Tag Archives: following God

Why Try

We all like to understand things. Some of us like to understand more than others. I remember when I was young and would take apart our VCR (remember that?) and see if I could put it back together. I learned how the VCR worked so well I was able to fix ours from time to time.

When it comes to life, we are to walk by faith. This means that we won’t always know what is going to come our way. We may not even understand some of it. But even so, we are supposed to press onward in faith. As today’s verse says, “The LORD directs our steps.” Since He directs our steps, there’s no reason to understand everything. We don’t need all of the whys because we know the Who and we can trust the Who, knowing that all the whys are for our best.

Today, understand that no matter how many times you dig into the Word, you won’t have all of the answers. But it’s okay! You may not understand everything along the way, but you will be walking with Him through it all. That’s so much better.

“The LORD directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?” – Proverbs 20:24 [NLT]

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The New Path

I am not good with directions, hence the reason I love my GPS. Even so, I had to learn some shortcuts for my recent driving. I did this all without the GPS. I stepped out and left the old, familiar traveled roads. It was all about time management. Remember Psalm 90:12. If I spent too much time driving, other things would get neglected, plus my kids would not be happy if I was late.

Taking an adventure on these new paths has been a blessing. I did not feel rushed and I had extra time for much needed things. I was so glad that I did not settle for the old way. This reminded me of the direction of God. Often we like to return to the same old paths, but God doesn’t want us to return to the past. We aren’t meant to return to the old paths. He is doing a new thing. We need to continue along with Him forward, not turning back to where we once were.

Remember, God is pruning you and growing you. The place you were at, you needed to get through. But that doesn’t mean you are to return. Things are different. You have changed. God has a new path for you to travel. After you travel that path, there will be another season, followed by another. God will continue to do a new thing in your life so you can be made into the image of Jesus Christ. Staying on the same old roads will never get you there. Being comfortable does not happen in a life with Jesus. We do not stay in the familiar; we walk into the unknown. Continue to press forward where God leads, moving forward in faith.

Read Ephesians 4:17-24.

Right Path

I love having the luxury of a GPS. I do not know how I would cope without having this driving assistance for great distances and unfamiliar roads. The machine tells me the best path to take, the shortest path, the path without tolls. I love all of that information at my fingertips.

In Psalm 25, the Psalmist asks that God show him the right path, the road to follow. To think that we actually have a GPS for our life. It’s amazing! God can show us the right path. We don’t have to wander around wondering if we are on the right road. We don’t have to question if there is a better path. We don’t have to seek out for ourselves the path that would be best. We can trust He knows the right path.

Today, ask God to reveal to you the right path. Ask Him to continue to open your eyes to the road to follow. His path is the narrow path. It is the path least traveled. But trust that He is with you every step of the way.

“Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow.” – Psalm 25:4 [NLT]

I Am Stiff Necked

We recently did a Bible study where the term “stiff necked” came up. Many people asked what does it mean to be “stiff necked”? Jokingly, I told them I am stiff necked, hence the reason I see a chiropractor. The truth is, yes, I have a stiff neck that needed extensive therapy. My lower back and my neck were the worst. But I am also stiff necked in the biblical sense of the term.

So what does this actually mean? If we would know about oxen and plowing, we would have a better understanding. When a fellow was working the plow, he would have his oxen in order, and he would use one hand on the plow and the other holding a large pole. Usually there would be two oxen together. The man who was working the field, would use the pole to touch the back of the feet of the oxen, or to touch the necks of the oxen. They did these things so that the oxen would know when to change speed, when to go straight, and when to turn. There were some stubborn oxen who didn’t like to listen. When they would have their necks poked, they would not move as ordered. They were known as hard of neck or “stiff necked.”

I admit I am stiff necked. There are times when I don’t want to move when God gives me a poke. There are moments when I chose to try to control a situation instead of giving it to God. There are times when I am supposed to turn, but I go on a different way. Today, ask God to reveal to you any areas in your life that may cause you to earn the name “stiff necked.” Chances are, like me, you are stiff necked. Don’t worry—we all fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Thankfully Jesus Christ has made a way so that we can find forgiveness despite our stiff necked issues.

