Posts

Showing posts from April, 2015

Humble Trust

Image
Even with the best plans, things may not turn out the way we want it to. So, when we plan, make room for God’s intervention. Proverbs 16:9 tells us, “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” According to the Good News Translation, “You may make your plans, but God directs your actions.” This is the principle of humble trust: “When we have chosen what is moral and wise, we must trust the sovereign God to work all the details together for good.” [1] In all decisions, the believer should humbly accept, in advance, the outworking of God's sovereign will as it touches each decision. … Since the sovereign will of God cannot be known in advance (it is secret), it has no direct bearing on the activity of decision-making. On the other hand, since the sovereign will of God ultimately determines whether and/or when our plans are accomplished, its reality should govern our attitude in decision making. Humble planning is the proper response to the sovereign will of G…

Wisdom

Image
We all heard the oft-repeated cliché, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Or as Andy Stanley, the senior pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia, put it,  No one plans to screw up their life. They just don’t plan not to. [1]Thus, other than choosing between right or wrong, we are to choose between what is good, better or best. 

In addition to the good-versus-evil question, Stanley suggests that  [E]ach of us [must] ask one question that should become the filter for every invitation, decision, and opportunity. In light of my past experience, current circumstances, future hopes and dreams, what is the wise thing to do? [2] This is the principle of wisdom: “Where there is no command, God gives us wisdom to choose.” [3] 

According to Ecclesiastes 10:10, “If the iron is blunt, and one does not sharpen the edge, he must use more strength, but wisdom helps one to succeed.” (Emphasis added) I like how The Message version translated that last clause: “Use your head: The mor…

Freedom

Image
Somebody asked a psychiatrist, “I can't seem to make up my mind about what I should do.” The doctor replied, “Have you always had trouble making decisions?” The patient answered, “Well, yes and no.” [1]

We feel that way at times. (Most of the time?) It’s already challenging to obey the will of God that’s revealed in His Word. (Though, to be honest, it’s not because we can’t obey but because we won’t obey. 1 John 5:3a tells us, “And his commandments are not burdensome.” The Good News Bible goes like this: “And his commands are not too hard for us”.)

But, it seems more challenging to look for the will of God that’s not revealed in the Bible. Of course, as John MacArthur Jr. wrote in “Found: God’s Will,” “Why should God show a person something if he or she is not even fulfilling that which God has already clearly stated as His will?” [2] But, assuming that we are obedient in what is already written, how do we know God’s will for our lives in what is not written?
According to Garry Frie…

This is the will of God!

Image
We believe that God’s will is revealed in His Word, that is, what He wants us to be and to do He already said in the Bible. God leads us through His written Word. … Whenever you see the phrase “This is the will of God” in Scripture, you can count on it: that's God's will. You also know that to disobey is to reject His Word. [1]First, it’s God’s will for us to be saved. [2] “This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:3-4. Emphasis added.) Of course, Paul wasn’t saying that all will be saved. What the apostle said was God “wants everyone to be saved” (NLT). But, He won’t force people to put their faith in Him. We also read this in 2 Peter 3:9b, God “is patient toward [us], not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (Emphasis added) God commanded people to repent (Acts 17:30). Not to repent is to rebel against Him. 

Second, it’s God’s wil…

God’s Will and Our Choice

Image
There are believers who think that finding God’s will is like looking for a strand of hair in a coal mine. And the hair isn’t even a white hair! There are others who think that God’s will is like finding out where He aimed the cross hair of His heavenly sniper scope. They search for the specifics like whom He wants them to marry or what college course to take. Either way, discovering God’s will seems next to impossible to them. 
What makes the search daunting is that we are searching for His will that’s not revealed in His Word. We can’t (and shouldn’t) randomly flip through the pages of the Bible and then let our index finger fall on a page. You might have heard of the guy who did just that and his finger fell on Judas “hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:5) Dazed, he flipped through the Bible again. This time, it was Luke 10:37. “You go, and do likewise.” Thankfully, it doesn’t work that way.

