Pope Michael

Unity

Posted by on Dec 3, 2018 in Catholic Action, Pope Michael | 0 comments

Dear friends,

As We were completing a sermon on next Sunday’s Epistles (Romans 15:4-13), We read the following story about Saint John Vianney: “A Protestant once approached St. John Vianney saying, ‘though we are not together on earth, we shall be together in heaven’. The saint looked into the man’s eyes and said gently: “As the tree leans, so the tree falls. If we do not live together on earth, we shall not live together in heaven. Death makes no change in that”. The Protestant upon hearing these gentle words of the saint considered them, renounced his error, and became a Catholic.” We also should be together on earth, if we hope to be together in heaven. Let us go to the Epistle for a moment: Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind, one towards another, according to Jesus Christ: 6 That with one mind and with one mouth you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 15:4-5)

We should be of one mind. Saint Paul says: “But we have the mind of Christ.” (I Corinthians 2:16) Do we have the mind of Christ? Are we obedient to His will and follow His teachings?

The Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches us: “The Church has but one ruler and one governor, the invisible one, Christ, whom the eternal Father hath made head over all the Church, which is his body; the visible one, the Pope, who, as legitimate successor of Peter, the Prince of the Apostles, fills the Apostolic chair.

It is the unanimous teaching of the Fathers that this visible head is necessary to establish and preserve unity in the Church. This St. Jerome clearly perceived and as clearly expressed when, in his work against Jovinian, he wrote: One is elected that, by the appointment of a head, all occasion of schism may be removed. In his letter to Pope Damasus the same holy Doctor writes: Away with envy, let the ambition of Roman grandeur cease! I speak to the successor of the fisherman, and to the disciple of the cross. Following no chief but Christ, I am united in communion with your Holiness, that is, with the chair of Peter. I know that on that rock is built the Church. Whoever will eat the lamb outside this house is profane; whoever is not in the ark of Noah shall perish in the flood.”

When the Fathers of the Church are in unanimous agreement on a point, the Church considers their opinion to actually be infallibly true teaching.

We are this visible head. Pope Boniface VIII teaches in the Bull Unam Sanctam: “It is absolutely necessary for salvation to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” The Roman Pontiff is also called the Pope and is the visible head of the Church. Just as the Pope should be of one mind with Jesus Christ the Church should be of one mind with the Pope. Father Francis Dominic has written on the necessity and beauty of authority.

We have heard Father speak on Matthew 8:9: “For I also am a man subject to authority, having under me soldiers; and I say to this, Go, and he goeth, and to another, Come, and he cometh, and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.” He explains that Jesus is also under authority, the authority of the Father. We are all somewhere in the chain of command, and should discharge our duty where God has placed us. And so let us work together in the order God has established for us through Jesus Christ in the Church.

+Michael pp

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Finding the Will of God Part 5

Posted by on Nov 19, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Divine guidance cannot be considered by itself apart from our personal relationship with God. Many desire the gifts but not the Giver. If we long for guidance but do not thirst for God Himself, we shall not obtain the guidance we seek.

A person must be in fellowship with God in order to experience His guidance in his life. This implies, first of all, that he should have come into a vital relationship with Christ through the new birth. But this alone is not enough. There are certain other essential conditions to be fulfilled if we are to know God’s leading. These prerequisites are mentioned in two passages of Scripture, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New (Proverbs 3:5- 6; Romans 12:1–2). Let us consider these scriptures in detail. In Part 1-4 we discussed

4 prerequisites.

1. FAITH 2. SELF-DISTRUST

3. OBEDIENCE IN EVERY AREA

4. UNCONDITIONAL YIELDEDNESS

Our last prerequisite is:

5. A RENEWED MIND

And be not conformed to this world; but be [be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind], that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2).

Worldliness plugs our spirit’s ears preventing us from hearing God’s voice. Every person living in this world is affected by its spirit. No one has escaped its influence. From our childhood every one of us imbibes, day by day, either more or less of the spirit of this world into himself – by what we hear, see and read. This especially affects our minds and influences our thinking. The decisions we take then come primarily from worldly considerations.

The Spirit of God Who comes to live in us, when we are “born again” is opposed to the spirit of this world and therefore desires to renew our thinking completely. God’s ultimate purpose for us is that we might be conformed to the image of His Son.

