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“And the Lord said to Joshua…You shall march around the city…This you shall do for six days. But the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times……all the people shall shout with a great shout then the wall of the city will fall flat.”  Joshua 6: 4,5

“And he said to the people…..You shall not shout or make or make any noise with your voice, not shall a word proceed out of your mouth until the day I say to you shout!”  Joshua 6:10

There are two famous sayings by two people who are prized for their wisdom in these modern times.  First, reportedly Albert Einstein said:  “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” (I say reportedly because there is quite a bit of discussion about whether or not Einstein actually said this or not).  Second, Thomas Edison is reported to have said: “I have not failed, I have found 1000 ways that don’t work.” (Again some renditions are 5,000 or even 10,000 attempts until he was able to finally invent the light bulb).

So which one is correct?  Which one describes how I am to be?  I do what seems to be the same thing again and again, hoping for success but it doesn’t seem to come; am I not insane to keep trying?  But what if I’m giving up too soon?  Would I be now typing in the dark or at best by candlelight if Edison had stopped at number 500?  For Benjamin Franklin said:  “Energy and persistence conquer all things”

Imagine you’re one of the Israelites.  You have just come from the wilderness.  The older generation, the one that first left Egypt has passed away before coming to the promised land.  Why? They wouldn’t obey God.  But you’ve heard about God.  You’ve also heard about Joshua.  He was Moses right hand man.  So now you’ve come into the promised land; the land dripping with milk and honey, the land that God has sworn to give to you and what stands before you?  A huge obstacle.  A mighty fortress city whose walls are six to eight feet thick and they have several layers of walls.  You can’t settle in the promised land with that fortress blocking your way.

Now back to Joshua.  Moses has died and been buried.  That means Joshua is in charge.  Joshua will have a plan.  Yes Joshua! Let’s hear your plan.  Right! We’re going to storm the city; right?  We’re going to lay siege to the city for months and starve them, right?

March?  March around the city?  March around the city and then sneak attack, right?  March around the city as a diversion while some sneak over the walls, then we attack; right?  Go home? Go Home!!!!  We march around the city and then come back to camp?????

But this is Joshua; so you can imagine the first day; people are probably completely behind him.  “If Joshua says go; WE GO!” shout the Israelites; except they can’t shout or make a sound around the city.  Tromp, tromp, tromp, go all the people.  “Are they looking down on us from the walls?” some think.  “Bet their quaking in their sandals !”, others think.  Then back to camp.  “Well that was different!”, some think to themselves. But this is Joshua; he knows what he’s doing.

Day two:  Now we attack, right?  They’re in trouble now, right?  March? Again? Silently?  Are you sure; Joshua?  But hey this is Joshua, so we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.

Day three – six:  What?!?!?! March Again!?!?!?!  Did Joshua get hit on the head???? This is crazy!!!!???? Can’t we get Moses back or someone else?  Same thing day after day is nuts!!!!  I can imagine these could have been thoughts that some would have had following Joshua; especially with our society’s demand for instant action.

Day seven:  Let me guess; we get to March!!!!!  Oh and seven times around today; Oh JOY!!!!  But today is not the same and there is another difference besides the number of times they go around the city.  At the end of the seventh time, Joshua will give a signal.  Mighty horns will blast and all the people will shout as loud as they can.  Imagine the dismay inside and outside the city; as the walls came crashing down.

One can imagine that on day three through six some thought that what they were doing was insane.  They could not see how the marching around was making any impact.  In the book of Joshua, chapter 6, there is no indication that Joshua told the entire plan to the people ahead of time.  Might there have been some frustration?  Might there have been a feeling like we’re just wasting time?  I feel like I’m hitting my head against the wall (or at least wish I were because then I’d be doing something). And if there was not any grumbling or complaining the reason there was not is they knew they were not executing Joshua’s plan.  They were executing God’s plan.

