Why God Makes You Go The Long Way

His mysterious leading proves wiser than our impatient pleas for progress.

Sometimes God takes you the long way in life. That’s hard, because the direct route makes so much more sense. We’re all about efficiency. But God has a different destination in mind.

Why God Makes You Go The Long Way

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The nation of Israel began their journey from Egypt to the Promised Land by promptly turning away from it.

Rather than take the shorter, coastal route to Canaan, God directed Israel southeast toward the Red Sea. The direct route led through the land of the Philistines, and while God could have simply destroyed the enemy (as He would at the Red Sea), His concern lay more with the unprepared and fearful hearts of His people (Exod. 13:17-18).

So God took them the long way. And it seemed pointless. But was it?

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What Can You Do When You’re Not Sure What to Do?

One decision can help you choose what’s next.

You may feel stuck. At first, your situation looked great. It promised advantages, hope, joy, and happiness. It looked better than where you were, so you jumped. Now you’re not sure what to do.

What Can You Do When You're Not Sure What to Do?

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Turns out, it wasn’t the dream job, the ideal marriage, the best neighborhood, or the perfect church. It seems more like bait and switch.

It seemed the best decision, but now—you’re not so sure. You feel stuck.

What can you do when you’re not sure what to do?

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4 Excellent Strategies to Really Conquer the Tug of Temptation

When you feel the pull, here's what to do.

Temptation tugs hard at our hearts at times. It’s like pulling a rope tied to an elephant. In this tug-of-war with our hearts, we need a mindset that goes beyond a defensive strategy and takes an active approach to sin and temptation.

4 Excellent Strategies to Really Conquer the Tug of Temptation

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Here are 4 basic strategies to help you battle the tug of temptation and sin on your heart.

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Why Your Conscience Can’t Really Know it All

Can you always let your conscience be your guide?

Has your conscience ever been wrong about something? I had to smile when I heard about a mother who tried to explain to her son the difference between the words conscious and conscience. Afterwards, she asked him if he understood the difference.

Can you always let your conscience be your guide?

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“Yeah,” he answered. “Conscious is when you’re aware of something, and conscience is when you wish you weren’t.” Pretty sharp kid!

Too many people believe Jiminy Cricket’s catchy tune that reminded Pinocchio: “Always let your conscience be your guide.” Sounds great, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work. God never intended your conscience as your guide.

It has another purpose.

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How to Keep a Dogged Devotion to Bible Reading

What can you do when the Bible seems boring?

Let’s admit it. Sometimes reading the Bible can seem, well—can I say it?—boring. Especially if you’re reading through a program and you get to Leviticus. How can a book that has changed the lives of billions ever seem boring?

Keep a dogged devotion to Bible reading.

(Photo: By William Hoiles from Basking Ridge, NJ. CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Some reasons Bible reading seems boring could be:

  1. The benefits of Bible reading don’t feel immediate.
  2. The Bible was written a long time ago.
  3. It takes work to understand parts of God’s Word.
  4. My busy life leaves little time for Bible reading.

Whatever the reason Bible reading is tough, the problem is still the same: How can we keep a dogged devotion for the most un-boring book in the world?

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One Thing that May Make You Doubt God’s Presence

The Sinai Wilderness reminds us God's presence among us doesn’t always prove itself by our standards.

We know intellectually that God is with us. But sometimes our emotions haven’t gotten the message yet. We look at our Bible and it doesn’t seem to match our lives.

One Thing that May Make You Doubt God's Presence

(Photo: Sinai mountains with book of Exodus. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

When our world screams that God isn’t with us, or that He doesn’t care, or that the way things are will never improve, we have to remember what caused the Hebrews of old to doubt the Lord’s presence.

A shift in our thinking can help connect our emotions to truth.

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The Greatest Leadership Lesson I’ve Learned from Jesus

Your people will always be your greatest product.

Jesus gave us many great examples of leadership. Servanthood, sacrifice, prayer—all essential. But one example more than any other has affected my life and my leadership.

The Greatest Leadership Lesson I’ve Learned from Jesus

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When we think about it, Jesus needed no one. As Paul wrote, “All things have been created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16). In fact, the One who made the world with a word could have accomplished His whole ministry alone.

This ministry would have been perfectly carried out without people. If perfection was the goal, people were clearly in the way. But seeing Jesus’ ministry that way misses the whole point of it.

If we are to be effective leaders, parents, grandparents, and Christians, we must see ministry as Jesus did.

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How to Disarm Your Short Fuse of Impatience Right Now

Strength from God as you stand in life's long line of slow servers.

Do you have a long fuse or a short one when you get dawdling service at restaurants? For some reason, life hands us a long line of slow servers. At lunch not long ago my family got poor service from our waiter. Here’s what happened.

How to Disarm Your Short Fuse of Impatience

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I never let on to the waiter that I was miffed, yet inside my fuse was burning. Here’s why:

  • The table next to us ate and left before we did, though we arrived at the same time.
  • Our water glasses were often empty and the food order came out wrong.
  • The waiter fouled up the bill.
  • I was late getting back to work.

But then, just before we left, I felt like a complete idiot. The waiter made mention that it was his first day. You see, the problem wasn’t his incompetence.

It was my impatience.

Life hands us a line of slow servers. Does God offer some help?

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How to Turn Your Life Around 360 Degrees

A God of impossibilities shows His power in impossible situations.

Life often feels like a lot of effort with nothing gained. It reminds me of what Jason Kidd said after the Dallas Mavericks drafted him: “We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees!”

How to Turn Your Life Around 360 Degrees

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At times, the Bible seems like a history book in which God makes and fulfills promises to the ancients, but the words somehow lack immediacy to our struggling lives. And yet, it’s funny how the anxieties that overwhelm our lives seem identical to those that biblical people struggled against.

Even though Scripture provides assurance of God’s promises, assurance doesn’t negate the stressful circumstances that force us to trust God.

Truth doesn’t make the hard parts of life go away. We still have to trust God with that truth.

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Good News from God for Chronic Ball-Droppers

Jesus' parable says what to do when you're juggling too much.

Ever tried to juggle? I gave it a shot with three tennis balls one time. I might as well have thrown the balls three different directions. It was hilarious! In the end, I could only “juggle” one ball. 

Better Self-Talk for Chronic Ball-Droppers

(Photo: by Christian “VisualBeo” Horvat. Own work. GFDL, via Wikimedia Commons)

 Most people can learn to juggle three balls, I’m told. But adding a fourth ball divides the amateurs from the pros.

But what about adding a fifth ball? We do it all the time. (Or we try to.) Juggling provides one of the best metaphors for our crazy-busy lives. We drop balls.

Dropping balls has nothing to do with skill. It’s all about character.

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