Just Because it’s Good, Doesn’t Mean it’s God: Finding God’s Will for You

DSCN0386As I work to learn how to be in the very center of God’s will for my life, and teach my children to do the same, I’m learning just how much that myself and so many Bible believing Christians with good hearts lead their own way without even knowing it.

Romans 12:1 tells us:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.

This is what, at the minimum, we are called to be and do for God.  What is meant by the word “sacrifice”?  Webster’s Dictionary defines the word this way:

the act of sacrificing or offering to a deity, to give up for a higher good, to disregard or neglect the interest of.

When Paul beseeches us to be a living sacrifice to God, what he is suggesting is that we give up our own interests in order to advance the interests of God for the greater good. God, as we are told in 1 John 4:8, is LOVE.  There is no one that loves greater than God, because God cannot be tempted by evil (James 1:13).  Therefore, God knows what paths will bring you peace and life and what paths will bring you trouble and suffering.

So when we choose to present ourselves as living sacrifices to Him, it means that we are saying “God, I don’t want to run my own show anymore.  Tell me what You want for my life.  I want to be in the center of Your will.”

But often times we miss the boat as we search for ways to impact the kingdom.  We think about what types of occupations or ministries we would like to do, or we take opportunities that come our way simply because they are “good” opportunities that would allow us to do good and share the love of Christ, or make good money so we could give more away, or whatever.  But just because an opportunity is good in your sight, or in the sight of your pastor or anyone else, doesn’t mean it’s an opportunity God wants you to take.  Just because it’s good, doesn’t mean it’s from God.

This is where it’s so vitally important for Christians to learn to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit.  In my practice at this – and it does take lots and lots of practice – I’ve gotten so much better at hearing God speak to me that in many instances, I can tell pretty quickly when an opportunity arises whether or not God wants me to be involved.  Many times He doesn’t, and it doesn’t make sense to me.  And many times He does, and it doesn’t make sense.

Years ago our oldest daughter wanted a horse.  I wanted to give it to her, but financially it didn’t make any sense at all for our family, so I purposed in my heart to tell her that we weren’t going to get the horse for her.  In prayer, however, God told me to get the horse.  I thought He was crazy, and proceeded to explain to Him how that financially, it just wasn’t logical.

God got quiet, as He often does when He’s waiting for me to get over myself.  When I realized that I was leading my own way instead of letting Him lead, I repented, turned around and followed His lead.

We’ve had that horse for 3 years now, and that horse has been such a blessing to my daughter and to dozens of other people that we’ve shared him with.  It has allowed for hard hearts to become soft, opening the door for us to share the love of Christ with others.

I wasn’t thinking that this horse would bring so much love and opportunity for us to share love.  I was only thinking about us and how the horse would affect us.  But God sees things on a broader scale than we do, being the Creator of the Universe.  He knows better than we do how a decision will affect us and our lives, therefore we can’t assume that just because something is good for us, or good for the kingdom (in our eyes) or good for whatever, that it is from God or that it is God’s will for our lives.

It’s only when we become a living sacrifice to Him, committing all life decisions over to Him and waiting to hear His instruction on them that we can learn to truly walk in the very center of His will for our lives. And hearing God starts with humbling yourself to seek Him first above all other things in your life.

The more I learn about how to walk in God’s perfect will for our lives, the more peace, contentment, joy and success I have in life.  God’s plans for us are good and not evil to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11), so choose today to submit yourself completely to Him and to finding out what His perfect will is for your life.  I guarantee it’s much better than anything you’ve got planned for yourself.

*affiliate link within this post

Your Main and Unnegotiable Job as a Christian: Part 2

If you’ve read part one of this topic, you know that, above all else, our job as Christians is to “seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.”   This means that seeking God in everything we do, asking for His advice and waiting for His instruction comes above all else: above your job, your hobbies, even your family and friends.  Why is this such a vital and unnegotiable job for Christians?  Because God sees all and knows all.  He knows which paths are best for you and which will bring you harm.  But if you’re not seeking Him first you won’t hear His voice as He works to guide you down the best path for your life.

So, after you’ve committed to seeking Him first in all things, what’s next?  What is the second thing we must do as Christians?

Make a commitment to study the Word of God daily. 

It’s time, friend, to put down your smartphone, your non-fiction book and shut off the TV.  It’s time to stop filling your mind with worthless garbage, and to start filling your mind with the renewing, refreshing Word of God.

