A Wedding Bible Tradition

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Finding The (Not So Elusive) Will of God

 

finding the will of God

Usually when I’m trying to find something I’ve lost, I re-trace my steps.  I think about where I had it last or where I used it last.  I try to remember if I loaned it to someone. I pray about it – especially if it’s something important.

One day I decided to look one more time for a Social Security card.  I prayed and asked God to help me find it if it was still in our house. This time, I felt impressed to look in a certain box again.  I felt an urge to pull out all of the cards instead of flipping through them one by one. That is when I found the missing, prayed-for card. I was so surprised.

So surprised that I exclaimed out loud to my empty house, “I can’t believe this!”

Really?  Why should I have been surprised?  Had I not asked God to help me find it so I wouldn’t have to pay to replace it?  Why should I be surprised that He said yes?!

I wonder if sometimes we’re like that when we’re trying to figure out His will in any part of our lives. I wonder if we really expect God to answer.  Maybe we don’t really want His answer because we already know part of what it is.  We feign a desire to know His will and act like we just can’t figure it out, when we already know.

the will of God is found in His Word

There are several points to consider when we’re trying to learn what His plan is for us.  When the will of God seems elusive, maybe it’s a good idea to retrace our steps and go back to where we started: with God and His Word.

finding nectar is like finding the will of God

God doesn’t ask something of us that is not in our ability to do, and He gives grace for what He requires of us.  I could never be a surgeon; I don’t have the dexterity (or the brains) necessary.  God gifts us for the things He expects us to do.  At the same time, God sometimes asks us to do things that are out of our comfort zone.  Our comfort zone and our abilities are not the same. We need to remember that. If we really want to be like Jesus, we need to be willing to manifest all the fruits of the Spirit – and not just the one with which we feel most comfortable.  Sometimes saying “That’s not my thing” is really not biblical.  We need to remember that God will or has equipped me with whatever it takes to fulfill His plan for me.  [James 4:6]  “But he gives more grace. Therefore he says, God resists the proud, but gives grace unto the humble.”

God never asks us to do something that is contrary to His word.  If what we want to do is not plumb with His word, then it is obviously outside His will.  Emotions, feelings, desires or wants have nothing to do with what God asks of us.  Even common sense or pieces falling into place are not His plan for us if those pieces do not coinside with God’s word.  If a job or other situation requires things that are contrary to God’s Word,  we know it is not for us.  We ought not to make excuses or think, this is different.  It really isn’t different just because it’s us.  Don’t ever use “This is different” for an excuse to not go God’s way.  He is a God of order and not confusion.  He doesn’t change. His Word is still the standard by which we measure. [Amos 7:8]

finding God's will can be like digging through the sand

God has put people in authority over us as a guard and a guide for us.  Those folks are often the ones who voice the most caution and concern, sometimes throwing a wet blanket on our plans.  Those folks also have more life experience than we have; therefore, they can see dangers and pitfalls that we might never have considered.  In addition, usually those in authority over us have known us for a long time; that’s important when we’re seeking direction.  They know us in ways our newest friends don’t.

When our plans are in conflict with those in authority over us,  we can know we should take a different route.  If our plans align with God’s plan for us, He can change the hearts of those in authority over us, even if they are not children of God. If He is big enough to change the hearts of kings and authorities who do not believe in Him, [Prov 21:1 ] (The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes”),  He’s big enough to change the hearts of anyone who stands in our way.   Our ministers are responsible before God and “must give account for our souls.”[Hebrews 13:17]  Likewise, scripture tells us to honor our parents regardless of their relationship with God. [Ephesians 6:2; Mark 7:10; Deut 5:16]. If we’ve never experienced the excitement of seeing God soften someone’s heart, is it perhaps because we’ve never given God the opportunity to allow Him to turn hearts?!

