A Whitewashed Tomb


The Whitewashed tombs

As often as I speak to people about the Lord, I’m still amazed that so many just don’t get it. I will still be asked the question, “So what religion are you?

I explain, once again. None! I don’t follow a religion and I sure don’t claim to be holy.

Yesterday, I was working with a woman, who was telling me about some woman in her life, Her friend sounded much like a friend of mine. But this woman, seemed disgusted by her and made all kinds of moral judgments about her. Then she told me about her niece. Who happened to get pregnant. “I just don’t understand it. I’ve talked to her about sex and my sister and brother-in-law have gone to church with her every Sunday!” As if any of this was the secret cure. If any of that really works, then our society would be a reflection of this. The whole issue, of passing out condoms, going to religious ceremonies. Etc. It’s all so exhausting, and in the end, we’re worse than we ever were.

The woman told me another story of someone she had worked with, that ‘claimed to be a good Christian, yet she had cursed.” This is when I began to laugh. I realized that she didn’t really have a grasp on what makes someone a Christian.

Then she looked at me in shock, as we were talking about the shows which are on television. I said, “I absolutely hate the show, Jersey Shore. My daughter enjoys watching it though.” “Oh, I know, what is that junk?” I said, I told my daughter, “If  being promiscuous, and getting drunk was celebrity material, me and my friends should have all been famous, years ago!” “You told your daughter that?”The woman’s eyes, opened wide. “Of course, I did. I share my past with my daughter so she knows, that I realize what a mess I am.” I told her, but I could discern, that this woman, was still hiding her own.  She had already shared that she had the same boyfriend all through college, and thought she was going to stay with him, after she did the deed.  But she didn’t. So, to her, she had the moral, high ground. 

“I use this as a powerful tool for educating my daughter.” I told her. I want her to understand that I’m in no way perfect, and never was.How can I expect my daughter to share with me, if I’m pretending that I never sinned? Who can live up to this?”

When we try to act perfect, it’s too heavy a burden and line, for other’s to tow. And it is for us, as well.We set ourselves up as the judge and the jury. I told this woman that there was a guy my daughter had been involved with. I didn’t care for him, and I saw things right after my first meeting which disturbed me about the relationship. My daughter told me, “Mom, I have to learn things by experience, just like you did.” Ok, that’s a valid point, but I would say this is only when it’s a positive lesson. I responded, “A wise person, will learn from people who have gone down that road. And they avoid the painful consequences.”

Later, when she did, indeed, have trouble, I reminded her of this conversation. “Yes, I wish I would have listened,” she said. And for me, it was difficult to watch her suffer. But knowing the Lord, makes it easier to deal with. He has promised that He will make everything work out for her good. I told her this. He does this, in spite of ourselves.

Now, when I was sharing with this woman, I told her, “Look, when it comes to being bad, I was really good at it. But I am a Christian. And Christian’s aren’t different from anyone, in the sin department. In fact, Christ had pointed this out, just in case, the religious zealots, got it wrong. “We all have sinned and fallen short, of the glory of God. “Yes, I told her, every one of us.

The most difficult time that Christ had been with the religious people. Blinded by pride. We cannot even begin to see out need for Him, until we’re ready to acknowledge that we are hopeless. The sin, disease has infected ever one of us. I was beginning to ‘chip away at her own religious pride, as I spoke. Using my own examples, I could see her searching herself, as I spoke.

I had been in Jerusalem, just recently. And I was so impressed with the words of Christ which came to life. “At one point I stood on the huge steps of Solomon’s Temple, and the guide told us, “look to your left. You see all those tombstones? This is exactly where Jesus stood when he cried out against the Pharisees.” “Look at those tombs!” He said. “You are just like them. Whitewashed tombs, full of dead men’s bones and corruption!” This was such a powerful word picture, as I saw thousands upon thousands, of these tombs. And I had learned from teachers many years before, that they would painstakingly, paint these white. So that they had a clean, pristine look.

Yes, this is what Christ was pointing out about these teachers. They thought they were hiding, because they were covered in this white paint. But how far from the mark, they really were. They were masking the truth. And the truth was, that they, were desperately in need of a savior. But by pretending, they were without sin, negated the sacrifice, which Christ made, with His own blood.

How many of us, still believe, that our salvation is found in some religious ritual, or the pretense of, “I’m better than you. Because I didn’t do that!” No, when I found out the truth, I had to look at myself, and say, I’m a disgusting mess in need of you, Lord!” He said, that, “Although your sins are as scarlet, I will make you white as snow!”

His blood, cleansed me and it is only in the recognition of this, that I’m saved. And this is by His grace. Nothing that I’ve earned, not that I ever could earn it.

