22. May 2020


Be Christ’s Disciple: Put Christ First

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”  (Matthew 6:33 ESV)

A Christian disciple is much more than one who is saved, sins forgiven, and the glad recipient of eternal life. A disciple is one who has counted the cost. A disciple is a born again person who has made the difficult commitment to follow the Lord Jesus and be a student learner no matter the consequences.

Only about 2% of Christians are regularly mentoring others one on one, two on two, or in a small group as an outpouring function of their church.

Choosing to become one of the Lord’s disciples or intimate followers is perhaps the most painful thing a person can do. It certainly was for me! For many years, as a Christian, I wanted the benefits of being saved like having fellowship, knowing that God loves me and forgives me, and experiencing the fact that I’m going to Heaven for sure someday. Who wouldn’t want these?

The problem with me was I wanted the things of this world as well. I wanted people’s approval. I wanted the perks of this world. I wanted respect. I craved it. When these worldly pursuits left me hollow and empty inside, I would periodically try to fill that void with sin…impure and simple.

Yes, once I repented and stopped being a disciple of worldly pursuits, and became a broken, growing follower of Jesus. I stopped caring what others thought. I was filled with a new sense of joy and purpose. I was free!

But the broken, miserable years leading up to that decision (12 years into my Christian faith) were some of the most painful and gut-wrenching I’ve ever experienced. The process of dying to myself, my dreams, my wants, and my desires was, at first, sickening to me. Could becoming a Christ-disciple / follower actually be satisfying and a worthy pursuit? The big answer is YES!

Most of the time, you will need to experience the painful tearing off of old, pride-originating and pride-producing sinful pursuits: Self-Promotion, Self-Protection and Materialism. This is tougher than you think! Then you are free to embrace Jesus, and enter His School of Discipleship…His Way, not yours.¹

Let’s pray this for each other.

“And he said to all, ‘If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.’”  (Luke 9:23 ESV)

¹Some ideas taken from Design for Discipleship – Navigators (This applies to this and the next 6 devotionals)

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17. February 2020


Armor Up! #7

The final two pieces of God’s Armor are:

-The Sword of the Spirit Which is the Word of God

-Praying Always in the Spirit

This first piece, the Sword, is essential. I have actually had beloved people from apostate churches try to use the Word of God to shame me or call me names. Gee. Satan will misuse God’s Word too. Hmmm.

The Lord will help us to use it. You need to be in the Word daily and under the Word via preaching and, hopefully, from being in mentoring relationships. Chew on the Word. Love the Word. Eat the Word as if it is honeycomb.

Luke 11:28 ESV says, “But he (Jesus) said, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it.’”

Jesus is not only the Son of God, He is the Living Word of God. (John 1:1) The Word of God, like Jesus never had a beginning. He, the Living Word, is eternal. Using the Word takes practice like in fencing. Couch it in mercy and kindness but use it none the less.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.” (2Timothy 3:16  ESV)

Now the second and final piece of prayer is vital. It is through prayer that spiritual strength and God’s full Armor go to work. Prayer is ongoing communion with God. It is in the joy, comfort, and sometimes agony of being in His presence that Prayer is born. Prayer is that faith action that unleashes God’s power to act in time of need.

Nothing of eternal consequence happens apart from prayer. Just pray.

Prevailing Prayer

The Praying Believer

126 Daily Devotionals

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17. February 2020


Armor Up! #6

Next, you will want to:

Take the Helmet of Salvation

Those of us who have served in the Armed Forces know how important one’s helmet is. To go into conflict without your helmet would be like scuba diving 100 feet below the surface with no air in your tank!

This really is the Lord’s helmet that you are to wear. And Jesus is filled with hope! 1Thessalonians 5:8

ESV says, “But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” (Bold added)

“The helmet of salvation protects against discouragement, against the desire to give up, giving us hope not only in knowing that we are saved, but that we will be saved. It is the assurance that God will triumph. One of Satan’s most effective weapons against us is discouragement. When we are properly equipped with the helmet of salvation, it’s hard to stay discouraged.”¹ (Bold added)

Let us pray for each other that our Lord’s wonderful Helmet of Salvation is worn and securely fastened today.

¹ https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Eph/Eph-6.cfm?a=1103001

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17. February 2020

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Armor Up! #5

Take Up the Shield of Faith

This God-given trust is brought to the Christian Warrior who yearns for Him, seeks Him, desires to be with Him, and who cries out to Him. It is a faith not in one’s own efforts. Rather, it is a humble confidence in who God is and what His Word declares true.

This armor piece is more important than the others for without it, resistance will be futile.

“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6  ESV)

The Roman shield was oblong and covered much of the body. The enemy would shoot literal flaming arrows often at the beginning of a battle to instill fear, confuse, and weaken resolve. Satan’s fiery darts, if you’ve ever been on the receiving end, are real and they can do serious damage if you are not living by obedient faith in repentance and by appropriating the power of the Holy Spirit by faith.¹

As the Scripture says (v. 16), there is an evil one. He hates you and me because he hates Jesus and all things of God, Heaven, salvation, redemption, forgiveness, submission, obedience, love and faith.

