My Heart Aches for Christ | Matthew 23:34-39 | Poem

Jesus_tear
Jesus_tear
Mat 23:34"Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law. But you will kill some by crucifixion, and you will flog others with whips in your synagogues, chasing them from city to city.Mat 23:35As a result, you will be held responsible for the murder of all godly people of all time—from the murder of righteous Abel to the murder of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed in the Temple between the sanctuary and the altar.Mat 23:36I tell you the truth, this judgment will fall on this very generation.Mat 23:37"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let Me.Mat 23:38And now, look, your house is abandoned and desolate.Mat 23:39For I tell you this, you will never see Me again until you say, 'Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the LORD!'"

My Heart Aches for Christ

I see You standing there; overwhelmed, ACHING - AWARE

Knowing they will continue to mock
And not take stock of the words...Your precious WORDS
The living spoken power of the ROCK

My Heart Aches for Christ

This Your real killing cross; certainly not NAILS - LOSS

Nor lashes, or flashes of pain
Nor spittle from deriding mouths
Even they were formed by Your gentle hand

My Heart Aches for Christ

Those whom You formed; pleadingly WARNED - WARMED

Under Your wings of tender care
Turn; showing You their naked backs
Leaving, not perceiving.....or even caring about the real pain crushing Your heart

(a WONDER You made it to the cross)

My Heart Aches for Christ

Was the cross Your hope? Will they UNDERSTAND the SCOPE
Maybe now they'll see! The reason for it all; Free
Free to turn back
Free to love in return
Free to listen and learn
Free to run joyously, unconditionally,....faithfully to Your wings

My Heart Hopes with Christ

by: Jesus in my heart

What Sorrow Awaits You...Hypocrites! | Matthew 23:23-33

Mat 23:23 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.Mat 23:24 Blind guides! You strain your water so you won't accidentally swallow a gnat, but you swallow a camel! Mat 23:25 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! Mat 23:26 You blind Pharisee! First wash the inside of the cup and the dish, and then the outside will become clean, too. Mat 23:27 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity. Mat 23:28 Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness. Mat 23:29 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed, and you decorate the monuments of the godly people your ancestors destroyed. Mat 23:30 Then you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would never have joined them in killing the prophets.' Mat 23:31 "But in saying that, you testify against yourselves that you are indeed the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Mat 23:32 Go ahead and finish what your ancestors started. Mat 23:33 Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

The more important aspects of the law

I had an experience not too long ago where the Holy Spirit impressed me to use one of the texts above to help a dear friend. Considering the temperature of the statements above, how do you think I might have approached this? After all, Jesus is very busy rebuking and chastising, not comforting.

My friend was struggling with being emotionally hurt by someone. They were wondering why people who profess to be Christians can seemingly do such damaging things to each other.

My friend is a Christian, one whom I think has a strong relationship with Jesus and I care for this person very much...but at this moment they were struggling. I felt a deep desire to help. I wanted to comfort and encourage...and the Holy Spirit led me to Matt 23:23. Mind you, I wanted to comfort my friend and as we are sitting in their living room the Holy Spirit impresses me to go to this verse and direct it "at" my friend.

Mat 23:23 "What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest income from your herb gardens, but you ignore the more important aspects of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but do not neglect the more important things.

Imagine. Here I am wanting to comfort and consul my friend and I'm asked by Jesus to show them that they are being hypocritical. I must say that I was more than a little frightened to even bring it up, but I felt strongly impressed and so I did. I read the verse and then pointed out the fact that my friend  was  going through a process of developing a stronger relationship with Jesus - strengthening the bond - seeking to have His Mind; but then turning from that and holding onto anger and resentment and "ignoring the more important aspects of the law - justice, mercy, and faith."

Dear readers. I was scared to do this. I didn't want to hurt my friend and here I was rebuking her with the Word of God, albeit in a kind way. I was so sure that she would consider it a mean thing to say and then the hurt would only grow instead of heal. WHAT LITTLE FAITH I HAD!...even as I was doing the will of Jesus.

It turned into a beautiful Spirit filled moment. Instead of having a repellent effect it had a magnetic effect. I could see her struggling with the thoughts it brought up and then coming to the realization that she was "Forgiven Much!" How could she hold these feelings for someone else when Jesus was so willing to love her. She repented right then and we thanked God for His loving kind direction and it was as if a heavy weight had been lifted off of her shoulders. BEAUTIFUL!

Here's the amazing part. I was used even in my unbelief. And, furthermore I started to contemplate my own feelings and actions. How am I like a Hypocrite? I started to realize that we can so easily become a hypocrite when we start to do outward things that make us look and feel holy...

