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How to Know God’s Will

 

 

 

God's Will

 Guest post by Anne Marie.

As a Bible Teacher, I’ve heard people ask, “I need to make a serious decision! How do I know God’s Will for me?”

Honestly, I’m slightly baffled by this question. I know I used to ask this question myself. And please do not think I’m some theological genius who has studied the scriptures for years and years and I know all the answers. I am far from that! I do not have it all figured out. I’m just a normal mom. But over the years the more I read, the more I learn how God is clear about His will in the Bible.

Let’s look at the scriptures!

How to Know God’s Will -

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV, italics is mine)

Notice the word “THEN”. I love how God’s word is filled with, what I call, “IF – THEN” statements. They are scattered all throughout God’s word. {Watch for them. They are pretty neat!} These verses only have the “THEN” portion, but if you read carefully, you will see that we have to do something and THEN we can test and approve God’s Will. So what do we have to do?

Be a Living Sacrifice.

Why? How come? Well, you have to back up and go to the last verse of the previous chapter. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things.” (Romans 11:36a) Why do we need to become Living Sacrifices? Because God is God and we are not. All things are for God, which includes you and me. Do you have the mind of God? I think we like to consider our ways before we consider what God has told us in His Word. Yet, He is the One who is mighty and perfect in all things.

Paul is URGING us. He wants us to take this seriously. God is merciful to us, shouldn’t we at least consider what He is wanting from us? He wants Living Sacrifices.

Ok. So if being a Living Sacrifice is what God wants and THEN we know His will, then….How? How do we become Living Sacrifices?

We are to be transformed. How? By the renewing of our minds.

Here’s the next question. Think with me. HOW do we renew our minds? Look at Romans 12:3 (NIV).

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.”

Here are 6 ways to help you determine God’s Will for your life:

1) Understand that God is opposed to the proud. I struggle with this daily. And I know “Pride goeth before a fall!” But choosing to be humble can be hard for a strong-willed person like me. Perhaps you struggle with that as well. James tells us, God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Are you prideful? Are you expecting God to do something for you? He does not owe us anything. [See Romans 11:36 again.]

2) Understand that you might have wrong motives in your quest. It is possible that you do not know how to make a particular decision and “know God’s will” because your motives are not pure. Search your heart! You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:2-3, NIV)

3) Be Thankful. This is an easy one. I don’t say that because it is easy to be thankful in all situations, even though that is what God expects from us, but that the scripture is black and white on this issue. Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV)

4) Be Sanctified. “Sanctified” has become a churchy word. Basically it means to be set apart for a specific use. A pair of prescription eyeglasses are sanctified to help a specific person see better. This is another black and white section of scripture. It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6, NIV) How are we to be sanctified? We have to control our bodies and not be like those who do not know God. He has a specific purpose for us.

5) Do Good. I have always held to the belief that if a person is not dead, then God has a work for him to do. God doesn’t like it when people sit in pews and do no good. {Again, this is another black and white statement!} Peter tells us, For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Peter 2:15, NIV) If you are doing good things in the name of Jesus, then people cannot argue against you. They cannot slander your name. They might try to, but in the end they will be seen as fools.

6) Read and Obey the scriptures. This seems like something everyone should know to do, but do we REALLY do this? We might read the scriptures, but do we then OBEY them? Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. (James 1:22, NIV) Do you want to know what God’s will is? Do you REALLY want to know? Do you have a heart like David’s?

“I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.” ~ Psalm 40:8, NIV

Is God’s law within your heart? Do I have God’s law in MY heart?

Think of yourself with sober judgement, my friend. Perhaps we, no I, need to spend more time reading and praying than making decisions in my own understanding.

God does not hide. He wants to commune with us and walk with us throughout each decision we make, large or small. He loves you and wants what is best for you and your family. God is mighty, holy, and just. And He is good. The Lord is on your side.

“He made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:9, NIV)

Be a Living Sacrifice. You know what that boils down to?

Surrender.

God's Will 2

Total Surrender to Jesus. It means telling Jesus, “I am not in charge. My plans equal nothing. Your plans are everything.”

Be humble.
Have a pure heart.
Be thankful in all things.
Control yourself and be honorable.
Do good works.
Read and obey your Bible.

THEN you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

What do you need to surrender, or begin, to discern God’s will?

