Get a reason to run and a purpose to plan. The Lord choses to bless those that make known His name with no compromise. Jettison lax approach to heavenly living. Steel yourself and do what you know is right.
Psalm 5:11-12…let those who love Your name be joyful in You and be in high spirits. For You, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous
Snow gets in the shadows.
Ecclesiastes 4:11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
In Oklahoma and Texas, snow is a sometimes and someyears thing. Not often. But often enough. It can linger for a few hours or a few days and in rare occasions for a few weeks. Ice lingers longer.
The shadows keep the snow longer. The sun doesn’t reach there.
Normal winter temperatures daily climb into the 40’s and 50’s and many times 60’s and 70’s. Snow doesn’t last long in that warmth. Except in the shadows.
In the shadows, the warmth needs to linger a little longer.
Relationships are like that. Some cold spots tend to linger. Each relationship finds bad spots and good spots. The daily good warmth takes longer to remove the memory and the touchiness. Sometimes it is an icy block that takes weeks of warmth to remove.
You can speed up the process when the snow is in your shadow by moving whatever is blocking the sun and giving yourself adequate good time. We can’t change the weather outside, but we can change the weather conditions of a relationship through investment in good moments.
You can speed up the process when you deposited snow into the shadow of a loved one by investing in warm moments with them. Leave it to linger at risk of damage that may not heal.
Think of a few easy moments of warmth you can bring to a relationship. The odd coincidence of snow in the shadows of a relationship is that neither of you may realize that it lingers. You look to the front yard and clean streets and are grateful. It is easy to leave the shadows alone, but lingering snow and ice comes up at the most inappropriate moments.
Do some good. Do some gentle. Do some soft.
The beauty of having the warm moments is you don’t have to talk about the snow, it just goes away.
Matthew 6: 13 And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen
Lead Away: Temptation is everywhere. Our eyes jump to it. Billboards call our attention to it. Media permeates our senses with it. No wonder, Jesus encourages us to pray for being led away from it and the evil one that builds it. It is enough to be tempted of our own flesh. When the evil one gets alongside our impure desires and leads us into temptation, we can easily fall. Jesus never fell. He stayed tall. Surely, looking to His Father to lead Him in safe places away from tempting situations was a key. We need to do the same. There is enough power and glory in His kingdom to attract us. We don’t need to spend time in tempting situations.
Jake’s Hard Day: This had been a hard day for Jake. While he waited for God to move, it seemed nothing would ever happen. His job just kept getting worse and worse. His home life kept going downhill. What about the job Sally mentioned? Maybe that was a place where there was less drag to the dark side. Every Friday, Jake’s co-workers tried to get him to stop at the bar on the way home. He loved a good beer. Sometimes he could not resist. He became weak. Those were the worst nights at home. He always drank too much and would come home light headed and heavy hearted. His wife was losing her patience. Jake cried to God to get him away from the influence of these friends. It just seemed too strong for him
This devotion is #4 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.
ACT! List your weakest points. Where do you fail most times when tempted? Can you change your path so you don’t enter into temptation?
PRAY! Father of Love and Mercy, where is my salvation? Can You free me from myself? So often, I fall into the same traps over and over and over. I know the right thing to do. Yet, I don’t get it done. You know me. You know my weak spots. Help me, Father to avoid the temptation of life. Deliver me from the influence of the evil one. Build your kingdom and power and glory in me that I might live in righteousness. Make my paths straight to walk in Your ways all the days of my life.
While His Father is in heaven, He talks to Him in familiar terms as if He were standing beside Him, and asks us to do the same.
Matthew 6: 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Building Transcendence: Jesus is at once at home in heaven and on earth. He is transcendent. He easily moves back and forth in His thought and access. While His Father is in heaven, He talks to Him in familiar terms as if He were standing beside Him, and asks us to do the same. While there is a will of God declared in heaven, He expects it to be walked out fully here on earth. He is transcendent. He refuses to be held away from the best His Father has for Him.
Greg’s Transcendent Moment: The decision for the new team member was looming. As the team succeeded, it became evident they would need an added member. Who would join? Would they fit the group? How could they find the right person? Greg moved to prayer. He needed divine wisdom. Surely God was aware this need would arise before this day. Surely God would provide. As Greg quieted himself in his office in prayer, his phone rang. Sally was calling. She had a friend looking for a position similar to what the team needed.
This devotion is #1 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.
ACT! What is it you need to transcend? To get over and above? To do it like it is done in heaven not as it is on earth? Start acting the part.
PRAY! Father, I need You to transcend my life. So often, I am tied to my earthly expectations, joys, and achievements. It is hard for me to transcend with Jesus and see what You see and do what You do and fulfill Your will spoken in heaven here on earth. Help me to transcend with Jesus and live to the fulness of Your will and presence here on earth. I commit, Father, to see Your will done on earth in my life as it is in heaven
“God did not wait for a natural disaster to send His Son. God did not wait for a natural disaster to feed thousands with miracles. God did not wait for a natural disaster for Jesus to heal lepers.”
Matthew 6: 1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly
Grace By the grace of God, we are thankful He is not motivated by the moment. God did not wait for a natural disaster to send His Son. God did not wait for a natural disaster to feed thousands with miracles. God did not wait for a natural disaster for Jesus to heal lepers. God did not wait for a natural disaster to pull His people out of Egypt. God did not wait for any disaster to respond. He waited for prayer. He waited for people to call His name. He waited for a people of love to prevail against the normal life we chose to live.
