Together, I Can Receive Guidance
The subject I preach on more than any other is knowing God's will for your life. We can receive guidance and direction from Him. Let me give you some instruction on this message of Receiving Guidance from God.
Now, some of you that are older, like myself, can remember when the Yankees had a good baseball team all the time. A second baseman on that team, an incredible player, was Bobby Richardson, who is a marvelous Christian. I had dinner with him a few years ago, and I heard him pray this prayer that I thought summed up how the Christian should feel about the sovereignty and guidance and will of God t better han anything else. It was short enough that I could remember it: “God, your will, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Amen.”
I thought that should be exactly the prayer upon every Christian's lips.
Important facts about God’s guidance:
1. God has a plan and a purpose for your life. Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 37:23
You are not a mistake. The very fact that God created you in his image and loves you, that his son, Jesus, died for your sins, ought to give you a great sense of self‑worth. Ephesians 2:10, "God planned for us to do good things and to live as he has always wanted us to live. That's why he sent Christ to make us what we are." And Psalm 37:23, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord." It's one of my very favorite verses.
George Mueller was a great Christian. Through has prayer and faith, many orphanages were established in England, and many children were taken care of. He was a great model of Christianity and faith in the last century. In his Bible, right beside the passage, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord," wrote by the flyleaf beside that verse these words, "And the stops are also ordered by the Lord." The steps of a good man and the stops. The open doors and the closed doors..
2. God has promised to reveal His plan to you. Psalms 32:8; 73:24
His promise to show you the way. He has no joy in watching us stumbling through life as His children, trying to find out what his will is for us. God has a plan for your life and He has promised to reveal that plan. Psalm, 32:8, “You said to me, ‘I will point out the road that you should follow, and I will be your teacher and watch over you.’” Psalm 73:24, “Your advice has been my guide, and later you will welcome me in glory”"
Aspects of God's will:
1. His plan has been revealed in His Word and applies to all Christians... The written will of God.
God has a written will. It's in the Bible. It is what we call the written will of God. It is known to us. And folks, it's for all of us. It doesn't exclude anyone. Every believer is to follow, obey, and know the written Word of God.
2. God’s will involves decisions for which he has given no specific directions... The unwritten will of God.
It's with the unwritten will of God that we sometimes stumble. We can't find a verse to back it up. And this is where we grapple with what is God's will for our life.
Principles to follow:
1. Obey the written will of God first.
Don't worry about the unwritten will of God, or the mystical aspect of knowing God's guidance. First of all, commit yourself to God's written Word.
Mark Twain said, "It's not the part of the Bible that I don't understand that bothers me, it's the part of the Bible that I do understand." Do you relate to that? Haven't there been times in your life where you're just reading away in the Bible and all of a sudden you see something that shows so plain, so direct, the will of God, and you say, “Oh, no,” and close the Bible. “Why did I see that?” Come on now we've all done that. It's so simple, so plain, so direct, and it's so what I don't want to do.
It's impossible to know the unwritten will of God until you obey the written will of God. God isn't about to give you something that is not in the Word until you know what is in the Word.
2. Fall in love with God.
The best way to know God’s will is to say, “I will,” to God.
I'm talking now about putting him first in every area. You know what happens when you fall in love with someone? It's easy to listen to them, to be with them, to obey them. You want to do all those things. Why? Because you have a love relationship with that person. Whether it's your spouse or your children or God. If we are honest this morning, we usually have a hard time obeying God because we don't really love Him like we should.
3. Be willing to accept the will of God before knowing what it is. Romans 8:31-32
Now, I think most of us really don't have any trouble at all obeying the will of God if it's what we want. It's kind of like we say to God, “God, you don't have 100% of me, but you've got 95 %. Now, if you'll just lift the curtain and let me take a peek, I think we can close the deal.” I'll go where you want me to go, but could you give me a little peek. I'll say what you want me to say, as long as it's what I want to say.
