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How to Know God's Will for Your Life

Eric Walsh

Description

Follow the 8 steps to help with making decisions and finding direction.

Presenter

Eric Walsh

Pastor and Physician

Recorded

  • September 2, 2017
    5:00 PM
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This message was presented at the AMEN Missions 2017 Bible Conference: “Shaken but not forsaken” in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. For more resources like this, visit us at www.amen-missions.co.za. AMEN – Advent Message to Every Nation.

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Ok, so, my last session for today. It’s one of my favorite talks to give. I’ve done this talk many times because it is very practice for all of us, especially for young people. So, we’re gonna go to the book of Jeremiah and this is the Scripture Reading for this presentation. It says, (in Jeremiah 1:5) “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew you; and before thou came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet unto the nations.”

 

Our message, our last message of the day is entitled, “How to Know God’s Will for your Life?”

 

Let's pray. Father God, we thank you for this opportunity to study your Word and study the words of Robert Mueller and of Morris Venden andof the great writer Luke in the book of Acts. As we study all of these writers and all of these and the Spirit of Prophecy, we ask that You open up our hears and our minds so that we can apply these lessons to our life. And Lord allow us Father God to, like you told Jeremiah to understand that there is a calling that has been placed upon us, that You knew us before we were even conceived. This is our prayer in Jesus’ precious and holy name. Amen.

 

So in Acts chapter 3, the Bible says, now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful to ask alms of them that entered into the temple. So as they're going in, there was a man who was been who's always been carried and laid at the gate. He was born without the ability to walk and he's laid at the temple all this time and is just asking for any. He's begging, asking for any donation, so that he can continue to live. Verse three says, who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. So he asked for some money. And Peter, the Bible says, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. Verse 5 says, And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something from them. Meaning, he expected a monetary gift, make it plain,that will be cash money. But Peter's response:then Peter said, silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.Now, this man came and he expected something. He simply would have been satisfied with the equivalent of a few dollars. He would have been happy, his day would have been complete and successful had he simply gotten a little bit of cash.

 

But let me tell you, sometimes we come to God's temple and our expectations are too low. We come saying, “Lord, if you just find me a job, if you just figure out my bills. Lord, if you just keep my children in church.” And expectations are too low. Now had this man simply been given what he asked for, he would have continued to live a very difficult and trying life; but let me tell you something, most of us ask God only inside of our own limitations. In other words, our prayers are deterred by our own lack of understanding of what God has to offer. So we are asking for cash when God can get us to walk for the first time in our life.

 

So I'm challenging you, and this is what this talk is about. Stop, being placed in a box, stop allowing the world to determine where you're going, stop listening to the words of your ex-husband or your ex-wife or of your parents who told you would never amount to anything, I came to tell you today that you've got a Father in heaven who has set no limit on where you can go. This isn't prosperity preaching. This is preaching that says like Jeremiah, there's a calling on your life and there's a place that God wants to send you. There are things you need to accomplish for His kingdom building; but if you just take the cash, ah, you'll never learn to leap for Jesus.

 

Bible says, “Peter took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength.” Now, you got to understand this. Someone may ask question, was he healed when Peter saysto him in verse 6,in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth walk or did he actually get healed when Peter touched him by the hand. I'm not sure it really matters. What matters is that the bones in his ankles and feet regenerated. But you gotta understand; he had a congenital anomaly. He was born without the ability to carry his weight on his legs ever. He had to be recreated, oh don’t miss this thing; he had to be recreated to get what God was trying to give him. He had to be made over in a moment. Some of you think that you've been dealt a hand that you cannot recover from; some of you think that because you were born in a poor township; maybe because your parents didn't have anything; maybe because you have relatives with wealth and you never had any; maybe you think because you didn't do well in school, I came all the way from Los Angeles to tell you, that there is no limit on what God can do with me. And I like what happens. The Bible says, immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he says and he leaping up, stood, and walked and entered with them into the temple walking and (doingwhat?) leaping and praising God.He would have been happy to just be able to walk a little bit. When God was done with him, he was jumping up and down for joy.

Now watch this, the miracle isn't simply that he could walk. You see, how long does it take to learn to walk? Ah you’re missing this thing. If you watch a child, it takes a child months to be able to actually walk and even then they got that unsteady gait like Fred Sanford back on T.V. in the old days. They can't walk too good. This man, in a moment, not only got the strength to walk, God gave him the knowledge and ability to walk.

