Tuesday, August 30, 2011


“There are those who are clean in their own eyes, 
but are not washed of their filth.” (Proverbs 30:12)

There are those who are clean in their own eyes . . .
“I’m a good person.”
“I go to church.”
“I give.”
“I pray.”
“I read.”
“I do community service.”
“I haven’t done _____.”
“I’m not as bad as ______.”
“I believe what I believe.”




but are not washed of their filth.

Our pride makes us feel clean. The way we view ourselves makes us feel holy. We forget, it’s not our standard of cleanliness we compare to. We compare to His Holiness.

Nothing we do makes us clean. In fact, it makes us filthier. The “doing” makes us dirty.

We can’t be clean until we recognize our filth.

There is only One that can cleanse. One healing balm, one cleansing flow. The blood of the Lamb.

I am filthy . . . thankful to be clean.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23)

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:8-10)

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9-10)

Saturday, August 27, 2011


This morning I woke up thinking about crumbs. Thinking about the story in Matthew 15 where the woman begs Jesus to heal her daughter and the disciples are bothered by her.

"And behold, a Canaanite woman from that region came out and was crying, "Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David; my daughter is severely oppressed by a demon." But he did not answer her a word. And his disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away, for she is crying out after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." And he answered, "It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table." Then Jesus answered her, "O woman, great is your faith! Be it done for you as you desire." And her daughter was healed instantly." (Matthew 15:21-28)

She begs for just crumbs from the master’s table. Do you hear the desperation in her plea? The hope in her Healer? Knowing that she is not worthy to have her request granted, but believing only Jesus can grant her request.

This Caananite woman recognized she was not a part of chosen Israel, the nation that was set apart, she was a dog, a gentile, a nobody. In her humility, she recognized Jesus was somebody.

This woman recognizes that Jesus is the Son of David. She knows He is powerful. She probably doesn’t have all her theology down or know all of the right answers, but she has heard of His healing power and knows that He is the One who can heal. He is the only one who can free her daughter from oppression.

There is humility, exaltation, faith, and desperation.

Our LORD does not require us to have it all figured out before coming to Him. We do not have to be clean, just a confession of being dirty. We don’t have to be sinless, just honest faith that He is the One without sin. It is not so much about how we ask, but what we believe about the One we’re asking. He is waiting to heal, He is waiting to free us from oppression, if we believe. So comforting.

Our God is like none other. In a time when Gentiles were referred to as dogs, and women even lower than that . . . He grants the request of a Gentile woman.

Jesus is inviting His chosen nation to dine with him and they reject his invitation. This woman is thankful to receive just his crumbs. I love that.

Are you thankful for crumbs from the master’s table? Or do you feel worthy of more? Do you understand that He is the only One who can heal, or do you turn to other things first? Do you understand that we are not Israel, a part of God’s Holy nation? But, because of Israel’s rejection, we are accepted. We are invited to dine at the table, grafted in to the nourishing root.

Today . . . I am thankful for being a part of a much bigger story. I am thankful to be grafted in. I am thankful for crumbs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011







Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Way He Sees

"And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:35-38)

-To disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute.
-To trouble by repeated attacks.

-Unable to help oneself; weak or dependent.
-Deprived of strength or power; powerless; incapacitated.

Sheep without a Shepherd
Sheep cannot help themselves. If they fall over, they usually die because they can’t figure out how to stand back up. With no shepherd guiding them to green pastures, they will eat anything in front of them, even if it’s bad for them, filled with thorns or thistles. They will wander and stray without the gentle protection and guidance of the shepherd. Apart from the flock, they are vulnerable to attack, even death.

Jesus sees the crowd as harassed, helpless, and sheep without a shepherd. We are to do the same. We are to see others through Christ’s eyes, to remember that we too were once sheep with out a shepherd. We were helpless. He is our helper. We have all gone astray, He brought us back.

-A person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people.
-A protector, guardian, defender, keeper.

He is our shepherd. The Good Shepherd. Let us point lost sheep to Him.

