following Jesus

TAKE UP YOUR CROSS!

(April 23, 2019) Carol Round shares an after Easter reflection…

‘I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me’ wrote Paul in Galatians 2:20 (ESV).

Can you feel his pain? With eyes closed, can you imagine the sounds, sights and smells of that bleak Friday, when our Saviour and Lord was nailed to the cross, not for his transgressions, but for ours?

Have you ever sat quietly, considering what he did for you and become overwhelmed by the thoughts of his sacrifice? Did you ever ask why he willingly gave up his life for yours?

Not my will, but yours
‘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”’ (Mark 14:36).

Jesus’ words, as well as his actions, the night before his crucifixion reveal a life of obedience. He knew the pain he would face, not just physically, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. He accepted willingly the cross he would bear for all mankind.

What Paul understood
The apostle Paul understood the sacrifice made by his Saviour. However, it took a mighty act of God –being struck blind on the road to Damascus – to open the eyes of this persecutor of Christ’s followers.

After Paul’s life-changing experience on that dusty road, he was baptized and instructed in the Christian faith. The most determined of the apostles, Paul suffered brutal physical pain, persecution, and eventually martyrdom. What was Paul’s secret to enduring a lifetime of hardship for the sake of the gospel?

We can do all things
Paul’s secret can be ours, too. In Philippians 4:13TLB, he says, ‘. . . for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.’ (more…)

DOORS… LOITERING WITH INTENT

(January 22, 2018) Stuart Reynolds shares an interesting concept …

Muriel (not real names here) was a small town local church gossip. Unmarried, she was the self-appointed monitor of the church’s moral behaviour and was sure to keep an eye on people, sticking her nose into where it did not belong. Several church members were unhappy and uncomfortable with her extra-curricular activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence.

And so, Muriel continued undeterred in her presumptions… until the incident with new church member, Harold. One evening just before the prayer meeting, she accused him of being an alcoholic… she’d seen his car parked in front of the town’s only bar that afternoon.  Before several others she sternly told Harold off, saying that everyone seeing his car there would know what he was doing!

Harold, a man of few words, stared at her for a moment, then turned and walked away. He didn’t explain, defend, or deny anything. He said nothing… but later that evening he quietly parked his car in front of unmarried Muriel’s house… and left it there all night!

Contrast that with this: Your car breaks down and you find yourself unexpectedly stranded at midnight in an unfamiliar, intimidating, dimly lit city back street. As you try to get your bearings, you hear the noise of voices from some young men who have just exited a building and appear to be loitering. Then they notice you, look at one another and start coming your way, their footsteps noisy on the cobbled pavement…

Wouldn’t it make all the difference in the world to know whether this ‘gang’ had just left a night club – or an anointed, exhilarating Bible study?

Two striking examples of loitering with intent – one presumptuous, the other pressing.

Loitering… legally, society deems loitering with intent’ to be a crime, but scripturally, it is about a claim – God’s claim. It’s not about stalking but seeking. Loitering with intent for God’s purposes comes from… (more…)