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businesscardheadshotAnne Marie is an Austenite and the author of the blog Future.Flying.Saucers. She is a southern belle who is married to her Mr. Darcy. They have three of the silliest children in South Carolina. Anne Marie has a passion for Bible study and teaching the Word to adults and children. On Wednesday nights you will find her teaching Biblical concepts to Awana clubs at her church. All of her Awana and Bible lessons can be found for FREE on her blog. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.

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5 Tips for Stewarding a Child’s Heart

A Mom’s Stewarding Responsibility

Mom's Role in Stewarding Hearts

As moms we are given a responsibility like no other, we are to be stewarding the hearts of our children. Our role as their mom is to instill within their hearts love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self control. We are to set them on a path that will lead to a productive and fruitful adult life. While doing so, we are to protect their hearts and minds from being contaminated with the antithesis of those traits: hatred, sorrow, discord, impatience, cruelty, and instability.

A steward is one who is given responsibility. Generally, it is used in reference to being a steward of the financial affairs of others. But in its root form, the word steward refers to a house guardian.  Consider one who protects a house, and you begin to think of a steward more as a protector than one who manages money. Essentially a steward is one who manages all aspects of a home, or cares for the needs of others.

Mothers especially are suited to be stewards. We care for both the physical needs of our family, manage the household, live within budgets, provide meals and oversee the well-being of our children. Moreso, as moms we are stewards of our children as caretakers of hearts. {Tweet That}.

This  role, is a Biblical role.

 “that they [older women] admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Titus 2:4,5*.

While many would argue that this and other Biblical text is antiquated and our modern society does not reflect such teaching, I would say that by our very nature, women, mothers are to love their children and be homemakers. We take care of our kids. It’s simply what we do and who we are. Especially, those of us who have chosen to educate at home.

So how do we go about being stewards of our children’s hearts? What protection can we offer them, what guidance can we give? How do we teach traits which will lead to a well-rounded joyful and loving adult? As a Christian, for me it begins in God’s word. Whether you are a Christian or not there is some practical advice that can be given which can help in the stewarding journey.

5 Heart Stewarding Tips

5 Tips for Stewarding a Child's Heart

  • Protect Your Child’s Eyes.  Exposing your children to violence, immodest dress, sexual content or other behaviors that are the antithesis of what you are trying to instill, will only lead them to confusion, doubt and temptation to participate. Think about what beach or pool you will go to, if any, because of how the public dresses in that environment. Pay attention to what stores you take, or allow, your child in to. Does the store branding/advertising reflect your role of protecting their eyes? Consider carefully what you allow your children to watch on television or the computer. You can never undo what your child sees. The image will be burned into their memory to be drawn upon throughout their lifetime. It’s in your face, so to speak. So as a stewarding mom, you must be diligent to protect their eyes. Just because everyone else is watching, or doing it, doesn’t mean you should.
  • Protect Your Child’s Ears. Allowing foul language to be a part of your child’s life, will only lead to a life of foulness. Protect them from hearing language that you would never say. Turn off television programs that use such language. Refuse to go to movies that insist on putting that one curse word in to get a higher rating.  Don’t allow certain words to be said by friends who visit your home. As a child my parents had standing rules for friends. “If you want to visit our home, you will not ___” fill in the blank. They required respect and were rewarded with respect. Sadly, we get too caught up in “I don’t want to offend…” But the reality is, as stewards we are the protectors of our homes and our homes should be a safe haven for our children and all those who choose to visit
  • Instill a Love of Good Things. As the Dorothy Law Nolte poem states, Children Learn What They Live. As a steward of your child’s heart, if you teach them to love good things, they will grow to love good things. I am not talking about monetary things, I’m talking about doing good for others things, speaking good things, reading good things and teaching good things to your children.
  • Speak Gently in Love. If your child learns from being screamed at, they will grow up to be a screamer. But, if you teach your child gently, but firmly, in love for their heart, they will grow to be a loving caring individual. Stewarding love isn’t as easy as it sounds. It requires patience and gentleness on our own part. Our ability to reflect this can be two-fold: one, how we ourselves were taught as a child; and two, the conscious choice we make as an adult. There is some truth to the old adage, “You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar.”
  • Train in Self Control. Teaching self control begins by exhibiting self control. Controlling one’s tongue, attitude, frustrations, and reactions is key to setting the same expectations for our children. If you want your child to speak kindness about others, you must yourself speak kindness about others. If you want your child to control their anger, you must be in control of your own emotions. If you want your child to be diligent in managing their frustrations, you can’t let them see/hear you flying off the handle at every frustration that comes along. Stewarding your child’s ability to self control begins with you.

