I learned (again) the hard way Satan is a master at stealing time. It’s amazing and more than a bit discouraging how you can be having a great day serving God only to see it fizzle into hours doing things of no Kingdom value. Without a consistent and diligent focus on how we spend our days, too many of them can be stolen away before we know it.

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While pondering that thought, it occurred to me maybe Satan isn’t so much a master at stealing time as we are at giving it away.God has put the gift of time at our disposal. Every breath we breathe is an endowment from Him. What God has given to us cannot be stolen. Satan has no power to do that. But as agents of freewill, it is within our authority to give away what God has granted to us.

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One of the most mindboggling facts of living is we were made to enjoy intimacy with God. That’s amazing. The One who created us and everything else in the universe wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us. He doesn’t just want to know us casually, He wants to know us inside out and to be involved in everything we do.

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The fact we so often reject His offer is hard to believe. Imagine if Jesus came to your door wanting to hang out. Would you turn Him away because you were too busy or had better things to do? We do the same thing to God every day and think nothing of it.

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In his book, “Renegade”, Vince Antonucci writes, “We want to follow Jesus and we want to live nice, safe, comfortable lives that are ‘normal.’ That’s a problem—because it doesn’t work. You can’t have both. Following Jesus means embracing a selfless, crazy, dangerous, God-obsessed life, and that’s something most people refuse to do.” 

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It’s disappointing discipleship is becoming somewhat of a buzzword in churches because few I’m aware of qualify discipleship with Antonucci’s definition above. The disciples of Jesus left everything they knew behind to follow Him. They didn’t simply leave homes, jobs, and possessions, they left their passions and the only way of life they ever knew. Discipleship means going all in with Jesus.

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Each one of us gets to decide whether or not we will follow Jesus. But none of us get to decide how we will follow Him. Our freewill ends when we choose to be a disciple. If that is indeed our choice, from that point forward, the way we live is determined by Jesus and not ourselves. It is the pledge we make to Him. Our freewill isn’t taken from us, it I surrendered by us. It’s your choice to follow Jesus.

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You get to decide. However once that decision is made, you are obligated to live life the way Jesus commanded you live it. Freewill is an amazing gift and should not be lightly given away. You must understand the cost. For those willing to count such a cost, the rewards of living life wholly surrendered to Christ are beyond words and incalculable. It’s your choice.

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Whether we realize it or not, we are all suffering from a shortness of breath. Each inhale leaves us one less before we breathe our last. While this may sound morbid and depressing to some, it should not be the case for followers of Jesus. For me, the thought invokes both excitement and a sense of urgency. I have no greater desire than to be with Jesus.

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I don’t fear death and neither should you if you have placed your faith in, and pledged devotion to, Christ. Paul said to be absent from the body was to be in the presence of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:7-8). There is no fear in being surrounded by perfect love (1 John 4:18).

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Do you consider Christ a project to be promoted, a cause to be served, or a Lord to be obeyed? In our world today, it seems many have become confused about their relationship with Christ. I see preachers on TV proclaiming Jesus in a way that makes it sound like the latest product pitch from Madison Avenue.

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At times, we can also get caught up doing things for Him in an effort to prove our loyalty. But at the end of the day, all Jesus asks and requires is our whole-hearted obedience to His words. He simply asks us to follow and obey.

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Everything I write, and all I aspire to be can be summed up by the phrase “Love God and serve people”. It is the essence of discipleship because it is the quintessence of how Jesus lived His life. If we would only do these two things, everything else would take care of itself. If we focus on loving God and serving people, we will never be selfish, greedy, prideful, lustful, covetous, or evil.

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It is the elixir for all our struggles. Jesus asks very little of us, only that we love God and serve people.  We overcomplicate things when we pile on additional rules, regulations, do’s, and don’ts. Living the life Christ created you to live is as simple as loving God and serving people.

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It’s so easy to spend our lives living from the wrong perspective.  We make grand plans, spend our time earning a living, and serving God along the way. It sounds noble enough, but in truth we are living life backwards. We are looking through the lens of self-first instead of focusing our attention foremost on God.

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We should spend our days serving Jesus, and earn a living or pursuing our dreams along the way. Jesus will not take a backseat to anything or anyone. He is totally focused on helping you live your life in a way which glorifies the Father. This can only be accomplished in our lives by adopting a Jesus-first perspective.

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I am a firm believer the key to leading people to Jesus is through building relationships with them so we might be able to demonstrate God’s love and character to them. At the same time, we must never lose the urgency caused by the reality of Hell.

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Despite the modern propensity to focus only on the more pleasant parts of Christ’s teaching – namely Heaven –we do a great disservice to the world if we don’t at least occasionally remind them Hell is real. It’s not popular, but it is necessary to talk about this. Otherwise we risk delivering only half the story and distorting the Gospel of Jesus.

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Each of us is exactly who we want to be in our relationship with God. We know Him exactly as much as we choose to know Him. We love Him exactly as much as we choose to love Him. It’s far easier and more convenient to blame circumstances, surroundings, and our own backgrounds as being limitations for our walk with Christ.

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The truth is we are exactly the kind of disciple we have chosen to be. The only person responsible for how close our walk is to that of Jesus is the person we see in the mirror every day. We are responsible. We make the choices. We choose how close or how far away we are from God.

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