May 8

SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP TO THE RIGHT

Right lane for passing only
SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP TO THE RIGHT

Slower traffic keep to the right! As a driver there is nothing more aggravating than someone going slow in the passing lane. When that slow driver remains in the passing lane he not only creates traffic jams, he creates a dangerous situation for all drivers.

We live in a fast paced world where patience has been pushed to the curb when it comes to driving on our nation’s highways. We are so time oriented and yet we continue to cram more things into the same twenty-four hours. We fill slighted when someone prevents us from accomplishing or packed agendas. Road rage is becoming an everyday occurrence.

Eph. 4:1-2 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love.

There is a spiritual application to our topic; slower traffic keep to the right. In the verse above we are called to “walk” in a manner worthy of our calling. Our journey with the Lord is not a foot race we’re trying to win, but a relationship we’re walking in. Any relationship we try to rush never reaches its destination, but often leaves wrecked lives and damaged hearts in its path.

Notice again, we are to walk in manner worthy of our “calling”. Our calling is by God’s design and timing. He desires for us to go the speed limit, not get in the fast lane rushing to a destination that He alone has mapped out. His driving directions are these. Deut. 5:32-33 “So you shall observe to do just as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right or to the left. 33 You shall walk in all the way which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live, and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.

If we look to verse 2 of Ephesians 4 we will see the demeanor that is required for us to remain in the right lane. He tells us to walk with Him in all humility, gentleness with patience showing forbearance toward one another in love. These qualities would make our highways a whole lot safer today if we would abide by them, but our relationship with Jesus Christ would be much richer if we wait upon the Lord.

Ps 25:3 Indeed, none of those who wait for Thee will be ashamed; but being unwilling to wait upon the Lord can lead us into shameful situations. Ps 62:5 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. Slower traffic keep to the right; it’s where the soul finds its rest and where our hope leads us safely to our destination.

2 Peter 3:8-9 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. Stay in the right lane!

April 18

SEEK FIRST

PUT GOD FIRST
SEEK FIRST HIS KINGDOM

Matt 6:33 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

It’s interesting when you search the Greek for the word “first” you will discover it is the word “proton”. A proton is a subatomic particle found in the nucleus of every atom. Atoms are the basic building blocks of ordinary matter. The proton particle has a positive electrical charge. In light of that definition we should come to the conclusion that seeking His kingdom and His righteousness should be at the center of our pursuits creating a positive charge to our faith. Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness is the basic building block of our relationship with Jesus Christ!

At the beginning of Matthew 6:33 is the word “but”. That word bids us to read the verses before 6:33 to discover what prevents us from seek first His kingdom. In verses 19-21 we see that those things we treasure within our hearts are a distraction to our pursuits of putting Him first. Matt. 6:19-21 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

When our hearts are not prioritized upon Kingdom things our life’s perception becomes darkened by our selfish pride. Matt. 6:22-23 “The lamp of the body is the eye; if therefore your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 “But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!

A heart that is divided is at war with itself. Matt. 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. When we do not seek His kingdom first we become unstable in all our ways. James 1:7-8 For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. When He is not first, life becomes unstable.

This unstableness creates a state of anxiety within ourselves as well as strained relationships with others. Matt. 6:25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be anxious for your life, as to what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; nor for your body, as to what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body than clothing? The pursuit of “things” over people leaves us all lonely in the midst of a crowd.

Our relational lives become a train wreck. We live with unresolved differences leading to lives of performance based on unattainable expectations. Matt. 5:23-24 “If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. There is another of God’s first! First be reconciled. In order for us to reconcile with each other we first must reconcile with Him. Confessing and repenting of not putting Him first puts us in position to reconcile with others.

He clarifies this in Matt. 7:4-5. “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? 5 “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. Did you notice another first?

To seek first His kingdom and His righteousness is not just a good idea or an option, it is LIFE! If His kingdom and righteousness is not the nucleus of our lives, everything spins out of control.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.

