Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Will Seek Guidance

If you’ve read this blog for the last few days you know that I discovered Og Mandino’s Ten Scrolls or principles for changing your life.  Over the next week or so, I’ll be exploring each one, looking to the Bible for reinforcement.  I’ll be looking for ways to implement changes in my life to help me become productive in retirement.  When I envisioned retirement, it was with a healthy body that would be hiking, bike riding, fishing and doing home renovations.   It was also envisioned at a much later time in life.  Now I’m learning my limitations, both physical and mental.  I have to learn to accept those limitations. Those limitations are why there may be days, weeks or months between blog posts. The limitations can be gone and then five minutes later, they are here.  They can go just as quickly.  Plans can change or be made suddenly.  The only constant is no consistency.

The first thing that jumped out at me when I first read Mandino’s Ten Scrolls or principles for changing your life was Scroll Ten.  Scroll Ten is I will seek guidance.  I’m moving this principle up to number one.  I believe that it’s wise to seek guidance when making decisions especially those about things we have no expertise.  King David was a wise man who didn’t always do the right thing.  He did however always love and trust the Lord.  Psalm 25 begins with David telling the Lord that he trusts Him.  We can always trust the One who gave us life.   Verses four and five are our example for decision making when David asks God to “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long”.  When sending a message to those He had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, God told Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. God went on to say, Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.  (Jeremiah 29:11 – 14a)  

Any time we have a decision to make, we should first stop and ask God to show us the path He has planned for us and ask Him to guide us and teach us what we are to do. He has promised to be there and listen to us when we call upon His name and pray to him.  When we ask for His guidance first, everything else falls in line. The right people and/or information become available to us.  It’s important when you go to someone for their advice and counsel to be able to explain the situation at hand clearly and precisely. Be focused when you request help and advice.  Be sure that the counsel offering their advice and insight understands exactly what the decision you are trying to make is.   You must be prepared to accept their advice even if it’s not the advice you wanted to hear.  Instead of being disappointed, upset or even angry at the source of advice, ask questions.  Look for ways to expand your knowledge.  As them to help you to understand why they answered as they did.  It could be that by making a few changes to your original idea, your idea becomes doable. It’s important to be willing to think “outside the box”.  Being willing to look at all sides of the situation and different solutions help you to become more effective and productive.

One lesson that you may learn when going to God for His guidance is patience.  Patience is defined as an ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay and to have quiet, steady perseverance. Impatience is the opposite.  It’s a lack of patience, an eager desire for relief or change; restlessness and intolerance of anything that thwarts, delays or hinders. We live in a society where patience has for the most part become a thing of the past and impatience has become the norm.  We want things when we want them and most of the time it’s possible to get them.  Our world is one full of fast food, fast cars, fast answers through fast internet access anywhere you are.  David experienced impatience and cried out to the Lord, “Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails. Do not hide your face from me or I will be like those who go down to the pit.  Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.”  (Psalm 143:7-8)

When you experience impatience waiting for God’s guidance, work toward learning patience.  It is His desire that we become patient and wait for His direction.  Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience”. (Colossians 3:12)  I'm not sure I could think of having compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience if I had been through all the Paul had.  Paul was struck blind by God on the road to Damascus, had his death ordered by the Jews, was shipwreck while a prisoner and spent a good bit of time in prison.  Despite all the negatives, Paul lived his life in complete devotion to the teachings he received at the feet of Christ.  He was patient and waited for God’s timing to have these negatives removed from his life.  It’s important for us to do the same.  

While waiting for God’s guidance and His timing, we should be in prayer and the study of His word.  Having a clearer understanding of the Bible will help us to recognize God’s will and plan for us.  Don’t just sit around waiting for something to happen.  Remember,  “We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised”. (Hebrews 6:12)

I leave you with words of wisdom from the book of Proverbs. 
Proverbs 15:22
Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

Proverbs 16:3
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

Proverbs 16:9
In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.

Proverbs 19:11
A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 19:21
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.


Life is all about learning. Sharing your thoughts will help us do that together. All I ask is that you keep the language PG and that you not leave mean spirited comments.