FINDING GOD'S WILL

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FINDING GOD'S WILLCopyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSIONŽ, NIVŽ Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

A subtitle for this essay would be "Guarding Against the Obvious": or "Guarding Against Assumptions."

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. (Romans 12:2)

Are we meditating on the actions of Satan in the earth, that we read in the newspapers and hear on the television; or are we meditating on the promises found in the Old and New Testaments?

If we are renewing our mind in the promises of God, then we will be transformed into God's image. Also we will know His will for us. Otherwise we are going to be tossed about by what is taking place in our nation and the world and will be fearful, fretting about what is taking place.

Would it not be better to trust in the power and promises of Christ than to keep looking at the antics of Satan in the earth?

The majority of God's people, it seems, spend a good deal of time fretting and worrying. Why is this? It is because they are clutching relationships, circumstances, or people. They are afraid they will lose someone or something that they treasure.

Yet, the thirty-seventh Psalm commands us not to fret. We are going against God's will for us when we do so.

Notice the following:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

True, or not? If it is true that God is turning all that is happening into something that will benefit us, we have no reason to fret or worry. I think we Christians continually need to remind ourselves that God's promises in the Bible are as a gigantic rock that cannot be changed in any manner for the duration of eternity.

When we read the newspaper we are tempted to fret. It appears our government to a great extent consists of self-seeking liars whose prime objective is to stay in power regardless of the welfare of the country.

God says He is making it all work together for good.

Are we to be passive as evil overtakes us? Of course not. We are to be praying constantly that God will give us peace, and that we will know what to do personally about the situation, if anything.

See what Paul has commanded us:

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. (Romans 12:2)

We must keep on presenting our body a living sacrifice. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, not by reading the newspaper. By so doing we are able to learn what God's will is for us. Meanwhile we are kept in perfect peace.

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. (Isaiah 26:3)

What else has been commanded:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

It is when we turn our eyes away from the Lord Jesus that, like Peter when he was endeavoring to walk on the water, we begin to sink.

Paul has told us not to focus on the negative but to keep our minds in the heavenlies.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. (Colossians 3:1,2)

And the following:

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8)

We may fear that the present government is going to change our economic system from capitalism to socialism. Are we assuming this is a bad thing? Have we heard from God that He wants to preserve an economic system which has as its highest goal the amassing of more money than we need to live on? Is this our goal in life? Don't we understand that in the spirit world money does not exist? The angels are not frustrated in their responsibilities by a lack of funds.

If you think about it, the artist cannot employ his talent because of a lack of money. The musician cannot perfect his or her abilities because of a lack of money. The author cannot spend his days creating novels because of a lack of money. The inventor has to work at night on his ideas because he has to work during the day to earn money.

God has created man to play, as in the Garden in Eden. By playing I mean doing what God has gifted him to do and has put in his heart to want to do. But so often he cannot because he has to work for his food, clothing, and shelter.

This is not true in the spirit world. People are free to worship Christ and do His will without having to worry about money.

If we build our lives around money, are we going to be prepared when we pass into the spirit world and money is not present as a means of commerce?

If we do not know what God's will is, why are we fretting about the motives of our government? Are their motives evil and un-American? Perhaps. Are we to look to Jesus or to look to our assumptions?

I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. (Psalms 16:6)

How about the homosexuals? It appears they are multiplying their influence everywhere, particularly in the public schools. Also, the government may make it impossible to home-school; or will, at least, demand its ungodly values be part of the home-school curriculum.

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. (Psalms 112:7)

Here is an evil we as parents may be able to do something about. However, we are not to fret. We are to listen carefully to the Lord Jesus to see if there is anything we should do. And we are not to act in fear and anger, but calmly as we keep our eyes fixed on the Lord.

How about Mexican people flooding across the border? Have you ever asked the Lord about that? I see in this an opportunity to bring the Gospel to Mexican people. They tend to be more humble than we whites are, and may be able to follow Christ in His latest plans for His Kingdom.

Some people in our church spend time, energy, and money going to Mexico to spread the message of the Kingdom of God. Meanwhile they are streaming across our borders. Our job is to receive them and to teach them about the Kingdom of God.

