Friday, July 15, 2016

Whatever He Says

It was several years ago on March 1st, 2007 when my husband noticed the strangeness of the day.  As usual, work began at 6 in the morning where he operated a lumber stacking machine in an open ended tin building.   

Even though it was daylight there was an eerie darkness that day and his spirit sensed that something was on the way. Whatever kind of weather we were about to experience would come directly through his work station.
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Who Should We Follow?
By 7 a.m. it was pitch black and the gusting winds were whipping and swirling in excess of 75 mph.  He could feel pressure building in the atmosphere causing freakish squeezing around his head and ears.  The violent lightning was non-stop like blue and orange fingers that shot across the sky from horizon to horizon.  Others flashed diagonally or went straight to the ground.  It was the strangest thing that he had ever experienced, yet through all of this it wasn’t raining.
Then we heard it…the tornado alert in town was sounding.  I was at home preparing for what might happen while he was at work a few miles away.  When the siren went off it was if his boss went into a panic mode.  Hubby retells the story …
The foreman was working with me that day when the alert came. The rest of the men working in the yard remained outside waiting for management to signal with instructions.
He looked at me and said, “What should we do?”  Well, mama didn’t raise no fool so I said, “Let’s head inside.”  The four of us on our machine started for the office building to wait out the storm, while the rest of the workers stayed outside.
Once inside we were firmly redirected back to our posts and “management” would let us know when we should come in (if at all).  The others headed outside to work, but I felt that staying outside was not wise and a very foolish move.  Just as the rest went back to work I informed the boss I was leaving to check on my wife and would be back when the storm had calmed. 
After I left the boss changed his tune and took to heart the severity of the situation. He did what I said and called the rest of the crew inside.
 
When Did They Trust?
On Wednesday we had one of those strange storms where my husband and I spent much time in prayer throughout the night.  It had me thinking about that tornado back in 2007 when the boss lacked wisdom concerning the leadership of his men.
His poor decision making led to huge trust issues when it came to anything he wanted the crew to do.  However after that the men did whatever my husband said, because his concerns were always based on the well-fare of others.
In studying the first men who were literally “discipled” by Jesus, I focused on their behavior from the beginning of when they followed the Lord.  It caused me to wonder how long it took for them to trust their “new leader” who would turn out to be their boss, teacher, friend and Savior.
 
And then there were four …
It had been several days since Andrew and Simon Peter had learned about Jesus. By now Philip and Nathanael (who lived in the same town) were also informed about the Master, but Nate had his own trust issues and doubts of anything good coming out of the city of Nazareth. 
On His way to Galilee Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him.  Nate was curious about how Jesus already knew him when the Master responded, “I saw you sitting under a fig tree before Philip told you anything about Me.”
Astonished by what he heard Jesus say Nathanael turned on the drama.  I’m imagining how this conversation went and love how the Lord responded.
“Rabbi, Thou art the Son of God; Thou art the KING of Israel.”
“Because I saw you under a fig tree you believe? You will see much greater things than these. From now on you’ll see Heaven open with angels ascending and descending on Me.” (from John chapter 1)
In our terminology … “Buddy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!”
From that conversation the four men were unofficially disciples and weren’t sure if what they heard from John the Baptist was true.  They would have to learn for themselves by spending time with Jesus; this led to them being invited to a wedding.
 
Why Now?
Jesus and His followers had caught up with Mary (the mother of Jesus) at the wedding and wanted something to drink. She leaned over and quietly said to Jesus, “They’ve run out; there isn’t anything left to drink.”
Not wanting the bridegroom to be disgraced Mary made a request of her Son that didn’t go over well with Jesus.  This was something that really confused me about the Bible.  If it wasn’t time for the Lord to reveal who He was, why did He do what Mary asked?  Why now?
There are several reasons I believe Jesus responded in the manner in which He did, but I’ll share only a few.  Besides being kind and compassionate we know Jesus was always obedient to His parents, which fulfilled the commandment of God.  By obeying His mother He obeyed the Heavenly Father. 
There were also four other reasons – Andrew, Peter, Philip and the not so sure Nathanael looking on to see what the Master could do to fix the situation.  Most of all it was a witness of the Deity of Christ and part of God's plan.
 
