Sunday, May 10, 2009

MITN XXIII

1. After that Jesus turned to address His disciples, along with the great crowd that had gathered there with them.

2. He said to them all, “Look, when it comes to teaching the Law of God strictly from a legal standpoint, the religion scholars, particularly the Scribes and Pharisees, are completely competent. In that sense they sit on Moses’ seat of authority.

3. So, if you’re just interested in being informed about the letter of the Law, they’re the ones to see. In fact, you won't go wrong in following their teachings on Moses... but following them is a different story. The bottom line is they don’t practice what they preach because they don’t have a relationship with God…and without relationship, keeping ‘the rules’ just becomes a pointless exercise in absurdity.

4. That’s why they continually bundle up heavy loads, which are hard to bear, and place them on your shoulders, loading you down like pack animals. Then they seem to take pleasure in watching you stagger under these burdens of endless rules and regulations…commandments that they themselves can’t and don’t even keep…and never think of lifting a finger to help you try to figure out how to live up to this impossible lifestyle-standard which they have created.

5. And the laws that they do, in fact, keep, they only do so to be seen of people. That’s why they make their phylacteries, which are typically just small cases enclosing certain Scripture passages, worn during prayer on the left arm and forehead, so big and obvious! And even though all male Israelites, according to the command, wear fringes on their prayer garments, they make theirs extra long! It’s as if they’ve totally missed the point of these external things, and have turned something that should actually be meaningful into an empty fashion show.

6. And then there’s the whole other aspect of it which has to do with their love for public places of honor, and having the best seats in the synagogues, which really speaks to their insatiable need for validation…

7. And they bask in the sunlight of public recognition and flattery, going beyond the normal use and appropriateness of titles. Their love for being called ‘Rabbi’ is a whole other thing, entirely…it’s as if their entire identity is wrapped up in the power that comes from that title.

8. But the title of ‘Rabbi’ is irrelevant for you…you don’t need to be put up on a religious pedestal, nor is the approval of men necessary or essential for you. Simply put, you have one Teacher and you are all brothers.

9. Furthermore, don’t even call anyone on earth ‘father’. You obviously have earthly fathers to honor, and mentors who are father figures in your life…but concerning the things of God, you have one Father…One Parent who watches over your life, and has rightful authority over you…Who is manifested in the heavenly realm.

10. I’m helping you to change your perspective on who and what is important in the Kingdom…that’s why I even say that you must not be called ‘masters’ or ‘leaders’ or even ‘teachers’…if you have Kingdom authority, it will be recognized without the trappings of human notoriety…your gift will make room for you…you won’t have to convince anyone of your importance by demanding that they recognize you by a title. But the real issue at hand is that you have one Master/Leader/Teacher…the Christ!

11. In the Kingdom there is a new order…in a word, whoever is greatest among you shall be your servant...so the way to stand out is to step down.

12. In the Kingdom, whoever exalts himself/herself…the person who puffs himself/herself up publicly with pride…will be publicly humbled and brought low. But whoever humbles himself/herself, and is content to just be real and authentic, and keep his or her importance in perspective, will be raised to a place of real honor.
13. What sorrow you bring upon yourselves, you Scribes and Pharisees...you frauds and pretenders...your obsession with control prevents your followers from entering the Kingdom of/from the heavens. It's not enough that you yourselves refuse to enter in...you don't want anyone else to enter in, either.

14. (Verse 14 doesn't exist in any original manuscripts.)

15. What sorrow you bring upon yourselves, you Scribes and Pharisees...you frauds and pretenders...you travel halfway around the world to make one convert, and when you find one, and turn him or her to your way of thinking, you make that victim twice as fit for ending up in Gehenna, the garbage dump, as you are!

16. What sorrow you bring upon yourselves, you blind guides, who say that if anyone swears by the sanctuary of the temple, it's no big deal...the oath isn't binding; but at the same time you say that if anyone swears by the gold of the sanctuary, that person is totally bound by his oath!

17. Do you honestly not see how ridiculous your religious rules have become? Your preoccupation with the precision of these points of order has turned you into fools, and has blinded you from seeing what really matters to God. Anyone with any sense would know that there is no logical way to decide which is greater...the gold, or the sanctuary of the temple that has made the gold sacred.

18. Then you say that whoever swears by the altar is not bound to keep his or her promise, but whoever swears by the offering on the altar is absolutely bound by their oath.

19. How could men like you who are supposedly intelligent allow yourself to become so dumbed down by details like this? It's a silly question, but which is greater...the gift, or the altar which makes the gift sacred?

