Simple Discipleship, [Understanding]

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Each of us who are broken believers will take the following steps. This is simple discipleship. These four will be at the root of everything we do. Our mental illness may influence this walk, but it can’t derail the process. Because it is a supernatural one, everyone starts at the same spot— whether we’ve an illness or not. Each of us must take these four steps and engage them:

  1. Come to Me

  2. Learn of Me

  3. Follow Me

  4. Remain in Me

Disciples will build their lives on these. They are solidly basic but extrapolated out into different unique variations. Each one will be uniquely yours.


COME TO ME:

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28, ESV

The source is Jesus, and his presence is sought. Our heavy issues are relieved by his nearness.

 

LEARN OF ME:

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

Jesus shares his yoke with every disciple. We are to learn at his feet, and it’s there we learn of his humility. Rest is your evidence of his proximity.

 

FOLLOW ME:

 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24

A cross awaits every disciple. Self-denial is critical for every believing disciple. Jesus will show us how it’s to be done.

 

REMAIN IN ME:

“Remain [abide] in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

This involves drawing and extracting life from him. We are a branch that pulls its life essence from its core, he is our vitality and our strength.

“Whatsoever one would understand what he hears must hasten to put into practice what he has heard.” –Gregory the Great

 

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Welcome He Who Limps

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Pray don’t find fault with the man who limps

Or stumbles along the road

Unless you have worn the shoes that hurt

Or struggled beneath his load

 

There may be tacks in his shoes that hurt,

Though hidden away from view

Or the burden he bears, placed on your back,

Might cause you to stumble, too.

 

Don’t sneer at the man who’s down today

Unless you have felt the blow

That caused his fall, or felt the same

That only the fallen know.

 

You may be strong, but still the blows

That were his, if dealt to you

In the self same way at the self same time,

Might cause you to stagger, too.

 

Don’t be too harsh with the man who sins

Or pelt him with words or stones,

Unless you are sure, yea, doubly sure,

That you have no sins of your own.

 

For you know perhaps, if the tempters voice

Should whisper as soft to you

As it did to him when he went astray,

‘Twould cause you to falter, too.

 

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Poem written by an unknown author. But God knows and we’ll rest in that.

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Life in the Desert, [Grace]

download (2)Lord I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I’d have come running with a bucket.”

 -Nancy Spiegelberg

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.

Isaiah 55:1-2, ESV

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Despair and despondency will often drive us to extremes, we are compelled to find some kind of help– and we’ll take it wherever.  But as human beings we seldom exercise any kind of discernment.  Rarely do we ever consider to whom, or at what we are looking to. We often just want relief from the pain.

It really seems we are drawing from poisoned wells, but we unable to discern what we will receive.  We come with our tin cup, and will stand in line to accept a meager couple of swallows.  Experience has taught us not to get our hopes up too high.  After all, the next well will probably be dry.

In contrast, the Spirit of God is a cool, and lush oasis.  There is an abundance of fresh water for all who find him.  Everything is green, and it is a bit overwhelming to us who have struggled so long, with so little.  It seems like we’ve been transported to another world.

But this is what God’s grace and love is like.  We’ve searched and scavenged for so long.  We have become jaded and cynical by our meager success.  Disillusioned by all that life has offered us, we can barely look up to this next possibility.  It just seems to be to good to be true, and we don’t want to be taken in again. But know this:

  1. Grace is a wonder.
  2. God Himself is the only One who can satisfy you.

His very character is life-giving and refreshing.  He constantly gushes up fresh, sweet water.  It is there for us, and he assumes that we will draw on it.  Some of us take a lot of it, but some who are hesitant to stretch out their battered tin cups. They receive what they think they just might deserve (or somehow get away with.)

The wonder of it is that God considers himself to be the exclusive source of “water that refreshes.”  There are some who will ‘point and shout.’  Some claim, “exclusiveness!”  They consider all those who come to the real fount, to be manipulated into coming. But that is seldom the case.

God and His grace is unchanged.  There are no tickets to punch, and we can’t generate enough of any kind of righteousness that lets us draw from the well.  But the well is a gift– not a reward.  It is free, and never a reward for good behavior.  We all must come to the water, crippled and thirsty, or we will never come at all.

Dear one, rest in this place of refreshment.  Drink your fill.  Grace is extravagant, and you can fill your belly.  Throw away that battered cup, and get a pail. His presence is all our heart is looking for.

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