The word of God is not designated to any one group or nationality, but instead is available for all who wish to learn His word and apply it to his or her daily life. Even better, understanding the Bible does not require a degree in theology, but simply an open heart and mind.
Uplifting and deeply moving, Walking with God Is a Divine Journey shares ways to develop a closer relationship with God through our life's experiences. Author Lisa Olivares Young explains how, regardless of how your life began or how many mistakes you've made, the promises of God are deeply rooted within us to seek the life He so graciously desires for us.
Young uses personal anecdotes and biblical stories to illustrate how God has worked in her life. She also explores the doubts, fears, and perplexities she has endured in various life situations, illustrating how she found comfort and guidance in the Bible and through prayer. Each chapter touches upon a subject often encountered in our walk with God, including
• learning from your past;
• overcoming life's challenges;
• discovering your purpose;
• taking the road less traveled.
Part memoir and part Bible study, Walking with God Is a Divine Journey will help you develop your faith, understand God's love and guidance, and listen to His correction, all by reading and applying His word.
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Read an Excerpt
Walking with GOD Is a Divine JourneySpiritual development involves growing through life's experiences
By Lisa Olivares Young
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2012 Lisa Olivares Young
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLife's journey
Life is a wakeup call
If you are the average typical person who realized early on that you were not birthed into a perfect society, and even your parents or siblings were just as imperfect and constantly gave you pause, you are not alone. Many people meander through life thinking I wish I had different parents, I wish I were an only child or had brothers and sisters, there is always an underlying 'I wish' or 'what if' to keep our minds wondering. The reality is you are exactly where you should be, and have been dealt the hand that God intended for your life, now it is up to you what you do with it. "The word of the Lord came to me saying, before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart" (New International Version, Jeremiah 1.4-5). Regardless of how your life began, or from what lineage you derived, the promises of God are deeply imbedded within us to give us hope and the courage to seek the life he so graciously desires us to have.
Prepare to pursue life! One of my favorite quotes by McNally states "your past cannot be changed, but you can change tomorrow by your actions today" (qtd. in Hudson and McLean xx). Therefore if we view our past experiences as lessons for tomorrow, we will continue to pursue life to the fullest with passion and a purpose. Ouspensky states "It is only when we realize that life is taking us nowhere that it begins to have meaning" (qtd. in Hudson and McLean 52). The pursuit of life is probably the most ambitious way to live. This theory offers you several challenges; it encourages you to set goals and plan ahead, and to go after your dreams and never stop striving to achieve. Do we all possess the character of pursuit? No, for some the satisfaction of a children, family and running a household are pursuit enough. But understand that forward movement and the constant pursuit of "something" other than your self will ignite a certain hope and a desire to achieve more. We are taught early in life and it is declared in the constitution that we have a right to the pursuit of happiness. But each individuals happiness by their own definition and by whatever means necessary be it money; career, love, or material things, guides us through life with a sense of hope for something better. Whatever your personal pursuit is, you can be certain that life will bring absolute and uncertain change when you least expect it, be ready to change with the rest of the world and embrace a new pursuit.
When uncertain change strikes we tend to respond on the basis of our environmental existence, what we know. If you have embraced faith as a lifestyle sudden change may be less relevant to you than that of someone who reacts with the shift of the wind. Understand that the one thing in life that is constant is change, and it will give you a new perspective on how to keep moving forward without losing momentum or hope along the way. It doesn't matter where you came from, every one of us is equipped with the God given strength to overcome life's unexpected challenges and continue to push forward. You must first have a dream and desire for something bigger than where you are now. If you have no desire to go anywhere, then it is inevitable that you will remain standing still, but with every dream that is inside of you hope will positively propel you to create a goal to help you get there.
I use to be one of those people who constantly lived in fear. I had no clear understanding or definition of my life's goals. But I always had a yearning and desire for something better than where I was in my life. This desire grew more intense as my children became a little older, and my dreams and desires for the life I wanted them to have intensified. I knew I wanted them to go to college and have successful lives. But the fact that I had not made education a priority in my own life discouraged my dreams for them. After a long talk with myself and God through constant praying I did return to school. It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life, because by then I was almost 40 years old and intimidated by the classroom, and the thought of someone else re-shaping my way of thinking. After I completed my Bachelors of Science degree in organizational management, I though ok, I did it! I'm done! After all I had achieved a tremendous personal accomplishment. But God in all his glory and with an enormous sense of humor said "I'm not finished with you yet." I have since earned an MBA and am currently a second year Ph.D. candidate in business management, with a specialization in management education. I am also an adjunct professor at a university, where my passion for teaching is greatly manifested. Truly God is no respecter of person and he does not show partiality, if he did it for me just image how much more he will do for you. All you need is the right wake up call! That driving force inside you that screams for you to take notice; an underlying reason or motivation to take an inventory of where you are in your life and decide where you want to go!
