Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Pressing Ever Forward and Onward

There are some deep things on my heart that I want to share today.

If you are not a believer, I pray that these words will draw you into the arms of the most precious One.

If you are a believer, I pray that these words will encourage you, dig into your heart deeply, but most of all, open your heart to new possibilities that Jesus Christ is waiting to give to you.

So much discussion happens this time of year about the ending of a new year and the ushering in of a new one.  I find myself, in spite of myself, reflecting, thinking, and wondering about the past year and what the new year holds.  Yet, I know that the scripture says that the mercies of the Lord are new every morning.  We should not wait until the new calendar year comes to step back and reflect.  It really should be a daily event that takes place.  Because His mercies are new EVERY morning!  What that really means is that every day, every moment really, is new in Him.  His grace and mercy are an endless fountain that never stops flowing, giving, and renewing our lives.  We should not wait for the end of a calendar year, or the beginning of a new one to stop and drink from that fountain.  It is ours for every moment and every day!

A resolution made at the beginning of a calendar year most often falls by the wayside, trampled by the messy business of life.  The dear Lord has shown me in recent years that His mercy and grace are available for me, every moment of every day... and I do not need to wait for a new calendar year to feel I have a new and clean slate.  Today, right now, whenever and wherever you are... you can have a new slate in Christ Jesus!  His love never stops pouring out, reaching, cleansing, and changing us into His image.  What a joyful thing to know this!  I don't need a new year's resolution.  I just need Him.  I just need more of all that He has to offer... His grace is sufficient!

So, in recent years the Lord has undertook a great work in my heart teaching me that above else, I must follow Him, and not follow the forms, fashions, and traditions of men.  It seems that whenever the traditions of men would beckon to me, I would hear the voice of the Lord calling me to come closer to HIM, and to walk a different path.  And I've learned such beautiful lessons along the way, that following Him should cause all of us to walk a different path than the mainstream world around us.  He is calling us out, beyond, and above all that the flesh and its desires would have around us.

Jesus is calling each of us to walk in places that seem fearful to the natural heart. 

Our dear Lord is daily calling all of us who have believed on Him... to press ever forward, and onward, as we follow Him.  This is not a journey for the faint of heart.  He is calling us to tread in places that our natural mind and heart shrink from ~ and fear.

You see, the greatest thing that the Lord Jesus wants to deliver us from is fear ~ fear of man, fear of what other's will think, fear of the unknown, fear of ______ (you can fill in the blank!)

I've asked the Lord why suffering and pain are an inherent part of the gospel and following Him.  After all, one need only read the book of Acts, and the gospels, to understand how true this is.  Great trials and suffering always accompanied the greatest miracles and blessings of the Lord.  Why Lord, WHY?

Indeed, I've questioned this to the Lord many times.  Why does He call us and bring us to places of great difficulty?  After looking into the Word of God ... it doesn't take much reading to see just why He does this.  The greatest purpose of the Lord in our lives is to refine us by the fires of suffering, difficulty, persecution, temptation, and trouble into the vessel He desires us to become.

1 Peter 1:6-7 
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, 
though now for a season, 
if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 
that the trial of your faith 
being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, 
though it be tried with fire, 
might be found unto praise and honour and glory 
at the appearing of Jesus Christ." 

Are you facing trials, fears, disappointments, sadness, illness, misery, depression, anxiety, financial struggles?  Are you holding onto those things hoping that you can at least keep control on these things if you keep worrying, and struggling with them? Or have you surrendered them to the Lord, and laid them on the altar for keeps?

One thing I have learned in this journey of pressing in, onward, and ever forward is that the greater my surrender in being obedient to the voice of the Lord, the greater the outward struggles and persecutions will be.  It really is so.  I need to count on it, expect it, and open my heart to it.

Are you running from a difficult situation, hoping to outrun it, outsmart it, and change it?  Are you trying to control your world around you in a desperate attempt to make it what you want?  If you, as a believer, are doing this... you truly are thwarting and rendering silent the incredible blessings of the Lord in your life!  It really is a truth that upsets the apple cart of your life.  It certainly has mine!

If you really want to unlock and open the windows of heaven in your life... then may I suggest allowing the peace of God - which passeth understanding - to take your problems, your heaviness, your difficulties, and look at them in a different light.  These things which are troubling you, these fears which are binding you... these things could be the "trial of your faith" that the Lord is allowing in your life... being much more precious than of gold that perisheth... why? ... though your faith be tried with fire, that it might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ!

The very thing you are struggling with may be the very thing that the Lord is using to polish and perfect you so that your faith will be found with praise and honor at His appearing!

Today, I know the Lord is saying simply... trials and sufferings may be allowed, for the present time, because they polishing and cleansing us, preparing us, and making us into the vessels He has designed us to be.

Don't look at this new year as another year to write a resolution, only to see it fall by the wayside in the midst of life that gets in the way of keeping it.

