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Relying on a Divine GPS for Direction

 

Romans 8:12-28

 

Jim Davis

 

Recently I took a four-hour trip from Orlando to Captiva Island with a GPS as my personal guide. We preprogrammed the Global Positioning System with our destination. All I had to do was turn it on and listen to its verbal commands—left turn in 2 miles—as I approached the turn it would say—left turn in .5 miles. I deviated from its directions to find a restaurant to eat lunch. The GPS said, “calculating trip” as it recalculated my trip and time of arrival.  Whenever I took a street off its directed course, the GPS would recalculate how to get me from wherever I was to the original preprogrammed destination.

 

I thought this was fascinating until I spoke to a UPS delivery driver afterward. He told me his company observes his entire workday moment by moment through a similar GPS tracking system. Each day the device is preprogrammed to tell him every stop for the day. To expedite his deliveries it tells him the order of the stops. It keeps track of where he is, which delivery has just been made, who signed for it, etc. His route can be redirected through the GPS, he can be directed to go pick up more packages or to help someone else on another route as the GPS calculates he has the time to do so. His every step is directed, redirected and recalculated throughout the day.

 

Imagine satellites circling far above the earth communicating, directing and redirecting each step made to get us to a preprogrammed destination. It is not merely tracking us, but it continually calculates and recalculates our every move to get us to where we should be.

 

God Is Tracking Me

 

All of this modern technology should make belief in God a little easier to grasp. Mere man can devise a system to track what is going on around the world through a series of satellite communication. It isn’t hard to believe the Creator is tracking our every move with painstaking concern. Imagine a Creator who knows when a sparrow falls to the ground and who has the hairs of our head numbered.

 

Matthew 10:28-31

28 "Don't be afraid of those who can kill only your bodies-but can't touch your souls! Fear only God who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29 Not one sparrow (What do they cost? Two for a penny?) can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it. 30 And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don't worry! You are more valuable to him than many sparrows.

 

Matthew 6:26

26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. NIV

 

Imagine a personal creator sitting above all creation directing and redirecting every move of the entire creation moment by moment. Imagine a personal God who is directing, redirecting and recalculating my every move—mind-boggling to say the least.

 

Jeremiah 1:4-6

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,

 

5 "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,

before you were born I set you apart;

I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

 

6 "Ah, Sovereign LORD," I said, "I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." NIV

 

Imagine a personal creator having a specific purpose for my life. Paul was set apart from birth to be an apostle.  Of course God redirected his steps on numerous occasions to get him to realize his purpose.

 

Galatians 1:15-17

15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, 17 nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus. NIV

 

God sent Ananias to redirect Paul’s life.

 

Acts 9:15-16

But the Lord said to Ananias, "Go! This man [Saul—later named Paul] is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."  NIV

 

Imagine a Creator who is daily calculating and recalculating the direction for our lives in the midst of all our personal decisions to bring us to his desired end for our good and his glory. It is not like we are robots with no choice, but he is here in every decision we make to direct and redirect our lives in accordance to his will and purpose.

 

On our trip to Captiva Island, we took a side trip to the Shell Factory in Fort Myers. We chose to deviate from the GPS’s preprogrammed direction. I chose to leave the GPS on just to see how it would react. It continuely sought to calculate a path for us to get back on course. We were asked to make u-turns to get us back on course. It was constantly seeking a way to get us back on its desired path.

 

Imagine a Creator present in difficult times seeking to redirect our lives to a safer route.

 

1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And 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 stand up under it. NIV

 

God’s presence is so personal that his Holy Spirit is tracking what is going on in my heart.

 

Romans 8:26-27

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

 

God’s plans are not so rigid they can’t be adjusted according to the attitude of my heart. God takes into account the disposition of my heart at any given moment and calculates and recalculates my life accordingly.

 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. NIV

 

At times I may feel as though I have to beg for his presence. This is especially true when he doesn’t seem as responsive as I desire him to be.

 

Psalms 102:1-2

Hear my prayer, O LORD;

let my cry for help come to you.

2 Do not hide your face from me

when I am in distress.

