from TODAY, The Family
March and April 1987
, phone: (024) 70125869 / 08122.525268
suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should
follow in his steps." 1 Peter 2:21
Some of us have never learned good penmanship
our handwriting is irregular and hard to decipher. Others
have handwriting that makes the rest of us jealous. And when
we who have trouble writing see the nearly perfectly formed
letters and words that others put on paper, we try to follow
We all need models- but not only for writing. We need models
for all of life. This is one of many reasons why Jesus Christ
is so important. Jesus is a model too. And when whe think
of him this way, we think of how the apostle Peter reminded
us that Jesus left footprints - steps - for us to follow.
This month we will look at those footsteps. They lead to a
hill called Calvary - and sometimes the way may be rough,
but Jesus would not call us to follow those steps only to
make things difficult for us. He knows that asa we walk in
Jesus footsteps, we will walk with him, being obedient as
he was obedient, accomplishing all that he said the Father
wants us to do.
There are key ideas in the gospel that guide us on this journey
of grace. Each day we'll consider one of them with a view
to reflecting joyfully on following the example of Jesus of
Nazareth. He is our saviour, and He shows us perfectly the
desires of our heavenly Father's heart.
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" You are my Son, whom
I love;with you I am well pleased." Luke 3:22
It is no surprise
that Jesus received this affirmation from His Father in heaven.Would
it possible for us to hear such words,too,if we followed in
his steps? Yes, God can be pleased with us, too, if we walk
in Jesus' steps. This is the important thing: it's only because
you are walking in the footprints of the divine Son that God
is pleased with you.
Do you recall, as a growing child,walking behind a parent
or grandparent who was wandering along a sandy beach or through
deep snow? Wasn't it a great feeling to put your foot right
in the footprint of that beloved person leading you? Your
strides were the same; they matched. You were growing up.
If we are going to walk in the steps of Jesus as we take up
our crosses and follow him, we have to know whwt pleases God.
And we can know this only if we follow the Holy Spirit, whom
Jesus sends us and who leads us into the truth of Scripture.
While Jesus was here on earth, he heard the Father say three
times that he was well pleased. If we depend on the spirit
to lead us, the Father will be pleased with us as well.
Even if you are going through harsh experiences, remember
that Jesus has gone ahead of you. Follow Him, and put your
steps in his. For when you do God's will, you will receive
the Father's praise
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AN OPPORTUNE TIME
When the devil had finished
all this tempting, he left [Jesus] until an opportune time
. Luke 4:13
If you try to follow Jesus, Satan will watch
you very closely, waiting for a chance to tempt you. You see,
Satan wants followers of his own, so he prowls along the path
to the cross.
The record of Satan's temptation of Jesus in the desert provides
us with an impressive footprint of the Saviour.Notice the
way Satan tempted the saviour. He appealed to an interest
in the practical ("Tell this stone to become bread");
he appealed to the desire to enjoy an axalted position ("
I will give you all ... authority and splendor"); and
he appealed to a sense of pride ("if you are the Son
of God ..."). In each of these temptations we observe
elements of life that trouble us all. We must examine ourselves
closely and realize how open we are to satan's attacks.
Satan thought he had the advantage in that
desert, but Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, counterattacked
each temptation with an answer from Scripture. Then satan
thought that Calvary would be the opportune place to finally
tempt Jesus totally. But the cross was Jesus' opportunity
to destroy satan completely. If you must enter a desert-like
place today and be exposed to the devil's temptation, don't
retreat ! Keep moving in the steps of the cross. Remember,
Jesus was tempted too, and he will help you ( Hebrew 2:18)
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A FURIOUS HOMETOWN
All the people in the synagogue
were furious (Luke 4 : 28)
Today is the beginning of the season in which
the church focuses on the suffering and death of Jesus.
One example of Jesus' suffering is the way
people treated Him when he visited his hometown. The very
people from whom he should have expected friendliness became
furious with Him and wanted to kill Him.
Those who follow in Christ's footsteps of suffering may discover
(as he did) that sometimes they experiences their deepest
distress in "hometown" situations. When you tell
"hometowners" about Christ and about what He has
done to you, the people who know you best sometimes oppose
you the most hatefully.
