Friday, April 10, 2015

The Power of the Present

Life is a process. Each moment of life, is but a snapshot. . . a slice across the spaghetti noodle which is our journey from birth to grave. This tangled strand of our life begins in the womb of our mother, in her days and ways of pregnancy. It winds its way across far flung latitude and longitude and pages of the calendar until our soul’s departure from this world.

We are a culmination of every day. . . every breath. . . every step and experience of our past. Every meal or every lack of a meal contributes to what we are today. . . Every personal interaction. . . every experience, good or bad makes us what we are. We are unique by way of our DNA, and from our cumulative life’s experiences.

We walk on the ever changing razor’s edge of the present moment. Endlessly moving in the flow of time. Within this ephemeral passing moment, is the only power we have. We are shaped by and we reside in the result of all our yesterdays, but this past need not and indeed must not be allowed to control our tomorrows.

The Hebrew people had spent 400 years residing in Egypt, when God delivered them from that evil land. What expectation did they have. . . What knowledge could they have had of any other life or land? And yet. . . and yet. . . In the physical Jehovah delivered them. God gave the vision. . . the message. . . the mission, and most importantly the power to a man, to physically lead the Hebrew people out of Egypt and into the promised land.

The journey was not without its hardship and travail. From their familiar slave masters in the land of Egypt, they were transported to a camp of righteousness, isolated in the unknown wilderness of Sin. And in the tough times of hunger, thirst, and weariness some even wished for a return to their former land.

Though it was undoubtedly within their power to do so, for all their grumbling, it is not recorded that any of the Hebrew people actually returned to Egypt. They were delivered by their following of the man chosen by God, and by the miracle of the parting of the waters of the Red Sea. They were separated from their old lives by the distance, the hardship, and the isolation that a return journey would have entailed.

What shadow or type. . . what metaphor is there for us today. The physical lessons of the old testament are images of the Spiritual in the New Testament.

Ephesians 2:2-6
Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) (6) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

I came to God in a wrenching deliverance from my old life. . . I departed my old abode in the land of sin. I attached myself to a people living in a righteous camp. . . . I submitted to and determined to follow a man of God. . . . a man with a message and vision for the future. . .a spiritual leader who knew the path to the New Covenant promised land. I was baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of my sins, and subsequently as described several times in the Bible, God’s Spirit came to abide within me, thereby completing my rebirth.

I know the location of my former land. I could reject my deliverance and return to the flesh pots, but Jesus has taken away the power of the past over my life. I have repented of my old ways, and beyond belief. . . He has completely forgiven me. He has given me an unfettered present. My account with Him is cleared. Yes, I am still a product of my past. I carry scars. . . old emotional, physical, and spiritual wounds are still with me, and I will carry them to the end of my days. I cannot afford to give them up. They are too precious to me, for to forget the pain of Egypt, is to risk great danger in turning back to it. I must never forget the sickness and decay of that land. . .

A great gulf separates me from my old life, from my old people. . .a gulf of relationship. . . a gulf of fellowship and community. . .a gulf of joy. . . a gulf of power over those things which formerly beset me.

2 Samuel 22:29
For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.

Now my footsteps are not dictated by my past. Regardless how I came to be where I am today, the decision of direction from this point forward is my decision. God cannot make that decision for me. It is my choice. It is one road that I travel. . . that we all trave. . ., and it is a two way street. There are no byways. I can either decide to travel towards God, or I can decide to turn away from Him.

There is no standing still on this road of life. To think that you are going to rest. . . to take a timeout. . . to pull into a rest stop, and quit traveling for a time, surely is to be growing more distant from Him. We are either spiritually growing or we are dying. Like a tree, we only have those two states.

Our past is forgiven, and we are freed from it. Our future. . . our destination is assured if we stay focused and committed to each moment of our present. . . step building upon step. Not wavering. . . not looking back. . . not looking past our next step in the present. As great as the danger is in looking longingly backwards, there is a less visible, but equally fatal danger in overlooking the present and focusing on the future.

We will only arrive at our desired future, by measured and righteous steps in the present. There are no shortcuts to the future. Every breath. . . every moment. . . every step, making the right decision. . . making a correct choice. . . taking a stand that we will live for God to the best of our ability to the end of our days.

We describe ourselves as Christian’s. . . Lots of roles in life end in ‘ian.’ Some are electrician’s. . . Some are physician’s. . . Some are politician’s. . . The ‘ian’ ending means: relating to. After 5 o'clock an electrician can take off his tool belt, wash his hands, trim his fingernails, and stop being an electrician. A politician can go on a private vacation and put off the mantle of politics for a season, and so it goes, but this does not work for a Christian.

We strive to be like, and we model ourselves after the image of Christ. Never do I read in the Bible where Jesus stopped being the Messiah. . . .Never did he take a break and let his hair down so to speak. . . To be a Christian is to be a Christian. . . is to be a Christian. . . in all seasons. . . in all places. . . to all people. . . friends. . . enemies. . . neighbors. . . strangers. . . in the darkest night, we must maintain our likeness of Christ. If we allow the devil to convince us to look past the next step in our walk. . . to look past the decisions we face tonight, and to jump ahead to our returning to the path of righteousness after a small detour. . . then we will find that the land of Egypt is much much closer than we would ever have imagined.

The old fable story. . . my kingdom for a horse. Victory is in the small things. . . How many have fallen for the sake of one toke. . . one sip. . . one kiss. . .one pill. . .one lie. . .just a small sin. . . Our next step is always the most important step of our life, no matter what it might be. It is always either leading us closer to God or leading us further away from Him.

Before coming to Christ, how many times did I stop after work to have a beer. . . a single beer was on my mind. That was my intent, but many hours later. . . many beers later. . . intending only a small seemingly insignificant step, I found to my horror that I had journeyed all the way back to the land of Egypt.

Psalms 16:11
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

The old saying goes, a journey of a thousand miles begins with 1 small step. That may equally be a journey to righteousness or a journey to great evil. Ignore the present at your great peril. To overlook the small steps of today, is to risk tripping and falling.

There is immense power in the present. Power given over the past by the cleansing of the shed blood of Jesus and His forgiveness. . . Through the washing away of my sins by the blood of Jesus, and the grace and forgiveness of God, I am freed from my past. I am given a fresh and new present. . . I can gain the future by the power of the present. . .

I am forgiven. . .
I am free. . .
I am a new creature in Christ. . .

Thank you my God. . .
I love you my God. . .


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