Tag Archives: God’s Will

M5G Our Guidance Story, Because Our Lord is Shepherd

Our Story of Learning Guidance

Our Story of Learning how to trust God's guidance. Our hearts were in turmoil. There was no peace for either of us in our present situation without God's guidance, even though Jim was making good money. We had absolutely no idea what to do. Something had to change.

Our hearts were in turmoil. There was no peace for either of us in our present situation without God’s guidance, even though Jim was making good money. I worked during income tax season and was able to stay home with our two preschool children. We were renting a nice house with eighty pine trees in the yard, but we were miserable. We had absolutely no idea what to do. All we knew is that something had to change.

A minister mentioned something that caught our attention, “God has a plan for your life. That plan is demonstrated in the Bible as the Promised Land to the children of Israel.” We started to read our Bible with this in mind. How do we know God’s plan for our lives?

Jim and I discussed, “What is truth? What really matters?” The Holy Spirit brought to our remembrance a verse of Scripture we had learned in Sunday school as children. Jesus told his disciples, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me” (John 14:6).

“If Jesus is the only truth and life, then why aren’t we following Him?” we said.

The Shepherd's guidance

Together, we repented before God for not making Him first in our lives (even though we were going to church), and decided to find that Promised Land plan that God laid out for us before the very foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:4).

We had heard the story of the escape from Egypt and the deliverance through Moses and the wilderness journey, but reading it for our personal guidance brought no comparison. We realized we were as much in bondage as Jacob’s offspring in Egypt. We searched the Scriptures to see how they got there. We were shocked to find Genesis 46:2-3, “I am God . . . Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there, I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again . . . .”

We were amazed that God told Jacob to go to Egypt where bondage was the plan so He could get them out of it, and then get the glory for doing so. We realized it was not a mistake for us to be where we were–in bondage–and that God was with us and hearing our groaning as much as He heard the Israelites (see Exod. 6:5).

We had felt the $10,000 debt we made for ourselves was something we had to deal with in our own strength–and the job, too; but, now, we knew God wanted to deliver us, His way, and that deliverance was His job.

Are we Willing to Follow the Shepherd’s Guidance

Guided by Lord My Shepherd

We both felt Jesus tugging at our hearts with these words, “Now are you willing to relinquish all and follow me?”

The Lord continued to show us that He had met His disciples before the time He asked them this question. It was as though, He was still walking along the seashore saying, “Come, follow me.”

Our answer could be nothing other than yes. It was no different than when some of Jesus’ disciples turned back from following him, “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the twelve.

“Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God'” (John 6:67-68).

It was time to act on our faith and to take a stand. Having God’s Word on it, I could confidently tell Jim, “I think you ought to resign. If so, I will never second-guess your decision.” Feeling he could always find work, he put in his notice.

We read all the book of Deuteronomy; then, reread it again. The day after the job notice was up, August 1, 1978, when we had been in Carthage eleven months, God quickened Deuteronomy 1:3 to us, “In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month,” after the children of Israel had been in the wilderness.

Verse 6 also popped out at us, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country . . . .” “How do we do that?” I asked Jim.

Jim found it first. We did not know the children of Israel had to cross two rivers. All that was in our minds was the Red Sea, with Moses (Charlton Heston) holding out his rod so the people could cross over on dry land. But, they had to cross the Jordan River, too! The book of Joshua brought more light to our path, confirming our way, to stand still and hear the words of the Lord.

“Sit still” is what we did, with the encouragement of two Godly women we could talk to. Other well-meaning friends said, “If you think you want to work for the Lord, why don’t you go to seminary?” We knew this could not be God’s plan because we were already in debt with school.

This only caused us to search more Scripture to discover that Jesus’ disciples did not need seminary to be used by Him. Even the apostle Paul, after meeting Jesus, did not consult any man, but went immediately into Arabia to seek the Lord and later returned to Damascus when he began his ministry (see Gal. 1:15-17).

Jim and I were flooded with peace as we camped at the river’s edge, listening to the words of the Lord; that is, until the three days turned into three months, and we came down to the last $3.00 to our name.

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You have just read one fifteen-minute segment of two chapters in the book GOD Who Are You? AND Who Am I? that gives details about how we are like sheep and need a Shepherd’s guidance. This second chapter detailed the 3 harbor lights to watch for as we seek God’s plan and guidance for our life. I think about these lights every day, because that’s how often I need to make a decision.

This printable of the 3 harbor lights will give you a hint of the secret to really knowing how to follow the Lord with confidence–if you’ve not read the whole chapter. To know more about the free eCourse, click the LEARN MORE  link below. We would love to have you join us. May God bless you in your quest.

