Growing up, one of my favorite games was Follow the Leader. Looking back it was a flash of time that was mysterious yet amusing all at once. Mysterious because it was beyond the "followers" power to know what came next and it was amusing because none of us could think of a better place we would rather be. We loved not knowing where the leader would take us but tried to figure it out anyway. We loved taking a turn at being the leader as much as we did being the follower. And we loved trying our best to succeed at whatever obstacles and challenges we would tackle whether we were the leader or the follower
I remember moments and hours of anticipation at every obstacle with small giggles that turned into full bursts of laughter, completely enjoying every aspect of the game whether it was played inside or outside. The game became more intense when our group of cousins and childhood friends would "triple dog dare" everyone to play in the dark house with all the lights turned off. Groping around trying to guess by sounds and slight, very slight vision what the leader's next step would be. What were we thinking!?! Well, we all survived that game without any injuries thank the good Lord!
The Webster dictionary definition of the word follow includes descriptions such as:
-To carry through (as a process) to completion
-To come after in time
- To go after or on the track of
- To act according to the commands of
Andrew and Peter were quite fond of Follow the Leader also. They were just hanging out,
doing their own thing when the great Leader of all walked by. They heard Him speak and began to follow Him.
"Again the next day John was standing with two of his disciple and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!"  The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. John 1:35-37
This began their three year long journey of Follow the Leader. They clung to Jesus, learning the details of following as they listened to Him.
In the Greek, the original language of the New Testament, the definition of follow or following is the word ä-ko-lü-the'-ō, which means:
-To follow one who proceeds, join him as his attendant, accompany him
-To join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple
"Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?" He said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour." John 1:38-39
The Greek definition for the word come is e'r-kho-mī, which means:
-To come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence
-Be established, become known, to come (fall) into or unto
-To go, to follow one
You see, Jesus was quite found of Follow the Leader also. He being Leader and supreme authority of all, desires that all will follow Him.
What will be your choice? Will you Follow the great Leader of all time?
Accept His invitation when He says Come.
And when you do come, you will see and not be disappointed.
© Copyright 2011 Simone Lake.  All Rights Reserved


Response to Suffering

Suffering comes in all phases, levels and extremities.

Look around the world, your loved ones and the daily news for the evidence.

It reaches beyond and touches every ethnicity, culture, gender and age.

It involves every one of our emotions.

It affects our mind, heart and soul.

It rocks our nerve system, offering shaking and shuttering.

And it will leave lasting scars for a lifetime of continual intense pulses of pain.

No one living on this earth will escape it.

We cannot hide from the violence it brings, carving away at our inward parts.

No matter what area of ministry I am involved with, one of the common denominators

of the people I meet are the various kinds of suffering endured in their life time.

Everyone has a story. Everyone has their battle wounds to show, whether visible or invisible.

There is no need to rank the areas of suffering.

We have all been through some type although each occurrence may be categorized in various measures.

Some people endure unbelievable circumstances that bring wonderment to those on the outskirts watching.

Other people endure the daily simplicities of life, hidden for all to see.  Sacred and secret from outsiders eyes.

Both pain is equally intense.

Each fresh experience brings new elements of detail; however, the pain is still the same. 

The healing of the wound is a lengthy ordeal, recovery time sluggish and full recovery lingers, teasing us along the way.

The question is not if we will suffer.  The question is what is your response when you suffer?

Responses to suffering include:
1)        Anger at God
2)       Absolute hopelessness
3)       Praise God

Consequences of these responses:
1)       Alienating the only One who can truly help
2)       Failing in seeing the true Hope that brings deliverance
3)       Joining with the angels (and all creation) in the glorious task of praise.

Which response and consequence will you select? 

One of my Biblical hero’s includes Apostle Paul.   As he shares his qualifications and evidence as an apostle with the saints at Corinth, he also shares his path of suffering. How is it that a man can endure five separate times of getting his back beaten 40 lashes each time (minus one) and come through those experiences closer to God than ever before?

So for a grand total, his back would have been lashed 195 to 200 times. He was stoned once and left for dead but did not die and shipwrecked three times. This is just a small portion of his resume of suffering for Christ.  Towards the end of his life, he was put in prison.  The thing that stands out the most about Paul, are the specific things he writes in the New Testament letters.  To all the various saints and churches not once does he regurgitate his trials, share details of his wounds, or lamentations of  each experiential woe, but instead, he heaps on encouragement after encouragement towards his audience and leads them to place of constant focus on Christ regardless of the circumstance.

This is amazing! How does one get to that place?  Especially with all the things he endured.

That is my quest and one of my greatest desires, to train my heart, soul, mind and body in the fine art of focus and praise to a holy and majestic God. 

So when I am in a place of suffering:
1)       My focus will hopefully not be on the thoughts of pain that can reinjure over and over again.
But instead, praises will be on my lips refreshing me over and over again on His goodness.

2)       My focus will be on a holy task that drowns out the throbbing pulses and instead be replaced with repeated
gazes and glimpses upon the Triune God.

3)       My focus will not be on me because this body will fade away but instead I want to focus on the glorious inheritance that awaits…not to mention the house I always wanted.

So I invite you to join me in ordering our flesh to do these very same things that we were created to do.  Glorify the Lord in EVERYTHING.

Scripture Text:  II Corinthians 11: 23-33

© copyright 2011 Simone Lake.  All rights reserved