Monday, May 25, 2015
Monday, May 18, 2015
|(photo by jscreationzs at |
Thursday, May 14, 2015
Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)
You have heard that the ancients were told, "You shall not commit murder" and "Whoever commits murder shall be liable to the court." But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, "You good-for-nothing," shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, "You fool," shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. (verses 21-22).
You have heard that it was said, "You shall not commit adultery"; but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (verses 27-28).
Monday, May 11, 2015
Drum Roll! Shelly is the winner of the Book Giveaway for Moving From Broken to Beautiful by Yvonne Ortega. Shelly, I know you'll enjoy her book! Thank you for entering your name!
You've most likely heard the comments and criticisms: "Look at the Old Testament! It's just full of rules and restrictions. God doesn't want anyone to have fun!"
It's hard to know how to respond because even we might wonder what's with all those rules? And for some of them, they just don't make sense and thus contribute to a distrust of God.
|From www.freedigitalphotos.net |
by David Castillo Dominici
I've been studying some of the Old Testament and commentators point out some things that I think will help us and build our trust in God's goodness. After all, if we think He's withholding something from us and restricting us for no good reason, our trust in Him can dissipate. (By the way: isn't that what Satan used for the first temptation? "Oh, look, Eve, God is trying to withhold something good from you." (Tweet this:) Satan really doesn't have any new ideas, does he!
So here are some ideas:
The Laws clearly state God's plan for being close to Him. He wants fellowship with us and the "rules" and "restrictions" let us know clearly how to avoid becoming separated from His holiness. When I thought of that idea from a parenting standpoint, I could see God as a loving and good Father.
Maybe you were one of the many children who didn't know the rules of your family. Sometimes your parent(s) came down on you hard on something and other times, for the same disobedience, they didn't. Or sometimes you didn't even know what was allowed and what was forbidden. You went through your childhood feeling insecure not knowing either what was right or your parents were capricious in their response. Would you face a smile of dismissal or anger?
With God's clear and specific rules, there was no insecurity. The Israelites knew what God expected and what to expect if they disobeyed. There was great security in that and God revealed His goodness and lovingkindness.
Secondly, there were a lot of rules about "clean" and "unclean." Today, when we think of "unclean," we think of "shameful." But that wasn't God's intention. The point was to protect the people from things that could hurt them. It wasn't about their value or worth. It wasn't saying that God no longer loved them. It was for the good of the community because God always intends good, because He is a good God.
Consider a rule like a woman being declared "unclean" after giving birth and thus is unable to go to worship. Guess what, gals? It was God's way of saying, "You get a break! You've just gone through something that is taxing on your body. Stay home and rest! You aren't required to go to Temple. You don't have to feel guilty because you don't feel up to going. I care about you. I'm a good God and you need to concentrate on your baby and your own health." Sounds good to me!
Remember the rules about mold and leprosy? Those things hurt others if they came into contact with people. God still loved a person with leprosy but unfortunately, there weren't medicines to heal that disease. And there wasn't anything that could take away mold other than destroying the building it was in. Today we know the danger of mold but God first taught them. He cared about them, yes, even the leprous person, but for the good of the community, drastic measures had to be taken. Those with leprosy weren't shameful, they didn't make an ungodly choice, but they shouldn't be allowed to spread it to others.
All this points to God being a good God! He wants what's best for everyone and sometimes that means that restrictions and rules must be enforced.
Does this make sense? It does if we look through a lens that says, "God does everything for good because He is a good God, even rules and restrictions."
Friday, May 1, 2015
Saturday, April 25, 2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
I'm reading Elyse Fitzpatrick's wonderful book Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus (co-authored with her daughter Jessica Thompson) and she writes: "Although your sin does grieve him (Eph. 4:30), he doesn't want you to keep your distance, sitting in a corner wearing a dunce cap until you learn your lessons." (page 132)
That used to be the story of my life. When I was a little girl, I felt like I was always being ushered into the corner to learn my lesson. When I wasn't in the corner, I felt like there was an axe over my head, with God waiting for me to do something wrong.
Although we went to church, I somehow got the impression and message that God was waiting for me to become perfect so that He could take me out of the corner and lower the axe on my spiritual neck.
Only after I became a Christian and depended upon Christ's saving work, did I know I never had to return to the corner and that the axe had been destroyed at the foot of the cross, covered by the blood of Jesus. Instead of a dunce cap, I could wear a crown as a part of my inheritance in Christ gained only by Jesus' justifying work for me.
And yes, He does discipline me as His child, but not to cause me to earn my place back into the family. No, He disciplines me to draw me closer to His loving heart because sin separates me from Him. My guilt of sin makes me want to shy away from Him. But repentance and cleansing frees me of sin and guilt so that I can joyfully run into His presence and trust again His unconditional love. Thus I'm motivated to obey Him because I'm assured He knows best for me.
Hear also these words from Elyse's book:
He doesn't treat his dear children as "disappointments" whose disobedience and failures take him by surprise or shock him. He does not suspend his love until they get their acts back together. He already knows the worst about you (in yourself) and loves and approves you nonetheless (in Christ). (pg 131-132).
Are you wearing a dunce cap sitting in the corner? You don't need to. Your Father God offers complete freedom to run to Him to be instantly forgiven if you've sinned so that you can enjoy His delight of you.