What exactly is “God’s Will”?

What exactly is “God’s Will”? This is one of the biggest questions with which we all struggle.

How do you know what ‘God’s Will’ for your life is? 

This question is asked often and is frequently on our hearts and minds.

I have most definitely learned ‘His Will’ from studying God’s word. ‘God’s Will’ is not that simple; being in His Will requires cooperation with the heavenly Father.

Pastor Colin Smith’s teachings on the subject “What is God’s Will for our Lives?” definitely shed some light into my confusion surrounding this topic… 

What are we praying when we say, ‘Your Will be done on earth as it’s in heaven’? [matthew 6:10]

Looking at the meaning of this prayer, there is a model in heaven and there is a model on earth. One of the reasons we find ourselves confused over this verse is that God’s word speaks to us at least three different ways:

— The first one is: God’s ‘Secret Will’

Deuteronomy 29:29 | NIV

“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.”

What is God’s ‘Secret Will’?

God works all things according to His will, meaning God is sovereign and His plan prevails. 

You see this at the cross of Jesus Christ.  All kinds of things were happening around the cross. People were mocking and scheming. Satan was stirring up events that lead to the Crucifixion of Lord Jesus.

What was God the Father was doing in those moments? He was working all things according to his plan. What does this wonderful truth tell us? As you and I go through turmoil, asking, ‘Where are you, God?’, He is in the midst of all that’s going on in our lives. Nothing happens in our lives outside of God’s plan and purpose, or behind His control. God will weave a wonderful truth into the painful event that you’re going through.

Admittedly, we often find ourselves asking, “Lord, what are you doing here? Why did you allow this in my life? Why did you save her, and not him? What good could come from this?”

All these questions are about God’s ‘Secret Will’. And the secret things belong to the Lord.

How do we respond to His ‘Secret Will’? We must trust Him, learning to walk by faith and not by sight. We wait until the day that all secrets will be revealed in heaven. We will then see it with new eyes. 

What should be our response, when we are wondering about the mystery of God’s ‘Secret Will’? We can’t see what He is doing. This is where we must pray, “Lord, strengthen my faith to trust you, and let ‘Your Will’ be done”.

Stay Tuned for the second one ‘God’s Discerned Will’, and the third one ‘God’s Revealed Will’.

The Test of Time!

Every season of life has its own game, and testing. How we handle our “game of life” will tell a lot about our characters and willingness to become the best of ourselves.

Inevitably, we admire the things that stand the test of time and that become living examples of the absolute best.

But when it comes to our personal lives—when we go through a long and arduous journey, we may ponder on these questions:

Is this the time to pause and reflect?

Is this the test of this particular journey?

Where do we turn to?

Do we turn to God for understanding, endurance, and deliverance, or become hardened and reject God?

Are we open to being helped by others who obey God, or are we withdrawing guidance and help others may give?

Do we even acknowledge what Christ has done for humanity on the cross?

Or do we accuse God for being unjust?

Sometimes the answer to the questions unasked is to peep into the past and carry the lessons not learned earlier.

Without any doubts, the test of time helps us to grow and build our characters.

It’s written in James 1:2-3, “Consider  it  all  joy, when  you  encounter  various  trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.”

This brings us once again to ask ourselves: do we step out with acceptance of what the lessons we may learn and what the journey may prepare us for the future, or do we overlook the most important lesson we are taught?

What is the Most Exhilarating Path Possible?

Thankfully, we have the evidence within our reach—in His book, the Bible. It not only tells us that the world was created by God; more importantly, it tells us who God is. His words reveal how to discover the best and highest path possible for our life.

We must stop blaming God for what is wrong with the world. God, from the very beginning, never intended to burden us with sin—he didn’t burden Adam with sin. God made him upright!

“God gave Adam the freedom to forfeit his righteousness. If you’re a God follower and if the habit of your heart is to blame God, you must really question yourself. 

The Bible tells us: We need to start confessing that we are far from upright.”

—Pastor Colin Smith

The question one may ponder is: how did Adam know what was right and good? What I’ve learned over the years from great Bible teachers is simply this: God wrote what’s right and good on Adam’s heart.  Because he was made upright.

Thomas Boston wrote something helpful: “Adam did not have the law written on tablet stone. But it was written on his mind and the knowledge of it was created within him. God impressed upon his soul and made a law to himself.”

