Meet Jesus: Taken Matthew 4:5

meetjesustakenMatthew 4:Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

The fact that Jesus would allow himself to be taken anywhere by the devil astounds me.  What was going through His mind at those moments?  Here he was, led by His own Holy Spirit, to spend time with evil.   Here he was entering the beginning of His public ministry dealing with a defeatist devil.  Our present thinkers tell us to feel good and be happy and then minister.  Our present ideologies point to pleasure as the entry to ministry.  Jesus allowed himself to be taken into the presence of evil itself.  This was His entry point into public ministry.  He allowed testing.  He presented himself for inspection.  He was taken.

Pushed to the max, Jim was about to pop.  This was supposed to be his year to get the big promotion.  It began with pain.  Employees were livid with some decisions he had made.  Every emotion in him was twisted.  He had worked night and day and given himself totally on behalf of these.  They turned on him.  The year before, he had handled the torrents of accusations from a disturbed man.  The threats had been against these very employees that now turned on him.  For defending them, he now stood their accusations of being unfair and inequitable.  Was this how to start his big year?

He resigned himself to stand through the accusations.  He remembered that the name, Satan, really meant Accuser.  He remembered, Jesus had stood testing before His big year.  Surely, he could allow the Healer to live in and through him in this critical time.  “Father, forgive them”, he whispered, “They don’t know what they are doing.”

ACT! Testing is never fun.  When God has something big, He can allow life and, yes, even the devil a place to sort out our intentions and grace living.  Is there a place of testing in your life?  Is God preparing you, stabilizing you for the next big thing?  Submit to the test.  Let it prove you out.  Don’t fight.  Let God fight for you.  Take time to pray Psalm 35 and see what happens.

PRAY! Father, I am not my own defense.  When life and the enemy rise against me as a flood, You be the boat of my salvation.  Carry me away from that which is too strong for me.  Deliver me from the hand of my enemies.  Cause in me conviction to repent of those weaknesses in me that could have led to this situation.  Cause holiness to well up in me.  Cause me to crucify any flesh that needs changed.  Let these troubles be a directional that causes me to become closer to You in thought and word and deed.  Cause me to be more like You than ever before.  Then, in the next big thing, I will be able.  I will be founded.  I will be strengthened to do that to which You have called me.  I surrender myself to be taken.

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A Prayer In The Morning Considering Our Need To Love Each Other

Meeting upon meeting in the community wears on my soul.  Fostercare, fathering, mentoring, prevention of sexual assault and violence, pornography, and human trafficking look for legislation and community action and spiritual support.  I’m all about the community action and spiritual support.  Don’t know about legislating the heart drives of people.  Listening is tough work.  My own ideas want to jump out and be heard and I need to stay open and engaged and not lock down too quickly.

Each one consists of competing agendas and scurrying for position and influence to “get my thing”.  It is wearisome.  This makes me tired.  So I pray from my Starbucks seat.

A Prayer In the Morning Considering Our Need To Love Each Other

The sadness of agendas touches deep.
My own agendas get in the way of hearing other’s thoughts.
How Lord will we join?
Where is Your heart in ours?
Can You move us together?
Can The Father touch these fathers?
These men wander and wonder will You come?
Will You bring us together?
Will You bring family?
Bring Your family first, Father.
Bring us of one view.
Teach us before we mean to touch others.
Then allow others to join our unified heart.

Meet Jesus: The Word Matthew 4:3

Matthew 4:3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. :4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but meetjesusstorm2by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

As Jesus answered, He simultaneously declared His existence. Meeting Jesus means meeting the very living expression of God’s word. John tells us “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” It is not the bread of this world that meets our need, but the living bread of life, Jesus that will give us strength in the deserts of life.

Words are important to growth.  So many times how we present a word or phrase to someone else means everything in the world for the next step in our relationship.  A friend struggled with a key relationship.  There was just an accusatory bend to every conversation with a new friend.  After looking for solutions and probing for what was wrong, we were surprised.  It seems in the first meeting with the other person, this friend acted before he spoke.  The speaking was important to the other person.  They had harbored an offense from the first action wanting words to come first.  Getting through that misunderstanding was tough and touchy, but they are doing better.  It has taken words to find the problem and begin healing it.  Words count.  The word of Jesus in us can heal.

ACT! Are you dry and hungry in an area? Spend time talking to Jesus about it today. He is the bread, the word of God that brings strength.

PRAY! Father, bring the bread of life, Jesus, into my dryness, into my hunger. Apply the word of life, Jesus, to my need that I might stay strong in Your strength, not my own. 

Meet Jesus: Human Matthew 4:2

meetjesusokMatthew 4: 2: And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

 There is a fallacy in meeting Jesus that bears great correction.   At times we approach Him as if He had some special advantage while He lived in that body born of Mary.  Jesus was fully human.  He got really hungry.  He dealt with conflicting emotions.  He lived as a human equipped with the Spirit of God even as He asks us to live.

