Tag Archives: God’s will

Isaiah 1-4; It’s Personal

Honestly, I think it’s a bit unfortunate when people read books like Isaiah’s as merely an historical account, or a glimpse into the future, Yes, there was sin in Israel. Yes, they were captured by the Babylonians. Yes, Jesus is coming again. But I don’t want to miss what God wants to say to me in these pages about my walk with Him in 2018.

When I read this, I hear hear Him ask me why I am sometimes miserable, why I can feel defeated. He tells me it’s because I persist in rebellion, I’ve let foreigners (sin) in, and sin is stripping me of the blessings He would love to shower on me.

I hear Him tell me He’s sick of me going through the motions of serving Him when my heart isn’t in it. The He says in 1:18-20:

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.

In other words, “Come on, Connie. Use your head. Your sins will be forgiven, you will be washed clean…

If.

I must be willing and obedient. I must stop resisting and rebelling. Then He can bless me. There is order to His plan.

As I continue to read these chapters and make the “you” personal, I understand that God means what He says. Look at 2:5:

Come, O house of Jacob, (of which I am a part through the blood of Jesus) let us walk in the light of the Lord.

That’s God’s will for my life. To walk in His light, not the opinions of men, not in theologies or philosophies. God wants me to walk with HIM!

Isaiah points out that the world seems to have it all, but there will come a time when every man and woman who has ever lived on this planet will be required to face God. Judgment will come to those who reject Him.

I know that in a general way. But God can convict all of us of the personal struggles we have with sin as we read this book. He can convict of us embracing pagans, or considering views other than those in Scripture, or aligning ourselves with ungodly people. He can convict us of tolerating idols, or making idols out of our families or careers or ourselves. He can convict us of arrogance and pride as we read what Isaiah penned so long ago.

I challenge you to read the book of Isaiah with me, and make it personal. What is God saying to you about your walk with Him? Let’s not miss it.

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I Samuel 21-23; Why Wait?

Are you like me and, no matter which line you get in at the grocery, it seems the person in front of you will most likely need a price-check? All the other cashiers are moving their customers along while you stand there and wait. Again.

Don’t you always look forward to catching up with year-old People magazines while you wait an hour past your appointment time in the doctor’s office? Come on. You know you love it.

Most of us, if not all of us, don’t wait well, do we? Sometimes standing in front of the microwave for 90 seconds seems too long to wait. But there certainly seems to be a lot of waiting in the Bible. What is God trying to tell us?

David was anointed King of Israel way back in chapter 16. Yet here in the chapters we read today, Saul is still Israel’s acting king. And to make matters worse, Saul is following David all over the countryside, trying to kill him. I’d rather have the People magazines.

If God wanted David to be king, why was all of this happening? Why is David still on the run instead of sitting on the throne that was his?

I think about the years David spent hiding out from Saul, living in caves, running for his life. And I thank God that, during that difficult time, David penned some of the most heart-felt psalms that speak to hearts yet today. I can read these chapters in God’s Word and see the shepherd boy grow in wisdom and faith to become a very great king.

David wasn’t anointed king, then sat back and waited in the comforts of home until the kingdom was his. There was pain and suffering and loss in the waiting. But David was the king he was – not in spite of – but because of those waiting years.

Are you getting impatient waiting for God’s timing in some matter? I would encourage you to not resent the waiting. God is most likely trying to teach you some things, trying to grow you into the person He wants you to be as you serve Him in this lifetime.

Don’t just put your feet up while you wait. Feast on your daily bread, and pick up your sword. There are things to do, places to go, people to see.

Remember God’s timing is perfect. And He does all things well.

Genesis 26-28 God’s Perfect Will

The last couple of days I have been looking into the idea of predestination. It is sadly a concept that has divided God’s Church, and I believe unnecessarily. I know many of you hold tightly to one end of the spectrum or the other. And I don’t imagine my thoughts will change anyone’s opinion. Smarter people than me have debated the issue more eloquently than I can ever hope to do. But, dear one, recognize your position as an opinion. I am just going to share mine.

I looked up the Greek definition of the word proorizo. And I found that there is not just one emphatic definition. But among those I found are: pre-established boundaries, pre-determined limits, foreordain.

Does God have a predestined will? Absolutely. The Bible is clear about that. But what I want you to consider is what that will is. Did God predestine boundaries, or did He predestine individuals?

God so loved the world…

He is not willing that any should perish.

I submit that before creation God predestined a plan. Giving humans free will, they would need a Savior. God, before He made the heavens and the earth, determined that Jesus would spend time on earth, die, and rise again to pay for the sins of every human being. That was His perfect will.

There are a lot of examples in Scripture of how God intervened in the lives of people to bring about His purpose. But we must remember that we are reading the result of choices these people freely made. For instance, Isaac would have blessed Esau. Esau was the first born, a man’s man so to speak. And Isaac chose to place his final blessing on his oldest son.

However, God had told Rebekah before the twins were even born that the older would serve the younger. That didn’t matter. Isaac planned to give Esau the blessing anyway.

You know the story. Rebekah and Jacob conceived a plan to deceive Isaac, to steal the blessing intended for Esau. And they succeeded. The result was exactly as God had said it would be.

Now some of you will say that God did that; that God arranged the events to bring about His plan. I wonder. Does God cause people to sin in order to manipulate circumstances? Jacob lied repeatedly to his dad. The Bible tells us lying is a sin. Did God make Jacob sin?

