I lifted my arm to check the time, adding two hours in my head as I had done for over two months. Several months back, I failed to charge the battery in my Fitbit leaving it discharged for days. It wouldn’t sync to my phone and, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to fix it.
Timing was off. Updates failed. Downloads unsuccessful. A tool designed for aiding, tracking, and instilling healthy habits remained unable to reach its purpose or potential.
I can’t help but wonder how many of us walk around out of sync with the Father; our spiritual batteries left drained and discharged.
Unable to track His right timing – choosing to adjust the schedule as needed. Designed with more potential and for a higher purpose, yet unable to download Kingdom information. Attempts to change fail. Desires to put Him first wither like the leaves of a dead vine.
This was my life for many more years than I’d like to admit. With as many excuses as the hair on my head, I was left unsure how to fix it. Missing my “burning bush” encounter with God because I was too busy to pause and experience it. All the while, the passion I pursued Him with said a lot about the value I placed on Him.
Although we have an eternity ahead of us, we have a limited time to place Him on His rightful throne and make each breath count. When we seek His Kingdom first and learn to number our days, we gain a heart of wisdom filled with His insight and navigation (Psalm 90:12).
As Moses prepared to meet his Deliverer face to face, he told the Israelites, “to love the Lord with all their hearts and soul, to choose life, to listen to His voice and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life … (Deuteronomy 30:10; 19-20).”
Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? I suppose Moses knew that too because he made sure to encourage the people that this “tall order” was, in fact, not too difficult or beyond reach, up in heaven nor beyond the sea but that the word is very near in our mouth and our hearts (Deuteronomy 30:11-13).
Psalm 103:15-16 says, “The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it, and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”
We are flowers planted by the hand of a Good Gardener to bloom and flourish and thrive.
But how do we do that? How do we make today count, focusing less on the failures of yesterday or the concerns of tomorrow? How do we love the Lord, listen to His voice, and hold fast? There’s one central choice – honor Him as the center of our life, our plans, our goals, and our decisions.
- By choosing to blossom in the field where He’s planted us, not someone else’s.
- By recognizing it is the Gardener that decides when we’re planted and in what field we are planted.
- By resolving that the grass isn’t greener in the pasture of tomorrow or next week or when such and such happens but instead learning to see the green directly under our feet.
As tall as Moses’ order seemed, these are the keys to our inheritance and it starts with a willing heart. One baby step toward your Father’s open arms. You might stumble a little along the way, as any baby learning to walk, but His loving hand will keep you from falling.
“The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand. (Psalm 37:23-24)
Friend, God’s desire has always been to walk with us in the cool of the Garden. The abundant life Christ paid for you to have, the miracles He wants you to experience, and your purpose, which is far beyond anything you can think or image, is waiting for you.
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He finished off the knot and placed the stick in her hands. After a few gentle spins and guiding her in the general direction, he released her. Blindfolded and a little dizzy, she swung.
Her friends burst into commotion as her first attempt met the empty air.
Undaunted by the miss and more sure of the direction, once more she fired her warrior stick, slightly grazing the pinata’s tip. Determined to annihilate the only thing standing between her and the desires of her mouth, she reared back and swung with all her might, twirling as though she were dancing for an audience.
I wish I could say she snapped it in half but frustrated by the attempts, she pulled the blindfold off, paused briefly to watch it sway in the tree, and marched to the back of the line.
So often, I’ve approached life choices the same way, whether it’s to establish a healthy habit, spend more time with God, built a character trait, pray more, or (insert yours here). Tired from the attempts, I pause briefly before marching to the back of the line to try yet AGAIN.
All the while, the treasure stands within reach but sways in the tree reminding me of another failed attempt.
Sounds familiar? Did you know that 80% of all resolutions end by the second week of February? Now, I’m not one to set New Year’s resolutions because you can start making a difference at any time, but I think this applies to most changes in life. We start off with a sincere desire to make different life choices only to have life changes derail us. The new excitement wears off, and we fade back into the same routine.
That’s why I’m excited about our next series here on the blog: “At The Crossroads.”
Benjamin Franklin said it this way, “We stand at the crossroads, each minute, each hour, each day, making choices. We choose the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the passions we allow ourselves to feel, and the actions we allow ourselves to perform. Each choice made in the context of whatever value system we have selected to govern our lives.”
In my life, I have made some great choices, but I’ve also made some incredibly bad decisions. Those really rotten ones, well, they were governed by my value system. A system consisting of my desires and dreams, past experiences, the opinions of others, and more.
Every choice you and I make is a crossroad. A decision that cannot coexist with another. In Scripture, we find four overall main crossroad areas, which we will cover in the weeks ahead: God, self, others, and money.
