A conversation I had with a friend this morning made me think deeply about choices. We have so many of them in this world. Everyday we are choosing without even knowing it. The Lord gave us free will and He gave us a mind. Both of these enable us to choose.. He seems to be very in favor of that or He would not have created us with the ability to choose so freely. I realize that there are people who think we should choose everything that feels good with no regard for anyone else.. I am definitely not in that camp. Then there are those who believe if you do not choose what I choose.. then something is very wrong with you.. not in that camp either. Choices are very serious and they are messy.
What prompted this blog post was the realization that we may have more choices than we realize.. maybe we feel like if we don’t choose wisely right now.. this could be our last chance. While I realize that there are grave consequences to choices made lightly without careful prayer and seeking God’s best.. I also know we are serve a God of second chances. third chances etc. Basically we cannot run out of chances with Him. So how do we navigate this road which often feels like it is full of potholes? I can’t claim to have all the answers.. but I do know that we live in a world where the Lord is constantly redeeming things. I also know that so many of the heroes of the Bible did really unbelievable things.. in fact if we were in charge we might say to them.. ” that is it.. no more chances.” Fortunately we are not in charge and that is not how God sees things.. He does not run out of grace and mercy.. even we take a wrong turn He will steer us back in the right direction.
So choosing is an awesome responsibility .. God knows that through our choices we will see Him more clearly.. even the bad choices. He knows that we will learn to seek Him more deeply as we choose.. if we desire to follow Him throughout our lives and He does not have a list of consequences we can read before we decide. Choices are deeply entrenched into our life.. we are walking by faith and not by sight. Choices tell the Lord we trust Him even if everyone around us thinks we are crazy.. Choices knit us to Him in a way that rules and regulations never will. We are given freedom.. lots of it.
Really the only thing we can do is pray and seek Him and ask Him to stop us when we are moving in the wrong direction. Then we can shut out of the voices of well-meaning people or how- to books and leap ahead in the direction that is right for us. Once we realize that if we fall He will catch us.. We can ask for courage and turn away from fear as we move forward..
I hope this year is one filled with hope for you as we move into 2017.. may you choose wisely as you follow our amazing God.
If you wander from the right path, either to the right or to the left, you will hear a voice behind you saying, “You should go this way. Here is the right way.” ( Isaiah 30:21)
This is the word that keeps coming to mind “This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” I hear this verse in my head and believe that it is His word to us in these times.
The world does not feel like a safe place. We have access to so much bad news and we hear about tragedy that we never imagined could happen. Our hearts are heavy as we look around and realize there is so much we cannot change in our own lives and the lives of others. At the same time, there are things that we can do and they often take courage. It is surprising how much courage is involved in our decisions. Just stop and think about something that you want to do, but somehow fear is keeping you from moving forward. What do you need ” courage “and God wants to give it to you. If His command is to be strong and courageous then we have to trust Him to provide strength and courage.
Courage often means stepping out and making a decision that others think is foolish. God may be calling you to do something they cannot understand. He is asking you to follow him and not the voice of reason or logic. He is asking you to do something that only you know is from Him. He is leading you down a road that no one sees except you. Often He leads us forward into a new adventure and it looks crazy to other people. At times He tells us to stand still and wait ..that may look even more crazy to others. In our culture waiting and standing still patiently are not very popular. In the kingdom of God it is the opposite. “Now stand here and see the great thing the LORD is about to do.”
Are you struggling with circumstances that make no sense? Are there things in your life that you never anticipated? Are there more questions than answers? If so, then you are not alone. Many of us are in the same situation and God is with us. He is asking us to trust Him. He is growing our faith and He is deepening our relationship with Him. He is our shelter in the storm.. our safe haven. Let’s pray for strength and courage and trust that He is more than willing to give it to us.
I love the movie ” Finding Nemo” because it is all about courage. Remember this part?
I promised I’d never let anything happen to him.
Hmm. That’s a funny thing to promise.
Well you can’t never let anything happen to him. Then nothing would ever happen to him.
