Thursday, 10/14/21 – Knowing God’s Will

Knowing God’s Will

God expects us to pray that His Will is done and to understand what His Will is. On these two points scripture is explicit: “…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10); “…do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Eph.5:17).

Understanding the Will of God is not something mystical, or hidden. It begins with relationship – in knowing thoroughly that God is God and you are not! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). God is Supreme. He is not a magical genie to have in one’s back pocket! He is to be obeyed, and not questioned.

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (Eccl. 5:2).

Micah states the broad strokes of a man’s obligations before his Creator: “What does the LORD require of you?” He asks.“To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

To train us in the standards of righteousness God gave us the Law. Then, in Christ, He gave us the means of righteousness through confession, repentance, surrender and the workings of His indwelling Holy Spirit. He gives us also His Word in which much of His Will is made clear to us.

But God is not only a God of justice, rules and punishment! God is also a God of great Love… so much so that He paid a great price to restore us…

The Lord is… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) “[He] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4)

But that’s not all! God wants you to work with Him to become like Him. In fact, it is God’s Will for us to become set apart… sanctified… holy! “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thess. 4:3). “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:14-16). And it is God’s Will that our lives be a testimony to others in this world. “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Pet. 2:15).

Finally, (for now), it is God’s Will that we love Him and one another, that we put to death all sinful pleasures, unashamedly accepting reproach for His Name, and persevere in following Him. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23); “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36).

Oh! And in keeping with our theme these past few days it is also God’s Will that we be thankful! “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18)

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Wednesday, 9/22/21 – Pressing on… God rules all things!

God rules all things!

Pixabay

“God rules all things by His power,” wrote Cyril of Jerusalem (310-386 AD). “He rules over the idolaters… rules over the heretics… He even rules over the devil…”

God has this astonishing knack of contorting evil into good. Take, for example, the life of Joseph. Sold into slavery by his envious brothers God twists it into good as Joseph remains faithful. He raises Joseph to great power and by his management of a great famine saves the lives of many including his evil-plotting brothers. Joseph, trusting the hand of God through all this, in the end assured them,

You meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive” (Gen. 50:20, NKJV).

In these days we face great opposition from our true enemy, the devil. He hopes to sow discord among us. Our job is to shun him as Joseph shunned the temptation to vengeance against his brothers. It is for victory that this foe exists.

Cyril elaborates,

“God has allowed the devil to exist, for two reasons: first, that he might shame himself all the more in being overcome; and second, that humanity might be crowned with victory over him… God allowed the devil to make war, that we might be crowned victors! When our victory is gained, the devil is even more shamed, conquered by the weaker party; mortal humans are mightily honoured, having defeated a fallen archangel!”

The psalmist David praised, “Your faithfulness continues through all generations; You established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve You. (Ps. 119:90, 91).

All things serve God. His end purposes will prevail. Our job — your job as a Christian — is to hold steady against the devils wiles, to maintain unity and harmony amongst your brothers and sisters in Christ and “as far as it depends on you… with everyone.” (Rom. 12:18). God is in control and His purposes will prevail!

I like the way Max Lucado puts it:

“Everything will work out in the end. If it’s not working out, it’s not the end.” – Max Lucado

Press on…

Thursday, 8/12/21 – God’s Will: Seek it, Find it, Do it!

God’s Will: Seek it, Find it, Do it!

Perhaps one reason God does not reveal His specific will to an individual is that He is waiting for us to come to that place where we will be willing to obey it. Once one knows what it is God wants them to do that person is accountable to God to do it. Jesus spoke very bluntly regarding this..

The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:47-48).

Maybe God’s will is waiting on our will.

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might,” wrote that wisest of all men, Solomon (Eccl. 9:10). But many “find” nothing simply because they are not looking! “Seek and you will find,” said Jesus (Matt. 7:7). “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,” writes James, “…and it will be given to you” (Jas. 1:5).

Some things God hides from us until we are ready to receive them. Other things are very clearly revealed to us in Scripture. If we are not obeying these general things why do we think God should tell us the specific things? If we refuse to obey the things clearly revealed — things for which God will hold us accountable — then to reveal even more to us makes us even more accountable before Him, and more deserving of punishment for failing to do so!

For the unbeliever the first will of God is belief. “The work of God is this,” answers Jesus, “to believe in the one he has sent.” (John 6:29). Then comes repentance, surrender, submission…. Nurture, understanding, fruitfulness.

For the believer, Paul writes, “This is the will of God, even your sanctification” (1 Thess. 4:3). Or, as Peter citing Levitical law writes, “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”(1  Pet. 1:15-16). And scripture is filled with virtues God commands Christians to emulate. (e.g. Col. 3:1-17; Gal. 5:13-26; 2 Pet. 1:5-9… far, far too many more to list!). Read the gospels, epistles, and commands and you will find much of God’s Will for you! Do these… grow closer to Him… and He will show you more! (See Matt. 25:14-30).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Thursday, 3/26/20 – Discipleship – God’s Will (& COVID-19)

God’s Will (& COVID-19)

How does one reconcile God’s Will with the COVID-19 pandemic?

woman in white dress shirt using white microscope

Any scientist or logician will tell you that if you are hoping to compare two realities you must certainly understand something about the properties of each. In this matter our comprehension of both is woefully minute! Speculation using all available facts is all that is left to us.

