by Kendy Pearson
Break it down.
We all want to know: “What is God’s will for my life?”
Paul breaks it down into three simple elements in 1 Thessalonians, chapter 5. ( Now, if you read the previous four verses, you’ll get more ideas about what exactly God wants from you. More tips to help you live in God’s will. More directions, as it were, to guide you through loving relationships while being in God’s will.) I love words, as you know. I love the extra explanations in the Amplified Bible. But…
Let’s Break it Down:
Step 1) Rejoice Always (verse 16)
Step 2) Pray Without Ceasing (verse 17)
Step 3) In Everything Give Thanks (verse 18)
That’s it. Simple? Yes —– Easy? Not always.
“How do I know this is God’s will for my life?” you ask. Verse 18 also says: “…for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I invite you to explore other versions of these verses. I’m going to write the Amplified verses below. There are other verses that act as our road map, assuring us we are on the right route – in God’s will.
Do you have a favorite verse you cling to when you are trying to make a decision? I’d like to know what it is. We are all at a different place in our walk with Jesus, and we all need encouragement.
16-Be happy (in your faith) and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always)
17-Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]
18-Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].
A parade and your life –
what do they have in common?
Ah, yes, parades – every summer. I’d sit on the curb and watch as each entry passed in front of me. Sure, I could still see the tail gates of pickup trucks, once they passed. I could see the “remains” left behind by the horses that had previously pranced by. I could even see a little of what was coming down the block , or hear the music from the band that I could not yet see. Mostly, it was only what was before me that I could see well.
We experience time like I used to watch the parade:One participant at a time as it appears before us. God sees that same parade (time) from a helicopter. He sees the beginning, the end, the middle – all at once. He can see what is coming toward me.
Maybe you experience a difficult storm at thirty, because you have a tornado coming in your life at fifty. Can you brave the storm now, because you know God is up there in that helicopter watching out for you? Perhaps that answer to prayer is on the way. You’ve been taking it to Jesus for years now. Could it be a block away? Can you trust Him with your tomorrows?
Sure, you could get up and leave your spot at the curb. You could say, “This is nuts, this is a lousy parade!” News Flash. It’s the only parade. It is not to be avoided, but rather experienced. To leave the parade, would be to escape God.
God sees the WHOLE parade
The very best, most exciting entry in the parade is at the end. We’ve seen pictures of it. We’ve heard about it. It’s there. We anticipate it. We are impatient for it. If only we knew how long this parade is? What we do know is that at the end, we will forget the off-key middle school band, the flies around the horse droppings, and the ear-drum piercing siren on the fire truck.
God is waiting for us at the end of the parade. He will open His arms wide and invite us to join him in the middle of the street “…and so always (through the eternity of the eternities) we shall be with the Lord! Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:17b,18 Amp)
Do you know of other illustrations that help explain time? I’d like to hear them.
If you don’t feel confident about the end of the parade. Grab your Bible. The following verses will help you to know for certain if you will join God at the end of the parade.
- Romans 3:10 Romans 3:23 Romans 14:12 Romans 6:23 Romans 5:8
- Romans 4:24-25 Romans 5:10 Romans 5:18 Romans 10:13 Romans 10:9
- Romans 5:1-2 Romans 5:11 Romans 12:12 Romans 6:11,14 Romans 8:16,17
- Romans 8:28 Romans 12:2 Romans 15:16
Strong, black, with sugar. That’s how I prefer my tea. It’s often just the thought of my first sip of that hot inky liquid that gets me out of bed at 5:00 a.m. I crave my tea in the morning like most people crave coffee. It must be the Irish in me.
My tea seems weaker lately, since I’ve been getting up so early to write.
Is it the teabags? (They did change the packaging.) Or is it me? Does it just seem weaker because I need it more?
Steeping the Word
I thought about my morning devotions. I must admit, there are times I only read a few verses, then pray. I become distracted. I have trouble focusing on what God wants to teach me. Voices crowd my mind whispering, “Don’t forget this, remember that…”
1) Turn off your phone.
2) Pray for the Holy Spirit to teach you through the verses you are going to read. (I Corinthians 2:6-16)
3) Read your chosen scripture in more than one version and follow up on any study notes and scripture references in your Bible. Use a Bible Handbook to add to your study. Dig into the Word. Steep that tea strong, because you need it!
4) Keep a pad handy to jot down the stuff that pops into your head (like your to-do list), then you are free from nagging thoughts that get in the way of what God wants to teach you. I also keep index cards in my Bible for two reasons: first so I can jot notes about certain topics and scripture references I may want to study more on or memorize; and second, so I have a straight edge for underlining any verses in my Bible.
5) Pray. I find praying through my prayer list is easier after I’ve prepared myself by drinking that wonderful, hot cup of steeped teaching, direct from the Holy Spirit.
Did I leave anything out? Do you have a routine that works well for you? I’d love to hear it.
Words to a writer are like light and color to an artist.
We like our words big, little, compound, abbreviated, hyphenated, bolded, underlined, fanciful, and formal. While we dearly love our adjectives, we know they are trite all alone and need a healthy family of adverbs, verbs and nouns to surround them. That being said…
One of my students asked me what my favorite Bible translation was, and I told her, “The Amplified.” A few weeks later I was presented a NKJV/Amplified parallel Bible for my birthday from all of the students. It’s my favorite Bible, and is now falling apart, having been surgically altered with Scotch Magic tape on many occasions.
Gotta Have Words
I want to give you an example of two verses. My love affair with words will show itself quite evident, as I’m sure, you will notice the difference between the two translations.
“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” (Hebrews 12:12 NKJV)
“So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees,” (Hebrews 12:12 Amp)
(By the way, the Amplified uses the original Greek and Hebrew words and tries to help the reader understand what the Hebrew and Greek listener instinctively understood [as a matter of course].)*
What is your favorite Bible translation? Why do you prefer it?
I’d love to hear your comments.
* from the “Preface to the Amplified Bible” — the Lockman Foundation
By Kendy Pearson
I once wrote a children’s story about a polliwog who made grand plans, expecting to live out his entire life as a polliwog. He had unrealistic expectations.