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Category: Markethive

My Kingdom Is Not Of This World

 My Kingdom Is Not Of This World!

TITLE: MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD!

 

JESUS answered: “My Kingdom is not of this world."     JOHN 18:33

 

So to whom does the world belong to currently? Currently, the ruler of the world is the devil!     1 JOHN 5:19, JOHN 14:30

 

The devil is also the god of this world!     2 CORINTHIANS 4:4
 

If you love the world or things of the world, you become an enemy with GOD.    JAMES 4:4

 

SAY THIS PRAYER, AS OFTEN AS NEEDED:

In The Name of JESUS CHRIST, I command my heart & mind not to love the world or the things of the world.

 

For the 1 Minute Powerful Prayer, please visit:  https://prayer777.com

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How To Confess

How is “confession good for the soul?” What is Biblical confession of sins?

Written by GodLife on 06/06/2017

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: ConfessionForgivenessSinSalvationHoliness


If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Sin separates you from having a fellowship with God. “Sin is lawlessness.” (1 John 3:4) It includes giving in to temptation. (James 1:13-15) Refusing to do what is right. “…whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17) Even “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” (Romans 14:23) And “sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.” (James 1:15)

If this is true, there aren’t just “seven deadly sins,” are there? All sin is “mortal!” Classifying sins only hides that fact. We’ve all done and thought things that would make us God’s enemy: “On account of these the wrath of God is coming.” (Colossians 3:6) How can we get right with God again?

For the answer to that question, why go anywhere else but God’s Word? Keep reading for what God Himself tells us about sin and how to confess it.

Don’t hide or make excuses for your sins

What happened in Genesis 3 when the first people sinned? They hid from God. They blamed one another (and God). They tried to cover their shame. The temptation was a cruel betrayal. It brought ruin to their relationship with each other and with God. It also made us, their descendants, think and act the same way. We fool ourselves (Galatians 6:7) when we think we can hide, shift blame or minimize sin. It is always found out (Numbers 32:23). God promises, “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

Confess your sins directly to God

God created us for His own glory. (Isaiah 43:7) When we fall short of it, He is the first One Who is offended.(Psalm 51) You may fear His displeasure and His great holiness. But remember what Jesus did for you. Remember where He is now: “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:14-16).

After God, don’t forget anyone else you have offended. Confess to them and restore those relationships also. (Matthew 5:21-24)

Agree with God’s opinion of your sins

Adam and Eve were tricked into thinking God was keeping something good from them. (Genesis 3:1-2) This set them up to fall into direct disobedience. Hiding, covering up and shifting blame shows how little we think of sin, God’s wisdom, and God’s power. We can be tricked, but it’s a big mistake to think God is like that. (Psalm 50:16-23)

Faith will take us in a different direction. (Hebrews 11:6) Not only is God great, He is good to you. “No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11) Keeping this in mind helps us see how a sin started. As soon as you recognize a sin as sin, confess it in a simple prayer to God. Ask God to show you the whole picture. (Psalm 139:23) How would your holy, loving, all-knowing Father describe it? Learn to see sin the way He does.

Agree also about forgiveness

Finally and most importantly, leave the guilt behind you. Our scripture appears in a section of 1 John reminding us of God’s love for His children. John says it is written “so that our joy may be complete.” (1 John 1:4) How can sin grieve us enough that we humbly confess it, but still leave us in complete joy? Because of what follows:

“…God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” (1 John 1:5-2:1)

God promises to forgive and cleanse us when we confess and forsake sin. Jesus Himself represents God’s children before the Father, in all His righteousness. Are you a child of God? Take a moment to let God search your heart for unconfessed sin and confess it for restored fellowship with Him. It is the only way you can “walk in the light” with Him. Once you have done this, be assured that He has kept His promise, and rejoice in the peace and fellowship that is yours!

Do you lack peace? Are you unsure if you are God’s child? Visit http://www.godlife.com/forgiveness to be certain your sins are all forgiven!

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” (Romans 4:7-8Psalm 32:1-2)


Pray this week:

Holy Spirit, search my heart and reveal everything that keeps me from close fellowship with God. Father, show it to me for what it really is. Lord Jesus, thank you for what You did, and for Your mercy available to me.


Is confession hard for you? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

ARE YOU FATHERLESS?

ARE YOU FATHERLESS?

ARE YOU FATHERLESS?

Did You Have An Abusive Father?

REJOICE!
Father GOD is your Father because HE is The Father of the Fatherless.

