Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘obedience’

Follow Me

follow-me

 

Matthew 4:19

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”

Matthew 8:22

But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Matthew 9:9

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

Matthew 10:38

Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Matthew 16:24

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Matthew 19:21

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Luke 14:27

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

John 1:43

The next day Jesus decided to leave for Galilee. Finding Philip, he said to him, “Follow me.”

 

I think Jesus makes it obvious that He wants us to follow Him. But what does it mean to follow Jesus? Does it mean, going to church on Sundays, praying occasionally and being a generally good person? Many people believe that this is exactly what following Jesus is all about. Sometimes, I wish it were that easy. There are two reasons that people find it hard to follow Jesus: they don’t really understand what following Jesus requires or they don’t really want to make the sacrifice that being a true disciple requires. Jesus says in Luke 14:27 that if we do not carry our cross and follow Him then we CANNOT be His disciple. I WANT to be a disciple! I don’t want to live without Jesus. How then do we follow Him? Below I give 4 ways to follow Jesus that have helped me in my journey of following Him:

  1. Prayer: Prayer is a two way conversation with God. When we pray, we share the good and the bad in our lives with Him. We also, open our hearts to listen to what God has to say. When we keep our hearts open and keep the conversation going, we allow Jesus to abide in us, and when that happens we want nothing more than to follow Him all the days of our lives.
  2. Digging into God’s word: When we dig into the Bible, we can feel the Holy Spirit breathing life into our lives. We learn about Jesus, but most importantly, we learn how to follow Jesus. We learn what it means to be a Christian. When we read the Bible, something magical happens. It transforms our lives. The words sink into our hearts and our souls and we become disciples of Jesus.
  3. Sacrifice: To follow Jesus, scripture says that we must deny ourselves. That means that we must put the will of God before our own. Scripture says that we are not to be of the world. 1 John 2:15 says not to love anything in the world. We get so caught up in worldly things that we forget Jesus. Jesus said that we must sell our possessions and give to the poor. I believe that Jesus is asking us to live simple lives, so that we will be able to give to those in need. I also, believe that Jesus wants us to live simply so we remember that He is the most important thing. We may be asked to leave our families, our homes, our livelihoods in order to follow Jesus. Jesus, Himself had no home. What is Jesus asking you to sacrifice in order to follow Him?
  4. Obedience: In order to follow Jesus, we must obey Him, no matter the cost. Obedience is hard. We want to live one way, but Jesus is calling us to live a completely different way. If we want to follow Jesus, we MUST obey what He says. There are times when Jesus may call us into a lifestyle that we would never think of to fulfill His purpose. Be willing to obey.

In my own life, Jesus has called me to follow Him in this season of my life as a single woman. I knew a few years after my divorce in 2000 that I was meant to be single. I have had some well intentioned shoves to meet someone, but I am meant to be single. I felt confirmation in that calling about 3 months ago when I read that according to the Catholic Church, being single can be a vocation. YES!!! I knew it! Not everyone is meant to be married. There are those of us who feel called to follow Jesus as single men and women. Along with prayer and studying the Bible, I follow Jesus through celibacy, living a simple life, and writing this blog. As a Providence Associate I am called to living a life of Love, Mercy, and Justice in my sphere of influence. My relationship with Jesus is my EVERYTHING! There is nothing more important than Jesus. There can’t be if we choose to be His followers.

CHALLENGE: Are you a follower of Jesus? How do you know? In what ways are you an example of a disciple of Jesus? I am challenging you to take a long hard look at your christian walk and write down the ways that you are following Jesus. Do you need to make any changes? Do you need to become less worldly? Do you need to simplify your life? Do you need to pray more? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in becoming a disciple of Jesus that is willing to take up his/her cross and will immediately be willing to sacrifice everything when Jesus says, “Follow Me.” 

Jesus is calling you NOW to follow Him. He wants your heart. He wants your sacrifice. He wants your obedience. Are you willing to walk away from the world in order to follow Him today?

