Woman Makes Plans . . . and God . . .

by Terri Gillespie

The heart of man plans his course, but ADONAI [the Lord] directs his steps. Proverbs 16:9,TLV

Are our plans wholly committed to the LORD? Or are we wholly committed to the LORD for our plans?

My husband and I stared at one another in confusion. You could practically see questions marks bouncing on top of our heads. We were sure we had heard from the LORD. As we had stood in faith, the doors of favor opened for us in supernatural ways. Why had everything fallen apart?

The job my husband loved for thirty years had become extremely stressful. Multiple layoffs meant additional workload was piled on him. Most likely all this stress contributed to a heart attack and a subsequent triple bypass. It was time for him to retire—early. I prayed for several years that God would make a way, even though there was no way.

God did it.

One thing He made clear, we had to move from our beautiful home and the people we loved in Philadelphia. That was a “Gulp Moment.” But the cost of living and the inclement weather were a deadly combo for my husband.

An opportunity arose for us in Georgia. Friends asked us to help them build a ministry in a small town. God seemed to shine a ray of sunshine on the opening.

The move was successful, and we began working the plan God showed us. But then, little by little the work seemed to change. Still, we pressed in and prayed through the challenges and hurdles confident this was God’s will.

Finally, it all fell apart for us. We needed to resign from the work and those with whom we worked. We were devastated. And confused. Hence the question marks bouncing off our noggins.

Through much prayer and wise counsel, we learned a valuable lesson. Many times, the plans the Lord gives us are merely the means to another plan He has in the works—one we might never have anticipated had we not followed the original plan.

But because, in our case, we were so committed to the plan, we didn’t listen for His new direction. The original plan became a mess and we kept trying to fix what was unfixable.

Sometimes our commitment to our plans become the obstacle to keep us from hearing from the LORD for the next leg of our journey.

Initially, these plans may have been dedicated to the LORD–or we believed God had called us to the task. However, over time we focused on the plans and missed pivotal moments when the LORD was guiding us to alter or complete them. We ceased to commit ourselves to God and His full plan and were only committed to the original plan—which had been merely a part of the total plan.

Are you struggling with circumstances that seem unfixable? Perhaps, it’s time to go to our Heavenly Father and seek whether a step or a turn was missed in the journey. He will let you know—He will let us all know. No matter how noble or Godly our plans are, we need to remember to make sure we are paying attention to His direction for His plan.

Heavenly Father, I was so sure you wanted me to do this. I was wholly committed to it. But now things seem wrong, and I cannot fix it. I want to be wholly dedicated to You and not the plan. If I have missed a turn in this journey, please show me. Then show me how to get back on the path You have called me to. I love You. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. Her newest novel, Sweet Rivalry, releases later this year. 

Cut it Out! (The Hair Mavens Book 2) by [Terri Gillespie]

Join the conversation: Has God ever taken you on a less-than-straight route to where you ended up?

Watch the Rear

by Terri Gillespie

The prudent see danger and hide, but the naïve keep going and pay the penalty. Proverbs 27:12 TLV

A friend of mine is a counselor who uses horses for therapy. She has worked successfully with PTSD patients and those with developmental and emotional disabilities. A few years ago, she began working with “ordinary” folks who want to learn how to identify issues they may struggle with, in order to overcome them — to be more of the person GOD created them to be.

I like horses — from a distance. They are magnificent creatures. I respect the work she does. However, I have a fear of horses. I come by that fear from past events — my mother-in-love died of a heart attack chasing one of their horses, and my grandfather had a horse fall on top of him and subsequently died.

So, when my friend “blessed” me with a complimentary retreat, you must know that I loved her and trusted enough to consider the gift. Nevertheless, I only agreed once she assured me the session did not include riding. All exercises with the horses were with everyone’s feet on the ground.

Was I still nervous? Yes.

One of the exercises was to move a tethered horse with the light touch of your hand on their backside. The horse will only move if you were calm and gentle. I was amazed when the horse actually moved at my touch.

My friend then said to go to the other side of the horse and move the horse back to his original position.

My first thought was, “Don’t walk behind the horse. It’s dangerous.” And what did I do? I ignored that thought and proceeded to walk around his ample rump. My friend calmly stopped me and said, “I know we didn’t discuss not walking behind a horse, but it’s not a good idea for an inexperienced person to do so.”

