God’s Plan is Right

By: Tanya Staton

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Sometimes we find that God’s plan is not our plan. When the spirit of God deals with us over our plans, we sometimes feel like it puts a monkey wrench into everything and yet God is an all-knowing God . He knows what’s best.

This week I’ve been thinking about the times I had plans or my children had plans and God changed them. Sometimes God lets us walk out most of our plan and then right near the end He spoke to us saying this was not His way, this was not His plan, this was not what He wanted.

We are faced with a choice of being obedient to God or being self-willed. Sometimes it’s very hard to make the right choice, but when we truly love God and truly want His will in our life we must look to Him and say “yes Lord” . We must put our will down and our plans aside so that He can put His plan into action for us.

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

God’s plan for us is always good  He loves us so much.  He does not want to hurt us or harm us. What God wants is to give us a good future. He is an all-knowing God. This means He holds our future in His hand and He knows everything that will happen and everything that won’t. He knows what will make us happy. He knows every step that has been ordered by Him. He  knows the open doors and the closed doors.  God is an all-knowing God.

You may be going through something in your life that’s hard.  You know that God’s plan is not your plan. You want to go one way and God wants you to go  another way. Sometimes it seems to be just a test of obedience but in reality it’s a test of our love for God and our willingness to do what He wants us to do. Look at Abraham, he took Isaac up on the mountain.  He was going to sacrifice his own son.  Can you imagine how hard that must have been for him?   He laid his son up on a sacrificial altar to sacrifice him to God and yet God had a lamb in the bush for the sacrifice.  Abraham was obedient even in given his own son up and yet God still had a lamb in the bush.  God has a plan for you too. He has a lamb in the bush for you.  I encourage you to be obedient to God even though it may seem to be the hardest thing in your life right now.  For God has a lamb in the bush just for you. God has a better plan. God knows the future. God holds your life.  He wants you to have a good life, a happy life, a prosperous life.  He wants you to be happy.

We have to realize that in God “all things are possible to him that believes”.

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

My daughter came to me years ago, two weeks before she was to get married.   She woke me up early on a Sunday morning.  I will never forget what she said. “ Mom I haven’t been able to sleep because God has been dealing with me all night.  I know God does not want me to marry this man. I don’t know what to do.”  She was crying so hard. She was not sure which way to go.  She was so worried about the money that had been spent for the wedding. She was worried about what people would think.  I looked at her and I put my arms around her and I told her “Tiffany obey God, it is more important to obey God then to worry about the money that we have spent or what people will think”.

We can’t afford to worry about what people think when God changes our plan because when God changes our plan it’s always for the better.  My daughter now has three children and with a man that loves her and cares for her. It has not been an easy road. But God knew the plan He had for her. It was not her original plan.  It was a different plan and yet God has given her three beautiful gifts through her children and a man that has stood with her through much.  God knew that she would need a man that would love her through everything she’s had to face in life.  God gave her a strong man.

Don’t forget that God knows the future. Don’t forget that he has given his angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways least you make a mistake, least you choose the wrong thing.  His angels are there to support you and to hold you up. The Bible says he will never leave you neither will he forsake you.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

  So when we make plans, let’s not get upset if God throws a monkey wrench into it.  Don’t get mad at God if He deals with you to change your plans,  because His plan is so much better.  The Bible says that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways better than our ways.

 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Sometimes we may not see it right away but God is true to His promises. He is faithful to His children. He is here to see you through every situation in life. Just know that if you have to change your plans because God has a different plan for you, a different thought towards you, or a different way for you to go, it’s okay.   In the natural money spent can be replaced in the natural changing plans is a natural thing but being obedient to God is a spiritual thing.  We are to walk in the Spirit, not in the natural.  We are to be led by the Spirit of God and not by ourselves or by men. We are God’s children. He knows what’s best. So if you’re going through something right now, if God is dealing with you about doing something different or doing something that is not in your plan, it’s ok. Change your plan!  For God is a God of love.  He loves you so much, He will not harm you,  He will not hurt you,  He will not mess your life up, because His plan for you is to prosper you and to give you a good future.

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Surviving 40

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By: Shannon Chambers

Last December, I celebrated my 40th year on the planet. A couple of months before my birthday, the significance of the occasion hit me like a ton of bricks. I was not old enough to be 40! I grabbed my phone and quickly subtracted 1975 from 2015. There it was, glaring back at me, hatefully, the big 4–0. Forty seemed like such a serious number. In the Bible, it is believed to symbolize judgment or testing. The earth destroying flood, Moses in exile, Goliath taunting Saul’s army, Israelites wandering in the wilderness, Jesus tempted in the Judean Desert…all associated with 40. I had been casually cruising through life, oblivious to the fact that probably half of it had already happened. What had I accomplished? Who was I? The big people in my house that used to be little, the ones who shared my last name…did I do a good job? Was it too late if I hadn’t? The man I married 20 years ago…why did I do that? Was I at the right job? What was my job anyway? Where was I in relation to the things I dreamed? What about the things spoken over me?

Each question beget a new question. I didn’t have quick answers for most of my pondering. I almost always have quick answers. I hated not having answers. 40 came and went and months of wild thinking took its toll. I thought about going to therapy, taking medication, walking away, starting over and in the darkest moments, after exhausting myself with trying to figure it all out, I considered ending my life. There were areas of my life that no longer resembled the dreams of my heart and others that seemed to contradict what I knew to be the calling on my life. I was unprepared to confront those harsh realities. I considered the story of Joseph and how difficult it must have been at times for him to reconcile who and where he currently was with what God had revealed about his destiny so many years earlier.

