I have worked with teenagers and young adults for more than 2 decades now. One topic of interest always pops up for those who are Christ-followers… the will of God. I admit, I’ve had my fair share of trying to figure out what God wants me to do… when He wants me to do it… where I need to be doing it… etc., etc., etc. Sometimes, the harder I try to figure out His plan, the more confused I seem to get.
I know God has recorded every moment of every day of my life in a book (Psalm 139). I know His plans for me are good, plans that will prosper me and not harm me, that will give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29). And I even know that He orders/directs/determines my steps (Proverbs 16). So because I want to please and honor Him, I want to be in His will.
Over the years, knowing His will has been difficult at times, but just last week, something hit me between the eyes that I should have seen and known and understood long ago…
The key to always being in the will of God… to always being where He wants you to be, when He wants you to be there… is to walk WITH Him. The disciples were always in the will of God when they walked with Jesus and did what He told them to do, when He told them to do it, where He told them to do it, etc.
And if we will just make our effort that of making sure we are walking with Him, we will be right where we ought to be, doing what we ought to be doing. So, while I may not know where He is taking me on this journey, I do know how to stay with Him. And that is exactly what I intend on doing.
If you’re struggling to know His will for you, why don’t you join us on the journey? He’s calling out to you to come and follow Him today, too!
I slowed the minivan to a crawl as we passed the house… slow enough for PR31 to look up the driveway into the garage and case the situation. “Nope, doesn’t look like there’s much there. Let’s go to the next one.” So, we did the drive-by, and headed for our next target.
A couple neighborhoods down the road from us a mile or two have an annual neighborhood-wide garage sale. This year, about 15-20 homes participated in the sale. It was a last-minute decision for us to try to hit some of the sales. The weather was cooler than normal, and there had been a few sprinkles of rain that morning. We didn’t get out till about 10:00am, which is hours too late to get the good stuff at a garage sale, but a great time to slip up on someone ready to give up and get rid of stuff at rock bottom prices. And since we had to go into town to run a few errands anyway, we figured we would have some fun and hit some sales.
The problem was that the rain had caused most of the families to move all the items they were selling into their garages. Now, you would probably think that this is no big deal. But you would be wrong. Psychologically, in my humble opinion as a garage sale expert, most people would prefer a “yard sale” to a “garage sale.” We want to be able to pull up near your house, cast a glance up the driveway, and determine from the comfort of our own vehicle if you have anything that looks of value enough for us to stop, park the vehicle, unbuckle, get out of the vehicle and walk the steps that it would take to get us to the desirable items in question. If we can’t see the merchandise available… or if it just looks like a bunch of clothes and videotapes instead of tools, electronics, sports gear, furniture and antiques… we will probably do “the drive-by.”
Now, to be fair here, we could have cost ourselves several great deals on some really cool stuff that Saturday… just because we weren’t willing to stop long enough to invest some time and interest looking into what people had to offer. It could absolutely have been our loss. People could have had the very things we were looking for, but we will never know because we did “the drive-by.”
Here’s the thing, in life lots of people do the exact same thing… just with people instead of garage sales. We look at someone and try to quickly evaluate whether or not we want to take the time and effort required to invest in a relationship. And while quality relationships should be more about what we can offer than what we can get from the other person, too often we do “the drive-by” because we don’t think there is anything positive in that person that is worth us stopping.
Look, sometimes we strike out at a garage sale… or with a person when we stop and “take a chance.” But sometimes we get surprised with a great bargain for a minor investment of ourselves.
Jesus was no “drive-by” kind of guy. He would stop at every person possible to see if He could connect with them, offer them love… or healing… or hope. And so many times He was rewarded by a new-found follower or friend. Sure, He struck out with some of His stops, but that didn’t cause Him to shift into “drive-by” mode. He just kept stopping and checking to see the value in people.
Sadly, too often I have been in “drive-by” mode with people. I’m sure I’ve missed out on some great friendships simply because I didn’t stop to see the value in those people. I’m not proud of it… just stating a sad fact. But I don’t want to live like that. I want to be like Jesus… stopping at every person… looking them square in the eyes… smiling… and seeing their value. I want to make it home to Heaven at the end of this life and show the Lord all the great finds I came across during my time on this planet.
So, if you wanna “drive-by” a garage sale, that’s one thing, but let’s all strive to stop when it comes to people!
