Guidance

Dear Lord, give me the humility to ask for your guidance, the patience to wait for it, the sensitivity to recognize it, the wisdom to understand it, the faith to trust it, the courage to carry it out and the gratitude to praise you for it.

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Every blessing I have been given I am expected to pass on to others. These include grace, mercy, patience, sympathy, empathy, tolerance, listening, forgiveness and second chances.

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Each day my challenge is to allow the Holy Spirit to change or reinforce everyone of my attitudes, likes, dislikes, plans, opinions, memories, hopes and fears. To do this I must be sure I deny self and permit the Spirit total access to all I am.

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I must not allow God to become the “elevator music” that forms the largely ignored background of my life. Instead, He must be the blaring symphony, the hard-driving beat that is clearly heard and seen in every part of my life.

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I want God to control our relationship, oversee our companionship, begin and end our conversations.

Deny Self

"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself..."   Matthew 16:24

To deny self means to deny
          self-importance
          self-competence
          self-direction
          self-motivation
          self-accomplishment
          self-glorification
          self-determination
          self-approval
          self-justification.

To deny self means to realize we are nothing apart from Jesus. Such a realization may come as a shock. It is not natural to surrender control of our lives to someone else. The very basis of our culture, our democratic way of life, lies in the belief that each person is in control of his own fate. Denial of our right to decide our own course goes against everything the world has taught us.

To live and function within this state of denial, we must constantly abide in Jesus. Only such abiding will enable us to accept his decisions and become all he wants us to be.

Desert Experiences

Are you in a desert right now? Are you living in a harsh environment, surrounded by unpleasant people and unfair expectations? If so, don't despair! God has often used such situations to prepare his people for great acts of service.

He used the desert to prepare Moses to lead the Hebrew nation out of slavery. He sent Jesus into the desert after the first public proclamation of his divine mission. Paul spent time in the desert after discovering his life goals were completely wrong.

God dictated a completely unique agenda for each of these journeys. They were not a time for vacation or amusement. Jehovah confronted these men with themselves and with Himself. Each had to wrestle with God's view of his own past and future. Each was forced to acknowledge the Creator's rightful place as provider, ruler and commander. Yet each emerged with an understanding of God's will for his life and a dedication to follow that, wherever it led.

Are we willing to emotionally and spiritually go into the deserts He provides and spend time one-on-one? Are we willing to allow Him to show us our mistakes and weaknesses so that we can be changed? Are we ready to accept our total nothingness and acknowledge His complete power and wisdom in all parts of our lives?

He knows when we need to be removed from the daily rush and pressure of our schedules. After He has our attention He can show us who He is, who we are, what He wants to become within us and what we can become for Him. Such insights are often seen more clearly in the school room of the desert.

Until we fully and gratefully accept our dependence on Him we will not be ready to serve Him. When He puts us into the empty, harsh places we must accept his way of doing things and learn from the Master Teacher.