09 January, 2009

Just Do It God's Way

I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that others are like me, in that sometimes I try to map out my own plan for my life. I mean, I know that I need to submit myself to the Lord and wait, but sometimes things look so good, that I am tempted to do things or go places on my own. Those that know me well, know that I really love Florida and probably even more importantly, I loathe cold and snow. Several times over the years now, opportunities have presented themselves before me to pick up and go to Florida. We need to recognize however, that every “opportunity” is not always a good thing. For example: In 1999 after a particularly stressful pastorate and events in my life and the life of our family, I resigned my church and we bought a house for a time of healing. I was still very active preaching as I filled the pulpit of an independent church for a pastor who was ill for nearly a year. But I began to feel the itch to pastor again after a few months. Through connection I had, I was introduced to and then asked to pastor an independent charismatic church in Tallahassee, Florida. OK… everything looked perfect. This was a pretty good sized church that offered me a compensation package that was just incredible, a beautiful home to live in, and it was in Florida. What more could I ask for? It was perfect… but I kept hearing and seeing road blocks which I knew were the Lord. I didn’t “get it” at all, but I declined their offer. Less than 6 months later, I was asked again and as I began to check this out further, I discovered that there was a group of men who were all quite wealthy and they ran that church. In the previous 4 years, that church had been through 6 pastors. I would not have lasted long there, and I know it. There have been several other situations that have come up over the years that are similar. Opportunities or situations have presented themselves that looked great, sounded great, and fit MY plans and designs, but they were not of God. Then there have been just the opposite, where I did not want to do something or go somewhere, but with prayer, I realized this was God’s prompting hand in my life.

So, why am I sharing this? Because I have been feeling for a couple of days that the Lord was prompting me to write and tell someone that before you were born, God already had a plan for your life. Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:11

“In whom also we have been chosen to an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His own will,”

That verse from The Living Bible puts it this ways:

"All things happen just as He decided long ago."

Notice, it says "all things". That includes the things you and I don’t like and maybe even want to run from! Remember the story in the Bible when Jonah tried to run from God and go to Tarshish, God said: (my paraphrase) "No way. My plan is in place. If I let you escape I wouldn't be God. If I have to I'll send a storm, rock your boat and put your life on hold in order to accomplish My purpose."

And of course we remember how that when Jonah could go no lower he prayed and God answered him, just in time for him to go and preach in Nineveh, his original destination that God had pointed him toward. The point is, we can go the easy way or the hard way, but eventually you will go, or your life will be miserable!

The Psalmist said, "Your way...is in the sanctuary...Your way was in the sea [storm]" (Ps 77:13 & 19 NKJV). The point that I am trying to make is that you do have a choice. You can go God’s way, or you can go your way, but when you go yours, there is a lot more heartache and pain, and the reality is that we have brought it upon ourselves. But the choice is yours.

Understand this: You have been picked for a purpose. And you need to recognize that God has too much invested in you to let you get away with the things that “self” is trying to get you to do. He will send storms your way and even sink your ship if that is what it takes to get you to do what He has called you to do. If it means that you have to come on a stretcher… when He calls you'll come.

If you have to leave behind a relationship, or an addiction, or a personal agenda, you'll come.

And you'll know it's God, because you'll be willing to leave behind those things which now mean nothing, in order to live for those things which now mean everything.

So, for your own good, make up your mind to walk with Him all the way and follow His plan. Make a decision now to just do it God's way.

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