40 Days of Prayer

Day 30: Life’s Sudoku sequences

January 30, 2019

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Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21

From Our “Here”…

If you’re unfamiliar with Sudoku, it uses a fairly simple concept and a potentially mind-boggling application. Just arrange the numbers 1 through 9 in a 9 x 9 grid so they only appear once in each row, once in each column and once in each of nine individual blocks in the grid.

Some current research suggests Sudoku and similar logic games contribute to long-term brain health and may stave off early Alzheimer’s symptoms. The jury is still out.

“It only stimulates that part of the brain while you’re playing,” one doctor observed.

Who knows? But if you’re a Sudoku fan, you might give some thought to other issues than how much plaque might be building up in your brain.

Just as a poorly placed number can block successful completion of the puzzle 10 or 20 moves later, decisions in life that seem correct today can have a very negative outcome tomorrow or next week or next year. What tactics can you use to identify right choices?

And that’s where faith comes into the equation. No, God won’t whisper in your ear during your next puzzle session, “Put a 9 there.” Nor does He typically offer point-by-point guidance on other decisions you might make. If He did, you’d be burning up the stock market.

But He gives you His Word and the steady, quiet influence of His Holy Spirit. As He promised the prophet Isaiah, “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it” (30:21, NIV).

…To God’s “There”

When you demonstrate daily obedience to the revealed guidelines in God’s Word, you are training yourself to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit during those times when a Bible is not within reach or a particular situation doesn’t clearly fit the framework of a life example from Scripture.

Missionaries living far from home and living without much that was once familiar to them hold to unchanging scriptural principles to confront the unknown one step at a time. They seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance in building relationships, establishing and growing local ministries, and identifying needs that can be met practically while sharing the good news.

Often, they discover that fundamental decisions they made in the past continue to shape their choices in their new environments.

Making the Leap

You might find it hard to imagine yourself ever traveling abroad to live among and serve others at the ends of the earth. Perhaps, up to now, the only missions ministry you have undertaken has been to pray for a missionary or give an offering or a small monthly pledge to an overseas ministry. Allow those initial steps of obedience to expand your horizons. Begin to see the “numbers” you are placing in today’s grid as building blocks for amazing sequences of events God has in store.

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