“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11, NLT
I think we all grew up hearing the phrase from our parents, “Don’t cry over spilled milk!” But so often when our plans go “sour,” that is exactly what we do – we boo-hoo our eyes out! (Trust me, I know a thing or two about this:) I am a planner by nature and I wish I could tell you that I always respond in faith when “my plans” don’t work out, but that would not be the truth! In the past I have cried for days and questioned God. But through my grieving process, I have come to this conclusion: “When it appears that God is withholding something from me, He is only setting me up to be blessed!” This revelation has changed my life and I pray it does the same for you today.
I believe that statement with my whole being. I know, that I know, that I know, that my God loves me and He has good plans for me. I also realize that God can see things in His infinite wisdom that I unaware of here on earth. In the late 90’s I applied to a particular graduate school and didn’t get in, but God knew that attending this school was not His best. You see, God had a better school choice for me that would allow me to work full-time while pursuing my studies. And that full-time job was at Mount Paran Central where I met my husband!!!! It appeared that God was withholding something good from me, but He was only setting me up to be abundantly blessed!!! Let me just say that other than accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, meeting my husband has been the greatest blessing in my entire life! As Garth Brooks so beautifully sings, “I thank God for unanswered prayer!”
No matter how things may appear, you can trust God. He loves you and has awesome plans for you. I pray that the revelation God gave me years ago will encourage you today. I am currently leaning on this revelation in my own life. I have a situation where “it appears” that God may be withholding something from me, but I know the truth – He is only setting me up to be blessed and I choose to trust Him this day!
Prayer: “Lord, I choose to believe that You love me and have awesome plans for my life. Thank you for loving me even when I question You and fail to trust You. I give you my dreams, my plans and desires. I give you permission to re-arrange anything in my life and I ask that You line it up with Your perfect will. I love you Jesus and thank you for always looking out for me and wanting the best for me in every situation. Amen.”
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“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always even to the end of the age. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19-20
For me personally, there is no greater joy than to help someone succeed and go higher in the things of God. I love to speak encouragement into a dream of a friend and pray with them until their dream becomes a reality! It is a “high” that no amount of money or chemical substance can give you. When we freely give, we are being used by God to bless another individual. And I have found that as God leads and I help others, He always takes care of my needs in abundance!
Giving – isn’t that what we are here to do anyway? We are here to give people the good news of Jesus Christ. We are also here to give of our gifts and talents to the body of Christ so that all can fulfill what God has called them to do on earth. How would our world be impacted if everyone (including you and me) gave freely to one another? Selah (pause and think about that for a moment).
So, if you happen to be feeling a little blue today, I encourage you to help and pray for someone else! It will get your mind off of “you” and onto someone else who is in need. Self-absorption equals misery, but helping someone else is sure to turn your day around and bring joy to your spirit! We have the privilege of being an extension of God’s love to those around us today.
“Lord, forgive me for being self-absorbed. I choose to get my eyes off of myself and onto The King of Kings, who will perfect everything that concerns me today. Open my eyes to see how I can help someone today. Thank You God for filling my spirit with joy unspeakable. Amen.”
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy may be complete.” John 16:24, NIV
I don’t know about you, but I grew up hearing, “It is better to give than receive.” And while this statement is oh-so true, I now seem to have the hardest time receiving! Anyone else out there in cyberspace struggle with this too? I just love to give though! It is a joke among my closest friends, “Never tell Tracy that you like something in her home, because all of a sudden she’ll just hand the item over to you.” The truth is, it thrills my heart knowing that people have left my home holding lamps, clothing, shoes, books, hats and baked goods! I get so much joy from giving, but the receiving-thing…well that’s a different story!
In just the past seven days, three women have paid for my lunch! Of course I gave the “Oh-no you don’t,” but they quickly replied, “God told me to do this Tracy and do not rob my blessing!” Well, who can argue with that? Their statement made me ask myself, “What if my friends had left my home empty handed rather than receive what I deeply longed to give them?” I believe that if this had happened, a blessing would have been stolen from me!
I have come to the conclusion that in order to give, I must also be willing to receive! Did you know that God is daily longing to give us gifts from Heaven? Yet, so many of us are trying to please God rather than simply receive from Him! Will you do something with me today? Will you place your hands out in front of you and open them up toward Heaven? Go ahead…I’ll wait for you. Now let’s say this prayer together, “Jesus I want to receive everything You have for me today. Amen.”
“Lord, I am so thankful that You love me and nothing can stop Your love from flowing into my life today! I choose this day to receive everything that You have for me. I willingly open up my hands, my heart, my mind and all that is within me to receive from Heaven. I also long to have a giving spirit. Help me to know when to give and when to receive according to Your perfect will.” Amen.
“Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat – refreshing!” Proverbs 25:13, The Message
Many of us are longing for so many things in life – money, recognition, a clean house or maybe your like me and would just love an occasional nap! 🙂 But no matter who you are or where you come from, I think we can all agree that God-centered friendships are priceless and a gift from Heaven above!
The truth is, if we have just one reliable friend – we are truly blessed. When the trails of life come knocking at our door, it is important for us to know whom to call upon for prayer and support. I often think about when Jesus himself asked a few disciples to come and pray with him at the Garden of Gethsemane. Isn’t that amazing? I mean, just think about this for a moment…even Jesus needed his most dependable friends near him during the darkest hours of his life. This fact has given me a new freedom. When the storms of life begin to blow, I immediately run to the shelter of God’s Word and I also know it is okay for me to call upon a few reliable friends to stand with me in prayer. We don’t have to fight the battles of life alone. We can call upon God and His people to stand by our side.
My prayer for you today is for God to shine a light on your reliable friends – those He has called to stand with you. And do not forget that YOU can be a reliable friend to those in your life! In Christ you have the power to offer a cool drink to a person in need today – now that’s refreshing!
Lord, thank you for always being with me. You are with me at every mountaintop and valley throughout my life. Please help me to be a reliable friend to those in need today. Shine Your light on the individuals You have called to stand with me for such a time as this. Thank you God for always being my most dependable friend. Amen.