Meet Jesus: Heart For Heaven …GSJ7

treasureJesus’ heart is His Father’s heart. His treasure was the will of His Father.

Matthew 6:19:Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal 20: but lay for yourselves treasures in heaven , where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Treasure House: The treasure of our heart is the treasure of our thought and word and action. Jesus’ heart was always toward heaven. His Father’s house was His continual concern. His Father’s house is still His continual concern. The gathering of men and women together into His body is about filling His Father’s table. Jesus is focused on fulfilling the heart of His Father. Jesus’ heart is His Father’s heart. His treasure was the will of His Father.

Mulled Jake: Jake mulled over his options.  The pain of continuing wrong choices plagued his quiet thoughts.  There just seemed to be no release from the pain of his mistakes.  Just then, the phone beeped.  It was Sally.  She wanted to know if he and his family would like to attend church Sunday morning with her family.  She went on rambling about praying for him all week.  He wasn’t sure he believed she would really do that.  It was a long pause as he thought over how to say no.

This devotion is #7 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! Does the Father have a specific will for you?  Do you know it?  Do you know His heart for you?  Pursue filling His house.  Invite someone today to join you the next time you are going to a gathering of believers.

PRAY! Precious Father of life and love. I want to fill Your house with others. I want my treasure to fill up Your house. Your house is my heart. My heart is to fill up the table of blessing in Your house that You as Father would have more sons and daughters. Focus me. Help me to see Your specific will for my life and action. Help me to think of You and Your house, Your heaven first above all.

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: 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: Transcendent …GSJ1

 

While His Father is in heaven, He talks to Him in familiar terms as if He were standing beside Him, and asks us to do the same.

Matthew 6: 7 And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. 8 “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 9 In this manner, therefore, pray:   Our Father in heaven,  hallowed be Your name.  10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

 Building Transcendence:  Jesus is at once at home in heaven and on earth.  He is transcendent.  He easily moves back and forth in His thought and access.  While His Father is in heaven, He talks to Him in familiar terms as if He were standing beside Him, and asks us to do the same.  While there is a will of God declared in heaven, He expects it to be walked out fully here on earth.  He is transcendent.  He refuses to be held away from the best His Father has for Him.

Greg’s Transcendent Moment: The decision for the new team member was looming.  As the team succeeded, it became evident they would need an added member.  Who would join?  Would they fit the group?  How could they find the right person?  Greg moved to prayer.  He needed divine wisdom.  Surely God was aware this need would arise before this day.  Surely God would provide.  As Greg quieted himself in his office in prayer, his phone rang.  Sally was calling.  She had a friend looking for a position similar to what the team needed.

 This devotion is #1 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT!  What is it you need to transcend? To get over and above?  To do it like it is done in heaven not as it is on earth?  Start acting the part.

PRAY! Father, I need You to transcend my life.  So often, I am tied to my earthly expectations, joys, and achievements.  It is hard for me to transcend with Jesus and see what You see and do what You do and fulfill Your will spoken in heaven here on earth.  Help me to transcend with Jesus and live to the fulness of Your will and presence here on earth.  I commit, Father, to see Your will done on earth in my life as it is in heaven

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.

Approaching God

Design for Discipleship

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.

Worldchangers Care.

pmlogoblueThe world won’t change if you stand and stare. It will only change when you stoop and care. Phil

Psalm 142:3-5 When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way.

In the path where I walk people have hidden a snare for me.

Look and see, there is no one at my right hand; no one is concerned for me.

I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.

I cry to you, Lord; I say, “You are my refuge,my portion in the land of the living.”

David was hiding in a cave when he wrote this psalm. Many of us live in caves. Maybe we live there for a week or a month or a lifetime. In the cave, we wonder if any really care. We block off hands that try to reach. All around us are others living in caves. They won’t put out their heads unless they know we care.

God cares. He cares for you. He is safe. He doesn’t lay traps. You don’t have to live in the cave. You can help others out of their cave.

Prayer: Father, the caves of life are dark and damp and fearful. You are full of light and warmth and care. Your care removes our fear. You allow us to see light in the darkest moments. You warm the coldness of despair. You open hope with care. Give us strength to do the same for others.