There is a song that goes like this,
Where He leads me, I will follow
Where He leads me, I will follow
Where He leads me, I will follow
I'll go with Him, with Him all the way
We sing it and we really do believe that we are following after Jesus, but are we really? In the book of Luke 9 Jesus tells his disciples, "If any man will follow after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me." But so often when problems in our lives arise, we tend to forget there is one who is more than able to meet whatever need we might be facing. Or even if we do remember, we become impatient and we try to take care of things on our own, dismissing God altogether. Sometimes we even make bad matters worse. But Jesus said, and I'm paraphrasing," Daily take up your cross and follow me. Don't you understand that I am your problem solver? I am your friend, I am your Father, I am your mother, sister, brother, or whatever it is you have, I am able to provide. And all that is required of you is that you pick up your cross daily and follow me believing that I am he that is able to meet whatever need that you have. I will be with you and I will see you through."
In Mark chapter 10 we read of a rich young ruler who came to Jesus and asked, "Good Master, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" Then Jesus answered saying, "You know the ten commandments." The young man answered, "Yes, and I've kept them all since my youth." Jesus replied, "There's one lacking. Go, sell all that you have, give to the poor and you shall have treasures in heaven. Then come, take up your cross and follow me." The young man went away grieved because he was not willing to give up his earthly riches.
How about us? How would we react to this statement? We may not have great wealth, fine homes, or land or anything the world considers to be riches, but suppose Jesus said to you today, I want you to give up your husband, your wife, your children, your home, your life of comfort and ease, your time or other things that you and I hold so dear? Would we be willing to give it all up to follow in his footsteps, carrying our cross? Or would we be like the rich young man and walk away grieved?
Could we follow in his footsteps if we are despised and rejected by those whom we love? Isaiah 53:3 reads, He is despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; He was despised and we esteemed him not. Yes, he was scoffed, mocked, scorned, beaten and bruised, a crown of thorns placed upon his precious head, then led up Calvary's Hill where he was nailed to a cross to die for our sins, yours and mine and all mankind all over the world. A man who knew no sin but took upon himself all the sins of the world.
What love he had for us! How about our love for him? Just how far are we willing to follow in his footsteps? Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the light." So let's follow in his footsteps, believing in our hearts that he will lead us through all things that come against us and straight into the arms of God the Father where there is eternal, everlasting peace and joy and life. AMEN!
So how about it? Are we willing to follow Jesus today? Are we willing to place our lives on the altar of God and say, “Here I am Lord. Take my life and use it for your glory. Just lead me and I will follow.”
When God created man, he created him in his image and with the hope that he would love him and follow in his ways. But he also gave to man a free will to make his own choices in life. Unfortunately, beginning as far back as Adam and Eve, wrong choices were made and sin entered into the world and the hearts of man. What will be our choice today, yours and mine? Will we choose the paths with all the crooks and turns that lead us into all the sinfulness the world has to offer and will lead us straight to hell? Or will we take the straight and narrow path that leads to life eternal? Jesus said in Matthew 7:13 &14, “Enter ye in at the straight gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat, because straight is the gate and narrow the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” It is our choice to make. We can follow the broad way which leads us into all the sinful ways of the world, such as drinking promiscuity, murder, adultery, stealing, gossip, etc. This choice leaves us with no hope for tomorrow, but only spending eternity in a place called hell where we are told there will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, where we will beg to die but to no avail. And we will remember all the opportunities we had to come to Christ and have a loving relationship with him, but the opportunity will have passed because of the choice we made to live like the world. So let us make the right choice today to follow Jesus on the straight and narrow path. The path that leads to heaven and eternal life.
