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“It is the Lord your God who goes with you.”
There is always a hidden curriculum in daily life.
There are highway signs on some of the roads in Alaska – unusual signs that you do not see in other places.
When it’s warmer in Alaska, it often rains and when you’re driving down the dirt roads, the wheels make ruts. Then, it gets colder. There’s a sign along the highway that says: CHOOSE YOUR RUT VERY CAREFULLY BECAUSE YOU’LL BE IN IT FOR THE NEXT 50 MILES. Life is a lot like this – how we choose our rut, and how long we decide to be in that rut and not go anywhere else.
There are so many people you know who get one particular idea in their minds and they refuse to change their minds.
Even if something better comes along somewhere, sometime, they can’t make a change because they’ve already made a FIRM decision.
There are so many side trips that will come to you on your road of life. I venture to say that if I were to talk to each one of you this morning, you would say that some of the greatest things that ever happened to you, (if not all the great things that have ever happened to you), have been side trips, or things you didn’t expect to happen.
You were on your way somewhere else, and something happened. When it happened, it was a shock to you because you had a certain place you wanted to go, and you were sure of it. Then someone came up to you and made you an offer, or someone came up and gave you something (perhaps an idea) and you found a whole new higher life.
You found out that it wasn’t the original trip you were on that was important, but it was something else.
You found serendipity in your life.
I would like to share a story with you from the Bible. This is the story of Saul (from I Samuel, chapters 9 and 10).
As I read, try to think of yourself and your own situation, and how you dealt with it, and perhaps how you’ll deal with it in the future.
“There was a man of Benjamin whose name was Kish son of Abiel … a Benjaminite, a man of wealth. He had a son whose name was Saul, a handsome young man. There was not a man among the people of Israel more handsome than he; he stood head and shoulders above everyone else.
“Now the donkeys of Kish, Saul’s donkeys had strayed, so Kish said to his son Saul, ‘Take one of the boys with you; go and look for the donkeys.'”
You’ve been asked to do mundane tasks like that before, and so have I. Think about yourself and all those ordinary monotonous things of life. You have one particular journey and how boring that journey is.
“He passed through the hill country of Ephraim … [and he passed through many other lands, including the land of Benjamin; that was a long way] but they did not find them [the donkeys]. When they came to the land of Zuph, Saul said to the boy who was with him, ‘Let us turn back, or my father will stop worrying about the donkeys and worry about us.'”
This is an interesting point. In our journey, (and we’re all on a journey in this life), we all have the option to turn back, to give up, to decide we really don’t like the trip and not go this particular direction. Listen to what the boy said: “But he said to him, ‘There is a man of God in this town; he is a man held in honor. Whatever he says always comes true. Let us go there now; perhaps he will tell us about the journey on which we have set out.’
“Then Saul replied to the boy, ‘But if we go, what can we bring the man? For the bread in our sacks is gone, and there is no present to bring to the man of God. What do we have?’
“The boy answered Saul again, ‘Here, I have with me a quarter of shekel of silver; I will give it to the man of God, to tell us our way.’
“Saul said to the boy, ‘Good; come, let us go.’ So they went to the town where the man of God was.”
They were willing to pay the price. There is always a price to life on our journey, and it’s not really monetary.
Are we willing to pay the price in consciousness? Are we willing, if we want our life to be better, to pay the price to do whatever needs to be done?
“As they went up the hill to the town, they met some girls coming out to draw water, and said to them, ‘Is the seer here?'”
“They answered, ‘Yes, there he is just ahead of you. Hurry: he has come just now to the town because the people have a sacrifice today at the shrine. As soon as you enter the town, you will find him, before he goes up to the shrine to eat. For the people will not eat until he comes, since he must bless the sacrifice; afterward those eat who are invited Now go up, for you will meet him immediately.’
“So, they went up to the town. As they were entering the town, they saw Samuel coming out toward them on his way to the shrine.
“Now the day before Saul came, the Lord had revealed to Samuel: ‘Tomorrow about this time I will send you a man from the land of Benjamin, and you shall anoint him to be ruler over my people Israel. He shall save my people from the hand of the Philistines; for I have seen the suffering of my people, because their outcry has come to me.’
“When Samuel saw Saul, the Lord told him, ‘Here is the man of whom I spoke to you. He it is who shall rule over my people.’
