David C. Hughes, Writer

“For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your JOY will be complete." –Deuteronomy 16:15

Archive for the tag “God’s will”

Be Yourself

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

—Edmund Burke

 

Welcome to the village of Patterling Dale,

A ghost town of memories, a tragic old tale

Oft told by the ancients, a story of truth

To instill deep respect in the hearts of the youth.

 

Patterling Dale was a city, you see,

Spread out in a valley at the edge of the sea,

A light shining bright, a rock of salvation,

The envy of villages across a great nation.

 

Built on a solid foundation of truth,

Patterling Dale bred not one man uncouth.

All of the citizens respected the Book,

Heeding its teaching without second look.

 

The Book was entrusted to Mortimer Glass

Who, as mayor that year, ran the village with class.

At meetings the mayor would read with much glee

Each and every command, each and every decree.

 

The code was as modest as tying a shoe,

The rules were so natural, so easy to do.

No citizen questioned—they made perfect sense—

Thus life in the Dale made worry past tense.

 

‘Til one day Flannigan Flickery Floo

Came to work in a shirt colored deep purple blue

“Flannigan, friend!” cried the mayor—he shook!

“You must wear bright red, like it says in the Book!”

 

“Or else?” questioned Flannigan, with a cock of his head,

What will happen to me if I do not wear red?”

“Why, you know the rules that come straight from the Top,

The town will be trampled by Korkadon Snop!”

 

“Korkadon Snop!” exclaimed Floo with a sneer.

“We haven’t seen those since . . . what was the year?”

“Precisely, my friend,” said the mayor, askew.

“The Book says ‘wear red,’ not a deep shade of blue.”

 

“Very well,” said Flannigan with a sigh and a smirk.

“I’ll go home and change out of my purplish shirt.

But I assure you, good man, that this won’t be the last

Time I question the guidance of that Book, Mayor Glass.”

 

The very next day Mr. Flickery Floo

Showed up early for work, and what did he do?

He wore red, indeed, but not like the rest—

The color again put Mayor Glass to the test.

 

“Flannigan Flickery Floo, you old cur,

I must ask you to follow the rules again, sir.

That dark shade of red, well, it won’t work to stop

Those man-eating beasts, the Korkadon Snop!”

 

Floo stood and he sighed and he folded his arms,

“I don’t see the fuss, I can’t see the harm

In flexing commands by the slightest degree—

Surely maroon won’t suspend that decree.”

 

“That decree!” cried the mayor—he shook and he trembled!

“A fool do you think I grossly resemble?!

You’ll bring down this town by opening the door

To not only this, but to much, much, much more!”

 

“It’s just a slight tweak,” yelled Horatio Newels.

“How bad can it get by this slight bend of rules?”

“I agree,” shouted Fiona Lattigus Slim.

“I don’t see the harm, do you, Clandish Jim?”

 

The mayor tried reasoning but soon was outnumbered,

So he slipped out the back and walked briskly and pondered

The absurdity of revolt, the danger it brought—

If he let it get further the town would be fraught.

 

Or worse, Mortimer thought with a shiver of fright,

The town could be trampled in less than a night.

The Book was quite clear on that point, and it spurred

His hope that the others would grow as concerned.

 

The next morning, however, Glass fell to his knees—

Two dozen—no, two hundred!—maroon shirts he did see.

“No harm and no foul,” said Flickery Floo,

Who’s dark shirt was striped with bright flashes of blue.

 

“Flannigan, Flannigan, what have you done?

You’ve opened the door to disaster bar none!”

The mayor appealed to the rest of the town,

But they shrugged their thin shoulders with heads hanging down.

 

“Mayor, oh Mayor, oh fair Mr. Glass,”

Said Flannigan Flickery Floo with panache.

He picked up the Book and threw it at him,

And the mayor fell flat and his vision grew dim.

 

“You see, Mr. Mayor, your threats go unheeded,

No mystery monster has appeared and stampeded,

So we’re taking you out and hanging you high

From a tree, Mr. Mortimer, where you’ll finally die.

 

“The Book,” breathed the mayor, “You know that it’s true.

Its word’s never failed us, its message, its view.”

He lifted his head off the floor and he saw

The townspeople turn and walk from the brawl.

 

“You’ll see,” said Glass as they dragged him away

To hang him from branches that very same day.

“You’ll see what your actions have done to this town—

Such simple decrees, but you’ve brought it all down.”

 

The blustering minority, the demanding few

Showed up the next day at work wearing blue.

The silent majority averted their eyes,

Choosing, instead, to live easier with lies.

 

They put up their Books, they talked so polite,

They forgot about the mayor and his nonsensical plight.

And after a year, or maybe much more,

The result of their actions finally opened the door.

 

They rushed in, the Korkadon Snop, those beasts,

And trampled poor Patterling Dale under feet.

The town to this day no longer exists

Except for a tree with a carving like this:

 

“In branches above swung Mortimer Glass

Who insisted decrees were more important than class.

See, no harm in not following the Book on the shelf,

Feel free to be you . . . feel free to be yourself.”

 

 

 

 

Copyright ©2015 by David C. Hughes

God’s Will (2015-08-07 Daily)

For each one of us, there is only one thing necessary: to fulfill our own destiny, according to God’s will, to be what God wants us to be.

–Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

 

The will of God is not something you add to your life. It’s a course you choose. You either line yourself up with the Son of God . . . or you capitulate to the principle which governs the rest of the world.

