Count the Cost

Luke 14:28…”But don’t begin until you count the cost…(NLT)

The new year has officially begun and many have made resolutions, or set goals to change some aspect of their lives. For most it is the goal to be better, faster, stronger or just plain fit. Others vow to clean up and clear out their closets and become better organized. Some have plans to return to school, find a new job, write a book or begin a hobby, but whatever the goal there is a cost involved.  It is never easy.  One of the prime reasons so many of us fail to reach our goals is failure to calculate the costs. Jesus in this parable tells his disciples to calculate the cost of being a disciple before proclaiming their allegiance to Him.  Any person starting a building project must know how much it is going to costs.  The builder needs to know there is enough money and resources to complete the job.  Calculation is important with any project, even more so with being a disciple.

Disciples of Christ need calculate the costs involved in the purposes of God.  He tells us if we can’t give up self, family and follow Him, then we can’t be His disciple. The cost is too great. “Love for family and one’s own life must not compete with devotion to Christ.”  The risks are great, but the rewards are far greater. Christ counted the cost of leaving glory and coming to earth for us. The cost of temptation, pain, suffering and injustice to heal, save and deliver us.  And he has more than enough to pay the debt for our sins.

Thank you God for looking at the “love scale” and determining we were worth the costs.

The Master of the Seas

Jesus is the master of the seas; the calm and the choppy ones.  “He is the star of the sea; and though there be sorrow upon the sea, when Jesus is on it there is joy too.  May our hearts make Jesus their anchor, their rudder, their lighthouse, their lifeboat, and their harbor.  His church is the Admiral’s flagship, let us attend her movements, and cheer her officers with our presence.” Spurgeon

Henry Blackaby once said, “God’s command are designed to guide you to life’s very best.  You will not obey Him, if you do not believe Him and trust Him. You cannot believe Him if you do not love Him. You cannot love Him unless you know Him.”

Today, let us resolve to get to know better the Master of the Seas; hear His voice amid the storms of life, and then follow His bright star into the safe harbor.  The seas may be rocky; toss and billow, but the Master of the Seas can say “peace, be still” and all will be well.  Amen.

Light Bearers

A Classic Devotion from C.H.Spurgeon

“In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:15

We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceived whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions.

Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life.  We are to point sinners to the Savior, and the weary to a divine resting-place.  Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God’s Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness. 

Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed.  The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it outs to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world.

Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.

Gracious Spirit dwell with me; I myself would be gracious be, and with words that help and heal would thy life in mine reveal, and with actions bold and meek would for Christ my Savior speak.

Shine your light brightly for the Savior this week. Be blessed.

Aperio

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Aperio is the Latin verb which signifies “to open” like the petals on a tree. Resurrection Sunday is over, and residue of the celebration have been swept away for another year. So what is next? What do we do now?
Some will, like the apostles and other believers go and hold up in a room. Others will leave the city and walk away troubled because life didn’t happened the way they expected. Still others will continue in their beliefs that he was not the promised Messiah and return to business as usual. What will you do?
This is our time to blossom and to open; to explore the inescapable truth of the Resurrection. It does our Creator a disservice if we continue as before without joy and power. He kept his promise. He did exactly as was foretold.
Christ came and opened up the kingdom of heaven. He died so that we could have an eternal home with him forever.
To open (aperio) means to shed those “winter garments of unbelief, fear, and poverty mentality, and reveal the beauty of Christ. It’s time to put on the spring garments of praise and power. To open up to Christ in the newness of life. To open up to him in ways you’ve never ever done before. Conquer your fears. For Christ did not give you a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Don’t go and hold up in some bleak room of despair when our risen Lord gave you the keys to the Kingdom. Don’t walk away troubled, and not knowing what to do next. He gave us the Spirit who guides us into all truth and knowledge. Don’t return to business as usual. For behold, “I make all things new” says the Lord. (Revelation 21:5b)
This is not the same year as last year. This is a new day, a new year. This sacred, holy resurrection time is filled with His righteousness, His glory, and His incomparable love. So are you ready to Aperio– to open up and show His majesty to the world? It’s time to APERIO!!!

He is Risen

Christ is Risen

Glory and praise. Resurrection Sunday. Christians celebrating and worshipping our risen Savior.  Praising Him for the most amazing gift every conceived – the gift of eternal life.  Christ is to be glorified for what we can never do – restore us to God the Father.  With Christ hope has been restored; life has been restored; joy has been restored; power has been restored; love has been restored.

1 Peter 1: 3-5, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (NIV)

Our Lord stated, “I am the truth, the way and the life.”  Our risen Lord fulfilled his mission, and restored our right to experience the new birth and have an inheritance that will never, ever perish.    Christ is Risen. Praise be to God.

Preparation in the Tomb

Yesterday, Good Friday Services were held around the globe commemorating the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus Christ.  But what happened between the crucifixion, burial and resurrection?  On my walk today the Holy Spirit kept impressing upon me the word preparation.  Scripture reveals spices and oils were prepared (100 pounds of aloes and myrrh) and used to anoint Jesus’ body and then it was wrapped in linen and laid in the tomb. In the ancient world, spices were expensive and highly valued. They were used to anoint kings.  The extract from aloe leaves was one of the two spices used to bury Jesus, according to John 19:39. The spices were wrapped with strips of linen around Jesus up to his head. Myrrh and frankincense were given to Jesus at his birth by the Wise Men from the East as gifts to celebrate his life. Frankincense was a highly aromatic spice used to anoint priests and kings, given to Jesus as a sign of respect for his role as “King of kings”. Of all spices, myrrh played the largest role in Jesus’ life. Given to him at his birth and used to anoint his body at his death. Spices Used to Bury Jesus | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7331845_spices-used-bury-jesus.html#ixzz2P3rp4lMh
Here’s the meaning I received.  Our preparation in the tomb (darkness) begins when we die to the past through forgiveness and obedience, submit to the will of the Father, and anoint ourselves with His oil and spices.  

