Reaching Out

I once knew a man
Named Johnny McGee.
He lived down the road
A couple houses from me.

He worked hard in the week,
But weekend parties didn’t end.
He had so much money
That he was eager to spend.

His house was quite grand;
His car was the best,
On his property: a boat and more
Grown-up toys filled the rest.

He was that man
That men wanted to be,
And women loved to be with
To live frivolously.

After a few years
Watching this week after week,
I noticed action was gone.
Things seemed to look bleak.

I wondered what happened;
Why the house had no noise.
Where were the people
Who played with the toys.

The grass grew tall
Around the house in the lawn.
The boat no longer moved.
The parties were gone.

The quiet was quite nice
But yet unsettling too.
Were things going okay
For Johnny and his crew?

I prayed for my neighbor,
Then I wanted to see
What may have happened
To Johnny McGee.

I took a deep breath
And walked to his place.
I knocked on the door
To see him face to face.

A grouchy voice hollered,
“What?” through the screen door.
I entered into darkness
And saw him sitting on the floor.

“What do YOU want?”
He asked without thought.
“No one comes here anymore!”
He seemed angry and distraught.

He looked thin and sad.
This couldn’t be the same man.
He wasn’t laughing anymore,
And had lost his golden tan.

“I live a few houses down,” I said.
“We’ve met a time or two before,
I wondered if you were ok?
I hadn’t seen you anymore.”

“I know who you are,”
He said with some pride
“You’re that pastor that prays.
We all hear you outside”

He grumbled, ” Why do you care?
All my friends have all gone.
Nothing matters anymore
And everything’s gone wrong.”

Suddenly he began to ramble
Like he hadn’t spoken for years.
And as he shared about his life
I noticed his eyes fill with tears.

“I thought I had it all,” he began,
“The joy that money can bring.
But now it doesn’t have a spark,
It doesn’t mean a thing.

One day I lost it all.
I made a wrong choice.
Lost all of my hope.”
He began to clear his voice.

“I don’t know why I’m saying this
I don’t really know you well.
But I feel I need to speak,
I need someone to tell.

I was driving too fast
Around the bend down the way.
And I lost control of the car
And I crashed it that day.”

He stared in the air
Perhaps remembering the minute
When he rolled his car
And his girlfriend was in it.

I had heard about that crash
Someone told me the next day.
I didn’t think on it more
Now I didn’t know what to say.

“I lost the girl I wanted to marry
The girl who brought me life.
What was my purpose now?
I killed my future wife.”

Silence entered into the room
I struggled with words to say
Suddenly a thought hit me
And I began it this way,

“I’m sorry for your loss.
I’m sorry for your pain.
I’m sorry nothing seems right,
And your life seems insane.

But the Lord loves you dearly.
He knew how this would end.
He knew that you needed hope.
He knew you would need a friend.”

I reached my hand out to him.
He got onto his feet.
He hugged me in tears,
Expressing his hurt and defeat.

That was ONE moment
Of many times we would share.
He opened up more each time
Realizing someone did care.

One day he met someone
Who knew him better than me.
That someone was the Lord
Who eventually set him free.

And in time he met another
Who shared his hopes and life.
That was the time I married them
And they became husband and wife.

Take the time to listen,
Take the time for prayer.
Someone might need to know
They are worthy enough for you to care.

I now know a family
Whose last name is McGee
They live down the road
A couple houses from me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Image of my Father

The last couple years I have had the privilege of having my parents live with me. It has taught me so many things about myself; who I am and why I react the way I do. When my parents have different views regarding something, I have discovered that I can agree with both of them, even when their views or opinions are different.

You see I have inherited DNA from both of them, perhaps not equally, but enough that causes me to understand most of their viewpoints equally. Likewise I have noticed that my children have inherited a lot of my traits but they also have many traits like their father.

As believers have we inherited the traits of our Heavenly Father? Have we inherited his DNA? I know when we get “saved” or “born again” we are renewed in our spirit man. In the book of  John, chapter 3, Jesus explains to Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that in order to enter the kingdom of heaven he must be born again. Then in Romans 8, the author states that we, who belong to Christ, have the Spirit of Christ LIVING in us. And though our bodies are subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.

