Knowing God's Will

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by MRCoon, May 23, 2006.

  1. MRCoon

    MRCoon
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    Ok so I'm looking for a ministry to enter for full-time service. I've had a job offer and still have about 15 resumes out and still have about 2 months before I "have to" make a decision. What has been your experience when it comes to knowing God's Will? Is it possible to have multiple doors open and all seem to be good places to go?

    I would love for you to share your experiences with me and I also covet your prayers for wisdom to recognize the right ministry to serve with.
     
  2. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    How To Ascertain the Will of God
    By George Mueller


    (1) I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people generally is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this state, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.

    (2) Having done this, I do not leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If so, I make myself liable to great delusions.

    (3) I seek the Will of the Spirit of God through, or in connection with, the Word of God. The Spirit and the Word must be combined. If I look to the Spirit alone without the Word, I lay myself open to great delusions also. If the Holy Ghost guides us at all, He will do it according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them.

    (4) Next I take into account providential circumstances. These often plainly indicate God's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit.

    (5) I ask God in prayer to reveal His Will to me aright.

    (6) Thus, through prayer to God, the study of the Word, and reflection, I come to a deliberate judgment according to the best of my ability and knowledge, and if my mind is thus at peace, and continues so after two or three more petitions, I proceed accordingly. In trivial matters, and in transactions involving most important issues, I have found this method always effective.
     
  3. ktn4eg

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    When you have multiple good doors of opportunity open before you, it might be wise for you to ask God to close all of the doors except the one through which He wants you to enter.

    Years ago I asked my pastor for advice on determining whether it was God's will about a move that was presented to me. He recommended that I pray that, if this move wasn't what God intended for me, I ask the Lord to make it impossible for me to make that move.

    As I prayed for the Lord to do this, He worked things out in my life to assure me that this move was not only what He wanted for me, but also made it practically impossible for me not to make that move.

    Hopefully this may be of some help to you.

    Lord, I ask that you give my brother in Christ direction and discernment as to the path You would want him to take. You are the Good Shepherd, so I humbly ask of You to guide this one of Your flock in the way that is best for him.

    Amen.
     
  4. North Carolina Tentmaker

    North Carolina Tentmaker
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    One other thing, beyond George Mueller’s advice, and I am guessing you have done it because you posted here for advice, ask God’s people.

    My formula when trying to determine God’s will:

    1. God’s spirit – Be sure your life and mind are free from sin and there in nothing between you and God. Let nothing hinder your communication with him. Then pray for clear guidance and listen for his answer. I have prayed that God will close doors and not confuse me, but I have also prayed for a burden for the right choices.
    2. God’s word – Read and study the bible more than usual. Not for sermon preparation but pray that God will speak to you through his word.
    3. God’s people – ask other Christians who you respect and admire. Older pastors and elder Christians in your church make great mentors, value their wisdom and experience. When I was faced with a difficult choice last year I went to see two members of my ordination committee and sought their guidance.
    4. God’s peace – ask in prayer for no regrets and once you make your choice never look back. Have faith that God has used his spirit, word, and people to guide you in the right choice.
     
  5. John of Japan

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    Well said, NTC. :thumbs:
     
  6. MRCoon

    MRCoon
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    Well, an update. Even though I don't know for certain where God wants me to serve I know where he doesn't want me to serve.

    I learned through Col. 3:15-17 that this thing about the peace of God is a real thing. It says to be "ruled by the peace of God" and I've learned that God gives a peace, a comfort when we are doing His will. The first job I was offered was with one of my former pastors and was with a Bible College working with the administration but something kept bothering me and kept making me hesitate on accepting the job and I believe that while the job is a good job and one that will bring honor to God. But the job was not what I felt lead of the Lord to do when I surrendered to His will. I feel lead to continue working with teens and as an assistant to a pastor in a local church and not on staff at a Bible college.

    So I continue to search for the right ministry and to seek the Lord's will. The Lord is good and works all things according to His plan! I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for me.
     
  7. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Amen, Brother.

    Agreed: if you don't have the peace of God about something, it isn't His will. I like Is. 26:3 on that: "Though wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed upon thee, because he trusteth in thee."

