Summary: God’s plan for us is good, is future oriented, and gives us hope.
Pastor Kevin Shelton tells the story of an elderly woman, who resided next to an affirmed atheist, in an older suburb. This woman, he notes, received a meager social security survivor’s benefit. Although, her finances only afforded her not even the most basic meal plans, daily she would open her windows to give thanks & praise to God.
Finally one day, the middle of the month arrived and she had not received her check. Instead of complaining, she opened her windows, fell on her knees and began to thank God and pray. The neighbor was sitting on his porch and overheard her praying "Lord although I don’t have any food in my home, I know you will provide!" The neighbor thought to himself, “This is a great opportunity to prove to her there is no god”. So he hurriedly went to the store and purchased a carload of groceries.
Upon arriving home he placed them on her porch, rang her doorbell and hid in the bushes to spring his surprise. Finally, the elderly woman made her way to the door. She opened the door, saw all the groceries and rejoiced in the Lord! Then, says Pastor Shelton, about that time the neighbor jumped out from behind the bushes and exclaimed. “God is not real, I bought those groceries there.” To this the old woman exclaimed, "I knew my God would supply my needs, but I didn’t know he would make the devil pay for them!"
Paul’s words from the New Testament book of Philippians are true! “And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19 NLT)
God taking care of His people is part of the plan that we need to consistently celebrate and embrace. God has supplied our needs hasn’t He? He has provided for us time and time again, right? It’s part of His great plan for us!
The verse that was read a few moments ago, Jeremiah 29:11 is our capital funds campaign theme verse. I want to read it again because it is a very important verse to memorize and meditate on throughout our lives. And it is also an important verse for us to think about this morning because it is very descriptive of God’s plan for us as the church because God has a future for us, God has a plan for us, God has a hope for us! “For I know the plans that I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”
We are in the midst of our current series, “Celebrating Our Past … Embracing Our Future… In Christ!” and so far we have celebrated and embraced God’s salvation and faithfulness. This morning, as we prepare for communion, we are celebrating and embracing God’s plan because communion is a remembrance of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus Christ. (“Do this in remembrance of Me,” was Jesus’ statement to the disciples. We practice open communion here. Participate according to the dictates of your conscience.)
God has always had a plan. He had a plan way back at the beginning of creation when He created Adam. He had a plan when He saw that “it is not good for the man to be alone” and so created Eve.
God had a plan for a relationship with Adam and Eve that was going well until one day they decided to disobey God and do their own thing. Then sin entered the world through the human heart and soul. But God had a plan – a plan of redemption; a plan to save the human race.
That plan included a people called the Israelites whom God rescued out of slavery in Egypt and told them that they would be His people and He would be their God. And through that relationship God would redeem the human race by sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ to die on behalf of our sins and thereby make us right with God.
A lot of people were a part of that plan – Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, and … Jeremiah. The plan of forgiveness that God was working out runs right through our passage of scripture this morning.
It was tough time for the Israelites. They had been conquered by a foreign power and had lost their ability to govern themselves. Their leaders were taken back to the conquering nations capital along with key future leaders.
They had become unfaithful to God and now God was discipling them so that they once again would be faithful to Him. Jeremiah was one of the people that God used to speak to the Israelites during this time.