It makes sense doesn’t it. Courage involves risk and without risk life is not worth living..
I know I’ve written on this topic in the past, but right now it seems important to re-visit it. How many times do we hesitate to do the next thing because we are afraid? I don’t know about you, but I really hate making mistakes..that makes living just a little difficult 🙂 Mistakes are part of life and the sooner I realize that.. the better. Fear on the other hand does not need to be a part of our lives. I’m not talking about healthy fear..like not walking on the edge of cliff or taking unnecessary risks for no reason. I am talking about fear that disables us.
Yes..disables. Fear can make is stand still and not move when we really should take a step. Fear can cause us to be quiet, when there is something to say. Fear lies to us. It drains our energy and strength and keeps us from living fully. Fear is false evidence appearing real. Read that again. How do we combat fear? By realizing that in our life with God we should never make fear based decisions. If I am not doing something because I am afraid.. I want to realize that reason is not legitimate and move ahead.
When we act out of fear..there are regrets later. Looking back we grieve over the things that could have been but did not. Now.. just because I am writing this, don’t assume that I have never made fear based decisions. Just the opposite is true, I made too many of them and now I hope to help you discover that you don’t have to do life that way. God is going to take you wherever you need to go and He is going to protect you and guide you. Don’t be afraid. Our God is with us!
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
God is always doing new things..but our awareness of this can vary. If we become stuck in a difficult place emotionally we will miss much of what He is doing. Our focus tends to stay on ourselves..our problems..our worries..our sights are set on the things of this world.We may look intently into the future..when we cannot see what will happen..we become filled with fear. Soon we are writing our own story..the one with an unhappy ending.
I recently went through a very difficult season of my life..it lasted for several years and during that time I found myself wondering about things that I thought I would never question. I grew weary and my faith faltered. I found myself getting depressed and discouraged. I suffered physically..grieivng my losses and disappointments..my spirit was deflated. I didn’t have any answers and all I could do was remember that God was with me. He carried me along and when it was time He rescued me from the heaviness of those days.
He never forgot me and I never forgot Him. I grew during those dark days..they were not a waste. He healed old wounds that went back to my childhood..painful memories came to the surface and I shed many tears. He was doing a deep work in me. No..I would not choose that road..but He did and I knew it was going to bring me to a new place emotionally and spiritually. I agreed with His desire to set me free and that meant facing the old pain and receiving the restoration that He longed to give me.
Moving forward is not always pleasant.. it is often painful..requiring courage and committment. But we have a God who will move quickly to bring healing and to bring us into that new place where we experience more freedom. We will be transformed as we trust Him and remember His goodness. His plan for our lives is perfect and nothing can keep it from unfolding.. our part is to nurture our connection with Him..to rely on Him in the dark and know that He is with us.
“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”
I woke up with these words going through my head and knew that God wanted me to share them with you. Persevere means hang on, persist, hold on, carry on, continue on, keep going, remain firm, endure, stay the course.. to keep going no matter what happens. Do any of these definitions ring true for you? They do for me.
Yesterday I watched an interview with Joni Eareckson Tada. She has been paralyzed for 40 years and is now receiving treatment for breast cancer. I saw the weariness on her face and in the eyes of her husband. What trials they have seen as a couple. Yet she spoke of joy and the goodness of God. Her face radiated with a beauty I have rarely seen. She has persevered in the face of obstacles most of us cannot imagine. Years and years and years of pain and limitations that are grow greater with each passing day. She uses her time to help others and to paint amazingly beautiful pictures with a paintbrush in her mouth and she sings like an angel.
What a testimony to our Gracious God. He has kept her and blessed her and taught her. Now she is teaching people all over the world. I was inspired by her courage and her faith. My circumstances cannot come close to hers. Let’s persevere and receive the blessing He has for us. Let’s trust Him fully no matter where we are and what is happening. Let’s get ready to receive the blessing that He holds for us in His hands. Let’s run the race with joy and faith.
” Patient endurance is what you need now, so you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.”