Tag Archives: God’s plan

Exodus 13-15; Psalm 114; Ephesians 3

It’s easy to want to chalk a hardship up to an enemy’s plans (and perhaps less easy to one’s own poor choices or inaction). But what if it’s God’s divine hand? Maybe it’s happening just so you know.

Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses: “Order the Israelites to turn back and camp by Pi-hahiroth between Migdol and the sea. Camp there along the shore, across from Baal-zephon. Then Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are confused. They are trapped in the wilderness!’ And once again I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will chase after you. I have planned this in order to display my glory through Pharaoh and his whole army. After this the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord!” So the Israelites camped there as they were told. (Exodus 14:1-4, NLT, emphasis added)

The things that are out of my control, and the things within my control that are hard to control, can I submit them to the Lord? I think of Erin’s post on Monday, how Moses gave excuses to get out of God’s task–and God, whose plan would further demonstrate who He is. Lord, can I accept what is and seek you in the midst of it?

In Exodus I read as the Israelites complained that they were better off slaves, that they were thirsty–this after they had just witnessed the waters parting and were singing of God’s power. Father God, help me. Help me to remember Your goodness and sovereignty. Fear, dread, even basic needs like thirst can knock the feet from under one. Maybe when I’m undone, I’m relying on my own power rather than remembering and relying on yours.

Paul writes several books of the Bible from prison, and I’d post all of Ephesians 3 here because it is so rich. But I land briefly here:

Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. 13 So please don’t lose heart because of my trials here. I am suffering for you, so you should feel honored. (Ephesians 3:8-13, NLT, emphasis added)

Paul sees God’s plan even in prison, and accepts that imprisonment is part of the plan. Paul operates from this perspective and truth. He does what God has appointed him to do. That’s some serious kingdom focus.

14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:14-21, NLT, emphasis added)

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Samuel 6; 1 Chronicles 13; Psalm 60; Acts 23

11 Oh, please help us against our enemies,
    for all human help is useless.
12 With God’s help we will do mighty things,
    for he will trample down our foes. Psalm 60:11-12, NLT

It’s been an emotional week, this winding down of a school year and saying goodbye to some for a summer break, and goodbye to others perhaps for good. Every one of us has a story and a struggle, and whether it’s against an external enemy or the one that whispers in our ear–there seems to be a story within the story, something behind the scenes that’s sometimes hard to see and hard to name.

God, please help us against our enemies.

Because, really, there is just one who comes to kill and destroy. That enemy pulls apart families and pulls apart dreams and uses choice words and insecurities to attack faith.

God, help us against this enemy. You fight for us.

Lord, help me to see the story within the story. Open up my eyes.

Courtney (66books365)

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Numbers 22-25; Luke 1

God is not a man, so he does not lie.

He is not human, so he does not change his mind.

Has he ever spoken and failed to act?

Has he ever promised and not carried it through? Numbers 23:19

From the beginning of creation God began showing man His intentions toward relationship; even after Adam and Eve fell into sin, God never stopped revealing His plan. Through tests of faith, through covenants, through the mouths of prophets and angels, God divulged His promise to bring redemption to all mankind.

I see him, but not here and now.

I perceive him, but far in the distant future.

A star will rise from Jacob;

a scepter will emerge from Israel…Numbers 24:17

 

“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:30-33

Jesus sent to earth to experience life as a man, to live, to love, to feel sad, to feel angry, to taste temptation yet not succumb, to give Himself as a sacrifice, a gift of grace so that I might be forgiven. A Mighty King brought low by choice to win the battle with my enemy forever. The Living God lifted high to bring new life everlasting.

My Savior rescues me with mercy, making me righteous, making me holy. He takes away my fear, so I can fully serve Him, loving Him with all my heart, my soul, my mind. He offers me real freedom and restoration of everything that has been stolen from me. He transforms my thoughts and renews my spirit.

“Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,

because he has visited and redeemed his people.

He has sent us a mighty Savior

from the royal line of his servant David,

just as he promised

through his holy prophets long ago.

Now we will be saved from our enemies

and from all who hate us.

He has been merciful to our ancestors

by remembering his sacred covenant—

the covenant he swore with an oath

to our ancestor Abraham.

