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How to Know God’s Will: A Personal Example

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In this blog series I’ve explained, to the best of my ability, how to know God’s will in any given situation. I have given you an effective reliable method which I have used in many different circumstances to discern God’s will. Now I want to show you how I applied it to a very big decision I had to make.

It was May 2018. I was living in an apartment when out of the blue, my landlord informed me that he wasn’t renewing my lease at the end of September!

To where am I supposed to move?!

Before I received the notice, I was already sensing that God might be moving me out of the area—away from my home state, away from my church family of 25 years. I just didn’t know where or when, or even if for certain.

This “feeling” became so strong in April that I began confiding in a few trusted people. One of them was a close family member, who said she was also sensing the same thing for me. But was that a sign that He was moving me out of the area or only that He was going to move me?

So I waited.

When I did get the shocking news from my landlord, and after my initial “Oh no!” response, I quickly realized this was God’s doing. But where am I to go? This is a pretty big world!

Being clueless where to start, I prayed…

“Lord, You know where You are moving me. Please show me! Help me to lay all my desires and emotions on the altar. Let them not interfere with me discerning Your will. Reveal any sin that would hinder my hearing You. I want to be in the center of Your perfect will. And Lord, if at all possible, please let me know before the end of August.”

I began gathering information and asked questions like:

  • Where would I like to live?
  • In what way would I like to serve God more?
  • In what way does God want to use me more?
  • What church is in need of women with my gifts?

I also sought the counsel of several godly people, including a man I greatly respected and knew through Revive Our Hearts Ministry. He had given me great counsel in the past, so I figured his church would be a good one to investigate. Plus, it was only 1 hour away and closer to the mountains–I love to hike!

I checked out the church’s doctrine, purpose statement, and ministries. I listened to several sermons online, visited on 3 different occasions, and met with the women’s ministry director. The more I discovered, the more I sensed that this could very well be my new church home. If that was the case, then God would have to provide a place to live.

So I began searching online for an apartment. Initially, I came up empty and was dismayed. But I kept seeking and found one!

It gets a little too complicated from this point on. Suffice it to say that when I saw the apartment, I knew it was the one for me. So I put down a security deposit and asked a few close friends to pray for peace (or lack of it) about my decision. From that moment on, all I had was complete peace.

But I am a scaredy cat, plagued with fears of making a mistake. Plus, this was a HUGE decision! Was this peace truly from God? Therefore, I continued to ask God for confirmation. He patiently reassured His fearful daughter that this was indeed my new home and church in a variety of “miraculous” ways.

~~~~~

I am in awe of how God orchestrated all these details and clearly revealed His will to me. I only had to visit one church and knew where I was to live by mid-July! That is amazing!

I’ve been at my new location now for over 16 months. I made the right decision! I just love it here! The best part: God is using me in even greater ways than before. And He has brought people to help me expand He’s So Worth It Ministries. It certainly has been worth it!

Until next time, my friends, go forth in complete confidence in God.

He will direct every one of your steps!

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Ps 37:23)

Previous blogs in this series:

How to KNOW God’s Will: Part 1

6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will

A Proven Method to KNOW God’s Will: A 10 Step Process

A Proven Method to KNOW God’s Will: A 10 Step Process-Part 2

 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

 

A Proven Method to KNOW God’s Will: A 10 Step Process- Part 2

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Want to make fewer mistakes in decisions? Want to live with fewer regrets? You can learn to know God’s will and make right and godly choices in any given circumstance. You can  learn how to live God’s way. The Lord Himself wants to teach and empower you. The end result will be a sweet abundant life . Trust me–there’s nothing better than being right with God!

Last time I covered the first 5 steps in a proven method which the Lord has taught me over the years in knowing His will. Here’s a recap of the first five.

  1. Prepare your heart
  2. Think things through carefully
  3. Ask questions
  4. Use pen and paper
  5. Put in the effort

Here is the rest of the…

Proven Method of Knowing God’s Will

6. Put in the time

Don’t wait until the last minute to start your search of God’s will. Procrastinating puts you in “demand mode” when seeking God for guidance. If a decision is important, it’s worth the time and effort to pray about it.

If an immediate decision is required, do your best and trust God for the outcome. That’s why it’s vital to remain in fellowship with your Lord. You won’t have the time to carefully evaluate your heart if it’s an urgent matter. Stay close to your Father so you will be able to hear His still quiet voice.

Also, determine if a decision really has to be made now. Ask questions like:

  • Can I get an extension?
  • Is this a sales pitch, tempting me to make a hasty purchase?
  • Is this pressure from others because they want it now?
  • Is this in line with God’s will as far as I know?
  • Are my emotions interfering? (See Blog: 6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will)

7. Read the Bible while seeking answers

This is where a lot of us go wrong. God does communicate to us in other ways, but His Word is the primary way in which He makes His will known to us. Seek God’s direction during your quiet time with Him, and then…

8. Keep your antennas up

Stay in tune with your Lord throughout the day, looking for answers in a calm, confident manner.

9. Enlist others

Ask for counsel, or at least request prayer from godly people that you trust.

10. Get confirmation

Not all “signs” or “open doors” are from God. Don’t automatically assume it’s from the Lord. I’ve made way too many mistakes thinking God was leading me when it was Satan, my strong emotions or impatience getting in the way. Don’t run ahead of God; make sure you have a green light. Others can greatly help you here.