This is the primary part of His will for all of us. Everything else – whom we should marry, where we should live and work – is secondary. All of God’s dealings with us are directed towards this end – that we might become like Jesus (see Romans 8:28-29). But this can be fulfilled in us only as we allow the Holy Ghost to renew our minds daily. The more our minds are in this way renewed, the more accurately shall we be able to discern the will of God at life’s crossroads.

Worldliness is not basically something external – such as movies, computers, television, wearing expensive and fashionable clothes and ornaments, or living extravagantly. These may denote a worldly person, but they are only outward expressions of his worldly thought-processes. Conformity to the world exists essentially in a person’s mind and shows itself in various ways, especially in his decisions. For example, when considering a job or a career, a worldly person will be governed by factors such as salary, promotion-prospects, comfort, ease, convenience, etc. And when contemplating marriage, he will be influenced by points such as family-status, position in life, physical beauty, or wealth.

A believer’s decisions, on the other hand, should be governed primarily by spiritual factors, although other considerations should not be neglected. The glory of God’s Name and the extension of His Kingdom should be our first concern. This is why the Lord taught us first to pray, “Hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come”, and only then, “Thy will be done”.

The process of discerning and eliminating worldly motives is vital if we are to know the will of God. To say, “God led me”, when our motives were selfish, is blasphemy. Far better in such cases to say the decision was our own than to take God’s Name in vain and give a cloak of spirituality to our worldliness. We gain nothing by merely convincing others (or even ourselves) that we are doing God’s will. After all, God cannot be fooled. As the Bible says,

All the ways of a man are open to his eyes: the Lord is the weigher of spirits…..Every way of a man seemeth right to himself: but the Lord weigheth the hearts. (Proverbs 16:2; 21:2).

The renewal of our minds will result in our beginning to think as the Lord thinks and to view situations and people as He views them. Paul’s mind was so renewed that he could dare to say that he had the mind of Christ and that he no longer looked at people from a merely human point of view (1 Corinthians 2:16; 2 Corinthians 5:16). His prayer for the Colossian believers was that they too might be thus transformed.

Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom, and spiritual understanding: (Colossians 1:9).

Such a transformation of our minds will enable us to know what pleases God and what does not please Him, and thus we shall be able to discern His will easily in the different situations we face. God’s promise to us in this New Testament age is, “This is the new agreement (testament) …. I will give my laws into their mind, and in their heart will I write them ….I will give my laws into their mind, and in their heart will I write them .” (Hebrews 8:10; 10:16).

Such a renewal will give us an understanding not only of God’s will, but also of His method and of His purpose – we will know, not only what God wants us to do, but also how He wants us to do it, and why. Doing the will of God can be drudgery if we do not appreciate God’s purposes. When we do appreciate them, the will of God becomes for us what it was to Jesus – a delight. It is because of our ignorance of God’s nature that we fear His will. If we knew Him better, we would rejoice to do His every bidding.

How can our minds be renewed? A wife living close to her husband in heart-companionship comes to know more and more of his mind and of his ways as the years go by. The same applies to the believer and his God. The new birth is like a marriage with the Lord Jesus. We should go on from that point to walk in close fellowship with the Lord, conversing with Him day by day.

We must also let Him speak to our hearts daily, both through His Word as well as through the discipline of trials that He sends into our lives. Thus we shall find ourselves growingly conformed to the image of our Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18). If we neglect daily meditation on God’s Word and prayer-fellowship with the Lord, we will find it extremely difficult to understand God’s mind. Meditation on God’s Word can straighten our warped and crooked ways of thinking and make us spiritually minded and sensitive to God’s Voice.

We can recognize the Lord’s voice only by becoming accustomed to hearing it. A new convert once asked a Priest why it was that though Christ had said, “My sheep know My voice”, yet he could not hear the Lord’s voice. The Priest replied,

“Yes, it is true that His sheep know His voice, but it is also true that the lambs have to learn it.”

A son identifies his father’s voice easily only because he has heard it so often. Even so, it is only by constantly listening to the voice of the Lord, that we will be able to distinguish it above the din and clamor of other voices that will ring in our minds when we seek God’s will. If you are habituated to listening to the Lord’s voice, then in times of emergency, His promise is, “And thy ears shall hear the word of one admonishing thee behind thy back: This is the way, walk ye in it: and go not aside neither to the right hand, nor to the left.” (Isaiah 30:21).

