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The Power of Now

The power of Now
Words of Faith 7-13-16
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2016
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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Acts 20
[22] "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. [23] I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. [24] However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

And now… Now. “Now” is an important time. It goes away quickly, doesn’t it? In a moment it slips away and becomes “then”. So we are stewards of “now” very briefly. Paul knew that, back then.
As Paul bid an emotional farewell to his friends at Ephesus, he first reflected on the past that they had shared together v18-21. Next, he reflected on the now, the present. Paul was never content to live in the past! No matter how great the victories or how tender the emotions, Paul was compelled to walk forward.
Paul was not compelled by anything but the Spirit of God. He was not compelled by the leaders in Jerusalem calling him in. He was not compelled by authorities in Ephesus driving him out. He was not compelled by “time” moving him forward (“Oh it’s about time for a change of scenery”). Paul desired to arrive in Jerusalem for the Pentecost feast but he had also desired to be there earlier for the Passover feast. Only the Spirit compelled Paul.
Paul was not dissuaded by the dangers ahead of him. The Holy Spirit had warned him of prison and hardships that were ahead. But Paul had come to walk so closely with the Spirit that his earthly life was of no particular value. The only thing that mattered was to faithfully complete the task assigned by the Lord Jesus, testifying to the Gospel of grace. This is a spiritual life, not constrained by the flesh.
Paul was able to fully surrender his own desires and listen only to the Holy Spirit. That is a remarkable place to be! To live in such response to the Spirit is to live in the “now”. In the “now” of the Spirit, there is no pull of the past and there is no fear of the future. The Spirit is perfectly honest in warning Paul of the hardship ahead but also completely assuring of whatever strength will be needed. It is a place of absolute freedom.
Paul describes this place with God in his letter to the Philippians. “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus tool hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12b-14).”
Paul knew the power of remembering but he also knew the power of breaking away from the past. Living in the now means forgetting both the failures and the accomplishments of our past while never forgetting the mighty acts of God. He also knew the power of the Spirit who takes hold of us and compels us toward our God designed destiny. “Pressing on” is not a matter of finding something to do for God or “getting busy” for God. “Pressing on” is surrendering to the compelling invitation of the Spirit to walk into the future God has for you.
Yesterday, the text reminded us that in remembering, we find strength. Today we are called to reflect on the call. Where is God calling you, now? Not yesterday (past victories), tomorrow, or a year from now, but today. What is the Spirit whispering in your ear? Freedom comes when we tune out the noise of this busy world and listen to God, forget both the accomplishments and failures of the past, and press on to take hold of that for which Christ has taken hold of us.

Lord, I surrender the past to You. I choose to live in the now. I am listening. Compel me by Your Spirit to walk as You would have me walk. In Jesus’ name.

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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2001, 2016
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)
2820 Business Center Blvd.
Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200
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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.