We read the stories of Jesus—his joy, his resolute peace through uncertainty, his unanxious presence, his relaxed manner and how in the moment he was—and think, I want that life. We hear his open invite to “life…to the full” and think, Sign me up. We hear about his easy yoke and soul-deep rest and think, Gosh, yes, heck yes. I need that. But then we’re not willing to adopt his lifestyle. But in Jesus’ case it is worth the cost. In fact, you get back far more than you give up. There’s a cross, yes, a death, but it’s followed by an empty tomb, a new portal to life. Because in the way of Jesus, death is always followed by resurrection.
All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them…. But men’s plans ignore the offense of the cross or despise it. Men’s plans have no profound, stern or self-immolating denial in them. Their gain is of the world. How much of these destructive elements, esteemed by men, does the devil bring into the church, until all the high, unworldly and holy aims, and heavenly objects of the church are retired and forgotten?
The widow of Zarephath fed Elijah even though she had but a handful of flour and a little oil in a jug. (1 Kings 17:7–24) In this story she is recklessly generous. She gives the last of what she has to Elijah. We should all pause occasionally to ask if we are living with that kind of generous spirit. Maybe we have an abundance of oil and flour in our jars. Maybe we only have a little. Maybe we have a huge flour jar, or perhaps a very small one. No matter what we have, we can still learn to live with a generous spirit.”
There are some people who love their neighbours, drawn by blood relationship or by natural affection, and Scripture does not oppose this kind of love. But what we give freely and naturally is one thing, and the obedience we owe to the Lord’s commandments out of love is another. Those I’ve mentioned indisputably love their neighbours, yet they don’t attain love’s sublime rewards since their love does not come from spiritual but from natural motives.
Beloved, stretch out. See, when you stretch out you keep your muscles from being fatigued. When you stretch out, you keep mobility in the parts of you God has need of. When you stretch out, things God promised, happens. And sometimes, your stretching will not just involve your hands, but it’ll be you, stretched out before the altar of God.
Daily Christian Quote Website
Before the triumph, before the crown, before the kingdom, before the victory, there had to come the suffering. Before you can share in Christ’s victory, before you can have a new life here and now, before you can go to heaven, before you can claim the promise that we shall someday reign with Christ, you, too, must come to that same cross. You, too, must come in simple faith and stand at the foot of that cross and receive the Saviour who was willing to go to the cross.