Meet Jesus: Poor in Spirit Matthew 5:1

Matthew 5: 1: And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2: And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven

 Poor by Choice: For Jesus, there is a route to blessing that is markedly different than our thoughts.  The poor in spirit are those who purposefully humble themselves in relation to God.  These are those that rightly discern their poverty in relation to a great God over all the earth.  They do not pursue arguing with God, because they acknowledge Him as above and themselves as below.  Jesus is that way.  He confirmed that He only said what His Father told Him and only did what His Father instructed in the gospel of John.  He was one that did not consider it something to grab hold and keep to be equal with God, but humbled Himself in relation to the Father and became a man.  He exampled poor in spirit for us to see.

 One Family’s Test:  A situation comes to mind as I ponder this scripture.  One family came to me rocked with enigmas. Questions about life and death and healing and answers to prayer were coming with forcefulness.  Like all of us they faced a reality they did not want to face. The person had died.  This mother of four had her life cut short.  How could God allow such a thing?   Why did He not do as we imagined and simply grant a request for healing here on earth?  Did the scripture not say we could have whatever we willed?  Surely God must do what we ask?

These are all valid questions that seem to have no answers.

 The second question posed stronger.  What did God want us to do today?  Regardless of our understanding or lack of understanding of the situation at hand, what did He want us to do now?  Now that this mother and grandmother was gone, what was to be our walk in the kingdom of heaven this day?   Do we quit praying and believing?  Do we continue in prayer?  If He did not heal here and now would He hear our prayers for peace of mind and acceptance of a life without our lifelong friend? On the flip side of the coin, could we experience more of His kingdom by giving Him the benefit of our doubt or by doubting His benefit?

 Answers: It is tough stuff, but the kingdom of heaven belongs to the poor in spirit. Life requires us to relinquish our rights and demands and allow the wisdom and the hand of God to play out.  A heart of Jesus leads us to absorb the pains and confusions and admit we just don’t know all the answers, yet we will trust Him.  In the beginning of the new life with a loved one gone, this family chose to continue in trust with questions unanswered.  Sometimes that is all we can do.  It requires making a choice to be poor in spirit and large in faith.

 ACT!  Can you lay down your understanding and demands to find the newer will of God for your walk in the kingdom?  What does it take to become one poor in spirit and committed to His will being done on earth as it is in heaven, unquestioningly?  Test Him out.  Volunteer your ideas for His.

PRAY! God, You are God.  Me, I’m just me.  You are the greatest God of life and living.  The answers I don’t understand, You create.  Your thoughts are higher than my thoughts.  When I just about figure out life, You are bigger and greater than my wisdoms.   Teach me to obey.  Teach me to walk close to Your breathing.  Teach me to walk in Your ways even when I do not understand.  Then You will open new wisdoms for me.  Then You will open the windows of understanding on the other side of obedience.

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: Full of Life John 20:19

refreshJohn 20: 19 Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled,[c] for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.

21 So Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

This Resurrection Morning brings freshness to my soul.   Due to some incredible betrayals and organizational insensitivities last year found me looking for new answers. I did not find any new answers.  The old ones are just great.   Life is fresh.  Life is full.  Friendships are plenteous.  Family is solid.  My Good Friend, Jesus, continues walking with me along this narrowed and interesting path.

When Jesus’ closest allies thought they had been left alone, he met them fresh and alive with peace, forgiveness, appointment, empowerment, and a gift of His own Spirit to sustain.  That is resurrection.

So I wrote my prayer in poetry and reflection.   Find hope in here.   Find a new day.  Find a resurrection.

Death came for me.

Morte had me in his sights.

Death narrowed his focus to take my life.

My livelihood was damaged.

My soul was ripped in many pieces.

Friends scattered.

Family mourned.

Few came beside me.

The stench of death is potent.

There were friends and fiends.

Those for whom I had labored turned on me.

They had been made rich and prosperous.

Yet, their greed was too large for their souls.

Blackened in greed and jealousy, they turned fangs to my throat.

I escaped to the caves.

I fled to the crag of the rock.

The Creator met me there.

For months we talked and cried.

He molded a new man.

He made something different something new.

Strong steel has been woven into my forehead.

Titanium plates are fastened all about.

Today is Resurrection Day.

The pain is Passed Over.

Death has lost and met only blood on my doorpost.

Today I walk out of the cave.

Today I walk into the streets with the riches of my enemies.

That which they meant to destroy has become my strong armor.

Their weapons have not met with success.

