FEBRUARY 23

Today's Bible Readings
     Exodus 6
     Job 23
     Luke 9
     I Corinthians  10
 
MEMORIZE TODAY
''No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62)
 
''YES - BUT...!''
            Luke tells us about a man who said to Jesus, ''Lord, I will follow you wherever you go." Then he began to make excuses. Our Lord's attitude toward this man was one of severe discouragement, ''for He knew what was in the man." (John 2:25) You may wonder why Jesus would turn this man away by being so cold to him. Never apologize for your Lord. The words of the Lord hurt and offend until there is nothing left to be hurt or offended. Jesus Christ had no tenderness whatsoever toward anything that was ultimately going to ruin a person in his service to God. Our Lord's answer to him was not based upon whim or impulse, but ''what was in the man."
            The person who says, ''Lord I will follow you, but ...'' is the person who is intensely ready to go but never goes. This man had reservations about going. The exacting call of Jesus has no room for good-byes. Good-byes as we often use them are pagan, not Christian, because they divert us from the call. This man wanted to go and say good-bye to one who was dead and others who were visiting him. Jesus said all that is secondary. Once the call of God comes to you, start going and never stop.
            When you put your hand to the plow and look back, Jesus said, ''you are not fit for the kingdom of God." Suppose God tells you to do something that is an enormous test to your common sense, totally going against it. What will you do? Will you hold back? If you get into the habit of doing something physically, you will do it every time you are tested until you break the habit through sheer determination and the same is true spiritually.
            When you say to the Master ''yes, but ...'', it is the same as saying, ''No, I will not obey."
            If a person is ever going to do anything worthwhile there will be times when he must risk everything by his leap in the dark. Jesus is looking for radical Christians who have become a part of the Kingdom army. In the spiritual realm, Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says. If He tells you to jump through a brick wall, it is your business to jump and God's business to make the hole.
           By the test of common sense, Jesus Christ's statements may seem mad, but when you test them by the trial of faith, your findings will fill your spirit with the awesome fact that they are the very words of God.  Are you willing to invest your life in the character of God? Never respond to the Lord's command with "yes, but  .  . ."
 
PRAY FOR THE WORLD
Armenia is an Asian nation of 4 million souls. Most of the Christian population is orthodox, but there are approximately only 2% of the Christian population who are evangelical.  Focus your prayer today on the Kurds who have come from the ancient Yezidi religion, and are reaching many, many of their kinsmen for Christ. The growing Kurdish church is reaching out to the Kurds of Armenia. Let us encourage them with our prayer support today.
 
A WORD FOR YOUR WORLD TODAY
''The business of the truth is not to be deserted, even at the sacrifice of our lives, for we live not for this age of ours, nor for the princes, but for the Lord."
Zwingli