At that point, I confessed to having had the warning thought. She asked me, “Why did you ignore your own warning?”

My friends, at that time I had no clue. Why would I deliberately ignore the warning? Not trust the wise internal counsel?

Those questions I took to my Heavenly Father, where He showed me things from my past that caused me to not trust the discernment He had given me. Mostly, the root comes from my insecurities. My default is to doubt I’m special enough to hear from Him. I mean, really, “Why me?”

But that is a lie. Over time the Holy Spirit identified the lies and helped me yank them out. Without the lies, I can better hear GOD’s truth.

The practice of doing this is part of my sanctification process.

Have you ignored those little warning messages from the Holy Spirit? Over the years I’ve learned that when I do, and there is a negative outcome, I take note—not to beat myself up about it, but to have Him help me identify the root of my inability. I need discernment to know He is showing me something to keep me from of harm.

One thing has become clear, the difference between prudence and naivety is whether we pay attention or ignore GOD’s voice of wisdom.

May we pay attention to GOD’s warnings, my friends. And no more “walking behind the horse.”

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and speaker Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. She no longer walks behind horses.

Making Eye Contact with God is a women’s devotional that will enable you to really see God in a new and fresh way. Using real life anecdotes, combined with Scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women see Him.

Join the conversation: When is the last time you walked behind the horse?

Which way?

by Nancy Kay Grace @NancyKayGrace

Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5 NIV

Have you ever gotten to the wrong destination when using a GPS? Occasionally I’ve been sent astray while trusting the voice of an unknown person dictating directions from the car’s GPS.

Like the time when I traveled to speak to a women’s group at a church, and ended up on a steep, rocky, hilly road. At the end of the wooded road were two signs: “No Trespassing” and “Beware of Guard Dog.” The voice informed me, “You have arrived at your destination.”

Hmm, this was not the church I looked for.

And then there was the time when my husband and I were looking for an address in a suburban area. We expected to make a turn onto another street, but instead we were guided to a cul-de-sac with no outlet. We listened for the next direction.

The voice stated: “Park your car and walk to the destination.” The map indicated the destination was in nearby trees. We laughed and were confused. No, we didn’t get out and walk. After reloading the same address, we were directed to the correct house several blocks away.

In both of those scenarios, I eventually got to my desired destination, although I felt frustrated and the travel took longer.

It is easy to get off track when we listen to the wrong voice. Even when that voice sounds convincing, sometimes it leads us astray. With so much noise in today’s culture, it is harder to hear and heed God’s voice.

I desire God to direct me, especially in such uncertain times. I can easily fall in discontentment or discouragement. In order to be open to God’s ways, I have to intentionally quiet my mind and tune my heart to the Word of God. Thankfully, the Spirit nudges me to seek the Lord for guidance.

King David wrote, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long” (Psalm 25:4-5 NIV).

When I turn to the Lord, he settles my heart with true hope.

“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” (Psalm 25:9 NIV). To become humble, I need to look in my heart to see if anything is hindering me from hearing the Lord, and confess it to God.

Is there discontentment? Bitterness? Hurt feelings? I am reminded to confess those hindrances of spirit to God, allowing Him clear the way for His guidance.

“For the sake of your name, O Lord, forgive my iniquity, though it is great. Who, then, is the one that fears the Lord: He will instruct him in the way chosen for him” (Psalm 25: 11-12 NIV). The Lord promises guidance for us when we seek him with our whole heart.

We won’t be lead astray when we tune our heart to hear Him, not the voice of the culture. The journey may take longer because of God’s timing, and there may valuable faith lessons for us to learn along the way. But God leads us when we seek Him.

Will we listen, watch, and follow?

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Which way? – insight & encouragement on #FollowingGod from @NancyKayGrace on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Nancy Kay Grace is a redeemed perfectionist who is learning to trust God’s voice more, and the GPS less. She is a speaker and award-winning author of The Grace Impact, a devotional about the touch of God’s grace in our lives. Please visit https://www.nancykaygrace.com to sign up for the monthly GraceNotes devotional newsletter.

Join the conversation: How has the Lord directed you in the past?

