Praying Responsibly

6f7c1947f1c20fafd908ae9e80442950

 

A Study in 1 Kings 3:3-14 –

“ASK ANYTHING IN MY NAME, AND I WILL DO IT” (John 14:13,14) –

A young man, taking this Scripture in the Gospel of John quite seriously and quite literally, said he was still waiting for the LORD to supply his request for a new Vette.  That’s a super sports car, for those who are not familiar with this car term.

A new Vette, and LORD, while I’m asking, I need a sunroof, and racing stripes, and the spoked wheels too!

You talk about PRAYING with specifics!  Some people do it up in a big way.

Now this young man was really only half serious about this petition of his; he does know the LORD isn’t bound to answer SELF-INDULGENCE.  He’s aware that God doesn’t provide us with expensive toys just to help us along with the Sin of Pride. Most of us don’t need any help in that category.

This man is also quite clear that there are other dimensions of the Bible verse,

“So that the FATHER may be glorified in the Son”

Thus his request, his PRAYER, is not up to par because there isn’t much of any room for the FATHER to get the glory.  The GLORY is all going to the car and the driver.

SELFISH URGES –

There are, after all, in the best of us, in the most Christian of us, some Selfish Urges.  Some things we want to have and some things we want to do, no matter what!

That might not be spiritual, but it’s real.

And so when it comes down to what we PRAY FOR, what the DESIRES of our hearts really are, it seems to be somewhat of a mixture.  It seems some of the things I find myself praying for, I might want, but maybe I shouldn’t have.  So what do I pray for?  What should I pray for?  What are the right things to pray for?

Thirty Centuries Ago… 

A young man was facing the same kind of choices with a whole candy store full of possibilities.

  • WEALTH in tremendous quantities.
  • POWER beyond what most of us can ever dream of.
  • RECOGNITION, RESPECT, ADULATION, he could have had it all!

And in fact it seemed, if you looked at one side of the records book…he was well on his way.

HEIR to the family fortune, named by his father as his successor, backed by some of the finest families of the nation, shoved ahead by an ambitious mother; about all he lacked, a degree from the Jerusalem School of Business.

Solomon had ALL THE GOODIES in the world, right there for the taking.

Life Wasn’t All A Bowl of Cherries.

Solomon had a half-brother out there drumming up rebellion against him.  There were old wounds left unhealed from his father’s days, for David had not yet settled all the scores or finished all the battles before he died.

More than that, there was the defiant, the disobedient, the disenchanted in the kingdom.  How was Solomon going to reign and reign effectively?

There was definitely serious problems of management, of loyalty, of governing.

Where to go and what to do?  What to PRAY FOR?

What do you say to the LORD?  Is it, “Let’s go for the snazzy sports car”, or is it something like, “Destroy my enemies, put down those who are against me”?

Or is it something else?

I think you know the story.  Solomon opted for something else to pray for.

6773fc075cfcf690249f95bf9690deee

Not RICHES, nor FAME, nor CRUSHING of the OPPOSITION…

But something else–WISDOM.

Solomon PRAYED first for Wisdom, then for Understanding and for Discernment.

WISDOM, the power to know what to do with your knowledge, your resources, your energies.

“MORE IS BETTER”

I sometimes really get a kick out of watching television commercials with kids in them.  Children seem so honest in their desires and answers to the questions asked about the “why’s”.

The AT&T Commercial of an adult sitting on the floor with school children illustrates one point of Praying Responsibly.

maxresdefault

The conversation sort of went like this:

“More is better than less because if there’s more stuff, then you might want to have some more…” [Credit to iSpot.tv].

So MORE means not more resources, energy or time in our lives, but the WISDOM to use what you have already.

One of the Issues in Praying for Wisdom –

We so often, like Solomon, wait so late to do it.  We wait until we have tried everything else with our hands and we’ve blown it–and then, out of desperation, we ask for the LORD’S GIFT of Wisdom.  Our sense of timing is all off and so it was with Solomon.

In the first two chapters of 1 Kings, we can read and recognize, how like Solomon we are, trying everything to manage our own problems, even desperate measures, before we get down enough and strung out enough to PRAY FOR WISDOM & GUIDANCE.

