There Is a Plan
It’s not often that you embark on a journey without knowing where you are going, is it?
When I travel somewhere, I usually like to know the route I am going to take to get there, how long it is going to take to get there, and most of all, where I am going!
That may all sound obvious, but life with Christ is often much more of a game of trust.
Journeying life as a Christian does not guarantee you a comfortable life. In fact, as an active Christian, you may come up against some serious resistance from the enemy of your soul. Your enemy, Satan, does not like that your life is hidden in Christ and that your destiny is eternity. He will likely put up a fight to try to derail you from your path, your purpose, and try to prevent you from living life in all its fullness (see John 10:10).
The good news is that Satan has already been defeated! We must not consider the spiritual war that we are in as a cosmic arm-wrestle between two equal opponents, but rather a battle between Creator and created. The battle is already won!
I have lost sight on many occasions of the victory that is rightfully mine in Christ. I have allowed my perceived lack of control over my life to render me powerless. But here is some more good news—no matter how out of control and helpless you may feel in your Christian walk, there is a plan!
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV tells us this:
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.”
God is good and loving by His very nature. It’s who He is! He has mapped out your journey through life down to the finest detail, and your primary responsibility now is to trust Him.
The word prosper is to be successful or fortunate, to thrive or flourish.
So, we can safely deduce that the plans God has for our lives are good. His intention is not to create a life for us that causes us harm but one that causes us to thrive, flourish, and have hope for the future.
Now, this does not mean that we will never experience hardship. God often uses the valley times in our lives to refine and sharpen us in ways that He could not if we sailed through a trouble-free life.
God tells us straight in John 16:33 that we will have troubles in life, but we are to take heart because He has overcome the world!
We also learn in 2 Corinthians 4:17 that our earthly troubles are light and momentary in comparison with the eternal glory that will far outweigh them all.
Having said all this, we are encouraged in Scripture to count the cost before setting out on our journey with Jesus.
Luke 14:28-30 says:
“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’”
I don’t know about you, but when I reach the end of my life on earth, I want to be able to look my Saviour in the face and say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (See 2 Timothy 4:7).
And in response, I am longing to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (See Matthew 25:21).
So, whether you are just beginning your walk with Jesus or are in the middle of it, take courage because God has a plan for your entire journey with Him. He has gone before you and seen it all.
When you experience incredible mountain-top highs and also stretching valley lows, trust that there is hope and a future. Trust that you will come through all seasons of life well if you remain close to Him – our Shepherd, our Guide, our God.
Psalms 133:1-3 1How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! 2It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down upon the collar of his robes. 3It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.
That is the whole psalm. It is one of the most beautiful expressions of the blessing of unity in Scripture. Most of us have witnessed very little of this type of unity. We are such demanding individuals in the flesh, that while in our flesh, this type of unity is impossible. The only way to arrive at this wonderful blessing is to do as the Apostle Paul said, “Esteem others better than yourself” (Philippians 2:2). Only when a group of people come to real humility in Christ can they find this blessing. In many assemblies we find more division than unity.
I have witnessed unity in a couple of different settings. One was in a cult. All members gave up their individual beliefs and preferences to follow the leader and submit to his teaching. That is not the unity written about here. This unity in the psalm has the blessing of God, life forevermore. The other setting was amongst a group of pastors who focused on Jesus and His salvation, the need to win the lost, and to touch their town with His love. They differed on interpretation of Scripture, on style, and even on how best to get to the goal, but they were united in purpose. They humbled themselves to listen to one another in hopes of the LORD leading them to the victory they so longed for. They realized that if one of them was successful that they were all going to be blessed.
Verse two compares unity to the anointing of Aaron for the priesthood. The anointing oil, a picture of the Holy Spirit, ran down over his beard and dripped on his priestly robes. When we humble ourselves and experience unity, we will see an overflowing of the Holy Spirit, not just a drop. Then he compares it with dew on Zion. The heights of Mount Hermon would have dew when the rest of the nation was dry and dusty. Unity is attractive because it is so rare. The morning dew must have made the buildings on Zion glisten as if they were all made of silver. Those in unity look anointed, shining, because Jesus shines through.
Remember: Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He might exalt you in due season.
Streams in the Desert – November 2
- 20222 Nov
But prayer (Acts 12:5).
But prayer is the link that connects us with God. This is the bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of danger or of need.
How significant the picture of the Apostolic Church: Peter in prison, the Jews triumphant, Herod supreme, the arena of martyrdom awaiting the dawning of the morning to drink up the apostle‘s blood, and everything else against it. “But prayer was made unto God without ceasing.” And what was the sequel? The prison open, the apostle free, the Jews baffled, the wicked king eaten of worms, a spectacle of hidden retribution, and the Word of God rolling on in greater victory.
Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon? Do we dare to use it with the authority of a faith that commands as well as asks? God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence! He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare to prove the greatness of their God. But God! But prayer!
–A. B. Simpson
Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think.
Each time you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ, of your place in Christ; and expect great things.
Our prayers are God’s opportunities.
Are you in sorrow? Prayer can make your affliction sweet and strengthening. Are you in gladness? Prayer can add to your joy a celestial perfume. Are you in extreme danger from outward or inward enemies? Prayer can set at your right hand an angel whose touch could shatter a millstone into smaller dust than the flour it grinds, and whose glance could lay an army low.
What will prayer do for you? I answer: All that God can do for you. “Ask what I shall give thee.”
Wrestling prayer can wonders do,
Bring relief in deepest straits;
Prayer can force a passage through
Iron bars and brazen gates.
Simple but Sacred
SCRIPTURE READING — 1 CORINTHIANS 11:23-26
“This [bread] is my body, which is for you. . . . This cup is the new covenant in my blood. . . .”
If you have seen or participated in the Lord’s Supper (communion) in a church service, you’ll probably remember the pastor breaking bread and pouring wine or juice into a cup.
Take a moment to reflect on these images.
Some of the holiday meals we enjoy, or grand celebrations—such as weddings or anniversaries—might have different courses and many kinds of food. But the Lord’s Supper, the Jesus-meal, looks quite simple in comparison. Even if this meal takes place in a great cathedral, it has only two parts—bread (or wafers) and wine (or juice).
Even so, probably more ink has been used to explain this meal than almost any other topic in church history. And there is good reason for that. There are important questions worth asking—and perhaps answering, if we are able.
What did Jesus really mean when he said, “This [bread] is my body,” and, “This cup is . . . my blood”? How might Jesus be present with us when we eat this meal? Why did Jesus tell his followers to celebrate this meal regularly? Why does this meal matter at all?
You see, this meal is truly special. In the church we even call it “sacred.” Spend some time reflecting and talking with others about some of these questions.
Lord Jesus, your disciples were often puzzled by your words and actions. And, if we are honest, we are sometimes puzzled too. Still, we thank you for this sacred meal. In your name we pray. Amen.