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I believe 1Chronicles 28:9-10 are key verses in walking with the Lord.

Verse 9 says “As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; for the LORD searches all hearts, and understands every intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will let you find Him; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever.”

If I could serve the Lord with my whole heart and a willing mind what a difference it would make! If I could truly submit to His direction and not hold back or try to reason myself out of being obedient…but I often choose my own way.

Then verse 10 says “Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary; be courageous and act.” 

Solomon is told to be courageous and ACT. Don’t just sit there, Solomon – DO something! That’s the kind of encouragement I need sometimes. I need to just take a deep breath and act on what God has said without trying to think my way out of doing something that requires courage.

This has become my prayer:

Psalm 138:3 “On the day I called, You answered me; You made me bold with strength in my soul.”

Oh God, give me courage!

 

Press On

Philippians 3:13-14 “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, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Press on. This phrase implies effort toward a goal. It calls us to focus and keep moving forward.  The prerequisite from verse 13 is clear. We can’t keep looking back if we are going to press on.

Sometimes people get caught in a trap of analyzing their past mistakes over and over in hopes that they will learn from them. But there is a danger in this habit. I won’t deny that God causes us to go through a variety of experiences to train us in godliness but I don’t think it’s His plan for us to dwell on the difficult ones  for great amounts of time. The danger is looking at our mistakes and falling into a pattern of regret. The more we focus on our past failures, the more regrets we have. We can’t change the past. We don’t get to do it over. We certainly can make better life choices in the future. We can learn from our mistakes. But if we were in a race, as Paul alludes to in this passage, we would surely lose if we spent all our time looking over our shoulder to see where we’d been.

This is not to say that we are never to think about things that happened before this moment. God tells the Israelites in 1 Chronicles 16:12 to remember His marvelous works. We are supposed to remember the wonderful things that God has done in our lives. We are supposed to tell the story of God’s faithfulness to us.

But we are not supposed to dwell on our failures or even our successes.  It’s God’s marvelous works we are supposed to remember not our own. We have to ask ourselves a question.”Is there any good thing in my life that God shouldn’t get the credit for?”

If we could follow Paul’s example and quit looking behind us…if we could focus on the goal of giving our all for the Lord…how  great an impact we could have on those around us.

No more regrets.  No more looking over our shoulders. We run toward the goal, free as the wind, with nothing to hold us back!  What a race and ….what a prize!

Get it in Writing

All through scripture you can find examples where God was speaking and told the hearer to write down what He said. Now, of course, that is how we have the scriptures today, because those men of faith wrote down the words the Lord spoke to them. I am not presuming that God will speak so profoundly to us today that it should add to the Word of God. However, weren’t these men just simple followers like us when God spoke to them? They had no idea that what they were writing would be life changing for generations to come.

I know that everyone isn’t compelled to write on a regular basis but I want to suggest that you consider trying an experiment. For a couple of weeks, try having a quiet time with the Lord with a pen and paper handy. Use your pen to jot down things you find interesting or especially moving during your time with the Lord. Then, after a while, look back at what you’ve written and see what God has been doing in your life. You might be surprised to see the direction the Lord is taking you.

By now I am sure you realize that I am talking about journaling. That really isn’t as scary of a word as some people think. In this age of electronic communication, the habit of writing is not so popular but I don’t think it’s gone out of style with the Lord. He wants us to remember what He is speaking to us, and if you are like me, you might not remember as much as you would like to. Writing down your thoughts doesn’t have to be something you want to publish. It can be just between you and your Father. He would love to tell you some things and have you remember them and writing them down is a good way for that to happen. Also, think about the opportunity this activity has for reaching others and having an impact in their lives. What I would give for a journal of my great grandmother’s to read and learn from her wisdom. But…she didn’t write anything down.   So far, I have eight grandchildren. If I write down what God is speaking, and years from now my grandchildren and great grandchildren read it I have had impact on people that really matter to me. I don’t have to be C.S. Lewis in order to say something that has a positive influence on the reader. I just have to be intentional and honest about what God is doing in my life.

I find many places in scripture where we are encouraged to tell others what we have heard from the Lord. We are to tell our story about how HIS story changed our lives. Why not do it in writing?

Deuteronomy 4:9 But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. (NLT)

 

Out for a Walk

Have you ever taken a walk with a friend? What happens while you walk? Are you both silent, lost in your own thought? Not likely! Most of us talk as fast as we walk when we are out for a stroll with a good friend. We share all kinds of things, our hopes and dreams, our concerns and fears.

In the Old Testament there are many passages that say things like “Enoch walked with God.” “Noah walked with God.” “Abraham walked with God.” Can’t you just see those men walking down the dusty road with their hands clasped behind their backs, talking with God as they walked?

Of course, the Bible uses the word walk in a different sense, to mean more than just the physical action of walking one foot in front of the other. It really means to live life on every level with God as your companion. It means to consider God’s instruction and direction in every decision. But I think there is something to the idea of walking in the physical sense.

In Genesis it says that “God walked in the garden.” I think that was in the physical sense and that He was looking for Adam to walk with Him but Adam had sinned and was hiding. God wanted Adam’s company. He wanted to talk with Adam as they walked along.

In Deuteronomy 6:7 and again in 11:19 the scripture tells us that we are to talk to our children about the Lord’s ways as we walk along the road. In those days people traveled by foot most of the time and it was a very natural setting to teach God’s principles to their families.

While Jesus walked the earth, He literally walked almost everywhere He went. Once He had a donkey and a few times He went by boat but most of the time He walked from village to village. Can you imagine how much He taught His disciples while they walked?

Now for us, while I’m sure that God knows that walking is good for our health and He’s glad that we do it, He’s thinking more about the opportunity for conversation. The same kind of companionship that we feel with a friend when we are out for a walk on a lovely day. He wants us to invite Him along, he wants to talk with us and He wants us to share with Him those hopes and dreams and those concerns and fears.

Listen closely, don’t you hear your Father saying, “Come on, let’s go for a walk?”

Do You Smell Good?

It’s been over ninety degrees almost every day for the past week. Today is our trash day. Need I say more?  Let’s just say that rolling that trash can to the road brings new meaning to the word stench.

Nothing smells worse that garbage that has baked in the sun for a week.

On the other hand, I remember the first time I went to Florida        during the season when the orange trees were in bloom.  I think I could have hyperventilated, hanging my head out the window as we drove through the groves just breathing in the amazing scent of orange blossoms.

Our sense of smell is quick to pick up whether something smells    terrible or wonderful.  Sometimes when we walk into a new environment the first thing we notice is how it smells. How many times have you said, “what is that smell?”

God has a keen sense of smell and he’s given it to us as well.

Amos 5:21 talks about God smelling something terrible. In some    versions the word stench is used. But the NASB version paints a very clear picture.

Amos 5:21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. (NASB)

This verse is talking about how God feels about fake religion that is pretending to worship Him. It tells us that when we play church, the stink is so bad that God refuses to smell. He is holding His nose!

But, in 2 Corinthians 2:15 it says For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; 

The choice is ours. We can smell like trash and give God reason to hold his nose or we can smell like orange blossoms on the breeze and cause others to respond to the irresistible fragrance of Christ.

So how do you smell today?