 

What God has for you,He can give you everything you need to accomplish at the time it's delivered. Moses, as he stood before the burning bush, had every excuse as to why he couldn't do what God wanted him to do. He said, “Listen, I'm slow of speech. If you want me to go back there and speak Egyptian, I haven't spoken to Egyptian in forty years, and I haven't even spoken Hebrew in forty years.” So a lot of people argue that he, it was because he was worried about speaking to Pharaoh in Egyptian, and a lot of other folks say, actually his Hebrew wasn't so good. He was worried about going to be able to speak to his own people. He had every excuse as why he should not be called one. And one of them was, don't miss this one, he was 80 years old. He was called when he was a child. His mother told him when he was a baby, “You’re going to deliver your people.” In Pharaoh's house, his mother was explaining to him, “You're going to deliver your people.” So when he got a chance at forty, Moses went for gold, killed an Egyptian think it was time for him to liberate his people, only to find out it was time for him to run. And God left him in the wilderness watching sheep for 40 years. In fact, he had to

un-learn and relearn everything he learned in Egypt so that the sheep prepared him to deal with God's people. And you know why? Right. The sheep are defenseless and are not very bright. So you had, somebody missed that, so you have to learn how to lead God's people.

 

Are you getting this thing? At 80 years of age, Moses began his ministry. What are you waiting for? I spoke to a mother last night here. She tells me she's a grandmother and she just went back to school and she went back to school recently. Let me just say, it’s never too late to go and be sharpened and be made better so that you can be used by God.

 

He's leaping and praising God and all the people saw him walking and praising God and they knew that it was he would have sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's greatly wondering. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's greatly wondering.

 

This man became a wonder. Can you imagine his testimony? What he was able to tell folks about God and about Jesus Christ after this miracle? In fact, it's peculiar; he was at the Temple all the time which means he was probably at the temple even when Jesus was in the temple. Could it be that Jesus probably stepped past healing him while he was alive and left him to be healed when His disciples could do it after his death so that folk would know that the disciples had the power of Jesus Christ.

 

Ellen White says it like this in Acts of the Apostles page 57. She says, “the disciples of Christ had a deep sense of their own inefficiency and with humiliation and prayer they joined their weakness to His strength, their ignorance to His wisdom, their unworthiness to His righteousness, their poverty to His exhaustless wealth, thus; strengthened and equipped, they hesitated not to press forward in the service of the Master.”

 

I don't care how bad your situation has been. Going forward, you have God on your side, there is nothing you cannot accomplish. One of my, I have. The British Isles produced a lot of great Christians. We're talking about the British Isles and the condition of Christianity British Isles over lunch and I want to talk about it more tomorrow in my full presentation tomorrow; but there were many great Christians that came out of out of the British Isles. And I'm someone who when I go to England, I love to go and visit some of the sights of some of these great people. One of my heroes from the British Isles, a guy name Robert Mueller. Now, Mueller is an interesting character. I would tell you a little bit about him because he came up with seven steps that you should follow in order to know God's will for your life.

 

Now, I read a book by Morris Venden, an Adventist Pastor in in California. I think he’s passed now. But he added an eighth step, when he wrote a book about this. So that's a good eight steps. But to know little bit about Mueller, Mueller for the first 20 years of his life was a reprobate; had nothing to do it God, wanted nothing to do with God. But when he was converted, he started orphanages, and he was a powerful force for God and Jesus Christ in the British Isles. He never advertised his need. He would simply pray. He never went in front of a church and said, “Hey, I need money for this. I need money for that.” AllMueller did was pray and the money would show up. It's that kind of faith that Mueller had. Now, they tell this great story about Mueller that he was crossing the English Channel and he needed to get across back, to get back to the English side of the channel in order to go to a meeting where he was going to help, you know, move forward his ministry. When he gets on a boat on the European continent side, the captain, he tells the captain, “Listen, you need to hurry because I've got to get across the channel because I've got work on the other side.” The captain says, “I'm so sorry Mr. Mueller but unfortunately there's a fog layer and I cannot go fast. So you're not going to be able to make to your meeting. I'm going to have to take it slow because of the fog.” So Muellercall to the captain and tell him to go under the ship and for them to pray in the belly of the ship; but when Mueller went to get the captain down there and I begin to pray, Mueller realizes the captain is not a believer. He doesn't believe in what's going on. So Mueller actually sends the captain back up onto the deck of the ship and Mueller stays below the ship to pray alone. Powerful story. By the time Mueller gets back on the deck, there isn’t a spot of fog anywhere. The captain is converted because the captain understands that there's miraculous power in the God that Mueller serves. Mueller makes his meeting on time and gets everything he needs to get for his ministry to move forward.

