February 10, 2014

You Don’t Have To Fear The Unknown; God Is Already There

Do you have a fear of the unknown? If so, then you know how nerve-racking it can be. Fearing the unknown can cause us to live on pins and needles as we spend precious energy anticipating the worst-case scenario. There are two problems with this type of fear:

1. The future is not here. 
2. The future is not ours.

While the future may be out of our hands, it’s not out of the hands of an adequate and trustworthy God. When we face a worrisome unknown situation, we can look to Joshua as an example.

It’s recorded in the first chapter of Joshua that before Moses died, God passed the baton of leadership to Joshua. The Israelites had been wandering in the desert for 40 years under the guidance of Moses. Now, their journey was almost over. Just beyond the Jordan River was their promised land—the land that God had guaranteed to Abraham and his descendants.

Upon reaching the Jordan River, Joshua and the Israelites set up camp by the stream and awaited God’s direction. Much like their meeting with the Red Sea, God had to make a way for them to cross over the river.

On the third day, God told the officers to instruct the people that when they saw the Ark of the Covenant (where God’s Presence abided) to follow it because they had “never passed this way before” (Joshua 3:4). In essence God was saying, Follow Me and I’ll see you through this unknown territory.

That’s not all. The people were instructed on how closely they should follow the ark. Without this instruction, the people would have crowded the ark and God wanted every person to be able to see His presence ever faithfully leading them through the unknown valley. What greater encouragement could they have than this, that the Lord was their God, a God who was with them?

God Understands Your Fear

You see, friend, the Lord understands our fear of the unknown. He realizes that you may be in a situation that you’ve never passed through before and you’re afraid. It may be the first time you’ve been without employment. Maybe you’ve just been diagnosed with an illness or your child is in rebellion. You’ve never been down this road before and you don’t know which way to go or what to do. God will guide the way.

Joshua’s life was unpredictable and full of unknowns much like yours and mine. Yet, he successfully resisted fear by keeping his focus on God rather than the events surrounding him.

Just as God guided the Israelites through unknown territory, He will guide you and me too. When we come to a place we’ve never passed through before, God is always present to help us.

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; (Isaiah 43:2,3b, NIV).

Even though the children of Israel were not told how they would pass over the river, the people went forth in faith. We too can move forward in faith sharing in the promised presence of God leading the way through our unknown circumstances.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your promised presence. It comforts my heart to know that I am not alone. Lead me, Lord, through the unknown in my life. Make Your path clear and I will follow it. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Today’s post was taken from Micca’s book, An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger Than All Your Fears. If these words have encouraged you, order your copy by clicking here.

Something To Ponder: Instead of focusing on the unknown, focus on our faithful God. Below is a picture of His attributes listed from A-Z to get you started.

 

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February 5, 2014

Taking Back My Joy

All of us have a daily routine—a series of chores, errands, and tasks that demand our attention. To add to that pressure, we’re supposed to tack God onto an already over crowed schedule.

I admit it. Sometimes my feet are already running before they hit the floor in the morning. It’s difficult to find time to “be still” before God. I’ve discovered when I don’t take time to seek God’s presence and strength for the day, I become weak, anxious, and deplete of joy. When I allow my sense of awe and wonder drain away, I lose the value of who God is—my helper, provider, counselor, peace, and my source of joy.

Jesus realized our preoccupation with daily duties would cause us to worry about these things instead of live in the care of God. Jesus said, “Do not worry about your life, what your will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?” (Matt 6:25).

When I read these words I wonder, how can I live this life without worrying about the daily grind that takes time and attention to maintain?

I long for peace and joy in my life. It would be awesome not to worry about the basics by trusting in God’s care. But how?

You and I have to turn our attention to God. When we sit and mediate on the wonder of our great God, we experience a sense of love, peace and joy. We become certain that God knows right where we are. He hasn’t forgotten me. He is more than able to care for my needs.

When you and I began to see God in everything, joy fills our hearts. God is everywhere. He is with you and for you right now.

If life’s routines are wearing you down and stealing your peace and joy, take time to seek our God’s love, goodness and majesty that is revealed in creation. Let your joy be renewed in who God is—and who you are to Him. Then, you’ll find His strength, purpose and provision even in your most difficult moment.

