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Don't Look Down - A Devotion

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2 Corinthians 5:7 (Amplified)
For we walk by faith [we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by our conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, with trust and holy fervor; thus we walk] not by sight or appearance.

On June 23, 2013, Nik Wallenda completed a high-wire walk across the Grand Canyon on a steel cable of approximately two inches in diameter. The event was broadcast around the world in over 217 countries as he took to the air. It took Mr. Wallenda 22 minutes and 54 seconds to cross the Grand Canyon without a safety apparatus of any kind. I believe this man was walking by faith. He comes from generations of “High-Flying Wallendas” a family of acrobats well-known for such amazing feats of courage. All along his journey, he prayed and said, “Thank you Jesus” in almost every step. Nik Wallenda talks about his Christian faith in his book, “Balance” and makes this statement “that’s really where I get my peace, “he said. “I have confidence that if something were to happen, I know where I am going.” I watched the broadcast in Key West, Florida with my youngest daughter and husband transfixed at such a commitment. As he knelt in the midst of the Canyon to keep his balance in the wind and one more time to steady the moving vibration in the cable, I couldn’t help but think this is a life lesson from God to a watching world. There was no denying this man’s commitment to Christ as which each step he prayed and praised along the way.

For we walk by faith. These words play over and over in my mind on a daily basis and it seems sometimes that as believers choose to become lost in their pursuit of Christ the world tries to pull us back to reality. To turn from this perspective and view our life through the eyes of the world from the great heights the Lord has taken us might seem a lot like the view of a tightrope walker on a two-inch cable crossing the Grand Canyon. Fear takes over with racing thoughts that pull us to the left or right. The winds of change pick up causing our heart to beat wildly at the thought of falling or failing. The ground begins shaking with the certainty that we will fall and possible never get back up. The man crossing the Grand Canyon is no different than you and I. He is a man on a mission. His perspective is the same to get to the other side. Some may even say that his walk was not flawless as twice he knelt down. But what is clear in his testimony is that his mission was indeed to make it to other side, but it was not necessarily the Grand Canyon that he is crossing. By faith, “we regulate our lives and conduct ourselves by conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things with trust and holy fervor and thus we walk.” This means that rather than walking and asking God to come along, we put our faith before each step so no matter where we go the outcome is still the same – we move closer to Christ.

Jeremiah 29:11-13 (Amplified)
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.\

If we as believers could only broaden our perspective to understand that God’s Plan and Purpose for our life always leads us home. In Jeremiah 29:11, it promises that God has a plan for our life that contains a future and hope. I believe that the future is in this world and hope is reserved for the everlasting. The point is that just because your life seems to be leading in one direction, it does not mean that it is our final destination. Hope comes in to play at that point just as Nik Wallenda reminds us. He knew that if he did not make it to the other side of the Grand Canyon, he achieved greater glory in the Presence of God and his newfound home forever. Every detail of our life is ordered by the Lord in our pursuit of hope. The purpose of our life is to discover the Eternity hidden in our heart (Ecclesiastes 3:11) and satisfy our deepest desire to reconnect with God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son. Every step may be as different as people are individuals. We want God’s Plan including welfare, peace and to escape every evil in life, but if the end we have not discovered and embraced hope than what’s the point? Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Confident hope is what keeps us connected to the Lord watching and waiting until He comes maintaining righteousness to secure our place in forever with the Lord. (Hebrews 6:19) Acceptance of God’s Plan and Purpose requires turning our life around and walking His Way. Don’t be put off by the term “walking His Way” instead accept it as walking toward the Lord. Too many times, we get caught up in the rules and regulations of religion and miss the point that what the Lord is seeking is an intimate relationship with us which means separating ourselves from other lovers. The people, passions and pursuits of this world to pursue His Great Love is what we are after. You will call me. You will pray to me. I will answer you. You will require me as a vital necessity in your life. You will seek me with your whole heart. You will find me.

2 Peter 3:8-9 (Amplified)
Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape you, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.

