WOULD BE FOLLOWERS OF JESUS
“On the road someone asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you wherever,
Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”
Jesus said to another, “Follow me.”
He said, “Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father’s funeral.”
Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God’s kingdom!”
Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.”
Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off tomorrow. Seize the day.” Luke 9:57-62 (Message)
Prayer: Sovereign God, ruler of all hearts, you call us to obey you, and you favor us with true freedom. Keep us faithful to the ways of your Son, that, leaving behind all that hinders us, we may steadfastly follow your paths, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord. Amen
“Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Psalm 127:3 (KJV)
A new school year is almost upon us. Children are shopping for school supplies, new clothes, and are wondering what to expect of their teachers.
Children are a great blessing from God. They are the future of the church, the family and the country. Are you laying a firm foundation in your children or grandchildren? Are you sharing God’s word with them on a regularly basis as they grow spiritually and physically? How are you training up their future?
The Good News and love of Christ should be shared with all children. Jesus Christ lived and died for their sins as well as for ours. We should all be asking for forgiveness when we sin against our children. And we should be teaching them how to pray. Children are “a heritage from God”, let us not forget them.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, we ask blessings upon all our children, our families, teachers and administrators as they start a new school year. Provide your grace and love to each one in Jesus name, we pray. Amen
ONE OF US
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1 (RSV)
My husband and I were walking in the mall and a young woman walked by. He said, “Doesn’t she look like….”
Some days when I sit and meditate, I think, how can God create only one of us, each individually? Then the ‘Ah,’ ‘Ha’ moment comes and I think, “Because God loves us, each one of us, we are His unique creatures. He loves us because He sent His Son to be our Redeemer.” In baptism He called us and made us His own, giving us each the redemption Jesus earned for us on the cross.
When I think of that, I’m humbled. I’m just a speck, but yet I am special in God’s sight. I am only one of us in His creation. God says, “I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine.” How can I not believe!
Prayer: Precious Lord, You call each of us by name. How wonderfully reassuring that is. Thank you. Amen
HOW DO I SEE GOD?
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2 (RSV)
I was looking out my kitchen window in awe of God’s creation in front of me and thinking about how I see God.
How do I see God?
From my family who care about each other,
From my friends who share with me,
From all walks of life people who teach me about God.
How do I see God?
When I walk the Prayer Path and labyrinth,
When I hear the birds sing and the dogs bark,
When I feel the gentle breeze blowing on my face,
When I smell the garden flowers in a bouquet,
When I taste fresh picked blueberries from the bush.
How do I see God?
With Bible in hand reading,
With Jesus’ words and teachings.
How do I see God?
By listening when God speaks to me,
By praying with God,
By sharing God’s precious love with others.
Prayer: Precious Lord, where ever we go we see You even in troubled times. You are with us, protecting, guiding and enabling us to know You. Thank you for being with us and knowing You and Your son, Jesus Christ who lives with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen
“These people, says God, honor me with their words, but their heart is really far away from me. It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach manmade rules as though they were my laws. You put aside God’s command and obey the teachings of men.” Mark 7: 6b & 7-8 (TEV)
There are some Sundays I would just like to stay in bed and not do anything all day. Mentally, I discuss this with God in question form:
Why do I go to church?
Why do I sit where I do?
Why do I volunteer so at church?
Why do I give to the church?
Can’t I just stay home on Sunday???? Why not?
I’m conditioned to go. Without church it haunts me and I feel incomplete all week.
I hear the Hymns and it makes my heart sing.
I shake hands in the Peace and it loosens the bonds around me.
I hear the scripture and it energizes me.
I receive Holy Communion and share in my bread.
I tithe and it is freely giving.
I listen to the sermon and it vitalizes my inner being.
I sit in a pew and wonder why I even questioned God. God is there 24/7, always inside me helping me make the correct decisions. Thank you, God.
Prayer: Lord, when we question, thank you for getting us refocused on you. Amen
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let you light so shine before men that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14-16 (RSV)
Jesus is the light of the world. And those of us who have found Him have lit our candles by His flame. Jesus has none but us to keep His holy light still radiant. It is the responsibility of those who proudly bear the name of Christian to carry our candles, lighted by His love and grace, unto the ends of the earth. So all of God’s creation, even those who dwell in distant obscure places, might see the light and having seen it might also light their candles by the only true and everlasting Light, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Charlotte Elliott, a well known hymn writer, found the light when she was a young woman. Although she lived to be 82 years old, she never knew or enjoyed good health. All her life she was considered an invalid, often suffering from long periods of extreme physical pain. Yet the light of Jesus in her life burned bright as she found ways to lighten other candles by her own, through her hymns.
Writing about her own physical handicap she said, “He knows and He alone, what it is, day by day, hour by hour, to fight against bodily feelings of almost overpowering weakness, languor and exhaustion, to resolve not to yield to slothfulness, depression and instability, such as the body causes me too long to indulge, but to rise every morning determined to take for my motto: ‘If a man will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily and follow me.’”
How many must have lighted their candles these many years by her beautiful hymns, Just As I Am, My God and Father, While I Stay, or O Thou, the Contrite Sinner’s Friend.
We must make certain that our light illumined by Christ himself, does not become dulled, with in- difference, waning interest or worldly desires. We must keep the light of Christ shining in our lives so we are able to lead others to Christ, but we must also keep ourselves prepared at all times, for we know not when God will give us such an opportunity to lighten another’s candle.
Prayer: Gracious Father, let your light so shine upon us and help us each to light another’s candle in our daily lives as Charlotte did in her life. Amen
GOD IS LIGHT
“God is light and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not live according to the truth; but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” I John 1:5b-7 (RSV)
“ In 2 Timothy 2:15 we are told , “Do your best to win full approval in God’s sight, as a worker who is not ashamed of his work, one who correctly teaches the message of God’s truth.” We should continuously and earnestly study God’s word to be sure that the light of Christ does not go out in our life. Prayer is a way to perpetuate the constant light is our live. But what good is it to ourselves or our fellowman if, after we have found Christ, we study and pray but do not share our light with others?
Phillip on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza met the Ethiopian who was puzzled over the scripture scroll he held before him. Phillip approached him and asked, “Do you understand what you are reading? The eunuch replied, “How can I, except some man should guide me?” Phillip was invited into the chariot and he explained to the eunuch what the scripture meant. Then Phillip preached to him about Jesus.
The ultimate duty of every Christian is to evangelize in their home. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and in the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”
In actual miles the world is no smaller today than it was when the first missionaries set sail. As scientific inventions continue to minimize distances we are no longer isolated by distances. TV, wireless, clouds, smart phones, etc. make communications accessible around the world and we are more aware of the needs of others.
Jesus Christ is everywhere, and He is willing to help us accept and help all men and women as brothers and sisters so that our light so shines that others may see Him in our good works.
Prayer: Father, You are our light and as followers of your Son, Jesus we should demonstrate that light to others. Guide us through our daily actions to shine for others. We ask in Jesus’ name. Amen