Tag Archives: how does God see us

Miracles From Heaven Movie Showed You Can Lose Your Faith But Can You Lose Your Faith Really

Miracles From Heaven movie imageWe took three of our grandchildren, ages 11, 9, and 7 to the movie “Miracles From Heaven”. We all teared up over various parts of this heart-warming and true-life based film. God indeed can surprise us with miracles! It is worth seeing.

But, one of the points in the movie had to do with ‘losing your faith’ – to which I disagreed.

If we really know what faith is, then it is impossible to lose our faith.

In fact, if we understand what faith really is, then even in the most painful, confusing, disappointing, even devastating circumstances our faith remains solid.

What is false faith

Here are a few lies many believe about faith:

  • It is your faith – you must muster up faith to believe
  • If you do not have faith to believe in God, then you cannot be saved
  • Once you have faith you have to grow your faith
  • If you lose your faith God will be disappointed in you
  • If you lose your faith you could lose your salvation

What is true faith

To understand true faith you have to know its source and its meaning.

  • It comes from God. (Heb 12:2)
  • True faith is God’s faith. We have no faith on our own. (Rom 1:17)
  • He freely gives His faith – it is a gift. It has nothing to do with works. (Eph 2:8)
  • Faith literally means ‘persuasion, divine persuasion of the human heart’.

The true Gospel is about God’s faith in you. The Gospel is His full persuasion of what He believes to be true about you, even before time began. (2Tim 1:9,10)

The Gospel does not demand faith from you, it freely provides faith to you.

The point of faith is not what you believe about God, but what God believes about you.

Dig In

  • Religion said the mother had lost her faith, even the mother thought she had lost her faith. But in reality God remained fully persuaded about her. He never lost faith in her. And He knew how to woo her back to Himself.
  • What a relief it is – if we are faithless, He remains faithful because He cannot deny (contradict) Himself. (2Tim 2:13) When circumstances get overwhelming or confusing – remember to rest in His faithfulness to work it out – even in the midst of sorrow, grief, pain, loss.
  • Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Heb 11:1) Jesus is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. His faith brings certainty. His incarnate faith is rock solid. Don’t let religion tell you it is up to you.
Advertisements

How Good Is Your Good Friday? Is God Good On Good Friday?

(Note: taking a little side trip from my focus on grace, to explore Good Friday in this post.)

Why is Good Friday good?

Since Good Friday focuses on Jesus’ crucifixion and being marred beyond recognition, was God good that day?

After all, Jesus was smitten by God, and afflicted. (Is 53:4) In addition, Jesus said, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46)  More on this later.

Back to Good Friday.

Does God feel good about our Good Fridays?

If you recognize this day, does it make you feel good?

Have you ever realized how Religious Christianity uses Good Friday to heighten our guilt and condemnation?

Is this heaping on of guilt a part of how good God is?

I remember, years ago, participating in a Good Friday service where we had opportunity to literally hammer nails into a huge cross drug into the sanctuary. As we hammered away tears, sobs, remorse, guilt, condemnation freely flowed. There was a strange mixture of ‘what a wretch I am’ and thankfulness happening in ‘God’s house’ that evening.

Certainly nobody felt good that evening, with nail and hammer in hand. How about God? Did He feel good about that Good Friday and how it made us feel about ourselves? At the time, I would have poignantly responded, “Yes.”

Now I realize the true answer is a huge, “NO!”

Traditional Good Friday

Traditionally in the church system Good Friday is melancholy, sad, doleful, mournful, and introspective. The lights low, the cross draped in black, the message heavy, the music somber, and interaction minimal. It is time to be pensive, reflective, regretful.

Wonder if God is participating? In fact, I wonder if He thinks – “Here we go again. They still don’t get the good news.”

The truth of Good Friday

God did not smite Jesus, and afflict Him. The truth is, “we esteemed (considered, thought, reckoned) Him smitten by God…”. (Is 53:4 Emphasis mine) Do you see that? We thought that.

God did not forsake Jesus at the cross. Now, we think “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” means that God turned His back on Jesus because He could not look on sin. Once again our false understanding of who God really is. We overlook or are ignorant of these truths:

  • “Indeed the hours is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” (Jn 16:32)
  • “I and My Father are one.” (Jn 10:30)
  • God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them. (2Cor 5:19) This is huge – Jesus wasn’t the only one on the cross!