  • Writing a Bible based blog (Doh!)
  • Doing more church activities
  • Spending more time in prayer
  • Teaching others about Jesus
  • Helping those in need

...but then neglect the inward changes, like forgiveness for those who have hurt us - mercy, justice, and faith. Too often, and I mean WAYYYY to often, we apply the weightier things of the law to other people, and never to ourselves.

Consider this. What is the state of Laodicea? They are blind and naked, yet they think they are rich and have need of nothing. Oh what miserable people we really are. When will we stop seeking to fix others...and start to clean the inside of the cup. When will we stop pointing to the sins of our neighbor and start to cleanse our own hearts? When will we drink the whitewash and let it purify the inside?

When will we stop killing the prophets.....?

Prayer:

Lord Father in Heaven,

Thank You so much for being willing to show me my own sin. Help me to consider the things that I must allow you to change and to stop looking to change others. I can only become truly useful to you as I become more about the real principle of Your law and not the outward appearance. Thank you for loving me that much!

Be with my children today. Protect them and forgive their sins. Cover them with Jesus' robe of righteousness. Amen.

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What Sorrow Awaits You…Swearers | Matthew 23:13-22

swearing-on-the-bible
swearing-on-the-bible
Mat 23:16"Blind guides! What sorrow awaits you! For you say that it means nothing to swear 'by God's Temple,' but that it is binding to swear 'by the gold in the Temple.'Mat 23:17Blind fools! Which is more important—the gold or the Temple that makes the gold sacred?Mat 23:18And you say that to swear 'by the altar' is not binding, but to swear 'by the gifts on the altar' is binding.Mat 23:19How blind! For which is more important—the gift on the altar or the altar that makes the gift sacred?Mat 23:20When you swear 'by the altar,' you are swearing by it and by everything on it.Mat 23:21And when you swear 'by the Temple,' you are swearing by it and by God, who lives in it.Mat 23:22And when you swear 'by heaven,' you are swearing by the throne of God and by God, who sits on the throne.

Quote from IVP Bible Background Commentary:

Jews were no longer allowed to pronounce the sacred name of God during this time period. By swearing lesser oaths, some people hoped to avoid the consequences of swearing by God's name if they could not keep their vow or if their oath turned out to be mistaken. As people swore or vowed by things related to God instead of by God Himself, more and more things became substitutes for the divine name and thus became roundabout ways of seeming to swear by God while hoping to buffer the consequences.

Jesus had touched on this subject previously in Matthew 5:33-37 and he concluded that the resolution is to simply make your "Yes" a yes and your "No" a no. In other words, you are of God and a vow you make should be kept in light of God's ways and wishes. Do not attempt to add to your vow by using His Name and do not attempt to weaken a vow by not using His name.

In the study on Matthew 5:33 I had applied this principle to modern day wedding vows and the idea of divorce being so 'easy' today. Now let's look at another problem we seem to have in our culture today, financial integrity.

Is it wrong for a Christian to go into bankruptcy or foreclosure?

The problem really starts with the agreements we make in the first place. Who were you following when you agreed to take that big screen tv on credit you didn't have? Was it God who was leading you to that purchase? Who were you following when you bought that car you couldn't afford or that house that was too big for your budget; self or God?

You see the problem lies at the beginning, not at the end. We need to have an abiding loving relationship with Jesus so that He is controlling our hearts and minds. Then we will be making decisions based on His thoughts and His approval. We will enter into contracts with a clear yes because we know that we have the support of God or we will say no to those impulsive buys because He knows what's best for us. Listen to this...

Psa 37:3-8Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you your heart's desires. Commit everything you do to the LORD. Trust Him, and He will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the LORD, and wait patiently for Him to act. Don't worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes. Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper—it only leads to harm.

Psa_40:8I take joy in doing Your will, my God, for Your instructions are written on my heart."

Psa_119:34Give me understanding and I will obey Your instructions; I will put them into practice with all my heart.

What does it mean when I am a Christian and I still run into problems?

Sometimes we run into problems beyond the decisions we make. Life sometimes makes the decisions for us, but God has not left our side. He wants to be there with us, helping us especially when the times are tough and He doesn't always immediately take us "out of the fire". If we are forced to more and more cling to Him in tough times, do we not gain the eternal blessing of learning to rely on Him?

How we handle adversity can show even more the loving and trusting relationship we have with Jesus. Adversity can bring a greater love for your Savior and therefore it can be seen as a blessing. Did you ever consider that? Adversity can be a blessing...

There are many people today, even Christians, who think that they are owed something. They take-take-take, and expect that it should be given. There is a part of them that feels owed because of their mere existence. They do not consider others first nor do they hold their vows to be made to God, but to be only binding as long as it is convenient to them.

