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February Newsletter- Plans

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts for Peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. (Jer. 29:11)

How many times have we had that quoted to us or have we shared that with others? Like that scripture, this letter is about God’s Will for us. I’ll narrow it down a bit. This letter is about God’s Will simplified in that this letter fits everyone’s life. In that scripture, God’s thought for all of us is to give us Peace and not evil, an expected end. From the original language, expected end can be translated to mean those things that God longs for us.

There are two words defined in the Greek biblical text for will. The first is closely associated with a ‘preferred’ will. The second is a Greek word holding a stronger, more intense meaning. The first implies more of ‘after some consideration’; the second implies His Will fixed, expressed out of the very nature of God. The first is exampled by Pilate in Luke chapter 15 when he asked the Temple priest, ‘What will you then that I should do with him, whom you call the King of the Jews?’ In other words, after reasoning about this issue, what do you suggest, what should I do about Jesus? The second is more exampled by Jesus statement: When you pray, say, ‘Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your Will be done as it is in heaven, so in the earth.’ No reasoning required there, just a declaration of God’s eternal purpose for us.

God’s Will always dominates in our circumstances, no matter the circumstances; that’s our starting point. There’s no changing His Will, no shadow or turning of God. God’s Will for us is set and has been from before time; it was fixed before anything was set in motion to create earth or man. The Father, Son and Spirit always agree and are One in the beginning and still now. No wavering there, actually no persuasion needed. God’s Will for us isn’t determined by reasoning, or ‘after more consideration’; His Will for us is wise and good and consistent. For sure, it’s God’s will that all men are to be saved. God purposing that doesn’t guarantee that all will ultimately happen, but that doesn’t change His permanent Will that they would. Part of His Will is that God created man (and woman) to give us Favor, to encourage one another in Christ. He also created all mankind to be included in the kind of experience that they (Father, Son and Spirit) experience, the togetherness they share. We’re the ones that interrupt that purpose. God’s Purpose, that Will for man to share in Their lives, was hijacked in the Garden. That began and continues the generational struggle of all people.

In God’s Will, every life is a ministry. That doesn’t necessarily mean a five-fold ministry but a ministry just the same. I’ve heard people talk about stepping out of their secular life and entering into ministry life as though there was a separation between them. That troubles me, at least a bit. God’s plan for all was always to give Life to them; in turn mankind was to give Life away to others. We are to experience the pleasure in doing that, it’s a part of Him when we give. Lucifer stirred up a whole lot of trouble by taking God’s gift of worship and turning it into a possession rather than a gift to share; consuming the gift rather than passing it on. Then, that sucker turned and handed off his own failure to Adam and Eve. He persuaded them to enter into his failed system, opposing God. The chief worshiper wanted to be the center of attention rather than radiating worship back on the Giver of worship. Jesus reversed the falling away of Eden; he restored the relationship of God giving and people receiving and sharing. What had been stolen from mankind became the sole purpose of God entering mankind through Jesus Christ.

Often, we’ve become addicted to defining and establishing our own will, and in doing so, we’ve abandoned God’s Will. Perhaps that’s where a lot of our frustrations and tension comes from, even though we’re believers in Christ Jesus. We work full time at creating our results, establishing desirable ends independent of God’s vision for us. We played a song in the early 90’s that had a lyric requesting God to ‘come into my life’. In the order of God’s creation, the more correct lyric would be: thank You for letting us enter into Your Life. In the Gospel, God enters our world, so that we can enter into His. That’s why being in Christ permits us to: even in times of crisis, find Peace, in times of hurry, find Rest, and even in our guilt and shame, find forgiveness. We come to the places that seem impossible and they become possible. The broken get healed, the lame walk, the unreasonable hearts are calmed and the unclean become saints. In the simplest of terms, rather than writing our own journey, God’s Will for us is that we saturate and mingle our journey with Him. God has the inclination, the fixed character, to share, to care, to love, to help in our journey, no matter what circumstances the world throws at us.

