Life isn’t usually rainbows and butterflies. Often there are moments when we wonder what God is actually doing. What is the plan?!? We look at the storms around us, and because we do not think like He thinks, we cannot grasp what He is doing. This is where faith comes in play.
When the Israelites were actually sent away by Pharaoh to go and worship the Lord, it seemed as if finally, Pharaoh was releasing them. But God then tells Moses that Pharaoh will have a hardened heart yet again, and he will chase after the Israelites. God tells Moses this is something that He planned so as to display His glory.
Today, you might not understand what is happening in your life or in the lives around you. The plan you imagined is not the one that is unfolding. You may be unsure what is going to happen next. No worries—we aren’t made to know these things. We were made to glorify God. Trust in His plan. Press onward, clinging to your faithful Father. He will see you through. Continue to point to Him. To Him be all the honor, glory, and praise!
“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]
I rarely get to sleep in as I like to be up early in the morning during the school week to be sure the kids are prepared for their day. As well, Sunday mornings I start out early once again so I have time to read my Bible and prepare myself for worship. Only on Saturdays do I have an opportunity to catch a few extra winks; however, some weeks the schedule doesn’t allow for it. Since the school year is almost over, I had this great idea – I thought perhaps I can sleep in a little. Wouldn’t that be nice?!?
Today, I was delivered some news. My daughter handed me her schedule for practice. Looks like the very week school ends, practice begins. Not only is practice Monday through Friday, but it’s also on Saturday. I went from having this hope for a day or two extra to sleep in, but instead I have no chance to sleep in until the middle of October. The plan has failed.
We often make plans, but things don’t go as we plan. This can be frustrating and even discouraging. Remember that God has a great plan and He understands the big picture. Our thoughts and ways are very different from God (Isaiah 55:8). Our plans fail again and again; however, His plan will always be seen to completion (Philippians 1:6). We may try to plan our steps, but God determines them (see Proverbs 16:9). In this world, there will be suffering. We are promised it. There will be things we don’t understand. It’s guaranteed. Today, remember to rest in Him. Allow yourself to feel His loving embrace as you cling to His promises and trust in Him. Remember that though we stumble, we don’t completely fall for He holds us up (see Psalm 37:23-24). Today is going to be a good day!!
“God’s way is perfect. All the LORD’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.” – Psalm 18:30 [NLT]
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6 [NIV]
This past week something happened to my shoulder again. I have been told in the past that I have a week shoulder. Something happened at work that knocked me out of alignment. I cannot explain how it happened; I work in an office. All I know is my alignment was off.
I believe that my alignment was off for a long time, but our bodies are so complex and compensate for injuries and misalignment. Today, I go to the chiropractor to find out what has happened. This doctor will search for misalignment and adjust everything necessary if possible. I have heard stories of others who had one leg shorter than the other, and swift correction in a session.
We also can have issues of misalignment. We are to be connected to Christ (John 15:1-17). The Bible speaks of a plumb line that is used to adequately measure (see Isaiah 28:17). For us, our plumb line is the Truth- it is the Word of God, and Christ is the Word (John 1:1-18). So often, we can misalign when we start to believe the lies of the devil and this world. At times we begin to align ourselves with things God never intended to be part of our lives. He has this perfect plan and this special purpose for your life. It is greater than you can ever imagine. Today ask for the Holy Spirit to help you evaluate your alignment with the One Who is the Great I AM, to reveal anything that may have you a bit misaligned.
Have you ever been called a “nobody”? In this world we spend many hours trying to show people that we are somebody, that we are important, that we mean something. There are books written about how to turn your life around and go from a nobody to a somebody. There are lectures and programs built around this idea of turning your life around from being nothing to being something.
God sees things differently. Yes, we all are nobodies traveling the earth, but we each have a purpose. We each are valuable. No one is more valuable than another. We are all important. We can all be somebodies. We simply need to find our way back to God and follow our purpose, God’s awesome plan. Trust me, it is an awesome plan, a plan we cannot even fathom.
Now being a somebody does not mean you will be a millionaire or a celebrity or even find great earthly success. But it is so much better. You are a child of the King. You will have eternity to enjoy. You are forgiven. You are redeemed. You are restored. These things make you a Somebody. Without Christ, we are all forever and always nobodies, no matter how hard you work and how much time and effort is put into changing your status. In Christ alone we are Somebody.