In the first book of the Bible, Genesis, it is explained that God gave everything to Adam. God gave him Eve, and gave them marriage as a gift.  The perfection of their relationship was blessed by God but their continued union with God required obedience to His requests.  

The Ten Commandments were revealed much later. 

Adam didn’t need a law, he was a law unto himself. He didn’t need the Ten Commandments.  The knowledge of right and good was in him.  It was given to him, it was natural and changeable. He had the freedom to forfeit his righteousness.  

One of the questions we all ask is: Why did God allow sin? 

If Adam was upright and didn’t sin, the whole world would have been upright too, and the world would be a paradise. So why did God allow even the possibility of sin? 

The answer is: Freedom—because of his love for his children. God made Adam upright and also made him free. For Adam freedom meant choices with many consequences. 

God made man upright, but sadly man searches for many schemes. 

This is the view of some in the world that we are all righteous. We are not righteous! We fall short on a daily basis! As for me and you, we go to church not because we’re upright, but because our sin brings us to our knees with a humble heart, acknowledging that we’re in need of a Savior—whose way, truth, and love is the Most Exhilarating Path Possible!

Thank you, Father, the God of all creation! I’m standing before you with a humble and thankful heart as a justified sinner—reconciled through your son Jesus Christ, and all my good is in him. When he returns, I will be in him, for I stand on Christ’s rock. Amen!

Who is Your ‘High Rock’?

You may feel far from home right now—far from a safe place; a place of confidence, trust, peace, love, and warmth. You are disappointed, misunderstood, discouraged, confused; don’t know who to trust.

Don’t let your heart be troubled. God is not bound by time or space. You can put your confidence in Him who is always with you and never leaves you alone. Even when you are among unknown people and surroundings, or you are standing on unstable terrain and situation; God will never give up on you. Yahushua is the ‘Higher Rock’. The ‘High Rock’ is your place of refuge and safety.

In [Psalm 61:2-3] David must have been far from home somewhere in the battlefield when he wrote this Psalm.

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.”

Since I have known my Yeshua, this verse along with other verses for protection has been my prayer in times of calamities.

In truth, that said, trusting God to be your rock, fortress and salvation, will change your whole outlook on life. You will no longer be captivated by resentment, confusion, discouragement or disappointment towards others or by any circumstances. When you rest in the power of God, nothing will shake you. His strength remains with you.

Pay Back Wrongs by Praying for the Offender!

You have heard the phrase ‘an eye for an eye’ and ‘a tooth for a tooth’, which refers to the idea that people should be punished according to the way in which they have offended. For example, if they hurt someone, they should be hurt equally badly in return. But God’s word teaches us something quite different: Love those who wrong us. If someone hurts you with their actions or even their condescending comments, don’t get mad. Pray for them instead. 

Simply put, don’t make other people’s voices your concern. And do not even the score with more wrong. Keep in mind, you will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones right back at your offenders.

It’s easier said than done. We are no different from Jesus’s disciples. Our sinful nature encourages us to get angry and get even…

PETER, the apostle, developed the qualities of compassion in humility the hard way. In his early days with Christ, these attitudes did not come naturally to his impulsive, strong-willed personality. But the Holy Spirit changed PETER, molding his strong personality to God’s use, and teaching him tenderness and humility. In our fallen world, it is often deemed acceptable to retaliate by tearing people down verbally if we’ve been hurt. PETER, remembering the words of Jesus [If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also], encourages his readers to pay back wrongs by praying for the offenders. In God’s kingdom, revenge and hurling insults are unacceptable behavior, no matter how indirectly it is done. Rise above seeking revenge against those who hurt you. Instead of reacting angrily to these people, pray for them. 

Forging the qualities of compassion in humility is hard work. It may not come naturally to us, but if we ask the Holy Spirit to help us and mold our personality to more closely resemble His Son, He will begin to shape us, bringing us a life filled with peace.

I have learned some lessons the hard way on this topic:  First, remember God causes his sun to rise on the righteous and the unrighteous. A gentle reminder, instead of harsh words is usually the appropriate response when repetitive wrong behavior must be addressed.  Second, if it’s necessary, you may consider withdrawing from people and places from time to time. Give yourself some space from the world that is filled with millions of mouths that talk too much but never have anything to say. Do it for the sake of your sanity and theirs, and let it be done in love. 

Here is what the Lord Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?

