My Cross is too heavy!

If you have been a christian for any length of time you’ve read, or heard read  “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  What if your cross is to heavy? Every time you look at it you think I can’t do it, I can’t carry it, I’m to weak and wounded.

How do we face such a situation? Believe me these situations will come, pretending they won’t is foolish.  In fact you maybe there now struggling to pick up a cross that seems to get heavier, and heavier by the second. There is an answer you know. We find it in the Life of our Lord who also had a cross to pick up. His was a literal physical weight. (Though our emotional, and physical problems can be just as heavy.)

We find the answer in a couple of different places.

First here in Luke 23:26  As they led him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country. They placed the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus.

The second is here in Mathew 11:28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Jesus couldn’t carry His cross because He was to weak and weary, so let me ask you this, why are you trying to carry yours? Jesus is our Simon of Cyrene the difference is that Simon was forced to carry the cross, and Jesus longs to carry it for you.

Why not go to Him in prayer crying out to Him when you feel the weight, and let him take it for you. Don’t try to take it back! He has strength to carry what you can’t.

One more quick thing

While writing this I remembered that David Wilkerson has already said this far better than I did so here is the link to His article.

http://www.worldchallenge.org/en/node/1349

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Do you Love?

Reflecting on 1 John. I’m reminded of some thing I heard Glen Kaiser say in regards to the way we act and behave toward those we should love. Here is what he said: “The way we treat the people we love the least is the way we love God the most.”
Often our lack of love toward God shows in the way we treat those we love the least, because we should love those around us especially in the Church the way God loved us, with a sacrificial love, a love that doesn’t care about how I am treated but whether or not I am honoring God, regardless of whether they are or not.
A line from one of Kaiser’s songs “Love speak” speaks volumes to me in regards to love.
Love don’t care if you slander its name
It’ll burn at the stake and bless the flame
Rises from the ashes, again and again
And keeps comin’ back for more of the same

Love speak

Rez Band

So let’s love the way we were loved!

It’s both!

 

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue but in deed and truth.

I read this and couldn’t help but think about both of our political parties. The Dem’s claim to care about people and focus on the deed, the Repub’s claim to care about people so they speak what they claim is truth, however true love is both deed and truth.

They are both liars because neither truly love the people and it shows in their actions. However God shows us how to love in deed and truth through Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus loved the people by speaking truth, healing the sick, and ultimately doing for the world what they could never do for themselves.

Reconcile them to the Father by the greatest love act any one could do. Laying down His life for us. Praise God!!!

Imagine what Christian homes would look like if each of us would take the above verse and apply it to our lives daily ! How would the gospel spread if we applied it daily to those around us! Let’s love others by speaking truth, and then doing the deeds of love.

You are here!

Back in the day before cell phones, and GPS, you would be in the mall or at a truck stop and see a map that had a marker that would say: “You Are Here.” It helps you to understand what direction you need to go, and how to get there. In Second Timothy chapter three the Apostle Paul gives us a you are hear marker.

3:1″ But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 3:2 For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. 3:5 They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these.” NET

The above description is an accurate description of the days in which we find ourselves in. We are here!  We are seeing this played out before us in full color. If we stop to think about it we can become disheartened and feel like giving up. This description Paul gives us is found even in the Church.

Here is what I’m getting at. Now that we know where we are, we can decide what we need to do. Some like Rob Bell, Brian Mclaren, Rick Warren, and others will turn to embracing other religions as just as valid, exchange the truth of God for lies, accuse those of us who hold to the truth as being hate filled, and mean spirited. Others will turn from their sin and cry out to God to purify them and draw them close to Himself.

The question for us as people who love God is this. Will we compromise the truth of God by embracing those that do? Or will we stand in the truth and change our lives according to it? The truth of God’s word is just as real as the truth of gravity. We don’t decide the validity of gravity, it’s real, and if we decide not to embrace it and jump off of the empire state building we will die. The Word of God is the same if we reject the truth that salvation is only found in the name of Jesus Christ we die and spend eternity in hell.

So as Christians we need to first face the fact that we need God, and His Spirit at work in our lives! We are not above the pull of this world. We must seek the face of our Savior daily for the strength to stand. Because none of us have the strength in our own power to stand. So let us get into our word, and pray for God to pour out His Spirit upon us so we can receive strength to stand.

Dressing for the extreme!

The other day it was 18 degrees for the high, and I had to be outside working until 10 PM. I knew I had to dress for it, but what was I going to wear? So I picked out what I thought would help keep the cold away, and went to work. I’ve learned that the extreme can be hard to deal with if you aren’t prepared. So we have to be prepared to deal with the extremes of our society, in order to be effective in reaching our world for Jesus!

