Posts Tagged ‘God’s Will’



February 18, 2014

“And Moses called Bezalel and Oholiab and every craftsman in whose mind the Lord had put skill, everyone whose heart stirred him up to come to do the work.”  Exodus 26:2

I love the Olympics in both its winter and summer forms.  Since we are in the winter cycle, I am enjoying the smorgasbord of athletic activity in rarely sampled varieties.

Français : Biathlètes femmes aux Mosses pour l...

I was fascinated as I watched the biathlon athletes combine the endurance of cross-country skiing with the precision of shooting.  I want to do the biathlon.  Maybe, I want to try it just because it looks cool to be skiing through the woods with a gun strapped to your back.  However, any biathlon aspirations  are inhibited by an absence of biathlon activity in the area where I live.  We do not have any gun range – ski course combinations.  There are no opportunities.

Aerials - Sprint U.S. Freestyle Championships

I am amazed by the slopestyle competition.  These athletes soar off of jumps while spinning and contorting their bodies in the air and then somehow get their skis under them in time to land back on earth.  It is so phenomenal that I find myself muttering, “no way” after each competitor’s run.  However, I become motion sick by just watching them spin.  I completely lack the ability to take on slopestyle.

Bode Miller at the 2010 Winter Olympic downhill.

I watched the men’s downhill race.  Those guys are crazy.  They are moving at over 80 mph on steep, icy slopes.  That does not look like any fun to me.  My knees ache for them when the slow motion shows the jarring and chattering of skis trying to cling to a mountain at those speeds.  I have no desire to do alpine downhill racing.

I do not do any of these Olympic sports because I lack the combination of three distinct factors: opportunity, ability, and desire.

I know that many people struggle with knowing what God wants them to do with their life.  I have struggled with the gnawing feeling that I am wasting my life away.  I have been confused by the absence of opportunity to utilize my gifts and skills in the Lord’s service.  I have felt ashamed for not wanting to head into the mission field.  The reality  I often forget is that God is sovereign over opportunities, abilities, and desires.

God called for the building of His tabernacle.
That was their God- given opportunity.
God put the skill in His people to do the work.
That was their God- given ability.
God stirred up His people to want to serve.
That was their God- given desire to serve.

God allows us to participate in His work.  He draws exactly the individuals together He wants to do a specific work.  He is the one who give us our skills, desires, and opportunities.  We don’t have to worry that we are disappointing Him or wasting our talents.  We can trust Him to use us just has He has ordained.  However, there are so many good ways  we can follow Christ that it can sometimes be difficult to know what to do.  Therefore, I ask myself the following questions when considering where and how to serve the Lord:

Am I walking in the Spirit?  Am I setting my mind on the things of God or the things of man?  I want to be confident that I am not responding out of my flesh.  Therefore, I evaluate where I am spiritually, before I try to discern God’s calling.  I pray to the Lord to help me set my mind on Him.

What do I want to do?  God is sovereign over our desires and loves a cheerful giver.  If we are setting our eyes on the things of the Spirit, loving God with all of our hearts, and loving our neighbors as our selves, then I believe that God will faithfully stir within us the desire for the work that He wants us to do.  I pray that the Lord will stir up within me a desire to follow Him, whole-heartedly, wherever He might lead.

Do I have a particular skill or ability?  I would love to be a worship leader.  However, I don’t play an instrument and sing very flat.  I don’t have the ability to be a worship leader.  It is important to know what you are good at.  Bezalel and Oholiab had God-given skills as craftsmen.  They served God by doing what they were good at.  Everyone is good at something.  If you don’t know what you are good at, then ask someone who will give you an honest answer.  I pray that the Lord will grow the fruit of the Spirit within me and that He will be magnified in the skills and abilities that He has given me.

Is there an opportunity?  After I set my eyes on the Spirit, have an idea of what I am drawn to, know what I am good at, then I assess the opportunities to serve.  Is there a “tabernacle” to be built that I have been called to participate in.  I pray that the Lord will ready me for the opportunities to serve Him that are coming in my future.

