Disciple Life

Potter's hands creating a clay vase on a circle. Handmade.






Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Don’t you sit down and estimate the cost, to see if you have enough capital to complete it? If you don’t, then when you have laid the foundation but can’t finish, all the onlookers start making fun of you and say, “This is the man who began to build, but couldn’t finish!”

(Luke 14:28-30)

Unfortunately, this is the state, may people find themselves in. They start deciding to live for Christ and end up in a backslidden state.

What is the cost of becoming a disciple?

  • Desire: like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation (1 Peter 2:2)
  • Denial of self:(death to self, pick up the Cross) Mark 8:34.
  • Dedicate your life: to be a follower of Jesus

Jesus says: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me, cannot be My disciple.

(Luke 14:26-27)

When Jesus stated about “hating” family members, and one’s own life, He didn’t mean hatred for them or literally hating your life. It means that no one and nothing comes before Him. Disciples do not receive worldly counsel or live by its influence. Disciples are led by the Spirit of God. This can bring conflict with those who do not have the same mindset, and it may seem like a heavy price to pay. But without having the mind of Christ and being led by His Spirit, we cannot truly follow God and serve Him.

Disciples are liberated from the opinions of the world. Moreover, this includes fellowship, encouragement and edification between others who have the same goal. There is a great reward for being a disciple: “everyone who has left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times more, and he will obtain eternal life. (Luke 19:29)

The cost of becoming a disciple is to lay down our life (our own will, our opinions, our desires). Because of the fall of man our nature has been contaminated by sin. Being prideful, unforgiving, impatient—are some examples of our own sinful nature which is our flesh. In contrast, God’s will is perfect and consist of what is for our good. To be transformed from what we are into the image of Christ, our “own will” needs to die! To die to self, we need to pray and ask God for help to deny our own will and He will, He works with us through the day to day sanctification process. The Apostle Paul said I die daily (1 Corinthians 15:31). Jesus said to take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23). Without denying ourselves, we cannot be disciples of Christ. We can  profess to be disciples, attend church, participate in church activities, but these things do not make you a disciple. Without denying ourselves and picking up our cross and following Christ, we cannot be Jesus’s disciples. “For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him” (2 Timothy 2:11)

Clean Hands, Dirty Feet

Devotional: Day Three

Clean Hands, Dirty Feet

It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end . . . Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”—John 13:1, 3–5 (NIV)

“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it!” This expression essentially describes an unpleasant action that’s necessary, but no one wants to do. Have you ever had to do a dirty job? Cleaning a diaper is a dirty job, right? But literally someone has to do it!

Today we see Jesus doing a dirty job. In John 13, we’re told that just before the Passover meal, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. Now in those days, everyone walked around in sandals, essentially making their feet into magnets for filth. Dust, mud, trash, and animal waste was everywhere and inevitably got on everyone. Add a constant flow of a sweaty odor, and you can imagine how much of a dirty job washing the average foot was.

Back then, many households had a servant assigned to wash the feet of those entering the house. Guess where that job landed on the social ladder . . . at the very bottom.

And here we have Jesus—the author of life, the King of kings, God in the flesh, who had experienced the splendor of heaven—literally lowering Himself and washing dirty feet. Unbelievable!

Can you imagine being one of these men? The One you saw resurrecting the dead, healing the blind, walking on water, multiplying loaves and fish, and even being transfigured into glory in front of you, the One you believe to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, is humbly doing the dirty job that no one wants to do.

Well, Peter wasn’t having it! He says to Jesus, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet” (John 13:6 NIV)? And Jesus responds, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7 NIV).

Theologian Joseph Barnes had this to say about what Jesus was doing: “It was a symbolical action . . . a lesson of humility, and was intended to teach them in such a manner that it would be impossible for them ever to forget it. Had he simply commanded them to be humble, it would have been far less forcible and impressive than when they saw him actually performing the office of a servant.”

