Decisions to make?

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​“The mere reading of the Word of God has power to communicate the life of God to us mentally, morally, and spiritually.”

– Oswald Chambers

Living in this part of the world, you often hear people say ‘Insha’allah’, or, ‘God willing’. If you’ve lived here long enough you’ll know that this can actually mean a whole manner of things…

But, the notion of ‘If the Lord wills it’ is actually very Biblical (have a look at James 4.13-15 for example).

People then ask, ‘How can I know God’s will for my life?’, and that is a great question.

God (most usually) speaks to us in four ways…

Through prayer, through His Word, through circumstance, and through other believers.

So, if you’ve prayed about a big decision and nothing is happening, if other believers are unsure about the road you’re heading down, if everything about the circumstances points to a bad choice, and if you’re doing something that goes against how the Bible says we ought to live, its hard to say that God is in it. 

But, if you’ve spoken to other believers and they are positive, if all the circumstances align in a way you could never have engineered or even imagined, if you’re living in the light of His Word, and if you’re prayed up and God is opening doors, then what are you waiting for? 

He is speaking to you, He is opening a door for you, He is directing your steps. 

If we wait for the audible voice of God – Jesus’ baptism-style – we may be waiting a long time. 

Pray, read His Word, look around at how He is already working in your life, and talk to other believers…then go for it!

1 Timothy 2.8-10 – Hands and Hair

It stands as truth that men and women are different. Different appearance, generally different interests, different strengths, different weaknesses. Different, yet complementary. Different, yet equally loved. So, when we come to passages like this in the Bible where either gender are exhorted and instructed we must not think that this communicates value or worth, simply instructions that are right for the different people.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarrelling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, 10 but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.

Today we see something for both men and women to do in the assembled church (the context of the letter, remember?).

Men are to lead the church in prayer. Men are not the only people in church that should pray, or pray publicly, but the men should lead the church in prayer. The fact that this should be done without quarrelling carries the meaning of praying without doubt, so, the men should steadfastly lead the church in prayer without doubting. Guys, do you do that in your church? Do you lead in prayer? Praying for the church would be a great start.

Ladies, as the men are covering themselves and the church in prayer, you should also pray, for sure. In addition to this covering, Paul writes that ladies should be adorned in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness – with good works. Quite a lot for the ladies there, isn’t there. 

Essentially it comes down to this – dress modestly for the location you are in. You wouldn’t go to church in a Muslim majority country wearing your yoga pants and a vest, that would be inappropriate. You wouldn’t wear your most formal of dresses and hats to a church service on the beach. Simply, dress modestly and appropriately for the location you are in. 

Men are called here to lead the church in prayer, to cover themselves and the church in prayer.

Ladies here are called to cover themselves appropriately.

Different, but of equal value in the eyes of our Lord.

Above all these things, as an assembled and gathered church we are to put on love (Colossians 3.14), and we are to cover ourselves in Christ (Galatians 3.26-27).

His righteousness covers us, His blood covers us, and His love covers us.

1 Timothy 2.5-7 – Sincere

Sincere (adjective)

(of a person) saying what they genuinely feel or believe


Last time Paul urged Timothy to make sure that in the assembled church of believers prayers be made for all people. Today, a reason why.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.

Perhaps some may feel that they don’t need a mediator between God and themselves.

Perhaps some feel that they are good enough without God in their lives.

Perhaps some think there are many ways to get to God and that Christianity is just one possible path to take.

There is a commonly held belief that ‘All roads lead to God‘, and people say things like ‘If you are sincere, you will get to heaven‘. Scripture disagrees with this (Luke 18.9-14, 18-23, Leviticus 10.1-3, Proverbs 14.12). 

God has sovereignly declared that there is one way to be in right relationship with Him, through faith in Jesus (John 14.6). Paul echoes this here when he writes that there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

Nowadays people seem to think that if you are sincere in what you are doing, you will get what you want, but it is possible to be sincerely wrong, isn’t it. As sincere as you may be, trying to fit a square peg into a round hole just won’t work.

This is why Paul says we are to pray for everyone, because God desires that all may be saved, and He has sovereignly declared that there is One way to do this, through the man Christ Jesus

As sincere as we may be, as sincere as anyone may be, there is one God, and one way to bridge our humanity and His Deity, the man Christ Jesus.

Paul has already said that all need prayer, and today we see that all need Jesus. Come to Him today.