When these factors align, it is an easy decision to say “yes”.  We need to expand our understanding of what it means to serve God and chill-out.  God has it all under control.

If being hospitable comes easy and you enjoy it, then be hospitable to the glory of God.
If you are naturally an encourager, then encourage to the glory of God.
If you love to study and can explain things, then teach to the glory of God.
If you love to work with your hands and enjoy building things, then build to the glory of God.
If you love numbers and enjoy when columns reconcile, then account to the glory of God.
If you are drawn to the sick and enjoy helping them get better, then be a doctor or nurse to the glory of God.

I think that you probably get the idea.  We don’t need to worry that we are missing out on any great plans  God has for us.  Just like Bezalel and Oholiab, we all are exactly where we need to be, when we need to be there.  We just need to be ready with a mind and heart that is set upon our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for being in control of all things.  Thank you for giving me abilities and skills.  Thank you for giving  me a desire to serve you.  Thank you for giving me opportunities.  Father, prepare my heart, this day and every day, to follow and serve you where you have me today.  Give me the desire to glorify you in everything that I do.  May you be glorified.  May your will be done.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your plan.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

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November 25, 2013

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,”Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”” Jonah 1:1-2

The story of Jonah will spring from the memory of anyone who has grown up in the Church.  I trembled before the flannel graphs of my youth, at the thought of being pursued by God for refusing His calling.  I learned very early that resistance is futile when God calls.  I imagine that my search for a calling from God may have started to germinate in those early Sunday School classes.

VLA  radio telescope - New Mexico

VLA radio telescope – New Mexico (Photo credit: alienwatch)

In fact, I cannot remember a time when my ear was not somewhat inclined toward the cosmos in expectation of hearing a word of God regarding my future.  I have so often felt like a radio telescope searching the divine for my niche in God’s sovereign plan.  I never received a calling as I had learned it to be.

I wondered why God would not want to use me.  I feared that my life was not qualified for God’s work.  What would happen if He did not call?

I acknowledge that there are some Jonahs out there; people who are running from what they know to be God’s direction.  However, my experience has been that there are many more slogging through their daily lives just waiting for God to call.  These are folks desperate to know that God has made a specific and relevant place for them in His sovereign plan.  They are willing to trek off into far off lands, to face dangers, and to sacrifice according to their calling – if that calling were clearly defined.

DISH HEADSPastors often will talk about their calling into the ministry; “The Lord has called me to ‘XYZ’”.  In fact, I have heard the advice of eminent teachers stating that a person who has not heard the certain calling of God is not qualified for the ministry.  I have heard recollections of how God has spoken to a faithful servant and told them to be part of a specific ministry; “God told me…”.


I was awed in my youth by the conviction of these special people who had the authority of God in their calling.  They were obedient Jonahs.  They had not run when the word of the Lord had come but had yielded to their part in God’s sovereign plan.  They had a part.

My awe has diminished somewhat with age.  I hope that it is not skepticism.  I have learned through the years that many of these callings were not what I had understood.  When pressed, many of these divine callings transform into descriptions of what I find familiar.  They describe something that is not as supernatural as I had expected or maybe I have been treading in the supernatural more than I had thought.

They will often explain an experience that I have known while walking according to the Spirit.  Their callings sound more like what I call leadings.  I have felt my heart inclined toward participating in a ministry.  I have felt the irrepressible urge to preach.  I have been drawn to give.  I have been bold to speak.  I have been oppressed to serve.  I heard an inner voice echo within my conciseness saying “You should do that.”

I realize that many find great comfort in ascribing these leadings to the direct word of the Lord in their lives.  May God bless them.  It is not for me to determine how the Spirit will interact with a child of God.

Maybe, it is timidity, hopefully, it is humility, but I am hesitant to claim the authority of “God has told me” because I am not certain that what I heard was prophetic.  I know that the working of the Spirit in my life can be fallible, not because of Him but because of me.  I know that I don’t hear things as clear as I should.  I know that I will often hear what I want to hear.  I know that my flesh can corrupt the message.

