Know Which Path to Take — God Leads the Way

Know Which Path to Take — God Leads the Way

Are you sensing a change in direction or feeling uncertain which path to take in business, ministry, or your personal life? There is no better way to begin our search for direction than by seeking God and allowing Him to lead the way. As we do, He frees us to make those decisions with greater confidence and peace of heart and mind.

God has promised to lead us, to teach us His way, and to guide us in the right path to take. Today, let’s look at a few Bible verses to encourage each other in this season of change and transition.

Trust

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT

In the familiarity of this verse, we might easily loose the significance of the beautiful promise contained within. God calls us to purposefully reposition our hearts and minds to trust in Him rather than our own “understanding.” Human perception limits the possibilities of what can or will be.

How valuable to seek His will in everything! As we do, God promises — yes promises — to show us “which path to take” in every area of our lives. Only He knows the possibilities available to us!

Surrender

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
    I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.”

Psalm 32:8

I often wonder how many times I miss the leading of God because of my stubborn resistance to His voice. Perhaps, it happens more times than I would admit.

Though He promises to “instruct and teach” us, any refusal to listen will lead us down paths in direct opposition to His perfect plan for us. After this promise, God warns us not to be like a horse or mule, needing a bit to control their direction.

Do I consistently surrender my heart and mind to God’s direction even when it doesn’t make sense or feels frightening? God has been prompting me in this area. Though I am willing, He desires my willingness without conditions.

Pay Attention

This is what the Lord says—
    your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am the Lord your God,
    who teaches you what is best for you,
    who directs you in the way you should go.”

Isaiah 48:17

The following verses remind all who will listen to “pay attention.” What signals of change should we give our attention?

  • Are doors opening that used to be closed? Or closed that were once open?
  • Where is God’s favor resting on our talents, abilities, skills, or expertise?
  • Do you feel God’s peace about a specific direction?

Allow yourself time to reflect and ask God to reveal the answers to these and other questions. The answers may reveal which path God desires you to take. He constantly speaks, teaching and directing us “in the way” we should go.

Prayer

Show me your ways, 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

Without God’s help we may swing from over-confidence to insecurity while making decisions. Prayer turns our hearts and minds in tune with His heart and desires for us. Whatever decision we may be facing He promises to teach us which path to take.

The Path to Take

In the place of prayer God gives “flashes” of vision which our natural minds could never conjure. These God directed insights often ignite excitement and passion. At other times, prayer prepares us. The path He leads us toward may be difficult, requiring wisdom and strength beyond our present ability.

In whatever direction He leads, we know that He is with us, guiding us with His loving eye. We need never fear! It is only when we deliberately step away from His path that we should be concerned and make course adjustments back toward Him.

The steps of a man are established by the Lord,
    when he delights in his way;”

Psalm 37:23

“Father, we come seeking not only direction for the decisions ahead, but Your Presence above everything else. Hide us under the shelter of Your wings, near to Your heart. May we sense the fullness of the good things You have awaiting us — whether we are three- or ninety-three-years-old.
We wait for your direction. Search our hearts and examine our motives. Reveal the secret things which may attempt to lead us outside your will.
May we rest in the knowledge and security of Your promise to lead, teach, direct, and establish us in Your ways. We know and are assured that You will establish us in Your perfect path, now and always. So, we rest in the goodness of Your grace and the protection or Your love.
Amen.

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Successfully Navigate the Changing Seasons of Life

Successfully Navigate the Changing Seasons of Life

Our lives and work ebb and flow. We must learn how to successfully navigate transition points and ever-changing seasons ahead. Like experienced sailors, it is possible to develop a sense of seen and unseen realms beyond and beneath us.

Merriam-Webster defines navigation as “the science of getting ships, aircraft, or spacecraft from place to place especially the method of determining position, course, and distance traveled.

Do you know your present position? Have you set a solid course — both a destination and process to arrive safely? How far along are you? How much farther do you have to go?

