God’s Specific Will for You

November 11, 2015 at 3:09 pm | Posted in I Peter, Where There's a Way There's a Will | 6 Comments
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If you are a Christian, here is the specific will of God for you:

1. Respond to suffering.

For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

I Peter 3:17

God may allow you to suffer for sin or mistakes, or He may allow You to suffer despite your obedience. Our job as Christians is to accept suffering as coming from God – either in allowing or causing it – and to seek to do what is right.

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

I Peter 5:10

For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

II Corinthians 12:6-10

2. Give thanks.

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I Thessalonians 5:18

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 5:20

3. Obey the earthly God-ordained authorities when doing so would not violate God’s commandments.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

I Peter 2:13-15

4. Be holy.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.

I Thessalonians 4:3-7

5. Use your time wisely.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:15-17

What will help me accomplish God’s will in my life?

1. His Spirit

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

I Corinthians 2:9-10

The Holy Spirit teaches us through the Bible and gives us wisdom through prayer.

2. His Word

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

II Timothy 3:16-17

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Hebrews 4:12

3. His Body

Specifically, it is God’s will that we be involved in the local church.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Ephesians 4:11-12

Marital Espionage

January 7, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Posted in Biblical Marriage | 6 Comments
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In a previous lesson I listed the first three fortifications that Christian married couples should build up at the key point of Satan’s attack against marriages: physical intimacy. These three fortifications had to do with recognizing the attack, not underestimating the attack, taking the attack seriously.

1. Don’t be ignorant. Satan is going to attack in this area.
2. Face up to the fact that his attack is going to be a fierce attack.
3. Realize that this attack could come at unexpected times and from unexpected angles.

Here is the fourth fortification:

4. Prepare to recognize an infiltrating spy.

Satan sends “infiltrators” which are “copies:” perversions of what God intended. Sexual relations must not be separated from Scripture. The command to be “frequent” must be taken seriously. The “desire” part of it must not be disregarded or discounted. Satan has made a number of fakes – and they are good fakes because he works in enough “partial truths” to make them look like real truth. When we recognize these infiltrators trying to sneak through the wall of sexual relations in marriage, we can confront them, confine them, and kill them with Scriptural ammunition.

Fake: Different sex drives can be an excuse for infrequency.

Confrontation with Truth: In mutual service, frequent for one has to be frequent for both.

Ammunition: “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” (I Thesalonians 4:3-4, emphasis added)

Both spouses are to cooperate in the frequency.

Fake: You have to wait for the “right time.” In other words, the mood has to be just right.

Confrontation with Truth: The right time must be made. “Moods” are feelings which often need to be brought into subjection to Christ’s commands.

Ammunition: “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;” (I Thessalonians 4:4, emphasis added)

“To possess” is a present tense verb. It indicates that this is an ongoing thing. The devil’s lie is that routine is always boring. God’s truth is that He has granted you imagination and the ability to plan, and that routine in and of itself can be a form of obedience which is not boring.

These are just some of the ways that Satan tries to “slip by” our defenses or impersonate a friendly ally. They are espionage techniques that he uses, but with diligent vigilance (I Thessalonians 5:5-6) and with the supernatural wisdom of God’s Spirit empowering us (James 1:5), we can spot and summarily execute these spies on the spot.

Servant Movers (Character and Conduct)

December 10, 2012 at 11:23 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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Previously we looked at the principle of commitment in servant leadership. Commitment will produce character. Character involves not only a person’s integrity (how he behaves when no one is watching), but it also goes into the perception people have of him based upon his integrity.

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.

Acts 6:3 (emphasis added)

Character produces conduct, and, for a servant leader, spirituality is more important than personality. Conduct, again, implies that we are going somewhere: a “conductor” rides on a train that is moving. A conductor on a non-moving train is not really a conductor. He’s a tour guide. As servant leaders, our job is not to lead people on tours of the church grounds or buildings. The person who helps people find a seat is an “usher,” but we have got to start “conducting:” getting them up and getting them moving.

A non-moving Christian is in trouble. Physically speaking, a lack of exercise leads to a condition called “atrophy,” which is weakness resulting from non-use. It’s the same way spiritually. Christians who don’t “exercise,” don’t grow in Christ.

As servant leaders, our conduct must be the conduct of men who are in love with Jesus Christ. Vance Havner once said, “A revival is the church falling in love with Jesus Christ all over again. We are in love with ourselves, in love with our particular crowd, in love with our fundamentalism, maybe, but not with Him.”

Here’s the solution:

So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:15

Feeding lambs is busy work. Leading necessitates moving. The Bible describes the Christian life as “walking” with God.

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

I Thessalonians 4:1 (emphasis added)

Worshiping, studying the Word, praying, witnessing may be done while sitting, standing, or walking in the physical sense, but they are not “sedentary” activities, spiritually speaking. Servant leaders need to feed God’s people and fight for God’s people. We feed them the Word, and fight against the enemy with the Sword of the Spirit.

