Tag Archives: Direction

Were You Predestined?

Meditation Journey Day 43   

Hi Friend,

In the sixteenth verse of this Psalm, David takes us up a difficult path in these majestic mountains of Purpose…

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” Psalm 139:16

This passage is difficult for us to understand because it implies God planned each day of our lives before we were born. The days were written down in God’s book and we did not get to choose one of them. This is the concept of being pre-designed or predestined. Paul penned a similar thought in Ephesians 1.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love, He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace, with which He has blessed us in the Beloved.”

What is difficult for us to understand is the balance between God’s sovereign will and God's will Man's willman’s free will. Understanding how these two opposing positions co-exist is never easy. It is comforting to know no theologian has thoroughly figured this out either. While it is reassuring to us that God is in control; we like to think we are making our own decisions. Both processes are always operating in parallel. God is always in control and working all things together for the good of His beloved. At the same time God allows each person to exercise their free will; and they are totally responsible for every choice they make. We see this in the Bible in many events. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus is a glaring example. When Judas betrayed Jesus to the Jewish leaders he was acting out his own desires. At the same moment God was using Judas’ sinful nature to fulfill God’s plan of sacrificing Jesus to redeem the world.

However, the Bible is clear that God does call and choose us. Rejoice that your decision for Christ began in the heart of God before you were born.

He is holding you; it is not your faith holding on to Him.

Verse sixteen is magnificent, because it tells us God has a plan for our lives. His design of our being, as revealed in verses 13-15, is perfect for the plan that He has set in process. The prophet, Jeremiah revealed the LORD’s plans for God’s people when he wrote, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, thoughts of peace and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29. How could God say this if He did not already have ultimate control of everything as a sovereign God?

This verse also speaks powerfully about our ultimate purpose for being on earth. The picture, in verse 16, is God looking at our prenatal substance and deciding how we will best impact the world for His purposes. It implies God designed us and sends us into this world as agents of His healing grace and love. We are prescriptions on a mission to reveal the healing love of God through the grace of Jesus Christ. He has prepared in-advance good works for us to do. Remember what Paul wrote, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2

Every person has a God-given purpose and reason for being alive. Human life is sacred because we are made in His image and designed to fulfill good works for His glory. You may or may not know exactly what your purpose is at all times, but trust Him. He is working all things together to accomplish it in your life.

Hand

Here are three things that are His will everyday of our lives: Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” 1 Thessalonians 5. As we confidently rejoice, pray and give thanks; we will enjoy His plans for our lives. He has designed each day to give us the hope we need to rest in His Sovereign authority and love.

 

Observation: Verse 13-16 reveals God has pre-designed us for purpose each day. His plans are for our welfare and to give us hope. God’s will and man’s will, may at times be opposite, but God is still working all things together for His beloved.

Interpretation: This truth gave David peace and assurance that God had a divine purpose for his life. It should encourage us too. Our minds, limited by time and space, cannot fully understand how God executes His will without violating man’s free will; yet God constantly works this way. We should rest in the knowledge that He is in control. He designed us to do good works that will glorify Him and bless us. Our focus should be on praying, rejoicing and giving thanks to Him each day.

Application Prayer: Father God, my faith is in you and your loving kindness. I do not completely understand how you ordered my life to give you glory, but I trust your design and purpose for my life. Help me to rejoice each day with prayer and thanksgiving for your Sovereignty and grace. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Advertisements

You are Wonderfully Made!

Meditation Journey Day 42                         

Hi Friend,

Did you know you were intricately woven in the depths of the earth? I did not either until I read verse 15 of Psalm 139. David is writing beautiful Hebrew poetry about our prenatal development: My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.” In these words of wisdom the Holy Spirit is revealing another facet of our unique purpose.

Shine 3The “depths of the earth” is our mother’s womb. The term “frame” does not just describe our skeletal structure. It is metaphor for the frame in which a beautiful tapestry is woven together. Medical science tells us that each person has between twenty to thirty thousand genes that determine everything about their physical make up. Our genes are like the strands of fabric that, in the secret place of the womb, God wove our being together as an artist would weave a masterpiece. Each strand of fabric He chose is of a different color and strength. We are uniquely made and created by God for our moment on the stage of life. He intricately” wove into our makeup just the right strengths, weakness, talents and abilities to give us an exclusive way to glorify Him and serve others.

The application of this truth to our lives is immensely important. All too often we disregard our uniqueness and compare ourselves to others. The Bible says comparison thinking is unwise “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise 2 Corinthians 10.

When we compare ourselves to others it is easy to come to the conclusion we are deficient in some way.  Or just the reverse happens. We compare ourselves to others, and we assume we are in some way superior. Both are traps of Satan and lead to rejecting ourselves or rejecting others. God says, in Isaiah 45, that when we reject ourselves we reject Him. When we reject other people on this criterion we are assuming a position of arrogance that is unwise.  We must stop comparing ourselves to other people, because God has really made us all different. There is no one like us and there never will be anyone just like us!

By design, He created us to reveal His workmanship. This is exactly what Paul wrote: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” Ephesians 2. How could we compare ourselves to anyone when we are all designed differently to glorify God in distinctive ways?

