Ten Minutes

granonine:

This was the daily prompt from WordPress.com this morning. It’s not a fun read, but I believe it is an important one.

Originally posted on Just Writing!:

Ready, Set, Done

Today, write about anything — but you must write for exactly ten minutes, no more, no less.

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Yesterday I had a conversation with someone about the difference between pure evil and “poor choices,” or “mistakes.”  This is one of my hot buttons.  I believe in the existence of evil.  My Bible says, in Jeremiah 17:9, that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and that we can’t even know the capacity for wickedness that we all have.

Years ago, my pastor said that any Christian is capable of committing any sin; if you think about something long enough, you will do it.  At the time, I thought, “No, not ME!”  Now, I know he was right.

No one teaches a baby to be selfish.  No one teaches a toddler to throw a temper fit.  No one teaches a two-year-old to look at…

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Hypocrisy

Matthew 23:1- 3. “Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

What an indictment Jesus is laying on the scribes and Pharisees now!  He has already earned their hatred and condemnation, so He has nothing to lose, and His time is drawing near. In this dramatic scene, He literally turns away from the religious leaders of the day and excoriates them for their hypocrisy.  I suspect that He could already feel the scourge crashing down across His back. 

Jesus spoke to the people in plain words, telling them to obey what the Pharisees say, according to the Law; but not to do as the Pharisees do,  because they speak good words but do not act upon them.

This is indeed the purest form of hyocrisy.  And Jesus is just getting started.

Jesus Asks a Question

Matthew 22:41-46. “While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, Saying, What think ye of Christ? Whose Son is He? They say unto Him, The Son of David. He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call Him Lord, saying, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool?  If David then call Him Lord, how is He his Son? And no man was able to answer Him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask Him any more questions.”

Jesus

Not one of the Pharisees had touched on the question of Messiah, Who He was; and after all, for the Jews, there was no more important question.

Jesus quoted from Psalm 110 as He asked His question. This Psalm is one of the great messianic prophecies. It is important in the book of Hebrews,  where it is quoted as being fulfilled in Jesus Christ when He comes again. The power of the prophecy in this Psalm is so great that scoffers have tried to deny that it is truly scripture, or that David penned it.  When you can’t explain, then you have to mock and deny.

At this moment with Jesus, the Pharisees acknowledged that Messiah was to be the Son of David. Surely these Pharisees knew Jesus’ unquestionable descent from David. They could not deny that He had legal title to the throne of David. His ministry throughout the years had confirmed Him as Jehovah.

They could not, would not, give Him an answer.  They were silenced by His question.  They would not speak again until they cried out, “Crucify Him!”  as they helped to fulfill God’s plan of bringing salvation to a world in need.

It’s Been Awhile since I Ranted!

Originally posted on Just Writing!:

I just can’t hold it in any more. temper_tantrum

Someone posted on Facebook the audio clip of a very smug woman who called in to accuse those of us who work for a living of doing so just so we could “preach” about how morally superior we are.  Not because we take pride in our work, or maybe actually enjoy working.  No, just so we could moralize about ourselves and compare ourselves favorably to people like her, a second-generation welfare recipient who makes no bones about bragging on her lifestyle, even going so far as to ask, “If someone offered you a million dollars, wouldn’t you take it?”

Here’s the clip.

There are so many things wrong here that it’s hard to know where to start.  I am simply flabbergasted that someone who rarely, if ever, considers actually earning her money is trying to take the moral high ground.  The only…

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The Great Commandment

Matthew 22: 37-40. “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

In Mark 12:34, we read that the lawyer who had asked this question was greatly moved by the answer, and Jeus said to him, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.”  I wonder, don’t you, if we’ll meet that man in heaven some day.

The questioner did not realize that he stood at that moment before Jehovah, Messiah, the Son of God. But I hope he understood it after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.

Jesus was quoting from  Deuteronomy 6:5 for the first commandment.  For the second, He referred to Leviticus 19:18. These two commandments, He said, were the cornerstone for everything else in the Books of the Law, and for all that the prophets foretold.

To love God with all of one’s heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30) leaves no part of a person untouched. The heart is considered the seat of one’s emotions. The soul is that spiritual part that seeks after God. The mind is that which governs the emotions and the behavior. Physical strength is often required to be a dedicated follower of Christ.  Ask any pastor, missionary, Christian school teacher or any other church member who is serious about serving God, and you will hear the same thing:  We need to ask God for strength every single day.

