Tag Archives: Job

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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Broken Dreams and Soft Hearts

When I was in Bible school studying Wisdom Literature, one of the assignments was to read the book of Job in three different versions of the Bible.  For my devotional times I am enjoying the New Living Translation which speaks pretty much like we do – with a certain casual cadence.

When we think of Job we think of broken dreams, and he had many.  The worst of course was the loss of his children.  It is said to be a parent is to forever have your heart walking around in someone else’s body.  We can’t control what happens to our children nor control what they do – but our hearts are so intertwined with their lives.  Job had a long list of things in his life to grieve.  Broken dreams can top most of our lists when it comes to grieving our losses.  It’s the “what could have been” in life that often sets us to plains of sadness.  What resolution is there for broken dreams?

Well, the last seven verses in the book of Job shed some light and give us hope.  After his time of great suffering Job found relief from his troubles.  It is important to remember our times of crisis have beginnings AND endings.  It won’t always feel so bad as it may feel today.  God directed Job to pray for his so-called friends.  They were the people who were great friends and grievers for seven days and then they started talking, which was their downfall.  All their advice was just salt in the wound of a hurting friend.  When Job was down his friends verbally beat him up.  But at the end, as part of His restoration of Job, God tells Job pray for his friends.  And as Job prays (it’s hard to be unforgiving when praying for someone) God restores Job’s fortunes.

The end of Job tells of the goodness that comes his way.  His life was blessed more than at the beginning.  There is an end to the story.  If Job had harbored any ill will against his friends, even though they were in the wrong, the happy ending could not have been accomplished.

As Job journeyed through his season of broken dreams he kept his heart soft, as difficult as it was, and lived to see great things.  In our season of broken dreams, keeping our hearts soft is sometimes the hardest thing.  It’s much easier to default to anger, depression or bitterness.  But this is not what God wants for us – He wants to “restore our fortunes” and heal our hearts.  The end can be better than the beginning, and the key to this is the condition of our hearts as we travel through some of life’s broken dreams.

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