PSALM 68:5 (Amplified Bible)

(A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows,

Is God in His holy habitation.)

 

SAY THIS PRAYER, AS OFTEN AS NEEDED:

In The Name of JESUS CHRIST, I command my heart & mind to know that I am NOT an Orphan.  Father GOD IS MY FATHER, HE LOVES me and JESUS CHRIST is my Brother & HE LOVES me. I Am Whole and Lack Nothing.

HEB. 2:11 (Amplified Bible)

(Both Jesus who sanctifies and those who are sanctified [that is, spiritually transformed, made holy, and set apart for God’s purpose] are all from one Father; for this reason He is not ashamed to call them [a]brothers and sisters.)

For the 1 Minute Powerful Prayer, please visit:  https://prayer777.com     

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God’s Forgiveness of Your Sin

Sin ruins your life — Who is powerful enough to forgive and renew you?

Written by Hope on 11/10/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: CreationForgivenessPowerSin


God, who raises the dead to life and creates new things…

Romans 4:17b

It’s no secret that we live in a fallen world of sin. From infidelity in relationships, to cheating, to lying, to stealing, sin is everywhere! This sin ruins our life and tears us down.

However, though we live in a world of sin, God is powerful enough to forgive us! But why would he forgive us? And how does he do it? Here are the three pillars to understand about God’s forgiveness of your sins.

God Is The Omnipotent Creator

The Bible teaches us that with His wisdom and power He created the earth and spread out the heavens (Jeremiah 10:12). The prophets praised Him: God said “I am Powerful” (Psalm 62:11) and “Lord God, you stretched out your mighty arm and made the sky and the earth. You can do anything” (Jeremiah 32:17). The Lord says of Himself, “I created everything from the sky above to the earth below” (Isaiah 44:24), and He created all things to be good, in His own estimation — perfect, like Himself, without sin.

God Cannot Stand Sin

But people did sin. And since God “can’t stand sin or wrong” (Habakkuk 1:13a), the sin separated people from God. This is the natural order of Creation, just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of bright light. When you know you have done evil and are disconnected from your Creator, “Your sins are the roadblock between you and your God. That’s why he doesn’t answer your prayers or let you see his face” (Isaiah 59:2).

He Is Powerful Enough To Declare you Innocent

In the book of Exodus 34: 6-7, God declares that He is a fair judge. Just like He is merciful and patient with His people, He also has the power to punish those who sin. “But if we confess our sins to God, he can always be trusted to forgive us and take our sins away” (I John 1:9). In His great love, He “is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him” (Daniel 9:9).

God promises this miracle through Jesus Christ alone. When you believe in Him, you can pray, “I have sinned against; I have disobeyed you and have done wrong. So it is right and fair for you to correct and punish me” (Psalm 51:4) … “Wash me with hyssop until I am clean and whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7a). No matter your sin or shame, no matter who has come against you, we can be confident of His power to “keep you from falling and make sure and joyful in His glorious presence. Before time began and now and forevermore, God is worthy of glory, honor, power and authority. Amen.” (Jude 1: 24)


Pray this week:

Dear God, I have sinned against You. I believe that You alone have the power to forgive me and make my life right in Your ways. Please forgive me, in Jesus’s Name, amen.


How do you need God’s power in your life?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

God is Omnipotent

The Unlimited Power of God

Written by Dan Lee on 05/07/2016

Series: Weekly Devotional

Tags: AttributesCreationGodPower


O Sovereign Lord! You made the heavens and earth by your strong hand and powerful arm. Nothing is too hard for you!

Jeremiah 32:17

Don’t be scared when you see a big word like ‘Omnipotent.’ It simply means that God has all (‘omni’) power (‘potent’).

God’s power is all around us! His power is shown in many ways, but here are just three that the Bible tells us…

1. God’s Power in Creation

The ancient prophets praised God for creating “the heavens and earth” (Jeremiah 32:17). King David wrote, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship” (Psalm 19:1).

Our understanding of the “heavens” has changed over time. Now we know that there are many galaxies with many stars, separated by great distances. The more we know about the universe and everything in it, the more we can praise God for His mighty power.

2.God’s Power in Resurrection and Redemption

“I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead” (Philippians 3:10).

Jesus was tortured and killed by the Roman and Jewish leaders. But the grave could not hold Him; the Roman seal over the stone could not keep Him back. Just as He had predicted, God’s mighty power raised Jesus to life. We who follow Christ should not fear, because God has the last word — even over death. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:55).

3.God’s Power at His Return

“Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory” (Mark 13:26). Many people today don't want to accept God. The day is coming when He will no longer be hidden. What is the result? “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).

If you know Christ as your Savior, take comfort and rejoice in the knowledge that you are protected by the same power that created the heavens and raised Jesus from the dead. If you have not made that decision, don’t wait. Every person will bow in worship; will you bow with shouts of joy or tears of regret.


Pray this week:

Lord, I am amazed at Your mighty power. Help me to see more of Your greatness and to be more in awe of You every day.


Do you need help understanding about God’s power, or any of His other attributes?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Bible Terms: Leadership

Scripture has many expectations for leaders


So you’re in leadership! Perhaps in a large corporation, your own business, or even going into ministry—serving God full-time in the church or a Christian organization. If any of these scenarios apply to you, it’s important to clarify the expectations Scripture lays out for you. Below are 10 terms the Bible applies to leadership and ministry.

HUMILITY

Our culture says, “Believe in yourself! Assert yourself!” But we should not be surprised to learn that the Bible tells us to do exactly the opposite of what the world advocates. We read over and over in the Bible that God pulls down those who exalt themselves and lifts up those who are humble (1 Peter 5:6 ). The Lord highlights humility throughout Scripture, but the culmination of true humility is the attitude of submission to God that Jesus himself displayed and that we are to imitate (Philippians 2:4).

Humility often carries the idea of hardship and low position, but it is the only way of life for a leader of God’s people, no matter what his or her title. When God puts us in humbling situations, either to test or discipline us, we should respond without defiance, and accept his will. God’s power and authority should inspire this spirit of submission whenever we approach him, but especially when we know we have sinned (2 Chronicles 7:14). Humility, however, does not mean fear. Proverbs 29:25 tells us that the “fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe.” Jesus Christ never cowered, nor did he apologize for doing what was right. When we are walking humbly with God, we will be looking for his approval, not other people’s affirmation.

SERVANT

“Serve people? You’ve got to be kidding!” We tend to associate servitude with oppressed people slaving for a cruel master. In the Bible, servants had a different job description—one more akin to our current-day employer-employee relationship. The servant’s job was to loyally carry out his or her master’s orders and act in the master’s interest at all times. In return, the master was responsible for feeding and clothing the servants and looking after their needs.

The Old Testament identified the nation of Israel as God’s servant; Israel’s job was to glorify God and reveal him to the surrounding nations (Isaiah 27:6). Jesus Christ, however, was the ultimate servant. He put aside his position in heaven to take on human form. He healed and fed people while he was on the earth, and in the greatest act of servanthood, he gave his life for us (Philippians 2:5-8). We’re called to serve God and others, just as Jesus did (1 Peter 4:10). As leaders, it is especially vital that we take the servant’s path to authority and greatness.

JUSTICE

We may think of “justice for all” as something that belongs only in the pledge of allegiance. But throughout the Old and New Testaments, God makes it clear that he expects both government leaders and individual believers to pursue moral rightness in the workplace, court system, and in all societal relationships (Micah 6:8). There may not be perfect equity now, but the Lord expects us to make justice a high priority in our lives—and that means justice for others, not ourselves.

Someday the Lord will take his seat as judge and bring about complete justice for all. Until then, we seek justice for others. We introduce people to the good news that, though we justly deserve God’s wrath, Jesus took our punishment. Now God’s justice means that we are restored to relationship with him when we trust Jesus Christ as our Savior (Romans3:2). In God’s eyes, justice is very much a part of the ministry of every believer.

WISDOM

How often do you find yourself in a quandary over what to do in a specific situation? What you need is wisdom—the ability to reach sound decisions through knowledge, insight, and discernment. The Hebrew word for wisdom means the skillful ability to live in harmony with reality. It is not just about what is best or right for us, but what is best and right in God’s eyes (Proverbs 2:6). In other words, wise choices are also moral ones.

Being wise is much more than just being smart. You can get straight A’s, but without wisdom, you will do foolish things. The wise leader makes choices rooted in the fear of God— the desire to please God and obey his commands. You cannot serve God or lead others without his wisdom guiding your life.

TEACH

“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day,” the old saying goes, but “teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” Teaching and learning are also crucial to our Christian faith. Jesus taught the people about God. He explained what the Scriptures meant, and he taught with an incredible authority the people had never seen before (Matthew 7:28-29). Then he lived his life before them as a real example that they could see and touch.

