Follow Me

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” –Jesus 

When Jesus called his disciples, He didn’t mess around. By the leading of the Holy Spirit, Jesus openly and overtly invited men to follow Him.  But what did that mean? And why did complete strangers give up lives, jobs, and family to obey Him?

Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.
Matthew 4:20-22

The call of Christ has power!  With only a few words, the Lord Jesus, carrying His mantle of salvation, spoke to the hearts of these men. They wouldn’t be following just anyone.  In their hearts, and in the sound of salvation that rang silently into their hearts, simple fishermen gave up everything to follow Jesus.

They perceived the truth when He called out to them.  And in that recognition, they believed Him, and followed him. As believers in Christ, we too, at the point of our adoption into Jesus’s family, perceived the truth and chose to follow Him, instead of continuing on the self-destructive force of our worldly nature destined for death.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Ephesians 2:8

Jesus initiated an invitation to acknowledge the Truth and to follow Him. For these first Disciples, the invitation was bold but also optional.  Jesus asks them to fo follow, tells them what following will give them, and then lets them decide. Immediately they choose Jesus.

We, too, are called boldly to follow Jesus by the Spirit of the Living God who speaks intimately into our hearts.  We feel the tug of God’s love and forgiveness beckoning us, longing to have us united to Him, and we then have the choice to take it or leave it.

23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
Luke 9:23-24

Jesus makes it clear to us what following Him should look like. To follow Jesus is to give up your own desires and dreams to serve a greater good, one that will lead to a eternal life for yourself and the people who we invite to also follow Jesus.  It is to put the lives of others before your own, to point them toward their salvation and life with Jesus.

Jesus asks us to walk in death to ourselves, taking on the shame of the natural of world, in order to show the love of Christ. And by doing so, we gain the peace of God and the salvation and life that has been prophesied for us from the beginning of time.

25 For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? 26 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.”
Luke 9:25-26

What does Jesus mean then, when He calls out to us, “Come and follow me!”

It means to step out in faith that what Jesus is offering in leadership is more than we could ever achieve on our own.  It is an opportunity to give ourselves to Christ and trust Him to be our provision in life, for salvation, sustenance, work, and peace.  

It is to receive the glorious gift of salvation in all its forms, from the only one who can provide it: Jesus.

 

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Personal Update

Hello friends,

Just wanted to update you all on why I haven’t posted for a week.  My daughter got sick with the flu and then I got sick.  I’m slowly getting over it, but I’ve been miserable.

I’d also like to share that I’ve begun working on a book.  It will detail my walk with the Lord, through trials and joy, and how faithfully God has walked me through every step.  I pray that it will be a great encouragement to all of those who have struggled and hurt in their Christian life.  God does see us through!

I should be back to blog writing by tomorrow!

 

Having A Broken Spirit Sucks

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
   the Lord answered me and set me free.
6 The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
   What can man do to me?
Psalms 118:5-6

What can man do to me?  Well, in two words: a lot.  Especially when that “man” is yourself.  I’ve despised myself so many times. I’ve beaten myself up for the tiniest mistakes.  I’ve thrown up false humility in the presence of the Lord just to seem like a “good Christian”.  I’ve hated God in my heart because I didn’t get my way. I’ve thrown tantrums of fury over pure folly.  And, perhaps the biggest sin of all, at least in my own heart: I’ve hated myself.

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
   a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Psalms 51:17

But having a broken spirit sucks.  What if depression, and scars from the past, and broken promises, and failed outcomes have you thinking that there is surely no one more broken in this world than you? What a horrible feeling to strive and strive and fail and then hate yourself for it.  What a horrible feeling to hate your past and your mistakes and your brokenness.

But if I believe the Bible, and I do, then God actually likes my broken spirit.  My broken and contrite spirit means I’m ready to repent. I’m ready to admit that I don’t know near what I think I do, especially in regard to God’s plan for me. God’s intimate knowledge of me is far better suited to make proclomations about my character than I am.  I’m not getting anything passed God. He KNOWS me. He made me. He knows my heart and my mind. He knows everything. I can’t fool Him or trick Him.

O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
   you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
   and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
   behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
Psalms 139:1-4

And even knowing every part of me, He chose to die for me, to give me life, and to make me His!  KNOWING everything about me, what I would do with my life, how I would fail, how I would succeed, how I would struggle, He still chose me. His response to knowing everything? He says triumphantly, “Daisy, YOU ARE WORTH IT! I LOVE YOU.  YOU ARE MINE!” We all are, when we have submitted to Him.

I guess that’s real love, isn’t it?  We always want to have someone love us unconditionally, and that is exactly what God has given us.  He loves us without restriction. Without remorse. And He’d do it all over again.

