January 1, 2006

 

Encouragement for Today

 

  “Good Thing or God Thing?”

Melanie Chitwood, P31 Ministries Speaker and Author

 

Key Verse:

Proverbs 21:2, “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.” (NAS)

 

Devotion:

I love the beginning of new things – a new school year, the beginning of a new season, and the start of a new year. Maybe it’s the chance to start fresh that appeals to me. Fresh starts must appeal to many women, for most of us have made New Year’s Resolutions at one time or another. 

 

I’ve certainly had many good plans over the years. I’m going to read the Bible in a year… lead a Bible study in my neighborhood… have family devotions… exercise at least three times a week…improve my cooking… work part-time to contribute to the family finances.

 

These have all been good plans, but I’m learning that good plans are not necessarily God’s plans. I so easily think that if something is good, then surely God wants me to do it. For example, starting a new prayer ministry at church would be a great thing, but God wants us to consult Him first. Before we start making our own plans, God wants us to pray and to ask Him if it’s what He wants for us.

 

When we’re excited about an idea, it’s easy to get carried away and run full steam ahead with our own plans. Also, when we’re talented in a certain area, it’s easy to think, Surely God wants me to apply my talents in this situation. Or if we see a need, we think we’re the one who has to fill it. 

 

There’s a good chance God will say, “Yes, go ahead.” But there’s also the chance that this is not the right time for you to take on something new. I see so many women today filling their schedules with way too much – too many good activities, which prevent us from walking in God’s plans. Sometimes our schedules are so full of our own plans that we just don’t have room for God’s plans.

 

So as this New Year begins, let’s adopt at least one New Year’s Resolution:  Before committing to anything, let’s ask God; Is this a good thing or a God thing?

 

My Prayer for Today:

Heavenly Father, I want this New Year to be a year where I walk in Your will, not ahead and not behind. I want to know the plans You have for my life, and then I want to join You wherever You are working. Teach me not to rush ahead of You. Help me to stop to pray to ask for Your guidance before making any plans. Thank you that You promise that I will hear Your voice. Thank you that You have good plans for my life. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

 

Additional Resources: 

Balance That Works When Life Doesn't by Susie Larson

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_balanceWorks.htm

 

Breatheby Keri Wyatt Kent

http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_breathe.htm

 

Women Who Do Too Muchby Patricia Sprinkle
http://proverbs31.gospelcom.net/newresources_doTooMuch.htm

 

Application Steps:

Take time to pray today about the activities, which fill your life. Ask God to help you separate the good things from God things. Here are two specific prayers that can further help you discern God’s plans. 

 

First, ask God to show you His priorities for your life. Knowing your priorities can be a guiding light when considering plans. For example, one of my top priorities is being available to serve and love my husband and children, before any other relationships. One way this priority plays out in my own life is that I try to get my personal plans accomplished before the kids get home from school and before my husband gets home from work. That way most afternoons and nights can be devoted to my family. 

 

A second prayer to help guide you in planning is to ask God to give you an eternal perspective. God wants us to be His “fellow workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9) in work which will last eternally. Ask God where He wants you to build in His kingdom (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).

 

Reflection Points:

Consider the activities you and your family are already doing. Is there anything God might want you to drop from your schedule? 

 

Maybe instead of having too many activities in your life, you’ve gone to the other extreme and instead of loving and serving others, you’ve become too self-absorbed. Ask God to reveal this to you, confess it, and ask Him where He wants you to partner with Him. 

 

Before making any New Year’s resolution, ask God what plans He has for you right now.

 

Power Verses:

John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice…” (NAS).

 

Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails (NIV).

 

Isaiah 31:21, “Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left” (NAS).

 

Jeremiah 29:11, “‘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’” (NAS).