 

March 16

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH

THE JOY OF THE LORD IS MY STRENGTH

The joy of the Lord is my strength! Then tell me why do so many Christians become weary in well doing? Acquiring strength for each day is a prized commodity, for there seems to be a shortage of it available to many of us who need it.

When we meditate upon some of the commands God’s word puts before us we can become overwhelmed just thinking about them much less doing them. “Take up your cross and follow Me daily.” “Serve one another.” “Forgive one another as I have forgiven you.” “Love your enemies.” “Bear all things, believe all things, hope all things and endure all things.” “Become all things to all men.” I could go on, but I’m tired already.

So, I’ve concluded that this strength that is available to each of us must be outside of ourselves. It is beyond the physical which is extremely limited in and of itself. The strength that we are offered comes from the joy of the Lord.

Our physical strength comes from the proper diet, exercise and rest. Our spiritual strength also comes from the proper diet, exercise and rest. Joy is derived from an intimate and thriving relationship with Jesus Christ!

The joy of the Lord is my strength when I am spending time in God’s word every day (diet). When I refuse to be conformed to this world and allow the Holy Spirit to transform my life by sanctifying power of His word there is a joy that brings me strength. 1 Peter 2:1-2 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.

There is a greater joy found in obedience (exercise) to the word which we have meditated upon. To sit in the pew on Sunday morning and listen to what the Lord has to say to us and then leave without pursuing what He has placed upon our hearts, will leave us physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted in a short period of time. 1 Peter 1:22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart. Obedience expands our hearts to know His love for us and the joy that brings us the strength we need.

Rest! Is not inactivity, but the joyful hope within the circumstances of those things we cannot change or fix. A hope in the God who has promised to work all things together for our good. Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Resting in Him brings us the peace that passes all understanding which manifests His joy within our circumstances, bringing us strength in our time of need.

Here is my prayer for you! Eph. 1:18-20 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might. The joy of the Lord is my strength! Find your joy in Him today and you will discover the strength you need for your day.

February 12

PLACE OF WORSHIP

PLACE OF WORSHIP

When you think about your place of worship what is the first thing that comes to mind? A steeple that stands out above a country side landscape? Is it a majestic stone walled cathedral that has been the community landmark for years? Most of us think of some distinct location with a man-made structure that invites worshippers on a given day(s) of the week.

We even see in the Old Testament where Moses was given instructions of a man made sanctuary in which the Israelites would gather to worship as they journeyed to the Promise Land. Even the Psalmist speaks of a place he would come to seek the God of his worship. Ps 63:1-3 O God, Thou art my God; I shall seek Thee earnestly; My soul thirsts for Thee, my flesh yearns for Thee, In a dry and weary land where there is no water. 2 Thus I have beheld Thee in the sanctuary, To see Thy power and Thy glory. 3 Because Thy lovingkindness is better than life, My lips will praise Thee.

But, the place of worship should never be dependent upon a physical location or structure made by man. When the veil was torn and Christ was raised from the dead and He was seated at the right hand of the Father the place of worship changed forever. Heb. 9:11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; We have become the place of worship. 1 Cor. 6:19-20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 20 For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.

If we were to turn to the gospel of John chapter 4 we would read the story of Jesus and the woman at the well. She has come to draw water, but Jesus offers her living water with the promise that she would never thirst again. Our real issue in life is the same as this woman and the Psalmist in Psalms 63; our souls thirst for God! In a dry and weary (sin filled) land where there is no satisfaction; real worship is our only hope.

That worship is found through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ! In John 4, Jesus tells the woman; “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.”(John 4:10) The gift of God comes to us through knowing Christ as our Lord and Savior. His Holy Spirit comes to abide in us and that drink of water we take at the moment of salvation becomes a well of water springing up to eternal life!

Those who park their cars in some parking lot and enter a man-made structure without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ will always leave dissatisfied. Learning the formalities of worship cannot satisfy the longing of our hearts when it comes to worship. We are the temple of the living God; we are the place of worship!

