Tag Archives: God’s Guidance

Walking Unfamiliar Paths

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“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,

 Along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;

 I will turn darkness into light before them

 And make the rough places smooth.

 These are the things I will do;

 I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 NIV

I recently participated in a team building activity in which I had to wear a blindfold and allow a member of my team to guide me through a difficult maze. The goals of the activity were to build trust among team members and to emphasize the importance of good communication in a situation where one member is totally dependent on another for guidance.  At first the ground under my feet was flat and grassy, but as the exercise progressed I had to navigate through a “mine field” of obstacles and rough terrain, where one misstep could have meant disaster.

I remember the feeling of total helplessness when I first placed the blindfold over my eyes.  Even though I was in the middle of an expansive, grassy field, I felt unsure of my surroundings, and my balance was compromised.  I was frozen in my tracks until I heard the voice of my teammate instructing me about which direction to move.  At first I was very tentative with each step I took.  Even though my guide was right next to me, telling me to move forward, I would carefully slide my feet from one spot to the next, ensuring that my footings were sound, still relying on my own senses. 

By the time we advanced into the maze of obstacles, I had become accustomed to the voice of my teammate and felt the bond of trust build between us.  I trusted that he would not allow me to move in the wrong direction, and I realized the importance of carefully listening to his commands telling me exactly where to place each step.  I noticed that my balance was improving, even though the terrain had become more difficult to traverse and the blindfold was still in place.  I could tell that I was no longer in a grassy field, and there was a mix of earth and rocks under my feet, but I felt more confident with each step I took.  My attention focused completely on his commands and not on my own senses.

Upon successfully navigating through the maze, I took my blindfold off and looked back at the course we had just completed.  I couldn’t believe that I had made it through such a difficult set of obstacles without one misstep.  Throughout the exercise, my trust had grown in my teammate, but it grew even more when I was able to visualize what he had just accomplished with me. 

Lately in life, I feel like I’m blindly navigating through difficult and unfamiliar situations.  I have been praying for God’s guidance, but I have also been trying to rely on my own senses to traverse this rough territory.  I feel off-balance and unsure about the path I’m traveling.  I am fearful about the future because of the uncertainty associated with this journey.  When I read Isaiah 42:16, I remembered the lessons I learned from the blindfold activity, and I realized that I needed to completely TRUST my Heavenly Guide and listen for His voice to instruct me along the way.  I especially love the MSG translation of this verse:

“I’ll take the hand of those who don’t know the way, who can’t see where they are going.  I’ll be a personal guide to them, directing them through unknown country.  I’ll be right there to show them what roads to take, make sure they don’t fall into the ditch.  These are the things I will be doing for them – sticking with them, not leaving them for a minute.” 

Isaiah 42:6 MSG

How awesome it is to know that my Heavenly Father is taking me by the hand and leading me through this unknown territory.  He is my personal guide who promises to turn darkness into light before me and make the rough places smooth.  Just like the teambuilding exercise, my confidence will grow as I place my trust in the voice of my Divine Leader.  Even though I am blindly walking through unknown situations in life, by listening to His commands, I will confidently move in the direction of his guidance.  By reading his Word and communicating with Him in prayer, the bond of trust will strengthen between us, and I will be able to discern His voice and instruction.  I will not doubt the direction in which I am heading, and fear and worry will fade.

While He does not promise to remove the difficult situations from our lives, He does promise to be our personal guide through the rough terrain.  If you are traveling a similar path in life, imagine yourself wearing a blindfold and listening to your Heavenly Father’s commands concerning each step you take on this journey.  He will take you by the hand and lead you along this path, and He promises that He will never leave you alone. 

Listen carefully to His voice and follow His commands.  TRUST HIM!

Unfamiliar Paths

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I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
    along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them
    and make the rough places smooth. 
These are the things I will do;
    I will not abandon them.

Isaiah 42:16

 

This passage brings hope to those who may be walking an unfamiliar path in life, blindly forging ahead on uncharted territory.  This dark path could be the result of unemployment, illness, divorce, disability, mounting debt, addiction, or the loss of a loved one.  You may have found yourself in a position as a caregiver, patient, single parent, or widow, and you feel as though you are blindly groping through each day, with no direction or guidance. 