Why then did Jesus cry out “why have You forsaken Me”? Remember, even though Jesus was God, He was also fully human. In His humanness He felt all of humanity’s pain and confusion. His cry was the cry of humanity – “Where are You God, don’t You care?” Jesus was expressing our lie. He was voicing our misunderstanding. God was always with Jesus, even on the cross. Even as God is always with us, even when we think He isn’t.

The fullness of Good Friday

  • One died for all, therefore all died. (2Cor 5:14) Hey, that means, besides God the Father, we were also on the cross! Whoa!
  • By one man’s disobedience (Adam’s) many were made sinners, so by one Man’s obedience many made righteous. (Rom 5:19) Note – it’s the same ‘many’!
  • By the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift of the one Man, Jesus, abounded to many. (Rom 5:15) Note – it’s the same ‘many’!
  • We rejoice in God through Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation – right on the cross! (Rom 5:11)
  • Since God was in Jesus reconciling the world to Himself – God is pleading “be, reconciled”. (2Cor 5:20) In other words realize your redeemed true identity!
  • For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross. (Heb 12:2)

Stop wallowing in guilt and condemnation. There is no condemnation in Jesus. He didn’t come to judge the world, but to save it – make it whole. (Jn 3:17)

Turn up the lights. It’s time to shout and rejoice on Good Friday!

Rejoice Its Good Friday!


Dig In

  • Come into the revelation of the incredible joy that was happening on ‘Good Friday’. Discover certainty and fullness.
  • Throw off that sackcloth, wash off those ashes. Stop believing lies about who religion says you are.
  • Rejoice! Don’t wait for Resurrection Sunday. The joy started at the cross. God was very good on the true ‘Good Friday’ when He made you very good again. (Gn 1:27,31) Embrace the revelation of all this happy goodness!

God Was Not Angry With Saul of Tarsus, Nor Is God Angry At You Or The Taliban!

Has God ever been angry at you? Could He get angry at you if you do the wrong thing?

How about God being angry at the Taliban? Surely, He’s had it with the recently released “Taliban Dream Team”? Isn’t God ready to destroy them for all the mass killing they have done?Is God Angry?

Talking about destruction, are you ready to have your misperceptions about an angry God blown up? Some might say “Oh, yes!” Then there will be some who say, “No way! I know I am totally right in my world view of God. I know all my doctrines, traditions, teachings are totally accurate. Don’t you mess with my religious paradigms.” If your response is the latter, please stop reading.

Let’s see if Saul of Tarsus’ encounter with Jesus blows holes in our mindsets about an angry God.

Saul of Tarsus’ actions should anger God

  • destroyed, ravaged, harassed believers (the church)
  • exceedingly enraged against Christians
  • punished believers
  • murdered and agreed to killing many believers
  • compelled believers to blaspheme Christ’s name
  • persecuted the church, known as the Way
  • imprisoned men and women, and beat them
  • was extremely zealous for his traditions and God
  • believed he was obeying his God and doing the right thing

See any similarities when it comes to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, dedicated terrorists?

God’s Response

What was God’s response to Saul’s raging actions? Beat him up? Reject him? Doom him to hell? Have nothing to do with Saul until he repented his brains out?

For some reason, I had this picture that Saul got knocked off his donkey by that bright light, as he traveled to Damascus. Maybe it was from a cartoon or an illustration about this story? Anyway, with that image in my imagination, I read into this Damascus Road story a violent interruption by God.

To my surprise, there is no donkey mentioned in Paul’s account! It is just a brilliant light surrounding Saul, and he then falls to the ground. So much for an angry God!

Paul believed in an angry God

Now remember, Saul’s upbringing included doing many sacrifices to keep God happy. Hey, kind of like the heathens appeasing all their pagan deities with their sacrifices! Hmmm.

As far as Saul/Paul was concerned, he and God were on the same page. You blow it, you don’t follow the one true God, you pay. Hence, Saul’s ravaging anger and destruction.

But God had a good plan for Saul/Paul. God knew who he really was, what He had made in His image. And God knew the perfect timing to awaken Saul to His unconditional love for him and Paul’s true identity. No wonder Paul would later pen, “nothing can separate us from the love of God…!”

Misguided zeal

Paul gained greater clarity – “they have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge.” (Rom 10:2) My, what zeal Saul had for his ‘god’. Of course it was a vindictive zeal. Boy, was he off! God is not vindictive, and never has been.

