22 Feb. Mark 8:34-9:1

22 Feb. Do you 'give up things you want' to build the kingdom of God?

"Then Jesus called the crowd to him, along with his followers. He said, 'If people want to follow me they must give up the things they want. They must be willing even to give up their lives to follow me.'"

"'Those who want to save their lives will give up true life. But those who give up their lives for me and for the Good News will have true life.'"

"'It is worth nothing for them to have the whole world if they lose their souls. They could never pay enough to buy back their souls.'"

"'The people who live now are living in a sinful and evil time. If people are ashamed of me and my teaching, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes with his Father's glory and with the holy angels.'"

"Then Jesus said to the people, 'I tell you the truth, some people standing here will see the kingdom of God come with power before they die.'"

          (Mark 8:34-9:1)



Do you live by the standards of our "sinful and evil time"? Or do you "give up things you want" to see "the kingdom of God come with power"?

Jesus's words spoken 2000 years ago are still just as relevant today! Either you can go along with the expectations of the materialistic world around you - live your life like everyone else and spend all your money on more and more "essential" things for yourself;

Or, you can stand out as totally different from the crowd, "give up things you want" and see "the kingdom of God come with power" around you!

It's a simple choice - just as it was with Jesus's followers 2000 years ago. Are you going to go along with the advertising campaigns that try to persuade us we "need" and "deserve" more and more things? Or are you going to use your excess wealth to build the kingdom of God around you?

Jesus doesn't ask us to give up what we "need" - food, clothing, shelter, family support etc... But he asks us to "give up things you want" and use our excess wealth wisely in order to spread the "kingdom of God" - the places where people welcome God into their lives as their king - around us.

Over the years, we've used large chunks of the money we've earned to help others in their walk with God, and to extend "the kingdom of God". We now have a beautiful "extended family" of Christian brothers and sisters around the world who all do their best to extend the "kingdom of God" where they live. 

You may never be asked to literally "give up your life" to follow Jesus (though many martyred Christians in Egypt, Libya, Syria and Nigeria, for example, have done so in recent times). But we are ALL asked to "give up things we want" - to use the money we could have spent on ourselves to extend God's kingdom here on earth.

The photo (by Chris Roberts) shows children in Gambia supported by the Christian charity Child Aid Gambia (www.childaidgambia.org).

You can read more of Jesus's words @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/5-jesuss-jo…/who-is-jesus/

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