Tag Archives: follow

O Love that will not let me go

One of my favourite verses in the bible is

1Corinthians 13:1

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

This verse has stuck with me since child hood. But I have only come to understand its poignancy in the last couple of years.

Spending my early mornings before primary (elementary) school reciting all of 1Corinthians 13 with my family, my tired eyes and immature brain could hardly comprehend the magnitude of God’s love buried deep within this scripture, let alone in this single verse.

Firstly Charity means Love, but not the kind of love that we use to describe our affinity for ice cream. It’s agape love. The highest form of love possible. It’s the love that God has for us, and it’s the love that we are to have for Him.

Love is so important. Because God is love.

1 John 4:8 KJV

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

And because God is love, you can swap out the word “charity” with God in the verse (1Corinthians 13:1).

Thus, it doesn’t matter if I know every language in the world, and if I have the gift of conversing with angels. If I don’t have God in my life, and if love is not the reason behind this gift, then I may as well be making nonsensical noise that no one can understand.

God does everything in love, because He is love. There is no other possible way for Him to act.

So let love be your motivation behind everything you do. And in doing so, you give God permission to perform miracles in your life.

And the more love you give, the more that love comes flooding back in waves of godly strength that uplift you, and give you courage to love the unlovable, and to show them Christ.

Life with God, is to have life with love, and I pray that it’s a love that will not let me go.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 KJV

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you

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Follow the Leader

Psalm 18:32-33

It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

How great are the mountaineering skills of deer and goat alike? Their ability to climb high up into the rockiest terrains and down into the deepest valleys, leaves you in awe. They do not fall, for fear does not shake them; they remain calm and at peace with their path.

They understand that they have to take this tumultuous journey to get from A to B. But it doesn’t detract them from putting forth their hooves and soldiering on.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength, and He will make my feet like hinds’ feet, and He will make me to walk upon mine high places. To the chief singer on my stringed instruments.

The way they walk is key to their survival. Wherever their front hooves have stepped, their back hooves will also step, in exactly the same spot. They know if their back legs just follow their front legs, they will be able to travel safely through the dangerously steep mountain sides.

God is to be our front legs. Wherever He steps, we must follow, for we are on our rocky mountains of pain, hurt, and heartache. But if we trust in Him, and allow Him to lead, He will get us through it, and bring us peace.

We will not shake in fear, we will not look down, we just keep going forward following His steps as He weaves us through the dangerous terrain.

When we leave His path, we risk falling, we risk death. But so long as God is our leader, He is also our strength, and He will get us through the hard times.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

So follow the Leader, it’s life saving.

Without Him

Sometimes we can become so absorbed in our own efforts and our own victories that we tend to make decisions based on our own abilities. We make them trusting our own judgement, and our own experiences.

But God is always there waiting for you to call upon Him. Waiting for you to seek His wise counsel, His instruction, and His leadership, in all areas of your life.

Without Him, our lives become worthless, and the decisions we make fulfil our carnal desires, but don’t point us towards Him. They may be fun and adventurous for now, but they don’t put us right with God.

Ask God to lead in every decision you make. He is interested in what you want to eat for lunch, and what college you want to go to. He has your best interest at heart and wants you to succeed. So let Him lead, let Him instruct, and let Him counsel you with His infinite wisdom.

For life with Him, is a million times better than life without Him.

He qualifies the called

He doesn’t call the qualified, but He qualifies the called.

This gives me hope, and I’m sure it will give you hope too.

We may not be educated, or have the best communicating skills. We may not have the best literacy, or even have much charisma. But God made us. He made us to worship Him, and to reach others, so that they may come to know Him too.

So long as we commit ourselves to Him, He will use us in ways that we can never prepare for.

So don’t wait to be highly educated, or to have great literacy skills, to be an excellent communicator, or to have a personable character. Because God can use you now. In the state that you are in, and with any limitations you think you have, God can use you.

He uses the sick to reach the ailing, the broken to meet the wretched, and the poor to help those who lack. Whatever situation you are in, God can use your lowly state to appeal to those in a likewise destitution.

For when God calls you, He qualifies you.

Jacob’s faith

Hebrews 11:21
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

 Genesis 48:13-20
Before he blessed Ephraim and Manasseh, he adopted them Genesis 48:1-6. God wants to adopt us into His family and bless us as His children. We are not to be so enamoured with the offers of this world, that we lose sight of the bigger picture, and the bigger family that we are called to be a part of. 

He adopted them so they fully receive their blessing, as they had an Egyptian mother, and were born in Egypt, they may not have been considered viable options. But as adopted sons, they were eligible to receive all that he had to give through the promises of God.

