DEVOTIONAL BY BILLY GRAHAM – HOPE FOR EACH DAY
The Call to Discipleship
Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me. – MATTHEW 11:29
A generation ago, Jim Elliot went from Wheaton College to become a missionary to the Aucas in Ecuador. Before he was killed, he wrote, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
The Christian faith brings its own “blood, sweat, and tears” to those who would follow Jesus Christ. Christ calls us to discipleship. When we come to Him, He takes away one set of burdens—the burden of sin, the burden of guilt, the burden of separation from God, the burden of hopelessness.
But He also calls us to follow Him, to renounce our selfish desires, and seek His will above all else. He calls to us: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me.”
So are we simply exchanging one burden for another—the burden of sin for the burden of obedience ? No! It is no burden to follow Christ. Instead, we become the bearers of joy—because now we are yoked to the very Son of God. Nor is it too heavy to bear, for Christ bears it with us: “My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matt. 11:30).
With whom are you yoked—the world or Christ?
DEVOTIONAL BY CHARLES STANLEY – ON HOLY GROUND
Whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. – Luke 14:27
Jesus certainly knew how to drive away a crowd. When He spoke of wholehearted commitment and absolute surrender to His mission, the multitudes melted away. The only ones left were those who recognized that He spoke the words of life, uncompromising yet loving truth about what it means to really know Him.
Oswald Chambers wrote in My Utmost for His Highest about the kind of total absorption Christ wants us to have:
There is no such thing as a private life, or a place to hide in this world, for a man or woman who is intimately aware of and shares in the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
God divides the private life of His saints and makes it a highway for the world on one hand and for Himself on the other. No human being can stand that unless he is identified with Jesus Christ. We are not sanctified for ourselves. We are called into intimacy with the gospel, and things happen that appear to have nothing to do with us.
But God is getting us into fellowship with Himself. Let Him have His way. If you refuse, you will be of no value to God in His redemptive work in the world, but will be a hindrance and a stumbling block.
Jesus wants all of your devotion, not just a portion. You cannot have other priorities plus Jesus. He is the priority.
DEVOTIONAL FROM POSTCARDS FROM HEAVEN – CLAIRE CLONINGER
Don’t Look Back
Child of mine,
This journey we are on together is forward looking. The destination is ever before you. You have not arrived, but you are on your way. Press on. Take hold of the glorious purpose for which Jesus Christ has taken hold of you. His purpose is that you know him, that you become like him, that your life becomes a channel through which his love can flow to others. His purpose is that you spend eternity enjoying me, starting now!
Many have traveled this road before you, and you can learn from them. Consider Paul. Suppose he had taken time out from his journey to dwell on past failures. He could have looked back and become paralyzed by the guilt and shame of a life spent persecuting the church of Jesus Christ. Why, Paul even held the coats of murderers who stoned my servant, Stephen! He stood by watching in approval. But once he was forgiven, Paul did not waste time or spiritual energy looking back. He knew that the past had been put under the blood of Jesus, and he was free to press on toward the goal.
Do you know these things about your past? Come be forgiven, once and for all, and then look back no more. Instead, look ahead to the glory that lies out before you.
And press on! – God
The Calling of the First Disciples
14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!”
16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.
19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
9 Lowborn men are but a breath,
the highborn are but a lie;
if weighed on a balance, they are nothing;
together they are only a breath.
10 Do not trust in extortion
or take pride in stolen goods;
though your riches increase,
do not set your heart on them.
11 One thing God has spoken,
two things have I heard:
that you, O God, are strong,
12 and that you, O Lord, are loving.
Surely you will reward each person
according to what he has done.
DEVOTIONAL BY OSWALD CHAMBERS – MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST
Coming to Jesus
Come to Me . . . —Matthew 11:28
Isn’t it humiliating to be told that we must come to Jesus! Think of the things about which we will not come to Jesus Christ. If you want to know how real you are, test yourself by these words— “Come to Me . . . .” In every dimension in which you are not real, you will argue or evade the issue altogether rather than come; you will go through sorrow rather than come; and you will do anything rather than come the last lap of the race of seemingly unspeakable foolishness and say, “Just as I am, I come.” As long as you have even the least bit of spiritual disrespect, it will always reveal itself in the fact that you are expecting God to tell you to do something very big, and yet all He is telling you to do is to “Come . . . .”
“Come to Me . . . .” When you hear those words, you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, and it will involve anything that will uproot whatever is preventing you from getting through to Jesus. And you will never get any further until you are willing to do that very thing. The Holy Spirit will search out that one immovable stronghold within you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him do so.
How often have you come to God with your requests and gone away thinking, “I’ve really received what I wanted this time!” And yet you go away with nothing, while all the time God has stood with His hands outstretched not only to take you but also for you to take Him. Just think of the invincible, unconquerable, and untiring patience of Jesus, who lovingly says, “Come to Me. . . .”