FLESH VS SPIRIT
We become a new creation when we ask the Lord into our lives, yet we are still living in our human bodies. So it makes sense that we wrestle doing what God desires vs what our flesh wants to do. Part of us is renewed. Yet our old thoughts argue because our flesh likes the easy way and doesn’t want to grow up. Paul explains this in more detail in Romans 7. He says that though we want to do what our spiritual nature tells us to do, our physical nature is always fighting with us.

“For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” Galatians 5:17 (ESV)

But the more we desire the Lord’s will in our lives and choose to live for him, the less hold the enemy has in our lives.

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7 (NIV)

BLOOD OF CHRIST
Jesus was human, yet he was the son of God. Though he was human, he didn’t sin. Jesus was able to condemn sin because he overcame sin while living, like us, in human form.

Yet his blood had the DNA of the Spirit of God which is pure.  So his sinless blood can heal us AND cleanse us from our sins. His sacrificial sinless blood had to be shed to cover darkness and sin. Once we ask Jesus into our lives, that same sinless blood that was shed–covers all our sins — past, present and future.  I believe God sees us without spot or wrinkle because he sees Jesus in us.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

MIND OF CHRIST
Our mind bosses us around and tells us many things, true or false, and our body follows suit, which is why many people stay in bondage. They believe their old mind-set, old thoughts, instead of the mind of Christ. They believe they are defeated. They believe they are unworthy. They believe there is absolutely NO hope. Or quite the opposite, they think they do not need the wisdom of the Lord.

But as believers we have the mind of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 2 the author states that no one can know another person’s thoughts except their own spirit. In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Then he ends by stating, “But we have the mind of Christ” 1 Corn.2:15 (NIV)

It is amazing how powerful our mind is. I remember running in cross-country in high school. I kept wanting to give up, but I would tell my body to stop complaining and complete the race. My body then did what my mind commanded.

If my own mind has power over my body, can you imagine the wisdom that could filter from heaven if we would submit to the voice of the Lord Almighty?

Paul writes: “Do not be conformed to this world, but to be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2

Remember when Jesus said that he only did what the Father told him to do? Well we can do what the Father asks us to do also. As believers we can hear how he thinks. He reminds us of truth, tells us when to pray, or when to speak hope into another individual’s life. You and I have the mind of Christ! BUT it is up to us to listen.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER
The Bible states that as a believer we have become children of God. Just as a child receives his/her parents traits and personality, we each have a part of the Lord’s traits and personality. If we are His children we should work together in harmony, showing grace and love towards one another. He understands us individually, just as I understand each of my parent’s view points.

In the book of John, Jesus states: “…May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” John 17:23 (NLT)

ACTING LIKE MY FATHER
So if I have the DNA of my Heavenly Father, I should act like him, right? A baby grows one step at a time. When they become adults they often look and act like their parents. As we grow in Christ we go from glory to glory. It is a process and can include trials, suffering and mistakes, but develops into deliverance, victory, peace and hope.

My prayer is that I will become more and more like my heavenly Father. May each of us grow into the image of our Father.

God bless.

 

Phrases like “he isn’t acting normal” or “that isn’t the normal way to do it” are broad at best. What is normal to me may seem completely abnormal to my neighbor. The definition to the word normal according to dictionary.com is “-conforming to a standard, or what is common, usual, regular or natural.”

Still even that can be different according to cultures, religions, languages, customs, countries, cities, neighborhoods, families or even individuals. Age or the era that we were raised in can even promote different “normal” lifestyles. And when we begin to grow accustomed to the way things are done it is sometimes difficult to change. The custom begins to become part of who we are and we identify it as NORMAL.

Tradition plays a huge role in this,” normalcy”.  If you celebrate Christmas  (as I assume most believers do) the tradition in each family can be different. Perhaps you put up a Christmas tree in your house, or pretend that Santa is coming down your chimney or maybe you do not include Santa, at all.  You might celebrate the holiday on Christmas Eve or when the clock strikes mid-night or in the morning hours. There are a thousands of different traditions that are promoted in different cultures and even families. Who said that we must eat a turkey on Thanksgiving, though it is a strong tradition in America.