“A patriarch’s final blessing was important in biblical times as a practical matter of inheritance rights. In addition, some final blessings included prophetic statements that reveal God’s supernatural power through the men of His choosing.” {Got questions}
Jacob adopted two rich princes into his lowly shepherd estate. He then blessed them with a dry desert land that he didn’t even own (Acts 7:5), except for a burial cave. There was no inkling of evidence that God would fulfil His promises, (consider Abraham who did not allow a Canaanite wife for his son, which would have provided a family connection to the land), and yet by faith Jacob gave both Ephraim and Manasseh a full and complete portion of blessings. 

How fortunate, for the two boys, that they had a grandfather that saw past the great and highly esteemed Egyptian abundance; but rather he valued Abraham’s spiritual blessing above worldly fame. That is faith, to not fall for all the world has to offer, however present it may be, and to fully believe that God will provide a way, though you cannot see it. 

Psalm 27:14 

Wait on the Lord : be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord .

Being on the cusp of death is hardly a reason to be joyful. It is notably a time of sadness and of questioning. But Jacob worshipped God. With every last beat of his weak pulsing heart, and his physically failing body, his need and desire to worship his Creator, and Merciful Forgiver, grew immeasurably. 
How often do we let our circumstances dictate our relationship with God? He is ever patient with us, waiting on us to commune with Him. In every situation, God wants us to worship and praise Him. This allows us to be free to receive the blessings and provisions He is longing to give us. 
Though we have faith our whole lives, or at least endeavour to, perhaps the most vital of times to express this faith is on our deathbed. It is how we finish, whether we die believing in God’s promises, that speaks volumes to those that catch us in our last moments. And the best way we can show this, is by singing the praises of the One who brought us through, and by blessing the generations that succeed. It takes great courage to die in faith, but when we honour Him with our patience, our hope, and our joy, God ensures that the promised blessings are sure to be fulfilled.
It was not by his own strength by which he gave his blessing, but rather God’s strength, and Jacob’s faithfulness to Him. 
Exodus 14:15-16 

 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

By faith Moses obeyed God and used a rod, an inanimate object made of wood, to part the red sea into two. Generations before, Jacob divided Joseph’s inheritance blessing into two, and gave it to Manasseh and Ephraim, whilst leaning on top of his staff. 

It’s not the stick that parts the seas and it’s not the stick that holds us up to give us strength. It’s our faith in God that He will make a way. Just like the serpent on the rod that cured the Israelites from their snake bites. The wood did not save them, it was their faith. It’s God asking us to be obedient, even when it seems crazy and beyond understanding. God is saying “Trust Me!”
Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith and hope are interlinked. You cannot have one without the other. 
Even though Jacob was sick and harbouring a physically failing body, he still leant all that he had onto his staff and worshipped God. And even though Moses was drowning in the inches of the Red Sea water of which he dared to dip his feet into, and although the prospect of a multitude of deaths was but a gentle wave away, he still trusted God. 

The same faith that portioned a double blessing to two Egyptian royalties, is the same faith that lead Moses on that great exodus expedition, that did eventually see the results of God’s promise to Jacob in the land of Canaan (Genesis 28:13).

Jacob’s eye sight was nearing blindness, thus Joseph was troubled when he realised the swapped positioning of his father’s hands. But Jacob let God lead, and knew what he was doing (Genesis 48:19).

The positioning wasn’t convenient, it was purposeful. Sometimes we like to make provisions for God to bless us, in the way that we see fit. But God knows better, and we must allow Him to bless us, in His way.

 
According to Jewish Sages, growing up, Ephraim was solely focused on doing God’s will. While Manasseh did go according to God’s will, he also concerned himself with the matters of the world. He balanced both, while Ephraim was solely God’s. Much like Jacob and Esau. Jacob was more interested in being a spiritual leader, and Esau was clearly not (as he sold his birthright). Jacob wanted that position as patriarchal leader and a strong pillar for God, and attained it through means of deceit. By blessing Ephraim, he showed God that he had come full circle and that he allowed the younger brother to become the spiritual leader through an honest practice. Jacob had bought his birthright, and Joseph earned it. 
Jacob had faith that the blessings would fall upon Ephraim and Manasseh, and not to Reuben. This was against tradition, but it wasn’t against God’s will. 

Jacob vs Israel
 

{why was the name Jacob used in Hebrews 11:21, and not Israel?}
Jacob represents his timid and passive self. As we can see when Jacob wanted to keep Benjamin back with him in their home, rather than save the family from starvation. But it was Israel that eventually let him go to Egypt (Genesis 42:36-43:13). 

It was Israel that allowed for the destruction of Shechem; and it was Israel that sent Joseph to find his brothers, though he knew that they hated him. Jacob would have kept him home, and hoped from afar that his sons would be ok. But Israel was determined and put it into action. 

So it was Israel that sent Joseph away, but it was Jacob that called him back. In his timidness and frailty, Jacob knew the time had come to pass on his blessings.   

In the first 17 years of Joseph’s life, his father raised him to be a God fearing man and equipped him with strong values that saw him succeed in Pharaoh’s command, which saved the people from the famine. In the last 17 years of Jacob’s life, Joseph cared for him and provided for his needs. Their last 17 years together was a testament of their faith in God that had brought them back together, it was this faith that paved the way for Joseph and his two sons to be blessed. 