Consider for a moment where we might be if God held His promises to us in the same esteem as we hold our promises to Him and to His creation...not a pleasant thought.

So, my friends, let your Yes be Yes and your No be No. Consider any promise to hold the weight of eternity in it. Walk with God through adversity and know that He will honor your sacrifice. Fall on your knees at the foot of the cross when you make a mistake and allow your loving Savior to lift you up. Do good. Love your neighbor. Keep your promises and let the one who kept the ultimate promise live in you.

Prayer:

Lord, I thank you so much for what you accomplished through Jesus. I praise Your Name today knowing that You have promised to save me if I believe in what You have done for me. Lord, I confess my unbelief and ask You to fill me with Your righteousness. I consider myself dead to sin and alive to God through Jesus Christ.

Help me now with my studies. I ask for the Holy Spirit and the Mind of Christ.  Forgive my children and cover them with Your robe of righteousness. Amen.

What Sorrow Awaits You…Twice the Child of Hell | Matthew 23:13-22

Spiritual Activist
Spiritual Activist
Mat 23:15Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

FROM Albert Barnes Notes on the Bible:

A proselyte is what we might call a convert today. It is someone who comes over from a foreign nation, religion, or sect to us - a convert. Among the Jews there were two kinds of proselytes:

1. “Proselytes of righteousness,” or those who wholly and fully embraced the Jewish religion, who were baptized, who were circumcised, and who conformed to all the rites of the Mosaic institutions. 2. “Proselytes of the gate,” or those who approved of the Jewish religion, renounced the pagan superstitions, and conformed to some of the rites of the Jews, but were not circumcised or baptized.

Twofold more the child of hell - That is, twice as bad. To be a child of hell was a Hebrew phrase, signifying to be deserving of hell, to be awfully wicked. The Jewish writers themselves say that the proselytes were “scabs of Israel,” and “hindered the coming of the Messiah” by their great wickedness. The Pharisees gained them either to swell their own numbers, or to make gain by extorting their money under various pretences; and when they had accomplished that, they took no pains to instruct them or to restrain them. They had renounced their superstition which had before somewhat restrained them, but the Pharisees had given them no religion in its place to restrain them, and they were consequently left to the full indulgence of their vices.

Well then! What bad people those Pharisees were...I mean come on! They went out and made a convert so they could add 'em to the church membership list and then dropped 'em like hot rocks and used 'em for money and glory. Us Christians...we would never do anything like that..would we?

Cheap Grace, Love is Everything, Prosperity Gospel, New Age Religion and Dancing with Snakes...Oh My!

Christianity suffers today from the same problem the Pharisees had when spreading their religion...twisted truth based on a twisted understanding of the character of God. They twisted it in order to make it acceptable to the people they wished to "feed" off of. But we don't do that...do we?

You can be part of any Christian based religion and be subject to misleading ideas, feel good motivational speakers, hypnotic music, messages of hope for a new car, grand schemes to build a stadium sized church, or small schemes to create a commune for those who wish to hide from the world.

  • You'll be told that grace covers everything, even the sin you treasure, because God loves you so much that He just doesn't care about that.
  • You'll be convinced that if you can just love your fellow man a little more, God will love you back.
  • You'll be assured that God is interested in the size of your bank account and what kind of car you drive, and when you have both in abundance you can be sure that God loves you.
  • You'll feel good when you hummm sounds and connect with your 'sssspiritual' side. It will be God touching your heart and calling you good.
  • You'll experience the joy of dancing with poisonous snakes, because when you survive you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt that your religious fervor is strong enough to please God.

None of us are immune to this contagious disease, unless...

"Unless what!?", you say. "Now you're gonna tell me what I have to do to be saved? What makes you more knowing than the rest of them?"

Yes, I am going to tell you what you need to do to gain a knowledge and understanding of the God you seek....here it is....

READ YOUR BIBLE. DAILY. PRAY. DAILY. ASK FOR GOD'S WISDOM. DAILY. SEEK HIM WITH ALL YOUR HEART SOUL AND MIND. DAILY.

"Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." Mat 6:33

...and as a bonus offer! Today, one time only, I will tell you what NOT to do to be saved.

LISTEN TO MEN. JOIN A COMMUNE. HUMMMMMMMMMMMMMM. GIVE ALL YOUR MONEY TO A TV PREACHER. DANCE WITH SNAKES. LET YOUR BIBLE GET DUSTY. LISTEN TO MEN. GIVE YOUR HEART TO A CHURCH. JUMP UP AND DOWN TO THE BEAT OF THE MUSIC AND LET YOUR MIND EMPTY. LISTEN TO MEN. GIVE YOUR MIND TO ANOTHER MAN. GIVE YOUR HEART TO ANOTHER MAN.

