Tag Archives: God’s plan

Jeremiah 26-29; God’s Got Plans

There are a lot of verses in the Bible that seem to indicate God wants His children to be healthy and wealthy, or at least receive the things they ask Him for. 29:11 is one of them.

So is John 14:14, “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

And Matthew 21:22, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.

There are dozens more. You probably can come up with some off the top of your head, too. God promises to bless His people, to answer our prayers. And I believe Him.

But I look at the Bible as a whole and see many, many examples of God’s children not receiving what they ask for. Believers who are sick, tortured, poor. Paul said he prayed three times about something and God never granted him what he wanted.

So which is it? Is God true to His word, or not?

More than we ask or think!

We are short-sighted if we limit God’s promises to the material. Yes, God answers our prayers for physical healing, or financial relief. Sometimes He gives us the desires of our hearts. But not always.

If we limit God to answering only our material needs, we miss out on the greater thing. How does God prosper His children?

I am with you always… (Matthew 28:20)

Peace I give you… (John 14:27)

If you confess your sins… I will forgive… (I John 1:9)

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

Remain in me and I will remain in you… (John 15:4)

I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am… John 14:3)

There are more. God promises His presence, His strength, His joy, His righteousness, His help in our time of need. Someone told me once that I can believe all that because I’m not hurting, I’m not hungry, I’m not homeless, I’m not being persecuted. But I know there are hurting, hungry, homeless, and persecuted people who know the truth of these promises even better than I because of their circumstances.

The interesting thing to me about this is that, the closer I get to God, the more time I spend with Him in His Word and in prayer, the more I find His desires become mine. I think less about my physical comfort, and more about reaching the lost, or more about the needs of my neighbors. My prayers become more about others than about myself.

My friend, Toni, lived much of her life in great pain. She had a disease called HS from the time she was a child, and doctors were unable to do much to help her. But she never lost her joy in the Lord. She never lost her servant’s heart even on those days it was hard to move.

There is a youth convention in Atlanta held on New Years day each year, and Toni felt led to volunteer on New Years Day last year, 2017. She had such a burning desire, but common sense told her it was too much for her, as her pain had increased to an almost unbearable level. She talked to her husband. They prayed. And they went.

My friend was a greeter at that conference for hundreds of teenagers. Her job was to hold the door, and welcome the kids as they went into the worship services. She said she “fist-pumped” dozens and dozens of young people that day. In fact, she came home with bruised knuckles. But, she said, “I felt called to be a door holder.”

Four months later, she was diagnosed with colon cancer that had already spread. Her pain, that she thought was from her HS, was in fact from the cancer that was destroying her organs. But I will tell you, even with this devastating news, Toni believed in the plans God had for her, plans to prosper (her) and not to harm (her), plans to give (her) hope and a future.

God has plans. His plans include showering you with the forgiveness Jesus’ blood bought for you. He wants to fill you, build you up, be your joy and confidence. He wants to draw near to you, to walk with you, and finally, to bring you home to be with Him forever.

That’s where my friend lives today. She’s finally home.

Our road might be hard. Or we might enjoy the physical comforts of this world. But with Paul, let’s “learn to be content whatever the circumstances… whether well fed or hungry, whether in abundance or in need…” (Philippians 4:12-13)

And let’s trust God to bless us with Himself, to give us what we need when we need it and not a moment before. Let’s give Him our hearts, and let Him work out the rest as we obey Him.

Let’s trust God’s plans.

Ruth 1-4; The Master Weaver

This book is a beautiful picture of how God can use the circumstances of life to weave a tapestry more glorious than we can imagine. I was thinking about that as I read Ruth’s story and began to see some of the individual stitches that combine to make her tapestry, or the picture of her life:

Because of a famine, Ruth met and married her Jewish husband. She accepted, and was accepted by, her mother-in-law, Naomi, and their love for one another is legendary. The deaths of her husband and father-in-law led her to leave her home and family, and move to a country where people of her nationality were not welcome. Ruth thought that caring for her mother-in-law was more important than what people might think about her.

