Meet Jesus : Daily Provider …GSJ2

Each means the manna for the day is enough.  Don’t worry about tomorrow’s manna.

 Matthew 6:11: Give us this day our daily bread.

 Enough: Jehovah Jireh in the Old Testament was a name for God that foreshadowed this text of prayer.  In Jesus, we meet The LORD, Our Provider.  Provider is a compound Latin word just as ji-reh is a compound Hebrew word.  Each means “to see beforehand”.  Each means that the “pro-vision” for the journey is in the path waiting for us each day.  Each means the manna for the day is enough.  Don’t worry about tomorrow’s manna.

Sure Enough: Sally had been praying for her friend for months.  The job he had was good, but not what he wanted.  Family had to take second place to every decision of the company.  Her friend, Jake, was struggling.  His marriage was strained.  His time with his kids was pressed.  He had lost many years of good time with his family.  Maybe God could provide him a different opportunity.  She was encouraged after talking with Greg.  A new opportunity in Greg’s office might be Jake’s answer.  God could provide.

 This devotion is #2 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

ACT! Take one worry about what you will need for today and throw it away. That’s right, throw it away.  Place it on the altar of prayer and don’t look back all day.

PRAY! Jehovah Jireh, You are my vision before I get there.  You have put in my path all that is necessary for life and Godliness.  You have made me a partaker of Your divine nature.  You have ordered my steps.  You have made my lines to fall in pleasant places.  Thank You, Father, for giving me my daily bread.  Thank You that in Jesus I have all I need every day according to Your riches in glory in Him.

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Meet Jesus: Hungry and Thirsty Matthew 5:6

meetjesushungry “So, as soon as you get filled, you find you really only saw a little piece of the whole of your life that He wants.”

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, ….. 6: Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Being filled is a place of comfort in Christ.  We all want to be “fat and happy”.  When we hunger and thirst for righteousness, He causes that to happen.  Not only does He fill us with the righteousness for which we are hungry and thirsty, but He fills us with all other areas.  Connected with Christ, we find fulfillment in every area of life.  Seeking Him and His righteousness, joy, and peace in the Holy Spirit, will bring us to fulfillment.  Our family, relationships, work, community, and mental contentment will be satisfied.  That is not just some promise.  It is truth. 

Now, of course, He wants you to stay hungry.  “Fat and happy” usually leads to “quick to judge others”.  So, as soon as you get filled, you find you really only saw a little piece of the whole of your life that He wants.  Then you get hungry again and go looking and find bigger answers and that process never stops.

Jesus changed the community to desire righteousness.  People just were not satisfied with living according to the world’s mandates after meeting Him.  They immediately showed a dissatisfaction with life as it was when connected to Christ.  We still do.  But He satisfies.  He brings us to answers.

As I work on this I am 12 years older than when I first wrote it.  Today I am sitting in Starbucks reviewing notes on fathering in preparation to talk to families tonight.  I feel so inadequate.  I feel really hungry.  Old answers just seem hollow.  And, then again, some of the old answers are still good and have proven over time to help me grow.  Looking into the mirror of time, it is obvious He has changed me to love people more and listen more instead of being so quick with precooked solutions.  There is a tolerance and acceptance that people are on a journey and we will get there when we get there.

So I deleted the old story that was put in here in 2006, because I am not the same man and it needs to be retold.  Hunger still grips me.  Thirst to see people and families content and compassionate and connected burns in my soul.  Back then, I just thought about me and my 36 square feet of space.  Yes, I am content but not satisfied.  I am comfortable but not sitting.  I am confident but still seeking. 

ACT!  Filled?  Hungry?  Thirsty?  Check out that which hungers you.  When do you look for more?  Is it in relation to Christ’s fulfillment in your life?  Is it in relation to something else?  Get hungry for His righteousness, His right living, and being positioned totally in Him.  That hunger will lead you to satisfaction beyond measure.  Write down two items for which you are hungry in Him right now.   Just like the “Snickers” commercial.  You are only satisfied if you eat it.  Search the scriptures on those areas.  Memorize the words that apply.

 

PRAY!   Father, I hunger for my family to be complete in You.  That is my hunger.  I wish to see all my friends connected to Christ.  There will never be a total satisfaction in me, Father, until I see my community committed to living fully in You and by charactered and moral principles revealed in Your word.  Satisfy my soul, Lord.  Show me a way to advance the righteousness of the kingdom in my family and friends and community this week.  Don’t let me sit on the sidelines.  Launch me into action.

 If we can pray for you regarding anything in your life, please let me know.  It is an honor when trusted to bless others in prayer. .  www.communitytransformationinitiative.org   Phil@shepherdok.com

 

 

Meet Jesus: Inherit The Earth Matthew 5:5

What?  Inherit the earth?

“Meekness represents confident power self-controlled.  It does not put others down.  It considers the plight of all.”

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, ….. 5: Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

 Inherit The Earth: What does it mean to inherit the earth?  The meek get to do it.  We can inherit money.  We can inherit a business.  We can inherit land.  What does it mean to inherit the earth?  Must we wait for someone to die?  What does it mean?

Meek Meek: Jesus was meek among meek.  Moses was declared the meekest man.  Both of these men were bold beyond measure.  Both were powerful with miracles and conflict surrounding them.  Both were directive and unashamed of their message.  Is that meek?  Yes.  Both allowed God to be their defender.  Both protected the dignity of the individual.  Both were full of kindness.  Meekness represents confident power self-controlled.  It does not put others down.  It considers the plight of all.  It demands correct response.  Meekness never puts the person above others in order to achieve a goal.  The meek rightly know who they are and act confidently and considerately to achieve Godly goals with compassion.

