GPS: God’s Positioning System

making-decisions2

Everything happens for a reason.

What a dumb statement that is yet people say it to try to explain when bad things happen in our lives.

Growing up in church I always heard that “All things work together for good” which is a piece from Romans 8:28.

Most of the time things weren’t exactly “good” at the time.

I think that Ecclesiastes 9:11 probably sums it up best:

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Time and chance.  Yes, that certainly happens to us all.

We all make decisions – both good and bad along life’s journey.  I used to stress out about making decisions because I wanted to make the perfect one.  I finally realized that you just do your best and make the choice.

Some people call it “fate” and I heard someone make this statement:

Fate is a tricky lady.  When you try to figure her out, you just get more confused.  All I know is that the mistakes I have made have made me who I am today.  If I were to go back and relive it differently, I wouldn’t be the me I am now.  I thought things were supposed to happen for a reason but the truth is that things happen randomly for no reason at all.  But they create opportunities, even the missed ones.  The question is:  can you recognize that next opportunity when it matters the most?

I can tell you from personal experience that God can handle the choices we make.  Some folks in the church get all tied up with the subject of predestination where they say that God already knows your life from beginning to end.  If that were true, what would be the point of freedom to choose?  I do believe God directs our path but if we fail to follow that path, He can still take that path and make it work for his purpose.  With each choice we make, He knows where that is headed and he can re-calculate our directions so that things can work together for good.

I know it’s confusing.

I have often been fascinated with books and movies about alternate realities and how choice we make have a ripple effect in our future.  The day we choose not to take the normal route to work or the time we miss the train.  Somehow it all works together.  It can stress you out if you think about it but I have always been encouraged by the song “God is in Control”.   If God has every hair on our head numbered, then that’s pretty certain He’s in control.

Decisions are hard.  We all want to make the right decision.  It’s difficult to make the perfect decision that is free of emotions or peer pressure.

I have made decisions that I just knew was right.  I felt it in my being although it contrary to what anyone else thought.  Sometimes it was right and sometimes it wasn’t but in the end, I have made it here.  I learned from those experiences.  It would really be nice if God spoke to us audibly and directed us that way.  I think it would be a whole lot easier but, for some reason, He doesn’t.  I’d like to know why.  But, for now, I try to do the best I can in listening to Him in however He chooses to communicate.  Many times He does this when I am silent.  When I turn off my devices and shut out the noise around me I can sense Him.  It’s not anything spooky or freaky.  It’s just the best way I know to tune into Him.  Even then, He sometimes doesn’t speak.

I don’t know what to say except that He’s God and I’m not.  I can’t make Him do what I want Him to do.  I guess that’s the part about Him being God.

If you are struggling with a decision, I suggest that you take a time out.  Turn off your mobile devices, silence the noise around you.  Sit silently before God.  This invites Him to speak to you and direct you.  Even if you aren’t a believer, just sit silently.  Calm yourself and your anxieties over the decision.  This isn’t some weird form of meditation but nothing more than a mental timeout.  Sometimes I have done this and still didn’t have a clue about what decision to make but at least I had a clear mind.  Many times the time out is the same as when your GPS has to refresh your directions.  It resets you to a new course.

God knows us.  He knows what we need and when we need it.  Even more than we know ourselves.  Sometimes we knock on doors for Him to open but sometimes He opens doors that we never thought to knock on.  That’s why He’s God.  Whether you believe in Him or not, there is a reason.  Many times I fussed and rebelled at things He has done in my life at the time but years and years later I have looked back and saw how that moment changed my life and directed me to something better.

I sure wish God would tell us what He was up to but He doesn’t.

That’s why it’s called faith.

Faith is the GPS for our life’s journey.

 

Listening To God:  How does He speak to us today?

There have been numerous books and classes taught on how to listen to God.  I have often said that the main obstacle with prayer is that God doesn’t talk to us like you and I talk to each other – in an audible voice.  I have been puzzled by that many times and no one has been able to adequately explain why.  When you read in the Bible, you will see that he very much spoke to people but that gets explained away by the experts that when Jesus Christ went back to heaven that He sent the Holy Ghost.  Well, aside from those who think the practice of “speaking in tongues” is the way He speaks to us today, the Holy Ghost He sent back to us is also silent as well.

So DOES God – or the Holy Ghost – speak to us really?

He can and he will but once again not in an audible voice.

In my experience, the best way to listen to God is when I am quiet in a quiet place.  Silencing our minds and our environment around us.  Do you know how hard that is to do?  Try sitting in silence.  Our world is obsessed with noise and distractions.  No wonder people have a hard time hearing from God.  Noise is a part of our lives.

The only way we can hear from God is when He has our undivided attention.  Sitting still.  Psalm 46:10 says, “Be still, and know that I am God.”   It is difficult to hear from God when we are going in a million directions and have noise filling our ears.

It would be so easy for us if God spoke to us audibly but when God speaks in the quiet of our souls, it forces us to pay attention.   Being still is a lot of work and requires time and effort on our parts to get to the place where God can speak to us.

So when we get quiet and still, how does God speak?  When you clear your mind and open yourself to want to hear for God he will speak to your mind.  This isn’t something we can do rather flippantly either.  It takes work to separate your own thoughts from God speaking to you.  One rule of thumb to remember is that if you think God is speaking to you and it is against his character then it is not from God.  So what does this mean?  It means it takes practice to discern the voices in your head.  You have to build a relationship with God.  Yes, reading the Bible is a huge part of it but necessary if you are going to learn about God’s character.  You can’t let a preacher, church or writer in a blog tell you this.  You have to experience it yourself.  

In recent years I have gotten more quality time listening to God when I have been sitting quietly in a park or enjoying nature than sitting on a church pew.  I spent years sitting on the pew and have never experienced God like I do now.  I can only speak for myself.  I can’t speak for you.  

It is too easy to constantly ask God for things but don’t stop to listen or be still.  The act of being still and getting quiet is a challenge in our hectic world.  God wants us to be still so that we can have a relationship with him and so that we can have peace and receive guidance.  

Silence scares us.  When we are silent we are often forced to face ourselves and issues we might be avoiding.  We can easily block it out by turning on the television, surfing the Internet or texting.  When we are silent before God, we can turn from us being in control to allowing God to guide us.  It makes room for God’s presence when we aren’t doing all the talking or wanting to have our own way.  

It takes practice.   Isn’t having peace in our lives worth it?