All posts by Joseph Hood

14 May

Take Up Your Cross and Follow

It seems as though the Coronavirus, by and large is coming to a close, and life will soon be back to normal. However, the virus and everything that has come packaged with it has made me ask myself the question, “How serious of a Christian am I”? In Matthew 16:24 The Bible says,

“Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

There has been a certain amount of denying ourselves certain pleasures during this time, mostly because we have been required to. We have all had a certain amount of suffering. None of what we have undergone recently is what the Bible is talking about in Matthew 16:24, but all of it has made me think, if this is a preview of coming attractions, will I be willing to stay true to God and my relationship with Jesus if things get much worse in the future with a second round of COVID19 or whatever the powers that be have in mind?

We should all allow this time to be a time of evaluation to see if we will be willing to voluntarily, even gladly, give up/deny ourselves what we are used to in order to follow Jesus. It is much better to have the attitude of letting go now, so it is easier when forced, and have a joyful attitude we are doing what Christ said in, “take up his cross, and follow me.”

16 Apr

Am I Ready?

As I see everything happening in the world today with the Coronavirus, namely how it has changed our lives completely in every sense of the word, I find myself asking the question, “Am I ready?”  When I ask that question, your mind probably went to 100 different things you could be prepared for, under the present circumstances.  Your mind probably went to mostly material things such as wondering if you have enough food, money, toilet paper for a respiratory infection :), ammunition for the fall-out, etc.  However, that is not really what I had in mind.  My purpose in asking the question, “Am I ready?”, is a spiritual one.

Proverbs 27:1  “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.”  

Am I ready for what these changes mean in my life by freeing up my time to focus on spiritual things and other things which have true value in life.  A few weeks ago, everyone was going to ball games, shopping, planning vacations for spring break, going to concerts, walking in the parks, going downtown, going to the movie theater, and living life as usual.  Seemingly overnight, all of that came to a grinding halt, as well as many people’s finances along with the stock market and jobs.  We are all now faced with how to spend all of this slow time we probably have never had in our entire lives.  I have found this is a good time to ask, “Am I ready to deal with facing time I have never had, to think in ways I never have, about things I have never thought about?”

We can think on such things as, we now have the time we never had to study the Bible and think about God, Heaven, others, and how we can point them in the direction of looking to God to supply our needs instead of our 401k or the government.  Looking to God to provide our literal daily needs is not something we think about in America, but apparently that changed overnight for most.  Sadly those who have not bowed their heart to Jesus Christ in acknowledging what He did on the cross to be sufficient to pay for their sins and give them salvation can’t look to Him in this way.  As a Christian, I can because He is my Heavenly Father, and I need to use this time to tell those who have not asked Jesus to save them from their sin, that He will do that and supply their earthly needs if asked.

Philippians 4:19  “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Also, I have been thinking about whether or not I am ready to live a simple life of spending time with people on a more basic, simple level without all the excess glamor that comes when everything is “normal”.  Enjoying just going for a walk with my wife, sitting on the porch, cooking and eating at home, visiting with friends and neighbors, trying to help those in need are all things that are not at the top of the list when we are under the pressures of the “normal” life.  In relationships, when all you have to offer is less things, whether it be a fancy meal, or a great time going out, or showing off your fancy house and talking about how well you are doing financially, and instead you offer more of yourself, in that you listen to the other person and show you really care, then you start to have an understanding of what truly has value in life.  These times can make you a quality person on the inside with depth, instead of being shallow and superficial when times are good.

I have also been asking myself if I am ready to realistically look inside and find out if I worship the gods of everything that I listed in the first paragraph that came to a grinding halt and throw in some Jesus on Sunday, or am I glad to have those things gone so I can really worship God and Him alone without distraction.

James 4:13-15  “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.”

Lastly, I have been thinking on whether or not, if this is the end, am I ready to stand before God and give account of my life?  These are all things we need to ask ourselves and make sure, “we are ready.”

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