Don’t do as the wicked do, and don’t follow the path of evildoers. Don’t even think about it; don’t go that way. Turn away and keep moving... Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. (Proverbs 4:14, 15, 25, 26)
I once heard someone say that turning back begins with a turning of the head to look in a different direction and as we continue to look in that direction we turn our body around and then, lastly, our feet begin to walk on a different path.
That is so true of backsliding and wrong choices. The easiest time to stop is right at the beginning. When the thought, the desire, the temptation first comes into your mind or your heart, that is the time to turn away. The longer you think about it, the stronger its grip becomes.
The above verses underline this...
‘don’t even think about it. Turn away and keep moving’.
If only we would do this, what a lot of trouble we could avoid! The resentment or anger wouldn’t take a grip and fester inside us; the allure of something wrong wouldn’t waft a sweet perfume into our beings... the longer we look, the stronger its grip becomes.
‘Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you’
We could add to that. These words come from the Old Testament but we can say ‘fix your eyes on the One who goes before you - Jesus Christ Himself. He is stronger than anything that can come against us. But we need to look STRAIGHT ahead and FIX our eyes on Him. There are choices here. Commitment is needed and then He gives us the strength to follow it through.
This Thought for Today has been written by Dave Wilson.
As we are about to enter a time when the restrictions of lockdown are lifted and we hopefully begin to restore some normalcy to life, some of us will undoubtedly be happy, but there may also be those who are grieving and sad, or possibly confused or hurting and thinking "What was that all for?" or "Why did God allow that to happen?". Thinking about this recently, I remembered hearing a story about Corrie ten Boom. Corrie was the youngest child of a jeweler and watchmaker and became the first woman to be licensed as a watchmaker in the Netherlands in 1922. A devout Christian, she also started a youth club for teenage girls, where she would teach Bible, sewing, and other creative skills.
Almost exactly 80 years ago, in May of 1940, the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. One of the first gatherings they banned was Corrie’s youth club. Over the next few years, Corrie’s family became active in the Dutch underground, hiding and providing safe refuge for Jews and vulnerable members of the Dutch Resistance, driven by their faith. The Gestapo raided their home, known as The Hiding Place, in 1944, and Corrie and her family were taken to concentration camps, where she continued to lead Bible studies and worship in the midst of the worst conditions, with her father dying early on, and her sister dying just twelve days before Corrie was miraculously released, Even after, she continued to care for those who had been deemed “less than human” by the Nazis. There isn’t time or space here to tell the rest of her story, but this is the common thread: no matter how dark her future seemed, she trusted in the God she knew so well. She testified to His goodness in the storm.
Later in life, when she told her story around the world, she would hold up this tapestry, showing her audience only the back of the fabric.
From this perspective, it makes little sense. It looks chaotic. It looks like a random mess! She then went on to quote the poem The Master Weaver by Grant Colfax Tullar:
My life is but a weaving
Between my God and me.
I cannot choose the colors
He weaveth steadily
Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;
And I in foolish pride
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.
Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly
Will God unroll the canvas
And reveal the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful
In the weaver’s skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned
He knows, He loves, He cares;
Nothing this truth can dim.
He gives the very best to those
Who leave the choice to Him.
Then she would slowly turn the tapestry over to reveal this beautiful, bejeweled crown.
“This is what God sees…from His perspective…a masterpiece!”
If you find yourself dismayed at the past or worried about the future, then a large part of that comes from our perspective - as the poem says - we are looking at the tapestry from the wrong side! In God's wisdom, he does not always allow us to see the tapestry of life from his perspective (although he sometimes graciously gives glimpses). What we need to learn do is put our faith and trust directly in the skill of the Master Weaver, knowing that He has the best plans for us, and the tapestry he weaves for us will be wonderfully and particularly personal and beautiful for each one of us.
Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
Corrie ten Boom
And now these three remain - faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Well known words from a very well known chapter in the Bible.
Ponder them for a moment. It is crucial that we never lose faith and hope. There are many circumstances in life that can cause these things to be shaken. I am sure that as you look back over your own life you will find situations, experiences which have caused your faith to waver and your hope in Christ to falter. But for many of us, we have found that time after time there has been that undergirding of the presence of God which has caused us to find that we stand on a solid rock - and we are upheld!
The scripture says - the greatest of these is love. And in this there is the secret. It is not our faith or our hope which is the anchor - it is His love.
I have found this year that Easter and all it means is still very alive in the spiritual atmosphere around us. There are many aspects of Easter which bring God and the Lord Jesus very close to us - and the greatest of these is love. I was speaking to someone a few days ago, someone who is finding life very hard at the moment and was feeling that she wasn’t measuring up to what a Christian should be. As we spoke, I felt the love of God reaching out to her - He is the God of all compassion who knows our frailty and is there to help and strengthen us in our weakness. I don’t know how much our conversation helped her, but it certainly left a profound impact on me. He loves us, Calvary shows the depths of that love, and His love remains and always will remain. I have gone through the rest of this week with a tremendous sense of the constancy of the love of God for my soul - and for every soul. I must hold on to faith and hope, but it is the undergirding of His love that is the secret.
And as we rest in that love, surely our love for Him begins to grow. And that is what brings more strength to our souls than our faith and our hope. Remember that when Peter was restored by the Lord Jesus the question Christ asked him was not about faith or hope. It was:
"Simon, do you love me?" (John 21:17)
His faith had been shaken and so had his hope - but his love was still strong. And in his restoration faith, hope and his own love were strengthened by the love of Christ and he went into a new day.
The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases. His mercies never come to an end. (Lamentations 3:22)
Rest in His love as you face a new tomorrow.
"Someone is coming soon who is greater than I am"
John the Baptist said this about Jesus - before Jesus had begun any public ministry.
If you go on to read even the next few chapters in Mark’s gospel you will see how true this was. Jesus began to minister and there was power... there was miracle... people were shaken out of their complacency and lives began to be changed.
Then we come to Easter. We have just finished remembering what Jesus did at Easter. And many of us have been left once again with an awareness of how much greater Jesus is than we are. Not only that, but we realise again and again He is so much greater than we ever realised. Can we endeavour to carry this with us as we go forward? He is great... He is the Son of the Most High God... He has conquered death, hell and the grave... and He is our Lord! Can we get our eyes off ourselves and on to Him and realise this is the One who wants to walk with us and strengthen us through every circumstance?
And there will come another day... when we will go to be with Him or He will return to take all of His church to be with Him. In that day... whether it be soon or far off... surely we do not want to be saying, with regret, He is so much greater than I ever realised? Let’s start to walk with the resurrected, victorious Christ and begin to share in what He has brought to the children of men. We can never know fully all that He has done for us, but we can begin to walk into that light and victory more fully than we have done before.
Let’s move forward and walk on resurrection ground!
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