2017 was a wild and woolly year for us as far as the ministry. But interestingly enough as many challenges were thrown our way the Lord opened unique doors. One of the big questions on our mind's was, "What do we do now Lord?". This raises two issues discerning God's will and dealing with disappointment. Both of these issues have represented struggles for the follower of Messiah and led to the writing of many books. I thought I would weigh in with a basic model by which to examine the will of God in the basic decisions of daily life. Determining God's will in the details of life is a complicated process and probably best looked at as a grid as opposed to a simple question corresponding answer format. After doing this I like to apply this to some of what we have been through and hopefully it will edify you as you face issues pertaining to the will of God in 2018 for your life. I will probably end with a little shameless advertisement for what God does have us doing given the way he is leading .
"Being in the way he led me" is a phrase that occurs as Eliezer's being led by God to what is to be Isaac's wife and it represents a principle of the way God leads his people. It is found in Genesis 24:27. One of the principles of God's guidance is that he opens doors and creates opportunities in directions that he wants us to go. We need to be willing and ready to respond to these opportunities. In fact when the Lord sets up such opportunities they often are opportunities that we could not have imagined ourselves. One might call this the principle of providence in God's leading. For me he opened up doors into addressing apologetics issues, that meant a lot to me as a teacher and apologist to the Jewish people, in the area of apologetics to Muslims. As I began to follow through on these open doors the Lord demonstrated to me that some of the same objections Jewish people have to the gospel are found also among Muslims. In fact is I heard a polemicist for Islam argue against faith in Jesus borrowed arguments that I had heard when I was on the street in Brooklyn and inferred previously from Jewish people. God created new doors and new opportunities to develop wonderful apologetics material even introducing me to individuals who might never have been in my circle. However providence alone is not sufficient since it is often difficult to tell which things are directly divine providence.
So one question which must be asked.Is this biblical, does it correspond to the purposes that God has for his world and the development of Christ in you. It seems to be that our journeys with God are as much about the people we take along and what he makes us as they are about the individual tasks that we end up doing. Now before you think I have become somewhat brilliant this point is something that has began to really penetrate my heart as a complete. I am incredibly task oriented and rarely think about the importance of the process as it relates to my personal life. However, it seems that God is not simply interested in getting something done but actually creating something from the way he created us and even structured our lives.
So let us just take these together and summarize them if it is biblical and furthers the kingdom of God both in his world and in your life and God is providentially opening up doors in ways that you could not imagine your strong reason to consider the possibility of his leading. Is it possible to fool oneself, yes.
This brings me to another principles seek the counsel of those who have your best interest at heart. These are individuals that want to see you succeed regardless of their own personal or organizational success. These individuals are hard to find but when you find one or more these are the ones you should consult. To rule out individuals that might always as true friends you only need to ask yourself if you seen a consistent pattern of them acting on your behalf when he gained them nothing. Those who act on your behalf only to gain something they want are those with an agenda. Their advice may be useful in the secondary sense but they are not the ones to share your heart.
Does Providence seems to indicate that this is a good path to follow through unique open doors, this is biblical in terms of God's character and purposes, and you have the Council of true friends bearing witness than the third principle comes into play.
When you start moving in this direction does God seem to blessed. By that are other individuals being blessed and is God showing effective results from the enterprise. Beware the blessing may not always come in a tangible form for you but you will see it being effective in the lives of others in some way.
Well there you have some basic principles. And now it is time to see how they have applied in our crazy and woolly 2017. Now we do not know how everything's going to sugar off and are trusting God as we move forward in light of these principles. First, I was able to find the Council of true friends who encouraged me on the present path. I saw Scripture that indicated that the venture that we are on is in line with his word and workings in my life. And God has seemed to bless with effectiveness and opening unique doors the venture in which we are now involved.
No we do not have all the answers but at least we have some direction as the year moves forward. We have been able to broadcast to both radio and television and revamp the website. We have seen God open doors to be able to actually broadcast into the Mideast on radio and TV into the Mideast. I have had the opportunity to do conferences that I never thought I would be able to do. So we find ourselves walking along in this interesting yet frightening venture. May you find your own God sized adventures as you enter 2018