Friday, August 26, 2016

Destination Known

“You need to end this thing.  If you have to pull it out each week it’s not right,” my husband declared as he sat in front of his computer at the kitchen table.  He was referring to our difficult challenges on learning to be “discipled” by Jesus. 

“End it … I didn’t start it.” 

“You didn’t?” 

“No … “ 

Smiling I waved my hand in the air as if pointing it toward the Lord and kept up my end of the conversation in a somewhat sarcastic manner. 

“Okay God, hubby wants this to end so You have to stop with this series right here.” 

Discipleship … “when it gets hard” doesn’t mean giving up or quitting! 

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No, they did this … 

Of course my husband was trying to be helpful when he made that statement.  He knows how much time I spend with the Lord in preparing for each post before putting it in writing, and he wants to be of help whenever I need to bounce something off him. 

We had been talking for hours and getting nowhere.  Hubby and I had finished lunch and continued to study at the kitchen table trying to figure out what the disciple’s next step was after being called to follow.  It’s not like we couldn’t follow along in the passages in the Bible to see what was happening, but “thinking like a man” it wasn’t all that cut and dry as we are led to believe from some biblical scholars. 

For the past five days I’ve read, studied, researched and run down every rabbit trail trying to find answers for the next step to where Jesus was leading His disciples.  We’re at the point where they were witnessing something new from their leader. 

Sure I knew the typical stories or lessons that I’ve heard from dozens of pulpits, but they basically retell what we can read on our own.  When I took on the challenge of being “discipled” by Jesus for this series I knew it would take me to areas that were perhaps a bit gray for a believer. 

Instead of reading through the scriptures as a bystander I’d need to be in on the action mentally in order to walk as He walked and learn as He taught.  My husband has been intrigued by the approach and has participated in putting his feet in the footprints of the first disciples.  His take has been quite interesting, funny and insightful. 

Doctor Who? 

The four disciples have made a conscious decision to follow Jesus as He journeys across “Israel” sharing the message of repentance.  By now they have experienced favor from God along with something different being added to the daily schedule.  When Andrew followed John the Baptist he mainly did so (as the others) to hear the proclamations he made about the coming Messiah.  Now that person was identified as Jesus, the following of a prophet would take on a whole new meaning. 

So far the disciples listened to dozens of preaching messages, saw a miracle at the Cana wedding and now Jesus has opened a healing practice.  After Peter’s mother-in-law was healed his house seemed to be a revolving door for business to anyone who popped into town to meet up with the resident miracle doctor – Jesus.  The Lord was so popular that it looked more like the disciples were body guards and bouncers rather than students learning in class. 

This is where I kept going deeper like Christ said to Simon Peter (go out deeper in to the water), but that only had me stuck on the favor part of the healing for Simon’s mother-in-law.  What was the next lesson Jesus was trying to teach the boys and where does that lead us as fellow followers? 

Discipleship … when it gets hard – you head out into the deep! 

I Know Where You’re Going

As a teacher I know where I want my students to end up when it comes to teaching a lesson or unit.  There are steps to take in between, follow-up lessons to the last step taken before moving on to the next lesson.  With each lecture there is an action that I expect the pupils to take ultimately leading up to the test or walking out the entire learning experience.

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? 10 I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 NKJV) 

The Lord knows what He plans to accomplish with each of His disciples whether it was the first twelve or those who follow Him now.  He also knows when some of those followers begin to slack off because the journey is becoming more challenging or frustrating.   

What does Jesus want from us anyway?  We’re following along aren’t we?  Maybe we are in mind, but not exactly in action.  Let’s see what happened with the first four. 

Rise and Shine 

If you’ve chosen to follow the Lord as He has asked and thought it would only be a few short steps with Him every once in a while, you’re in for a big awakening.  This journey will take a lifetime of continual dedication to the cause. 

When Jesus beckoned Peter, Andrew, James and John to "follow Me", He didn't say it would be easy or for a few months.  As a matter of fact, they were about to undergo testing of their faithfulness to see if their motives were valid for following Him, after all they keep running back to their fishing business as a “just in case” safety net. 