Two more things.  First, it is very clear in the second great commandment that God knew we would, indeed, love ourselves.  What may masquerade as self-loathing or poor self-esteem is often nothing more than a strong belief that others don’t value us as they should. People who truly do struggle with thinking poorly of themselves need to learn who they are because of Christ. I’ve written about that topic starting here and including the two posts directly following that first one.

Second, I think it’s important to understand that truly loving God, truly  being crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20) will lead to becoming more and more Christ-like; and that will lead to a natural Holy Spirit-guided love for our neighbors.  Before we can truly love others, we have to have laid ourselves on the altar of God’s love for us.

Tempting Him

Matthew 22:34-36. “But when the Pharisees had heard that He had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting Him, and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

 There is so much drama in these scenes.  I would love to have been watching and listening from some little corner as Jesus shut down His enemies, one by one.  They kept coming back for more, and they kept being sent away in consternation.

This time,  a Pharisee who was a lawyer approached Jesus with one of the hot topics of his day. There were various arguments among the scribes and the lawyers as to which commandment in the law held the indisputable place of being the most important.  This lawyer was asking Jesus to take sides, hoping to turn one faction or the other against Himself.

Things aren’t much different today, are they?  We’re still nattering on at each other, in Christian circles, about so many things that should never be a point of controversy. I know I’m stepping into hot water here, but one of the prime examples that comes to mind is the old Calvinism (now known as Reformed Theology) versus Arminianism debate.  I remember hearing the preacher boys in my Bible college going on and on about this one, debating into the wee hours of the morning.  It was never resolved, never will be. It stirred up a lot of emotion, usually negative, and sometimes even called one’s intelligence into question. And, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, it was a waste of time.  That’s just one example. There are a zillion others. We peck each other to death in our “right-fighting” when we should be far more focused on reaching people with the gospel.

Jesus refused to enter the debate. Tomorrow we’ll look at His response.

Five Changes

To-Do? Done!

Quickly list five things you’d like to change in your life. Now, write a post about a day in your life once all five have been crossed off your to-do list.

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Well, this is depressing.  On a beautiful Saturday morning, WordPress wants me to list five changes I’d like to make in my life.  Sounds too much like New Year’s Resolutions, but oh well, here goes:

1.  Lose the weight

2.  Get in better shape

3.  Finish my book

4.  Finish my daughter-in-law’s quilt

5. Downsize all our stuff

Now, the story:

Linda woke up early, stretched, allowed herself a couple of minutes to feel the luxury of her comfortable bed, and the pristine condition of her bedroom. No clutter.  No dust.  Nothing left out to be put away the next day. Heavenly.

She sprang out of bed, slipped into her two-sizes-smaller sneakers (you do lose weight in your feet, too, you know) and pulled on her incredibly tiny jeans and tee. A quick stop in the study for her iPod Shuffle, and she was out the door on her daily five-mile walk. It was a glorious morning, cool and crisp, and it felt marvelous to stretch out the kinks and feel the road hitting her shoes.  At 68, she felt better than she had in years. Her blood sugar was completely under control, no more diabetes.  All the other Syndrome X symptoms were gone, too, oh frabjous day!

Today was the day she would send the final edits back to her publisher on the book she had labored over for so many years. The next one was going to be written much faster. Much. It was so exciting to know that within the year her first book would be out.  Maybe no one would buy it, but at that moment she didn’t even care. Just to have it done was such a victory!

Finishing her five-mile-circuit, Linda paused to enjoy her pretty yard.  Summer flowers were still strong and healthy, and in the crisp air of September, they glowed as if they were plugged into an electrical socket. Fall was undoubtedly the best season of the year.

Her other task at the post office today would be to mail the quilt she had finally finished off to Germany.  Janan had been patiently waiting for way too many years. The quilt had been sidelined when Linda went to work after finishing her master’s degree, and somehow it had just never found its way to the top of the priority list. That was over. The quilt was done.

And the house was decluttered, with no piles or stacks; no boxes of forgotten stuff sitting in attic or basement; no vast collections of “someday” fabrics, yarns, and patterns on her side of the basement. On Terry’s side, there were still boxes and bins and jars of nuts, bolts, washers, screws and obscure jumble, but she closed her eyes to it. Nothing she could do there.

All in all, it had been a successful and satisfying year.

The alarm went off. Rats.

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