Saturday, March 7, 2009

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Pixels - here's another huge contest, but you must act fast. Leave a comment relevant to this post below and your e-mail address where we can contact you if you win, and you'll be entered into a drawing for HUGE gift basket books and goodies worth $135! Leave your comment by Monday, March 9th!



Feeling Lost? Need Directions?

Author Shares Six Tips for Finding Your Route



(Orlando, Florida) Have you ever wished you could look into the future and obtain better insight in order to make wiser decisions for your best outcome? So many times, results from poor choices could have been avoided if we had seriously considered the direction of God's guidance for our lives, instead of trying to figure things out on our own. In her book, Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life, Cheri Cowell presents six questions readers should ask themselves when facing important decisions. Through observation and exploration, she examines each question and shares examples of how others--from Bible times to present day--have used these questions to find God's way in the story of their lives. From career options to medical decisions to relationship questions, Cowell's instruction and guidance helps readers learn how to make confident choices as they seek God's direction on the road of life.



Cheri Cowell, a popular conference speaker and writer, uses her experience in ministry to encourage and equip Christians seeking answers to the unspoken questions of faith. She is earning a degree in theological studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, where she and her husband, Randy, call home. For more information, visit Direction and Discernment.



An Interview with the Author:

Obviously, the search for God's will is a topic of interest to many Christians today. What would you say is the most common misconception about seeking God's direction for ones life?

I encounter this same question every time I speak on this topic. The answer is what I call the Myth of the Path of Relative Ease, which says when we finally find God's perfect will we'll be on easy street. Easy Street promises smooth sailing and a peace-filled life. But I've learned this is anything but biblical. The Bible tells us we can't use an 'easy life' as a road-sign pointing to His way. In fact, His way promises to be a bumpy road filled with potholes and dangerous cliffs. The exciting thing for us is when we learn to walk in His ways, we'll have a Companion for the journey who knows the dangerous curves ahead.


In Direction, you write about the process of determining if something is God's will or not. You say to test it against the character of God. How can we know what the character of God is like?

I don't presume to know all there is to know about who God is, but when looking for the leading hand of God, it's important to know how we see that hand. Some see God's guidance as that of a loving Father showing His child the best way to live so as to protect from harm, others know Him as a Best Friend who shares all that's needed to make wise decisions. Then there are those who see God as a Guide, almost like a whitewater rafting guide who's been down this rapid before and can show the way.

When you are personally faced with a big decision to make, what's the first thing you do?

LOL, I think I'm like most people. I have well-worn paths I retreat to, and some are not healthy. I'm afraid I tend to talk it out with friends instead of first talking to my Best Friend. I'm fear-filled first instead of crawling up in my Father's heavenly lap and seeking His heart on the matter. And yes, I also rely on the common road signs most of us have relied upon when making big decisions—Bible reading, prayer, open & closed doors, and the sense of peace we're to have when walking in God's light. This last list sounds like a good thing, but I've learned there's a good way to do this and a not-so-good way. The not-so-good way is the one that says these road signs are to point me to God's perfect will. The 'good way' is to use these same road signs as a means of drawing closer to the heart of God instead of looking for a hidden will. It is in this position, close to the heart of God, where we are best able to hear from God.


Sometimes we think we only need to go to God about the big decisions in our lives. What evidence do you have from God's Word that He is interested in every decision?

I call this the Too Big and Too Small God problem. When we make our God so big, He becomes aloof and distant. When we buy into this lie we only go to God when the decision is big enough. Such decisions often find us at God's door begging for direction such as, "Who am I supposed to marry; should I take this job and move my family; or is it ever okay to take my loved one off life support?" These are indeed big decisions that require a Big God, but if we're only going to God when a situation is big enough, we're missing most of life. Most of life is lived in the humdrum of everyday decision-making. It is the ordinary day-in-and-day-out little things like, "'Do I run this yellow light; do I tell her how I really feel even if it means losing a friend; or do I pick up the phone and call that person I've been thinking about all day?" where the little things add up to become big things. Satan tries to tell us these are the small things a Big God should not be bothered with. This is one of his favorite tools. He used these same lies with Jesus during His temptation in the desert, but Jesus knew they were lies. We, too, need to learn to identify Satan's lying tongue.

You're continuing your education at Asbury Theological Seminary. What are you hoping to do once you finish your degree?

It is my prayer to write and speak biblical truths more effectively. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to earn a Masters in Theological Studies. As I gain more knowledge, I've seen my writing and speaking gain power and conviction.

When a Christian is totally consumed and overwhelmed by the stress of making the right decision, it is tough to put everything in perspective. Are there some practical tips you can share so that he/she can still continue with their everyday life?

Certainly. My first suggestion is to take time to be alone with God. Our God-time is often the first casualty of a stress-filled life, but this is precisely the time when we need Him the most. Next, find some help. The Christian life is not to be a solitary event. Even Jesus went to the Garden with four friends. Share with a handful of committed Christians your struggles, ask for practical help if necessary, and then invite them to lift you up in intercessory prayer. This last step is forming what I call a Clearness Community. Through this Community you will hear God's voice more clearly than any one of us can discern on our own.

How is Direction an extension of your own personal search for God's will?

As I answer these questions I'm sitting in Tennessee in a vacation cabin where my husband and I are seeking God's direction about a potential move here from our home in Florida. My friends have teased, "You know, there's this really good book you should read…" Their levity allows me to keep things in perspective as we weigh the options, seek the leading of the Holy Spirit, and trust in a God who walks with us no matter what decisions we make.




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5 comments:

lilac grandma said...

Over and over I keep asking God What's the right thing to do?
In Jeremiah 29.11 He says I know the plans I have for you. I just wish it was easier for me to know them!
Thanks for the contest. Love and prayers Melody
msproule1225@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

As I read this interview with Cheri Cowell, I felt like I had walked this road with her. After my late husband died, I wanted to continue his ministry in some way and I went back to his seminary and took classes, seeking how I might share more about the God who cares about everything that affects me, his child. She offers some very insightful answers for the Christian who is seeking wise answers.Ann Knowles

Peg said...

Change is never easy, but digging up roots and transplanting them is major.

Praying you will find God's Peace in this decision,Cheri. "Be still, and know . . ."

Peg.
pbpwrites @ gmail.com

Anonymous said...

I've live a long time--91 years and I can honestly say Cheri has hit the nail on the head with all her answers. God bless you as you prepare to serve him more effectively. Martha Ownby marthamusic@aol.com

Stephanie Craig said...

This book should be a good read. It sounds like the author, Cheri Cowell, has experienced what she is talking about.
stephanie[dot]craig[at]ymail[dot]com