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Going to church, reading the bible, listening to Christian music will not advance your spiritual life. These activities may give you more understanding but until you are ready to lay down your life and take up your cross this leads nowhere.

What I am talking about is the sacrifice of self to advance the cause of Jesus Christ in the world. There is a destiny that God had for each of us that only we can personally discover. We can discover it only by detaching from the world and making ourselves available for the Holy Spirit. By detaching from the world--now you have time--the commodity that most Christians are not willing to give.

Jesus said, "Self-help is not help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, to finding yourself, your true self. (Matthew 16:25)

"God has planted eternity in the human heart." (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

"Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)

"The most important thing is that I complete my mission, the work that the Lord Jesus gave me." (Acts 20:24)

"We have been sent to speak for Christ." (2 Corinthians 5:20)

"We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10)

Albert Finch
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Looking past form

Posted 08-07-2021 at 01:56 AM by Albert Finch

In Mark 3, Jesus entered into a synagogue and found a man there with a withered hand. The Pharisees were watching Him to see if He would heal the man on the Sabbath.

"And He said to them, 'Is it lawful to do good or to do harm on the Sabbath, to save a life or to kill?' But they kept silent. After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, He said to the man, 'Stretch out your hand!' And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored" - Mark 3:1-5

The Pharisees had no regard for the man whose hand was withered. They wanted to catch Him breaking the rules.

They cared more for their religious rules than they did for those whom the rules were made for. They were more concerned for the form of godliness than for the power that form was made to hold.

Jesus said in the last days there would be those who have a form of godliness but deny the very power of God (see 2 Timothy 3:5).

The power of God was not necessarily the healing that transformed the man's hand, but the COMPASSION that Christ felt for the man. His love caused Him to "break the rules" and heal on the Sabbath. Truly, the great power of God is that God is love. Everything He does is motivated by His love for His creation.

Jesus loved this man enough to break the rules for him. Yet, He was grieved and angry at the hardness of hearts of the Pharisees at the synagogue. He saw their callousness - how they cared more for their rules than this man - this angered Him. His response was to face their judgmental attitudes head on, and in defiant anger to their hateful hearts He told the man, "Stretch out your hand!"


Jesus told a story of how King David and his companions came into the house of God and ate consecrated bread that was reserved for the priests. He did this because his men were famished. David broke the rules for the sake of his men (see Mark 2:25-26).

Jesus told them, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath" (Mark 2:27).

The Sabbath was made so we would have a day of rest; that sounds like a wonderful idea. But the Pharisees turned this rule that was made for the good of man into a harsh legalistic law that men must obey or face their wrath.


Many times in Scripture Jesus broke the manmade laws in order to show forth the law of love; but Jesus was also a great advocate of the law. He pointed out that the greatest law was the law of love; to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself (see Mark 12:30-31). And, indeed, God showed us His love when He sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins and free us from ourselves.


The Church has been inhibited because we have cared more about "having church" than "cherishing" the true Church, which is the people the church structure was made for by helping them understand their identity in Christ.

Will it be our rules? Will our rules be strong enough to fight against God Himself? Or will our rules come crumbling to the floor as Christ Himself stands and says, "Stretch out your hand!"

Will the Church today answer the Lord when He asks, "Is it lawful?" Or, will we remain silent like the Pharisees, knowing the answer, but resigning to keep silent because of the hardness in our hearts?

Will we grieve the Lord? Or, will we choose to love and set the world ablaze with the love of Christ?


Dear Father, give me the heart and mind of Your Son. I receive the love you are fusing into my heart as I pray. Set me free from religious bondage so that your love may flow from my heart into the lives of others so that I might help them understand their identity in Christ. Give me the courage to break a few rules if it means I might set the captives free with the power of Your love. In Jesus name, Amen.
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