The background for these verses begin in verse 1 of Mark 7 where we find the disciples eating bread and the Pharisees notice they are eating with unwashed hands. In Jesus’ day there was an oral tradition that came out of the laws God gave the Israelites regarding clean and unclean. These traditions became the heart of rabbinic Judaism and in regards to hand washing, the Pharisees did more than just ritually wash their hands – they thoroughly purified themselves. So they asked Jesus, “Why do Your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashed hands?”
Jesus knew that this wasn’t a question of curiosity. Nor were they solely accusing the disciples. They were in reality accusing Jesus of not following the law himself and acting as if he believes himself to be above the law. In response, Jesus quotes Isaiah 7:6-7 and straight out calls the Pharisees hypocrites right to their face. He tells them that the prophet Isaiah accurately prophesied about them when he said, “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” So how does ritual hand washing make them hypocrites? Jesus gives the answer in verse 8: “For laying aside the commandment of God you hold the traditions of men.” In other words, the Pharisees twisted the commandment in order to side-step the law. Jesus was not rejecting the law. Instead he rebuked the Pharisees for not uphold it. The real issue here is not eating with unwashed hands, ritual purity, or oral traditions and who should or should not follow them. In quoting Isaiah, Jesus lets them know the real issue is a heart issue and their hearts are far from God. They were so caught up in keeping up with the traditions and rituals that there was no room for true worship.
So to the crowd that was around Jesus wanted them to understand that it is not what you take into your body that qualifies you as unclean or impure. Instead, it’s what comes out of us that defile us. (Mark 7:15) Traditions don’t gain us entrance into heaven. Whether we sing the old hymns or contemporary music in church won’t get us into heaven. Whether there is a pulpit on the stage or not won’t get us into heaven. Whether we sing the Doxology after the offering or not won’t get us into heaven. You can memorize the books of the Bible and all the best known Bible verses – but it won’t get you into heaven. You can memorize specific prayers and repeat them non-stop till you die, but it won’t get you into heaven. You can pray to Mary, John the Baptist, St Paul, St Andrew, St. Matthew and all the other apostles – but they can’t get you into heaven either. You can live a highly moral life, but it won’t get you into heaven. You can’t buy your way in and no traditions or rituals will get you in. What gets us into heaven is a pure heart that has been forgiven through the faith we place in Christ as our Savior – nothing more – nothing less.
Then as we come to verse 17, we find that the disciples didn’t get it and asked Him to explain what he had said. Jesus tells them that it is was is produced in the heart that affects the whole person. The heart is thought of the center of human will and rationality, as well as desire. It is the place from which all our intentions are birthed. Jesus lists 13 moral problems to illustrated what He was teaching them. The first seven are all plural, indicating repeating acts. However, it only takes one sin to make us a sinner. Fornication includes all illicit sexual practices outside of marriage. Wickedness is used for anything malicious. The last six sins listed are all singular and are sinful attitudes. Lewdness refers to promiscuity. An evil eye means jealousy, envy, covetousness, and a grudging attitude. Blasphemy includes not just blasphemy against God, but slander of other people. Pride is exalting oneself above others. Foolishness is lack of moral judgment. We can find similar lists in Romans 1:29-31, Galatians 5:19-21, and 2 Timothy 3:2-5.
When the desires of our heart are self-seeking, we become insatiable in pursing the things that please our self rather than pursing the things that please God. Ephesian 5:10 tells us that we need to discern the things that please God. So what pleases God?
- Faith (Hebrews 11:6)
- Offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to God, which is true worship (Romans 12:1)
- Not being conformed to this world but renew our minds and discern God’s will (Romans 12:2)
- Good deeds and growing in the knowledge of God (Galatians 1:10)
- speaking as God wants us to (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
- doing the will of God (1 John 2:17)
- loving others (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
- Sharing with others (Hebrews 13:16)
- humble and contrite heart (Isaiah 57:15)
- the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in His sight (Psalm 19:14)
- Working heartily, as for the Lord (Colossians 3:23)
- Obeying God rather than men (Acts 5:29)
- fearing (awe, respect of) Him and placing our hope in his steadfast love (Psalm 147:10-11)
- Walking as children of Light (Ephesians 5:8-10)
- doing everything to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Just as the list of 13 sins come from within, so does what pleases God. It all comes down to the condition of our heart. Do we have a heart black with sin or a heart that has been cleansed by Christ and living for Him?
