October 7

Philippians 3

We live one beautiful life. With this life, God wants us to keep moving from one level of His glory to another level of glory, becoming more and more like Christ. This life is filled with seasons and months and years. When summer is over, I get out my sweater, boots, and scarves, and I enjoy the fall – the apple cider, the leaves changing, going to football games. If I’m in fall, but my focus in on summer, then I’m going to miss out on the great things fall has to offer. I’m now in a season of life where I have grandchildren and an empty nest. If I keep my focus on what life was like when my kids were small, I’m going to miss out on the adventures I can be having today. My brother passed away over twenty years ago. I miss him, but I know he would be the first one to want me to enjoy life with the people I’m with today, even if he’s not in it. If in my past I experienced failures or successes, and all I focus on is what happened yesterday, then I could miss out on the opportunities God has for me today. Can I have times where I remember my past? Of course, my past is part of what has shaped me for today, but I can’t give all of my focus to the past and fulfill my purpose today. If I miss it, I have to grieve it, let God heal it, and then move on from it. In Philippians 3, Paul mentions his past, then writes about the importance of focusing on what’s ahead. If we were to compare going through life to driving a car, we know we can’t keep moving forward by constantly looking in the rearview mirror. We can’t keep growing in God by continuously looking back at the past, whether it was successful or unsuccessful, whether it was right or wrong, whether we enjoyed it or not. We can let God do something new today. We can enjoy life today. We can grow and learn something new. Seasons in life will change. We need to love the season we are in, adapt ourselves for the season, and look for ways we can enjoy and make an impact in our season.

Isaiah 37-38

Can God change His mind? Can prophetic words be changed? In chapter 38, King Hezekiah is sick, and the prophet tells Isaiah that the Lord said that Hezekiah would die. Hezekiah was at war with Assyria, and yet he didn’t want to leave the fight. He wept bitterly when Isaiah gave him that prophetic word, but he turned away from everything and everyone and asked God to supernaturally intervene. Hezekiah reminded God that he has lived by faith and obedience, asking God for a longer life to continue to make a difference as a spiritual and governmental leader. God spoke to Isaiah and told him to go to Hezekiah with a different message. God gave Hezekiah fifteen more years to live and to lead, so yes, God changed His mind after Hezekiah prayed. Not only did God extend the king’s life and reign, but God promised to deliver Judah from her enemy. God said, “I will defend this city.” God then performed a miracle, causing the earth to rotate in the other direction, causing the sundial to change by ten degrees. God was showing Himself strong in response to Hezekiah’s prayer to serve Him. Hezekiah writes his thoughts that we read in verses 9-20, and in this writing, the king talks about how a living man can praise God and a living father can teach his children, showing us that Hezekiah wanted to use his life to finish what God had called him to do, defeat Assyria, and bring praise to God. I want to share an important spiritual truth: when we come to an end of ourselves in order to live for God, not ourselves, we can expect to experience the glory and power of the life of God. In today’s reading in Philippians 3:10 we also see this same principal, figuratively dying to self to enter into a union with Christ is the action that will also cause us to experience a resurrection power, raising us up over the effects of this fallen world. Let’s choose to yield ourselves to God and expect to see God’s power working in us and through us today!

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