Jesus rebukes misleading appearances
By Jennifer Moreno-Flores
As I continue to follow the Lord Jesus Christ daily, I learn more and more about what type of character Jesus wants to produce out of us. He wants us to examine ourselves daily to remove any ashes we may have in our lives. Jesus spoke a lot about misleading appearances and rebuked the Pharisees and Scribes countless times. Imagine what he would say of those in position of authority in the church today!
Brothers and sisters, appearances are deceptive. Someone may look very spiritual outwardly, but that does not always mean they bear GOOD fruit. In the following verse I allude to below, shows Jesus cursing the tree for its misleading appearance, which suggested great productivity without providing it. Jesus used this as a lesson to show how Israel was spiritually hypocritical and fruitless!!
“The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.” (Mark 11:12-14)
This is a prime example of the error we make as followers of Christ; we look at pastors and leaders in the church with the idea that they are perfect and sinless. That isn’t the case, each one of us has a personal walk with Jesus Christ and there are ashes we are ALL getting rid off. As you grow in your relationship with Christ, you learn that it is only Jesus who walked this life sinless and He became sin for us, so that we wouldn’t pay the penalty we EACH deserve. Not one of us is righteous, but it is by the grace of God who justifies us through Jesus that makes us righteous.
Jesus said “But you, do not be called “Rabbi”; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.”- (Matthew 23:8) Jesus warned the people that they should not imitate the Scribes and the Pharisees, but only to respect their place of authority because it is ordained by God. As followers, we should always remember that we are all brethren and that one should not be exalted above others by positions that we hold in the church.
All of us should be primarily concerned of cleaning both the inside and outside of our hearts. Jesus requires us to do both and not just appear righteous outside. “Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26)
May the Lord continue to bless you and transform you according to His image. And may have grace over one another. In Jesus’ name Amen.
Testimony: How I met Jesus Christ…
I know that I have wanted to share my beliefs with you for a while now but I haven’t been able to for whatever reason… circumstances, or maybe just fear. But I am ready now, the time has come, even if it is only written.
You and I are seekers; seekers of the truth of who God is and what that means for us in our lives. Well, I have found the truth and my search is over. JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!
My search had brought me to all kinds of healers, psychics, reiki masters, those who use crystals, yogis… I remember leaving them feeling inspired but never fulfilled; until I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior on Mother’s Day 2013. Since then, my life has significantly changed. The Lord reveals truth and wisdom in me every day, at least when I am open and accepting of it. My spiritual discernment is way more fine-tuned than it once was.
The Bible refers to Satan as “the father of lies,” (John 8:44). Since “(Jesus) is the way, the truth, the life and no one comes to the Father except through (Him),” (John 14:6), then any spirit claiming a name other than Jesus is ultimately spreading lies. The enemy will say and do anything to keep you from the truth; this the raging war between good and evil. The unbeliever is deceived by these lies because they often sound appealing and even enlightening. But in the believer resides the Spirit of the Most High God and the truth of God’s word is written in their hearts. They are not as easily deceived; yet are still afflicted by these demonic spirits and lies in the form of spiritual warfare, physical pain, and even disease.
False wonders performed by the spirits of Satan are mentioned throughout the Bible; in the Old Testament during the exodus of Egypt and more often in the New Testament concerning end times prophesy:
“For false christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect,” (Matthew 24:24).
We see these possibilities all the time in modern society in the form of miraculous healings, witchcraft, the New Age movement… Satan has power, don’t forget he used to be an angel of the Most High God until his pride and jealously got him kicked out of the Kingdom of Heaven. He now lurks the earth, preying on sinful humanity to build up his army until the Great Day of the Lord. Satan may have power, but Jesus has authority and DOMINION.
He tells us that one day, “at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of the things in heaven, and things in the earth, and things under the earth; and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is LORD, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:10-11). But, as one of my favorite children’s song states, “still the greatest treasure remains for those who gladly choose you now.”
So why do I believe? On the day that I gave my life to Christ, He gave me His Spirit. He lets me know what is wrong, and shows me what is right. I may not always choose the right thing, but I know in my heart what it is. (Sometimes my mind gets in the way!) His love and mercy keeps letting me try again. One day I will be judged and I know that my only salvation is in Him!
He says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you,” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
What I know in my heart is the truth. I see the fruits of Him in my life every day. He answers my prayers, even the ones I don’t even know how to pray. He wills Himself in my life because I gave it to Him. He is faithful. He is merciful. He is righteous.
I have believed in the lies before. They are what lead me to the truth because I was seeking the truth. “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart,” (Jeremiah 29:13). We are all spiritual beings. There is so much more to life than what meets the surface. We see so much pain and suffering. Life took me to a place where I couldn’t go any further on my own, and that is where I found Christ. That is where He is, at the end of you.
“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it,” (Mark 8:35).
I practiced yoga for years and while I enjoyed what it did for my body, the spirituality of it conflicted with my faith. Yoga teaches students to become attuned with the god from within. But we must name God, know Him and invite Him into our lives. Yes, the Holy Spirit lives in me but only when I humbled myself to the point to say that I was nothing without Him! To claim that we are our own gods is blasphemous. Who other can claim all of creation? There is a True Creator, “the Maker of Heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them- He remains faithful forever,” (Psalm 146:6). He deserves our faith, our praise for He is our Creator, our Savior, our Provider, our Protector, our Beginning and our End. He was and we became. He spoke life and it came to be. He is Power, He is Beauty, He is Majesty, He is Glory, He is LOVE.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Hebrews 11:1). I invite you to have your eyes opened.