As the last few seconds of 2008 faded away into the past a New Year began and the pastor’s message was “God has a plan for your life”.
According to the analysts, the economic trials have only just begun as they predict that 2009 will be a year of major economic downturn. It has been recommended that we act wisely; save and spend less. Maybe this is true, but God gives us a Word that shows us that we do not have to always see the dark side of everything once we seek His face and believe in him for courage and strength through all situations.
In His Word, God shows us that the even though there may be some dark clouds in our lives, we must see the invisible sun through them through developing strong faith and understanding the many good plans which he has in store for us.
Throughout the Bible we see from beginning to end and through the many mysteries that God’s overall plan is to help us prosper through hope in his promises.
God had a plan from the beginning. We begin to see the development of His plan with the birth of his so Jesus. Jesus was born and later died a gruesome death. Even though His death on the cross was painful, God ordained that this would happen for a particular reason. His plan was to offer his son up as a sacrifice for our sins so that we sinners must have an opportunity to everlasting life. This is just the way that God did it so that we could live. He brought us the prince of peace not just for any old reason but to provide us a way to salvation through the Holy Spirit. As 1 Peter 2:24 (New International Version) says: He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 it is written: “For He made who knew no sin (Jesus) to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (NKJV). Jesus is the head of the church, over everything and everywhere (Ephesians 1:20-23). He rescues us from the coming wrath (1 Thessolonians 1:10). In Him we have redemption through his blood and the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of God (Ephesians 1:7-10).
Following this introduction, Jeremiah 29: 1-11, the focal reading for the Old Year’s Night services, was a letter from Jerimiah to the captives which read as follows:
1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets and all the other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon. 2 (This was after King Jehoiachin [a] and the queen mother, the court officials and the leaders of Judah and Jerusalem, the craftsmen and the artisans had gone into exile from Jerusalem.) 3 He entrusted the letter to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent to King Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon. It said:
4 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD.
10 This is what the LORD says: “When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 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. (NIV)
In the above bible passage Jeremiah reveals a message from God, a message of hardship in the future for a very long time; however, there is no reason to be afraid. The people of God are being asked to endure the hardship because in the hardship God has promised something good, which is peace. The passage shows that we must trust in God even in hard times because he has good plans in store for the future. This calls the Christian to understand and have faith in God’s promises; which includes a plan of protection.
Some other influential readings referenced by the pastor included:
Isaiah 40: 11 -‘He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, And carry them in His bosom, And gently lead those who are with the young’
Isaiah 41: 10 – ‘Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand’
Isaiah 43:1-2 – ‘But now, thus says the Lord who created Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: “fear Not, for I have redeemed you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you…”‘
John 14: 1-4 – ‘”Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I Am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know”‘
Through these different text and many many others, God’s promises are sure and He plans to reward us. As noted in Malachi 3:10 God shows us that we must remember to also to sow into the Kingdom of God if we are to reap His rewards. This scripture says ‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse. That there may be food in My House, And try me now in this.” Says the Lord of hosts, “If it ill not open for you the windows of heaven And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’
So as we seek to decrease our spend let us also not forget to give something back to God.
Now, as you embrace the New Year, maybe it is time to ask God to show you the plan that he has for you. You may or may not know all the things which you wish to achieve in 2009; what you want to do; where you wish to be; the people you wish to meet. Work with God on this one in order to identify your goals for 2009!