Monday, December 31, 2007


Because of a painful experience with some family members at Christmas this year, I find myself thinking of Jesus and how He was misunderstood. Most people around Him didn't see Him as He really was. They must have talked among themselves about Him and it hindered the reality of Who He was from being seen. It boxed Him in. I can picture His mother and brothers talking among themselves..."he must be crazy". I can picture the Pharisees talking about "this man who healed on the Sabbath"..."it must be by Beelzebub"..."He doesn't wash before he eats", They then applied the law to what Jesus was doing, warping the people's perception of what was truly happening when Jesus healed or ate or forgave. Obscuring Who He really was and what He was about. Imagine...they actually thought they had figured Him out, and it was absolute opposite of the Truth!! Their pride resulted in slander and malice toward Jesus. They were blinded to the Truth that could set them free. What a tragedy.

The enemy wanted to discourage Jesus, I am sure (if that were possible) and wear Him down...Jesus had to put up with this all through His ministry. He couldn't just minister and experience the joy of doing the work of His Father without the aggravating, wearying nagging of the Pharisees and the misunderstanding of His own earthly family.

We are called to fill up on the sufferings of Christ. If we are walking in the truth, we will be misunderstood just as Jesus was. We may be called homophobic. Judgmental. Hypocrites. Crazy.
How did Jesus endure? How did He respond?

I think first, He knew that it was Satan using the people to wear Him down. (It is Satan that blinds minds and our battle is not against flesh and blood) He was not afraid to rebuke them. Sometimes He even did it sharply, ie."You brood of vipers..." He kept in mind Who He was and Who He was pleasing. Never caving in to pleasing man. He endured by the Power of the Holy Spirit. By focusing all His affection on the Father. All His energy, all of His being was about the Kingdom that is to come. He faithfully continued in the Work He was called and anointed to do.

Father, give me grace to be able to stand in the face of accusation, misunderstanding, and opposition. To trust that you are at work. Help me respond with wisdom and grace, but not ever be afraid to state Your beautiful truth.
Thank you, Jesus, for walking this road before us. Amen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord

Sing joyfully to the Lord, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Psalm 33:1

Did you ever notice that everything that is growing and alive is reaching toward heaven? Maybe you never thought about it, but if you drive around the upper midwest in the winter, there isn't alot to see along the interstate except trees with no leaves and unending fields. When I looked at the trees, and then the dead weeds laying down and going back into the earth, it struck me that everything growing praises the Lord while everything dying goes back into the earth.

Seeing the trees reach toward the sky, I reflected on raised hands. Many times in scripture God's people raised their hands toward heaven as a gesture of dependence. "We need you, Daddy!!" When I was first saved, I asked my mom about raising hands, she said it is like a little child wanting to be picked up. I could relate to that. I was inhibited and afraid to do it until I saw a clip from a concert on TV and all the girls in the front rows were raising their hands. The Lord spoke to me and impressed upon me that if they could do that towards a mere man, how could I do any less for my Savior? I have been raising my hands ever since.

One of the Hebrew words for praise in the Psalms is Yadah, which is praising with hands raised.
Raising of hands is a universal sign of surrender. Gen 29:35 is the first time in scripture that Yadah is used. Leah began to extend and recieve all her love from the Lord at the time of Judah's birth. It is extravagant praise with all our emotions.

Intresting to note that when asked, a chiropractor stated the benefits of raising hands are opening of the diaphram to increase oxygen (freedom) and loosens up a stiff neck. Hmmm... Lets all Yadah the Lord!!