All About Him

Jesus has many who love His Kingdom in Heaven, but few who bear His Cross.  He has many who desire comfort, but few who desire suffering.  He finds many to share His feast, but few His fasting.  All desire to rejoice with Him, but few are willing to suffer for His sake.  Many follow Jesus to the Breaking of Bread, but few to the drinking of the Cup of His Passion.  Many admire His miracles, but few follow Him in the humiliation of His cross.  Many love Jesus as long as no hardship touches them.  Many praise and bless Him, as long as they are receiving any comfort from Him.  But if Jesus withdraw Himself, they fall to complaining and utter dejection.  

They who love Jesus for His own sake, and not for the sake of comfort for themselves, bless Him in every trial and anguish of heart, no less than in the greatest joy.  And were He never willing to bestow comfort on them, they would still always praise Him and give Him thanks.  

Oh, how powerful is the pure love of Jesus, free from all self-interest and self-love!  Are they not all mercenaries, who are always seeking comfort?  Do they not betray themselves as lovers of self rather than of Christ, when they are always thinking of their own advantage and gain?  Where will you find one who is willing to serve God without reward?  

– Thomas Kempis

 

Whoever does not carry his own cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow after Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me] cannot be My disciple.

– Luke 14:27 (AMP)

 

The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by Him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness.

– Philippians 3:7-9 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Straight Ahead

Let your eyes look straight ahead;  fix your gaze directly before you.  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

– Proverbs 4:25,26 (NIV)  

 

Looking straight ahead

fixing my gaze directly before me

means decidedly ignoring distractions

means not being dissuaded from the path

the Lord has laid out for me

no matter what tempts me 

to veer off

 

Eyes and heart

set determinedly forward

and straight on,

for this deliberate path

is one of reward

of joy

of the few

– Susie Stewart

 

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

– Matthew 7:13,14 (NIV)  

 

A highway will be there, a roadway. It will be called the Holy Road. Sinners won’t travel on it. It will be for those who walk on it. Godless fools won’t wander onto it.

– Isaiah 35:8 (GW)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

He Hears

You and I live in a loud world.  To get someone’s attention is no easy task.  He must be willing to set everything aside to listen:  turn down the radio, turn away from the monitor, turn that corner of the page and set down the book.  When someone is willing to silence everything else so he can hear us clearly, it is a privilege.  A rare privilege indeed.

You can talk to God because God listens.  Your voice matters in heaven.  He takes you very seriously.  When you enter His presence, the attendants turn to you to hear your voice.  No need to fear that you will be ignored.  Even if you stammer of stumble, even if what you have to say impresses no one, it impresses God – and He listens.  He listens to the painful plea of the elderly in the rest home.  He listens to the gruff confession of the death-row inmate.  When the alcoholic begs for mercy, when the spouse seeks guidance, when the businessman steps off the street into the chapel, God listens.

Intently.  Carefully.  The prayers are honored as precious jewels.  Purified and empowered, the words rise in a delightful fragrance to our Lord.  “The smoke from the incense went up from the angel’s hand to God.”  Incredible.  Your words do not stop until they reach the very throne of God.

…your prayers move God to change the world.  You may not understand the mystery of prayer.  You don’t need to.  But this much is clear:  Actions in heaven begin when someone prays on earth.  What an amazing thought!

– Max Lucado

 

Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

– Revelation 8:3-5 (NIV)

 

For the eyes of the Lord are [looking favorably] upon the righteous (the upright), And His ears are attentive to their prayer (eager to answer), But the face of the Lord is against those who practice evil.

– 1 Peter 3:12 (AMP)

 

Photo by Wade Callison

 

Parent Love

 

“My love and prayers are always covering you.”

