VIDEO Staying in Step With God

Knowing biblical principles is essential for living the Christian life as God desires. Perhaps the most important one to learn is to obey God and leave all the consequences to Him. And  alongside it is another one that’s very important—learn to wait upon God for His timing. Obeying the Lord doesn’t just include doing what He desires, but doing it when He says and how He says.

To keep in step with God’s perfect will, we must guard against jumping ahead of Him. Although waiting on the Lord is not always easy, we can never go wrong by patiently letting Him lead us according to His timing. When we step ahead of Him, trouble awaits us, but if we trust His guidance, He will lead us into His will and accomplish more than we had in mind.

When we are in a hurry to make a decision and move forward rather than seeking God’s timing, we need to heed the words of Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”

God’s timing isn’t just good; it’s perfect. He is omniscient and knows all things in the past, present, and future. The Lord sees every aspect of our lives, including our needs and desires. In His great wisdom, He understands what’s best for us. His divine schedule for our lives is always perfect and achieves His good purposes.

In contrast, we are often in a hurry to get what we want. Since we have limited knowledge and understanding, we should pray about the situation and wait for God to unfold the path He has for us. But in our haste to move ahead, we often make big decisions without asking the Lord to show us His perfect timing in the matter.

Yet God has provided everything we need to obey His will. When He saved us, He gave us His indwelling Spirit to be with us forever. One of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to guide us according to God’s will and Word. He cautions us regarding wrong directions and quickens us to do what’s right because we are not sufficient in ourselves to make wise decisions.

When God says “Wait,” that’s exactly what He means for us to do. Therefore, we need to learn to listen to Him and follow His directions rather than trying to figure out a course of action and plunging ahead. If we make it a habit to listen to God throughout our lives, then we will be ready to hear Him when we need direction in pressing situations. The Lord promises in His Word that He answers prayer and will direct our path, but sometimes we must wait for Him to show us the way. Even though we may want the answer immediately, God in His loving omniscience knows what’s best for us both now and tomorrow because His perspective is eternal.

This article was originally published on March 4, 2019 and is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message, “When God Says Wait, which aired this weekend on TV.”


Having Confidence to Wait on the Lord (Psalm 27)

 

 

Kind Correction

Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death.  James 5:20

The early spring weather was refreshing and my traveling companion, my wife, couldn’t have been better. But the beauty of those moments together could have quickly morphed into tragedy if it weren’t for a red and white warning sign that informed me I was headed in the wrong direction. Because I hadn’t turned wide enough, I momentarily saw a “Do Not Enter” sign staring me in the face. I quickly adjusted, but shudder to think of the harm I could have brought to my wife, myself, and others if I’d ignored the sign that reminded me I was going the wrong way.

The closing words of James emphasize the importance of correction. Who among us hasn’t needed to be “brought back” by those who care for us from paths or actions, decisions or desires that could’ve been hurtful? Who knows what harm might have been done to ourselves or others had someone not courageously intervened at the right time.

James stresses the value of kind correction with these words, “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (5:20). Correction is an expression of God’s mercy. May our love and concern for the well-being of others compel us to speak and act in ways that He can use to “bring that person back” (v. 19).

By:  Arthur Jackson

Reflect & Pray

What risks or rewards are associated with helping a wanderer find his or her way back to where they belong? When did God use someone to bring you back from a not-so-good place?

Father, keep me from straying from Your truth and grant me courage to help bring back those who are wandering

Sunday Reflection: The Blessing of God’s Peace

To get the most out of this devotion, set aside time to read the Scripture referenced throughout.

The Bible reveals to us who God is, and one important aspect of His character is that the Lord loves peace and wants it to fill the earth. Read Jesus’ promise in John’s gospel: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful” (John 14:27). We also learn that the Lord is a “God of peace” (Rom. 15:33; Phil. 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Heb. 13:20), the Messiah is called the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6), and there is peace in heaven (Luke 19:38).

In light of all this, when Jesus says, “Blessed are the peacemakers” in Matthew 5:9, we can understand why: To be a peacemaker is to reflect the image of our heavenly Father—using our breath, energy, and creativity to sow peace wherever the Spirit takes us.

Think about it

• What words, feelings, or situations do you associate with peace? When have you experienced peace as a gift from God?

• Read John 14:27 again. Can you think of fears or concerns that affect your ability to experience or demonstrate peace?

