THE BAKER OF
a new novel,
plays out in the time of Jesus. How does the baker
of the village perceive the young rabbi?
New studies are put on
top. Scroll down for previous ones.
2. Accepting God's plan for your life
God has a plan for our lives.
When I look back, I can see how his plan for me unfolded. Without my help,
he brought into my life people, who influenced my development and direction.
God granted me parents who
knew God and his word, practicing what they preached. Poor as they were,
they left me spiritual riches I will not trade for anything. At age 9, when
I was being suffocated by diphtheria, a doctor unexpectedly arrived at the
remote farm, saving my life with a tracheotomy. I decided to study for the
ministry, but could not find the money. Then out of the blue, someone
offered me an interest-free study loan. A professor awakened my interest in
psychology and so directed me to pastoral counselling that Iíve enjoyed for
Mosesí life was also governed
by Godís providence. How else could a baby born to slaves end up as a prince
in the palace of the Pharaoh Ė the one who ordered the killing of all
newborn slave-boys? Mosesí mother put him in a basket, launched him gently
onto the River Nile, and entrusted him to Godís care. Just at the right
moment, when the princess was bathing in the river, the basket turned up,
and she decided to keep the baby.
In the palace, Moses was
educated in the lifestyle and knowledge of royalty (Acts 7:22). Suddenly,
God took him from royal opulence to desert hardship. Accused of murder, he
fled to Sinai, where he married a Bedouin girl, and shepherded her fatherís
flock. He got first-hand knowledge of the wilderness where Israel would
later roam for 40 years. His palace and desert experience prepared Moses for
his future task.
At the right time, Moses met
God personally at the burning bush. When God told him that he would use him
to lead Israel out of slavery, Moses tried to back off from this assignment,
but God made him understand that he would miss the purpose of his life if he
disobeyed. As the years rolled by, Moses gained perspective, realizing God
was unfolding the plan for his life one step at a time.
In Egypt, God performed ten
miracles through Moses, convincing the stubborn king to yield to Godís
command: Let my people go! For good measure, God topped it off with the
parting of the waters, enabling Israelís escape and the demise of the
God miraculously provided
bread, meat and water for the whole nation in the desert. With thundering
voice, God gave them the Ten Commandments while the earth shook and the
mountain smoked under Godís awesome presence. Moses saw abundant proof in
his life of Godís unfolding plan for him.
Discovering God's plan step by step
When Ben and I met as students
at a small station near the Kalahari, I had no idea what significant role he
would play in my life. I later realized that God let us meet on that winter
night. God used him to open doors to accommodation, youth ministry, two
congregations (where we served as co-pastors), and a clinic where I worked
as pastoral counsellor for two decades.
Godís hand was also clearly
visible in my coming to Canada 22 years ago. A friend opened opportunities
several times as my wife and I moved from north to south, settling in
Lethbridge eventually. We did not do much to open doors, but when we
entered, we had a lot of work to do.
The Bible is saturated with
stories about Godís providence. God let Noah build the ark in time for the
great flood. God provided for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in a land where they
only owned a tomb and a well. He took Joseph through 13 years of
tribulations and made him governor of Egypt. God called Moses and David from
shepherding to national leadership. He called four disciples from their
fishing boats to become fishers of men. Through them the foundation of
Christianity was laid, which now includes one third of humanity.
On the second missionary
journey of the apostle Paul, his itinerary was often changed by the Holy
Spirit (Acts 16-18). Paul planned to go east to Asia, but God directed him
west to Europe. He first had to visit a physician, and so he met Luke in
Troas who became the author of the third gospel and the Acts of the
While Paul waited for Godís
guidance, he had a vision of a Macedonian calling: ďCome over and help us!Ē
On arrival, he did not find a synagogue, only a womenís prayer group. When
he drove an evil spirit from a slave girl, he was beaten by a mob and thrown
into jail. Were his high hopes dashed? Not quite. After an earthquake, he
led the jailer to faith in Christ.
Authorities asked him to
leave, and he walked with a bruised body to Thessalonica. Driven from there,
he fled to Berea where he was well received at first. When enemies stirred
up trouble again, he fled to Athens where he addressed a learned audience.
He proceeded to Corinth and stayed there 18 months. He wrote 4 letters (of
which 2 survived) to the Corinthian church while he worked in Ephesus. These
epistles reveal the practical problems the early church faced.
Although Paul had to change
his plans often, he remained receptive to Godís plan, which was best for him
and the church.