Faith is the assurance of things we hope for. Hope is the conviction of the reality of such things being proof enough to pursue them without ever seeing them but knowing that they belong to us as believers. (Hebrews 11:1) Hope is faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses. Hope requires trust. It also takes a great deal of endurance. Endurance builds our character in Christ as we learn to trust Him more and more until we do unthinkable and unfathomable things abandoning fear and doubt with total trust in God. It is the kind of confidence that allows a man to step out on a two-inch cable with a 40-lb pole with the courage to take one step at a time until he reaches the other side of the Grand Canyon. It is the driving force that allows ordinary people to take giant leaps of faith knowing that each one is leading them closer to Jesus Christ. But understand this, it took Nik Wallenda 22 minutes and 54 seconds to cross the Grand Canyon that day. I imagine if you asked him it seemed like much longer and if you asked his watching wife and family it felt like even longer than that. As our family watched time stood still and it did seem like forever. Some challenges we face in the pursuit of the everlasting to the Glory of God will feel like endless and impossible journeys, but know this that in every set that the Lord is not delaying your destiny but perfecting it. The Lord does not delay. He is not tardy or slow about what He promises. What you are experiencing is the long-suffering and compassionate nature of Jesus Christ that will never allow second best for those who seek Him. God’s patience for you produce opportunities to grow in His Grace and Mercy. Just keep walking, you will make it to forever one step at a time.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (Amplified)
Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me; But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me! So for the sake of Christ, I am well pleased and take pleasure in infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses; for when I am weak [in human strength], then am I [truly] strong (able, powerful in divine strength).

I don’t know about you but I struggle daily with human weakness. I was raised to be a survivor. Giving up has never been an option for me or I probably would not have made it through some of the circumstances of my childhood. Those who are “strengthened and conditioned” by this life often have the most trouble surrendering to God. The School of Hard Knocks is a ruthless teacher. It grabs hold of the heart building a fortress around it making it hard and unyielding for its own protection. It takes over our thoughts causing us to never trust anyone or anything in the natural or supernatural. It takes over every fiber of our being allowing our pride to take control in order to keep us coming out on top in every conversation, situation and encounter. It does not give way to any other way but its own. It is tough to beat. So it would seem impenetrable and impossible for God to fill our heart with His Love and overtake us with His Spirit outside of brokenness. “My grace is enough for you.” Is it enough for you? Is the favor, loving kindness and mercy of God sufficient against any danger enabling you to bear trouble manfully? Are you will to wait (endure) as he develops His Strength and Power through the storms of your life making you perfect, fulfilled and complete? This happens in human weakness. We must learn to find God’s Glory in our infirmities, insults, hardships, persecutions, perplexities and distresses knowing that when I am weak in my human strength, than I am the strongest thanks to His Spirit living inside of me that makes me able, powerful and ready in divine strength. Without faith, you will never know such a powerful connection to Christ. Hope comes from faith in God’s Plan and Purpose that allows us to be broken to be perfected. Nik Wallenda knelt down twice in his almost 23 minute crossing. It doesn’t matter how many times you stumble, fall down or end up face down just as long as you take another step closer and move deeper into His Presence as you go. It is okay to be weak. It is okay to not be okay with the circumstances you face as long as you allow His Strength to carry you to the other side.

2 Timothy 1:7 (Amplified)
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.

Faith does not mean the absence of fear but the courage and confidence to overcome it. You are an overcomer. (John 16:33) Jesus took care of business when He came to this earth, died for our sins, robbed the devil and rose again. We were created with a spirit of power, love, calmness, well-balanced mind, discipline and self-control. Then sin came and robbed us of our security with God as it took away our birthright, but Jesus gave it back. Now we must purpose in our life to steer clear of the sin that keeps us back, weighing us down turned in the wrong direction and develop faith that builds our courage and confidence in God allowing us to see things from God’s Perspective rather than the world in which we live. Changing our mind about the Lord is a full-time job that requires an investment of time. You will never grow in any relationship that is not giving the proper attention, why would this be any different? The more you know the Lord the more you will trust Him. The more you trust Him the farther you will go in your pursuit of Jesus Christ. The deeper you go into His Great Love the less you will fear natural outcomes and the more tightly you will hold hope in forever. “There is no fear in love [dread does not exist], but full-grown (complete, perfect) love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror! For fear brings with it the thought of punishment, and [so] he who is afraid has not reached the full maturity of love [is not yet grown into love’s complete perfection].” (I John 4:18)

