Bible Readers

With Pastor Dave Roussel

Tag: Psalms 20

Getting “God Points?”

January 20 – Today’s Readings – Matthew 5-6 and Psalms 20

I would like to leave you with a simple thought today; “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20)

When Jesus was in His ministry years the Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes were outwardly very righteous and disciplined people! Their “righteousness” – (that is their religious discipline) – probably put ours to shame at times. In the same way, a devout Muslim or Hindu’s “outwardly righteous” disciplines may also seem over-the-top. A Buddhist monk or a devout follower of Krishna may be extremely acsetic and disciplined in his religious ways.

In this passage, Jesus seems at first to be instituting some of the same extreme religious rules when he begins speaking about “plucking out our eyes” and “cutting off our hands” – the body parts that were causing sin!

Here then is the great mystery of our faith! This is why we call ourselves Christians! This is why we can be called “holy” and “saints”. It’s not because of all the great acts of righteousness that we accumulate to earn us “God points”. It really is about Christ living in us. This is the hope of glory. Unless the Lord builds my spiritual house, I build it in vain – unless I become as a little child and allow him to lead me by the hand, I will surely lose my way.

The truth is that our righteousness has already exceeded the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees because we didn’t come to God based on our own righteousness but on the righteousness of Christ. He became the righteousness of God in us when we came to Him with child-like faith. Let us be careful then of not using Matthew 5 and 6 to judge people as “ungodly” because of some issue in their life. Jesus “raised the bar” concerning all sin issues when He declared it was impossible for you and I to be righteous by doing religious things. This is why He could say to those who wanted to stone the woman caught in adultery, (John 8:7) “If any of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her”. Staying soft and pliable in the hands of God is not an optional thing in our lives – it is the very essence of our salvation – our righteousness. God bless you this day – stay soft!

Questions:

1. If we’re not all about earning “God Points”, then why should we put the effort into basic spiritual disciplines like reading our Bibles, praying or attending Church?

2. What was Jesus really referring to when He spoke about “plucking out our eyes” or “cutting off our hands”?

He Is Sending You

July 20 – Today’s Readings – Isaiah 61-63 and Psalms 20

As I was reading Chapter 61, I began to personalize it, reading as if I (AND YOU) were the people the passage was referring to.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on (YOU), because the LORD has anointed (YOU) to preach good news to the poor. He has sent (YOU) to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

Isaiah 61:2 (HE IS SENDING YOU) to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

Isaiah 61:3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion — (HE IS SENDING YOU) to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor. (BECAUSE YOU INVESTED IN THEM)

Isaiah 61:4 They (YOU) will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they (YOU) will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.

Isaiah 61:5 Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.

Isaiah 61:6 And you (YES YOU) will be called priests of the LORD, YOU will be named ministers of our God. YOU will feed on the wealth of nations, and in their riches you will boast.

Isaiah 61:7 Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, (THIS INCLUDES YOU) and instead of disgrace they (YOU) will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they (YOU) will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs (YOURS).

WOW! – Does this not give you a sense of purpose and direction? Does it not make you feel as though there is a big job to be done and you have a part to play? Does it not lend meaning to your existence on this planet? Does it not do wonders for your self-worth? Does it not send you scurrying to your prayer closet, asking for the strength to follow and accomplish The Father’s will?

There is nothing like spending your life accomplishing the plan of God. It is what we were meant to do – what we were created for.

Question:

1. What does the Scripture mean when it say says you have been sent “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair”?

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