Smile

We normally smile when we are happy and when we are in a good place in our lives. Have you ever seen someone that’s tight lipped and never smiles? We may not know anything about them, but we usually immediately assume that they must be unhappy. Smiling, for most of us, is synonymous with a good feeling and, likewise, frowning with a bad feeling. Even when we receive a smile from someone else, it ordinarily makes us feel good. There is research that states there are health benefits to smiling:  it changes our mood; it increases our longevity (lowers blood pressure, relieves stress); and it also increases our opportunity for success.*

In the article There’s Magic in Your Smile,* * it stated that, “each time you smile, you throw a little feel-good party in your brain.” This is because the brain releases endorphins which lowers stress and improves our overall mood. Surprisingly, even forcing a smile has the same benefits. This is vitally important because we tend to rely on what we do not “feel” like doing. We will say things like, “I’m in my “feelings,” or “I’m feeling some type of way.” Nevertheless, regardless of how we feel, the research shows that we do not have to wait until we feel like smiling, we can fake a smile and still reap the benefits.

Proverbs 17:22 indicates that, “A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries the bones” (Proverbs 17:22). Look below at some other translations:

Amplified – A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.

Message – A cheerful disposition is good for your health; gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.

New International Version – A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Passion – A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul. But the one whose heart is crushed struggles with sickness and depression.

Voice – A joy-filled heart is curative balm, but a broken spirit hurts all the way to the bone.

According to the research mentioned above, smiling causes us to feel happy and it boosts our mood; therefore, when we smile, we receive the benefits of Proverbs 17:22. On the other hand, when we walk around without a smile and living in our feelings/emotions, the latter portion of that verse can show up in our lives through sickness, depression, tiredness, and bad attitudes. Of course, smiling is not a cure all, but it is a start.

It is worth it to put forth an effort to smile because, it will not only make us feel better, it will also make those around us feel better. Spread some feel good with a smile. So, as my great grandson would say, “Cheese.”

*The Top 7 Health Benefits of Smiling, https://benefitsbridge.unitedconcordia.com

**Riggio, Ronald, Ph.D., There’s Magic in Your Smile, Psychology Today, June 25, 2012.

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DAWN

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. Matthew 28:1

The resurrection of Christ Jesus is not just “a” Sunday, nor is it just “a” holiday; for Believers the resurrection is our life. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (1 Corinthians 15:14). In this particular scripture following Jesus’ death, there is a life giving, life sustaining message for us.

After a week of what appeared to be a sudden turn of events that ended in disappointment, heartache, betrayal, rejection, and seemingly, absolute defeat with the crucifixion of their leader and teacher – Jesus’ followers (disciples) went into hiding. However, scripture tells us remembering that Jesus said He would rise on the third day (John 2:19), after the Sabbath had ended, these women went at dawn to go to the tomb. The women had to wait until the traditional Sabbath day had been completed, because by Jewish law, they were not allowed to do anything on the Sabbath. So, at the end of their traditional holy day, they went looking for Jesus. Interestingly, they went at dawn. David also was one that sought God in the early morning hours; “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee”(Psalm 63:1). By definition, dawn is not only the first appearance of light in the sky before sunrise, it also is defined as the beginning of a favorable phenomenon or period of time. To say the least, Christ Jesus’ resurrection can definitely be described as favorable, and still today is a phenomenon.

This scripture is encouraging because often times we get stuck on the past events of our lives, and we forget what the Word promises. This is not to diminish or disregard what has happened or what is happening, but we still must bring to our remembrance that the “promises of God in Him are yes, and in Him, Amen”(2 Corinthians 1:20). The followers of Jesus had just witnessed their leader and teacher tortured and crucified. The same man that had performed miracles, walked on water and reed storms – yet, he did not even defend Himself against His accusers. It was horrible and they were devastated and confused, but the women remembered what the Word (Jesus) had said and got out of their feelings and went to look for the manifestation of His promise.

Regardless of where we find ourselves right now and regardless of how we feel; there is a new dawn every day; a breaking of the darkness; the opportunity for the beginning of a favorable phenomenon or period of time. The scripture tells us that His mercies are “new every morning” (Lamentations 3:23). Let us be like the women and get up expecting and looking for His Word to be revealed in our lives. If He has spoken it, He will bring it to pass (Numbers 23:19). He is faithful who has promised (Hebrews 10:23).

