Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Woe to the Scribes and Pharisees

Matthew asked me to "post [on] that verse or story of scripture which is important to you, which you find yourself re-visiting time after time."

This selection from Matthew’s gospel, below, is like that to me. I never heard this talk from Jesus growing up in the Catholic church. I was so surprised that the “gentle Jesus” that I had heard about in Catholic school would say these things. They are so powerful. They are really important for us – it spells out that which God hates. More importanly, it shows how the LORD sees right into the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. We can compare our own attitudes to those of the Scribes and Pharisees, to check ourselves for rotteness. Also - in a real way, we can see into the LORD’s heart in this passage.

I am going to insert a few thoughts within the passage below. It looks like a long post, I know, but I am including the whole chapter 23 from Matthew. It is worth a minute to read today!

Matthew 23

1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples,

2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat.
3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe,that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.
4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments.
6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues,
7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’
8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.
9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.

(no wonder the Catholic's do not read this to their charges)

10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.
11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.
12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Good principles for us in this dispensation.
Look out, here is where it gets really intense:

13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

WOE! That is a serious charge! How does this mesh with the unalterable will of God? (just a side thought)

14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

Man! They go to all the trouble to "win souls" but then they teach them to be spiritually wicked.

16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’
17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’
19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift?
20 Therefore he who swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it.
21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who dwells in it.
22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.

They had a faulty foundation. Their precepts were off!

23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.

They were all about the outward show. We shan't be like that, brothers and sisters!

24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!

Oh my! I find this humorous and cutting to the bone all at once. Our LORD really had a way with words. Is this the gentle Jesus of the Catholic church? No, certainly not. Here is a picture of a person fussing over a barrel of water or wine and trying to pick out a little dead gant floating on the surface because they don't want to drink something impure, but .... there is a giant animal in his beverage. The LORD gives this increbible picture of a man with a camel going 'down the hatch' - a man who was worried over a little gnat in his drink! Are we ever like that with our religion - with our theology? We gotta check ourselves.

25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.
26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.

The Wonderful LORD - he was even trying to tell these fools how they could go about it the right way. I hear such compassion even in the midst of this stinging rebuke.

27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.
28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous,
30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’

They certainly patted themselves on the back, no?

31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets.
32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.

Now He ratchets it up a bit.

33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?


34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.
36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

How dreadfully sad that must have been to have had to deliver that message to those who were supposed to lead the chosen people. I feel the sadness of the LORD as I read that.
This is so moving:

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!

God wanted ... they were not willing. How does the determinist deal with that statement? I have always wondered. Do any of you Calvinists want to explain?

38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;
39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”

He turns to the Gentiles. After He is crucified, risen, and the Holy Spirit comes, the church is born - made up of Jew AND Gentile. But the church is not the end of the story. I see hope for Jerusalem. They will say "Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord."

The bloggers I am tagging for this meme are:

Friday, July 27, 2007

Another Quote

"...free will, though it makes evil possible, is also the only thing that makes possible any love or goodness or joy worth having."

--The Case for Christianity, C. S. Lewis

I never even considered that people might not have a free will until I came across Calvinism, quite some time after my conversion. For me - I see free will and choice as the whole reason that the LORD did not create man confirmed in holiness, or without the choice to disobey. I had always read of the Garden of Eden and the one tree that the first couple must not eat of ... and thought that God must want them to have something that they can do to show that they trust and love Him. It made evil possible, but IF they had obeyed, it also provided the opportunity for love, goodness, trust and joy .... a two-way relationship.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A new sidebar quote

Earl has provided my new favorite quote.
Q. Why is it my favorite quote?
A. Because it makes me FEEL GOOD!

Monday, July 23, 2007

How I Feel About Things

I say how I feel about things on Unashamed of Grace.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Round and Round

Does anyone remember this song?

Hello Goodbye
You say yes, I say no
You say stop and I say go, go, go
Oh, no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello
I say high, you say low

You say why, and I say I don't know
Oh, no
You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello
Why, why, why, why, why, why

Do you say good bye
Goodbye, bye, bye, bye, bye
Oh, no

You say goodbye and I say hello
Hello, hello I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello
Hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye I say hello
hello, hello
I don't know why you say goodbye I say
hello Hello

I was listening to this song on the radio the other day. It reminded me of the blogosphere deabtes. Sometimes when discussing rigid predeterminism vs. election contingent on faith in Christ or ...... lordship salvation vs. free grace salvation, I feel very frustrated. It seems like we can't make any progress toward becoming of one mind.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

A Vacation from It ALL!