Those who follow Christ must life a repentant
life, and when they are with close family and friends, they
must call them to repentance as well. But repentance is neither
easy nor comfortable. Most people like things to remain the
same; they don't want to change, they can become murderously
resentful. As we walk the familiar places of our lives, we
should not be surprised if our message for Christ causes those
who know us to become furious with us. And we must not be
afraid -- Christ Himself passed right through His countrymen's
murderous ranks, and he will take us through as well, if that
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amazed at His teaching, because his message had authority
. Luke 4:32
Think back to the first school you ever attended
and to your first teacher. You remember your teacher, dont't
you? Now try to remember the principal of your school at that
time. Most likely you have forgotten him.
Both of these people had authority, but they expressed it
in different ways. I will never forget the gentle,kind, patient
teacher I had when I first went to school. What she taught
I haven't forgotten. She had authority in my life. But I have
forgotten the principal. His authority didn't come across
like my teacher's.
When we walk in Jesus' steps, he enables
us to express a quality of life that puzzles others but also
impressed them; he allows us a measure of the same authority
that he showed while he was on earth. This authority does
not result from our pushing or shoving or climbing to the
top to capture it for ourselves. It simply comes from surrendering
to God and doing all we can to show in our lives the love
that flows from God.
Just as those who heard Jesus recognized that he spoke with
a special authority, people who watch Jesus' followers cannot
help but notice that they have been touched by Christ. Jesus'
followers are a confident people who cannot help but teach
others. Their character is unforgettable. All who meet them
intrigued by their gracious, servant-like attitude.
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The people brought to Jesus all who
had . . . sickness, and laying his hands on each one, He healed
them. Luke 4 : 40
Christ suffered for individual persons. He
enjoyed knowing their names, and sometimes he even changed
their names, and sometimes he even changed their names. When
we think of Jesus helping others, we remember that His steps
led to the homes, wells, and dinner tables of individuals.
Today you will see a variety of people. You may be tempted
to lump them into some category and disregard them. Treating
people this way seems more efficient, less demanding - doing
so lets you to get on with other things. But wait. You are
walking in the steps of the ruler of the kingdom of grace.
Notice his desire to lay "his hands on each one."
It may be more demanding for us, but we should determine to
look at the people in our lives from Jesus' viewpoint.
A friend told me about his old grandfather. Every Christmas,
as his large clan gathered to celebrate Christ's birth, the
grandfather would stop at each family table and say something
to each grandchild or great-grandchild. Today, decades after
his grandfather's death, my friend can still recall the man's
kind, concerned look of love for him.
Do you suppose there is someone in your path today who needs
that kind of personal attention? What's his name? what's her
name? Touch that person with Jesus' concern for his or her
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When Simon Peter saw this, he fell
at Jesus' knees and said, "Go away from me, Lord; I am
a sinful man!" Luke 5:8
Sometimes we are so uncomfortable with the goodness of Jesus
that we reject him. Peter was overwhelmed by a miraculuos
event that indicated that Jesus was special, even divine.
In his mind, there was a mixture of hope and confusion. He
didn't know how to react ,so he knelt and said, "Go away
Now we have to understand what was happening when Peter asked
Jesus to leave. Notice that Jesus did not express hurt because
he was rejected. Rather, he was able to see Peter's strange
request as an expression of confussion and fear - actually
it was a plea for help. Then Jesus assured Peter that he did
not have to be afraid and that from then on his life would
As you walk in Jesus' steps today, you may
frighten some people. There may be some who sense that you
represent Christ, and they may feel they have no business
being with you. In some way, they may ask you to leave them
alone; they may say, "Go away!"
Don't mistake this for rejection.
Often "Go away!" is a person strange way of asking
you to stay and help. When a person is confused and fearful
and treats you this way, often you have an opportunity to
assist him or her in moving from fear to faith. Finally you
are able to embrace and celebrate God's grace together.
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"I have not come to call
the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Luke 5 : 32
Charles Colson, writing about repentance, asks, "Why
is repentance so important?" He answers the question
this way: "Repentance is, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote,
'ultimate honesty,' acknowledgment of what we are. A repentant
heart produces tolerance and compassion for all other human,
slaying the dragons of pride and sel-righteousness."Those
who follow Jesus and try to walk in his steps learn the secret
of repentance themselves as they earnestly seek to make his
will their will.
As we walk with the Lord, we also find ourselves among those
who are aware of their need to become honest about themselves.
