Meet Jesus: Biblical Proportions

“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.

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.”

Meet Jesus : The Extra Mile

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.

Work of Faith, Labor of Love, Patience of Hope

1 Thessalonians 1:3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.

Morning greets with wafting noise and odors of coffee and sausage.  Before me is a grand day of training and planning and prayer.

What will you do today, Father?

While I am working and busy, will You be changing lives and bringing success to my door?  Of course You will.  It is Your nature.

While I am praying and listening, will You be speaking kind words to those from whom I need favor and action?  Of course You will.  It is Your nature.

While I am planning and consulting, will you be dispatching angels to pave and protect the path of provision?  Of course You will.  It is Your nature.

Father, guard the work of faith.  Honor my actions.  Enable them and anoint them to accomplish ten times what I can do.

Father, embrace the labor of love.  Let it touch hearts with Your heart.  Expose Yourself through me and let others see You.

Father, honor the patience of hope.  Open the eyes of my understanding.  Cause vision to congeal and give substance to faith’s grasp.

Este dia en tus manos, Padre Dios.

Meet Jesus: Conciliation Matthew 5:23

meetjesusinfluencerMatthew 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.

Meet Jesus: Healer Matthew 4:23

meetjesushealerMatthew 4: 23: And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

 If anything, Jesus is a healer.  When you connect with Him, you connect with solutions for sickness, peace for pain, and elimination of disease.  All of that stuff is decidedly a curse on us due to our sin condition.  Jesus came to remove the curse.  All descriptions, forms, and expressions of destruction flee in His presence.

Last year was another learning experience for me.  After six months of sickness, the Healer appeared.   Really, I was looking for Him not healing, when He came.

For six months, I had suffered acid reflux.  For six months, I had not slept a full night.  For six months, I had altered eating, resting, and other habits.  For six months, I had followed the doctor’s orders and taken my pills.  Nothing worked.

While going through scripture in my personal study, I noticed the condition was gone.  For four days, I had slept with no problems.  While looking for Him in the scripture instead of looking for healing, I had found both.  He removed my curse while looking to Him the author and finisher of my faith.

ACT!  What dis-ease has attached itself to you?  Name it.  Don’t be afraid.  He is present to heal. Give it to Him for solution.

 PRAY!  Father, all descriptions, forms, and expressions of destruction must flee in the presence of Your Incredible Son, Jesus.  Jesus, You are here.  You are my master, my Lord, my Savior, my soon coming King.  I submit myself and my dis-eases to the healing of Your presence.  Jesus, meet me in the chamber of healing.  Friend and brother, release me from my pain.

Meet Jesus: Served Matthew 4:9

meetjesusservedMatthew 4:9: And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10: Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11: Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

 Angels minister to Jesus, and so should we minister to Jesus with our worship.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans he talks of a reasonable or rational service and worship done with presenting our bodies as living sacrifices.  This is our pleasure and our part.  Our worship of Jesus is to serve Him, to present ourselves totally to His selection for our life.  Satan had it backwards.  He forgot who was to serve whom.

Josue was determined to follow God this day.  Lately, he had been wandering from his relationship with Christ.  Over and over events just did not seem to go his way.  Something he had read before was now stirring in him.  There was something about praising God in everything.  He was ready to try it.  He was ready to try anything that would restore the warmth of the love of Jesus back in him.  As he lifted his voice in the quiet of his room late that night, something broke.  He began to weep.  He began to praise God out loud.  He began to know again the reassurance of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

ACT!  Where does Jesus need your active worship?  Take action this week on worshipping with real action where He needs you to serve another in the kingdom.

 PRAY!  Father, Jesus is the center of my worshipful services.  Help me connect with the right actions for which You created me.  I was created in Jesus for good works of  worship done unto You.  Enable me, Father, to find those works for which You created me and act on them.

 

Meet Jesus: Double Jeopardy Matthew 4:8

meetjesusMatthew 4:8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 

Willingly, Jesus goes with the Devil to a high mountain.  This is the second time.  Here is Jesus isolated away from everyone except the Devil.  He is willingly taken into a place of testing and trial.  Going once was enough.  Now, He goes with this pure evil creature a second time.  It is isolation.  He is one on one with the strength of evil.

The Devil has no authority over Jesus.  This is a choice of Jesus, Himself.  He is proving to us and to the Devil and to the entire world that will read this for centuries, that He is able to resist evil to the uttermost on behalf of mankind.  Amazing!

There are times God asks us to go the extra mile into exhaustion.  Think of how exhausting it must have been to put up with pure evil stretching against you.  There are times He asks us to do that.  We want to rest.  We want to quit for a season.  We want to lay down and cry in our pity.  God calls us to continue.  God calls us to do it again.  Jesus gave the example to follow.

It was late for Michael.  Three times this week, he had stayed up late.  Each time a friend called and wanted to talk.  Then he would pray for an hour or more after the phone call.  The alarm in the morning was barely enough to cause him to wake.  He wondered how long he could keep doing this.  Wouldn’t that friend get to a point of surrender to Christ soon?  Must he talk to him every night?  He knew that was God’s plan.  He knew it was the right thing to do.  He knew he was the one person between Jack and a decision for Christ.  How long?

Meet Jesus: Lord of Take Back Matthew 4:6

meetjesustakebackMatthew 4:6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. :7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. 

Satan had trouble with meeting Jesus. His intent was to trick him and cause Him to slip. He met his match. He met the Lord, God.

Meeting Jesus means meeting the Lord, God. His is able and willing to deal with any situation. He is Lord.

Stuff trys to put us down.  Stuff trys to break our spirit.  Stuff trys to rob our joy.  Jesus is joy.   His kingdom is righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit.

With success after success, lately, Prince had defeat after defeat.  No one wanted to work with him.  They were envious and defeatist.  Somewhere from deep inside, he summoned up some joy.  “Good gracious”, he declared aloud.  “If no one will walk with me, then I will walk alone.  They can follow, can’t they?”  Those thoughts seemed good.  His smile came back.  He took charge of his life again.  He began to work out issues and others joined with him.  Sometimes you just have to rob the joy back to get going again.

ACT! Bow to the Lord. Give up. Meet Him on terms of surrender.

PRAY! Father, I give myself to the Lord, Jesus. He is Lord. Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. I surrender to His love and mercy and Lordship.  I surrender to His joy that is unspeakable and full of glory.

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