Tradition can melt into what you might perceive as normal.  I can only relate to what is familiar to me as people from around the world live differently.  But in America the “traditional family” has begun to change. When I was little it was normal to have a mom and dad. Soon it became normal to see a lot of single-parent households, then there was mixed families. From there couples quit getting married and began to just live together. That became normal. Then we began to see homosexual lifestyles evolve into families. And now the transgender lifestyle, though a minority, is fighting to become a new normal.

Life in America and across the world is changing. The normal is changing. People have grown accustomed to the new lifestyles. What was once thought of as “normal” in my era is fading into the background. As much as people want to ignore this fact, at one time in America it was normal to be a slave or have slaves. But THANKFULLY many good men fought to abolish that. And though it is no longer our “normal” in America today there is so much anger over our past, “normal”,  that violence is erupting. And violence, instead of peace, is becoming popular and normal.

What is normal? Does acceptance equate normal?

IF you profess to be a believer –and I write this to believers as unbelievers may have a different standard to base their truth or may believe that truth is negotiable. But as a believer, we must get back to the basics. The Word of God is the basis to use as any standard of truth. Jesus said that HE is the truth.

“I am the Way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

He also stated that we are not of this world and that this world does not and cannot understand, “our normal”.  Read John 17:14-16, John 15:19, 1 John 5:19, James 4:4, 1 John 2:15-17, John 18:36, 1 Peter 2:11-12 to name a few.

What should be normal for the believer is what we read in the scripture regarding the life of Jesus. It should be normal to heal the sick, raise the dead, set people free from darkness. It should be normal to love the lost and forgive quickly. It should be normal to live in freedom and to overcome the darkness that plagues our souls.

Though Jesus died for each of us, because WE ARE ALL SINNERS, it does not mean that we have to change what He stated as truth (or normal.)

I say all of this because different lifestyle choices than what I hold as truth, are all around me and will continue to be as long as I live in this world. Should I love all people?ABSOLUTELY!  Should I change my view of what I consider as “normal” because others think I should? No.

There is a gray line that confuses many. There is an unseen difference between loving people as Jesus did. (And HE LOVES PEOPLE) and living our lives by a standard that holds true to scripture.

I DESIRE to love ALL people–as Jesus did. He loved us so MUCH that he was willing to die for our brokenness and deception and sin.

I DESIRE to love our heavenly Father–as Jesus did.  He loved him so much that he REFUSED to compromise his standards and though he didn’t want to, he went to the cross so WE would be free.

“Lord grant your children wisdom. We need to learn to live a life that shows abundant love, as Jesus did. And we need to live a life without compromising with sin, as Jesus did. We cannot do it without your wisdom and strength.  Amen”

God bless.

 

Will you obey?

I want to share a written testimony from a friend of a family member. Though this is a season of thanksgiving, this is not a testimony of thanksgiving, but a testimony of obedience to the Lord which eventually leads to thanksgiving. Obedience is powerful and sometimes difficult, but ALWAYS rewarding. I hope this stirs your heart as it stirred mine.

So my life has been crazy these last few months. My wife and I took a huge step of faith, and answered God’s calling on our hearts to leave Alaska. Everything about what we’ve been doing has been a huge unknown. All we knew for sure was that God was asking us to leave.

We thought selling all our stuff was going to be the hard part. OMG was I wrong! Traveling 14,000 miles across the country, grasping at straws trying to make sense of everything. Asking God is this it, is it that, what is it you want us to do?!?

Seemingly not getting any answers, just going off gut instinct that we should keep going. I personally felt lost, hopeless, and to be quite frank I was starting to doubt his existence.

I remember sitting in Dallas, Texas arguing with my wife telling her “I’m done, I’m freaking done. There’s no hope, he hasn’t said crap, this has been a huge sham, I’m done.” I found a place I really enjoyed, and was ready to just give up and move to Ft. Collins, Co.

Even though I was fed up, and felt like there weren’t going to be any answers. I still had this sick feeling in my stomach that we had to keep going. So I took one last step of faith, and said Screw It! I’m going to Orlando. If I’m going to do this, I’m going to have fun.