–Elisabeth Elliot

 

 

For decades I struggled with the oft-asked question, “What is God’s will for me?” More than thirty years ago God planted a seed in my heart. He gave me the desire, the talent and the ability, patted me on the back, and said, “Go forth and write.” But fear scared me off. Big time. Over those three decades I struggled with embracing His will and chose instead to run after the desires of the world in the hope of “eventually” living out His plan . . . and ended up miserable. I had sold my soul to the demon of financial security and allowed it to take over virtually every aspect of my life. I served Mammon and ended up wondering why I trudged through life like a depressed Pig Pen from the Peanuts comic strip, surrounded by a great cloud of angst and despair.

I knew what God’s will was, I knew what He’d crafted me for, but I chose to conform myself to the pattern of this world . . . and wondered why I was so conflicted. I was the double-minded person James wrote about in James 1:8, unstable in everything I did. Quite frankly, I did it all in the name of God’s will, hoping to accumulate enough money in my striving to one day retire and finally live out His intended path for me. Problem was, I’d grown weary, sick, unmotivated, and lazy.

But God, in His faithfulness, had a way of reminding me He had much bigger plans for my life: just when I thought I’d retire with more than a million dollars, the stock market went bust. Five times. Just when I thought I deserved a bigger raise at work, I received a below-average bump-up. Just when I thought I’d received enough below-average bump-ups, I got yet another one to drive the point home. And just when I thought it was time our company went after a new military aircraft project, the government put the kibosh on spending.

Don’t get me wrong, God was not the One Who made me weary, sick, unmotivated, and lazy. No, it was me, my pride, and my belief I could do it all on my own. After all, I’m a true-blooded American, for whom “rugged individualism” is a birthright. Only it doesn’t work that way in God’s Kingdom. When I finally woke up, trusted His Word and His promises of provision, and jumped off the cliff of security into the brilliance of God’s arms . . . everything clicked into place. . . and here I am, living out His will as a writer under the covering of the Great I AM.

And the money I’d fretted and worried and agonized over for all those years? God redeemed it. It took a while, but He convinced me to let it go and use it to finance the alignment of my life with His will. “I was young and now I am old,/” King David wrote in Psalm 37, “yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken / or their children begging bread” (Psalm 37:25 NIV®). I had to finally quit relying on my own understanding and trust God fully. I have to admit, though: countless times since taking that leap I’ve whined to God about future provision. “I’ve given you provision,” He gently reminds me. “Your 401K is that provision.” Like manna in the desert.

Maybe I was lucky, knowing God’s will from the outset, but when you know something but don’t act on it out of fear, it’s worse than keeping your head buried in the sand. Ignorance is bliss, the old saying goes. I can vouch for that. Knowledge is power, but not acting on that knowledge when it aligns with God’s will can become hell on earth, pure and simple. But what, exactly, is God’s will? And how do you discover what His will is for you?

Let me begin by asking it this way: What is the desire of your heart? Chances are the desire of your heart is His will for you. After all, He’s the One Who planted it there. God doesn’t dish out dreams, desires and talent and expect us to squander it on false living or earthly wants. He expects us to search for it, recognize it and move out on it for His glory and our pleasure. Jesus said it clearly in the Gospel of John: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV®). He wants us to spit in the devil’s face (the “thief”) and live fully alive!

Carve this into your heart: God made us for His glory, and His will motivates us to please Him in all we do. “Give to the LORD, O families of the peoples,” King David sang after the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the tabernacle. “Give to the LORD glory and strength. Give to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him” (1 Chronicles 16:28-29 NKJV). And in Psalm 147:11 (NKJV), the psalmist wrote, “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him, / In those who hope in His mercy.” Our only purpose in life, our only pleasure, is to love God and love others; all else is vanity, as the Preacher of Ecclesiastes pointed out.

“All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be,” King David wrote in Psalm 139 (verse 16 NIV®). God fashioned us to produce good works ordained even before we were born. As such, God planted His will in us from the start, and our purpose is to discover that will and align our lives with it. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,” the apostle Paul declared to the church in Ephesus, “which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10 NIV®).

So in this you can be sure: God does indeed have a purpose for your life, planted in your heart and firmed up before you even took your first breath. But how do you find it? The apostle Paul explained how to test and approve God’s will in Romans 12:1-2 (NIV®): “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

In other words, give your life over to God by making an earnest commitment to live for Him and no longer for yourself (yes, this is hard!). Then dive into God’s word, reorienting yourself to His truth and allowing Him to replace the lies the enemy has planted in your mind with His infallible truth. Once God’s truth enters your mind and begins sinking into your heart, He’ll reveal His will for you. Test it, to ensure it’s God’s will and not a goal driven by selfish motivation, or planted by the devil, keeping in mind that God may ask you to do something totally unexpected, totally wild and totally nerve-wracking with your life. Like quitting a steady six-figure job with a virtually-guaranteed six-figure retirement to become a writer. Gulp!

But once your life aligns with His will, God “will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV®), including pouring out joy despite circumstances and peace that transcends all understanding. “You did not choose me,” Jesus told His disciples in the upper room the night of His betrayal, “but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last . . .” (John 15:16 NIV®).

So . . . what is God’s will for you? Have you earnestly sought it out, giving your life over to His perfect plan? What holds you back? Pray, search your heart, transform your life by aligning your thoughts with God’s truth, test and approve His will, and step out in faith. Believe me, the leap off the cliff is worth it. And the swan dive into the ocean below? Beautiful . . . .

 

 

Copyright ©2015 by David C. Hughes

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