For the lessons behind the prayer go to http://www.hclive.org/sermon/transformers-prayer-part-one/
Matthew 7:6: Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Broad Applications: Having wisdom in a setting where everyone agrees is simple. Having wisdom in the presence of enemies may be tense, but can be negotiated. Having wisdom in the setting of the disinterested is pensive and tough. Jesus had all.
Here he shares with us precious insight into those going about their business looking for “stuff”. Our tendency is to assume those around us are for us or against us or neutral. There is no neutral. If they are neither for nor against, they are against. The undecided will destroy the good works of God, when left to their own devices. Some pearls, some wisdom, and some truths are best left in the bag until in the presence of those who will receive them and value them. Everything is not meant to be shared.
Greg Goofs: Sally stepped up quickly to greet Jake. She could feel the tension in the hallway. Greg was rapidly engaged in encouraging Jake to go with him to class. Jake was anything but ready to go with Greg and his wife. Jake’s wife was flustered and ready to go back out the door. The kids had already seen some friends and scrambled into the kid’s church area with them. What a scene!
“What do you mean, you are glad I came here to find Christ?” Jake was angry, frustrated, and humiliated all at once. How dare Greg say such a thing in front of his wife? It felt demeaning. It felt like he was being accused of avoiding responsibilities. This was one bad way to launch a Sunday church visit with friends.
This devotion is #11 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.
ACT! Share a precious truth God has shown you with someone who loves God.
PRAY! Father of truth and light, guide me today. Help me to have the wisdom of Jesus in all my dealings. Help me to share Your pearls with those that are listening. There are so many hungry to hear about You. Teach me discretion and sound wisdom in all I do and share. Show me the truths that are for all, the truths that are for those close to you, and the truths that need the specific guidance of Your Holy Spirit to share.
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.
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.
“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: 39: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40: And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. 41: And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. 42: Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.
Going the extra mile for others is the essence of long suffering. Suffering is quiet. To suffer means to allow. Long suffering means to allow for a long time. Jesus defines it even further. He looks for opportunity to suffer, to allow others to use Him and His resources. Jesus is absolutely bent on being used by others. The quest for Him is not about what others ask of Him, but about how He can offer beyond the asking.
Jack’s Pain: Working with a team that was split on commitment was tough. Each had valid points. Each was entrenched in opposite directions. Long suffering was tested. The division had been ongoing in the company for six years and then some. Jack decided to be the walking mat. Someone had to let others “take advantage” to gain some trust and ground. It was tough, but over time some of the animosities began to turn into friendships. He was hopeful to really seem some team progress. This last meeting had been half the team directing criticisms at his area. Not much was founded in present reality, but at least they were venting openly instead of behind his back. There was hope.
ACT! Who is asking for a piece of you or your time? What can you do that goes beyond the asking? Do it.
PRAY! Holy, Gracious Father, the light and love of Jesus are beyond me. When I ask, He does more. When I impose, He expands the request to more. It seems I cannot put more demand than He can answer. Help me to suffer-long with others, Father. Help me to be like Jesus and go the extra mile with a smile.
Refreshing air fills my lungs and quiet consoles my soul.
The wind is gentle and the shifting season brings a certain odor.
Friends fill my mind. Ailing, hurting, smiling, transforming, new, old, uncertain, and depressed are they. One was run over by a car, another is run over by cancer, another’s heart is failing, one is losing hope, one is gaining life in new ways. They are friends and I care for them.
God cares for them. He cares for you. He cares for me. He is active and approachable.
Father, let me touch Your will and let it become my ways.
Father, change me so I might offer change to others with gentleness, and freshness.
Father, open Your storehouse of blessing and comfort for my friends. Touch and bring life. Breathe and bring healing. Hover over them like the Fall winds rustle through the trees over me and let them know You are here.
You are here.
You are hearing.
You are now.
You are present.
You are approachable.
Matthew 5: 23: Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 24: Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
To Jesus the issue of treating our brothers with respect was powerful. It wasn’t just a matter of not killing each other and not calling each other names. His outlook was one of resolving differences. Jesus is tough on those issues that divide unnecessarily. Surely, 99% of what divides us today can be resolved with humility and the right approach.
In the verses before and behind this the issue is laid out. Don’t attack or be angry with your brother unless it is super serious. Settle a matter quickly, even if the person has set themselves as an enemy against you. Deal with it.
Workday Conflict: The conflict at work was intense. These two just could not get along. Every meeting was full of asides and stares. What could break the personality impasse? Work was not getting done because decisions could never be trusted.
One of the parties stayed after a meeting. Their demeanor was serious. Slowly, they admitted the problem was real and asked me, their manager, how to address it. Fortunately, they were Christian. The concept of grace was easily appealed to with them. We agreed they would begin to list out frustrations with the individual after every meeting and cross off all the ones that had no substance. Then they would follow up outside the meeting with the person to come to a compromise on ones that did have substance.
Everything did not get better immediately. But it sure made the rest of the week more productive. Maybe the other person would eventually respond to the extension of grace.
Community Clashes: A friend was frustrated as we ate lunch. As he worked with pastors, he noted many of them hated each other. They would make vile comments about other pastors and churches working in the same community and culture. How could this be?
We prayed for pastors and leaders. We agreed we would continue to offer love and acceptance to each one of them. Maybe our extension of acceptance to them could help break the bottleneck of competitive spirit we were finding.
ACT! Call someone who is testy with you. Offer them peace and acceptance.
PRAY! Wow, Father, You are really serious about Your family getting along. Surely, You created us to live together with peace as much as possible. Help me today to be a peaceful person and a peacemaker. Help me to move first toward peace with others. I love You, Father. I am glad You are always on my side for me to grow.