Are You SEARCHIN’ FOR DIRECTION IN YOUR LIFE?

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

The “OLIVE TREE” Prophecy

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Olive Tree Grove

BIBLE TEXT FOR THIS BLOG:

Open your Bibles to Romans 11:17-32.

The Cultivation Process:

Most of us are unfamiliar with the CULTIVATION of an OLIVE TREE.  Simply, most of us have never even seen OLIVES growing on a tree; because of our geographical location.

When I first met my wife, my future father-in-law owned a small citrus grove in Vista, California.  It was mostly limes at that time, although it had previously been lemons.  Dad had grafted in the new lime branches to the old stock of lemon trees.  His reasoning, and a good one, LIMES were for more profitable than LEMONS.

The Benefits of Grafting In…

After Dianne and I were married, I always looked forward to the AVOCADOS my in-laws would always have on the dinner table.  My father-in-law only had a few avocado trees at the ranch, but they were old and over 30 feet high while their branches spread over 20 feet in width.  One was so old, that the fruit became small, so he not only grafted in ONE TYPE , but several varieties of avocados:  Nabal, King, Duke…all avocados, but different sizes, different tastes; fruit that couldn’t be found in local produce sections of grocery stores.  The “Old Avocado Tree” wasn’t what it used to be– it became successful by THE CULTIVATION PROCESS.

88013377_XSA ROOT–

The ROOT is the most important part of any plant.  It provides the foundation, the strength, and the stability of the tree.  “Before anything can grow up, it better grow down–the deeper the root…the sweeter the fruit.”   (See footnote [i] for source of quote)

For JEWISH PEOPLE, they considered Abraham their  “ROOT”.

Abraham was the one whom they saw as making them RIGHTEOUS.  He believed GOD and was saved by his own FAITH.  It was by the faith of Abraham which gave his descendants, the Jews, the assurance of GOD’S acceptance.

While Abraham is a ROOT for the Jews, JESUS is the ROOT for all!

A TREE–

All through the Bible, the OLIVE TREE is symbolic of Israel.  But notice the TWO TYPES of OLIVE TREES mentioned by the apostle Paul:

–  A WILD TREE.

–  A CULTIVATED TREE.

Before moving on with this study, we need to understand the TWO TERMS:

The Wild Tree–

A “wild tree” is not under human care.  It just grows and produces as nature would have it.

The Cultivated Tree–

This tree has been tended to, trimmed back, and taken from.

In my investigation of plant grafting for this study, I found that a WILD OLIVE BRANCH is not grafted in a CULTIVATED OLIVE TREE–unless, the tree becomes unproductive in fruit, or is barren.  For this is the very reason, the wild olive branch imparts the rest of the tree, to be fruitful and useful once more.

Grafted in ...
Grafted in …

DURING THE 1st CENTURY:

A cultivated branch was typically grafted into a wild or natural growing olive tree; the only time when wild branches are grafted to a cultivated tree is when that particular tree…STOPS PRODUCING FRUIT!

With this very illustration, Paul is saying,  GOD is blessing GENTILES because the JEWS had CEASED to bear fruit…the issue is not individuals who were SAVED then lost their salvation (the “natural branches” were never saved), rather the people groups became GOD’S FOCUS.

The KEY VERSES:  17-18

[17]  But if some of the branches were broken off, while you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them to share the richness [of the ROOT and sap] of the olive tree,

[18]  Do not boast over the branches and pride yourself at their expense.  If you do boast and feel superior, remember it is not you that support the ROOT, but the ROOT [that supports] you.

BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY is a form of JUDAISM–

We DRAW our source of life from the “rootstock”  ISRAEL (like grafted in “limes”/”lemons”).

*  The ROOT supports us; our spiritual life comes from ISRAEL.

*  Who said this?  “…for [after all], SALVATION comes from [among] the Jews.” (John 4:22); JESUS did to the woman at the well.

*  In the 1st Century JUDAISM,

Gentiles who believed in the God of Israel but didn’t want to be full converts to Judaism, were thought of as SAVED– but at the same time, not in as great of place in THE BLESSING as those who became JEWS…

*  In the Church Age,

Jews and Gentile BELIEVERS alike have equal status, but both are BLESSED because…they are plugged into the life-giving root ISRAEL and…more specifically, ISRAEL’S MESSIAH.

