Turtle on a Post

Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs it down, but a good word cheers it up.
Proverbs 12:25 HCSB

Ever felt like a turtle on a post? No way to get your footing? Stranded without a friend?

That feeling is insane. It drives heart and mind into a dither. Life can be like that.

That is when you need a friend. Someone who cares enough to take you out for a good steak dinner and laugh with you is a Godsend. A friend who meets you all the way at your doorstep instead of halfway to theirs is precious.

Be a friend to a stranded turtle. Don’t judge, correct, confront or constrain. Express kindness and companionship. They will find their footing. They need a friend.

Selah.

Pastor Phil

Stepping Out

Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”
Matthew 9:38 niv

A good shepherd knows a good path and takes his charges on it. Where are the good shepherds? Are you one?

The call to make disciples is for each Christian. Each is called in some measure to lead others in a good way deeper to a love in Jesus and love for others. That means in a way we all are called to shepherding.

Shepherds take the best path for the sheep not the shepherd. Right? A shepherd is all about the sheep. He does not eat the grass. But he takes the sheep to the best grass. He raises them to be great sheep. Healthy sheep. Cooperative sheep.

They are raised in a hillside or field fit for sheep. It is most uncomfortable for the shepherd. He would rather be in a house with a couch. But he walks the field for the sheep. He sits on the rock or wet grass. He endures the rain. It is about the sheep.

In Jesus, we are servants. I ask for a servant heart. I ask for others to walk alongside and serve. We serve each other. That is the picture of a healthy congregation.

The God of small miracles walked with us this week. Soup was great. Service to others was great. Joy serving was great. Painting was great. Office was great. Puppet stage building was great. Class assistance was great. All of the these servings are great. People served each other and the community. That is a congregation. That is a kingdom of servants.

Pray for each to serve in a way that grows them and others.

Father, here are your people. So many give of time, talent, and treasure. They serve. Bless them beyond measures of mankind. Encourage their hearts and lives and families. Call them into greater service and love and reward in all they do.

Reserves

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 6:11 NIV

Morning Moment

Reserves in the insurance industry are the monies set aside to pay claims. A company with low reserves could be on big trouble if too many claims came at once. A company with adequate reserves is hedged against hard days. They have a future.

How are your reserves in Jesus doing?

In Jesus, we invest in reserves. Our personal devotional time, fellowship in church, Bible study, praise, and service to the local church and to others build reserves. In all of this we are depositing faith actions of life against death actions of self ideologies and the world. The world will press us. Evil will tempt us. Our natural desires will drag us. The reserves of Life in Jesus defend and build us.

Worldview is Bought

Buy a lie. Live a lie. Buy a truth. Live a truth. Simple. Reckon, count, add up, deposit in your reserves that you are alive to God and dead to sin and live a Jesus worldview. Reckon, count, subtract, extract from your reserves that you are dead to God and destined to sin and mistaken living and self rule and live a normal world view. Choose. Break the lie pattern. Buy the truth. Invest in your future.

Faith Actions

Faith actions depend on God for results while moving forward. Our actions come from the deep well of belief. Faith is active and obedient. That is why Jesus responds to a woman this way.

As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Luke 11:27‭-‬28 NIV

To say we believe in Christ, yet live against His wishes is a dangerous position. Do we really believe? We live what we believe. I can scratch my way into heaven through grace and forgiveness. I can live in joy and fulfillment through grace and forgiveness and faith and hope and love. Obedience emanates from a life lived in the love of Jesus. To say I love Jesus and live against His wishes is a dangerous gamble. My actions are based in death. I am counting myself dead.

Turn the Tables

Go ahead. Switch gears. Turn the tables. Put on Jesus, the Christ. Live in faith. Drop the self fulfillment cycle of destruction and doubt. Build reserves.

Let us pray:

Father, here I am. This is Your child. I have been bought with a great price. Let the words of my mouth and the testimony of my heart be acceptable in Your sight. Let me forsake all others and cling only to You. Let my heart lock in and live with Your heart. Build in me solid reserves against hard days that I might find only joy and peace and fulfillment in You in this life and the next.

Need A Quiet Moment, Friend?

Isaiah 8:18 Here am I and the children whom the LORD has given me.
As a businessman and community leader, I spend countless hours seeking audience with people. It is a tough and thankless task.
Jesus presents us to His Father as a gift. He makes it easy to get into the very throneroom of God. Through tremendous sacrifice, He opened a path for us into the presence of the holiest God. Then He takes us by the hand and walks us up to the Creator of All and presents us.
There is nothing we can do to earn that presentation. It is a gift to us received in Him.
That simple knowledge comforts me. The ability to quiet myself and know I don’t have to earn anything consoles me. I can rest in His acceptance and favor.
Friend, there is rest for you. There is favor for you.
Father, accept my friend alongside Your Son, Jesus. What a joy to know You will receive us. The Master of All opens His inner office to allow us entrance and audience. That is huge. Thanks, Father.

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.

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.