13. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do]: forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead, 14. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
In Old Testament times, in the Book of Jeremiah, God addresses the people of Israel. They as a nation, had wandered away from their faith. They were far removed from what God had called them to be. I think we can see a parallel with our country today. But as a nation, we are first individuals. If you find yourself wanting a closer relationship with God; if little by little in this last year or years you have lost focus for the future, listen closely as the Lord will show you how to come back.
23. "But this is what I commanded them, saying, 'Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.' 24. "Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in [their own] counsels [and] in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward.
There have been numerous times in my life that I have found myself far from God. How did I get there? How was it that one day I woke up and looked around and I found myself in a place that wasn't at all where I wanted to be? Each time there was a common denominator in my predicament...I had not been reading my Bible in a consistent way. I had gotten off the path for some reason or another, and ended up somewhere else.
I think the key word here is consistency. Not to let "life" get to be "Number 1". Putting God first, ahead of the cares of the immediate. Taking time to acknowledge Him every morning. Submitting myself to Him. Putting His Word in my heart and mind on a daily basis.
It's really "easy" to get off track. First I worry and fret, (we already talked about that one) then,I think I have an answer, my stubborn "will" takes over. I have forgotten to ask God. I have relied on my own understanding instead of His.
1. My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2. For length of days and years of life, And peace they will add to you. 3. Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4. So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. 5. Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And do not lean on your own understanding. 6. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil.
We can find ourselves in all kinds of situations in our personal lives. Living in a mess. Or someone else's. Wanting to have it change. Wishing our life was different. Acknowledging God is the first step. Going to Him; "calling on Him". That's the beginning. Seeking Him for the change, and not trying to do it in our own power. That's a key element. Seeing the need for change and then asking God to accomplish it in His way.
'Call to Me, and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.'
Lamentations 3: 22-24
22. The LORD's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. 23. [They] are new every morning; Great is Thy faithfulness. 24. "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I have hope in Him."
12. As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions (sin) from us. 13. Just as a father has compassion on [his] children, So the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him.
Our Father is infinitely compassionate. He doesn't hold our sin against us and rub our face in it. He doesn't keep reminding us of our failures and shortcomings. He just wants us to return to Him; to be with Him and to hear what He has to say.
I read once, pertaining to us staying "on course" with God, that just a few degrees "off" will cause us to miss our destination. Just like with a plane or ship. Staying on course is critical. If we are off "just a little" every day, over the course of years we will totally miss the plan God had for us.
"And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land.
In this scripture we see God talking about bringing us to our inheritance. What exactly does that mean? The dictionary defines it as our "birthright, legal legacy, heritage, endowment."
God has an inheritance for us as His sons and daughters. It's up to us to come to a place of receiving it. (more later on this thought)
16. that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; 17. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; [and] that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18. may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19. and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.
So let's call out to God, and let Him show us how to move forward in this next year. Even if we are in the place He has called us to be, God is never stagnant. He always wants us to keep moving. I want to move forward, daily knowing that I am on the right path with Him. That I am communicating and listening to Him speak daily.
I'm looking to God and His Word to "define" my future. I want to let Him make the plan for the future. More than just a "resolution", but a God inspired way of life. I want to be a willing participant in my destiny and inheritance, taking responsibility for my attitudes and actions by submitting myself to Him; letting Him lead the way.
May this coming year be a time
to get to know God in a more intimate way.
Love and blessings for the New Year,