God doesn’t promise us that it will be easy or that there will not be problems along the way, but he does promise us in Hebrews 13:5, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.” And in 2 Corinthians 12:9, the Apostle Paul had what was called a thorn in his side and he asked God to take it away but God said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
No matter what trials we may face as Christians, unlike those who have not come to know Jesus Christ as Savior, we have hope through our faith and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Psalms 39:24 reads, Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord. Psalms 39:7 reads, And now Lord what wait for? My hope is in thee. And in Titus 3:7 we read, That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
I Peter 1:13-15 tells us how we are to live until the time he calls us home. It reads beginning in verse 13, Whereunto gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of of Jesus Christ: 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. 15 But as he which hath called you holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, BE YE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.
Which road will we take today? Will we take the broad way that leads to destruction and eternity in the burning flames and torments of hell, or the straight and narrow road that that leads us home to Jesus and life everlasting? A life of peace and love and joy and love. Hallelujah!
Please choose to follow Jesus today. Tomorrow may be too late.
As I look back on what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me concerning following Jesus, this question comes to my mind. Just when and how far did Jesus carry his cross. Did he start carrying it when they led him up Calvary’s hillside to be crucified? I don’t think so. Was it when he was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist? Or did it begin when he was discovered as a twelve year old in the temple discussing scriptures with the priests and scribes? Did it begin when he was born in a stable in Bethlehem because there was no room in the inn? Or maybe when he was conceived in Mary’s womb by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit? I believe it goes back much farther in time. I believe it goes back as far as the time when God the Father created this world and its inhabitants. I believe that God created man in the hope that man would love him and desire a loving relationship with him and that we would be faithful in living our lives in accordance with his commandments. Sadly that was not to be the case. God in his wisdom looked ahead in time and saw man in all their sinful ways they would live their lives, yet he loved us enough he knew he must make a way by which we must be saved. He would send Jesus into the world to be that blood sacrifice necessary for the cleansing and forgiveness of our sins. I believe that was when Jesus picked up his cross and began that long, wearisome journey that would lead him to Calvary’s cross where he shed his life’s blood for the sins of all mankind. I believe that cross was the manifestation of the cross he had carried all along. What a price he paid that all who would believe in him and repent of their sins might be saved. He said good-bye to the Father that loved him, left his home in glory and a long journey was begun. He was born in a stable in Bethlehem, a small innocent baby, no threat to anyone, yet Herod the king wanted to kill him because of jealousy, and greed. When he became a man and began his ministry he was hated by many and they were always trying to find fault with his teaching that they might be able to put a stop to his ministry and him. The Bible says he could not do many miracles in his own hometown because of the unbelieving hearts of his own people. Elsewhere people hearing of the miracles he had performed and of the message of love and hope that he taught followed him by the thousands. Jesus always reacted with love and compassion, healing the sick, opening blinded eyes, caused the lame to walk, the deaf and those who could not speak to hear and talk. He cast out devils from those whose lives had been taken over by them. We even read where he brought the dead back to life. But even still there were those who doubted Jesus was the true Son of God. Therefore as he continued to teach, they continued to find a way by which they might be able to rid themselves of this man once and for all. It was Judas Iscariot, a follower of Jesus, one of his disciples, filled with lust and greed for money, who sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. In those final hours before he was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane, he was all alone, or so it must have seen to him. The disciples had fallen asleep and the time was drawing nearer. There he prayed and cried out to the Father until his sweat upon his brow was as great drops of blood. As he prayed he asked the Father, “If it be thy will, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but thine be done.” He was taken from the garden, tried, convicted, beaten, spat upon, mocked and scorned, his beard plucked from his face, a crown of thorns pushed down on his head and a heavy, wooden cross put on his back that was already bruised, bleeding and sore. And at the top of that hillside, he was nailed to the cross that we might have salvation. And if that wasn’t enough, he had to be separated from his heavenly Father, because as he took on all the sins of mankind upon himself, God had to turn his face away because of the sin. And the Bible says he cried out to the Father, “My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?” After all that, he loves us still. He loved us enough that he said to the Father, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”Oh what a Savior! What a friend is he to me! Blessed be his name! AMEN!
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