That brings me back to my self loathing and depression.  What am I supposed to do with these feelings when I can’t love or forgive myself?  I am weary. I am exhausted from the thought of one more step. I have been driven hard by my own expectations.  I’ve suffered and strained under the burden of life’s challenges, most of which I never had any control over in the first place.  

And yet, through my struggles, through my fear, through my self described failure, the Lord responds with victory.  Which is more real?  Which is more true?  My feelings of failure, or His proclomation of victory?  Kind of puts things in perspective, doesn’t it?

I was pushed hard, so that I was falling,
   but the Lord helped me.
Psalms 118:13

Yes, I’ve been pushed hard.  Yes, I’ve been falling and holding on by the smallest thread of hope, and my fingers quickly began to slip from even that tiny shred of faith. How do I go forward?  How do I hold on? It is impossible for me.  Hopeless for me.  But not for God. Nothing is impossible for God.  Nothing is hopeless with God. Nothing. Not even me.

14 The Lord is my strength and my song;
   he has become my salvation.
15 Glad songs of salvation
   are in the tents of the righteous:
“The right hand of the Lord does valiantly,
16     the right hand of the Lord exalts,
   the right hand of the Lord does valiantly!”
Psalms 118:14-16

The Lord deals with me valiantly.  Valiantly! I’ve maintained the weakest grasp of that wisp of hope because the Lord has been my strength.  And He is infinitely strong. I can look back now and see the millions of times that His strength brought me through trial.  His strength, His faith, His love, His salvation. They saved me. They save me still.

I shall not die, but I shall live,
   and recount the deeds of the Lord.
18 The Lord has disciplined me severely,
   but he has not given me over to death.
Psalms 118:17-18

I can proclaim the Lord’s goodness.  I can proclaim that He has treated me valiantly!  He has given me victory. Though I have been disciplined, though I have felt the pain of unrepentant sin, He has brought me through it.  He has created in me a clean heart.  He has urged me lovingly, patiently, toward repentance and communion with Him without shame or fear.

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
  and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence,
   and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
   and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalms 51:10-12

His discipline restores me.  It repairs my brokenness and brings me through to victory.  Though it is painful, it is transforming. Though I suffer for a little while, I will have my reward, both now and in the age to come.  Abundant life is mine to take.

Jesus is my righteousness. I am not hated for my sin.  I am loved despite my sin. The gates of righteousness have been opened for me, because the Lord has opened them.  He has become my salvation and I have no need to fear myself or my wickedness. I can proclaim His victory in me instead.  

Open to me the gates of righteousness,
   that I may enter through them
   and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord;
   the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me
   and have become my salvation.
Psalms 118:19-21

For more on trusting God and being thankful, you can check out my blog post here:  On Being Thankful

Spotting Toxic Friendships

Really proud of my daughter for fighting through her hurts with a desire to help other people overcome the obstacles in their own lives through encouragement and faith! Good job, Sophia!

Subconscious Survival

August 2017. What a month. The month that felt like a year. My toxic best friend dumped me like a piece of trash. I want to warn everyone about toxic friendships. ask yourselves these questions:

Are they lowering my self esteem?

Are they embarrassed of me?

is it all about them?

Are you always fighting with them?

Are they extremely needy?

These are just a handful of things that if you said yes to any of these, you are in a toxic friendship. I subconsciously survived this because I leeched onto her like a tick! When she left me I was broken, I was hurt, I was confused, and I was ready to hurt myself. If you’ve lost a friend recently, I’m here to tell you, you WILL get through this! I got through this and I almost didn’t. In fact, I am still going through it! But it will…

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A Call to Repentence

And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only.
1 Samuel 7:3-4

Beloved Savior, the people are dying.  They are defeated and broken and lost and they don’t even know it.  Your Presence is so far from them, mighty Yahweh! They don’t even believe You exist anymore.  Show them, my King, show them You are real and true. Show them that Your Power will save them if only they would turn away from the false gods they serve and look to You for their salvation.  

You are asking so little of us, Lord.  You ask so very little.

if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:9-13

Why are they so stubborn, Lord?  Please Father, break their hardened hearts to pieces.  Show them the power of Your love against their enemies and urge them into the shelter of your Presence.  It is Your Presence, Your Salvation, Your Power that brings salvation to the lost. Not images. Not ideals.  Not even crosses. It is Your Victory over the cross that brings salvation to any who would believe it!

Even the Philistines got it eventually.  Sort of.

