Tag

guidance

Even before getting out of bed this morning, I had to make a decision: Would I hit the “snooze” button and rest a little longer or would I turn off the alarm and start my day? It is not possible to go for any length of time without having to make a decision. And although all of us are making decisions most of the time, we rarely take time to think about our “decision making process.”

Every decision we make affects our lives one way or another. Some decisions last a life time and can bring joy and satisfaction or sorrow and guilt. Some can be changed immediately if we see things going in the wrong direction. Others engulf us and seem to squeeze the life out of us. Often we want to blame others for our decisions, but ultimately, we are accountable for every one.

Solomon provided us with excellent decision making advice: “For lack of guidance a nation falls; but victory is won through many advisors.” What applies to a nation also applies to an individual. Gathering information from a variety of reliable people will provide guidance, insight and direction and lead to the best decision.

In this verse, an “uncommon” word is used: guidance. It refers to the “tackle” or the “ropes” that enable a ship to stay on course. People are much like ships: where there is no guidance even the shortest journey can be disastrous. Learning the “ropes” that come from God’s wisdom will lead us through the charted course that God has laid out for us before the foundation of the world.

No wonder He is called the Wonderful Counselor!

Prayer: Father, may we always seek Your guidance for each decision we make in life. May we always look to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: For lack of guidance a nation falls; but victory is won through many advisors. Proverbs 11:14

Often, life’s disappointments end up being one of God’s special appointments. Like a good father, God will not allow anything into our lives that will permanently hurt, harm or hinder us from accomplishing His purpose for our lives. Often, what seems to be an accident is a very special gift from God. However, sometimes we have to wait until “the assignment” makes sense to us before we realize its true value.

Quite often I find it disheartening when I hear a Christian say, “This is my lucky day!” or “I can’t believe that I’m this unfortunate!” or “God must not love me as much as He does others or He would not have placed me in this lousy job.”

Life, for the Christian, is not chance. It is choice – God’s choice for us. But as He allows things to enter into our lives, we are responsible to look at “it” through His eyes, His Word, pray, seek wise counsel from others, and then choose how to respond to “it.”

Consider the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery. Then, he was falsely accused of doing things he did not do. But, it did not matter to him. He was forced to pay the consequences and was thrown into prison for two years of hard labor.

And, what did he say to his brothers? “Guess what, Brothers! You meant to do evil and harm me. But, God turned your evil intentions into good things for His glory!” God led him from being a prisoner to becoming a premier!

Our eyes keep us from seeing beyond the immediate - what is right now. But God sees our past, our present and the future He has planned for us to become Christ-like.

Prayer:  Lord, open our hearts and minds and make us willing to accept Your Leadership and Lordship each day. Help us to seek Your insight and wisdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture For Today: God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. Psalm 18:30 

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Often, life’s disappointments end up being one of God’s special appointments. Like a good father, God will not allow anything into our lives that will permanently hurt, harm or hinder us from accomplishing His purpose for our lives. Often, what seems to be an accident is a very special gift from God. However, sometimes we have to wait until it makes sense to us.
Quite often I find it disheartening when I hear a Christian say, “This is my lucky day!” or “I can’t believe that I’m this unfortunate!” or “God must not love me as much as He does others or He would have given me that job.”
Life, for the Christian, is not chance. It is choice – God’s choice for us. But as He allows things to come into our lives, we are responsible for looking at “it” through His eyes and then choose how we are going to respond to “it.”
Consider the story of Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery. Then, he was falsely accused of doing things he did not do. But, it did not matter. He had to pay the consequences and was thrown into prison for two years of hard labor.
And, what did he say to his brothers? “Guess what. You meant to do evil and harm me. But, God turned your evil intentions into good for His glory!” God led him from being a prisoner to becoming a premier!
Our eyes keep us from seeing beyond the immediate - what is right now. But God sees our past, the present and the future He has for us to become Christ-like.
Prayer: Lord, open our hearts and minds and make us willing to accept Your Leadership and Lordship each day. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture For Today: Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: The Lord’s word is flawless; he shields all who take refuge in him.
It is always wise to think before we talk and ask Good to guide our words. And it is important to look to the Lord for insight before we leap into the unknown. It is certainly critical to pray before we proceed with any plan. If we ever fear we are failing it's time to fall on our knees and ask God to come to our rescue. Looking to the Lord for His directions will give us confidence that we are following His will for our lives and can then count on His presence. To make the right choice we must listen for God's voice.
Not only is God interested in who we are but what we do. He is no more interested in the foreign missionary than he is the shop mechanic. He is no more concerned for a preacher than He is a politician. We read in His Word that "God so loved the world" – and that means everyone on it! That assures us that He has a plan for every life and will reveal His plan to those who willingly search for it and carefully follow it.
But one plan does not fit all any more than one size fits all. He has a different plan for each of us and various methods to speak to us. For some it may be a sermon, for others a passage of Scripture. He may speak quietly during a moment of worship or boldly during a time of sickness.
We must always be alert for His voice. He constantly speaks to each of us and wants to lead us on the path He has designed for us. As He was with the Israelites then so He is with us now: "He guided with a cloud by day and light from a fire all night." His presence is constant.
In daylight or darkness, He waits to be our guide.