 

But for those who trust in God, He promises to light the steps ahead.  He will take you by the hand and guide you through this journey.  With Him by your side, you will not stumble.  Your Heavenly Father will carry you when you are too weak to move ahead on your own strength.  He will make the rough places smooth, and He will never abandon you.  Simply trust in Him; His promises are true, and He will help you.

 

Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord his God,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them—
    the Lord, who remains faithful forever.
He upholds the cause of the oppressed 
    and gives food to the hungry. 
The Lord sets prisoners free, 
    the Lord gives sight to the blind, 
the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, 
    the Lord loves the righteous. 
The Lord watches over the alien 
    and sustains the fatherless and the widow…

Psalm 146: 5-9 

True Wisdom

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wis·dom (noun) [wizdem]

“the ability to see into the future the consequences of your choices in the present”

The Noticer; Andy Andrews

While we can’t “see into the future,” we do know the One who holds our future in His hands.  How many times have we made decisions on our own, without seeking God’s counsel, and suffered terrible consequences as a result?  His wisdom provides insight into all areas of our lives, including finances, relationships, marriage, health, time management, friendships, career, school, and child rearing.  He scripted your entire life’s story, from before your birth to your last breath. He knows the unique purpose for which He created you, and He definitely knows what is best for your life.

Seek God’s wisdom for your choices today, and the future consequences of your choices in the present will be divine and not disastrous.

For the LORD gives wisdom,
and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

Proverbs 2:6 (NIV1984)

Life’s Road Signs

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“Set up road signs;
   put up guideposts.
Take note of the highway,
   the road that you take…

Jeremiah 31:21
(NIV1984)

 

I was looking over my son’s shoulder as he diligently studied for his driver’s test. His thick DMV manual contains multiple pages of road signs, which he must understand before he begins learning how to navigate behind the wheel. I can tell from examining the well-worn pages of his book that he is taking this test seriously and wants to learn all that is required of him in order to pass this important test.

It’s too bad that we don’t have road signs which tell us how to accurately steer the course of or our lives. Sometimes we could use a bold “Do Not Enter” or “U Turn” sign to guide us in the right direction.

Even though we don’t have these physical signs lining our daily paths, we can receive guidance from our Heavenly Father through His Word. The Bible is our manual for living life. By reading it and constantly learning from it, we will gain the necessary wisdom to perceive God’s direction for our lives.

Psalm 119:105 tell us, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” His word illuminates the direction we should take in our lives. As you read His Word, ask Him to reveal His instructions to you. Many examples from the Bible show us how great men and women of faith asked God to lead and guide them. Here are just a few:

  • “Direct my footsteps according to your word…” (Psalm 119:133)
  • “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.” (Psalm 119: 125)
  • “Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees.” (Psalm 119: 135)
  • “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” (Psalm 25:4,5)

On a road trip, one wrong turn can cause big problems in your goal of reaching your destination. Similarly, seemingly small decisions can have a major impact in the course of your life. Your Heavenly Father holds the road map for your life. He has equipped you for a special purpose, and He will lovingly reveal His plan to you. If you ask God for His guidance, He is faithful to answer your prayers. His promises are true, and you can trust Him to provide clear instructions to His children. “Who, then, is the man that fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way chosen for Him.” (Psalm 25: 12)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

Lean not to your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.”

Proverbs 3: 5 – 8

Heavenly Help

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God is within her,

She will not fall;

God will help her

At the break of day.

Psalm 46:5

 

As the sun rises today, do you find yourself desperately in need of God’s help? Perhaps you are in turmoil over financial worries, or possibly you are navigating though a tumultuous period with a rebellious teen. Your struggle could be due to the heartache of marital distress, or you might be exhausted from battling a ravaging disease or illness. Maybe you are at a crossroad in your life, and you are struggling over a major decision. No matter what type of battle you are facing, if you are a child of God, He is ready and willing to help you. In Isaiah 41: 13 He reminds us, “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, ‘Do not fear; I will help you.'” Take hold of your Heavenly Father’s outstretched hand. Accept the help He wants to provide.

