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Laying Down Your LIfe

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Greater love has no one than this:
to lay down one's life for one's friends.

(John 15:13) 


The greatest love is to lay down your life for your friends.

Certainly we aren't called to die for our friends...are we?

Well, yes. We are.

If we mean to show the love of Jesus to the world then we must die!

We must die to self. 

We must lay down our own lives -- set aside our prejudices, our rights, and our own desires -- for a better way. 

A way of love. 

There is no other option in Scripture.

If we want to live we must die to the desire to put ourselves first. 

We must lay down our busy lives for our friends...

  • We can lay down our To Do List and help a friend in need. 
  • We can turn off Netflix and be with our neighbors to start relationships. 
  • We can set aside our prejudices and instead show empathy and share God's love. 

Laying down your life and helping someone else pick up theirs is the beginning of a relationship that shows the love of Jesus. 

Laying down your life and helping someone else pick up theirs is the beginning of a relationship that shows the love of Jesus. 

And in case you were wondering, God has equipped you to lay down your life. He has equipped you to share his love. He has even put someone in your life who needs to know about Jesus. 

What are you going to do?

Love has called your name and gifted you. Love is sending you and offering you the greatest joy of eternity--leading the lost home. Love asks you to lay down your life.

For whom will you lay it down? Who will you lead home?

Your Story : Your Witness


But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

(1 Peter 3:15 ESV) 


Most of us claiming the resurrection of Christ act like we don’t have a story to tell. We might think we can’t be a witness for Jesus because our story isn’t “good enough.”

That is simply not true.

A witness is an "attestation of fact, event, etc., from personal knowledge;” (source) Witnessing has nothing to do with our goodness, or our imperfections. Each of us can speak with authority based on our personal knowledge of the situation.

Personal knowledge is an important element of a Christian witness. And personal knowledge is something God promises us as we pursue a relationship with him.

And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

What is your personal knowledge of Jesus? What is your personal knowledge of the hope that Jesus’ resurrection gives to you? This is your story. This is what you can share.

As a Jesus follower you have personal knowledge of what Jesus has done in your life. You have personal knowledge of how Jesus changes your heart. You have personal knowledge about why you trust him. You have a story about giving up your life and following after him.

Your story doesn’t have to be dramatic. It certainly won’t be like anyone else’s story because you’re unique. But you do have a story...a story about the day you invited Jesus into your heart...a story about how he reveals himself to you. This is what we must share.

Have you prayed prayers and seen answers? This is your witness. 

Have you seen miracles - even small ones? This is your testimony.

Have you seen Jesus revealed in and around you? This is your story.

Your witness, your testimony of fact from personal knowledge and relationship with Jesus, is your story about how Jesus is real to you. 

No one can refute it.

As a disciple you must share it.


And God will use it to bring glory to himself.

 


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Fighting to Let Go

This Week's Life Lifter:
 

For God loved the world so much
that he gave his one and only Son,
so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life
.

(John 3:16)



Think back to a time you fought for something. Was it important to you? We fight for things we care about or feel entitled to.

What about your life? It seems like an easy question, yet Mark 8:35 says “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News (gospel message), you will save it.”

There are few things that are more miserable than hanging onto your own life when you need to let go, but listen to the words of Jesus. He says that if you do what comes natural by hanging on to your life then the most unnatural thing will happen, you will face death.

We will fight to hold on to our view of the world, to get what we want, and we get mad when life does not work out exactly how we thought it should. We will fight with all we’ve got before we die. In the spiritual realm, when we are willing to fight to the death, we are fighting against life.

The way the world views religion, Jesus is here to serve us. This view thinks that God should give us what we want in exchange for us serving him. The world says that you can be religious, but yet still harbor hateful thoughts and feelings towards others. The world says that God can have a small part of your life, and you can keep the rest. 

But this is not how it works.

In the beginning or the end, your life is either kept for yourself or given completely to Jesus. You cannot be partially crucified. The given life is an “all in” kind of life. Or it isn't given at all.

This is the example that God set for us.

It says in John 3:16 “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

His life was THE given life.

 


 

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Prayer Is The Window Through "Impossible!"

Prayer is the window

Too often we confuse magic with prayer. Magic is instant. Magic is showy, we just kind of wave a wand and it happens -but that's not supernatural!

Prayer is for THROUGH and not around!

Prayer is the window through, but we want around! So many of us, on our journey, have been stopped by Satan because we prayed about something and God didn't lead us around. I gotta tell you, God rarely does around!

God does through, and this is what we see in all of the life of Jesus!

Have we missed the heart of how God works? God is not an around God, He's a through God! Go back and read Luke 22:39-46, and look how Jesus had to go through every moment of the crucifixion.

You can't get to the resurrection without going through the cross!

You can't get to heaven without going through the hardship of a broken world!

And the truth is, we need to come back to through and understand that Daniel had to go through being dropped into rocks in a stinking cave in Daniel verse 6:16. And I know that because in the end, it tells us they had to lift him up out of the cave!

Daniel prays: and God's salvation and deliverance is not to have the king change his mind or to have Daniel avoid being dropped in a hole! Daniel's prayer didn't resolve impossible before he faced it, but as the clock ticked, moment by moment, through, through, through -Daniel prayed!

Then after all of this comes the question of the ages: “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20

Guys, at some point and 100 times over, you're going to have to decide in your life -Is God able? Is my God able? Will I trust him and will I pray "through?"

Will I believe that the impossible isn't?
No matter how things look to my eyes?
No matter how things sound to my ears?
No matter how things feel to my senses?

No matter how huge the storm is on my emotions, I will open the window of prayer and see through it all and see my Savior, Jesus Christ, who showed that the way through impossible is to a resurrection! -Dr. Drew Shofner

The Power of a Humble Prayer

 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

(Matthew 6:5-6)

 

There’s a difference between praying for show and praying for real.

When someone prays for show, he is essentially holding a big glowing billboard, saying, “Look at me! Look at how holy I am.” God sees right through that. He knows that the person isn’t trying to talk to the Holy of Holies with pure intentions. Rather, he is being fake, serving his own self-interests. It has little, if anything, to do with God.

Jesus tells us that the person in that example has earned his reward. He has the people’s respect, he got what he came for, and, when all is said and done, he didn’t really care whether or not that prayer was pleasing to God.

This is not the type of prayer that Jesus encourages his followers to pray.

What Jesus is searching for is the humble prayer, whispered in the privacy of the person’s home. He’s looking for the prayers of those who are willing to depend on God, who are willing to put away their own self-interests in search of something bigger, stronger, and more valuable than the admiration of men.

He’s looking for the prayers that are real and honest and authentic.

Through those prayers, He can change the lives of His followers and then change the lives of the entire world. However, if the prayers are fake and superficial, the only change that will show itself will be the withered, rotten fruit that comes from dead religion.

Jesus has said that when you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. (Matthew 21:22) How amazing is that?! 

Today, find a private place, get down on your knees, and pray to the Lord who created the Universe. Your prayer doesn’t have to be fancy or long. It just has to be sincere. Show that you are humble enough to depend on God, and open yourself up to being changed by who He is. You will be amazed at the results.

 

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