I’m all inspired this morning by my brothers Paul and Timothy. Our Father’s Word this morning says that as they thought about the saints around them, they thanked God for them and they prayed with joy because of their partnership in the Gospel from the first day until the present and they were confident that He who had began a good work in them was going to carry it out to completion until the day of Jesus. That thought brings peace to my heart and excitement about the future! I feel as they did, feeling right about this because the saints were in their heart and God’s grace was with them all. God knows how my heart rests in His love and loves you each with all the affection of Christ Jesus. As Christians throughout the world, there is more good coming for us all! So let’s stay tuned!!! How can we not be excited about that? Here is a great prayer to pray – that our love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight so that we may be able to discern what is best and be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus – to the glory and praise of our Father.
Good morning to you! As I gaze upon our Father’s Word today, it is on my heart to write about the importance of putting off our old self which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires and to be made new in the attitude of our minds – to put on the new self created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. This is a message we have all heard before, meaning our old self is the sinful nature that lives within us, for which Christ died on the cross. This old nature within us misleads us from God’s ways and cheats us from seeing life at His best. Our Father mentions “attitude” of our minds in this passage. The attitude of our old self is one of worry, complaining and grumbling. Upon believing, He has placed His Holy Spirit in us to help us live our new self, to be like Him that is not anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, presenting our requests to God. And then the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. “Attitude” is something we can all struggle with and a bad attitude is certainly something to work on. I like to think about it this way: When our attitude is bad, we need to think “going to the car wash.” Say what? Yep, I said “car wash.” After all, we are God’s vehicles, so to speak, that carries His Spirit that carries the Good News along the road of life. Our vehicles have a tendency to collect dirt and be unclean (due to our sinful nature). As a result, the view through the front window (our sight) can become clouded over so that we do not see well the way of the Lord. This calls for the need to hose off with His living water (the Spirit in us), to apply the scrubbing bubbles called “Gratitude” as you follow the Word instructions (the Bible) so as to dissolve away the muck of our sinful attitude and then, use prayer wax to help guard (our mind and heart) and the cleanliness and shininess of Him in us (the new self) will be the result. We can then head out onto the road of life with peace of mind and His ride into the world through us will represent Him well. I’m thinking toting a good amount of change is a good thing to do. How about you? See ya on the road. I can do that well with a clean window (a Godly view)! Eph 4:1,22-24; Php 2:14-16, 4:6-8; Mt 6:25; 1 Co 3:16; 2 Co 5:20-21, Ro 12:2
It’s Monday, but no ordinary Monday. Our Dad has exciting things in store for us all today! As I peek inside His Word today, it is kind of embarrassing for the Jews because as we will see, their hearts have been exposed with impure motives. Ouch!!! The story points out that their hearts were revealing their religion (what they believed). They put forth an outward show of niceties to please the people that they feared, but inside their hearts there was a mess, a falling short of righteousness as evidenced by their words to Jesus. If their hearts only matched their words, how precious it would have been to Jesus. It is admirable and Biblical to encourage others and to focus on good qualities. At first glance, it looks like that is the case towards Jesus as they called Jesus “teacher” implying that they saw Him as worth listening to and a man of integrity. They pointed out a good quality in Jesus in that they said He was not swayed by men and He paid no attention to who they were, but rather He taught the way of God in accordance with Truth. What a great way to be! This was a great compliment to Jesus and in that way of being, He sets a great example for all of us. Sadly though, the Jews kind words were spoken to cover over the true intent of their heart that was made obvious when they asked Jesus “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we?” Well, I never would have thought of Jesus as a tax expert, but why not? He knows all. But knowing all, Jesus saw through the hearts of the religious leaders who sent the Pharisees and the Herodians to Him and He saw the intent behind their question. They were trying to put Him in an awkward position in order to catch Him in His Words. They placed Him in the middle of religion and politics. Ya see, the Pharisees hated having to pay taxes to the Romans and the Herodians favored the payment of taxes to the Romans. So here was Jesus right in the middle. Yikes!!! Either side of the coin to which Jesus leaned, He could have ended up dead as a result of having the religious people angry because He thought they should pay taxes and having the Herodians angry at Him if He said the Jews shouldn’t have to pay taxes. He responded by calling their motive to their attention by saying “Why are you trying to trap me?” He told them to bring Him a denarius or the coin used for paying the taxes. When they presented it to Him, He asked them whose picture was on it and they said “Caesar” (the Roman head). He then said to them “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God, what is God’s.” This was Jesus’ way of saying our faith doesn’t teach disloyalty to government, but it also doesn’t give government divine deity that deprives God. There are both sides on our coin of Christian faith. At this, the religious leaders were amazed at Jesus. Here they had set out to stump Jesus and they ended up the stumped chumps once again. Sometimes we reap what we sow! If we sow to the flesh or wickedness, we will reap destruction or trouble and if we sow to righteousness, Dad says we will reap a sure reward. I can imagine the Jews thinking like “Drat, our plans have been foiled again!” Ya know, I don’t think a person can get up early enough in the morning to pull one over on the God of the Universe who is not mocked, but He is a long-suffering, loving God who desires that none perish. He gently corrects us and out of His great love, we are not consumed. His mercies are new every morning when we are honest with Him about our hearts. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. I’m so glad my Daddy loves me and doesn’t give up on me even when I have a mixed up heart! The Jews knew what they were doing, but I don’t think we always know the errors of our heart and hence to pray “Create in me a pure heart, O God and renew a steadfast (fixed or secure in faith) spirit within me” is a good prayer for us all as we seek to live out honest lives as His kids. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be found a chump to dear old Dad! I’m seeking to abide in Him with ya’s. ~ Sheila
Mk 12:13-17; Pr 11:18, 20:27, 21:2, 22:8; Lk 16:15; Ga 6:7-8; 2 Pe 3:9; La 3:22-23; He 12:1-13; Php 2:3-7, 4:8; Ro 13:1-7; Ex 20:3; 1 Th 2:3-5