Through Naomi’s influence, Ruth turned from the pretend gods she was raised worshiping, and accepted the God of Israel for her own. A poor woman with nothing she could call her own, she immediately went to work to support herself and Naomi, and ended up working in the fields of the one man who could redeem her and Naomi, who would marry her, love her, and give her children.

And the finishing touch on Ruth’s story is the fact that Jesus Himself is a direct descendant of this Moabite woman and her kinsman redeemer.

I love how God presented opportunities for Ruth, and how she followed His lead. I love how God was able to take tragedy and weave that into a life that effects me here in 2017. Are you as blown away by that as I am?

We can’t always see how God is working to bring good out of things Satan might intend for evil. We might not see how a choice we make leads to another and another that ends up effecting people down the road.

But I am reminded, as I read the book of Ruth, that God is working in my life today, weaving a tapestry of my life, giving me opportunities to obey Him that will result in something really beautiful. Someone has said that we are only allowed to see the underside of the tapestries of our lives. But I think occasionally God gives us a glimpse at the final product.

Like when someone comes to the Lord because of our influence. Or when we hold that newborn baby in our arms, or realize we were in the right place at the right time to represent Jesus to someone. It’s when we are told that, at the lowest point of our lives, our example spoke to someone about God’s love, or His strength, or His assurance.

We see a glimpse at the final product when we can see that God uses even the most difficult circumstances to produce something beautiful in us.

I want to recognize Gods leading and, like Ruth, take those steps in faith. I want to be obedient to the Master Weaver, and one day lay the tapestry of my life at His feet. I believe, when at last I take a look at the entirety of my life, I will praise my God who made something beautiful out of even me.

October 18 – A Dozen Donuts, Please

John 6

I do not believe Scripture teaches that God “chooses” to save some individuals, and “chooses” others to send to hell. Quite the contrary, in fact. God so loved the world that… WHOEVER believes has everlasting life. God didn’t come into the world to condemn the world but that THE WORLD could be saved through Him.

But then I come across a verse like 6:65, “… For this reason, I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father,” and I picture God on His throne, pointing His scepter and saying, “I’ll take that one, and that one, but not that one,” like some guy picking out a dozen donuts.

Jesus had just talked about His role as The Bread of Life. He went into shocking detail that seemed like He was talking about cannibalism. But, He explained, the words He spoke weren’t about the flesh at all. They were words of spirit and life. He was describing who it is that are granted salvation. It is those who partake of the Bread of Life, who take Jesus in – all of Him.

Some look at this verse through a paper towel tube and see Mary, and Susie, and Bob. I think God would have us see The Way, not individuals. No one can come to Jesus unless it has been granted him from the Father, and in order for anyone to be granted access, that person… any person… must accept Jesus.

Jesus is reminding us there is only one Salvation. And only those who do it God’s way are granted access to the Son. God chose mankind to save. And He has spelled out His plan of salvation in great detail. It’s all about Jesus.

The choice to do it God’s way, or not, is your choice. To choose Jesus is life. To choose rejection of Him is death. It can’t get much plainer than that.

September 23 – Why Today?

Esther 1-5

Have you ever felt you’d been at the right place at the right time? If you’d waited you’d have missed a great opportunity? If you’d not gone you’d have missed a blessing?

Reading Esther today has me wondering about “such a time as this.” The question I’m asking myself is how much did God’s role play in what happened to Esther, and how important was Esther’s role in it all?

I believe both were necessary. God opened doors. Esther walked through them. She didn’t have to. She could have refused.

Mordecai himself explains that if Esther had kept her nationality secret, if she refused to go to the king on behalf of the Jews, we would be reading about deliverance of the Jews from another source. (4:14). It’s because of Esther’s obedience that her story is included in God’s Word.

It’s not because God orchestrated the matter, that Esther had no choice but to deliver the Jews. She had a choice. She chose to fast and pray, to ask her uncle to do the same, then she chose to walk through the door God had opened for her.

