pastorjohnb

Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!


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Everything

Reading: Luke 14: 27-33

Verse 33: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple”.

Our passage today begins with the idea of carrying our cross. Like Jesus, we must be willing to surrender our will to God’s will in order to advance the kingdom here on earth. Bearing the cross will challenge us as we are called to suffer with Jesus, loving the unlovable, caring for the outcast, walking with the stranger. In grace and love we are to be Christ to the world.

Jesus then talks about the cost of discipleship. We are advised to consider the cost of following Jesus before we begin to build a life upon him. Like with any project, we must first consider if we are willing to give up family, friends, personal comforts, security… for the sake of serving Jesus. We are also warned in our passage about the coming battle. Satan is relentless in his pursuit of the faithful. Can we, in faith, stand against Satan’s lies and temptations and against the voices of the world? We cannot. If wise, we will go first to the one who has overcome the world and seek Jesus’ peace (and strength and guidance and…) to walk the narrow road that we chose to walk.

The passage today closes with these words: “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple”. Jesus wants us to understand that the commitment that he requires is “all in”. It is a 24/7 commitment to be like Jesus. He is not asking for an hour a couple Sundays a month plus a five minute prayer most days of the week and sometimes before meals. Jesus asks us to be willing to give up all for him – “everything” is his word. We must surrender not only our will but our resources, our time, our possessions, our talents, our abilities… In doing so we will serve him well. May it be so.

Prayer: Lord God, you ask a lot. Yet it is far less than Jesus gave on the cross. May I be faithful and true all of my days. Amen.

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Relentless Love

Do miracles really happen?  Miracles really do happen.  Do they really still happen?  They really do still happen.  God and His Spirit are still active in the world.  They do not only work through miracles but they also work through people like you and me, making a difference in everyday life.  God still answers big audacious prayers (and small ones too), still heals people of ‘incurable’ and ‘terminal’ diseases, and still restores relationship that were long ago dead.

Why does God continue to do such works?  It is through our encounters with the divine that our faith grows and that we come to know the nature of God more and more.  When Peter healed the beggar at the gate to ‘perfect health’, it was great for the man.  But the higher purpose was to give Peter an audience to share the story of Jesus with.

Another reason we continue to experience God through a variety of means in real ways is to counter our doubt.  Doubt and questioning continue to pull at us and to creep into our lives.  Yet our God continues to and will continue to pursue us.  His longing for each of us is to form and mold us into just the person He created us to be.  He has a plan for our lives.

Sometimes we don’t always hear His voice and some of the time we make decisions or choices we shouldn’t.  We get off track.  We drift.  We lose touch with our faith.  But our God never gives up.  Another person comes along or we encounter God through an event or other experience.

In His relentless pursuit of us, God never, ever gives up.  Through whatever means necessary He continually works to shape and mold us into just who He created us to be.  That is just how much God loves us.

Scripture reference: Acts 3: 12-19