Jesus told us to carry on his work (Matthew 28:19-20). We are to instruct people not only in the facts about salvation but also in how to obey God and apply what they hear. Above all, we are to live according to the teaching of God that we are passing on to others.

Teaching is a God-given ability or spiritual gift; however, it doesn’t guarantee that a person with this ability is always right about everything. The Bible warns against listening to and teaching faulty information about God’s truth. Those who teach must study the Word carefully because they have a powerful influence on others (2 Timothy 3:16).

MINISTRY

Ministry is serving other people. There are countless ways to minister: teaching, praying, providing financial help, leading others in worship, preaching the Gospel, caring for the physical and emotional needs of others. Jesus’ ministry involved serving us through his teachings, his life and his death (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

Ministry isn’t about chalking up points with God—we can’t earn God’s love. Ministry is an expression of our love for God displayed in the way we love others. We love others through our actions because God loves us. Our ministry—the greatest service we could ever be to someone else—is also to tell them about Jesus Christ’s love and saving power.

CALL

What is “the call”? Some people wonder if God is calling them to be missionaries or pastors. One thing is for sure: God calls each of us to follow Jesus Christ (Luke 9:23). Jesus once compared the kingdom of heaven to a man who invited many guests to a great banquet. the guests ignored the invitation; they had more important things to do. No matter what family you come from or what occupation you hold, God calls you to know, love, and follow his Son (John 10:27). It’s an invitation you don’t want to refuse!

In the book of Acts, the apostles and Paul received special instructions from God (Acts 1:7-8). We think of those as “calls” from God, but most believers don’t receive verbal, individualized instructions like that. Never fear—the whole Bible gives each believer a call to love God, obey him, and share his Good News with our whole lives. That’s call enough to keep us busy no matter where our talents, desires, and circumstances lead us.

ANOINT

If someone poured oil over your head (“anointed you with oil”), you probably wouldn’t consider it a blessing, but in the Old Testament, oil symbolized the Holy Spirit. Kings, priests, prophets, and even physical articles destined for holy purposes were anointed with oil. Anointing indicated that the individual or thing was set apart for God’s purposes and equipped by his Spirit. The Bible’s use of the term also represents God’s bestowal of favor on, or his selection of, an individual to perform a special task (1 Samuel 9:16). For example, David was anointed as king of Israel (1 Samuel 16:13). The Bible often refers to Jesus Christ “the Anointed One.” He is God’s chosen instrument, bringing salvation to people on earth (Psalm 2:2).

When we believe in Christ, we are also anointed with his Holy Spirit. The New Testament does not call on Christians to physically anoint their leaders—only those Christians who are sick and need healing are to be anointed (James 5:14). Why? Because we are all anointed spiritually. We are each chosen and empowered to serve God. We speak of “anointing” when we experience power from the Holy Spirit to accomplish special work for him. That, too, is not just for leaders and ministers, but for every believer.

DEDICATE

To dedicate or devote something is to give completely, without holding back. Christians give their lives—their very bodies—completely to God (Romans 12:1-2).

Sometimes, we make a special dedication of our time, energy, or possessions. God takes our promises and commitments seriously. He wants us to carefully consider what we dedicate to him. Don’t make specific promises you cannot carry out (Proverbs 20:25).

For example, Paul cautioned young widows to avoid committing themselves to serve God through a lifetime of singleness because God knew their sensual desires could cause them to break their commitment (1 Timothy 5:11-14).

God honors our commitments as our expressions of love and worship, and he will never be in our debt. When we give to God, he always gives back above and beyond what we could ever imagine (Romans 8:32).

ELDER

In Bible times, elders were older members of the community. They held positions as governors, administered justice, and were active in citizens’ concerns. Their respected offices were transferred to the next generation after their deaths. In Moses’ time, elders represented the people when they met before God.

When the early church began, elder positions (pastors, overseers, general leaders) existed, but other positions, such as deacons, were soon created due to new situations and special emergencies. Both the young and the old filled these new positions; so, yes, even the young can be church elders. However, God requires special qualifications of elders because they are called to be spiritual shepherds of God’s flock (1 Peter 5:2-4). Those qualities include the following: They must be blameless, self-controlled, and hospitable; not overbearing, quick-tempered, or given to drunkenness (1 Timothy 3:1-7). If our personal lives aren’t under control, how can we carry the heavier responsibilities of caring for the church?


