(Newest ones are last)
|What Is In Your Mind?|
|Take Up Your Cross|
|Are You Deceiving Yourself?|
|Let God Speak Through You|
|Sacrifices Are Complete|
|What Does God Require?|
|Don't Offend While You Defend|
|Take Up Your Cross|
|We Must Surrender ALL|
|Laying Down Your Life|
|Freed from Sin? Really??|
|Dying to Self Part 2|
|6/1/98 What Is In Your Mind?|
though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons
of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of
strong holds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth
itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every
thought to the obedience of Christ."
|COMMENTS: The thoughts in your mind are what leads you to do what you do.
What is in your mind? Do you have anger and hate? Do you have bad habits?
What things have you accumulated over the years of your lifetime?
If you are like everyone else then you have some things in your mind that are bad things. They are things that cause you to not be able to be obedient to God's Word. Some things hinder you from being the best person you can be. Some things you don't even know you have. So what can you do?
It's time for housecleaning! Time to get rid of the cobwebs! Pull out your Bible and begin filling your head with something good and pure. What is in the Bible has power and can override what you have stored in your head. Plug yourself in to the source of power. . . pray! Open your mind and heart to the One who loves you more than anything! Ask that God reveal everything that needs to be purged. This is the first step of bringing your thoughts into captivity.
Don't get discouraged if you have difficulties. You won't be able to get rid of everything. They will continue to return now and then. God knows how difficult it is for us. He will have patience with you as long as you are trying. Just stay in the Word and stay connected in prayer. Never give up.
|7/6/98 Pleasing God|
do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet
pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ."
|COMMENTS: I was taught to always have at the forefront of my mind, "What
would other people think?" I had to be careful what I said and what I did
because I might upset or offend someone. In my own mind I also added, "or
make myself look foolish."
Most of my life I have concentrated on being a "man-pleaser." I figured if I got good enough grades, or was helpful enough, or was smart enough, or was funny enough people would approve of me. If I messed up in any way I would be rejected. I never made a good salesperson because every time someone would say, "No," to the product I was selling I took it as a rejection of me as a person. I was in BIG TROUBLE because, as the saying goes, "You can never please all the people all the time." I was doomed for failure.
I guess I am a slow learner. I've been a Christian for at least 25 years and I just recently discovered that the important thing is what God thinks of me. DUH! God loves me whether or not I am smart, helpful, or funny. He loves me UNCONDITIONALLY!!!! He doesn't love me any less when I make a mistake or when I deliberately do something wrong. He created me to be unique and special. I don't have to perform to earn His love.
My goal now is to do everything for God. I want to be able to get rid of my own opinions about things and gain His opinions. I want to be able to have His heart and His mind. Jesus died for me so I could have a personal relationship with God. Jesus made the greatest sacrifice ever made for me. Now I am seeking to return the favor as best as I can. I want to be the servant of Christ.
If God lays it on my heart to do something I would be disobedient to not follow through just because other people think I shouldn't do that thing. It is not very easy to change from a "man-pleaser" to a "God-pleaser." It has been hard for me to go against popular opinion and to be frowned upon by some people. I have to keep my thoughts on God and talk to Him throughout the day to make sure I keep my mind on Him. He provides me with the approval I need. He provides me with the assurance I need. He is the one who loves me more than anyone else does and so He is the one I must seek to please.
|8/31/98 Take Up Your Cross|
he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself,
and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life
shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall
save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose
himself, or be cast away?"
COMMENTS: When I used to read this I thought it literally meant losing my life, in other words, if I was killed because of my belief in Jesus. This past week I got a new understanding of "losing my life."
In my life I developed patterns in my life. Some of those patterns were habits, some were attitudes, some were ways of reacting to things that happen around me. Some of those patterns could be considered "survival instincts" of a sort. The way I was treated by people and the situations I encountered all contributed to the patterns I developed. If I felt I needed something and was not receiving it I manufactured ways to try to get what I needed. One of the things I worked hard on developing all my life was a way to feel loved and accepted.
This past week this particular pattern exploded in my face. I had recognized before that I had a problem with my self esteem. I knew I felt like I had to make people like me. I knew that I took it personally if someone disagreed with me or (heaven forbid!) didn't like me or was mad at me. I had brought my problem to God and asked Him to help me deal with it. I knew that the problem was still in existence, but felt like I had taken large steps toward minimizing it. I guess I was dreaming.
I determined my value as a human by what other people thought of me. God has shown me that I was working very hard on doing things to cause people to like me, love me, and pay attention to me. I wasn't doing anything to cause anyone any hurt, but it turns out I have hurt some people very close to me.
