Tag Archives: god’s plans

Follow the Leader

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“Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?”

“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”
Joshua 5:13-14

Being the parent of one child, I had like zero knowledge of how to grow another person in a way that makes them easily manageable; there was no older sibling of his that I had already practiced on. I did have a monthly subscription to Parents magazine that I stored under my bed (I’m not kidding – each issue for many years. I always thought, what if I need to know what is in that magazine for how to deal with a 7 year-old, and I didn’t read it because Noah was 3 when I got it? Best to save it for the next four years under my bed just in case. I am SO THANKFUL for how the internet has changed my world).

When we were shopping, after he was too big to happily sit in the shopping cart, basically I was holding his hand all around the store, going where he led me, looking at the things he stopped at, and sneaking in my things as we went from one of his places to the next. This was especially true if it was something my husband was shopping for and Noah and I were just along for the fun.

I’m not proud of this. At all. Even as I type this it sounds ridiculous. Even ducks at the park have figured out how to do this right. The mama duck just goes along her way, with 9 babies all trailing behind – in a neat line, no less. They follow her.

I didn’t see it then, but I was doing it all backwards.

I wasn’t supposed to be following him. My child was supposed to be following me.

I think we get a little mixed up this way with Jesus too, sometimes.

Rather than following Jesus and His plan for our lives, we ask Him to tag along behind with our plans, asking Him to pick up all the things we drop along the way – things we weren’t supposed to be carrying in the first place.

He isn’t supposed to be following us. We are supposed to be following Him.

Joshua was reminded of this in the Old Testament.

New to the job, he had just led the Israelites out of the desert, across the Jordan River, through Gilgal and was nearing Jericho. Scripture says he saw a man (spoiler alert – it is actually either God in human form, Christ, or an angel) standing in front of him with a sword drawn.

“Are you for us or our enemies?” Joshua asked him.

I love his answer.

“Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come.”

Joshua got it. He immediately fell down in reverence.

The notes in my Bible tell me this : “Joshua and Israel must know their place – it is not that God is on their side; rather they must fight God’s battles.”

Jesus isn’t following us. We are followers of His.

So many times I pray for God to be with me as I do this thing, or to work that other thing out for me. I make my plans and expect God to be right behind me in case I need help with whatever the next thing is that I am doing, when it should be the other way around.  I should be following God, seeing what He is doing and how I can play a part in it.

Daily, I need to be looking for God’s direction, and I sometimes forget this important detail.

Join me in beginning our days, asking God what He wants from us, being open and willing for whatever He has in store. His plans are always so much better than ours are anyway.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Meanwhile… and Bon Jovi

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I love Jon Bon Jovi. Period. When I was in junior high and MTV still had music videos, my heart would melt as I watched him sing about how I was born to be his baby, and he was made to be my man. So naturally, I was super stoked when he was scheduled to be at the Greenbrier Classic a couple of years ago, and thrilled beyond belief when my sweet cousin texted me to tell me she had scored some tickets and asked if I wanted to go with her… Um, yeah!!!! It was beautiful.

But even Jon Bon Jovi had a time before he was singing to me from my television set. He was a kid. He was a teenager. He had jobs. Turns out, while he was trying to make it as a musician, he was working on and off as a janitor.  Can you even imagine? Walking down a hallway somewhere and there is Jon Bon Jovi with a dustpan… Awesomeness.

This was Tara and me and a few

other random people at the concert…

It was pretty much awesome 🙂

While Air Supply was singing about being “All out of Love,” and Queen was declaring that another one had, in fact, bitten the dust, Jon Bon Jovi was cleaning something somewhere, all the while making demos and hoping for a break.

Other “Before They Were Stars” include Madonna working at Dunkin’ Donuts, Jennifer Aniston working as a telemarketer and a waitress, Morgan Freeman with a paper route, and George Clooney trying out for the Cincinatti Reds, but not making the cut.

Acts 7:53 gives us a glimpse into the Apostle Paul’s “Before They Were Stars” moment.

“…Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

At this point in the book of Acts, Stephen had been doing all sorts of miracles and sharing Jesus’ story with everyone, causing nonbelievers to get worked up. They accused him of blasphemy. When asked if these things were true, Steven goes on to give a beautiful speech, summing up a great deal of the Old Testament and accused them of resisting the Holy Spirit. You can imagine how well that went over.  They dragged him out of the city and began to stone him.

“Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.”

We get a subtle introduction of some guy named Saul. Saul, a man who would later be known as Paul and do miracles, write at least 13 books of the New Testament, and lead continents to the Lord.

His “meanwhile” was holding coats for people who were killing others for preaching about Jesus .

But God had other plans for him. I’m so thankful for God’s plans.

What plans could God have for a girl who, meanwhile, was writing a blog…

For a guy who, meanwhile, was painting some cars…

A woman who, meanwhile, was cooking in the cafeteria…

A man who, meanwhile, was unemployed…

A woman who, meanwhile, was teaching 3rd grade…

It’s exciting to think about… We are going about our daily business, and God steps in, and mixes things up, making even more beautiful things happen.

Listen for His direction.  (Sometimes He goes drastic to get our attention – you know, like with the whole 3 days of blindness for Saul). Sometimes it’s in line with what we are already doing. Sometimes it isn’t. Follow the passions He has put in your heart. Say yes when He gives you an opportunity. Show His love everywhere you go.

If we are still breathing, God can use us. Our stories aren’t finished. Thank you, Lord!

“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” – Jeremiah 29:11

5/28/2014