[Matthew 5:43-46 | NIV]

Let’s cut each other some slack. Don’t let the behavior of others stress you out. You have no control over someone else’s thoughts or their actions. Make patience and love be your daily aims.

Stay blessed my friends.

Rise on the Wings of the Dawn and Praise Him!

Our problems and daily struggles may not immediately cease to exist, but our attitude of gratitude is enough to find peace in the midst of our struggle and hope for an eventual resolution. 

My friends, when we express gratitude for our relationship with the Divine Spirit, we develop compassion and humility when we learn to be thankful for someone else’s kindness and care. When you get a phone call from someone who wants to check on you, or when you receive a text saying they’re praying for you, or you receive a warm meal while you’re sick in bed, or someone sends you followers; it all tells you that someone cares about you. You’re loved and valued. Practice gratefulness for their act of generosity in reaching out to you.

God cares even more about your well being. Because of his love for you, he sent Jesus who is the embodiment of God himself [his son], and he died on the cross for the sins of the whole world. So, when you come to accept Jesus as your savior, your sins are forgiven. Again, because he took your sins and died on the cross, you can have eternal and abundant life. That’s called love—no condemnation, no judgement, and no hidden agenda….

Our response to God for all he has done for us and he is with us in our darkest hours should be thankfulness. Of course, we do not thank God for our sorrow and adversity, but we acknowledge that He is sovereign and will never abandon us.

As David praise God in [Psalm 139: 9-10]

“If I rise on the wings of the dawn,

if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,

your right hand will hold me fast.”

Again, thanking our loving God at the wings of the dawn, and Praising him for his endless love at the end of our day means; he is a good and loving Father—we acknowledge that he will use our situation for his purposes, bringing good out of even worse circumstances. Remember, there is a reason for everything that happens.

Can Our Faith and Hope be Enough to Please God?

Why does he say,”Love matters more than Faith and hope”?

Pastor Colin Smith’s teaching sheds light on the question, “Why does Paul, the apostle of Christ, say that love is greater than faith and hope?”

In a message given by Colin, he teaches, “The Bible gives us the negative and the positive effects of our lives on earth. The negative keeps us from Christ, because of our arrogance, pride and self-confidence, which tempt us to stay distant from God, in order to continue what we’re doing. The same behavior, when we finally realize the futility of it, can be the positive catalyst which finally draws us to Christ.”

Let’s take a look at this verse [1 Corinthians 13:13 | NIV]

“… And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

In Vs.13, Paul says,  Hope, Faith, and Love are all essential and eternal, but then he identified love as “the greatest” of all. 

How is this possible? How can love be greater than faith and hope?

Pastor Colin refers to another bible teacher, Bishop Riley, who explains it like this, “Love is the greatest grace, for it is the one quality exemplified by God (because God is love) and reflected by believers.

God doesn’t need faith. And God doesn’t need hope, because he knows the future. And certainly he knows the present as he has it secured in his hand.”

Pastor Colin continued, “With misty eyes I said, ‘Oh, what a beautiful passage from Paul!’ He describes three frightening possibilities. The first is to worship without love.

And the second frightening possibility is to have the faith to move the mountains, but to have no love. And the third, the most frightening possibility of all, is the possibility of sacrifice without love. If you give all that you possess generously to the poor and others, but you do not love, you gain nothing.”

It’s true that God doesn’t need faith or hope.  As we read in 1 John 4:8, ‘God is love.’ Scripture never says that God is faith or hope, though he is the object of our faith and hope, to be sure. And the more love his people have, the more they’re like their Father God.

In vs 13. Paul encourages us to keep reflecting on God’s love. And what God has done through his son, Christ Jesus—the miracles that he performed and his death on the cross [death of a righteous person on behalf of unrighteous people, so that he might bring you to God] is the evidence of God’s love for his children.  

In summary, Paul, the apostle of Christ is saying: Love matters. In spite of all your gifts, your knowledge, your prestige, your faith, your ministry, your sacrifices, your services, your good deeds; If you don’t love, God counts it all as nothing.

When I heard this message, it made me question how some of us live and how we show our love. When I found myself wrestling with “The World’s love vs. God’s love”, I had to take my questions and confusion to God in prayer, saying “Lord, I see that some of us truly love you. But what I don’t understand is, How can one worship you on one hand, and hate others on the other hand?

