SAYING YES TO GOD’S PURPOSE

“I must preach about God’s kingdom … This is why I was sent.” LUKE 4:43

After Christ’s forty-day pause in the wilderness, the people of Capernaum “tried to keep him from leaving. But Jesus said to them, ‘I must preach about God’s kingdom to other towns, too. This is why I was sent’ ” (Luke 4:42–43).

He resisted the undertow of the people by anchoring to the rock of his purpose: employing his uniqueness to make a big deal out of God everywhere he could.

And aren’t you glad he did? Suppose he had heeded the crowd and set up camp in Capernaum, reasoning, “I thought the whole world was my target and the Cross my destiny. But the entire town tells me to stay in Capernaum. Could all these people be wrong?”

Yes they could! In defiance of the crowd, Jesus … said no to good things so he could say yes to the right thing: his unique call.

from CURE FOR THE COMMON LIFE

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Footprints of Discipleship

All people will know that you are my followers if you love each other. JOHN 13:35

Watch a small boy follow his dad through the snow. He stretches to step where his dad stepped. Not an easy task. His small legs extend as far as they can so his feet can fall in his father’s prints.

The father, seeing what the son is doing, smiles and begins taking shorter steps, so the son can follow.

It’s a picture of discipleship.

In our faith we follow in someone’s steps. A parent, a teacher, a hero—none of us are the first to walk the trail. All of us have someone we follow.

In our faith we leave footprints to guide others. A child, a friend, a recent convert. None should be left to walk the trail alone.

It’s the principle of discipleship.

The Inspirational Study Bible

Shout Of Triumph

John 19:28-37

Recently I read about Aron Ralston, a hiker who was trapped alone at the bottom of a remote canyon. With scant hope of being found and his strength ebbing away, he had to take drastic measures to save his life. During a moment of excruciating pain, he shouted in agony and in victory, because he had freed himself and now had a chance to escape and live.

Those who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus saw His hours of agony and heard Him cry out in a loud voice, “It is finished!” as He gave up His spirit (John 19:30). His final words from the cross were not a cry of painful defeat but a shout of triumph, because He had accomplished all that the Father sent Him to do.

When Jesus died, He shared in what all of us must experience. But far beyond that, He did what none of us can do. He paid the price for our sins that we might be forgiven and have eternal life through faith in Him. “It is finished!” was the Lord’s shout of victory because now, through Him, we can escape the power of sin; we can live and be free.

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice for us, we call the day of His death Good Friday. by David C. McCasland

I have been to the cross where my Savior died,
And all of my life is made new—
In the person of Him I am crucified.
I have been to the cross. Have you?
—Helen Frazee-Bower © 1956 Helen Frazee-Bower

Jesus died that we might live.

Once for All

“For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.” (Romans 6:10)

The Greek word ephapax translated “once” in this verse, actually means “once for all.” Christ did not have to die again and again, a new death for every sinner. He died unto sin once for all, His death being sufficient to take away “the sin of the |whole| world” (John 1:29).

The word ephapax occurs only five times in the Bible. Our text is the first, confirming that His once-for-all death for sin was sufficient forever; He now lives wholly “unto God.” The second confirms the reality of this permanent resurrection. In Jewish law, a factual claim was considered confirmed by the principle that “in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matthew 18:16). Paul recalls that the resurrected Christ “was seen of above five hundred brethren at once” (1 Corinthians 15:6). Two or three would have sufficed, but He had five hundred witnesses. These saw Him alive once for all, and their lives were forever changed.

The other three references are in Hebrews: “|He| needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once |that is, ‘once for all’|, when he offered up himself.” “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once |’once for all’| into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 7:27; 9:12; 10:10).

Once for all He died for sin, then with His own shed blood, He entered into the presence of the Father, sanctified us forever, and was raised from the dead by impeccable testimony, once for all. HMM

Consider the lilies

“Consider the lilies, how they grow.” (Matt. 6:28.)

“I NEED oil,” said an ancient monk; so he planted an olive sapling. “Lord,” he prayed, “it needs rain that its tender roots may drink and swell. Send gentle showers.” And the Lord sent gentle showers. “Lord,” prayed the monk, “my tree needs sun. Send sun, I pray Thee.” And the sun shone, gilding the dripping clouds. “Now frost, my Lord, to brace its tissues,” cried the monk. And behold, the little tree stood sparkling with frost, but at evening it died.

