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Writing Your Story - Part 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah
The Truth Network Radio
January 26, 2021 12:24 pm

Writing Your Story - Part 1

Turning Point / David Jeremiah

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January 26, 2021 12:24 pm

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This podcast is made available by Vision Christian Media, thanks to the generosity of our supporters. Your donation today means great podcasts like this remain available to help people look to God daily.

Please make your donation today at vision.org.au. Life takes on new meaning when you stop seeing just numbers on the calendar and start seeing each day as a new chapter in the story of your life. Today on Turning Point, Dr David Jeremiah asks you to consider your story, the interesting characters and unexpected plot twists revealed by the author each day.

From the life God blesses, here's David to introduce today's message, writing your story. Well, this is a great lesson because it reminds us of our journey. You know, we as Christians focus a lot on our destination, which is heaven.

That's a good thing to do. It's good to know where you're headed and where you're going to spend eternity. But we're not there yet. And there's a journey between where we are and where we're going. And God cares about that journey.

That's where all of us are. We're on the journey right now. And the journey is as important as the destination. How we live our lives and how we focus on what God is doing and how observant we are to the things that God is doing in our lives.

In this new year, let's really make sure we do that. Don't get so caught up in the ultimate destination that we forget we're not there yet. And in between now and then, there's some real wonderful opportunities to expand the kingdom and express our faith and grow in our own relationship with the Lord. Right now, our Bibles are open to Proverbs chapter four, and we're going to talk about writing your story. Proverbs chapter four and verses 14 through 19. If you have your Bibles open and you are following along in the New King James version of the scripture, which is what I preach from, you can read from your Bibles. Proverbs 4, 14 through 19.

Are you ready? Here we go. Do not enter the path of the wicked and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it. Do not travel on it.

Turn away from it and pass on. For they do not sleep unless they have done evil and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence. But the path of the just is like the shining sun that shines ever brighter onto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness.

They do not know what makes them stumble. I want to talk with you about writing your story, writing your story. John Eldredge is a writer who has encouraged a lot of us, turned a lot of guys on to the powerful existence that is available for Christian men as they follow the Lord. He's written a book called Epic, and in this book he talks about the fact that our life is a story.

He says life doesn't come to us like a math problem. It comes to us the way that a story does, scene by scene. You wake up, what will happen next? You don't get to know.

You have to enter in. You have to take the journey as it comes. The sun might be shining. There might be a tornado outside. Your friends may call and invite you to go sailing.

You might lose your job. Life unfolds like a drama. Each day has a beginning and an end.

There are all sorts of characters and all sorts of settings. A year goes by like a chapter from a novel. Sometimes it seems like a tragedy, sometimes like a comedy. Most of it feels like a soap opera. Whatever happens, it's a story through and through. Life for most of us feels like a movie we've arrived at 40 minutes late. Sure, good things happen, sometimes beautiful things, but tragic things happen too. What does it all mean? We find ourselves in the middle of a story that is sometimes wonderful, sometimes awful. Usually a confusing mixture of both and we haven't a clue how to make sense out of it all.

No wonder we keep losing heart. We need to know the rest of the story. For when we were born, we were born into the midst of a great story begun before the dawn of time. A story of adventure, of risk and loss, of heroism and betrayal. It is a story where good is warring against evil, where danger lurks around every corner and glorious deeds wait to be done. Think of all those stories you've ever loved. There's a reason they stirred your heart. They've been trying to tell you about the true epic ever since you were young. There is not a time during the year when we are more attuned to stories than at the Christmas season.

And the aftermath of it all. We watch 34th Street and our heart resonates with it. We watch It's a Wonderful Life.

I read that it was on television 480 times during the holiday season. Even the story of Scrooge grabs at our heart. Why are these stories all so endearing and enduring? Because in some way they get at the heart of the real story. The story of good and evil. The story of God and his children.

