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Watch for Circumstances Step Three of Sacred Pace, Terry Looper

He says, “Stop your striving and recognize that I am God. I will be exalted over the nations! I will be exalted over the earth!” (Psalm 46:10, NET Bible)

The Next Steps Made Plain

[The following excerpt is from "Sacred Pace", pg. 91-92]

Stories like ours affirm something I have only recently recognized: moving at God's pace means we don't have to overanalyze the facts or the circumstances that come our way. God directs our paths in part by arranging circumstances to reveal and confirm what He wants us to do - and when. He will make the next step plainly known, as long as we're intent on learning His plan. Our job is to watch for His answer, be flexible, and do what He prompts us to do. What a relief this is! To understand that God does all the heavy lifting when we're faced with tough decisions takes the pressure off. We just have to alter our speed, wait once we've gotten neutral, and then follow His lead, which gets easier and easier as we learn to trust that He sees and knows all the things we don't.

Discussion Questions

Read the following scripture passages and then answer the questions below.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV)

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-24, NIV)

"Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, with integrity and godly sincerity. We have done so, relying not on worldly wisdom but on God’s grace." (2 Corinthians 1:12, NIV)

  1. What does Terry mean when he says, "we don't have to overanalyze the facts or the circumstances that come our way"?
  2. Have circumstances ever made God's path plain in your life? Explain.
  3. In what way have you learned to trust that God "sees and knows all the things we don't"?

Responsive

[The following excerpt is from "Sacred Pace", pg. 92-93]

I can't ever say what God may have planned for me miles down the road. All I can do is be responsive to the facts and the circumstances in this moment, knowing that He sees the future, He knows best, and He loves me more than I love myself. Once the Lord gives me His peace, I'm confident He will faithfully move me another step in His direction, on toward His desire and purpose for me. So I hold the unfolding plan lightly, because circumstances may shift me - or save me - at any time.

Discussion Questions

Read the following scripture passages and then answer the questions below.

"But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come." (John 16:13, NIV)

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17, NIV)

  1. Describe a time when you've been faced with a challenge and had to "live in the moment" - what makes that difficult for most of us?
  2. Terry states that, "He loves me more than I love myself." How do we make this an ever present reality in the face of our culture which stands in opposition?
  3. Terry also states, "so I hold the unfolding plan lightly." What practical steps can we take to achieve a lighter (more trusting) grip on our lives?

Truths That Encourage Me

[The following is an excerpt from "Sacred Pace", Pg. 92]

These are the truths I keep coming back to. The truths that constantly encourage me and give me the confidence to seek the Lord's will over my own:
1. He knows best, and I only think I do.
2. He sees the future and I can't.
3. He loves me and the people around me more than I ever could.
What's more, He promises to not only direct my paths but to guide my steps (Prov. 16:9) so that I receive the desires of my heart - the godly desires God "knit" with me (Ps. 139:13; see also Ps. 103:1-5) by which He will fulfill His unique plans and purpose for me. I rarely know what those desire are in the early stages of a decision, but getting on pace with Him helps me figure them out.

Discussion Questions

Read the following scripture passages and then answer the questions below.

"To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end — even the wicked for a day of disaster. The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided. When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice. Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making." (Proverbs 16:1-11, NIV)

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb." (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

"Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s." (Psalm 103:1-5, NIV)

  1. What experience can you point to in your life that would confirm that "God knows best"?
  2. What promises from scripture encourage you most when considering that God "sees the future, and I can't"?
  3. Think of one person in your life that you have difficulty loving - and share how God's love for that person might help you take steps toward growing in your love?
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Stay on the path that the LORD your God has commanded you to follow. Then you will live long and prosperous lives in the land you are about to enter and occupy. Deut. 5:33 NLT

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Created with images by Maria Teneva - "Transfagarasan road" • Nathan Dumlao - "untitled image" • Casey Horner - "walking the line" • Alexander Milo - "After a 3 to 4 hour off road trek we made it to Hveradalir. A truly breathtaking site as steam came out of the many geysers from the rivers below. The build up of steam created surreal views covering the many slopes behind and had us climbing these few mountains for a special shot." • Bonnie Kittle - "untitled image"