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?

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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Turning Points After Life Goes Bad - Life Lifter

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself, it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

 

 

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9

Remain.

Four times Jesus says remain in this passage of scripture. As a verb, remain is a word used to described an action. Jesus wants us to take action.

Remain is defined as, “To continue to exist, especially after other similar or related people or things have ceased to exist.” Synonyms include endure, last, abide, carry on, persist, stay, stay around, prevail, survive, live on.

Clearly the intended message Jesus’s is communicating is not to be taken lightly.

We are to take action.

Have you ever noticed how many loyal animal post are on Facebook? Do a search to find story after story such as these:

  • A dog named Zanders who followed his master to the hospital some two miles from his home.
  • Cleo the cat who tracked down her elderly owner after she was sent to live in a nursing home.
  • A German Shepard that ran away from home to find his deceased master’s grave – and has stayed by its side for six years.

You can be sure the goal of each animal is to remain in the presence of their “person”. That person who has come to mean everything to them.

This is what Jesus’s asks of us. If he is to mean everything to us, we are to follow him and remain with him. Through the good, the bad, and at all times.

Jesus’s showed us how to respond to challenging chapters of life. He also showed us how to choose to respond. The disciples demonstrated how to turn their self-centered inadequacy over to God. This then allowed them be a blessing showing the glory of God to this around them.

We too can be a blessing showing God’s glory. Soak him in. Take the 15/15/15 challenge - 15 days; 15 minutes of talking to him; 15 minutes of reading God’s word.

Plan out a time each day. Get it done all at once or break it up over the day. Whatever it takes, whatever works for you!!

Jesus is asking.

Jesus has shown us.

Leave self-centeredness.

Be a blessing.

Remain in him!


 

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I Saw the Sign

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“In the same way that the prophet Jonah was a sign for the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be a sign for the people of this day.” (Luke 11:30 GNT)

Are you still waiting for a sign?

God has already given us a multitude of signs, but perhaps it’s not the one you’re looking for.

It’s unlikely that God will reveal himself in ways that we expect of him. In fact, he will always reveal himself in a way that we as humans could never fully expect or understand. You should not look for God in the way you imagine in your mind, but instead be open to the idea that he will show himself to you in his own way.

The people of Jesus’ time were looking for what they expected God to be, but when he was right in front of their very faces, they refused to believe that he was what they were expecting.

The crowd answered, “Our Law tells us that the Messiah will live forever. How, then, can you say that the Son of Man must be lifted up? Who is this Son of Man?” (John 12:34). So, do not be discouraged! They saw Jesus first-hand and many of them still missed him.

It’s okay to have your doubts, but you must not put God into a box. Be open-minded and trust that he will show you the path in his own way, and by his own timing.

Just be ready!

So then, you also must always be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you are not expecting him. (Matthew 24:44 GNT)

Find Freedom in Jesus

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Find Freedom in Jesus 

“Then one was brought to him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and he healed him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw.” (Matthew 12:22)

Isn’t it remarkable? Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who was both blind and mute. Jesus freed him from his imprisonment to demons and darkness.

Jesus can free us, too. 

In many ways, we all live inside our own prisons. Some prisons may be of our own making, through sin, addictions and wrong decisions.

Every bad choice we’ve made locks us up in some form of prison. It can be relational, emotional, financial or something else. As a result, we may experience despair and loss of freedom.

The difference between confinement and freedom is found in our answer to the question, “Who is Jesus?”

The Pharisees claimed Jesus was a charlatan doing the work of the devil. Others realized that he is the Son of God.

Our answer and response to that question – Who is Jesus? – is the most important decision we will ever make

Simply put, only Jesus can free us from our prisons and give us eternal life in paradise.

Jesus came to set us free.

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18).

With his sacrifice, Jesus declared us “Not guilty!” and opened our jail cells.

Will we accept the freedom that Jesus offers and walk through those open doors into his open arms? Or will we remain imprisoned by our sins, our addictions and our wrong behaviors?

God has given us freedom to choose. Let us choose wisely.

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