 

Let go of your cares and worries and relax in the arms of your Savior. Receive His peace. Stop trying to fight life’s battles on your own. Allow Him to take the lead. Rest in the assurance that He will help you, and His promises are true. “He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.” (Psalm 46:9), and
He is BIG enough to handle your personal “war.”

 

In the midst of your turmoil He says to you, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) At this moment, be still before your Heavenly Father. Accept His peace…and His help. Feel His divine presence within you. Right now, take hold of His hand…He will not let you fall.

Step into the Water

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When you see the ark of the covenant of the LORD your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it.

Then you will know which way to go, since you have never been this way before…”

Joshua 3:3-4

The Ark of the Covenant was a symbol of God’s presence and power to the Israelites. It was their most sacred treasure. The ark was a golden rectangular box which was constructed to the exact specifications as God had commanded. The contents inside the ark included the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments (representing God’s authority), a jar of manna (representing God’s miraculous provision), and Aaron’s staff (representing God’s power). As the Israelites were heading to the Promised Land, they were commanded to follow the ark wherever it was carried by the priests. God instructed Joshua, the Israelite’s leader, concerning which direction the priests should head with the ark.

On the day that the Israelites entered the Promised Land of Canaan after forty years of wandering, God’s “roadmap” for the priests with the ark led to the banks of the Jordan River. The Jordan River at this time was at flood stage. Yet with the river overflowing its banks, God gave these specific instructions: in order to cross the river into the Promised Land, the priests had to step into the water with the ark.

As soon as the priests stepped their feet into the raging river, the water from upstream stopped flowing. The entire nation of Israel walked across a dry riverbed into the land which God had promised them forty years before. This was the second time in which God had miraculously parted the waters for the nation of Israel. This testimony of God’s supernatural power served to strengthen the Israelites faith in God and remind them that He keeps His promises. His presence was with them through their entire journey from Egypt to the Promised Land. He was with them at the end of their wanderings just like He was with them from the very beginning.

Today we do not have a golden “Ark of the Covenant” to follow in our wanderings. But we do have God’s word, His presence, and His power. Sometimes in our journey through life, we come upon a “raging river” or some form of roadblock. When we approach this type of obstacle, we must trust God in His guidance to us. He will faithfully bring us through to the other side if we simply “take a step into the water.” Often God provides no solution to our problems until we trust Him and move ahead with what we know in our hearts we should do. By taking a step of obedience, we display our faith in God, and then He clears the path ahead.

What are the “raging rivers” you are facing in your life? Follow God’s direction so you will know which way to go, “since you have never been this way before.” Step into the water, and allow God to show his powerful and miraculous ways to you.

Your Word is a lamp to my feet
       and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105


Measureless Wisdom

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God gave Solomon wisdom and very great insight,

And a breadth of understanding

As measureless as the sand on the seashore.

1 Kings 4: 29

 

Imagine the Creator of the Universe offering you this proposition:

“Ask for whatever you want me to give you…”

What do you think your request would be? Abundant Wealth? Fame? Happiness? Health? A passing grade on your next test? A luxurious new home? A winning lottery ticket? A fancy sports car? A wide screen TV?

When given the chance to have anything in the world, Solomon asked for “a discerning heart” in order to govern God’s chosen people and to distinguish between right and wrong. His request for wisdom pleased God so much that not only did He grant Solomon’s desire, but He also gave him what he did not ask for – wealth and honor. Furthermore, God promised to give him a long life if he obeyed His statues and commands like his father, David.

Notice that Solomon’s request was based upon his desire to carry out his job as king. He realized that if he had discernment he could lead well and make wise decisions. He knew that God had chosen him for that lofty position, but he thought of himself as a “little child” who didn’t know how to fulfill his royal duties. Imagine that! The one man on earth, whose renown for knowledge has been passed down through the ages, felt inadequate and ill-equipped when he was tapped as the king of Israel. The responsibility of ruling a great nation whose numbers were too numerous to count was overwhelming to Solomon, but he wasn’t asking God to do the job for him; he merely asked for the personal resources which would allow God to do the job through him.