“Then Saul approached Samuel inside the gate, and said, ‘Tell me, please, where is the house of the seer?’
“Samuel answered Saul, ‘I am the seer; go up before me to the shrine … ‘”
There are many places in the Bible where you will read about going up. This means going up in your spiritual awareness.
” … For today you shall eat with me, and in the morning, I will let you go and will tell you all that is on your mind. As for your donkeys that were lost three days ago, give no further thought to them, for they have been found. And on whom is all Israel’s desire fixed, if not on you and on all your ancestral house?”
Let’s imagine if Saul said, “Oh, I can’t go to the temple and eat with you. See, I’m looking for donkeys. I have my mind fixed on that. I’m in a preprogrammed mode. Even though you appear to be giving me good right now, I just can’t accept it because I have my original goal and I cannot accept this good coming to me.
“I’m like a horse with blinders on, and I cannot look to the side even though I might see good or might see God’s will of good for me. I have my own human will, and I’m going to continue on because I have picked my rut.
I’m going to walk in it even though it is muddy, boring, and mundane and I don’t like it. What you’re offering me seems exciting, but after all, it is change. I’d better not do this right now. I’d better stick to my agenda.”
We may have said similar things many times in our lives.
“Saul answered, ‘I am only a Benjaminite, from the least of the tribes of Israel, and my family is the humblest of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin. Why then have you spoken to me in this way?’
“Then Samuel took Saul and his servant boy and brought them into the hall and gave them a place at the head of those who had been invited, of whom there were about thirty. And Samuel said to the cook, ‘Bring the portion I gave you, the one I asked you to put aside.’ The cook took up the thigh and what went with it and set them before Saul. Samuel said, ‘See, what was kept is set before you. Eat; for it is set before you at the appointed
time, so that you might eat with the guests.’
“So, Saul ate with Samuel that day. When they came down from the shrine into the town, a bed was spread for Saul on the roof, and he lay down to sleep. Then at the break of dawn Samuel called to Saul upon the roof ‘Get up, so that I may send you on your way.’
“Saul got up, and both he and Samuel went out into the street.”
Remember, Saul became the first king of Israel. Spiritually, Saul means the action of the will in attaining what it desires. Samuel was the last prophet and judge before Israel had a king. Samuel means a high level of consciousness in constant contact with God.
What is this mean spiritually inside to you? It is where you are taking the action step. True action for a Divine life is not necessarily empowering yourself to get the donkeys. So often we think we’re alone and we have to do everything; we have the weight of the world on our backs, and we trudge along even though life is a lot less than a heaven on earth. We feel we have to think only about getting the donkey’s back.
If I will listen to my guidance from God, if I will be open, I might have a wonderful message come to me that says, “Don’t worry about the donkeys. There is something else here that is much higher than just your lower human nature, animal nature. There is a mission that I have for you. It’s been around you all along. If you only open your eyes to the serendipity of it, you will find it and it will be a joy for you. But you have to be open to the side trips that will come in your journey.
“As they were going down to the outskirts of the town, Samuel said to Saul, ‘Tell the boy to go on before us, and when he has passed on, stop here yourself for a while, that I may make known to you the word of God.’
“Samuel took a vial of oil and poured it on his head, and kissed him; and said, ‘The Lord has anointed you ruler over his people Israel. You shall reign over the people of the Lord and you will save them from the hand of their enemies all around.’
Then he told him of the wonderful things that would occur on their way during their journey home. Remember, when you’re going with God, not only is the journey there fun, but the journey home is fun also. There are always new experiences for you.
Samuel told Saul that two men would be by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin who will tell you that the donkeys are okay, and you don’t have to worry about them.
You still have that human mind in you, and you still cannot have a totally peaceful time because you are consumed with worry about the donkeys. Don’t worry about it; God has provided.
Samuel continued: “Then, by the oak of Tabor, you will see three men carrying three loaves of bread. They are going to give you two loaves of bread.” Remember, they were out of bread before. Now they have bread that will sustain them much longer than they need for the short journey they have to travel.
Samuel also told him: “You will also meet a band of prophets coming down from the shrine with a harp, a tambourine, a flute, and a lyre playing in front of them. They will be in a prophetic frenzy. Then the spirit of the Lord will possess you, and you will be in a prophetic frenzy along with them, and you will be turned into a different person.”