I think we fret because we are afraid. We need to be delivered from fear, in the light of God's promises to the righteous who trust Him.

I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. (Psalms 37:4)

He delivered me from all my fears. There is no need for us to fear. God will take care of us, or else bring us to Heaven.

I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread. (Psalms 37:25)

Some are saying there will be widespread famine. Are we to listen to them or to the Lord Jesus?

But what if the Muslims bring a nuclear bomb across the border in a suitcase?

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name." (Psalms 91:14)

It may be true that one of our greatest causes of fear, and of fretting is that the Muslims are going to take over our country. And they yet may! They certainly are succeeding in England!

There are a couple of facts to consider. First of all, our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the only true God. This means Allah of the Muslims is not a true God. And he assuredly is not. We know this is true from the way women and girls are treated. Our God, who gave Eve to Adam to be a helper suited to him, never meant for Adam to beat Eve with a stick, as is permitted I understand in the Muslim writings.

In many places in the world it is reported that Muslims are killing people in the name of their God. Allah certainly is not merciful, nor is he anything like our gracious Father who has commanded us to pray for our enemies.

We American Christians appear to be losing the fight against the Muslims. Yet, we worship the true God, and Jesus Christ His Son and our Lord.

Why are we giving way to a false God? It is because the Christian people are living in "grace" instead of in righteous behavior. If we would turn away from our sins and show in ourselves the good works of Jesus Christ, I believe numerous Arab people would see what they are looking for, and turn and be healed. They will never worship the true God while so-called Christian people are indulging their sinful nature, living in the lusts of the flesh.

The Muslims attempt to honor modesty, and that is praiseworthy. However by regarding their wives as their possession, and marrying little girls, we cannot agree to their teaching about women. We Christians in America are guilty of immorality, and so are the Muslims. If we lose our country, it will be because we have forfeited it to Satan.

So we are to meditate in the Scriptures, not in the newspaper. Then we will have peace, and not sin against God by fretting.

One predominant reason why we fret rather than look continually to God for His will is that we are afraid of suffering. Historically, Christians have suffered greatly. We are no different from them. Suffering serves a good purpose and is an important aspect of our change into the image of Christ.

Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. (I Peter 4:1)

We in America are prone to turn away our faces from the monumental suffering in other parts of the world, even from the suffering of Christians in those countries. Just as long as we are comfortable and well fed we will fight to preserve our way of life, even though massive trunk-lines of moral filth are being pumped from our country to the developing countries.

But what about the welfare of other people? It is no wonder that we have thousands of people rebelling in major cities of our country, demanding change. It very well may be true that such occupiers are the unwitting pawns of Communists and Socialists who are seeking to change our financial patterns.

But as long as we are comfortable we will do little other than to fret about those incidents that would cause us to be fearful.

God is holding us accountable for the abortions, the worship of sexual lust, the abusing of little children (one child abused every five hours in America—some to the point of death), the permitting of false gods to receive worship on our soil, the worship of money. The Divine judgment is upon us, beginning with our financial state.

We must keep presenting our body a living sacrifice, looking continually to Jesus that we may know God's will in every circumstance. We must guard ourselves against following the obvious; following our assumptions.

Sometime when God is ready to take someone home, whether a child or a senior citizen, we often do not pray. It is right that we should make an effort to keep the person alive. But what about prayer? Are we going against God's will and causing the person to suffer needlessly?

Hezekiah was told by Isaiah that he was about to die. Hezekiah responded incorrectly. Instead of going to God to find out what God was doing in his life, Hezekiah took it for granted that it was God's will to heal him. It was not! The proof of that is the birth of Manasseh, who was one of the wickedest of the kings of Israel.

"Remember, O LORD, how I have walked before you faithfully and with wholehearted devotion and have done what is good in your eyes." And Hezekiah wept bitterly. (II Kings 20:3)

Manasseh was born three years after this prayer. How much better would it have been if Hezekiah had asked the Lord if it was his time to die. This is why we have to live with our eyes fixed on the Lord Jesus and seek His will, rather than assuming what we should do, even if it appears obvious.

