Monday, May 29, 2017

Where Do I Go from Here?

I remember playing follow the leader as a child. One child was the leader. The next person in line had to do what they did and then on down the line.

As adults we still play follow the leader. We have mentors, those we admire and aspire to be like. If we truly want to be like them, we follow what they do. Sometimes we follow the wrong leaders resulting in the wrong actions. So who do we follow, or do we follow at all?

Throughout the New Testament, Jesus said, “Follow Me.” Each time, He had a specific purpose in mind.

There are two Greek words used in the gospels when Jesus says, “Follow Me” (or sometimes translated “Come”). One is used in the sense of urgency, such as follow now or come now. The other is used for inviting someone to follow as a disciple, much like we think of following a leader and imitating their actions.

The first is used with a sense of urgency in three ways. 

1.      A new purpose
Matthew 4:19 - Then He said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”
Jesus set forth a new purpose for these men. They would no longer be fishermen to satisfy the physical, but they would follow Him and become fishermen to satisfy the soul. 

2.       Rest
Matthew 11:28 - Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Mark 6:31 - And He said unto them, “Come aside by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”
Jesus knew the need for rest, and sometimes that rest is an immediate need. It’s okay to need rest. 

3 – Refresh and restore
John 21:12 - Jesus said to them, “Come and eat breakfast.”
Following this meal Jesus reaffirmed His purpose for Peter three times just as Peter had denied Him three times. He was refreshed with a meal and restored to ministry. When we stop and refresh by spending time with Jesus, we walk away reaffirmed and ready to move forward.

The second is also used in three ways. 

1.      Leave others
Matthew 9:9 - As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” So he arose, and followed Him.
John 1:43 - The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.”
In the gospels, the disciples were called to leave behind their former lives and follow Him. We may not be asked to leave our homes and family, but we are asked to leave behind what hinders us in our walk with Him. 

2 – Leave self
Matthew 16:24 - Then said Jesus to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.”
Mark 10:21 - Then Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “One thing you lack: Go your way, sell whatever you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow Me.”
Jesus loves us. Because of His love, He does ask us to leave self behind. Our desires are replaced with His desires as we follow Him. 

3 – Follow His voice where He leads you
John 10:27 - My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
John 21:22 – Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
When we spend time with Jesus in prayer and in scripture, we come to know His voice. Where He leads us might not necessarily be where He leads someone else.

Jesus still says, “Follow Me.” He still has a specific purpose in mind for each of us. Come now to learn your purpose, find rest, and refresh. 

Follow Jesus. Leave the world and selfishness behind. Follow His voice, and His specific purpose for your life. 

The call is to follow Jesus and discover His purpose. Fill your spiritual jewelry box with the treasures that await as you follow Jesus. 

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Tribute to My Mom

This will be the third Mother’s Day without my mom, but I am thankful for the 32,420 days she lived and the influence she had on my life. 

She met my dad on a blind date when he was stationed in California while in the Navy during WWII. My oldest sister, Carolyn, was born there while my dad was overseas. After the war, they moved back to my dad’s home in Arkansas where my two middle sisters, Tricia and Eileen, were born. 

My dad worked for Sears for 30 years which brought them to Texas, where I was born. After 4 girls, they gave up on a boy and named me after my dad, Don. My sisters tell me my mom wanted to name me Donnie Sue. Thankfully they convinced her otherwise, and she settled on Donna Jean. 

I am thankful for the Christian home that my mom and my dad provided for all of us. 

I am thankful that when I accepted Christ as my Savior at a young age, she took me to meet with our pastor to be sure I understood, so that today I can stand on that rock of assurance. 

I am thankful for the memory of my mom reading her Bible every night before she went to sleep. 

I am thankful for my mom’s gift of service and hospitality. From inviting church visitors to our home for Sunday lunch to caring for the elderly in her church when some might have said she was elderly herself, she served. I am thankful for the example she set in providing for the needs of others. 

I am thankful that after 88 years, my mom was still a sweet, innocent woman with a childlike faith, despite the world we live in. If you think living in this world makes it impossible to retain a sweet innocence and love, then you never met my mom. While there were times I believed she needed to see the world more for what it was, the truth is -- I probably need more of her sweet innocence, outlook, and childlike faith in my life. 

I would be remiss if I didn’t also let you know there was a certain stubborn streak that she had that she passed on to each of her daughters (as I’m sure each of our husbands can attest). While some may consider stubbornness a weakness, it is a great strength when directed toward our faith and stand for Jesus Christ as evident in my mom’s life. 

I am thankful today for the picture I have of her in my mind. I picture her with an intense look of concentration on her face as she plays her violin in heaven.  Then I see a smile spread across her face as the angels sing along. 

I am thankful for my mom. I am thankful for the assurance that I will see my mom again. 

Psalm 31:24 says, “Be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart, all you who hope in the Lord.” My hope is in the Lord, and a great deal of the credit for that is my mom. 

Thank you, God, for giving me my mom. 

Thank you mom for being my mom. I love you and miss you.