Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

October 2020 Issue

Forward

From the Current Issue

Introduction—FORWARD: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow

Introduction—FORWARD: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow

This book is about the rest of your life. It’s about tomorrow. Your tomorrow—and the day after that. Your God-given future is not a haphazard jumble of confusing contingencies. If you feel stuck, you don’t have to be. If you feel discouraged, it’s time to deal with that. If you feel uncertain, you can get clarity.

You’re traveling an appointed way filled with promise and productivity. Everything in your past has prepared you for what’s next, and every promise of God will provide what’s needed. This is no time to let anxiety, apathy, or anything else hamper you.

Your car’s rearview mirror is a fraction of the size of the windshield, and there’s a reason for that. Safe drivers glance in the mirror, but they focus on the road ahead. How would you like to be in a car driven by someone preoccupied with the mirror?

I’ve written this book to encourage you to push forward, whatever your age or circumstances. To help you get on with your life and chase your unfolding future—and do it with focus, faith, and fervor. I’m excited about whatever is next for you! Your coming days and years are brimming with blessings. Yes, there may be burdens, but God knows about those too. Don’t dread tomorrow. Leverage it for the Lord and for others.

I’ve lived long enough to learn something: no matter what season of life you’re in, your best and brightest days are just around the corner. That’s not just my opinion and it’s not a pious platitude; it’s biblical truth. When you seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, your future is always unfolding at the speed of grace. God is waiting to use you now more than ever, and your life is far from finished. It’s just beginning.

Think of it this way. Your car’s rearview mirror is a fraction of the size of the windshield, and there’s a reason for that. Safe drivers glance in the mirror, but they focus on the road ahead. How would you like to be in a car driven by someone preoccupied with the mirror? Too many people travel through life that way. They regret yesterday’s failures, rehash yesterday’s blessings, coast through life on a quarter-tank of fuel, and hope for a scenic overlook ahead. Too often that leaves them stalled by the side of the road.

Let me hand you a bucket and rag. Wash the windshield, buckle your seatbelt, and hit the forward gear. That was the apostle Paul’s attitude when he declared, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil. 3:13-14 nlt).

That’s been my approach to life too, but I felt a sense of rediscovery in this regard on Sunday, April 14, 2019. That evening at Shadow Mountain Community Church where I serve, we invited musician Tommy Walker to minister to us in a concert. Tommy is a gifted and heartfelt artist, and his last song grabbed my heart. It was as though he had written and sung that song just for me. Its title was “Forward,” and the words say, in part:

It’s been a long, long road

It’s been a crooked path with many twists

And turns, but I’m not looking back

I’m walking straight ahead

Believing what You’ve said Lord

That You’re gonna be with me

No matter what life brings

 

Forward, I’m going forward

To the plans You have for me

To horizons yet unseen

Forward to Your new mercies I will find

As I’m pressing toward the prize

I’m going forward.[1]

In Jesus Christ your life is not obsolete; it’s not out of fashion; and it’s not over! May the Lord Jesus use this book to help you discover—to rediscover—the dreams, desires, and driving force He has waiting for you as you shift to FORWARD!

In speaking with Tommy after the concert and later reading what he wrote about this song, I came to appreciate those words even more.

Tommy said, “This song was written with a sense of determination to move FORWARD by faith into the next season of my life. The older I get, the easier it is to want my life to be safe, comfortable, and predictable. But that’s not God’s plan! The God we worship is a God who loves the new and He’s all about bringing newness to our lives and the lives of those around us.”

Tommy continued, “We will have to let go of the safe and familiar in order to step into the things that bring His life, joy, and power! God desires that all of us press in and press on by faith to the good plans and good works he has for each of us! It’s never too late! Let’s say no to fear, complacency, and comfort and move FORWARD by faith in Jesus’ Name!”[2]

His song became the theme of this book.

Effective men and women are forward thinkers. The nineteenth-century preacher F. B. Meyer wrote, “It is a mistake to be always turning back to recover the past. The law for Christian living is not backward, but forward; not for experiences that lie behind, but for doing the will of God, which is always ahead and beckoning us to follow.”

Meyer went on to urge us: “Leave the things that are behind, and reach forward to those that are before, for on each new height to which we attain, there are the appropriate joys that befit the new experience. Don't fret because life's joys are fled. There are more in front. Look up, press forward, the best is yet to be![3]

I’ve thought about this over and over, framing in my mind what that looks like for me. I believe there are ten actions that enable us to tackle life aggressively in the will of God. They are: Dream, Pray, Choose, Focus, Risk, Pursue, Believe, Invest, Finish, and Celebrate. I’ve set each of them forth in this book with a deep prayer that you’ll share the excitement of living assertively in a forward direction.

This book is for young people who desperately need to know these things as they start moving into the fullness of God’s will for them. It’s for young parents and professionals who are stunned by the pressures of life. It’s for those in mid-life who need a fresh start. And it’s for those of us who are older, because sometimes we forget our richest moments of divine service are at hand.

Have you ever needed to jump-start your engine? The ten steps I describe in this book will spark your interest and help you move forward with fresh energy. It begins when you start to sense God’s desires and dreams for you, which are birthed in prayer. As those dreams evolve in your heart, you declutter your routine so you can live with sharper focus and deeper faith. You latch onto the truth of God—that He has a unique roadmap for you and has wonderfully fashioned you for the route He’s chosen.

In the process, you have to cast off pessimism and press onward with a positive mindset like the heroes in the book of Revelation who were ready to “follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Rev. 14:4 niv). Your life is an investment with eternal dividends. Here on earth, you’ll finish in God’s timing only to immediately resume your activities in Heaven, where an eternity of worship, work, and fellowship awaits you.

In Jesus Christ your life is not obsolete; it’s not out of fashion; and it’s not over!

May the Lord Jesus use this book to help you discover—to rediscover—the dreams, desires, and driving force He has waiting for you as you shift to FORWARD!


Tommy Walker, “Forward,” Tommy Walker Ministries, February 28, 2019, https://www.tommywalkerministries.org/media/song-of-the-week-2019-4-forward.

Ibid.

F. B. Meyer, Our Daily Walk (Reformed Church Publications, 2015), 181.

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