TODAY IN HIS WORD COMES FROM
Phil. 3:12-14 (NKJV)
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected;
but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which
Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself
to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things
which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
THOUGHT TO PONDER:
Sometimes as God advances us, others will misunderstand us, fight against us, try to distract us; and some will just flat out leave us. And we have to decide; will we quit, will we stop halfway through, or will we press forward into the calling of God?
INSIGHT INTO HIS WORD:
My friend, there are times for us to "stand still," but there are other times when we have to keep moving forward, no matter what others try to do to distract us. When Nehemiah worked on the wall, others tried many times to have the work stopped, and as he started on the gate-- they flat out tried to pull him away, in an attempt to stop him from finishing what was so close to being complete. (see Neh. 6:1-9). But Nehemiah understood what the opposing people were doing, and he had no part of it; he kept working until everything was done. He didn't allow the people against him to hinder the work God had called him to do.
Sometimes when God says to "Follow Me" it can be exciting at first, because fresh into the race you are full of energy and gumption! But as you set out, the more you are determined TO follow Him-- you can find that those around you may not have the heart. And as they start pulling on you, and then the enemy steps in and begins bombarding you with trials of all sorts-- it is easy to get bogged down, or start losing sight of what you were called to do. And that is when it is even more important to take the time quietly to LISTEN and get regrouped with God.
When God starts "showing you" His vision-- my friend do as Habakkuk says in 2:2 "Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it" (NKJV). Remember that the enemy comes to steal! When God's purpose for you is LONG in coming-- it can be very difficult to hold on to the vision He has given you in just your mind. Spend some time with God, and let Him "work" it out with the eyes of your heart. Sometimes the greatest sight we have-- is when we get quiet with God and close our eyes! And then do as Jesus did and press on. Just as He pressed on to the goal of the cross; walk out what God has shown and determined for you.
In Luke 9:59 Jesus looked at a follower and said, "Follow Me" but the follower said, "but first let me go bury my father." And basically Jesus said "No, you come with me..." Jesus wasn't being hateful or insensitive, He knew if the follower didn't leave then; he never would. In the next set of verses we read:
And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell
who are at my house." But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow,
and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:61-62 NKJV).
When God calls us to something, but we allow ourselves to keep looking back, it begins to distort our vision. When people around us start wanting to do other things, or go off in a different direction, it is very easy to lose sight of what God is preparing us for, and we start looking back at things instead of ahead. It is easy to get bogged down going nowhere, and again, if we are not careful we can find ourselves going backwards-- instead of forward
Whenever I read Luke 9-- God's Word always seems to echo through me, I can close my eyes and just imagine Jesus looking at the follower and saying, "But YOU follow me..." And the reason being? Because throughout history, so many have turned away and chosen other things. My friend, let me ask you something; has Jesus ever looked you in the face and asked YOU to follow Him? Are you still on the path He has called you too-- or has someone (or something) at some point pulled you away from where God was leading you to go?
When Abram was first called to leave his homeland and go to where God was leading him, he did. The problem was that halfway there he made a pit stop, and it took him quite a long time to get going again. "Halfway there" seems to be a major stumbling block. For some reason we get it into our minds that once we get "halfway there" we can take a break. But if we are not careful the "break" begins to be a resting place, and after awhile it can be very hard to pick back up where we left off. We start "pitching our tent" and getting "settled in," and THEN we get comfortable! And THAT is where the enemy gets us!
But God continually calls us OUT of our comfort zone. Just imagine if the Israelites decided after crossing the Red Sea, to call it good and NOT trek out across the desert to follow God... Look at the promise land they would never have had. Look at the AMAZING thing they witnessed God do that they would have missed. God doesn't free us from bondage just to get us to the edge of the river-- He wants us to go all the way to the other side into ALL He has for us.
But let me tell you (or better yet let me warn you), the trek across the desert is rough. However, it is in our walk across the desert where we learn what it means to truly rely on GOD. It's where we learn to trust Him, and it is where we learn how deep our faith really is. It is where He grows us, but it is also where we see how much He loves us. Our walk across the desert enduring the storms that come, and the shortage of supplies is one of the ways we are strengthen-- but don't be surprised if you also find out that not all of those who start out with you make it all the way. In the desert we are also pruned, and anything in our lives that really and truly was NOT OF GOD-- no matter what it looked like in the beginning-- will be removed. Baggage will fall off, and dead weight will be lifted. But we will also be healed. And the reason being is, God wants you in tiptop shape for the new land He would have you go in and take in His Name. And my friend, the SAME God who led you into the desert, is the SAME God who will lead you OUT of the desert when it is time. Just don't get stuck in the middle-- keep pressing on.
Something else to consider is that not all of those around you are going to have the same drive and stamina. Many will surprise you at their choice to leave off and do something else, or even to turn away to someone else... but even in this listen to God's Word, "But YOU, follow me..." Read Ezekiel 2:8 as God was talking about how so many were not listening to Him and turning away, God told Ezekiel "Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house" (NASB). I love how the NCV phrases it: "But you, human, listen to what I say to you. Don't turn against me as those people do."
My Friend, I encourage you to "keep the faith" and don't let anyone move you. If you have to chose between any two-- I truly pray you will choose GOD.
PRAYING IN FAITH:
Father God, thank You for our time in Your Word today. Lord, I pray You will open the eyes of the heart in this reader, and give them vision for what You waiting for them. Lord, I pray You will strengthen them, and give them courage to press on into all that YOU have for them. Lord, I ask You to keep their eyes focused on You. Lord, please keep their steps in line with You. Lord, I ask You to anchor them to You, and let NOTHING keep them from reaching their promised land.
In Jesus' name,
Have a blessed day, Kassie