If, on the other hand, we turn to the Lord only in times of emergency, we are not likely to hear His voice at all. Some of God’s children are so busy that they have no time to listen to the Lord in their daily lives and yet in times of crisis they want to know His will immediately.

Daily fellowship with God in meditation and in prayer is vital, if we wish to have God’s guidance in our lives.

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Finding the Will of God Part 4

Posted by on Nov 14, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Divine guidance cannot be considered by itself apart from our personal relationship with God. Many desire the gifts but not the Giver. If we long for guidance but do not thirst for God Himself, we shall not obtain the guidance we seek.

A person must be in fellowship with God in order to experience His guidance in his life. This implies, first of all, that he should have come into a vital relationship with Christ through the new birth. But this alone is not enough. There are certain other essential conditions to be fulfilled if we are to know God’s leading. These prerequisites are mentioned in two passages of Scripture, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New (Proverbs 3:5- 6; Romans 12:1–2). Let us consider these scriptures in detail.

FAITH

Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. [understanding.] (Proverbs 3:5-6).

There are many who never come to a knowledge of God’s will, because they simply do not believe God will guide them. Faith is a prime prerequisite when we are seeking God’s guidance.

SELF-DISTRUST

Lean not upon thy own prudence. In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The one who does not distrust his own natural wisdom in spiritual matters has yet to learn one of the fundamental lessons of the Christian life. Meager intelligence cannot by itself deprive a man of the knowledge of God’s will, if the man leans upon God. But proud dependence on one’s own cleverness and foresight can.

OBEDIENCE IN EVERY AREA

In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps. (Proverbs 3:6).

We are sometimes eager to know God’s guidance in one area of our lives, but not so enthused in having His direction in other areas.

There are many areas in which God’s will is already revealed to us in the Scriptures. If we fail to obey the Lord in these areas where He has already revealed His will, then we cannot expect Him to guide us in other areas of our lives.

UNCONDITIONAL YIELDEDNESS

I BESEECH you therefore, brethren, by the mercy of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, pleasing unto God, your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be reformed in the newness of your mind, that you may prove what is the good, and the acceptable, and the perfect will of God. (Romans 12:1-2).

The New Testament exhorts us to become bondslaves to the Lord. Paul called himself a willing bondslave of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, there were two classes of servants – the bondslave and the hired servant. A bondslave, unlike the hired servant was never paid. He was bought by his master for a price and as a result all that he was and all that he possessed belonged to his master. This is what every believer must recognize himself to be. Our time, money, talents, families, possessions, minds and bodies – all – belong to our Master and our Lord, for they are His by right of purchase on the Cross .

Or know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own? For you are bought with a great price. Glorify and bear God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

We are therefore exhorted to present our bodies to God, once for all, as a living sacrifice, even as the burnt offering in the Old Testament. The burnt offering, unlike the sin offering, was wholly offered to God and signified the offerer’s utter dedication unto Him. When a man offered a burnt offering, he received nothing back. God could do whatever He liked with that offering. It was symbolic of Calvary’s Cross where the Lord Jesus offered Himself utterly to His Father saying,

“Father, not My will but Thine be done.”

This is what it means to present our body as a living sacrifice to God: we must die to our own will and choice as to how and where our body should be used by Him. Only in this way can we know His will.

Lack of such yieldedness is usually the main reason why we are unable to ascertain God’s will. Our yieldedness to the Lord is often with reservations. We are not really willing to accept anything that God may offer.

There was a man once who was willing to take up any vocation except becoming a Priest. He was told that it was this reservation that kept him from being clear about God’s plan for his life. When he finally yielded all to the Lord, he immediately gained a deeper assurance of God’s will. God did not call him to the Priesthood, but He wanted him to be willing.

Many who come to God under the pretext of wanting to know His will really want only His approval of the path they have already chosen for themselves. And so they receive no answer from Him. How soon our problems of guidance would be solved, if only we gave ourselves without any reserve to our Lord saying,

“Lord, I am willing to accept anything, if Thou wilt only assure me that it is Thy will. Choose Thou for me, my Lord. I have no choice of my own in this matter.”