 

I'm here to tell you that sometimes the devil goes lay some fog down in your life. And some time to folk in your life, like the captain, aren't gonna really believe that God can get you through the fog. Some time you’ve got to eject some folk from the belly of the ship. Yougotta get some folks out of your life because they're only going tell you what you cannot do and you gotta stay alone with God in the belly of the ship and have God show up so that the fog can be lifted.

 

Sometimes, we hold on to folk we should let go of. Some of you got some phone numbers in your phone right now. You want to be erasing that joke’s phone number. You know what I'm talking about. In the course of his life, Mueller received from the pious and charitable no less than 1.5 million pounds. He educated and sent into the world no fewer than 123,000 pupils. He circulated 275,000 Bibles in different languages with nearly as many smaller portions of Scripture. He aided missions to the extent of 255,000 pounds and he supported 189 missionaries and he employed 112 assistants. This man did all of that and had so much faith that he never ran up in front of anybody begging them for money. He simply prayed.

 

And when Mueller had to make a decision, he followed these steps. The steps that I'm about to share with you. Now you wanna write this down. If you're someone who's about to have to make a big decision, like where you going to go to college or university or what you want to major in, what your career fields gonna be in, and whether or not you want to marry or not marry somebody, follow the steps. Now, the steps don't make the decision for you and there are folks who say you know they quoted Ellen White when I've done this presentation, they told me, “Ellen White says thatGod's will cannot be known.” I'm telling you that when you follow the steps, it puts you in a spiritual place in order to make a decision. You understand what I'm saying. So you’re not making a decision out of the flesh, by God's grace, you’re having God lead you in the spirit into your decision making. Some of you are in business and you need some business moves made, you can apply these steps to all aspects of your life.

So Mueller, in the Scripture, we find 8 points to help us know God's will in our life. Remember that you must consider all steps before you make a decision.

 

Step number 1. Have no will of your own on the matter. Step number one is that you should have no will of your own on the matter. The problem with a lot of us is we enter into a situation all ready with our minds made up in which direction we're going to go. So we leave no room for God to send us in the direction He wants us to go.

 

Step number 1 - Have no will of your own on the matter. Matthew 26:39, Jesus said, “not My will but Your will be done.” John 4:34, Jesus says, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.” Whose will? His will. God's will. So have no will of your own on a matter. That's step number 1.

 

Step number 2. Do not go simply by feeling,for God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a what?sound mind. Isaiah 1:18 says, “Come, let us reason together.”Now, so let's look at these two texts and expand on going simply by feeling. So the primary feeling, in my opinion, the primary feeling that people use to guide their decision making is not of joy or jubilance, it is the feeling of fear. Ah you’re missing this thing. So many folks are afraid of what can happen if they try and fail that they never try at all.

 

One of the great basketball players of the United States, some of our young men like to play basketball. I love to play basketball. One of the great basketball player in the United States said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.” There are some things in life you've got to step out on faith and take a shot. You've got to step out where God is sending you and you cannot allow fear to paralyze you. Fear makes for a poor G.P.S. system. Fear gives terrible directions. So I challenge you not to make decision out of fear instead remove emotion.

 

And you know, how many people fall into horrible relationships because they it feels right? And when I was, I was doing youth pastoring at one church and a young lady came to me and she said, we had a basketball game or some church function on Saturday night and she said, “Pastor, you see that boy over there?” And I said, “Yeah, the one with his pants sagging and looked like he is about to rob a bank, yeah I see him. Ok, I’m a bad youth pastor and I say, “Yeah, I see him, but what about him?” “Pastor, I want you to introduce me to him.”I’m going to introduce him? I’m afraid of him from across the gym. She said, “But, Pastor, he's so cute. You gotta introduce me to him.” I would introduce, she got introduced to him and that poor boy put her through the wringer over the next few years.

 

 

And I would always tell the young women especially young women, but it applies to young men as well, I would always tell them, when you get older and you have a household to manage, the light company, the power company, the water company, the gas company, the landlord or the mortgage company are never gonna call your house and say, “Mr. or Mrs. Brown or whatever your last name is at the time, your bill is passed due and we're about to shut your lights off. However, if your husband is cute enough, relieve your light. If your spouse is good looking enough, will leave the lights on.” I've never heard it happen. It doesn't happen. If you make the decision because it feels right; but it is not right, you will pay a price. That's right. They could be as pretty is Beyoncé or as ugly as Jay Z, you better make the right decision. You better make the right decision.

