108 Authority

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:18-19

If God is in control, does that mean that He chooses for us what we will decide? Are we the slaves to God’s will? One of my readers got me wondering about this.

God is in control, but He is not controlling. God leads us without controlling us. He is more like a stereotypical grandfather than a stereotypical father. He does not stand over us chastising us for every mistake.

Think about Joseph and his brothers. God did not make Joseph’s brothers sell him into slavery. They choose what to do themselves because they were jealous of Joseph’s robe and his dreams. They debated what exactly to do with Joseph. They considered murdering him, but decided instead to sell him into slavery; “after all, he is our brother, our own flesh and blood.” (Genesis 37:27)

Pontiphar’s wife began to lust after Joseph. When Joseph ran away from her, she decided to accuse Joseph of trying to rape her. Pontiphar believed his wife and had Joseph jailed. In all of this, God worked His will without controlling anyone. In the end Joseph became head of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Joseph had his family brought to Egypt and so saved them from seven years of intense famine.

How can God be in control without being controlling? How does He make His will triumph against human rebellion? This is a mystery for which only God has the answer.

We choose whether or not to submit to God’s will. I have been reading the biography of Oswald Chambers. According to Chambers as reported by his biographer, David McCasland, “The purpose of prayer…was to get into step with God, not to manipulate or coerce Him into blessing personal plans.”

Is God controlling? A pastor helped me see the deeper question. If we surrender to God in trusting obedience, will we feel controlled by God? Perhaps, but that does not mean that God is controlling us. How we feel flows from how we interpret the circumstances of our lives, from what we think about what is happening around us. If we believe that God wants to control us, then we will either feel controlled by Him or choose to rebel against Him.

After saying “All authority…has been given to me” Jesus said, “Therefore, go and make disciples….” He has authority, but we need to obey. The choice is ours.

Seeking (imperfectly) to obey my Master,

Noah Woodrich

Living for the glory of God by grace received through faith in the Messiah, the Word of God made flesh.  We have a dream & request support and prayers.

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement.

Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com


107 God Will

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelation 4:11

We all know that God created everything. He is just that powerful. He can do whatever He wants to do.

Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

We know that God can do anything, but what is He going to do? How will He resolve the issues in our lives?

May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you though and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it. I Thessalonians 5:23-24

The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever. Psalm 138:8

God is sanctifying us. He will accomplish His purposes for us. Yet, what is He going to do for us? Will He give us the things that we want?

Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Psalm 37:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6

We may have to release some aspects of our old selves which are still clinging to us. We have been crucified with Christ, so that we no longer live, but Christ lives in us (Galatians 2:20). God knows what is best for us. The desires He has placed in us He will fulfill in His timing. We need to let go of anything that does not come from Him. Anything that does come from Him He will accomplish.

There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. Proverbs 21:30

Trusting in Him,

Noah Woodrich

Living for the glory of God by grace received through faith in the Messiah, the Word of God made flesh.  We have a dream & request support and prayers.

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement.

Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

 


106 God’s Will

When we wait a long time for our prayers to be answered, we may wonder if God’s will is not to grant our requests. This can lead to discouragement. Let’s look at this in a different way. When we don’t get what we want when we want it, and we ask God again and again for it, we are connecting with Him. When we listen to our inner voice, we hear what He is saying to us. Perhaps God is not saying “No” to our prayers. Let’s consider what the Bible has to say about God’s general will for us.

“For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:40

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ [Y]our Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his Kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:31-33

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

“I do not give to you as the world does.” John 14:27

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again, and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:22

“I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:20

“I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory.” John 17:24

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.” John 15:9

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. I John 3:23

Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:16-18

May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, thought Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 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 12:1-2

God is in control, and He is in control for our good. He has our best interests in mind. Perhaps we need to let go of some of our prayers. Perhaps God is transforming some of our prayers into something else we did not expect. We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10), and He is leading us into His will for our lives.

In process of being transformed,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement.

Living for the glory of God by grace received through faith in the Messiah, the Word of God made flesh.  We have a dream & request support and prayers.

Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com

 


105 Persevering Prayer

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. Luke 18:1

When we relinquish our prayers to God, we let go of a tight grip on what we want. However, relinquishing does not mean forgetting what we want. Rather, we hold what we want loosely before God. We lift up our requests to God in open hands. With palms up and open, we can still hold what we want without grasping it. With this posture in mind, we can persevere in our prayers.

We need to pray for the ability to humble ourselves. We may wonder if God even is able to teach us humility. This realization shows an awareness of how far we need to go to gain true humility. For those of you who think you are humble or else not far from it, I would wonder about that. : )

God has not given up on us. We need to believe that He is perfecting us just as He says in His word (Hebrews 12:2). He is transforming us (Romans 12:2). We are His workmanship (Ephesians 2:10). He has taken ownership of us (John 17:10, 20, 24). He has gone so far as to even pay for all of our sins by sending His Own Son to die on the cross for us (Romans 5:8). He will help us learn humility.

We might pray for many things besides humility, such as a new job or career, more money, or relational issues. Consider this, a million years from now whatever work we did or how much money we made or how many possessions we may have acquired in this life will no longer matter. However, our humility will still be precious in God’s sight.

Humility aids us in this life with relational issues. Imagine humbling self and saying to someone with whom we were having a conflict, “I was wrong. I’m sorry. Would you please forgive me?” How would saying this affect that relationship? With the history we have with some people, they might think we were joking them. Let’s assume they actually believe us. Saying the above might diffuse some tension in the relationship (perhaps just some slight chance of that—if you’re wondering, I’m joking).

In our perfectionism we think, “I’m not wrong, and I’m not sorry!” Humility gives us the grace to see another person’s perspective and to say we are sorry. We need to pray for this kind of humility.

I relate the following story to illustrate what I’m saying. We bought a house recently, very good news to us. At many points I wondered if we were going to be able to buy it. Many factors hindered us. A friend of ours even told me that there was no way we could buy it unless we paid for it in cash or else came up with a large amount of money for a down-payment, more than we could feasibly acquire. God gave me Psalm 37, and I prayed every day out of it. It gave me hope and courage to move forward.

In the process I had to let go of some of my perceived “rights” such as purchase price and having my preference in lender. I often did not get my way, but in the end we did get this house. That feels like a miracle. Now our house is turning into a home. God has given us grace along the way, and we needed it.

I’m glad we have a new home, but the real victory comes from learning to humble myself rather than acquiring property. Humility will remain forever while this world will eventually be destroyed.

Humility does not feel natural. It goes against our sin nature as well as the world in which we live. True humility is born of God. We need to persevere in praying humility for ourselves.

Praying for myself and also for you,

Noah Woodrich

WITH ME: Wisdom Intercession Teaching Hospitality Mercy Encouragement.

Living for the glory of God by grace received through faith in the Messiah, the Word of God made flesh.  We have a dream & request support and prayers.

Outline:  http://www.livingwithperfectionism.wordpress.com