Reaching Forward

Philippians 3:13, “… But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” (AMP)

You cannot see what God has for your future while hanging onto your past.  God is the future. As we await the dawning of a New Year, we reach forward towards the unknown–developing goals to propel us into the future and the better life we want for ourselves and our families.  Many of these goals reflect changes we want to make in our own behavior.  As this New Year’s Eve brings us closer to the beginning of a New Year, our determination gets stronger to carry out our goals.

After the newest of the New Year wears off, many of us will settle back into the same old habits and the new goals become nothing more than a fond and frustrating memory to be filed away.  We have all done it; reached for the future and the unknown but allowed Satan to pull us back into the familiar and limited.  Doubts about the future and our past failures all bloom on the horizon reminding us of our fears and futile efforts of the past.

To get to the next thing, God has for you, you must leave the old and familiar.  A perfect example of this can be found in Abraham (Genesis 12:1-9).  He left everything he was familiar with and traveled with his family to an unknown country.  Three years ago my family and I made a move from North Carolina to Florida.  We did not know where we would be spending the night, had no job awaiting us, and only knew one person who lived in Florida.  What we did know was that it was time to leave North Carolina.  Everything went smoothly during the over 800 mile drive, my daughter driving the moving truck and I drove the car.  We found a hotel upon arrival that accepted dogs (We have two small ones.) and soon we found a house to rent, my daughter found a job and we were settled within a month of our arrival.  Sometimes, I still look back at and am amazed at how God looked out for us and put things in place for my family.  Truly,  I believe and have experienced His love.  I feel as though I have been sheltered from the storm.

Staying with a situation or a person longer than you should instead of moving toward the new thing that God has for you keeps you from the destiny that God has designated for you.  Do you feel the Holy Spirit within you gently pushing you toward the unknown and God’s future for you?  Are you reaching, but holding back?  Let Go and Let God is an expression I heard many years ago, but it still rings true.  Abraham listened to the Lord when told to leave all he knew and ventured forth with courage and did not doubt.  silhouette-936721_640Proverbs 3:5, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”

Additional Scripture to help you move forward.

Psalms 62:8 “Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” (KJV)

Isaiah 43:18, ““Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past.  (AMP)

1 Peter, “casting all your cares [all your anxieties, all your worries, and all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares about you [with deepest affection, and watches over you very carefully]. (AMP)

I pray that Everyone’s New Year is Happy, Prosperous, and

you attain your goals for 2017.

Are you Listening?

This time of year children anticipate the arrival of Christmas, they are warned by their parents that they must be patient.  Their behavior magically improves because Santa only brings toys and gifts to the good boys and girls.

Christmas Eve is the only night they do not have to be coerced to go to bed.  They retire early, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Santa.  Parents have usually informed their little ones that Santa will only come if they go to bed and are quiet.  That is the only way they will be able to hear the hoofs of the reindeers when they arrival on the roof.  They, of course, fall to sleep in the quiet, dark room while impatiently awaiting the sounds of the hoofs on the roof.

As parents, we, of course, know the reality of the arrival of the gifts and toys, and feel blessed to be able to provide for our children.  There is nothing that can replace the look of surprise and wonder on the faces of our kids as they bound into the room in search of treasure.

We are God’s children he is happy to provide for us,  but it is our option whether we believe and accept the gift of his love and salvation.  He offers the gift not once a year, but if we accept it, He through the Holy Spirit, walks with us as we journey through life.  We, as believers, do not have to wait in a quiet, dark room for the still, quiet voice that guides.  We only have to listen and allow ourselves to be guided along the right path.  Yes, sometimes we stumble, but we are not forsaken, but are lifted up and set aright just as a small child is when they fall while trying to learn to walk.

Do you hear the still, quiet voice in your spirit gently guiding you.  Do you listen or ignore it entirely?  Some call it conscience some call it common sense.  I call it the Holy Spirit guiding me. I personally do not believe things happen in isolation nor do things happen by coincidence.  The more you let yourself be guided, the louder the voice will be as you are guided to a life that reflects the Spirit that is within you as a believer.

May we all strain and train our hearts and minds to follow the small, quiet voice and take the better path.

 

I ask again —  Are you Listening?

Passing the Baton

Comparing the Discipleship of Joshua and Timothypassing-the-baton

Moses was Joshua’s spiritual father and Paul was Timothy’s.  These great men passed on the baton to their spiritual children so that God’s mission to lead the children of Israel to the Promised Land and spread the Gospel of salvation to the world would continue to be carried out.  Moses passed on the baton to Joshua in Deuteronomy 31:7 just before his death and Paul mentions his impending death as he gives instructions to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3:14-16.

As I read 2 Timothy this morning , Paul was instructing, reminding, and uplifting his spiritual son so that he would have the fortitude to continue the work of the ministry.  Paul tells his disciple to persevere as he does and stand [his] ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God’s chosen] (2 Timothy 2:10). As I read this, I thought of a similar instance of a leader passing the baton to his disciple–Moses to Joshua not the same words were spoken but the same inference was made.

