Girlfriends in God - June 21, 2011

June 21, 2011

A Great Plan

Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy” (Psalm 28:7).

Friend To Friend
I love the story of a tourist visiting the Grand Canyon. As he gazed in wonder at the sight before him, the tourist got too close to the edge, lost his footing and fell over the side. Just before he went out of sight, the man grabbed a scrubby bush and held on for dear life. Filled with terror, he called out toward heaven, “Is anyone up there?” A calm powerful voice came out of the sky, “Yes, there is.” The tourist pleaded, “Can you help me?” The calm voice replied, “I’m sure I can. What seems to be the problem?” The man explained, “I fell over the edge of the canyon and am now dangling in space, holding onto a bush that’s about to come loose. Please help me!” The voice said, “I will. Do you have faith?” The terrified man replied, “Yes! I have strong faith!” The voice said, “Then just let go. Everything will be fine.” There was a tense pause. The tourist then yelled, “Is there anyone else up there?”

The first time I heard that story, I laughed and thought, “How ridiculous!” My next thought was that I have more in common with the tourist than I care to admit.

How often do I edge my way toward a dangerous cliff of disobedience and find myself giving in to temptation? How many times have I cried out to God to rescue me from some self-made pit into which I have fallen, but dictated how I wanted to be rescued? I can’t begin to count the number of times when I have foolishly chosen to follow my plan instead of God’s plan for my life. Now that’s ridiculous.

Max Lucado tells the story of buying a new bicycle for his oldest daughter. It was her first “real” bike because it had no training wheels. After watching her sister ride the new bicycle, his younger daughter wanted a new bike, too. Max Lucado explained, “Your sister is older. She doesn’t need training wheels anymore.” His young daughter was not buying his story and kept badgering him for a new bike. In frustration, Max Lucado finally said, “Honey, I am your dad. You are just going to have to trust me this time.” His daughter thought for a moment before responding, “No. I’m just gonna get me a different daddy.”

God has a unique plan for each one of us that is beyond human understanding or expectation.  It is called His will. God has been making His will known from the very beginning of time. In the Garden of Eden God revealed to Adam and Eve His will or plan for their lives. It is important to note that with the revealed plan He also gave them the choice to obey because He is a loving Father and a gracious God. Knowing that His way was right, God still allowed Adam and Eve to choose the wrong way. They made the wrong choice - but He still loved them and forgave them.  He will do the same for you.

The Bible promises that God’s plan is the best plan; the one for which we were created. Psalm 32:8 “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.” God agrees to not only show us the plan, He promises to provide all of the strength and resources needed to carry out that plan.  His sufficient and constant power is unleashed by our choice to accept and follow His blueprint for victorious living.

We were created by the One who knows us best and loves us most. There are no accidents with God. He never has to say, “Oops!” Before we were ever conceived in the heart and mind of man we were conceived in the heart and mind of God. Wanted, loved and planned since before the world began. He had a plan in mind and lovingly, purposefully created us in response to that plan. 

I know that there are days when the will of God seems completely wrong and we simply do not understand. Every moment is pregnant with darkness and our hearts are numb, paralyzed by fear and doubt. We are treading water in the storm tossed sea of life, desperately longing to see Him walking on the treacherous waves toward us, rescue in His hand. It is in those shadowed moments that we must choose to trust the Plan Maker even though our faith is small and we cannot understand the plan. His ways are higher than our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. And one day, every one of our question marks will be yanked into exclamation points as we see that high plan as He sees it – perfect.

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11, NLT).

Today, my friend set aside your meager agenda. Lay down your limited life arrangement and look for God to meet you at the point of surrender - power and victory in His hands. Now that is a great plan.

Let’s Pray
Father, please forgive me when I stubbornly choose to ignore Your plan for my life. Thank You for always being there for me, ready to rescue me from my own selfish desires and decisions. Help me to remember that Your plan is the highest plan for my life and give me the strength to follow that plan. I want to honor and please You, Lord.
In Jesus’ Name,

Now It’s Your Turn
What things or people besides Jesus are you tempted to place your trust in during a crisis?
What keeps you from fully trusting the words of Jesus?
How would your life be different if you chose to place your trust in Jesus alone?

Read Matthew 7:24-28. How do these verses relate to your faith in God and the results of trusting Him?

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse, because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash. When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching.” (Matthew 7:24-28).

More From The Girlfriends
I know that plans are rampant in your life - but the only plan that really matters is the one God has for you. Don’t settle for anything less. Need help dealing with temptation? Check out Mary’s Bible Study (E-Book download), Winning the War with Temptation.Don’t miss Mary’s NEW weekly Online Bible StudyUnder the Influence…of Love. Learn five powerful steps you can take to forgive and love your enemies. Enroll now and have access to all 2011 lessons. Need a friend? Connect with Mary on Facebookor through email.

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Originally published Tuesday, 21 June 2011.