You and I have been praying.  Maybe we have felt a calling.  Maybe we feel that we have been told that we’re heading for a “promised land” but today seems frustratingly just like yesterday and the day before.  We think we’re going insane because we’re doing the same thing and praying for a different outcome.  The first, days, months, years, maybe even more; we had that sense of persistence.  We say to ourselves:  “Well it may have been 300 days but that just brings us one day closer!”  But we’re tired.  The world wants us to quit.  If we don’t quit, the world calls us crazy.

If it’s our plan alone, our family’s plan, our boss’s plan, any human plan; maybe we need to rethink.  So we pray in the Name of Jesus.  And the Holy Spirit will reveal to us whether the calling is God’s or our own.  If it be Our Heavenly Father’s, dear brothers and sisters, be patient, be persistent, know that you and I are not crazy.  We are led.  We are chosen.  We are blessed.  And we are Loved by the Creator of the Universe; the omnipotent and omniscient God.  Through Him, we will destroy all walls the world puts in our path.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we admit we live in a world that wants instant answers, immediate return for our actions.  Yet You have shown us again and again how faithful patience and persistence will lead us along the path that You have chosen for us as well as to the destination You have in store.  Please pour out Your Strength upon us so that we can resist the temptation to turn from Your Plan to go after our own.  Through the Holy Spirit, give us peace in our souls to rely upon You and You only.  That in our persistence and patience, we will live lives of praise to Your Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

“And we know that all things work together for go to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  Romans 8:28

“At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was in Jerusalem…..and they were scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria….” Acts 8:1

“Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.”  Acts 8:4

Romans 8:28 is a very powerful and comforting statement.  It states the omnipotent aspect of Our Heavenly Father.  To be comforting, it is often used when a person or people are going through difficult times or facing a particularly challenging trial.  Sadly though, it can lose some of its impact and feel like just some “feel good” platitude without connecting it to a real example.  Thankfully there are many examples in the bible and I want to discuss just one.

So put yourself in the place of a new believer in Jerusalem just after Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection.  You’ve come to believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized.  You happen to be following the apostles and watch one miracle healing after another.  You hear that some of the apostles are arrested but they are miraculously freed from prison and have boldly gone back to the temple to preach the Name of Jesus.  Your spirit has been so enlightened that you look for any in need and you sell your things and watch joyously as the poor and widows are made whole.  You can’t stop praising Almighty God and can’t wait to see what the next day is going to bring.  There is no other place you’d rather be.  In fact, although it has been said that the gospel needs to be preached to all lands, you can’t imagine being anywhere else but right there in Jerusalem; right there with the apostles.

But the elders and temple leadership keep trying to squash the message.  They keep trying to arrest and sometimes beat those who are preaching Jesus Name.  All the sudden, one of the leaders, one of the newly elected is arrested for blasphemy.  His name is Stephen and he gives an angelic, powerful and spirit filled defense of the gospel.  This time though, he doesn’t escape.  No, Stephen is stoned to death by a crowd whipped into a frenzy by the Jewish leadership.  All the sudden the enemy is emboldened.  One of their leaders; Saul, is going house to house arresting anyone who confesses Jesus is the Christ, the Savior Son of God.  What is one to do?  You flee!  You are forced from the wonderful side of the apostles.  Your world is turned upside down.  Why is this happening?  Why to me? Why now?

Again, you can imagine that those who were scattered were feeling pretty frightened, maybe lost.  But noticed what happened.  I’m sure people were asking them about why they had come?  What was the matter?  Who was after them and why?  How did those who were scattered respond?  They preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ!  They spread the Good News of the coming of the Kingdom of God and forgiveness through the life, death and resurrection of God’s Only Son, Jesus.  Remember the great commission?  Remember about making disciples and the Gospel being preached to the ends of the earth?  Scripture tells us, that during the initial persecution and scattering of believers in Jerusalem, the apostles stayed in the city.  Someone had to spread the word.  Later the apostles traveled as well.

