Tag Archives: following gods plan

Delayed Success

God’s plan is rarely the straightest or easiest. Following it doesn’t guarantee immediate success the way we look at it. If you look at the story of Joseph in Genesis, you’ll see a young man who was given a pair of dreams. In one dream, eleven stalks of corn, representing his brothers, bowed down to his. In his next dream, eleven stars and the sun and moon, representing his parents, bowed down to his star. He shared his dreams and was ridiculed. His brothers threw him in a pit, sold him into slavery, he was falsely accused and sent to prison where he was forgotten. It was around fourteen years before the dreams came true. Fourteen years of hardship before God’s plan came to fruition.

In Judges 20, the tribe of Benjamin had done an evil thing. The other eleven tribes joined forces to attack Benjamin. They asked God which tribe should attack first. God told them Judah. They went out to war and 22,000 died. They fasted and prayed, then asked God again if they were to go to battle. God told them yes again. They took positions the next day again. They were beaten again. This time losing 18,000. They cried and prayed to God again. A third time He told them to fight. This time they won. They routed Benjamin and nearly wiped out the entire tribe. Even though they followed God’s orders, they were defeated twice losing around 40,000 men.

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 reminds us, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed” (NLT). Following God’s plan will not always yield instant success, nor will it make your life easy. You may be pressed on every side, feel perplexed by what’s happening and get knocked down or back. However, we do have God’s promise that we will not be forsaken or abandoned in these times. We will not be crushed, driven to despair or destroyed. Keep going back to God seeking His will through the hardship. Keep making sure you’re following His orders and what He promised will come true. Don’t give up in the struggle. Victory is near.

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A Conditional Mindset

Have you ever told God, “I’ll go wherever you want me to go, except…”? Or you might have said, “I’ll do anything you want me to, except…” it’s crazy how we sometimes put conditions on our obedience. The truth is that we’ve got a mindset that we’ve adopted on earth that makes us think we can do that. For some reason we’ve bought the lie that we get to pick and choose what we want to obey. You can’t say, “God, I’ll honor you, but I’m not going to honor my spouse or my parents.” To dishonor them is to dishonor God and the commandment He’s given. The mindset that tells God what we are and are not going to do is wrong.

Take Jonah for example. God told him where to go and what to say. He didn’t say anything back to God. He went down to the shore, bought a ticket like he was going and boarded a ship in the opposite direction. His mindset was the kind that said, “I’ll go wherever you want except Nineveh.” God wasn’t pleased with Jonah, nor is He pleased with us when we adopt the same mindset. He might not send a great fish to swallow you so you’ll get an attitude adjustment and a mindset change, but He will try to get your attention so you’ll follow and say what the Spirit leads you to do and say. We can’t forget that He is the potter and we are the clay.

Romans 8:7 puts it plainly what’s happening when we do this to God. It says, “In fact, the mind-set focused on the flesh fights God’s plan and refuses to submit to his direction, because it cannot!” (TPT) When we refuse to submit to God’s direction for our lives, we’ve adopted a flesh driven mindset rather than a Spirit led one. It’s a visible sign of rebellion because of a lack of submission to God. To live by the Spirit is to live in obedience and without conditions to what God says on how to live, where to go and what to say. It’s the way God has asked you and I to live. The next time you find yourself putting conditions on obeying, stop the sentence, repent and say, “I’m your servant. I’ll do whatever you want.” It may not be easy, but that’s what a Spirit led life looks like.

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Following God’s Plan

One of the things that bothers me is when someone asks me for advice on how to handle something, and then they don’t take the advice. I’ve shown them what to do, but they either didn’t want to do the work, like the things I told them or had someone else tell them something different to do. Either way, when they’re still stuck in the situation and come back for help, my mind wants to turn them away. However, somewhere in the exchange, my compassion overrides my pride and I try to direct them to the right path out of their situation. A lot of times they didn’t get in the situation overnight, and they’re not going to get out of it overnight, no matter how badly they want to.

