The question is IF? not WHEN?

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It is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.'” Romans 14:11

You know that uneasy feeling you get when you watch the news channel? That panicy feeling like the world is out of control and you have no idea how things will be for your children, grandchildren or even yourself by the morning?! It’s about that moment I switch to the History channel and take a nice deep breath. You see watching the History channel I know how it turns out and I can rest assured. Well, isn’t all of life the HisStory channel to God?!! Yes it is and as He looks at all the breaking news flying around this planet, His throne remains unshaken!!

Read John 18:1-11.

Notice Jesus speaks with authority. In verse 8 He tells the invading army, “I told you that I am he,”, Jesus answered. “If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”  I don’t know but I’m pretty absolutely sure that if an invading army carrying torches, lanterns and weapons (vs. 3) came upon me there would be no listening to what little ol me had to say! No, Jesus however spoke with authority!! When He speaks over yours and my life it is with authority of the one that dreamed your life up to begin with and is sustaining it this very minute! Are we even paying attention? Maybe like Malcus who lost his ear that night after Peter brought out his ninja moves and Jesus picked up Malcus’ ear as I imagine Him saying, hey Malcus you’re gonna need to hear what happens next let me heal your ear; will I let Him heal my ears too, attune them to His voice alone?!

Verse 6 after the army makes it known they are looking for Him, Jesus says “I am he.” and this complete fleet of ferocious men are knocked to the ground!!! But who is left standing? Jesus….. and those standing WITH Jesus!!! Psalm 62:6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Friends are we merely living like the list of people in Gen. 5 or like Enoch who did not just merely live but walked with God in his living! The choice is ours.

Jesus didn’t want to drink the cup of wrath we filled up but He surrendered His will and paid our price (Matt. 26:42). Scripture says every knee will bow at the mighty matchless name of Jesus so the question is not IF we will bow our knee but WHEN. Now, and receive salvation or later, and receive damnation…. do we trust that He already drank our cup of wrath or will we test it and end up drinking it our selves for the rest of eternity as we truly deserve… again the choice is ours.

It’s like when you open Google earth… at first you see this giant earth and then you type in an address and frame by frame it zeros in. Like the bible… Gen. 1:1 in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And from that point on it just frame by frame, chapter by chapter zeros us in to Jesus and His saving work on the cross and His Resurrection!! He is the ultimate super hero!! Its all about Jesus! Do our lives portray that we believe that? Duet. 33:26-29… vs.29 Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD? … vs. 26 There is no one like God!! You see we only are because of Him!!!

Do we put His words above our own? Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep me laws. Again like Jesus healing Malcus’ ear, have we allowed Jesus to tune our ears to His Spirit so that His voice is louder than our own?

Are we pressing on? Acts 9:31 states, Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord. Think of the kind of situations that require strengthening and encouragement… generally not super strong and joyful ones to begin with right. But as we press into Him there is a living hope (1 Peter 1:3) that sustains and His Spirit that guides (John 16:13)! Are we living in reverent fear of God Almighty or have we dulled our senses with the pollution of this world?

Are we givers not takers? Romans 8:32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Folks He owns the cattle on 1,000 hills (Ps. 50:10)!! In Jesus when you give you always get… you can never out give God!

Finally are we living walking with God… unashamed of our faith? 2 Tim. 1:6-7 For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. The gift of God is unimaginably more than we could ever dream and we are to fan into flame Him in us!!! Fan into flame!! Because it takes just a spark to start a wild fire, a ripple to start a tsunami and a gentle breeze to begin a tornado! There is nothing this world need more than Jesus so fan into flame Him in you and let your light shine this day before men that they would glorify your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16)!

Jesus is a precious gift freely extended to us all! Lets place Him and reverence Him in His rightful place as head of our God given life as we journey through today. Devoted to Him and encouraging all those He loves in this world to see Him more clearly as we travel like light and flavor like salt this world with His love. Because one day every knee will bow so let us choose it to be this day in every moment we are gifted.

