Do Not Miss Your Turn By Missing Your Turn. We Do Not Need Faith For What Has Happened Already; We Need Faith For What Is About To Happen. We Must Prepare For What God Is Going To Do, Not What He Has Already Done! "You Have Stayed Here Long Enough. TURN…" (Deuteronomy 2:3 TLB)
God Wants Today to Be the First Day of The Rest of Your Life, Not Just Another Day of What Your Life Has Already Been Up to Until now. This Can Be Page One of a Whole New Volume or Just Another Page of The Same Old Story. Either Way, Your Choice!
Isaiah 43:18-19, "Do not remember the things that have happened before. Do not think about the things of the past. See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening now. Will you not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (NLV)
I have been to my fair share of amusement parks both as a child and as an adult. And honestly, I have enjoyed quite a few of the rides. However, I am not a fan of the roller coaster! Oh, I will watch you on it and will scream when you scream and will laugh myself silly, but I will do every bit of that on the ground! You see, my rides on roller coasters are very few and far between! But there is this amusement park that I visited many years ago, and they had two roller coasters side by side and two lines to get to them. Over on one line was a sign that said, "Forward." Over on the other line, a sign said – yeah, you guessed it – "Backward." Either way, it was your choice. You could ride looking forward or looking backward. But you had to pick one!
The older I get, the more I realize there are two lines in life and two cars you can ride in. One says, "Forward," and the other says, "Backward." Either one you pick; it will be your choice. Frankly, I do not want to ride looking back at where I have already been. No, I would rather ride looking ahead to where I am going. I hope you do, too.
And that is what God wants for you. Do you not believe it? Just listen to the Bible: Isaiah 43:18-19; here is what it says, "Do not remember the things that have happened before. Do not think about the things of the past. See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening now. Do you do not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (NLV)
Maybe you have been riding too long looking backward. You keep rehearsing and reliving the hurt of your past, your failures, the painful losses you have experienced, and the regrets over what you have done or what you should have done or what was done to you. But that is the past, and none of it can be changed. But if you do not move beyond the pain, the anger, the bitterness, the self-pity, the grief, and the self-condemnation – if you keep dwelling on that, you will miss the part of your life that can be changed – the future.
Think about it: If you choose the roller coaster ride where you are facing backward, all you will ever see is where you have already been. And haven't you been facing that way long enough? Every time you tell a story, it is always past tense because instead of your past being a reference, you have allowed it to become a residence; my dear, that is not the purpose of your history. You are not to live in the prison of your past confined to all the people, places, and things that did not go right. Living like that is wrong! You are at the amusement park, enjoying the ride, but with no new attractions to see because you continue to choose to face the wrong way deliberately. All you see is "been there, done that, got the t-shirt." All you see is what they said and what they did, and what you did not accomplish. But that was then; this is now! And what does God say about Now? "…See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening NOW…" (NLV)
Just imagine what you are missing because you are facing the wrong way?! You see, when you ride the roller coaster ride, and you are facing forward, there is always something new to see! Whether you go up or down, and in life, you will experience both, still you will see it in a new view. Imagine going low, but the anticipation and expectation of what you will know when you come up again! You will always be in constant excitement about what is next! Not, "oh, I saw that already, or I knew that was coming."
One of God's great representatives, Paul, said, "Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).
No more back-peddling, no more staring in the rear-view mirror as if we can go back and undo what we have done or what has been done to us. No, today is the day that we stop hesitating, stop procrastinating, stop remaining stuck and stagnant. Today is the day we move Forward, Toward and Upward! Today is the day we change direction and face the right way!
We Do Not Need Faith For What Has Happened Already; We Need Faith For What Is About To Happen. We Must Prepare For What God Is Going To Do, Not What He Has Already Done!
This Means You Must Do Quite A Bit Of Self-Examination. You need to test the people, places, and things in your life and see what needs to be restored and what needs to be replaced! It is time for new, not just the same old, that you keep slapping patches on in hopes it will 'this time' hold itself together.
