Follow Me: a two-fold command!

I love that Jesus is always direct. 

There is no guessing game with Him. 

He always tells us exactly what He desires of us and what He will give us in return when we give ourselves over to Him fully.

Consider,  Luke 9: 57 – 62 when He was on his way to Jerusalem. 

He was honest about what it will cost a person to follow Him …. we are told to count the cost of discipleship (saying yes to being a follower of Christ goes beyond our emotions and enthusiasm, it requires us to think deeply on what we are saying yes to, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit); we are required to give up some affections; we are also  commanded to say no to some responsibilities in order to say yes to what Christ calls us to do.

This direct invitation is not always glamorous, comfortable and easy. 

Just consider the references made in our scripture:

“Foxes have dens to live in, and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place even to lay his head.” (verse 58). Am I willing to share in poverty and privation, in one form or the other, for Christ’s sake?

“Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” (verse 60). Am I okay with saying no to the important things in my life, in one moment, to yes to THE most important One in that same moment?

“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (verse 62). Am I brave enough to move forward with Christ and not look back or go back to what He is calling me to leave behind?

It’s a hard call but ask any believer who has completely surrendered themselves to Christ, and they’ll share that it was the best, most fruitful and fulfilling decision they could have made. 

Today, I’m reminding you that Jesus’ invitation to follow Him is two fold. 

He calls us to follow Him, the person. 

Christ invites us to journey with Him through friendship and fellowship, daily. He invites us to yield ourselves to a friendship with Him that will ultimately make us more like Him.

Lord help me to pour into a friendship and partnership with you. 

Then, Jesus’ invitation to follow Him is a command for us to follow His mission, His commandments and His truth. 

Christ’s mission and truth is sweetly summed up in Luke 4: 18 – 19, “…He has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted and to announce that captives shall be released and the blind shall see, that the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppressors, and that God is ready to give blessings to all who come to him.” 

To follow Christ means saying yes to living a selfless, spirit-led life of service that will bring glory to His Father. 

And if we are honest with ourselves and open to the prompting of the Holy Spirit, we will realize that there is a special cause or population or service that we may feel drawn toward. God wants to use our talents, heart, and gifts to build His kingdom in that space, special field or place. 

And the good news is, we don’t have to be perfect. We don’t have to be the most popular. Christ just desires for us to be brave and obedient.

This week, would you be brave and say ‘yes’ to Jesus’ invitation to friendship and fellowship as well as to His mission, commandments and truth? 

I know I intend to because it only makes sense to say yes to both parts of His invitation. 

Stay sweet and stay blessed!

– Dee

(2018) Dentrecia Blanchette

Practical love wins

A soldier was returning home from war when he called his parents to let them know that he wanted to bring a friend with him. His parents quickly agreed when he made the request.

“Sure, bring him home for a few days”, they said.

The soldier informed them that this friend had one arm, one leg, one eye and a mangled face. His parents insisted that it was okay for him to bring the friend home.

He clarified that this friend would want to live with them forever.

It was then that his parents hesitated and began making excuses about why having such a damaged friend live with them was not the best idea.

“He would make their friends uncomfortable” “What would others say” “We can find a more suitable home for him” were some of the excuses made.

The soldier hung up and a few hours later his parents got a call that their son had killed himself with a gunshot to his head. The police described him as having one arm, one leg, one eye and a mangled face.

It was then that his parents knew that their son was “the friend” that he spoke of earlier; and their rejection of someone who was different, was actually their rejection of their own son.

This story always leaves me wondering: “Am I turning down an opportunity to help meet the need of another person…because it challenges the elements in my comfort zone?” “Is my love for others only limited to those who look, think and live as I do?” “Am I allowing the “difference” in others to become a barrier that prevents me from serving them as Christ has called me to serve?”

And I always end up asking God to remove and set aside self, my personal biases and agendas so that I carry the burdens of those around me, with His guidance and strength.

The people around us need us to love them as God loves us. They need a love that isn’t flaky, convenient, conditional or discriminatory. They are longing for a love that is dependable, divine and constant.

Only when we share this active love through practical service do we truly serve God.

Only when we move beyond what is safe and familiar and love others, can we reveal Christ in our hearts and experience a deeper, and different side of who God is.

V A L I D A T E

You may have someone in your life who may present their insecurities and burdens to you in an indirect way. This person may hide behind their words or move around in a circle before they feel safe to tell their story … all for fear of being rejected, like the soldier.

Listen to this person and be unafraid to ask if they are indirectly speaking about their problem.