Saul’s vindictive zeal came out of self righteousness! Saul of Tarsus had been totally ignorant of God’s righteousness, and was good at establishing his own. (Rom 10:3)  After all, he followed the letter of the law to the “T”.

What knowledge?

Now, what is this “knowledge” of which Paul speaks?

Knowledge in the face of Christ Jesus! (2Cor 4:6)

Hey, remember, that Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father…No one knows the Father except the Son…the Father and I are One…the Father who dwells in Me does the works themselves…the Father tells Me what I should say…If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also…”

Saul thought he knew God. But he didn’t because He didn’t know Jesus. It was only when Jesus showed up that Saul/Paul finally began to know the One true God.

Did Jesus ever pour out wrath on anyone while He walked this earth? Nope. Have you ever pondered how nonviolent Jesus was?

Somehow we forget that Jesus was showing us exactly who the Father God was. We still like to impose man’s misunderstanding and limited view of God in the Old Testament onto who Jesus displayed God to be.

God did speak in various times and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days He gave His final word about Himself, and us, through His Son. (Heb 1:1-3) We must look to Jesus, and Jesus only, to see who God really is!

No longer judge according to the flesh

If we truly understand Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”, then we would no longer judge anyone according to the flesh. Jesus said, I judge no one. (Jn 8:15) Paul said, in light of the reconciliation that happened at the cross, they too, no longer regard anyone according to the flesh. (2Cor 5:16)

God and Jesus were not angry with Saul. They did not judge Saul according to the flesh, nor do they judge anyone that way. Even so, God and Jesus are not angry at the Taliban. And God and Jesus are not angry at you either. In fact, the One true God is not angry at anybody!

Dig In

  • God knows how to arrest everyone’s attention to get them to see the truth about His love and acceptance. If He did that for Saul/Paul, wouldn’t He do it for the “Taliban Dream Team”? Wouldn’t He do it for everyone? After all, God is impartial.
  • God loved the world. And He still loves the world. If violent behavior is not beyond God’s love, then why would we think anything else would be either?
  • God is Love. Love bears all things – even our misunderstandings of Him. Love endures all things. Love never fails. Truly love won at the cross. There was no ‘God anger or wrath’ at the cross, only reconciliation. (2Cor 5:19) Any anger that you think was there is man’s own anger. We were ‘enemies’ (Greek – hostile) in our minds. (Col 1:21) Ditch the anger mindset about God – it is a lie.

Comfortable Stuck Empty or Resistant to Change – In Your Faith? Dream Says He Has So Much More!

Do you dream? Does God speak to you in your dreams?

Dreams are significant in the Bible and they can be significant in your life. Please know there are “God dreams”. Be open to Him speaking to you this way.

Often you will not understand the complete interpretation of a meaningful dream until weeks, months, or even years later.

Fuller understanding might come after other things happen in your life or the Lord has revealed other truths about Himself to you. Be patient. He knows when you need to have more clarity in a dream that seems important.

Remember – Jesus told His disciples, “I have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.” (Jn 16:12)

Sometimes we cannot ‘bear’ (Greek take up, carry) them because our mindset is so unchangeable that we couldn’t hear it if we even wanted to.

That is why it is so important to be like the ‘Bereans’  – they searched the scriptures to see if what they were hearing was so. They were not searching the scriptures to prove something new, fresh, different was NOT true. (Acts 17:11)

Today I share a dream that happened eight years ago, but the freshness of it is still as palpable as it was back then. What is more significant is seeing fuller  meaning in this dream even after eight years!

Click the video to hear the dream and see if you could be like me!

Dig In

  • We all have religious traditions and a world view through which we determine our understanding of life and God. Isn’t it sweet that God can use even dreams to expose and dismantle misguided or limited views.
  • Are you open to change? If not, ask the Lord why you aren’t. Are you too comfortable, too fearful, too set in your religious ways? Don’t forget – change is a principle in growth and maturity.
  • All true growth and maturity have to do with unity of the faith, knowledge of the Son of God, maturing to the stature of the fullness of Christ Jesus. (Eph 4:13) Now why wouldn’t we want to change and grow?! Revelation brings change that brings us into the ‘so much more’! Welcome revelation, welcome God dreams, welcome change! It’s part of fullness.

What Does It Mean God Prunes Us?

