The Call of a Disciple

So I actually wrote this back in April, when we were living in Texas and going to language school. In a lot of ways, our life was pretty different then. But this idea of saying “yes” to Jesus – no matter what – is a daily choice, not a once-and-done issue.

Being a follower of Jesus looks different for each one of us. This is just a tiny piece of my journey.

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Honestly, I was pitying myself. Not throwing a big pity party, but definitely feeling bad for myself and for our family.

A brand new nephew had just been born and we were all absolutely delighted! We’d been looking forward to this day for so long! A cousin for our children, a new baby in the family; what could possibly be more exciting?!

But we’re so far away. And that morning we felt very, very far away. In fact, Pennsylvania had never seemed so far away before, and I felt weepy and homesick. All I really wanted to do was sit in Claudia’s living room and hear her story and snuggle little Canon; I wanted my kiddos to meet their new cousin and get to know him; we’re family after all, and families belong together, right? I thought to myself how wonderful it would be to be able to lead my little clan up the long flight of stairs to Claudia’s house to drop off a cute little package and some fresh homemade food.

My mind was spinning with questions… What are we doing, trying to live so far away from our friends and family? What were we thinking, anyway? Who in their right mind would do this? It’s not fair that everyone else gets to be together and we’re so far away. This is too hard! I wiped the occasional tear as my mind continued to spin.

And then there was chapel, and I don’t know if anyone else heard anything that morning, but I know that God knew exactly what I needed to hear right then.

“Are you ready to give up your life?” asked the speaker.

Have you renounced your own life to follow Jesus? Have you responded to His call to give up everything and follow Him? Do you really understand all that Jesus is asking when He calls your name and says, “Follow me.”?

The preacher was speaking from the passage in the Gospels where Jesus repeatedly asks Peter, “Do you love me?” In reading the story, you begin to feel a bit of frustration from Peter: “Jesus, you know that I love you, so why do you keep asking?”

It’s a question that begs asking in our lives too: “Do I love Jesus?”

Well of course we say that we love Him, but I mean do we really, truly love Him, and do our lives bear evidence of a deep, profound love?

The message that morning brought a sharp sting of conviction to me. How can I say that I deeply, truly love Jesus and not be willing to abandon my personal comforts and wishes to follow Him?

So as I sat there in chapel, God and I had this little conversation, with me again trying to sort out my thoughts… But Jesus, what if I’d rather live a more comfortable life? What if I’m just not into this whole “deny yourself” business after all? He immediately brought this verse to my mind: “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide.” (John 15:16, ESV)

Oh, so you mean it’s not really up to me?

Well, do you want to be my disciple or not?

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

You know as well as I do that Jesus doesn’t force anyone to follow Him; that’s a choice He gives to each one of us. But when we say “yes” and choose to follow Him, we’re saying yes to His plans for us, whatever they may be. Being a Christian isn’t just about “getting saved,” it’s about giving up everything that we have been, are, or ever will be in exchange for everything that God is.

Have you completely surrendered every single little aspect of your life to Jesus, or are there areas where you’re still holding back?

Jesus said this to His disciples, and it’s still true today:

Luke 14:26, 27, 33 (ESV) –  26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Those are pretty strong words. I don’t see a lot of space in there for “come be my disciple, but you can still live your own life however you wish…” No, Jesus lays it out clearly: If you want to be my disciple, you have to give up everything. If you’re not ready to give up everything, you can’t be my disciple.

We look at other people around us and try so hard to justify ourselves: But Jesus, what about him? What are you asking him to give up? But that’s really none of our business; Jesus is saying to you and I, “Follow me.” Each and every one of us need to respond personally to His call. Yes, He calls everyone, but he’s looking for individual responses from each and every one of us.

I still wish every day that I could hold little Canon, and there’s nothing fun about missing out on my mom’s birthday party or my friend’s wedding.

I don’t imagine it’s ever going to be truly easy.

But Jesus has asked me to give up all that I am and all that I have in exchange for all that He is. In simple words, His call to each one of us is this: “What you have, leave it. What I have, take it.”

I love the response of Peter, James and John when Jesus called them to follow him: “And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed Him.” (Luke 5:11)

What will you do with the call of Jesus? How are you going to respond?

