A Life Road Map


productivity-treasure-map

Genesis 12:1

Now the LORD said to Abram, “Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you.”

Deuteronomy 31: 8

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

 

God opened up a new opportunity for my family. It was a call to move to a new place, to leave everything that was familiar. Now we’re here. In an unfamiliar city. We’re in a rental house. My children aren’t happy, and I haven’t found my purpose either. I have too much time on my hands. So what do we do now that we’re here?

For the Christian, the predictable answer is to turn to the Lord, but that’s easy to say and hard to do. During my quiet time I have found my mind wandering. I think about not having a job yet, that my children are unhappy, and I am lonely. I think about my friends back home, and the things I would be doing if I was still there. I turn to Facebook. I think about everything but God.

It occurred to me that God just wants me for Himself for a little while. I need to spend more time just loving Him. I need to let Him feed and strengthen me in preparation for what He has planned next. That “next” may be tomorrow, or next month, or next year. Now is the time to prepare. To do that I need to separate myself from the distractions of this world and focus on God. But how?

I’ve been reading a series of books by James Bryan Smith. I finished reading The Good and Beautiful God (I highly recommend this book.) I’ve just started the second book in his series, The Good and Beautiful Life. In an early chapter, Smith suggests an exercise – to write a letter to God about what you want your life to look like. This takes some thought – it’s an exercise that requires you to think about God, and His plans for you, not just your own desires. Psalm 37:4 tells us, “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you your heart’s desires.” So what are those heart’s desires?” I trust God will let me know.

As Smith suggested, I wanted to write a letter to God about what I want my life to look like, but it was an overwhelming thought. I avoided the exercise for several days. Finally, I realized I had to break it up into more manageable pieces. So I thought about all the aspects of my life and wrote to God about what I want in these areas: Spiritual, Family, Marriage, Friendships, Financial, Health, Work, Hobbies, and Relaxation. It was easier to focus on just one aspect of who I am, then move on to the next. As I finished my letter, a familiar verse came to mind.

Jeremiah 29:11

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

I trust that God does have a bright future in store for me, but I’m impatient. I want to know what it is. Now. Jeremiah 29:11 is a frequently quoted verse, but do we really think about it fully? The verses that follow verse 11 are perhaps more important to understanding verse the verse itself.

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and places where I banished you”—this is the Lord’s declaration.  (Emphasis mine).

So that’s the key. It’s time to search for God with my whole heart, and no preconceived ideas. It was time to rewrite my letter to God, this time praying for the Holy Spirit to guide my prayer. The end result is a more than a letter; it is a road map for my life, blessed by God. As you look at the life before you, consider talking to God about how he created you and what he created you for. You may find God has actually given you a treasure map. After all, He only wants the best for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 32:8

 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Blessings on your day.

Image: google images

Scripture:  www. openbible.info

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Last Times


last time quote

This year has been full of “the Last Times” for my family. A lot of it is that we’ve moved across country and likely won’t go see certain friends again or go back to our favorite restaurant. My kids won’t go back to their schools, or play with close friends. There’s the last time I was with my Bible Study sisters before we moved, and last time I was with the friends I made at my job. Driving to our new home Florida I realized there had been many more “last times” but at the time I didn’t know that it would be the last time for that particular activity.

How long ago was it that my kids snuggled in bed with us on Saturday morning? Or when I was helping my daughter learn to ride her bike? What about the times my son was learning to cook and he needed my help in the kitchen? Or when we taught him to drive? There was the last Christmas my kids believed in Santa and the last time they went on an Easter Egg Hunt. There was the last time I saw my grandparents before they died. I’m no longer on active duty. I’m no longer a kid, or a young mother just trying to make it through the day. I look at my husband and wonder – “when did we get so gray?”

Life isn’t just about waiting for special events like birthdays, reunions, and holidays. We get so rushed trying to live our lives and move on to the next thing that we forget to savor the moments that are life. I pray for help to be more aware of what’s going on right now, and savor the special moments God has given to me. It may be the last time for that particular event.

Take some time to savor life today, because today will never come again.

