GOD’S WILL FOR YOU
Now I realize that this topic may sound a little weird in a class that is called, “Growing Older Gracefully,” but this is something that the Lord has led me to talk about today. I realize that a lot of older Christians just feel like the important part of their lives is over and the rest is just making it through to the end. BUT - God has shown me some things that He wants me to share with you.
First, let me say this, if you’re still alive and breathing, then God still desires to move through you, with you, for you, and He desires to use you to help others in all kinds of ways. In fact, if you were here in the beginning of this class in January, the first three sessions were called, “Older Christians Used By God.” I have discovered through the years that many older Christians just tend to fall into a way of thinking of, “I just have to make it through each day - I’m really not worth much anymore.” THAT IS A LIE FROM SATAN - YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO THE LORD AND HE HAS WAYS TO USE YOU TO BLESS OTHERS!
So, we’re going to begin with this verse, Eph. 2:10 - from the Amplified - “For we are God’s [own] handiwork, (His workmanship) recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time] that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].”
What a powerful verse of Scripture!!!! Now let’s think about something. Every single one of us is unique on this earth. God knew you were going to accept Christ and He knew you inside and out. When you were born again, He knew your personality, your background, your abilities, your likes and dislikes - in other words, He knew all the uniqueness about you that made you YOU. AND - HE PREPARED PATHS FOR YOU.
Now, I can just hear somebody saying, “Well, why didn’t He just show them to me?” Well, because God will not force His will on any human being on the planet. The human being must come to Him, yielding the right-of-way to Him. Remember, a few weeks ago, we talked about God giving authority on this earth to man, back there in the Garden of Eden. He will not just whoosh down and make anyone do anything - He will not go against the law that He put in place in creation.
Now, a lot of people think that this thing of “a plan for your life” or “God’s will for you” only applies to younger Christians - that when you get older, you just go with the flow - no matter what! That’s just not true. There are ways that God wants to use every single one of us while we are still on this earth - no matter how old we are.
Also, a lot of people feel that “a plan for your life” only applies to people who are called to be preachers, pastors, missionaries, etc. Well, that’s not true, either. God delights in using every one of His precious children, in all kinds of ways, while they are on this earth.
Now, I’m going to use another couple of verses, which you’ve heard me use almost every week. It is so powerful. It’s Romans 12:1-2 - “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to the Lord, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, THAT YOU MAY PROVE WHAT IS THAT GOOD AND ACCEPTABLE AND PERFECT WILL OF GOD.” One way (there are many) that these two verses have ministered to me - is that I began to see that if I would truly, truly, truly give myself to Him (becoming a living sacrifice) - that He would show me His will for me.
I want to give you an ‘as easy to understand’ picture of what becoming a living sacrifice is - It is just GIVING IN COMPLETELY to the Lord and telling Him that, no matter what, you will do whatever it is He desires for you to do - because you really GET IT in your heart, that God wants to use you, and will work through you and will accomplish more that way than anything else. His way will flow through you and produce through you, and, at the same time, produce an overwhelming peace and joy deep within you.
Now listen closely to this! Renewing your mind with the Word of God, means that you understand Him more and the way He does things. It also helps you with discernment. Satan can throw things at you which are interesting and sometimes exciting - and unless you have a renewed mind, you can begin to think that it’s God’s will for you. Being a living sacrifice means that you are so given to God, that you only desire to do what He wants you to do - and renewing your mind helps you discern God’s ways and plans from worldly ways and plans.
Now, I want to quote two statements from my book, “Coming Out Of The Cocoon” - The first one
says this: “`We are all called to do something! I have discovered in my life that recognizing God’s love for me - just how big it is - just how vast it is - is the first step to even beginning to think about doing what I, personally, am called to do. I have been known to say, ‘The love of God is, I believe, the most powerful force in the universe.’” He is Love! The love of God takes ordinary people, from ordinary lives, and causes them to do things they never would have dreamed of doing before they had a relationship with that LOVE.”
My reason for quoting that is that getting truly, truly ahold of how powerful the Love of God is has a huge influence on God being able to love, help, serve, (and on and on) other people through you. You can hear Him better and He can use you better.
