Walking Together

Christ is the cure for loneliness. He connects us. He finds a place for us. That is the work of a church.
There is no reason to walk alone.

In discussion with a group of ministers, each decried working alone at their tasks.  That is odd.  Rarely do I work alone.  Of course, I write alone.  Yet, even in that I have people submit ideas and do research.  Even if I don’t use it, the conversation is good and contributes.

None of us should walk alone.  This morning I am reading responses from legislators across the United States to a quick blurb.  We pray together.  We walk together.  Never alone.  That is just not right.

Ephesians 4:16 NKJV from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love

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First Bible

firstbibletitledIn this apartment complex, there is little of faith.  Most of the kids tell us their fathers are in prison.  Many of the others live in a single parent home.  Few have a full house with mom and dad.

Here sits L.  As she received her first bible, she sat down immediately and began to read.  The impact brought me to tears.  Living in a community where churches mark every corner, she had never read the stories of the Lord for herself.  Her excitement was immediate and active.

The stocking is full of wonderful fruits and nuts and a candy cane.  Yet, they mean nothing compared to her joy in receiving the words of God.

L is touching the words of the Lord not just on the page, but in the flesh with those that come to her and teach weekly.  She reads the bible on their face and in their hands and expressed from their hearts.

Thank you, Jesus, for the wonderful opportunity to share You with others.  I weep at the priviledge to serve.

Meet Jesus : Faith Seeker

Meet Jesus : Faith Seeker

Matthew 8:5: And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,6: And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

 7: And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

8: The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9: For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

10: When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

11: And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12: But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

13: And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour

Faith is honored by God.  Faith based in understanding of authority, moves God quickly.  In our journey in this life, it serves us well to remember how Jesus honors faith in authority.  Remember, His authority was so evident the people marveled.   Authority is important to Jesus.  He looks for those that understand and invoke His authority through faith.

ACT!  Do you have a situation requiring authority?  Invite Jesus into it.

PRAY!  Father, I place myself under the authority of the name of Jesus.  Even as the centurion placed his servant under Jesus’ authority, so do I place me and my household.  Cover the property entrusted to me.  Cover my family’s health.  Cover the thoughts of my mind.

 

Meet Jesus – Reality Based .. GSJ15

The mirror of His love reveals the truth of our pretense and provides opportunity to change.

Matthew 7:21: Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22: Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

“It takes generosity to discover the whole through others. If you realize you are only a violin, you can open yourself up to the world by playing your role in the concert.” Jacques Cousteau

Outside In: All of us have acquaintances that appear on the outside with one manner, yet inside are quite different. All of us have masks of pretense in some area ourselves. Jesus is interested in reality. Show, pretense, and explosive displays of seeming wonder are meaningless to Him. It is an inside job that is important to Him. When we connect with Him, we connect with reality. The mirror of His love reveals the truth of our pretense and provides opportunity to change. He looks for the change.

Quizzical Stick: Sally looked quizzically at Jake. All morning in Sunday School class he had appeared to be okay. He even knew the scripture which they were studying and the parable of the seed and the sower. Yet, she knew he was not in any Christian fellowship. They had talked about it. Who was this person? What was his real background? She thought she knew him. Now, she was not quite so sure.

Jake laughed on the inside. “If they only knew?” he thought to himself. It had been years since he had studied any scripture or allowed anyone to teach him. Even his wife was surprised at his knowledge of the scriptures. In college, when Greg had separated from his friends, Jake had been driven to find out why. All through the rest of his college years, he attended a small group at a local church. He had even made some commitments of his life to live for Christ. That was a long time ago. The group had blown up over petty arguments. He wasn’t impressed with the reality of this faith after that episode. He wasn’t ready to step into these waters again. Was Jesus really real?

Act! Strip off one mask. Where is pretense ruling in your life? Dig for the truth and let Jesus build His reality into you in that area.

Pray! Ouch! Father, I admit I have areas of pretense. Before You and You alone can they be revealed in an atmosphere of healing. Never are You interested in destruction. Never are You interested in my downfall. You are always on my side to become more like Jesus. Help me to undo the pretenses of my life. In all areas, I want You to be able to say, “Yes, I know that one. Let him enter in with my son, Jesus, into the everlasting kingdom of life.”

This devotion is #15 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

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Meet Jesus: Positive Answers ..GSJ12

When we come to Him and His Father, there is never rejection.

Matthew 7:7: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 9: Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10: Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? 11: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

NO?: Ever feared you would get a no from someone?  Fear of rejection is a strong influencer on us.  Psychologists and communications trainers will quickly tell you that people fear to speak in public, to a group.

Rejection is not something Jesus will do.  When we come to Him and His Father, there is never rejection.  He took our rejection for all time and offers us pure acceptance.  Ask and it will be give to you.  Seek and you will find.  Knock and it shall be opened unto you.  Jesus is an open door.

Quietness: Sally’s quiet way put a new mood on the situation, but not enough to cool it.  The tension between Jake and Greg was enormous.  She surely did not understand it.  It was her dream to see if Greg’s open position at work would be a good fit for Jake.  Now all the opportunities seemed to be frying in the hot grease of dissension.   This hallway was steaming hotter than the parking lot asphalt in summer. Why had she invited Jake to come to church?  How could that have been God’s plan in prayer?  If this was how He answered, “Yes” to prayer, she was confused.  Then Greg spoke peace.

 “Hey, Jake.  I don’t know how I’ve gotten along without you so many years.  We used to be such good friends.  I guess, I just got caught up in life and changes and an hundred other things.  It sure is good to see you again.  Maybe, we can get a cup of coffee and catch up in the next few weeks?”

 Jake immediately relaxed.  It was as if someone had turned on a box fan.  His face relaxed.  His muscles relaxed.  He even smiled.

ACT!  Think of a question from someone on which you have put off the answer.  Get the answer for them quickly and get it to them.  Help them past a little thought of rejection.

PRAY!  Father, I am so blessed to be in You.  You are an encourager, blessor, giver, and always positive influence in my life.  My life in You is pleasant beyond imagination.  Thank You, Father for being a positive answer to life’s tough questions.

 This devotion is #12 of a bigger storyline… Watch the category GSJ Story for miniseries.

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.