#heartcondition #whatdefilesaeperson #whatpleasesGod
Don’t forget to learn this week’s memory verse:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
Meditate and apply:
Will you commit to praying with us in 2020 that God will revive His people, renew our faith, and redeem our land? We feel such an urgency and desperation for revival. If God is moving your heart for revival, write your revival prayer in the comments along with your state or country.
#heartofstone #heartofflesh #revivalinAmerica #revivalin2020 #WCM
This week’s featured design is taken from our memory verse – Ezekiel 36:26.
You’ll find the design in tees for men, women, kids, mugs, bags, and other products. The design is also available in white print or black. Check them out in the Spreadshirt shop.
Thank you for helping us grow!
Click here to view the Teespring store.
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#heartofstone #heartofflesh #WCM #teespring #spreadshop
BOOKING NOW! Be a host site for the NEW God, Love & Marshmallow Wars Book Tour & Couples Conference:
This event helps couples understand why the daily activities found in the book will equip them to build a stronger marriage and the book provides them with 365 intentional activities to take what they learn at the event and apply it on a daily basis. Through the event, couples will discover the Biblical “why” behind the categories of activities found in the book and the “how” these activities are important to building a stronger marriage. Focus points of the event includes :
- How memorizing scripture together and studying God’s Word together as they study, meditate and apply scriptures related to marriage and life issues will help them develop marriages that honor God.
- Why utilizing fun conversation starters that spark meaningful conversations will keep interest alive as they continually learn new things about each other.
- Why keeping romance alive is essential to intimacy and connectivity.
- How making memories and working together builds relationship investment bonds and how these investment bonds can become the knots that keeps them together through the tough times.
- How they can understand what they are or are not contributing to the marriage as well as how they might be contributing to problems or potential problems within the relationship through the use of targeted, intentional personal reflections
- Why it is important that couples never stop dating and how group dates with Christian friends can be both an encouragement and accountability to their own relationship.
During the event, couples will be given an activity from each focus point to do together, making this event an interactive, fun, and engaging event with practical, hands-on learning. Unlike other couple events that are over when the event ends, couples who attend the GLMW event will be able to apply what they learn when utilizing the book on a daily basis for a year. Since the book is not dated, couples are able to reuse the activities year after year to continue being intentional in strengthening their relationship with each other and with God as they strive to live out God’s design for marriage every day.
Learn more about hosting this event at your church or conference site by clicking here.
About the book: The GLMW book contains 365 daily challenges for couples to strengthen their relationships to each other and with God. Couples will complete activities such as Scripture memory, conversation starters, relationship builders, learning about Biblical marriage, romance builders, personal reflections, and date ideas. Click here to purchase your copy. (This link will open a new widow and take you to Westbow Press’ bookstore.) It is also available at Christian Book Distributors, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble
#GLMW #couplesevent #GLMWbook #intentionalmarriage #Godlymarriage
Looking for a keynote speaker for your next ministry event? Julia is now booking for 2019 and 2020 Christian events for women’s and couples’ ministries for both small and large events.
Book with us now.
Julia is CEO of Wellspring Christian Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people and couples develop a passionate relationship with God. A public speaker, conference trainer, event planner, and blog writer, Julia is a two-time graduate from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor in Psychology and a masters in Professional Counseling. Saved as a child and raised in church and in a Christian home and private Christian School as a Pastor’s kid, Julia has taught Sunday school, led music, played the piano, served as Children’s Director, and engaged her gifts in many other areas of church life. Previously employed with the Florida Baptist Convention, Julia organized events and led conferences for church ministry assistants. Today, Julia enjoys sharing her journey as a growing Christian with others looking for a deeper connection with God. Through Bible study and her own life experiences, God has given Julia a passion to help couples understand God’s design for marriage while they learn to place God first in their marriage, cultivate meaningful relationships, build intimacy, and address the tougher issues that come in every marriage so that they can experience a marriage that honors and glorifies God. Julia also loves mentoring, teaching, and working with women to help them learn to live as Godly women.
