the future revealed?


 

 

Have you ever asked God to reveal His will to you?  How about your future?  “God, please tell me where I’m supposed to go!  I want to do Your will, but I need to know what that is!”  I have.  I’ve asked God what He wants me to do, with the purest intentions.  I want to know so that I can serve Him best.

But I’ve come to realize that there’s a fine line between knowing the future and knowing God’s will for me.  A lot of the time, we lump them together as one and the same.  My future may be God’s will, yes, but maybe God will tell me one and not the other.  He may reveal to me what my future is supposed to be, or His will, but maybe not both.

When it comes to the future, God does not tell us in advance what His plans are.  He asks that we trust Him regardless.

In his famous devotional book, My Utmost for His Highest, Oswald Chambers said:

Have you been asking God what He is going to do?  He will never tell you.  God does not tell you what He is going to do—He reveals to you who He is.  Do you believe in a miracle-working God, and will you “go out” in complete surrender to Him until you are not surprised one iota by anything He does?

That is what I mean by “future” and “God’s will.”  By knowing God, we can often get a clearer picture of what His will is.  For example, it might be God’s will for you to grow in your faith a certain way within the next year, but God won’t tell you exactly how He is going to do that (the future).

I began reading the book of Colossians the other night and I was scanning quickly through Paul’s introduction to the Colossians (they seem to be the same in every book).  But I slowed myself down, reminding myself it was the Word of God.  When I reached verses nine and ten, I was a bit confused.

And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing good fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

(Colossians 1:9 – 10)

It was the second part of verse nine that really caught my attention.  I had just read the devotional that the above excerpt comes from (January 2) and this verse seemed to completely contradict it!  “…filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…”  I realized I must be missing something and asked a few questions and prayed.  Does this mean knowing what God is going to do?  Paul mentioned “the knowledge of his will,” but I also know that God doesn’t just tell us the future.  “…in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…” I also noticed that Paul said “the knowledge,” not, “a knowledge.”  I’m not trying to nit-pick here, but aren’t there many futures?  I finally journaled this conclusion:

I think Paul is saying that it’s more knowing God and being wise and understanding Him.  Not necessarily the future, but His will.  Not what will happen to us, but what God wants in us.  Then we will do His will if we know Him.

Verse ten says:

So as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to Him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

We can see from this verse that God’s will for us is for us to walk with and in Him, and to bear “good fruit” through good deeds (needed for faith and vice versa). We need to increase in the knowledge of God and, by doing so, we will know His will—maybe not the future, but His will—more and more.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

(Philippians 1:6)

 If you want to know God’s will better, get to know God better.

but in this moment


It’s so strange—and in a way sad—to think that this is the last bit of my childhood.  I’ve gone from infancy to childhood to teen, which are all stages in and of themselves, but soon I’ll be an adult and I will never get these carefree years back.  After this will come responsibility, many new experiences.  After this year, I’ll never again go to youth to participate in the activities, or go to Sunday school, or go to high school.

It makes me realize how important now is.  Not in the sense of “live for now, in the moment, for your own satisfaction,” but in the sense that you’ll never get this time back.  This moment, right now, is your only chance to be Christ to your high school friends.  It’s your only chance to be there for your friends at youth.  It’s your only chance to do the things only teenagers can do.

If you let this moment pass you by, what about the next, and the next?  Will you give up an opportunity to glorify God in this situation?  You’ll never get another one quite like it.  It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t seem to be successful.

Our part is simple: our responsibility is to obey God and leave the details up to Him.  Will you hear this call?

the joy set before us


Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

(Hebrews 12:1 – 2)

For many of us, 2012 has been a difficult and wonderful year. We have gone through a variety of trials, joys, failures, triumphs. I doubt any of us have had a perfect year, and I also doubt that any of us have seen a completely joyless year. Nevertheless, we all hope for a good 2013.

The year of 2013 is certain to have its ups and downs as well, but we need not be afraid. We have our Lord with us. The One who made us, the One who has performed endless miracles and victories, the One who made the universe – He is on our side. He will protect us, stand by us, hide us in Himself, save us.

Paul says that we are surrounded by “so great a cloud of witnesses,” angels. Angels aren’t delicate creatures with wings that fly around with halos. They’re heavenly warriors, soldiers; strong and mighty to fight Satan’s forces for us. We are not alone in this world! Since we are surrounded by this great cloud of warriors fighting for us, we shouldn’t be afraid to go forth in the name of Jesus Christ! We can throw aside our sin in His name and run with endurance the race ahead of us. Although we do not yet know what 2013 holds for us, we can already declare victory in the name of our Lord and Saviour because He is always victorious.

Jesus was hung on a cross and He went to it willingly because He knew that from this, greater joy would come. We ought to have this attitude with us too in the year ahead. We know that there will be struggles, pain, things we don’t (and maybe never will) understand. The Christian life is not a life of roses. There are temptations, burdens, valleys and battles. But if we go forth knowing that, if we turn to God in every circumstance and say “yes” to Him, He will turn our sorrow into joy, our burdens into blessings and our valleys into conquered mountains.

Jesus underwent a horrible experience out of love—love for us and love for His Father. As a result, He “sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” If we say “yes” to God in the difficulties, trials, pains—when God doesn’t even seem there—we will be richly blessed and we will grow in our faith in Him. God uses trials to strengthen us, but only if we let Him. Will you commit to allowing Him to work in your life and help you grow this year, no matter how painful it is?

I know Who goes before me
I know Who stands behind
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

The One who reigns forever
He is a friend of mine
The God of angel armies
Is always by my side.

but to simply wait


I’m sure you’ve heard that God doesn’t work by our time schedule, but by His.  We’ve been told this for years, ever since we can remember by parents, leaders, pastors, friends.  It’s true.  God works by His perfect, infallible timing.  He knows better than we do and He comes through every time.  There are countless testimonies and Bible verses affirming this.

But what about when you’re waiting?  Not when you’re panicking about if something will happen in time, but when God seems to be on hold; when it seems like He’s taking a break.  When the God-to-you line appears disconnected no matter how much praying you do.  What then?  You were so certain you’d see good results, but you don’t.  Actually, any results would be good, but there simply aren’t any.

It’s during these seasons of waiting that God teaches us.  God teaches us and strengthens our faith through trials, yes, but also through those times when nothing seems to be happening.  Will I still put my trust in Him when He seems to be gone?

When we get impatient waiting for God to act, it’s a good reminder to “be still and know that [he is] God.”  Too often we try to fix things ourselves or get impatient and try to speed up the results.  But everything will work perfectly in His timing for our betterment—even if it doesn’t seem like it.

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

(Psalm 27:14)

In those times of waiting, we are commanded to simply wait for God.  Our job is to trust Him and He will be faithful.

Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord, and my right is disregarded by my God”?  Have you not known?  Have you not heard?  The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.  He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.  He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.  Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

(Isaiah 40:27 – 31)

God is there, whether we can see Him or not.  He will never leave us or forget about us.  If we trust Him, He will always be with us and will work all things together for us because we love Him.

Will you trust Him now, even as you’re waiting?