What does the term "servant-leader" mean to you?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

How to Become a Great Leader

Four traits you can learn from Deborah, Israel’s leader.

Written by GodLife on 21/05/2019
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Bible, Leadership, Women
Villagers in Israel would not fight; they held back until I, Deborah, arose, until I arose, a mother in Israel.

Judges 5:7
Leadership comes from some of the strangest places. Over and over in the Bible, God tells us He sees what others do not in terms of capability and leadership. The story of Deborah in Judges 4 and 5 provides great insight into how God shapes leaders, from humble beginnings to wise judgement and even to defending their country. While there are many leadership lessons we can learn from Deborah, four stand out:

Great Christian leaders have confidence in their decisions because they depend on a close, personal relationship with God
Great Christian leaders trust their team to accomplish the task
Great Christian leaders are servants who don’t take credit for winning
Great Christian leaders rise to challenges through God’s strength
How did this all start?  
The book of Judges talks about many cycles of sin, slavery and salvation. Israel was oppressed because they had turned away from God, but when they turned back to Him, God raised up judges like Deborah to lead them. Judges were spiritual, political, judicial and often military leaders.

Why a close, personal relationship with God helps you in your decisions
As a wife, spiritual leader for the people, judge and prophetess, Deborah had to learn balance in all of those roles. Deborah had a special relationship with God. She was called by Him to lead, and she trusted God to show her His will. Her decisions were based on her relationship with God. Israel recognized that relationship and accepted her leadership. We should remember to seek God’s guidance to serve Him in whatever roles to which He calls us.

Great leaders trust the team
“My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people.” (Judges 5:9)  Unlike most of the judges, Deborah was not a military leader. God told her to commission a man named Barak to lead the army into battle. She knew there were others who had the skills to fight and trusted in them. Yet Barak refused to go into battle without her there. Even though Barak should have trusted God’s word, his condition for battle showed how much respect Deborah had as a leader. We learn that respect ran throughout the people.
Judges 5:15 tells us “the princes of Issachar came with Deborah, and Issachar faithful to Barak; into the valley they rushed at his heels."

Leaders should be servants
Deborah’s faith in God gave her confidence in the decisions she made. She had confidence in the military to carry out God’s plan. Deborah did not want any credit for the victory. She was modest yet assertive, taking on the mantle of leadership with strength and knowing when to step back. Great leaders follow Jesus’ example. “whoever would be great among you must be your servant . . . even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26, 28)

God gives you the strength to lead
While it was not typical for women to be judges in that time, Deborah heard God’s call and did not hesitate to give God’s words to the people. When the time came for action, she went with Barak to Kedesh. “Up!  For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hand.  Does not the Lord go out before you?” (Judges 4:14)
God also granted her the gift of prophecy, proclaiming that Sisera (the commander of the enemy) would be delivered into the hand of a woman. When that prophecy came true, Deborah gave credit to God. Most of us try to depend on our own strength, only turning to God when we think we need it most. Deborah knew all of her strength came from God, and she walked with Him daily. Her actions provided a wonderful example to the people of Israel (and to us) of how God can use anyone, woman or man, to be a strong leader.

Pray this week:
“Lord, show me how to be a leader for You, no matter what role I am in. Give me opportunities to grow as a servant leader, following your example. Amen.” 

Which of the four traits of a good Christian leader do you struggle with? 

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

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Hard Sayings of Jesus

Don’t let anything — however shocking — keep you from Jesus

Written by Dan Lee on 12/06/2018
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Confusion, Identity, Jesus, Discipleship, Lord
And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes.

Matthew 7:28–29
God’s Word, the Bible, is full of promises and comforting words. But in both the Old and New Testaments we find words that challenge rather than comfort us, or even cause us to be troubled or confused. 

Some of Jesus’ words are hard because His goal was not our happiness in this life, but our sanctification. That is, that we live holy lives that bring glory to Him. 

Let’s allow the difficulty of some of God’s words cause us to praise Him in faith, knowing that His wisdom and knowledge are infinite and perfect. And let us rejoice, knowing that though we see Him only dimly now through a clouded glass, we will soon see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12). 

Here are a few of Jesus’ hard sayings, with a short explanation of each. I trust they will help you know and follow Him better.

No. 1: Eat His flesh and drink His blood
“So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:53-54)

This is one of Jesus’ most famous hard sayings. Many of his followers left him after hearing it, and the disciples even said, “This is a hard saying” (John 6:60). 

