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Posts Tagged ‘God’s leading’

We’ve all had those “Gibeonite deception” moments.

I’m talking about that sickening realization that we should have prayed for God’s wisdom rather than trusting in our own.

It stinks to realize that we’ve been tricked and trapped by our pride, whether it be with a bad business deal, a poor choice of neighborhoods or a dysfunctional, morally compromised relationship.

You can read at this link about how the Israelites thought they were smart enough to make peace treaties without God’s help when they entered the Promised Land.

But then they realized that they weren’t smart enough and, as a result, stuck with a perpetual reminder that they did not cleanse the land of pagan influences as God had ordained.

King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 3:5-6 that we are to trust the Lord with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding. As we acknowledge Him (as Lord) in all our ways, then God will direct our paths.

Joshua and the people of Israel leaned on their own understanding rather than asking God for direction and they got burned.

Please pray for wisdom when it comes to entering into close emotional relationships or into business deals or into a church family or into a new place to live

Pride claims no need for God’s help.

Humility confesses an abundance of need for God’s help.

You and I are not smart enough to figure out all the angles but God’s wisdom can help us to avoid problems we wouldn’t see otherwise.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When we grow impatient with God’s timing and decide to act without His leading or blessing, it always — eventually — turns out badly.

This is true when we’re impatient in the desire for a spouse.

This is true when we’re impatient in the desire for a much nicer car or house.

This is true when we’re impatient in the desire for a new career or job opportunity.

This is true when we’re impatient in the desire for a church home that helps us to feel accepted and involved.

Is waiting fun?

Usually not.

What is less fun is what happens when we don’t.

Rebound relationships almost always struggle or fail.

Overextending ourselves financially in order to meet others’ expectations — or to feel better about ourselves — is never healthy.

Wanting a new career or new job or new church just so we can feel better about ourselves is a recipe for residual, resentful stress imposed upon ourselves.

The words of Isaiah 40:31 really are true:

“But those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.” (NKJV)

And it could be added to that verse, “They shall sail and not fear sinking.”

What? Where did that idea come from?

Even the apostles, the men who were with Jesus 24/7, they struggled to remember the importance of waiting.

And when they failed, it was ugly.

Thank God for Jesus’ grace, though.

After Jesus fed the multitudes with five loaves and two fish, He decided to go by Himself onto a mountain to pray. His apostles went down to the Sea of Galilee’s shoreline to wait for Him before they sailed to the other side to continue ministry. You can follow the events by reading these words from John 6:16-21…

That evening Jesus’ disciples went down to the shore to wait for him. But as darkness fell and Jesus still hadn’t come back, they got into the boat and headed across the lake toward Capernaum. Soon a gale swept down upon them, and the sea grew very rough. They had rowed three or four miles when suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water toward the boat. They were terrified, but he called out to them, “Don’t be afraid. I am here!” Then they were eager to let him in the boat, and immediately they arrived at their destination!”

It’s hard to believe that the apostles gave up waiting on Jesus and unilaterally decided to leave Him behind.

What were they thinking? What did they expect Jesus to think when He came back down to the shoreline and saw that the apostles had left Him without asking for permission or even to leave a Post-it note as to where they had headed?

It’s amazing when you think about it. But impatience and personal agenda and overconfidence prompts us to do some foolish things.

Such as thinking that we don’t need to wait on the Lord.

Jesus had every right to strongly chastize the apostles for abandoning Him. But Jesus is gracious once again and thought only of what was best for them at the moment and for their long-term understanding of who He was.

We’ve all found ourselves in relationship storms or financal storms or career storms because we foolishly didn’t wait on the Lord and because we thought we knew better and that faith was wasting our time.

Thank God that the mess we found ourselves in as a result was not worsened by a Lord who yelled at us, called us stupid and selfish and refused to help us get to where we wanted to be.

Let’s become better at waiting. Let’s remember that when God acts, it’s because the time is right in His perfect view, not our imperfect view.

As always, I love you
Martin

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A resume is essentially a description of choice outcomes.

If we have a pattern of choosing wisely, it will be reflected on our resumes.

And so it is with our spiritual lives.

Let’s aspire toward a stronger spiritual resume.

Let’s gain and apply more wisdom.

Hundreds of Bible characters and some of our Christian peers provide solid examples of good choices.

Choices rooted in adherence to the pattern of faith taught in biblical wisdom.

I encourage you to read Deuteronomy 6 today. You’ll gain rich wisdom by doing so.

And the fruit of your choice will be a more successful, a more visible faith.

Here’s is Jesus’ view of why wisdom is so important:

“But wisdom is shown to be right by the lives of those who follow it.” (Luke 7:35)

Let’s strive to make sure our examples before others are testimonies to the value of wisdom.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When a little kid spontaneously starts talking about God, I listen.

You see, it’s one thing when a child responds to a Christian adult’s leading and recites a Bible verse back to the teacher during a Sunday School class.

It’s quite another thing when the child speaks up to a group of kids on a playground regarding how God is so “special” for making the beautiful sky or speaks up to a group of adult relatives about giving her or him a loving mommy, daddy or pet.