We're not willing to let God be God when we say we've got to have a peek, or let the curtain rise a little bit. We want to have a little bit of input in the decision making process. What we're really saying is that God is not sovereign, and doesn't know best, and we might have a better idea. I believe this is the issue that causes most Christians confusion in knowing the will of God for their life.
Look at Romans, Chapter 8:31-32: "If God is on our side, can anyone be against us? God did not keep back his own son, but gave him for us. And if God did this, won't he freely give us everything else?" What a great verse. Paul said that God's on your side, he wants the best for you. You know, some of us think God is some Scrooge, cosmic killjoy in heaven, who takes great delight in messing up our life. About the will of God, some of us say, “Boy, if I say, ‘God, you can have control,” I know he's going to send me to a third world country. Or worse yet, I'm going to have to live by my mother‑in‑law.” Be careful not to say amen there.
God's doing some wonderful things for us at Skyline. Marvelous things. It's a wonderful time for our church. But do you know what I'm learning? When I hear that I'm supposed to say yes to God before the curtain comes up and I see what's out there, do you know who’s teaching me this lesson? Pastor Dwayne. I like to be around him because he’s teaching me to keep God first. Regardless of the situation or the circumstances, regardless whether it's a dark valley or a high mountain. You get around Dwayne and you just feel encouraged. Every time I spend time with him to encourage him, I feel stronger. Do you know why? Because he’s a guy who says, "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." He's somebody who's decided that God is God, and is sovereign and in control. And who is He, or who am I, or who are you, to call the shots? Here's somebody, right here, part of our own Skyline family, one of our pastors on staff, that's teaching us to put God first regardless of the situation.
Proverbs 3:1-6, "My child, remember my teachings and instructions and obey them completely. They will help you live a long and prosperous life. Let love and loyalty always show like a necklace and write them in your mind. God and people will like you and consider you a success. With all your heart, you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment. Always let Him lead you, and He will clear the road for you to follow."
The rewards of following God’s teachings:
A. A fulfilled life. v. 2
B. Favor with God and others. v. 4a
When we obey God, He will give us favor with God and others. It reminds me of Joseph in the Old Testament, who was going through some dark times in prison, but God always gave him favor in front of others. Why? Because he was obedient.
C. Success. v. 4b
Now in verse 3 when he says, "Let love and loyalty always show like a necklace," the New American Standard version uses very strong language. It says, "Write these truths of God on tablets of your heart and bind them around your neck." Picture a leather strap holding a heavy tablet with the words, "Obey God and Trust Him." It's something we wouldn't forget if we did it that way. But instead of tablets, we have "Post‑its." Something we can scribble and pull off real quick if it really doesn't fit our plan or doesn't really please us. We just rip it off and grab for another "post‑it" and try to put in what we want.
Finding God’s will demands...
1. Total commitment.
When you read these 6 verses, four different times the issue of total commitment rises. Look over at verse 1, "My child, remember my teachings and instructions," and underline this next phrase: "and obey them completely." There you got it, total commitment. Look at verse 3. "Let love and loyalty always show." Total commitment. Look at verse 5, "With all your heart,..." there you are, underline it, "you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment." And finally, look at verse 6. Underline the first phrase, "Always let him lead you."
God always gives the best to those who leave the choice with him.
That's why I love that little simple poem,
What you should know about God’s will:
1. For many things in life, God has no preference.
Sometimes we get all confused and tie ourselves up in knots because somehow we think God has a preference on everything. But it's not that way. It's not like God is very nervously saying,” Boy, I just hope they don't miss that parking lot.” There are many things that God isn't losing any sleep over. For example, I don't think God was concerned about what tie I wore this morning. God wasn't concerned; however, my wife, Margaret, was very concerned. In fact, I don't need God; she just tells me what to wear.
Sometimes we get in this minutiae, this little stuff, and ask God what he wants us to do now. It doesn't matter. God probably doesn't care where you sat this morning or where you parked in the parking lot, although you probably really cared about that. There are certain things in life that you don't always need to check and say, "Well, God, is this exactly what your will is for my life?"
