Cost of Discipleship

The cost of following Jesus


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Staying Strong

Life is rough! Especially for Christians. Sometimes no matter how much we are prepared or not prepared it seems things or people tend to come along and knock you down. No matter how old or young you are we just can’t seem to get away from the unfair hardships of life! Sometimes we bring it on ourselves, other times it’s unforeseen circumstances. I know there have been times in my life where I’m just like, “what did I do, to deserve this?” I know you are probably thinking yeah  I remember times like that or I’m going through that right now. Well I just want to tell you that I’m sorry I can’t help you! I can’t even help myself sometimes. However, I can show you someone who will help and how you can help yourself!

More often than not we tend to keep are struggles and hardships in live to ourselves. Nevertheless, our troubles tend to take a heavy toll on our hearts. At times, it seems like there is no way out, spiraling down a black hole to nowhere. In these tribulations Satan, who for all we know brought this upon us, really starts to use all kinds of tricks to cause us to stumble. Before we know it we are starting to question God or handling matters our way. We decide to take God out of the equation. One good example that comes to mind is Moses, when he strikes the rock so water can come out. His actions denied him entry into the promise land.

However, there is hope for us. God can help us. He is our strength and our refuge. Although, it seems like evildoers have it easy and Christians have it hard take courage my friends. This life is not easy but with God it’s a whole lot easier. We have the joy of knowing that He is there with us and He is the Refuge of the righteous. Psalm 94 lays this our beautifully!

“O LORD, God of vengeance, O God of vengeance, shine forth! Rise up, O judge of the earth; repay to the proud what they deserve! O LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked exult? They pour out their arrogant words; all the evildoers boast. They crush your people, O LORD, and afflict your heritage. They kill the widow and the sojourner, and murder the fatherless; and they say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.” Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He who formed the eye, does he not see? He who disciplines the nations, does he not rebuke? He who teaches man knowledge— the LORD—knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath. Blessed  is the man whom you discipline, O LORD, and whom you teach out of your law, to give him rest from days of trouble, until a pit is dug for the wicked. For the LORD will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage; for justice will return to the righteous, and all the upright in heart will follow it. Who rises up for me against the wicked? Who stands up for me against evildoers? If the LORD had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, “My foot slips,” your steadfast love, O LORD, held me up.  When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Can wicked rulers be allied with you, those who frame injustice by statute? They band together against the life of the righteous and condemn the innocent to death. But the LORD has become my stronghold, and my God the rock of my refuge. He will bring back on them their iniquity and wipe them out for their wickedness; the LORD our God will wipe them out.”

The reasons for why we take God out of the equation are numerous. I could go on writing all day about them. However, the answer that sums it all up is our lack of faith. In Romans 5:1-5 it states,

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

God is our hope! He can help us no matter how hard life gets. He knows more about us than anyone else in this world. We just need to trust Him more. When times get tough lean on God. When times get tough stay on your knees and pray. Then when the storm passes stay on your knees and thank Him! God is the answer to all of our problems. God will be there for you just like He was there for Job, David, Daniel, Paul, Peter and many others. Don’t underestimate the power of God. Yes, sometimes we do feel alone but God is always right there with us. It’s just up to us to Stay strong and trust in Him. One of my favorite passages that gives me comfort is 2 kings 6:14-17

“So he sent there horses and chariots and a great army, and they came by night and surrounded the city. When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”

I love this Scripture because it helps us realize that no matter how hard life gets God is always there with us!

May you have a wonderful week and the Lord bless you!


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Unanswered Call

Have you ever been a position where you asked for volunteers but no one came? Or been the recipient of some lame excuse to get out of it? I was put in that position the other day.

We are leading some college people down to Louisiana to help with some cleaning in that area. However, finding people to go has been a problem. You would think people would jump at the idea of being able to miss school in the efforts of going to help others. Sadly, this was not the case. In my frustration, I started thinking about what the bible had to say on this topic. I ran across a few things I would like to share with those of you who are having this problem, or if you are making the excuses maybe this will help you see the other side of things. 