Since you belong to Jesus (if you are not sure, go to: Would You Like To Know God Personally?), you are His Ambassador and His soldier. You represent Him here on earth. When the devil looks at you, he recoils in disgust.

You remind him of his eternal defeat. He is a first rate loser and you are not. You are to shine Jesus, His love, His redemption, His kindness, and His Gospel to a lost and darkening world. He knows Jesus wants to save, strengthen, encourage and disciple souls through you. That is why you must “put on” the whole Armor of God daily…hourly if needed. Let us pray this for each other right now.

¹ https://www.cru.org/us/en/train-and-grow/spiritual-growth/holy-spirit-resource-kit.html

Comments? Jim.Grunseth@Cru.Org

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17. February 2020


Armor Up! #4

It makes sense. The next pieces of God’s Armor that we must put on are:

Shoes for your Feet, having put on the Readiness given by the Gospel of Peace

At West Point, the United States Military Academy, we often wore rugged combat boots. Ah yes! If you’ve worn them in 90 degree humid weather while walking on a 12 mile forced march, you know what I’m talking about! Every so often, our gracious leaders would allow us to stop, take off those hot, sweaty boots, tend to our many blisters, and put on a clean pair of socks. Those of us who have done this will tell you: Your feet are everything to a soldier. If they go bad, your effectiveness on the battle field or in training goes way down.

In the days of the Apostle Paul, the Roman Soldier Clothing and Armament providers made sturdy, protective shoe sandals that had strong cleats or nails that would help their feet grip on rough terrain. Slipping led to losing and death.

If you are saved, you are a soldier. Stand on the Truth of Scripture by faith, not feelings, and always be at the ready! Like in the formative years of our great nation, farmers, shop keepers, and countrymen were called Minutemen. At a “moment’s” notice, they would grab their long rifle, powder, and shot and rush to the cry, “The British are coming!”

Likewise we Christian Minutemen and Minutewomen are to be ‘at the ready’ to share the gospel, tell our story, lend a helping hand, offer encouragement, offer a tract, etc.…not in a pushy, bulldozing manner, but rather in a winsome, kind, manner. Everyone is facing a battle, thus, everyone needs a cup of encouragement. Give them one. Let us pray for each other today that we would be good Minutemen and Minutewomen.

Our Lord’s mission is our mission: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10 ESV)

Comments? Jim.Grunseth@Cru.Org

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12. February 2020


Armor Up! #3

The second of God’s Armor pieces we must put on daily is:

The Breastplate of His Righteousness

Most of you know this is not our attempt at being good, righteous, or a clean cut, helping, church attending person. This is all filthy rags if this is the only thing you are depending on. Yes, you are “created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10b ESV), but never think you can stand on them or behind them to represent Jesus and fight against the powers of darkness.

Isaiah 61:10c says it well: “For he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,” (ESV) The best news is that He has put His Righteousness on us, His beloved family members and fellow soldiers of the cross. It can never be removed. Remember to simply stand wearing it by faith against all forces of wickedness. And they will come! If they haven’t much yet, get in the game!

“Justice is turned back, and righteousness stands far away; for truth has stumbled in the public squares, and uprightness cannot enter…Truth is lacking…it displeased him that there was no justice… He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation on his head; he put on garments of vengeance for clothing, and wrapped himself in zeal as a cloak….So they shall fear the name of the Lord…”  (excerpts from Isaiah 59: 14-19  ESV)

Let us pray today that we each would be mindful of His Breastplate of Righteousness freely given to us.


Comments? Jim.Grunseth@Cru.Org

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30. January 2020


Armor Up! #2

You are in the battle right now. The first of God’s Armor pieces we must put on is:

The Belt of Truth

All of God’s Word, the Bible, is all of God…inspired, infallible, eternal, all true, always. The Apostate Church which is growing in number, refuses this. They wallow in tragic kindness. For them, it is all about love. That’s it. The devil’s tactic. We, who follow the Lord and are counted in His ranks, stand on His Truth: All of it! “We stand in grace (Romans 5:2); We stand in the gospel   (1Corinthinas 15:1); We stand in courage and strength (1Corinthians 16:13); We stand in faith (2Corinthians 1:24); We stand in Christian liberty (Galatians 5:1); We stand in Christian unity (Philippians 1:27); We stand in the Lord (Philippians 4:1); We stand perfect  and complete in the will of God (Colossians 4:12).[i]

All of this means that we are going to be attacked. Fear has no place with us. We must be vigilant, at our post, and fully attentive. Like Sir Winston Churchill, We never give up…never retreat. Full steam ahead!

Let us pray for each other right now that we will first gird ourselves with this Belt of Truth. Many vital battle accouterments depend on this. Make sure this belt is buckled, not just thrown in the back seat.

[i] (All ESV) https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Eph/Eph-6.cfm?a=1103001

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