Here’s how it works. For example, when it comes to choosing a spouse, we see this in 1 Corinthians 7…

You Are a Limited Resource

Image
If you are a car, what kind of car would you be? Don’t be shy. You could be a Ferrari, a Porsche or an Audi. But imagine that, after getting a full tank, we weld the fuel tank door shut. No matter how beautiful your car is, no matter how fast it can go, you are limited only to how much gas you have in your tank. Once the tank is empty, the car would stop. That’s why, in “How to Lead and Still Have a Life,” H. Dale Burke wrote, As a leader, it is healthy for you to admit, “I am a limited resource.” You have only a certain amount of time, energy, giftedness, resources, and money. You’ve got only so much to give, and when it’s gone, it’s gone. As Christians, we have an omni-everything God. He can do it all. Nothing is too difficult for Him. By contrast, we are not omni-anything. In fact, we are omni-nothing. Compared to God, we are nothing. [1]It’s not that we just have limited resource. We ourselves are a limited resource. Just as we try to save on gas in driving (like going easy on the …

Our C.A.L.L.

Image
After the decision to trust in the Lord Jesus as Savior, the two most important decisions that our children would have to make is the choice of a spouse and the choice of a career. Today, we will look at choosing a career. The starting point in choosing a career is choosing a college course. In his inspirational talk during the thanksgiving dinner for our graduation in seminary, Dr. Narry Santos of Saddleback South Manila shared with us how he helped one of his children to choose a course. He gave her these criterion:  Don’t choose what is good. Choose what is best. Don’t choose a course that you like. Choose that which you love. Don’t choose a course that would make you rich. Choose that which would make you enrich others.I came across something similar to that which I tell people who are just about to start a career or are thinking of switching careers. I believe it is also applicable to our children.I believe that the choice of our career is connected to our calling. So, I share the…

Number Our Days

Image
Just as we have to know where our money is going, we have to know where our time is going. The online magazine, Entrepreneur, suggested one way of numbering our days. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You'll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions. [1]Then, we have to “[p]lan to spend at least 50 percent of [our] time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of [our] results.” [2] The goal is not to distribute time evenly among all those activities. The goal is to focus on what’s the best use of time. “Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.” [3]

But more than focusing on productivity, we have…

Kairos

Image
The ancient Greeks have a god called “Caerus,” also known as “Kairos.” [1]He personified opportunity. Statues of this god show that he has wings on his feet, a lock of hair on the front of his head and bald on the back of his head. At the base of the statue, people can read this inscription. What is thy name? My name is Opportunity. Why hast thou wings on thy feet? That I may fly away swiftly. Why hast thou a great forelock? That men may seize me when I come. Why art thou bald in back? That when I am gone by, none can lay hold of me. [2]That’s why Kairos is also called “the god of the ‘fleeting moment’”.[3] Somebody wrote that there are “three things that never come back: the spent arrow; the spoken word; the lost opportunity.” But another countered it: “A lost opportunity doesn’t mean it’s the last opportunity.” 

Whether it can come back or not, what’s important is that we are to seize or make the most of our opportunity when it comes.
According to Ephesians 5:15-16, “Look carefully the…

God is not a genie

Image
We all know the drill. We rub the lamp and “Poof!” With a lot of smoke, out comes the giant genie. Then, in a deep voice like Morgan Freeman, he would bow down and say, “Your wish is my command!” Sadly, there are Christians who treat God like a genie. According to Pastor Jarrid Wilson, one of the “Stuff Christians Should Stop Doing” is “Praying for God’s provision when we have yet to use what he has already provided.” [1] Way too many of us tend to treat God like a personal genie. Prayer was given to us as an open line of communication between us and God, but the harsh reality is that way too many of try to use it like a drive-thru at a fast-food restaurant. You don’t get to pick and choose the way God provides, but you do get the opportunity to trust his plan and have faith in his promises. I can’t begin to explain how many times I’ve ignored God’s provision because it wasn’t wrapped the way I intended it to be. Every time we purposely ignoring God’s provision, we are indirectly telli…