Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Called to Follow Jesus

Welcome! If you are studying Do You Know Who I Am? by Angela Thomas with us, we are in Chapter 1, “Do You Know I Am Afraid to Dream Big?...He is Worthy.” Even if you are not reading the book, I hope you’ll stay awhile and continue to read…   
“With this one lifetime, I am called to follow Jesus.” –from Do You Know Who I Am? by Angela Thomas
Do you consider yourself called to follow after Jesus?

We often think God only calls those who are qualified. Not true. The Bible is full of people like you and me—people who don’t have it all figured out and often make poor choices—who were called by God.

Maybe you’ve heard this saying, “God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” Meaning whatever God calls us to, He will equip us and show us the way.

Wherever we are in life, we are called to follow Jesus
…as a spouse.
…as a parent.
…as a friend or co-worker.
…as we read and study His Word.
…as He plants dreams in our hearts.
…as we struggle through trials.
…as we enter a new stage in life, often one we don’t want to be in.

God calls and we want to answer, but what happens when it’s just too much and we stumble and fall?

In all honesty, sometimes I am just plain weary. I’m tired of the struggle of life. My focus is on what I can see now and what I can’t see in the future.

My attention is on me, instead of on Him where it should be. I give in to fear and it keeps me from my calling—to trust God and step out in faith.

Maybe you can relate to this.

But here is where you and I have a choice. We can let fear hold us back or we can focus on God and trust Him.

You see, when God calls us, He equips us. Through His Word, He reveals more of Himself to us, and our relationship with Him grows deeper. He provides rest, strength, and ability. He is there to see us through, and he wants our focus to be on Him.

Perhaps you remember Peter…
Meanwhile, the disciples were in trouble far away from land, for a strong wind had risen, and they were fighting heavy waves. About three o’clock in the morning Jesus came toward them, walking on the water. When the disciples saw him walking on the water, they were terrified. In their fear, they cried out, “It’s a ghost!”
 But Jesus spoke to them at once. “Don’t be afraid,” he said. “Take courage. I am here!”
 Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
 “Yes, come,” Jesus said.
 So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
 Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?” (Matthew 14:24-31 NLT)
When my full attention is on Jesus, there is no room for doubt and fear. But when my focus shifts to what is going on around me, I go down like Peter.

I often picture myself frantically looking around, while Jesus calmly stands in front of me saying, “Right here, Laura. Focus on Me.”

You and I are called to focus on Jesus—to follow after Him with everything we are. When we do, the experience will be incredible! Better than we ever could imagine!

Are you ready?

He is worthy. And He is waiting for us.

In Christ,
Laura

28 comments:

  1. Sometimes I don't step out because of fear of failure. But I am thankful that God equips those He's called. He's already called me. Now I must be obedient to step out so that I can give me the tools I need for the journey!

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    1. Fear of failure can cause us to miss out on all that He has planned for us, that's for sure. Even when something doesn't work out, I don't think it's necessarily a failure, but a learning experience. It moves us out of our comfort zone and we our trust in Him grows stronger.
      Barbie, thanks for your visit and comment!
      Blessings to you friend,
      Laura

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  2. That focus on Him, that is probably the whole answer, even for the what-to-do. I spend too much time focused on should-I or shouldn't I step out, when just "following hard after Him" by drawing near, abiding in the vine, drawing wisdom and strength and all I need from Him would probably just *take* me where He wants me to go, one step at a time. Thanks for provoking my thinker!

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    1. Amen! So very well said! Thanks for your comment today Sylvia. It gives me even more to ponder on.
      Blessings to you,
      Laura

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  3. "When God calls us, He equips us." I love this. There have been many times I have felt so inadequate on my own but God has given me all I need to do what He asked.

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    1. It helps me to remember that when I'm feeling God moving me to do something, my first response shouldn't be panic. If He wants me to do something, He doesn't mean for me to do it on my own. He's going to show me how. Thanks so much Shanda!

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  4. Hi Laura!
    It's so funny to me now, God knows what He is doing! ;) He is preparing His people. No matter how incapable I am and feel at times. I'm learning, little by little, that all my dependency and confidence can be in Him. Thank you for sharing girl! ~ Blessings, Amy

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    1. Amy, thanks so much for your visits and comments! We are so blessed that God is patient with us as we learn (sometimes slowly!) to depend on Him! God bless!