When all’s said and done, the bottom line is… a young king who is still desperate, still unhappy, and still insecure.  He has done everything humanly possible to do in securing his kingdom, but he is not yet secure.

ROYAL MACHOISM just isn’t getting it done!

And Now, Solomon Turns to PRAYER for WISDOM –

lord-how-can-i-13-638

LORD, I’ve tried all I know to do, the people still aren’t behind me, the thing isn’t coming together, all my hard work and efforts and all my struggling; it just won’t do.  I have to have YOUR WISDOM!

PRAYING REASONABLY –

I noticed in my reading in 1 Kings 3, when Solomon did pray for WISDOM, it wasn’t just a PRAYER for relief from all his troubles.  No, his PRAYER was a Responsible Prayer; his PRAYER ASKED FOR WISDOM to help him deal responsibly with his tasks at hand (VERSE 9):

“So give Your servant an understanding mind and a hearing heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good bad.  For who is able to judge and rule this Your great people?”

To Govern and Discern…

You and I might well be tempted to PRAY,

“LORD, just take it all away; who needs this kingdom business?

What a headache.

Take it all away!”

 But Solomon’s PRAYER is responsible prayer.

Although Solomon must have finally come to a point of desperation after trying and trying to manage his kingdom, and nothing was working as well as it should, but now I’d say he exercises creative desperation.

He PRAYS for Wisdom, being aware that he cannot expect God to lift the burden entirely, but that he can EXPECT help and guidance, insight and discernment:

 “I cannot do it all, so I turn it over to You LORD.”

“MORE, IS BETTER!”

Solomon now takes a step further; he has moved along another notch into spiritual maturity.  Now his PRAYER IS,  “Give me what I need in order to keep on doing what I must do.”  Give me help; but I don’t shirk my responsibility.  I do not surrender, but I PRAY for WISDOM!

Finally, I wouldn’t want to forget that the GLORY of it all when we Pray for Wisdom, we get that and MORE!

We get better than we even ask for!

When we pray responsibly, even when it seems rather late in the day, our God is pleased and gives us not only that WISDOM, but a good deal MORE!

1 Kings 3:10-13 (NIV bible):

[10] The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this (WISDOM).  [11] So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice,  [12] I will do what you have asked.  I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be.  [13] Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for–both riches and honor–so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.

PRAY FOR WISDOM IF…you would PRAY for the right things, and then EXPECT God’s Gifts in abundance!

An unknown, unnamed soldier during the terrible days of the American Civil War, left behind a most eloquent testimony to this truth –

when-prayers-arent-granted-6-728

 [See Footnote [i] for Prayers from the Confederacy – A Christian Confederate Soldier’s Prayer]


CREDITS:

Footnote [i] –  See www.historyaddict.com/CSPrayer.html

Photos:  Google Image Search. 

Bible References:  Amplified Bible, except where noted in the text.

The Fullness of the Fruit

I remember in my teen years, my folks planting a lemon tree at the back of their property, next to a fence bordering an alley.  This wasn’t an ordinary lemon tree, this was a MEYER LEMON tree.  A cross between a regular lemon and a mandarin orange.  In my opinion, the tastiest lemon ever!

IMG_0834

Now this tree was a special tree to our family, for it bore fruit almost year round.  It wasn’t suppose to, but it did!  It always seemed filled with bright, round yellow lemons.  So much so that it seemed many of the tree’s branches were on the verge of snapping under the weight of the fruit.

Philippians 1:9-11 (NIV):

[9] And this is my prayer; that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,  [10] so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ,  [11] filled with the FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS  that comes through Jesus Christ–to the glory and praise of God.  [ I capitalized “fruit of righteousness,”  only for illustration]  

This letter of the apostle Paul to the church at Philippi, a church that he established, is a letter of thanks for their GIFT.  Also, it is a letter of encouragement, to stand firm in the faith, to exhort them in humility and unity.

This particular church was a special delight to Paul.  He had developed a bond of love and mutual confidence with this church unequaled elsewhere.  Consequently this is the most personal of Paul’s letters not written to individuals.

“And this I pray” (vs. 9), his prayer for this church comes to a crescendo in verse 11:  

May you be “filled with the fruit of righteousness…”

The word “FILLED” (pleroo – Grk.) means “filled to all fullness.”  Sort of like the Thompson family Meyer Lemon tree.

