Monday, September 28, 2009

What's Your Style?

Soft. Slow. Simple. Southern. That's my style. That's how I like to share my Savior. How He shows His love for me. Shapes me. Soothes me. So, why in the world would I bring up some slightly off-color topics? Like self denial. And carrying crosses. Surely not the segue you may have been anticipating . I'd much rather discuss something else. Anything else. But that's exactly what Jesus talks about in Mark 8:34b: If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. Deny who? Self. Carry what? A cross. Are you thinking that these are in-your-face-inflammatory words? I agree with you completely. Does Jesus still expect people to deny themselves and to carry a cross? That was just for His disciples way back then. Too difficult. And totally unrealistic for today's woman. Right? I mean, this is serious stuff. After all, a cross is an instrument of death. And I'm way more into satisfying self. And self-centeredness. And selfishness. I'm like. Today's my birthday. Well, it's not. I just want everyone to treat me like it is. Is anybody with me? And you know, while "deny" and "carry" are action verbs, they aren't the most significant words in this verse. The operative words are as follows: If. Anyone. Wants. To. Follow. Me. Jesus doesn't force us to follow Him. He gives us a choice. So, this is the question: Do we really want to follow Him? Because if we do, He will help us to deny ourselves. To take up our cross. To follow Him. Following Him is so much easier when we focus on Him. Not on ourselves. He supplies all that we need. Love. Grace. Mercy. Forgiveness. Power. Wisdom. That's His style. What's yours? Sweet dreams, Deb


  1. Thank you for sharing this. These word of Jesus have been on my mind a lot lately. It's scary to think about willingly caring a cross and laying down my life, but I do want to follow Jesus. I'm praying for his help.

  2. Happy Birthday, Deb.

    (Even if it's not. We'll treat you like it is.)

    Way back in Deut. 30 God spoke through Moses and told the people to do another impossible thing: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul. No way they could do it. But in the same passage, He said what He was asking for was "not too difficult."

    It is for me. Way too difficult. To love Him more than me? That's a big heavy cross to carry.

    But He said He'd do the heavy lifting -- in Deut. 30 He said He'd do the work in His people's hearts so they could love Him that way, with everything they had.

    And He still does that, doesn't He? He still gives us what we need to do what He asks us to do.

    Great post. You've so graciously and humbly hit the hard spots.

  3. what a wonderful well written.

  4. I like your southern style! I gave you an award! Please stop by my blog to pick it up.

  5. Hi Deb,

    I love how you spotlighted IF and WANT. Because really, we have to have the heart to do what HE wants, not what WE want.

    Well said!

  6. Ive been struggling a lot lately. there are so many changes and upheaveals going on in my life. sometimes I find myself saying "God, where are you???"

    the entire post was good, but this line "Following Him is so much easier when we focus on Him. Not on ourselves." was really what I needed to read.

  7. Deb,

    What a great thought for today? A choice if we wish to carry the cross and deny ourselves? Isn't it selfish if we answer No considering all that Jesus gave up for us?

    I love this insight because each day I invite Him to share this day with me, use moments in every day to teach me and help me smooth out the rough spots and to have His eyes to see what is really going on. Each day I believe it's a commitment to make that decision and each morning our Savior waits!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  8. So well said, Deb!

    I am being challenged to deny self in a huge way right now and it is so hard! My flesh wants to keep shouting, "What about me? What about my feelings?"

    But God calls us to far more than our own self-centeredness.

    Sorry I've been so out of touch. This situation has been demanding much of my attention. Let's try to talk this weekend ... Sunday night maybe?

  9. Sweet Deb -
    I so miss my strong and yet gentle friend who reminds me so often, it is not about me and my feelings, but about pleasing my Maker. Thanks for the reminder. Keep in touch - I'm missing you so much, lately.

  10. Powerful post and message, as always.

    Thanks so much for your prayers during my recent illness. I am still really, really weak but I'm gaining strength each and every day. I will be posting more about my illness and hospital stay as soon as I'm a little stronger.

    I hope the rest of your week is amazing.


    Teresa <><

  11. I want to follow Jesus 110%! That being said, I don't always want the cross attached to the journey. It's a heavy load this week; I have an idea as to why. I'm not surprised by it, but I am realizing now more than ever, my need to grow up in a few areas as I walk my daily life alongside Jesus.

    I take heart; he has overcome the world!

    Keep writing the truth. I need it!


  12. That's a powerful breakdown of a powerful verse.

    In this self-focused, self-obsessed, self-loving world, we can tend to look around to find what God is going to do for us -- instead of remembering that we are called to a life of sacrifice.

    Great, great post.

  13. Is it your birhtday! Happy Birthday! If not, Happy Un-birthday!

    Satan tries to trick us into carrying the crosses he makes, the burdens he throws on our back. These crosses just about knock us flat on our faces.

    However, miraculously, when we pick up Jesus Cross, that cross whose burden is easy, whose yoke is light, frees us. We need to throw down those faux crosses, slide that burden off our back. We need to be carrying the real thing! I finally did that! God is so good! Even when it gets tough, God is so good!

    Thanks Deb! Another directly to-the-heart post!

  14. Deb... you are so great. I just love ya to death. Wish you were my neighbour so I could crash your kitchen and drink you in in person. But I will keep stopping by here as opportunity allows (hopefully more often once the snow starts to fly, my computer time has been nil lately) and enjoying every inch of yourself you choose to share.

  15. You know what? I'll take the cross. The closeness to God and the blessings that flow from it are worth it. Once in a while when I am a bit off my rocker, I ask God to teach me something more -- and these are the kinds of lessons I get. Are they tough? Yes! Do I "pass" them? Usually no! I have to repeat and repeat until I "get it," but God is patient. Thanks for the post; it started some thinking. Clearly, for other people, too.

  16. Hi dear Deb,
    I have been away a long time. And coming back home wasn't as restful as I expected it to be... but reading my friends' comments on my past posts really warmed my heart, and yours was one of them.

    You have such a sweet, and transparent spirit. I have read up on the last three posts I missed.

    Oh, I want to follow Jesus... I pray for the strength to do it all the way.

    Blessings on your day.


  17. yes! We are to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. Thankfully His yoke is easy and his burden is light!

  18. Hi, Deb, thank you for stopping by. What a wonderful post this is! xoxo

  19. Deb, I hope my style is as yours! Serving God is not about me, and it never will be. It's all about Jesus.

    How I fail Him when I lose my focus on Him!

    And you are so truthful in saying that we must deny ourselves. I don't understand the "easy" walk with God. Jesus did not have it easy; nor did He look for blessings. He blessed. He gave. He was selfless.

    May the Lord help me to be like Him.

    Thank you for sharing beautiful words as always you do.

    Blessings, my friend.


  20. Thinking of you and hoping you are doing ok.

    Have a great weekend.

    Teresa <><

  21. This has provided a wonderful focus for my day. Thank you for sharing your heart. I don't always comment but I do enjoy your posts.