Follow (February #OneWord365 Update)

I was a little hesitant when I chose, or rather when God impressed upon my heart (ahem, keep it spiritual :p), the word FOLLOW (and here) for 2014.   It felt a little cliché.  A bit kum-by-ya-ish. A little ordinary. But let me tell ya’, God has been In. Ma. Face. with tHis word (not a typo).  Some of us are, ok I’m a little slow… or a little hard-headed… or a bit distracted.   And it’s not what I thought, so far, it’s so much more.

We’re reading Matthew with our church’s one-year New Testament reading plan.   And, well, the follow theme is pretty prevalent here.

In chapter 4 v. 19-20, Jesus calls Simon (Peter) and Andrew and tells them to follow him.  And they did, immediately. When Jesus calls, follow.

In fact, a lot of what we read in Matthew can be summed up with the word follow – even if that word isn’t specified:

Follow Him in prayer. 6:9-13

Follow His example in forgiveness. 6:12

Follow instead of worrying. 6:25

Seek Him, keep asking, keep searching, keep knocking and you will find Him so you can follow. 6:33, 7:7-8

Matthew followed, will I? 9:9

And the humdinger… “Whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. 10:38 *Owie.

The story of Peter walking on the water – keep your EYES on Him to follow Him – 14:27-31

Humdinger’s cousin… “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me. 16:24

Follow in faith. 17:20-21

And if that wasn’t enough… Jesus Calling has also been relentless.  Getting a little too close for comfort really.

January 12th – “I will not show you what is on the road ahead, but I will thoroughly equip you for the journey.  My living Presence is your Companion each step of the way.  Stay in continual communication with Me, whispering My Name whenever you need to redirect your thoughts.  Thus, you can walk through this day with your focus on Me.  My abiding Presence is the best road map available.”  This has follow written all over it. In uncertainty, follow in His Name. Focus. 

January 18th“I am leading you along the high road, but there are descents as well as ascents.  In the distance you see snow-covered peaks glistening in brilliant sunlight. Your longing to reach those peaks is good, but you must not take shortcuts.  Your assignment is to follow Me, allowing Me to direct your path.  Let the heights beckon you onward, but stay close to Me.”   Yes.  This.

And if I wasn’t getting it the other days, Feb. 1st“Follow Me one step at a time.  That is all I require of you.  In fact, that is the only way to move through this space/time world.  You see huge mountains looming, and you start wondering how you’re going to scale those heights.  Meanwhile, because you’re not looking where you’re going, you stumble on the easy path where I am leading you now… You don’t know what will happen today, much less tomorrow. Our path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains…” Follow in the here and now, one step at a time.

(Have you bought Jesus Calling yet?  What are you waiting for???  Get the app by clicking on the link or stop by the Christian Book Store in Findlay (if you’re local) or buy one on Amazon…  Do it.)

It’s almost obnoxious, at this point, but I’m studying Gideon, with teaching from the lovely Priscilla Shirer, in the Ladies’ Bible Study at church and yes – He’s nailing me here too.   For the sake of time and due to the length of my ramblings thus far, I’ll just share just two quotes.  First from Day 2 of Week 2: “Today’s tasks – even the most mundane of them – are often preparation for tomorrow’s calling… God is teaching you faithfulness, diligence and integrity through every task.”  And from Day 5 of week 2: “Wherever you are now is where you are meant to serve now.“  Follow in the ordinary and the mundane.  Follow faithfully and savor Him in the now. Follow today so you’ll be ready for tomorrow.

I don’t know what I expected when “follow” became my 2014 word, like some big follow calling?  Some giant mission? One great directive?  Nope, that’s not what He’s showing me so far.  It’s a lot less WA-BAM and whole lot more still small voice saying: I love you.  Follow close to me, I won’t steer you wrong.  Follow Me today. At home.  In the workplace. At church, at the kids’ sports games, in the neighborhood. Follow daily, moment by moment, breath by breath. Follow.

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