Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

Matthew 16:24, NASB


Jesus tells us what we ought to do, but He never takes the means to make us do it.

~Oswald Chambers

IF is a conditional word that awaits a response and Jesus used it a lot:

  • Mark 4:23–If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
  • Mark 8:34–If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.”
  • Mark .9:35–If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”
  • Luke 14:26–If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.”
  • John 6:51–“I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever.”
  • John 7:17–If anyone is willing to do His will, he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself.”
  • John 7:37–If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
  • John 10:9–“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.”
  • John 15:6–If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire and they are burned.”

If is not emphatic, it is conditional and determined by your will. Jesus never used force and yet look at what He accomplished in three short years. There are two words for power in the NT: one is dynamis from which we get the words dynamite and dynamic. We usually think of it as supernatural power. It means inherent power and is related to the power of force as in a large army. Sometimes we don’t have choices due to the powers that be. June and I pay some $30,000 in federal taxes each year and trust me, we don’t do it voluntarily. The second word for power is exousia and basically it is the power of influence or authority. Jesus to this point has not used the power of His influence only but He could and eventually He will, if I understand scripture, use His dynamic powers. Every knee will bow.

In spite of what the reforms say, it seems to me that God has given us a will; why else would Jesus use the word if? Example: I will give you a ride to town if you want it…the ride is available if that is your choice. That is quite different from taking a revolver and saying, “Get in the truck or I will blow your brains out.” Jesus is God, no question about it and He never used force. You can pray daily if you want to; you can read your bible and attend worship every time the doors are open, if you choose to but the choice is yours. As far as I can understand, it is the only thing that is ours.


Gregg and Traci are back home. I will share Gregg’s last post on Caring Bridge…

Well, we did not get the results we hoped for. It has been seven weeks since the stem cell transplant and already 5% of my white blood cells have myeloma. That is not enough to do bone damage yet, but I have to get started on a different chemotherapy regiment before it can start doing damage again. Thursday, I go to CCI in Decatur to get preliminary tests done to start once a month treatments. Little Rock will monitor the results and let us know if changes need to be made. It sure is good to be home. Thanks everybody for continued prayers. I win whatever happens! JESUS has got this!!! {Gregg}

Lincoln had a chemo treatment yesterday and was headed back to his room last night. We will check on Jo Ann later today. My sister holly had her third chemo on Monday, and it was a bad day, but she was feeling some better last night. Please continue to pray for all our families who are battling cancer.

It is hard for me to believe that it is November. Hannah put up a Christmas Tree last night. It will be here before you know it. With all its trouble and woe, 2022 has flown by.


The president of GIDEON’S INTERNATIONAL will be our special guest this Sunday. He will be in our Men’s BS class and speaking in worship. He is a very good man: you will like him. Also, there is a PRAYER MEETING at the church tomorrow night {Thursday} at 6:30. We are praying for a fair election. The power of evil is at work, and we are praying for deliverance.


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