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M5F Circumstance Guidance, Because the Lord is Shepherd

HARBOR LIGHT #3: CIRCUMSTANCES – 10%

Circumstance Guidance

By the time we get to this last harbor lighthouse, we have an assurance in our heart of what we think God is telling us, especially if we have researched the details. We know if an opportunity does not present itself, it was not God speaking in the first place. It may have been a selfish ambition or a desire from a wrong motive. In these cases, closed doors are good. Proverbs tells us that “in his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps” (Prov 16:9)-or is in control of circumstance. With experience, we find we don’t have to be afraid to try to open doors of opportunity, because one thing we can be sure of-a door will not open that is not right for us-when we are earnestly seeking God’s will.

Marlene finished her book, queried forty-one publishers and spent a ton on postage. Not one bought her book. But she had God’s Word on it. She had a piece of the rock to stand on, and she knew it was His calling and His will that her story be told, and published.

Finally, and unexpectedly after six years, a publishing house gave her a contract. She had heard about a new publisher, and then God brought the editor to her local writer’s conference. The circumstances finally lined up with the other two lights–in God’s timing, not her own. And with the promotion of the book, she realized that any time sooner she would not have been able to deal as well publicly with the sensitive nature of her life story.

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In the fullness of time, the Israelites obeyed and broke camp to cross the Jordan. The priests carrying the ark went ahead of them. As soon as they reached the Jordan and their feet touched the water’s edge, an act of faith, the water from upstream stopped flowing. It piled up in a heap while the water flowing down to the sea was completely cut off. “So the people crossed over opposite Jericho. The priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel passed by until the whole nation had completed the crossing on dry ground” (Josh. 3: 16-17).

All the people had to do was to obey and follow the ark–not hurrying or losing focus–not getting distracted by threatening “things” on the right or left-hand sides. God did the rest like slipping a hand in a glove. God is the hand; we are the glove. The hand just moved into the glove. The people of the second generation learned how to allow God to work through them.

Circumstance Must Line Up with the Word and Holy Spirit Counsel

Have you ever seen a firefly at night moving slowly along an evergreen branch? Until it takes the next step along the sprig, the green section underneath cannot be seen. The bright yellow light of the firefly is much like God’s Word is to us, for “it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Ps. 119:105). Amanda and Mark’s story shows how we cannot know God’s guidance until we start taking steps and persist in trusting God with the results.

Guided by Lord My Shepherd

Amanda and Mark needed a lot of guidance in how to make children a part of their marriage. In the very beginning of their search for adoption agencies, a friend asked, “Do you think an international adoption would be the way to go?” Deciding it would be too expensive, they tried a private attorney. Up-front fees were less expensive and they heard it was easier; however, after two failed adoptions and eighteen months, they were discouraged and gave up that idea. Next, they tried foster parenting classes. After the first class, Mark was not interested.

Amanda kept a journal, recording God’s encouraging words to her, along with her disappointments. The main Scripture that kept them going was Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”

Their thoughts went back to the international adoption idea. They learned it was possible to adopt two children at one time through an agency near them. They checked out references and received positive feedback. They could have two children within one year. “By this time, we just knew that God was directing us this way. People wondered why we didn’t adopt in America. We prayed through the whole process that God would guide us and we just had faith that He was.”28

After paperwork and home visits were completed and flight dates arranged to a Russian orphanage, discouraging problems still loomed. Their scheduled flight in April was cancelled. They had to wait and wait some more. Finally, another date in June. Mark made a determination, “We will not come home without two children.” By faith, they prepared a nursery.

In a city northeast of Moscow, the couple was given a picture of three-year-old Alexey. The minute Amanda saw his picture she knew he was their child. He had Mark’s furrowed brow and a little frown on his face. But, the biggest part was his name. “During the recent Olympics there had been a Russian ice skater named Alexey. I thought it was the most beautiful name and I went around the house saying, ‘I’m going to name my baby Alexey.'”

Circumstance Lines Up for Mark and Amanda

The next day, the Ministry of Education called to say they had another child for them to consider-an infant by their standards. He was two years old, with soft blue eyes, with the same name Alexey. With no reservations, they knew God had given them their family. When circumstances lined up, with confirmations, they did so quickly.

God not only guided them to their children, but he provided for them. Adoption tax credits made the adoptions affordable. A few years later they went back for a beautiful three-year-old girl named Annalyse, making their family complete.

Circumstance is Always the Last Light to Line Up

Circumstance Lines Up

Choices and decisions of a lesser degree that we make every day are made so much easier with the three harbor lights in mind. Anita had a friend who was threatening her husband with divorce after learning of his infidelity. They had a two-month-old baby boy. She knew she needed to share God’s love with Sally, which she had never done. Her heart pounded and tears came to her eyes every time she thought about it. God’s Word was very clear she should go and share (see Matt. 28:19-20). She knew she had the Holy Spirit’s witness in her heart, so she asked for confirmation, “Lord, if you want me to go to Sally and tell her about how I became a Christian and that You can save her marriage, please let her call me first; then, I’ll know you are leading me, without a doubt.”

