The Cost of Discipleship
57 Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”
58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air havenests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”
59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”
But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”
61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go andbid them farewell who are at my house.”
62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
No More Excuses
By: Nina Keegan, 1.cbn.com
A friend of mine told me her son just cannot take tests. He excels in his classwork, but when it comes to test-taking, his mind goes blank and he fails. This is the reason he is doing so poorly in his classes. Medical testing did not reveal any diagnosable reason for the disconnect.
Somewhere along the line, her son decided to believe this lie. Over the years, defeat became etched into his mind like a river carves itself through a mountain base. Deeper and deeper it flows. Then it became a bonafide reality gripping itself to his leg like a ball and chain, and eventually, an excuse to fail.
Excuses in our lives give us permission to settle for less than God’s best and justify our shortcomings. We blame something or someone else for our less-than-stellar lot in life. It is never our fault. We brand our insecurities 8. We declare this is how it always is for us, for our families. We inhale the status quo and exhale the mundane.
Most failures come from a history of excuses and a lack of perseverance.
Closed doors don’t always mean NO. Most of the time they mean that God has a bigger and better door. We must move forward and keep knocking.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7 ESV)
We get so immersed in the past we can’t see hope staring at us through the dirty windows of our own self-appointed limitations. We construct imaginary walls and confine ourselves. We can get so stuck in the rut of excuses we even make excuses for our excuses.
The Bible is littered with excuse-makers, starting off with Eve claiming it was all the serpent’s fault for deceiving her.
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” (Genesis 3:13 ESV)
God is saying enough!
It’s time to receive the victory God has in store for us. We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength! He can give us supernatural qualifications. He can cause us to be at the right place at the right time.
Trust the Word of God and the plans He has for our lives! God’s plan says He will give us a new hope and a bright future. Success will ultimately come to us when our dreams become bigger than our excuses.
Through Christ, we are made new and whole in every area of our lives. We must stop excusing away our dreams. Instead, grab hold of them. Start speaking life into our lives. Let the promises of God settle in our hearts, declare these truths, and let them override our regrets and rationalizations.
When we give up our excuses we will find our results.
Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Behold, I do not know how to speak, for I am only a youth.” But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 1:4-8 ESV)
Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. – James 1:12 NASB
Images of nature fill many paintings by Joseph Turner. In 1842 at the age of sixty-seven, he decided to focus on storms in a fresh way. Instead of watching from afar, Turner felt compelled to experience the fury of a storm for himself.
He had himself tied to the mainmast of a ship, which sailed into the heart of a gale. It was an intense experience. Afterward, filled with personal insight, he painted “Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth.” The painting puzzled some but amazed others with its intensity.
Observers felt what it meant to go through a storm. As one critic summarized, this painting “is the essence of all that Turner had discovered…during forty years of practice.”
In our spiritual lives, God may allow us to go through storms. As we do, we need to trust in Him and realize that storms have a purpose. They deepen our faith and change our character. And persevering through trials results in blessings and “the crown of life.”
In a similar way, Paul described how God wants us to “exult in our tribulations.” Why? Because they bring about perseverance, proven character, and hope (Romans 5:3-5).
Today, remember that God has an eternal plan for you. When you go through storms, have faith. Trust Him. Let Him perfect you and teach you. Let Him give you a more powerful testimony, change you, and prove Himself mighty!
Streams In The Desert
By: L. B. Cowman
He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me; because he delighted in me (Psalms 18:19).
And what is this “large place”? What can it be but God Himself, that infinite Being in whom all other beings and all other streams of life terminate? God is a large place indeed. And it was through humiliation, through abasement, through nothingness that David was brought into it.
“I bare you on eagle’s wings, and brought you unto myself” (Exod. 19:4).
Fearing to launch on “full surrender’s” tide,
I asked the Lord where would its waters glide
My little bark, “To troubled seas I dread?”
“Unto Myself,” He said.
Weeping beside an open grave I stood,
In bitterness of soul I cried to God:
“Where leads this path of sorrow that I tread?”
“Unto Myself,” He said.
Striving for souls, I loved the work too well;
Then disappointments came; I could not tell
The reason, till He said, “I am thine all;
Unto Myself I call.”
Watching my heroes–those I loved the best–
I saw them fail; they could not stand the test,
Even by this the Lord, through tears not few,
Unto Himself me drew.