January 20, 2015
“All our steps are ordered by the Lord; how then can we understand our own ways?” Proverbs 20:24
God doesn’t think or act as we do so Solomon has the wise question in Proverbs 20:24: “If we are going the way God wants us to go, how can we expect to always understand the way we are going?” That’s the revised Woodward translation. I believe it is obvious that God is making an original and He always does that in an original way. There ain’t nobody like you and there ain’t supposed to be.
Today my thoughts turned to six of the most powerful verses in the Bible: the last four verses of Romans 11 and the first two verses of chapter 12. They tie in with Isaiah 55 and the reality that we do not know what God is doing but the profound truth focused is that He is the source of, the power behind, and His glory is the purpose of everything He is doing. The application in Chapter 12 is that we should express intelligent worship by surrendering our bodies as a living sacrifice (not a dead one), be sure we are not getting our signals from the secular culture, ask God to transform our mind so we can think as He does, and then, having met these prerequisites, prove one day at a time that His will for us is good, meets all His demands, and moves toward spiritual maturity. (This passage is especially good in the Phillips.*)
You are such a magnificent person and God is shaping you to be a champion for Christ in dimensions that are far beyond anything we could imagine or even think to imagine! Whatever help it takes you must master this problem or it will master you. Every time God wants to do a great work like what He is doing in your life, the evil one is there trying to defeat the work of God. Don’t let him have the victory. Put on the whole armor of God to defeat what the evil one is trying to do.
Dick Woodward, (email, 20 January 2007)
(*J.B. Phillips translation of The New Testament in Modern English)
September 30, 2014
“…You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly…” (James 4:3)
A consultant told me that much of the time, even though he is paid large fees, his clients do not want his consultation. They simply want him to affirm what they have already decided to do. At the heart of counseling session, a woman once said, “Don’t confuse me with Scriptures, Pastor. My mind is made up!” Knowing the will of God is often made difficult by our own wills. It’s out of 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 and open His Word. We are actually asking God to bless our will, our agenda and the way we have decided to go.
James tells us that when we pray, we ask and do not receive because our asking is flawed by our self-willed agendas. To seek and know the will of God we must be completely open to whatever the will of God may be. Our prayer and commitment must be in the spirit of the familiar metaphor, “You are the Sculptor, I am the clay. Mold me and make me according to Your will. I am ready to accept Your will as passively as clay in the hands of a Sculptor.”
There are at least two reasons why you must be open and unbiased as you seek to know God’s will. One reason we learn from Isaiah: the ways and thoughts of God are as different from our ways and thoughts as the heavens are high above the earth. Another is that we become a totally new creation when we are born again.
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 is one reason why you must be completely open and unbiased. Seeking the will of God with your mind already made up could rob you of the will of God for your life… God loves you too much to let you live a life that is only a fragment of the life He has planned for you.”
Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Guidance
May 25, 2013
STEP NUMBER FOUR: Spend much time in God’s Word.
Let me tell you why. In chapter 55 of his prophecy, Isaiah tells us there is as much difference between the thoughts and ways of God and the way we think and do things as the heavens are high above the earth (vv. 8-9). He then goes on to describe one of the many supernatural functions of the Word of God.
The Word of God establishes an alignment between our thoughts, ways and wills, and the thoughts, ways and will of God.
I once heard Billy Graham tell of boarding a plane before he was famous. He spoke to an old pastor friend who was sitting in an aisle seat reading his Bible. The old pastor completely ignored Billy. When they had been in flight for about an hour, the pastor came back to where Billy was seated and greeted him enthusiastically. He apologized for ignoring Billy earlier. He said, “When I pray, I am talking to God, but when I open God’s Word, He talks to me. He was talking to me when you spoke to me and I could not interrupt God just to talk to Billy Graham.”
Thomas à Kempis opened his Bible every morning with this prayer: “Let all the voices be stopped. Speak to me Lord, Thou alone.” If we sincerely want to know the will of God, we must be in relationship and in conversation with God. We should speak to our loving heavenly Father in prayer and expect God to speak to us as we open the Word of God. That is why two of the bases we must touch when we seek to know the will of God are prayer and the Word of God.
December 17, 2012
“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ ‘An enemy has done this while men slept!’ the farmer exclaimed. ‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. ‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest.” (Matthew 13: 27-30)
The question “Where did evil come from?” has baffled spiritual and ethical leaders since people began to think and ask questions. In this parable Jesus implies two answers: “An enemy has done this” and “While men slept.” Edmund Burke told us that all we have to do for evil to triumph is to do nothing. Jesus told us all we have to do is sleep.
Thinking and hurting people in Connecticut are joined with millions who are asking questions like this today. The Scripture quoted above is as close as Jesus came to addressing these questions.
Isaiah wrote that there is as much difference between the way God thinks and acts and the way we think and do things as the heavens are high above the earth (Isaiah 55). Moses told us there are secret things that belong to the Lord but the things He wants us to do He has made very clear (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Our thinking is flawed and God has not willed to tell us why He lets the wheat and the weeds grow together. We must conclude that somehow and in some way it glorifies God to permit that horrible enemy to be here. Ultimately, we must leave these questions with our faith in the character of God.
“While men slept” leads us to realize there are some things we can wake up and do to oppose that enemy.