10-Christianity’s Helpful Guidance
Now that we have taken a look at the most important resource available to us, to help us improve our “Quality of Life,” we can now look at how Christianity can help us.
The message of the Christian religion to us is our human condition of sinfulness, of powerlessness and essential human limitation is not only about a power greater than ourselves but about a God who can save us from our sinful condition.
“You are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21)
Satisfying God does not come from the work we do, but from whom we believe.
“The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent>” (John 6:29)
As the way, Jesus is our path to the Father. As the truth he is the reality of all God’s promises. As the life, he joins his divine life to ours, both now and eternally.
“I am the way and truth and the life.” (John 14:6).
The Christian gospel calls us to believe in Christ as our Lord, and in the sufficiency of his grace for all our needs, for all of life, for our death, and for our salvation. It calls us to put our ultimate trust in him for our salvation and changes in our lives.
Salvation is becoming willing to change asking God’s help to change, being forgiven by and forgiving others, forgiving self, seeking to remain honest with self, seeking greater knowledge of God’s will and the power to do it, and sharing with others what has been received as a result of the spiritual awakening.
Cardinal Bernardin (a Catholic leader) spoke about a profound spiritual change that took place in his life.
“Now it is no longer, I alone. It is the Lord and I together. Indeed it is my weakness and vulnerability that become my strength because then I no longer pretend that I am in control, but the Lord Jesus.”
The gospel’s response to the problem of suffering can be summarized in three commands: (1) trust in God’s grace, abiding presence, and his promise that all pain can work for good in our life, (2) deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ, (3) bear one another’s burdens. The bible and our own healing, meaning, growth, and hope in the midst of pain, brokenness and human limitation. In the spirituality of the gospel, the ultimate is trust in our Lord, committing not only our living but also our dying to him – the resurrected one, full of grace and always with us.
On the cross Jesus exclaimed, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” (Luke 23:46). In life and in death our Lord is the ultimate expression of true spirituality. And to those who confess his name he says, “Follow me.”
The word sin is an important word in the Bible, the only word that describes the basic spiritual nature of persons outside the reality and presence of God’s grace. It alone describes the inability of humans to let God be God, the inability of humans to fulfill God’s moral law of love by perfectly loving God, oneself, and others, the inability to heal our own brokenness or remove our human limitation.
The good news is “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son; that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16). The next verse is also essential: “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world but to save the world through him” (v17). Saving is the personal activity of a God, full of grace, a God of unconditional love. And his name is Jesus, the name above every name. Jesus if the Lord, full of grace.
The gospel of God’s grace revealed in Christ is indeed a simple message. Christ himself said, “…anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15). Not childishness, but childlikeness is essential in believing and living the gospel of our Lord. Faith is not so much a matter of knowing as it is believing, trusting, risking, and following.
Matthew 10:12-13 starts on the search for these answers: “As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it…”. One of the answers Christ has offered us is that the concept of discipleship enter in to our bodies, minds and emotions. And the second part of this is that these areas be deserving.
Websters New World Dictionary defines discipleship as “a pupil or follower of any teacher or school.” One of the first thing that each teacher or school demands of their disciples is the area of trust. Without this both the “disciple” and the school/teacher would be wasting each others time. Christ also demanded this of his disciples as he stated in Matthew 10:29-31.
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather be afraid of God, who can destroy both body and soul in hell. For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father’s consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth much more than many sparrows.”
If Jesus called you to participate in a ministry, what do you think he would say to you in light of your own personality and needs?
“We drag ourselves out of bed to go to work expecting to be rewarded by a pay-check. What makes us do these tiresome thankless task?? Why does anyone get out of bed in the morning when it is so much more pleasant to lie drowsily under the warm covers? The force that gets me out of bed is hope. Today’s ‘me’ sacrifices for tomorrows. Mature human beings know how to do this almost as second nature. We didn’t get it from nature, though. Our parents and teachers drilled it into us just as we must drill it into our children” (Knowing the Face of God – Tim Stafford).
God wants us to be great and free in heaven and he will show us how to get there.
“God is the living God who has a plan for the world. I am convinced that our ways are guided in other words that we have to discern a call, an occasion” (Father Yves Conger, O. P.-Roman Catholic Theologian).
As part of the growth path, we will be discussing how each individual must take an active part in planning his/her own growth. But a even more important part of growth is how well you are able to follow that plan. Therefore we see that this growth plan must affect our “Heart.”