In This Life: These meek inherit the earth in this life.  There is no need for the death of anyone to inherit this earth.  When we meet Jesus, we receive great authority and power and call to task.  To move in meekness means to proceed to get our assignment done with all resources supplied.   The earth, the world system, submits to the meek.  The earth will comply for the meek.  Others move out of the way for a person of confidence on a mission.  Many will quickly give resources to them to steward, understanding a good return will be had.  They inherit the earth and all it has to give.

Head Scratcher: Blake scratched his head.  For the sixth time this week, someone called and offered him what he needed to arrange his meeting.  First a caterer called and asked if he had any needs.  They had a few dates open in April and would like to give him a discount to try them out.  The first date was the date of his meeting.  Second, he was at lunch and overhead a person waiting to be seated talking about their business of supplying meeting rooms.  He arranged with them for the date for half of his budget.  Then his sales assistant informed him she was starting a part-time personal printing service from home.  She agreed to help him design all the invitations and handouts in exchange for using the business name as a reference.  This was too easy.  He was confident from day one this was the right thing to do, but it seemed everyone was cheerfully willing to embrace the idea with him and help.

ACT!  Meek?  Do you know your own strength?  Do you know the strength of God that is with you? Are you submissively confident so that others can see?  The next time you approach someone about a decision you want them to make, believe in yourself and God’s ability to bring it to pass.  Then talk to them.  See what happens.

 PRAY!   Father, teach me the truth that it is not by my power or my might, but by Your Spirit that the task is accomplished.  Teach me that You own and the fruitfulness of the earth.  Teach me that You have equipped and accepted me to do what is ahead of me in the day.  Teach me that I don’t have to put myself forward, put others down, or force anything to happen.  Instill in me confident power exhibited with meekness.  Let me see this earth submit to Your will even as the angels in heaven respond to Your commands.  Thank You for being You.

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: Open Mouthed Matthew 5:1

meetjesusopenMatthew 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,

There is a time to open our mouths and bless.  Jesus has the exact sense of those moments.  When He was set, He opened His mouth.  When went up into the mountain, He opened His mouth.  When He saw the multitudes, He opened His mouth.  When His disciples came to Him, He opened His mouth.  He opened His mouth and taught them.

He teaches us the same way today.  His mouth is open with blessing when we come to Him.  The disciples came to Him.  The multitudes came to Him.  We come to Him.  All of us find the same Jesus.  He is open to speak blessing and teaching over us.

Over life, there have been so many ready to bless and encourage.  These words of Jesus were not easy words of blessing, but essential for understanding the path of living in blessing.  Some years ago, a teacher, mentor, and friend in ministry came to my home.  He parked his RV out front for a few days and visited.  In the course of those days, he asked me one question.  “What are you doing with the gift God has given to you?”  That question has remained some 29 years later.  His open mouth spoke a path of blessing that was challenging.  It has led me for over two decades in responsibly asking and answering that same question over and over.  It has been a route of blessing to use that which God has gifted into my life for others.

 

ACT!  Are you ready to open your mouth to bless another?  Are you able to speak a challenge that leads to blessing?  Who is speaking that challenge to you?  Listen.  Learn.  Obey.  Speak.

PRAY! Father of Life and Loving, how can I every realize the fullness of Jesus You have sent to us?  You sent Him full of life and blessing.  You sent Him for abundance.  You sent Him for joy.  You sent Him for challenge.  Call me, Father.  With the voice of Christ calling me to move forward, never let me shirk back from that which You have taught through Him to us.  Let us humbly walk in the challenge and the blessing of the path of obedience.  Let us always go unafraid to the great Teacher to hear and obey and be blessed.

Meet Jesus : Fisher of Men Matthew 4:18

meetjesusfisherman

Matthew 4: 18: And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. 19: And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

Peter and Andrew were never the same after meeting Jesus.   His nature as a gatherer of men for His Father’s family became their nature.    He took a part of them and changed it to work for the kingdom. They gathered fish.  He needed men gatherers.  Meeting Jesus will change you to gather men and women and children to Him and His Father’s family.  No matter what you gather now, He will add gathering men to His family.

My son and I were at the quick gas spot the other evening.  A furtive man jumped from behind the car.  Assuring us he only wanted to beg some money, he approached.  I signaled to him to stay at a distance.  This was not the time and place.

The next day, a half a block a way, we went to lunch with my wife.  The man slipped from behind a car.  I engaged him in conversation as my wife and son went into the restaurant.  On the streets over time, I have talked to many such men.  Some are harmless.  Some are dangerous.  Some are unpredictable.  This one seemed the latter.  He was desperate, either on drugs or suffering from having none, and persistent.  Eye to eye, we talked.  He began to give me a string of problems and diseases.  Mid course, I stopped him and asked him what he was doing with what he was given.  He told me he worked painting and then quit in the last seven days.  He had already spent the money.  It would have been enough for several days in his lifestyle.

He was quick witted.  He was strong.  He was trapped in somebody done me wrong songs.  It would be pitiful to give him a dollar and say the inevitable Jesus loves you stuff.   I gave him a few dollars, and I gave him straight advice.  Sure, Jesus is my motivation.  Do something with what you have.  Take your mind and body and put it to work.  Quit dwelling on the problems and get focused on the solution.  People are helping.  Use their help to get up and out.  Let Jesus pull you from the sea of problems through His fishermen.  Don’t just jump back in the water.

ACT!  Think of one person around you that needs to be gathered to Jesus’ family.

What do you need to do to invite them to be a part?

PRAY!  Father, help me to be a fisher of men.  Jesus has come to my life.  He’s met with me and called me to be a fisherman with Him.  Help me to see those around me that He wants in the family.  Help me to know how to draw them to Him and Your family.

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.