God has a plan He’d like you to be a part of. He’ll open doors. He’ll nudge you. He’ll put a burden on your heart. But if you want to be in on His plan, you’ve got to make that choice to obey. Otherwise, someone else may get the blessing – and you’ll be on the outside, regretfully looking in.

You are where you are today as a result of God’s leading, and your obedience or disobedience. Can He use you today? You bet. Will He open doors? He opens doors all the time. Will you walk through them?

That depends on the choices you make today. God knows what you’ll choose. I pray you’ll choose obedience.

Why today? Because God has given you today, for such a time as this, to glorify Him.

Let’s make it happen.

 

 

The Choice

I was reading in Psalm 90 this morning and heard the author remind me that our life spans maybe 80 years if we are strong. In light of eternity, our days on earth are but a blink. Yet these hours on earth determine our eternity. What we do with our lives is the difference between life and death.

Paul says in Romans 5 that there are only two results of a life: condemnation or justification. Jesus died for all mankind. We can be justified before God simply by accepting it. It’s an intentional act of will.

I go to God, admit I am a sinner, humble myself and recognize my need of a Savior. Then I ask God to forgive me, and to BE my Savior. That act, that confession, opens the door of heaven to me.

We are justified by faith. And there is no one anywhere who cannot be saved if they accept Jesus’ gift of grace, the forgiveness of sins bought by Jesus’ blood shed at Calvary.

But be warned. There is only condemnation for those who refuse what Jesus offers. And condemnation brings with it eternal separation from God, a hell more painful than we can imagine.

There is no Plan B. God made it plain and simple: justification or condemnation. Jesus or no Jesus. Yes or No.

I choose Jesus. I pray you do, too.

The Devil Is In The Details

The devil is in the details. I know I might be taking some liberties here, but isn’t that kind of what Jesus told Martha? (Luke 10) She was busy preparing dinner – not a bad thing because she had guests in her home. But she was so intent on serving the perfect meal, she neglected her guest: Jesus Himself!

I don’t think this Scripture is teaching us to not plan, not pay attention to details. I know I certainly get frustrated if I’m in a class where the teacher has not spent time preparing, or at a meeting that hasn’t been organized, and wouldn’t it be silly for a football team to run onto the field without someone planning strategies and teaching the plays before they meet their opponent?

I think this passage teaches us about priorities. Jesus HAS to come first. Sure there are demands of the day, obligations we must meet, things to do that require careful planning. But none of that should have precedence over our time with Jesus.

Someone once said, “if you’re too busy to read the Bible, you’re too busy”. Choices, my friend. Choices.

Bill Hybels wrote a book entitled, “Too Busy Not To Pray”. Google Grace L. Naessens, and read her poem: “I Didn’t Have Time.” I think that’s the attitude Scripture would have us have.

So get busy doing work for the kingdom. But not before you spend time with the King.

Nothing is more important.

What Frustrates Jesus

I have to say Jesus’ reaction to his disciples when they couldn’t cast out a demon in a little boy bothers me. It seems like he was so mad at them. “You faithless and corrupt people! How long do I have to put up with you?” (Mark 9, Matthew 17, Luke 9) Was he really that frustrated with them?

Lately, God has impressed on my heart the urgency God feels concerning the salvation of souls. He is not playing around. He’s not hiding and hoping someone finds him. He’s in our face every day, trying to get our attention. And for those of us who know him as our Savior, he is passionately trying to get us to be that vessel through which he can reach unsaved souls.

I don’t like Jesus’ reaction to his disciples because I don’t like to think he is frustrated with me, too. I don’t want to think he says, “For crying out loud, Connie, can’t you do one simple thing like talking to your neighbor about me? Can’t you get out of that recliner for two seconds to call that friend I’ve laid on your heart?”

Jesus was frustrated with his disciples, not because he didn’t love them. But because Jesus had tunnel vision. He had a job to do.

He still does. People still need to hear about him, and he is intent on making that happen. May God find his people as intent as he is, as eager to reach the unsaved, with the same tunnel vision as Jesus has.