A tiny little Hebrew word

Continually remembering to take Jesus' yoke...still a daily challenge. I may be mostly through the day, hours after my morning cup of coffee with Jesus begging to let Him lead me (the younger, inexperienced ox) and yet, at 4pm thinking, "Oh, I forgot to let Jesus lead." I am so frustrated! Yet, I know His mercies are new every morning and that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. Trudging on, ho!
Then tucked in my study of Romans (15:12), trying to follow the apostle Paul, he quotes Isaiah 11:10,
In that day the root of Jesse, who shall stand as a signal for the peoples--of him shall the nations inquire, and his resting place shall be glorious. 
Isaiah is predicting the righteous reign of Christ, a future event. A future that gets me stoked! The imagery of the wolf and lamb, cow and bear painting a picture of peace and rest is often quoted in this chapter of Isaiah. In that peaceful day, He will be a signal or banner. I picture a white flag of surrender as the nations, everyone, allows Him to rightfully rule and reign. And then looking deeper into the meaning of the word translated inquire, I am graciously blown away at His revelation to me.
The Hebrew word darash, H1875, is a verb that has multiple meanings:

  1. To tread a place with feet, therefore, to go to a place frequently, to go to a person frequently with prayer, to implore his aid. (This is where we get our root word for threshing.)
  2. To seek, search after.
  3. To inquire from one.
  4. To ask for, demand (beg, ask back, punishment).
  5. To study, follow, practice, anything--to apply and care for anything.
To be frequently approaching Christ, seeking him, studying him, following him. Isn't this a beautiful picture of what it means for me to continually, constantly remember to take Jesus' yoke? And Isaiah's prophecy comes with a promise, "his resting place shall be glorious." The nations darash on Christ because they expect (hope) that He will answer, heal, help, guide, etc. Interestingly, when Paul quotes Isaiah's prophecy, he uses the word hope in place of inquire. Therefore, he obviously thought to inquire was synonymous with hope. Inquiring is similar to hoping, expecting His answer and as a result of this hope, Isaiah promises that we will receive rest! This is the easy yoke Jesus means in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, an you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 
Christ is the hope in flesh. Without treading a worn out path toward Christ we have no hope and no rest. I am in Christ, but how do I darash Him? How do I have the persistence of a 4-year old who never gives up the asking and tugging on my arm until I go exploring with her or play a game with her?
Starring at the page, does verse 13 (Romans 15) answer my questioning?
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Paul believes God to fill the Romans with joy and peace so that their lives are marked by very much hope/darash/seeking/treading possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. So I start now by treading a path back and forth to Jesus and in time (marked by joy and peace) I will abound in the seeking. The path from me to Jesus will be a beat down dirt path. This is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit. I need to pray the Holy Spirit helps me darash.
Join me today, in begging the Holy Spirit allow us to darash (tread back and forth, inquiring) Jesus each day this week. In a week, we'll see if our status is marked by rest.


