Summary: 5 minute Baccalaureate speech about pursuing the plans God has for you above all others.

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Graduates, as you close this chapter of your life and begin the next, I want to leave you with a few words of encouragement and also of caution as you take your first steps into adulthood.

One of my life verses is Proverbs 19:21 which says, "Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that will prevail."

If you are anything like me at your age, you probably don't have your life planned out step by step...

There are probably still a lot of question marks... and you are still trying to find your way .

But, you are starting to dream and think about all of the possibilities that lay before you.

what college or technical school you want to attend...

what career path you want to pursue...

When you want to get married and how many kids you want to have one day...

But, I encourage you to seek God's will for your life above all others.

Because, He dreams about you!

And, the plans He has for your life are better than what you could imagine for yourself.

On days like today, we often quote verses like Jeremiah 29:11 which says, "I know the plans I have for you says the Lord - plans for good and not for evil, to give you a hope and a future."

But, what we often leave out, is the context in which this passage of scripture was written.

You see, this scripture was written by Jeremiah who was a prophet sent by God to the people of Israel during a time when they were in exile in Babylon because of their repeated sin, idolatry and rebellion.

God allowed them to be ripped from the comfort and prosperity of their homes in Israel and taken to a foreign land, so that they would learn obedience.

And, He didn't have plans of delivering them anytime soon.

In fact, in verse 10, He tells them He doesn't plan to deliver them until 70 years have passed!

It's only after He says these ominous and depressing words that we read verse 11 where God tells them He has a good plan for them that will bring them a hope and a future.

I don't know about you, but I would be questioning God's plan a bit at that moment.

How could 70 years of captivity be part of God's "good plan?"

I'm sure the people of Israel asked the same question and had a hard time believing that God had a good plan for them when everything around them seemed to be falling apart.

Why do I bring this up?

I share this scripture with you today because I think it is important for you to understand that life will be difficult.

There will be difficult life lessons to learn...

And, unfortunately, just like the children of Israel... sometimes there will even be prices you must pay for your bad choices and decisions...

But, through it all, know that God loves you...

Even when things are tough and life doesn't turn out the way you had thought...

Don't lose sight of the fact that He has a plan for you.

And those plans are always for your GOOD!

Does it mean that His plans are for you to make tons of money, to live in the biggest house on the street and to drive the most expensive car?

Does His good plan mean that you will never experience heartache, struggle, or pain?

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