DAILY DISCIPLINE #6
By Colleen Donahue
"You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what His master is doing: but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. " John 15:14-15
Most Christians, soon after committing their lives to God, begin building a personal library of books that cover many different topics, all helping them to grow as a believer in Jesus. I was no different. Books on prayer, Bible study, biographies of famous Christians, and others began to find their way to my bookcase. But one category, more than all others, seemed to be an overriding theme during my university years. I must have bought every book and tract ever written on "How To Know The Will of God for Your Life"!
I took God seriously and wanted my life to be in line with what He wanted. But how? How could I know what He wanted me to be so I could choose a "major" and ultimately know what classes to take during a specific quarter? How would I know what the right living situation would be for me or who I should live with? Was I to take any job that came my way or did God have something specific in mind for me? How should I spend my summers? These questions and many more were matters of constant consideration back then. They drove me to eagerly delve into my collection of books and tracts on God's Guidance. If the book was any good it always referred me back to God's Word and therefore God Himself.
My almost feverish desire to do the right thing was sincere but wholly unnecessary. A little logic would have told me that if our hearts are bent on living wholly for God -- how much more is it on God's heart that we enter into His will and His ways? He has no desire to hide His plans from us. In fact, God says that we are His friends if we do what He commands-- and the privilege of being the Lord's friend is that He makes known to us all that the Father wants.
This month I'd like to share with you some of the passages from Scripture that have helped me. I know they will be like gold nuggets to you as you seek to answer your own questions on ..............
GOD'S GUIDANCE FOR YOUR LIFE
DOING GOD'S WILL
Day 1- How should we do the will of God in our life?
Day 2- If we are honest, most people don't include God in their day to day decisions. But what should be the rule for everyday life?
Day 3- What happens to us when we make the choice to do the will of God?
Therefore, the more we obey God, the more He increases our knowledge of His will. It's the truth of Christ's teachings that begins to change us from the inside out. It's the way that we transform our minds. What will it ultimately help us to do?
Day 4- Jesus is the perfect example of being submitted to God's will. What did this mean for him and for us?
Matthew 26:42 / John 5:30
Day 5- When we think of obeying God it's easy to think in terms of a slave or a servant. But Jesus tells us that it establishes quite a different relationship. What do we become to Him?
Day 6- There are definitely times that we want to run from God's will. But doing this not only causes trouble for ourselves but for those around us. We can learn this lesson from Jonah.
GETTING GOD'S GUIDANCE
Day 7- What should our prayer be concerning God's guidance?
Psalm 25:4-5 / Psalm 143:8,10
And HOW are we to ask for it?
We should get this firmly in our minds that God wants us to know and do his will even more than we want it. Therefore, if we sincerely ask Him to show it to us do you think he'll deny us that knowledge?
Day 8A - WHO does God guide us through and what does God call him?
B. Jesus, as the Great Shepherd of the sheep, has a work to do in us. What is that work?
C. Sheep are said to be one of the dumbest of animals easily driven by the environment and other sheep around them. Man is often compared to sheep in the Bible. What is it that we need most?
1 Peter 2:25
D. When Jesus looked upon the crowds why did He have such compassion for them?
E. Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd two times in this passage. As you read through these famous verses, list for yourself what He will do for you.
Did you notice that four times Jesus talks about laying down His life for us! That's what I call a committed shepherd!
F. How is it that we find the guidance we need from Jesus?
Knowing the voice of someone requires knowing that person very well. Remember when you were a kid out playing? Suddenly you'd hear a voice cut through the laughing and the noise. It would be your mom calling you home for dinner. That voice might not have been heard by your friends but it was unmistakable to you. And so you said your good-byes and immediately headed home for dinner. That's the way that we come to know Christ's voice.
Day 9- King David lists three conditions for us to be able to receive guidance. What are they?
Did you write down humility, obedience, and fear of the Lord? It is only the humble who are teachable and even able to obey God. And that is because they have a profound reverence for God usually referred to as "the fear of the Lord".
