Nothing #likeJesus Love

How do we measure love?  Is it by the depth of emotion felt?  Is it by the amount of joy produced?  Is it by the level of commitment displayed?  Is it by the extent of self sacrificed?

Reading of Jesus’ trials before Pilate and Herod… the intensity of Jesus’ suffering, the rejection and torture… it’s hard to bear.   (Matthew 27, Mark 15-16, Luke 23, John 18-19)

Angry accusations.  Lies.  A riotous mob.

Ridiculed.  Taunted.  Humiliated.

“We choose Barabbas, the murderer!”

“Crucify him!  Crucify him!  Crucify him!”

Whipped.  Made sport of.  Crowned with thorns.

Pummeled.  Spat upon.  Struck with a staff.

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.”  Isaiah 53:3

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

Jesus endured this suffering…  for me!

The joy set before him…  was that me?

Oh, the wonder of his love!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Unfailing #likeJesus

What would it take to live beyond failure?  If Jesus walked beside me 24/7, would that give me the strength to not fail?

After walking with Jesus for over three years and becoming one of his closest friends, imagine how unfathomable it must have been for Peter when he was told that he would deny Jesus.

Peter was there when Jesus turned the water into wine.

Peter watched fish and bread multiply in the basket in his very hands, not once, but twice, feeding first 5,000 fellow Jews and then 4,000 Gentiles.

Peter, fearing death in a raging storm that threatened to capsize his own boat, heard Jesus command the wind and the waves to cease and marveled as the weather obeyed Him.

Peter, again on the boat, saw Jesus coming toward him, walking on the water.  Excited, he got out of the boat, walking on the water with Jesus.

Peter had Jesus step into his boat and tell him to give fishing another try.  After catching nothing all night, his catch now was so large his boat couldn’t contain the fish.

Peter was there when Jesus was visited by Moses and Elijah, and he heard the voice of the Father telling him to listen to His Son.

Peter heard Jesus say, “Lazarus, come out!”  He watched a man who had been dead and buried for four days walk out of the tomb, still wrapped in burial cloths, alive!

Peter watched miracle after miracle…  Jesus healing the lame, the blind, the deaf, the demon possessed.

Peter was even sent out by Jesus with authority to heal and cast out demons, experiencing the heart-pumping thrill of being used by God in supernatural ways.

Of all the disciples, how could Peter fall?  How could he be the one to deny the Savior?  Of the twelve, it was Peter who was called “the rock.”  He was supposed to be unmovable, unshakeable.

Peter didn’t think this would happen.  “Never Lord.  I’ll never deny you.  I would die for you.”

None of us ever see it coming.  What made Peter vulnerable?  What makes any of us vulnerable?  Maybe it’s when we believe it could never happen to us.  In pride, much like Peter, we think we’re beyond the reach of the enemy.  It’s when we live each day recognizing that we CAN fall prey to sin that we remain humble, Holy Spirit dependent, and aware.

The first step toward living beyond failure is recognizing that I can and will fail…  apart from Him.

“I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing!”  John 15:5

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  Philippians 4:13

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Hope-filled #likeJesus

Do words have the power to change us?

In Jesus’ farewell discourse before the cross, he made many faith-stretching, heart-swelling, life-changing promises.

“I’m going to prepare a place for you.”

“I will come back and take you with me.  That way we will always be together.”

“No one comes to the Father unless he goes through me.”

“I will do whatever you ask in my name so that the Son may bring glory to the Father.”

“I will ask the Father to send the Holy Spirit to help you and remain with you forever.”

“I will not leave you as orphans.”

“The gift I leave with you is peace.”

“Remain in me…  you will be able to bear an abundant crop of fruit.”

“I have told you these things so that you may experience the joy that is mine.   I want you to be filled with joy.”

“Since they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.”

“But when the Spirit comes, He will guide you into a fuller understanding of the truth.”

“You will be filled with sorrow, but suddenly your sorrow will be transformed to joy.”

“…for a time you will be in distress.  But later I will see you, and your heart will respond with such joy that no one will ever be able to take it from you.”

When I meditate on Jesus’ words, simple yet profound, my heart is filled with a level of peace and joy that can only be described as…  HOPE!

