Walking in Closeness

Summer is here and more people are out walking in our neighborhood. Families, couples and friends talk with each other while jogging or taking a walk. My husband and I walk on Saturday mornings and talk about the week, what God is teaching us, what we are reading in His word and current news. It just comes natural as we walk with each other.

I also take my daily “walks” with Jesus. It may be in the morning or evening, or all throughout the day. It should be natural to communicate and talk with each other as I abide in Him and He abides in me. I share with Him my thanks, my concerns, talk to him about my family and friends and also spend time listening to Him as He uses His words to speak to me. Sometimes it means rejoicing and praising and other times I can share my fears and concerns with Him.

When Jesus returned from the grave to earth, he appeared to two disciples and walked with them on the road to Emmaus.

While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him. And he said to them, ‘What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?’ “(Luke 24:14-17)

Not recognizing Jesus, they talked about the crucifixion and Jesus listened. In their sadness and confusion, they explained what they saw and told him that some women had seen the empty tomb that very morning; his body was gone. Jesus listened and then explained to them the meaning, “’Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into His glory?’ And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:26-27)

Arriving at their destination, they asked Jesus to come stay with them. He stayed and while blessing the food these disciples recognized him! “And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, ‘Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?’ ” (Luke 24:31-32)

Abiding with Jesus is closeness, a heart communication with each other. Jesus wants us to abide, to walk with Him daily. He wants to listen and has so much wisdom and insight to share with His followers like the disciples on the road to Emmaus. Am I walking so closely to Jesus that I recognize him in my life? Do I listen to Him as He speaks His words to me? Is my heart burning within me because I have been with Him? Do I feel comfortable in His presence and then invite Him into my home, into my life?

He is waiting for a walk. If you know Him will you take a walk with Him today? He loves to listen and talk to you. I would enjoy hearing what He is saying to you.

 

prayer group at mountain house

Walking with my prayer group in the mountains

 

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Self-Controlled Choices

blog - World Cup

Talented and trained soccer athletes have descended on Sao Paulo, Brazil this week to participate in the 2014 World Cup. These individuals have spent time and money in training their bodies and minds for one purpose – to win. Like all athletes, they know the importance of self-control in order to become the best at what they do. Many people look up to these athletes but don’t realize the sacrifices they have made and the physical pain they suffer to train their bodies.

Being self-controlled shows itself in choices. Athletes make choices about how much time they spend in physical training, who trains them, what to eat or not eat, and mentally training their minds to know the sport and think about winning. Athletes that win are self-controlled and disciplined. They sacrifice what others would not in order to gain a reward.

As a follower of Jesus, my goal and desire is to know Him, to abide with Him, and to glorify God, the Father. Jesus said, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.” (John 15:8). Abiding with Jesus and bringing glory to God has eternal rewards. The writer of Hebrews said, “…for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Even Moses chose to follow God and His people for an eternal purpose, “He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” (Hebrews 11:26)

Living in this world I can be constantly sidetracked by things around me that distract from the goal, the eternal rewards of knowing Jesus. I have to be determined and focused like an athlete who wants to win the prize. I must have self-control in all my daily choices and ask Jesus to give me the strength to say “no” to things that will distract me or say “yes” to things that will lead me to an eternal reward.

Paul knew that self-control was crucial to following Jesus and the eternal reward it would bring. Paul’s life choices made him qualified, like an athlete, to be an example of Jesus as he preached to others. He wrote:

“Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

As I abide with Jesus, He gives me the strength to have self-control in my daily choices. I will have to make daily choices to spend time with Him, listening and praying and reading His Word. I will have to make choices about what I put in my mind, what I read and look at that influence my speech and writing. I will have to make choices about how I use the resources God has entrusted to me – my finances and possessions. I have many choices in my training today.

How about you? Are you ready to make self-controlled choices in your daily training to receive the reward?  Take some time to watch this and let me know what you think.

Faithful to Follow

Today, people around the world are remembering the brave men- soldiers, airmen and sailors, from World War II who stormed the beaches and flew into occupied France on D-Day 70 years ago. These united forces were brave and devoted in their fight to save the world from an evil tyrant. They were faithful to their commanders and to their orders no matter what their roles were on that infamous day. Every man’s job was crucial as they worked together as a team, fighting alongside each other. More than 9,000 allied forces were killed or wounded on that day because of their faithfulness to their leaders.

 

My own father was there on D-Day. Leaving behind a widowed mother and a handicapped brother whom he had to financially support, he wanted to serve his country. He was a radio operator for the 439th Troop Carrier Group serving at their base headquarters in England on D-Day. My dad was sending and receiving coded messages as the pilots flew troops over to France. At age 92, he still talks about being ready at any moment on that day to fly over on one of the planes as a radio operator if ordered to do so.

 

We honor such faithfulness – maybe because we don’t see this in many people today. We live in a culture that says, “Do what you want”, “It’s all about me”, “I don’t need to follow commands”. As a follower of Jesus I choose to follow Him and His commands for my life. He is my example. Jesus was faithful to obey God, His Father’s orders for his life which meant ultimate sacrifice to save the whole world.

 
“For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.” John 6:38
“I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” John 14:31

 
If I abide with Jesus and He abides in me I will bear the fruit of faithfulness to Him. Jesus showed his love for His Father, by obeying His commands. As a follower of Jesus I am to be faithful to obey His commands. My faithful obedience to my Lord and commander shows others how much I love Him. Jesus made it clear, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15

 
I can trust that His commands are good for me. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5:3 Jesus promises to be faithful to give us the strength and power through His Spirit to obey His commands. “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

 

Like a soldier am I faithful to obey orders, faithful to God? Is Jesus my Lord who I would not want to disappoint but devote myself to serve? Am I brave like the D-day soldiers accepting that I may suffer or even die for my faith? Or do I desire my own will and sometimes want to desert my post where He has placed me? What do you think about D-Day and being faithful?

Yvonne and Daddy at Alabama

My father, a World War II – D Day veteran was faithful to serve!