Tag Archives: God’s will

Is God ‘Able’ or is he ‘Willing?’

There’s a difference between what God is ABLE to do and what God WILL do.

His ABILITIES are limitless.  He knows no boundaries.

His WILL, however, does have limits.  This is because it has purpose.

You remember the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, right?  In the 3rd chapter of Daniel these 3 guys boldly refuse to worship the golden idol king Nebuchadnezzar made.  After the king calls them to him, he gives them one final chance (warning) to bow down or he will have them thrown into a fiery furnace.

Their response in verse 17 is bold, and contains two messages in it.

“…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.”

First, they are proclaiming God’s power and ability by saying that he definitely CAN deliver them from death by fire…if he chooses to.  They didn’t say God would.

Second, they made it clear to the king that God is going to remove them from the grip of his hand.  Think about this.  If they are put to death, the king no longer has control over them.  And if God does happen to save them from the fire (which he did), this too proves that Nebuchadnezzar has no control over their lives by failing to kill them.  Either way…not allowing fear to dictate who they worship secures their fate.

What fears are you allowing to challenge your faith in God’s abilities?  

God is calling me to lead our church’s first satellite campus this year.  Do I have fears come and go about my ability to lead this new body of believers well?  Absolutely.  But I have to constantly remind myself that God is the one who will give me what I need.  We obey…He equips.  Period.

How about you?  Join the conversation, leave a comment below.

 

 

 

 

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God’s Really NOT Weird!

photo by: alexisfraser.com

photo by: alexisfraser.com

I was reading in Joshua 6 recently about the Israelites blowing trumpets and shouting as their attack strategy from God to overtake Jericho.  It really is a crazy story.  I don’t think any of us would have ever thought of going about it that way.

We often say that God’s ways are not our ways, and that He tends to do things in a creative and unorthodox manner.

Then a thought occured to me!

What if His ways are completely normal?  And what if our ways of approaching situations and tasks are simply infantile and rediculous?

Maybe if we really learned that our ways of thinking are no where near God’s ways, we might stop praying for specifics regarding the ‘how’ …and pray more toward our change of heart to receive God’s providence when He gives us a solution….no matter how weird it may seem.

It really boils down to our expectations, doesn’t it?  When we pray for God to move, are we expecting Him to think as a human….or think as a Creator?  How we answer that question probably defines how we react when He does move.

This week, may we be able to ask Him for miracles….and then have the faith required to accept His solutions.

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Your donkey is warning you!

Photo credit: Alexander Kalina

That’s right!  Long before Shrek and Dr. Doolittle, a donkey actually spoke to it’s owner.  In the Bible, (Numbers 22:21-34) there’s this dude named Balaam and his donkey.  In this particular story, God is not thrilled with the direction Balaam is heading.  Now, being the merciful and loving God that He is, God sends and Angel with a BIG sword to block his path.  Apparently, Balaam is so oblivious to the things of God and consumed with his own agenda at the moment that he doesn’t even notice this gift of God….but his simple little donkey does!  Three times his donkey reacts to the Angel in a way that makes Balaam absolutely furious.  So furious that he violently beats the animal each time.  Its a good thing he didn’t see the Angel and tried to beat the crap out of it!

Have you ever hit or kicked your car after it breaks down or gets a flat tire?  I have, and this is the kind of setting Balaam is encountering.  I would hope to notice an Angel standing in the middle of the highway before my car starts chatting with me.  God, may I never become so dense and self-centered that I can’t notice your hand directing my steps.

All of us are faced with these moments from time to time in our journey with God.  Sometimes we CAN’T notice God’s warning signs when we are heading somewhere we shouldn’t.  Other times, we simply WON’T!  We know we’re heading in a direction opposite the direction of Jesus, yet we continue…much like Jonah.

So, do you know if your life direction is pleasing God today?  If your answer is ‘No’ or ‘I don’t know’….begin looking for signs to direct you.  Spend time in prayer and in the Word.  Ask those believers around you who know well.  God will probably not use a talking Donkey or a blinding, majestic Angel.  Though often much more subtle, He DOES speak crystal clear to us when we are intently listening for His voice.

