Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
Jesus did not say to make converts to your way of thinking, but He said to look after His sheep, to see that they get nourished in the knowledge of Him. We consider what we do in the way of Christian work as service, yet Jesus Christ calls service to be what we are to Him, not what we do for Him. Discipleship is based solely on devotion to Jesus Christ, not on following after a particular belief or doctrine. “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate…, he cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26). In this verse, there is no argument and no pressure from Jesus to follow Him; He is simply saying, in effect, “If you want to be My disciple, you must be devoted solely to Me.” A person touched by the Spirit of God suddenly says, “Now I see who Jesus is!”— that is the source of devotion.
Today we have substituted doctrinal belief for personal belief, and that is why so many people are devoted to causes and so few are devoted to Jesus Christ. People do not really want to be devoted to Jesus, but only to the cause He started. Jesus Christ is deeply offensive to the educated minds of today, to those who only want Him to be their Friend, and who are unwilling to accept Him in any other way. Our Lord’s primary obedience was to the will of His Father, not to the needs of people— the saving of people was the natural outcome of His obedience to the Father. If I am devoted solely to the cause of humanity, I will soon be exhausted and come to the point where my love will waver and stumble. But if I love Jesus Christ personally and passionately, I can serve humanity, even though people may treat me like a “doormat.” The secret of a disciple’s life is devotion to Jesus Christ, and the characteristic of that life is its seeming insignificance and its meekness. Yet it is like a grain of wheat that “falls into the ground and dies”— it will spring up and change the entire landscape (John 12:24).
[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him”— 1 John 5:1
When Jesus asked a question, it was not because He didn’t know the answer. You can be sure He was making a point.
Jesus and His disciples were in Caesarea Philippi, away from their own territory. It was a place of idolatry and oppression—a threatening place both politically and spiritually. In this environment, Jesus posed two important questions about the perception of His identity. He wasn’t interested in His popularity rating. He wanted His followers to be sure about the One they were following.
Today our culture is just as hostile and opposed to Jesus as when He first asked the question: “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13). As in Jesus’ day, people offer a long list of inadequate and incorrect ideas about Jesus, ranging from “just a good teacher” all the way to “divisive” and “intolerant.”
The real question was and continues to be: “Who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15). Peter boldly declared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Jesus said that Peter’s accurate confession was a God-given insight and that he was blessed because of his declaration (Matthew 16:17).
Join Peter in confessing that Jesus is your Savior. Your life will be bolstered and blessed.
O receive Him today who so loved you
That He died on the cross for your sin;
O believe Him and open your heart’s door,
Let the Savior who loves you come in. —Anon.
Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God. —1 John 5:1
Me and My Motivator
By: Bob Noebel, Author
Motivational research is the study of what influences or causes people to choose or reject a course of action. In the business world, these procedures help companies sell products. In Genesis 3, we find that Satan already knew the three basics for selling his product to man: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life:
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye and desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it.” (See Genesis 3:6)
The sale was made. The rest is history.
What about God? Since He created us, it is only logical that He would know how to motivate us for good works rather than evil. After all, the Word says that it is not His desire that any should perish, but that everyone would come to the knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God must love a challenge. Why else would we be born with two strikes against us — free will and a sin nature? How in the world is He going to motivate us? Thank God that He is not the mighty “Casey at the bat” who strikes out. God hits a home run.
First of all, God did the hard part. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for our sins. The weight of our sins would have been enough to crush us, but that has been dealt with, thanks to Jesus.
If that alone isn’t enough to motivate you, there’s more. When Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of God, He sent the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, to enable us to live a godly life:
You however are controlled not by the sinful nature, but by the Spirit … (Romans 8:9).
Our motivation to live a life worthy of His calling is because He first loved us. When we didn’t give God the time of day, He was still there waiting patiently for us. When we came to Him with all our problems and hang-ups, He received us with open arms. When we continue to mess up, He is faithful to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (See 1 John 1:9)
God loves me so much that He saved me, cleansed me, and filled me with His Spirit. I don’t need any more motivation than that!
How about you? Are you ready to stand up to the plate and hit a home run for Him? You can do it. I know you can.