I find myself doing the same thing to God though. I run to Him with my problem or circumstance i want out of. He directs me to His Word, but i don’t always like the prescription. Instead of listening, i try other things, other ideas or anything besides what His path out of it is. It’s amazing how many times we all go to God with a problem, sometimes of our own doing, seek His path out of it, and then tell Him what we’re going to do. What we’re really saying is, “God, i know you have a plan for me, but i want to do it this way. Will you please bless it and let me do this my way?” How can we expect God’s blessings when we’re telling Him what we’re going to do instead of seeking His plan and path?

David, who was known as a man after God’s own heart didn’t approach God that way. In Psalms 25:4 he prayed, “Direct me, Yahweh, throughout my journey so I can experience your plans for my life. Reveal the life-paths that are pleasing to you” (TPT). If we want to experience all the blessings God has for us, we’re going to have to submit to His plan and walk on His path. God has no problem revealing His plan and path for how our lives should go. It’s up to us to obey and to stay on that path. When we get off of it is when we experience a lot of pain. Staying on God’s path doesn’t mean you’re not going to experience hardship, pain or set backs. It means you’ll have His blessings, guidance and protection through them. He has a plan and a path for you, but it’s up to you to stay on it and follow it.

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The Right Route

Whenever I’m on the road and need directions, I usually use Waze to help me get there. It finds the quickest route and gets me there at the promised time. To do that, it often takes detours through neighborhoods or back streets I’ve never been on. I’m at the mercy of this app, and have to trust that it knows what it’s doing. Sometimes it takes me through places where I wonder if I’m safe.

There are times when it tells me to exit or turn, and I think, “That’s odd. My exit is just ahead.” Early on, I just thought it was a glitch and kept driving. After trying to correct me a few times, it finally gave up and added a lot of time to my arrival time. It saw what I couldn’t up ahead and tried to help me avoid it. When I didn’t listen, I got stuck in the traffic it was trying to help me avoid. I’ve learned to trust that it knows best and can see what I can’t.

God is a lot like Waze in our lives. He knows our destination and the route He wants us to take. He plans out each detour to help us avoid hurts or pains, but often we think we know best and drive right past what He’s telling us to do. We can’t see what He sees up ahead in our lives. It takes trust to follow His instructions when we don’t understand. He even takes us on detours through places we didn’t know existed, but it’s all for our benefit.

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It gives great promises to those who listen to God’s instructions rather than man’s. One of those promises says that God charts the road you take (verse 6 MSG). God has charted out a road for each of us. It’s up to us to listen to His Word, meditate on it and follow it. He knows best how to get us where He wants us. It’s up to us to follow the path He’s charted out.

Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Elaborate Plans

A friend of mine recently called me to invite my wife and I to go somewhere with him. I said, “Sure! We’d love to.” He paused for a moment, then nervously asked, “Are you going to check with your wife first to make sure she doesn’t have any plans for y’all?” It was a good question with much wisdom behind it. I was about to make plans without checking with her first, much like many of us make life changing plans without asking God.

A friend of mine recently asked on Facebook, “Where in Scripture does God, or any of His prophets, tell us to follow our dreams?” Many people attempted to put verses from the Bible in there, but none could give one. His point was that we’ve become people who teach our kids to follow their dreams and to become anything they want, but we haven’t taught them to ask God what plans and dreams He has for their life.

There’s a saying that’s been changed through the ages, but the current one says, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” Too many times, we are making plans and telling God our plans without consulting Him first. Proverbs 16:1 says, “Mortals make elaborate plans, but God has the last word” (MSG). So many of my plans in life have changed because God’s plan overruled my plan. Thank God too because His plan is much better.

If the plans you’ve made for your life are falling through, don’t despair. Pray and seek God for what His plans are for you. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord” (NLT). God knows the plans He has for each one of us. It’s time we stopped what we were doing and asked for His plans. Until then, our plans will continue to fail. Trust me. I’ve been there and have had to start over a few times. It’s better when we ask for His plans. They’re more elaborate than ours.