I am now in the position of losing some friends that I love. This is rather difficult to explain without going into a lot of detail. I'm not even sure of all of what I have done. I do feel that, as a woman, I have been sending some signals to men I know that may have caused them to think of me in a way they shouldn't.
So, I am now in the position of having to ask God to show me a whole new way of acting around other people. I am also in the position of having to evaluate my relationships with my men friends. I have to find out what damage I have done. I then either have to undo the damage, if it isn't too severe, or possibly end the friendship if it has gone beyond the point of repair.
"So, how does this relate to the scripture above?" you may be thinking. By taking up your cross, it means you need to be prepared to nail ANY aspect of your life to the cross if God says it is necessary. It could be attitudes, it could be friendships, it could be your possessions, it could be your life as you know it now.
If you choose not to release something in your life then you choose to save your life; you choose to keep your life the way you want it. To lose your life would be to change your life to whatever God says it should be.
The things of this world are temporary. The things you enjoy in this world during your lifetime are also temporary. It seems like a long time, but compare the length of your lifetime to forever. What portion of eternity is your life? How small of a speck is it?
God gives us choice. We have the choice to believe in Him. We have the choice to believe in Jesus. We have the choice to sin. We have the choice to do whatever we want. God will not force His will upon us. It is our choice to choose to do God's will. It is a choice to say, "God, show me what you want me to do. Show me how you want me to act. Show me the things in my life of which you don't approve."
Then, the choice is yours to do those things. The choice is yours to allow your life to be turned upside down in order to do what God wants you to do. I am taking comfort in the fact that God is going to be with me every step on this difficult journey I am on.
NOTE FROM KAY: At the time I thought I had been doing something wrong. Looking back, I see that the only thing I had done wrong is assume that men would not misinterpret what I said and did. What I had to do was be extremely careful that nothing was taken the wrong way. I had to pick my words more carefully. I had to be careful who I hugged and who I joked around with.
Unfortunately it isn't always possible to just relax and be yourself. In this day and age marriages are perceived as being disposable. People allow themselves to think about people in ways they shouldn't. So, it is important that I make very sure I am sending the correct messages.
|11/23/98 Are You Deceiving Yourself?|
if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth
|COMMENTS: I used to think I was really something. I took pride in my
accomplishments and skills. I could say I was really good at quite a few
things. As a matter of fact, some things I was so good at that there was
nothing else that could even make me any better at them.
Within the past year the Lord began to deal with my pride. He allowed me to be fired from a secretarial job. (But I'm a GOOD secretary!) He pointed out that I was losing things in my filing system. (But I'm VERY organized!) I was forced to stop everything and re-evaluate the situation. I reviewed my talents, accomplishments, and skills. When I was finished I was unable to find one thing that was totally of my own doing. God was responsible for every last one.
Without God's assistance I was absolutely nothing. I could have said that it was my hard work studying in school that gave me the necessary skills to be a good organizer. Without the brain that the Lord gave me I am nothing. I could have said that the hours spent practicing allowed me to write in calligraphy. Without the hands and eyes that the Lord gave me I am nothing. Are you getting the picture?
As long as I was maintaining the idea that I had made myself something special I was of very little use to the Lord. I was also too proud to be usable by others. I was unwilling to change because of all the "hard work" I had put into things. I was only deceiving myself as the scripture says.
|12/29/98 Let God Speak Through You|
in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech
be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to
answer every man."
|COMMENTS: Your community, your country, and the world are full of people who
don't know Jesus. They are the ones referred to in this scripture as "them
that are without." They are on the outside. They are in desperate trouble
and don't even know it.
You are to "walk in wisdom toward them." You are to redeem (use it, don't save it for something else) the time you have left.
God will open the doors for you to speak to people. You need to be ready when the door is opened. Before you open your mouth, pray for the right words to use. God knows what word will plant a seed in that person's mind. He will make sure you use that word. You just need to be a useable vessel. In order to be a useable vessel you need to be a vessel that is empty of yourself and full of God. God can speak through you. God can use you.
How do you empty yourself of yourself? That doesn't make sense! In your lifetime you have developed ways to protect yourself from hurt. You have developed attitudes, patterns, and more based on the way you were raised and the things you've encountered.
Unless you have walked closely with the Lord all your life (which most people haven't) you are full of things that you have developed that prevent you from getting very close to God. Had you walked closely with the Lord all your life you would not have had to fill yourself with protective devices. God would have provided what you needed.
