Archives For Luke

Are you settling for less than what God has for you? Do you even know if that is true in your life? How does one know if they are settling for less if they are not certain about what they have been created to do? I would say if you cannot answer the question of whether or not you are settling for less with an emphatic ‘No!’, then you probably are. People living out their God-given mission know because they are so in tune with God there can be no doubt.

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For the rest of us, we either suspect we are settling for less or we know for a fact we are. So, we have a two-fold problem: first, how do we know if we are settling for less, and second, what do we do about it if we are?

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In his book, “The Last Arrow”, Erwin McManus expounds on Luke 9:57-62 with the observation, “Jesus clearly imparted to all of His disciples: You cannot follow me into the future if you are holding on to your past.” I wonder how many of us are hamstrung in seeking to do new things within God’s Kingdom because we are refusing to let go of the past?

let go of the past,Erwin McManus,last arrow,faith,dreams,passion,mission,future,Isaiah 43:19,I am doing something new,Luke 9:57-62,No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back,don't look back

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We’ve been holding onto some things so long we don’t even realize we’re doing it. They have simply become an extension of who we are. If we want to move into a future containing all God has for us, we’ve got to stop dragging the past along with us. The past simply has no place in the future. It’s too bulky and gets in the way.

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St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “Teach us, Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labor and not to seek for any reward, save that of knowing that we do your will.” Commenting on this statement, author Richard Foster summarized, “The Christian life is one of strength and endurance in the face of suffering.”

Christian life,comfort,commitment,discipleship,peace,priorities,purpose,security,works,Exodus 20:8-11,Sabbath rest,Luke 2:49,must be about my Father's business,must be in my Father's house,Matthew 8:19-20,son of man has no place to lay his head,Luke 5:16,Jesus went away to pray,John 10:27,my sheep know my voice,hear my voice,Matthew 7:21-23,depart from me,Matthew 25:41-46,sheep and goats

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How different this is from the experience of most who call themselves Christians in the Western world! Regardless of our modern culture and misunderstanding of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus, it cannot be denied our lives bear little resemblance to that of our Savior. If it is our true desire to love and honor Christ, we must examine our motives and activities.

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I love this line from author Alicia Britt Chole: “God was not absent. The challenge was self was so very present.” I cannot count the times I’ve heard people say (and okay, I’m in this group as well), “I feel like God is so far away”. God is never far away. He is always here. Wherever ‘here’ is, God is there. You cannot outrun God, so don’t bother trying to run away. Despite all our ingenuity and technological innovations, we cannot hide from God. God is never far.

God is not absent,God is near,Hebrews 13:5-6 ,never leave you or forsake you,Luke9:23-27,take up your cross,commitment,focus,humility,selfishness,pride

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We couldn’t push Him away if we tried. His Spirit guarantees His presence with us always. The problem is not His presence, the issue is we have allowed our selfishness and pride to subtly erode our awareness of Him. To put it bluntly, we can’t get out of our own way to see God is not absent.

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I was recently intrigued by a thought passing through my brain: “The excess I have belongs to those in need.” It’s not the most comfortable thought to consider. I like a little excess. I appreciate the peace and comfort it affords. Yet how can I hold onto more than I need when there are those in the world suffering in abject poverty? One of my favorite verses in the Bible is Proverbs 30:8 which says, “Give me just enough for today.”

our excess,comfort,security,faith,commitment,priorities,retirement,Proverbs 30:8,give me just enough for today,Matthew 6:9-12,our daily bread,Luke 12:16-21,store up treasures in barns,Acts 2:44-45,shared with anyone in need,had all things in common,Leviticus 23:22,don't glean to edges,Luke 18:18-23,rich young ruler

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The author states if he has too much, he will take it all for granted and forget God’s provision in his life. If he has too little, he may be tempted to steal to acquire what he needs. The sweet spot is having just enough for today. Any excess should be shared with others.