Independent Read: Joshua 24:14-15

 

Something To Be Remembered

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Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this on a scroll as something to be remembered and make sure that Joshua hears it…” Exodus 17:14

If my memory serves me correctly (and sometimes I wish it didn’t…) when I was adolescent… I may have been able to go out with friends on weekend nights… and then I may have found it more difficult to get up in the mornings. Anyone relate?! Anyone?! What I do remember clear as if it were yesterday… my parents having no sympathy for my late night excursions and cheerfully (loudly) singing “This is the day, this is the day that the Lord has made, that the Lord has made, I will rejoice, I will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it…” up and down the hallway to my bedroom!! Do you know that song?! Then they would enter my darkened lair and exclaim bright and early Sunday morning, WHAT?! You are not up yet?! What?! You are too tired to give back one hour of your time to the One whom you have kept busy watching over YOU the last 167 hours this week?!?! To which I could not argue. Now I could not be more grateful for my parents and the way they never deviated from keeping Jesus the central main thing in our family no matter what the situation or circumstance.

My parents words …GIVE BACK on Sunday to the One who has kept me breathing all week… still echo in my mind. Not that I could ever repay God! But, I think the more He reveals to me who He is, the more I realize who I am (or who I’m not) and my purpose for breathing. Jesus is not more available to me on Sunday than He is during the week. So what am I doing to allow the great I Am to fill me in every moment within my 167 other hours outside of church? If I am consistently filling up with more of Him in ALL my moments through out my week I might look at Sunday church as more of an opportunity to pour out rather than to fill up. Anyways God has a funny way of filling up even as you pour out doesn’t He! The more you pour the more He fills! He never runs out of what you need when you realize all you need is more of Him!

I’m reminded of when the Amalekites came and attacked the Isralites at Rephidim in Exodus 17:8-16. You know the battle in which Joshua led the army to victory… however all the while Moses was up on a hillside with the staff OF GOD raised above his head. When the staff of God was raised the Isralites were wining but when the staff lowered the enemy started taking the victory. So Moses had two friends come to his aid (Aaron and Hur) and help hold his arms up with the staff of God as he grew tired so that in the end (verse 13) Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword. After the battle God tells Moses to MAKE SURE Joshua who had been in the battle KNEW Who it was that truly won that battle for them. Interesting that verse 13 says he overcame with the sword. The New Testament refers to the sword as the sword of the Spirit, of which we are to take up when entering our own battles (Eph. 6:17). Are we MAKING SURE we know Who is with us in our battles? Are we available like Aaron and Hur to come up along side others in theirs?

The Lord is a mighty warrior and His wrath is very real. Read Leviticus 26:14-39. Some scary stuff for going our own way and not reverencing Who He is! However Isaiah 66:1-2 states, This is what the LORD says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not by hand made all these things, so they came into being?” declares the LORD. “This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word. When was the last time we trembled at His Word? Isaiah 45:18, 24 He created the heavens and the earth, knows all, righteous Savior, no other God but Him! Psalm 89:6-8 faithful, mighty, most awesome, un-compared! Deut. 3:24 great, strong hands, mighty works! Exodus 15:11 majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders! 1 Kings 8:23 O LORD, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth below – you who keep your covenant of love with your servants who continue wholeheartedly in your way. 

Do you know my God Jesus?! He wants you to! He died to cover you and I with His blood, His sacrifice in place of you and I! He took the wrath upon Himself for our sake! We are free in Him if we would only believe on Him as our personal Lord and Savior. Will we choose to bow our knee, to surrender our will in holy reverence of the One who gave it all for us… to the only One in Whom true abundant life, eternal life can be found?! Matthew 7:7-8 states Ask, Seek and Knock and those that truly want to know Him will!!! He will not hide. Do you see that even the first letters of Ask, Seek and Knock when put together form the word ASK!! Jesus longs for you to ask Him into your heart… with all our imperfections and doubts He still says come! His banner over you is love (Song of Solomon 2:4)!! After the battle that day in Rephidim Moses built an alter and called it The Lord is my Banner (Ex. 17:15).

Are we living our 167 hours this week like He is our Banner? So that when hour number 168 comes around on Sunday we are not looking to be filled up but to pour out on the body of Christ? To pour out our worship in reverent fear of the One keeping us breathing!! What a privilege, what an honor to have a place in His army to serve Him! Like a marriage, we can’t come in with a mindset of 50/50 because all married people know there are days when your 50 isn’t happening so if both parties haven’t committed to 100/100 there will be times with gaps the enemy will not hesitate to seize. Same goes with the body of Christ. He offers Himself without measure (John 3:34) to us all but how much of Him are we filling up with throughout our week? When we have nothing left in our hands do we lift them up like Moses so between our nothingness He can place His banner of love? Are we walking with the great I AM in all our moments in every hour allowing His perspective to take root within us, to be filled with His energy, His fruit as we ABIDE in Him? There will always be people, and sometimes ourselves that need an Aaron or a Hur to come alongside and encourage one another, to steady their banner. That’s a beautiful thing about the body of Christ. But as one pulled from the pit too many times its worth remembering that it’s the one who trembles at His Word that finds the strength to stand firm.