Paul told us, “It is by grace that we’re saved. And where sin, abounds, grace abounds, much more. But he was also quick to point out, “Does this mean, that I should continue to sin, so that His grace abounds even more? Heaven forbid!” So, he wanted to show us that this understanding in itself, would lead to religious rituals, that man created, to reduce feelings of guilt. This is exactly what man does. We always want to believe that God needs our help.

Christ did this for us and His powerful point to His disciples was to allow Him to wash their feet. At first the pride in Peter, was appalled, that Christ would stoop down to wash his feet. But Jesus was making another picture for us to follow. “Unless you allow me to do this, you have no part in me.” He said. This is what we do, when we come to Him. We accept His sacrifice, which He made for us. Our pride must be broken, to allow Him, to wash us. He started with the part of the body, which was so symbolic of the dirt of this earth. But in reality, it is our hearts, which He cleanses and heals.

I reminded this woman that there isn’t any program that really works when the goal is rehabilitation. It doesn’t involve the heart of a person. It only involves works. But when we accept this salvation, it becomes a regeneration, which means, a new heart. It is a known fact that only, ‘faith based ministries,’ are successful in these dark places. The statistics have proven this.

So, sex education, passing out condoms, and these programs don’t change a person’s lifestyle. And the Lord pointed out that knowledge, in and of itself, is useless, and can only lead to puffing someone up with pride. But, wisdom, is the truth that can bring change. Yes, it is the only way possible. And we know that “The fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom.

I shared many things, with this woman, who was searching and I felt the Lord tugging at her heart. At one point, as I told her about my life and the Lord’s touch, she said, “You gave me goosebumps!” I could see the Lord doing His work. It certainly wasn’t me. I am only the vessel, and I love to watch the Lord answering the questions of a person, who is searching.

I look back at my life, and wonder how He could use someone like me, and He reminds me that, it is all of this junk that has made me fit for His use. He shows us this picture with His disciples. They were ordinary, sinful men, with short patience, bad tempers, and all kinds of junk. Just like me. This is why He chose them. Because we were to see the contrast between, these men, who had recognized Him, because of their need, versus the religious teachers and their pride. They never knew it was their own deliverer, standing before them.

In the end, I said, “It is only the need, which we’ve recognized, which makes us, Christian’s. When I was leaving, she gave me a big hug, and said, “it was so nice to work with you.” I told her, Yes, it was nice.” But I know, that today, the Lord had set an appointment for her. I feel blessed to be a part of the process.

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Why Would You Go Back To the Law?


There is a choice

There is a choice

We keep doing it, over and over again, without ever realizing it. It’s so subtle. Yes, as Bob Dylan said, “The enemy is subtle, how be it we are deceived? When the truth is in our hearts, and  we still won’t believe? Shine Your Light, Shine Your Light On Me!(Precious Angel) We keep returning to the law,  which cannot save.

Now do you think that the Jews are any different from any religious system of works?They were chosen because they were the only nation that believed in the one true God. All of the other nations followed pagan gods. This is why God had to preserve them as His people and made covenant with them. He alone gave them all of these laws. And this is what bound them to Himself. He had to preserve them as His own to bring the messiah through them. God will not take back His covenant, nor deny Himself.

The Jews were blinded by hundreds of laws. Don’t you remember? They were handed down from God Himself . Were they given just to amuse Himself? Absolutely not. They all had a purpose. Here’s an example of one of the hundreds. The two goats. Only one was to be used on the Day of Atonement. The scapegoat, was released after the sins of the nation of Israel had been placed upon its head. It is of course where we get the term, “scapegoat,”  It is also the reason that you will see so many demonically inspired uses in the artwork today. I’m amazed after it had been pointed out to me. A picture of sin. An innocent animal left to die. Hmm, interesting picture.

Now all of those laws. So many and a lot just didn’t make much sense. They all were types and foreshadows of messiah. Yet, when Paul spoke he clearly reminded the Jews that if they chose to go back to the law, they would have be judged by the law and if they violated one, they violated the whole of the law. He said that “the laws had  to been given,  to point us to our need of a savior!.

Indeed, we had no desire to sin until the law was given!” Oh, I love that! Just look at Adam and Eve in the garden. Oh, better yet. Look at a little child and their innocence…until you tell them they can’t touch something. That’s when that rebellion rears it’s ugly head. Now remember how the Pharisees chastised Jesus for healing a  man on the Sabbath? How preposterous was that? He IS the sabbath! He had to ask them if it was easier to forgive the man or heal him? Then he told him to pick up his mat and walk? He was always rocking the proverbial boat of the religious leaders, but yet He was the leader and they were so blinded with religious pride, couldn’t see Him. I thought it humorous and sad.

