Posts Tagged ‘Romans 8:28’

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, 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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Achieving Your Potential

November 4th, 2014

“Stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV.

Spiritual disciplines determine spiritual potential.

My thoughts and comments today are about “achieving your potential.”

Your innate desire to be more than you have been is from God. You have a God-given potential to become more than you have imagined. Boundaries are limits imposed by yourself or others. You were created “in the image and likeness of God.” Imagine the potential, presently and eternally, that God has invested in you. The only uncertainty is whether you will recognize and realize the divine potential within you. When you think of “achieving your potential,” what do you envision? Your capabilities will likely be more than your accomplishments.

Recognition of potential is the prerequisite for achieving potential. Paul described Godly potential this way: “That you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.” Colossians 4:12 NIV. Do those words – “standing firm . . mature . . fully assured” – describe you? They can. Achieving your potential does not just happen; the process requires purpose and priority, as well as sacrifice. And add patience, perseverance, and obedience to that list. Your full potential, being “mature and fully assured,” rests upon your priority and practice of living fully within the will of God.

Spiritual maturity is the pathway to your potential. “. . that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:12 NIV. Maturity is not measured by comparison with others. Paul warned of those who, “. . measure themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves are not wise.” 2 Corinthians 10:12. Jesus is the only adequate and accurate standard for comparison. Not only is Jesus the standard by which you will be measured, He is the willing accomplice for all of your spiritual accomplishment.

Spiritual maturity is the goal; becoming like Jesus is the process. Be patient; your spiritual potential is achieved progressively in a process that is lifelong. “As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like Him and reflect His glory even more.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT. In the simplest of terms, spiritual maturity can be described as Christ-likeness. See Romans 8:28. There is very good news about this process. John wrote, “We know that when He appears, we shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is.” Read 1 John 3:1-3 NIV. Usually, we seem unclear as to the practical implications of Christ-likeness. Here is a useful, practical definition that has helped me. “Spiritual maturity is rightly responding to life’s situations according to Biblical patterns of behavior.” In every circumstance, a good question to ask is, “What would Jesus do?”  Your natural tendencies do not lend themselves to spiritual achievement.

Spiritual disciplines govern spiritual potential. (1) God’s Word is essential to spiritual life. “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise . .” Colossians 3:16-17 NLT. Spiritual maturity is achieved through a growing knowledge of the Word of God and a deepening obedience to the ways of God. (2) Welcome the Holy Spirit to rule your heart. “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do . . let the Holy Spirit fill and control you . . making music to the Lord in your hearts. And you will always give thanks for everything to God.” Ephesians 5:17-20 NLT. See Galatians 5:8-10/22-23. (3) Make prayer a daily priority. “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2 NIV. See Philippians 4:6-7 NIV. (4) Let love be your lifestyle. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John  13:34.

Today, my prayer for you is to refuse limits that prevent your being all that God intends.

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Something Better

October 25th, 2011

“God has appointed another seed [future] for me.” Genesis 4:25 NKJV

“For everything you have loved and lost, God has appointed something better.”

My thoughts today are about “something better.”

There will be times when the future may not look promising to you. You will consider your present struggle, add up past disappointment, and conclude that the future is likely more of the same. That’s just discouraging. But the past is not an accurate forecast of your future, nor is your present experience a preface to every tomorrow. God’s promise is, “As your days, so shall your strength be . . goodness and mercy . . all the days of my life.” Deuteronomy 33:25 NKJV. See also Psalm 23:6.

Never look into your future without calculating a purposeful God as a primary factor in that equation? “And we know that (God causes) all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose . . to be conformed to the image of His Son.” Romans 8:28-29 NKJV/NLT. Your life is never devoid of God’s purpose, unless you foolishly choose it to be.

Man’s early history includes tragedies and loss. Yours and my history began with marriage dissension and family rivalry, and just kept getting worse. See Genesis 3-4. Adam and Eve were escorted from the garden because of their foolish disobedience, and later their family is torn by jealousy and anger that sees one son taking the life of another. Where is God in all that, you may say? He was working His eternal purpose, in spite of man’s miserable failure. The glorious promise of a Savior and God’s gracious redemption are spoken to the Tempter in the midst of man’s worst hour: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise her heel.” Genesis 3:15 NKJV.

Seed holds the future. After Cain slew Abel, another son, Seth, was born to Adam and Eve. Eve recognized God’s sovereign faithfulness, “God has appointed another seed [future] for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” Genesis 4:25 NKJV. Note this carefully; God “appointed” Eve another future. Someone wrote, ”There’s an appointment on God’s calendar with your name on it!”

Your future remains safely in God’s hands, “According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Ephesians 3:11 NKJV. Your future may seem lost by random misfortune, or stolen by others’ cruel conduct, or forfeited by foolish choices, but your story is not fully written yet. For everything you have loved and lost, God has appointed something better. Why believe anything less? Look for the seed of your future; don’t dwell in the sorrow and loss of your past.