I’m not saying we should approach this stewarding of our child’s heart all alone. In fact, it should be a combined effort between mom and dad. Moreover, it should be a combined effort of our extended family, and close friends. We should surround ourselves with like-minded individuals who are seeking to steward the hearts of children in a similar way. Doing so makes the effort easier.

As a mom, especially a Christian mom, my desire is to steward my child’s heart, to protect it, care for it and help him to train it to be loving, kind and full of joy. It was by no means an accident that the character traits mentioned in the first paragraph are taken from scripture. I listed the fruit of the spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23.  These traits, in my opinion, lead to a happier, more loving adult life.

What are your guiding principles for stewarding your child’s heart? Share in the comments so others can benefit from your knowledge.

* Scripture Reference: [Insert Mine, referencing a previous verse]
New King James Version (NKJV) The Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 

 

Renée (16 Posts)

Renée Brown is author at her personal blog, Great Peace Academy. She is a homeschooling mom to her one amazing son, Jonathan and has been the wife of her Beloved Michael for 21 years. On her blog you will find discussions about her work as a homeschooling mom, her family and her faith.


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5 Ways to Cultivate a Thankful Heart in Your Children

5 Ways to Cultivate a Thankful Heart in your Kids

As we move past Thanksgiving and into the Christmas season of giving, our thoughts turn to counting our blessings in a meaningful way. It can be discouraging to see materialism and selfishness abounding in our culture, but even more discouraging to realize that we can see our own children (and ourselves if we’re completely honest) taking everyday God-given blessings for granted. The only solution to this problem is to be intentional about cultivating a thankful heart, not just around the holidays, but throughout the year. This is an excellent time to start or to renew our efforts.

Here are some practical tips to teaching our children about gratitude:

1. Count your blessings, literally ~ Keep a blessings journal. We have used the My Book of Thanks printable keepsake journal, which was created by homeschool mom Heather Bowen of Upside Down Homeschooling. If your children are too little to do it themselves, help them talk about their blessings and write it down for them. Remind them that it’s not just what we get, but what we give. Being a blessing to others should be a focus.

2. Memorize Bible verses about thankfulness ~ There are obviously plenty of verses to choose from, but here are a few that might be easier for children to memorize:

Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of God with song, And shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.

1 Chronicles 16:34 O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His loving kindness is everlasting.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 100:4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving, And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him; bless His name.

3. Give to others ~ When we give to others who are less fortunate, it reminds us to be thankful for what we have. Donate to your favorite charity, volunteer in your community, and teach your children to do the same. There are opportunities all around, especially at this time of year.

4. Praise and prayer ~ Part of teaching thankfulness includes teaching our kids how to pray. I’ve worked on giving guidelines and suggestions to my girls, but I emphasize that prayer is meant to be a personal conversation so they don’t feel that there is a “cookie cutter” prayer. We try to remember to start each prayer with a word of thanks and praise. We also end each prayer that way. This keeps gratitude at the front of our minds, rather than just a laundry list of needs.

5. Be a good example ~ Okay, I will admit here that I struggle with this sometimes. I catch myself starting to complain about a bad day or too much work to do or another mess to clean up. I have to remember that my daughters are listening (even when I think they aren’t!) and will pick up my attitude. If I want them to have a thankful heart, I must have one myself! Complaining and thankfulness really can’t co-exist.

These are just a few simple first steps in cultivating a thankful heart in your children. Of course it takes an intentional effort to guide them every day. Grace and patience are also things to be grateful for, which are two qualities we need in good measure when building a foundation of thankfulness.

Sara (24 Posts)

I'm a reader, writer, dreamer, wife, and homeschooling mom of 3 girls. We take a relaxed, eclectic, Charlotte Mason-leaning, Montessori-ish, literature-rich, delight-directed, almost unschooling-at-times approach to learning. Lots of unit studies, field trips, and lapbooks, too. I like to blog about our learning adventures (plus faith and encouragement) at Embracing Destiny.


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