ONE DAY, THE NATURAL BRANCHES WILL BE GRAFTED BACK IN:  (24)

“…how much easier will it be to graft these natural [branches] back on [the original parent stock of] their own olive tree…”  (Amplified Bible).

The CHURCH does not replace Israel, but it does dwell in the place of God’s blessing until…Israel is re-grafted in.

Both the Church and end time Israel SHARE in the same New Covenant and both are part of the Kingdom of God.  BUT…”ISRAEL” refers to a nation, and the church is not a “new Israel,” but people who are called out…every tribe, kindred, and nation.  EACH will GLORIFY God but each in her own way.  How can we know this is true?

“…for God’s gifts and His calling is irrevocable”

The REGENERATION PROCESS:  (25-27)

[25]  Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren:  a hardening  (insensibility)  has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the *[ii]*full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in,

[26]  And so all Israel will be saved.  As it is written,  The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob.

[27]  And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins.

This partial hardening of hearts will one day END (25).  There is a “quota“, a “full number” of Gentiles that will be met and only God knows that number.

This re-direction will happen during the Tribulation Period when GOD SAVES 12,000 Jews, each of Israel’s tribes and then…the surviving nation of Israel is converted during Armageddon (verses 26-27).

This doesn’t mean ALL JEWS are automatically SAVED or SAVED apart from Christ Jesus…this is talking about a point in time where ALL ISRAEL present on earth will be SAVED  (Zech. 12:9-10; Isaiah 45:17; Zech. 13:8-9).

THERE’S NO ROOM For anti-Semitism in Christianity (28-32):

[28]  From the point of view of the Gospel  (good news),  they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God], which is for your advantage and benefit.  But from the point of view of God’s choice (of election, of divine selection),  they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers.

[29]  For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable.  [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

[30]  Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained {His] mercy,  through their disobedience,

[31]  So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you–through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].

[32]  For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].

From one angle, it would have certainly become EASY to despise the JEWS (28 a).  As much as Paul was burdened for his people, he was also aggravated with them.

If you have children, how many times have you laid awake at night in bed, concerned for…even “burdened” by the activity or lack there of…but at the same time, “aggravated” at the same time?

Once Christianity SEPARATED from their Jewish ROOTS…once people no longer realized the Crucifixion of Christ was planned by God, anti-Semitism set into the Church (by the 4th Century).

Despite Paul’s strong declaration, that Christians respect Israel for the love of their roots,  “REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY” became a dominant theme of church doctrine:  “God was done with Israel forever”; there could be no anti-Semitism if it were not for “replacement theology.”

Israel is STILL God’s Chosen Nation  (“they are beloved” – 28 b):

Jeremiah 31:35-36:

[35]  Thus says the Lord,  Who gives the sun for a light by day and the fixed order of the moon and of the stars for a light by night,  Who stirs up the sea’s roaring billows or stills the waves when they roar–the Lord of hosts is His name:

[36]  If these ordinances [of fixed order]  depart from before Me, says the Lord, then the posterity of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me throughout the ages.

Verse 29 is… THE CENTER OF GOD’S CALLING IS IRREVOCABLE:

If God made a PROMISE to us, or to His nation Israel, then later redefined His words to define Israel as people collected from all nations…God might make a great politician in today’s world, but He would not be the HOLY, IMPECCABLE, IMMUTABLE, FAITHFUL God of the Bible.

God’s Delay in Blessing Israel:

GOD always has a PURPOSE, and delaying His BLESSING to Israel? (verse 30-32):

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained MERCY through THEIR UNBELIEF;   Even so have these also not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.   For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have MERCY upon all.  (King James Bible)

Realizing how masterfully God has planned all these things…you want to jump up, burst forth in praise, for His omnipotent sovereignty…which is what Paul does.

Seeking Opportunities—

So in reading and meditating on the verses above, we should SEEK God-given opportunities to SHARE JESUS to unbelieving Jews; have an undeniable respect for Jewish people in doing so because of their ROOTS….becomes our strength!

Zechariah 8:23 Amplified Bible:

Thus says the Lord of hosts:  In those days ten men out of all languages of the nations shall take hold of the robe of him who is a Jew, saying,  Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.

 

*Footnotes & Photo Credits:

[i] – Jerry Watts “Grafted into God’s Family”

[ii] – Joseph Thayer’s A Greek-English Lexicon

Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images.