Unless you learn how to let go of those things you will not be able to effectively minister to other people. You will not be able to be effectively used by God.
God will reveal the things that need to be changed in your life, if you are willing to be used. He will reveal them and will help you get rid of them. He will help you get rid of them as many times as it takes. The reason I say that is there are some things that you will let go of and then pick back up because it is something you have had for a long time. God is patient and loving and will not condemn you for it. He will help you let go again and again.
You are to be the salt of the earth. Have you ever tasted something that someone forgot to salt? ICK, ICK, ICK! Sometimes it is inedible. A tiny bit of salt (or salt substitute, for those of you on low-salt diets) mixes in and makes the whole thing good.
It is the same with this entire planet. Christians are the salt that need to mix in and make the whole thing good. It is not humanly possible to make the changes necessary in this corrupt planet. In Matthew 19:26 Jesus and His disciples were talking about how difficult it is for people to enter the Kingdom of God and Jesus said, "With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible."
Don't ever decide that God can't do something. Don't ever decide that something is impossible to accomplish. If you are in touch with God, you are in touch with the One who created the entire universe by speaking it into existence. Think about it! God can use you! (Yes, even you!)
|3/22/99 Adorn Yourself|
|"Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any
obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation
of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and
of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden
man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a
meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price."
|COMMENTS: This scripture hit me right between the eyes the other day. As far
as my husband is concerned, my spirit is about as far away from meek and
quiet as the north is from the south. (I used to use the term as the east is
from the west like it is in the Bible, but I have a friend who lives on East
Street and you get there by turning right off of West Street, so it doesn't
carry the same impact to me any more.) Anyway, I'm afraid I can't claim I
have the ornament described in this scripture.
I've heard people say, "That's the way I am and I cannot change. You're just going to have to accept it." I could use that here. I could say that God is the one who created me and that He must be the one who placed that spirit in me. Case closed. WRONG!!!
The un-meek and un-quiet spirit that is in me was created by me. I've been using it to point out what I feel are my husband's mistakes. I've also been using it to protect myself from disappearing altogether. If I didn't speak up and defend myself then my family would take advantage of me, not consider my wishes, and would just plain walk all over me. Being the only female in this household I am dog-paddling for my life in a sea of testosterone. I could justify my actions easily.
If I justified my actions then they would never change. I could self-righteously continue in the same behavior. However, that behavior smacks of being contentious. The book of Proverbs has a few things to say about being contentious:
Prov:21:19, "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman."
Prov:26:21, "As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife."
Prov:27:15, "A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike."
I want to be used of God. I want to become a pure and holy vessel so God can fill me with Himself. In order to do that I need to let go of the self-made things I use to protect myself. How can my husband see the Lord in me when he is thinking it would be better to live in the wilderness than with me?
I have a friend who made a wise observation (thank you, Pat!) She said that instead of trying to empty ourselves of ourselves in order to fill ourselves with God, we need to just fill ourselves with God and the rest will take care of itself. That's what I need to do. Is it something you need help with as well? Let's pray!
Lord, I want you to use me in your kingdom! I want to become a pure and holy vessel full of You. I want people to see You in me. I want to be able to be a fountain of living water and a light on a hill.
I need to be full of You. Please give me more faith, more wisdom, and more knowledge. Continue to speak to me through your Word and in my heart. Break down the barriers that I have formed in my mind that prevent me from understanding You. Fill me to overflowing with the love, wisdom, strength, knowledge, faith, and peace that can only come from You. Let those things overflow out of me and into others. Lord, I want to get lost in You. I want to make my thoughts Your thoughts. I want my opinions to be Your opinions. I want to see people through Your eyes and love them with Your heart.
I can only do these things with Your help. Help me! I know these things are in Your will and so I know You will help me. I thank you and praise you for Your loving kindness. I thank You that You desire to use me and can use me. I thank You for choosing me! Praise Your holy holy name! These things I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.
|11/15/99 Sacrifices Are Complete|
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your
|COMMENTS: As I was saying in the welcome message, a sacrifice is complete.
In the Bible, when a lamb was sacrificed, it was killed. When Jesus offered
Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins, He died. A sacrifice is a complete
giving. It is not partial nor is it temporary.
God wants you to sacrifice yourself. He wants you to let go of everything that is important to you. He wants you to offer yourself to Him by dying. This isn't a physical death, it is a spiritual death. The reason for this is because you need to be a holy and acceptable sacrifice. You have to rid yourself of things that will hinder your relationship with God. You need to come to a point where you are willing to let go of everything that God wants you to release.
