1. Last week, people around here were groaning about a big snow storm that was bringing a foot of snow or more our way this week. Well ... with hindsight (which is always 20-20 - something more of us need to remind ourselves of more often) - the talk of a big snow storm was just that, "talk." As it turns out, we did have about an inch of rain fall (which would equate to approximately 10-12 inches of snow, depending upon the temperature). But it was WET not WHITE precipitation that fell from the sky! So even though the meteorologists got it right that a storm was coming ... they could not accurately forecast the type of precipitation we were going to have until much closer to the date of the actual storm (I believe by Monday they were pretty confident that it would be primarily an all rain event). Two thousand years ago, someone said told a group of twelve men that he was going away but would one day return (John 14:1-3). That someone was Jesus and the twelve were his apostles. Because this forecast of a return was given by none other than God's Son (the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is indeed God the Son), we can count on it happening. When? We can't know for sure. But my gut tells me it will be sooner rather than later. SO ... my question, my friend is a simple one: Are you ready to meet the God who made you? If you have any questions, please check out Two Ways to Live: The Choice We All Face.
2. To mark this season of Lent, I chose to preach a series of five messages that I have titled: iWill Follow Jesus: Five Commitments that Define a Christian. The series is loosely based on Jesus' call to follow him as recorded in Luke 9:23. A key word in this verse is the word "daily." The commitment Jesus calls us to is not a once and done kind of commitment ... but one that we must renew day by day. A friend passed on to me several devotionals based upon Luke 9:23. Here are a few thoughts of the writer in one of these devotionals:
"There is no Christianity without a cross. If you are waiting for a relationship with Christ, He will introduce you to your cross. There is no Christianity without a cross. If you are waiting for a relationship with God that never requires suffering or inconvenience, then you cannot use Christ as your model. God's will for you involves a cross. First, take up your cross; then you can follow him."
Of course, the cross Jesus is referring to here is not the burden of a cranky back or mother-in-law. The cross in Jesus' day was an instrument of suffering and death. So Jesus is telling us (as the writer of this devotional points out) that we need to be willing to suffer for his name (no matter what the form of suffering might take).
My friends, in a culture that values comfort and convenience, we who choose to follow Jesus must be OK with letting go of those values and be willing to suffer for Jesus' sake. Only then can we truly follow Jesus!
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