About a third of the way there, on a Saturday, this band I’m sharing with you,
(Give Thanks to God—Housefires) popped in my head. I told Lacey “this band I really like, they’re in Atlanta, how far of a drive is that, can we make it there for Sunday service?” My wife told me it was about 500 miles, I said, “screw it let’s go.” We drove through the night, though we were tired we made it! And it was amazing! It was like the word was tailored just for us.

After church we drove to Charleston, SC then on to Charlotte, NC to visit Lacey’s aunt and uncle. Two amazing people of God, gave us incredible words of wisdom. Decided, ok God we are going back to Ft. Collins.

Then the night before we were going leave, I said to Lacey “what about that church in Atlanta?” “How much would it add to our trip to go back to ATL?” To attend that church again. To both of our delights she said, “It’ll only add an hour to our trip!”

On the way to ATL I said to my wife, “what about ATL?” She said, “not a snowballs chance in hell am I moving to ATL!” I guess she really didn’t like it.

When we got there something amazing happened. God spoke to me. The one thing I’ve been begging him to do this whole friggin’ time, he finally friggin’ did it! He told me clear as day, “you can go back to Colorado, and you won’t disappoint me, but I want you here, the choice is yours.”

And apparently God spoke to my wife too, because at the end of the service she was balling looked me square in the face and said, “Well I guess we’re moving to ATL!”

We had decided together that it would be best to leave ATL and see if our hearts would change. So, we went to Florida to swim with the manatees. Didn’t see any manatees, but our resolve hadn’t wavered.

So, we went back to ATL and said, God this is it, we’re all yours! To which the reply was a big fat NOTHING! My initial reaction was to get angry! “Are you effing serious right now, I can’t believe you’d give me a glimmer of hope and just tell me to piss off!”

I was starting to feel hopeless again. Starting to doubt if what I heard was really God. I could have sworn it was him. I do not make this stuff up, I heard him clear as day.

Well about another week had past and my doubt is building. I’m back to feeling hopeless. Mind you I never really told any of my family or my friends what I was doing. Because I was certain that they would think that I was flippin’ nuts! So in all this, I felt alone. With the exception of my brother Pete, and my Wife. I felt lost and alone. ATL is a big city with over 5 million people and I didn’t know a soul.

Well, my Wife was going to a mother’s ministry at the church. I guess she lost it, she spilled the beans that we were for lack of better words homeless in Atlanta. That lead us to meeting Lisa a lovely lady at the church. We told her that we were contemplating skipping out of town to persue job opportunities in Colorado. She prayed over us and told other people about us and asked them to pray for us too.

That leads us to Gregory. Oh, Gregory you were personally my biggest step of faith!

I met Gregory at Amelies a French bakery in midtown. I didn’t find out till later that he practically lives there. Lisa from the women’s ministry put us in touch with him, and told us “Gregory has a word from God and that word is stay in Atlanta God wants to use you in a big way.”

So I had to meet this man who wanted me to stay. I need to see this man for myself. I need to size him up and make for 100% sure he is not full of crap. I met him, and he was 100% legit. He was absolutely on fire for the Lord. Ok Gregory, I’m going to trust you. And I’m going to trust that this is God.

I go to leave the bakery and I hear God again clear as day just like before. “Give that man your laptop” I said what? He said, clear as day! “Give him your camera.” To which I replied you’ve lost your mind, I’ve gone crazy! What God? which one is it the laptop or the camera? Not that I’m giving him either. I can’t believe I’ve lost my mind.

I’m standing by my jeep in the middle of this parking lot befuddled. “Really God I can’t believe you’re going to make me give up my prized possessions. No I ain’t doin’ it!

I go to get in my jeep and God says to me and I quote “DON’T YOU DARE DO THIS! NOT WHEN YOU’VE COME THIS FAR!” WHOA! Mind you I’m still pretty sure I’ve lost my flipping mind. Tell you what God, I’ll just go ask him if it is you he’ll tell me and I’ll know for certain.

