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God's Design

God’s Design

The creation of the whole world began with God and His design. You and I also started with God’s design, and our significance was noted before we were born. We are the result of God’s intention, not just the plan of our human parents. We were conceived in the mind of God before we were formed in the womb of our mother.

My life is not an accident or the result of some chance circumstance. And neither is yours. Our lives are significant.

Psalm 139:13-15 For You (God) created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body.

God created us. God knit us together. We are God’s design!

The phrase ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ literally means distinguished or different. Our lives are unique; we are one of a kind. There is something in us and about us that no one else has. Our uniqueness is based on the sovereignty of God’s design.

When David writes the Psalms, he shares his confidence in God. He is convinced that God made him, not as a casual afterthought, but as a beautiful creation. David had a personal relationship with the Lord, and states that he knows that all of God’s works are wonderful.

All of God’s works includes you and I as well, as everyone who has ever existed and everyone who is yet to be born. Do you know that you are created uniquely by God? Do you know that your uniqueness is foundational to your significance? Do you know and accept fully that God did a great job, a perfect job, when He created you?

God made us profoundly wonderful. As the Master Designer, He also has a plan for our lives.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.

Our significance is connected to being a child of the living God. Our confidence comes from knowing His purpose, and then living the life God has pre-ordained for us to live. God’s purposes are to give us “a hope and a future” and his plans are to prosper us (Jeremiah 29:11). It’s not just about us doing good things. It is about us doing the works that God has prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Every day is lived best when we understand our significance and when we know our purpose. But we cannot have either of those things unless we have relationship with God. To know Him is to hear His voice. When we hear His voice, we receive His heart of love towards us and we understand His purpose for us.

God’s design is never unintentional. We are called to live purposeful lives. Will you commit to living a significant life? The best life we can have is the beautiful life of God’s design!

 

The Call of God

Don’t Postpone the Call of God

The call of God is anything God asks us to do; it’s God’s will.

There are general calls: come to the Father through Jesus, talk to God in prayer, discover God in His Word, love people like Jesus loves us, be gentle, patient and kind, be self-controlled, live life according to God’s Word etc.

Then there are specific calls: God may have asked you to go somewhere in particular, call someone to encourage them, forgive someone who has hurt you, or change careers. Father may call you to go to Bible school, lead a home group, get involved in youth ministry or children’s church, give a certain amount of money to a specific cause, stop something you have been doing for a while, or start something new.

Do you know what God has asked you to do? What is your commission? And are you postponing the call of God?

The word postpone means “to cause or arrange for something to take place at a later time than that first scheduled.” (Lexico online dictionary)

The first thing I notice is that when we postpone, there is an intention to do the thing which is asked or planned. Many people have the thought that they will do what God has said…but just not right now. There’s a thought of “I will do it…one day”. However, the longer we delay, the more likely we will disobey.

Why do we postpone what God asks us to do? Might I suggest that it’s because we don’t really trust Him. I’ve learnt that to know the Author is to trust the Author. God’s Word shows us that when God calls us, He enables us to fulfill that call. Therefore, I’ve learnt I can always trust Him!

GOD IS A GOOD GOD:

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

GOD IS A GOD OF INVITATION:

Galatians 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery.

GOD IS ALWAYS WORKING FOR MY GOOD:

Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

The enemy tries to convince us that by postponing the call of God we are protecting ourselves from bad things. The truth is, when we delay obeying God’s will, we are keeping ourselves from God’s best. But we need to understand that obeying the call is not always easy.

God’s Will

God’s will comes at a cost – to God and to us

Romans 8:32 He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Whoever wants to be My disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me.”

  • God’s will doesn’t come at a convenient time – to God and to us

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Luke 9:59-62 He said to another man, “Follow Me.” But He replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.” Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”

  • God’s will in our lives will be contested

God’s will is contested through contradictions (Joseph and his God-given dream)

Genesis 45:5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.

God’s will is also contested through disappointments (Job lost almost everything)

Job 1:21 He said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”

I have a conviction that we cannot lose when we do God’s will at the time He asks us to do it.

On your way to discovering God’s specific will for your life, commit to being faithful with God’s written will which is found in His Word. We have a call to be about our Father’s business: “Not my will but Yours be done” (Luke 22:42) We also have a call to be a part of God’s family: “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9) We are adopted as sons and daughters, dearly loved children, friends of God.

The Lord speaks to us in the book of Jeremiah about His wonderful will for our lives. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”(Jeremiah 29:11) God’s will is always the best place for us. God will always bring His good work in us to completion. There comes a time when we must make God’s will and His call our first and greatest priority.

Man praying on a beach about God's will

Not My Will

There are times when we desire something different to what God wants.

Jesus was perfect and sinless, but He also had times of desiring something different to what His Father’s plan required of Him. At times, Jesus had a conflict of wills with His Father. Now this might sound wrong and terrible, but I need you to keep on leaning in with me.

By its very definition, a conflict of wills simply means ‘opposing desires’. Let’s look at this well-known verse: Luke 22:42 (NIV) “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Jesus always wanted to please His Father, and spiritually He wanted to do His Father’s will, but He had moments where naturally He wanted to do something different.

