I would guess that most of us have played 'follow the leader' at some point and time in our childhood. We chose a leader and marched around;following the leader wherever he or she went. Perhaps even imitating their actions.
We may feel that this is just a game from our childhood. But to an extent, we still play the game don't we? It may look a little different, but we still 'follow' a lot of things.
We follow fads.
We follow news stories.
We follow trends.
We follow gossip.
We follow people on social media.
We follow who and what the world says we should be.
In the first few chapters of Mark, Jesus says to Peter, Andrew, John, James, and Matthew-"Follow me." He wasn't asking them to hit a 'like' or a 'follow' button. He wasn't asking them to just listen to stories He would tell or the rumors that would spread about Him. He was asking "follow ME". He was asking them to step away from everything else and follow HIM.
The Greek word used in Mark 1:17 for 'follow' is 'akoloutheo'. What it literally means is to walk the same road or to accompany. It is an active word. A word that calls for a choice to be made. It calls for a choice to go down a road that is a mission path, that may be hard sometimes, that leaves your old self behind. But it is also a road that is good. One that brings comfort and peace, new life, and wisdom. It touches the lives of others, and abides with Christ.
So will you follow Him and not just click the like button?
Will you choose to walk the road with Jesus?
To accompany Him as He accompanies you?
When Jesus calls for you to follow Him...will you walk His way?
With the holiday season approaching next week, you may possibly be getting your house ready for guests. Perhaps even, those guests will be staying awhile and you are preparing a room for them to stay in.
Jesus is preparing a room for you as well!
So read on for one of the promises, that when I first read it, brought me great comfort. I hope it will do the same for you!
And....one of the things that always started off the holiday season in my family growing up was...that's right, egg nog! I am sharing below, this delicious Egg Nog Hot Chocolate Recipe, for you to enjoy during some quiet time with Jesus this morning or to share with family and friends as they come over this holiday season. Either way, I hope it reminds you of the beautiful promise in John 14:2-3!
"My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
I find such comfort knowing that Jesus is preparing a room for me.
Do we prepare a room for those who are not welcome? No! We prepare a room for those we have invited into our home. For those who will not fleetingly stay a moment.
We prepare for those who will be staying awhile.
We clean, put fresh sheets on, tidy up, fluff pillows, maybe light a candle or place some fresh flowers there. We make sure our guest will have enough pillows and blankets. We plan meals and pick up extra groceries. We prepare.
And Jesus prepares a room for us. We do not prepare our own place.
He prepares for those who He has invited. For those whom He takes with Him to be where He is. For those who love Him. It is not a last minute decision. He knows who He is preparing rooms for. "Preparing" is not a future term but a present and past term. The son of the ever-living God, takes care in preparing a place for US!
I don't know what that room will look like. But if Jesus is preparing it, I can only imagine how wonderful it will be! Someday, we will walk into the kingdom of God, and for those who love Him, Jesus will say "I have a room prepared for you". And there will be a room, intentionally and loving prepared just for YOU.
So as you prepare rooms in your own house, do it with a willing and loving heart-just like Jesus.
Throughout your preparations this seasons, may each task remind you of the room that is being prepared for you...
*Read on for the Egg Nog Hot Chocolate recipe!
Egg Nog Hot Chocolate
3 cups Egg Nog (your choice of brand/type-I love vanilla spice egg nog)
1 cup of milk (your choice of milk)
8 ounces of white chocolate chips (may substitute with semi sweet chocolate chips if desired)
1 tsp vanilla
whip cream (if desired)
Sprinkles (if desired)
*if you would like less of an egg nog taste, use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of egg nog
*double up the recipe and place in a crock pot if you are having family and friends over for the holidays!
1. Mix all the ingredients except the whip cream and sprinkles
2. Heat via your preferred method-stove top or microwave.
3. Mix well.
4. Add whip cream and sprinkles to each individual mug if desired.
*If doubled-put in crock pot on warm if already heated or on low until hot chocolate is heated and chocolate chips are melted (then turn to warm)
"I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in a season to one that is weary." - Charles Spurgeon
There was a pile of notebooks on my dresser, and as I looked at them one day they reminded me of my own life in a way. Like those notebooks, my life has been filled with many chapters and a large amount of them have been chapters of affliction....
There have been days I have asked the question, "why?" and "why so many difficult seasons?" If your asking yourself the same questions, I do not have all the answers. But what I do know is this:
* I am grateful for every one.
*Grateful for where they ultimately brought me.
*Grateful for what some of them steered me from.
*Grateful that they filled my heart with a compassion and an understanding that I would not be so in tune with had I not been afflicted in these ways.
*Grateful that had it not been for these things, I would not know the difference between walking through a storm relying on myself vs walking through a storm relying on Christ.
