In the waiting…

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Hiding behind locked doors, the disciples waited. They feared reprisals from religious leaders owing to their association with Christ; who was now dead and buried behind a great, immovable stone. Feeling abandoned and bewildered by all they had experienced the past three years; not realizing that Jesus had been trying to reveal the Father’s plan to them. They waited.

It seemed that the “Jesus movement” was over. Done. Finished.

What the disciples could not know and could not see was the warfare happening in the spiritual realm.

Isaiah 25:8, 1 Peter 3:18-19 and Ephesians 4:7-10 tell us what was happening in the dark hours between Friday and Sunday.

Christ kicked down the gates of Sheol! He took the keys of sin and death. He ministered the Gospel to the Lord’s faithful people and brought them to Himself. He showed death and the demons that His authority extended to the very depths of darkness. There is no where on earth or in the heavens that Chris does not reign.

John 20:6-9 When Simon Peter finally arrived, he went into the tomb and observed the same: the cloth that covered His face appeared to have been folded carefully and placed, not with the linen cloths, but to the side. After Peter pointed this out, the other disciple (who had arrived long before Peter) also entered the tomb; and based on what he saw, faith began to well up inside him! Before this moment, none of them understood the Scriptures and why He must be raised from the dead.

Finally, the pieces are starting to fall into place for the disciples. The light is dawning: maybe the crucifixion was not the end but the beginning….

Suddenly, Jesus appears. In the flesh. Alive.

The disciples are hiding out when Christ appears into a locked room. If the gates of hell cannot stop Him; then a locked door certainly isn’t going to block His entrance.

Today is Saturday. We are waiting.

Have you ever been waiting for something to happen? Waiting for pieces to fall into place? Anxiously waiting the “not yet”? Confused about circumstances that seem like detours or road blocks? I certainly have.

We are in the waiting.

Waiting for the breakthrough.

Waiting for clarity.

Waiting for a path to open up.

The good news is that Jesus Christ is not only with you in the waiting; He is the breakthrough, He is the clarity, He is the path.

When we cannot see the purpose; we can rest assured that He has everything under His control and authority.

Sweet friend, I want to leave you with this verse.

Colossians 1:16,17 Christ himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can’t; the spirit world with its kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for his own use and glory. He was before all else began and it is his power that holds everything together.

Sacrifice

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If it has been a decade or more since you have read Exodus 12; I encourage you to read it today: Good Friday.

In Exodus 12, we read of the Lord’s final plague for Egypt and the path of deliverance for the Israelites. 

The Lord gives specific instructions on how His people are to be spared from the judgement that is going to be visited upon the Egyptians. It is an appalling punishment: death to the first-born male of every household that does not bear the blood of a lamb. 

As I read Exodus 12 today, several things jumped out as significant.

The first, the Israelites were starting over. The Lord said to Moses (v. 2), “Mark this month as the first month of all months for you—the first month of your year.” It’s a new day, Moses! My people will be starting anew as a freed people; delivered from bondage and slavery. 

When we receive Christ: it’s a new day! It’s a “do-over” for our lives. Starting a new life as free, forgiven, redeemed and a child of God.  

John 8:35,36 Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new

Second, find a perfect sacrifice (v. 5). The lamb must not have any blemishes, sickness or injury. The sacrifice is to be the best of the best. The lamb is to be butchered. The blood is to be applied on the door frame, top and sides; then the plague of death would pass over.

The blood of the perfect sacrifice, Jesus Christ, atones for our sins. His blood over our hearts and lives covers our sins. His sacrifice takes away our sin and certain death. We could never be perfect or good enough to cover our sins.

Hebrews 10:10 we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Third, be ready to leave (v. 11). Eat quickly, no lingering. The people were to be ready at a moment’s notice to embark on a journey with the Lord. Sandals on, belt tightened, cloak on the shoulders and a staff in hand. God’s people had been in Egypt for 430 years; it was time to leave and follow Moses to a new life. 

When we accept Christ, He gives us purpose. We are to use our time, abilities and treasures to serve Him and others.  Being prepared to respond to whatever opportunity comes to us.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Lastly, remember this day (v. 14). Commemorate this day with celebrations. Remember where you came from. The Lord has rescued His people from slavery. The Israelites, at this time, knew only bondage in Egypt. Generations had been born, lived and died under the boot of Egyptian slavery. Freedom and deliverance were to be celebrated.

