May 20, 2013
“If any man wills to do, he will know.” (John 7:17)
STEP NUMBER TWO: Be willing to do the will of God.
When Jesus taught His disciples how to pray, He taught them to say, “Your will be done.” When Jesus modeled this, He sweat drops of blood as He prayed, “Not My will, but Your will be done.” (Matthew 6:10; 26:39; Luke 22:42-44) Jesus gives us a principle that shows us how we can know His teaching is the teaching of God. This principle also applies when we are seeking to know the will of God in the marketplace.
The principle is simply this: If any man wills to do, he will know.
The Living Bible paraphrases Psalm 139: 16 to say God had every day of David’s life scheduled before David existed. David writes there that God is with him in such a way that it is impossible for David to escape God’s personal interest in every move he makes. This intimacy with God is obviously not only the experience of David, but can and should be the experience of every child of God.
According to Jesus and Paul, knowing the will of God for our lives does not have to be complex. God does not deliberately obscure His will. The complexity is not in the will of God, but in your will and my will. As Paul tells us how we can know “the good, acceptable and perfect will of God,” he begins his prescription for knowing God’s will by telling us to throw up our hands and offer an unconditional surrender of our wills to the will of God (Romans 12: 1-2). Our unconditional surrender to God will significantly un-complicate our quest to know the will of God.
May 18, 2013
“Prove in practice that the plan of God for you is good, meets all His demands and moves towards the goal of spiritual maturity.” (Romans 12:2 JB Phillips)
When someone questions me, a pastor, about the will of God, they might be referring to a fork-in-the-road decision or sometimes the issue has been the broader question, “How can I know the will of God for my life?” While answering that question many times over many years, I have come up with twelve steps I believe you should take when you are seeking divine guidance. These twelve steps are not a precise formula that will immediately and clearly lead you to the specific will of God, but they do focus some issues that should be visited, or bases you should touch, when you are trying to establish an alignment between your will and the will of God.
THE FIRST STEP: Believe there is such a thing as the will of God for your life.
“Every time a tiny sparrow falls dead from a tree, God goes to the funeral!” Observed a preacher from another generation, referring to the teaching of Jesus that not one tiny sparrow falls dead from a tree apart from the Father’s plan. The application Jesus makes is that since two sparrows are sold for a penny and we are of far greater value to God than a sparrow, if God has a will regarding the details of the life and death of a sparrow, then we can be sure He has a will regarding every detail of our lives (Matthew 10: 29-31).
According to the Bible, God is our Shepherd and our Father. God is personal and has a plan for our life we can know and experience.
October 16, 2012
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
Who was the greatest prophet who ever lived? Who was the greatest man who ever lived? According to Jesus the answer is John the Baptist (Luke 7:28; Matthew 11:11). Having studied the Scripture for six decades I find that answer to be intriguing because very little space is given in the Bible to record this man’s life and ministry.
As I meditate on the Scriptures that describe him I have come to a conclusion about his greatness. At least one key to his greatness was that he accepted the limits of his limitations and the responsibility for his ability.
As we attempt to discover who we are and what God wants to do through our life it is a good rule of thumb to accept the limits of our limitations and the responsibility for our ability. When a degenerative disease of the spinal cord took away my physical abilities, it was critical for me to accept my increasing limitations and continue to be responsible for my abilities.
After about two years of illness when the acceptance came, it was so profound I decided it was a form of inner healing. Using speech recognition software on my computer I received the grace to write about ten thousand pages of what I call a Mini Bible College. These 782 studies of the Bible have been translated into twenty eight languages in sixty countries.
It fills me with grateful worship to realize that the formula for greatness I have learned from John the Baptist has guided me to the most important work I have done for God and Christ.
Are you willing to accept the limits of your limitations and the responsibility for your ability?