“How ‘Blame-Shifting’ Hurts You” March 21

 

Why You Shouldn't Be a Blame-Shifter - Are you a blame shifter? If so, how will it hurt you in the long run?Are you a blame-shifter? If so, how will it hurt you in the long run?

 

Today’s Readings:
Deuteronomy 3 & 4
Psalm 36.7-12
Proverbs 12.7
Luke 1.1-20

 

How ‘Blame-Shifting’ Hurts You

 

Deuteronomy 3 & 4:

Finger Pointing

 

One thing we talk a lot about in counseling is Matthew 7.3-5 and how we need to remove the logs from our own eyes before we point the finger at anyone else.

Ezekiel 18.20 says, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”

Yet, none of us is free from the tendency to want to blame someone else for our sins. Look at Moses statement in chapter 4:

“Furthermore the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, and swore that I would not cross over the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance” (4.21).

 

Where It Started

 

All this blaming-shifting actually started in the garden. When God asked Adam if he had eaten the forbidden fruit, he said, “The woman you gave me, she made me sin.” In other words, “It’s her fault and Yours, after all, You gave her to me!”

And what did we say, ladies? “It was the devil. He made me do it!” And it’s been going on ever since!

But sadly, we only hurt ourselves when we do.  Continue reading

“Religious Pretenders” February 6

 

 

Religious Pretenders - It's so easy to let hypocritical attitudes creep into our hearts and allow ourselves to become religious pretenders. We may look good on the outside, but have hearts full of envy, greed, anger, worry, and self-righteousness. In the process we lose the joy of our salvation and find ourselves just going through the motions of the Christian life.It’s so easy to let hypocritical attitudes creep into our hearts and allow ourselves to become religious pretenders. We may look good on the outside, but have hearts full of envy, greed, anger, worry, and self-righteousness. In the process we lose the joy of our salvation and find ourselves just going through the motions of the Christian life.

 

Today’s Reading:
Exodus 23 & 24
Psalm 19.1-6
Proverbs 6.30-31
Matthew 23.23-39

 

Religious Pretenders

 

Matthew 23.23-39

Straining Gnats & Swallowing Camels

 

take off maskBeginning in yesterday’s reading, Jesus, in talking to the scribes and Pharisees, uses the phrase “woe to you” eight times. He calls them hypocrites, religious pretenders who attempted to look good on the outside with all their religious deeds. But he said they were full of spiritual death inside. They lacked love and mercy, justice and faith. They believed their religious activities and long public prayers made them better than everyone else. They refused to see themselves as sinners in need of a Savior.

They loved themselves instead of the poor and needy. They legalistically carried out the law against others without mercy. In verse 24 He called them “blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!” They not only couldn’t see where they were going, but were leading others astray also. They couldn’t or wouldn’t see their own sinful hearts. Because of their knowledge of the law and pretending to live it, He said they would receive a “greater condemnation.”

The law designated certain things as clean and others as unclean, including animals. Unclean animals, like camels, could be used as beasts of burden, etc., but were not to be eaten or used as sacrifices. This was a picture to them, and us, of God’s desire to have a people set apart for Himself with clean hearts—a holy people.

Gnats were the smallest of the unclean animals and camels the largest. Some of the Pharisees would strain their drinks through cloth to keep from inadvertently swallowing a gnat. They focused on all the religious “minors,” while ignoring the “majors”—the attitudes of the heart.  Continue reading

“5 Reactions to the Claims of Christ” May 23

 

5 Reactions to the Claims of ChristThere were many different reactions to the claims of Christ. Some were convinced, some contrary, some confused, and others hostile. Not much has changed today. Even as believers we can fall into some of these attitudes. Where are you?

 

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 17 & 18
Psalm 66.16-20
Proverbs 16.31-32
John 7.28-53

 

John 7.28-53:

5 Reactions to the claims of Christ

John MacArthur points out in his Daily Bible that this passage “catalogues the different reactions of people to Jesus’ claims.” We still see the same categories today.

First those who are “convinced” of the truthfulness of His claims—faithful believers.

Verses 40-41a, “Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, ‘Truly this is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘This is the Christ.'”

Part of the meaning of the words “faith” and “faithful” includes the idea of “unquestioning belief or loyalty.”

doubt questioningSecond, the “contrary,” those who find something wrong with everything.

Verses 41b-42, “But some said, ‘Will the Christ come out of Galilee? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?'”

“Contrary” people are still around. “All the pastor wants is your money.” “Churches are full of hypocrites.” “The Bible was just written by a bunch of men.” And the list goes on.

anger finger pointingThird, the “hostile,” we’ve all met them. They don’t just not believe or not agree with you, they are prepared to go on the attack where the things of God are concerned.

Verse 44, “Now some of them wanted to take Him …”

There is a move today in our country, and it’s growing stronger, to make speaking biblical truth a crime. There are those, for instance, who would love to see anyone who speaks out against homosexuality or abortion arrested for what they consider hate crimes.  Continue reading

May 23 “Reactions to the claims of Christ”

There were many different reactions to the claims of Christ. Some were convinced, some contrary, some confused, and others hostile. Not much has changed today.

claims of Christ

Today’s Readings:
2 Samuel 17 & 18
Psalm 66.16-20
Proverbs 16.31-32
John 7.28-53

2 Samuel 17 & 18:

A man’s pride will bring him low

Here we have the death of Absalom as God puts down the rebellion against David. Absalom got his head caught in a great oak tree as he passed under it on his mule. Many believe that it was his beautiful flowing hair that got caught in the tree. Remember that his hair had been a source of great pride to him. So much so that when he was forced to cut it once a year, he even weighed what he cut off (2 Sam. 14.26). Proverbs 29.23 says, “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.”

But Absalom’s hair was only an outward manifestation of a bigger issue with pride. It was pride that made him think he could take matters into his own hands by killing his half brother Ammon and then rebelling against his father. And while David certainly had responsibility in the state of affairs that led to this rebellion and heartache, he ultimately trusted God’s sovereignty and trusted Him to work it out as He saw fit.

Psalm 66.16-20:

How unconfessed sin affects your prayers

Verse 18, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.” Sin that is not confessed and repented of, will hinder our prayers! It’s not enough to “admit” we have sin. Repentance means a change of heart that leads to a change in actions!

Continue reading