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Decision making: Discerning your call

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Decision making: Discerning your call

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Decision making: Discerning your call

  1. 1. Discerning Your CallDiscerning Your Call A Discussion on GuidanceA Discussion on Guidance Ehab RoufailEhab Roufail
  2. 2. OutlineOutline  Walking on waterWalking on water  Our GuidesOur Guides  God has a plan for us?God has a plan for us?  God is willing to help in our decisionsGod is willing to help in our decisions  We learn what pleases HimWe learn what pleases Him  What does he want from us?What does he want from us?  Guidance and the ChurchGuidance and the Church  Circumstances and common senseCircumstances and common sense  Conditions for GuidanceConditions for Guidance
  3. 3. JesusJesus Walking onWalking on WaterWater Mt 14:22  Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23  After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.Later that night, he was there alone, 24  and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
  4. 4. JesusJesus Walking onWalking on WaterWater 25  Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake.26  When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.  27  But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  28  “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”
  5. 5. JesusJesus Walking onWalking on WaterWater 29  “Come,” he said.  Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30  But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  31  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
  6. 6. JesusJesus Walking onWalking on WaterWater 32  And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33  Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
  7. 7. Jesus walking onJesus walking on Water:Water: 1. Faith asks in Prayer1. Faith asks in Prayer  Why did the Lord call Peter out of the boat, and not the other disciples?  Simply, because Peter asked.  “in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God." (Phil.4:6)  Our Lord is not offended by our asking, and will respond to our prayers. He may not always respond with the answer we had hoped for, but He will respond.   The faith that walks on water is the faith that prays, and keeps on praying.
  8. 8.  What did Peter ask for? He asked for Christ’s Word: “if it’s you…tell me...”  He sought the Lord’s will first, before getting out of the boat.  Faith is not a tool to achieve our own agenda. Peter wasn’t making demands or claiming his ‘right’ to walk on water.  The faith that walks on water looks to Christ for His will, not our own.  Jesus walking onJesus walking on Water:Water: 2. Faith Seeks God’s Will
  9. 9.  After Peter sought His will in asking the Lord for permission he didn’t immediately jump out of the boat.  The faith that walks on water is faith that waits on God until He answers.   Satan literally tempted Christ to take a similar leap of faith. Luke 4:1-13  Satan was challenging Christ to step out on the promise of God. Jesus walking on Water:Jesus walking on Water: 3. Faith Waits On the Lord
  10. 10.  It is a legitimate promise in Psalm 91:11,12 that God will protect us and keep us from harm.  Christ responded by quoting another verse, from Deut.6:16 - “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”  Faith waits on the Lord, and takes the whole of God’s word into consideration. It requires that we heed the entire counsel of God and His servants.  The faith that walks on water is the faith that waits on the Lord. Jesus walking on Water:Jesus walking on Water: 3. Faith Waits On the Lord
  11. 11.  The story of Peter walking on water is a popular passage with preachers who turn it into a motivational message encouraging people to reach for higher goals, to take risks ‘for God’, to dream bigger dreams. They often sound like a religious  version of the many motivational speakers popular in business who make a living hyping people to “be all that they can be” and to “reach for your dreams”.  The Bible teaches us otherwise. “Unless the seed falls to the ground and dies, it remains alone.” Jesus walking on Water:Jesus walking on Water: 4. Christ is the Goal
  12. 12.  The gospel is not a motivational message from heaven to bring us into greater personal fulfillment.  Christ did not come to earth and die on the cross to become our personal enabler so that we can achieve a better life.  The goal of the gospel IS Christ, and to bring us to Him.  Peter’s request was to “come to you on the water.” Jesus walking on Water:Jesus walking on Water: 4. Christ is the Goal
  13. 13.  Peter’s desire and request was to go to Christ, not to walk on water. Walking on water is not about miracles; it’s about drawing closer to Christ in our personal lives. It is about coming to Jesus daily in personal communion.  The gospel of Christ invites us to come and die to self, our will, our dreams, our ambitions, our agendas and become servants of the cross. Jesus walking on Water:Jesus walking on Water: 4. Christ is the Goal
  14. 14.  Unless we hate our life, pick up our cross and die to self we cannot be His disciples.  It is no longer our path in life we follow, but His.  The goal of Christian faith is always Christ, to know Him and obey Him.  If our motivation is wrong than nothing we do can be right with God.  The faith that walks on water has the person of Christ and His will as it’s supreme goal in all things. Jesus walking on Water:Jesus walking on Water: 4. Christ is the Goal
  15. 15. How have you beenHow have you been shaped?shaped? An Exercise:An Exercise:  Try and trace important decisions – at least 3 - thatTry and trace important decisions – at least 3 - that were made by you or for you in your life that shapedwere made by you or for you in your life that shaped who you are nowwho you are now  Write down 3 people who greatly influenced yourWrite down 3 people who greatly influenced your charactercharacter  How have you seen Gods hand guiding andHow have you seen Gods hand guiding and shaping your future? Write down 3 occasions.shaping your future? Write down 3 occasions.
