Beautiful Feet – What?!

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How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” Isaiah 52:7

Maybe I speak for myself but if God calls even my FEET beautiful, He must REALLY love me! I mean, I paint my toes along with the rest of female race but in my case it’s a hopeful attempt to at least make them presentable pool side, but now that I’m thinking of it, maybe that just draws more attention?! Either way it’s the effort that counts more than the end result right?! In general though, feet are not thought of as “beautiful”. I mean they don’t even smell beautiful and after years of shoving mine into pointe shoes some might even describe them as distorted of which no amount of polish can hide! However I’m grateful they still get me from point A to point B successfully! And if on a mountain bringing His good news is where they appear beautiful, that is where I need to be!

If God can call feet beautiful I’m reminded He’s not looking for a perfect life, just a blameless one. Psalm 19:12-13 states, Who can discern his errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression. Because of the cross, we can have forgiveness through Jesus! We will never be without need of the covering of His blood our entire lives if we are to live blameless.

Then in Philippians 2:14-16 it says, Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God with out fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like the stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life – in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing. So to live blameless is a choice, just like I can choose fear and worry and pray for “easy” in my life. OR I can choose faith and trust in spite of doubts and insecurities and pray that my life count for something bigger than me… and my “toes”.

Within that last verse it said you can shine like the stars in the universe as you hold out the Word of life! A shining star is pretty beautiful right! In His Word located in Ephesians 1:3-6 we can find 5 things to match the five points in a shining star that God says you and I, beautifully are! Vs.3 Blessed! Vs.4 Chosen! Vs.5 Adopted as His child! Vs. 6 Accepted! Vs. 7 Redeemed and forgiven! You shine girl!! Beautifully so, feet and all!! He lavished His grace on you and I and vs. 8 says with all wisdom and understanding! He knows us better than we know ourselves and yet He still loves us truly, madly, deeply, He sees beauty, He sees a shining star, imperfect yet with the ability to shine blamelessly in Him!!

Jesus help us to believe we are who You say we are, beautiful shining stars designed with a specifically individualized purpose so that we are not in competition with the next star over. We are to proclaim the good news of You from the “mountain tops”, from the jobs and locations you have us placed for the display of Your splendor at such a time as this. Help us to remember You are not expecting perfection but that we will need the covering of Your blood our entire lives in order to shine as beautifully as you intended. We thank You for our unearned seat at Your table! As we receive and believe these truths You speak over us help us to faithfully and freely proclaim them… on blamelessly beautiful feet!

I wonder if they sell a polish in “Blamelessly Beautiful”?! I think I’d buy stock if they did!

Independent Read: Psalm 19:14, Psalm 139:14, 23-24, Eph. 2:4-10, John 3:16

Hands Or Fins, He Is Able!

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But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. Jeremiah 17:7

Have you ever quoted Moses in Exodus 4:13? But Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it.” Maybe for any number of reasons… lazy, selfish, feeling unqualified, ill-equipped, lacking resources, knowledge, experience, no time… Whether we think we have a valid reason or an excuse not to take that leap of faith, faith is the opposite of self confidence. You can see self, know self, make your own self plan with outcomes you can reason out. But faith requires you to step with out seeing, to place your confidence in what is out of your control. And with out faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. Hebrews 11:6

As a young girl in my first swim lessons I was the one that every other parent was glad I wasn’t THEIR child, the one that every instructor (but the one I had) was SO grateful my name was NOT on their roster! You see I was terrified to let go of the wall. That presents a small problem when you are in SWIM lessons at a POOL! LONG story short I grew up to become a swim coach so somewhere along the way I made that leap of faith. However it’s probably no small miracle that I did not become a ward of the pool after all that, bless my moms heart!

Although reluctant Moses answers God’s question in Ex. 4:2 “What is that in your hand?” with, “A staff.” Ever felt like what you have in your hand is silly, insignificant? Like I’m a person not a fish, I breath air, not water there is NO way I can swim to the other side!! WHY are you asking ME? I only have hands not fins!!

Maybe we need to ask God to change our perspective… after all His ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts, in fact as the heavens are higher than the earth so are His ways higher than ours it says in Isaiah 55:8-9! You see something happened between Ex. 4:2 and Exodus 4:20 because as Moses is packing up his belongings to take the leap of faith the Lord had asked him to take, verse 20 states, And he took the staff of God in his hand. You see now it wasn’t just a staff, it was the staff of God!! A confidence shift. A transfer of confidence from self to God!

