FAITH BLOG

FOLLOW ME

And He said to all, “If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”   Luke 9:23 (ESV)

     I stopped at this familiar verse when reading through the Scripture passages for today. I realized there was danger in the familiarity because I do not often stop to think about what it really means and how to live out what Jesus is saying here. It is also difficult to spend time diving deeper than the familiarity because then I think about how imperfectly I carry out this instruction.

     If anyone would come after me: This is an invitation, a call to travel the road with Jesus. Turn from sin and turn toward Christ. We are not required to do this. It is our choice to lay down our lives and follow Jesus, not an imperative. So if you do not yearn or recognize value in traveling this road with Jesus, then there is no need to proceed further in this blog post!

     Let him deny himself: This is a paradox. Our ultimate joy and satisfaction is found not by selfish ambition but by godly ambition. We are not laying aside desires and passions but redirecting ours to be His. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says that we are not our own; we were bought with a price. Galatians 2:20 says that I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

     And take up his cross daily: Our normal human instinct is to avoid suffering. There is an aspect of being crucified with Christ, of identifying with Him and the suffering He experienced, of union with Him. In suffering we recognize our utter dependence on God. It gives us opportunity to fully surrender to Him. God draws us nearer to Himself when He walks with us through suffering than at any other time. There is also an aspect of publicly recognizing that what Jesus did for us on the cross was right and necessary. We deserve the death He died. He paid our penalty so that we may have abundant life!

     And follow me: Ah, to follow Jesus. Fellowship with Him. Abide in Him. Enjoy Him. There is nothing sweeter, more fulfilling, more satisfactory, than to be with Jesus and follow Him through this life and into eternity. Only in following Jesus, like a horse with blinders or an athlete running the race with endurance, do we experience deep joy, peace that passes all understanding, and contentment. We have the same attitude toward death and life that Jesus has. We lay aside our selfish fear and worry, instead trusting God to lead us and be with us through every moment of every day, no matter the circumstance. Jesus is our prize, our great reward.

Posted by Jonathan Ott with

IN-SHELTER ...

We are still stuck at home. Some are having to work from home, school their children… The sun is shining outside and who doesn’t want to be in it. There are more memes surfacing day to day. One parent has their children taped and tied up so they can ‘work’. in today’s comics, the husband is taking the dog for a walk for the 5th time—all before breakfast… are these times trying your ability to love and cherish your spouse? Do you know the difference between the two? In His book, Cherish, Gary Thomas, quotes the urban dictionary uses the word cherish to describe someone who is unbelievably amazing: ‘She is so cherish’.  That sentence – She is so cherish – is the style in which Song of Songs is writeen. Indeed, as love is known by 1 Cor. 13, so cherish is captured in song of Songs. Below is comparison of the two found in his book.

 

  • Love is about being gracious and altruistic.                  Love is patient, love is kind.   1 Cor. 13:4
  • Cherish is about being enthusiastic and enthralled.    How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume more than any spice. SOS 4:10
  • Love tends to be quiet and understated.                   [Love] does not envy, it does not boast. 1 Cor. 13:4
  • Cherish boasts boldly and loudly
  • My beloved is radiant and ruddy,                      outstanding among ten thousand. SOS 5:10
  • Love thinks about others with selflessnessis it not self-seeking.   1 Cor. 13:4-5
  • [love]is not proud. It does not dishonor others,
  • Cherish thinks about its beloved with praise.
  • Your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely. SOS 2:14
  • Love doesn’t want the worst for someone.
  • Love does not delight in evil. 1 Cor. 13:6
  • Cherish celebrates the best in someone.
  • How beautiful you are, my darling!                           Oh,how beautiful!   SOS 1:15
  • Love puts up with a lot.
  • [Love] always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Cor. 13:7
  • Cherish enjoys a lot.
  • His mouth is sweetness itself;                                              he is altogether lovely. SOS 5:16
  • Love is about commitment.
  • Love….endures all things. Love never ends. 1 Cor. 13:7-8 ESV
  • Cherish is about delight and passion.
  • Your name is like perfume poured out.   SOS 1:3

Love and cherish never compete—they complement each other and even complete each other. At times they certainly overlap. By pursuing cherish, we’ll become better lovers as well. *

*Cherish by Gary Thomas pp 19-20

Posted by Patti Calderon with

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