You can mourn, or you can dance. But please do one.

My 8 yr old head was pressed against the school bus window, I was staring at the side of road as it blurred past. Every time the old bus hit a pothole, my head would bounce off the window, only to smack against it again. Over the radio I could hear some sad sounding pop song playing. This particular one, played an awful lot.

“Would you dance, If I asked you to dance?” and later on the singer would ask, “Would you cry, if you saw me crying.”

Smack! The bus hit a pothole again, and my head hit the window. Perhaps I can remember this all so clearly because I had hit my head so much. Maybe it was something else.

I remember thinking, that if I loved someone. I’d cry with them. If I loved someone, I’d dance with them. I would share their pain and their joy. It resonated with me. I could not imagine a close friend for whom I did not ache when they were in pain. And I could not imagine not laughing with them when they had joy.

You share emotion with those you love.

In Matthew 11, Christ is berating those who rejected Him. He says that they are like children who are talking to their friends. The children say,

“We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance; we wailed in mourning, yet you did not weep.” (Mt 11:17 NET)

Christ explains his illustration. When John the Baptist preached without eating usual food or drink, the people said he was possessed. When Christ preached while eating and drinking the people said He was a glutton and a drunk.

God had extended Himself in two very different ways, and yet the people would not hear Him. They had no desire to relate to the truth. They refused to see past their ignorance. And why was that?

They didn’t love God.

They never wanted Him. They refused to hear Him. They refused to hear His solemn message of judgment. They refused to hear His tender message of love. Their hearts would not be moved. They would not be reached.

Christ knew He had been offering a relationship to a people that had no desire for Him. There was nothing for Him to do concerning these people.

Is there something in your life you need to address? Has Christ been calling out to you? Would your heart listen to His?

Would you mourn with Him over your sin? Would you dance with Him because of His love?

You can do either, or both.

But if you close your heart to Him and feel nothing, you will lose much.

Advertisements

God doesn’t need you

We often think of prideful people as having a high sense of self-worth. This is not the case. It’s not something that you see often, but only occasionally when you glimpse the form through the chinks in the armor, you see how insecure prideful people are. That bully is scared of being worthless. So he beats another kid to show how he is superior. That guy who throws his talent in everybody’s face, is doing it to make sure he get’s approval. Why? He’s not sure he’s worth something without it. It goes on.

Prideful people lack self-worth because true self-worth comes only from God. Think about it! By what standard can you judge yourself worth anything if not by God’s?

Who are you to say that you are worth something? And what makes the person next to you worthy enough to pass judgment? God’s esteem is the only standard.

In Matthew 3, John the Baptist calls out to the Pharisees and Sadducees. These religious leaders were proud because of their genealogy. John the Baptist said, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Wow, is that an eye opener or what?

John the Baptist said quite simply: God doesn’t need you!

God’s not interested in who you dad was, or who your great great granddad was. He’s interested in who you are. No talents, special abilities, or even lineage can give you worth in the eyes of God. So what does God want?

The Bible tells us: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:” 1 Peter 5:6

When you submit yourself to authority and submit yourself to God’s will and desires, God will exalt you in His timing. God wants someone who recognizes that they are nothing. When someone comes to God understanding that they are nothing, God will lift them up and show the world their infinite worth!

 

 

Are you worthy for service?

Have you ever been in a position where you didn’t feel worthy to serve God in a certain way? Maybe you were asked to pray over the meal surrounded by Christians you thought to be more spiritual than yourself. Or perhaps you were invited to lead devotions, or preach at a service? Perhaps you are a new parent, and you are overwhelmed at the idea of raising a child?

Whatever it may be, I’m sure we have all at times felt unworthy for service. We don’t feel like we are enough. We aren’t skilled, or spiritual, or free of sin or faults.

John the Baptist felt this exact same way.

He was baptizing repentant sinners in the river when Jesus Christ came to him for baptism. Immediately, John was taken aback. He did not consider himself worthy to even put on or take off his sandal. John had such a high respect for Christ, he felt so unworthy.

But was John truly seeing the world correctly? He wasn’t.

John was looking at himself. His unworthiness. He was not looking at Christ and Christ’s needs.

Our Christian life is not about us. It’s not about our needs. It’s about Christ needs. In Matthew 3:15 Jesus said to John, suffer or allow, “it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness.” Christ needed to be baptized. It wasn’t about the worthiness of the man, but about the necessity of the service.

Remember this next time you have an opportunity for service. God didn’t choose you because you were worthy. He chose you because He needed someone. You are never worthy enough to lead a devotion, pastor a church, raise a child, or serve in any other way. God simply offers you the opportunity to serve Him.

“whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

Truth is never out of style

I think it’s safe to say we all know weird people, and Normal is just a setting on the dryer. People are strange. They have idiosyncrasies, sometimes very original ideas, and overall have different versions of common sense. But there’s the weirdos who just stand out from everyone. Maybe you can picture that caricature from your favorite TV show. Like Kramer from Seinfeld. The person that stands out as more weird than anyone else. Keep that image in your mind, and let’s go to Matthew 3.

In Matthew 3, we find one such character who stands out radically. His name is John the Baptist.

The Bible tells us that, “John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.”

I’m going to invite you to come to the conclusions that Matthew didn’t mention this because it was the fashion at the time. Or that locusts and wild honey was everyone’s daily dietary regiment.

John the Baptist was a weirdo.

And Matthew was making sure you knew that. John’s weirdness didn’t stop him from helping multitudes of people. People flocked to him because he spoke the truth, and he wanted them to get right with God.

Isn’t that amazing?

It doesn’t matter what the fashion of the day is, Truth will never go out of style. God’s life-changing power will never be outdated.

I challenge you to take away two ideas from this picture.

First, God is willing to use people no matter what their fashion is.

And also, We should never reject a message solely because of a messenger. Never look down on someone because you think they do not follow fashion, or you think they’re really weird. If they speak the truth, hear them!

And one more thought, maybe you are that person who is a little awkward, maybe you don’t fit in well, or never seem to look the way people want. Know you’re not alone, and know that God wants to use you! God has a message for you to bring the world. He’s looking for people to proclaim it! He doesn’t want a picture perfect brand representative, He wants someone who will speak boldly for Him.

If he used John the Baptist in all his weirdness, I’m sure he can use you or I! 🙂

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand . . .  Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.”  Matthew 3:1-2, 5-6

 

Don’t be like Herod

Have you ever had a particular sin that  you knew about, and heard preaching about, but never did anything about? It’s a common problem among Christians to realize their sin, and then not remove it from their lives. In fact, if you have this problem, you and king Herod have something in common.

King Herod lived a long long time ago in Israel. (See Mark 6) John the Baptist preached against Herod’s wicked lifestyle, and Herod would listen to his preaching. The Bible actually tells us that Herod heard John gladly. Do you know what that means? Herod was kinda like the guy sitting front row, yellin’ “Preach it, Pastor!” or “Amen!”

The interesting thing is that the Bible never mentions Herod ever changing his lifestyle of lust. In the end, Herod’s lustful desires led him to making a foolish vow. And that vow caused him to be forced to give the order to behead the preacher that he loved to hear so much.

Now your sin probably won’t bring you to the point of killing you pastor, but it will make you act in ways contrary to the cause of Christ. Every moment unconfessed sin remains in our life, it brings us farther from the path of light, and closer to destruction.

James 1 says, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

Think about that. What’s the point of looking in the mirror if you ignore what you see? What’s the point of recognizing your sin if you refuse to change? Let us not be like the foolish man who is only a hearer. Let us hear and obey. God promises a blessing to those who do.

“But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”