How to Know the Will of God

Do the will of God, and you will know God, and he will open your eyes to look into the very heart of knowledge. But if you go your own way, you may gain knowledge, but miss the truth.

How kind God is to offer healing to men who are sick. The disease is called sin. This is not a metaphor but a very real condition.

It is like you go to the doctor for a routine physical and hear him say, “There is a problem.”

“But  doctor, I have no symptoms.” 

“It may seem so, but have you experienced this or that?”

“Yes, but I was told everybody has experiences like that. It means nothing.”

“Not so,” he says, “It means this. We must address it and make you healthy or it will hurt you as time goes on.”

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Yes, there are symptoms. They are all around us. We can call it normal life, but God says it is not what he intended for people. What we think is normal human experience is far from the possibilities God has for us.

He offers us the cure. But we must do two things. Acknowledge the condition and accept his cure.

That cure is simply this: do the will of God. Do what God says. This is how we humans went wrong a long time ago. We said to God, “Thanks for creating us but we can take it from here.”

We thought we would be fine but trouble soon came causing pain and suffering. Not just physical but deep emotional pain caused by loss and futility. Futility, in that we had no answer to the problems. Finally, we reach despair because we have no answers in ourselves.

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This is the condition of people: there is something wrong with us and we don’t know what it is. And we have no way to fix it. Not in society and not in ourselves.

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Try and be good. I am serious. See if you can become really good. Don’t accept any compromise with evil. Become that best person.

Don’t accept something like a dog as a cure for blindness. The dog is highly trained and will keep you safe as you walk around in your blind condition. No. Only accept sight as your cure. Don’t accept advice to help you get along. Don’t accept anything but real goodness in you that flows out naturally. Don’t calculate your behavior. Don’t seem to be good. Become that good person in reality.

If you can do it, you will become the answer for everyone else. You will become the first person in the world to have become good on your own with no help from God whatsoever.

Of course  you must maintain your goodness in all situations. Like when people don’t understand you or even resist your efforts. That’s the real test. You are good and they are ungrateful as you are doing good towards them. Patiently continue no matter what. 

Or you can turn to God for his help. It is up to you. Yes, use your own wisdom and power or find the cure offered by the one who made humans. He has revealed it through Jesus.

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What About Sin?

No one wants to talk about sin these days. I don’t want talk about sin, either. Okay, what is sin? Not sins, but sin. Sin is a state of wrongness. It is the opposite of rightness, or the old word, righteousness. There is a strange line in the ancient book of Daniel. It say that the coming one, the Messiah, will deal with sin in a final way. Daniel also prophesied when this Messiah would come. And it was about the time Jesus showed up. So according to Daniel or rather his prophesy, Jesus would deal with sin in a dramatic and final way, he would atone for iniquity, and bring in everlasting righteousness. It also says he will be cut off and have nothing. John the Baptist says that Jesus is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So, how did Jesus do all this? How was he the lamb of God?

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We know what happened. Jesus told his disciples that sinful men would take him and kill him. He also gave other predictions of what this would mean. We grab on to the part about forgiveness. But there is more. More? God can forgive sins. But look at what happened. Jesus, who no one could say was bad. Not Pilate, nor any fair-minded people in Israel. Who could say that he did anything bad? The final accusation was that he claimed to be the Messiah.

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Jesus, the Messiah, did not resist them. He let them do their worst to him. Crucifixion was a dreadful punishment and it was only for the enemies of the Roman Empire. It had been designed to bring fear into any heart. If someone had gone against Rome, they could be executed in this terrible way. But Pilate said Jesus was not an enemy of Rome. He asked Jesus what they had against him. They wanted him crucified. And Pilate agreed to allow it. They threated a riot if he didn’t. He had several recent uprisings in Israel and he didn’t need another one.

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They leaders hated Jesus so bad that when Pilate asked them to say that Caesar was their one and only leader, they did. Well, Pilate says, I don’t condemn this man but you can have him killed in this way. They agreed it was their responsibility.

