Decisions Determine Destiny
I’m sure you’ve heard the statement “Life is a series of
When you are on a road trip, those who are ahead of you can be valuable sources of information. It doesn’t matter how you feel about them personally. The fact that they have already driven the road gives them insights that you need. They can tell you what accommodations and restaurants are available. Or they can let you know of a wreck or construction ahead and then advise an alternate route. You would be foolish not to draw on the insights of others who have gone before you.
With that in mind, we have put together a number of what we call Destiny Stories. These are the stories of individuals who have made choices that changed their lives for the better. They are people just like you, with challenges, failures, pasts, and even successes that stood in the way of them following God’s will for their lives. But with a few good decisions, they made their lives count.
Take, for instance, Kevin and Rachel Dowling. They were living on the streets of New York. Homeless and helpless,they were dope addicts with no good future. But through a woman at one of the soup kitchens they frequented, they found the Lord and His love. Five years later, they were free from dope, but still lacked direction for their lives. They decided to come to Charis Bible College (CBC) in Colorado Springs, and everything began to change. Not only have they been set free from the feelings of unworthiness and shame that dominated their lives, but now they are bringing others into their newfound freedom. The ones who used to sleep in cardboard boxes and eat out of trash cans are now providing food and the Gospel to thousands of other people who need a new destination.
Or take Leland Shores, who was a successful businessman in Dallas, Texas. While he lay on the floor, nearly choking to death on a sandwich, his life flashed before him, and he knew that all of his “successes” were worth nothing. When he recovered, he made the decision to sell everything he had and dedicate his life to the Lord.
That one decision led Leland to CBC and eventually Africa, where he helped establish the Discipleship Evangelism course, which has now reached nearly 500,000 people. Leland also established the AWM bookstore in downtown Kampala, Uganda, where hundreds of people have been born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit. If that weren’t enough, Leland started CBC-Uganda, with over 100 students who are changing Uganda.
Leland died unexpectedly in June 2011, but in the eleven years since he made the decision to make his life count for the Lord, he did more than most people do in a lifetime. And because Leland’s emphasis was on discipleship, his disciples are continuing the work he began. Numerous people have been raised from the dead through those Leland reached. Disciples are ministering on the radio daily, and others are holding crusades with signs and wonders. Leland’s impact is just beginning.
Carrie Pickett is a young woman who came to our college fresh out of high school. She had known that the Lord had a call on her life since she was a little girl, but she was transformed by the Word and her missions trip to Russia. God put a love in her heart that she has been following for the last thirteen years in Russia.
Some would think of all that Carrie gave up to go to Russia. She’s an attractive young lady who put her personal desires for a family on the altar to serve the Lord. But God had the perfect husband for Carrie—in Russia. She would have missed him if she hadn’t followed the Lord to the ends of the earth. Now she and her husband, Mike, have a beautiful daughter, Elliana.
Their lives are making a big impact. They have not only established a CBC in St. Petersburg, but they also have a goal of starting 1,000 new Bible colleges in the next five years and are well on their way to seeing the completion of that vision. They were also responsible for getting my books and television broadcasts translated into Russian. Through their efforts, the Gospel Truth television broadcast now reaches 160 million homes in Russia every weekday across eleven time zones. They also direct our AWM-Russia office, which ministers to thousands of Russian-speaking people throughout the world.
What would all of these people’s lives have been like if they hadn’t made the decisions they did? An even greater question might be, what would the lives of the millions of people they’ve affected have been like without them? Every one of us has a God-ordained destiny that is designed to touch others. We are carrying other people’s miracles. I don’t think we can fully comprehend this. It is certain, however, that the lives of millions of people were changed simply because these “heroes of the faith” made the right decisions.
Are you certain that the decisions you are making every day are the ones the Lord wants you to make?If you can’t answer that affirmatively, then what is stopping you? Most people don’t intentionally decide to miss their destinies; they just get busy with the cares of this life, and before they know it, they are in a rut that they can’t seem to get out of.
But remember, your life is the result of choices—YOUR choices. Others can influence or hinder you, but your choices are the determining factor of your destiny. It is never too late to make the right choices.
My spiritual life started with making a choice. I had been seeking to know the Lord’s will for my life when He directed me to Romans 12:1-2, which says,
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of