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No Corners Cut, No Pacifying, No Round-About Way

“Woe Unto You!”

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

“Why don’t you practice what you preach?” Have you ever said those words? Maybe someone has said them to you. Hypocrites are people who pretend to be something they are not. They may say one thing and then do the opposite. They may act one way in a certain setting and then act another way in a different setting. It is very important that as Christians, we follow the example of Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter where we are or who we are with. The words we speak and the things we do should always reflect our faith. Sometimes we are good at telling other people what they should do and how they should live, but we fail to follow our own instructions. We need to, as the saying goes, “walk the walk, not just talk the talk.

Listen carefully to Jesus’ feelings that are boiling and roiling against the Pharisees in Matthew 23. They preach but they do not practice.  They lay burdens on others shoulders but they do not lift a finger to help.  They do all their deeds to be seen by men.  They love the places of honor at feasts and greetings in the market places and being called rabbi.

Then the gospel text switches from “they” to “you.” (Note that in both English and Greek, there is emphasis on the “you” in each of these statements.) Talk about being in your face. Talk about calling a spade a spade. Talk about boiling and roiling. A person can hear the “you” that drip with sarcastic indictment.  “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees for you shut the kingdom of heaven. You do not enter the kingdom and you prevent others from entering it. Woe to you Pharisees, you blind guides, you blind men.  Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for you tithe on the trivia but you neglect the weightier issues of law, justice, mercy and faith. Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, for outwardly you appear beautiful but inwardly you are full of dead men’s bones.  You are the sons of those who have murdered the prophets. You serpents and brood of vipers how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” 

If anyone was a religious fake, it was the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. They pretended to be genuinely religious but it was all a sham, a charade. It was a deceit, a deception. Like any good actor, they were all “make believe.” Jesus was deeply offended by the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a bunch of phonies who did not do what they preached. So it is with many people of faith: on the outside and the showy parts of their lives, they give a good performance of being a Christian, but it is all “a front.” Inside, their hearts are far from the love of God/Jesus and neighbor.  They talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk.

Why is it important to practice what we preach? The most basic reason is the integrity of our faith; we are the body of Christ for the world. We are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. People should be attracted by the light of the way we live and the words we speak. Whether we like it or not, people are watching us and seeing how we respond to the ups and downs of everyday life. Children watch adults and then imitate what they see and repeat what they hear. Are our words and actions something we want repeated by our children? Our friends, neighbors, coworkers, family members, and classmates are watching us. What evidence do we offer of our profession of faith? Are our responses any different from those of persons who don’t profess to know Christ? Not only are nonbelievers watching us, but so are other Christians. Do our words and actions encourage and build up other Christians?

How do we practice what we preach? One way is to be careful about the words we speak. You can tell a lot about a person by the words they use. You can tell even more by the words they use when they are distressed, angry, or threatened. James tells us the tongue is very dangerous. It can set a great forest ablaze. We can tame all kinds of animals, but we cannot tame the tongue (James 3:3-6). People are listening to the words we speak. Do our words build people up or cut them down? Do our words bring peace and calm to a situation or do they add fuel to the fire? The words we speak should match the person we claim to be. If we profess that we are followers of Christ, then our words should be a reflection of that relationship.

We practice what we preach when we live our lives as reflections of the life of Christ. The way we act at work should be the same way we act at home, at church, around other Christians, in the supermarket, or waiting for a bus. When people see us, they should see a reflection of Christ. Can I tell you that, Jesus is pulling the masks off the hypocrites.  It is His job!   {Romans 3:4 God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, that thou mightiest be justified in thy sayings, and mightiest overcome when thou art judged.} And can I just add that if you are sincere in your walk with Jesus, don’t let hypocrites keep you from being the real thing.

As Christians, all glory, honor, and praise belong to Christ. We must check ourselves because pride sneaks up when we least expect it to wag its ugly head in our lives. We are but His servants sent into the world as salt and light, and as ambassadors of His kingdom. May He find us to be faithful, humble servants.   Greatness is not found in being served, but in serving others. Walk the talk!

Am I My Brother & Sister Keeper? Yes I Am!

