Snow in the Shadows

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.

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Meet Jesus: Worth Following

Our leadership examples today are flawed and full of gaping holes

Matthew 8:1: When he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him.

“Make sure you are doing what God wants you to do–then do it with all your strength.” George Washington

Follow Me: Few people in life seem to be worth following. Honesty is out of style. Truth is irrelevant. Integrity wanes to the way of the world. Our leadership examples today are flawed and full of gaping holes. Jesus is worth following. Not only that, but He changes us to be worth following. His example and presence change us to be more like Him. Follow.

Follow Jesus: Jake was ready to follow this Jesus again. The morning back in the presence of God at church had impacted him. He wasn’t sure how to explain his feelings to his wife or to his old friend, Greg, or to Sally, who had invited him. He just knew he needed to get back in line and follow. Whatever that meant! He was going to find out…..

Act! Be worth following. It was his confidence, authority, and kindness that resulted in so many following. Find a place to be kind today and reach out to someone who can’t help themselves at the moment.

Pray! Father, help me to be a leader worth following. It is my example to which others look. Help me to be the Christian of integrity that You seek. Encourage my faith to be bold in those areas in which you have commissioned me. Empower me to continue to do good to those around me in You. Let people see Jesus and follow Him in me.

This devotion is #17 and final of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

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Meet Jesus – Authority … GSJ16

There is no doubting His positions.

Matthew 7:24: Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 25: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 26: And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.28: And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 29: For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” Marie Curie

The Author: Too often we hear varied opinions that sound right. The argument is logical. The reasoning seems to flow. Yet, there is no ring of truth to what we hear. Jesus has the ring of truth. There is no doubting His positions. There is no doubting His stance. There is no doubting whether living like Him will work. It will work. His life example is a solid rock on which we can stand. He has authority because He is the author.

Shaken To Rights: The morning message shook Jake out of his thoughts into a fresh world. Immediately, his attention went to the words being spoken. How could Jesus have authority over his life? Hadn’t he ignored his relationship with Christ for many years. Yet, somehow the message was challenging his thoughts and the most hidden secrets of his soul. He did not even know this preacher lady in the pulpit. Yet, the words had a ring of truth that took him back to his first days of commitment to Christ in college. It was unsettling and settling at once. He was discomforted and placed in a comfortable position. How could this be? How could Christ take him back so quickly after so many years? Yet, that is how he felt. He felt as if Christ were standing right in front of him and holding out the hand of an old friend.

Act! Think through some of your foundational thoughts. Do they match His?

Pray! Father, it is Your authoring in my life that makes such a wonderful difference. Let me move with You. You are in me and I am in You. Your life moves within me. Let me build on the example of the rock of Jesus Christ. He is the chief cornerstone. Let me built from the starting point of Jesus example each day. Let my thoughts find their origination in Him..

This devotion is #16 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Want the book, Meet Jesus In The Market?   Fill out the information below and I’ll contact you.

Meet Jesus – Reality Based .. GSJ15

The mirror of His love reveals the truth of our pretense and provides opportunity to change.

Matthew 7:21: Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

“It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.” Jacques Cousteau

Outside In: All of us have acquaintances that appear on the outside with one manner, yet inside are quite different. All of us have masks of pretense in some area ourselves. Jesus is interested in reality. Show, pretense, and explosive displays of seeming wonder are meaningless to Him. It is an inside job that is important to Him. When we connect with Him, we connect with reality. The mirror of His love reveals the truth of our pretense and provides opportunity to change. He looks for the change.

Quizzical Stick: Sally looked quizzically at Jake. All morning in Sunday School class he had appeared to be okay. He even knew the scripture which they were studying and the parable of the seed and the sower. Yet, she knew he was not in any Christian fellowship. They had talked about it. Who was this person? What was his real background? She thought she knew him. Now, she was not quite so sure.

Jake laughed on the inside. “If they only knew?” he thought to himself. It had been years since he had studied any scripture or allowed anyone to teach him. Even his wife was surprised at his knowledge of the scriptures. In college, when Greg had separated from his friends, Jake had been driven to find out why. All through the rest of his college years, he attended a small group at a local church. He had even made some commitments of his life to live for Christ. That was a long time ago. The group had blown up over petty arguments. He wasn’t impressed with the reality of this faith after that episode. He wasn’t ready to step into these waters again. Was Jesus really real?

Act! Strip off one mask. Where is pretense ruling in your life? Dig for the truth and let Jesus build His reality into you in that area.

Pray! Ouch! Father, I admit I have areas of pretense. Before You and You alone can they be revealed in an atmosphere of healing. Never are You interested in destruction. Never are You interested in my downfall. You are always on my side to become more like Jesus. Help me to undo the pretenses of my life. In all areas, I want You to be able to say, “Yes, I know that one. Let him enter in with my son, Jesus, into the everlasting kingdom of life.”

This devotion is #15 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

Want the book, Meet Jesus In The Market?   Fill out the information below and I’ll contact you.

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.

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: 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.