Mark 8:34-37 (NLT)
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. 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, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?
To be a follower of Jesus Christ requires surrendering our life to Him, all of it in its entirety. The Word of God indicates that those who try to hang on to their life, will lose it. But by giving our life away to Jesus Christ, it will be saved. Sign me up. Many have answered the altar calls of churches around the world, but few will ever take the necessary steps to follow Jesus Christ give up anything at all for His Sake or to carry out His Gospel to anyone else. What do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? Is anything as precious as a soul? Apparently so, we have struggled for the past few weeks with our insurance company in order to be approved for our son’s bone marrow transplant to end this hard fought battle against cancer. They have labeled it experimental. Doctors and nurses alike are astounded at the denials and after fulfilling the appeal process – we have received the final denial that they will not cover the procedure. It is a money decision dictated by the underwriting of our insurance policy. The world in which we live places no value on the unborn or advanced in age. If a person is outside the parameters of productivity, we have lessened their worth as individuals. The world kills unwanted babies calling them fetuses long after they are viable human beings. The world sticks the elderly in homes with substandard kill and there is even consideration of euthanasia as a solution to those who have reached the end of their life and uselessness on earth calling it mercy killing. The value of human life is compromised when compared to money and wealth. As Jesus called out to the crowd to be His Disciples, I do not believe that He was asking for them to give up their life but rather extend it. Is anything worth more than our soul? There is nothing more precious than life. God created life with His Word and His Breath. He never intended for our life to end, but we made that choice. Now He is desperate to show us the way of life and end the cycle of death to the beautiful souls that He created. We must understand the extent of life, God’s Intent for our life, and embrace eternal life to ever find the Way of Life that has been prepared for us in advance. Most will abandon the process at the thought of giving up the worthless things of this world and others will abort their process when change comes knocking on the door. Today at least for a moment as the Lord calls us to discipleship, I invite Him to show me the Way.
Psalm 39:4-5 (NLT)
“LORD, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.”
Life on the earth is brief compared to Eternity. However, we invest all that we are into prosperity in the natural never placing any time or energy in pursing godliness for righteousness sake. We use salvation as an insurance plan rather than a way of life. If things don’t work out here and life is cut short, then we always have His Grace to rely on. This is simply not true. The sufficiency of God’s Grace begins now and stretches into Eternity as the bridge that links us from this world to God’s Kingdom. It is not escape route but rather a way of life that has been abandoned by God’s People. The church has lied to people that substandard living is acceptable to the Lord. How does God get glory when His People live in poverty or prosper in perversity? Since when did God label sin or rebellion as acceptable? He never did and He never will. It is the very thing that nailed His Son, Jesus Christ, to the Cross. I am reminded of how brief life is when I look at the plight of our son who somehow has managed statistically to overstep our age and closer to the end of his life. The enemy is trying to steal days and moments of this child’s life from him and those who love him. But God will not have it. I confided in a friend just the other day that I cannot remember our life before cancer came calling. What was it like not to have it on our mind, impacting our decisions, straining our finances, draining our strength, and weighing heavy on our heart and mind? I do not remember. It has only been two years yet I feel as we have lost decades. Intelligence has only prolonged his life a little while as cancer has returned three more times. Money paid for treatment until the cost became too high. Human strength can do nothing, it is all in the Hands of God. In this moment, I realize that human life is brief. Life is fleeting. The only part of my life worth living is in the Spirit that lives within us or it will end in seeming moments. God teach us the brevity or shortness of our life compared to Eternity. (Psalm 90:12) The Lord has instructed us not to worry about everyday life with this very thought in mind. It is brief. It will end regardless of one’s success or failure. It will all be dissolved like wax one day with no longevity. So stop worrying about everyday life including your job, your bills, your goals, your dreams and bucket list! (Matthew 6:25-27) Not one of these worries will give you the priceless commodity of time, only the grace and love of Jesus Christ will show you the Way of Life that leads to satisfaction. Sadly, few will ever find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Psalm 63:1-8 (NLT)
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better than life itself; how I praise you! I will praise you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest feast. I will praise you with songs of joy. I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings. I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely.
The only worthwhile pursuit in the human life is to earnestly seek the Lord until you find Him. Few will ever embark on such a journey considering it a wasted effort with no lasting impact on this life. However, nothing ventured – nothing gained. God gave you His Breath and then His Spirit. (Psalm 104:30) You have everything necessary to be an eternal being rather than strictly a human being. You are empowered to live a supernatural existence before every stepping over into Eternity. However, this brief life gets in the way. Time and time again, we stop following the Lord becoming distracted by this life. I have exhausted every single resource I have to cure my son’s cancer. I am resting on the Promise of God that His Favor is coming. This is not an easy position or one that I have selected. God brought me to this place so that I would earnestly seek Him. He is our only Hope for a reason. The Lord wants all of my life so that I will never be disgraced. (Psalm 25:1-3) He has preselected and predestined a path for my life and called it the best. (Psalm 32:8) He wants to show me that pathway but too many times I get distracted along the way. (Psalm 16:11) The Lord is perfecting all that concerns me according to His Plan and Purpose for my life. (Psalm 138:8) He has recorded my life down to the second. (Psalm 139:16) It is a good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Godly or god-like people will find life. (Proverbs 11:19) It all comes down to this…”Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your word. Reassure me of your promise, made to those who fear you.” (Psalm 119:37-38) Life on this earth is fleeting. It is brief. It has the potential to create a crossover into Eternity for those willing to make the change today. We have a choice to make. It is the choice between life and death.
