Today's "thought" comes from a daily devotional I use most mornings with my daughters. It's called "Jesus Daily," by Aaron Tabor.
He is a medical doctor specializing in Gene Therapy Biotechnology. I chose two selections from the last few weeks that I thought were especially relevant and instructive. Enjoy
Guard Your Heart
"...for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep you from being snared." Proverbs 3:26
"Have you ever seen an animal in a trap? Whether it was a mouse trap or a hunter's trap hidden in the woods to catch small game, it can be a painful sight even when necessary. Most traps feature some kind of bait to attract the creature to the snare. When the animal attempts to take the bait -- SNAP -- the trap captures them if not kills them.
We assume we're too smart to get caught in the simple snares that we've seen used on animals. However, we fall into other kinds of traps just as easily as a mouse lured by cheese. Too often we don't take precautions to avoid the temptations that so easily ensnare us. We dodge the truth when others question us and even lie when loved ones try to hold us accountable.
If you're going to escape from the snares of sin, you must be wise and guard your heart. You will need people to help you keep going and occasionally to pull you out of a trap. And God gives you all the power you need to escape the enemy's snares and avoid his temptations (I Cor. 10:13)."
Those who have walked for any time with the Lord know the snares of the devil are everywhere. They are as plentiful as the dew-laden spiderwebs one sees when they walk through a field early on a summer morning. The spiders work hard all night building new webs and preparing snares in places they were not found the day before. Be careful then, and be on your guard, they are everywhere and new webs can be formed to ensnare you even in the most familiar territory.
"Love must be sincere." Romans 12:9
"We're all aware of the way the word love gets thrown around quite carelessly. We love the new restaurant that just opened in our neighborhood. We love crazy cat videos on YouTube. We love the taste of chocolate. We love certain movies. We love sunsets and mountains. And then there's the way we love God and experience his love. One word that often comes up to describe this kind of spiritual love is "sincere."
We usually think of sincere as a way to describe someone who's genuine, earnest, unpretentious, and open about their feelings. While it's uncertain, many scholars believe the [English] word sincere might come from two Latin words -- 'sine' meaning 'without' and 'cera' meaning 'wax.' Apparently in ancient Rome slaves and builders would sometimes gloss over imperfections in marble and building stones by filling them with wax [or wax mixed with sand and colors]. Therefore, someone who was "without wax" could be trusted as a scrupulous, dedicated craftsman of the highest standards. When we love sincerely, we build our relationship with God, day by day, committed to a rock-solid faith."
Because we are often concerned at keeping up appearances, we can try to make it look like we have a rock-solid faith when in reality it is filled with cracks that we've filled with wax. And that "insincerity" is often unexposed until the heat of trials come, the wax melts away, and the cracks (which were there all along) come to be seen by all.
Better to be without wax (sincere) -- admitting and confessing the cracks and imperfections -- while we simply plead the grace of our loving Father to trust him more. For after all, faith, as I often tell people, is not belief without doubt, it is trusting God in spite of our doubts. When we go by this definition, we lose the need to deceptively "fill our cracks with wax" in the hope that people will think us other than we really are.
With you in that Christian struggle to be real and dependent on God, rather than fake and hope we can keep our imperfections hidden, Pastor Jeff