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Straight Arrow - A Devotion

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Proverbs 4:25-27 (NLT)
Look straight ahead and fix your eyes on what lies before you. Mark out a straight path for your feet; stay on the safe path. Don’t get sidetracked; keep your feet from following evil.

The image vividly etched in my mind was that of an arrow flying through the air just before it pierced its target with a sound thump hitting the bull’s eye spot on. In that moment, the details surrounding the vision seemed blurred maybe because of distraction or the tear’s welling in my eyes. I believe that in the midst of life God has a way of getting our attention in very unconventional ways even in what seems like a daydream, He will use images to speak to us within and stir up human curiosity to search for Him more. All the thoughts rushing through my head quickly came to order as my full attention was drawn to this image. The chaos that had overtaken my day seemed insignificant and small in that moment taking proper order as God’s Spirit had something to say. Call it spiritual or spooky if you will but there are many days that the Lord’s quiet invasion of my thoughts bring clarity in the midst of chaos and peace in the midst of powerlessness. I am powerless at this very moment. My hands are hanging down at my side, my weak knees feel so feeble in my pursuit of Him, and my heart is quivering close to the edge of breaking. Yet God’s Mercy is right there inviting me closer, begging me to step in, and move closer to the Lord allowing His Grace and Love to overtake me. I must make my way straight to this position in the midst of the enemy’s attack. With fiery darts and arrows flying overhead, I duck and run into my Father’s Presence clearly He has something there for me worth having.

Philippians 3:12-14 (NLT)
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

What is the target? What is my goal? What is it that I am after above all things? In October 2011, it was for our son’s healing. I decided to seek and pursue God with new diligence and fervor as I sought an end to the horrible disease called cancer. But what I discovered in this plight of more than two years is that I am after His Mercy. I need it more and more each day. Like the woman pressing through the crowd knowing that if she could just touch the hem of his garment that should would experience the Power and Presence of God, it was her infirmity that kept her searching. (Luke 8:42-46) As I am reminded of this woman, it is clear to me that Jesus Christ has focused His Attention to my plight even though He is looking at a much larger picture than my own present struggle. He is attentive to my need and responsive to my faith even when shadowed by a more pressing situation. As I press on to possess the perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me – the target has changed. Cancer has come and gone four times by the Power of Jesus Christ never returning to the same place twice. But I have not reached the mark or achieved my purpose. Forgetting the past? I must continually press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God is calling me to. This is my goal. This is my target but oh how I get lost in the pursuit. The Lord has instructed me to fix my eyes on what lies before me. This is my goal to see past the momentary struggles and temporary situations to my all-powerful and all-consuming God who is my primary objective.

Philippians 4:8-9 (NLT)
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the God of peace will be with you.

To reach my objective, I must fix my thoughts. The Word of God is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely and admirable. The lie of the enemy is pervasive. It is unrelenting trying to overtake our thoughts changing our attitude and actions which ultimately will lead to detours, delays and disappointments. He promises those who thoughts are fixed on Him perfect peace. (Isaiah 26:3) The arrow sailing through my mind whistles quietly in the wind. It is not slow but hasty as it pursues the target. With stealth speed it breaks through the atmosphere nothing will stop it from reaching its destination. I must live my life with such determination. Fixing my thoughts on Jesus and moving in that direction, putting into practice all that I know about the Lord. I must do what He says and live as He lived to reach the goal of completion and contentment that only He can offer and willingly gives. If I make peace with God and live a righteous life, I will live in His Presence surrounded by perfect peace that passes all understanding so in the midst of chaos my course and destination will remain true. No one who puts their hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the Kingdom of God because His Heart and Mind are not focused on His Destination. (Luke 9:62) What about you?

Psalm 5:1-3 (NKJV)
Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation. Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, for to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning I will direct it to You and I will look up.

The course of direction for the flying arrow is set before it ever takes flight. Its owner chooses its direction and sets it off in flight. The destination of your day is determined by you before it ever begins. If you are determined to have the things of God, you must permeate His Presence and remain there. He does not allow robbers to plunder His Goods but those who aim to have His Inheritance will find it properly secured. Obtained only by faith, we come to the Lord each day choosing to remain there until He comes. It is with such determination we will have the Prize that we are after as the Peace and Love of Jesus Christ fill our heart and mind keeping us firmly established by faith and holy expectation called hope that He will come and deliver the reward that He has promised. “But as for me, I will come into Your house in the multitude of Your mercy; in fear of You I will worship toward Your holy temple. Lead me, O LORD, in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before my face.” (Psalm 5:7-9) Have you decided to live in His Multitude of Mercy today? Mercy allows for our hiccups, shortcoming and outright rebellion against God’s Way, Will and Word so when we mess up the door to His Presence is not shut up or closed to us forever. In humble repentance as we learn to live in His Mercy, we experience the satisfaction of peace and completion no matter how crazy this life gets…and believe me it can get pretty crazy and overwhelming sometimes. “What joy for those whose strength comes from the LORD, who have set their minds on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. When they walk through the Valley of Weeping, it will become a place of refreshing springs. The autumn rains will clothe it with blessings.” (Psalm 84:5-6)
Isaiah 49:1-4 (NLT)
Listen to me, all you in distant lands! Pay attention, you who are far away! The LORD called me before my birth; from within the womb he called me by name. He made my words of judgment as sharp as a sword. He has hidden me in the shadow of his hand. I am like a sharp arrow in his quiver. He said to me, “You are my servant, Israel, and you will bring me glory.” I replied, “But my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose. Yet I leave it all in the LORD’s hand; I will trust God for my reward.”

