Believing the Promises of God - in His Word

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed… Without weakening in his faith… Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what He had promised. ~ Romans 4 [selected 18-21]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

A New SEASON - Will You Still Follow?

I haven't been 'blogging' much in the past few months because God has called me to a new season with Him that demands my time in other places and with other people. I continually pray for my blog sisters [and brothers, like Kurt] by name from my prayer list and I also stay in touch with many of you. We have become true friends and have developed relationships that otherwise would never have been - had not we met in Cyberspace!

I say all of that to bring you to the reason for my post today.

Early this morning when I turned on my laptop, I saw a blog post title in an email that intrigued me. So I jumped on that blog and read the short post where God truly had a Word for me.

That is not the point of this post however. Stay with me here.......
As I prepared to make a comment I knew I had to 'sign-in' first - so the fastest way I knew was to jump on my own blog - it signs me in automatically. So, that's what I did.
Here's where this post began....
When I opened my own blog I noticed that my 'followers' list had decreased by one. This had happened a few weeks ago too. Down two, hum........ but this wasn't ever something I pursued [getting followers I mean] in fact for a long time the Lord would not allow me to have a button for followers. I don't do Facebook so my followers were always limited. I know that since I have not visited blogs lately, nor posted much in recent weeks, [this being my first post of the New Year] I even understood why someone would stop being a follower. I thought to myself at that moment, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away."

But then......... John 6:66 flooded my mind:
After Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand ~ After Jesus Walks on the Water ~ After He declares to be the Bread of Life .....we come to the end of John chapter 6 and find this:

John 6:53-69 [SELECTED] NIV 1984
53 Jesus said to them,
I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks My blood remains in Me, and I in him. 57 Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your forefathers ate manna and died, but he who feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

Many Disciples Desert Jesus

60 On hearing it, many of His disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”
61 Aware that His disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? 62 What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where He was before! 63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you are spirit
and they are life. 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray Him. 65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.”
6:66 From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed
67 “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve.
68 Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to Whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.” [emphasis added]

I weep whenever I read that passage. Last spring I taught a Bible study on the Words of Jesus and we camped here for one long session. Can you imagine the hurt in His voice when He said,
“You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve - those who were His closet followers.

Those who left could not understand this difficult portion of the blood and guts of the Sacrifice He was going to have to pay. He tried to explain it but they didn't get it. Instead of trusting Him more, they deserted Him instead.

Friends, we are capable of the same thing if we do not stay as close to Him as we can. Intimacy with Jesus, means intimacy with The Father [for us]. That's not something I'm willing to give up! Jesus calls us [in these last days] to some very hard stuff... hard sufferings, difficult sacrifices, yet our lives are to be LIVING SACRIFICES according to:

Romans 12:1-2
Living Sacrifices to God
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. [emphasis added]

Let's never give up following the King of kings, even in the hard seasons of life! May the reading of God's Holy Word [His TRUTH] fill your hearts and minds this beautiful cloudy, or sunny, or snowy day wherever you are! I love you all!
Choosing JOY, Stephanie
PS: The post title that spoke to me was written by Kelly over at Titus 2 in Action, called: Faith Like Noah. I hope you read that too! Maybe God has a Word for you as well! Be Blessed!


KrippledWarrior said...

I am still following the Lord Jesus Christ. And your blog, young sister. And I'm a big time follower of Chatty Kelly too. Thanks for all you do.
love always, Your Brother in Christ, Kurt

Cherie Hill said...

Hi sister . . .so funny, I stopped by your blog just yesterday and noticed you hadn't been blogging. I just love your posts . . .they fill me with such encouragement through TRUTH! :) So your post today was such a wonderful surprise! I'm following HIM with you! ;)
Love and hugs,

Kelly Combs said...

Thank you for sharing this! I appreciate that I was able to bless you through this post. I love the Lord so much, and that he would use me as an instrument is a THRILL.

Be blessed, friend.

Terry said...

I still check your blog when I see that you have posted something new. I'll keep following. Just keep writing.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Sweet friend... how do I understand the angst of losing followers (I know this probably doesn't trip you up like it trips me up); it's one of the reasons I took off the "following" thing at my blog. I think people can still follow, but not sure how they go about doing it. Initially I "followed" everyone, but rarely paying attention to my blog dashboard for new posts. I just jump around as I can, mainly keeping up with those who keep up with me.

As for Jesus and following him, I was hoping you would quote that passage from John 6 and Peter's beautiful response to Christ's question. It always makes my heart stop to read it as well... thinking that I would say the same to my Savior. "Lord, to whom would I go? You are the One with the words of life!"

Nothing else satisfies me like the broken Bread of heaven. Nothing. He has carried me in this very rough season, even when I couldn't sense him and when I felt like my prayers were hitting the ceiling and going no further.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable grip and gift of holding grace!

Love you, sister. Rest well in the arms of Jesus. I hope you received my cardinal card.


Alleluiabelle said...

I love you my friend. Like Elaine, I took my following button off a while back. I do a lot of skipping around just reading and I get so filled up and encouraged in so many ways. Blogging for Jesus, it's a wonderful thing and you dear friend do it so very well. You are a bright light in this world for Him and I am proud to call you sister and friend.

I just came over from your other blog, you continue to fill me up every single time.

Thank you...

Peace & Hugs,

Grace on the Narrow Path said...

I am glad you are still blogging for Jesus!!! I have met wonderful Christian ladies and men through blogging.
God bless you my friend.
Following HIM together,

B His Girl said...

What a great post Stephanie! Many of us are in a new season. The words in the song 'I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning turning back are playing in my mind. I pray for our strength as we journey on. He is worthy of all our devotion. I am not on my blog as much as I used to be but you are still on my radar: ) B

Sassy Granny ... said...

It's a daily shuffling of the priorities, isn't it? Even good things take us captive, which means we might not experience His best.

Whether we engage with each other in cyberspace or not matters little, but you rightly direct us to our engagement - our abiding - in the Vine. There's just no substitue!


Camille said...

Dear Stephanie ~ What a lovely post! Oh how wonderful God's Word is! What a blessing to belong to HIM! I understand your need to be away from the blog-world for a is necessary sometimes. May the LORD continue to teach you and lead you unto Himself and may you know HIS peace and presence with you always.

In His Love,

lioneagle said...

Hi Stephanie -

Thank you for this meaningful and helpful piece. I appreciate it.
Praise our Lord!

Interesting that I came here today to read this as this week I read this in our Lord's Word:

Matthew 26:31 - KJV:
Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

Patrina's Pencil said...

I first read this on my ipod... it's taken so long to open it on computer and comment. First of all, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that ice portrait of your gazebo! It is just like a spiritual wonder.

As it is written in Psalm 2: Jesus is the KING of all kings....make a run for God... you won't regret it!


Patrina <")>><

Anonymous said...

Hi Stephanie,

I love your cover page. It is so pretty and serene.
I love the photos from the retreat at Black Rock with Christ Community Church.