Episode 1. I have a Plan for You
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When things aren’t going particularly well in our lives – the things that happens, is that we lose sight of our hopes and dreams for the future. And that’s devastating. We need to know that …
When things aren’t going particularly well in our lives – the things that happens, is that we lose sight of our hopes and dreams for the future. And that’s devastating. We need to know that there’s a plan.
These days’ people are saying that one of the biggest issues in their lives is stress. We stress about this, we stress about that and you know, sometimes the things we are stressing about they’re very real. There are people listening today whose very lives are in danger, there are people listening today who are facing bankruptcy or perhaps the banks foreclosed on their mortgage. There are people listening today who don’t know where their next morsel of food is coming from, who’s children are facing death because of a lack of clean water and medical services. And yet other times, we just kind of stress over the future because we live in an inheritantly uncertain world.
We don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow; “Am I going to have enough money? Will I get that promotion? Will I find a marriage partner? Will my kids grow up okay?” On and on and on, I often make the observation that if one small part of our lives has some uncertainty in it, even though every other part of our life can be chugging along just fine, then we have a problem and we’re going to experience stress. What we need in this uncertain world is, well some certainty, don’t you think? We need something or someone to depend on.
I often get this thing, “Well, you know, religion is just a crux, it’s for losers” and that’s fine by me because I’m not a great fan of religion, I’m not into religious stuff. For me, most of my life, I was far from being a loser. I always used to pride myself that whatever I turned my hand to I’d try to be the very best at doing it that there was. And that was often the case.
But I have to tell you, as successful as I purported to be I always had a feeling of, well this sense of uncertainty eating away in me. Even if things were going really well in my life, stress gnawed away inside me. So many people are like that, the problem with that is that you can’t, well you can’t have peace when that’s going on, you can never rest on the inside, you’re always worrying and stressing over something.
Imagine if, in life, despite all the things that are going on because so often you know, we can’t change those things, they just happen but if, despite everything that was going on, we could have peace, real peace, you and I. Just stop and think about that proposition for a moment, isn’t it awesome? When the storm clouds are gathering on the horizon and you know a storm is about to hit but inside we have a quiet confidence that we’re going to ride out that storm.
Okay, that’s why today and over this week and next week we’re going to take a look at ten promises that we can depend on. Ten promises, promises made by God that, come what may, you and I can depend on.
I don’t where you’re at in life but I ask you to approach this with an open mind, my prayer is that over these coming days, something amazing is going to happen in our hearts. That God would put a solid foundation in our hearts, a solid ground beneath our feet as we take a hold of these ten promises of God. Promises that I can depend on, promises that you can depend on. And the first one is this, here is a promise from God; I have a plan for you.
See, when we’re stressed, so often what happens is we can’t see our way ahead to a safe and a peaceful future. All we can see is the here and now, all we can imagine is all the bad things that are going to happen to us. If you’re in a marriage relationship that’s heading towards the rocks, if you’ve got a teenager who’s going through some bad stuff, if you’re under stress at work, whatever it is, “oh, will it ever get any better?” Well, will it?
Here’s a promise that God made to Israel. Israel had mucked up in their lives, you know they’d turned their backs on God and so God let the Babylonians come and take them away into slavery. So Israel is in slavery in Babylon, completely hopeless you know and here’s the promises they lived through these impossible times of slavery. It comes from the Old Testament, Jeremiah chapter 29, verse 10:
This is what the Lord said to them, “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I’ll come to you and fulfil my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 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, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
Here’s what happens; you and I, we have plans for our lives, it’s a natural human thing to do. We have hopes and dreams for our lives, to retire early, to have a nice home to live in, to see our kids grow up. We’re always looking forward to something good in our lives for ourselves. We have needs, we have hopes, we have dreams, we want to have a good life and then, things happen that interrupt those dreams and you know, the things that interrupt can be so small.
One small thing between husband and wife can grow from a mole hill into mountain and you look at this couple and they seem to have everything going for them, there’s no reason for their marriage to fall apart. Or the family sitting in a refugee camp with no hope for the future, just watched one of their children die, or the dear friend of mine whose father died in a refugee camp in Africa because there wasn’t adequate medical attention. You see, there are things that come in life that interrupt our hopes and our dreams.
When we’re in that place, when our plan is interrupted, our plan for a good future, it’s tough and into that place God whispers into our hearts:
I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future and then you’ll call upon Me, you’ll come and pray to Me and I’ll listen to you. You’ll seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. I will be found by you”, declares the Lord, “and I’ll bring you back from captivity.
I’ll gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you and I will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.
Now that doesn’t mean that every time we’re sick we’ll get better. No, we’re all going to die sometime and it doesn’t mean that if I had a plan to have a 6 bedroom house with gold plated taps and an en suite, that Gods going to do it. No, no it doesn’t mean that. But sometimes our plans and our hopes and our dreams are so selfish and ‘me’ centred and they involve the things that will never satisfy us and sometimes our plans and our hopes and our dreams don’t involve any pain or suffering and yet, life always involves pain and suffering.
Come on, what if God has plans for us, plans that are good plans, good plans born in His great and mighty heart. Much richer, must more realistic and vibrant and full of life than anything you and I could ever imagine. Listen to what God is saying to us here, “I have a plan for you, a plan I made just for you, it’s a good plan, I will bring it to pass no matter how bad things get.”
If we let that promise sink into our hearts today then, you know what we know, we know that the storms and the tempest of life can come and go but nothing can interrupt Gods plan for you and me. This is a promise that we can trust in, this is a promise that we can depend on. God doesn’t make them lightly, He’s faithful and He always delivers on His plans and His promises. He sees the big picture. Plans are so wondrous and so amazing were as we only see our little bit and then we’re pretty myopic.
I have a plan for you, a good plan.