Jesus is the Lord of new beginnings, of fresh starts, of clean slates. You need to come to Him and let Him release you from being tied to the people who have hurt you by getting His grace to forgive them. You need to ask His help to begin to define your life, not by what has happened, but by what is going to happen; what can happen because of Jesus in your life. Yes, it is Jesus alone that still makes the difference!
Think about it: The lame walked because of Him; the deaf heard because of Him; the blind were able to see because of Him; the adulterous were forgiven because of Him; a 12-year-old girl was brought back to life because of Him; the woman with the issue of blood was healed because of Him; the four friends were able to get their friend delivered off that mat because of Him! The testimonies are endless regarding the change that Jesus makes in the lives of people! And if you dare to allow Him to help you get past your past, He can do some wondrous things in your life too! But you cannot stay stuck in the same place! You cannot keep turning backward. It would be best if you moved forward. It would help if you changed direction. It would help if you did something different.
Can you imagine if the woman at the well stayed there; can you imagine if Lazarus would've ignored Jesus call; can you imagine if Mary said, 'sorry God, but this is just too outrageous for me to be a part of'; can you imagine if Ruth said, 'Nope, I'm going back to what's familiar'; can you imagine if Abraham said, 'leave my family and go somewhere without a destination in mind, I don't think so?'; can you imagine if Esther said, 'oh well, at least I made it to the palace, hope the rest of y'all survive somehow'; can you imagine if Deborah said, 'Barack I don't have to go with you, so I'm not'; Can you imagine if Gideon didn't listen to God but kept all the useless people he had with him? These people had to do something unfamiliar, uncommon, and uncomfortable to see something new and different. And my friend, you will have to be put in the very same position!
Yes, that means you may have to work on an auxiliary you never have before; yes, that means you'll have to go back to school and finish your education finally; yes, that means you may have to accept that, that particular friendship and relationship has run their course; yes, that means you may have to take a job in a field you know nothing about; yes, that means you may have to take this next journey alone; yes, that means you may have to break out the box by reshaping your inner-circle; In other words, you can't expect to see something new if you keep staring at something old. You cannot expect to experience something new when you keep hanging around something old.
It would be best if you forced yourself to face the challenge of doing new things, so you do not die with the same ole, same ole.
"Do not remember the things that have happened before. Do not think about the things of the past. See, I will do a new thing. It will begin happening NOW. Will not know about it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." (NLV)
Your new thing is trying to happen NOW, but do you see it? No! Do you know it? No! Because the old has your undivided attention! And the most expensive thing in the world is paying attention to people who do not value you! Enough is enough!
God is trying to do such remarkable things that you have never seen or heard before, and you are missing out on all of it because your eyes have a distorted vision of the past only and no insight of the future that cannot wait to be revealed!
2 Corinthians 4:17-18, "So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside, it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times; the lavish celebration prepared us. There is far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever." (MSG)
As hard as your past may have been, it is but small potatoes compared to the coming good times! There is so much greater ahead of you if only you would stop focusing behind you!
No! today is your day to change position and direction! We are not going over that old history any longer!
No more settling for what you SAW; it is time to SEE!
Get out of your past into your Present and preparing for your future! You have been focusing behind you long enough; today, decide to Face Forward and enjoy a Better Ride with a Better View of the Better Things Coming Just for You!
"If you think your best days are behind you, they are. If you think your best days are ahead of you, they are." (Jon Gordon)
"Don't fall in love with what God did for you yesterday." (Bishop T.D. Jakes)
"You'll never see all the awesome things ahead of you if you keep looking at all the bad things behind you. Sometimes you must turn around and give a little smile, throw the match, and burn that bridge! Live, learn, and don't look back!"
As hard as your past may have been, it is but small potatoes compared to the coming good times! There is so much greater ahead of you if only you would stop focusing behind you!
"The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep; you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom." (Osho)
In focusing on our text, there came the point where to enter the Promised Land, God said to Israel, "You have traveled around this mountain long enough. Now TURN…" (NLV). Please understand that you must say yes to God when you reach this point and be willing to step out in faith! Whether God is directing you or redirecting you, listen, heed, and immediately obey!