For the last week, God has been asking me these same questions. I believe these questions, and more important the answers, are relevant to all of us. The Christian church in general, and Christians in particular, are facing the fiercest storms yet known.

More than ever before, we must know our position, our course, and the distance traveled to reach our destination.

Wilderness

The Israelites traveled for forty years through the harsh desert. They learned to successfully navigate their unknown territory by following the Lord’s constant lead.

“The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.”
Exodus 13:21

When the cloud moved, they moved. When the cloud stayed, they stayed. Whether that was after a day or a year. God made His direction and timing for their lives obvious.

We don’t have a cloud and fire to lead the way, but we don’t need to blindly grope, fumbling through the maze of life, rushing when God calls us to wait. He invites us to stay on course. Do we seek some kind of supernatural sign or “handwriting on the wall” (Daniel 5:5) before we follow?

God does speak. He will make His ways and direction know.

Holy Spirit

As New Testament believers, God leads us not with a visible cloud or pillar of fire, but better yet, He has given us the indwelling Holy Spirit.

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth, for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak, and He will disclose to you what is to come.”
John 16:13

What comforting words, “He will guide, and He will speak. He even promises to disclose to us things to come” — approaching circumstances and seasons. We are not blindly groping and fumbling in uncertainty. We are people of clear direction and purpose.

The closer we walk in intimacy with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, the more tender and responsive we will become to the nudging of His wise counsel. He will give us, through the Holy Spirit, a strong sense of how to successfully navigate the stormy seas in the culture we sail.

Sensing

As a prisoner, Paul was transported via ship to Rome to stand trial before Caesar’s court. The ship encountered a severe storm, risking the lives of everyone on board.

“On the fourteenth night we were still being driven across the Adriatic Sea, when about midnight the sailors sensed they were approaching land.”
Acts 27:27

I wonder how they sensed approaching land. What gave clues to these seasoned mariners? What subtle shifts put them on alert? Whatever it was, this “sense” moved them into action.

“They took soundings and found that the water was a hundred and twenty feet deep. A short time later they took soundings again and found it was ninety feet deep.”
Acts 27:28

Their hunches were right. Immediately they dropped anchors and threw every non-essential overboard. To successfully navigate the season we find ourselves in, we too may have to slow our pace or lighten our load to keep the main things as the main things.

Take Soundings

For over a week, God has stirred this passage on my heart. “Take soundings!” He says to me. Don’t rely on past experience or feelings, “take soundings.” Past experiences don’t always equate to wisdom. Feelings shift faster than the prairie weather — steady one moment and wild the next.

Sailors would drop a lead weight attached to a measuring line to accurately determine the depth of the seas below. Twice these sailors took soundings to verify their position and direction. They confirmed their suspicion. Land was approaching.

These sailors operated in the natural realm. We live and operate in both the natural and spiritual realms. How much more imperative that we determine our position, establish our course, and know the distance traveled to successfully navigate our times?

Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”
Psalm 143:11

Successfully Navigate

Father, whether we feel the gentleness of Your Presence or are facing the greatest storms of our lives, we turn our faces to You. We welcome Your Spirit to direct us. Reveal our present position clearly. Just as clearly, show us our true destination. The ONLY WAY we will successfully navigate these seasons will be by following Your direction and directives as clearly as the ancient wilderness wanderers. May we follow at the pace of Your grace. Give us wisdom and courage to “take soundings,” acknowledging our current condition and position. Strengthen us to adjust our lives to follow Your lead completely and wholeheartedly. May we face these disturbing times with confidence, not in our own wisdom or expertise, but relying totally upon You. We welcome the Spirit of Truth to invade every aspect of our lives, and to guide us to The Truth, Jesus Christ. May our lives become lighthouses of protection for those around us. Thank You for Your absolute faithfulness toward us.

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3 Reasons to Put Jesus First

3 Reasons to Put Jesus First

Today, I want to explore three great reasons for putting Jesus first in our lives and a few suggestions on how to do just that.

