The Longer They Live

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Walking across from the hotel, the deck was adorned with flowers as we approached the water.

The late evening sun was glowing over the lake and coming to rest on some purple blooms.

Made transparent, almost, by the intense light, the delicate blooms were gleaming.

Have you ever met someone like that?

Transparent.

Honest.

Loving.

Christ-like.

As each year goes by, does it seem that as they grow closer to God, they grow more kind and loving than before?

Like fragrant flowers growing beside a lake, we are drawn to their inner beauty that comes from their faith in God.

The ways of right-living people glow with light;
    the longer they live, the brighter they shine.
But the road of wrongdoing gets darker and darker—
    travelers can’t see a thing; they fall flat on their faces.

—Proverbs 4:18-19

    The Message

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living

Really Far Away

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I really like lizards.

Brown ones.

Green ones.

The flashy, iridescent blue ones.

The green ones are a little different than the others in one respect– they’re not always green.

Sometimes, they change to brown.

At other times, they’re green AND brown, because they are changing from one color to another.

So, you might not know by looking at them when they’re brown that they really are green.

You probably know some people like that.

They may purposefully mask who they really are in order to impress others.

In the Bible, Pharisees are talked about a lot. Some of them, according to Jesus, would honor Him with their words, but their hearts were distant from Him.

They would teach laws made by humans just like they were God’s laws.

Jesus said they were hypocrites.

Maybe they looked brown to most people, but really, they were green.

In some ways, I’ve done this.

Not wanting to appear sad in public, I smile and act like everything’s great.

If a friend asks me if I’m okay, I might say “yes” when the real answer—the green answer—is “no.”

I’m sure if I thought about it very much, I could come up with other ways that I’ve tried to be brown around other people.

It’s probably been just as confusing when others see me at the in between stage–half brown, half green.

At that point, who am I showing them anyway?

I want to be the way God wants me to be.

It would seem that the Pharisees were misleading others.

I don’t want my heart to be distant from Him.

When I see a green lizard begin to turn brown before my eyes, a lesson could be brought to mind.

Are those who know me really seeing who I am?

Do they see what I really believe?

Do they see God’s love?

So the Pharisees and the teachers of the Law asked Jesus, “Why is it that your disciples do not follow the teaching handed down by our ancestors, but instead eat with ritually unclean hands?”  Jesus answered them, “How right Isaiah was when he prophesied about you! You are hypocrites, just as he wrote:

‘These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me.  It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!’

“You put aside God’s command and obey human teachings.” —Mark 7:5-8

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