A million times over I would choose the latter.
Christ, alive in me, after such great affliction that He Himself suffered, comforts and strengthens me in a way which only pain knows pain.
So a hundred times over, I would walk through the deep again. To meet Christ in the deep waters ahead of me, and to meet you, my friend, in the waters of affliction that are perhaps surrounding you.
Yes, Jesus knew pain.
He knew sorrow. (Matthew 26:38)
He knew ridicule. (Mark 15:19, Luke 22:63)
He knew loneliness. (Matthew 27:46)
He knew rejection. (John 6:66)
He knew weariness. (John 4:6)
He knew poverty. (Matthew 8:20)
He knew physical pain. (Isaiah 53:7-8)
He knew abuse. (Mark 14:65, Luke 22:63)
He knew suffering. (Hebrews 2:18)
He knew temptation. (Hebrews 2:18)
Whatever you are going through-Jesus understands. He knows. He is there for you and will help you if you go to Him.
So run to Him who knows your pain, He who knows pain. Run into his arms and be strengthened and comforted. Run into His arms....and be KNOWN.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -yet was without sin. "
I would love to pray for you! I am always open for you to send a prayer request!. Blessings ❤️
It was a crisp morning when I stood in this sunflower field last year at sunrise.
The darkness was lifting with a slight rustling of the wind.
There was a wild, breathless feeling in my lungs as the darkness vanished completely and the sun shone, peeking up from the rounded earth, scattering it's warmth and light over the thousands of sunflowers surrounding me.
And the sunflowers?
They faced that beautiful light.
It was if they knew...trusted...the light that beckoned them to it. As if they had no doubt the light would overcome the darkness. They turned to it as if, not only did they need the warmth of the light at the very base of their being, they desired to follow it.
The blind beggar, too (as we will explore), in his own darkness recognized and desired to trust the light he could not see but knew was there. Trusted that JESUS was that light. And the light would overcome his darkness.
Whatever darkness we are currently in, or may find ourselves in down the road, we too, can trust that the light always overcomes the darkness. We can turn our faces to the light that is Jesus, and step toward Him. Sometimes blindly at first, but assuradly, and then following exhuberantly and expectantly.
As always, I like to share Day One, of each FREE devotional series, here on the blog. I love the story of Bartimaeus. I hope Day one inspires you to read more about him and his story. It may be a short passage in the Bible, but there is so much we can learn about ourselves and about Jesus through this profound story....
The Passage:Mark 10:46
"Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means "son of Timaeus"), was sitting by the roadside begging.”
Did you know that to farmers who don't grow them, when sunflowers pop up in their fields, they are considered weeds?
Weeds....undesirable, "in the wrong place", according to humans- those things we need to "pluck" out of sight and that don't belong to the environment we want to create.
Sunflower "weeds" are somewhat similar to beggars in New Testament times. During the time of Bartimaeus, begging may have been prevalent due to a lack of medical science and impoverishment, but that doesn't mean it was accepted by society's standards. In fact, not only were beggars looked down on, they were despised by the other social classes. They were undesirable, and didn't fit in to the environment society wanted to create. Essentially, they were like the weeds of society.
Often, those who were blind, diseased, or crippled sat begging at places with high traffic such as corners of streets, gates of temples, city entrances, or even near houses of the rich.
And that's right where we find Bartimaeus.
On the roadside, near the exit of Jericho.
Probably in a fixed spot he was accustomed to and most likely not alone. In a city such as Jericho, I am sure he was not the only one begging as people came into and left the city.
I imagine him sitting there on the ground...in the dirt...dishevelved...in rags, unclean, smelly.
And in darkness despite the time of day.
Waiting until someone gave him what he needed....food, money.
He waited for people to fill his belly or his hands.
He waited for perhaps a coin or trinket to be tossed his way.
Sometimes this is us too, isn't it? We sit at the gates of life, or wait on a corner in the middle of our journey. Maybe not dishelved in our clothing, but dishelved in our hearts or our lives. Maybe looking well dressed and perfumed, but inside feeling unclean and dirty. Perhaps feeling like an outcast ourselves, unwanted, unloved.
And maybe just waiting for that one thing that will "fill" us up. That "coin" or piece of "bread" or jackpot, that we think will make everything better.... we wait for that job, that child, that spouse, that weight loss, that degree, that wardrobe, that house, that prestige, that popularity (the list goes on). And we wait. Hoping it will be tossed our way as we sit at the gates of life.
Waiting for that "thing" to make us acceptable to others, or that "thing" will make us satisfied; whole.
Often it is the root of these things we are truly seeking, waiting and begging for. Because the root most often is love, peace, provision.