20. I mean, if you're going to split hairs over this issue, a simple observation would cause you to conclude that whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.

21. Furthermore, whoever swears by the sanctuary of the temple swears by it and by Him Who dwells in it.

22. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by Him Who sits upon it.

23. Again...what sorrow you bring upon yourselves, you Scribes and Pharisees...you frauds and pretenders. You're faithful to pay your tithes...meticulous about it, even...but you have neglected and omitted the weightier and more important matters of the Law, which are righteousness and justice and mercy. Look, I'm not saying that you shouldn't tithe...in fact you should...but not at the expense of missing the big picture. Everything that you care about, including tithing, should be about your relationship with God...without that, none of the religious mechanics matter.

24. Your misguided myopia has degenerated into total blindness. Your thoughtless theology has caused you to become so trivial that you're like someone who constantly filters his drinking water to avoid swallowing a gnat, but has become so insanely compulsive about the filtering process that he doesn't even notice when he swallows a whole camel!

25. What sorrow you bring upon yourselves, you Scribes and Pharisees…you frauds and pretenders…you worry yourselves silly over how things look on the outside…things like the appearance of cups and plates…but you completely ignore all of the gross filthiness that is inside those spotless-looking containers.

26. How could you have descended into such blind insanity? First, scrub the insides, and then the clean appearance on the surface will actually matter!

27. What sorrow you bring upon yourselves, you Scribes and Pharisees…you frauds and pretenders…you are like tombs that have been externally whitewashed…you look impressive on the outside, and appear as beautiful memorials to the lives of the men and women buried within, but, in fact, on the inside there is only the harsh reality of death…only dead men’s bones and inevitable decomposition.

28. The people look at you and think that you are authentic, but beneath the surface there is nothing about you that is real.

29. What sorrow you bring upon yourselves, you Scribes and Pharisees…you frauds and pretenders…you build these great granite tombs for your prophets, and these magnificent marble monuments for your saints.

30. And all the while you say that, had you lived in the days of your forefathers, you would not have aided them in shedding the blood of those prophets and saints.

31. Truth be told, you shouldn’t even mention your forefathers in this context, because everyone knows that you’re just like them, and when you protest too much and try to make yourselves look good in everyone’s sight, it makes it obvious to all that you are their descendants.

32. In fact, you are even now doing the very same things your ancestors did…you add to the death-count of the prophets daily.

33. Let me put it this way…you’re just a bunch of snakes…vipers, full of the dangerous poison of dead religion! How do you not see that this whole, obsolete system of yours just needs to be dismantled and thrown into the garbage dump at Gehenna?

34. It's on account of people like you that I keep sending prophets and seers and scholars who actually understand the Law, and what it is and isn’t…I send them generation after generation…but you never discern them, and when you hear them speak new truth and greater ideas to you, you automatically go into attack mode. You only know how to kill what threatens you, and to destroy what you don’t understand.

35. Look, all of this treatment of the prophets is going to come back on your own heads…the blood of the righteous shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel, to the blood of Zechariah, son of Barachiah, whom you murdered while he was praying between the sanctuary and the altar of burnt offering.

36. I’m telling you, the harvest from all this is about to come down hard on this nation, and on this generation.

37. Jerusalem! Jerusalem! Murderer of prophets…killer of the ones who brought you God's gospel throughout the ages! Do you have any idea how often I've literally ached to embrace your children, the way a mother hen gathers her little chicks under her wings? Yes, I admit it…I wanted to love you like that, but you just wouldn't let me.

38. And now look at you…your own stubbornness has left you forsaken and desolate and abandoned.

39. So, what is there left to say? I only have a few more hours in this dimension, walking in the incarnation in which you now see Me. On one level, I weep for you…you have no idea of the destruction that’s about to come on you as a nation…and yet, you will see Me again in the revelation of the Spirit…I mean, really ‘see’ Me…and when you do, you'll say, ‘Blessed…adored…exalted is He Who comes in the name of the Lord! Let us worship the One Who has brought God’s rule to the earth!”

27 comments:

tracy said...

Last verse-last will be first...my favorite place to be is REAL.
I can guarantee you this-my commitment to myself in the last several years has been this.......I will be myself no matter what- you either like me and give me the benefit of the doubt or you don't...period. If God is THAT BIG and I am wrong trust Him to deal with me ---if you believe he is not able to deal with me then sorry you serve such a tiny God.

Avatar said...

