Tag: follow Jesus

Count the cost!

Scripture reading for March 22nd: Luke 14

Key Scriptures: Luke 14:25-30 “Now great crowds accompanied Him, and He turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers ad sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be My disciple. For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”

Salvation and forgiveness of sins is a free gift for all who repent and believe on Jesus Christ. That is the first step of a journey that is to last the rest of our earthly lives and continues for eternity. According to Jesus, following Him definitely has a cost. First, all other interests, people, and priorities must be put behind our love for Jesus. We can’t put marriage, family, or even our own life ahead of Him. This is symbolized by His call to “bear his own cross” and come after Him as He modeled for us carrying His cross and loving not His own life unto death on our behalf. Following Him should not just be an emotional decision based on a momentary whim or pressure from a friend. These costs must be weighed, and if paid, must be followed through to completion.

Luke 14:33 “So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be My disciple.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, Thank You for purchasing the free gift of salvation and eternal life through Your sacrifice on the cross. I desire to be Your disciple and sometimes struggle with taking up my cross and fully following You. Show me daily what this looks like for me. Give me more grace.

Psalm 49:7-9 “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.”

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Jesus ashamed of me?

Scripture reading for March 15th: Luke 9

Key Scriptures: Luke 9:23-26 “And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”

Jesus was calling those to Himself who would be willing to lay down their lives to follow Him. In fact, those who would make the choice to follow Him, would necessarily take up a personal cross each day in doing so. The cross signifies a willingness to die to ourselves and to willingly give up our life. In doing this, His followers would actually receive their life back eternally. Those who were ashamed of Jesus and their cross signifying obedience to His Words would ultimately make Jesus ashamed of them when He comes in triumph and judgment of the wicked. How will Jesus react to me at His coming? Thankfully, today is a time to repent!

Luke 9:22 “. . . saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”

Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for calling Your followers to Your example. Unashamed You carried Your cross, beaten and bruised and suffered rejection and death for us. I will not be ashamed of You or Your Words as You empower me with Your amazing grace.

Isaiah 53:10 “Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief; when His soul makes an offering for guilt, He shall see His offspring; He shall prolong His days; the will of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.”

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“Do you love Me?”

Scripture reading for November 19: Ezra 1-2; John 21

Key Scriptures: John 21: 17-19 “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything: You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This He said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.” And after this He said to him, “Follow Me.””

The first and greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Jesus persistently asked Peter if he loved Him. Peter had denied Jesus three times and now Jesus was restoring him by asking him to affirm his love. Love is the basis for all ministry. Love for Jesus is the foundation of His Church and disciples would be known by their love for Jesus and one another. It would be for love of Jesus that Peter would die a martyr’s death, choosing to be crucified upside down. Jesus spoke prophetically about this and emphasized to Peter his need to lovingly follow the Master, even unto death.

Faith confession and prayer: Lord, You alone know what is ahead in my life and I ask You to help me each day to follow You, even if it leads to persecution or death. Your unrelenting love draws me to love You more each day and love people into Your eternal kingdom.

Ezra 1:1-2 “In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the Word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and also put it in writing: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.”

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Jesus is alive!

Dear family and friends,

On this Easter Sunday, April 12th, 2020, Mary and I would like to tell you how much we appreciate each one of you.  Each person has had an impact on our lives.  You are each unique and wonderfully made.  God has used each of you to shape us and help us along life’s journey.  No one is insignificant.  Thank you for being who God made you to be and for loving us and our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is my life mission to love God and worship Him and to love those made in His image. (Matthew 22:37-40) My love for God involves obedience to His Word and following the Holy Spirit each day to do the works He has laid out for me.(Ephesians 2:10, John 15:9-10)  My desire follows Jesus’ mission and desire–to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10, Matthew 28:18-20).  Jesus Christ is God’s Son, sent to earth in a human body to show us the love of our Father God in Heaven.  Jesus came to save sinful mankind from the penalty of sin, which is death.(Hebrews 9:26-28)  The first death is the death of our body but the second death follows the Judgment at the Great White Throne for those who rejected Christ’s atonement. (Revelation 20:14-15)  Eternal life with God is far better than the second death–the Lake of fire!  (Seems obvious!)

Because sin leads to death, Jesus was crucified and died on a cross as a substitute for all who will repent–admit their sins–and ask God for mercy and pardon through Jesus.  Jesus’ body was laid in a tomb, sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers.  Scripture says He descended into Hell and announced His victory, taking the keys of death and hell from Satan.  (1st Peter 3:18-20, Revelation 1:18)  Jesus is now alive(Matthew 28:5-7) and reigns at God’s right hand, there making intercession for those who come to Him in faith. He is able to save us to the uttermost,(Hebrews 7:25) because He is alive.  We are granted access through the torn veil, His own body! (Hebrews 10:19-22)

If you have not repented of your sins, today is the day to go to Jesus by faith!  He will not cast you out but will give you pardon and the gift of eternal life.  Receive Him today and join the family of God in thanksgiving and worship!  In His Love,  John and Mary Morse

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Listening and following!

