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.

Meet Jesus: Fastened ….GSJ6

fastenerJesus is fastened to the idea that our service is to God first in private and men second in private when necessary.

Matthew 6:16: And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17: But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18: that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Fast is Slow: Jesus’ fast was always one of dealing between Him and the Father. It goes along with the old English definition of suffering. To suffer means to allow, quietly. For Jesus it was incredibly important that your dealings with the Father not be public until it was absolutely necessary. Our challenge is to be quiet about the sufferings in our lives, especially the chosen ones. Jesus is fastened to the idea that our service is to God first in private and men second in private when necessary.

 Sally’s Commitment: Sally was committed to seeing her friend blessed.  Life had been cruel to Jake.  Sure, he had made plenty of mistakes.  That was not the point.  He needed a breakthrough in his relationships and his finances.  He needed to get on solid ground to start over.  She was committed to pray for his breakthrough.  For a week, she took time every day to listen to God for Jake and pray blessing over his life.  Jake was on his way to a new life in Christ through Sally’s prayer and fastened commitment.

This devotion is #6 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! Start a fast. Maybe just one day. Stay away from whatever food group you love the most. Do it just to draw closer to God.

PRAY! Faithful Father, in Jesus I have all the strength necessary to fast His way. I repent of being more concerned about public recognition than that for which I have fasted. Allow me Father to continue to grow strong in you. Fasten me to Your presence. Fasten in me the concept that it is Your worship that is important. It is Your recognition by me that is important.

Meet Jesus: Us Too …GSJ5

domeNo body treats me as good and forgiving as He does.  And He expects me to do the same for others.

Matthew 6:14: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Do Me Like Jesus: Funny thing about Jesus, what His Father does, He does.  What He does, He expects us to do.  So He expects us to do like His Father.  An old song sings, “Can’t nobody do me like Jesus.  Can’t nobody do me like the Lord.”  That is true.  No body treats me as good and forgiving as He does.  And He expects me to do the same for others.

Team: Leadership was all about example to Greg.  Over and over he mulled on the characteristics he needed on the team for the new member.  They did not need to have a lot of experience leading others.  It was more important that they had experience leading themselves.  How had they handled life?  How had they advanced their skills?  How had they overlooked others’ problems in light of their own?  Could they handle rejection of ideas without personalizing?  Could they give examples of having to just accept offenses and get the job done?  

 Those thoughts pushed into his mind and challenged him in his own life.   How had he been doing in being gracious to his co-workers?  What about his family?  What about his friends?  Again, he went to prayer as he realized he was holding some things against other managers.  He needed to get those settled and forgiven in his heart before he brought on a new team member.  Otherwise, his angst would overflow onto the team.

This devotion is #5 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! What did God forgive you of yesterday?  Who needs your forgiveness?  Write it off!  Quit looking for payback.  Set them free.  Don’t even ask them to say, “I’m sorry.”

PRAY!  Father, my hide is so tough.  I like to do things my way.  When I am honest, I know I would just like to do what I like to do.  Help me forgive and forget.  Help me not hold anything “against” another person.  Help me be like You.   Show me something to forgive today.  Help me take a burr out from under my saddle and get free.

Meet Jesus: Lead Away …GSJ4

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.

Meet Jesus: Forgiveness …GSJ3

allowThere is a place in Jesus where we can just sit right down and not worry about anything.

Matthew 6:12: And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

 A Place To Rest: Forgiveness feels good.   When we meet the release of guilt, we relax.  That is purposeful.  In Jesus, we find a place to relax.  Yes, He can be a place as much as our friend and God.  There is a place in Jesus where we can just sit right down and not worry about anything.  The past dissipates.  The pain of mistakes subsides.  We lay our head in His lap and great heaves of breath take away the memories.  Remember to be the same for others in Him.

Character Meets Greg:  Attitude had always been important to Greg.  As he thought of the character traits he’d like to see in the new team member, forgiveness came to the front.  This was a tough assignment for someone.  There were years of resistance to the project the team was pursuing.  Tempers would flare.  People would be upset.  This new member needed to bring some forgiveness with them. As much as they would need excellent technical and communication skills, they needed a keen attitude of not taking up grievances and not holding grudges.  Greg went back to prayer.

 This devotion is #3 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT!  Sit down with Jesus for a moment.  Just enjoy not being guilty.

PRAY! Father of Forgiveness, it just feels wonderful to be with You.  Sitting at Your right hand with Jesus is a wonderful place of release.  So many times, Father, I can get caught up in the press of the day and the pursuit of power and accomplishment.  Help me get caught up in You.  Help me get caught up in Your wonderful presence in which there is nothing but joy.

Meet Jesus: Secretly Open

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  

5 “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly

 Jesus is secretly open.  What He does in secret, He does not to hide, but not to bring attention.  It isn’t that He is trying to be secret.  He just is not interested in men’s approvals and accolades.  He is interested in His Father’s approval and His Father’s will being done in secret.  It is for our example not our preoccupation.

Self Promotion? The right thing just seemed so obvious to Greg.  Why did others not see what needed to be done?  Over and over he worked to convince other managers of the prudence of his actions on the project.  They just kept acting like he was promoting himself and his team.  That was not the point at all.  He just wanted to see the company advanced and his team had the best opportunity to take it on this project.  Greg mulled over his options with the team.  Finally, they concluded they just needed to act and not talk about it anymore.  Just get the job done, they decided.

ACT! Take inventory of your “good works.”  Are they done for the Father and for example to provoke others?  Are they done to be noticed?

PRAY!  Father, increase in me attention to Your will and ways.  Let me concentrate on the private days of my life and the private  moments of my days.  Let me excell in secret that exposure of my life would only reveal Your activity.

Meet Jesus : Perfect

Matthew 5: 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

 Now this is stiff to face.  A perfect Jesus is here asking us to be perfect.  How in this world can we accomplish such a challenge?  Jesus and the Father are one.  The Father is perfect.  Jesus is perfect.  The conversation exactly before this relates to relationships.  Even working at being even keeled and just and equitable in all our dealings with others in love and graciousness is tougher on perfection than we can match.  But, thanks be unto God, He did it for us.  Jesus was perfect for us to follow.

Greg’s Pressure: Greg liked to think he was strong.  Then the pressure came.  The challenge to do more in less time with less staff was causing him to stay up at night.  Over and over, he would think of reasons the project was late.  Every time, he concluded he just wasn’t the right person for the job.  This night, he decided to read a little and pray.  It was coming down to looking for a new job.  As he read through the gospel of Matthew, the verse on being perfect disturbed him.  Then he thought it through.  The thought wasn’t to do it all according to man’s perfection.  The challenge was to love and greet and meet each situation with the mind of Christ.  Whether the situation was good or bad made no difference.  Just meet it with confidence in Christ.  Love always.  Greet always.  Believe always.  He was the right man because God placed him there.  These were the right staffers.  Immediately he began to review plans and pray for wisdom.  What would he do if it were all in great shape?  Do the right thing.

ACT!  Start now.  Remove an imperfection, an attitude, a glitch in your treatment of someone today.  Don’t worry about everything.  Do work on one thing.

PRAY! Whew! Father, You sure want a lot out of me.  But, Father, You gave a lot.  You gave Your only begotten Son, Jesus.  Jesus gave His life’s blood for me to be perfect with You.  Encourage me, Father, to stand tall to the task and declare, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me fully and completely and perfectly.”