Tag Archives: God’s will

Taste and See

The Bible tells us to taste and see the Lord is good. This is one small step toward God, drawing near to Him to see Him with eyes opened. But it isn’t supposed to be a simple taste. Just as we don’t sit down at a full meal and simply taste a bite of food and walk away satisfied, so it is with our life with God.

Too many people take a small bite of the meal the Lord has prepared for them. Too many people are living life okay to have the assurance that they are saved because of their belief in Christ Jesus, yet the Lord has prepared so much more.

Are you missing the fullness of God because your relationship with Him was only about salvation? Are you not seeking the Lord’s face because you did not recognize His great desire to reveal Himself to you in a personal, intimate way? Are you living life on the breadcrumbs, and missing out on the power, the peace, the joy, the love that God has for you today?

Oh, taste and see, taste and see His goodness. Partake. Enjoy His presence. Rejoice in His provision. Thank Him for His great love. Drink deep of His mercy and grace. Consume His Word. Allow Him to have His way in every area of your life – blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!

“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” – Psalm 34:8 [ESV]

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Be Useful

Something that I have been thinking about a lot is usefulness. There are moments when we have items in our home that are not useful to us. Sometimes we have apps on our devices that are not useful. Maybe at a time they seemed useful, but things have changed. But usefulness isn’t only something we consider as objects or possessions. People can be useful or not useful too.

Paul was writing to Philemon about the runaway servant Onesimus. He tells Philemon about this change that has occurred. Yes, Onesimus was deserving of punishment, which could have meant a death sentence. It was within the legal limits. But Paul mentions this great conversion of Onesimus. Not only did he give his life to Jesus, but in doing so, he became useful. In saying, “Not my will, but Your will be done,” he became useful. God had big plans for Onesimus!

If someone would consider your usefulness, what would they say? Would they describe you as very useful? Do you think you are very useful? Or is something getting in the way? That something could even be you! Truth be told, you have a great purpose. God has known this since the very beginning. It is a purpose that I pray you embrace and pour yourself into as an offering. Aim today to come to terms with this usefulness, and if the Spirit convicts you, follow His leading. It is a very dangerous prayer to say, “Use me.” Yet is a prayer than can help position you for what God has already prepared. Be useful. Plant for a good harvest.

“Onesimus hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us.” – Philemon 1:11 [NLT]

Prosper in All

Blessed are those that “delight in the law of the LORD.” The Bible says that “they prosper in all they do.” For some, this may be seen as success, a success that brings anything and everything desired. But do not misunderstand what the Psalmist is sharing. The person will “delight in the law of the LORD.” This means that a blessed person is one who delights in God’s Word, in the commands of God.

In delighting in the law of the LORD, a person follows the law as best possible. In doing this, “they are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.” Because all of their actions are directed by God, “their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” This prospering does not mean they are prospering apart from God’s will. This prospering means that they are blessed because they follow the commands of God.

The people of God are crowned with success. Yes, crowned with success! But don’t think it’s a smooth ride and lots of riches. With the crowning of success, a child of God endures loss, trial, and suffering. The blessing is to come. The day will come when every child of the King will be crowned. And guess what, we will throw our crowns at the feet of the King. We will worship the King. “You are worthy, O Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For You created all things, and they exist because You created what You pleased” (see Revelation 4:10-11).

“But they delight in the law of the LORD, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” – Psalm 1:2-3 [NLT]

 

Falling on Your Knees

Today was the big Cross Country Invitational. The event included eighteen high school teams. I am always excited when the events are nearby so I can attend and watch my daughter run. I ran back and forth taking photos. This is something Cross Country parents can appreciate. When I stood at the finish line, I saw my daughter quickly approaching. All of the sudden she fell on her knees. I prayed quietly for her as she was on her knees with her face toward the ground. It looked like she was praying. She was pouring herself out, but not just in prayer. Only a runner or a parent of a runner can understand. I wanted to run to her, but I knew what she was doing, and I knew I couldn’t touch her or she would be disqualified.

My daughter got up from her knees and finished the race, even PRed (this means she beat her personal record). As I drove home with my camera fully loaded with photos, I considered my daughter on her knees, pouring out of herself. It reminded me of a moment of prayer from the Bible that I continue to be reminded of again and again. Hezekiah received a letter that disturbed him. He took it to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out. He spread the letter out before the Lord. What an awesome example of how we should pray. When my daughter fell down on her knees with her head facing the ground it reminded me of Hezekiah’s actions.

