Appointment With God

21 03 2015

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed”. Luke 5:16

We were created to have fellowship with God.   He desires to be in a relationship with us, and like any other relationship it requires spending time together.  When we make the time to spend the time with God, it allows for us to freely express our hearts to the Master, and for Him to have the freedom to express His heart to us.  He already knows exactly what we are going through, yet He desires us to be open with Him about it!  He wants to be involved and to help us wade through our circumstances, because He cares for us.

Spending time with God is something that followers of Christ need to do daily.  Jesus took time alone, away from everything, to spend with God.  Mark 1:35 states that Jesus very early in the morning, left for a solitary place to pray.  Matthew 14:23, says that Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.

Jesus realized the importance of spending time with God and therefore made time to do so.  To follow Him, we must be willing to do the same.

by Jude Fernandes

Delighting In The Word

20 03 2015

He is like a tree, planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.  In all that he does, he prospers. – Psalm 1:3

Have you ever noticed while driving across Montana’s wide open spaces that some areas are near barren except for certain spots with trees that are lined up one after another?  If you were to drive down to those areas, you’d find a stream or river flowing in the midst of these trees.  Why?  Because the river provides the water needed down in the roots for those trees to grow and produce.

This is exactly the picture the author of Psalm 1 portrays when he writes about the fruit of being rooted in a relationship with God.  When we are, we experience God’s abundant provision that ultimately sustains us.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2)

The life of a disciple is characterized by a desire and delight in God’s word… not just reading it, but by meditating on it day and night.  Allow God’s word to saturate your life, to be your constant source of nourishment and to produce the type of fruit that God desires in the lives of His disciples.

by Paul Hansen

Connected To The Vine

19 03 2015

“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing. – John 15:5

Jesus said that if we were going to experience the best life, the most fruitful kind of life, it was going to require a strong and vibrant connection to Himself.  In fact, he uses the exact imagery of a branch being connected to the vine to illustrate this.   We all know that a branch disconnected from the tree will wither and die, and the same thing happens to our spiritual lives when we get disconnected from the vine of Christ.  It is impossible to be healthy spiritually apart from Christ.

It might seem like you are too busy to “connect” with Jesus, but don’t forget the dramatic impact that it ultimately will have upon your life.  It might not be noticeable after a day or two, but over time your spiritual vibrancy will fade… there is no other outcome when a life get’s disconnected from the source of life.  Don’t let this happen to you. Stay connected to Jesus!

Hearing His Voice

18 03 2015

Jesus said, “My sheep shall know my voice… they will not follow another.”  John 10:27

In Bible days, shepherds didn’t drive their sheep, they led their sheep.  In the morning, when a shepherd was ready to head out to the fields for the day, he would go to the fold where many different flocks of sheep would be, and he would call his sheep out.  His sheep, knowing his voice would come to him, and follow him out into the field, and the shepherd would lead them to areas where they could eat and drink as needed.

The sheep were not born knowing the voice of the shepherd, it was learned.  The sheep learned to recognize his voice by being near the shepherd, following the shepherd and trusting the shepherds leadership and instruction.  In a very real way, they developed a relationship with the shepherd.

For you and I, we must learn to recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd as well.  We have to follow him out of the world, we have to spend time with Him, and we have to learn to trust his instructions and leadership in our life.  The more time you spend with Jesus, the more you will recognize His voice when he speaks.

If you want to start recognizing His voice in your own life, start by listening while you read the Bible.  The Life Journal is a powerful tool to help get you started in this endeavor.

Coming To Him

17 03 2015

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

Does life ever feel a little too heavy for you to carry?  It happens, but it doesn’t have to overwhelm us.   Christ has all the strength we need to make it through whatever life throws our way.  The key is to stay connected to him, and He promises to refresh our souls for the journey ahead.

Jesus goes on to say “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30).  Why are we burdened?  Why are we weary?  Because we are carrying things that God hasn’t asked us to carry.  When we pick up things of this world… the expectations, the obligations, the pressures, the requirements… then the burden gets heavier and heavier.

The only way to find His rest is to let the things of this world go, and to find our perspective from the vantage point of Christ.  It is only by coming to him with our pressures, expectations and burdens, that we can discover what really is the most important thing in life.

So why carry such a heavy burden today?  Why get weary and exhausted fighting things in this world?  Come to Jesus and you’ll find true rest for your soul.

This Is The LIFE!

16 03 2015

“Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” – Acts 5:20

In Acts 5, Peter and the Apostles had been arrested and thrown in jail for their actions as followers of Jesus.  It says in Acts 5:18 that the religious leaders had “laid hands” on them, suggesting that they had been roughed up in the process of their arrest.  These guys had been threatened, beaten, publicly disgraced, and now they were in prison for their decision to follow Jesus.