Where you listening? I hope not..instead, I hope that you went to your Bible and sought the Lord on His terms.

Learn of Him from His Word. Let Him teach you. Let Him guide you. Let Him fill you. Let Him love you. Let Him save you.......now, stop listening to me and go get your bible.

Prayer:

Dear Lord,

As we spend time together I feel that instead of knowing You more I feel like I could never understand You enough. It is hard to face You. You are so Holy. You are so Good. My sin makes me turn from You...but I don't want to. Forgive me Lord. Wash me clean and make me able to even just hold Your hand. Thank You for Jesus. Praise is Yours alone. Thank You for Your Grace and Your Love. Help me, on this beautiful Sabbath day to walk in Your presence. Fill me with the Holy Spirit and give me the Mind of Christ.

Thank You for all that You provide. I ask for wisdom today and strength for tomorrow and I ask for all these things in Jesus Name...Amen.

 

What Sorrow Awaits You…Cheating Widows | Matthew 23:13-22

cheating-widows
cheating-widows
Mat 23:14[What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You shamelessly cheat widows out of their property and then pretend to be pious by making long prayers in public. Because of this, you will be severely punished.]

Some of the ancient manuscripts do not include this verse in Matthew, thus the reason for the brackets in my bible.  There is a mirror of it in Mark 12 as seen in the caption under the picture of the homeless woman, and because it is in Mark I think it may be safe to assume that Jesus would have brought this point out..so let's have a look at this verse.

Again we see the word "Hyprocrites!" So, we can safely assume that this is another definition of what it means to be a hypocrite. Let's break the verse down a little and then discuss what we find.

Cheating widows 1. They claimed to have a clear knowledge of the law and a perfect observance of it. They pretended to have special care for the poor, friendship for the distressed, and a deep willingness to aid those who were in tough times. Through this "hypocritical" display they induced poor people to commit the management of their property to them as guardians and executors. They then took advantage of them and defrauded them.

2. They gave the appearance of great sanctity, and persuaded many conscientious but credulous women to give them much. This was all done under the pretense of religious purposes.

Pretended piety It was all for pretense or show, in order that they might better take from the poor. They were not sincere in their prayers and pride was their master. They were not being condemned for the length of the prayers but for the evil design behind the prayers. Public prayer should always be short and to the point of the situation, never intended to draw attention to self.

Long public prayer Their prayers are said to have lasted 3 hours. One rule among them was to meditate for one hour, pray for an hour and then meditate for another hour. All of this was included in their "long prayers" or devotions.

What were the Pharisees and teachers of religious law "doing" that caused them to cheat widows?

The short of it is this; being hypocrites. If I could go into the mind of a Pharisee I think I might find this train of thought. (Yes, this is presumption on my part)

"I have worked long and hard for YHWH. I know all there is to know about the Law. I can take care of these widows and their possessions...who better than I?"

"I have their trust because they can see how devoted I am to YHWH. They have given me their money because I am trustworthy."

"I have worked long and hard for YHWH. YHWH would want me to have some of this money to take care of myself; after all, YHWH cared for Elijah."

"The widow will be honored by YHWH that her money was used to support me in my ministry. She will be blessed richly in the Kingdom to come."

Sound familiar....?

"Send in your seed money! The Lord will take that money and return it to you 10 fold!"

"Support my ministry! I'm doin' God's work!" [Bling flashes in the lense of the $100,000 dollar camera]

"Look at all these people I just slayed in the Spirit and also those I healed in the name of Jeeeesuus!"

"Look at this big beautiful auditorium. Did you know that we spent 50 million dollars building it and we have over 50,000 members attending weekly? How can we NOT be of God?" [Is my silk tie on straight? Is the camera getting my good side?Flash the pearly whites with slightly humble look on face - just not too humble. Smile and wave.]

Prayer:

Lord Father in Heaven,

I know that You want sincerity in all that we do. Lord, You know that I even sometimes question my own sincerity. Pride has a tendency to rear it's ugly head at the most inopportune moments. Help me to see through Your eyes. Help me to love others with a sincere heart and with real love. I don't want to be a pretender.

Please forgive my sins.

I praise You for what You have given me through Your Son Jesus Christ. I praise You that when You looked down at Jesus on the cross you saw me. I praise You that I am justified and reconciled by You and with You. I confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I ask now that You would give me the Holy Spirit for today. I want to have the Mind of Christ.

Thank You for all that You do in my life. Protect my children. Please forgive their sins and cover them with Your righteousness. Amen.