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  5. I once did a study on the passage of Scripture you shared from Matthew 14:24-31. There was one word which stood out to me as I carried out this personal study... i.e. the word "come". The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and showed me that Peter would have been with Jesus often when Jesus would have used this particular word in his company, e.g. "COME unto me..."... "COME follow me..." etc. Notice how Peter asked Jesus to tell him to "come" to Him! Peter wanted to know if the 'ghost' on the water was in fact Jesus and he knew that if he heard 'the ghostly figure' speak this particular word - he would be able to determine whether it was in fact the voice of Jesus.

    The lesson I learnt was that we need to familiarise ourselves with the voice of God through listening to the Word of God and this means spending time in fellowship through prayer and meditation/study of the Word in order that we will be able to pick up and distinguish His voice from amongst those who profess Christ but who are in fact wolves in sheep's clothing.

    It has stood me in good stead!

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    1. Wendy, you bring up an excellent point and I couldn't agree with you more. We need to spend time with God to get to know Him! I believe that God speaks to each of us in ways He knows we will hear Him. The way He gets my attention may be different from how He gets your attention. But He knows each of us better than we know ourselves, and we need to know Him personally too!
      I'm so glad you're working through this study with us! Thanks for your comment today.
      In Christ,
      Laura

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  6. I do agree that the Heavenly Father speaks to us in different ways. I'm glad because there were times I was not listening.

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    1. There have been times I wasn't listening too. What a blessing that God is patient with us!!
      Thanks for your visit and comment! Blessings to you!

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  7. This is so true Lara! When I take my focus off of Him, I start to sink like Peter. I've had times when I felt the Lord calling me but I got scared since the task was beyond me. And yet, that's just when it's God who does the work in us and through us. I need to not allow fear to hold me back but instead to ...trust Him.

    Great reminder for me.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

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    1. Thanks for you comment Debbie. I can relate. I learned the hard way...last year God answered a prayer I'd been praying for quite awhile. I knew He'd answered, but I got scared and decided I wasn't going to do it. Feeling like you're on God's bad side is not a place I ever want to be again! When I realized what I'd done, I repented and He & I had a heart-to-heart. Then He showed me step-by-step what to do. It was amazing! (For more of the story, go to my post What Almost Kept Me From saying Yes to God from June 20, 2011)
      In Christ,
      Laura

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  8. Laura, thanks for this post. Just today I was convicted that I'm holding back on doing something because of fear. Your post just confirmed that to me. And it also went beautifully with what we taught in middle school life study class today. What a blessing! Thanks!
    Michelle

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    1. I love how God will lead us to what He wants us to hear. Thanks so much for your visit and comment today Michelle!

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  9. Wonderful! We can't let fear (or anything else) separate us from the Love God has for us. Great post :)

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    1. Amen! Thank you for you kind words!

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  10. Fear cripples but I find myself stuck in it so many times. I need to remember if He calls He also will equip. So thankful for my visit here.

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    1. Thank you Pamela! For me, fear has a better chance of creeping in when I lose my focus and miss my one-on-one time with God. God bless!

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  11. There are many things that can paralyze us, fear, and regret, which I just read recently in someone's blog. But just like soldiers in an army, we should not look back, only move forward. Yes God enables when He calls us to service! we are given the armor we need, and the Word of God! Thank God! Patsy from
    HeARTworks

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    1. Oh yes, regret is a big one that can hold us back and cause us to miss all God has planned for us. When we repent and receive God's forgiveness then it is time to move forward. And He will be there with us guiding us forward. Thank you Patsy for your visit and comment!
      Blessings,
      Laura

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  12. Laura:

    I have been giving much thought lately about God not calling the qualified, but indeed He qualifies the called. We just need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and step out the boat into where He has called us.

    Many blessings,
    Joan

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    1. When we fix our eyes on Jesus and follow His call, the journey will be amazing! Thanks for visiting Joan!

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  13. fear of not meeting the world's standards, of not meeting others expectations...

    Yes, to focus on Jesus!

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Thank you for sharing your thoughts!