Day Four - Find your hero and follow

Today is about finding your hero and following them. And we all need one. Football players need one. Actors need one. Doctors, writers, airline pilots, they all need a hero, and so do you. You need your spiritual hero to follow. That man who makes you sit back in your seat and say “Wow, I wonder if I could of done that.” Truth is, many of you may never have been able to do that, because it was God who made them able to do that. But here’s what I’m going to tell you. That’s okay!

I’m going to start off by picking three names. Peter, Paul and David. And I’m going to ask you to look in the Bible and see something about them all. They all had God place people on earth to help them. David had the men who helped him in the wilderness, the mighty men who helped him in battle, he had Jonathan who warned him of the danger from his father Saul. These where all people God put in place to assist him. 
Peter and Paul had men and woman who fed, clothed and housed them. They supported them, not with grumbling and anger, but with Joy and happiness. Because they where responsive to God, they where doing all that they could to further the men that where their hero’s, and by extension, they where using them to become better men and woman of God. They may not of been the hero, but they where living up to their potential. They where supporting the men and woman of God who had been anointed and empowered to be incredible. 

There are many cogs in a clock, the most important is the one on the front of the clock, or you don’t get to see the time. But without the cogs inside, without the unseen mechanism, these hands just stay in one place. Those unknown men who had hearts so receptive enough to God, that they could recognize the leaders amongst them, honor them, and help them, they where important people too. These people where the cogs that God put in place to help people like Paul, David and Peter.
So if you aren’t the Paul or Peter or David, then why is that so bad? So long as your living up to the most you can be. That’s the important part. You can only become as much as God has planned for you to be. If everyone was the hero, who would there be to think of him as a hero?

In Paul’s life, David’s life, Peter’s life, there was God’s hand. But not always in the places we choose to see it. When we hear about God stepping in and helping someone, we often think about a sheet of flame falling from heaven and engulfing a gunman who’s about to kill you. Or a magic envelope showing up full of gold to save you from destitution. But why is it that it has to be so melodramatic? Instead of a sheet of flame. God could of put a police officer to come round that corner and save you. He could just as easily make it so you’ll find a job and be able to pay off those bills that are mounting one. God often makes it so that there are situations that don’t just benefit him, but others too. I can hear you all thinking, “where is he going with this”. Well let’s put it this way. God could of given Paul a sack of money the size of a house. But did he? No. What did he do? He put it upon other people to support Paul, to help Paul, and by extension, to improve their spiritual life by doing so. Those people benefitted from being able to support them. Giving of their time, food, money and possessions was their way of serving the kingdom. Those who couldn’t make the sacrifices that Paul could, those who didn’t have the anointing that he had, they could only do as much as they could do. That was support them, walk with them, help them, and do the best they could to follow their examples.

So what the important thing for you to be doing? I’ll tell you, it’s to look at your life and check that you are doing all that you can in your spiritual existence to become the best you can possibly be. But what areas of you life can you do more in? Use your hero to help you figure it out. Use him as the mark of greatness that you may never attain, but you should always aim for. Do your best. That is all you can do. That’s all David did, that’s all Peter did and that’s all Paul did. Be all you can be.

Written by Nate

Outside of Jerusalem some time after the Crucifixion a young man named Stephen was stoned to death for adhering to, and preaching, the message of Jesus Christ. As the stones flew Stephen begged that his death would not be held against his killers. It would be hard not to include in their number a man named Saul of Tarsus who had approved of the execution. He was a hard liner, a student of the old laws who despised the new message of salvation, love, joy and forgiveness, that was being preached by the disciples of the man whom the High Priest had handed over to the Romans for execution; Jesus Christ.
Saul was proving more than adept at throwing the followers of Jesus into prison. This was not just a dutiful man doing what he thought his job demanded, he was going above and beyond the call of duty, he hated Christians with a passion, he was obsessed with stamping them out in any way possible, and top of his hit list where the disciples.
To these ends he asked for letters from the high priest to the synagogues at Damascus that would allow him to arrest Christians and take then back, bound to Jerusalem, to be imprisoned.
Saul was accompanied by heavies and enforcers who would do his dirty work for him, no less eager than him to get down to business. As they made their way on the last leg of their journey they saw what looked like lightening flash in the daytime, so close that they surely must have escaped death by a hairs breath, their horses shied and reared and Saul was thrown heavily to the ground. As they struggled to regain control of their mounts they suddenly heard a voice, but to their terror they could not see the man who uttered the words: "Saul, Saul, why are you Persecuting me"
"Who are you Lord?" they heard Saul answer from the ground into the light.
"I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, now get up, and go to Damascus, and do what you are told to do"
When Saul got back to his feet he was blind.

