UThe Life of Power to Follow

Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you shall follow Me afterward.”  John 13:36

“And when He had spoken this, He said to him, ‘Follow Me’ ” (John 21:19). Three years earlier Jesus had said, “Follow Me” (Matthew 4:19), and Peter followed with no hesitation. The irresistible attraction of Jesus was upon him and he did not need the Holy Spirit to help him do it. Later he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit and Jesus said again, “Follow Me” (John 21:19). Now no one is in front of Peter except the Lord Jesus Christ. The first “Follow Me” was nothing mysterious; it was an external following. Jesus is now asking for an internal sacrifice and yielding (see John 21:18).

Between these two times Peter denied Jesus with oaths and curses (see Matthew 26:69-75). But then he came completely to the end of himself and all of his self-sufficiency. There was no part of himself he would ever rely on again. In his state of destitution, he was finally ready to receive all that the risen Lord had for him. “…He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ ” (John 20:22). No matter what changes God has performed in you, never rely on them. Build only on a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, and on the Spirit He gives.

All our promises and resolutions end in denial because we have no power to accomplish them. When we come to the end of ourselves, not just mentally but completely, we are able to “receive the Holy Spirit.” “Receive the Holy Spirit” — the idea is that of invasion. There is now only One who directs the course of your life, the Lord Jesus Christ. From My Utmost for His Highest Updated Edition

Bible in One Year: Genesis 13-15; Matthew 5:1-26

“PANIC” by Emmy Joy Shepherd

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

I wish I could make sense of it. I try to fight the bubbling anxiety rising in my chest, it slowly turns into a brick that gets heavier and heavier until I can’t breathe. I lose control, I lose my breath, I start to sweat and shake and before I know it, I’ve lost control completely. I wonder if I could stop it. If I just thought hard enough, if I focused really well, maybe I can will myself to stop. I’ve been too afraid to try. Too afraid that I can stop it if I wanted to, but that I don’t because I’m not strong. Or maybe I’m afraid that I make it all up in my head for some reason I don’t know yet. Afterwards, I breathe deeply. I dig my fingernails into my hands, I don’t even notice I do it until I see the marks later. I’m exhausted, I try to keep my eyes open to make sense of it.

Even In all this, there’s this sense of inner peace that remains the same, I can’t explain it. Even when I can’t control anything, in the middle of my 3rd panic attack in rural Africa , it’s like that little ball of peace deep inside me is what helps me stay above water. I know it’s the Holy Spirit, it lives in me. It runs through my veins and pumps the blood to my heart. And with it, the peace. It’s a comforting feeling, to know I’m never alone even in my own body. I often feel the need to apologize for making my body and mind such a messy place to live. Full of darkness so dark I can’t see my hand right in front of my face. Full of fear, fear that sometimes swallows me whole. Fear that I’m not as special as I thought I was, fear that I’m not even close to being worthy of representing the love of Jesus. Fear that I’ll die having spent my whole life waiting to start living.

But I’m sure Jesus would just chuckle and touch my blushing cheek if I apologized for the chaos that runs through my veins. He’d call me his daughter, his beloved. He’d list off all of the wonderful and special things about me that He knew about before I was even an idea in anyone’s mind. He’d stroke my hair and spin me around and probably tell me to stop taking myself so seriously. To stop doubting, to stop mocking and picking at his beautiful creation.

He’d probably remind me of how strong I am, how I sell myself short and how every little quirk and quality that I deem as a mistake was meticulously crafted by him before anyone knew I existed. He’d tell me he doesn’t make mistakes, he makes miracles.

FORGIVE ME IN ADVANCE by Emmy Joy Shepherd

Updated: Mar 23, 2019

Sometimes I’m terrified that the Lord is mad at me. That he’s punishing me or that I messed up and he’s about to punish me, or about to take something I love from me. I pray and beg him for forgiveness, even if I really don’t know what I did or if I really didn’t do anything! I just want to cover all my bases, make sure there’s nothing I didn’t repent for so I can get some blessings! So that the people who love me continue to love me, so that the things I have, remain mine, and my joy never flees.

I have this idea that constantly repenting and feeling guilting for things I genuinely don’t know or didn’t do, will help make all of those things happen. But then I stopped and thought. I took a look at myself, attempting to see myself the way God sees me (as if I could ever view myself or anyone with that much love and joy).

I tried to envision how he would feel if he were physically here as a person, as a father. If I were constantly running up to him apologizing, begging him not to take from me, begging him to love me and give me the things I love and need. I believe he’d think it was ridiculous. I believe he looks at my heart. When I mess up, what’s my heart doing? Did I intentionally hurt that person, or slip up? did I mean to break that promise, or whatever the situation may be.

The point is, God is not vindictive. He doesn’t want to take from us, he wants to give to us. He wants to love us unconditionally, and he does. We don’t have to earn his affection, or grovel constantly to keep it.

If my heart is seeking him, and pursuing him, then I have nothing to worry about. His mercies are endless. If I recognize when I do mess up, when I do sin, hurt someone, or hurt myself, and make it right with the Lord, he will forgive. And the crazy thing is, even if I didn’t make it right with the Lord, he will STILL forgive and STILL love!! Cause he loves us that much.I am his child, and he is pleased with me. (spread the word)