God's Will

God Is Faithful, but Is He Consistent?

I enjoy playing vintage hymns with my concertina. It is a pleasure to hear songs that, in some cases, I haven’t sung in decades, hymns you may never have heard, like, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning,” “The Old Fashioned Way,” and “He the Pearly Gates Will Open.”

But there is one hymn with a few lyrics that trouble me, namely, “It Is No Secret What God Can Do.” Although the premise of the hymn is fine (God’s work is renown), one statement ruins it for me: “what He’s done for others, He’ll do for you.”

That statement, in my mind, reflects a misjudgment many Christians make: equating God’s faithfulness with consistency and predictability. Put simply, God does not treat each one of us alike, and we never know what He is going to do next.

God’s faithfulness and His hesed (faithful, steadfast love) indeed do endure forever, as Psalm 136 reminds us time and time again. The Bible often uses repetition to emphasize a key truth, and God’s faithfulness is one of those emphases.

Western thinking is based upon a system of logic developed by the Greek philosophers. The ancient Hebrews, however, thought in terms of principles they could hang onto (like Proverbs), with stories and mental pictures central to their thinking.

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How Can I Know God's Will for My Life?

In a study addressing why millennials stay in church, the Barna group discovered that 65% of active church goers or those who believed their faith is very important to their life believed that the Bible contains everything a person needs to live a meaningful life, whereas only 17% of those who dropped out of church believed that about the Bible. In this instance there is a strong correlation between one’s belief about the sufficiency of Scripture and the level of value one places on their faith and expressing that faith in a local church setting.

That correlation should come as no surprise—though it is interesting to see it statistically supported. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 is clear regarding the authorship of Scripture and its effectiveness for equipping believers. Consequently it is heartbreaking when we fail to accurately communicate what the Bible teaches, and when we are confused at why young people especially are leaving the faith.

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Ephod Envy

“Awake, awake, Deborah: awake, awake, utter a song!” (Judg. 5:12). My college friend read me this verse. He had been praying about getting married. All of us Bible college dorm students had been praying about getting married. The Lord had told him to marry Debby. As he was praying for guidance, he opened his King James and his eyes fell upon this verse. It had to be God’s direction. I replied that it was a good thing he was in love with a Deborah. If he had been in love with a Gertrude, how could God have given him direction?

Do you ever wish God would just come out and tell you what to do? Where should I go to school? Which job should I take? What should my major be? Should I have the surgery? Which car should I buy? Should I go to the mission field? Which mission field? Where should I go for lunch today? The list is endless. The options are confusing. A mistake can mean anything from an upset stomach to a life of regret. Doesn’t God want us to make the right decision?

While David was trying to avoid a confrontation with Saul, a Philistine raiding party was plundering the nearby harvest. Should David expose his location and engage the enemy? David’s men voted no. David asked God. God told David to go. How did God tell David to go? We are not told, but a little later Abiathar the priest arrived with “an ephod in his hand” (1 Sam. 23:6) and then David’s requests became even more specific.

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Making Godly Decisions

Editor’s Note: This article was reprinted with permission from Warren Vanhetloo’s newsletter “Cogitation.”

Christians ought to have some clear pattern to follow in making decisions, whether major or minor. We are constantly making choices. Many things we do out of habit, and establishing commendable habits is important in every life. Some, Weather Vanewhen they face an important decision, wonder, What would a parent do? A good question to ask is, “What would Jesus do?” We make some decisions quickly without much thought. We may mull over pros and cons of some matters for days and never come to a solution. Too often we only mentally flip a coin (yes, that’s a type of gambling).

There are principles in the Word of God a believer needs to keep in mind for every decision he makes each day. The first and most important principle is not really a decision open for discussion, and so, although it is primary, it does not involve any “process.” If Scripture says do it, do it; if Scripture forbids it, don’t do it. Many choices are just that clear-cut. Should we ever lie? Ought we ever to steal? Should we spend time or money on lascivious living? Should we encourage a grieving brother? Our response to whatever God expects should not be just meeting “the letter of the law,” but a joyful willingness to do His will.

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