Encouragement for Today - September 30, 2005

Published: Sep 30, 2005



Encouragement for Today


“Refusing Directions”

Van Walton, Director of Spanish Ministries, Proverbs 31 Speaker Team Member

Key Verse:  

Psalm 25:4, “Show me the path where I should walk, O LORD; point out the right road for me to follow.” (NLT)



Benjamin left the house in a confident hurry. Yes, he knew where he was going. He would follow his friend to the University for the daylong camp.  No, there was no need to ride with anyone. And no, he didn’t need directions. Thanks anyway. See you later.


Forty-five minutes later, the phone rang. A panicked teenager was on the other end.  “Mom? Should I have gone east or west on the interstate?” 


“East? That is what I thought. Steve told me to go west!  After 30 minutes of driving, I knew I was nowhere near where I needed to be. I have turned around but I am going to be late. Coach will kill me! Gotta go. Bye.”


I prayed for my son. “Lord, don’t let him get so frustrated that he gets into an accident. Slow him down.”


He called back. “What highway do I turn off of? What is the exit number? How far do I go?  When do you think I will get there? Will you call the coach for me?”


I could relate to my son. Although I rarely leave my house without exact directions if I am going to an unfamiliar location, I often start out my day going into unfamiliar territory. I don’t get directions from my Heavenly Father and I soon find myself in a panic calling upon Him to hurry and give me direction, now! Or I need for Him to bail me out of my bad turn.  I decided it was easier to just do it my way, rather than take it slowly and do it God’s way.


Do I really need to turn to God all the time, each turn I take, everywhere I go? I have learned one thing by choosing to travel the highway of life without directions from my Father. If I decide to ignore His urging and prompting, life has a way of quickly becoming very difficult. God’s way is always best.


I remember coming to a point in my life once my children were tucked safely away in school. I was a teacher, but had put aside my career to stay at home and be a mother. Now I could return to the classroom. A job opened up. I went for an interview. The next thing I knew, I was reporting to work in late August.

I never discussed my plans with the Lord. I didn’t ask Him which way I should go. Should I stay home and continue to serve in my church and contribute to my community? Should I return to work? What was best for my sons? What would be optimum for our family? I didn’t ask my Father for direction. I wish I had. After teaching for two years, I knew that God had a new direction for my life. I finished my career in the classroom on a sour note. Before that I had had nothing but wonderful experiences with my students and nothing but positive reports about life in the halls of high school.


A few years later my family moved. Obediently, we went to church as soon as we arrived in our new town. I didn’t ask God for direction when it came to finding a church to join. All I knew was that I wanted a church home, Christian friends, and a youth group for my son. We joined the first church we visited. It was a grand church. God was honored; His Word was preached. It was not the church where God would have me thrive and give. It soon became evident that I had not asked for direction. It was not easy to backtrack and find a new way.


Like my son, I have been humbled. I had to call out desperately and ask God to give me direction. I lost lots of time. I could have been thriving in His plan for my life. Maybe by now I might have reached a goal I may never achieve because I chose to go at it on my own.


I am glad that God forgives. I can rest in that fact and not become overwhelmed by my disobedience. I have asked my Father for new direction. I believe He has answered me. This time I will wait to hear which way He would have me go.



My Prayer for Today: 


Great Shepherd, You are the leader of my life, yet I choose often to create my own way rather than follow You.  I end up lost, turned around, in a bad situation, or totally confused. I know that following You is the only way to navigate my life successfully. Forgive me and remind me that You are the Way. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Application Steps: 


Reflect on some recent situations where you didn’t turn to God for direction.   Write a note to God to ask His forgiveness and then pray for God’s directions for today.


Reflection Points: 


Have I totally surrendered every part of my life to Jesus?


Why don’t I wait for instructions from Him before setting out on my own?


Do I believe that He will guide me if I ask Him?


What would your life look like if you constantly turned to God for instructions for each day’s journey?


Power Verses:

Psalm 23:1-3, “The LORD is my shepherd…He leads me beside peaceful streams.  He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.” (NIV)

1 Kings 3:14, “And if you follow me and obey my commands as your father, David, did, I will give you a long life." (NLT)

Isaiah 55:8, "’For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD.” (NIV)


Proverbs 4:4, “My father told me, ‘Take my words to heart. Follow my instructions and you will live.’” (NLT)


Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. ‘Anyone who intends to come with me has to let lead. You're not in the driver's seat; I am. Don't run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I'll show you how.’” (MSG)


Additional Resources:


Intimate Moments with God, with Sharon Jaynes, contributor



The Best of The Proverbs 31 Ministry, by select authors, edited by Glynnis Whitwer



Living Life on Purpose, by Lysa TerKeurst



Originally published Friday, 30 September 2005.