Profit and Recognition

Believing in Jesus is not a for-profit lifestyle

The stunned crowd regained their presence of mind and realized they were hungry. They took some time to share a meal. Sitting around an open fire they pondered what the Teacher had said as they ate fig cakes, raisin cakes and loaves of bread. They drank wine from wine skins to quench their dry and parched throats.

As Jesus began to teach again He was talking about profit and gaining the world. Fist bump, now He was speaking their language. Surely the tax collectors in the crowd were salivating. Wait. Did He just say forfeit? What does forfeit and gaining the whole world have to do with each other?

Believing in Jesus automatically makes you His disciple. Hold up, I can sense and hear some of you saying, this isn’t what I signed up for. I hear you. I’m sorry if the discipleship part was or has been left out of what you’ve been taught. It is still eternally better than the alternative. Everyday I am learning something new about what it means to truly follow Jesus. We can learn together.

Believing in Jesus is not a for-profit lifestyle. Nor, is it for worldly recognition, or, any recognition. How can it be when our heart’s desire ought to be revealing Jesus? Profit and recognition stand in stark contrast to Jesus. Thursday’s post encouraged you to ask God to reveal to you what area’s from your past need to go. Could ego and pride (recognition) and acquiring vast wealth (monetary profit) be included in what God is showing you? It has been for me. I grew up with depression age parents. We always had everything we needed (and this ought to have been enough) but rarely did we have the things we desired. I fell into the trap of credit cards, yes that is plural, at an early age. Praise God for His divine wisdom and guidance. It wasn’t easy allowing myself to be set free from those chains but His plans are always best. We’ve also been working on pride through the years. That is an ugly root. Here’s the thing, when we choose to spend time with Jesus He lavishes us with His love. We begin to desire to change because of Him and for Him. He is so patient as we learn to trust Him and discover the changes that become apparent in our life.

Is it okay to profit? Sure it is if we use it from a kingdom perspective. When we profit it is our responsibility to do good, help and benefit others. In regards to forfeit Jesus is speaking to those who have not made a choice for Him. They may profit and gain recognition but will continue to carry the penalty of sin on their soul causing them to live a part from the light of heaven with Jesus.

Be bold with me today in the way you speak, the way you behave, and the way you share Jesus. Let’s be disciples according to His word. The world needs your smile, your hello, your compassion, your resources—money, time, talent, prayers. The world needs you to love them like Jesus.

Shalom!

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Opposite Day

Continuing their journey, the midday heat has dissipated and the cool of the desert evening is beginning to surround them. He and His disciples approach a large crowd holding torches to light the quickly advancing darkness. A donkey brays somewhere in the distance and the birds chirping begins to quiet as the desert settles for the night

He invites the crowd to come closer along with His disciples as He prepares to teach.

Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

Mark 8:34,35

The crowd is stunned by His words. His disciples, well, can you hear their thoughts? Deny ourselves…take up our cross…saving our life means losing it…losing our life means saving it? This is not opposite day or is it? The disciples have heard Jesus teach many things but this has them scratching their heads.

  • Deny is the Greek word aparneomai and means to utterly refuse to recognize the original source involved (Biblehub.com).

  • Cross is the Greek word stauros and represents unspeakable pain, humiliation and suffering – and ironically is also the symbol of infinite love! At the cross, Jesus won our salvation – which is free but certainly not cheap! (Biblehub.com).

Be encouraged! The Cross is not a symbol for suffering in general. It represents the trials, challenges and hardships we experience in life and are able to endure because of the power of Holy Spirit in us.

  • Lose is the Greek word apollumi meaning to be lost or utterly perish.

  • Save (my favorite of today’s words) is the Greek word sózó meaning to heal, preserve, rescue. Rescued from the former version of ourself and delivered into divine safety.

This is all fine and dandy but what does this actually look like for us? When we deny ourselves we are refusing to recognize the version of ourself prior to Jesus. This reminds me of Lot’s wife that turned into a pillar of salt because she looked back. I am not suggesting that we will turn into a pillar of salt for looking back at our former self, in fact, many of us are still working through area’s of our life that have to do with who we use to be, reconciling those area’s and receiving God’s abundant healing. Once we have both feet on the ground and can move forward, then, looking back is useless. I pray the power of Holy Spirit in you to see you successfully through any healing He is doing in you from your past. You’ve got this!

The Cross, oh the blessed Cross. Thank you Jesus for the Cross. Because of His death on the Cross you and I don’t have to endure that torture. We don’t have to live apart from the light and love of God. We don’t have to continue in sin because we have been set free! However, we all have, will and will continue to have struggles, trials, hardship, muck and yuck in our life this side of heaven.

Because of Jesus we aren’t lost and won’t utterly perish. We are rescued, healed and preserved by Him. We are saved.

Denying ourself for the sake of the gospel is the least we can do for what He did for us. With His help explore the area’s of the old version of yourself and ask Him what needs to go. Ask Him to help you let go. Ask Him for His help to endure the cross you are bearing. He is faithful to always help.