Learning to Like Eternal Life

December 8, 2009 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Eternity | 6 Comments
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The idea that professing Christians should put up such a fight against the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer has always been a little puzzling to me. True Christians are new creatures, who have been born again, and therefore, can never go back to having not been born. “But wait,” goes the all-too-common, and not-well-thought-out objection, “what about this one person I knew who was saved, but did something really horrible..?” Or, the ever-popular “Yeah, But” school of theology which says, “Yeah, the Bible says God gives ‘everlasting life,’ BUT… what about this specific situation I know about?”

I have even heard some very well-respected preachers say, “I sure wish these verses about carnal Christians weren’t in the Bible. I could really get people to act right if they thought they were going to be kicked out of God’s family and sent to hell when they messed up bad enough.” I always cringe when I hear that. First of all, we had all better be extremely joyous that everything in God’s Bible is in there. He knows more than we do, and He knows better than we do. Second of all, if true Christians lost their salvation every time they really “blew it” according to God’s standards, not a one of us would stay saved very long.

The fact of the matter is, a true Christian is motivated by God’s love and holiness and saving grace to avoid sin, not indulge in it. Only a cult leader would want to hold his congregation through unbiblical fear. The salvation of the Lord comes with the Spirit of the Lord taking up residence in the heart of Christians. God’s Spirit is in charge of the believer’s sanctification, not another person.

For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.

I Thessalonians 4:7-8

Quarterback Commandment No. 8

June 1, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 24 Comments
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When Bill Parcells included Commandment No. 8 in his list of Quarterback Commandments, he wanted Tony Romo, quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys, to be very conscious of time.

Quarterback Commandment No. 8: Learn to manage the game – personnel, play call, motions, ball handling, proper reads, accurate throws, play fakes. Clock. Clock. Clock. Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.

Spiritual Application: The life of a Christian quarterback involves much hectic multitasking, but we must not forget that we do not have a limitless amount of time to do the work of the Lord.

Let’s start with a strong dose of reality. NFL quarterbacks are not beleaguered martyrs. They are pampered multimillionaire superstars. Their wristwatches cost more than my house. They drive expensive cars, they live in mansions, and unless they get addicted to drugs, gambling, fast women, dogfighting, or bad investments, neither they nor their grandchildren, nor their grandchildren’s grandchildren, should ever need to lift a finger to do any real work a day in their lives. Do they receive some harsh criticism in the media? You bet. But, the bottom line is, they are worshiped, adored, and feted for playing a game. Do they deserve it? No, they don’t! Except for Romo – he deserves every penny, perk, and privilege. (Hey, leave me alone – I’m a Cowboys fan!)

Now, having taken that strong dose of reality, and having chased it down with a shot of levity, I hope you will, for spiritual illustration purposes, note that there are an impressive and daunting number of things that Parcells understands an NFL quarterback must tend to during each and every play:

Personnel: Which of my teammates are actually on the field for this particular play, and what particular skills and reactions are they capable of utilizing given the ever-changing situation?

Play call: Which of the 88 plays printed in microscopic code on my wristband, or being barked at me over my helmet phone, are we going to run next?

Motions: Which players are going to be moving around after we line up but before the ball is snapped, and which ones must remain completely motionless?

Play fakes: Will I make sure not to allow the ball to bump into my own player or a marauding defender in my own backfield, as I fake handoffs and passes in an attempt to misdirect the other team?

Proper reads: Which defenders are lined up where, and what does that mean about where I look first, and throw next?

Accurate throws: Will I need to loft a high floating pass beyond a linebacker’s outstretched fingers, or plant my feet and rifle a crisp bullet pass between a blanketing cornerback and a rapidly closing safety?

Ball handling: Oh yeah, I’ve got to remember to get a good firm grip on the ball before I snatch my hands from under the center’s rear-end, or none of this matters anyway!

And all this must be computed in about 25 seconds max (!), through a brain that wouldn’t have passed “hotel management” at Midwestern U without the help of “special tutoring.” As Parcells says, “Clock. Clock. Clock. Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.” I was pretty hard on the quarterbacks, as far as having things easy, but that is a lot to think about.

Now, Christian ministers, the quarterbacks of, not just a game, but the work of God’s Kingdom, must also be very conscious of time.

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Ephesians 5:15-16

We live in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation. All the signs that we can discern from the Bible for Christ’s imminent return seem to be readily apparent. No man knoweth the exact hour or day. But Scripture is clear. We are to love, live, and lead as though the trumpet could sound at any moment.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

I Thessalonians 4:16-17

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed… Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

I Corinthians 15:52,58

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

I Thessalonians 5:2-4

I think one of the main reasons that Jesus taught the parable that begins in Luke 19:11 – the so-called “Parable of the Pounds” – was to remind His disciples, and all His “Christian quarterbacks” today, to not forget that the game clock is running down, and that our time must be managed effectively. We must act with a sense of “cool” when things get hectic, but always have a sense of “urgency,” knowing what’s at stake. Now is the time for Christian quarterbacks to break the huddle, remember all our assignments, call for the ball, and use every tick of the clock to reach the goal line, anticipating the final whistle, which will signal the return of our King!

One of my favorite hymns says, “When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound, and time shall be no more…” One day, those who have been given eternal life by Christ Jesus will live outside of time. Until then, however, Christian ministers must remember: Clock, clock, clock… Don’t you ever lose track of the clock.


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