Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Right Path

I couldn’t have timed it better if I’d tried. Every now and then I get in the mood for a certain movie. Several days ago, my husband and I felt like it’d be fun to see Leap Year again. So I put it in our DVD mailing queue. Guess when it arrived? Yup. Leap day. So, of course we had to watch it. Our oldest daughter sat down with us too. Now, here’s a spoiler, so if you haven’t seen the movie, be forewarned. But when the heroine decides to say ye

s to the proposal of her original intended (rather than the hero of the movie), my daughter asked, “Why’d she say yes?”

Good question. My answer came from another scenario in my life lately.

Have you ever had God “put someone on your heart”? He’s done that with me this week. And as I’ve prayed for this gal, it occurred to me: she’s on a path. She’s older than I am so she may feel her identity is tied up in the path she’s on. (I say that because I’ve certainly done that.) She may feel there’s no way out. The expectations of others might keep her on that path. She may be too tired to try something new. Fear of the unknown. Fear of rejection, or abandonment. She has friends down that path.

So, that’s how I answered my daughter: the heroine is on an intended path. She doesn’t want to deviate from it. (Even though the original path is not necessarily the best place for her, which is the case in the movie.)

We have so many choices in our lifetimes. Whether or not to get married. Have children, or not? Whom to vote for. What our policies will be. What our standards will be. And if a person establishes themselves as a moral person, they’ll probably stick close to that their entire lives. Or if a person sees himself as a rebel, an outcast, he may conduct himself as a rebel “should.” That’s the path he’s on. Why change it?

Why change it? Well, first of all, who can?

I’ve tried to change myself. I can do some things on my own. But I cannot, no matter how hard I try, change the deeper things in my heart and mind. Only God can do that. I’ve been on the wrong path sometimes. And God has gotten me steered down the right one. I’m talking after salvation. I’ve thought I knew the best thing, thought I was doing what God wanted, and He then has directed me to go a different direction. Wonder of wonders. I can’t even find the right path for my life’s many mini-journeys without God’s help. He’s the only one who can see the big picture.

So, I pray for my friend, and for you, dear reader. If you’re on the wrong path, may you recognize that God has the maps. He knows where you should be, what will be the most beneficial for you and for those in your life. He wants to guide you. Don’t stay on a path that isn’t His choosing for you. It’s not worth it. So, no matter what others expect, no matter how much of your identity is tied up in it, be willing to shift directions. Be willing to humble yourself and ask God to show you. Why change it? Because there is joy when you’re on the right path. There is purpose when you’re on the right path. There is true abundant life.

Go to the right path. And here’s how you get there: Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. Begin by choosing Him.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Have you seen where an online merchant lets you know they want to buy back what you’ve purchased, and they’ll credit your account? What if you’ve written your name on it? What if you’ve scratched whatever it was? Sometimes I put my name in books, for example, as soon as they arrive. Couldn’t “sell” those back. They’ve been personalized. The other day I was on a site, and they had a picture of a familiar little Bible I’d purchased from them. I haven’t written my name in the Bible. I used a sticky note and included my address. Why? Because if this little Bible ever gets lost, I want it back. Please mail it to me. ;) 

Why do I prize this Bible so much? I’ve already underlined lots of Scriptures, dating them as I “find” them or as God speaks to me through them. I’ve been marking up my Bibles like this for years—with dates and colorful underlining. This process is very important to me, not just for convenience so I can find the verses later, but because the underlined words testify about a moment in my life. 

Years ago, God showed me that all those dated passages, all those notes, all those colorful underlined markings were memorials before Him. They’re memorials to me too. But I was so blessed to know God took them so seriously. He values my time in His Word. Now, we knew that, right? But to that extent? That He calls those moments, these personalized markings, memorials? Amazing. Makes me want to spend more time in the Word. Drop everything, it’s time to “build” a memorial before the Lord. 

How does God feel about memorials? Here’s an example of how seriously He takes these:

“Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.” (Acts 10:4b NKJV)

Acts 10 describes a devout non-Jewish man named Cornelius who gave to the poor and prayed “continually.” His merciful deeds and prayers which may have gone seemingly unnoticed here on earth “built a memorial before God.” And because of that memorial, God acted on his behalf.

So, all those markings in my Bible not only remind me of devotional, prayer, prophetic, or study times with God, they “remind” God. Knowing that builds my faith. Knowing that assures me of God’s astounding grace. 

So, thanks but no thanks. I will not be selling this little Bible back for credit. It’s worth too much to me now. It’s been personalized. And through it, God’s Word has become more personal to me. Memorialized. And you can’t put a price on that.