It is a this point that most people stop. They are not wanting to even know what things they need to have removed from their lives. They are happy enough with the way things are that they don't want to take a chance on losing what they feel is important. Oh, if they only knew what they were missing! There is so much more that God wants to bless us with if we could only have the faith it takes to let go of the "world."
We can see the importance of facing the things that God dislikes and letting go of them by examining John the Baptist's ministry. You can read about John the Baptist's ministry in Matthew 3, Mark 1, and Luke 3. His ministry was proclaimed by Isaiah (Is 40:3) a long time before. John's ministry was very important or it wouldn't have been mentioned over 700 years prior to his birth!
John was preparing the way for Jesus and for the Kingdom of God. He was preparing the way by causing people to repent. He was making them face their sins and regret doing them. He was causing people to turn to God and be sorry for not doing what He wanted them to do. Once they turned to God they wanted His forgiveness and they wanted to serve Him. They were getting right with God by getting away from the "world."
Now, here comes the important part. John was creating a wave of repentance and THAT'S WHEN JESUS CAME INTO THE PICTURE! God came to visit man in the form of Jesus once man repented of his sinful nature!
That is the key to your deeper relationship with God. You must rid yourself of the things that are an abomination to God so you and He can fellowship together!! You have to SERIOUSLY repent. God has been showing you the things that you need to change or remove. If you are seeking to be closer and more intimate with Him then that is the only way to get there. Offer yourself to Him as a sacrifice. He will show you what needs to be done in order for you to be an acceptable and holy sacrifice. Then, you need to make the decision of whether He is worth the sacrifice.
Be prepared for some glorious fellowship. You will experience things that I can never describe to you. You will experience God and there are no human words that can describe that experience. All I can tell you is that will have been the most important decision you have ever made in your entire life except for one. The other one? It was when you decided to believe in Jesus.
My Heavenly Father, I lift the people reading this to You. I know that You desire an intimate relationship with them. I know that You love them unconditionally and want to pour out Your love on them. I know that You want to fellowship with them the same way You fellowshipped with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I pray that they recognize the need for repentance. I pray that they submit their lives, hearts, and minds to You.
I also lift myself to You and ask that You continue to help me find the things in my life that are displeasing to You. Once You reveal them to me, please help me get rid of them! Help us to be what pleases You. Help us to have intimate communion with You. This I pray in Jesus' precious name. Amen.
|2/12/02 What Does God Require?|
hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of
thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God"
|COMMENTS: God shows us what He requires of us. We choose whether to do it or
not. We usually choose not to do everything He requires. We have a tendency
to formulate what He wants in such a way that it is comfortable for us. We
don't want to do anything that is embarrassing or that is too hard. We don't
want to have to do something that might hurt someone else's feelings or that
make them uncomfortable. We pick and choose the best things that God wants
us to do.
How can we expect God to perform miracles and to help us in every way possible when we withhold our best from Him? How can we be fully used by Him when we refuse to let Him have our all?
What things are you withholding from Him? Do you draw the line when it comes for you to be embarrassed in front of other people for something He wants you to do? How about if He told you to sell your house and move to another country? What if He required that you give up your family? Chances are you are withholding something. What is it?
What does God want from you? He wants you to walk humbly with Him. If you are walking humbly with Him then you are submitted to Him. Anything He wants you will give.
It isn't easy to be humble in front of God. In order to be humble you have to place your needs and wants in the background. You have to allow Him to take them. It takes a great deal of faith to give Him your all. It takes a huge commitment to let go of your "self" and let Him take over.
What are the results? You will be an effective member of the Body of Christ. You will be better able to know what God's opinions are. You will look at people through God's eyes. The things you say will build up and encourage. You will never again think, "Woe is me."
|5/7/02 Don't Offend While You Defend|
"Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not
COMMENTS: I have a problem with my mouth. It has a tendency to speak up when it thinks I need to be defended. It isn't really careful about the tone of voice it uses, either. If my mouth thinks I am being wronged then it defends me. OK, I'm not placing the blame where the blame should be. It is not my mouth that is the culprit, it is me!
I end up making a point that does absolutely no good. I might feel vindicated, but I have usually acted in a very unloving way. I am never setting a good example as a Christian. Not only that, I generally generate some anger and unforgiveness. The unforgiveness is usually temporary, but is not good irregardless of how long it lasts!