We would come to learn that the Lord was an early riser, unlike the overnight fishermen whose schedule wasn’t anything at all like Jesus’.  At least for these four, when morning came they would be ending their regular routine and headed home for some sleep.  Throughout the New Testament we read how the Lord encountered the disciples on the shores many a morning just after they had run their fishing route for the day. 

Jesus was accustomed to rising before sunup and would go out praying before the boys even knew He was gone.  It seemed as if they were always playing catch up with Him.  

Imagine this scene of when the disciples were out on the “road” as they traveled from town to town.  There’s no alarm clock and Peter wakes up startled. (Where is that *rooster when you need him?)

He looks around the room noticing that Jesus' bed is made and He is nowhere in sight.  “Oy vey, He’s gone again.  We’ve overslept.” (*Matthew 26:34) 

He quickly shakes up little brother Andy and Zebedee's boys and says, "Rise and shine … get up, get up!  Come on guys we have to get out there and find the Master."   

As they scramble to run out the door (without time for breakfast) Peter mumbles, "Man, I'm getting too old for this. Tonight one of you younger boys are going to stay up and watch Him so He doesn't get out before we do!  You know, walking with Jesus is a whole lot easier than running after Him." 

When Christ asked the disciples to join Him on His earthly ministry journey it didn’t mean keeping tabs on them to see if they were committed to the task.  The men had to learn to do things differently even if it meant changing their schedule.  They would have to look at life through the eyes of Jesus.  His plan had to become their plan if this “follow” thing was to work in their favor. 

Discipleship … when it gets hardyou may have overslept. 

Jesus Has Left the Building 

Each day, Jesus seemed to have limitless energy no matter how much sleep he had or didn’t have. He was up before everyone and had already prepared for the day by walking to a distant private place to pray.  When the disciples finally showed up He was ready to get rolling before they could even catch their breath. 

The favor that the disciples found (that really went unnoticed by them) was that Jesus, once they caught up with Him, included them in His journey. Firsthand they saw the leper being healed, a crippled made whole and demons cast out of people.  

Everywhere Jesus went He received favor from God and man, so those blessings surrounded them as well.  You don’t think people would give Jesus a fried fish and let the others stand there going hungry do you?  If you do then you don’t understand fellowship or discipleship of God. 

Even if they were skeptical about the mission at first, they were certainly curious enough to hang in there. They didn't realize that by example Jesus was leading and teaching them about their future ministry. 

Discipleship … when it gets hard – you watch the teacher. 

Becoming a Transformer 

The trust factor that Jesus was looking for in a disciple was being nurtured into the next step – faithfulness and commitment.  

When you make a promise (vow, commitment) to God, don’t delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it.  

Don’t let your mouth make you sin. And don’t defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. That would make God angry, and He might wipe out everything you have achieved.” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 NLT) 

The disciples may not have totally accepted or realized who Jesus really was at first, however one thing was certain.  When Jesus spoke, things started to happen.  With that kind of power it was a good place to be.   

If the disciples were to keep their promise and commitment to follow, something had to change in the way they lived their lives.  This meant that the disciples would have to be transformed in their thought process and behavior if they were to continue on this chosen journey with Jesus. 

 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world,
 but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 NLT) 

According to the Text 

What I was having a problem with is that my focus was on what favor the boys were to receive next trying to follow the pattern and steps that seemed to be laid out for them.  It wasn’t falling into place because I didn’t follow the lead of Jesus, but was looking at things text wise … according to how it was written. 

Yes, that’s the order of events listed for the first called, however it won’t happen the same for us.  God gives us His guidelines in scripture, but each person will receive instruction for their own lives in the order that’s perfect for them.  It was while I was cutting up some fruit and chatting with my husband that it clicked … He’s doing something new!   