We don’t need to always fall on our knees. Prayer is a heart action. As I quietly prayed for my daughter while she was on her knees, that prayer was heard too. Nonetheless, there’s something special about falling on your knees. You are saying God is High. You are saying He alone is in control. You are saying you trust Him. You are fully surrendering to Him. You are worshiping Him and seeking His will in the situation. Yes, there is something special about falling on your knees.

“After Hezekiah received the letter from the messengers and read it, he went up to the LORD’s Temple and spread it out before the LORD.” – 2 Kings 19:14 [NLT]

Servant to Esau

In Genesis 32, we read about Jacob preparing to meet Esau. If you remember, the last time these two brothers were together, Jacob had taken Esau’s blessing through deception. Esau was furious and vowed to get revenge. Jacob fled to safety. In this chapter, Jacob wrestles with God and is renamed Israel. After all of this, he continues to call himself a servant to Esau.

Esau was the firstborn, and rightfully was to have the firstborn rights. We read about Jacob taking Esau’s birthright over some stew. We later read that Jacob dresses as Esau to take the blessing as well. God foreknew this all. Remember, Genesis 25:23 tells us that the birth order will be switched – the older will serve the younger—so this shouldn’t be a surprise.

As you look through Genesis 32 and 33, note all of the times Jacob says he is the servant to Esau. As many times as he states it, it never changes what God has ordained long ago. The line of blessing was Jacob’s line. This great line would become a great nation. It is through the line of Jacob that we find Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Today, consider who God says you are and what God has shown you for your life. This is precious. This is to be embraced. No matter how many times you try to reach for something else, deny something, change the order or design, God’s plan stands.

“But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.” – Psalm 33:11 [NIV]

Lights Out

Signing your name to something is often known as an endorsement. When you sign a check, you are endorsing it. By signing your name on the check, you are giving your word that there is money in your bank account to cover whatever amount is on the check. In life we endorse more than just checks. We can endorse people by giving them a written or verbal reference, or by slapping a bumper sticker on our car. We can endorse products by writing a review. When an accountant prepares your tax returns, he endorses the returns by signing them. When a person inspects your vehicle, that inspection sticker is an endorsement, stating that the car passed inspection per the state codes.

But what happens when one endorses something but it turns out to not be good? Often when a person’s word was trusted but found to be unworthy of trust, there is a loss of moral authority. This past week, I was on the bad end of a faulty endorsement. My family was blessed with a new van; however, the fellow that sold the vehicle promised to inspect it so it could have a fresh inspection sticker good for another year. I was happy and appreciative of the gesture. I was not happy a few days later; however, when I found myself being pulled over by a police officer for malfunctioning lights. They would have been checked with the inspection. What do you mean a few are out? How could that be? Today a different mechanic looked at the van and said he never saw anything like it. So many bulbs that weren’t working, among other items that would have failed with a state inspection. It was clear that I would never do business with the man that sold the van again. He lost my trust.

Integrity and moral authority are important; however, the world does not pay much attention to these items anymore. It is so often that one can lie and cheat their way to the top. We have accepted some sins as not-so-bad and traded the truth for a lie. We will endorse anything, not caring what it will do to our moral authority. Doing our best for God’s glory is put on the back-burner. Power, pleasure and possessions trump grace and truth. Today, remember God’s word reminds us we are not part of this world. We have a higher calling. Walk with integrity friends. You may be the only gospel a person reads. Point to Jesus.

“The integrity of the upright guides them, but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.” – Proverbs 11:3 [NIV]

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.” – Romans 12:1-2 [NIV]

Only Chance

I’ve lost count of how many times I listened to the words “only chance.” Time and time again, we get to a point when we have the opportunity to trust God to do something big in our lives. At times we hear these words – “it’s our ONLY CHANCE.” We listen. We take things into our own hands. We make heaps of messes.

In Genesis 19, we read about Lot settling in the mountains with his daughters. They had been safely escorted out of Sodom only for Lot’s daughters to cling to these words – only chance. They design a plan of drunken relations to continue their father’s bloodline. We also read of Abraham and Sarah caving to what they perceived to be their only chance for a child. This only chance became an interaction with Hagar, which was not part of God’s plan for the promised decedents that would be numbered as many stars that fill up the sky.

