Work of Faith, Labor of Love, Patience of Hope

1 Thessalonians 1:3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father.

Morning greets with wafting noise and odors of coffee and sausage.  Before me is a grand day of training and planning and prayer.

What will you do today, Father?

While I am working and busy, will You be changing lives and bringing success to my door?  Of course You will.  It is Your nature.

While I am praying and listening, will You be speaking kind words to those from whom I need favor and action?  Of course You will.  It is Your nature.

While I am planning and consulting, will you be dispatching angels to pave and protect the path of provision?  Of course You will.  It is Your nature.

Father, guard the work of faith.  Honor my actions.  Enable them and anoint them to accomplish ten times what I can do.

Father, embrace the labor of love.  Let it touch hearts with Your heart.  Expose Yourself through me and let others see You.

Father, honor the patience of hope.  Open the eyes of my understanding.  Cause vision to congeal and give substance to faith’s grasp.

Este dia en tus manos, Padre Dios.

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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: Comforted Matthew 5:1

refreshFeeling a little dour today over a loss?  Read on….

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, ….. 4: Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 

 Meeting Jesus means connecting with comfort.  Life is full of disconcerting events.  Comfort is a sure provision for the mournful, not for the moanful.  So often, we can connect with hard events and moan about our circumstances.  Moan and mourn are not the same.  Mourn focuses on the loss of a person we love.  Moan focuses on us and our present perceived personal pain.  We can moan over loss of a job, loss of a dog, loss of anything or anyone that had our affection.   Mourn is about the other person.  It is about the pain of the loss of removal of a loved one or some part of that loved one.  Mourning may be over abuse instigated against someone we love.  There is a piece of their future lost.  We mourn the loss on their behalf.  Mourning most time is over the loss of a loved one to this planet.  Jesus promises blessing to those who mourn.  They are in a position of pain on the account of another human being.  They will be comforted.  Take heart, there is comfort for those that love and mourn.  There is no real mourning without love.

 Charle’s Story: Charles was distraught in his soul.  For years, he had invested time and energy into this congregation.  Now, it had fallen on hardness.  Leadership had moved a destructive direction.  So many families now were simply sitting at home and not joined to any local congregation.  His heart was heavy.  At times, he moaned in prayer for restoration of his friends to a brighter life in Christ.  It hurt.  It was a mourning for them that would not leave him even five years after the cataclysm.

As he walked to his car from the coffee shop the sound of a familiar voice broke his dour mood.  The lilt in the greeting surprised him.  From eight cars away, a familiar face from five years ago beamed at him.  “Pastor Charles, remember me?  I go to Old Church.  Have a great day!  Glad to see you.”  It was a blessing.   It was a comfort.  Here was a face from long past that he had forgotten.  There was joy in the face and happiness in the voice.  His mood was lifted and comfort came in.

ACT!  For whom do you mourn?  Take a few minutes to think of some great joy they gave to you or even a little one.  Let a little light of comfort enter into the darkness.

 PRAY!   Father, there are moments of mourning that seem to overwhelm my soul.  My heart becomes dreary.   The slightest smile eludes my face.  Brighten me, Father.  Send some of that comfort my direction.  And, Father, let me find words to comfort another.  Let me find a way to speak a message that sends the hope into a heart of a future not a loss.  There is a future in comfort.  There is a surety of a brighter day on the other side of mourning.   There is a promise that joy can be heard in the morning after mourning.   There is the life of a new baby blessing the future to bring comfort.

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: Served Matthew 4:9

meetjesusservedMatthew 4:9: And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. 10: Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. 11: Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

 Angels minister to Jesus, and so should we minister to Jesus with our worship.  In Paul’s letter to the Romans he talks of a reasonable or rational service and worship done with presenting our bodies as living sacrifices.  This is our pleasure and our part.  Our worship of Jesus is to serve Him, to present ourselves totally to His selection for our life.  Satan had it backwards.  He forgot who was to serve whom.