 

So the third step. The second one - don't go simply by feel. The third step is to study God's word. Look at Psalms 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The Word of God is the light. Now, the thing is, the word provides a source of communication and that is a source of guidance. So you don't just wanna take the Bible. This is what some people or could you do, and flip the Bible open,stick your hand on a verse, “Ok, God has spoken.” Right? That don't work too often. If fact, if you're not careful, you flip the Bible open and stick your finger and it will be and on you know you get to a text that says, “and he was a thief.” And you close your eyes and it again and you get a text where it says and Jesus said to Judas, “whatsoever thou doest do it quickly.” So now, two texts that tells you’re supposed to be a quick thief. That's not the way the Bible works.

 

You wanna study your Bible every single day; every morning you wanna be going through passages of Scripture. You wanna be studying the Bible from three different angles. One of them is a chronological; you just read through the Bible. One of them is topical; you wanna be studying different topics every month, every day. And another way is you want to be studying the Bible for motivation and for guidance. And then in one day, there should be three different ways you actually look at your word. Now the good thing is technology makes it easy. I have all kind of devotionals I have sent to me. And as the day goes on as I'm seeing patients, I don't stop my devotional aday, did you know that. As every now and every hour on the hour, just about I stop and I get a new devotion in my email, on my phone as I'm sitting there charting on. So I will read another devotionand I'll read another devotion and read other devotion. I do my Sabbath school, devotional book in the morning and by the end of the day, I've read different, different things on many different subjects throughout the day because I constantly want to be in communication with God and it takes reading the word constantly to get it sort of God is constantly speaking to you. You get that? This idea that you go and you get into a bind and I you will just flip it open a Bible and find a verse that doesn't always work. So you have to be constantly studying God's word in order to get an answer. Now, sometimes you need to make a decision about a specific thing and a Bible has instruction on that topic and you can use that topical research to figure out what it is you're supposed to do.

 

But the fourth is to consider providential circumstances. I like this one. The Bible says, “Thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord God led you.” So it's time for you to go to college, you want to think about “Well, how did God lead me in school in the past? What did I miss? What did I get?”

 

You know, when I was in need at times that I need to make decisions, when I was finishing Oakwood. I had to delay my applications to medical school by a little bit of time and it was too late to apply when I wanted to. Oakwood University produces a lot of physicians. In fact, even when you consider all Ivy League schools the United States, Oakwood University is sixth in the United States in producing black doctors. So that little Adventist school that Ellen White’s sons set up to this day is fulfilling the mission since the White had for the school, if nothing else just by the number of physicians that the school produces. And I didn't get into medical school right away. And it's interesting because what the devil does is he'll send a distraction, and you gotta remember how He's guided you in the past as to where you go in the future. When I was going to college that I had interview with Ivy League School but I decided to go where God, I felt God was sending me, and I so I went to an Adventist Christian school. Now the U.S. Fire Service, the federal government's fire service, and I was 20 years old, 21 years old, came to Oakwood. They like to recruit from Oakwood because they like to get our students because our students, for the most part, didn't drink and smoke and carry on. They were good students and they knew what they were getting because we were, it was a Christian institution. And they offered me 70,000 dollars to take a job on the spot and go to Washington D.C. and train to be a fireman for the federal government. That 70,000 dollars was more money than I had ever conceived in my life to have. A lot less than a physician would make; but at the time I didn't you know I had not a medical school, this was a nice option. But providential circumstance, I remembered back to those opportunities to go to Ivy League schools and how important was that I stayed the course and went to a Christian school just as God directed me and providential circumstances told me I need to stay on the path that God had given me.

 

I was in the second grade when one of my friends turned to me and said, “One day we should open up a medical practice together.” Second grade and I said, “Sure that sounds like a great idea” and from the second grade, I wanted to be a doctor and I knew that if I followed the immediate money I would not be doing God's will for my life. You've gotta think about how Has God led you in the past and actually help guide you as to how you go in the future.

 

So, to fifth one, the fifth step:consult with godly friends. Consult with godly friends. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no council, the people fall: and where there is a multitude of counsellors there is safety. Psalm 1:1, the first verse of the Book of Psalms, says, “Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly.” It's really important that you understand that you need to have a consultation with godly friends. Here’s what that means. It means you actually have to have some godly friends. Amen. And you can’t go and ask the kids that are in complete rebellion against God for their advice because they will send you in rebellion against God. So do you have godly friends to ask? You need to find some? Hope you have in my church; but they will help you as well. Because sometimes, you know, when you're in the situation is difficult to make a decision and you need someone outside of the situation to help you to make the decision. You getting this? So, consult with godly friends.

