Posts Tagged ‘Rituals’


Acts 21:23-26
so do what we tell you. There are four men with us who have made a vow. Take these men, join in their purification rites and pay their expenses, so that they can have their heads shaved. Then everybody will know there is no truth in these reports about you, but that you yourself are living in obedience to the law. As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality.” The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

Paul was a determined man and even though many hundred believers in a dozen or more cities begged him to avoid going back to Jerusalem, he insisted and continued his journey because he sensed it important to be there. This was a journey he knew would be the last of his travels and it might be the one that cost him his life. However, he was willing to make this trip because his desire was to glorify God. What then came over him to accept to perform rituals that would change the view of the Jews regarding what he was ministering to the world?

If Paul was in the business of building his credit worthiness, he certainly had not employed the best author for this book. Time and time again it seems like Paul’s shortcomings are brought to the fore and it puts him in poor light. Why was the Lord permitting this one would wonder because Paul was a servant of God. The entire Bible points us to God the father, Jesus his son and the Holy Spirit but certainly not to the apostles. As we progress through the book of Acts, we will see how God uses this situation to bring himself glory and that is a key learning for us today. Our lives are not about us or our safety or our glory or our dominion. Our lives are to serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who deserves our all for what he has done for us, forgiveness of our sins and the gift of eternity in his presence.

In His Loving Service,
ServantBoy

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Luke 14:12-14
Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Jesus was certainly ruffling feathers of the holy men during his ministry and it was not because he was doing it to offend them but because they were so unbelieving. They were so blinded by their belief that they did not see how they were robbing people of any connection with God through their rituals and laws. God was not looked at as someone who loved us but instead it was pressure that pushed people to follow God. What a tragedy because God is love and we have no right to change that nature of God! In the above passage about the banquet, it is something I would find very hard to follow. How could I not invite my own or those that are dear to me for a special occasion where I want to share my joy with them? How can I focus my energy and resources on those less fortunate than me and what good would that be to me? Would this be a lost networking opportunity or a smart PR strategy?

In today’s world, we are so focussed on doing good for public perception and there is seldom a business or famous person who does not support some cause or give to the needy but that’s never done without making a big deal about it. Jesus is not telling us to do things to get approval of man. Our focus should be on serving those less fortunate without expecting anything back. My grandmother has a thanksgiving dinner every year on the occasion of my grandfather’s passing away and one of the things they do is to invite all the less fortunate people in the community for a meal. There are over 100 people who are brought in, fed and sent home with love and what strikes me most is that this is done without any expectation of anything in return. These people cannot give anything back materially but Christ is shared and they receive willingly. What is your Christmas plan this year? Are you giving those who have lots or those who have nothing? Can we find someone in our areas of influence who is in need and share the joy of this special season? Can we give them some love that God shared with us who were once lost?

In His Loving Service,
Vineet

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