When Joseph spoke out his dreams, the exact opposite occurred in his life. The Scriptures tell us that he was literally tormented by the Word of Lord because his reality was dramatically opposed to what had been prophesied. They go on to say that when he was in prison, not only were his feet in fetters of iron but so was his soul.

I came to understand that kind of torment…waking up each day, going through the motions, smiling big…feeling like my soul was bound in fetters of iron.

Then one day, I quit. I gave up on having or even needing the answers. I decided to lean in to the still small voice inside me (hoarse from months of repeating itself) and trust the Divine Providence of God for my life. I have been constantly reminded that He is able to fulfill my seemingly impossible dreams through ways I never imagined and methods I would not have chosen.

I wonder if in the moment of his promotion to second-in-command of Egypt, Joseph knew that his tomorrow would look so much more like his dreams than his yesterday?

I am grateful for all the yesterdays. I am hopeful for all the tomorrows. Light is so much brighter when you’ve emerged from a season of darkness. 40 turned out to be a good year after all. Regardless of how old you are, how close or seemingly far away you are from living out the dreams in your heart, know that He is faithful. I am convinced my latter will be greater than my former and that each of my steps is ordered. I believe the same for you!

P.S. I concluded my children are amazing and my husband is a keeper. The job, didn’t work out…or maybe it actually did. I believe the number 41 means do what you love and travel.

 

“And we know God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

 

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”

(2 Corinthians 4:16 -18)

Where is God?

By: Tina Coble

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When I was little one of my favorite books was Where is Waldo.  Each page of this book has a crazy and very busy scene. There is always a lot going on in each page of this book.  In the midst of all the business there is always one thing that is the same.  There is a little guy, Waldo, with a white and red striped shirt. The objective is for the reader to look around the scene and find him.   I loved looking through the pages and trying to find Waldo.

 

As I was reflecting on this book and how much I liked it,  I sensed the Lord say, “Are there time in your life where your world feels crazy and busy?  Are there times where you are looking for me instead of Waldo? Are you are trying to find where I am in this scene or page of your life?” Just like Waldo in the pages of this book my friends, God is always there on every page, in every chapter, in every scene of our life no matter how crazy or busy or out of control it might feel to us.

 

 

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

 

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

 

So where is God? God is everywhere, today and forever. I can’t imagine walking the difficult seasons of my life without God at my side

 

Have you asked “Where is God” in your crazy, busy  world?. Maybe you have never really stopped to look for Him. Let me challenge you to look for him right where you are. I promise you will see His hand guiding you in  the little and small things if you take your focus of all the distractions around you and look to Jesus.

God’s Best Work is Often Done in the Broken

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By:  Holly Haglan

Have you ever felt broken, shamed, or blamed? If so this devotion is for you.  I am writing this devotion from a journey in my own life in hopes that my transparency, my testimony to the faithfulness of God, might help someone else.

Throughout this past season of my life the question I asked time and time again, was “why?”  Why did I quit cheering at UNCC?  Why was I not good enough to stay in the nursing program at UNCC?   Why did I lose my boyfriend of nearly two years?  I just couldn’t seem to wrap my head around why God allowed these things to happen to me all in the same season?

Through this time of calamity and confusion, the Lord came to me with an answer, “Holly, my best work is often done in the broken”.   Think about it. When we are sailing through life without a single care or problem in the world, most of us tend to think we don’t need God. We get pompous, and believe that we can do it on our own. Which is exactly what I was doing when I had the amazing boyfriend that every girl dreams of, when I was part of a division 1 cheerleading team, and when I was gliding through the nursing program. I thought I was invincible. But, now I can say, thankfully, God broke me. We are all made of clay.

I am the same as you in God’s sight; I too am a piece of clay. (Job 33:6 NIV)

I was a hardened vessel for a long time. I thought I was unbreakable.  After God shattered me , I had the choice of being re-molded by the world and making my own plans, or letting  God have His way in me. I will be honest in the beginning I chose myself. I wallowed in my own self-pity and made stupid mistakes. But it wasn’t working and I finally surrendered and  I let God take the reigns, which was the best decision I ever made.

If you are walking a tough season in your own life  and you feel stuck and frustrated or if you can identify with any piece of my story, I encourage you to give God the reigns of your life.  God has blessed me with so many amazing opportunities since I gave him control over my life.  More than that, he has even begun to make up for what I lost in the last season of my life. I feel like I lost nothing, instead I have gained!

I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten– the great locust and the young locust, the other locusts and the locust swarm — my great army that I sent among you. (Joel 2:25)

I am now in a nursing program that I absolutely love and it even allows me to start working with patients next week! At UNCC, that would not have been possible for almost  two years!  I love with my job at Plato’s Closet, which I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do if I was still cheering. I have also met some great people along this journey that I wouldn’t have even taken the time to get to know had I still been in a relationship with my ex-boyfriend. My life verse throughout this season has been Joel 2:25.

I truly cannot thank God enough for the restoration He has brought to my life. So, to those of you that are broken, feeling ashamed, and totally to blame, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and let the Lord have His way in you. Let Him mold your clay into the wondrous creation He intended you to be. He chose to break you. Submit yourself to Him and you will be blessed.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6)