Colossians 2:8 Don’t Be Deceived

 

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See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

Deception is something that is very common in this world. A person cannot go anywhere or listen to anything without hearing some deception.

Advertisements abound stating that one needs to have a given item, that if one does not have it, he is missing out on something. Nearly one-hundred percent of those items a person can live without and still have a great life. People are being deceived.

The world thinks that they know what is best for a person and so they come up with philosophies that will make that happen. Sin can be made to look good and God’s word, many times, has been made to look bad. Often the bible is looked at as an outdated piece of material that should not be followed or believed in.

Believers are made out to be haters because they speak out against sinful lifestyles and beliefs. They are made out to be cruel when they speak out saying that there is only one way to God.

Some of this deception has crept into the church. Believers have been taken captive into believing the ways of this world. There are believers and entire churches that have been deceived into believing and preaching that certain sins are acceptable to God. That a person can live in sin and still be a believer in Jesus. That a person can believe in Jesus, while believing in other false gods, such as Allah or Buddha. These are false and hollow philosophies of this world.

Every believer needs to get his philosophy in this life from God and His word. He has to keep his spiritual eyes on God, so that he is not deceived into believing the lies of this world.

Keep yourself in God’s word and open to hearing His Holy Spirit guide you. As you focus on God and His word, you will not be taken captive into believing the false teachings of this world. You will be able to see through the lies and deception of this world.

Rely upon the teachings of God in His word for your world-view and philosophy. God’s word is true and not hollow. It is what is best for you and the rest of this world.

I pray today that you will know God’s word for your life; that you will hear God’s Spirit speaking and guiding you; that God will open your eyes to the deceptions of this world; and that you will rely on God’s word for guidance in how to live. 

Mark 7:8 Traditions VS God’s Way

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You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. Mark 7:8

Some Pharisees and teachers of the law were upset that the disciples were eating without washing their hands first. They questioned Jesus about the disciples actions. He pointed out that they were being hypocrites because they were holding on man-made traditions rather than following God’s commands.

Traditions are something that help keep in mind something that has occurred in the past. It brings back memory of something worth remembering.

There are many different traditions celebrated by people all over the world. The general tradition of celebrating birthdays is common all over the world. The method of celebrating a birthday is different everywhere, even in one’s own town.

Some people celebrate with just a little cake and ice cream and immediate family only. Others celebrate with lots of friends at home. Some give many presents to the birthday person, while others celebrate by the birthday person giving gifts out. Some will go out to have a party somewhere else, while some just have a quiet party at home.  Each is different.

Traditions are not bad as long as they do not get in the way of God’s commands and desires.

Churches also have many different types of traditions. None are bad as long as they do not get in the way of God’s desires.

God wants His people to love and worship Him and to love and serve each other. Every believer is expected to reach out and love the lost, drawing them towards Jesus.

Often churches come up with traditions making it difficult for a person to come to know the love of Jesus. People are shunned if they do not dress a certain way on Sunday mornings. People are looked down upon if they do not worship in a certain way.

Although the traditions held may be good, they can cause problems if they ignore God’s commands or block His commands. If they hold tightly to a certain “church” rule so that a person does not want to be there, then it is a bad tradition to hold on to.

Think about the traditions that you hold on to. Do they point people to God? Or do they push people away from God?

Do they show God’s love? Or just man’s traditions?

Strive to live according to God’s rule of love.

I pray today that you will know God’s commands for your life; that you will not hold traditions over God’s commands; that you will know God’s love for you and others; and that you will show God’s love to everyone.

I Say Merry Christmas

During the Christmas season there are different views on what to say. There are some that want to say “Happy Holidays”, while others still say the age-old tradition of “Merry Christmas”.

Several years ago it become a very large debate in communities across America as to what someone should say. There were groups of people who took major offense to the statement of Merry Christmas. Several attempted to sue various companies for allowing it to be said in the workplace. Many felt that it was imposing Christian views on people who did not believe in Jesus.

During that time frame, it was all over the news about what to say. Various companies then changed their signs to say Happy Holidays. Greeters in the stores changed the words to match also.

While this was occurring, many Christians rose up to defend the right to say Merry Christmas. One of the things that was started was a campaign to say, “I say Merry Christmas.” All over the nation groups began to make this statement. Each year since there are groups that bring this back up. Buttons, shirts, posters, and many other things are made to make the statement that “I say Merry Christmas.”

At first I agreed with this method and thought it was a good thing. Since then I have really thought about what was being said and done in making that statement.

Making this statement is like putting up your fists and asking for a fight. It is basically saying “I dare you to stop me from saying this!” It is saying that you are going to say something and don’t really care what anyone thinks about it, and that you dare anyone to think differently.