In being human, Jesus sanctified humanity.  He made it okay to be fully human.  He made it a good thing to be all the human we could be, to live up to our human potential – with God.  Remember, while being fully human, He was fully God.  Our task is to work on being fully human, with God.

Being fully human, for us means being full of mistakes.  Being fully human, means being able to correct those mistakes.  Today I had a great opportunity to change my mistakes.  A co-worker was upset with me about my actions.  I had presumed what I did was okay with him instead of asking.  It was okay.  If I asked.  Not asking was presumptive.  It was inconsiderate.  By repenting and asking, my mistake was changed to okay.  He gave me that grace.  It was good.  Jesus helped me be human.

ACT!  Think of your most human moment this week.  Thank God for making you a human.

PRAY!  Father, thanks for making me a human like Jesus.  It must be really special to you, this human thing.  You sent Your own Son to be one, just to make it special.  Wow!  I really don’t deserve it, but I really appreciate it.  Thanks.

Meet Jesus: Led of the Spirit Matthew 4:1

meetjesusfireMatthew 4: 1: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Interesting that Jesus, the Son of God, would be led by His own Spirit.  A man’s spirit is an incredibly powerful guiding force.  When we meet with Jesus, we meet with His Holy Spirit.  His Spirit becomes available to us to lead us and guide us.  His Spirit communes with our spirit to build us in the right direction.

The consistency of those led of the Spirit is born of the Spirit, Himself.  So often we can encounter like-hearted men and women, who seem to be thinking the same thoughts at the same time we do.  They are.  It is a connection born of God.  He brings us to the same place to make life move forward in His plan more rapidly.

A friend asked for prayer for Godly relationships and connections.  That strengthened me.  He has been struggling to step away from those that want him to go out and party and dance like he did before he met Christ.  He wants good, God connections.  That is an easy prayer for me.  To ask God to connect us with the right people is to ask God to be God.  His Spirit yearns to connect us that way.

ACT!  God is Spirit.  The separating force in us that distinguishes us from animals is our spirit created in His image.  Think on that for a minute.  Write down five aspects of you as a human that separates you from other forms of life.  Note that they are spiritual in nature.

 PRAY!  Father, let Your Holy Spirit of Jesus instruct me in the way I should go.  You showed me in Jesus that it is Your Holy Spirit that can guide me even in the hard times.  You showed me that it is Your Holy Spirit that will even ask me to do what I am unable to do without Him.  Keep me connected.

Meet Jesus : Pleasing God Matthew 3:17

ImageMatthew 3:17  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 When we connect with Jesus we connect with pleasing God.  Jesus pleases the Father.  When we are with Him, we are pleasing the Father.  That is important.  So often in life, we want to please our Father.  When you meet with Jesus, you are in the environment of pleasing Him.  You can’t miss pleasing Him.

Pleasing God may mean doing tough work.  While working through some conflict mediation, we came to the point of closing in prayer.  It had been a tough night.  Everyone had spent emotional energy to embrace peace.  It was the right thing to do.  It is greatly pleasing to God to do everything that leads to peace and building each other.  That does not make it easy.  But it is pleasing.  The scripture came to mind as we prayed from Zephaniah 3.  God joys over us with singing.  That word joy means to jump up and dance and pirouette. What a picture of God singing and jumping and spinning over us with joy!  Doing the hard thing is pleasing to Him.

ACT!  Take one item you are unsure about in your relationship with God.  Examine it.  Is Jesus involved in it?  If you were doing it or being involved in it would you invite Jesus to be a part?

PRAY!  Father, help me to please You.  Help me to meet with Jesus when I plan an activity.  I can always be sure it will be pleasing  to You when I meet with Him to do it.  Help me keep that focus, Father.

Meet Jesus: Mystical Matthew 3:16

meetjesusMatthew 3: 16: And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

 At times a relationship with Jesus can get a little mystical.  Doves, spirits, voices from heaven, and the heavens being opened all make for a mystical moment.  Jesus transcends what we see on a daily basis.  He operates in heaven and earth simultaneously.  That may throw our normal pattern, but be thankful that He is access to the Father in heaven and the Holy Spirit on earth at once to affect our lives.

Listening to the message of the moment from the pulpit, my life seemed to be the content.  The preaching pierced pointedly and profoundly into the core of that night’s dilemma.  All day, I had lived the problem being answered.  It was exhilarating.  God’s timing in bringing my pastor to the present point of my life is amazing.  There are too many times to tell of when this has happened.  The scriptures come alive with fire and stir me up to new levels of faith.  How could God care so much to make the message match my messes?  What an amazing God!

ACT!  Need anything from heaven?  Some things we need don’t exist right now on earth.  Jesus is access to heaven.  Ask the Father for the impossible in Jesus.  Go ahead and plan the rest of the day as if you had it.

 PRAY!  Our Father, who is in heaven, Holy is Your name.  Cause the heavens to open for me in my life.  Cause Your Holy Spirit to brood over my life and cause chaos to come to order.   Release all You are in heaven and earth in me that Your will would be done here even as it is there.