We have been rescued from our enemies

so we can serve God without fear,

in holiness and righteousness

for as long as we live…” Luke 1:68-75

He makes covenant with me, and nothing I do will ever turn His affection against me. He is always with me, the Light that illuminates my path. He teaches me, molding me, fashioning me into His spotless bride. He gives me wisdom, showers me with love. His presence brings me joy and peace. His Word encourages me; it is the truth that offers hope and strengthens me.

For the word of God will never fail. Luke 1:37

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Genesis 49, 50; Galatians 4

But Joseph replied, “Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. Genesis 50:19-20

I can think of many times in my life when the enemy, working through other people, has tried to harm me in some way or another, whether physically or emotionally. In the midst of the experience it is hurtful and frustrating. It often leads to feelings of hopelessness and a total loss of control. In my flesh, the aggravation distracts me and I tend take my focus off of God, putting it instead on the circumstances that surround me.

When I realize that I have stopped looking to God, which sad to say sometimes takes longer than I’d like to admit, I know something has to change. I must put my eyes on Jesus. When I refocus on what matters I am more able to look objectively at what is really happening, and more often than not I can see God working through the difficulties. I can feel His hand on me guiding and comforting. I experience His grace and mercy and peace. He gives me wisdom for the situation and encouragement in the trial.

But sometimes it takes longer for me to see. Sometimes I fail to look to God until the situation has passed and I only see the truth through hindsight. I am grateful that hindsight is 20/20. It allows me to see the whole picture, the big picture. It allows me to see exactly where God was using the state of affairs to teach and grow me and it allows me see where He was carrying me through when I felt like I was all alone. It allows me to see the good that God produced from something horrible in my life and made it turn out for the best.

I truly believe that everything that I go through, even the bad experiences, are going to be used by God in moments of my future for the good of myself and/or someone else. I know that every challenge I survive gives me experiential knowledge that I can pass on; it gives me authority over an area of struggle and allows me to stand in the gap for others.

The enemy wants to kill and destroy me, but God redeems and restores everything in my life, using the enemy’s plans to harm me and brings something wonderful out of the ashes of my life.

Yesappa, Thank You.

 

Blessings – Julie, Sholavandan, India (written in the U.S.A.)

 

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Galatians, Genesis, New Testament, Old Testament

Genesis 28-29; Mark 11

I don’t know a lot about Leah–just these few things: older sister, no sparkle in her eyes (and later, she is an unexpected bride, child bearer, and her words lament). Leah, didn’t you see you were part of a plan?

I think about Leah and wonder what happened in all the years that stole her sparkle. Her words groan, “Notice me.” “Hear me.”

She doesn’t see how she fits–mother of nations. She doesn’t even know.

***

I imagine Jacob, young, with a head full of hope and promise, setting out. He has a dream:

13 At the top of the stairway stood the Lord, and he said, “I am the Lord, the God of your grandfather Abraham, and the God of your father, Isaac. The ground you are lying on belongs to you. I am giving it to you and your descendants. 14 Your descendants will be as numerous as the dust of the earth! They will spread out in all directions—to the west and the east, to the north and the south. And all the families of the earth will be blessed through you and your descendants. 15 What’s more, I am with you, and I will protect you wherever you go. One day I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have finished giving you everything I have promised you.”

16 Then Jacob awoke from his sleep and said, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I wasn’t even aware of it!” Genesis 28:13-16, NLT.

Jacob knew there was a plan and he was a part of it. His father sent him off with a blessing. And knowing he was part of a plan (or maybe it was just love!) makes the years and waiting fly by.

18 Since Jacob was in love with Rachel, he told her father, “I’ll work for you for seven years if you’ll give me Rachel, your younger daughter, as my wife.”

19 “Agreed!” Laban replied. “I’d rather give her to you than to anyone else. Stay and work with me.” 20 So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days. Genesis 28:18-20, NLT.

***

Did Leah always feel unloved?

Her pursuit to be noticed, accepted, and loved leads her to praise.

***

The reality of broken relationships, love or friendship disregarded and unreturned–they wound. There are situations I can’t fix, or don’t know how to fix, and if I focus my thoughts there, it drains.

Father, I want to focus on your presence and your plan–that whatever the role it is you give me is a piece you selected just for me. Let me praise you for your love, and let me walk this path knowing that you are with me. You are father, you are friend. You are in this place.

Courtney (66books365)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Genesis, Old Testament