Meet Jesus : Fruit Inspector,,, GSJ14

Each of us has a flavor of which comes out

Matthew 7:16: Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? 17: Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. 18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. 19: Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 20: Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 Daily Produce

Ever thought about what it is you produce daily?  Each of us has a flavor to what comes out.  A friend of mine has a perfume she has worn for years.  It is her trademark, her flavor.  Whenever she is around, you know she has been there.  Some years ago I worked with an individual that flavored the room.  Upon entering the workplace the entire atmosphere would become sour.  Each of us has a flavor of what comes out.  Another friend is vivacious and sparks excitement in whatever he does.  By our fruit are we known.

Pain Carry

For years, Greg had carried pains from his early years.  Memories haunted him.  At times he would accuse people of actions and motivations they never had.  It was an unwelcome memory bursting out into distrust and accusation.  It just wouldn’t shake.  Now he was looking for forgiveness.  He wanted to be free. He wanted to free himself from the flavor of the fruit of the past.  So many times he had been betrayed.  It had built a rage inside that needed to go away.  It created a distance from others that needed healed.  Greg was ready to change the flavor of his relationships and life.  Maybe he could start with Jake.  Maybe he could go back and start over.

ACT!  Inspect your flavor.  Are you goofy grape or excited orange?  Are you passionate purple or negative needles? What is your flavor?  Is it what Jesus wants your flavor to be?

PRAY!  Father, help us flavor the day with Jesus.  Grant us grace to give out Your sweet incense.  Enable us to let others know that You have been in the place.  Cause our fruit to come from the true vine, Jesus.  Let only fruit from His life veins come out from us.  Let our flavor be the scent of Your presence that men and women would come to You.

This devotion is #14 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

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Meet Jesus: Straight Up ..GSJ14

Matthew 7:13: Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

 Straight Up: Approach life straight up.  “Go straight ahead.”  “Go straight and narrow.”  These are all phrases that communicate little variance from an accepted path or norm or rule or guideline.  Straight up today might mean a person is real.  You get what you see.  They live what they say.  They say what they think.  Straight up might mean, “the best”, “what I want”, or “the exact focus of what I have been thinking.”

In any measure, straight living is valuable. Jesus is straight up.  He and His life are not boring or meaningless.  Life in Him is focused; results oriented, and evokes determined action that leads to a specific point.  The point?  Glorifying God.

Introspection: It had been a long time since Greg had felt comfortable with an old friend that represented his old life.  He wanted to forget what he was like before Christ.  Now, he felt an inner voice prompting him to face realities.  This was not time to ignore his prior life.  Sure, he had become a new man in Christ.  Old things were passed away.

 The people from that old life had not passed away.  They were still alive. They still had memories.  Greg still had memories.  It was time to be straight up with himself and them.  It was time in his personal thoughts and prayers to repent at a deeper level.  It was time to root out some leanings in his life that had not passed away.  They were still hanging on.  It was time to be straight up with himself and God.

ACT!  Be straight up today.  Don’t be evasive when questioned about your faith or prayer life.

PRAY!  Father, give me courage to be straight up.  Help me to do what You want me to do and live it all the time.  Help me to be a person of prayer and faithfulness to You and Your word in private and in public.  Help me help someone closer to Jesus today.

This devotion is #14 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Meet Jesus : Reciprocal ..GSJ13

Just do it like you want it.

Matthew 7:12: Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

 Simple: Simple.  Simple.  Simple.  So often we want God to be complicated.  Our tendency as men is to construct great tomes and writings and laws to guide our steps.  Jesus is simple.  Do to others what you want them to do to you.  How simple can you get!

Offering: Greg’s offer of friendship after so many years somehow reached through to Jake.  He liked the idea.  He liked being invited as a friend and not being approached as “another new person to the church.”  Open and relaxed, he stuck out his hand to Greg.  

His wife relaxed.  The storm was really short.  She had seen Jake have much longer explosions.  This was new.  She liked it.

ACT! What do you need done to you?  Is someone harassing you?  Do you need kindness?  Give it.  Get it.

PRAY!  Today, Lord is my day of giving and receiving.  You simply ask, Father, that I treat others in ways I want to be treated.  Be it done to me according to Your word.

This devotion is #13 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Meet Jesus: Positive Answers ..GSJ12

When we come to Him and His Father, there is never rejection.

Matthew 7:7: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10: Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

NO?: Ever feared you would get a no from someone?  Fear of rejection is a strong influencer on us.  Psychologists and communications trainers will quickly tell you that people fear to speak in public, to a group.

Rejection is not something Jesus will do.  When we come to Him and His Father, there is never rejection.  He took our rejection for all time and offers us pure acceptance.  Ask and it will be give to you.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and it shall be opened unto you.  Jesus is an open door.

Quietness: Sally’s quiet way put a new mood on the situation, but not enough to cool it.  The tension between Jake and Greg was enormous.  She surely did not understand it.  It was her dream to see if Greg’s open position at work would be a good fit for Jake.  Now all the opportunities seemed to be frying in the hot grease of dissension.   This hallway was steaming hotter than the parking lot asphalt in summer. Why had she invited Jake to come to church?  How could that have been God’s plan in prayer?  If this was how He answered, “Yes” to prayer, she was confused.  Then Greg spoke peace.