Think about it, and let us be honest, we can all admit that we have stayed in places longer than we should have. And to be even more brutally honest, many of us have stayed in stuff we should have never been in, in the first place! But how much longer do you intend to miss God? God said to them, "You have traveled around this mountain long enough…" I do not know about you, but I have never seen a "small mountain." In other words, mountains are Big! It is defined as "a mass of land rising abruptly and to a large height from the surrounding level." That does not sound too tiny to me! Can you imagine traveling around "a mass of land rising abruptly and to a large height from the surrounding level"? A mountain is massive! And the word "massive" means "large and heavy; solid; exceptionally large, intense, or severe." So, people of God, I say to you, as God said to them, "You have traveled around this mountain long enough…" Or better yet, you have traveled around this massive, significant, heavy, intense, and severe situation long enough…WHEN DO YOU PLAN TO HEED GOD'S DIRECTION AND TURN?! It has been a burden; it is weighed you down, it has caused you to lose sleep, weight, hair, and peace. How much longer are you going to endure self-inflicted suffering? God, Himself is permitting you to go in another direction, so what are you waiting for? Why are you still facing a dead-end? Why are you still standing by the cliff? Why are you stuck in the park? MOVE! Better Yet TURN!
I love the definitions of the word "Turn": "to move into a different position; to go in the opposite direction of where you are currently; to change in nature, state or form." However, my favorite is: "a place where a road meets or branches off into another; a turning point." Another favorite: "a time when one period of time ends, and another begins." And that phrase "turning-point" is another favorite of mine: It is defined as "a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results." Now, please tell me, with all of that said, why have you yet to TURN?! People of God, it is time for you to stop blaming, pointing fingers, complaining, having good intentions with no plans, a long list of "one day I'm going to…" and "I promise…" and finally, you make a deliberate decision to do something! Based on the above definitions, it is time for you to move into a different position, go in the opposite direction of where you have been traveling, make a change! In a nutshell: TURN!
The word "reposition" is a good one; it means "a strategic move to alter and adjust to a different position." In other words, no, I am by no means saying this will be easy, but I am saying it will be worth it for you to deliberately make a strategic move and alter and adjust to different people, places, and things! After all, the people, places, and something you have become accustomed to having not worked for you, so why not quit, and get work elsewhere?! You have been doing this long enough, putting up with this long enough, tolerating this long enough, suffering because of this long enough! So now is the time to Reposition and Turn! Remember: "turn" is also "a place where a road meets or branches off into another; a turning point." And a "turning-point" is "a time at which a decisive change in a situation occurs, especially one with beneficial results."
In a nutshell: This Turn Is to Your Benefit, So What Are You Waiting for; Turn!
"A bend in the road is not the end of the road…unless you fail to make the TURN" (Helen Keller)
During a famine, God said to the prophet Elijah, "And the Word of the Lord came to him, saying, "Leave here and TURN east. Hide by the river Cherith, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the river. And I have told the ravens to bring food to you THERE." So, he went and did what the Word told him of the Lord. He went and lived by the river Cherith, east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and the evening. And he drank from the river." (1 Kings 17:2-6 NLV).
God's PLAN for your life is always connected to a PLACE!
"…Leave here and TURN EAST…"; (1 Kings 17:2-6 NLV).
"You have traveled around this mountain long enough. Now TURN NORTH"; (Deuteronomy 2:3 TLB).
"The Lord said, "Ezekiel, son of man, TURN TOWARD THE SOUTH…" (Ezekiel 20:45-46 CEV).
"Moses…led the flock to the WEST…The angel of God appeared to him in flames of fire…" (Exodus 3:1-2 MSG)
Are You Getting This? God's people are charged and challenged to make a TURN! EAST, NORTH, SOUTH, WEST! Likewise, it is vital for your life and calling that you are always in the Right Place at the Right Time! This week is an excellent time to look around at the people, places, and things in your life and see where you need to make a Beneficial TURN for yourself!
Think about it: Elijah would have missed his provision in the EAST if he did not TURN; Israel would have missed the Promised Land if they did not TURN to the NORTH; Ezekiel would have missed his ministry opportunity to deliver a prophetic word if he did not TURN to the SOUTH, and Moses would have cut the burning bush if he did not TURN to the WEST! What are you missing out on because you have yet to TURN in the direction God has commanded?!