God wants us saved! Not just in any one way but in all ways. The Greek word for saved is sozo and implies delivered, protected, healed, made whole and complete. His Will provides us a complete restoration: Body, Soul and Spirit. When we’re in trouble, or when things couldn’t be better. When we don’t have a clue, or when we are experiencing the mountain top of worship. In all those circumstances (and all those come to each of us) God desires us to a simple Trust. In the good times, in bad times, what are we saying about Him, more importantly, what do we believe about Him? Many times the test is not the circumstances, but it’s found in our response to having to deal with the circumstances. It’s the Will of God that we find Him trustworthy in all things, at all times. And, just like in the TV game show, that’s our final answer.

There’re many words to be read in the old and new Testaments, many ideas to be thought about. As a word of Wisdom, Paul taught that the Spirit of God encourages us to ‘rightly divide’ (2Tim-2:15) those words and thoughts to correctly interpret the Love of God. I say that to mention a phrase that caught my eye and heart years ago. It’s scripture that’s become a sifting screen for me when interpreting the Word of God. It’s found in Matthew 11:28-30. It speaks of a Rest that comes with knowing the relationship we call the Gospel. The last verse says: for my yoke is easy and my burden is light. How many times do we get ‘heavy laden’ trying to live the Christian life? When that occurs do you think we should assume that pressure is a yoke God has given us, a yoke to weigh us down? Is that His kind of yoke described in that scripture? Obviously, God was not saying the world would be easy for us to navigate. Actually, the world is described as trouble by God. He was not saying that the burdens of our own making or that the load of family, friends, neighbors, community, and politics would be light. But He was making certain, taking out all confusion, wanting us to remember that any yoke or burden of His hands would be easy and light.

God’s plan, His Will for us, is most accurately portrayed as bringing us through, being there in our journey. We desperately need to know that. Every outcome or each moment may not look exactly as we have planned, but He is with us and simply ‘stays’. That, in the strongest sense of the word, is that second kind of Will mentioned earlier; a determined companionship. It’s God’s natural impulse and desire to be with us without regard to deliberation or consideration. He doesn’t stop and think about how terrible or wonderful you are, He’s just for you– period. It’s a fixed Will about you. His Will is more passionate than a simple reasonable resolve. It’s akin to the biblical text that references God’s Jealousy. It’s not a jealousy established on God’s selfishness or authority. His kind of Jealousy is about an eager, vehement care for His people. He is jealous for you because of His passion to care for you. A Jealousy to do whatever it takes to reestablish a personal relationship with people, even to the point of letting those same people crucify His Son!

This is where we begin to Trust. Our coming to know this Will of God has a direct relationship to what we experience with God. Our beginning definition of God makes a huge difference in where we end up in our journey. For example, if I leave my house and have every intention of going to Chicago but I’m off direction by just a measly 1 degree on my compass, 1 little degree, by the time I’ve traveled 5 hours I will end up in Indiana or Rockford instead of Chicago. Our image of God, our interpretation of His Will, determines much of what we see and experience about God. It always comes down to a moment very much like Adam and Eve’s in that Garden. Their thinking about who they thought God was, their doubting He was giving them all they needed, caused them (and us) a world of trouble. Remember when Jesus asked Peter, for Peter’s own good, ‘Who do you say I am?’ That’s the first question we need to have answered on our journey with God. That was the issue in the Garden of Eden and it’s still the first issue people face today. The failure in the Garden was that Adam and Eve believed a lie about God. Much of the world is falling for that lie again today. Adam and Eve wrongly believed God was holding out on them. That God hadn’t quite made up His mind about them. Believing that, that little 1 degree of lie from Lucifer, changed the whole course of their and our lives. It only took a whisper to their hearts to persuade them away from the Truth of God’s Love. Sometimes we still fall for that whisper today.

Posted on by Laura Posted in Newsletters

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