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Follow Me

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When Jesus rose from the grave, that wasn’t the end. He appeared to His disciples, and gave them a simple message: “Follow Me.” It wasn’t a message that the 11 hadn’t heard before. For some of them, these were the words Jesus used to draw them into His elite group. They had followed Him for nearly 3 years, but that was different…. He had been visibly in front of them every step of the way. Now, He was leaving, but His message didn’t change: “Follow Me.”

They obviously couldn’t transcend to heaven, so what did Jesus mean? He had taught and prayed and healed and loved… and they were to carry on the tradition. He was passing them the torch, so to speak. Those things that the disciples had observed in Jesus were to be implemented in their own lives. They were to teach, pray, heal, and love. 

How easy it is to yell, “He’s alive!” on Easter Sunday, and then go back to our regular lives on Monday morning. Without being changed. Without experiencing the power that raised Jesus from the dead. What a tragedy that is! This same power lives inside of us! It should change us. It should change our lives. It should motivate us to teach, pray, heal, and love.

We don’t have to teach Sunday school to be a teacher. If we have children, our pupils are in front of us every day. If we have a young person who looks up to us, we are teaching them by our words and behaviors. We have a responsibility to teach them the Gospel.

We don’t have to be a pastor to pray. We can pray alone, in our prayer closet, or with a friend who needs help going before the Lord. Prayer is a vital ministry. We can keep a list and pray over it daily. We can offer to pray with a friend spontaneously at church, at work, at Walmart. Anytime someone shares a need, why don’t we just offer it up to the Lord right there? Ultimately, what we need is not advice, not a solution, but more of Jesus. Let’s not wait until we’ve tried every other human measure before we pray. Let’s make it our first stop.

We don’t have to be given the gift of healing to heal. How often we forget the healing power of our words! Giving each other God’s Word via a phone call, an email, a text message, a coffee date, a hand-written note. The Word of God heals. How beautiful are the feet of them who preach the Gospel of peace. And where our feet take us, let our mouths encourage others. Let us visit the shut-in and take flowers to the widow and bake cookies for the single person and take a meal to the sick. Let us seek to heal with the message of the Gospel.

And most of all, we can love. There is an old hymn that says, “They will know we are Christians by our love.” We can find a complete stranger and show them Jesus’ love. A smile, a kind word, a considerate gesture. In an every-man-for himself world, it speaks volumes to let someone in front of us in line at the grocery store. To pay for an older gentleman’s milk, bread, and Snickers bar. To pump gas for an elderly lady in the cold. To pay for someone’s coffee in the drive-through behind us. Jesus said that this is how we serve Him. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

This is a simple formula. It’s so simple that we can stumble over it. We want to obey the commandments and cross off check-lists and do holy things like church attendance and tithing. And these are all important parts of the life of a Christian. But let’s not be so caught up in our legalism that we forget to love. Let’s not be so consumed with religion that we neglect real people. Let’s not be so devout that we ignore the deserted.

Tim Keller says, “No one will believe if we tell them that Jesus loves them until they experience it for themselves.”  Jesus didn’t just talk. He proved it. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Two simple words. The mission of the church.

Follow Me.

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This is the last day of our Journey to the Cross devotional! You can still have a copy emailed to you by subscribing to our newsletter here! We hope you’ve enjoyed this free resource as you’ve celebrated Easter and all that it means to us as the church.

 

 

Cara Cobble Trantham is a freelance writer whose passion is to encourage women of all ages to draw closer to the Lord. She lives in Greeneville, Tennessee, with her husband and one-year-old daughter. She loves to send cards in magazine envelopes, counsel ladies over sugar and cream (with a little bit of coffee), and read a good book at the beach. Her bucket list includes eating pizza in Chicago, staying at a bed and breakfast in Savannah, and following a recipe without leaving out an ingredient.

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The Upside-Down Kingdom

Just imagine opening this morning’s newspaper and reading the title, “{Your best friend} plans the murder of {your name.} Go ahead. Say it out loud. Let it sink in… what it must have been like for Jesus to turn the page of history and see the title, “Judas Agrees to Betray Jesus.” One of His elite group would be the one to deliver Him into enemy’s hands. Judas, who walked and talked with Jesus, who joined Him in the synagogues each Sabbath, who ate meals with Him, didn’t truly love Him.

Judas was so angered when he finally got a whiff of Jesus’ plan. It didn’t involve an earthly kingdom at all. He wouldn’t have the opportunity to rule and reign, after all. And so he decided to get even (or so he thought) by signing Jesus’ death warrant.

And yet, Judas joined them for the Last Supper with the Savior. On the night Judas betrayed Jesus, he sat with the disciples and played the part of one of them. How sobering it must have been for Jesus to look around that table and see Peter, who would deny Him; Judas, who would betray Him; and the other disciples, who would flee from Him. Yet, we observe no animosity in Jesus’ words or actions. He is kind, calm, and gentle. He was prepared to give up His life on our behalf.

But as if that wasn’t enough, on this night, we find Him on His hands and knees, washing the feet of these same men. He loved them in such a way that their sin didn’t anger Him here. Even as they argued about who was the greatest among them, He patiently assured them that He was saving a place for them in His Kingdom. He even told them that they will receive these benefits because they had stayed with Him during His trials. Yet He knew that a few verses later, they would not be able to stay awake to pray with Him at the most crucial point of His life.