It was Abraham’s willingness to go anywhere and to do anything at any time for God that made him the “Friend of God.”

One man of great faith and one who could ascertain the will of God with remarkable accuracy said concerning this subject,

“I seek at the beginning to get my heart into such a state that it has no will of its own in regard to a given matter. Nine-tenths of the trouble with people is just here. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord’s will, whatever it may be. When one is truly in this stage, it is usually but a little way to the knowledge of what His will is.”

Some want to know God’s will first before deciding whether to obey or not. But God does not reveal His will to such people. A willingness to do anything that God commands will alone qualify us to know what His perfect will is. This applies to small matters as well as big.

5 things needed for finding God’s will

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Finding the Will of God Part 3

Posted by on Nov 12, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Divine guidance cannot be considered by itself apart from our personal relationship with God. Many desire the gifts but not the Giver. If we long for guidance but do not thirst for God Himself, we shall not obtain the guidance we seek.

A person must be in fellowship with God in order to experience His guidance in his life. This implies, first of all, that he should have come into a vital relationship with Christ through the new birth. But this alone is not enough. There are certain other essential conditions to be fulfilled if we are to know God’s leading. These prerequisites are mentioned in two passages of Scripture, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New (Proverbs 3:5- 6; Romans 12:1–2). Let us consider these scriptures in detail.

FAITH

Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. [understanding.] (Proverbs 3:5-6).

There are many who never come to a knowledge of God’s will, because they simply do not believe God will guide them. Faith is a prime prerequisite when we are seeking God’s guidance.

SELF-DISTRUST

Lean not upon thy own prudence. In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

The one who does not distrust his own natural wisdom in spiritual matters has yet to learn one of the fundamental lessons of the Christian life. Meager intelligence cannot by itself deprive a man of the knowledge of God’s will, if the man leans upon God. But proud dependence on one’s own cleverness and foresight can.

OBEDIENCE IN EVERY AREA

In all thy ways think on him, and he will direct thy steps. (Proverbs 3:6).

We are sometimes eager to know God’s guidance in one area of our lives, but not so enthused in having His direction in other areas. For example, we may earnestly seek God’s will in marriage, but may not do so when looking for a job. Or it could be vice-versa. Or perhaps we may seek God’s guidance how and where to spend our month’s annual leave, but may never ask Him how to spend our money.

This is because we are inclined to want God’s guidance only when it is convenient for us. Selfish motives often lurk, unknown to us, in our hearts. We seek God’s will in some matters because we don’t want to make mistakes that might cause us suffering or loss. The motive is not that we might please God but that we might be comfortable and prosperous. Hence we fail to receive God’s guidance, for He has promised to guide only those who acknowledge Him in all their ways, those who gladly accept His direction in every area of their lives.

There are many areas in which God’s will is already revealed to us in the Scriptures. For instance, the Bible says that God wants us to be holy and thankful: “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication;…In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all. (1 Thessalonians 4:3; 5:18).

Similarly, we are told that God expects us to…”not commit adultery: Thou shalt not kill: Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness: Thou shalt not covet: and if there be any other commandment, it is comprised in this word, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Romans 13:9). If we have received God’s forgiveness and salvation, we should desire the same for our neighbors. God’s will is clearly revealed in the New Testament: we are to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).

Loving our neighbours implies a concern primarily for their spiritual needs, but does not exclude their other needs. God has said,

Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh. Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up. Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger, and to speak that which profiteth not. When thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noonday. And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of water whose waters shall not fail. (Isaiah 58:7-11).

God delights to reveal His mind to those who are unselfishly concerned with the needs of others.

If we fail to obey the Lord in these areas where He has already revealed His will, then we cannot expect Him to guide us in other areas of our lives. It is a principle of Divine guidance that God never grants further light to one who ignores the light he already has. God will not show us the second step before we take the first. “Which when thou shalt have entered, thy steps shall not be straitened, and when thou runnest thou shalt not meet a stumblingblock.” Or in todays words, “As you go, step by step, I will open up the way before you”, is His promise (Proverbs 4:12). He is interested in our every step.

With the Lord shall the steps of a [good] man be directed, and he shall like well his way. (Psalm 37:23).

