Come With Me




What would it have been like if Jesus had walked up to you and said, “Come with me”?



When Jesus called His disciples, He did just that. He didn’t give them a syllabus of what that would mean. He didn’t give them a timeline or much information at all. Even so, they followed Him.



What would that have been like? You would leave your occupation, your family, your way of life, and all you knew placing your trust in this Jesus of Nazareth.


Suzanne Eller gives her readers an invitation to walk into that story in her new book, Come with Me. Chapter by chapter you gain new glimpses and insights of what such a journey would have been like for each of the disciples we have read about throughout the gospels.


Through her eyes, we gain a more personal glimpse of what it means to be a disciple and move more deeply into such a walk with Jesus. We gain new insight about what it means to say, “yes” to His question just because He asks and how our response opens our heart to the miracle of walking with Him.


Suzanne reminds us early in our journey with her of key understanding she hopes we will gain:


“Our encounters with Jesus as his disciple become less about the end destination and more about the invitation to trust him, wherever that leads, whatever he asks us to do. For Jesus meets us where we are with one plan in mind: to change us forever.”


When He calls you, you may be tempted to look around to see if He is talking to someone else. Who, me? We may feel we have the least to offer. Whatever we have been, our great sense of inadequacy, all come front and center into our thoughts.


Suzanne reminds each one of us…


“Being chosen (and accepting that gift) leads to leaving, which leads to home. Not to a place or a job or a person, but into confidence that wherever you are and whatever season you are in, you are his.”


 Can you imagine what it would have been like to sit around the table with Jesus, watch Jesus touch the hearts and bodies of people leaving them changed forever? He chose the least likely when He chose those first 12. He didn’t choose the religious leaders of the day. Those who fellowshipped with Him were a different sort of disciple than we would likely see on a checklist of those most desirable.


As you move through the pages of this book, you won’t want to rush. There is a very real sense that this is a personal journey with you and Jesus, with Suzanne pointing out the path. You will sense an anointing as you hear Suzanne’s heart and sense Jesus in it. You will also gain a broader sense of what it means to be called by Him, to be His disciple.


Come with Me will be released on May 3, but you may want to preorder your own copy now. I was blessed to be able to read and review an advance reading copy provided by the author.




Who Do You Trust?


Edgar Bergen circa 1956 on Who Do You Trust?


When I was growing up one of the TV shows my parents often would watch was one called “Who Do You Trust?” It aired back in the late 1950’s for a brief time as a popular game show. The original host was Edgar Bergen, but he was later replaced by Johnny Carson.


Three couples would participate on the show. The host would interview them and then pose a question to the man and ask whether he trusted the woman to answer it accurately or whether he trusted himself to have the right answer.


Since the answer to the question was worth money and determined how long the couple would be able to play the game, it was crucial to think through who might be the one who knew the correct answer. This was made more difficult since the couples were not necessarily husband and wife.


It was fascinating to see the game unfold and how the person discerned who was the person who could be trusted to give the correct answer.


Even though it was simply a game, the truth is that the question seems to be far more commonplace today than it was when the show aired. Life seemed simpler back then or at least we believed it was. Hearing stories of deception would occur, but not at the speed of a text or a tweet.


Whether we are looking at labels in the grocery store or listening to ads on everything from cars and mortgages to cruise liners and automobiles or beyond, the flood of information often leaves us scratching our heads. I often hear the sentence, “You don’t know who to trust!” and in many instances that is true.


Lack of responsibility, reliability, and truth telling has resulted in most of us learning from experience to check out competitors before choosing a product or service. We have learned to get “second opinions” before accepting the first diagnosis or recommendation from medical personnel.


All this doubt creeps into our spiritual lives as well when Christian leaders express opinions or thoughts that appear contradictory with our understanding of scripture. Some are exposed after being caught in an indiscretion.


The enemy uses this context mightily to his advantage and our detriment.


He plants seeds of doubt about trustworthiness in the lives of some who have given us no reason to doubt them.


He can even cause us to doubt the Lord.


The prize is when he either convinces us we are totally trustworthy or totally untrustworthy in discerning the truth.


I think the key starting point is to look at the source of information, but even then we may not have all the information needed to be certain.


This has all gotten worse in recent months and shows no signs of improving. Why?


You guessed it! The political landscape of not only our nation, but every other nation on the earth seems to be tumbling into chaos. The result seems to include increasing conflict and division, fear and uncertainty, disheartenment and discouragement, and more.


Who do you trust?


Perhaps the message in all of this for those of us who are believers is to recognize that we are first and foremost citizens of another kingdom, a kingdom that supersedes all others past, present, and future. The “head” of that kingdom possesses all knowledge and wisdom, all power and authority, and is absolutely trustworthy while totally outside of our control.


His story in the Bible shows how He uses every nation to bring about His purposes and often to call His people back to Him. That isn’t always pretty. It is often not easy. Clearly His ways are often not ours and beyond our understanding.


The key question?


Do I trust Him?


