Mercies...that's PLURAL!

I mess up. Every single day I make mistakes. I'm sitting here thinking of the mistakes I've already made today and it's not even 2:00 in the afternoon.  

Here's my list so far:

  • Read something that made me angry and I had some very unkind thoughts
  • Had a phone conversation that bordered on gossip
  • Entertained some critical thoughts about another Christian
I'm sure there is more and I still have an entire afternoon and evening to get through. I'm a work in progress and I refuse to excuse my wrong choices. My goal is that I will learn to control my tongue and my thoughts so that I can fully honor God with every aspect of my being.  

I love the hymn Great is Thy Faithfulness and I found myself singing it this afternoon.  Morning by morning, new mercies I see... MERCIES! That's PLURAL! isn't that wonderful news? Imagine if we were each only allowed a finite number of mess ups. YIKES!- I'd be in trouble.  

I thank God for his unending mercies. I don't ever want to take this for granted and risk abusing this wonderful gift. I pray that as continually get better and rely less and less on the generous gift of mercy. 

If you messed up today, take a moment and repent and then thank our father for His mercy.  Tomorrow's a new day with a new supply!  

No More Religion

Mark 11 depicts a sequence of events regarding Jesus and the religious officials of the day. The chief priests, scribes and elders were once again following Jesus and questioning Him. They were getting anxious to catch Him doing something wrong and hoping they could arrest Him. Clearly, they were threatened by his influence.

In verse 28 they asked Him, "By what authority are you doing these things?"  

What 'things' they were speaking of. He had been traveling, teaching, and healing. They didn't question his teachings or find fault with them. Instead, they were upset by the way He carried himself, with an air of authority. What right did he have to teach in their temple? He didn't have a rank or title and yet, people were listening to Him. 

These were men that cherished their titles and all the perks that came with them. The chief priest was was born in the family of Levi and had an impeccable genealogy. It was an exclusive position that very few were qualified to attain.  

Jesus showed up and challenged the importance they placed on titles and positions. He refused to defer to their man-made rules and restrictions, especially those that were created through distorting the truth of the scripture.  

For example, they focused heavily on how people ought to behave on the Sabbath. Twice, Jesus went into the temple and and healed on the Sabbath.  He could have done that any of the other six days, but he chose to use this as an example. 

It's easy to trust in the rules and structure that religion offers. We can follow the steps laid out and have a false sense of security about our standing with God. "I attend church, give to the offering, say grace before I eat, and I have read the new testament. I'm OK."  

Jesus challenged us to look beyond the religious format and into the intent of the scripture. There is a much deeper meaning beyond the set of rules that people tend to ascribe to being a Christian.  

I encourage you today to DIG DEEPER, challenge your religious thinking, and seek the heart of Jesus.