Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November 6, 2014

"And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” Luke 9:22

When Jesus foretold his future He also predicts yours. That is, if you dare to be His disciple.
What a contrast to the attitude of many Christians today. Where did we get the idea that following Jesus is guaranteed to make you healthy, wealthy and generally bullet-proof? It certainly didn't come from Jesus.

When did happiness become our goal? When did possessions become our passion? When did health become the measure of our spirituality? And what have these misdirected values done for the state of our Faith or the strength of our churches?

Being a disciple will cost you something! No, actually, being a disciple will cost you everything! Jesus gave up everything for you and me. What makes you think you can get through life easier that your Lord? How can you expect to follow Him and get a free ride? When did Jesus become your Santa instead of your Savior?

I guess you must understand the purpose of discipleship if you are going to grasp the price. God is not interested in making you happy. Happiness is SO overrated in our culture and it has infested our churches. God is committed to your holiness, although holy people do end up happier! Holiness requires some pressure and some purging to purify your heart and mind and spirit of its selfishness.

Discipleship is about a series of deaths and resurrections that lead to your ultimate eternal resurrection. Death is painful. Nothing dies easily - wrong motives don't, impure thoughts don't, sinful habits surely don't and selfish desires will battle to the end.

So, you want to be a disciple? Prepare for some pain - pain that will prepare you for Paradise!

November 5, 2014

"I cried out to God for help; I cried out to God to hear me. When I was in distress, I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands, and I would not be comforted. I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint."  Psalm 77:1-3

Psalm 77 is timely and insightful because it shows how to battle discouragement.

Christians are not immune from discouragement and may, in fact, be prone to discouragement for several reasons:

1) We tend to care more than other people
2) We tend to care more about other people
3) We have intimate knowledge of a God Who has the power to "fix things" but sometimes doesn't
4) We are under constant attack from the Enemy who continually attempts to discourage  us
5) Faith is a journey that doesn't have clear mile markers and progress can be hard to measure
6) There is a constant dynamic tension between the work of grace God has accomplished in our lives and the awareness of how much more growth needs to happen - this "holy dissatisfaction" is necessary but hard to manage.
7) We are called to accomplish a task that is never completed and often overwhelming
8) We hold ourselves and our leaders to a high standard and therefore, are often disappointed

I could go on, but I think you get the picture!

Psalm 77 is a Psalm of Aseph. Who was Aspeh?

Aseph was one of the three musicians who worked for and with King David. He and his cohorts were responsible for developing inspiring worship to maintain the spiritual climate of God's nation and His people.

Sort of a big job, eh?

If Christians are prone to discouragement (and they are) how much more so for the "point people" who serve on the front lines of ministry?

Discouragement not properly handled will lead to depression. Over the years I have seen many good and effective ministry people knocked out of the game by perpetual discouragement that morphed into depression.

Before I depress you with these thoughts, let me get to the good news! Aseph discovered how to work through discouragement before it became depression.

Read and meditate on Psalm 77 and see if you can find out how he did it. See what the Spirit says to you.

Be encouraged today!