Paul is seeking spiritual fruit for the true believers at this church; he earnestly PRAYS for them to be “filled to all fullness”, and the “fullness of fruit” only comes “through Jesus Christ”.  

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, he says “none but a good tree can bring forth good fruit, so none but a tree of righteousness can bear fruits of righteousness.”

It is only as Christians abide in Jesus, allowing Christ (John 15:4-5) to live His resurrected life through us (Galatians 2:20) can we be fruitful and glorify God.

So how do we, the CHURCH bring forth SPIRITUAL FRUIT?

stock-photo-blooming-almond-trees-in-the-garden-259285685Well, returning to my ‘love of gardening’ roots…before FRUIT can appear on a tree, it must BLOSSOM FIRST.  Following the natural progression of a fruit bearing tree, not only does the tree blossom first–then leafs out in the Spring–then the FRUIT follows.

In my study this past week, I discovered that believers in Christ are called “oaks [trees] of righteousness [lofty, strong, and magnificent, distinguished for uprightness, justice, and right standing with God], the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3, AMP)

By nature, we are barren; not one good blossom growing on us; but when by FAITH, grafted into Christ Jesus (like the lemon tree ingrafted to the mandarin orange tree), then we are able grow and bear fruit.

Here’s a good word to add to your vocabulary: Plagiarism; meaning the belief that original sin do not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good and evil without special divine will”  [See footnote [i] ].

In other words, we have sufficiency of ourselves that brings forth good fruit; but what’s wrong with this claim?  Doesn’t the ROOT contribute to the branches?  Is not Christ’s precise FULLNESS what we receive?

“For out of His FULLNESS (abundance) we have all received [all had a share and we were all supplied with] one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift [heaped] upon gift”  (John 1:16 AMP).

JESUS then is that ROOT which shoots up that sap of grace, His branches.  THAT’S US CHURCH!

IT’S HIS GRACE!

“I have come into my garden, my sister, my bride; I have gathered my myrrh with my spice…”  (Song of Songs 5:1 – NIV).

Christ doesn’t say, “your myrrh,” but “My myrrh.”  If Christians are to bear FRUIT, we are indebted to Christ Jesus for it; it’s His myrrh.

And in Hosea 14:8:  “…I am like a green fir or cypress tree; with Me is the fruit found [which is to nourish you].”

“None but a good tree can bring forth good fruit, so none but a tree of righteousness can bear fruits of righteousness”  [Found in John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible].

What is that FRUIT which a sincere Christian brings to the table?

fresh-fruit-plate

I love the fresh fruit that’s available during the Summer months.  They’re fresh, juicy, and beautiful to look at.

And like the plate of Summer Fruit, what we as followers of Jesus should bring to the table year round, should demonstrate the quality of the fruit as well:

  • Inward FRUIT
  • Outward FRUIT
  • Kindly FRUIT
  • Seasonable FRUIT

Bringing forth the Inward FRUITGalatians 5:22-23:

“The FRUIT of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness, faithfulness,   Gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence)…”

The FRUIT listed is sweet and mellow, growing under the Son of righteousness.

Outward FRUIT – Proverbs 15:4:

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life…”

A Christian who is full to the brim with righteousness brings to the table the FRUIT of good speech.  

He also brings forth the FRUIT of Good Works (Colossians 1:10):

“…bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of God…”

God will say on the Last Day, “…you show me your [alleged] faith apart from any [good] works [if you can] and I by [good] works [of obedience] will show you my faith”  (James 2:18).

Kindly FRUIT – Psalm 1:3:

“…ready to bring forth its fruit in its season”

That is, one brings forth that FRUIT which is proper for one to bear.

PROPER FRUIT means when we, as Christians, are living holy in our callings and relationships.  As an example, in a JUDGE, Justice is the kindly fruit:  Deuteronomy 16:19 says,

“You shall not misinterpret or misapply judgment; you shall not be partial, or take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and perverts the words of the righteous.”

PROPER FRUIT ON THE TABLE:

…in a pastor, ZEAL (Acts 17:16).

…in a parent, INSTRUCTION (Deut. 4:10).

