Finding the Path

Life…

We all face it, and we don’t understand many of the things that come our way when it comes down to it.

Life can be difficult…uncertain…unpredictable

So what on earth can we do to ensure that we are doing what is best when it comes to the challenges that we face? How can we be sure that we are doing the right thing? How do we know what path we are supposed to take?

I’m about to surprise some of you with my answers to these questions…

First, we must seek answers from God.  Scripture tells us we do not have because we do not ask God; Solomon asked for Wisdom; therefore, we can also ask for wisdom to get through the challenges we face.  To ensure that we are pursuing the best in our difficult challenges, we need to ask for wisdom from the God who gives freely.

Secondly, we must use the Word of God as our guide. God will give us answers to the difficult questions…he will show us the right thing if we seek wholeheartedly for answers and guidance. We can know we are doing the right thing if we are listening to the guidance of the Word and applying it to our lives.  James 1 tells us to be more than hearers of the word, but also doers…reminding us that we must put God’s word into action.

Lastly, I’m not sure that the path we take is as important as the destination we reach…I know this may sound strange to hear, but let’s look at this a little deeper…

The path we take, the job we have, the family and friends we are around may not always be a constant…our job might change…the people around us have their own lives to lead and may very well do something we don’t understand when it comes to our assumed direction, but that is not necessarily a bad thing.

We are all searching for answers and seeking a path that leads to God’s plan being fully revealed in our lives…and each one of us have destination at the end of our journey…but how do we know which path will lead us there?  I would venture to say that if we are following the lead of the Holy Spirit…they all will!  We can be used in whatever path of life we are taking, as long as our journey is being led by the Holy Spirit…

We must listen for the Spirit to speak, whether through Scripture, through teachings, or maybe through a still small voice that tugs at our heart…if we are attentive and seeking the wisdom of God we will find the path to travel.  There is no set blueprint, because each of us are different…but God will guide us on our journey; after all, He does promise that if we seek, we will find.

Trust God to show you the way…Ask and you will receive…Seek and you will find…Knock, and the door will be opened to you.  Your destination may be just ahead.

 

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What are we Doing?

“The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit. Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished. By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the Lord one turns away from evil. When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” – Proverbs 16:1-9, ESV

This scripture speaks volumes to us, especially in today’s time, and this week I want to issue a challenge to each of you who reads this. There are many things that we do that can keep us from experiencing the blessings of God in our lives, and the unfortunate part of this is that many times we do not see it because we are so sure we are in the right.

I can think of a number of things going on in our society today that speak to this, and honestly, I know there will be some of you who disagree with me on this, but I invite you to please look at this with me and study it yourself. I feel that there are groups today at work in our world who think that there is nothing wrong with what they do, and in looking at scripture we can see why. Proverbs 16:2 tells us that in our own eyes we are fully doing what is right, but God weighs the spirit. In our mind’s eye we are doing what we feel is right, but does the Bible not also tell us to be careful what we show approval for?

There are many issues that we have around us in society today that we need to filter through the Bible to make sure we are not approving something that is wrong in the eyes of God. The unfortunate thing that I see around us today is that we are all guilty of this in some way or another, but we lose sight because our own ways are right in our own eyes, while we spend time trying to correct someone else’s problems because we feel they need correction.

Here is our issue, whatever it may be, we tend to criticize others of the way they are living while we ourselves have things that are hampering our walk. According to what we see in this section from Proverbs 16, all of our steps should be directed by God, not just his or her steps while mine are surely rooted in God. He did not ask us to condemn one another, but to love and respect everyone. Truthfully, according to what we see in verse 3 is that our commitment to the Lord and His ways will establish our plans and actions today. This means that if we focus on His ways, He will direct our steps; if we commit to His ways, our hearts are transformed to His purpose.

This covers all manners of sin…we cannot be on the fence about what God’s purpose and will are in our lives. Whether it be lies, lust, or any other sin that we come across in the world today, it is not our job to allow and show approval for things that God has spoken of in His word. His word gives us clear definitions of what is right and wrong, and the biggest problem that man has today in the world is that we all want to justify our own actions by ignoring what God says, but that can be dangerous. Again, God is clear about His intentions for us in His word. Don’t let your fence riding cause you to miss out on God’s blessing.