(Jeremiah 31: 31-34) are some of the greatest words in the book of Jeremiah and it points beyond Jeremiah’s own troubled time to the day when there would be a new covenant, one that God’s people would keep without a teacher to remind them; because it would be written on their hearts.
Christians must never lose all hope. Our belief in Jesus Christ gives us hope for the future.
For thousands of years, using his wit and charm, man had tried to be friends with God. And for thousands of years he had let God down more than he had lifted him up. He’s done the very thing he promised he’d never do. It was a fiasco. Even the holiest of the heroes sometimes forgot whose side they were on. Some of the scenarios in the Bible look more like the adventures of Sinbad the sailor than stories for vacation Bible school. Remember these characters?
Aaron. Right-hand man to Moses. Witness of the plagues. Member of the “Red Sea Riverbed Expedition.” Holy priest of God. But if he was so saintly, what is he doing leading the Israelites in fireside aerobics in front of the golden calf?
The sons of Jacob. The fathers of the tribes of Israel. Great-grandsons of Abraham. Yet, if they were so special, why were they gagging their younger brother and sending him to Egypt?
David. The man after God’s own heart. The King’s king. The giant slayer and songwriter. he’s also the guy whose glasses got steamy as a result of a bath on a roof. Unfortunately, the water wasn’t his, nor was the woman he was watching.
And Samson. Swooning on Delilah’s couch, drunk on the wine, perfume, and soft lights. He’s thinking, She’s putting on something more comfortable. She’s thinking, I know I put those shears in here somewhere.
Adam adorned in fig leaves and stains of forbidden fruit. Moses throwing both a staff and a temper tantrum. King Saul looking into a crystal bail for the will of God. Noah, drunk and naked in his own tent.
These are the chosen ones of God? This is the royal lineage of the King? These are the ones who were to carry out God’s mission?
It’s easy to see the absurdity.
Why didn’t he give up? Why didn’t he let the globe spin off its axis?
Even after generations of people had spit in his face, he still loved them. After a nation of chosen ones had stripped him naked and ripped his incarnated flesh, he still died for them. And even today, after billions have chosen to prostitute themselves before the pimps of power, fame, and wealth, he still waits for them.
It is inexplicable. It doesn’t have a drop of logic nor a thread of rationality.
And yet, it is that very irrationality that gives the gospel its greatest defense. For only God could love like that.
(From God Came Near by Max Lucado)
Do this project with someone close to you: spend an hour on your own making a list of all God has done for you. Then share together and rejoice in his goodness and faithfulness.
“What difference there is between the old covenant and the new is therefore obvious. In the former the law is written on tablets, while in the latter it is written on hearts… In the one, man becomes a transgressor through the letter that kills, in the other a lover through the life giving spirit” (City of God-Augustine 25:42).
God’s Kingdom is in his Reign in the Hearts of Men, an through their hearts control he transforms their lives. To change us over into His own Image.
One of this course’s purposes, is to provide you with an additional guide to assisting you through the required growth. We hope that this course will help clarify this period of preparation and decision making, and provide you with some guidelines on how to complete this period, the best way possible sharing a child’s joy.
(Job 33: 29-30)
“God does all this again and again; he saves a person’s life, and gives him the joy of living.”
Another purpose of this course is to show how a loving God offers his people a rich and full heritage of life when we participate in a right relationship to him. This is a lesson we all have to learn, within the experience of spiritually growing, and where we also learn the true nature of the rich heritage that is offered.
As Children of God, we are also his Ambassador’s therefore we must carry his message to Earth’s Child. An the best way to set the stage for this; is to reflect on the joy that we have.
Since we have control of our future, we need to act according to his plan for us, and to know the best way to act. How is God present? How can we benefit from that presence? How can we make it part of our lives? This will be an exciting course as we explore these questions and experience God’s dynamic presence? How can we make it part of our lives? This will be an exciting course as we explore these questions and experience God’s dynamic presence among us and within us.
“I have asked the Lord for one thing only do I want; to live in the Lord’s house all my life, and to marvel there at his goodness, and to ask for his guidance..”
In your love live with God, where dose he stand:
- Closer to you than your own relatives?
- More like a distant relative you’ve only heard about?
- Some where in between?
How can you turn over more of the control in your life to God?
Another key factor in a child of God’s spiritual growth, is the development, of trust, in our Creator/Father. Leaning has the sense of putting your whole weight on something, resting on and trusting in that person or thing.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do and he will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your wounds and easing your pains.”
God promises to guide those who obey and trust him. Those who obey must actively explore God’s Word. Depend on God in every part of your life, and he will guide, protect, and comfort you.
