“I Know the Plans I Have”

Anyone over the age of about thirteen can look back on this year and say, “Wow!”

It didn’t really matter if you were Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, owned a home or rented, had children or not, etc. I think we can all agree that it was a rough ride in many ways.

Every year I see something in the news about the people we lost over the past year. This year has been especially shocking to me. I don’t know if I’m just getting older, so I’m aware of more people, and have followed them over their careers. Maybe it’s more of a surprise because so many have been young…around my age. And yes, that’s young to me. To only reach your fifties or not even…half your life in the way I look at it.

And of course I always wonder what their belief system was. For me, to think that a person did not know Christ as their Savior before their death is scary and sad.

So many celebrities had it all while they lived their lives on this earth. So very many had tumultuous lives. It seems to me that they were searching for that perfect combination, that balm to the soul and all the money and fans could not appease that hunger.

That is not to say that if you accept Christ as your Savior your life is monetarily successful. That you have all that this world deems important and affluent. And I have had people say, “Then why bother? I’m fine on my own.”

But are we?

I like to have a plan, a goal, and know what’s ahead to some extent. No, you can’t know everything and life is full of surprises. Some wonderful and rocking our world, others not so much. At times those unexpected little things are just down right depressing and pretty formidable. But for me, wondering about where I would go after I’m no longer here on this earth would be unacceptable. I want to know and be sure. And I think most people do.

Because God created us that way. He created us to need other people for encouragement, support, accountability and love. He gave us a desire to have others in our lives. He designed us with emotions, feelings, taste and a decision-making process…for a reason. It was planned.

And for me, a plan is pretty fantastic. I want to know what’s ahead, and what I’m expected to do. And you can.

I look back on 2016 and think, “Wow!” But I look back on my entire last 52 years on this earth and can say the same. It’s been a pretty exciting ride, most of the time. Looking to the future of 2017 is a bit scary. There are many unanswered questions. And I don’t like that. But faith is where it’s at. I know God has a plan, and I’m part of that plan, and He’s the ultimate planner.

Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version (KJV)

11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

11 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.

Tomorrow is the last day of the year 2016. The year has flown by, many changes have occurred over the past twelve months. We know, take by faith, that the sun will set tonight and rise again in the morning. Time is short, for all of us. None of us know how long we will be here. Make the most of the time you have, make the best decision of your life. Accepting Christ as your Savior, is a plan you can be sure of. And it sure beats having no clue! hourglass-1703330_1920

Start the New Year with a clean slate. Decide to live your life differently. Each day we are given affords that opportunity. If you are saved, make 2017 the year you put your Christian walk first in your life. That will be my goal.

John 3:16 King James Version (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

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Walk the Talk

Sunday morning…a day when most people would think of attending a church of their choice. Now it’s just another day in most people’s minds. A day to sleep in, barbecue, go to the park or watch a ball game. I can understand the thinking behind that. People today are rushed from one activity to another, usually working a couple of jobs to get by. We are tired physically and emotionally…and we want a break.

This post came to mind because of the readers on here that have clicked on the link, The church is called to be churchy, so deal with it. I don’t know why, but this site is no longer there. So I do apologize for those of you that have tried to read the article. It was a good one. He had several posts that really made you think. Maybe that’s why the site is gone…too much conviction going on.

I was also thinking of something our second oldest daughter asked about. She and her husband are experiencing some testing. She didn’t understand why it seemed like every time they decided to make a commitment to read the Bible, attend church, and just generally get things together in their lives spiritually…life became tougher.

What a question!

When a person first accepts Christ as their Savior, the world is pretty bright and new. It’s a wonderful feeling. You skip along, finally understanding a bit about the Bible and trusting in your destination.

But then life happens.

Many times a new Believer does not have follow-up. They don’t continue to grow in their relationship with God. They don’t find a church to attend where they can have fellowship and support, and learn about God’s Word. They don’t make time in their lives to read the Bible or pray. That new-found joy begins to evaporate until all there is left is the burden of life. This is a very sad scenario, because the new Believer never has a chance to develop that relationship with God and other Believers. They don’t have the opportunity to have the rewards and blessings of the Christian life that make this worldly life more bearable.

