Tuesday, February 20
Scripture: Mark 8:31-38

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Mark 8:34.

Early one morning my phone rang waking me up from a sound sleep. It was a request for a ride to a doctor’s appointment, needed because their car was not available for some reason. I was immediately put in a position where I would have to decide to stay within my comfort zone or to obey what I felt was a higher calling to be a true disciple and help this person out. I was reminded instantly of what I had told some people at church recently, “The word ‘convenient’ must be removed from the vocabulary of anyone who would consider themselves to be a true disciple.”

Each and every day we are all confronted with situations like mine. Can we truly say, “Thy will be done” or do we cave in to our own personal fleshly desires and whims. I continue to learn and practice this principle knowing that having ability is one thing, having availability is quite another. Are we truly available to God or are we trying to preserve the flesh forgetting that “except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die it abideth alone; but if it die it bringeth forth much fruit.” John 12:24.

Over the years I have discovered that it is very liberating to “let go and let God.” Now I see that as a result of taking up my own cross my life has become a daily series of “divine appointments” because I am liberated from my own willfulness and open to the wondrous ways the Lord will open doors for me, giving me new privileges and opportunities to represent Jesus Christ to people who meet me.

The life of a believer and follower of Jesus Christ will always require strength, stamina, and resolve. However, I find that I become stronger all the time as a result of my surrender. I consider the words of Phillips Brooks who penned “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” He is quoted as saying, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, but pray for powers equal to your tasks.”

Prayer: Dear God, the strength we need is completely available to us as we surrender our hearts and will to thee. May our service be marked by this desire to serve by taking up our cross daily as our blessed savior Jesus Christ has called us to do.

 – Paul Heffron

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