This expression “God’s guidance,” or “God’s will,” is really quite confusing. It seems so far removed from selling insurance, cleaning house, or taking the dog to the vet for his shot. It seems to imply being constantly ecstatic over “finding Jesus,” or living on Cloud Nine with out interruption. I suppose this could be part of it. But so many Christians, new and old alike, drape so much glamorous ecclesiastical jargon around it, that it gives the impression around it, that it gives the impression of being for an elite few “spiritual” or “saintly” people. That would leave out most of us, wouldn’t it, God?… Jesus told His disciples that He was going away and would send someone to carry on for Him. This one would be a Comforter, a Helper, to remind and to guide. If He wasn’t supposed to guide us in all things, how would we know when he was guiding and when He wasn’t?
It occurs to me that if I’m tuned in to You, Jesus, I’m guided in everything I do. It could include simple things at the office, housework, even answering the presumptuous ring of the telephone to give some lonely forgotten soul a bit of myself.
After a lot of trial and error, God, I think I’ve learned something about Your will in my life. And the key is so simple. So often I have stubbornly knocked and banged my head against a door of decision or opportunity i wanted to push open. And so often nothing happened. The door just wouldn’t budge. At other times when You and I were tuned in to the same channel, I barely touched the latch, and the door swung open. Everything poured out: happinesses, opportunities for creativity, spiritual presents, deeper relationships with friends, and, when the timing was right, a chance to share Your love with someone… Your guidance kind of snowballs, God, from relying on You for dozens of little actions and decisions, we learn to seek Your guidance in times of big events, even tragedies, in our lives. Gradually we begin to rely on You in everything we do, no matter how insignificant.
(From Struggles of a Sinner-Saint by Lucille Lavender)
Is your life like a hotel, with certain rooms marked “Do Not Disturb”? Open one of those rooms to God. If you are a pianist, give your practice or performance to God. if you are a basketball referee, give your game to God. No matter what your role in life or your occupation, live every aspect of your life to honor God.
How would you answer a skeptic who asked you “How can you believe that?”
The essence and core of Christianity is Trust in God.
Christ said; “Why are you afraid.” He would say; “How little you trust God! Why are ye so fearful? How is it that ye have no faith? O men, how little you trust Him!” “Have faith in God.” These quotes are fundamental to Christian faith. It has to do with our understanding of life.
We believe in God – but may not believe God.
To doubt either God’s power or God’s love is to say by your actions: “Lord, I do not believe your promises, I do not think you will take care of me.”
This is where Christianity has the answer.
To doubt either God’s power or God’s love is to say by your actions: “Lord, I do not believe your promises, I do not think you will take care of me.”
This is where Christianity has the answer.
God has designed us for happiness. He has created us for peace and joy. It is His will for each of His creatures that life shall be free and lived to the utmost for His glory.
Why is it that so few people find it in fun,
- good company,
- good times
- good humor,
- and happiness?
Does your life experience fit into that? if not, there is something wrong. People refuse the offer of Christianity, because they never dream that what they want can be found there.
Christ offers us what we are really hungering for; but we don’t believe it. We won’t give Him a chance. We prefer to attempt to carry God’s burdens also.
How can we find peace of mind and heart?
First, let us try to clear our thinking about the nature of God. Let us make a study, a serious study – for it merits our best efforts – to find out the nature of God.
Most of our difficulties, our lack of trust in God, spring from our basic misunderstanding of what God’s relationship to us.
We are not believers of the love and the power of God.
Where can I show my “Trust?”
If you want to know what God is like, look at Christ. Study what Christ provided us.
Next, study the lives of others who studied his and followed him. Find out how God dealth with them, and thus you will begin to find out about God.
The next step is to become personally acquainted with God yourself – in your own way, according to your own needs and circumstances. “Practice makes perfect” in this realm of your life, as well as in other things.
You see your real trouble is spiritual, so that the remedy must be spiritual too.
The believer trusts himself to God… believing that God will watch over him. Will you be one?
Will you leave with God – now – the troubles you have been carrying around for so long, just like a little child? Will You?
“It is better to be patient than powerful. It is better to win control over yourself than over whole cities.”
“Men cast lots to learn God’s will, but God himself determines the answer.”
Who or what do you listen to direct your life?
We must gain control over our “Will” and then turn it over to God for direction. When a child in a earthly family trusts his parents to provide for him, he finds that he can enjoy life. If he has worries over whether he is going to have enough to eat or where he is going to live, He cannot enjoy life and have a good family relationship. To maintain your faith when situations are difficult, keep your eyes on Jesus’ power rather than on your inadequacies.