Jesus invited the crowd to come closer. He invites you too.

Shalom!

If you don’t have a Bible but would like one please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top of the page or if you’re viewing from a mobile device click on the menu button in the upper right.

Divine Perspective or World View?

Suddenly they stopped in their journey, the dust from their sandals swirling around their feet. The daytime heat was becoming stifling and they were uncomfortable.

Their discomfort was more than physical. His words were messing with their current world view. If He was Messiah He was there to bring victory, to make all things political fall in their favor. They were, after all, descendants of God’s chosen people…an entire nation.

He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. Mark 8:31.

One of the twelve [the one that had just called Him the Messiah] pulls Him aside for a brief chat and admonishes Him, the Messiah, for His teaching.

In our first verse today Jesus is teaching His disciples that their world view is just that—worldly and based on human things. He rattles their world by telling them they are not thinking in a divine manner. He wants them to focus on the things of God, the Creator and owner of all things (Bible.com).

 

What does focusing on divine things look like in your life, in my life? Deeper still, what does being a follower of Jesus really mean?

Changing our focus to divine things. Yes, there is a lot of muck in the world today and we ought to be aware of what is going on around us. Our focus, however, is to be on God. What does He want us to do?

Take the Coronavirus. Are we to be fearful? No, but we are to be wise and take appropriate precautions. How can we further focus on the divine in this situation? We can pray, especially asking God in His mercy to end the virus and heal those who are sick in Jesus Name. Deeper still we can pray for the salvation of those who are sick which hopefully leads us to pray for all those who don’t yet know Jesus around the world—praying for Israel.

Let’s ask God to shape our world view with divine things. One that becomes less about us and more about Him.

Shalom!

If you don’t have a Bible but would like one please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top of the page or if you’re viewing from a mobile device click on the menu button in the upper right.

It’s Enough or God is Enough?

Two young women sat at the bar sharing their day with each other over hors d’oeuvres. They wore their game day best and were ready for some football! My husband and I and our friend sat at a table directly behind them. We too were wearing our game day best, however, we were cheering for the opposing team. We were in the land of the frozen tundra. Not the arctic but the state that is home to the football field known for that name. With the exception of the sweet older woman who wore all purple to rep her favorite team, we were the only ones not dressed in the hometown color.

The game started and as it progressed the hometown fans were loud and shouted in unison as their team made good plays. The place was eerily quiet except for my husband’s and my whoops when our team was doing well. Soon we noticed that every time we would cheer the two women at the bar would turn slightly and give us the stink eye [I guess they take their football seriously in the frozen tundra]. I mean, I like our team and I would have been disappointed if they would have lost but I wouldn’t have been giving the opposing fans a sidewards stink eye glance.

Soon one woman left leaving her friend to watch the rest of the game by herself. When it was clear that her team would not be the victors she abruptly got up, firmly pushed her chair in and left the establishment. Her body language spoke louder than any words she would have spoken. She was downright mad.

“My grace is sufficient for you…”

2 Corinthians 12:9

What caused her to be so mad? Is it simply because her favorite team had lost or is there a deeper issue? I don’t know the answer but it caused me to think about empty love tanks and the places we look to fill our love tank. I use to use food of the simple carbohydrate kind to comfort myself whenever I was stressed or upset [I also use to have a terrible anger issue that was a learned behavior as well as a spiritual stronghold. Praise God He delivered and healed me!].

So how do we ensure that our love tank is full and where ought we turn when we feel it beginning to deplete? God’s grace. His grace which He extends to anyone who believes in His Son Jesus is free. Like any relationship this takes practice. It takes a commitment by you to carve out time for Him daily.

When you allow yourself to accept His grace you become content and you acknowledge that God is enough. He is sufficient for anything you face in life. Even your favorite team losing.

If you need prayer or believe you are ready to ask Jesus into your life please email me by clicking on the contact me button at the top right or if you are on a mobile device click on the menu button.

Shalom!

What a Wonderful Life

He takes it all in. All the different colors…red, blue, purple, green and yellow, as I stand holding his tiny body close to mine and he stares at this new wonder called a Christmas tree, with all its lights and decorations. I speak softly in his ear and point to all the different colors by name. Colors that one day he will know on his own. And I think to myself…

I am only a little child; I do not know how to go out or come in. King Solomon

1 Kings 3:7c

King Solomon was an adult when he said these words in 1 Kings 3:7 but he knew he could not be a successful leader without God. He set aside his will and any agendas or idiosyncrasies that were a part of his life. He chose and allowed himself to become teachable like a child.

As we grow and mature in our faith our goal is to set aside spiritual milk and feast on the spiritual food of God’s word. Choosing and allowing Holy Spirit to drop into our hearts his truth. At the same time we ought to also remain like a child. Teachable.

Many times our actions and attitudes can take away the simplicity of our relationship with Jesus. We have the opportunity to choose Him everyday over all that our day may contain.

As I think about our precious grandson I pray that he will always be in wonder of who God is to him. That he will always have a teachable heart. I pray that for you and for me.