Listen, Even Jesus "…HAD to go through Samaria…" (John 4:4 NIV). The Message Bible says it like this, "TO GET THERE; HE HAD TO PASS THROUGH SAMARIA…" (MSG). To get THERE, you must leave HERE! And why did Jesus have to go through Samaria? To meet a woman who was destined to reach that city with the Gospel. Can you imagine a whole town would have missed out on hearing the Good News of the Gospel if Jesus did not go through Samaria?! Believe it or not, but you are in the right place at the right time; it is not just about you! Some people will not receive what they need to until you get there! Some people will not take a turn for the better until you have finally decided to make a turn from the worse! Some will not get a turn until you make a turn! And do you want to be held responsible for a whole city missing God because you forgot your turn?!
And will all your turns feel good? Not! However, you cannot just go where you like; God honors you when you are where HE wants you to be! "Tell me," Samuel said. "Does the Lord want sacrifices and offerings? No! He does not want your sacrifices. He wants you to obey Him." (1 Samuel 15:22 CEV). So, whether you are being sent to the North, South, East, or West is irrelevant! What is important is that you obey the direction of the Lord when He tells you it is time to make a TURN!
God has promised to bless you, but sometimes He must reposition you for you to receive His blessing! Just ask Peter. He went from I will live and die with you, Jesus, to being warmed by a strange fire, with unfamiliar people, and lying about his identity to Jesus. However, it is never too late to make a TURN because he is later restored, repositioned, and preaching redemption to thousands! Paul went from killing Christians to speaking life and resurrecting them! It is incredible what just a slight TURN in the right direction can accomplish! In other words, it is not too late for you either! So, MAKE THE TURN…BEFORE YOU MISS YOUR TURN!
Think about this as well: It was when Ruth moved to Bethlehem that she met Boaz and married him; it was when Bartimaeus went to where Jesus was that he received his sight! In a nutshell: You Do Not Want to Miss Your Turn Because You Missed Your Turn! Make sure you are in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, doing the right thing! After all, to miss God is simply wrong!
In closing, can you imagine how Abraham's story would have read had he missed his TURN in Genesis 12:1? "Now the Lord had said to Abram: "Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house to a land that I will show you." The Living Bible says it like this, "God told Abram, "Leave your own country behind you…" (TLB). And the Amplified Bible reads, "…Go for yourself [for your advantage] away from your country…" (AMP). Abram had to leave some people, places, and things BEHIND HIM and FOR HIS ADVANTAGE AND TURN IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION ALTOGETHER! And what was the blessing for his obedient TURN? "If you do, I will cause you to become the father of a great nation; I will bless you and make your name famous, and you will be a blessing to many others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you, and the entire world will be blessed because of you." (Genesis 12:2-3 TLB). And All Because He Refused to Miss His Turn by Missing His Turn! Verse 4 is the bonus, "SO ABRAM LEFT JUST AS GOD SAID…" (MSG). What Blessings Are You Missing Out on Because You are Still in the Same Place?! What Blessings Are You Missing Out on Because You Did Not Listen When God Spoke?!
And was this the only time Abram would have to make a TURN? Not! He would eventually have to TURN away from Lot, who was originally granted permission by Abram to go with him! However, Once Again, Do to Making Another Timely TURN, the Word of God Declares: "After Lot separated from him, God said to Abram, "Open your eyes, look around. Look NORTH, SOUTH, EAST, AND WEST. Everything you see, the whole land spread out before you, I will give to you and your children forever. I will make your descendants like dust—counting your descendants will be as impossible as counting the dust of the Earth. So—on your feet, GET MOVING! Walk through the country, its length, and breadth; I'm giving it all to you." (Genesis 13:14-17 MSG)
Abram Made a Timely TURN, and God Made Abram a Timeless Promise! So, if You Do Not Want to Miss Yours as Well, Today, Determine to MAKE A TURN!
"No matter how far you go in the wrong direction, there's always a chance to TURN your life around."