I recently watched an interview with an author whose new book sounds quite interesting to me. The author is Johnnie Moore, and his book is What Am I Supposed to Do With My Life: God’s Will Demystified. Haven’t we all asked questions about God’s will in our lives? And haven’t we all been absolutely certain we’ve missed the mark and let God down? I know that many, if not all, of us have paid a price for a bad decision (or two) in our lives, and then we beat ourselves up with debilitating guilt for our failures.
The author of this book points out that God’s will is more about who you are than it is about where you are or what you are doing. In other words, if you make a decision to go to tech school instead of gaining a full college doctorate, you don’t have to wonder if tech school was against God’s will. Instead, you should simply make sure that you keep loving God with all your heart, soul and strength whether you are in school for one or eight years.
Today’s Infinite Supply newsletter talks about the real problem when people step out of God’s will; spiritual decline…
God’s Response to Spiritual Decline
“Who is he who overcomes the world,
but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”
1 JOHN 5:5
The Lord’s answer to a state of decline is to reveal Himself and His eternal purpose. Once the Lord has established for Himself a people that will represent His interests, then He will move immediately to secure, protect, establish, and strengthen the Remnant. Here is what I want us to see. When we align ourselves with God’s Thought, with God’s Kingdom, and with God’s Will in Christ, we are invincible.
Source: The Irresistible Kingdom by Chip Brogden
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So, the answer to falling away from God’s will is to watch for God to reveal Himself. When we seek Him and find Him, we will also find His will. When we line ourselves up with God’s will, we have promises that have little to do with what we do in life and everything to do with who we are through the days of our lives.
I’ve always thought the Scripture promise of I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13) was more about doing everything we do in Christ than using Christ to do more. If God’s will is to line up with who He created us to be, then for it to apply to all people, it would have to do with what we become in our spiritual selves. Otherwise, those with lesser abilities could be considered to be less in God’s will, and that makes no sense because God is no respecter of people.
I put the book on my “wish list” because I find the concept refreshing and freeing. The concept tells me that, even seeking God’s will, I may not make perfect decisions, and I may pay prices for some bad decisions. I will also make some good decisions and receive good rewards for those. But my prices and rewards have nothing to do with God’s will. They are simply the law of the harvest that all earth is created under; we will reap what we sow.
If I want to please God, my job is simply to keep seeking Him and yielding my heart to His Holy Spirit in the midst of whatever decision and whatever price or reward is in my life. It means I won’t blame Him for the outcomes in my life, and that frees me to love Him even more–no strings attached. It means I use guilt for nothing more than a reminder to repent, and then I let it go. I don’t have to let it torment me for years over “letting God down” or going against His will.
God’s most simple will is that no man should perish, so going against God’s will is just detaching ourselves from Him and moving away from His leading. If we love Him, we won’t want to do that no matter what other decisions we make in our lives.
Because peril is a serious subject, let me start out with some lighter fare. The image above is from a Flickr group called Stick Figures in Peril. People post images of warning signs, and then group members comment on them. For example, on the above image, someone wrote, “Skipping like a girl will get you shot.” It’s a fun group since some of the warning signs are not exactly evident, especially if they’re in languages other than English. Plus, many of the stick figure warnings look less like people, so they will not have gender or age issues, and the comments often make fun of the figures themselves. For example, many will say something like, “Don’t do this, or you’ll end up with a detached head and no hands.” The older images have more comments of course.
As for the serious subject, we have this warning in 2 Timothy 3:1 (KJV): “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” In other Bible versions, the words used instead of perilous include hard, grievous, terrible, distressing, difficult, terrifying, dangerous and trying. Some versions are more detailed and give other descriptions. They say there will be times of stress, much trouble, times of difficulty, and violent periods of time. In The Living Bible (TLB), Paul speaks to Timothy this way…
You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian.
And so it will be, and so it is, but what kinds of peril do we most often hear reported or complained about these days? Stepping away from what the Bible calls “perilous” for a moment, let’s think about some troublesome times I’ve heard about just in my lifetime. My grandfather worked three part-time jobs before he came into a career. It was difficult to find full-time work, and even with all the jobs he put in, it was hard for him to feed his family. His family of five shared a small travel trailer on a lot, and their most frequent meal was pinto beans and fried potatoes. (Those years did teach my grandma how to make the best beans and potatoes though, hence my strong desire for those foods now.)
Anyway, those were truly difficult times, but my grandparents persevered until they were able to buy a home. Once they both has jobs, times got much easier for them. They went from a hand-dug pool to a professional pool, and eventually they got a retirement home with riverfront property. But even when times were better, they were frugal and thrifty about most things, like only using the pot belly stove for heat while everyone was awake. I lived with them for some of those days, and only using upstairs heat meant my downstairs bedroom was really cold, but it also meant a few more times out to eat too.