The LORD said to Moses, “When you return to Egypt, see that you perform before Pharaoh all the wonders I have given you the power to do. Ex. 4:21 Any leap of faith He has called you too will be done in His power, strength and with His energy, and like any good parent on the side of the pool, He will catch you 100 percent of the time. Things may not always turn out the way we think but again we ask Him to conform our perspective to His, which is so much higher than ours. He can understand things we don’t and knows things we can’t, so we choose to pray for ever increasing trust in the One who does. Because in fact we are people not fish, yet, we can do all things through Him who gives us strength. Phil. 4:13 And what He does is always immeasurably more than all we could ask or imagine because HE IS ABLE. (Eph. 3:20)

He is able to get us to the other side if we are willing to trust and let go of the edge, to leap into His ever faithful arms. He will catch you every single time.

Independent Read: Romans 8:28, Psalm 18:27-32

Trap: Steps Unguarded

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Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools… Ecc. 5:1

Can you imagine a conversation recorded in the Old Testament where people stand around and debate whether they will attend the Festivals or Sacrifices?! “Oh I don’t know Joe I think its Robert leading it this time and he just, well, he just gets a little too excited for my taste, uses his hands too much and he tends to go long so I think I’ll skip this sacrifice for sin.” NO!!! Of course not!! OR can you imagine the angels after a day of singing, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come.” walking out saying. “Uh, I don’t know I just wasn’t feeling it today, everyone was kind of off for my liking.” NO!!! But isn’t this just the kind of trap so much of this self gratifying society has fallen into? Trap: Steps unguarded.

Moses: On his way to Egypt to confront Pharaoh about setting God’s people free was almost killed for not circumcising his son. (Exodus 4:24-26)

Ananias and Sapphira: Both fell down and just died on the spot for having lied to God, testing His Spirit, deceitfully withholding some of the earnings from the sale of their land. (Acts 5:1-10)

Uzzah: Struck down dead on the spot for reaching out to take hold of the Ark before it fell when the oxen pulling the cart stumbled. (2 Samuel 6:6-7) For Numbers 4:15 says, But they must not touch the holy things or they will die.

In Genesis 4:7 God warns that sin is crouching at our door…but we must master it. Crouching, isn’t that just like sin to crouch and make itself seem smaller than it is so that we begin to rationalize until we are drowning in sin, trapped addicted, then sin rears its ugly head and is no longer crouching but consuming. It’s a slow fade, be on guard (1 Peter 5:8).

Have we forgotten or do we even understand God’s holiness and power? It’s like walking into the Doctors office. No matter how many times you have been there you have no problem getting to the exam room but it never fails does it, to get lost on your way out!!!! Tell me I’m not the only one that gets lost from the exam room to the lobby like every time!! You end up behind the front desk, the restroom, another exam room (hopefully it’s empty) but the lobby, the way out, has completely fallen off the building!

So quickly we forget what’s important in this self gratifying world! On the way in its all about what I need – I’m not focused on the bigger picture… am I taking it all in, am I remembering the path so that I can walk safely out and back home or will I stay trapped, trapped and stuck right where I am in my selfish pit forever?! Where is my focus, it will be on what I hold sacred. So what do you hold sacred?

Midwives: The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live….. So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Exodus 1:17, 21

1 Corinthians 12:27 says, Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Cor. 4:1 So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Jeremiah 33:3 says if you call to him He will reveal great and unsearchable things you do not yet know!! Even the angels long to look into such things (1 Peter 1:12)!

Jesus I long to live more like the midwives, in reverent fear of You, to hold You Jesus- sacred, Your death on the cross in my place- sacred, Your forgiveness of my sins- sacred, Your rising from the grave conquering death for me so I could live eternally with You- sacred, communion: the opportunity to remember these things- sacred, baptism: choosing to die to self, to surrender my will my doubts, and choose to trust You to live new life in You- sacred. To freely come to a place to worship You, pray to You, ready Your Word- sacred. To allow Your all consuming fire to completely capture, enrapture and engulf my heart leaving me breathless with You and the joy that comes from fixing my eyes on You. Fix my focus, guard my steps, keep me on the path that leads to salvation in You Jesus.

No more wandering around lost at the “Doctor’s office”, keep my feet on the right path Lord.

Independent Read: 2 Chronicles 7:1-4, Psalm 18:27-32, Psalm 145:3

What’s your game stance? Devoted.