 

Now, look how far into the process Mueller puts prayer. Number 6 is ask God in prayer to reveal His will. James 1:5 says,“If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God and gives to all men liberally and it shall be given him.” Take time to listen to the voice of God as well as asking for His direction. Sometimes when we pray, we jump up off the ground so fast and we're off on our way. Let me tell you something, when you finish praying, sometimes you want to just stay on your knees a little while and just meditate, just sing a hymn and ask God to speak to you. Sometimes during your day, instead of having the radio on, even with Christian music or the Bible playing which is what a lot of us probably do, sometime is going to just turn it off and have no noise so that you can hear the voice of God. So you definitely want to listen, you wanna ask Him in prayer and then listen.

 

James 4:2-3 says, “Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, (why do you not have?) “Because ye ask not.”

 

There's so many of us that are walking around, “Woe is me. I don't have this. I don't have that.” And you have never really taken the thing to God in prayer. You’re complaining about being alone and you've never really taken seven straight days to pray and fast with God about finding a companion. You want a better career move and you complained at length about your current job; but you never really taken time to fast and pray with God over what God can send you into. You have not because you ask not.

 

Step no. 7. Step no. 7. Make a decision. You say, “Wait a minute, eight steps and you’re already making a decision.” Hold on your horses. There's a reason for this. James 1:8 says, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” Weigh the evidence and commit to a decision based on the first six steps and the evidence before you, tell God your decision before you tell anyone else. This is important because what I've learned is that when people need to make a decision, many people suffer from the paralysis of analysis. You haven't noticed that? You've got people that will sit there and quander the problem, think the problem, debate the problem, reanalyze the problem, reconfigure the problem, and never do anything about the problem. Do not get the paralysis of analysis. Do not sit there on the sidelines so long trying to figure the thing out; but you never actually make a decision. I've got some guy friends like that. They just never make a decision; 50 years old and they’re still alone because you could never make a decision. There are folks who never finish college because they could never make a decision about what they should major in. At some point in life, as my mother would say “you've got a 7-11 or 21, you've got to make a decision.” At some point, you've got to make a decision. So when you deal with it and you say, “Look,which college I'm gonna go to,” you pick a college at some point. You pray about it; you weigh the evidence; you go through the six steps and say, “okay, I'm gonna choose this college because the eighth step is God step.

 

The eighth step says to proceed with your decision, ask God to stop you if you have not chosen according to His Will. You’re getting this thing? And you apply what is called the open and shut door theory to your decision making. Now watch this, Revelation is where it's described, “…to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens;”

 

Let me tell you something.  I went through these steps; these steps have been applied to my life so many times over in so many decisions. When I was finishing medical school, I applied to two residency programs. So in the States, it was probably the same in South Africa, when you finish medical school, you have to apply to a hospital based program where they train you in a specialty. Right? When you finish medical school, you go. So, one of the ones that are not as competitive is family medicine so I decided I had to stay in South Florida and do family medicine or go back up to Huntsville, Alabama, Oakland University and do family medicine. I had, I did not do step number one. I had a will of my own, I knew where I wanted to live and I never asked God if He wanted me to live somewhere else. And so I only applied to the two programs. Now, I thought for sure I'd get into one of the two programs; family medicine is not very competitive.

 

I didn't get into the program in what is called the match process in medical school. And so what happened is; it is very embarrassing by the way to not match into a program to a hospital program, so I had to go through a process called the scramble. And what this is, is all of hospitals in the United States that did not fill and all the students in the United States that didn't find a hospital to work in have to scramble to try and find a position before they all fill up. So you get this big book, I'm sure now is all computerized, but it is giant book and by specialty, all the hospital openings all across the United States for that year are listed. So it's actually can work the advantage. You can say, “All right now, I didn't get in, maybe there's a general surgery program and I go jump into a program and then think I could get into before and you might get into the hospital need somebody to work.” So, one of my classmates and I, again very embarrassing process, God has humbled me many times in my life. This is one of them.

