VIDEO God Is Good!: His Guidance – Discerning God’s Will

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Think of the progress humanity has made when it comes to guidance. We’ve graduated from navigating by terrestrial signposts to celestial signposts to rough-drawn maps to sophisticated maps to digital maps courtesy of GPS. Today, with devices that fit in one hand, we can get directions to anywhere we want to go—and a voice to tell us when to turn!

The ease with which we are guided today may make us resent the process of gaining guidance from God about life’s decisions. We want Him to direct our paths—and He will—but the means to that end involves trusting Him, leaning on Him instead of our own understanding, and acknowledging Him in all our ways. Those are not “click here for directions” instructions, but disciplines we develop over time. God’s guidance is a fruit of our intimacy and faithfulness to Him.

Because God is good, He gives us the gift of His guidance. If you need guidance today, continue to trust Him, lean on Him, and acknowledge Him in all your ways.

God’s promises of guidance are not given to save us the bother of thinking. John R. W. Stott


Discerning the Will of God, Proverbs 3:5-6 – Pastor Chuck Smith – Topical Bible Study

A New Calling

He has saved us and called us to a holy life. 2 Timothy 1:9

Teenage gang leader Casey and his followers broke into homes and cars, robbed convenience stores, and fought other gangs. Eventually, Casey was arrested and sentenced. In prison, he became a “shot caller,” someone who handed out homemade knives during riots.

Sometime later, he was placed in solitary confinement. While daydreaming in his cell, Casey experienced a “movie” of sorts replaying key events of his life—and of Jesus being led to and nailed to the cross and telling him, “I’m doing this for you.” Casey fell to the floor weeping and confessed his sins. Later, he shared his experience with a chaplain, who explained more about Jesus and gave him a Bible. “That was the start of my journey of faith,” Casey said. Eventually, he was released into the mainline prison population, where he was mistreated for his faith. But he felt at peace, because “[he] had found a new calling: telling other inmates about Jesus.”

In his letter to Timothy, the apostle Paul talks about the power of Christ to change lives: God calls us from lives of wrongdoing to follow and serve Jesus (2 Timothy 1:9). When we receive Him by faith, we desire to be a living witness of Christ’s love. The Holy Spirit enables us to do so, even when suffering, in our quest to share the good news (v. 8). Like Casey, let’s live out our new calling. 

By:  Alyson Kieda

Reflect & Pray

When have you shared the gospel with someone, and what was the result? Did it ever lead to suffering? What happened?

Dear God, thank You for offering me a new calling through Your Son. And thank You for giving me the Spirit to live inside me to guide and empower me to serve You.

Remembering God’s Goodness

Since the human tendency is to forget God’s past goodness, we should try to create ways to remember.

Joshua 3:14-17, Joshua 4:1-17

Have you ever heard a song that you hadn’t listened to in years? It’s amazing how well we can recall lyrics a long time later, and yet we so easily forget God’s goodness to us. Today’s verses offer a good example for us to follow. 

God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and safely through the Red Sea. Then He miraculously provided yet another dry path by stacking the Jordan’s waters in an enormous heap upstream. The people were about to enter Jericho, and by God’s power, they would overcome the city. How compassionate to encourage them with a tangible illustration of His strength before such a battle!

But God also knew how easily they had forgotten Him before. So in His love, He had a plan to help the Israelites remember the miracle at the river. He told them to create an altar of 12 stones, each representing a tribe of Israel that had safely passed through the waters. This way, they would have a tangible reminder of divine rescue. 

Today, we likewise need help recalling God’s involvement in our life. When He works in obvious ways, it’s easy to trust Him. But as time goes on, we tend to forget. 

How can you create reminders of God’s faithfulness? Whether it’s by means of a journal or a note in your phone, make sure to remember the Lord’s goodness to you

The Joyful Sound

“Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.” (Psalm 89:15)

Many have been the Christians who have joined in singing “We have heard the joyful sound: Jesus saves; Jesus saves!” Not all have known, however, that this beautiful phrase comes from a great psalm extolling God’s marvelous works of creation and then His promises of redemption.

“The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. The north and the south thou hast created them” (Psalm 89:11- 12). Earlier verses note that “the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD” (v. 5), speaking of the angels, “the sons of the mighty” (v. 6), literally, “the sons of God.” It is exciting to realize that the very first “joyful sound” was heard when God “laid the foundations of the earth.” Then it was that “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy” (Job 38:4, 7).

There was also a joyful sound when Christ was born, and the angel came bringing “good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born…a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord…And suddenly there was…the heavenly host praising God” (Luke 2:10-11, 13).