The previous post addressed the first half of John 15:2 to show that Jesus DOES NOT cut off those who abide in Him if they don’t bear fruit. He actually lifts them up!

Now to the second half of verse two –

“…and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” (NKJV)

Check out the Greek to better understand –

and – ‘kaí’ – also, moreover, even, indeed

everyone  – pás – each, every, each part(s) of a totality (note: ‘branch’ is not specifically listed in the Greek translation)

fruit‘karpos’ –  fruit, result, gain

bearing – phérō – properly, to bear, carry (bring) along, especially temporarily or to a definite prescribed conclusion

he prunes‘kathairó’ – I cleanse, purify, prune; make clean by purging (removing undesirable elements)

that hína’for the purpose that (in order that), looking to the aim (intended result)

more ‘pleión’ – greater, more, of higher value

fruit (‘karpos’)

it bear (‘pheró’)

A paraphrase in light of the Greek   –

…moreover for those in Him bearing fruit He will cleanse or purge of any undesirable elements so they can bear even more fruit of higher value.

Okay, looks like the Vinedresser, Father God, has to do occasional cleansing in order to get more fruit from us. How do you think He prunes, Does the Vinedresser Pruneif this is indeed what He does? Some might say:

  • expose more sin in our lives
  • get us to repent more of our sins
  • feel more sorry (grieve more) for our sins
  • make a deeper commitment to obey Him
  • follow His commandments better
  • wants us to do more things to try and abide

BUT

What do we do with Jesus’ next statement?!

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.” (Jn 15:3)

Yikes! Did Jesus just contradict Himself?!

First He told us the Father prunes (cleanses) every branch that bears fruit, but then He tells us you are already cleansed! Does this mean He does not really prune us since we are already clean?

How can the disciples be already clean? For goodness sake, Jesus hasn’t even gone to the cross yet! In fact they have not even asked Him to be their Lord and Savior!

Here’s something to note:

  • prune (verse 2) is ‘kathairó’, which comes from katharos.
  • katharos is the word for clean (verse 3)!  Selah

Back to verse three – let’s elaborate a little more on the Greek words –

alreadyḗdē (a temporal adverb) – already now, referring to what is not yet strictly present but already impacts the present

you

are – eimi – I am, exist

cleankatharos – clean, pure, unstained, either literally or ceremonially or spiritually; guiltless, innocent, upright. what is separated (purged), hence “clean” (pure) because unmixed (without undesirable elements); (figuratively) spiritually clean because purged (purified by God), i.e. free from the contaminating (soiling) influences of sin.

because of diá (a preposition) – on account of, by reason of, for the sake of

the

word –  lógos (from 3004 /légō, “speaking to a conclusion”) – word, speech, divine utterance, being the expression of a thought; lógos (“word”) is preeminently used of Christ (Jn 1:1), expressing the thoughts of the Father through the Spirit, God’s logic.

that hos – who, which, what, that

I have spoken  – laleó – I speak, say

to you

To very loosely paraphrase Jesus:

Already now – even though it has not happened in the strictest sense, but what will happen has already impacted the present (because it actually happened before the foundation of the world –i.e. the lamb was slain) – you are clean. Let me help you understand this ‘already now’ a little more – Disciples, it is like when I said to the woman at the well – “an hour is coming and now is”. Okay back to already – already you are like Me – ‘I am’, you exist as I am  – in other words you are a reflection of Me, you are a reflection of My image. Thus I say you are already clean. And this is true because of the word (which is actually Me, the final word) that declares you are clean, innocent, guiltless, and without mixture.

Now some of you might get bent out of shape with my loosely paraphrased verse 3 because of the implications. That being, some might consider it heretical because it sounds like you don’t have to ask Jesus to cleanse you, get forgiven, be “born again”, get saved, etc.

Perhaps it is good to let this simmer (please don’t let it boil over) ;-), before we find out (in the next post) –

what was the word that Jesus had spoken to them – that already made them clean?

Dig In

  • What do you think it means to be pruned by God? Do you see it as hurting? Does it make you a little afraid of God, if that is what you think He does? Please know, He never ever wants to hurt us or make us afraid of Him.
  • Have you ever thought that Jesus would contradict Himself? If you did, have you ever considered how often we just might misunderstand what He is really saying because our religious filters contort who He really is?
  • Have you ever thought your understanding of His unconditional love and the cross might be too small? Have you ever considered that traditional western Christianity is what makes Him so small?! So to even consider that we might already be clean is just too far out there.

