Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)
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. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.
It’s that time of year! “Santa Claus is coming to town” or at least that’s what we keep telling our kids getting them all hyped up for Christmas morning. Meanwhile, adults try to finish the year with the added stress of the holiday season. I know, I know it shouldn’t be stressful but it is. After a crazy year with all the twists and turns our family has faced, I really believed that this holiday season would be the best ever. I even proclaimed it to the world on Facebook so it had to be true right? Well, the enemy heard what I was up to with all the faith and optimistic talk so he has worked overtime to throw a monkey wrench in my plans. Work has kicked into overdrive, the lists just keep remaking themselves, it seems like one thing gives birth to ten more as I just try to finish this year on a high note. I found words of wisdom in Proverbs. Instructions on where to go from here. Simple and straightforward, I want to walk in the Truth but the distractions in this life can be so overwhelming. Detours are invitations to be delayed in route. Disappointment is a lingering fear as I try to make this the best Christmas ever. Look straight ahead. Fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet. Stay on the “safe” path. Don’t get sidetracked. (That’s a good one.) Keep your feet (mouth, eyes and ears) from evil. Got it. God help me to make it through this season and into the next.
“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” used to be one of the Christmas shows watched and enjoyed by our children. Who knew that valuable wisdom would be hidden in the crazy animation that was years before it’s time? Kris Kringle sings to the Winter Warlock about changing his nasty ways and it goes like this:
Put one foot in front of the other…and soon you’ll be walking across the floor. You put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door.
You never will get where you’re going if ya never get up on your feet. Come on, there’s a good tail wind blowin’ a fast walking man is hard to beat.
If you want to change your direction, if your time of life is at hand, don’t be the rule, be the exception a good way to start is to stand.
Who would think something so profound could be found in a simple Christmas special? But if you think about it, it really is a good bit of advice and lines up with the Word of God for our life today. In a season to be celebrated, it is sad to think how many people become overwrought and overwhelmed in the revelry. It’s true. As believers, we have more to celebrate than anyone else because love came down to rescue us. This marks the first day of our new beginning and we have everything to celebrate because our life is now completely subject to change. But we must change our direction, mark a new path, but first we must learn to stand.
Hebrews 12:10-13 (NLT)
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way. So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.
Coming to Christ changes our expectation in life, but many times we do not consider the change of direction that we must take to have this new life. God is not Santa Claus. He is God. It is up to us to mark out a straight path for our feet so that we will not fall but become strong again. Discipline is to train by instruction. Punishment is different. Our parents often use punishment to redirect behavior that is not modified by instruction. However, God uses discipline. He gives us His Word to redirect our life and have all that He promised. We align our life with the Word of God and things will begin to change. We will begin to see the miracles, signs and wonders that we hoped for become a reality in our life. It is all about the Word of God coming to pass. We must walk in the Word. Such activity will create an uprising on the inside of us as our old man does not want to give way to the new creation that we are becoming. So the battle begins. All we can do is begin to walk step by step in the Word of God line by line and precept by precept. This will create change in our life for the better and the Promises of God will be ours.
Proverbs 8:22-31 (NLT)
“The Lord formed me from the beginning, before he created anything else. I was appointed in ages past, at the very first, before the earth began. I was born before the oceans were created, before the springs bubbled forth their waters. Before the mountains were formed, before the hills, I was born—before he had made the earth and fields and the first handfuls of soil. I was there when he established the heavens, when he drew the horizon on the oceans. I was there when he set the clouds above, when he established springs deep in the earth. I was there when he set the limits of the seas, so they would not spread beyond their boundaries. And when he marked off the earth’s foundations, I was the architect at his side. I was his constant delight, rejoicing always in his presence. And how happy I was with the world he created; how I rejoiced with the human family!”
Jesus is the Word of God. (John 1:14) To follow Jesus is to follow the Word and to do the Word means to follow Jesus – there is no separation between God’s Word and His Son. If we want the fullness of what Jesus has to offer, then we must do what the Word of God says to have it. If we align our life with His Word, then we will live in agreement with Jesus Christ which promotes love, joy and peace in our everyday existence. Nothing can separate us from God’s Love. (Romans 8:35-37) Victory belongs to those who choose to never be separated from God’s Love whose name is Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. If you walk in the Word, you will always win. If you follow Jesus, He leads us from victory to victory. We just have to take a stand and then put one foot in front of the other. This is not a sprint but a marathon from now until the end of our natural life when we step into eternity to live with Him forever.
So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about. He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone. God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him.”
Paul noticed an altar marked “To the Unknown God”. I wonder how many people worship at that altar today. God wants all mankind to know Him. He sent His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that we could be reunited with Him. God desires us to have knowledge and understanding of Who He is and What He desires in us. His Word clearly and definitely gives us the markings and boundaries for our life to walk in His Presence. But only those who WANT to know Him will actually take time to study the Word and use it to mark the straight path for their life. If you want all that God has for you, you must mark a straight path according to His Word, Will and Way to have all that He promised. Otherwise, you will live a life of frustration in wanting something that you cannot have. God has no need of us. God wants us. Think about that for a minute especially in the time of year when we try to give until it hurts to consider the One True God who want to give us everything for nothing in return. He just wants us!
Romans 8:26-30 (NLT)
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
I woke up this morning with worry circling my thoughts, today is going to be a busy day. It was 2:00 AM and I tried to “will” myself back to sleep which resulted in about three hours of tossing and turning. The enemy has been working overtime to try to stop me. He want to steal my joy. Convince me I am not loved. He is determined to destroy my peace. Well, I refuse to let him do it. We fought too hard to make it here and I intend to keep walking in the Word, following Jesus and giving Glory to His Name. Today may be a tough one, but I am promised victory if I mark a straight path using His Word, fix my eyes on the prize that is before me, keep my feet on the straight path not chasing after all the stupid distractions I am offered, but determine to stay in the safety of His Refuge. I will not get sidetracked with worry, doubt, fear, stress or anxiety which are totally contradictory to the faith that I have in you Lord. I know that God is good all the time. I must walk in that wisdom today even when the outlook is not good. The Holy Spirit will help me in my weakness. God will make everything work out for my good because He loves me and I am called according to His Purpose. God knew me from the beginning. He created me for this moment. I will win if I just put one foot in front of the other.
Ephesians 2:13-14 (NLT)
But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us.
Colossians 1:19-23 (NLT)
For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it. Don’t drift away from the assurance you received when you heard the Good News. The Good News has been preached all over the world, and I, Paul, have been appointed as God’s servant to proclaim it.