Category: thoughts by Allan Mitchell

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“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:34-35

What’s your greatest challenge as Jesus’ disciple? My greatest challenge is an ever-present formidable foe that keeps me from having a heart of humility. From birth, I’ve wrestled with self-centered tendencies. I’ve discovered that, as an authentic Christ-follower, I must resolve to defy and deny the human heart’s most persuasive hereditary affliction called “self”.

In  Mark 8, Jesus clarifies the sobering criteria for following him. One must deny self, take up one’s cross, follow, lose one’s life, and consequently, save one’s life. Initially, his declaration seems unreasonable and unachievable.

The most persuasive influence in the human heart – that ever-present predisposition that conflicts with unconstrained submission to God’s will – is self. Why? Simply said, self and Christ cannot both rule. One must submit to the other. This is the non-negotiable criteria of being Jesus’ disciple. Denying self allows God to edify and sanctify us, conforming us to the image of Jesus as a credible witness to a fallen world that overvalues self.

Wrestling with and denying self is never easy. It is the daunting lifelong cross to bear and a challenge for every believer. But it is the compulsory cost of following Jesus. A daily, moment-by-moment, intentional resolve to realign the heart to prioritize God’s will for our lives is a disciple’s rite of passage.

Realign your heart. Immerse yourself in God’s Word. Allow him to renew your mind, transform your perspective, and influence your will. You will encounter a life severed from self that authentically reflects Jesus.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for the privilege of following you. Help me to defy and deny self. Realign my heart and will. As I daily immerse myself in your Word, renew my mind, transform my heart, and empower me to authentically reflect Jesus to those within my sphere of influence. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you. Jonah 3:1-2

Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.’

Is your heart always sensitive to God’s prompting?

I would prefer to answer yes; however, as I contemplate my own response, I recognize that the only truthful answer is emphatically, “no.” Regrettably, many times my heart is enticed by my own selfish cost, comfort, and convenience. Consequently, I endure the calamity of choice — the unavoidable cause and effect of my own disobedience — choosing my will over God’s will.

Can God use a reluctant heart? Absolutely! God’s call is greater than my tendency to disobey.

Interestingly, Jonah’s book begins with God commissioning Jonah to be his representative among the Ninevites. Jonah, refusing to embrace God’s call, encounters the persuasive calamity of his own self-centered choice. Despite Jonah’s obvious reluctance, God never revokes Jonah’s mission mantle; rather, through Jonah’s crisis of circumstance and ensuing prayer, God reiterates Jonah’s call. Ultimately, Jonah’s obedience influences repentance among the Ninevites.

What can we learn from Jonah’s initial response to God’s call? Primarily, when God asks us to embrace his call, we cannot emulate Jonah’s flight, fear, or foot-dragging reaction without consequence. As present-day Gospel custodians, individually and collectively, we cannot allow personal interests and priorities to influence our reluctant response. God calls every Christ-follower to be his hands, feet, and voice. May his enduring grace inspire us to influence our sphere of influence and especially those he calls to become his own.

Dear Heavenly Father, create in me a faithful heart that is sensitive to your prompting. Empower and equip me to be your hands, feet, and voice among those I encounter in my life journey. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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“…Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us… that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity.”  John 17:21-23

Do you desire an ongoing intimacy with God? All my life, I’ve wanted to be close to God — not just as a familiar, feel-good acquaintance, but as a “first love” relationship that lives and thrives on a moment-by-moment experience of his power, presence, and peace. Even after many years of following Jesus, I realized, through some untimely, undesirable life lessons, that I can never settle for a stagnant faith and yet expect to experience deep intimacy with God. Sometimes, my forgetful, faithless heart marvels that an ongoing intimacy with God is even possible.

In John 17, Jesus’ prayer for believers reminds us that intimacy with God is not only possible, but is his desire. Jesus wants every believer to experience the same deep relational intimacy that he experienced with the Father. Jesus defines true intimacy with the Father and himself by declaring, “you are in me… I am in you … they also be in us … that they may be brought to complete unity.” This intimate, irrefutable interaction is God’s design and desire for every believer who prioritizes him as his or her “first love.”