Within hours, the phone rang, “Hello Anita, this is Sally.” The final harbor light of circumstances lined up. Anita was obedient, and through her fear, trusted God to give her the words to share. That was the last time Anita had contact with Sally, but she learned that she chose to stay with her husband. They accepted the Lord as their Savior, moved from town, changed jobs, got into the Church, and reared nine children.

As the pilot of a ship trusts in the captain, we can trust our Shepherd to lead us. He is the one who qualifies us, and says, “I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them” (Isa.42:16).

When we follow Jehovah-Rohi, we gain experiential knowledge we will have no other way. “Surely goodness and love will follow [us] all the days of [our] lives, and [we] will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).

ENDNOTE
28. Laura Hyer, “Couple Becomes Family,” Fort Scott Tribune, (November 15, 2002), p. 1-2.

M5E Counselors Guidance Because Lord is Shepherd

HARBOR LIGHT #2: HOLY SPIRIT AND OTHER COUNSELORS – 10%

Guided by Lord My Shepherd

Nothing can take the place of getting into God’s Word ourselves. But what if we are new to the Bible and have little experience in testing inner impressions against Scripture? This is when it is helpful to know Godly Christians who live the Word. If we know someone like this, we need to ask them to be our spiritual mentor. The Word tells us, “Where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety” (Prov. 11:14 KJV).

The First Counselor is Holy Spirit

The first counselor we have is the Holy Spirit in our heart. The question is, “What does our heart tell us?” The Psalmist writes, “I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel . . . .” (Ps. 73:23-24). “Your statutes are my delight; they are my counselors” (Ps. 119.24).

Again, we see the Word as our main counselor. When the Holy Spirit works in conjunction with the Word, they bring peace to our heart, and we know we are on the right track.

Still, there is a need for other counselors. Even mature Christians continually need confirmation from others in Christ’s one body to help solidify decisions of guidance. The Bible tells us we should seek confirmation in order to let every matter be established by the testimony of two or more witnesses (see Matt. 18:16). God honors these requests for confirmation to make a wise decision. This is all a part of asking God for His wisdom in the matter and then not second-guessing it when He gives it; yet, we are not to test God.

Both Matthew and Luke record Jesus’ words to not put the Lord to a foolish test (see Matt. 4:7 and Luke 4:12). This can be likened to asking God to cause a blue car to drive by next if we should do such and such, or like the lady who altered her drive to work to avoid passing her favorite bakery. She accidentally forgot one morning, approached the bakery and prayed, “Lord, it’s up to you . . . if you want me to have any of those delicious goodies, create a parking place for me directly in front of the bakery.” Sure enough, on the eighth time around the block, there it was!

Godly Counselors can be God’s Vessel to Bring His Guidance to Us

Multitude Counselors Safety

Marlene waited for God’s voice of confirmation. She had her first harbor light–God’s Word. But, her initial attempts at finding a publisher failed and she found it hard to finish her task. Well-meaning friends only discouraged her more. Next, a leader at a writer’s retreat which she had not planned to attend, said, “God chose you. As you abide in him, your life will bring forth fruit.” Marlene knew in her heart God was speaking directly to her through this speaker. She was challenged to make a goal of completing her book in one year, which she did.

Followers of Christ can be God’s vessel to bring His word to us. For those at the river’s edge, the officers, God’s messengers, relayed the words of guidance to the people. After the three days were complete, they went into all the Israelite’s camps and commanded them, “When you see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests, who are Levites, carrying it, you are to move out from your positions and follow it” (Josh. 3:3). The ark of the covenant contained the Ten Commandments on the tablets God gave Moses and the people, and it represented His presence. In the wilderness, the people followed the cloud that went before them. Now, they were to follow His Word.

“Keep a distance of about a thousand yards between you and the ark; do not go near it,” (Josh. 3:4) the officers told the people. They had to wait still longer until they could visibly see the ark before taking one step. If they got too close and touched the ark, they would die. We have to be ever so careful not to be hasty. Running ahead of God can be fatal. It is a serious matter. If He is not in a situation, we can lose everything: finances, friends, family, and freedom. Haste truly does make waste (see Prov. 21:5).

This point of haste cannot be overemphasized. This is what God personally explained to Joshua, Chapter 1:3-4 . Satan is constantly attempting to side-track us from our divine destiny by distracting us with “things” on the right and left-hand sides. These temptations of hasty major purchases such as a new house, a new car, more of this and more of that–time-consuming “toys” take our minds away from pursuing God’s purpose for our lives. Major changes in life are always necessary, but only with prayer, patience, and rational research processes do they bring peace. Wise King Solomon gives God’s wisdom, “The plans of the mind and orderly thinking belong to man, but from the Lord comes the [wise] answer of the tongue” (Prov. 16:1 Amplified, emphasis mine).

Satan uses three areas to tempt us: the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, and the pride of life, then he says, “You deserve it. Do it now!” This do it now urgency is no less than being pursued by the Egyptians who pursued the Israelites crossing on the dry ground of the Red Sea.

This is why Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one” (Matt. 6:13).