Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Word and Prayer: Matthew 3

 Word and Prayer

Matthew 3

Today I  listened to Matthew 3 in The Message translation for a different perspective, and it hit hard like a boulder; a familiar story in a new voice. I especially liked these verses:

“When John realized that a lot of Pharisees and Sadducees were showing up for a baptismal experience because it was becoming the popular thing to do, he exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to make any difference? It’s your life that must change, not your skin! And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as father. Being a descendant of Abraham is neither here nor there. Descendants of Abraham are a dime a dozen. What counts is your life. Is it green and flourishing? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭3‬:‭7‬-‭10‬ ‭MSG‬‬

This familiar-to-me passage made me stop and reflect. Am I green and growing or dead wood headed for the burn pile?

Our green and growing can look very different from each other. Even my own growing looks different today than a few years ago! But isn’t that the point? CHANGE. Maybe even a willingness to change. Where’s my heart? Is it steeped in traditions that I don’t want to change? That I always want things to be the way they always have been? Do I get upset when “unforeseen circumstances” (God) shakes things up and changes my plans?

If I’ve learned one thing in life, it’s that things are going to change! A sapling has to continually change to become a tree. I want to grow too.

Father, you have nurtured and grown me for so many years, yet I remember my “burn pile life.” There have been stinky seasons of fertilization, and painful times of pruning, but everything you do makes me grow and bear fruit. Thank You for tending to me to be fruitful in Your timing and good season.

In this day, and all my tomorrows, have Your way in my life. I belong to You, and I want my one life to bring You glory and point others to You. Help me to see Your hands, and the tools You use, at work in me and around me. Help be to yield to Your plans for me, instead of my traditions or self-serving schedule. I don’t need to please anyone but You. In Your name I pray. Amen

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