 

 

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

blessed

 

Ruth

I’m sure Ruth was not perfect, but unlike the other women listed in the genealogy of Jesus, we only see the goodness that was Ruth. We see that Ruth was obedient, compassionate, and had a servant’s heart toward her mother-in-law Naomi. She seemed to be the picture perfect daughter-in-law. Ruth seems to be the epitome of what a christian woman should be like.

If we pay close attention to the story of Ruth, we will find that Ruth dealt with her share of trials and struggles in life. First of all, when we meet Ruth, she has recently become a widow. She is grieving the loss of her husband and is facing an uncertain future.

Naomi urges Ruth and her sister-in-law Orpah to return to their own families to remarry among their own people, the Moabites. Orpah returns to the home of her family, but Ruth refuses to leave Naomi. Naomi and Ruth return to Israel, where Ruth is a foreigner. It must have been hard for Ruth to live as a stranger among the Israelites. She must have been homesick and lonely. When I was a teenager, I lived in the foster care system in Los Angeles county. I was moved several times in 3 years. I was homesick. It was hard to fit in in each new foster home/placement. How do you fit in with people who already have a relationship with each other? It was a lonely time and I can imagine how hard it must have been for Ruth.

As hard as it had to have been, Ruth responded to the situation with a true servant’s heart. She could have whined about her circumstances. She could have complained that things weren’t fair. She didn’t whine. She didn’t complain. She was obedient and compassionate. Her loyalty toward Naomi was evident and God blessed her abundantly because of her attitude.

I need to exhibit more of Ruth’s character in my own life. When facing my own trials and struggles, I tend to whine and complain. I try not to, but before I know it, I am whining about this or complaining about that. I need to be more obedient, more compassionate, and more willing to act with a servant’s heart. Instead of boo hooing over the tough situations in life, I need to face the challenges with joy and gratitude, as Ruth did.

What situation or circumstance are you facing right now that you find yourself complaining about? In what way can you be an example of Ruth in your situation? How might this help the situation? Could it change the outcome of the situation to a more positive one than complaining will?

Sometimes we can change negative circumstances into positive ones simply by facing them as Ruth did. Take the trials in your life and turn them into blessings, by facing them with a Ruth attitude. Let me know if there is anything I can pray through with you. I am here, friend. I am always available to encourage you in difficult times and pray through those times with you. God Bless!

Read Full Post »

Jesus in prayer

Hebrews 5:7,8

During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Son though he was, he learned obedience from what he suffered…

If we want an example of how to live our lives, then we need look no further than Jesus. He was the perfect example of how we should live our lives. No, we will never be perfect, but Jesus gives us an example we can strive to imitate. In Hebrews 5:7,8 Jesus models for us three characteristics that we should incorporate into our daily lives:

  1. He Prayed– Jesus prayed. Not only did He pray, He prayed with fervent cries and tears. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com, fervent means felt very strongly: having or showing very strong feelings. Jesus poured out His heart to His Father in heaven. When Jesus prayed, they weren’t just monotone prayers, prayed with a feeling of apathy. Jesus had compassion for the people He met. I can imagine that His prayers were much like a parent praying for a wayward child; filled with deep love and compassion for that person. We need to pray for others with fervent cries and tears. Our prayers need to be filled with emotion. Our prayers need to be filled with that deep passion that Jesus felt.
  2. He was Submissive– Jesus was reverently submissive. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com, reverently means to show a lot of respect. Jesus had a deep respect for His heavenly Father and was submissive to His Father’s will. According to http://www.merriam-webster.com, submissive means that a person is willing to obey someone else. Out of His deep respect to His Father, God, Jesus was willing to do God’s will. Even when we can’t see down the road to what God is doing, we need to respect God enough to be willing to submit to His will.
  3. He was Obedient– Jesus was obedient. Even when facing death, Jesus was willing to obey God, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.” (Matthew 26:42) It is possible that Jesus didn’t really want to go through what He knew was coming. Jesus knew that God had a plan of salvation and that He must die, for that plan to work. Jesus was human. He had a choice. He could have been disobedient. He knew what was coming and still He obeyed, because God’s purpose is bigger and better than our own. We must live in a posture of obedience to God. Even when the request seems crazy or impossible, we must obey God and trust Him with the outcome. We must strive to ALWAYS put God’s will above our own.