This is a wonderful story about the journey within the journey. We’re all on a journey. If we’re really listening to God, if we’re really believing that God can come in the moment, we’re going to have a prophetic frenzy come into our lives. It’s euphoria. We are going to give it the light touch. We’re going to know that we can hop out of the rut we have been in for so long, and we are going to feel good. In that moment, we will be turned into a different person. You are turned into a different person when you accept God’s light burdens instead of your human heavy ones.
Let’s talk about the action of the will. We rarely experience life if we are in bed with the covers pulled over our heads, or if we are sitting around just watching other people live their lives on television. We must act. We have to move, not just in a straight line, but from side-to-side, and sometimes backward, and sometimes we have to look up and down to see all the wonders God has for us.
In our lives, inside of our human minds, let’s decide today to move in the direction God urges us to go. Instead of buying into the ideas that are all-consuming in our lives (like the donkeys), let’s rest our ideas and see what else is on the journey, and see what good God has. Whenever we have our decisions made, our minds made up, our direction plotted, let us also keep our eyes open to something else.
There’s a wonderful book by author Marcus Bach called “The World of Serendipity”. It tells the story about legendary princes – the Princes of Serendip – who encountered experiences that seemed “chancy” and strange. In them they found amazing wonders of the world where the unexpected was more rewarding than the things they had hoped to find. The book says that the same thing is happening to us.
You may not have heard the word “serendipity” before. Here is a wonderful explanation of it from former Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardoso: Like many of the finest things in life, like happiness and tranquility and fame, the gain that is most precious is not the thing sought but one that comes of itself in search for something else.
Going to look for donkeys may be mundane, but it’s not necessarily bad, because it starts you on the journey you’re supposed to be on.
Let’s say that something bad happens to you and you have to face that journey. I want to share a true story with you about a young man from Michigan.
He was nineteen years old. He worked in a place that required hard, manual labor. From early morning until late at night he worked picking up heavy scrap pieces of iron.
One day this nineteen-year-old boy was working. To his dismay, a piece of heavy iron fell on his kneecap. He was in great pain. His company immediately told him he needed to have his knee x-rayed because the kneecap may be broken. He went to the doctor and had the x-ray taken. At the bottom of the x-ray the doctor wrote: “Kneecap okay; not broken.” The boy went back to work in a few days.
Listen to the rest of this story; listen to God’s power and what happened in this true story.
Another doctor at this same hospital was on his break one day. He got a cup of coffee and sat down at his desk and looked around for something to read. He couldn’t find a magazine, so he decided to test himself by reading x-rays. So, he looked at the pile of x-rays on his desk that were ready to be filed away. As he moved the pile, one of the x-rays fell out of the pile. He looked at it and he immediately saw that this x-ray definitely showed cancer of the bone. He looked at the bottom of the x-ray and saw what was written: “Kneecap okay; not broken.” He found this nineteen-year-old boy’s name and phone number and called him. He said, “I have bad news for you. You have cancer of the bone. Unless we operate immediately, you will lose your leg. This is serious. Unless we take immediate action, you could lose your life.”
So, the boy went in and had the operation which saved his life. He had a rich, full life.
Isn’t it funny, as if by chance, that these things occur to us? He would never have found that cancer if that piece of iron hadn’t fell on his kneecap. And then, by chance, the doctor happens to read an x-ray that is ready to be filed and discovers the problem.
We think that the things that come to us are not related at all. When something happens to us that is change (or chance) we think it interrupts us in our life journey. But perhaps there is something bringing us the highest message for our life that we could possibly have if we will listen.
There is a word discussed in this book that I love. It is an ancient word from the old Persian fairy tale called “apocatastasis.”
Do you know what that means? It means that if something occurs in your life today that looks like absolute disaster, good is going to come out of it. Look back on your own life. I’ve looked back on mine. Many of the things that have happened to me that I considered disastrous in the moment turned out to be the greatest things that have ever happened in my life – apocatastasis.
Thank God that it occurred. I would have stayed in my rut and would have never turned to into a different direction had that not occurred.
After today, I pray we will try to see beyond the immediate experience and know that every event is connected with something higher. I pray we will view events in a way that will create a personal destiny for ourselves that is as wonderful as anything we have ever read about.
