April 24, 2023 — Looking Beyond What’s Going On

It was really busy at breakfast one morning. After watching Ricky race all over the place serving  the many customers, I said to Stan, “You ever notice how Ricky always has a happy look about him regardless of what’s going on?”

“I have noticed that,” Stan replied. “In some ways, it’s kind of like Jesus with the twelve apostles after they had finished their last meal together.”

“Before Jesus went to the cross?” I asked. “In what way? “Was Jesus smiling?”

“I don’t know if Jesus was smiling or not,” Stan replied, “but I do know that He and the guys did something I’m not sure I would have done.”

“What’s that?”

“Both Matthew and Mark in their gospels,” Stan replied, “record that Jesus and the apostles sang a hymn before they headed out the door after finishing their last meal together.”

“So?”

“Think about it,” Stan said. “Jesus knew He was on the way to the cross with all the pain and suffering that meant. He knew that all of the apostles would abandon Him and He would go it alone. He knew all that, but He still led them in singing a hymn.”

“Oh,” I said. “How do you think He was able to do that?”

“It seems to me,” Stan replied, “that Jesus was able to look beyond the immediate circumstances to what His Father was going to do.”

“Redeem the lost world through His cross? Is that it?”

“That’s it,” Stan replied. “Jesus was able to look to how His Father was going to use Him for His purposes in redeeming the lost world. Jesus was able to look beyond the immediate and sing about that. I know it’s supposed to be the same thing with me, but too often it’s not.”

“In what way?”

“Too often,” Stan replied, “I focus on what I’m facing right now, and I get pulled down rather than giving everything to God knowing that He wants to use me for His kingdom purposes.”

Continuing, he added, “When I take the focus off of me and my immediate circumstances, when I look to God and give everything to Him, it’s a whole lot easier to sing a song of praise regardless of what’s going on!” 

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Bible verses to consider:

And after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. Mark 14:26, Matthew 26:30.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2.

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for giving your only begotten Son as the way to your eternal presence. Thank you that He went to the cross to do what you had for Him to do in your plan to redeem the lost world. I confess that too often I do not look beyond my immediate circumstances to see how you want to use me for your kingdom purposes. Please forgive the foolishness of not knowing — of not believing — that you cause all things to work together for good whether I can see that or not. Help me to follow every step of your lead in being who you intend for me to be regardless of what I may be facing. Thank you that I can and do bring these prayers before you in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Think on this: Have you accepted God’s free and gracious provision of life eternally with Him so you can focus on what He has for you to be and to do? If you have not, why? What’s standing in the way? If you are a Christian with the assurance of salvation and redemption, how are you doing with not getting bogged down by what you are facing? Are you able to look beyond your present circumstances to how God wants to use you? Do you live this life knowing that Romans 8:28 is true regardless of what you’re facing? If you sense the need for change in any of this, how is that going to happen? Is that what you want? Why or why not?

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