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Direction, Distractions, and Diversions

September 8th, 2017

Distractions create diversions to a course not envisioned.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:2 KJV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “Direction, Distractions, and Diversions.”

Life needs direction – a worthy goal to reach and a path to reach that goal. For that direction, you need God. ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and He will direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT. And life can be full of distractions. Even God cannot direct your path if you allow yourself to become distracted.

A firm and clear direction minimizes distractions. David’s direction was unequivocal, “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the House of the Lord all the days of my life.” Psalm 27:4 NKJV. That is a Holy direction that can last a lifetime, and reaches into eternity. Most of the time distractions are usually of little or no lasting consequence, just a small matter of extra time. But what if the original intention was one of personal urgency and importance? Distractions, even those that are small and brief, lead to diversions that can set your life on an unintended path. Distractions create diversions toward a course not envisioned.

The sincerest decision and most vital direction can be supplanted by even a minor distraction. Because there is so much that you should do, and so much that you could do, there will always be moments that misdirect you along another path, away from the task at hand. Diversions are inevitable. Be prepared for them. Something more attracting and enticing will beckon your attention. All too easily, the best of  intentions can be displaced.

Later in life, individuals find themselves in a far different place than they planned. Where did they take a wrong turn? What decision changed their destination? Or maybe it was a curiosity that became a fascination indulging experimentation, which slowly became a habit and eventually an addiction from which you could not break free. Paul was wise when he wrote, “Everything is permissible for me – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible for me – but I will not be mastered by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV. Permissible does not mean advisable.

There is no diversion that is more important than your decision to pursue God earnestly. Writing to the Christians in Philippi, the Apostle Paul wrote, “One thing I do,” then consolidated three necessities of that singular passion. “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Read Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV. Similarly, the Bible offers multiple, practical characteristics for your single-minded pursuit of God.

Be earnest about eternity. “Earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from Heaven.” 2 Corinthians 5:2 NKJVHeaven is real and eternity is sure.

Be earnest about the Christian faith. Exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once delivered to all saints.” Jude 3 NKJV.  Hold fast to the faith that in difficult times will hold you fast.

Be earnest about prayer. “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.James 5:17 NKJV. Effective fervent prayer has the power to change anything.

Be earnest about spiritual giftedness. “Earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way, [the way of love].” 1 Corinthians 12:31 NKJV.

Be earnest about living for Jesus. “According to my earnest expectation that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now Christ may be magnified in my body.” Philippians 1:20 NKJV.

The world, with its deceitful pleasures, is full of distractions. If you then are risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:1-2 KJV. Love Jesus with earnest devotion. Live in such a way that others will see Jesus’ life and love in you. May this worthy goal be yours and mine. “We conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and Godly sincerity.” 2 Corinthians 1:12 NKJV.

Today, I pray for you to be earnest about all aspects of spiritual life.

Christian Communications 2017

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Your Plans or His?

December 14th, 2016

God has a hope-filled future for you; plan accordingly.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NIV

My thoughts and comments today ask, “your plans or His?”

Plans. Plans connect you to your future, or at least you suppose they will. Everyone makes them and should, but not every plan comes to fruition. We are somewhat limited. We know the past, even if we have not learned from it. And we are fairly aware of the present, even when we are not as fully engaged as we should be. But as to the future, we can only guess. That limitation makes even your best plans incomplete.

The philosophy of our secular culture is, “Plan your work and work your plan.” But where is God in that advice? I heard a person described as, “not having an eraser.” As I got to know them better, I realized the accuracy of their description. They were not at all flexible. The Psalmist described the tragedy of people whose plans fail to include God. “When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment, all their plans come to an end.” Psalm 146:4 NLT. Life is wasted by those who do not put God first in their plans. Why waste time, energy, or irreplaceable resource on plans that fail to include God?

Make sure your plans touch eternity. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9 NIV. It’s your choice, His plans or yours? Your aspirations for the future are best when submitted to His wiser direction. By experience, Solomon learned, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV.

If the wisest of men knew to not depend on his imperfect understanding, then maybe you and I are wise to do so as well. In the wilderness, Israel’s insistence on their way instead of God’s will resulted in terrible loss. “And He gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.” Psalm 106:15 NKJV. God’s path and plans are always better than experiencing a “leanness of soul.”

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could just know the future? Or even if you knew someone who did know the future? There is One who does. God said, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV. God has a hope-filled future for you; plan accordingly. Hope without a future would be meaningless; a future without hope would be despairing.

