First Bible

firstbibletitledIn this apartment complex, there is little of faith.  Most of the kids tell us their fathers are in prison.  Many of the others live in a single parent home.  Few have a full house with mom and dad.

Here sits L.  As she received her first bible, she sat down immediately and began to read.  The impact brought me to tears.  Living in a community where churches mark every corner, she had never read the stories of the Lord for herself.  Her excitement was immediate and active.

The stocking is full of wonderful fruits and nuts and a candy cane.  Yet, they mean nothing compared to her joy in receiving the words of God.

L is touching the words of the Lord not just on the page, but in the flesh with those that come to her and teach weekly.  She reads the bible on their face and in their hands and expressed from their hearts.

Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful opportunity to share You with others.  I weep at the priviledge to serve.

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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 – 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: 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: 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.