Thursday, March 8, 2012

A New Name

Continuing my reading in Matthew during the season of Lent...

"Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?" (Matthew 9:5)

In this passage, the "teachers of the law" were NOT happy with what Jesus was doing. This was not their idea of how "religion" was supposed to look. They weren't excited about the idea of this man having a new life-they were too busy being angry about new life not looking like what they thought it should.

When Jesus asked, "Which is easier: to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up and walk'?" What He was saying is that when we encounter Jesus and invite Him in to our lives, we can't help but be changed! Him forgiving our sins also marks Him breaking the chains that we were once bound by. Him forgiving our sins is the same thing as giving us a brand new start and outlook on life, because when we truly accept Jesus into our hearts, we are inviting him to change us and to set us free.

Lucy was asking me this week why her Nonnie and Opie have the same last name as we do, but why Gi-Gi has a different last name. I explained to her that before Mommy got married, she had the same name as Gi-Gi, but when Daddy asked Mommy to marry him, I changed my name to share his name. I explained to her that when she grows up and a man asks her to marry him, she will get a different name, too.

Isn't it similar with our relationship with Christ? He INVITES us to be his, but we have to ACCEPT him. And when we do, we are changed.

Pleading or Praising?

During this season of Lent, I'm reading through the Gospels. I wanted to get a good sense of Jesus' entire life and how it led him ultimately to the cross, as a way to prepare my heart for the celebration of his resurrection. I'm not moving as quickly as I need to be to get in all four books, but the Lord is certainly using this time in His Word to teach me, so if that means I don't get through all of them, so be it. But, I'm going to try.

At any rate, I wanted to blog about something the Lord really impressed upon my heart today. It starts with a question: Am I pleading with God, or am I praising Him?

(After hearing that Jesus cast out demons) "Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region." (Matthew 8:34)

"When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men." (Matthew 9:8)

I realize these were two different groups of people in these two passages, but isn't that really the same for our world today? We're really divided by two different groups: those who accept Jesus and those who reject Him. We either angrily plead with Him to leave, or we eagerly praise Him for coming. Which one of these categories do I fall in? Do I find myself pleading with Him to do something else when I don't like the way things are going and I don't understand why He's working in the way that He is, or do I find myself praising Him for being present, trusting in the way He is working?

"Lord, help me to welcome your ways so that my life can bring glory to your name."