Here is another promise of guidance for the obedient:

I, [says the Lord], will give thee understanding, and I will instruct thee in this way, in which thou shalt go: I will fix my eyes upon thee. Do not become like the horse and the mule (Psalm 32:8-9).

(The horse is characterized by impatience always wanting to rush ahead whereas the mule is characterized by stubbornness often refusing to move forward. We must avoid both these attitudes).

God speaks to us through our consciences when we are disobedient. We should therefore be careful to heed the voice of conscience always. Jesus said,

The light [or lamp] of thy body is thy eye. If thy eye be single [healthy], thy whole body will be [full of light]: but if it be evil [bad], thy body also will be darksome [full of darkness].(Luke 11:34).

What did Jesus mean by the eye? In Matthew 5:8, He connected spiritual vision with purity of heart. So the eye must refer to the conscience which when obeyed constantly, leads us to purity of heart.

By itself, conscience is not the voice of God, for it is educated and determined by the principles on which a person bases his life. But if it is obeyed constantly and brought in line with the teaching of the Scriptures and The Churches understanding of Scriptures, it will reflect God’s standard increasingly. The promise in Luke 11:34, then is, that if we keep our conscience clean we shall have God’s light flooding our lives – and thus we shall know His will. If we fail to listen to the voice of conscience in our daily lives, we shall fail to hear the voice of the Spirit when seeking God’s guidance. Instant obedience to God whenever He speaks to us through his written word and through His Church is one of the secrets of guidance.

I read of a fifteen-year-old boy, blind from birth, who flew and landed an aircraft safely. This remarkable feat was accomplished by his instantly obeying every order given by his instructor pilot. When facing life’s manifold problems, we may feel like blind men trying to land a plane on an unknown and invisible runway. But if we develop the habit of instant obedience to God’s commands, we shall find that we land safely.

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Finding the will of God Part 2

Posted by on Nov 10, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. [understanding.] (Proverbs 3:5-6).

There are many who never come to a knowledge of God’s will, because they simply do not believe God will guide them. Faith is a prime prerequisite when we are seeking God’s guidance. By faith we mean not merely a mental acceptance of truth but a confidence in God that comes through personal knowledge of Him.

When we lack wisdom (knowledge of God’s mind in a certain situation) we are invited to ask God for this and we are promised that He will grant it to us in abundance – provided we ask in faith. The one who asks without faith invariably receives nothing (James 1:5-7).

Young Christians may feel Divine guidance is available only to the mature who have grown in the knowledge of the Lord for several years. It is no doubt true that the more we walk with God, the better we can discern His mind. Nevertheless it is also true that God desires to guide all His children. What was said to Saint Paul is true for all of us –

“The God of our fathers hath preordained thee that thou shouldst know his will, and see the Just One, and shouldst hear the voice from his mouth.” (Acts 22:14).

A father gladly reveals to his children his desires and plans for them – not only to the older ones but to the younger ones as well. It is the same with our Heavenly Father. God has said in His Word that in this day of the New Testament/Covenant all His children – “from the least to the greatest” – will know Him personally (Hebrews 8:10-11). Every one of us can then come to Him “with the full assurance of faith” that He delights to make His will known to His seeking children.

In Hebrews 11:6, we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God. The verse goes on to say that those who come to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. The evidence of a person’s faith is found in his persistence in prayer. The one who doubts will stop praying very soon. But the one who believes will lay hold of God until he gets an answer. God honors earnestness because it is the product of a strong faith. We cannot receive anything precious from God without intensely desiring it first. He “fills the hungry soul with good things.” (Psalms 107:9). God has said, “You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). Is it not true that when seeking God’s guidance we have often gone about it halfheartedly? When Jesus sought the Father’s will in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed again and again “with a strong cry and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). How casual our seeking is, when compared to that! We often seek God’s will with no more earnestness than we would have when searching for a lost nickle! No wonder we don’t find it. If we value the will of God as the greatest treasure on earth, we will seek it with all our hearts. Do we really believe that God rewards diligent seekers? Then our faith will manifest itself in urgent and pressing prayer. If we are consumed with earnest desire to fulfill His will in every area of our lives, God will undoubtedly reveal His mind to us. He cannot but honor a faith that lays hold of Him until it received an answer.