Recently, my friend, Wayne, brilliantly shared a rich perspective on one of my favorite and frequently quoted verses, “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT. Jeremiah wrote to a generation of captives in Babylon. They felt their future was taken from them; they thought anything good could only be found in Jerusalem. Your future is held in neither location nor circumstance; it is in God – His hand and purpose!

God’s plans include a grand future and a great hope for you. You will find that where you are, not where you thought you would be. Read Jeremiah 29:5-7 NLT. God’s direction to those captives sounds counter-intuitive, but is so very true. “My future is in Your hands.” Psalm 31:15 NLT. Live well now; rest your future in God. God always has something better for you.

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Experiences and Expectations

June 28th, 2011

“I believed I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 NKJV

“Expect good things from God and people, even if disappointed occasionally.”

My thoughts today are about “experiences and expectations.”

Life can be tough, if you are trying to live without any firm conviction of the unchangeable character and unfailing faithfulness of God. When things are a mess around you and nothing seems as you wish it were, where do you look for your North Star? You need an eternal constant that is always a safe and sure point of reference. Things change all the time; God remains as He has always been – the “same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 NKJV.

What is your expectation of God? Others? Many expectations are historically based, meaning that your usual or more recent experiences profoundly influence your level of expectation. That inclination is based on inaccurate assumptions that past experiences indicate future prospects.

Expectations of good or bad seem to predispose a person to notice what they were expecting, or overlook what they do not expect. If you hold negative expectations of misfortune or mistreatment from God and/or others, you are likely to see what you expect.

Life is hard when you lose heart in the moment and sad when you lose hope for what’s ahead. Expecting good from God’s hand will hold your heart secure and steadfast. The Psalmist wrote, “I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of God in the land of the living.” Psalm 27:13 NKJV.

Read the surrounding context of that verse – “surrounded by enemies . . forsaken by mother and father . . false witnesses, etc.” Who wouldn’t be at risk of losing heart in such situations? Yet in contrast to all that, his positive expectation had a clear time frame, “in the land of the living.” Faith’s object must be here and now, not in the sweet by and by.

I think it is better to expect good things from God and people, even if disappointed occasionally, than to expect the worst and be surprised when you were right. Hurt and harm does not come from God’s hand, except in judgment of unrepented sin. The person who has limited or little expectation of good from God may be seeing the facts, but overlooking the greater truth“No good thing will the Lord withhold from those who do what is right. O Lord Almighty, happy are those who trust in you . . And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God. ” Psalm 84:11-12/Romans 8:28 NLT. Let your expectation project your anticipated experience rather than allowing your experience to dictate your expectation.

My prayer for you today is: give God plenty of room for His generous goodness.

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The Satisfying Life

August 30th, 2010

“Those . . called according to (God’s) purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT

“Purpose combines the fullest measure of personal satisfaction with the highest level of success.”

My thoughts today are about “the satisfying life.”

At some point, everyone must choose a direction for their life. The direction itself is not so much the real question, as is how and why you chose that direction. Ultimately, the most satisfying life is not of your own making; it is the product of a true, inner sense of purpose and meaning, committing to something much bigger and far reaching than yourself – something beyond your own desires and plans – the calling and will of God for your life. If you are occupied primarily with charting your own satisfying happiness without God at its center, you will fall short of your goal.

The choices affecting the direction of one’s life are usually decided by what you perceive your destination to be, but won’t your efforts be misdirected if the destination you desire is less worthy than it could have been? Allow me an oversimplification, but a necessary one – if God’s will and purpose are not your first and foremost consideration, anything else will likely be a wrong direction that leads eventually to an inadequate, unsatisfying objective. You can successfully get what you went after in life and still find that’s not what you thought it would be. Too many people settle for a life too small; don’t be one of those.

Jesus set a very high, but authentic standard with these words, “I always do those things that are pleasing to (the Father) . . I brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.” John 8:29 NLT/17:4 NIV. To the degree you will govern your life with those goals, you will achieve the highest level of true success with the fullest measure of personal satisfaction. Read Psalm 16:11 NIV/1 Thessalonians 4:1 NIV. You can choose your destination; only God can set your destiny.

When I have spoken with groups of young collegians, I often ask these life-questions: “When you get where you’re going, where will you be? When you’ve done it your way, what will the results be? When you get what you want, what will you have?” Before you do the hard work to set a clear goal for your life and spend an irreplaceable lifetime achieving it, be sure it is the right goal – a life lived “according to God’s purpose,” fulfilling His calling and assignment. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NLT.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” (William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar). The purpose of God, to which you are called, is such “a tide in the affairs of men.” Don’t live life in the shallows!

Ultimate success is not found in the hollow applause or elusive approval of others, but rather in your hearing God say when you stand before Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . come and share your Master’s happiness.” Matthew 25:21 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you choose the path He has chosen for you.

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