Prayer: We thank You, Father, that You will guide and guard us, equip and enable us to do what You call us to do. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 78:14 In the daytime he led them by a cloud, and all night by a pillar of fire.
Chris came home from school with a note describing his involvement in a fight with his best friend Will. They had a major disagreement over whose turn it was at bat and ended up in the principal’s office.
Embarrassed, his mother was lecturing him about the importance of settling disagreements without fighting. “I want you to be good!” she demanded.
Looking her in the eye he said, “But I don’t want to be good if I can’t have my way! That’s being a sissy!”
Many have an attitude like Chris’. It’s my way or no way. But there was one man who chose to be different. “Send forth Your light and Your truth, and let them guide me...to the place where you dwell.”
The Psalmist was in a difficult situation. He had strayed from God and was well aware of his need for restoration. He had lost his close and personal relationship with God who had been his stronghold. He was struggling in a life filled with darkness. He was well aware that the “light” that guided him was gone from his life and he was wandering aimlessly looking for forgiveness and direction. No matter what he possessed or who he knew there was only One who could help him.
In his heart of hearts he knew that he needed God’s light to be his guiding light and His truth to lead him to his Redeemer. Without His light to lead him and His truth to transform and restore him he had no hope. Finally, in desperation He asked God to give him His light and His truth that would lead him into His presence and he would once again enjoy His salvation.
This Psalm begins with “O God” – a God who seems far and distant. It ends with “My God” – one who is in his heart!
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, for being the light of our life and the giving us Your truth that leads us to dwell with You in peace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 43:3 Send me your light and your faithful care, let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell. 
The sky was blue and the sea calm. The freighter Summit Venture was completing its journey into the Port of Tampa Bay. But before it arrived at the dock, it crashed into the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Sadly, thirty-one people lost their lives.
The investigation into this tragedy revealed that the captain who was steering the ship at the time of the accident had been in seven prior incidents. What an unfortunate ending for a journey that was intended to end in happiness.
In our journey through life we have One who is unsurpassed as Captain. His skills are unmatched and His compass is never out of line. He can calm seas and bring storms to a calm ending.
On our voyage through life we have an infallible Captain available to protect us. David wrote, “The Lord says, I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.”
When we put our complete confidence in the Lord, we have a Captain who not only cares for our very best but One who will guide us safely through the storms of life until we are safely at home with Him in heaven.
Prayer: We ask, Father, that we might trust in You as the Captain of our lives knowing that Your presence and protection will guard us always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Psalm 32:8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.
Gary Player, the great golfer, was completing the final hole in the final round of an important tournament. His ball landed in a sand trap and it appeared as though he would not win. He walked into the bunker, looked at his ball and then the green, and then positioned himself for a make-or-break swing. Finally, he blasted the ball with all of his might; it went up into the air and rolled into the cup!
One of his spectators shouted, “You were sure lucky, Gary!”
“Yes,” he replied, “but the more I practice and the harder I work, the luckier I get!”
Luck waits for someone or something to turn up and bring good fortune. It spends countless hours looking into the future believing that there will be a turn of events, an unanticipated shower of good things falling from the clouds, an unexpected opportunity that comes in the mail or over the phone. Luck seems to suggest that if we wait long enough, patiently enough, quietly enough, good things will happen.
Some think that chance happenings, good or bad, are a result of one’s “luck.” Is there such a thing? Is there a reference to it in God’s Word? No. But He does say that we are to seek and trust His understanding of things, not ours.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, not to wait and wonder, but to work and watch for signs and signals that give us Your directions. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture for Today: Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.
A little boy was hanging onto the leash of a large dog with all of his strength. An amused observer asked, “Where are you taking your dog?”
“Well,” he replied, “first I want to see where he’s going. Then I’ll take him there as long as I can hold on to his leash.”
Often we chose to go in a certain direction and try to force God to come with us. We have a goal in mind, a destination in sight or a course charted for our lives. We try to push God into the gaps or squeeze Him into the corners.
However, we were created to be God-led. There are times when God leads us by pulling us along His paths and it seems as though He is working against our interests. There are also times when God works behind the scenes to accomplish His purpose in our lives. But the best times are those times when we go to Him in faith, believing that we need His guidance before taking the first step.
Someone once said, “Go slow to go fast.” If we patiently wait upon God in prayer and search His Word for direction we will feel the leading of His Spirit and know where He wants us to go.
Prayer: Help us, Lord, to live a life of faith that we express through prayers, patience, obedience and trust. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Scripture for Today: Genesis 24:27 & 48 And I bowed my head and worshiped the Lord, and blessed the Lord God of my master Abraham, who had led me in the way of truth to take the daughter of my master’s brother for his son.
“Before you make a decision, make a plan or set a goal, ask these questions,” said T.B. Matson, our ethics professor.

