Tag Archives: avoiding assumptions

Including God in Everyday Living

While sitting with Jesus yesterday, we began to talk about the importance of trust. He and I talk about this often, probably because I desperately need to be reminded of it every single day. And I do want to include God in everything; I’ll take the path He leads me down over over the crooked mess I can make of my life by leaning on myself every day of the week.

Proverbs 3:5-6 reveals a ton about the nature and character of God. As we see in our dissection of verse 5 in yesterday’s post (“Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”), leaning on our own reasoning alone really isn’t a wise thing to do. More importantly, we also see that God truly is interested in the details of our lives. Because He is asking that we depend on Him and include Him in every part of our hearts (the core of our being), He goes on to attach a promise in verse 6:

“…in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

 Just as we did with verse 5 yesterday, we will break down this line of scripture word by word:

“…in all (in everything) your (personalized, individual responsibility) ways (decisions, courses of life, methods, manners, processes, plans, habits) acknowledge Him (recognize, include, and seek God) AND He will (God promises to) make (create, shape, alter) your (He is talking to YOU) paths (decisions, circumstances to decisions, direction of life, priorities, focus) straight (to be pure, just, proper, and honest).”

Also interpreted as….

“In every area of my life, including my plans concerning my present and my future, my habits in the way I spend my time, and my decisions, I will include God. By doing so, He is going to alter my very life circumstances to be right, in order, and incredibly fruitful.”

Wow. When you really dive into this scripture, you can begin seeing why including God is so important. Not only does He want to be involved; we actually need Him to be involved. We can’t make our paths straight; only He can. For me, this verse has been an extraordinary epiphany by revealing when and how I think I should include Jesus in my life.

What I find most interesting about this piece of truth is that it completely (not partially, but fully) rejects our modern approach to Christianity. In our fast paced world, even those with heart-felt devotion to Christ can find it easy to merely include God on Sunday, but then live for themselves the rest of the week.  Monday is when we return to work, and mixing Jesus and work can be complicated. We start thinking that we can handle our jobs, and that we only need to include God in the more “spiritual” areas in our lives.

Yet God cannot be compartmentalized, beloved. When we apply scripture to our lives (through His grace), we can no longer divide our load between what God controls and what we control. Because He is God, He needs to be treated like God. He deserves everything that we can give Him. After we surrender our life circumstances to Him first, and then we can see how our decisions will best be handled.

Such a mindset is really the manifestation of the statement “Jesus is my Lord.” Jesus is more than the Savior that died on a cross; He is a leader and a guide for every aspect of our lives. By willingly choosing to include Him every single day, we come to truly recognize Jesus as Lord. As you seek Him, beloved, you will always find Him. Always.

May your heart be encouraged and challenged to include this Righteous King into your everyday world.
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When Things Don't Go According to Plan

In preparing for today’s post, I had a strong sense that the Lord wanted to re-share this message with His beloved. May we always continue to look to Jesus in setting our agendas and establishing our plans.

“Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated by the Spirit, seen by angels, proclaimed among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.” 1 Timothy 3:16

From our rational human viewpoint, God the Father’s decision to send His only begotten Son to be born in a manger is strikingly underwhelming. More precisely, the scene is a run down barn filled with the noxious stench of farm animals and mule manure. He isn’t born in a lavish palace, as some expected, nor is He carried inside the womb of a wealthy, highly-respected, and well-known woman. Nope. Jesus, the King of the Jews, who many believed would rescue His people from the oppressively diabolical Roman Empire, is birthed in the middle of nowhere to a nobody (according to society’s standard). Needless to say, in comparison to the expectations of humanity in the moment, this just feels like a huge let down.

Interestingly, the same people who deeply love God, cling to His word, and resist the temptation to serve the foreign gods loved by King Herod, still never expect God to carry out His prophetic words the way that He does. I can relate to this. When the Lord spoke to me last year about throwing the HDD Launch Party, I expected it to end with a big, holy bang. I expected hundreds of people to attend and celebrate Him. But that had been my standard for success, not His.

Because He spoke both His Daily Dose and the Launch Party into existence, He could boldly contradict my assumptions and carry out His plan just the way He wanted it. The evening was humble, gentle, and sacred. He sent who He wanted because it was about Him, not about me. This was simply beautiful. Talk about humility at it’s finest. And I am exceedingly grateful for it.

