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Discerning God’s will when God seems silent

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"Wait for the LORD; Be strong and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the LORD." - Psalms 27:14

There are times in our life when God doesn't answer our prayers. What should be our response when we are waiting for God? Rev. Dr. Ken Fong

Presented at West Coast Chinese Christian Conference, December 2018.

Published in: Spiritual
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Discerning God’s will when God seems silent

  1. 1. discerning God’s will W H E N G O D S E E M S S I L E N T Affiliate Associate Professor Asian American Church Studies Fuller Theological Seminary Rev. Dr. Ken Fong 1 Why is it so important for Christians to understand what God’s will is? EPH 5 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Too easy to waste time or miss opportunities to serve God’s purposes. We don’t want to fail as Christ’s ambassadors and servants. 2 To avoid God’s penalties for disobeying God’s will. 1 THESS 4 3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; 6 and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. The Lord will punish all those who commit such sins, as we told you and warned you before.  Always tempting to make regrettable choices with our bodies, and in many other areas of our lives. We don’t want to suffer lasting consequences of our sins. 3 God Has Already Spoken: We must learn to control our bodies in holy and honorable ways We are never to tire of loving fellow Christians in better and better ways We are to promote justice, love mercy, and refrain from thinking we know better than God. Young lovers? Self-petting? Intimacy when engaged? Adults on dates? Non-binary? 4 When God Is Silent_God's Will_WCCCC - December 24, 2018
  2. 2. To be reminded of our unending debt to love one another. 1 THESS 4 9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 10 And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more… So easy to stop loving others, even fellow Christians. We don’t want to end up being unforgiving, ungrateful people. 5 God Has Already Spoken: We must learn to control our bodies in holy and honorable ways We are never to tire of loving fellow Christians in better and better ways We are to promote justice, love mercy, and refrain from thinking we know better than God. Abusive? Church splits?Creepy? Scandal? Controlling? 6 God clearly wants us to promote justice, to love mercy and not to be proud. MICAH 6 8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. If we live like this, we will be living out God’s will in the world. But too often we ignore these stipulations. 7 God Has Already Spoken: We must learn to control our bodies in holy and honorable ways We are never to tire of loving fellow Christians in better and better ways We are to promote justice, love mercy, and refrain from thinking we know better than God. What is just? Unprideful learning? Limits to caring? Too merciful? Apathy? Fatigue? 8 When God Is Silent_God's Will_WCCCC - December 24, 2018
  3. 3. What is just? Unprideful learning? Limits to caring? Too merciful? Apathy? Fatigue? Abusive? Church splits? Creepy? Scandal? Controlling? Young lovers? Self-petting? Intimacy when engaged? Adults on dates? Non-binary? ? ?? ? ? ?? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?? ? 9 We are often still confused & perplexed after reading what God requires of us. Has God given us a central guideline? 10 When in doubt, do the loving thing! JOHN 13:34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” 1JOHN 4:16 God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. MATTHEW 22:37 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” God’s Will 11 And God’s Will Is That We Have F R E E W I L L GEN 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” JOSH 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” GAL 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. There is often more than one good choice to make. 12 When God Is Silent_God's Will_WCCCC - December 24, 2018
  4. 4. How do we discern God’s will W H E N G O D S E E M S S I L E N T ? Pray with these revealed truths in mind… 13 God wants me to use my free will to serve others humbly in love. God’s foremost will is for me to love God unreservedly and one practical way is to love every neighbor the same way I love myself. This includes my enemies, and even those I am uncomfortable loving. God’s love for me, every person, and all creation is perfect and without exceptions. So I can make choices without fear of being punished for making imperfect choices. When in doubt, I can choose to do the loving thing, not the judgmental thing. 14 “Now what am I supposed to do?” 15 “How am I supposed to respond?” 16 When God Is Silent_God's Will_WCCCC - December 24, 2018
  5. 5. “Where should I go next?” 17 “How long am I supposed to wait?” 18 “What do you want me to change?” 19 Where are you seeking to know God’s will in some specific way today and why? 20 When God Is Silent_God's Will_WCCCC - December 24, 2018

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