Regardless of how your life began, or from what lineage you derived, the promises of God are deeply imbedded within us to give us hope and the courage to seek the life he so graciously desires us to have.
It does not matter where you came from or how your life began, focus on where you are going and how to discover your wake-up call!
Whatever your personal pursuit is, you can be certain that life will bring absolute and uncertain change when you least expect it, be ready to change with the rest of the world and embrace a new pursuit.
Life as a teacher
Knowledge is something that is acquired through life experiences and interaction with others. Formal education is not the only platform for instruction and at times the world around us is the best possible classroom. The scripture states "my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge" (Hos. 4.6). Learning is an ongoing and continuous cycle; everything that happens to you is your teacher. Use it to your advantage and as an opportunity to improve, rectify and re-invent yourself in his image. Berends suggests "everything that happens to you is your teacher, the secret is to learn to sit at the feet of your own life and be taught by it" (qtd. in Hudson and McLean 28). Therefore as the rules of life change, and they will, be ready to change with them.
We learn and are taught many things in life, from the basic fundamentals of survival, to human and technical skills in our work environments. Learning creates an upward progress, which enables you to prosper and grow, and if you are honest and hardworking you will undoubtedly reap the rewards of that prosperity. Most people never realize the learning opportunities that exist before them, after all a trip to the grocery store can be a learning opportunity if you view it correctly. The concept of life as a teacher becomes very clear when you begin to reflect on your goals and dreams. For it allows you a chance to take a look back at where you have been, analyze your mistakes and shortcomings, then identify with what changes and adjustments you should make to move into your new found future.
Day after day people go about their lives not realizing that today can be different then yesterday, tomorrow can be profoundly different than today! The first step toward making a change for tomorrow is realizing the need for it today. If you are stagnate, or at the crossroads of your life and have no idea what to do next stop and evaluate where you have been before deciding where you should go.
The key is to be truly honest with yourself about how much of your life you have wasted on unproductive efforts or negative strifefull attitudes that bear no fruit. It is never too late to have the life you desire. Does that mean it will be an easy adjustment? Absolutely not! The hardest part though is finally admitting to yourself that "something needs to change" that is a tough realization for most, especially if you have become accustomed to living and functioning a certain way all or most of your life, to suddenly wake up one day and say I'm going to change my life today is huge! The good news is it is possible and you have a helper, God!
Prayer and submission to God is a powerful thing. If you have never experienced the love of God through his correction, guidance and encouragement, you are in for the most influential and profound change yet! He is amazing and will take you to a place of peace like you have never before experienced.
It is easy to think we can change our behavior on our own accord, but is that realistic considering you have probably behaved the same way all of your life. Change even within our self is sometimes harder to face than what the world throws at our doorstep. Often times the initial shock of realizing that we even need to change in one aspect or another is a devastating realization. I believe the saying "you are always the last to know" applies here. In context it means something completely different; however, in theory demonstrates how little we self-evaluate our own behavior and attitudes about who we are and how we are reflected on the world around us. Knowing and doing are as they say two completely different things. We may come to know and face up to who we are, but have no clue or idea what to do to fix ourselves, or transition into who we want to become.
There are several acceptable solutions for implementing personal change; self-help books, mentors, therapy, and a change of environment are just a few. However, the most effective and long term solution is the one most overlooked, God! Whether because of unbelief, fear of having to give up something, (which you probably do not need anyway), or lack of understanding about how faith operates many people turn to alternative short term solutions. God's solutions are long term and when he fixes you he actually breaks you down (humbles), corrects what is wrong and makes you whole in every area of your life; before he restores you to the person you were created to be. God's guidance gives you a sense of purpose and direction unparalleled to anything you have ever before known. Look at the story of Jacob or David in the bible, before making them great men, God first broke them down (humbled) them in order to make them great. Spurgeon suggest whenever God is going to use you, give you an enlargement or bring you into a larger platform of spiritual life, he must first break us down in order to make us a greater sphere of usefulness. The concept of breaking us or humbling us is so you can see the power of God moving in your life through positive changes and developments that would not have occurred by your own hand. God wants us to recognize and acknowledge him as he re-builds us. Change takes discipline; most of us lack the discipline necessary to take on such a huge personal transition on our own. But the good news is you do not have to go it alone, God is still in control, and he will supply you with the self-control you lack to accomplish the wholeness you are missing.