Because regardless of life’s challenges and struggles, a life in Jesus is

…a wonderful life.

There’s Something About Grandchildren

Grandchildren truly are the best!

Before our little lion chaser was born I explained to my daughter that it will be all about the baby. Not because people are uncaring but because babies simply do something joyous to our souls. Even with my mother-in-law, my husband and I are one rung lower on the children ladder!

For me the blessing of a grandchild is a second chance to be the relaxed and unhurried parent I wanted to be when my children were young. Being a grandparent is another opportunity to pour into our grandson from the growth and maturity of my relationship with Jesus.

If I knew then what I know now I would have said yes to Jesus years before our first child was born!

Adventures

Sometimes, we need to take a break from the ordinary and do something extraordinary. For me that is visiting our oldest lovebug and having her plan a grand adventure.

We took the mega bus from DC to NYC. That in itself is an adventure! We stayed overnight but this morning more adventure awaits. Real bagels and cream cheese for breakfast and a musical in the afternoon. A quick dinner and the mega bus back to DC. Oh, the mega bus, everyone ought to experience that at least once.

Have a wonderful weekend Friends! And remember to take time for some adventure!

I thought tolls in Cali were high.

From the 31st floor. 😳

Life’s Simplicity

Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs.

Life really can be simple but our human nature is to convolute our life by attempting to take control rather than surrender all to Him. And I am grateful in His grace He chooses to continue to teach me how to simplify my life.

Fearing the Lord is honoring Him. Following His guidance. Speaking words that encourage and brighten the life of others. Troubling thoughts that are given to Jesus and asking for Him to replace them with His thoughts about our identity in Him. Actions that cause others to take notice that there is something wonderfully different about you!

Shunning evil is turning aside from it. Don’t even think about following the bread crumb trail of evil—you’ll end up with worse than bread crumbs. This doesn’t mean we turn away from the evil being committed around us and around the world, no, rather in those instances we ask God how can we be a part of the change for His kingdom.

I love the word nourishment! It makes me think of satisfaction. God is our satisfaction in all areas of our life. Another reason to stay connected to Him daily for His nourishment to flow to us non-stop! Truly, the choice is ours it didn’t stop when we chose Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. Everyday we have the opportunity to choose Jesus. Not for salvation purposes [that choice is one time] but to choose Him daily for His wisdom, guidance, knowledge on how to live life.

Fear, shun, nourish. I pray you choose all three today and every day!

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

The vines hung down like ropes with big green leafs and swayed softly in the light afternoon breeze. Some had large, deep red flowers while others were the palest of pink. Trees were tall and mighty and even fragrant. Some created a canopy along the path from here to there with just enough space to allow the sun to shine through in certain spots along the way. There was such peace there in this garden that was meant to be lived in forever.

The couple who lived in the garden took great care of it. They prepared the soil by pulling weeds, tilling, planting and watching with great anticipation as new life sprang forth from their efforts. It was as if this work they lovingly labored at was a connection to something greater than themselves.

One day they were in their garden and they sensed a subtle change. The vines had stopped swaying in the breeze, the flowers didn’t appear as vibrant and the trees weren’t giving off their fragrance. They didn’t think much of this change and continued with their daily work. That too, seemed a bit harder on that day.

The ground that once was easy to turn over had become hard like clay and took great effort to prepare. They noticed more weeds than usual and while they still watched with anticipation for new life to spring up, that appeared to happen more slowly or not at all. And their connection to something greater than themselves felt small and far away.

It wasn’t long before they started to quarrel with one another and they stopped going to their garden because they no longer felt any joy or anticipation. It had simply become a chore.

After an extremely long season filled with doubt, fear, worry and confusion, they went back to their garden which was completely overgrown and full of weeds. Weeds so tall they were choking what little life was left in their once peaceful garden that brought them so much joy. They chose to work in their garden once again and before long they cleared the weeds, tilled the soil and began to plant and something miraculous happened—their connection to something greater than themselves was restored. They decided that day, right there in the garden, that they would work a little each day tending their garden and cultivating the rich soil so it would never become hard as clay again.

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Wednesday Encouragement

No, I am not calling you a fool! When I read this verse it brought to mind what I see posted on other social media platforms. It has been my experience that we tend to post mostly about God’s love and encouragement, even prominent Christian influencers, and hardly anything about the uncomfortable and sometimes hard truths. This isn’t a negative thing it is actually wonderful. But it causes me to wonder, if we believe all of God’s Word is the inerrant truth why are we not also posting the uncomfortable and hard truths?

I love God’s Word, all of His Word. My heart’s desire is to disciple others back to His Word where He teaches us about His love and where the truth of His Words convict us to make positive changes in our life so others will desire Jesus too. If our actions and our words don’t line up with our profession of Christ as our Lord and Savior then we miss opportunities to be the light Jesus left us to be.

Time is short, the harvest is overflowing and it isn’t about you. It’s all about Jesus.

Shalom!