“But down the road the population of Israel is going to explode past counting, like sand on the ocean beaches. In the very place where they were once named Nobody, they will be named God’s Somebody. Everybody in Judah and everybody in Israel will be assembled as one people. They’ll choose a single leader. There’ll be no stopping them—a great day in Jezreel!” – Hosea 1:10-11 [MSG]
I love to cook. When I have the time, I will search for new recipes and walk in uncharted territory. I love to pull out old recipes that are favorites to enjoy again. Sometimes I will pull from my Pennsylvania Dutch roots. Whenever I am cooking, utensils are needed—and for some things I have a special utensil used for a particular usage. I will look deep in the utensil drawer to grab that one, no matter how long it takes to find it. To me, it is the only one that can do the particular job.
In 2 Timothy we read about keeping ourselves pure. Today’s verse speaks of a “special utensil for honorable use.” We might think about the special utensils we have in our kitchens; however, we also are special utensils. Each one of us was created by God and chosen for honorable use. He has a great plan and purpose for YOUR life.
You will be a special utensil for God. You need only “keep yourself pure.” Focus on Him. Focus on His Word. Focus on what is good, pure, holy—and watch how God uses you for His glory. This is a great promise. YOU will be a SPECIAL UTENSIL for HONORABLE USE. Yes, you!
“If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honorable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 2:21 [NLT]
There are moments when an opportunity pops up and it is not necessarily best for us to jump on board. When Paul was in Ephesus there was a position that was open. They wanted Paul to stay there to spend more time ministering.
He declined – someone else then filled the position at Ephesus. Is it possible we say yes to things because no one else is saying yes, but if we would just say no, a person would stand up? Some people hesitate. Some people don’t think they can do it. Some people are battling things in their minds with God’s calling.
Paul ended up going to Galatia and spent time helping to strengthen the disciples. A man named Apollos went to Ephesus and he filled the open position. “He spoke with great fervor and taught about Jesus accurately” and he spoke “boldly in the synagogue.” (v. 25-26 NIV). Because Paul said “no,” it made room for Apollos to step up and say “yes,” and that acceptance helped Apollos to grow and to even minister elsewhere. We aren’t always meant to say “yes.” Pray about it. Each person has a role to play in the Kingdom. You can’t do it all.
“When they asked him to spend more time with them, he declined.” – Acts 18:29 [NIV]
I often will call for my children. At times it is because it is time for dinner. At times it is because we are going to be leaving soon. At times it is because they have some chores to do or I have a question to ask them. Sometimes they get irritated because they have to come to listen to what I have to say because I won’t yell anything other than their names. If I would yell something else, they wouldn’t hear much anyway.
Today’s verse says that we are to come and to listen. If we come with ears open wide and listen, Isaiah writes that we will “find life.” The first part, the coming, is difficult. It requires us to have ears wide open. That means we come with the intention of listening to hear what is being said. We come ready to listen. We come open to listen.
God is ready to speak with each of us. He has a beautiful plan for each of our lives. He has so many things to tell us. First, we must come and listen. He’s already done the work. He already has the message prepared. We must act. We must come with an open heart and open ears. He promises that when you do you will find life. Life with him is so much better.
“Come to me with your ears wide open. Listen, and you will find life. I will make an everlasting covenant with you. I will give you all the unfailing love I promised to David.” – Isaiah 55:3 [NLT]
The approach varies when planting seeds, depending upon the seed. Some items would do best in a particular area with certain sunlight. Some seeds are best planted at a certain time of the season. Some seeds do better in soil that is different from what another seed would need to produce an amazing bloom. Isaiah mentions that a farmer plants seeds “each in its proper way, and each in its proper place.”
A farmer understands the difference between each seed and he or she handles the seeds individual characteristics to help the plant be more likely to be a success. In the same way, God understands that each of us is different. He made each of us unique. Each of our situations is different as well. God deals with each one of us and our individual characteristics and situations with great care. He knows the proper way and the proper place for us to find success.
Remember today that God understands your particular situation and he is very particular with your care, that it will be handled in the proper way, and that you will be placed in the proper place. The only way you can receive what he has for you is to follow his leading. You might not understand the plan that he has for you, but you can trust that it is a beautiful plan—the best plan.
“Does he not finally plant his seeds–black cumin, cumin, wheat, barley, and emmer wheat–each in its proper way, and each in its proper place?” – Isaiah 28:25 [NLT]