How has God spoken to you before?  Share your story with others here.  Comment below.

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What’s your spiritual point of view?

Philippians 4:8b reads:

“Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”

Think about this. When we get to sleep in, its sunny and clear out, and our finances are in order its pretty easy to view life as a bed of roses. On the other hand, its not quite the same when we can’t fix the car, in-laws are breathing down your neck, and you have absolutely no energy to deal with any of it.
In the above text, Paul is encouraging us to take charge over our thoughts. Not only that, but focusing on things that are ‘worthy of praise’ is simply recognizing God’s blessings in our lives…His actual involvement! Whether things are going great or really rough, intensionally locate God’s hand in the middle of it. This is what keeps us grounded and attentive to His will for us.
Today, may you feel His hand on your circumstance. And may you also allow God and His ways to take priority in your life.

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When FAITH Is No Longer Required

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.     Hebrews 11:1  (NIV)

I was reading more in ‘Seizing Your Devine Moment’ today. McManus made what I thought to be a very profound spiritual claim after referencing the passage above. He said, “Once something is a certainty, it no longer requires faith. Do not be surprised that what God asked of you yesterday is insufficient for your journey of faith today.” Now, I don’t know about you, but this has proven to be so true in my life. I can’t begin to tell you how many things in my past took immense steps of faith for me. And as I discovered this morning…the vast majority of those ‘leaps of faith’ would not be challenging for me today. I think it’s kind of like riding roller coasters. In general, you may enjoy them…but what if you had the chance to ride the largest & fastest roller coaster in the country? You may experience some nervousness, some anxiety as you approach the boarding area. In fact, the thought of saying, “forget this” might even come to mind more than once. The more you are exposed to enduring that particular roller coaster, however, the more familiar (certain) you become of the experience & the outcome.

Our willingness to walk with Jesus is quite similar in comparison. There will be times when He says, “Come on, get on this ride with me” and we reply with “Are you nuts?”

Today, ask yourself this question. Does my life today require faith…or am I just cruising in what is certain? If you are going to be certain of anything this week, be certain of this.God is a God of growth & challenge. Step out into where you have never been before. It will enrich your life, and God will bless others through you!

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Laying Flesh Upon Dreams

Currently, I am reading ‘Wide Awake’ by Erwin McManus…by far my favorite author.  He calls himself a cultural architect.  I love that!  He is a dominating voice in the realm of creative Christian thinkers today.   In this book, McManus serves up a challenge to his audience…a challenge to live ‘a heroic life, void of monotony, teeming with danger, adventure, and the unknown.’  He suggests that when we stop exploring, we stop learning, thus ceasing to be fully used by God.

My wife and I share a friend (one of her co-workers) that is currently exploring a new adventure in her life.  She’s been very open about this opportunity being a bit scary, but the possibilities of the unknown are exhilarating enough to out-weigh the risks.  She’s willing to allow God to lay flesh upon her dreams!  Here’s her blog if you would like to read more about her current adventure.

What about you?  God created you to be like Jesus…to be a hero to humanity…to be a dreamer fueled by God’s vision.  Did you wake up this morning on fire and ready to tackle any challenge the day has in store for you?  Or are you comfortable?  Are you in need of an adventure, but frightened of what it might be?  Think for a moment.  What if Moses wasn’t curious enough to check out what God intended to do with him?  What if Noah wasn’t willing to be known as the village idiot while building the Ark?  And what if we didn’t have Peter’s childlike faith to learn from?

In a couple of months our church will be saying ‘farewell’ to an entire family who are living Wide Awake.  Their adventure will be in Bulgaria.  That’s right…Bulgaria!  God marked out a course in the GPS of their lives and they have not pressed ‘reroute.’  They are willing to become uncomfortable in the NOW in order to make a difference in TOMORROW. Here’s their blog.  Check out how God is using them to become heroes in a foreign land.

Can God use you today?  Absolutely!  Will you allow Him?  That, my friend, is entirely up to you.  I know this because I am also personally seeking out what God has in store for me next.  The timing is of little importance compared to simply making a move in the direction of possibility.  Before posting this blog today, I made my move.  What will be yours?

 

For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.    James 2:26 (ESV)

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