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

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Following God’s Lead

Driving through Houston can be complicated. I had a customer once call me to tell me where they were on their way to training. I told them it should only take about ten more minutes to get to the location. After 20 minutes past, I wondered where they were. After 30 minutes I began to worry. When they finally arrived, I asked what happened. They had tried to drive to me without their GPS, started talking and missed the sign that had the exit they were supposed to take. Instead of coming right to me, they ended up passing me, but then took the loop around instead of making a U-Turn. They got caught in traffic, but eventually made their way to me.

Life can be complicated too. God has a purpose and a plan for each of us. He’s given us to Holy Spirit to be our GPS to guide and direct us, but we don’t always listen to Him. He’s also put up sign posts in our lives to help us know where to go, but sometimes we’re too distracted to see them. As a result, most of us take the long hard road to get to where He’s trying to lead us. We think we know better than the Holy Spirit’s GPS, so we keep going when He’s trying to help us avoid traffic and distractions. He has cleared the way for us, but we must learn to follow His leading.

After King Solomon prayed for wisdom, he built the Temple that God had told his father he would build. While dedicating it in 1 Kings 8, he prayed, addressed the people there then blessed them. In verse 58, he blessed them said, “May he (God) keep us centered and devoted to him, following the life path he has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms he laid down for our ancestors” (MSG). I pray today that God will keep you centered in the chaos around you. That He would give you direction with the decisions you are having to make. That He would keep you alert so you can see the signposts He’s put in your path. Also that you would be able to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice above all the noise, and that you would have the wisdom and courage to follow where He leads.

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Spiritual Resolutions

As we close the door on one year and open the door to another, I think it’s good to have a spiritual resolution for the new year as well. I believe Philippians 4:4-8 provides us with some great things we should resolve to do not just in the coming year, but throughout our life. Verse 4 says, “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!” (NLT) In 2019, don’t let anything steal your joy. Joy shouldn’t be based on your circumstances, and it’s where you get your strength from. Trust in what God is doing and stay joyful.

Verse 6 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” Refuse to let worry have a foothold in your life. It uses today’s strength for tomorrow’s problems. Turn your worry into prayer. Let the The things you can’t control push you closer to the One who can control them. Prayer changes our perspective and helps us to let go of the burdens that are too heavy for us to bear. Put them in God’s hands and take His burden which is light.

Verse 7 says, “Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Having peace in your heart, your mind and in your life is a wonderful thing. We were not created to live in turmoil. When we learn to trust a God with our decisions and with the things in our life that we can’t control, we can have God’s peace. Let His peace guide you in the coming year so that you operate in His will for your life.

Finally verse 8 says, “And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Choose what to think about. Your thoughts are powerful and determine the direction of your life. Don’t dwell on what could be, but focus on what is true. One true thing I focus on is that God is in control, and nothing that happens in my life is a surprise to Him. 2019 is already history to God. Resolve to make it the year that you trust Him completely and you will experience joy, peace and faith.

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The Right Route

Whenever I’m on the road and need directions, I usually use Waze to help me get there. It finds the quickest route and gets me there at the promised time. To do that, it often takes detours through neighborhoods or back streets I’ve never been on. I’m at the mercy of this app, and have to trust that it knows what it’s doing. Sometimes it takes me through places where I wonder if I’m safe.

There are times when it tells me to exit or turn, and I think, “That’s odd. My exit is just ahead.” Early on, I just thought it was a glitch and kept driving. After trying to correct me a few times, it finally gave up and added a lot of time to my arrival time. It saw what I couldn’t up ahead and tried to help me avoid it. When I didn’t listen, I got stuck in the traffic it was trying to help me avoid. I’ve learned to trust that it knows best and can see what I can’t.

God is a lot like Waze in our lives. He knows our destination and the route He wants us to take. He plans out each detour to help us avoid hurts or pains, but often we think we know best and drive right past what He’s telling us to do. We can’t see what He sees up ahead in our lives. It takes trust to follow His instructions when we don’t understand. He even takes us on detours through places we didn’t know existed, but it’s all for our benefit.