The discussion between Jesus and the woman went to a debate of where we should worship as most discussions concerning worship usually migrate to. Here is Jesus’ answer. John 4:21-24 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, shall you worship the Father. 22 “You worship that which you do not know; we worship that which we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

God is seeking His true worshippers in the only place of worship that matters; your heart!

January 22

LIVING LIFE WITH A CLEAR CONSCIENCE

LIVING A LIFE OF FAITH
LIVING WITH A CLEAR CONSCIENCE

Is it just a fantasy of ours to attempt living life with a clear conscience? Even King David confessed; “For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me” (Psa. 51:3); and he is described as a man after God’s own heart!

Is living life truly a matter of maintaining a clear conscience? Without a clear conscience we will always battle with shame, guilt and remorse no matter the status we claim to have or freedoms we seem to enjoy. Living life with a clear conscience is more than having the world’s most coveted tangibles at our disposal.

Living life with a clear conscience and living a life of faith are intimately interwoven. Listen to the Apostle Paul’s charge to his son in the faith Timothy. 1 Tim 1:18-19 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you may fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

Faith and a clear conscience are relationship based. When we approach our faith relationship with Jesus Christ in a casual manner we will also discover we no longer have a clear conscience and we will begin to drift ever so close to our own shipwreck upon the rocks of guilt and shame.

Heb. 10:19-22 Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Living a life with a clear conscience is to live a life of confidence in Jesus Christ our High Priest. We have confidence to draw near and enter that most holy place with full assurance of faith.

Our confidence is in the blood of Jesus that paid the price for all of our sins. Our confidence is seated at the right hand of the Father as our Savior Jesus Christ intercedes for us day and night. Our evil conscience has been cleansed by the washing of water with the word of God by the Holy Spirit.

Heb. 10:23-25 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, 25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more, as you see the day drawing near. Faith wavers when our conscience wavers in the hopelessness of a wavering confession. Instead of drawing near we find ourselves forsaking all healthy relationships; the first being with our Lord and the second being with each other.

Living a double-minded life as James defines it, is to live an unstable life. A double-minded man lives in a world of a wavering conscience and wavering faith. We have are ups and downs, but never seem to grow in our faith or know the joy of it!

Living a life with a clear conscience is to be clear to whom you place your confidence. Let us draw near with a clear conscience and with complete confidence that He who began a good work in you will complete it for His glory and your good. Are you clear?

January 2

PASSING THE TEST

Testing of your faith
Passing The Test

Are we passing the test? 2 Cor. 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?

Another year has come and gone and as we look to the New Year we begin to set new goals, agendas and making New Year’s Resolutions that we very seldom keep. We avoid examining our lives from the previous year and in doing so we create a shaky foundation for the plans we are making for our future. Let’s just sweep them under the proverbial rug. What we don’t remember won’t hurt us.

We have become a society of not keeping score (I don’t get that), grading on the curve (threaten the smart kid in the class), and giving multiple choice questions that have as their standard answer; “d” all of the above (no true or false please; 50/50 is not good odds). Passing the test takes very little effort or studying on our part. If we can score a C- or even a D that is still a passing grade; let’s just move on.

But, when it comes to our faith, our Teacher is not going to settle for a C- or D. He is a God of excellence. Perfect love cast out fear and perfected faith opens opportunities for greater test. As a matter of fact, He tells us to consider it all joy when the testing comes. James 1:2-3 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. The Lord desires for us to go from one level of faith to the next. Rom 1:17 For in it (the gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.” Passing the test is moving from one level of faith to the next.

Consider, the people of Israel as Moses is leading them to the Promised Land. For forty years the wandered in the wilderness until they all died, missing what God had promised. They continued to fail the testing of their faith and were never allowed to enter the blessings God had provided.

But, let’s examine the shepherd boy David. Being a faithful shepherd of his father’s sheep he is called to defend against a lion and a bear. He faithfully depends on his God to give him victory over these opposing threats and God honors his faith. Fast forward to the day when he is sent to check on his brothers who are at war with the Philistines. The whole army of Israel are frozen in their faith as the giant Goliath spews threats against the army of God. Remembering his previous test and God’s faithfulness, he steps down into the valley and passes another test.