Then the monk sought the cell of a brother monk, and told his strange experience. “I, too, planted a little tree,” he said, “and see! it thrives well. But I entrust my tree to its God. He who made it knows better what it needs than a man like me. I laid no condition. I fixed not ways or means. ‘Lord, send what it needs,’ I prayed, ‘storm or sunshine, wind, rain, or frost. Thou hast made it and Thou dost know.'”

“Yes, leave it with Him,
The lilies all do,
And they grow—
They grow in the rain,
And they grow in the dew—
Yes, they grow:
They grow in the darkness, all hid in the night—
They grow in the sunshine, revealed by the light—
Still they grow.

Yes, leave it with Him,
‘Tis more dear to His heart,
You will know,
Than the lilies that bloom,
Or the flowers that start
‘Neath the snow:
Whatever you need, if you seek it in prayer,
You can leave it with Him—for you are His care.
You, you know.
—Selected.

……but He gave me no answer

“I called Him, but He gave me no answer.” Song 5:6

Prayer sometimes tarrieth, like a petitioner at the gate, until the King cometh forth to fill her bosom with the blessings which she seeketh. The Lord, when He hath given great faith, has been known to try it by long delayings. He has suffered His servants’ voices to echo in their ears as from a brazen sky. They have knocked at the golden gate, but it has remained immovable, as though it were rusted upon its hinges.

Like Jeremiah, they have cried, “Thou hast covered Thyself with a cloud, that our prayer should not pass through.” Thus have true saints continued long in patient waiting without reply, not because their prayers were not vehement, nor because they were unaccepted, but because it so pleased Him who is a Sovereign, and who gives according to His own pleasure.

If it pleases Him to bid our patience exercise itself, shall He not do as He wills with His own! Beggars must not be choosers either as to time, place, or form. But we must be careful not to take delays in prayer for denials: God’s long-dated bills will be punctually honoured; we must not suffer Satan to shake our confidence in the God of truth by pointing to our unanswered prayers. Unanswered petitions are not unheard. God keeps a file for our prayers—they are not blown away by the wind, they are treasured in the King’s archives. This is a registry in the court of heaven wherein every prayer is recorded.

Tried believer, thy Lord hath a tear-bottle in which the costly drops of sacred grief are put away, and a book in which thy holy groanings are numbered. By-and-by, thy suit shall prevail. Canst thou not be content to wait a little? Will not thy Lord’s time be better than thy time? By-and-by He will comfortably appear, to thy soul’s joy, and make thee put away the sackcloth and ashes of long waiting, and put on the scarlet and fine linen of full fruition.

He learned obedience

“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Hebrews 5:8

We are told that the Captain of our salvation was made perfect through suffering, therefore we who are sinful, and who are far from being perfect, must not wonder if we are called to pass through suffering too. Shall the head be crowned with thorns, and shall the other members of the body be rocked upon the dainty lap of ease? Must Christ pass through seas of His own blood to win the crown, and are we to walk to heaven dryshod in silver slippers? No, our Master’s experience teaches us that suffering is necessary, and the true-born child of God must not, would not, escape it if he might.

But there is one very comforting thought in the fact of Christ’s “being made perfect through suffering”—it is, that He can have complete sympathy with us. “He is not an high priest that cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities.” In this sympathy of Christ we find a sustaining power. One of the early martyrs said, “I can bear it all, for Jesus suffered, and He suffers in me now; He sympathizes with me, and this makes me strong.” Believer, lay hold of this thought in all times of agony.

Let the thought of Jesus strengthen you as you follow in His steps. Find a sweet support in His sympathy; and remember that, to suffer is an honourable thing—to suffer for Christ is glory. The apostles rejoiced that they were counted worthy to do this. Just so far as the Lord shall give us grace to suffer for Christ, to suffer with Christ, just so far does He honour us. The jewels of a Christian are his afflictions. The regalia of the kings whom God hath anointed are their troubles, their sorrows, and their griefs. Let us not, therefore, shun being honoured. Let us not turn aside from being exalted. Griefs exalt us, and troubles lift us up. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him.”