Sunday, April 20, 2008

CASTAWAY...April 20, 2008 Weekly Devotion

Thank you for joining me for this week's devotion. It is my prayer that your heart will be challenged and changed today as we meditate upon God's Word!

CASTAWAY...decision making
Everyday we are faced with making decisions. From simple decisions such as:
- what to wear,
- where to eat lunch,
- or should I have dessert or not?

to more complicated decisions such as:
- which bills can I pay this month,
- should I take that job offer in Seattle,
- how am I going to take care of my elderly parents,
- what treatment for my husband's cancer should we explore?

The choices that we make impact the lives of others and the futures of both ourselves and others. This can cause great stress in our lives!

In last week's YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, voters voted on which area of their lives they were facing a decision, the top 3 results were:

1. 47% of readers voted that they are facing a financial decision right now.
2. 33% polled said they are making a career decision.
3. 28% said they are facing a health decision right now.

All of us face making decisions, some of us can relate to Tom Hanks way of making a decision in the movie, CASTAWAY. At the end of the movie, Tom stands in the middle of the intersection of a desert highway, he has just met the attractive owner of the package that he salvaged and protected after his plane crashed. North, South, East or West...which direction does actor Hanks go?
We often times stand at a crossroads in our lives
and wonder which way should I go?

We have so many options, so many choices and decisions to make. The stress in decision making is largely based on the fear of being wrong. We might feel like INDIANA JONES, another great movie, when Indiana is faced with having to choose which cup to drink from, the wrong choice would result in his death.
Are you facing a life or death decision today?

When it comes to making decisions, we desire guidance and often times look to God for direction. However, at times we feel like finding God's will for our lives is much like a game of hide and seek or a life size version of WHERE'S WALDO?
If only we could find what we are looking for.

I would like to expose 5 strategies that we use in our decision making that may lead us to feel like we are either a castaway, in a Indiana Jones movie or looking for Waldo....

1. PUTTING OUT THE FLEECE: we base our decision making on putting demands on God, ex: "God, if you want me to go into fulltime ministry, then make the next car that passes me be a red Honda Civic with a sunroof."

2. LOOKING FOR A SIGN: we read into signs that really are not from God, ex: you are considering a job transfer, after interviewing for the job, you do some apartment hunting. The site manager shows you a beautiful top floor apartment overlooking the pool, the manager tells you the apartment number is 620. AMAZING... your birthday is June 20th, it must be a sign from God!

3. HIJACKING SCRIPTURE: God does speak to us thru His word concerning His will, but sometmes we take a verse out of context to fit our decision making. ex: A Pastor from Arkansas is considering taking a church in Florida. He comes across the scripture in Isaiah 24:15 that says "Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord." He seizes the word EAST as God's confirmation for him to move to Florida.

4. REQUESTING A SOLITARY DOOR: Sometimes we ask God to open just one door so we will know it is the one that God wants us to go thru. The problem is often times we find more than one door open. ex: a high school senior may be accepted at 1, 2 or 3 good colleges. We find ourselves in a LETS MAKE A DEAL situation, do I pick door #1, 2 or 3? Sometimes even when there is just one solitary door, that does not mean it is the right one.

5. GIVING THE PEACE SIGN: At times we put too much importance on the presence or absence of inner calmness. We can have peace within ourselves but is it God's peace?

PSALM 23, vs. 1-4
"The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. (2) He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, (3) He restores my soul, He guides me in paths of righteousness for His names sake. (4) Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."

This passage is often times referred to in the time of death. We seldom think of the 23rd Psalm as a reassuring passage for facing the challenges of making important decisions. God refers to us, His children, as His sheep and He is our shepherd. Look at the verbs in this passage...

vs. 2: LEADS

Christ chooses us, He has purchased us, He calls us by name, He makes us His own, and He delights in caring for us. He LEADS us; RESTORES us; GUIDES us; COMFORTS us and is WITH us!

Next time you are facing a major decision in your life, refer back to the 23rd Psalm and try these important 3 things before making life changing decisions....

take time to pray daily and ask God for wisdom in all of your decisions. (James 1:5) Before we can know what God is leading us to do, we must know the voice of God.

the freedom to choose implies the need to choose WISELY. Gather as much information as possible before making a decision. Ask the Who, What, Why and Where questions.

ask for honest feedback from people who are wise, mature and knowledgable. They should be knowledgable in two areas: first, they should be familiar with your strengths, weaknesses, abilities and personality and secondly, they should be knowledgable of the area of your need. ex: you wouldn't ask a waitress who struggles with money for advice on your finances, you might seek out an accountant or CPA in the church that is known to have expertise in this area.
Are you facing a major decision in your life today?
Which example describes you in your current decision making habits...

It is my prayer that today, you will lean upon your shepherd, JESUS CHRIST, to lead, guide and protect you as you make your decisions.

Have a wonderful week in the Lord!

God Bless, Laurie


Laura said...

Hi Laurie -
How are you today? I pray you had a wonderful weekend! All is well here. Just wanted to let you know I was thinking of you.

Cheri said...

What a great devotion. I had to chuckle at your examples of how some of us look for a sign or take scripture out of reference....Oh, how many times have I done that.

Time to grow up and seek his word in this decision we have to make.
Thanks Laurie!

Tonya said...

GUILTY! Heehee... Yes, I've tried hard myself to make some scriptures work with the situation I was in. When our son was in the battle for his very life we had people tell us that if we'd "believe enough" he would be healed. We snatched up those scriptures about "faith of a mustard seed" and "if you ask ANYTHING in JESUS name"... while we conveniently looked over the part that said, "if we ask anything ACCORDING TO HIS WILL." No, we absolutely DID NOT want to accept that our son might die... but GOD met us where we were and allowed us to see HIM and experience HIM in ways we'd have never done before had we not gone through that valley with HIM. As for our taking it upon ourselves for our son's healing.. we'll the healing was up to JESUS the WHOLE time. It NEVER depended on us. Yes, we can ask... but we may not get the answer we're seeking. GOD is GOD no matter what... HE ALWAYS knows what's best. =-)

Thanks for your boldness in sharing the gospel. It's a GREAT reminder that our healing, or whatever it is we're asking for is ultimately up to GOD. We have to TRULY seek HIM and be willing to praise HIM through whatever answer HE gives.

Treasure Seeker said...

Great word Laurie!

Thanks for always sharing practical truths from God's Word! You are a blessing!