So l go back in that bakery, and I ask this strange man I’ve never met before 30 minutes ago. “WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WANT?”

You should have seen the look on his face! “God told me you want something, what is it?”

Still looking utterly confused Gregory stammers, “well I have been praying to God for a new laptop.” Stopped him right there, and told him to follow me. He followed me to my jeep and I gave it to him, I just gave this strange brown man my laptop.

Gregory was ecstatic, I was feeling pretty good about myself. He took his laptop and I went on my merry way. Still totally confused. But screw it I’m all in. Gregory sends us a message inviting us to his house church. Told us he wanted to introduce us to his people.

We decide to get a hotel because we hadn’t showered in a couple days and I can’t even process what’s just happened. Let alone think about anything. And God spoke to me again.

“I TOLD YOU TO GIVE HIM YOUR CAMERA!”

“Umm, Lacey I think I screwed up, I think God wanted me to give him my camera too.” She said, “Are you sure honey, I really don’t feel like God is asking you to do any of this.” I told her “of course I’m sure I’ve never been more sure about anything.” “Tell you what, we’ll fleece it. If God wants me to give this man a camera, then make this evening about a camera.”

We prayed over it, and go to this house church function that Gregory invited us to. SWEET BABY JESUS! The whole evening was about Gregory and his dang photography ministry he’s embarking on. You have to be kidding me! Needless to say I pulled Gregory aside and told him God told me to give him my camera too, but I was holding it back.

It’s amazing! What those two acts of obedience did. I obeyed God and because of that, God is starting to open doors. I now have a church family, more friends than I’ve ever had in Alaska. I have a place to call home. And Atlanta is really starting to grow on me. I have no idea what God is doing, but I’m sure it’s going to be great!

I am so happy to call Grace Midtown my home. God is definitely doing amazing things here!

P.s. I told God my only steadfast requirement for a church is a worship service that is on fire with the holy ghost. And he delivered!

I’ve been embarrassed to talk about this, but I feel that God is asking me to. And I’m going to obey him. Because this is what I am. #iamsecond #gracemidtown #housefires #ermagerdburbbles

God bless each and every one of you.

If you’re so inclined please share my testimony — Gerald Wright

“But I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.”
Jeremiah 7:23 (NIV)

May you be reminded of several reasons to be thankful this holiday season. And may you also reap the rewards that follow obedience in Christ.

God bless

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Power of thoughts, power of words, power of hope.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”

Do you remember those words as a child when you were being harassed? We would chant them back at our attacker, knowing very well that those words spoken to us were cutting deep into our spirits. Yet we felt it was a way to protect our hearts; kind of like putting up an invisible force field. Perhaps if we said the chant louder to our attackers their words would not penetrate us as deep. It seemed negative words rang in our ears far louder than the positive ones did.

A person seems to know instinctively to try to guard their hearts from hurt. It is so important because out of a heart springs a well of life.

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23,  (NLT)

There are a lot of broken people in our world. Their words can be hateful. That is why we, who call ourselves believers, have to be even more careful how we speak to others. It isn’t just because it represents the Lord, but because it represents our own hearts and can bring life and death to those around us.

Proverbs has many places in its passages that explain how the foolish use their words destructively and that it will eventually bring ruin to themselves and those around them. Yet it pleads to the reader to seek wisdom. It eventually states that there is life and death in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 (NIV)

I suppose that is why the Psalmist said, ” May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” PS 19:14

There is power in our words. It is with words that the Lord created the world. “Let there be light,” he said. And there was light! There is creative power in the things we say and even in the very thoughts that are hidden in our minds.

In fact you can find sympathy cards that state: “You are in our thoughts and prayers” or “sending good thoughts your way.” What are positive words or thoughts suppose to do?Actually they may do more than we realize. If it was the power of words that created our world, can you envision the power of words that can create hope in someone?

Adults that constantly criticize young people can create the way a child thinks about himself and eventually affect their actions. I know first hand. I had a teacher in first grade whose words were consistently harsh towards me. As young as 6-years-old, I had begun to have negative thoughts about myself.

