Girlfriends in God - Jan. 11, 2007


January 11, 2006

Read the Directions!

Mary Southerland


Today's Truth

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.  (NIV)


Friend to Friend

I am an average cook and a below average baker!  Consequently, I am of little value in the “cookies from scratch” department.  My seventeen-year-old daughter, Danna, however, loves to bake and is very good at whipping up three dozen cookies or her favorite yellow cake with chocolate frosting!  I will never forget the day that Danna baked her first batch of cookies from scratch. 


It was a Saturday morning several years ago and Danna had a “craving” for cookies.  Not cookies in a package or from a store, but real cookies she insisted.  Watching her gather all of the necessary ingredients I asked which recipe she was planning to use.  With a smug look of disdain, my competent daughter turned to her pitifully incompetent mother and explained that she didn’t really need a recipe.  After all, she had made hundreds of slice and bake cookies, not to mention the dozens of brownies from a box.  How hard could it be?  I decided to watch.


The kitchen counters quickly filled with various bowls, a tub of butter, flour, vanilla and milk. Tossing a gracious, confident smile my way from time to time, Danna mixed differing amounts of each ingredient and stirred vigorously.  Satisfied that it “looked right”, she fished a cookie pan out of the cabinet, sprayed it with oil and began carefully spooning out the cookie dough.  I was duly impressed.  After setting the timer, she cleaned the kitchen, while waiting for the delicious results.


When the timer went off, Danna quickly pulled the cookies out of the oven, sliding them off onto a plate.  They smelled good and looked good to me – but a skeptical frown met my encouraging words, warning of danger just ahead.  Pinching off a bite, Danna popped the cookie into her mouth.  Now keep in mind that my daughter does have a flair for the dramatic, but I was totally unprepared for the culinary eruption that followed.  Bits of cookie sprayed the kitchen counter and appliances as Danna coughed, choked, and strangled her way to the announcement that those cookies were“disgusting”.  Grabbing the plate, she deposited her project in the garbage and fished the cookie recipe out of a kitchen drawer, studying the magic formula.  When I asked what went wrong, she explained through a sheepish grin, “I thought I knew how to make cookies on my own.  So I didn’t read the recipe and left out the eggs.”  One of the qualities I most admire in Danna is her persistence, which compelled her to begin again. The second time around, following the recipe resulted in scrumptious results!   And so it is with life.


God’s has a unique plan or “recipe” for each one of us.  God reveals His plan through the Bible!  It is the plan book of life, the blueprint for life construction, the road map for the journey.  When we saturate our lives with God’s Word, it will naturally lead us and guide us into His plan for our lives!  Our greatest opportunity for success in this life and the next life is to live that plan.  God tucks into our very soul a discontentment with anything but His life “recipe”.  If we approach each day searching for His handprints in every situation, choosing to walk in obedience to His Word, we will surely find ourselves smack dab in the middle of God’s amazing purpose and plan.


The amazing truth is that more than we want to know His plan for our life He wants us to know it and stands ready to guide us to and through that plan. The more time we spend with the Plan Maker, the more we choose to obey that plan, the clearer His plan grows.  God always reveals His plan to an obedient heart. Just as surely as Danna left the eggs out of her first effort, we leave Him out of our plans and go our own foolish way.  Still, He waits.  When the results are disastrous and we have made a mess of it all, He stands ready to begin again!  We could save ourselves a lot of pain and futility if we simply read and follow the right set of directions!


Let's Pray

Father, I know that in my own strength and my own life plan there is only sorrow and failure.  Today, I choose You!  I choose Your plan for my life instead of my own and embrace the purpose for which I was created – to please You with an obedient heart.  Amen!


Now it's Your Turn

Whose plan have you been following in your life?  Go back over the last year of life, journaling the spiritual markers along the way.  Examine the level of obedience and commitment to His will you find in your heart. 


What are you now doing that you know is a direct result of obedience to His plan for your life? 


What are you now doing that you know is a direct result of disobedience to His plan for your life?


What is the present direction of your life?  Are you really willing to abandon your plan for His?


How can you be more aware of Him and His will for you?


How would you honestly react to this truth:  God does not want me to settle for anything less than His best?


For more on this topic, see Mary’s book, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry.


Girlfriends in God, Inc.

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, North Carolina 28106


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Originally published Thursday, 11 January 2007.