Monday, February 17, 2020

Deny and Do

"Surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

During the 2018 World Cup, Colombian forward Radamel Falcao scored in the seventieth minute against Poland, securing a victory. The dramatic goal was Falcao’s thirtieth in international play, earning him the distinction of scoring the most goals by a Colombian player in international competition.

Falcao has often used his success on the soccer pitch to share his faith, frequently lifting his jersey after a score to reveal a shirt with the words, Con Jesus nunca estara solo: “With Jesus you’ll never be alone.”

Falcao’s statement points us to the reassuring promise from Jesus, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). Knowing He was about to return to heaven, Jesus comforted His disciples by assuring them He’d always be with them, through the presence of His Spirit (v. 20; John 14:16–18). Christ’s Spirit would comfort, guide, protect, and empower them as they took the message of Jesus to cities both near and far. And when they experienced periods of intense loneliness in unfamiliar places, Christ’s words would likely echo in their ears, a reminder of His presence with them.

No matter where we go, whether close to home or faraway, as we follow Jesus into the unknown we too can cling to this same promise. Even when we experience feelings of loneliness, as we reach out in prayer to Jesus, we can receive comfort knowing He’s with us. - Our Daily Bread for Today February 17th 2020

Deny Yourself Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24

Sin causes us to be self-centered, shifting our hearts from God to self. The essence of salvation is an about-face from self-centeredness to God-centeredness. The Christian must spend a lifetime denying self. Our great temptation will be to affirm ourselves while we follow Jesus. James and John did this when they chose to follow Jesus but asked for the two most prominent positions in Jesus' kingdom (Mark 10:35—37). James and John wanted a discipleship that would not impede their personal desires and aspirations. Like them, we say, “Lord, I want to be pleasing to you, but I want to stay where I am.” Self-centered people try to keep their lives unruffled and undisturbed, safe and secure. Our temptation is to give our time and effort to the goals of this world. Then, when we are successful in the world's eyes, we seek to bring God into our world by honoring Him with our success. We may say, “Now that I have succeeded in business [or sports, or politics, or with my family, or even Christian ministry], I want to give God the glory for it!” God is not interested in receiving secondhand glory from our activity. God receives glory from His activity through our lives. The world will entice you to adopt its goals and to invest in temporal things. Resist the temptation to pursue your own goals, asking God to bless them. Rather, deny yourself and join the activity of God as He reveals it to you. - Blackaby Experiencing God Day by Day 

Much is in today's devotionals. But just as in Genesis 39...the Lord is with us as He was with Joseph.  

Look at the words of Jesus...John 10:27-30 NASB " My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”

It's very different from what the world teaches.  The worlds views on success. The world's view on including God in our lives.  See what's wrong with those few sentences?  We aren't to live our lives our way and find the time to include God in them. 

Those who are Christians are to be living in obedience. In. 

To do this requires listening to the voice of our Savior.  It requires.  Not as an option but a requirement.  Denying ourselves. 

The same requirements that were told to the Disciples are what's told to us.  Deny yourself take up your cross and follow Christ.  

The other parts of that still follows to be true.  The Lord is with you.  

Joshua's life was in Christ. It's both him and those around him who noticed that the Lord was with him.

We also can't go out into this world to be all we can be THEN live for Jesus. 

We are to find out where Jesus is and join HIM.  The Church is His body here on Earth.  It is to be about the Father's business.  Listening to the words from the head.

Chief among lies we tell ourselves is our self worth. Either we want to live for ourselves or we are consumed with self depreciation.  Cutting down our value because of past sins.  Both are dangerous.  Both make us ineffective for Christ.  I have been both.  Thinking that I had to be successful before I was useful to Him.  Also spending decades believing lies about my relationship with Jesus. 

The simplest way to be is found in Isaiah.  "Here I am...send me.". Obedience. 

Whether you feel like it or not.  Obedience.  How did the sheep hear His voice? Obedience.  Now, to further understand that particular passage, you need to understand that culture. Many shepherds had places where all their sheep could be together for safety.  One gate in or out. When a Shepherd was ready to move on he would call and only his sheep would come.  They knew his voice through obedience.  

The same lesson is for you and I.  We will know more about Him through our obedience.  Letting go of everything that hinders our relationship with Jesus will enable us to learn His voice.  Our information overload society exists because Satan knows how to drown out voices.   The simpler that I have began living my life, by intentionally removing things the clearer His voice is becoming. 

Why is it that those saints who are about to step into glory have such joy?  There's nothing hindering their hearing of His voice.  No worldly distraction.

We are at war.  Yes we are. It's not against flesh and blood. It's in the Spiritual world. 

Focus is everything to a soldier.  Distractions mean people die.  In the Spiritual world distractions begin to disrupt our communication with our Savior.  Our lifeline. 

Deny yourself take up your cross and follow Christ.  This includes self condemnation.  Yes you sinned.  Ask forgiveness of Christ, get back up and get back in the fight. Quit looking behind you at your past. Look at where you are. Ever mindful of what's going on in the here and now.  Satan and our sin nature want us off our game. 

Deny yourself and remember He is with you.  Take a second look at the 4 Gospels. 

It's 4 accounts of a RELATIONSHIP.  

Between those being taught to deny themselves and the Master who was teaching them.  It's full of successes and failures.  Just like it will be with us!  Hello! Did you really think that life with Christ would be any different than theirs was?  There's 4 accounts for a reason.  4 points of view to show you that what you read is your life too with Christ. 

Look at how you are living today.  Look at your level of obedience.  Are you shutting up long enough to listen for His voice?  Are you joining Him in His work or are you trying to get Him to join you in yours?

Today is the day to live for Him. 

Today is the day to be obedient to Him. 

Today is the day given to you to walk with God,  not God with you. Perspective is everything. His sheep follow Him. He doesn't follow them.  You try leading and you will find failure. He is the Way.  We don't know the way. Only Jesus does. 

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