Faith, in the Bible, is often coupled with patience. Both are necessary if we are to inherit God’s promises (Hebrews 6:12-15). David exhorts us (no doubt from his own experience), to commit our way to the Lord, trusting in Him and waiting patiently for His time and we are assured that He will not let us down (Psalms 37:5-7). One of the greatest temptations when seeking God’s guidance is to fret and become impatient. But the believing heart is a restful one.

There are some decisions for which we don’t need to wait for a perfectly clear indication of the mind of the Lord. For example, if you are seeking the Lord’s will as to whether you should take a trip on the 15th or the 16th of the month, you don’t need to wait indefinitely for a clear word from Him.

Yet there are some decisions for which we must wait until we are perfectly clear about the will of God. When considering marriage, for example, we cannot afford to be uncertain. We have to be perfectly sure of God’s will before deciding. Such a decision is obviously of greater moment than the date for a road trip, because its effects are more far-reaching. The more important the decision, the longer we usually have to wait to be sure of God’s will.

If we trust in the Lord, we won’t be afraid to wait. We will not seek to grab for ourselves ahead of God’s time out of fear that we might lose the best by waiting. God is well able to safeguard the best for us in every realm. When we grab impatiently, we invariably miss the Lord’s best. The Bible says that “He that believeth, let him not hasten.” (Isaiah 28:16).

In what is called the great “Guidance” Psalm – Psalm 25 – David speaks again and again of waiting on the Lord (verses 3, 5, 21). None who wait for the Lord’s time will ever regret having waited, for God works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who earnestly waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:4; 49:23).

Often, it is only as we wait that God can make His mind clear to us.

“Sometimes our perplexity is so great that it seems no guidance will ever come. Often our perplexity is so extreme that we seem to be waiting in total darkness. Often too as we wait, the first faint streaks of dawn seem to come, oh, so slowly! Then too, as there never yet has been a night of uncertainty as is sure to end in the dawn, so our night of uncertainty is sure to end in the dawning light of God’s guidance. Finally, as the slow-coming dawn, when it does arrive, brings light and blessing without measure, so when our God-given guidance at last breaks upon us it will so gladden our waiting souls and so illumine our clouded path, we shall almost forget the long days when we waited in darkness.”-From the booklet ‘Guidance’ by James McConkey.

Beware of being in a hurry. Impatience always stems from unbelief. It was said of the Israelites in the wilderness that they did not wait for his counsel. (Psalm 106:13). They missed God’s best thereby. May God save us from such a tragedy.

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Finding the Will of God Part 1

Posted by on Nov 8, 2018 in Pope Michael, Sanctification | 0 comments

Dear friends,

Father Francis Dominic has begun a five part series on finding God’s will. We will be providing it for you and will follow with a major consideration, which he merely alludes to, but does not develop fully. This consideration is all important, because if we are not on the right page here, then all of the rest will be off course. Now to Father Francis Dominic:

Divine guidance cannot be considered by itself apart from our personal relationship with God. Many desire the gifts but not the Giver. If we long for guidance but do not thirst for God Himself, we shall not obtain the guidance we seek.

A person must be in fellowship with God in order to experience His guidance in his life. This implies, first of all, that he should have come into a vital relationship with Christ through the new birth. But this alone is not enough. There are certain other essential conditions to be fulfilled if we are to know God’s leading. These prerequisites are mentioned in two passages of Scripture, one in the Old Testament and the other in the New (Proverbs 3:5- 6; Romans 12:1–2). Let us consider these scriptures in detail.

FAITH

Have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart, and lean not upon thy own prudence. [understanding.] (Proverbs 3:5-6).

There are many who never come to a knowledge of God’s will, because they simply do not believe God will guide them. Faith is a prime prerequisite when we are seeking God’s guidance. By faith we mean not merely a mental acceptance of truth but a confidence in God that comes through personal knowledge of Him.

When we lack wisdom (knowledge of God’s mind in a certain situation) we are invited to ask God for this and we are promised that He will grant it to us in abundance – provided we ask in faith. The one who asks without faith invariably receives nothing (James 1:5-7).

Young Christians may feel Divine guidance is available only to the mature who have grown in the knowledge of the Lord for several years. It is no doubt true that the more we walk with God, the better we can discern His mind. Nevertheless it is also true that God desires to guide all His children. What was said to Saint Paul is true for all of us –

“The God of our fathers hath preordained thee that thou shouldst know his will, and see the Just One, and shouldst hear the voice from his mouth.” (Acts 22:14).

