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.  

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Meet Jesus: Integral

 meetjesusnearathandHow in this world can our righteousness exceed that of the most religious?  

Matthew 5: 20For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven. 

Jesus calls us to a higher place than religion.  It is not the place of pious righteousness born of obeisance to which He calls us.  Did that make sense?  It is not surface righteousness He wants.  It is not doing great motions that He wants.  He wants righteousness born of the spirit of the heart.  He wants our desires for living like God.  This goes beyond the righteousness of religion.

 

A story: Sharon was looking.  So often she had seen religion in the lives of others.  That did not appeal to her.  She wanted something more.  She wanted relationship and meaning in her life.  How could she find it?  This group that met on Tuesday nights seemed to have something more.  Her coworker had convinced her to go the first time.  There was something in them more than just their bible-book and talk.  She wondered what it was.

ACT!  Is there a hunger for right living in you?  Is it bigger than just what you do, but how you think?

PRAY!  Father, where is the place of peace I seek.  In my life there are many mistakes.  So many times, I’ve lost sight of the goodness You want for me.  So many times, I have tried and failed to live up to Your ways and laws.  But, I want to follow You.  I want to live for You.  I want to connect with Your love every day and every hour.  Peace me, Father.  Flow the presence of Your Holy Spirit into me in new ways.  Break the old mold of my life and breathe something new in me.  Make my love for You fresh and vibrant.  Break me.

 

Meet Jesus : Light of the World Matthew 5:13

Matthew 5: 13: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14: Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

What does it mean to be the light of the world?  Connection to Jesus means we become the light of the world.  Connection to Jesus means we are a part of a city on a hill that cannot be hid.  It is not us individually to whom He speaks.  It is us, the City of God, the people of God, to whom He speaks.  Together in Him, we are the light of the world.  Our world is dark.  Our world is pained.  Our world is putrid.  Get it straight.  This world is full of shadows.  It is wrong because it is disconnected from the light.  Jesus came and spoke to the world to change to a different way of thinking.  He spoke for this world to think light not dark.  When we connect with Him we connect with a message of light.  Together, the body of Christ, is meant to shine a light on problems.  It is meant to shine solutions for our metro.  This city to which we are attached is full of solutions for others to see and grasp and join.

Of course, you may pay a high price.  Businesses and government and education are afraid of Christianity.  They have been put in fearful positions by those opposed, who have sought limitation in the name of liberation.  Choices have to be made.  Promotions will be lost.  Contracts will not close.  There are costs to being affiliated with Christ.  Do it.  Pay the price.  Carry your cross.  Better to shine a light in a dark world knowing some will be blessed and released from pain than to hide it under fear and intimidation and leave others to suffer knowingly.

ACT! Shine a light.  It is so easy to not be like Christ.  It is so easy to skip praying over a meal in public.  It is so easy to just not mention your friends and relationships in Christ.  When conversation at lunch turns to others talking about movies and shows and new homes and kids in school, how do you talk?  Are you free to mention your friends in Christ?  Are you open to talk about a great sermon you heard or a meaningful worship service that stirred your soul? Can you mention the peace you have in personal relationship?  Do you have the courage?  Are you willing to be seen connected to the city on the hill?

PRAY! Padre Precioso, Precious Father, I am committed to join the city and be known as joined to the city.  It is risky.  It is risky to be known.  Even according to Your word, it can bring persecution.  It can bring misunderstanding.  It can bring dissension.  But, Father, I am committed to be known by Your name.  Let me not be ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ that calls us to live as light in a dark world.  Let me not be ashamed of the name of Jesus.  Let me not be ashamed.  Let not my enemies of my world, my flesh, and the devil triumph over me.

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/