Christ's love anables them to confess with sincere sorrow
what they realy are. There is no need to wear a mask in Jesus'
In the paths we walk today, will we gently encourage people
to look honestly at themselves? How can we help people experience
what Scripture describes as "godly sorrow," which
leads to salvation (2 Cor. 7:10)? Jesus came to us to help
us repent. And repentance hurts, because it's our admission
of previous self-gratification. But it opens up to us deepening
trust and dependence on Jesus. When we repent, we say no to
a destructive pattern and yes to a life open to God.
Let Christ's forgiveness change you today.
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"No one after drinking
old wine wants the new, for he says,"The old is better."
Luke 5 :39
"Those were the good old days," says a friend as
he describes an incident we both remember. He implies that
things were better the. Maybe you've noticed that as you grow
older, it can be painful to review all the changes around
you. Sometimes it may distress you to hear yourself say what
you thought you'd never say : "The old was better."
Be careful; you may be wrong.
In Christ, we experience conflict between "The new"
and "The old". In today's passage, when he talked
about new wine, Jesus had in mind the new wine of the kingdom
of God. This idea symbolizes the new way of life that Jesus
brought into the world, and this new way is better.But often
the people he met during his ministry resisted and claimed,
"The old is better."
Part of Jesus' suffering was his awareness of the fact that
though he was bringing the best his heavenly Father had to
offer the world, the religious authorities resisted and claimed
that the old way was better. But nothing is better than God's
best. Therefore, Jesus kept pressing on for the best.
Remember, as you have contact with various people today, that
you do not have to compromise the best. If you are living
for Jesus, never concede that the old, wordly way is better.
Surely there is some good in the old way, but in Jesus there
is incomparable new life.
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The Pharisees and the teachers
of the law were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they
watched him closely. Luke 6:7
Recently our newspaper reported that a man who had been in
prison for several years had been released. Another person
had confessed to the crime. I wonder how the released man
feels. For all those years he had been declared guilty. Investigators
had found evidence allowing them to accuse him in a court
of law. Their accusations were considered to be well-supported,
and the man's freedom was taken from him. I wonder how those
who made the accusations feel today.
Christ's path was a path of suffering because religious investigators
were interested in him only for the purpose os accusing. They
knew they needed good reason for their accusatios, so they
stayed on Jesus' trail. Their minds were set in a destructive
bent - what a waste! These were the holiness experts and the
scholars of the day. Think of how close they were to discovering
the mind of Christ.
Those who, in faith, strive to follow in Jesus' footsteps
have an entirely different attitude. As they watch Jesus closely,
they gain insight into the kingdom of God that is already
being established in this world. It's true, of course, that
there are gifted people who examine Jesus and accuse him of
trechery. But those who follow him in faith experience the
excitement and joy of being transformed.
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PRAYING ALL NIGHT
one of those days Jesus went
out into the hills to pray, and spent the night praying to
God. Luke 6:12
When we think about following in Jesus' footsteps, we discover
that these footsteps often lead to the place of praaayer aaand
that they sometimes stop there for a long time. One time Jesus
praaayed throughout the night.I did that once with some friends;
none of us had ever done it before, and I was grateful that
we could encourage eaaach other in prayer. I dont't think
I would have made it through without them. Jesus, however,
was all alone when we talked with his heavenly Father.
Who knows what went on during Jesus' hour-by-hour dialogue
with his Father? Did they talk about each disciple whom Jesus
was to choose individually? Did they talk about Judas? No
one will ever know .
The important thing to notice is that Jesus emerged from
this night of prayer able to choose the disciples who would
change the course of world history. From then on, Jesus walked
with his chosen followers, who often saw him pray and who
prayed with him.
Some of us need to set aside more time to talk to God and
to listen to him. There would be some better decisions, some
more vital ideas, and some enduring resolve as we devoted
ourselves in this way.
How do you spend your nights? What I remember about that
night in prayer with my friends is that when morning came,
I wasn't overtired- I had new vision.
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"Rejoice in that day
aaand leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven."
In our city there is a five-foot, seven-inch professional
basketball player who can leap so high, with the ball in his
hand, that he can slam the ball through the hoop with his
hands rising above the ten-foot rim. It's amazing! When he
does this, people rise to their feet and cheer, and others,
who have seats on the basketball floor, leap high themselves
in celebration. The ball game becomes a gathering of "leapers".
The other day I thought I would try to picture different
people I saw in meetings, restaurants, malls, and schools
trying to stuff a basketball through a hoop. That brought
a few smiles to my face.