The Pharisees have just left... defeated and yet our hero makes it a point to give honor where honor is due...but set those who listen free from their misguided tyranny...

v.3...I like the clear respect for both the "follower" [if you're just interested in being informed] who is only looking for technical help as well as the teachers of the Law [you won't go wrong following...]. But man-o-man Bishop, the inclusion of the root problem so clearly is a breath of fresh air..."relationship", plain as day. Beautiful!

v.4 "that's why"...Lord I love an answer to a "why?"...

v.5 "missed the point"...I like the hint to go find out what the point of the garments actually is.

v.6-12 more why help...there is enough love in these verses to help us avoid the "we/they" division that so easily besets us and with a little help from the previously recommended relationship, someone caught up in similar insatiable needs might be able to let go and...
v.12 choose the freedom of being real and in real relationship vertically and horizontally.

Older paraphrases have too often been used to point fingers at "they"...and it is quite hard to imagine these verses even being able to be "yelled" at someone. Bringing to mind "it is the love of God that brings people to repentence."

AMEN, Tracy!

Erik said...

Tracy - Amen 1000 times -

Avatar, thank you as always, for reminding the tyranny of 'they' is just a vapor, and have no substance. We are All One and repentant in God's Love. Amen!!!

Izumi/JOY said...

1-24 make me glad.

karl said...

Bishop, thanks for the words of Matthew today on your post.

I just wanted you to know that this morning I was praying for you and Body Builders.

Erik said...

It seems that many of us do not fear God, but rather fear opinions or perceptions of ourselves or others. Reason is, God manifest in the flesh is the standard (Love, Forgiveness, Edifying, At Peace with Him/Herself, Confident in God, Aware of The Kingdom and aware that all are in The Kingdom and have God within them).

Many of us do not fear God seeing us not embrace this, but fear other people thinking we do not judge who is good and who is evil. Judging what we or others do, say, and express themselves (which is ultimately expressing God).

Jesus , the baseline, loved, understood and empathized (even if He did not like) all. The sins he bore, absolved were the sins of fearing others and ourselves, of our own doubt of God’s light yoke, blessing, and involvement in everything and everyone.

Many of us say ‘hey, I am not Jesus, can’t do what He did’ . Actually, God manifest as Jesus to show us that is completely available, there is no need to fear our perception of ourselves or others perception of us. We are born authentic to ourselves and each other, it is inalienable. Which of course leads to the foundation of everything that is American , every person is endowed with inalienable rights by God, for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The quintessential anti-American sentiment is that any one, regardless of their paradigm, is that they somehow do not have the same inalienable rights. Judging them to have less right to what they do than those who we agree with, especially if we fear what they do.

In fearing God, we do love others as ourselves, or if we do not love ourselves, than give everyone the same empathy we give to those we love the most, and with God as well.

Every thing and every one in the Universe that we perceive, is an expression of God, and loving God is loving them, and loving every one of them is loving God. Good news is that even f we do not, we are absolved. That is the sin Jesus took the hit for – our fear, doubt. Best news is fear and doubt is not required, as God knows we grow out of it, here and now.

Anonymous said...

Bish,
Write on...

Avatar said...

"what sorrow you bring on yourselves"...wow...there's a mouthful. And "your misguided myopia has degenerated into total blindness..."

Again, MITN helps remind us, gently, that its not "them" versus "us". I guess you could put a "hateful tone" into these verses, if it was already in you. But I am so hoping that the Holy Spirit's plans for this paraphrase are to help each of us hear correctly the Love of God in these verses. The loving father in God wanting the absolute best for His children...to be free...to love and be loved by Him and by each other.

There is a scene in the The Visual Bible's Matthew that isn't the original take. I wish I could see it. The first take didn't have good lighting...so the take used in the movie was a later one. Bruce Marchiano [played Jesus] mentions in his book that he was completely overwhelmed with loving grief at the loss of the Scribes and Pharisees understanding when he spoke these verses. He says he couldn't get back there for the following takes. Was it too much truth for us to bear? Probably. I'm still amazed that so few people want to see the Joy and Love that are in that set of videos. Maybe MITN will be the bridge.

Brenda said...

All I can say is Amen....This is good

Pastor Dennis said...

Hey everyone, MITN has been great! just had a minuite, gotta go....

Peace,
Dennis

Crownjewel said...

AMEN Bish, Tracy & everyone!!!

In case you haven't seen it, the story of 'The Lion Named Christian' will air on Animal Planet/Discovery Channel tonight @ 10. I first learned about Christian here and just love love love the story. Wanted to FYI you just in case.

~Love & Peace

tracy said...