When You Don’t Know What To Do

by Sheri Schofield

Yogi Berra, All-Star catcher for the New York Yankees, once said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”

Don’t you wish it were that simple? Each of us comes to many forks in the road of life. Which way should we go? How will we know which path is God’s plan for us? Does God have an absolute plan for our lives? If we take the wrong road, will we miss out on God’s blessing?

I used to think that God’s will for my life was linear—like a map on paper. I would do my best to discover his will, but I did not always choose correctly. I made the best decision I could on the information I had. Sometimes I could not get full information about the choices available to me because my leaders would not tell me. No details… not even the basics!

As the years progressed, I learned that God’s will is not linear. It is not like a flat map or a board game of Scrabble. It is more like the game Upward, which is like three-dimensional Scrabble. One can build any word up from the one already formed, so long as the new word is a legitimate word going both upward and across.

I learned that God is not bound by my mistakes! As long as my eyes are on him, he will put me back on the right path if I miss it.

The prophet Isaiah wrote to the rebellious Jews, who had made some very, very bad mistakes, “People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you! Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way; walk in it,”” (Isaiah 30:19, 21 NIV).

Sometimes I don’t hear that voice telling me which way to turn, though. I sometimes find myself feeling like a squirrel halfway across the road with a car bearing down on me! (I often identify strongly with squirrels, which is why I watch out for them.) As creatures near the bottom of the food chain, squirrels behave in a predator-avoidance manner. The squirrels freeze when they see a predator approaching, then dash away at an angle as the predator closes in. This works for avoiding big animals charging at them, but it really stinks for avoiding cars!

I’m like that. I freeze when I’m afraid and then sometimes make decisions to avoid trouble at the last moment, dashing toward what I feel is safe. This is not always a good move! But God is good to me anyway. He’s always looking out for me, and if he sees that I am afraid, and I call out to him, he will slow down and patiently wait for me as I try to discover his will. He does not allow me to be devastated or crushed by his displeasure.

Eventually, if I wait and listen for God’s voice, he will make his directions clear. I just need to be still and wait on him. As a squirrel-type, I find that this isn’t easy! I want to dash out into the road to get away from fear. So when I must make decisions, I ask the Lord to hold me still in his mighty hand and to calm my fearful heart while I wait.

He is faithful. He will speak.

Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10, NLT

When You Don’t Know What To Do – encouragement from Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofield

About the author: Sheri Schofield is an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years. Sheri was named Writer of the Year in 2018 at the Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Read Sheri and her husband’s amazing story in One Step Ahead of the Devil: A Powerful Love Story. Thrust into national politics because of her husband’s work, Lissa McCloud struggles to save the life of the man she loves from those who are bent on his destruction. Based on true events, the reader is taken deep into the heart of national politics –all the way to Congress and the President of the United States.

Join the Conversation: How has God guided your mistakes into opportunity?

Torn Between Two Fathers

by Ginny Dent Brant @ginnybrant

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:33-34 NKJV

I grew up a card-carrying daddy’s girl who followed wherever her father went. For me that meant political rallies, the Capitol, and eventually the White House; my father served a Senator and three Presidents. He taught me how to dance, and we cut the rug to the same beat for many years.

That rug was pulled out from underneath me, when my father’s career caused me to move again. This devastating move motivated me to look beyond myself for answers to life’s disappointments. I got involved in Young Life, gave my life to Jesus, and began to grow in spiritual ways my parents did not understand. My father felt my dedication was misguided. He feared I might become a “gosh awful missionary” who lived in poverty.

Motivated by love, he blocked my path. He forbid me to attend a Bible College I felt God was leading me to. I was torn between my earthly father and my Heavenly Father. I wanted to please my father, but how should I deal with my spiritual promptings?

In the midst of my tears, my Heavenly Father brought Matthew 6:33 to comfort and guide me.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (NKJ).

I’d grown up in a life doused with worldly success. I’d never been at a crossroads where my faith in God and doing His will put me at odds with my own father. Yet this verse was instructing me not in man’s ways, but in God’s ways. His Kingdom and his desires must be first in my life—not my father’s worldly definition of success. This verse gave me the courage to step out in faith in obedience to God. It also gave me assurance that God would take care of “all these things”—in this case my concerns as I obeyed.

As I continued down the forbidden path and attended that Bible College, my dad continued to express his disapproving warning: “You’ll never be success in this world.” It was hard to say no to a man who advised presidents. It was devastating to realize my father and I were no longer dancing to the same beat.