(Matthew 14: 28-31)
Then Peter spoke up. “Lord, if it is really you, order me to come out on the water to you.”
“Come!” answered Jesus, So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. But when he notices the strong kind, he was afraid and started to sick down in the water. “Save me, Lord!” he cried.
At once Jesus reached out and grabbed hold of him and said, “What little faith you have! Why did you doubt?”
What do you see in your own life that is similar to this?
Even St. Peter had trouble with trust. If a child trusts his father; that he will only allow him in situations that he can handle, and that he will have the capability to deal with the situation; he then can act effectively.
“Those who do not try to test him will find him, He will show himself to those who trust him.”
What changes in my actions do I need to make?
How am I going to control “worry?”
We obviously are not able to demand anything from God. We must trust him. This same trust is essential in a marriage or a friendship. When two people trust each other they know that the other individual would not intentionally cause any unnecessary pain or put them in a situation they cannot deal with. A father may share the creation of a baby with his wife, knowing full well that she will have to go through the difficulties of birth. But they both agree to go through with it, because they love and trust each other, and know that it will create a new life. A individual may see that their friend goes to a hospital for a treatment to improve life, even though there may be discomfort, A father may encourage a child to play sports, knowing full well that there may be injuries, but that better health will result.
“Does a clay pot argue with its maker, a pot that is like all the others?
Does the clay ask the potter what he is doing?
Does the pot complain that its maker has no skill?
Does anyone dare say to his parents, ‘Why did you make me like this?
The Lord, the Holy God of Israel, the one who shapes the future, says: ‘You have no right to question me about my children or tell me what I ought to do!
I am the one who made the earth and created mankind to live there.
By my power I stretched out the heavens; I control the sun, the moon, and the stars.'”
You can make an idol out of anything or anyone in life. A church building can become an idol to us, when all the while it is simply a place to meet and worship our Lord – nothing more. Your child can become your idol… in subtle ways you can so adore that little one that your whole life revolves around the child. Your mate or date can be given first place in your life and literally idolized. Your mate or date can be given first place in your life and literally idolized. Your mate or date can be given first place in your life and literally idolized. Your work can easily become your God… as can some pursuit in life. A house, a lawn, an antique car, a letter sport, an education, a trip abroad, and even that goal of “retirement.”…
Your Lord and Savior wants to occupy first place. Matthew 6:33 says that when He HAS it, everything else will be added to you. How long has it been since you’ve enlisted your Lord’s help in a private, personal temple-cleansing session? It’s so easy to get attached to idols – good things, inappropriately adored. But when you have Jesus in the center of the room, everything else only junks up the decor.
(From Come Before Winter by Charles Swindoll)
Who created you? Who can you ultimately depend on? Where can you find supreme truth? Where can you find happiness? Did you answer anything but God for these questions? If so, you may be in danger of falling into idolatry. Pull yourself out of that trap and let God be the one you rely on.
How might the purpose of God be traced in some recent events?
Our control of our world is not one of the options we are allowed. We either “Trust God” or we are not God’s child. None of God’s children’s accomplishments are possible without mutual love and trust. There can not be a proper relationship between us and our Creator/Father without this. We either believe he is God, and has created everything or he is not our God. If he has created everything, he is in control of everything. Therefore he does not need our help. Just as a mother may allow a child to help her while she bakes a cake God will allow us to help control the world around us. This mother could bake the cake better by herself, but she does allow the child to help, for his growth. God provides us the opportunity to be involved with the world in order to provide us a growth experience. If we walk by our own light and reject God’s, we become self-sufficient, and the result of self-sufficiency is torment. We risk torment later when these strengths fade.
“All of you that have reverence for the Lord and obey the words of his servant, the path you walk may be dark indeed, but trust in the Lord, rely on your God.”
We have already seen that the Bible teaches that God was a God of love. he wanted to do something for man. He wanted to save man. He wanted to free man from the curse of sin. How could He do it? God was a just God. He was righteous, and holy. He had warned man from the beginning that if he obeyed the Devil and disobeyed God, he would die physically and spiritually….
All through the Old Testament, God gave man the promise of salvation if by faith he would believe in the coming Redeemer. Therefore God began to teach His people that man could only be saved by substitution. Someone else would have to pay the bill for man’s redemption….
