Monthly Archives: May, 2017

How can I know what God’s will is for me?

May 31st, 2017 Posted by blog 0 thoughts on “How can I know what God’s will is for me?”

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing, you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1, 2 (ESV)

Paul gives us a way to discern God’s will for us. He starts out by urging us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, an offering to God that is both holy and well-pleasing to Him. But how do we do that?

First, let’s look at what our body is. We were created in God’s Image and because He is Spirit, we are spirit beings. Genesis also says that the Lord formed us out of the dust of the earth. Since He didn’t form our spirits out of the dust of the earth, Genesis is talking about our bodies — that part of us that returns to dust when we die a physical death. Our bodies are formed in our mother’s womb as an earthly house or tabernacle (2 Corinthians 5:1) for us to live in as animate beings.

As such, we are able to relate to two realms: the material world that is temporal and is passing away, and the spiritual world which is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). The temporal world is perceived through our body’s senses while the spiritual realm is comprehended through the senses of our spirit. From conception, we are ushered into the physical world, and we rapidly grow accustomed to relating to it through our ability to touch, hear, taste, smell and see. Our mind quickly forms our concepts of reality based on our perception of the physical world.

Since God created us in His Image we also function like mirrors, reflecting in our character whatever we focus on. If we focus on the physical world, our physical senses will develop much more than our spiritual senses, and our rational mind will dominate our understanding of reality.

But if we focus on the Lord in prayer, worship and the study of His Word, God will begin to open the eyes of our heart to His reality and His character so that our spiritual senses will become more adept at perceiving His world. Jesus said, “My sheep HEAR my voice. They follow me and I give them eternal life” — not just over-in-the-glory life, but eternal life in His eternal dimension as He opens our spiritual ears to hear Him. He also says “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall SEE God.” Again, this is not only for the sweet by-and-by. It is for right now — an expectation that as we focus on Him, we will also develop our spiritual eyes.

Paul says that as Christians, we have a choice. On the one hand, we can be conformed to this world by relying on our body’s strengths, abilities, intellect and senses to determine what is real. If we choose this path, the things of the Spirit will seem foolish and irrational to us, and we will refuse to believe the promises the Lord gives us. Or we can immerse ourselves in His Word, recognizing that because He is the same yesterday, today and forever, His Kingdom, revealed in the the Bible, is available for us to live in as well.

Of course, these two ways of perceiving reality will often be in conflict with each other. But as we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and learn through that relationship that we can trust Him to accomplish what He says He will do. When the conflicts in perception come, Paul urges us to present our body’s senses, strengths, intellect and abilities to God as a sacrificial offering of worship. In this act, we are saying “Not my will — not my perception of reality — but Yours be done.”  His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Since our perception of the world, if pursued, would cause us to turn away through unbelief, Paul calls us to sacrifice our body’s discernment on His altar and trust by faith our spiritual comprehension of the reality that He reveals to us.

This posture is not a one-time event but a journey of growth into Christ. This continual, living sacrifice will allow the Lord to remake our minds over time as we walk with Him, and through this process, transform our whole nature into the person He wants us to become. As we learn to trust our spiritual senses, we will be able to discern the will of the Lord for us — what is good, acceptable and perfect.

A Storm On Our Lake

May 27th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 thoughts on “A Storm On Our Lake”

In chapter five of my book Who Told You That You Were Naked? A Refreshing Reexamination of the Garden of Eden, I address the subject of faith by comparing little-faith with real faith. If you haven’t read my book yet, you can download a free copy at www.WhoToldYouThatYouWereNaked.biz. Or you can purchase a paperback edition from any book store or online outlet.

Jesus coined a single word “little-faiths” during the Sermon on the Mount. The word is not found in secular Greek literature and rarely outside of Matthew and Luke. Unfortunately, it has been translated as “you of little faith” implying that Jesus was chiding his listeners for not having enough faith which is an erroneous interpretation as I point out in the book.

The second time when Jesus used this word, He was in a boat crossing lake Galilee (Matt 8:18, 23-27). You know the account: Huge crowds continue to follow them. So, after healing a large number, He commanded His disciples to depart for the other side of the lake. He must have been exhausted from the day’s activities because shortly after entering the boat, He went to sleep on a pillow.

Once out on the lake, a violent storm came up and the waves were so high they were swamping the boat even with all the effort and expertise of seasoned fishermen. In desperation, they woke Jesus saying, “Lord, save us, we are perishing.”

Jesus replied, “Why are you fearful, little-faiths?” Then He got up, rebuked the wind and the waves, and there was a great calm where there has been a great storm only moments before. At this, His disciples marveled saying to one another, “What kind of a man is this! Even the wind and sea obey Him!”

