06 Oct True North – by Michelle Wallace

Lord, help me follow you; ordain my footsteps, you are able to keep me from stumbling; you aremy compass, my true North, my great adventure.

So many things in life bring distractions. Staying the course and following Christ can be a challenge – especially if you’re the ADD type like me. Squirrel! Sorry, I digress. In all seriousness, I was inspired to write as I looked at the life of Paul. No matter what life threw at him, he remained focused on the one thing. “But this one thing I do—forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies in front of me, with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Paul’s life is such an incredible case study. Here, in a nutshell, are some of his ordeals. Paul writes that he was beaten, shipwrecked, robbed, hungry, thirsty, cold, endured sleepless nights, imprisoned, on and on.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. When you get to the nitty gritty of Paul’s daily life it is almost humorous. One time he was preaching in an upper room. He was leaving the next morning and went on preaching until midnight. About that time a young guy sitting in an open window fell asleep and plummeted three stories to his death. Did Paul freak out? No, he didn’t even skip a beat. He went down the stairs, raised the boy from the dead, headed back up the stairs, and continued preaching all night!

Another time, he was warned he would be arrested  if  he  went  to  Jerusalem.  Everyone

begged him not to go. Yet he set his face like So many things in life bring distractions. Staying the course and following Christ can be a challenge – especially if you’re the ADD type like me. Squirrel! Sorry, I digress. In all seriousness, I was inspired to write as I looked at the life of Paul. No matter what life threw at him, he remained focused on the one thing. “But this one thing I do—forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies in front of me, with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God’s heavenward call in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14

Paul’s life is such an incredible case study. Here, in a nutshell, are some of his ordeals. Paul writes that he was beaten, shipwrecked, robbed, hungry, thirsty, cold, endured sleepless nights, imprisoned, on and on.

This list is just the tip of the iceberg. When you get to the nitty gritty of Paul’s daily life it is almost humorous. One time he was preaching in an upper room. He was leaving the next morning and went on preaching until midnight. About that time a young guy sitting in an open window fell asleep and plummeted three stories to his death. Did Paul freak out? No, he didn’t even skip a beat. He went down the stairs, raised the boy from the dead, headed back up the stairs, and continued preaching all night!

Another time, he was warned he would be arrested  if  he  went  to  Jerusalem.  Everyonebegged him not to go. Yet he set his face like  flint and said he was ready to be jailed and even die for the sake of Christ. There were times when Paul wasn’t able to make a trip and in those times, he knew it was under the direction of the Holy Spirit. But whether he was prevented from going, delayed or making the journey, there were constant distractions to take him off course.

One story, (I can’t help but find humor in), is the story of Paul and the young fortune teller. The not so funny part is this young girl was a slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She made a lot of money for her owners. She began following Paul and his friends. That might have been good except she was constantly shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved.” This went on day after day until Paul got so exasperated that he turned and commanded the demon in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. The girl was restored and in the process her owners lost their source of income. Subsequently, a mob formed, they were stripped, beaten, and thrown in jail. And, what did Paul and his compadre do? They began singing! Honestly, you would have lost me much earlier in the story. I would have retreated about the time I was being harassed and shouted down. Good thing Paul didn’t, because out of this worship, God showed Himself strong. He literally moved heaven and earth to free Paul from jail. That day, the jailer and his whole family came to know Christ. Was it worth the cost? I would say yes.

In the opening scenes of The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey, Bilbo Baggins is asked to sign a contract, “Just the usual, summary of out of pocket expenses, time required, remuneration, funeral arrangements, so forth.”

“Funeral arrangements?” Baggins asks. Scanning the contract he spies the word ‘incineration.’ His question regarding the term is met with the most matter of fact response, “Think furnace with wings, flash of light, searing pain, and puff, you’re nothing more than a pile of ash.”

After he recovered from the floor, he asked Gandolf if he could promise that he would come back alive.

“No”, Gandolf honestly responds. “And if you do, you’ll not be the same.”

Graham Cooke wrote, “In this journey of life, I think too many decisions are being made using external evidence rather than internal proof. But in order to grow into this consistent place of favor in the will of God, we have to develop and maintain our inner compass so that no matter how much life spins us around, as soon as it stops spinning, we always know where God is. Why? Because He is our true North.”