Are You All In?

Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27 CSB

The gauntlet is laid down here: for those who are to follow Jesus, there is a great cost. Jesus even gives two examples: first, a building (or tower), and second, a king going off to war. In both examples, they would consider the cost first. The same is true for following Christ.

This is not “easy believism” by any means. To bear one’s cross means to sacrifice all, to die to self, to completely change one’s life for Jesus. This means to be willing to do extreme things in extreme days, all for the sake of the call. This means that once Jesus has been received, there’s no turning back.

You are called to a life that is not your own because of the life given to you by Christ alone. This means not having a posture to love both God and the world. In order to serve God completely, you have to be all in. Simply put, it means that you must reject the ways of the world and receive the way of Christ. There is no middle ground here, according to Jesus.

For those in Christ already, are you all in, or are you still keeping a foot in the ways of the world? It’s not too late to change your ways and begin again to live for Him.

For those of you who need to trust in Him, this is a relationship in a new, abundant life! This is because it is Jesus who lived a sinless life, died on the cross for your sins, and rose from the dead. People who receive Jesus receive forgiveness for their sins. This begins a new life in Him, a life that is never the same again.

Where are you at here? Are you all in? I pray that you are.

Fran

All Tied Up?

Though the ropes of the wicked were wrapped around me, I did not forget your instruction. Psalms 119:61 CSB

What happens when people are hateful and attack you? This part of Psalm 119 brings an important point home: when these sort of things happen, we have a choice in how we respond.

Sometimes it’s people who attack, those who the psalmist calls the wicked. These are the arrogant, the proud, those who set themselves up above God, those who are judging Him in their corrupt wisdom. When these kind of people do such things, the natural, human, fleshly reaction is to strike back. Of course, Jesus taught us not to do repay their evil for evil, and instead to place our non-struck part of our face (the other cheek) before the attacker. So rather than attacking back, we are to respond in peace.

Another fleshly reaction, a very opposite one, is to withdraw, to get depressed, to believe their lies. Yet your value is not in what people say, or what the message of the culture might say, or even what you might say to yourself with your negative self talk. Instead, your value is in what God says, what God did, and what God does in you. If you are in Christ, your value is in Christ.

This is why instead of believing them and their fleshly message, it’s important that you listen to the Word of God. Rather than being discouraged, instead receive encouragement from the Scriptures. This is because while the world is chaotic and evil, you can have confidence that God is still in control. He brings order. He brings life. In fact, He is life, as well as hope, peace, and salvation. So rather than listening to the toxic message of the world, listen to God, for in Him is everything that the world will never be able to fulfill. Everything.

May you be encouraged in God and His Word,that you are strengthened by Him as you pour through His Scriptures. May His precepts pour into your heart and soul. Most of all, may you allow God to change you to react in a way that He wills while you live as a foreigner in a foreign world until He comes again.

Pastor Fran

Loving the Unlovable…

If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. Luke 6:32 CSB

Love is never meant to be kept in comfortable, familiar places. Love changes hearts, changes lives, pierces the dark, pierces dark hearts. Love conquers all.

When we love each other, there’s no greater blessing. But when we love those who are difficult to love, there’s no greater glory for God. In a disposable, throw away world, it’s our willingness to take chances with loving others that changes the world. It’s when we risk our hearts that we see that love never fails.

How are you doing in this area? Are you just staying “safe” with who you associate with? Instead, love people well, even those hard to love. Love them so they can see God’s love in You.

Pastor Fran