There are things going on in our nation, according to the newspapers, that give the appearance that the old America we are accustomed to is giving way to new religions, new philosophies of government and economics. To many people it is "obvious" that this is not good. They are vocal in their opposition to our political leaders. They wish to preserve our former way of life.

This is understandable. But we need to ask this question before we begin to fret or take action: "How does the Lord feel about this?

It reminds me of an incident in the Book of Acts where the Jewish elders were furious and wanted to kill Peter and the Apostles. These members of the Sanhedrin never went to God about the issue, to them it was ""obvious" that the men were worthy of death.

However, Gamaliel issued a wise caution:

"Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God." (Acts 5:38,39)

Gamaliel did not suggest that they all pray. But he did point out that they did not know whether or not they were doing God's will. In fact, the elders indeed were fighting against God. It is not enough for us to become righteously indignant when we are resisting one thing or another that makes us uncomfortable. We need to keep in the Presence of the Lord Jesus so we will know what to do; how to respond.

These same elders had crucified their Messiah, the very Son of God, by acting without going to God for His wisdom. Neither then, nor now when they were discussing the fate of Peter and the other Apostles of Christ, did they ask God if their judgment was true. Yet they were the religious leaders of Israel.

Today we have many distinguished church leaders telling us how we should vote; how our country should be guided. Have they heard from God or are they assuming that it is obvious God wants to have America return to a previous way of life? I don't think they have prayed and asked God what He wants. I think they have told God what they think is right. There is quite a difference in these two approaches.

If the truth be known, it may be a fact that many if not most Christian efforts are conducted without anyone hearing from God. They are making assumptions from what seems obvious to them. This is what the Sanhedrin did when it called for the murder of Christ; and what they were contemplating doing to Peter and the Apostles.

But they were in error.

Today we "know" what God's will is! Is that so! Do we suppose that the men of the Sanhedrin deliberately murdered God's Son? They were positive that they knew God's will, just as our political and religious leaders are positive they know God's will.

Will we ever learn to keep going to Christ about what we think; what we say; and what we do? It has been characteristic of mankind since its creation to seek to conduct its affairs without consulting God. Why this is I do not understand, when it is so much easier to request God's wisdom and assistance than it is to rely on our own experience, talents, wisdom, and strength.

I have never heard of a Muslim stating that he had heard from God; and I have seldom witnessed a Christian leader or congregant maintaining that he or she had heard from God. On and on we go, plowing ahead in ignorance of what Christ actually is desiring, saying, and doing.

Have you noticed in the Book of Mark that the Lord worked with them, confirming the word with signs following? It does not state that they worked for the Lord. Yet we say that only what's done for Christ will last instead of only what's done with Christ will last. Do we believe the almighty Christ needs our opinion on anything or our help with anything?

Is Christ so poor that He stands with his hand out, begging the church people for money? Is it true that the doors are closing to mission work? Isn't true, rather, that the door is closing to mission work that is being driven by the wisdom and power of man? How can any nation close its door to the all-powerful Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to whom the nations are but a drop in the bucket?

I read once, in a Christian magazine that often has profitable things to recount, that missionary works can proceed only as sufficient money is available. Does that sound like God to you? If missionary endeavors supposedly operate for God's benefit, is the Creator of the universe unable to pay for them? Can money do what the Spirit of God cannot do?

Oh, but you are being impractical. Am I? What does the Bible have to say about God's authority and power. In the Old Testament God spoke about the people not contributing to the work of restoring Jerusalem. In the New Testament Paul spoke about being generous, especially in the work of helping the poor.

It is like a father giving his daughter money so she could buy him a present. In other words, God's desire that we give is for our own sake, not because God does not have the power to bring the Gospel wherever He wants it. The problem arises when we work for Christ instead of with Christ.

Christ spoke the present universe into existence, as the Father moved Him to do, and enabled Him to do. Has Christ become helpless? Man's attempts to build the Kingdom of God always will fail. Only what Christ does will stand. The lesson from this is, we need to hear from Christ and follow Him rather than attempt to lead Him.