We also know that some critics, taking the words literally, accused Christians of being cannibals. So what did Jesus mean when he said these words?

Jesus was not instructing people to literally eat his flesh and drink his blood, but that his body and blood, broken and shed for us on the cross, were going to be life-giving and nourishing for all who believed in him. Later, during the Last Supper, He explained further:

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said,  ‘Take, eat; this is my body.’  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’” (Matthew 26:26-28)

So in saying that His followers were to “eat his flesh” and “drink His blood,” Jesus was telling us that we must take Him — His very life — into ourselves to receive His forgiveness. And to this day, we celebrate Holy Communion as a remembrance of His sacrifice.

No. 2: Hate your family and yourself
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

Is Jesus, the God of Love, really telling us to hate? No! Jesus here is using hyperbole, or exaggeration, to make His point. We know that He never endorsed breaking any of the Ten Commandments, including “Honor your father and mother.” 

Jesus is saying that, in comparison to the love and devotion He deserves, any other love, including for ourselves, should look like hatred. He calls us to learn to love Him so deeply and to obey Him so completely, that any human allegiance, even the desire to preserve one’s life, looks like hate in comparison. 

Jesus told us in John 15:13, “Greater love has no one this, than that someone lay down his life for his friends.” And of course, He demonstrated this when He went to the cross, laying down His own life for the forgiveness of mankind.

No. 3: Tear out your eye
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:29)

Here’s another use of hyperbole. Jesus is telling us here that if anything keeps us from following him, it requires drastic action. Our very eternal destiny may be at stake. 

In practical terms, it means that I may need to end that dating relationship that keeps drawing me into sin. Or, I may need to quit my job if my boss demands that I cheat. To avoid sin, God might ask me to enroll in a different school or even move to another city. That’s how important that is to Him. We should be desperate to live holy lives, in the power of His Holy Spirit. 

Were Jesus' teachings hard, radical, even shocking? Yes! They still have great power to give us reason to worry about indifference toward Him. As Missionary Hudson Taylor reportedly said: "Christ is either Lord of all, or is not Lord at all." As you encounter other difficult sayings in God’s Word, always trust that He, and His words, are faithful and true. And as you dig a little deeper and ask for His wisdom, He will teach and guide you, enabling you to live a life that glorifies Him. 

Pray this week:
Lord Jesus, as your disciples said, who else would I turn to? You have the words of eternal life. However challenging your call is to me, I will love and follow you, because you are my only hope.

For you, what is the hardest thing about following Jesus? Write for prayer and help.

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member

Being a Follower of Jesus

Whom Will You Follow?

Written by Susan on 19/04/2016
Series: Weekly Devotional
Tags: Disciple, Jesus, Life, Love, Purpose
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Why Would You Want to Follow Someone?
“A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master.” Matthew 10:24

Our almighty God, in the form of a human servant, came to reach out to you, me, and all people. We can be followers of Jesus. Remember, there has never been another person like Jesus. He leads us straight into the presence of our heavenly Father.

Jesus is perfect in His love for others, His power over evil, His compassion for people and His hatred of sin. His understanding is endless, and His joy is deep. He drew all kinds of people to Himself when He lived on earth. His presence was like a magnet to those who needed hope. He is everything good, and people really wanted to be around Him. He is truly one of a kind, full of hope, love, trust and forgiveness.

We Become Like the One We Think About, Care For, and Trust
“But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:21

Silly little ducks. Have you watched them before? They all follow the mother without even thinking about where she is going. They make a line behind her — keeping her pace as best they can. For some reason I keep thinking of them as the perfect example of a disciple.

They never stop to consider anything except how important it is to keep their mother in their sight. They feel lost without her, they become so worried if they cannot find her. Yet, they are also very content when their eyes are set on her. They are ‘practicing the truth’ by watching her walk, swim, eat, and then doing the same. We have so very much to learn. We are like these ducklings. Yet, we have a perfectly caring leader.

We Are Like Him?
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness….” Genesis 1:26

Try to realize that we ARE made in God’s image. We long for Him. We can know Him better and better; We were created to follow after Him. It is where we flourish, grow, live and find our true pleasure. When we follow Jesus, we become His disciples.

Pray this week:
Jesus, Give us the eyes to follow You. Make our hearts yearn for Your presence. Assure us as we attempt to follow You in our imperfect ways. May our pleasures be found ONLY in YOU!! Amen

What are the deepest desires of your heart?

Alan Zibluk Markethive Founding Member