Thanks be to God – that is exactly what happened! Looking down over the battlements of heaven he saw this planet swinging in space – doomed, damned, crushed, and bound for hell. He saw you and me struggling beneath our load of sin and bound in the chains and ropes of sin. he made His decision in the council halls of God. The angelic hosts bowed in humility and awe as heaven’s Prince of princes and Lord of Lords, who could speak worlds into space, got into His Jeweled chariot, went through pearly gates, across the steep of the skies, and on a black Judean night, while the stars sang together and the escorting angels chanted praises, stepped out of the chariot,, three off His robes and became man!
(From Peace with God by Billy Graham)
meditate on the things God has saved you from: hell, drugs, despair, alcohol, sinful habits, hopelessness, restlessness, and selfishness. Thank God for this most wonderful gift of redemption.
What would it mean for you to start your day by trusting in God?
A five year old child may wish to drive his fathers car. But a Father will not put his child in a situation where he would need to drive that car, because he is not ready. The child may try on his own to drive, but only certain trouble will take place if he does. But that same father will provide the opportunity when the child is ready, the family is ready (i.e. car is available), and the world is ready (i.e. legally of age).
“David dedicated this (23rd Psalm – ‘I shall not want’) Psalm to those servants of God who forsake all worldly desires and rejoice in their own lot, whatever it may be. They appreciate their simple bread and water more than all of the delicacies of this world, for their attention is focused on the spiritual pleasures of the World to Come” (Ibm Ezra).
If the child waits till his father provides the opportunity, the child feels better about the situation along with the family, and the world.
“You may make your plans but God directs your actions.”
What role should feelings , circumstances, counsel, conscience, scripture, each play in knowing God’s will?
If we learn to trust God, to provide us with opportunities to act when God’s plan calls for our action. We will find that we, God’s family and the world will be better for it. Be sure you understand what you’re getting into, before you take the first step, be sure you are following God.
“People may plan all kinds of things, but the Lords will is going to be done.”
What discipline or instruction are you under now? For what reason or goal? What dose that say about the Lord’s prevailing purpose?
The other side of the coin is even more difficult. We must learn not to take things into our own hands and try to develop our own plan. If we act on our own, we are saying to God, I don’t like your plan, I am going to make myself God, I am going to take control. This I consider is the number one Sin or cause of an improper relationship with our God today. We place ourselves on God’s “Board of Directors.” The creation of this “board” will bring humanities downfall.
This is no different than when a child takes control of a family relationship. If the parents do what the child tells them to do, you will not have a family for long. It is unnatural and will cause grief for everyone concerned.
We either accept God as our Creator and Father or we don’t. If we do; then we cannot think we can control our lives and still be his child. This is unnatural and causes grief for us, God’s family and the world.
We must learn that as a child of God we must do our best, in the situations God has provides us. We must learn to trust him, his plans for us, his family and the world. Would you be embarrassed if your best friends knew your personal thoughts? Remember that God knows all of them.
“Those who try to hide their plans from the Lord are doomed! They carry out their schemes in secret and think no one will see them or know what they are doing. They turn everything upside down. Which is more important, the potter or the clay? Can something a man has made tell him: ‘You didn’t make me?’ Or can it say to him: ‘You don’t know what you are doing?'”
Very few people know the power of surrender. Most of us know only the power of resistance. We derive a kind of negative energy from holding out.
For example, we may resist our parents. We feel strong when we break the family’s rules or defy our parents’ admonitions. if they tell us not to stay out too late, we assert ourselves by coming home later than they advised. In a similar manner, we may defy spouses, teachers, bosses, the police, and even God.
God asks us to love him and obey his commandments (John 14:15; the book of 1 John), but we find power in “doing it our way.” i remember one physically large person who stood on a chair in my office so he could get closer to God. Then he shook his fist and yelled, “I dare you, God!” Most of us chose more subtle ways to defy God, but we defy him nonetheless.
… God looks the same upon all those who submit to him. God knows he made people in different ways: some short, some tall; some outgoing, some reflective; some emotional, some intellectual. The blessed part is that God made all of us, and he knows we will come to him in different ways. What is important is that we arrive.
When I surrender to a purpose i gain power, because once i surrender I am freed from the conflict of indecision. After I surrender to Jesus Christ, no longer is part of me resisting his call. I am able to be twice as forceful, because all of me is now headed in the same direction.
(From “How Do I Submit to Jesus Christ? by David and Cheryl Aspy in Practical Christianity)
How does your life say “God, I don’t trust you” in money matters, relationships, honesty, entertainment choices? Tell God all of your worries. Admit your defiance and ask him for help.
When was the last time you tried to sneak something past God so he wouldn’t notice?