My Heavenly Father was teaching me to dance to His  beat—a radically different definition of success. The dance with my Heavenly Father was so wonderful, I wanted my father to share in the joy and eternal significance I had found. Yet, we continued to twirl in different directions.

In desperation, I barraged the gates of Heaven for my dad. I endured subtle persecution. I sought the counsel of a wise professor. He advised me to keep praying, live my life as a witness and allow God to work in my dad’s life. I heeded his advice, prayed daily, and strived to let Dad see Jesus in me.

Looking back, I now realize God was working from the first moments I began to pray. One night, I left a plaque under his pillow that read, “The purpose of life is to serve God.” In 1978, my father surrendered his life to Christ. He gave up his political career to enter full-time ministry. The logo of his ministry came from that plaque. To get his training, my father entered the same Bible College he had forbidden me to attend!

When my father put God and His Kingdom first, He transformed my father from a political strategist to a Kingdom strategist—a man who would help the underground churches and the Romania come to freedom after Communism. My father became that missionary he’d once forbidden me to be.

My father and I were finally dancing to the same tune again. I was no longer torn between two fathers. We’d both learned the eternal significance of putting God and His kingdom first and dancing to His beat. It’s a lesson we struggle with daily. My heart continues to overflow with praise to God—even after my father’s passing to Heaven from Alzheimer’s disease. One day, we will dance again in eternity.

Torn Between Two Fathers – encouragement for #FollowingGod from @GinnyBrant on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

About the author: Ginny Dent Brant is a speaker and writer who grew up in the halls of power in Washington, DC. She has battled cancer, ministered around the world, and served on the front lines of American culture as a counselor, educator, wellness advocate,

and adjunct professor. Brant’s award-winning book, Finding True Freedom: From the White House to the World, was endorsed by Chuck Colson and featured in many TV and media interviews. Her recent book, Unleash Your God-given Healing: Eight Steps to Prevent and Survive Cancer, was written with an oncologist after her cancer journey. Learn more at www.ginnybrant.com.   

Join the conversation: Have you ever experienced a conflict in guidance between the Lord and someone you respected? What did you do?

A GPS Story

by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 NIV

Since Global Positioning Systems (GPS), have become so common, nearly everyone has one in their phone or built into their car. These systems are so sophisticated; the nice lady’s voice can guide you to just about anywhere. And if you accidentally take a wrong turn or exit, it’s okay, she’ll just recalculate and guide you around to the correct road and back onto the right path again.

My friend Paula and her sister were on a road trip in Maine. Her sister drove, and Paula navigated with the help of her phone’s GPS. They were driving at night and didn’t want to try to add the hotel as a destination in the dark, so they decided to use both of their phones. Paula set her sister’s phone with the directions through the city, then set her own phone with the hotel directions. The first GPS successfully directed them all the way through the city. Paula then switched phones, activating her phone’s GPS for the pre-set directions to their hotel.

After passing through the city, the lady in the phone directed them to take the exit, so they did. Paula thought it weird that they would be exiting so soon, because the picture on her GPS said the turn was still another mile and a half down the road—but they obediently followed to oral directions.

As soon as they took the exit, the lady guided them around and back onto the highway. Once on the highway, she told them to take the exit again—and they did. Then again, as soon as they exited, they were guided back onto the highway. It happened three times. On the fourth time, as her sister was obediently about to get back on, Paula shouted, “Don’t do it! Just pull into this gas station, so we can see where we are!”

Once under the light, Paula could see her sister’s phone in her lap, right under the one she was holding. She had forgotten to end the navigation to the town after passing through it, so the first GPS kept trying to take them back to the city. The two GPS’s had the exact same voice; they thought they were both coming from the phone in her hand.

The competing voices had them driving in circles.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had competing voices trying to take me in circles as well. Sometimes we all just need some clear guidance. It might be in relationship choices, work related decisions, or family matters. Sometimes it’s hard to tell which voice to listen to and which way to go. There are a lot of voices coming at us at the same time and they can all sound pretty convincing.

In order to get on the right road, I’ve had to get into the light of God’s Word. The Bible is God’s GPS (God’s Positioning System). Psalm 119:105 NIV says; “Thy Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” God’s Word is His voice, and it brings clarity. When you’re in need of guidance, no matter what your situation, He has the answer.

