Keep your eyes on the prize.
Have you ever judged too dramatically in a situation? Maybe you’ve allowed yourself to exaggerate the circumstances to allow yourself comfort, pity? You criticize and condemn and make yourself believe that nothing can bring you back from what you’ve experienced?
Naomi was the same way when she returned to her home country. People came to greet her and she rejected them. She told them not to call her Naomi. She announced that she had changed her name to Mara, meaning that The Lord had dealt bitterly with her. Yes, her husband and two sons died. No, I’m not even capable of comprehending how she felt. But she judged the situation wrong. She told the people that The Lord was against her…out to get her. She had allowed her grief to balloon into false accusations that she believed to be true, which eventually turned into anger toward God.
Fast forward. Neighborhood women are once again gathering around Naomi. But this time she is rejoicing, answering to her given name. Holding her infant grandson, Obed…part of the lineage of David.
God never chose for Naomi to change her name to Mara. It was all her doing. He knew that a greater blessing was in her future. He wasn’t being mean or vindictive as she had allowed herself to believe. He was paving the way for a monumental blessing in her life.
When devastating times come your way walk closer to Jesus instead of pushing Him away. Know that He has the best plans for you in mind, even as you’re going through a terrible trial. And then, through His strength, focus only on what you know to be true….don’t allow your mind to wander.
Sometimes we deal with heartache much longer than is necessary because we replay the pain over and over again in our minds.
Sometimes we stress about what might happen in the future.
Sometimes we dwell on all the wrong going on in the world.
….when you find your thoughts running away on you ask yourselves these questions:
Is it true?
Is it just?
Is it honest?
Is it pure?
Is it lovely?
Is it of good report?
Is it virtuous?
Is it cause for praise?
If you can’t answer yes to every question then you need to stop thinking on it. Think instead on the things that do hold truth, honesty, justice, purity, loveliness, good report, virtue and praise…think on Jesus.
People had followed Jesus to a house in Capernaum. They wanted to be witnesses to the miracles He was said to be able to perform. They wanted to hear what He had to say.
Some were there purely out of curiosity. Others were there to try to discredit Jesus and His works. Some came to glorify Him. And others came to be healed.
…just like the man who was bedridden with palsy. He had heard that Jesus, a miracle performer, was near. Four men graciously picked up his bed and made there way to meet Jesus.
But the crowd was huge. The people stood, blocking the entrances, making it impossible for the four men to carry their sick friend through the door.
So they went through the roof.
They lowered their friend into the house. Jesus saw their faith. He healed the man of his sin and of the palsy.
Do you have that same desire to be near Jesus? One in which you wouldn’t allow your flesh, other people or material possessions get in the way of a close relationship with Christ?
Overcoming all the obstacles was worth it to this man.
It will be worth it to you too. Continue to seek Jesus. Don’t be deterred by the obstacles you may face.
King Saul had made a proclamation that all witchcraft and wizards were to be abolished from the land of The Lord.
Years later he sought out a witch to bring Samuel up again. She did. Samuel told King Saul that he would die the next day.
If The Lord has you to remove something in your life do it indefinitely…not just for a week….not only for ten years…
Learn to live without it.
Zacharias and Elisabeth. Two people in history that were chosen to be part of God’s plan. This couple would become parents to John the Baptist.
What made them so special?
They were righteous and blameless.
Righteousness. Yours was as filthy rags….until you accepted Christ’s.
Blameless. You were guilty of sin….until Jesus washed it away.
So where does this leave you, Child of God?
Conditioned to take part in God’s plan.
You’re special. You’ve been chosen.
Samuel anointed Saul as king. He had been with him every step of the way. Offering him counsel. Imparting wisdom upon him. Making known the way of The Lord.
Saul and Samuel shared an unique bond.
Then Saul turned his back on The Lord. He went against the instructions from God to rely completely on himself.
Samuel was distraught. The man that he had invested most of his life to was destroying the good that God had given him.
Samuel mourned for what Saul had done with his life.
He was sorrowful for the choices that Saul had made.
He was consumed with disappointment.
Then The Lord came to Samuel.
He told him that he still had work for him to do. Samuel was to quit dwelling on Saul. Now was the time to move forward.
Sometimes things don’t work out the way that we had hoped they would. People fail us. We fail God. But God doesn’t want us to stay in a place of defeat. He doesn’t want us to dwell on our difficult pasts. He wants us to get up and get moving forward.
Your past doesn’t have to hinder your future with Jesus.