“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:34-39, ESV).
In a post-game interview Baker Mayfield, rookie quarterback for the Cleveland Browns was asked how he had led his team to an amazing victory. Mayfield responded, “I woke up feeling dangerous today!”
Following Jesus is a dangerous undertaking! It sets you at odds with the very world in which you live.
Following Jesus can set your family against you when you love Jesus more than them. Following Jesus can set your your friends and colleagues against you when it becomes a higher priority than work or hobbies.
Following Jesus can set you against the popular culture and politics of this world when His values become your values.
It makes you look suspicious… unusual… dangerous!
“You shall not sacrifice to the Lord your God an ox or a sheep in which is a blemish, any defect whatever, for that is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 17:1, ESV).
God instructed the Israelites to use the highest quality animals in their herds as sacrifices. If God didn’t designate any standards for the livestock, the Israelites would likely use the ones with blemishes or defects for sacrifices!
They would use the ones of lowest quality–the ones most convenient and practicable for them to use.
But God wanted the best livestock for sacrifices to Him, the ones that required a sacrifice on the part of the sacrificer.
Because the fidelity of the sacrifice indicates the fidelity of the sacrificer.
This meditation is Part 2 in a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.
As Christians, we live life in parallel universes. Our old self has been buried with Christ in His death and He has given us a new self: “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me, and the life which i now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Galatians 2:20, NASB).
In Christ the new self is now the real self, but the old self is still there. It’s like it hasn’t been completely subdued in spite of one’s surrender to Christ. In Romans 7 the Apostle Paul provides a firsthand description of this inner struggle with one’s old self, this duality dilemma.
This meditation is Part 1 of a three-part series of meditations on Romans 6-8.
In Genesis 25 we read of the birth of Jacob and Esau. Isaac was Abraham’s son and Jacob’s (Israel’s) father. Isaac was forty years old when he married Rebekah. Though Isaac was the heir of the covenant God had with Abraham, he had produced no heir. Isaac’s wife, Rebekah was childless so Isaac prayed for his wife. God heard Isaac’s prayer and Rebekah conceived after almost twenty years of marriage to Isaac.
“Now Jesus loved Martha, her sister, and Lazarus. So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after that, He said to the disciples, ‘Let’s go to Judea again.'” (John 11:5-7, HCSB).
This meditation is Part 2 of a four-part series from the story of the raising of Lazarus from death. When Jesus heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days…
“And when they gave it to the people, there was plenty for all and some left over, just as the Lord had promised” (2 Kings 4: 44, NLT).
In 2 Kings 4 the prophet Elisha performs two miracles that demonstrate the principle of supply and demand according to the economy of God’s Kingdom.
“And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it” (Luke 9:23-24, NASB).
I’ve got a show going on.
I call it The Steve Show.
As you might imagine, I’m the star of The Steve Show. I produce and direct my own show. And, I follow the script that I wrote for my show.
The Steve Show. It’s all about me!
You can watch The Steve Show. It’s on all the time. Just watch me!