Verse to mediate on: “Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me” (John 14:1).

Truth to hide in your heart:

Turn your eyes on God who is willing to release us of our burdens and our cares—those things that weigh heavy on our hearts— and take them on himself.  That’s why he invites, come to me all you who are weary—from trying to please everybody, from trying to belong and fit in, from seeking security in material things, your job, or position or popularity—come and I will give you rest.

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February 3, 2014

When I Am Weak

Our greatest strength may be to give up and trust God. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve learned this truth over and over.

For example, being a single parent when my son was young was difficult on many levels. Most of the time I felt tired and overwhelmed by all my responsibilities. There was no one to share concerns with—no one to worry with, plan with, or give a bath to my son when I needed a break.

To make matters worse, we lived in an upstairs duplex. When my son was a baby, it was a challenge getting him, his diaper bag and the groceries upstairs at the same time. I didn’t want to leave him in the house or the car alone so I piled on the items. Once I climbed to the top of the stairs, my next challenge was unlocking the door with my arms filled to overflowing.

Most days I felt like the whole world rested on my shoulders. And that was scary for me. While I tried to carry the load, I was too weak. It was crushing me, and yet, I continued to fight. I tried harder. I had to. I had to be strong. If I put down the load, who was going to pick it up?

One day, while searching my bible for encouragement, I came across verse: My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.Hope awoke in my heart when I realized my situation was an avenue to experience God’s strength. I didn’t have to put on a brave face, or pretend to be made of steel. I simply needed to surrender my weaknesses to God in exchange for His strength.

God didn’t expect me to parent alone, but gave me His strength in my weaknesses. He promised, “that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). That promise is yours, too.

At that time, I didn’t know I could look a verse up in original Greek to find a deeper meaning as I do today. So, I looked it up. The word “rest” literally means “a tent or covering.” Christ’s power over my circumstances and in my weaknesses is a shelter in which to rest, take refuge from the storms, and is a protective covering.

Those words came alive in my heart! That’s just what I had experienced. God’s grace—his strength both then and now is more than enough when I am weak.

I recall praying to God about my situation asking for help. I don’t remember my circumstances changing right away. But I had a renewed sense of God’s presence and power in my life, and no longer felt alone.

Through the assistance of others, I began to see God’s activity in the life of my son and me. He had always been there offering help. I just needed to swallow my pride and receive it. When I let my friend cut my grass and the teenager next-door play with my son so I could do household chores, I felt equipped to press on with all the other challenges of daily life.

In facing our struggles and fears, it’s vital that we yield completely to God. When we do, God can use our burdens as an avenue for His power and grace.

Are you tired and worn from constant worry?

If so, then you’re in a perfect place to surrender you care to Him and experience His strength in your weakness.

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January 31, 2014

Create A New Habit

I came across an article this week that I really identified with. The author asked if I’ve ever noticed fear does its dirty work by asking questions? It asks you questions about you. It asks you questions about God. It asks you questions about your future. And it makes you doubt. So fight back with your own questions. Here’s some to get your started:

  • Who is bigger – God or your problem?
  • Who loves you with a never-ending love?
  • Who promised you eternal life through his only Son in a place where fear will be no more?
  • Who sees you as perfect and righteous due to your faith in Christ?
  • Who knocked down the walls of Jericho?
  • Who got Joseph out of prison?
  • Who parted the Red Sea?
  • Who saved Noah from the flood?
  • Who really took down Goliath?
  • Who died on a cross for your sins?
  • Who defeated Satan, sin and death?
  • Who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? ~ Mitch Miller

The answer, of course, is Jesus! I like how his questions take the focus off of my problem and refocus my attention on Christ.

His exercise is similar to one of my mine when it comes to battling fear. As soon as fear starts to make me feel week, insecure or steal my joy, I quote scripture. “The battle is in the mind,” the bible says. And I want to be prepared to fight.

I began by choosing verses in the back of my bible on the topic of fear. Those that spoke to me, I wrote down on a piece of paper and kept it in a handy place. Whenever fear began its dirty work in my mind, I’d refocus my attention on God’s promises. Here are a few of my favorite.