But you know, if we believe in Christ and try to follow him
in his path of suffering, we all should be leapers. Today's
text makes it clear that we may encounter some difficult but
appropriate occasions to leap for joy: sometimes we may despised
for following Jesus. And our leaping is not for something
temporary, like points at a basketball game. No, this is leaping
for joy - joy in the living hope of heaven.
Leap for Jesus - even if you are hated, insulted, or rejected
because of your walk in his steps. You are identified with
Jesus! Leap for joy in those times, and there will soon be
others leaping with you. The crowds who are searching for
hope will be astonishing.
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"With the measure you
use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38
The words of today's Scripture passage sound strange to us,
for we are accustomed to judging people around us all the
time. We do it without thinking.
When we examine Luke 6, however, we learn that when we judge,
or evaluate, other people, we should always remember God's
mercy. (see v.36). The measure we should use is the measure
Those who use the measure of mercy learn how to rejoice with
others, commending them whenever possible.Often we can draw
unjustified conclusions when we observe someone else's behavior;
instead, we should make our decisions on the basis of our
hope of God's mercy for that person.
If we use mercy in our judging, we will also release the
grace of forgiveness. It's not always easy to forgive, but
if someones's behavior has upset us or even hurt us and has
caused us to judge him or her, we must remember that forgiveness
is the one way we can be restored in our relationship to that
person and God.
Those who use mercy as their measure when they judge others
realize God's grace in their own lives, and they use his love
to reach out in love to a neighbor. When you judge others
today, remember how God has forgiven you - and be merciful
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"You hypocrite, first
take the plank out of your eye . . . " Luke 6:42
Everybody hates hypocrisy, and we can spot it at once in
others because there's a little bit of it in every one of
us. Those who strive to follow in Christ's footsteps, however,
know that people can change remarkably on Christ's path. In
contact with Jesus, pretenders become sincere and authentic.
No wonder, for Jesus frequently dealt with hypocrites and
told them how necessary it was for them to change,
There are those who say that Jesus himself was only "playing
a role" when he walked among us. They do not believe
he was actually a human being; they say his humanity was a
disguise that he used for a time to cover his divinity. But
how could this be? Jesus was the most honest and real human
being who ever lived. If he had been "palying a role,"
he never would have gone to Calvary for his brothers aand
As you follow Jesus today, remember what he said to hypocrites,
and examine your own life in terms of his remarks. Jesus calls
us to evaluate ourselves honestly, and this will humble us.
Jesus also calls us to be more considerate and forgiving
of the people we meet. In light of this, we can take an honest
look at ourselves and remove our hypocritical tendency to
criticize our close associates in order to stand above them
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"Out of the overflow
of his heart his mouth speaks," Luke 6:45
In the town of my boyhood, there was a great old river, the
Mullet, which had a small dam on it. Whenever the ice and
snow melted or the summer rains were abundant, the water would
flow over the big rocks that lay alongside the dam. The river
below swelled and created exciting rapids downstream.
Later,though, when the dam waaas opened because the river
above it had slowed, the townspeople downstream had an unpleasant
experience: they could see the filth that had accumulated
on the river bottom, and they could smell a putrid odor. No
one like seeing what had been under the water.
Our hearts are being filled all the time, somewhat like the
Mullet River. But are our hearts being filled with things
that are wholesome or things that are unwholesome? Remember
that our actions and our words are governed by what is in
our hearts; we bring up what has been stored inside.
Some people allow themselves to say things that are unwholesome
(Ephesians 4:29). But those of us whose hearts are filled
with faith in Jesus Christ can confess with our mouths that
Jesus is Lord (Romans 10 : 9 ).
Walk today in the footsteps of your Master, Jesus Christ,
and allow his Spirit to fill your heart with the treasures
of his rich grace.
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"He is like a man building
a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock."
Luke 6 : 48
Walking through a developing city like Atlanta, Georgia,
usually provides a look at a construction site. The contractors
set up a tall wooden wall around the deep hole in which the
foundation for the project will be laid. And holes are usually
vut into the wooden wall so that onlookers can watch the building
Jesus knew about building too; our lives, he said, must be
firmly built-with unshakable rock as our foundation. If we
are going to follow the example of Jesus, he has to be our
foundation and his words have to be the priciples that govern
our daily practice.
Just as the curious gather at observation points when buildings
are built in Atlanta, people will gather to observe you building
your life on a rock. Some will glance and move on, and others
will criticize, but still others will be intrigued by the
foundation of your life, and they will admire the consistency
with which it is built. They will be especially impressed
by the way your "building" can withstand fierce
Like the great buildings of modern city, this life based
on the consistent practise of Christ's Word takes a long time
to build. There are pre-fab models that can be put up more
quickly. But only tested materials meeting the Lord's specifications
and built on the rock of Jesus will stand forever.