James 1:13 says: When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by there own evil desire and enticed.

Remember that God has seen the end of everything long before we who live it one minute at a time experience it. And when God tells us what is going to happen – and then it does happen – we see He is Sovereign, Omniscient, the One True God. What I don’t see is a god who pulls strings, who manipulates people, who chooses some people to go to heaven and some to go to hell. I don’t see a god who shed his blood for some and not for others. I see a God who knows what is ahead because He has seen the choices we make before we make them.

I go back to the analogy of watching a movie with one who has already seen it. They can tell me what’s going to happen because they know the end from the beginning.

I think the thing about either side of the issue is to remember that our choices are eternally important. Your choice to speak or not to speak to that neighbor about Jesus may be the difference between heaven and hell. Some people live as though God wrote the script and they are just delivering the lines. That God will bring about His will with or without us. And if we choose to do nothing, well, that must be in the script.

Go into all the world and preach the Gospel…

Fight the good fight of faith…

How can they hear unless someone tell them…

If you are wondering what God’s will is for your life, it’s to know Him, it’s to accept His Son as your Savior, it’s to obey Him, to tell others about Him. He’s not going to make you. But He won’t stop bugging you about it, either. Not until you draw your last breath.

I guess you know which side of the issue I’m leaning toward. I would rather get to heaven and hear God say the choices I made in this life really didn’t matter, than to hear Him say the choices I didn’t make mattered a great deal.

 

September 23 – Why Today?

Esther 1-5

Have you ever felt you’d been at the right place at the right time? If you’d waited you’d have missed a great opportunity? If you’d not gone you’d have missed a blessing?

Reading Esther today has me wondering about “such a time as this.” The question I’m asking myself is how much did God’s role play in what happened to Esther, and how important was Esther’s role in it all?

I believe both were necessary. God opened doors. Esther walked through them. She didn’t have to. She could have refused.

Mordecai himself explains that if Esther had kept her nationality secret, if she refused to go to the king on behalf of the Jews, we would be reading about deliverance of the Jews from another source. (4:14). It’s because of Esther’s obedience that her story is included in God’s Word.

It’s not because God orchestrated the matter, that Esther had no choice but to deliver the Jews. She had a choice. She chose to fast and pray, to ask her uncle to do the same, then she chose to walk through the door God had opened for her.

God has a plan He’d like you to be a part of. He’ll open doors. He’ll nudge you. He’ll put a burden on your heart. But if you want to be in on His plan, you’ve got to make that choice to obey. Otherwise, someone else may get the blessing – and you’ll be on the outside, regretfully looking in.

You are where you are today as a result of God’s leading, and your obedience or disobedience. Can He use you today? You bet. Will He open doors? He opens doors all the time. Will you walk through them?

That depends on the choices you make today. God knows what you’ll choose. I pray you’ll choose obedience.

Why today? Because God has given you today, for such a time as this, to glorify Him.

Let’s make it happen.

 

 

Sept 7 – Breathe On Me

Ezekiel 35-37

As I read about Ezekiel’s experience with the dried up bones in the wilderness, the words of an Edwin Hatch hymn kept going through my mind. This is my prayer today:

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Fill me life anew,
That I may love what Thou doest love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, breath of God,
So I shall never die,
But live with Thee 
The perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

                         Amen


July 30 – And We Will Be Saved

2 Kings 18:9-19-37; Psalms 46, 80, 135

O Lord God of hosts, how long will You be angry with the prayers of Your people? (Psalm 80:4)

The psalmist goes on to say that God’s people have experienced hardship and grief, they’ve become objects of contention to their neighbors, and laughed at by their enemies. Then the psalmist says,

O God of hosts, restore us and cause Your face to shine upon us, and we will be saved. (verse 7, emphasis mine)

Do my prayers anger God? Do I pray out of selfishness, or pride, greed, or laziness? I am reminded of the great responsibility we who are God’s children have. If we want our nation, and our world saved – we’d better learn to pray.

July 21 – Blast Off!

2 Kings 18:1-8; 2 Chronicles 29-31; Psalm 48

Hezekiah was a busy man. He was 25 when he became king of Judah and it seems like he hit the ground running. He did some repairs on the temple, removed the evidence of idol worship (including the bronze serpant Moses had made to help the Israelites on their journey out of Egypt years earlier). Hezekiah directed the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves, and he organized a Passover feast like the Jews hadn’t seen in a very long time.

What I noticed today was that his enthusiasm for doing God’s work was contagious. In fact, after inviting Jews from near and far to the Passover celebration, the turnout was much more than the number of consecrated priests could handle. And the shear enthusiasm of the masses was an embarrassment to the priests and Levites who’d been caught unprepared. So they cleaned up their act and got onboard.

I’m thinking God might be saying we who sit in pews every Sunday need not wait for our pastors to start a revival. Maybe we shouldn’t be waiting for some preachers out there to start preaching the Truth of Scripture. Maybe it’s us everyday people who need to get right with God, and take the bull by the horns.

Let the preachers follow our lead for a change, when we our lead by God.

Is your commitment to God contagious? Is mine? How exciting would it be for us to see that fire ignite. It could be as powerful as watching a launch from Cape Canaveral.

Ignition! Blast Off! Souls won. Lives changed. Eternity won!