April 2, 2010

Filthy Rags

Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.

You come to the help of those who gladly do right,
who remember your ways.
But when we continued to sin against them,
you were angry.
How then can we be saved?

All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

No one calls on your name
or strives to lay hold of you;
for you have hidden your face from us
and made us waste away because of our sins.

Yet, O LORD, you are our Father.
We are the clay, you are the potter;
we are all the work of your hand.

Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD;
do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look upon us, we pray,
for we are all your people.

Isaiah 64:4-9


Who are we to think that we can stand before a Holy God? Who are we to think that anything we do, any work we accomplish is good in the eyes of God? Not one of us "is good" or "does good" in the sight of God.

A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good—except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother."

"All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said.

When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."

When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?"

Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."

Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!"

"I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

Luke 18:18-30

Though we may think that we are living in a godly and upright way, all that we do, "all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags". (Isaiah 63:6) There is nothing in life that we can do which makes us righteous before God. We are sinful creatures and no matter how hard we attempt to live an honest, moral life, we will always fail.


We all are unclean and filthy from our sin and cannot stand in the presence of God on our own. Because God loved us so incredibly much, He sent His only Son Jesus to die in our place so that our sins would be forgiven. The blood of Christ covers us and we are made clean.


Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:
"Blessed are they
whose transgressions are forgiven,
whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the man
whose sin the Lord will never count against him."

Romans 4:4-8


It is only because of the blood of Christ that our feeble attempts at being righteous become enough. Nothing that we do makes us presentable before God but because of the blood of Christ, our sins are forgiven, and we are clean, pure, and blameless before Him.


"Doing the right thing" will never be enough before God. Though we are not holy, we are called to live a holy life that is pleasing to God (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
and only because of the blood of Christ and His work, His death on the cross are we presentable before God.


We are finite in our thinking. We read the Bible and think that what we interpret it to say is what it is and if others do not follow or believe exactly as we do then they must be lost or completely wrong in their thinking. This was my thinking for many years. I thought I had a clear understanding of all God wanted from me and knew exactly what He wanted me to do. At times I chose to listen to those around me for direction because I thought they knew just like I did about what God wanted for me but God has shown me differently. I have spent years making decisions based on what other people would think about me, not wanting to disappoint or look bad but over the past year God has clearly shown me that my choices should only matter to Him. I've learned that only God knows my heart, He knows every tear I have cried, every struggle I have had to endure, every circumstance in my life making only Him capable of telling me which way it is I am to go.


Through the commotion of "the crowd" around me wanting to give advice, I am reminded that they too, just like me are sinful and filthy before God. I cannot trust every word that comes from the mouth of another because they are not God and do not know every detail that has taken place within the circumstances that surround me. There is only one voice above the chatter of the crowd saying to me…..


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight."

Proverbs 3:5-6


"For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, they are plans to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11


"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:6-7


I have realized that the place I have found myself recently is because of choices I have made over many years. I believe God's hand has been on me but that He allowed me to choose my own way. Many times the choices I made were wrong and have led me down a winding path where I have ended up lost, confused, and not sure which way to go. There are many voices calling out trying to get me to do what they think is best and sometimes those voices only lead me deeper into confusion. Scripture tells me that in order for my path to be straight, I must acknowledge God and trust Him will all of my heart. He alone knows the plans that He has for my life and though I may have detoured from the original path that He set before me, by choosing to listen to Him and trusting His ways now, He will not harm me and will give me hope and a future. Knowing those things, I have no reason to be anxious about all the decisions that are surrounding me at this time in my life.


With each step I take, I know that as I present every need and request to God, His peace will fill my life in a way that only I and no one else will understand. He will guard my heart and my mind because He is God, He does love me, and He knows my every need, my every hurt, my every tear, my every circumstance.


9 comments:

  1. I know that you will not approve this comment to be posted on your blog because you are not of the mental capacity to understand that what I say is true. You are preaching the word of the Lord when you should not be. You are teaching your children not to lie when you lie at the drop of a hat. Most of your blogs lately have been filled with lies. I also feel that it is funny that you are "teaching" your children about lying when you are going to have your 6 year old lie about his father in court. I have sat back and said nothing, but I would not want to be you the day you stand before your Maker and explain to Him how you have ruined your family's life as well as the lives of other families; and how you have distorted His word for your benefit. I will pray that God helps you to see that you need mental help.

