How many times have you told God you were sorry only to go back and do the same thing over and over again?
How many times did Israel cry out for God to rescue them, only to return to the same behavior again?
Yes, apologies are sometimes sincere, but many times they are are response to the consequences of our behavior. Apologies can even be a tool of manipulation to make the person we hurt feel better, and sometimes to make ourselves feel better.
If you read your bible carefully, God never asks for an apology, but He demands repentance…
It’s turning from our behavior and doing everything we can to not do it again. That’s why when someone has done something to hurt you and never apologized, but they haven’t done it again, you have gotten something better than an apology….you’ve gotten repentance.
‘Social distancing has become the ‘buzzword’ of 2020 (or biblical year 5780). Everyone around the world knows that means keeping a distance of at least 6 feet from one another while in public to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. From COVID-19, to worldwide protests against racism and social injustice, to a layer of dust traveling across the Atlantic Ocean from Africa, now is not the time to practice ‘SPIRITUAL DISTANCING’ from God.
It’s amazing how many people who claim to be disciples of Yeshua the Messiah allow their pride (national, racial, family or personal), prejudice, arrogance, opinion, personal theology, dedication to traditions or flesh come between themselves and God.
Do we expect a faith of comfort and convenience or are we willing to ‘get our hands dirty’. Are we showing true love for Christ through our genuine concern and real effort to help those He called ‘the least of them’ (Matthew 25:31-45)?
Yes, they claim to know Him, but their actions prove that just like the Pharisees, they are putting their perspective, desires and expectations before God’s.
SOME ‘CHRISTIANS’ USE RELIGION AS A TOOL FOR THEIR OWN AGENDA
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for this behavior by quoting what God, our Elohim, told us through the prophet Isaiah…
Matthew 15:8-9 (NKJV)
8 ‘These people [a]draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
It’s easy to point a ‘self-righteous finger’ at Peter by following Yeshua from a distance, but if we aren’t careful we can find ourselves doing the same thing.
Matthew 26:58 (NKJV)
58 But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.
Too many Christians are unintentionally guilty of expecting God to worship their expectations, traditions, hopes, dreams, opinions and personal theology.
Look very closely at how Yeshua rebuked the Scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.
Matthew 23 (NKJV)
23 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you [a]to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the [b]best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One isyour [c]Teacher, [d]the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be [e]humbled, and he who humbles himself will be [f]exalted.
13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 [g]Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.
15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of [h]hell as yourselves.
16 “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obliged to perform it.’ 17 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that [i]sanctifies the gold? 18 And, ‘Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obliged to perform it.’ 19 Fools and blind! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20 Therefore he who [j]swears by the altar, swears by it and by all things on it. 21 He who swears by the temple, swears by it and by Him who [k]dwells in it. 22 And he who swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by Him who sits on it.
23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone. 24 Blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and [l]self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.
27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
29 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and [m]adorn the monuments of the righteous, 30 and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’
31 “Therefore you are witnesses against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers’ guilt.33 Serpents, brood[n] of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell? 34 Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.
Notice how He harshly rebuked them for putting their traditions before God’s word.
7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
Mark 7:7-8 (NKJV)
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men—[a]the washing of pitchers and cups, and many other such things you do.”
Remember this is not Jesus rebuking ‘sinners’ but those who claim to be believers!
To the many Americans who are afraid of losing their ‘freedoms’ and blaming it on sinners, let me remind you that Jesus was holding the religious accountable for their ‘SPIRITUAL DISTANCING’ (dedication to traditions and hypocrisy) as He predicted the destruction of Jerusalem.
Not the Romans…
Not the ‘sinners’ in the land…
But, the people ‘of faith’.
To the many Americans who are afraid of ‘socialism’ let me remind you that God, Yah, Adonai, our Elohim, held Israel accountable throughout the Old Testament for their ‘SPIRITUAL DISTANCING’ (spiritual adultery, compromise and assimilation) as His prophets predicted Israel and Judah loosing their nation and being taken away to Babylon.
Not the pagans…
Not the heathen…
Not the ‘sinners’ in the land…
But, HIS people.
2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV)
14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
So, let us all examine ourselves…our motives…our reactions…our passions…our devotions and ask ourselves are they in line with the word of God. When something makes us angry, is it Godly anger for Godly change, or is it the enemy trying to manipulate us through our flesh?
Let us make sure that we in the Body of Christ, aren’t SPIRITUAL DISTANCING, by following Him from a distance.
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