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13)

“Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again” (Exodus 14:13)

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6)

“So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can Man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27)

Listen, my friend. The Lord wants you and me to learn a new habit rather than worry. He wants you and I to say,

“I trust you with my cares.”

“Your Presence and love are like a shield of protection for me.”

“Peace is mine when I keep my thoughts on You.”

“You, Lord, are with me and for me. What or whom shall I fear?”

Forming a new habit takes practice and it takes time. But I promise if you change your habit from worry to faith, it will take hold and fear will lose its grip.

You are in my prayers today. If you have a specific request, leave it in a comment and I will be happy to lift your concern to heaven above.

Have a blessed weekend!

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January 29, 2014

Facing Your Fear

In the last post, we learned that fear doesn’t come from God. It comes from Satan in the form of a lie. That’s easy to understand. The problem is sometimes I catch myself believing the lie. (I’m not good enough) And the lie holds me back from living my life and accomplishing all God has for me.

“What fear is holding you back?”

  • Failure
  • abandonment/rejection
  • intimacy
  • success
  • being broke
  • parenting
  • loneliness
  • what others think of me
  • not being good enough
  • ________________ (fill in the blank)

We can all find something that haunts us. Take William for example.

Will is a wealthy man and yet he lives in great fear he’ll lose everything over night.

Janie and Blake’s close friends lost their son to a drug overdose. They are terrified their son will succumb to the pressure of a drug pusher.

Jon and Angie carry the burden of failure. They’re afraid they didn’t do enough for their kids. They failed to prepare them for the world. Now, they worry their kids will be failures too.

Lindsey has so many friends getting divorced she lies awake at night wondering if she adequate as a wife for Sam.

Heather’s husband walked out on their marriage while she was pregnant with their first child. She suffers with feelings of rejection and fears being alone the rest of her life.

Dennis wonders if he’s going insane. He’s suspicious of others around him. He always feels as if someone is out to get him.

Ella realizes her intense dislike for her boss is because she’s afraid of her. She sees her boss as someone who controls her life and future.

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If you saw yourself in any of these examples be reassured you’re not alone.

I’m not the only one in my household who struggles with fear, worry and anxiety either. Both my husband and daughter do as well. Here’s what we’ve learned.

Our fear is 100% dependent on us for its survival. Therefore, I have power to destroy it—to not allow it to hold me back from a life of peace and purpose! Here’s how.

1.)  Look Your Fear In The Face.

Acknowledge your fear. This may be hard to do at first but it will get easier. What is that fear that disturbs your daily activity? Name it.

2.)  Write It Down

Take that fear that lives in the dark places of your mind and bring it into light on the outside. Writing down your fear externalizes it.

3.)  Speak Truth

Say out loud, “This fear doesn’t come from God. It’s a lie. God doesn’t give me a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-control.”

4.)  Put It Under God’s Authority And Leave It There

I’ve learned there’s a direct connection between God’s presence and the absence of fear. When I put things I fear under His authority, those things lose their power to terrorize me.

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Sometimes You Must Do What You fear.

We were on our way to school to hear Peyton, my daughter, sing in the school choir. On the way, Peyton had an anxiety attack. I had to pull over on the side of the road.

Through her sobs and tears, Peyton explained that she was too afraid to stand with the others and sing in front of an audience.

That’s a normal fear for most. It was a fear I understood. (Did you know I had a fear of public speaking?) My heart ached for my daughter. She loves to sing. My first instinct was to take her home and hold her. However, I knew if I did she wouldn’t grow past this fear.

We talked about it in the car. We talked about how fear was a lie from the enemy. We discussed how he wanted to hold her back and steal her joy of singing and this was not God’s plan.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

I prayed for God to give her strength to look her fear in the face and sing anyway.

After I prayed, I asked Peyton what she wanted to do.

“I want to sing.” She said.

Peyton sang that night at school. I could still see fear on her face, but she pushed through it. I was proud of her. By pushing through her anxiety, Peyton discovered the fear didn’t hold any real power.

Guess what? The following year, she sang a solo.