 

A covering

as in

a blanket

a coat

a shelter

 

warmth

protection

enveloping

concealing

from the onslaught

 

Extending over

as a shield

 

A treasured message from my mom

A gift passed on to my children

 

Parental love and prayer

Powerful

– Susie Stewart

 

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift? The fruit of the womb His generous legacy? Like a warrior’s fistful of arrows are the children of a vigorous youth. Oh, how blessed are you parents, with your quivers full of children! Your enemies don’t stand a chance against you; you’ll sweep them right off your doorstep.

– Psalm 127:4 (MSG)

 

Make the things I’m commanding you today part of who you are. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re sitting together in your home and when you’re walking together down the road. Make them the last thing you talk about before you go to bed and the first thing you talk about the next morning. Do whatever it takes to remember them: tie a reminder on your hand and bind a reminder on your forehead where you’ll see it all the time, such as on the doorpost where you cross the threshold or on the city gate.

– Deuteronomy 6:6-9 (VOICE)

 

Be assured that from the first day we heard of you, we haven’t stopped praying for you, asking God to give you wise minds and spirits attuned to his will, and so acquire a thorough understanding of the ways in which God works. We pray that you’ll live well for the Master, making Him proud of you as you work hard in His orchard. As you learn more and more how God works, you will learn how to do your work. We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that He has for us.

– Colossians 1:8-10 (MSG)

 

Photo by Olan Mills way back when

Advocate

An Advocate

unmerited

 

A Voice

on my behalf

 

A Mediator

before the Most Holy

 

My Love

standing up for me

standing in my stead

 

My Defense

secure and uncorrupted

 

My Advocate

my Jesus

 

Love

pleading for me

 

– Susie Stewart

 

My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.

– 1 John 2:1 (NLT)

 

For, There is one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.

– 1 Timothy 2:5 (NLT)

 

My little children (believers, dear ones), I am writing you these things so that you will not sin and violate God’s law. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate [who will intercede for us] with the Father: Jesus Christ the righteous [the upright, the just One, who conforms to the Father’s will in every way—purpose, thought, and action].

– 1 John 2:1 (AMP)

 

If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and He’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take Him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see Him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know Him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!

– John 14:15-17 (MSG)

 

But as it is, Christ has acquired a [priestly] ministry which is more excellent [than the old Levitical priestly ministry], for He is the Mediator (Arbiter) of a better covenant [uniting God and man], which has been enacted and rests on better promises.

– Hebrews 8:6 (AMP)

 

Christ didn’t go into a holy place made by human hands. He didn’t go into a model of the real thing. Instead, he went into heaven to appear in God’s presence on our behalf.

– Hebrews 9:24 (GW)

 

God will not lightly or easily lose His people. He has provided well for us: blood to wash us in; a Priest to pray for us, that we may be made to persevere; and, in case we foully fall, an Advocate to plead our cause.

– John Bunyan

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

All In

Many Christ-ones merely want involvement – and a small piece of it at that – in Christianity.  God wants total commitment.  He wants us to be wholehearted.  Sold out.  Willing to pay the price of being disciples.

The purpose of our lives is to know God…This means commitment to God and to His Word with our whole being.  It has been said that the Christian life is one big YES and a lot of little uh-huh’s – YES when we ask Christ into our lives to be our Savior and uh-huh in the multitude of lordship decisions we make through the years.

– Carole Mayhall

 

[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death…

– Philippians 3:10 (AMPC)

 

More than once Jesus deliberately addressed certain issues that quickly diminished the number of onlookers. It was commitment that thinned the ranks.

– Chuck Swindoll

 

With eyes wide open to the mercies of God, I beg you, my brothers, as an act of intelligent worship, to give Him your bodies, as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him. Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within, so that you may prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of true maturity.

– Romans 12:1,2 (PHILLIPS)

 

If you do not plan to live the Christian life totally committed to knowing your God and to walking in obedience to Him, then don’t begin, for this is what Christianity is all about. It is a change of citizenship, a change of governments, a change of allegiance. If you have no intention of letting Christ rule your life, then forget Christianity; it is not for you.

