Archive for January, 2016


 

How many of us have found ourselves asking what the will of God is for our lives?

I must confess, one of my greatest fears is coming to the end of my life and finding that I was doing my will and not His.  I find it amazing that we will live so much of our lives unsure on His will.  We believe in the Lord, but not enough to put all else aside to find out.

But for those who really seek, where do we begin.  Where do we start to come back into His will, to seek out His desires.  For me, it starts here.

For this is the will of God, your sanctification – 1 Thesalonians 4:3

We can go into sanctification, and I have before, so let’s just leave it as holiness.  The will of God is to move into holiness.  Stopping sinning.  Put away those ungodly things.  Center your lives around him.

Yet how many of us still live in sin.  How many still focus our lives open something else.  Yet we expect to know God’s will when we can’t get away from our addictions, our gossip, anger, bitterness, you name it.  We’ve convinced ourselves that to live is to struggle in sin.  Want to know God’s will for you, that’s easy.  Get free from your sin.  Put aside whatever it takes to live in a godly manner, then come back and ask.  How can God entrust us with His Kingdom, when we can’t manage our own.

Obviously this is me.  I talk to myself more, it just feels better to say us, to feel like I’m not the only idiot out there.

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In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the kingdom of the Chaldeans- in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, observed in the books the number of the years which was revealed as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet for the completion of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years. So I gave my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.Daniel 9:1-3

Mainly focus upon that last verse.  There’s a couple things I want to note before I get to my main point.

“I gave attention”

Daniel set aside time.  This wasn’t just a 5 minute prayer like we do.  I believe this is saying he put all else aside and began to seek God.

“by prayer and supplications”

Ever notice these two together.  Let’s look at supplication.  The root word, supplicate means to pray humbly; make humble and earnest entreaty or petition.”  So basically, to supplicate means to make a petition to God, to ask Him for something.  Wait a second.  Isn’t that what we call prayer.  Our prayers to God are to bring all of our requests to Him, ask His guidance, help, etc.  So those are supplications.  Wait, what is prayer then.  Prayer is the act of coming before God.  It can encompass supplications, but it’s much more.  Mainly, it’s not all about us talking.

“with fasting, sackcloth and ashes”

Now he’s serious.  I think in our western church we’ve forgotten mostly about fasting.  I’ve posted about that several times.  Our church is doing a church-wide fast right now, which I think is pretty cool.  I disagree with some things, but I’ll never disagree with humbly coming before God.  But Daniel did more.  He came in sackcloth and ashes.  I really have never studied much about sackcloth and ashes, and struggled to think of a current day correlation of this.  Basically he externally prepared himself to show his repentance and grief.

 

So I think about all this.  That Daniel read these words from Jeremiah, realized something was up and he needed to understand.   So he set aside time, he clothed himself in sackcloth and ashes, and fasted and prayed to God.  I was just floored this morning by Daniel’s response to a question, as compared to how I respond.  Like know, I am praying earnestly for God’s will in my life.  I’ll speak more of this later.  Yet, I’m not like Daniel.  What’s the difference?

I’ve decided that I believe the difference is that Daniel expected an answer.  He was willing to lay everything aside to seek God, knowing that God may answer.  If you don’t believe God may actually answer you, then you won’t keep going.  You won’t fast for 21 days as Daniel did later until an answer finally comes.  Since I haven’t had any answers like this before, I find that my unbelief actually drives my decisions.  I pray, but not that much.  I fast a little, but why impact my life so much.

This evening it finally hit me, part of my problem waiting on God.  I’ve really had a difficult time staying focused.  I have little periods here and there that are good, but overall I can’t stay focused.  I try to quiet everything in side of me, and either that fails after a couple minutes, or I actually fall asleep sitting/kneeling upright.  I try to focus upon Jesus, picture him, and I end up somewhere else as well.  Tonight it hits me.  I need to expect Him to speak.  If I’m so excited to listen to Him, looking for Him, then I also should expect a response.  Yes it may not be right now, but it could.  And there’s the kicker again, unbelief.  When I expect that God may speak to me, I really listen.  I put aside all my thoughts and wait, wait for His voice.  I’ll give this a try and let you know how it goes.

