Daily Archives: January 4, 2018

Jesus Christ Is The Lord

 13 No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven.[a] 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but[b] have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

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 Is That Jesus?

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

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Whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. —Romans 8:29

As I walked into church one Sunday morning, a little boy looked at me and said to his mother, “Mom, is that Jesus?” Needless to say, I was curious to hear her response. “No,” she said, “that’s our pastor.”

I knew she would say no, of course, but I still wished she could have added something like, “No, that’s our pastor, but he reminds us a lot of Jesus.”

Being like Jesus is the purpose of life for those of us who are called to follow Him. In fact, as John Stott notes, it is the all-consuming goal of our past, our present, and our future. Romans 8:29 tells us that in the past we were “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” In the present, we “are being transformed into the same image” (the likeness of Christ), as we grow from “glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). And, in the future, “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2).

Being like Jesus is not about keeping the rules, going to church, and tithing. It’s about knowing His forgiveness, and committing acts of grace and mercy on a consistent basis. It’s about living a life that values all people. And it’s about having a heart of full surrender to the will of our Father.

Be like Jesus. You were saved for it!

Be like Jesus—this my song—
In the home and in the throng;
Be like Jesus all day long!
I would be like Jesus. —Rowe

Live in such a way that others see Jesus in you.

Why Can I Not Follow You Now?

By Oswald Chambers

 Why Can I Not Follow You Now?

There are times when you can’t understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings a time of waiting, and appears to be unresponsive, don’t fill it with busyness, just wait. The time of waiting may come to teach you the meaning of sanctification— to be set apart from sin and made holy— or it may come after the process of sanctification has begun to teach you what service means. Never run before God gives you His direction. If you have the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt— wait.

At first you may see clearly what God’s will is— the severance of a friendship, the breaking off of a business relationship, or something else you feel is distinctly God’s will for you to do. But never act on the impulse of that feeling. If you do, you will cause difficult situations to arise which will take years to untangle. Wait for God’s timing and He will do it without any heartache or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.

Peter did not wait for God. He predicted in his own mind where the test would come, and it came where he did not expect it. “I will lay down my life for Your sake.” Peter’s statement was honest but ignorant. “Jesus answered him, ‘…the rooster shall not crow till you have denied Me three times’ ” (John 13:38). This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself or his own capabilities well enough. Natural devotion may be enough to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His irresistible charm, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will deny Jesus, always falling short of what it means to truly follow Him.

 

Lysa TerKeurst January 4, 2018
How Can I Grow Closer to God?
LYSA TERKEURST

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From: Crosswalk.com

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’” Luke 9:23 (NIV)

I would love to tell you that I have a long and impressive list of goals for 2018. But I’m not really into writing out my goals for the new year. Honestly, I just want to follow hard after the Lord every day and let Him renew me and shape me into the woman I need to be this year.

I want to grow ever closer to God — pressing into Him so He makes the deepest impression on me.

So that’s my goal. Maybe it’s one of your goals too. Growing closer to God.

But how do we do that? How can we position ourselves to grow closer to God this year?

In Luke 9:23b, Jesus tells His disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”

His words seem surprising at first. The disciples had already given up everything to follow Jesus. Or so it seemed …

Family. Friends. Jobs. The comforts of home.

Yet, in our key verse today, we find Jesus telling them the cost is going to be even higher than they had originally anticipated. The disciples aren’t being asked to lay down some things. They are going to need to lay down everything. Their plans. Their agendas. Maybe even their own lives.

And while it may sound like a lot to ask, because of their willingness to continue following hard after Jesus they will get to experience a level of closeness with Him unlike anyone else.

Closeness when they take communion with Him before He is crucified. (Luke 22:12-20)

Closeness when He bends low to wash their feet. (John 13:1-17)

Closeness when He eats with them after His resurrection. (Luke 24:36-43)

Closeness when they are among the first to receive the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:1-4)

So not only did they have the promise of eternity with Him in heaven, they also had the privilege of experiencing unparalleled intimacy with Him on earth.

Could they have received any sweeter gift?

This is what my heart hungers for when it comes to the Lord. I want connection. I want communion. I want closeness. Not only in a distant heavenly future but right here. Right now.

That’s why I’m so thankful Jesus’ invitation to the disciples in Luke 9:23 is for us, too. We are also invited close. Which means we are also called to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him.

I realize “taking up our cross” may sound strange or vague at first, but for me it’s meant breaking old habits to create space in my heart for new growth. It’s meant moving beyond a plastic Christian checklist … Go to church. Read the Bible. Don’t cuss. Be nice. Pray. Give to the poor … and letting God mess with any and everyarea of my life.

It has meant things like offering Him my willingness to step away from TV for a season, fixing my eyes on Him first in the morning, instead of my phone and allowing Him to call me to a new level of discipline in my eating habits. Things I have said “yes” to because I long for an ever-closer walk with Him.

I don’t know exactly what following wholeheartedly after God will look like for you. But I do know that if we want to grow closer to God this year, we’ll have to distance ourselves from whatever is distracting us. We’ll have to lay aside whatever we are prone to delight in more than Him.

Let’s ask God which distraction we need to distance ourselves from in order to grow closer to Him, and then let’s do the hard and holy work of denying ourselves. Because a deeper level of intimacy with Him will always be worth the cost.

Lord, show me what stands in the way of intimacy with You, and give me the strength to lay it down — for a season or maybe even forever. I long to be closer to You. No matter the cost. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.