“Because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelation 3:16

#OurLivesMatter

This has been one of the harder writings I’ve ever done because a million things have been running through my mind, but also just the concern that the message will not be welcomed by some.  That being said, I also feel it has to be addressed…

We see a new trend in America to talk about what lives matter, the struggle I’m having is that what I see happening is the furthering of a division that we do not need.  I liken it to the body of the Church…in order for us to be most effective in reaching the world, we must be unified…and in order for our country to continue to be what it once was, we must be unified.

#BlackLivesMatter, #BlueLivesMatter, and #AllLivesMatter have flooded our Facebook Newsfeed, we have been bombarded on the news by the constant reminder that there is a division between groups of people; and honestly it seems to be what keeps these groups divided.  I have prayed and studied about this over the past week or so trying to figure out what the message we need to embrace is…and it has left me here…that we need to drop the bickering and fighting and each accept some sense of ownership in what is taking place.

We are all God’s children, we have been offered a gift through His blood that is greater than any gift we could imagine, and we fight because we feel that we are more deserving of it than others? It is not for us to qualify who is worthy of this gift, in fact, scripture tells us that Christ died once for all…and there is no qualifying factor in that statement…All means all.

I have heard all the arguments and discussions over what the BLM group is trying to say, and believe me I understand what they are fighting for.  I have heard the reasons folks want to say All Lives Matter, and honestly, I realize what is happening there too…but what it is doing is dividing us even more when right now what we need is unity.

So, I challenge you…be the example.  Take ownership in a different kind of movement…don’t say This life matters or that life matters…say Our Lives Matter.  Before you dismiss me, please hear me out, I’m not saying that bringing awareness to discrimination is wrong, but by owning it and saying “OUR” we will be saying that yes my life matters, but yours also matters and we are together in this fight to bring justice.

If we can own it and realize we are fighting many of the same battles it might be the first steps in bringing peace that is much needed in this time of turmoil.  Please consider this as you think about the issues we are facing today…please stop promoting the division, and become part of the solution.  Each of us are different, but Christ died for ALL.  His life mattered, and through His blood we can say that Our Lives Matter.

“For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 12:12 (HCSB)

FIreworks

With the Fourth of July just past us I wanted to think about one of the greatest “fire”works shows the world has ever seen.  The story takes place in Daniel 3 where we see three young men who would stand firm on their faith and in it all would prove the power of God to a Nation who did not believe.

I think we can all take lessons from this story in our life, and that we can prove the Power of God to a Nation in which we live; a Nation that seems to have lost sight of God.

In Daniel 3 we see the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they desired to continue serving God and not bowing down to an idol, despite the pressure around them.  A lesson we can all use today in our own lives.  Today, in many ways we are being asked to bow down to idols and to deny what we know to be truth.  The scripture can tell us what we need to stand for, but we too often let society dictate what we actually say; too often we tend to sit back and be quiet when we need to be vocal as these three Hebrew men were.

These men knew the consequences, but yet they continued to stand rather than bow down to an idol.  Are we willing to do that in our own lives today?

The second lesson that I think we can take from this story is what happened to these three men when they did take a stand.  They knew what would happen, they were told that they would be thrown into the Fiery Furnace if they refused to bow down, yet they remained on their feet because they knew that showing approval to the idol was denying God.  And, as they were warned, they were thrown into the fire to face their death.  The story tells us that the furnace was turned up seven times hotter than normal, so hot in fact, that men who were throwing them in were killed because of the heat.

Here is where our second lesson is shown.  When the men were put in the fire, they were walking around, dancing, and praising God.  When those on the outside began to look, they saw a fourth man walking in the fire with them.  Not only was the fire not burning up these men, but now, as Daniel 3:25 puts it, “the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

As we see here that when these men faced the fire, God was in their midst, and wants to do the same for us today!  God wants to guide us through our fires, but we have to stay strong when we face those who will try and get us to waiver on our stance.  We must continue to stand firm on the things we know and continue to stand when we know the outcome may not be favorable for us at that moment, but knowing that the outcome will be even better when the fire comes.

We must know that no matter what consequences we will face, when we face them we will not be alone because God will be there with us.

Take the time to read and pray over Daniel 3 today and allow the “Fire”works to happen in your life today.  Remember that God is with you no matter what you face today, and it is through the fire that the world will see God at work in your life.