This is the God we serve. He bends down to us even when we are consumed with ourselves. He doesn’t seem to feel taken advantage of by anyone. (In fact, I think I am more angry about this than He is!)

This God we serve is King of an upside-down Kingdom. He doesn’t operate the way we do. He doesn’t demand our eye for His eye. He doesn’t feel the need to expound on all that He has given up for us. He doesn’t get huffy or give the silent treatment like I would do.  He just… loves.

Another oddity in this passage is this: just hours before He sweats drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane, he is eating a meal, drinking wine, and giving thanks.

How is it that on the night he was betrayed, Jesus could still give thanks? Give thanks for His betrayer? Give thanks for the people He had come to save that had rejected Him? Yet in the midst of His inner turmoil, He thought to give thanks for their bread. Is it possible that this act of giving thanks is an anecdote for our grief?

When I’m in the middle of a tough situation, the last thing I usually think to do is thank God. For that flat tire? For that job loss? For this illness? Blessed are those that mourn; for they shall be comforted (Matthew 5:4). Yes, we mourn the consequences of sin, but we don’t grieve without hope. Jesus kept His eyes on the prize… our souls reconciled with the Father’s. When we focus on Jesus instead of on our suffering, we are able to give thanks.

What grudge do we need to lay aside today? Can we forgive that small offense in light of the HUGE debt of which Jesus has forgiven us? Maybe we need to get down on our hands and knees and serve that person who has hurt us. Maybe we can start by simply giving thanks.

And then we can set out to follow our Father’s footsteps.

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The Story of Redemption Volume II Releases TODAY!

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It’s here!!! The Story of Redemption Volume II is available now, and you can use the code REDEMPTION for 20% off the new devotional and all Bible study sets!

From Genesis to Revelation the Bible tells us the story of redemption. It reminds us of who we are, and teaches us of the God who has pursued us from the beginning of time. Despite all the times we have failed…He has remained Faithful. In the first pages of Genesis we see the promise of the Redeemer that would come and make everything right. His name is Jesus, and He changes everything.

We learn about Him throughout the entire Old Testament and then, in the New Testament, He bursts on to the scene. We are overwhelmed with Who He is! The Bible is the story of our redemption.

 

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The Story of Redemption is a devotional that walks through the entire Bible, chapter by chapter. It is for anyone who has ever wanted to read the entire Bible. For anyone who has started to read through the Bible and felt overwhelmed. It is for anyone who wants to understand the full story of Scripture, and see Jesus on every page.

This is a story unlike any other. This is the story of Jesus. This is the story of redemption.

Volume 1 covers Genesis through 2 Samuel, and Volume 2 covers 1 Kings through Psalms. Grab your copies now!

Shop here!

 

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Next Lamp & Light Studies Announced!

We love Bible Study and we love community…put the two together and you have one of our favorite things! Will you study with us? Tomorrow is your last chance to use the GRACE code to get 20% off all devotionals and sets! It’s the perfect time to commit to getting in the Word.

We are in the middle of a rich study on Hebrews, and are so excited to enter the Easter season with these parallels of the Old and New Testament in mind! After we wrap up Hebrews, we will be studying a FREE reading plan that will be mailed out to our newsletter subscribers (so don’t delay…subscribe here!). Each day preceding Easter, you will get a Scripture passage and devotional sent to your inbox. Following Easter, we will begin a study on Psalm 119, followed by our Freedom and Grace Study! This new edition of our Freedom and Grace study on Galatians is available now. It is gorgeous and packed with truth about the grace that has been poured out on us, and the freedom in Christ that we have been given.

Join an online community of ladies for accountability, prayer, encouragement, and extra insight into the Word! Head on over to our Facebook Lamp & Light page to get plugged in! We hope you’ll order your copy of the studies and join us! There is nothing like studying God’s Word with other women. Even for those of us who desire to be in the Word, sometimes life happens. Accountability is a check and balance that keeps us on track!

God’s Word never changes, but it changes us. It is true, trustworthy, and timeless. So if we were sitting over coffee, I would tell you to pour into His Word because that time will never be wasted. Now more than ever I believe that women who get into His Word can change the World!

It is the perfect time to refocus and commit to spending time in God’s Word. I promise that it is a commitment that you will never regret. Use the code GRACE to get 20% off all devotionals and sets, even our most popular Bible Study collection!

Shop HERE!!!

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Updated Freedom & Grace Study is Here!

The new edition of our Freedom and Grace study on Galatians is available now! This study is gorgeous and packed with truth, focusing on the grace that has been poured out on us, and the freedom in Christ that we have been given.

God’s Word never changes, but it changes us. It is true, trustworthy, and timeless.

So if we were sitting over coffee, I would tell you to pour into His Word because that time will never be wasted. Now more than ever, I believe that women who get into His Word can change the World!

It is the perfect time to refocus and commit to spending time in God’s Word. I promise that it is a commitment that you will never regret. Use the code GRACE to get 20% off all devotionals and sets… including our most popular Bible Study collection! Don’t miss out on this sale!

Shop devotionals here!

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