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Once a man was given to the Romans in charge of this gruesome punishment, it was all over. He was on his way to a slow and humiliating death.

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The men who did this were heartless. They did their job without mercy. They took a man and destroyed his body in the most horrible way.

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But let us step back and think about it in a different way. How could men do this? They had to get rid of all kindness and goodness from their hearts. They had to regard another human as completely worthless. They behaved like fiends in hell as the went about their work. Not only was this man being removed from human society but he was made an example that made ordinary people shudder as they went past.

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How can a person do this? Again, they had to regard a fellow human as completely worthless. They have to become evil and then more evil. And they got paid to do it. And the men who got Pilate to do this came to taunt him. Now that he was powerless, as they thought, they could heap scorn on him. They came to mock him. The scene is too gross to imagine. An innocent man being treated this way. This was what sin had done to these men. It had made them without human feeling. It had brought Jew and Roman together to do a terrible thing: to give a man the worst punishment they could conceive of and watch him die slowly as a spectacle. The man suffered as you watched. Who would deserve such treatment? Who could be any part of this?

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But this is sin in action. Sin can bring a person to a point where they don’t care about a fellow human being. This was not done in rage but was calculated. We can go back to Cain and what he had to become to kill his brother. He stopped caring about his brother. He didn’t care what it would do to their parents. And the men who got Jesus killed and actually killed him were in the same state. This was humans acting worse than devils.

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Now, do you want to come to this state? Do you want to become without human feeling? This is what sin does to a person. They become capable of the most horrifying acts against a helpless human being. This is what Jesus showed us by giving himself over to sinful men. He showed us what sin was really like in action. This was a terrible punishment to a evil man but to this good man? It is almost too much to take in.

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What can we do? We can move to other side. We can join God and want to be those people who are kind and good. And we need God to change us for this. We can’t become these truly good people by ourselves. Jesus said that no one was good but God. He said, “I always do the will of the Father.” God is the only truly good being. We can be changed into good people by him. But we must then love what he loves. And want what he wants. We must become like him.

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Impossible, huh? Can’t be done, you say. I would agree except for one thing. This is the very plan of God: to bring people to his side, to bring them into his family, to impress upon us the family likeness of goodness. Yes, to make us good people. This was his idea from the start: to make human beings that are truly good from the inside out. We got off to a bad start a long time ago. But we can return to God, one at a time. Each one of us can be transformed into good people.

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How can it be done? The method is love. God is moved by love toward us to rescue us from the damage sin causes in us. We don’t even know how bad it is. It’s like you go to a doctor for a check up and they run some tests and tell you that you are going to die from a disease. It doesn’t seem possible.

Really, Doc? Is there a cure?”

“Yes,” he says, “but you have to go to this specialist and do exactly as he says.”

Who is it? God. Only God can change us inside.

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And the way we begin to be cured of sin is by loving God. He doesn’t charge us for this treatment. Jesus says, I am the cure. Be like me. Love God and do his will all the time.

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How can I? Well, you ask God for his help. He will give you his cure for sin. It is an inward change that is energized by his Spirit. You become different. You can’t do it by yourself and need God’s help for all of it except one part. You have to ask. He will not force anything on you. You are free. You can choose him or not.

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And he does not take over. No, not a bit. You must keep choosing him every day. Your will must choose his will.

“How do I know what that is?”

You know some of it. Be kind to people. Show mercy. Forgive them. Don’t judge others.

But, hey, anyone can give you good advice. God is the only one that can empower you to do good.

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Ask him for his help. He will treat you like his own child that he loves. He will do all he can to enable you to become a wonderful person. Anything you feel you don’t have, he will give it to you.

The attributes of God are summed up as love. But each situation you are in can be changed because you are being changed in the process. Jesus was full of the Spirit. We can be too. This is the great gift of God. The power to be like him in character. To become good people who never take credit for their goodness because they know all goodness is a gift from God.

