Category Archives: Decisions

No Business of Mine

Personality tests come in various shapes, sizes and colors, so I’ve learned.  At a Christian women’s retreat a couple of years back the leadership team decided to use a short, fun, colorful personality test both as an ice breaker and way to divide into teams.  This particular quiz divided the room full of women into “reds,” (outgoing, take charge individuals), “yellows” (conscientious rule-followers and hard workers), “blues,” (tender-hearted harmony seeking people) and a minority of “greens,” (thinkers, learners and problem solvers).  While all these tests are just indications, and it is pointed out that most people have more than one “color,” this quiz indicated a predominance toward these characteristics.  I was a green.  Greens like logical approaches and need to know the “why” behind decisions and like to think of helpful solutions.

This image (when viewed in full size, 1000 pix...

This image (when viewed in full size, 1000 pixels wide) contains 1 million pixels, each of a different color. The human eye can distinguish about 10 million different colors. Judd, Deane B. Wyszecki, Günter (1975). Color in Business, Science and Industry . Wiley Series in Pure and Applied Optics (3rd ed.). New York : Wiley-Interscience. p. 388. ISBN 0471452122. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The life of faith in Christ has a particular challenge for the “greens” among us.  The very essence of faith means we usually don’t know the “why” and we don’t get to create the helpful solution.  We place much in God’s hands and trust that He is indeed working all things together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose (reference:  Romans 8:28).  Then we trust, wait and obey.

In the classic devotional, Streams in the Desert, a verse from Joel is the basis for a great comment by C.H. Spurgeon.  First the verse:

And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.  (Joel 2:32)

All of us, no matter what personality “color” we lean towards can find ourselves in that “whosoever.”  When we come upon troubles and trials and perplexing situations we can take these words of C.H. Spurgeon to heart:

Charles Spurgeon (C.H. Spurgeon)

Charles Spurgeon (C.H. Spurgeon) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My case is urgent, and I do not see how I am to be delivered;  but this is no business of mine.  He who makes the promise will find ways and means of keeping it.  It is mine to obey His commands;  it is not mine to direct His counsels.  I am His servant, not His solicitor.  I call upon Him, and He will deliver.  C.H. Spurgeon

Even as a “green,” is so comforting to know the final outcome of that which concerns me is not my deal, it’s His business.

 

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Guarding Your Heart When Making Decisions

Making decisions is a time of increased vulnerability.  We open ourselves up to possibilities or ideas that  we had not considered before.  We search for wisdom and wonder who to listen to and what to believe.  We question.  We pray.

As a self-employed person, once again, everyday I am met with new decisions that are laying the foundation of this new “adventure” in my life.  I need to access each day how to meet my art business commitments, how to do my best work in these circumstances, consider how to build my financial base for the future and at the same time care for my family who deserve my best attention.  Some days go smoothly, and some days I get it wrong!  There is a lot to think about.  Oh how I need the wisdom of God in making everyday decisions!

It may be that the set of circumstances before us are something we did not think could ever happen – to us.  Life might have thrown us a curve ball.  We re-examine our foundations and make a spiritual decision on how our faith colors our current situation.  Here are some wise words from Proverbs:

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.  Avoid all perverse talk;  stay away from corrupt speech.  Look straight ahead, and fix your eyes on what lies before you.  Mark out a straight path.  Don’t get sidetracked;  keep your feet from following evil.”  Proverbs 4:23-27

In her book, Hinds’ Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard writes a powerful allegory of a journey.  As a fearful person she finds people along the way that try to tear her down.  Their names are Bitterness, Resentment, Pride, Craven Fear and Self-Pity.  At every juncture the main character must make choices that guard her heart against such influences and keep her fixed on the path ahead, with all its difficulties at times perplexing passages.

Decision making can be one of those perplexing passages.  We may feel somewhat in the dark or that we have been set back on a shelf of inactivity for the things of the Lord.  To take care of immediate needs we embrace the job ahead but may wonder, how is this a part of your plan, Lord?  It is good to remember that God is still working in this time of decision making and we can trust Him and His ways no matter how it may look to us at the time.  As we guard our heart and fix our minds on Jesus, He does use all things together for good.  There is great spiritual purpose ahead for the child of God that steadfastly believes, trusts and obeys in the Lord.

