Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. God is at work while we're actually taking steps that we decide to take. We're making choices. We're doing what we're doing, and we're really deciding, and yet God is superintending. How can that be?
Well, we're talking about mysteries here. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series called Providence as presented at Granola Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout today's entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries.
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877-544-4860. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching. Here is Alan Wright. Okay, my brothers and sisters, are you ready for some good news?
Yes! God has a big setup to bless your life. It's not a big setup. Oh, you're walking it out, but He's setting it up to bless you more than you could know how to ask Him. We're talking about Providence. And today we come to one of my wife's favorite verses and has become mine too. Psalm 37.
I want to read first from the New King James Version. The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in His way. Though He fall, He shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds Him with His hand. Or the New Living Translation, I think, puts it beautifully. The Lord directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives, though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. If not every day, at least every week, my wife will say, what is it about my steps? And I'll just call back, your steps are ordered, honey. She said, that's right. And then she'll go into a story. I mean, like this past week, just say, what do I say?
I say, your steps are ordered. She said, let me tell you about my day. And then she'll go on. She says, I was at the grocery store, and you know how just two days ago I said, I hadn't seen so-and-so in a while, and she's on my heart, and I wonder how she's doing. Bumped right into her, and I'll be, or whatever, you know, at the grocery store. And we stopped and talked for 15 minutes. We're able to catch up, and I found out how we need to be praying for her. And then she said, I left from there, and I dropped by the dry cleaner. And while I was checking out the dry cleaner, can you believe it?
That so-and-so came down. You know, she'll list three things. She said, just my steps are ordered. And I mean, this goes on.
I mean, if not every day, every other day. So finally, I've just learned to say with her, my steps are ordered of the Lord. And you might as well learn to say it with me.
Say it. My steps are ordered of the Lord. We're talking about providence. It means that God, pro video, He sees ahead of time, and He has such good intentions towards us that He has ways of directing our steps and bringing us providentially into places of ministry, usefulness, fruitfulness, and just to receive His kindness. I want to talk about these couple verses. First place, this psalm is about a life that is ultimately well ordered by God.
We won't take time to read the whole psalm, but if we did and we were able to do so in Hebrew, you would discover it is what we call an acrostic, meaning that the Hebrew alphabet from aleph to tav is what alphabetically starts each verse of the psalm. So verse one starts with aleph, and then so it goes. What's just in and of itself the structure of this poem is letting you know there's an order to things. And the theme here of order is reflected in the fact that evildoers will, though it may look like they're getting the advantage now, will in the end not prosper and good will prosper. It is like at verse one and two, fret not yourself because of evildoers. Be not envious of wrongdoers, for they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. Or at verse seven, be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.
Fret not yourself over the one who prospers in His way over the man who carries out evil devices. Or at verse 16, better is the little that the righteous has than the abundance of many wicked. My Old Testament professor Walter Brueggemann was well known in scholarly circles for his suggestion that the psalms consist of those that are psalms of orientation. That's when life seems like it's working like it ought to, and things are going well, and righteousness seems to be rewarded, and evil seems to be punished, and good seems to be prospering, and so forth. But there's other psalms, you know, in which there are these cries of like brokenness and lament, and he called those the psalms of disorientation because life also has those times in which it doesn't seem well ordered at all.
Seems like things are falling apart. And in fact, when you're going through those kind of times, I recommend the psalms to pray sometimes with the psalms of lament, and let your heart be honest with God, not to curse God, but to lift up an honest voice that says things don't feel right right now, and it hurts. So psalms of orientation and disorientation, and then Brueggemann said, and psalms of reorientation, when you see what God was up to, and you see how it comes together.
So this is a psalm we would call psalm of orientation. This is a psalm when life is well ordered, and this is God's plan. In the end, all things are well ordered, but sometimes life doesn't feel that way. But when you look at it from God's perspective, when you look back at it, and when you see it, and ultimately one day when you see it from heaven, you're going to see is there was more order to your life than you realize that your steps were ordered.
That's what they're saying. And the idea of life being a series of steps is to say that God uses this metaphor throughout His Word to talk about your Christian growth, and your discipleship, and your relationship with Him is like a walk. Proverbs 16, 9, the heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Psalm 119, 133, keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Jeremiah 10, 23, I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Proverbs 20, 24, a man's steps are from the Lord.