Following God’s will is difficult, especially when we start believing it is our only chance to do something we desire. What if we miss our one opportunity? Understand that God has a better plan that you can ask or imagine. You may believe that this is your only chance; however, if this chance isn’t coming to surface at this moment, perhaps God is working on something better. There is always a good reason. Trust and patience are increased as we continue to rest in Him.


I have been reading The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence by Eugene Peterson. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this new release from NavPress. I received this Bible free for review thanks to Tyndale House Publishers. I have read The Message (NavPress) twice and I have read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) as well, so I was eager to dig into the Message 100 to read this new version.

I am enjoying the chronological layout with the trusted paraphrase from Eugene Peterson. Reading in this order allows for a deeper understanding of the Bible, but written at a level that builds bridges for any reading level. It is a pure pleasure being able to sit and read God’s Word in the evening. During a recent message I preached, I recommended this new Bible, because I know that the Message paraphrase is a great translation to read along with a daily reading Bible. I always recommend having a few different translations to read for a deeper understanding. A chronological Bible is a blessing because it helps the reader to see things in an order that is not easy to understand when not in sequence.

The Message can be understood by any type of reader. This new Bible displays the verse numbers so you can look to your daily reading Bible for further study. As well, there is a guide to show where the books can be found as the order is chronological. The 100 readings are designed for a great progression through the books, without any loss to the message of the Gospel. The Bible allows for anyone to encounter Jesus and be moved by how He reveals Himself to us through His Word. There is plenty of room to write in the margins of this Bible as the Spirit leads.

themessage100.com

God Shut

There are moments in life when it can feel like you are doing everything. As a mother, I know a lot about carrying the load. Sometimes I go from chore to chore and forget to finish one before getting to the next. I often feel like a taxi driver. I actually have a bag filled with all I need so no matter where I am at, I’ll have what is needed for work or church or the kids’ school events. Sometimes it can feel like you are doing everything alone. Sometimes it can feel like you are in charge of making things finish up okay. You consider it your job to make it all come to success.

In Genesis 5, we read about Noah and the flood. God commands Noah to build this ark and to gather all these animals. It was a huge undertaking placed upon the shoulders of one man and his family. They worked hard for decades to build the ark and many years later they got everyone inside the ark. The Bible says he did everything that God commanded. He was faithful over many, many years. Then what happens? We read in Genesis 7, God shut the door behind him. God shut the door. God protected him and his family. God kept His promise. God finished it. The door needed closed from the outside. Only God could get the job done.

If you are following God’s plan for your life, don’t get discouraged. No matter what He has called you to do in life, He is going to ensure it is finished. You follow His commands and He will keep His promise. You follow the plan, you follow His will, and He will finish it. He sees things to completion. Every time. There are moments that we are following the path He has us on and we become doubtful—we don’t see the finish line. We worry. We lose focus. We don’t see the numbers. We don’t see the fruit. We don’t see what we think we should see. We forget that God finishes. Today, remember that He is in control of the completion of the great work He called you to begin. Each step you take, He is with you and He will see you to the finish!


I have been reading The Message 100: The Story of God in Sequence by Eugene Peterson. I am grateful for the opportunity to review this new release from NavPress. I received this Bible free for review thanks to Tyndale House Publishers. I have read The Message (NavPress) twice and I have read the NLT Chronological Life Application Study Bible (Tyndale) as well, so I was eager to dig into the Message 100 to read this new version.

I am enjoying the chronological layout with the trusted paraphrase from Eugene Peterson. Reading in this order allows for a deeper understanding of the Bible, but written at a level that builds bridges for any reading level. It is a pure pleasure being able to sit and read God’s Word in the evening. During a recent message I preached, I recommended this new Bible, because I know that the Message paraphrase is a great translation to read along with a daily reading Bible. I always recommend having a few different translations to read for a deeper understanding. A chronological Bible is a blessing because it helps the reader to see things in an order that is not easy to understand when not in sequence.