Instead.... seek Him.  Search after Him.  Long for Him.  Put your life into his hands, truly... just do it. Let the fears and worry go, and trust that His Grace is sufficient for you today.  Don't let the fears of tomorrow overwhelm you.  Don't let the failures and mistakes of your past haunt you.  Accept the fact that difficulties, pain, sorrow and suffering may just be your portion today... but if it is, His grace can and WILL BE sufficient!  Look to Jesus... in Him you will find all you need for this year, this month, this day, this hour, this moment, this second... right now!  His grace is sufficient... trials may come and go... but His Grace is what you can depend on, no matter what you are facing!

If you are struggling with a burden that seems too heavy to carry, just understand that it is not yours to carry.  It is His, and His alone.  Don't try to fix it.  Don't try to change it.  Change your thinking, and accept it, look at it as a joyful thing that is changing you, perfecting you into the vessel He wants you to be.

It is a mindset change, a different way of thinking, a wonderful lifestyle of living that will make this difference.  Trust Jesus. Accept that impossibilities and miracles walk hand in hand.  Believe it. And trust Jesus for all that you need.  He is sufficient!

As I write this, the tears are falling softly as I write, because I know that many of you, my precious readers, if not all of you, are facing some impending difficulty or situation in your life that seems immense and overwhelming.  But the Lord has shown me time and again, that it is in those very difficult moments, that His grace and peace come, and He is sufficient.  I hear Him saying this to you today... as clearly as He is saying it to me... press onward, forward, and in to me.  Come unto Me.  My grace is sufficient for whatever and wherever you are.

He is sufficient! 

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  1. Yes, I certainly am facing a difficult situation and I so needed to read your inspiring words right at this very minute. I have asked God if He is allowing this situation as a test for me. I'm trying my best to trust in Jesus, and to pray.

    1. Oh dear Kitty, I will be praying for you! One thing I have learned is that in the midst of immense difficulty, sometimes it is hard to pray or even believe, and that is where other believers come in and pick up the load and carry it for you in prayer. I will pray for you, and believe that the Lord will bless you, be with you, and that His Peace and Grace will be sufficient for you in this situation. He is able!

      Appreciate your visit today, and will continue to keep you in my prayers! The Lord knows, cares, and will provide! :)

  2. Dear Sister In Christ, This is a timely word as even myself have faced difficult trials. But as your post mentioned, I layed my burdens on the Lord and I trust His direction and I do what I can to be submitted to His will for my life! Really a wonderful and powerful word! Thank You so much for sharing!!
    Love, Roxy

    1. Roxy, thank you so much for sharing how you've learned to trust the Lord with your burdens! Indeed, I find myself "relearning" this lesson over and over, and each time what a relief it is to let go of that "thing" and just trust the Lord with it. He always works it out in a unique way that I could never have imagined, and so it is really best to just leave it with Him.

      Would you pray for Kitty (she just replied above you to my post). She is facing a difficult situation, and I know that you are a faithful prayer warrior and will pray for her. I've learned that we as believers can encourage and pray for each other, and even in "blogland" I've experienced the healing and miraculous power of prayer.

      My love and appreciation goes out to you dear Roxy, you are indeed my Sister in Christ... praying the Lord blesses your dear heart today! :)

  3. Thank you for your beautiful post. Sometimes we must lay the same burdens down every morning and just rest in Him. The burdens may never change or go away but we can find strength and joy in Christ.

    1. Yes, so very, very true dear Gina! His grace is sufficient, but it doesn't always mean the burden is removed or changed. Yet, He gives us what we need each day, and His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses! What an incredible thought!

      Thank you for sharing your encouraging thought today. I pray the Lord continues to bless and pour out His spirit in your life in a beautiful way! :)

  4. Can I say how timely our Lord uses each one of us to encourage each other and build each other up in His Word? Our situation is different for each one of us, yet as long as we keep our eyes on Him, fixed completely on Him, the fear diminishes. Thank you for sharing. ... Much love, mari

    1. Yes, indeed! Keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, perhaps the most important thing we can do on a daily basis! Praying for you dear friend, that you will soon find answers and a solution to the difficulty you are facing with your physical body, but rejoicing over what the what Lord is doing in your heart and life! Many hugs and prayers for you!

  5. Beautiful reminder...His grace will be sufficient for all we face this coming year and always. Thank you for this timely and encouraging post. I like what Gina said above....sometimes we must lay the burden repeatedly at the cross and just keep finding our needs met in Christ.
    I appreciate the thoughts you shared today.
    Hugs from Shirley

    1. I like what Gina said too! His grace is always sufficient, but many times we need to be reminded to lay our burdens back down, we want to keep carrying them. I appreciate your visit so much, dear friend!