    I am reading a book on the will of God right now that I had for several years and never finished, and the author makes the point that, according to Ps. 37:4 (I think), "Delight thyself in the Lord, and he will give thee the desires of thine heart." So the author's point was, when you have a desire to do a certain kind of work for the Lord, then usually it was the Lord that put that desire there!:thumbs:
     
  8. gekko

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    here's how i look at God's will:

    Proverbs 6: 6 Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.
    ---

    the ant does not have anybody telling them what to do - because they already know what to do - and how to do it.
    (im not labelling anybody a sluggard)

    that is how we are supposed to be. we have God on our side. if we are true christians - our minds, our thought patterns, our will - and God's will - must be the same. if they are not - we are not embracing Christ.

    if we are embracing Christ - we will be like the ant - we should already know what to do - we should already know God's will - and we should do it - we've got instructions on how to - His Word.

    the thing that gets in the way though - is us. our selfishness - our flesh nature.
    but according to 1John 3:5+ that should be gone as well.

    Psalms 37 says: "Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit they way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass"

    now - what are the desires of our hearts? probably most of the time they are materialistic desires. be honest. they are. no?

    will the Lord fullfill the desires of our selfish hearts? no. i dont believe that - we would be asking amiss.

    BUT - if we Delight ourselves in the Lord - please the Lord - serve the Lord - worship the Lord. our desires WILL be the SAME as HIS. "commit thy way unto the Lord" - in other words - go all out for the Lord. our ways shall be his ways. next it says "and he shall bring it to pass."

    so. if our thoughts - if our desires - if our ways.... are towards God - God will provide.
    if they are selfish thoughts - selsfish desires - selfish ways... i dont believe God will provide.

    if our thoughts - desires - and ways - are towards God - then our will and His will are one. The word lays out his will for us.

    Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. he didn't come to call the righteous to repentance.

    if what you're doing is going to further the ministry (which from reading the OP - i see you are... unless im mistaken) - then that is God's will.

    for which ministry? prayer will help with that. its not like God won't give you an answer. :D
    ---

    JohnofJapan.. i just read the last part of your last post... i didn't read it until i got to writing this - and i noticed you talked about a book you're reading talking about Ps. 37:4... which book is that?
    ---

    that's my two cents anyways.
    God bless
     
  9. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Well said, gekko.

    Unfortunately that book is at the church right now and I am working at home this morning. A quick look at Amazon didn't turn it up, but I know it is still in print. I'll be at the church later today and get you the title then. :type:
     
  10. John of Japan

    John of Japan
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    Finding the Will of God, by Bruce Walthe
     
  11. gekko

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    hey thanks man. i'll look it up.
     
  12. Bible-boy

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  13. John of Japan

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    I am sorry to say, I must disagree with Bible-boy on this recommendation. This book starts out by mis-characterizing the traditional view of the will of God. He gets it so wrong that he does not even include submission to God's will or prayer for it to be done in his definition of the traditional view on p. 145. Any view of the traditional approach to the will of God that does not include these two is a straw man.

    Friesen does not believe in: a specific "bull's eye" will of God for each Christian (other than God's moral will) of a supernatural call to the ministry. So, what is Friesen's view? He calls it the wisdom view. His view is that as we grow in grace and gain wisdom from the Bible, we are perfectly able to find what is right for us, and God will be satisfied with whatever we do with our lives.

    Friesen's view ignores many wonderful Scriptures, as well as the fact that God is a loving heavenly Father. (These verses are not in his index: Is. 26:3, Eph. 4:11, Phil. 3:15, Luke 4:1, Mark 5:18-20, 1 Cor. 7:20 & 24, Rom. 10:15, etc., etc.) What kind of father would leave his precious child with no personal guidance? He made us, and knows exactly what we can do best at, because that is what He planned for us! My son is now 26, and is unafraid to ask his old Dad for advice on his life. We also should always ask our Father in Heaven for His plan for our lives. "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.":Fish:
     
  14. Bible-boy

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    Sorry John we will have to agree to disagree on Friesen's book. Just as you have accused Friesen of misrepresenting the traditional view, so you have not accurately represented Friesen's view here. Friesen never indicates that the Father has "left his precious child with no personal guidance," as you imply in your question quoted above. It is Friesen's assertion that God has fully revealed His moral will for our lives in His Word and His Word is to serve as our primary source of guidance from the Father.
     