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I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. Genesis 46:4

I was watching my daughters basketball team practice last night and the coach was going over the importance of their game stance, or their ready position. Feet wide spread, knees bent, hands up, eyes up… body ready to take on the opponent. He said if you don’t have a good game stance, if your caught lounging, if your feet start crossing, you’ll be beat right out of the gate. He’s right, if your think of any sport there is a ready stance, racers get low in the starting block, swimmers lean in over the pool, skiers grip their polls. If you don’t have a game stance you’re beat before the game even begins!

In the same way I remembered hiking as a family when the kids were younger and both my husband and I would carry a kid on our backs in those child hiking backpack devices. I’d crouch low feet wide to prep and stabilize myself for on the count of three I’d stand up with the added 30 pounds of bundled joy strapped on! Really no problem, simple, however if that same 30 pounds of bundled joy came running at me jumping on my back by surprise I’d probably slip every disc in my lower back! The difference being I was in the ready stance, I was prepared and expecting the first experience.

Hebrews 12:2 states, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. I believe Jesus was able to stay devoted to the joy set before Him because the shame did not take Him by surprise, the cross didn’t take Him by surprise, the rejection and pain was not a surprise. He had decided from the beginning when He went to the stable in the feeding trough, He would be devoted to the joy set before Him at the finish line… the saving of many lives to His glory! On the cross He wasn’t looking behind, or around comparing His situation to others, no He was devoted, He had decided to choose joy, (which is a decision before a feeling so often, right) He had his game stance.

John 16:33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” So take a ready stance!! When the morning alarm goes off hear it as the game start whistle and jump out of bed with that ready stance, with your game face on! Your devotion set on Jesus, deciding to choose the joy set before you in His salvation of your life in Him!

God told Jacob not to be afraid, He would go down with him into Egypt. What is your Egypt? Remember Jesus went to a stable and laid in a feeding trough, He will go with you to your “Egypt”. But the verse doesn’t end there… AND I will surely bring you back again! Praise Jesus He never leaves us in Egypt!! Now Jacob never return to his land while he was still alive but God never left him in Egypt, He brought him home, heavenly home through Egypt. God did however bring the people back out of Egypt in His time as He had told Jacob He would because He is always faithful. If we want His promises we have to trust His processes.

So what’s your game stance today, are your ready? Have you decided on joy in Jesus to be wholly devoted to Him in your relationships, achievements and endeavors in whatever comes your way? Do your trust He will be with you in your “Egypt” so that Egypt doesn’t have you beat before you even start the game?!

Jesus be the devotion of my heart, give me a game stance that cannot be shaken.

Independent read: Psalm 62:6

Out of proportion maybe!?!

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Now the men were frightened when they were taken to his house. They thought, “We were brought here because of the silver that was put back into our sacks the first time. He wants to attack us and overpower us and seize us as slaves and take our donkeys.” Genesis 43:18

Now to personalize it a bit…. I was frightened and thought… they want to attack me and over power me and seize me and take my ———-! (Unless you own a donkey you can fill in that last blank with some other position or possession.) Now lets fast forward to verse 24… reality. The steward took the men into Joseph’s house, gave them water to wash their feet and provided fodder for their donkeys. Hmmm… can anyone else relate to worrying or fearing out of proportion?! In fact, I would do well to memorize verse 23, “It’s all right, ” he said. “Don’t be afraid. Your God, the God of your father, has given you treasure…. The treasure of His presence, the great I AM for all you would ever, could ever need has promised to be with you ALWAYS!

This Sunday I attended church after a war with the curling iron. Now it’s not the first time I have attempted to wrestle with that beast (always hopeful for a win) and yes, it takes time and effort to complete the whole head of curls, so by the time I’m finished, and I realize my new look now resembles a severely aged and definitely not as cute Shirley Temple rather than the soft tussled beach curls the picture on the front of the curling iron box promised, I’m out of time and once again forced into public with this look!! However God brought about the sweetest message.

I was in the church kitchen and the pastors wife breezed by and in about 30 seconds sincerely complimented the curly helmet I was wearing and alluded to the time and effort it takes to produce curls in the morning. That’s when I thought I needed to get things into proportion. Taking eyes off self and sharing even a little of His love and kindness in just 30 seconds can really bring some perspective right! I was reminded to have eyes and a heart that look out and recognize and appreciate the time and effort someone puts in rather than just judge the product or outcome. Sometimes the bigger importance is the process… do I notice and appreciate others process, others time and efforts behind the end results that are so obvious to the world?