Josue was determined to follow God this day.  Lately, he had been wandering from his relationship with Christ.  Over and over events just did not seem to go his way.  Something he had read before was now stirring in him.  There was something about praising God in everything.  He was ready to try it.  He was ready to try anything that would restore the warmth of the love of Jesus back in him.  As he lifted his voice in the quiet of his room late that night, something broke.  He began to weep.  He began to praise God out loud.  He began to know again the reassurance of the presence of the Holy Spirit.

ACT!  Where does Jesus need your active worship?  Take action this week on worshipping with real action where He needs you to serve another in the kingdom.

 PRAY!  Father, Jesus is the center of my worshipful services.  Help me connect with the right actions for which You created me.  I was created in Jesus for good works of  worship done unto You.  Enable me, Father, to find those works for which You created me and act on them.

 

Meet Jesus: Taken Matthew 4:5

meetjesustakenMatthew 4:Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,

The fact that Jesus would allow himself to be taken anywhere by the devil astounds me.  What was going through His mind at those moments?  Here he was, led by His own Holy Spirit, to spend time with evil.   Here he was entering the beginning of His public ministry dealing with a defeatist devil.  Our present thinkers tell us to feel good and be happy and then minister.  Our present ideologies point to pleasure as the entry to ministry.  Jesus allowed himself to be taken into the presence of evil itself.  This was His entry point into public ministry.  He allowed testing.  He presented himself for inspection.  He was taken.

Pushed to the max, Jim was about to pop.  This was supposed to be his year to get the big promotion.  It began with pain.  Employees were livid with some decisions he had made.  Every emotion in him was twisted.  He had worked night and day and given himself totally on behalf of these.  They turned on him.  The year before, he had handled the torrents of accusations from a disturbed man.  The threats had been against these very employees that now turned on him.  For defending them, he now stood their accusations of being unfair and inequitable.  Was this how to start his big year?

He resigned himself to stand through the accusations.  He remembered that the name, Satan, really meant Accuser.  He remembered, Jesus had stood testing before His big year.  Surely, he could allow the Healer to live in and through him in this critical time.  “Father, forgive them”, he whispered, “They don’t know what they are doing.”

ACT! Testing is never fun.  When God has something big, He can allow life and, yes, even the devil a place to sort out our intentions and grace living.  Is there a place of testing in your life?  Is God preparing you, stabilizing you for the next big thing?  Submit to the test.  Let it prove you out.  Don’t fight.  Let God fight for you.  Take time to pray Psalm 35 and see what happens.

PRAY! Father, I am not my own defense.  When life and the enemy rise against me as a flood, You be the boat of my salvation.  Carry me away from that which is too strong for me.  Deliver me from the hand of my enemies.  Cause in me conviction to repent of those weaknesses in me that could have led to this situation.  Cause holiness to well up in me.  Cause me to crucify any flesh that needs changed.  Let these troubles be a directional that causes me to become closer to You in thought and word and deed.  Cause me to be more like You than ever before.  Then, in the next big thing, I will be able.  I will be founded.  I will be strengthened to do that to which You have called me.  I surrender myself to be taken.

Meet Jesus: Humility Matthew 3:13

Matthew 3: 13: Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.

 Here is the Son of God, God in the flesh, submitting Himself to the gift and calling of another.  In most of our world, this is almost unthinkable.  The Master goes to the servant to be enabled for ministry.  It is so backward to our ego mindset that it almost hurts.  When you meet with Jesus, you will be asked to find Him in others and lay down ego.

There is nothing like being misunderstood to humble us.  Reading through a memo written by another staffer, I started to get upset.  It was evident that he really did not understand the conversation the day before.  How could he so misunderstand me?  Before I did something stupid, I opened the memo that had been sent by me after the conversation.  Taking a slow and deliberate look, it was easy to see how he was interpreting as my meaning.  He was simply walking out his understanding.  Humbled, I deleted my first response and crafted one more suitable and understanding to correct the confusion.

ACT! Think of a friend who has a gift you need.  Get with them and let them pray for you.

 PRAY! Whoops!  Father sometimes I miss it and mess it.  Sometimes You have sent Jesus to me in a wrapper that I did not receive.  Sometimes the unlikely has had the incredible for my life.  Help me find the some-times and receive from the gift of others in Him.

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