This is one of those weeks where I struggle to tie all the scriptures together and present them in a coherent package. Since my brain seems to be operating strictly in blonde mode these days, I'm just going to plop them out there and let you put them together.
And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Matthew 6:7 This speaks to me on two levels. I too often feel that the more words I use, the more I'll get my point across. The NLT says that "They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again." I am also guilty of rushing through my prayers, repeating the same things by rote, so that I can check that portion of my day off my to do list. Ouch.
But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:20-21 Since I began reading through the Bible chronologically, I have become more and more convinced that His Word is my greatest treasure. I am convicted daily that this is the the treasure that I need to be storing up. So, once again, I am working on scripture memorization. (not my favorite thing to do, can you tell?)
“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. " Matthew 7:15-18 This got me to thinking. Do we know enough about "fruit" to recognize bad fruit when we see it? How well do we know the Word so that we know false teachings? Can people see good fruit in my life? I don't think "trees" produce neutral, ineffective or so-so fruit.
"These words I speak to you are not incidental additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundational words, words to build a life on. If you work these words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit—but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. " Matthew 7:24-25 (Don't you just love the Message sometimes?) Nothing moved that house! What is my house "fixed" to? Another reminder of how important the Word truly is to our lives.
You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. Matthew 12:34-36 Every careless word? Ouch.
"When a defiling evil spirit is expelled from someone, it drifts along through the desert looking for an oasis, some unsuspecting soul it can bedevil. When it doesn't find anyone, it says, 'I'll go back to my old haunt.' On return it finds the person spotlessly clean, but vacant. It then runs out and rounds up seven other spirits more evil than itself and they all move in, whooping it up. That person ends up far worse off than if he'd never gotten cleaned up in the first place.
"That's what this generation is like: You may think you have cleaned out the junk from your lives and gotten ready for God, but you weren't hospitable to my kingdom message, and now all the devils are moving back in." Matthew 12:43-45 Beth Moore talked about the importance of filling our lives with Him as we break free from the things that keep us in bondage. This scripture is one that she uses to illustrate her point.
I suspect when it is all said and done, the most overwhelming message to me this week was the necessity of keeping ourselves in the Word. Constantly. Totally.