Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven, But Nobody Wants to Die

PeteI shared this with residents at the jail last week.

The concept of “dying to self” is found throughout the New Testament.  It expresses the true essence of the Christian life, in which we take up our cross and follow Christ.  Dying to self is part of being born again; the old self dies and the new self comes to life (John 3:3–7).  Not only are Christians born again when we come to salvation, but we also continue dying to self as part of the process of sanctification.  As such, dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process.

Jesus spoke repeatedly to His disciples about taking up their cross (an instrument of death) and following Him.  He made it clear that if any would follow Him, they must deny themselves, which means giving up their lives—spiritually, symbolically, and even physically, if necessary.  This was a prerequisite for being a follower of Christ, who proclaimed that trying to save our earthly lives would result in losing our lives in the kingdom.  But those who would give up their lives for His sake would find eternal life (Matthew 16:24–25; Mark 8:34–35).  Indeed, Jesus even went so far as to say that those who are unwilling to sacrifice their lives for Him cannot be His disciples (Luke 14:27).

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Thank You! Thank You!

To those of you who prayed for, over, and with Peggy and me, thank you.  To those of you who visited, fed, sent well wishes, and all the wonderful things you have done, thank you.  This adventure of Peggy’s cancer and God’s Glory, Power, and Might has taught me to trust God more and man less.  It has reminded me to embrace the moment and praise the Almighty God for each and every blessing.  It has enlightened me to focus on what is truly important and discard the chaff.  These past weeks God has placed some old forgotten friends in my company, and I have been reminded that "the believers gathered together, devoted to the teaching of the apostles, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and  prayer.  Everyone was filled with awe and many wonders and miraculous signs were done."  (Acts 2:42)  Looking forward to continued miracles.

On the Inside,

Pete

Recent Death of a Dear Friend

The recent death of a dear friend makes me pause to realize how easily death comes to us, how swiftly and unexpectantly we can return to the earth from which we came.  Therefore, I am compelled to urge that we should recognize life as a precious gift to be used wisely and not squandered frivolously.  Stripped of God’s spirit, our bodies return to dust.  Stripped of God’s purpose, our work is in vain.  Stripped of God’s love, our service is futile.  We must put God first over all we do and in all we do because without him we have nothing.  Knowing that life is futile without God motivates the wise person to seek HIM first.  God’s purpose for telling us “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness” is to help us develop, through our experiences in this life, His holy and righteous character, and to prepare us to rule under Christ as kings and priests on this earth (Revelation 5:10).

What's on the Inside?

A man was being tailgated by a stressed out woman on a busy boulevard.  Suddenly, the light turned yellow just in front of him.  He did the right thing, stopping at the crosswalk, even though he could have beaten the light by accelerating through the intersection.

The tailgating woman was furious and honked her horn, screaming in frustration as she missed her chance to get through the intersection, dropping her cell phone and makeup.  As she was still in mid-rant, she heard a tap on her window and looked up into the face of a very serious police officer.  The officer ordered her to exit her car with her hands up.  He took her to the police station where she was searched, finger printed, photographed, and placed in a holding cell.  After a couple of hours, Detective Ardilla approached the cell and opened the door.  She was escorted back to the booking desk where the arresting officer was waiting with her personal effects.

He said, "I'm very sorry for this mistake.  You see, I pulled up behind your car while you were blowing your horn, flipping off the guy in front of you, and cussing a blue streak at him.  I noticed the 'What Would Jesus Do?' bumper sticker, the 'Choose Life' license plate holder, the 'Follow Me to Sunday School' bumper sticker, and the chrome-plated Christian fish emblem on the trunk.  Naturally, I assumed you had stolen the car."

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Is Jesus the Lord of Your Life?

“The reason you may not be seeing more of God’s rescue and deliverance in your life is because you may have Jesus positioned as your Savior, but not as your Lord.  And you may not have positioned yourself as His servant.  The book of Romans opens up with these words, “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ ….” (Romans 1:1).  A bondservant is translated from “doulos” which literally means “slave.”  The job of a slave is to do whatever the Master says to do.  It’s as straight-forward as that.

Unfortunately today, Jesus has too many other masters in most of our lives with whom He has to compete.  The important thing to remember is that Jesus is not willing to be one among many.  He is not willing to be part of an association or club.  Neither is He willing to be relegated to a personal assistant.  Jesus as Lord means that Jesus is to be the one and only supreme ruler and master in your life.  He calls the shots, and He is to be acknowledged in everything that is done.  “Too many people want a Savior, but don’t want a Lord.  Because of this, numbers of individuals today are experiencing the result of denying Christ publicly.” – Tony Evans

Read more: Is Jesus the Lord of Your Life?

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

I want to say a great big THANK YOU to Connie and Mike Skultety, and to all the rest of you who donate Bibles and money for Bibles to the Hopkins County Jail.  I truly appreciate all the love and support that you give me, the staff, and the inmates.

Love,

Pete

Lemon Pepper Catfish

I’ve been reading the book “The End of Me” by Kyle Idleman.  In the first half he speaks about being a Pharisee in these modern times, about how Pharisees love and admire themselves, and about how they buy their own hype and miss the message.  The main message is we need to die to self, and live for Christ.  So, I’ve been thinking about Pharisees, testimony, and humblebragging.  It’s a good book, especially pages 66 and 67.  With these things bouncing around in my head I went to the Western Kentucky Presbytery meeting in Mayfield last Saturday and apparently was distracted in thought.  I’m not sure if it was some state of transcendentalism or the lemon pepper catfish I had for lunch, but I got the impression that some of the attendees have failed to read the Book of John, especially John 6:44 and 14:6, and that some in attendance may be Unitarian Universalists.  When the General Assembly eliminated the ordination barriers, I sat uncomfortably by and when the GA blessed same gender marriage, I became a bit more disturbed.  Now I find it hard to believe that Christians think they can reason their way around the truth that Jesus is the only way to the Father and the kingdom of Heaven.  When the Israelites left God behind and followed the gods of other nations, God withheld His grace and mercy.  Could this be why our nation and the world are in such chaos today?

On the Inside,

Pete