Now the second quotation from, “Coming Out of the Cocoon” - “While that butterfly was still in the cocoon, it could not fulfill its destiny. It had to go through ‘metamorphosis’, in order to really do what it was created to do. The Lord has shown me that it is the same with me (and you). The only way that I can fulfill my destiny as a human being on this planet is to be “transformed,” (the same thing as ‘metamorphosis’).”
Now, my reason for quoting that is that, as we surrender to God and become a living sacrifice, we become transformed in our being, which is what happens to that butterfly. It had to go through that in order to fulfill its destiny. So do we!!!!!!!
Now, as you’ve heard before and learned about me, I believe one of the ways people learn the best is through personal testimony. So, I want to share a little about this from my life - and, as I do, I want you to relate a little here and there to your own life. We are all unique and our lives are different but God shows us things as we hear how somebody else learned (or got) something.
I’ve told you before, I was an extreme introvert, as I was growing up. My left eye was crossed and I had to start wearing glasses when I was 3 years old. They were made out of real glass, and I was told to be very careful about balls being thrown at me, or falling down, and on and on. Little kids at 3, 4, 5, 6 really do not understand about how their actions and words can hurt others - and I was VERY much hurt and made fun of, about the crossed eye. All of that had a huge impact on me not wanting to be in front of people, or really around a lot of kids. Therefore, that ‘introvert’ attitude pretty much ruled my life.
Of course, as I got older, the kids didn’t do that anymore but my shyness and introvert way of life had already begun. Standing in front of kids in a class terrified me - I’ve got stories about that. I made friends a little bit, but I really spent a lot of time alone. I didn’t have siblings until I was 9 and 11.
But - I loved, loved, loved to read books and I spent lots of time reading. When I wasn’t doing homework, or a chore at the house, I was reading. My Daddy took me to the library usually every two weeks, and I took back my ones I had read and got more. My Daddy kinda’ worried about me reading too much and putting a strain on my eye. When my baby sister was born, and then two years later, my baby brother was born, my Daddy built a bedroom upstairs for my sister and me. I loved, loved, loved it because I could go upstairs to my room and READ without anybody seeing me.
The reason I am telling you this is that reading - at a very young age - became a huge part of my life - and I have been shown by the Lord that my life was already being formed because of who I was, even at that early age. I believe that it may be true for you too. I didn’t know it then. You may not have known it for you either.
Of course, I became a teenager and graduated from high school and then went to college. By this time in my life, I had made friends and was at ease around people but I still really enjoyed being alone alot. Then, at the Christmas break of my second year, I found an eye doctor who would do the two surgeries on my eye that was needed and let me pay him monthly, until it was all paid for. Of course, I had to quit college. I did at the end of the second year, and had the surgeries, then got a job as an executive secretary at a large reinsurance corporation. For the first time in my life, I felt like I looked normal.
However, I have to say that my lifestyle was still a lot the same as it had always been. I dated a little - but not a lot. I was really happy - but I still read a lot - and I loved to write poems, little songs, lovely letters to people, and little stories here and there.
Now I am telling you this because I have learned that, all through those years of my life, there was a LOVE for reading and writing. Remember that first verse I read from the Amplified, Eph. 2:10 - where it talked about, “planned beforehand and prepared ahead of time.” The Lord has shown me that my personality on the outside and in the deeper part of me - on the inside - was being formed all through my childhood and teen years. I didn’t know it - but it was. God had placed in me a love for reading and writing. In other words, I loved to read what others had written - but I also began to love to write thoughts, ideas, feelings, sweet birthday and anniversary things, and on and on and on. I discovered that problems that arise in families can often be handled by tender and loving letters, instead of personal conversations which can get hurtful.
He has shown me that our Heavenly Father is so loving and so full of wisdom and all-knowing that He knows in advance what our lives are going to face and have to deal with - and He uses all kinds of things to train each and every one of us so that He can use us throughout our lifetime to do what He wants us to do.