This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3:21-23

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Healing: It Is Our Birth Right

But he answered and said, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”  Matthew 15:26

May 2011, seven years ago, I was diagnosed with colon cancer. The cancer was discovered through a routine colonoscopy. I had no symptoms whatsoever, which is why I encourage people to have the routine colonoscopy. It is recommended at the age of 50; however, if there is a family history of colon cancer, even if you are not 50, your insurance will cover the test. I believe in being an advocate for your health. We only get one body and one life here on this earth, and we should take care of the temple that we have been given. “What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19.

I share my testimony at every opportune time not only to encourage others, but that I too never fail to remember what the Lord has done for me. In addition, I have written previously about my healing on my Blog, DearEncourager. However, this time I wanted to share some valuable lessons I learned while going through my healing process that I believe will help others on their healing journey. Therefore, I have written a new mini book with the same title, “Healing: It Is Our Birth Right” and have posted it on my website: www.dearencourager.com. Please read, share, be blessed and be healed in Jesus’ mighty name.

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Shine

You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14 (a)

The Bible, in Genesis, teaches us that one of God’s first acts was to bring light into the world. “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.” Genesis 1:2-4. Bringing light to a world filled with darkness was not only important to God during the creation, but it continued to be a priority to Him. For 400 years Heaven was silent and God did not speak to men. But, at the end of that time of dark silence, God sent Light into the world again. This time, it was in the form on His Son, Jesus. “In him was life; and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” John 1:4-5

On this holiday, as we commemorate and celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, we find ourselves fighting some of the same darkness that Dr. King fought – injustices and racism. However, the Bible lets us know that there is no new thing under the sun.  “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9.  Nevertheless, I did not think in my lifetime I would see such overt, blatant demonstrations of injustice and racism – especially coming from the pulpit. The very ones that the light of Christ had once shone upon are now discounting that same Light that shines upon others that do not look or do not act like them. It is appalling; it is disappointing; it is dark. They are not the only ones. It also comes from the highest office in this country. Injustice and racism are not the only darkness we face – crime, murders, domestic violence, rape, incest, child abuse, bullying, etc. are daily news stories all over this country.

However, God in His omniscient, infinite wisdom knew that we would be facing this day and these times, and He knew we would need lots of light to overshadow this darkness. Therefore, Jesus left us with these Words in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” Jesus also instructed us not to hide our light. “Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it gives light unto all that are in the house. Matthew 5:15. Our light cannot be seen if it is hidden; it cannot be seen if we remain silent; it cannot be seen if we are fearful. It does not matter what the opposition says or thinks, we have been given our identity in Christ Jesus and He alone is the only authority in our lives. “. . . but now are you light in the Lord; walk as children of light.” Ephesians 5:8. So, in the midst of the looming darkness over this country and our cities, I challenge the children of God to shine!

An assassin thought he had removed Dr. King’s light, but here we are almost 50 years later still celebrating his light, celebrating his words and celebrating his actions. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day thought they had removed His light, but here we are over 2000 years later, still celebrating His light, celebrating His Words and walking in His light. Shine children of God the world needs our light! Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.” Matthew 5:16.

This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine
Oh, this little light of mine I’m going to let it shine
This little light of mine I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Ev’ry where I go I’m going to let it shine
Oh, ev’ry where I go I’m going to let it shine
Ev’ry where I go I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

All in my house I’m going to let it shine
Oh, all in my house I’m going to let it shine
All in my house I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

I’m not going to make it shine I’m just going to let it shine
I’m not going to make it shine I’m just going to let it shine
I’m not going to make it shine I’m just going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

Out in the dark I’m going to let it shine
Oh, out in the dark I’m going to let it shine
Out in the dark I’m going to let it shine
Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine

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Thankful

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 Thessalonians 5:18

We have no problem giving thanks during good times – we are happy; we are healthy; the money isn’t funny; life is good. We also have no problem giving thanks for tangible things we consider good – homes, cars, wardrobes, etc. However, the above scripture instructs us to give thanks in EVERY thing – now that is an issue.

