“Where He Leads Me, I Will Follow”

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43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Come, follow me.” – John 1:43 NLT
 

Once we answer the call to “come and see” and we have “tasted and seen” that the Lord is good, our next step is to follow the Lord. While the plan of salvation is simple and free, following the example that Jesus set for us is not easy and it is not free. He gave up His glory in heaven, came to earth and died for us. Should the created expect to do less than that for His Creator? From the worldly point of view, this is asking a lot, but from God’s point of view, it is the best thing that you can do. The only way to save your life is to let it go.

33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it—Luke 17:33 (NLT)


For our sake, Jesus laid down His life, so that He could take it up again to be our Redeemer and Lord. So, we must lay down our lives for His sake.


23 Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me. 24 If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. 25 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed?—Luke 9:23-25 (NLT)


”Come, follow me”! When we decide to this for Jesus, we find a life that is truly worth living.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 08-04-2017

Do You Want a Good Answer or a Great Answer?

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 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure. – James 4:3 NLT
 

God always answers our prayers. He answers us in one of four different ways.

1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away.
2. Delay–It wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer.
3. Don’t do it – I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered
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4. Dynamically Different–He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.

When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answer is always no. Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. Do we really want our answer or would we prefer God’s answer?  Remember in​ ​
1 Kings 19:3-5  when Elijah prayed “I have had enough, Lord, just take my life.”?  Then think of how God answered that prayer in 2 Kings 2:9-12 when God took him up in a chariot of fire!  If God had taken Elijah’s life when Elijah wanted him to, Elisha would not have been trained to become Elijah’s replacement and Elisha would never have seen all the great miracles. God answered Elijah’s prayer in a way far better than Elijah could have thought of or dared to ask. So when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted relax, God is still in control.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 06-05-2017

Love Requires Sacrifice

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Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? — Romans 2:4 NLT

We live in a society that bombards us 24/7 with messages of self-indulgence and “me first” attitudes. We were born in sin and satan wants us to continue that sinful lifestyle. But from birth, there is a part of us that yearns for something that the world can’t satisfy. No matter, how far we go down that path of sin, there is no satisfaction and no peace. God is patient with us giving us opportunity after opportunity to change our lifestyles and accept His forgiveness. He knows that is the only answer to the emptiness that we feel inside. He showed that kindness and love to us by giving His Son to die for our sins. Once we have accepted His free salvation, we begin our journey with Him. The trip requires changes as we travel along. If we continue to focus on our wants, we will never be able to walk the path God has chosen for us. The pain comes in giving up our wants and desires so that we can find true life. It is only when we realize that loving Jesus is worth all the pain that we will be filled with peace and joy even in the middle of chaos and violence. That is His plan for us.


“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

Post 12-30-2016

Alert and Fully Sober

even-smaller-bug-light113 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” — 1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV

God has made each of us different, but there is one thing that every human has in common, we were all born in sin into a sinful world. We have all succumbed to those fleshly desires that kept us from enjoying the freedom that Jesus died to purchase for us.  When we have those thoughts that we might be better than others we need to be reminded that there was a time when we lived in ignorance of the goodness and the graciousness of God. ​ Paul warns us in Romans not to think of ourselves as better than others.
 
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. — Romans 12:3 NIV
In Philippians, Paul takes it a step further and advises us to put others and their interests above ourselves and our interests. 
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. –Phil. 2:3, 4 NIV
If we practice doing this instead of being judgmental, we will be following the example that Jesus set for us.  If we have this mindset and focus on the fact that the only difference in us and them is the grace that God has so generously given unto us, it will cause us to show those around us the same kind of grace and forgiveness that God has shown to us. That is a step toward being holy even as God is holy. 
Post 12-10-2015

Words of Life

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

4 Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to him, so he stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” he asked. 5 “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them.) 6 As Jesus said “I am he,” they all drew back and fell to the ground! 7 Once more he asked them, “Who are you looking for?” And again they replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8 “I told you that I am he,” Jesus said. “And since I am the one you want, let these others go.” 9 He did this to fulfill his own statement: “I did not lose a single one of those you have given me.”​ 10 Then Simon Peter drew a sword and slashed off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. 11 But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath. Shall I not drink from the cup of suffering the Father has given me?”—John 18:4-11​ (NLT)
​When Judas had led the Roman soldiers and the Temple guard to Jesus​, Jesus asked them who they were looking for. When they replied that they were looking for Jesus the Nazarene, Jesus said “I AM HE”. His words were so powerful that all the soldiers and guards fell to the ground, After all, this was the same voice that spoke the world and everything in it into existence.
1​ In the beginning the Word already existed.​ The Word was with God,​ and the Word was God.​ 2 He existed in the beginning with God.​ 3 God created everything through him,​ and nothing was created except through him.​ 4 The Word gave life to everything that was created. –John 1: 1-4a (NLT)
​Jesus​ could just as easily have spoken words of death to them, but because of His love for man, He did not do that. Instead, He spoke words that gave His disciples life and liberty. This fulfilled His earlier words that He would not lose any of the ones that God the Father had given Him. Even when Peter took out his sword, Jesus admonished him to put his sword away. There are times to fight, there are times to stand and then there are those times when we must drink from the cup of suffering if we are to be counted as a child of God. We each have a cross to bear.
Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.–Luke 9:23 (NLT)
Post 02-24-2015

Wrong Motives Lead to Frustration

God is waiting to show you the Way.

God is waiting to show you the Way.

1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? 2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. 3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.—James 4:1-3 (NLT)​
I beg​ to differ with the words Garth Brooks sings, there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer. God always answers our prayers. ​He answers us in one of four different ways.
1. Do it now–and of course that is the answer we want so we recognize it right away.
2. Delay–​It ​wasn’t what we wanted to hear so we assume God didn’t answer our prayer.
3. Don’t do it–I’m not hearing that so God must not have answered
4. Dynamically Different–​He answers in such a better and highly effective way than what we anticipated that we don’t recognize it as His answer.
​When our prayers are from wrong motives and for selfish reason, His answer is always no.​ Then, because of our pride, we get angry with God and accuse Him of all sorts of things. God understands that anger and when you get through pouting and ask Him, He will forgive you. God is not bound by our desires or our timetable. Even the “yes” answers are not always immediate. We have to wait on His timing. His ways and His thoughts are so far above ours that there is no comparison.
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.—Isaiah 55:8 (NLT)
​So​ when we don’t get the answer we want or it is not in the time frame we wanted. Relax, God is still in control.
Post 08-27-14

Work Together with One Mind

God is waiting to show you the way.

God is waiting to show you the way.

1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose. 3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.–Phil. 2:1-4 (NLT)
As Christians, we find encouragement, comfort, love, and fellowship when we meet together on a regular basis. God instructs us to do this in Hebrews 10: ​​24 Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25 And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. (NLT)
Most of us have heard the example of taking one red-hot ember from the fireplace and placing it by itself. It quickly loses its glow and turns from red to gray to black. But, if you take the ember and place it back in the fireplace with the other embers, it quickly begins to glow and becomes red-hot again. We are like that ember, we need to be with other Christians so that we don’t lose our glow and our passion for Jesus. The more we stay together and study together, the more likely we are to agree quickly and wholeheartedly with God and with each other. Be humble and always look out for others. Think of others as being better than yourself. If we do this, we will be of one mind and we will please our Lord and Savior. Jesus sent His disciples out 2 by 2, that is our example when we go out to witness. Then we come back to the fireplace (your study group) to be reheated so that we can go out again.
Post 04-28-14