Hebrews 13:5-6 (Amplified)
Let your character or moral disposition be free from love of money [including greed, avarice, lust, and craving for earthly possessions] and be satisfied with your present [circumstances and with what you have]; for He [God] Himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up nor leave you without support. [I will] not, [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor let [you] down (relax My hold on you)! [Assuredly not!] So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper; I will not be seized with alarm [I will not fear or dread or be terrified]. What can man do to me?

God has placed His Spirit inside of you. You are never alone. No matter how alone you may feel in your pursuit of God – He is always with you! (John 14:15-17) God has promised over and over to not leave you. The Lord will not fail you. His Spirit is stirring within you motivating you to take one step closer and dig in deeper to God’s Great and Unfailing Love for you that will carry you through this life to obtain the confident hope that you are promised. Many people helped in the preparation process for Nik Wallenda to make his journey across the Grand Canyon, his dad tried to discourage him but then worked diligently to make sure that he was ready on that day. Others worked with him to develop a strategy for the safest possible route. Many hours went into this small segment of time. But on that day when it was time to take his first step, it was the man…and God that would make the journey. Now you may be thinking this man chose to walk across the Grand Canyon so if he is crazy enough to that whatever happens is of his own doing. Ok, I understand. In a few short weeks, I will take my cancer-free son to the hospital to be admitted where he will be “slammed” with chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells presumably hiding in his body to the point of near death, as doctors will then reuse his bone marrow to “bring him back to life” and hopefully end this awful journey that we have been on for over two years. The doctors have been preparing for months ever since we began cancer treatment for the fourth time. They have identified the enemy and are launching a full assault hoping that it will win the war waged against his body. I have heard every possible risk and side effect the most looming death along with the horrible statistics. I am well aware what it will require of my whole family. I know the Word of God that tells me that our son will live and not die. Friends and family have rallied around us even people we do not know reaching out to us. But on that day, when I step in that room and watch the first treatment begin – “It will be the Lord and I in that moment.” I have found that even in the midst of a crowded room showered with human love and support that my only real comfort and confidence comes from the Lord. The Lord alone is my helper. He will sit with me in the midst of beeping monitors and a dimly knit room as I watch closely this boy who I love so much face the greatest battle of his life. God’s angels will encircle his bed as he faces the shadow of death triumphantly marching toward the Light. God is ready to heal him – I know it! It still requires that we make it to the other side. God is with us even when it feels no one else is, or understands or gets it. God does. He is right there and even though I am not on a tightrope marching over the Grand Canyon, I understand the solitude of walking alone with the Lord and believe it is His Intention so that in the end – God will receive the Glory that He is due. I will love Him with my whole heart. I am learning to walk by faith and not by sight. He is moving me one level higher each time. It is my choice if I continue to keep my eyes on the confident hope that I have been given or the present circumstances that I face, but I think Nik Wallenda would agree in my advice – “Don’t look down!”

Isaiah 55:6-12 (Amplified)
Seek, inquire for, and require the Lord while He may be found [claiming Him by necessity and by right]; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have love, pity, and mercy for him, and to our God, for He will multiply to him His abundant pardon. For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and snow come down from the heavens, and return not there again, but water the earth and make it bring forth and sprout, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth: it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless], but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. For you shall go out [from the spiritual exile caused by sin and evil into the homeland] with joy and be led forth [by your Leader, the Lord Himself, and His word] with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

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