I've been working on allowing God to defend me. I've been allowing Him to comfort me when I feel wronged. I have been working on releasing those things to Him immediately so I can move on in a positive direction. If I do it right then I will not be affecting anyone else's walk with the Lord. I won't be the cause of someone thinking I am a hypocrite.
God is able to
comfort me, give me the strength I need to forgive and move on, and is able
to help me to speak the right words. Maybe more importantly, He is able to
help me with my facial expressions and tone of voice. When I am "being
good" in my own strength I find that it is nearly impossible for me to put
on a totally convincing "show."
|4/8/04 Take Up Your Cross|
"And he that taketh not
his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that
findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake
shall find it."
COMMENTS: In the book of Matthew Jesus spoke about people taking up their crosses and following Him on two occasions. Let's examine those references that He made.
The other reference was in chapter 16 verses 24-25, "Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
Jesus spoke of losing our lives for His sake. Dying on the cross was not the only way to die. Jesus was making reference to the way He was going to die. He told them exactly how He was going to die.
A cross was used to put people to death by the Greeks and the Romans. Both times Jesus mentioned taking up crosses He was speaking directly to His disciples. What do you think they were thinking?
Here's some of the thoughts they may
It didn't say that they asked any
questions about what He was saying. I wonder why. If Jesus
spoke about something more than one time to His disciples I would imagine
it was something very important. He was indicating to them that He
knew how He was going to die. It seems that most, if not all of them,
were unaware of the fact that He was going to die soon. They also
seemed to be unaware of the fact that He even had to die although He spoke
about dying on many separate occasions.
Secondly, He was indicating to them that the cross was going be significant to all believers down through the ages. He wanted them to know that they were expected to do something along the lines of dying.
When Jesus was nailed to the cross there was more than just Jesus' body nailed to the cross. He took our sin with Him to the cross. That caused a separation between Him and God, the magnitude of which we will never comprehend. He willingly offered Himself to be nailed to the cross because He knew it was absolutely, beyond a shadow of a doubt, positively necessary.
Taking up our cross is significant to us today. The cross was only used for killing people. It was an instrument of torture. Taking up our cross is nowhere near the kind of experience Jesus had when He took up His cross, but it isn't designed to be easy. It is symbolic of a tortuous death. Do I have your attention?
Taking up our cross means we must die to our selves. Jesus is asking us to nail our "self" to our cross. He said, "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
It is human nature to make self preservation a priority. We take many precautions to make sure we don't die accidentally or prematurely. Not only do we focus on preservation of our physical life, we also focus on preservation of our reputation, superiority, prestige, and value. We seek to have the approval, recognition, and respect of people. It is natural to think more highly of ourselves than of other people. After all, we live inside our our own bodies and minds. How can we not think we are important? Our instincts are screaming out, "Me! Me! Me!"
In order to be fully used by God we must die to ourselves. We must take up our cross and follow Jesus. We must be willing to be tortured. No, I don't necessarily mean be whipped, beaten, and physically tortured like Jesus was. Most of the torture we will have to endure is when we choose to think more highly of other people than ourselves.
We will have to learn how to keep our mouth shut when someone hurls insults at us. We will have to learn how to clean up after other people's messes without being angry at them. We will have to come to the conclusion that we are actually nothing except for what God has blessed us with. There are many things involved in dying-to-self.
We must find out what things God wants us to release and then we must willingly nail those things to the cross. Therein is more torture as we pound the "nails" into the things we have so carefully developed and protected all our lives.
God gives us a choice. If we choose "self" then we are not worthy to follow after Jesus. We will not be able to be fully used because our "self" will get in the way. We will be too focused on self-preservation and won't be capable of doing as God requires.
If He wants us to humble ourselves we must not think about looking foolish, or becoming embarrassed. When He wants us to open ourselves up to being hurt by people in order to reach them with the gospel we must not hesitate because of the pain it will cause us. When He wants us to demonstrate unconditional love to an unlovable person we must not have the mindset that people should only get what they have earned or what they deserve.
Each person is different and the dying-to-self process will be different for them than it is for another. God will show each of us what things in our life He requires us to remove. We must allow Him to empty us of ourselves. It is necessary that we go through the process so we can be God's ambassadors. We cannot be walking in His will if we are walking in our own.
If you are interested I described some of my own experiences with dying-to-self in one area of My Prayer Closet.
There are many scriptural references to the need to die to self. I will close this study with a few of them.
"And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections
and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of
Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and
do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"
"Precious in the
sight of the LORD is the death of his saints."
