Stay the Course
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. (Josh 1:7, NIV).
There is a transition time. It is not always easy to make. It takes wisdom and discernment to know when this is and how to do it best. It takes courage to venture into a new realm. Our lives consist of a series of seasons. Knowing which season we are in is essential to operating wisely within it (Ecc. 3). We should give careful attention to these areas if we want to be truly successful. After we have determined which season we are in we should become intentional about how we operate while in this season.
1. Use Your Strengths. You have them. Acknowledge them and use them. Many folks focus primarily on their weaknesses. We should certainly know our weak areas and seek to improve in these. However, we never really accomplish all that we can if we spend too much of our time trying to fix our weak spots. Don’t totally neglect this but keep it in the background. Many times we will accomplish a whole lot more by “being strong.” We should actively, intentionally, and heartily exercise the gifts and talents in which we are strong. We will be so much more productive and fruitful when we do this. Be strong by using the resources you have now to their fullest.
2. Use Your Faith: Joshua is admonished to be very courageous. If you spend your time concentrating on your weaknesses you can become discouraged. Encourage yourself by remembering your strengths and applying them to your goals. Encourage yourself by remembering past victories. This will feed your personal courage and challenge you to do your very best today. Don’t wait for others to encourage you. When David became overwhelmed with a serious problem he encouraged himself. We also would do well to learn to do this. “David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.” (1 Sam. 30:6, AMP)
3. Use Your Focus. “Don’t turn to the left or the right.” You have the mental power of focus. You may need to practice and develop more in this, but you can do it. Start where you are. Develop the single eye. Don’t approach the day with a shotgun blast (that goes every direction and little distance) and expect to continue to get solid meaningful results. You may be skillful enough or even get lucky for awhile and hit some close objects this way. However, the rifle shot (which is concentrated power) goes much farther and is more likely to hit the target with more accuracy and more impact. Don’t continually have too many irons in the fire or try to juggle too many balls at once. Be willing to prioritize. The more things you do in a day generally results in doing fewer things really well. Sometimes juggling many things is necessary. But try not to continue this way when handling important issues. Put God first and ask Him to help you to prioritize your day. Expect your renewed mind to begin to clarify things and work through the issues of your day.
Don’t be afraid to make the transition you need to make. If you don’t your productivity (fruitfulness) will wane. You cannot operate very long in more than one season at the same time. Don’t keep trying to grow tomatoes and corn in Ohio in January. Move on. There is a time and season for all things. Nature teaches us this. Focus on where God has you right now and expect His grace to guide you during this time. Expect success as you use the strength and faith He has given you and continue to tap into the power of focus. Amen.
The Blessed Person
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you, in whose heart are the highways to Zion. As they go through the Valley of Baca they make it a place of springs..” (Ps. 84:5-6)
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.” (Gal. 3:13-14)
God wants to bless you. Jesus died so that you and I can be blessed. The scripture above declares that He was cursed that we might be blessed. The blessing of Abraham was tremendous and far-reaching (Gen. 12:2-3). Even today, those who are Christ’s are heirs of the promises made to Abraham (Gal. 3:29).
God wants us to be happy in this life more than we ever likely realize. He wants us, however, to find our happiness in Him. He desires to be the source of our happiness. He is truly all we ever really need (Col. 2:10).
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Ps. 16:11)
Not everyone wants God’s blessings though. Some resist His presence in their lives. Some people want His blessings but don’t want Him. Some want the blessings but are unsure of what a life that is blessed by God really looks like. Psalm 84 gives us a good picture of what it looks like to be blessed by God in this life.
Some think they can’t be blessed because of their past. Psalm 84 was written by those who could have come up with excuses for not following God or not expecting His blessings in their lives. I love that this psalm was written by the “Sons of Korah.” Korah was an influential leader of a major rebellion against Moses and Aaron and was subsequently judged by God because of it (Num. 16:2, 28-35, Jude 11). Yet this did not destroy the destiny and potential for blessing, and for being a blessing, that his young sons possessed and exercised later (Num. 26:9-11). Many of his distant descendants chose a different path from that of their rebellious forefather. They chose the path of praise rather than the path of rebellion (1 Chronicles 6:31-38). The “Sons of Korah,” who wrote Psalm 84, penned about 25 of the psalms we have in our Bible. Also worth noting, several generations after Korah, the mighty prophet Samuel also came from this line. Thus, those who wanted God were granted the grace to walk with Him and to have His blessings in their lives. I believe the same thing holds true for today.
Nonetheless, some folks want to have a relationship with God and want His blessings but have stumbled in their walk of faith because they have gone through a valley on their journey to the city of God (Matt. 13:21). A valley is a metaphor for a difficult time or experience. In the following pages we shall explore some aspects of a life that is blessed by God through Jesus Christ as seen in Psalm 84 and encourage each reader to enter into every aspect of it regardless of the difficult times we all face on our journey in this life.
“I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” (Song of Solomon 2:1)
If you are a believer, now is the time to realize what Christ has already accomplished for you in His atonement (2 Cor. 6:2). Now is the time for you to become conscious of the blessings God has already provided for you to receive in this life while you continue to trust Him for eternal life. Many folks don’t expect God’s blessings in their life. They think they cannot receive God’s blessings now but that they are for eternity only. However, I believe that God has many blessings for His children to receive in this life also. I challenge you early in this book to commit yourself to walking in the abundant life that Christ came to give to each of us (Jn. 10:10).
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” (Eph. 1:3-14)
“Bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing that comes from heaven.” (Eph. 1:3, CEB)
We surely have an eternity of blessings awaiting us in the ages to come. But we also have many blessings that can be ours even in this life. God will certainly be with us throughout all of eternity. He is nonetheless with us all the way until the end of the age also (Matt. 28:20). With the Father watching over us, Jesus praying for us, and the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, we can walk through this life enjoying all of the abundant blessings He has for us in this present time.
“May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Pet. 1:2-5)
Why not open your heart and life to a relationship with Jesus Christ today? Realize that God wants to bless you. Make a commitment to know Him more and watch His grace make all things new in your life. Pastor Tom