Glacier National Park Montana
Photo by Nate Luebbe
“Dwell On These Things”
I pray you all had a very special Christmas “in” Him. In just 2 days, many of you will put up your new calendar, so let me ask you a question: “What are you going to dwell on in 2023?” We know what the Apostle Paul said:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” (Phil 4:8) NASB 1995
The word “dwell” literally means to ponder, meditate and think. So do a quick inventory of your thought life this past week. What are those areas that made the TOP 5 LIST of what you dwelled on? I can tell you one item that made my Top 5 List: THE WEATHER. Yet, very little of what I dwelled on regarding the weather had anything to do with those words from Paul that are in BOLD. In the article below “Fix Your Eyes on Jesus” Ray Stedman hits you right between the eyes. We fix our eyes on Jesus because He is our source of strength ……. Why? Because Jesus DWELLS in us! Make a commitment in 2023 to plead with Jesus to give you a greater understanding to what it means to be “in Christ.” I firmly believe the more we understand this profound truth, verses like Phil 4:8 above will become more and more a part of your daily life.
The man that captured the above photo has 74,500 upvotes on reddit. He waited out a major blizzard in Montana, then God blessed him with the best sunset view he could have ever envisioned. I can only imagine what it must have been like to have actually witnessed that event. Yet, as I dwelled on his photograph, it became more lovely, excellent and worthy of praise. God’s jaw-dropping beauty!
It Will Cost You Everything
For Christmas, my dear wife gave me Steven Lawson’s book, It Will Cost You Everything. It is a small book that walks you through eleven verses from Luke 14:25-35. You know…… those fluffy verses where Jesus says if you can’t hate your wife you can’t be My disciple. Let me read you a few lines from the book. Remember, Jesus will not follow you….. you are called to follow Him:
“Following Christ will cost you much. It will cost you your old way of life and forfeiting your past sins. It will cost you a life of ease and living for this world. It will cost you old habits and old associations. It will cost you following your own agenda for your life. It will cost you time and treasure. It will cost you suffering for being identified with Him. It will cost you opposition and persecution from the world. It may even cost you your life. But in the end, you will gain far more than you lose.” (Page 17-18)
As the author asks, “Where are you in the spiritual journey with Jesus Christ?” After reading these few pages and especially the last sentence above, I grabbed the wooden box my son gave me (photo on left) and read the quote again by Jim Elliot, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” So what is 2023 going to look like for you?
There may still be a few of you that have yet to listen to Steven Lawson’s short 11 minute YouTube message on this very subject. I encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to it. Some years back, our dear brother Tom Cameron, now with Jesus, took this message and put a Bible verse to every one of his statements. I try to listen to it every 3-4 weeks to keep me centered.
Here is the link to: It Will Cost You Everything (YouTube 11 Min)
Make this a Blessed New Year that counts eternally!
“Come after Me” (Luke 14:27)
Men: I hope you have now read all (8) “ Lies Men Want to Believe” starting on December 22 in the Red Book.
As mentioned last week, this verse from Heb 2:3a should stop us in our tracks………
“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation….”
Lies Men Want to Believe – Part Seven Day 363 Red Book
- You can come to God any time you want! ☠️ LIE ☠️
The purpose of these devotionals is to help you think Biblically
Fix Your Eyes on Jesus
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2
We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses, he says. That does not simply say that people who have died and gone on to heaven are looking down on us from above. It means that these people are saying something to us, they are testifying to us, they are witnesses in that sense. Their lives are saying that we ought to lay aside every weight, i.e., whatever hinders faith. You never say, Yes to Christ without saying, No to something else!
And the sin that so easily entangles. What is that? That is unbelief. That is the failure to take revelation seriously. Then, what? Run with perseverance, with persistence, keeping on no matter what happens. How? By fixing our eyes Jesus, that is the answer. The others we read of here can inspire us, challenge us, and some of the men and women of faith who have lived since these days can do the same. I read the life of Martin Luther — what a challenge he is to me; and of John Wesley, and D. L. Moody, and of some of the recent martyrs of faith, Jim Elliot and others. How they have challenged my life and inspired me to make a fresh start; to determine anew to walk with God, and to follow their example. They challenge us to mobilize our resources, clench our fists, set our jaws and determine that we shall be men and women of faith. But if that is our motivation we shall find that we soon run out of gas. It all begins to fade and after a few weeks we are right back in the same old rut.