When my husband became a pastor, and my life flowed with his, I began to discover that I loved reading and studying the Word and talking to ladies in a Bible Study about a topic, making it easier to understand. It was in that period of time that I began to understand that God’s will for my life was to help people understand many of these things in the Word of God which we all need to get ahold of - but He wanted me to make it simple to understand. He didn’t want me to just teach doctrine - but to help people understand, “How do you do it? How does it apply to your life? NOW LISTEN - THIS IS A BIGGIE! AS I BEGAN TO UNDERSTAND WHAT HIS WILL REALLY WAS FOR ME, AND I BEGAN TO WALK IN IT, I BEGAN TO EXPERIENCE A PEACE ABOUT IT ALL THAT I HAD NOT EXPERIENCED BEFORE. WHEN I WAS TEACHING PEOPLE WHAT GOD HAD SHOWN ME, THERE WAS NOTHING IN LIFE THAT I WOULD RATHER BE DOING THAN THAT! IT WAS AN OVERWHEMING JOY AND PEACE. IT WAS FROM GOD! So - I became aware that ‘walking in God’s will’ can bring a peace to a person’s life that is absolutely non-explainable. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Did you get that? It’s a peace that you can’t even explain. Think about it this way - When you have presented yourself to God as a living sacrifice, and been in communion with God (all kinds of prayer) and He is bringing opportunities into your life to do what HE WILLS FOR YOUR TO DO, there will be a peace in your life that you can’t explain.
Now so many older Christians just feel like, it’s too late for them to walk in God’s will for their lives. That’s not true! Let me share this verse with you. Rom. 11:29 - “For the gifts and callings of God are without repentance.” Man oh Man - This is saying that when God had callings and/or gifts for you while you were still in your mother’s womb, He doesn’t give up on you and say, “Well, he’s just not accessing it - or she’s just missed it - I just wish I hadn’t prepared him or her that way - I’m just taking it back - I’m repenting for ever giving that calling or gifting!” THAT’S NOT WHO HE IS.
NOW LISTEN TO ME ON THIS! OTHER THAN GOD, YOU KNOW YOU BETTER THAN ANYONE ELSE ON THE PLANET! You know what you enjoy, down deep inside you. But you may have never thought about a gifting from God down in there. It may be that you just have never thought about God placing something deep inside you to use you while you’re still here in your body.
Now listen to me! You never will get ahold of this unless you spend some quality time talking to the Lord about it. Remember, you have to present yourself to Him, like it says in Romans 12:1-2, as a sacrifice. Remember how they did that in the Old Testament - before Jesus. They brought animals and killed them, having the animals die as a sacrifice for sin in human beings. WE ARE LIVING SACRIFICES. WE GO BEFORE HIM, TELLING HIM THAT WE WILL DO WHATEVER IT IS HE WANTS US TO DO. WE HAVE TO MEAN IT. In an easy way to see this - we die to our own desires, ways of thinking, and live to those of Jesus. We CHOOSE to be a living sacrifice!
This is a very individual thing for we Christians, because we are all unique, in every way. We have to mean, with all our heart, that we want to really know what His will is for us and we have to really mean that we desire to walk in it.
Now, let’s talk for a bit about what “WALKING IN HIS WILL,” can be. God is very individual with us - and, of course, He knows each one of us inside out. I’m going to mention here some of the ways that I’ve seen God use older Christians -
For someone who is still driving, picking people up to take them where they need to go;
Working with Christian organizations who are helping children in all kinds of ways;
Working with Food Service for people who need it,
like Food Pantry;
Personally befriending different ones at church who seem to be lonely, or alone;
Making phone calls to different ones, as the Lord leads - letting them know you care and love them;
AND, OF COURSE, THIS ONE, A BIGGIE - DEDICATING YOURSELF TO BE A PRAY-ER -
OF COURSE, PRAYING FOR EVERYBODY YOU KNOW - FOR ONES IN NEED - ONES
WHO ARE SICK - ONES GOING THROUGH A
DIFFICULT TIME - In other words, an intercessor, and everybody knows that if you need prayer, let him (or her) know, ‘cause he (or she) will really pray.
There are also so many ways to witness to people, even just handing out tracts at places where lots of people are, prison ministry, and on and on and on.
There are many, many more ways that God can use older Christians but He will not make you do any of it - you have to yield yourself to Him. Close your eyes, and imagine what it looked like to see that ‘lamb’ being placed on an altar - then see yourself as that lamb! You’re giving yourself to Him to do His will while you’re here on this earth.
I’ve thought and imagined many times what it looked like when Abraham was told by God to put Isaac, his son, on the altar that day. I have marveled at the faith of Abraham - because he was determined to follow what God said to do, and believed that God would raise his boy from the dead. That’s the reason he is called the ‘Father of Faith.’
