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Summary: Have you ever wondered why some people are afraid to progress when conditions appear difficult? Most of us are hesitant to try something new unless we are given guarantees

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Illustration:When Pablo Casals reached 95, a young reported threw him a question: "Mr. Casals, you are 95 and the greatest cellist that ever lived. Why do you still practice six hours a day?" And Mr. Casals answered, "Because I think I’m making progress."

Your goal is to make progress every day of your life.

Dr. Maxwell Maltz, quoted in Bits & Pieces, June 24, 1993, p. 12.

1. Have you ever wondered why some people are afraid to progress when conditions appear difficult? Most of us are hesitant to try something new unless we are given guarantees.

Example: When persecutions became intense in the first century church the apostles pressed ahead to advance the gospel to Antioch, a corrupt city occupied mainly by Gentiles. Peter said, "If therefore God gave the Gentiles the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:17)

Application: Whether we progress or not often depends on whether we more afraid of God or men. Peter knew that it was impossible to withstand the power of God without losing big time! Ask the Lord to help you remember that if God is for us, who can be against us?" (Rom. 8:31) Trust the Lord to help you continue to help advance the kingdom of God and His righteousness through all possible means. Follow the example of the apostleâs progressive thinking.

2. The apostles went to Antioch without being invited. Do not think you have to be invited before contributing to the progressive growth of Christâs church in qualitative or quantitative measures. Thanks, in part, to the persecution of the church, the apostles were scattered and some made their way to Antioch.

Eventually, Antioch became the center for the missionary movement of the world in the first century. Often one step of progress for Jesus Christ provides a launching pad for others to multiply the progress of Godâs truth, justice and salvation story in their vicinity. Ask the Lord to help you make progressive choices so you can help multiply the progress of others’ ministries.

Illustration:

On June 4, 1783 at the market square of a French village of Annonay, not far from Paris, a smoky bonfire on a raised platform was fed by wet straw and old wool rages. Tethered above, straining its lines, was a huge taffeta bag 33 feet in diameter. In the presence of "a respectable assembly and a great many other people," and accompanied by great cheering, the balloon was cut from its moorings and set free to rise majestically into the noon sky. Six thousand feet into the air it went -- the first public ascent of a balloon, the first step in the history of human flight. It came to earth several miles away in a field, where it was promptly attacked by pitchfork-waving peasants and torn to pieces as an instrument of evil!

Today in the Word, July 15, 1993.

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In the course of their conversation at a dinner party, Albert Einstein’s young neighbor asked the white-haired scientist, "What are you actually by profession?"

"I devote myself to the study of physics," Einstein replied.

The girl looked at him in astonishment. "You mean to say you study physics at your age?" she exclaimed. "I finished mine a year ago."

Today in the Word, September 25, 1992.

3. When people see examples of God directed progress they in turn grow in their faith, vision and courage. Dr. Luke wrote, "The hand of the Lord was with them and a large number who believed turned to the Lord." (Acts 11:21) Your progress does not have to swift, but it should be steady. Sow the seed and God will give the fruit. Ask the Lord to help your progress catalyze the spiritual growth (qualitatively and quantitatively) of other believers who will win many more to faith in Jesus Christ.

Illustration:

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The work of Japanese painter Hokusai spanned many years before his death in 1849 at age 89. But toward the end of his life, the artist dismissed as nothing all the work he had done before age 50. It was only after he reached 70 that he felt he was turning out anything worthy of note. On his deathbed Hokusai lamented, "If heaven had granted me five more years, I could have become a real painter."

Today in the Word, September 16, 1992.

4. The apostles believed God for the provisions, power and connections needed to establish new churches in the regions beyond. You may fear making a move because you are unsure of making new friends. You may fear how your family will adapt to a particular change. The famous founder of the China Inland Mission, Hudson Taylor, once said, "Godâs will done in Godâs way will not lack Godâs support." Ask the Lord to help you trust Him for whatever you need to progress forward with His will.

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