One of the ways we remember the sacrifice of Christ is through communion. But there are other ways too. Share your story with others. When we are thankful; we remember what has been given to us: grace and mercy. Celebrate the day you came to Christ. Look at how far you have come with the Lord! 

1 Corinthians 11:23-25 I have handed down to you what came to me by direct revelation from the Lord himself. The same night in which he was handed over, he took bread 24 and gave thanks. Then he distributed it to the disciples and said, “Take it and eat your fill. It is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” He did the same with the cup of wine after supper and said, “This cup seals the new covenant with my blood. Drink it—and whenever you drink this, do it to remember me.”

1 Thessalonians 5:18 And in the midst of everything be always giving thanks, for this is God’s perfect plan for you in Christ Jesus.

It is incredible to me how the Lord worked out His salvation plan for, not only Israel, but for me and you. God had been orchestrating His plan for redeeming the Israelites since Joseph first stepped foot in Egypt, 430 years earlier. The Lord was orchestrating your, mine and the world’s redemption since the beginning. 

The theme of redemption is woven throughout the Old Testament. The foreshadowing of a Redeemer is present throughout Scripture; coming to fruition in the New Testament with the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

I want to leave you with the lyrics to an old hymn that perfectly illustrates my amazement and gratitude for the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ.

I Stand amazed in the presence

Of Jesus the Nazarene,

And wonder how He could love me,

A sinner, condemned, unclean

How marvelous! How wonder!

And my song shall ever be;

How marvelous! How wonderful!

Is my Savior’s love for me!

Press Pause

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Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on Jesus’ words in the Sermon on the Mount; especially the Beatitudes.  

I tend to skip over the first two verses as if they were not fundamental to the sermon. As I paused on these two verses, the Holy Spirit nudged my heart and mind impressing me to look deeper at these two verses.

Matthew 5:1,2

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

The Sermon on the Mount follows some pivotal moments in the life and ministry of Christ. In Matthew 4, Christ experiences temptation in the wilderness, calls the disciples to follow him, performs countless miracles of healing, tall while teaching thousands of people in synagogues and as he walks the roads of Galilee. 

Jesus was busy. 

Matthew 5:1,2

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them.

Jesus surveys the scene, sees an immense crowd following and…He steps away. He climbs up a hillside and sits down. His newly-minted disciples follow Him and Christ begins to teach them the way to live. 

It is here, in these two seemingly insignificant verses, that the lesson begins.

In order to learn at the feet of Christ, to find the true way to live a blessed life; I must step away from chaos, away from prescribed schedules, away from my own self-imposed expectations; it is necessary for me to press pause. 

We are all busy.  Even when the world seems “shut down”; we are busier than ever. Homeschooling kids, working from home, keeping up on the household chores (because everyone is home there is MORE house cleaning!) 

I discovered something about myself this past year, I use busyness as an escape; a way to avoid internal problems or difficult issues. I come up with projects to distract myself. So far, I have painted, wallpapered and redecorated several rooms; all to not deal with the grief, disappointment and fear this pandemic has caused in my heart and mind. I can’t claim to be living a blessed life when I don’t pause to learn from Jesus and let His way of living bring me back to fullness in Him. 

Are you busy? Or are you distracting yourself with busyness?

Whether the answer is busy or busyness, Jesus desires you to press pause. Step away with Him. Sit at His feet. Listen and learn from Him. 

I want to share this verse from Psalms that is fitting for us today.

Psalm 16:9
This is a good life—
my heart is glad,
my soul is full of joy,
and my body is at rest.
Who could want for more?

Give Us A King!

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Last fall, I observed that many believers were placing a lot of trust and hope in fallible humans. Numerous Christians backed their choice with claims of “God’s chosen one”. Many were looking to a man to fix their lives, to solve their problems, to be their moral compass, or to be their provider. This makes me heartsick; especially when I see Christ-followers going all-in for a man.

Trusting in human leaders will eventually bring disappointment. Human leaders are takers. Tragically, people and nations have not learned this over the past several thousand years of history.

Look at 1 Samuel 8:10-20

10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots.12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants.16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves.

18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”

Do you see the problem?