While a believer must be concerned first with what God says and wants him to say, there is a point of how it is said. No where in the Bible does God command His people to say “Merry Christmas.” In fact, the concept of Christmas is not found in the Bible directly. It is man’s way of celebrating the birth of Jesus.

The writer of Hebrews states that every believer is strive to be at peace with every person. As a believer you are also to love even your enemies.

Instead of putting up your fists in a fight against the world, show them love. Just say “Merry Christmas.” Do not make a big deal out of it. Just saying it will show people that you believe in saying it. They may or may not make the connection of it with Jesus, but that is not your problem. That is their problem between them and God.

As you say the phrase, also allow others to say “Happy Holidays.” In itself, there is nothing wrong with that phrase either. It is also a true statement. During the months of November, December and January, there are three holidays celebrated: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. ‘Happy Holidays’ actually looks at all three. It is giving the individual the blessing of happiness in all three, not just one.

Forcing someone to say a certain phrase does not bring them to Jesus in any way. It will most likely push them away. Do not get caught up in man’s traditions and forget about God and Jesus and their ways of doing things. Do not get caught up in a fight that Jesus never set up.

Focus on being His witness in this world and showing the love of Jesus to everyone you meet.

And, by the way, Merry Christmas!

Luke 19:47-48 Hanging Onto His Words

“Every day he was teaching at the temple. But the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the leaders among the people were trying to kill him. Yet they could not find any way to do it, because all the people hung on his words.” Luke 19:47-48

Jesus had been teaching every day, everywhere He went. His teaching was not to just please everyone. The leaders of the people and the leaders in the temple did not like Jesus. His teachings tore apart their traditions and exposed their falsehood. They wanted to get rid of Him, but were unable to do so.

The teachings of Jesus, to this day, will still make some people upset. He taught that a sinful lifestyle will send a person to hell. Now, leaders are trying to say that it is a hate crime to speak out against a sinful lifestyle. It does not matter that a person may speak it in love for the person, it is still against the way of the world.

Many people want to get rid of Christianity. It makes them uncomfortable. It goes against their traditions and ways.

In this passage, the leaders could not get rid of Jesus because all of the people hung on to His words. They had believed Jesus and followed Him.

Today people will try to quiet Christians down and get rid of Jesus. Every believer must be willing to hold on to His words. You must proclaim the words of Jesus boldly and without fear.

As you speak the teachings of Jesus to others, you keep His words alive in this world. You spread His words and more people will believe in Him.

Satan and the world cannot get rid of Jesus when more and more people are following Him. Do not let the world scare you and force you to be quiet. Do not let the world get rid of Jesus. He is the way, the truth and the life and the world needs to know it.

Hang on to the words of Jesus. Hide them in your heart…memorize them. Study them. Know them. Do not move away from them. This will keep Jesus alive in your life and in this world.

I pray today that you will hold on to the words of Jesus; that God will fill you with His boldness to proclaim His words; that God will remove all fear in your life; and that Jesus will be more real to you each day.

Mark 7:6 Where Is Your Heart?

“He replied, Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6

The disciples were eating some food with unwashed hands. The Pharisees, then, complained to Jesus about the disciples eating with unwashed hands. This was breaking a tradition of a ceremony they would go through on a regular basis.

Jesus then quotes Isaiah 29:13, in stating that they honor with lips only and not with the heart. He calls them hypocrites. A hypocrite is a person who says one thing, but does something entirely different.

The Pharisees would honor God with their lips. They would say all the prayers, teach the Law, and sing the praises of God. At the same time, however, they would also cut a person down who did not follow all of their man-made rules. No where did the Law talk about washing hands before eating. Man came up with this rule. Their hearts were far from God.

Even today, hearts can be far away from God. In the church, many people get wrapped up in making sure the service is done correctly: opening ceremonies, three songs (and only hymns), offering, the sermon, prayer, and go home. Others get wrapped up in the color of the carpet, or type of pews. If anything is done outside of this, watch out.

Along with these petty issues, many also have the problem that during the service their mind is on other things. How many times is a person thinking about lunch or after the service while the sermon is being preached? Or while singing a worship song, they are looking at another person, thinking about how they are dressed or something they did? Or they are thinking about work?

In each of these, the outside actions are the same, but the heart is not in it for God. God is almost an afterthought. This is what Jesus calls a hypocrite.

Where is your heart today? Are your thoughts focused on God? When you are in a service, are worshipping God from the heart? Or are you just going through the motions?

Keep your heart, actions and focus on God at all times. Do not follow man’s traditions and forget about God.

I pray today that God will show you where you do not honor Him; that you will keep your focus on Jesus at all times; that you do everything you do with a heart for God and people; that God will help you to not just go through the motions; and that God will use you to build His kingdom.