Blog by Cherese Jackson
Based on a message spoken by Pastor Sharon Kelly at Wave Sisters
There is little that I enjoy more than a warm day, open sunroof, and some great music as I hit the road. In fact, as soon as I was old enough to drive, I was always ready for an on-the-road adventure. Once navigation systems came on the scene I was in Heaven. I could punch in an address and be guided to my destination. However, to be honest, it took me some time to become acclimated to the voice telling me what to do. Especially those times when I made a wrong turn and I would hear the dreaded “re-routing”. I will admit at times I would argue with the system declaring I know the way. Only to be humbled by the response that I was off route.
On life’s journey, we navigate through all types of paths. Some are well lit, and others are darker with the inclusion of potholes, weeds, thorns intertwined with roses, and a host of other blessings and challenges. We would love to think we always make the right choices and never swerve to the other side. Truth is, there are many times along the journey that we will find ourselves needing the grace to find our way back to the path called “right.”
I suppose Peter felt an inner struggle as he found his way as a new disciple of Jesus. That is what I call pressure! Given to impulse and shooting off at the mouth, a trait many can closely relate to, Peter was an “act first, think later” kind of person. There are several instances where Jesus outright challenged Peter to get beyond himself and follow the path.
Luke 22:33-34 NIV
Peter says to Jesus, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.” Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
Luke 22:60:62 NIV
Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed. The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
If we are not careful, we will find ourselves leaning toward our own sense of direction, all the while ignoring the GPS warning us that we are off the path. Life has a way to distract us with the busy-ness of things. Somehow, quality time with our families and connecting with others becomes a distant priority. We have often veered off course and did not even notice it. The redeeming quality of the GPS is it will take you from where you are, put you back on course and ultimately to your desired destination. I love that life and God always allows us to make a U-turn. You and I are never so off our path that we cannot turn around and get back.
My amazing pastor spoke on three principle areas that may serve as a catalyst for knocking us off our paths. If we are honest, we have found ourselves in the midst of the three points on more than one occasion. Thank God for grace, it is at our disposal even when we knowingly go our own way, and its faithful companion mercy, which quickly centers us and returns us to a place of favor. Take a moment and ponder these three points and look for opportunities to avoid these detours and when necessary to quickly return to God’s route.
When we do not understand our situation, we can get off the path:
These are the times we must learn to trust God’s heart when we have no idea what His hand is doing. Remember, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. When we lack understanding in an area, we also lack faith for that situation. Understanding allows us to process information and connect with a solution.
Unprocessed offenses can get us off the path:
In life, we are going to get hurt. That is just a fact. We may not like everything that happens to us, but we can all make the decision to let it go and move on. The word “offend” literally means to be knocked “off” our “end.” We have to resolve that no matter what happens, offenses are too expensive to entertain.
When we see failure as our finality:
To think you will not have failure along the way is unrealistic. Success is simply what you have left after all your mistakes! The key is to move from failure to failure without losing our enthusiasm. We cannot allow setbacks to paralyze our efforts. Instead, we must pick ourselves up and decide to take another step.
Romans 8:28 KJV
“All things work together for the good to them that love the Lord and are the called according to his purpose.”
What this is actually saying is, there are all types of things, situations, pressures, experiences, and circumstances working together with your call, destiny, as well as the purpose and promises of God designed to bring about God’s ultimate plan for your life. Even though, at times His way crosses paths that appear devastating, we actually need rain and sun to activate the “word that is over our lives.” The encouraging thing is that even in the midst of our pressures God promises that we have an opportunity to experience peace.
John 16:33 KJV
In the world, you will have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Tribulations in the Greek mean pressures: social, economic, financial, and emotional – but what the Holy Spirit does is equalizes the pressure of life. If we experience too much pressure on the outside, we will begin to cave in or become depressed, and if we experience too much pressure on the inside, we will explode. Thankfully, God already knew the challenges we would face on our journey and has provided a way called escape. That escape is the privilege to have peace that we cannot explain nor comprehend.
With our smartphones, we never have to be disconnected from the world. This makes for safer traveling because of Google Maps and GPS. However, none of that works if we refuse to heed its direction. Our walk with God is the same way. He has promised and provided vision and the path we should go. Let us not ignore His prompting while we do our own thing. Perhaps, it may be time to check the GPS to see if you are still on the prescribed path, heading in the right direction.
Father, we look to you as the author and finisher of our faith. Thank you for the spirit of discernment as we travel through the Christian journey. We know that you orchestrate our steps and your Word lights our path. Thank you for grace and mercy which escort us back when we go off course. Help us trust you and rest in the security and certainty of Your unfailing love. AMEN