Are you experiencing a stagnant faith journey or spiritual discontent? Don’t allow life’s distractions or difficulties to affect your relationship with God. God designed us for deep intimacy. Don’t, however, confuse intimacy with familiarity.

Spiritual discontent momentarily subsides when we restore the “first love” relational intimacy with our Lord. Reclaim and restore a “first love” relationship with Jesus, and, one day at a time — one breath at a time —, you’ll begin to experience an insatiable, irrefutable intimacy with God.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your ongoing pursuing affection. You created and redeemed me for a relational intimacy. Help me to prioritize my relationship with you above all else so I may experience that deep relational intimacy with you all the days of my life. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Have you ever asked yourself, “What has this world come to?” As I reflect on my upbringing, I remember right and wrong being more black and white, with a few obvious exceptions. In today’s multicultural, multi-faith world, with its ever-evolving values, right and wrong are no longer black and white – they are discouraging and divisive shades of grey. Amidst growing oppression, many believers struggle to discern the grey and live an uncompromised godly life.

Almost daily, culture challenges believers to compromise their traditional values to accommodate social, judicial, and moral reform. In the name of social equality and justice, authorities pressure and punish believers into submission. Jesus warned that we “will have trouble” because His kingdom is counter-cultural. Despite what may be a dilemma, He encourages us to “take heart” because He overcame the world. So how do we triumphantly navigate complex cultural and moral issues without compromising our faith?

In today’s world, believers need an infallible moral compass to ensure they don’t surrender to popular opinion. Respected Pastor, John Piper, concludes, “When justice is divorced from morality, when rights of individuals are separated from right and wrong, the only definition you have left for justice is the right for every individual to do as he pleases…the end of that road is anarchy and barbarism” . In the end, we may not avert social and moral deprivation, but by remaining steadfast, in His name, Word, and peace, we shall surely overcome the world and see His justice prevail.

Dear Heavenly Father, Help me to discern Your voice and will amidst the chaos of an ever changing world. Align my will your Will. Protect me from the lures and snares of this world that attempt to compromise Your Word. May Your Spirit direct, empower, and equip me, strengthening my perseverance and resolve to overcome the world. Amen.

Prayerfully read John 16:33 and 1 John 5:3-5. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you align your values with Scripture. As you pray, write down the insights the Spirit gives you and commit to living by God’s truth daily.

By Allan Mitchell
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“This is how God showed his love among us: he sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:9-10

If I asked you to define love, what would you say? Some people may say that love is a strong feeling of affection toward another person. Other people may say that love is caring for another person. Alternatively, some people may say that love is difficult to define.

In today’s ever-changing perplexed world, accurately defining love is challenging, especially when we try to comprehend the mystery and magnitude of God’s love for every human being.

Scripturally, God frequently defines his love as a verb — an unrequited action toward humanity individually and collectively. He emphasizes that he reveals His love for us by sending his Son into the world to reconcile us to himself (John 3:16). John clearly and unambiguously asserts that, despite our lack of love for God, he, reflecting the essence of his character, demonstrated unrequited love for us by sending Jesus as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

The mystery, miracle, and majesty of God’s love is unfathomable to a world that prefers to define love through the unreliable chameleon influence of cultural trends and acceptance.

Ultimately, God’s love is undefinable, unfathomable, unshakable, and unmatchable. Renowned evangelist, the late Billy Graham, once stated, “He knows exactly what we are and loves us anyway.”

Do we fully realize and reflect the influence of God’s love in our lives? Love is the divine essence of God’s character and we should daily seek to fully realize his unrequited love and reflect it to those around us.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that your often unrequited and always unmerited love, in sending Jesus, saves me. Equip me with understanding and discernment to comprehend the depth of your love, and empower me to reciprocate and reflect your love to those within my sphere of influence. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Imagine an intimidating affliction that inflicts your body with weakness, invades your mind with helplessness, ingrains your emotions with hopelessness, and infects your soul with faithlessness.

My first unwanted encounter with anxiety evolved from a series of unexpected, unfortunate, and unsolicited life events. Anxiety’s shadowy specter ceaselessly challenges my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual demeanor.

