April 26, 2020 Love For His People ministry in Charlotte, NC USA
“And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. “He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 1);38-39, NASU
Remember these lyrics back in the day? “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine there’s gotta be a little rain some time.”
So sang Lynn Anderson in 1970 on the country-western radio stations as they were known way back then. The songwriter must have used a very loose interpretation of Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) own words to His disciples, “If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.” Matthew 10:38-39, THE MESSAGE
The modern, syrupy gospel some would dish out to the gathered on Sundays and on social media platforms would make it seem that the sole purpose of Jesus saving us would be to give us happiness, to make this life rosy before we die and go to the next one.
We constantly hear with misguided words that if we are not happy then something is terribly wrong. If life is not going the way we were told it would be when we came to Christ, then all of our self-love, self-indulgence actions can’t be worth the effort to be a Christian.
If the songs we sing, even the “Christian praise and worship songs” that populate the radio, YouTube, and love stations aren’t focused on “me, me, me” then something must be totally out of order.
It is to be all about “me”, right? Jesus came to make “me” happy, yes?
A generation which is brought up hearing that the love of God is all about me and my happiness, then we, as the ones who were/are to be teaching them, have really, really missed the mark in showing them the right way.
Yeshua did not call the 12 main followers, and the seeking crowds, to get on the road of “It’s All About Me Way”.
What did He really say when He called the disciples?
Take up His cross and follow Him.
“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. “For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?” Luke 9:23-26, NASU
Living a self-love life is far from the one Yeshua called us to live. Going after that which we are told is necessary to make us happy is not the Gospel that Jesus preached. It is not the life we are to be living as disciples of the Life-Giver.
Followers of Yeshua lay down their lives for others as He did. Those who have been called to be His disciples are not to be seeking what we think is “best for us, what makes us happy.” We are to be seeking and doing what makes HIM pleased with our lives.
That is a life of self-giving, sacrificing, living for others, caring for the ones who have not, preaching the real Gospel, the one that Jesus and the early apostles took to the nations, as they laid their lives down. And yes, even got martyred in the end for doing just that.
One concern I have for the generations living now is that many have bought into the false gospel that it is all about us. Jesus never taught that. His true disciples never heard that. The true followers of Jesus who have lived and died through the centuries that have followed never prescribed to anything of a self-love gospel, but to the one that they too were saved to give themselves to the plans and purposes of the Father, in His love to save others.
Never were we promised a rose garden. We were promised the opportunity to follow Jesus, to take up His cross and follow Him.
“As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. “You know the commandments, ‘DO NOT MURDER, DO NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, DO NOT STEAL, DO NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS, Do not defraud, HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER.'”
And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.” Mark 10:17-22, NASU
Paul preached the correct Gospel. So must we be doing the same.
“…strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22-23, NKJV
Trials and tribulations are what we are promised. Accepting that, let us thus get on with doing what He wants us to do. By His grace others will come to know the saving knowledge of accepting His salvation and live.
As the shaking continues in the nations, which is the Lord’s doing as He had prophesied through His prophets prior to these end times, our purpose in living is to have His purpose in living. When you know that, and do it, then whatever He brings your way will be the best.
We have been called to live, and die, for others, even as Jesus Himself laid down His life for us.
Let’s get on doing it.
Now think on this.
Ahava and shalom,
Steve Martin, Founder/President Love For His People, Inc.
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Now Think On This #504 – in the year of our Lord 04.26.2020 – “I Never Promised You A Rose Garden” – Sunday, 5:55 am in Charlotte, NC USA