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“You ought to say instead, ‘If the Lord is willing, then we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:15, New English Translation).

A good friend and I live about fifty miles apart. It’s not a great distance, but meeting for lunch requires extra planning. We don’t just run into each other around town. This week we texted about our next time together, and my friend added two small words to the end of her message: “Lord willing.”

Growing up, it wasn’t unusual to hear this phrase tagged onto many conversations, such as, “I’ll see you next week, Lord willing.” It recognized God’s control in our lives. Unfortunately, we don’t hear those words very often today. e

How much do we really include God in our daily lives and decision making? Do we seek Him only about the “big things” in life? Whether we like it or not, “small” decisions often have big, far-reaching consequences. I have watched friends crash and burn because they did not seek God’s will in a situation. What they thought was a “little thing” changed the direction of their life in ways they never imagined or intended.

I watched this happen with a friend. For some reason I never fully understood, she decided she should leave her job and move to another state. When God didn’t work anything out within her timeframe, she left anyway. Things seemed fine at first, but then it all began to unravel. Her choices seemed much like what we read in James 4.

“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go into this or that town and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.’ You do not know about tomorrow. What is your life like? For you are a puff of smoke that appears for a short time and then vanishes” (verses 13-14, NET).

It’s easy to fall into the habit of running our lives without considering what God might desire for us. We forget His plans exceed anything we could imagine for ourselves. This doesn’t mean life will always be worry-free and without pain. It does mean God works everything out for our ultimate good. His blessings rest upon us when we allow Him to guide us.

“Walk just as he has commanded you so that you may live, that it may go well with you, and that you may live long in the land you are going to possess” (Deuteronomy 5:33, NET).

Prayer: Remind me, Lord, that Your plans for my life far surpass mine. You know what is best for me and will guide me in all my decisions when I allow You. Keep me from running ahead of Your will and help me patiently wait to hear Your voice.

 

“Commit your actions to the Lord,

    and your plans will succeed.”

Proverbs 16:3

I grew up believing in my teen years that to be doing something for the kingdom of God, required me doing something (and I’m being completely honest here) huge and something that got people’s attention.

I needed to be impacting the thousands and no less. I needed to have a huge platform, and to be ministering publicity on a consistent basis. Boy, was I  wrong.

I look at my life now and realize that I’m still making an impact on this world, and just because it doesn’t look the way I thought it would, doesn’t mean it isn’t as important.

God blesses faithfulness, and if we can’t be faithful in the small things, we definitely won’t be faithful in the big things.

So commit everything you do to the Lord, because it’s important.

From wiping a snotty nose in the nursery class, to picking up kids on your church bus route.

From raising your kids, to taking a lost and struggling young person under your care and guidance.

From worshiping every service with your whole heart, to supporting your pastor.

Whatever this season of your life  requires of you, commit it to God and you will succeed.

God, take what I have today and use it for Your glory. Some days I don’t feel like I have much to offer, but I surrender it all to You today.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Many years ago, when I was attending Bible College, one of our teachers had planned to go with us on a weekend trip. As we were preparing to leave, she suddenly said she felt a check from the Lord and decided not to go. We never did know why, but for some reason the Lord showed her that she was to stay home.

Have you ever started your day with a plan as to what you would do or accomplish that day? But during your busy day, a phone call came or something else happened that caused you to drop what you were doing and go to help a friend or family member. How do we react to these interruptions in our schedule? Do we view it as a sense of duty, something we are obligated to do? Or do we see it as a divine interruption, a chance God has given us to minister to another?

As we begin each day, we must acknowledge that the Lord is in complete control and ask Him to direct our steps. In the Lord’s prayer, we are taught to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” He knows where we are most needed each day, and sometimes He may interrupt what we think is essential, in order to accomplish something for His kingdom. It is human nature to become frustrated or even angry that our plans have changed. That is when we must reach out in faith, realize that He always has what’s best in mind for us, and trust Him to give us the strength for whatever He wants us to do.

God’s divine interruptions to our plans and desires, often can be the things we look back to as the greatest blessings we have experienced in life. It all hinges on how we react. We need to make plans, but we also need to be open for the direction of the Lord each day.

Prayer: Jesus, we give this day into your control, you know what is best for us. Direct our steps and use us in your kingdom.

Devotion by Anne Johnst