For those who may just be joining our Great Adventure...We have spent the last three weeks exploring on of the most important and controversial topics of a Christian's life...How to discern God's Will in our lives!
We've studied far too much to review today...But here is the quick recap to bring us to date: It is Biblically sound to expect that God still Speaks…And Reveals His Will to His people today...Preparing our hearts and minds TO WANT AND DO His Will...Are far more important than worrying about HOW to hear Him!
We must be sure we are seeking HIS Will... Truly wanting to LIVE for Him...Dying to self as HE died for us! Big & small ways! There are several ways in which God will speak directly to us...Through seeking and listening personally for Him...
We must ALWAYS search His Revealed Will for direction...And to test anything we think He is telling us today!
God will often wait for us to choose our own path...Based upon what we already know...About His Character and His Word...To show our true desire to follow Him!
God will speak to us intimately through the very Spirit…Who literally indwells us... At the Cost of Jesus' Own Blood! Died not only to SAVE us… BUT… BE THAT CLOSE!
Lastly... We began to look at ways in which God will speak...Which may be out of our control or even desire...When we might NOT be seeking or listening for Him! Such as... Through other people! Whether in counsel, by accident, or by direct obedience!
Today... We will continue on our Journey...Studying other ways in which God may still speak to you and I today...Which may be beyond our desire or control!
So that we may learn more about how to find His Will...And about HOW TO RESPOND when we hear it!
Our second, unpredictable, uncontrollable... And often unexpected way...In which God may powerfully speak to us...Is through our EVENTS and CIRCUMSTANCES in life!
Our God is Sovereign...And there is nothing in the life of a believer which is by mistake!
Psalm 37:23 (NKJV)
23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, And He delights in his way.
The Hebrew word for "ordered" here is KUN (koon)... Meaning: Ordered, appointed, determined, established, fashioned, made ready! That seems pretty clear in definition! Throughout the pages of Scripture...We see God moving and guiding through His Sovereign Hand...In the events of individual lives... Of whole nations... Of the world!
Before we look at things God WILL Say to us through circumstances...Let's take a moment to clarify how many well-meaning Christians...Sometimes totally abuse this potential avenue of God's Voice!
PROBLEM ONE: How many of us have made a ritual of constantly "laying a fleece" when we need an answer from God? (Pre-Stage Events)
Example: "God, if she IS the one you want me to marry, let her call me back in the next 5 minutes!"
- Much like shaking a Magic 8 Ball or rolling a die...
- For every question you have...
NEVER... In one page of Scriptures... Do we ever get the idea...That things are always easy and good if God is pleased...And difficult when He is angry or displeased! If that is so... Paul, who wrote 2/3 of the NT needs an apology!
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (HCSB)
24 Five times I received 39 lashes from Jews. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods by the Romans. Once I was stoned by my enemies. Three times I was shipwrecked. I have spent a night and a day in the open sea. 26 On frequent journeys, I faced dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my own people, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the open country, dangers on the sea, and dangers among false brothers; 27 labor and hardship, many sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, often without food, cold, and lacking clothing. 28 Not to mention other things, there is the daily pressure on me: my care for all the churches.
What if Jesus Christ Himself had that notion?! A Man acquainted with grief and sorrow...Who was hated, tortured, mocked and murdered!
We are in a sinful, fallen world...And God NEVER Promised deliverance from difficulty...But He Promises to Walk WITH us through it!
Psalm 9:9-10 (NKJV)
9 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. 10 And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.
REALIZE THIS... HOW WE weather these storms... How our hope, joy and strength differs from the world... Because of HIM! Is the GREATEST PROOF of His Presence in our lives…To an uncertain world!
Let's just quickly view several examples of God…Using circumstances in Scriptures... And see what they may reveal to us today!
How about when Joseph was sold by his own brothers into slavery? Forgotten, imprisoned, and alone...Yet, even there... Joseph did not doubt or question God...
But kept his faith and heart... Wherever God placed him! Serving where he was... With what he had! And God saved the entire future nation of Israel...Because of his faithfulness... Rather than self-pitying despair! As circumstances progressed...
Joseph proclaimed God's Sovereign Hand... Even in his brother's evil plans!
Genesis 50:19-20 (NKJV)
19 Joseph said to them, "Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God? 20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
Was God moving... Even in the BAD circumstances? Could Joseph have missed everything…By assuming it was just God's displeasure and punishment?!
God used these bad circumstances to GROW Joseph...Into a humble, hard-working, faithful man! READY TO DO HIS WILL! And in the process...Placed Joseph in a POSITION unreachable by man...To become the 2nd in Command of all Egypt!
How about when Paul was shipwrecked on Malta? A BAD circumstance led to the healing of many on the island! And when an earthquake opened the jail cell of Paul and Silas in Thyatira? A GOOD circumstance led to the salvation of the guard and his whole family!
So IN ALL THINGS... Good or bad... Don't just look for God's Emotions...Look for His Hand! Look for His Work! Look for His Opportunities!
What about the time Jesus caused a simple fisherman…To catch an unbelievable amount of fish at His bidding? Showing proof to Peter of His Identity! What about the time Jesus repeated the exact scenario?Years later... AFTER His Resurrection?! When Peter... Who had lost all hope that Jesus would still use him...After he denied and forsook Jesus on three occasions...Who... Knowing Peter's quick and extreme reactions...Probably was thinking his night of futile fishing was a Judgment from God! Could not only recognize it was Jesus again... In a very personal way! But understand that Jesus was AGAIN calling to him...Just as He did in the beginning! In a personal, private, special way... That would ignite his heart! Look at the length Jesus took... The special care to touch HIS heart!