Ecclesiastes 3

The Mystery of Time

There is an occasion for everything,
and a time for every activity under heaven:
a time to give birth and a time to die;
a time to plant and a time to uproot;[a]
a time to kill and a time to heal;
a time to tear down and a time to build;
a time to weep and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn and a time to dance;
a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
a time to embrace and a time to avoid embracing;
a time to search and a time to count as lost;
a time to keep and a time to throw away;
a time to tear and a time to sew;
a time to be silent and a time to speak;
a time to love and a time to hate;
a time for war and a time for peace.

Change


 change

“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change” – Heraclitus

Ecclesiastes 3:1

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

A big change happened in my life this past week. I had been praying for months for a resolution to a certain situation. Suddenly that problem was resolved. There was no hint the change was coming, it just happened. Now I am faced with new circumstances and new challenges. The question before me is how to approach those new circumstances and challenges in a way that honors God.

The answer is quite simple, it’s just humans have a tendency to overcomplicate things. We need to remember that everything God does for us is motivated by His great love for us. Knowing this, it’s critical to seek God’s direction when faced with great change. We may be tempted to face new circumstances the same way we faced old challenges, but new circumstances require an in-depth conversation with God, asking Him what we are to do in this new situation.

For me, taking a long walk with God will provide some guidance. I also need to delve into the Scriptures, asking our Lord for direction in this new season of life. Remember, the approach we have taken to old circumstances may not be the way to handle new things. We are creatures of habit and like that which is familiar, but God may be calling us out of our comfort zone. Be open to the new, and experience something new.

While change may be constant, it’s important to remember our God doesn’t change (Hebrews 13:8). His every action is based on His great love for us. Therefore, we can face every change knowing it is from God.

Blessings on your day.

Scripture: www.openbible.info

Image: google images

A BREAK FROM TECHNOLOGY


technology

 

I’ve been absent from blogging for over a week due to traveling for the holidays. I will probably spend the next week getting caught up on everyone’s posts. I have missed my normal routines, and missed blogging, but it was so good to see family and enjoy the real meaning of Christmas.

Now that I have access to a computer and the internet again, it occurs to me how nearly every facet of our lives is touched by technology in some way. We had to work hard to avoid technology during Christmas.

That doesn’t mean I think technology is bad. I love technology. I don’t think I would have the patience to write if it weren’t for word processing. Phones, computers and other advances in technology have improved our lives in remarkable ways. I would not want to lose those advances.

But a break from technology can be such a blessing. There was a certain peacefulness to not checking email, and it was fun to spend time reminiscing and playing old-fashioned games (the kind without batteries). Simply enjoying the sunset and beauty of God’s creation with my parents was a wonderful experience.

Every now and then turning technology off can bring you peace and stillness. We all need that in this busy world.

Psalm 46:10a “Be Still and know that I am God.”

 

May you enjoy a peaceful day.

A Fork in the Road


When I was stationed in Japan, I drove the way the locals did – on the other side of the road. It was awkward at first, but within a few months, it seemed like second nature. When I came back to the states, I accidentally reverted to my Japanese driving habits and drove down the wrong side of the road here. Fortunately, I still had my Japanese driver’s license and the Officer was former military – he let me off with just a warning. Habits can be changed; we just have to notice the habit, and want to make the change.

Have you ever felt like you were headed in the wrong direction spiritually? How did you get back on the path to serving Jesus? Was there an event that occurred? In Acts 9:1-18, we read the story of Saul’s conversion. In verse 18, we can see the physical change:

Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again.

He got up and was baptized, Acts 9:18

Change is usually a long term process, but sometimes it can happen much quicker. I arrived at boot camp with 79 other scared teenagers who, at 3:30 a.m. decided enlisting was not such a great idea. Eight weeks later this rag-tag bunch of self-centered drama queens emerged from an intense training cocoon as poised, respectful and team-oriented sailors ready to face the challenges of a grown-up world. The process was intense and fast.

Is there something you need to change? Read Acts 9:19-30; paying particular attention to verse 27. How “real” is your conversion and faith in Christ? Can others see it and believe it? How do you know?

Perhaps it’s time to take a different path.

(An excerpt from Follow the Light)

Walk in His Light,

Julie