“So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” – Deuteronomy 10:16 [NASB]

“Do not now be stiff-necked as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD and come to his sanctuary, which he has consecrated forever, and serve the LORD your God, that his fierce anger may turn away from you. – 2 Chronicles 30:8 [ESV]

The Bees Strike Again

I was just the victim of an underground bee attack again. Two years in a row! Thankfully I did not find myself being rushed to the hospital with hives. Like last year, I sustained numerous stings which resulted in intense swelling. A friend asked me why I won’t leave the bees alone, as if I was purposely trying to bother them. Underground bees are just that – underground. You don’t know where they are at until you have already agitated them by disrupting their nest area.

Once you realize that you have discovered an underground nest, it is too late. They all come out in formation and start attacking all extremities. But as I said, you don’t know it until you find yourself in a mix of bees. It is the same way with sin sometimes. It’s not like you walk forward and follow a particular direction where there is this sign marked “Beware Sin Ahead,” and you cross on through. Many times you do not even realize that you are venturing in the “sin zone.” At times you slowly creep in despite the Spirit’s convictions, and you do not truly understand the impact the sin will have on your life until you are in the mix. Sometimes the devil says, “Just this once won’t hurt.” What a lie!

Today may the Holy Spirit reveal and convict you of any ongoing sin in your life. May you have ears to hear and a heart that follows. May the Spirit strengthen you to face any temptations that come your way. May you show grace and truth in love to those who are caught in the mix of sin, and pray that they may repent and turn to Christ.

Read Psalm 51.

Crinkling Plastic

As I turned around to head out the door and walk my sister out, I told the dogs to stay. Max and Marci both stopped and stood at attention. They immediately obeyed my words and I continued onward to see my sister out. But as I was opening the door and saying goodbye, I could hear a crinkling of plastic. I knew that although Max had remained where he was and obeyed my command, Marci went over to the garbage on a scavenger hunt because her Master turned her back.

There are a bunch of Maxes and Marcis of the world. Sometimes we are one and then sometimes we find ourselves as the other. It is easy to obey at some moments, more so than others. But we are to obey every time. Our obedience should not change because of situations or circumstances. With God, His back isn’t turned. I don’t know if we forget His eyes see the crinkling plastic before human ears would hear it. Or perhaps we think that some things aren’t so bad as others—we must obey this list of “written in stone” items like “don’t steal” or “don’t kill” but there is a separate list of “not so important” things that are negotiable.

Obedience isn’t a word we like to hear. It means that we submit to authority. It means we might not do what we necessarily desire. As you walk with Christ, you will find obedience comes a little easier. Yes, it still may be a challenge, but there’s a greater desire to do God’s will and follow His way as you grow. You start to want what He wants. You start to see that His “rules” are for your benefit. Yes, God wants what is best for you. And when you realize that and when you fall head over heels in love with Jesus, you want nothing more than to walk in obedience.

“But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him.” – 1 John 2:5 [NLT]

The Dog Bath

Giving Max a bath can be quite the ordeal. Since he’s a larger dog, it’s not so easy to get him into the bath tub. Plus he is not fond of getting a bath and I am not fond of cleaning all of the hair out of the tub when he finally decides to comply with his mom’s request. Every so often I take him to the dog wash, which is a dog bath at the local car wash.

Max never wants to go up the ramp to the bathing area. Although it is the good path to take, he does not want what will follow. He loves to be clean. He loves to have his hair blown dry. But he detests the bath itself. When the bath is over, I have to stand beside him when he gets put back on his leash for he wants to hop out of the bathing area rather than taking the ramp down to the ground. Today I got soaked because he rammed into me as I blocked the dangerous attempt

Many times God will try to lead us down a particular path in life. Sometimes it does not appear so great and sometimes the path brings about trials and obstacles we do not desire. However, God has a perfect plan and His direction will help us to get to where we are meant to be in life. There are moments when He opens doors for us to enter but we hesitate because we fear, we doubt, or we think we know better. There are also moments when we try to go another way, a way that might lead toward something not in our best interest. At times He will block it to keep us safe and at times He will allow us to take the other way to help us to grow closer to Him. It is as if He says, “You want it. Okay, I’ll give it to you.” Oh the lessons He has taught me by giving me what I wanted. I soon realized I no longer wanted what I wanted—I wanted instead what He wanted. Today, if God is leading you down a particular path, if God has opened a door for you to enter, I pray you have the trust to follow. Following His direction is always the best way.