From my last blog, we learned that Jesus could not do anything on His own volition. He only did what He saw His Father doing. So, when He commanded His disciples to go to the other side of the lake, He must have witnessed His Father’s actions and knew that the crossing was assured. With that understanding, He could rest in the boat even as it was being tossed and flooded by the storm because He knew they would arrive safely on the other shore.

His disciples, on the other hand, had never been in a storm quite this violent, and were unable to keep ahead of the surging waves that were flooding the boat using their own expertise.

Notice that they never asked themselves how Jesus could possibly remain asleep though the howling wind, the crashing waves and the gyrations of the boat as they were tossed around like a leaf by the storm. Instead, they woke Him up saying, “Don’t you care that we perish (Mk 4:38)?

They wanted all hands on deck. If only He could ask God to help them keep the boat afloat, they might escape with their lives. Their faith in Jesus was limited to believing that if He could add His efforts to their capabilities, they might be OK.

But there was a reason Jesus could remain asleep through all that turmoil. He had seen His Father deliver the boat safely to the other side. If His Father gave Him that assurance, He could remain asleep no matter how tempestuous the situation.

This was also a learning experience for the disciples. They had a way for handling the storm even though their solution had failed to save them. One more pair of hands and a favorable nod from God just might be enough. By questioning Christ’s motives for remaining asleep, they showed that they were not simply “casting their cares on Him.”

Jesus wanted them to realize His fate was bound up in their fate, and since He was asleep, He must know something about the outcome of their trip they hadn’t yet grasped.

He wanted to point them to His source of confidence and peace. His question to them, “Why are you so fearful, little-faiths?”, seems almost absurd given the ferocity of the storm. But there was an even greater reality — the kingdom of God — that Jesus wanted the disciples to experience. So, He got up and quelled the storm to their astonishment. Just as they had never seen such a storm, they had also never seen a storm abated in such a dramatic fashion.

As He stood up, Jesus must have seen His Father stilling the wind and the waves. He said to these same disciples later, “The things that I do you will do also and even greater things shall you do because I go to the Father.”  He also said, “If you ask anything in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”

In 2 Timothy 2:13, Paul says that even if we are faithless, He remains faithful because He CANNOT DENY HIMSELF. Just as Jesus’s fate was bound up in the fate of the others in the boat, so is His fate bound up in us because He came to live in our “boat” when we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior. Our “boat” may encounter huge storms that will appear to sink us even with all our efforts to keep it afloat.

We can look at the storm and become fearful, wondering whether the Lord really cares about us in our situation. Or, we can look to Jesus seated at His Father’s right hand — a place of rest and finished work — and ask Him to show us how His Father is working out His plan in our lives. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. So, instead of asking Jesus to help us with our solutions, we can ask Him to perform His Father’s solutions in us knowing that He will do what He sees His Father doing, and thereby bring glory to His Father.

May the Lord richly bless you, :o)  Bill

I can Do Nothing On My Own Volition

May 27th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 thoughts on “I can Do Nothing On My Own Volition”

One of the scripture texts that has been a lifelong guide is John 5:19-20: “Truly, Truly I say to you, the Son can do nothing on his own authority, but only what he sees his Father doing. What the Father does, the Son does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he is doing; and greater than these will he show him, that you may marvel.”

As I wrote in the book, there is one thing that Jesus cannot do – He cannot do anything based on His own volition. This is much more than a mental attitude that constantly asks “What would God do in this situation?” That mindset is little more than a sanctified rationalization based on what we think God would do based on our own understanding of Him.

In order to better comprehend Christ’s posture toward His Father, consider Paul’s words in Philippians 2:5 – 8: “Let your bearing toward one another arise out of your life in Christ Jesus. For the divine nature was his from the first; yet he did not think to snatch at equality with God, but made himself nothing, assuming the nature of a slave. Bearing the human likeness, revealed in human shape, he humbled himself, and in obedience accepted even death – death on a cross.”

The divine nature was His nature and the mind of God was His mind. He could have done anything He wanted to do and said anything He wanted to say. But He chose otherwise. Why?

Let’s look again at John 5:20: “For the Father loves the Son and shows him all that He is doing. What the Father does, the Son does.”  Jesus enjoyed an intimate, loving relationship with His Father and was obedient, not because He expected to receive a reward in return, but because He loved His Father.

Notice the underlined words. Those words are in the present tense – in the NOW. As He walked through each day, He could see and hear His Father speaking and ministering in the moment. When people encountered Jesus, they were actually encountering His Father speaking and ministering to them – “He who has seen me has seen the Father.”