Fortunately my 3 grade teacher thought so much differently about me. Her words of encouragement filled my heart with a positive attitude. It made such a difference to me regarding how I thought about myself. By the time I left her classroom I was a different person.

Believing in myself, I graduated as the salutatorian of my class in highschool. I say that to confirm the power of words.  Can you imagine the other road I could have taken had I believed in the negative words? My thoughts about myself had been renewed.

It is in our thought life that both good and evil are birthed. It is there that creative ideas are imagined. It is there that we decide if we can accomplish a task or give up.  It is there where we consider what we will be when we grow up. It is there that we choose a path for our lives, where to live, who to date, what job to take, etc…

That is why 1 Corinthians talks about having the mind of Christ.  It states that only the Spirit knows the deep things of God. It is just like our own thoughts; no one knows them but ourselves. That is why people who do not have the spirit of God in them do not understand God’s way of thinking; it seems foolish. But if we have Him in our hearts, we begin to learn what the Spirit is saying. Eventually we begin to walk with the mind of Christ and make our choices accordingly.

Philippians goes on to state that he will keep our hearts and minds in peace if we are not anxious. And where does anxiety begin? It begins in our minds or thoughts. What we think about, what we put into our hearts, what we meditate on will eventually be what we say and do. Good or evil will come out of our mouth because it was first stored in our hearts and in our minds.

I once heard an evangelist share that he taught these concepts to his little boy. One day he took his child to a store and the man in front of him in the check-out line was swearing up a storm. Suddenly the boy pulled on his daddy’s jacket and asked, “Daddy, is there s@#% in that man’s heart?” The father was extremely embarrassed until the man’s girlfriend turned around and looked down at the little boy and said, “Yes, honey, there is.”

“A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart. Luke 6:45 (NLT)

Yes, I have interchanged heart and mind (and even thoughts) as I wrote. I know there is a saying that states, “Should you follow your heart or your mind?”  But I personally think that refers to following your feelings versus your reasoning.  I guess what I am trying to relay is this simple statement, “garbage in, garbage out.” What you meditate on (think about) will eventually find its way out in some sort of expression.

But I also want to add that it is EXTREMELY important what you say to those around you and even what you think or say about yourself.  What are you speaking? Are you speaking death and hopelessness or life and hope?

I challenge you to speak life, even in a corrupt world of political unrest, angry souls, unjust standards and simple foolishness.

LIFE-the true power of the life of Christ, the light of the world, will ALWAYS dispel darkness and death.

God bless.

 

 

 

 

To those that are broken

Twisted – broken,
Out of control.
Spiraling- falling
Deep in a hole.

Confused – Bewildered
Not sure what to do.
Lost – Alone
Can all this be true?

The life I shared
Is now in the ground.
The joy that we had
Has turned upside down.

I cried to the Lord
In my despair.
Did you not know?
Do you not care?

I cried to the Lord
Did you not see?
There was nowhere to run
To hide or to flee.

Why all the hurt?
Why all the fears?
Why all the sadness?
And constant new tears?

I heard him reply:

Dear Child
What you say is true
I know of your anguish
It hurts through and through.

I know there is hurt.
I know there is fear.
I want to hold you close
I won’t abandon you; I’m still here.

This world is broken
Chaotic and lost.
I know the pain.
I know what it cost.

It cost the life
Of my son on the cross
To break all the sin
To heal all the loss.

It wasn’t me
That took the life
It was evil consumed
With hate and with strife

When this world’s sins
Meets its final hour,
The demons that kill
Will flee and will cower.

Until that time comes
My arms will remain open
Its a safe place to heal
A heart that is broken.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

 

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What are your plans?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

I love plans. I thrive off plans. They give me peace and a sense of direction.  I am not really a “spur of the moment” type of person. Now my husband is completely the opposite.  He floats through life, catching the wind as it blows, excited for where he might land.

Let me give you an example: on our honeymoon I made “plans” and got us into the bridal suite. We stayed there the first night but my husband thought it would be fun to take a ferry to the nearby islands the next day. It was fun. But since he didn’t get a motel reservation we ended up spending the night in our car on the ferry because there were zero rooms available. A convention was in the area. That went over well.

