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Those Plans God Has For Us...

by Susan Budensiek  
1/04/2018 / Christian Living


“For I know what plans I have in mind for you,” says ADONAI

 

God has a plan for each of us. “For I know what plans I have in mind for you,” says ADONAI, “plans for well-being, not for bad things; so that you can have hope and a future. When you call to me and pray to me, I will listen to you. When you seek me, you will find me, provided you seek me wholeheartedly.” Jeremiah 29:11-13 (CJB) Keyword here is “wholeheartedly”.

 

We are His children and He wants to take care of us. He has the power to open any and every door for us – of that there can be no doubt. Then why do we so often feel as though God ignores our requests? He will open doors for our good – something He knows far better than we do – and for His glory.

 

Most of us are woefully incapable of understanding how God is working in our lives because we do not really communicate with Him. Real communication is not a grocery list of “gimmes”, bless so-and-so, help me this, help me that, and an occasional thank you.

 

How often we, in our own desire and with all good intent, rush into a situation because it seems like the right or logical thing to do in an effort to help someone struggling with a spiritual problem or coping with circumstances in his or her life. This is what we as Christians are supposed to do, right? What we are subconsciously saying is, “I know what to say/do here and I can get this done. I don't need God to do anything right now.” Our ego prevents genuine communication with our Heavenly Father. We do this, as I said, subconsciously and would never be so presumptuous as to consciously say any such thing to God. If we take some time for honest self-examination we will see that we all do this.

It is far better to “wait upon God” for His leading. Doing this tells the Lord that we want to be used by Him to do His will. Those other people we want so much to help will be blessed because we allowed God – who knows exactly how to reach the heart of everyone – to guide us and use us as tools for His glory. And even though we humans these days like to think God will bless us ...”just because”, He blesses us in order for us to bless others. If He “saved” us and didn't expect us to do anything with that salvation, He would not have given us the Great Commission and we would just die right away so we could go to heaven. That sounds lame, I know, but in reality, every Christian is called to work for our Creator. Just meditate on that a moment. In simple terms that means that every one of us is either fulfilling or failing that calling. Now there's a sobering thought.

The Bible tells us in several places, that we are called for a purpose. Among them, John 15:16 which says, “You did not choose me, I chose you; and I have commissioned you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last; so that whatever you ask from the Father in my name He may give you,” and a few verses later in verse 19”...I have picked you out of the world...” (CJB) Just a word about the people our all-knowing Father chooses: He doesn't pick people already experts or great in any way. One need only look at the stories of Jonah, Moses, David, and poor depressed Jeremiah to see that. God likes to use pliable clay He can mold and shape exactly as He sees fit. When Matthew says in chapter 22 verse 14 that “many are called but few are chosen” he is telling us that few will put forth the effort required to be a servant of the Father. The reason so few are willing is because the price for following Christ is high. Instead of dollars and cents the currency of God's kingdom is sacrifice and humility. And a very effective tool that the adversary uses against Christians is 'discouragement' because it prohibits our willingness to pay that price.

Undoubtedly, God prepares us for what He has for us to do – but how can we be prepared if we don't listen to Him speak instead of rattling off those grocery list prayers?

Now, take Obadiah for example. Not the prophet Obadiah – the Obadiah who was a member of King Ahab's household staff and believed in God. He was someone we would call a good man. When Jezebel was killing God's prophets, he hid 100 of them in two caves and brought them food and water to sustain them. Even though this Obadiah believed in God, he was a “people pleaser”. As you will see when you read the story in I Kings chapter 18, he wanted to make sure he got credit for the good things he did. No doubt his intentions were good, but when Elijah told him to go tell his boss, King Ahab, that Elijah was there, this man completely fell apart. King Ahab had been looking for Elijah to kill him and Obadiah was afraid that when he told the king about Elijah being there, that the king would kill him in addition to killing Elijah.

I'm not content to be an Obadiah. I'd rather be an Elijah. What Elijah had that Obadiah didn't have – just strength, fearlessness, he was a man who did “exploits” for God ( as in Daniel 11:32), and was used mightily by God – that's all. To take that thought a little further, what made Elijah able to be used by God?

He was obedient – not flawless, but instantly obedient in whatever God told him to do. Study this prophet's life and see what difficult things God asked of him. God sent him to the wilderness of Kerith/Cherith to be ministered to by ravens and to Zarephath to be cared for by a lowly widow, a person at the very bottom of the social ladder in those days. Then Almighty God tells Elijah to go show himself to the king who has been hunting all over the area to find him so he could kill him. He hasn't asked anything so frightful of me but He knows I'm still working on that “instant obedience”. Elijah feared God – but not a fear as in being afraid of God. Its like raising children – only when they are very young is fear of discipline a useful, beneficial tool. When they get a little older we as parents want them to be obedient out of respect for us and trust in our guidance, which builds a relationship rather than simple fear of punishment being the outcome. Fear of God is to be in awe of Him in addition to having that same trust and respect we want from our children.

Elijah feared God – Obadiah feared men. Elijah's connection to Jehovah is what made him different from Obadiah. Elijah walked close to God so he could see things from God's perspective. Obadiah had vision trouble. Because he was not filled with God's Spirit, he couldn't see from God's perspective so all around him he saw danger - Ahab could kill him; his people could reject him.

It has been said that we should see what God is doing and join Him – help Him rather than wait for God to do something spectacular in our lives. And you have also probably heard or read that God prepares us for everything He has for us to do in this life. Both are true. Neither will happen if we don't truly communicate with Abba Father. Developing a close, genuine communication with God should be the greatest desire of everyone who professes to be a Christian – a treasure well worth obtaining and maintaining.

And back to the other reason God opens doors for us – for His glory. Consider Hannah in 1 Samuel chapter 1. There we find the story of Hannah, Samuel's mother, who could not have children. It is a sad but wonderful story. In short, Hannah prayed for years for a child to no avail. Then one day she went to the temple and asked God to make her a 'memorial' meaning that when people saw that God had finally given her a child, they would see His grace, not Hannah's persistence in prayer. She then promised to give the child back to God to be raised in the temple - not something we do in 21st century America. God heard and honored Hannah's prayer, and she followed through by taking Samuel to the temple after he was weaned. Now, millions of people have read Hannah's story and learned that God does things for us, but He also does things to cause people to see Him at work in people's lives, to glorify Himself.

I was raised in church but always felt like I was missing something. Now the Word of God excites me! My curiosity enhances pursuance of discernment. I have often felt discouraged, but not totally defeated knowing that in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

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