1-16-2020 – e-News

Yesterday, as part of my daily Bible reading plan, I read these words from Jesus in Luke 9:23-26:
“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels”

I’ve read those words many times before. I’ve preached and taught on them many times. Reading them this time did not give me a brand-new insight or even a reminder of something I forgot.

That doesn’t mean reading them was a waste of time. The Scriptures don’t have to hit me over the head or open up a brand new door to have relevance and power.

They have power just because they are God’s Word.

They have power because, as a follower of Jesus, I want my life to be based on them.

They have power because they raise questions in my mind about where I am with God.

They have power because they speak to my heart and help mold it into the image of Jesus.

In this case, Jesus is telling me that if I am going to follow Him then I should be prepared to die daily. Yes, that really means every day, not just Sunday when the spotlight is on me.

Every day there will be times that I have to say NO to me in order to say YES to God. That may be something huge – like holding my tongue rather than taking my anger out on someone else – or it may be something small – like cleaning up the kitchen without fanfare, even when I didn’t make the mess. That’s just a few examples, but there could be hundreds more in any given day.

Jesus is also telling me I have to lose my life in Him in order to actually have real life. Like dying, that goes against the grain of everything that comes naturally to me. But now that I am in Christ, I want to gain life in Him. I want what only can come supernaturally to reign in me.

Dying daily and losing my life requires me to pray fervently for the Holy Spirit to work in my heart and mind. It requires me to obey when I don’t feel like it and when it’s hard. It requires me to serve others and not just demand to be served. It requires me to share my heart with other Christians, being honest and transparent about places where I am weak, so they can support me and help me grow. It requires me to worship God on Sunday and every other day because that worship makes God big and me small, just like it should be.

Let me ask you an honest question: Do you have a heart for the things of God?

If so, you will want to be in His Word to build and fuel that heart.

If not, you cannot and will not grow spiritually. You just won’t.

Everything hinges on the heart! So, where is yours?

Pastor Jim
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