Reading from Frank Laubach (Part 10)

Knowing What to do with Our Lives

How can I know what to do with my life?

Questions like this remain unanswered in order that we may be trained in judgment. You can’t be sure all the time; you have to guess. But in my own life and experience I find that if I guess while praying, my guess is usually right. A good prayer is this: “God help me to guess right.”

There is one thing that we are not free to do. We are not free to decide whether to do God’s will or disobey it. After the decision to join the family of God has been made, the only question we have to answer is, “What is God’s will?”

Why prayer is so important to knowing what to do with our lives.

John 15.7-8 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8 My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

The greatest and wisest thing any human being ever does is to pray to God. When you are talking to God you are doing the last supreme thing God wants of you. In eternity we shall be talking to God all the time. So God leaves us groping for answers because God wants us to keep on praying. The prayer is far more important than the answer.

Question: How do you go about deciding what to do in your life?

(1) I really don’t think too much about what to do. I just do what feels good at the time.

(2) I like what Laubach says about praying and guessing at the same time. I think I will try this out.

(3) My plan is to seek a very close friendship relationship with Jesus. I will talk with him about what I should be doing.

(4) Some other answer.

Getting beyond self-centered thinking

John 5.19 – Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.”

From beginning to end, Jesus rejected the temptation to use his gifts for himself. He did not live to satisfy self. He had one obligation: endless compassionate service.

On the cross Jesus’ enemies said, “He saved others; himself he cannot save.” That was one of the truest things said about Jesus. Those men had seen in him just what he had wanted them to see. He had revealed that side of God which no one else would ever have thought of revealing. God stays out of sight while he saves others; he hides himself and gets his joy out of seeing people unfold the best they have in them. God loves to save others; he has no interest in saving himself.

As we think about what to do, how do we get self-centered thinking out of the way so we can make a good decision?

(1) If I learn to do God’s will all the time, even in the small things, I think I will be better able to get self out of the way while making decisions.

(2) I like the idea of living to save others rather than saving my own self. I have a long way to go in this, but it seems like a good idea.

(3) I need to talk more to God about what he wants me to do. As I do this all day long, I think I will be less self-centered.

(4) Some other answer.

Preaching to spirits in prison

1 Peter 3.18-19 – For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison.

Perhaps Jesus had to go to hell to understand what hell is. Hell is separation from God. Most of us in the world are so accustomed to hell that we don’t know we are in hell until heaven pours in and pushes hell out. Hell and heaven are both inside of us before we are inside of them. Hell is inside of us when Christ is outside of us.

What do you think about Laubach’s statement: “Hell and heaven are both inside of us before we are inside of them. Hell is inside of us when Christ is outside of us.”

(1) I have never thought about that before. I’ll have to spend some time thinking about it.

(2) I guess that’s what is meant by people “living in hell on the way to hell.” I am thankful that Jesus took the hell out of my life.

(3) I know the truth of Peter’s statement. Jesus came to me when I was living in hell. His love conquered all of my hellish thinking and acting.

(4) Some other answer.

Prayer and People

Here’s a word for you, “Don’t open the gate too wide toward heaven unless it is opened equally wide toward the lowliest and the neediest.

Where the Spirit of God is blocked, it becomes spiritual indigestion; it ceases to be real love and becomes conflict. Never ask God to give you more than you want him to give to others.

Success is dangerous for followers of Jesus, because success always tempts us to to self-esteem, which leads to hypocrisy.

Not in the mood

One last blockage of Jesus’ followers is that he doesn’t feel the mood to seek God. He would prefer for a time not to be bothered with religion.

We may claim that it is just a desire for variety when it is actually yielding to an impulse in our lives that we know he would condemn, if we were to ask him.

What are we to do with these ‘out-of-the-mood” periods? Can’t we just let up once in a while? To put it sharply, should we pray when we don’t feel like it?

We need prayer most when we feel the least like it.

The lack of an inclination toward God is not a misfortune to which we must surrender; it is a misfortune which we must remedy. It is like a lesson in school. It is preparing us for life in the Divine family.

So, we all need to pray, “Lord, I depend entirely on your saving grace to forgive me. I have found out that I cannot do right without your help.”

Question: There is a spirit that is self-centered that seeks God’s blessings, but only for ourselves. Which of Laubach’s thoughts most challenge you? Why is this so for you?

(1) Never ask God to give you more than you want him to give to others.

(2) We need prayer most when we feel the least like it.

(3) Lord, I depend entirely on your saving grace to forgive me. I have found out that I cannot do right without your help.

(4) Some other lesson from Laubach.


One thought on “Reading from Frank Laubach (Part 10)

  1. I was struck by the statement that prayer is far more important than the answer. I hadn’t thought up it this way, but I think it’s true. it brings us closer to God.I want a close relationship with God and prayer and then I need to pay attention to how he answers my prayer. He’ll usually tell me in three different ways, something will come on the radio, they’ll be a song, or the next sermon I hear will confirm what I think his answer is.

    It was interesting to realize that Jesus did not use his gifts for himself I think I’ve seen this before but it really hit home this evening when I was thinking about it.

    I recognize when I’m selfish, all too often when I’m praying. I try to stay out of the way and accept God’s will, that sometimes takes time to get from “Lord this is what I want ” to, “I’ll take what you want to give me.”

    I was saved in an early age and avoided a lot of mess as a result. I did plant some bad seeds and had to harvest some bad stuff but I don’t feel like I’ve ever been living in hell.

    And in answer to the last question , when I feel the least like praying I definitely know that’s when I should pray. Sometimes it takes a little energy to feel like my prayers are effective again..thank you for taking the time to do this I appreciate it so much.

    Like

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