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Tug of war (a Timeless Truths blog post)

tug of war 1

When you were a kid, did you ever play the game tug of war? Perhaps you were on the end that pulled that rope across to the winning side and you enjoyed the excitement of having won a victory! Or perhaps you were on the other side … the side that suffered the agony of defeat … only to be taunted by your peers and having to deal with it until the time finally came when you could be the one to overcome and win the war. In any case, you can probably relate to how it feels to be tugged in two different directions. First one side gets pulled one way, then the other until finally one side prevails. In the spiritual realm we (perhaps unknowingly) go through the same thing in the battle that we go through in our minds. We may know God wants us to “move out” in one direction, but our flesh is resistant and wants to go in the other direction. That tug of war that goes on in our minds can be just as brutal as any real-life tug of war on the playing field. The question is, who will win? Isaiah 43:16 (NIV) tells us, “This is what the Lord says – he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick: “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 wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Here, scripture is talking about something the Lord did for his people in the past … a time they could look back on and see how faithful he had been to bring them through their trials and challenges … however, it encourages them not to (just) dwell on that but, instead, to look forward – to look ahead to what God was getting ready for them to experience next. God’s people (including us today) need to continually move forward into the plans and purposes he has for our lives. God doesn’t want us to live in yesterday’s victories, he wants us to experience new victories today as he leads and guides us in the choices and decisions we make today. Yes, it is good to remember God’s faithfulness to us in the past and how he brought us through all the trials and challenges from the past … but the past is just that … the past. So, the timeless truth for today is to allow Jesus to “pull you” to his side in that tug of war in your mind. Allow him to win, and, in so doing you will be on the winning side … you will gain the victory … for it is only as we come into agreement with God’s plans and purposes for our lives do we truly win … it is only as we continually move forward that we win the battle that brings all honor and glory to the Lord. Remember, as others see how faithful God really is to bring us through (not only in the past, but in the present as well) will others be inspired to trust in him themselves … and that will be where the real victory is won!

 

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Uncharted Territory (a Timeless Truths blog post)

Are you the type of person who has to have a plan before venturing out into the unknown? Do you try to figure everything out down to the last detail to avoid any potential problem from occurring and catching you off guard? If so, it may take not only a step of faith but, rather, a leap of faith to go forward into uncharted territory … the area where you don’t know exactly what is going to happen or how things are going to turn out. You may feel like it’s safer to just keep things the way they are … perhaps, even, the way they’ve always been. However, the danger in doing that is that you aren’t really living life to the full, and, in fact, if you never dare to take any risks you are, in reality, in danger of hurting yourself … hurting yourself by not living up to your full potential, not “getting out there” to interact with others God may want you to interact with to share the gospel message, and, actually, in danger of hurting your own spiritual walk with God if you’re not daring to trust Him to lead you and guide you in the way He, alone, knows is best for you. According to dictionary.com “uncharted territory” literally refers to anything that isn’t plotted or planned and is often figuratively used to express a wider unknown. So in both the physical and nonphysical senses, it can mean “not yet mapped, surveyed, or investigated.” Most likely, Abram (later renamed Abraham) felt a little nervous (to say the least) when God directed him to leave his familiar world and travel to an unknown land (an unknown territory, if you will). So, too, with us. If we feel God directing us to “get out of our comfort zone” into the realm of the unknown, we, too, may feel a little nervous (or a lot!) However, it’s always better to face our fears than run and hide from them (think of Jonah and the whale!) We need to trust that – with God on our side – nothing we face is too hard, too difficult, or too unbelievable for us to overcome … as long as it really is God directing our path and not us directing our own path. Proverbs 3:5-8 The Message (MSG) says, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; Don’t try to figure out everything on your own.  Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.  Don’t assume that you know it all.  Run to God!  Run from evil!  Your body will glow with health, your very bones will vibrate with life!” So, the timeless truth for today is this – whether you are facing the everyday, mundane events of life or whether you are facing uncharted territory – about to take a leap of faith – in either case, remember that you can trust God in any and every situation. He already knows the end from the beginning. He already knows what’s going to happen next. He has proven Himself faithful time and time again (not only to you, but also to all the people in the Bible who have lived before you). He is absolutely trustworthy, faithful, and true. He will never let you down. And, to top it all off, we have this promise we can hold on to from Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” 

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