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When the Lord saw her, his
heart went out to her and he said, "Don't cry . . . "
Luke 7 : 13
As we follow in the steps of the suffering Christ, we learn
important lessons about our own grief and sorrow. Jesus could
see the deep sorrow of the widow of Nain: she had already
gone through the grief of her husband's death; now her only
son had also died.
We know that Jesus himself wept when he was at the tomb of
his friend Lazarus (John 11:35), so we know that when he told
the widow of Nain not to cry, he was not rebuking her. He
wanted to convey new hope and great expectations to this grief-stricken
woman. That he spoke in the presence of many people who accompanied
the sorrowing widow shows that he wanted all of them to see
how he had brought hope to everyone.
Perhaps you remember saying to a young child whose knee was
scraped or whose ankle was spained or whose feelings were
hurt,"Don't cry." When this simple statement comes
from a heart of love aaand from someone who has help to offer
and hope to give, it can be amazingly comforting.
Jesus' words to the widow of Nain have special meaning to
those who have lost children. And just as Jesus wanted the
widow to stop so that he could touch her life with his restoring
power, he enters our lives today and invites us to wait with
expectation for his gracious help.
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"I suppose [it would
be] the who had the bigger debt canceled." Luke 7:43
Cancellations can be disappointing, but not if they involve
debts that are owed.
The Bible often pictures our sin as a debt, and, as sinners,
each of us has a large balance that we owe. But when we, through
faith, experience new life in Christ, we learn that he has
canceled our debt. By walking the path of suffering, Jesus
has become the Redeemer of all who follow him obediently.
In today's reading the woman who had lived a "sinful
life" experienced the beginning realization of forgiveness.
And she expressed her gratitude in a startling way at the
Pharisees' dinner party. Anyone who had debt of sin canceled
by Christ can understand how she felt.
While walking in the steps of the Savior today, you may meet
someone who feels the burden and stress of a great debt of
sin. When you talk with that person, don't use only your own
words; use also the Bible's record of the episode we have
just read about. It centers around the idea of sin being canceled.
By nature, we often like to act as if we are debt collectors
by reminding people of what they have done wrong. But those
who have had their debt canceled by Christ are eager to represent
him and to tell others about what he will do for them.
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Jesus traveled about from
one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news
of the kingdom of God. Luke 8 : 1
Close to where our family once lived there was a little amusement
park with a variety of carnival rides.For all of us it was
a fun place. It was called "Kiddie Kingdom." I was
quaite impressed with one of our children, who, in his mealtime
prayer oneday,thanked God for the "Kingdom." Thinking
I had a budding theologian in my family, I asked him where
he had learned about the kingdom. He looked at me in surprise
and said,"You know,Dad. The Kiddie Kingdom."
Maybe life in the kingdom of God needs to be proclaimed in
such aa way that children realize what an enjoyable and fun-filled
adventure it is. Although the steps of Jesus Christ are resolute
steps, they are best followed in childlike faith. Children
of faith run from one step to another with joy. And on the
kingdom walk there is no better place to be than where the
Where the King is, there is joy and a sure confidence that
all is in control. He reigns over all of life, and he provides
the comfort in which people can make refreshing decisions
Are you walking today in the kingdom of God? Around you today
are people who would like to hear some good news. And the
news you have to give is of the kingdom of God, the eternal
kingdom, in which we find the joy of life.
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"As they go on their
way they are choked by life's worries, riches and pleasures,
and they do not mature." Luke 8 : 14
One of the most terrifying experiences is not being able
to breathe because you're choking. Because we are so afraid
of this for ourselves, we are especially concerned when we
see someone else choking.
The Bible passage we are looking at today tells us that it
is possible to choke spriritually - in terms of our spiritual
life. And part of the good news of the kingdom of God is that
if we seek the kingdom (Matthew 6 : 33 ) ,we will become mature
in Christ and we will not choke.
At times the path of Jesus seems rather difficult to follow.
The pleasures of the worldbeckon us to "enjoy."
But when we seek the kingdom, God teaches us that the "pleasures
of sin" do not last.