"I beseech you
therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable
|9/11/04 We Must Surrender ALL|
"Yea doubtless, and I
count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ
Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do
count them but dung, that I may win Christ,"
|COMMENTS: This is another study
about dying-to-self. Paul was saying he counted ALL things but loss in
order that he would please Jesus. He knew that there was nothing
valuable in himself, in his talents, or in his abilities unless God was
behind them. We must come to the point where we surrender all things.
We can't pick and choose. We can't be in charge at all. We must
surrender all. That means
We must surrender our children, our loved ones, our desires, our jobs, our homes, our everything! Are you in a panic? Are you building up reasons that say this can't be true? What's happening in your mind? This isn't a bad thing, it's a good thing.... if you are serious about being used by God. God will give the things back that you should have. He will. What needs to be done is you have to let God have control. (OH NO!)
That's right. He needs to have control over everything in your life. If you hold things back then they will end up hindering your spiritual growth. Holding things back from God is similar to having idols. We are placing more importance on those things (including feelings, pride, people, attitudes, whatever) than we are on God. We can't hold things in reserve.
We can't make
God won't care. Think about Jesus. What did He hold back? He laid down His all for us because, if He had held anything back, His wouldn't have been the perfect sacrifice that we so desperately needed. He held back NOTHING! I'm not going to do the entire study for you this week. You have homework. Read the rest of this chapter and meditate on it. Let God show you what it means to you, personally.
love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
|Short and sweet. Plain and simple. Or is it?
I'd like to think that I would choose to allow myself to be sacrificed for the sake of my family. I would also like to think that I would do the same for my friends. Yet, when it comes right down to where the rubber meets the road, would I?
It's all about love. Do I love others at least as much as I love myself? Do I carry that love out in front so that I wouldn't even consider comparing it to the love I have for myself? Is it big enough and strong enough?
In the flesh I wouldn't be able to do it. Yet, if I am walking in the spirit and practicing allowing the love of God to flow through me then I probably would choose to do it. It is a result of choices. First I have to choose to allow myself to be used by God. I need to choose to love as He wants me to love. In actuality, I need to make that choice every day.... every minute, even.
It seems like a big sacrifice, choosing to lay down your life for a friend. Have you ever thought about it?
Laying down your life doesn't necessarily mean physical death. It could be a giving up of your life as you know it. For example, if a friend became too ill to care for himself, would you be willing to give up your life style to tend to him? Would you sell your house and move to another state? Another country? Would you quit your job? Laying down your life could involve many different things.
Since Sunday is Easter let's talk about Jesus laying His life down.
I often catch myself not thinking of the wonderful gift of salvation that Jesus gave me. I take it for granted. It is one of those things that I know that I know that I know and don't spend time in the realization of what He went through for me. Shame on me!
It's time to really reflect on the enormity of what He chose to do for us and think it through from beginning to end.
~~He deliberately chose to leave Heaven and come to earth.~~
~~He deliberately chose not to sin, every day of His life.~~
~~He chose to suffer great physical pain for us.~~
~~He chose to suffer the biggest mental pain of all times by taking all the sin of the world on His shoulders and being separated from Himself (from God). (Don't ask me how, I just know He did it.)~~
He did all this out of love for us (for me) (for you)! He didn't have to do it, He chose to do it. He lay down a lot for us!
I'm glad that we celebrate Easter and what Jesus did for us. If we tend to not think about it as much as we should then it is a reminder to us. Plus, it is a reminder to the people who don't know Jesus. Easter and Christmas put Jesus into people's minds. This may be your opportunity to share Him with someone. Be ready and be equipped. God may give you a job to do.
Have a blessed Easter.
"Knowing this, that our
old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that
henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin."
|Last week we
talked about the word "free". This week we have another scripture that
talks about free... "he that is dead is freed from sin." This
doesn't mean we have to wait until we are dead to be able to not sin any
more. This is talking about right now, while we are still alive.
We are to allow ourselves to be crucified with Jesus... as in killed... as in die.... No, not as in have a funeral and allow your body to be buried kind of dying. This is the dying-to-self kind of dying.
If you pay attention to the times you sin you will find that almost all the time the sin has to do with something that benefits your self. Sometimes we lie to make ourselves look better. Sometimes we put someone else down because we decide that we know better than they.
We can't help but sin if we are living in our self. We are like a one-man army. We have to defend ourselves because nobody else will, or so we think.
In order to be used by God we must let go of our "self" and allow God to defend us. We have to decide that He is more important than we are. We have to trust Him to take care of our needs. Then, we have to choose to not sin. We can then be truly freed from sin.