For I Know the Plans I Have for You…

Of all the verses Christians like to stand on, this is a big one. And it IS a great verse, filled with hope and encouragement. However, it’s also one that people often take out of context.

Think of the word of God like a big buffet. Ideally, you’d go down the line selecting a little bit of it all. But if you’re like me, you end up with a lot of meat, some bread, and a dinner plate of dessert. Not very healthy, I’ll admit. But why would I fill up on vegetables when there’s much more appealing foods to choose from?

Unfortunately, we tend to do that with the Word of God as well. We quote verses like God’s plans are for me to prosper without taking the verses in full context. Jeremiah 29 says:

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.

13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

This promise of God, His plans for you are when you diligently seek Him. He rewards His faithful children.

It is true that it is His wish that none of us perish. He wants to see everyone thrive and prosper and have eternal life. But you cannot be an heir of God unless you accept Jesus. Unless you seek Him with all of your heart.

This reminds me a little of my son in elementary school. He loved school, he loved his teachers, and he loved playing with his friends. He just hated doing schoolwork. If they gave grades for PE and Recess only, he’d have been a Straight-A student.

But they don’t. So every 6 weeks, post-assembly, he’d be upset as his sisters carried home ribbons and restaurant coupons for Honor Roll awards as he remained empty-handed.

“You can’t get the prize without doing the work,” we’d tell him. As a mom, my heart would break for him. As a teacher, though, I was a little indignant. I had my own students that wanted the same rewards as those who’d done their homework and class assignments, as well as studied for tests. This wasn’t about not being a good test-taker or having difficulty, this was about effort.

We have a society full of people with that same childlike mentality today. They want the benefits of Christ without any effort. They want God’s rewards for their life as they execute their own plans.

Sometimes I shudder to think what I’ll see when I see His Master Blueprint for my life. I’ve made peace with the years I strayed from Him but even now, as my entire life is devoted to ministry, I wonder how many times I miss the mark. How often do I end up seeking my own plans and not His? I am comforted by the fact that He would rather I do SOMETHING than nothing (Revelation 3:16) but I’d much rather know that I’m following His Blueprint for my life and not my own.

He does have big plans for you, for all of us. The question is, are you putting forth the effort to receive the rewards?

Surely God didn’t mean that….

In Genesis 3:4, the serpent is indignant.

And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die…

I can hear him now. Come on, really? The God that loves you so much will condemn you to death? That can’t be what he meant…

And yet, it was. It wasn’t a physical death but it was a spiritual one. Sometimes that’s even worse. Especially if you’ve known and walked with God.

And here we are, thousands of years later, and the devil is still using that same old line.

Surely God didn’t mean that…

Society wants us to believe that God has evolved; He understands us better now and His judgment has changed.

But God is the same from everlasting to everlasting. (Psalm 90:1-2) He didn’t change at all. What was written in the Bible all those years ago still holds true. The change didn’t come with Him; it came with men.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:19

If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard it a hundred times. God knows me; He made me. That’s right. And that’s precisely why He said we needed to repent.

You cannot have it both ways. You can’t go the way of the world, decide God’s Word is archaic and make up your own rules and then expect to receive the blessings and inheritance of the Lord.

You cannot set God high on a shelf like a treasured doll or piece of fine china and only pull Him out on special occasions.

For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God… Exodus 34:14

For our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:29

For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God…. Deuteronomy 4:24

He won’t be shared with the ways of the world…

Make a decision now, before it’s too late. Serve God or serve yourself. You can’t do both.

Together we make the perfect pair….

I’ve rediscovered something I’ve always known this week: my husband and I make the perfect pair.

Not just with life in general, though that is true. He is the yin to my yang; the salt to my pepper. He is calm and level-headed while I’m impulsive and passionate. Neither is good, or bad, in itself, but blended together it makes for a peaceful yet still exciting life.

I need him to help me think rationally when I’m ready to throw a stick a dynamite on an already charged situation. He needs me to drag him out of his recliner and twirl me around the den like we are reliving our proms.

That’s what makes great partners and leads to a well-balanced life.

But today I’ve realized those differences apply to our spiritual lives as well. Our trip has been a prime example. After the first three days, he became restless. “I could just sit around at home,” he’d say.

“But not with this view. Or the lack of interruptions,” I’d counter.

Because he loves me, we’re still here. There’s no doubt that he’d have been back home days ago if it weren’t for me. But tomorrow we do have to leave. And I am not ready!

I want to stay another month. I was looking into a return stay by Day 2.

This is a perfect metaphor for our spiritual walk. In fact, just last night he told me there were things he should be doing. He had a calling and he wasn’t fulfilling it by sitting around and doing nothing. We had a life back home and this vacation was entirely too long.

I understood exactly where he was coming from. That was part of the reason for the vacation to begin with- he never takes time to rest. I admire that he ministers 24/7. While my ringer is off 50% of the time, his never gets turned off. He has a burning fire that is all-consuming. Taking time to relax and disconnect from the world isn’t something he enjoys doing.

I, on the other hand, do not want to leave. If this is a mountaintop experience with the Lord, I want to stay here. I know that I must come down off the mountain (literally and figuratively) in order to fulfill the calling on MY life. But I am going to take advantage of every second I have while I’m here. It’s a gift- of restoration and rejuvenation- and we all need those times in our lives.

I’m not saying I’m right and he’s wrong. Quite the opposite, I know that my fire sometimes gets down to smoldering ashes that need a starter log to kick it up again. What starts as resting in the Lord turns into laziness. And selfishness.

So even spiritually, we blend well. You need both.

You might need the time of rest. You might need the fire starter. Or you might just need to learn how to balance both. That’s all life is sometimes. A balancing act.

Make sure you keep your spiritual life balanced. If you don’t, every other area of your life will get out of whack.

As for me, I’m enjoying these last few hours of this mountain. And while I really could stay here indefinitely, there’s a renewed fire to share the gospel once I get home. I know it’s time.

Want your own mountaintop experience? It doesn’t have to be a literal mountain. Any time where you decompress, disconnect from the world, and plug into Christ alone will work. No reservations required, just an open and willing heart.