Psalm 37:23-24 (NKJV)
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the Lord upholds him with His hand.
The steps of a good man (or woman) are ordered by the Lord. This can be a hard pill to swallow at times if one has faced hardship or difficult situations in life. Why would the Lord allow us to go through such things if He indeed is pursuing us with unfailing love and goodness all of the time? How can it be that bad things happen to good people? We live a perfectly imperfect life. The Lord knew of our rebellion before each of one of us came into being and provided the Way for us to return to right standing with God and enter His Kingdom again. This did not change the Law of the Kingdom or the mandates for residence. It simply gave us access to that which sin denied. No one can come to the Father except through Jesus Christ. (John 14:6)
When traveling from state to state, the rules and regulations of each state must be known and followed. They apply to me even though I am not a resident of that state. To think that we can be Children of God and live in His Kingdom yet remain headed toward sin and darkness are a lie that many have subscribed to. Jesus gave us simple and straightforward instructions on how to walk in His Way and enter His Kingdom to live there forever. I decide my destiny. I choose where I will go. This will definitely impact the situations that I face, circumstances I encounter and some of the trials I will go though. It will also dictate the outcome of my situation, circumstance and trial.
Life can be hard. Sometimes faith is harder than reality because the perception of the impossible becoming possible just seems too good to be true. How will we know if we do not try? I have been to places far from home for vacation. I have been to the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. Loved them all. We recently went to Mexico but it was not my favorite. We are free to travel the world and roam from place to place physically and spiritually in life. The Lord gives us the freedom to choose destinations much like any other airline. We can take His Advice or go rogue on our own. If we do not follow Christ, we must not expect His Outcomes yet many times we do. He is a Good Father. He provides all that we need. It is hidden in His Way and found in obedience.
Matthew 21:1-5 (NKJV)
Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.’”
In honor of Palm Sunday honoring the Triumphant Entry the week preceding the Cross, let’s talk about the donkey and her colt for a moment. Jesus sent two disciples to go to the village where they would find a donkey and colt tied there. Take them and bring them back to me. If anyone says anything, just tell them the Lord needed them. Imagine going to the neighborhood next to you, finding an unlocked car with the keys in it, and borrowing it without asking the owner. Would you do it? What if that’s what Jesus told you to do? Now the Lord would never tell us to steal something, but He did borrow the donkey and her colt. Since God’s Word tells us not to steal, I am absolutely positive that the disciples returned them soon after. God can ask us to do some uncomfortable things sometimes, but let’s look for just a moment at what just happened here.
Prophesied in Zechariah 9:9, it was foretold that Jesus would come into Jerusalem riding on a donkey a colt the foal of a donkey. Now how did Jesus know that the donkey and foal would be in the next town? It’s not like there was cellular service or email back then. A messenger would have clearly drawn attention. God prepared and ordered the steps of His Son, Jesus all the way to Calvary into the grave and right back out of it to bring Salvation to the world. Not a single step in the process could be missed and still derive the same outcome. Jesus had to fulfill each prophesy given about His Life in order to validate His Identity as Messiah or Son of the Living God. As we walk the Way that God ordained for us, His Provision is revealed to us and so is His Protection. It is in full obedience that we discover the full potential and purpose of the Lord in our life. What has been prophesied over you today? Has it come to pass? Are you walking in His Ways? Are you following all His Instructions? Are you willing to wait and be patient?
Mark 6:8-12 (NIV)
These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent.
Our travels with five children have made me an over-planner and over-packer. I attempt to anticipate every single need of my husband and all the kids whenever we would venture out of town. Every single item of clothing and shoes for all kinds of weather anticipating all activity far in advance. I would pack every remedy for the most minor affliction to just short of calling an ambulance. Packing foods and drinks to avoid hangry and grumpy people. I had enough supplies to sustain in a disaster zone be it hurricane to blizzard. Why? I love my family. I wanted them to be satisfied lacking nothing that they desired. Do I really need to say it? How much more does our Father care for us? (Matthew 7:9-11)
Jesus was clear in His Instructions. The disciples had a successful mission’s trip. Let’s talk about what His Instructions were and possibly why He gave them to His Men. First take nothing for the journey except a staff. In Psalm 23:4, it talks about the comfort of the rod and staff. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…I will fear no evil. The disciples definitely had something to be concerned about sharing their message. The Word of God sent them. It would lead them as a staff. Keep them true as a rod. Obedience begins with the Word of God as our compass in life. We must follow its leadership in all things.
