Posts Tagged plans

Day Planner

Isaiah 30: 1

“Woe to the rebellious children,” declares the Lord, “Who execute a plan, but not Mine, and make an alliance, but not of My Spirit, in order to add sin to sin.”

This is one of those verses which is easy to read right over, never seeing how it may apply to us. “I am not a rebellious child,” I say to myself, then discount the rest of the verse. However, look at how God defines the rebellious child. Rebellion is found in one who makes and executes a plan which is not of God or sanctioned by Him. Rebellious children are those who make a partnership not of God’s Spirit. This goes to the very heart of our New Testament relationship with the Divine Trinity.

In the Old Testament, very little was known about either Jesus or the Spirit. The Jews had the promise of the Messiah and the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, we are introduced to Jesus. Then, at Jesus’ exit from the surface of earth, he told us that he was about to send us this promised Spirit. He also told us that the Spirit would not only be with us but that he would live in us. Jesus said that the Spirit would lead us and be our teacher. So, here is the tricky part, we discover that we are supposed to walk with and by the Spirit every day and in every way. Everything we do is supposed to be in partnership with the Holy Spirit. Even in the Old Testament, God said that to make plans relying on our own intellect and strength was to add sin to sin. If God revealed that to pre-Messianic believers, how much more truth does it carry for us.

Even our partnerships, our alliances are supposed to be formed in the guidance and advice of the Holy Spirit. God calls us rebellious when we fail to involve him in these decisions. So, now I have gone from denying my rebellion to realizing that my sin is every bit as great as those of the Israelites we like to condemn.

God insists that the plans of our lives must be made by Him or at least with Him. Actually, He has already made a plan for us and it is a good plan (Jeremiah 29: 11). I cannot overemphasize how important this topic is to God. He requires us to cooperate with His plan for us rather than to run around making our own plans, which, by the way, are almost always destined to fail. So, if this is such a big deal to God, how are we going to co-author our plans with the Spirit and thus avoid adding sin upon sin?

How did you come to know Jesus? How did you develop a relationship with the Father? The Holy Spirit is the third person of God. Therefore, you get to know him as you did the Father and the Son. First, you find him in the Bible. Second, go to our website and search the key words Holy Spirit which go down the right-hand side of the page. There is article upon article there. There are books about him too, but don’t neglect simple prayer. Talk to him. Ask the Father for guidance. Petition Jesus for insights.

The Holy Spirit was sent here for you. He wants to be found by you. Once you begin your search, I think you find that he is hiding in plain sight. Then, since he was sent here to guide us into all truth, ask him how to walk with him all day every day. He will guide you. It’s his job and his heart’s desire.

Beyond Imagining

1 Corinthians 2: 9                God’s Word Version

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.

A friend reminded me of this verse recently. I had let it slip my mind. What a huge passage this is, what an enormous unveiling of the Father. Our God and Father has already prepared great things for us, things beyond our imagination. The NIV Bible says, “What no human mind has conceived.” God has prepared for us things which no human mind has ever conceived of. Jeremiah 29: 11 tells us God has good plans for us, “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.” He has good plans for our future and has already prepared for us the things which will usher in those good plans. We should have hope then.

Today’s verse is a restatement of a verse from Isaiah, “For from days of old they have not heard or perceived by ear, nor has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him (Isaiah 64: 4). We saw last week what the word “waits” really means. It means to be intertwined with. So, God has prepared these good things, these things which are beyond your wildest imagination for you who wrap yourself around Him, who wrap yourself up in Him. So this is great news, yes? Well, not to the casual Christian it is not. It won’t do much for a pew sitter. However, for those of you who love God, which I know is everyone who bothers to read devotionals, this is the gospel of good news. Eye has not seen, neither ear heard the glorious things God has already prepared for those who love Him.

Yahweh has plans for your year. His plans are beyond what have been seen before, heard before or ever conceived of. Meditate on that. Let your mind ponder what you can have and do this year. If you so choose, this can be your greatest year ever. Bigger, better, farther and higher are the plans God has for you. Your cup is designed to overflow. Receive His abundance.