My Friend has come for me and taken my punishment.

He took the pain.

He took the shame.

He took it all.

That’s what Friend can do.

Mi Buen Amigo.  My Good Friend.

He has surrounded me with angels.

He has surrounded me with hosts of friends.

He has surrounded me with those that support me.

That is what Friend does.

He Passes Over.

He brings life.

He brings peace.

He brings a resurrected morning.

Meet Jesus: Near At Hand Matthew 4:17

meetjesusnearathandMatthew 4: 17: From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

 Meeting Jesus is so easy.  He is near at hand.  When Jesus declares the kingdom, it is His kingdom.  Access to Him and all He is is as close as your hand.  Your hand is attached.  His kingdom is attached.  Access to Him is attached to you.    He is not a distant God.  He is an ever-present, ever-available King.  Turn around.  He is near at hand.

Jesus is near at hand in us to others.  Brad was talking to his friend at work.  For many months this friend had been disconnected from fellowship in a congregation.  Sure, they went to church.  Sure, they talked to other Christians.  But they really were not in fellowship.  They were not in real communion heart to heart with other Christians.  Brad challenged the friend.  Brad encouraged them to reconnect with some kingdom friends.  Brad was being Jesus, declaring the love of the kingdom.

ACT!  What could be keeping you from meeting with Jesus?  Turn away from it.  Turn to Him.  He is exactly at hand.

PRAY!  Father, I turn from my way to Jesus’ kingdom.  I turn from my thoughts to Jesus’ kingdom.  I turn from my ideas to Jesus’ kingdom.    Let Him be near at hand to me.  Work in me to remove any block to receiving Jesus’ kingdom near at hand.

I loved this perspective on another blog….

http://fungirlslivebetter.wordpress.com/2013/03/30/is-god-really-dead/

Meet Jesus: Sorting Matthew 4:12

meetjesussortMatthew 4: 12 When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he returned to Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali

Bad news can put a hard spin on life.  Each of us has places to go and things to do.  Jesus is no different.

John was Jesus’ cousin.  He was the first recorded to rejoice at the coming King.  He leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary approached for a visit.  No one knew Jesus was coming.  John knew.  That is an early praise.

John prepared people for the coming of Jesus.  He was ahead of Him getting the people ready.

News about John in prison was not good for Jesus.  Scripture doesn’t say why he went to Galilee.  Knowing the affinity Jesus had for John and the respect He had for him, it seems he needed time away to sort it out.  He went where it was quiet and familiar.  He went away.  He did not despair.  He did not become discouraged.  He met the news with an action plan.  He kept His confidence and went to people He knew.

This scripture coming up today is interesting.  All week I have been taking in good news in multiple areas.  Sometimes much good news can be as stressful as bad news.  Family, friends, work, community, and other areas have been full of blessed news.  The consulting business is prospering.  The work on fathering is prospering.  Many people want to meet and talk.  At the same time, this coming week, I have some time away to write and reflect.  I’ll be in my quiet spot at the lake.  It is timely to go sort out the news and make plans.  God is faithful.  He gives us space.

ACT!  Bad news?  Much good news?  How did you respond?  Did you respond with faith and joy in Christ?  Do you need time to sort out the next steps?  Let Him give you a respite.  He is faithful.  It may only be a few minutes or a few hours, but He is faithful.  He will not push you beyond His ability in you.

 PRAY!  Father, it is comforting to know You care so much for me.  In the middle of the tempest, You cover.  In the face of bad news, You allow a breath to come to take it in.  How can I thank You enough?  Help me to face every bad news with joy and confidence in Your provision.  Help me to absorb the punches of life with joy and family and friends.

 

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.

Phil’s Other Home

Meet Jesus: Human Matthew 4:2

meetjesusokMatthew 4: 2: And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

 There is a fallacy in meeting Jesus that bears great correction.   At times we approach Him as if He had some special advantage while He lived in that body born of Mary.  Jesus was fully human.  He got really hungry.  He dealt with conflicting emotions.  He lived as a human equipped with the Spirit of God even as He asks us to live.

In being human, Jesus sanctified humanity.  He made it okay to be fully human.  He made it a good thing to be all the human we could be, to live up to our human potential – with God.  Remember, while being fully human, He was fully God.  Our task is to work on being fully human, with God.