  16. 16. God has a plan for ourGod has a plan for our lifelife For I know theFor I know the plansplans I have for you,” declares the LORD,I have for you,” declares the LORD, ““plansplans to prosper you and not to harm you,to prosper you and not to harm you, plansplans to giveto give you hope and a future.you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11Jeremiah 29:11  God doesn’t just have a plan for our lives he also guides usGod doesn’t just have a plan for our lives he also guides us throughout – do you remember this verse in the psalms?throughout – do you remember this verse in the psalms?  they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strikethey will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike youryour footfoot againstagainst aa stonestone.. Psalm 91:12Psalm 91:12  We see this in story of the temptation of our Lord. In LukeWe see this in story of the temptation of our Lord. In Luke 4:1-2 we see our Lord Jesus being led by the Spirit….4:1-2 we see our Lord Jesus being led by the Spirit….  Although he was being led into the wilderness, a place ofAlthough he was being led into the wilderness, a place of wild animals and where He was greatly tempted He waswild animals and where He was greatly tempted He was being looked afterbeing looked after
  17. 17. God helps us in ourGod helps us in our DecisionsDecisions I will instruct you and teach you in the way youI will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;should go; I will guide you with My eye.I will guide you with My eye. Psalm 32:8 Psalm 32:8   The Bible reassures us that God does not leave us aloneThe Bible reassures us that God does not leave us alone but rather he takes us by the hand and leads us safelybut rather he takes us by the hand and leads us safely through life.through life.  This does not mean that we miss the normal heartaches,This does not mean that we miss the normal heartaches, problems or tragedies of life, but in all situations we haveproblems or tragedies of life, but in all situations we have the reassurance that God is in charge.the reassurance that God is in charge.  He leads us even in the wilderness – in fact, particularly inHe leads us even in the wilderness – in fact, particularly in the wilderness.the wilderness.
  18. 18. God helps us in ourGod helps us in our DecisionsDecisions In Exodus – God leads his people one step at aIn Exodus – God leads his people one step at a time.time.  We today look back at the story of Israel’s journeyWe today look back at the story of Israel’s journey through the wilderness to Canaan, but at the timethrough the wilderness to Canaan, but at the time the people could only see one step at a time. Inthe people could only see one step at a time. In Exodus 17:1 theyExodus 17:1 they ‘set out … travelling from place‘set out … travelling from place to place as the Lord commanded’.to place as the Lord commanded’.  God often leads us in this way. We cannot seeGod often leads us in this way. We cannot see beyond the next step.beyond the next step.
  19. 19. God helps us in ourGod helps us in our Decisions: StoryDecisions: Story There once was a man who was asleep one night in hisThere once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and thecabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared to him.Saviour appeared to him. The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, andThe Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was toshowed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the manpush against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup todid, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the coldsundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might.massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore andEach night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent inworn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.vain.
  20. 20. God helps us in ourGod helps us in our Decisions : StoryDecisions : Story Seeing that the man showed signs ofSeeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picturediscouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture - placing thoughts in the man's mind, such as- placing thoughts in the man's mind, such as ``Why kill yourself over this?, you're never going to``Why kill yourself over this?, you're never going to move it!'' or ``Boy, you've been at it a long time andmove it!'' or ``Boy, you've been at it a long time and you haven't even scratched the surface!'' etc.you haven't even scratched the surface!'' etc. giving the man the impression the task wasgiving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servantimpossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn't moving the massive stone.because he wasn't moving the massive stone.
