Yesterday was indeed a sweet day of being with the body of Christ at Providence.  I look forward every month to the time when we come around the Lord’s Table together to celebrate the gospel.  What a joy to hear my brothers and sisters in Christ share what stirs their affections for Jesus.  Not suprisingly, it all centered around Jesus and the mission He came to fulfill of giving His life as a ransom for many.  My heart has continued to rejoice in the truths of Isaiah 53,  captured so well by Philip Bliss when he wrote,  “Bearing shame, and scoffing rude, In my place condemned He stood, sealed my pardon with His blood; Hallelujah!  What a Savior!”   As we studied the truths of Mark 15 reflected in this song, I was struck with this thought: Jesus was serious and steadfast in His mission.  Yes, it was incredibly difficult for Him as seen in Gethsemane, but He knew why He came and so He remained silent before His very own creation as they mocked and ridiculed Him and then led Him away as the sheep to the slaughter.

The sobering reality is that Jesus calls His followers to the same seriousness and steadfastness in their commitment to the mission of the Kingdom.  The cross of Jesus makes very real the call to every follower of Jesus to be willing to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him.  What is Jesus saying?  Be willing to give all for the His name’s sake and the gospel… even your life.

This truth is why the business meeting was a blessing to me last night.  Yes, I know, “business meeting” and “blessing” ought never to be used in the same sentence, but I really was blessed by the kingdom commitment that so many were passionate about when talking about the budget.   If all of life is to be lived “worthy of the gospel” then that even includes business meetings, budgets, and billfolds (sounds like a message outline that would make anybody cringe!).   Seriously, we cannot separate the gospel from giving.  That is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 8:9, in the context of encouraging the church to give sacrificially, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich.”

No matter what the circumstance, may God help us to be faithful throughout this week and in the days ahead to seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness!

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