When it comes to our faith, God does keep score. He doesn’t grade on the curve and there are no multiple choices to the faith He has called us to. Unlike some of our school systems who will promote kids without adequately grasping the fundamentals; the Lord requires us to pass the fundamentals of faith before calling us forward.

Before we move forward this coming year, let us first confess and repent of our failed attempts of the previous year and then fix our eyes forward to the test that await us. Phil 3:13-15 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Let this coming year be one of passing the test and moving toward the goal of our upward call of God in Christ Jesus! Don’t continue to wander around the same old mountain of unbelief and disappointment.

 

December 13

GRAVITATIONAL PULL

GRAVITATIONAL PULL

Let’s consider for just a moment the chaos that would ensue if the gravitational pull that keeps us from floating off into some black hole in the outer regions of space no longer existed! We take for granted this wonder of God’s creation that allows us to live grounded here on earth. We can’t see or feel it, but we are grateful that it exist.

This got me thinking! What gravitational pull keeps me grounded in my spiritual walk? Col. 1:16-17 For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things have been created by Him and for Him. 17 And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.

Each of us who have been saved through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice upon the cross have been brought back into a relationship with the Heavenly Father by the gravitational pull of His amazing grace! If we attempt to live our lives outside of His grace we will find ourselves drifting toward the black hole of sin and its corruption.

In the physical sense gravity keeps us grounded here on earth, but spiritually it is the world that is constantly drawing us away from a grounded relationship with Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:15-16 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

The flesh and the Spirit are in opposition to one another. Rom 8:5-7 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; There is a fleshly gravitational pull of selfishness and pride that is continually attempting to draw us away from the sufficiency of God’s grace.

The body of Christ (the Church) feels the effects of this pull as individuals drift away from His grace toward the efforts of their own flesh. Eph. 4:15-16 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. The gravitational pull of personal agendas puts the church at risk to drift away from the glory that God intended to bring to Himself through us, His church.

The double minded man is unstable in all his ways! His heart is being pulled in two directions! Matt 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will hold to one and despise the other.

What is the gravitational pull of your heart? Is it the love of the world or the love you have for the God who loves you unconditionally? The gravitational pull of His perfect love will always keep you grounded in His grace!

December 2

DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION

doesnt-fit
DRESSED FOR THE OCCASION

Depending upon our plans for the day and the weather outside we should always be dressed for the occasion. Is it a casual day or does the day call for business attire? Are we trying to make a good first impression with a new boss or first date or does the occasion call for a “what you see is what you get”? Being dressed for the occasion can set the tone for the rest of the day.

Dress codes have drastically changed over the years for business, school, exercise, church and just about every other venue we could discuss. As a young boy growing up I can remember Sunday mornings and getting ready for church. On a number of occasions I was sent back to my room to change what I had chosen for something more appropriate in the eyes of my parents. Wow, have times changed. From suits and dresses to shorts and t-shirts, jeans, slacks, flip flops and whatever else is most comfortable to you!

Before you turn me off; this blog is not about legalistic issues of what a person should wear to church, so please take a deep breath and read on. I believe as God looks down on Sunday mornings (or for any morning) He is not so concerned with what a person is wearing on the outside, but what He sees we are wearing on the inside.

Col 3:12-15 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

His dress code is a matter of the heart! Because we are graciously chosen by God to be called His children and then to be lovingly placed within a chosen body of believers to express His glory we must come dressed for the occasion. He has granted us compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience through Jesus Christ and He calls for us to put on the Lord Jesus Christ that we might extend to others what He has given to us freely. What finalizes our attire and coordinates the rest of our outfit is His love! Love is the perfect bond of unity! We know that we are dressed for the occasion when we experience the peace of Christ ruling our hearts and the body of Christ is worshipping and serving in perfect unity.

We are a new creation in Christ Jesus and the old things have passed away, behold all things have become new. This being said we must remind ourselves to put off the old in order to put on the new. Col 3:8-11 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him 11 — a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.

