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: Bright Eye ..GSJ8

brighteyeHe saw it, and acted on it. He spoke healing.

Matthew 6:22: The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; 23: but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

Dark Notes: Darkness represents what we need not even know. Light is the path of Jesus. Light keeps us focused on the right path. Jesus looked to the light. It wasn’t that He did not see the darkness. He saw it, and acted on it. He spoke healing. He spoke life. He spoke light. He spoke the presence of His Father. When our eyes are filtered by darkness, we see darkness darkly. That is a great darkness. When our eyes are filtered by light, we see darkness in the light. We see clearly.

Tunnel Light: Greg was ready to pray now.  As he had mulled over his own ineffectiveness and mistakes at work, repentance fill his heart.  He truly wanted to do the right thing by his staff and made that commitment to himself and God.  Over the week, he had called in different co-workers and apologized and recommitted to what they needed.  Now, he was ready to pray.  His prayer took on a violent note.  It was decisive and declarative.  He began to speak solutions into place at work.  He began to declare that God was on his side and would provide the right person.  He began to rebuke confusion and conflict and dissension that had been in the workplace.  His prayer surprised him.  His confidence that God was in it was strengthened.  Light was appearing in his tunnel.

This devotion is #8 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! Look with light on your day today. Can you see good in a dark moment? Can you see Jesus in a good moment.

PRAY! Light of life, Father of light, open my eyes with understanding. Help my eyes to let in light to my soul. So much in this world is full of darkness, I need Your light. I need you to open for me a lighted eye that I might see the good You are doing around me. Open for me a lighted eye that I might see Jesus active in my life and those around me. Help me see the good and the positive and block out darkness from entering in with my eye lighted at all times.

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: Cleary Eyed …GSJ10

He wants us to have the dust out of our eyes so we can see clearly.

Matthew 7:5: Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

 Home Front: Mind the home front first.  Jesus is repetitive on this point.  Taking care of ourselves is His focus for us.

Windy: This area I live in has a constant wind blowing.  Sometimes the wind is 5 miles an hour.  Sometimes the wind is 25 miles an hour.  Always it is blowing dust and particles up into the air and eyes.  That can leave you bleary-eyed.  I keep a bottle of saline solution in my desk against those days when I catch something in the walk from the parking lot to the office.  It helps clear out any particle that blew in.  Even the smallest particle of dust can cause my vision to be clouded.

Clear: How can you focus when you are bleary-eyed?  Jesus wants us to be cleary-eyed.  He wants us to have the dust out of our eyes so we can see clearly.

Greg’s Hobnob: Greg’s feelings of joy were not echoed by Jake.  Greg was happy to see an old friend coming to his church.  Jake was not happy.  He and Greg had been friend’s years before.  Then Greg started hobnobbing with some do-gooders and would have nothing to do with him.  Those were painful memories for Jake.  Those emotions washed up on the shore of his mind as he walked.  Funny, how something from that long ago still affected him.  He was getting angry.  His wife was looking at him oddly wondering what was going on and what was getting ready to happen.  This is how he looked when he came home drinking.

This devotion is #10 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT!  Get some particle out.  Want is going on in your life that needs washed out?  Is someone else’s particle in your eye and you just need to be looking elsewhere?

PRAY! Father, help me be cleary-eyed.  Help me to tend to my business with You instead of worrying about others.  Surely, they have enough dust of their own.  Surely I need to keep my eyes clear.  Help me stay out of other’s activities in judgement.  Sufficient for me are the issues to which I need to tend.

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.

Live the Call

Genesis 18:19 For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

callLive your call, friend.  There is a specific destiny in each of us, a call, a voice waiting to be heard.  May God give your voice words and actions for others to hear and see and follow.

 A Specific Destiny

 Abraham had a call.  He had a way of righteousness and justice that was imbedded in all he did.  It commanded itself into the lives of others.  It commands itself into our lives.  Without Abraham there would be no Isaac or Jacob or Israel or a tribe of Judah or Jesus born of man.  He was selected to birth nations.

 Abraham had specific promises.  These promises were delivered as he lived his call.  They were brought to him by God as he lived his call.  In the path of obedience, he found all he needed and abundance for others.

 A Christian Disciple

 Live your call.  There is a general call to obedience in Christ that applies to all of us.  Prayer, meditation, witnessing, giving, service, thankfulness, gathering, and loving others are part of your call if you live in Christ.  To not do them limits God’s ability to deliver His general promises.  He places them in the path of living the call of a disciple of Christ.

