November 2, 2018
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
As I look back over my life since I was born in 1930, and born again in 1949, this verse sums up my entire walk of faith and ministry. According to the J. B. Philips translation, God fits into a pattern for good everything that happens to those who love God and are called according to God’s plan. I like this because the implication is there may not be anything good about many of the things that happen to us. But if we meet two prerequisites – if we love God and are called according to His plan – our loving God will fit into a pattern for good all the events of our lives.
Before we personally apply the great promise of this verse we must meet those two prerequisites. The first is that we love God. It isn’t easy to love God. The Apostle John asked us how we can love God we cannot see. (1 John 4) We can’t hug a Spirit. Jesus told us that if we love Him we must keep His commandments. According to Romans 8:28 quoted above, we show we love God by the second prerequisite: being called according to God’s plan.
We are so self-centered we are quick to assume that the good into which God fits all the events of our lives means our good. However, when we understand what it means to love God the only good that will interest us will be God’s good.
Dick Woodward, 05 November 2010
March 28, 2017
“Only let us live up to the truth we now have.” (Philippians 3:16 LB)
The Apostle Paul had a conversion experience on the road to Damascus. He often shared the details of that experience as we find in the third chapter of his letter to the Church at Philippi. It was as if his accounting books were turned upside down: what had been in his gain column was now in his loss column and vice versa.
After his accounting books had been turned upside down (or we might say right side up), his ambitions totally changed in the gain column. He wanted to tackle the purposes for which the risen Christ had tackled him. Now he only wanted to know Christ and the high calling of God to which Christ was leading him.
Paul claims he has not attained all these things in his new gain column, but he has learned a principle about knowing the will of God: if we want to know the will of God we must live up to the light and truth God has given us at any given time on our faith journey.
We can take away from this a prescription for guidance. If we want to see further ahead into the will of God for our lives, we should move ahead into the will of God just as far as we can see. Like driving at night across country we can move ahead into the 100 yards of light our headlights give us, that leads us from coast to coast one mile at a time.
When we live up to the light we have, God gives us more light.
Dick Woodward, 08 January 2011
January 10, 2017
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And He Who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” (Romans 8:26-27)
There are times when God’s people are so weak we don’t know how to pray. In effect, Paul teaches that when we are burned out and we don’t know what to ask God, we should pray anyway. The Spirit of God knows the mind and will of God. When we are so weak we don’t know how to pray, the Spirit will make intercession for us according to the will of God. Then, even if we ask for the wrong things, our loving Heavenly Father will give us the right things.
Imagine the stress Moses endured all those years in wilderness wanderings. With more than 600,000 fighting men, plus women and children, meant that Moses led somewhere between two and three million people around in circles in the desert. He was the only legal judge to settle all their squabbles. His frustration reached the level of exasperation. He was so burned out, he actually asked God to kill him. (Numbers 11:11-15)
When Moses asked God to kill him, he was so weak and tired of he did not know what to pray. He prayed anyway. Even though he asked for the wrong things, God knew his heart and gave him the right things. God made Moses know that His work requires a team effort. Serving God is a team sport.
The marketplace can burn you out big time if you have not learned that running a business is a team sport. Other players on your team have gifts and skill sets that you do not have and you have what they do not have. Therefore, it is a good blueprint against burnout to accept the reality of beauty in diversity. Diversity should be celebrated rather than resolved.
Dick Woodward, Marketplace Disciples (p. 144-146)
May 29, 2013
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
STEP NUMBER FIVE: Be completely open and unbiased about what the will of God for your life might be.
A well paid consultant told me that much of the time when he earns large fees, his clients do not want his consultation. They simply want him to affirm what they have already decided to do. The will of God is often just out of our reach because we have our agendas in place when we come to God seeking His will. If our minds are set like concrete before we converse with God regarding His will for our lives, we are not really seeking His will when we pray or open His Word. We are actually asking God to bless our will, our agenda, and the way we have decided to go.
We must have the faith to believe the verse quoted above. It is tragically possible for you to miss the will of God for your life because you do not have the faith to believe that God can make you a new creation in Christ. Your extraordinary potential as a new creation in Christ is one reason why you must be completely open and unbiased as to what the will of God for you may be. Seeking God with your mind already made up could rob you of the will of God for a life that is good, perfect and the only life acceptable to your God. God loves you too much to let you live a life that is only a fragment of the life He has planned for you.