We are not meant to always linger in the dark, or stay in the closet;  presently we shall be summoned to take our place in the rush and storm of life; and when that moment comes, we are to speak and proclaim what we have learned.  – Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Storms in the Desert

The life of faith in Jesus Christ means everything when faced with decisions.  If we believe that He is worthy of our trust and confidence that submitting to His plan for this juncture of our lives results in peace.  And what a sweet gift as we place our future in His hands.

 

 

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Decision Making and the Will of God

Flipping a coin, going through open doors, and goosebumps are all something we hear when people talk about making decisions.  Fear of making a wrong decision can paralyze us into inactivity.  Acting spontaneously or going by feeling alone can lead us to long-lasting undesirable consequences.  As believers, an oft-spoken prayer in the area of decision-making is to ask for God’s will to be done and then for spiritual wisdom.

As I read of King Solomon’s life in the book of I Kings, I was impacted by the fact that wise decisions in one season of life does not automatically mean a life where sound judgments continue!  King Solomon “had it all” after he asked God, above everything, to give him wisdom to lead his people.  God was well-pleased with such a prayer and granted Solomon not only wisdom but riches and respect from those around him.  Solomon did some tremendous things!

Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cros...

Piero della Francesca: Legend of the True Cross – the Queen of Sheba Meeting with Solomon , Detail. (c. 1452-66, Fresco, San Francesco, Arezzo, Italy) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But decisions are a day-by-day occurence and a little less conviction one day followed by a teensy weensy slide into mediocrity the next eventually produces a downward slide of epic proportions.  Solomon, the builder of the great temple, eventually found himself worshiping false gods to please his many wives.  There are many bad decisions represented in that last sad sentence!

How often in life we know people who have had a season of sound decision-making based on seeking God’s will and months or years later we find that same person miles away from where they once were spiritually.  What can happen to other people can happen to us – no one is immune from the enemy’s attacks.  One of Satan’s craftiest ploys is in drawing people away one little “innocent” decision at a time.

Such reality can keep us on our knees, especially when there is a decision to be made.  For weapons, in this spiritual battle of decision-making, we have the Bible as a compass, prayer to bring us into God’s presence, wise counsel from godly Christ followers, God-directed circumstances, the shield of faith to ward off stabs of unbelief and especially the peace of God which works even in situations we do not understand.

Rather, cling tightly to the Lord your God as you have done until now.  Joshua 23:8 (NLT)

 

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What is God up to?

Crossroads seem to abound on the highway of life.  We are presented with decisions and often the circumstance dictates that if we choose to ignore the reality of the situation and do not respond, truly, “not to decide IS to decide.”  It can be overwhelming at times.  If we take the mindset that we are the captain of our own souls there is incredible pressure, because the supposed outcome would be all up to us.  It is with a great sense of relief that I believe and know to the marrow that indeed, I am NOT the captain of my soul.  With an ongrowing trust I place that title on Jesus.  Ahhh, now that feels better.

The Bible presents the believer with absolutely amazing and life changing guidance if we would but grasp it and lean into what is available to us – consider this:

Then you will understand what is right, just and fair, and you will find the right way to go.  For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy.  Wise choices will watch over you, understanding will keep you safe.”  Proverbs 2:9-11

Roads and Highways

Roads and Highways (Photo credit: ClaraDon)

Crossroads often provide those instruments God uses to direct us if we would open our eyes to the possibilities.  On the surface some of these crossroads seem like obstacles.  Mrs. Charles E. Cowman writes in Storms in the Desert:

It lies with each of us to choose which they shall be.  It all depends, not upon what these events are, but upon how we take them.

And the author also goes on to warn us:

The Lord cannot do much with a crushed soul, hence the adversary’s attempt to push the Lord’s people into despair and hopelessness over the condition of themselves, or of the church.

When at a crossroad, taking Bible in hand and approaching God with a heart of trust and obedience, we can find the seemingly “dead end” a new trail and new journey ahead.  What is God up to on this new road?

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