“Therefore I will block her path with thornbushes;
I will wall her in so that she cannot find her way.
She will chase after her lovers but not catch them;
she will look for them but not find them.
Then she will say,
‘I will go back to my husband as at first,
for then I was better off than now.’
She has not acknowledged that I was the one
who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil,
who lavished on her the silver and gold—
which they used for Baal.” – Hosea 2:6-8 [NIV]

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” – Psalm 16:11 [NLT]

Living the Life Set Out for You

God has a great plan for your life. Do you believe it? It is true. He has a great plan for each and every life. He is the great Creator and He has something exciting and special for each one of us. Don’t look to someone else’s life to define you, to copy, to guide your path. Only you can live your life and God has designed a plan just perfectly for you. He alone can guide your steps in this journey.
God responded to Solomon’s prayers with a guarantee and a warning. He promised a solid foundation for Solomon’s rule and a descendant always on the throne for Israel. What was required was to live in God’s presence, to be pure in heart, “living the life (God) set out.” This means the life that God planned for him to live, being in God’s will.
God knows your full potential. He created you and knows what will be beneficial and what will deprive you. He understands you more than you understand yourself. There are moments when we believe we know better, when we only see so much of the plan and do not think it will work out as well as something else we could come up with ourselves. God has a beautiful life set out for you. Walk in faith and trust in His will for your life. If you don’t, you might be missing out on something you could never even have imagined. Yes, His plans are that good!

“And GOD said to him, ‘I’ve listened to and received all your prayers, your ever-so-passionate prayers. I’ve sanctified this Temple that you have built: My Name is stamped on it forever; my eyes are on it and my heart in it always. As for you, if you live in my presence as your father David lived, pure in heart and action, living the life I’ve set out for you, attentively obedient to my guidance and judgments, then I’ll back your kingly rule over Israel, make it a sure thing on a solid foundation. The same guarantee I gave David your father I’m giving you: ‘You can count on always having a descendant on Israel’s throne.’’”
-1 Kings 9:3-5 [MSG]

 

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Hand in Hand with God

When my children were small, I would always grab their hands tight and guide them along. When we were away from home, we were always hand-in-hand so I could get them to move in the right direction, to protect them, to guide them, to keep them secure under my watchful eye.
When you are hand-in-hand, there’s a closeness—a connection, a bond, a deeper understanding. Today’s passage says that Jonathan had worked “hand-in-hand with God all day.” Imagine that—working with God all day long. Jonathan had sought out God before he took action. He followed God’s guidance as he was hand-in-hand walking along with his Father throughout the day.
If you turn back to verse 36, you will see his father King Saul demonstrating the complete opposite. He wanted to go after the Philistines that night, but the priest had to interrupt and slow everything down. He said, “Let’s find out what God thinks about this.” Now you have two choices, to live life hand-in-hand or to keep your hands working for themselves. Today I pray that you ask God to give you His hand and you grip it tightly. His hand is already there, simply ask and reach out. Today is going to be a great day!

“The soldiers rose up: ‘Jonathan—die? Never! He’s just carried out this stunning salvation victory for Israel. As surely as GOD lives, not a hair on his head is going to be harmed. Why, he’s been working hand-in-hand with God all day!’ The soldiers rescued Jonathan and he didn’t die.”
-1 Samuel 14:45 [MSG]

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Shipwrecked

We all get shipwrecked in life. It is how we handle our circumstances in life that shows our true character. When Jonah was on a ship, he was running from what God called him to do at Nineveh. While the boat was in trouble, he was sleeping while everyone else worried. He was sleeping until his shipmates pressed him for answers.

Paul gave us another example. When he was on the ship to Rome, he was excited to take the message of Christ further. He wanted to build on a new foundation and reach those who had not heard of Jesus Christ. As the boat was in trouble, he spoke to the shipmates about the situation.

Are you running from what God has called you to do in life or are you pressing forward? Are you keeping silent or speaking up? Are you angry at the mercy of God or are you serving joyfully, excited to take the message of Christ to those who have not yet heard the Good News?

“Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!” – Psalm 100:2 [ESV]

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