Regrettably, in many Christian circles, social stigma and wrong theology imply that flawed faith produces personal anxiety struggles. However, Scripture reveals that Jesus’ divinity did not disqualify His humanity from experiencing overwhelming anxiety. Though He felt it, he did prevent anxiety from exploiting His vulnerable heart and mind by confronting it with persevering prayer and taking every thought captive. He overcame by obediently trusting His Father’s Word, will, and perfect peace. Today’s verse reiterates Jesus’ strategy – confronting anxiety with prayer – soliciting God’s will and seeking God’s peace for a vulnerable heart and mind.

Do you experience anxiety? In today’s turbulent world, anxiety is a common and constant companion for many people – an unavoidable effect of living this side of heaven. It attempts to exploit personal vulnerabilities, oppress self-esteem, and mire conviction. It is no respecter of persons. Flawless faith or mental disciplines do not banish its company. Its stalking presence constantly compels vulnerable lives to despair, but as believers, we can persevere and triumph through truth and trust – knowing that Jesus relates with and knows our struggle. Despite its persistent presence, He enables us to persevere through anxiety’s sordid shadows – shielding our hearts and minds with His perfect peace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for a Savior who can relate with my ongoing struggles. Protect my heart and mind from anxiety’s effects. Create in me an attitude of thanksgiving and praise. Help me realize that despite my anxious struggles, You are sovereign over every circumstance in my life. Help me to take every though captive by daily affirming the truth of Your Word. Amen.

Thought: Consider using one (or more) of the following strategies for coping with anxiety:

1) Read and pray through Jesus’ wilderness temptation, Gethsemane and Calvary experiences.
2) Confront anxiety with prayer and thanksgiving.
3) Take every thought captive daily by memorizing key Scripture verses that address anxiety and fear.
4) Encourage someone struggling with anxiety by sharing your insights and strategy.

By Allan Mitchell
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FURTHER READING:

Dealing with Despair

Overwhelmed by Negative Feelings?

Fear, Faith and Migraines by Dr. Muriel Larson

Up from Depression  – Barbara Epp shares her journey with depression and the misconception that Christians shouldn’t get depressed.

Hope for the Hopeless

Good News for You


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Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my pathPsalm 119:105

Every New Year, like many other believers, I reflect on God’s precious promises and provisions. For me, a recurring New Year’s rite of passage is re-evaluating my personal faith walk. Usually, after prayerful meditation, I conclude that I need to immerse myself more in God’s timeless gift – His enduring Word. I ask the Lord to create in me an insatiable hunger for His Word, because if I neglect to daily partake of its life-giving sustenance, my spirit experiences profound spiritual malnutrition.

Throughout the ages and generations, God expressed and preserved His Word. He birthed creation through His spoken Word. He inscribed His Word into stone tablets, and ultimately, He clothed His Word in Human flesh. God gifted us with His Word to nurture and sustain our spirit. Throughout Psalm 119, the Psalmist exudes passion, insight, and thankfulness for the essential and eternal gift of God’s Word. Insightfully, He emphasizes that God’s Word illuminates his understanding – keeping His life on the right path. Jesus reiterates that

Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Despite its many modern translations and interpretive nuances, God’s Word remains a divine heirloom relevant for every believer and generation. This New Year, resolve to immersing yourself daily in God’s Word. Regularly meditating on and obeying these timeless inspired words transforms our character. It enables and equips us to discern our Father’s heart and to persevere through times of testing, trial, and tribulation.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the gift of Your Word. Create in me an insatiable hunger for Your Word. Help me to faithfully and regularly set aside daily quality time to read and mediate on Your Word. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell

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Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.‘”  Luke 9:23

Contemplating my relationship with God, I envision myself standing on an endless ocean shore. The ocean represents my Christian life; the horizon represents eternity. The cool, exhilarating surf consoles my feet — retreating momentarily only to reveal my temporary impression in the shifting sand. The receding tide’s unrelenting whisper beckons me to step into the deep and discover Jesus below the surface. Regrettably, I am content with the shoreline’s safety. I fear the deep may cost me my life.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus unapologetically defines the criteria for being His disciple. His non-negotiable counter cultural declaration transcends stagnant belief. Jesus invites us to deny and die to self.