What about the circumstances Jesus created even when Peter came to shore?
There at a campfire... In the early breaking morning... Literally of coals...Exactly like the moment Peter denied Jesus…For the third and final time… On that terrible night! Jesus brings this moment of reconciliation, forgiveness and purpose!
Speaking to Peter VERY PERSONALLY... IN a way HE WOULD LITERALLY SEE, FEEL, EVEN SMELL... AND UNDERSTAND!
A Personal Message... To Peter's heart and soul...In love for His Disciple!
So in Personally Designed Circumstances from God...Jesus intimately touched and motivated Peter's soul...More powerfully than any Words could ever reach him! Growing Peter in Faith and Intimacy with God!
What about when Paul was prevented from ministering…In Asia & Bithynia...Even though... In his desire to serve God... He mistakenly tried before the time was right?
Acts 16:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia. 7 After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.
Notice... Though Paul obviously must have missed God speaking to his spirit in these moments...God would NOT allow him to MISS His Will...Because God knew his heart was true... And his desire was for Him!
God used Circumstances…To physically lead His disciple in the right direction...When he did not perceive God's Will!
We MUST STOP being afraid that God will try to Speak to us...Or Reveal His Will to us JUST THIS ONE TIME...And if we miss it... We are doomed and written off!
Would you try to speak to your child one time...And if they honestly misunderstood you...Give up on them and say, "Oh well, you really blew it this time!"
If your heart is sincerely wanting God's Will... And you are ready to follow...He will NOT allow you to MISS it!! It is NOT an INABILITY to HEAR...But a LACK of TRUE DESIRE to want or follow...That will PREVENT God from Speaking and Moving!
PLEASE NOTICE THIS BIG DETAIL...AGAIN… People often say that God does not move the way He did in Biblical times...Because He did these things only to BRING us His Word! But PLEASE stop and consider the following things... Just within these few stories just told to you...God moved through circumstances in every instance...In order to:Open amazing, supernatural doors to help those in need...Grow the faith and character of those who followed Him...
To prepare them for His Work... And draw them closer! Make a way to show Himself to unbelievers...Bring people to repentance and forgiveness...Guide those truly seeking His direction...When they seem to have missed His direction!
Are ANY OF THESE THINGS…LESS NEEDED in the lives of believers today? Does God love us any less today? Any less intimate or caring today?
Is He still as capable today? Is He still as interested in us today? Is there one place in Scriptures that SAYS God has stopped moving in these ways today?
Then WHY do we DOUBT that HE WILL WORK in our lives? Because we aren't wanting His Will... We aren't even looking for His Will... We are in our own world!
- Our phone is on "Airplane Mode!" Because we've bought the LIE that He doesn't move that way anymore! SINCE WE AREN’T EXPERIENCING IT Because we feel unworthy and unusable! You're right... You are NOT! Neither am I! BUT CHRIST DIED to bring you this privilege and honor!
SO THANK HIM... AND GLORIFY HIM…BY EXPECTING WHAT HE DIED TO BRING YOU! Just so you know this is more than Stories in Scriptures...
But in act of faith... RED STRING AROUND PLANT!
$10,000 from unused Vacation money!
- Paid way up to WV... Bought first house!
- Sat at the table of new house and cut red string!!!
After setting the date for our first Service!
- Because we were going to pay for everything out of our own pockets!
- Now we would have a hard time even making the bills!
- God sent thousands through unexpected sources...
- Bought all sound equipment, chairs, projectors, etc. needed...
- Rent paid...
- Personal bills paid...
I… Needed $20... And was not suppose to help an inmate!
In a job from 15 years previous... Out of the BLUE!
You guessed it... For exactly $20.00!! TRUE STORY!
- Think that grew my faith and obedience?
- Think it was a testimony to unbelievers?!
Here is what we need to Scripturally GRASP when looking for God's Voice and Direction in CIRCUMSTANCES...God is STILL SOVEREIGN! He is ALWAYS in Control...In the good and bad this world may bring...HE Promises to turn it all around for Good and Glory...In the lives of those who will trust!
He STILL loves us... And He is STILL PERSONALLY INVOLVED in every life!
And realize that since God uses Circumstances in so many unforeseeable ways... To do His Will and to help us! Through seemingly good and bad events... In our eyes...Stop trying to use circumstances to predict God's answers to prayer…Or gauge His approval and disapproval of your life...And simply look for what you need to be doing…In any event in which you are placed!
Grow where you are planted!
Show yourself faithful in ALL circumstances!
Be HIS servant where HE places you...
And stop judging Him when He moves!
Leave it to HIM... To reveal HOW He's working... And WHEN He will Move!
Be EXPECTANT... Not because you are special or worthy...But because He DIED to bring these things to YOU! So get your phone off "Airplane Mode"…And start listening and watching! READY TO ACT WHEN YOU HEAR!
God has not changed...WE HAVE CHANGED!
There is a world of Adventure... And Battles to be Won for Our King & Savior!
If we will just SURRENDER... Just DESIRE to be used! Just PUT HIM FIRST!
Ephesians 5:15-17 (HCSB)
15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk—not as unwise people but as wise— 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 12:10 (NKJV)
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
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