Why should you harden your hearts as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? After he had dealt severely with them, did they not send the people away, and they departed?
1 Samuel 6:6

They finally acknowledged what they were dealing with, and tried to make amends to You with a guilt offering.  (see 1 Samuel Chapter 6) Our world now doesn’t even believe the history that has been protected for thousands of years, a history that declares Your faithfulness and Your salvation offered for all of humanity.  It took the Egyptians ten plagues that eventually led to death, just to submit to Your will. Even then they didn’t repent. And the Philistines, who finally acknowledged Your existence with terror, only wanted You to go away.

I feel like that’s the world we live in now, God.  Only it’s even worse than that. People refuse to see You.  They refuse to acknowledge You. And their time is running out.  Their hearts are so hardened and so committed to the lusts of their own desires, that breaking through that seems an impossible task.  But You are faithful, Yahweh! You can breathe life into the things of this world that are dead, even if they don’t yet know they are dead.

So breathe Your life into the world one last time before the end.  Perhaps a few will recognize their folly before it’s too late. And let Your words permeate this planet as a final warning siren of Your eminent judgement.  Lord, I know that it is your will that none should perish. Please, convince them, Jesus. Convince them that Your love and forgiveness are worth turning away from the false idols that have given the world nothing but death, war, famine, and pain.  Fleeting pleasures are nothing compared to the glorious riches that await the ones who recieve Your Life and Your Salvation.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
2 Peter 3:8-10

 

God Hears, God Helps

Lord, you have set me apart for yourself.  You made me to be yours, to be loved by you and to love you in return.  You, who created love and created the world and everything in it, made me to be yours.  And you made me to do great things!

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Ephesians 2:10

I am your masterpiece and your delight.  I am the result of your craftsmanship. How glorious!  How wonderful! It’s so beautiful it’s hard to believe!  But you make it so clear in the Word that it is true! So I know that you hear me when I cry out to you.

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
   the Lord hears when I call to him.
Psalms 4:3

So I don’t need to worry that you don’t hear me or that you don’t care.  You made me to be yours. You care for that reason alone. You listen to me and cry with me.  You care. You answer me and love me. My troubles are no surprise to you! You’ve got a plan to solve them!  You’ve had a plan in place since the beginning of time! A plan to make me, love me, save me from the Enemy, and do glorious things through me for your pleasure and glory!  That is my gift from you. My inheritance. My birthright.

11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, 12 so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
Ephesians 1:11-12

So I have nothing to fear.  

God is our refuge and strength,
   a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,
   though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam,
   though the mountains tremble at its swelling.
Psalms 46:1-3

No matter what happens around me, you are there.  You will defend me, protect me, guide me, and love me.  You have made yourself known to me and to the world. You have made me.  You love me. And you have good things planned for me. And every time the Enemy tries to steal my inheritance of love I will trust in You and be strong in your mighty power.  

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.
Ephesians 6:1

You’ve got everything under control.
Thanks, God.

Jesus is the Victory!

Lord Jesus, you are my hero and my biggest cheerleader!  This morning, after dreams filled with evil attacks of the enemy in undaunted wrath, I heard you declare, “Watch Daisy plough right through them!”  I held onto that joyful proclamation, Jesus!  And I want to hold onto it forever!  You have given me power over my enemies!  Thank you!  

“I myself have commanded my consecrated ones, and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger, my proudly exulting ones.”
Isaiah 13:3

You have consecrated me by your blood.  You have made me and you have blessed me and you have given me your Spirit so that I could overcome my enemies.  You’ve already brought ruin upon them, God!  You have given me victory over sin and death through Jesus!  When he cried out, “It is finished!” it was a cry of victory.  No more slavery.  No more bondage.  No more death.  Our lives have been saved!  My life has been saved!  Sin has no more power over me.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
1 Corinthians 15:57

I can plough right through my enemies!  You have given me that power!  Your anger is great against your enemies, the Adversary and his minions, and the torment they inflict upon your people.  So, you stretched out your hand from Heaven, and offered deliverance for the people.  Deliverance from our torment.  Deliverance from our fear.  I can walk in confidence as a bulldozing tank of your glory because you’ve given me that gift.  

You are cheering me on, empowering me through your Spirit, to have victory over my enemies over and over and over again.  You defeated our enemies on the cross.  You are victorious.  So, I put my trust in you, God.  I put my hope in your enduring love and faithfulness, because that is who you say you are.  

I will open my heart to your voice because it is a battle cry of victory.  You are a banner of love and righteousness over my head.  You are a my shelter and my comfort.  I can trust you and I can fight and win because of you.  It’s all about you, Jesus!  

“And now my head shall be lifted up,
above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.”
Psalm 27:6