with Him.  That involves having Him involved in every single decision we make.

“The point of your life is to point to Him. What ever you are doing(eating a sandwich on a lunch break, drinking coffee at 12:04 am so you can stay awake to study, or watching your four-month-old take a nap) God wants to be glorified, because this whole thing is His.  It is His movie, His gift.”  Stated by Chan.

Psalm 73:3, 13, 16-17  For I [was] envious of the boastful, When I saw the prosperity of the wicked….Surely I have cleansed my heart [in] vain, And washed my hands in innocence….When I thought [how] to understand this, It [was] too painful for me–Until I went into the sanctuary of God; [Then] I understood their end.

Chan continues; It’s easier to become disillusioned with the circumstances of our lives compared to others’.  But in the presence of God, He gives us a deeper peace and joy that transcends it all.

The point of your life is to point to Him.

Again within my spirit there is a connection.  When I find myself bored – am I pointing to Him or looking to entertain myself.  Whatever I do, is it pointing to Him or entertaining me?

A Storm’s Aftermath

There is a period of time after a storm when the refuse stirred up comes floating by.  All the trash, the broken wood, the ‘stuff” that surrounds us.  The sea is filled with debris, rivers are choked with it, the land cries out with the brokenness.  So too, with our daily lives, storms leave behind broken pieces that are in need of cleaning up.  This period of time has the potential to bury us once more in distress as we relive the storm over and over again and long for ‘how things were’.

Colossians 3:1-13

Col 3:1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new [man] who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave [nor] free, but Christ [is] all and in all. Therefore, as [the] elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also [must do]. Blue Letter Bible. “Colossians 3 – New King James Version.” Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2009. 2 Jul 2009. < http://www.blueletterbible.org/Bible.cfm?b=Col&c=3&t=NKJV >

Do not be enslaved to natural man’s emotions, thoughts, actions.  Be set free to the life led by the Spirit – His Spirit leading our spirit – ever in tune with Him.  Set our minds above – not below – it raises us above the level of earthly disputes and focuses us on our Father – knowing how to live peacefully with one another, knowing we can live eternally with Him…

Not filled with anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language, all these tear down.  But clothed in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, these build up. 

When the logs of discord – be they from memory or present – come by you in the stream of life – let them pass…don’t stop them, pull them up on the bank, build a house of pain and disruption, then live in it.  Rather, let them go on by, down the stream or out to sea.  That will allow you to reach that place where you can “forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Then you can act in the victorious lifestyle of;  “over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”  This will allow you to express compassion toward those who have brought you harm, treat them with kindness, remain humble in the Lord for He raises you above the hurt, be gentle in response to harshness, and have patience as you see the Lord work out His will in you and others.

Ramblings

Ecclesiastes 11: 

Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle.

“Don’t water down the Bible to match your experience: expand your experience to match the Word of God.” Reading God’s Word gives knowledge of God’s Will.  It exhorts/gives encouragement, edifies/builds up, gives strength, comforts/ consoles the broken.