Getting to Know God Series – A Disciple

(This is the fifth post in a 30-Week Series – Getting to Know God.)

When I was young growing up on the farm with my parents, older sister and brother, we enjoyed going fishing. We never owned a boat but rather we fished from shore. I was never a good fisherman. In fact, the only thing I caught was a hook at the tip of my right index finger from the neighbor boy when he went to cast his line. I remember the ER physician asking me as he yanked the hook from my finger if I wanted to keep the hook for memory’s sake. “No,” I whimpered, “I think I will remember this day even without the hook.”

Lake of Gennesaret

“One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. 2 He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. 3 He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.
4 When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”
5 Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”
6 When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. 7 So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.” Luke 5:1-6

Listening as a Disciple

As a disciple of Christ, I had doubts about how successful I could be in business for myself. But God led me to believe that I could be and how He did this is still quite extraordinary when I think about it. Because it wasn’t my success in dollars and cents that I would be successful, but the interactions I had with prospective clients and their customers.

After concluding an appointment early in the beginning of starting my business, I was straightening up a borrowed office. When I was walking toward the door, the gentleman who at my appointment came back into the office. He said, “May I ask you a personal question?” I said, “sure.”

He asked, “Are you a Christian?” Somewhat taken aback, I thought he must have seen I was wearing a gold cross necklace. “Yes, I am,” I answered not knowing where this conversation was going to lead.

He said, “I knew you were. You were so kind and helpful during our appointment.” As he turned to leave with his wife and somewhat speechless, I thanked him for coming back to share that with me and wished them a good rest of the day.

I flew home with the biggest smile on face that afternoon praising God letting Him know, I knew He needed me to believe I was on the right track.

Believing as a Disciple

Philip, like Andrew and Peter, was from the town of Bethsaida. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
46 “Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” Nathanael asked.
“Come and see,” said Philip.
47 When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here truly is an Israelite in whom there is no deceit.”
48 “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.
Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”
49 Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.”
50 Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” 51 He then added, “Very truly I tell you, you will see ‘heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on’ the Son of Man.” John 1:43-51

Christ wasn’t the only one that saw me as a disciple, but my conduct with this customer caused him to believe it too. This experience had shown me that I needed to believe how my faith can make a difference in the lives of others.

Although not all my interactions were as friendly as this one. On another occasion during an appointment with two women, I remained silent and went about conducting the appointment in a professional manner. They had obviously seen my gold cross necklace and made snide comments about how “the light should remain under the basket.” The implication coming from the verse, Mark 4:21-23 “21 He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? 22 For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. 23 If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Thankfully and unfortunately for these two women who obviously failed to read Christ’s words further, Mark 4:24-25 “24 “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. 25 Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

The encounter with these two women left me shaken and sad. So much so, I spent the rest of the day in prayer. I was shocked by women’s brazen ridicule of me even though they had never met me before. These were professional women in the legal field, but God was with me. I did not show emotion nor bend to their conversation. God handled the situation and through prayer I realized that God was there to handle whatever my situation. As in my fledgling new business or in my personal life, situations arise – good and bad, encouraging and discouraging – I just needed Him to remain in control.

Marie

A Prayer from My Journal

Lord of my life, my life is not my own by yours. Help me to live under Your direction and ready to hear Your call, “Follow Me.”

Lord of my life, You control the night and day. Help me to be aware of Your presence and knowing that I have the gift of Your Spirit.

Lord of my Life, You are the Giver of all good things. My prayer is to surrender to Your care and directions so that others may receive Your love and mercy through me, your disciple.

Lord of my Life, when life becomes difficult and I become tired or afraid. Help me not to speak irrationally or make selfish mistakes. Help me to see, feel, and know Your love, forgiveness and mercy are there for me. Use me despite my reluctance and doubt.

Lord of my life, walk ahead of me so I may not be afraid to follow, fall and follow again. I pray this all Lord in Jesus’ name. Amen

May I pray for you?

The Prayer Journals are my personal spiritual journey in conjunction with writing my spiritual memoir. My posts in 2018 are a series relating to this theme. If you have just joined The Prayer Journals, I hope you will take the time to explore previous posts on this site.

Please reach out to The Prayer Journals if I can answer any questions about keeping a prayer journal of your own. A prayer journal is an intimate communication between you and God. You don’t have to be a master writer. Perhaps you are an illustrator, a painter, a poet, a lyricist or creator of scrapbooks. Use your gifts to communicate with God, however you wish in your prayer journal.