How then can man understand his way? Paul spoke of the Christian life as a walk, for we walk by faith, 2 Corinthians 5, not by sight. Ephesians 2, 10, we are his workmanship, created Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. It's an astounding thing to say God's already prepared beautiful things for you to do in His name, but you walk him out.
We walk in them. Galatians 5, 16, Paul says, I say walk by the Spirit. So to say that life is a series of steps, it is a walk, is a beautiful image, because it means in the first place, beloved, you're going somewhere. You're moving somewhere, and it means that like a walk, like a journey, you are taking it one step at a time. You don't get from point A to point Z without going through point B and C and D. That's the way God designed it. We'd like to just get from here to the destination, but that's not the way of life with God.
The way of life with God is more like a walk, and to say that you're on a walk means that you're really taking the steps. You are not a plaything of fate. You're not a marionette puppet that is merely being maneuvered by God. It's much more organic than that.
It's much more free than that. You're thinking. You're deciding. You're walking. You're taking your steps. You're thinking and deciding, but at the same time, there is this invisible mastermind at work, and so it leaves you then to this question like if life is a walk, and we're taking the steps, and yet the psalmist says, you order my steps.
How is that? How can it be that God is at work while we are actually taking steps that we decide to take? We're making choices. We're doing what we're doing, and we're really deciding, and yet God is superintending. How can that be?
Well, we're talking about mysteries here, but there are ways that you can imagine it. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at PastorAlan.org. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages says, the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy his embrace, revel in his love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer.
Now these are the final days this offer is being made available to you this month. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Today's teaching now continues.
Here once again is Alan Wright. I was thinking about Ann, who was a kindergarten teacher in early years, and my wife, one of her favorite things, I think that she could just have a job. It would be if there's some kind of job where you just give people prizes. She just likes to give people surprise blessings. That's sort of like her favorite thing. And so one of the things she did with her kindergartners was in order to teach them their numbers and their letters, they played bingo. And so she'd be calling out the numbers and letters, b12, you know, whatever, and they had their little beans or whatever. They put them on their spots, and they're learning their numbers, they're learning their letters, and they go.
And then sometimes bingo, you know, get bingo, and they have a little prize for them. But the problem that she ran into was that there were some children that just didn't seem to be winning, and that she couldn't stand that. So what she started doing, sovereign Ann, you know, it's not that hard to trick a four- or five-year-old. And so she's just walking around, and she'd call out, you know, a number, 072, 072. And then she looked down, and she'd go, man, Charlie has not won yet, and he's going to need N23, and he's going to need 069, you know. And so she'd be going along, and then she'd pull out something, and she'd go, whatever it was that, you know, Charlie needed, and she'd call out, N23. Charlie, he'd take his bean, put it on the number, and then she'd walk around, she'd make sure nobody else was getting ready to win, and then she'd look down, and she'd reach in, and just call out Charlie's number, and Charlie'd go, bingo! And she'd, Charlie, that's incredible, you win!
You did it, man! And he gets a little prize. Was Charlie doing, was he doing, was Charlie doing, was he, was he moving his pieces, and learning his numbers, and doing the thing? Was he doing it? He was doing it, but he, but the mastermind of blessing was invisible to him.
Why couldn't God be doing that with us all the time? It doesn't demean the power of your steps. It blesses the power of your steps. What a thing Paul said, we're created for workmanship, for good works, right from the beginning, and then we walk them out. So you're walking it out, and you're like, man, I really, bingo! I just, I just got that.
I just, I just did that. Look at, look at what I did, and I think as you grow up in the Lord, you start going, wait a minute, how did I get to that place, and why did that happen, and you start tying it together, and you go, my steps are ordered. The promise of this psalm is not just for direction of steps, but it is for the foundation or the security of those steps. Some translations render this, you establish my steps, because the directing and the establishing, it relates to a Hebrew word for shoring up the foundation of something, like Psalm 1836, you gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip, or Psalm 40 verse 2, he drew me up from the pit of destruction out of the miry bog, and set my feet on a rock, making my steps secure. It's, it's like, these are images of when you are in some tangled mess, and then there emerges in the woods a pathway that is sure and clear and solid that you can take. Well, that's what you step in that, right? It is to say, it's like being lifted up lifted up out of something where it was a bog, and you would just be stuck, and then put on something that is solid, right?