It’s true that in a multitude of counselors, there is safety. [Proverbs 11:14, 15:22]  We should make sure that this “multitude” does not consist only of those in our age group, those who are our best friends, or those who would not encourage us to seek God first.  Perhaps we should dare to hear the heart of our most skeptic friend or acquaintance instead of just heading to the friends who we know will most likely support us. From personal experience, I know how freeing it is to follow this plan. I remember the day (as a twenty-eight-year-old), I walked into my stepfather’s shop to ask him what he thought of the man I had started dating. After a failed relationship a few years earlier, I had committed myself to only dating a guy with the blessing of my family. How wonderful it was to get his approval as opposed to how it was with a guy I had dated previously.

finding the will of God can be like finding an open door

Let God be the one to open or shut doors. This sounds simple, but it’s easier said than done. It can be fairly easy to manipulate things so they work out the way we want.  That’s not waiting on God.  That’s not allowing Him to show us what He wants.  Personally, this has been one of the hardest things in life, to sit back and wait.  For 120 years, Noah built a boat. At God’s command, he and his family obediently went into the Ark. God shut the door.  The eight of them waited, and waited, and waited.  They waited inside the Ark with all those animals for seven days before it even started to rain!  If I had been the one planning it, I would have had the rain start as soon as the doors were shut. I would have wanted to get the show on the road!

When we allow God to open the doors, there’s such freedom in walking through them instead of forcing them open so we can walk through. Resist the temptation to manipulate.  Don’t badger God. Wait until He opens the door.  If the door never opens, then it’s time to stop knocking on that door and find the door that He has had open all along.

being is more important than doing in finding the will of God

Be more concerned with being instead of with doing

Let your heart become so in tune to God that you won’t even want to beg for something that God doesn’t want you to have or do.  It’s true that scripture tells us that if we pray, He will give us the desires of our heart. [Psalm 37:4:”Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”]  He will only give us the desires of our heart when they are in harmony with His desires for us.

While we are waiting for Him to open doors and change the hearts of those who do not give their support, we need to delight in Him.  As we learn to know Jesus, we will learn to know His heart by delighting in Him.  [Psalm 37:5] “Commit your way unto the LORD; Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass.”]

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. [II Timothy 2:15] That is part of being.  While we are waiting for God to open doors or to reveal Himself to us, we should be focusing on being and becoming.  We do that by feeding on His word.  Climb up into His lap and ask Him to show you His heart. His Word not only changes others, it can change us, too.

As we learn who He wants us to be, finding His will won’t be so hard to do.

 

[This article was first published in Daughters of Promise magazine.  For information bout this magazine, click https://www.daughters-of-promise.org/#our-storyhere.]

 

Pinterest Finding the Will of God

 

Why I’m Missing My Book

BIBLE KJV

The remnants of the Book are spread out on the kitchen table.  It seems I dropped my all-time-favorite KJV maroon-covered red-letter teacher’s edition 21+ year-old Bible when we came home from church last Wednesday evening.

Dave gave this Bible to me for my birthday and I’ve used it (along with other Bibles) ever since.

It seems the puppies found the Bible before I discovered it was missing.  By morning Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and parts of Numbers had been torn off, along with the front cover. I Samuel is muddy right in the middle of the parts about David hiding from Saul and Saul seeking for a witch.  Lamentations to Malachi are gone.  

Matthew took a hit in the middle of the beatitudes and is missing the entire section up to chapter 22.  Parts of the dictionary and concordance are grimy with brown, sandy soil.  Most of the remainder of the New Testament is intact even though it is spattered with smudges and paw marks.

I had gone outside to sweep off the steps of the deck when I noticed the pages scattered in the yard.  I puzzled over who had thrown a Bible into the trash or if the pups had gotten into a neighbor’s trash.

And I sighed because I figured Butch had not put the lid on top of the trash containers tightly again.

