God Knows The Heart

Mark 7.jpg

So, the Pharisees and teachers of the law asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders instead of eating their food with defiled hands?” He replied, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites, as it is written: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain” their teachings are merely human rules.” You have not let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions.”                                                      Mark 7:5-8

As we read in the book of Mark, Jesus’ opponents which was the Pharisees and scribes from Jerusalem questioned Jesus about why he and his disciples were not living according to the tradition of the elders. Trying to embarrass him and undermine his authority. When with the crowd he had been teaching, they questioned Jesus about eating with ritually of the elders would never do which is to eat with unclean hands.

The tradition of the elders was an oral interpretation of Israel’s ancestral custom. The Pharisees considered this tradition legally binding all Jews, even through not all followed it. Mark’s gospel of the explanation of the purification ritual demonstrate he is not sympathetic towards the tradition.

Jesus first responded to his opponents by quoting from the Prophets and the Law, sources important than the tradition of the elders. He said his adversaries were people who honored God with the lips but not with their hearts. They taught human laws as divine doctrine which can also be found in Isaiah 29:13 which states “These people come near to me with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is based on merely human rules they have been taught.”  Finally, Jesus responded directly to their question about the purification regulation. However, he addressed the crowd, not his opponents, thus resuming his position as a teacher with authority. He told the crown that nothing went into a person could defile them. Rather it was the things that comes out of a person’s mouth that defiles them. In other words, things that a person puts into their mouths such as food could not defile them, it is what comes out of a person’s mouth, which truly comes from the heart  Jesus’ new teaching about inner purity calls us to reexamine our tendency to engage in long-held traditions and rituals rather than the transformation of our hearts. It also challenges our tendency to hold on to human traditions as if they were divinely commanded. Finally, it calls us to reexamine the exclusive stance of our faith communities. This last challenge may be the hardest call of all, if our faith is predicated on a versus then understanding. Just as traditions and purity regulations helped preserve ancient Israel’s religious and ethnic identity and faith is a hostile world, so traditions and purity rules help preserve traditional biblical Christian identity. Are we like the crowds following Jesus or are  we like Mark’s first readers, are confronting Jesus. Do we hang on to traditions and rituals remaining exclusive in our thinking in order to protect our traditional faith and identity? Or do we let God open our hearts-even if such action subjects our faith and identify to change?

We need to remember what Jesus tells us as well as his disciple, God is not interested at our human traditions, which is that we come to church on Sunday mornings and sit in the pew, we then feel that we did our Christian duties until next week. We are called Christians because we are followers (disciples) of our Lord Jesus Christ, and we should live our lives according to the teaching of Christ. More important is what God told Samuel in the book of 1 Samuel 16:7 God does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

Eileen

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

God’s Blessings

Psalm 127.png    Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.                                           Psalm 127:3-5

It was exactly twenty-four years ago today on my own birthday that God bless me and my husband with a baby girl and we named her Victoria. My doctors had very little hope that I would ever conceive a child and even more surprise that I was able to carry her for the full-term of nine months. I had endometriosis and my doctor gave me very little hope of becoming a mother someday. While sitting across from my doctor in his office and he told me the news my response was, I don’t know how and I don’t know when but God was going to bless me and my husband with children. Within a few short months I found out that I was expecting my first child, and I needed to be on bed rest for the last four months of my pregnancy. It took me quite sometime to really accept that I was finally a mother, something that I long dream of. You see after Victoria was born, and a few miscarriages we found out that I was never be able to have anymore children and my heart sank with the news. Yes I knew I was bless with my daughter however like some parents I never wanted her to be an only child. Over time we did go on to adopted two children out of foster care system. Many people have told me how lucky they are and my response was no, I am the bless one that God choose me to be their mother.

6bc67cf6c2807472d7ec06f4554bab4d_screen.jpgHowever things for my little Victoria was never normally in any way. Before her teen-age years Victoria became sick and over time her health got worse. By the time she was a senior in high school we learned that she has Lupus (an autoimmune disease) then we learn she has P-O-T-S (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) then I heard as well as ulcerative colitis, mass cell disease, HHT (hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia disease, something she was born with. I am not sharing this for any who is reading this to feel sorry for us but to come to understand that through all of this I do not walk this journey alone with my child, Jesus Christ walks with us every step of the way. Every doctor appointment, emergency room visit, test, and their have been many, as well as times she was admitted, I drew my strength from God. I always had my Bible to read God’s word ( by looking at my Bible, you can see how worn out it has become) as well as me praying before and after each appointment, for the eyes of her doctors to be open to see what God sees and knows about her health. I have memorized the words from Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Victoria is an on line student with Liberty University and is now a senior with a 4.0 GPA, she will graduate this May then onto her Master as a Christian Counselor, she graduated two years ago from a community college with a 3.8 GPA. Even through she lives with chronic illnesses and she is always is in pain, she managers to run women bible study on line and many of these women are also battling their own diseases, she also wrote and published a devotional book and she also has a blog called Victoria, Chronicallyhopeful2014@wordpress.com To see how God’s continues to use her in so many, has been a blessing it is truly amazing. I do pray that someday hopefully soon that she will be able to be on a college campus even it is a little while to be a normal young adult, and that God the “Great I Am” continue to give her the strength to serve him in ministry. 100_0744.JPG

Grace and Peace to You My Friends

The Father And I Are One

John 10.pngAgain his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which  of these do you stone me?” We are not stoning you for any good work, ” they replied but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God. Jesus answered them, “is it not written in your law, ” I have said you are gods” If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came and Scripture cannot be set aside–what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world? Why, then do you accuse me of blasphemy, because I said, “I am God’s Son?” Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them, even through you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.                 John 10:31-38

For most people, it’s what others do not say, that counts. When Jesus spoke He spoke with authority, but when the people asked Him who He was, He pointed them to the things He did. he asked them to take not of His deeds. These deeds were acts of compassion, healing and miracles. Jesus was far more than simply a traveling Teacher who spoke about God and His kingdom. Jesus didn’t perform miracles because He wanted to impress people. everything He did was God’s deeds. Christ was God’s man in action.

You and I are also called to do more than just talk. As a disciple of Christ you must be were the action is. Make no mistakes: it is good to talk about God and for God, but it is better more powerful and more impressive to do deeds that prove you are a God-directed person. Deeds done with compassion and kind-heartedness reflect Jesus deeds. Charity that cost you something is the way in which Christians disciples prove that they are God’s people in action. Don’t let your religion stagnate; do something and become a doer of the Word and not just an idle hearer, fooling yourself.

Grace and Peace to You My Friends