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Tag Archives: John Ortberg

  • How Do I Choose?

    Posted on March 3, 2015 by Family Christian

    Sally Clarkson MARCH 3, 2015

    How Do I Choose?
    John Ortberg

    "…See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut…" Revelation 3:8a (NIV)

    Life is full of tough decisions.

    How do I know if he/she is "the one"? Which college should I go to? What should I major in? Which job should I take? Which church should we attend? Should I change careers? Now that the kids are grown, should we downsize? Is now the right time to retire?

    People hate making decisions. Mostly because we’re terrified of making the wrong one.

    Choosing thrills us. Choosing scares us. Choosing comes from the core of who we are. When we truly choose, we have no one to blame and nowhere to hide. And that can be downright terrifying.

    My wife, Nancy, and I were at a restaurant once, and the waiter responded to every choice we made by saying, "Brilliant," "Perfect" or "Excellent decision." This happened so steadily throughout the meal that I finally asked him if he ever told anyone they made a lousy choice. He told us that the restaurant managers had discovered diners are so afraid of choosing the wrong thing, they actually print a list of "affirmation words" that the wait staff is required to say in response to everyone’s order.

    Think about that. Even a question as simple as, "Soup or salad?" renders us so vulnerable that restaurants have to turn their wait staff into therapists!

    In a way, we do the same thing with God. Terrified of making a bad decision, we lay all of our choices at God’s feet and ask Him, "What is Your will for my life?"

    But, what if God’s will for us is that we develop the wisdom and discernment to make our own decisions in light of His Word, and the faith and confidence to know He will be there guiding us regardless of which path we choose?

    Doesn’t that sound freeing?

    God wants us to learn how to choose well. That may be why, when we look at the Bible, there is no chapter devoted to ’How to know God’s will for your life." Paul doesn’t write about "6 Steps to Determine If He’s the One" or "5 Ways to Discern God’s Best Career Path for You."

    What we do see are statements like this: "If any of you is lacking in wisdom, ask God, who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and it will be given you" (James 1:5, NRSV).

    Or "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best" (Philippians 1:9-10a, NIV, 1984).

    So the next time you face a difficult decision, instead of asking God what His will is for your life, begin by asking for wisdom. And don’t live in fear of making the wrong decision. Even if you walk through the wrong door, as long as you walk through it with the right heart, God’s will will be done.

    Remember, God’s will for your life is not about whom, or if, you should marry, which job you should accept, or which neighborhood you should live in. God’s will for your life is that you become a magnificent person in His image, somebody with the character of Jesus. And nothing can stand in the way of that.

    Dear God, we know that You are the God of the open door. Every moment of every day is an opportunity for us to grow and serve and make a positive impact on others. Because of Your love, we don’t have to be afraid of failure, nor do we have to live under the tyranny of always making the perfect choice. We pray You will give us the courage and wisdom to walk through whatever doors You open before us. And we pray that through our actions, Your will will be done. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    TRUTH FOR TODAY:
    Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (ESV)

    Philippians 4:6, "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God." (ESV)

    RELATED RESOURCES:
    How do we determine God’s plans? If you’re searching for more on discovering God’s will for your life, you’ll enjoy John Ortberg’s new book, All the Places to Go … How Will You Know? To dig even deeper with a small group or Sunday School class, explore the 6-session DVD Curriculum.

    Enter to WIN a copy of All the Places to Go … How Will You Know? by John Ortberg. In celebration of this book, John's publisher is giving away 10 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here, letting us know why you’d like a copy for yourself OR whom you would give the book to, if you won. {We’ll randomly select 10 winners and email notifications to each one, by Monday, March 9.}

    REFLECT AND RESPOND:
    Some decisions seem much harder to make than others. Think back to the last genuinely difficult decision you made and compare that to a relatively simple decision you’ve made recently. What made one so much harder/easier than the other?

    Think back to the last "bad" decision you made. What did you learn from the experience that made you a better person?

    © 2015 by John Ortberg. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Tyndale House Publishers for their sponsorship of today’s devotion.

    Click here to view our policy on 3rd party links.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    630 Team Rd., Suite 100
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

  • Hurry is a Heart Condition

    Posted on December 31, 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer

    Glynnis

    "Let all that you do be done in love." 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NASB)

    Hurry had a tight hold on me.

    When my children were young, you would have found me rushing from one task to another, usually pushing or dragging a frustrated child. I was either in high gear, or crashing in the aftermath of the frenzy ... often holding back tears, and berating myself for not being able to get it together.

    It was an exhausting way to live. But an inner drive to achieve fueled the fury of my days. Refusing to admit I couldn't do it all, I tried to keep up the same pre-child schedule. Sadly, everyone in my family paid the price, especially my little boys who weren't genetically wired to sit quietly and color while Mommy attended a meeting.

    During that time, "hurry up or we'll be late" was commonly heard, yelled from the kitchen or hissed while we scurried into the back row at church. There was too much to do, in too little time. Life was blurry with hurry.

    Sadly, I thought everyone lived like this. That was until I read about hurry sickness in The Life You've Always Wanted by John Ortberg. My heart was skewered when I read one of the symptoms is a diminished capacity to love. My children could have told you I had a problem. Only it wasn't hurry sickness, it was hurry addiction.

    I didn't want to be that woman who rushed through life. I didn't want my children to look back and say, "Wow, Mom got a lot done!" I wanted them to be convinced, thoroughly and utterly, of my love for them. And not just my children, but my husband, parents, sisters, and so on.

    The Bible is clear that loving others is critical. And not just in public. First Corinthians 16:14 says, "Let all that you do be done in love" (NASB). Which means when I'm trying to get out the door in the morning, or finishing up a project before a deadline. God clearly was telling me to slow down, and prioritize the person in front of me rather than the task on my to-do list.

    Eliminating hurry from my life took years of hard work. I had to choose to walk and talk slower. I had to eliminate responsibilities from my life, and plan ahead. Most importantly, I had to deal with the hidden issues that motivated me to hurry.

    In the process, I learned hurry is not a required byproduct of one type of lifestyle. We can't point our fingers at anyone and say, "Look sister, here's your problem – you need to quit _______."

    The truth is, a homeschooling mom can be more hurried than an executive. And a retired person can be more hurried than a working mom of five. Hurry is a condition of our hearts. It's the result of following my to-do list, rather than God's. And loving those around me is always on God's to-do list.

    Hurry has different roots. For some it's procrastination. For others it's people-pleasing. For me it was a need to prove I still had it, even though my life had been slowed down by the blessings of children. Whatever the root, the result is the same: a rushed woman who doesn't make time to show love to those around her.

    You'll still find me hurrying at times. Especially when my husband or children spontaneously invite me away from my work to spend time with them. But now I'm hurrying to love, not to finish a task. And that makes all the difference.

    Dear Lord, thank You for patiently showing love to me. You always have time for me. Help me to give that same gift to those around me. Please show me the root of my own hurry issues. I want to be more like You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

    Related Resources:
    For more practical help on managing your days, you might enjoy I Used to Be So Organized by Glynnis Whitwer.

    A Confident Heart by Renee Swope can help you deal with some of the heart issues causing hurry sickness.

    Reflect and Respond:
    What times of the day, or situations, cause you to hurry?

    Besides a diminished capacity to love, what other negative side effects does hurry sickness cause?

    Power Verses:
    Galatians 5:13, "You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." (NIV)

    John 13:34-35, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (NIV)

    © 2012 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

    Proverbs 31 Ministries
    616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
    Matthews, NC 28105
    www.Proverbs31.org

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