When God tells us to study the Word, it’s not because of His eager desire to control everything we do.  It’s because He wants us to be filled with all the wisdom, joy and Holy Spirit revelation that is to be gained from the Bible.  He wants you to have the wisdom that the Bible gives so that you have the necessary tools to navigate through the trouble that the Enemy works to bring upon you.  And He wants you to be filled with the truth written in the Word of God’s tremendous love for you.

The TV we watch, the books we read, the music we listen to; most all of them are filled with negative, depressing garbage.  They bring you down and make you depressed.  The Holy Bible, however, lifts you up.  The New Testament especially is filled with the good news of the Gospel, and once one learns to read and understand it, a heart filled with joy, peace and happiness is inevitable.

So choose today to make a commitment to the Word of God, and to see what value it will bring to your life.

God’s Plan for Marriage: A United Front

If you’ve chosen to have a Christian marriage, there are things that you’ll need to know about how God designed marriage in order to make sure your marriage stays strong.  It’s a sad fact that in today’s world, the divorce rates among Christian marriages aren’t much different than the divorce rates among non-Christian marriages.

Given that Christ’s command to the Christian is to stay married to your spouse (save for the unrepentant adulterous spouse – see Matthew chapter 19), it should be that staying married is a priority to Christians, but it often is not.  Continue reading

The Battle Over Sin, Grace and Forgiveness in the Body of Christ

In my nearly twenty years as a born again Christian, my heart has changed many times. What I thought I knew as a Christian in my twenties has evolved quite a bit now that I am in my late forties and have become a much more avid student of the Holy Bible.

One area in which there is great division in the Body of Christ is the area surrounding sin. There are ongoing battles all over regarding legalism, blatant denial of sin, a hyper-focus on love that negates sin entirely, and such focus on righteousness and works that all concept of grace is completely lost.

But the truth is that most all of us are at least a little wrong regarding sin and how we should view it. Continue reading

The Power of The Blood: Part 2

Jesus death and resurrection on the cross came with the immense blessing of restoring our relationship with God and opening the pathway for those who choose Him to have eternal life in Heaven.  But that’s not all that the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ accomplished.

Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us:

“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.”

The Blood of Jesus Christ was back then, and is still today, immense in its power, because that blood was the answer to Satan’s power over earth.  Satan reveled in the fact that mankind, through Adam and Eve, gave their dominion over the earth to him. And when God sent His Son, promising a kingdom of God that shall rule forever, Satan assumed that simply murdering Jesus would solve that problem.

However, that was exactly what God had planned.  Jesus was to be the once-and-for-all sacrifice that would forever close the division between man and God – at least for those who choose to have a true and real personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

All of the sickness, pain, eternal death, strife, division and every other evil thing, when covered in the precious blood of Jesus, was stripped of its power.

Why then, do we still see all of those evil things on the earth?  It’s because we are unaware of the power of the blood, or unwilling to renounce sin, repent of sin, and make Jesus the Lord over every aspect of our lives.  We often are so busy running our own lives that we refuse to ask God what He thinks about what we should do, where we should live, work, and go.  We make ourselves gods, poo-pooing the wisdom and instruction of the one true God.

However, when we choose to have Him lead our lives, asking Him before we make decisions and learning to hear and obey His voice, we begin to learn how to, as James tells us in James 4:7

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

The devil will not flee from us unless we submit ourselves to God and His will for our lives, and unless we follow that up by resisting the devil, and resisting his lies that he uses in an attempt to steal, kill and destroy us.

The blood of Jesus Christ is more than a teaspoon of wine at communion: it is the final knockout blow to Satan from the Creator of the world.  However, it won’t do us much good if we don’t understand its purpose, strength and authority.  And that understanding can come only through making a decision to make Jesus the true leader of your life, consulting Him in all things, and seeking Him first above all things.

Why America’s Christians Don’t See the Power of God

If you’ve done any research on the Christian faith of those in third world countries, you may be amazed, even skeptical, of their stories.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:8

Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons.  Freely you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8)

Although the Christian church in the Western world doesn’t see nearly as much of this as we should, “miraculous” healings, raising of the dead and casting out of demons is common place in many third world Christian circles.

This has always amazed me.  I mean, after all, here we sit, in our “advanced” country, and yet we are all but void of the power of the accomplishments attained on the cross by our beloved Jesus Christ.  Why is that?

I got my answer one day Continue reading