Imagine for a moment that you have just bought a home in which to live. It's exactly what you are looking for. It's the one you have wanted to move into for quite a long time and then, suddenly, it became available and so you agreed the price without hesitation, signed the contract and moved in. You are the new owner. It's yours and now the work begins. You can see the potential that's there and now you can start to put your own mark; your own stamp on it. A new life has begun. But first you have to collect the keys so you can enter.
This particular house has many rooms and the intriguing thing is that several of those rooms have locks on the doors. A locked door indicates something hidden, kept out of sight except by invitation. So, here you are, you now have the keys to the house and off you go to get to work.
What's the first thing to do? You choose the most important rooms to tidy up, clean, dust, decorate and furnish with your furniture. There's a process involved in getting the house ready according to your own taste. It can be dirty, it can be trying and it is often quite involved even lengthy.
During that process just one problem arises as the work progresses in this house that you are (hopefully) still imagining. Now you are ready to begin work in the rooms that have locks on the doors but you suddenly realise that actually you have never seen the keys. You have the keys to the house but not the keys to the rooms that are locked.
What do you do? You ring the estate agent and tell him you can't find the keys and his reply comes, "That's because the previous owner told me not to give them to you. He felt there were some rooms that should stay locked." How annoying, how frustrating is that?" "Would you still have bought the house if you had realised that you could get in to the house but not get round every room?"
That set me thinking. "Was Jesus caught out by the fact that He only had the keys to the door of our lives and not the keys to some rooms in our lives which we keep locked to keep the hidden thing hidden and anyone else out from discovering what is hidden?" Certainly not! He knew exactly what He was buying. He knew everything that we wanted to hide but it did not stop Him paying the price.
He saw beyond what we may have tried to hide from so many people for so long a time. He knew exactly what was hidden behind those locked doors and, though it may have been a problem to us, it was not a problem to Him. He knew what needed cleaning. He knew what needed scourging and He was not put off because He wanted to make us His dwelling place where He could be totally at home.
I've got another question, " Can I truly say that I have handed over all the keys to every room (every hidden secret)?" Most of us, I think, would have to say that we still hold the keys to some of the rooms that now belong to Jesus. It's true that He will continue to live in the house. It's true that He will continue to work in those areas where we have granted Him free access to work in, maintain and develop them. But He will go no further until we hand over the keys to those parts of our lives that we, for whatever reason, keep closed.
Hang on, here's another question, "Why do we do that?" Sometimes it may be that we genuinely do not realise that we still have they keys. It may be that we thought (mistakenly) that if we gave Him the key to getting in to His new home that He would force the locks on the other doors. He doesn't do that. It may be that, because we know what's hidden behind locked doors, we are scared of what Jesus might think if He sees what's in there. The truth is that He knows already. The wonder of it is that He paid the price knowing full well what was hidden away. He has always been able to see beyond all of those things.
I've got an idea. Lets not hinder Jesus by quenching the Spirit as we withhold the keys that belong to Him. His desire is to fill us totally to the glory of God. Why not just take a moment to hand Him the keys you are holding on to? Now there's a thought.
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
It was my first car. I had passed my driving test (first time might I add) & this was my reward. An Austin six with the bonnet that lifted up at both sides, running board & two batteries under the passenger seat at the front. I could go to work in it every day; at least I could if it would start up. Sometimes the starting handle would bring life to the engine but at other times there was nothing. Who cared? I didn't because it was my first car & it had air conditioning (by means of a knob on the dashboard which when turned would lift the windscreen up from the bottom & the outside air would rush in.)
At that time I was living with my parents in a terraced house & it was parked on the road in front of the house. Every night I would put a paraffin heater under the bonnet with the hope that it would keep the engine dry enough to start the next morning. If any health & safety person reads this please ignore that bit !!!!
It didn't always work & in fact the problem became so bad that I had to begin to park it at the top of a hill about a mile away to have any chance at all of it responding to a crash start as it rolled down the hill & I managed to get it into gear. It became quite a challenge.
There were other ways in which that car became quite a challenge. On one occasion I was driving when I noticed a funny smell immediately followed by smoke coming from under the passenger seat. The two 6 volt batteries had shorted & the car gradually rolled to a stop. I did manage to disconnect the batteries & prevent a fire. Those were the days!!
