Preparing For The Paths Ahead

Friday, December 12, 2008
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Psalm 23:3b – He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake. (NIV)

There is something really special and reassuring about being led by God along this path called life. No one has caught this feeling as well as Joseph Gilmore in the hymn "He Leadeth Me". It was written in 1862 on the spur of the moment after church one evening at Deacon Watson's home. During the conversation, Joseph took out his pencil and wrote this hymn just as it stands today. "He leadeth me, Oh blessed thought". Yes, it is a wonderfully reassuring thought to be led by our Lord along the paths ahead.

During such times of inspiration, the words pour out, not needing any corrections. God gives us the lines, thoughts, directions, actions, word for word — all the guidance we need for this day. We must be prepared though, trusting and open, for such guidance to catch our attention.

How do we prepare for such moments? Psalm 23 puts it clearly: we need to follow the paths of righteousness. The preparation involves living a righteous life, open to the Holy Spirit guiding our efforts. Mary is the prime example of this (Luke 1:38 KJV): "Be it unto me according to thy word," she said, responding to the angel's message. She now needed to prepare herself for the birth of our Lord, and she trusted Joseph's guidance as they travelled to Bethlehem.

What does all this say to me? Well, to start with, righteousness is a difficult word, meaning what exactly? It means that we walk life's paths close to God, living each day in God's will. This takes a certain attitude: God's way, not mine. So I commit this day into God's care and keeping, then everything that happens, through words, sermons, devotionals, friendships — it all comes from God. It could be a life-changing event, a big surprise, but that's fine, for I am being led. The catch is in hearing that quiet, reassuring voice.

Isaiah 30:21 – Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, "This is the way; walk in it." (NIV)

Prayer: Oh Lord, sometimes we don't know whether to turn left or right, and in our confusion, we make the wrong turn. If, dear Lord, we have to duck and return, admitting a mistake, we thank You that it is through our mistakes that we grow in faith, and our soul's trust in You is strengthened. In every such lesson, Oh Lord, we resolve that we should commit the day to You before we have any decisions to make, knowing full well that You go before us as You promised. So today, we humbly commit all that happens, all the decisions we make, into Your care and keeping. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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Iris Ford

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