~~~~~~

This process works! I hope you will try it.

Next time I will give you a personal example of how I applied these steps in a very critical decision.

So until then, my friends, as you seek the Lord for direction:

Praise Him before you know His will.

Praise Him as soon as you do know it.

and then

Praise Him by telling others how He came through for you again!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good…. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jer 29:11-13)

Previous blogs in this series:

How to KNOW God’s Will: Part 1

6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will

A Proven Method to KNOW God’s Will: A 10 Step Process

 

 

THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

A Proven Method to KNOW God’s Will: A 10 Step Process-Part 1

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I want to know God’s will in every decision I have to make. How about you? But sometimes it’s hard to know God’s ways or His will in any given situation. We need His wisdom. And He wants to give it to us!

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6)

The Lord has taught me a method that always works in determining His will–if I diligently apply the principles listed below. And when we are confident that God will show us what to do…

Our anxiety level in making decisions will significantly decrease!

Keep in mind that every decision doesn’t require this much time, effort, and all the steps listed below. Nevertheless, each decision must be bathed in prayer and yielded to God.

Here are the first 5 steps in this

Proven Method of Knowing God’s Will

1. Prepare your heart

This is the most important step! Ask God to reveal any hidden sins, impure motives, or un-submitted emotions and desires. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and heart.

Oftentimes, the Lord doesn’t reveal His will simply because we really don’t want to know it. We just want Him to comply with our will. Sorry, God doesn’t work that way!

Therefore, reaffirm your desire to truly know His will and that you trust Him to answer. Commit to obey in advance—no matter what He shows you to do. (At the same time, plead for the ability to carry out that commitment!)

The more you are open and yielded to God, the easier it’ll be to know His leading. But remember, it may still take a lot of time and effort to discern God’s will regardless of your level of intimacy and submissiveness.

2. Think things through carefully

Examine the situation from all angles. Do you have all the information necessary to make an intelligent decision? If not, do what you can to get them. Wait until you have the facts before you move.

3. Ask questions

For example:

  • If I had my way, what would I like to do? Would that violate God’s Word in any way?
  • What action lines up best with my God-given calling?
  • What would bring God the most glory?
  • Is my motivation selfish?
  • Is what I am sensing from God? Or is it from me, the world, or my conniving enemy?

4. Use pen and paper

Write down the pros and cons, your feelings, what you believe God wants, and any other insights. This is a very effective and much under-utilized tool.

5. Put in the effort

Seeking the Lord’s will should never be a half-hearted pursuit (See Pr 2:1-13, Mat 7:8). You may even want to fast if:

  • the decision is critical.
  • you are still unclear after a diligent search.
  • the deadline is fast approaching.

So until next time my friends when I will cover the rest, begin to use these first 5 steps in determining God’s will. This process has worked for me.

Not because I’m so good at it, but because God’s Word is true!

If we apply God’s principles and do life God’s way He will come through because He is faithful!