That set me thinking. Do you ever experience that feeling that your journey with the Lord has gradually rolled to a stop. When you were first saved you were fully charged up & you were able & ready to meet any situation head on but, over a period of time, it has become harder to get started in the morning? The problems of the previous day seem to have drained your spiritual battery of of its power & gradually you realise that you have come to a halt.
Let me encourage you. All that's wrong is that your battery needs to be recharged. I learned, over the next two cars that I had, to keep battery leads in the boot of my
car so that I could attach them to another car (obviously with the car owners permission & cooperation) if ever the same thing happened. The power to start the engine from the other car was transferred to my car & hey presto I was on my way again.
How does that encourage us? Well, the Holy Spirit is always with us. He never leaves us nor forsakes us. He has the power to recharge your battery. All you need to do is to connect your spiritual battery charger leads to Him. He will let His power flow through your leads in to your life & hey presto you will be on your way again.
That same power that raised Jesus from death to life is in you. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Church in Ephesus, did not stop praying that God would grant us the spirit of wisdom & revelation in knowing Him, that the eyes of our understanding might be enlightened; that we might know the hope of His calling, the riches of His inheritance in the, saints & the exceeding greatness of His power towards us according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead & seated Him in the Heavenly realm far above all principalities & powers (Ephesians 1:16-23).
So, how about it? If you are feeling good and your battery is well charged that's fine. If not all that is needed is for you to plug in to the power source; the Holy Spirit. He's always on hand because wherever you are He is there with you and, more than that, He's always so ready not only to charge you up with His power but also to keep you charged up. Now there's a thought
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
I was sat quietly reflecting on some incidents in my life and as I did I remembered an incident from my time as a delivery boy for our local butcher. He had asked me to help him to pick up a side of beef which I did. But, as I turned away, I noticed that my finger was bleeding quite badly. I had cut it on the bone of the meat we were picking up.
I went home and it was still bleeding so I poured a bowl of cold water and stuck my hand in it; hoping that it would stop the bleeding. It did but what happened was that the water in the bowl turned completely red and when my mom saw it she nearly fainted because she thought it was a bowl full of blood. That incident gave me a talking point for some time afterwards as my friends wanted to see the scar it had left. I still carry the scar of that incident to this day on the end of my finger although now it is scarcely visible. Please form an orderly queue anyone that wants to examine it!! It's the index finger of my right hand!!
I could go on and tell you how excruciating was the pain. I could even tell you how I still returned to work the next day. I might even mention that the butcher I worked for never even asked me if I was ok. But, in truth, I'm not going to because that could be seen as me showing off and feeling bitter. Anyway.....
That set me thinking. The Bible tells us that we are able to draw near to the throne of grace, with confidence, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16). I don't know about you but that is something I have come to appreciate very much as I have grown in my faith. Why? Because there are times when I know that God's mercy and grace are readily available to me at all times but what I really have come to appreciate more and more is the means by which we can draw near to our awesome God.
Our confidence is based entirely on the blood of Jesus (Hebrews 10:9). It's His sacrifice that makes our ability to approach the throne of grace possible. It is not our own ability or our own achievements or our own worthiness; it is entirely down to the blood of Jesus.
The Bible tells us that, without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sin. If Jesus had not hung on the Cross of Calvary; if He had not shed His blood as a completely innocent sacrifice for my sake I would still be lost, without hope in a decaying culture and a dying world.
But because He did I who was once lost am now found. I who was blind (to the truth of God's love for me) can now see. I was once far away from God but now I have been brought near. I was a stranger but now I am a son of the Living God. I was a sojourner but now I am a member of the household of God. I was unsaved but now I am saved. I lived in darkness but now I live in the light.
What I find to be truly a blessing is the realisation and appreciation of the fact that not only am I saved by the blood of the Saviour (it was all that was needed and enough to deliver me from the kingdom of darkness) but that His blood avails for me and goes on cleansing me from all my failures, inadequacies and sins. It's enough to last me my lifetime.
What is this to do with the bowl of water when I was younger and my finger dipped in the bowl? It has much to do with it. You see the blood that came from my finger was enough to spread through the whole bowl full of water to make it permanently red. On that basis do you not think that the blood of Christ has enough strength to cover the whole of your life. His blood avails for me yesterday, today and for ever.
Now there's a thought.
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)
I hereby declare the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth: I once ran a marathon race and completed it!!! It sounds like boasting but if the apostle Paul could....perhaps I can? I'm not really boasting; in truth what I can recall makes me feel quite humble. In particular its what happened as the end of the race was in view.