Isn't it time for God's people to pray that we will know what Christ wants each of us to do, and then pray that He will help us to be sternly obedient? The Lord has no problem with the politics of America. He can change them in any way that suits His plans for America. Christ can do what He desires at any time He wishes. He can give us a strong, righteous, wise, conscientious leader if this is what He wants for America in these days.

But we have the leadership we do because we are not, as Christian believers, turning away form our sinful behavior. We are trusting that God does not see our behavior because of some sort of unscriptural, mystical, schizophrenic "grace."

I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them. (Isaiah 3:4)

When a nation does not fear and serve God, then the above verse tells us God's response.

It is helpful to note the response of the prophets when the Israelites were carried off into Babylon. They were advising the captives that they soon would be released.

In the fifth month of that same year, the fourth year, early in the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, who was from Gibeon, said to me in the house of the LORD in the presence of the priests and all the people: "This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon. Within two years I will bring back to this place all the articles of the LORD's house that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon removed from here and took to Babylon. I will also bring back to this place Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and all the other exiles from Judah who went to Babylon,' declares the LORD, 'for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon.'" (Jeremiah 28:1-4)

The Israelites would assume it was God's will to deliver them from Babylon, based on their deliverance from Egypt. But look what Jeremiah, the man who was hearing from God, announced:

This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: "Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." (Jeremiah 29:4-7)

The above statement was not in keeping with the previous history of Israel, when God had delivered them from their enemies. It was not something that was obvious. But it was God's will now, and those who obeyed God prospered. Those who did not were punished. The Jews had not served God and God had permitted this Babylonian captivity. But even then He was merciful to those who obeyed Him.

It would have been worth Jeremiah's life to tell a king of Israel that he already was defeated. But, although it may not have been obvious at the time, it was the truth.

What does this tell us about America? Are we to look back in our history to see what God is doing today and how we should respond? Or should we present our body a living sacrifice and find out what God is saying about America; about our approaching insolvency; about Islam, about the homosexuals;, about the actions of some in the government who possibly may be leading us deliberately to bankruptcy in order to move us toward socialism?

Should we fret ourselves and keep our household in a state of unrest? Or should be go to Christ and find out what He is telling us to do as an individual? What do you think is the wise attitude and action to take?

Remember, it is fear that causes fretting. The fear comes from our clutching of relationships, or circumstances, or things. Our Lord Jesus told us to put our treasures in Heaven, to not try to save our life. The Apostle Peter commanded us to arm ourselves with a mind to suffer, because those who suffer in their body cease from sin.

God wants us to be filled with righteousness, love, peace, and joy. The only way in which this is possible is to keep our eyes on the Lord Jesus at all times, trusting in Christ to keep us and our loved ones safe from harm.

This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. (Psalms 34:6-7)

We have been commanded to not fret; to set our affections on things above where Christ sits on the right hand of God; to keep our eyes on Christ; to think only of that which is lovely and uplifting; to trust that God is making all things to work for our good; and so forth.

It is God's will that we keep our mind centered on things above where Christ sits on the right hand of God; that we set Christ before us at all times; that we invite Christ into every decision, every plan, every thought, every motive, every word, every action. We are to do this at all times, day and night. In short, we are to abide in Christ; to live in and by Christ. Nothing else is true Christ discipleship.

But a multitude of distractions keep arising in America that would prevent our living by the Life of Christ.

One of the greatest of the distractions we face are the current events in our country and in the rest of the world. It is so easy to spend our time complaining about what the various political leaders are doing. These events are particularly distracting to me because I am elderly and can perceive the steady movement toward a one-world government.

Yes, according to the Bible, we finally shall have a one-world government. But it will be a government that despises Christian values. There will be an insistence that we honor homosexuals in our schools. Also, that we do not punish children when they misbehave. Many of these kinds of values will be enforced on all the populations of the world.

The America we have been accustomed to, which has drawn so much of its culture from England, is slowly giving way to alien cultures. My personal opinion, and I think I have heard from the Lord about this, is that the leadership of the world will move toward the East. The Western nations at the present time appear in many instances to be corrupt.

But can God work such a change in our nation for good?