I believe the more we move into being “doers” of the Word rather than just hearers or even just being absently present, God creates in us a sensitivity to truly appreciate the efforts and process of others. To be salt and light to be encouragers of the process rather than just judgers of the final product.

This brings me to my second point or lesson I learned on Sunday (see how important it is not to miss a week!). Luke 5:1-11 starts with Jesus observation of not one but two boats at the waters edge. He got into the one belonging to Peter and ASKED him if he would be willing to push Him out into the water a bit. Now at that moment Peter had a choice to make as do we. It is possible to be present yet so absent that we do not hear Him ask us to join Him; anyone with children knows this is a real possibility… you KNOW they heard you but nothings happening right!! God is always on the move, if we are present and we do hear His call, how do we typically choose to respond? Do we blow excuses out of proportion, thinking of every reason why He can’t possibly be asking us? Thus cheating only ourselves out of the greatest adventure of life abundantly fulfilled in Him. OR do we respond, do we DO as He has asked? Peter did.

Maybe you knew this but it was news to me, that fishermen typically went out in groups of two. Makes sense, two are better than one. So when God asked Peter to come along side Him it was because He had TWO boat fulls of fisherman to whom He wanted to display His glory! Once Peter agreed to help they ALL had to help. I’m sure there was a fair amount of grumbling and a few “accidental” elbow drops thrown Peter’s way on the way out to sea… AGAIN. God’s plan will never be thwarted and so if He had in mind to show two boat fulls of fishermen His glory that night it was going to happen. So if Peter bowed out I believe he would have asked the guy in charge of boat number two to lead the way. Now I’ve lived long enough to know that yes, immediate regret comes after trying and failing however long term, there is more regret experienced over risks not taken. So way to go Peter for not blowing things too out of proportion… he was exhausted, grumpy over the nights ill success yet he didn’t bow out he bowed in… because God said so (verse 5).

Jesus, I want to bow in every time, use my boat, send me! I want to know and hear and listen AND obey. Please give me a heart with eyes that don’t just wait for my big moment but treat every moment like its the big moment… who knows offering 30 seconds of encouragement just passing in the church kitchen just might mean the world to someone.

Independent Read: Isaiah 6:8

 

Counting Carbs or Complaints?!

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Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Revelation 2:4

We have reached that annual time of year in which you may spend more time waiting in line at the gym for your turn on the stair climber than you will for Space Mountain at Disney land! That time when the buzz in the office lounge is all over whether you’ve chosen to pursue the Atkins, Paleo, or Slim Fast diet to shed those unwanted pounds that came after eating quite possibly our own body weight in holiday delights (or was that just me?!). Having to losing weight: a problem most countries in this world would probably see as a blessing to get to experience! Perspective.

In Matthew 23:2 Jesus says, The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. It seems as Moses was up against the Red SEA, Jesus was up against the PhariSEES. Jesus said, They tie up heavy loads and put them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to to move them. Matthew 23:4 This made me do some self evaluation… am I a Pharisee, in my home, church, workplace, as a sister, mother, wife, friend? In every area God has placed my life as an influence do I behave as a Pharisee? Because Jesus also said, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30 If I am behaving as a Pharisee I am certainly not following Jesus example thus the “Jesus” people perceive in my sphere of influence would be incredibly skewed!!

Jeremiah 17:9 states, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? So I believe in my heart inspection for Pharisee tendencies I need to desperately pray daily (maybe even more frequently), Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalm 139:23-24 

Do I live like Jesus? Do I display gentle humility which takes incredible strength? Do I offer non-judgmental yet tough true love in my relationships? Do I behave as someone who believes Eph. 2:4-6? That I already have a seat at the most important table (unearned no less) so I don’t have to play the political games! That I have jobs prepared only for me in advance by the King of kings (Eph. 2:10) so I don’t have to play the competition/comparison games, but can celebrate others! Do I “sing” directly to God, is He my deepest desire, is it His validation that means the most? Do I pursue Truth over traditions? Do I capitalize on strengths or weaknesses? Am I more concerned about what size I’m wearing or about the actual garments; have I chosen to put on praise and His joy, His armor? Do I just find the burdens or do I offer to lift them? Do I locate or am I apart of problems or solutions? Do I serve or look to be served? If we put as much time into counting our complaints as we do our carbs what would we find the health of our hearts to be?

