I was reading about the Pharisee and the Tax Collector from Luke 18:9-14 this morning. The Pharisees prayer always makes me shake my head…
“The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’ ”
Contrast this with the Tax Collectors prayer a few verses later…
13?“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’
Jesus goes on to say that the Tax Collector went home right with God that day. I really liked the notes from the LASB on these verses…
18:11-14 The Pharisee did not go to the Temple to pray to God but to announce to all within earshot how good he was. The tax collector went recognizing his sin and begging for mercy. Self-righteousness is dangerous. It leads to pride, causes a person to despise others, and prevents him or her from learning anything from God. The tax collector’s prayer should be our prayer because we all need God’s mercy every day. Don’t let pride in your achievements cut you off from God.
As I type I am reminded of 1 John 1:9. “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
It is far better to acknowledge our imperfections and sin before God and ask for forgiveness. We can’t be like the Pharisee and be cut off from God. Humble confession is always the best option.
I was reading Matthew 23:1-39 this morning. Verses 1-7 jumped out at me and reminded the importance of your words and your walk being in alignment.
I would hate for Jesus to say about me what He said about the Pharisees and the Teachers of the Law.
Here is what He said…
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The teachers of religious law and the Pharisees are the official interpreters of the law of Moses. So practice and obey whatever they tell you, but don’t follow their example. For they don’t practice what they teach. They crush people with unbearable religious demands and never lift a finger to ease the burden. “Everything they do is for show. On their arms they wear extra wide prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and they wear robes with extra long tassels. And they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the seats of honor in the synagogues. They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ (Matthew 23:1-7 NLT)
It is a good reminder to live and practice what we preach.
I am a big believer in having lots of Bible tools to help you in your Bible study and preparation.
I have Bible commentaries, Bible dictionaries and a number of computer programs to help me learn about the passages I am studying.
However I think we need to be conscious that we should not let someone else do all of our Bible meditation for us.
I think we need to have times where we read and re-read passages and just mull them over with the Holy Spirit for a day or two.
Often I am chewing over a passage as I go about my day. I might be at work, doing a gym workout or just at home, but I am thinking about a passage of Scripture.
As I meditate on a passage I allow the Holy Spirit to speak to me and let Him focus me on the verses He needs to impress upon my heart.
When I meditate on a passage of Scripture it allows it to sink deep into my heart and it bring real change to my heart and mind.
It is great to have lots of Bible study tools to help, but don’t always let someone else do you Bible meditation, as you might miss what the Holy Spirit wants to say to you personally.
This morning my wife and I read Luke 4:31-44 as a part of the essential Jesus readings. Verses 38-39 really jumped out at me and reminded me of something.
After leaving the synagogue that day, Jesus went to Simon’s home, where he found Simon’s mother-in-law very sick with a high fever. “Please heal her,” everyone begged. Standing at her bedside, he rebuked the fever, and it left her. And she got up at once and prepared a meal for them. (Luke 4:38, 39 NLT)
I like the way Jesus spoke to the fever. He rebuked it and it went away. Often in our family we have spoken to the sickness and told it to go away and it has too.
Usually when we pray we seek God on how to pray when one of us is sick. We seek wisdom on how to approach it.
Sometimes we feel led to pray for God’s healing touch, sometimes we pray for wisdom for the doctor and sometimes we just rebuke the sickness in Jesus’ name.
The next time one of your family is sick, seek God as to how you should pray. You might have to follow Jesus’ example and rebuke the sickness and send it away.