If you look at some of the key words in Greek, you gain the HOW of walking toward Jess and toward joy.
Deny means to say “No” or repudiate — so to deny yourself could be applied to ask, “Is anything competing for my love for Jesus?” Sometimes our self wants to prioritize belongings, indulgences, hobbies, work or even relationships as more important than Jesus.
Pick up is to raise or lift. This reminds me of our call to lift Christ higher:
May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ,... (Gal 6:14)
“Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (Rev 5:3)
Follow mean to accompany Jesus. At the root of this compound word is a picture of walking alongside, as along the road or to join as a disciple. One example is :
As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen.“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”At once they left their nets and followed him. (Matt 4:18-20 emphasis added)
As you look at the year ahead, ask yourself:
How can I say “Yes” to Jesus and prioritize him as number 1?
How can I elevate and lift of Christ and the cross?
How can I follow Jesus closer, as a committed disciple?
Pam Farrel is author of 52 books including being co-author of Discovering Joy in Philippians, Discovering Hope in the Psalms, and Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament (co-authored with Jean E Jones and artist, Karla Dornacher, from Harvest House Publishers). www.Love-Wise.com
She said “Yes!” to the angel when it was explained that the Spirit would overshadow her and she would conceive. (She was a very young mother)
“I am the Lord’s servant…May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38).
She endured social ridicule because she was seen as a woman who became pregnant while still engaged. (People didn’t get the emaculate conception yet)
She rode a donkey in travel the days leading up to his birth. (This would be a sacrifice even if she was not expecting)
“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
She had to go hunting for a son who was busy doing his father’s business in the temple. (There were no Amber Alerts to help her find her bright and bold missing son)
43 After the festival was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it.44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends.45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him.46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.47 Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers.48 When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”
49 “Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (Luke 2:43-49)
She followed Christ as he ministered. (It is hard on we moms to switch roles from being the leader of our child to one where the grown child leads us)
She took her broken heaert to the foot of the cross and watched her kind, perfect son be crucified by an ungrateful mob and the immoral ruling soldiers and leaders.
“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother” (John 19:25)
She waited, in hope, for three days, to see the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to rise again. She went to the tomb to annoint his body. (She hoped for the best, prepared for the worst. Waiting as a mother is a very hard thing– but waiting for an “overcoming death” miracle must be the hardest of all).
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might come and anoint Him. Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” Looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled away, although it was extremely large. Entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; (John 16)
She had a weeks with her son, then she most liekly watched him glorified and enter heaven– never to return in her lifetime. (A mom laways misses a grown child, but a child in heaven when you are still one earth is one of the most difficult duties a mother can endure.)
Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. (Acts 1:9)
I had a great mom too. She followed Christ’s example in that she sacrifced much to keep her three children safe when her husband would drink too much, rage too long, and embarrass with his behaviors too often.
Chances are you have a great mom too. And even if she is not all that great, she is great for one very important reason– she gave you life!
So call her! Thank her! Send her flowers!
Happy Mother’s Day
Pam Farrel is a grateful daughter, author of 45 books she happily wrote late at night and early in the morning to buy groceries for her three athlete sons who ate bags and bags of graoceries– but have grown into great godly sons who call their mother for Mother’s Day. Pam is the author of several parenting books including 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make.
Easter for a child can often only mean candy, ducks, bunnies and an Easter egg hunt. And for the
first six years of my life, I am sure waking up to find out how many jelly beans and chocolate bunnies were in my Easter basket must have been my priority– that is until one Easter, when my mom’s best friend recognized how much we needed the Easter message:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
My family NEEDED that living HOPE! My parents’s marriage was unraveling and hanging by a weak, fraying thread. And we also needed the unconditional love Christ demonstrated when HE CHOSE to leave the glory of heaven and come live among we lowly, imperfect human beings– and my alcoholic dad especially needed to hear he was loved, even in his unlovely state. We needed the grace and mercy the Father extended. To this day when I wake up, I pray God’s grace and mercy over me, my marriage, my family and my future:
God give me GRACE: Lavish me with the blessings I DO NOT DESERVE but that you freely give
I am a sinner, You are the Savior
God give me MERCY: Hold back the wrath that I DO DESERVE but You shield far from me
I am unrighteous, You are the Redeemer
As a little girl, in my pajama’s, I used to tip-toe out to the living room, pull my flannel night gown over my knees and turn on the TV to watch a Christian television cartoon that showed a healthy mom, dad and happy children. I would pray, (not even having a clue who I was talking to in the cosmos,), “I want a happy family like that.”
Soon, God sent my mom’s best friend to invite us to her church. My mother, sensing this was an
important day, dressed us all up in our very best and bought me white gloves and an Easter bonnet to wear on my first day of going to the “House where God lives.” There, in that little tiny church, in a little tiny town, a little tiny girl met the GREAT and GLORIOUS GOD.
My life was forever transformed for the better. I soon began a personal relationship with the Creator God I had been whispering to. Eventually my mother, my siblings all began a relationship with Christ– and the day my dad died, he too, while reading Steps to Peace with God by Billy Graham, finally gave his broken heart to the One who had been lavishing love over his life, waiting patiently for His prodigal son to come home.
This is why we write — we write, we speak, we teach for the reason Christ came and gave His –to reach the lost, the hurting, the broken and the bruised,
The Easter Sunday, or any Sunday after, be brave enough to pray one of two prayers:
Lord, give me eyes to see who needs a relationship with you, and the courage to invite him or her to come hear about You, the God who loves us all enough to go up Calvary’s hill and give your perfect life, in payment for our imperfect lives.
Lord, I want to know You. I, too have been talking to You, hoping, wishing, praying for a better life here on earth and an eternal home one day in heaven. Thank you for dying on the cross for me. I receive that free gift of Your love.
Pastor Pete Jankowski once put it like this, “The cross was not Christ’s destination– YOU were.” .Jesus went through the grueling pain of the cross out of love for you! God reached out in sacrificial love to you, now, simply reach back in surrender to the God who created you, knows you and loves you.
E Jones and Karla Dornacher) and the Farrel’s best-selling Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti The Farrels have experienced many of the merciful answers to Pam’s “little girl” prayers, including a happy marriage of 38 years and three grown sons, three daughter in laws and four grandchildren who all love Jesus too.Pam and Bill live in Southern California, where they enjoy Easter sunrise services on the beach.
Sherry Kyle, here, writing from California. I came home last Tuesday from an amazing time at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. It was a time of firsts for me after going every year since 2006. It was the first time I spoke to various groups, the first time I had books to sell at the Conference Bookstore, and the first time I roomed with four other women in a cabin. (We had a blast!) The most significant first, however, was the early Sunday morning hike to the cross.