 

And so I'm flipping through the pages of this thing and ironically during my medical school, all of my electives were around public health or Refugee Health and working on HIV clinic and with the health department on tuberculosis stuff; all in public health, but I didn't know, you can specialize in public health. So I didn't choose it as a specialty. So I'm flipping through and I find a page of this preventive medicine and public health which is one of the residences I did. The first hospital listed is Loma Linda University Medical Center. Now a girl with me is Christian; but she’s not an Adventist. And I said, “That's where I'm going like Jonah I knew where God was trying to send me.” And she’s like, “How do you know?” I said, “That's what God wants me.”

 

In fact, this is what happened. And I don't like telling this. People think I'm crazy but I'm actually not crazy, this actually happened. You gonna think I'm crazy but I'm saying anyway. When I open the page and I saw Loma Linda, light came from the page and I heard “Aaaa…” (Laugh). I know, I know, I sound crazy that only happened one time so I'm crazy temporarily. But I knew it.

 

What am I trying to say you? Make a decision. What you will find is that God will shut the door, you may be humiliated and embarrassed, and He will shut the door. That person will lead you at the altar. Somebody, missing this thing. Sometimes, God will allow a door or window to shut, so He that can open the door or window you are too prideful, too arrogant, too blind, too self-absorbed to notice, was wide open with your name in me neon lights over the window. You get what I'm saying? So you gotta trust that God, if you're putting your hands in His, if you have no will of your own, step number one, what will happen is that God will then direct you where He wants you to go, like He directed me. I would never have serve two presidents, never have been on the Centers for Disease Control Panels, never would have been running a health department, none of my testimony I gave you this morning happened, had I gotten what I wanted. Are you getting what I'm saying?

 

Joseph was a great example of this. If Joseph had simply got what his dreams told him, he had just been made chief over his whole family, received his father's inheritance and that would have been the end of the story. The reason his brothers are so mad and sold him to slavery is because they were older and they said, “Wait a minute, Jacob can't give Joseph all our stuff, this arrogant little kid.” And so they sold him into slavery. They didn't understand that by selling him into slavery; they sold him into his purpose. Oh you’re missing this thing. They didn't understand that it was by did rejecting Joseph that they actually set Joseph to what the dreams really meant. I know some of you feel rejected, I don't some of you feel dejected, I know some of you have been through some trials, and I'm telling you to read the story of Joseph. When I was going through my trials, I read that story all the time because you can be falsely accused and imprisoned. You know the Spirit of Prophecy says about Joseph? Spirit of Prophecy says, in fact, it was the time as a slave that he learned the customs and traditions, the table settings, the manners and mannerisms, the language of the Egyptians, he would have to learn that if you will ever run a country. It was as a prisoner (Don't miss this.) that Joseph learned the legal system and the way the judiciary of Egypt work while he was in prison. God gave him a first hand experiential education into the workings of Egypt so that one day he could run the country.

 

Let me tell you something. Your slave experience might be chapter one of what God is developing you for your future use. Your prison experience, the difficulties you go into, might be God teaching you what you need to know; so that one day that which now in slaves or in prisons you, you can master and rule over. Sometimes the door shuts so the God can open the right window.

 

Let me go back to the eight steps again.

No. 1 - Have no will of your own.

No. 2 - Don't go simply by feelings. No matter how cute they are, be careful. The cutie didn’t pay the bill yet.

No. 3 - Study God's word

No. 4 - Consider providential circumstances.

No. 5 - Consult with godly friends

No. 6 - Ask God in prayer to reveal His will

No. 7 - Make a decision

No. 8 - Proceed with your decision.

Why? Because Psalms 103:8 says, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.”

 

You know what? It's funny because a sister was just telling me how she was told all these bible verses about how terrible God are. There are for every verse you might misconstrue that makes God out to be a tyrant, there are dozens of verses that tell you He's merciful and that He's long suffering. In fact, the Bible says His mercy is new every morning. And that His mercy is everlasting. And so, He will not always chide, not only keep His anger forever, He have not dealt with us after our sins nor rewarded us according to our iniquities, for us the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.

 

You know, sometimes, we, you know as Adventists, we're bad with this. We think that God is constantly looking for some way to punish us and so we think we're not getting where we need to get in life, we’re not, our marriages where not where it’s supposed to be, our careers are not where we're supposed to be, whatever it is, because we've done something wrong or God is punishing us. If God punished us based on what we did, we cease to exist. God allows the trials to perfect character - that's why you're going through what you're going through. His mercy says you will have difficulty because “I wanna perfect you.” As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him for He knows our frame and He remembers that we are what? He remembers that we are just dust.