This was Paul’s second letter to Timothy reminding him of the work of the ministry in spreading the Gospel.  The ministry that Paul was now imprisoned for in Rome.  Paul’s letters were to help booster the spirit of his beloved pupil and to insure that the fires of enthusiasm were not quenched by hardship and struggle.

Moses’ was able to impart a spirit of wisdom to Joshua and God spoke to him after Moses’ death.  Telling him to be bold and courageous and to lead the people into the Promised Land.  Timothy received his ordinance from Paul and others.  At that time I feel he too received a boost of the spirit to strengthen him for the struggles ahead.

Both of these men followed great men of God taking the baton of leadership and moving forward in the face of opposition and struggles.  Carrying the Light of God into the darkness of unbelief.

Joshua

While Joshua was definitely mentored by Moses to become his disciple, Joshua was also a skilled general and leader.  In Hebrews Joshua means Yahweh is salvation. With the Lord’s guidance, he showed potential during the Exodus and worked behind the scenes.  He lead the successful battle against the Amalekites (Exodus 17) and was one of the two original spies (Numbers 13-14) who encouraged the people of Israel to follow the Word of God and cross over the Jordan to possess the land the first time, and as such was one of the few who lived to cross over into the Promised Land after the generation had died out.  Moses  progressively groomed Joshua for leadership.

Joshua was a servant, helper, aide and stayed close to Moses from his youth.  There was an ongoing relationship between Moses and Joshua.  When God moved to change command of Israel after Moses’ death, Joshua was ready whether he realized it or not God and Moses knew.  Joshua rose to the command of God to lead His people into the Promised Land to take possession as God had decreed.

Timothy

Timothy was half Greek and Jewish.  His name means honoring God or precious of God.  His faith emerged from his grandmother Lois and was passed to her daughter Timothy’s mother, Eunice. Paul’s first missionary travels opened the mind of Timothy, his mother, and grandmother to the truth of Jesus.  He was a good example and well-thought by the Christians in the area of Asia Minor.  Timothy eventually became the first Christian Bishop of Ephesus (Ephesians).

Although many centuries, kings judges and prophets pronouncing God’s word, ruled Israel and its people, Joshua and Timothy had several things in common:

  1. They were  both proteges of great men of God. (Joshua-Moses and Timothy-Paul).  Both Moses and Paul moved and carried God’s Word into new areas one for the Israelites and the other to the Gentiles.
  2. They worked from an early age to be shaped by their prophets.
  3. They were both gifted with great ability and a willingness to follow God’s word.
  4. They both worked behind the scenes as assistants and helpers for many years to prepare for the great tasks for which they were destined.

Each of these men had a burning need to learn and follow their prophets.  They sat at their feet and learned, participated in their trials and shaped their lives after their leadership examples.

Joshua had to be prophet (God’s spokesman) and military leader just as Moses.  Timothy was student and assistant following Paul bringing God’s word to the Gentile.  Paul described in 1 Timothy 1:2 Timothy as his spiritual son.  I believe that Moses looked upon Joshua just as endearingly because he was Moses closes assistant.

Both of these men although separated by centuries played essential roles in the introduction and growth of the Word of God among the people of the world.

Is this God’s destiny for you?    Are you ready to take the baton?

Birthday Goals

Recently, I  was blessed to experience another birthday.  It has been my habit to look back on my life on birthdays and reflect on God’s blessings and my activities during the past year.  For me this is a time to review and start making changes and setting new goals for the upcoming year.  One of my continuous goals is to strengthen my relationship with the Father and to become more aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.  My intent is to lessen the time it takes me to respond to a prompting and to reduce the times that I ignore it altogether.  No matter how I try sometimes I still follow my own mind in direct contradiction of what the Holy Spirit is prompting me to do.  Just as Paul said in Romans 7:14-15 , 21-25:

“… I am of the flesh, sold under sin. For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.  So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (ESV)

When I make the wrong decision despite what the Holy Spirit prompted me to do, I repent and ask forgiveness and try to do better.  But fortunately for me, I have a forgiving God who loves me, and continues to look after me in all my hard-headedness.  Despite of my stumbles, I know that I have made progress and continue to make a conscious effort to move forward.

My hard-headedness and stubborn disobedience reminds me of the exiles of Israel after God brought them out of Egypt  making Aaron create the golden calf during Moses’ absence on Mt. Sinai incurring God’s anger and resulting in a great loss of life and thstubborneir wandering in the desert for 40 years. After the Lord had brought them out of Egypt and Moses led them through the Red Sea and drown the Egyptians. Those who witnessed the miracles and examples of the Lord’s power, it should have been enough.  But time after time, they tried the Lord’s patience and suffered the results of taking the wrong path.  Isaiah 48:4, “Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass,” (ESV)

One of the many benefits of being a child of God is that we can be wrong and hard headed, but still be able to repent, and go the Father for forgiveness because we have an intercessor who will constantly plead on our behalf.  Fortunately, for us Jesus has been assailed with the weaknesses, trials, and pitfalls of being human and conquered them.  He understands the pull of Satan and how to fight against and overcome temptation.

As I stride to improve and be a grateful recipient of God’s grace, I thank Jesus every day for being my intercessor and understanding the weaknesses of the flesh.

Have You Thanked Him Today?

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