For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does (Ps 33:4)*

To the faithful you show yourself faithful…. (Ps 18:25)

Then I will praise you with music on the harp, because you are faithful to your promises, O my God…. (Ps 71:22)

Previous blogs in this series:

How to KNOW God’s Will: Part 1

6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will

 

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

* THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will

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“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.  (Jer 33:3)

Figuring out what God wants us to do can be difficult at times. However, since the Lord want us to know His will, we can learn how to know God’s will with guidance and practice. We can learn to recognize His leading. Often we just wish God would put a letter in the mail so we could know! But God doesn’t work that way. I think God doesn’t always answer our prayers right away primarily because He wants us to come to Him—to see our need of Him, to worship Him, and to promote intimacy with Him.

But suppose you have sought His will and you still don’t know? Here are… 

6 Hindrances to Knowing God’s Will

1. Sin

Unconfessed sin blocks communication with God (Ps 66:18). Sometimes though, we’re unaware that we are displeasing God in an area. He often uses our time of seeking direction to reveal these areas so we can address them.

2. Lack of Submission

Do we really want to know God’s will, or are we just trying to get Him to approve of our will? Ouch! 

Often, we don’t even realize that’s what we’re doing. Strong feelings interfere with clear thinking. I’m an emotional yoyo—I know how underlying fears prevent us from recognizing God’s leading.

Thoughts like: “That’s too hard!” “I’m not qualified!” Or simply “I don’t want to!” permeate our hearts.

Since I am highly emotional, I literally have to beg God to help me lay my feelings and desires on the altar, but the results are worth it.

3. Fear of Wrongly Discerning God’s Will

This one used to plague me. Gratefully, God showed me that if I do my best in sincerely seeking His will and obey what He does show me (=submission)—I need not fear.

Even if we make a mistake He will forgive and even use them in the big scheme of things. Besides, just because we encounter obstacles or something doesn’t turn out the way we thought, doesn’t necessarily mean we have made a mistake! (Read this blog to see an example.)

4. Not Applying What God has Revealed

If you’re not acting on what God has already shown you, don’t expect any more direction. That’s disobedience=sin. (Sorry, I have to call it what it is.)

Also, at least for me, we often want to know everything—all the steps, results, and method before we move. However, God is not obligated to show us all that—only the next step. It’s just our fear of the unknown hindering action. Ask God to help you put that on the altar too.

5. Expecting an Immediate Answer

We need to give God time to show us His will. We hate to wait, but in due time (His perfect time), He will answer.

6. Going at It Alone

We don’t always have to ask others for their prayers and counsel. However, there are many times when it would behoove us to do so.

 

Until next time, my friends, don’t let sin, pride, fear, or impatience get in your way of hearing from God! Let Him search your heart so you can know His will.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24)

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

How to KNOW God’s Will: Part 1

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You need to make a decision. What job to take, which ministry to serve in, what’s the best schooling for your kids? And countless others. We are frequently faced with making spiritual and “non-spiritual” decisions. Many of us are totally befuddled when it comes to determining God’s will in any given situation—assuming that you even want to know.

So how do you know God’s will in every decision you have to make?

Well, let me tell you a story first.

When I was a relatively young Christian I went on a quest to find the answer to this very question. I had been growing in my love for Jesus and wanted to obey Him. He showed me two life-changing truths which I have used ever since in figuring out God’s best.

First, God wants you and me to know His will. Think about it. If God wants us to obey (and He does), then He has to tell us what He wants. That’s His responsibility. If you, as a parent, expect your teenager to be home at a certain time, then you must tell him what that time is. Otherwise, that’s just plain meanness.

Secondly, God told me to just stay close to Him and I would know His will. Such peace flooded my heart at that moment! You and I need not remain anxious when we don’t know what to do. (see Phil 4:6-7). This is way more than knowing about God’s rules—it’s about knowing His heart, about relating to our loving heavenly Father.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. So here are a few more keys to help you to know God’s will in any given situation:

Know What God Says

Often we don’t know God’s will simply because we aren’t familiar enough with His Word and God’s ways. The principles of how to live godly lives are described in Scripture even when they are not explicitly stated. Since God’s direction will always be in line with His Word, it makes sense to know it.

