this Daily Bread Devotional really hit me today and I thought I would share it.
Both Near And Far
Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in
Your way. —Psalm 119:37
Everything was quiet in our yard. While I worked at the patio table,
our dog, Maggie, lay nearby in the grass. A slight rustling of dry
leaves changed everything. Maggie made her move, and suddenly she was
circling a tree, where a woodchuck clung tightly to the trunk.
Maggie came when I called, but I couldn’t get her to look at me. Her
neck was in a rigidly fixed position. Although she was near me
physically, her thoughts and desires were with that woodchuck.
Maggie and the woodchuck remind me of how quickly I become preoccupied
with things that take my eyes off Jesus. Old temptations, new
responsibilities, or ongoing desires for possessions or pleasure can
quickly divert my attention from the One who knows and wants what is
best for me.
A similar spiritual condition afflicted the Pharisees (Matt. 15:8-9).
They were serving in the temple and instructing others, but their
hearts were far from God.
We too can teach and serve at church but be far from God. Even our
religious activity becomes meaningless when our focus is not on Jesus.
But if we stop being “stiff-necked” (Acts ), the Lord can turn our
eyes away from worthless things and revive our hearts.
Some people follow Jesus Christ,
Then obstacles get in their way;
But if they’ll focus on the Lord
They won’t be led astray. —Sper
When Christ is the center of our life, all else comes into proper focus.
Matthew 15:7-20 (GOD’S WORD Translation)
7"You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
8‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.
9Their worship of me is pointless, because their teachings are rules
made by humans.’ ”
10Then he called the crowd and said to them, “Listen and try to
understand! 11What goes into a person’s mouth doesn’t make him
unclean. It’s what comes out of the mouth that makes a person
From Mrs. Ann--There is the expression "actions speak louder than
words", however, words can speak very harshly, hatefully, nastily.
Adolf Hitler wasn't the evil man that he was because he ate pork, for
example. It was the words that he said, that condemned millions to
their deaths. There was the plane crash in the Andes in the 1970s,
the soccer team, where they were stranded for so long that the
survivors had to resort to cannibalism in order to survive. We are
taught that to eat our own species is akin to sacrilege, yet those
people, in such trying times, had to do just that. I give that as an
extreme example, and quite frankly, I don't know if God considered
that (in that situation particularly) to be unclean.
Unclean words are words spoken in hate, in anger, words denying God.
Spouses fighting, arguing, spewing forth hurtful words directed at
each other in the heat of anger. Children teasing fellow classmates
with such words as "four-eyes", "piggy", "weirdo", etc. None of these
are words of love or support, or wisdom.
12Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you realize that when
the Pharisees heard your statement they were offended?”
13He answered, “Any plant that my heavenly Father did not plant will
be uprooted. 14Leave them alone! They are blind leaders. When one
blind person leads another, both will fall into the same pit.”
15Peter said to him, “Explain this illustration to us.”
16Jesus said, “Don’t you understand yet? 17Don’t you know that
whatever goes into the mouth goes into the stomach and then into a
toilet? 18But whatever goes out of the mouth comes from within, and
that’s what makes a person unclean. 19Evil thoughts, murder, adultery,
other sexual sins, stealing, lying, and cursing come from within.
20These are the things that make a person unclean. But eating without
washing one’s hands doesn’t make a person unclean.”