With her history and experience growing up in both small and large churches, Julia enjoys bringing top level quality events to churches of all sizes. Her father largely pastored small churches and therefore she understands that these vital parts of the believing community need to be good stewards of the resources God provides them with. This knowledge inspires her passion for being available with a fresh perspective for those who want to provide their congregations with meaningful spiritual growth opportunities, regardless of size.
To request more information or a booking,
fill out the online form here.
Or call us at 904.524.8073
#JuliaBruce #speaker #keynote #author
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|Living By The Book, Book & Workbook
By Moody Publishers
How would you describe your personal Bible study? Mundane or motivational? Lackluster or lively? Redundant or reviving? In their bestselling book and workbook, Howard and Bill Hendricks offer a practical 3-step process that will help you master simple yet effective inductive methods of observation, interpretation, and application that will make all the difference in your time with God’s Word!Please note that the workbook contained in this set is intended to be used with the book Living by the Book, not the DVD Study.
|Living By the Book 7-Part Condensed Series DVD
By Howard G. Hendricks / Giftedness Center
Join Howard G. Hendricks live as he shows you how to understand and apply God’s Word for yourself. Millions around the world have been captivated by this brilliant teacher’s highly energetic style, friendly manner, unforgettable illustrations, and laugh-out-loud humor. In these series of 25-minutes sessions, Dr. Hendricks will walk you step-by-step through his signature model for self-study: Observation, Interpretation, Application. Your experience in Scripture will never be the same. And your life will be transformed as you begin Living by the Book!
|Living By the Book 20-Part Extended Series
By Howard G. Hendricks / Giftedness Center
Join Howard G. Hendricks live as he shows you how to understand and apply God’s Word for yourself. Millions around the world have been captivated by this brilliant teacher’s highly energetic style, friendly manner, unforgettable illustrations, and laugh-out-loud humor.
In these series of 25-minutes sessions, Dr. Hendricks will walk you step-by-step through his signature model for self-study: Observation, Interpretation, Application. Your experience in Scripture will never be the same.
|Names of Jesus Boxed Mug
By Faithfully Yours
Ceramic bistro mug with the wonderful names of Jesus in vibrant color detail. A fantastic gift for anyone to celebrate their faith. 10 ounce capacity; microwave and dishwasher safe. Packaged in beautiful matching gift box.
|Coffee and Jesus Jumbo Mug
By Glory Haus
Upscale jumbo mug with scripted sentiment
|I Love That You’re My Mom, Mug with Bow
By Lighthouse Christian Products
Gifty mug with handtied grosgrain bow as the finishing touch, and a sweet and simple sentiment in black script on white.Ceramic bistro mug holds 12 ounces; heart shaped I love you tag. I love that you’re my mom with Scripture quote from Ephesians 1:16. Pink ribbon.
12 ounce size; safe for mw/dw. Boxed
|Heart Stone, 1 Peter 5:7
By Lighthouse Christian Products
Heart stone with the natural rustic feel of cement, for shelf, desk, or table display
|A Heart of Flesh
By Grace Patterson / Xulon Press
|Jesus Calling for Easter
By Sarah Young / Thomas Nelson
Exquisite photography alongside the heartwarming, meaningful devotions you’ve come to expect from Young make this a stunning keepsake for family and friends or an inspirational gift to yourself! Fifty themed selections for Lent and Easter with accompanying Scriptures keep the focus on the deep significance of this most blessed time of the year. Features include a padded hardcover binding, color printing throughout, a presentation page, and a ribbon bookmark.
|Leave it all… Prayer Journal
By B&H Books
Prayer journal with elastic band closure
|Last Supper Tabletop Figure
By Roman, Inc.
Tabletop figurine of the Last Supper created by Joseph Studio in fine detail, portraying Christ and his disciples all gathered around the table.Freestanding figurine is 11.25′ long x 4.5″ tall; realistic facial and garment detail. Crafted of resin with smooth finish; stone pattern rectangular base. Renaissance Collection.
|The Case for Easter
By Lee Strobel / Zondervan
Priced to give away, this “investigation” into Christ’s death answers three crucial questions seekers ask: Was Jesus’ death a sham? Was his tomb really empty? Was he seen alive after his death on the cross? Strobel’s award-winning skills as a legal journalist will persuade even the most hard-boiled skeptics to reconsider Jesus’ death and resurrection. 95 pages, softcover from Zondervan.