– Kay Arthur
Photo by Susie Stewart

Place With Purpose

Notice God’s unutterable waste of saints, according to the judgment of the world.  God plants His saints in the most useless places.  We say – God intends me to be here because I am so useful.  Jesus never estimated His life along the line of the greatest use.  God puts His saints where they will glorify Him, and we are no judges at all of where that is.

– Oswald Chambers

 

Anna, a prophet, was also there in the Temple. She was the daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher, and she was very old. Her husband died when they had been married only seven years. Then she lived as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer.

– Luke 2:36-38 (NLT)

 

And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.

– Acts 20:22-24 (NLT)

 

There was a believer in Joppa named Tabitha (which in Greek is Dorcas). She was always doing kind things for others and helping the poor. About this time she became ill and died. Her body was washed for burial and laid in an upstairs room. But the believers had heard that Peter was nearby at Lydda, so they sent two men to beg him, “Please come as soon as possible!”

So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them. But Peter asked them all to leave the room; then he knelt and prayed. Turning to the body he said, “Get up, Tabitha.” And she opened her eyes! When she saw Peter, she sat up! He gave her his hand and helped her up. Then he called in the widows and all the believers, and he presented her to them alive.

– Acts 9:36-41 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Aware

Aware

Alert

Awake!

 

to Your presence God

 

Seeing

Hearing

Perceiving

 

YOU

 

Not sleeping

 

for You have made me ALIVE

in You

 

– Susie Stewart

 

…for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”

– Ephesians 5:14 (NLT)

 

But God is rich in mercy because of his great love for us.  We were dead because of our failures, but He made us alive together with Christ. (It is God’s kindness that saved you.)

– Ephesians 2:4,5 (GW)

 

When we were baptized into His death, we were placed into the tomb with Him. As Christ was brought back from death to life by the glorious power of the Father, so we, too, should live a new kind of life.

– Romans 6:4 (GW)

 

Photo by Arik Stewart

 

Serve & Savor

Trying to work for God without worshipping God results in joyless legalism. Work minus worship magnifies your will power not God’s worth. If you try to do things for God without delighting in God you bring dishonor upon God. Serving God without savoring God is lifeless and unreal.

– John Piper

 

We don’t serve God to gain His acceptance; we are accepted so we serve God. We don’t follow Him in order to be loved; we are loved so we follow Him.

– Neil T. Anderson

 

Make this your one purpose: to revere Him and serve Him faithfully with complete devotion because He has done great things for you.

– 1 Samuel 12:24 (VOICE)

 

To serve God, to love God, to enjoy God, is the sweetest freedom in the world.

– Thomas Watson

 

And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

– 1 Chronicles 28:9 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

Enough

Through promises fulfilled and promises given in Scripture, I discovered the answer was always the same when I asked: “God, are You enough?”
Yes, He is.
Nothing here on earth is guaranteed, except for one thing: Jesus is with us always. And when we understand who He is, our doubts begin to disappear.
The Bible tells us Jesus is sufficient; He’s enough. Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (NIV 1984). I discovered this to be true. Every need, every doubt, every inadequacy, every fear was met, answered and removed by Jesus.
If I lost everything, I’d be okay because no one can take away my Jesus. Whether I live in a mansion on a hill or in a tent on the side of a swamp, I have my Jesus. Whether the world is for me or against me, I have my Jesus. When I am knocked down, I get on my knees and find my Jesus.
When life becomes more than you think you can handle, don’t quit. And certainly don’t believe the lie God is not enough. Instead, ask yourself, “God, are You enough for me?” Then plant His Word deep in your heart so you’ll always have the ready answer, that yes He is. He is enough for me, for you.

– Melissa Taylor

 

Know this: my God will also fill every need you have according to His glorious riches in Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King.

– Philippians 4:19 (VOICE)

 

For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.

– 2 Peter 1:3 (AMP)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart