A Choice to Make and a Path to Take

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Imagine for a moment that you are standing at a crossroads. The path to the left is flat as far as the eye can see, smooth and lined with flowers. The other path is hilly with rocks scattered along the way. Which path are you likely to choose? Before you answer let me add one additional piece of information, God is asking you to go on the hilly, rocky path. Now, which path will you go down?

I love what Lysa TerKeurst says about life in What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, “Life isn’t about being comfortable and taking the easiest route” (pg. 146). This is seen through the life of Joseph in the Old Testament. He was going out to check on his brothers in the field and ended up thrown in a pit, sold into slavery, taken to Egypt and put into prison. Not necessarily that flower-lined path is it? However, during the entire time the Lord was with him. The same is true in our lives. There maybe times when we step out for God, we say yes to Him and things seem to become more difficult instead of easier. However, it is during those times that we can lean on our Savior. He will give us the strength, courage and guidance we need. Like Joseph, we must trust God in the good times and the bad.

Sometimes in the valleys of life we become discouraged and defeated and choose to sit along the sidelines just wishing for the other path. Let’s look at Joseph again to see how he reacted during a low point. When Joseph was put into prison by a false accusation, he could have chose to sit in jail and sulk and ask God why his life wasn’t better. However, Joseph did just the opposite. He chose to allow God to use him and his gifts right where he was. Joseph decided to obey God out of love, not duty. God turned around and used that decision to say yes as Joseph’s ticket out of prison years later. I want the same thing in my own life. I want to be used – in the valley or on the mountaintop – to bring honor and glory to God.

You might think, well that’s all fine and good and if I ever get an opportunity to say Yes to God, I will know what to do. But let me remind you that “we don’t have to seek to create opportunities to say yes to God. God has already gone before us and established them. We simply have to respond” (pg. 149). God has the entire tapestry of your life laid out; you just have to decide whether you will say yes to His pattern and His timing. The majority of our most important opportunities come when we least expect them, just like Joseph. However, if we continue to stay close to God, we will be ready when He calls us to say yes.

It is so hard to believe the What Happens When Women Say Yes to God study is coming to an end. I pray that you do not leave what you have learned locked inside your notes and book to gather dust on the shelf. This is a journey that will not be finished until God calls us home. Therefore, you and I need to continue to apply these principles to our lives as we daily walk in obedience and say Yes to God.

Exchange Baggage for Rest

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Saying yes to God is not something that you do once and simply move on, like an item on a checklist. One yes to God will take you on a journey that will have additional forks in the road where you will have to choose to say yes and follow God’s leading or go your own way.

Many times I have thoughts I knew best. I knew what I should be doing, the goal in mind and exactly the steps I needed to take to get there. However, I didn’t consult God first before setting out. I thought I had it all figured out.

Having traveled this way more times than I care to recall, I can attest to the fact that I was carrying a lot of baggage on my trip. I am not referring to my clothes and cute shoes; no I mean fears, anxiety, doubt and stress. You see, going out on your own we have to carry the load. This generally leads to discouragement, frustration and being overwhelmed.

Through the course of the What Happens When Women Say Yes to God study, I have turned in my excess baggage for peace and rest. This is not to say that my journey is smooth sailing. It just means that I no longer need to let doubts and fears dictate what I will do. By saying yes to God and trusting His leading, I can let go of fears strangling grip and truly find rest in Him.

God has a specific purpose and plan for each one of us. However, we must decide whether we will say yes to His path and leading in our lives.

By giving God command of our lives, we can realize what it feels like to have a heart at rest.

 

What path will you choose? What will you say YES to?

Radical Obedience

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Several people from the Bible come to mind when I think of obedient – Abraham, Noah, David. All these men did what God told them to do. Peter would have to be my New Testament example of radical obedience.