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From the Beginning

When Jesus was speaking once, someone pointed out that Moses had given them some rules about divorce. They implied that divorce was approved by God since Moses talked about it. Jesus said that it was not that way from the beginning.

How was it in the beginning? In the beginning there was a man. There were animals. There was not a woman. The man was all of humanity. One guy. There was God and the one man. God wanted the man to have a relationship with him. But God said, “It is not good that man should be alone. I will make one along side to help, one comparable to him.”

Why does God do this? If he wants the man to be his friend, why add another person? God gives him a choice. Does he do his best work when forming the woman? I think he did.

God is a completely unselfish being. That’s hard to believe, isn’t it? We have never met someone like that. He insists that each person be free to choose. If you don’t choose him, that is your choice. But he does want you to change your mind about him. He knows you have him all wrong.

That’s why he sent Jesus. Jesus is God but in our context. Some people thought he was doing bad. How could they see this good person as bad? It tells us two things about him: He could be mistaken for an ordinary guy. And that they saw him as someone who wanted to take their job. They liked being in charge of telling people how to behave. They even thought God would back them up. Jesus came as one here to explain how God really was.

Near the end of his life, someone close to Jesus asked him to show them God. Jesus referred to The Father. This guy, Thomas, said to Jesus, “Show us the Father.” You might think Jesus would say, “You ask too much, Thomas.” Or, “He is invisible, I can’t.” But he looks at Thomas and says, “That is exactly what I have been doing. I have been showing you what the Father is like in reality. I have been behaving in just the way he wanted me to as a human like yourself.

Later, Thomas and others who had been close to Jesus for maybe three years or so, went around talking about Jesus to people. They became examples of guys who were with God and knew what he was really like.

Back to Jesus saying, “It was not like this at the beginning.” He knew how things were supposed to be. He knew the intentions of God for human life on earth. He also knew that our reality was nothing like the original plan. But he went about explaining how it was supposed to be. Not only that, he offered a way to reconnect with God in a real way. He said, “I’m leaving. You won’t see me anymore. But there is even more to God than you realize. There is another who operates in a different way. He will be with you at all times. It will be as though I am with each of you wherever you are.”

That someone is the Holy Spirit. He is with those who choose God to be in their lives. He helps people be like God in their character. Because they know how God really is (although they are continually learning more about him), they want to co-operate with him. And he helps them in a very real way.

God wants each of us to change our opinion of him. He wants us to believe what is true. He wants to make each of us into the best person we can be. The part that is ours is this: change your mind about God because he is not like you and I thought. And we are not what we should be. Something is wrong. And we can’t fix it. Even if we knew exactly what we want to be and tried our hardest to be that good person, you would fail. But with God’s help, we can begin to change into a different person. That new person is the real you. Hard to believe?

But it is up to you. God will not force you to do anything. You can ignore him. He can say he doesn’t exist.

But he has a door that is open to you. I would advise you to be good. Try and be a really good person. Don’t be satisfied with anything less than you being a wonderful, loving person. If you can do it without God’s help, then great. You don’t need him.

I mean, love others. Don’t be selfish. Don’t judge people. Treat them with respect. Don’t do things that are good for you but bad for them like steal their spouse. Or steal their stuff. Or lie about them and misrepresent yourself as better than you act.

You can check yourself from time to time and see if you live up to your own standards.

Unfortunately, if you do anything wrong, you will just have to forgive yourself since we are leaving God out of it. And if you are misunderstood or rejected, you will have to take a deep breath and go on being good.

Basically, you will become a great example to others. If they ask you how you do it, you can say, “Just try your best. Don’t give up. Find your strength within yourself.” Or something like that.

See how it goes. Don’t get discouraged. Believe in yourself. You are your own god.