Whenever a soul is saved, there is another joyful sound: “Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,” said Jesus (Luke 15:7). Finally, there will be a most wonderful sound of joy on Earth when the Lord comes again. “And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away” (Isaiah 35:10). Therefore, even now, “my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation” (Psalm 35:9). HMM

Second Motif: Help

Praise the Lord, who has not let us be ripped apart by their teeth. We have escaped like a bird from the hunter’s net; the net is torn, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 124 vv. 6-8).

I probably don’t realize just how spiritually destitute I am! To add more stress, I sometimes ponder the uncertainty of the future. What in the world can give me hope and help?

David’s metaphor of the bird in the hunter’s net is so appropriate. Israel was that “bird” enmeshed in the strands of the net, ripe to be torn by the teeth of wild animals (v. 6). The Lord broke the framework and allowed the bird to fly free, suggesting the utter helplessness of the trapped one and the need for radical intervention from the outside.

No wonder David bursts forth with thanksgiving and praise! “Praise the Lord” (v. 6) who has marvelously revealed his power to come to the aid of the weak. Because he is the great Creator of heaven and earth, he is also competent to sustain his creation and to hear the helpless cries of his creatures.

David ends his song with a simple declaration of faith. I return to my own original question: What in the world can give me hope and help? Maybe that’s just it! True intervention and help don’t exist in the world! David’s overwhelmingly satisfying answer is good enough for me: My “help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (v. 8). I claim that promise!

Personal Prayer

May I place complete confidence in your ability to help me today, O Lord, whatever I may be facing.

Fear and Cold Feet

You, therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.—2 Timothy 2:1

When Simon Peter stepped out of the boat and attempted to walk on the water to Jesus, he was afraid. “And beginning to sink he cried out ‘Lord, save me!'” (Mt 14:30). Fear makes you sink.

When Jesus healed the paralytic, His first word was, “Have courage, son,” and His second,

“Your sins are forgiven” (Mt 9:2). When Jesus lifted the guilt, this lifted the fear which, in turn, lifted the paralysis.

When the disciples fell on their faces at the top of the Mount of Transfiguration, terrified because they had heard the voice of God, Jesus said: “Get up; don’t be afraid” (Mt 17:7). Fear puts you down; faith lifts you up.

The man who brought back the unused talent said: “I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground” (Mt 25:25). His life investment was in a hole in the ground! Fear did it.

Again, it was said of the disciples that they were gathered “with the doors locked because of their fear of the Jews” (Jn 20:19). Fear always puts you behind closed doors; it causes you to become an ingrown person.

Joseph of Arimathea was “a disciple of Jesus—but secretly because of his fear of the Jews” (Jn 19:38). Fear always drives a person underground.

A man I know says that fear gave him cold feet. Prior to the Lord delivering him from fear, his circulation was so bad that he had to wear socks in bed. “Now,” he says, “my circulation is normal. God took away my fear and gave me warm feet.”

Prayer

God, I see that fear is indeed costly. It is so costly that I dare not keep it. But I cannot easily get rid of it, for it has put its roots deep within me. Help me tear it up, root and branch. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Further Study

Mk 4:35-41; 5:25-34

What had Jesus said to His disciples?

What had this caused Him to do?

God’s Word To A Fallen World

John 1:14

The 1999 International Spiritual Life Commission of The Salvation Army stated: “We call Salvationists worldwide to a renewed and relevant proclamation of and close attention to the Word of God, and to a quick and steady obedience to the radical demands of the Word upon Salvationists personally, and upon our movement corporately.” We need to affirm that the Word of God must be central in the life of every believer.

What is this book about? It is not a record of people desperately clinging to God by their fingertips. The Bible is, rather, the story of God’s search for us. And as Christians we affirm that the heart of that search-story is the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the center of the Bible. The lasting value of the written Word is that it points to the enfleshed Word. The final Word is Jesus Christ. The true Word is Jesus Christ, He of whom the text itself bears witness: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

What impact is the Bible meant to have on us as Christians? The sure mark of the Christian is not spirituality—there are many people who appear outwardly spiritual, but who are not the children of God by grace. The clear sign that we are Christians is that we obey the Word of God.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: “Only he who believes obeys, and only he who obeys believes.” God wants His book translated into the lives of His people.

But how do we ensure that translation will happen? Only by placing the Bible at the center of our common life through study, worship and preaching. Without this we languish and cannot be the people of God we are intended to be.

The Bible is indeed God’s Word to a fallen world. It is His Word because of His work in the person of His Son Jesus Christ. The centrality of this Word made flesh comes alive as the Word is faithfully proclaimed, accepted by faith by sinner and saint alike, and acted upon in obedience to the Christ.

It is in this Word that we rejoice.

Roger J. Green, The War Cry