Tag: life (page 1 of 2)

The Will of God

Anonymous – How do we know when we are doing the will of God in our lives? My question pertains to all areas of our lives, i.e., job change, exercise, schooling relationship with our children and disconnecting from former relationships. How can we sharpen our awareness towards God’s voice?

Dave – Great question and thanks for sending it. Romans 12:1-2 says, “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

These two verses contain many powerful truths. First, it is the mercy of God toward us that reveals His will (or anything for that matter). This keeps us humble (James 4:6).

Second, we must be willing to surrender our wills and lives over to the Lord continually. This means we are open and willing to do whatever He wants us to do. We do not cling to selfish desires, motives, or agendas. A surrendered heart to the Holy Spirit is very precious to God because it reflects perfect love and He can accomplish much through that person.

Third, we must not be like this world with its perverted priorities. We need to be ever mindful that our citizenship is in heaven so we conduct ourselves accordingly, no matter what the cost.

Fourth, we must allow the Word of God (The Holy Scriptures) to wash our minds from the contaminants of this fallen world (Ephesians 5:26). This can only be achieved by reading the Bible often and meditating (Joshua 1:8) on what it means and how He wants us to apply it to our lives. If these four pieces are in place, then God will let us know what His will is for those things you’ve mentioned in your question.

God has also even given us “checks and balances” to help and protect us. For example, pastors and bishops hold important spiritual offices within the local church and can advise and confirm things to us if we pray for them and seek their input. The bottom line is that the more sanctified (set apart for His service) we are, the better we will hear His voice.

I realize that these spiritual disciplines seem difficult to achieve and practice in this life, but the fact is that the more we practice them (even if not perfect each day), the more we are aware of what God wants us to do. These things do not come naturally to us, therefore we must practice them to improve them. It’s kind of like training a baseball player to become a good shortstop. The only way to get him to stay low when fielding a hard hit ground ball, is to start with slowly hit balls and gradually increase their speed and have him repeat that experience multiple times so that the skill becomes natural. Spiritual assets also emerge with repeated practice. If we do these things, God will do the rest!

Now, in order that we never become a robotic formulator and “boss God around” when we’ve done all of the above, every once in a while He will have us just step out in faith and do something (as long as it is not against His Word). We just cannot whittle God down to human formulas. As C.S. Lewis put it, “He’s not a tame lion.” Still, if we have time to do the above “mandates,” we should do them.


Gary R – WOW, that was special. Many thanks for all the study, thought, and writing that went into this answer. GOD REVEALS Himself in so many ways and we take that for granted at times I think.

Nels F – Excellent advice!

Cindi L – You’re right. It is a struggle to keep excited about the fact that God’s Kingdom, and what He’s doing in the supernatural side by side and intertwined with the natural (that we SEE), is sailing along with power and might and purpose. Here are the thoughts that Penn Clark taught about KNOWING GOD’S VOICE. Scripture does say we can know God’s voice. John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” He spoke about the three possibilities of the origin of our thoughts – demonic, God, or the Flesh. Most of the time we are battling with our Flesh. Our spirit always is seeking God, loves God, wants to hear and spend time with Him, serves Him,etc. It is our flesh that is weak-meaning it doesn’t serve God – we end up “serving ourselves”.

God’s voice will always be ENCOURAGING, COMFORTING, AND JOY & PEACE & HOPE- FILLED…the words I speak to are spirit and LIFE.

Response to Cindi’s last comments:

Anon – A very encouraging comment…thanks for sharing.

Nels F – so very true here.

Is Leaving Family for God All right?

PATRICK: I’ve left some family who do not believe because they want me to agree with them follow them in worldly ways. It’s heartbreaking at times, and I try always to be sensitive to the Spirit when He wants me to contact them and what to say, which I do. I know Jesus wants us to love the sinner and our enemies, but at the same time He speaks of leaving one’s family and farm to follow Him. I know this is a struggle many Christians face and the danger of being legalistic looms over such relational struggles. Any thoughts?

DAVE: You raise a good issue. It’s not an easy one to deal with. Obviously, our love for Jesus must far surpass our love for family/friends/enemies (Matthew 10:37). Sometimes that priority will lead us away from them. As long as our heart has the right attitude, it’s okay to leave. At one point Jesus said to the man whom He was calling but wanted to bury his father first, “Let the dead bury the dead you follow Me now” (Matthew 8:21-22). In other words, I think Jesus was saying that “some people will never get saved and are ‘dead’ even though they are still alive in the flesh, and there is Something of Utmost Importance speaking to you right now.” Jesus also said of the Pharisees who were His enemies, “Let them go for they are blind guides” (Matthew 15:14). The Apostles left their wives and families (how completely we do not know) and Jesus said there will be a reward in Heaven for that (Matthew 19:27-29). So certainly leaving certain people is not only permissible, it may be dictated by the Spirit. It doesn’t necessarily mean we stop loving and praying for them because we will never know whether or not they will get saved someday.