If you have watched our YouTube channel (Team A’s Life) last year in our first season, you probably discovered that PR31 and I love a good garage sale… both shopping at them and having them. You would also know that we differ on how to price items, and that we approach the buying process from a different viewpoint. But we still love them nonetheless.
We were talking today about how certain items ought to be priced when having a garage sale, and PR31 says to me, “Isn’t it crazy that pieces of your life can reduced to placing a sticker on them and selling them for 25 cents?” It totally caught my attention. We talked about how things that seem so important at one point in our lives, we are more than willing to part with as if they didn’t matter to us at all… like they are almost not worth selling later on.
I’ve been thinking about that off and on throughout the day, and I’m reminded of how Jesus said in His famed “Sermon On The Mount” in Matthew 6 that we should focus our attention on what really matters in life… those things that are going to last into eternity… that we should store up treasures in Heaven where they cannot be taken or destroyed… or in my words, sold for a quarter at a garage sale.
In the long run… like the forever, eternal long run… people are what matter. Relationships are what matter. Kindness, love and respect matter. Generosity and grace are matter. Feeding the hungry, healing the hurting and helping the poor matter. Taking care of widows and orphans matters. None of those “things” could ever be sold for 25 cents at a garage sale. But they just might generate some interest in your account in Heaven.
So before you buy that thing you just can’t live without today… ask yourself how long your satisfaction with it will last and how much you’ll probably sell it for in a garage sale five or ten years from now. That may make you think twice about whether it’s really worth it or not. When the next best seller has been written… or this season’s hot fashion trend is then a fashion faux pas… or that latest technology is totally outdated and no longer even supported by most devices, will it really matter that you had any of it?
I’m not against having cool stuff. I’m just more in favor of making sure I keep my priorities right. I want to stockpile treasures in Heaven instead of getting a quarter for something at a garage sale here.
We would accomplish so much more in life, and make greater impact. It’s what Jesus did… and people saw that He was different because of it. It made them love Him, appreciate Him, and follow Him. People have value simply because they exist… created by God, in His image… loved by Him.
What if we just esteemed people more and demeaned them less?
When our boys… who are now nine & seven… know we are going on vacation, they try to figure out all the details of the trip. They want to know how long it will take to get there… when we will leave… which route we are taking… if we are going to stop at places we have stopped before… where and what we will eat… where we will stay… who will sleep where… how many times they will get to do the things they want to do… what kind of clothes they will need… what will happen if the weather messes up our plans… how they will pay for souvenirs… when we will leave to come home… etc… etc… etc.
They want to figure it all out. Sometimes we tell them that we have all of the details taken care of… or will have them taken care of in time for the trip to be successful. And yet this doesn’t always satisfy them. They still want to figure it all out. Even though we try to assure them that we know what we’re doing and that we will take care of all the details, they still want to go over everything with us. They want all the details. We just want them to relax, look forward to the trip, enjoy the journey and have fun.
Funny thing is… as amazing and smart and resourceful as our boys are… I don’t think they could plan out our vacation. They might be able to Google a few things if we got them started, but they don’t know how to route travel… book a place to stay… buy enough food for meals or find out which restaurants will be nearby… secure tickets for activities… fill the vehicle with fuel… or any of the other myriad details it takes to pull off a vacation trip. They would do better to let us handle the details, and accept things as they come.
It is so crystal clear to me as an earthly dad that I will work out the details in a way that is best and that will bless my kids, and yet I sometimes treat my Heavenly Father the same way my boys treat me. I expect Him to give me all the details before I even get to the point in life when I would need to know them. I try to figure it all out instead of trusting Him fully. I keep asking Him about the same details over and over, even as He reassures me that He has it all under control.
Interestingly, Jesus spoke to this very issue when He said that we don’t need to worry about tomorrow… that our Heavenly Father knows what we need… that He cares about flowers and birds, so He will definitely take care of all the details in our lives. In fact, Jesus said that we can’t add an inch to our height or a moment to our lives by trying to figure it all out on our own.
My encouragement to you… and my reminder to myself… today is simply this… relax, look forward to those good things God has in store for you, enjoy the journey and have fun. Let’s quit trying to figure out how God is going to get us from where we are to where need to be… you know, where He says we need to be and not just where we think we need to be. He’s got this! It’s going to be great! And all our trying figure it out isn’t going to help a lick. Let’s stop estimating, calculating and speculating… and let’s just let God take care of ALL the details. If we will, it will make the trip a lot more enjoyable.
