Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
Get all the Soul Foods online @:http://www.olivebranchministries.us
The Purpose of the Path
James 4:14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.
The older I get the more I realize how precious and valuable my time is. Time is something we only have once, so we have to make good use of it. We only have so many days to do what we have been given to do here on the Earth, and I want my days to count. I think most people would say the same thing if asked, but are they consciously making the choices that will really count when itís all said and done? I have my share of regrets and I realize that I can not undo the past, however I can go forward looking ahead and do whatís right. Thatís the mindset we all have to take.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
The New American translation saysÖ
Ephesians 2:10 For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.
Even though God created us and ordained good things for us, we still have to make the conscious decision to walk in these good works that God purposed for us to walk in before the world was created. Thatís a lot to think about. Itís our choice to make and God will not override our will. He lets us choose.
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
Its still our choice, we can choose our own way, or His way.
Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;
Heís even went to great lengths to tell us what to choose if we want to live, but yet He still is leaving the choice up to us. We have to understand He wants us to live, He wants our descendents to live. Yet, we have to choose life if that is going to happen.
God gave Adam a choice. His most precious creation, the man who was created in His very own image, and He allowed Him to sin. God knew before hand that Adam would fail and tried to teach Him the correct way and told Him very clearly do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It wasnít His will that Adam eat of that tree, yet He still allowed it to happen. Why? From the very beginning we were given a choice, the choice of life or death. The ultimate choice was ours to make, we were given a free will to choose life or death. Have you ever stopped to consider that if we were only given one choice we wouldnít have to choose. We could not be held accountable if there were no other options could we? God wants us to choose Him of our own free will, there are many paths before us so we have multiple choices, just like Adam.
God allowed Adam to make the wrong choice and because of this, sin cost him his relationship with God and the authority God had given him, and all that that entailed. God had given Adam complete authority over the Earth. Adam turned that authority over to Satan. The authority that Adam had, was given to him by God and when Adam turned it over to Satan God could not legally take it back. That wouldnít be just. He had to allow Adams decision to stand other wise it wouldnít be just, and God is just.
The Earth and man fell under a curse and man was lost and seemingly without hope. Mankind was lost and need a savior. Thank God He had a plan to show us the way back to Him. But it would cost Him more than we could possibly imagine.
Revelation 13:8 And all who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
God had this plan all along, He is showing us the way to life. Jesus is the way, the truth, the life, there is no other. If we want life, then we have to choose Him. Heís allowing all these other ways, yet we have to choose Him first if we in order to have Godís plan for our life. Everything else we do will be in vain if we donít first choose to believe on Jesus Christ. This has to be our first choice, then we can follow after Him.
Heís calling us to be sons of God.
John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name:
We are called to be something more than we can even imagine. We are called to be heirs.
Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17. and if children, then heirs heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. 18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
Wow, this is really an incredible thing to consider, joint heirs with Jesus Christ. I didnít say this, Godís Word said it, yet we consider ourselves too unworthy. I know in the natural we are, and I not talking about that, I talking about what Godís Word said we have become in and through Christ Jesus.
2 Corinthians 5:16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Old things have passed away, we are new creatures in Christ. We are not going to just automatically just start walking in this new life and all of its benefits, we have to be trained and educated according to Godís Word. In the natural we may think well, who am I anyway. Itís easy to think this way when look at ourselves as a natural men. We have to make a conscious decision to change the way we think and look at things. We can not do this without Godís help. Heís given us His Word and the mighty Holy Spirit. His Word tells us who we are and teaches us how to get to where Heís calling us to go by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
2. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
There are three distinct levels mentioned here, the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. If we are going to be obedient and fulfill the plan of God for our lives then we have to take the necessary steps, the perfect will of God doesnít just happen. We have to seek Him out, and seek His will in all things for our lives. We have to be led by the Holy Spirit, and we have to be obedient to His call.
Philippians 2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
The New Jerusalem Bible saysÖ
Philippians 2:13 It is God who, for his own generous purpose, gives you the intention and the powers to act.
Godís grace in action, I like that, but again it is a walk of faith.
Psalms 127:1 Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the Lord guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.
We could spend an entire life building a house and find out when it is all said and done that it was all for nothing. You might even get the house built but is it what God wants? Just because you are building something doesnít mean you are building according to Godís plan. We have to have His plan and direction before we start to build. We have to ask ourselves is this Godís plan for me. He may raise two similar looking ministries yet ordain them with completely different purposes. We canít do something just because others are doing it. Even if something is good it doesnít mean that is what you are supposed to be doing. If He has called you to do one certain thing then regardless of how good something may appear on the outside that doesnít mean you are supposed to be doing it. We each have to find out for ourselves what God has called us to do and follow that path. We can forfeit Godís blessings in your life by not following the specific path He has laid out for us. However, it doesnít have to be that way.
He is not obligated to bless our plans, regardless of our good intentions. Many get a plan and think itís a good plan and then ask God to bless it, going on with their own work, building in vain. What a waste, I want what I do to count donít you. We have to know the will of God if we are actually going to fulfill it, there is no getting around this. I know this sounds like an obvious thing, but it is what many Christians do. Knowing is the beginning of a successful journey. We have to know before we can actually step out and accomplish what God has given us to do. This is a day by day walk of faith, we are led one day at a time. He will direct our path, but we have to follow the directions Heís given us, thatís our part. We follow those directions until we are told to go a new direction. Itís a constant adjustment on our part to stay on the correct path. If we inadvertently stray off of the path He will correct us. He corrects us with His Word and by the Holy Spirit. Weíll have an inner sense that something is wrong, and many times start to feel dissatisfied. Thatís our queue to seek Him and find out what is going on. We wonít always know everything but we will know something isn't right. That feeling will not go away until we find out where weíve missed it or strayed from the path Heís laid out before us and make the proper adjustment. He will show us when we get before and listen, we have to ask! He expects this of us, and He will not leave us hanging without direction. His peace will be a confirmation when we get it right. We will know we gotten back on the path.
Someday we will stand before Him and give account for what weíve done. Will what weíve done be a house built without Him or will He be the master builder? We each have to ask ourselves this question. Even if weíve missed it, itís not too late to get back on the path Heís given us. Iím speaking from personal experience when I say this. I know what it is like to have gotten off of the path Heís given me. My intention in this is not to condemn anyone but to encourage us all to find the God given path he has laid out for each of us. We can never find true happiness and peace until we do. The good news is that itís never too late to start your journey. God is merciful and will give us the grace to do what ever Heís called us to do. We can only find true peace, happiness and real sense of contentment when we start on this journey of faith. What an awesome God we serve!
Maybe you are one who has never really given this much thought. I would like to ask you to consider for yourself that there are many paths we can follow, yet only one path is the correct one. You can take the first step right now if you have not done so already.
If you donít know that you are a child of God and want to know for sure, then take this first step, which is to believe on Him.
Earnestly pray this prayer now and make the decision that will forever change your life.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.