The turn back…it’s God designed

Have you ever found yourself being chased by the same thing? Maybe you thought you finally got away from that issue, but it showed up again. Now let me add to it, have you ever found yourself being chased by the same thing when you know, that you know, that you know you are being obedient to God, and doing what He asked you to? I have.

Now I am not talking about repeatedly choosing to sin. I’m talking about when you are trying to do what God wants you to do, but you keep finding yourself under a barrage of attack by the enemy. Almost as if going in circles. A lot of times when this happens we start to feel like we are stuck in a rut, or feel like we are stuck in some kind of bad cycle, and maybe even start being accused of such things.

There is an interesting little piece of text in Exodus 14:1-4 where God tells Israel to turn back. God delivers Israel from slavery in Egypt, and they are on their way to the promised land free and clear. They were moving in a direction that they would not even need to cross the red sea; however, God then tells them to turn back. He says you turn back, I am going to harden Pharaohs heart, you set up camp for about a week and allow him and his army to catch up. (you can read the whole story for full context)

I’m sure the people had some thoughts about this idea. The person they were just delivered from was going to be allowed to catch back up to them, and seemingly capture them again. I’d say they probably didn’t like the plan. However, Moses assures them that God will deliver them.

So moving through the story, God allows Israel to cross the red sea on dry ground, but he drowns Pharaoh, and his whole army. What God actually did was take Israel from being delivered to being free. As long as they were afraid and looking over their shoulder for pharaoh they would never be free. Delivered from his hand, but not free.

So here’s the thing, sometimes God has you turn back in order to thoroughly destroy the thing that keeps chasing you. You may have been delivered from an attack, but not free from the fear. God wants you to be free. More importantly, when He does these things in your life it lets everyone around you know that He is God, and it glorifies Him.

Live your life kingdom first, God really is for you! I am for you!

What cycle are you in?

From my experience there are three primary seasons that we can be in as people, and we walk in these three seasons in cycles. This means that we are always either coming out of one season, standing in one season, or going into another season. These three seasons are the season of climbing the mountain, the season of walking the ridge, and the season of coming down the mountain.

Genesis 8:22-“While the earth remains, seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.”

Mountain climbing is hard. A big enough mountain will make you feel like you will never get to the top. It will make you feel like you are always planting and never harvesting. It seems like it will always be the dark, cold, grey skies of winter, and you will never see the warm days of summer. However, if you will just continue to climb when you reach the summit you will find that the cycle of mountain climbing has made you a stronger person. Spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Walking the mountain ridge is beautiful. You get to harvest the awesome view that only the mountain top can produce. You come out of the shadow, and step into the warm beams of the sun. It feels so easy, and natural to praise God while you are walking the mountain ridge. However, if you stay on the ridge the view becomes boring, and you find that it is impossible to grow any further.

So you have to come down. You have to have the courage to climb down the jagged edge of the mountain, leave the beautiful ridge behind, and walk towards the next higher, more glorious ridge even though you know from experience that the climb is going to be hard.

You can’t climb forever with no rest, the ridge produces no growth, and you have to come down before you can get the to the top of the next mountain.

So what do you do in each one of these seasons? How do you overcome the challenges of life? I think it is safe to say that in detail there can be a lot of answers to these questions, but I will also say that I believe there is one answer to both questions. I have found in my life that the answer is to praise, pursue, and trust God.

It’s easy to praise God when you are on the ridge, but it takes true love for your Father to praise Him and not beg Him during your climb. It’s easy to pursue God when you are climbing, but it takes true love for your Father to pursue Him while you are going down. It’s easy to trust God on the ridge, but you have to know HE TRULY LOVES YOU to trust Him during the hard times when you are fighting the climb, and when you are going down.

This is another way to live the kingdom first life. You praise, pursue, and trust God regardless of how comfortable the season is that you are in.

Live your life Kingdom first!

Levi