1 Timothy 2.1-4 – Who Are You Praying For?

After introducing his letter with a charge to Timothy to make sure what is being accepted as right and true is, in fact, right and true, today Paul gets a little more specific as to how this new Christian community should conduct itself.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Paul starts with first of all, and this is first in importance, not in chronology. This means that, first and foremost, a Christian community gathering as a church needs to be a place where prayer is made for all people. Prayer to the believer is communication with God, and here Paul lists a few categories of communication that the believer can use; supplications, prayers, intercession, and thanksgivings

The culture at the time would have had people praying to various perceived deities and authority figures, but we are told very clearly that prayer is to be made for all people, not to them. The specific example is given of kings and all who are in high positions, with the reason that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way

The leaders in our lives, be that at church, at work, at home, or at national level all need Jesus, no matter who they are or the high position they may hold. It’s often thought that those in such leadership positions have got it all together, know who they are and what they are doing, and generally don’t need as much help as your average person on the street. However, this isn’t the case, everyone needs to be in right relationship with God through faith in Jesus, everyone needs a Saviour, and God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, regardless of how they are occupying themselves during the day. 

So, today, pray for the leaders in your life. If you hold a position of leadership somewhere, still pray for the leaders in your life. We are all called to lead, and we are all called to serve in different circles, and we all need the Lord to help us do so. 

Amos 7.1-6 – Perspective

Recently I saw a really interesting video somewhere on the internet, and in it were sculptures that looked like one thing from one angle, but another from a different angle, like this; giraffes, or elephants?

Anyway, perspective is so important, isn’t it. When we have big decisions to make regarding our future, maybe you’re thinking of your next career move, or maybe you’ve been presented with two options at the job you’re at now, should we add more children/dogs/cats/horses/giraffes to our family (or whatever you like to fill your house with!)…whenever we have decisions to make, we should consider another perspective than ours.

We should consider God’s perspective.

Outside of time as we know and experience it, eternal, knowing all there is to know, God’s perspective is infinitely different and greater than ours.

Does He understand ours? Of course.

Do we understand God’s perspective? No!

Think of it like this; do you understand why your children shout/cry/meltdown? Of course.

Do they understand why that is the most frustrating thing in the world for you? No!

Our perspective, in that instance, is far greater than theirs. Multiply that by the biggest number you can think of and we still don’t come close to the difference between how we see things and how God sees things.

This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings. When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,

“O Lord God, please forgive!
    How can Jacob stand?
    He is so small!”
The Lord relented concerning this:
    “It shall not be,” said the Lord.

This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land.Then I said,

“O Lord God, please cease!
    How can Jacob stand?
    He is so small!”
The Lord relented concerning this:
    “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.

Here in Amos we see the different perspectives at play. Amos receives a vision (v.1) of locusts eating the grass of the land after the King had taken his royal tax, meaning Israel were left with nothing. His second vision was of judgement by fire (v.4). In both circumstances, Amos prayed fervently for the people of God (v.2, 5), and in both circumstances it seems as if God changes His mind (v.3, v.6).

So, does God change His mind?

The Word of God speaks to us about this in Malachi 3.6, James 1.17, and Numbers 23.19, and, simply, no, God does not change His mind. So what is happening here in Amos? “The Lord relented…”, Amos saw a vision, prayed, and then God relented…did He change His mind?

Again, no, this is an example of an anthropopathism, where in “…the feelings or thought processes of finite humanity are ascribed to the infinite God.”

So it appears to us, from our perspective, that God changed His mind, so that must be the case…it looks to us as if God changed His mind from our perspective.

From His?


I would offer that God was teaching Amos, Israel, and us by extension the power and importance of prayer.


In both instances, Amos sees the coming judgement, prays fervently, and then the Lord ‘relents’. What a boost to the prayer life of Amos, and what a testimony to share with people! Rather than get lost in endless debates about whether this was eternally predestined to actually happen or not, let us appreciate the key things here; prayer is powerful, prayer works, prayer is effective, and although it may seem like one thing from our perspective, remember, God’s perspective is far greater than ours, in the same way His ways are not our ways.

Point to ponder today – What in my life do I need to see from God’s perspective?

Finding God’s Will; 3. Prayer

First, let’s share some big truths about prayer. It works. It is a relationship, not some stuffy religious activity that we have to do. It is something we get to to, not something we are forced to do. But, we are not talking about prayer, per se, we are talking about finding God’s will in prayer…fine difference, but important difference. So, rather than define what prayer is in any more detail than we just did, let’s talk about finding God’s will for your life through prayer.

A few months ago for Robyn’s birthday, we went to the BSPCA to adopt a cat. We prayed before going that God would show us clearly and obviously which cat is right for us. We saw around 20, but only 1 wanted to sit with the boys and that was our cat! This may be trivial in nature, but it’s really a simple example of one way to find God’s will; simply ask Him to show you clearly and obviously should we do A/B/C, make it obvious to us, Sovereign and Almighty God, show us with our limited human understanding something so simple we cannot miss it. That’s one way. But what about if what you what to discover is more than which cat you take home?

