HOW DO YOU MAKE GODLY DECISIONS?

Bible Reading: 2 Corinthians 3:7-18; 2 Peter 2:6-7

As a result of the devotional three days ago, about the importance of making righteous decisions, I have received an email containing a question that needs be answered, and to air it publicly would be helpful. The question was,

“How do you make righteous choices? Or any decision at all? What is the process for doing it?

The devotional word that inspired this question was about the choice that “righteous Lot” made when he and his uncle Abraham separated. The choice that he made was obviously wrong, and led him down a road that caused both him and his family great pain and loss. It was a choice, not made by seeking God, but motivated by selfish gain. In making the choice Lot did not consider how it would affect his relationship with God or his spiritual life.

The following four keys have consistently helped my wife and I to make righteous decisions over the years:

Firstly, Pray! Ask God for His counsel, direction, and wisdom. At the same time ask Him to reveal any wrong or selfish motives that you may have in your heart. It is good to ask the question, “Will this decision enhance or hinder my walk with God and with God’s people?”

Secondly, and especially in major decisions, seek mature counsel. There is safety in a multitude of counsellors. “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counsellors there is safety” [Proverbs 11:14]. This is especially true of important spiritual decisions, but also relevant in practical decisions such as buying a car or a house. Seek the advice of knowledgeable and trustworthy people!

Thirdly, Timing! Is this the right time to be doing what I am thinking of doing? Especially in practical issues make sure that you don’t go into debt or make life difficult for either yourself or others.

Fourthly, listen to your own spirit. As you pray does God’s peace tell you that it is the right thing to do. If it does not bring you peace don’t go there and don’t do it. “ Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life” [Philippians 4:6-7 The Message].

I will continue with this theme tomorrow and share a couple of illustrations

Questions

One of the things that I have learned over the years is that guidance is easier when we are seeking to bless others and not so much seeking God’s blessing for ourselves. What do you think of this statement?

Why do you think it is so common for Christians to make decisions based on selfish motivation and not even consult God for His will at all?

How would you explain to someone else how to seek God’s guidance?

A Happy Christmas 2016 & Blessed New Year 2017

mandeOnce again it is that wonderful time of the year when we celebrate the birth of Jesus, look back over the past year, and look forward with anticipation to the year ahead.

For Esther and I it has been a quieter than usual year, and we find ourselves physically slowing down and relaxing much more. Having said that we have just checked our diary for the past year and have been surprised at how busy we have been. It reads like this:bells

JANUARY – Ministered in Coalville, Leicestershire. Esther had a nodule removed by surgery from her vocal chords! Ministered in Northern Ireland.

FEBRUARY – Ministered in Oxford. Michael preached at Kerith, Bracknell. Attended a “School of His Presence” in Croydon. Michael spent eleven days in Singapore catching up with our son Tim.

MARCH – We spent a day with the staff of Christchurch, Chorley Wood. We ministered together at the WEC Spanish Field Conference, 200 miles North of Madrid and taught for four days on the gifts of the Holy Spirit at a Bible School in Eastern Holland.

APRIL – A quiet month – preached in Bracknell, Greenwich, and Coalville, Leicestershire.

MAY – Taught missionary candidates at WEC. Spoke at a Conference for Retired Missionaries. Preached at St. Peter’s, Bracknell. Preached at Kerith, Bracknell.

JUNE – Drove to Northern Ireland via Scotland for a week of holiday followed by a week of ministry. A generally quieter month.

JULY – Michael Preached at Kerith, Bracknell. We ministered in Brunei, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia. This involved five weeks of travel and speaking in twenty-one meetings and included a belated 70th Birthday Party for Michael in Singapore.

AUGUST – Returned from Singapore. Trevor and Jenny Kallmier from Australia [WEC] stayed with us for nine days. Preached in Sandhurst and in Oxford.

SEPTEMBER – Esther attended a ladies conference in Ashford, Kent. Visited the Bible College of Wales in Swansea. We attended a reunion with old friends in Bristol. Preached in Leicestershire.

OCTOBER – Preached in Derby. Friends from Jacksonville, Florida stayed with us for ten days. This was a quiet month.

NOVEMBER – Preached two nights in Lisburn, Northern Ireland. We travelled to Singapore for a fifteen-day holiday, wonderfully provided for us by two Singaporeans friends. Such a blessing!

When I went through the diary and realized that we had been in Singapore three times, Northern Ireland three times, Holland, Spain, Brunei, Australia, and Indonesia, it was a busier year of travel than I had at first thought!