A father gladly reveals to his children his desires and plans for them – not only to the older ones but to the younger ones as well. It is the same with our Heavenly Father. God has said in His Word that in this day of the New Testament/Covenant all His children – “from the least to the greatest” – will know Him personally (Hebrews 8:10-11). Every one of us can then come to Him “with the full assurance of faith” that He delights to make His will known to His seeking children.

In Hebrews 11:6, we are told that without faith it is impossible to please God. The verse goes on to say that those who come to God must believe that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. The evidence of a person’s faith is found in his persistence in prayer. The one who doubts will stop praying very soon. But the one who believes will lay hold of God until he gets an answer. God honors earnestness because it is the product of a strong faith. We cannot receive anything precious from God without intensely desiring it first. He “fills the hungry soul with good things.” (Psalms 107:9). God has said, “You shall seek me, and shall find me: when you shall seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). Is it not true that when seeking God’s guidance we have often gone about it halfheartedly? When Jesus sought the Father’s will in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed again and again “with a strong cry and tears” (Hebrews 5:7). How casual our seeking is, when compared to that! We often seek God’s will with no more earnestness than we would have when searching for a lost nickle! No wonder we don’t find it. If we value the will of God as the greatest treasure on earth, we will seek it with all our hearts. Do we really believe that God rewards diligent seekers? Then our faith will manifest itself in urgent and pressing prayer. If we are consumed with earnest desire to fulfill His will in every area of our lives, God will undoubtedly reveal His mind to us. He cannot but honor a faith that lays hold of Him until it received an answer.

Faith, in the Bible, is often coupled with patience. Both are necessary if we are to inherit God’s promises (Hebrews 6:12-15). David exhorts us (no doubt from his own experience), to commit our way to the Lord, trusting in Him and waiting patiently for His time and we are assured that He will not let us down (Psalms 37:5-7). One of the greatest temptations when seeking God’s guidance is to fret and become impatient. But the believing heart is a restful one.

There are some decisions for which we don’t need to wait for a perfectly clear indication of the mind of the Lord. For example, if you are seeking the Lord’s will as to whether you should take a trip on the 15th or the 16th of the month, you don’t need to wait indefinitely for a clear word from Him.

Yet there are some decisions for which we must wait until we are perfectly clear about the will of God. When considering marriage, for example, we cannot afford to be uncertain. We have to be perfectly sure of God’s will before deciding. Such a decision is obviously of greater moment than the date for a road trip, because its effects are more far-reaching. The more important the decision, the longer we usually have to wait to be sure of God’s will.

If we trust in the Lord, we won’t be afraid to wait. We will not seek to grab for ourselves ahead of God’s time out of fear that we might lose the best by waiting. God is well able to safeguard the best for us in every realm. When we grab impatiently, we invariably miss the Lord’s best. The Bible says that “He that believeth, let him not hasten.” (Isaiah 28:16).

In what is called the great “Guidance” Psalm – Psalm 25 – David speaks again and again of waiting on the Lord (verses 3, 5, 21). None who wait for the Lord’s time will ever regret having waited, for God works and shows Himself active on behalf of him who earnestly waits for Him” (Isaiah 64:4; 49:23).

Often, it is only as we wait that God can make His mind clear to us.

“Sometimes our perplexity is so great that it seems no guidance will ever come. Often our perplexity is so extreme that we seem to be waiting in total darkness. Often too as we wait, the first faint streaks of dawn seem to come, oh, so slowly! Then too, as there never yet has been a night of uncertainty as is sure to end in the dawn, so our night of uncertainty is sure to end in the dawning light of God’s guidance. Finally, as the slow-coming dawn, when it does arrive, brings light and blessing without measure, so when our God-given guidance at last breaks upon us it will so gladden our waiting souls and so illumine our clouded path, we shall almost forget the long days when we waited in darkness.”-From the booklet ‘Guidance’ by James McConkey.

Beware of being in a hurry. Impatience always stems from unbelief. It was said of the Israelites in the wilderness that they did not wait for his counsel. (Psalm 106:13). They missed God’s best thereby. May God save us from such a tragedy.

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