God's Perfect Plans!
Christian Devotional by Pastor Cecil Thompson
"'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.' "
Today's Scripture is a strong passage that contains both promises and a condition. In addition it gives us an insight into the heart of God. He tells us that He has specific plans for us and that they are good plans. He explains that His desire is for our good.
All too often we are presented with an image of God who is out to get us and to cause us harm and discomfort. That is not the case. God is a holy and righteous God and desires that we be holy and righteous. Thank the Lord, He forgives us when we fall short of His plan and purpose for us.
I once heard someone quote something that Chuck Swindoll had said. Chuck was commenting on the memories he desired to have fixed in the minds of his kids. He said that he would much rather have them recall their dad as the one who threw their mom into the swimming pool fully clothed, (and lived to tell about it), than a stern faced preacher who looked down his nose at those who did not measure up to his standards of conduct. ME TOO, CHUCK!
My heart aches for the openness that we need in our world. It is my desire to be vulnerable rather than safe! I would rather be misused than never to be used at all. I hope that makes sense. If it doesn't to you, it does to me. The reason is that I was a kid, who for most of my early years, considered myself as being just a little slower than others.
I was told by teachers in my early grades that I was below normal, so I lived up to their expectations of me. God had another plan! He brought a girl into my life at age 14, who turned me inside out and upside down. She let me know in no uncertain terms that I was what God wanted me to be and to strive to be my best. I married that dear sweetheart of mine when we were both 18---just six weeks after graduating from high school. That was back in '52, so you smart ones can figure out our age.
What does this have to do with the passage in question? Everything! It means that we can do---and should do things as God leads us. We need to be convinced that God has special things in store for us who call upon Him and seek His will and His way. NEVER, NEVER, try to tell God that you are not qualified to do what He calls you to do. He knows you better than you know yourself, and will enable you to do His work in His way.
Our Scripture indicates that the first step in the process is to recognize that God has good and prosperous plans for us. This is not a prosperity gospel, but an awareness that it is for His glory and honor. As we are faithful in His service He will give us the sense of fulfillment that satisfies far more than the wealth of this world.
After we are convinced that God is leading us, we are then ready to draw near to Him. We do this in a conscious way by spending time in his Word and in our prayerful conversations with Him. God promises that He will listen to us. You may feel that no one hears your heart's cry---but the Lord does. You can pour out your deepest thoughts, hopes, desires, disappointments, and anything that you are holding in, and He will listen to you.
There is also an addendum in the passage. He says we will seek Him and find Him (when) we seek Him with all of our heart. That, my dear friend, is total commitment! It is not simply a little now I lay me down to sleep type of prayer, but a deep and sincere call to the God who loves us and has provided His Son as the ultimate payment for our sinful condition.
Wherever you have come from---wherever you are right now---God calls you to come to Him. Regardless of your situation in life He calls to you right there. He heard Joseph from the pit back in Canaan, from Potiphar's house, from the prison, and from the palace. His location did not determine whether God would hear him or not. Even when it seemed that God did not hear him---God heard and He directed Joseph's steps to be a blessing to many. The same goes for you. SEEK HIM!
Let me share something that a dear friend has shared: “God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.” The “prosperity gospel” is better identified as a “generosity gospel” – because HE is generous. (Isaiah 65:24).
Blessings dear hearts. Walk with God today, trust Him completely and be a blessing.
--- Pastor Cecil
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