Another aspect of Trust in our Father; is that we should not worry or be concerned about situations that occur in our life. If we as earthly children would worry and concern ourselves with areas of the responsibility of our parents, we would become nervous wrecks. We would also dishoner our parents by implying that they cannot handle these areas. We are useful only to the extent that we allow God to use us.
But the Lord says, “Can an ax claim to be greater than the man who uses it? Is a saw more important than the man who saws with it? A club doesn’t lift up a man; a man lifts up a club.”
The struggle we have with a holy God is rooted in the conflict between God’s righteousness and our unrighteousness. he is just and we are unjust. This tension creates fear, hostility, and anger within us toward God. The unjust person does not desire the company of a just judge. We become fugitives fleeing from the presence of One whose glory can bind us and whose justice can condemn us. We are at war with Him unless or until we are justified…
I remember the sultry summer day in 1945 when i was busy playing stickball in the streets of Chicago. At that time my world consisted of the piece of real estate that extended from one manhole cover to the next. All that was important to me was that my turn at bat had finally come. I was most annoyed when the first pitch was interrupted by an outbreak of chaos and noise all around me. People started running out of apartment doors screaming and beating dishpans with wooden spoons. I thought for a moment it might be the end of the world. It was certainly the end of my stickball game. In the riotous confusion I saw my mother rushing toward me with tears streaming down her face. She scooped me up in her arms and squeezed me, sobbing over and over again, “It’s over, it’s over, it’s over!”
It was VJ Day, 1945. I wasn’t sure what it all meant, but one thing was clear. It meant that the war had ended and my father was coming home. No more airmail to far-away countries. No more listening to the daily news reports about battle casualties…. The war was over and peace had come at last.
That moment of jubilation left a lasting impression in my childhood brain. I learned that peace was an important thing, a cause for unbridled celebration when it was established and for bitter remorse when it was lost….
When God signs a piece treaty, it is a sign for perpetuity. The war is over forever and ever. of course we still sin; we still rebel; we still commit acts of hostility toward God. But God is not a co-beligerent. he will not be drawn into warfare with us. We have an advocate with the Father. We have a mediator who keeps the peace. he rules over the peace because He is both the Prince of Peace and He is our peace.
(From The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul)
Rejoice because you have peace with God! Celebrate God’s forgiveness for you. Demonstrate God’s peace to others through your relationships. Help your co-workers and family to meet their needs. Relieve the disappointments of others.
When have you taken the credit for what was really God’s work in which you were merely an instrument?
We do the same; when we turn our life over to our God and Father, and yet worry or concern ourselves with how it is going. We must truly turn over our life to our Heavenly Father and not try to take control or feel responsible for results. If God always rescued those who were true to him. Christians would not need faith. There would be lines of selfish people ready to sign up.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered: “Your Majesty, we will not try to defend ourselves. If the God whom we serve is able to save us from the blazing furnace and from your power than he will. But even if he doesn’t, your Majesty may be sure that we will not worship your god…”
Daniel and his friends were men who stuck their necks out. This was not foolhardiness. They knew what they were doing. They had counted the cost. They had measured the risk. They were well aware what the outcome of their actions would be unless God miraculously intervened, as in fact He did. But these things did not move them. Once they were convinced that their actions would be unless God miraculously intervened, as in fact He did. But these things did not move them. Once they were convinced that their stand was right, and that loyalty to their God required them to take it, then, in Oswald Chamber’s phrase, they “smilingly washed their hands of the consequences.” “We ought to obey God rather than men,” said the apostles (Acts 5:29). “Neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy,” said Paul (Acts 20:24). This was precisely the spirit of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It is the spirit of all who know God. They may find the determination of the right course to taake agonizingly difficult, but once they are cllear on it they embrace it boldly and without hesitation. It does not worry them that others of God’s people see the matter differently, and do not stand with them. (Were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego the only Jews who declined to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image? Nothing in their recorded words suggests that they either knew, or in the final analysis, cared. They were clear as to what they personally had to do, and that was enough for them.) By this test also we may measure our own knowledge of God.
(From Knowing God by J. L. Packer)
Imagine yourself in a situation, perhaps in another country , where you are on trial for believing in Jesus. Would you stand firm in your faith in threatening circumstances? What would help you to be strong?
How do you (or anyone) remain faithful “if he does not” rescue you?
If we are doing the best we can to cope with the situation as it is, we are doing the only thing God expects of us. This is no different then when a child in our earthly family meets all of what we expect of him/her; and yet we do not or should not expect of them; to solve areas of responsibility we have as his parents. Living his way may not be popular, but it is true and right.