Another interesting thing about Solomon’s request is that he asked for “heart knowledge” not “head knowledge.” He wanted a discerning heart, which implies “God-centered” wisdom, as opposed to “self-centered” wisdom. Intelligence without compassion can be a dangerous thing, but wisdom applied through the filter of a heart filled with God’s love is divinely inspired and can impact the world for eternity.

Throughout most of Solomon’s reign, he applied his wisdom well because He continually sought God’s guidance. For the nation of Israel, the fruits of this wisdom were peace, prosperity and security. During the time of his rule, we see a great example of what can happen when a nation is obedient to God’s commands and trusting Him for direction.

Another example we see from Solomon’s life is what can happen when God’s wisdom is not applied to all areas of our lives. God granted Solomon a wise and discerning heart, but it is clear that this gift of wisdom did not guarantee that he would not make mistakes. Solomon married hundreds of pagan women in order to seal many foreign agreements. This went against not only his father’s last instructions to him, but also God’s direct commands. He allowed his wives to affect his loyalty to God, and his actions remind us how easy it is to know what is right and yet not do it.

Knowing what actions are required of us means little if we do not have the will to follow through on that knowledge. Solomon was wise at ruling the nation of Israel, but he was foolish in his personal life. Although he was the wisest man ever to walk the earth, he allowed the influence of unbelievers to ultimately bring tragedy to the entire nation of Israel. One of the greatest kings of Israel fell because he did not turn from his sins. From Solomon’s example we can learn this important principle: your gifts, talents, abilities and strengths won’t be of much benefit if you fail to deal with your weaknesses.

God promises to supply all our needs if we put His kingdom, His principles and His interests first. While He does not promise us great riches, He does promise to satisfy our deepest needs if we place His will as our top priority.

Is God is asking you to take on a role in your life that seems too big for you to handle? Do you feel overwhelmed with the mountain of responsibilities facing you? Before you begin your ascent, spend time in God’s Word and on your knees before your Heavenly Father. Ask him for a “discerning heart” so that you may be well equipped to take on this role and achieve His goals in the process.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God…” James 1:5a

 

 


God’s Guidance

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Trust in the Lord with all your heart,

Lean not to your own understanding;

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3: 5 – 6 (NIV)

 

Leaning implies placing your whole weight onto something or someone. You must totally trust in whatever or whomever you lean into. By leaning into the Lord for guidance and not into your own ideas, you are placing all your faith in Him. You are resting on Him and trusting in Him.

We sometimes feel like we are the only ones who know what is BEST for us. We feel like we can’t trust anyone – even God – to make important decisions. But God knows what is best for us and is a better judge of our needs than we are! He knows every intimate detail of our lives, and He knows our entire life story. He knows the perfect answer for our situation.

If you have an important decision to make, you should lean into the Lord for His guidance, wisdom and direction. Instead of asking everyone else BUT HIM, He should be the first one you turn to for help. Sometimes His answer will come through the wise counsel of others or through His Word.

Turn to your Heavenly Father for wisdom. Bring your decisions to Him in prayer, and use the Bible as your guide. Then follow God’s lead as He makes your path straight ahead of you. He will guide and protect you along the way. His way is always best! Lean into Him!

 

    

How to Be Profitable and Productive in Life

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I, Wisdom, will make

the hours of your day more profitable

and the years of your life more fruitful.

Proverbs 9:11

 

When I was growing up, I had a pet hamster named “Charlie Brown.” I loved to watch him run on his treadmill. The big circular wheel would spin round and round as he ran, allowing him to “exercise,” but he remained in the exact same place.

Lately I feel like I’m on a giant hamster wheel in life. I run and run throughout my days, but I never seem to get anywhere or accomplish what is important. These are the “sights” I see as I’m running along on my treadmill: Wake up, Do laundry, Cook, Clean, Work, Chauffer, Appointments, Practices, Cook, Go to Bed…Repeat. At the end of the day, I sometimes wonder if I ever came up for air.

