Category Archives: The Cost of Discipleship

A Change of Seasons


To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: (‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3‬:‭1‬ KJV)

A Change of Seasons

I have been active in ways some others merely dream of
Seasons which may be long and arduous!
Changes are evident, and I enter therein.
I am officially in a change of seasons…

I came from a season where God was making known his will…
And I worked tirelessly to find His Will and do it. I became an instrument of
His grace—doing everything in my power to share His message…for a season.
Now I find myself in a “change of seasons.”

I cannot accomplish the same feats as before…
Disability has limited my efforts, but I am not forsaken
By the God of my youth…he has accommodated me!
I am now receiving His grace in a different way.

Where I used to be the messenger, I am now the receiver.
I used to work tirelessly to serve, now my strength wanes…
But He upholds my strength and fortifies me. I was
Strong, now I am dependent upon Him and His Grace.

I have truly changed…the season has changed…I am still useful to Him!
-the walrus

40 Days of Lent – Reading #37


MARK 14:32-72 NKJV

image

Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will. ” Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour?  Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him. Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.” And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.” As soon as he had come, immediately he went up to Him and said to Him, “Rabbi, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. Then they laid their hands on Him and took Him. And one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?  I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.” Then they all forsook Him and fled. Now a certain young man followed Him, having a linen cloth thrown around his naked body.  And the young men laid hold of him, and he left the linen cloth and fled from them naked.

And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and with him were assembled all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes. But Peter followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree. Then some rose up and bore false witness against Him, saying, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” But not even then did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, saying, “Do You answer nothing? What is  it these men testify against You?” But He kept silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

Then some began to spit on Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him, and to say to Him, “Prophesy!” And the officers struck Him with the palms of their hands. Now as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with Jesus of Nazareth.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you are saying.” And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him again, and began to say to those who stood by, “This is one of them.” But he denied it again.

And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it. ” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this Man of whom you speak!” A second time the rooster crowed. Then Peter called to mind the word that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And when he thought about it, he wept.

40 Days of Lent – Reading #36


JOHN 18:1-18 NKJV

image

When Jesus had spoken these words, He went out with His disciples over the Brook Kidron, where there was a gardenk,,, which He and His disciples entered. And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples. Then Judas, having received a detachment of  troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, torches, and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom are you seeking?” They answered Him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am He. ” And Judas, who betrayed Him, also stood with them. Now when He said to them, “I am He, ” they drew back and fell to the ground. Then He asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I have told you that I am He. Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way,”  that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, “Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus. So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” Then the detachment of  troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. And they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that. year. Now it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did  another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door, and brought Peter in. Then the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this Man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers who had made a fire of coals stood there, for it was cold, and they warmed themselves. And Peter stood with them and warmed himself.

40 Days of Lent – Reading #34


[There was no specified reading plan for Day 33]

JOHN 17:1-26 NKJV

image

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You,  as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.  And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.  Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You.  For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them,  and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.  And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.  Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.  While I was with them in the world,  I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.  But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.  As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.  And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:  I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.  And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Compassion: A Fourteen Day Journey – Day 12


LUKE 9:10-17 NKJV – And the apostles, when they had returned, told Him all that they had done. Then He took them and went aside privately into a deserted place belonging to the city called Bethsaida. But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. When the day began to wear away, the twelve came and said to Him, “Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding towns and country, and lodge and get provisions; for we are in a deserted place here.” But He said to them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless we go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. Then He said to His disciples, “Make them sit down in groups of fifty.”  And they did so, and made them all sit down. Then He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the multitude. So they all ate and were filled, and twelve baskets of the leftover fragments were taken up by them.

image

The Love of Jesus

All the Gospel accounts relate the stories of Jesus feeding the thousands, exhibiting the profound love and compassion he had for all people. Stewardship writer Luther E. Lovejoy (1864-1936) expands that thought.

The motive that most deeply touched the people of his day, the one that keeps his memory green in a troubled world, was his compassion. He was full of pity; sensitive with sympathy for the vague soul hunger and the physical suffering all about him. The miracles that drew the curious multitudes had, no doubt, their evidential value; but their strange variation from other miracles of legend or Scripture is the fact that they are performed for the relief of sufferingÉPity for the blind eyes, the deaf ears, the paralyzed limbs, the epileptic nerves, the leprosy-polluted bodies, the fevered childrenÉ

Behind this motive of compassion was the deeper motive of love. As no other man had ever been able to do, he saw the actual potential worth in men and loved them for what they wereÉHow much more, those who reciprocated his affection and gave up all for him! To such he declared: “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you.” The depth of this love he demonstrated when he laid down “his life for his friends”ÉThe Christian steward who does not share it is not a steward; he is a servant.

Lovejoy goes on to cite some of the missionaries and social reformers who have imitated the love of Christ.
David Livingstone, from the hour when his youthful imagination beheld Robert Moffatt’s “smoke from a thousand villages whose inhabitants had never heard of Jesus” to the somber twilight in his premature old age when, fever-consumed and death-smitten, he staggered into Chitambo’s village in Ilala, there to breathe out his dying prayer for Africa, is an illustration. Francis Xavier, on his face before God, crying: “More Lord, more; only save thy pagan children”; George Whitfield’s “Lord, give me souls or take my soul,” tell us how, in multiplied instances, God’s faithful stewards have held their lives “not dear unto themselves”ÉAnd time would have us to recall the yearning of Wilberforce and of Lincoln for the bondsmen of their day, of Shaftsbury for the child toilers of England, of Pitkin for the savage Boxers who murdered him, of Bashford for the millions of China, of Carey and Judson, and Thoburn and Fish for the sorrowing masses of India. Suffice it to remember that, in tune with the measureless love of Jesus for men, they offered the stewardship of time and talents and energies, that they might render to men the highest good.