…in a child, OBEDIENCE (Ephesians 6:1).

…in a husband, LOVE (Ephesians 5:25).

…in the wife, SUBMISSION (Ephesians 5:22).

Lastly, SINCERITY brings Seasonable FRUIT

Psalm 1:3 says, “bring forth its fruit in its season”;

Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that “everything is beautiful in His time”.

ecclesiastes-3-11

 There is a great amount of discernment that comes in to play in the right timing of a thing.  Consider that the seasonableness of a thing, puts a value on it.

For an example, our COMFORTING others must be seasonable.  

Proverbs 15:13 says,  “A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

When the spirit is broken, a word of comfort spoken in season is putting it in joint again.  

The words that we can say in season in comfort. or sometimes, just being there with someone in time of brokenness to comfort them with a hug, without speaking any words, can be of great value.

Job’s friends pretended to comfort him–but instead of pouring oil into the wound, they poured vinegar.

“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul.”

Let all the trees of righteousness bring forth seasonable fruit.  

  • In prosperity, be thankful.  
  • In adversity, be patient.  “To everything there is a season.”

 Consider that the seasonableness of a thing, puts a value and preciousness on it.

In summary, RIGHTEOUSNESS doesn’t come from our good works, but is credited to us according to our FAITH.

The same is true for the Fruits of Righteousness.  

By FAITH we must earnestly seek to complete the GOOD WORK God has already prepared for us; but the FRUIT of our labor comes through Jesus–only by His strength do we have strength.  

Only through Jesus will we have the power to run the race set before us with endurance; and only Jesus can produce fruit in our lives. Only Jesus can bring forth increase.  By our own power we can do nothing.

Jesus said,  “If you live in Me and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.  When you bear much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine”  (John 15:7-8).

Living a consistent lifestyle in Christ and His words abiding in us, in order to produce perfect knowledge and discernment, gives us the foundation to build upon.

So our purpose is to be a man or woman who God can use to bear FRUIT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS that God can be glorified.

“RIGHTEOUSNESS is the action and positive result from a sound relationship between God and men” (Quote by John Harvey, pastor of Life Quest Church).

We have God’s Promise–if we love God’s Word and do these things. we will succeed and will bear fruit.

 


Credits & Footnotes:

Footnote [i] : Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Photo Credits:  Google Image Search and Photo Pin.

Bible Translations:  Amplified Bible, except where noted.

Commentaries used for in this study:  Howdy Partner! (Philippians 1:1-11) by Keith Krell @ Bible.org;  John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible – Philippians 1:11 @ BibleStudyTools.com

 

 

 

Are You SEARCHIN’ FOR DIRECTION IN YOUR LIFE?

2173653553_20a8c4041a
SEARCHING FOR DIRECTION IN LIFE?

One of my favorite singers of the past, was the late Dusty Springfield along with Dionne Warwick: Wishin’ and Hopin’ and Thinkin’ and Prayin‘. What was the lyricist “prayin'” for?  To find, search for LOVE, perhaps in all the wrong places?  Perhaps, but in doing so, frustration must have set in to the “thinkin”.

My search for some answers, begins with finding and knowing God’s will in my life; the search for direction–thus, the question presented in the title for this weeks BLOG.  Not in your life necessarily, but in mine.  Hopefully. in reading this post, you will find and know God’s will more clearly in your life too!

“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but how much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose”  (Philippians 2:12-13 NIV Bible).

DOING GOD’S WILL WITH A SMILE –

Before doing God’s will…we need to know before the “doing”, “HOW DO I KNOW WHAT GOD’S WILL IS in any given situation of my life?”

The answer I found, isn’t really complicated.  There are steps in the process like everything else in life.

We live in a “I want it now society”, and patience in knowing, is not a virtue of ours.  Yeah, we might know the words found in Galatians 5:22-23 (“THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT”)…love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…but living with them, applying Holy Spirit’s gifts…that’s not something most of us seek on a daily basis.  I’m not saying we shouldn’t…just, most of us don’t!

FINDING THE ANSWERS IN THE RIGHT PLACES:

How can we find the WILL OF GOD for our lives?  If we don’t follow God’s will for us, we will pay a heavy price in facing the negative consequences.