I want to read a paragraph from my book, “Choosing For A Change.” I’ve written and published 6 books and they’re all in the bookstore. This is from a chapter dealing kinda’ with this subject. “I began to think like this. If I just had awhile yet to live, I would rather be thinking in terms of the big picture and how I fit into it - planning, choosing, thinking - than just going along like the rest of the world with nothing but eating, sleeping, washing, working and then doing it all over again and then - dying! No matter how much time I have left here on the earth, I want it to account for something for me having been here. If I want that, then I have to make choices leading to that.”
In that book, I have some questions at the end of each chapter, to ask yourself, and even to discuss in a group. I’ve been told that it has been very helpful to people. The book is, “Choosing for a Change,” and the subtitle is, “Change Your Choices and Change Your Life.”
You know, all those different things that I mentioned earlier that I’ve seen older people doing is just a tiny amount of ways that God might want to use you. I think God wants each one of you to think very personally and deeply about what your passions are - and have been all your life and what you’ve always enjoyed. Maybe you’re a person who likes to study things. Maybe you’ve always been very social. There are so many ways that God wants to use His children. But you can’t just wait around for someone to tell you what God wants you to do - you need to commune with God, this wonderful Triune Diety - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
It took me years to understand what I’m sharing with you today. I didn’t ever hear anybody ever say anything like this - BUT I’M SAYING IT TO YOU TODAY! LIKE I SAID, GOD TOLD ME TO GET DOWN TO THE NITTY GRITTY AS I TEACH AND HELP PEOPLE UNDERSTAND HOW TO DO WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS TO DO. His will for us individually can be very connected to family situations, relationships, and on and on. If you are married, your spouse is, of course, involved in all of this. If you aren’t married, and want to be, God, through you becoming a living sacrifice, can bring the perfect person into your life. Your Heavenly Father knows you inside and out and has amazing ways to bring people together. HOWEVER, IT IS OFTEN CONNECTED WITH YOU BECOMING A LIVING SACRIFICE.
God wants every single one of us, His precious children, to live out the rest of our days here on this earth, knowing that we are walking in His will for us. If we’re still here, He has things He wants us to do and He has prepared ahead of time for us to do them. You may be one who doesn’t drive anymore. You may be one who needs help with different issues of your life now. You may be one who has been trying to figure out what you’re supposed to do for quite awhile now. You may be one who has done several different things, really thinking that you would find just the one for you - but you’ve never walked in that perfect peace that I was talking about. AND THEN - you may be one who has just figured you were too old now for God to really use you, OR - one who just figured God didn’t have a specific will for each one of us, but, if He did, it was too late for you to find it.
No matter which category you fit into, He told me to tell you today, “I LOVE YOU AND WILL NEVER GIVE UP ON YOU. I STILL WANT TO USE YOU. COME AND SPEND TIME WITH ME, AND I WILL SHOW YOU HOW I PLANNED BEFOREHAND FOR YOU, AND, EVEN IN YOUR PRESENT CIRCUMSTANCES, I WILL STILL USE YOU IN WAYS WHICH WILL JUST AMAZE YOU.”
Now I want to read these three verses from Ephesians to you - Eph. 5:15-17 - “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”
Boy - those are some verses that really do get down to the nitty gritty!
Now - this is another verse that I love. It’s Matthew 7:7 - “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
God is not trying to play ‘hide and seek’ with us - He desires that we know His plans for us - but we have to be so much in communion with Him, talking to Him, reading His Word, truly desiring His will in our hearts, because He is not a big ogre up there that’s just going to force His will on us. He only reveals, answers, opens for us when we yield to Him and trust Him. I have discovered that ‘trusting Him’ means ‘believing that He will show, reveal, help, open, guide - and He (the Creator of the Universe) knows how, when, where, the timing, and everything else.’
I want to close this teaching by reading this portion of Scripture to you. It’s Psalm 139:14-17 -
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are your works, And that my soul knows very well.
My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written. The days fashioned for me, When as yet there were none of them.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them.”
He wants every single one of us to know that He has plans for us - and, even though we are older, if we will submit to Him and His plans, by becoming a ‘Living Sacrifice,’ He can use us, help us, show us, give us peace and joy, even bring happiness into our lives, even in these older years.
He is GOD - and He is OUR FATHER.
Scriptures for this lesson
Ephesians 2:10 (Amp)