Seven Questions Before You Take Your Next Step

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I’ll never forget the funny experience from a few years back.  I was in Nova Scotia to speak at a Ladies’ Retreat – at a special place in my heart with dear ladies I’ve grown to love  (Hello to my Canadian friends!).  It was early spring, and when I left Tennessee it was nice enough to wear white jeans for the journey.  I knew it would still be winter in Canada, so I packed appropriate clothing for my time there, however, my luggage didn’t arrive when I did!

The first difficulty I had to deal with was the “Muck” – the deep, wells of mud that needed to be traversed in order to go from my lodging to any other building on the campsite.  Remember, I was wearing WHITE JEANS.  One of the sweet ladies there loaned me a pair of red galoshes.  So, I tucked my pants into a pair of high socks, slipped my feet into that way-too-big pair of galoshes and headed out the door of my cabin in order to make my way over to the main building where the retreat would take place.  I’ve probably never taken such cautious steps as I did that day, attempting to keep my white pants white, and my feet under me, rather than over my head!

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It was slippery.

It was wet.

It was hilarious!

But I carefully and slowly planted each step into the tracks made by others before me, and somehow I managed to make it to my destination unspotted from the brownish/blackish slime!

That picture of careful footing is truly the attitude and heart I need to have every day, and especially when making decisions.  Ephesians 5:15 tells us to Walk circumspectly (wisely). Proverbs 4:26 reminds us to Ponder the path of our feet.  If you’re at a crossroads and seeking God’s will for choices, here are seven questions that are certainly not exhaustive, but a place where you might start searching to walk wisely, giving careful attention to where you’re putting your foot.

  1. Will this step be one of obedience or disobedience?
  2. Will this step help or hinder my testimony as a child of God?
  3. Will this step help or hinder others from knowing my God?
  4. Will this step push me closer to the Lord or farther away?
  5. Would I invite Jesus to join me in this step, or would I be ashamed?
  6. Could I ask a godly person to pray with me about this step?
  7. Would I turn away from this if it was revealed to me as a wrong choice?

We all want to make it to our destination unspotted from the muck of ungodly choices, and the best part is that the Lord has gone before us to guide our feet.  Don’t stress over the difficulty of the journey; God is there and will keep your steps on the right path as you place one foot in front of the other in obedience to His revealed will.  As a matter of fact, the best part is that this drawing close to God is truly part of the journey.

Are you carefully making wise, godly choices TODAY?

P.S. Don’t wear white jeans in Canada until June!  Lesson learned! Ha!

Walk wisely,

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Finding the Will of God

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High school students taking geometry class have no concerns as to whether or not they’ll come up with the right answers for these math problems.  Oh, they’re no good at formulas, theorems, and postulates, because they either skipped class or perusing Facebook during class, but it’s no big deal!  Why?  They have every confidence that to get the answers all they have to do is ask Google!!

That sad scenario was passed on to me from a long-time geometry teacher recently.  He said that his students don’t study or put time into learning the in’s and out’s of geometry when they feel sure that Google can give them the answers for homework or tests.  He reminded them that they are sadly mistaken.  In order to do well in his class, they need to spend some time alone with their book, their notes, assignment their homework.

Before we get too hard on those failing freshmen, perhaps we need to check and see how we go about getting our answers.  Oh, we might not need formulas for geometric shapes, but how do we go about getting directives from God?  When we need to know His will, aren’t we often eager to just find the quickest way to hear it?

I think of Elijah when he was on the mountain.  Do you remember the story?  He had been running from Jezebel – the wicked queen who was hunting his life.  God told him to go stand out on the mountain.

And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:

12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

Elijah thought he would see God in Big ways – a wind, an earthquake, a fire, but no.  God didn’t speak to him in BIG ways – he spoke in a still, small voice.

What truth does this show us?  We might want to know God’s will so much, and we think (or even say!),

If God would just show me what to do, I’d do it!  Can’t He just tell me what I’m supposed to do?

But God doesn’t write it in the sky.  He doesn’t thunder His voice to us while we’re sleeping.  So, how does God reveal His will to us? 

It comes when we do what Elijah did.

  • Get alone with God.  We must take the time regularly to set ourselves apart with the Lord so that we might be still.
  • Don’t do all the talking.  We need to open His Word and read.  What to read?  Start with the psalms and pray them back to God.  Praise Him.  Love Him.  Sing to Him.  Ask Him what/where you should read next.  Be still and listen for the Spirit of God to direct your thoughts.  Read after asking God to illumine the Word to your heart.
  • Pray about what you don’t understand. One day when I was studying the life of Elijah, I got to the part of the story that we’re talking about today.  I didn’t understand it.  So, I prayed and asked   “Lord, what does this mean?  Why did you tell Elijah to go out on the mountain?  What about the wind, earthquake and fire?”  Then I sat still and listened.  I continued to read the passage silently.  It was then that God showed me…
    In order to hear my voice, you must seek me in the Quiet Place – not in grand miracles or loud demonstrations of my power.  Listen for my voice, still and soft. 

Maybe that passage has always been easy for you, but when God showed me that Truth, I wept and rejoiced over its understanding.  How simple.  How profound.  There are no 1,2,3 steps to get an answer from God.  God loves us enough that in order to show us His will, He wants to have a relationship.  We draw near.  We read His Word and come to know Him.  We listen.  Then we learn.  We get up from our Quiet place after who knows how many hours, or days, not just knowing His will, but also being so close to Him that we’re not afraid to go do it!

Elijah got his marching orders from God that day.  So will you and I, when we do what that geometry student needs to do – take time to draw near and listen to the Teacher.

