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Tuesday Thoughts 5-30-17

How has your surrender been going since last week?  This is the first ingredient of being a full follower of Jesus (If you missed last week’s first installment, go to gaylordfamilyfellowship.org and click on ‘posts’ and find last week’s date).   This week, we continue our look into how to follow Him.  It was our Savior who said, “Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” (John 12:26 NIV)  Even in this short verse we can feel the power and peace of the constant presence of God, the presence I need, long for, and have! The second ingredient of being a follower is focus.    Jesus is the focal point! We already know that this is the truth, but it bears repeating. Jesus, who He is, how He lived, and what He taught.  I experienced the importance (and difficulty) of focus during the birth of my oldest child.  In those days, parents went to Lamaze classes, where you learned about correct breathing, the process of labor & birth and the need to have a focal point to concentrate on during the pain of contractions.  Here, dad’s-to-be were instructed on how to gently but firmly draw the mom’s attention back to the focal point and lead in the proper breathing technique to minimize the awareness of the pressure (medical code word for unbearable pain).  The better the focus was, the better the birthing process would be.  While this worked wonders during class time, the reality of the labor room (and the lack of practice – my Achilles heel of homework!) overwhelmed me and I failed to fulfill my role completely resulting in much screaming and lots of pain (I think the “wailing and gnashing of teeth” in the Bible started with a birth).  So it is with our focus on the Christ.  The idea, the benefit, the results of focusing on the complete Jesus makes sense to us, but the realities of the pressures of daily life seem, too easily and often, to lead to our failure to focus.  When we fail to focus on Jesus, the peace and power we need and know is available, escapes us.  Even as I write this, I feel the sting of truth.  Be honest and join me.  So what can we do?  Elevate the Word of God in your life!  The writer of Psalm 119 expressed his journey toward a pure followership of God with these words:  “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your principles. 13 I have recited aloud all the laws you have given us. 14 I have rejoiced in your decrees as much as in riches. 15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. 16 I will delight in your principles and not forget your word.”  Psalm 119:11-16 (NLT).  The six action words in bold print were the keys to following God for this contributor to the Bible.  The Word of God, containing the heart and character of God expressed through His boundaries of safety for us (commands) enabled this follower to continue following.  Do you want to be a follower of Jesus?  Pray the prayer expressed in verse 12, asking God to show you which action word you need to start practicing first.  When you have prayed…take that action!  Continue to move through these exercises in following. As you do, focusing in Jesus will become more natural and regular, and the benefits will flood in around you!  Next week we’ll wrap this up with a companion to (and result of) focus.

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