Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pressing On The Upward Way

I'd like to share some thoughts with you in today's post to ponder on as we approach the end of January.  

The first one took its leap from the Opening Remarks made by the Master of Ceremonies at the second inauguration of President Obama held last Monday.

Revisit old dreams — Half-finished domes.

The second thought was inspired by a quote attributed to C.S. Lewis, which seems not to be documented in any of his books, but thought to have the sound of a lecture comment.

Dream a new dream — Attaining new heights.

Half-finished domes:

As Abraham Lincoln took the oath of office in 1861, the United States was in crisis, and it seemed that Civil War was unavoidable. The US Capitol was undergoing expansion, and the new cast iron dome was still being assembled atop the building. Lincoln's inauguration was thus held before the half-finished dome.

Senator Charles Schumer, in his Opening Remarks at the second inauguration of President Obama, remarked that Abraham Lincoln considered the half-finished dome as an eye-saw. To him, half-finished dome symbolized a half divided nation. Conventional wisdom then was that it should be left half-finished until the war was ended given the financial constraints at that time. "But despite the conflict which surrounded the country and the city, the dome continued to rise" and was completed in 1866. 

He concluded that this is the perfect moment for us to determine to complete our personal half-finished domes.

What are your half-finished domes? 

Those projects that you have initiated which remained unfinished and are looming like eye-saws around you. Or the ideas conceived but are yet to be translated into actions because you are afraid to step out; because someone rejected your idea / proposal; or because you think the environment is not conducive to launch out.

Do you doubt your ability to complete your half-finished domes?

Abraham Lincoln ensured that the construction of the Capitol’s Dome continued in the midst of the crisis the country faced. They remained undaunted and determined to finish the task despite the challenges.

Completing our half-finished domes may require us to swim against the current, and to go against what is conventional. It will call for us to put anxiety, fear and despair out of the way and take on the spirit of boldness.

Consider in 2013 to identify your half-finished domes. Take a step of faith forward, pick one up and take it through to completion—finish it.

“With malice towards none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in,…”
- Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address - 1865

Dream a New Dream:

“You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream”
(attributed to C.S. Lewis but undocumented as an original CSL quote)

Tim Thurman believes we must work hard as we age to continue to dream and continue to set goals -  "Dreams are what gives the soul life."

“Dreaming can become difficult the older we get because we are afraid of disappointment. Past failures cause us to be afraid to trust… to trust ourselves or to trust that God will not disappoint.  We must learn to dream big, but to hold such dreams loosely. We need to trust God that He will always fulfill our wildest fantasies…as long as they are good for us. In the same way that a parent must temper a child’s desires, God will not always fulfill every fantasy of ours. But just like a parent who loves her child, God will fulfill every healthy wish. In fact, He generally will fulfill far beyond what we could have hoped and dreamed (cf. Ephesians 3:20).”

It is not too late to afresh. It is not too late for you to start something new. It is not too late to set new goals. And this has application in every sphere of our lives. One area is of particular interest—and that is in our walk with the Lord.

Is it possible that you have settled down into a comfort zone in your relationship with God that you feel you know everything there is to know?

In a conversation with my husband recently, we noted that it is possible we can study the Bible or read books not for what we can get from the Lord for ourselves — to enrich our communion with Him, but for what we can glean to give to others. And there are times, when we listen to a message and we are thinking of someone else who should be listening to that message.

My prayer this year is that we will desire to dwell in the place where we can learn to know God's voice more and to respond to His leading. And as we do so, that we may become fueled and energized to know more of God for ourselves. The more we know Him, the more we ought to want to know Him more.

It is at such a place as this — the place of solitude and communion with God — that we can conceive new dreams and set new goals inspired by the Holy Spirit.

New Heights Attaining:

One key lesson I learnt from pondering on these thoughts is that we must not be satisfied with the status quo; we must keep pressing on to what lies ahead.

I am pressing on the upward way. There are new heights to attain everyday. Still praying as I am onward bound: “Lord, plant my feet on a higher ground.” These words from an old hymn, "Higher Ground" — composed by Johnson Oatman Jr. in 1898, speak in volumes to my heart and form my prayer.
© Pancaketom |

My heart has no desire to stay
Where doubts arise and fears dismay;
Though some may dwell where those abound,
My prayer, my aim, is higher ground.

Lord, lift me up and let me stand,
By faith, on Heaven’s table land,
A higher plane than I have found;
Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.

Whether I am revisiting old dreams or I am dreaming up a new one, my heart's greatest desire is to move beyond where I am now. I refuse to be limited by doubts. I overcome fear with faith.

I can do this one more thing, take this one more step forward, and complete one half-finished dome through Jesus Christ Who strengthens me.

The Opportune Time:

There is no better time than now to dust those ideas you have stored up in the closet, put doubts in the back seat, step on the fears from past failure and disappointments, and push forward.

The world around you is eagerly waiting to see you manifest the gifts and talents God bestowed in you. Do not let past disappointments or failures hold you back.

Seek new heights to attain in every sphere of your life. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo. Above all your seeking, seek a closer and more intimate walk with God, desire to scale the utmost height and catch a glimpse of His glory.

Do you have half-finished domes to complete? What new heights are you seeking to attain this year? Share your story in the comments box below. We will join you to pray about them and to cheer you on in the race.

I share with you - "Higher Ground" sung by the Smucker Family.


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