“Could you be raising little hypocrites?” February 17

 

Raising Little Hypocrites - Hypocrites! Jesus rebuked the religious leaders with that accusation. Could we be guilty of hypocrisy, too? And what about our parenting? Is the goal to have well-behaved children and could we be in danger of raising little hypocrites?Hypocrites! Jesus rebuked the religious leaders with that accusation. Could we be guilty of hypocrisy, too? And what about our parenting? Is the goal to have well-behaved children and could we be in danger of raising little hypocrites? How does understanding the deeper issues help us point our children to Christ?

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 5 & 6
Psalm 24.1-6
Proverbs 9.7-9
Matthew 28.1-20

 

Raising Little Hypocrites

 

Leviticus 5 & 6:

Open My Eyes, Lord

 

Sometimes we find it challenging to read about all the sacrifices and the instructions for them. But it is important to remember that 2 Timothy 3.16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable …” Notice those words “all” and “profitable.” God inspired these passages and included them in His Holy Scriptures for a reason. We need to remain faithful and open our hearts to the truths contained in them.

Anytime we are reading a passage that is less exciting to us, we can ask God to show us what He has for us. There are always nuggets if we are willing to dig for them.

The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Ps. 119.18).

Ask Him to help you see, “Is there a command here that I need to obey? Is there a sin I need to forsake? Is there a relationship I need to reconcile? Is there a truth I need to understand?”

 

Sacrifice Alone

 

With that in mind, notice Leviticus 5.4:

‘Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it—when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters.

Sometimes we sin, either by speaking harshly or in some other way, and the Holy Spirit convicts us. What we do at that point is so important. Do we harden our hearts and refuse to repent or are we quick to repent and seek forgiveness from God and others we’ve sinned against?

And 6.1-2:

¹ And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor …

Anytime we sin, we’re not just sinning against people, we’re sinning against the Lord.

But I’d like to focus on 5.5 today:

“And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing.”

Even at this point in history, sacrifice alone was not enough. It had to be accompanied by faith, repentance, and obedience.

How does that verse speak to us today?

How many times have we been guilty of doing all the outward acts associated with Christian living and yet in our hearts we were filled with doubt instead of faith? Or gone to church and lifted our hands in worship while there was anger and bitterness in our hearts toward a spouse, family member, co-worker or friend?

Were we just “playing church,” as if that would make us right with God?

How many times have we insisted that our children say “I’m sorry” to a sibling when we knew it was not genuine?

True repentance involves “confession,” that is to agree with God that what we did was sin. It’s more than, merely, saying “I’m sorry,” because I was “caught” or as if it’s some form of penance. It’s about heart change. That is, a change in thinking which leads to a change of actions.

 

Hypocrites

 

“Hypocrites” is an ugly word, but that’s what Jesus called those who did “religious things” outwardly without true worship from the heart. If that’s you today, go to God, seek His forgiveness and cleansing. Ask Him to make you a true worshiper.

 

Little Hypocrites

 

And the next time you’re tempted to tell your child, “Say you’re sorry!” Think about it … are you teaching your child to be a hypocrite? You need to take the time to help him see that what he did was sin. Use the Word of God to share with your child, prayerfully asking God to convict his or her heart.

Saying “I’m sorry,” certainly isn’t the only way we teach our children to be hypocrites. We may inadvertently do so any time we address behavior without addressing the heart issue behind it.

Let me share an explanation and example from Tedd Tripp’s book Shepherding a Child’s Heart. It’s a little long, but worth taking the time to read it:  Continue reading

“Do you offer God your best?” February 15

 

Are you offering your best to God? Or does He get the leftovers? What do you offer in the way of worship? Do you ever feel like you have little to offer Him? Are you offering your best to God? Or does He get the leftovers? What do you offer in the way of worship? Do you ever feel like you have little to offer Him?

And what about how we live? Do we live worthy of the sacrifice Christ made for us? I’ve included a clip from the movie Saving Private Ryan that always serves to remind me of that question.

 

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 1 & 2
Psalm 22.22-31
Proverbs 8.32-36
Matthew 27.27-54

 

Do you offer God your best?

 

Leviticus 1 & 2

Our Once and for All Sacrifice

 

Well, here we are starting a new book. Leviticus is the third book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), also called the Books of Moses.

Three of the themes which run through this book are: God’s holiness, mankind’s sinfulness and the need for a sacrifice. Of course, the sacrifices offered here in Old Testament times were only temporary coverings for sin. They point to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ, the only sinless, perfect, once and for all, sacrifice.

 

What We Offer in Return

 

I noticed several things as I read these two chapters. First, twice in chapter one the Israelites were told to bring an animal “without blemish.” These were to be the best of the herd or flock. They were not to say, “Well, we might as well sacrifice this one, he’s probably not going to make it anyway.” They were to give Him their best.

