Tag Archives: Jesus

Stop Wandering, Turn North

wandering

I am 100% male.  I know this, because of the obvious, but also because I despise asking for directions.  I am a careful planner, and do my very best to be sure I don’t have ask for directions, but ultimately end up making a wrong turn here or there, and then the real struggle begins.  I first try to problem solve. While driving 75 mph, arguing with the mapping app on my phone, I end up driving further in the wrong direction, and when it’s a family trip, end up in a disagreement with my wife that adds to the list of things to do: be humble, say you’re sorry, and thank her for still loving you.

Life can be like this too.  I was working on a half-time devotion for the upward basketball games this weekend and came across one that I really found intriguing and it is where I focused my time in God’s word this morning.  Deuteronomy 2:3 says “You have been traveling around this mountain country long enough. Turn northward.” (ESV).  A little context.  The Israelite’s had been wandering around the desert for 40 years (and my wife thinks that extra 5 miles we drove, while I tried to figure it out, was a waste).  Now, God was directing them on the path that would lead them to the promised land.  His simple instructions, quit wandering around, turn northward were epic.  Simple, deliberate and I can almost imagine with a bit of sarcasm in his voice.  Are you done now?  You tried it your way, didn’t work out, ready to listen?  How many of us are wandering around our own desert trying to find the right path, or direction that will take us to our “promised land”?  How often does our wandering cover the same paths, time and time again?

This scripture stuck out to the original author of the devotion and I have to say, I agree.  God specifically pointed them northward…because that was the way he wanted them to go.  Now, remember I have ADD, so I heard north and immediately thought of a map…and maybe a squirrel and a tree, and…

But the word north, brought a picture of a map to mind, and on the map, north is…up.  Where is God?  We are told to look up to the heavens, to lift our voice up to our heavenly father.  So in essence northward may have been the direction of travel, but it was also invoked my natural instinct to think of looking up to follow God.  God is still speaking this same truth to us today.  To anyone that will listen, to anyone that cries out, where should I turn?  God speaks, through His word, and says, enough is enough. I will show you the right path towards where you should be, to what I have for you, and that path is always toward Him.

Human beings (especially males) are independent creatures. We don’t like to think we need help or assistance with anything.  That is what we teach our young men from day 1, be independent.  The truth is, we need someone to give us direction.  We need someone to guide us.  When we turn toward God, we find that someone, or better yet, we find that only one that can lead us in the right direction.  Our sinfulness is what keeps us wandering our own desert, turning down the wrong paths, and following the wrong directions.  When we turn toward God, we find our focus and direction and most importantly a life free from the guilt and dependence of sin.  John 14:6 is an often quoted verse of scripture, but it is so plain and clear.  Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me.” (NIV)

Jesus went to the cross to bear the punishments for my sin, and all the sin of humanity.  He did it without any expectation of compensation from me or anyone else.  It was a free gift to an undeserving world.  It is through that free gift of grace that we are able to live the life God intended for us.  To follow the right path, in the right direction.

Friend, are you wandering today?  Are you tired of doing the same thing over and over again, with no sense of direction or purpose?  Do you find yourself on worn-out paths that keep your circling the mountain?  Well ENOUGH is ENOUGH.  Turn to Jesus today and follow his direction.

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Father God, today I thank you for the gift of your word, and for the gift of salvation through your son Jesus Christ.  I thank you that I am 100% yours, and that nothing can ever change that.  I thank you for the Holy Spirit that guides me everyday.  I pray that someone may read this devotion today and see their need for you.  I pray that you will help me depend on your word and your direction to lead my family and raise my children to understand their need for you.  Help us all to submit to your direction and plan, and give you all the glory forever.  In your name I pray, Amen.

 

Winning the Lottery

lottery

I would venture to say we have all been down this road…daydreaming about what it would be like to win the lottery.  Without any real reason why, my train of thought tends to go there when I am driving –  long trips somewhere and no one to talk to.  My thought process usually starts out with figuring out just about what my “cash-in-hand” would be after the lump sum payout and taxes.  Then I start planning away all that I would do.

The funny thing about this process, other than I am sure I could have better things to think about, is that somewhere along the line, I always increase the amount.  Maybe I start out with winning the 110 million jackpot, then take the 55 million lump sum and then cut that by 30 or so percent and I am playing with less than 40 million.  After thinking about this purchase or that initiative, I unconsciously think, well maybe it wasn’t 110 million. Maybe it was 200 million.  I never really paid much attention to why I do that, but after a small group bible study last night, I think I found my answer.

We were studying Philippians chapter 4.  Paul (an Apostle of Jesus) is sitting in prison.  In his letter to the church he is rejoicing and proclaiming his joy.  Wait…he’s in prison and writing about how happy he is?  Pretty much.  But the context is that he is telling the church why he has such joy.  It’s pretty simple, really.  He has joy – a perfect peace because he has all he needs – Jesus Christ.  The more I read and studied, the more it hit me.  The reason why my daydream is always interrupted with the need to increase my winnings is because that type of thing will never “fill me up” and be enough.  Even in my daydream, I wanted more.  The world tells us that we never have enough.  We are always striving for more.  No matter what our motives, we are not content with what we have.  I am not saying it’s wrong to want.  We are humans and we have desires.  But what I will claim is that if our desire for more from this life, or this world is clouding our view so that we aren’t focused on Christ, then we have a problem that needs to be addressed.  I should  be willing and pray that Lord will change me this way to be content, perfectly, with just the assurance of my salvation through Christ.  There is nothing more that I need than that.  What would our life look like if we could cast off our worries about things and what we don’t have, or what we think we need or want?  Looking at the example of Paul, it would look something like this: we could be in our worst situation, stripped of all freedom and possessions, not knowing if we were about to be taken out of this world or not and be smiling with an inner joy and peace.  We need to turn from the world’s perspective of what brings joy – possessions, achievement, etc. and turn to what God’s word tells us is the true source of joy…Jesus Christ.

Lord, today I thank you for the perfect joy you provided through your son Jesus Christ.  I thank you for the promise to always provide all that I need.  Help me to lay down my worries, my fears about what I don’t have, or what I think I need.  I pray that you would change my thoughts to be focused on how I can proclaim you in all that I do in life, and let that be my joy.  – Amen.

Further Reading: Philippians 4