If you are running at a fast pace and gasping for your life's
breath, maybe you're being choked. Perhaps "worries,
riches, and pleasures" are crowding out life. There is
no joy anymore - only more stress,pressure, and hindrance
to your maturing. These are thorns that are hurting you.
Today take a deep breath from the fresh air of God's Spirit.
Then concentrate on the King's Word that has been sown in
you. With God's help, you can begin to remove those choking
thorns. Breathe deeply, and grow into a fruitful person today.
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"Where is your faith?"
he asked his disciples. Luke 8 : 25
Often we mistakenly assume that faith is a constant presence
in a person's life - once a person has it, he has it, and
nothing will change its intensity aand power. But people of
faith will be the first to admit that faith is not really
Faith sometimes falters. Sometimes it seems to get misplaced,
or lost, for a while. Evidently, the disciples' faith became
misplace when they were with Jesus in the storm that Luke
8 tells us about. Many of us know that storms will do this.
Have you experienced times when, like the disciples in today's
reading, you cry out to the Lord Jesus in fear? Times of fear
are times when your faith grows the most. Faith emerges at
those times in life when we are weak, foolish, and afraid.
Jesus knows that you will need his gift of faith if you are
to walk consistently through the various storms of your life
today, and he is eager to have you rely on him. If you are
going through a stormy time just now, trust in Christ totally,
and he will bering calm into your life.
Sometimes believers think that their faith is a product of
their own efforts, but when they are overwhelmed by the storms
of life, they discover that their faith is totally a gift
Where is your faith today?
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"Who touched me?"
Jesus asked. Luke 8:45
In describing Jesus, the apostle John said, "That which
was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have
heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked
at and our hands have touched - this we proclaim concerning
the Word of life ( 1 John 1 : 1 ).
The woman described in today's passage
wanted nothing more than to touch the Savior. If she were
alive today, she would be part of that great group of people
who know that Jesus is not distant but reachable and who tell
others this good news.
If you are walking in the footsteps of Jesus, you will find
that many unusual and deeply troubled people will reach out
for your help. Remember, they are not really reaching out
to you but are trying to touch the person who has touched
you and changed your life. They want the help of Christ desperately.
Don't avoid their touch. If someone senses
that you have received the grace, truth, and power of Christ,
the moments you spend with that person are extremely important.
When Jesus knew that someonhe was reaching out to touch him
for a special reason, he stopped everything for that person.
We should do the same.
More than likely, someone will reach out to you today. What
a privilege to acknowledge that person and to point him to
Christ for his need.
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"The Son of Man must
suffer many things . . . " Luke 9 : 22
Have you noticed that you struggle a bit when someone says
the word must? It's a word that doesn't give us alternatives.
To hear someone give us a command and say we have a duty to
obey is not always appealing to us. We are tempted to cry
as we did when we were children. "But,Mom, must I?"
When we follow in the steps of Jesus, we find that doing
so requires a strong internal commitment: Jesus was totally
commited to obeying the divine imperatives - the "musts"
- of his life (Mark 9:12 ,13)
Strange as it seems, though, when we dedicate ourselves to
Christ, we find that life becomes more simple and meaningful.
You know that oftentimes people confront you with commands
that seem important at the moment, but later you find out
that obeying them involved a waste of time. Those who are
not following Christ waste a lot of time obeying improper
commands. It's frustrating and dissappointing to spend your
energy on activities that are unnecessary. Arrange your life,then,
according to Christ's commands. There may be some suffering
to you, but you must keep on, as Jesus did. As you follow
him, you can be assured that the things you do will not be
a waste of time but will be of eternal significance.
What "must" you do for the Lord today?
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"If anyone would come
after me, he must deny himself . . . "
When we returned from our vacation, my wife asked me to go
to a supermarket to pick up some milk, bread, and cereal for
breakfast. She would do the major shopping the next day. One
of our teenagers came in aaafter I returned, and said, "When
are we going to get some food in the house?" His mother
told him we had all that was necessary: milk, bread, aand
cereal. He was unimpressed.
As it turned out, the next day my son aaand I went off to
a "Youth Discipleship Study" group, where we learned
that disciples must learn how to discipline themselves and
limit their needs. Interesting,isn't it, how a disciple has
to change his view of the "necessary" of life if
he wants to follow after Jesus. It's difficult for most people
in our society today to change their ideas of what is necessary
because they have grown up in an environment where everyone
has more than enough. The idea of denying oneself was foreign
to everyone in that discipleship study group.
