Dear Faith Partner:
It is just the end of the first month of 2017 and already I can say, “What a year we have had so far!” We have already seen the Power of God working in the lives of His people. There is something about putting first things first; in other words, giving first priority of the year over to God through prayer and fasting; positioning yourself in a place that you are listening to the Father through what Holy Spirit is saying to you, and doing exactly what He tells you to do. Remember, Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 (AMPC), “But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.”
I am convinced that He is challenging everyone in the Body of Christ, to “Go Forward, NOW”. Going forward, not looking back to the past, not focusing on what has not worked or mistakes made in times past! God is saying there is more in front of you than behind you. When I was in the military, to get an organized unit moving we said “Forward March”. That is the command for the Body of Christ right now, Forward March. That means everything and everybody moves forward to the next assignment, following the leadership that is before us, in this case Holy Spirit.
In Exodus 14:15-16 (NKJV), “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.” Notice the situation, Moses has just led the children of Israel out of Egypt, (a type of the world or the Babylonian system). Pharaoh and his army were pursuing them, and God’s people allowed fear to enter in; not realizing that God was not only going before them, but He was a wall of protection behind them. The wall of protection actually served two purposes; keeping the enemy from catching them and preventing them from going backward. To me, it seems like God wanted them to go forward in life, just as He is encouraging His children to do today – Go Forward.
Jesus said in Luke 9:61-62, “And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” That would have meant this man was trying to go back from where he came from. Our position spiritually, when it comes to the things of God, should always be moving forward, not backward.
Numbers 13 gives us another example of God moving His people forward. However, we also see how, through disobedience, doubt and unbelief, His people were hindered from progressing at His will. This chapter also reveals the truth that even in the midst of a disobedient crowd, there are always those who will take God at His word despite the oppositions and challenges. In Numbers 13:1-3, 25-30, “The Lord said to Moses, “Send some men to explore the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites. From each ancestral tribe send one of its leaders.” So at the Lord’s command Moses sent them out from the Desert of Paran. All of them were leaders of the Israelites.” “And they returned from spying out the land after forty days. Now they departed and came back to Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel in the Wilderness of Paran, at Kadesh; they brought back word to them and to all the congregation, and showed them the fruit of the land. Then they told him, and said: “We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless (But) the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Then Caleb quieted the people before Moses, and said, “Let us go up at once and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.”
Ten out of the twelve spies (all leaders) developed a wrong image of what they saw, and started to complain about the inhabitants of the land while painting a picture of failure in the minds of the people. Caleb stopped them because he had different spirit, (see Numbers 14:24, 30, Numbers 32:12; Joshua 14:7-9; 14). He was passionate for God and followed Him with ALL of his heart. Caleb was a leader and leaders see things different than followers. In an attempt to keep them from aborting their destiny, Caleb told them, “WE CAN DO IT, just look beyond the problem and see the Promise of God.”
The events of your life will either provoke you to progress or regress. Everything that happens to you has the potential to cause you to move forward or go backward. The truth of the matter is you should to be making progress in every area of your life. (3 John 2) God does not design days in your life for you to go backwards; it is always a day to go forward. In your day to day living you will go through circumstances and situations. However, instead of allowing these challenges to push you backward you must push forward, using these lessons in your future of what not to do. Moving forward is not an option; it is a command from the LORD.
QUIT LOOKING BEHIND AND START LOOKING AHEAD. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. Consider these points for looking forward:
- When you look back, you lose sight of your future. If you are continually looking behind you cannot see where you are going. Everything God has for you is ahead of you – not behind you.
- Sometimes when you look back, you are giving the impression that you care more about the past than your future. Looking forward will cause you to see yourself through your future not your past.
- If you are ever going to move on to new things in Christ, you must learn that you cannot depend upon past victories to sustain. Forget the former things; where you have been is great, but where we are going is greater.
- Your old deliverance will be as nothing compared with the new. In Isaiah we are challenged to see what is before us, not behind. We see in the latter part of Isaiah 43:19a, “Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it…” God wants to do a new thing in your life, but He cannot do it if you keep lingering and looking back on your past.
Ephesians 3:20 (AMP) says, “Now to Him Who, by (in consequence of) the [action of His] power that is at work within us, is able to [carry out His purpose and] do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think [infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams]”. The Message Bible reads like this, “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”
If you are going to move forward you must:
- Let go of the past.
- Stop dwelling over and celebrating victories of yesterday.
- Learn from your past mistakes and failures.
- Look to Jesus and look away from those things that are distracters.
- Have an expectation of the greater or new things in front of you.
- Continue to set goals and dream bigger than your ability to do.
- Trust God to bring your dreams and visions to past.
Finally, remember the words of the Apostle Paul penned in Philippians 3:14-15 (MSG), “By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running and I’m not turning back”.
I continue to declare 2017 is a great year! I am fully persuaded that God, even in the midst of every situation, is going to “do superabundantly, far over and above all that we [dare] ask or think” in this year! In the midst of famine, I declare 100 fold harvest! I am not looking back and Janice and I pray that you will join us as we adhere to the command of God – FORWARD MARCH!
Your Partner and Friend,
Richard B. Peoples, Sr.