Day 10- What is promised to us when we have decisions to make?
Psalm 32:8 / Psalm 25:9
Day 11- How often does the Lord promise us guidance?
Psalm 48:14 / Isaiah 58:11
Day 12- How does Jesus tell us that we'll be guided into all truth?
And often this will come while we are preoccupied with worshipping God.
Day 13- Isaiah had prophesied what the voice of the Holy Spirit would be like.
He wasn't talking about an audible voice, but rather an inner prompting or knowing that we should go this way or that.
Day 14- Being in the midst of uncertainty is stressful. But God promises to guide us through those times.
Isaiah 42:16 / Isaiah 48:17-18
Notice in verse 18 that while the promise is there, if we aren't paying attention to God because we are too busy worrying, then we will miss his guidance and the peace that comes with it.
Day 15- We might be in a place where we feel too far from God to receive his guidance. But King David would disagree.
Day 16- When we are at some crossroads in our life, it's important that we especially focus on hearing Christ's voice. Why?
2 Corinthians 11:3-4
Paul is warning us that while we wait to hear God's voice there will also be the voice of our enemy trying to deceive us. And this voice will come through men that seem to be legitimate sources.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
Day 17- There are times when God may choose to guide us in a supernatural way.
Acts 8:26 / Acts 10:1-23 / Acts 22:17-21
Day 18 - Signs and "fleeces" are sometimes a method God uses so that we cannot fail to recognize His leading.
2 Kings 20:8-11 / Judges 6:36-40
Note: This is not the usual way that God guides, but He did and still does do so on occasion. When we seek for signs, Satan is happy to oblige us as well.
Day 19- What is God's usual method of guidance?
2 Timothy 3:16-17
It is often our ignorance of God's word that can result in our wrong choice.
Day 20- How else does God give guidance?
Psalm 73:24 / Proverbs 12:15 / Proverbs 19:20
I call this the "advice of experience". The only caution is that it be the voice of a godly man or woman.
Day 21- What enables God to act on our behalf?
Psalm 37:4-5 / Proverbs 3:5-6 / 2 Chronicles 16:9
There is a saying that goes like this: "You can't drive a parked car." In other words, it's while you are going about your day to day life, fulfilling your responsibilities and duties that God can then breakthrough to give the guidance you seek for. Here are three examples of men simply carrying out their mundane responsibilities when suddenly God broke through and revealed His will to them.
Day 22- Example #1 - Moses. What was Moses doing and how did God get his attention?
Day 23- Example #2 - Saul. What had Saul set out to do and how was it that God directed him?
1 Samuel 9:1- 10:9
Day 24- Example #3 - David. What was David doing when God broke through to him via Samuel?
1 Samuel 16:1-13
THE PATH OF GUIDANCE
Day 25- What kind of paths does the Good Shepherd lead us down?
Day 26A- Sometimes God seems to be leading us into difficult circumstances which we might find confusing. This was certainly the case in how he guided the Israelites out of Egypt to the Promised Land. There was a short way and a long way. God guided them to go the long way. Why?
B. This long way was a test for his people but it was also a test for God as to whether he would prove faithful to them. Was he faithful?
C. These examples of God's leading us along a difficult path can be part of the discipline of our loving Father.
Day 27 - Our tendency when we are in difficult circumstances is to get out of it and head in another direction. But until we are convinced and certain that God wants us to move, what should we do? (Hint: the advice is given by Paul three times in this passage).
1 Corinthians 7:17-24
God often gives us "general guidance" in His Word so that we can apply it to our specific situation. But here are some examples of God giving us very specific guidance so that we won't miss his directive.
Day 28- In these two passages, God gives us specific guidance as to how to relate to those in need.
Matthew 25:31-46 / Luke 10:29-37
Day 29- God gives specific guidance for husbands and wives.
Day 30- Here is specific guidance for those of us who work for someone.
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