 “Hey, Jake.  I don’t know how I’ve gotten along without you so many years.  We used to be such good friends.  I guess, I just got caught up in life and changes and an hundred other things.  It sure is good to see you again.  Maybe, we can get a cup of coffee and catch up in the next few weeks?”

 Jake immediately relaxed.  It was as if someone had turned on a box fan.  His face relaxed.  His muscles relaxed.  He even smiled.

ACT!  Think of a question from someone on which you have put off the answer.  Get the answer for them quickly and get it to them.  Help them past a little thought of rejection.

PRAY!  Father, I am so blessed to be in You.  You are an encourager, blessor, giver, and always positive influence in my life.  My life in You is pleasant beyond imagination.  Thank You, Father for being a positive answer to life’s tough questions.

 This devotion is #12 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Meet Jesus: Wisdom At Large …GSJ11

wisemenHaving wisdom in the setting of the disinterested is pensive and tough.

Matthew 7:6: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

 Broad Applications: Having wisdom in a setting where everyone agrees is simple.  Having wisdom in the presence of enemies may be tense, but can be negotiated.  Having wisdom in the setting of the disinterested is pensive and tough.  Jesus had all.

Here he shares with us precious insight into those going about their business looking for “stuff”.  Our tendency is to assume those around us are for us or against us or neutral.  There is no neutral.  If they are neither for nor against, they are against.  The undecided will destroy the good works of God, when left to their own devices.  Some pearls, some wisdom, and some truths are best left in the bag until in the presence of those who will receive them and value them.  Everything is not meant to be shared.

Greg Goofs: Sally stepped up quickly to greet Jake.  She could feel the tension in the hallway.  Greg was rapidly engaged in encouraging Jake to go with him to class.  Jake was anything but ready to go with Greg and his wife.  Jake’s wife was flustered and ready to go back out the door.  The kids had already seen some friends and scrambled into the kid’s church area with them.  What a scene!

 “What do you mean, you are glad I came here to find Christ?”  Jake was angry, frustrated, and humiliated all at once.  How dare Greg say such a thing in front of his wife?  It felt demeaning.  It felt like he was being accused of avoiding responsibilities.  This was one bad way to launch a Sunday church visit with friends.

  This devotion is #11 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT!  Share a precious truth God has shown you with someone who loves God.

PRAY!  Father of truth and light, guide me today.  Help me to have the wisdom of Jesus in all my dealings.  Help me to share Your pearls with those that are listening.  There are so many hungry to hear about You.  Teach me discretion and sound wisdom in all I do and share.  Show me the truths that are for all, the truths that are for those close to you, and the truths that need the specific guidance of Your Holy Spirit to share.

Meet Jesus: Cleary Eyed …GSJ10

Energy For Your Life and Health

He wants us to have the dust out of our eyes so we can see clearly.

Matthew 7:5: Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

 Home Front: Mind the home front first.  Jesus is repetitive on this point.  Taking care of ourselves is His focus for us.

Windy: This area I live in has a constant wind blowing.  Sometimes the wind is 5 miles an hour.  Sometimes the wind is 25 miles an hour.  Always it is blowing dust and particles up into the air and eyes.  That can leave you bleary-eyed.  I keep a bottle of saline solution in my desk against those days when I catch something in the walk from the parking lot to the office.  It helps clear out any particle that blew in. …

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Meet Jesus: Measured Back …GSJ9

measureRemember that the measuring of love out brings it back.

Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged. 2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Measuring Spoon: Spoon size is everything in the kingdom of Jesus. Measure out, measured back. Judging others was not Jesus style. Acceptance, forgiveness, mercy, grace, life, light, and new opportunity were measured out by Him continually. Rarely, did He have to judge and then only to the hardhearted and calloused religious folk. Remember that the measuring of love out brings it back.

Relentful: Jake relented.  It was Sunday morning and he and his family were going to meet Sally and her family at church.  How did he agree to this?  He hated church services.  They were boring and had old organ music from a movie theatre of the 20’s.  This was going to be torture.

 Just as they walked up to the door, Jake’s mouth dropped open.  The man standing at the door shaking hands with people was his old drinking buddy from college.  Greg was just as surprised as Jake, but ecstatic.  He had not seen Jake in years.  Jake had been a wild partier.  Greg had made a committed turnaround to live for Christ in his senior year and separated from all his partying friends in order to stay sober.  This was like old home week and regret formed that he had not had the courage to go and tell old friends about his life found in Christ.  This was great.

This devotion is #9 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! Get you mercy spoon out. Find someone today who needs an ear and an encouraging word. Give them both.

PRAY! Father, let me have Your mercy and grace and acceptance and forgiveness and graciousness in abundance today. Help me spoon it out to others. Let me dip down deep with a measuring quart cup and bless out to others.