Following Jesus, we learn the discipline of self denial, which
brings liberty and joy into believer's lives. Jesus wanted
all who followed him to experience the release that accompanies
walking an ancluttered path. How badly do you want to follow
after Jesus? Come on along; he has everything necessary for
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"If anyone would come
after me, he must . . . take up his cross daily . . . "
There are a lot of things we pick up daily: a newspaper,
a jacket, a hammer , a briefcase, a book for study - but a
The cross was carried by the condemned criminal to the place
of execution. When Jesus was sentenced, the crowd saw him
begin the journey to Calvary carrying his own cross (cf. John
19:17); then they saw it laid on the shoulders of Simon from
Cyrene. Jesus walked to the cross willingly for the sake of
To walk in Jesus' steps daily requires our willingness to
take up the struggles that come to us because of our heartfelt
loyalty to him. Surrounded by God's grace, we are called to
move out into the full view of others, acrrying our crosses.
I waited in line in a restaurant the other day behind a young
woman who had large gold crosses attached to her ears. I wondered
if she had put those on with purpose. But they seemed too
shiny, too light, too easy.
A cross was a blood-stained piece of wood that reminded people
of the crime committed by the bearer. The reminder for us,
however, is the cleansing and forgiveness of Jesus. we walk
in his steps knowing that we have been granted forgiveness.
When we think of what our crosses mean to us now, they're
not quite so heavy. Jesus carries them for us.
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"If anyone would come
after me, he must . . . follow me." Luke 9:23
Sometimes it's possible to follow too closely. For exaaample,
on a busy street one day, watching the traffic light a head,
I followed a blue van too closely, and there was a frifghtening
crash. It was costly - and all because I had followed to closely.
When we follow Jesus, however, we can never follow too closely.
In fact, when following Christ, it can be disastrous to stay
too far behind. Luke 22 tells us about the apostle Peter following
Jesus at a distance and then actually denying him. When we
follow Jesus, we follow the person who knows the way through
this life, and we are lost if we desert him.
This point seems obvious. But how easily those who claim
to be following Christ can go off on some side trip by following
something other than the Lord himself. Nowadays there is an
information explosion, and many of us have varied interest;
it's easy to follow all sorts of things that happen to intrique
Jesus knows that once the decision has been made to follow
him, people need to keep close behind him. He knows that we
need to focus on him if we are to persevere in our commitment
to a life of serving him. He is the Lord. He is the shepherd.
How will you fix your eyes on Jesus today? Remember that
it's impossible to follow him too closely.
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"Whoever wants to save
his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will
save it." Luke 9:24
I once stood with the owners of a family business that had
been destroyed by a fire. One of the phrases I heard them
use was "We lost everything in that fire." It was
a heartbreaking scene. I'll never forget it.
But neither will I forget what happened in the following
days, as Christian friends proceeded to demonstrate the love
of Jesus Christ and to help this family know that God would
continue to provide for them and help them. We all grew in
Jesus tells us today that if we are going to follow him,
we must experience certain times during our pilgrimage when
we lose something that we had thought was very important and
necessary. We must do this because so many of the things in
our lives stand in the way of our being used by God in his
We must be willing to lose what is most important to us,
even all of the precious things that are part of our lives,
for Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul once said, "I consider
everything a loss comp[ared to the surpassing greatness of
knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all
things" (Philippians 3:8).
Are you willing to give up anything that stands in the way
of serving Jesus? If you are afraid to make such a sacrifice,
remember that you are a following a Savior who died on a cross
to win a glorious victory.
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"If anyone is ashamed
of me and my words, the Son of man will be ashamed of him
. . ... " Luke 9;26
God gave me a special friend when I was a child. His name
was Charlie. We rode together to another town for school.
But Charlie attented a different school than I did. It was
a special-education center for retarded children. Some of
my school friends laughed at Charlie, and those days I too
was sometimes ashamed at Charlie.
But Charlie was really very special. He was happy. He was
strong, and he was a loyal friend. I noticed that his mom
and dad weren't ashamed of him. They loved him, and nothing
he said or did could change that.
A few years ago I took our family to the county fair. There
on the Ferris wheel I saw charlie, with his dad right at his
side. They were having a great time; I could tell by their
big smiles. Charlie's dad still love him.
I'm sorry there was a time when I was ashamed of Charlie.
But, you know, sometimes people who follow Jesus are ashamed
of him. There will be times when you meet intelligent people
who make you feel uneasy about Christ; their high-powered,
impressive arguments will shake you. Don't be surprised, for
the Jesus we walk with walked to the same of the cross.
