Monday, October 1, 2012


iPray eVotionals

The gun sounds as the race begins. iPray eVotionals exhorts the runners on the path of a prayerful lifestyle.  It's the glass of water held out around each month's turn.  It's for the runner who can use a quick and easy quench in order to finish strong.  

(Approximate reading time: 9 Minutes) 
iFollow who?

When I say iFollow am I referring to what I do on Twitter?  Am I talking about what I do with the directions that came with my Ikea shelves?  Am I explaining what I did on the hiking trail behind my home?  Maybe it's what I'm doing when I'm really trying to pay attention to a speaker's message.  Are you following me?

This world offers so many opportunities to follow, but are they really just opportunities to fumble around in the darkness?  Jesus offers us an opportunity to follow too.  

John 8:2

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, "I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life."

As a Christian I am saying that iFollow Jesus Christ.

iFollow the Leader

We all love to play games and few are more universal than Follow the Leader.  We have all played it as kids and as adults we are still playing variations of this classic game.  We see something we like or admire and we follow!  The rules are simple, but no two games are the same.  1. Assign a leader and several followers.  2. The leader starts to do anything that he or she wants.  3. The rest of the players follow, doing exactly what the leader does.  Anyone who doesn't follow exactly is out.  4. When there is only one follower left the game is over and he or she becomes the new leader.  It goes on and on and on and on.

Hmm, following someone that is doing whatever they want seems a little like fumbling around in the dark!  Furthermore, the game never ends.

I'd rather follow with a purpose.

Sometimes, when my husband and I take separate cars to an event I end up following him home afterwards.  He usually rolls down his window and says, "Follow me."

I have to keep my eyes on him, stay close in proximity, watch what lane he is in and not let too many cars get between us.  I look for his signals and merge with him.  My husband keeps an eye on me as well, slowing if need be and putting signals on early.  Both of us are driving with an awareness of each other.  Both of us are making decisions that helps us stay together.  If either of us gets distracted or daydreams, then we can get separated.  Unlike Follow the Leader I'm not following just for the fun of it.  I'm following with a purpose to end up at home.

Following Jesus is not only fun like the universal game of Follow the Leader, but we follow with a purpose!  We follow Him until He calls us home.

 iFollow with reflection

When iFollow without reflection, my following is not so precise.

Take Wii for example; the universal gaming system that gets me up and moving.  Stick Michael Jackson's Just Dance in the system and I am ready to rock it!  The dance guides pump me up and as I follow the lead my score increases.  I even break a sweat and seem to periodically break the high score as well.  Oh yeah!

The other day I was really rocking it when all of a sudden my son and daughter started bursting out in laughter.

"What?"  I said as I bounced up and down with separated legs and my arms grooving to the beat.

Between giggles my son told me what, "You look like a gorilla!"

"A gorilla?!?"  I exclaimed.  Looking down at the way I was moving I realized that yes, I looked like a dancing gorilla.  I might as well have added a deep, "ooh ooh, aww aww, ooh ooh, (scream!)" because I was for sure doing the gorilla dance.

Those guides make it look so easy.  But the TV screen is not a mirror.  As I follow I can't see if I'm really doing it right.  My big time scoring does not reflect how well I'm really following. 

I remember a better system from my ballet days as a child.  We danced in front of mirrors!  The mirror helped us correct missteps and awkward angles.  The dance teacher showed us how to do the moves and after watching her we watched our own image copy hers.

Following without reflection leads to dancing like a gorilla.  To reflect is to copy, echo, imitate, match, mirror, revert and shine.  If I claim to be a follower of Christ Jesus then I should be reflecting His attributes.  His goodness, kindness, love and humility.  His patience, understanding, honesty and gentleness.

First we look to our teacher and our guide and then look at our reflection to make sure it matches.  If I look at Jesus as though I'm looking at a TV screen then I can't see myself.  Jesus wants us to be aware of what kind of reflection we are giving off.

Luke 6:40
"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher."

Jesus is our teacher.  Every move is perfect.  Every word is true.  So perfect.  As I try to get the high score on this Christian dance sometimes I look over to find funny looks and giggles.  I guess that would be my imperfect reflection of perfection.  I may be getting points for effort, but if I keep making the same missteps then I'm probably not seeing the adjustments that need to be made.  Like ballet class, I should be looking at Jesus and then taking a good look in the mirror.