How can one sit near your altar, worshiping you—even speaking in the tongues of men and angels—then leave your presence and regard others with hatred and indifference, the total opposite of your love? I’m not judging, rather I’m asking all this in the name of Jesus. Amen!”

Surely, two days later, God shed light on my confusion, speaking to me through someone dear, who reminded me of this verse, “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” [Romans 3:23]

Indeed, we are all sinners. I’m as a sinner just as they are. That is why we’re in need of a Savior, Christ Jesus. I thanked God for the reminder of who we are, and who He is. 

Dear Lord, 

I see that love is indeed greater than faith and hope. Love is essential to your nature. I thank you, Lord, for your unwavering love. How good it is to trust in you! And my hope in you keeps me going, especially when I struggle with pain in my flesh, weakness, and discouragement. Loving Lord, help me by filling my heart with your love, that I may give this love to those you have placed in my life. May others know that I belong to you because of how I love. I praise you only, O God of love. Amen!

The Fire of God’s judgment did not Harm Him. It Only Burned Away the Sin— Our Sin!

When the Lord revealed himself and his purpose for my life through visions and dreams, I was astonished! I wondered, “how” and “why” would he choose me? I felt little, insignificant and not worthy of his name. I had no hope of measurIng up to God’s standard of holiness. I found it hard to believe that I could be forgiven and loved by a Holy God, when the world and many of the people around me had represented themselves as holier and better than me for most of my life.

But God himself touched my heart and called me to follow him. In response I submitted to God’s will. I vowed to say, “Here I am, Lord” no matter how difficult the task might be. 

The more clearly I see God’s sovereignty, the more I’m aware of my own powerlessness and inadequacy to do anything of lasting value without God. 

It’s important for us to see God’s holiness as the prophet Isaiah saw in [Isaiah 6].

Isaiah’s life may have been as brilliant as a diamond, as he was a righteous man of God. But when you lay a diamond against a perfectly black background, and shine the right light upon it, you can see every flaw and imperfection – even flaws that were invisible before. When Isaiah’s righteous life lay against the background of God’s perfection, it looked different. 

When Isaiah had a vision of the holy God [Isaiah 6: 5] he said, “Woe to me!” He cried, “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”  For Isaiah, it was most disturbing to see the holiness of God. Why? Because he saw his utter lack of holiness, when compared with the glory of God.

Then in the vision a burning coal was applied to his lips.  Indeed, this was a spiritual transaction for Isaiah, and if we are willing, this could be our transformation too, to be forgiven and loved. The same principle works on our behalf in regard to Jesus’ death on the cross. Our sin was placed upon Him, and He was burned with the fire of God’s judgment. Yet because He was holy and righteous Himself, the fire of God’s judgment did not harm Him, he rose on the third day; it only burned away the sin—our sin.

Our entrance into heaven does not depend on how well we live our lives based on whatever our beliefs are. If that were true, there wouldn’t be any hope for me or you. We can’t live a Christian (or any other religious) life perfectly—nobody can. But when we reach out Christ in faith and repentance, he accepts us unconditionally.  We need never be concerned whether or not we are capable of living a good enough life to enter heaven. The good news is: that our salvation does not depend on our work for Christ, but Christ’s work for us.  Our work is never done. But his work was completely done for us on the cross. We can rest our life, death, and eternity on him with complete confidence.

Let’s not forget the penitent thief who did everything wrong all his life. At his life’s end, he was hanging on the cross next to Christ. He entered paradise just as Abraham, David, Elijah, Mary and the rest of God’s family did before him. Why should a thief go to heaven? Because he reached out to Christ when he had the opportunity. 

Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” 

[Luke 23:42-43]

As Jesus prayed for his enemy, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  and he also promised Paradise to the thief. That was the beginning for the thief; he was about to discover more… 

Happy Easter My Friends!

You Asked,“Why am I Standing Alone in the Desert? How did I Get Here? And Why me?”

In verse [Hosea 2:14] “her” does not specifically refer to “a woman”, but rather to all peoples; to a nation, or perhaps you, me, or them…

It says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her and lead her to the wilderness, and speak to her tenderly.” [Hosea 2: 14]

What would you do, if one day you wake up and feel like you are all alone standing in a desert? You wonder, “How did I get here?”.  Another daunting question arises; “Why me?”

What and who caused you to find yourself in a lonely land, tasting the bitterness of loss and sorrow? These questions will continue nibbling away at your soul, unless you stop and refocus.

