Today’s Worship Walk: Matthew 19:16-24

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Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ ‘Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied, there is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’ ‘Which ones?’ he inquired. Jesus replied, ‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony,  honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.”

Matthew 19:16-24

I heard a teaching on this passage the other day. I always wonder what led the man to ask Jesus about gaining eternal life. Was he feeling restless or empty? Or maybe fearful about his salvation?

Scripture doesn’t tell us. But his reaction to the answer Jesus gave gives us a glimpse of his character. The recent message I heard focused on the fact that this man was trying to earn his way into heaven. Other times I’ve heard this account used as a caution against holding onto our stuff too tightly.

Both of those approaches ring true for me. Honestly, I can imagine myself having some trouble following Jesus’ instructions if I were him – they sounded very radical in their day. My thoughts might have run something like, “I’ve been wondering about my life and if I’ll end up in heaven. And this Jesus seems to know all about God. But giving up everything? Just giving my stuff away? Then I wouldn’t have anything left for me!” 

If I, or that man, looked at the situation that way, of course we’d be sad. We’d also be wrong. So many times in Scripture we are called to give to others from our own supply, but not because God wants us to live in misery. He uses us to show His love to the world. And here’s the amazing thing: as we give away, God refills our stores and blesses us. Those empty, restless feelings ease and fear is replaced with joy.

We don’t know if the rich man had a change of heart at some point and started sharing his wealth. I hope he did, because then he would’ve gotten to experience the wonderful exchange that God promises those that are generous. Thankfully, God is patient to teach me this lesson, too.

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

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Christian Quotes: John Chrysostom

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“Since it is likely that, being men, they would sin every day, St. Paul consoles his hearers by saying ‘renew yourselves’ from day to day. This is what we do with houses: we keep constantly repairing them as they wear old. You should do the same thing to yourself. Have you sinned today? Have you made your soul old? Do not despair, do not despond, but renew your soul by repentance, and tears, and Confession, and by doing good things. And never cease doing this.”

John Chrysostom

 

You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds…”

Ephesians 4:22-23

 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

2 Corinthians 4:16

Christian Quotes: A.J. Jacobs

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“Unconditional love is an illogical notion, but such a great and powerful one.”

 A.J. Jacobs

 

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.”

Jeremiah 31:3

Christian Quotes: Billy Graham

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“We are the Bibles the world is reading; we are the creeds the world is needing; we are the sermons the world is heeding.”

Billy Graham

“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”

1 Peter 2:12

 

Today’s Worship Walk: Romans 12:1

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“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Romans 12:1

As I was watching an online worship service this past Sunday morning, I was having trouble settling into it. My mind was distracted, and I didn’t feel like singing along with the worship team. It actually took until the middle of the second song for me to engage.

I felt a little guilty but then an amusing, and also true, thought occurred to me. Most mornings I have muscle stiffness in my body, and I realized that sometimes my worship “muscles” start out that way, too.

The cure for both is similar, I think: taking time right at the beginning of my day to warm up. For my physical muscles, yoga and other stretches will do the trick. But for my spirit, I need to turn my attention to God and spend some time with Him. 

Expressing my gratitude and love first thing is like rekindling a flame that starts to warm my heart. Then I can move on to lifting up praises and requests. Pretty soon, I’m “limbered up” for the day, ready to move and embrace being that living sacrifice that God desires.

Click here for more info about Heather and Worship Walk Ministries.

 

Christian Quotes: Elizabeth Hawn

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“Mothering is the gospel lived out as you hold your child’s heart in beauty, prayer and patience. It’s not the big decision, but the little ones, trusting God through it all.”

Elizabeth Hawn

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Happy Mother’s Day! 

I am so grateful to the women in my life, starting with my own mom, who have taught me what it means to love selflessly. You have all helped equip me for this most important work, and I’ve been blessed by your examples.

Christian Quotes: Chuck Swindoll

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We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.”

Chuck Swindoll

 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9

Christian Quotes: Reverend Billy Graham

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“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’”  

Billy Graham

 

Answer me, Lord, out of the goodness of your love;
    in your great mercy turn to me.
 Do not hide your face from your servant;
    answer me quickly, for I am in trouble.
Come near and rescue me…”

Psalm 69:16-18