Ephesians 5:1-2
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

I'm sure I'm not the first or last Christian gorilla that has walked the earth.  A mirror reveals if I'm trying too hard or not trying hard enough; bouncing off beat or swinging my arms a bit too much.  As I reflect on God's word and reflect on how I am doing I become a little more precise and an increasingly better reflection.  More humble in moments of fame.  More patient in moments of frustration.  More kind in moments of strife.

iFollow without hesitation

It's amazing how dogs know their masters.  They have an unfaltering respect and a constant desire to please.

Our family rescued a cocker spaniel a few years back from the pound.  Yoshi is a perfect fit for our family.  He welcomes daily rubs, treats, walks and play time.  It didn't take long for Yoshi to choose who he was going to follow.  He is my home-shadow.  Everywhere I go he follows.  It's like he has a keen awareness of every move I'm about to make.  Most of my movements have nothing to do with him but without missing a beat if I'm up he is too.  He has a spot to lay down in every corner of the house depending on where I am.  He watches every movement I make and anticipates where I am headed.  Even when Yoshi is asleep, it's like part of his consciousness is awake and knows when I am on the move.  Because of this, Yoshi does not miss a thing.  He is always ready to take a walk, receive a meal and catch a ball.

"Every move I make I make in You You make me move Jesus
Every breath I take I breathe in You
Every step I take I take in You
You are my way Jesus
Every breath I take I breathe in You
Waves of mercy, Waves of grace
Everywhere I look, I see your face
Your love has captured me
Oh my God, This Love
How can it be?"
-David Ruis

Do iFollow like that?  Do my thoughts focus on my master all the time?  When I sense movement, do I get up quickly?  Do iFollow with a keen awareness, with an unfaltering respect and a constant desire to please?

iFollow into the unknown

Have you ever jumped off of a high dive?  Do you remember the first time you stood on the edge of the board, looking down at the pool?  I remember!  In fact, my experience was a lot like Missy's, a little girl I like to write about.  Click the link to find out just how that first jump went:  

High Dive
(Extra 5 minutes)

There have been several times that I have had to stand at a high place and look down at the unknown.  With no way to turn around and no other option but to jump.
"Follow me."

Questions have swirled around in my head, fighting for my emotions.
"Come, Follow me."

I have had to close my eyes, trust that God is in control and just jump.
"Come, follow me," Jesus said.

Following Jesus' lead into the unknown can be scary.

Mark 1:17
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

In my opinion there is no greater example of following into the unknown than that of the disciples following Jesus.  (Matthew 4:18-25)  They had jobs and families and yet dropped everything to follow Jesus into a ministry that held the exhilaration of miracles, healings, revelations and teachings that opened their eyes to truth.  There were also lessons that challenged, stretched and changed them.  Not to mention the unimaginable twists and turns of Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection which first evoked fear and despair but then hope and joy.  Boy did they have a story to tell!!!  (Read the story first hand in Matthew 10, 14, 17, 18, 24, 26, 27 & 28)

I'll never forget the high dive of August 22, 2004.  After the stressful labor and deliver of my son I sat in a hospital bed with a split pelvic bone, without the use of my legs and with a son in the NICU.

I stood on the edge looking down at the pool.  How was I going to take care of my 18 month old daughter as well as a newborn from a wheelchair?  My legs were not working, were they ever going to work again?  What on earth just happened?
I remember one morning very clearly.  I was awake before the mayhem of constant doctors, updates and x-rays was to begin for the day.  The hospital room was quite.

"Come, follow me."
I felt God's peace come over me and I knew that no matter what I was about to go through that it was going to be OK because God was in control and by my side. 

I took in a deep breath.  "This is the air I breath.  Your Holy Spirit, living in me."  With the words to the song that had been running through my head during my pregnancy it was time to jump.  So I did.
I could have never guessed the challenges.  Bound to a wheelchair for months.  One and a half years to walk at a normal pace again.  Five years enduring constant and relentless back pain.
I also could have never guessed the blessings.  Being still with my son because there was no place we had to be.  Choosing Joy by racing around the house in a wheelchair with my daughter on my lap cheering me on.  Tasting the sweetness of my husbands loving sacrifice of caring for the kids as well as for me.  Accepting gifts from friends and family when they brought meals to our home, cleaned the house and helped me get from point A to point B.  The beauty of our family becoming a team.  Entrusting my life and my future into God's hands.  Living in His promises.

I have a story to tell and every time I do Jesus' promise in Mark 1:17 comes to fruition:
"Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men."

iPray 2 Follow

Dear Lord, 

iPray... that as we follow we will remember that You are the leader, to keep an eye on our reflection, move quickly without hesitation and just jump when the future is unknown. 

In Jesus Name, Amen!

Matthew 6:20
"Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

All for HIM

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