April 1, 2016
“How can you believe since you look to one another for approval and are not concerned with the approval that comes from God?” (John 5:44)
God approves of right thinking and God approves when we do what is right. When we wrestle with the dichotomy of doing what is right and what is expedient, we should be motivated to offer the sacrifices of righteousness unto God, and trust God because we value God’s approval.
Abraham was told by God, “Walk before Me.” (Genesis 17:1) How many of us do that? Do we really walk before God, all day long, every day? Have we ever actually moved through a 24-hour day holding in focus how God feels about who we are, what we are and all the things we are doing – or are not doing?
There are times in this life when we simply cannot have the approval of God and the approval of man at the same time. There are times when we are not able to explain to people what is going on in our lives. When those times come, if our peace depends on the approval of people, we will discover the foundation of our peace is very fragile.
More than 150 times these three words are found in the Bible: “In His sight.” That concept should be very important to us in this life. One day when we all face the certainty of judgement, the way we have lived our lives in God’s sight will be the only thing that matters.
Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace
June 15, 2013
“In a multitude of counselors, there is safety.” (Proverbs 24:6; 11:14)
THE TWELFTH STEP: Seek wise spiritual counsel.
The verse quoted above is found twice in the book of Proverbs (the Bible uses repetition for emphasis.) This proverb of the wise does not mean you should consult a multitude of counselors when you come to that fork in the road; that would be very confusing, because a multitude of counselors could possibly give you a multitude of opinions regarding your difficult decision.
When the wise men who wrote the book of Proverbs made this statement twice, they were teaching two basic truths. In the first one (Proverbs 24:6), they are telling us that when two nations go to war with each other, the nation with the multitude of counselors will more than likely win that war. (That is what our Pentagon is all about.) In the other proverb (Proverbs 11:14), they are telling us that when we come to that fork in the road, if we have had a multitude of good counselors in our lifetime, in other words, a good spiritual education and spiritual mentors, we will be better equipped as we make our difficult decision as to which side of that road we should travel.
There is a beautiful passage in the prophecy of Isaiah that affirms this:
“… But your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left.” (Isaiah 30: 20-21)
Are you making time for good Scriptural spiritual education and spiritual mentors now, so when you face a fork in the road you will hear God’s word for you?
June 8, 2013
“A person’s steps are confirmed by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23 Berkeley)
THE NINTH STEP: Look for confirmation as you seek God’s will.
At times on our journeys of faith when we come to a fork in the road there is no verse of Scripture that tells us to go to the right or to the left and we have no prompting or leading of the Spirit. We do our best to make the proper choice, while acknowledging the hard reality that we simply do not know which direction is the will of the Lord. Having done everything we can to discern the will of God, we journey down one side or the other of that road.
The verse quoted above means we should sometimes move forward into what we perceive to be the will of God, praying and looking for a confirmation. That confirmation may be positive or negative. If everything works out and the direction we have chosen obviously has God’s stamp of approval on it, we can say God has given us a confirmation of His will. We have the conviction of God saying to us, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21) We see evidence of the reality Jesus described, that when He calls His sheep to follow Him, He goes before them. (John 10:1-4) After we commit to a direction, we see evidence that the Living Christ has gone before us and prepared the way for us.
Sometimes, the confirmation is negative and the results are the opposite of those just described. When that happens, we should be humble enough to go back to that fork in the road and choose the other direction. We see an example of this in Acts chapter 16 when Paul wanted to go into Asia and was directed instead by illness into Philippi.