Need Directions?

Ever feel like you need arrows pointing to the right decisions to make? How about a guide to light your path on this journey of life that we’re on?

I would be very surprised if any of us said no to either one of these questions.  I know I would like a personal guide for each day.  What would it be like to get ‘Judy’s agenda for today’ from God on my phone?  It would give me a plan for the whole day so I could do exactly what God wants me to do today and make all the right decisions.

The reality is that God has already given you and me a guidebook for our lives. The Bible.

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path” Psalm 119: 105.

The Bible doesn’t have directions like ‘do laundry today’ or ‘buy groceries’. We can figure out those easy things on our own.

God’s Word tells me the important stuff like what my top 2 priorities are for each day – to love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as much as I love myself.

When we put our faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of us. One of his purposes is to guide us into truth and show us what is false. When we read and study the Bible with our eyes and our hearts wide open, the Holy Spirit highlights the sections of God’s Word that we need for guidance today and he draws our attention to the truth that we need to know to make the right decisions for tomorrow..

God wants you and me to plug into his guidebook each day so we know what direction to go. Through his word he provides a lamp for our feet.

This is my 11th consecutive year of reading the entire Bible and I don’t know how I would take my next step without it.

Thank  you, Abba Father.

Psalm 100, 2022

All of the earth shouts because you bring us so much joy, LORD!

We worship you with smiles on our faces!

We sing praises to you because of the joy you give us!

We know you are God.  You made us.  We are yours.  We are your people.  We belong to you.

We are so grateful that we have the privilege of having a personal relationship with you, God!

When we come together in your house, we are filled with praise!

Thank you, Father!

You are so good to us!  Your love will never end.

We praise you for your faithfulness to us and to our parents and our grandparents and everyone that has lived before us.

And we praise you for your faithfulness to our children and our grandchildren and all of those who are yet to come.

We know we can always count on you, dear God.

Psalm 40, 2022

When I became faithful in seeking you, God, you lifted me out of the slimy pit of my rebellion and sin.  You rescued me from the deep mud of my bad choices.  You pulled me out of the mire I created by trying to do things ‘my way’.

I am now solidly planted on you, my Rock.  I have a new song of  love and praise to sing to you.

I pray that many others will also decided to put their trust in you, God.

Father, you bless those who trust in you.  We are wise when we put you first in our lives and don’t follow the example of others who are only focused on themselves.

You have great things planned for us, the faithful.  You have done many awesome things – there is nothing and no one to compare you to.

You don’t want me to just read the Bible and go to church.  You want my eyes to be open to your truth.  You want my obedience.

You don’t want me to just give my money to the church – you want me to passionately care about the things you care about.

You don’t want me to just close my eyes to pray and start down my list of requests.  You want a relationship with me.  You want a conversation.  Most of all, you desire listening ears and a softened heart.

Here I am , Lord.

I desire to do your will.

Write your words upon my heart.

I love you, Abba Father.

Making the Right Choice

What does a life lived with integrity look like?

Having integrity means doing what we say we’ll do and doing the right thing even when it costs us something and no one would ever know if we didn’t do it.  It means being honest and not just talking a good line but living that out every day.

God tells us in Proverbs 10:9 “Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”

I’ve got to admit – there are times I really hate owning a mistake I made.  It would be so much simpler to tell a little lie about it and cover it up.

It seems easier to take a crooked path.

There are other situations where I don’t feel like taking care of a responsibility or doing ‘the right thing’. Maybe if I ignore it, it will go away.

It seems easier to take the crooked path.

Every once in a while taking a short-cut looks very enticing instead of struggling with all the work that is going to be involved to do something the right way.

It seems easier to take a crooked path.

Satan likes to tempt me by giving me free stuff at stores – things that were somehow never rung up so I didn’t pay for them. I hate the hassle of bringing these things back into the store and asking to pay for them. Satan knows I really don’t want to get back in line and then explain that I didn’t pay for this the first time. I hate the strange looks I get from employees who are wondering why I am doing this weird thing – I had it all the way out to my car without paying for it, I should be happy, right?

It’s definitely easier to take the crooked path – just put the item in my car and drive away.

But God tells me that the crooked path is dark with holes and cracks that will make me stumble and fall.  I’m kidding myself if I think people around me won’t realize that I lack integrity by sometimes choosing a crooked path. And I’m really kidding myself if I think God doesn’t know I took a crooked path.