Then there is the older Believer. They have been plugging away for years, and that first joy has disappeared. Sometimes the thinking is, “What does it matter if I go to church or read my Bible?  Who cares if I pray? I don’t see any results.” They lose heart and just rest on the fact that they will go to Heaven someday. That is good enough.

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But is it? God sent His only Son to die for us.

1 John 4:10 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 2:2(NASB)
and He Himself is the [a]propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.

So why can’t we as Believers put a little effort into our Christian Walk?

I think that God allows a new Believer a chance to get their feet wet. They can stroll down the path of that new gift of salvation. The canopy of trees overhead shades them from the bright sun, and the birds chirp merrily. No stones impede the progress as the Babe in Christ drifts along.

But God doesn’t want us to stay there! A mountain climber isn’t content stepping over an ant hill. A surfer doesn’t want to dabble their feet in a brook. The long-distance runner won’t be motivated by a casual walk around the block. A pastor won’t only teach on salvation, but give the whole council of God. Any new mother loves her baby, but she wants them to grow up someday. And that’s what God wants of us…His children.

A mountain climber doesn’t get better by stepping over ant hills. He or she has to climb higher and more rough terrain to progress. The surfer has to find bigger waves to hone their skills. Someone that runs marathons has to run…a lot, or they aren’t ready for that race. A pastor that really wants to lead his flock and teach them God’s Word has to study and pray so that he knows what his congregation needs. Parents gain knowledge of their children over the years by caring for them and then instructing them in the ways of life.

So why do so many Christians just want to be saved…and call it good?

The Christian Walk is all of those items I mentioned above, put together and then some. In order to grow in Christ and abide in Him, you have to put the time in. The more time you grow, the harder the journey becomes. Often that path is strewn with rocks and boulders, deep crevices beside the road. The shade is intermittent and the glare of the sun is blinding. There are days, weeks and sometimes months when the birds stop singing. The Believer that perseveres finds great blessing and reward at the end of their journey, just the same as the mountain climber, the surfer, the runner, the pastor and the parent.

But the rewards for the Believer are so much better! I love this conversation that Jesus Christ has with his Disciples in John 14. It shows that people have always been human, struggling with the answers. It also shows Christ’s patience with us.

John 14 (NASB)

Jesus Comforts His Disciples

14 “Do not let your heart be troubled; [a]believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, thatwhere I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Oneness with the Father

If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”
Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.”Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. 12 Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; andgreater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.

Role of the Spirit

16 I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [b]Helper, that He may be with you forever; 17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.
18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 [c]After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also. 20 In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. 21 He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”22 Judas (not Iscariot) *said to Him, “Lord, what then has happened that You are going to disclose Yourself to us and not to the world?” 23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. 24 He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.
25 “These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful. 28 You heard that I said to you, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 Now I have told you before it happens, so that when it happens, you may believe. 30 I will not speak much more with you, for the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me; 31 but so that the world may know that I love the Father,[d]I do exactly as the Father commanded Me. Get up, let us go from here.

For me, I desire the close relationship with God. I want to abide in Christ and seek Him first in all that I do. No, I’m not always successful…and no Believer is. My path is often rocky and full of crevices and there are days when I want to sit down and not continue. But prayer and God’s Word strengthen me so that I may get up and forge ahead…because I know the rewards…the medal, is there at the end.

We’ve all just watched the Olympics. We’ve seen people from all around the world dedicate their lives to one event…for a medal. That medal won’t last into eternity. Think about your own life, your priorities, the daily chores you put so much effort into. Will they be there for you in eternity?

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As a Believer, my life should be centered around God and His priorities. Spending a Sunday morning in church with other Believers, reading my Bible, spending time in prayer rather than complaining, shouldn’t be too hard. Let’s put forth the effort.

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