|He Chose the Nails: What God Did to Win Your Heart
By Max Lucado / Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado invites you to examine the cross, contemplate its purpose, and celebrate its significance in He Chose the Nails. Go ahead and linger on the hill of Calvary and see just how much God did to win your heart. Paperback.
|He Chose the Nails, Study Guide
By Max Lucado / Thomas Nelson
Every gift from God reveals his love, but no gift reveals his love more than the gifts of the cross. Have we taken time to open these? As we do, we find that Jesus did it all just for us. The He Chose Study Guide includes video discussion questions, Bible exploration, personal study and reflection materials for in-between sessions, and an additional session for churches and small groups using this study as part of Lent.
Note: Designed for use with the Because of Bethlehem/He Chose the Nails: A DVD Study (SKU: 687849) which is packaged together. It has two DVDS, one for each study.
|24 Hours That Changed the World, DVD with on-line Leader’s Guide
By Abingdon Press
One of the most innovative teaching pastors in the country, Adam Hamilton unpacks Jesus’ last days on earth and how they turn upside down the conventional ideas about good and evil, justice and history, life and death. Filmed on location in the Holy Land, it portrays the Last Supper to Christ’s victory over the grave.Segments include:
|The Risen Christ: LifeGuide Bible Studies, Jesus’ Final Words on Earth
By Bill Weimer / IVP Connect
Jesus, while dying on the cross, uttered several statements that are often called “The Last Words of Jesus,” but his words on the cross were not the last words he uttered while on earth. After his resurrection, he spoke many words of encouragement to his disciples and followers. His conversations with these men and women truly are Jesus’ last words.
In this eight-session LifeGuide Bible study, The Risen Christ, you will meet the risen Jesus Christ and hear his words. Each of the 8 sessions focuses on a specific dialogue and passage of Scripture from the books of John and Acts. Discussion Questions follow the teaching and a “Now or Later” section helps you integrate the teachings into your personal life. Leader’s Notes included.
|40 Days Living the Jesus Creed
By Scot McKnight / Paraclete Press
This bestselling 40-day devotional, based on The Jesus Creed (Jesus’ double commandment to love God and to love others), now comes with a Lenten study in the back of the book. Author Scot McKnight recites it throughout the day every day and challenges you to do the same. You may find that, if you do, you will learn to love God more creatively and passionately, and find new ways to love those around you.
|Hard to Dance with the Devil on Your Back: A Lenten Study for Adults
By Ray Buckley / Abingdon Press
Known for his stories, poetry, and art, Buckley—interim director of the Center for Native American Spirituality and Christian Study—delineates the crescendo of events leading to the crucifixion so that all can learn how to cope with the stresses and strains of a crumbling world where light is dying out. 64 pages, softcover. Abingdon.
|Jesus the King, Study Guide
By Timothy Keller / Zondervan
This powerful 9-session study from author Tim Keller focuses on the meaning and significance of Jesus’ life, based on the gospel of Mark. Is he the promised Messiah? Keller highlights the cosmic, historical, and personal dimensions of the story, encouraging everybody to re-examine their relationship with God.
|Our Family Will Love Wall Plaque
By Lighthouse Christian Products
Rustic look wall plaque 16.5″ x 8.5″; distressed finish Family Scriptures. Our family will… live and accept one another, pray for one another, tell the truth to each other, be kind to one another, bring joy to each other, serve one another, be patient with each other, comfort one another, forgive one another, be generous with each other, honor each other. In a variety of artful typography styles, with Scripture references under each; mounted paper on laser cut MDF wood product. Faux distressed finish.
God, Love, and Marshmallow Wars: 365 Daily Challenges to Grow Your Marriage
By Julia M. Bruce / WestBow Press
There’s no doubt that marriage is hard work. Yet it can also be one of the most fulfilling relationships you can experience, outside of your relationship with God. However, many marriages leave God outside of the relationship. Godly marriages do not happen without cultivating it, investing in it, and putting God first in your individual lives and in your marriage.
This book includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:
• Scripture to memorize and meditate on
• Conversation Starters
• Concepts from the Bible on Godly marriages
• Romance Builders
• Relationship Builders
• Personal reflections
• Date ideas
• Group date ideas for you and other Christian couples