155/365 days of blogging.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
We’re all encouraged by a leader who stirs us to move ahead, someone who believes we can do the task he has given and who will be with us all the way. God is that kind of leader. He knows the future, and his plans for us are good and full of hope. As long as God, who knows the future, provides our agenda and goes with us as we fulfill his mission, we can have boundless hope. This does not mean that we will be spared pain, suffering, or hardship, but that God will see us through to a glorious conclusion.
God did not forget His people, even though they were captive in Babylon. He planned to give them a new beginning with a new purpose to turn them into new people. In times of deep trouble, it may appear as though God has forgotten you. But God may be preparing you, as he did the people of Judah, for a new beginning with him at the center.
According to God’s wise plan, His people were to have hope and a future; consequently they could call upon Him in confidence. Although the exiles were in a difficult place and time, they should not despair because they had God’s presence, the privilege of prayer, and God’s grace. God can be wrought and found when we seek him wholeheartedly. Neither strange lands, sorrows, frustrations, nor physical problems can break that communion.
In Sunday night worship, we talked about why bad things happen to good people. The problem is the misconception that there are good people in the world. The biblical answer is there are no “good” people. Romans 3:10-18 could not be clearer about the non-existence of “good” people:
As it is written:
“There is none righteous, no, not one;
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”
“Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”;
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
And the way of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Paul uses the words of Psalm 14 in verses 1-3. Every person is valuable in God’s eyes because He created us in His image and He loves us. However no one is righteous or can earn good standing with God. Though valuable, we have fallen into sin. But God, through Jesus His Son, has redeemed us and offers to forgive us if we return to him in faith.
Paul uses these Old Testament references to show that humanity in general in its present sinful condition is unacceptable before God. Have you ever thought to yourself, “Well, I’m not too bad. I;m a pretty good person”? Look at these verses and see if any of them apply to you. Have you ever lied? Have you ever hurt someone’s feelings by your words or tone of voice? Are you bitter toward anyone? Do you become angry with those who disagree with you? In thought, word and deed you, like everyone else in the world, stand guilty before God. We must remember who we are in his sight – sinners. Don’t deny that you are a sinner, instead, allow your desperate need to point you toward Christ.
When we try to do things in our own power, instead of waiting on God to work in our lives, we become locked into one way of thinking, are likely to miss the right road because we close our minds to any other option. All of our ways seem so innocent to us. People rationalize anything if they have no standards for judging right and wrong. We also strive to always prove that we are right. Before putting any plan into action, ask yourself these four questions:
- Have I prayed about it ?
- Is this plan in harmony with God’s truth?
- Will it work under real-life conditions?
- Is my attitude about my decision pleasing to God?
If we would just pray to God for direction, and then wait upon Him to send the answer in His time…maybe…just maybe we wouldn’t sit around wondering why bad things happen to us.
Just a thought…….