“The law of sin and death is in the flesh.” We are born into sin but thanks be to Jesus Christ who has set us free from the law of  sin and the grave! Now, when we look at all of the man-made doctrines it is a subtle way of taking us back to the law, once again. Trying to earn our way. We must do as Paul told the Bereans to do. Question everything by scripture. My pastor taught me to do this in my church and one day I had to even do this with him once. I have great respect for him, yet the Lord commands us to line everything up with His word.

When I was in the Lutheran church I started to question the spiritual leaders. I realized that Martin Luther had split from the Catholic church because he discovered they had not been teaching from scripture the fundamentals, “that we are saved by grace not by works.” Of course there was the Reformation and many people realized that only the leadership  had a bibles, and Martin Luther found one, hidden away and saw these truths which began the split. We know that one “comes to faith by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” So that changed the whole course of history, but then the Lutheran’s also erred. They also became legalistic. No different from the Pharisees of old. I wanted to know God. I didn’t care about any man’s religion. I could see as a young girl who Christ never stood in the midst of crowds and stated, “now look guys I want you to be Baptists, you to be Catholics and you to be Jews.” And Jesus was a Jew for good reason. Born into the nation of Israel. God didn’t make a mistake. I wanted to understand this convenant.

Another thing that I noticed as a young girl was that the only time Jesus seemed to have a problem was when he was confronted by those religious guys.He really didn’t spend very much time inside the temple. Here I was seeing the same thing with religious people. And when I went with my girlfriend to see Jesus Christ Superstar, something powerful happened watching that crucifixion scene. I noticed that the doctrines in my church became more ritualistic and I started to question them as a young girl. I saw things in my bible that weren’t being taught.  Perhaps because these leaders didn’t understand. I saw Nicodemus go to Jesus and ask him how he could enter the kingdom of heaven. I heard Jesus tell him plainly, “unless a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” I wondered at this and many other things that were spoken. I wondered what made our religion, “right,” and everyone else s wrong.

Then, something happened to me. A spiritual experience. It was so noticable that a pastor called me in to speak to me about it. He wanted to know. But how could he explain it? They all went to seminary, but were never taught that to be ‘born again,’ is an experience that the Lord was telling Nicodemus must happen to each person if they are to enter the kingdom of God. We must become like a child before this experience takes place. It is not a religion and we cannot keep the laws. We must simply have faith and know that He is the savior who has fulfilled the laws. We must know we are a sinner and cannot keep any laws as Paul says and if those laws weren’t given, we would have no reason to sin.

Now it wasn’t until Roman Emperor Constantine came on the scene, and became a Christian that Catholicism began.He became born again. He was so zealous, that he wanted the whole of Rome to become Christian, however they had all been pagans up to this point.As most people understand, you cannot force conversions. Especially since these pagans, were anti-Semitic and the Christians, for the most part, were still mostly Jewish. So, to make it more palatable, he allowed the mix of the pagan practices. The Goddess Astarte, for example was worshipped. She was the goddess of fertility. And instead of celebrating Passover, which the Romans, would not do, they used eggs and bunnies, etc. as and celebrated Easter or Resurrection Sunday.

Sunday, was taken from the Sun God( yes, even our calendars have pagan roots), and although Jesus did not celebrate His own birthday anywhere in scripture, He did celebrate the Festival of Lights, Chanukah and it was on this day that he spoke to the religious leaders when he stated, “I am the light of the world!” Claiming to be the center candle of the menorah, gives this whole new meaning when we understand this from His perspective.

Without offending anyone, as Paul has stated, “everything is acceptable, but everything is now acceptable in the Lord, since we have freedom in the Spirit, however, everything is not beneficial.” Yes, in my house, I do both. I celebrate Resurrection Sunday, yet I also celebrate the Passover, since I know that the Lord Is the Passover. I know that He did not celebrate Easter and place a basket of eggs and chocolate bunnies around his house. Although its okay. Let me tell you, if you’ve ever been to a seder, you will wonder why the Jews do not see Jesus as the messiah. I recommend every believer do this. The Lord told us that it is meant for all of us to celebrate throughout every generation They are not called the Jewish Feasts, but the Feasts of the Lord. And they are meant for believers more than anyone else and in them is a mystery;the timetable of God, unlocked only by those with the Spirit of God.

What the Lord told us to do is this: “Learn of Me Not any religious doctrine, not any man-made institution. It was in the name of every religion that He was crucified. The word religion itself means, a return to bondage. I want freedom. Freedom in Christ. Freedom from the law to know Him.But now I know, I am part of this covenant. I am no longer judged by the law and there is nothing greater than this. I want everyone to know this freedom.

He is the beginning and  the end of everything. The Alpha and Omega.