Plans For Good
Do you know that God’s got BIG plans for you? Plans that will make you laugh and cry for joy. That’s His promise. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT)
Some of God’s desires are universal, for everyone. He “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1Timothy 2:4, ESV) Other plans are unique to each of us. Either way, whether they are universal or unique, we need to believe that they are plans for our good, and not for evil. They will always lead to a life filled with hope, if we will learn to trust that God knows exactly what He’s doing.
Do you feel like your life is under attack? Are you overwhelmed by an unexpected life event?
Whether they’re left hooks from Hell or Heaven, how we respond to life’s challenges will determine if a situation works out for good or evil.
Frankly, I’m not as concerned about who’s behind the circumstances in my life, because I know who’s above watching over my life. I want to be as anxious about what’s happening to me as God is. If He’s not, I’m not. Why? Because His infinite plan is better than my finite understanding.
“All things work for our good if we love God and are called and committed to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) God will be faithful to make us the people that He wants us to be, and that makes it all worth it.
We can lose many things in life and get them back again, but there’s one thing we don’t want to waste, because we won’t get it back. Its called time! Time is one of the most precious gifts any of us have.
The Bible says, “Redeem your time, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16) The word “time” here is the Greek word “kairos.” It refers to the time in our life when things are brought to a crisis. It’s the decisive, opportune or supreme moment.
Every day we have “kairos” opportunities—they are the right time to respond well to life’s surprises. Don’t be afraid of tomorrow, for it will be filled with God-ordained opportunities that are made in Heaven and played out on Earth.
Trust God. You’ll find His script for your life is perfect.
Who has God created me to be?
Is my life engraved with the image of my Creator?
Striving to be someone other than who God created me to be is a waste of my time and a misrepresentation of His heart. In the New Testament, the Greek word for “character” is used only once. It describes Jesus as the “exact expression” of the Father.
The Bible says, “The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God…” (Hebrews 1:3, NLT) This is the word used when kings stamp their images on coins. We are each called to an exact expression of God. We’re not God, but we’re created to reflect Him as sons and daughters.
It is this image of Himself that God wants to imprint on us. As painful as it sometimes seems, it is ALWAYS worth it.
The Bible says that Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith. (Hebrews 12:2)
Call it providential or prophetic, sovereign or spirit-led; God only finishes what He starts. He fulfills what He alone knows is eternal. Therefore, the most important question we should ask before launching anything is:
Who’s initiating what I’m doing? If it’s me, it’s doomed to fail. If it’s birthed in my fallen heart, it’s a flighty wish upon a star!
In the most sane, lucid moments of life, the only questions that have any real consequence are: “God, what are you thinking? Only You know what’s best, what’s real, what will last? What’s on Your heart?”
The only answers that have real value will call to you from God’s deep place. May we all listen and answer when God calls!
Draining the Swamp
Are you putting up with something that’s less than God’s best for your life?
All of us at times are.
We can’t just swat mosquitoes. Sometimes, we have to drain the swamp.
We can’t experience true convergence in our lives if we continually give into convenience. Convergence is the harmony between our spirit, soul and body. It can happen only when we refuse the easy way and follow the road God chooses.
It will always cost something to not give into convenience, but if it’s God’s will, it’s always worth it.
We can’t blame the next generation when frankly the numb apple hasn’t fallen far from the numb tree! “Jesus, awaken me to this convergent moment. Drain every swamp in my life, so I can live the priceless life you’ve given me.”
One of the most overstated comments people say, especially children, is: “I’m starving!” Invariably it means they haven’t eaten in a few hours.
In a spiritual sense, we shouldn’t whine when we’re hungry or complain when we’re thirsty, for it’s only when we feel thoroughly empty that we lean totally upon God. Jesus affirmed this when He said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” (Matthew 5:6, NIV)
Accept, too, that our being filled will last no more than a day. We can’t live on yesterday’s manna; it turns rancid and unfit to eat. In order to keep faith alive and fresh, we have to draw from God’s Spirit and Word every day. The Bible says, “…as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word…” (Peter 2:2, KJV)
Frankly, it’s the only way to truly live.
We shouldn’t be surprised when God interrupts us. Often times, it’s the only way He can get our attention.
In my youth, I would stay up late to seek the Lord. As I’ve gotten older, I get up early, pretty much every morning, to pray and get into the Word while listening to worship music. This uninterrupted time alone with the Lord is vital for me. In these moments, I hear His voice and know His direction for my life and those I am called to lead.
Most of us are leading someone, or in time we will be. So, it’s vitally important that we learn to let God lead us. That will usually begin with divine interruptions. Today, will you let God interrupt you? It will certainly be worth your while.
Are you running to something, or from something?
Simply fleeing from darkness won’t transform us. We must run toward the light of God if we are to be truly changed. C.S. Lewis wrote, “Sunlight is the great disinfectant.” “…if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1John 1:7, ESV)
Nature abhors a vacuum. We can’t be emptied of sin, without it being replaced with something. The Bible says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21, ESV) In other words, stop filling your mind and heart with evil, but allow God’s Word and Spirit to fill you with His goodness.
Our days will be filled with something. Let God choose what that something is.
Are You Alone?
Are you alone? God wants to help.
The Bible says, “It’s not good for man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18, NKJV)
Seeking God means seeking godly community. I’m thankful that since receiving Jesus, I’ve always had a vital connection to a local church. Some of the churches I’ve attended have been healthier than others, but this act of obedience to Scripture is essential.
The Bible says: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching…” (Hebrews 10:25, NIV) This discipline has proven to be a crucial safeguard for my life. Though finding the right church for this season in your life can be a lengthy process, in the end, it’s really worth it.
Jesus was God come to Earth. He healed people of sickness and disease, delivered them from demonic strongholds, and miraculously performed signs and wonders, even raising the dead. He was the original Superhero. Yet, He never dangled these super-human feats as an unattainable carrot before frail humanity.
Jesus even guaranteed, “I tell you the solemn truth, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12, NET)
If we’ll let Him, God will propel our lives from subzero to superhero, from average to exceptional, from one-in-a-billion to one-of-a-kind. But never forget, without Jesus, all we’ll ever become is a mild-mannered version of Clark Kent.
Unless the pleasure we find in God is greater than the pleasure we find in sin, we will succumb to the evils of Earth rather than obtain the holiness of Heaven.
A fascinating God imparted a zealous need for fascination. If we refuse to allow the Creator of the Universe to fascinate us, we will chase after pleasure imposters. Boredom, dullness, and passivity will eventually fill the void.
Unless we respond to God’s fascination, the allure of the immediate pleasure of sin trumps the fear of sin’s long-term consequence.
The secret to conquering sin is satisfaction in God.
The One who created eternal pleasure dispenses it liberally. The Psalmist knew it first hand: “In Your presence is fullness of joy. At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11b, NKJV)