How do we give thanks when we are experiencing trouble in our lives? How do we give thanks when we are losing our stuff? The car has been repossessed; the home has been foreclosed; we can’t make ends meet; we are robbing Peter to pay Paul; the children are rebelling; the spouse is straying; sickness and disease are taking a toll on the body – how do we give thanks when we are going through all of that? During those times, we most often find ourselves stressed and depressed, and being thankful is far from our minds or hearts. As a matter of fact, we do not SEE anything to be thankful about. In those times, we have to make a decision to trust God, and our decision is not based on what is happening in our lives or how we feel; it is based on who God is, and He is BIGGER than anything that we face. (“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4) 

When the scripture directs us to give thanks in all things, it does not imply that we are happy about the situation or circumstance. To give thanks simply means, Lord I trust You! In this space and time where I am right now – whatever it looks like; whatever it feels like; I trust You and I am relying solely on You. We can give thanks to Him because our lives are in His hands and He is the one that delivers us out of every situation. (“My times are in your hand; deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” Psalm 31:15)

We can give thanks in difficult times and even devastating times because we know who is ordering our steps. (“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,” Psalm 37:23). The place we are in is not a surprise to God. We can trust Him because He already knows every decision we will make and every step we will take in our lives. He is, “Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” Revelation 22:13. He is the all-knowing, omniscient God. (“Before I formed you in the belly I knew you…” Jeremiah 1:5). Therefore, we can be thankful in all things because we know who holds our future, and He has promised “that ALL things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. Therefore, we put our faith and our trust in His Word, in His Promises, and say thank you. Thank you for the good, the bad, and the ugly; thank you for the joy and the pain; thank you for the sunshine and the rain; thank you for the calm and the storms; thank you for life and thank you even for death; because before death there was life. Thank you Lord for EVERY thing!

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Alignment: Mouth and Actions

Alignment – the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other. According to scripture, just as our heart and mouth are directly related, so are our mouth and our actions. Jesus asked a question in the parable of the two sons: There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’ ‘I will not,’ he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” Matthew 21:28-31 NIV. The chief priests and elders response to Jesus’ question was “The first.” Matthew 21:31. We would give this same response today – the son that did what his father asked him to do – not the one that said he would do it but did nothing.

In Matthew 23:3, Jesus warns about following after those, specifically religious leaders, who only say but not do. Jesus said, “So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” Therefore, aligning our actions with what we say we not only are going to do, but also with what we believe, is a necessary adjustment that has to be made in our lives. If we say we are Christians – followers of Christ – then our actions should reflect the heart of the One we say we follow. This has nothing to do with being perfect, because we were never charged to be perfect. However, it has everything to do with integrity and maturity.

Maturity is defined as having reached an advanced stage of mental or emotional development. Maturity plays a large part in aligning our actions with our mouth. If we are moved by our emotions – what we see, feel, or even think – we will be constantly changing our posture instead of standing firmly on what the Word of God says. In Ephesians 4:12-15, Paul teaches that the ministry gifts God set in His Body are for the “perfecting” of the Body or the “maturing” of the Body, so that we “be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind and doctrine… But… may grow up…”

The definition of integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. On the other hand, hypocrisy is defined as claiming to have morals and beliefs that your behaviors do not reflect. For example, we say we believe or, we are going to do one thing out of our mouth but our actions are the complete opposite. In Matthew 15:7-8, Jesus addressed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders by referring to a scripture in Isaiah 29:13, “You hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, ‘This people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.’” We know the “right” things to say, but yet we do not know “Him.” We know the “right” things to say, but yet we do not do what is right. There is no integrity in hypocrisy.

To align our mouth with our actions, we must do what we say we believe; and we must do what we say we are going to do. If we say we believe the report of the Lord (John 12:38), then our actions should line up with what we say we believe. If we say we trust God with our whole heart (Proverbs 3:5), then we should not be living in fear and chaos. If we say we believe that we are in this world but we are not of this world (John 17:14), then we should not be following trends set by the world’s standard. If we say we believe the Word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105), then we should be following the Word and the decisions we make should be based on the Word.

