>Jesus: "Good Shepherd" or "Consulant"?

>”Jack, how do I know God’s will?” is at least in the top-three in the “questions-I’ve-been-asked-the-most-often contest. The will of God is easy to preach/teach about; a tad more difficult to discern.

SCOTTY SMITH writes and shares insightful, comforting, yet challenging thoughts in this “prayer about God’s will”

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. Proverbs 16:9

     Dear heavenly Father, the peace, humility and joy this promise brings to my heart is simply immeasurable. You are the God who is vitally engaged in determining and directing my very steps in life. You are the God who is working all things together after the counsel of your will. You are the God who works in all things for your glory and for our good. You are the God who opens doors no man can shut and who shuts doors no man can open. Indeed, you are no mere life coach, loving Father, you are the Lord of all things, including me.

     For way too many years I labored under the arrogance and anxiety of assuming that if I prayed hard enough and long enough… that if I was really filled with and “tuned” into the Holy Spirit, I could know the specifics of your will for my life well in advance of any decision that needed to be made. Of course, my assumption was that if I was in your will, life would be enjoyable, pleasant and hassle-free.

     If I bought the right car, it would never break down. If I bought the right house, the roof would never leak. If I married the right person, we would never disagree. If I went to the right college I’d get the rightall-right. If I sent my kids to the right school, they would never act out and would end up on the mission field. What a self-centered and wrong way to do life… kind of reminds me of idolatry… job and life would be

     Father, I will continue to seek to make good plans in my heart, according to the revelation of your Word, for I can be confident that you will never lead me contrary to the Scriptures. I will continue to seek out and heed the wise and prayerful counsel of godly friends, who care about your glory and kingdom.

     But I live with even more peace, humility and joy… confidant that Jesus is the Good Shepherd and not just a consulting partner… a very present Lord, not an absentee landlord… the reigning King, not in impotent bystander. Because of Jesus, I am confident that your will WILL be done on earth as it is in heaven. So very Amen, I pray, in his sovereign and to-be-savored name.

>Decision Making Ala Ben Franklin

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Yes, I know Mr. Franklin was a deist and not a follower of Christ, but wisdom is wisdom regardless of from where it comes.

Here’s his methodology of choosing:

“My way is to divide half a sheet of paper by a line into two columns; writing over the one Pro and over the other Con. Then during three or four days’ consideration, I put down under the different heads short hints of the different motives, that at different time occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them altogether in one view, I endeavor to estimate their respective weights; and where I find two, one on each side, that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I judge some two reasons con equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out five; and thus proceeding, I find where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of further consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly.” –Benjamin Franklin

Didn’t know I was copying Ben, but I’ve kinda done that in the process of decisions. Another way that I heard, but don’t remember from who, is to ask, when about to embark on a made decision:

A. What’s the best that can happen?

B. What’s the worst that can happen?

C. Can I live with “B”?

>Retire? Why?

>
In the mall yesterday a guy asked me, when I told him I had just moved to the area, if I came here to retire!

Hmmm.

Why would he think I was old enough to retire? (refrain from comments, please)

But it reminded me that I’ve no desire to “retire.” This is not a statement that retirement is sin…but why would I want to quit doing what I love doing?

It saddens me that so many followers of Christ hate their jobs/careers. Not once-in-a-while, not just-on-Mondays; but always they dislike intensely their jobs.

Malcomb Forbes got it right when he said, “The biggest mistake people make in life is not trying to make a living at doing what they most enjoy.”

If you are a student, seek His face, His path, and recognize that He has gifted you and called you to a career…find it!

If you are an adult working at a job you hate…find what you are good at, what you are gifted for, and do it…

>Worrisome Words

>What scares you?

If you go to Dallas Theological Seminary, you’ll see a photo honoring Dr. Howard Hendricks (a phenomenal speaker and author). Etched in glass beneath the photo are these words:

“I live with the dread of tame, domesticated Christianity. I fear for my students that they will chase after what they want — and therefore miss what God wants.”

Chew on that…

>Confession

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Thank God for First John One Nine! The word “confess” means “to agree with,” no excuses, no blame, but rather simple (not simple to do, but simple) agreement with God that I have sinned.

There is nothing wrong with requesting prayer for all sorts of situations, but I’ve confessed to the Lord, and now to you, that I’ve been worrying too much about the lack of sale of our house. Sure, it’s easy to say it’s human, it’s natural, and all that…but…

There is no getting around Philippians 4.5,6; Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Couple that with 1 Thessalonians 5.16-17, Be joyful always; pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. and I receive the not-so-gentle slap from the Holy Spirit.

I’m to cast the sale of the house on the Lord, as it is a care; and because, as He shows over and over, He cares for me!

And when I do the casting I am to accompany it with thanksgiving…God is answering prayer, He will answer prayer, He will provide…

I know that in my head, but there is a disconnect from my head to my heart.

So I confess, repent, and trust.

>The Weight of the Wait

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A good friend, Kevin Davis, put “weight” and “wait” together in a recent communication…

Yes, “waiting”, in our case for the buyer of our NY house to show up so we can move to Saint Joseph, MO, is a “weight” that hangs on us, clings on us, and, if we forget God, depresses, distracts, and denies.

Denies what? The sovereignty of God. If my frustration grows, it is, in truth, frustration with God…though I may not actually express “Why haven’t You sent a buyer yet?” my attitude screams it. There is a lapse between what my “head” believes and how my “heart” beats.

I know God is sovereign; I know He has a plan and a timing and a purpose. I also know that He may never know why the delay.

But there are times when the “weight” of the “wait” is truly heavy…and, of course, that is when I need to “cast all my “weights” (cares) on Him”….why?….”because He cares for (me).”

So even as you pray the Lord would be pleased to send a buyer soon…pray for the Hagers, that we would not carry the “weight” of the “wait,” but that we’d hurl it unto Jesus….and trust Him even as we, yeah, “wait on the Lord” and as He “renews our strength.”