So a couple of things for us; dear brothers and sisters.  First, being persecuted, being threatened with arrest, being scattered away from home was no easy thing.  Some perhaps many may have been praising God in these circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t experiencing real, significant hardship.  They very well might not have felt like disciples.  They were just believers talking to other potential believers; they were nothing special.  Being caught up in the stress of the moment, they may not have seen the “good” in the circumstance they were going through.  Second, it is easy for us to see that this was part of God’s Plan.  The Gospel needed to be spread.  The eleven remaining apostles were not going to be sufficient to preach the Word to all who needed to hear it.  Finally though, whether they understood or not; they believed.  They believed in the message of Jesus Christ and they were chosen by God the Father Almighty to carry that message.  They needed a reason to leave the sanctuary of Jerusalem, the comfort of daily fellowship with the apostles.  They needed to be scattered.  God accomplished that.

So for You and I; we believe.  We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior who lived, died and was raised on the third day.  We are also called.  There is His Plan and we have a part in its completion.  So because we believe and we are called; good will come.  It can be very hard to see but good will come.  It is His Promise.  He has shown over and over again how He keeps every promise.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank You that You have seen fit to call upon us who believe to help implement Your Plan.  We also acknowledge that carrying out that calling may involve difficulty.  So we call upon You to pour out Your Spirit upon us that we will feel Your Peace, Comfort and Strength knowing that good will always be the outcome of Your calling.

“…The Lord commanded saying: ‘Take from among you an offering to the Lord, Whoever is willing of heart…..'”  Exodus 35:5

“…and they spoke to Moses saying, ‘They bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the Lord commanded us to do.'”  Exodus 36:6

Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul….And great grace was upon them all….all who had possessions of land or houses sold them and brought the proceeds and laid them at the apostles feet”  Acts 5:32,33

“So let each one give as he proposes in his heart…..for God loves a cheerful giver.”  2 Corinthians 9:7

So????? How much is enough (OH NO, You Scream, not one of these type postings!  guilt, shame, derision)?  No sir.  No ma’am.  Not this post.

I have been humbled and privileged to work in several leadership positions in various churches I have belonged to.  One of the overriding concerns and dare I say it (yes I will), worries that each of those churches have had revolves around giving.  The members never give enough to meet the budget so ways need to be found to cajole, beg, plead, guilt them into giving more.  God Sighs!  And I believe God sighs as much as at the church leadership as He does at the congregation, if not more.

Over and over and over again in the bible, there are times of need.  The Israelites need a special place to worship God (the tabernacle).  These Israelites should have been the poorest of the poor for they were slaves rushed out of Egypt by the Egyptians.  Yet by the GRACE of GOD, the Egyptians had given them incredible wealth in gold and silver.  So much in fact that when it came time to give to the building of the tabernacle, it was not a commandment for all to give.  God only wanted the offerings from those who had a willing heart.  Now imagine this, so many gave so much, that the builders had to ask Moses to make them stop.

In another story, Ruth is poor and worse than that she is a widow from a foreign land.  There is no person or family to which she can turn for help.  If that wasn’t bad enough, she was responsible for another person, her mother-in-law Naomi, who was too old to help with provision.  Ruth touched the heart of a rich man, Boaz, who commanded that grain would be purposely left for her so that she had more than she needed.

Now we come to when Jesus Christ died and was resurrected.  The church is growing by thousands in a day.  The people who are joining the church come from all aspects of society.  There are those who are poor and widowed.  There are those who are wealthy with lands, houses and property.  Please, please, please notice this; Peter makes no booming command or great oratory about the needy.  Neither John nor James present a tablet said to be the writing of Christ calling upon all to give.  No, what the Book of Acts tells us is that the apostles were giving witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It tells us that they were of one heart and one soul and that great grace was upon all of them.  There was no forcing, no lamenting, no guilting.  It started and starts with Jesus Christ!