I don’t mean to sound trite, but if we are Christ Followers, so we need to follow Him—learn of Him and have His heart for His people. We do that by listening to His voice and following His instructions. He will never lead us astray. So, today, switch off the conflicting voices, get out God’s Word, His GPS, and listen to the only voice who will lead you in the right direction to a blessed life.

A GPS Story – encouragement and insight from @TerriClarkTCM on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Terri ClarkAbout the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.

Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.

Join the conversation: What voices are trying to get your attention?

Moving Toward Greatness

by Christina Rose

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you.  I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others.”  Genesis 12:1-2 NLT

When God asked Abraham to trust him by leaving all he had ever known to take his family and travel to a foreign land, it required enormous faith.  “It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.”  (Hebrews 11:8 NLT)

God promised Abraham a great inheritance because of his trust. “And [Abraham] believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (Genesis 15:6 ESV).

As I approached my 60th birthday, I knew a big move was in store for me, but I didn’t have the details. I was repeatedly moved out of my comfort zone, so that I would be ready to leave when I was given guidance. I sold or gave away almost everything I owned. Then suddenly, through synchronistic events, it became clear that I would be moving to Florida.

My elderly Aunt Joan was in declining health and needed someone to help her. I did not want to leave my adult daughters in California. But God started shutting doors quickly to show me that it was time.

The evening before my long drive to Florida, I stared at the tiny pod that held the remainder of my meager possessions. Panic and fear gripped me as I cried to the sky, “I can’t believe you’re making me start over at 60!” A soft whisper answered, “I can’t believe you’re giving up at 60.”  God continued to reassure me that He was with me.

Abraham would never have achieved greatness had he not obeyed God’s call to move. As I tearfully waved goodbye to my daughters the next morning, I prayed for the same faith that Abraham had when he left the life he had always known.

For five months I cared for Aunt Joan, taking her shopping, making her meals, caring for her yard and home. During those months there was plenty of time to pray and ponder on the beach.  It was the first time in many years that I wasn’t juggling a long commute to a stressful job, and managing a house, bills, and kids on my own.

I had accepted being worn out and weary as my normal state of being. And like me, Aunt Joan was still trying to find peace with her divorce, relying on her tiny dog for company while she waited for her two adult daughters to come home.  I had never seen these things about myself until I saw them in Aunt Joan.   

Once my assignment in Florida ended, I moved to Denver to live with extended family. As the sun sets over the mountains each evening, I think of my daughters in California and know that I will be returning to them soon. Our lives will be restored, better than before.

While sometimes life is confusing to us, it is never confusing to God. He is a God of strategy and is our constant companion as He moves us towards the greatness of His mighty plan. He is worthy of our trust and rewards those who choose to believe Him.

Moving Toward Greatness – insight from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: Has God taken you to places that required you to trust Him?


Follow the Road

by Lori Altebaumer @Lori_Altebaumer

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8 NIV

I have never understood why the very first thing my vehicle’s navigation system feels compelled to tell me is “Follow the road.” Is it worried I might drive through the neighbor’s front yard instead? I think perhaps my GPS has control issues. And if you know me, you know how I feel about control issues.

Of course, there is a time to admit our weaknesses and seek dependable guidance.

Recently I found myself driving home from a writing conference in Oklahoma City on Labor Day. Since the trip would take me through the holiday weekend traffic of Fort Worth, I decided to program my navigation to direct me home by a different route through the country. A friend recommended an app for my phone that would not only direct me but warn me of things like cars parked on the side of the road or dangerous debris in my lane. This app told me everything—to the point of being annoying.

I reached the last major turn I was unfamiliar with and knew it was a straight shot down to the next town about thirty miles away. From there I easily knew my way home. Finally, I felt confident in turning off the pesky voice that kept interrupting my music. What could possibly go wrong?

Well let’s review a few things that could possibly go wrong. For starters, I have terrible night vision, and it was almost dark. And while I was currently on the correct road, I failed to notice that there were two highways joined here. The one I needed to continue taking would split off in a few miles. And we can’t leave out the fact that I have a terrible sense of direction.