God tells me the blessing of walking with integrity is that I will walk securely.  The path of integrity is straight and solidly built on the truth.  God’s light shines on this path and it is filled with his love, grace and security.

Each day, each choice, you and I have a decision to make about which path we’re going to take.

Please help us stay in the path of integrity, Abba Father

Living Right

Doing the right things. Making the right decisions. Saying the right things.

God uses an old fashioned term – righteousness – to describe these actions. It’s ‘living right”.

How do I know what is right?  The answer to that question is God’s Word is right.  It’s the truth. There are large sections of the book of Proverbs where God spells out what living right means. Here are a few –

“The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.” Proverbs 11:23.

“The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.” Proverbs 12:5″

“The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.” Proverbs 29:27.

God speaks to me through the words, explaining them and helping me apply them to my life.  The Holy Spirit convicts me when my thinking gets off and my actions don’t reflect what I believe.

I’m so glad I have the role-model of Jesus.  I don’t have to try to look around me and try to find someone I want to imitate in order to ‘live right’.  I have Jesus.  This truth has often helped me move passed major disappointments with people – especially people in the church.  I used to expect people who went to church to be a lot more ‘righteous’ than others until I realized that we’re all just people, struggling with our weaknesses.  If we are a believer, God is gradually redeeming our lives but he still has a lot of work to do.

So watching people – especially people who say they are Christians – I got confused and disillusioned.  Then I looked to Jesus.  Focused on him.  And the issues about imperfect Christians went away.

When Jesus was on earth, he gave imperfect people grace and love and spoke truth at the right time into their lives.  This makes me glad because I am imperfect – I need grace, love and truth. And I need to give other imperfect people grace, love and speak truth when God prompts me.

Jesus is my role-model. If he did it, it’s the right thing to do.

Thank you, Abba Father

Foolish

What was this person thinking?

I can’t believe this person wrote that!

There are times when I feel surrounded by crowds of people who are not thinking, not using logic, and not caring about the facts. These people seem to be reacting purely out of emotion – to everything.

And sometimes its hard not to respond back in the same way. It would feel good – for a minute – but then I would regret that I was acting just like they were. Emotionally. Without thinking. That’s not good.

God generously gives you and I some wisdom in this situation in Proverbs 26:4, “Do not answer a fool according to his folly; or you yourself will be just like him.”

Yep, when I answer a foolish statement with my own emotional, foolish statement, I am on the wrong track. The right track is to look to God for wisdom and discernment.

God tells me in Proverbs 9: 7-9 to forget about correcting a fool. Their response will be to insult me, abuse me and hate me. But a wise person learns from correction and grows wiser.

That’s the kind of person I want to be – a wise person who is learning and being transformed by the truth of God.

Proverbs is full of God’s wisdom regarding all kinds of situations we find ourselves in.

Thank you for your precious Word to us, Abba Father.

Where Can I Find It?

Am I ever satisfied?

Are you?

We live in a culture where it’s very difficult to be satisfied because there is always bigger and better.  There is always more.

How do I find this illusive satisfaction when I am surrounded by all of this?

God tells me through King Solomon in Proverbs 3 how to find contentment in my life.

  • Never forget what God has taught me.
  • Be loyal and loving.
  • Trust in God – be dependent on his power and strength and understanding, not my own.
  • Make fulfilling God’s will for my life my goal. “in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6.
  • Keep on the path God directs me to take.
  • Turn away from evil.  Respect God and give him the credit for all the good things in my life. Never get too impressed with myself.
  • Honor God with my time and treasures.
  • Accept my Father’s discipline.  He loves me and wants the best for me.
  • Ask God for wisdom – it is precious and nothing else will bring me satisfaction.
  • Hang on to my common sense and discernment – they will help keep me safe and unafraid.
  • Encourage others.
  • Don’t make a big deal out of small things.
  • Don’t envy violent or wicked people.  At first, I would say that I would never envy violent or wicked people.  But then, I think about some people I know who have ‘gotten away’ with things that were not right but it brought them pleasure or financial gain.  Did I ever wish that was me? “The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the house of the righteous.” Proverbs 3:33.

That’s a great list!  It’s interesting to me that things like ‘get an education so you can get a good job and make a lot of money’ aren’t on here.

There’s nothing on this list that tells me that buying stuff and owning a lot of things is going to bring me satisfaction.

This list is all about me and God working together to grow my faith, grow my character and grow my wisdom.

Amen.  Let it be so, Abba Father.