My kids are long past that stage but I still savor the memories of their childhood praises of the Lord.

Particularly those that came without my prompting.

Occasions such as when Melissa, while in 4th grade, prompted a “Prayer at the Flagpole” event for her elementary school with dozens of teachers and students choosing to participate. She did it without my coaching.

It was awesome.

Not sure how the cynic of faith would explain that one….

We live in a time when critics of Christianity believe momentum is on their side.

And the picture is darkening in a spiritual sense, it seems.

But as you and I remember the power of a pure, innocent faith displayed in the words and expressions of children, we’ll be reminded that what we believe is not based on thoughts we’ve conceived but instead received.

Received from God.

Here is the passage the triggered this Morning Devotion and I pray it will prompt you toward more confidence in your own faith.

“You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you.” (Psalm 8:2 NLT)

Children don’t have sophisticated mind-control agendas skewed by years of alleged brainwashing by church people.

They’re just kids who speak from the overflow of their hearts.

When they talk about God without our prompting, it’s a reflection of what the Holy Spirit is speaking to them.

Let’s listen to them just as Jesus encouraged when He told us to have the attitude of kids if we want to see heaven (Matthew 18:3).

As always, I love you
Martin

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Some people seem afraid to make a peep if somebody else is not going to like it.

And other people act as if they could care less what others thought about their choices.

Where are you in that panorama of peer opinions?

It’s a life philosophy that we have to deal with all through our lives, it seems. Even as seasoned adults, there is still the pressure to make choices determined by the anticipated approval of others.

And that’s not altogether bad, particularly when our choices DO have an effect on the well-being of others. We should consider others ahead of ourselves when it comes making choices.

What’s vital to recall, though, is that we should consider God’s will ahead of everybody else’s will, including our own.

Why? Because it is His approval that really matters in this life and the next.

He is the One who sits on the throne and before whom every soul must stand in eternity.

He is the One who confers blessings and salvation.

He is the One who provides guidance and peace for the soul.

He is the giver of life, the Creator and re-Creator.

That being the case, our lives should be led to please Him first, even if it means displeasing people who have different agendas than does He.

You’re smart enough to know when an employer or co-worker is wanting you to do something that is contrary to God’s will.

At that moment, will you seek God’s approval by choosing the path of integrity? Or will you choose to be a people-pleaser, no matter what?

The same principle applies, of course, when a relative wants you to join him or her in a scheme that hurts the interests of others, whether they be parents or siblings or even an employer for whom you and the relative work.

At that moment, will you choose integrity? Or people-pleasing?

We sometimes encounter the same intersection in our church lives when it comes to how we deal with a difficult person or a difficult doctrine of scripture or with the Holy Spirit’s call to give more time to volunteer ministry in place of watching our favorite TV shows.

Here’s how the Apostle Paul wrote of this topic:

“Am I now trying to win human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

When choosing between a choice that pleases God or one that diverges from His path, please remember Matthew 6:33 that calls us to seek God’s Kingdom first and He’ll make sure we’re taken care of with the things of life that really matter.

Let’s agree to serve God first, no matter what. Some people won’t like it, but the ones who do are the ones with whom we’ll be serving and praising the Father, Son and Spirit forever. And that’s a good thing.

As always, I love you
Martin

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OK, we’re supposed to seek redemptive relationships with unsaved people, right?

That’s how we’re going to have bridges of gospel influence, right?

Yes, that’s right.

So why does the Apostle Paul tell us in 2 Corinthians 6:14 to not be yoked together with unbelievers?

If we’re not walking close to them, how can we really influence them?

The key element in answering this question is to consider the word “yoked.”

Paul doesn’t tell us to ignore the unsaved, of course.

We are to talk with them and walk with them — as long as it means that we’re walking on the path of faith.

If the unsaved person starts heading down a wrong path and is pleading for us to walk with him or her, then our Christian faith says “No” because we are yoked to Christ and, since He never walked the path of sin, we are not to walk the path of sin.

You see, that’s the problem in being yoked with non-Christians as if we were two oxen tied together for pulling a wagon.
Invariably, they’re eventually going to choose a path that conflicts with godliness.

And, invariably, there’s going to be a fight for control.

One of those in the yoked relationship is going to compromise.

Sadly, it is almost always the Christian.

I’ve seen this happen countless times when a Christian marries a non-Christian.

The Christian more often ends up walking the path he or she knows that God doesn’t like, rather than the reverse for the non-Christian.

This also happens, of course, with business partnerships or “best buddy” friendships.

We’re never told to stop associating with unsaved people. In fact, that’s integral to the Great Commission that Christ gave us for evangelism.

We are told, however, to not be in relationship structures within which the direction we go is determined by others instead of ourselves.

If we’re not careful, we can end up in a yoked relationship with a non-Christian who is as stubborn and as strong as an ox.

That could end up being a very bad thing that will cause a huge amount of frustration and ungodly reaction on our part.

Please, my friend, pray before entering into any relationship commitments with non-Christians. God’s voice will reveal to you what you should do, I’m sure.

As always, I love you
Martin

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