If you’re seeking God’s will, don’t go ask people.  Don’t look for a quick way to find the answer.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.

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Throwback Memories of My Weekend in the UP

Yikes!  I haven’t stopped to share about my weekend in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan almost two weeks ago!  Let’s fix that today!  I’ll share some of the highlights of that great time with some really special ladies!

I went to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan to speak for their “Ladies Day.”  Traveling and speaking is never anything I ever sought out to do.  The Lord has put this privilege before me, and I have loved it so much.  I always learn far more than anyone I speak to!  For that reason alone, I am so thankful to my God!  But I would never/ could never travel if I didn’t have the support, encouragement and prayers of my husband.  He cheers me on every step of the way.  The picture below was on our way to the airport when we stopped to have lunch before he dropped me off.  What a man I am blessed with!

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It’s all about the People!
My friend, Kellie traveled with me and she was such a blessing.  It’s lots more fun navigating a trip with a friend at your side!

Th next picture of the pretty blonde is the sweet young woman who invited me to her church.  Lisa was a member here at our church until she got married and her husband moved them waaaaay up north!  It was a joy beyond compare to be with her for the weekend, to see her church, her home and her heart for God!

I met lots of precious women.  I won’t post them all here, but they were welcoming, open to God’s Word, and very friendly to this Tennessean!

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The decor
The ladies used the white birch around them to help decorate the platform for their theme “Deeply Rooted.”  They had verses about being rooted in God’s Word all over – on the bulletin boards, in frames – everywhere.  They did a wonderful job carrying the theme throughout the whole church!

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The Fellowship
Part of the blessing of a weekend like this was fellowship with other ladies.  Aside from our main sessions and workshops, we had times of sharing a meal, a dessert, and a game.  That’s when you really get to know others!  We had lots of fun together!  We played a game using our purses.  You know, it’s amazing what some people carry in theirs (that would be me!)

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The SNOW!!!
There was plenty of snow all weekend!  They had a few flurries while I was there, but the piles have been there since December.  As we say in the south – Bless their hearts!  It sure was beautiful – but then I got to leave it after a weekend and come home to green grass!

There’s nothing better than serving God!  Look where He takes me!  Look who allows me to meet!  Look at what He teaches me in His Word!  I never would have dreamed that I’d be so blessed, but isn’t that just like our God?  He surprises us over and over and over!

FBC ladies, thank you for having me.  Thank you for being such a blessing to me.  I am the richer for it!

Lovingly,

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What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

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While visiting my parents in Kentucky over Thanksgiving, we took a drive to some old home sites and places I grew up.  One drive took us to a small town where I had originally thought I’d go to college.  My husband pulled the car into the entrance gate and my mind played back the scene as I looked through the car windows and recalled the last time I was there…

My plans were made, and in my heart, my future was set.  As a senior in high school, I thought I was sure what God wanted for me.  I would attend a local college, literally up the road.

I would live at home.

I would become a nurse and serve the Lord with that ministry.

It was settled.

Then one Friday night I drove through the entrance of the college pictured above for a weekend visit of the campus. This was a time for perspective students to visit and get an idea of what college life was like on this campus.  It was labeled as a Christian school.  I was excited about that, because Christ is my Savior, and I desired to live my life and be in places that honored Him.  I had visited a large Christian university in another state earlier that year, just for a fun weekend, and was so impressed with the spiritual temperature of the campus and in the lives of the students.

However, what I had anticipated seeing and hearing on this weekend was not at all what I saw or heard.  Though this was supposed to be a Christian school, that was definitely not the testimony I witnessed.  I was heartbroken.  At the end of my visit, I got in my car, pulled away from the school, and cried the 15 minute ride home.

I couldn’t have been more sure that God was saying a firm, “No” to all my plans.

At the time I remember how devastated I was.  I wasn’t sure what I would do now.  I had literally had the rug pulled out from under my feet.

I cried and I prayed.

I also talked with my parents, whom I knew were much wiser, and would give me godly counsel.  I suggested the Christian college that I had visited earlier in the year, but they had valid concerns and they lovingly said, “No.”

When you’re an 18 girl who is a child of God, and you live at home, have no job, or no idea about where to get an education, you quickly enroll in the school of prayer.  As I submitted to my parents counsel, and prayed for God’s direction, He provided me with a job at the Coca Cola Bottling Company, working in the accounting department.  That was totally of the Lord, seeing I had NO experience in this field, and didn’t even do super well in my math classes!

I went to work there, and enjoyed my life as a young single adult, all the while praying that if God would allow, He would open the door for me to attend the Christian college eight hours from my home.  In the middle of the year, my mom asked if I was still desiring to attend school there.  I answered that I was.  She gave me their blessing!  I finished out the summer working at Coca Cola and prepared to leave in the fall.

That move to the large Christian university in September changed the direction of my life forever and in wonderful ways.

God’s timing was perfect.

His provision was complete.

His grace was sufficient.

His plan was perfect because He is God.

I learned some really important lessons during those months of waiting and wondering that have served me well as an adult.  In my mind’s eye, when I visit that driveway of the other school, I don’t just remember God shutting that door, I remember the lessons I learned about trusting Him, the sweetness of prayer, and of Him opening the next door – in His time and in His perfect way.

What are you waiting for today?  God’s will to be revealed?  A test result?  A mate?  A provision?  An answer?  Don’t give up and do your own thing.  You can trust God with every detail that He will arrange in His sovereign ways.  Wait and trust.  You’ll be glad you did.

So thankful,

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