The Will of God

January/February 2023

Dear Friends in Christ,

This month’s TLO Disciple theme is “The Will of God.” It’s not easy to discover God’s will in everything. Discovering God’s involves struggle.

When there is a fork in the road of life, which direction do we take? When you are unsure of what is the good and pleasing will of God, where do you go to find answers and guidance to make a God-pleasing decision? Put another way, how do you determine the will of God in your everyday commitments, your career decisions, your lifestyle, your leisure activities? When you have choices to make, how do you determine if the decision and direction is within the will of God for your life and for those around you, or is it against God’s will?

Missionary David Livingston said, “I would rather be in the heart of Africa in the will of God, that on the throne of England out of the will of God.”

Scripture teaches, God’s ways are higher than our ways. God’s thoughts higher than our thoughts, so how can we know God’s will? Through the clear unaltered Word.

Since the Fall into sin, the devil, the world and the flesh seek to temp us and twist God’s Word to go along with their evil ways. Every day brings a chaos of choices and critical decisions concerning what is true and what is the best use of time, talent and treasure.

Paul writes in the book of Romans: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! ‘For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?’” (Romans 11:33-35). So where can we turn to know which way God is leading?

First and foremost, to know the will of God we turn to God’s Word, not adding nor subtracting from it. Ultimately, when you know Jesus, you know the gracious will of God for all people; that all will come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. In mercy for His lost creation, God sent forth His only begotten Son Jesus to be the perfect demonstration of His will.

As Christians living in a world of chaos and evil, we need to confront challenging choices with prayer, approaching God’s throne for clear direction to know God’s will. With the Psalmist we pray, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8).

Through meditation on God’s Word, prayer, study, conversations with wise and spiritual friends, and through the strength and confidence that comes in the Lord’s Supper, Christians can know the Will of God, His good, pleasing and holy will. And live according to it out in love toward God and love toward our neighbor by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor James L Kroonblawd

Planning for the Future

By Brandon Wittig

There’s an old saying that goes a little something like, “While we make plans, God laughs.” I’ve always wondered what exactly this saying is supposed to communicate about God....

I don’t know exactly where this phrase came from, but the closest biblical text it’s connected to is Proverbs 19:21: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” I think, rather than trying to paint God as a cruel trickster god or dictate that people should take things as they come without plan, the proverb is trying to communicate an eternal truth for us to understand: What God wills, happens. Read more.

“If we do not know who we are, we will be compelled to search madly (quite literally) for some kind of identity and put it on whether it fits well or not.”

Robert Kolb, Teaching God’s Children His Teaching

God in Flesh Made Manifest

LCMS Stewardship Ministry

The season of Epiphany focuses on how God was made manifest in the flesh of Jesus. The church spends time hearing of the miracles, signs, and wonders of Jesus in the world. And this made plain to all that Jesus really is who He said He was. He is the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the only begotten Son of the Father, in the flesh. For “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14).

Our faith is lived out in works for our neighbor. Our trust in the Word and will of God is lived out not in word only but also in deed and in truth. In other words, the Epiphany of the Lord creates in us an epiphany of our faith in our works of obedience to God who commanded them. By this, our faith is made manifest to the world. It is, as Luther wrote of faith:

”Faith is a divine work in us. It changes us and makes us to be born anew of God (John 1). It kills the old Adam and makes altogether different people, in heart and spirit and mind and powers, and it brings with it the Holy Spirit. Oh, it is a living, busy, active, mighty thing, this faith. And so it is impossible for it not to do good works incessantly. It does not ask whether there are good works to do, but before the question rises, it has already done them, and is always at the doing of them. He who does not these works is a faithless man. He gropes and looks about after faith and good works and knows neither what faith is nor what good works are, though he talks and talks, with many words about faith and good works.”

(Preface to the Book of Romans)

The Will of God is Always Best

LSB 758

1     The will of God is always best

    And shall be done forever;

And they who trust in Him are blest;

    He will forsake them never.

        He helps indeed

        In time of need;

He chastens with forbearing.

        They who depend

        On God, their friend,

Shall not be left despairing.

2     God is my comfort and my trust,

    My hope and life abiding;

And to His counsel, wise and just,

    I yield, in Him confiding.

        The very hairs,

        His Word declares,

Upon my head He numbers.

        By night and day

        God is my stay;

He never sleeps nor slumbers.

