Lessons Of A Lifetime

SUNDAY MAY 13, 2018

Scripture To Consider:
“And Joseph and Mary marveled at those things that were spoken of Jesus. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary, ‘Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against; (Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.’”

“Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
Luke 2.33-39

Something To Consider:
Simeon warned Mary, by declaring, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many…” This powerful and reflective statement could easily be said of every child that has ever or will ever be born. Every child is a possible future leader for good or for evil; therefore every child is a leader in training. Every child born is a potential help or a hindrance, a potential blessing or a potential bother to their generation. Some of us if we were honest could rightly claim that we have in our lifetime been both, a bother and hopefully now a blessing as we have become new creatures in Christ.

Much of the awesome responsibility and reward of forging a strong anvil like attitude toward good is bound up in the heart of a loving mother and a faithful father. Much prayer, patience, and learning to sometimes let go and let God fully fashion a child’s character is crucial to our children being used by God for the rising of many, rather than the fall of any. Every child has a potential destiny and duty while here on earth. Therefore, what are we doing to help shape that destiny for good?

Psalm 127.3 declares, “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD…” And yet the prophet Isaiah paints a most different picture in Isaiah 30.1-3. “Woe to the rebellious children, says the LORD, who take counsel, but not of Me, and who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; who walk to go down to Egypt, and have not asked My advice, to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt [that which is in opposition of God]! Therefore the strength of Pharaoh shall be their shame, and trust in the shadow of Egypt shall be your humiliation.”

Egypt is a biblical type of the world. Our children have a choice to make as do all men, women, and young people in every generation. Either they will trust in the Lord or they will trust in the shadow and physical strength of this shameful world. May all our children in time become like Simeon and Anna of old who bless the Lord and others with their very presence. May our children learn from us as parents the lessons of a lifetime that pertain to thankfulness and gratefulness and our looking for redemption in Jesus!

Something Else To Consider:
The name Anna is a form of Hannah, meaning grace. Anna, full of grace and full of the love of God as well as love for God, did not depart from the place of worship, but served God both day and night with prayer and fasting. This should be of great encouragement and instruction to any leaders in training who have yet been made aware of their true spiritual gifts and calling in Christ. Also, every wise leader in training should be diligently searching for Anna like persistent prayer warriors as if searching for buried treasure hidden among the ocean depths of humanity.

And we must take note that though there were hundreds if not thousands of religious institutional scribes, Pharisees, Rabbis, priests, and both religious and political leaders in and around Jerusalem, it was Simeon and Anna who were highlighted in the Scripture by the Holy Spirit. These two godly examples were held in high regard as men and women of destiny and duty looking for redemption in and through Jesus Christ and they found it before their leaving planet earth. Can the same be said of us and of our family? If not then our work here on earth is not yet complete!

Both Simeon and Anna were servant messengers of God, leaders quietly serving the Lord behind the scenes even surrounded by and in the midst of organized religion. They were leaders in every sense of the word, used mightily of God while looking for His promised redemption. Both Simeon and Anna were looking for God’s redemption with much more than just their physical eyes. They were both allowing God’s Spirit within them to direct their search. Looking for redemption is the first step in finding redemption. Looking for redemption is essential in eventually fulfilling our destiny and duty in God’s service even if it is behind enemy’s lines.

Something Else To Consider:
Look at the biblical characters that were chosen by God to become leaders of destiny and duty. Beginning with Noah, a simple but just man, perfect in his generation. Noah walked with God and therefore found grace in the eyes of the LORD. He was used by God to re-populate the earth with both human and the animal kingdom, truly fulfilling his destiny and duty.

Abraham was called to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and separate himself from his unbelieving family and the worldly familiarity of his earthly home. Abraham, nobody in the eyes of the world and yet called, chosen, and destined to a life of following God and God’s divine direction! Jacob a deliverer, Joseph a dreamer, Moses a murderer, David a shepherd, an adulterer, and a murderer, and yet they were all chosen by God.

Leaders and leaders in training of destiny and duty are not born but they are forged from the fire of adversity and placed in the classroom of the Holy Spirit of everyday life. But what do all true chosen by God spiritual leaders and leaders in training have in common. They are all looking for redemption. They are all looking to faithfully fulfill their earthly destiny and duty as prescribed by God their heavenly Father and in accordance with the Word of God.

What we do for the Lord must be within the boundaries of the living and sharper than any two-edged sword Word of God, otherwise, we may become as the many false prophets Jesus warned about over and over while upon planet earth.

A Few Final Words:
Simeon, under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit declared, “Behold, this Child [Jesus] is destined for the fall and rising of many…” Jesus later affirmed, “I am the Light of the world. He [or she] who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” If a man, woman, or young person does not come to the light of Jesus, the Word of God, and does not follow after the light of Jesus, the Word of God, they are destined to fall due to the darkness of this world. They are destined to become rebellious, destined to trust the world’s corrupt and condemning humanistic system.

If we refuse the instruction of Jesus and the admonitions of the Word of God, we have chosen a path that will lead to a life of shame and our suffering humiliation and ultimately will result in a destiny of darkness for all eternity. But, quite the opposite is also true! As we choose to come to Jesus, as we choose to take up our cross, as we choose to deny ourselves, the light of His Word illuminates our paths in this life and in the life to come.

As we begin the eternal process of fulfilling our divine destiny and duty before God we become spiritually linked to biblical giants such as Simeon, Anna, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Nicodemus, and Joseph of Arimathea, and so many more. The choice remains our choice. God’s call to destiny and duty rings through to every generation linking every single true believer to those who have gone before us and those who will follow in our footsteps.

Will our lives lead others to the rising ranks of the faithful or lead others to fall away from the only hope of humankind? Great and highly effective ordinary individuals of everyday life in every generation are among those who sense a fulfilling of destiny in the duty they perform. This destiny perceived gives purpose and promise of a much needed internal and eternal inheritance.

Our Father in heaven, as leaders in training, may we find our destiny and duty in Jesus, and in serving You while serving others. In Him Always, Amen!

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