 

You know, what's funny, we beat ourselves up some time about all our failures. Did you know that one of the reasons the Old Testament and the New Testament in a different ways give the same message. Here in Psalms, He says, listen, He's merciful because He understands your frame. He knows how weak you are inherently. He understands how broken, easily broken and how broken some of us actually are. So He's merciful and He keeps giving you chances because He understands how messed up you are. And then He sent His son and in Hebrew, the Bible says that Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, but He didn't sin. So we have a high priest who is not unfamiliar with our infirmities. So in the Old Testament says, listen, “I'm the Creator, I understand, you were created broken and you're made of dust.” And in the New Testament, it's not enough that I know it from a distance, I came on the earth in flesh and experienced it myself so that He can be even more merciful.

 

And all that means when it comes to you choosing for your future, you know what it means? It means you need to trust God because He understands your failures. He understands your weaknesses. He's asking you to trust Him with your weaknesses and with your failures so He can bless and prosper you. And I don't mean it in the way of the churches where they say, “Look and if you sow a seed, you get money back.” That's not what I mean by prosperity. He will prosper your ability to build His kingdom.

 

He says, “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, I have plans to prosper you not to harm you. I have plans to give you a future filled with hope.” Does that sound like a terrible tyrant type God? He says, “When you seek me in prayer and in worship you, will find me available to you, if you seek me with all your heart and soul.”You'll find Him if you seek Him. If you ask He'll answer.

 

One of my greatest heroes was my mother and I can tell you, she was an amazing woman. She raised the three of us by herself. And kept us where God could reach us, grown up young black in America, the assumption, even by our own folk is that if you've got three boys and you a mother by yourself, you raise, you probably will raise three criminals. Three thugs, that's the assumption. And my mother would have to hear that kind of thing; but they didn't understand that my mother knew God and she understood the power that God has in the lives and color doesn't matter to God. You see, God is, He lives above the pigmentation of skin. These are simply; this is simply the product of melanocites that release a chemical called melanin that gives all our different hues. God created the melanocites. So He's not real confused by your color. So He was not upset. With my mother, it wasn't her fault she ran up in a situation she was in and God blessed her and we were raised in His fear and admonition.

 

The time came, about 12 years ago now; no actually I was told about 15 years ago now, that my mother was diagnosed with a terrible form of cancer. The disease is called multiple myeloma; it is a bone marrow cancer. And what this cancer does is, it grows and drills into the bone. Now, your bones are some of the best and most innovative part of your body, meaning a lot of nerves in your bones which make sense right because if you break it you need to know you're broken. So you break a bone, you get a lot of pain. This cancer is all over your body all at once because all your bone has marrow and as the cancer spreads. The marrow begins; the cancerous marrow begins to break into your bones. So my mother was suffering with pain from the crown of her head to the soles of her feet. She could barely walk and move. She was such a proud Jamaican woman and she was raised under the British system of Jamaica, as it was one of the former colonies as well. So she had a lot of pride in a way that the British raised, you know, it in the British culture. My grandfather’s father was white British actually and so they were raised in a certain way that you, you are stoic. I mean so you couldn't show that you were suffering. I don't know where it comes because Americans don't have that. They would suffer quickly and loud. And my mother was so in pain that my brother would actually, He works at the University of Miami whether he would actually carry her to the steps of the hospital where she was a hospital administrator and she would be doubled over in pain and when my mother stepped into the hospital or people could see there, she would straighten up and walk as if nothing was wrong with her. Three years, she suffered with this disease. I’m gonna talk about health tomorrow and when she went plant based, the disease began to retreat and when she stopped being plant based on her diet, the disease would advance. Anyway, she got to, we got to a point where the disease was really winning and I was called in California, I had to fly back and it was tough because as a physician, my mother would call me, “Son, figure out something to help me.” And I was calling hospitals all over America trying to find new treatments. I flew into Miami; my younger brother's a tough guy. He used to run, he knows all the rappers and everybody, met all of Jay Z and all these guys and when he came to pick me up from the airport, my brother was crying and I instantly knew, it was bad. I had not seen my mother and several months by this juncture, and so he took me to the hospital and I went in and my mother was skin and bone it looked like. She had always had her hair perm, her natural hair and I was only just a little bit of hair and her hair was short on her head and I said, “Man.” She's hooked up to all of the devices and I.V. and I.V. morphine pumps and all of this stuff. And I just, it was tough. And I sat there with her for a while and her favorite song was what a Friend We Have in Jesus. So every time the folk would come in and we'd all sing that song and when I was alone with her and she fell asleep, I snuck into the bathroom and fell on my knees and I began to agonize with God, I said, “Lord, how could you allow this. This woman was a pathfinder leader. She was a master guide. This woman was the church accountant. I mean, she made sure that the books at our churches were pristine with the best books in the whole conference.” I said, “Lord, she labored for you. She worked for You. She was so faithful. How could you allow my mother to suffer like this?” And I heard a quiet voice, one of those times, I'm not crazy, but I heard a quiet voice. And the Spirit of God spoke to me and said, “She has been perfected.” And it was all it said; but it was as if God was saying, you need to stop worrying about your mama and start worrying about yourself because the next face she's gonna see is the face of Jesus Christ on that great good morning. But you friend, have work to do.

