Weekly Podcast- Five To Focus

Take 5 minutes every week to focus on your faith and life. Think of it as a mini biblical counseling session. Each episode will explain a concept from Scripture to help you find freedom in Christ and dig your roots deeper into His purposes for you.

Remember and Repent

David messed up pretty badly when he slept with Uriah’s wife (Bathsheba) and then tried to cover it up. When that didn’t work, he had Uriah killed and then took Bathsheba as his wife (2 Samuel 11). It’s easy to wonder how a King of God’s people could get into such a situation, and it would be easy to think that he could never be restored to the Lord after that.

But God is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love (Ps. 103:8). He forgave David when David confessed his sin, repented, and asked for forgiveness. David suffered under the weight of unconfessed sin, however, and he wonderfully recorded the internal struggle at the beginning of Psalm 32, even remarking on how it impacted him physically.

Psalm 51 is David’s penitent prayer after he finally acknowledged his sin (read how a prophet helped him realize his sinful ways in 2 Samuel 11 and 12). It is the source of at least one great song and is a go-to passage on sin and repentance.

In verses 7-12, David expresses his desire for forgiveness and what would come with it. He desired joy, gladness, rejoicing, purity, a clean heart, and a right spirit. Then at the beginning of verse 12 he says Restore to me the joy of your salvation…

David was following a pattern that Jesus later gave in the book of Revelation. Jesus told the church in Ephesus:  “Remember then how far you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. . .” (Revelation 2:5, CSB)  The two verbs there (remember and repent) show us how the joy of our salvation can be restored after we sin.

David remembered the joy of his salvation.

Maybe he was recounting all the blessings of the Lord and the incredible work of God in his life. He could think back to times of joy that came when he was abiding in the Lord and saw the blessings of obedience. He wanted that again. Sin stole his joy.

David repented of his sin.

He confessed his sin, realizing that he had sinned against God. He knew that if he could be forgiven of sin and purified in his heart, then he could have that joy that was stolen. The chasm that sin created between God and him (Isaiah 59:2) could be removed and he could live in the power of the Lord with joy. This power and joy is why repentance is still a necessary part of a Christian’s life.

Sometimes remembering how far we have fallen helps us come to the humble place of repentance. Recounting your testimony of how you came to the Lord and received new life reminds you of perfect fellowship with the Lord. We can remember where we once were with the Lord, and then remember that He is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in faithful love.

Remember, repent, and find joy restored.

Five To Focus 17. Your Faith Is Not Founded On Fables

Exploring the argument that the Bible is a collection of fables.

Scripture reference: 2 Peter 1:16-21

Archaeology article: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-israel-archaeology/israeli-archaeologists-find-2700-year-old-governor-of-jerusalem-seal-impression-idUSKBN1EQ0WH

 

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You Might Be A Legalist If… (Part 4)

Note: This post is part of a series.

You might be a legalist if you appear righteous but are spiritually decaying inside.

Our sinful flesh is selfish. We love to be seen. Commended. Rewarded. Praised.

Matthew 6 records Jesus calling out three specific examples of this sinful attitude:

  • “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1, ESV)  
  • “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Matthew 6:5, ESV)  
  • “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.” (Matthew 6:16, ESV)  

We need to beware of spiritual practices that are motivated by the praise of man because it reveals our misunderstanding of the personal relationship we can have with Jesus Christ. His glory should motivate us!

Perhaps Jesus’ harshest words were toward the Pharisees. Matthew 23:25–28 is a striking condemnation for appearing righteous while internally being guilty of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Are you like a whitewashed tomb, outwardly beautiful but internally filled with dead peoples’ bones?

Today, this is called formalism. Formalism is “undue insistence on the outward observances of religion or the prescriptions of a moral code, with a corresponding neglect of the inner spirit or significance which the ‘forms’ were designed to safeguard.”¹

Many people are guilty of just going through the formality of believing in Jesus Christ. We want to look like we’re doing the right things, so we pray, sing, tithe, open our Bible in church and display one on the coffee table at home, walk down the aisle… but our soul is filthy and decaying because our motivation is not pure and our actions are not genuine toward God.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10, ESV)  

 

1 F. L. Cross and Elizabeth A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 627.

Five To Focus 16. Divine Inspiration of Scripture Gives Us Confidence

Seneca Rocks in WV was thrilling! Focus on how the fact that God inspired His Word gives you confidence to daily walk in your faith!

 

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If you have a suggested topic for an episode of Five To Focus, simply fill out this form. If you would like to discuss this episode, you may comment on this post or interact with @rstro on Twitter.

You Might Be A Legalist If… (Part 3)

Note: This post is part of a series.

 

You might be a legalist if you don’t practice what you preach.  

If you demand others to be righteous but then don’t follow your own words, you’re acting like the Pharisees. And Jesus had some pretty harsh words for them.

Look at Jesus’s words in Matthew 23:2-4:

2 “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, 3 so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. 4 They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.

Within Judaism, the Scribes were experts on the Torah because they interpreted it. The Pharisees were experts in the theological matters that the Torah brought about. They had authority (Moses’ seat), so people were to respect them and observe what they interpreted properly, although they weren’t to mirror their works. They would maybe say the right things, but they wouldn’t do it themselves.

A similar situation is mentioned in Acts 15 during the Jerusalem Council. Peter condemned some there who were trying to put unnecessary demands on Gentile converts.

Today there could be:

  • legalistic preachers, who preach one thing to their people and then neglect their very words;
  • legalistic parents, who demand their children to act in biblical ways and then don’t act that way themselves.  

We can so easily be legalistic simply by not practicing what we preach. We might know what’s right and how to proclaim what’s right, but we don’t always live as if it actually is right.

I believe the answer to this problem is that we need a softened heart that realizes the power of the grace of Jesus Christ. As Peter said, “. . .we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will” (Acts 15:11, ESV).

Five To Focus 15. Contentment Combats Jealousy

It is easy to compare yourself to others and become jealous. Listen to a couple examples from the Bible on combating jealousy by being content.

 

Feedback

If you have a suggested topic for an episode of Five To Focus, simply fill out this form. If you would like to discuss this episode, you may comment on this post or interact with @rstro on Twitter.

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