All those that pass by and toss coins our way will never feed or fill the root of our begging and waiting.
But there is One who can fill us and give more than we could imagine, just like he did, as you will see, with Bartimaeus...
If you are feeling like an outcast today or have ever felt this way,
let me remind you.....
WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
You are loved (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8)
You are forgiven (Col. 1:14)
You are a child of light (1 Thes. 5:5)
You are chosen (Col. 3:12)
You are Christ's friend (John 15:5)
You are a branch of the vine (John 15:1,5)
You are free (John 8:36)
You are God's coworker (2 Cor. 6:1)
You are God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
You are redeemed (Eph 1:7)
And you cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35)
Looking to dig a little deeper? Study the following passages on the compassion that Jesus and the disciples had for other beggars/blind men:
Choose one of the following verses. Write it down on a note card. Memorize it. Study it. Place it somewhere you will see it often.
1 John 2:11
God's Word is powerful. Watch how he will strengthen, lead, and convict you through this verse as you meditate on and memorize it!
I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions regarding today's devotional/study and welcome any prayer requests!
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The next devotional series, another Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas series, "Compass in the Sky" (a 5 day series) will be sent out in December!
A while ago on instagram, I shared my favorite Charles Spurgeon quotes. The one below is a quote I find inspiring and I hope you are encouraged as well to bloom in those abandoned places....
"No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of a glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity." - Charles Spurgeon
I am not going to lie. This past summer was one of adversity. I am truly exhausted. But I am alive in these trials and triumphant.
Because of Jesus.
Not going to lie. There was a moment when I almost chose to turn back to self-reliance, to fear, a hardened heart. Had I done that I would be a heaping mess right now on the floor.
Instead, I chose to dig my roots deeper in faith and rely on Jesus. I chose to not give in to fear but give the fear over. Over to the One who destroys it.
And in those abandoned, hollow places that trials and adversity can create? Jesus filled them. He stood me up inside their walls. He took those spaces and decorated them with Grace and comfort. And placed a light that illuminated the shadows.
So I am grateful for the glacier. The polar sky. The desert. Because it reminded me that our God is ever-present. Ever-loving. Ever- providing. Ever-good.
And He created in the depths of my soul:
That bluest flower.
That gleaming star.
That sweet water.
If your heaped on the floor like a big mess... if your relying on yourself solely to get through a difficult time.... I understand. I have been there.
But your not alone. And Jesus will meet you in that mess if you let Him. He is waiting for you to lean on Him. It's never too late. The glacier may not be moving, but you my friend, are just at the beginning of being that bluest, most beautiful flower.
Start to bloom.
Bloom in those trials and abandoned places!
If you would like to read more mini devotionals click on Mini Mondays or follow me on Instagram!
I am so glad you are to join me for another Morning with Jesus!
This week I am sharing one of my favorite hot chocolate recipes-Salted Caramel. Just as good? The promise we are given in Luke 6:21! This one has brought me great comfort and I hope the promise and this mini devotional do the same for you.
So go make that cup of hot chocolate, and then sit back with a warm blanket and spend some time with Jesus! Happy sipping!
"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh."
Doesn't this promise just speak to your heart?
We can be hungry for so many things other that just food to fill our bellies.
So, whether your physically hungry, emotionally hungry, or spiritually hungry-this promise is for YOU! We are promised to be satisfied! This isn't a promise that says we will be given whatever we want, rather we will be given what we need.
There is a popular quote that I see floating around quite a bit and it goes something like this: There is only ONE who can satisfy the human heart...the ONE who made it."
Jesus is the bread of life.
He is the satisfier of human hearts.
If you hunger for love, He will love you.
If you hunger for peace, He will give you peace.
If you hunger for purpose, He has a purpose for you.
If you hunger to stop weeping...He promises laughter.
Whatever the base need is for what you are hungry for, Jesus will fill it if you ask Him to!
Read on for this week's Hot Chocolate Recipe: Salted Caramel.
(Simple one cup serving)
1 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2%)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
pinch of brown sugar
2 caramel squares
hot chocolate mix of your choice
mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
whip cream (optional)
caramel topping (optional)
1.Make your standard hot chocolate with you choice type of milk as you normally would do (stovetop or in the microwave) but add the following: sugars, mini chocolate chips if desired, salt, and two caramels if microwaving and 1 caramel if making on the stove.
2. Mix well, caramels in microwave will not melt completely.
3. Top with whip cream and caramel topping if desired.
4. Sip and enjoy!!
I can't wait to share with the next couple Mornings With Jesus! They are some of my favorites as well!
Wife. Mother. Writer. Photographer. Child of God. Encouraging others in faith through a lens of grace and seeing beauty in the ashes.
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