Is Your Plan from God?

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

When God inspires, He guides and provides a purpose beyond ourselves.

Scripture of the Day:

Acts 5: 38-39

“‘So in this case I say to you, stay away from these men and leave them alone, because if this plan or this undertaking originates with people, it will come to nothing, 39 but if it is from God, you will not be able to stop them, or you may even be found fighting against God.’ He convinced them.”

We all want to succeed, all want to accomplish something that lives beyond ourselves. This cry for eternity is deep within our souls, so, we, like our Creator, set about creating and striving toward plans formed in our mind and soul.

We hope that our plans that will make a difference for someone, perhaps change someone’s life – even our own, for the better. And sometimes those plans fail. Sometimes we are successful and perhaps wish we never concocted the plan. Sometimes we pause and wonder what it is within us that urges us on to complete the work we are motivated to do in the first place.

I’ve had some pretty crazy ideas in my time, can’t say I regret any of them because God has used them all to change me for His glory. I live outside my comfort zone constantly, and it probably drives my family nuts – because they are often a part of my plans. (Insert sinister laugh here and envision me rubbing my hands together, hubby rolling his eyes).

But a plan is insignificant and temporary if it originates in the flesh. When God inspires, He guides and provides a purpose beyond ourselves. This might sound grandiose, but truly everything we do originates in the flesh or the spirit and has a purpose that will accomplish temporary gain or impact souls for eternity.

Reading in the book of Acts, we see a passion that the disciples had in their plan to reach people with the Gospel that intimidated the religious rulers of their day. When we seek to honor God and make a difference, we will face people who are against us and wrongly judge our motives. We will likely not get support from those “closest” to us, doubt ourselves and wonder if it is worth continuing to try at all. So why plan at all, in the face of persecution and perhaps even hardship?

As hard as it is to stick ourselves out there to try to achieve something grand, this is what it means to live and not just exist. Seeking to grow and be used by God sometimes leaves us weary and worn, but inwardly there is a delight when we are fueled by God’s strength and vision.

As we plan for the new year, may our plans be formed in the Word of God, covered in prayer and done for His glory alone. May our plans have Kingdom purposes, stand firm and may we resist the enemy in the pursuit of our goals.

Every deed and thought is laid bare before the One we are accountable to. He completely knows our hearts, though we cannot even fully know our own hearts. We often do not recognize fleshly motivations and are easily deceived, but the Bible, Holy Spirit and prayer are our compass that lead us to eternal motivations.

Lord, You know us completely. Give us a heart and a passion singularly focused on glorifying You and may we be sensitive to the leading of Your Holy Spirit. Give us Your plans for 2017 and grant success that impacts souls for You – be glorified in us.

30 Days of Cultivating Thankfulness Day 15 – Provision

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

Sometimes it is not until we are lacking that we can see God’s provision.

Scriptures of the Day:

Ecclesiastes 7:14

“In times of prosperity be joyful, but in times of adversity consider this: God has made one as well as the other, so that no one can discover what the future holds.”

Philippians 4:19

“And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:26

“Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?

Simply thanking God for provision would be hardly sufficient for all He provides for us. He gives us life and grace to live this life. He provides for our basic needs and even delights to lavishly express His love and care for us.

Psalm 34:10

“The young lions do lack and suffer hunger; but they who seek the LORD shall not be in want of any good thing.”

I vividly recall seasons in my life when my husband had lost his job due to the economy and the Federal Government cutting back on defense spending budgets. Trying to find a job when whole offices were let go was challenging, to say the least, but this time became precious to me as I noticed the many ways God provided for us.

Sometimes it is not until we are lacking that we can see God’s provision.

I remember telling my children that we would have to do without things we were accustomed to. Things that we thought were necessary were now understood as amazing blessings. During this season of “lack”, our garden flourished (boomed!) and we were able to give to others.

Unspoken requests and desires in my heart were met by my God Who sees all and Who sometimes goes to great lengths to demonstrate His care. I missed coconut oil, feta cheese, fruit, veggies, cheese and popcorn. I thanked the LORD for the times when we could afford those things and repented for when I had not been more grateful. Barely were these thoughts formed, when, within days, two people randomly said they felt led to give me coconut oil, feta cheese and popcorn. Wow. I had not told anyone. Friends brought fruits and veggies that were not growing in our garden and I realized how blessed we were to have a God Who lived in these precious friends who considered it a joy to help us in our time of need.

In times of need, our flesh can be prone to doubt God’s goodness. But it is in the times of scarcity that we can draw nearer to our God and accept blessings and burdens from His hand. For the burdens of this life cause us to depend on our Maker and remind us that we were not made to live solitary lives apart from God. We were made to know and worship Him.

God truly gives us every single thing we have. Friends, family, home, food, health, work, talents, favor, joy, hope, strength . . . EVERYTHING! His gifts are never taken back, but given at just the right time. Most of all, I am grateful that God provided Himself as a sacrifice for us because of His great love for us. Saved. Forever.

We cannot boast in any belonging, any gift of God in our lives. We can only humbly bow to our Jehovah Jireh, our magnificent Provider, who faithfully gives His children what they need.

Oh, God! I worship You, our Provider! Thank You for all You graciously give to us! Help us to cultivate gratitude in our lives as we recognize Your abundant provision moment by moment!

A Season of Thankfulness: Day 17 – Our Provider

God provides

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Philippians 4:19

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Genesis 22:13-14

“Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son. Abraham called the name of that place The LORD Will Provide, as it is said to this day, “In the mount of the LORD it will be provided.”

God knows what we need when we need it – though sometimes our patience might be tested in the process.

When we accepted His gift of salvation, He gave us everything we needed right then and there, but we do not use every gift He gives us in that moment.  It is in the sanctification process we go through which causes us to access His grace when we need it.

Sometimes in the fire of life, we tend to forget that nothing happens to us apart from His will.  If He brings us to it, He will bring us through it.  But still we are tempted to stare at the waves instead of at the Creator of the waves.

Like the Israelites, we wonder if God will provide the Manna again that we need the next day.  This dependence on God tries our soul as we prefer to provide for ourselves, as if that seems more certain.

Everything that surrounds us belongs to Him – and He freely gives to us sovereignly what we need, not necessarily what we want.  This is where our trust in our relationship with God grows, that He knows what is best.

We have no earthly idea what might be around the next bend in this life, but God knows it all completely and knows what we will need, as well.  He is our Faithful Provider, lovingly giving and denying when He deems one course is better than the other.

Lord, thank You for being our faithful provider.  All that we have is Yours. Help us to steward the gifts of grace, nourishment and shelter that You lovingly bestow upon us and to seek ways to glorify You in providing for other’s needs, as well.