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That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing.
~Romans 4:17 NLT~
I used to watch the popular television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation and in each episode, Captain Picard would say to his second in command, “Make it so, Number 2.” Before you begin to think that Picard was somehow insulting his beloved Commander Riker, please understand that Number 2 was a term of endearment. The point of sharing this tidbit with you is not necessarily to shed light on the importance of putting ourselves second, but to lead into a discussion about how God prepares us for something and then ever so confidently places the reigns in our hands and tells us; sometimes clearly, sometimes not so clearly, to “Make it so.”
God’s gentle guidance sometimes seems overwhelming no matter how long He babies us. The idea that He will trust us to take bold steps seems far fetched when we consider how often we’ve been instructed to simply listen and obey. For some reason, we tend to think that means that none of the gifts He has given us are meant to be put into action unless we see it laid out in Step 1, Step 2, Step 3…fashion. When those steps aren’t laid out for us, we stall. We rest on verses like Psalm 27:14 that says, “Wait patiently for the Lord,” but sometimes the greatest tests He gives us have more to do with our ability to trust what we know about God and keep moving forward until He says to do something else. He doesn’t always mean for us to sit by idly while we wait for Him to move. Sometimes we have to actually do something.
I’ve been hanging back for a while, trying to figure out what it is He really wants me to focus on. In all of my seeking and straining to hear Him, I’ve managed to remain frozen in place while my faith has been slowly melting into a puddle at my feet. Not my faith in Him, but my faith in my ability to hear Him…or in His desire to speak to me. It’s amazing how we effectively can put the brakes on our ability to carry out His plan simply by spending too much time wondering when He’s going to tell us what to do next. Sometimes, you just need to keep swimming. Eventually, He’ll shift the current to ensure that you reach the destination He wants you to reach.
When you realize that you’ve just been standing around like an idiot, sometimes you begin to doubt whether or not God should even allow you to make any progress. As I said before, it isn’t as much a matter of our faith in Him but a matter of our faith in ourselves. Like Gideon, we may doubt that we are strong enough or capable enough to be trusted with the task He’s placed in front of us. But God is patient with us whether we’ve moved in the wrong direction or failed to move at all. He waits for us to “get it” and when He sees that we have finally caught on, He gives us a push and out of the nest we fall. Thankfully, if we can’t figure out how to use our wings He will also catch us or somehow cushion our landing. But His hope for us is that we remember who we are and that we spread our wings and allow ourselves to take flight. And when we do, His glory shines through every time. So go ahead and use what the Good Lord gave you. When your actions are rooted in obedience and reverence for the Almighty, even if you heard Him wrong you’ll be okay.
“These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.”~Psalm 42:4 (NIV)~This has been a very challenging time. As I look back over the last several weeks and the time I have spent in utter despair over one issue or another, I see that there was something I forgot to do in all of it that would have helped me immensely. I forgot to remember the victories He has given me. There was a time when I made a conscious effort to journal and write down the events of each day; the good, the bad and the ugly. For whatever reason, I seem to have stopped doing that. When I pray each day, I do write down verses and thoughts that come into my head as I’m praying, but it isn’t the same as doing a full recap of the things that went your way on a given day. It isn’t the same as giving praise for what He has done for you at the end of a day that could have been filled with defeat.There was a time when I could think back to the things that God has brought me through and be inspired by the very idea that He would have taken the time to rescue someone like me from a very dangerous place. Why is it that the farther we get from that rescue, the harder it is for us to remember just how grateful we ought to be to be free? Time and distance from the danger don’t make it any less dangerous. And our continued absence from it doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible for us to fall back into the pit. The only thing that keeps us from going back to a life that isn’t protected by God’s love is our unwillingness to acknowledge Him in all we do. If we are going about our daily lives without giving Him a second thought, there is nothing to guarantee that we won’t end up right back in the mud and the mire.Not the most inspiring speech I’ve ever given; I realize this. But over the past week I’ve see the same idea presented in a variety of ways; the idea that we cannot out-sin God’s ability to forgive us. It has given me reason to sit back and consider where I might have been taking advantage of this. I certainly don’t mean to take God’s love and mercy for granted, but there have been times where I’m sure that I wasn’t doing everything that I could do to fully receive the blessings that God was trying to give me. There have been times when I wasn’t even sure that I wanted them, yet I continued on and He continues to bless me in one way or another. Why does He do this? What is He trying to show me? And a better question still, why haven’t I gotten the message yet?I don’t know where He is leading me, but I know that I’ve been clinging to my present circumstance the way a young child hangs on his mother’s leg when he doesn’t want to be left at school. There is so much I could gain by moving forward, but I fear the unknown and in doing so, I am not trusting the God who has brought me out of situations that were far more scary than the future I could step into now. I know that I’m better armed, I’m better focused, and I’m well able to do what God has set me here to do. I know this in my head, but my heart and soul haven’t decided to agree yet. So, I pray that He will give me a word that will make it absolutely clear that it’s time to break free and step into the cloud. This life will be over too soon and I don’t want to reach the end of it and say that I had more fear of doing His will than of living outside it. Especially when doing His will involves nothing more than loving Him and accepting His love for me.“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”~Deuteronomy 10:12 NKJV~