Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Lead Me

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Can you see what is around that corner?
Psalm 143:10 
Teach me to do your will, 
for you are my God; 
may your good Spirit 
lead me on level ground.

 How does God teach us? I have come to see it to be a on going process. Sometimes I am not even aware of what God is teaching me until at some future point I look back. He has taught me his faithfulness through many trials and I have learned to trust him as he has, time after time, made a graceful way through a difficult situation. I have learned of his kindness through his people who desire to know and follow him whole heartedly. I have learned character, his purpose, his desires as I have spent time in His word, and in prayer. I have learned to be led by the Holy Spirit to respond to that nudge that say don't go that way, or speak this over the person you are praying for.  I have learned to stand on the word, to stand my ground, to stand against the enemy's of unbelief, doubt, fear by looking to the Lord and allowing him to dress me in spiritual armor. He has set up situations and circumstances to allow me to practice and to use the gifts that he has given me. I have learned of his compassion and forgiveness when I have been hurt, or made some poor choices. I have learned patience by not getting what I want the instant that I want it but by having to stand, hope, trust and know that God will provide in His time.

I think of the people who train for more extreme sports. They practice and practice to learn a new trick or a new routine. I watch my son Cai who loves to learn new skills. He will spend hours and days doing the same thing over and over until he can do that particular skill and it appears effortless. It looks to those who out of context see him do that trick as if he is just gifted. They don't see the hours that have been spent to master that skill.  You may have heard about the 10000 Rule "This is the idea that it takes approximately 10000 hours of deliberate practice to master a skill. For instance, it would take 10 years of practicing 3 hours a day to become a master in your subject. It would take approximately 5 years of full-time employment to become proficient in your field. Simply work out how many hours you have already achieved and calculate how far you need to go. You should be aiming for 10000 hours."

Well I'm not one to actually count hours but I can see that the things that I have become proficient or even appear gifted in are all things that I have spent time working on. I remember when I was in high school that in my art classes there were people who were better than me at various skills but their self doubt would get in the way and many gave up. I knew that I might not be the best at a particular skill but I had learned how to work hard, I have learned how to ride a wave of inspiration when you find one. I've learned how to not give up when things are hard.

I can apply all of those things to walking with the Lord and being led by the Spirit. The more time and practice I apply to the gifts he has given me, to his word, to prayer, to our relationship the stronger and more proficient those things become.

So I guess my question to you is how are you spending your time. Are you practicing the things you want to become good at. If you want to know the Word, then you must be found reading, and studying, it, putting it to practice every day.  I look around and it is easy to get swept up in the mind numbing activities of our culture. I'm not sure that spending 10000 hours watching tv or playing computer games are doing much to hone any skills that will really pay off. On the contrary you watch enough sit coms you will begin to believe that all of life's problems should be able to be resolved in a half hour and you will feel frustrated when you find your own take longer to solve. Not to mention what are the messages that you are taking in - do they really line up with the truth of the word? How will you feel about standing before God, when he asks you what did you do with the time, talents and treasures I gave you. Will you find yourself scratching your head and realizing that maybe you spent to much time planting virtual crops playing farm town when you might have spent that time in some better way developing lasting fruit in your life.

Being led by the Lord starts with wanting His will, His way and trusting that if we seek Him, the word says we will find Him. The more we spend time in the word the more we begin to know what is important to God and the more we begin to see His character and are able to develop in the ways of the kingdom. It is easer to pray in agreement with the Word when we have spent the time to find out what the word says on a particular subject.

Please don't think that I am saying there is no place for entertainment in the life of a believer. What I am saying is don't get caught up by things that numb and dull you to the point that you no longer care. There is time enough in each day to accomplish those things that are your priorities you may have to take a look and see how you are really spending your time so that you can go back and make adjustments that better reflect your goals and desires.

One last thing perhaps if you look at the struggle you are currently facing from the perspective of "What is God training or perfecting in me though this experience" it will help you to meet it more as a challenge to over come through which you will gain some necessary skill or understanding. Turn it around and thank God for that thing it was facing a lion and a bear that caused David to be able to have the confidence in God to be able to face Golliath the giant. It was facing that giant that got him noticed by the king. It was the battles that he fought that helped convince the people of the land of his leadership skills. But the journey from shepherd boy to great king was long. It was long for Joseph from favored son to slave, to prisoner to 2nd in command of the supper power of his day. You may not yet be able to see why God has lead you along the path you have traveled. Don't give up - perhaps it is time to go around that blind corner or turn the page to the next chapter of God amazing work in your life. 

Dear Lord, Thank you that you order our steps and your Word illuminates our path. Help us to make time to know you, help us to want to see things from your perspective. Help us to want your will and your ways. Help us put aside things that suck up time and distract or numb us from wanting the things of your kingdom. Go before us today, lead us by your Holy Spirit. Show us the way through, when the road seems dark, and the path uncertain or even appears impossible. You are the God who leads your people - help us to be your people who listen for your instruction and obey and follow you willingly.


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