Archive for December, 2003

A few years ago I ran into one of my friends that had just finished her first semester of college. We chatted for a bit and much to my surprise, I discovered that she didn’t want to return to school. Apparently at this moment of her life, she had enough of higher education. So of course I asked her what her future plans were going to be since she had no immediate desire to continue going to school. She responded by saying she wanted to do whatever God wanted her to do. That would be great I told her, but what exactly did that mean? She answered by repeated that she wanted to do whatever God wanted her to do. So I asked how she would know what God wanted her to do. She said that whatever she would be doing this next year is what God wanted her to do. So being slightly frustrated at her responses, I let it be.

Why was I frustrated by her responses? After all they sound good. Don’t we all want to do whatever God wants us to do? Shouldn’t that be the goal of every Christian? Well sure. Like most of you, I want to do whatever God wants me to do. However, I am not going to just sit there and wait for whatever to happen. You may be wondering what I mean by this. I will expound. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18). This tells me that if you want to do what God wants you to do, you should have some sort of vision or goal. God wants you to have faith, but God’s faith is not blind faith. He will tell you exactly what he wants you to do (or what he doesn’t want you to do). He’s not just trying to string you along and make you stumble blindly through life. In fact he already said, “I know the plans I have for you” (Jeremiah 29:11).

Now, some of you may be able to relate to my friend. You may be saying, “hey, that sounds like me.” Or, “I want to do what God wants me to do, but I don’t have a vision yet.” Well, there are tons of ways to proceed from here. First of all, I would suggest that you ask. The Bible talks about asking in many places. In Matthew it says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (7:7-11) Now, here’s the secret. This is the key. When you ask God, ask him as specifically as possible. Notice the son asked for bread or a fish. He asked for something very specific. He didn’t just ask for whatever his father wanted to give him. When you pray do the same. Let’s revisit a verse from last week. Philippians says “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need” (4:6). The second part of that verse says to tell God what you need. Notice it’s not what you want but what you need. Again, be specific because it still commands you to tell God what you need. In another place it says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2).

Now here’s the trick and I’ll wrap it up. If you’re really serious about finding a vision, knowing the will of God for your life or even just receiving, expect an answer. This means that you need to listen for an answer. Now the answer that God gives may not be what you expect even want, but if God answers you then you need to accept it no matter what it is. Remember, it’s God that knows the plan, not you. But I’ll tell you this, the more you pray specifically, the more you’ll be able to gain an understanding of the plan that God has for your life. If you pray in faith and are willing to accept a yes as well as a no answer (and sometimes God will tell you to just wait a little while) you’ll be able to start heading down the path God wants you to travel. And there is nothing like walking in the perfect will of God.

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Weekly Update

For those of you who didn’t know, when I’m not doing my pastoral thing at Hope Chapel, I earn money working at Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays. I have been working there for many years and have made some great friendships. This story involves one of those friends. There is a girl there called Claire, who I have known for five years. She’s my age, is married, has three kids and comes from a Catholic family. On Sunday morning we were assigned to the same station and from the time we have our regular morning meeting until the time we actually start doing any work there is a period of about 30 minutes. During this break time I noticed that she was looking through the Yellow Pages and scribbling some notes. Of course, being the inquisitive (some would even say nosy) person that I am, I had to ask what she was looking for. Our conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey, what are you looking for?
Her: You’re going to laugh if I tell you.
Me: Oh, is it “clowns”?
Her: No, you’re going to laugh because you don’t believe in it.
Me: Oh, is it “clowns”?

I then found out that she wasn’t looking for clowns, but she was actually looking for a psychic. Upon further investigation I discovered that she was borrowing her sister-in-law’s car, which was really a loaner, and her 18 month-old son lost the key. She said she searched every nook and cranny in her house and she couldn’t find it. I suggested that she pray but she told me that she already prayed. So I said well why don’t we pray about it one more time. She agreed so I took her on the side and prayed with her. Now in my mind I thought it was over with. I truly believed that she would find her keys. She, however, was not so convinced. She asked me if I would go and see the psychic with her after work. I told her she didn’t have to any more because we prayed for it and it was already done. She wanted to know how I was so sure and then she asked me what I would do if I was in her situation.

I can honestly say that the psychic option would have never entered my head so I had no idea what she was thinking. So I said here’s what we’ll do. If we pray and then we see a psychic and then she goes home and finds the key, how would we know who came through? In essence, who answered the prayer? I told her to wait a day and if she still doesn’t find the key, I would go with her to see the psychic and even go to her house (in Ewa Beach) and help her look for it. To make an already long story short, we finished our shift and went home. I honestly didn’t even give it much thought until I received a phone call about 45 minutes after our shift ended. Wouldn’t you know it…she found her key!

So how did I know that she would find her key? Well first of all the Bible says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6). Check, we did that. Then, this is the key (no pun intended): “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mark 11:24). So here is where we have a choice to make. We can either have faith in God or the devil. We either need to take God at his Word or not. If we believe that “all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20) then we also need to believe that whatever God has promised us will come to pass. This is what my faith believes and this is what enabled me to pray for Claire and know that God was going to come through. So, when you read the Bible, find out what God says about you and what he has promised you, then, choose to believe him and have faith in him and not in any devil or any lie he may try to throw your way.

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