Sometimes things just click. Come together. Sometimes I can suddenly say as Mr. Gru in Despicable Me, “Lightbulb!” And God in His gracious, merciful being reveals these truths to me in layers, perfectly timed so that I might see the picture He's masterpiecing.
Driving last weekend, Dara MacLean's, "Free" came on the radio. Belting it out as countless times before, suddenly I realized God wants me to claim my freedom.
Hurting heart and broken wings
Cannot stop Your love from always finding me
No more days wasting away
I finally realize the gift inside of me
My strength alone will never be enough
Your arms keep lifting me up.
You tell me I've been made free
You give me everything I need to walk in my dreams.
I saw a glimpse of God telling me, stop claiming your insecurities...I made you free. When you feel insecure, claim that I have made you free.
My mind went to studying "Who I am in Christ" through Neil Anderson's book Victory Over the Darkness. I am accepted, secure and significant. When I feel insecure about my body, I need to continually claim that I am complete in Christ, there is no condemnation for me because I'm in Christ, I am adopted as His child and He can never reject me.
Fast-forward two days...working through discipleship with a mentor and parked in Matthew 6:25-34. In my 30 years of following Christ, I have never notice Jesus saying in this verse, "Do not be anxious about your life...nor about your body." Years of quickly summarizing this passage saying, don't worry about food or drink or clothes but I’ve missed the phrase tucked between those two…“nor about your body.” The birds don’t worry but simply carry on daily tasks as God created them to do. They take care of their bodies but don’t worry or fret about their bodies.
My mind quickly tries to justify, but what about the literal scars on my body from the past: Stretch marks, flabby skin? Yet Jesus took my shame upon Himself, on His scarred body on the cross (Psalm 69:9).
Jesus doesn’t see those literal or emotional scars anymore so why would I fret about them?
Therefore, do not be anxious saying, “What do I look like?” For unbelievers seek after these things and your heavenly Father knows your body. Instead, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6:31-33, my paraphrase
Anxiety is to be replaced by two directives. The first, seeking the kingdom of God, is submitting every area of my life, even my insecurities, to Him and letting all of me be under His domain. The next directive, seeking His righteousness, is choosing to obey His commands, His written Word. When I take the focus off myself (my insecurities) and focus on His rule, reign and my obedience to Him, security in my body image will be given to me.
In studying this scripture, the question was asked, What have you let rule and control your life in the past months? Why? Lightbulb! I suddenly see that in trying so hard to overcome my bodily insecurities by reading books, studying how to, I have let these bondages that I’m trying to break free from, rule and control my life, motives, actions and attitudes. I have also let food, what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, etc, rule my life. The insecurity of my body and food has been sitting on the throne of my life. It is what I have been focusing on instead of Christ and allowing His rule on my life. Why? Deep down, I don’t trust God to heal or sustain me through this process. But what of trust?
Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And rely not on your own understanding,
But in all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
And we know that for the good of those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:38
Lack of trust, lack of His rule and reign in my life, has resulted in no spiritual fruit, no peace, no gain in self-confidence. Jesus said by their fruit you will know they are His. I have lacked fruit. I want fruit.
So I keep thinking, who cares? Who cares if I eat dessert? I am accepted. There is no condemnation for me. Who cares if I have a belly? God calls me His own, I am His and He can never reject me. When insecurity creeps in, I literally say, Christ doesn’t care about the insecurity; it doesn’t define me. He accepts me.
Realizing this truth is huge, but consistently, continually letting Him rule and control my life is my next step. The hardest step. In my quiet time, I see and grasp this concept so easily and clearly. Then the day begins…I quickly loose sight. A visual comes to mind of Jesus’ yoke. Neil Armstrong describes Jesus’ teaching recorded in Matthew 11:28-30 in his book Victory Over the Darkness. A yoke is designed for two oxen, pulling in the same direction. Often, a younger ox is trained side by side by an older, seasoned ox. I am the younger, inexperienced, don’t know what I’m doing at times ox. Jesus is the strong, experienced, older ox carrying most the burden, teaching me. And when Isaiah paints a contrasting picture of worn out or renewing strength in chapter 40:28-30, I see the yoke:
He does not faint or grow weary;
His understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
And to him who has no might He increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
And young men shall fall exhausted;
But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles;
They shall run and not be weary;
They shall walk and not faint.
Growing up, my parents had a corkboard with the phrase, “Things I have to remember not to forget.” So as I focus on being yoked with Jesus throughout my day, I think to myself, God, help me to remember not to forget that YOU are the seasoned ox, I may be weary, I may feel insecure, but You call me Your own and You renew my strength.
What or who has been ruling and reining your life the past months? Why? What steps will you take today to let God back on the throne of your life as the seasoned ox?

Study, peck

Dirty, messy and they freak me out swooping in, out and around the cool, shaded patio. Barn swallows perch on the rain gutter adjacent to the comfort of my sunroom morning reflection and study chair. I am not suppose to like these birds, but can't help admire their glistening blue silky feathers, accented with orange faces and light bellies. They are joined by specked robins in their resting place. All species participating in the same action: grooming.
Watching the study, peck, study, peck pattern, it is revealed to me: learn from the birds. They examine themselves, constantly.
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? --unless indeed you fail to meet the test! I hope you will find out that we have not failed the test. But we pray to God that you may not do wrong...2 Corinthians 13:5-7
God seems to keep nudging me: Am I pursuing righteousness, peace and joy? God knows my heart already but am I as David in Psalm 139 opening myself to His correction?
Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting! Psalm 139:23-24
Do you have the heart of a student? Declare to God that you want to be teachable, to be aware of your faults and humbly make corrections. Every outward change begins in the depths of the heart.


