2016-11: Looking Back, Looking Forward
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Looking Back, Looking Forward

“‘Go over before the ark of the Lord your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, “What do these stones mean?” tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel for ever.’” — Joshua 4:5-7

As one year closes and another opens, many of us begin a reflection process. In Joshua chapter 4 we read that the Lord instructed Joshua to do something that would focus the Israelites as they looked back, in order to look forward.

After God had miraculously parted the Jordan river to allow the people to safely cross, under the Lord’s direction Joshua instructed a number of men to take up stones from within the river and set them up on the other side. God said these stones were to serve as memorial stones, reminding future generations of the greatness of the Lord and what He had done. The stones served as a reminder that the God Who was faithful in their past, would be faithful to them in the future. The same is true for us as we transition from one year to another.

However, when we look back it’s important that we do so in order to glorify our God Who has been faithful in the past, and not so as to glorify the things of the past. We are to focus on the Master, not the methods. When we focus on methods, there’s an emphasis placed upon what we did. We erroneously think if we can replicate what we did at that time, then maybe we’ll have the same result now. However, when we replicate a method, sadly, those stones can become stumbling blocks instead. Our Master desires that we reflect upon Him, rejoicing in Who He is and what He did, realising afresh that without Him we can do nothing of worth. Memorial stones are meant to point to the Person, not a program or policy or procedure.

Sadly, oh how often is it our temptation is to try to do things ourselves! We have an inherit independent spirit, passed down by Adam. When we are born again however, we are adopted into Christ’s family and receive a new nature — Christ’s nature. As God’s children, we are co-heirs with Jesus, and we become part of the great heritage of God, receiving those things only He can give. While we may acknowledge our dependence upon God when we quieten our spirit, isn’t it interesting that as soon as we step into our regular lives, and into particular circumstances, our old independent spirit rises up within us again? Like a defiant toddler, we cry: “Me! Mine! I do it!” That independent spirit may masquerade as fear, pride, stubbornness, a sense of ‘I should have this together by now’, insecurity, rejection… until… God…

I like how Eugene Petersen puts Romans 12:1 in the Message: “So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you…” (Rom 12:1a MSG) God helping us! Oh such a relief. One of the most effect-ive, most spiritual prayer we can pray is “God, help!”. We don’t have to do this thing on our own. We don’t have to know all the answers. 

I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Spirit and what He brings: His grace — His supernat-ural ease to do something that would require huge effort in the natural, or as a friend quoted to me recently: “A divine infusion of God’s enablement to accomplish that for which we are born to do.” (Ray Hughes “Boundless Grace) He also provides transformational power — one which takes our meagre offerings, making them into something profound and precious, and enabling us to develop and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. Through His Spirit we can access His ability to take over our inability; draw on His strength to overtake our inadequacies; and obtain His wisdom, to bring direction and guidance for our questions and decisions and problems.

In my time with the Lord recently, I was reminded that great things and moves of God throughout history are born out of prayerfulness, watchfulness, and ‘wait-fulness’. As you look back to look forward, I encourage you to ask God to remind you of places in your past where He ‘showed up’ — times when you recognised Him immediately, times when you didn’t. Then praise Him. Ask Him to help you remember that the God Who has been faithful before, is faithful now, and will be as you continue onward.  

As you seek to move forward, whether it be as an individual, a family, or in business or vocation, may I encourage you that: “it is not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord.” (Zach 4:6) It’s doing, behaving and being out of the promise and power available to us, because of our heritage and inheritance in and through Him.


May our Master be made manifest in and through our lives. Amen.

 
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For more on Belinda Tigell Ministries, including her books, album and blogs, vist belindatigellministries.com. Order BTM products from www.belindatigellministries.bigcartel.com

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