And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with the file hands?
And he said to them, Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, this people honors me with their lips, but there’re heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines and the commandments of men. You leave the Commandments of God and hold the tradition of men. Mark 7. 5 – 8
Jesus these are strong words. What could be more tragic than to hear you say, you talk about me a whole lot, using plenty of spiritual language and biblical quotes. You are quick to recognize and correct faults teaching. You’re even zealous to apply what you know to others. But your heart is very far from me?
It would be one thing you’re such a review came to us because we were acting like Mosaic Pharisees and scribes – distorting and misapplying Old Testament law; putting people under the yoke of performance–based spirituality; replacing your Commandments with our traditions. But it is an altogether different thing to be a gospel Pharisee and scribe.
Forgive us, Jesus, when me love exposing faults gospels more than we love spending time with you in prayer and fellowship.
Forgive us when we are quick to tell people what obedience is not but failed to demonstrate what the obedience of faith and love actually is.
Forgive us when we call ourselves recovering Pharisees or recovering legalists when in actuality, were not really recovering from anything.
Forgive us when we talk more about “getting” the gospel then how we have been “gotten” by the gospel.
Forgive us for being just as arrogant about grace theology as we were obnoxious about legalistic theology.
Forgive us when we don’t use our freedom to serve one another in love, but rather use it to put our consciences to sleep.
Forgive us what our love for the gospel does not translate into a love for holiness, world evangelism, and caring for widows and orphans.
Forgive us for having a PhD in the indicatives of the gospel yet feeling so miserably when it comes to the imperatives of the gospel.
Forgive us when we love the gospel more than we actually love you, Jesus, as impossible as that may seem.
~ Scotty Smith
The Lord is the everlasting God, The creator of the ends of the earth.
And his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28 – 31
Gracious Father, this was one of the first scriptures I memorized as a young believer, yet reading at today is like finding a new treasure in an old field. That is one of the things I most love about your word. It is never antiquated or redundant but always vintage and ever knew. You are the God who speaks in specific ways without stuttering. You are the father who knows what we need even before we ask, and you provided before we ask.
This passage from Isaiah is underlined in multiple times in my favorite Bible, and for good reason. It reminds me but you are not like me, in so many ways. you never get tired or weary. I do and I am. Accepting limitations, finiteness, and weakness has never been one of my strengths. But I must. Since youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, why do I think I am exempt from running on empty and hitting the wall?
Father, I am not asking to soar like an eagle, as fun as it might be, And I’m not seeking to run like a sprinter or a marathoner. Just walking upright with a renewed heart, and a steady gait, and replenish straits will be enough.
My hope is in you, father – merciful Abba, who brings refreshment into the wilderness; generous Lord, who promises sufficient grace everyday; mighty God, who raises the dead. Right now I look to you for all the spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical strength I will need to live out the implications of the gospel just today. I am not depleted, though heading there, but I have no doubts about your great compassion for me in Jesus.
Because Jesus embraced the ultimate weakness and weariness of the cross, I am confident of your burden – bearing love. I may be weary in my servant hood, but I am thriving in my sonship. Nothing can separate us from your love. I pray in Jesus is tender and triumphant name. Amen
~ Scotty Smith
When our mobility is threatened, the world seems to stop. Suddenly everything becomes painful, nerves fry, and our prayers become urgent. Crying in a heap on my floor, I laid my collegiate athletic self to rest… I thought for good. Or, for as far forward as I could see. Whether His response to our agony is miraculous or deferred, we can trust He is healing us through seasons of pain.
1. Take it to Him.
“Pray about everything.” (Phil 4:6)
The things that we cannot do pale in comparison to Who we are talking to. Keep talking to God after the shock of the news. Revelation has many stages, and our eyes will open to a little more relief each day.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the spirit. To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind of the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the spirit, anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. Romans 8.5–9
Heavenly father, I am particular grateful today for the person at work of the Holy Spirit. Though I don’t understand stand everything he is up to, these things I gladly affirmed today…
Just as assuredly as Jesus stood up outside of Lazarus’s Truman said, “Come forth”, you sent the Holy Spirit to preach the gospel to my heart, and I came out of the tomb of my sin and death. How I praise you for your sovereign goodness and power. Unless you had breathe new life into my spirit, I would have never, could have never believe the gospel.
When you raise me up in Jesus, you baptize me with the Holy Spirit, making me a member of your family in Christ’s bride. You sealed me for eternity by the Spirit, marking me as your own possession. You sent the Spirit to live as a permanent resident in my heart—to constantly preach the gospel to my heart, convict me up soon, make me like Jesus, and tell me that I am your beloved child.
According to the truth of the Gospel in your Word, I am all ready controlled by the Holy Spirit. I am no longer controlled by my sinful nature. You have given me all the gifts of the Spirit I need to live as a functioning part of the church and a caring service in your kingdom. You gave the Spirit to me as the first fruits and guaranteed other full inheritance salvation that Jesus completely earned for me. What a generous and loving God you are!
Therefore, I acknowledge my desire to be more fully and consistently filled with the Holy Spirit, to walk according to the Spirit, to keep in step with the Spirit, to set my mind on what the Spirit desires. All of two which I say, “Hallelujah, what a Savior! Hallelujah, what a salvation!” I pray in Jesus name. Amen
~ Scotty Smith
Even as we first needed grace to respond to your love (Ephesians 2.8–10), so we need grace to stay alive too your love and to love as you deserve to be loved. Your love for us is the one constant in our lives. Everything else changes. Everything else is subject to whim and fancy. Our brothers and sisters in Heaven are more happy than we are, but they are not more loved. But our love for you ebbs and flows.
Jesus, give us grace to love you with an undying love. May the cooling of our affection for you bother us more than the fragile economy, are broken relationships, political of people in the world, concerns about Our health, growing older, or anything else. Jesus, don’t let us get use to status quo, middle-class, business–as-usual love for you.
But because of this hope, we will not to doubt, numb out, or checkout. We will seek to show up. Lead us, King Jesus. Lead us into your work of redemption and restoration. What will it mean to love mercy, do justice, and walk calmly with you in the broken places of your world?
I’m feeling a bit distracted this morning, scattered and not very focused.
It is one of those days I am glad the gospel is much more about your grasp of me then my grip on you. I am grateful your delight in me is not contingent upon my delight in you. I am very thankful for the prayer ministry of the Holy Spirit.
It is freeing to know your spirit doesn’t abandon us when we are weak but helps us in our weakness, faithfully praying it us with “wordless groans” (Romans 8:26).
You search our hearts to save us not to shame us; to deliver us, not today demean us; two change us, not to chide us.
And at this very moment your Spirit is praying inside me, perfectly tuned into my needs and in total harmony with your will. I cannot measure the peace that brings. I surrender right now, Father. I will gladly groan to your glory. I know you are at work for my good in all things, including this season. You called me to life in Christ, and you will complete your purpose and me, in each of your children, and in the entire cosmos. I do love you; I would love you more. I pray for thankfulness, and Jesus is merciful and faithful name. Amen