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Staying On Course


When I was a teenager, I was very involved in a camping program through my church. One of the badges I had to earn was for orienteering. I had to learn how to use a compass, read a map and plot courses on a map. I also had to go on a several mile hike through a dense forest using my compass. They handed me a topographical map of the area, gave me several coordinates and told me where to start. 

I took my first coordinate, set my compass and started walking. I had to measure my steps because my next turn was two hundred yards in. The deeper I got into the woods, the harder it was to find the markers I was looking for. It was also more difficult to look ahead several hundred yards. I had to go to a tree in my path, walk around it and reset my path. If I was barely off at all, I could be twenty yards or so from the hidden marker in the woods that I needed to write down.

I made it through the course and earned my badge. As I think back on that experience, it reminds me of what it’s like to follow God’s plan for my life. There’s no real trail, I just know the direction I’m supposed to go and I’m not sure where the markers are hidden. There have been many obstacles in my way that have tried to knock me off course, but I’ve kept at it. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing in your life.

Psalm 119:1-2 says, “You’re blessed when you stay on course, walking steadily on the road revealed by GOD. You’re blessed when you follow his directions, doing your best to find him” (MSG). God has set a course for each one of us to run. He’s given us the compass of His Word to help us navigate, and the Holy Spirit to help us measure our steps. It’s up to each one of us to utilize the tools He’s given us to do what He’s called us to do. If you’re off course right now or stuck, go back to the Bible and seek the Holy Spirit’s help. You can get back on course and finish your race well. 

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Listo Para Cristo

On one of my previous trips to Haiti, as we were beginning our final decent into Port au Prince, one of the young ladies on our team looked over at me and said, “Listo para Cristo.” If you’re unfamiliar with Spanish, she literally said, “I’m ready for Christ.” What she was saying was that she was ready to see Him and to be used by Him on that trip. She was opening herself up to His will in her life. That’s a great way to live and really should be the mantra for our lives each day.

When I think of bring ready for Christ, I think of the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25. They were all waiting for the groom to show up for the marriage feast. When he was delayed, they fell asleep. At midnight, the cry rang out that he was coming. Five of them realized that they didn’t have enough oil for their lamps. The other five were ready for whatever. They had extra just in case he was delayed. The five without oil left to buy more, but while they were gone, he showed up. The five who were ready went in with him. Jesus concluded that parable with, “You, too, must be ready.”

Not only do we have to be ready for Him to come, we must be ready to do what He asks when He asks. Romans 12:13 says, “When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them.” Being ready doesn’t mean when the need arises, you go get everything you need. It means you are prepared beforehand. You need to be mentally prepared to help anyone that God lays on your heart to help. Pray and ask God to keep your eyes open to those who may need your help today. That’s the first step in being ready.

Another step in being ready is to have some funds ready to be disposed of in order to help. I know a man who carries a hundred dollars in his wallet at all times for the sole purpose of giving it away. He wants to be ready to meet the needs of anyone God brings into his path. What he’s doing is not just being ready, he’s putting extra oil in his lamp so that he is ready for whatever. I know a hundred dollars is a lot for many. Pray and ask God how much you should keep on you in order to be ready. You never know when God is going to put someone in your life who needs you to buy some gas, get some groceries, pay for their lunch or to just sit down and listen to them.

Listo para Cristo is a way of life. It’s how God wants each of us to live. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that no matter what your circumstances are, there is always someone who has it worse than you. We are without excuse when it comes to being ready to help others. We have the opportunity right now to do something to get ready to be used by Christ. You can begin by praying and asking God to use you. Then have something on you to give out. It can be cash, it can be a gift card, a stroller you don’t use, a bag of canned goods or anything that God puts on your heart. If you’re going to be used by God in the future, the time to get ready is now.

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