I am challenging you this next week to live in a posture of prayer, submission and obedience. See what happens and how God blesses you because of it. If it was good enough for Jesus, it has to be good enough for us.

Read Full Post »

urgency

 

Ezekiel 3:10-11

10 And he said to me, “Son of man, listen carefully and take to heart all the words I speak to you. 11 Go now to your people in exile and speak to them. Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says,’ whether they listen or fail to listen.”

Ezekiel 3:16-19

16 At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

I know how hard it can be to share the Gospel with others. I am an introvert. I have social anxieties and can be socially awkward. It is extremely hard for me to share my faith with unbelievers. That is one of the reasons I write this blog. I love to write and it is so much easier to share my faith with the world through this blog than it is face to face.

One of the biggest excuses for not sharing our faith is, “what if they don’t listen to me?” God tells us that we are to share the Gospel whether they listen or not. It is not up to us who we share with. We should not to choose who to share with simply because someone looks more receptive than someone else. That isn’t the way it works. God tells us to share the Good News of Jesus in obedience to Him and leave the outcome to Him.

There is an urgency in sharing the Good News in these days of chaos and evil. If we know the Truth of Jesus and we keep it to ourselves, then we are responsible for the sin of our brothers and sisters. If we do not warn them of their sin and point them to Jesus, then we will be as guilty as they are. They may not listen. That is their choice. At least you will have obeyed the voice of the Father and warned them of their sinful ways.

It is never up to us who we share our faith with. God wishes that NONE should perish (2 Peter 3:9). We have a responsibility to share the Gospel with those in our sphere of influence who do not have a personal relationship with Christ. This is our God given purpose.

Challenge: Share the Good News of Jesus with one person each day. Share what God lays on your heart. Even if your shaking in your shoes, God will bless your obedience and maybe because of your obedience a life will be saved.

 

Read Full Post »

obedience

 

 

Luke 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.” Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners. Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

There are times when obeying God can be the most difficult thing we have ever done. God often asks us to sacrifice in order to obey Him. He may ask us to do things that we think are silly, or are out of our comfort zone. The one guarantee is that obeying God will most likely be a challenge in some way or another.

When Jesus commanded Simon Peter to let down his nets for a catch, Simon Peter must have thought, “this is crazy! We’ve been at this all night!” He even voices his concern to Jesus, but knowing who Jesus was, Simon Peter obeyed and they caught so many fish that both boats began to sink under the weight of them all. James, John, and Simon Peter then left their boats and followed Jesus. They never looked back. They left their families, source of income, friends and homes to follow Jesus.

It seems like such a simple thing, but it isn’t. There are so many obstacles to our obedience that we often miss the blessings that God has for us. I have listed 5 obstacles below:

1. Fear– Fear is a huge obstacle! Fear of rejection or ridicule. Fear of stepping out of our comfort zones. Fear of failure. Fear is Satan’s way of keeping us from doing God’s will. Satan knows that if he can keep up locked up in a prison of fear that we will NEVER step out in faith and obedience to God. Do you want Satan to win? I don’t.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Hang on to God and face your fear head on. Courage comes from facing your fear. Defeat the Devil and walk in obedience to God.

2. Pride– Do you refuse to obey because others might think you are silly, or think less of you? Do you think that you have accomplished so much on your own that you are now to good to obey God? That’s pride, my friend.

Psalm 10:4

In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Take a good look into your heart and realize that God gives and He takes away. It is so much better to live in obedience to God. It is so much better to live with gratitude for the blessings God gives us. You are NOT God and you have not gotten where you are on your own. God is in this whether you like it or not. Live in obedience and see what God does in your life. It might just amaze you!