“Go in through the narrow gate, because the gate to hell is wide and the road that leads to it is easy, and there are many who travel it. But the gate to life is narrow and the way that leads to it is hard. and there are few people who find it.”
Is your pressing need to learn more or to practice what you have already learned?
This trust is not easy because of our earthly preferences. But it is required. True peace of mind and spirit will occur in our life when we turn over ALL responsibility to our God, for our life. And we concentrate on doing the best to perform within the situation God has put us and within the laws he has provided us. Those who trust in the Lord will have abundant strength, not only for their own needs, but even for the needs of others.
The Lord says, “I will condemn the person who turns away from me and puts his trust in man, in the strength of mortal man. He is like a bush in the desert which grows in the dry wasteland, on salty ground where nothing else grows. Nothing good ever happens to him.
“But I will bless the person who puts his trust in me. He is like a tree growing near a stream and sending out roots to the water. It is not afraid when hot weather comes, because its leaves stay green; it has no worries when there is no rain; it keeps on bearing fruit.
“Who can understand the human heart? There is nothing else so deceitful; it is too sick to be healed. I, the Lord, search the minds and test the hearts of men. I treat each one according to the way he lives and according to what he does.”
Where is our sense of moral outrage? Perhaps our moral sensibilities have been dulled because of today’s dazzling instant communications. We sit mesmerized in front of our TVs, unable to turn the sets off, so we turn our minds off instead.
over time, so much trash is heaped upon us that we come to expect and accept it; the bizarre becomes commonplace. Morally exhausted, we lose our capacity to discern good from evil.
The brilliant essayist Charles Krauthammer, citing economist Thomas Sowell, sums up our predicament beautifully: “The inability to make moral distinctions is the AIDS of the intellectuals: an acquired immune deficiency syndrome… moral blindness of this caliber requires practice. It has to be learned.”
In a culture with moral AIDS, words lose all meaning; or they are manipulated to obscure meaning… But when words lose their meaning, it is nearly impossible for the Word of God to be received. If sin and repentance mean nothing, then God’s grace is irrelevant. Our preaching falls on deaf ears.
This moral deafness leads to disaster. The Scriptures tell us it was when people accepted King Ahab’s gross evils as “trivial” that fearsome judgment befell ancient Israel.
Certainly evil is to be expected in a fallen world. What is not expected is for a holy people to accept it. If Christ is Lord of all, Christians must recapture their sense of moral outrage.
(From Who Speaks for God by Charles Colson)
What views about sin have softened so that they are even acceptable among Christians? What areas of life has this affected? Male-female relationships? Social settings? Family life? Don’t be drawn in by the world’s standards. Be morally pure in your dating or marriage relationship. Be bold in keeping a high standard. Don’t let Satan wear down your defenses.
Could your heart be deceiving you about the motives of some of your actions at work? At Home? In relationships?
A Child of Our Father in Heaven must change his attitude to one of trust and confidence. God who feeds the birds and dresses the lilies is not likely to neglect his children. So anxiety about the future is foolish and unnecessary (Matt. 6:25-34).
As part of canceling out this anxiety about the future, we must trust God to know what job we should be doing as part of our training. As Children of God we need to: do our jobs where we are and trust God that he will move us as he decides. Our only concern, should be to do the best we can where we are, to bring “Glory to God” and to learn the qualities God is training us in.
One of the tools God provides us to assist us in this action, is the ability to pray to him (talk to him). This prayer should be directed to committing ourselves to his “will being done” and asking him for the grace or ability to trust him and to cope with difficulties. We should make this a natural part of our day as we go through with iit. It should occur as if you were working side by side with your best friend, because you are. Your conversation with him should take place within your heart and mind as things occur within your day. And another factor is, if you start your day with committing yourself to his control, you will be living a prayer.
Humility is a keynote of life lived under the rule of God (Luke 14:7-11). Remember, obedience is not something extra we do; it is our duty. He is attacking unwarranted self esteem and spiritual pride.
“The servant does not deserve thanks for obeying orders, does he? It is the same with you; when you have done all you have been told to do, say, ‘We are ordinary servants: we have only done our duty.'”
Which quality of a disciple do you have the most difficulty with?
This profound statement by Christ, grabs us. It should be written on every Child of God’s heart.
