Thursday, March 26, 2015

LETTING GO AND TAKING HOLD...

Or perhaps I should say, "Out with the old and in with the new."  I recall the Apostle Paul said it this way in Philippians 12:12-14,

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Just as the seasons change each year, one surrendering itself to the new, having fulfilled its purpose and coming to an end, so are the seasons in the life of the follower of Yeshua/Jesus.

Things are changing in my life once again.  But then, that's the way life goes, isn't it?  And when it happens, if we're not pliable, willing to go forward and ready to embrace the new opportunities and the challenges they bring with them, we may find ourselves with sour dispositions, bumping up against new situations with fearful or angry attitudes and creating unnecessarily awkward circumstances.  We may stunt our growth in Christ, resisting His moves out of pride.

Some of my favorite verses are found in the book of Isaiah.  Chapter 43:18-21, says, "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise."

You've probably heard it said a thousand different ways.  But we do it, don't we?  We often try to hold onto things that are closing down or dying - things that have run their courses and the doors are closing and the lights are going out - all the while our hearts racing at the thought that something is coming to an end and we're not ready for it to be over.  And thrown into the mix with all of that is the unknown...  What will the future hold?  How will we respond to this new season?  Are we up for the challenge?  Do we have everything we need to 'do a good job'?

 How often we feel ill equipped to move forward!  We wonder if we are ready for the task ahead.  We worry and question and doubt and fear...and ask GOD a million times 'WHY', when in reality our question should not be 'WHY', but rather 'What do You have for me now, LORD? How would You have me serve You in this new 'desert' - this place I do not know?  What are You teaching me or doing in or through me in this new hour? How do You want me to move in this new chapter in my life?  Show me the open doors, the opportunities, the needs that are present in this moment, Father.  You are making streams of life out of deserts of dust and sand...please show me how to transition while You let the rivers of new life pour into this new time.  Change me, change me, change me, GOD!.'

We cannot stand still, beloved.  We must move forward with Him at His pace.  He will not run faster than we are able to keep up...but He may hurry us along from time to time.  Psalm 103 says:

Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.  Praise the LORD,O my soul, and forget not all his benefits - who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.  The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.  He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:  The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.  He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever; he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.  For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.  As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting, the LORD'S love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children's children - with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.  The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.  Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.  Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.  Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion.  Praise the LORD, O my soul."

He will move forward. And we CAN go with Him!  It's time once again to stretch and grow!  This is the thing I know that I know that I know...all we need to do is trust Him, say 'yes, LORD' and rest in knowing that the One who called us is more than able to take us through every circumstance, every challenge and every new assignment.  And I believe we should want to be changed!  Jeremiah 17:9,10 says,

The heart is deceitful above all things
    and beyond cure.
    Who can understand it?

10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and examine the mind,
to reward each person according to their conduct,
    according to what their deeds deserve.”

I don't trust my own heart - and well I shouldn't.  We should just lay everything we have and are and know and think - and dream and hope and every plan- on His altar.  We should just surrender to whatever His will may be - not requiring or expecting or demanding anything, instead just expecting for Him to BE who He is.  He is GOD and He knows what is best all of the time!  He is GOOD and His mercies endure forever!  He is all-powerful, all-wise, all-knowing, ever-present, ever-faithful, all-glorious!  We don't need to try to peek around His robes to see what lies ahead.  He will show us, if He so chooses.  We need only trust him.  Trust Him.  Trust.  Him.  Say yes to the One who says to us, "Behold I am doing a NEW THING.  Do you not perceive it?"