Dear brothers and sisters, there are really only two who know our hearts; ourselves and Our Heavenly Father.  Even then, we can deceive ourselves but Our Heavenly Father’s knowledge is perfect.  If I can not know your heart, how dare I make any judgement about you or your heart based upon something as trivial as money.  And lest there be any doubt; it seems to me that Jesus taught that money, especially large amounts should be considered trivial things when compared to what truly matters.

Also, dear brothers and sisters, the enemy does not want us to look into our hearts.  Satan wants us to covet and desperately hold on to our mortal possessions as if they are the most important things.  If we do give, the devil wants it to be out of pride and the desire for praise or out of fear of being judged by others.  He hopes that we will buy into a prevalent thought these days that as I give I should expect, I should plan on an even bigger financial reward as if giving to the Lord is some sort of investment scheme. Satan would love to see Jesus Christ’s church divided, worried, fearing for its very existence based on the want of money.  God forbid!

Finally dear brothers and sisters, clergy and lay leaders of churches; please quiet the voices of this world and listen to your heart. Feel, the Love, reach out and up for the Grace, pray for Guidance, Wisdom and Understanding.  There are those in need.  Don’t doubt that God is powerful enough to bring relief straight from heaven as He did manna so long ago.  Yet God has a greater plan in mind.  God wants to share the giving of blessings, wants to share the giving of love, wants us to experience the joy that He experiences in helping our fellow human beings.  It is through His generous desire to give us the opportunities to help, that He gives us the example of His heart.  So that by that example, we might be able to grow our hearts, which is among the greatest gift of all.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, as Alpha and Omega, it begins with you and it ends with you.  As Your Son Jesus Christ both taught and lived by example, give us a heart guided by You, longing for You, listening to only You.  Testify to us how You would have us give and through the Holy Spirit, give us hearts eager to respond.  Forgive us when we would judge others based on our own measurement about how much should be given.  We know that we will never be able to match the gifts that You have given us; especially Your Son, Our Savior Jesus Christ.  Yet let my giving, whatever the amount, be a connecting of my heart to Yours, Loving Father.  In the Name of Jesus Christ our Lord we pray.  Amen.

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah……Arise go to Nineveh…….”  Jonah 1:1

But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord….”  Jonah 1:3

I purposely did not title this post free will versus Our Heavenly Father’s plan.  For the interaction of the two has always been a great mystery and all too often a subject of contention between both believers and nonbelievers and even between believers.  Yet it seems to me, from the bible, there is no real contest between our free will and the fulfillment of God’s plan.  We do not have the power to thwart His divine will.  So of what consequence is our free will?  To us and our relationship with Our Heavenly Father; everything.

We are told that Nineveh is a great city.  However, it is not a Jewish city.  It is the capital of the Assyrians.  Perhaps that is why Jonah has no desire to have anything to do with them.  We’ve seen reluctance to answer God’s call before.  Non other than Moses himself, tried to dissuade God from sending Him to Egypt to save God’s people.  Finally, Moses acquiesced.  Jonah did not.

Jonah had the free will to run and try to hide.  However, Nineveh still needed to be saved.  God had already decided that Jonah was His man.  And God always gets His man.  “God won’t find me in Tarshish ” Jonah thinks.  So if indeed Jonah’s free will had any power as it applied to God’s plan; God would have had to turn to someone else.  Instead, God turns to a fish.

It is after a horrendous storm and when Jonah is at the depths of his misery that his free will changes and he calls out to God to have mercy on him.  God hear’s Jonah and delivers him.  It would seem then that Jonah’s will would become in sync with His Heavenly Father.  Unfortunately that is not the case.  For God calls again for Jonah to go to Nineveh.  Jonah at least has the good sense to know fleeing won’t work but he is none too happy about being called again.

