A wise friend of mine likes to say that the cross of Christ symbolizes the place where God's will crosses ours. We want to live a life full of joy and blessings, but along the way we reach crossroads in our lives that demand a decision: will we follow our own way or choose His? Our familiar path is suddenly interrupted. God confronts us with "cross purposes." From "rejoicing in trials" to "taking up our cross," how do we choose God's way when it seems so contrary to ours?
Stand at the Crossroads and Ask
A wise prophet provided us with the answer long ago. In these modern times when we are inundated with ways contrary to God's, the Lord has been drawing me back to Jeremiah's words. He says:
Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path and you will find rest for your souls. ~Jeremiah 6:16, NLT
At the point where a decision must be made, or where we feel overwhelmed with storms, choices, or possibilities and don't know what to do, we must STOP right there and return to the ancient way, the way the ancients sought God. Jamieson Fausset-Brown's commentary describes it this way: "Idolatry and apostasy are the modern way; the worship of God, the old way."*
As I've pondered this scripture over the last year and a half, the Lord has reminded me of this well-known "strategy" of the ancients, especially David:
"Praise is the gateway to blessing. I am the source of all joy, peace, and blessing in your life, and you do well to enter in to My Presence through praise. When I say 'Position yourself: stand in the ancient paths and inquire...' it is a request for you to enter the gates of praise and thanksgiving so that your joy may be full. Without Me you will know no lasting joy, nor will you experience the benefits I have outlined in My Word. Blessing Me leads to benefits: the benefits of an established heart, a sound and peaceful mind, and a quiet spirit that dominates even your physical concerns, causing all things to fall in line with My order and My ways. You are blessed when you bless Me first, whether in worship, tithing, or giving of yourself in some way to another. Each point of sacrifice releases a new benefit, a new revelation, a new experience in the Spirit for you. Why? Because the joy that fills a Father's heart will cause Me to bless in return! Your praise extended to Me will cause Me to extend My hand to you in response. You can move both heaven and earth through your prayers and praise: heaven, because I draw near to you when you draw near to Me, and earth, because the impact of light, no matter how faint or small, will always cause darkness to retreat."
One glance at the Psalms shows us that David's sacrificial praise often resulted in the benefit of fresh revelation from the Lord. (See esp. Psalms 98-103.) David knew that from the starting point of his trials, he could worship his way into God's Presence and emerge with joy. Many of his songs begin in turmoil yet end with prophetic perspective.
In contrast, Jeremiah prophesies (in 6:16, above) to those for whom the Word of the Lord had become unattractive and scornful. Israel was so caught up in her own ways that she no longer paid attention to God's ways. These "believers" were no longer choosing a lifestyle of worship, and Jeremiah prophesied that God would stretch out His hand against them. (Jeremiah 6:12.) God's will was "crossing" their own.
Today, we New Testament believers have so much more available to us spiritually! Christ has become our "new and living way" (Hebrews 10:20), and we can draw near to God in full confidence that His shed blood has opened the way for us to worship Him freely, without fear. The Lord is urging us to draw near, expecting good things, because we worship a good Father!
Higher than the Storms
Deborah Perkins is a seasoned prophetic writer, speaker, and Christian leader with over 30 years of ministry experience across denominations. At God's request in 2013, she founded His Inscriptions, an online ministry devoted to helping people worldwide build life-giving communication with God. Through her website, inspired teaching and a weekly blog, Deborah offers discipleship to those who want to grow their relationship with God. Deborah is also fond of her hubby, 3 sons, and dark chocolate - in that order!
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.
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