Why focus on this point so strongly? Jesus, His Father and the Holy Spirit came to live in each one of us when we accepted Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

In addition, God is the same yesterday, today and forever. So, Jesus is still not doing anything on His own volition but is only doing what He sees His Father doing. And since Pentecost, Jesus is sharing everything He sees and hears with the Holy Spirit Who leads us into all truth.

The Lord is doing a new thing in these last days that will eclipse everything He has done in the past. The Father seeks those He can reveal Himself to so that He can accomplish the greater work He has reserved for these last days. He only asks that we submit our will to Him so that He can carry out His will through us.

As we yield our selves to God in love, He will manifest His love to us and through us, and reveal what He is doing. Then, those who see His works will see Christ in us lifted up by the power of the Holy Spirit to draw all men and women to Him.

May the Lord richly bless you, :o)  Bill

A Gospel for the Refugees

May 27th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 thoughts on “A Gospel for the Refugees”

I recently had a chance to talk with an Iranian student who was going back to the middle east to share the Gospel with refugees who have been displaced by war. He said these people don’t respond to a Gospel message that focuses almost exclusively on redeeming them from the sinful acts they have committed. Their whole world has been torn apart and, in addition to being forgiven, they need to know God loves them unconditionally and is able to meet all their needs and to clothe them in His security and peace even in these trying circumstances.

Truth is, the Gospel has always addressed this deeper dimension. The suffering these people face is not just the domain of social services. The knowledge of good and evil we inherited from Adam is much more than our ability to choose between right and wrong. It is the wellspring, not only of our transgressions, but also of our feelings of inadequacy and insecurity — our inner feelings of nakedness. Today, the Lord is shaking the foundations of our security in many parts of the world, urging us to seek Him for our peace and wholeness through the cross of Jesus Christ.

This shaking and upheaval will only get more severe as we approach the coming of our Lord. If we cling to the safety of our jobs, bank accounts, neighborhood amenities, health plans and social status, we will likely feel naked and vulnerable if those trappings are stripped away as they have been for the refugees in the near east and parts of Africa.

There is always the temptation to pray God will restore the things that have been taken away from us so we can feel OK again. But God knows what we need and asks us to seek first His Kingdom and to be clothed in His righteousness and peace available through the cross of Jesus Christ.

The greed in this world is ever-increasing as people in positions of authority seek to clothe themselves in more wealth and power by taking it from everyone else. But the Bible says even if we gain the whole world, we will not satisfy our desire to be safe and secure, and in the process, we will risk losing touch with who we really are.

The source of this greed is an inward sense of inadequacy. If only we had just a little more we would be happier and more fulfilled. But instead of taking, God loved us so much that He GAVE His most precious possession — His Son — and will continue to give out of the abundance of His resources to meet all of our needs through Jesus Christ.

He alone can clothe us in His righteousness, His peace, and His security as we follow Him as the Lord of our lives.

May the Lord richly bless you, :o)  Bill

It Has Been Some Time Since My Last Blog

May 27th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 thoughts on “It Has Been Some Time Since My Last Blog”

You can likely tell that it has been some time since my first post before I left for the National Broadcasting Convention (NRB) in Orlando in late February. The period since then has been both hectic since my book was released on the first of April as well as a time of redirection where I have been waiting on the Lord.

While I was at NRB, I asked the Lord for someone who could translate my book into Spanish. I stopped by Stan and Rhoda Jeter’s booth who are missionaries to Cuba and they put me in contact with Javier Bolaños from Costa Rico who agreed to do the translation. I am also helping him set up an audio/video studio in his home to create podcasts for ministries in his area.

I have also been working with Isoa Kanaveilomani and his wife Eta, missionaries to Fiji. They are currently here in Seattle changing their passport status so they can get some more training before returning to Fiji.

My Christian writer’s group sponsored a conference earlier this month where I met David and Lisa Mitts, two Hebrew Christians who sponsor a Sabbath worship service. I have been attending this service since the conference and will be going with them to Israel for the Jubilee Feast of Tabernacles this fall.

As the marketing load has wound down, the Lord has been urging me to seek Him more and more through prayer, fasting and studying His word. I want to deepen my personal relationship with Him so I can know better when He is leading me so I can follow; better recognize His voice so I can hear in my spirit when He speaks to me; and better be able to see Him doing the things He sees His Father doing so I can respond in faith.

After neglecting the blog posts on my webpage for over two months, I am ready to start writing again.  May the Lord richly bless you, :o)  Bill

All profits received from the sale of books published will be used by the William Combs Foundation for charitable purposes.