“So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.” Luke 14:33
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
“…. give up all your possessions”? Really? Jesus can’t possibly mean that all who follow him should literally give up all their possessions can he?
This is a critical question to ponder. Jesus says this in the Bible not just once but several times. Some have done exactly this. Saint Francis born into wealth gave it ALL up. Those called to serve Jesus as monks and nuns give up everything. Some missionaries do the same. But are we all supposed to do that in order to meet the standard of becoming a disciple?
Many believe, and I am one of them, that this is another case of some hyperbole. Jesus clearly wants all who follow Him to deny themselves and take up their cross. He also wants us all to have a deep detachment from any earthly, worldly thing. Included in these things are people, even mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and other family, pets, houses, cars, clothes, jewelry, bank accounts, and portfolios. It doesn’t mean we don’t love these people, pets and things, but that we don’t depend upon them. We only depend upon him and him alone. That is a tall order.
Have you and I achieved this sort of radical life yet? I know it remains a goal for me that I have not yet fully met.
By His grace and mercy may we truly renounce all that is in the world that we may be fully devoted to Him.
Blessings in Jesus, Gerry
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
I'll never forget as a child getting spanked with a paint paddle whenever I willfully disobeyed my parents. I know some people think that is horrible that some parents discipline with spanking, but as for me as the one who was spanked I am eternally grateful. As I look back I was a very strong willed child that needed serious, consistent and severe discipline. It helped to train me and to teach me to be obedient.
God also disciplines his children. He is sometimes severe with us and we often struggle with that discipline. As hard as discipline is, whether that of our own parents or that of God, the Scriptures promise ".....it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it."
I sincerely believe that whatever "righteousness" or good, holy behavior I have, I have in large part because of my parents and God's faithful discipline. Though I usually didn't like it at the time, as I look back I am deeply grateful!
How are you responding to God's love expressed through His discipline ?
Blessings in Jesus, +Gerry
"For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:11
I’ll repeat here a story I have sometimes told in sermons. A man was hang gliding on a nice day just filled with joy as he sailed along. Then suddenly a storm approached and a downdraft pushed him down out of control toward the forest below. As he was rapidly descending toward the trees that looked like spikes, he noticed off one shoulder a hawk that was diving along side him. He prayed and God said, “Follow the hawk.” Against all his training and instincts he pointed his glider down into what looked like certain death. Then miraculously as the bird and hang glider plummeted together they hit an updraft just before crashing into the trees below. Up they went safely out of danger.
When our lives seem to be plummeting out of control toward certain calamity, if we will simply let go and trust in our loving, faithful Lord He will lift us up into His presence and give us new life.
Let us seek the lowest place that God in His wisdom and in His way will lift us to the place of honor and blessing.
Blessings and joy in Jesus, Gerry
"Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” Luke 12:51-53
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
Peace. The peace of the Lord be with you! Doesn’t God want peace on earth? Don’t we read in the Bible: “Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased”?
Yes, yes, yes. God does want peace and God does bring peace. However, this statement of Jesus is more a statement of the fact that when He comes into the lives of people and they embrace Him as their Savior and follow Him as their Lord it will cause division in their relationships with others. Some people, even ones we love dearly and are very close to, even family will be angry and upset when we decide that Jesus is the most important person in our lives. That is just the reality. It is very difficult for us all, but many of us have indeed experienced the division and alienation of friends and family when we chose Jesus.
Nevertheless we choose Jesus. And, Jesus chooses us and will indeed bring into our hearts and minds His peace that passes understanding even in the midst of the conflict that often results.
May we know Him and His peace in the context of our earthly relationships and the occasional division we experience. He came to bring peace and also knew His coming would bring division. It’s just the reality of life in Christ.
Blessings and Peace in Jesus, Gerry