“Can I ask God to bless what I am about to do?”

“Is what I am planning to do going to honor God?”

“Would I feel comfortable to ask others to join me in prayer for what I am asking God to do?”

“Would others agree with me that what I am about to do will be God-honoring?”

We often act and react without pausing to pray about or even consider the consequences of our behavior. Sometimes when things seem to be getting out of control, we run to God and plead for Him to “correct this terrible mess I’ve created for Your sake.” Others may say, “Well, it looked good when I started but where is God now?”

Because of our sinful nature, we often act without seeking God’s approval before setting out on a project. We think, plan, work and then wonder “what happened to my ideas?” when things go wrong. We forget the need to go to God first because of our desire to act independent and self-sufficient. If we look to and depend on God, we automatically admit we are insufficient on our own and need His help. And who wants to think they need help?

Wisely Solomon wrote, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” The word used for “commit” literally means “roll over.” So, if in prayer we “roll over” our plans to God for His blessing, protection and guidance, we can expect them to succeed.

Prayer:  Father, we pray that You will remove all pride from our lives and help us realize our need for Your guidance. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 16:3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.

Recently, I received two fall catalogs from sporting goods companies. Both featured fall items that anyone who loves the outdoors would be pleased to own. Both had a focus on hiking and the wilderness. The clothes were so attractive that they seemed appropriate enough to wear to a wedding reception.

But the shoes were in a class by themselves. They all had a rugged appearance with built in safety features: steel shanks for stability, soles with rock-biting “teeth” to provide non-skid traction, comfortable inserts to prevent fatigue and fabric laces that would last for years.

Every picture that featured the shoes “in action” had a person walking up a steep incline with rocks, shrubs and stones that made the journey difficult. Some of the models had sticks in their hands to provide balance or to protect them from snakes or other animals. All appeared ready for “anything” with canteens of water and first aid kits. Whatever came their way would be subdued! They were able to conquer anything at any time. They were prepared for their journey through the wilderness.

But no matter how wisely they prepared for their journey through the wilderness, it did not prepare them for the journey through life. The journey through life is not about shoes or clothing: it is about walking in His righteousness. The only “safe-passage” is with Christ. “The righteousness of the blameless makes their path  straight, but the wicked are brought down by their deeds.”

God wants His best for us. But it comes with limitations.

Prayer:  Lord, may we stay close to You as we journey through life, knowing that we will be safe if we live right. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture for Today: Proverbs 11:5 The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight, but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.
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