Have you considered that perhaps you are the cause of your unhappiness and loneliness?

Conflicts, aggravations, and losses can cause devastation and can be debilitating. So where do you go from there? Do you choose to stay with bitterness and anger, becoming isolated and unhappy?  Or do you draw closer to God, looking to Him for direction? With Him you can begin to leave the desert of unhappiness, and seek a lush landscape of peace and contentment. With His help and guidance, you can build a platform in this new place, where your pain can bring others hope.

If you believe in God, then you know that God never wastes any of your pain. He will use your hurt for good in your life, so that you can live joyfully and help others. God didn’t create us just to live for ourselves. The very thing that you’re ashamed of, and resent the most, can become your greatest ministry in helping others. God did it for me and He will do it for you too. Gird your waist with truth and get [Ephesians 6:15]  your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Good News of peace. And bring all you have—the good and the bad—to the platform where your life’s journey has brought you.  Then watch how God will use your devastation for His purpose.

[Hosea 2:14] tells of God’s love story for His people. His love is steadfast and His commitment unbroken. When we lose appreciation for our special relationship with Him, when we compromise our lifestyle and adopt the ways of the world—pursuing dreams and goals that do not include Him, we are being unfaithful. 

Like a loving and patient father, God wants people to know Him and turn to Him daily.  

Briefly, I assure you that I have traveled through the desert of life a few times. The good news is I wasn’t alone—the Lord tenderly spoke to me in that parched land. As it is written in His word, each time, He taught me a new lesson. 

What I have learned from these lessons is this: Pain and suffering, placed in the hands of a loving God, can lead to a shift of focus from my own issues to God’s greater glory. My hardships can teach me to trust His promises, and remind me that life on earth is a struggle. They cause me to long for a place where there is no conflict, sorrow, death, crying, or pain. It’s a life in eternity.

You Asked,

“Why am I Standing Alone in the Desert? How did I Get Here? And Why me?”

In verse [Hosea 2:14] “her” does not specifically refer to “a woman”, but rather to all peoples, to a nation, or perhaps; you, me, or them…

It says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her and lead her to the wilderness, and speak to her tenderly.” [Hosea 2: 14]

What would you do, if one day you wake up and feel like you are all alone standing in a desert? You wonder, “How did I get here?”.  Another daunting question arises; “Why me?”

What and who caused you to find yourself in a lonely land, tasting the bitterness of loss and sorrow? These questions will continue nibbling away at your soul, unless you stop and refocus.

Have you considered that perhaps you are the cause of your unhappiness and loneliness?

Conflicts, aggravations, and losses can cause devastation and can be debilitating. So where do you go from there? Do you choose to stay with bitterness and anger, becoming isolated and unhappy?  Or do you draw closer to God, looking to Him for direction? With Him you can begin to leave the desert of unhappiness, and seek a lush landscape of peace and contentment. With His help and guidance, you can build a platform in this new place, where your pain can bring others hope.

If you believe in God, then you know that God never wastes any of your pain. He will use your hurt for good in your life, so that you can live joyfully and help others. God didn’t create us just to live for ourselves. The very thing that you’re ashamed of, and resent the most, can become your greatest ministry in helping others. God did it for me and He will do it for you too. Gird your waist with truth and get [Ephesians 6:15]  your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the Good News of peace. And bring all you have—the good and the bad—to the platform where your life’s journey has brought you.  Then watch how God will use your devastation for His purpose.

[Hosea 2:14] tells of God’s love story for His people. His love is steadfast and His commitment unbroken.

When we lose appreciation for our special relationship with Him, when we compromise our lifestyle and adopt the ways of the world—pursuing dreams and goals that do not include Him, we are being unfaithful. 

Like a loving and patient father, God wants people to know Him and turn to Him daily.  

Briefly, I assure you that I have traveled through the desert of life a few times. The good news is I wasn’t alone—the Lord tenderly spoke to me in that parched land. As it is written in His word, each time, He taught me a new lesson. 

What I have learned from these lessons is this: Pain and suffering, placed in the hands of a loving God, can lead to a shift of focus from my own issues to God’s greater glory. My hardships can teach me to trust His promises, and remind me that life on earth is a struggle. They cause me to long for a place where there is no conflict, sorrow, death, crying, or pain. It’s a life in eternity.