JULY 19

AND FOLLOW ME

Matthew 16:24c “and follow me.”
When we follow Christ, we follow Him wherever He goes. Where He goes we will go. Where He leads, we will follow. We will go with Him, with Him all the way.
Following Christ means total commitment to Him. Living like Christ wants us to live. Doing what He wants us to do. Saying what he wants us to say.
There are many churches here and many names listed on membership rolls, so why must we often ask someone if he is a believer?
Shouldn’t we believers behave and speak like believers so there is no doubt with any family members and neighbors that we are believers?
Our lives should be evidence that Christ lives in them.
In many small African villages in which there might be only one small church in a village of thousands, the Christians are well-known. Their lives are notably different. They attend church services, bring tithes and offerings, and help their neighbors. All the other people in the village know them as Christians.
Are you known to everyone around you as a Christian?
May God help me to do this every day.

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JULY 18

TAKE UP HIS CROSS

Matthew 16:24b “Take-up his cross”
Take up your cross and follow Jesus. This was mentioned earlier in Matthew 10:38. But important principles are often worth repeating.
Take up your cross and follow Jesus. The cross is symbolic of death. Jesus carried his cross, the one on which He was crucified.
We, too, should be willing to take up the instrument of our own death and be willing to die for Christ.
In our daily lives we should deny ourselves and put to death our sinful desires. We should accept the ridicule or shame from persecution we have in following Christ.
When we die to self we separate ourselves from the sin in the world. We sacrificially lay down our lives so others may live.
When we take up our cross we are telling the world that as a disciple of Christ we are willing to die for Him.

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JULY 17

HE MUST DENY HIMSELF

Matthew 16:24a “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me he must deny himself.”
Anyone who lives for himself and his own pleasures and comforts will lose everything one day. BUT those who live to serve the Lord and to serve others will gain a reward in eternity.
I wanted a packed-earth floor instead of loose dirt in the outside classroom. So I hired Mr. Peace, a mason for the job. His role was to supervise the women because it was women’s work. Throughout the morning Mr. Peace carried buckets of dirt and water alongside the women.
No African law required Mr. Peace to work with the women because he had been designated as a supervisor.
He had a reputation for being a strong Christian and faithful follower. Mr. Peace denied himself the luxury of sitting and telling the women what to do.
Someone who denies himself puts to death his desires and affections. He does not look for fame for himself, but he wants Christ to have the glory. He does not think of himself as better than others. He denies himself and serves the Lord and others.

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