“13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 KJV
Dear Heavenly Father –Please reveal the Kingdom of Heaven to us. Open our ears to hear what you are saying. Please open our eyes to see and open our understanding that we may know you. Please continue to pour out your grace upon us! Continually, all we want is more of you! – In Jesus name we pray, Amen
It is that time of year, when people reflect back on the year behind them and make goals and plans for the year ahead. Quite frankly we all know what we have been through in this past year – the challenges and changes, the testing and turmoil, the physical and spiritual battle of “what was that?!”
And as for plans for tomorrow? Do we not see the signs of the times? Today someone asked me if they will see me next week. All I could say was “if the Lord tarries – if not, I shall see you sooner!”
“13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: 14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. 15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” James 4:13-15 KJV
If the Lord wills. What is the will of the Lord for 2021? What is the Lord’s will for today, tomorrow, or the next day? Yesterday we say that Simeon and Anna were led by the Spirit to do the Lord’s will. Shall we commit to seeking the will of the Lord in our lives for 2021?
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Many of us know that verse. BUT have we lived it? I mean really committed ALL (every single thing) to God. He is ready to pour out His blessings and His plans and His goodness on us. Are we ready to accept it? It will not look like we expect, that is clear from the scriptures. It will be exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or think – but it won’t be our way.
The Apostle Paul found himself in a similar state of mind – let’s not look back and let’s not make plans for the future. He counted the gains of his past as loss when looking at it through the lens of the Kingdom of Heaven and eternity. His focus became a Kingdom focus and a deep relationship with God focus:
“7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” Philippians 3:7-21 NIV
Press on toward the goal of heaven. This is a deep concept, may God open your understanding to it, as Paul prayed in verse 15 that you would mature in God and God would make it clear to you. I agree in in this prayer with Him. Let us understand.
It is time to be so heavenly minded we are of no earthly good! The earth is no longer good, anyway, with the curse of sin – and will not understand the good that is of being heavenly minded. It is time to put our citizenship of Heaven before that of our earth, our country, or our affiliations. Wait, no! Let us be free from earthly affiliations. 2021 should be the year of the will of the Lord!
Let me shake up the order of verses 18-19: If we are focused on earthly things, the cares of this world, our fleshly desires, our way and our plans – then we are living as enemies to the cross, enemies to the work of grace accomplished on the cross, enemies to our own salvation and enemies to God! Oooof! That hits the feels! I mean, we all have those fleshly moments, I know I do! We all have our wants and desires – but it is clear here that if they are not in line with the will of God, that they lead to destruction and not to the Kingdom of Heaven. What more, our own ways will become gods to us and we will become idolaters! Shame shall be our glory.
Time to ask God to leave no rock unturned and dig out of us these plans we have made. I don’t know about you – but I want to see heaven. I do not want to find destruction. Many times this year I picked up situations and while praying like a silly girl, I made plans and handled it my own way. While other things I so easily left in the Lords hands to deal with. Guess which things failed spectacularly and which things gave glory to God?! And some are not the things you may think as the glory of the Lord has not yet been revealed in some things.
When Paul was writing to the early church (verse 20) he was eagerly awaiting the return of Christ. Here we are in the year 2020 eagerly awaiting this rapture – the meeting of Jesus in the sky – the being taken to glory so that prophesy may be fulfilled.
And in verse 21 – Paul speaks of this power that brings everything under control. The transformative power of grace. The power of heaven itself! And I speak that power for the year 2021.
We spent 2020 looking up, knowing our redemption draws near and 2021, let us call down Heaven, live heavenly minded, move in the power of Heaven and be transformed into the embodiment of the will of God. Let our relationship with God grow in such a way that people do not just see Jesus in us, but let them see Heaven and eternity – let Heaven leave its mark and plant its seeds.
Let us love like Heaven is at stake, let us pray like we are having a conversation with our Lord, and let us live as if our life depended on it – because it does.
If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ I love you and love one another
Watch and Pray ~ Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!