As I have been considering this, my daily reading included Proverbs 16. The last verse of that chapter speaks volumes to this season of uncertainty.


In the ESV translation it reads as follows:


“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33


 Of course, we are not really using lots these days to make our decisions even though we know it was common in the stories in the Bible. That caused me to look at a modern rendering of the same verse.


“Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say.” Proverbs 16:33 The Message


Does that mean we adopt a “que sera, sera” response?


I don’t think so. I think we are still called to pray, to seek the Lord’s direction, to learn what we are able to learn.


But in the end, the answer to the question, “Who do you trust?” is not about any person, male or female.


The answer is whether or not I trust the One who knows everything including what may be secret or hidden from my view.


Who do I trust?


Rocky Mts., Alberta, Canada
Rocky Mts., Alberta, Canada







Hidden Message on the Climb


Temple Mt., Alberta, Canada

Of the places I most enjoy vacationing (and there are many), I most enjoy the mountains. I can enjoy the ocean as well, but there is something that impacts me when I am in the mountains and nurtures me in ways I cannot totally describe.


In the course of our marriage, my husband and I have enjoyed adventuring into many parts of the continental United States and Canada.


On these treks we have walked and hiked the trails of the Longfellow Mountains, Green Mountains, Berkshire Mountains, Adirondack Mountains, Allegheny Mountains, Blue Ridge Mountains, and the Great Smokey Mountains in the eastern Appalachian Mountain Ranges.


In the Rocky Mountain western United States we have explored the Bighorn, Absaroka, San Juan, and Bitterroot ranges. Glacier National Park in northern Montana nudged us to look beyond the border into the ranges in Alberta and British Columbia. Ranges like Kootenay, Banff-Lake Louise, Kananaskis, and Assiniboine added to our wonder of God’s creation.


When we first began to explore the mountains, what most caught my attention were the breath-taking views from the areas near the tops of the mountains. Looking out over the expanse spoke to me of the greatness of God and His creation. Somehow the view always helped to put things into perspective for me and quieted the noise inside my heart and head.


The more we walked some of these trails and learned about the different trees, soils, and types of mountains we were seeing, the greater and broader the canvas became.


It was in our treks onto the trails of the northern Rocky Mountains of Montana and then those in Alberta and British Columbia that I began to discover treasures hidden nearer my feet.


No matter how rocky and steep the path and no matter how thin or sandy the soil, life was coming forth.

Wild Rose, Alberta, Canada

My eyes began to scour the edges of the trails at my feet for these less massive evidences of God’s creation.

Berries in Canadian Rockies

Here I discovered varieties of flowers and berries I had never seen before.


These smaller works of art spoke other messages hidden to hikers more eager to reach the summit.


IMG_0864What did I hear and see?


I heard Him reminding me that He can call forth life in places others might consider barren. He reminded me that He creates beauty in areas that can seem desolate.


God calls forth life in every corner of creation.


Sometimes it can be hidden. It can be hidden in the devastation left by a forest fire or a raging storm. It can be obscured from view because we are looking for grand displays rather than secret evidences of life.




Sometimes our eyes have simply grown dull from weariness, loss of hope, or a barrage of things that kill rather than bring forth in life.


In many ways, these small masterpieces are not unlike the parables Jesus told.




Jesus used parables to speak about God’s kingdom. Within these stories were hidden the mysteries of the kingdom so that only those who were sincerely seeking would find the kernel of truth.



Committed climbers and serious seekers uncover the deeper things He wants to share with us.


If we are such, then He longs to delight us and fill our hearts with hope as He shows us the undiscovered gems He has laid aside for us if we are looking for them.


These truths are also meant to remind us that even if our life has been stripped to seeming barrenness and devastation, the Lord is also calling forth life as well as beauty.


It can be easy to only see the wreckage, but I think He would invite us to look more carefully, more closely. When we do, our eyes will begin to adjust to see what we had missed.


We will discover life.


We will receive hope.


We will discover Him.


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The Committed Climbed


The Sea of Galilee


I love to read and the stacks of books on our shelves, beside my favorite chair, and on my nightstand attest to that. I often have friends ask me about what I have read lately as well because they seem to think I likely have found some goodie they might enjoy.


I have many favorite books and I do have a Kindle and iBook’s, but I confess to preferring the feel of a book in my hand (especially if the paper used to print it is nice). Even so, no book has the capacity to bring new discoveries each time I read it like the Bible does.


I am not sure how many times I have read through all of it, but even in my favorite or most familiar passages I often spy a new gem of discovery or recognition when I visit it again.


Today I was reading in Matthew 5. I have read it dozens upon dozens of times and still recall memorizing the beatitudes in Vacation Bible School as a child. In this chapter we find likely the most well known sermon ever preached anywhere. It is most commonly called “The Sermon on the Mount”.


I had never considered what “mount” this was and the Bible doesn’t say in this case.


