May the words of my mouth and thoughts of my heart find favor before You - O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. ^Psalm 19:14


.fully committed

Luke 9:23 - And He said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."

Following the Messiah and denying oneself daily is not an easy task. Surrender and sacrifice is never "fun", and yet..... it is worth it.

I was reading this week about a practice that was allowed by the church when the Knights of Templar would be baptized. A very weird practice. When one of the Knights would be baptized in the church, they would take their sword with them. They didn't bring their swords under the water, however. As they were immersed, they held their swords up in the air; that way their sword would be completely dry, and they would be completely soaked. It was a soldier's way of saying "I am a Christian, and God can have all of me.....but not this. Not this part." I couldn't help but think of today. How many Christians would be in that same situation, and instead of holding up a sword, they might take a remote control.....or a wallet....

The Bible defines the opposite. God specifically talks about complete and total surrender. No looking back.

Luke 9:61 -  Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

Elisha in 1 Kings is a great example of this kind of commitment. Elijah was told to go select Elisha as his "successor," and at the time Elijah threw his cloak over Elisha's shoulders, Elisha was plowing in his field. But when he heard of his calling, "He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant."

He.slaughtered.his.oxen. For his neighbors to eat! It was a complete turn around, and he was running to be a bond slave for his Creator. I think the reason God is so adamant about us surrendering everything is because the one thing we are most reluctant to give up is the one thing that has the most potential to become a substitute for Him.

2 Chronicles 16:9 - "For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him."


Matthew 23

Eight times in the Gospels, The Messiah called the Pharisees their faces.

 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in." {Matthew 23:13}

That word hypocrite comes from the ancient Greek classical theater, and those Greek actors were called hypocrites. One actor would often play many different characters, and for each character, that actor would use a different mask. It would be pretty easy to switch masks and become a "different" person to everyone watching....and that audience could get caught up on what people see on the outside, but it's just a mask.

"Then Jesus said to the crowds and to His disciples: "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach."

"Everything they do is for show." {matthew 23:1-3,5}

The problem that Jesus saw with these teachers was that what they were teaching wasn't a reflection of who they really were. And that is what true followers of Yeshua don't do.



Long before He laid down the earth's foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love. Long long ago He decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ (what pleasure He took in planning this!). He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of His beloved Son.              {Ephesians 1:4-6 The Message}

"When the [Roman] adoption was complete it was complete indeed. The person who had been adopted had all the rights of a legitimate son in his new family and completely lost all his rights in his old family. In the eyes of the law, he was a new person. So new was he that even all debts and obligations connected with his previous family were abolished as if they had never existed."          {William Barclay}

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away and the new has come.