3     Lord, this I ask, O hear my plea,

    Deny me not this favor:

When Satan sorely troubles me,

    Then do not let me waver.

        O guard me well,

        My fear dispel,

Fulfill Your faithful saying:

        All who believe

        By grace receive

An answer to their praying.

4     When life’s brief course on earth is run

    And I this world am leaving,

Grant me to say, “Your will be done,”

    Your faithful Word believing.

        My dearest Friend,

        I now commend

My soul into Your keeping;

        From sin and hell,

        And death as well,

By You the vict’ry reaping.

Text: Albrecht von Preussen, 1490–1568; tr. The Lutheran Hymnal, 1941, alt. Text: Public domain

The First Commandment

You shall have no other gods.


The Second Commandment

You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God.


The Third Commandment

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.


The Fourth Commandment

Honor your father and your mother.


The Fifth Commandment

You shall not murder.


The Sixth Commandment

You shall not commit adultery.


The Seventh Commandment

You shall not steal.


The Eighth Commandment

You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.


The Ninth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.


The Tenth Commandment

You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.


Click for the meanings to these commandments

What Would You Have Jesus Do For You?

Pastor John Diener

Let us learn from Bartimaeus: hearing is believing and believing is seeing.

“What do you want Me to do for you,” Jesus asked Bartimaeus. This blind beggar said, “Rabbi, I want to see.” Think about the guts it took to make that request. Bartimaeus wasn’t asking for a ride, for food, for some gas money, or any monetary gift – he was actually asking for an impossible miracle.

Blindness is a horrible affliction in any age, but it was especially so in first century Israel. There were no guide dogs, no talking traffic lights, no braille, no specialized schools or homes or services. Because no one would hire them for work – they were almost inevitably left to beg for their daily bread. To add insult to injury, the blind also lived under the social stigma that their blindness was God’s punishment for some sin that either they or their ancestors had committed. (See John 9:1-2)

These were the conditions under which Bartimaeus lived. He may have been blind, but he was under no illusion: he knew he was completely dependent on the mercy of others for his very existence. But he was convinced that this was God’s Son standing before him – the Son of David God had promised who would come specifically to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah, “a light for the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness” (Isaiah 42:6-7).

Jesus answered Bartimaeus’ bold and impossible request with a miracle. He received his sight - a miracle for sure. But he received so much more: “Go your way; your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:52). We are told that Bartimaeus followed Jesus – and Jesus was headed to Jerusalem to save Bartimaeus and all those who believed in Him. While our world is convinced that seeing is believing, Bartimaeus knew the truth: believing is seeing! Just think – at least some of those in that crowd in Jericho probably saw Jesus’ miracles with their own eyes – and we know for certain that many of the Jewish leaders who crucified Jesus did – but they still did not believe that He was the Son of God, the promised Savior.

Faith does not come from seeing, faith comes from hearing the message (Romans 10:17). We know this truth in the waters of Baptism, the absolution, the celebration of Holy Communion, the blessing and the encouragement found in the hearing of the Word. But we also know this truth in the sharing of God’s Word with others.

Wise Men worship the King and Savior Jesus

LCMS Stewardship Newsletter, January 2013

Jesus did not display his divine power in order to show off, but rather to do the will of his Father in heaven. Jesus used his divine power to give glory to God and countless blessings to millions of people who would otherwise perish in hell. In his three-year journey to the cross Jesus put his love into action. He healed the sick, raised the dead and proclaimed the good news of salvation. And then on the cross he made the supreme sacrifice of giving all—even his life—to fulfill God’s plan of salvation. From start to finish Jesus, God’s chief steward, demonstrated his stewardship perfectly with acts of love.

January is a good time of the year to make some resolutions that honor God and bring blessings to other people through our acts of stewardship. Stewardship begins with a changed heart which results in acts that demonstrate faith and love. As the Apostle John said, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” (1 John 3:18) 

From Martin Luther

A Christian is a child of the Holy Spirit, an heir of eternal life, a companion to the holy angels, a ruler of the world and a partaker of God’s divine nature. He is a wonder of the world, a terror of Satan, an ornament of the church, a desirable object of heaven with a heart full of supplications and with hands full of good works.” Martin Luther

2 Chronicles 17: 3-5a, 6a - The LORD was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in His commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. Therefore the LORD established the kingdom in his hand. ... His heart was courageous in the ways of the LORD.

