Jesus Said, “You Hypocrites!”

 

Our Friday morning Bible study read through Matthew 15 where Jesus called the Pharisees hypocrites.

Matthew 15:12, (NKJV) says: “Then His disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?”

What I love about Jesus is that He is not a people pleaser. He speaks clearly. He is offended at the Pharisees because they are the religious leaders and the culture added over 600 laws for the Israeli people to live by. Jesus tells them that their laws are taking precedence over His Ten Commandments.

For instance, He wants people to honor their father and mother. The Pharisees said the money to help their parents has gone to support the Temple.

Others may be impressed by their giving to the Temple, but they’ll never know the Pharisees helped their parents pay taxes. Some Pharisees wanted the recognition for their good deeds.

Years ago, I memorized Hebrews 4:12 (NASB): For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

(Image by 7WoodenDreams on pinterest.com)

Jesus, in person, probably through communicating with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit knew the intentions of the Pharisees’ heart.

Hebrews 4:13 (NASB) continues with, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”

Hebrews 4: 14-16 reminds us that Jesus, the Son of God who passed through the heavens is our high priest and He sympathizes with our weaknesses and He’s willing to help us in our time of need. In Luke 18:27 Jesus is speaking of salvation: “But He said, ‘The things impossible with men are possible with God.’”

Salvation is my greatest need, although as an earth-bound creature I’m not aware of the supernatural at times.

That’s why Jesus came to earth. He chose to be born on earth to open up our spiritual eyes to the good news of the Gospel and to warn us not to follow man-made religions and false teachers. In Matthew 7:15-20 (NASB), Jesus said, “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes, nor figs from thistles, are they?

“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit;

but the bad tree bears bad fruit.

“A good tree cannot produce bad fruit,

nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down

and thrown into the fire.

“So then you will know them by their fruits.”

No one wants to be called a hypocrite. Yet, there are hypocrites in every aspect of society if you look carefully.

The Pharisees thought they were perfectly okay with God and they were training followers to be just like them.

Jesus said to inspect the leader’s everyday life to see if they’re bringing forth fruits worthy to present to God. The nine fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23 are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.   I’ve had to ask God to help me with these attributes and behaviors. I’m so grateful for His faithfulness and graciousness and love.

May God bless you, and Happy New Year!

 

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Planning to Organize

I’m getting ready for our organization class on January 5, 2017. One important point Regina Leeds makes is that in order to make changes, one has to commit to the process. She is the author of One Year to an Organized Life: From Your Closets to Your Finances, the Week-by-Week Guide to Getting Completely Organized for Good, MJF Books, New York, NY, copyrighted in 2008.

I will recommend this book to the class along with some others and let the student decide which suits their needs. I will quote sparingly. I intend to ask others to offer stories and to be vulnerable if they’re willing.

I got thinking of God’s perspective on order. In Titus 2:1 – 5,  (MKJV)  But you speak the things which become sound doctrine:

Tit 2:2  aged men to be temperate, sensible, discreet, sound in faith, in love, in patience.

Tit 2:3  Let the aged women likewise be in reverent behavior, not slanderers, not enslaved by much wine, teachers of good;

Tit 2:4  that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,

Tit 2:5  to be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, subject to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be blasphemed. (My underlining)

Also, in Proverbs 31:10, (MKJV), it says, “Who can find a woman of virtue? For her value is far above rubies.

Pro 31:11  The heart of her husband trusts safely in her, so that he shall have no need of plunder.

Pro 31:12  She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Pro 31:13  She seeks wool and flax, and works willingly with her hands.

Pro 31:14  She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar.

Pro 31:15  She also rises while it is still night, and gives food to her household, and a share to her young women.

Pro 31:16  She considers a field, and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

Pro 31:17  She binds her loins with strength, and makes her arms strong.

Pro 31:18  She sees that her merchandise is good; her lamp does not go out by night.

Pro 31:19  She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

Pro 31:20  She stretches out her hand to the poor; yea, she reaches forth her hands to the needy.

Pro 31:21  She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

Pro 31:22  She makes herself coverings; her clothing is silk and purple.

Pro 31:23  Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

Pro 31:24  She makes fine linen and sells it, and delivers girdles to the merchants.

Pro 31:25  Strength and honor are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

Pro 31:26  She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Pro 31:27  She looks well to the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness.

Pro 31:28  Her sons rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her.

Pro 31:29  Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.

Pro 31:30  Favor is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears Jehovah, she shall be praised.

Pro 31:31  Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Now, in some versions it sounds like the young women are household help, which makes sense since she’s a business woman as well as the wife and household manager.