As a boy, I remember my mother singing at her piano, “Many things about tomorrow, I can’t seem to understand. But I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know He holds my hand.” You can live every day with strength and confidence. “I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hands.” Psalm 31:14-15 NIV. God offers you a future filled with hope and a hope that fills your future. “The steps of the Godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives.”  Psalm 37:23 NLT.

Today, I pray for you to rest your hope and future upon God’s character and faithfulness.

Christian Communications 2016

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Direction and Distractions

September 6th, 2016

Once again, I ask for your patience. About 15% of EDL readers had this devotional “returned to sender” through a technical error, which we believe has been corrected. Therefore, I am resending “Direction and Distractions” (from Friday, September 2). Thank you for your patience with our “technical difficulties.”

A dear friend, whose technical expertise I do not possess, has worked diligently to correct this. His contribution at the earliest days of EveryDay Life and his continued help across these nine years of publishing EDL, has been invaluable. Without his help we could not have reached those of you who receive EDL today. I am grateful for his encouragement.

For those receiving “Direction and Distractions” for the first time today, could you do me a favor? Would you simply hit “reply” and I will know that the mailing problem has been resolved. Also, it is possible that you may not have received “Clocks and Calendars” (Wed 8/24) and “Wisdom” (Tue 8/30). At the website, allenrandolph.com you can read those if you have not received them. Blessings!


Life without purpose and direction is pointless.

“As for God His way is perfect. The Lord’s Word is flawless.” 2 Samuel 22:31 NIV.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “direction and distractions.”

It is easy to lose your way. I remember visiting a family in an unfamiliar neighborhood. As I left their home, I made a wrong turn. Not realizing I was headed the wrong way, I continued to a dead end. I assumed I knew which way to go, but now I was confused. I was wandering in an unfamiliar area of town. I did not know what to do, except to retrace my path and start over. Sometimes, life feels like that too.

You can begin with a sense of purpose and direction, but along the way distractions and disturbances can misdirect you, often without your notice. Things that once seemed more obvious to you become more obscure; answers you once knew yield to disconcerting questions; your projected plans appear less certain or even possible. Going in circles keeps you busy but takes you nowhere. To have meaning, life must have purpose; if your life is aimless, it will be pointless. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV.

By might and miracles, God delivered Israel from Egypt. Their path was clear; their destination sure. Until somewhere on their way to Canaan, a fruit-filled, bountiful land, they were content going in circles. Along the way, they lost their way. Then God said, “You have been wandering around in this hill country long enough; turn northward.” Deuteronomy 2:3 NLT. It was time for them to stop wandering and proceed forward into God’s purpose for their deliverance from Egypt. When you forget your purpose you lose your sense of direction. Read Romans 8:28 NIV. When you find yourself making no progress, you are wandering. Here’s a few realities I have learned from life.

You can get lost when you aren’t paying attention. Inattention to where you are and which direction you are going can leave you confused, wandering and wondering how you got where you are and how you can know where you should. Jesus frequently warned, “Anyone who is willing to hear should listen and understand.” Mark 4:23 NLT. If you aren’t listening to God every day, listening for His voice in every situation, you are likely to be lost.

You can become lost when you follow bad counsel. “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly . . the counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart [are] to all generations.” Psalm 1:1/33:11 NKJV. See Proverbs 12:15 NIV. Be careful who you follow. If your destination is not where they are going, don’t walk where they are walking. If you don’t want to become like them, you shouldn’t be walking with them.

You will get lost when you insist on your own way. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death . . but as for God His way is perfect. The Lord’s Word is flawless” Proverbs 16:25 NIV/2 Samuel 22:31 NIV. God’s way is always better than your way. Any individual who thinks otherwise is unwise. Read Isaiah 55:6-11 NKJV. I am grateful for the times God did not give me what I insisted on having, nor allow my continuing the way I was going.

You are never lost whenever you are where God wants you to be. In His will, doing His will is the only place to be. God can and will use you, but only where He directs you.

Today, I pray for you to follow the One who declares, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

EDL trust Prov 3.5-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Communications 2016

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The Truth About Trust

October 28th, 2015

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” Proverbs 3:5 NIV.

Trust rests securely on God’s history of trustworthiness.

My thoughts and comments today are about “the truth about trust.”

There are times when trust is not easy for us, especially in bewildering circumstances when trust is absolutely required. Trust is essential. Trust is integral to the relationship between government and the governed, business dealings, personal relationships, successful marriages, healthy families, and your relationship with God. Trust is more about substance than supposition, more about faith than feelings, more volitional than emotional.

