Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Amazing Journey ~ by Amy Vest

Do you like journeys?  Recently I arrived home from a road trip across America with my parents.  It was a time filled with meeting with Jesus, divine appointments, incredible fellowship with friends and family, time with my parents, ministry projects in the car, and so many memories.  There are lots of stories that I could share…

Today I want to share about a hike I took in Arizona and the lessons the Lord taught me about how an earthly journey is like our journey with Him.  I am going to share it simply with stories, thoughts, verses, and pictures.  I would love to have you join me.  Do you have your tennis shoes on?

My Journey Lessons:

~ Jesus is with you every step of the journey. 
Even as I hiked, Jesus was always near me.  He is the most faithful Lord, friend, and Shepherd.  For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Fear not, I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13  We are meant to share this journey of life with Him!

~ We must be drinking of Jesus as our living water.  In the warm, dry, desert-like terrain that we were hiking in, I needed to make sure that I was drinking enough water, or I could have become dehydrated and faint.  Jesus says,
“If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.”  John 7:37  Jesus alone can quench the deep thirst of our soul.  If I would have tried to quench my thirst with anything else around me on the hike (sand, cactus, rocks), my thirst would only have gotten worse.  So, nothing but Jesus will fully satisfy the thirst of our souls.

~ Allow His Word to be your guide.  My closest friends know that I am not amazing at directions.
  Left to myself, I can get lost.  It is so much more this way with life!  God, the One who created us knows what is best for us!  He has given us His Word, the Bible, to show us how to walk for our best and His glory.  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”  Psalm 199:105

~ It is important to watch and stay on the path before you.  As I hiked, there were times when all I could do was look at the next steps of the path in front of me, to make sure that I stayed on the path and didn’t step where I shouldn’t.  A few times, I did get off of the path.  A couple of those times had not so favorable results.  The first time, I was getting off the path to get a picture by a cactus… and heard a sound like a rattle snake – I decided to get back on the path and skip the picture!  Another time, I stepped too close to a jumping cactus.  They are a type of cactus that drops balls with needles that grab onto you.  One of the balls grabbed onto my tennis shoe and I could feel it poking through to my toe.  One of my friends got it off, and I am grateful!  Ponder the path of your feet…  Proverbs 4:26  It is so important that we are following Jesus as our Guide and staying on the path that He has for us!  When we yield to temptation to step just a little off of the path, we open ourselves up to trouble.

~ Value the fellowship of others on the same journey.  I had the joy of sharing the hike with my dad and some other friends.  It is amazing how the comradery of sharing the journey makes the times you have to work harder much easier.  In the Christian walk, the Lord has given us others to share the journey with and encourage one another in our walks with Him!  And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works…”  Hebrews 10:24  Be sure that your comrades are encouraging you to a deeper walk with Jesus and not getting you off the path!

~ When you fall, receive His grace to get up.  Halfway through the hike, we came upon a rock peak with a cave at the top.  Dad and someone else decided to climb it.  I decided to follow.  The hill was pretty steep, with loose gravel and unstable rocks.  I had to balance to keep my footing.  We took a look at the cave and then started our way down.  Partway down, I slipped and fell.  I am thankful to the Lord that I didn’t get hurt badly at all – just some scrapes and bruises – and was able to get back up and hike.  In life we will have times that we stumble or fall.  The enemy wants to keep us down, dwelling on our mistakes.  Jesus wants us to receive His grace to get up and even more passionately follow Him! 
“…the righteous falls seven times and rises again…”  Proverbs 24:16

~ Learn from others who have walked this path.  As we started the hike and hiked along, we asked the people returning from the hike for advice.  At points along the path, there were piles of rocks that other hikers had left to let you know that you were on the right path.  In the journey with Jesus, it can be so helpful to receive Bible-based counsel from others who have walked with Him for longer and can share from their experience about the journey.  Always compare all advice to the Bible. 
things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us.  We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done… which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children,  that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments.”  Psalm 78:3-7
~ Treasure the joy of the journey.  Every part of the hike had a purpose.  The times when I was struggling up the mountain and breathing hard, as well as the times I was walking on flat mesas taking in the view.  Soak in every moment of the journey with Him – the joys, hard times, lessons.  Know He has a purpose in every part and embrace them all as opportunities to know Him, be shaped into His likeness, and have the chance to share Him for His glory.  Most of all, treasure the reality that He is with you.  I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  Mattew 28:20

So, friends, we all are on a journey. 

It is meant to be an amazing journey with Jesus.

You must ask yourself these questions:

Who are you walking with?  Is it with Jesus?
Are you letting your thirst be quenched by Jesus?
Is His Word guiding your steps?
Are your friendships relationships with others who will encourage you on the journey?
When you fall, are you allowing Jesus to give you His grace to get up and keep going?
Are you learning from others who have walked ahead of you on this journey?
Will you find joy in the journey of today – walking with Jesus, embracing the path before you, and allowing Him to work through them to draw you close to Him, grow you in His likeness, and use you to touch others for His glory?

I close with this verse:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.”

~ Proverbs 3:24

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