4th January 2015

Embracing the future

“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14

I am sure the year 2014 has meant many things to all of us, as it was to me. But one fact remains, we cannot turn back the clock and re-live the past, no matter how “helpful” we think it can be. The future, the coming year is where we should focus our attention on. In Christ, we have hope of a better year, a better future. In order to embrace a new and promising future that God has prepared for us, we however, need to acknowledge the past. I find the following devotional very apt, though it was written for Christmas.

“Times of challenge are teaching times when we learn a lot about ourselves. Resulting pressures expose the true crux of the matter . . . the challenge may have little to do with the immediate, but connect more to something earlier, something hidden from view. Under pressure, confronted with details we never realized were there, we seem to find the end of that rope and finally for the first time, acknowledge hidden issues we could not see before pressure exposed them.

Abram began to journey, aiming for a land the Lord had revealed. Along the way he turned toward Egypt, anticipating he’d find the supply there to meet the unexpected needs of his entourage in what perhaps was (no, obviously was) a lapse of confidence信心的丧失 in the God He began following. In a second instance, later in the journey, Abram’s decision concerning his wife’s servant, Hagar, altered the plan God gave and Hagar, now suddenly disposable in Sarah and Abram’s eyes, did not “go away” as they hoped. God did not allow it.

The same is true of situations today. It may be the one thing you haven’t considered. The core problem has become something “more than” and it will not go away because God will not allow it to. The story of Abram’s compromise reminds us that discipleship and accountability protect us – not just in small and every-day matters, but also when, left to our choices, like Abram, we are allured into wrong and often devastating choices.

Being accountable to a person or group protects us as we journey; accountability saves us, often from ourselves! Humility is not the norm for most people but choosing to submit to someone wiser is a critical first step. It means we ask for, and receive counsel when we know we need help. It also means others come (sent by the Holy Spirit) to our rescue when we’re clueless about our greatest, deepest need. In both – in seeking counsel and receiving it – the Lord puts His spotlight on the heart of the matter – the problem back there that increasingly, suddenly, and especially lately, has become the voice making us, and everyone around us miserable.

This Christmas the Lord will not allow you to get off into another wilderness, another wrong setting, and certainly not another relationship that takes you away from His presence! This year you will face it. When you do, worship will be the next thing you experience. Remain there. Heal there. You are in His Hand.

I prophesy, this Christmas your experience will be “Emmanuel, God present with us.” He comes. He reveals.  O come, O come! Emmanuel!

(Adopted from Shirley Weaver’s Devotional)