The Believer’s Journey to the Cross

The only way Christ can live His life through us is if we’ve allowed ourselves to be crucified.

John 12:23-27

We all know that Jesus walked the road to Calvary, but did you know that believers also journey to the cross? We’ve all been positionally crucified with Christ, but those who hunger for Him participate in a deeper experience of this reality. Jesus lovingly takes their hand and leads them to the cross. Even though this is the last place anyone wants to go, it’s the only way to partake of God’s best for our lives.

The trip to the cross is not one you take with family and friends. It’s a lonely journey with just you and Jesus. He strips away everyone and everything you’ve depended on so that you’ll learn to rely only on Him. While we’re at the cross, He uncovers layer after layer of self-deception until we begin to see ourselves as He does. Soon our self-centeredness, inadequacy, and failures are laid bare.

The cross is a place of brokenness, but it’s necessary because there’s no other way we’ll ever bear fruit. If we hang onto our lives and refuse to take this journey, we’ll be like a grain of wheat that is never planted and never grows. But those who willingly die to themselves will produce an abundance of spiritual fruit. The only way Christ can live His life through us is if we’ve allowed ourselves to be crucified.

God doesn’t want you to be content with just your salvation. There’s so much more He desires to give you and achieve through you. Are you willing to take the road to the cross with Him? Yes, it’s painful, but the rewards in this life and in eternity far outweigh any suffering you will experience.

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What Would Jesus Do?

A quick reading of the New Testament will give you an easy answer to that question. The scene is Jesus with His disciples. The mother of James and John, identified in the text as “the mother of Zebedee’s sons,” addresses Jesus. She speaks boldly to Him: “Promise that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom” (Matt. 20:21).

Jesus quickly tells her that she has no idea what she’s talking about. Then the other ten disciples become indignant at James and John. It’s a fight ready to happen.

But Jesus calls a time-out. The text literally says, “He called them over” (Matt. 20:25).

Pull quoteNow read carefully Jesus’ response to all twelve disciples. It is powerful.

He began, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:25–28).

Did you get that? Did you understand the full import of Jesus’ words?

May I put the essence of these words in a modern vernacular for church members today? I hope you won’t be too offended.

“Hey, church members: I know that the world says put yourself first. Look after number one. But that’s not the way you are supposed to do it. Stop complaining about the music style and what you want. Stop demanding church leaders to do things the way youwould like them to be. Stop trying to get yourway in church business meetings. Instead, put others first. Put your desires last. Become a servant instead of a whiner and complainer.”

Jesus then offers Himself as an example for serving. Instead of coming to Earth as a political king, Jesus came to serve. Indeed His service would go all the way to the cross. He became sin. He took on our sin. He was crucified on that bloody cross of His own volition. He served you and me by dying for us.

We church members must cease and desist becoming “I want” members and become “I will” members.

We must serve instead of demanding our way.

That’s what Jesus said. And that’s what Jesus would do.

Pull quotePaul specialized in selflessness. I would love for him to come to one of our rancorous church meetings and have a few words. I don’t think he would be shy about addressing self-serving motives and actions.

Philippians is my favorite letter he wrote to a church. Note that some form of the word joyappears in the brief letter fourteen times. It is indeed the letter of joy.

And what was Paul doing to experience such joy? He was in prison. He was facing death. He was concerned about the churches. And, in the midst of it all, he was joyous.

The apostle explains the basis for his joy. Indeed in Philippians 2:5–11, he tells us that true joy comes from having an attitude like Jesus. And lest we doubt the meaning of Jesus’ attitude, Paul says that the attitude took Him to “becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).

It is with that context that Paul explains how we are to respond to one another in our churches: “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3–4).

Paul made it clear.

Jesus made it clear.

We are to serve. That is the basis for joy. And that is what church members should do.

Doula Faith

According to Our Faith

“Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope for His lovingkindness, To deliver their soul from death And to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD;
He is our help and our shield. For our heart rejoices in Him, Because we trust in His holy name. Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us,
According as we have hoped in You.”
Psalm 33: 18-22

When you survey the times in scripture where Jesus healed or performed miracles, there were those occasions when He said, “Let it be done according to your faith”
(Matthew 9:29, Matthew 8:13).
And when His disciples asked for Him to increase their faith, He replied,

“If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.” Luke 17:6

“Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him” Mark 11:23

Have you ever experienced the frustration of trying to help someone who was hurting, only to discover they really didn’t trust you? Nothing is more disheartening. If you’ve experienced this you understand just a little of Christ’s frustration with unbelief.