I was about to enter the stadium and complete two laps of the track to finish the race when all sorts of questions came flooding in to my mind. My whole body was weary and my legs felt as if they had one ton weights attached to them. "What if, so near to the end of the race, I gave in to my feelings and just stopped there and then?" "What if I pulled up and pretended to have an injury? That way I could at least get some sympathy and.....who knows?"
The finishing line seemed to be getting further away rather than nearer but, as I entered the stadium, an amazing thing took place. My legs no longer seemed tired and heavy and my body was filled with a new sense of purpose and determination. Whether or not I had the will to go on was no longer an issue. The truth was I actually began to run a little faster that I had for the last couple of miles.
What happened was simple. The crowd around the stadium began to clap and shout words of encouragement. The effect was amazing. For a few moments I actually wondered if I was winning (the mind is very powerful!!!) Some of the competitors who had run the race in much faster time stayed behind to cheer those of us who had taken longer to complete the course.
All around the last two laps of the track the encouragement continued and, though there were a few of us on the track, it seemed as though all the encouragement was for me. Even though I was thoroughly tired as I went to collect my medal there was a new lightness in my steps. I had completed the race, the prize was won and now I could go home. It had all been worthwhile.
That set me thinking. The Bible tells us that we all have a race set before us (it's called life) and that we need to lay aside anything that might be an hinderance so that we might run it with endurance for it is those who endure to the end who will receive the reward (Matthew 10:22 & 24:13) That reminds me that I actually 'put off' nine pounds in weight through running the marathon. There were times, during the race, when the run had been quite easy and effortless; when everything was going to plan. However, there were other times when it was very hard to keep going and it was at those times that there was a need for grit and determination.
Does that sound like a bit of your race of life? You may be running well. If so that's great but there will be times when you are hurting, in pain and aching that makes you feel discouraged and downhearted. Life is like that. It's a marathon not a sprint so keep on keeping on; endure the pain, bear with the tiredness that you feel because every step brings you closer to the end of the race. So watch out for the encouragement that we all need and let it fuel your determination to continue to the end. Don't give in!!
The truth is that there are times when we all feel the strain of the effort we put in to our lives that makes it hard to bear (there were plenty who dropped out of the marathon race that I ran) It's at such a time as that when you need to be aware of the crowd of witnesses that are encouraging and urging you on from Heaven as you run the race before you (Hebrews 12:1-2)
They are the ones who have already won their race and have received their reward. It's not a medal like the one I received from my efforts in completing the marathon. It's a reward that is undefiled and unfading. It's a crown of righteousness just like the one that's already waiting to be presented to you at the end of your race. Keep on keeping on and be encouraged by the cheers of those who have already completed the race set before them. They have gone home and the truth is that for them it had all been worthwhile otherwise they would not be encouraging you. Now there's a thought.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
We had been shopping most of the day and we were stood at what I really hoped was the last pay point of the day when the woman that served us asked me to insert my credit card in the machine. She then asked me to put my PIN number in and, as I was typing it in (with fingers all aquiver) I remember saying to her, "I don't suppose that I'm your millionth customer and so get everything free?" It was her reply that got my attention when she said, "If it was up to me you could have everything free but somebody has to pay for it."
I took one hopeful glance all around before I put the PIN number into the machine and wondered, rather fancifully, whether anyone would step forward to put their credit card in the machine and pay for everything for me. Needless to say it didn't happen and so in went the final number that charged the cost of what we had bought to my credit card account and out came the receipt that showed I owed them HOW MUCH?
Have you realised that when we use our credit card to buy something we are actually getting the seller to give us the goods we are buying and charge it to our account? What we take home is not actually paid for until we pay off the credit card. We didn't actually pay for the goods when we used our credit card. We simply had the cost charged to our account.
There is an old and meaningful term used in accountancy to describe this procedure. It's called "imputing". It means recovering the initial cost. It involves the attribution of responsibility for the initial cost to someone.
That set me thinking. Concerning sin; God does not impute it to our account. He did not charge it to our account but, in the words of that shop assistant, someone had to pay for it. God never did and never will turn a blind eye to sin. The price had to be paid and so He paid the price for us. Now that has to be good news because it was something that we could never afford to pay.