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” Psalm 46:10

You know what I find so deeply intriguing about how God operates? If He had allowed His Son’s birth (or any expectations we may try to build onto His promises) to transpire just the way we expect, then our trust would remain in those very circumstances. Or even more so, they would rest on our own understanding, rather than in God. In His radical and abundant love for us, He allows events to unfold differently than what we expect. By doing so, we can witness that His ways are much higher and better than anything we could ever muster up on our own, and that we desperately and deeply need Him.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth,so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” James 1:17

“What has been will be again,what has been done will be done again;there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9

As His beloved, may we give Him the space and the respect to be who He is: the God of the universe, our Creator, and our Sustainer who holds all things together.

“He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.” Colossians 1:17 NLT

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

May you understand and rest in the knowledge that we will never figure God out. If we could, we wouldn’t need to trust Him, and we’d have plenty of room to lean in on ourselves. If God gives you a promise or a prophetic word, lay it immediately back down at His feet. Building extraneous assumptions of how it all should go is entirely too easy, and always opens the door for a disappointment He never intended us to experience.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

Maybe He is speaking a country to your heart. If so, let Him show you when you are to leave. Just because He is speaking it now does not mean the time is now.

Perhaps He is speaking to you about a future spouse. Surrender it fully to Him. Don’t try to manipulate the circumstances in causing His prophecy to take place. That is not faith, beloved, that is control, which is always a product of not trusting Him.

Maybe He is asking you to leave your job in faith, or to speak to someone about a decision. Give it back to His hands. If He is entrusting this knowledge to you, pray for the time when He decides to open the door.

Whatever it may be, allow Him to be your Lord. Allow Him to guide your paths and trust that He is for your good, beloved.

“In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Proverbs 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

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Why Accusing Others Never Works

My breathing feels tight and heavy, and queasiness fills my gut. For the first time in my life as a Christian, I have experienced accusation beyond anything that I ever imagined was possible from someone who professes to know Jesus Christ. Yet, even in the midst of this challenge, God remains ever so faithful.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good. As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:1-5 ESV

“Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:16 KJV

Unfortunately, many of us will come across those (including other believers) that will hurt or offend us. In return, we may feel the need to speak the truth by confronting those individuals with their offenses. But we must be careful to handle these types of situations according to Biblical standards.

If someone hurts us, then we must first pray and seek His wisdom about how to appropriately discuss the situation. We must not begin judging the hearts of others since we cannot see them ourselves. Neither should we make any assumptions related to such judgements. Assumptions are very dangerous, beloved, and can quickly create division with others (which fully contradicts His word).

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7 NIV

“Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:37-38 ESV

“But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” Matthew 15:18 ESV

With regard to assumptions, here’s one nugget that the Lord continually reminds me of: if we had the ability to see the hearts of men, we’d also have the ability to forgive them of their sins. There is no purpose for us to see the sins in another heart since we do not have the power to save them. Only God alone can see the hearts of men and forgive sin.

“But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV

By nature the enemy is a liar, and he’s also described as the accuser of the brethren. In that role, he seeks to bring false charges against Christians, with the hope of weakening their influence and damaging the cause with which they are associated. This spirit of accusation, often delivered in a harsh manner, is based on human observation rather than any revelation given from the Holy Spirit. A spirit of discernment and a sharp mind will be sensitive to detect this human judgement as not being from the Lord.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: ‘Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God,and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down’.” Revelation 12:10 NIV

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20 ESV

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Because God encourages us to speak truth in love, He will lead us to repentance through His loving kindness. If God (in His divine wisdom) decides to reveal a sin that is present in the life of someone you love (which is often given out of consistent, heart-felt devotion and prayer for this person), then it must be saturated with His truth.  I would suggest that the situation be covered in prayer, drenched in His everlasting love, filtered through His Word (the only truth), and weighed in His counsel and instruction.

“Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.” Galatians 6:1 NIV

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11 ESV

Condemning any one of God’s beloved based on carnal perception and rationale (or even in response to a wounded heart) is extremely dangerous. We are imperfect vessels of a perfect God, so He alone must call the shots in these circumstances.

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1 ESV

“‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:16 NIV

“Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” 1 Peter 3:16 KJV

What offense do you need to surrender to the cross today? And who do you need to forgive in obeying God’s commands to us as His beloved? May the Spirit of the Lord guide you in all truth today that you may have a clean and pure heart before Him.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.” Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

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