God’s Will Or Just A Lazy Excuse

If It’s God’s Will…

First let me get out of the way that I believe in the sovereignty of God on all that occurs in this entire vast universe He has created. However, I have noticed in the lives of many Christians (including myself) we can toss around the phrase “If it’s God’s will…” In all truth that phrase is completely true. God is in control, and if He wants something to happen on this earth then it will happen in spite of us. However, let us not begin to use the phrase to excuse laziness. I noticed that many people say this exact thing in situations that will never occur unless they get up and do something or God literally drops it into their lap. God’s will becomes something we cannot know anything about at all or just a big waiting game. Please don’t think I am bashing on you if you’ve done this because I am guilty myself of doing this exact thing.

Let me give you an example. I was walking by an extremely dirty homeless man eating old pieces of corn next to the trash. Across from him was a cart selling the exact thing he was eating but fresh. A thought crossed my mind that I should buy him some fresh corn to eat rather than eat out of the trash. However, I have to admit, with shame, that I let my thoughts get the best of me. In the end, I was hoping something obvious would happen so I would know what to do but sadly enough I just walked right by heading onto my business at hand. I am pretty sure I would never be embarrassed to stand before God and know that I have fed the poor and homeless, but I know for a fact I would regret facing God having skipped an opportunity to love another human being for the sake of Christ.

What Is God’s Will?

“The way to find God’s will is to do God’s will for the next 15 minutes.”

-Adrian Rogers

Can we know God’s will? Yes, we can. I think often when people speak of God’s will it is more in a very vague, mystical way. It is something that is hard to figure out and takes a lot of work. Some people say that it is when we have a peace in our heart, hear a voice, etc. I believe God is capable of communicating His will in any manner He desires. However, I think we often ignore the most obvious way of knowing His will…the Bible. It is summed up well by David Platt who said, “If you are asking for God’s will, but not obeying God’s Word then we got it all wrong.” Please don’t get me wrong, I do not believe God is incapable of speaking to us in many ways, but I think we should start with the most obvious. There is much to learn from the Bible on how to live, act, and speak. Also, sometimes it is easy with the wrong view of God’s will to do nothing when faced with a decision.

Let’s Get Intentional

In the end, the danger I see in misunderstand what it means to seek God’s will is that we often don’t do anything. We wait for God to bring His will our way. The beautiful part is that we have a loving God that does bring His will our way at times. However, I feel I have missed out on many wonderful, life-chafing things because I didn’t intentional pursue God’s will. It is much easier for me to sit around hoping God will bring opportunities or people to myself. Some of the most awesome interactions with people, relationships built, or opportunities to be Christ to another have come when I stepped out into a situation I know from the truths of the Bible. I guess what I hope for all who followers of Christ (and for myself) is that we would see the adventure we could have by pursuing intentionally and passionately what we do know is God’s will.

Dreams, Prison, and Wicked Brothers OH MY!

joseph-with-brothers-in-egypt

So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

Genesis 45:4-8

One of my goals is to read through the Bible each year. I just began reading through it again. The beautiful part is that I always gain more insight, grow, and learn more than I knew before. One part that has shocked me the most is to read through many of the stories in the Old Testament that I learned in Sunday School years ago, but now I have fresh eyes to see them through while also seeing the BIG picture of the whole Bible.  Recently I read about Joseph’s life in the book of Genesis. Many of us who have attended church for many years have heard about Joseph many times, and we mostly remember the dreams, his colorful coat, and tricking his brothers when they came to Egypt. However, this time through I saw some important lessons to be learned through Joseph’s life.

First, I noticed that Joseph was obedient to God throughout his life even in the face of difficulty and trials. Joseph worked hard as a slave and faithfully served in Potiphar’s house in Egypt. He fled sexual temptation when Potiphar’s wife pursued him constantly, and then falsely accused him. Even in jail he was such a trustworthy, hardworking individual he was promoted to the highest position while in jail. Lastly, he served as second in command under Pharaoh even though this was not his home country. In the end, Joseph was even willing to forgive his brothers who sold him into slavery. Not once did Joseph give up and blame God like many people do today. How often do people face difficult trials and circumstances in life, and then react by blaming God and giving up? I would say more than not.