It is also unwise to compare yourself to any one because God is the only one that knows all the twists and turns your life will take. He designed us to shine for Him in the mist of darkness, trials and tribulation that we cannot imagine. We may envy someone’s strength or beauty thinking they are so healthy looking not knowing they are filled with cancer! Only He knows the health issues we will experience. Only He knows the people we will meet and places we will go. There are no circumstances we will encounter that God does not know. He prepared us in advance to face all of life with His grace.

This is the key to appreciating our individual differences. Every strength, weakness, talent Shine 2and ability God has “intricately woven” into our being was given to glorify Him through His grace and strength.  We fulfill His purpose for our lives when He is living and loving through us. We are like light bulbs of different shapes, sizes and colors that only glow when the electricity of His Spirit radiates through us. If you think you have limitations, flaws or special “birth marks”, commit all your weakness to Him and allow them to become reminders of His design. Do not be distracted from His grace by comparing yourself to others. Allow the strong points and the weak points of your humanness to turn your heart to Him in humble gratefulness. We need to remember He works all things together for our good and His glory Romans 8. Then we will sing with David the song of the redeemed, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

Walk in peace today knowing your Father prepared you in advance to glorify Him in the mist of your joys, trials, and struggles. Pray for others too and share this post; we all need this encouragement.

Observation: David wrote a beautiful poetic description of our prenatal development in verse 15. We are uniquely created. We show how unwise (ignorant) we are when we compare ourselves to others.

Interpretation: This verse reveals how God wove into our lives all the special strengths and weakness that makes us unique. We are designed to glorify Him at all times and in all places. We need to allow our strong and weak points to remind us He especially created us.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for making me. I do appreciate and thank you for designing my strengths and weaknesses. Help me to turn my focus to you every time I am tempted to compare myself to others. Help me to allow the electricity of Your Spirit to flow though me so that I can shine Your light into the darkness of this world. I am grateful for the way you wove me together. I accept myself as a gift from you. … in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

 

Do you know where your going to?

Meditation Journey Day 35                         

Hi Friend,

OK, lace up your boots and pick up your back pack we are moving on into the next section of Psalm 139. This next section many be rough for some of us. Verses 7-12 are all about going. It starts with a question, “Where shall I go from your presence? It ends with the conclusion the LORD is with me everywhere I go.

VastWe really are only going in one of two directions. The only variable is how fast we are moving. Either we are moving towards God or away from Him. That is always the choice we have in every major decision we make.

The author of this psalm, King David had a lot of experience in moving towards and away from God. If you know King David’s biography in the Bible you are aware he was on the run for many years before he ever became king of Israel. He was being hunted by King Saul and at one point actually ran away to live with the enemies of God for safety. He hid in caves in the wilderness and barely survived. He did not always make godly choices; you can read David’s entire story in 1st & 2nd Samuel. Knowing his struggles, fears and his flight adds depth to this passage.

Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol (hell), you are there! If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

RuunnerJust like David we can run towards or away from God.  Are you running towards the Lord or away from Him? Remember it is not so much a physical direction as it is an attitudinal posture. Here are some questions to help you decide which direction your heart is heading. When truth about your behavior is presented to you do you embrace it or resist it? Are you wishing you could get away with things you know are wrong? When circumstances do not go your way do you give thanks to God quickly, slowly or not at all? When things go well do you thank God? When things go bad do you blame God or think He is punishing you? When you accomplish remarkable things to whom do you give credit…you or God? Are you mentally arguing with people from your present or past? Is there anyone you have not forgiven?

These are just some questions that reveal to ourselves what direction we are going. The Apostle James says we all stumble in many ways so do not think you’re the only one who is challenged by these questions.

If this inquiry felt a little rough to your spiritual knees and you realized you have stumbled and fallen down; I suggest you stop and evaluate what we have learned in verses 1-6. He really does love you and value you highly. Choose to humble your heart in surrender to Him. Go deeper in your faith by trusting His grace to lead you back to His path. Oh yes, if your knees hurt, do not forget to ask for His forgiveness.

Observation: We are all moving towards or away from God. David learned from his experiences that the Lord God is always with him.

Interpretation: Since we are always in route, it is important we keep focus on the right direction. We choose every day which direction we are going. Our repentance is God’s plan to get us back on His path.

Application Prayer: Father God, thank you for your word. It helps me to get up after I have stumbled. Your grace reminds me you will forgive my waywardness. I do want to go your way. Teach me your paths. I will walk in them… in Jesus Name, Amen.

What is your take away?

Got Direction?

Got Direction?

January first 2016, Ken and I sat in a cold gray morning on a rise in the wilderness of Rocksprings waiting for dawn to come in hopes of shooting my first deer. In the light of a filtered sunrise through damp gray clouds the shapes of several deer dimly appeared before us. Ken, my guide and mentor, motioned me to prepare to shoot. From one hundred yards or more the Texas White Tail deer looked small in the scope of his 30-06 rifle. Through the cross-hairs of the scope the moving mature doe was a challenging target, yet with even breathing, I slowly pulled the trigger.