  6. Oh, dear friend! I LOVE all of your posts...but, this has to be my favorite one you've ever written! Such a timely message for today...for me...for each of us, individually. No heart is without sorrow, no life free from some sort of pain. And to know that we have a GOD Who is winnowing our path and allowing only what HE deems best for us is a great comfort. Your reminder that our trials are not random, but Divinely ordered by Him, makes the suffering more bearable. Only the dear Lord truly knows what each one is going through, but He is the God of ALL comfort...whatever type of comfort we each one need. I can't thank you enough for sharing straight from your heart...this post just really, really ministered to me. You, dear friend, are a consistent blessing in my life, and I thank God for you and for allowing our paths to cross. May He bless you abundantly!

    1. You are such a dear! I appreciate your words dear Cheryl... but I can assure you I simply wrote the things the dear Lord was speaking to my heart... things that I need to be reminded of too! I am learning that it is a change of thinking that makes the difference in a situation, and learning to recognize things that turn my eyes and focus away from the Lord instead of to Him. It is a beautiful thing though, to look to Him, instead of at the situation! You are such a blessing to me too, and the messages and encouragement you share on your blog always minister to me too! I consider myself so very blessed to count you as a friend, and pray the Lord's sweetest blessings on your life today and every day! :)

  7. I love reading your posts. They are refreshing and enlightening. People don't share their thoughts on faith so readily where I live. I think it'd be nice to chat about it.

    1. That is so sad that people are not readily willing to share their thoughts on faith. Your thoughts are always welcomed here, I would love to chat anytime with you, and I do mean that! :) I think we can learn so much from each other and be an encouragement through the difficult situations that come our way. I know this is a year of change and excitement for you, and I look forward to reading more about it! Have a blessed and marvelous day my friend :)

  8. A beautiful message from a beautiful soul. It's so apparent that you walk in the Spirit, my friend. Thanks for sharing your God-given wisdom with us. Christ is, indeed, sufficient. In every way. Hugs, Nancy

    1. He is sufficient, oh so very much so... we just have to let Him be our sufficiency, and not try to take His job from Him {smiles}. Thank you for your sweet words dear Nancy, but I can assure you that the things I write were things He is teaching, and I am learning... but I love this journey, and wouldn't trade it for anything in this world!

      Appreciate you Nancy, and loved your shared thoughts about the new year as well. May the Lord continue to bless and lead you closer, ever closer to Him! :)

  9. This is such a beautiful post! A friend shared a photo quote on Facebook the other day that simply said...Grace Upon Grace...with a reference to John 1:16. I'd never looked at that verse before. It says - From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. NIV Grace has been such an important part of my life the past 18 months as I watched my dear bother suffer and die from Melanoma Cancer. He was a believer as is his whole family and the grace they carried was amazing. Their faith in God shone through. I have learned to pray for grace for myself and for others who are going through situations beyond their control. Thank you for sharing your faith in your blog and in this post. I've only followed you for a short time and am blessed to 'know' you. May you be blessed today and every day in the year ahead with God's amazing grace.
    Hugs, Pam

  10. Oh Pamela, such a tough, painful situation to walk through, but with His Grace there through it all, I'm so thankful to hear that His Grace made a difference! Even in the darkest most difficult situations, when it comes in such a beautiful way as you've described, what an incredible thing that is. Indeed His Grace come to us in the moments we need it most, and I've learned that it is sufficient for today, and only today. We can't peer into tomorrow, for His grace is not for tomorrow, but just like the fresh manna that fell on the ground for the Israelites, it is only sustaining for today. It is a beautiful thing to know that we can open our hearts to Him TODAY and accept all He has for us today, and His grace is sufficient for today. Oh it is a beautiful lesson, and I pray the Lord continues to bless your dear heart for Him! I've truly enjoyed getting to "know" you too, and such a precious friend you are already to me! Praying the precious blessings of the Lord for you TODAY :)

  11. What a wonderfully written post! The beginning of a new year is usually the time folks stop and ponder the year ahead, make their resolutions and plans. But I also believe that His mercies are new every morning and now, indeed every day, is the time to stop and ponder life and to ask Him for guidance and walk in the good way. 2015 was a hard year for our family and continues to be. The death of a loved one and other painful situations have tried to rob me of my joy but I will hang on to Him and trust that He will work it all out according to His will. I don't understand why these trials are taking place but I do trust Him. It is when we are in the valley that we grow. I pray that we will all be stronger and wiser when the trials are over. Thank you for sharing and God bless you for doing so.


    1. Thank you Sandi for your kind words, and I'm glad they blessed your heart! I've tried to make resolutions myself and always faltered with them, but after beginning to understand that the mercies of the Lord are new every day, I know I don't have to wait now for a specific time of year for that kind of thinking, I can start today :)

      I'm so sorry to hear about your difficult year in 2015. Losing a loved one, oh so difficult to walk through... but truly Jesus does become our strength when we face these kind of things, and I can't imagine not knowing Him, walking through these difficult times in our lives. I pray and believe with you that this year will be a time of growing deeper into Him, stronger and wiser indeed!

      I appreciate you and the lovely blog space you have, it has been such a joy this year to get to know you better! Praying that the Lord will bless and encourage you today, and every day through this year! Hugs and love! :)


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