I went through some of my blogs on planning and organizing and realized that I went from one topic to another. My husband said it’s not surprising, that’s how I am in life, too. So, as I go through this class and get my thinking on track, I hope when I write an article it, too will stay on track.

May God bless you this holiday season!

Christmas Cards

I have some pretty cards at home. Some came in the mail. Others are on the kitchen table waiting for signatures and an enclosed letter and possibly a few lines of greeting. Still others sit in a drawer in a box with a lid.

The stamps were purchase two weeks ago.

I got a call from a cousin a few days ago and told her I had a dilemma. My schedule blossomed while time remained static. She said, “Who says cards have to be sent by the number 25?”

So, as I worked feverishly to finish the memoir for someone else’s Christmas, and made a handmade gift or two, and baked cookies, and entertained guests and decorated a Christmas tree, etc., I remembered what the organizing book author, Regina Leeds mentioned in the chapter about December in One Year to An Organized Life, published by MJF Books, New York, NY and copyrighted in 2008 . Something like you may not be able to do everything you want to do for your holiday. You may have to skip something. Sweet sigh: it’s okay, I’m an adult.

May God bless you and protect you and enfold you in His loving arms.

 

An Unusual Day

Today we usually have a Ladies’ Bible study, but I suggested we get together for fellowship and a craft day. I invited a recent widow who attends another church via voicemail on her cell phone and didn’t hear from her.

As I entered our church, there she sat with a few other ladies. I brought sewing supplies and books and Bible and tea, etc. Later, I read Psalm 34 and spied her wiping away a few quiet tears. Then when most people were leaving a gal arrived who hadn’t slept much the night before. So I decided to camp there in the kitchen and visit for a few moments before cutting out a pillow cover with a sports motif on it for a Christmas gift.

She had received a cute fleece scarf from one of the ladies and decided that would make great gifts for her grandchildren, so she wanted to go to a somewhat local fabric store. If we have any stores within a half hour drive, most are quilting stores with 100 % cotton material only. I want to make my grandson a pillow with the super hero The Flash on it. I thought possibly the Lord was saying to go with her, so I did. We ended up going further to a Walmart because two fabric stores were closed today. So I bought an extension cord and two boxes of Christmas cards.

I am quite the optimist. It’s already December 21, 2016 and last night I realized that when my computer got cleaned up earlier this year or late last year, my Christmas addresses got deleted. So, last night, as exhausted as I was, I promised myself a half hour transposing the addresses from my paper-bearing planner to the computer. I don’t know if I used an electronic planner if it would be transferable to my computer. I don’t want to know at the moment. Lol

So off we went to the fabric department and while she chose fabric I texted my son in another state and asked if a check for his little guy would work. I kept looking for The Flash fabric and just couldn’t find it anywhere. He has a birthday after Christmas, so I’m going to get online to see if I can find some within reason. I bought a pillow form at the big box store, so I’m a third of the way there.

I cut out a purse for my granddaughter, but lent the sewing machine to the other lady and I took the time to type for my client. I believe his project will be done by Saturday and I even texted him to see if he can meet to pick it up.

So here I am at our church typing this blog at 11:00 p.m. Very unusual – in fact I’ve never done this before in my life. So, now I’m ready to pack up the computer and head for home. Then I’ll send it out and set a small goal for further addresses. I mailed three Christmas cards out today to out of state family and one cousin’s in Canada. There’s no way she’ll receive hers before the twenty-fifth. I try to give hers more time to make it, but if I don’t write it down for late November, it doesn’t get done.

I can’t wait to get started on our dis-organized support group. I’ll write more about that at another time. Right now, I need to hit the road.

May God bless you. 🙂

 

Habitually Moving

I’ve been working more on a transposing assignment for a man who hopes it’ll be done by Christmas. We miscommunicated at the beginning so it’ll be quite the feat if I get it done. I just decided to check out how many more pages are in the handwritten notebook and couldn’t find it. Did I put it away and the zip drive, too?

Yes, I did. There are times when I’m driving and my mind is on something else and suddenly I’ll realize I’m almost at my destination. I guess I tidy up on autopilot as well.

When I went to figure out my day in the planner, the date jumped out on me. I know Christmas is on Sunday, but how can Sunday suddenly be less than seven days away. So, I’d better get a package in the mail tomorrow. I’d better get my cards signed tomorrow or Wed. I’d better get up earlier in my day before the phone starts ringing so I can type for my client.

I’ve been handing things over to God this week and hopefully they’ll stay there. One of those things was getting stuff done. I’ll do my best and leave the results up to Him.

