Today’s Worship Walk – Wednesday

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Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”

Colossians 3:15

It may sound strange, but I have found that there is a strong connection between being thankful and having more peace in my life. I’ve discovered that lifting up praises to God on a regular basis calms my spirit in two very special ways:

1. It reminds me that God has done so many amazing things for me already. I can see His love for me and concern for every part of my life.

2. It reminds me that God has been faithful to keep His promises to me. I am reassured by His presence and the knowledge that He is always near.

 

Today’s Worship Walk – Wednesday

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“Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you.”

Psalm 9:10

 

Before I became a follower of Christ, I leaned on my own strength and understanding to get what I needed.  I trusted in myself to control situations and make things go the way I wanted. To be fair, I didn’t know any better then. But the more time I’ve spent with God, the more I’ve seen of His goodness. Over and over again, He has been faithful to me. Sometimes He answers a prayer directly – other times He has worked in a way I didn’t expect. But looking to God always ends up bringing me a sense of peace I never had when I relied on myself.

Friday’s Worship Walk

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He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

Acts 1:7

Question To Ponder: Are you someone who likes to plan things out? If so, it may be hard for you to wait for God to reveal his timing in things that matter to us. If we can trust that our all-knowing Heavenly Father has everything in hand, it can help us be more patient and peaceful even when we don’t know His timetable.

Friday’s Worship Walk

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The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.”

Psalms 18:2

Question To Ponder: Is it natural for you to lean on and trust in God, or do you find it to be challenging?

Exercise: Take a few moments to think about your answer. On a piece of paper, jot down any areas of your life that you are still trying to take care of on your own, and why.

Handling Change Better

He“My God Is my rock, in whom I take refuge…”         Psalm 18:2

We did a pretty big gardening project at my house this summer. Our goal was to clear out our front lawn and add some color. What stood in our way were six very large yewel bushes that ran across the front of our house and porch. They’d been there for at least 2 decades, firmly rooted and in no hurry to leave.

My husband consulted YouTube for a how-to video, then he and my daughter set to work. They clipped and sawed and shovelled and yanked, and within about a week the six ‘Goliaths’ were cut down. Now, you won’t be surprised to hear that I barely touched dirt during this phase. But I was an impressive supervisor!

Next, we planted new and “used” things we already had in the beds, including three holly bushes from our shady backyard. Two of the bushes transferred pretty well. But one of them wilted pretty quickly. It’s leaves started turning brown, and frankly it looked unhappy, if that’s possible for plants.

While we were at a local nursery eying hydrangeas, we asked about the holly bush. Their advice was to feed it some special food and give it some extra shade. “It might just be a little overwhelmed by the change,” one of the pros said.

Overwhelmed  by the change. Boy, that phrase resonated with me. Many times I’ve reacted to changes like that holly bush did – getting wilted and unhappy. And I’m not just talking about the big life-altering kind of change, either.

Well, I’ve discovered over the years that life is full of unexpected changes! And I finally realized that life would be a lot easier to navigate and a lot more enjoyable if I were to learn how to handle them better when they come. I can at least say I’m better than I used to be. But any improvement is God’s doing, not my own. He’s used His Word as well as His Spirit to teach me some important truths along the way:

God doesn’t change.

Nature reflects this. As a day goes by, the sun shifts, and the light changes. But God’s light stays on all the time! I need to look to Him to see where I’m going.

God knows everything about my life.

Nothing about me or my world surprises God – that’s a comforting thought. And turning to Him gives me strong support to face whatever’s coming next.

God is always up to something good.

He’s active all the time on our behalf. Deciding to trust Him leads me to calm down and have a more positive,”  attitude.

When I keep these mind, I end up less like that poor holly bush when changes come. And I end up growing closer to the One who helps me navigate through them.


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For more devotionals, check out my book, “Bow Down: The Heart of a True Worshipper,” and my ebook, “Worshipping Like David,” available now on Amazon.com!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How God Helps Us Navigate Life

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”.          Isaiah 30:21

My husband and I headed up to the Cape for a couple of days in July, and we made sure to invite SIRI to come along with us. Her calm, collected voice is a vital part of our travel now. Because before GPS, back when we had to write out directions by hand, my husband and I had a really bad habit of getting lost at the end of a trip.

That’s a bad feeling!

Now, there’s definitely no good time to get lost. But in a way, it’s almost worse when it happens at the end of a trip. By then we’re getting tired of being in the car, and we’re feeling restless, getting a little irritable with each other…and each of us hangs on by thinking hopefully, “at least we’ll be there soon.”

And then it happens…we miss an exit, or turn the wrong way…and we suddenly realize we have no idea where we are, and the rest of our directions don’t make sense. How many times have I sat in the Navigator’s seat, just staring at my written instructions, clueless about what to do next while a cold wave of dread washed over me…

Well, GPS has rescued us from all that. The lovely and ever-patient SIRI guides us through all the twists and turns of our trips. And we can relax, knowing that she has everything in hand. 

After we got back from this latest trek, a thought hit me: How great would it be if I could trust God’s navigation in my everyday life like I do our GPS while we’re on a trip? Cause, honestly, I struggle with that sometimes.

I know in my head and my heart that God is good. He loves me, He has a plan for me. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you,” He promises in Jeremiah. And, He’s always near to guide me, right up to the end of my journey. That’s true for every one of us, by the way.  So why do I have trouble resting in that knowledge?

I think part of the reason is simply that I’m human. And, in a way, I hope that God’s leading will be like the GPS on our phones.

I’ll admit it – I’d prefer to see the whole route laid out for me before I start!

And when we plug a destination into Google Maps, we not only get a map, but all the steps to where we’re going. We get alerts about any unexpected issues ahead of time, and even a detour to get us around the problem. Also, we get a pretty accurate estimate of how long it will take to reach our destination.  

I don’t know about you, but I’ve sometimes wished God would be that clear with me right off the bat. Cause the whole idea of trusting in what I can’t see can be so challenging!

Here’s the thing, though – I can see how God leads me. When I stop and look back over my life journey so far, I can’t help but clearly see His guiding hand. I catch glimpses of all the times He’s kept me on the right track and carried me around or through all sorts of obstacles and issues. I discover that His timing in every situation and season has been perfect.

You know what else I see? God has provided me with a set of navigational tools – His Word, His people, and that still small voice of His. 

So, when I consider all that, it’s okay that God doesn’t lay out my whole life journey like some sort of GPS system. The more I remember how faithful He’s been so far, the easier it will be to trust that He truly does have everything in hand. And His voice is so much sweeter to my ears than SIRI’s.