3. Our Own Agenda– Many times we struggle to obey something that is not on our agenda. We may dream about going to Africa to serve as a missionary, but God is calling us to Ireland instead. So, we argue and plead. We stand in disobedience until at some point God gets through to us that He knows whats best for us and the people we are to serve.

Ephesians 2:10

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I can tell you right now that arguing with God will do you no good. Even if you get your way, you will be miserable! Don’t let your disobedience separate you from God. God CREATED us to do good works. He has already prepared the way, just go with it and enjoy the life God wants you to live.

4. Unbelief– Sometimes, it is hard to believe that God can use us to do His will. I doubt my own abilities: I’m don’t have enough education, I don’t know the Bible backward and forward, or I’m simply not a good enough Christian to be used by God. Sometimes, we struggle to believe that God can do what He says He will do. If God is telling you to give up a full-time job to become a missionary, do you doubt that He will provide for ALL of your needs?

Mark 9:23, 24

” ‘If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” 24 Immediately the boys father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

God CAN do what He says He can do. God CAN use us just as we are. We just need to be willing to obey and trust Him. We need to believe.

5. Busyness–  Busyness can keep us from doing God’s will. We have to-do lists as long as our arm and we are dog tired when we get done with it all. Where does obeying God fit into all of this busyness?

Ephesians 5:15-17

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Prioritize! Prioritize! Prioritize! Some things on our to-do lists must get done: bills must be paid, laundry and housework must be done, but when God tells you to do something, that takes precedence over everything else. Nothing else is as important as obeying God. We must be flexible in our daily plans and leave wiggle room for God to break into our day. We have plan B. God has plan A.

Are you willing to obey God, no matter what He asks you to do? Are you willing to trust Him for the outcome? I am. The alternative of being miserable in disobedience is to painful to even consider. To live separated from God because I choose to live in disobedience is something I don’t even want to consider. I want to please God. I want to obey God, no matter what. Do you?

Read Full Post »

Here Am I

send me

 

 

Isaiah 6:8

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Have you heard the call of the Lord on your life? Have you ignored the call because of fear, inconvenience or it is simply to much of a sacrifice?

I have. I admit that my fear and lack of faith in God’s ability to provide has kept me living in mediocrity. Oh sure, I may have said, “send me” but inside I was hoping that God would say, “that’s okay, I’m just kidding.” So, I have remained living in disobedience, frustration and mediocrity. I yell at God to give me an opportunity to be used in full-time ministry and then when He does, I run the other way and don’t look back. I blame God, but really it is all on me. I sabotage my own opportunities by living in fear and refusing to trust in my heavenly Father.

God has been working on me. He has been pruning my character and getting me ready to serve Him full-time. He has lovingly brought me to the place where I am willing to step out and live as George Mueller and countless other missionaries, in complete dependence on God to provide. Am I at a place in my faith journey where I am able to give up my reliance on a stable paycheck, the security of knowing how the bills will get paid or how we will be fed? Am I at a place in my faith journey where I am willing to move ahead, even if it means leaving family behind because they may not approve of what I am doing? Can I give up material possessions and conveniences to serve God and trust Him to provide what we need?

God has been working on my faith and again today, asked me these same questions through a Facebook post on a friend’s page. Am I ready to step out in complete faith? Are you ready to answer the call that God has placed on your life, regardless of the sacrifices?

My answer, ” Here am I, Lord, send me!”

Read Full Post »

george mueller

George Mueller was an amazing man of God, prayer and faith. It has been 115 years since his death and his life is still used as an example of true christian living. The book “George Mueller Of Bristol And His Witness To A Prayer-Hearing God” written by Arthur T. Pierson, is a must read for every christian. I have read it twice and will be reading it again. The book looks into every area of George Mueller’s life and faith and gives us a boat load of practical practices to implement in our own lives. Below are some of the characteristics the George Mueller embodied that led to his spiritual success:

1. Missionary Spirit- He was willing to follow God wherever and whenever God led. Mr. Mueller was a pastor, opened orphan houses that provided homes for thousands of children, and he traveled in his later years as an evangelist. He never had a “stable” income, trusting God for provision.