Take a close inventory of your life and re-examine the areas you would like to see improve. If you have ever felt incomplete or like there was something missing in your life, maybe that's because there is, the wholeness of God! He will fill the emptiness with such harmony and balance that you will begin to see your life and the world around you in a new light. Look at what your life has taught you this far right or wrong, good or bad and use it as a textbook to study ways in which you can benefit from the past, by redefining your future and allowing life to serve as your teacher!
Many of life's lessons can be learned just by examining your own life's mistakes!
The opportunity for change occurs when you realize the need for it!
What has your life taught you so far?
Learning is an ongoing and continuous cycle; everything that happens to you is your teacher. Use it to your advantage and as an opportunity to improve, rectify and re-invent yourself in his image.
RE-define your future and allow life to serve as your teacher!
The Past does not dictate your future
Many people get stuck right where they are because they have given up hope of ever having a better life or making positive changes to their norm. We tend to fall into the "This is just my life" trap; the trap is it does not have to be unless that is what you choose. There are many adversities to life in which everyday people can get caught up in without warning. Whether it is alcohol or drugs, sex, or criminal behavior, excessive debt, or relationship issues you can leave your past in the past. Living an on the edge lifestyle can diminish your self-esteem and destroy your confidence to an extreme low to where you begin to accept that you are less than worthy of anyone's love, much less that of the creator of the universe.
God dealt with me on some of these issues in such an amazing way. I had no choice but to acknowledge his presence it was that strong, and in that moment of enlightenment, I knew I was not alone nor did I ever have to be again. You see, I allowed a man I loved to make me feel less than acceptable because I did not meet up to his standards and expectations of who he thought I should be. The truth is it was never about me, but moreover about his arrogant need to make a superficial impression on others. Though I was distraught at the thought that I was not good enough in his eyes, I truly thank him today for encouraging me to re-evaluate who I was and to take action toward improving some areas of my life. Without even realizing it his ostentatious comments challenged me to set some goals and pursue a different path, it was a virtuous learning experience.
We have all encountered people that challenge our sense of being in one form or another, whether it is a family member, co-worker, boss or significant other, instead of taking it personally and going on the defensive; stop, take a self-assessment and ask yourself if their comments are valid and worthy of reflection. Often times it is tough to get past the criticism, but when you do and are honest enough to acknowledge the validity of the critique, consider it free education. Not to mention thousands of dollars saved on countless hours of wasted therapy.
I also went through most of my life allowing my mother to categorize me as indifferent because I wanted more for my life. I believe at times she took it personal, as if I thought I were better than her or resented my life. However, that was never the case; I just knew for me God had a different plan and vision for my life, one I was determined to follow. When you begin to set goals you grow to expect more of yourself, and the life you were accustomed to will appear narrow in comparison to the broad views that world has to offer. This is a transitional stage where most people do not realize what you are going through or how to respond to you changing around them especially if their environment is still the same. In no way does that mean you have adapted the thought that you are better than anyone else, it simply means that in this progressive stage the measurement of your growth is that every day you become a better person than you were the day before. The reality is not that you think you are better than anyone else, but "you will strive to better than yourself." If you are willing to expand the way you think you will increase your capacity for goal achievement and ultimately personal and spiritual growth.
Excerpted from Walking with GOD Is a Divine Journey by Lisa Olivares Young Copyright © 2012 by Lisa Olivares Young. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter I: Life's journey....................1
Life is a wakeup call....................3
Life as a teacher....................6
The Past does not dictate your future....................10
Chapter II: Knowledge and Growth....................15
How to Learn from your past....................17
Mistakes create an opportunity for a victorious comeback....................20
Learning is a never ending journey....................23
Life-long learning enhances your vision....................26
The Ability to Learn and Unlearn....................28
Chapter III: Life is about Change....................33
Move When the World Moves Around You!....................35
Overcoming Life's Challenges....................40
Waiting by Faith....................43
Chapter IV: Life Convoy....................49
People and Choices....................51
The road less traveled!....................55
Transition: Stages of Spiritual development....................61
Discovering your purpose....................67
Renewing Your Mind!....................69
Chapter V: Faith restores vision....................71
Purpose to move forward....................73
Your hearts desire....................78
Embrace your dreams by creating goals to get you there....................81
Sometimes life's set-backs are merely a Set-up!....................84
Building a Better Relationship with God....................88
Learning to Receive God's Correction....................93