Leave All and Follow Me

 

I once saw a movie; you may know it, The Gladiator (starring Russell Crowe). In it there is a sequence where he’s praying to his ancestors concerning the well-being of his wife and child. He says, “I live only to see them again, for without them all else is but dust and air.” It struck me then and I’ve remembered it ever since, in applying it to our relationship with God. What if we live only to see Him, to please Him? All else is but dust and air.

We are too easily distracted from our call to live holy and wholly for Him by the things and people of this world. Jesus said if we do not hate our mother, our father, our sister or brother, our children – we are none of His. He does not mean for us to literally hate them of course (we’re to love all) but He means for us to be willing to leave all, everything and everyone for His sake. If mother doesn’t want to follow Christ – leave her where she stands. If sister refuses to follow Him – leave her too. Pray for them yes, encourage them but don’t leave the Way for their sake! If family is content with a superficial fellowship, while you seek a deeper knowledge of God, pray for them to follow but you put God first – whatever the cost.

For many years I desired to get married, to have a husband with 2.0 children: the American dream. I wanted to finish college, get a degree and get a job where I would be successful – just as society said I should. There is nothing inherently wrong with these dreams, nothing at all. But, my desire for them was beginning to be a distraction. Distractions destroy our focus and threaten our relationship with God. I realize now that not everyone is meant to be married. Some are, yes, but there are some who are meant to walk alone in life in order to fulfill God’s greater purpose. Is not life more than bread? Is it not more than the pursuit of happiness? To live is Christ, to die is gain. Philippians 1:21

I don’t know what my future may hold but never the less, I determined in my heart that I would endeavor to not lose focus. Let me put it this way, if I don’t seek God with all my heart, in hopes of pursuing my dreams, and God were to return – I would still be unmarried, childless, with no degree but I would also be separated from God for eternity. The scales of faith will always weigh in favor of God. In Christ I live, I move and I have my being. Acts 17: 28 In Him is everything, and He’s everything to me.

I work, I eat, I have good times but these are transitory. They are corporal; I am spiritual and spirit-filled. I live for Christ.

Do you know that “living for the Lord” can also be a distraction? It sounds absurd doesn’t it? But sometimes we can be so busy about doing our Father’s business that we forget our first duty, and that’s to live for Him. Feeding the hungry, tending the sick and doing useful and good things such as these are blessings to the body of Christ to be sure and are profitable to our brothers and sisters in the Gospel and the world at large, however, the disciples said should we leave off spreading the gospel to serve tables? Acts 6:2-4  No, of course not! Our first duties are, immersing ourselves in the word of God, praying daily to establish and maintain our relationship with God and evangelizing the world.

Unfortunately, many of today’s churches focus on community programs, church auxiliaries, and the like and forget that God did not come to give us religion or spirituality – those things were here before Christ came. He came that we would have life, life in Him. And before he ascended, he said, greater works than these will you do. I’m more than sure He wasn’t referring to putting on the best Gospel Concert in the city or raising funds for new pews. These things are not evil but they’re not what we’re called to do.

As children of God, as saints of God, we must strive toward and make an earnest effort to foster our relationship first with Him and then to exhort and compel the world toward Him. While we’re busy entertaining each other, there’s someone out there fighting to be freed from drug addiction or thoughts of suicide. These are the lost of the world and it’s our responsibility to compel them to come to the Lord. He is our salvation but the gift of salvation doesn’t stop with us! There’s a world that needs saving and as God’s ambassadors, indeed, as God’s hands and feet it is we, His children who must go out into the world and spread the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So beloved, remember to keep your lights burning bright, pull out the shining light that is the Word of God, raise it high and proud and proclaim His truth to all you meet.

Don’t be distracted from the Call but rather, call the distracted to follow you as you follow Christ! Pray for me, as I pray for you, that we will ever follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and fulfill the call He’s placed over our lives.

Advertisements

The Book of Consolation

Music provided by: Rev. James Cleveland  Song of Inspiration: God Is

 This morning I was praying and asking the Lord what I should say to you. I asked him to minister to me and to my heart and then my eyes fell on a chapter and a scripture verse I had written down some time ago. The scripture was Luke 1:45 “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”  And the chapter was, Isaiah 40 which begins, “Comfort ye, Comfort ye my people, saith your God.”

He answered my prayer! He will answer yours as well.

As I opened to Luke, the thought came to me “Be not weary in well doing, for you serve an infinite God.” I had been feeling a little down the last two days, for no apparent reason (these things happen) but even in my melancholy state I was determined that I would be faithful to God, that I would praise him instead of murmuring, for he is worthy of the praise at all times. I’m learning more and more as time goes by that we get victory in praising God through every circumstance, when I’m happy or sad, when things are good or when they’re not so good.

I can praise him because I’m also learning that no matter the circumstance, I’m never alone. God has not, nor will he ever, forsake his people. What he promised, he will deliver. Who can compare to this great God? No one! What obstacle can block Him? None can! What part of his word will fail? No part! I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. Matthew 5:18 NLT

The world and all that’s in it belong to him and was created by him, for his good pleasure and his glory. God is awesome beyond measure and the world should bow to him in humble adoration. He loves his creation because it is a part of Him; it sprang from his word – we move and breathe at his command. Nothing that exists did God not form. Nothing will be that he does not purpose to be.

God IS – he is the one who can save you, deliver you, restore you, baptize you, grow you, keep you, teach you, provide for you, comfort you, Love you. It is he who formed you and called you and it is he who will make you into a new creature, one who is: clean, pure and undefiled. He will give you wisdom, strength, courage and faith and he will sanctify you!

What does he ask in return? He asks for us to serve him, pray to him, and trust him and to love him with our whole heart, mind and soul. Be faithful to him – do not put anything or anyone before him. This means: our job, our spouse, our children, our house, or car, a hobby, a past-time – nothing should come before him!

What should we do the first thing of the day? Pray. What should we do at the end of the day? Pray. Praying is talking to God. Beloved, can you be faithful to and have a loving relationship with someone you do not talk to?

Do this, do all of these things and he has promised that there is nothing he will withhold from you. The God of the universe, the creator and destroyer of nations, will give you all that you need or could want if only you be obedient and follow him with all your heart. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 KJV

Wonderful God!

My God is wonderful! He is stunning in His majesty. Is there anyone, anywhere like Him? Who can make grass grow, or the waves billow? Who can send the clouds on a journey across the sky? And tell the rain to fall here but not there? Who can restore that which is lost or add years to a dying man? Who can deliver from the enemy and cause joy to flow into a burdened soul? Who? Who but God can reign over planets, moons and stars? Who but my wonderful God who is stunning in His majesty?

No one but my God, my God alone.

My soul sings, my heart rejoices. My lips turn up at the thought of Him. Joy springs inside and lights up my inner-being with His magnificent light – the very light from heaven! I love you oh Lord and you love me! I feel your loving arms around me. I feel your presence and sing. You’re my friend, the lover of my soul, my Father and King. You are my everything and there is no one who can take your place. I love you oh my Lord! My God. My Restorer. My Savior!

You make me laugh and cry with happiness. Words pour out and run out because they are not enough to describe you. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you forever!

Amen