It was when I saw the cartoon that I’ve carried in my Bible for years, off by its lonesome, that I realized this was my Bible!  My sister-in-law Ruth gave me the cartoon because it reminded her of my sons.  One boy [that would be Ben] is standing on a chair by the table with a burning candle, repeating “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick” while the other boy [has to be Tim] is not-so-cautiously walking across the top of the table, eyes on that candlestick.  It’s obvious what is about to happen.  So it’s been my reminder, when I see that cartoon, to pray for my Tim.

Next, I found my still-intact Chronological Bible Reading Schedule and the piece of notebook paper where I’d scribbled the twelve sons of Jacob in order of their births as well as their four mothers.  I’d also listed the order in which Jacob gave them their blessings because I had noticed it was not in the order of their births.  The sons of his wives received blessings before the sons of his concubines.

Interesting.  Those boys never chose when they’d be born, so how did it happen they were blessed according to how they fit into he family and who their mothers were?!

BIBLE african boy in bed

My first thought after finding the dismantled Bible was that I’d put the Bible back together.  But the front cover and most of Genesis was missing – until Jason found it next to the pasture where the cows were grazing.  I wonder how many hours it would take to sort the pieces and put them back together.

Only problem is, some pieces are too small.  Pages upon pages have gouges from a tooth with only a few words missing. How could I ever find those small pieces?  I wonder how many rolls of tape it would take to put the pieces together.  I also wonder if ironing them would get the creases out enough to have them fit back into this Bible.  I wonder how I could ever get all the grit and grime off the pages and out of the binding.

bible other boy reading

Our house is full of books for all ages, numerous subjects, and several languages.  Yet of all the books I own, this is the one I cannot easily replace.

Oh sure, I can get a Bible to replace this one.

But Jeremiah 29 might not be on the right side, right column; and it certainly won’t be highlighted in yellow.  Jeremiah 17 probably won’t be on the left side, left column with the words “I the Lord search the heart . . .” highlighted in blue.  Psalm 119 with every word referring to God’s Word highlighted in green won’t be there.  These words – law, testimonies, precepts, word, statues, commandments, and judgments -will just be in regular black print.

The chronicle of Moses’ pilgrimage with God with words circled that pertained to What is in thy hand? will still be there, but the circles around the words won’t. The crossing of the Red Sea story will be included, but my notes in the margins will be absent.

The pages with prayers that Paul prayed for his converts and that I’ve used to pray for my kids won’t open easily to those spots.

With this Bible, when I wanted the prayer in Ephesians, I’d just turn to that book and find the section, bottom left in Ephesians 3:1hat was easily marked, read that prayer, and insert the name(s) of my kids. 

Oh sure, I’ve got other Bibles:  NIV, NAS, The Message, RSV, and even a KJV Study Bible with a hard cover.  I use them all, depending on what I’m studying and who I’m studying with and for.  It’s just that this Bible is the one I’ve used to do my “reading through the Bible”.  It’s easy to handle and comfortable to use in a recliner or on a church pew.

BIBLE red letter

There are many other Bibles and choices of covers.  And, while it’s true that the content of the Bibles is the same, I will miss this one.  Just as a flannel shirt will do when it’s nippy outside, for most of us, we have “favorites” because of the memories in our minds, the feel of the fabric, the fragrance of the moments.  It speaks of comfort, familiarity, and home.  There is no Bible I own that, if chewed on by our pups, would have grieved me as much.

Bible older one

I’m grateful that the content of God’s Word doesn’t change regardless of which type of cover or what color Bible I might choose. The promises are still there, even though they’re not highlighted in
yellow.

Just as He promised, Jesus Christ is still the same:  yesterday, today, and forever  and this Book will never, ever grow old.

Pinterest Missing my Book

 

Author’s note:  This happened several years ago.  After trying several different Bibles, I was able to find one that closely resembled the one the dogs had devoured.  I still use the Concordance from that older Bible because it is more in-depth than the one in the Bible I currently own.  Yes, I checked into ordering one identical to the one I had owned, but the cost was more than I wanted to pay; and by the time I found that option, my eyes were enjoying having a Bible with a larger print than my previously-owned Bible.