Mistaken Identity

 I can make a good living and have many benefits as a salesperson.  Give me the right product and right list with the right affinity and right relevance and right distinctive proposition and I can sell it for you.  But, that is not my call.  Sometimes, I help clients with marketing and sales.  It is not my call, though it is a talent.

 Mistaken identity can cause us to live full of financial and relational prosperity and think we are following a call.  The evidence of a call is the delivery of promises related to that call. The evidence of a talent is the delivery of results of  principles related to it.  Present a well priced product with value to the right person at the right time and you have a sell.  Be friendly and you will have friends.

 Discerning the Difference

 Live the call.  It’s fine to live the talent as long as it does not rob the call.  Most folks stumble through life with no thought of call whatsoever.  As long as progress is being made we can ignore God’s voice forever.  Humans are like that.

What is your call?  Has the still voice of God talked to you in the night about influencing legislation or pastoring or starting a business or being a great administrator?  Has He intimated promises along the path?  The promises might not include the world’s success formula.  They might include martyrdom or families being restored or they might include great wealth.  They might.  Have you listened?  Have you stepped back from the rush and press of performance long enough to really listen and examine?  It might seem too big.  Usually His call exceeds our capability.  It should look to big.call

 Live the call.  God is speaking.  You don’t need to doubt that.  He is speaking your call.  Maybe you have heard it.  Maybe you have never listened.  Maybe you’ve been too busy trying to live up to someone else’s call or your personal desires and need to sort through motivations and voices. Maybe it just seems to big to get started. No one hears your call for you.  It is between you and God.

 Prayer:  Father, here is a friend.  This one has  a call.  I call it out.  I stir it up.  Cause Your Holy Spirit to stir deep and make clear.  That call, that voice, that destiny can awaken and change our world. As they obey and follow, Father, bring quickly those things you have spoken to them that they would have confidence and continue.

 

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.

Meet Jesus: Straight

Matthew 5:  33″Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but keep the oaths you have made to the Lord.’ 34 But I tell you, Do not swear at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

 In our networking, political worlds, we often find shaded communications the norm.  Jesus is a straight shooter.  His admonition to us is to avoid dependence on excuses and other items like, “I swear by the heavens”, over which we have no control.  Simply say yes or no He tells us.  Connecting with Jesus means connecting with a simple, clear answer.    Connecting with Jesus strengthens us to give a simple, clear answer and commitment when other’s depend on us.

ACT! Get straight on a miscommunication.  Think of a commitment you have made that really was neither a yes or no.   Make a decision and connect with the other person.  Tell them yes or no.

PRAY!  Father, help me to be like Jesus.  Give me clarity when I call to you.  Build clarity in me when I am called upon by others.  Show me direction.  Give me sound discretion in all decisions that I might be reliable and relied upon.  Bolster my confidence in You and in Your ability to follow through in me.  Let me not speak in shades of gray when people need clear and simple lines.  

Meet Jesus: Clear Thoughts Matthew 5:27

meetjesustakebackMatthew 5: 27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

 One of the greatest thought battles of the male is with lust.  Jesus is fully aware of that thought battle.  He is conscious of the struggle men face.  He doesn’t excuse it away.  Connecting with Jesus is connecting with a commitment to clear, controlled thought-life.

With what appears to be such a strict edict, is there hope for men and women?  Yes, the thought is not just directed to men, it is directed to all.  Is there hope?

Like any struggle, Jesus is giving us tips to stopping damage before it goes to full fruit.  The key is to stop thoughts before they develop into action.  He isn’t telling us that a quick temptation is like full blown sexual contact.  He is telling us, “Don’t go there.  Get control of your thoughts before they develop further than a fleeting idea.”

ACT!  Thoughts wandering?  Try speaking blessing over a person instead of contemplating their sexual attraction.  Change the focus of your mind.  Give your mind something else to think about.  See the person as a person not an objective.

 PRAY!  Father, our hearts can be so distracted.  So many times we find ourselves struggling to stay faithful and content with the lives in which we are blessed.  You call us to not covet other’s goods and spouses and conditions.  Keep envy far from us.  Keep jealousy away from our door.  Keep coveting out of our mind.  Clear our hearts, God.  We need Your help.  You give us clear and clean thoughts to guide us.  Help us to focus on the good and gentle and kind in life and be content with our condition.