Psalm 119:58-60 (NLT)
With all my heart I want your blessings. Be merciful as you promised. I pondered the direction of my life and I turned to follow your laws. I will hurry, without delay, to obey your commands.
God’s Love, Mercy and Grace is ours for the asking. But to truly obtain it requires a choice between life and death. It is the age old decision do we follow what we see or step out in faith to seek the Lord with all our heart. It really depends on what you want. We chase God’s Blessings but what if they are not what we think that they should be? The Fruit of the Spirit are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (Galatians 5:22-23) The question today is that enough to convince you that hope is worth having enough to invest all of your faith in obtaining such things or do they lack the luster and shine of the things of this world that surely will be more fulfilling? The direction of our life is our choice. God does not change. He will not leave His Plan to work on your plan. If your goals and aspirations are nothing more than good intentions, the Lord did not die for that. He did not give His Life for your half-hearted one. He wants all of it. You cannot hang on to this world with one hand and grasp for the Kingdom of God or you will miss it. Wisdom walks God’s Way because it must choose a direction. (Proverbs 8:32-36) Clear thinking is most evident when you have no other choice and maybe this is why good people suffer sometimes so that they will become godly people. Good people die every day. God people crossover from death to life in a moment.
Psalm 119:108-109 (NLT)
LORD, accept my offering of praise and teach me your regulations. My life constantly hangs in the balance, but I will not stop obeying your instructions.
Life always hangs in the balance. The scales of His Justice leveled by His Grace and Mercy. We must remain in righteousness to keep it in our favor. Fear of the Lord is our security. (Proverbs 19:23) Fear of the Lord lengthens our life as we are given His Spirit to step out of the natural into the supernatural. I do not know that my heart would have made it through the last couple of years. There are days that I was sure that I would lose my mind. My life and priorities have all changed. I have been given no choice but to live in the Presence of God to survive. That is why I tell people all the time that while I would have chosen another route keeping my son from this horrible path, I would not give up the faith and confident hope that I have found since the Lord has revealed His Way of Living. All the many things I thought were important have become One Thing – the One Thing that I ask of the Lord and the One Thing that I seek most is to live in His Presence forever. (Psalm 27:4-5) Our pursuit of God through Jesus Christ must become the One Thing that we desire most and give our life to sometimes that requires removing everything else so we can see the Light of His Love and His Glory that awaits us.
Isaiah 38:12-20 (NLT)
My life has been blown away like a shepherd’s tent in a storm. It has been cut short, as when a weaver cuts cloth from a loom. Suddenly, my life was over. I waited patiently all night, but I was torn apart as though by lions. Suddenly, my life was over. Delirious, I chattered like a swallow or a crane, and then I moaned like a mourning dove. My eyes grew tired of looking to heaven for help. I am in trouble, Lord. Help me!” But what could I say? For He himself sent this sickness. Now I will walk humbly throughout my years because of this anguish I have felt. Lord, your discipline is good, for it leads to life and health. You restore my health and allow me to live! Yes, this anguish was good for me, for you have rescued me from death and forgiven all my sins. For the dead cannot praise you; they cannot raise their voices in praise. Those who go down to the grave can no longer hope in your faithfulness. Only the living can praise you as I do today. Each generation tells of your faithfulness to the next. Think of it—the LORD is ready to heal me! I will sing his praises with instruments every day of my life in the Temple of the LORD.
We have prayed and sought the Lord’s Direction concerning the care of our son. We feel confident that the Lord is leading us to this bone marrow transplant. We are also confident that the procedure will be approved when the Lord is ready to move forward and find peace waiting for His Word to work it out. But I will say this, the treatment is grueling and dangerous. I do not revel in the days ahead or all that our son’s body must endure. I say this all to say that when God knew His Son was headed for the Cross to die for the sin of all His People. There was pain in His Heart at the suffering to be endured. Suffering is sometimes necessary so that God’s Children will stop dying from complacency and ignorance to fully embrace God’s Plan for their life. You don’t have to like it. You may not want it. You may rebel against it. But God will stop at nothing to save us, deliver us, redeem us, restore us and renew us – He is ready to heal us. So stop constantly giving the enemy credit for the trials in your life and look for God’s Glory by offering praise and thanksgiving when it’s truly is a sacrifice, holding your peace rather than giving everyone a piece of your mind, and ask the Lord to show you the Way! He will! That’s all the Lord wanted all along was to bless you, prosper you and perfect your life according to His Plan. His Goodness and Unfailing Love are in a desperate pursuit to overtake you right where you are with the audacity to prepare a feast of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control right in the midst of the unthinkable making a way for God to do more than you could ever think or ask! (Psalm 23:5-6; Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 3:20) This is God’s Way for your life. Now the choice belongs to you…
Psalm 84:10-11 (NLT)
A single day in your courts is better than a thousand anywhere else! I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked. For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.