Thankfully, though He never does overlook sin, He is willing to pass over our sins. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord imputes no iniquity and in whose spirit there is no deceit. (Psalm 32:1-2)
God did not and does not impute the responsibility of paying the cost of our sins to us...but someone had to pay for it. So God did when He sent Jesus to pay the full price by becoming sin for us, even though He never sinned, so that the weight of that debt could be removed from our shoulders and we could become free of debt in Him alone who was good enough and willing to bear the cost.
Does that mean that we are free to go and live however we want? Of course not. Sin always has consequences where it gives God's enemy an opportunity to put a barrier between us and God. But his accusations can never separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Remember that.
Little wonder then that the Apostle Paul, when he wrote to the Christians at Ephesus, could cry out, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 1:3)
What a blessing indeed. Lets never forget that the debt that we have run up through sin was far too great for us to settle. The burden of such debt was far too great for us to carry. Can we ever appreciate enough that the Lord does not impute our iniquity to our account? He has recovered the cost by sending Jesus to bear the burden of our guilt and shame. The responsibility to settle the account belongs to Jesus. Why? Because someone had to pay for it. Now there's a thought.
All this is from God who, through Christ, reconciled us to Himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses against them and entrusting to us the ministry of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
My car insurance is coming up for renewal. Every year the premium goes up even though I have had no accidents, made no claims, and have a good record; and every year I get quotes from other organisations and do the comparisons then haggle to get them down to the best possible price. It's a bit of a bind but it works!!!
I hope I don't fall off this high horse I am just about to climb on but isn't the whole point of having insurance meant to cover any mistakes that I make as a driver; so why do I have to pay more if I have not made any? Isn't that a bit like a doctor saying "I only accept healthy patients. Anyone who is ill cannot enter my surgery"? I really do question the value of insurance but I know if I want to drive my car I have to have have it in place in case of mistakes either on my part or on the part of someone else.
This conversation I had last time was quite revealing. I was told that, even though I had been accident free for another year, there were more accident claims than ever before because there are more cars on the roads than ever before and that's why premiums are increasing. So, it seems to me, it's not me....it's everybody else! I am being punished for the mistakes made by everybody else.
As I was preparing my list of who to compare I began to wonder about the mistakes I make as a Christian. Does God increase what I owe Him for the coming year based on my performance over the preceding year? Does the premium go up every year even if, in the extremely unlikely scenario, that I never make a mistake? Even worse, if I was to achieve the impossible and not make any mistakes would I be punished for everybody else's mistakes?
That set me thinking. There is no renewal date to cover my mistakes as a Christian. The premium has been paid for me. Even better than that it has been paid once and for all. It does not cover me for one year at a time. It lasts forever. Yes, it covers the past, the present and the future. Wow! That's what I call a great deal.
God does not offer me insurance. He offers assurance. If God insured us against any mistakes He would have to up the premium. What if we made that many mistakes He had to tell us that we were no longer under His cover; that we must find someone or something else to cover all future mistakes?
Do you realise that there are no exclusion clauses in God's offer of His cover of our errors? What even my sin? "Where sin abounds grace abounds much more" (Romans 5:20) Where there was no way God has made a way. He decided to cover every mistake, every careless word spoken, every wrong thought and every sin by paying the premium Himself. It was a one-off eternally effective payment that He made when His Son died at Calvary.
Does that mean I can live recklessly because the premium is paid?No. There are consequences to reckless living just like there are consequences to reckless driving. If there weren't there would be compromise of God's holiness and righteousness. Equally there would be obvious encouragement of my recklessness. God does not overlook my sins but, thanks be to God, He does pass over them. If He was to ignore my sin that would only serve to endorse my sin.
How is it possible for Him to overlook my mistakes? Because He paid the premium to cover all of my mistakes. Can I hide my mistakes from Him? No. He is an all-seeing God. So what do I have to do? Just be honest, tell Him the truth and that I'm truly sorry and its all done and dusted. That's the lavishness of grace!!
The truth is that I will never be in that place where I can barter with God (like I do with my car insurers) over my record. I am truly grateful that God has me covered for eternity because Jesus had paid my premium (one I could never afford or repay). Now there's a thought.
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; (1 Peter 3:18)
Due to adverse weather conditions and to ensure the safety of our church members, we have decided to cancel the Bible Study (Thursday 1st March), Kids Zone & Youth Group (Friday 1st March). We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
We had received an invitation to a fancy dress party and, without wishing to offend anyone, I simply did NOT want to go. In fact I got so mardy that, when asked the question "What are you going dressed as?" my answer was as direct as the question, "The invisible man!" I can't claim to be the most enthusiastic person on earth when it comes to parties and, quite honestly, when the issue is fancy dress I would rather run a marathon than get dressed up to go to such a party.