Did you ever consider what occurred in the case of Daniel? He was a Jew, of course. He was among those carried to Babylon. But what took place as a result? Daniel was able to speak God's words to Nebuchadnezzar, with the result that God was honored at the highest level of Babylon. This would not have happened had Israel not been captured by the Babylonians.

When Darius, the king of Persia, conquered Babylon, after a series of events he threw Daniel into the lions' den We all know the story. This miracle produced the following letter to all the people over whom Darius ruled:

"I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; is kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions." (Daniel 6:26,27)

And then:

So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (Daniel 6:28)

I believe I remember something about Cyrus being the one who ordered the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

In the above events we have a remarkable lesson about how God makes all things work for good.

First of all, in spite of the destruction of Jerusalem, Daniel was brought before Nebuchadnezzar to tell the king about the God of Heaven. This would not have happened had Jerusalem not fallen to the Babylonians.

Second, the testimony of God went out to millions of people who were governed by Darius, the Mede.

Can you see how wrong it is of us to fret ourselves about what is happening in America and in the rest of the world? The Word of God that cannot possibly be altered in any manner has declared that He will make all things work together for those who love him and are called according to His eternal purpose in Christ.

World politics is a great distraction to older people, so that Christians come down from their high place in God and meditate about the works of Satan in the government of the earth.

A second distraction affects numerous American Christians, particularly the young people. It serves to transform their minds in the pattern of the world. I refer to electronic communication devices.

There are not many young American Christians who do not play the electronic games. Yet, these game often are filled with witchcraft and violence. There is no question but that they are harmful. Yet so many of the young people are lukewarm Christians; and the idea of giving up their games is beyond the little strength that they have.

There also are the various social networking programs, such as Facebook. These are enormously popular, but they accomplish little good that I can see. They certainly do distract the minds of young people, and sometimes older people.

The Bible commands us to redeem the time, that is, put the time to good use. I cannot see how, except perhaps in case of a few isolated instances, one could say that participating in the Facebook society is putting time to good use. It certainly is not a means of setting Christ before us such that we are aware of His Presence and will.

"Surfing" the Internet probably is, in most instances, a complete waste of time. It is of the Antichrist world system and does not ordinarily keep the mind of the "surfer" on the things of Christ.

The Internet can be, and often is, put to good use in the promoting of God's Word. So is blogging. And perhaps Twitter, although I have had no experience with this social-networking device.

All the electronic communication devices can be put to good use, if the participant so desires. But it seems to me that, in terms of keeping in the Presence of Christ so we know His will, they often are distractions.

As for further distractions, there are various sexual activities, including perversions; there are the pursuit of fame and popularity; the perfecting of a talent or profession; the amassing of more money than one needs in order to live and support his or her family; the development of a corporation; the pursuit of retirement, luxury, and excessive entertainment and pleasure; and power over people, as in politics.

I am not saying we should desist from the normal activities of living. I am speaking of doing these things without a continual awareness of Christ's will for us. The American and European cultures are enticing in terms of what we can experience. But they are leading toward sin and corruption that will some day permit a more disciplined culture to remove their standing in the world.

How we are spending our time and energy is a true index of how devoted we are to the Lord Jesus Christ.

God has established the world for the purpose of bringing forth people who love and serve Him with godly fear. When any nation or government does not fulfill God's reason for creating them, it soon shall pass away.

There is no doubt that we are approaching perilous and chaotic days in America. What then should we do? We should obey God and His Apostles and set our mind on things above. We should keep our heart fixed on God, trusting Him to keep us safe and provide our needs, according to His promises to us.

To not do this, to fret about the actions of wicked people, is to demonstrate to God our lack of faith in His faithfulness and love toward us. Should we gaze upon the actions of Satan in the earth and tremble? Or should we repose peacefully under the wings of God, only taking action when we know God's will?

Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. For evil men will be cut off, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. (Psalms 37:8,9)

"Because he loves me," says the LORD, "I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name." (Psalms 91:14)

There's the promise. What are we going to do about it?

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of those who do wrong; for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away. Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:1-4)

This is my response. How about you?