Traditions versus Tradition!

 

traditions

By Pastor Jeff,

Matthew 15:1-9, “Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God” then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”

Here we find the scribes and Pharisees who loved to burden the people with rules and regulations then exclude themselves from the laws that they should be obeying. They had condemned men for not washing their hands but refused to take care of there own parents. They claimed that they had dedicated their money to the house of God so could not use it to help their parents needs.

Now, not all traditions are a bad thing, after all, we all were told to wash our hands before we ate when we were growing up which is not a bad idea. We all have family traditions that we have carried on sometimes for many generations. Even the word of God tells us that we should keep some traditions, 1 Corinthians 11:1-2, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ. Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”

So, what is the problem with the traditions that the scribes and Pharisees laid upon men? Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” The problem comes when we take a tradition then turn it into a law that we need to obey or find our salvation in jeopardy. I can think of many things that I was taught and even taught myself that became a law that must be obeyed. One significant one that is taught in many churches is found in Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, ‘In what way have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings.” Pretty clear, Huh? Well if you read the entire book of Malachi you will find out the author was writing to the priest not the people. This offering or tithe was not of money either, it was of sacrifice which in most instances in the Bible we find it was of crops not money. I can spend more time on this subject but I hope I at least made you double think tithe as something you can choose to do rather than have to do!

Other traditions that have been laid on mankind as law are dress, hair, entertainment, discipline, food, and many more that have caused many a saint to walk away form God rather than closer to Him.

Keep this one thing in mind and I believe you will never fall into the trap of turning a tradition into law, 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

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We are His Reflection

reflection

By Pastor Jeff,

Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” In “His” image, or as I like to in this blog use the word “reflection”.

There is an old saying that people will see in you the only Jesus they may ever see, we need to reflect Christ in our speech, actions, and appearance in all we do. One of the things I would also like to concentrate is what occurred after Jesus walked with two men on the road to Emmaus that I find amazing, Luke 24:33-40, “So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.” What was on His hands and feet that would immediately make Jesus recognizable to Hid disciples? The scars from the Nails of course!

The thing I have noticed among many of Jesus’ followers is that they too carry scars that bare witness of their lives in Christ. Most of us have scars from injuries that show up on the outside as I can easily point to many on myself. But we also carry scars that cannot be seen from the naked eye. These can only be seen if we would open up our chest and expose our hearts. These scars can have the most long lasting affect on our lives and can destroy you if you keep opening up those scars or make it the focus of a horrible period of you life.

So what should you do? 1 Peter 4:12-13, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.” So what should you do? Use it for the glory of God. I don’t know about you but I’m not ashamed of the scars that you can see on my physical body and likewise we shouldn’t be ashamed of the scars we carry upon our hearts. If we truly are the reflection of Jesus who proudly showed His scars of evidence of who He was; we likewise shall show our scars of evidence of living our lives for Him. Scars are evidence that we have overcome, the wounds have scarred over, we are able to use the pain of the past to show others how to overcome and not be held back. I want to show His power in spite of the scars on my life, Philippians 3:10, “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;” 

I want Christ’s reflection to be apparent in me, I want His power to be shown through me, I want others to see Jesus in me, and if that means scars so be it! Jesus used His scars to show the world who He was and so will I!

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Love is the Only Answer!

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By Pastor Jeff,

Am I only one that thinks our world has gone completely crazy? I’m sure everyone who reads this post will give a resounding, NO, It’s definitely gone completely bonkers!

When you read, listen to, or watch the News about politics, watch some of the new television series that keep popping up glorifying evil, and talk to your friends about life, you have to shake your head, look up, and declare “Come quickly, Lord Jesus, Come!” The division that has hit our world, our country, is not only becoming comical but also dangerous as we hear increasing calls for a revolution.

One of the greatest declarations in the Word of God is in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Amen!

But is seems that our world has taken a completely different view of what this scripture says, this verse seems to say this to many, “For God so loved the Liberals, that he gave his only begotten Son, that if you vote Democrat you will not perish, but have everlasting life.” or worse, “For God so loved the Conservatives, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever votes Republican will not not perish, but have everlasting life.” (you can insert any political view, color, sex, religious view in there and it would cover most issues dealing with our society today).

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV, “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…” 

One of the biggest things dividing our country which is pretty much equal with our political atmosphere is the word, “racist”. This has become a a 10lb. hammer in which if anyone disagrees with what you believe even if you can support it with facts and the word of God, they will whack you over the head with it. One of the things love requires us to as Christians to do is to tell others when they are in sin. Just see what happens when you call those in the LGBT that the movement is wrong, how quickly the hammer comes down, mention how abortion is wrong, and wham the hammer comes down. We agree racism is wrong, but if you declare that it is wrong because there is only one race, the Human race, and that many are using it gain an advantage, you better duck.

Jesus came to save sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” Why? because He loved us, not because of or our color, sex, religious, political affiliation or whatever we claim to be. He loved us because we are His creation and He has no desire for anyone to go anywhere for eternity other than Heaven, 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

If we want to see revival, the power of Jesus Christ in regards to healing, miracles, people converted for the Kingdom of God, then we must abandon hate for Love, 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 

Love is not just the answer for our world today, its the ONLY ANSWER

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Uncomfortably Numb!

umcomfortable

By Pastor Jeff,

I was and still am a little a fan of the Rock group, “Pink Floyd” who did a song in the 70’s called “Comfortably Numb”. Sometimes we welcome numbness when we are battling depression, sickness or disease, and even tragedy we welcome numbness.  It’s a kind of a defense mechanism to help us deal and sometimes avoid dealing with things around or in us. This can be helpful if you do eventually allow some of those feelings come back, are able to face them, and get resolution from it.

