June 12, 2013
“… work out your salvation… for it is God who works in you.” (Philippians 3: 12)
The Bible is filled with paradoxes. A paradox is something that appears to be a contradiction, but when examined closely, you discover there really is no contradiction. There are times when a paradox is not a contradiction because the two propositions stated by the paradox could both be true; they could be both complementary and supplementary. They are often resolved when you realize that it is not either/or but both/and.
THE ELEVENTH STEP: Keep moving.
The Scriptures tell us we can miss the will of God because we are in a hurry and God is not. When that is the case, we need to wait on the Lord (Selah). There are other times when we miss the will of God because we are sitting on our apathetic and indecisive immaturity, demonstrating our lack of faith and courage, and the Lord moves on without us. These two apparently opposite concepts are really not contradictory. It is not either/or, but both/and. The truth is we sometimes need to wait on the Lord and at other times need to keep moving.
We have an adversary who does not wish us well. His first strategy is to make us into lazy, indecisive, apathetic, spiritual wimps, who miss the will of God because we lack the faith and courage to follow the leading of the Lord. If that fails, he will turn us into obsessive, compulsive workaholic movers, shakers and doers who miss the will of God because we are out-reaching His will for our lives, running far ahead of the Lord.
Obviously, we all need balance to discern and do the will of the Lord.
May 23, 2013
“One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” (Luke 11:1)
When the disciple’s asked Jesus this request they were not just asking Him the ‘how to’ of prayer. They were amazed at the large amounts of time Jesus prioritized for prayer. They were asking something like ‘teach us what you know about prayer that we obviously do not know that causes You to spend so very much time in prayer.’
STEP NUMBER THREE: Spend much time in prayer.
When you must know the will of another human being, what is the first step you take? Our first thought is usually that we must meet with that person and have a conversation with them. When a man is in love and decides he wants to marry a woman, his first thought is that he must meet with her and have a conversation with her.
When we seek to know the will of God, our first thought should be that we must meet with God and have a conversation with Him. Prayer is a conversation with God. If you do not know how to pray, think of prayer as simply meeting with and having a personal conversation with God.
Jesus responded to the apostles with a prayer that was not as much a prayer as it was an instruction about how to pray. When you are alone, use that prayer as an outline for your conversation with God. You will find yourself applying the second and third steps I have shared with you for knowing the will of God when Jesus instructs you to pray:
“Your kingdom come; Your will be done.”
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.