Throughout my schooling, I enjoyed Drama both as an academic subject and as an extra-curricular activity, especially in my High School years. Although I never had a starring role, I loved working behind the scenes and taking lesser parts in our semi-annual productions. I carried this love with me into missions and was blessed to be a member of several teams that used skits, mimes and song as part of our outreach. I loved improvisation as one had to rely on a quick wit, a quick tongue and an ability to support your fellow actors on the stage. I learned how difficult the art of portraying a strong emotion through an understated gesture could be. As I had received voice training in my younger years, I had some understanding of the subtleties of inflection in speech, but realized I was by no means a master of the craft. Although my days in the theatre are long gone, I still have a great appreciation of the years of training that actors must go through to carry their audience into the land of make-believe, creating a believable if albeit distorted reality. A good actor gives no indication that he or she is indeed acting, thereby creating the illusion that the words that come from his or her mouth are their own and the emotions they portray are genuine and born from their heart. My appreciation for such deceptive mannerisms and techniques does not carry into the real world and neither does God hold an appreciation for such deception, given several strong indicators in His Word. Our Heavenly Father does not cherish these traits in his children, nor will he reward such behaviour. Jesus called those who practiced these deceptions 'hypocrites'. The word hypocrite is derived from the greek; meaning a stage actor, hence one who pretends to be what he is not. In modern times, a hypocrite is defined as one who lives a double life, saying one thing and living another. The media and entertainment industries paint Christians as hypocrites, pointing out the sins and misdemeanors of our leaders in film and in the press. Unfortunately, we as Christ Followers have given them much fodder over the years as the media propagate their damning judgements. It would be easy for the everyday believer who is not in the harsh glare of media spotlight to believe that he is safe to practice hypocritical ways in the privacy of their own heart. After all, who would know? No one would ever guess that behind those eyes closed, that studied half-smile of rapture, that one hand so artfully lifted in a graceful expression in worship is the mind of a person wondering if the person lustily singing behind them will ever get a clue and keep their tone-deaf mouth shut. No one would ever guess that the signature that is flourished on the bottom of a tithe cheque also appears, with the same flourish at the bottom of a dishonest income tax statement. Or would they? The author of Hebrews urges his readers to run the good race in Chapter 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Who are these witnesses? Who is watching us in our walk? Those who ran the race before us, the heroes of our faith mentioned in Hebrews 11. A common misconception in Christian circles is that all pharisees of Jesus' day were evil and corrupt. There is no evidence to prove this. There were corrupt men in their midst even as there are corrupt men who call themselves Christian today, but not all were corrupt. Pharisees were easily spotted in a crowd as they wore robes that spoke of their role in Jewish society. They were well-practiced in the 'art of ceremonial worship' and many were genuinely respected in the synagogues and were set as an example of how a godly Jewish person should live. And yet, with their strict abidance to the religious script of their day, many could not escape the hypocrisy in their own hearts, even as they worshiped the God they so desperately wanted to please. Luke 18:9-14 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.” No doubt, the pharisee followed his script to a tee, bowing at just the right time, arranging his ceremonial garb in just the right manner, gazing toward the sacred scrolls with just the right amount of reverence upon his face. In contrast, the tax collector probably didn't follow the script and missed his mark on 'stage', disallowing the limelight to be cast upon him. His heart-felt desperate cry for mercy was heard by Yahweh and I imagine the great crowd of witnesses rising to give him a standing ovation for his masterful worship that day. Until next week, © 2012 Katherine Walden If you value the ministry of I lift My Eyes Ministries and would like to partner with me, please visit http://psalm121.ca/donate.html for more information Looking for the archives of these devotionals? Find them at http://psalm121.ca/devotionals/index.php Find us on facebook! http://facebook.com/psalm121.ca Find us on twitter http://twitter.com/psalm121ca ------------- If you would prefer to receive the quotes below on a daily basis rather than in a weekly summary go to http://dailychristianquote.com/subscribe.html and join the daily quote mailing list. You will not receive the devotional using this method but you can read past devotionals at http://psalm121.ca/devotionals/index.php ------------- February 14, 2012 The biblical story abounds with instances of people being torn loose from their moorings, from a settled existence, and discovering that God is present in the situation...It is interesting to note the witness of these pilgrims is that these crises are times of judgement. In fact, the word crisis in the Greek means precisely that. In other words, transition times are times in which God calls our old ways of living and looking at things into question, calls us to move beyond them. These pilgrim foremothers and fathers of ours also tell us that these very same times can be times of blessing. Those who do press on, who are willing to leave the old behind, experience God's healing, redeeming, resurrecting power. John and Adrienne Carr ------------- February 15, 2012 God does not ask us to like everyone we meet but he does ask us to extend HIS compassion toward them. Kindness is a powerful weapon in the hands of one who has learned to love. Katherine Walden http://psalm121.ca/ I Lift My Eyes Ministries ------------- February 16, 2012 Guard us, guide us, keep us, feed us, For we have no help but Thee. James Edmeston http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/e/d/m/edmeston_j.htm Biography ------------- February 17, 2012 I urge upon you communion with Christ; a growing communion. There are curtains to be drawn aside in Christ that we never saw, and new foldings of love in him. I despair that I shall ever win to the far end of that love, there are so many aspects to it. Therefore dig deep, and sweat and labor and take pains for him, and set by as much time in the day for him as you can. We will be won in the labor. Samuel Rutherford http://www.ccel.org/r/rutherford/ Selected Letters ------------- February 18, 2012 Let no one think it is a simple, casual matter to become humble. It is something beyond our natural powers; and it is almost true to say that the more a person is gifted, the harder it is for him to attain humility. It presupposes great judgment and endurance in the face of the trials and evil spirits that oppose us. For humility slips through all their snares. Peter of Damaskos ------------- February 19, 2012 It is He who held the fibers together in times of trial and stress. It is His Son, Jesus, who cleansed them with His precious blood. And it is God's love that made them strong, even when they were assaulted on all sides by foul circumstance. Our lives are a reflection of those things which influence us the most. Lives influenced by the Word of God stand the test of time, and beyond. God puts into you certain things that reflect His nature and character. No one has the distinctive combination of characteristics that God has placed in you -- carefully combining them to create a unique and beautiful creation. Ed Price http://www.thelovingheart.net/ The Loving Heart ------------- February 20, 2012 When you are in the furnace, your Father keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. He knows just how much we can take. Warren W. Wiersbe http://www.backtothebible.org/presidents-page.html Biography and Daily Devotional ------------- Important addresses: http://psalm121.ca/home.html I Lift My Eyes Web Ministries Site Index - please take note of this address - To change your address for receiving this list, please unsubscribe from your old address and subscribe with your new address. All articles written by Katherine Walden are copyrighted and as such, please do not send them on to others without including all the contact information that is included in every newsletter you receive from this ministry. 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