I want my days to have purpose, and I want my activities to be aligned with what God wants me to achieve in life. Perhaps these are the very activities He wants me to be doing at this time, but I desire to make the minutes of each day count for eternity. It is easy to slip into auto-pilot and thoughtlessly speed through the days.

I have found that if I take time each morning to meet with my Heavenly Father, I am better able to align my agenda with His plan for my day. He promises that His wisdom will make the hours of my day more productive and the years of my life more fruitful. I know that when I begin the day like this, I feel a greater sense of accomplishment when I finally lay my head upon my pillow for the night. If I know the hours of my days have an eternal impact, I feel fulfilled in my soul. When my heart is in tune with God’s will, He makes those hours profitable and fruitful. To me there’s no greater sense of worth than this!

Take time today to step off your treadmill, and ask the Lord to direct your steps. The impact will be eternal!

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD.
   How then can anyone understand

their own way?

                                                                                Proverbs 20:24 NIV 2010

 

(clip art credits:   free google download)


Fourth and Long

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“That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life ~

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?”

Matthew 6:25a; 27 (NIV 2010)

 

Sometimes it’s difficult NOT to worry. Lately I’ve been experiencing a period of troubling upheaval in my everyday life, but the above verses are telling me I should not be worried. My husband was recently diagnosed with a debilitating health condition which causes me to worry about his health, his care and treatment, our family’s future, our financial stability, the future for my three sons…and myself. Everything I once thought was “solid” is now crumbling right before my eyes.

Our MVP has been Sidelined

My husband has always been the “captain” of our family’s “team.” In essence, I feel that our MVP has been sidelined from the game of life, and I’m like a rookie being called in on 4th and long…and we’re not going to punt. Now it’s up to me to play the position of quarterback and lead our team to a victorious future. The clock is ticking, with little time left, and I must spring into action. The team is counting on me, and the outcome rests solely upon my shoulders.

Doubt and Fear Rumble Through My Mind

I run to the huddle and see the faces of my “teammates” looking at me with hopeful anticipation. They are waiting for the next play call. From the bench, my husband is counting on me to pull us through. My team is depending upon me to execute the next play with skillful precision. For a moment, I am frozen with fear thinking about the magnitude of the responsibility I face. I hear jeers of self-doubt resounding in my ears. As I lower my head in the huddle, the “what-if’s” spin through my mind. What if I fail? What if I throw an interception? What if I am sacked in the backfield? What if I make a wrong decision? What if I let everyone down? I begin to I question my abilities. I lack confidence in my preparation for this position, and I even begin to question my “Heavenly Head Coach” for putting an inexperienced quarterback into life’s game at such a crucial point. I certainly don’t want to “choke” with this enormous assignment.

I hear the Voice of my Heavenly “Head Coach”

I lift my eyes to find the Coach and listen for His play call. Above the roar of the “noise” in my head, I hear His gentle voice, providing me with insight. I have studied His Play Book. I trust His infinite wisdom to show me how to lead my team in the best possible way. His eyes are upon my every move, and He has known all along that He was preparing me to play this critical position. I know He has equipped me completely to assume this role.

“…And who knows but that you have come to your position

for such a time as this?” Esther 4: 14

I feel weak with fear and anxiety, but I realize that I don’t have to rely on my own power, wisdom, capabilities, resources or protection, because He promises to be all of these for me. He is my strength when I am weak, and He will infuse me with Heavenly wisdom when I have none. He tells me NOT to worry. I simply must trust in Him, obey His commands, and He will supply my every need.

I accept His instruction and call the next play for my team. I will trust Him implicitly for the outcome. My worries are replaced with inner calm and quiet confidence about the fact that the Coach knows what’s best for each one of His players. He doesn’t make mistakes. We break the huddle and the clock starts ticking…

Hut 1!, Hut 2!, Hut! , Hut! , Hut!!!….