Being fully human, for us means being full of mistakes.  Being fully human, means being able to correct those mistakes.  Today I had a great opportunity to change my mistakes.  A co-worker was upset with me about my actions.  I had presumed what I did was okay with him instead of asking.  It was okay.  If I asked.  Not asking was presumptive.  It was inconsiderate.  By repenting and asking, my mistake was changed to okay.  He gave me that grace.  It was good.  Jesus helped me be human.

ACT!  Think of your most human moment this week.  Thank God for making you a human.

PRAY!  Father, thanks for making me a human like Jesus.  It must be really special to you, this human thing.  You sent Your own Son to be one, just to make it special.  Wow!  I really don’t deserve it, but I really appreciate it.  Thanks.

Meet Jesus: Led of the Spirit Matthew 4:1

meetjesusfireMatthew 4: 1: Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Interesting that Jesus, the Son of God, would be led by His own Spirit.  A man’s spirit is an incredibly powerful guiding force.  When we meet with Jesus, we meet with His Holy Spirit.  His Spirit becomes available to us to lead us and guide us.  His Spirit communes with our spirit to build us in the right direction.

The consistency of those led of the Spirit is born of the Spirit, Himself.  So often we can encounter like-hearted men and women, who seem to be thinking the same thoughts at the same time we do.  They are.  It is a connection born of God.  He brings us to the same place to make life move forward in His plan more rapidly.

A friend asked for prayer for Godly relationships and connections.  That strengthened me.  He has been struggling to step away from those that want him to go out and party and dance like he did before he met Christ.  He wants good, God connections.  That is an easy prayer for me.  To ask God to connect us with the right people is to ask God to be God.  His Spirit yearns to connect us that way.

ACT!  God is Spirit.  The separating force in us that distinguishes us from animals is our spirit created in His image.  Think on that for a minute.  Write down five aspects of you as a human that separates you from other forms of life.  Note that they are spiritual in nature.

 PRAY!  Father, let Your Holy Spirit of Jesus instruct me in the way I should go.  You showed me in Jesus that it is Your Holy Spirit that can guide me even in the hard times.  You showed me that it is Your Holy Spirit that will even ask me to do what I am unable to do without Him.  Keep me connected.

Meet Jesus: Fire Baptizer Matthew 3:11

meetjesusfireMatthew 3:11: I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

 Be ready for change when you meet Jesus.  John gets us focused in our preparation.  Meeting Jesus can make you different from the inside out.  He brings the Holy Spirit and fire to pour over you and change you.  Think of it this way.  It is like having chemical fire on the inside (the Holy Spirit) and liquid fire on the outside. However, the real you is strengthened not burned.  The stuff that is between you and Him will be cleansed.

Conflict is one of those baptizers in the Holy Spirit.  We want to avoid it, yet it is the right thing.  God used conflict to cause us to dig deeper into understanding of relationships and life.  The deeper we dig, the stronger we become.  In talking to a leader, it struck me to provoke him that leaders love resolving conflict.  They don’t love the conflict or the anger and frustration that may accompany it.  They do love the process of resolution and the end result.  Through conflict we are baptized in Holy Spirit fire.  He strengthens our resolve and our ability to move ahead.  He causes us to face hard items that need to be removed.  It is one way He baptizes us with fire.

 ACT!  Pick an item that needs to be burned away in your life.  Put it in front of Him for handling.

 PRAY!  Father, I am not afraid of being baptized in the Holy Spirit and fire.  I await continually meeting with Jesus to be continually cleansed. Let Your faithful and just character enter into my life as I confess my sin before You.  Forgive me and cleanse me from all ways that are unlike You.

If we can pray for you regarding anything in your life, please let us know.  Our greatest blessing is to bless others in prayer.   www.prayermetro.com   Phil

Meet Jesus: Fruit Inspector Matthew 3:7

Matthew 3: 7: But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8: Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

John’s preparatory help is worth really reviewing.   Fruit inspection is worth our time.  Fruit inspection should best be done by us.  Fruit inspection should best be done on us.  John noted some tough untended stuff in these leaders because they were standing in the way of others meeting Jesus with their bad fruit.  Hopefully, we do enough personal inspection that God doesn’t have to resort to outside help to get our attention.

ACT!  Take a little time to inspect and prune.  What in your life is preventing someone from seeing the real Jesus inside of you?  Can you cut it off?

 PRAY! Father, when I meet Jesus, He is so gentle, yet so true to the point.  Help me to be honest before You inspecting my attitudes and life.  Help me be a preparer of the way to Jesus, like John instead of being a hindrance to the way like the leaders in this story.  I open myself to Your Holy Spirit for inspection and pruning to bring forth fruits meet for repentance.