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Monday, January 7, 2013

Is the Lord with You on This?

People are always trying to discern God's will. They often do so in mundane things like whether they should choose a certain color car or which dress they should wear to work. Some of that is ridiculous.

The first question we must answer in knowing God's will is whether or not God has commanded us to do it. If He has called us to a task we should not continue to ask if this is His will. It is. He has already said so.

The next question is for most of the other things we do. These are the things where we seek His will but are not really sure because we know that we can find a scripture or a sign for just about anything we want to do. Thus, we can't even trust ourselves in determining God's will.

The question is: Will God be with me in what I am seeking to do? Of course, you should know that He is with you right now before you ask that question. If you don't know His presence, you should seek Him with your whole heart. You must seek Him until you know His presence. Then, you will be ready to ask whether He will be with you in what you desire.

There has to be a trust that is developed. You trust Him with all your heart. Thus, you can trust that He will answer your prayers. You can trust that He will bring about anything He has desired for you. You can know you have victory before the battle begins.

God told Joshua that He would be with him in the taking of the Promised Land. He told the Israelites that rebelled against Him that He would not be with them when they decided to go to take the Promised Land. It is clear that God's ultimate purpose was to give this land to His people but those who would do so needed His presence. The lack of His presence assured defeat.

Personally, I don't even want to start something that is guaranteed defeat. Why would I want to do something without the Lord?

Sometimes Christians make decisions as if it is the next logical step. They see the extension of church buildings or even the beginning of a mission as things that must be the will of the Lord. After all, doesn't He want us to reach people? Wouldn't it all be easy if you could just put things in categories like that? No, the Promised Land had to be taken with the right people at the right time. And so it is with a church or a person.

So, the real question is whether or not God will be with us when we do what we would like to do.

Deuteronomy 31:23 (ESV)
23 And the LORD commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.”

Deuteronomy 1:42 (ESV)
42 And the LORD said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’


Anonymous said...

So, the real question is whether or not God will be with us when we do what we would like to do.

That is the ending question Ps Prentis posed. Indeed, that is the question some of us asked. It is sad often only some of us ask, not all of us.  For those who ask, "Will the Lord be with us on this?", how many of us get a reply? What if you don't get a reply? How long must you wait?  Do you need to wait? What are we to do when we aren't sure; don't do anything? If it is to be so, wouldn't us end up doing nothing?  Is that right, to be doing nothing?

I once heard from the wife of a pastor that if we have NOT the unction, we should NOT pray for another! Is that right, when, for example, a person has come before you, and ask if you could pray for him/her because he/she has a need? If you are a pastor, minister,  preacher or an intercessor, can you NOT pray for the person, just because you don't get any "signal" from God, there and then? The answer is "No", you cannot simply not pray, just because you don't feel or get anything special! It is when you are a school teacher, you cannot, today, go to school, and say, "I am not going to teach; I don't have the urge to teach, today!" You are teacher, you teach; if you are a pastor, you have to pray for those needing prayers. You can decide not to be a teacher, but if you have become a teacher, you are to teach; you can decide not to be a pastor, but if you have become one, you have to pray for your charge, when your charge needs your prayer.

So, there are things we don't have to ask, and there are things we have to ask. A pastor does not ordinarily need to ask if he should pray when one of his charge comes to him for prayer. A church member does not ordinarily need to ask the Lord if he should attend the usual church services. Now, the pastor may ask the Lord if there is anything he should address in the prayer; and the member, if there is anything (out of the usual) that the Lord would like him/her to do in the church service.  But if the pastor hears nothing from the Lord, he is still to pray for the charge needing the prayer; and if the member also hears nothing from the Lord, he too, should still go to the church service (both are still to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit when they are at it - praying and attending a service)! It is not that the pastor should not pray, or the member, not to go to the church service! 

You don't blame the Lord, if soon enough, you lose most of your sheep, if you don't pray for people until you hear the still small voice of God, for example. You may end up not attending any church services for months on end, if you insisted to hear from God before you would go to church! Now, the pastor is to pray, and the member, to attend church services; why? Because it is the thing exhorted to us, in Scripture, to do!

Cont. On next page

Anonymous said...

Cont.. From above

We have to make the distinction between scenarios of God telling us NOT to do a thing, and those where God is silent there and then, but are "logos-ly", things God has exhorted us to do, and are falling under Phil 4:8.

When God tells us to do, we do, full stop; when God tells us NOT to do, we don't do, full stop.  This is called obedience. We do not even need to understand God's command, we just obey. Obedience to God does NOT need understanding. We need to understand before we obey a man, but NOT when it comes to obedience to God.  Why? Because God cannot be wrong, but man can.

Now for the things falling under Phil 4:8, the whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, and the anything is excellent or praiseworthy, we are to think about them (said v8), and put them into practice (said v9), and the God of peace will be with us, said the Apostle Paul. Did Paul get it wrong or was it that he exaggerated it, that God would be with us? No, I don't think so. 

God should not be faulting us for doing things he exhorted us to do, in His Word, logos-ly, as it may be (God could fault us, though, when we are NOT of right heart condition).  I do not think my belief is misplaced, for it is corroborated by other texts in Scripture.  For example, in Matt 25, on the narrative of "who are the goats and who are the sheep", the Lord said, concerning the things that the people (the sheep) did - feeding, and clothing the needy, etc, that the people had done them to Him, the Lord, to which the people said they did even realize they were doing those things to  the Lord! Do you think they had asked the Lord, there and then, if they ought to do, the things they did? Honestly, the context revealed to us that the people (the sheep) simply did those things because they were exhorted in Scripture. They knew God had left instructions for them to do so, and they had done them because they believed that would please the Lord.

Knowing it is an instruction of Lord and doing it with the faith that it would please the Lord is what Scripture termed as "doing as unto the Lord". Romans 14:6 (KJV) said this:

He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.

The heart condition, I have said, is important.  A non-believer, for example, can be doing the same act as a believer; the heart condition of the non-believer is not as unto the Lord, for he knows NOT the Lord, but the same, of a believer, can be, though not necessarily be, as unto the Lord, and when it is, it counts.

Cont. On next page

Anonymous said...

Cont. From above

Of course, it is good that we hear from God every time before we do something, but it is NOT necessarily so, for everything.  I often encourage believers to serve the Lord in some way, even if it is just to be ushers or greeters for church services. I would say, ordinarily, there is really no need to follow this, "I have asked the Lord, but I did not hear anything, and so, I would not even be an usher!" Isn't this, serving the Lord in some way, falling within the things covered under Phil 4:8? 

Frankly speaking, with Phil 4:8-9, no one has the excuse to be just basking in grace, and doing nothing or idle. If you have not, the specific will of God for you, begin with one or more small things within the things of that text, and God will be with you; and from there, through God being alongside you, in His time, He would direct you more and more.

The most important thing is our heart must be engrossed in after God's heart all the time. If all we want is to please Him all the time, would He NOT be with us? Scripture, in Ps 37:23-24, said this: 
23 If the Lord delights in a man’s way,
    he makes his steps firm;
24 though he stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Yes, King David comes to mind; many times God made firm his steps, and though he stumbled, he did not fall.

Or perhaps, another angle we can take, is, we begin with this question: Will this please God? And then we progress to: Is the Lord with me on this? In other words, perhaps, we are to begin with God's general will and then progress to the specific will of God for us, individually.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions