What is the right decision? What choice should I make? Which direction should I take?
All of us are faced with these kinds of questions for lots of things, from minor choices to major life decisions. So how should we navigate?
Throughout human history, mankind has used the stars & celestial bodies to navigate & guide their earthly journey. This is true for sailors, nomads in the desert, pioneers in prairie fields & loads more. Additionally, each of us have internal desires & goals. Nevertheless, let’s make our ultimate decisions based on the fundamental goal of knowing God better throughout each season & phase of our lives. Let’s make our decisions from facing God & orienteering for optimum intimacy & connection with God. Selah 🙂
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When you’re driving and you look over your shoulder to check your blind spot, has your car ever veered to the side? When I took driver’s ed, the instructor taught us that we need to be careful about keeping the car centered at the same time we would check our blind spot. “Your car will often follow where you look.”
I’ve followed this advice mulitple times and reflected on the times when I let myself get distracted from a goal or destination with the subsequent collision or loss of direction. So it always helps me to remember Hebrews 12:2 where it says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author & perfector of our faith!” Jesus is our goal, so let’s keep focusing on Him throughout each day!
What do you want? Are you interested in having a better education? Do you want to exercise more? Do you want a healthy marriage? Do you want a vibrant & growing relationship w God? What do you want?
Desires that we don’t achieve can become frustrating & discouraging. So it’s important to think about what we want, our end goal, in smaller steps like one decision at a time.
When we consider what we want & align that to our decisions, then we can make progress towards achieving our desires & goals. Les walk towards our goals & desires one decision at a time.
This morning I read about Noah leaving he ark after the flood & it struck me today that Noah didn’t leave the ark until God told him to. This was interesting to me because there were lots of indicators that it was safe to leave the ark. It had been stationary for quite awhile, a dove brought back an olive branch & when Noah released a dove after the olive branch, the dove didn’t return. Noah went into the ark with God’s direction & he didn’t leave the ark until God gave some clear direction.
Let’s be mindful that we don’t allow external circumstances to be the final deciding factor with our decisions.
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There’s a common mindset that says bigger, more & better should be the continual pursuit. I say this now because I’m in a camera shop waiting to get some technical help & noticing the spectrum of cameras available in each brand. There are the simple point & shoot kind all the way to the ones that can tie your shoes & microwave popcorn. Ok, not really but kind of.
I wonder if the enemy of our souls doesn’t send us down this rabbit trail to distract us from learning the secret of being content in any & every situation. In the same line of thinking, is Jesus enough for us or do our decisions, time & money say something different?
I’m not buying a better camera today, nor do I want to swallow the deception that more & better need to control my life 🙂
Following the Holy Spirit means that we allow the Holy Spirit to set the direction & pace regardless of the terrain. So I’m learning that the course navigation isn’t up to me, nor are the seeming detours when I think we are aiming for a particular destination.
Additionally, for pace, there are times when the Holy Spirit seems to move slower than molasses in Winter. At other times, it feels like I’m on the Aerosmith rollercoaster at Universal Studios, going from 0-60mph in 4seconds. Exhilarating!!!
And then there’s the terrain part of following the Holy Spirit – bumpy, hilly, rocky, smooth, dusty, pristine, raucous & serene.
To be sure, following the Holy Spirit is a lifelong journey in which we get to know the Holy Spirit better & better one step at a time!
I’ve been saving this picture because it’s one of my favorites! Whenever I see this picture, I chuckle because it’s funny to me that Jesus would take over the steering wheel & start driving – which in reality would be the best case scenario for me & everyone in my life.
It’s in my best interest for Jesus to have control of my life, full stop.
What this looks like practically is:
Asking for God’s direction / input when I’m making decisions
Letting God control the pace of my life – not being driven to achieve & not stalling to be obedient
Being intentional throughout each day to walk in cadence with the Holy Spirit so I don’t give into fleshy challenges
How does God direct us? What are some practical tips to help us follow God? I’ve been doing some digging into Paul’s life (in Acts & his epistles), listening, watching his life & thinking. Here are some helpful pointers to recognizing God’s direction in our lives:
The Bible: this has to be ground zero & final authority. Anything that disagrees with God’s Word isn’t God’s direction, full stop.
Circumstances: in Acts 16:6ff Paul is experiencing many closed doors, despite his continuous effort;
Divine Input: in Acts 16:9, he has a vision & sets off on a new trajectory with phenomenal results;
Desire: in Rom 15:23, Paul tells the Roman church that he’s wanted to minister to them for many years. Consider that when we ask God to give us desires that complement God’s purpose & will, this seriously happens 🙂
Let’s be sure to let God shape our desires & direct our steps & have an awesome weekend!
Have you ever had seasons in your life where you feel very overwhelmed? Sometimes we go through times where it seems like everything is broken & sometimes we go through seasons that just have lots of demands. Last week, I had one of those weeks – it was the kids last week of school, I had a couple of sermons to prepare, some work deadlines and a few other spinning plates. I felt like I was drinking from a fire hydrant on full open :/
Thankfully, this week has a little more breathing room. Regardless of the demands & pressures on our lives, it always helps me to remember that God is in charge & that I don’t have to be an “expert” on water pressure, time management, resource allocation, solution provision, energy distribution, etc. While I may have a few talents & skills, God is an expert at everything – most of all, God is an expert at loving us & helping us in our daily living, with or without fire hydrants ,)
I read this morning about how Saul and his friend went looking for his father’s donkeys (jackasses if you prefer a more earthy vernacular). Saul was looking for jackasses, but Samuel was watching for Israel’s next king, pre-selected by God.
