Monday, December 02, 2019

Turning North

I am weeping as I write and I wept as I read this devotional this morning. These are not my words, but they are my heart. From the book, Embraced by Lysa TerKeurst.

Turning North

    We all have messes in our lives. Financial messes. Relationship messes. Health Messes. Kid messes. Home messes. Business messes. Messes that leave us feeling stuck. Like we may be stranded in this place of upheaval and unrest forever.
    I can't help but think about the people of Israel as they were wandering through the desert. We read in the book of Deuteronomy about how they were stuck in a mess with no end in sight. God had miraculously set them free from the oppression and bondage of slavery in Egypt. But their unwillingness to fully trust Him and their blatant refusal to take possession of the promised land landed them in quite a mess. A forty-year, desert-wandering mess.
    In Deuteronomy 2, Moses reminds them of a time when they had been stuck circling the same mountain for too long. God spoke into their wandering and let them know it was time to head in a new direction. 

The Lord said to me, "You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north."
Deuteronomy 2:2 - 3

    It was a pivotal moment for them to remember. One where they had faced a life-changing choice. They could stay stuck, endlessly circling the same old place, or they could choose hope and head in a new direction with the Lord.
    They could turn north.
    I think this is the perfect time to pause and ask God if there is anywhere we need to "turn north" in our own lives. Have we been circling the same messes for years and years with no end in sight? Are there areas we know we need to change but we feel like it will require too much sacrifice?
    Here's a question we can ask ourselves right in the midst of our messes ...
    Am I letting this mess define me or refine me?
    The answer to this question is crucial.
    If I am letting a mess define me, I will feel hopeless.
    If I am letting a mess refine me, I will be hopeful.
    If the Israelites had looked at their forty-year track record of aimless wandering and defined themselves as rebellious failures, they would have lost all hope and kept right on circling. But because they embraced the correction and redirection of the Lord, they were able to turn around and move toward His promises with hope firmly planted in their hearts.
    It's time for our messes to stop defining us.
    It's time to embrace the refining process and turn north.
    So how do we begin to turn north? We replace our old thoughts with empowering truths from God's Word. I call them "Go-To Scripts." In other words, these statements can become our new patterns of thought. And these new patterns of thought will empower us for a new way of living.
    Here are some of my favorite "Go-To Scripts" for turning north.

    1. I was made for more than to be stuck in a vicious cycle or defeat. Deuteronomy 2:3, "You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north."
    2.  When tempted, I either remove the temptation or remove myself from the situation. I Corinthians 10:13-14, "God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. Therefore, my dear friends, flee.."
    3. I don't have to worry about letting God down, because I was never holding him up - God's grace is sufficient. 2 Corinthians 12:9-11. "He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness ... for when I am weak, then I am strong."

    May we hear the Father's voice, filled with grace and free from any hint of condemnation, declaring over us today, "It's time to turn north, beloved." And may we be found turning toward Him and moving forward with Him.


It is not customary for me to share an entire devotional from a book I'm reading, but today it seemed right. I hope this has blessed you. Take it with you and feel the love and grace of God, and live your life with hope.

Grace and peace to you from God,


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