Know God’s Overall Purpose for You

God has great plans for you, but first and foremost He created you for a loving relationship with Him. That means we need to be more like His holy Son.

It is God’s will that you should be sanctified. (1 Thess 4:3, see also 1 Pet 1:16, Rom 8:29)*

Secondly, it means knowing your God-given mission. Discerning God’s will always falls under these 2 overarching purposes—godliness and your specific life’s purpose.

Ask

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5)**

Just be sure to ask in a humble, undemanding way with pure (unselfish) motives (James 4:2-3).

For additional help in praying, go to the website page on How to Go Deeper with God in Prayer.

Trust that God Will Answer You

If you cry out to know right from wrong, and lift your voice for understanding…Then you will understand what is right and good, and right from wrong, and you will know what you should do. (Pr 2:3,9)***

If you come to God His way—He will answer! Believe Him ( See Pr 2:1-13,  Mat 7:8, James 1:6-8). 

God has never failed to show me His will when I approach Him in the correct reverent way. Granted,  I may have to wait much longer than I desire, but He always comes through!

God is capable of clearly communicating to you. You simply have to be open and listening. You don’t have to be a theologian or even mature in the faith (though that helps!). God knows how to get through our thick skulls! He Himself will teach you how to recognize His leading.

…We have received God’s Spirit…so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. (1 Cor 2:12)**

And that includes wisdom for any given situation!

There’s way more to come. I hope you will stay with me in this 5 part series. Meanwhile, my friends, keep seeking.

For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. (Mat 7:8)**

 

* THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

**New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

***THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Determining God’s Will Part 2: When You Can’t Seem to Hear

Free Download

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know”  (Jer 33:3)

Figuring out what God wants us to do can be difficult at times. However, since the Lord does want us to know His will [see last blog], we can discern what it is. Often we wish God would just put a letter in the mail so we could know! But God doesn’t work that way. I think God doesn’t always answer our prayers right away primarily because He wants us to come to Him—to see our need of Him, to worship Him, and to promote intimacy with Him.

But suppose you have sought His will and you still don’t know? Here are… 

6 Hindrances in Discerning God’s Will

1. Sin

Unconfessed sin blocks communication with God (Ps 66:18). Sometimes though, we’re unaware that we are displeasing God in an area. He often uses our time of seeking direction to reveal these areas so we can address them.

2. Lack of Submission

Do we really want to know God’s will, or are we just trying to get Him to approve of our will? Ouch! 

Often, we don’t even realize that’s what we’re doing. Strong feelings interfere with clear thinking. I’m an emotional yoyo—I know how underlying fears prevent us from recognizing God’s leading.

Thoughts like: “That’s too hard!” “I’m not qualified!” Or simply “I don’t want to!” permeate our hearts.

Since I am highly emotional, I literally have to beg God to help me lay my feelings and desires on the altar, but the results are worth it.

3. Fear of Wrongly Discerning God’s Will

This one used to plague me. Gratefully, God showed me that if I do my best in sincerely seeking His will and obey what He does show me (=submission)—I need not fear.

Even if we make a mistake He will forgive and even use them in the big scheme of things. Besides, just because we encounter obstacles or something doesn’t turn out the way we thought, doesn’t necessarily mean we made a mistake!

4. Not Applying What God has Revealed

If you’re not acting on what God has already shown you, don’t expect any more direction. That’s disobedience=sin. (Sorry, I have to call it what it is.)

Also, at least for me, we often want to know everything—all the steps, results, and method before we move. However, God is not obligated to show us all that—only the next step. It’s just our fear of the unknown hindering action. Ask God to help you put that on the altar too.

5. Expecting an Immediate Answer

We need to give God time to show us His will. We hate to wait, but in due time (His perfect time), He will answer.

6. Going at it Alone

We don’t always have to ask others for their prayers and counsel. However, there are many times when it would behoove us to do so.

 

Until next time, my friends, don’t let sin, pride, fear, or impatience get in your way of hearing from God! Let Him search your heart so you can know His will.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps 139:23-24)

 

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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