We are coming to the end of our 5 month series of devotionals surrounding the scriptures from ‘Sing a Song to Single Mums’. This month, my focus is on God’s Plans for our lives and this will be divided into two parts. Firstly, from Jeremiah 29, we will look at His plans for our good and secondly, from Romans 8, we will build on the first devotional by looking at the freedom and fulfilment God promises within His overall plan for humanity.
GOD’S PLANS- FOR OUR GOOD
Key Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11-13
Many of us would know, if only in part, of the story of God’s people, the Israelites. Throughout the Old Testament, we see story after story of His people following God and His ways for a time, then disobeying Him and seeking after false gods with prophet after prophet being send to warn them to repent and turn from their wickedness and back to God. The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in mercy and ready to forgive. And yet the time came where God’s patience came to an end and His judgement came upon the Israelites. For many years the message was the same through many prophets- repent or be judged. Jeremiah and his long ministry shows us that God disciplines those He loves. When we quote this well known and well loved passage of scripture from Jeremiah, we use it to remind ourselves that God always has a plan and those plans are for our good and to give us hope for the future.
“For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go pray to Me and I will listen to you. And you will seek me and find Me when you search for me with your whole heart.”
So when you find yourself in a difficult or depressing situation, accept it and let God have His way. He never makes mistakes and anything that happens to us never takes Him by surprise. Hold fast to Him, press into His Word and claim the promises within. The Lord is your true hope. God makes the plans for us, they are good plans that will ultimately bring us a peaceful future. We need not be fearful or discouraged. In every situation- we have the responsibility to seek the Lord, pray and ask Him to fulfil His promises, for the Word and prayer go together. (Acts 6:4)
Scriptures for further study: Psalm 139, Psalm 33:11, Job 42:2, Isaiah 14:27, Rev.22
GOD’S PLANS- FOR OUR FREEDOM AND FULFILMENT
Key Scripture: Romans 8:28
One must look at the entire chapter of Romans 8 in order to grasp more fully the verse found in verse 28 which many a Christian has quoted to others or reminded themselves of during trying times.
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
God has never promised a life without pain and suffering despite what many a preacher would have you believe. In fact, Jesus Himself promised we would. Yet, at our conversion, we are gifted the Holy Spirit and in Romans 8, the Holy Spirit is mentioned 19 times! Because of our relationship with Jesus through the indwelling of His Spirit, we can enjoy the spiritual freedom He offers. My favourite Bible commentator, Warren Wiersbe calls Romans 8 the Christian’s Declaration of Freedom and outlines 4 freedoms we have.
- Freedom from Judgement. The Law cannot claim you; because of Jesus, you are free from the law of sin and death. The law cannot condemn you; Jesus took it upon Himself at Calvary. The law cannot control you; the Christian lives a righteous life by the power of the Holy Spirit, as He enables you to walk in obedience to God’s will. The Spirit-led Christian, yielding to the Lord can experience the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in their life.
- Freedom from Defeat. In writing to the Christians in Rome, the apostle Paul encouraged them to live in such a way that the Holy Spirit ruled their lives on every level. It is only then, that the Christian can experience victory over sin, “putting to death the deeds of the flesh”. We need to be willing to be led by the Spirit of God and be bold in following Christ.
- Freedom from Discouragement. The Christian need not faint in times of trial and suffering because they know that God is at work in the world (verse 28) and that He has a perfect plan:
“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
God has a two fold purpose in His plans: Our good and His glory. Ultimately, He will make us like Jesus. And this plan of God’s WILL succeed. How can we be discouraged when we already share in the glory of God? Our suffering today only guarantees much more glory when Jesus returns.(W.W.Wiersbe- Be Right. Commentary Romans)
4. Freedom from Fear. We never will be separated from God. Nothing or no-one can separate us from Him. This part of Romans 8 should give the Christian great confidence. This security in Christ and His unfathomable love for us should cause us to live victoriously- whatever is going on in our lives.
Scriptures for further study: Romans 8