In addition to all this we had the regular routine events that are equally important. Michael teaches regularly on a weekly basis in our local church Bible School [the Academy] in Kerith, Bracknell. Esther is now also teaching several sessions in the school.

We have also made several enforced visits to see the oncologist for Michael. His PSA marker rose dramatically from June, and scans revealed three areas of supposed cancer cells in the bones of his spine. This now involves going for a blood test and then meeting with the oncologist each month. He is on a strong medication that is used to block testosterone feeding cancer cells. Each morning we pray over this medication, receiving what is good and rejecting any negative side effects and most of all looking to Jesus once again for healing. I have held back from sending out this newsletter until today because this afternoon I had my latest appointment with the oncologist. The news was encouraging in that the PSA marker has plateaued and dropped from 49 to 42, as well as other general improvements. I now have further scans later this month and then return to the oncologist again on 9 January.singapore

Because of the constraints of having to have a blood test and seeing the oncologist a few days later each month, we are limited to a three-week window for ministry every month. We have made a decision to have one event away from home each month during that three-week window, and anything else to be local to where we live. In January we will be ministering at a Baptist Church in Greenwich, and an Anglican Church in the Cotswolds at Chipping Norton. February we will be teaching at a Bible School in Northern Ireland and possibly ministering there over a weekend as well. In March we will travel to Holland and teach in a Bible School near to Eindhoven. Do please pray for the right invitations for ministry and that we will be sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit in what we take on and do.

We do love our home and are grateful to God for it. It is wonderful to have a place that we can retreat to and spend time relaxing together, Michael writing and working on his stamp collection, while Esther plays the piano, enjoys doing crosswords, and watching TV together. It is interesting that the older we get the more we enjoy watching antiques programmes. Agatha Christie once commented that the best kind of husband is an archaeologist, because the older you get the more interest he takes in you!” She was, of course, married to an archaeologist!

Many people have encouraged us to write our autobiography and we have become increasingly aware that this is something that we should do. Please pray that God would help us in this project, and also give us great wisdom. We only want to do it if it glorifies and exalts the Lord Jesus.

At the beginning of the New Year I will take up writing my devotional blog again after a two-month rest. I am grateful to all those who have encouraged me. To follow the blog and receive it in your inbox each day all you have to do is to subscribe at michaelrosswatson.comsvernake

A few days ago Esther and I were out walking and less than a mile from our home is this beautiful lake, that reveals so much of the glory of God. It is an autumn, not winter picture and for us as a couple we are in our autumn years, and God promises that we will be fruitful even to our old age.

After a two month break I will be continuing the daily devotional blog, beginning on 3rd January, with an in-depth look at Paul’s 2nd Epistles to the Corinthians.

GOD IS FAITHFUL

Bible Reading: Lamentations 3:22-27

There is a beautiful song, written by Brian Doerksen that speaks of God’s faithfulness:

“Faithful One, so unchanging.

Ageless One, You’re my rock of peace

Lord of all I depend on You,

I call out to You, Again and again

I call out to You, Again and again

 

You are my rock in times of trouble,

You life me up when I fall down,

All through the storm, Your love is

The anchor, My hope is in you alone.”

 

What exactly does it mean that God is faithful? It means that His character and purpose never change and therefore He is totally reliable and dependable. When He speaks He means what He says and will always keep His word. He is the faithful God who keeps His covenant [Deut. 7:9]. “He is the Rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He” [Deuteronomy 32:4]. David said, “All [not some] the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth” [Psalm 25:10]. Paul makes a clear declaration when he says, “God is faithful” [1 Corinth.1:9].

On the first space flight that landed on the moon, the astronauts said that the nature and purpose of their flight never changed, but that they had to make minor changes to their direction every few minutes.

Does the fact that God is faithful mean that He is inflexible? If this were the case, then the Christian faith is fatalistic! He did not create men to be robots, but with the ability to make choices, and to work and walk with Him. God was about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, but because Abraham interceded for Lot, God saved him from the judgment that came on Sodom. When Moses interceded for Israel God changed His mind – “So the Lord changed his mind about the terrible disaster he had threatened to bring on his people [Exodus 32:14 NLT]. What’s the point of intercession if God’s faithfulness means that He is inflexible? God’s character, nature and purposes are changeless, but His plans are flexible!

Questions:

What does Lamentations 3:22-27 say specifically about God’s faithfulness?

In what way have you proven that God is faithful in your life?

How would you differentiate between faithfulness and inflexibility? In what way do people sometimes confuse these two issues?