Food For Thought: Your fear is 100% dependent on you for its survival. Will you keep the fear alive or put it to death?

Truth To Remember: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future”(Jeremiah 29:11).

Let’s practice acknowledging our fear and writing it down. Leave yours in a comment below. The fear I most struggle with is not being good enough.

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January 27, 2014

Where Fear Came From

Angel is our little Pomeranian. She’s a sweet dog, obedient, and good with people. But Angel has her quirks. Every time I take the vacuum cleaner from the closet she runs to the back door, dances around in circles and barks to be let outside.

She’s also afraid of thunderstorms. We know when a storm is brewing before the local weatherman does. Angel begins to shake and pant in such a way you think she’s going to hyperventilate.  No matter how we try to calm or comfort her, she can’t let go of her fright until the storm passes. That’s not all.

She nearly has a nervous breakdown each year during Forth of July. In fact, whenever there’s loud noise, Angel scurries across the floor as fast has her little legs will take her and hides. She wasn’t always like this. Angel use to be as carefree as puppies go until… someone got to her. And that someone was my mother-in-law.

I was away at an event. My husband was at work. My mother-in-law was at our house waiting on the bus to bring the kids home from school. But the kids didn’t come home this day. They were in lock down due to the horrific weather. Several tornados had been stopped in the area.

Back at the house, my mother-in-law grabbed Angel, ran to the nearest bathroom and got into the tub until it was safe to come out. Thankfully, the tornado passed over our home. Others were not as lucky.

Later, when it was all over and everyone was safe, she told us how frightened she was.

“I’d never heard the wind so loud before,” she explained. “I thought a tornado was really going to hit the house. I held onto Angel as tight as I could and screamed until the noise passed and the wind had calmed.”

No wonder Angel is afraid of storms and loud noises. I would be too if I had gone through such a traumatic experience with Me-maw! (smiles)

Poor Angel. No matter how we try to care for her, she runs and hides.

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You might say a similar thing happened to Adam and Eve. Here were two people that enjoyed an intimate relationship with God. They walked with Him in the cool of the day. They depended on Him for their every care and need. Life was good. Delightful. Fulfilling. Safe. Joyous. Until… someone got to them. That someone was Satan.

Satan convinced Adam and Eve that if they disobeyed God and ate of the tree of good and evil, their eyes would be open and they would be like God (Gen 3:5).

So Eve took a bite of the fruit turned to Adam and said, “Here, dummy. Eat this.” And Adam responded, “Okay.”

Once their eyes were open, they hid themselves among the bushes. When God called to Adam, “Where are you?”

Adam replied in a timid voice, “I heard you coming and I was afraid and hid because I was naked” (Genesis 3:10-11).

Right there in the garden, Satan introduced fear in the form of a lie.

“You will be like God.”

Satan had gotten to them. His lie drew them away from God and into sin.

Ever since we’ve been afraid and hiding from God and His care too. No matter how God tries to comfort us, provide us with peace and protection from life’s storms, we hold tight to fear allowing it to steal our joy and trust in God.

Food For Thought:

When was the first time you recall being afraid?

Do you run from or hide your fears? If so, why?

Truth To Remember:

Fear doesn’t come from God.

“For God did not give us the spirit of fear, but of love, power and self-discipline” (1 Tim 2:7).

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January 24, 2014

No Fear

 

My husband and I are opposites. He’s cautious and a bit of a worrywart. I’ve been described as a free spirit. I love, however, that he takes care of everything from grooming the dog to life insurance that he keeps in a lock box at the bank in case anything ever happens to our house.

Pat constantly quizzes me about where the key to the lock box is hidden.

“You know, explains Pat, in case something happens to me all you’ll need is this key.”

Sometimes I make fun of his ways, but honestly, they make me feel safe. Plus, he’s a good sport when I want to take an adventure!

One summer, while vacationing, my husband attempted his first daring feat! Joined by friends, we ventured with the kids into a water park. They had every kind of water slide imaginable.

The most adventurous slide was one that dropped straight down, providing the thrill of free falling. This slide was for the brave and the daring only. Conservative people, such as my husband, usually admire this type of slide from afar. Not this day.