Don’t cheat and ask God for help. The fact that he made you should not influence you. You know you are just an accident of nature. Don’t even ask yourself how you know good from bad. Also, do not spend time thinking about how complicated your body is. It just is. Don’t think about it.

Another thing, if you see something beautiful, don’t ask why it is beautiful or why you enjoy it. It just happened, okay. And you just happen to like beautiful things.

One last thing, do not think about how you can evaluate your own behavior. I mean, if you think, I could have done better in that situation, do not even consider how you would know that.

So, forget about the fact that you are conscious of being yourself. Forget that you somehow know right and wrong. Forget than you have this idea of a perfect person somewhere in you. And disregard your sense of beauty. Some things look good. You like the way they look. So, what? Doesn’t mean a thing. All accidental. Now go be that good person.

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Just Ask

“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; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”   Matthew 7:7‭-‬8 NIV

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Who said this?  Jesus Christ. The person God sent to give us the best way of knowing God. And the simplicity of these statements and their balance tell us something about him. There is nothing hidden here. There is no need to look beneath the surface. There is no reason to misunderstand. The speech is straightforward and clear.

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And the words are repeated in a different way to assure us that we heard it right. So, we can accept them without any doubt.

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Ask and it will be given to you. There is only to admit need. He says ‘ask’, not beg, not petition, nothing but a simple request is required. 

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What else is required? Only what is always required, believe in the power and goodness of God. Believe that God can and will give the good that you ask for. Jesus wants to fill us with confidence when we ask. He does not say “may be given” or “might be given”  but says, “will be given”.

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And the words “to you” have intimacy in them. You ask God and he gives to you. It is between you and God. Your asking is heard by him and he responds to you directly. No one stands between you. There is no go-between in this relation of you and God. No one carries your message to God. He hears you.

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Now what you ask for is not qualified. But we ask God. Let our asking be worthy of him. Let us not ask small. And let our asking be worthy of us as well. Let us ask our benefactor who has given us so much already, for something that is good, not something that will diminish us.

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God can only give good and perfect gifts that are without repentance. Consider who we ask. Is it something another could give you? Is it a test request? If he gives me this, then I will ask my real request. No, ask with abandon. Ask with confidence. Did we not hear him? Ask wholeheartedly. Ask from your heart to God’s heart.

Listen to him repeat: Everyone who asks, receives. Do not doubt his goodness. To doubt his goodness is to doubt his Godness. And don’t qualify your request. Don’t include how or where or under what circumstances. Ask freely and trust him to answer you as he will.

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But what if you want something that is not so easy to simply request? What if it is deeper? What if it will take something more from you? Seek. Yes, seek. Take on your quest. Begin with confidence. Seek and you will find. Be patient and don’t give up. Be cheerful and confident as you seek.

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But what if there is an obstacle? What if the way is blocked? What if the door is closed? Don’t walk away. Knock. Is the door heavy? Does it seem very solid? Does it seem impossible to open? Knock and it will be opened. Be patient and expectant like God was while waiting for you to open your heart to him.

A closed door is forbidding. It may look like it will never open. But is there something good beyond this door? Then it will be opened. He did not say open the door yourself.  He said the door will be opened. The opening will be done by one able to open it. It will not be broken down but opened.

Every good gift comes from God. Your answer will be good. Your seeking will result in finding good. And when the door opens, you will not be disappointed. God cannot give bad gifts.

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Look at what he has given. After thousands of years, his gifts continue to do good. An apple tree gives apples. Water quenches thirst.  He is thoughtful and wise. He wants to be asked by you. He wants you to have good. He wants to give you all good things.

Why don’t some have? Because they ask not. Or they ask small. They ask for so little from God. They don’t see his great heart. They ask like the prodigal. What the prodigal asked from his father was unworthy of him and his father. He asked too little. He asked too small. Let us ask large of our Father. Let us ask him for something great that continues, and not like the prodigal for something limited as if we wrested it from a reluctant giver. 

Ask like a son from a great Father. You will receive good from him.

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