There… that’s better. Now, take a deep breath, relax and enjoy today!
Note: Straight-up spiritual post with a hope-filled word of prophecy for someone who needs it today
We live on four acres in the woods… as you can tell from the view from our front door in the picture above… and we love it! Living in the country like this affords us the opportunity to really experience the seasons (such as they are in Louisiana).
It’s definitely Springtime here right now. Azaleas are blooming in vibrant pinks and Dogwoods in their brilliant whites. The dull grays and browns of Winter’s “lifeless” sticks have, in the last week or two, almost suddenly become lush with all shades of bright green foliage. I’m sure they had budded, and it probably took longer than I realized, but I keep catching myself telling PR31 how those leaves seemed to come out of nowhere practically overnight.
Then, in just last week or so, PR31 came through the living room around 6:40am and told me that she had to go outside and listen to the birds. When she did, she said she heard so many different birds singing and chirping. I believe her exact words were, “It’s like the whole world is coming alive at that moment.” I began listening for that each morning during my time alone with the Lord, and she’s right. In fact, more than one morning, I went outside to hear it for myself. Sure enough, sometime between 6:35am and 6:45am all the birds in the trees around our home… along with the neighbor’s rooster… welcome the new day with their song.
Then yesterday, as I was thinking about all of this, I believe the Lord spoke something to my heart to post for someone today…
“Like the birds all starting to sing at once between 6:35-6:45am… and like all the flowers blooming and trees turning green as they once more they put on new leaves, the same God who raised Jesus from the dead says to you today that He is causing you to come to life again after a dark night… after a dreary winter season.”
I don’t know what you’ve been going through exactly. I just know that He put in my heart to say to you that He knows everything in your life has seemed dull and lifeless for awhile now. There have been moments when you have wondered if everything was dead. But in the same way that Christ rose from the dead on the third day… and that suddenly we noticed the birds singing their daily morning wake-up chorus… and that new, bright green leaves seemed to suddenly appear and fill out the trees and bushes… so God is stirring you to life once more! What has seemed hopeless and dreary will soon be blooming with hope and full of vibrancy! Even “rainy” circumstances which come your way now will only serve to produce more depth of color to add to your dazzling display. And others will stand back in amazement and watch as you display the glory of God’s work in your life, singing a wake-up song of your own to Him!
Open your eyes, and look around you at a full-color life. Open your ears, and listen to a song announcing a new beginning… a new day dawning… new life bursting forth! Soon you will see that “Winter” is gone and “Spring” is here. And it begins today!
I haven’t always been the most mechanically savvy guy… although in the last several years, YouTube has really come through for me. Until recently, if something mechanical broke, I typically gave up on it and determined that I had to go buy a new one… or just do without. But I’ve learned that carburetors can be cleaned out and a weedeater resurrected (with my father-in-law’s help. Extension cords can have the shorted wires cut out and a new connection added on to bring them back to life and usability. A plastic “T” in a heater hose can be replaced by a brass one and that system revived to make a minivan safely drivable again.
It’s funny how something so small can produce hope. It makes me believe that, if those things were able to be revived and resurrected, maybe I don’t have to give up on other broken things.
That’s what makes what we celebrated yesterday so special and important. The message of Easter is hope through resurrection. To quote Bill Gaither’s Classic song, “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.” When Jesus rose from the dead, He conquered fear… He conquered despair… He conquered the unknown. Jesus’ resurrection said to those who follow Him that they can have hope… real, genuine, authentic hope. It took some of them a little longer to accept that He was really alive and that they could hope again, but when they encountered the resurrected Savior hope sprung to life anew in their hearts.
The resurrection of Jesus Christ says that, if He could come back from being dead, there is hope that other things in our lives which have died can also be resurrected. Dead relationships in marriage or between parents and their children can live again. Dreams which have been crushed can spring back to life once more. Health can be resurrected. Finances can be resurrected.
The message of Easter is a message we need every day, all year long… In the midst of despair and loss, don’t give up because hope can turn things around and bring things back to life.
Is there something dead in your life today that needs to be resurrected? Don’t give up. Instead give it to the One who brings hope to each situation!