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  2. Thank you for your comment and because I track my blog I know who sent it. You cannot hide behind anonymity in this day and age.

    We are praying for you as well.

    God bless.

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  3. Well, Anonymous… Do you mind if I call you Annie? ‘Cause I’m gonna. Annie, here’s what I like to do before I get on my soapbox and start to judge others. I like to gather all the facts. I like to find out what’s been said on both sides of the story. Because, as we all know, there are two sides to any story involving two people. After that, then I feel better about being judgmental and pointing a finger. Oh, but wait, there’s that thing where it’s not biblical to judge others. In case you aren’t familiar with it, I’m referring to a section in Matthew that’s commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount. Specifically, I’d like you to consider chapter 7…

    “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

    “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”

    You know what I like about that passage, Annie? It’s saying that no one is perfect and we’re all guilty of something. We’ve all fallen short. We all get crap in our eyes from time to time. What we’re not supposed to do is deal so much with the crap in everyone else’s eyes and deal with the crap in our own. When we set out to judge others, we set ourselves up as God. And I know, I’m just as guilty of it as anyone else. I don’t want you to sit there and think that I’m judging you Annie. I’m not. Everyone screws up. We all make mistakes. God still loves us anyway. Another key passage, if you don’t mind my pointing it out, is found in John 8…

    “When they kept on questioning him he straightened up and said to them, ‘If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.’ Again he stopped down and wrote on the ground.

    “At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’

    “’No one, sir,’ she said.

    “’Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.’”

    The one person who had every right in the universe to judge a sinful woman, Jesus, chose instead to show her mercy and love. And no one every declared that she was not guilty of sin. In fact, the way I see it, she owned up to it. Yes, she was ashamed of it, but she was prepared to face the consequence of her sin. But the Pharisees? They walked away in their shame, none of them willing to acknowledge the sin in their own lives.

    When a fellow Christ-follower stumbles, is it our place to kick them while they’re down? Is that what we’re really called to do as a church? No, we’re called to come along side them and love them, just as God loves them. Jesus came to love the unlovable. And Annie, that’s all I’m asking any of us to do. Remember that we are all covered by the grace of God through Jesus Christ and his sacrifice on the cross. Before we begin condemning one another of wrong doing, remember that Christ was merciful enough to not hold our sins against us. God, and God alone has the right to judge each one of us. And God, above all, knows every fact and is able to judge rightly and justly. That’s something that none of us in our finite and minute human wisdom is able to do. I hope we can all remember that when we stoop down to pick up our stones, Annie.

    Please know that I am praying. For everyone involved in this sad situation. Not just one side or the other. Both sides need prayer. Because there are two sides to this story.

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  4. now that i think about it, her favorite pastime when we were kids was LYING in front of the tv while eating cocoa puffs ...

    cause, you know, she was koo koo for them

    wacka wacka wacka

    j "i'm here all week" h

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  5. It breaks my heart that hurtful words have to be written when we all know that there's been hurt on both sides. As family members, we should be lifting them up in prayer and asking God to be in control and asking for His direction, not casting blame. As Aaron said, there were mistakes made by both parties. What a shame. They had such a wonderful family and to see our Grandkids hurt not only by the situation but by other family members who choose to belittle their Mommy, believe me, they'll never forget. We have chosen to encourage them to love their Daddy because we know he and their Mommy love them so much. We love their Daddy too, and we know he knows this. We're praying for peace now for everyone.

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  6. WOW! Can I just say that I would NOT want to be the person who left that first comment someday. Truly whoever you are, hope you're not a professing to be a Christian because man, you've got it all wrong.

    Came across the blog because I'm really searching right now. God used your sharing to really speak to me. Whoever that person was who left such an evil comment, totally disregard. I don't think they would know truth if it hit them between the eyes.

    Keep sharing :-)
    Tabitha

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  7. I agree Tabby! I read that comment the other day and the more I thought about it the more respect I have for the author of this blog. Not only did she post it but she didn't lash out. Speaks volumes to her character.

    Julia

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  8. I'm not so sure about family questioning your blog as to some of your fellow church members at NRBC and Faith and actually everyone questioning your rants.

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  9. "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

    Galatians 1:10

    Nothing I write is for the approval of other people. It is to simply share my heart and how God is getting me through to hopefully help others who are hurting. True friends and family seek out truth as for all the others who have turned their back, I'm praying.

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