GOD wants to know His will for your life–

If you’re NOT a believer in Jesus Christ, NOT placed in a saving faith in Him, you’re out of the will of God!  He desires that ALL come to repentance, faith, and to be born-again.

GOD’S WORD:

Psalm 40:8:  “To do your will, O my God, is my desire; your law is within my heart.”

“LAW” (or His Word) = WILL OF GOD.

Example:  We know through reading the Word of God that marrying an unbeliever is NOT God’s will for our lives (2 Corinthians 6:14-15).  God tells us in His Word, ‘Don’t get the cart before the horse’ in new relationships in dating.  Your desires may just precede God’s desire in your life.  And that’s not His will.

THE FIRST and PRIMARY WAY of knowing God’s will for your life…

You are unsure in making an important decision in your family; changing jobs, changing locations because of your job, financial commitments, and you don’t know where to find the answers in your Bible.

If you don’t know where to find your particular circumstance in God’s Word, and don’t have a BIBLE CONCORDANCE, invest in one.  SEARCH for it in God’s Word.  IMPATIENCE might just lead you in the wrong direction.

 1.  God wants us to be WHOLE and NOT SICK…

[2] And behold, a leper came up to Him (JESUS) and, prostrating himself, worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You are able to cleanse me by curing me.    [3] And He reached out His hand and touched him, saying,  “I am willing; be cleansed by being cured.  And instantly his leprosy was cured and cleansed  (Matthew 8:2-3 AMP).

2.  Knowing God’s Will for us is Not to be Poor and in Debt…

More than Enough!
More than Enough!

God wants us to have enough so our needs are met and we give to others in return.

“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is the servant to the lender”  (Proverbs 22:7).

God’s Word also tells us, to those who might be struggling making ends meet in this economy, one reason why He sent His Son into this world:

[JESUS speaking] …I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”  (John 10:10 AMP).

The “overflow” is much more than “just enough”!

3.   GOD doesn’t want us to be DEPRESSED:

HIS WILL for us is to be happy (to “enjoy life”), full of joy!  (Philippians 4:4)

“REJOICE in the Lord always; again I say, Rejoice!”

THE NEW ROGET’S THESAURUS, definesDEPRESSION” – dishearten, dejection, lowness, worthlessness.  

If you are feeling in a state of constant depression right now…it’s NOT God’s will for your life!

The general will of God is clearly specified in the Word of God for us.  But just knowing where to find thee TRUTH and not claiming and receiving God’s will for our life is another.

So, how can we know the specifics, the details of GOD’S WILL?  Our Bible doesn’t tell us which job to take, doesn’t tell us who to marry, even if we are following God’s will.  E.g., disciples in the boat–“Let us go over to the other side.”

4.  Through the PEACE OF GOD:

“Let the PEACE OF CHRIST rule in your hearts, since members of one body, you were called to peace.  And be thankful”  (Colossians 3:15 NIV).

“RULE” =  “BRABEUO” (Greek word)  [Footnote [i] ].

This verb is found only in this verse and expresses the underlying sense of “having the role of greatest influence.”  The Amplified Bible says PEACE, [“acts as umpire continually”.]

Just as every sport that has disputes, they must be settled by the officials, the PEACE OF GOD as the umpire, settling all disputes as to what the will of God is for our lives.

THE PEACE OF GOD is always “umpiring” in our hearts, but we don’t always pay attention to it.  Sometimes, we even go against the PEACE of God in our hearts.

As you sit in the presence of God, be still, take a “time out”, consider all the options, discerning the will of God by the PEACE given to your heart (Psalm 46:10).

5.  DISCERNING correctly what the Lord is trying to tell us–

Lining the Lights Up…

Aligning Things Up!
Aligning Things Up!

There was a certain harbor that was treacherous and dangerous to enter.  In order for the captain to guide his ship safely into the harbor, he had to be attentive to three lights used to guide him.  When all three lights lined up as one, he knew it was safe to proceed.  Then, and only then, would he bring his ship safely to port.

As we seek GUIDANCE, we too have to be attentive to “THREE LIGHTS”…to guide us into the harbor of His will:

~ The WORD of God,

~  Our outward circumstances,

~  Our inner conviction.