“This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it and you will find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
From this one verse, we learn:
- God speaks. Are we taking the time to listen?
- Pause – if you’re “standing,” you’re not moving so take time to pause and be still.
- Look – evaluate the choices ahead.
- Inquire – Ask for an enlightened vision to see the ancient path He chose for you long ago; the excellent way that leads to life. Ask and ask again.
- Walk – For any change of direction, it must be acted upon.
- Find Rest – Our soul’s rest comes from following His leading in all areas.
So, sign up for the newsletter, grab your Godly goal sheet, spend some time pausing, looking, inquiring, and listening over the next week. Then, check your e-mail next week for your first set of worksheets and meet me back here as we dig into the most crucial crossroad – God.
Let’s make this the year we rip off the blindfold and swing our warrior stick!
I don’t know about you but our New Year started off blazing … literally! Our New Year’s morning began with faulty carbon monoxide alarms ringing in our ears and the wintry cold air nipping at our nose while we sat outside waiting for the fire department to give clearance.
As the world welcomed in 2018, the final calendar page turned, and a new chapter began. The future – unwritten.
For years, I’ve spent the first few days of the new year choosing an overarching one-word theme for the year ahead, each one preparing me for a new direction of His leading.
Fearless. Anchored. Passionate. Purposeful.
Because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), I want to start the year by cleaning out His temple. Sweeping out any desires not from His throne room, straightening up any plans that do not align with Him, and dusting off hidden dependencies to reveal the beauty of His plan under the surface.
As God creatively made all things from nothing, we see that “the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed according to their own kind (Genesis 1:12).” We too can only produce or yield fruit according to our “kind”. And because we live in the world, there is always a strong tug to live of the world.
It’s no wonder, then, that God told the Israelites not to sow their fields with two kinds of seeds (Leviticus 19:19). One will soak up the nutrients, growing and thriving, while the other will barely survive and die.
So my desire for this year – and every year – is to “yield“. A word full of both give and return. Surrender yet receive. Its two-fold. A yielded heart to His desires and plans so that my testimony yields or produces His faithfulness and love to others.
Like the mustard seed which starts off as the smallest seed on earth and grows up to becomes the largest garden plant, it must be planted. When we allow God to water our mustard seed of faith, it becomes a shade and shelter for others (Mark 4:30-32).
But, to live this yielded life I first have to receive, surrender, and submit to the Father so that I can yield – bear, produce, display – fruit according to His will for our lives.
How about you? How do you choose to live a year of intention? By selecting a word of resolution? Are you determined to abide by a fixed purpose? Steadfast and immovable?
So are you ready? Here are a few steps to get you started.
- Invite God in. No one knows your future better than the One who is already there. He is the only secure source of wisdom.
- For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. Proverbs 2:6-9
- Reflect on the past year. God prepares the soil of your life to harvest fruit in the next season. Where have you been over the last year? What struggles have you faced? What lessons have you learned? In what areas did you invest your time? Were there any life-changing events? Where did you excel? Any missed opportunities? As you ponder the past year, write down words or phrases that surface.
- Search the Scriptures. Take your time here. Pray over each word and verse where He leads you, remembering His word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path (Psalms 119:105).
- Anchor it with a verse. Once the Lord has selected your word, find an anchor verse – a verse that resonates with your word. Because God’s word does not return void (), I think this step is a critical part of living it out.
- Commit. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans (Proverbs 16:5). He establishes our plans AS we commit them to Him. Some ways to determine are to keep a journal, memorize your anchor verse, so it becomes second nature, and write out all other verses related to it. Ponder how this word applies to all areas of your life.
- Share. While your word is “yours”, it is most likely to affect those around you. So don’t be shy, share what God is doing in your life.
In 2015, my word was loved – living loved by Him. That year turned out to be the hardest year ever but through it all, He showed me His heart for me. I was truly able to live loved. Not only did He reveal His heart in Scripture but everywhere I turned, I found a heart. I kid you not, in the trees, the bushes on our fence, the wood grain in a door, a heart-shaped leaf that flew into my hair; the list is endless.
In John 5:39, Jesus said, “You search the Scriptures because you suppose that, in them, you will find the life of the ages. And it is those Scriptures that yield testimony concerning me.” Friends, it is our lives that yield testimony concerning Jesus Christ. People are searching high and low for the “Life of the Ages”. Allow your life to yield testimony concerning Jesus.
Whether this is your first or fifteenth year to choose a word, January or July, expect to encounter the God of compassion who shows up when we seek Him. It’s never too late to start!
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