  21. 21. God helps us in ourGod helps us in our Decisions : StoryDecisions : Story These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the manThese thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. ``Why killand he started to ease up in his efforts. ``Why kill myself?'' he thought. ``I'll just put in my time puttingmyself?'' he thought. ``I'll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be goodforth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough.'' And this he did or at least planned on doingenough.'' And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to theuntil, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.Lord. ““Lord,'' he said, “I have labored hard and long in YourLord,'' he said, “I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that whichservice, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I haveYou have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter.not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?''What is wrong? Why am I failing?''
  22. 22. God helps us in ourGod helps us in our Decisions : StoryDecisions : Story  To this the Lord responded compassionately, ``MyTo this the Lord responded compassionately, ``My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me andfriend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, I told you to push against the rockyou accepted, I told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. Butwith all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected younever once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task wasto move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was to push. And now you come to Me, your strengthto push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit.spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your armsBut is this really so? Look at yourself. Your arms are strong and muscled; your back sinewed andare strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown.brown.
  23. 23. God helps us in ourGod helps us in our Decisions: StoryDecisions: Story Your hands are calloused from constant pressureYour hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard.and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much andThrough opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you usedyour ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven't succeeded in movingto have. Yet still, you haven't succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to Me now with a heavythe rock; and you come to Me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend willheart and your strength spent. I, my friend will move the rock. Your calling was to be obedient andmove the rock. Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in Mypush, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom, and this you have done.''wisdom, and this you have done.'' You have now become the man I wanted you to be.You have now become the man I wanted you to be.
  24. 24. Peter yearned to bePeter yearned to be with His Masterwith His Master Personal sharingPersonal sharing "Behind our life the Weaver stands And works his wondrous will; We leave it all in his wise hands, And trust his perfect skill Should mystery enshroud his plan, And our short sight be dim, We will not try the whole to scan, But leave each thread to Him." C. MURRAY.
  25. 25. We gradually learn whatWe gradually learn what decisions please Himdecisions please Him ForFor “who has known the mind of the LORD that“who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?”he may instruct Him?” But we have the mindBut we have the mind of Christ.of Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:161 Corinthians 2:16 As we continue in our walk with the Lord weAs we continue in our walk with the Lord we gradually learn what sort of decisions pleasegradually learn what sort of decisions please Him.Him. We learn this from reading His Word – storingWe learn this from reading His Word – storing up an understanding of the One Whom weup an understanding of the One Whom we LoveLove
  26. 26. We gradually learn whatWe gradually learn what decisions please Himdecisions please Him  For example this ‘mind of Christ’ applies toFor example this ‘mind of Christ’ applies to the choice of a life partner for marriage. Ofthe choice of a life partner for marriage. Of course we want definite reassurance beforecourse we want definite reassurance before we get engaged but some questions need notwe get engaged but some questions need not be asked.be asked.  We know from the Bible that we are not to beWe know from the Bible that we are not to be mismatched with unbelieversmismatched with unbelievers  In some areas we don’t need to look forIn some areas we don’t need to look for guidance or wait for a heavenly sign – elseguidance or wait for a heavenly sign – else we would be going back to immaturitywe would be going back to immaturity
  27. 27. But what does God wantBut what does God want from us?from us? For this is the will of God,For this is the will of God, your sanctificationyour sanctification …… 11 Thess 4:3 Thess 4:3  St. Paul in the above passage is talking about how weSt. Paul in the above passage is talking about how we ‘ought to live and please God (4:1). He then outlines‘ought to live and please God (4:1). He then outlines some basic principles for making decisions.some basic principles for making decisions. Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the LordFinally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just asJesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and toyou received from us how you ought to walk and to please God;please God; 22 for you know what commandments wefor you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus.gave you through the Lord Jesus. 1 Thess 4:1-21 Thess 4:1-2
  28. 28. But what does God wantBut what does God want from us?from us? but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in allbut as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,your conduct, 1616 because it is written, “Be holy, for I ambecause it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-161 Peter 1:15-16 You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointedYou did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that youryou that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Fatherfruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you.in My name He may give you. John 15:16John 15:16
  29. 29. Stepping outStepping out of the boatof the boat  That’s the next talk…That’s the next talk…

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