So, I hatched a plan. All it needed was for my wife to go on her own and, if asked where I was, she could tell everyone that I was there as the invisible man. All she had to do was pretend to talk to me and pretend to hear my reply. If, by any remote possibility, I was awarded a prize at the end of the evening I could simply make an entrance from the garden in my everyday clothes and state that people needed to see me collect it so that they would know there was no deceit attached. I could see it working. I thought it was a brilliant idea.
However, I eventually came to see that it was neither brilliant nor original as my mind went to the first man, Adam, who tried to make himself invisible in the Garden of Eden. He must have thought he had hatched a good plan as he hid when he heard God walking in the Garden. Did he really think God would be taken in by his plan just as I thought others would be taken in by my plan?
That set me thinking. Over the years I have walked with Jesus I have come to realise that no brilliant plan of mine will hide the truth about how I feel or about any aspect of my life from Him who sees all that there is to see about me. The truth is that I am acceptable to God in Christ. But what does that mean?
Well, I go back to Adam, in the Garden, trying to hide from God. The point of Adam's feeble attempt to try and disguise what he had done was not that it was a brilliant idea. It was that it was seen and known by God but that the consequences of what effect it had on Adam were covered by the grace of God as He provided the skin of a sacrificial animal to cover Adam's wrong-doing. All Adam had to do was to put on God's provision. Adam had tried to hide from God rather than run towards Him to receive His embrace, forgiveness and acceptance.
Go on then I will be honest and not try and hide anything from you. There are hidden things in my life that do not please God. I know; you are taken aback in total surprise,shock and disbelief but it's the truth. They are things that are not seen but have consequences. However, the glorious truth is that they are covered by God's grace as I put on the Lord Jesus Christ, God's perfect sacrifice, to make me acceptable to Him (Romans 13:14).
Even the Apostle Paul had a struggle in this invisible inner area of his life where there was, at times, conflict between the flesh and the Spirit. What a beautiful lesson he learned when he saw that Christ alone was his salvation from the consequences of such a struggle. (Romans 7:13-25) and how grateful I am that his lesson learned was recorded for our appreciation and benefit.
I am still not sure why I dislike fancy dress parties so much but there is something of which I am very sure; I know that I am accepted by a most holy God (even though He knows me right well). I don't have to decline His invitation to draw close to Him because of the things in me that do not please Him. I am free to accept His invitation to feel His embrace because I have put on Christ. He looks at me and sees Jesus. Because I have put on Christ I know that I am enveloped in His identity. Now there's a thought!!
Romans 13:14; But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
It was 1956 when I started work at a local Iron & Steel company as a commercial trainee. Part of my two year training plan was to become very familiar with the way the plant worked & it's products. To do that I had to spend an allotted time in each of the many sections of the works to learn about the steel-making process; how iron became steel & the way that the end products were produced. I enjoyed being appointed as a guide to take visitors round the plant and explain the different stages of steel production to them. It was a great experience that remained useful throughout my working life.
One particular part of that training that always used to fascinate me was when the open-hearth furnace doors were opened & the ladle-man used to reach into the white hot furnace to scoop out a sample of the molten metal with an extremely long "sample spoon" to have it sent for analysis at the laboratory. The results that came back from the analysis of the sample dictated how much longer the process needed to continue and how many more impurities needed to be removed before the steel that was being produced was 'fit for purpose'.
What I particularly remember was the rush of searing heat as the furnace door was opened & how the ladle-man wore goggles to protect his eyes from the heat & how he used to put the end of his sweat towel in his mouth & bite on it to help him bear that incredible heat. I remember asking him why he put it in his mouth & he said it was to stop him cursing the fire.
That set me thinking. There are times in life when the heat of what we are going through gets to us if we are honest. It can become unbearable at times and we begin to question, "Must I bear such intolerable heat?" "How much longer does the process have to go on?" The answer is that it depends on what else needs to be removed from our lives to ensure that we are 'fit for purpose'.
God's desire is to refine us. (Jeremiah 9:7) and the way He does that is to place us in the furnace of affliction for our good and for the glory of His own name. It's worth remembering that trials do not come randomly upon us; they come in an orderly way. Our comfort is that as we go through the process He sits as a refiner and purifier of silver (Malachi 3:3-4).
