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Q. Who are you allowing to talk you out of God's direction for you? Who's life are you living?

With the release of my new children's book series I'm often asked, what motivated me to write a book for special needs children? and the honest answer is, I didn't. I wrote a book for all children because - WE ALL HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS! God has purposefully handicapped us all so that we will see our need for him. But to achieve total God reliance we first have to embrace our handicap as a gift and that is what the book is about. It's a book that the child in each of us could have written as there is something in all of us that questions - God why? Your why doesn't have to be Down Syndrome, MS, or vertiligo, as some of the kids in my book, although it may be. The point is, we all must either come to embrace who we are as a gift or resent it, and spend life fighting against who we were made to be. God is saying I made you perfect and I have a plan for you, but in order to safely reach my destination for your life. you have to be willing to listen and follow my directing.

So, that brings us to our question today, Who are you allowing to talk you out of God's direction for you?

There is a saying, "If you want to kill a dream tell it to a small minded person". Not everyone will understand or see the vision God has placed on your life and yet we spend our lifetime trying to convince or soothe the concerns of others rather than following the direction given us by our creator.

Acts 27 is a powerful chapter, serving as a cautionary tale for us and I hope we want allow the difficult to pronounce names of cities to deter us from the message. I'll only be referencing parts of it here, but it's worth studying the whole chapter.

v. 7-12

We had several days of rough sailing, and finally neared Cnidus; but the winds had become too strong, so we ran across to Crete, passing the port of Salome. Beating into the wind with great difficulty and moving slowly along the southern coast, we arrived at Fair Havens, near the city of Lasea. There we stayed for several days. The weather was becoming dangerous for long voyages by then because it was late in the year, and Paul spoke to the ship’s officers about it.

“Sirs,” he said, “I believe there is trouble ahead if we go on—perhaps shipwreck, loss of cargo, injuries, and death.” But the officers in charge of the prisoners listened more to the ship’s captain and the owner than to Paul. And since Fair Havens was an exposed harbor—a poor place to spend the winter—most of the crew advised trying to go further up the coast to Phoenix in order to winter there; Phoenix was a good harbor with only a northwest and southwest exposure.

Traveling into a full blown storm yet aware of what's ahead, the crew and the captain ignored Paul's warning. Isn't that what we do? We listen to all the voices around us and God's direction for our lives gets muddied. Like the men on the boat, It's not that we don't hear his warning, we just chose to go with the opinion of others. I love how scripture says, But the officer in charge listened more to the captain then to Paul. Implying, Paul was heard, Who or what has your ear, your attention more than God? As Christians we can say we listen to the word of God (God is heard), but the caution in this passage is who do you listen to more. Who are you allowing to drive you off God's course for you? Who's life are you living? Yours or someone else's?

Prov. 19: 3, A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord.

Are you allowing someone else to direct your life's course and going past God's warnings, silencing the voice of the Holy Spirit within? In today's passage, up until this point they hadn't lost anything substantial other than a few fearful, restless nights. So God's directing through Paul, seemed unnecessary. Almost optional.

v.13 Just then a light wind began blowing from the south, and it looked like a perfect day for the trip; so they pulled up anchor and sailed along close to shore. Everything looked good for the time being. Piece of cake. No big deal.

But shortly afterwards the weather changed abruptly, and a heavy wind of typhoon strength (a “northeaster,” they called it) caught the ship and blew it out to sea. They tried at first to face back to shore but couldn’t, so they gave up and let the ship run before the gale. Now they are in panic mode because they are fighting against the direction of God.

I have found myself in this vicious cycle so many times in my life:

God directs,

BJ hears,

BJ listens to others,

BJ ignores God,

BJ thinks all is cool,

BJ's life starts spiraling,

BJ panics,

God rescues.

I call this the God and man tango.

Thankfully for us, in His infinite grace and mercy, God reroutes our lives and set us upright and back on His course. Once again God rescues just as we hear Paul say, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Fair Havens—you would have avoided all this injury and loss! But cheer up! Not one of us will lose our lives, even though the ship will go down.

The handicap of us all is that, once we were blind and although now we see, we only see if we are being lead by the voice of the Savior. Are you still walking in blindness because of who's leading you? Traveling blindly into stormy waters because you are listening to or following the wrong guide? Motivational speaker. Nic Vujicic, living life with a rare disorder characterized by the absence of arms and legs said it best, "if you put 'Go' in front of 'disabled' you get God is abled.

When you finally get tired of walking in your disability -give it over to God, let GO for that is when our God is abled to direct and change your life.

God, we are like sheep led astray. So easily influenced and persuaded by the world. Help us to pour more of you into our hearts, minds, spirits, and souls so that we are able to stay the course, even when it appears unnecessary. For you know the storms along the way, that our human eyes can not foresee. Today we choose to enable you in our lives by letting go.

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