Fantasy and fictional tales “about” Jesus are NOT Jesus, and they almost always distract us from the biblical Jesus; or worse, they lie about Him.
— Read on sacredsandwich.com/2019/03/29/exchanging-the-truth-of-god-for-fantasy/
The Bible repeatedly says that our words are important, enough that we are accountable for our words before the throne of Christ. So an extra prayer today for us to be careful in our words.
Have you ever met someone who has few words? Usually those are the folks whose few words are of great weight. I tend to pay attention to those when they speak. Perhaps they are more aware of this counsel than I am.
Spend careful watch on your lips today. Loose lips sink souls. 😁
You probably don’t know anyone like this. Right? What does this actually mean? A person whose heart is hard lacks compassion, at least as far as we understand the term. For Ezekiel, it was similar. A hard, stony heart was a heart confirmed in its rebellion against God. It was set like concrete in its wickedness (which is the source of hard-heartedness, its pride and self-love).
So what does the Lord offer? He offers an unfair exchange. He offers to take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Doesn’t sound fair, does it? It’s not. What does God need with a heart of stone? Nothing, but He can do much with a soft heart, a heart willing to worship, to listen, and to love. God wants to give you a new heart; to remove the heart scarred by despair, abuse, misery and pain; to remove a heart given to addiction and suffering and replace with a new, tender heart. God offers to do what no one else can do. Because no amount of good works, no medicine, no amount of self-sacrifice can effect this kind of change. God’s offer is free, because it has already been paid for. He offers to perform this surgery on His dime, as long as you are willing to submit to it.
Lord give me this heart today. Take out my heart, hardened by sin and shame, and create in me a clean, willing, fresh heart. I pray to liberate me from the shame of my past and create in me a love that cannot be snuffed out.
When I consider sacrifices, I usually think of animals bleeding out on an altar of wood with flames licking up around them. Such was the OT sacrifices for sin. Since Jesus came and died for us, we don’t employ animal sacrifices in our stead anymore. Jesus is the final sacrifice for sin. And yet here in Hebrews, we can still make sacrifices, but these are of a different nature.
In the Old Testament, there were also provisions for making offerings of thanksgiving, just to show God how much you love and adore Him. These offerings might involve grain or wine. But most importantly they required time and focus. You had to make the journey to the Tabernacle intentionally, ask the priest to offer these things on the altar, and supply the goods. In the New Testament, instead of grain and wine, we offer good and sharing as our sacrifices. They require no less dedication or forethought. But before God they count as such sacrifices. Freely you have received. Freely give.
What opportunities are there today to do good and share with someone else? Might be opportunities to share the good news today?
Something to think about on this Tuesday.
Time to wear green today! St. Patrick’s Day is one of my favorite special days because today we remember Patrick, the bishop of Ireland in the fourth century, whose exploits are legendary is even a little mythical. This day ought to be celebrated by missionaries everywhere, for above all, Patrick is known as an early cross-cultural missionary to the people of Ireland, who up to that point had not been exposed to Christianity. Patrick managed not only to spread the gospel among the Irish, but also found a bastion of western civilization while Europe burned.
Just a note for today. God bless.
We have a status in our hospital which we call Comfort Care, which essentially means to keep a patient comfortable while they are in the dying process. I know, probably a little too morbid for a Friday morning. You are just starting your day. You need a bit more encourage than that, am I right? I mean, you are probably not reading this to feel worse, or ponder the meaning of life so deeply that you forget why you are living. Well, ok.
This thought occurred to me this morning because this verse is talking about the care that God shared with us when we are filled with cares and anxieties. I think there is a hopelessness and defeatism in this world that we struggle with as Christians. We have to make hard moral choices, especially in healthcare, that we may not agree with personally, but policy and protocol say different. We experience what I have heard termed, “Moral Injury”, and we suffer incongruity. One the one hand we believe one thing, but must do something else contrary to it in order to be employed or continue to be an influence. I cannot sit here and tell you what the answer is. As a Christian healthcare provider, you may refuse to perform abortions, and I hope you do, but you must provide your patients with all the information about pregnancy options, which includes abortion. As a Healthcare Chaplain, you may see someone in spiritual pain, but you are not allowed to advocate for a particular faith unless the patient asks the question. A Chaplain who has been called by his God to preach the gospel and tell others about Jesus is not allowed to evangelize. That’s a moral quandary. But I can sweeten my tongue with the Word, and be loving and kind and compassionate, and draw deeply from the Well that is deeper than me to help me love when I am exhausted.
I can’t tell you how to live or offer specific advice. Christians living in the world have to make tough decisions when it comes to morality. But nothing is worth your eternal soul. Remember that. Keep your eternal perspective ever before you. Don’t let the enemy wear you down and make you forget whose you are.
God bless you on a Friday!
Around the Meritt House this week, we are in the process of celebrating two birthdays. We are still waiting on gifts to arrive from Amazon for the first and a decent day for family to be together for the second. Preparing for birthdays typically involve the question, “What do you want for your birthday?” In today’s verse, I think we have found the official Christian answer.
The Psalmist’s request is to live, delight, and meditate in the Lord’s Temple. The Temple in the Psalmist’s day was a massive edifice of stone and cedar line with gold. It represented the physical glory of the Lord with all the wealth Israel could muster at the time. But it contained the best of the best they could offer. It represented Heaven on earth. The Psalmist humbly prays that he could be included among its citizens. With all of life’s concerns and hardships, he wishes to simply be at the Temple, being in the presence of God.
What is your chief desire? I wouldn’t mind being on a beach somewhere spending quality time with the Mrs. or spending time in a great museum being amazed at history. But the one thing that we can all do regardless of where we are is to spend time with the Lord, and isn’t that the one thing we long to do? Don’t we long to meditate on Him, spend time with Him, just be be in His comforting and protective presence, where nothing can harm us,, nothing can steal our joy?
We may not agree on what we want, but we all need this. I would encourage today to seek that moment of joy in His presence.