Our quote this week speaks to our thoughts guiding our journey.
You are today where your thoughts have brought you.
You will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.
Over the last couple of weeks we’ve discussed how our thoughts shape our lives. Proverbs 23:7 reminds us, “for as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” We’ve also talked about how our past has brought us to our today, that today is one of the greatest gifts from God, and that, though tomorrow is yet a dream, we must plan for our tomorrows so that when they come, they’ll be the today we desire.
The question becomes – how? The answer is simple – start with God.
Our lives are a journey – we’re at a certain point today, and we eventually want to reach a certain destination. So, if life is a journey, we need a road map. Think of a vacation. Say we want to travel by car from San Francisco, CA to New York City, NY via the most direct route. We wouldn’t just get in the car and start heading south on Highway 101 – we’d end up in Los Angeles. No, we’d pull out maps and plan the route – probably heading east on Highway 80. We might also research stops along the way, hotels, weather patterns, etc. Our life’s journey is no different. We need a clear vision of what it is we want, and how we’re going to go about making it happen.
We must remember, though, that God has a vision for our lives, too. Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” What we must do is make sure our vision is in alignment with God’s plan for us. And, when we pray, we shouldn’t just jump into “I want.” We should start with something like, “Lord, if this is what you want for my life (fill in the blank)…” If our vision is in alignment with God’s vision, He will provide the way. Proverbs 3: 5&6 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
Let me give you an example. The vision of this church and spiritual center was planted in my heart and mind over 10 years ago. I didn’t know when, or how; but I always knew it would someday come to be. I kept praying, “Lord, when the time is right for me to leave my corporate job, and if this ministry is what you have planned for me, then provide the opportunity and the means.” It took many years, but a year ago my corporate job was outsourced to India and I was force retired = Opportunity. Between my separation settlement and one of my pension accounts, the finances have been covered, both at home and at the church = Means.
Another factor that came into play was patience. Now, I freely admit this is one area that the Lord and I continue to work on. As the planning for the center progressed, we needed a location. I found many locations that I liked very much. When they didn’t work out, of course, I was disappointed. I realized I had been asking in terms of what I wanted, not necessarily what God had in mind. When I remembered to ask in prayer, “Lord, let the right and perfect location become available”, things fell into place. I had to change my thinking from what I wanted to that which God wanted. It took several months, but the location we’re sitting in now became available. And, with very little hassle or negotiation, we secured the lease = Patience.
The story of Nehemiah is a scriptural example of vision and fulfilling God’s plan. Nehemiah was a common man, who went to work in the king’s palace. With God working in the background, he was elevated through the ranks because of his loyalty and trustworthiness. Ultimately, he became Cup-Bearer to the King.
In Chapter 1 we read how God planted a vision in Nehemiah to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. In Chapter 2 we read that through prayer and patience, Nehemiah waited for the right time to approach the king – about 4 months. The king granted his request and he traveled to Jerusalem.
Once in Jerusalem, did Nehemiah run around shouting, “I’ve arrived! Let’s rebuild the city. I’m on a mission from God!”? No. He investigated and researched. And, only after due diligence, did he reveal his plan and the work began.
In Chapters 4 & 5, Nehemiah hits road blocks. The people in power in the city weren’t at all happy with the Jews fortifying the city. Even some of the people turned against their brethren. They didn’t want to turn from the pagan ways they had adopted. God’s plan, however, would not be thwarted. The city was rebuilt and Nehemiah was made governor.
The story goes on to list the lineages of the people, and Nehemiah fulfilled his promise to return to the king. The people, once again, began to turn back to their pagan ways. Then, in Chapter 13 we read how, after returning to the king, he was given leave and he returned to Jerusalem. Through his prayers, he worked diligently to return the people to God, and the city of Jerusalem was, indeed, rebuilt.
By prayerfully following God’s plan, Nehemiah, a simple Cup-Bearer, became the driving force in rebuilding Jerusalem and returning the people to God.
So it is with us and planning for our future. If we begin our journey in prayer, and if we’re in alignment with God’s plan, He will guide us – and, regardless of the time it may take, it will come to pass. We may even hit some obstacles along the way. In our road trip, for instance, we could get a flat tire, hotels could lose our reservations, we could have engine trouble, we may even take a wrong turn and get a little lost. But, because of our planning and our patience, we will make it to NY. Remember Paul’s words to the Philippians – “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
- Proverbs 23:7
- Ephesians 2;10
- Proverbs 3:5 & 6
- Philippians 1:6
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