Philippians 2:7–8 (NKJV) declares that Jesus “made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Just as Jesus lowered Himself to wash the disciples’ feet, He also lowered Himself to death in order to wash our souls, which are much filthier than our feet. It’s the ultimate dirty job, and only He could do it! 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV) tells us, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” And this was all done because of how much He loves us! 1 John 3:16 (NIV) says, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.”

This is the answer to one of life’s biggest mysteries: The divine love that God loves us with led Him to lower Himself to the point of death to redeem us with His own blood! Jesus gave Himself up for us. He laid down His beautiful, perfect, sinless life for everyone. He came “to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NIV). He shows us what it looks like and how we can walk in it. It’s sacrificial—a beautiful servanthood towards one another.

Likewise, as He shows us what love is, He commands us to “love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12 NIV). He expects us to love others consistently, selflessly, and sacrificially (John 15:13); to love with humility and to serve one another in love. He expects all those who know Him, and thus know what love is, to wash one another’s feet. So, today, it’s important we ask ourselves, “How am I showing love?”

Things to Consider: How are you serving and showing love to the people around you right now? How has the Lord grown your love for others through this fast?

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7 Relaxing Hot Springs in the U.S.

7

Relaxing Hot Springs in the U.S.

When the soles of your feet are sore from a day on a dusty, winding trail, nothing soothes like a dip in a natural hot spring. The warm water offers relaxation and rejuvenation for your aching muscles. Try a soak in one of these hot springs from around the country.

Granite Hot Springs, Wyoming

Granite Hot Springs, Wyoming

Credit: melissamn/ Shutterstock

One hour from Jackson, Wyoming, you’ll find Granite Hot Springs, which have been developed into a concrete pool and bathing area, with picnic tables and changing areas in a wild and rustic forest setting. The Granite Hot Springs have two seasons: summer, which opens around late May and runs through October, and winter, which runs from December until April. Weather can pose issues, so make sure you check before you make the trek.

In winter, you can only reach the springs via skis or snowmobile. Despite the limited accessibility, the springs are increasingly popular among visitors taking advantage of the snow at nearby Jackson Hole.

Steep Ravine Hot Springs, California

Steep Ravine Hot Springs, California

Credit: Adam Derewecki/ Shutterstock

Up in Marin County, north of San Francisco, are the Steep Ravine Hot Springs. They’re located on Stinson Beach and are only available at low tide, so you’ll want to time your visit appropriately. When the ocean flows out, the hot springs rise up through the sand to create unique tidal pools of warm mineral water.

If you happen to miss the pools, your trip won’t be in vain. Stinson Beach is located alongside a quaint beach town, and you may even catch rock climbers on the boulders north of the springs. The forest trails of Mt. Tamalpais State Park and Muir Woods also begin just above the beach, with a wealth of options for every level of hiker.

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas

Credit: aimintang/ iStock

The most famous of the various hot springs in the United States, the waters of Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas have been attracting visitors for centuries — and long before the area became officially protected as one of the country’s smallest and most unique national parks. It was first designated as the Hot Springs Reservation in 1832, at which point it was already known informally as the “American spa.”

The park is home to 47 hot springs, with an average temperature of 143 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, this is too hot for people to soak in. However, there are two bathhouses in the park in which you can take advantage of the restorative waters, and — once cooled! — it is also safe to drink.

Nature

Daily trivia question

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

Chena Hot Springs, Alaska

Credit: Pung/ Shutterstock

The resort at Chena Hot Springs is a one-of-a-kind spot for remote relaxation and stunning natural beauty in Alaska’s interior, about 60 miles northeast of Fairbanks. First developed by gold-mining brothers looking for a cure for rheumatism, today the resort offers a range of rooms and cabins for guests, in addition to hosting weddings and other events.

The hot springs form a natural outdoor lake, which is available to guests, as well as the resort’s other hot tubs and an indoor pool. You can also take advantage of other activities in the area, including such Alaskan classics as dog sledding and — potentially — viewing the northern lights.

