God’s Not Done With You

Now we all make plans regarding the future right? But not every one of our plans turns out exactly like we hoped. People, situations, and opportunities have an impact on us. Every decision we make, good or poor, has an impact on whether or not our plans are successful. However, I must point out that our plans are based on how frequently they do not align with the gospel, how often we have our own interests in mind, and the different circumstances we’re in.

What we think is best might not be what God thinks is. His thoughts are not our thoughts. He also knows us better than we know ourselves, yet we still continue to follow what other people are doing, or what we think is good for ourselves. So, what does God say about his plans for us? 

Let us turn to Jeremiah 29:11-14,

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. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”’ (Jeremiah 29:11-14, NIV).

God’s plans for you are final; they are great and never change. 

Can you recall the number of times our plans or thoughts for the future change? We realised that our most recent plan did not fit our liking, so we created a new plan that we probably will change again. We modify and forget about the plans we recently had. Sometimes our plans change because of certain circumstances. If a certain thing didn’t happen, our old plan would still be on track. But God’s plans never change, regardless of our decisions, thoughts, or any flame of evil running into us. His plan is going to be successful no matter what. Nothing can stop him. He’s going to finish what he started. 

 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

He works in ways that we will never be able to guess or understand. If we trust God with all our hearts, we won’t lean on our own understanding. When we don’t lean on our own understanding, we will acknowledge God. If we acknowledge God, He will direct our paths. If he directs our paths, we can rest in the knowledge that he will give us a hope and future.

The destiny of Israel was in the hands of the Lord. No matter what they had in mind or the decisions they took, God’s plan for them remained the same. His plan of action was firm. God caused the Israelites to experience a situation through Nebuchadnezzar. King Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and its temple, which caused the Israelites to once more cry out to God. In order for the Israelites to once again call out to God and turn back to God, God made use of their time in Babylon, he made them go through persecution to make them realise sin and rebellion have negative impacts. But he was never done with them, he never thought of disappearing.

God’s love and promise of a future and hope for those who are faithful and call out to the Lord are made clear in both the Old and New Testaments. Although, in God’s sovereignty, he allows us to make poor choices and disobey Him. This is a way for us to learn and grow from our mistakes.  Even if we have turned our backs on Him, He does not abandon us permanently.

His desire for you is to give you hope and a future, not to harm you. All who look for God and call upon the name of the Lord have that hope and future. The future is unknown to all. We all make plans even though we don’t know what the future holds. But, that doesn’t mean we should abandon making plans. Instead, our plan must be solely dependent on God’s, and God’s plan is not influenced at all by us

“But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today” (Deuteronomy 8:18).

It is important that we understand that this verse does not imply that you will not suffer from physical harm, illness, failed relationships, loss of employment, or any other disappointments that may befall you in this life. As compared to physical blessings and futures on earth, this word refers to spiritual blessings and plans of God that are greater. It is a word that reflects a future and a hope for God’s people (Christians) God just works in ways that we humans can never guess or understand. 

God’s plan is worth the wait; be patient.

Avoid attempting to force your plans or rush God’s timing and plan. All throughout the Bible, God expresses a longing for the redemption of all people. His purpose is for all the  people of God to have an eternal life and connection with Him. The same is true of God’s goal for you: to advance and mature in your relationship with Christ. He has always had a plan to give you hope and a future. This hope and future can only be found in Jesus, as He  is the source of hope for the entire universe.

You won’t always be in this situation. Look to the Lord, for that is where your hope and help come from. Your future is in the hands of Christ, not with the things of this world, therefore look to Him.

Regardless of your mistakes, things that you can’t control, or troubles you come across, God is in control and will redirect you to the great plan he has for your life.

Persecution’s Purpose

Do you know the difference between suffering and persecution? Suffering falls upon everyone like mental illnesses, diseases, hardships, and pain. However, persecution is when people suffer because of their beliefs and faith. Every single person living in this world has suffered, but not everyone has experienced persecution. The big question is why do Christians experience persecution? Hasn’t Jesus already dealt with our pain on the cross? If God is so good, why are his people still suffering? Has he deserted them? 

Why don’t we look at the Bible for the truth and answers to these questions? 

“Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.” 

(2 Timothy 3:12 NLT)

“Jesus Himself said that those who follow Him will be persecuted for His name’s sake.” (Matthew 10:22)

For the glory of Jesus, we are invited and granted the privilege of persecution. Let me explain the meaning of persecution so we are all clear about what the word means. 

Persecution can be described as harassing, oppressing, or killing because people choose to obey Christ over human law or to please humans. This definition always reminds me of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, as they didn’t bow down to King Nebuchadnezzar II and then were thrown into a burning furnace. (Daniel 3)

For Christians, this means we can be persecuted for our belief in Jesus when we decide to follow Christ over this unholy and sinful world. Although the majority of us may not be murdered because of our beliefs, we might fear being ignored, despised, attacked, or shamed. 

But what’s the point of persecution? Why are we “granted” the opportunity to be persecuted for His name’s sake?

3 Advantages of Persecution

  1. The Gospel is preached, and the Church grows.

The church grows along with persecution. There are so many instances of doubters who, after experiencing persecution, ended up turning to Jesus. Suffering and persecution of Christians from generations ago drive Christians nowadays to spread the Word of God. Everyone’s experiences are totally different, when you experience suffering you are enabled to tell the gospel from a new point of view allowing you to touch and reach many more lives than if you hadn’t experienced it. It may even convince people to believe that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour. 

  1. Preserving persecution can form your character to become more like Christ and allow you to experience Christ in a new way.

Our patience while suffering builds character and inspires us to hope. When we struggle, we are inclined to have faith in God, and that’s what brings us closer to God in addition to being more like his son. The moment we are persecuted, we can rest in the thought that Jesus understands our pain because he himself went through all the suffering that we experienced when he was a human like us.

  1. Going through persecution glorifies God and develops your spiritual strength.

Isn’t our purpose in life to glorify God? 

“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 

(1 Corinthians 6:20

Therefore, whatever we do, whatever we go through, we do it for the glory of God. God is able to demonstrate his power through our weaknesses. Because of this, when we face persecution, we can rely on the Lord and have faith that He will carry us through. If God led us in it, he’s going to lead us through it and bring us out of it. 

Jesus assures that those who go through struggles on earth will be blessed in heaven. In the middle of our persecution on earth, it’s valuable to keep in mind that this is not where we will wrap it up; rather, God will grant us the reward of persecution.

What does the Bible say about the reward of persecution?

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation for ten days. Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” 

(Revelation 2:10)

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 

(Matthew 5:11-12)

How do we continue to live through persecution? 

  1. Brush up your mind.

During times of suffering, we must visit the Word of God. Whenever we can hear, speak, and find the Word of God, we must ask Jesus for help to let those words sink into our minds. To make good choices, we need the truth stored in our minds. We need the Word of God stored in our minds every moment of our life, for we can never guess what is coming next.

  1. Promise to God.  

In your heart, promise God that whatever happens, you wouldn’t turn back from him. Ask God to protect you like how a shepherd protects his sheep. Request strength and patience to deal with all the suffering. Come to God first, not last.

  1. Look at things from an everlasting point of view. 

According to Ephesians 6, our battle is not with people of flesh and blood, but rather “against the rulers of the darkness of this age.” Once we are familiar with persecution’s purpose and stand firm with the Lord, we receive ultimate victory. 

Now the bigger question is: are we willing to stand firm for our faith and commit to God even when the world’s weight is on our shoulders?

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