Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Being Guided By God

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 by Diane Chandler

Like you, I’ve had many times when I’ve needed to hear the clear voice of the Lord.  Decisions like whom to marry; what job to take; or how to navigate a relational challenge, crisis, or life transition confront us all.  Students may especially seek God’s guidance as they near graduation.

God has not provided a cookie-cutter formula for hearing His voice.  The starting place is positioning our hearts in order to earnestly seek him (Heb. 11:6) and pray (Eph. 6:18, Phil. 4:6).  These five simple biblical principles may be helpful.

First, God speaks through the Scriptures.  John wrote, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17).  Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples” (John 8:31). When making an important decision, we must seek the Lord through His Word, believing that He will guide us.  The Christian music group, Mercy Me, expressed it well in their song “Word of God Speak” (click to listen).

Second, God speaks through circumstances. After graduating from a program several years ago, I sought God related to a job.  I sensed the Lord saying, “Try every door.”  So I applied for many teaching positions, believing that God would close all doors but one.  That is exactly what happened.  David’s unexpected circumstance of the Amalekites capturing their women and children drove him to God to know if he would be successful (1 Sam. 30:3-8).

Third, God speaks through the voice and/or the inner witness of the Holy Spirit.  When the Apostle Paul wanted to go into Bithynia, the Spirit of God prohibited him from entering but instead directed him in a dream to go to Macedonia (Acts 16:7-9).  The Holy Spirit also provides peace in the believer’s heart, something the devil cannot duplicate. Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace” (Col. 3:15). That Greek word for peace literally means to function like an umpire.  Peace is like an umpire that settles our souls and affirms direction. 

Fourth, God speaks through the input of trusted others.  God uses human vessels to speak to us.  With wisdom, Jethro spoke to Moses about delegating his work to others (Exod. 18:17-23).  At the Council at Jerusalem, James wisely recommended minimal stipulations be applied to Gentile believers (Acts 15:19-20).  Having godly counsel is important in seeing a decision circumspectly.  I’ll never forget the time my father spoke into an important decision I had to make.  He provided the wisdom I need to move forward.

Fifth, God speaks through confirmation of any and all of the above.  God desires to bring confirmation to encourage us in moving forward.  Moses desperately needed an assurance of God’s presence before moving forward.  God responded by directing him to the cleft of the rock and causing His glory to pass by (Exod. 33:12-23). Moses received a double confirmation of God’s guidance.  In making important decisions, we often need multiple confirmations.

Are you in the midst of an important decision?  How has God guided you in the past?

Whatever Happened to Gratitude?

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 by Diane Chandler

Recently, I went out of my way to assist someone.  This required time I did not have and resources that were in short supply.  I came away from this situation feeling unappreciated and slightly discouraged.  I expected a “thank you.”  “Thank you” never came.

Then I thought about all of the times others have done things for me ~ assisted where they had neither time nor resources, but did so gladly and without expectation.  They assisted because it was their delight to do so.  And I never expressed thanks.

These musings took me to Luke’s gospel where we find the story of Jesus healing the ten lepers while on His way to Jerusalem.  Desperate, destitute, and without hope, these men did the only thing they knew to do.  They called out to Jesus to have pity on them. And Jesus responded by healing them. “And as they went, they were cleansed” (Lk 17:11-19).  However, only one came back to say thank you.  He was a Samaritan, one historically despised by the Jews. Jesus commended the man for his faith and sent him on his way. Gratitude brought this leper back.

Nicholas Winton greeted by those he saved

This reminded me of the true story of Nicholas Winton, a 29-year old clerk serving at the London Stock Exchange in 1938, who learned about the plight of Jewish children in Czechoslovakia during World War II. Acting with haste after hearing of Kristallnacht, the violent attack against German and Austrian Jews, Winton organized eight transports of over 660 children and arranged for English and Swedish foster families to take them in. In 2009, two dozen survivors, with their family members, returned to London on the 70th anniversary of their rescue, to pay tribute to the man who saved them. At the time, Winton was 100 years old. Gratitude brought them back.

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965); theologian, medical doctor, humanitarian, and musician who went to Africa to establish a hospital in what is now modern-day Gabon; expressed gratitude this way: “At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” Surely this is true of the 24 survivors who returned to pay tribute to Nicholas Winton.

I have much to learn from this healed leper, Nicholas Winton, and Albert Schweitzer.  I want gratitude to take me back to say thank you ~ first to the God who saved me and second to others who “lighted the flame within me.”  If gratitude is one index of spirituality, how then can we raise our index?