While the process is continuing He does not take His gaze from us (Psalm 32:8) until the right time has come for Him to remove us from the furnace at that particular time that we have become 'fit for purpose'.
Whenever we go through what may seem a never-ending process of 'trial by fire' it will be useful to remember that we shall come through it more refined than we went into it because it is the Lord's aim to purify us (Zechariah 13:9). The impurities of life are being removed. It's for our good.
The truth is that it is perfectly possible to come from the refiner's fire having not been hurt in any way by the intensity of the heat and not even with the smell of the fire upon us as we see from the account of the three men in the fiery furnace ( Daniel 3:27) if we trust the Lord to know what He is doing and that He is with us in the fire!
How does the refiner of silver know when enough is enough? It's when He takes a sample and can see His own reflection in the silver that He is refining. He does it for the sake of his own name and that others might see him reflected in that which He has produced. Be encouraged; He is watching out for you in whatever you are going through with His gaze fixed steadily upon you until you are, in He eyes, 'fit for purpose'. Now there's a thought.
Isaiah 43:2-3 When you pass through the waters I will be with you and through the rivers they shall not overwhelm you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel; your Saviour.
We will have recently read of the birth of Jesus and of the wise men who saw a star in the sky as it guided them to Bethlehem where Jesus was born. When they saw the star they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy (Matthew2:10).
Can you imagine what it must have been like for the shepherds who also saw some scary things at night as an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them and the glory of God shone around them? Then, equally suddenly, a multitude of angels appeared praising God. The importance of those events (besides the obvious announcement of the birth of our Saviour) was their response as they made haste to follow the guidance that they too had received.
There are many people today who still look to the stars for guidance as they search through what their horoscope says each day. God does not guide through horoscopes nor does He always show such obvious signs as a star in the sky. But He does guide!!
As the people of God we can be sure that God does guide His people. He always has, He still does and He will always guide us. This is our God, our God for ever and ever. He will be our guide forever. (Psalm48:14)
There are many Biblical examples of God guiding His people. Noah didn't build the Ark on a whim. Abram didn't just feel to leave his home comforts. Samuel didn't opt to choose David to become king; Elijah didn't choose Carmel with a sense of the theatrical. Peter didn't just bump into Cornelius. Paul didn't leave Asia for a change of scenery. Jude didn't change his mind on what to write & nor did John write the book of Revelation just to while away the time spent in isolation. In each case there was personal guidance from God.
God has a personal plan for everyone He calls into His kingdom & it's important that we know that plan so that we might find fulfilment in our walk through life. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord (Psalm 37:23). I will instruct you & teach you in the way you should go (Psalm 32:8). For I know the plans I have for you (says the Lord); plans for good & not for evil to give you a future & a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).The path of the plan for my life is specific (Isaiah 30:21).
God's guidance is an integral part of the calling on our lives to follow Jesus. It is an essential element of God's redeeming grace that is lavished upon us & it is available to us all.
There is something for which God looks in any that seek His guidance. It's meekness. The meek He will guide in judgement & teach His ways. (Psalm 25:9). In all our ways we are to acknowledge Him & He will make our paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5)
If we are to be aware of the possibility of such guidance there seems to be the need of a life that is consciously surrendered to God. That, it seems, is a basic requirement. What does that mean? It means that the meek (those who depend upon, trust in & stay close to their God with an undivided heart) are most likely to be in a position to receive the guidance they seek. After all, our lives must surely be about there being less of me & more of Him living His life through me.
The Bible is a main source, not only of inspirational truth and teaching, but also of guidance.The Word of God is a lamp unto our feet & a light unto our path. (Psalm 119:105).When we are seeking guidance for our lives the Bible has to have a place of priority. There are other factors but the Bible has to be the bedrock of any guidance from God. However, it is dangerous to seek so called revelation from the Bible that will justify our own personal feelings on an issue that could allow us to wander down a self-centred path.
Not only does the Bible make direct statements about guidance. It also states Divine principles which God expects us to adhere to in our walk with Him. Though the world we live in may have changed dramatically from the world of the days of the Bible the Word of God endures forever.
The Bible says we are to put God first in all things. (Matt 6:23)
It gives clear guidance concerning discipleship (Matt16:24)
As we move into another new year let us determine to seek guidance and may what we find fill us with great rejoicing as we live our lives for the glory of God.