The things that matter most

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” (Matthew 23:23)

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Sometimes in the Christian life it’s easy to put all our effort into our “vertical” relationship with God and feel like we’re doing just fine.

So, we pray a lot.  We read our Bible.  We tithe.  In fact, we do all the good things the Pharisees did.

To be sure, they are all good things.  Jesus affirmed the vertical life of the Pharisees by saying “these you ought to have done,” but though they were apparently quite careful to be good to God, Jesus sharply rebuked them for what they neglected…

Being good to others.

Think about it.  Jesus spoke of justice, but God needs no justice from us, people do.  Jesus talked about mercy, but God needs no mercy from us, people do.  Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 2:13a, “if we are faithless, He remains faithful,” so who is really in need of our faithfulness?  Other people.

As you rejoice in all God has done for you, may you remember this crucial thing: our vertical relationship with God is far more for our benefit than it is for His, and the greatest way to show our love to Him is to share His love with others.

-Pastor Phillip
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Jesus died for fools

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God…'” (Psalm 14:1a)

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When the Bible uses the word “fool,” it’s not talking about a person who is intellectually slow, but someone who is morally warped.

The fool may have no lack of head knowledge, but they have a profound opposition to the things of God that stems from their own desire to pursue their own desires.

Sometimes I feel that way.

Maybe you do, too.  It’s that feeling when you know what the Bible says, but your case is different.  You know what Jesus calls us to, but you have special circumstances that give you a free pass to go ahead and do what you want to anyway.

“You don’t understand my situation.”

“It’s how I was raised.”

“I’m under a lot of stress right now.”

“This is just the way I am.”

And God calls you a fool.

When you and I choose our own way and make excuses for our sin, we are saying by our lives that though we may accept God with our minds, we don’t obey Him in our hearts.

It’s like He doesn’t even exist.

How amazing is Jesus, then, that even though “all have turned aside,” and, “there is none that does good,” He would die for us!  How gracious is God that even when we play the fool, the blood of Christ still cleanses us from all unrighteousness and lovingly welcomes us to come home to him!

May you walk in confidence today, knowing that even though you and I may sometimes act like “fools,” the love of Jesus is never shaken.

-Pastor Phillip
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