Samuel is giving Israel a stern warning against choosing a king over following the Lord’s commandments and the appointed judges. The Israelites were to follow God’s Word and listen to the judges that He spoke through. There are going to be grim consequences for Israel’s choice to follow a king.

A king was a taker.

A king would take their sons. Samuel speaks truth when he cautions the people that a king would conscript their young men into military service or working the land of the king. This is a harsh reality when an agricultural society loses its strong young men to battle or to working for the king instead of working the fields to provide for the family.

A king would take their land, vineyards and groves and use it for his selfish purpose; giving it to his cronies, supporters and government officials.

A king would take all he can to build a glorious kingdom for himself without regard to the people.

A king would take a portion of their harvests and give it to others who have not worked for it.

A king would crush the people with taxes, taking the herds and the harvest for himself.

A king sought to be served; not to serve the people.

The people would no longer be free but slaves to a king. Most of their efforts in life would be in service to the king. Why? A king always takes far more than he gives.

If only the Israelites had looked to the Lord and His commands for guidance and protection. The Lord wanted Israel set apart, holy, a treasured possession among other nations; a kingdom of priests. (Exodus 19:5-6)

Instead, the people wanted to be like other nations. This placed them on a path of destruction and unbelievable hardship.

Here is the beautiful, good news:
Jesus is a giving King.

He gives life.
John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

He gives freedom.
John 8:36
So, if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

He forgives sins.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

He gives sacrificial love.
John 3:16
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

He gives us a family.
Romans 8:15
You see, you have not received a spirit that returns you to slavery, so you have nothing to fear. The Spirit you have received adopts you and welcomes you into God’s own family. That’s why we call out to Him, “Abba! Father!” as we would address a loving daddy.

He gives us guidance.
John 14:6
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

This is a small sample compared to the reality of all that Christ gives.

If everyone, who claims Christ as Lord, went about their lives following Christ and his example; there would be no need for endless legislation governing every aspect of our lives, no need for welfare, no crushing taxes, no foster care, nor many of the other societal ills that plague us today.

This is what Christ would have the Church do.

Romans 12:1-2
Brothers and sisters, in light of all I have shared with you about God’s mercies, I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship. Do not allow this world to mold you in its own image. Instead, be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind. As a result, you will be able to discern what God wills and whatever God finds good, pleasing, and complete.

The Lord’s desire for the Israelites was to stand out as a nation that followed Jehovah; not a king. Today, the Lord desires for us to stand out and follow Him; not to look like the world or blend in; but to be set apart and holy for His will and purpose.

Blessings to you!

See the light!

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My family lives in a rural area. Our home is set in the middle of 30 acres, surrounded by several hundred acres of undeveloped land. There are no streetlights. On a moon-less night, it is pitch-black.

At least once a year, a storm takes out power line near our home; throwing us into utter darkness. It’s unnerving to walk around the house, stepping carefully and slowly to protect ourselves from stubbed toes; feeling disoriented as we struggle to remember where I stored the lanterns.

Eventually, we find the lanterns and turn the dial. Instantly, light dissipates the inky blackness, reaching into the corners of the room.

Darkness is often representative of negative things: death, sin, hate, anger, grief, depression, bad moods, etc. In the dark, a person can get lost, stumble, wander aimlessly; even, lose sense of direction.

Light brings reassurance, calm, and safety. It illuminates the way before us; so, we can bypass danger, walk sure-footed, and see where we are going. Light is associated with truth,

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined.
Isaiah 9:2

Jesus spoke to them, saying,
“I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness
but will have the light of life.”
John 8:12

When Christ was born; the darkness was defeated. The black of sin that had enveloped the world since Genesis was going to be destroyed by the life, death and resurrection of Christ.

In Biblical Jewish culture, the word “light” was a powerful representation of salvation, wisdom, and virtue. For Christ to claim that He is the light of the world—in essence, saying He is equal with God—was quite the scandalous statement. When Jesus claimed that He is “THE” light of the world; He was declaring that He is the ONLY light. The original source of all light.

Christ came to bring His light to your life, heart and mind.

He not only shines a light on the dark sin of our hearts, but His light also dispels the gloom of a hopeless future. When we have Jesus Christ as the light of our life, we know the way, the truth and the life!