If Church Is Not A Building Where Is It

Our identification as a Christian is not determined and expressed by where we go to church but ‘where’ is important. ‘What?! I thought you just explained in the previous post that where you go does not define the church.’ True, but there is another where that is critical in regards to expressing the church.

This where has to do with being ‘in’ Christ Jesus and He ‘in’ us. This miraculous location determines the formation and the life of the church. A denomination, a building, doctrines, rituals will never make the church the church. Obviously many ‘go to church’ who have Christ within them. That’s great. I am just trying to enlarge our understanding of what is church. If we are in Christ Jesus, having believed on Him and received Him, then we are His church, His temple, His building, His body, His children, His household, His family, and His bride. Wow, that is a lot of identification, significance, and purpose! What a calling! What a divine plan!

Let’s zero in on the word ‘church’. There are about one hundred fourteen references in the New Testament that use the word ‘church’. For those who don’t know this, the Greek meaning of the word ‘church’ in scriptures is ekklesia – from ek – out of, and klesis – a calling (kaleo –to call) – hence, the called-out (ones). The Greeks used the word ekklesia to describe a body of citizens gathered to discuss the affairs of State. It was an assembly called out by designated officers possessing political power and governing functions. The Greek ekklesia had no resemblance to the church ekklesia in New Testament times. The only similarities would be the dynamic of called out to gather, but the church gathered under the Headship of Jesus Christ only. (Col. 1:18)

The Christian ekklesia seen throughout the New Testament and beyond is composed of people who, by grace, believe in and receive Christ Jesus as their Savior and acknowledge Him as the one True God who expresses the fullness of Deity . (Col. 2:9) Amazingly, and unique from any other religion, this God lives in those who believe in Him. And they live in Him.

His ekklesia, composed of born again believers, is always referred to in scripture as the church or the churches. ‘The’, a definite article which refers to something specific or particular, is important to realize in our understanding of church. By our referring only to ‘church’ it feels like we have impersonalized and dehumanized the meaning of church, thereby basically seeing it in the confines of a man made building. However, the church is an organic living being composed of living stones. (1Peter 2:4,5)  We are His building, His house. (1Corinthians 3:9   Hebrews 3:6) We are the church!

This reminds me of a dream I had on December 31, 2006. In the dream I saw a big edifice which actually looked kind of like this church building I happened to see in the news a few days later after the dream. Washington National Cathedral Scott Martin Photography 2010As I looked at the huge structure in the dream, all of a sudden  I had an open vision! I saw in the spiritual realm a supposed building to the left of the edifice, about one fifth the height of the edifice. But this small ‘building’ was alive! It was pulsating with life and translucent colors were emanating from it. I was shocked to see this little living spiritual building! Then I began yelling at the top of my lungs (I have no idea to whom) – “Can’t you see it! Can’t you see it! Can’t you see it!” After these three shouts I awoke alarmed at what I had seen and the intensity of my expression. At the time I didn’t understand what He was fully showing me other than the sense that I knew the smaller building represented His church – and obviously it was outside of ‘brick and mortar’. Now over the last few years I am grasping more clearly the organic life of His church. She is meant to pulse with life and interaction of all her members.

The small size of this spiritual building was significant. It speaks of Jesus’ humility and importance of the least. We are prone to be impressed with big size and large numbers. In fact, attendance numbers and size of offerings are often used as signs of God’s blessing and approval. It may not indicate that at all, but may be an indication of how successful man can be through his own ideas, efforts, and zeal.

Paul gives a great explanation in 1Corinthians 12 of how God’s house of living stones, also called His body, shows its fullness of life. Perhaps this passage would be a better measure of the vibrancy of the church as He intends. Paul explains the body is one, yet has many members. The body is not one member, but many. (vs. 12,14) He illustrates that if the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not part of the body”, or the ear says, “Because I am not an eye I am not part of the body”, that does not make them less a part of the body. Nor can the eye say to the hand I have no need of you. (vs. 15,16,21) Paul then explains that God composes the body as He desires and designed it that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. (v.18,22) He goes on to say, “those members of the body which we deem less honorable, on these we are to bestow more abundant honor, and our less presentable members become much more presentable, whereas our more presentable members have no need of it.” (v.23,24 NAS) Please re-read those last two verses.