Second, I noticed that Joseph understood that God was sovereign. Joseph told his brother’s that even though they had meant to do evil, God had intended this for Joseph’s good. Not only did Joseph benefit from being obedient to God in light of his circumstances, but Joseph was an example to all those around him as he served God.

These two insights are weighty for me at this time in my life for two reasons: (1) Being overseas and doing missions brings it’s own trials and difficulties, which oftenit is hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and (2) many Thai people, in light of their worldview, see suffering as bad. This type of thinking makes becoming a Christian very difficult because it is assumed that God will take away all the suffering and give you more wealth than you had before. However, we know that to not be the case. Rather when we decide to follow Jesus we are guaranteed suffering, persecution, and our treasures are not in this life.

Please keep in your prayers that we would gain insight into the minds and hearts of Thai people, so we can know how to best share the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Lamb Family Update

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In our latest newsletter I did not have enough space to update everyone on some of our previous prayer requests, and also update everyone on what is coming up for us in the near future.

Recent Events

We found a helper to clean and help watch the kids. She will start on December 19th. It is important that this works out for our family because this will free me (Daniel) up to do language and small ministry opportunities without worrying about Katie. Also, it will free Katie up to continue her language study even as the baby comes. It is also a great opportunity for us to build a relationship with another Thai and practice our Thai, too.

Our visas expired last month. We were prepared to leave the country but was hoping to get our work permits before the time was up. In the end, we were able to extend our visas for 90 more days because Katie is far along in her pregnancy and travel is not safe.

I (Daniel) had an opportunity to preach at the Thai church that we attend. (No, I did not preach in Thai.) I had a translator. It was a great opportunity to share my heart with my Thai brothers and sisters. The people at the church have embraced us with open arms, especially our children. It has been great to experience the love from brothers and sisters in Christ that speak another language and come from a totally different culture, yet we are connected through the Holy Spirit in Christ Jesus.

Our new team leader has been chosen for Thailand. Bill Sheets is our new team leader. That name may sound familiar because him and his wife, Lisa, will be joining us in Cha Am as part of the Cha Am team. We know that Bill has great organizational skills, leadership skills, and a great heart for the Lord. Please pray for him because he is still in language school and he is new on the field. There is a lot of transitions to be made and a lot to be done to get the Thailand team working efficiently.

Last, we had the privilege of attending a Thanksgiving celebration at the Sperlings’ (Bangkok ABWE missionaries) apartment. There were students, friends, missionaries, Buddhists, and all the above invited. About 30 people ended up joining to celebrate a day of thanksgiving to God. It was an awesome time to get to know new people, especially some of the university students that the Caynors and Sperlings are working with. Many God honoring conversations took place at the celebration. We were able to share what God has done for us, why we are here in Thailand, and our love for people.

Future Events

We expect Katie to have the baby some time around the end of December. Her last few visits to the doctor have been good, and she is healthy. The only difficulties lately have been with walking to and from language school. She has been unable to go to language school as much as she would like. Our plan is to have a tutor and our helper work on Thai with Katie at home, so she does not have a to travel.

We still do not have our work permits or year visas from the foundation that has been set up in Thailand. There are some things that need to be fixed, and there is some transition in leadership that is causing it to be difficult to accomplish. Pray for those who are working out the problems, and that we are able to get the work permits by the end of the year. It is important for everyone to be able to get their work permits so we do not have to leave the country every 90 days. It becomes expensive, time consuming, and extremely tiring.

We want to send out our love to all of our friends and family members as Christmas approaches quickly, and we miss being with all of you. Thanks for all of your encouragement and prayer coming our way. We are encouraged that we have many who care deeply for us and the working going on in Thailand.