Psalm 10:4 In his pride, the wicked does not seek him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God. How scary is that!!! To be in a state of mind that has lost room for God! Back to Matthew 11:28-30 and Psalm 139:23-24 The cure to prevent that selfish, prideful pharisitical (if that’s a word) state is to “Come to me…” go to Him and say, “Search me, know me, test me…” and then God give me eyes that truly see and a heart willing to fully surrender, to go Your way.

Folks all I know is Jesus is the answer. Human yokes are not easy and our burdens are not light, its in coming to Him that we find rest for our souls because we find it’s not what or why we are going through something; its Who is with us in it. Genesis 35:3 God, who answered me in the day of my distress and who has been with me wherever I have gone. He is love. The most loving Father. Like Jacob’s sensitive response to Joseph’s dreams in Gen. 37:11 and Mary’s sensitive response to Jesus in Luke 2:19, 51. God treasures His people, in Gen. 7:24-8:1 it states, The waters flooded the earth for a hundred and fifty days. But God remembered Noah and all the wild animals and the livestock that were with him in the ark, and he sent a wind on the earth, and the waters receded. When it says God remembered Noah it doesn’t mean He forgot him, God doesn’t forget it just means He was now ready to act on what He had held in His heart all along regarding Noah.

Are we living like we know He remembers us, or like a small child riding on a fathers shoulders clinging for dear life to his head not realizing that the saving grip is not our own but that of the father holding onto us? If we could begin to grasp how dearly we are loved and how much He has saved us from as believers in Jesus and that He has seated us in an unearned seat at His table maybe we our natural tending Pharisee hearts would soften to flesh from stone. However this Truth is something only He can reveal but we need to chose to come.

Jesus, may we stop counting “carbs”, walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way of sinners or sitting in the seat of mockers but rather let our delight be in You (Psalm 1:1-2). For those of us that have wondered deceived as the Pharisees open our eyes and bring us back to our first love – You God.

Independent Read: Jeremiah 33:3

 

Rest in your Sustainer

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I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the LORD sustains me. Psalm 3:5

At first this verse had me chuckling because last night I did NOT lie down and sleep… tired, but to no avail, for some time anyway. Ever had a night that you just can’t seem to shut off your brain as if thought wrestling were going to burn any of those extra holiday calories! Gosh, if only!!

I had to pray out Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trusting over wrestling… hmmm well lately when thought wrestling has brought me to conclusions in which I feel I might just be beginning to see how God might be working things out… things completely do a 180! So maybe I should retire my wrestling hobby and try this thing called trusting that in Isaiah says brings not just peace but perfect peace! Worth a shot anyway!

The second part of Ps. 3:5 really grabbed my attention. I wake again because…. why?! Because the LORD sustains me! Gosh, how often have I just taken for granted that my eyes open up again in the morning?! It says in Psalm 139 that all my days are ordained for me ahead of time so of course His waking me up with a breath in my lungs one more time is done on His intentional part, and not due to any of my stellar thought wrestling abilities! This fact is reason enough to start each day of mine off in ecstatic praise! It’s nothing short of Him working a miracle in me in order to just to wake up again! And if He did He must not be finished working things out in my life.

Interestingly too that today I read in Genesis the story of Noah. God made something new jump out to me like it hasn’t before. Gen. 7:15 Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark. Do you notice it says, “came to Noah”! In Chapter 6 God gives Noah directions to build an ark, gather two of EVERY kind of animal and gather the food. So verse 22 states Noah obeyed… he just got right to work starting with what he could. He built the ark and gathered the food… nowhere is it recorded how Noah was stressing about how in the world he was going to capture two of EVERY kind of animal and then persuade them onto the ark!!

This is why God did not make me Noah because the world would have all gone down while I sat worrying about the animal crisis, neglecting all that I could do like getting to work on hammering some wood together to build the ark and gather food… Noah however had a mind kept in perfect peace because he trusted God and sure enough our faithful Lord brought all the animals needed, TO Noah! Always above and beyond what we could think ask or imagine, that’s why we need to apply trust to keep in peace.

By His grace and mercy He sustains yours and my life every morning that we wake up and why… because He has a job for us that we may very well feel is out of our reach and beyond our capabilities or mind power to figure out but I don’t think that’s what He is asking of you or I. I think He is asking us to wake with ever increasing trust in Him, so that we will keep in perfect peace in order to do what we can and watch and wait as He so faithfully unfolds the rest in His perfect timing.

Rest in His promises, we could ride a rainbows worth of them! 😉

Independent Read: Psalm 46:10, Ephesians 3:20-21