In today’s narcissistic culture, Jesus’ statement sounds unreasonable and unachievable, but He reiterates with emphasis that if we lose our life for Him, we shall surely save it. Is this a confusing contradiction? No, Jesus’ unpopular, intimidating assertion is possible, especially for believers yearning to grow through deepening their knowledge and intimacy with God.

Theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, reiterates, “When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” So how do we realistically die to self?

Self-preservation paralyzes our resolve to step into the deep and mature in our faith. Stepping into the deep involves obedience and risk; however, Jesus reassures us “whoever loses their life for me will save it” so we shouldn’t be content to live life on the safe shore of stagnant belief. Let’s live life embracing Jesus’ daily invitation to step into the deep — dying to self — thriving in Him.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you, Lord, for the privilege of being in relationship with You. Reveal to me the aspects of self that hinder my life in you. Empower me to step off the shore of comfort and stagnant belief and to daily step into the deep so I can get to know you under the surface. Enable me to experience intimacy and life in you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

By Allan Mitchell

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”Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave —  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26b-28

Do you believe the Lord is calling you to greatness? I’m not referring to the kind of greatness the world knows, but the counter-cultural greatness of a committed Christ follower.

In my initial immature years as a believer, I thought receiving Christ as Savior was the beginning and the end of my eternal relationship journey with the Lord. Regrettably, many believers are spiritually stagnant. Ultimately, as I immersed myself in Jesus’ Words, I realized that receiving Christ is only the initial relational response in my intimate discipleship journey.

In Matthew 20, Jesus’ disciples, exhibiting an entitlement mentality, resentfully debate their perceived position and power in the Kingdom. Jesus corrects their perspective — clarifying that unlike the religious elite of Jesus’ day who thrive on power, prestige, and prosperity, His disciples must exemplify selfless, surrendered, servitude. Throughout the gospels, Jesus models and emphasizes intentional servitude. This compulsory discipleship dynamic reflects Kingdom greatness, and by God’s divine design, refines character — transforming the inner man to represent and reflect His Son, Jesus.

God calls every believer to embrace Kingdom greatness. As I continue to immerse myself in Jesus’ words and character, I realize that salvation is only the spark to the flame of our intimate and eternal relationship with God. Yes, Jesus saved us from sin, but more importantly, He saved us to serve — not exclusively within the comfort and confines of church community, but also to authentically represent and reflect Him within our broader communities of hurting and forgotten people.

Dear Heavenly Father, help me to understand and embrace Kingdom greatness. Create in me a servant’s heart — a heart that strives to emulate Jesus’ servant heart to a broken and hurting world. Open up opportunities for me to serve within my own community. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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Peace I leave with you; my peace [shalom] I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

We’ve all struggled with life’s adversities to some extent. Often, in my experiences, just when I thought I could easily discern God’s plan for my comfortable life, suddenly ? and without warning ? I experienced life interrupted. Adversity and anxiety shattered my illusionary spiritual serenity.

Throughout life, society indoctrinates us with an insatiable appetite for self-satisfaction and entitlement. Societal misconception or flawed theology suggests that God exists to provide us with an excess-filled, comfortable life ? inciting us to perceive perpetual bliss as the norm for a Christian. This illegitimate and idealistic illusion causes many believers to experience a troubled heart. They question God’s sovereignty and presence in their lives because they experience no enduring, soul satisfying serenity.

In John’s gospel, Jesus distinguishes the world’s peace from His peace. The world’s peace, although enticing, is illusionary and temporary. The Hebrew word for peace is shalom; however, it conveys a much deeper meaning of complete and whole wellness. When Jesus imparts to them His shalom, He reminds His disciples that adversity and anxiety are coming, and in this world, they will encounter life interrupted. However, He reassures them that in Him, they shall experience enduring satisfying shalom, because He is Shalom.