Does life have any tricks up its sleeve? Yes, it does – in your favor. Emerson once said, “The dice of God is always loaded in your favor.” There are wonderful things that will occur if we are willing to see and catch the magic. If we are willing to extract these secrets from our lives, our lives will become higher and better than anything we have ever experienced.
I have one last point. There have been many times in my life when I have stayed in my rut and, with everything inside of me, I have plodded, and pushed, and pulled forward to get my goal. Do you know what? After extreme struggle I got it, it became the worst nightmare of my life. I immediately had another goal – to get rid of what I got.
Yet, if I am truly open in the examination of me, I am also aware of the many opportunities I had to get out of my rut. If I would have, I would have had the most blissful, most incredible experience of my life, but I was blind to it. I made the choice not to go in the Higher way.
So, instead of becoming the king of Israel, Saul could have said, “No, I don’t have time right now, but thanks anyway. I don’t have time to go to your feast. I don’t have time to be anointed. I don’t have time because I am on a journey for my father, and I love my father. I’m going to find his donkeys.”
When you’re looking for your “donkeys” of your life, and someone offers you something really fantastic, step back for a minute from your human mind and say, “Wait a minute; is something wonderful occurring in my life? Maybe I want to think about this. Maybe I want to choose to go in this Higher way.”
When you do, when you follow God, life becomes incredible.
Remember, my friends, we tend to resist learning about what we don’t already know. We need to expect the unexpected and become an explorer in our own lives.
There are three qualifications you need for your journey:
1. Great Expectations. You know you are probably going to meet most of your goals. Some of you will probably find another goal hidden within your original goal that is much better.
2. Great Sublimation. This is the ability to change, to modify, to transform–to turn lemons into lemonade.
3. Great Observations. Be aware. See the majesty and wonder of God coming into your life in the moment.
If you do, (and you will), life will be great.
May God bless you!
Prayer / Meditation________________________
The power of God is here. What a joy we have to experience God’s love in this time together.
We are poised today as we enter prayer.
We are patient and positive.
We use this time to remind ourselves of God’s power.
All things are working together for good [Romans 8:28]. We know that in everything God works for good for those who love God. Sometimes it takes great poise to recall this, especially when things seem so out of order, or when confusion seems to reign.
If everyone around you is upset and unhappy, you refuse to become negative.
You affirm silently with me: I am poised because I know that God is leading me to my highest good. I know that God is here bringing about that which is for the highest good of all.
Poise is balance – a combination of peace and power. We are poised. We feel the power of God with us, at work in us and through us.
Pray and accept God’s good in the silence of prayer …
Allow me to speak for you …
I am patient.
I am patient because I know that God is leading me to my highest good. I am patient because I know that God is leading others to their highest good also. I am patient because I know that God is at work and God cannot fail.
I am positive.
I know that God is leading me to my highest good. I align myself with the constructive side of things now during my prayer.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
Let us think about poise and healing. True healing is balance in the body, balance in the mind, and balance in the emotions.
I affirm silently: I am poised. I know that God’s healing work is being done in me. Perfect balance is something I’m feeling right now.
Rest in the silence of prayer …
Perfect balance and patience keep me peaceful in my mind and heart and help to free me from any worry or tension I might have carried into this day. I am positive. I know that God’s healing work is being done in me right now.
We are poised. We come from a position of strength in God. Therefore, we are not fearful. We are patient. We never doubt because we know in partnership with God our good is on its way. We remain positive. We place our faith in the one true source of all – God. We know that God provides for our every need.
We have this outlook now. It is in our mind; it is in our body; it is in our thought. Good gravitates toward us. In the face of limitation, we are positive that supply is available. In the face of delays, we are patient and trusting. In the face of change, we are poised and serene. We know that all things coming into our lives are working together for good.
Poised, patient, positive. Our lives are blessed. We meet each day more convinced than ever that God is with us and with those for whom we pray to guide, heal, and prosper.
Through the power of the spoken word, I decree for you: God is bringing only good into your life and circumstances. You are poised, patient, and positive.
Rest for a moment in the silence of prayer …
God is bringing good into my life and the circumstances of my life. I welcome God.
I am poised. I am patient. I am positive.
This is the truth now about me …
In Jesus Christ’s name I so affirm.
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