Let me set the scene for you, Peter and some others had been fishing all night without any results. They were bone tired and defeated. This was their livelihood, they were fishermen yet unable to catch anything. Jesus gets into the boat and begins teaching the people on the shore. After he finishes, he tells Peter to take the boat out further and cast the nets again. Peter responds with, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets” (Luke 5:5). Even when it didn’t make any sense, Peter chose to obey. His obedience resulted in so much fish it filled both boats.

Many times like Peter, we do not get all the information or understand the reasoning. However, you and I are supposed to fully surrender and obediently follow after God’s commands.

Peter discovered several things that day that we can apply to our own lives.

  • Obedience may challenge our pride

Peter, as a skilled fisherman, chose to swallow his pride and obey Jesus’ command. There maybe times in our own lives when we are asked to do something that goes against what we thought we knew. You and I cannot let our own positions get us puffed up and we think we are above what God may ask us to do.

  • God will utilize our experiences to equip us for His calling

Peter was a fisherman by trade and then became a fisher of men. God will use everything in our lives to prepare us for what He is calling us to do.

  • Obedience will motivate those around us

Keep in mind that it wasn’t just Peter’s life that was changed that day. James and John were also fishermen that witnessed everything that took place and decided to cast their nets aside and follow after Jesus. Your own obedience can have the same effect. People will see a difference in you and it will inspire them to say yes to what God is calling them to do.

I want to leave you with a quote from Lysa, “Our calling is revealed as we walk in daily obedience to Christ in the little things” (What Happens When Women Say Yes to God, 117).

 

Your Response:

How can you apply these principles to your life this week? What act of obedience is God calling you to? Lay aside your nets and follow after Him.

Peace Like A River

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As we continue to journey through the What Happens When Women Say Yes to God study, God is bringing so many things to light in my life. I would love to be able to sit down with you over coffee and share what each of us is learning, however, since that is not possible, this forum will have to suffice.

The word peace just keeps coming up – in this book, devotions this week and messages I’ve heard. When I continue to hear the same thing through various avenues, I know God wants to speak something into my life.

Peace..Peace..Peace

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the phrase, “peace like a river”. In the past, I viewed this as a still or passive phrase, which doesn’t encapsulate my life at all as a wife, mother of 5, writer, volunteer for Proverbs 31 Online Bible Studies and active within Maryland Community Church. However, I have found that is not what this phrase means at all.

I invite you to envision a river, not a pond or stream, but a mighty river. Is it flowing or perfectly stagnant? Of course a river is not still; there is movement in a certain path. When you and I choose to say yes we can have peace like a river because we know the direction we are headed and no matter what obstacles or rocks that may come in our path, God will help us keep going.

Peace can also come because of Christ’s unconditional love for us. I adore the reminder Lysa TerKeurst gives in this book, “it is not perfect performance that captures His attention. Rather, it is my complete dependence on Him that He notices” (pg. 89). God doesn’t love us for what we do, but who we are. Don’t let the enemy try and trick you into believing you will never be loved or used by God because of your past or even your present. Dear friends, Christ shed His blood on the cross to wash us white as snow.

You are loved, valued and treasured.

Let God’s truths break the chains of doubt and insecurity. Peace is one of the greatest blessings from saying yes to God. So step out and say yes to God this week. You will find peace in his loving arms and direction for your journey.

 

Your Response:

How is this study going? I’d love to hear what you are learning or how you have said yes to God.

 

Who Needs a Plan B?

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After Jesus was baptized and full of the Holy Spirit, He was let into the wilderness and tempted by the devil for forty days (Luke 4). Jesus was tempted three different ways: physical, emotional and psychological. Satan tries to lure us away from God and His plan for us the same way. So what can we learn from Jesus’ experience in the desert? Jesus’ security in the wilderness came from His identity as a child of God, not His human achievements. His earthly ministry didn’t begin until after His time in the desert, so Jesus’ was able to rest in who He was and whose He was, not what He had done. We need to remember that our identity is tied solely in who God says we are, not anything else. While we are stuck in the desert trying to fight against the enemy’s attacks, he is actually winning because we have become so distracted. This distraction leaves each one of us ineffective for the Kingdom. You and I can become so consumed with the situation we are in that we completely lose sight of God’s plan for our lives. When temptation comes knocking at our door, will we be like Jesus, pausing, reciting Truth and remembering what matters most?

If distraction doesn’t work, then the enemy can get you to question God’s purpose and plan for your life or whether there even is such a thing. So we need to trust completely in God’s plan.

In my Bible readings, I am simply amazed by the numerous people that did not think God would follow through with His plan or they didn’t like the plan and took matters into their own hands. In most instances, it doesn’t take long until they are forced to deal with the consequences of their “plan”.

It is so easy to be an armchair quarterback and point out where they fell short and the mistakes they made. However, if you and I were honest with ourselves, haven’t we done the same thing from time to time? We become impatient for an answer or direction and simply choose to plow ahead only to hit a brick wall and come carrying all the pieces back to God to fix.

It is imperative that we trust God with the plan. I encourage you to turn the wheel over to God – giving Him complete control and see what He has planned for you. I love how Lysa TerKeurst puts it in What Happens When Women Say Yes to God; “you never know how God will use you until you let Him” (72). Stop trying to come up with a Plan B, take God at His word and trust Him completely with the plan He has for you.

All About Perspective

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Imagine for a moment that you were to pick up a pebble. Now hold it right in front of your face. It looks so big. Okay, now hold it out in front of you. Not as big, but still noticeable. Finally, toss that pebble to the ground, it appears tiny and insignificant.

Obviously, it all comes down to perspective. When the pebble was up by your face, it was all you could see because it was where your focus was. However, your focus shifted when that same pebble was on the ground. From your elevated perspective you could see the big picture and realize it wasn’t that big after all.

This very same principle can be applied to our lives. For example, you believe God is calling you to step out of your comfort zone and say yes to Him. At this point, you have a choice to make, will you focus on your insecurities and doubts about the task before you or will you focus on God, trusting Him to lead and equip you for what He is asking you to do?

It is a matter of perspective. View this as an opportunity to see God work in and through you.

Dear friend, just like the example of the pebble, God sees the big picture and has a perfect purpose and plan for each of us. Keep your eyes on Him and He will certainly equip you for what He has called you to do.

Step out in boldness, He is right beside you.

Your Turn:

  • How is your perspective? Do you focus on circumstances or your Savior?
  • What is holding you back from following God’s leading in your life?
  • How can I pray for you today?

Just Obey

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I would like to welcome all of you who are participating in Maryland Community Church’s What Happens When Women Say Yes to God study. Whether you are participating in the study at the church, online or just stopping by my blog, I encourage you to read through my Monday and Wednesday posts over the next six weeks as we discover how God will work in and through our lives when we choice to surrender our plans, dreams and desires for what He has in store for us.

As a mother to five incredible children, I find that I am learning so many lessons through them. The most recent example of this was a conversation I had with our youngest son, Quintin (age 6).

Let me set the scene for you. We were all getting ready to leave and Quintin was poking along. I kept trying to encourage him to pick up the pace – getting his shoes on and out to the car. As he reluctantly made his way to grab his shoes by the door, I informed him we were heading to Mamaw’s house and I was certain he wanted to get right over there. He looked up at me with those adorable eyes and said, I didn’t know. Momma, why didn’t you give me all the details? I looked at him and replied, Quintin, you do not need to have all the details, just obey.

As soon as the words left my tongue I felt the conviction in my own heart. You see I have had a similar interchange with my Heavenly Father. I kept praying for God to lay out all the details in front of me and then I would gladly slip on my shoes and follow His leading. But let me ask you, is that really walking in faith and trusting God? Absolutely not.

Since I have decided to really say Yes to God, I have to simply obey with childlike faith, not questioning the details.

What about you, how is your faith walk? What steps will you take today to obediently follow God’s leading instead of standing still asking questions?