Do Whatever He Says
With Jesus standing by her side, Mary called the servants of the wedding over and gave them strict instructions.
“Whatever He says to you (referring to Jesus), do it!”
Having heard Him, they did as Jesus said.  The servants filled six stone Jewish ceremonial washing jars with water, each holding up to thirty gallons.  After they were done they dipped a cup in a jar and took it to the ruler of the wedding feast. 
Standing by were the four guests that came with Jesus.  Up to that moment they had only heard about the wondrous things that the Master would do, but now they watched a miracle take place before their eyes.  It was at a wedding where Jesus showed supernatural favor and manifested His glory.
“This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee was the first time Jesus revealed His glory. And His disciples believed in Him.” (John 2:11 NLT)
What I noticed in this passage is that the disciples had to see before they believed in Jesus as the Messiah.  This isn’t want Christ desires from us but is actually the opposite of trusting the Lord, but I believe this is another reason why certain events took place at the Cana wedding.
Until the disciples learned to trust Jesus they wouldn’t be able to do what He said, because they wouldn’t have the faith needed for miracles to happen.  After all, the reason why they were chosen was so they could carry out the work of Jesus, not just to be bystanders and watch as they did for the first miracle.
The first four would influence anyone else that followed after the Master, so they had to put to memory all that they had been taught or witnessed.  They saw Jesus use wisdom by doing something good with the power He had been given through the Holy Spirit.  He proved His leadership could be trusted.
In order for the disciples to gain or "grow" in favor they would have to learn to trust and obey Jesus without questioning everything they didn't understand. In the words of Mary, they would have to "Do whatever He says."  We have to do the same.
 
Learning to Trust
Leaving work the day of the tornado was the right decision for my husband to make and it didn’t go against company policy because there wasn’t one concerning this matter.  It hit ground in several places near us destroying what was in its path and killing a five year old girl. 

As promised hubby returned to work, and because of his wise trustworthy leadership a company policy was established concerning the safety of the people.  They did what hubby said they should do. 

The Bible tells us that we are to be cautious of those we choose to trust and even more so with those we want to become like.  In the beginning months the disciples knew they were following Jesus, but weren’t so sure they wanted to be taught (*discipled) by Him. 

At first they were intrigued by what Jesus might do and I’m not even sure they thought about how favor came into play.  However, they would soon find out that trusting Jesus and doing whatever He said would change everything for them. 

This Week’s Challenge:
Trust and Do Whatever He Says 

Something that helped the first disciples learn to trust in Jesus is that they already knew what God said on the subject of Him coming. This means they had stored the Word in their hearts so that they would recognize the truth when they witnessed Jesus at work. 

Our challenge for this week is to trust and do whatever Jesus says.  Here lie some issues that we may find difficult. 

How do we know what Jesus wants us to do if we don’t even know what He has already said on the subject?  That’s a good question, and easily remedied.  Before acting on anything we think God wants us to do, we have to first check it out in His Word through diligently searching the scriptures on the specific matter.  If you can’t find it, don’t do it. 

Next be watchful for signs or “things” that align themselves with the character of Jesus and how He did things.  When something lines up with the Word of God it is an affirmation of what the Lord is trying to tell you to do. The Holy Spirit will never tell you to do something that does not coincide with the Bible.  In other words, He won’t go against God’s policy on how He carries out His plan. 

Keep in mind that the first disciples were still learning and the only thing they were to do at that time was “follow.”  Perhaps you’re at that same point along your journey and need to learn the ropes of being a Christian.  Don’t be discouraged, miracles are coming! 

Finally, if you know what scripture says and affirmation has come, then trust God by acting on what Jesus is telling you and “Whatever He says to you, do it”. 

“…then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.  Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take.” (Proverbs 3: 4-6 NLT) 

 
 
The Witness Musical (Jamie Owens-Collins) 

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Until next time, favor comes from trusting God!
 

“Trust and do and I will show you 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. 

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