Pastor Debye and all the ladies-Happy happy Mother's Day!!!! I hope you have an awesome awesome day! I have chosen to spend mine minus the children that made me a mother, yay for me. Going to the Ritz on an old gift certificate before it expires.....gonna sleep through the night without telling somebody they have to go back to bed and they are not sleeping in mine. Gonna cut my own steak and nobody else's. That means I get to hold the clicker and not alternate between golf, Speed Channel and that darn Survivor Man guy. I can eat what I want for breakfast oh my goodness this is sounding better and better. I will talk to ya'll Sunday night when I get back!

Erik said...

Hello everyone, and especially Bishop.

I re-read MITNXXIII v 1-24, Earlier read was interrupted, not focused.

This time --- SUPER DUPER AMEN !!!!!!!

All of it excels, my fav is the area titled v.23, --- the mightier issues of the Law, righteousness, justice, and mercy. -- which is the summation of the paragraphs preceding it.

I Love the way God rolls, we all are righteous and covered with mercy and grace, and are merciful and gracious – which exemplifies justice.

God is The smooth operator. Everything works together and synchs with everything else all the time.

Northern Light said...

*** warning warning....lengthy(ha)

Hellooooooooooo,

I'm home from Maui and God has really used the "gift" of that trip to prepare me for something. HIS Awesome wonder surrounded me for the past 8 days and I was never unaware of ALL HE IS and ALL HE DOES and ALL HE WANTS US TO KNOW AND DO. I was always called to be prayerful and connected as I would sit in HIS Paradise of beach and palm trees and "no worries". (common saying in Maui)

I prayed for each one of you that I "know" here, and those that I have not yet met in person, but who I "know in heart", as HE would have it.

This morning, after only three hours of sleep in the past 48 hours, I was awaken at 5:30am with an "opportunity to be an angel" for someone.......I asked God, "What, it's me you want to use this way God......he said YES!"
So up to the computer I go and what is the first thing I see as I turn it on, but the morning Streaming Faith article for today and it says:

Put Action to Your Faith
by: Bishop Keith Butler
(MI church.....hello !)

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26 (KJV)

(I LOVE the book of James...hello!)

"Angels are God's servants for us. And God has given them an awesome assignment in taking care of His children. Angels strengthen us. Angels are involved in healing and deliverance. Angels give revelation from God. They also do battle. Angels help at the time of death, and they are involved in protecting the living. Angels can even look like men and women. Angels also deliver messages and give direction concerning the future. Angels are encamped all around us to deliver and defend all that fear God." continues...

"In understanding the ministry of angels you must put your faith into action to activate them in your life. How do you do that? Just lift up your hands right now and say, "In the Name of Jesus, I thank You, Father God, for the ministry of angels. In Jesus' Name, I believe what Your Word says about the ministry of angels."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Okay Lord.......you want me to be an "angel" for someone, and the name was put on my heart and the immediate knowledge of what to do and how was in my head, as well. HE IS SO GOOD! I am humbled and wide awake and ready to get started. I accept my Mission, and eagerly look to the blessing of being used this way! I pray I do HIM proud.

I tell you all this, because you all are angels to me. Every time I see your hearts and insights poured out here.....whether interpreting a post from Bishop, or a friendly shout out and lift up to another blogger, WOW !
So, go today and see what God wants you to do. In the past 48 hours I've heard from Him in a few different ways>such as: HE can tell you on a beach with the waves crashing the shore or while lying in bed at 2-AM after a 12 hour air-travel day, while watching Sunday's "God's Table" service from CITN (which was first thing I opened of 8 days of waiting mail)..OR HE can wake you out of a sound sleep after only a few hours sleep after all that and YOU HEAR, YOU KNOW, YOU ARE AMAZED~

YOU all are amazing...love ya all~
Peace,
Northern Light

Northern Light said...

Word ver... popsyma

" Pop & Ma "

so, kinda' like our "Pop"...Bish
and "Ma".......P. Debye


***P. Debye....hugs!
(Happy Mother's ("Ma") Day to you!)

Love ya' both,
Peace,
NL

Crownjewel said...

HAPPY Mothers Day P. Debye and all the mothers!!! May you all have a wonderful special day!~Love & blessings!!!!!!

Izumi/JOY said...

Happy Mother's Day beloved Universe and blessings to all your co-laborers!

Northern Light said...

Bish,

Your Streaming Faith Devotional was the first thing I read this morning.........and I LOVED IT!

Perfect way for this mother to have begun her day.

Peace,
Northern Light

Avatar said...

v.25-26 "gross filthiness" replacing the two listed issues...cool...implying, while we're "scrubbing the insides", there just might be more than greed and extortion to check for.

v.28 the change of words, bringing greater understanding of the "real" dilemma, is profound and another breath of fresh air...

v.37 "killers...I admit it, I wanted to love you like that"...dang, Bishop. MITN really brings out the over the top mother heart of God ... and it was even posted on Mother's Day.