Knowing the resurrected Christ is the only thing in this world that can bring this kind of transforming, unstoppable experience of joy.   The more I center my affections on Him, the more His joy becomes my present reality.

Father, I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection… today and every day!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM

Love Fully #likeJesus

Have you ever felt fully loved?  What made you feel that way?

At the Passover meal in the Upper Room with his disciples, this beautiful statement is made about Jesus. “Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to his Father.  Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

Jesus would do this by serving them in the greatest possible way, laying down his life for them.  “For the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus humbled himself and became a servant, stooping down to cleanse the disciples’ filthy feet.

Philippians 2:7-9 tells us that Jesus “did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross.”

Jesus humbled himself and became a servant, dying to cleanse the disciples’ sin-stained souls.

In this way, Jesus showed the full extent of his love.

Jesus, if I am ever going to show the full extent of your love to a lost and dying world, I must model the incarnation, being willing to first show the full extent of my love.

Father, teach me how to love like Jesus.

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit: SONLIFE.COM

Outspoken #likeJesus

There are times we should keep our mouths shut…  and there are times we shouldn’t!  Do we know the difference?

Leading up to the cross, we read in Matthew 25 the parables of the Ten Virgins, the Faithful and Worthless Servants, and the Sheep and the Goats.  In each of these examples, Jesus makes it clear that many who think they’ll be in his kingdom will not be.  Then in John 12, we read the reality of this happening among the Jewish elite.

“Many of the Jewish leaders believed that I was the Christ, but because of the Pharisees, they would not confess it openly.   They were afraid of being put out of the synagogue.   They loved the adulation of people more than the praise that comes from God.”

This makes me think…

Were these Jewish leaders believers?   Had they put their faith in Christ alone?

Because they weren’t willing to confess belief in Christ, did that mean they didn’t truly believe?   Could they have been secret Christians?

When I fail to confess my faith in Christ, what am I afraid of?   They were afraid of rejection, of losing their public standing, of sacrificing their reputation.  Is it the same for me?

When I behave in such a way that reflects that I love the adulation of men more than the praise of God, what am I missing?   What am I failing to see or understand about my Father?   Why would I ever choose man’s praise over God’s?   Oh, what foolishness blinds our hearts!

Father, I want to walk so closely as an intimate of yours that I would never choose to trifle with lesser pursuits…  NEVER!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit: SONLIFE.COM

Unafraid #likeJesus

What message do I hear?  Which words captivate my heart?

Jesus’ words about the Last Days and his return (found in Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21) must have rattled the disciples when just days later their friend and leader was crucified and buried.  They must have felt that the end, or at least their end, was at hand as they remembered Jesus’ words, “Time has run out. The end is at hand. Nation will war against nation. There will be earthquakes and famines everywhere. Terrifying sights and signs will fill the heavens.”

In their fear, I’m sure those words reverberated through their minds.  But did they remember these words?   “When you are put on trial, don’t be anxious about what to say.  The Holy Spirit will tell you what to say.  He will speak through you.  They won’t be able to refute you!”

I’m sure they remembered Jesus’ words, “Evil will become rampant.  Men’s love for one another and for God will grow cold.”  But did they remember these words?  “Those who stand firm to the end will be saved.  The glad message of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the entire world so that every nation will hear.”

I’m sure they remembered Jesus saying, “How terrible it will be in those days…  The suffering at that time will be greater than at any time since the world began…  Some will be killed by sword…  Jerusalem will be trampled down!”   But in their anguish, did they remember Jesus’ promise?  “They will see me arriving on the clouds of heaven with overwhelming power and glory.  The great trumpet will sound, and in triumph I will send out my angels to gather my people….”

When the skies grow dark and my days cold, does my vision grow cloudy and my memory dull?   Do I remember…  I am not alone.  God will help me.  God’s purposes prevail.  We win!

Father, I don’t want to walk overwhelmed by fear.  Help me to walk overwhelmed by your power, your glory, your goodness, your love!

 

To learn more about Walking As Jesus Walked and Discipling As Jesus Discipled, visit:  SONLIFE.COM