Mirror Mirror

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In her book Amazing Grace, writer and poet Kathleen Norris shares what she calls “the scariest story” she’s ever heard about the Bible. Norris and her husband were visiting a man named Arlo, a rugged, self-made man who was facing terminal cancer. During their visit, Arlo started talking about his grandfather, a sincere Christian. The grandfather gave Arlo and his bride a wedding present: an expensive leather Bible with their names printed in gold lettering. Arlo left it in the box and never opened it. But for months afterwards his grandfather kept asking if he liked the Bible. Arlo told Norris, “The wife had written a nice thank-you note, and we’d thanked him in person, but somehow he couldn’t let it lie, he always had to ask about it.”
Finally, Arlo grew curious enough to open the Bible. “The joke was on me,” Arlo said. “I finally took that Bible out of the closet and I found that granddad had placed a twenty-dollar bill at the beginning of the Book of Genesis, and at the beginning of every book… over thirteen hundred dollars in all. And he knew I’d never find it.”
Sad To Say, That Describes A Lot Of People. They Own A Bible, But They Never Open It To Find The Treasure That It Contains.
IN the American Bible Society THE STATE OF THE BIBLE REPORT -- Some of what they found was encouraging. For example:
2/3 OF AMERICANS BELIEVE THE Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life
BUT ONLY 36% of Americans profess to reading the Bible once a week
19% OF CHURCHGOING CHRISTIANS read the Bible daily
25% OF CHURCHGOING CHRISTIANS read the Bible a “few times” a week
40% OF CHURCHGOING CHRISTIANS read the Bible “once a month, rarely or never”
That’s sad — because within the pages of the Bible — there is a treasure far greater than any amount of money
I want you to check something out with me — the Holy Spirit took me to the book of James concerning the continuance of MOUNTAIN MOVING FAITH — BUT FIRST WE HAVE TO
James 1:21 (NKJV)
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
1st — RICK RENNER says it gives An example of a person who is about to sinfully indulge in eating too much pie but suddenly realizes what he is doing. So instead of diving into the extra piece of pie and eating it — he chooses instead to lay it back down on the table — then he deliberately shoves it away from himself lest he should overindulge one time too many! He lays it down, and he pushes it away.
This is the idea of the word APOTITHIMI James uses when he tells us to “lay apart” all filthiness in our lives.
2nd — In New Testament times — the word APOTITHIMI was frequently used to describe someone taking off his dirty clothes at the end of the day.
How do you deal with your dirty clothes at the end of the day? You take them off and put them away in the clothes hamper! Now James uses this illustration to explain how you must deal with Wrong Attitudes And Actions In Your Own Life. Just as you wouldn’t go to bed in dirty clothes at night — neither should you go to bed with wrong attitudes. You must deal with them like an old set of filthy clothes.
You have to decide to get rid of those bad attitudes!
James 1:21 could be interpreted to mean:
You must make the choice to remove those filthy, stinking garments from your life, to permanently lay them down and then deliberately push them out of your range forever.…”
Also — it’s important to realize that dirty clothes don’t fall off your body by accident! To get them off, you have to push the buttons through the button holes, unzip the zipper, and slip the clothes off your arms and legs one piece at a time. Dirty clothes don’t automatically come off just because you realize they are dirty. They Will Come Off Only If You Do Something To Remove Them!
WHEN a believer is being pessimistic, downbeat, negative, uncooperative, gloomy, cynical, or indifferent — it just flat stinks!
SHOOWEE — Nothing stinks worse than an attitude of a grumpy and pessimistic person.
“These Christians have walked in these negative attitudes for so long that it has become a part of their thinking.
LISTEN — Jesus has washed and cleansed them by His blood and “showered them with His grace and power. But those wrong attitudes have been a part of their lives for so long that they are still tempted to reach down, pick them up again, put them on, snap them back in place, and keep acting the same old way they did before they were saved.
These people are inwardly changed — but their old thinking patterns have become a bad habit. Therefore, they still wear those old, filthy attitudes — even though those negative attitudes are no longer consistent with the clean, new condition of their inner man.
Ephesians 4:21-24 (NKJV)
if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:24 (TLB)
Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature.