Every day we should put on the new self! Every day we should be renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created us! Are you dressed for the occasion or are you putting on those things that you used to wear? Look for the evidence of your attire. Is there peace and unity? If not you need to go back to your prayer closet!

November 20

IN EVERYTHING GIVE THANKS

thankful-heart

1 Thess. 5:16-18 Rejoice always; 17 pray without ceasing; 18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

It’s the season of Thanksgiving and there is much talk between family members and friends of all that we are thankful for, but are we genuinely thankful? God’s word calls for us to rejoice always and in everything give thanks which indicates it’s more than a seasonal thing! The words “always” and “everything” are not temporary or isolated incidents. So, what circumstances create the environment in order for our hearts to be in a continual state of thankfulness?

According to God’s word it is when the peace of Christ is ruling our hearts. Col 3:15-17 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father. Peace is more than a feeling of security, it is an intimate and vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. In everything give thanks for He is everything we need.

His peace is not a matter of gaining knowledge or becoming more religious, but is a result of His presence and love permeating our hearts and minds. Listen as Jesus promises His peace to those who believed in Him. John 14:26-27 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. Fear and a troubled heart are the roadblocks detouring us from being thankful people.

My peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you! What did He leave us? What did He give to us? He gave us His forgiveness, mercy and grace. He reconciled us back into a peaceful relationship with Himself and sealed us with His Holy Spirit. Rom 15:13 Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Phil 4:6-7 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Anxiety fills our hearts when in the midst of our circumstances we do not acknowledge God who is our peace. When we come to Him in prayer with thanksgiving we are acknowledging that He is faithful no matter our circumstance. So, in everything give thanks for He is our peace.

Rom 1:20-21 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. A life of ingratitude reveals a darkening heart. A darkened heart is the result of us not acknowledging Him or giving thanks leaving us to our own futility.

Futility or in everything give thanks; choose which life you desire to live.

November 10

FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

follow-me

With personal independence being the goal of most people in our society; being a follower of Christ is not a label most people would prefer, even though they may verbally confess to believe in Jesus Christ.

A FOLLOWER’S PRIORITIES

To be a follower of Christ requires sacrifice and a total rearranging of our priorities. Our purpose becomes His purpose, our timing becomes His timing and our resources become His resources. Matt 8:19-22 And a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” 21 And another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.” 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me; and allow the dead to bury their own dead.” God’s priorities many times do not add up with our fleshly and comfortable lifestyles.

A FOLLOWER MUST LOSE HIS LIFE TO FOLLOW

Matt 10:38-39 “And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. 39 “He who has found his life shall lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake shall find it. Real life can only be discovered as we follow Him wherever and however He leads. Taking up our cross is a picture of dying to ourselves so that our hearts may not be weighed down with our selfish pursuits. Being a follower of Christ becomes difficult when we are constantly entangled with our own agendas. Heb. 12:1-2…let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith; If our eyes are not fixed on the One we are following we are easily sidetracked.

FOLLOWING STRANGE VOICES

John 10:4-5 “When he puts forth all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5 “And a stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” With all the other voices in our world calling out for our attention it is vital that we keep our hearts attuned to the voice of the Shepherd. For a follower of Christ to harden his heart by ignoring the voice of God over and over again will only leave him vulnerable to stray from the path God has called him too. Matt. 13:15 For the heart of this people has become dull, And with their ears they scarcely hear, And they have closed their eyes Lest they should see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart and return, And I should heal them.’

EVIDENCE OF A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST

Matt. 4:19-20 And He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 And they immediately left the nets, and followed Him. Are you a fisher of men? Are you pursuing those without Christ with His love and grace and the power of the gospel? His calling to each of us is backed with a life changing promise that if we are truly a follower of Christ; we will become fishers of men! It’s hard to fish for men if we are fishing for our own titles, prestige, power and glory.

Can you say that you are a new creation in Christ Jesus; you are dead to the world and alive toward Christ; the old things have passed away and all things have become new? Will you humble yourself today and become a follower of Christ and become a fisher of men?