There is STILL Fire in the Bones

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.” (Jeremiah 20:9)

When God’s Word really becomes a part of one’s soul, that one can never be the same again. As dejected Jeremiah said in his imprisonment: “The word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily” (Jeremiah 20:8). So, he said: “I will not…speak any more in his name.” But he could not quit! God’s Word was burning in his bones, and he must let it out. “Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29).

The psalmist David had a similar testimony. “I was dumb with silence, I held my peace, even from good; and my sorrow was stirred. My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: then spake I with my tongue” (Psalm 39:2-3). When the resurrected Christ “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself,” the two disciples from Emmaus later testified: “Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:27, 32).

Of all the symbols applied in the Scriptures to God’s Word, that of fire is the most awe-inspiring. Fire was not a discovery of some primitive man, as evolutionists imagine, but has always been an instrument of God’s judgment, from the flaming sword in Eden (Genesis 3:24) to the lake of fire in hell (Revelation 21:8). In fact, God Himself is said to be “a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29).

The word of fire in the burning heart cannot be contained but must be proclaimed at any cost. As Paul acknowledged: “Necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16). HMM

Remember Always Be Prepared

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

—Mark 16:15

Recall what happened when Jesus said to the disciples, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15).

Peter jumped up right away, grabbed his hat and would have been on his way, but Jesus stopped him, and said, “Not yet, Peter! Don’t go like that. Tarry until you are endued with power from on high, and then go!”

I believe that our Lord wants us to learn more of Him in worship before we become busy for Him. He wants us to have a gift of the Spirit, an inner experience of the heart, as our first service, and out of that will grow the profound and deep and divine activities which are necessary.   ITB139

Quiet our hearts, that our evangelistic efforts might spring from a heart of worship. Amen.

 

The Absence of Love

I will love thee, O Lord, my strength.

—Psalm 18:1

 

The thirteenth chapter of First Corinthians may tell us what Christ is like, but let us not forget that it also tells us what we must be like to avoid spiritual tragedy. Let us not turn our back on this critically important teaching.

Without love, the kind described by Paul, my whole Christian life is a barren fig tree. It’s a neat trick to apply Paul’s words to Christ only; but it isn’t honest, and it is dangerous.

It is the Holy Spirit who sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts (Romans 5:5) and love is declared to be a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). But if our daily lives reveal that the fruit is not there we dare not assume that it is—”because the Bible says so.”

The absence of love as described in First Corinthians 13 is proof of the absence of the Spirit, or at least that He is inoperative within us. That’s the only honest conclusion. We can’t afford to be less than candid about the whole thing. PON129

[The] gospel breathes the spirit of love. Love is the fulfilling of its precepts, the pledge of its joy, and the evidence of its power. DTC165

 

I Believe God!

Acts 27:25

Paul was a passenger on a ship about to be wrecked when he said, “I believe God!” Many of his shipmates had already given up hope of surviving the ordeal. But Paul told them of his faith in God and his certainty that, in spite of winds and waves, all on board would get to land safely. Said Paul, “I believe God!” (Acts 27:25 NLT).

This is a declaration of faith. Others stared in numbed despair at the fury of the elements, their voices muted in fear. Paul spoke, not to cry in terror, but to testify to his faith in God and God’s promised deliverance.

Our world needs this kind of Christian witness. Fearful things may be happening; even more terrifying things may be forecast. The world that now is may be heading for certain shipwreck. But God and righteousness and truth will endure. Witness to this in the midst of personal turmoil or world confusion. Give voice to your faith and say, “I believe God!”

This is an attitude of expectation. Paul’s reaction to varying situations was automatic and consistent because his dominant mood was faith. Attitude is much more important than circumstances. Real environment is created by the state or quality of our feelings. Situations are faced with faith or fear, thankfulness or complaints, cheerfulness or dejection, according to our prevailing attitude. Paul stood on the deck of that doomed vessel among a group of men who had already given up. They saw only dark danger. Paul saw God and bright expectation when he said, “I believe God!”

This is a realized experience. It was experiential—it reached back into the past. Active faith in God soon acquires personal precedents. Paul had “memory markers,” and when he stood on that quivering deck and said, “I believe God,” he was making a statement grounded in part in his own previous encounters and observations.

His experience was also experimental—it reached forward into the future. Paul had faith in God for the present and the coming emergency. His complete statement was, “I believe God, it will be just as He said.”

Your private world may be shipwrecked. You may face discouraging, fearful prospects. Have faith in God. Say, “I believe God!” Make it an expression of an inner attitude, and it will become the declaration of a daily experience.

Bramwell Tripp, To the Point