I love the way that God works! I love the way that God reveals Himself so clearly just when we need to see. Just this morning I was headed down to the creek to do some clearing of brush. I have been trying to get our creek bank cleared up so that when warm weather arrives we can keep a clear view of any snakes. As I was walking down the hill I was pondering the day’s events. Today we had a nice article about our family published in a local newspaper. A few weeks ago there was another article published in the news letter for my employer. The thought I was thinking was, “Why? What is God doing?”
My thoughts went back in a rush to twenty years ago and a scripture came to mind. God’s Word, the Bible is a living word. It is unlike any other text on the planet in that the words written are His words. It is called a Living Word because the words bring life to the hearer but also because they come back to you when God wants to speak. We sometimes hear of people who claim they hear voices that tell them to do this or that. They might claim that it’s God’s voice telling them to do something. God does speak to His people but He never says anything that goes against His Word, the Bible. That is why it’s so important to know what the Bible says. As an example, if a man claims that God told him to bomb an abortion clinic I can categorically dispute his claim and know that it’s false. It goes against what the Bible teaches.
I said all that to say that there was a verse that came back to me this morning on the way to the creek. Twenty years ago I was reading in the book of Romans and in chapter sixteen and verse twenty-five I came across the word “stablish”. As I read it back then the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and told me that God was going to establish me (the modern rendering of the word). I thought about it for days as to what it meant and wondered just how God would establish me. I was like Mary and kept this and pondered it in my heart (Luke2:19). We sometimes get impatient and want to rush the plan of God. Just because God reveals something to us or gives us a desire to do something we might think He means “today”.
As time went on I forgot about the verse and even had several things in my life that looked like the opposite was happening. It looked like instead of being established by God my life was being shaken apart by the devil. A few years went by and my life seemed to be tossed about by waves. I began to sincerely seek God for stability. Angie and I had many months of discussion and prayer seeking God in all matters. We felt like things needed to change but we didn’t know what. I’m not saying that we threw everything out but we did step back and wipe the slate clean to the earliest days of our spiritual walk with God. We wanted to backtrack the trail to the time when were sure of where we stood. We felt like we had both followed man’s doctrines and not necessarily God’s path. Angie and I are both long time students of the Bible. We have been under many teachers and have heard different views of doctrine. We had stacks of commentaries on our shelves. We came to the conclusion that each commentary was based on someone’s interpretation of the Bible. Immediately, we started reading the Bible anew and seeking God to find out what it meant for us.
We came to the conclusion that the church was following ten to fifteen years behind the world in what was accepted as moral and that it had lost its distinctiveness and unique qualities of Holiness. We had fallen into that philosophy, too. At that point we began to take the Bible more literally instead of trying to see how much we could get by with without offending God. As time progressed we made conservative changes, always with prayer. God began to miraculously confirm that we were making the right decisions. When we stepped out on faith He quickly let us see that we were walking in the right direction.
So this morning, God answered me quickly when I asked Him why these things were happening. He responded with Romans 16:25-26. Paul wrote here that God has the power to establish us and reveal the mystery of His plan for us. The word ‘stablish’ comes from a Greek word meaning to make stable, place firmly, set fast or to fix. In the broad picture Paul was writing about Jesus being revealed as Savior of the world. But there is another point I see here. God wants to clearly set you and me in a place where our lives mean something. He has a plan and purpose for us. God has had a plan for your life since the beginning of time. It’s not by chance that you are reading this message today. He is able to establish you just as He has for me. Notice the last line of verse twenty-six. It’s made known to all people by the obedience of faith. People sometimes say one thing and do another. If we truly believe God we will act on it. Faith is putting our belief into action.
Let’s look at one more verse. In Jeremiah 29:11 God said that He knew the”thoughts” He had for us. I looked up the original Hebrew word for that and it means thought, device, plan or purpose. God has a plan and purpose for us just as He had for Israel then. In the following verses God said that we would find Him when we would seek Him with all of our hearts. Why is it then that men don’t seem to find Him?
We tend to look for God in the wrong places. Instead of seeing His character in Creation we are looking for Him in churches built by men. Instead of waiting on Him we try and rush God into doing something in our timetable. For instance we might tell Him that if He really exists we want a response in the next sixty seconds. Seeing isn’t believing–believing is seeing. Oh yes-there is one more aspect of God that we miss. Since He is omnipresent He knows our lives beginning, middle and end even before we are born. You don’t believe it? Study the Word.
God’s plan for man’s salvation was already there when Adam fell. God told Joseph and Moses ahead of time that they would deliver Israel even though it was years later that His plan was actually accomplished. I thought about that today while looking back on my life. If God had allowed me to see what was going to happen I would have surely messed it up. We tend to want all the details for our lives right now but God leads us by the light of His Word in steps. In Psalms 119:105 it clearly says that His Word is a lamp unto our feet and light unto our path. Read that again. God lets us know here that this side of heaven we will walk on a path that is illuminated by His Word and is given as a lamp to our feet for a short distance at a time.
If you have ever been camping you know what it’s like to use a lantern to walk in the woods. You can’t see very far ahead of you but you walk in the light that you do have. A lantern is not like a spotlight in that it doesn’t illuminate down the road. It lights the immediate area we are in. God’s Word is that way, too. We may have insight to where the trail leads but to get there we must take it step at a time.
Perhaps you are drifting in your life and feel as if there is no purpose to it. Friend, God has a plan for you. He has a definite purpose. He did not create us to float on every wind that carries us. He made us for His purpose. It is in finding that purpose that He establishes us and we find the joys of life God wants us all to have. Are you ‘stablished today? If not, you can begin the journey now. With the New Year here it is a wonderful time for changes.
First, you need to trust God with your life. If you are like I was, you’ve probably messed it up doing it all by yourself. Allow Him to direct you. As He gives you guidance you will need to be willing to take steps in faith. He won’t ask you to make giant leaps but you will need to move from where you are. Next, read His Word, the Bible. Knowing what it says is imperative to knowing God. He is His Word and His Word is Him. When you know it you will be lead step at a time. And finally, don’t worry if everything doesn’t get fixed overnight. You will still have some of the same battles even after you begin the journey. Give Him time to get you out of the ditch. He has a patient way of getting you where you need to be.
Prayer-Father, I thank You for revealing Your plan to me. Your Spirit has lead me and given me peace in my life. Today I lift up those who are struggling with a purpose for their lives. They need You and Your will. Make Yourself known to them as they seek You. May they find the joy that can only come through You.
In Jesus’ Name-Amen
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