Are you experiencing life interrupted? Take heart ? God has not thrown you to life’s lions. Only Jesus can shelter our fragile troubled hearts amidst life’s unexpected and unwelcome crises. Scripture encourage us to always pursue shalom, not as a temporary emotional fix for our momentary misfortune, but as the forever accessible, always available, perfect peace of His presence.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you are my ever present Savior who overcomes the world and never leaves me alone. In the midst of life’s often unpredictable crises, protect my heart from trouble and help me to pursue your presence. Preserve me with the assurance of your present and perfect Shalom. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: ‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’” Matthew 13:7-9

How would you describe your worship experience? In today’s modern church context, many believers describe worship as a contemporary musical liturgy that precedes the traditional Sunday sermon. For many congregants, including me, modern and traditional worship songs captivate and arouse our souls — evoking an emotional euphoria that manifests as a physical and verbal expression of exultation. This experience is common, but is authentic worship more than just our emotional response to creative compositions that glorify God?

In Matthew 15, Jesus reminds us that true worship is more than just lip service. He reprimands the Pharisees and teachers of the law, calling them hypocrites because their pretentious posturing prioritized tradition over the non-negotiable truth of God’s word. To emphasize their error, Jesus quotes Isaiah 29:13 — clearly and unapologetically exposing their hypocrisy. Jesus’ observation reiterates that authentic worship transcends emotional expression and the superficial veneer of outward worship. Sincere worship is a matter of a heart obedient to God’s will and word — reflecting submission, sacrifice, and service.

Are you just going through the motions when you worship the Lord? Are you honoring God with your lips and not your heart? Worship without obedience is vanity. Worship is for God’s pleasure. Let us humbly and reverently come before Him and embrace the true heart of worship.

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord I don’t want to go through the motions when I come before you in worship. May my faith walk, inwardly and outwardly, reflect a sincere heart obedient to your will and word. May I always offer you sweet worship that honors and glorifies your name. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Luke 4:18-19

Has God ever challenged you to step outside your comfort zone? About eight years ago, God challenged me to embrace His invitation to adventure and experience life as He intended — intentionally and faithfully reaching out to my community’s marginalized people. Initially, and apprehensively, I asked, “What can I offer?” Despite my sense of insecurity, inadequacy, and nervous anxiety, I sensed God gently saying, “All I need from you is a willing heart.”

In Luke 4:18-19, prior to beginning His public ministry, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah. These powerful and timely words reveal Jesus’ ministry mandate. Likewise, today, His timeless words reiterate every Christ follower’s mission mandate: proclaim good news to the poor, freedom for the prisoners, sight for the blind, freedom for the oppressed, and the year of the Lord’s favor. Obviously, we cannot effectively accomplish Jesus’ mission mandate exclusively serving ourselves. Like Jesus, we must transcend the comfort and confines of our sacred assemblies and intentionally and faithfully engage in relational, Spirit-led community outreach.

Is the Lord prompting you to embrace His life of adventure – reflecting Jesus within your community? Throughout my outreach experience, I continually witness believers willingly and faithfully embracing Jesus’ mandate – being His hands, feet, and voice among society’s marginalized. Consequently, God uses their outreach experience to conform their character to authentically reflect Jesus. Concurrently, He also tenderly transforms the hearts and lives of society’s poor, prisoners, blind, and oppressed through His living ambassadors of grace. Will you accept His invitation to adventure? All He needs from you is a willing heart.

Dear Heavenly Father, empower me with your Spirit, so that I may authentically reflect you within my community. Open up opportunities for me to begin my faith adventure — that I can be your hands, feet, and voice. Thank you for the privilege and honor of being your ambassador of grace. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell

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Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  John 5:19

Would you consider yourself self-sufficient? Most people would say yes, because from childhood through adulthood, culture teaches us to be self-sustaining individuals. Cultural expectation encourages and rewards self-effort for life’s physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual needs. In fact, people experiencing hardship who then rely on someone or something else for these life essentials are perceived as weak and failures. Is this really the life Jesus models for His followers — a life of self-reliance?

Throughout Scripture, prophets, priests, and kings experience hardship yet humbly acknowledge their personal shortcomings. Inevitably, their greatest triumphs come from relying on and applying God’s will and Word. In John 5, when Jewish leaders confront Jesus about healing on the Sabbath, He humbly declares that He can do nothing except reiterate and model His Father. Jesus is modelling intimacy ? a relationship of total reliance on the Father in word and deed.