Turn your ear to me;

when I call, answer me quickly. NIV

 

Yet, God is our refuge for deliverance moment by moment. When God doesn’t respond, we begin to realize silence may be his best answer.

 

Psalms 71:1-4

In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge;

let me never be put to shame.

2 Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness;

turn your ear to me and save me.

3 Be my rock of refuge,

to which I can always go;

give the command to save me,

for you are my rock and my fortress.

4 Deliver me, O my God, from the hand of the wicked,

from the grasp of evil and cruel men. NIV

 

We Can Rely on God’s Direction

 

We can rely on God to redirect our live and the lives or our enemies. Remember when Abram went to Egypt to escape a famine. He gave Sarah to the king of Egypt to protect himself. God intervened and gave the king a keen sense of direction concerning what would happen if he violated Abram’s family. And also when Israel rebelled against God’s commands they were led into Babylonian captivity. God was there promising them he had a plan to prosper them rather than harm them. All they had to do was turn back to seek God’s way. God was in full control of their enemies.

 

Jeremiah 29:11-14

11 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. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you," declares the LORD, "and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile." NIV

 

Looking back through this period of Israel’s exile we understand God’s plan was very personal. Think of the deliverance of Daniel, Esther, Nehemiah and Jeremiah as God recalculated and redirected his plan for their lives.

 

Psalms 124:6-8

6 Praise be to the LORD,

who has not let us be torn by their teeth.

7 We have escaped like a bird

out of the fowler's snare;

the snare has been broken,

and we have escaped.

8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,

the Maker of heaven and earth. NIV

 

Imagine a Creator who is overjoyed when he brings the wayward back into his ultimate purpose for their lives. When God brought the captives of Israel back to Jerusalem they had a solemn feast. The people were weeping and mourning as Ezra read the law to them. 

 

Nehemiah 8:7-12

7 The Levites-Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah — instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read.

 

9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, "This day is sacred to the LORD your God. Do not mourn or weep." For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

 

10 Nehemiah said, "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength."

 

11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, "Be still, for this is a sacred day. Do not grieve."

 

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them. NIV

 

The Law of Moses foretold Israel’s rebellion and God’s deliverance in Deuteronomy chapter 30. As Moses read the law, they begin to realize they are experiencing the fulfillment of God’s purpose for their lives as outlined in the Law. A joyous God was bringing them back home. The people wept and mourned, but they were reminded the joy of the Lord was their strength.

 

In Romans chapter eight Paul summarizes for us how God tracks his ways through the hearts of his people.  He is actively at work charting the course to work everything that happens out for our good and his glory. Paul minces no words. We have a sinful nature, which we have an obligation to reject with the help of God. Yet, we are God children.  He desires to bring us to himself.

 

Romans 8:12-17

12 Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation — but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, 14 because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba,  Father." 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs — heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

 

Living according to God’s will is frustrating, but in times of frustration God is at work in our hearts finding the perfect solutions for our frustration.

 

Romans 8:18-28

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

 

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

 

26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will.

 

God’s solutions in our frustration are always for our good and his glory. We miss the intent of true worship. Worship is about God bringing glory to himself through our lives. He made us lower than the angels, but has crowned us with his glory and honor in creation, and has now purposed for us to become his new creation through Jesus Christ.

 

Romans 8:28

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

 

31 What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

 

"For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."  

 

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. NIV

 

Conclusion:

 

God called us to be glorified with him. Worship is about sharing in God’s glory as he directs our lives moment by moment. What better way to be worshipped than have your creation live in harmony with the purpose for which you created them? It is then that God is glorified. It is the only way to worship God in spirit and in truth.

 

It is comforting to know it makes little difference how far off course my life is, God continues to track my life to get it back on track. He is calculating and recalculating my every step to bring me to his desired purpose in creation.

 

When I decided to head home after the visit to the Shell Factory, I started listening to the GPS again. If I want to be with God all I have to do is begin listening to his directions wherever I am—just as I am.

 

I can only come to God from where I am. God is overjoyed to direct my life from where I have chosen to be to place he has chosen for me. Actually his way seems more exciting.

 

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