So when you walk, you don't walk in sinking sand, you find something solid to walk on, and something that is a broad enough, big enough, sturdy enough place to walk that you can walk it. And what the psalmist is saying is the Lord directs our steps partly by giving us those sure places to walk, and sometimes I think he just directs our steps by we're trying to go somewhere, and it's like that is not, that is not where you're supposed to be going. This is not where you're supposed to be going, and you're just positive it is, and you're just trying as hard as you can, and you just can't get, you just can't, you can't get there. I think often of this scene where Paul and the traveling companions are trying to decide where to go next to preach the gospel. Acts 16 verse 6, they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia.
How? How were they, how were they forbidden? Verse 7, and when they'd come up to Messiah, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. I'm just so curious about that verse. They attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them.
How did the Spirit of Jesus not allow them? So passing by Messiah, they went down to Troas, and a vision appeared to Paul. In the night, a man in Macedonia was standing there urging him, saying, come over to Macedonia and help us.
Verse 10, and when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. What happened here? Well, something happened here, like what happens with us? They tried to go a certain direction, and for some reason, they just couldn't do it, and we say, well, the Holy Spirit didn't allow them. The Spirit of Jesus didn't allow them to go. Well, how'd that happen? Well, you know, we want to think, well, they were so super spiritual compared to us that, you know, the Lord just spoke to them clearly.
I don't think so. I think they tried to go, and they couldn't get through. They couldn't get in. They couldn't find their way. Somebody got lost.
Somebody tried to preach. It didn't work. They're bearing no fruit. Nobody wanted them. Nothing was working. Nothing was good, and finally they said, I don't believe this is where we're supposed to go, and then somebody wrote down, the Spirit of Jesus did not allow us. You look back, and you're like, why didn't you go this direction? Well, I don't know. I tried going that direction.
It didn't work at all. Couldn't do it, and the door got closed, but when God is like getting bogged down, and then I stepped over here, and this was solid. He's directing and establishing. He's upholding, and some translations render this because He, the man, delights in God's way, but the New Living Translation has it, the Lord delights in the way, His way, the way of His child.
It's probably both, because the more that you know how much God delights in your way, in the details of your life, the New Living Translation has it, the more you know that, the more you delight in His way. So I don't know what the official preaching rule is on this, but I think there is a certain number of sermons in a row that a preacher is allowed to talk about his new grandbaby before it gets today. I don't know how many it is, but I haven't reached it yet. I haven't reached it yet, and I'm sure you'll let me know when we get there, but anyway, it's not there yet, so it's so fun. We had guests here this week, Carl and Chrissy Greer. We had to take them to that. We had to drive them to Charlotte yesterday, take them to the airport just in case we want to run by and see little Mia. I'm trying to think, what's the most fun thing about this? I like holding her and watching her grow, but it's really fun to watch my own son hold his baby girl and talk to her and delight in her.
That's what a new parent does. They just delight in every story. It's just cute that I'm just like, now you know. Now you know why I've cared so much about you for all these years.
Now you know what it is. You can't help yourself. Alan Wright, our Good News message. My steps are ordered.
It's from the series Providence. I encourage you to stay with us. Pastor Alan is back here in just a moment with a parting Good News thought for today based on this teaching. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastoralan.org. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, which you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages says, the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy his embrace, revel in his love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. Now, these are the final days this offer is being made available to you this month.
When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. Call us at 877-544-4860. That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, Pastor Alan.org. Right now with Pastor Alan and it's got to be an amazing thing to watch your own children have children of their own. And as we've mentioned a couple of times through this series, as the progress of the series began and then the middle and towards the end, you have this progression in real life, in real time of the anticipation of you becoming a grandpa, Pastor Alan.
It's been fun and I don't know what a new grandfather preacher's limits are as to how many sermon illustrations he gets to use about his new grandbaby, but I figure it has not expired yet and so they will continue. But it's such a life picture of providence that we're learning so much about. And I'm so excited for our listeners to listen in on this text and think about it, what my wife says over and over, my steps are ordered, my steps are ordered, and she's got me convinced of it too. If you start looking and you start watching, you start realizing that God's at work in the day-by-day steps of your life, working out blessings and working out a little beautiful redemptive things and He's walking there alongside of you and you think that you're just haphazardly walking along and yet, no, God's got purposes and He's ordering things.
Well, when you start thinking like that, Daniel, it just makes life way more exciting, makes life much more of an adventure, doesn't it? If you only caught part of today's teaching, not only can you listen again online, but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching, delivered right to your email inbox free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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