To make a long story short, I made a long trip even longer. I missed my turn and ended up driving in the exact opposite direction I needed to go. I was headed right toward the place I had gone out of my way to avoid.

I now had plenty of driving time to consider the error of my ways. I thought about all the times I do this with God. He is my perfect guide. He alone knows the path I’m meant to take and what lies ahead.

But sometimes I let a few miles of smooth travel make me overconfident. This directly impacts my decisions. Maybe it’s a situation I’ve faced many times before. I think I’ve got it handled—no need to pray about it this time.

How about when I am reading a devotion or Bible study and I skim over or even skip reading the Scripture because I already know that one, and, well…I’m in a hurry? In my overconfidence, I stop listening to the only voice that sees the path before me and can guide me safely home.

Before I know it, suddenly I’ve missed a turn and find myself careening into trouble that could have been avoided.

Thankfully when this happens, if I seek His leading, God will always guide me back to the right path. First, I repent—I stop going in the direction I’m headed. Then I turn the GPS—God Positioning System—back on through prayer and Bible reading.

God’s Word isn’t meant to bore us with trivial observations or repetitions. If He says it, then it is significant.

There is no way we can go, no path so familiar, that God’s direction isn’t still needed. He alone knows what lies ahead.

Follow the Road – insight from @Lori_Altebaumer on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Lori AltebaumerAbout the author: Lori Altebaumer is a writer and editor who only half-jokingly tells others she lives with one foot in a parallel universe. She is a wandering soul with a home-keeping heart and a love of words and story. Lori loves sharing the joys of living a Christ-centered life with others through her writing. Now that her nest is empty, Lori enjoys traveling with her husband and visiting her adult children where she can rummage through their refrigerators and food pantries while complaining there’s nothing good to eat here (payback!). She blogs regularly from her website at www.lorialtebaumer.com, and can also be reached on her Facebook page @lorialtebaumerwrites.

Join the conversation: What is the best “direction” you have received from the Lord lately?

Following God’s “Eye”

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

God has said, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye” (Psalm 32:8 NKJV). How does that guidance work?

I loved playing point guard on defense. In the years I played basketball, my job was to stop the forward momentum of the other team’s leader. I could anticipate which direction she would pass the ball by which way her face pointed—where her eyes were looking.

It’s the same with God. Although we can’t physically see Him, we can anticipate which way His face is pointed by what His Word says.

“For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” 1 Peter 3:12 NKJV

God loves righteousness—the right way of thinking, feeling, and acting. Jesus is our best example of what righteous living looks like. He faced every temptation and won (Hebrews 4:15). He faithfully carried out the Father’s will (Philippians 2:6-8). We can look to His example and teaching to know how God wants us to live, and how He wants us to walk in this life—what paths and pitfalls to avoid, and the paths He wants us to take.

To have God’s guidance in specific situations, we have to stay close to Him. We won’t know which way our Father is looking if we are off doing our own thing. Too many times when I have found a new project to tackle, I want to rush into it without asking God for guidance. When we draw near to God, He draws near to us (James 4:8), and as we purify our minds and hearts, we will be able to receive His direction better. We will know what He has for our lives and our ministries.

To follow God’s eye, we have to know what He loves and what He hates. He hates pride, lies, and taking innocent life (Proverbs 6:16-17). He hates disobedience, unforgiveness, and brutality (2 Timothy 3:2-3). He loves mercy, kindness, and humility (Colossians 3:12). He cherishes love, light, and wisdom (Ephesians 5:2, 8, 15).

Where is God’s eye pointing you this week? Remember that He cares about what you’re going through and how you are serving Him. He has a plan for victory, strengthening, and effectiveness. Let’s celebrate that our great God who is perfect in wisdom, love, and power is willing to direct us. Then let’s follow Him. I’m ready. Are you?

The eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, on those who hope for His lovingkindness. Psalm 33:18 NASB

Following God’s “Eye” – insight from @KatyKauffman28 on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

headshot_katykauffmanAbout the author: Katy Kauffman is a Bible study author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. Her writing tends to focus on winning life’s spiritual battles, and she loves connecting with writers and creating compilations such as Breaking the Chains: Strategies for Overcoming Spiritual Bondage. Katy makes her home in a cozy suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

Her latest book, Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character explores the questions: How does God make our character more like Christ’s? What is His part, and what is ours? This Bible study compilation is a construction guide to building godly character and overcoming the hidden problems that sabotage us. It explores how God works in our lives and gives us wisdom to handle real-life issues.  