Sometimes persons just need validation to share or describe an emotion, thought or situation.

Validate – let the person know that it is okay to have a hard time telling you about their situation and feelings and you appreciate them making the effort.

I N T E N T I O N A L L Y | L O O K | A R O U N D

Take an intentional look at those who are around you – there are many who believe that they can only be of service if they travel to another country on a mission trip. While there is nothing wrong with investing in attending international mission trips – our sense of service should never be limited to places only outside of our local country.

Right where you are is an excellent place to start serving, if you intently look around you.

“The poor always ye have with you,” (John 12:8) The socially poor may be on our street. The spiritually poor may be on our job or in our classroom. The emotionally poor may be in our homes.

There is always someone to serve. And we neglect manifesting the love of God to them when we fail to serve them.

Who is in your close circle ? What is God calling you to do, say or be to show them His love? What would ministering to this person look like today – a word of affirmation? A quick call? A hot lunch? Assistance with a chore? A word of prayer? Allow God to move to you to minister in a practical Godly way.

“Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts.” Ellen G. White The Desire of Ages, p. 637-41

Love

Dee

© 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette

A love so bold

Without question, it is easy to be cynical. It is easy to be critical. It is easy to distance yourself. It is safe to be bitter. It’s easy to be hostile. But it takes courage to forgive. It takes courage to keep on loving. It takes courage to live with your heart exposed and vulnerable, open and committed to showing and being love. It takes courage to have a purposeful heart in a strained relationship and unfair circumstance.

That courage to love boldly is what Hosea had in his marriage to Gomer.

Gomer, as you know, had a questionable reputation. She was a promiscuous woman.

Still God commanded Hosea to marry her and commit himself to her.

Hosea obeyed God, married Gomer and soon their marriage faltered after she was unfaithful to him.

Even after the deep betrayal, God told Hosea to do the unthinkable: “Show your love to your wife again.” And, as always, Hosea obeyed God and forgave Gomer.

I want you to remind you that it is okay to forgive someone who did the unthinkable to you. Such persons more than ever require your forgiveness and that bold type of love.

They need the love that Christ has showered you with. Your coworker needs that bold love. Your parent needs that bold love. Your children need love. Your estranged friend needs love. Your boss needs that love. Your accuser needs that love.

Whomever your Gomer is …they need that love that we can only give after we have experienced God’s grace in a personal way.

It’s a magnificent challenge and most days, a seemingly impossible command, but Christ never calls us to do anything without offering help. He says, “Let me show you how to love. Just give me your heart. Let me surprise you with the power of love. Let me show you the power of love.”

Be scandalously brave and love – “even when it’s hard; even when it hurts; even when you are crucified; even when it doesn’t make sense.” For, only the brave, love.

Love,

Dee

(C) 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette

 

Faithful even while hidden

The Lord was serious when he had declared in 2 kings 9: 6 – 8, that the whole house of Ahab would perish.

For years, the house of Ahab worshipped Baal and practiced idolatrous customs. It was a level of apostasy that God did not tolerate; and He commissioned Jehu to “smite the house of Ahab” to avenge the blood of His prophets and people. The anointed Jehu, did as he was commanded and word soon spread of the general execution.

When Jezebel’s daughter heard of this, she declared that all descendants of David who were eligible to the throne be killed. As the massacre took place, Jehoiada, the high priest, hid Joash within the temple for six years.

While hidden, Joash was raised up in the fear of the Lord. It was this spiritual foundation that later served him well as he was crowned and anointed king at the tender age of seven.

I am deeply touched by the wisdom of Jehoiada.

There are times, when we too should allow her wisdom to prevail in our lives.

We may have to keep a vision hidden from those around us, so that in the quiet, God can mold and shape the plan to His liking. Then, there are times, when we may have to make a sacrificial decision to protect God’s word in our lives – we may have to walk away from certain friendships; we may also be called to protect God’s name by boldly living out our Christian principles, in spaces with little regard for God. It takes tremendous courage to live within each circumstance.

Still, I feel one of the hardest things to do is to remain hidden like little Joash – unseen, unrecognized, seemingly forgotten – until God is ready to elevate us. This may mean being faithful on a job where your talent is not valued or pouring into a ministry or pursuit that seems to be going nowhere or serving someone who is never appreciative of your efforts.

God sees the faith that is needed to survive in the quiet and seemingly hidden places, and He is willing to shape, strengthen and prepare us, while there, for what’s next.

Love,

Dee

(c) 2018, Dentrecia Blanchette