We may not like it, but America is not a Christian nation anymore; and because it’s not we have to learn how to deal with the extremes that this brings. For example, I work with people who believe that same sex marriage is OK. I also work very closely with Gay men, and Women. At the same time I also work side by side with people who live with their opposite sex partners, and foul language is the norm from both co-workers and customers. Today this is a fact of life in a secular job!

So just like the extreme cold, or the extreme heat we have to learn how to dress in order to face the extremes of our society successfully. The Truth is we can effectively reach America with the gospel if we are prepared to face the extremes. In order to face the cold I dress in layers, To face the heat I wear shorts and the lightest T-shirt I can find. We as Christians also need to put on the proper attire (spiritually speaking) in order to reach our country with the gospel.

So what is the proper attire?  Well, I think it’s two things, Grief, and love. Why those two things? Because, I believe those two things reveal the heart of Jesus for the lost of this world. We know it was love that called Jesus to come and die for the world, however His grief over the sin of mankind is just as evident. ” But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42 “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace.” Lk 19:41-42

We need to grieve over the lost and dying of America who suffer the consequences of their unbelief, and show our love toward them in both word and deed! This is the nature and character of Jesus in us, and in action through us. Grief and Love! The garments that will face the extremes of the world we live in!

I don’t see this in the life of the church of the 21st century. We need…I need to put this on more and more each day! The other day I grieved as I learned of a young girl who found out she has contracted an std from her ex-boyfriend. I grieved at the words of a gay coworker who said she went to church and wasn’t welcomed. I heard a woman on the radio weep as she spoke of an abortion she had almost forty years ago, I was moved as she spoke of her shame, and fear of being rejected by her Church, because of their strong opposition to abortion. Views she now shared because of her decision forty years ago.

We claim to love the lost…..but do we? Do we really? I lost a dear friend almost two years ago. I still grieve over the loss because I loved him. I want to feel that toward my co-workers, friends, and family who have yet to know Jesus. If we would cry out to feel the grief and love that God feels for the lost and dying of this world, then obedience and self sacrifice would be the norm in the body of Christ instead of the exception. I’m afraid though we don’t dress for the extremes of this world because we refuse to go out and do the work we need to do in it.

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed.) (Lk 19:41–42). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers..

Punishment from God?

I was reminded recently of something God showed me years ago when one of my children broke his arm. We were in the ER, and I was quietly praying over him, crying out to God, telling Him how I wished I could take away my child’s pain. When a thought entered my mind, about God and mankind.

See I was helpless, and powerless to take away the pain and brokenness of my child. No matter how badly I wanted to I couldn’t heal him. I knew that the Doctor was coming, but the best he could do is set the arm and medicate the pain.I was grateful for that, but the feeling of helplessness was still there.

I realized right then something that has directed my prayer life for my unsaved friends and family members ever since. In some small way I was feeling what God must feel looking at the brokenness of humanity, and not being allowed to help.

See I was powerless to fix my broken child, and take away his pain. But that is not true with God! He isn’t powerless to fix our brokenness or take away our pain! In fact He has provided the Physician to do just that; Jesus Christ is that Doctor that came to set our brokenness right and heal our pain! Here is the  promise for wounded and broken humanity:

Isaiah 53:4-5
4 Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
it was our sorrows* that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
a punishment for his own sins!
5 But he was pierced for our rebellion,
crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
He was whipped so we could be healed.

So how about it? Will you allow the Great Physician to heal you and take your pain today?
Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed.) (Is 53:4–5). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Let Him do it

While reading and studying the gospel of John this account of the life of Jesus really stuck with me.

John 2:13-16

When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves, and others sitting at tables exchanging money. 15 So he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. 16 To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market!”
NIV

While reading it I thought “Since 1 Corinthians describes me as the temple of the Holy Spirit, what tables do I have in my heart that I need Jesus to overturn?”  I believe that if we allow the Holy Spirit to search our hearts we will find there are tables that need overturned, and sinful thoughts and habits that we need Jesus needs to drive out.

These are the things that take away our ability to worship God. They are barriers we have that can interfere, hinder, and down right stop our ability to worship the way we should. Pride, self reliance, judgmental attitudes, selfishness, self pity, and self righteousness. These are the Money Changers behind the tables of vanity, lack of prayer, lack of reading the word, gossip, insisting upon your own way, false accusations, and more.

We need Jesus to overturn these tables, drive out the motives behind them and cleanse the temple of our hearts! I have been convicted of these thing and more. I have seen them in my own life, and if you are honest with me you will have seen them in yours. Join me in asking Jesus to cleanse the temple of our lives will you?