 

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Alignment: Heart and Mouth

How many times do we say things we do not mean? How often do we speak empty words – words with no purpose or words with hidden motives? At a young age we were taught to think before we speak. This lesson still holds true. If we would pause before we speak and make a heart connection, we would speak deliberately with purpose. What comes out of our mouth reveals what is in our heart. David said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee” (Psalm 119:19).

Alignment is defined as the proper positioning or state of adjustment of parts in relation to each other. Scripture demonstrates that our heart and mouth are directly related, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man” (Matthew 15:18). Therefore, it is necessary that we adjust our words and our heart so that they are properly aligned. In order for the heart and mouth to be correctly positioned, the heart has to be filled with good things. Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” When the heart is filled with good things, the mouth speaks good things.

Another important adjustment is to bring to an end to saying one thing when in our heart we are meaning something entirely different. We should always remember that God knows the very “intent” of our heart, so regardless of what we say or who we say it to; and regardless if we justify our reason for saying it; God knows what was in our heart when we spoke it – “for the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).

For many of us, aligning our heart and mouth with what we believe is a key adjustment. We all know that feelings are ever changing. We wake up happy and by noon someone or something has knocked the wind out of our sail. However, if what we believe is based on the Word of God which is forever “settled in Heaven”(Psalm 119:89), then what we believe does not change. When what we believe is grounded in the Word of God, then we are not moved by what we feel; we are not moved by what we see; and we are not moved by what “they” say – whoever they are. When the doctor gives us his report, we align our heart and mouth with the Word of God and believe and say, “with His stripes, we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). When our bank account is not looking so “prosperous,” we align our heart and mouth with the Word and believe and say, “but my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). When it seems as though our backs are against the wall and we have no one to turn to and nowhere to turn, we align our heart and mouth with the Word of God and say, “if God be for us, who can be against us” (Romans 8:31); we say and believe, “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).

When our heart and mouth are aligned, we speak with power. Proverbs 18:21, “life and death are in the ‘power’ of the tongue.” The power comes when we speak what we believe, and what we believe is found in our heart – “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

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Grow Where You Are Planted: Or, Move So You Can Grow!

Many of you may have heard the popular phrase, “grow or bloom where you are planted.” For the most part, it means to grow and/or continue to grow regardless of where you are in life. I understand the “intent” of the saying, but it makes about as much sense as the phrase “you want to have your cake and eat it to.” Again, the concept of the saying is noble; however, the “truth” of the matter is that we are not always able to grow or bloom where we are planted.

If you have attempted any type of gardening, you know that to grow anything it takes a combination of good soil, lighting and water – these all play a significant role in the growing process. Another vital element to the growth process is the season in which you plant. Most seeds, bulbs or plants come with instructions that state the type of lighting required and how often watering should occur, and the best time of the year (season) to plant.

If you put a seed in good soil and water it properly but fail to give it proper light, it will grow but not at the rate it should. The seed’s growth process will be stunted. Likewise, if you put a seed in good soil and give it proper light but fail to water it, it may come up, but it will eventually wither and die. Of course, if the soil is corrupt, it does not matter how much light and water the seed receives, it will not survive until transplanted to good soil and given the proper nourishment. Even in the best of conditions – good soil, proper water and lighting – if the seed is planted out of its environmental element, it will die.

We sometimes find ourselves in the same scenarios as those seeds. We are planted somewhere but we are not receiving the proper elements necessary for our spiritual growth – the Word, prayer, and revelation by the Spirit of God. We also can sometimes find ourselves struggling to grow spiritually, or find ourselves literally withering away on the brink of spiritual death. Just as with the seed, the solution is to identify what we are lacking and rectify it; and that may mean we might have to make a move. We may  have to uproot ourselves and transplant ourselves where we need to be to receive what we need to grow and bloom.

Please note that all seeds do not grow in the same environment. Every seed is specific to its own environment. Because someone else is flourishing in the same soil that you’re not, does not necessarily imply that something is wrong with you. It just may not be the place for you. Find what works for you. Find what you need to help you grow and help you sustain your spiritual walk, and plant yourself there.