On the other hand, many Scriptures say that family commitment is important and good. For example, if a spouse gets saved, they are not to divorce the unsaved partner unless the unsaved demands it (1 Cor.7:12- 13). Also, a man should provide for his family. Husbands are to love their wives as Christ Loves the Church and gave Himself up for her. Wives are supposed to submit to and respect their husbands. Fathers are not to provoke their children to anger. Children are to honor their parents. None of these contexts remotely suggest abandoning the family for God. So perhaps leaving the family is for a special calling, i.e. Peter and the other eleven, and more people over the centuries. But maybe this is not to be the norm for all Christian men and women.


“He became more important than me.”

Nowadays Americans are very busy people. Technology has made it possible to accomplish in one day what took a month years ago. Coupled with a strong emphasis on materialistic wealth, technology has made more slaves out of folks than some regimes. This incessant drive to achieve is also evident in foreign lands such as China and Japan among others. As knowledge increases at a faster rate than ever before, moral priorities tend to take a back seat. This can happen so slowly, however, that it can go unnoticed for years…then it may be too late for some.

I recently had the privilege of listening to Dr. David Shaff, an optometrist in Rochester, N.Y., share his 9-day death experience. His spirit left his body as a result of a severe heart attack while sleeping. He never knew what hit him. He was immediately in the presence of Jesus Christ Himself. They had an interesting talk as you could imagine. At one point in his talk, Dr. Dave said he realized how much we worry about things that seem important, but, in the reality of the big picture of this life, they are not.

As sinners from birth, we fail to perceive our major problem. Depravity blinds us to our plight, unless the Creator reveals truth to us. Enter the Bible. The fact that it still exists while being the most hated and attacked book of all history tells me it’s Special, in the most intriguing sort of way.

While interpretations may vary on smaller issues, the major issue is abundantly clear —- God made everything good, humans ruined things, God provided a way to escape eternal destruction, and we cannot earn it. Christianity is the only religion that asserts that eternal life is gained by grace rather than merit. How our souls spend eternity should be on everyone’s mind…constantly. I find this not so, however. Most people just have too many other concerns and worries to be bothered to seek out the redemption that guarantees eternal life.

Despite the Bible changing millions of lives for the better, it is still ignored by the majority. This amazes me. I was guilty of this very thing for the first 20 years of my life. But during my senior year in college, I heard a man who played the role of Jesus on a record say while he was being crucified, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” That captured my attention (and heart). That extraordinary love, that can be found no where else in history, made me realize that Jesus Christ is our Creator in the flesh therefore making Him the most important Person to ever walk this planet.

From that point on, I just had to read what He said and it changed my life. He became more important than me. Talk about a paradigm shift! I devoured the Bible like never before. That was at the end of 1970 and decades later I am still reading it. Once we realize that our true identity is hidden in Christ, our priorities become in line with what we were created to do.

The question for those who call themselves Christian is: Are you just a believer or a follower? If a follower, it becomes impossible to follow Him without reading the Scriptures often, every day if possible. If we really want to get to know Jesus intimately, we find Him in the “volume of the Book” (Psalms 40:7 & Hebrews 10:7). The first cause of backsliding is usually lack of Bible reading. This world has supernatural powers constantly vying for our affection and they do a high-powered brain washing job on us.

Priorities are always at issue. When we pray, we talk to God. When we read the Bible, He talks to us (if we let Him). When He talks to us, are brains (thoughts) are washed from this world (see Ephesians 5:26 & John 15:3). I think there is a direct correlation between time spent in the Bible and the depth of our walk with Jesus. Too many are mere believers and not followers. Among those followers, Bible reading will usually slowly decrease at some time during their Christian life. Watch out for that! It’s one of the early warning signs of backsliding.

The Bible is oh so powerful to bring folks to God and helps them live in a better way. I now understand why Satan and all his cohorts will continually attack it and discourage people from reading it. A careful reading of the Scriptures reveals that the sword that John saw coming out of Jesus’ mouth in the beginning of his vision for the Book of Revelation represents the Word of God. It is by this “sword” He conquers and restores throughout the Church Age.

This world steals verses from God’s Word and few realize the original source. One common phrase this world says is, “Man shall not live by bread alone.” This is from Deuteronomy 8:3 and quoted by Jesus to Satan during the three temptations. But what this world omits is the rest of that verse, which, of course, is the most important: “But man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the LORD.” When unsaved people hear the Word of God, they have a chance to re-connect with Him thereby obtaining eternal life. Can there be anything more important to an individual than this?! If followers want to continue their following of Jesus, they must read His Word continually. If our Bible begins to collect dust, then our hearts are slowly becoming hardened against the will of God for our lives. It happens slowly so we do not notice it. Satan is no fool, he believes in God and knows our weaknesses.

Maybe we should view the Bible as food. So think what your body would feel like if you went a week without eating any food. Well, that would be how weak you would be spiritually if you did not engage yourself in God’s Word for a week (week = weak).

I’ll leave you with this thought – out of all the words that God could have chosen to give us on earth, the ones in the Bible are it. Let us not ignore such a great opportunity to get to know Him and find our real purpose. Psalms 138:2 speaks volumes about how much God reveres His own Word, and 1 John 2:15-17 can help us with our priorities. If you are hungry to know God more, you will look those verses up. 🙂

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