“What right do you have to put God to the test as you have done today? Who are you to put yourselves in God’s place in dealing with human affairs? It is the Lord Almighty that you are putting to the test! Will you never learn? There is no way that you can understand what is in the depths of a human heart or find out what a person is thinking. Yet you dare to read God’s mind and interpret his thoughts! How can you claim to understand God, the Creator? No, my friends, you must stop arousing the anger of the Lord our God! If he decides not to come to our aid within five days, he still may rescue us at any time he chooses. Or he may let our enemies destroy us. But you must not lay down conditions for the Lord our God! Do you think that he is like one of us? Do you think you can bargain with him or force him to make a decision? No! Instead, we should ask God for his help and wait patiently for him to rescue us. If he wants to, he will answer our cry for help. We do not worship gods made with human hands.”
The distinctive Christian attitude is therefore one of humble and thankful trust in God, and dependence on what he has done through Christ, in short, “faith.” (Romans 1:17).
“Your hand guided all that happened then, and all that happened before and after. You have planned it all – what is happening now, and what is yet to be. Your plans have always been carried out. Whatever you want to be done is as good as done. You know in advance all that you will do and what decisions you will make.”
What is my prayer plan?
Walk not in Fear
(Phyllis C. Michael)
Today you do not walk alone
So do not walk in fear.
The Lord, your God, is everywhere,
In fact He’s very near.
Although you walk a path today
You’ve never walked before,
Walk on in faith, the Lord is near
And shall be evermore.
Although a door should open now
Presenting to your view
A scene unknown to human eyes,
Know this, God walks with you.
Let faith fill every waking breath –
To God each child is dear;
Today you do not walk alone
So do not walk in gear.
We may think we know God, but if our faith does not result in striving to complete obedience to God, our faith is dead (James 2:17).
When we accept that we are God’s children; who cannot reach him on our own, but must turn our lives over to him; we will accept the submission and obedience due to him. Then we will accept his love and forgiveness for any wrong we have done. This acceptance confirms that we understand that we are his Children. This acceptance is not enough, we must also live as his children and as brothers and sisters in the same family. Often people excuse selfishness, pride, or evil by claiming their rights. If we say we follow Christ, we must also may we want to live as he lived. Are you selfishly clinging to your rights?
“Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for one another. I urge you, then, to make me completely happy by having the same thoughts, sharing the same love, and being one in soul and mind. Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than themselves. And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. This attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.
“he always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to become equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had and took the nature of a servant. He became like man and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death.”
How would things change if verses above marked your family life? Church life? Work life?
With God’s own Son as our example, and with the guidance and support he has provides us; how can we not use our freewill to make the right decision and join him in heaven.
Does what you have learned, made you more optimistic or less, and why?
Why did God provide us with free will? This is a question that I would like to address at this point. We could have been created where we would do only what we were suppose to do. But since God wanted members of his family (sons and daughters) who He could share love with. He needed to create us in his likeness.
Why did God give us free will?
Their may be a question in your mind at this point. Isn’t the concept of free will incompatible with a already know plan of God? No! To illustrate this answer let me use a parable. Many students in certain college classes have conducted certain tests with mice in a maze. The mice in the maze may be given paths they could follow. But because of various reasons, they will go a certain way. The mouse has free will to choose his path. But his nature will normally direct him a certain way. We as humans created as part of this earth, have a earthly nature which will normally direct us certain ways. just as the mouse may be trained to take a path different than his normal nature which will normally direct us certain ways. Just as the mouse may be trained to take a path different than his normal nature to a better future. God may know what way we are going to take, but we still have to make that decision.
How am I going to improve my humility and “Childlike Nature?”
You as a human being could share love with another human being or with an animal. But you can not share love with a car or a coat. In order to be able to share love a creature must be free to accept, reject, and/to give love.
John Bechett, CEO of R. W. Beckett Corporation
John faced a crisis. An Arab oil embargo had caused oil prices to double, dramatically affecting his company’s sales of oil heating products. Beckett’s competition followed a predictable course, curtailing sales initiative, laying off staff, and adopting a siege mentality. Beckett, however, was a part of a men’s prayer group that regularly prayed for God’s guidance for the company. As they sought God’s will for the present situation, they all felt impressed that God was revealing to them that the embargo would be short-lived and that the company should continue with its operations and even increase sales efforts. The group sensed God saying, “Take one day at a time and let me lead.” God’s guidance though completely contrary to generally accepted business logic, proved brilliant. The company emerged from the crisis stronger than ever and ready to assume the position as the undisputed leader in their industry. Vision was born out of the revelation of God, not a textbook approach to crisis management.
O thank you, dear Lord, that I am never out of your sight. You are with me always. Grant that I might feel your presence each and every day. It is good to know I am never alone. Amen.