Does Jesus really get it? I mean, after all, he lived a long time ago and the things we face are 21st century issues. Like, did he ever struggle with addiction issues? Internet porn? Insider trading? Road rage?

Probably not those things specifically. But here’s the beauty of temptation – it isn’t all that creative.

Reading: I John 2:16-17; Genesis 2:4-6

Temptation is quite simple, falling into one of three areas: craving for physical pleasure, craving for what we see (I need more) and pride in our possessions and accomplishments (craving to be noticed).

When the serpent tempted Eve, he appealed to her physical desire (the food she wasn’t supposed to eat), craving for what she saw (the tree was beautiful and the fruit looked delicious), and her desire to be noticed (this will make you wise, like God).

Temptation is more than just having a thought. It is what we do with the thought after it comes into our heads. Eve invited the serpent to continue talking, she asked him questions. You might say, she invited him in for tea and cookies. Spending time with the thought leads to temptation which gives birth to sin. See James 1:12-15.

Temptation is not the same as testing. Next week we will look a bit at testing, but in short, the difference is the end result. Temptation is intended to destroy you. Testing makes you stronger and develops character and strength.

Jesus understands your temptation. Matthew 4:1-10 outlines the temptation of Jesus in the desert. Next week we will look more closely at that as well, but he experienced it all. He knows what you are dealing with – approach him with confidence!

Does Jesus understand what I am experiencing? Does he get it when I feel betrayed and left out? What if my family treats me like an outsider? What about when I am angry? Or sad?

Yep! He gets it all. I challenge you to give this exercise a try. Next time you are experiencing a difficult situation, ask Jesus about it. Maybe your best friend betrays you. Ask Jesus what he did when he was betrayed. Ask him how he felt. Just see what he says.

Are others plotting against you? Read Matthew 26:3-5

Trouble with a close friend or co-worker? Read John 12:4-6

Trouble with family? Read John 7:1-5

Trouble with anxiety about the future? Read Luke 22:41-44

Have you lost someone close? Read John 11:33-35

Are you misunderstood? Read John 11:5-6, 12-15, 37

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list of all the ways Jesus understands. It is just meant to get you thinking. He doesn’t care about you just because he is God and that’s his job. He cares because he knows what it is like to be human and he knows how difficult life is.

Run to him! Run confidently! Run now!

Here is something I easily forget…Jesus didn’t just come to end the animosity between us and God. Yes, he did that, but he also wanted to share all of life with us. Life is tough – some days worse than others.

When I hit a tough spot there are some people I just won’t talk to about it. I look for someone who’s been there. Someone who understands what I am experiencing.

Reading: Hebrews 2:16-18; 4:14-16

Jesus has been there and because he was made in every way like we are, he knows what it’s like to be human. He invites us to come boldly into his presence and he promises grace and mercy to help us. That means, he isn’t going to shame us ’cause we are struggling. He gets it.

Tomorrow we are going to look at ways that he gets it. But today, I invite you to remember that he came to help you and you are invited to bring it all to him. No matter what “IT” looks like.

This morning I am more than grateful that Jesus came as a human. The last few days have been tough for me as I struggle with my own angst and unrest while at the same time walking with several friends through personal situations.

At times like this, I want to fix all the chaos. I want to cry out for the wind to stop and the waves to be quiet. But as I sit with my own unrest, I remember that it is in the chaos that change comes. When we are willing to acknowledge the chaos and embrace the turmoil, we grow stronger.

Last week in Barre3, the instructor lead us through some balance challenges and I wobbled and struggled to maintain the position. She wisely said, “you won’t ever learn to balance if you don’t ever lose your balance.”

I’ve thought a lot about that. I can’t lose my balance if I’m not challenging myself to balance. And it is in embracing the chaos of wobbles that I learn to maintain balance which ultimately helps me all day long.

