About Encouragement for Today

Proverbs 31 Ministries is a non-denominational, non-profit Christian ministry that seeks to lead women into a personal relationship with Christ. With Proverbs 31:10-31 as a guide, Proverbs 31 Ministries reaches women right in the middle of their busy day through free daily devotions, radio program, speaking events, conferences, monthly magazine, resources, online communities, and Gather and Grow groups. We are real women offering real-life solutions to women who are striving to maintain life’s balance, in spite of today’s hectic pace and cultural pull away from godly principles. Wherever a woman may be on her spiritual journey, Proverbs 31 Ministries exists to be a trusted friend who takes her by the hand and walks by her side, leading her one step closer to the heart of God.

Headed in the Wrong Direction - Encouragement for Today - September 9, 2015

Lynn Cowell

SEPTEMBER 9, 2015

Headed in the Wrong Direction
LYNN COWELL

"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death." Proverbs 14:12 (NIV)

I anxiously glanced at the clock thinking, If I leave now I’ll still make it on time.

This wasn’t a meeting I could comfortably slip into if I were late … because I was the speaker!

Grabbing my purse, I headed for the garage door when I thought I heard bleating. Yes, bleating, as in a noise coming from a very small animal.

What in the world? I have no idea what that is, but I’m late! Trying to put the strange noise out of my mind, I kept heading toward my car. But try as I might, my heart wouldn’t let me ignore the sad sound, no matter how late it was going to make me.

I turned around and made my way closer to the tiny cry. There, next to our backyard gate, stood the tiniest of fawns. This precious little thing couldn’t have been more than a couple hours old, as it wavered on tiny legs.

On the other side of the fence stood the object of the baby’s sorrow — his mother. They were separated by the fence, and the baby was trapped. He couldn’t get to her and she had no way of getting him out of our backyard.

This wasn’t the first time a little one has been born in our yard. I believe deer spot the cool shade of our woods and decide our yard is the perfect place to give birth. But our yard is not as it seems. When the baby is born and the mother hops back over the fence, her fawn is trapped, alone and without care and protection.

Our yard may appear safe and peaceful to an adult animal, but to an infant it is anything but. I wondered: How many times have I unknowingly jumped into a situation I deemed safe only to get caught where I should not have been?Things like:

… Entering benign conversations, where my speech takes a wrong turn and I find myself gossiping.

… Bored or stressed, as I make my way to my pantry only to indulge in foods that harm, rather than help, my body.

… Wanting to guide my child, when I speak words meant to bring discernment, but instead bring damage.

Today’s key verse warns us, "There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death" (Proverbs 14:12). Sometimes, we can feel like we’re doing the right thing, like the mother deer, when in fact, we’re heading in a wrong direction. How can we know what’s right?

Jesus promised us in John 16:13, "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come" (NIV).

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to be our guide. We need Him. We need His guidance to make wise choices and not become trapped by sin that hurts us and damages our relationship with Jesus. The Holy Spirit is with us, available all day long, with the wisdom we need to live the rich and satisfying life Jesus wants for us. Our part is to listen for His direction.

After making a few phone calls to animal experts, I was instructed to pick up the fawn and lift him over the gate to safety. He didn’t struggle as I gently lifted him from the ground and delivered him back to his mother. I am so thankful that in my life, as I listen to the Holy Spirit, He too, lifts me up and helps deliver me out of the traps I get myself in.

And yes, thankfully, I did make my speaking engagement just in time.

Holy Spirit, I invite You today, to guide and instruct me. Help me not simply choose what seems best to me, but teach me to listen for Your guidance so I can make wise choices. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:
John 10:10, "The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life." (NLT)

Isaiah 40:11, "Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, in His arm He will gather the lambs and carry them in His bosom; He will gently lead the nursing ewes." (NASB)

RELATED RESOURCES:
Help a young woman discover how to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and allow Him to create His fruit in her life with Lynn Cowell’s book, Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants. Included in the book is a leader’s guide, making this a great back-to-school study for a small group, Sunday School or mother and daughter to do together! Click here to purchase your copy.

You’re invited to stop by Lynn’s blog today, where she shares more on listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. She is also giving away a copy of Magnetic: Becoming the Girl He Wants.

REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Reflect on the last month, week or even 24 hours. Have you gotten caught in a situation that was not as it seemed?

Make a point to continually ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. Pay attention to how He leads your heart. It’ll become easier and easier to "hear" His direction.

© 2015 by Lynn Cowell. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org