When all three of these Lights line up, we can then proceed with assurance, of being led safely into the harbor.

6.  God’s Will Revealed Through the Word of Knowledge and Prophecy:

“To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit”  (1 Corinthians 12:8 AMP).

“…to another prophetic insight (the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones]”  (1 Corinthians 12:10).

WE HAVE TO BE CAREFUL with this!  Whatever is being revealed should be tested and consistent with the Word of God.  We shouldn’t take others words blindly, but we ourselves should test what the other person has said in respect to what God says (His will) from His Word (Scripture).

God does speak through audible voices sometimes (friends and family).  We have to DISCERN whether we’re listening to God’s voice, or someone elses.

Good intentions…

If we are receiving a word of knowledge or prophecy from a person, we should know and make sure that particular person that’s speaking to our issue is living a godly life too.

But it is possible for some true servants of God to NOT LISTEN to the Lord correctly.  In that case, they should tell you clearly they are not sure.

PROPHECY is not fortune-telling.  We’ve got to be careful of this.

“What should we DO to know God’s will for our life?”

Romans 12:1-2 KJV:

[Verse 1]  “I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your responsible service.

[Verse 2]  “And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

This “renewing” is not a  one time experience, but a daily reminder in every decision and circumstance we face in our lives.  In order TO KNOW GOD’S WILL, we need to…

OFFER OUR BODY (who your are in your spirit–our whole being) as a LIVING SACRIFICE, living holy lives.

KING DAVID came upon the scene of a threshing floor of a Jebusite by the name of Araunah as commanded by the Lord.  When Araunah saw the king coming, he went out and bowed himself down before the king.

Araunah said, “Why has my lord the king come to his servant?”  And David said, “To purchase the threshing floor from you; to build there an altar to the Lord.”

What Araunah did next seemed to me a honoring gesture as he offered the king everything he had for the altar of sacrifice–of worship and praise.

But David refused the offer in saying to Araunah,  “I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my GOD of that which cost me nothing.” (2 Samuel 24:24).

“What’s that particular story have to do with knowing God’s Will for my life?  There is never an offering, a sacrifice of worship, praise or anything else that doesn’t cost you something.  After paying the price, according to God’s Will in the circumstances, David made the offering.  He knew God’s will in this matter because of the Word of his LORD GOD.

The RESULTS OF KNOWING and APPLYING THE STEPS:  

So the Lord heeded the prayers for the land, and Israel’s plague was stayed.”  (verse 25).

PHILIPPIANS 2:13:

“for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”

GOD gives us the DESIRE to do His will and…He also enables us to do His will.

ILLUSTRATION:

A young man entered his church one Sunday morning where he started praying before the service began.  He was so anxious to find God’s will for his life that he took out a piece of paper he kept in his bible, writing down all the things he was going to do for God.

He started to PRAY that God might revel to him whether these promises were acceptable to Him.

God whispered in his ear, “This is not the way I want you to find My will.  All I want of you is for you to sign your name and leave the paper blank for Me to fill in.”

 

 

Footnotes:

[i]  Expository Dictionary of Bible Words.

Photo Credit:

Photo Pin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Destiny Won’t and Can’t Be Overlooked!

Queen Esther
Queen Esther

THE BOOK OF ESTHER:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from else-where, but you and your father’s house will perish.

AND WHO KNOWS but that YOU have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion?”  (Esther 4:14).

Do I really have SPECIFIC PURPOSE in Life?

In 1963, I was single and working a grave yard shift at a local grocery store chain in Southern California.  I was a part-time student at a local Community College along with some morning classes during the week.  So, on specific days, I would get off work at 7:30 AM; drive to school and attend a 9 AM class, then come home and sleep until 4:30 PM and do it again starting!   at midnight!  I’m exhausted from just recounting the story.  And to make thing worse– at the ripe old age of 21 at the time, my social life was all but non-existent.

One day, pulling my car up in front of the house and sitting there for sometime, I got out of the car and proceeded to kicked the rear tire, with a  loud proclamation to the neighborhood,  What am I doing all of this for?  There must be a better purpose in life other than work, school, money, girls etc.  Well, maybe not girls!  And by the way, in case you might be wondering, I wasn’t a Christian at this time in my life, nor have any relationship with the Lord.  Oh I knew there was a GOD and I knew what Christmas and Easter were all about…but NO RELATIONSHIP. Not until I was married, had three children and reached the ripe old age of 30 did a new relationship begin!  That’s another whole story.