 

My sheep hear my voice. – John 10:27

So what does that mean if I don’t regularly hear his voice.  I finally really thought about that.  I usually look at it as I should be able to hear his voice, but now I look at this as an issue.  If I can’t hear, then perhaps I’m not a sheep.

I always thought of sheep being all the children of God, but if that’s the case, then all God’s children should hear.  Hmm..  so what does that mean for those who can’t hear his voice.  Typically I would say that’s because they’ve chosen not to listen at some point in the past and have grown deaf, which still may be it, but imagine if this is  just another level.  Another grade let’s say.

Don’t take this list as anything I really know, just what I’ve been considering or hearing.  I have no idea on the order here.

  • Friends
  • Elders
  • Bond-Servants
  • Servants
  • Sons of God
  • Children
  • Sheep
  • Even lower than sheep

Know what I realized, I have managed to drop myself lower than sheep.  Yes I can “hear” God, though typically through that still,quiet voice from the Spirit.  Rarely a distinct word, never a spoken one, but I can hear him.  Except when I get caught up in my things, in my problems, and I lose that.  At those points, have I seriously dropped below a sheep.  Sigh.  We want to think so highly of ourselves, but I guess I’m struggling just to be a sheep.  I think when I was considering this the Spirit made a sort of joke of it, “Hmm, maybe you’re even worse than a sheep”.  Not making fun of me, but of the thought, but it stuck.

For now I’m committed.  For now I have purpose.  I will grow. I will hear. I will walk with God.

 

 

To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ. – Ephesians 3:8

Usual, I’m reading through the chapter, hit a verse, then stop and go, “hmm”?  Unfathomable riches of Christ.  Let’s see.  If I were to think through what are the riches we have in Christ I would say.

Evangelicals

  • Salvation – Which means going to heaven when we die.
  • Peace – God will take care of us, mostly when we die
  • Hope – We will go to Heaven, God watches out for us
  • Purpose
  • Direction

Awesome things, but very “fathomable”.  I can understand them easily, cause as being in evangelical churches all my life, we believe in the things we’ve seen.  Sigh.

Pentacostals

  • Holy Spirit working through us ( pretty cool )
  • Gifts of the spirit operating – Those are strange sometimes
  • Healings and miracles – Getting close
  • Words from God – Prophecy, tongues, more direct revelation of God’s will

Chosen of God – Yes, I just decided to make a new distinction, this is based upon my thoughts about denominations.  I’m not a Baptist, Methodist, Church of Christ, I am chosen of God.  I believe what he says

  • Open visions of the Lord, angels, etc
  • Direct words from God
  • Walking in heavenly places
  • Spirits of God ( past the gifts )
  • Direct intervention of God in my everyday life and my problems
  • Walking with God

So I can understand and fathom the evangelical part.  Mostly cause it really doesn’t require a huge amount of faith until you get into a desperate situation, and you just believe that God will be there through you making your way out or through death.  That’s tough.  Pentacostals I can fathom as well.  We’ve seen the gifts in action, but that does start pushing things.  When you see a blind person see, when someone tells you God’s word for you.  Starting to get pretty good, still not unfathomable riches.  It’s not till I get to the last part that I find things I can’t imagine.  To walk with God, see Heaven, know the riches he has in store.    That is finally something that could count to me as unfathomable riches.

Think about it, we can’t even comprehend the riches he has for us.  I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like how I live.  So now I find myself again looking at the Word and realizing my life is so far short of perhaps the simplest things of God.

What to do about it?   That always seems to be the question.  Do I continue to hope and wish, or do I actively do something.  I am pretty tired of hanging out on the sidelines.