Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“’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 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. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
Jeremiah 29: 11-14
New International Version
“Our Father’s Plans For Us”
“Where God guides, He provides.”
Am I confused about God’s plans for my life at this time?
What have I seen in my life in the past that gives me confidence in the present to trust
God’s guiding hand?
“And I said to the man who stood at the gate: ‘Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light, and safer than a known way.’”
Minnie L. Haskins
“We, without a future, safe, defined, delivered now salute You God,
Knowing that nothing is safe, secure, inviolable here.
Except you, and even that eludes our minds at times.”
Not long ago, a friend sent me an email which contained a sign that was posted in front of a church in North Hollywood, California. These were the words on the sign: “To make God laugh, tell Him your plans.”
Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe God mocks me or scoffs at the plans I think I’ve laid out so carefully. Rather, I think my heavenly Father often smiles or is possibly even rather amused by the way I try to concoct the blueprint for my life.
Like an architect designing a home, I’m a “planner.” I like to lay things out. I like to cover my bases. I like to have everything in its place – perfectly laid out to meet my needs.
And then, without notice, it sometimes seems, my Father comes along and turns my narrow little world right upside down with His design.
The prophet Jeremiah is a perfect example of the point I’m trying to make. Jeremiah was a quiet person, not desiring the spotlight. He never intended to be a mouthpiece for God. In fact, Jeremiah 1: 7 relates how when God called Jeremiah, the response from this young man was, “I am a child.” But God didn’t find this fact a disqualifier. The Bible tells us that God let Jeremiah know that, “before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations” (Jeremiah 1: 5, K.J.V.).
Before Jeremiah was even born, God’s guiding hand was upon His life. God had a perfect blueprint laid out for Jeremiah. God needed and wanted Jeremiah to be a messenger to the nations. Quite a calling, I’d say. It is the hand of God on Jeremiah that leads me to the words this prophet of God spoke in the Old Testament book which bears his name.
I love the way The Message Bible paraphrases our text for today, found in Jeremiah 29: 11-14, “I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised…I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out – plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. When you call on Me, when you come and pray to Me, I’ll listen. When you come looking for Me, you’ll find Me.”
These are bold and confident words, spoken by our heavenly Father, who will use every means possible to guide us in a precise and careful way. This means that when I’m stumbling around on an extremely painful path, God will see that I don’t fall or fail. Not long ago I read a note which contained these encouraging words, ”If God leads us on a rocky path, you can be certain He’ll give us strong enough boots to protect our feet!”
The beautiful words of David found in Psalm 23, probably the most well-known Psalm in all of the Bible, give us this comforting message: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want, He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.” It is the phrase found in Psalm 23: 3, “He leadeth me,” which inspired Dr. Joseph H. Gilmore, the son of a Governor of New Hampshire, to write the famous hymn, “He Leadeth Me.” The words he wrote to this much loved hymn beautifully detail God’s gracious plan of guiding each of us through every moment of our lives:
“He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
What e’er I do, where’ever I be,
Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Sometimes ‘mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea,
Still ‘tis His hand that leadeth me.
Lord, I would clasp my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine,
Content whatever lot I see,
Since ‘tis my God that leadeth me.”
Joseph H. Gilmore
Come, Teach Us
“Come, teach us, Spirit of our God,
the language of Your way,
the lessons that we need to live,
the faith for every day.
Excite our minds to follow You,
to trace new truths in store,
new flight paths for our spirit space,
new marvels to explore:
Engage our wits to dance with You,
to leap from logic’s base,
to capture insight on the wing,
to sense Your cosmic grace:
Inspire our spark to light from you,
to catch creation’s flair,
new artistry to celebrate,
new harmonies to dare:
Delight our hearts to worship You,
to learn compassion’s code,
to live in context of Your love,
great teacher who is God!”
Shirley Erena Murray,
In Every Corner Sing
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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