Psalm 1 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. It gives great promises to those who listen to God’s instructions rather than man’s. One of those promises says that God charts the road you take (verse 6 MSG). God has charted out a road for each of us. It’s up to us to listen to His Word, meditate on it and follow it. He knows best how to get us where He wants us. It’s up to us to follow the path He’s charted out.

Photo by Truman Adrian Lobato De Faria on Unsplash

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A Bird In Hand

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.


“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” is a proverb so many of us were raised with. From our childhood we are taught that we should hold onto what is certain instead of going for the unsure thing. We are taught that risk isn’t worth it through this proverb. I would even say that this proverb teaches against faith. It wants us to hold on to what we have instead of letting go to see what God might give us.

Abraham was a man who walked by faith. In Genesis 12:1, the Lord said to Abram, “Leave your country, your relatives, and your father’s home, and go to a land that I am going to show you” (NLT). In this verse, God is asking Abram to let go of the bird in the hand. He had security where he was. He had his father’s inheritance coming to him and the protection of family too. God was saying, “Walk away from all of this, and I will give you more than you could ever imagine or think of.”

I believe God still speaks that to us today. I believe He calls each one of us to trust Him on a level beyond where we are so that He can give us more than we have. The promise is only good if we let go of the bird in the hand. Abram was promised descendants, a nation, blessings and fame if only he would walk away from everything he knew. I wonder how long he wrestled with it. I wonder how long he questioned if he had really heard from God.

Because Abram was human, you know he had to struggle with these questions just like you and I. The difference is that he was willing let go of the temporary for the eternal. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” God has called you and I to live by the same faith he required of Abram. He calls us to let go of the bird in the hand and to trust Him. When we do, He rewards us with so much more. 

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Being Led By Obedience

Recently I attended the commencement ceremonies for my alma matter and a friend of mine had been asked to be the keynote speaker. He talked to them about how the Bible says they should dress for success in life. In one of his points, he made the comment, “Be led by obedience to God, not by opportunity.” I stopped and wondered how many times I had confused opportunity with the will of God. It’s natural to think when a great opportunity presents itself that it’s from God. More often than not, those times are tests of our faith to see if we are going to be obedient to what God wants or to do what’s expedient for ourselves.

If you know anything about the story of David in the Bible, you know that after he was anointed King, Saul began to hunt him down to kill him in order to preserve his royal lineage. In I Samuel 24, Saul was hunting David and went into a cave to relieve himself. What he didn’t know was that David and his men were hiding in that very cave. The opportunity presented itself to David to be able to take Saul’s life and assume the throne. It appeared that God had given him the opportunity to fulfill the promise He had made to him.

David’s men saw it as such and spoke to him about it in verse 4. They said, “Now’s your opportunity! Today the Lord is telling you, ‘I will certainly put your enemy into your power, to do as you wish.” His men were led by opportunity instead of obedience and they gave him bad advice. I’m sure they were tired of living in caves and were ready to live in palaces. They saw this as their opportunity to get out of poverty. They knew David had been anointed the next King so this must have been God’s way of making it happen.

David took their suggestion that this was God’s will instead of seeking it out himself. He made a split decision that he regretted. He snuck up next to Saul and couldn’t kill him. Instead, he cut off a piece of his robe. He heard the quiet voice of God in his spirit over the overwhelming voices of his advisors. He chose to obey God instead by not killing him. His conscious bothered him for even cutting Saul’s robe. In verse 6 he said, “I shouldn’t attack the Lords anointed one, for the Lord himself has chosen him.” He knew the scriptures had said, “Don’t touch God’s anointed.” 

The Word of God should overrule any opportunity that presents itself. God will not ask you to do something that is contrary to the Bible. He may allow opportunities to arise in your life, but He will not ask you to chose them over obedience to what He’s already said. It takes wisdom, patience and courage to do what God says even if opportunities present themselves as God’s will for you. Always take time to seek out God’s voice over man’s when opportunity knocks. Don’t just assume it is God giving you what you want. Be led by obedience not by opportunity.
 

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