With Jesus, though, there is nothing to be ashamed of, because
at the cross he conquered sin once and for all. Walk with
him now, and someday he will introduce you proudly to his
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"The Son of Man is going
to be betrayed into the hands of men." Luke 9:44
The hand of God was known as "mighty." By its power
the people of Israel, for example, were brought out of Egypt
(Deuteronomy 5:15). The hand of god was also known for its
blessing, providing different gifts to his people (2 Chronicles
30:12). It was also the bearer of chastisement (Psalm 32:4,5)
and the protector of God's "sheep" (John 10:27,28).
The story of the walk to the cross is the story of the Son
of Man submitting himself to the hands of men. And those were
hands that were eager to grab him, take money from their own
purses to track him down, beat him, and nail him to a cross.
It's more than we can understand - that the one who sits at
the right hand of God surrendered himself to the hands of
Well, we have hands, too, and we use them to handle the affairs
of our lives. Today the responsibility for something important
may be put in our hands, or a person may be entrusted to us
for our care. How will we use these hands of ours? If we follow
Christ, we will want to act in a Christ-honoring manner.
The hands of other people may also touch our lives today,
and possibly these will be hands of betrayal. If we express
our nearness to Jesus effectively, some may wanht to destroy
us. But let's keep our courage up. Remember, today we are
also in the hands of God.
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"I will follow you,Lord;
but first let me go back . . . " Luke 9:61
Following in the footsteps of Jesus involves many different
experiences, some unpleasant. It's not hard to understand
that those whom Christ invites to follow him hesitate. It's
not surprising that they think about some of the things they
have to attend to.When we walk in the footsteps of our Lord
Jesus, however, all our priorities change, and we learn that
nothing else comes first. Jesus expressed this when he said,
"Seek first [God's] kingdom and his righteousness . .
. " (Matthew 6:33)
What stops us too often from following is all those "but
first." Once we leave our primary task of following Jesus
aaand taaake care of some item that we feel has priority,
we discover that there are more matters to be taken care of,
and before long we forget entirely about following Christ
at all. When it comes to following Christ, the key element
is commitment now.
We are often like children who have to learn to put first
things first. Many parents have told a child of theirs to
do something, and the child has said,"I will, but first
there's something else I have to do."
Part of growing and maturing is responding to the call of
Christ and going as far as we can with him, even when we have
some important things of our own to do.
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"No one who puts his
hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the
kingdom of God." Luke 9:62
As we know, the plow has been used for centuries to turn
the soil in preparation for seeding. Following Christ is here
likened to plowing a field. In the Bible, agricultural terms
are often used to describe Christ's work in this world, which
is God's harvest field. We need to follow Christ in the field
of the world; it's as if we are turning over the soil of many
hearts and planting the seed that grows to eternal life. If
we try to go forward as we plow a field but look backward,
we do a very poor job. The eye needs to be unimpaired (Matthew
6:22) and focused ahead in order to mark out a straight, helpful
furrow. A plowman who looks back while plowing leaves a crooked,
embarrassing path behind him.
The wonder of Jesus Christ's walk is his perseverance in
carrying out his task to seek and to save the lost. How could
he do it ? Hebrew 12:2 gives an answer when it tells us to
"fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our
faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning
its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of
There's a lot of hard, sweaty work to be done behind that
plow when we follow Christ. But as we trust in him, God gives
us the grace to follow our Savior and to be joyful in our
service to him in this world.
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- decipher = menguraikan
- jealous = iri,cemburu
- example = contoh, suri
- footsteps = jejak langkah
- obedient = patuh, kepatuhan
- affirmation = penegasan,
- strides = langkah
- attacks = serangan
- tempt = cobaan
- suffering = penderitaan
- result = hasil
- surrendering = penyerahan
- attitude = sikap
- disregard = acuh, mengacuhkan
- frighten = menakutkan
- earnestly = kesungguhan
- encourage = menguatkan
- bent = bakat
- experts = ahli
- leap = lompat, loncat,
- stuff = bahan
- glance = sekilas, pandangan
sekelebatan, sekilas pandang
- dissapointing = mengecewakan
- eager = sungguh-sungguh
- grab = menangkap
- chastisement = kesucian
- manner = cara
- maturing = dewasa
- unimpaired = tidak merusak
- crooked = lekuk
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Cahaya Bagi Negeri
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