My Greatest Treasure

My greatest treasure is not money,

or fame,

or any of my ‘stuff’.

My  greatest treasure is wisdom.  Wisdom – so I can navigate successfully through all of the valleys and hills and blind curves of my life.  I’ve been memorizing wisdom scripture this last 6 years.  I have an extremely bad memory so it is really God who is etching his Word on my heart – I just faithfully get out my memory cards every day.  I found out why God commands me to memorize his truth 5 years ago when tragedy blew my life apart.  God used the words he carved into my brain to keep my soul from crumbling into a million painful pieces when my son was killed in the line of duty.

God tells us in the first chapter of James that he gives us generous amounts of wisdom when we ask for it.  I’ve been asking, I need it and I’m not going stop.

King Solomon asked for wisdom at a crucial time in his reign and God responded by making him the wisest man who ever lived. The news about King Solomon spread and we read in 1 King 10 that the historically famous Queen of Sheba decided to go visit him.  She knew about King Solomon’s extreme wealth but she was not interested in that — she was crazy rich herself.  She was not interested in his palaces or any of his numerous possessions.

The Queen of Sheba came to test Solomon’s wisdom.  That’s what motivated her to take a very dangerous 1200 mile trip on camels through a desert filled with thieves and criminals.

When the Queen of Sheba asked Solomon all of her many questions, he had an answer for everything.  She was surprised.  She didn’t think any man could have that kind of wisdom.

Before she left, she said to Solomon, “How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom!” 1 Kings 10:8.

I can’t help thinking – are the people who hang out with you and me happy about all the wisdom they hear from us every day? Maybe we should be asking for more?

All wisdom comes from God and he generously gives it to us when we ask.  It is our greatest treasure.

Thank you,  Abba Father

A Discerning Heart

Do you have any decisions you need to make? Are you surrounded by options that all look good? Which one do you choose?

Are you struggling with a relationship in your life? You don’t know what to do? Where to turn?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? I do. Everything is moving and changing so quickly…and its all just going to get faster. If you’ve been on this planet as many revolutions as I have, it’s extremely tough to keep up. I’ll admit it – I can use all the help I can get.

I’m sure King Solomon felt this way as he was talking to God in 1 Kings 3: 9, “So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” 

God honored that request by making Solomon the wisest man who has ever lived.

Whenever I think about all the wisdom I need to navigate this world, I am reminded that God tells me at the beginning of the book of James that he wants to give me a generous amount of wisdom. I just need to ask for it.

So one of my regular prayers is asking for wisdom. Whenever I feel the twists of concern in my stomach or find myself in the middle of conflict or a difficult situation, I know where I can get wisdom for this situation. God has promised he will give me plenty.

And he has. God is always faithful. But it’s not a magic button and ‘poof’ I have the answer or my issue is resolved. God speaks to me through his Word and gives me direction. I have to listen to him and do what he says. Then I see how he is guiding me in the right direction and giving me wisdom – step by step.

Do you have choices you need to make? Plans? Relationship issues that need to be addressed?

God has generous amounts of wisdom he is waiting to give you. Ask for it as you open your eyes and heart to him and his Word. You’ll find it.

Thank you, Abba Father.

Fill It UP!

I used to feel an emptiness deep inside of my soul. There was a space in my heart and mind that a college degree, marriage to a great guy, two awesome kids, a big house, 2 nice cars and my dream career could not fill. I was looking for something to complete me and I couldn’t find it.

Have you ever been there? It’s a weird place filled with all the ‘stuff’ I ever wanted but haunted by a dark cloud of unhappiness.

I pause when I read about King Solomon dedicating the magnificent temple he built for the Lord in 1 Kings 8:11, and “The glory of the Lord filled the temple. “

I know what it feels like to have the glory of the Lord fill the temple. God tells me in the New Testament that the redeeming grace of Jesus changed my relationship with God and now my body is the temple of God. When I put my trust in Jesus, his Spirit came into my life and changed it forever. God’s love for me filled to overflowing the empty spot in my soul.

God has filled my life with his passion – just like he filled Solomon’s temple.

God has filled me with his glory – so that his love and light can shine out of me.

God has filled me with his power and joy. God gives me peace in spite of my circumstances. He opens my eyes and heart to his truth.

Are you looking for any of these things for your life? God’s arms are wide open for everyone who will accept his gift of grace and salvation. We can’t earn it. God gives it for free because it’s been paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

God is the only thing that can fill the empty spot in our soul.

Thank you, Abba Father.