Forward | David Jeremiah

Summary of: Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow
By: David Jeremiah

Introduction

In ‘Forward: Discovering God’s Presence and Purpose in Your Tomorrow’, David Jeremiah reminds us of the importance of pursuing our dreams and staying true to our spiritual values. Using biblical stories like King David’s vision of building a temple and Nehemiah’s quest to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls, the book highlights the power of prayer, the ability to envision a dream into reality, and the importance of taking risks. Furthermore, the author guides us on how to prioritize our lives, find our true calling, and make investments in our earthly and eternal assets.

Dream, Envision, Build

Every great accomplishment begins with a dream, a vision of the future we desire. Just like King David’s aspiration to build a temple for God, we all need to hold on to our dreams and envision them in detail. This mental blueprint allows us to construct our lives accordingly, much like Steve Jobs’s vision shaped the world of technology. Although dreams present challenges and sometimes don’t work out precisely as planned, it’s vital to persevere, adapt, and focus on new possibilities.

King David once dreamt of building a temple for the Lord atop Jerusalem’s Mount Moriah, replacing the centuries-old tabernacle. Dreams are essential; they guide and shape our lives. As the Bible states, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Without a vision of what we want our future to look like, we tend to flounder.

The Bible encourages us to hold on to our dreams. However, it’s necessary to visualize them before pursuing them. Consider building a house; without a blueprint, there’s no construction plan, and without a vision, there’s no blueprint. Our lives are like that house, and we need to imagine its structure.

Great dreamers, such as Steve Jobs, could envision people’s needs and created technology to enhance their lives. King David imagined the temple on Mount Moriah in the same way—full of concrete, glorious details. This vision motivated and drove him toward his goal.

David soon confronted the challenges of pursuing his dream. God informed him that he wouldn’t be the one to build the temple, but rather his son Solomon would. Instead of succumbing to despair, David chose to dedicate his time and effort to help Solomon succeed. This valuable lesson teaches us that even if our dreams don’t unfold precisely as planned, we must never give up—rather, seize new opportunities and remain determined.

Ultimately, the pursuit of a dream is never easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. Embrace your dreams, envision them, and build towards your desired future.

Prayer Guides the Way

When dreams feel distant, prayer can be a powerful tool for guidance and support. Just as Nehemiah, a Jewish official in ancient Persia, prayed fervently to rebuild the ruined city of Jerusalem, we too can turn to prayer when seeking answers to life’s challenges. Through sincere, dedicated prayer, believers can access divine inspiration and assistance, even if the path that unfolds may not be exactly what was initially imagined.

In the face of seemingly unattainable dreams, Christian teachings offer the powerful resource of prayer to help find a way forward. Whether it’s a long-awaited reunion with a loved one, a scholarship, or the keys to a first home, prayer serves as a channel to communicate with God and seek the courage, direction, or resources necessary to reach that elusive goal.

An inspiring example of the power of prayer is the biblical story of Nehemiah, a Jewish official serving under Persian King Artaxerxes. Despite immense odds, Nehemiah held a passionate vision of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, a city once ravaged by the Babylonians. To prepare for divine inspiration, Nehemiah committed himself to fervent and frequent prayer.

Psalm 25:4 emphasizes the importance of praying to God for guidance: “Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.” In doing so, believers trust that God will eventually hear and respond to their heartfelt prayers. In Nehemiah’s case, his prayers were answered when King Artaxerxes, known for his ruthless temperament, surprisingly granted him permission to return to Jerusalem and restore its walls.

However, when seeking divine assistance, it’s essential to remain open to God’s unique ways. The path that unfolds from A to B may differ from one’s initial expectations. Nevertheless, by embracing prayer with sincerity and dedication, believers can trust that their aspirations will ultimately be heard and guided by God.

Focus on Heartfelt Priorities

Warren Buffet and the teachings of God both emphasize the importance of narrowing our focus and concentrating on our priorities. Maintaining priority begins with your love for God, followed by loving others and, finally, understanding the importance of self-love. By learning to say no to distractions and concentrating on these priorities, you can lead a meaningful and purposeful life.

When Warren Buffet, the esteemed investor, shares wisdom, it’s not limited to finance. He advises that you list 25 goals you wish to achieve in the next few years and then identify the five most important ones. By narrowing your focus, you can concentrate on accomplishing what truly matters. This message resonates with God’s teachings, which emphasize the need for setting our priorities straight.

In the parable of the sower, Jesus warns that worldly concerns and the deceitfulness of riches can choke our spiritual calling, leaving it unfruitful. To thrive amidst such distractions, it’s crucial to define the right priorities in life. Historically, the term “priority” started as a singular concept in the 1400s, referring to a single crucial aspect in life. However, by the 1900s, we started using “priorities,” suggesting many important goals at once. Adopting Warren Buffet’s advice, if we narrow down our priorities, what should they be?

First, focus on nurturing your love for God. This is a deeply personal journey. At its core, it involves cultivating and growing your connection with the divine, ensuring that work, leisure, or technology don’t overshadow your spiritual life.

Secondly, Jesus teaches us to love our neighbors, emphasizing the importance of compassion and empathy for others. The author demonstrates this by having his congregation distribute over 50,000 pounds of food to the community each week during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lastly, learn to love yourself. Jesus’ command to love your neighbor as yourself implicitly places self-love as a vital priority. Without self-love, you cannot genuinely love others, uplift them, or have the strength to fulfill God’s will.

To embrace these priorities, you must courageously say no to distractions. Although it might be challenging, especially with friends and family, gracefully declining distractions ultimately leads to a more meaningful life, centered on the essential goals that truly matter. Focusing on your love for God, loving others, and cultivating self-love will provide the foundation for a purposeful life.

Choose Your One Chair

Become the best you can be by focusing on the one thing you’re destined to do, and avoid dwelling on the past. It’s essential to maintain the right mindset to attain success, as exemplified by various historical personalities.

Paul the Apostle, a prominent biblical figure, concentrated on deepening his spiritual connection with God, despite the abuse and hardships he faced. His teachings emphasized the importance of pursuing and staying dedicated to your calling. This concept is applicable to us all – focus on your one calling, and commit to it wholeheartedly.

Historic figures like Luciano Pavarotti and Roger Bannister provide further evidence of the power of unwavering focus. Pavarotti initially struggled to choose between a singing career and the secure path of teaching, ultimately making the firm decision to pursue singing. He went on to become a world-renowned tenor, his final performance captivating millions of viewers in 2006.

Pavarotti’s story teaches us the importance of choosing your niche and committing to it. Similarly, Roger Bannister, a champion one-mile runner of the 1950s, demonstrated persistence and focus during a memorable race against John Landy. Landy took an early lead against Bannister, but he faltered as he looked back, not keeping his gaze ahead, allowing Bannister to seize victory in the final moments.

Much like Paul the Apostle, these examples underscore the significance of focusing on the future, remaining present, and putting aside past successes and mistakes. Though Paul’s life was marked with achievements and regrets, he managed to direct his energy towards his higher spiritual objectives.

Consider these inspiring stories as you navigate your own path. Dedicate yourself to the pursuit that truly resonates with you, and let go of anything that could hinder your progress. By doing so, you can fully embrace your one thing and achieve lasting success.

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