The Message can be understood by any type of reader. This new Bible displays the verse numbers so you can look to your daily reading Bible for further study. As well, there is a guide to show where the books can be found as the order is chronological. The 100 readings are designed for a great progression through the books, without any loss to the message of the Gospel. The Bible allows for anyone to encounter Jesus and be moved by how He reveals Himself to us through His Word. There is plenty of room to write in the margins of this Bible as the Spirit leads.

themessage100.com

Colossians Study: The Will of God

[Colossians 1:9-14]

Prayed for:

  • “Wise minds and spirits attuned to His will” [MSG]
  • “All the wisdom & understanding that His Spirit gives” [CEV]
  • “God to give you complete knowledge of His will and to give you spiritual wisdom and understanding” [NLT]

Prayed for:

  • Practical Obedience (1:10) – Knowledge & obedience go together

True spiritual wisdom must affect daily life

Wisdom / Walk / Work – Cannot work for God unless we walk with Him, cannot walk with Him if ignorant to His will

General will = clearly in Bible                Specific will = always agrees with Bible

Knowing general will makes it easier to know specific will for daily life

God wants us to:

  • Know His Will (Acts 22:14)
  • Understand His Will (Ephesians 5:17)

Paul prayed for ALL wisdom & understanding, COMPLETE knowledge…

Complete = Filled full                    Filled = Controlled by

  • Filled with _______ (ex: anger, jealously)
  • Filled with Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

Controlled by full knowledge of God’s will

How? By all wisdom & spiritual insights. Understand will of God through Word of God. Holy Spirit teaches us to submit to Him (John 14:26, John 16:31)

THEN…

  • You will live a life that honors the Lord
  • You will always please Him by doing good deeds
  • You will come to know God even better
  • You will be patient & strong to endure everything because of His power
  • You will be truly happy

Bible Study Questions:

1) Paul prayed for the Colossians to have ALL wisdom and understanding. He grasped that God wants us to know and understand His will – and to do this would bring us closer to Him. With our reading, the words patient and strong and happy appear. What does this mean for us?

2) What is the hardest thing about following God’s will?

 

3) When we have this completeness (fullness), we will be controlled by it. We will then be able to determine what God wants. How do we determine God’s Will—how do we determine what He wants?

 

4) Let us dig deeper into God’s Word.

Read each of these verses and decide what each verse says about God’s will for us.

  • Read 2 Peter 3:9
  • Read Ephesians 5:18
  • Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3
  • Read 1 Peter 2:15
  • Read 1 Peter 5:10
  • Read Psalm 37:4

This is one part of a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on Colossians. The 12 weeks include:

Gospel Truth
Will of God
Lord of All
Ministry to Maturity
Foolish Philosophies
Men of Rules
Realities of Heaven
Taking Responsibility
Godly Living
Worship Work
Good Words
True Forgiveness

More Than a Story: Fruitfulness

[The Unproductive Fig Tree: Luke 13:6-9, Withered Fig Tree: Matthew 21:18-22]

Colossians 1:9-10“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” [NIV]

*BEARING FRUIT IN EVERY GOOD WORK*

  • Filled with the knowledge of His will
  • Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord
  • Bearing fruit in every good work

INTERNAL FRUIT + EXTERNAL FRUIT

            Internal Fruit – Deeper walk with God which produces: Fruits of the Spirit

            External Fruit – Abiding in Christ impacts relationships and increases effectiveness of your ministry

Galatians 5:22-23a – “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” [NLT]

John 15:5“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” [NASB]

John 15:8, 11“My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be My disciples… I have spoken these things to you so that My joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” [HCSB]

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:14-21 [NIV]

Bible Study Questions:

1) Looking at the Parable of the Unproductive Fig Tree, who is:

            The Vineyard Owner –

The Vineyard Keeper –

2) The Keeper of the Vineyard pleas with the Owner to give another chance. What does this say to us?

3) In Matthew 21:18-22, we read of the Withered Fig Tree. The fig tree bears a false resemblance of one that would have fruit. How can we appear to be fruitful but not yet not bear any fruit?

4) What does the Withered Fig Tree represent to us? What can we take from this message?

5) Read Colossians 1:9-10. The passages mentions being filled with the knowledge of His will, to walk in the manner worthy of the Lord, and about bearing fruit in every good work. How can we:

            Be filled with the knowledge of His will?

            Walk in a manner worthy of the Lord?

            Bear fruit in every good work?

more than a story

More Than A Story is a 12-week Sermon Series and Bible Study focused on the parables of Jesus.

Richness
Forgiveness
Persistence
Fruitfulness
Obedience
Humility
Compassion
Responsiveness
Repentance
Readiness
Faithfulness
Kingdom-Focused