Many people use the story of Paul and the road to Damascus as a rally cry to seek the Holy Spirit, to find the reality of Jesus, but there are two directions to every road. Paul's life changed forever on the road to Damascus, but though that was the defining moment of his life he, still had to go forwards on the road From Damascus after he got his new direction. There is in front of everyone who begins again or starts something new a road from Damascus. And just like for Paul when we start out on a new course, we are blind to what the future may bring.
The new year is one of those benchmarks that defines a beginning and an end. The old year has gone and with it all that you did and didn't do, reliving the glories and getting distressed about the failures can profit you nothing so give the Glory to God and put your behind in your past... I mean put your past behind you!
Memories are fine, they can remind us of happy times and of things you know better than to do now. So take that step forwards and see with the eyes of faith.
What was it like for Paul when the scales fell from his eyes, he was new, (all bright and shiny), not the same as before, transformed into a new person, with new goals and ideas he was on the start of a road to something new, mysterious and probably a little scary, (old Saul had a goal, new Paul had only the beginnings of an idea) his later saying of seeing through a glass darkly cuts very close to the bone when you look at it like that.
In those days after he found the truth, he could see his future only through faith, he had to, because the future he envisaged was no longer a priority. God had given him a new destiny. And he was filled with a desire to find out more about it, he had come into head to head contact with Jesus, and had received the Holy Spirit, he felt compelled now to turn his entire life upside down and throw his camel, or whatever type of animal he liked to ride into reverse.
The change was instant and it was noticeable because he had always had a fire in him, a great capacity to take whatever moved him and pursue it with all of his ability and fervour, and what was once used to harm he now used to teach.
Paul fearlessly took that first step forwards into the unknown and he put his trust in Jesus, who only a few days before, he had been persecuting and began speaking in public about what had happened to him.
What had changed in Saul that made him Paul? (Well to start with probably some change of address forms, and a letter substitution...) What made him want to find out more and then share what he found out? (It wasn't a love of ancient Roman detective novels) He came into contact, physically and spiritually, with Jesus he became certain that not only was he real, he was alive and that all that he had heard was true and was now filled with the Holy Spirit, and that impelled him to want to move on, to move ahead, he was inspired and on fire and he literally had to go on, that's what happens when the reality of Jesus hits you.
So what can we take from this, how can we take this message and apply it to the New Year? Well since it is a convenient starting point look at it like this.
You are starting a new year, if you have a goal or a dream be fearless, put your faith in Jesus and move on it. If you don't, ask for one and see where the Holy Spirit leads you. The past is gone now, it's finished, no matter what you did wrong, or has been stopping you, it's time to trust in the love of God whose grace covers our imperfections, (I mean Have you seen Paul's rap sheet? You think you've got problems? that's allot of Grace I'm telling you!) if there was a way for Paul there is a way for you.
You know a painter only has a mental image of what he is going to put on a canvass, an inspiration, and a writer has only a whisper of an idea before he writes. It takes great courage to make that first brush stroke or write that first paragraph but with each stroke and each word it gets easier and easier, momentum builds and soon you're in your stride and unstoppable, it's the drive to see the thing completed to see where the road ends, to see the view from the mountain top. Why climb Everest? Why fly to the moon? It wasn't because they where there, it was Because someone started to do it.
We have the Holy Spirit in us and Jesus watching out for us, take that step don't look too far ahead, you can't see that far anyway. Ask for direction, trust in Jesus, be fearless and move onwards.
With his help you, just like Paul (because the same Spirit that raised Jesus was in Paul and that spirit never changes so you and Paul have the same fundamental ammunition, add to that great faith and you can do anything.)
You can overcome the obstacles that has come up and go on to bigger and better things. Say it over and over to yourself "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" pray it over yourself and others, believe it, say it, do it.
Write it down and put it in your pocket, then when uncertainty comes, dig into your jeans and read it, and remember what feats those people who believed it, said and did.
The road from Damascus is tricky you can't always see what's in front of you and sometimes you trip. But Jesus said that a road that is fraught with obstacles and that is narrow and tricky to traverse will eventually lead to salvation, and a wide road that is flat and easy leads to destruction (So look out for bumps and then long periods of calm, if you hit a pothole and then all goes smooth you should bear in mind the phrase "It's quiet, too quiet" and ask for confirmation that your doing the right thing, if the enemy isn't attacking you he's got nothing to fight you for). Jesus said to run the race and to fight the fight of faith, well what athlete ever saw the finish line before he started? And what soldier saw victory before the battle?
Whenever we go after something new all have a Road from Damascus to follow, a road with nothing behind us and nothing in front of us but the promise of better things to come. If we trust in Jesus like Paul did, and listen to what the Spirit tells us, like Paul did, we can dare to strive for those better things, and not only strive for them but attain them. Go on what are you waiting for? Let's not start 2013 just walking, let's start running, and lets achieve more than we dared hope, dream or imagine.

Happy New Year, Keep it real and May God Bless you in it.

Josh

(And now a general service announcement)
The relevant scriptures pertaining to the Damascus road incident and the stoning of Steven can be found at the following references.
(Acts 7:58-60)
(Acts 8:1, 3)
(Acts 9:1-3)


Dade

Todays scripture is about knowing that before us has gone many people, contained in the word of God, who ran their race well against all the odds, and overcame everything to become champions of the faith. They're written there as inspirations for you!

Hebrew 12 Chapter vs 1: "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,"

Each day, we will publish a thought to motivate/inspire you. take the thought, and encourage yourself by repeating it within yourself as many times in a day as you can. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Proverbs 23 vs 7).

"It's time for me to give up negativity and believe for good things to come out of me."

Prayer is really communication with God, so we're including suggestions as to what your could particularly be praying about for today.

1, Pray to God to put good people in your life that will inspire you, stretch you and motivate you.
2, Ask God to inspire in you strength wisdom and courage to change where needed
3, Pray for God to motivate you to so that you are not in the "Neither hot nor cold" bracket of lethargy that God does not respond to.
4, Pray for God to visits upon your heart compassion, for those who need help around you.