Thursday, August 6, 2009

God's Will

Phillipians 4:6-7 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As I continue to ponder Balance, I keep coming back to peace. Last month, I ended my blog thoughts with Paul's exhortation to pray without ceasing. Phillipians adds that the God of peace will be with me to guard my heart and mind, when I pray and let His will be mine. How do I know if I am in God's will?

Take a look at these thoughts from Shelly Radic, Director of Ministry Life at MOPS International:

Years ago, tuning in to a television show meant walking up to the television and adjusting antennae until the picture and sound came into focus. Tuning in required a physical engagement unknown to current viewers. Today, we sit at a distance and with the click of the remote, control everything- volume, channel, brightness. Tuning in is easy.

We often expect to hear God in the same way. We sit at a distance, fire off a prayer and expect God to instantaneously fill our minds with a clear picture of his perspective on a situation. And when that doesn’t happen, we wonder why we aren’t hearing from God.

Hearing God’s perspective involves engagement with him. To know his perspective requires moving ourselves mentally into his presence, acknowledging that we are always physically in his presence, and adjusting our thoughts and daily activities until his voice is our primary focus. Tuning in to God often requires that we tune out all the other voices clamoring for our attention.

John 10:2-5 says The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

How do the sheep know where the shepherd is leading them?
Why don’t they follow a stranger?
What voices are most familiar to you?
How might these voices make it difficult for you to hear God?

Daniel was a busy leader, with many voices speaking to him every day.
Daniel 6:10-11, Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.

How will you organize your day to ensure God’s voice is increasingly familiar? The sheep in John 10 and Daniel, the busy leader, could each follow God because they were familiar with his voice.

In Psalm 48:14, God promises to be our guide forever! I think of how He sent the pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day to the Israelites to let them know when to move. I don't need to pray every day and ask God, "Am I still in your will? Am I still where you want me to be?" The Holy Spirit is even better than a cloud. It is God in us, His very presence. I have learned that when He wants me to move, God will move the "cloud" -- change the circumstances, present a different opportunity, allow a crisis to occur, inspire anger or passion about something, reveal or validate the same thing over and over again in different ways.

Romans 12:2 says Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. You might be surprised where God's will leads you, but it is the safest place to be.

As a postscript, I found this video by Martina McBride, that I had to share! It's called God's Will Be sure to get out the tissues before you listen.

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