When the bullet shattered the quiet of the morning, the targeted doe seemed to fly as she bolted away from the area. It violently jumped and twisted in midair to run as far as possible from the awful sound and fear of the powerful rifle. From the distance of our blind, it was unclear if I had hit the deer or merely shocked it with a missed bullet. Had I wasted a shot and my chance to kill my first deer, or was it severely wounded? Yet as we approached the place where the deer had stood, it was obvious the bullet had inflicted a mortal wound. The deer’s blood was sprayed on the ground, but she was nowhere to be found. All she left was a faint trail of blood.

Now the tracking began. The cold and rainless morning was not only good for hunting, it was ideal for tracking a wounded animal. Without rain the blood trail would still be visible and the cold would help preserve a dead animal. Ken the experienced hunter, began to quickly look for traces of blood on rocks, grass, twigs and brush. His keen eyes picked up on the smallest of detail. I on the other hand, inexperienced and ignorant of the process, concluded the deer could not have run far with THAT much blood loss! I quickly and foolishly ignored Ken’s methodical detailed experienced tracking for a quick solution and walked in circles! He graciously cautioned me to look for the blood as it was the only sure sign we had, and also not to trample on any possible evidence as we could easily lose the fallen animal. Yet I, the novice, scanned the whole field smugly thinking surely a bleeding deer could not have gone far. I continued to walk in circles as Ken systematically called my attention to yet another drop of the deer’s red life on a blade of grass or rock.

Finally I began to listen. Ken had me wisely mark the last sure proof we had found of the deer’s path. I placed a “duck” in the location of the bloodRock marker2 spot before we moved on. This gave us assurance we were on the deer’s final run. [A trail “duck” is three rocks pile up in an obvious man-made pyramid with the largest rock on the bottom and smallest on top.] The deer had run beneath cedar trees, through brush and yuccas giving us a challenging path in its attempt to elude its inevitable death. Her hundred plus yard scramble took her about a minute, yet it took us thirty to forty minutes to find her final resting place in a yucca patch.

IMG_0735Ken skillfully field dressed the deer, and I now have fresh venison in my freezer. Yet as I reflect on the hunt and specifically the tracking of this beautiful animal, my lack of skill was in sharp contrast to Ken’s experience and knowledge. In searching for the direction of the deer’s path, Ken knew what he was doing, and I was ignorantly lost. Without his guidance, I would have never found the animal. Through this experience, I was reminded about the way God leads us … or tries to lead us!

If you want direction from God you must understand it is a process. Just as I needed Ken’s expertise in tracking the wounded doe, we all need God’s guidance to receive spiritual direction! In my lack of knowledge, I walked in circles trying to find the deer until I started listening to Ken.

Ken, like the Spirit of God, was patient to show me what to look for and then to mark it with a “duck” so we could establish the last point of truth. Each time a new spot of blood was located we looked for more in the same direction, but if the trail ran “cold” then we marked that spot to regain our confidence until we found the next bit of evidence. This was an accurate albeit a tedious and detailed process. In the end, it proved the desired results. Slowly with Ken’s guidance I became a tracker helping to find the way instead of someone circling about with good intentions wasting time lost in my own ideas.

God wants us to be a good “tracker” of His Spirit, learning to follow His thoughts and ways. If we want the best direction for our lives we need God’s direction for us. 

In Galatians 5:25 Paul wrote, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” We who are believers in the Living Christ need to understand the discerning of His direction and stay in step with His Spirit. We need to learn to listen to our Guide and to mark the last sure word God has given us. Then, when we have our “ducks in a row” we will be able to move with Him and in the power of His Spirit.

Are you lost walking in circles? Are you seeking God for direction? If you are willing to follow His guidance He will lead you to the Word of Truth and reveal His path for you. You must learn how to mark the truth with a spiritual “duck”. For you, just as the “duck” had three stones piled up, there are three parts to marking God’s trail.

First we must receive God’s word as a WORD from God! If you want the Word to lead and guide you, you must receive it as personally from Him. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 makes it clear that when we receive the Bible as God speaking to us personally, He is able to work His will into our lives.  It reads, “And we also thank God continually (for you) because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is at work in you who believe.”  Too many people read the Bible like any other book. The Bible is God’s book and is alive and active in us when we trust the God who wrote it.

Second, Psalm 199:11 tells us that we must “hide it (God’s word) in our hearts”. Memorizing God’s word is not an option if you want to know His will. If Ken had not insisted on marking the trail we might still be seeking a downed deer. But by now it would be lost to me as a consumable food. How often do we lose the nourishing Bread of Life because we do not “hide it in our hearts”? Only as we memorize and reflect on His thoughts repeatedly do we begin to comprehend what God is saying to the deep places of our hearts.

Third, we need to act by waiting. No, that is not double-speak. Isaiah 40:31 tells us to “wait on the Lord”. When we feel our way is hidden, then we need to wait on God’s grace to give us direction before we act.

“Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the LORD, and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for 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.”

If we trust our Guide by receiving His Word and marking it with a spiritual “duck” meditating it into our minds and hearts, God’s direction for our lives will flow in and through us.

KenIMG_0739

Me

IMG_0740