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We finally got to meet sweet Canon when Chris & Claudia came to visit us just a few weeks ago. It was wonderful. 🙂

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Happy Valentines Day!

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This is going to be short and sweet. But if you want something really good to read, I highly recommend this article on Valentines Day and purity, and Francis and Lisa Chan’s book, You and Me Forever, available as an audio book at a really good price here. And of course if you’d rather read it yourself, you can buy a copy on Amazon or elsewhere.

Both the book and the article will be very worth your time.

 

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Happy Valentines Day from the Beiler family!

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A Birthday Worth Celebrating

Justin’s life hasn’t always been celebrated. His life has been anything but easy. But his story is one of unfolding redemption, the transforming power of Jesus, and the Christ-like love of a family I, too have come to love.

From a childhood full of pain and abandonment, Justin was adopted into a home where God’s love reigns. Henry and Judy weren’t planning on adopting anyone, but when Justin needed a home, they knew they couldn’t say no. They have a heart for missions, and when this need arose, Henry’s response was, “How can we expect to be missionaries anywhere else if we can’t be right in our own home?” So in a matter of just a few days, Justin had a home where he really belongs; a home where he truly is loved.

It’s really beautiful.

We met Justin and his family just several months ago, but they quickly became like family to us, and now that the time has come to say goodbye, it feels like we’ve known them forever! But we’re not here to talk about goodbyes. This is a sneak-peak of Justin’s long-anticipated birthday party. And let me tell you, it was a jolly good celebration. 🙂

Pictures tell the story better than I can…

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It doesn’t take much to get him super-excited! 🙂

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His dear mother prepared a feast for the guests.

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There was cake…

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IMG_7754…And then there were presents…

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IMAGES18And I think mother may have enjoyed the gift-opening as much as son! Honestly, it was priceless – the joy on her face showed so much love.

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IMAGES12The kids enjoyed the party, too. 🙂

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Henry and Judy, you have quickly become some of our heroes. We love you guys!

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Matt & Brandi’s Wedding

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Matt and Brandi were married on a perfectly beautiful day in September… this is the story of their wedding day in pictures.

I am ever-so-thankful to my wonderful sister-in-law Claudia Beiler for her assistance in capturing these images.

 

The beautiful bride

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Brandi has been a dear friend of mine for several years, and it’s so fun to now have her as a cousin, too! She is such a beautiful, godly woman.Image

Matt and Brandi couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day for their wedding. The ceremony was held outdoors in the sunshine.

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And then there was the breakfast-reception in the barn…

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The bride and her lovely ladies…

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The Groom and his men…

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“Oh, to be married to the one you do love, and love most tenderly and devotedly…
that is bliss beyond the power of words to express or imagination to conceive.”

-Hudson Taylor

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December 30, 2013 · 7:00 am

The Ladies of Honey Brook Christian Academy

 

 

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Jonathan & Rachel’s Wedding

She’s always been “Aunt Rachel”… not only to me, but even to plenty of people who aren’t even related. She’s just that kind of person… Sort of everybody’s Grandma.

One of the beautiful things that has always stood out to me about Aunt Rachel is her love for Jesus. I remember her talking often about Him as her Lover… her Husband. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who noticed. A few days before her wedding, someone asked her what she’s going to do with two husbands! I liked that.

Aunt Rachel, thank you for being such a great example for me of a woman who loves her Jesus. That–your deep, deep love for your heavenly husband–is exactly what’s going to enable to be a wonderful wife for Jonathan. I’m thrilled to see you so happily wed.

And now, without further ado… some pictures of the lovely wedding day…

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A Weekend in a Campground

Today I am thankful for…

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…My wonderful husband and the fun little camping trip he planned for our family #firstfamilyvacation! yay!

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…this spunky little lady

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…and her big bro

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…and the way they love each other

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… AND can’t forget happy little campers who are content to spend half their time in baby swings carefully hung by daddy 🙂

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…this guy (he’s practically family :)) and all his helpful wood-collecting, water-fetching and baby-bouncing

 

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…and so much more!

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In answer to the question I’m often asked, YES, my hands are full!….. full of blessings 🙂

 

We serve a good God.

 

 

 

 

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