It is also the same with directions. I use to constantly have to do everything exactly by the book. As the years have slipped by I have realized that not everything has to be done according to some unseen book. Yet, general directions are given for a purpose. Without reading the directions my husband decided to build a swing set in the backyard. After he was done he realized that a couple of pieces were not connected properly and that there were extra parts he wasn’t sure what to do with. He looked at me with a sheepish grin and said, “Perhaps I should have read the directions.”

Throughout the adventures of our lives together we have seen the importance of both aspects. And we have changed some viewpoints that we thought were cemented in our personalities.

When I was a little girl my parents moved many times. I didn’t question their purpose or decisions; I just went for the ride. I never knew that there were occasions when they didn’t have definite plans or that they were not always sure about the future. I was just a happy child and simply trusted that whatever they decided to do would be in my best interest. (Of course I didn’t analyze it at the time.) Later in life I discovered that there were times that their only option was to trust God and not themselves, as they entered into the next chapter of their lives.

Unfortunately we are not given a map for every choice we make in life. We are not told to go here for 2 years, then take this job, marry this person, put your kids in this school and perhaps go on a mission trip during this season…blah, blah, blah…

In fact James 4: 13-15 states, ” Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit. Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you out to say, “If the Lord WILLS we will live and do this or that.” (ESV)

We often ask “Lord what is your will?” God says that HE has a plan for us. HE holds the plans for each of our lives. And he states that HIS plans are for our good. There are times I have mentioned to God that I just wish he would hand over those plans. It would be so much easier to navigate through my life if I could simply look at the plans.

Instead he desires for us to trust him and relax in his goodness just like I trusted my parents. I didn’t have a care in the world, except maybe what my new school would be like or who my new friends would be.

He doesn’t always give us a complete picture regarding our future. Sometimes it might start as a desire that begins to stir in our hearts, a thought that crosses our mind, a dream that we had the night before or a longing that cannot be quenched. As soon as we pray about a decision and take a step in that direction, the stirring becomes more evident and doors of opportunity begin to open to make the desire a reality.

The Psalmist states, ” The steps of good men are directed by the Lord. He delights in each step they take.” Psalm 37:23 (TLB) 

He delights in OUR steps! It is like parents that watches their toddler take his first step. They watch him with eagerness and anticipation. And when the child falls they pick him back up and encourage him in his next step.

If God gave us everything at once we wouldn’t need his hand of guidance. We would become self-sufficient and may not seek his advise for direction. We would lose communication with the one that loves us more than anyone can. He created us in his image. He desires that we seek him. He desires that we commune with him. He desires that we dig into his Word (the directions for this life) and get to know him, personally.

He doesn’t give us a bunch of dos and don’ts. He gives us relationship and guidance and comfort and peace and direction. And as much as he delights in our steps he asks us to learn to delight in him. Like I mentioned earlier, he created us in his image. He wants a two-way relationship with us.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37: 4-5 (ESV)

Do you recall the game, Marco Polo? One person closes his eyes and says, “Marco”.  The others say, “Polo”. Even though the person who is “it” cannot see the other players he follows the voices until he is able to tag another player.

Though not completely the same, it is what we are doing. We may have a blindfold on in life, yet we listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and follow his lead. When we come to the place where the Holy Spirit leads doors begin to open for us. As we fellowship with the Lord we learn the sound of his voice. He may call us down another path as we enter our next chapter in life.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them and they follow me.” John 10:27 (NIV)

It is similar to the children of Israel that wandered in the wilderness for 40 years. The spirit of God led them by a pillar of cloud during the day and fire by night. (Exodus 13:21) That same God leads each of us in our lives, as well.

Listen. What is the Holy Spirit saying to you? Is he calling your name? Is he leading you in a new direction? You can trust that what he starts in you he will surely complete. (Philippians 1:6)

One day as we look into our past we will see the many doors we traveled through that led us directly into God’s arms. We will be thankful for the doors the Lord opened and the doors that sometimes felt slammed in our faces. We will be grateful that the Lord in his goodness, ordered our steps and grateful that we obeyed his calling; and extremely grateful that he picked us up when we fell.

God Bless.