Scripture reading for March 23rd:Deuteronomy 15-18, Psalm 115, Luke 9

Key Scriptures:  Luke 9:23-26 “And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.  For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?  For whoever is ashamed of Me and of My words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when He comes in His glory and the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”

Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers–it is to Him you shall listen–“

Moses of old prophesied that God would raise up a prophet–from among the Israelites, and the people must listen to Him.  As the answer of God, Jesus came to His own brothers and called them to follow Him, forsaking all else.  Accepting Jesus and His Words would mean acceptance by Jesus when He came in glory to earth.  Listening and obeying brings great reward!

Faith Confession and prayer:  Lord, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ as the final prophetic Word from heaven.  I am not ashamed to belong to Jesus and I love His Word.  Open doors to share the Word today!

Psalm 115:1-2  “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give glory, for the sake of Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness.  Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?”  Our God is in the heavens; He does all that He pleases.”  

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Following Jesus without fear!

Scripture reading for March 17th:  Deuteronomy 1-3, Psalm 36, Luke 5

Key Scriptures: Luke 5:8-11 “But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”  For He and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish that they had taken, and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon.  And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.  And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.”  

Simon Peter, James and John were experienced fishermen on the Sea of Galilee.  They had fished all night and caught nothing.  Jesus met them as they were returning and told them to let down the net for a catch.  A great harvest of fish ensued and Peter was brought under conviction and holy fear.  Jesus spoke reassuringly to them and invited them to join Him in fishing for men!

Deuteronomy 1:21 “See, the Lord your God has set the land before you.  Go up and take possession, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has told you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Faith Confession:  At Your Word, Lord, I will follow You and fish for men.  I trust in Your promise to be with me and empower me to walk in faith with no fear of man.

Psalm 36:7-8 “How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!  The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of Your wings.  They feast on the abundance of Your house, and You give them drink from the river of Your delights.”  

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Standing firm before powerful men

Scripture reading for June 7th:  Acts 25, Psalm 114, Proverbs 21

Key Scriptures:  Acts 25:7-9  “When he (Festus) arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove.  Paul argued in his defense,, “Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.”  But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, “Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?”  But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried.  To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well.”  

Paul was in Caesarea, held by the Roman government as a Roman citizen.  Festus, the governor of Jerusalem, came down and offered Paul a change of venue if he desired to be tried in Jerusalem.  Paul declined.  The Jews had made many charges, some serious, but they had no proof.  To go up to Jerusalem when God had revealed to him he must go to Rome was not right.

Faith Confession:  Lord, thank You for this example of standing firm in faith before powerful men in authority.  I trust You to help me to declare truth and follow You in each difficult situation of life.

Psalm 114:7-8 “Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob, who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.”    

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Following faithfully!

Scripture reading for May 3rd: John 21, Psalm 89, Proverbs 27

Key Scriptures:  John 21:17-19  “He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”  Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” and he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You.”  Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.  Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.”  “This He said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.)  And after saying this He said to him, “Follow Me.””

Jesus lovingly restored Peter after his three denials after Jesus’ arrest by asking him three times if he loved Him.  Jesus used this occasion to also reveal that Peter would suffer a death as a martyr.  After the loving restoration and plain revelation of future suffering, Jesus still invited Peter to demonstrate his love by following Him.  Tradition says Peter was also crucified, but at his own insistence, upside down because he did not feel worthy to die as His Lord did.

Faith Confession:  Lord Jesus, I say along with Peter, Lord I love You.  Lord, You do know all things.  Help me to follow You in faith all the days of this life and to demonstrate my love through obedience.

Proverbs 27:1  “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.”

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Faith to Follow Jesus

Scripture reading for February 19th:  Mark 8, Psalm 36, Proverbs 5

Key Scriptures: Mark 8:34-36  “And calling the crowd to Him with His disciples, He said to them, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me.  For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the Gospels will save it.  For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  For what can a man give in return for his soul?”

Following Jesus is not for the faint of heart or the self-centered.  His way is the way of the cross.  It is a path of suffering and even leads to death.  It is a path of self-denial.  We can’t ‘have it our way’ and do God’s will.  There is nothing in this world that we can give to God to buy our own soul.  If we gained the whole world, it would not suffice!

Faith Confession: Lord, I count it a privilege to know and follow You.  Help me today to give my life, time, talent, and energy, to serve You.  Thank You for Your steadfast love and light!

Psalm 36:9-10 “For with You is the fountain of Life; in Your light do we see light.  Oh, continue Your steadfast love to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright of heart.”

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Jesus demands first place!

Scripture reading for March 23rd:  Luke 14

Key scriptures for over-comers:  Luke 14:25-27  “Large crowds were traveling with Jesus, and turning to them He said:  “I anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be My disciple.  And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.””

This teaching of Jesus appears to go against His command for all disciples to ‘love one another’.  (John 15:17)  But Jesus was really saying that our love for Him must surpass our love for our father or mother and even our wife and children.  We must love Him more than our own life–enough to be willing to take up a cross and march with Him to death in obedience to the Father!  Discipleship is not a casual pursuit!  Jesus calls us into the most demanding of all relationships!  It takes our whole-hearted devotion and love to be a disciple!

Observations for over-comers:  It is easy to be part of a crowd traveling with Jesus but it costs total devotion to become one of His disciples!  It is worth the cost!  “I am the Lord; that is My Name!  I will not give My glory to another or My praise to idols.”  (Isaiah 42:8)

 

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