Are you a sharp arrow in His Quiver? Placing our life in God’s Hands requires faith and trust. It is to accept hope as our final destination rather than chasing the things of this world and momentary comforts found in creation. We must seek to live and love in the Creator. A sharp arrow will effectively pierce the target only if it makes it to the Master’s Hand. If you do not decide to love and trust the Lord with your life, how will you ever fulfill His Purpose and Plan for your life? Perhaps you are thinking maybe the Lord is not talking to me in this verse. Oh really? Psalm 139 thoroughly discredits such an argument. The Lord called you to be His Beloved Child before you were born. He completely detailed your life so that He Goodness, Mercy and Love would find you. You are not just some fast dividing cell that became a human being by some random act of nature, but God knew you by name before you were even born. He wants you to come back to Him. The Lord has a purpose and plan for your life that contains a future and hope meaning it is not meaningless but powerful when He is allowed to carry out. He perfects all that concerns me (Psalm 138:7). He is working out every detail of my life for good. (Romans 8:28) Everything is going according to plan…His Plan. I was created to bring Glory to the Living God and when I decide to this with my life, I will succeed in everything that I do. Without the Lord’s Power and Direction, everything I do seems so weak and useless. But as I learn to live to the Glory of God, I become an arrow in His Quiver for His Good Use. Leaving my life in God’s Hand also means that I must trust Him for my reward.

Ecclesiastes 10:10 (NKJV)
If the ax is dull, and one does not sharpen the edge, then he must use more strength; but wisdom brings success.

We have been given the Spirit of God who is our advocate leading us to the Truth that guards our heart. Without the Word and the Spirit, there will be no worship in our life. (John 4:23) Wisdom comes from the Word of God and is discerned (and dissected) by the Spirit for human consumption. We are not called to just be another arrow in the quiver of God but a “sharp” arrow with a cutting edge. Wisdom brings success just as a sharp ax lessens the burden of our work. If the ax is sharp, you do not need to work as hard to cut wood. God’s Word is sharper than a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12) and cuts through the lie of the enemy that has you bound in fear and doubt releasing faith and hope that will lead you to success. The wisdom that comes from the Word of God empowers the Spirit of God to build a firm foundation of faith in our life so that we have something to dig our hope into. Iron sharpens iron. (Proverbs 27:17) We must surround ourselves by others who sharpen our arrow and make us effective. A sharp arrow will not only pierce the target but will not easily be dislodged. When the storms of life come and yes, they will come – you will not be easily moved. You will wait in the midst of the wind, earthquake and fire of refinement, you will strive to hear the still small voice calling your name and securing your purpose.

Ephesians 6:10-18 (NLT)
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

The Lord is not the only one who is armed with arrows. The enemy has fiery arrows that are more like darts. They cannot penetrate your soul but a well-aimed lie can tear apart faith and hope in an instant. The enemy that we are facing is not flesh and blood although sometimes people seem to be working for him. The Armor of God is our only defense. The Belt of Truth is produced by a daily supplement of God’s Word for our life. Our body armor is righteousness and it is a Gift from God to be used rather than taken for granted in the name of grace. The more we pursue God’s Plan and Purpose for our life the deeper in His Presence we will go securing our righteousness both now and forevermore. We walk in peace as our enemy is not those who we encounter along the way. The shield of faith is our only defense as the lies of the enemy are hurled at us and is fortified by confident hope that He is able and faithful to love, guide and protect us even when our path is not clear. The helmet of salvation settles my mind on the truth that NOTHING can or will ever separate me from the Love of God. My sword will always be His Word and it will work in my life if I faithfully carry it with me wherever I go. But most of all, I must realize that no matter how long the journey is or how far I must go to reach the mark of His High Calling – I never have to go it alone. His Spirit is alive and well inside me. I must simply stay alert and stay focused on maintaining my position at all cost even if it requires all of me which it most certainly will!

Proverbs 4:0-23 (NLT)
My child, pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart for they bring life to those who find them and healing to their whole body. Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life.

One last thing about arrows and probably the most important thing of all…to reach the target you must not give up too soon. The sharpest and truest arrow is not effective if it misses the mark or falls short of its intended target. The prophet, Elisha, was ill and would succumb to this illness. His final prophecy was to King Jehoash who was quite distraught over the prophet’s illness. Elisha told him to get a bow and some arrows. He then told the king to open the Eastern window and shoot an arrow which he called the Lord’s Arrow. It was an arrow representing victory over Aram. The king was then told to strike all the other arrows against the ground. But he stopped after doing so just a few times. Elisha got angry with King Jehoash because rather than striking the arrows on the ground repeatedly he gave up too soon and would only have victory over his enemy the few times that he had been obedient. (2 Kings 13:14-20) The lesson to be learned here is that we must never give up or give in too soon but stand strong to see the victory of the Lord reserved for those who do not miss the mark but hit their objective securely. You and I must guard our heart today. The enemy cannot take our victory but will persuade us to abandoned our faith and trust in God to steal it from us. We must not fall short of our primary objective. We must remain true in our endeavor seeking righteousness in the Presence of God above all else fixing our heart and mind on Jesus Christ, never wavering, giving up or giving in until we have everything that He promised. You will make the mark if you stand strong in faith anchored by confident hope. You will be a sharp arrow God’s Quiver for His Special Use flying straight into the fulfillment of God!

Hebrews 12:12-13(NLT)
So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.

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