Direction

Are you in the wilderness right now? Prepare for the coming of the Lord; for God’s deliverance. God hasn’t abandoned you. Louie Giglio writes: ‘All of us are waiting on something, often wondering if God has forgotten us. Just because God hasn’t come through (as far as you can see), it doesn’t mean He has abandoned you. To Him a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. This very minute God’s working for His glory and for your good. Remember the Scripture from Romans 8:28: ‘In all things God works for the good of those who love him.’ Though circumstances may say otherwise, God is going to come through, on schedule, fulfilling His long-appointed plans for you. Don’t give up before the time is right.’

Louie Giglio (Source: Waiting Here For You devotional of YouVersion)

Mark Batterson writes: ‘I remember before I gave my life over to Christ, feeling lost and lacking direction and purpose. My life reminded me of that joke about an airline pilot who came over the intercom and said, “I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is we’re completely lost; the good news is we’re making great time!” That’s what my life felt like, but it wasn’t a joke. I was lost and life, or the meaning of life, was eluding me and passing me by.’

The truth is, as Christians we still often feel like that, lost and seeking direction, but the difference now is that we know what our purpose is, and we know where we are heading; where our destination is. One thing I’ve discovered in the Christian life is that God is never in a hurry, but He is always on time. As long as we’re heading in the right direction God wants us to enjoy the journey… walking with Him, daily. You remember Jesus said that we should pray daily asking our Father, to give us this day our daily bread… to supply our needs for today. Why did He say we should ask daily? For the same reason the Israelites were only allowed to collect enough manna for one day at a time when they journeyed in the desert. So we’d learn to depend upon Him daily as pilgrims as we journey through life. Learn to enjoy the journey. Don’t simply mope around waiting for the Promised Land!’

Mark Batterson, The Circle Maker, 2011, Michigan: Zondervan, p.29

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Sometimes we don’t understand why God allows things to happen to us. But even when your life seems like a jumbled up mess, you can trust the same God who created order out of chaos will make your life make sense. The promise in Romans 8:28 stands: ‘In all things God works for the good of those who love him.’

Source: Mark Batterson, IF, 2015, Grand Rapids: Michigan, Baker Books, p.200

Did you hear about the old lady who earned a living by peddling her wares? Each day when she came to a certain crossroads she would toss a stick up into the air. Whichever way the stick pointed when it landed was the way she went. One day a man saw her tossing the stick into the air: once, twice, then three times. He asked, ‘What are you doing?’ She said, ‘I’m letting God show me which way to go by using this stick.’ Looking at her curiously, he said, ‘But why did you throw it up three times?’ She replied, ‘Because the first two times He was pointing me in the wrong direction!’ Hello! When you don’t like the direction God gives you, do you pray, hoping He will change His mind and tell you what you want to hear?

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 26/9/2011

Many years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jn., was on board a train, deep in thought as he studied a legal matter which was shortly due to be heard in court. After a short while the ticket inspector approached and asked the judge for his ticket. Holmes, who was widely known as being somewhat forgetful, searched his belongings inside and out but failed to come up with the ticket or the adequate means of purchasing one. The inspector then recognised his famous passenger and to save any further embarrassment, suggested that the absent-minded judge hand in his ticket or the correct fare on his return journey. Holmes, still perplexed, replied, “Thank you inspector but the real issue here, and my cause for embarrassment, is not so much a question of the fare but rather, where am I going?”

That’s a question a lot of people ask. Where am I going? What should I be doing?

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential, Louisiana USA, Pelican Publishing, p.27

In 1864 Lewis Carroll wrote the classic book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In the more recent Disney film (based on the book), the following dialogue takes place between Alice and the Cheshire cat.

Alice: “I just wanted to ask you which way I ought to go?”

Cheshire Cat: “Well, that depends on where you want to get to?”

Alice: “Oh, it really doesn’t matter as long as …”

Cheshire Cat: “Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go!”

A great many people are lost and ask themselves that same question, “Which way should I go?” Where am I going? What do I really want out of life? What should I be doing?

Just like your car’s headlights don’t shine round the next corner, God will give you instructions on a ‘need-to-know basis’. And it’s the only way to live! It keeps you dependent on him, helps you to remember who’s in charge and who deserves credit for your successes. And by the way, God’s leadings take a lifetime to learn, so don’t get discouraged.

Bob Gass

Source: The UCB Word For Today, 26/12/2017

A group of young children were sitting together at the cinema when one decided to go off and get some popcorn. When he came back into the theatre he couldn’t find his group. Anxiously he walked up and down the aisles growing more and more concerned and confused with each step. Finally, he went down to the front, climbed up on the platform and then stood in front of the screen and shouted, “Please, does anyone know who I am, and where I should be? – That’s a question many people continually ask: Who am I, where should I be, where am I going?

Source adapted from Cure for the Common Life by Max Lucado, p.35

“The apostle, Peter, wrote: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administrating God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Peter 4:10). There are some things that we are good at, or that we could be good at if we just changed our attitude and tried. We were designed with a purpose in mind. God has a plan for each and every one of us. I can’t tell you specifically what God’s plan is for your life, but whatever it is – if you choose to accept it – it will entail using whatever gifts God has given you to serve others and bring glory to Him, and hard though the work may be, you’ll find purpose, fulfilment and enjoyment in it.”

R. I. Seymour.

Bernard Levin (not a Christian) was a distinguished columnist with The Times Newspaper. He confessed to confusion regarding the meaning of life; he wrote: “To put it bluntly, have I time to discover why I was born before I die? I have not managed to answer that question yet, and however many years I have before me they are certainly not as many as there are behind. There is an obvious danger in leaving it too late… Why do I have to know why I was born? Because, of course, I am unable to believe it was an accident, and if it wasn’t one, it must have a meaning.

Source: After Alpha, by Michael Green, p.36

“God’s sovereignty means He decides what happens and when. God doesn’t work to our timetable. We must learn to wait patiently for Him. (Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him. – Psalm 37:7) God is worth the wait because when God shows up He shakes things up. Let God do things in His timing, and His plan will unveil itself. In the meantime, rest in His presence, wait patiently and keep praying.”

Tony Evans

Tony Evans, 1995, Time To Get Serious, Illinois: Crossway Books, p.183, 185

Do you remember the old movie, “Back to the Future,” directed by Steven Spielberg? The ‘back to the future’ idea is a great starting point for discovering your purpose and discerning the direction in which you should now travel. Go back in time, to when you were a child and you will uncover clues that will point you in the right direction for the future.

  • As a child, what were your favourite subjects at school? What did you love to do, where did you achieve the best results and the most recognition?
  • What were your hobbies, interests and past-times as a child? What are they now? What do you really enjoy doing? What is it that gives you a buzz? What is it that you’re good at and that enjoy doing so much that you’d gladly do it for free, if you had to do?
  • How could this ‘talent’ or skill be of service or value or use to others? How could you supply a need or create a desire for what it is you are good at?
  • Now ask yourself this question: What would you do with your life, if you had an absolute copper-bottom guarantee that you couldn’t fail? If there were no restrictions whatsoever and there were no obstacles such as money or time, if you absolutely knew that you couldn’t fail, what would you attempt to do? When you have answered this question, figure out exactly what you would have to do and what obstacles you would have to overcome in order to achieve this goal. Now you have direction; a purpose, a mission.

R. Ian Seymour

R. Ian Seymour, excerpt from Discover Your True Potential, Louisiana USA, Pelican Publishing, p.27-28

“We are not always able to see with clarity God’s hand in the circumstances of our lives, and we live with a lot of uncertainty. Finite creatures cannot always understand what our infinite God is doing. (…) God’s providence is best read backwards!”