Preparation:  The tomb was already prepared.

Preparation:  The women and others prepared the oils and spices.

Preparation:  God prepared to save the us through the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Christ.   

Preparation cleanses us for ministry.  We rise up, and give evidence of the hope we have in Jesus Christ.  It is in our preparation that we can walk through the valley of the shadow of death and experience mercy and grace which  follows us all the days of our lives, and we DWELL in the House of the Lord. (Psalm 23)  Preparation results in power, and provision

As we await the celebration of the Risen Christ on Resurrection Sunday, applaud now for the preparation in the tomb.  For the model of how to arise victoriously is in the preparation. 

 

 

 

A Morning Thought

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I’m reading from the book “The Daybook of Grace” and today’s meditation comes from 1 Thessalonians 5:8;
But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.”
Put on the whole armor of God is a divine directive. God’s armor defeats the enemy; for we wrestle not against people, but against spiritual wickedness in high places. But nothing out there can defeat us, because of our position as “more than conquerors” through Christ our Lord and Savior. So no obstacle, circumstance, economic shift, or disaster – nothing can bring us down because of His amazing love and power.
So fully armed yourselves by being self-controlled, and clothed in faith, love and hope. Christ has done his part. He has provided everything needed for the day. And we can rest in the blessed assurance of His magnificent power and love for us. Thomas Brooks once wrote, “God hath in Himself all power to defend you, all wisdom to direct you, all mercy to pardon you, all grace to enrich you, all righteousness to clothe you, all goodness to supply you, and all happiness to crown you.” Out of heaven’s storehouse receive these precious and powerful gifts for this day.

To Whom Do You Belong

Kingdom of God

Interesting question to ask, to whom do you belong? From the moment of your birth people, places and things stake their claim to you. Family, friends, institutions, states, country, even things indicate in one way or the other your relationship to them. You’re referred to as my son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild, husband, wife, student, employee, etc. The word “my” in front of the category describes your allegiance or affiliation. “My” is a possessive pronoun denoting both the relationship and ownership. But of all the relationships associated with this powerful pronoun, none is more significant, more satisfying, more amazing than you and I being sons and daughters of the most High God. We are His children. We are ranked as His glorious creation, vessels and holders of the message of salvation. Our lives are not our own, because we were purchased with the precious blood of Christ. Instructed to form this organic union with Christ, each day our affiliation should become more and more evident. Our allegiance to the Creator should demonstrates our service to the “Lord of Love.”
To whom do you belong? If you are not Christ’s run away fast that cruel master is stalking you. He seeks to destroy your allegiance to Christ. However, if you are Christ’s demonstrate it by obeying him with love and humility; let His word be your law; let His will be your will.
As C.H. Spurgeon stated, “You belong to the Beloved, then love him; let your heart embrace him; let your whole soul be filled with him. You belong to the Son of God, then trust him.”
To Whom Do You Belong? You belong to the King of Kings.

Loading

Have you taken noticed to the start process for each new tech gadget and app? The gadget are boxed with a nifty set of instructions. Every app has to be installed, verified, screened for authenticity. Once properly installed, we sit waiting for the gadget or app to load. The icon comes up with a message it’s loading, loading, loading.  Then finally, it is ready.
We’re like those gadgets and applications.  We also came with instructions, and we were installed to do the Master’s work.  Since our initial installation, and upgrades we’ve been loading, loading, loading.  Here’s the question of the day, are you ready to launch? Ready to be used by God? Ready to fully implement the upgraded version of you?

“God who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord who is faithful.” 1 Corinthians 1:9  The promises of God are true, and can never, ever fail.  Our initial installation may have been a bit rocky.  We may have been buffering, sputtering trying to get re-connected to the main power source.  But despite our shaky start-up, God has been true to his word.  He provided everything for our successful launch.

Stop loading and load.  “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5   You can do it! You can be it!   With each upgrade, old data must be renewed or removed to complete each assignment.  Need more wisdom – God gives it liberally to the person who asks for it.  We have not, because we ask not. Check the instructions.  Feel uncertain – God said He would never leave nor forsake us. Check the instructions. God told Joshua to be “Be strong and very courageous“, and as He was with Moses so He would be with him.  God was with Joshua, Moses, David, Ruth, Deborah, Mary, and the Apostle Paul, and He will be with you.  It’s in the instructions.

Our instructions are clear and powerful.  The authoritative word of God – The Bible provides all the data for correcting faulty wiring (our thinking), and repairing damage done by years of false starts.   Paul wrote, “God did not give us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love and a sound mind.” Our internal wiring is connected to the direct power source, and it is always on.  That power, love and sound mind can defeat any giant or an army of Amalekites. God is our very present help. He is our failsafe.  It’s in the instructions.

Everything needed to properly launch is available and ready for use.  Everything!   There is a whole world waiting for the 2013 version of you.   So stop loading and LOAD.  

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