2. The will of God is like a scroll that unrolls each day.
The characteristic of a scroll is that you can only see what's before you. And a lot that is still left to be unrolled that you don't see. It's one day at a time. What I'm saying is that you don't say, "God, give your will for my life for the next 20 years." He isn't going to do that. You don't need that. It would scare you.
You know, our God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we could ever ask or think. God is a marvelous God, because Paul said in Romans that He is on my side and knows what's best for me. And I just don't need to know. I don't even want to know. All I want to know is what God wants me to do right now. You see, it's like I've illustrated through a car at night with the lights on. You don't need to have the lights beaming on your house. All you need is the light beaming 5-600 feet ahead. All you need to do is keep traveling with the light that you have, and as you get there you have more light. And finally you'll get all the way home. Don't worry about 5 or 20 years from now. Just concern yourself with obeying God, keeping him first and let him be the Lord of your life right now, and take the light that you have and follow that light right on down the road.
3. Guard against the temptation to take a Bible verse out of context to find God's will.
I get a little nervous when people play "Bible Roulette." They just go through the pages with their eyes closed, and point their finger and say, "God, wherever my finger stops, that will be what you want for me today." Major, major problems. What would happen if your finger landed on the verse that said Judas went out and hung himself? In a panic you'd grab the Bible and say, "No!" But the next verse was, "Go and do thou likewise." "No!" But the next one says, "Whenever thou doest, do it quickly."
Don't do that. Some of you have “promise boxes,” little boxes that people have on their kitchen table and every morning they reach in and they get a verse. Now I'm not opposed to promise boxes. I just want you to realize that I just wouldn't pull a verse out and happen to think it was God's will for the next 20 years of my life. Now, Chinese cookies... - no.
“With magic, we manipulate the deities so they perform our wishes. With religion, we subject ourselves to the will of the deities.” Philip Yancey
How true. And people who pick verses out of context, want to manipulate God. They'll work until they find the verse that they really like, and they'll grab hold of that. Don't play that game.
4. Don't equate God's will with your circumstances.
Don't say, "I must be in God's will because everything is working out real good for me" or "I must be out of God's will because everything is falling apart." Don't be so immature. There's not a relationship between God's will and circumstances. Now, I'll tell you where there is a relationship: between God's will and the peace of God in your life. One thing that has encouraged me about Pastor Dwayne is the fact that, even though he is going through a dark time in his life, couldn't you just feel the peace, the security? God's will.
Remember in Mark 4, when Jesus sent the disciples across the Sea of Galilee, and told them He would meet them on the other side? They got there in the middle of the sea, the storm came up, the waves got heavy. They thought they were going to die. If you'd asked, “Did you do what Jesus said?” “Absolutely.” “Are you in trouble?” “We sure are.” Even our Lord gives us a great example of God's will in the midst of difficult circumstances. As he sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane he said, "Father, if it's possible, let this cup pass from me." Jesus did not want to go to the cross. God said, "It's not possible." So our Lord, naked, striped of dignity, sinless, dies for us on a cross. His own Father turning his back on his Son. Was Jesus in God's will? In the very center of God's will. It's not your circumstances that determine where you are; it's the peace that you have in your heart.
5. If you've missed God's will, don't despair.
I'm not trying to be flippant, but I am trying to be helpful. Many of you are hearing this message and thinking, “10 years ago I really missed God's will for my life. I've had a bad marriage. Financially I've been ruined. I've messed my health up. I made a bad decision back there, and I'm paying for it now.” I want you to know something: if you've missed God's will in the past, God is in the healing, grace-restoring business, and He has the ability to take you where you are and give you a second chance. Amen? Look in the Bible at all the great people who had a second chance. You want to talk about Abraham, who messed up with Hagar and Ishmael, and God gave him Sarah and Isaac? Do you want to talk about Jacob? Do you want to talk about Moses, who tried to deliver Israel on his own? Do you want to talk about David and Bathsheba, or Samson and the many chances he blew? Or do you want to talk about Peter who denied the Lord and a few months later was the leader of the church? Do you want to talk about the Apostle Paul who was the “greatest and the chief of all sinners”? If there's anything redemptive about this Book, and anything wonderful about Jesus, through grace dying on the cross for your sins, it is that no matter what we did and where we were, through Jesus Christ we get a brand new sheet of paper. I love it, don't you?
