Digging in Deeper: Mark 7:8-9

“‘Abandoning the command of God, you hold on to human tradition.’ He also said to them, ‘You have a fine way of invalidating God’s command in order to set up your tradition!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We have an innate sense that we’re not enough on our own. We constantly seek out the authority of someone we deem higher than ourselves in order to give cover and justification to what we are doing. Today people tend to seek out the authority of a politician or a political movement to gain the justification they seek. In the past, God was the more likely target for such reaching. At the same time, however, we have an innate desire to be our own authority. We want to do what we want, when we want, how we want, and so on. What we want, though, doesn’t always accord with what we or the culture around us feels like we should do. We need that layer of external authority to give us cover. So, we take that authority, throw it over ourselves like a blanket, and keep doing what we want. The Pharisees were doing this and Jesus didn’t like it.

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Morning Musing: Mark 2:18

“Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. People came and asked him, ‘Why do John’s disciples and the Pharisees’ disciples fast, but your disciples do not fast?'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Why do you do the things you do? While there very well may be an intentionality to some of them, can I suggest that the reason you do most of the things you do is that they are the things you do? That may sound like I’m talking in circles (I’ll chalk it up to my head still spinning from last night’s presidential debacle…I mean debate), but let me explain. You and I do most of the things we do because we are accustomed to doing them. Again, there are obvious exceptions to this, but most of our lives run on autopilot. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. When we autopilot through the little things, it frees up our attention for the big ones. But if we’re not careful, we can put things in the wrong category. Let’s talk about how.

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Morning Musing: Malachi 1:1

“A pronouncement: The word of the Lord to Israel through Malachi.”
— ‭‭Malachi‬ ‭1:1‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

While it’s popular today to talk about eating dessert first, I am more of a save-the-best-for-last kind of guy. I’d rather slog through the tough stuff at the beginning so I can sit back and savor the best stuff with even more time to enjoy it. Well, as our journey through the minor prophets comes near to its end as we land on the final book of Malachi, we have saved the best for last. Here’s a little preview of coming attractions.

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Morning Musing: Zechariah 8:18-19

“Then the word of the Lord of Armies to me: The Lord of Armies says this: ‘The fast of the fourth month, the fast of the fifth, the fast of the seventh, and the fast of the tenth will become times of joy, gladness, and cheerful festivals for the house of Judah. Therefore, love truth and peace.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Last week we spent some time talking about how much God hates religious exercises. Empty religion is an offense to Him. Just like you don’t want someone doing something for you if their heart is not in it, God feels the same. Ladies, if your guy bought you flowers because he felt like he had to, would you be happy? Guys, if your girl got you the latest cool gadget out of a sense of obligation, would you be drawn to her for it? Of course not. Neither does God want religious exercises done out of the same motives. But, just because He hates empty religious exercises doesn’t mean He hates religion. That’s a distinction we don’t often make, but which we must if we want to be right with Him.

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Digging in Deeper: Zechariah 7:2-5

“Now the people of Bethel had sent Sharezer, Regem-melech, and their men to plead for the Lord’s favor by asking the priests who were at the house of the Lord of Armies as well as the prophets, ‘Should we mourn and fast in the fifth month as we have done these many years?’ Then the word of the Lord of Armies came to me: ‘Ask all the people of the land and the priests: When you fasted and lamented in the fifth and in the seventh months for these seventy years, did you really fast for me?’”‬‬ (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever done something for someone a long time only to later discover they either had never noticed or didn’t want you doing it the whole time? That would be a frustrating experience to say the least. But, what if some point early on in your efforts, the other person had communicated her position to you in some way that you ignored? You ignored it and forgot about it and kept right on doing whatever it was. That changes things, doesn’t it? Now who were you really doing it for? It wasn’t her anymore. You were really doing it for yourself. Well, what if the object of this unwanted affection were to be God?

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