“Anyone who…looks behind him is useless for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 PHPS
Jesus sought out people prepared to do more than just believe in Him—He wanted people willing to follow Him. His early ministry was marked by people like Andrew, Peter, Philip, and Nathaniel (See John 1:35-52): people willing to leave where they were and what they owned in order to follow Him. Jesus called people to a life of radical commitment. When He “called the crowd to Him…He said, ‘If people want to follow me, they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives’” (Mark 8:34 NCV). No half-measures, but a willingness to follow Him full-time. Trusting in Jesus will get you into heaven, but nothing less than following Him daily will make you useful in His kingdom on earth. Three different men told Jesus, “I’ll follow you, Lord” (Luke 9:61 GWT), but they weren’t willing to give up the priorities of their old lives (See v. 62). And Jesus responded with this powerful metaphor: “Anyone who puts his hand to the plough and…looks behind him is useless for the kingdom of God.” Following Jesus means whatever is back there, stays back there—old hang-ups, attachments, and lifestyles. You can’t plow the straight furrow of discipleship looking back at the past. Don’t let the gravitational pull of past failure, guilt, fear, shame, betrayal, loss, abuse, rejection, resentment, and unforgiveness ruin your future. Cut the cord; join those willing to “follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4 NKJV).
‘The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.’ Isaiah 61:3 NKJV
Praise works like a magnifying glass. It causes what we’re focusing on to get bigger, to be ‘magnified.’ David said, ‘Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears’ (Psalm 34:3-4 NKJV). It can be tempting to wait until we’ve no problems, fewer problems, or our problems are solved before we praise God. In fact, when we’re going through tough times and problems just seem to be mounting up, praise is often the last thing on our minds. But praise is key when it comes to problem-solving because it gets our focus off of our problems and onto God, the ultimate problem solver. God promises ‘the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.’ It works like this. When we begin to praise Him through the pain, hurt, confusion and doubt, we experience a new sense of hope and joy. We’re reminded that God is bigger than the situation we face; that He’s not only capable of managing our problems but willing, wanting, and waiting to. And there’s always something to praise God for. Even if we feel our lives are too full of problems and trials to be thankful, we can still praise God for who He is. While our lives are always changing, God is unchanging. His power, love, grace, goodness, guidance…we have these no matter what we’re facing and how we’re feeling. So start adding more praise to your day, and see how things start to change.
“...’n gewaad van lof vir ‘n verslae gees...” Jesaja 61:3 AFR53
Lofprysing werk soos ‘n vergrootglas. Dit veroorsaak dat dit waarop jy fokus, groter word. Dawid het gesê, ‘Kom, julle, kom maak die Here se Naam saam met my groot. Kom laat ons Hom vereer. In gebed het ek die Here gevra om my te help en Hy het dit gedoen. Hy het my gered van al die dinge wat my lewe bedreig’ (Psalm 34:4-5 DB). Dis ‘n fout om te wag totdat jy geen probleme het, minder probleme het of tot jou probleme opgelos is, voordat jy die Here begin prys. Lofprysing is een van die groot skriftuurlike sleutels tot probleemoplossing, omdat dit jou fokus op God, die Een wat probleme oplos, plaas. Charles Spurgeon het gesê: ‘My gelukkigste oomblikke is wanneer ek God prys, wanneer ek die Here Christus Jesus waarlik aanbid. In daardie lofprysing vergeet ek die sorge van die kerk en alles anders. Vir my is dit die naaste aan hoe dit in die hemel gaan wees.’ God het aan jou die ‘…gewaad van lof vir ‘n verslae gees…’ belowe. Wanneer jy Hom met ‘n swaar hart begin prys, sal jy ‘n nuwe sin van hoop en vreugde ervaar. Deur lofprysing word jy daaraan herinner dat God groter as jou situasie is; dat Hy nie net in staat is om jou bekommernisse te bestuur nie, maar dat Hy dit wil doen. Die Psalmdigter het geskryf: ‘Ek loof U sewe keer per dag…’ (Psalm 119:164 NLV). Vul jou dag met lofprysing. Moenie net koffie of teepouses neem nie, neem ‘lofprysing pouses.’ Begin om God vir twee dinge te prys: 1) Sy eienskappe. Sy mag, liefde, genade, guns, leiding ens. 2) Sy dade. Onthou sy goedheid aan jou. Trek die gees van swaarkry uit en trek die gewaad van lof aan.
“The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” Isaiah 61:3 NKJV
Praise works like a magnifying glass. It causes what you’re focusing on to get bigger, to be “magnified.” David said, “Magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. I sought the Lord, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears” (Psalm 34:3-4 NKJV). It’s a mistake to wait until you’ve no problems, fewer problems, or your problems are solved before you praise the Lord. Praise is one of the great scriptural keys to problem-solving because it gets your focus on God, the problem solver. Charles Spurgeon said: “My happiest moments are when I am worshipping God, really adoring the Lord Jesus Christ…In that worship I forget the cares of the church and everything else. To me it is the nearest approach to what it will be in heaven.” God has promised you “the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” It works like this. When you begin to praise Him with a heavy heart, you experience a new sense of hope and joy. Through worship you are reminded that God is bigger than the situation you face; that He’s not only capable of managing your concerns but willing, wanting, and waiting to. The Psalmist wrote: “Seven times a day I praise You” (Psalm 119:164 NKJV). Fill your day with praise. Don’t just take coffee breaks and tea breaks, take “praise breaks.” Begin to praise God for two things: (1) His attributes. His power, love, grace, favor, guidance, etc. (2) His acts. Recall His goodness to you. Go ahead; take off the spirit of heaviness and put on the garment of praise.
‘You will find a baby…lying in a manger.’ Luke 2:12 NIV
One Christmas in London Phil Yancey went to hear Handel’s Messiah. He says: ‘I’d spent the morning viewing remnants of England’s glory – crown jewels, a gold mace, the Mayor’s gilded carriage…such images must have filled the minds of Isaiah’s contemporaries who heard the promise, “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed” (Isaiah 40:5 KJV). No doubt the Jews thought back to the glory days of Solomon when “silver and gold [were] as common as stones” (2 Chronicles 1:15 NIV). The Messiah who showed up, however, wore the glory of humility…The God who could order armies and empires like chessboard pawns emerged as a baby who…depended on a teenage couple for shelter, food, and love. In London I caught glimpses of the way rulers stride through the world: with bodyguards, trumpet fanfares…bright clothes…flashing jewellery. [A head of state] had recently visited the U.S with 4,000 pounds of luggage…2 outfits for every occasion…a personal hairdresser…and a host of other attendants…God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants and nowhere to lay the newborn King but a feed-trough. A mule could have stepped on him! The sky grew luminous with angels, yet who saw that spectacle? Illiterate hirelings who watched the flocks of others, “nobodies” who failed to leave their names.’ The most amazing and powerful king this world has ever seen arrived in the quietest and humblest way imaginable. And He came to serve us, not to be served.