Jesus wouldn’t have said, “Not My will” If His will was to do what His Father was asking Him to do. This is not something metaphoric; Jesus desired something different to His Father in this moment. What does this mean for us? Jesus had to submit His will to His Father’s will, which means, there were moments when His will was different to His Father’s will. We want a removal of an opposing desire, but as we see from Jesus’ example, it is about submitting an opposing desire and saying NO to it, and about saying “Yes” to our Father’s desire. Oh how this is so important to see clearly!

Too many times the enemy who is a thief throws accusations at us to do with opposing desires to God’s will. Our struggle is “How could I want that if I love my Father!” Jesus wanted something different (an easier, less painful way) to what His Father required. Sure, we put degrees on it and say, “Yeah, but that wasn’t a temptation to sin; a desire to do the wrong thing”.

No, in this case it wasn’t a desire to do something wrong…or was it? Isn’t sin ‘missing the mark’? And isn’t ‘missing the mark’ simply doing something different to Father’s perfect will? If so, Jesus was tempted to sin in this moment, just like you and I are tempted at times. It might look different, but at its core, it is an opposing desire to Father’s will; that is a temptation to sin.

And this was not the only time Jesus was tempted to sin.

Today I want to encourage you to not condemn yourself for being tempted with an opposing desire to God’s desire. It’s what you do with that desire that is the important thing.  Having an opposing desire to God’s plan is not the problem! This is what temptation is, and temptation is not wrong. Giving into the opposing desire is the problem!

Lucifer had an opposing desire to God’s plan, and he gave into it. Adam & Eve had an opposing desire to God’s plan, and they gave into it. King David had an opposing desire to God’s plan, and he gave into it. Peter has an opposing desire to God’s plan, and he gave into it. You and I have opposing desires to God’s plan, and sometimes we give into them.

Jesus had opposing desires to God’s plan, but He never gave into it! “Oh, but Steve, that was easier for Jesus because He was perfect and He was the Son of God.” Jesus wrestled so much that He sweated drops of blood; this is how anguished He was over His decision and what was required of Him!!!!

The truth is, you and I can always say YES to God and NO to temptation. Like you, I don’t “feel” like I can, but that’s not the truth of God’s Word. Not my will, but God’s will.

Read more about surrendering to God when we need to trust and let go in the seasons of life.

The Hard Decisions

The Hard Decisions

There are times in our lives when we have to make some very difficult decisions. Sometimes, in obedience to a very clear word from the Lord, we have to make decisions that tug at our emotions and defy our logic.

The challenge in such times is to not to look at personalities and circumstances, or even the human evidences that present themselves. The very simple answer is that Father sees aspects of the future that we do not. He not only sees His intention for you but for each individual involved. It comes down to trust. There are times in all of our lives that we must simply trust the One who is directing our ways and to Whom we have given that unconditional right.

When our decisions (no matter how hard) are the fruit of obedience, there will always be an abundance of grace for each one affected by that decision. It has been truly wonderful for me to see the Grace-filled responses from people over decades now who have been confronted with the need for change that they could not at that time see the reason for. No bad attitudes, no reactions. Just a wonderful commitment to continue as true friends of Jesus and their brethren, trusting Fathers wisdom as He now writes a new chapter.

Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

The truth is, that no one can take a step of faith and obedience without that step leading to a season of increased fruitfulness. That, I know, will be the outcome for each of you now in that moment of decision. We already celebrate with you in the anticipation of that which Father will now do for you.

My friends, I trust that this will encourage you to trust and let go in the times of your difficult decisions.

One thing is totally predictable: Our Father is always motivated for our good and always working to a strategic plan to reveal His faithfulness to us. Let’s continue to trust Father in the midst of the hard decisions.

A significant mountain range

Significance

Do you know that you are significant? That’s right: you are significant to God. Do you also know that God wants you to do something significant with your life? Significance speaks of substance and weight; it is about meaning, worth, importance, and impact… your life is significant.

You might say “Steve, that’s just not possible. You don’t know my situation. My family life is challenging and I don’t have any special gifts. I simply don’t have the opportunity and arena to be significant. I love God but my life will never be significant”. There are some of you that honestly feel that but I have some good news for all of us.

It all depends how you measure significance. Most of the time our thought of significance is doing something amazing! People might do something amazing and it might be significant, but it may also be insignificant in terms of importance and eternal value. True significance is measured by our obedience to what God asks us to do. This is great news for a couple of reasons:

  1. We can all hear from God, and we can all obey Him.
  2. God knows about my current situation and He knows what we are capable of.

Today, here is a good question we can all ask.
“God what would you like me to do with my life that is significant?” Then listen and obey. God might ask you to pray, to encourage, to give, to go, to listen, or to share. He may ask you to simply love your family and give to them sacrificially. Father might speak to you about changing direction or persevering in the same thing. If God asks you to do something and you do it, then that is significant!

Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.”

We don’t need to be important before others; let’s measure our significance according to God’s direction and our obedience.