Being unable to feel pain may sound appealing, but it would be extremely hazardous to your health. Pain is, for most of us, a very unpleasant feeling, but it serves the important evolutionary purpose of alerting us to potentially life-threatening injuries. Without it, people are more prone to hurting themselves and so, because they can be completely oblivious to serious injuries, a life without pain is often cut short. There is in fact a disease called, “Congenital Analgesia” which has disastrous results for those who suffer from it such as severe burns, cuts, biting of their tongues and so on. Leprosy also can leave to nerve damage which can lead to broken bones, cuts, burns as well.

So what do I mean by “uncomfortably numb?” That is the best way I can describe about how I have felt since the passing of my daughter. I’m forever grateful for the 37 years I had with her and know we will meet again but since her passing I have had the range of grief, sorrow, depression, and now numbness. Isaiah 53:3, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” This I know, that Jesus has been with me all the way through this process and His presence has been a immense comfort to me. I really don’t have a clue how a person can get through things in life without Him. I’m also aware that the numbness I have is not something that is beneficial to the Kingdom of God for Christ tells us in Galatians 6:2, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” 

So this numbness that I have is becoming uncomfortable but I also want to hang on to it for if I have to endure any more sadness it would be almost impossible to accept it. As a christian though it is imperative for all of us to open up our arms and hearts to anyone that God puts in our path. It’s not easy but staying numb to those around us will only cause hurt, brokenness, lack of love for others, and even affect our relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

I know there are many others out there that have had tragedies similar or even worse that our family has but if we are to be effective witnesses to our lost and dying award we must step out of that numbness and surrender our wills and lives to Jesus.

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When Words are Not Enough!

when-you-cant-look-on-the-bright-side-i-will-18543864

By Pastor Jeff,

Deuteronomy 31:6,“Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.” This promise is repeated in Hebrew 13:5-6, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.”

As our family is dealing with the loss of two loved ones in a period of less than 15 months we have heard the statement repeated several times by people, “I don’t have words” or “I can’t even know what your are dealing with”. This is true as the old Indian saying goes, “walk a mile in his moccasins.” which is plain to understand that you can never feel or understand what another person is going through unless you have experienced the same thing. Even then can be difficult to comprehend as we all react to things somewhat differently based on our faith, relationship, and age.

This saying, “When you can’t look at the bright side, I will sit with you in the dark” comes from the movie in Alice in Wonderland, I had purchased a T-shirt with the phrase and had wore it to a interview from a local newspaper not thinking that a couple months later it would express my thoughts of today. It has been difficult and may never happen for at least me to go back and continue my life as it was before. It’s hard to be in a  group and discuss the things that once mattered to me. I even told people close to me that I need to be just left alone, that I had no interest in talking about it, but I know through it all that Jesus was there not telling me it will be alright but sitting with me holding my hand, handing me tissue to wipe the tears from my eyes (figuratively).

Listen, Jesus no matter how you feel, what you are experiencing, what you are thinking, in the greatest hours of despair, Jesus is there! Don’t always expect Him to speak words in your ears, to shake you, to even hug you, but know He is there, trust that!

It’s been very difficult in seeing any good of the tragic loss of my son and daughter and when I shared my daughters legacy in our church the scripture that God gave me is found in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” To be honest I don’t feel good about what happened, I do Love God with everything in me and I do believe I am called for His purpose. But the good I can’t fathom, it hurts way to much at this point in time to think that, but I do believe it. Maybe all that will come of it is that I will get to share my story how no matter what has come my way, I can stand, even if my knees may be weak and wobbly, I will still stand, and if you ever find yourself not able to look at the bright-side I will sit with you even in the dark!

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A Time to Weep!

jesus_wept_by_peekeeboo-d8o4l3d

By Pastor Jeff,

It’s been a while since I have done a blog mainly because I was in a very sorrowful state for the past two months as we were preparing the passing of my wonderful daughter. It is still very hard to believe that she is not with us in this present world but I know without a doubt I will see her soon.

John 11:35, “Jesus wept” the shortest verse in the King James Bible and probably one of the more popular scriptures used in sermons today. I find it amazing how men try to make it out to be something more than it says. We all are aware of the circumstance of this event in which Jesus’ good friend Lazarus has passed away. Jesus when he arrives He is met by Lazarus sisters Martha and Mary who are obviously grieving over the loss of their brother and why Jesus did not come immediately and heal him before he died.

John 11:33-34, “When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled, And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.” Many have tried to read something into this as Jesus was weeping because of their unbelief or lack of faith that He could not of only healed Lazarus but could of raised him from the dead. Once again I don’t think anything should be added to this scripture to further dramatize the emotion Jesus shared with those there.

Jesus wept, something every person on this earth has done one time or another, we cannot place Jesus on some pedestal that excludes that He was both God and man. Jesus felt emotion, Jesus is not above feeling our hurts, Jesus is not a God that is not acquainted with our grief. The Bible tells us differently, Isaiah 53:3-4, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.”

The last few months have been extremely tough on my family and me. I can count on one hand the days I have not grieved and shed tears over the loss of my daughter. It has been said the average person generates 1.4 ml. of tears a day, I have surpassed that by 20-100 fold. I lay in bed many a night crying before I fall off to sleep, I have had dreams in which I have been weeping and wake up weeping. I weep for my granddaughters who will grow up without there mother, I weep for her husband who will go on with life without his helpmate, and I do weep for myself over the thoughts of going on with events, celebrations, holidays without her, and I miss her so.

Jesus wept, and that gives me hope of a God who knows and shares my grief. I know one day joy will return in my life but today like Jesus did, I weep!

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