Readiness Jesus is just like His Father. He stays in a state of readiness through private prayer and giving love with substance outside the sight of man’s cameras. He is attentive to the fact that we live in a world constantly in a state of separation from God’s will and disaster. There is the disaster of abortion. There is the disaster of divorce. There is the disaster of fatherlessness. There is the disaster of drugs and alcohol. There is the disaster of crime. There is the disaster of violence. There is a constant state of disaster all around us. Being involved and ready is the habit of His people
Examples Hudson Taylor was such an example to me. He wrote little, but there is at least small amounts written about his example by those that were around him. By serving silently and persistently in China he was able to see a cadre of native ministers established over years. When human initiated disaster struck and missionaries were killed and banned, he had been used of God to leave a faithful church in place to continue to minister the gospel. He did not wait for the disaster. He waited in prayer and preparation and persistence. Then when disaster hit, the grace and silence and biblical proportion of God intervened in mercy.
Many in the kingdom today are such an example to me. There are men and women doing the work in hard spots drawing no attention to them. When such world noticed events as an earthquake happen, they are already on the ground upping their serve. They were already there. They were already serving. They were already giving out biblical proportions of silent, ready love and ready to give more.
ACT! Where are you quietly and persistently applying the grace of God to an ongoing disaster? Are you ready to step up in a moment of explosion in the area if it arrives?
PRAYER FOR YOU! Father, I pray today for readiness in my friend. Let peace and blessing overwhelm them in moments of strain that are hard to understand. I pray that you open their eyes to discern a place and people to touch under a pressure of an ongoing disaster. Let us be filled with the urgency of private and prayerful intervention. There is not time to wait until the attention of the world is directed to an ongoing disaster by an act of natural force or human depravity. Show us. Move us. Empower us. Grace us with strength to be involved now to be used in harder days.
Matthew 5: 43″You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45: That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
The Father is consistent in His world creation. The environment, the rules, the principles, the laws, and whatever else happens is the same for good and evil, just and unjust. What goes up comes down (gravity). What goes down comes up (seed time and harvest). The wages of sin is death. When it rains, everybody gets wet. There are certain principles that affect us all. Acting like Him means being the same with those around us whether we like them and their lifestyle or not. Sin does not invalidate principles; it invokes them. Think about it.
ACT! Is there someone you are treating rudely because they have a lifestyle different than yours? Do you hold at arms length someone in a homosexual lifestyle but not a gossiper? Think about it, and make sure you are like your Father.
PRAY! Consistent Father, You treat us all the same. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. The principles of life and death rule over me as much as anyone who hates you. Thank you for offering that to me when I was outside of Your family. Help me offer even ground to others that they might see Your goodness and enter also alongside me and Jesus.
Matthew 5: 19: Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
So many times we hear of the Jesus of grace and mercy. Surely, He is that. He is also just and correct. He requires us to live up to a higher standard. That standard is easily achievable in Him, but only in Him. On our own, we will never make it.
Jesus is legal, correct, right, and focused on helping us move every day closer to the same place as Him.
Final Legality: Arguing with the team had become too common for Jack. Over and over, he had covered key points needed to progress. Over and over they had resisted and only complied with the smallest amount. Now it was time to move forward. Now it was time to break the stalemate.
Jack called the group into his office. Looking intently at each one, he challenged them to step up to the new procedures. He declared it a “now” item not a tomorrow item. It was time to do the work correctly.
ACT! Are you out of line somewhere with the simple instructions of life? Ask forgiveness, get a new set of directions, and set out to make it different.
PRAY! Father, I can get so caught up in doing in my way and doing what I think is right. Help me see Your way. Surely in Jesus, I can do what You ask me to do. Don’t let me get caught in the legalisms of others, but only follow as You ask me in Jesus.
If we can pray for you regarding anything in your life, please let us know. Our greatest blessing is to bless others in prayer.
Matthew 2: 23: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.
Later in life when brother told brother about Jesus, one replied, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”. Nazareth was just simple and probably had a more than ample share of troubles. There was nothing good or outstanding about being from Nazareth.
Jesus wasn’t who He was because of where He was raised or a tremendous good family name. He gives us the same opportunity to be the best of the best according to our calling and destiny. Hometown, family, community standing, and other accolades of men mean nothing when we meet Jesus. All of us can succeed.
ACT! Erase out of your mind the idea that some status to men makes the difference in succeeding in Jesus. If you take pride in it, put it out and stand tall in Him alone. If you take shame in it, stand tall in Him alone.
PRAY! Father of Birthright, you placed me in the time and circumstance of my upbringing. You will bring it to good in Jesus. You will bring me to success in Jesus, the Nazarene.
For us today, what greater part of Jesus could there be? He is God with us. Later in one of his letters, Paul, tells us He is the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form. Then Paul tells us in Jesus we are complete. He is God. He is God with us. He is all that God is, living inside of us, who have believed and received.
ACT! Eliminate doubt. It is an incredible thought that God could be readily available and actually living inside of my circumstances. Talk yourself into believing that. Read the above verse outload to yourself about ten times.
PRAY! Wow, Father! This is too much. When I think of the goodness and mercy that You dispense in this single sentence, I am awed. Thank You for coming to live in me. Thank You for coming to stay with me every moment of the day. Thank You for being the God that You are in my daily living.
copyright 2001 Phil Larson
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