His friend pulled the man card and challenged him to go down the slide. Our son agreed! “Let’s do it, dad!”

Pat slowly climbed the tall stairs of the giant slide, looking back every so often as if he were going off to war. I just smiled and waved.

Once the three reached the top, our son went down first followed by our friend. Now it was Pat’s turn. He peered over the top of the slide and then took a few steps back.

“You can do it, dad,” our son yelled. Pat still didn’t get into position. When he finally peered over the top again, I called up,

“Hey! Just in case, where did you say the key to the lock box is?”

That did it. He sat down, crossed his arms in front of his chest, leaned back and away he flew!

Good news. He made it and lived to tell about it, too! The only dreadful thing that happened was his bathing suit ended up around his neck. But it was worth it to have conquered his fear.
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The Bible says, “God does not give us the spirit of fear, but power, love and self-discipline” (1Tim 1:7).

So where does it come from? How can I battle it? How can I have a faith stronger than all my fear?

I hope to answer these questions over the next month or so.

Why? Because fear seems to haunt just about everyone I know or meet in some form or fashion. That’s why I wrote a book on the topic. It’s also my most asked for topic to speak on. While preparing for an event this weekend, I decided to do a series on, Finding A Faith Stronger Than All My Fear, on my blog. Just for you!

I will post every other day during the week. (This gives others time to catch up if needed.) I don’t post on the weekends. That time is spent with my family or Speaking.

I hope you’ll join me and tell a friend!

 

 

 

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January 23, 2014

There’s More Than Snails

I love the ancient legend about a swan and a crane. It goes like this…

A beautiful swan settled on the banks of a pond where a crane was wadding through the murky water looking for snails. The crane finally noticed the swan and inquired,

“Where did you come from?”

The swan replied, “I come from Heaven!”

“Where is that?” questioned the crane.

“You’ve never heard of Heaven?” replied the swan.

For the next few minutes the swan talk non-stop about the beauty of Heaven. She shared about the streets of gold. She told him about the pearly gates and how the walls were made of precious stones. She described the river of life to look like pure crystals. And on the edge of the river stood the tree with the power to heal nations! She went on describing the magnificent angles and the host of saints.

The swan paused for a moment to catch the cranes response. It was then she noticed the crane hadn’t shown the slightest interested in this marvelous place. Eventually, the crane asked, “Are there any snails there?”

The swan nearly slid off the bank. “Snails? What a hoarded thought!” exclaimed the swan. “Of course not! There are no snails in Heaven!”

“Well, the crane said in a causal tone, you can have your Heaven. All I want are snails.”

I have to admit that sometimes I’m like that crane. I miss God’s best by being satisfied with good enough.

Lord, I want more than snails. I want your best. Help me to not settle for good. Give me a desire to seek out and claim you best for me.

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January 21, 2014

Don’t Take Your Honey For Granted

 My husband and I were having a delightful dinner with friends when I got an unusual text from my son, Parker.

It was a list of ingredients such as eggs, flour, and almond extract to name a few. At the end of the list was this question.

“Do we have these ingredients? I want to make fortune cookies.”

“Why?” I inquired.

“To ask Natalie to the prom, of course.”

My husband and I arrived home around nine o’clock. Parker was waiting for me in the kitchen. Although it was late I gathered the supplies, mixed the ingredients, and placed the batter onto the cookie sheet. It looked like a small pancake.

While the cookies baked, Parker wrote out Natalie’s fortune on a strip of paper.

“Tonight, you’ll be asked to the Prom.”

When the cookie had baked for 10 minutes, I scooped the pancake up with a spatula. Parker placed his note on top of the cookie and folded it over. Moving fast, he then folded the cookie again over the edge of a coffee mug. Next, we placed the cookies in a muffin tin to cool and harden. It worked like a charm!

 

 

 

On Sunday, Parker stuck to his well thought-out plan. He invited Natalie to lunch at Fulins–an Asian restaurant–after church. Once they placed their order, Parker excused himself to go to the restroom.

On the way, he met their waiter and handed her a baggie with three homemade fortune cookies. Parker asked her to bring his cookies to the table at the end of the meal instead of bringing their cookies. She agreed and followed through.