The secret of persistence is in this phrase, fixing our eyes on Jesus. Look at these men and women of faith, yes, but then look away on Jesus. Why? Because he is the author and finisher of our faith. He can begin it and he can end it, complete it. He is the pioneer, he has gone on ahead. He is also the perfecter of faith. He himself ran the race. He laid aside every weight, every tie of family and friends. Every restraining hand he brushed aside that he might resolutely walk with God. He set his face against the popular sin of unbelief and walked on in patient perseverance, trusting the Father to work everything out for him. He set the example.
But there is more than example in this phrase; there is empowerment. We are to fix our eyes on Jesus because he can do what these others cannot do. They can inspire us, but he empowers us. Moment by moment, day by day, week by week, year by year, if we learn to look to him we find strength imparted to us, because he indwells us! That is the secret.
You can find strength to venture out and start this life of faith today in him. You also discover strength to continue. He is not up there somewhere. As this book has made clear, he is within us, by faith. If we have received Jesus Christ, he dwells within. He has entered into the sanctuary, into the inner man, into the place where we need strength, and is available every moment for me. Therefore, in Christ, I have all that it takes to meet life.
The Lord Gave Us A Casket For Christmas
By Eric Naykalyk – Niagara Falls, Canada
“Exactly three weeks to Christmas Day, God decreed to take my home and flip it upside-down.
Twelve days before Christmas, we lowered my son’s casket into the cold, hard, December ground.”
Most of you have not read this blog that my wife passed to me 4 years back. I don’t know how you get through it without sobbing. This man’s blog puts a perspective on the Incarnation of Christ that one seldom hears…….
“Now, I finally know what it looks like to have your soul ripped open and laid bare; I know what it feels like to have every arrogant pretense of tomorrow’s plans and every foolhardy boast of yesterday’s accomplishments smashed to pieces, with fragmented shards hanging from every side of your broken heart; and I know what it feels like to have nothing to hold on to but the goodness, mercy, and sovereignty of God, and to cling to it for dear life until you finally feel the hurricane begin to subside.”
A blog about the struggle to apply all of Christ to all of life
To Read This Heartfelt Blog, Click Here
God Is Love
Some people deny the wrath and justice of God by announcing, “My God is a God of love.” R.C. Sproul explains the words of 1 John 4:8–“God is love”–and shows what this statement actually teaches about the character of our Creator.
Discipleship in India
Great example of the Discipleship work that is being done in India by Daniel Janagam utilizing Operation Timothy (OT). He was in the state of Punjab, India
Here is the testimony by Pastor Samuel Sony
(YouTube 1 ½ minutes)
Commit to Read the Bible in a Year
Men, you have lots of options, here are just 3 of them:
- Lyle Brennan: firstname.lastname@example.org sends out Walt’s daily devotional and Read the Entire Bible in One Year. If you and/or a friend would like to receive this Daily Devotion, email Lyle above or Click Here
- Navigators Discipleship Journal Bible Reading Plan: See attached PDF or Click Here
- YouVersion for your phone: Bible.com They have Bible reading plans.
- Here is an example of one that I have used: Bible.com/Reading-Plans/3
Make a commitment to read though the Bible in 2023
Year End Giving
Gentle Reminder: Nothing you have is yours!
For those of you that haven’t finished your giving for 2022, here are few “real deal” brothers that continue to pour their lives into the lives of others for the sake of Jesus Christ. Please pray about the men below and ask God to direct and bless you with what you have received from Him (1 Cor 4:7)
- Jerry Bangert, E2.Foundation Most all of you know our brother Jerry and his faithfulness to the Word and Discipleship (E2)
- Lee Yih, LaymansFoundation.org Like Jerry, has given his life to E2
- Jermone Riley, My.FCA.org/JeromeRiley Read Jermone’s Bio
- Jorge Hernandez, My.FCA.org/JorgeHernandez Read Jorge’s Bio
- Daniel Janagam, SharonIndia.org Has peeled open discipleship throughout India and 7 other countries
- Ron Brink, TouchBaja.com Ministering and Discipling for 28 years in Tijuana to those the world has rejected
All these men have been involved with the Zion Boot Camp
In The Valley (Bless the Lord)
Let me leave you with this song by CityAlight. It covers some of what we have touched on today.
Share it with someone that is struggling