God has amazing things lined up for each and every one of our lives. He doesn’t need us to pray to Him, He does not live based on our praying to Him, but He wants us to pray to Him.

The Holy Spirit is the present and active member of the Trinity in the world today, and He is part of your prayer time. As He also illuminates the same Scriptures He inspired all those years ago, so He will guide your prayer time, too.

When we come to God in prayer to seek His will, this happens;

  1. The Spirit reveals God’s will to us through Scripture, through the still small voice, through circumstances, or through other believers.
  2. We then begin to pray in agreement with this.
  3. We adjust our attitudes, actions, and approaches based on what we perceive to be the will of God.
  4. We look for confirmation again through more prayer, more Scripture (properly read, in context, not single sentence stuff), more circumstances, and more input from those we trust.
  5. We begin to obey.
  6. God continues to work in and through us.
  7. We experience living in God’s will, feel energised by doing so, and the cycle starts again.

Sometimes the will of God for our lives is not what we wanted at all…but it’s better.

Sometimes the will of God for our lives is not what we would have chosen…but it’s better.

Sometimes the will of God for our lives is big, hairy and scary…but it’s better than living out of His will.

Prayer is, essentially, us getting on God’s wavelength about things. It’s about aligning our will with His will, our plans with His, our hearts with His. He wants this to happen, He will not refuse you in prayer. Even radio silence from the other end can be an answer in itself when coupled with Scripture, circumstances, and others.

Through the work of Jesus on the cross, His death, and His resurrection, we are able to go confidently to God in prayer…we can talk to the maker of heaven and earth, and He hears us. The Holy Spirit is on mission to help you to pray, to guide your prayer, to speak into your life via Scripture, via prayer, via circumstances, and via others.

Spend some time today talking to your Father in heaven, ask Him if you are on the right track, what you should do about A/B/C, then be ready!

Revelation 9.13-21 – Be mindful of God

Yesterday we said that the fifth trumpet was blown to release tormenting demons onto the earth, the aim of which was to turn people’s hearts and minds to God. Sadly, this did not happen, and the judgement only gets stronger. Again, sadly, despite the situation getting so much worse, people will still not turn to God, even though they have seen possibly the worst conditions ever experienced on earth, possibly.

The passage yesterday finished, rather ominously, with ‘The first woe has passed; behold, two woes are still to come.’, and it does here.

13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, 14 saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”

15 So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of mankind.

16 The number of mounted troops was twice ten thousand times ten thousand; I heard their number. 17 And this is how I saw the horses in my vision and those who rode them: they wore breastplates the color of fire and of sapphire and of sulfur, and the heads of the horses were like lions’ heads, and fire and smoke and sulfur came out of their mouths.

18 By these three plagues a third of mankind was killed, by the fire and smoke and sulfur coming out of their mouths. 19 For the power of the horses is in their mouths and in their tails, for their tails are like serpents with heads, and by means of them they wound.

20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Yesterday torment, today death…on a huge scale. A third of mankind is upwards of two billion people, numbers we just can’t comprehend. The agents used in this are four angels who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year.

Are they good angels? Are they fallen angels? We don’t know because we aren’t told, but we can say that with such a big task comes a high rank. Whether they are good or bad, they are still serving God’s purpose, right? They had been prepared for this very task, this very year, month, day…this very hour. This is absolutely them doing God’s bidding, not rampant demons doing as they please. Whether they are good or bad, they are still serving God’s purpose, because He is sovereign, He is in control of His creation, all of it, every last being.

The saddest this is the last thing we read, the rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

The remaining two thirds of people on the earth at this time carry about their business as usual, they forget God’s lessons oh so quickly. There are period pauses of judgement throughout this book for people to stop, look, remember, repent, turn to the Lord, and sadly, they are not used! Some are saved during this time, to be sure (7.14), but sadly, many continue about their business and continue worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.


Application for us? Be mindful of what God is doing in your life.


If you are getting pushback on something, persistently and progressively, it might be time to stop.

If a door has opened up for you, an opportunity has presented itself, take it.

God disciplines His children because He loves us, there is never any punishment (Jesus took care of that) only purification.

If things are going from bad to worse, be mindful of the fact God may be preparing you for something new, bringing a chapter to a close before opening a new one.

If things are going from strength to strength, praise the Lord!, and be mindful of what God is doing in your life and partner with Him. What a privilege we have to work together with our Lord for the good of His Kingdom.

We should be mindful of what He is doing, take encouragement from the fact that He is there with us during the bad, and that He is equally as present in the good, making straight our paths.

Be mindful of what God is doing in your life, and look around too, what is God doing in the lives of others in our church family? Some are hurting, some are suffering, some are riding high, some quietly going about their God-ordained business.

Come alongside people, pray with them, partner with them, be mindful of them.