GOD HAS A PLAN:

Jeremiah 1:5  (KJV):

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Psalm 139:13  (NIV):

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

—  Moses was born to lead the children of Israel of Bondage.

—  Elijah was born to be a prophet.

—  Noah was born to build the ark.

—  John the Baptist was born as forerunner of Christ Jesus to baptize in the wilderness. 

—  Paul was born to preach and write most of the New Testament.

Until we discover our PURPOSE, our EXISTENCE, we have no meaning…because PURPOSE becomes the source of FULFILLMENT.  And, success is NOT PURPOSE…because SUCCESS, without PURPOSE, is LIFE without meaning and no, that statement isn’t out of Rick Warren’s book, A Purpose Driven Life [sorry, I’ve never read it!].

DURING THE TIME GOD MADE ESTHER QUEEN…

Haman wanted to kill ALL the Jews and Esther being a Jew, was told by her Uncle Mordecai,  she had the POWER to protect her people.  She was given this position as queen by God for such a time as this…

Although there isn’t an explicit reference to God in the Hebrew text, God’s providence is clearly over His covenant people throughout the reading of THE BOOK OF ESTHER.

Seeking a Purpose–

 Many people today turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, career, seeking a PURPOSE.  Putting a 250-channel remote control in our hands…we’re still restless because the things of life don’t really satisfy.  Maybe for an instance, but afterword, we want more!

We have been born to have a RELATIONSHIP with God and when this happens, God’s purpose becomes our purpose…

JESUS CAME WITH PURPOSE AND DESTINY:

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. ~ Luke 9:51 (KJV).

Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me, yet not My will, but (always) Yours, be done. ~ Luke 22:42 (AMP).

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:28 (NASB).

For God saved us and called us to live a holy life.  He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was His plan from before the beginning. ~ 2 Timothy 1:9 (NLT).

HOW GREAT is the love the father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. ~ 1 John 3:1 (NIV).

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be had not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. ~ 1 John 3:2 (NIV).

OUR DESTINY?  WE HAVE BEEN BORN–ANOINTED–SET-APART TO INFLUENCE OTHERS!

The Christian walk in life is a FAITH WALK.  God doesn’t always reveal His perfect will and allow us to see our DESTINY He has set in place for our lives.  But that is no excuse to bury your head in the sand and wait for God to call you home.

He asks us to TRUST Him and take a leap of faith, allowing Him to guide our every step along the way until we come to the end.  Often, it is not until we have reached a milestone or accomplish a major goal that we can look back and see that God has been leading us all along.

With that all said, you might be questioning God right where you are at this moment in time: Why am I here?  Can’t I accomplish great things for your Kingdom at some other place?

Esther Felt the Pain!

Esther couldn’t understand why…why God would allow her to be forced to marry a pagan King; then taken from her family, to live in a palace, where she felt more like a prisoner than a Queen.

According to the Persian Law, Esther could not even go to her husband the King, without his prior approval.  If Esther were to attempt to walk in the presence of the King, without permission, she would be instantly killed if he didn’t want to see her.

Esther’s Destiny Could Not Be Overlooked!

AND THE RESULTS?

Esther’s people shared in the Queen’s Destiny–God’s Plan:

“The Jews had light [a dawn of new hope] and gladness and joy and honor.    And in every province and in every city, wherever the king’s command and his decree came, the Jews had gladness and joy, a feast and a holiday.  And many from among the peoples of the land [submitted themselves to Jewish rite and] became Jews, for the fear of the Jews had fallen upon them”  (Esther 8:16-17 AMP).

YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD OR YOUNG TO DO WHAT GOD HAS CALLED YOU TO DO:

Moses was 40 years old when he began tending sheep in Median and did the same mundane chores for 40 years.  When Moses was 80 years old God called him for His purpose.

When is became a born-again Christian in 1972, I was told by a wise old pastor:  Mel, God has a special calling just for you in life.  My thought process at the time?  Okay pastor, what “calling” is that?  It took over 20 years to discover it and another 20 to follow through with it.  What was it? TEACHING!