Boquillas Hot Springs, Texas

Boquillas Hot Springs, Texas

Credit: Andy Wilcock/ Shutterstock

Just north of the Rio Grande, the Boquillas Hot Springs in Big Bend National Park are as far south as you can go without crossing the border into Mexico. From the bluff, you can even look over the river at our southern neighbor, before returning to the rejuvenating waters of the baths.

The water is contained in the remaining foundations of what was once the area’s bathhouse, when Hot Springs was a spa town that grew up as a result of the Homestead Act in the early 1900s. Today, the ancient water emerges from the ground at 105 degrees.

Conundrum Hot Springs, Colorado

Conundrum Hot Springs, Colorado

Credit: Kris Wiktor/ Shutterstock

Reaching the Conundrum Hot Springs is not for the faint of heart. They’re situated at the end of an 8.5-mile hike in the Maroon Bells that gains 2,400 feet. The hot springs themselves are at 11,200 feet, so be prepared to notice the thinner air and lack of oxygen as you make your way up. Once there, though, you’ll be treated to unmatched views of the surrounding peaks and forests, with a chance to give your muscles a well-deserved break in the warm water.

There are 20 campsites available at the campground and permits are required, so you’ll need to plan your trip in advance. You’ll likely want to stock up on supplies for the trek in Aspen, the nearest town to the trailhead.

Carson Mineral Hot Springs, Washington

Carson Mineral Hot Springs, Washington

Credit: Kichigin/ Shutterstock

If you prefer luxury to the outdoor ambience of the others on this list, head to Carson in Washington for a visit to the Carson Hot Springs Bathhouse. Mineral water is pumped into individual claw-foot tubs, allowing a level of solitude and privacy — as well as the opportunity to add additional bath salts and other natural ingredients — that you won’t find at many other such springs.

The bathhouse itself dates back to the 1930s, while the rest of the resort offers all the amenities you’d expect from a modern-day spa. The experience is, nonetheless, one of traveling back in time, to an age before the stresses of the current world, and there’s no better way to regain that sense of optimistic vitality than with a soak in one of the tubs.

Let’s Make a Deal

NIGHT LIKE FOR COUPLES

“People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap.” 1 Timothy 6:9

Some of you are old enough to remember Monty Hall and the game show Let’s Make a Deal—the one where contestants could keep what they had already won or risk trading it in for the mystery prize behind “door number one, door number two, or door number three.” Believe it or not, I once convinced Jim to go with me to one of the shows.

There we were: I had toy birds fastened everywhere on my head and blouse, and Jim (reluctantly) held a sign that said, “My wife is for the birds.” Our getup was enough to earn us seats in the contestants’ row, and before we knew it, we were in front of the cameras trying to name the correct price of four items to win a brand‐new Camaro. And believe me, we needed that car! Jim had just graduated from USC, and we had invested every available dollar in his tuition and expenses.

We guessed the first three items within the three‐dollar margin of error, but we missed on the last one—a Hoover vacuum cleaner. So we didn’t win the Camaro. Yet we walked away from that show with a new vacuum cleaner and another, much more valuable prize: a greater appreciation for how easily greed could overcome us.

Since that time we have observed that Satan appears to offer whatever a person hungers for in exchange for a spiritual compromise. In our case, a new automobile was the perfect enticement to unleash our greed. If illicit sex is your desire, it will eventually be made available. If your passion is for fame or power, the object of that lust will be promised (even if never delivered). Likewise, if you thirst for great wealth—beware! People who care passionately about money are often suckers for wild‐eyed schemes and shady deals. They are always on the verge of a bonanza that seems to slip through their fingers. Instead of getting rich, they get taken.

This is the threat posed by greed. Material comforts or money in the bank can become our first love—our greatest treasure and passion. And when that happens, God becomes almost irrelevant. But the Lord will not settle for second place (“You shall have no other gods before me”— Exodus 20:3). We encourage you to say, “Let’s make a deal” right now. Agree now that you’ll always keep money in its place and the Lord as the first love of your life.

– Shirley M Dobson