Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Cost of Discipleship

And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me."
Luke 9:23

Jesus made it plain that following Him would be costly. The early Christians suffered great persecution for their faith, some of them dying in the Coliseum because they would not renounce Christ for Caesar. Today in many parts of the world Christians are imprisoned, tortured and killed for following the Lord Jesus. Discipleship doesn't come cheap. It cost our precious Savior everything for us to be called His disciples. The costliest cross of all was the one He carried to Calvary. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Closer Look

"But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;"
1 Thessalonians 5:21

Things aren't always what they seem to be. The eagle in the photograph may appear to be real, but it isn't. It's a sculpture. The more familiar you are with a live eagle, the more easily you will discern that the one in the picture is an imitation. In the same way, the more we study the Bible and come to know the true Christ and His gospel, the better equipped we are to identify an imposter. We should never take at face value the teachings of any man or woman, but test them by the scriptures. Always take a closer look.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


"As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive."
Genesis 50:20

It's amazing that Joseph could say "God meant it for good" after all he'd been through. Kidnapped, sold into slavery, falsely accused, imprisoned. He understood God's sovereignty and the faith it required to submit to it. What happened to Joseph paved the way for the salvation of his people. As we face trials in our lives that leave us asking "why", we can look to Joseph for encouragement. We may not see the answer in our lifetime, but we can rest assured that the same God who redeemed the bad in Joseph's life, will do the same in ours.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cleanse and Restore

"Create in me a clean heart, O God,
         And renew a steadfast spirit within me."
Psalm 51:10

God is gracious to forgive us and set us aright when we confess our sins to Him. Pride may keep us from acknowledging our sin for a season, but if we truly belong to the Lord we won't be able to continue in sin. The Holy Spirit will convict us and bring us to repentance. In our own strength we cannot make our hearts clean and restore ourselves to a right relationship with God. This is work that only He can do. When we try to accomplish this on our own, we set ourselves up for failure. Complete reliance upon God is crucial.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good News for Broken Hearts

"The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit."
Psalm 34:18

Who can doubt these words when they look at the life of Jesus on earth? He came to reveal the Father to the world, and give His life for it.  Jesus was a friend to repentant sinners. He drew near to the hurting and humble people around Him. Through the Holy Spirit, Christ continues to draw "near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." Good news, indeed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Don't Talk Trash

"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." 
Ephesians 4:29-30

Words have meaning, and what we say impacts the hearer. Our speech can lead unbelievers to Christ or chase them away; they can build up a fellow Christian, or tear him down. The words we speak can please the Holy Spirit of God, or grieve Him. Before we open our mouths, we should ask ourselves, "Is what I'm about to say truthful? Is it worthwhile? Is it uplifting?"  If the answer to those three questions is "no", it's probably better to remain silent. 

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Made For Each Other

"For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift to you, that you may be established; that is, that I may be encouraged together with you while among you, each of us by the other's faith, both yours and mine."
Romans 1:11-12

We were created for relationship. Certainly relationship with God, but also relationship with other Christians. This is never more evident than when we are going through tough times. God often uses other people as instruments of His care. When we are struggling, Christian brothers and sisters can pray for us, share uplifting scripture, testify of trials God has gotten them through, and help us in practical ways.The trouble is, we often don't open ourselves up to others and let them know what's going on. Our pride won't let us. And so we deny ourselves the fellowship and encouragement we could receive. We also deny to others the joy of ministering to us. No one is happy in such an arrangement, except Satan. Let's not allow him the satisfaction of keeping us apart. 
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