Phil Allcock

Explore Bible notes, 31/7/2019

We’re like little kids that make their parents crazy by asking one question over and over again: Are we there yet? I honestly think that question reveals something genetically wired into the human psyche. It comes as standard. And while we may stop pestering our parents, we never outgrow our desire to know exactly where we’re headed and exactly when we’ll get there. We want a complete itinerary with everything mapped out. What I’m trying to saying in a nice way is this: We’re control freaks. But faith involves a loss of control. Following Christ is letting Jesus take the wheel.

Mark Batterson

Mark Batterson, 2006, In A Pit With A Lion On A Snowy Day, Colorado: Multnomah Books, p.87

Fulfilment in life can be summarised with a simple slogan, ‘Bloom where you are planted.’

Author and pastor, Andy Stanley has a very helpful saying that goes like this:

WHEN UNSURE OF WHAT TO SAY OR DO,

ASK WHAT LOVE REQUIRES OF YOU.

Andy Stanley, Irresistible (day 4 of 6), reading plan on YouVersion

Steve Jobs, the genius behind Apple, reflected that “you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards.” He had dropped out of college but kept returning to attend the classes he found interesting. The one that particularly made an impression was the class on calligraphy. He said, “I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.”

None of this had any practical implication to his life at that time. However, ten years later, when he was designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to him. And he designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If he had never dropped in that one single college course, the Mac would not have had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. He said, “Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.” And so it is with our lives.

Ken Costa

Ken Costa, Know Your Why, 2016, Nashville Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishing, p.98

The ultimate question is not who you are but whose you are!

Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Hide not your talents; they for use were made: What’s the use of a sundial hidden in the shade!” – Our talents are our potential, they’re God’s gift to us, and what we do with our talents is our gift back to God.

Where these four things intersect – experience, opportunity, passion and ability – that’s when your purpose starts.

‘Your destiny is something that unfolds. The word of God says: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart’ (Jeremiah 1v5). This phrase should fill you with a sense of destiny. It’s your spiritual birth right. God has ordained your days. Psalm 139v16: ‘All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.’ God has ordered your footsteps. Psalm 37v23 (NLT): ‘The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.’ [Relax, rejoice; your steps are being arranged by the Lord…whether you are aware of it or not. He hasn’t forgotten about you; He hasn’t taken his eyes off you, not even for a single second.] God has a plan to prosper you; to give you hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He has prepared good works in advance for you to do (Ephesians 2:10). And he did all of this before you were even conceived.’

Quote from Mark Batterson, Chase The Lion, (day 7 of a 7 day devotional on YouVersion Bible app.)

‘Hope For The Flowers’ by Trina Paulus, is a book about an ambitious caterpillar called Stripe, who decides to climb a mountainous pillar of caterpillars, all of whom are clambering over each other trying to get the top. Stripe hurls himself into the pile and as he begins his arduous ascent he asks a fellow climber ‘What is at the top anyway?’ In response he is told that no one really knows but it must be wonderful because everyone is trying to get up there.

Stripe sets to discover the truth for himself but he finds the climb a tremendous struggle as he is pushed and shoved and walked on and over from every direction. In his determined effort to succeed he steps on others and uses them to gain height and leverage. ‘It’s every one for himself,’ Stripe says, ‘and you’ve just got to make up your mind and just do it.’

Eventually, Stripe nears the top of the pile and he can see the way ahead more clearly, but what he sees dismays him. He can see there’s a tremendous pressure from the ones at the top of the pillar to hang on and this causes the pillar to shake violently, sending many of the climbers crashing to the death below. The mystery of the mountain is suddenly revealed to Stripe as he hears an incredulous voice from the one at the summit say, ‘There is nothing here at all!’ Another following closely behind answers, ‘Quiet! Everyone will hear you. We are where they want to be. That’s what’s here!’

Stripe suddenly realises that he is so high up and yet, he is not high up at all! Things only looked wonderful from the bottom, and at the top he realises that he has wasted his life climbing the wrong mountain.