The Apostle Paul considered trust as fundamental, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NIV. Isn’t that what you desire? Every person yearns to be filled with joy and peace, while overflowing with hope. From the Scripture, the Source and process are clear. You experience those only, “. . as you trust in [the God of hope].”

Trust rests securely on God’s history of trustworthiness. God has been, is, and will forever remain absolutely trustworthy, “the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NKJV. Trust provided the foundation for Paul’s confession of God’s nature and conviction of the truth of His Word. “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” 2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV. Read Romans 8:37-39 NKJV.

Without trust, faith is more imagined than real. Trust is the foundation for faith and, “faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1 NKJV. With trust, it is all or nothing. By definition, trust that is conditional or partial includes a mixture of distrust. Solomon’s counsel is this: “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.” Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV. In these Bible verses, I notice three practical truths about trust.

(1) There are two non-negotiables about trust. Be wholehearted in your trust of God, and make God your first and foremost consideration in everything you do, either great or small. Biblically, the Hebrew concept of trust means, “to lean one’s whole weight upon something in order to rest upon it and be strengthened by it.” Or more simply stated, trust is, “to rely entirely.” That is the truth about trust.

(2) There is one temptation you must avoid in all instances and at all costs. “I know, O Lord, that a man’s life is not his own; it is not for man to direct his steps.” Jeremiah 10:23 NIV. Refuse every enticement to trust yourself or others above and before God. There must be an entirety and exclusivity about trust. That is the truth about trust.

(3) Trust holds a glorious promise from God. Trust straightens the unforeseen twists and turns of life’s journey. “Trust in the Lord . . Delight yourself in the Lord . . Commit your way to the Lord . . Rest in the Lord.” Read Psalms 37:3-8 NKJV. That is the truth about trust.

Today, I pray for you to find God trustworthy in all things at all times.

EDL TRUST father and son

 

Christian Communications

 

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Time Well Spent

April 24th, 2013

“Make every minute count.” Ephesians 5:16 CEV.

You cannot buy, borrow, or bargain for more time than God gives.

My thoughts and comments today are about “time well spent.”

Most of everything you use or lose can be replaced, except for time. It is a mistake to not value time as you should or use it as wisely as you could. Time is a limited commodity; you cannot buy, borrow, or bargain for more time than God gives you. Use the time you have, well and wisely. Time is irreplaceable, much too precious to waste; invest in people and matters of eternal importance rather than spending it frivolously. Jesus advised, “Store up for yourselves treasures in Heaven . . for where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21 NIV.

James’ counsel was that you not presume anything about tomorrow, because “How do you know what will happen tomorrow?” James 4:13-17 NLT. The Psalmist prayed, “Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom. Psalm 90:12 NLT. The wise objective is to prize each moment, investing it wisely as a gift from God. Paul’s counsel is, “Make every minute count . . find out what the Lord wants you to do.” Ephesians 5:16-17 CEV. Here’s practical advice how to do that.

(1) Just say, “No.” Learning to say no to things – or people – that waste time allows you opportunity to say yes to God’s will, caring for your responsibilities, and being helpful to others. Stress results when you busy yourself with things not your responsibility, or commit to more than you can accomplish in available time. Jesus could confidently say to His Father, “I have finished the work You gave Me to do.” John 17:4 TEV. Jesus was not distracted by lesser matters, understanding personal priorities and knowing what is eternally important.

(2) Avoid procrastination. Ignoring things that must be done wastes time now and usually takes more time later. Personal and spiritual maturity is evidenced by doing what you should even when you don’t feel like doing so, just because that is what you should do. Jesus said, “I always do those things that please [the Father].” John 8:29 NKJV. Can you say that today? My spiritual life improved noticeably when I understood that procrastinated obedience is merely disobedience by lesser name. Read Matthew 21:28-31 NIV. Obeying God promptly and fully is time best spent.

(3) Take time to abide in Christ. Time reflecting on God’s Word, worshiping in His presence, and serving others is time well spent. Jesus was clear,“You cannot be fruitful unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 NKJV. You will be more effective, more fruitful, more successful, and so much more satisfied. Listen and learn from the One Who will guide your life and direct your steps. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV. Your time doing so is well spent and makes every other minute more effective. A disciple of Jesus will trust His promise, “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and His righteousness, and all these other things will be provided for you.” Matthew 6:33. Life works best God’s way. First things first” is always good advice.

My prayer for you today is that you value time and use it with eternal purpose in mind.

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