In the case of God, the Bible gives us some sketches of Him, but all along emphasizes also this caveat: No one can grasp the Mind of God. From earliest biblical record to this current moment as you read, this has been so.

sky space dark galaxy

The Almighty “does great and unsearchable things,” says Job. (Job 5:9). “Behold, God is exalted in His power; Who is a teacher like Him? Who has appointed Him His way, And who has said, ‘You have done wrong’?” (Job 36:22-23). “Do you not know?” Isaiah writes, “… His understanding is inscrutable.” (Isa. 40:28).

In fact, in his great God-given wisdom, Solomon tells us “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter…” (Prov. 25:2). The Lord Himself declares it:

“…My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa. 55:8-9)

If nothing else in this hour we must recognize that God is God and we are not.

baby sitting on man s shoulder

But we do know that God is a loving Father to His children. His interests for us have an eternal focus. Good parents guide their children to eat and to sleep and to exercise, to learn and to work and to endure, so that “When they grow up”…they will be healthy, and strong, and able. No child at the time of direction cares much about outcomes decades in the future. But still, the good parent directs.

God’s good will for His own is that they grow in dependence and love and relationship with Him. (Read Eph. 1:1-23, 1 Pet. 1:3-11, 1 Tim. 4:7-16). “No one is good—except God alone.” taught Jesus (Mark 10:18). The good by which we try to compare and comprehend God is tarnished and carnal, often earthbound and temporal. But God has “something better,” (Heb. 11:40) more enduring in mind for all His children. We must trust Him.

I read something very interesting today from a book by Jan Kempe published several years ago. I was amazed at how appropriately these words are for us all today…

“The truth is that we would rather trust in a bank balance which we can see than in God whom we can’t see. The thought of having no one or nothing but God to trust is sufficient to bring on a nervous collapse…
“‘We are all of us in danger of slipping into this form of unquiet distrust in the fatherly providence of God’ (Samuel Cox).
“God’s will is that our lives should be a perpetual crisis of dependence on Him. We defeat His will in our lives when we lay up treasures on earth.” – Jan Kempe, Faithful Hearts, p. 155

Paul marvels, “How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!“ (Rom. 11:33-34) and to the Corinthians summarizes “…the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God…” (1 Cor. 2:11). “But,..” Paul adds, “we have the mind of Christ.” (v. 16).

God is for us, not against us (Rom. 8:31). Let us build ourselves up in trust toward Him. Let us so focus on the kingdom to come that it becomes a testimony to the lost and frantic. Writes Kempe,

“The life of faith speaks loudly to unbelievers and to other Christians. It testifies to all that there is a God in heaven the answers prayer. Faith is the opposite of sight; when you can see, you can’t trust.” – p. 116

believe bible black and white book

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to begin this journey by committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Friday, 2/14/20 – Friday Tough Question

Is “…if it be Your will” a prayer escape clause?

man tattooed praying

I know just what this questioner means. I’ve heard some Christians call this prayer add-on a “faith destroying phrase,” a face-saving “escape clause” in case God doesn’t come through. Talk like this arouses a righteous anger in me because it sidesteps the sovereignty of God! It places our understanding, our will, our plans in place of God’s.

James gives us stern warning against this,

Listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes… Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” (James 3:13-14; 4:15)

brown and green grass field during sunset

To pray otherwise is to pray presumptuously. Perhaps God’s plan for an individual includes a period of suffering in order to teach some lesson. Praying this be removed would be to pray against God’s purposes which He has not revealed to us. Or, consider the farmer praying for rain while the teacher planning a class picnic prays for sunshine. Neither has the right to tempt God by demanding their preferred outcome.

But there are occasions where prayer with great assurance and boldness is appropriate. Where the will of God is clearly known we need not, indeed ought not, pray with the caveat “…if it be Your will.”

Clearly, we need not pray “Lord, forgive my sins, if it is Your will,” or, “Father, lead us not into temptation, if You so desire.” On these God’s will is already clear to us!

Likewise, we can pray assuredly when we pray according to what God has clearly promised to all believers. Consider this prayer of Paul’s,

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:16-19)

smiling girl holding gray rabbit

Paul does not add any phrase asking if these requests be God’s will. God has already spoken His will through Christ, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matt. 5:48), or as the Amplified puts it, “…be perfect [growing into spiritual maturity both in mind and character, actively integrating godly values into your daily life], as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Interestingly this question tags on well to our discussion earlier this week about approaching God in humility yet coming “boldly to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16). Like a child we may ask our parent/s humbly for a special privilege, yet demand boldly that which had previously been promised.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.