09 April 2012

I Don't Want To Be a Pharisee 'Cause They're Not Fair, You See

Day 241

Have you heard the song, "I Just Want To Be A Sheep?" I learned it a couple of years ago when my co-worker taught it to my children. There's a verse to that song that has these words... "I don't to be a Pharisee 'cause they're not fair, you see."

Last week, as I looked forward to celebrating Easter, I was once again reminded of what transpired in the tiny oasis country of Israel leading up to Jesus' crucifixion. The religious leaders, mainly the Pharisees and the Saducees, played a major role in the unfolding of the Old Testament prophets' words about the Messiah's sacrificial death for all mankind. One thing that stood out for me this time was the self-righteousness of those people. Their self-righteousness blinded them to see the truth. Not only that, it prevented them from reaching out to others or seeing the needs of others. In fact, they purposely separated themselves from others because, to them, everyone else wasn't good enough. Sound familiar?

We are just like the Pharisees. When we see redeemed and restored people who don't have an ideal kind of life in our mind and human standard, who don't have an ideal past, who have been scarred by sin and by personal battles, who don't have an ideal family life, who we think are less perfect than us, we turn up our noses in disbelief and tell ourselves, "I am better than they are." We try to shield ourselves, our children, our ideal life from being "contaminated" by those people.

So, what about love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness? Those are the very same attributes of God that placed us where we are now. Many times we think that people who have had messed up lives become totally useless... worthless... valueless. I hate self-righteousness. And I become a self-righteous human being when I begin to abhor self-righteous people. I forget to love. I forget to love God with all my heart and soul. I forget to love others the way God wants me to love them.

Two days before Jesus was hung on the cross, a woman who lived an openly sinful life, whose life was transformed by mere encounter with Jesus, poured out her love for Him by washing His feet with very expensive perfume and wiped them with her hair. (Luke 7 :36-50) The Pharisees were offended by it because of the woman's reputation. Simon thought it was such a waste. Jesus' response to them was, "He who has been forgiven much, loves much." That made me think... If I don't love God and others much, have I truly been forgiven of my sins? Do I realize the magnitude of my own sins that I may consider as minor? Do I have unconfessed sins that prevent me from coming to the ever-loving, ever-forgiving Abba Father?

As I think about that gloomy Friday when Jesus was crucified, it was the self-righteous people that hung him; myself included. My own sin put Him on that cruel cross. Hallelujah to the Risen Savior! Who forgives me, who gives me a second chance, and a third chance, and a fourth chance, and so on. I absolutely have NO right to self-righteousness! I am just as messed up as the next person. But yet... I am forgiven and I am loved.

31 January 2012

Mussings At the Gym with Some Pouting

So, here I am, sitting in the gym lobby with flip-flops and a pout on my lips. Nah, you really can't see it on my face but inside me, yes. The boys are in their swimming class. I'm supposed to be working out but I left my running shoes in the house. Dog gone it!

Policy is... You can't leave the premises while your kids are in here. Ed's out playing golf with some guys from our church. I wish I had my Kindle in my backpack so I could at least read a book for 1 1/2 hours! Ugh! But I never bring a book to the gym and I'm not one of those that can read on the treadmill or the spin bike. I just can't keep my balance if I read and run at the same time. Hahaha! Thankfully, I have my [not so smart] phone with me so I can type and get entertained.

So what's the point of this blah-blah-blah? I got a bad attitude. I'm pouting like a school girl who didn't get her way. More like disappointed with myself. With Ed not around, I can't get myself together. How do single parents do it all? I have become so dependent on my husband.

Back to the question, what's the point of this? One, I need the Holy Spirit to take control of my emotions so I have a better attitude. Galatians 5:22-23 says, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control." When I'm walking in the Spirit, those things will manifest in my life. No questions, no excuses. The opposite of walking in the Spirit is walking in the flesh. Oh, how easy it is for me to revert back into walking in my sinful flesh! Now I'm singing [in my head] Steve Green's "Fruit of the Spirit" song to shake off the pouting and keep the attitude in check.

Two... I should be happy I get a day off from working out. My body probably needs it. I can always do something when I get home to make up for it. For now, I can go back to the pool and watch the boys swim and see what they've learned in just two weeks of swim lessons.

Thanks for reading this lengthy post.

29 January 2012

Why Did You Eat My Ice Cream?!!!

I was mad and totally disappointed that I was in tears. My husband responded, "But it's just ice cream, honey! I can get you more."

"But they're closed already, it's already 11PM" I replied. I was really upset because I was looking forward to eating my leftover ice cream from several nights ago. I don't eat it very often so I was reserving it as a treat to myself for eating well and working out all week. But it was gone. My hubby ate it.

"I would have been willing to share if you just asked; but you didn't!" Crucifying him with my tearful accusation.

What is wrong with me! It's just ice cream! No, I'm not pregnant. I just needed sugar. Hahaha! And a better attitude.

For two Sundays, the preaching at church cut me like a two-edged sword to the core of my heart. I was almost in tears during sermon last Sunday. Our Pastor is doing a series on Jesus' Sermon on the Mount from Matthew 5. "Christian Counter Culture," he calls it. Last week and this week, he hammered on how we show on the outside how good we look as Christians but we are rotten inside; how we are fake; how we build facades to hide what we really are inside; how we don't hunger for righteousness; how we like to go with the flow to please people.

I am guilty as charged. To most people, save my family and my close friends, I look good. I like to pretend I'm good. I like to show I got it all together. But I know deep inside I don't. I am just the opposite, in fact. Matthew 5:7 says, "Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy." Being a child of God I am a recipient of God's mercy and grace. And because of that I ought to show mercy and grace to others. I am a fake. I can't even show mercy to my husband who ate my precious ice cream! I have three little people in my home that look to me, watching how a Christian should live life. When I have a bad attitude, I fail to point them towards Christ. How can I teach my boys how to live a Christian life that's pleasing to God if I don't do it myself? "Oh Lord, have mercy on me because I am a failure." God and I had several conversations regarding a sin issue for the past two months. I am stubborn but His love and grace pursue me.

So, before I finished writing this post, I had to swallow my pride and walk over to my husband and ask for his forgiveness for the way I acted last night about the ice cream. I'll strive to do better.

"Let's go get some more ice cream. Whatever flavor you like." He said.
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