Off-line

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Almost two weeks ago, I went offline. No twitter. No Facebook. No blogging. Not even the news. (I did look at Pinterest. I’m always on the lookout for a new recipe or a cute outfit!)

I just could not tolerate the vitriol, the name-calling, the uncivil behavior, and the chaos that social media was creating in my own heart and mind. I would rather have stuck my head in a wood-chipper than be on social media during the election and the tumultuous after-math.

I’m not an ostrich; sticking my head in the sand, pretending all is well. I’m not plugging my ears, loudly singing “nah, nah, I’m not listening!” like a child.

I had gotten so wrapped up, riled up, and focused on what was happening around me and in the world; that I was becoming anxious, angry and overwhelmed. My attitude was sour. My words were brittle. My flashpoint was almost instantaneous. I had to shut-off the valve of negativity, hate, and turmoil.

I was determined to guard my heart and mind. I had to realign my focus on the Lord, His love, His will and His peace.

Sometimes, we need to step away temporarily, or even permanently, from those things, people or situations that cause us to lose our peace.

When we adjust our focus to the Lord; what a sweet peace floods our hearts and minds. It’s not an “ignorance is bliss” type of peace. It’s not a cease-fire or a “cold war” type of peace.

It’s a deep, soulful peace that comes from know that no matter what happens in the world; the Lord is in control. None of this is a surprise to Him. His will is going to be done. His purpose will ultimately prevail.

A few verses that I have been focusing on are below:

  1. Psalm 4:8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.
  2. Psalm 34:14 Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.
  3. Ephesians 2:14 He is our peace; He has broken down every wall.
  4. Galatians 5:22-23 Now the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control; against such things there is no law.
  5. Psalm 28:7 The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.

Precious friend, if your heart and mind are being flooded with what is happening in the world. Please know that the Lord sees your, knows you, and offers you a lasting peace that cannot be shaken.

Just keep scrolling…

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Social media is good for many things; but having meaningful dialogue and deep conversations is NOT one of them. It seems that people can post anything they want and not expect blowback.

I have to admit that this bothers me. A LOT. Wrong information, slander, lies, and unfounded accusations get me riled up.

As we are in election season; this has become a daily occurrence. I get knotted up about it. I want to get in fray and correct people. I want to debate and win the argument. It’s foolish of me.

Don’t give precious things to dogs. Don’t cast your pearls before swine. If you do, the pigs will trample the pearls with their little pigs’ feet, and then they will turn back and attack you.

Matthew 7:6 The Voice

Jesus is giving us wisdom here, “For your own peace of mind and spirit, do not throw godly pearls of wisdom or insight to those who will not hear or do not appreciate the value of what you are sharing. They will turn against you and tear you apart.”

A couple of modern aphorisms that reinforce this wisdom:

You don’t have to attend every fight you are invited to.

Don’t fight an ugly man; he has nothing to lose.

Never wrestle with a pig: you both get dirty and the pig likes it.

-Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

When I see a controversial statement, an unfounded accusation or read a slanderous post: I can keep scrolling. I don’t have to jump into the fray. I can just keep scrolling.

When I scoll past foolishness; I have peace. I leave it to God to sort out. It’s not my job to correct every wrong on social media! How freeing is that revelation?!

When I trust and believe that the Lord is in control; that He knows what is happening and that He will bring all things to light: I can keep scrolling through newsfeed. I can rest in the fact that God’s plan will unfold as He has ordained it. I can focus on the joyful, positive news that my friends are sharing. I can pray for the needs and heartache that some friends are going through.

I know it’s difficult to keep scrolling and stay out of foolish arguments; especially when looking at the world through the lens of God’s Word. But, friend, you can do it.

Ask the Lord to give you wisdom to know when to say something and when to say nothing.

A Runaway Kitten and A Doubt-filled Prayer

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“Mom, one of my kittens ran away!” Emma exclaimed as she burst through the kitchen door; tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Oh no! What happened? How did she get out?”, I inquired.

Emma explained that she had wanted to give her kittens play time outside of our barn but one of the kittens got away from her.

We received three barn-born kittens from a neighboring ranch; resulting in slightly wild kittens for Emma to domesticate. We set up a room in our barn that was escape-proof but equipped with all the cat necessities. My husband and I encouraged Emma to visit multiple times a day to play with them. We cautioned her to not take them out until they were comfortable in their new home and with her.