God has given to every believer a measure of faith. This faith is enough to accomplish anything according to God’s will. So it is not that it requires great faith to remove the doubts and fears blocking our trust in God, but just the faith we already possess. And the faith that moves the obstacles blocking our view of God’s loving kindness are removed the moment we acknowledge our trust in the TRUTH- God’s loving kindness is there for us, yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Psalm 63:3)

What really caused Adam and Eve to fall away from the divine fellowship? It was their doubt of His loving kindness and faithfulness. Even though He made all provision for them in everything, they began to doubt and believe He was withholding something good from them. ( Genesis 3)

But if God did not withhold even His Only Son from us , but willingly and lovingly gave Him up for our salvation, how can we come to believe He will withhold anything good from those who come to know Him, love Him and have his Holy Spirit? (Romans 8:32)

Many years ago when I was in a very serious trial, I began believing God had abandoned me and was convinced I could not be forgiven. But when I began to focus on the Truth – “His loving kindness endures forever” (Psalm 136:1), I began confessing once again His faithfulness and was delivered.

Did it take great faith to believe in His unconditional love? No. It only took the faith I already possessed in remembering His faithfulness in the past which convinced me of His steadfast love.

It was when I began confessing with my mouth His steadfast love, I saw the obstacle move out of the way. Immediately after uttering those few words of hope, according to my mustard seed of faith, I began to sense His strength as He poured love and hope back into my life.

“ I’ll just have to wait on the Lord” ( Isaiah 40: 30-31) is all that I said, and immediately the mountain of doubt blocking the view of my Savior was cast away!

In Psalm 33, notice that God acts according to the amount of trust and faith we have in His loving kindness. Do you believe God is a loving, merciful God?

What else could He do to demonstrate His great love, than to send His Son, Jesus Christ for the payment of our sins? What more could He do to prove His great love for us? Even before we repented, He had already made provision for our salvation. (Romans 5:8)

If you have accepted God’s great salvation by repenting of your sins and you have given your life to Jesus Christ, receiving His Holy Spirit, then know, there is no good thing which God will withhold from you. But He acts according to the measure of faith you have in His abiding, unconditional love. Your salvation is sealed and all He asks you to do is to acknowledge it. If He has convicted you of a sin, through His Word and Holy Spirit, then repent and receive His peace and assurance that all is well ( 1 John 1:9,Ephesians 1:13).

What lie prevents you from receiving the TRUTH? Confess His steadfast love and watch the doubts start crumbling away. (-:

Let Your lovingkindness, O LORD, be upon us, According as we have hoped in You.” Psalm 33:22

Have Courage to Stand and Fight

Good Afternoon Sisters and Brothers,

I hope and pray that all is going extremely well with you and your family. Include your day with God by having courage to stand and fight in the spirit and not back down. Listen to the Holy Spirit and allow the presence of Jesus Christ to resonate all over you as you STAND WITH BOLDNESS FOR CHRIST. “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6 ESV) SO be encouraged this morning and be BOLD AS A LOIN and fight in the spirit.

Challenge of the day: Courage in Christ will lead you beyond your breaking point. STAND AND FIGHT IN THE ENTIRE ARMOUR OF GOD.
“But you, take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded.” (2 Chr 15:7 ESV)

TO GOD BE THE GLORY AND MANY BLESSINGS, Travis Casteel

Living in Peace

To some the word ‘Peace’ is not much much such a lovely word.  To others that have had to deal with horrible, fearful or unbearable distress, Peace is so much more than merely a pleasant thought.  When a person goes through something terrible in their life, they learn to appreciate things a whole lot more.  Sometimes God allows his children to go through trials and tribulations to make them the person he wants them to become.  Lets say a person full of pride might benefit from a little humility.  God might allow something to happen to bring us to our knees.   You might not like the thought of having to go through trials but the Bible say, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”(Romans 8:28).

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Recently I heard a sermon about how Paul had to endure something in his life that he considered a thorn.  Three times he asked for that thorn to be removed, Jesus said, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”   So Paul learned that sometimes it was a good thing to endure things in your life because it is then that the Lord works mightily through you.  Why?  Because he has strengthened you and by your tribulations.  Paul later said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

When we abide in Christ and follow what he teaches us through his word, than the peace of God abides with us.  It is when we stray from God and follow after other things that we separated from the peace of God.  Abide in Christ and allow him to lead you in your Christian walk and pray to him continually for guidance and strength.  Learn to depend on the Lord for your strength and when you go through a struggle in life, allow God to mold you into his image.

Related Scriptures:

Philippians 4:7,9-And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.