In my research, I found that it is thought to be Mt. Eremos that is located on Galilee’s northwest shore between the cities of Gennesaret and Capernaum. Some also refer to this mount as the Horns of Hattin, a ridge running east and west not far from Capernaum. The exact spot is not clear, but for more than 1,500 years this area has been historically pointed to. If you were going to see this area today, it would be about three hours from Jerusalem by bus and once you arrived you would discover The Church of the Beatitudes there and have a wonderful view of the Sea of Galilee.


The descriptions suggest a broad plateau area that would have been well suited for those 5,000 who came to hear Jesus to spread out over the hills.


Prior to this pivotal message, Jesus had spent the night praying at its highest point and then chose from those who had been following Him, his twelve disciples. History says He moved a bit lower to a broad open area where the multitudes had gathered. From there, He began to teach.


Ken Gire points out in Moments with the Savior who this large group would have been comprised of.


The crowds were comprised largely of the outsiders. From Galilee came a lot of racially mixed, unorthodox Jews. From the Decapolis and settlements east of the Jordan River came a lot of Gentiles. Many in the crowds were those whom Jesus had healed. The diseased and infirm. The demonized and insane. The disabled and impoverished.”


These would not have been the pillars of their community or the honored in the temple. These were ones who had heard about a miracle-working man known as Jesus and they had come with hope and faith, however feeble.


They would not have come with provisions because they would not have had them. These were the discounted, the poor, and those unwanted by many.


But what is most significant perhaps was that these were the committed climbers who walked or limped to the bottom of the mount and then climbed to where they saw Jesus. There they sat, eager to hear, eyes fixed on Him. Nothing else mattered.


 Here they heard the essentials of Christianity, a character sketch of those who had entered the Kingdom or would do so.


They must have sat for hours in the sun without thought to anything save the words from Jesus, their food and drink, their hope and sustenance.


These were the committed climbers.


That gave me pause.


Am I a committed climber?










One More Thing

Wapta Falls, British Columbia, Canada

British Columbia, Canada


Before I leave you on this four-part series on rest, there is one more thing to understand that is vital to your own quest for rest.


You already know attaining it will not be easy and even practicing it will prove problematic just as practicing anything we are not good at usually is.


What is vital to understand?


The enemy does NOT want you to recognize rest is a gift nor does he want it to be operationalized in your life through practice.


To receive the gift of rest and practice to more fully reside in it is a threat to all he counts on where believers are concerned. He is very familiar with our weaknesses. He knew those potential weaknesses were there before the Garden of Eden and he has been studying human beings ever since. He knows what tempts any one of us, how to seduce us away from his long-time foe, and then pull us into frustration and condemnation.


The truth is:

   Dislodging the gift of rest from our awareness, our acceptance of it, and our practice of it are key elements of the enemy’s battle strategy against us.


 He has many weapons in his arsenal and he also knows which ones are most effective for each of us. What are some of these weapons?


They include, but are not limited to distractions of any and all kinds, ambitions run amok, worry, anxiety, fear, anger, self-pity, self-centeredness, jealousy, envy, loneliness, relationship issues, addictions, too many leisure pursuits, too few hobbies, laziness, the pursuit of wealth, over-involvement in the church, or excess fascination with worldly wisdom. These things and many others distract us from the Lord.


His enemy, our enemy, could not be more delighted with that. He doesn’t care whether we get overly involved with bad things or good things so long as it takes us away from resting in the Lord. Anything that pulls us away from the Lord is his ultimate goal because it is then that we become easy prey. He is so good at this strategy that often we do not even recognize he has set the trap for us in this area. That is especially true if the loss of rest comes from doing good things and involving ourselves in the work of the church.


Satan wants our time, our attention, and our worship. It has always been that way.


 That should not result in us scurrying around in exhausting battle positions. He can use that to seduce us into believing once again that we must achieve rest.


We will be more effective if we maintain our practice schedule of rest so that our focus does not waver and we are not upended.

Bow River, Alberta, Canada
Bow River, Alberta, Canada


Jesus’s earthly ministry was comparatively short. He knew it would be. Did we see Him rushing around, adding more healing services to his calendar, adding one more prayer meeting to His week, and trying to find space for an additional discipleship-training module? Of course not!


Jesus only did what the Father in heaven showed Him. He rested in Him, trusted Him without wavering. As a result, He often went off alone to rest and to commune with the Father. Other times, He hung out with friends whose company must have refreshed Him as well.


Jesus had been drawn into the wilderness for His testing. The enemy waited until He was exhausted and famished and then he offered his gifts of food, power, and position. He knew Jesus would be at his weakest humanly.


The enemy does the same thing with us.


More than 40 years ago a very wise little lady who had walked with the Lord for a very long time gave me a very good piece of council. It has been a tutor in my own quest for rest.


Here it is:


“The enemy will do one of two things. He will make you tired or busy.”


I love the way Jesus puts everything into perspective and points us to what we need to know about rest.


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Mt. 11:29-30 The Message

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Boom Lake, Alberta, Canada