Unfortunately, Emma did not wait.

As she sobbed in my arms; I wondered what to do. Emma looked up at me and asked if we could pray for her kitten to come home.

I would like to report that I immediately jumped on board with her request; that we stormed heaven with our pleas on behalf of the runaway kitten.

Instead, I paused for a few seconds while weighing my options. I decided to pray with her. It was a simple prayer that asked the Lord for peace and comfort for Emma.

While the words came out of my mouth; doubt flooded my heart. I was sure this little kitten was gone forever. We live in a rural area with plenty of coyotes wandering the sagebrush. I was positive this was not a situation that needed divine intervention. It was too small for God.

A few nights later, our dogs were barking at the back fence of our yard. They would not come when called. They were frantically barking and pawing at the shrubs. I was immediately on alert because we, also, have skunks and raccoons in our area. I grabbed a flashlight and cautiously approached the bushes. Two little eyes gleamed out from the middle of a bush. I heard a soft “mew”.

I called for my husband to come outside and take charge of the dogs. I reached in the bush and pulled out the runaway kitten. I called Emma downstairs and handed the kitten over to her.

“Mom, our prayers worked.” Emma said.

I hugged her and she headed out to put the kitten back in the barn.

Psalm 8:4 (NIV) says “what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?”

What is a lost kitten to the Lord? Of what concern is the broken heart of a little girl to the Lord? What does the doubt-filled prayer of a mother matter to God?

According to Scripture, those things matter. They mattered enough that a lost kitten was miraculously unharmed, a doubtful prayer was answered and a little girl’s tears were turned to joy.

I’m embarrassed to even share the story of my doubt as a Christ-follower of 40+ years. This incident taught me a lesson. I had been holding back on my prayers. Picking and choosing what to lay at the feet of Jesus. Weighing the seriousness of every request and only praying for the life-altering, earth-shattering situations.

I thought some things were too small for God. The truth is: my faith and view of God was too small.

Maybe you have a situation in your life right now that you think is too small for the Lord. I want to encourage you to lay that down at the feet of the Savior. He cares.

Sweet friend, the Lord is mindful of you today and every day. Nothing in your life is too big or too small for the Lord to concern himself with.

You are seen.
You are loved.
You are in His thoughts.

Family Ties

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We were destined to be adopted into God's family. Ephesians 1_3-6

Ephesians 1:5 (The Voice) “He destined us to be adopted as His children through the covenant Jesus the Anointed inaugurated in His sacrificial life. This was His pleasure and His will for us.”

Have you ever met someone and immediately knew that you wanted them in your life permanently?

This happened when my husband and I met Chris and Lisa. We had an instant, heart connection with this young couple. Over the past several years, we have shared date nights, traveled together, worked through difficulties, and had deep conversations. We have grieved together and rejoiced together. We have eaten countless meals in each other’s homes and we are godparents to their two little boys. These blessings were already present when we first met, even if we didn’t know it fully at the time.

One particular evening when they were at our house, Chris asked if he could get something out of our refrigerator. We said “Help yourself. You are family and do not have to ask.” At that moment, I felt the adoption was complete. We chose them. They chose us. We were family.

In Ephesians, Paul starts this letter by reminding believers of the adoption process that has taken place. Not an adoption based on our merit; but an adoption based wholly on grace and the work of Jesus Christ. This adoption was planned from the beginning; before you or I were even in the womb. Think about that for a moment. Our adoption into God’s family was not an afterthought. It was intentional to bring us into a relationship with Him.

You were chosen.

There was a time in each of our lives when we were children of sin; lost in our own desires. We belonged to the world and lived in a way that was contrary to the will of Christ. Because of the love, pleasure, grace, and sacrifice of Jesus; we live as daughters of the King. (Galatians 4:3-6, 1 John 3:1-2)

Even more amazing is the fact that not only are we adopted into God’s family, we also have the benefits that come with adoption. We receive love, mercy, strength, freedom to live holy, forgiveness, and every other spiritual blessing that the Lord has to offer (verse 3). Not just here in our present spiritual reality but for eternity.

Sometimes, we face situations where we feel alone, or perhaps, we were rejected. Maybe there was a situation where you were told to leave or you were abandoned. Maybe you were not chosen for an event or position that you longed for.