Natalie cracked open the cookie. A big smile fell across her face as she read her fortune.

“Well, will you go to the prom with me?” Asked Parker.

“Yes!” She exclaimed without hesitation.

The waitress must have been watching from afar. At the bottom of the bill she wrote, “Have fun at the prom!”

I’m proud of my son. He doesn’t take his relationship for granted. Parker didn’t assume the two of them were going to the prom even though they most likely would.  He knew she still wanted to be “asked” to the prom. I’m proud he was thoughtful enough to do just that, ask.

What a great lesson for the rest of us. I think after years of marriage we tend to take our partner for granted. I expect my husband to work hard for the family, keep the yard up and take out the trash. I’m pretty certain he expects me to cook dinner, do the laundry and rub his feet while feeding him grapes.

(Like that happens.)

How nice would it be if he asked me to do his laundry or I asked him to take out the trash instead of complaining when he doesn’t? Asking instead of expecting can go a long way in a relationship. That’s not all.

A simple “thank-you” when your spouse brings you another fork because you dropped yours says, “I don’t take you for granted. I appreciate you.”

It’s easy to assume my spouse will do certain things for me. Yet in the beginning, I didn’t expect. I asked.

This weekend would be a great time to ask my husband to dinner and talk about ways we can show each other gratitude.

Showing appreciation to one another has to be a good tool in growing a healthy, fulfilling relationship. …Something we all desire.

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December 23, 2013

A Star: God’s Travel Guide

                               Bill Hybels, adapted from,On This Holy Night

Believe it or not, the Bible tells us that God commissioned a particular star to serve as a kind of travel guide for a group of men from the East who had developed an interest in looking for the Christmas child. Not only did that star lead these Easterners to Jerusalem and then to Bethlehem, but Matthew 2:9 tells us that the star led the wise men to the exact location of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus. And when they finally located Him, the Scriptures say they fell to their knees and worshiped Him and gave Him costly gifts.

The text of Scripture states clearly that the wise men rejoiced over the fact that God had provided them with a remarkably accurate travel guide. Deep down they knew they never would have found Christ without the star. The Christmas star was God’s gift of direction — God’s travel guide for seekers.

Look at the star this Christmas. Look at it a little differently. Look at it as a symbol of the fact that God has always provided travel guides to earnest spiritual seekers. Throughout history, God has seen to it that those who diligently seek after Christ will find Him.

Many of us are dedicated Christians. All of us who are Christians can look back to a time when we were just getting interested in spiritual realities. Remember how confused we all were? Remember how lost we felt? Remember how overwhelming it all seemed to us as we were trying to sort things out? Remember what God did?

God provided a travel guide for each of us — someone to lead us to Christ. It might have been a mom or dad. It might have been a guy at work, a neighbor, a close friend, a teacher, or a pastor. But all of us who are Christians can retrace our spiritual journeys and say, “Without that person, that pastor, that teacher, that friend, I doubt I would ever have found Christ.” God sent someone to cross our path. He sent someone whose light was bright. He sent someone whose love was real. He sent someone whose faith was so compelling that we found ourselves trusting that earthbound travel guide to lead us to Christ.

What would some of our lives be like — who would we be, what would we be doing? — had it not been for an earthbound star that God used as a travel guide in our lives? Isn’t Christmas an appropriate time to thank God for the gift of travel guides? Why not take a minute and assign a name to the star or stars that God has provided for you, to lead you from your confusion to Christ.

But perhaps you feel a whole lot more like someone who is still seeking than someone who’s found. If the truth were known, a good number of us are wandering in spiritual circles and not making much headway. We’re as spiritually detached this year as we were last year. We’re looking into the New Year, and it doesn’t really look like much is going to change.

For those of you who are still seekers, let me give you a word of encouragement. Chances are, God has already put a travel guide in your life somewhere. Chances are, if you were to scan the horizons of your relationships, you probably already know someone whose spiritual light burns pretty bright, whose love is real, whose faith has caught your attention more than once. That person may very well be God’s gift to you — sort of like a Christmas star — God’s travel guide.

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