Larry Usher said...

Great service yesterday! Great wedding ceremony! Etc. etc!
Loved your posts Tracy! So funny about time to yourself! LMBO!

Just a thought about chickens & eggs.
Which comes first? Faith or the word that brings faith. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. So do we talk ourselves into believing by saturating ourselves in the Word?

As I was trying to get back to sleep the other night, I found myself meditating on some events in my distant past that I had pretty much forgotten even happened. The more I pondered this time in my life the more obscured memories flowed out- I was quite surprised by the detail from 41 years ago. The mind is a powerful engine if used for the right things! In pondering & ruminating upon the Word- letting in roll around in your mind, seeing it from different angles and aspects- God- breathed insight comes: powerful, crisp and clear- impactful and resonating. Resonating. Resonating.
The Spirit broods over His Creation- resonating, weaving, multi-planing, pulling from myriads of strands, colors and wavelengths; thoughtful, calculating, ever aware of eternal process, pathways and outcomes.
We are created in the God-class, our realm of most successful and effective dealing is the ethereal rather than the tactile.

Believe a time for leaving the sensory is upon us and a time to go "spiritual" on 'em is at hand.

I'm sure I haven't described what I'm seeing in my spirit very well, so I'll say: "To be continued"...

Bro Lar

Izumi/JOY said...

The word "dismantled" in v. 33 seems rhema, describing how the eternal now Word's mantle dismantled the older, obsolete system.

v. 39 - A ballet in words - wow!

G8TRGRL said...

Mmmm Tracy, feeling your Mom's Day bliss. Was able to read AND nap uninterrupted yesterday. Oh, the little things that make us happy. He IS in the small stuff.

NL: Your post regarding angels brings me to my Catholic girl upbringing, and still gives me a sense of "warm fuzzy" comfort.

Particularly liked this one in AYITN today: Today I will maintain a sense of awareness of the "great cloud of witnesses" — those who have gone on before me into the heavenly realm, who cheer me on and encourage me. I am connected to the other side through them, and they help me to loose on earth what is loosed in heaven today!

Believing I can be an angel to someone today!

ttfn

Anonymous said...

Today I plead THE BLOOD OF JESUS over Church In The Now. I plead THE BLOOD OF JESUS over Bishop and Pastor Debye. Today I plead THE BLOOD OF JESUS over every staff member and families. Today I plead the BLOOD OF JESUS over every member and their families at Church In The Now. Today I plead THE BLOOD OF JESUS over EVERY marriage, EVERY family and EVERY relationship In JESUS NAME! Today I plead the BLOOD OF JESUS over every teenager and child. Holy Spirit we ask for your renewing, refreshing presence TODAY!!!HElP us Holy Spirit to see how blessed we are in so many different ways. Let us not take this day we have been given for granted. Let us not take our loved ones for granted. Let us go easy on everyone today. In JESUS NAME. AMEN.

Larry Usher said...

Just in for a quick hello.

Where do owls spend the night while traveling?

The Hootel.

Love y'all & have a most wonderful day!

Lar

Anonymous said...

All that can be said is amen to anon @11:25 AM

Anonymous said...

This is just a suggestion, I understand if it is not in your vision to intertain it, but given the current attention being given to Hanks' new release of angels and demons, why not consider giving some time for feedback on that subject as a break in the flow and allow it to produce something that could be inspirational? I realize that you may know who I am because you are familiar with my IP address by now so if you choose not to comply it is good with me. I totally love what you are doing and all that I percieve that you are about.

Anonymous said...

There is so much to enjoy here and I love everyone's entries on what stands out to them. For me verse ten is of great interest. I especially like the way it begins and ends; "10. I’m helping you to change your perspective on who and what is important in the Kingdom…the Christ!" The way it has been written here seems to enhance my understanding that Jesus wasn't trying to be iconoclastic so much as He was pointing out true authority. My life has experienced many moments when true authority was witnessed in some of the most unlikely of people one could imagine and accomplished even greater works after the particular individual wieding it at the time had left the scene. The Christ is continuously amazing to me and is very evidently alive in us all by the connection of our spirits with the Holy Spirit. Once again Bishop, this work you are doing is just like that of the Christ in that those who either reject it for now or in some other way deny the value of it will find themselves blessed by the breath of truth coming from it through the Spirit of Christ in their own lifetime. Thank you for the beautiful efforts seen here.