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Friday, May 14, 2010

The Lord Will Help You Know Where and What You Need to Do

Sometimes you need direction. Of course, you go to your family and friends. Of course, think out your own solutions. Sometimes there seems to be no good answer. Some decisions must be made right the first time. Trial and error won't do.

Let's say you are considering marriage. This is not one of those decisions which trial and error will do. You want to do this one time and know that you have to do it right. Should you depend upon emotions alone? Should you say that your love will make things go right even if everything else is wrong? Should you wait for a better time?

You won't find the answer in a fortune cookie. Your parents and others may be no help. They will probably ask you the things you have already asked yourself. "Are you in love?" How does anyone know that the emotion he is feeling is love? Knowing that time will tell doesn't really help.

There are other decisions which need an answer that can't be easily discerned. When do you know which church to join? If you are a minister, which church should you serve? Should you take the job in front of you or should you wait for what you really want? Should you invest in _________ (you fill in the blank)?

These decisions need an outside source who loves you, knows you and knows what is best for you. These decisions need to be brought before the Lord. That is generally more of a process than an exercise.
I often have to take my Bible, a notebook and get away from everything in order to hear God's answer. I make sure that I am clear in what I am asking. I am also clear that God may step outside my box and give me something I haven't asked for. I have gone to God asking if I should go to another church when He has told me to stay put. I didn't think that was an option but God gave me this answer.

God's solution to my question doesn't always look like the best thing. I went to serve at one church without knowing the salary they would pay me. Their accommodations for me during the interview led me to believe they couldn't pay me enough to live near the church. God clearly told me to go and I put the salary in His hands. I didn't know they were quite capable of paying my salary. The salary they gave me was more than adequate. On the surface, however, it looked like a bad financial decision. God knew what I didn't and I had an incredible ministry at that church.

Often, God waits to give an answer. I must admit I hate this. I know that I am not ready for the answer when this happens. I simply keep praying. I have had God give me the answer of where He wanted me years before He led me there. I understood the need to wait after I received the blessing God had for me. Knowing this has not made me a person who loves to wait. I still hate to wait but I must if I am to have God's answer. I shouldn't have gone to Him if I didn't really want that answer.

Most of the time I have been forced to be quiet before I can hear God. I have said all that I can to God. I just listen for some time before He speaks. Again, it has something to do with my readiness and willingness to listen. He has never been silent forever.

I have been asking God to do something for our church fervently for the past few months. I have prayed, cried out and asked what I need to do. I have had silence until a couple of days ago. One of my staff was talking to me about an unrelated subject when the Lord spoke to me. He said, "You think that by your crying out to Me that I will do what you want. You think that your prayers are going to make Me do what you want. You have never placed your problem in My hands. This has always been about you and what you would do." That hit me right between the eyes. I haven't stopped praying but this answer changed my prayers. I now pray, "Lord, it is your problem and it is in your hands. Blessed be Your Name." The effort to make God do what I want is gone. This is where I needed to be in the first place.

I have to pray that God will answer my prayers and somehow let me know that it was Him. I didn't know whether or not to go into the ministry but I promised God I wouldn't go without a "Damascus Road" experience. I wanted something that was clearly God. God gave me that experience and I went. I didn't know whether or not I should become a senior pastor. God gave me a definite calling so I would not deny what He had called me to. I have tried to wiggle out of these callings but God keeps bringing me back to when He spoke so clearly to me. I can't escape knowing what God has said.

So, call unto God. Call until you hear. Call until you know it is Him. Don't be surprised if His answer is something you never considered. Know it is the best for you. It is the best because He loves you.

Romans 8:26 (NIV)
26  In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

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