Two Ways of Being Rich…by Billy Graham


LUKE 12:15 NKJV

And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

image

Being Rich

There are two ways of being rich—have a lot, or want very little. The latter way is the easier for most of us. Many people make themselves miserable by wanting more than they can ever have. They suffer from “thing-itis,” the insatiable desire for more, better, and newer things. Jesus was the most satisfied man that ever lived, and He had less than most of us. “The foxes have their holes, and the birds their nests, but the Son of man has no place to lay His head.” He had learned the secret of adjusting His wants to His needs.

E. Stanley Jones tells about a poor man who had an overnight guest, and as he showed him to his humble bedroom in the hayloft he said, “If there is anything you want, let us know, and we’ll come and show you how to get along without it.” We don’t need to learn how to get more, but how to get along with what we’ve got, and get on with the business of living.

Daily Prayer

Father, You have given me so much more than I deserve. May I always show a grateful and contented heart.

The Need For Inner Change by Billy Graham


image

  2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he  is  a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

Need For Inner Change

The world says that all we need to do is be decent, respectable, and reasonable. True, that is all one needs to do to be a member of the Great Society, but to be a member of the Kingdom of God, there must be an inner change. A Communist in Hyde Park, London, pointed to a tramp and said, “Communism will put a new suit on that man.” A Christian standing nearby said, “Yes, but Christ will put a new man in that suit!”

Daily Prayer

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for the change that came deep within me when I received You.

Posted from WordPress for Android. The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.

Billy Graham speaks on Free Salvation


Romans 3:24 NKJV – being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,

image

Salvation is Free

Salvation is free! God puts no price tag on the Gift of gifts—it’s free! Preachers are not salesmen, for they have nothing to sell. They are bearers of Good News—the good tidings that “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Money can’t buy it. Man’s righteousness can’t earn it. Social prestige can’t help you acquire it. Morality can’t purchase it. It is, as Isaiah said, “without money and without price.”

God is not a bargaining God. You cannot barter with Him. You must do business with Him on His own terms. He holds in His omnipotent hand the priceless, precious, eternal gift of salvation, and He bids you to take it without money and without price. The best things in life are free, are they not? The air we breathe is not sold by the cubic foot. The water which flows crystal clear from the mountain stream is free for the taking. Love is free, faith is free, hope is free.

Daily Prayer

Even though my salvation was obtained only through the costliest sacrifice ever made, You freely gave it to me. Lord, I praise You for this gift so lovingly given.

Posted from WordPress for Android. The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.

Compassion: A Fourteen-Day Journey # 7


Stewardship of Relationship – Love

image

First Corinthians 13, the memorable “love chapter,” is the obvious New Testament analogue of this passage in Song of Songs. Although feelings of love tend to be strong in the beginning of a romance, it takes work to nurture and mature the love relationship. Consider the beautiful manifestation of unselfishness at the end of the following illustration, which editors and movie analysts Craig Brian Larson and Andrew Zahn describe as follows:

In the movie Family Man, Jack Campbell (played by Nicholas Cage) is the successful president of an investment house in New York City–and he’s happily single. He has everything, or so he thinks, including a sports car and a radiant girlfriend. But on Christmas morning the world turns upside down. He wakes up in a “what if?” scenario, finding himself twelve years into marriage with his college sweetheart and two small children. He desperately tries to rediscover his old life but in the process begins to find out what he’s really been missing all these years. In particular, he finds that living life for yourself alone is not as fulfilling as living your life for others.

Toward the end of the movie Jack discusses with his wife a job opportunity that would revive some of his former glory. Taking the job would mean a big move for the family, but Kate (played by Te‡ Leoni) says she’s willing to make a sacrifice for the sake of the family–a defining moment that helps Jack see what marriage is all about. Kate makes this declaration: “Maybe I was being na.ve, but I believed that we would grow old together in this house. That we’d spend holidays here and have our grandchildren come visit us here. I had this image of us all gray and wrinkly and me working in the garden and you repainting the deck. Things change. If you need this, Jack, if you really need this–I’ll take these kids from the life they love, and I’ll take myself from the only home we’ve ever known together, and I’ll move wherever you need to go. I’ll do that because I love you. I love you. And that’s more important to me than our address. I choose us.”

Theologian Kenneth Boa, in a discussion of the stewardship of relationships, refers to an illustration of a poignant, real-life boyhood experience:

In The Effective Father, Gordon McDonald relates a story about James Boswell, the famous biographer of Samuel Johnson. Boswell often referred to a childhood memory of a day he spent fishing with his father. On that special day, his father taught him many insights that Boswell treasured for life. Many years later, someone looked up this particular day in the journal that Boswell’s father kept to see what his father recorded about this significant experience in the life of his son. The journal for that day had only one sentence: “Gone fishing today with my son; a day wasted.”

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 NKJV

Set me as a seal upon your heart, As a seal upon your arm; For love is  as strong as death, Jealousy as cruel as the grave; Its flames are flames of fire, A most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised.

Posted from WordPress for Android. The advertising which may appear below is not placed by the author and is not to be considered as a part of this post or an expression of my views.