Well, certainly none of the authors of these major plays and stories had that in mind. In the understanding of the plot and the outflow of the story, if you think about them carefully, you can see a subtle theme that runs through them all. And it is the theme that ultimately ends up in the story which began before the foundation of the world.

We are living through an epic of time that will be viewed by historians as one of the most defining moments in American history. The presence of intense evil on one hand is more evident to us than ever before. We cannot go through a day without being reminded of all of the things that are going on where evil things are happening.

Many of them motivated from evil hearts. We have been told that 50 percent of our nation think one way and 50 percent think the other way. And that people on each side are not really crazy about people on the other side. Everywhere we look, there's this dichotomy of life. And everywhere we look, we are reminded that we're a part of a story that is taking us all through that situation. Now, the Bible is filled with metaphors of the Christian life. In fact, if you want to understand your life, you need to grab hold of these metaphors and start to study them.

Let me give you a couple of illustrations of what I mean. The Bible tells us that our life is like a race that is to be won or lost. First Corinthians 9, 24, and 25 says, Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it, and everyone who competes for the prize is tempered in all things.

Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown. Life is a race that we run in. The Bible teaches us also that life is a battle. It's a fight that we engage in. Second Timothy 2 forces, No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.

There's another picture of what life is like. The Bible says that you may become blameless and harmless children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom ye shine as lights in the darkness. But perhaps of all of the metaphors of the Christian life, the one that makes the most sense is the metaphor of the ongoing journey or the story that's unfolding from place to place. In our text that we read from the book of Proverbs, we are reminded that all of us, no matter who we are, are on a journey. We're either walking toward God or we're walking away from him. We're either on the journey of good and righteousness or we're on the journey going away from good and righteousness.

There isn't really a middle ground that we can claim. It is surprising how many times in the Bible this picture of a path or a journey is used. It is a picture of the Christian life, not only the life of those who know Christ but also the life of those who do not.

It's interesting when you find a word in the Bible and you underline it and you put it in your mental computer, if you're not careful, every time you open the Bible that word will pop up because you've sensitized yourself to it. When I sensitized my mind to the idea of walking the path, being on a path with God, here are some of the passages that came before me. Jeremiah 18, 15 says, because my people have forgotten me, they have burned incense to worthless idols and they have caused themselves to stumble in their ways from the ancient paths.

They walked away from the ancient paths, says Jeremiah. The path describes God's way of life for every believer of every age. Listen to how David prayed in Psalm 25 verse 4. He said, show me your ways, O Lord.

Teach me your what? Your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me for you are the God of my salvation.

On you I wait all the day. Psalm 23 verse 3, more familiar to us because it's the 23rd Psalm. He restores my soul.

He leads me in where? Paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Psalm 27, 11, teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me in a smooth path because of my enemies. Psalm 139 verse 3, you comprehend my path and my lying down and you are acquainted with all my ways.

Proverbs 2, 20 and 22, so you may walk in the way of goodness and keep to the paths of righteousness for the upright will dwell in the land and the unfaithful will be uprooted from it. So you see that the Bible speaks of us as being on a journey. We are on a path. What is a path? A path is something that takes you from one place to the next.

Normally, when we think of a path, we think of something that hasn't been paved yet but has just been worn by the traffic that's gone before. The Bible says that all of us as Christians, we are, right now, we are on a journey. We're somewhere along the path between where we are and where God ultimately will have us. One of the main themes in the book of Proverbs is the contrast between the righteous and the wicked.

If you read the book of Proverbs with that in mind, you will find many illustrations and many metaphors will grab your attention. The way of the righteous and the way of the wicked are two different paths and you're either on one or the other. The path upon which you walk today will determine your destination tomorrow. Jesus made that very clear when he spoke to us in the Sermon on the Mount and at the end of that sermon, he gave this conclusion. He said, enter by the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go by it because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life and there are few who find it.