Last year we moved into a small city. Even though I had been a farm girl most of my life, I thoroughly enjoy living in this new community. Just as I once enjoyed following deer trails across the open prairie, I now enjoy exploring the beautiful walking paths of my city.

On a few occasions, I became disoriented by the intersecting and winding pathways. As soon as I encountered a familiar landmark, I could regain my bearings and walk with ease. Feeling even slightly lost is an unsettling experience.

Have you gone through a “lost” experience — not knowing which direction to proceed? Maybe, we all have at sometime. Jesus is the unchanging landmark, our epicenter Who sets a sure course for our lives.

#1 The Epicenter

In fact, Jesus is the epicenter of everything. He is the core, the heart, giving purpose to all things.

“For in him we live and move and have our being . . .”
Acts 17:28

Before I encountered Jesus and experienced life with Him, my life was incredibly lost in addictions and depression. He absolutely transformed my life, broke old destructive patterns of thinking, healed my emotional wounds, and restored hope and purpose.

I’m not alone! Millions of people through the ages testify of the same life-changing dynamics that Jesus makes.

By putting Jesus first, at the core, the center of our being, we may wander on to unknown paths, but we will never be lost or alone.

#2 The Plumb Line

Carpenters use a plumb line to draw true vertical lines so what they are building is perfectly formed to square. A plumb line is a string with a weight attached to the end. As the weight dangles freely, it will settle to a true vertical position. The plumb line remains true despite the whims of the carpenter. Without a plumb line the entire project risks becoming crooked and unstable.

“This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked me, ‘What do you see, Amos?’ ‘A plumb line,’ I replied. Then the Lord said, Look I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.'”
Amos 7:7-8

The people of Israel had forsaken God and established their own twisted concept of morality and spirituality. But with Jesus as our plumb line, no attempt to justify our crooked ways will stand the test. He never changes with current whims of culture.

Jesus forms the plumb line of right and wrong, good and evil. The wise of heart will put Jesus first to establish God’s true standards in their lives. With Jesus as the plumb line, social frustrations and current opinions all come into context.

#3 The Pattern

Though Jesus came as a baby in human likeness, He established a perfect pattern of living unlike any human before Him. Jesus became the flawless model of humility, the example of self-sacrifice, and the representation of perfect love and grace.

When we put Jesus first, He becomes our focus as we seek to live in a way that reflects Him.

” . . . listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”
Acts 2:22

The challenge and encouragement within this verse is endless. “Listen!” the writer says, “Jesus was a man!” Everything Jesus did on earth, He did as a man! He fed the hungry, ministered to the poor, welcomed little children, raised the dead, healed the sick, and set demoniacs free. And He did it all as a man — a man filled with the Holy Spirit and led by God.

Everything Jesus did as a man, He also welcomes us to do. He showed us how. He set the pattern.

As we put Jesus first, we walk in His footsteps, following His example — even into the impossible of miracles, wonders, and signs.

Practical Steps

For far too many of us, Jesus can become an add on to other important or demanding things. Yikes! That, my friends, is a dangerous path. In the busyness of life, we can all too easily relegate Jesus to second, third, or fourth place.

As much as we love our families, Christ must be first. As much as we love and appreciate others in the Christian community, no one and nothing else should take first place. But how do we put Jesus first?

Just like in my walks, I need to be alert to my surroundings and aware of my direction, the same holds true for walking and living for Jesus. God helps us lay a firm foundation for placing Him in the preeminent position.

One of the most effective ways to put Jesus first is through beginning and ending each day with Bible reading and prayer. This helps us to focus on Him and His promises, by giving Him the first word in our hearts and minds.

Next, we can check the plumb line as we make decisions and choices. Will it align with His standards or ours? Am I living in a way that is true to Him?

And finally, which pattern of living can we learn from and grow in today? How can we live with God intention and purpose, re-presenting Him to those around us?

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33

May Christ be the epicenter, the plumb line, and the pattern we follow everyday. Our lives ignite with purpose as we put Jesus first!

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