Ways to Determine Your Purpose in Life–

When I was investigating Esther’s Destiny; her calling…I uncovered some informative ways to determine God’s calling in your life by John Piper:  10 Ways to Determine God’s Calling in Your Life ~ April 25, 2005.

Although the ten questions were directed to people who desired committing their lives to the Mission Field, I thought Mr. Piper wouldn’t mind if I shared with you a few ways of not overlooking your destiny–your God blessed purpose here on earth.

Our calling can be deep-seated and lasting in our spirit (our hearts).  After all, it is the work of God [not your work] that brings your heart to a point of conviction.  All things considered–including Scripture–this pathway is the path to obedience.

[Esther’s pathway was chosen by God but it was her chosen obedience  that couldn’t be overlooked].

 Conviction is not infallible–

Although conviction isn’t perfect, but when it is of God, it certainly brings peace to your soul.

How does God waken such a calling in our lives?

John Piper suggest 10 Ways in grasping God’s plan for your life and only one of them is infallible–The Bible.  [I’ll present only 2-ways for reference.]  All others are relative and are not absolute but still important for determination.

Also, various combinations he lists are fuel God uses to drive the engine for His calling in your life.

#1. Above all, know your Bible and saturate your mind with it:

God’s Word, His will for your life shapes our minds:  Psalm 1:1-3.

It makes us burn for Christ:  Luke 24:32.

#2.  Know your gifts and know yourself:

Every Christian has spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10-11 AMP):

“As each of you has received a gift (a particular spiritual talent, a gracious divine endowment), employ it for one another as [befits] good trustees of god’s many-sided grace [faithful stewards of the extremely diverse powers and gifts granted to Christians by unmerited favor].”

“Whoever speaks, [let him do it as one who utters] oracles of God; whoever renders service, [let him do it] as with the strength which God furnishes abundantly, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ (the Messiah).  To Him be the glory and dominion forever and ever.  Amen.”

Knowing your special gifts shapes your convictions about your calling and knowing yourself (as Paul illustrates in Romans 7:15-24), deepens your sense of fitness in various ministries.  Remember, this can be over-ridden by other facts that come into play.

This is but two means given by John Piper, to get you thinking.  If you want the other 8, you will have to go to John Piper’s book.

ARE YOU LISTENING FOR GOD’S CALL IN YOUR LIFE…DISCERNING YOUR DESTINY?

A blogging friend and published author, Jeannie Pallett, said recently in a message,  “I won’t be blogging this week.  I think my life [‘my destiny’]    is about to change…a sensing God wants me to open our home for my unsaved niece to live here for awhile” [the words in brackets are mine].

God’s Main Call First–

Careful Listening
Careful Listening

First, is to a restored relationship then a close fellowship.  Have you ever tried to have a verbal conversation with someone and they did all the talking?  You couldn’t even get a word in edge-ways ; an answer, if it really was a question.  How do you feel?  How does God feel when you do all the talking–asking all the time, but never listening for His answers.  That is not relationship or fellowship.  That’s spiritual deafness!

Eternal life that comes with being a Christian is not just accepting JESUS as your Lord & Savior, then waiting around to go to heaven and live for ever.  It’s about relationship with God–getting to know Him, serving Him and obeying Him because you love Him:

John 17:3–  Now this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

John 15:15–  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

John 15:14–  You are my friends if you do what I command.” 

“God’s call is for you to be His loyal friend, for whatever purpose He has for your life” ~ Oswald chambers “My Utmost For His Highest”.

The apostle Paul tells the church located in Corinth:

“God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord”  (1 Corinthians 1:9 AMP).

GOD’S SPECIFIC CALLING FOR YOUR LIFE:

What is God’s call in your life?

That’s the question many Christians wonder about and seek an answer to.  Is it full time ministry, or to be a missionary, or to be a lay person, or…?  You need to prayerfully seek God and ask Him to help you discern His special plan and calling designed especially for your life.  Ask Him to give you the faith and courage to follow–obey–whenever He leads you.  You will be the happiest and full of joy when you are in the middle of God’s will and plan.