  15. Brandon C. Jones

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    I'll also give a hearty recommendation for Friesen's book. His updated version critiques some of the other books on the market regarding the subject matter and answers some criticisms. I wish more would be open-minded on this issue and give Friesen's book a fair consideration.

    BJ
     
  16. John of Japan

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    Maybe I need to define my term. I distinguish between God's moral will (which I agree is not discussed in some books on God's will) and His personal will. By "personal will" I mean that God has an individual plan for each believer which is His will. Those who do not give themselves to God and prayerfully follow His guidance for their personal life will not find joy in His service.

    I have a number of times talked to people who were called by God to be missionaries, and they knew it but rejected that call. Without fail such people are miserable. Friesen doesn't even recognize such missionary calls as being legitimate or necessary, near as I can tell, though I admit it has been a few years since I read the book.
     
  17. Bible-boy

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    What passages of Scripture would you use to support the idea that you are referring to above as "God's personal will" (His individual plan for each believer)? I looked up each of the references that you cited in your previous post and taken in their full context they do not seem to me to support this idea. Am I missing something?

    As best as I can tell from the Scriptures there are five general "calls" to all Christians to be involved in ministry and service to the Lord (Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21-22; and Acts 1:8). I don't believe Friesen's book attempts to argue against these general "calls" to ministry. What he argues is that the idea of a specific call (or missionary call) for specific individuals to specific places and/or people groups is not supported by or found in the Scriptures. Friesen's book agrees with you about how there are multitudes of Christians out there that are miserable because they have not followed the Lord in submission to Him by entering full-time ministry (as missionaries, pastors, and/or evangelists, etc.). Where Friesen and I appear to differ with you is in how we are to determine and know that it is God's will for us to be involved in ministry.
     
  18. LeBuick

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    I am sure Jonah, Moses, Isaac, the 3 hebrew boys, Elijah and even Jesus in gethsemene would all disagree with this statement. Or maybe I mis-understand what you mean by peace of GOD.

    The key to that verse, there are times we need to obediently enter a storm to find GODs peace. When you find peace IN the the storm, you found GOD.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    Oh, man, there are tons of verses. I would love to answer this in detail, but it is late Friday night in Japan and I have a full day tomorrow.

    Every time Paul said "called to be an apostle" it was God's personal will for him. Acts especially has a lot of verses about the leading of the Holy Spirit, both locationally and vocationally. Christ was "led by the Spirit into the wilderness" to be tempted, and other times as well. The Holy Spirit separated Paul and Barnabas to be missionaries in Acts 13. Paul wanted to go into Asia, but "the Spirit suffered him not." I could go on and on. Friesen did not deal with any of this in his first edition that I recall, and I was frustrated with that. I hope he has in his second edition, which I don't have.

    I don't know why you and/or Friesen would characterize as "calls" the 5 statements of the Great Commission. They are mostly in the imperative mode--commands, not calls.

    We had a guy come out to Japan once saying he was not called, but was just obeying the Great Commission. He had a nervous breakdown that affected his heart, and was told by the doctor that if he came back to Japan again he would die.

    I'll tell you what, I had a clear call to Japan in my youth, confirmed through a godly missionary and God's Word in Rom. 15:20-21. If I did not have that I would have quit this "Gospel-resistant" country long ago, and gone where I would have "success" in the Lord's work. That is what human wisdom would have done for me. But thank God I was "obedient to the heavenly vision."
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Actually, I fully believe that Jonah had the peace of God after he submitted to God's will. Read his prayer in chapter 3. I believe that Moses had God's peace as long as he did God's will. I believe that Elijah had God's peace--show me where he didn't other than the one weak time when God strengthened him. We all have those times.

    As for Jesus in Gethsemene, don't you remember? He prayed, "Thy will be done" (Matt. 26:42). Friesen does not list this verse in the index of the copy I have. Why not? Seems to me the view of Christ about God's will would be vital. It was He who taught us to pray, "Thy will be done" in His model prayer in Luke 11:2, another verse Friesen didn't even mention.

    Good night! :sleeping_2:
     

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