One thing I like about helping people with their memoirs is the fun of seeing their choices. I’ve had clients with interesting lives and sometimes I imagine myself in their shoes and wonder if I would have done the same thing. Would I have had the stamina and courage and enthusiasm to do what they did?

We’re all wired so differently.

I’ve been singing a friend’s song this week and it reminded me that I wrote a song once and gave it to a fellow to see if he could come up with the music. I hope my copy is in the file cabinet. I begin the organization class in January, not too soon. I’ve been working on organizing since November, but this month has been more hit and miss.

I decided when I was a busy mom to stop stressing over Christmas. I didn’t think God wanted me to go huge on gift giving since His Word says to do all things in moderation, (Php_4:5, (KJV):  Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

His Word also says not to owe people anything but love. Rom_13:8 , (KJV): Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

I don’t mind being on autopilot if I’m throwing the garbage into the outdoor cans, but if someone stops at the house, I don’t want to immediately think of the ten things on my list and start re-ordering the timetable and miss out on them. I want to be fully there.

I hope this finds you well and at peace. May God bless you.

In Plain Sight

“Upon hearing the simple message of salvation through Christ, an individual must choose to ignore it, accept, or reject it. There is nothing intolerant in this because it respects the rights and free will of every member of our pluralistic society.”

I think this is a quote from Gary Bergl, 30 Ways to Pray for All in Authority, 2002, first published by Intercessors for America, wwwifapray.org. Reprinted with permission.

It’s a list of prayers I received in the mail within the last week from a pastor we know, I think. Or is it from the denomination we serve under? Anyway, I blogged about getting online to find this quote and days later as I made a sandwich for supper, I noted a folded piece of paper standing upright with a picture of a man bowed over his hands folded in prayer. There’s a red stop sign symbol with the above quote written on it. I thought, here it is in plain sight and what else have I been missing that’s right in front of me?

We went to our friend’s funeral service yesterday and I knew him better than I knew his wife because we both served on the worship team at church. Occasionally she’d invite me somewhere and once in a while I’d go, and she’s a very gracious person. She’s quiet so I wasn’t sure if she liked me all that much, and isn’t that silly because she’s always been very nice to me.

Yesterday at the funeral, I told the crowd that I loved that man, in a brotherly way. I sang a song he wrote with two others from the worship team and later, I sang the song she really wanted me to sing with one guy accompanying me. The first words of the song are, “Blessed be Your name in a land that is plentiful…” by Matt Redman, which adds “Blessed be Your name on a road marked with suffering…” in later stanzas. His song won the Dove Award in 2005.

This photo is copied from Amazon.com’s site: 

 

Anyway, I heard her say softly sometime in the day about me, “I love that lady.”

I rode back to church from the cemetery with another friend and she had given me a compliment. I felt those words deep in my innermost being.

Lately, for whatever reason, I’ve been aware of the number of times I put myself down. I think God wants me to listen to what I’m saying and to cut it out. When I hear others put themselves down, I remind them that they are a child of the King. What makes those of us that do such things not give ourselves the grace we so freely give others?

So, even though I cried at the funeral a little, I got to meet some of his and her family, and as people recommended we cherish our family and friends, I left built up. We got reminded that this is not our home and that God loves us and He knows what he’s doing.

I hope you’re able to read the Word and pray as you prepare for any celebrations of Christmas or holidays you may participate in. I was chilling along until a couple of U-turns came my way. So, I’ve done my best to cast my cares upon God, as it says to do in 1Peter_5:7, (KJV):  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

May God bless you!

 

 

The Lord Rejoices

A friend of mine loves the Jewish people and her husband does, too. One of her favorite verses is Zephaniah 3:17:

Zep 3:17, (KJV):  The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

When I went to the Bible to read Zephaniah 3:17, I glanced at the verses above and the ones below verse 17. They seem to be saying what I was mentioning in yesterday’s blog. The Jewish people will come under the rule of God at the end of the age and be glad to do so, at least a remnant of the Israel nation.

Zep 3:13  The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.

Zep 3:14  Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all the heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.

Zep 3:15  The LORD hath taken away thy judgments, he hath cast out thine enemy: the king of Israel, even the LORD, is in the midst of thee: thou shalt not see evil any more.

Zep 3:16  In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.

Zep 3:17  The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.

Zep 3:18  I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.

Zep 3:19  Behold, at that time I will undo all that afflict thee: and I will save her that halteth, and gather her that was driven out; and I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.

Zep 3:20  At that time will I bring you again, even in the time that I gather you: for I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the LORD.