Join the conversation: Have you ever felt the relief or peace that comes with being certain of God’s will? How did you receive His direction and guidance?

Don’t Be Fooled

by Julie Zine Coleman @JulieZColeman

For You are my rock and my fortress; for Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.                                                                                                                                  Psalm 31:3 NASB

In early 1970, comedian Flip Wilson became a household word when his sketch “The Devil Made Me Buy This Dress” aired on the Ed Sullivan Show. Wilson played a minister’s wife who is trying to justify recently buying another new dress. She was walking downtown, minding her own business, she explains. The devil started whispering things in her ear. She saw the dress in the window, resisted, but then he shoved her in the door. He made her try it on. Then he held a gun to her head until she signed the check.

The minister asks his wife: how come when the devil is at work, she is the one who always benefits, and he is the only one who pays a price?

“I asked him that,” the wife assures him. “He said you owe him. He told me that if it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t have a job.”

In reality, we really are largely guided by our thoughts. But who guides what we think?

Of course, it could be ourselves. Our beliefs and ideas do provide a framework for our actions. What we desire can be a strong influence on choices we make—either for good or bad.

Then, there is the Holy Spirit. In the evening of His impending arrest, Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit following His departure. He described Him as the “Spirit of Truth.” The world would not see Him or know Him. But Jesus’ followers would. The Holy Spirit would come and live within each of them. He would teach them all things and guide them into all truth. His presence would be a driving force; and when yielded to Him, believers would be inspired to speak and act (John 14).

Paul assures us that every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling within them as a guarantee of our salvation (Ephesians 1:13-14). Many of our thoughts are directly from Him.

But there is a third influence on us. That person is Satan. He tries to function like the Holy Spirit by suggesting thoughts and attempting to guide. But his guidance is not based in the truth. He whispers lies into our ears, twisting truth just enough to throw us off the path and into the dark. Exactly where he wants us to head.

How can we tell which of these three is the originator of a thought that occurs to us?

I struggled with this when I was trying to decide if I should leave a rewarding ministry (teaching elementary school) to pursue writing and speaking full time. The idea of going to seminary nagged at my thoughts frequently. But I worried: where did all this passion come from? How could I know for sure it was God who had planted the desire in my heart?

I shared my struggle with my friend Beth. “Why would you think it was anyone but God who wants you to do this?” she asked.

I confessed it was because I wanted it so badly. It was so exciting and new and would fulfill a dream that had been mine for a very long time. But it would require abandoning an ongoing ministry that God had provided. Would He really direct me away from that now?

Then Beth asked a question that would settle the matter for me. “Will God be glorified if you do this?”

Of course He would. I wanted to teach His Word and teach it well. I wanted people to understand His love and grace and mercy. All I wanted was to bring glory to His name.

“Then do it,” she commanded. I knew she was right. I resigned from twenty years of teaching and enrolled in seminary. And have never looked back.

We have a lot of thoughts. We have strong desires. But before we act on them, we need to compare that idea with the truth of God’s Word. It is consistent with its wisdom? Would it enable us to reflect the character of Jesus? Would it bring glory to His name?

Don’t be fooled. God would not direct us to do anything in opposition to His Word. As Jesus told His accusers, a house divided against itself will not stand (Mark 3:25). Scrutinize your thoughts and desires against His truth. And you won’t be led astray.

Don’t Be Fooled – insight from @JulieZColeman on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Julie-Coleman-headshot-295x300About the authorJulie Coleman helps others to understand and know an unexpected God. A popular conference and retreat speaker, she holds an M.A. in biblical studies. Julie is the managing editor for Arise Daily. When she is not glaring at her computer, she spends time with her grandchildren, gardening, or walking her neurotic dog. More on Julie can be found at unexpectedgod.com and Facebook.

Does the Bible depict women as second-class citizens of the Kingdom? Jesus didn’t think so. Unexpected Love takes a look at the conversations Jesus had with women in the gospels. You will fall in love with the dynamic, beautiful, and unexpectedly personal Jesus.

Join the conversation: Have you struggled with knowing from where a thought or idea has come?