Please note that Jehoshaphat's one, all-absorbing aim was to have his country covenanted with God! He brought his people together for prayer and contrition. If our nation's presidents, following the example of Washington, Lincoln, and other chief executives, would call the people to repentance, and if the country with one accord would confess its sins, we could start on the road to real national rebuilding. A contrite land humbled to its knees before the Ruler of the universe has more promise of peace in its repentant faith than a thousand treaties which leave no room for the Savior.

The Prayer: Heavenly Father, give us the faith and courage of Jehoshaphat, so we too may live in dedicated service to You. In Jesus' Name we pray. Amen.


Not Our Will, but Thine

by Susan Walter

Her frail, stooped body was beginning to have pain most of the time. One night, I heard mumbling sounds coming from her bedroom. When I approached her bedroom door, I heard her praying, “Please, Lord, take me out of my misery. I don’t want to hurt anymore. I thank You for Your blessings given to all my family, but take me home to be with You.” She was anxious for God to answer her prayers right away. But God doesn’t work that way. He answers our prayers when He is ready, so He put her on hold.

Read the whole endearing story

A Worthwhile Sex Education Resource for Christian Families

By Katie Schuermann 

What’s better than sex ed? Mentoring your children for chastity! If you’ve ever thought there must be something better than sex ed, you were right: God’s answer is parent-led mentoring, and this book will teach you how to do it.

Written by educator and mother Marie K. MacPherson along with her husband Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D., Teaching Chastity for Life frankly and kindly models how to think about human sexuality in light of God’s Word, then offers practical suggestions on how to discuss sexuality with children in the home at every developmental stage. From male and female body parts to clothing trends to transgenderism, the authors apply sensible, reasonable and respectful language to hot topics parents often fear broaching with their children. 

In this booklet, parents speak frankly to fellow parents on the basis of God’s Word, offering practical suggestions for dads and moms to provide their children with the guidance they need to navigate through puberty and into sanctified adulthood. While the world sponsors embarrassing discussions in co-ed classrooms where parents are absent, these authors call for a family-centered approach that prepares young people to form stable families of their own as they mature.

To learn more about Lutherans For Life please visit

Abortion is Against God’s Will

By Dorene Hartfield (November 7, 2022)

In Ephesians 1:4, God explains through Paul that He knew each of us before the creation of the world.

In Jeremiah 1:5–7, God says he knew Jeremiah before Jeremiah was conceived. God knew his name, his parents, his coloring, ethnicity, character, and temperament—even whether he would have freckles. In God’s eyes, Jeremiah “was” even before he was conceived!

We do not need to question when life begins; God did not need our bodies, blood, or bones to “know” us. In Psalm 139, the Holy Spirit inspires David to say,

For you formed my inward parts;

you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

the days that were formed for me,

when as yet there was none of them.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

If I would count them, they are more than the sand.

I awake, and I am still with you.

In this Psalm, it says God knits together the body of each child. If the mother is striving to abort the baby, she is destroying what God is putting together. That is directly against God’s will.

It is a very difficult situation when a woman or child suffers the unspeakable horrors of rape or incest. But having an abortion does not erase what has happened. For the woman, a victim, now carries the guilt of murder. That is why Christians know that abortion doubles the trauma of rape and incest and therefore should be avoided at all costs.

If you have had an abortion, here is good news: as a child of God, you know that if you confess to God (agree with God that your actions were sinful) you can ask for forgiveness. He will forgive you because Jesus paid for ALL of your sins on the cross.

Read the entire article

“We need to put our trust in someone or something outside ourselves…that someone or something else must give our lives foundation and framework suggests that we are not in ultimate control of our own lives…we cannot exist without a sense of identity, a sense of security, and a sense of meaning…without it we die.” 

Robert Kolb, Teaching God’s Children His Teaching

Living Confidently as God’s Steward

“That means that we can live relaxed. Being God’s child means living in confidence that we are secure, and therefore we enjoy the peace which he wanted to give us in the first place. We have that peace, that sense of security and harmony and balance, because we recognize that God is in his right place, as our Father, and we are in our right place as his children…For he made us to enjoy life, to take delight in him and in our humanity.” 

Robert Kolb, Teaching God’s Children His Teaching

Soli Deo gloria
Trinity Lone Oak Lutheran
2950 Highway 55
Eagan, MN 55121