Quickly pulling the covers straight...this is making my bed these busy days. Its soft brown hue in contrast to the deep brown catches my attention. From the front walk this small daisy seed has traveled to the heights of my own bedroom. Brushing the how aside, I ask God, why a seed this morning?
My mind settles on the change in pace this week has brought with it. A schedule packed with little buffers, the evenings spent serving a community alongside ours with games, treats and sharing truth of Jesus. Ah, yes, we are planting seeds and who knows where these seeds with land and on which kind of soil they will settle. But even more, closer to home, I think of the seeds planted in the hearts of my own golden heads. Am I nourishing the seeds with righteousness, seeds of peace and joy? Not so these busy days, too many thorns of annoyance, anxiety, stress, impatience.
Jesus forgive me for throwing thorns at my little ones instead of nourishing the seeds in rich soil.
Are you planting and nourishing seeds or dropping thorns? Ask Jesus for forgiveness and the Spirit to lead you in righteousness, peace and joy.

Serving in

I am God's servant (Romans 14:4, 18). He saved me to work and before I was born, He prepared work for me to do for Him (Ephesians 2:8-10).
The expected motivation for the work in Romans 14:17 & 18, jolts me: 
..for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who is serves Christ in righteousness, peace and joy, is acceptable to God and approved by men.
First, remember that the kingdom of God is within the believer and it's not temporary (as is eating and drinking) but permanent. When you believe Christ as God's only Son and accept His sacrifice as sufficient payment to God for your sin, the Holy Spirit comes to live in you...that's the kingdom of God within you forever. Since this is a permanent and welcome invasion in your life, we should be concerned about lasting things:
  1. Righteousness - God's standard of rightness & perfection, declared about us by Him.
  2. Peace - Here it means the absence of confusion. Therefore, consistent and firm conviction that will not confuse others in regards to your motives and decisions. Further, God first declared peace with us  (Romans 5:1) so now we are to pursue to end hostility with others.
  3. Joy - Chara, exceeding gladness that results in thankfulness. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice (Romans 12:15).
All three pillars are gifts from God to us. And when righteousness, peace and joy are driving factors of our acts of service, they are pleasing to God and others. Being approved by men is a bonus, what I desire most is to be acceptable to God.
First, I ask myself, am I serving? Then, I need to access my motives. Am I serving in righteousness, lack of confusion (peace) and joy? Consider these questions:
  • Do I pursue truth in all situations? (Rather than assumptions or gossip.)
  • Do others clearly and consistently see through my words, actions and attitudes why I serve?
  • Do I build others up by my service?
  • Do I serve with so much joy that it causes myself and others to be thankful?
These questions are convicting. I see need for improvement and adjustments. Especially in the area of mothering. I often jump to conclusions or assume the golden heads' disobedience or omission. Taxed, I often complain about my circumstance instead of realizing that I am blessed no matter the situation. What kind of example is that to my family and others? My words and body language often tear down their little hearts. I need a tune up, focusing on righteousness, peace and joy.
Ah, words. There is much power in the spoken or written word. A struggling, insecure 9-year old compassionate golden head who's momma told her she's beautiful, knows without a doubt that she is beautiful despite what the mean girls at school say. I know it all too well myself, I still recall, sitting on mom's bed, caught shaving my arms because I thought the hair on them was ugly and mom saying, "You're such a pretty girl." From that moment on, I knew deep down that I was pretty simply because my mom said it. There's something about a mother's affirmation. I don't even believe the sincerity in the engineer's words when he says I'm beautiful. They feel as words of obligation, not heart-felt conviction...but mom saying I look beautiful in my bridesmaid dress...now I know my worth.
In my own life, the power of these words is affirming as I struggle with my own beauty and value. Is the key to overcoming my insecurity, building others with my own words?
Pursue the things (righteousness, lack of confusion and joy) which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God (others)...Romans 14:19-20.
I am determined to affirm others (in truth) in the area of my weaknesses (esp. beauty and value). It may not be their struggle but to me, it takes eyes off self and places it on others.
These are the things that you shall do: Speak the truth to one another; render in your gates (own minds) judgements that are true (righteous) and make for peace (lack of confusion in regards to my own motives). Zechariah 8:16
Survey your area of service, and if needed, ask God to graciously move you toward righteousness, peace and joy.