John and I took the kids for a bit of a vacation this last week. We went to a little cabin/cottage on a lake. It was wonderful. There is nothing like a lake to bring peace to a family. The kids got along swimmingly and John and I got a lot of rest. We also enjoyed boating and jumping in the lake and flapping our arms and legs.

Our cottage was off the main lake, but we had boat access through a channel to the bigger lake, about 70 acres.

The lake was great - not a lot of development, so it was very quiet and peaceful.

Maybe there was a reason for the lack of developent .....

The frogs were abundant in the little lake. My 11 year old named these two frogbert and wartman. ick...

It is always nice to get back to your own bed. I think that is the best part of a vacation - coming home.

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Earnest Contender has a Great Word!

The Earnest Contender has a great thought for me, and all my blogging friends, to bear in mind.

Friday, July 06, 2007

I am a Graphic Designer and a Mother of Four

Look people, I have no theological degree. I am a graphic designer, OK? Does this make me a moron? No.

May I never treat you like an idiot if we get in a discussion about color theory or assymetrical balance.

Now, here is a quote from this website: http://withchrist.org/cuthroat.htm:

The only one who can rightly pray is the believer who believes in the sovereignty of God, that man is active not passive in the drama of redemption, and that God has appointed prayer as the means through which God brings about certain ends. For example, God through His prophet caused Hezekiah to go to God in prayer, asking for his life. God answered and said He would add fifteen years to Hezekiah. Now that was God's purpose all along, but you will notice that he caused Hezekiah to pray for that very purpose. All true prayer today is just like that.

Now look at this part of the quote in particular:

... the believer who believes in the sovereignty of God, that man is active not passive in the drama of redemption ....

I just want to know, if man is unable to believe (which is what the person quoting this purports) then how does that statement make sense? I thought I might have misunderstood the quote and that it was saying God uses prayer as a means to save people, but I was corrected on that. The person quoting this did not think it meant that, apparently. OK, I am a graphic designer, help me out. If man is active and not passive, then how is it that regeneration precedes faith and faith is a gift, etc... the spiritually dead are brought to life with no belief in the gospel ... nothing but a dead bag of bones ... sounds pretty passive to me.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Quote From Michael Moore ... or is it Michael Moron?

QUOTE: "The reasons my films have been, I think, popular amongst teenagers is because I'm, like, an adult your dad's age, but I'm telling you to stick it to the man! I want young people to rebel. I want them to break the rules, to not just do what they're told. ... I've always been happy in the past when teenagers have downloaded pirated copies of my movies, because my movies to this point have always been R-rated. Teenagers should be able to see my movies, and they haven't been able to, so they're downloading them and they're sharing them, and I think that's great. ... At 17 you go, 'That Michael Moore must be cool, because Mom and Dad think that he sucks. So the more parents that are watching Fox News and saying, 'Don't listen to that Michael Moore,' I think it's just code to their teenagers to maybe pay attention to some of the things I'm saying. ... So I want young people to come to my movie and to go, 'Yeah, yeah! Go Mike! F--- 'em up.'"

—Michael Moore, whose latest movie, Sicko, takes on the health care industry and its surrounding political issues [mtv.com, 6/27/07]

Monday, July 02, 2007

Me and Levi

I really try not to post pictures of my kids on the internet because of creeps.

I was thinking about using this as my new "avatar".

This doesn't really count as posting a picture of my little baby, does it? He has such a cute little head!

Christianspeak - "a God"

I noticed a series over on my old friend, Jeremy Weaver's blog:
Doxoblogy: Evangelical Jargon

I decided to start a series here. I will post odd things that Christians say with an emphasis on that which just isn't right. My first entry is below:

"a God"

"We serve a God who is holy and undefiled by sin"
"You are a God who searches the minds and hearts of man"
"This is a God who ______________ (fill in the blank)"

Does anyone else hear this kind of talk from Christians when praying or teaching? Since when is our Lord "a" God? I know we mean it with a capital "G" ... but ... isn't using the indefinite article all wrong ... when referring to THE Creator?

I think we should say "the" God when we talk about HIM.


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