Blessings on your day,

Sheri

P.S. I am a week behind in my 30-week series due to my dog, Barkley LeRoy having back surgery. He is doing great and I praise God that my faithful fur-companion will be back at his “editing” desk soon. I will do my best to catch up this week.

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Getting to Know God Series – A Ministry

(This is the fourth post in a 30-Week Series – Getting to Know God.)

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Joshua 1:9 

Easier said than done, right?

On the outside I was confident I was following God’s direction by starting a contracting business in the spring of 2010, but inside I was weak with anxiety and insecurity. I reasoned that I had no choice since after literally hundreds of unanswered online job applications and circulating my resume, my family would soon be teetering on bankruptcy. My pride could not allow that to happen. And neither could my pride allow accepting government assistance so with a sizable withdrawal from my 401(k) retirement plan, I set out to earn a living on my own… of course it could not have happened without God and His “angels.”

The Value of Prayer

The temptation to give up is often easy when there doesn’t seem to be a way around a circumstance. When Jesus started his ministry, he encountered Satan in a series of temptations that are representative of what faces each of us. Satan confronted Jesus when he was most vulnerable. Satan does the same thing to us in our vulnerability.

Jesus was led by the Spirit

Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights Jesus was hungry. Satan would tempt Jesus three times.

“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.

3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Mark 4:1-11

I didn’t know at the time if starting a business would be my wilderness, but I followed Jesus’ lead by relying on the value of prayer. And with every temptation to give in, give up, or give out I immersed myself in Scripture, so I could be reminded of the truth and wisdom in the face of Satan’s temptation and lies.

Jesus’ begins his ministry

Although Jesus did not hold an official position nor was he specifically trained to be a priest, he began his ministry wherever common people were found. He taught and performed miracles around the Sea of Galilee and throughout the entire area. It is here that Jesus was rejected in Nazareth.

16 He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 

22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked. 23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” 

24 “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land.

26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” 

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this.29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff.

30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Mark 4:16-30

Rejection

As I have mentioned in previous posts in this series, I relied heavily not only on prayer and Scripture, but the angels God had placed in my life as I started to learn the industry I was endeavoring, making contacts for work assignments, and my many years in sales positions. Was I a fake as I thought earlier after my layoff? Only time would tell.

Had I never learned about Jesus or if I had stopped reading Scripture after Jesus’ experience in Nazareth I may never have learned in starting my own new venture that Jesus’ life teaches each one of us about rejection and acceptance. My faith would be the key to my success.

I was rejected by prospects and I was also accepted by others to keep going with my new line of work. I just kept praying that enough work would come along and that my clients would be paying me timely. My husband and I were trying desperately not only to catch up, but not fall behind further in our bills. Would my faith pay off? Only time would tell.

Trusting God

A prayer from my journal

Lord of my life, bless me Lord, my daily life and especially my work. May my work reflect Your goodness in all I say and do. Help and guide me so my work does not turn toward selfish purposes. Forgive me when I fail. Lift me up in your Word.

Lord of my life, help me to remember You are still in control when I feel discouraged and useless or when I am anxious and angry. Help me to realize that all good comes from You when I am satisfied and pleased with my work.

Lord of my life, take my work into Your own hands and bless not only the work but the people involved. Use what I accomplish to be a benefit not only for my family but to others and that it further Your purpose and will for my life and others for Jesus’ sake, I pray. Amen

May I pray for you?

The Prayer Journals are my personal spiritual journey in conjunction with writing my spiritual memoir. My posts in 2018 are a series relating to this theme. If you have just joined The Prayer Journals, I hope you will take the time to explore previous posts on this site.

Please reach out to The Prayer Journals if I can answer any questions about keeping a prayer journal of your own. A prayer journal is an intimate communication between you and God. You don’t have to be a master writer. Perhaps you are an illustrator, a painter, a poet, a lyricist or creator of scrapbooks. Use your gifts to communicate with God, however you wish in your prayer journal.

Blessings on your day,

Sheri

Connect with The Prayer Journals

Facebook:                   https://www.facebook.com/PrayerPrompts/
Twitter:                      @PrayerPrompts
Email:                         Hoot@thebloggingowl.com

© 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved