Posts Tagged ‘God’s Plan

03
Feb
16

How Many Shoes Does God Have?

You’ve no doubt heard the expression, “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop”.  It typically means that things are going well, but one is waiting for the inevitable hiccup, bump in the road or piano to drop on one’s head from a very tall building while walking down a busy street in Chicago.  We human beings can be quite pessimistic about our lives.  We’re too pessimistic for our own good.  What happened to hope and anticipation?  What happened to optimism?  Is there any justifiable reason to have hope in our world today?  Why does there always have to be “another shoe”?  Why are we waiting for the other shoe to drop instead of waiting for the next blessing or revelation of God’s presence in our lives?

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” — Hebrews 11:1 (NLT)

The Greek word translated as hope literally means a confident expectation.  The author of Hebrews makes a great connection between faith and hope.  The faith that one has in Jesus Christ is directly related to the hope of His return.  Our expectation of Christ’s return is rooted in our faith in what we cannot see.  Faith is hard, but I wonder if hope is harder.  I can see the evidence of God all around me.  I know that He is there and He created all of the beauty around me.  But when it comes to hope for a bright future, I keep wondering how many shoes God has and when the next one will drop.

The book of James says to rejoice in trials because they produce perseverance and endurance.  They strengthen our faith.  They make us more mature.  God knows what He is doing and I have to take comfort in that and believe that there is a plan for my life and hope for my future.  And some days, that’s all I can do.

PRAYER: Lord, I struggle with understanding Your will and plan for my life.  I struggle with the trials and tests I sometimes have to endure.  Give me strength for my journey as I walk through this life with You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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06
Nov
15

What Seems Right

I want to call attention to verses 2 and 3 of Proverbs 21:

All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2, NIV)

 This verse reminds me of Proverbs 14:12 (NIV):

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

We can think that we’re doing OK.  We can think that we’re doing alright.  We may believe that we’re on the right track.  Unless we’re seeking the Lord and His wisdom, His righteousness, His plan, we’re way off track.  We have to seek the Lord’s will and follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  We have to learn to surrender and submit to the will of God as He reveals it through His Word and by His Holy Spirit.  God knows what is in our hearts.  We may think that we’ve got it all together, but unless we are following Jesus, we are on the road to death and eternal separation from God.
Look at verse 3, as well:

To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3, NIV)

God is more concerned with our hearts than He is with our offerings.  He is more concerned with righteousness and justice than the tithes we can offer.  We tend to get very legalistic with our giving tithes and offerings.  Yet we won’t give righteousness a second thought.  We’ll be-bop through life living for ourselves and put that check in the offering plate on Sundays and think that everything is OK because we gave 10% back to God.  We’ll treat people poorly.  We’ll hold grudges or we’ll gossip.  We’ll lie and we’ll lust.  We’ll steal and we’ll covet.  We’ll make excuses and we’ll rationalize.  Then we’ll drop that check in the offering plate as though we’re somehow able to compensate for our unrighteousness with an offering.  It’s like a holy bribe.  “God, I’ll give you 10% to overlook my bad habits, sins and failures.”  Rather than being legalistic in our giving, let us seek to please the Lord through righteousness, justice, holiness and obedience.  Then He will find our gifts acceptable and pleasing because they come from a heart that is dedicated to pleasing Him in all areas.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me to get my heart right before I give my offering this weekend.  I can’t buy righteousness.  I can’t buy forgiveness.  You cannot be bribed.  Help me to be more like Jesus in whose name I pray, amen.
28
Jul
14

Not Ready For It

Do you ever wonder why you can’t understand something right away?  Do you ever get frustrated when things that are plain to others don’t come easy for you?  It is like someone has placed a veil over your eyes and you just can’t figure out what everyone else has understood for a while.
In Luke 18:31-34, Jesus clearly explained to His disciples what was going to happen to Him.  He spelled it out event by event what was going to happen and they just didn’t get it.  Why?  How could they have not understood something that He made so plain and clear?  It was hidden from them.

The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about. – Luke 18:34 (NIV)

Could it be that the thing you’re just not getting isn’t for you yet?  There is a time when you will understand, but now is not that time.  When it comes to discerning God’s will and plan for your life, perhaps He hasn’t revealed it to you yet because the time isn’t right for you to understand it.  Your level of spiritual or emotional maturity isn’t right for you to handle the full weight of what God has for you.  I think that the key to spiritual growth is patience and work.  You must be patient for the growth process to continue.  You must also work to grow as a believer.  You have to put in the time and effort to read God’s Word.  You have to put in the time to pray and listen to God.  You have to spend time with fellow believers in Christ to encourage and exhort one another.  You have to put in the effort it takes to mature in your faith.  How can you handle the meatier portions of God’s plan for you if you’re still drinking spiritual milk?
God will reveal His plan for your life when He knows you’re ready to handle it.  Until then, be patient.  God’s not finished with you yet.  Continue to do the things it takes to grow and mature as a follower of Jesus and God will bring understanding to your heart, soul and mind when the time is right.

