Dec 4, 2017

Hello Matthew...


All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:  “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:22-23

Every December, I read through the book of Matthew again. Slowly. Taking it all in.

From the birth of Jesus,  to the death of Jesus on the Cross.

I soak in the words. The story. The miracles.

So often, I get entangled with "religion" and "religious jargon", that I forget the simplicity of The Gospel. The simplicity of Jesus.

I make everything so complex with my over analyzing and over thinking every little thing. I ponder, I judge, I point out the speck in another's eye--as I have a log in my own eye.

Matthew brings me back down.

Back down to a lowly stable. In a deserted place. In a dingy and dirty manger.

Back to The Savior of the world.

Jesus.

As I read through Matthew Chapter One, I studied the genealogy of Jesus. The 14 generations from Abraham to David. The 14 generations from David to the exile of Babylon, and the 14 generations from the exile to the Messiah.

The names in that genealogy.

The imperfect people that led to a perfect Savior.

Only God.

I am relieved as I read the names. My heart floods with joy.

I see names of people who messed up. Over an over.

I see a prostitute's name.

I see an adulter's name.

I see a murderer's name.

You don't know how badly I needed to read this today.

My mouth got away from me yesterday. Again.

Just when I have been reading the book of James with my prayer group, and learning about the evils of the tongue.

Yep.

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:6

I can vouch for this truth. My tongue was on fire yesterday. Just ask my husband.

Why is it that my tongue usually gets set on fire before church? Huh?

It was so bad that my daughter asked me, "Do you even like Dad?'

I hesitated.

No, just kidding.

I told her I did like him. Sometimes.

But sometimes I didn't.

But, I still loved him.

Still not sure if that was the correct answer to give. But, hey, I am trying.

I do like him. I do.

But, yesterday, I didn't. Ok?

Ok.

So, of course the pastor preaches on the miracle of forgiveness.

Half way through the sermon, I leaned over and whispered to my husband, "I forgive you."

He choked back a laugh.

I was serious.

He didn't see things my way, so I was forgiving him.

He leaned back over and said, "No, sweetie, I forgive YOU."

I rolled my eyes at him and asked God to forgive me for not liking my husband that day. Especially while sitting in church. [eye roll]

We got back home and I was busy picking up things off of the floor, putting up dishes, and just doing my little chores when I remembered something.

I remembered how flawed I was. I remembered how dirty I was. I remember how unclean I was.

I remembered that I would not always get it right. I would have times of failure and fall into sin with my mouth...again.

The Lord reminded me of my posture  when this happens. I hit my knees. I draw near to Him and beg Him for His Love, His Mercy, His Grace. I just cannot muster up this kind of living.

I can only get it from Him.

My kids may see me spout off from time to time at my sweet husband, and I will roll around in regret for a day or two.

But, what do they see after? Do they see a heart of repentance or a heart of rebellion?

I hope it is repentance.

That's what I see as I read these names in Matthew.

Yes, they were not perfect people.

Yes, they were majorly flawed.

Yes, they did not always get it right.

But....

These generations of sinful mistakes....

Brought forth the Son of God.

How would we know we needed a Savior unless we needed saving?

Oh, y'all. I need a Savior.

I need Jesus.

I crave Him.

My flesh wants to run away with sin--especially my mouth.

But, my soul longs for Jesus.

His Power is made Perfect in our weakness. [2 Corinthians 12:9]

God longs to bring forth fruit from even our most heinous sins.

Yet, we often cower and hover in a corner licking our sinful wounds.

We forget....

We forget of His Simplicity. His Peace. His Mercy. His Covering.

His love covers our sins. Not just covers them, but washes them away.

Make room for Him. Invite Him in to even the fleshiest parts of your day.

Fall to your knees and draw near when you mess up...again.

He will always be there to catch you.

still taming my tongue,


jill