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Summary: God's Plan, Prosperity and Hope, Goodness

WORDS FOR LIFE - A Plan for Our Good

July 29, 2018

Jeremiah 29:11 (p. 546)

Introduction:

“If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard this truth…but I find humor and pain in its wisdom.

Humor because I can just see my Father in heaven shaking His head when I think I’ve got it all figured out…and push to make it happen…and pain because I find myself confused and hurting when my plans don’t come to fruition.

I remember reading the book Trusting God by Jerry Bridges and the introduction started with his decision to dedicate his life to ministry. He sat down by himself with a legal pad and started writing things down he wanted to accomplish for God. He filled up page after page…and then he went to his church, laid it on the communion table and started to pray. God help me accomplish these things for your glory…Jerry said he waited for lightning bolts or thunder…he waited for some powerful confirmation from God for his sacrificial plan. He said he didn’t feel any of that…In fact he felt kind of empty and as he prayed for God to use him…it was as if the Holy Spirit moved him…so Jerry took an empty page from the legal pad and laid it on the communion table and prayed…“God this is my life…I give it to you…you fill it up with what you want.]

That’s the question isn’t it…Do we trust God to fill the pages of our lives with His plans?

“God’s guidance is almost always step-by-step; He does not show us our life’s plan all at once. Sometimes our anxiousness to know the will of God comes from a desire to peer over God’s shoulder to see what His plan is. What we need to do is learn to trust Him to guide us.” - Jerry Bridges, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts

Jeremiah the prophet of God would shout AMEN at the top of his lungs to this statement…for 40 years Jeremiah spoke to the Kingdom of Judah a message of God’s judgment on those who reject His ways but also God’s restorative power to forgive and make things new…“to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

Jeremiah starts his record with these words: “The word of the Lord came to me saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4-5)

And Jeremiah answers: “Oh Lord I’m too young…I don’t know how to speak for you!” And God tells him… “Don’t say you’re too young…go everywhere I send you…say whatever I’ve commanded you…Do not be afraid of anyone…I will rescue you…I will save you!”

God had a plan for Jeremiah’s life…And God promised to always be with him if he’d live it out.

Folks, God has a plan for your life and He promises to always be with you if you’ll live it!!!

The Question is…Will you lay the blank sheet of paper on the altar and sign it? Will you trust these words for your life?

God says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. “ (Jeremiah 29:11)

I. FAITH IS TRUSTING WHAT GOD KNOWS AND WE DON’T

There’s an OT story I read recently from the book of Numbers

SHOW 2 PICS (leave on screen until story finished)

It involves a prophet names Balaam and a donkey…An evil King named Balak wants Balaam to come and curse God’s people so he can conquer them in battle…Balaam knows he can’t curse a people God has blessed, but eventually he goes to see Balak anyway…He goes by donkey…his usual method of travel, but something weird happens half way there…Listen:

NUMBERS 22:21-33 (p. 109)

I love this story…Balaam is headed to a place he shouldn't go…He chooses a “reckless path.” The Lord has some serious consequences if he stays on this path…The donkey sees those consequences and stops Balaam 3 times…Balaam gets hurt and irritated…beats the donkey…and God allows the donkey to speak. Balaam’s so mad he yells back at the donkey (a talking donkey would freak me out). The donkey tells Balaam he’s saved his life. And the angel of the Lord says, “That donkey saved your life…If he’d not turned away 3 times I would have killed you.”

Balaam wanted to go see Balak the King…probably for financial reasons and ego reasons. He did what he wanted…even though he knew it wasn’t in God’s plan.

God will certainly let you do this even if you are one of His…but He will also discipline you and try to stop you too.

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