February 3, 2016 • By Ed Wrather
Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the kingdom of God.” - Luke 9:23-27 NKJV.
Luke 9:23 from The Message: Then he told them what they could expect for themselves: “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat—I am. DON'T RUN from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.
Dogs can be a problem for postal service workers, parole officers, pastors and many other workers. Trying to visit in rural areas as a pastor I often encountered dogs of different breeds and temperament. Some dogs, you can just look at them and know not to even attempt to open the door of your car. In that kind of situation I usually honked the horn to obtain the owner's assistance in having the dog in a safe mode. Other times you may not even know there is a dog outside of the residence.
In a visit I once made to a rural residence, there did not appear to be any dogs around. I opened up the car door and stepped out, shutting the car door behind me. It was then that I saw the dog. It was a very large German Shepherd running straight at me. I thought he had to be going 90mph, although I know that is impossible! There was no time for me to open up the car door and reenter the car. I simply stayed still and faced the threat. Would the dog tear me apart? I didn't know, but I did know that if I ran the dog would take me down.
What happened was that the dog ran right by me just a few inches away. I then thought it might be safe to walk to the house and knock on the door. The dog watched me the entire time. No one was at home. I tried to visit at that home a few other times after that, and every time the dog would do the same thing. He would run at me as hard as he could, running right by me as I stood still, and faced the threat. The one time, I actually was able to visit the resident of the home, the dog was nowhere to be seen!
In life we will encounter all kinds of problems with threats to the left and to the right. We may face suffering from physical illnesses or injuries. We may suffer persecution for our faith. Don't run! As we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” Day by day deny your fearful impulses, take up your cross, and follow your Lord.