March 8, 2023

Praise and Encouragement

Each morning and each evening I am reminded that God walks with me. That is because, on our dresser, there is small sail boat with the following printed on the sail: "IN ALL YOUR WAYS acknowledge HIM AND HE WILL MAKE YOUR paths straight." Proverbs 3:6

You have probably heard me say that life is merely a road of choices. If we make the right choices God is with us. If we fail to do so, most like we will be asking God for forgiveness!

Proverbs 2:6-9 states: "For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. (7) He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, (8) for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. (9) Then you will understand what is right and just and fair – every good path." 

We always know what is right, just and fair. However, there are times we may choose not to follow the right path and instead, take the quick and easy way out and not listen to what God has intended. Is it easier to defend your Christian beliefs with a non-believer or merely avoid a discussion?  This could be an opportunity to introduce someone to God. Is it easier to follow the laws of the land or ignore a few to benefit yourself? If you are undercharged for a product, do you take advantage of the retailer or do you advise a mistake was made and then provide the correct payment? Have you skipped church so you could perform some personal function or attend some event? Many times, we desire to take the “wrong” path for it is easier. However, easy is not always the best path. My father once told me: “If you can’t do it right, don’t do it at all”. It doesn’t matter if you are mowing the lawn, worshiping with your fellow Christians or even talking to a friend. Do it right! When you find that fork in your path, stop, think and then proceed. Again, keep in mind that if you choose the wrong path, you will probably end up asking God for forgiveness. Today our vehicles are equipped with a GPS. God has provided you with his GPS, the Bible.

Psalm 16:11 states: "You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand."  We all strive to reach Heaven where we will be joyous and have eternal life and most importantly, be in Jesus’s presence. To achieve this goal, we must choose the correct paths. We must remember that when in doubt, read the scriptures. You will find your answers. It is easier to follow the guidelines presented in the Bible than to ask for forgiveness. By choosing the right path, your life will be filled with joy and you will know God is with you.

Proverbs 12:26 states: "The righteous choose their friends carefully, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."  In many ways our paths can be swayed by those we associate with. If we have chosen our friends carefully, they will help us choose the correct path. We cannot afford to merely go along with the crowd fully knowing it is the wrong path to follow. We must remember what the Bible states in Proverbs 5:21: "For your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths."  Proverbs 2:12-15 states: "Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, (13) who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, (14) who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, (15) whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways." God is constantly with you and will help you chose the correct path! All you have to do is listen.

Psalm 119:35 states: "Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight."  Peace, happiness and comfort are readily available to you when you follow God’s word. Life is so short and fragile that you should enjoy every minute. Take time to realize the gifts God has given you and enjoy them. Listen to God and let him lead you to the correct paths.

In summary, Palms 119:105 makes it clear: "Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path."  Open your eyes and ears and see and hear where God is directing you. Choose the right path!

Dan Stansberry, Elder