Psalm 23
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

We must be bankrupt, to become rich. Emptied to be filled. Low to be lifted high.

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom." (Matthew 26:26-29)

Facing death, he gave thanks. Ann Voskamp calls it “eucharistic living”. Giving thanks in ALL circumstances.

“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest." (Matthew 9:35-38)

Jesus went. He taught, proclaimed, healed. When he saw the crowds, he was merciful. He instructs us to pray earnestly.

"And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." (Revelation 21:5).

He sees. He is working. He is coming back. To heal, to restore, to make new.

Asking for His perspective. To live in humility. With thanksgiving and compassion. Praying for His eyes, His heart, for His people. Waiting in hope.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Die to Live

In college, when I was going through a trial, I had a friend tell me “well, we all have our own cross to bear”. I remember thinking that was so profound, so true. We all have our own trials and burdens. While thinking that’s true, it also left me kind of hopeless. It made sense, but it left me feeling like “So that’s it? Just bear the cross? No help? No hope?

Later, when I became a Christian, I understood “The Cross” a little differently. In Luke 9:23, Jesus says “And he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Sounds like a crazy formula for living a life God’s way:
1. Denial-of self and control over your own life
2. Crucifixion- putting sin and selfishness to death
3. Pursuit-no matter what the cost

I realize now that we are to carry a cross, but (unlike what my friend was trying to explain to me) the cross is not the burden, it’s the place we are put to death.

Jesus carried His own cross to be crucified. The cross was where His flesh was nailed. Once His flesh was nailed and He died, The Cross became a place of victory. It became a place where His burden, our sin, was conquered.

The reason He’s telling us to take up our cross daily, is so that we die to self daily. It’s the place where our selfish ways and sinful nature are crucified.

The cross is the place where we die . . . to live.

Although I agree with what my friend was trying to say (that we will all face trials and hard times) I now know we do not have to carry our own burdens. Christ died and offers us yoke that is easy and a burden that is light (Matthew 11:28).

He died to free us from our burdens, to give us new life. He was crucified for our sin. We are to crucify our sin, our selfish ways, our desire to be in control of our own life, daily. Or as my commentary says: To “take up your cross is to embrace God’s will, no matter what the cost. It is to deny personal control of one’s life; letting go of self determination and replacing it with obedience to and dependence on the Messiah."

We die to live. Let us live in denial, obedience, and dependence . . . denial of self, obedience to the LORD, and dependence on Christ Jesus.

Let us carry our cross to be crucified daily.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
(2 Corinthians 5:17

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Riches in Wisdom

Wisdom is a gift. It is to be sought after like a hidden treasure. It is a shield, a source of protection. It is soothing, delivering, and pleasant. It is a blessing. (*See Proverbs 2)

So what are we seeking after when we come to the LORD? Is it wisdom? Understanding? Insight? OR Is it a quick fix? A way out? Health? Wealth? Prosperity?

I don’t know about you but when I am going through a trial or a time of confusion, I’m not usually looking for the wisdom or understanding of the situation . . . I’m looking for the way out. When I’m humbled to hunger, I’m not looking to the Provider for sustenance, I’m usually looking for food to satisfy my appetite!

So much of my time can be focused on circumstance rather than focused on the LORD. I think I miss the point. I forget that the process is what matters. I am to seek Him and His wisdom; not just to bring me out of the trial, but THROUGH-out the trial.

My prayer life is “LORD fix this!” rather than “LORD, what do you want me to learn through this? What is it in me that you are working on?” Remember Psalm 139? “Point out anything in me that offends you and lead me along the path of everlasting life” (V.24, NLT)

I’m starting to see that it’s really not the trial or circumstance that’s the issue, it’s my heart attitude in the midst. Am I grumbling? Arguing? Prideful that I need fixing? Impatient? OR am I making my ear attentive to wisdom, inclining my heart to understanding, calling out for insight, seeking it like silver (Proverbs 2:2-4)

Proverbs 2 teaches us to be rich in wisdom, to find the treasures of insight and understanding. Oh LORD help me to desire riches in wisdom over quick fixes in circumstance!