When people complain about being poor in today’s society, it usually means they can’t afford a smart phone with an unlimited plan, a flat screen television, and premium cable. They feel left out if they don’t have a computer and high-speed Internet. Oh, and don’t even think of telling them to be satisfied if they don’t have steak for dinner and a refrigerator full of 2-liters. Where my mom and her siblings would’ve been grateful for hot dogs to go with their beans and potatoes, people are selling their food stamps for cigarettes and then griping if they run out of soda. I’m telling the truth here. And I’m not saying everyone should have to deal with eating from food banks where you get mostly canned mixed vegetables (I still think Veg-All is disgusting) and off-brand mac and cheese. I’m just saying that people complain when they could have it much worse. They could have to work for a living and still struggle for beans and potatoes.
Now, though, let me tell you what the Bible calls perilous times. I’ll share 2 Timothy 3:1-5 from The Message Bible…
Don’t be naive. There are difficult times ahead. As the end approaches, people are going to be self-absorbed, money-hungry, self-promoting, stuck-up, profane, contemptuous of parents, crude, coarse, dog-eat-dog, unbending, slanderers, impulsively wild, savage, cynical, treacherous, ruthless, bloated windbags, addicted to lust, and allergic to God. They’ll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they’re animals. Stay clear of these people.
The KJV Bible lists the last of verse 4 and first of verse 5 like this…
“…lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”
And doesn’t that explain perfectly why we are where we are in the last days? The real power of God can change everything. Religion is a form of godliness and only changes some things. Ethereal power (angels, miracles, etc.) have their place, but that’s still not the power people deny. The power too many of us are missing now is truth and balance; trusting that God is on His throne, in control, and absolutely knows best even when we don’t understand. We put too many things in our own thoughts and understanding, so we end up with statistics like those shown in a recent article where 63% of active Christians think sex outside of marriage is fine. The article calls them “sexual atheists” and makes very good points.
Yes, perilous times are here in so many ways, but if you know Yahveh as your Lord and Savior, you know from His word that none of this comes as a surprise to Him. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and is just as able to deliver us from these end times as He was to deliver Israel from her enemies of old. He can and will govern our lives and minds if we let Him. We have the power of His Holy Spirit to carry us through. His wisdom from Proverbs 3:5-6 (Amplified Bible) gives us a perfect promise…
Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize, and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain your paths.
When you’re married, sometimes you speak in a language that only belongs to you and your spouse. For me and my husband, that can mean all sorts of things, but one of the things it sometimes means is backward talk. For example, instead of saying, “I understand,” one or the other of us might say, “I stand under.” I’m also fond of saying, “KO” instead of “OK.” I don’t know why.
In today’s reading from Deuteronomy 29:9 through Deuteronomy 29:11, we begin a new week and a new portion. The Hebrew title for this portion, Parashah 51, is Nitzavim, and it means “Standing” in English. This portion also begins another leap-year reading, so a few of the sections (like today’s) are extremely short. Since we have only three verses today, I’m going to paste the text here on the blog. I’m going to use the Easy to Read (ERV) version since the link above takes you to The Complete Jewish Bible (CJB). In the ERV & others, the verses are actually Deuteronomy 29:10-12…
Today all of you are standing here before the Lord your God. Your leaders, your officials, your elders, and all the other men are here. Your wives and children are here and also the foreigners living among you—the people who cut your wood and bring you water. You are all here to enter into an agreement with the Lord your God. The Lord your God is making this agreement with you today.
Moses has gathered every person who is ready to cross over into The Promised Land, and he is asking them to stand before God whether they are leaders or followers, men or women, adults or children, Hebrews or foreigners, masters or servants. The instruction from the throne of God to the people who will live in His promise applies to every person there, and every person there is expected to enter into an agreement of obedience to God’s requirements. It’s a Landlord/tenant agreement of the highest order.
So God asks us not only if we understand His laws, mitzvot, and rulings, but He also asks if we are willing to stand under them. Mercy follows closely on the heels of those who humble themselves before God and His requirements because God knows we are making our best efforts even when we fail. But, while mercy is a free gift to “whosoever will” receive it, Scripture also tells us in multiple passages that God resists the proud and arrogant but gives His grace to the humble. I like the way the Phillips New Testament quotes James 4:4-6…
“You are like unfaithful wives, flirting with the glamour of this world, and never realising that to be the world’s lover means becoming the enemy of God! Anyone who deliberately chooses to love the world is thereby making himself God’s enemy. Do you think what the scriptures have to say about this is a mere formality? Or do you imagine that this spirit of passionate jealousy is the Spirit he has caused to live in us? No, he gives us grace potent enough to meet this and every other evil spirit, if we are humble enough to receive it. That is why he says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’ ” (Emphasis mine.)
It’s not always easy to be humble and yielding to God’s law or any law, but obeying Him is trusting Him. Trusting God is not just a thought process, but it will be followed by visible evidence. If He says, “My umbrella is over here,” we will move near Him to get beneath it for protection from the storm. If we truly believe that God has only our best interest at heart, and we trust that He will cause all we experience to work for the good, we can obey Him. Then, even before we understand what He is asking of us, or wanting for us, we can choose to humble ourselves and stand under His rulings–which also puts us under the shadow of His protective wings. Do you stand under?
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge.
His truth is your shield and armor. (Psalm 91:4–God’s Word version)
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