Monday, August 31, 2015

The Modern-Day Pharisee Test

The Pharisees were more concerned with performing religious rituals than connecting with God. We can easily get sidetracked and become modern-day Pharisees. The questions below will examine your motives and will reveal if your relationship with God goes beyond the four walls of a church.

1. Do you view a church building as “God’s house”?
2. Do you believe that Church is something you go to?
3. Do you "go to church" so that the pastor will see you in attendance?
4. Do you give your offerings without ever thinking about the Lord receiving them?
5. Do you give your offerings mainly because you feel pressured by the pastor to tithe?
6. Do you read your Bible because you want others to know you are doing it?
7. Do you serve in your church or elsewhere because you want others to respect you?
8. Do you look down on people who don’t attend church?
9. Do you ever sing to God in worship when you’re not in church?
10. Do you pray more when you are away from church or when you’re in church?
11. Do you ever tell God that you love Him?
12. Are you the same person away from church as you are when you’re in church?

Ask God to show you the correct answers and if something needs to change in your life. “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5).

Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Legalism of the Pharisees

The Pharisees were the false religious teachers who constantly opposed Jesus. There were 613 commands in the Old Testament but the Pharisees created over 1,500 additional “fence laws” for the people to obey. They believed the best way to keep people from breaking God’s Law was to build a protective barrier around that Law, even though the Lord never told them to do this. The people of Jesus’ day were burdened down by man-made legalistic rules that God never commanded.

Exodus 20:10 says not to work on the Sabbath day, so the Pharisees created 39 types of prohibited work so no one would break the Law. Here are some of their fence laws:
***You could not spit on the Sabbath because it would disturb the dirt and you would be guilty of plowing.
***You could not swat a fly on the Sabbath because you would be guilty of hunting.
***A woman could not look at her reflection because she might see a gray hair and pluck it out, which would be doing work.

They created loopholes to get around some laws.
***If your house was burning down on a Sabbath, you could not carry clothes out of it. However, you were allowed to put on several layers of clothes as the house was burning down. You could leave without breaking the law because you were wearing them instead of carrying them.
***You could not travel more than 3/5 mile from your house on the Sabbath. However, you could leave food 3/5 mile from your home on the night before, which would make it permissible to travel twice the distance without breaking the law.

Your relationship with God should be a joy, not a job. If you aren’t enjoying your relationship with Him, something is wrong. Maybe you’re trying to follow man-made legalistic rules instead of loving the Lord. Jesus said the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, and the second greatest is to love your neighbor as yourself. “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:37-40).

To get your priorities corrected, you might need to unchain yourself from legalistic rules. You might need to change churches. You might need to re-examine what you believe and make sure it lines up with the Scriptures. Life is too short to get it wrong. Do whatever it takes to set yourself free from legalism.

To read more about the strange customs of the Pharisees: Who were the Pharisees?

Slaying Your Giants is filled with interesting stories, humor, and practical advice about how to conquer 20 giants (fear, depression, discontentment, self-image, anger, and more)
The Sure Cure for Worry contains amazing true stories and helps the reader see God is in control.

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

God Has a Purpose for Your Pit

Joseph was thrown into a pit in the wilderness by his jealous brothers. They planned to kill him, but his brother Reuben suggested they throw him into a nearby pit instead (Gen. 37:18-22). It was no accident that the pit just happened to be at that spot. Someone came at an earlier time and dug the hole, and then abandoned it—never realizing that God had guided him to do that. The Lord knew that a pit needed to be at that exact spot, which would one day save Joseph’s life. It was an ordained pit. Notice three things:

1. The pit gave them another option so that Joseph wouldn’t be killed. His brothers intended to kill him (Plan A) but the pit gave them another way to get rid of him without shedding blood (Plan B). Rueben told his brothers, “Shed no blood. Throw him into this pit…but do not lay hands on him”—that he might rescue him out of their hands, to restore him to his father (37:22).

2. God made sure the pit was dry. “Now the pit was empty without any water in it” (37:24). Normally these pits collected rainwater, but this one didn’t. If water had been in it, Joseph would have drowned. God made sure the conditions were right for Joseph to live.

3. The pit was used as a holding tank until the Midianite traders came by, bought him as a slave and escorted him to Egypt (37:25-28). It was no accident that the traders just happened to travel by that route at just the right time. God was leading them (without them knowing it) so they would take Joseph to the ordained destination. The Lord orchestrated a divine appointment to exalt him to be a ruler in Egypt.

Sooner or later, someone is going to throw you into a pit. When it happens, keep in mind that the Lord has a purpose for your pit, just like He had a purpose for Joseph’s pit. Even though it’s not the best of circumstances, it’s keeping something worse from happening to you. Your enemy might think that he has won by rejecting you, but God always has the last word in your situation. He is using your pit as a temporary situation to get you to a much better place. And He will, if you will keep trusting God, keep your heart right and not get bitter at the one who threw you in the pit.

Do you have questions about the Bible? Read 66 Answers to Bible Questions

Making Life Count Ministries
P.O. Box 680174
Prattville, Alabama 36068-0174