God knows that life brings hardship. Trials and tribulations are an unavoidable rite of passage. However, when these things happen, we can experience relational intimacy with our Lord. It is what He wants for us. While his disciples slept, Jesus prayed, “…you are in me… I am in you… May they also be in us” (John 17:21-23). We can boldly and bravely assume a spiritual posture of intimacy and reliance on our heavenly Father for every need. There is no shame or weakness in seeking spiritual sustenance by petitioning the name that provides provision, protection, and perseverance for life’s ongoing journey.

 Dear Heavenly Father and Lord, thank you that you desire an ongoing intimate relationship with me, despite life’s trials and tribulations. Even when I experience hardship, you are willing and waiting for me to fully rely on your provision. Help me to set aside any pride and to surrender self and to understand that when I am weak, I am strong, because you are with me and for me. In Jesus name, amen.

By Allan Mitchell
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crucible choice

“’Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ . . . Jesus replied, ‘If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’…. ‘All these I have kept,’ the young man said. ‘What do I still lack?’ Jesus answered, ‘If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’”Matthew 19:16-22

Have you ever been asked to relinquish something you treasured dearly? As a youngster, immigrating to Canada, I had the unavoidable task of choosing what personal possessions to leave behind. Our family’s belongings had to fit a small shipping. Reluctantly and agonizingly, I confronted the crucible of choice — selecting, surrendering, and submitting to this unsolicited predicament.

In Matthew 19, Jesus encounters a man inquiring about eternal life. On the surface, the man’s reply indicates that he has met the criteria for righteousness, but Jesus discerns that the man’s possessions are an obstacle preventing him from fully following Him. So Jesus asks him to surrender the obstacle.

Jesus doesn’t plea bargain for the man’s heart because He knows that “… where [his] treasure is, there [his] heart will be also.” In a life-changing moment, the man confronts the crucible of choice — assessing the value of his possessions. Regrettably, he concludes that his possessions are non-negotiable and he rejects Jesus’ proposal.

Are you willing to relinquish anything preventing you from experiencing deeper intimacy with Jesus? Ideally, as Christ followers, we should surrender anything that hinders relational intimacy with God. Daily, every believer must confront the crucible of choice, and re-evaluate his or her treasures. Jesus knows surrender and submission are heart conditions and decisions. They are the unavoidable and non-negotiable cost of fully following Jesus.

Lord, create in me a transparent heart. Help me to reevaluate my heart’s treasures — discerning if there is anything in my life that hinders relational intimacy with you. Empower me with the resolve to choose wisely when I confront choice and to daily surrender my heart to your word and will. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell

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He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.’” Matthew 16:24 – 25

Are you content with your relationship with God? Do you desire a dynamic, deeper, more intimate relationship with Him? If your answer is yes, your decision will certainly cost you.

For years, my relationship with God felt satisfyingly comfortable, yet inwardly, I sensed a static, stagnant, apathetic stupor. My dilemma compelled me to urgently pray for a hungry heart of spiritual discontent — a discontent that only subsides with a wholly surrendered heart and life.

In today’s verse, Jesus unapologetically outlines authentic discipleship: deny self, take up your cross, and follow Jesus. He purposely reiterates His declaration by clarifying that His disciple must lose his life to ultimately find life. In today’s narcissistic world, from birth, we are indoctrinated to value self-worth, self-gain, and self-acclaim. Jesus’ prerequisite for discipleship is unashamedly counter-cultural. At first glance, Jesus’ declaration and expectation seems impossible to accomplish, but for believers courageous enough to confront the grand illusion of a static faith experience, daily self-denial is the non-negotiable cost of deeper intimacy with God.

Are you willing to daily and bravely never be content with your spiritual status quo and to surrender your life for greater discipleship intimacy? If your answer is yes, then your decision commences with audacious ambition, courageous confession, soul submission, and relentless resolve – continuing everyday of your ransomed but rewarding life. Renowned brave-heart missionary, Jim Elliot, concluded, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for redeeming my life with your blood. Empower me to become a brave-heart disciple — a disciple never content with a static, stagnant faith experience.  Create a constant spiritual discontent in my heart that can only subside by daily and wholly surrendering my life to your will. Amen.

By Allan Mitchell


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Thoughts by All thoughts by Allan Mitchell Thoughts by Men