 

People tend to just want to check in on Sundays and believe they are following Jesus.  In Matthew 13: 1-9, Jesus tells the parable of the sower. In the parable, He talks about how different seeds fall on different types of terrain. Then He goes on and explains how that relates to the hearing of God’s Word! (v18-23) The two we are going to focus on are the seed among the thorns and the seed on the good soil. Both of these people heard the word and were faithful followers. The seed represents the Word and the ground represents the people (This is a side note for those who don’t know or didn’t bother to read the passage). The seed on the good soil did great. People accepted God’s Word and stayed faithful and true to it. Even if it meant that they were going to die! Yes die!

 

How many of us can say that we are truly faithful until the point of death? If a gun were pointed at your head and the only way you would live is to deny Jesus, would you do it? Or even tougher, what if the gun were pointed towards your family; and their lives depended on your simple statement of “Jesus is not my savior. Jesus is a fake and a lie. God is not great.” These people who were the good soil had to live with that fear but still obeyed!

 Now, the seed that fell in the thorns is a different story. They started to let the worries of the world get to them. They got scared and started relying more on riches and worldly things. They allowed deceit to creep into their lives and they allowed people and things to dictate their lives instead of God. Jesus calls out and accurately predicts how people will act. It saddens my heart when people don’t answer the call for salvation or they answer it but hang up! 

 

Mat 8: 19-22 

”then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” and Jesus said “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” but Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”” 

Following God is NOT easy but it sure is better than the alternative option. I see too many people who call themselves Christians but don’t live up to the name. Don’t say you’re a Christian and then go and sit on your rear and complain, never doing anything God commands us to do. If we are indeed followers of Christ, then let’s start acting like one. We have to stop letting idols get in our way! There are people to minister to and souls that need to be fed, yet when someone calls upon us to help God’s kingdom, we make some excuse because we don’t feel like helping! We have allowed sin to make us so selfish that we don’t think of others. So, if someone says to you “Hey, let’s go and help clean up after the storm.” What are you going to say? “No I don’t want to”, “It’s going to take up my weekend‘, ’I’m relaxing”, “I have homework”, “I’m watching football”, and “I’m going to play this new game.” Since when was your life yours? News flash for you: YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR LIFE… GOD DOES! He bought our life with the death of His Son! 

”For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:20) 

It’s not what I want, it’s how can I glorify God today. When you get up and get out of bed in the morning your first thought should be about God. God owns us! After all He is the one who gave you this day to live! He also is the one who breathed life into you. (Gen. 2:7) So many people forget that! We need to remind ourselves daily about what God has done for us. 

”Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you WILL SAVE both YOURSELF and THOSE who hear you“ 

1 Tim. 4:15-16

Wake up! The kingdom of heaven is here. Go glorify God. 

”The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few; therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His Harvest“ Luke 10:2  

People are out there dying; desperately look for something in there lives. Yes even in America! 

”Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it“ Matt 7:13 

Listen, brothers and sisters, we need to keep encouraging people to serve our God. If you’re someone who is in the position to where you make excuses then step up to the plate and be the Christian God calls you to be! We need to remember that we are Christians first. Serving and glorifying God comes above everything else. If you have homework, don’t use that as an excuse get caught up on it before an event is coming up. If you just don’t want to go then go ask yourself how you’re going to answer God’s call and glorify Him.

”Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” –Phil 2:3 

God is not going to accept excuses. That is evident in Matt 8, 1 Tim 4, Matt 7, Matt 13 and many more! God has called us to serve and glorify Him, therefore answer the call! I’m going to answer and never hang up, even if people are still going to parade around in their fake Christian mask. 

”But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15


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The battle for life!

We are all in this fight together. A fight between good and evil. Our God and satan. God has won the war but the individual battle for our souls is still going on! We are not alone in this battle, Jesus in there for us! This battle though, is not easy, there will be casualties, people won’t make it, the cost of discipleship is hard but the reward is great! Luke 9:24

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