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

God has called me to teach His Word, and I have to teach it the way it is. I hear the rest of I Corinthians 13 telling me to love, but how many of you know that love must be exercised within the confines of the truth. God wants to take you to another level, but as long as you keep trying to please people and not Him, you’ll never make it.  I’m afraid most of us spend more time trying to please others than pleasing God.  How different would our lives be and look like if our focus was on pleasing our Heavenly Father and not others?  When we please our Heavenly Father we will give and love others sacrificially. We need to long to hear from God, “Well done my good and faithful servant”, instead of the praise from men and women.  Remember who is living in you and through you.  You love others not through your own strength and power, but through the power of Jesus Christ.

Listen, you don’t have to people-please any more.  You don’t have to live up to anybody’s expectations anymore.  You don’t have to fail any more. Just please God and stop trying to fit in with everybody else.  I just stop by to speak deliverance into your life, to break chains, and break yokes, so that people may be set free!   I dare you to say “After today I will no longer be subject to other people’s expectations.  I’ll no longer be held captive by somebody else’s standards.  No one but God has power over me.  I AM SOMEBODY and I REFUSE to live under a lie and a fantasy anymore just to fulfill someone else standards, I’M FREE!”

There are two great deliverances that you can experience in life. One is from people, the other is from you.  Can I help somebody right now? Listen, God wants to take you to another level, but as long as you keep trying to please people and not God, you’ll never make it!  However, I believe that after today somebody is going to be delivered from people pleasing.  Somebody is going to be released from the bondage of others.  Somebody is going to have a new outlook on life, and the things that used to matter just won’t matter no more.  Somebody is going to be delivered from them.  I dare you to bless the Lord right now. You’re free and whom the Son sets free is free indeed!

Lou Coleman has been ordained as a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ since 2001, and she has a degree in Psychology/Counseling, amongst under doctrine certifications.

What Do You Do When Life Fails To Meet Your Expectations

Lou Coleman

Lou Coleman

By Lou Coleman

When life fails to meet your expectations, you should expect God to do the unexpected. We become discouraged when life, people and God don’t meet our expectations. We believe that we live in a cause-and-effect world. We believe things are supposed to turn out a certain way. We believe that if we continue to do “A”, eventually it will result in “B” but life doesn’t work that way.

It is in these times that we need to expect God to do the unexpected. We have nothing to lose by expecting God to do the unexpected in our lives. God is always ready to do his greatest work at precisely the moment we begin to think things are hopeless. The moment Moses reached the end of his rope, God stepped in and said, “Don’t worry, I have everything under control. I am going to let Aaron be your spokesman and when I get through, Pharaoh will think you are God.” God’s power is far beyond anything we can comprehend, so why shouldn’t we expect God to do the unimaginable?

God wants your faith to grow through experience. Experience comes in following God one day at a time. We walk by faith and not by sight. God seldom gave extensive details on the front end. When God calls us He doesn’t give us all the details up front. God told Abraham to get out of his country. God’s call wasn’t that specific. Abraham didn’t know where he was going. God simply called him out of his country into a land that God would later show him. He didn’t know the details up front. Initially, the important thing was just to get out. The important thing was to take that first step. Without that step things remain the same. Actually it is much easier to just take one step at a time than it is to know everything beforehand. How many of us would have taken the road to where we are now if we had known about the obstacles in our path beforehand? I don’t think I would have been doing what I do for 15 years if I had known the hardships beforehand.

When you step out one step at a time it allows God to fill your life with His presence. It allows God to work through you to the accomplishing of His will. It will be God at work in you. Moses finally realized God was all he needed. God is all you need. When you follow one step at a time you will find yourself in the center of God’s will for your life. When you follow one step at a time into the will of God you will become more confident with each step.

We Must Believe in God’s Wisdom. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how young you are, there is one lesson we all must learn in life. God can’t do the unexpected with our lives until we do what He says. Even if doing what He says doesn’t make things work as we expect them to. Even if doing what He says doesn’t seem to make sense. Moses realized that when he did what God told him to do things worked “just as the Lord had said.” If we do exactly what the Lord says, things will always work out just as the Lord has said. This is the first great step we all must take in faith. Yes, it is scary to stop trusting in yourself and start believing and following God’s will. However, it is the only way to live beyond what is expected. (Scripture Ref: Exodus 6:28-7:5; James 5:13-18; 1 Corinthians 1:24-29; Ephesians 3:20-21)