JOSHUA 1:7-9: “Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the Law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may achieve success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” NASB

OBSERVATION: Have you ever gotten lost? Have you ever tried to take a shortcut only to find yourself traveling down a road that you knew you shouldn’t be on? Today we have GPS, yet even now, when we are traveling somewhere we have never been before…


It was around 11 PM and my Dad was doing the final check on our vehicle for our annual Zehnder family vacation. We would travel every year from California to Michigan for the annual Fourth of July Zehnder family reunion. Our trip would always begin at night so that we could drive through the desert when it was cool. Air conditioning in the car was a luxury that we did not have.

My Dad spent a lot of time preparing for this annual trip. The journey to Michigan was a race against time. With AAA TripTik in hand, a water bag on the front of the car for extra cooling, and Mom with a large thermos full of ice water – the Zehnders were off! Another trip had begun! On the way there my Dad would stick close to the TripTik because he had a deadline to meet.

However, the trip home, after our family visit, was more of an adventure. Looking back at it I am thankful for all those side trips that we took. As a child, I saw most of the great sights one could see on such a road trip. We journeyed through Yellowstone National Park, saw Mt. Rushmore, went through the Black Hills, visited Jackson Hole Wyoming during Cowboy Days, and saw “The Thing” on the way through the desert!

Yet, my Dad had a habit of adding to the adventure of the trip back with his penchant for trying to improvise the route with his famous shortcuts. One such shortcut is one I will never forget. We began taking a side road that soon led to a winding drive up the side of a mountain. My mother began to freak out as the pavement turned into a dirt road and the dirt road started to get narrower and narrower.

I can still hear my Mom cry out with tears – CARL!!!!!!!!!!

I think it was then that my Dad realized that he was lost. He kept on trying to reassure us that he knew where he was. Yet, you could see the worry on his face too! What made matters worse is that there was a steep cliff to our right, my Mom’s side and this added to the hysteria. As my Mother’s tears grew and my Father’s awareness set in – it became clear…


This situation called for more than my Dad’s familiar phrase – “It’s just down the road a piece…” We needed a radical course correction! The funny thing about this story is I don’t remember how we turned around. All I can remember is that it was a long, long night’s ride to the next motel and it was very quiet in the car. As usual, we arrived at the motel too late to use the pool. It was right to bed for me. Tomorrow the adventure continued!

I think the rest of this trip my Dad did not deviate from his map. We had already faced demise on the cliffs, my Mother’s meltdown, and the silent ride in the night to a crummy motel. Course corrections were made and we stayed on the road the rest of the trip. This experience came flooding into my mind when I read these verses from Joshua chapter one. Joshua, like my Dad, was headed on a long trip. And, God made it very clear to him…


The map God gave Joshua is the same map we have all received. It is God’s Word. It is His love letter to us that is meant to guide us safely through the journey of life. We can choose to deviate from this map but it will only lead to narrowing rocky roads on the side of a steep cliff. God wants us to succeed in life more than we do. So He calls us to follow His map. His map of life is not meant to limit us. It is meant to guide us to our destiny.


  • “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success.”

Lord, as I reflect on this very familiar Scripture, I am deeply challenged, both in my memory and in my heart. Thank you for a practical memory from life that shines a bright light on my spiritual need for this present day. Forgive me for the many times I have tried to take a shortcut and veered off the path that You have given me. Grant me the grace to stay on course, the course of Your Word, and to be faithful in the journey that is before me!


In Jesus’ Name!

About Kirk's Devotional Journal

Kirk L. Zehnder is the Founder of Resurrection Christian Outreach. RCO is a ministry that promotes the growth and vitality of the local church through speaking engagements, seminars, various media tools, and written curriculum and books. This ministry was started over 35 years ago by Kirk as a means to strengthen the church that he was pastoring. It grew as Kirk began to share these tools with other churches. Today many of the materials are being used by local churches both nationally and internationally. Kirk's Devotional Journal is a result of struggling with Bible reading programs that never seemed to work. Kirk feels the Lord helped him discover an easy-to-follow program to Read, Reflect, Pray, and Journal through the Bible in one year. This program is called L.I.F.E. Unlike other programs there are no dates to follow. You can miss a day and still complete your reading. You never feel like the dates and verses you missed are chasing you. You are free to enjoy your daily Biblical journey and listen to the voice of The Lord. For more information on the L.I.F.E. plan, send an email to Kirk is also available for speaking engagements, seminars, and retreats. With over 40 years of professional business and pastoral ministry experience, Kirk brings a unique combination of practical wisdom, humor, and Biblical insight. If you would like Kirk to speak at your church, school, or ministry, please send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible to discuss your opportunity.
This entry was posted in Joshua. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to CARL! – FOLLOW THE MAP!!

  1. Steve Bontrager says:

    I wonder how many people still use maps! A GPS world might be part of the problem we are facing in the church today!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s