Sunday, January 29, 2017
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord,
Plans for welfare and not for evil,
To give you a future and a hope
Then you will call upon Me
And I will listen to you
And you will seek Me and find Me
When you search for Me with all of your heart”
These verses in Jeremiah was part of a letter sent from Jeremiah the prophet to Jerusalem after all the people had been taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. Imagine we are living happily here in Hamilton, New Zealand with our nice jobs, our lovely blue sky and white clouds, our beautiful Waikato River, our birds and trees and the peace and quiet we enjoy.
Then, imagine that suddenly a foreign country invade us and forces us to leave our homes to live in a foreign land. The food is different (no more Pavlova), the language is different, the culture is different. You might think this is a curse or satan.
Or imagine you are the ones left behind and all the people that you need in your life have been taken and you are left here wondering what to do. You feel abandoned. Won’t you feel sad or maybe you will feel angry? Maybe you will think, this is satan.
Yet, in Jeremiah 29:4, it says, “I have set into exile”. This was God’s plan. Sometimes, we think the difficult things in our life have been brought by satan. Let’s not give him so much honor. God has a plan for our lives and He knows what He is doing, even when we cross difficult times.
In verse 6, God encourages the people to increase and to multiply and not to decrease. As Christians we need to increase and not decrease. If we used to pray daily, don’t decrease to once per month. If we used to meet every Wednesday, don’t decrease to monthly. If we used to use our gifts or practise them, don’t give up, keep using them and don’t decrease.
In verses 8-9, God warns the people to not listen to the prophets, for they were not sent by God. We have to be careful to know in whose name the prophecy comes. People can say all sorts of things over us but we need discernment to know if it is God or not.
“For I know that plans I have for you”. If you feel like you have been put in a strange foreign place or you feel like you have been abandoned or you feel that last year was a hard year for you, don’t worry because God has a plan and He knows them.
“Know”: Do you know your plans for this year? Do you know God’s plan for you in for this year? Would you like to know God’s plan for you? We can pray to know it and for it to be accomplished.
“Plan”: “a detailed proposal for doing or achieving something”. What do you want to achieve this year? How will you achieve it? For example, I want to use my gifts for God. What are they? One of my gifts is teaching so how will I use that gift? Wednesday night meeting bring a message which means I have to read my Bible and take notes and meditate on it. In order to use my gift of teaching, I need to read my Bible every day. My plan is to teach and my detailed proposal for achieving it is to read my Bible every morning at 6:30am and to meditate, take notes and pray over it so I can be prepared with a message to bring on Wednesdays.
“Welfare”: “the state of doing well”. God wants us to do well this year. This is His plan for us to do well in our walk with Him, our spiritual growth, to increase and not decrease. In what areas do you want to do well? In what areas do you know have decreased and now you want to bring them back to how they used to be?
“Not for evil”: God’s plan is for us to do well in His eyes. God wants us to live according to the Word of God and to obey Him and serve Him and not to serve evil. I remember when I was a young Christian asking Michelle, how do I know if I serve God or something else? Michelle replied, “Ask yourself, does this glorify God? If yes, do it. If not, it doesn’t come from God”.
God’s plan is for us to NOT do evil or to follow satan or his demons or to fall into temptation. In all we choose, ask ourselves, is this going to glorify God, satan or myself?
God wants to give us a “future”. A future on this earth but also a future in heaven. What plans are we doing this year for our future? For example, if I want to be a lecturer in law one day, I will need to plan for how to achieve that. That could mean taking time out to teach at the Community Law Centre for free, becoming an expert by reading text books, the latest law and new cases and by researching.
I want to hear God say, “faithful servant”. Therefore, I need to be faithful to God, church, Christians. For example, be committed to this church and its members, to the Wednesday night program, encouraging others even when I don’t have a role by simply being there.
“A hope”: God wants to give us a hope. What do you hope in? I hope in the fact that one day I will enter the Kingdom of God. Look first at the Kingdom of God and all else will fall into place. Let’s not put our hope in money, getting a better job, people, pastors, prophets but in God.
Now we are going to call upon Jesus and He will listen.
Now we are going to seek Him and we will find him.
Let’s search God with all our hearts and find him.
By Hayley Boud