“Though you cannot go back and make a brand new start, my friend, Anyone can start from now and make a brand new end.”
Traps to avoid in seeking God’s will:
We can become so overcommitted and pressured that we don't hear His voice.
2. Our own mind‑set.
In other words, we're only ready to hear God through the channel by which we think we'll hear God. We say, "God, I'm seeking your will, so I'm coming to Skyline. I'll hear Pastor Maxwell preach, and that's when I'll know the will of God." In other words, it's looking for a certain way to hear the will of God and we're surprised by the way that God comes and changes things in our lives.
Presuming that God's will is going to be one way or the other. I've had that happen in my life. Sometimes we have a tendency to lay it out and say, "I think this is what's going to happen." And because God's so “busy,” we're even glad to help him lay out the steps. Have you ever helped God?
4. Trying too hard.
I find that among some wonderful, conscientious, melancholic Christians. You know what that trap is? That's the trap of a person who always wants to make sure they're right where they need to be and so they just keep sweating and testing and asking.
There's only one thing that you and I have to do, folks. It's so simple. Don't sweat. I happen to be believe that God's will is very easy to know. I'm not trying to be overly simplistic today, but I believe we have one thing to do and then we can relax and enjoy the journey. Put God first. “Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”
Let's stand. Let's pray. Father, as we stand in your presence this morning, hundreds of people in this auditorium are on a journey. We only have one crack at life and we want to make it count. And good, sincere Christians just don't want to mess up. I pray a twofold prayer now. For those who are messing up and willfully sinning and inviting darkness and confusion and fog into their life, Holy Spirit, convict them right now. Give them a desire to repent and let go and give up that sin that besets them and stops them and trips them up. For nothing clouds the will of God like willful disobedience of his children. And Lord, the second part of my prayer: Help all of us to put you first, to love you with our heart, mind, soul, and strength. For God, if we do that, we can relax and rest assured that the steps of a good man and a good woman are ordered by the Lord.
I have one more thing to pray about in closing, Lord. It's really not a prayer request, it's a praise. I praise you God for the wonderful work you're doing in Skyline Church. I've never sensed in a greater way the work than you're doing right now for our people. I stand in your presence and I give you honor, and glory, and praise, for only you can do this.
Now, may your grace cover every person in the auditorium. Put a hedge around our families. Put a canopy of grace over our heads. Put your arms beneath us. Just give us strength in times of weakness. And may we run a race in which we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher. The one who has begun a good work within us, not only individually, but in the church. Who is faithful to complete it. It's in that name we give glory and honor, and God's people said, amen.
1. God has a and for your life. Ephesians 2:10; Psalm 37:23
2. God has to reveal to you. Psalm 32:8; 73:24
Aspects of God's will:
1. His plan has been revealed in His Word, and it applies to all Christians... The word of God.
2. God's will involves decisions for which He has given no specific directions... The word of God.
Principles to follow:
1. the will of God first.
2. in with God.
The best way to know God's will is to say "I will" to God.
3. Be willing to the will of God before . Romans 8:31-32
The rewards of following God’s teachings:
1. A life. v. 2
2. with God and others. v. 4a
3. . v. 4b
Finding God's will demands...
1. Total .
God always gives His best to those who leave the choice with Him.
What you should know about God's will:
1. For many things in life, God has no .
2. The will of God is like a that each day.
3. Guard against the temptation to take a Bible verse of to find God’s will.
“With , we manipulate the deities so they perform our wishes. With , we subject ourselves to the will of the deities.” Philip Yancey
4. Don’t equate God’s will with your .
5. If you've God’s will, don’t .
Traps to avoid in seeking God's will:
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