Now here is the kicker. Why did God want this seemingly upside down kind of honoring?

“God so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.” (vs.24,25 NAS) Wow!

Would the question then arise, if there are divisions in the body, who composed that body? Does not even the distinction of clergy and laity create division? Then, who composed that body? Doesn’t it seem to be the norm that more abundant honor and recognition is  given to the presentable members, particularly those in charge? Have we lost the fullness of Him in His church because we really don’t have the same care for one another, nor do we give greater honor to those that seem to us to be less necessary?

‘Where’ is the church, really? Do we really know how God sees His church and wants it to be? Is there more fullness to the church than what we have experienced?

Dig In

  • Do you know ‘where’ you are? You may go to church somewhere but being in Him and He in you is the fullness He made available for all of us. Then we get to experience that fullness in and from each other!
  • Begin to grasp the incredible significance that you were made for. Don’t let how the world defines significance determine your life and purpose. The significance He has for you is out of this world, yet is to impact this world!
  • If you have not experienced honor in the body of Christ and it seems that only a few get the honor, then realize you are not seeing the true fullness of His body. He has more for you and His whole body! Each member of His body, each living stone, is paramount to the full visible expression of Jesus on earth.

Simon the Pharisee Who Invited Who

We looked at the awkwardness of the Woman Washing Jesus’ Feet Part 1  and why she was compelled to do that in Part 2 . Now what about Simon the Pharisee whose house an immoral woman invaded? The story (Luke 7:36-50) about him, this woman, and Jesus is brimming with fullness and potential fullness. That ‘potential’ was there for Simon!

Simon had invited Fullness (Jesus) over for dinner. Then add to that, another ”full’ person had come into his house. Talk about opportunity to dig in and indulge! But Simon the Pharisee didn’t and couldn’t. Why?

Pharisees of that day were committed to following all the laws and traditions in order to show God (and others – get that?!) how much they ‘loved’ Him. Sadly the Pharisees had no idea how far removed they were from knowing God and His love. Come to think of it, maybe they weren’t so much about the ‘love’ thing but more about dutiful ‘obedience’. At least that can be measured – like checking off a list – so success seems more likely.

God is not anti Pharisee the person, He is anti religion – with all its structures, hierarchy, rules, requirements, obligations, agendas, good works, performance, and guilt-laden expectations. These kind of things, and our effort that they demand, cannot find or please God. (Been there, done that!)  None of these can ever reveal God’s love, earn His love, or enable a relationship with Him. How quickly we forget or don’t even know He chooses us, we don’t choose Him (John 15:16). And He doesn’t choose us because we are good or try to be good. In fact, Jesus was known as the friend of sinners. God is the great initiator, the great pursuer. Gosh, God so loved the world! That sounds like everybody to me, even those who try really hard to do it right and think they are right. That is why a Pharisee type person has a harder time grasping His unconditional love.

Since Simon was all about duty, performance, and appearance, that made him very good at judging and judging rashly. This painting by Rueben aptly portrays Simon’s intense self-righteous and judgmental posture. Can you pick him out of the crowd?Feast In The House of Simon the Pharisee

Feast In The House of Simon by Pieter Paul Reubens 1618-1620

Simon who thought he was in the light was actually the one ‘in the dark’ at this meal. The artist Reuben portrays him as such and the immoral woman who used to be in the dark is now the one in the light and near the Light. Simon was so sure she was the prostitute  of the city (Lk 7:37,39), but when she came into his house that is not who she was! (See previous post.) His small religious heart, blinded by his dutiful works, kept him from seeing clearly and sensitively.

It is sure easy to be like a Pharisee and only look at the present outward actions or looks and not consider seeing deeper. How easy it is to forget this truth – “Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” (1Sam 16:7).

Dig In

  • Let’s not be dutiful in our relationship with God – it’s bondage. Take inventory – are there some things we do or we think we should do that actually keep us from really knowing God and His magnanimous love? Get free from them!
  • We might invite Jesus to a nice ‘meal’ – a situation or happening. But then it unfolds into something really messy. Perhaps God has turned the table and invited us to potential fullness. We then have the choice to indulge and grow or be critical and stay small.
  • We can rest assured God looks on our heart. He’s not into appearances. So relax, rest, and enjoy this unconditional love and acceptance found only in the light of God’s Son, Jesus. And may we too become those who look on the heart, not outward appearances.