Luke 18:31-34 (NIV)

31 Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. 32 He will be delivered over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him and spit on him;33 they will flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

34 The disciples did not understand any of this. Its meaning was hidden from them, and they did not know what he was talking about.

23
Jan
13

God’s Purpose And Plan In Our Lives

Look at verses 1 and 2 of Exodus 10:

“Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.” – Exodus 10:1-2 (NIV)

Yesterday we talked about God’s purpose and plan for what He was doing in Egypt.  He was going to demonstrate His mighty power and make His name known among the nations.  Today, we see His purpose and plan in the lives of His people.  God was going to deliver His people for a two-fold purpose:
  1. To testify to future generations of His deliverance
  2. To let His people know that He is their God

I think that God still desires that this be the case in the lives of His people today.  He wants us to testify to our children and grandchildren of His goodness, love and faithfulness.  He wants us to talk about our faith with our kids and grandkids.  He wants us to pass along the stories of the Bible and our stories as well.  How are you sharing with your children and grandchildren the faith that you have?  Our primary mission field is our home.  One of our greatest responsibilities is to pass our faith along to future generations.  One of the best ways to do this is by sharing our story.  From what has God saved you?  How has He provided in the past?  When did He give you that peace that goes beyond comprehension?  How has He protected you?  How has He delivered you?  What is your story?  How are you communicating your faith story with your children so that they will know that the Lord is your God and that He wants to be their God, too?

Exodus 10

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

The Plague of Locusts

10 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go to Pharaoh, for I have hardened his heart and the hearts of his officials so that I may perform these miraculous signs of mine among them that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.”

So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said to him, “This is what the Lord, the God of the Hebrews, says: ‘How long will you refuse to humble yourself before me? Let my people go, so that they may worship me. If you refuse to let them go, I will bring locusts into your country tomorrow. They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.’” Then Moses turned and left Pharaoh.

Pharaoh’s officials said to him, “How long will this man be a snare to us? Let the people go, so that they may worship the Lord their God. Do you not yet realize that Egypt is ruined?”

Then Moses and Aaron were brought back to Pharaoh. “Go, worship the Lord your God,” he said. “But just who will be going?”

Moses answered, “We will go with our young and old, with our sons and daughters, and with our flocks and herds, because we are to celebrate a festival to the Lord.”

10 Pharaoh said, “The Lord be with you—if I let you go, along with your women and children! Clearly you are bent on evil. 11 No! Have only the men go; and worship the Lord, since that’s what you have been asking for.” Then Moses and Aaron were driven out of Pharaoh’s presence.

12 And the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over Egypt so that locusts will swarm over the land and devour everything growing in the fields, everything left by the hail.”

13 So Moses stretched out his staff over Egypt, and the Lord made an east wind blow across the land all that day and all that night. By morning the wind had brought the locusts; 14 they invaded all Egypt and settled down in every area of the country in great numbers. Never before had there been such a plague of locusts, nor will there ever be again. 15 They covered all the ground until it was black. They devoured all that was left after the hail—everything growing in the fields and the fruit on the trees. Nothing green remained on tree or plant in all the land of Egypt.

16 Pharaoh quickly summoned Moses and Aaron and said, “I have sinned against the Lord your God and against you.17 Now forgive my sin once more and pray to the Lord your God to take this deadly plague away from me.”

18 Moses then left Pharaoh and prayed to the Lord. 19 And the Lord changed the wind to a very strong west wind, which caught up the locusts and carried them into the Red Sea. Not a locust was left anywhere in Egypt. 20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go.

The Plague of Darkness

21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward the sky so that darkness will spread over Egypt—darkness that can be felt.” 22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.

24 Then Pharaoh summoned Moses and said, “Go, worship the Lord. Even your women and children may go with you; only leave your flocks and herds behind.”

25 But Moses said, “You must allow us to have sacrifices and burnt offerings to present to the Lord our God. 26 Our livestock too must go with us; not a hoof is to be left behind. We have to use some of them in worshiping the Lord our God, and until we get there we will not know what we are to use to worship the Lord.”

27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he was not willing to let them go. 28 Pharaoh said to Moses, “Get out of my sight! Make sure you do not appear before me again! The day you see my face you will die.”

29 “Just as you say,” Moses replied, “I will never appear before you again.”

15
Jan
13

What Are You Up To, God?

