How many of you are planners, like me? We know we can’t plan our whole lives, and we know we aren’t in charge, but we still get irritated when our lives don’t go as planned. We know we aren’t in charge, but still we try to put our plans ahead of God’s plans, even when we know his ways are best.
The Bible has a lot to say about plans. There’s Jeremiah 29:11, which you probably have heard preached on graduate recognition Sunday.
God has plans for us, and in fact, his plans are greater than any plans we will ever make. Even though we are conscious of this fact, it doesn’t stop us from trying to plan our own course.
Proverbs 19:21 says this about making our own plans.
We can make all the plans we want, but ultimately what God wants for us will win. So why is it so hard for us to just let go and let God?
I think if I had to choose a word for 2019, I’d choose a phrase: let go. There are many struggles of which I need to let go of at the moment, but more than that, I need to let go of my tendency to control everything and let God handle it.
If we trust in Him and we know he has a plan for us, why do we struggle so hard with letting go and letting God?
Please pray for me to let go of my own will and trust in Him this year.
If most of us are honest, we will admit that we don’t have it all together. In today’s Pinterest-perfect society, we are expected to be perfectly dressed with perfect makeup, not a hair out of place, with perfectly clean, magazine worthy homes. We are expected to have a home-cooked dinner on the table every night, with perfectly dressed and perfectly behaved children.
I don’t have that; at least, not all the time. And never all at once. So, who holds us to this impossibly high standard? We do. We hold ourselves to these impossibly high standards we can never meet, but luckily, God does not.
God chose us, even though we are a long way from perfect. We don’t have it all together and God chose us anyway.
Ephesians 1:4 says “For he chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before Him.” We don’t need to be perfect; we just need Jesus. There are no perfect humans, and there don’t need to be. Jesus already fulfilled the role of the perfect human.
It’s tempting to spend all of our time trying to be perfect and live up to those impossible standards, but instead, let’s put that energy into trying to be like Jesus. He already knows we aren’t perfect and he loves us anyway.
As we are preparing to return to school, there are so many things on my mind. We observe “back to school” in two ways in our home. Our oldest daughter is going in to second grade, and I am a teacher. We do the typical “first day of school picture” each year, but we do some other things too.
We talk about how we need to behave and how, as Christians, we need to treat others. As my daughter gets older, I want to make sure she understands that how we act, and how we treat others aren’t the only important things- we also need to pay attention to what fills our thoughts and what we listen to or watch on TV. I had a teacher several years ago who told me she used to keep her mind clean by reading Philippians 4:8 each morning before school.
There are so many things we give our time and our attention to that aren’t Godly. I recently went to church with my grandmother, and her pastor preached on guarding your heart. He talked about how listening to or watching unGodly things invites things into our minds and hearts. He also talked about how we are accountable for what our kids are exposed to, and how it’s important to guard their hearts as well.
I want to teach my child to memorize this verse and carry it with her as a reminder to think only on those things that please the Lord. When we keep our minds and hearts pure, others can see the difference in us as well. This is what I want for myself and my kids this school year- to radiate the love of God.
I plan to print off this Bible verse and hang it on our fridge, or somewhere where we will see it each day and be reminded.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy school year. May you learn much and make many new friends.
Have you ever felt “proud?” Not the kind of proud where your kids do something awesome and you’re proud of them. Proud has two definitions: proud can mean “feeling a deep satisfaction as a result of one’s possessions, accomplishments or those of someone close to them,” or it can mean “having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one’s importance.” That second definition is the one that gets us in trouble every time.
Have you ever been too proud to humble yourself and ask for help? This is something I struggle with frequently. I think I’m big enough and bad enough to handle my own problems and I don’t need anyone else. It’s not how big your problems are; it’s how big your God is. I need to realize that I can’t do everything on my own…and that’s ok.
Our pride gets to us and it makes us feel that if we don’t do it all on our own and perfectly, we are not good enough. The truth is, we were never meant to do all of those things on our own. God meant for us to give our worries, our burdens, our struggles and our concerns to Him.
After all, he already knows all about them. Isn’t it a comfort to know that God knows everything about us and still loves us anyway? Set your pride aside and seek His face.
My husband’s grandfather had a favorite hymn: “Amazing Grace.” To all who knew him, He was truly a Godly man and he’s now living in God’s amazing grace in Heaven.
Every time we sing “Amazing Grace,” I think about him. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about God’s Amazing Grace.
God extends his Amazing Grace to us when we are suffering, when we’ve sinned, and when we have spent years running from Him and His will.
Eleven years ago, I was fresh out of college when I landed in a new town. We found a new church to attend where we enjoyed being. Still, I wasn’t following God and hadn’t been since high school.
One Sunday our then pastor held the invitation longer than usual. When no one came to the front, the pastor reluctantly closed the invitation saying, “I feel like someone needs to respond to Him.”
I was the person who didn’t come to the front. And that night, I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned that night, and the next few nights. The following Sunday, I sank into a pew, exhausted and defeated. It was that Sunday I made the choice to stop running from God and start following Him.
What does that story have to do with Grace? A lot. I could have died that Sunday afternoon and never got the chance to be saved. But God didn’t do that. Grace. Even though I was living in sin and running from God, He still loved me and wanted me back. Grace. And then He saved me and forgave me of my sins. Grace.
God extends His Grace to us in a variety of ways, but His grace is and will always be greater than all our sins.