Sometimes it’s easy to get earthbound with all of our responsibilities, concerns, challenges, etc. When you consider the contrast between Saul & Samuel in 1 Samuel 9, it’s an interesting study in viewpoints, priorities and the different ways that God directs our steps. Personally, I want to be more like Samuel than Saul. I prefer to be led by God based on a deep & intimate relationship with God rather than like Saul who stumbled into God’s will on the earthbound search for his dad’s jackasses ,)
Recently, I’ve been thinking about the various needs in my life. Sometimes I just think about them, but sometimes I get discouraged, sometimes I get frustrated and sometimes I get excited about them because I know that God has something good for me in these various needs. We all have needs – be that finances, emotional things, health, relationship areas, energy, wisdom, humility, etc. I think that part of being human means that we are designed to have needs.
Here’s what I feel like God has been speaking to me about on the topic of the various needs in our lives: needs are nothing more than God’s invitation to take a journey with Him to explore His provisions in all their different facets. I’ve been thinking about this in relation to Abraham in Gen 22, when God told him to sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Abraham took a multi-day journey in obedience to God’s direction, regardless of whether he understood God’s directive or not. Furthermore, he had confidence in God’s ability, provision & direction, as we can see in how he replied to Isaac’s question about the sacrifice (God will provide a sacrifice). Here are a few quick take aways that God is showing me from this chapter:
deficiency is often God’s test to show us what’s in our hearts – Gen 22:1
the journey to God’s provision requires our obedience – sometimes we have to get moving even if we dread where it seems like we might be going
keeping our eyes on God will help us to keep moving regardless of how we feel
God’s provisions are uniquely timed to meet the exact time of our need & often not before, even though this can make us super jittery
I’ve had an interesting recent 48 hours. Sunday evening, I was doing our family grocery shopping & I was chatting with God about something that was really bothering me. At the end of our chat, I basically asked Him to either help me accept this challenging situation & make adjustments or to change the situation. Within 24 hours, I found myself in a conversation that was immediately addressing the situation that God & I had just discussed. Needless to say, I’m thanking God for His speedy work!
Furthermore, this morning I was looking for a file on my computer & became frantic when I couldn’t find it because there were other people who are relying on this document! So over the course of lunchtime, I shot up another quick prayer asking God to help me find this file & voila – I found it!
While these things may seem small to you, for me they’re indicative of God who listens & is engaged in my daily living. What I like most about prayer is that its the place where I get to wholly be with God – where I eliminate distractions, tune into His presence & interact. I love sensing God’s presence, voice, direction, etc. Prayer is also a fun adventure to see the different ways that God answers our requests & needs.
We’ve been on a family vacation this week & its been really refreshing. Since we live in Denver, its very convenient to pop up to the mountains & go skiing / snowboarding as a family – a really nice interruption to the normal routine. As I’ve been up here, I’ve been talking w God about some different frustrations, seeking Him about direction & absorbing, w His help, some of His grandeur in this spectacular scenery. During one of my morning times w God, I read this verse that has SUPER encouraged me & I think it might just encourage you as well:
1 Cor 2:9-10, eye has not see nor ear heard nor has it entered into the heart of man all that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God.
So, keep your eyes & ears open, keep your heart tender & stay in love w God. He will show you things to come that you could never dream of on your own! 🙂
Temptation can be such an enchanting topic – we relish the allure of chocolate, ice cream, exercise endorphins, someone uber-cute of the opposite sex, a cool pair of jeans or shoes that are WAY out of the budget, an addiction we’re trying to break, . . . . . choose your pleasure. And Jesus teaches us that when we pray, we should ask our heavenly Father to lead us not into temptation.
In an earlier blog, I asked why Jesus would teach us to make this request considering that He, was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Furthermore, there’s lots of New Testament verses that tell us that tests & temptations (generally the same word in the Greek) are good for us with the strength & character they build. So given these thoughts, why does Jesus teach us to make this request of our Heavenly Father?
Here’s my sense on this conundrum (nice word, eh?): I think we miss the main point of what Jesus is saying when we get hung up on the temptation topic. I think Jesus’ main point was that by teaching us to pray that God leads us, He implies that we will follow God & that He will direct our lives. To me, Jesus’ primary objective for this request is for us ask God for His direction & guidance in our lives.
Fundamentally, each of us need for our heavenly Father to lead us each day. After acknowledging this need, then let us add that we’d prefer to avoid temptation – but if God should direct our paths in any given day past temptation, then let me encourage you to look to Him for the exit ramp from the temptation (1 Cor 10:13). But let us daily request our Father’s direction – we desperately need it.
Dearest friends, I’m asking for your help again – sorry to be “needy”. Two things:
can anyone tell me if I can allow someone to put a picture in a comment? If so, how do I do this?
TWO: This one is tricky. I’m working on the part in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus teaches us to ask the Father to lead us not into temptation. How do you deal with this in relation to Matt 4:1, where it says that Jesus was led by the HS into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. Furthermore, in James 1:13, it says that God doesn’t tempt anyone. So what do you think Jesus means in the Lord’s Prayer when you consider James 1:13 & Matt 4:1? Any help, insights, thoughts would be more than appreciated!!!!!