Today I am praying for you as you face your own personal challenges and chaos. My heart wants to sit next to everyone of you and put my arm around your shoulders and let you know that He is near. Since I can’t, know my prayers are with you as you remember that He gets it! He’s walked this way before and He knows how it feels!

Reading: Hebrews 2:14-15

I have been meditating on this scripture for several weeks. Jesus came to earth in the weakness of a human body so he could set us free from whatever holds us captive. Here it says he set us free from the fear of dying.

I wonder how much of my anxiety and fear boils down to this one thing – fear of dying. As I write this, Living┬áHope by Phil Wickham is playing. It captures all of what I believe this scripture is saying!

As you continue your day, pull your shoulders back and hold your head up high. Jesus has great things in store for you today!

My first encounter with someone who genuinely believed in UFO’s was in the early 80’s. My friends and I were in a restaurant when a woman we knew came in with her husband. She was beside herself with excitement, talking at supersonic speeds about a phenomenon she had just observed.

Good Sunday Morning! Today is a great day to gather with other believers to share in community worship.

Read: Psalm 27

What does it mean to hide in the temple of Lord? What benefits does this psalm give to taking sanctuary in Him?

Saturday! I wonder what is like in your part of the world. In Florida, where I am, it will be a sunny 76 degrees. In Indiana, where I live permanently, it is snowy and cold. Whatever it looks like for you, I encourage you to have a restful and blessed day. Thanks for stopping in.

The readings I selected may seem random, and yet there is a common thread tying them together – trust. Who will you trust?

Reading: Proverbs 19:3; Isaiah 8:19; Psalm 118:8

Here is an bit of trivia – Psalm 118:8 is the center verse of the Bible. It’s also a great foundation to build your life upon. My prayer for you is that you put your trust and take refuge in the Lord our God!

Genuine is a synonym of authenticity. Genuine can be defined as free from pretense, affectation or hypocrisy; sincere. As I ponder what that looks like in my life the words “free from pretense” stands out to me.

Living free from pretense is literally without the need to pretend. I don’t need to pretend I am something I am not, I don’t have to pretend at all about anything. Read the following scriptures and see what they say about living without pretense.

Read: ; Matthew 15:12-14; Galatians 2:11-14

Notice in these passages what happens when we don’t live from a place of authenticity. What do you see? When you lose sight of who you truly are, what might happen as a result? How far will ripples of pretense go?

Authenticity means to represent one’s true nature or beliefs. It can be so easy to know in our depths that we are one person, but just as easily we live in a way that does not represent that knowledge. I think it is often because we are afraid – afraid we will be dismissed or misunderstood, minimized, not taken seriously. It might be because we don’t see that real person inside as flashy enough. But if there is anyone who lived authentically, it is Jesus.

Reading: John 2:24-25; 5:41-44; 10:17-18

In these verses, how does Jesus display authenticity? How can you live in a more authentic way and more like Jesus? Who do you look to for approval?

I believe Jesus is the most authentic person who ever lived. When I read the gospels, I am always inspired with the way Jesus lived from a place of being completely at home in his shoes. He knew who he was, he knew where he had come from and where he was going, he knew what he was here to do and when he was finished. That is exactly how I want to live – from a place of knowing and settledness.

Monday I gave you the following as a definition of authenticity: having an origin supported by unquestionable evidence. What do the following passages tell you about Jesus’ origin?

Reading: John 1:1-4, 14; 6:27c (Notice the last sentence!)

Some did not agree that Jesus was who he said he was. What do these verses tell you about what others thought?

Reading: John 1:10-12; 7:27

Jesus knew that he had come from God and that he would return there. In the next couple of days we will look more closely at how he lived from that place of security.

What can you learn from the way Jesus’ lived? Do you have full assurance that you come from God and that one day you will live with him forever? What do you do when others diminish you or question your authenticity? Before you leave this blog today, ask Jesus what he did when others did not believe he was authentic. I think he will have an interesting answer for you.