Colossians 3:10 (NKJV)
and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,
Colossians 3:10 (TLB)
You are living a brand new kind of life that is continually learning more and more of what is right, and trying constantly to be more and more like Christ who created this new life within you.
James is talking about stepping out of the stinking attitudes and wicked behavior -- HOW…
James 1:22 (NKJV)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
There is one primary reason why people get spiritually bored. It is very simple: Knowledge without application eventually becomes boring and unfulfilling — every time.
If all you do is sit and listen, listen, and listen to the Word without ever taking steps to apply it to your life — you’ll soon reach a place where you’ve heard, heard, and heard so much of the Word that you are sick of hearing it!
Instead of anticipating what you might receive from the Lord, you’ll think, Oh, no, another sermon!
But the problem isn’t the Word!
So if you just sit and listen to more and more sermons, gathering more and more information but never acting on what you’ve heard — you’ll eventually become so oversaturated that you won’t want to hear any more!
However, the problem is not the church, your pastor, or the kind of preaching you are hearing. The problem is you!
You are bored because you’re not doing the Word that you’ve heard preached.
Let me tell you the truth: If you will simply do what you have already been told to do — you won’t have time to be bored!
Applying The Word You Already Know Will Necessitate A Serious Prayer Life.
It Will Require Discipline
It Will Demand That You Learn To Crucify Your Flesh.
In fact, walking in the kind of obedience that God expects of you will take every ounce of your focus — YOU WILL HAVE TO BE INTENTIONAL
ASK YOURSELF — Am I doing something with the Word I’ve heard preached?
If you will listen, the Holy Spirit will say,
“Here’s an opportunity to apply what you’ve been hearing. Do it!”
If you have a heart to truly act on the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will show you ways to do it.
To pray for the sick.
To share Jesus with your lost friends.
To bake a cake and take it to the lady next door.
To help your neighbor repair his car.”
You See, It’s Not Enough Just To Hear, Know And Talk About God’s Word. You Must Put It Into Practice For It To Do Any Good.
Or to put it another way…
James 1:22-24 (NKJV)
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
Look in the mirror of God’s Word. Let the Bible reveal your flaws and then fix what you see.
Remember in the fairy tale story, Snow White, the wicked queen would stand in front of her mirror and ask “Mirror Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all” -- the mirror would always tell her that she was -- but she kept coming back as if she had forgotten.
2 Corinthians 3:18 (NKJV)
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Now, only a MAN would do that. Only a MAN would glance at a mirror, with his hair all messed up and his shirt tail out, and walk away without doing anything about it.
A WOMAN, on the other hand, gazes at a mirror, notices a hair out of place, and has to stop and fix it before she moves on. That’s the way God wants every believer to treat His Word.
The blessing of real growth in facing your mountains comes from putting God’s Word into practice — not just Hearing It and forgetting it.
A group of 30-year-old friends got together for a reunion and were discussing where they should go for dinner. Somebody suggested that they meet at the Glowing Embers Restaurant because the wait staff there is young and beautiful. They all agreed.
Fifteen years later, at 45 years of age, they met again and discussed where they should have dinner. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because the food there is very good. They all agreed.
Another 15 years later at 60 years of age, they once again discussed where to meet. Somebody suggested the Glowing Embers because you can eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant is smoke free. They all agreed.
Another fifteen years later, at the age of 75, the group discussed again where they should meet. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because the restaurant is handicapped accessible and they even have an elevator. They all agreed.
Finally, 15 years later at the age of 90, the same group of friends discussed one more time where they should meet for dinner. Somebody suggested that they should meet at the Glowing Embers because they had never been there before. And they all agreed.
I can understand people in their 90’s forgetting some things. But there is no excuse for you and I forgetting the basic principles of God’s Word. We who have trusted Christ have the Holy Spirit dwelling within — who reminds us and empowers us to live God’s Word.
James 1:25 (NIV)
But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
Someone once figured it out that if you read the Bible at standard pulpit speed (slow enough to be heard and understood), it would take you 71 hours. If you break that down into minutes and divide those minutes by 365, you could read the entire Bible from cover to cover in a year, investing less than 12 minutes a day.
I challenge you — if you are not already doing it — invest just 12 minutes a day in God’s Word.
Set aside just 12 minutes every day to read the Bible. It will give CHANGE YOUR LIFE
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