Yet, in spite of all of this, when an Angel arrives in their prison cell, unlocks their chains and opens their cell, he gives them this message.  “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of THIS LIFE.” (Acts 5:20)  The Angel knew of their affliction.  He knew of their pain, suffering, and mistreatment.  But when he describes what it is to follow Jesus as a disciple, he describes it with one, very powerful word.  Life.

To be in relationship with Jesus as His disciple is more than just being saved from the fires of hell, it is a life that exhilarates the soul.  Although some may fly around the world experiencing the best that this world has to offer, that kind of living can lull the soul to sleep.  Yet Jesus invites us to a soul-awakening kind of life that exceeds anything that this world has to offer.  And once you have experienced it… I mean truly experienced it… you’ll never be satisfied with anything else.  It truly is “the LIFE”!

The Road to Freedom

15 03 2015

“I have come they may have life, and have it to the full”  John 10:10

Many people read John 10:10 and think “there is absolutely nothing full about the life of a disciple.”  They can’t think of anything more dull than a life of following all the rules and being under authority.  They believe that the pathway to happiness is found in pursuing our every urge and desire.

Even those who follow Jesus can believe that the life that Christ offers is one of boredom and drudgery.  It can easily feel as if God is an eternal kill-joy that seemingly seeks to squash anything in life that might be fun or exciting.  Yet, a genuine disciple of Christ sees the instructions of God as a blessing, or a pathway, to the very best life.  A disciple is convinced that God is leading them to a life that we all desire, a longing that resides beneath the surface of selfish desires, and at the core of our soul.

The journey of discipleship is not about giving up freedom,  but about admitting that He knows the way to the best and fullest kind of life. Real freedom is found in letting go of control, and trusting the leadership of the Master.  There is no other road to real freedom than this.

by Tucker Hibbs

The Lordship of Christ

14 03 2015

“Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do what I say?”  Luke 6:46

According to, the word “Lord” is defined as “a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.”  To sum it up, if someone is Lord, they are the boss, they are the authority, they are the master.  Jesus never stepped away from the title of “Lord” knowing that His rightful place in the lives of mankind was to be the Master.  He can be nothing less than Lord in the lives of men.

Our problem becomes when we use the title “Lord”, yet fail to recognize the depth of its meaning.  “Why do you call me “Lord, Lord”, and do not do what I say?” is a legitimate question for you and I.  Christ has thrust it upon every heart, and demands that you and I step to the witness stand and give account of our actions.  We must take a earnest look at the answer to this question found in the way we live our lives.

When we own up to our failures, it is the first step in allowing Christ to take His proper place as Lord.  When we surrender to his rebuke of correction, not excusing ourselves, but rather humbling ourselves before Him, He takes the throne of Lordship in our hearts.  Without the surrender to His gentle correction, we will never be able to call Him “Lord” in complete confidence.

Experts of Christ

13 03 2015

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” – Matthew 22:37

The experts say that if you want to master something, it will take at least 10 thousand hours of practice or study.  Whether it is becoming a master musician, or a professional athlete, or an expert in a specific field, it will require you to invest roughly 10,000 hours or more in the pursuit of becoming a master in that field.  That is a huge time commitment, and only a few people are willing to ultimately pay that price.

Is being an expert of Christ of greater worth than being a master musician or a world class athlete?  Paul seems to think so.  He writes in Philippians 3:8,  “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ”.  A genuine disciple understands that Christ is worth committing their lives to follow.

If you have not made the decision to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ, you can do it right now.  There is nothing that will be more rewarding.

By Carol Lopez

Following Instantly

12 03 2015

At once they left their nets and followed him.  Matthew 4:20

In Matthew 9:9, Jesus sees a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth.  As He is walking by, he stops and says to Matthew, “Follow me”, and Matthew does something wildly radical… He instantly gets up and follows Jesus!  There was no delay, no hesitation, and no request for more time.  Matthew got up and left his booth and followed Jesus.

What was Matthew following Jesus for?  Matthew obviously had become convinced that the imprint of Jesus life upon his own was worth walking away from a lucrative government job as a tax collector.  He had to have the conviction that life following Jesus would be a radical upgrade from his present state.  He believed that it was worth leaving all to embrace the invitation to follow Jesus.

In order to be a disciple, one has to be willing to instantly let go of all, to experience the privilege of walking with Jesus.  Jesus offers us His teachings to learn from and a model to follow, and he offers these things because He loves us and wants our very best.  It is the confidence in this relationship that gives us the impetus to let go of things that matter little to connect with Christ, who matters most.

So, when Jesus invites us to follow, let it all go and follow.  His invitation is worth giving up all to accept.

by Jude Fernandes