As we continue in our study of Exodus, we see that Aaron and Moses are back in Egypt and they are ready to confront Pharaoh.  When they do, things go from bad to worse.  Pharaoh doesn’t like the Israelites and it becomes apparent that he doesn’t like Moses and Aaron, either. The Israelites were making bricks and this process required straw.  The Egyptians, up until this point, provided the straw so that the Israelites could make the bricks.  Aaron and Moses made Pharaoh angry and he decided that the Israelites now had to gather their own straw and continue to make the same number of bricks as before.  They were punished when they did not meet their quota.  So Pharaoh doesn’t like Moses and Aaron and now the Israelites don’t like them very much, either.
Have you ever had a day that just goes from bad to worse?  When you wonder, “God, what are You up to?”  You wonder why God is allowing these things to happen to you.  You wonder why the other shoe keeps dropping.  I think that Moses might have been wondering the same thing when he went back to God and spoke with Him in verses 22-23:

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.” – Exodus 5:22-23, (NIV)

Perhaps the prayer you are praying is, “Why have You not rescued me at all?”  Don’t give up hope.  Just because God is quiet at the moment doesn’t mean that He isn’t up to something.  He has a plan in mind and He will, as Scripture says, work everything out for good for those who love Him and who seek to do His will (Romans 8:28, paraphrase).  Trust in God to work things out for the best and when the time is right, He will.

Exodus 5

New International Version 1984 (NIV1984)

Bricks Without Straw

5 Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the desert.’”

Pharaoh said, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord and I will not let Israel go.”

Then they said, “The God of the Hebrews has met with us. Now let us take a three-day journey into the desert to offer sacrifices to the Lord our God, or he may strike us with plagues or with the sword.”

But the king of Egypt said, “Moses and Aaron, why are you taking the people away from their labor? Get back to your work!” Then Pharaoh said, “Look, the people of the land are now numerous, and you are stopping them from working.”

That same day Pharaoh gave this order to the slave drivers and foremen in charge of the people: “You are no longer to supply the people with straw for making bricks; let them go and gather their own straw. But require them to make the same number of bricks as before; don’t reduce the quota. They are lazy; that is why they are crying out, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’ Make the work harder for the men so that they keep working and pay no attention to lies.”

10 Then the slave drivers and the foremen went out and said to the people, “This is what Pharaoh says: ‘I will not give you any more straw. 11 Go and get your own straw wherever you can find it, but your work will not be reduced at all.’” 12 So the people scattered all over Egypt to gather stubble to use for straw. 13 The slave drivers kept pressing them, saying, “Complete the work required of you for each day, just as when you had straw.” 14 The Israelite foremen appointed by Pharaoh’s slave drivers were beaten and were asked, “Why didn’t you meet your quota of bricks yesterday or today, as before?”

15 Then the Israelite foremen went and appealed to Pharaoh: “Why have you treated your servants this way? 16 Your servants are given no straw, yet we are told, ‘Make bricks!’ Your servants are being beaten, but the fault is with your own people.”

17 Pharaoh said, “Lazy, that’s what you are—lazy! That is why you keep saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to the Lord.’ 18 Now get to work. You will not be given any straw, yet you must produce your full quota of bricks.”

19 The Israelite foremen realized they were in trouble when they were told, “You are not to reduce the number of bricks required of you for each day.” 20 When they left Pharaoh, they found Moses and Aaron waiting to meet them, 21 and they said, “May the Lord look upon you and judge you! You have made us a stench to Pharaoh and his officials and have put a sword in their hand to kill us.”

God Promises Deliverance

22 Moses returned to the Lord and said, “O Lord, why have you brought trouble upon this people? Is this why you sent me? 23 Ever since I went to Pharaoh to speak in your name, he has brought trouble upon this people, and you have not rescued your people at all.”

01
Nov
12

What Seems Right

I want to call attention to verses 2 and 3 of Proverbs 21:

All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2, NIV)

 This verse reminds me of Proverbs 14:12 (NIV):

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

We can think that we’re doing OK.  We can think that we’re doing alright.  We may believe that we’re on the right track.  Unless we’re seeking the Lord and His wisdom, His righteousness, His plan, we’re way off track.  We have to seek the Lord’s will and follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  We have to learn to surrender and submit to the will of God as He reveals it through His Word and by His Holy Spirit.  God knows what is in our hearts.  We may think that we’ve got it all together, but unless we are following Jesus, we are on the road to death and eternal separation from God.
Look at verse 3, as well:

To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:3, NIV)

God is more concerned with our hearts than He is with our offerings.  He is more concerned with righteousness and justice than the tithes we can offer.  We tend to get very legalistic with our giving tithes and offerings.  Yet we won’t give righteousness a second thought.  We’ll be-bop through life living for ourselves and put that check in the offering plate on Sundays and think that everything is OK because we gave 10% back to God.  We’ll treat people poorly.  We’ll hold grudges or we’ll gossip.  We’ll lie and we’ll lust.  We’ll steal and we’ll covet.  We’ll make excuses and we’ll rationalize.  Then we’ll drop that check in the offering plate as though we’re somehow able to compensate for our unrighteousness with an offering.  It’s like a holy bribe.  “God, I’ll give you 10% to overlook my bad habits, sins and failures.”  Rather than being legalistic in our giving, let us seek to please the Lord through righteousness, justice, holiness and obedience.  Then He will find our gifts acceptable and pleasing because they come from a heart that is dedicated to pleasing Him in all areas.



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