Independent Read: James 1:5, Deuteronomy 33:3, Romans 14:11, Rev. 19:11-16, John 3:16

Move on… are you listening?

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If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God…. if you pay attention… Exodus 15:26

I sure got quite a chuckle with myself this morning as I checked the weather and seeing that it was a sunny brisk (lung searing) 21 degrees and thought, “Oh, perfect for a run outside!” If you knew me you would realize what a flabbergasting and revolutionary thought this is, as I moved from Arizona 3 years ago and LOVE warm. I would have looked at the weather being 110 (skin melting off) degrees and thought, “Oh, perfect for a trip to the zoo!” I thought, gosh how we acclimate to our surroundings (praise the Lord for those survival instincts right!). Which led me to reflect deeper on my surroundings…

“Hearing is through the ears, listening is through the mind.” I can hear the sounds of an echo from miles away but I may not be able to discern the actual words being said in the echoed noise. Listening is something you have to choose to consciously do, it requires concentration for my brain to process information. If I really want to listen I need to draw up close, limit the distractions in my surroundings. It requires intentionality so what I allow myself to listen to is like seed I sow in my life… what fruit do I expect from my listening seed?

Isaiah 5:1-2 I will sing for the one I love a song about his vineyard: My loved one had a vineyard on fertile hillside. He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest of vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a wine press as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes  but it yielded only bad fruit. 

My dad has always grown grape vines in our backyard wherever we lived. As a child with all my brothers and sisters we would crawl under all the vines and sit and eat grapes (come on, I bet Jesus did the same thing…). I learned that grape vines need rocky soil to make the roots grow down deep in order to find their water source so this farmer in Isaiah doing what HE thought was a good idea and maybe he HEARD everyone else did in their various fields but was actually harmful in his vine field! It was brought to my attention that this farmer also then built a watchtower around his field… he was counting on his own way to success, building a life around HIS own way. In the end he was surprised that listening to himself or maybe others around him in other fields only yielded bad fruit!! Isaiah 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight. 

With all that surrounds me do I take it all back to His Word? Do I take it back to Him in prayer and then LISTEN patiently for HIS voice? In 2 Peter 2:17-18 I find instruction to pay attention, Jesus is a light shining in a dark place, verse 18… until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Rev. 22:16 Jesus says He is the bright Morning Star!!! Is He that close to you? Is He rising in your heart? Do you know His voice…are you listening to know it? He has the words of eternal life!! (John 6:68)

I should wrap this up but there is one more thing! In Exodus 14 the Israelites are making their escape from Egypt and verse 8 says they are marching out BOLDLY! However in verse 10 they looked up and noticed their surroundings and went from bold to terrified in milliseconds! In verse 15 God says, move on. They could have been too consumed with their own worry to even notice His voice or chosen not to obey because they didn’t understand. I’m reminded of Exodus 10:26 when it says…until we get there we will not know… God told the Israelites to move on yet how could they have known that God would fight for them all night long blowing back the sea with His breath so they could escape across dry ground (Ex. 14:21)?!! I think often times we won’t know until we get there, and we won’t get there unless we move on WITH Jesus, and we won’t know when to move on  if we aren’t listening for His voice, and if we aren’t in close range of Him we may only hear an echoed noise of which we pay no attention.

His mighty hand longs to bring us out and on too, into eternal life with Him! The Morning Star gave His life to make it possible, now He wants to rise in each of our hearts that we would listen, obey and know the Way home! We can’t even grasp how deeply we are loved by Him, it surpasses our human knowledge!

Jesus help me to trust beyond what my eyes can see and my ears can hear in my physical surroundings. Tune me into Your frequency that I may truly listen to obey and know through ever increasing faith and trust that You are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine according to Your power that is at work within us. To You be the glory throughout all generations! (Eph. 3:20-21)

Independent Read: Psalm 130:5, Isaiah 50:4, Eph. 3:14-21

 

 

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

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

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