What do you offer up to God? Is it the things you really don’t care about anyway? Or do you say everything I have is Yours, Lord? I’m willing to lay down anything You ask me to lay down?

Do you offer Him the best? The best of your time (often first thing in the morning)? The best of your resources or just what’s left over? The best of your talents?

What do your offer Him in the way of worship? Do you worship wholeheartedly in every area of life or are there rooms in your heart and life where you worship self or some other idol?

The next thing I thought about was in verse 14, “And if … his offering to the Lord is of birds …” This was the offering of a poor man. It was also the offering that Joseph and Mary brought on the eighth day after Jesus was born. In and of ourselves, none of us has anything worthwhile to give God, but His grace is already more than enough. He’s just asking us to give what we have out of our love for Him.

I was struck again by how much preparation went into the sacrificial system of worship.

Romans 12:1 says, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.”

How much time do you take to prepare your heart for worship, to make sure the sacrifice you offer is clean by confessing any sin? How much time do you take to ask Him to open your heart to His truths, to convict you of sin, to show you where you need to change and grow?

A week or so ago we read about the sacrifice required before Aaron and his sons were ready to go into the Holy of Holies. It was messy and bloody.

Offering ourselves as living sacrifices can be messy and bloody, too, as we allow the Holy Spirit to wield that sharp two-edged sword on our hearts!  Continue reading

August 13 “Our impossible calling”

imagesCAHA08EN

 

 

 

 

 

As followers of Christ, we’re to become living sacrifices. One way we do that is in our relationships with other people. We’re to love, prefer, and do good to others even when they hurt us. On our own that’s an impossible calling.

Today’s Readings:
Job 17 & 18
Psalm 95.1-5
Proverbs 23.1-3
Romans 12.1-21

We’re closing in on 2/3rd of the year gone and 2/3rd of the Bible read! Congratulations to those of you who are still going!

But even if you just joined us, the Word of God is always profitable!

On to Job …

Job 17 & 18:

Stronger and stronger

In chapter 17 Job seems sure he’s going to die soon. He grieves the fact that his friends have turned against him adding insult to injury. But through it all, Job did not turn away from God!

We’re left to wonder why God was silent, as He sometimes is in our lives, but, like Job, we must filter everything through the lens of Romans 8.28-29. While Job didn’t have the advantage of reading the book of Romans, he understood the truthfulness of those verses.

In verse 9 he makes this statement, “Yet the righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger.” Sounds a little like Romans 8.28-29:

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

“… those who love God …” or “the righteous” will grow “… stronger and stronger …” or become more like Christ! Continue reading

February 17 “How to raise little hypocrites”

 

hypocrites

What is your goal in parenting? Is it to have well-behaved children? Be careful … raising little hypocrites can be easier than you might think.

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 5 & 6
Psalm 24.1-6
Proverbs 9.7-9
Matthew 28.1-20

 

Leviticus 5 & 6:

Open my eyes, Lord

Sometimes we find it challenging to read about all the sacrifices and the instructions for them. But it is important to remember that 2 Timothy 3.16-17 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable …” Notice those words “all” and “profitable.” God inspired these passages and included them in His Holy Scriptures for a reason. We need to remain faithful and open our hearts to the truths contained in them.

Anytime we are reading a passage that is less exciting to us we can ask God to show us what He has for us in the passage. There are always nuggets for us if we are willing to dig for them.

The psalmist prayed, “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law” (Ps. 119.18).

Ask yourself, “Is there a command I need to obey here? Is there a sin I need to forsake? Is there a relationship I need to reconcile? Is there a truth I need to understand?”

 

Sacrifice alone

With that in mind, notice Leviticus 5.5, “And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing.”

Even at this point in history, sacrifice alone was just religion. It had to be accompanied by faith, repentance, and obedience.

How does that verse speak to us today? Continue reading

February 15 “Life, death & sacrifice”

sacrifice

God asks us to offer up ourselves as living sacrifices (Rom. 12.1). How freely do you give yourself? Do you hold back parts of your heart and life for your own use or do you offer it all to Him?

Also today, read about loving death and rejecting life.

Today’s Readings:
Leviticus 1 & 2
Psalm 22.22-31
Proverbs 8.32-36
Matthew 27.27-54

Leviticus 1 & 2

Our once and for all sacrifice

Well, here we are starting a new book. Leviticus is the third book of the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Bible), also called the Books of Moses.
Three of the themes which run through this book are: God’s holiness, mankind’s sinfulness and the need for a sacrifice. Of course, the sacrifices offered here in Old Testament times were only temporary coverings for sin. They point to the ultimate sacrifice Jesus Christ, the only sinless, perfect, once and for all, sacrifice.

What we offer in return

I noticed several things as I read these two chapters. First, twice in chapter one the Israelites were told to bring an animal “without blemish.” These were to be the best of the herd or flock. They were not to say, “Well, we might as well sacrifice this one, he’s probably not going to make it anyway.” They were to give Him their best. Continue reading