Tag Archives: pharisees

Critical Christians

I’m going to pick on someone a little bit. If you’re reading this, I love you!

I posted something on Facebook one day and I had a misspelled word or something. I’m that person, so immediately I got onto Facebook to correct it. And as I finished I had a comment from someone, almost immediately, on the correction I needed to make.

My response: while I was correcting, you were criticizing. I use this example, not to call out anyone, but to call out everyone, because that’s what we do. We criticize, not knowing that that person is making corrections…

Jesus set a great example of patience with people. I don’t think He ever expected anyone to immediately get everything right in their lives. I think He knew that mankind typically required a process of change. And when I think about Jesus, I often think of the criticism of the Pharisees. They had more to say about the people Jesus hung around than anyone. They couldn’t believe He would interact with tax collectors and harlots, people who in their opinion, were filth.

But in such a rush to criticize both Jesus and these people, they missed the fact that meeting Jesus made them want to correct their lifestyles. They watched other people’s salvation stories when they could have had their own. They missed the opportunity to congratulate instead of critique. The opportunity to commend instead of condemn.

I’m afraid that even today, we will still miss it. We’ll miss an opportunity to join Jesus at work or to praise His work because we’re too busy wondering why He’s wasting time on them. We’ll get so sidetracked on who God is working through that we miss the fact that He is working.

It’s not my job to wonder if God is making the right choice. It’s my job to know He is. So when He chooses someone’s life to correct, it would be good to not criticize them. But it would be best to congratulate them.

Luke 19:1-10

Jesus entered Jericho and made his way through the town.  There was a man there named Zacchaeus. He was the chief tax collector in the region, and he had become very rich.  He tried to get a look at Jesus, but he was too short to see over the crowd.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way.

When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. “Zacchaeus!” he said. “Quick, come down! I must be a guest in your home today.”

Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy. But the people were displeased. “He has gone to be the guest of a notorious sinner,” they grumbled.

Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”

Jesus responded, “Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a true son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”

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Remembering Your Future: Steps to Everlasting Success (Part 2)

4) Gain (personal gain) – Read Genesis 11:4-6 and 1 Samuel 15:12

* I believe a goal can have eternal value and result in personal gain, but not that a motive of personal gain can result in eternal value.

* God created us to be great, but He created us to be great for His glory and honor, not our own.

5) Excuses – Exodus 3:11-14, 4:10-15

* There is not an excuse good enough for not doing what God called you to do.

* Is anything truly stopping you from your calling or just inconvenient for you?

* God nearly bent over backwards accommodating Moses for a task He had already chosen him for.

Question: Are we asking God to move mountains and pebbles too?

6) Troubles – Genesis 50:20

* God always has a perfect plan.

* Joseph dreamt he would be great. If he gave up every time he experienced trouble he might have missed out on seeing how greatly God can turn a situation around.

* Troubles aren’t excuses because we should expect them regardless.

The Main point to Remember: Jesus beat all the odds.

He never feared what God had already put into place. He didn’t let others’ opinions stop Him, not even family. The Pharisees reaction was that He was powerful because Satan empowered him (Matthew 12:24). Jesus had no desire for personal gain (John 10:18; 1 John 3:16). He didn’t use being human as an excuse to not do God’s work, and He experienced more troubles than we could imagine.

The Main Question: How do I truly produce something everlasting?

Stay connected to Jesus, the Vine (John 15:5 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit…). Stay connected through study, through prayer, through worship, etc. Stay connected simply by depending on God to meet your needs as you do His will.

Everlasting Gobstopper Video

We were once poor and deprived without Christ. Then we got a taste. And we saw how good He is (Psalm 34:8). And with that taste, we wanted more and more. And the beauty in wanting more of God is that He will always have more. God never loses power by our request. He never grows weary when we need His strengthening. No matter how much I need to pull from God, He never lacks.

He never shrinks, He never depletes, and He never loses flavor.

God is truly our Everlasting Gobstopper and the only way to everlasting success is to remember to stay connected to Him so we can forget about the rest.

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