Daily Devotion for August 10, 2017

'Extreme Followers'

Matthew 9:9 NLT
As Jesus was walking along, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow Me and be My disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed Him.
Mark 8:34
Then, calling the crowd to join His disciples, Jesus said, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me.
John 12:26
Anyone who wants to serve Me must follow Me, because My servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves Me.
Mark 10:28
Then Peter began to speak up. “We’ve given up everything to follow You”...
Anyone who thinks the Christian life is boring has never considered what life was like for Christ's first disciples. When Jesus called His disciples, they left everything to follow Him. While journeying with Christ, every day was a new adventure: they encountered sick people that Jesus made well, they encountered demon-possessed people whom the Savior saved, they watched Jesus feed thousands of hungry people with a few loaves of bread and some fish, they drank wine made out of water, they were surrounded by needy crowds, they watched their Master raise the dead and stop the storm, they heard their Master speak—with love—to those who were rejected in their day (women, lepers, Gentiles, sinners, children), they were always traveling, they were never sure where the Lord would take them, and their lives were constantly in danger. Moreover, after Jesus left them, they kept living for the thrill of following the Son! Spreading the Gospel wherever the Lord had them go (or run to!), they daily shared the Good News with those God placed in their path. They never knew if the message would be joyfully accepted or angrily rejected, but they stayed in the game! They stayed on the adventure!
For those first twelve disciples who gave “up everything to follow” Jesus, life was VERY exciting! It was exciting every day! Those first followers of Jesus were “extreme” followers: they daily “got up and followed Him.” They daily chose to live for the Lord.  Each day they gave “up (their) own way, (took) up (their) cross, and follow(ed)” Him wherever He led. And when Jesus left for the Father, God's Word and Spirit daily continued to lead them!
Folks: each day was a new adventure for those disciples! Each day the Lord provided new opportunities for them to join God in His work and further His Kingdom! Those first disciples were able and willing to do this because they discovered that 1) God created us with a need to live by faith, and 2) He created the life of “following” Him to be a greater rush than any sport, any drug, or any sin could offer! It was true for those first disciples, and it's true for us today...
Heavenly Father: help us Believers become “extreme” followers of the Lord! Help us increasingly give “up everything to follow You” so we can experience Your life and power and miracles as we follow Your Son on the most amazing journey of faith ever imagined! We pray “Your Kingdom come, Lord”...and our “Kingdom” go ...

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