Pastor Norm's Blog

Prayer & Meditation on Matthew 16:24

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. " (Matthew 16:24)

 

Prayer

Living and resurrected LORD of life and logic. Help me to desire to come to YOU and be in fellowship with YOU. Help me to desire not my will and ways but YOUR will and way. Allow me to so trust that YOUR thoughts, attitudes, and actions are superior to my thoughts, attitudes, and actions that I will say no to my way in order to say yes to YOUR way. Let me see that this is my cross when I am willing to say to YOU, not my will but YOUR will be done. Help me see YOU as so awesome that I am led to this surrender of my life to YOUR life. Increase my vision of YOU that my love for YOU may grow with the result that I would follow YOU till death do we meet, face to face. Give me a passion, desire, and purpose to come to YOU and follow after YOU. LORD have mercy on me and give me such a heart. Amen

 

Meditation

Somehow in modern Western Christianity the idea of following, imitating, and becoming like Messiah Jesus has become lost as the primary goal of our lives. The Lord Jesus becomes a means to an end of gaining the place of eternal happiness instead of suffering eternal grief. Once we have been “saved” then our focus on the LORD Jesus become less and less for many people. He was a door used to gain what we really sought which was eternal personal peace and prosperity, while avoiding eternal loss. But, we never really came to admire the LORD Jesus, see value in HIM or become captured by HIS wisdom, character, or power. HE was just “a name” by which we could be saved from pain instead of a person who was our Savior. Our connection to HIM as our LORD and KING, was never as strong as our desire to use HIM as eternal fire insurance. While we hoped we would be forgiven because of HIS sacrifice on the cross, we did not value HIM or love HIM for suffering for us. It all seems very distant, abstract, and unreal to our emotional lives. It was easy to just become “Sunday Christians” in which our faith in HIM rarely found expression in the “real world” of Monday. This is not the relationship that the Messiah Jesus is looking to have with us. HE desires a fellowship much more intimate, absorbing, and transforming. HE desires to be the center, core, and intimate confidant of our lives. HE wants to be our first love. How do we begin to seek such a relationship with HIM? I think one of the ideas that can help is to think of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John as not gospels but as THE GOSPEL. These works were written to invite people into a discipleship relationship with the Living Christ Jesus. Instead of a quick overview of just the sacrificial death, burial, and resurrection of the LORD Jesus, they presented a full bodied person to people in their words so that when Messiah Jesus called us to follow HIM we would have some reason to want to do that. Our ability to engage the LORD Jesus as a person and not just a means to an end can be greatly helped the more we increase our vision and awareness of HIM revealed in these inspired books. Now these writings about the LORD Jesus can present to us the true historical Messiah Jesus, but we also have to develop an encounter with the Living resurrected LORD of our lives. The gospel presents us with a living Cosmic Christ that now comes to us and bids us to open our hearts to HIM, call upon HIM, and love HIM. This living and present, Messiah Jesus of experience must be encountered in prayer and biblical meditation. By abiding in the reality of that relationship our lives can have real impact for God’s kingdom on earth (John 15:1-8). It is easy to stray from this path. Easy to stray from the GOOD SHEPHERD. Let us renew our search for a daily dynamic relationship with the Living Christ. May we see that only an encounter with HIM will allow us to follow HIM, know HIM, and love HIM. " 'Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. " (Revelation 3:20) Great LORD, have mercy upon us and put into our hearts a hunger and thirst for YOU. Amen

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Prayer Time - 10:25am


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