Monthly Archives: February 2018

The Cost of Discipleship

“This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says to you, Baruch:  You have said, ‘I am overwhelmed with trouble! Haven’t I had enough pain already? And now the Lord has added more! I am worn out from sighing and can find no rest.’  (Jeremiah 45:2-3 NLT)

Baruch was the young scribe that wrote and read to the people Jeremiah’s prophecies.  Like Jeremiah, he got a lot of persecution for the prophet’s words. The Lord responded to the scribe’s pain with truth and loving kindness.  Baruch found out there is always a cost in following God.

Young disciples often become discouraged when they find out that serving God is not all fun and games. Discipleship, often involves God crossing our will with his. The Lord’s response to Baruch came in the form of correction and encouragement. “Are you seeking great things for yourself? Don’t do it! I will bring great disaster upon all these people, but I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go. I, the Lord, have spoken!” (V.5) If we have our eyes focused on the things of this world, be it fame or fortune, we become impatient when difficulties arise.  We can develop a spiritualized entitlement mentality.  When trouble comes, we lose heart and our passion wanes. When desire diminishes, we can never fulfill our calling.

Attitude is a big part of dealing with adversity. It appears that Baruch had come to the point of blaming God for his predicament (“And now the Lord has added more! V.3). Our response when God crosses our will with his determines when discipleship starts and ends.  Discipleship has a cost but also a prize. “I will give you your life as a reward wherever you go” (v.5).

 By Ken Barnes

 

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The Revelation has to do with relationships

This Revelation of Jesus Christ has to do with His relationship to the Father, to the human race and to the church. It has to do with His relationship to Israel, to the nations, to our enemy the devil and to the coming judgment. Ministers faithful to the Word of God have always said that Christ can be found on every page of
the Bible. In the Revelation, we see Him dominating the eternal future. The message of the book is the almost overwhelming portrayal of Christ’s victory, bringing about thefinall destruction of Satan and all of his works.

Part of our Christian restfulness comes from the fact that we are in the hands of a loving God who
has already existed throughout all of the tomorrows. Because all time is in God, the flow of time never concerns God. He never has to run in an effort to catch up with the movement of time. The end of time is seen by God just as easily as the beginning of time.

That is why the Bible tells us that God knows the end from the beginning. That is why a godly man like John, caught up in the Spirit of God, could be shown the outline of future events. They were future to him, and they are future to us. That is because we are in the stream of time. They are not future to God because He is not in the stream of time.

Taken from the book ‘Jesus is Victor’ by AW Tozer. Published by Gospel Literature Service.

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Cheer Up

Jesus said in John 16:33 (NIV), “I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”

Jesus had just finished telling His disciples some things that, at that time, they could not fully understand. But, He didn’t leave them clueless. He made a statement of fact: “In this world you will have trouble.” He doesn’t say our troubles will go away. He doesn’t say we will no longer be plagued by fear or doubt. Instead, our solution to a troubled heart, is to find peace in Him. But, He takes that a step further by saying something strange. He tells us to, “take heart,” or, “cheer up.”

So, when we are lonely or depressed, have doubts about our faith or feel the weight of the world pressing us down, we are to “cheer up”? This makes no sense until we read our Lord’s last statement: “I have overcome the world.”

We win our battles when we surrender to Jesus who has already fought them for us. We free ourselves from a bag full of burdens when we lay it at the cross and leave it there. We find peace, in the midst of life’s storms, when we rest in the One who walked upon the water and said, “Peace! Be still.”

He, who was rejected and despised of men, is now our Overcomer. That is definitely something we can all cheer about.

By Bob Valleau 

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Free at Last

Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. (Hebrews 2:15 NLT)

Fear is a hard taskmaster. It is the slave master that has no compassion. The foreboding of death is the ultimate fear, yet, Jesus Christ came to deliver us from the dread of dying.

Death is the great equalizer.  It matters not if we are rich or poor, black or white, successful or not, if Jesus tarries, we will all have to deal with the grim reaper. We dread our demise so much that we cannot bring ourselves to talk about it.  We don’t allow ourselves to even think about it, yet, its reality lies just under the surface of our conscious thoughts.  Death is inevitable, but the good news is that the enemy has been defeated.  The Apostle Paul mocked death in I Corinthians 15:55 (NLT); O death, where is your victory?  O death, where is your sting?”  When our perishable bodies become imperishable, then “Death is swallowed up in victory” (vs. 53-54).  Christ has set us free from the bondage of the fear of death. Matthew Henry has told us that “death is not only a conquered enemy but a reconciled friend.”  Barring the rapture of the Saints, the demise of our mortal bodies is the only avenue into eternal bliss.  It is not a termination but a transformation from death to life.

Are you walking under the cruel taskmaster of slavery to the fear of dying?  If Christ has freed you from the curse of death, you can echo those famous words of Dr. King, and apply them to your soul. “Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last.

By Ken Barnes

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