However, it is very comforting to understand that I have not been left out of God’s plan due to the lack of the mysterious calling.  He has called me for years.  I just didn’t recognize it as such.  We are being called to obedience daily.  We are all being called to love one another.  We are all being called to seek, give, teach, worship, glorify, encourage, preach, defend…  The children of God are all called to follow Christ.

So, go do it.  Go do all that God has already called everyone to do.

Stop waiting for a spiritual trump card.  Stop waiting for the divine authority of a calling.  If the Spirit is leading you to do something, go do.  You might be misguided.  You might meander about while you try to figure things out.  You probably will be opposed.  You might face criticism.  You might not feel supported by family and friends.  You might even be wrong but if you are walking in the Spirit and responding in a faith being worked through with love, then God is going to make it all work out for His good.

Our Lord is going to be faithful and true.
He will confirm upon you His great pleasure as you step out in faith.
We have been set free to take that step.
We are not going to screw it up.

If an opportunity presents itself to show God’s love, than take it.
If you feel a desire to serve God, then go knock on some doors where opportunity lives.
If you have work in your hands, be content to serve God where you are.  Don’t despise what God has given you to do in hopes of something better.

If you feel like God wants you to do something: pray about it, talk to other believers you trust, seek the scriptures, and if it all checks out – then do it.

We make the search for a calling harder than it really is.  God is not playing a mysterious game of hide and seek with His children. He has given us all the tools that we need to obediently follow him.  We don’t need hyper-spiritual super solutions or to decipher a mysterious code.

We just need to trust and love our Lord and then do what comes to our heart – relaxing a bit would help.

The truth is that God is more committed to showing you His will than you are to discovering it.  ~ Tullian Tchividjian

PRAYER: O Lord, you know that I have struggled and continue to struggle with knowing your will.  Forgive me for being envious of my brothers’ callings.  Forgive me for wanting a calling that I  do not have and may never have.  Help me to be content with what You have called me to do today.  Open my eyes to the opportunities that you place all around me.  Bless the work that you have all ready given me.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

I highly recommend Kevin DeYoung’s excellent book,  Just Do Something – A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will  for those who could use more guidance about understanding God’s will for our lives.



January 12, 2013

“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him.  And he became captain over them…” 1 Samuel 22:1-27a

“Church Chairs for Sale!”Chairs

Actually, they are not for sale; sorry if I got your hopes up.  This last week I have worked with a local Church to move the chairs from the Church plant that we closed 11 months ago.  They have sat in storage these last several months while we soak on closing the church.  It is now very obvious that we are done, so it is time.  It is time to start moving the remnants of that endeavor.

I am surprised and a little embarrassed by the emotions those stupid chairs have raised in me.  Getting rid of those chairs has made me rather melancholy.  It is not like I love the chairs, although they are very nice.  It is not like I have anything else that I can use those chairs for.  I have told myself, “They are inanimate objects that should be put to the use that they were originally purchased.”  One would think that seeing those chairs back in a church building again would be a good thing.  It is a good thing.  Yet, I have been surprised at how bitter it tastes.

I know the reason that the taste of this chore is not very pleasing is not due to the chairs.  It is what the chairs represent – an end of a dream.  Five years ago, we had great hopes.  We had felt like this was God’s plan.  I remember going through the process of purchasing those chairs.  I had not envisioned this week and arranging for them to go someplace else.  The vision did not work out like I had thought.

I wonder what David was thinking when he sat in that cave of Adullam.  David had been a commander in  Saul’s army.  They had sung songs about him.  He had been in the inner circle of the King of Israel.  He was the son-in-law of the King. His best friend was the heir to the throne.  He would have known everyone worth knowing in Israel and they would have known him.  Samuel had anointed him to be King.  I am sure that David had a vision of what that was going to look like.  Since he had been anointed, I imagine that he may have thought that his path to the throne would maybe come through his position as a commander or maybe as a result of marrying Michal or maybe work something out with Jonathan.