Precious friend, those are painful things to endure. I have experienced rejection and abandonment in my own life. In our times of pain and woundedness; we must remind ourselves: I am chosen, I am loved and I am part of an eternal family (1 Peter 2:4).

The New American Idol

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The humble heart is right with God.

Luke 18:10-14 The Voice (VOICE)

Jesus: 10 Imagine two men walking up a road, going to the temple to pray. One of them is a Pharisee and the other is a despised tax collector. 11 Once inside the temple, the Pharisee stands up and prays this prayer in honor of himself: “God, how I thank You that I am not on the same level as other people—crooks, cheaters, the sexually immoral—like this tax collector over here. 12 Just look at me! I fast not once but twice a week, and I faithfully pay my tithes on every penny of income.” 13 Over in the corner, the tax collector begins to pray, but he won’t even lift his eyes to heaven. He pounds on his chest in sorrow and says, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

14 Now imagine these two men walking back down the road to their homes. Listen, it’s the tax collector who walks home clean before God, and not the Pharisee, because whoever lifts himself up will be put down and whoever takes a humble place will be lifted up.

Now, let me take some liberties here and insert some other words into this passage.

Jesus: 10 Imagine two men walking up a road, going to the temple to pray. Both of them are believers. 11 Once inside the temple, the first one stands up and prays this prayer in honor of himself: “God, how I thank You that I am not on the same level as other people—racist, anti-mask, selfish—like this other person. 12 Just look at me! I have joined the latest cause to prove I’m a good person, I speak out and I faithfully wear a mask because I care about people.” 13 Over in the corner, the other believer begins to pray, but he won’t even lift his eyes to heaven. He pounds on his chest in sorrow and says, “God, be merciful to me, I am worried about so many things out of my control. I don’t know what to say. I need wisdom. Please look at my heart and point out my sin. Help me to love my neighbor as best as I can. God, you know my heart. I need your guidance.”

14 Now imagine these two men walking back down the road to their homes. Listen, it’s the second believer who walks home clean before God, and not the first one, because whoever lifts himself up will be put down and whoever takes a humble place will be lifted up.

“Virtue-signaling”…the new American idol.

It’s a disturbing trend. I’ve seen pastors and other Christians publicly join or support movements/causes because it makes them seem virtuous. They want to show solidarity; that they are down with the cause (whatever that may be). I’ve seen high-profile leaders build their own platform; taking advantage of the chaos and upheaval. Here is the problem: many of today’s causes and movements ARE NOT LINED UP WITH SCRIPTURE. Yet, Christians are falling all over themselves to show how virtuous they are.

A few weeks ago, a well-regarded and respected Christian leader that I have known for over 20 years posted a link to an article that gave Biblical reasons why the author did not support Black Lives Matter. You cannot even believe the hate and excoriating criticism that this godly leader received. AND IT ALL CAME FROM CHRISTIANS. He was called a racist and was accused of tokenism because the article was written by a black gentleman.  Here is the link if you would like to read the article.

After reading the scorching comments, I realized that the critics were really just trying to demonstrate how virtuous they are. In their zeal to prove their virtue, they revealed hate, intolerance, arrogance and self-importance.  There were not seeking to understand. There was no willingness to learn something or hear another point of view.

Maybe as Christ-followers, we should rethink the causes we align ourselves with and stick with living according to Scripture.

Micah 6:8  He has told you, mortals, what is good in His sight. What else does the Eternal ask of you but to live justly and to love kindness and to walk with your True God in all humility?

 

Perhaps, we should have more humility because we are not all-knowing.

Psalm 18:27   For You rescue humble people, but You bring the proud back in line.

Maybe we should be slower to speak until we hear all the facts. 

James 1:19   Listen, open your ears, harness your desire to speak, and don’t get worked up into a rage so easily, my brothers and sisters.

 

“A kind person—A virtuous person. Between these, there is a big difference. A kind person is kind because he or she accepts people as they are, covers them with kindness. Kindness is beautiful, the most beautiful thing on this earth. Virtuous people are activists, obsessed with the desire to impose their principles and goodness and easily condemning, destroying, hating. . . In this world, there is a lot of virtue, and so little kindness.”
Russian Orthodox theologian Alexander Schmemann (1921-1983), 18 May 1979, Journals 1973-1983 (2002), 221.