He died a poor man in a foreign land, but he died in the faith of God’s promises {Dying faith}. 

Letter: Part 3

And welcome back! If you haven’t already, you will need to read A letter to fishermen, Simon and Andrew and Letter: Part 2 to understand what this post is about.

However, when we don’t see God working in our lives, we can become discouraged, and the pull and attraction to go back to former ways grows stronger. It is in these moments that God is testing our strength and faithfulness to Him.

In Matthew 4:19, Jesus finds Simon and Andrew fishing, which is when He asks them to follow Him. Then for three years they witness Jesus working miracles, and blessing others. When Jesus was crucified and resurrected the absence of Jesus’ physical presence left Simon Peter at a loss. And in the time that Jesus wanted them to be strong for the Lord, and spread the gospel, Simon Peter succumbed to his old life of being a fisherman.

John 21:3

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go afishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

When we act without God in our hearts (see 1Corinthians 13) and when knowing the truth, our actions are fruitless. In a rebellion of sorts against the three years of following Jesus, he reverted back to his old life, he thought that on his own he could satisfy his needs, but alas their fishing trip proved unsuccessful.

It was then that Jesus appeared to them for the third time and asked them yet again to do something out of the ordinary, something that a carpenter wouldn’t do:

John 21:6

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

With Jesus, life can be an abundance of blessings. But when we leave the fold, He will search endlessly for us. He has a plan for our lives, more than we could imagine, to make us into fishers of men. The mission field is His specialty, and there is no hiding from Him.

 

Thanks for reading, and God bless x

 

Letter: Part 2

If you haven’t already, you will need to read this blog post first, and then come back here. Stay tuned for Part 3 coming next.

John 10:4,5

And when He putteth forth His own sheep, He goeth before them, and the sheep follow Him for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow but will flee from Him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Maybe they didn’t have to know that Jesus wasn’t a fisherman. They didn’t have to question his reasoning. Something within them resonated when Jesus spoke. Every inch of their being that was so learned in the way of life at sea, became a single drop in the ocean. Its importance diminished and became obsolete.

Sometimes when God calls us to do something for Him, we may not know how or why, but God wants us to do what we have been so tuned into on our christian walk – trust Him. If He asked me to drop everything and follow Him, all I can do is love Him more than my fishing net and go.

When Jesus asked the fishermen to come and follow Him, they dropped their nets and became His disciples.

When you’re catching fish, you need a net to capture, to yield the load, and keep them captive. But when you become a fisher of men, there is no need for a net, because catching souls for Christ means to set them free.

We fish to make ends meet, but God wants us to fish for men who are at their “ends”, so they can meet Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

A letter to fishermen, Simon and Andrew

I wrote this letter for one of my prayer group studies last year. It gives a bit of context into where their lives were when Jesus called them. It’s written from the perspective of someone who doesn’t know God, and was around at their time. There will be follow up blog posts to this letter, so do keep reading!

Matthew 4:19, 20 KJV
And He saith unto them, Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed Him.  


Catching fish is a hard and labour intensive job. It was never your parent’s hope for you to become one. The standards in the synagogues are so high, and difficult to attain. Your childhood spent trying to memorise the Mosaic law, in all its detail, has escaped you, and all that is left is this promise of a Messiah.

You work the night shift, and your hope is woven into every fibre of every net that is cast out and drawn back in. With watchful eyes you study the changes in season, the direction of the wind, and you obsessively know the movement of the water currents. Every inch of your being is dedicated to perfecting this craft, yet it is a means to an end.

You catch the fish to satisfy hunger, to make a living, and provide the needs of those around you.

This is your life every day, or night I should say. A change in tidal movement and the possibility of no catch lays heavy on your heart. There are families relying on your yield. The catch of the day is at the base of the local economy.

As in most things in life there can be a hierarchical order in whom you take direction from. In school it is your teachers, in the synagogue it is the rabbi, parents and grandparents at home. At work it is your boss, in the country it is the tetrarch government, and the Roman soldiers.

These are all recognisable and respected figures. Their credibility is built on their authority to change your experiences in life, for better or for worse. If you misbehave they make it known to you that it’s not the right way. They are often seen as wise and well experienced in their profession and position.

So when a carpenter comes up to you in your fishing boat asking you to leave and follow Him, what do you say? My first thought is to question who He is, and why is He asking me to do anything? What is His credibility or authority?

With all the nights spent under the stars trying to make a livelihood, all the aching bones, broken nets, and fish scales that have become part of the uniform, what right does a carpenter have to ask me to drop everything and follow Him? He does not know the responsibility I have, the families who are depending on my catch, the local economy that is determined by the moon’s tidal pull, in none of these things does He have any experience in, so why should His request be respected?