Matthew 7, 13, and 14. Now, if you read that passage carefully, you will discover that Jesus said there are two gates, the narrow and the wide, and there are two ways, the narrow way and the broad way, and there are two groups of travelers, the many and the few, and there are two destinations, destruction and life, and there are two experiences, the easy experience and the difficult one. Today, I want to talk with you about one of these two ways, the narrow way, the difficult way, the way that leads to life but also leads through some difficult experiences in the journey.

This is part of my story and it's part of yours as well. No matter who you are or how you came to this experience, your story is being written even as you are here. This is a part of the epic of your life and if you happen to be a Christian, your story is written on the path of righteousness that leads to glory and eternal fellowship with God. Look back again at Proverbs 4 and verse 18 and notice it says, the path of the just is like the shining sun that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day. The path of the just is like the shining sun that shines ever brighter unto the perfect day.

I want to just leave you with five truths very quickly as we walk through this but listen carefully. First of all, our journey has a definite beginning. Every journey starts somewhere, amen? You don't just find yourself on a journey, you start. And our journey with God begins when the light of his gospel shines into our heart and we become a Christian. You are not on the right path unless you have been exposed to the light of the word of God and you have accepted Christ as your savior. The child of God begins his spiritual life by allowing the light of Jesus Christ to shine in his heart and he is born again. And he begins his journey, his path of the just or his path of light he now occupies. Wherever you are today as a Christian, whether you've been saved for years or you just came into the family of God, you're on the path that leads to God. The Bible teaches that once you are on that path, you can never get off. You can take little detours and get lost a little bit along the way but the destination is not in doubt.

But oh, the path can be an interesting experience as the story is being written. Here the process that is involved is simply coming to the light. How do we come to the light?

First of all, through the conviction of our sin. Once again, light is involved, John 3, 19 and 20, and this is the condemnation that light has come into the world and men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light and his deeds may clearly be seen that they have been done in God. So you begin on this path by conviction of your sin that you are not walking in the light. Light from God's word tells us that we are lost. 2 Corinthians 4 verse 4 says, whose minds the God of this age is blinded who do not believe lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God should shine on them.

Let me ask you a question. Has the light of the gospel of God shined upon your heart? Have you come to a conclusion in your own life that you are a sinner and the light has exposed that and you are now convicted of your sin and in the process of being convicted you felt the compassion of the Lord Jesus who comes to you. Notice secondly, the conviction of our sin results in the compassion of our savior.

Verse 46 of John 12 says, I have come as a light into the world, why, that whosoever believes in me should not abide in darkness. You're walking along and you realize that you're not on the right path. The conviction of sin begins to take over in your life.

What do you do? You look up and you see that Jesus loved you enough to die on the cross and he sent his light into the world so that you might get on the right path and begin to know him. Then notice the condition of your salvation once again is related to light. John 8 12, then Jesus spoke to them again saying, I am the light of the world, now watch this, he who follows me shall not walk in darkness. So you see there's a process of getting on this path, you become convicted of your sin, you realize that God sent his son, the light of the world into the world to be your savior and then you begin to follow him. You accept him as your savior. Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No man comes to the father except through me. I had visited the restaurant that has been started by a combination of the set free ministries and our urban ministry at Shadow Mountain and there's a young lady over there by the name of Lisa who is a waitress. Everybody who works at Aunt Emma's now, which by the way is just a beautiful restaurant and I'm not promoting a business because it's not really a business, it's a ministry. Every dime that comes in there just goes back to help the people who come up with the street. But it's a transition ministry and many of these people who are serving there have been on the streets and they come and they get saved and they get cleaned up and they teach them the trade and they can get jobs as waitresses and cooks and all of that.

The food is great and sometimes a little bit slow but they're getting better at it and they're learning. Well, this young lady by the name of Lisa came over and sat at our table and she told us her story. You talk about walking the path of darkness. She had been on the streets for three years. She was hooked on drugs and couldn't get off of them. She tried everything she knew to turn her life around, every recovery program and nothing worked. And then she said, someone told me about Jesus and she said, this is what Jesus can do. She's got a beautiful smile. You would never know by looking at her that she'd ever spent one day on the streets. She said her family came to see her when they walked in the restaurant.