 

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Positioning

You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and right so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:13-16

As the time neared for Jesus to go to the cross, He began to share with His disciples the things that were about to take place. Mark 10:33-34. After Jesus explained in detail to His disciples what was going to happen to Him, two of the disciples, James and John, approached Him with a request. “Teacher,” they said, “we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” Mark 10:35. When Jesus asked them what did they want for Him to do, They replied, “Let one of us sit at your right and the other at your left in your glory.” Mark 10:37. On first glance, I thought this to be an odd request, especially right after them hearing that Jesus, the one that they called Master, was about to be unjustly accused and sentenced to die a horrible death on the cross. However, it is clear that the brothers were thinking ahead and were attempting to secure their positions in Jesus’ Kingdom when He returned. James and John were very serious about securing these positions. When Jesus asked them, “Can you drink the cup I drink or be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?” “We can,” they answered. Mark 10:38-39. Could they really? This is a clear indication that they did not fully understand why Jesus was about to be put to death.

This same type of mentality is still prevalent in the Church right now. People are competing for positions – for their “spot” – with no inclination of what it requires to be positioned in the Kingdom of God. Jesus’ response to James and John gives us insight into Kingdom positioning. He told them, “but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared.” Mark 10:30. The positions in the Kingdom are “to those for whom they have been prepared;” not to them who jockey for them and not even to those who think they are qualified. We can see in the following scriptures that positions in the Kingdom are not for our determining. Ephesians 4:11 states, “So Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 state, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of services, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which works all in all.” 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, teaches about the different gifts of the Spirit and concludes, “All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

Again, Jesus – the only pattern for our lives – teaches James and John, and the other disciples a Kingdom principle which needs to be taught over and over, and over again today. Jesus said, “whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45. You want to be great – serve; you want to be number one – serve. The only position in the Kingdom is one of servant.

In John 13:4-5, Jesus demonstrated to the disciples and to us the greatest act of humility in serving. Jesus being fully aware of His position as the Son of God and the Messiah took off his outer garment and wrapped a towel around His waist, poured water into a tub, and began to wash His disciples’ feet. When He was finished, Jesus said to the disciples, and His Word holds true for us today, John 13:13-16, paraphrased, if being in the position that I (Jesus) am in – above all – if I (Jesus) can humble myself and serve you, surely you can serve each other, because you are not greater than I (Jesus) am.

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Be Glorified

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”  John 12:23-24        

Glorified is defined as to be honored or praised in a very high manner. Interestingly, when Jesus speaks of his impending death on the cross, He describes it as being “glorified.” In stark contrast, we, Jesus’ followers; Christians; would not consider dying as being glorified. We would not consider any type of suffering as being honored. Actually, we think when we are “blessed” with money or material things that those things signify honor to us. However, Jesus, our only example of what our Christian walk should look like, says, I am about to be glorified because my death is going to produce life for many.

Therefore, when we say to the Lord, “God get the glory out of my life,” it is doubtful that we are truly aware of what we are saying. Because, according to Jesus’ example, in order for God to get the glory, some things in us may have to die. In order for us to produce, bringing forth fruits of righteousness, some things in our lives may have to cease. Jesus said it like this, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23. I am also reminded of these words of an old hymn, “Must Jesus bear the cross alone and all the world go free, no there’s a cross for everyone and there’s a cross for me.”

What is the cross that Jesus has told us we must take up? We should examine the areas of our lives that we know if it died the Lord would really be glorified in our lives. That area may be our mouths – we just talk too much about nothing. The Bible says we were redeemed from vain conversations. 1 Peter 1:18. Maybe we should consider fasting our words – let them be few, let them be kind, and let them be life producing. Proverbs 18:21. Perhaps we need to examine our egos – wanting to be great; attention seeking. Isaiah 42:8 states, “I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” What would an examination of our motives reveal – what we do, how we do, and why we do. If our motives are not pure, then they need to die because they are ego driven. Or, maybe, we simply need to die to our will and commit to His. Again, Jesus has set the pattern before us with His life. We need only to follow His lead – “not my will, but thine be done.” Luke 22:42.

Every branch in me that bears not fruit He takes away: and every branch that bears fruit, He purges it, that it may bring forth more fruit. John 15:2

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