Tag Archives: Holy Spirit

Follow me

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“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24

I’ve never been a very good follower.  I like to do things my way, on my time, and under my stipulations.  It’s a selfish approach to life that admittedly brings me a false sense of security.  I think my way is faster, better, and certainly easier – why would I choose to live any other way?  I might be wrong, but I think most people lead their lives this way.  Sure, we may be great at following instructions from our boss at work, following the principles of our preferred politician, or even following the latest fashion trend of our favorite celebrity, but when it comes to our lives, we don’t want to follow anyone but ourselves.  It’s a worldly trend that has quite honestly caught on like wildfire, and I believe it has become one of Satan’s most deceitful tools His uses to draw us away from the Spirit-filled life Christ calls us to live.

Jesus tells us He came to this earth so that we might have life and have it to the full (John 10:10), but how do we experience this abundant life?  Jesus puts it plainly.  Follow me.  He speaks these words 20 times in the New Testament.  Follow me.  It seems simple enough, right?  However, in a world filled with “self” it becomes one of the hardest tasks we, as Christians, are called to do.  Think about it, we live in a self-motivated, self-assured, self-reliant, self-centered society that provides the path to self-righteousness or self-loathing.  This process of choosing self over God becomes the bottom line to all of our sin.  So, what can we, as followers of Jesus Christ, do about it?  I think the answer is found in dying.

STOP TRYING AND START DYING – this is a new quote I have put on my refrigerator.  You see, in my self-centered world, I have tried to follow Jesus on my terms, but I’ve learned I can’t “try” to be a better follower of Christ.  When I try and follow, it puts me in the driver’s seat.  I must die to myself in order to live for Christ.  Deny myself.  Pick up my many crosses and follow Him – His way.  It’s not a new concept.  Jesus told all, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me (Matthew 16:24).”

The very root of this word, “deny,” means to die to our own interests and desires.  It doesn’t come naturally.  We must rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to do it.  As the Apostle Paul spoke to the church at Corinth about the resurrection of Christ and the ultimate resurrection of our souls, he told them “I die every day (1 Cor. 15:31).”  He went on to tell them “the body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body (42-44).”  I have learned I must die in order to truly live.

I have a critical tongue with my spouse.  DIE.

I lose control when my kids don’t obey.  DIE.

I’m jealous or envious of a friend.  DIE.

I am fearful of the future.  DIE.

I am overly sensitive.  DIE.

I am controlled by those around me.  DIE.  The list could go on and on.

By dying to myself and following Christ, I am no longer saying Jesus is top priority in my life – I am saying He is the ONLY priority in my life.  I allow the Holy-Spirit His rightful place at the driver’s seat of my heart, and I am no longer in control.  Is this hard to do?  Absolutely!  It’s a daily, sometimes hourly, decision to die and follow.  But, we aren’t alone.  As children of the Almighty Creator of the Universe, we are blessed with His strength and power to lead us, and lead us He will.  In Luke 11:13, Jesus says all we have to do is ask for the Holy Spirit, and He will give Him to us.  So, today, may each of us approach His throne with confidence, and ask Him for the amazing gift of His Spirit, in order that we may offer ourselves fully to Him.  “Follow me,” He says.  Yes, Lord Jesus, one death at a time.

Until next time, dying to live.   Katie

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Making Friends With Your Problems

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1 Peter 1:6-7 “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”

It has been a while since I have been able to post.  Truthfully, I haven’t been motivated to; instead, I have allowed myself to be consumed with my daily problems.  You see,  almost two weeks ago, my father had to undergo emergency open heart surgery – a quadruple bypass, to be exact.  Praise, honor and glory to God, all went extremely well; then, the tough work began – my father realizing the repercussions of his previous lifestyle choices and recognizing recovery would require more than just healing – it would require change. 

Medications, diet (dad was diagnosed as a diabetic after surgery), and exercise have become the topics among my family concerning my father.  It’s been frustrating.  It’s been exhausting.  It’s been depressing.  Now, you would think, as someone who loves the Word of the Lord, I would have been camped out there for the past couple of weeks searching for His guidance in this situation.  But, sadly, no.  Instead, I’ve tried to solve things myself – so much so, I have physically worn myself out.  Today, God said, “enough was enough.”  

This afternoon, I finally took the time to sit down and read His Word – to really “be still and know that He is God” (Psalm 46:10).  As a result, the faithfulness of His magnificent Presence began to show.  I started reading in the book of Psalms, meditating on the word’s David wrote thousands of years ago – “we wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.  In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name.  May Your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in You” (Psalm 33:20-22)  I kept telling God, yes, I know You are my strength.  Yes, I trust in You.  But God, I’m overwhelmed, and quite honestly,  I feel angry over these problems I am having to face.  That was when the gentleness of the Holy Spirit prompted me to pick up one of my favorite daily devotional books, Jesus Calling.   At first, I was headed to today’s date, but something stopped me as I was flipping through the pages.  The words written were “make friends with the problems in your life.”  I read that sentence over and over.  I kept reading as the author wrote “every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I (God) created you to be.”   Make friends with my problems – but God, what does that look like?  He answered. 

Embrace your problems as you would your friends.  Know that I have allowed these problems to come into your life for a reason.  Don’t allow the problems to frustrate you.  Allow them to focus your eyes on me.  Also, don’t let the problems exhaust you.  Your friends don’t exhaust you, they rejuvenate you.  If you trust me, allow me to guide you through this.  I will get you to the other side, and you will experience My presence and the amazing exhilaration of walking alongside Me.  Remember, though, you must turn to Me alone.  Trust that I will lead you to where I want you to go.  Finally, I know the problems you face can be depressing – acknowledge the sadness that accompanies living in a fallen world, but don’t let it overcome you.  For I have overcome the world, and one day you will experience the joy that comes from resting in that hope. 

Peter, the rock in which Christ built His church (Matthew 16:18), knew first-hand the power that comes as a result of making friends with your problems.  He wrote, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:6-7).  I don’t know what problems you are facing today – we all have them, and they certainly come in all kinds of trials – but, rest in knowing our Father desperately wants to hold your hand through them.  I have learned, sometimes, prayers aren’t enough when your problems seem insurmountable.  Sometimes, you must plant yourself at His feet and be transparent with what you are feeling – anger, resentment, bitterness, sadness – He can handle it.  Find peace, as I have today, in knowing once you allow Him to take over, the load will feel lighter, the end of the tunnel will be closer, and true transformation will take place.

Until next time, readjusting my eyes on Him… Katie