After all these years of reading God’s Word, the idea of God rejoicing over people, resting in His love for them, and showing joy over the ones that follow God and seek Him with singing – it stretches my thinking. I’ve heard God wants relationship with His followers and I know He loves me, He proves it often. I’m humbled by His love. To think He will sing over those He saves, over those He loves and delivers. This is the God of the Universe, the Great I Am.

It boggles my mind that God loves imperfect mankind.

Have a wonderful evening or day, depending on your time zone and the time of day you read.

May God bless you!

A Christmas Poem

Reclaim Our Republic

freedom Merry Christmas

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
transforming the yard to a winter delight.


The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve

My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love, I would sleep,
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.

The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know,

Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just…

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Jewish Messiah

 

Our ladies’ Bible study had a Christmas brunch today. We invited all the ladies of the church, but only one non-regular attendee showed up.

Her mom used to attend our church years back. She decided to return and people welcomed her with lots of hugs.

After many months, her daughter came to our church a few weeks back. I didn’t expect her this morning, but it was good to see her.

This afternoon I read in Romans 9-12. The Apostle Paul writes of his beloved people, his nation, Israel and how God called them to Himself. Not all wanted God and in the book of Isaiah God laments that they would rather worship idols made of the same wood that they baked their food over:

Isa 44:13, (KJV):  The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house.

Isa 44:14  He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.

Isa 44:15  Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto.

Isa 44:16  He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire:

Isa 44:17  And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god.

Isa 44:18  They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand.

Isa 44:19  And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree?

Isa 44:20  He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

Isa 44:21  Remember these, O Jacob and Israel; for thou art my servant: I have formed thee; thou art my servant: O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me.

Isa 44:22  I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee.

Isa 44:23  Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel.

Isa 44:24  Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isa 44:25  That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;

Isa 44:26  That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: …

The Apostle Paul continued speaking of his brothers, the Jewish people and said that God sent him to the Gentiles in order to make the Jewish people jealous. He said that the time of the Gentiles will come to an end and that the Jewish people would begin to recognize that Jesus Christ, (Yeshua) is and was and will be the Jewish Messiah, first and foremost. That the Jewish people will come to understand the Lord Our God is One; is God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

My mom used to say that something was as clear as mud. I hope this is as clear as crystal seas.

May God bless you!

Hungry, but Not Sure for What?

Once a year, a ministry borrows our church for their annual Christmas party. They invite us since we know them and it’s our building, kind of.

We sing Christmas carols, eat a catered meal and hear an inspirational message. I always want to support them because they care about reaching people for Jesus.

I read a quote yesterday about Christianity being great for a pluralistic society because God allows people to accept His gift of salvation, ignore it, or refuse it. He honors their intelligence, their feelings and their boundaries.

As a Christian, when I’m praying for my loved ones to receive Christ so they’re not suffering for eternity in a loveless place where there is “wailing and gnashing of teeth,” as found in Matthew 13 near the end of the chapter, where Jesus is speaking in parables, I wonder if God presents more opportunities for them to understand the message.

My dad used to tell my diabetic sister to drink water instead of diet soda pop because it wasn’t good for her. Eventually, I became aware of all the sodium in it. The salt causes the drinker to thirst, so the customer buys more soda pop and sales go up. Our local store often does a buy 2/ get 3 free sale of soda pop hoping to get more customers to start their product.

I’m hoping God will cause my relatives, friends and many others to hunger and thirst for His righteousness so they’ll want God in their life. That’s why I pray.

I try not to grow weary in prayer because I figure someone prayed me into the kingdom of God. Some people think it’s arrogant to say you know you’re going to heaven, but I say it only because Jesus said it.

Luke 6:17, (KJV):  And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;

Luk 6:18  And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.

Luk 6:19  And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed them all.

Luk 6:20  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luk 6:21  Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

Luk 6:22  Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.

Luk 6:23  Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.

 

Earlier tonight, I spent almost an hour online looking to find the quote about Christians living side by side with others that worship other gods in a pluralistic society. I found T.S. Eliot and it might have come from him, but if it did, it wasn’t in the form I read. I have heard of his name, but have been unfamiliar with him and his thoughts.

He is a famous poet and playwright and educator from America with his ancestry from England. He returned to England and gave up his American citizenship for an English citizenship. He watched Europe grapple with their re-structuring after WWI and sensed society moving more towards mankind relying on themselves and becoming more materialistic. He prophesied, in my opinion, on the falling away of the believers in the Christian faith and that society would suffer from turning their backs on Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Even in his day, professors in college and prominent writers turned from Christianity. He became a sole conservative voice in his close circle of influence. People respected him, even if they disagreed with his religious viewpoint.

I hope you are enjoying the season of life you find yourself in. May God bless you.