Wear sandals but not an extra shirt. There could be one of two messages at work in this directive. First, we are to walk in the Gospel of Peace. (Ephesians 6:12-14) Also we are not to carry the worries of life with us such as what we will eat or wear, but trust the Lord. In either case, God does not want us to carry the burden of conflict or cares while we walk through life ministering His Word, Will and Way to others. We must trust Him more.
Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. This could again point back to walking in peace, love and unity as to leave might imply ill care or conflict with the owner or residents. Or perhaps, the disciples were just to be confident in their refuge being of the Lord not man. Psalm 91:1-2 says, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Maybe the Lord was simply reminding them (and us) that it really doesn’t matter where we live or lay our head at night, as long as we are doing His Will and walking His Way that He is with us. We can trust Him.
Finally, and if any place will not welcome you or list to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them. Do not take offense. Do not become bitter or hard hearted in this life. Plain and simple. “A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11) “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32) And finally…His Grace is enough for us. We do not need the acceptance, approval or affirmation of any other if we allow His Grace to become more than enough.
Ephesians 4:17-19 (NIV)
So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Have we lost all sensitivity? On these days leading up to Easter, I am compelled to evaluate my commitment to walk in Godly Instruction each day. Do I do what the Word of God tells me to do line by line and precept by precept? It is futile to think that I can live any way that I choose and still have God’s Promises in my life. If there are areas not lining up, it is up to me to do so if I want His Word to come to pass in my life. If we become callous, comfortable or complacent in certain areas, it will become desensitized. There are many things that I “can” do and maintain my salvation. Those same things are not necessarily beneficial. This is where knowledge turned to wisdom keeps us walking the way that we should be to have all of God’s Provision and Promises in our life. How will I know God’s Way if I do not read and study the instructions? I cannot put together all those some assembly required things without the instructions? What makes me think I can be fully redeemed without knowing God’s Plan? He tells me in explicit detail. He speaks to me in prayer. He guides me with His Spirit. He tells me in His Word. To walk ignorantly through life leads to uncertain destinations. To follow Jesus leads me straight to the Father.
I Thessalonians 4:1-2 (NIV)
As for other matters, brothers and sisters, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
There are many Christians and believers out there who do not do as instructed. Missing out on God’s Best, having no idea what they are losing through ignorance, disobedience, and a lack of communication with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. The next six verses talk about many sins not only prevalent in society and the church. God did not call us to live an impure life but a holy one. (Verse 7) To reject such a life and choose not to follow His Instructions is rebellion. It is not because the devil made us do it because truthfully the enemy has absolutely no power or authority in us or over us unless we hand it over to him. To walk blindly through life is not faith when we have the Word of God to lead us, strengthen our faith, educate our mind and soften our heart. I want the Authority and Power that Jesus Christ handed me along with the Keys to His Kingdom. I will honor His Sacrifice by living a holy life. Lord, show me any and all areas that have deviated from Your Instructions today so I can right my way. I repent of any sin or rebellion that has detoured me off course. I want to walk with You and trust You more and more each day so that I can live from Glory to Glory professing Your Great Name. Let your Word be the rod and staff that guide me. May Your Word shod my feet in the Gospel of Peace. You are my Refuge and Strength. I will trust you now and in my time of need. Lord, guard my heart and mind against offense jerking clean any root of bitterness threatening my soul. Lord may I follow Your Instructions today…all of them as they are life to me.
Proverbs 3:13-18 (NIV)
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.