Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Plans? What Plans?

Were I to show you my calendar/planner for the year 2013, it would be emptier than it’s been in a long time on a new year’s day. Usually I know some summer plans, some travel plans, some something. But at this point this year I know literally NOTHING for sure other than some general assumptions and my new ministry start date- one week from today. 

It got me to thinking this morning, how I wonder what God sees when He looks at my planner. Does he see right through my plans, to the ones He’s made?
I realized that, while my book might be empty, His sure isn’t. He has a plan, He’s numbered my days. His planner for me is full of just the right amount of investments, places, people, activities, ministries and even those tricky crossroads that come up every once in a while. He has designed a year that, should I chose to follow, will grow me and bless others.
It’s somehow comforting to picture my planner already full of the things He planned for me, and it’s only my job to seek them out and accomplish them through His strength in me. I know He doesn’t play hide and seek or do any smoke-and-mirrors tricks. He will be where He says He is. He will do what He says He will do. No tricks, no mistakes, no “I’m running late”s. Because that’s not who He is.

Last night my heart fell on a sweet portion of scripture, where John recorded Jesus’ words of comfort and instruction to His closest friends, His disciples. He spent time painting a picture of the glorious place where He was going to prepare a place for those who put their trust in Him. He reinforced His promise to come back and receive unto Himself those who belong to Him. He promised they would do works greater than what He had done, that the Father would be glorified through the power of the Son in them. He promised a Helper to be in and work in them until He returns. He defined all over again the way to recognize those who love Him - if they keep His commandments. He promised that the Helper would teach them and remind them of all He had said. (found in John 14) John 14- ESV

And then, he gave these beautiful words, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away and I will come to you.’ If you loved me you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe. I will no longer talk much with you, for the ruler of the world is coming. He has no claim on me, but I do as the Father has commanded me, so that the world may know that I love the Father.” (John 14:27-31; emphasis mine)

He might not have shared with them, “Next monday, you will wake up and have a coffee with so-and-so, read such-and-such material, attend this-and-that.” But He did say, “I am going to the Father by the way which He has ordained, no matter if it looks like the ruler of the world (Satan) has triumphed. Until I return, I leave with you my peace. Keep the commandments I have spoken unto you, for it is the evidence of your love for myself and the Father. You will have a Helper, the Spirit of Truth, to remind you of that which I have spoken. And you will do greater things than I have done, if you ask it in my name. For I desire that the Father be glorified in me, through you.”




The craziest thing, is that this doesn’t just apply to Jesus’ disciples. It applies to all who love God and are called according to His purpose! That means me, and hopefully you as well!
 He mapped out the “schedule” for our lives and even threw in some bonus promises until the calendar He spoke of reaches His return.

And, I don’t know if you caught it, but HE SET THE EXAMPLE. He wasn’t just speaking at us, He was about to demonstrate following God’s will and showing our love, as He moved ever-closer to giving up His life on the cross. 

What a leader to follow this year. What a shepherd to guide. What a blessed Savior to worship.

My heart often comes back to Jesus’ promise found later in this sermon, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33)

So dear friends, take heart! So, my own soul, take heart! He has overcome this world. We serve a mighty God. We do not walk alone. He has great things planned for us to do this year. Things that bring Him glory and renown.

As for me, I’ll start with today. I'll do my best listen for the Spirit’s leading and forge ahead into the wild beyond that is twenty-thirteen. I want my schedule to say this, when you boil it all down in a big pot: Bethany loves God. 

Happy and Blessed New Year to you all,