The Master’s masterpiece of a plan

Declaring the end and the result from the beginning, And from ancient times the things which have not [yet] been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will do all that pleases Me and fulfills My purpose,’ – Isaiah 46:10

We all have an idea of how our lives should play out.  We all get up in the morning with an agenda laid out in our minds. We shouldn’t deny what is essentially true of every human being.   It is almost second nature to think that way.  We call it budgeting,  the five year plan, business projections,  wish lists, bucket list and etc.
We ask potential suitors of our children, what are your goals.  We ask potential spouses the very same question.  We see these plans and organizational proceedings as being responsible or in Christian vernacular, being good stewards.  Of course some of us usually inject God for good measure but if we are honest, it happens after the fact.  We usually simply ask God to rubber stamp the blueprints as if He some sort of notary.  Actually,  we truly treat God as a notary that we think we can buy the approval of at anytime.   It is amazing that we are always surprised when things go up in smoke.   Sometimes those plans succeed and we take all the credit.  We forget that God has a history of getting glory out of our messes.
We are so out of touch with God and His dealings in the Old Testament that it’s not surprising at all that what Christ says goes over our heads.  For this reason we all think that His commandments are unreasonable.   For this reason,  every so often someone else comes up with “what Jesus was really saying…”.  We have problems with translations of the bible solely because it doesn’t say what we want in accordance to our planning of how we have set out to live our lives.  We think God is so confusing but actual we will not let God speak for himself.  Instead, we are busy telling God who we think He should be.  I have heard before the analogy of the creature telling the creator who they are.  But at our core it’s more like the creature telling the creator who he is, has been, and will be; all the while not having a clue about anything.  From this stance of utter arrogance we operate in this unknown world, knowing nothing of how to play the game.   We are all furiously moving our pieces, crossing finish lines that don’t exist looking for prizes that weren’t promised.  We are moving pieces that are not only not on the actual board but are nowhere near God’s planned path.

Our goal should be to always operate in the will of God the Father.   When we walk in the path prepared by Him and for His glory, we open up unfathomable assurance and peace of mind.   Our faith will finally stand on a solid foundation known as God and not just our hopes of a favorable outcome.  Having faith in God is about knowing God, knowing His purpose, trusting His direction, being in His presence and letting go of what you think is best.  What God plans, God sees to it coming to fruition.  So if we want to have hope in the middle of chaos, then drop you image of success and grab a hold of what God is doing.

Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God.  And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours]. – Philippians 4:6-7

We have all read Philippines 4 but usually miss the importance of it.  We miss the power that sits in the middle of it.  There is a true there that I have started to call, “the ruby slippers”.   The slippers Dorothy wore in the Wizard of Oz.  The slippers she wore from the moment she begun the journey in a new world which led to a new life.  Unfortunately, she spent the entire time looking for an answer which she had from the beginning.  What I’m speaking of in this passage is this, “by prayer and petition with thanksgiving”.  The substance of this phrase is having a heart, mind, spirit that is already and always in a position of thanksgiving.  A thanksgiving that happens before receiving and even not receiving.   This shows evidence of an assurance and confidence in the providence and sovereignty of God.  This shows a level of faith in the will of God for our lives based on His plans and directions.

Not that I speak from [any personal] need, for I have learned to be content [and self-sufficient through Christ, satisfied to the point where I am not disturbed or uneasy] regardless of my circumstances.I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.]Nevertheless, it was right of you to share [with me] in my difficulties. – Philippians 4:11-14

The Apostle Paul encouraged the church to imitate him as he imitated Christ.  If you read the Bible you see that Paul’s life was not easy.  Yet, he seemed unsinkable by the trials and tribulations he faced.  Here in Philippians 4 we see what was Paul’s secret.

“I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency”

Paul’s life was one that was God’s to direct.   He counted all things as lost compared to Christ. Nothing could compare to what he had received from the Lord.   To live is for Christ and to die is to gain.  His total being was for the purposes of God.  When you know that your every move and every moment whether good, bad or indifferent is according to God’s plan you trust God and have faith that you will be sustained by grace.  You will have complete peace that surpasses human understanding which dwell in the present circumstances.   Our lives are not dependent on such things.
Peace that surpasses all understanding is a goal for all.  And we want to do all things through Christ who strengthens us but do none of the things God purposed us to do.  We want Christ to give us strength to do what we want as we live a life to glorify ourselves.  We must come clean and admit that we thought that Christianity was like other religions by which we can improve ourselves only.  The bible is about God, our salvation is about God, our blessings are about God, and our trials and tribulations are about God.  Even the attacks of the evil one is about God.  Our self-preservation and self-centeredness is what destroys any chance we have at peace, joy, faith, and true freedom.   Try just living, not collecting.  We move forward in life just collecting.  We do whatever the world says what we should be doing  in order to happy.  Our purpose  in life should be to please God,  to delight in the Lord.

“And the Lord will continually guide you, And satisfy your soul in scorched and dry places, And give strength to your bones; And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. – Isaiah 58:11
The Lord is leading us and just as the Holy Spirit led Christ into the wilderness, the Holy Spirit strengthen him also.  The same God that has seemingly guided you into a trial is the source of strength. The situation is not about our comfort but God’s glory in the midst of trouble.

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