 

Let me tell something. I put that story at the end of my ‘How to know God's will for your life talk’ because at the end of the day, God is not trying to make you the next billionaire. God is not trying to give you the C.E.O. ship of a great company. He's not trying to make you the next American Idol or South African idol. He's not trying to make you a superstar celebrity. God is working to save you. And sometimes the path to salvation is one that means He drives us to our knees. And it won't be easy, it won't always be pleasant, it will be sometimes a paved with difficulty and trial but God understands that if He can purify your character, He will allow you to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, He'll allow you to have to face evil because guess what? Like I told you in my testimony this morning, when I went into that meeting, one of the things that happened, I went to a big room, it was as if the Spirit of God said to me, I will present a table for you in the presence of your enemies and I that’s exactly what God did.

 

 I challenge you, young people especially, hold on to God's hand. He has a purpose for your life and it may seem bleak and dreary like there's no way out; but I'm telling you David was once in the sheep out with the sheep all by himself, shutting bears and lions and it seemed as if that would be his lot for the rest of his life, so much so that when the prophet came to anoint Jesse's sons, they didn't even bring David out. Moses was supposed to deliver his people like I said he was until he was 80 years old and didn't even want the job anymore when God came to get him. Esther had no intention of being a queen.

 

I want you to understand it, when you study the Bible, a reoccurring theme about the lives of the Bible's great heroes is this - When you submit yourself to God, He will lift you up. He gives you two promises, I will leave you with: one in Malachi and one in Isaiah. One in Malachi says that if you return a faithful tithes and offering, He will open up the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing you won't have room enough to receive. Some of you don't have the blessing you are asking for because you have not opened a window of heaven, because you hold on so tight to what little money you have, that you are not leaving any space forgot to put something in your hand. How to know God's will for your life? - You better return a faithful tithe and offering.

 

The second one is and Isaiah says that if you keep God Sabbath and you call a Sabbath a delight and turn from your own ways on God's Sabbath, the Bible says, that God will cause you to rise up on the high places of the earth. If you want real success in this life, remember those two biblical promises. If you return, if you support God's work with your finances and you remember God with your time by keeping the Sabbath, God will increase your territory. And what seems impossible to you now God will make an easy thing for you later.

 

Let's pray. Father God, we thank You that You are the God of second chances, third chances and Father God, You are merciful and longsuffering as the psalmist say. Father God, there are young people here who have been called to finish this work and they don't even know it yet. They think that their background, their family origins, their finances are so much that they can never overcome those obstacles. Father God, put a spark in their heart that if they follow You and do Your will, You will cause them to ride upon the high places of this earth and they will be able to proclaim the gospel from the tops of mountains. Father God, there are some who are older who think that the time for great things to happen in their life has passed, oh Father God, remind them that that Abraham was probably in his eighty's when the child was given him a promise, Moses was eighty when he got the call to go and do great things, that in fact if we study the scripture, You are, You don't care about age either. And Father God, You call men and women, You call young and old, You call us of all nationalities and backgrounds and Father God, there are some here tonight who are being called. Father, I pray that You to point them in the right direction. They find their purpose in You and that they follow Your will. This is our prayer in Jesus’ precious and holy name; let the church say amen and amen.

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This message was presented at the AMEN Missions 2017 Bible Conference: “Shaken but not forsaken” in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. AMEN Missions, a supporting ministry of the Seventh Day Adventist Church is a youth-led ministry seeking to inspire young people to be Bible-based, mission-focused, and Christ-centered Christians. Our aim is to assist in taking the gospel of Jesus Christ to all the world in this generation. For more resources like this or to find out how to support this work, visit us at www.amen-missions.co.za. AMEN – Advent Message to Every Nation. This recording was produced by the Preparation ministry.

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