Answer the Phone

Isaiah 42: 9

“Behold, the former things have come to pass, now I declare new things; before they spring forth I proclaim them to you.”

It seems like every time I have opened my Bible this week, my eyes have fallen on Isaiah 43: 19, which reads, “Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth.” Today I found Isaiah 42: 9 quite by accident. Do you think God is trying to say something? Are you the person to whom God is speaking; for whom God’s insistence is palpable?

God has a message for you. Behold, old things have passed away. He is doing a new thing in you and with you. It is the beginning of a new year and your Father has good plans for you. He wants to do something new in your life this year, something grand. There is more for you, bigger and better things.

Allow me, please, to remind you of Psalm 46: 10, which says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” The King James says, “Be still.” If I were in your shoes, I would very much want to hear what these new things are that Jesus wants to proclaim to you. The best ways I know to hear these plans and revelation is to slow yourself down, be still and let your heart and mind ruminate over the scriptures. The Word gives you a foundation, a structure for your musings. Without it your mental wanderings will sometimes be vague and unanchored. I also find that the Word helps me to be still and ponder God.

I know from Jeremiah 29: 11 that God has a good plan for you this year; a plan for your well-being. He wants to encourage you and give you a hope for new and great things. Get alone with your Father and ask Him what it is that He wants to tell you, show you. He is loudly calling you. Are you listening? Answer the phone!

(See also Isaiah 48: 6, 2nd Corinthians 5: 17)

Goodness

Psalm 145: 9

The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.
This scripture is talking about us. We are the works of God’s hands, His handiwork. And He has good plans for us. He is merciful when we make mistakes and His plans for us are plans for good. Sometimes we think of God as vengeful and harsh but the Word of God says that He is a good God and that He is good to His kids. He is a loving father with plans for good things for you. He gives good gifts to His children and protects us from harm. All His ways are of kindness and goodness because He is love. His substance is love. So, all that He has is good. He wants to give more good to you than you have ever received before. Let us get a revelation of His goodness so that we allow him to pour all of His lovingkindness into our lives. You have to settle in your heart first, though, that God is a good God.

Diverging Strategies

Isaiah 55: 8

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

This might go without saying but it is probably good that it was stated so that we can consider it. Of all the doctrines and all the interpretative opinions we hear, surely there is little disagreement over this passage. However, I wonder how much we actually pay attention to the deep revelations within.

I searched my database to see how many times I have written on this passage and was astounded to find the answer to be none. I have referred to it in other Words of the Day but it has never been the subject of its own devotional. Let’s correct that today. My part is to write what the Father is telling me, yours is to meditate on these words but specifically this scriptural passage and determine how the application of its wisdom can (and should) impact your life.

 I have been thinking about today’s verse in relation to Jeremiah 29: 11 which says, “I know the plans that I have for you.” When I put them together I get – Diverging Strategies. Our plans are not His plans because His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways. His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55: 9). When you intellectually connect these dots, it changes everything. And I find that it points out a major flaw in our prayer life and our relationship with Him.

One of the major purposes of Ivey Ministries is to teach believers how to operate in the realm of God, the Kingdom of God. Today’s verse and devotion is a key cog in that curriculum and part of the Ivey Ministries Foundation Series. It is too big for one devotional but I will try to develop it over time.

One of the loudest conclusions of this study is that we need to allow our Father to be the author of the strategies for our success and fulfillment. He knows what will fulfill us and He is leading us on that path. His plans are for our well-being, not for calamity (Jeremiah 29: 11). Since He knows the way, we would be well served to follow His leading instead of stumbling around in our ignorance. Most of us, however, have learned to ask God to bless our plans. Few ever really take the time to discern God’s plans. This is a major failing in our individual lives as well as in the body of Christ. 