Landscape with David at the Cave of Adullam

Landscape with David at the Cave of Adullam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cannot imagine that David had foreseen the cave of Adullam as his path to the throne.  David had to have wondered how his present circumstances were going to work out.  All you have to do is read the Psalms to hear the melancholy associated with David not understanding God’s will for his life.

We have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story.  We can read about how God was making David more and more into a man after His own heart.  I believe that this period in the wilderness was essential to molding David’s heart.  The problem for all of us in the present is that we don’t know the end of our story.  We know the end of the story – that is where our hope is – but we all want to know what our calling in that story is supposed to be.

What is the will of God for my life?

I know what the will of God is:

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:39-40)

 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter… For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” (1 Thess. 4:3-7)

This is the will of God for our lives:

  • To persevere to the end and be raised up on the last day by Christ.
  • To be sanctified – to be made more and more into the image of Christ – to follow our calling in holiness.

That is God’s will for my life and for every person who has the Spirit of Christ in them. However, that is not usually what we mean when we ask, “What is God’s will for my life.”  The intent of that question is better stated as “What is God’s specific direction for my life.”  That is what we really want to know.  I am sure that is what David wanted to know while he sat in that Adullam cave.  That is what I want to know now that I don’t have any church chairs.

I think that there is a great misconception that many of us fall into in trying to divine God’s will of direction for our lives.  That misconception is that it is actually possible.

I have heard many a person, particularly in ministry, state with absolute confidence that they are called to a specific ministry – OK.  Please forgive my skepticism, but I wonder how many of them would be as confident in their calling if they were sitting in the cave of Adullum or a basement in rural Idaho.   My guess is that most would wonder, “How is this all going to work out”.

I think that Kevin DeYoung in his book, Just Do Something –  did a very good job of showing the liberty that we have in Christ regarding God’s will of direction for us and our decision-making.

“This conventional understanding is the wrong way to think of God’s will.  In fact, expecting God to reveal some hidden will of direction is an invitation to disappointment and indecision. Trusting in God’s will of decree is good. Following His will of desire is obedient. Waiting for God’s will of direction is a mess. It is bad for your life, harmful to your sanctification, and allows too many Christians to be passive tinkerers who strangely feel more spiritual the less they actually do.  God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him.  We know God has a plan for our lives. That’s wonderful. The problem is we think He’s going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know – and need to know – what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God’s will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom.  The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and then trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we know what they are and where we’re going.” (Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something – A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, pg 26)

My melancholy is actually just sin.

I am feeling sorry for myself because things didn’t work out the way I  had wanted.  They worked out exactly as God had wanted.  What do I have to be sad about?  Nothing!  I got to help shepherd God’s people and preach the Word of God for five years.  I did not get short-changed – I was not owed that.  I am not doing that now but that is nothing to be gloomy about.

God had a wonderful plan for David’s life – he didn’t get to know the bigger picture.

God has a wonderful plan for my life – Jesus is going to accomplish the will of His Father which is to get me to the end and raise me up on the last day.  What have I to be moping around about? Nothing! What folly!

I am a child of God – an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ. 

It is time that I remember that God is going to do His thing – I don’t need to figure it out.  Today, I have an internet connection and I can write a blog about how foolish I am when my eyes slip off of my wonderful Savior and onto myself.  I am content with that.  May God be glorified in that today and I will let Him handle tomorrow.

If you are discouraged or melancholy about something that hasn’t worked out in your life, please don’t follow my example of foolishness.  Look up!  Your Father loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.  He just is not necessarily going to tell you but you can trust Him, after all He is God.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for being such a control freak.  Thank you for not giving me control of everything.  You will do so much better than I could ever do.  I am sorry for letting the joy of my salvation be dimmed by my own selfishness.  Lord, you have been so good to me; you have let me be a part of some incredible things.  Thank you for that.  Father, you know that I feel like I am in the wilderness; I don’t even know if that is where I am or if you have me someplace else.  All I know is that I am exactly where you want me to be – I am good with that.  May I glorify you from right here. I am your child and that is all I need; everything else is gravy.  Amen

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