Tag Archives: God’s Will

What Does God Think?

Do you order stuff online?  If you do, you trust the process – you place your order and truly expect to see it on your doorstep in a few days.  If not, you probably have suspicions.  Maybe you started to place an order, got everything filled out online and then thought, “I don’t know about this…” and failed to push the “submit” button.  You didn’t trust it completely.  Consequently, nothing is left at your door.

The same principle is true when it comes to asking God what He thinks.  Maybe you are considering a new job.  Or, “Is this the guy for me?”  Should you volunteer for some cause?  Is that what God wants?  When you pray about it, essentially what you are asking is,”God, please tell me what You think.”  If you pray that question but don’t really expect God to answer, you won’t receive it if He does.  It’s kind of like not pushing the “submit” button.  Your request is tentative.  You are not sure the process will work.  But, if you are fully convinced God wants you to know what He thinks, and is eager to share it with you, then your request is wholeheartedly sent off with the full expectation of an answer.  God says, a prayer like that will get answered.  James, talking about getting wisdom in times of trial, shares the principle:

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 6 But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.  (James 1:5-8)

Look carefully at what that says. The problem is not that God won’t tell you what He thinks.  It’s that you can’t be sure you have really heard from Him.  Your mind goes back and forth on it, wondering if what you heard was really from Him.  But when you are convinced God will show you, He does and you trust it.

Because God’s wisdom is frequently contrary to the ideas of the world, it takes real faith to hear what God thinks.  Hearing what God thinks requires setting aside the ways of the world, listening and trusting.  Do that, and when God speaks you will know.

2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  (Romans 12:2)

 

 

Nothing Will Be Impossible?

It was their big chance but not their best moment.  Jesus was up the mountain with Peter, James and John and, in His absence, a man brings his son to the other disciples for a healing.   You can imagine how they might have felt.  Perhaps they wanted to show they were just as important and effective as the three that went with Jesus.  They undoubtedly remembered that Jesus had previously given them authority to do this kind of thing (Matthew 10:1).  But when they tried to heal the boy, nothing happened.  When Jesus came back, He drove out a demon and healed him.

Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”” (Matthew 17:19-20)

Puzzling: Jesus said their faith was too “little” and then said if they had faith like a tiny mustard seed, “nothing will be impossible for you.”  If their faith wasn’t big enough, why did Jesus use a tiny seed to show them what they needed?

It wasn’t the size of their faith that was the issue, but the object of it.  “Why can’t we drive it out,” they asked?  We.  They had faith that they could drive out the spirit, which meant their faith was too little on God.  This is an important distinction, because you frequently hear people say, “If you had more faith,” or, “if you simply had stronger faith” you would be healed.  Perhaps they mean well, but for them to imply it is your fault you are suffering (or worse) is cruel.  It is not about you, trying hard to work up more faith.  Because, as Jesus pointed out, if your faith is truly in God, in His power and sovereignty, even tiny faith, as small as a mustard seed would be enough.

A friend of mine seems to be able to fix any machine, no matter what is wrong with it.  If I had such a problem, I would trust him to fix it.  I might watch him do it, but probably wouldn’t say things like, “Don’t you think we ought to replace the Jimmy-ca-whatsis?”  I’d trust him to know what to do.  Trusting God is like that.  Our prayer of faith lays out the problem before Him and acknowledges His supremacy to deal with it.

Like this:

“Heavenly Father, this little boy has such terrible seizures and we don’t know if it is a medical problem or perhaps demonic possession.  But You do, Lord.  And we know You know what will be best.  We thank You, Lord, that You have invited us to bring this situation to You.  If there is any way in which You want us to serve in response to this, please show us and use us as You see fit.”  

Jesus said, “…if you have faith… nothing will be impossible for you.”  He also said,

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

I’m guessing you may have questions about this – I certainly do.  If you would like to send me some as a reply, I’ll try to address them.  Until then, keep chewing on this “fresh bread.”  It’s worth it…

It’s Not Fine Print

It looked like a little country church picnic. I saw them on the far side of a park and kept my distance.  But then I heard them singing,..  Tight, exquisite, a cappella harmony, carried along by infectious, syncopated hand percussion…   “Jesus on the mainline, tell Him what you want.  Call Him up and tell Him what you want…”   I snuck over to listen, transfixed.  I’ve looked hard but never found a recording of that song that even comes close to what I heard that day.

But the lyrics might pose a question:  Is that really true?  Is “Jesus on the mainline?”  Can you just “call Him up” and “tell Him what you want?”  More to the point, will He give you what you want?

Possibly.  Check this out:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. (1 John 5:14-15)

Aha!  You found the fine print.  “…if we ask anything according to His will…”   Maybe that sounds like a clause, buried in the text of your insurance, that says the company really won’t pay on most of your claims.  But  John is encouraging people who have begun a relationship of love with God through faith in Jesus.  He’s talking to people who are “approaching” God, getting close.

Who is your hero?  is there someone you really look up to?  Let’s suppose you got to meet him and, because you hit it off, you got to be close personal friends.  Can you imagine asking him to give you something that would hurt him or insult him?  Of course not.  It wouldn’t fit with your relationship.

John says, in our close and loving relationship with God, as we commune with Him and are transformed by His Spirit in us, we can be confident when we ask Him for anything that fits into His will.  It’s as good as done.

What’s the point of asking, you may wonder?  If it’s God’s will, what difference will it make for me to ask?  I’m not sure I know all the answers to that, but I do know one: asking and receiving deepens our relationship with God on a daily basis.

Next time you have drawn close to God in prayer, next time you are enjoying His company, let Him show you what to ask.  Go ahead and ask.  Then watch, with anticipation  – no, expectation.  And when He provides whatever it is you need, make sure to turn back to Him with a hug and a high five! Like so many other things in life, the more you practice this, the better it gets.   And every time is hair-raising, amazing.

You might just find yourself singing that song…  “Jesus on the mainline… ”