The shift we all need to make is to spend our time and prayers inquiring of God rather than petitioning Him to do what we want. If we will do this we will find ourselves in the promised land instead of the quagmire that so many of us are forced to deal with on a daily basis. Take the time, please, to ask Father what He wants, what His desire and plan is for you. His path and plan leads to a land flowing with milk and honey where he even gets water from rocks on your journey there. His blessing is in His plan, His plan for goodness. Your blessing and abundantly blessed life is right here in today’s devotional. Please don’t miss it.

Send your questions and responses to www.iveyministries.org or use the comment section below.

 

Pathways Disclosed

Jeremiah 29: 11 – 14a

“For I know the plans that I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 29: 11 is a pretty familiar passage and certainly good news. We want to know that God has good plans for us. He knows the plans He has for us, He hasn’t forgotten. Those plans are not of calamity but of good things.

That is all great encouragement from the master encourager. That was not enough for me today though. It is great that God has good plans for us but, speaking for myself, we need to know those plans. We need to hear His ideas for our lives. That is why God didn’t hang up the phone after verse 11. He kept speaking. He knows the rest of the story too, that we need to hear of these plans. So He says, “Call Me, come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you” (v. 12). That is a good answer to our questioning Him about these good plans He has for us but for many of us even as we hear His words our hearts descend into doubt.

Maybe, I will call upon Him and maybe I will pray to Him, but will He really listen to me and more importantly, will I hear Him? He assures us that when we seek Him with our entire heart, He will be found by us. “‘I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord” (v. 14).

These words are meant to give us assurance. First of all understand that praying to Him is not meant to be a religious activity. It is meant to be a conversation. It isn’t all about laying a petition at His feet. The best prayer is pouring out your heart into His lap. Just get real. Tell Dad exactly what you are feeling; exactly what you are going through. Tell Him where your doubt lies and ask Him to shine light on those areas for you. 

When I read verse 11 I always picture a path. I understand that His plans for me, His goodness and provision, lie on the path which He has ordained for me. You need to know where your path lies. Therefore, you must also seek Him and not only in a global fashion but also as to specifics in your life. Which road are you to take? What is your vehicle? He has a path all laid out for you that will take you to the land of your dreams and ambitions. We’ve just got to get on the right road. Seek Him, inquire of Him. He has big and great plans for you.

Guaranteed Success

Proverb 16: 3          NIV

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.

How would you like to know that every project you undertake is going to be a success? Wouldn’t that change your perspective? Well, it is possible. If you begin every project, every assignment by committing it to God then you are guaranteed to be successful. Now, can you believe it?  

Believing the veracity of this scripture is one of the hidden necessities to make your success manifest. If you do not believe God’s word in this context either you will not pray, submitting your work to God or you will not believe the words coming out of your own mouth. Either is shooting yourself in the foot. So, the first thing we must do if we want to see success in our endeavors is to believe this scripture. Second, we must actually commit our plans and projects to the Lord. But there is a third necessary step.

Leave it alone after you commit it to Him. Do your work but leave the success of the project in His hands. I have a visualization that I use for this and also for problems. When I have a project or problem I picture a mail tray like the type everyone used to have on their desks. I see a stack of them and the one on top is marked “In”. In my mind I recognize this as God’s inbox. I see myself walk to it and drop in whatever it is that I have on my mind. Now, here is the key. Leave it there. I cannot tell you how many times I have put something in God’s inbox only to later go pull it out. Perhaps He isn’t moving as fast as I think reasonable. Maybe I just think the problem or project needs my hands in it. Okay, I know both thoughts are ludicrous but that is the unrenewed part of my mind and exactly why I must continuously renew my mind to God and His Word.   

Once you commit your works to the Lord then it is time for you to allow Him to be the mastermind. He will instruct you and lead all of your work by His Holy Spirit. You will be surprised how much less time your work actually takes when you let Him guide your steps. And you are guaranteed success. You gotta love that. God will establish your ways and lead you into righteousness which, after all, is right-ness which only makes sense. He is not going to lead you into wrongness, now is He? So learn to stop and pray a personal prayer of committal before you commence any project. Not only will you be guaranteed success but you will find the labor much less odious. Let Jesus lead you in paths of success.