I am convinced Jesus never intended the Christian life to be difficult to understand. Jesus chose shepherds, a carpenter, fisherman, and children. ”Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential.” 1 Cor 1:26
I believe the Christian life is to be lived, not just thought about. Through the teachings of Scripture, our God given brains, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the benefit of wise counsel, we can know what God desires us to be, to do. At DL we sing “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God’ (Matthew 6:33) Many of us know Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” God desires that we know His will for our lives – when it is important to know His will.
Here is our challenge: “If you love me, you will obey what I command… “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. John 14:15, 23 And the summary of the general challenge: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27
It is my experience that God guides me to the extent I have obeyed His previous guidance, and desire to continue to be obedient to Him. He is God, and He knows what is best – God alone can see the total picture. Is God patient with us? Of course. And He fully forgives. We judge a person’s character. God, who knows the hearts of men, judges our character perfectly! He knows the desires of our hearts. I am glad God knows the desires of my heart, for then when I do disobey, actively or passively, God will seek to bring me back to right thinking. My choice? Continual choice.
During the course of an average day I find myself talking to God. I praise God when I see something beautiful. Often I feel the need for wisdom…and I ask for what I need. Yes, God knows what I am thinking, what I am in need of. My praying to Him causes me to recognize my need, often a need only God can fill.
As I seek to live out what I already know He desires of me, I must keep an open mind to the nudge of the Holy Spirit. By nudge I am referring to an internal feeling of what I should do. Soon after Sally Jo came home from the hospital I had an evening when I was very tired and about to get into bed when I thought I should select some verses and a few pages from a familiar book that I could read to Sally Jo in the morning. I finished my “home work” and crawled into bed. A couple hours later Sally Jo woke up…and could not go back to sleep. No fun! Fortunately I had responded to the internal nudge of the Holy Spirit and was prepared to encourage her through verses and the selected pages.
Here are a few examples from the DL context.
- During my first candle light service I suddenly thought I should say: “Be strong and of a good courage…”
- One summer we had a real discipline problem with an Indian one summer. As the Indians went into the dining hall for breakfast, I “pulled” the tall young man out of line and we went for a walk. I simply asked what was troubling him. He was quiet for a long time and then started to cry… His mom and dad had just gotten a divorce and… This type of thing happened to me many times each summer.
- I had a former Deerfooter apply to be a counselor. When he applied he told me the sin which he had committed during the fall of the school year. He came totally clean with me. I had a choice of excellent people to hire. I “felt” I should go with the person who choose to be candid with me. He continued on several summers in key positions.
- In May, 1987 I went alone to a place where I could fast and pray as I wrote my 44 After Breakfast Bible Study Outlines. On the night of May 11, I woke up with a dream clearly remaining in my mind. I wrote down the dream. In summary “You know how to run a camp, now teach others how to run a camp.” Today former Deerfooters direct camps in NY, ME, PA, TX, CA – together they were at DL well over 50 summers. And there are others in key positions in NY, MN, and MT. I worked at God’s directive….He blessed the work He had directed me to do.
There will continue to be times when I feel as if God has gone on vacation…without me! My challenge at such times is to obey God’s directives and to wait patiently for Him. As I seek to live In Partnership With God, my communication with God will be solid – this is essential to our partnership.