2. Renunciation Of Self- He was always analyzing his spirit for any signs of the flesh coming through. He was diligent about putting his agenda aside and focusing on what God wanted him to do.

3. Taking Counsel Of God- Mr. Mueller always consulted God first. In every situation, when a decision needed to be made, when provisions were needed, George was on his knees in prayer, asking God to reveal His will.

4. Humble And Childlike Temper- George was a role model of humility. He never thought of himself first, always thinking of the other person. He was known for his patience, love, kindness and compassion.

5. Cutting Loose From Man- Mr. Mueller did not ask any man for financial or any other type of support. He went to God alone to provide what they needed. He trusted God to work in the hearts of those He chose to provide for the needs of the ministry.

6. Satisfaction In The Word- He knew that the Bible was the Word of God. He found peace in knowing that God provided His Word as a guide to daily living.

7. Thorough Bible Study- He knew the Word inside and out. He was a lifetime student of God’s Word. He not only studied the Word, but applied what he read to his life.

8. Freedom From Human Control- George did not allow himself to be controlled or manipulated by humans. He did not seek the approval of humans, only the approval of God.

9. Use Of Opportunity: Approaching Others As To Matters Of Salvation- George was always open to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He was always open to the opportunities to reach out to others with the Gospel of Jesus.

10. Knowledge Of The Second Coming- Mr. Mueller was aware that Jesus is going to return at some point. Every one of of his ministries was used to prepare the world for the second coming of Jesus.

11. Waiting On God For A Message- Mr. Mueller never acted of his own accord. He waited on God in all things. There were many times when God’s answer did not come until the very last minute. He never acted in disbelief. He always trusted God for an answer to his prayers.

12. Submission To The Authority Of The Word- God’s Word was the final authority in everything that Mr. Mueller did. He did not make any decisions without seeking God’s will through the Word. He would research the Bible inside and out until he found what God’s will was on a particular issue.

13. Surrender Of All Earthly Possessions- He did not consider anything he owned as his. It ALL belonged to God. If someone was in need of something that he had, he would give it freely.

14. Habit Of Secret Prayer- George spent hours on his knees in prayer. He prayed in isolation, using the time to focus on God and discern God’s will in daily matters.

15. Guarding Of His Testimony- George was very careful to make sure his reputation and testimony were not tarnished by sin. His daily goal was to live a righteous life as an example for others. He did not want anything that he did to become an obstacle in another person’s walk with God.

16. Organizing Of His Work- Mr. Mueller always maintained that the ministries he ran were not his, but God’s. If they ever ceased to glorify God, he would have closed them down immediately.

17. Sympathy With Orphans- Mr. Mueller had a God-given passion for orphans. I believe that this passion was extended to those who were “orphans” in their sin, as well as, children. God does not wish for any to be lost. George was a shepherd, in the truest definition of the word.

18. Allowing Himself To Be Molded By The Potter- He never stopped being a student of God’s. He was always seeking God’s guidance in matters of the heart. He was always seeking a revealing of any characteristics that were not Christ-like. Even in his later years, he still allowed God to mold his character.

19. Simple Living- George lived very simply. He only prayed for his basic needs to be met. If God blessed him with a surplus in resources, he would give the surplus away.

20. Giving Generously- He gave generously of any surplus resources he had. He believed in giving to those in need and did without himself, so that others would not have to suffer.

There is so much that we can learn from George Mueller. I really try to live these characteristics out in my daily life. It is an ongoing journey and I don’t always live up to the standard Mr. Mueller set.

I encourage you to read the book. It would be a great book for a group Bible- study. There is so much more wisdom and guidance from the life of George Mueller in the book. READ IT!!!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »