Yoked to Jesus

” Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you for My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I’ve heard it quoted this way a thousand times. It makes sense. Give Jesus your burden and your load gets lighter. Give Jesus your burden and you trade weary for rest.

Yes, this makes sense. Because who doesn’t want a lighter load. Who doesn’t want rest. We’ve been living with a make-my-life-easier mentality. But we’ve been missing the mark here. When we quote it this way we’ve taken an all-or-nothing gospel and turned it into a take-what-you-want buffet style gospel. And boy have we messed this one up!

We’ve managed to leave out the most important part of this passage. We’ve skipped a verse.

Matthew 11:28-30

“Come to Me, all you 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, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Don’t just take what you’ve heard and run with it. Search out the scriptures for yourself. Is what you are hearing lining up with the word of God?

“Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart (humble), and you will find rest for your souls.”

It’s a whole other ball game when we throw this verse into the mix. This one’s a game changer.

A yoke is a device used to train an animal to carry its load properly and to obey direction and commands. There are a few different kinds of yoke. Two of which are a single yoke and a double yoke. With a single yoke one is trained to work alone. With a double yoke two are trained to work as a team. One is dominant and leads the other but the two animals are working so closely together that one can’t tell that one is dominant.  This article describes the different kinds and functions of a yoke.

When we take His yoke upon us, we’re trading the single yoke for a double yoke. We’re no longer trying to carry the load on our own like the stubborn donkeys we often are. When we take on His yoke we are yoked to Jesus. We learn His ways and learn to work together with Him and allow Him to be the dominant one.

When we try to go it alone, the load just keeps getting heavier and there’s no time for rest because we have too much to do and to far to go. We buckle under the weight of it and we’re tired and wore out and we sometimes lose our way.

He never said He would take away the load. But He makes the load lighter. When we allow ourselves to be yoked to Him, He helps us carry the load. When we learn to do things His way the going gets a lot easier. Learn from Him. Learn His ways.

Psalms 25

4 Show me Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths. 5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; On You I wait all the day.

 

 

Un-guard My Heart

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I pick up my copy of The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. My highlighter bleeds on nearly every page. One line echoes off the page and seeps into my soul. And the tears spill. And my heart is rent in two as I remember. Because I

“was the friend who has slapped up cold, guarded walls to protect her heart at the cost of anyone else’s heart, the woman who’s been more interested in self-preservation than anyone else’s situation.”

I remember the moment that wall went up. I was walking down the hallway towards the students that would be my new classmates.  I was terrified. I tried to hide behind my notebook.  A voice without reason whispered they’re going to hurt you to. I didn’t want someone’s words to hurt me again. So my 10 year-old self picked up the bricks that had already been hurled at her in the form of words. Bricks stacked one on top of the other held together by a mortar made of lies formed a wall to protect the shattered remains of her heart.

It was 13 years later that I realized what I had done. That the wall didn’t protect my heart. In building that wall I not only hurt myself but I hurt other people. It literally took a woman kneeling on the floor in front of me, begging me to just say hello to her (you know who you are), for me to realize it. It’s true, hurt people hurt people. And I hurt so many people without realizing it until that day.

That day began the process of trying to find a way past the wall. The prison cell  with no doors. A self-made prison is the worst kind and the hardest to escape from.  It took Jesus to break that wall down, He’s the only One that could, the only One that held the right key.

Some days it’s hard not to rebuild the wall. It’s a daily struggle to live vulnerable. A struggle to keep my heart guarded enough that the lies don’t get back in but un-guarded enough that the love does. It’s a struggle to find the balance between guarded to much and not guarded enough.

Psalms 91

 He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

Jesus Marveling Faith

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Mustard Seed Faith

Time and time again mustard seed faith is taught from the pulpit. We know this faith well. As Matthew 5:17 states “faith the size of a mustard seed moves mountains”. Mustard seeds are tiny and miniscule. That’s not really much faith.

But still the smallest amount of faith accomplishes much.

Abraham Faith

In Hebrews 11, we are reminded of the great faith of Abraham and the faith the other biblical heroes and heroines had. We’re instructed to follow their example of faith. We know these examples well. We know their stories well. We want that kind of faith to be found in us.

But there is another kind of faith. One not widely spoken of.

Jesus Marveling Faith

Hidden in the pages of Matthew, we discover a different kind of faith. A kind of faith that has me questioning, Does Jesus see it in me?

In Matthew 8, Jesus arrives in Capernaum. A centurion, a gentile soldier, someone who was not of God’s chosen people seeks the healing of his servant. Jesus said that He would come with him and heal his servant, but the centurion’s response leaves Jesus standing in amazement.

The centurion humbly declares that “I am not worthy to have You enter my home: but speak the word only and my servant shall be healed (Matthew 8:8). The centurion goes on to say in verse 9 that when he commands his servant to go, his servant goes.

By saying what he says in verses 8 and 9, the centurion is making a profound statement.

Just as his word to a servant is carried out so is the Word of Jesus.

All Jesus has to do is speak it and it will be done. This was the kind of faith the centurion had.

What Jesus says in verse 10 must have caused a wave of questions in the multitudes that witnessed this encounter. “When Jesus heard it, he marveled, and said to them that followed Him, ‘verily I say to you, I have not found so great a faith, no, not in Israel.'”(Matthew 8:10)

Jesus saw the greatest amount of faith in Him coming from a gentile soldier. This gentile soldier possessed Jesus marveling faith.

You’d think the greatest faith would have been found in one of His disciples or one of the multitude that followed Him or among His chosen people Israel. But the greatest faith was found in a man He didn’t come to save.

Ask yourself this question: Do I have Jesus marveling faith?

 

Well Laid Plans

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January 9th, 2013. Four years ago. The Facebook memory app just reminded me what happened that day. It’s not exactly a day I care to remember but it was a pivotal point in my life. An event that would cause me to re-evaluate my life and the choices I had made.

It was the hardest lesson that I ever had to learn. And I willingly chose to learn it the hard way. And four years later, I’m still paying the consequences.

In August 2012, I had applied for and got hired for a job in Florida. A job that would require me to move across multiple state lines. My reasons for applying for the job were for all the wrong reasons. I wasn’t supposed to go, but in my stubbornness, I ignored all the make a U-turn now signs and breezed past the stop signs. I went anyway.

The job didn’t make me as happy as I thought it would. I was downright miserable and I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there. But still I stayed.

On January 9th four years ago, I was in an automobile accident on the way to work. My wrist was in the surgeon’s words, shattered. Surgery was required. Surgery led to 3 months with a steel rod screwed into the outside of my arm. I was handicapped and unable to work, unable to write. Unable to wash and brush my own hair. This wasn’t part of my plan.

My well laid plans fell apart. I learned the hard way to be obedient and to always “acknowledge Him in all my ways” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

In my devotions today I was reminded again of how important it is to include Him in my plans and to allow Him to have the final say. His will not mine.

Proverbs 19:20-21

” Hear counsel and receive instruction, that thou may be wise in thy latter end. There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.”

2 Peter 1:10

“So then, brothers (and sisters), give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall.”

“Walk with Me in  holy trust, responding to My initiatives rather than trying to make things fit your plans. I died to set you free, and that includes freedom from compulsive planning. When your mind spins with a multitude of thoughts, you cannot hear My voice. A mind preoccupied with planning pays homage to the idol of control. Turn from this idolatry back to Me. Listen to Me and live abundantly!” – Sarah Young- Jesus Calling”

 

” In no way is it enough to set out cheerfully with God on any venture of faith. You must also be willing to take your ideas of what the journey will be like and tear them into tiny pieces, for nothing on the itinerary will happen as you expect. Your Guide will not keep to any beaten path. He will lead you through ways you would never have dreamed your eyes would see. He knows no fear, and He expects you to fear nothing while He is with you.”- Streams in the Desert”

 

 

 

 

 

Blind Faith

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” For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7

When we walk by faith, we walk blindly. Walking by faith takes trust. Trusting that the One guiding us will not lead us astray; that He will keep us safe.

When we walk by our own perceptions; we see what lies ahead. We see the hard and the change and the storm and the obstacles. We see the danger and the squalor and the pain and the suffering. We see what we don’t want to see. And fear takes hold. And so we look for the way out or the way around and oftentimes we find it.

Because we take the short-cut around; we miss out. We miss the mark. We lose the blessings that were rightfully ours. We learn our lessons the hard way. And while we’re still wallowing in our fear and self doubt; He sends the obedient ones to do the job He had for us. Because souls are at stake here. Hearts are hanging in the balance, some by a thread. And they needed us in that moment; and we failed them.

When we walk by faith, we don’t know what’s coming. We don’t know what He has in store for us. We just have to trust that wherever He leads us, is for our good. That the road He has us on is the right one, no matter how many hills and valleys. No matter the flying leaps of faith we must take. We have to trust that no matter what; He is right there by our side, guiding us and walking the road with us; and trust that if our foot slips, He will be there to catch us.

So this year, with blind faith, I write unhindered by fear and doubt. This year, I let the guardrails down and I allow my heart to spill out onto the pages. Because souls are at stake here; and I don’t want to fail them.

 

In Season and Out

 
I guess you could call this my debut piece. I wrote it way back in 2008 when writing ‘notes’ on Facebook was the cool thing to do. It’s now here for safekeeping and for your benefit.

Mark 11:12-14

Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, ‘let no one eat fruit from you ever again.’ And His disciples heard it.

Mark 11:20-24

Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.’

I don’t want to be a withered fig tree. When Jesus walks beside me, I want His hunger to be satisfied. I want to be fruitful in season and out of season.

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.

These are the fruits that we should be producing. Not just when we need them, but all the time. In season and out of season.

 

A Heart of Value

Your heart is of great value to you. From a medical standpoint, it is of high import. As long as your heart is beating and your blood is coursing through your veins; all systems are go. A heart that stops beating typically results in death. We know to take care of our hearts for this reason. We even have the medical technology to see what our hearts look like, how they are functioning, and what might be blocking them or keeping them from functioning. We do everything we can to keep them going strong.

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 KJV

As important as our heart is to our physical life, how much more important it is to our spiritual life!

The Darby Translation says to “keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded”. In addition to guarding (keeping) our heart we are also told to guard our mind (see Romans 8:5-6) and to guard our mouth (see Ephesians 4:29). All three are important. But the heart is of high import. I love the way the Living Bible puts it. “Above all else guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life”.

What you do with your heart affects everything!

 What if we had the imaging technology to see our hearts through God’s eyes. What would we see? Would it be well guarded as He advises us to do? Or would there be missing pieces, blockages, malfunctions or death?

Have we given our hearts to people it should not have been given to, only to be returned with pieces missing. Have we allowed things/sin into our hearts that have caused us to die a spiritual death. Have we held onto things we should have let go of that create blockages in our hearts. Have we let lies and doubts plant themselves in our hearts like seeds causing our hearts to malfunction.

Examine your heart. What you’re storing there comes out.

Luke 6:45 ” A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.”

 

A Heart to Know Him

Jeremiah 24:7 KJV “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.”

Today this verse strikes a cord with me. For the longest time, I knew about God. I had a heart to know about Him. I loved hearing the stories about him. I loved memorizing and reciting His word.

 But I didn’t know Him. I didn’t  have a heart to know him. I am discovering that there is a big difference between knowing Him and knowing about Him. Knowing about him is good but it doesn’t really mean anything until the head knowledge turns into heart knowledge.

Sometimes I look to other translations for different wordings for better understanding. In the amplified bible it says “a heart to know, recognize, understand, and be acquainted with Him”. Contemporary English version says “a desire to know him, and a want for him to be our God”. International Standard Version says “the ability to know him”. The living bible says “a heart that responds to him”. That’s a lot of responsibility on our part! But he’s already done His part.

He desires to know us! So much so that he gives us a desire to know him. It’s a relationship that requires communication and action! Let’s not be one-sided in this! We get more out of him than he gets out of us. Let’s make this personal. (He will give me a heart to know him, that he is my Lord: and I will be His, and He will be my God: for I will turn to him with my whole heart.) This implies an intimately close relationship. He desires to be with us in that secret place, the place that only He should ever be allowed to go.

See  Psalm 91:1

Do you know Him? Or do you just know about Him?

 

No More Permissive Will

Proverbs 19:21  ” There are many plans in a man’s heart,
Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand.”

How true this is! And oh the countless times I’ve chosen to learn this the hard way! God has a special plan for all of His children! If only we would choose to be obedient, if only we would choose to listen to His voice alone.

He does allow us His permissive will, but He desires us to be in His perfect will.

I started this blog six years ago. Then I was all about missions and going back to Africa. Though I am still very passionate about missions and still love Africa, God is moving me in a new direction. You will notice that those older posts have disappeared and the name of this site was changed four months ago from Mali Love to Write With Purpose. I do still love Mali, but I want my words to speak life. I want my words to have purpose. I want my words to lead you to Jesus.

God’s plan for me far outweighs anything I could ever plan on my own. My plans have slipped through my fingers like sand in an hour glass. But God’s plan/ God’s counsel will stand the test of time.

The Dwelling Place

Today in a moment of calm at church, I’m lead to what has become my go-to scripture. Psalm 37:4 ” Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Delight in Him, be joyful in Him, love Him, set your affections in Him. But then I see that word ‘also’. This implies that there’s more to the story, there’s more to this equation. It’s not just delight in Him but ‘also’.  My eyes go to the verse before. The verse that’s been sitting on my desk for the past week. I finally make the connection, this verse before is the ‘also’ in this equation.

Psalm 37:3 ” Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” Trust in the Lord and do good. That’s pretty straightforward, no explanation needed. But then we have dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Faithfulness speaks of promises kept, trustworthy, words spoken true, never failing. Feed on His promises! Feed on His Word!

We’re left with dwell in the land. What land are we supposed to dwell in? Dwell in the land of promise!

Trust in the Lord and do good, trust that God is who He says He is and let your actions represent that trust. Dwell in the land of promise and feed on His faithfulness. Delight also in Him, and then after you’ve done all that He will grant you the desires of your heart.