What You Think It Is…
We have all been there… what does the future hold? What are the “Next Steps”? What you must get a hold of and always remember is this – God wants to take you from where you are to where you need to be.
This is true for every person reading this… age doesn’t matter, how long you’ve been a Christian doesn’t matter. He wants you to finish what you’re doing and step into the next thing because your future is always forward, it is just ahead of you.
Sometimes it is helpful to know what a thing isn’t, because that will help define what it might be…
Your future is not what you think it is…
That can be a scary. We all make plans. We all have dreams about how our lives might go or how we will end up, but life doesn’t always go according to our fantasies.
I knew at age 12 I was called to be a minister but my fantasy was to go to the Air Force Academy, become a fighter pilot and then retire after 20-25 years of service and live a life of ease.
Then it happened, I had to get glasses. How often have we stepped into the future thinking one way and it ends up totally different or not quite what we dreamed?
Yogi Berra said, “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
The “used to be” was our carefully laid plans (the practical person) or our fantastic fantasies (the dreamer). I am not saying that none of it can happen but it most often does not happen the way we think or end up the way we imagined. The future is not what I thought it was!
Steve Jobs said in 2005,
“…you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
Yet we try to do just that. The dots are all there, waiting to be connected and we try to make sense of them, connecting them in the way we think they should go…
James and John tried to connect the dots too in Mark 10:35-40. They made plans that would give them prime position and influence in Jesus’ new way of doing things. They had all the dots in front of them; they just didn’t understand how it all connected.
Instead of being at Jesus’ right and left they were the first (James) and last (John) Apostles to die. Both were persecuted for the Gospel and their belief that Jesus is the Messiah.
James was not to Jesus’ right, but he was the first Apostle to be martyred because of Him. “About that time King Herod Agrippa began to persecute some believers in the church. He had the apostle James killed with a sword.” Acts 12:1-2 (NLT)
He followed fully in the footsteps of Jesus, “…as James was led to the place of martyrdom, his accuser was brought to repent of his conduct by the apostle’s extraordinary courage, and fell down at his feet to request his pardon, professing himself a Christian, and resolving that James should not receive the crown of martyrdom alone. Hence they were both beheaded at the same time. Thus did the first apostolic martyr cheerfully and resolutely receive that cup, which he had told our Savior he was ready to drink.” Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. Just as Jesus snatched the thief at the cross from destruction, James turned his false-accuser to Christ before his own beheading.
James gained not only position but influence… Just not in the manner he thought was in his future.
John was ordered thrown into boiling oil but was miraculously saved from it, he later wrote… “I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus.” Revelation 1:9 (NLT).
It is said he is the only apostle not to suffer a violent death. John’s death was the second bookend; first James at the right, and John at the left, the last of the Apostles. John’s influence stretches forward even now, for he is widely accepted as the writer of five books in the New Testament, which includes a Gospel and Revelation, and during his life “founded and built” many churches in Asia.
Neither James nor John knew how the dots connected in their life but looking back now we see!
Your future is not what you think it is. Your future is what He knows it is…
Psalms 139:16 (NLT)
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
Just as James and John didn’t really know their future… They thought they knew, thought they had all the dots connected in the right order but He is the one who sets things in order. God’s plans may be a little different than your dreams.
Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)
For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
We have reason for hope no matter our future circumstance… no matter how the dots connect… because God is already there! He knows!
Your future is what He knows it is… not what you think it is.
So press forward!! Trust Him! He will connect the dots…