Since hubby and I were recently talking about the changes we needed to make in our lives and schedules, you might have thought I would have figured this out sooner.  Duh … alas … message received Lord!  How simple, but complex at the same time. 

Honey, it wasn’t difficult.  It was me (yes and that’s in writing) needing to shift my thinking and focus.   

Discipleship … when it gets hard – you change something.  

This Week’s Challenge:
Change to God’s Schedule 

Learning to be the disciple God wants us to be will take time, energy and courage.  As we continue, our Master will walk us through the trust relationship into being faithful to what we have said we would commit to Him.  

The Lord wants to lead us to where His favor already resides, but if we are to get there we have to be willing to go when He says go and do what He says to do.  If the first disciples had to learn to be ready to go when Christ was, that’s what we need to implement also.  This means our schedules need to be wide open for Him to use as He sees fit. 

When we set out on this journey to be “discipled” by Jesus (Think Webster’s will have recorded that word into the new lingo yet?) our task wasn’t to be little clones of the first followers.  God has designed each of us differently therefore, the method of how we need to go about things may vary at points along our journey.   

I may need to change the way I do one thing while you may have to do something entirely different.  Like the disciples some of our “life lessons” on faithfulness and commitment may be the same, but not all of them.

For instance, my work schedule often clashes with my husband’s.  It takes effort for us to get them to merge, so we both make the sacrifice to do whatever it takes to get something accomplished.   He knows not to schedule anything for me or for the both of us on Thursdays, and I do the same for him concerning certain things.   

Our schedules weren’t always like this; we had to change completely in order for our marriage to be successful and follow the call of God on our lives.  Trust, faithfulness and fellowship have caused us to reap favor from God in staying committed to Him and one another. 

How is your ministry schedule?  Oh yes, if you’re a child of God’s you have a call on your life.  Our challenge this week requires that we change something in our lives and schedule to make room for the Lord to lead us closer to our favored destination here on Earth and for Eternity. 

Although as believers our final destination is Heaven, we also have one for this lifetime in which God has promised favor for a faithful journey.  Think about some things that you may need to change, alter slightly or completely delete from your life in order to follow Christ as His disciple. 

Are you in the neighborhood, city or even state that God wants you in for the work He has planned for your journey?  What about Bible classes or training for this work that will give you greater understanding of the Word of God?  The Lord may require changes to come through your thinking pattern, your schedule, your physical location or all of the above.

Some of the things you’re doing may not necessarily be wrong, but they are not needed for this part of your journey. Perhaps God is totally done with something that you are trying to bring back to life, but it’s just not working.  It’s okay, let it go and get up and follow Jesus. 

My husband said that I needed to “end this thing” because it wasn’t flowing as easily as it has in the past.  He was right and wrong at the same time.   Sometimes it’s not going to be easy and we may want to throw in the towel.  That’s when we should be aware God is about to move and do something miraculous.  Don’t you want to be there when it happens? 

Get up early, step up in your prayer life and see where Jesus is going so you’re not out hunting for Him because you’ve missed the wake-up call.    Stop saying yes to things God has said no to so you can walk along with Jesus once more. You haven’t failed … you’re progressing and working toward destination favor! 

Discipleship … when it gets hard – remember the destination. 
Destination Known by Legacy Five

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Until next time, focus on the favored destination! 

Check out my new book progress this week.

“Faithfulness will lead to My favor.”
Jesus Christ 

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Note: Emphasis is given in some scriptures to show clarity or understanding and is not to take away from the inspirited Word of God. 

When used, the words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

... and yes the word "discipled" isn't a word used by the world, but that of believers. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

What’s New This Week: Click on photo the or link.
Destination Disciple by Dane L Price


We honor the work of fellow disciple Pastor Dana,

who reached his final destination on June 20th, 2016.

Maybe you don’t know the Living God that I know, but would like to have this kind of favor in your life also.  Click on the above tab “Tell Me” for more information on becoming a child of the Savior.
Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. 
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible.
Image credit: GoogleImages or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Don't Quit  Disciples Running
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief.

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