They didn't know who she was. She said, nobody really understands what Jesus can do. She says, I'm what Jesus can do. He's the one who shines the light into the darkness. If you're not on the path, his light is shining into your heart today. Every journey has a beginning.

Every story has a preface. Are you on the path that leads to everlasting life? Our journey not only has a definite beginning, our journey takes us to some difficult places. That's a surprise to many people, that if you become a Christian, you're going to have difficulty. There's this old thought that goes around that if you are a Christian, all your problems are resolved. That when you become a Christian, everything is cool and you don't have any stress anymore.

Well, nobody who ever says that really understands what being a Christian is all about, nor have they read the Bible very carefully, because the Bible does not give us a free pass from the moment of our salvation until we get to glory. The Bible says the narrow way is the way we walk, that there are many who walk the other way, but there are just a few that walk the narrow way. Often there is ridicule.

Often there is resistance. I want you to notice that the path of the just sometimes can be difficult, but is a protected journey. The path of the just is like the shining light, says the Proverbs, that shines ever brighter into the perfect day. The way of the wicked is like darkness.

They do not know what makes them stumble. The way of the light and the way of darkness are clearly marked out in this passage of Scripture. The path that has the light is the safe path. The path on which the wicked make their way is a path of darkness and trouble. Would you rather be on a path with a lot of people that's dark, or on a short, narrow path with a few people where there's light?

That's a no-brainer, isn't it? Yet so many people don't understand that principle. In the fourth chapter of the book of Proverbs, wisdom is brought out almost personified. Wisdom speaks as a father to his son and says this in the fourth chapter, verses 10 through 12. Hear my son and receive my sayings, and the years of your life will be many. I have taught you in the way of wisdom. I have led you in the right paths.

When you walk, your steps will not be hindered, and when you run, you will not stumble. What a wonderful thing to be able to say. You've led your children in the right paths. Amen. Amen.

Well, you know, when we start a new year, we tear the page off and we start writing again on a fresh page. And it's such a thrilling thing, and we're just getting started with that. So my question to you is, how's your story going?

How's the first chapter looking? Are you walking with the Lord? Are you following through on your commitments? Are you asking God to make you a blessing to other people? We did something at Shadow Mountain Church and at Turning Point for our Christmas party this year that we've never done before. We gave each person who came to the party two envelopes, and each of them was filled with $50. And we told them that the first 50 was for them, but they had to give the other 50 away to somebody outside of their family.

And they were to pray and ask God who that person should be. And the stories are pouring in from the things people have done and how God has used that little gift to bless others. That's just an illustration, friends, as we talk about the life God blesses. That God never blesses us for any other major reason than that we could bless other people. We're channels of blessing from God to others. And I hope that you're catching that in this series.

We'll talk some more about that tomorrow as we finish up writing your story. On Friday, it's the eight spiritual blessings found in Ephesians chapter 1. And I hope you'll join us tomorrow right here on this Good Station as we come down to the end of our series, The Life God Blesses. I'm David Jeremiah.

Thanks for listening. DavidJeremiah.org forward slash radio. And when you do, please ask for your copy of Jack Countryman's new book, God's Blessings Just for You. It features 100 inspirational readings and reflections, and it's yours for a gift of any amount. And if you still haven't requested David's new daily devotional for 2021 called Strength for Today, there are still copies available. It's a great way to get a dose of biblical truth every day. Ask for your copy when you visit us at DavidJeremiah.org forward slash radio. I'm Gary Hoogfleet. Join us tomorrow as we continue the series, The Life God Blesses. That's here on Turning Point with Dr David Jeremiah. Thanks for taking time to listen to this audio on demand from Vision Christian Media. To find out more about us, go to vision.org.au
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-31 02:05:40 / 2023-12-31 02:14:47 / 9

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