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Until we make tomorrow today, I am convinced we will die the same (or worse) as we are right now. As a people, we are notorious procrastinators. Some are worse than others, but we all have an uncanny tendency to put off those things we deem uncomfortable or difficult. It’s true in all areas of our lives, but nowhere are the results more devastating than in our walk with Christ. How many times have we resolved to read through the Bible… next year.

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Perhaps you committed to getting up 30 minutes earlier for some quiet time with God, but since it was already Wednesday, it seemed wise to wait until Monday to kick off the new habit. Or maybe you determined praying with your spouse or best friend would be a great idea, so you promise you’ll begin doing this tomorrow. The trouble is, tomorrow never comes. Until we make tomorrow today, we will forever be adrift in our wishes, dreams, and best-laid plans.

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What fears and excuses get in the way of you living on mission for Christ? What keeps you from living the life He created you to live? If Jesus was, at some point in your life, worth surrendering your life to Him, I’m going to assume you meant it. I will presume you do not wake every day contemplating ways to live in opposition to His Kingdom and His plan.

living on mission,mission,commitment,purpose,faith,gifts,passions,Kingdom of God,God's Kingdom,Luke 12:22-24,consider the lilies,Matthew 7:21-23,many shall call me Lord,depart from me

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My guess is you want to live your life for Him. You want to be the person He created you to be, because you understand you will never find true peace, joy, and fulfillment any other way. If all this is true, what are the reasons you have for not living on mission?

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How are you doing, in this moment? In this season of life, where are you in your walk with Christ? What are you doing – right now – to reflect His love and character to those around you? In this moment, how are you living like Jesus? We don’t often go through our days pondering such questions, but why not? Why are we not consumed every minute with our Lord and Savior?

in this moment,maria brink,Jesus first,commitment,discipleship,priorities,Luke 12:20,your life will be demanded from you this night

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How is it we believe almost everything except God is worthy of our focus? When did it become okay to ignore our pledge to be His servants and for Him to be our Lord? Perhaps the bigger question to ask in this moment is what are we going to do to correct the mess of wrong thinking we’ve allowed into our lives?

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Being a disciple of Jesus should cost you something. If it isn’t, chances are you aren’t a disciple. It’s easy to assume you are a disciple of Jesus once you say the magic prayer and invite Him into your life. While such an assumption is safe and comfortable, it isn’t reality. Rather than frightening us, we should all be encouraged to pay whatever price necessary for the privilege of following Jesus.

what is discipleship costing you,A.W. Tozer,Tozer,Matthew 10:21-25,brother will betray brother,Luke 9:57-62,foxes have dens,priorities,dciscipleship,disciple,follower of Jesus,commitment,2 Corinthians 4:17,light afflictions

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A.W. Tozer once prayed the Lord would make him “willing to let my Christian experience and Christian standards cost me something right down to the last gasp.” Tozer understood being a disciple of Jesus would cost him something in this life. What is discipleship costing you?

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Few would admit it, but what most people want is a comfortable relationship with Jesus. We want answered prayers, help through troubled times, and comfort in crisis. Oh, and spending eternity in Heaven while escaping Hell, we want that too. Those are the comfortable benefits making Jesus so desirable to us, after all. Here’s where it gets a little uncomfortable. Jesus didn’t spend a lot of time talking up those benefits. He spent most of His time warning of trials and persecution, and giving stern warnings to those seeking to live a comfortable “religious” life.

comfortable relationship,commitment,discipleship,God's will,mission,pharisees,selfishness,comfort,Hebrews 13:5,never leave you or forsake you,John 14:3,prepare a place for you,John 3:16,God so loved the world,John 16:33,you will have trouble,Matthew 8:20,foxes have holes,Mark 13:10-13,brother will hate brother,2 Corinthians 11:24-27,Matthew 7:22-23,depart from me I never knew you,Matthew 28:20,I am with you always,Luke 9:23,take up your cross

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His harshest words were reserved for people just like us… those who were trying please God through comfortable and often self-serving platitudes. Comfortable Christianity is synonymous with Pharisaical living.

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