“Then he said to them all, ‘If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.’” Luke 9:23-24
As creatures of comfort we try to avoid pain whenever possible—physically and emotionally. Even the most avid adrenaline junkie has soft spots. We cling to what’s secure, safe and feels good in our circumstances and relationships, naturally seeking to protect ourselves. A lot of times, that’s a good thing. We were designed to value life and preserve ourselves. On the other hand if we hold ourselves too tightly, we keep ourselves from following God with our whole hearts.
God often asks us to get out of our comfort spots and set ourselves aside for his glory. He wants us to trust him, but we can only do that when we let go and obey. More than likely, Simon had other things to do that day rather than get personally involved in Jesus’ scandalous crucifixion. His own plans and agenda where interrupted when he was given an order to carry the bloody cross for Jesus. It was hard work, bloody, and humiliating, but he carried the cross for Christ and walked with him in his most difficult hours. In doing so, he became part of the greatest story to go down in history.
What a powerful example of what Jesus had taught not long before. Even more significant is that what Simon was forced to do, Jesus did willingly. He subjected himself to public mockery, severe beatings, and one of the most horrific deaths the world has ever come up with. As the Son of God, he didn’t have to endure anything; he wasn’t a prisoner of the Roman soldiers any more than he allowed himself to be. Even in those last excruciating hours nailed to the cross, he could have opted out. But Jesus understood his suffering was not about him; it was the only way to restore sinners like you and me to our loving heavenly Father. (more…)
“O Lord, now I have heard your report, and I worship you in awe.”
(Habakkuk 3:2a LB)
If you want to hear God speak, then worship God.
In other words, thank him for being a part of your life and for being interested in the details of your life. Thank him for answering your prayers: “O Lord, now I have heard your report, and I worship you in awe” (Habakkuk 3:2a LB). God gives you a vision. God gives you a dream. You know what God wants you to do, so now you thank him for answering your prayer. That’s part of worshiping God.
What we need to do is to stop seeing our prayers as a monologue and start seeing them for what they truly are: a dialogue. Prayer is a conversation with God. God hears you when you pray, and he answers you when you ask questions. He wants to talk to you every day. If you will faithfully talk to God every day throughout the day, it will revolutionize your life.
Now, you can’t hear God until you know God, and there are three levels of knowing God: recognition, acquaintance, and friendship. You may be at the recognition level; you know God is there, but you don’t really know him. Or, you may be at the acquaintance level; you know God a little bit, but you don’t know him very well.
God wants you to live at the friendship level. He wants to be your friend, and he wants you to be his friend. God wants you to talk with him all the time. (more…)
Friday Night Ride 4-15-16 Again, we are watching April showers form all around west Texas. It is tough to second guess. Without waiting any longer we have set up a close spot. Meet at Kohl’s on the bike or in the cage and we’ll have a great time regardless of the rain conditions. We’ll have a little south of the boarder flavor tonight.
Second Saturday Ride (on the third Saturday) 4-16-16 Still watching weather for Saturday. There is nothing official yet. Watch email and Facebook for announcements. Once we see an opportunity, we will post. Right now it looks like Saturday afternoon is the best shot. More info will be sent out this evening.
God’s Will: So Simple it’s Hard
by Shawn McEvoy
pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
“God’s will for my life”… how often have you pondered that notion? Studied it? Read untold books about it? Know people who torture themselves trying to locate it?
Well, here we have an obvious chunk of it, even compact and useful just as we like things to be, tucked away at the close of Paul’s first letter to the church at Thessalonica. “This is God’s will for you…,” it says.
Well, yes, it says that, and it sure is pretty - almost poetic - but is it deep enough? Shouldn’t’t there be more? Is it practical?
Okay. Then let’s go Old Testament. Prophetic. Action-oriented. Micah 6:8 says, “He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
It’s still simple, still bunched in a group of three, still indicating that there’s no big mystery way far out there which must be solved before we know how to act or decide, or how God wants us to act or decide.
So why do we seek for more? (more…)
“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:2-4
So what does that have to do with April Fools Day?
Have you ever done anything or responded to someone in a way that made you feel like a total fool? Or even worse, everyone else thought you looked like a fool because of it?
Sometimes we are made out to feel like a fool because of the choices we make. Most of the time it is a choice of attitude or response to something or some circumstance we don’t like. We get overwhelmed with selfishness and allow ourselves to become controlled by a foolish spirit rather than look for opportunities to honor God in unpleasant circumstances. It is a these times we as Christians should look for joy and the opportunity to grow.
Like our key verse suggests, we can choose to consider trouble as “an opportunity for great joy” (James 1:2b). Life’s challenges allow faith to be tested and endurance to grow. Some days are just difficult. Life can be hard. And many of those difficulties happen at the most inopportune time. However, let’s not forget that it’s in the most difficult places where we derive our deepest life lessons. Even from hard spots beautiful things grow. We can plan, prepare and put our best foot forward, but sometimes life just happens. Thankfully, bad days don’t have to dictate our response or the ultimate outcome. We get to choose. So my friend, choose joy!
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
FRIDAY NIGHT DINNER RIDE 4-1-16 I have waited as long as I can wait to see if there is any hope of last minute weather changes…. who knows for sure. Here’s the plan for tonight; We will meet at Furr’s Family Dining at 60th & Slide Rd. at 6pm. The private room was booked already but they are holding us spots in the main dining room. Come out and bring the whole family and enjoy great fun, food, and fellowship.
Be blessed and choose joy today!