Jonah preaches an upcoming cataclysmic destruction in 40 days because of the city’s evilness.  Interestingly enough, in the bible, it does not say that Jonah called upon the city to repent.  No, he just proclaimed their overthrow in 40 days.  But the people get the message and believe it anyway.  Even the king takes off his royal garments, puts on sackcloth and sits in a pile of ashes to show humble repentance for their evil (much we could learn from their example).  God sees their repentance, has mercy on them and decides not to destroy them.  Jonah is not at all pleased.

Jonah in essence tells God: “I knew you were going to do this.  That is why I didn’t want to come.  You made me look the fool because I said what you wanted and then it didn’t happen!”  In Jonah’s free will, he feels so used that he just wants to die.  Using a plant and a worm God again tries to teach Jonah a lesson about mercy and faith.  The book ends without us knowing if Jonah ever came around.

So to me here’s the bottom line.  God’s plan was for Nineveh to be warned and for Jonah to accomplish it.  And that’s exactly what happened.  So did Jonah’s free will have any impact?  To God’s plan; not really.  To Jonah most certainly.  You see at every turn Jonah had the free will to accept God’s plan, see it as a blessing and find joy and comfort in it.  Jonah instead decided to see God’s plan as an unnecessary burden.  He saw God’s mercy to Nineveh as a travesty and refused to receive any of the bountiful blessings that would have come from his embracing of God’s will.

God has a plan for you and I as well as for all believers.  If we are open to it, the Holy Spirit who, sent by God to dwell within us and testify to God’s plan will guide us.  Yet we have the free will to reject the realization that Our Heavenly Father is acting in our lives.  Understand this, it is only the realization that we’re rejecting.  That does not change the fact that Our Heavenly Father has a plan and is acting on it.  We have the free will to acknowledge the triumphs that we have here on earth as blessings from Our Heavenly Father, or we can decide that it is due solely to our own talents.  We can see struggles as a way of bringing us closer to Our Heavenly Father in ultimate triumph or we can see them as cruel twists of fate or simply bad luck.  We have the free will to reach out in prayer, supplication and worship to Our Heavenly Father or go throughout our life as if we are left to our own devices.

God’s plan will win out in the end; every time.  We have the free will to embrace the plan, feeling the Love with which it was devised, embracing the joy, comfort and blessings which come from its implementation and being confident in the salvation that comes from its fruition.  It is in those, free will decisions, that we will define ourselves as belonging to Him or not.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we thank you that You have seen fit to have an intimate, loving relationship with each of us culminating in a perfect plan for our lives.  Forgive us Most Merciful Father when we use our free will to try to modify or reject Your plan.  Show us Your Will in our plan that we might become fully engaged in seeing the plan through to its triumphant end.  That by living out Your plan for us, we would live lives of praise to Your Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

“And he said to the people, ‘Proceed and march around the city……”You shall not shout or make any noise with your mouth……..until I say to you shout.”  Joshua 6, 9-10

Assuredly I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”    Luke 18:17

So just imagine the scene.  You have just crossed over the Jordan River.  You have now come up against your first obstacle, a formidable walled city named Jericho.  Based on archeological digs, the defenses were made up of a retaining wall, about 12-15 high, then an earthen berm and then a much larger stone wall an additional 20 – 26 feet high and approximately 6 feet thick.  Joshua tells you, with God’s help you are going to take this city.  Okay, I start thinking, I’m going to need ladders and ropes, I don’t have archers and am not going to be able to throw a spear that far.  Tunnels, that’s the ticket!  We’ll tunnel under and come up in the midst of the city and take them by surprise.  Or maybe make a hollow wooden horse and they’ll pull us in….nah, nobody would fall for that.

What do you say Joshua, let’s tunnel!  Excuse me?  March around the city….once each day……saying nothing……..then on the seventh day, march around seven times, the priests will blow their horns and we’re to shout like crazy!?!?  Then we’ll just march in and take the city.  Hmmmm.  I tell you what Joshua, I think I’ll just watch this one.  You go ahead with your plan and on the eigth day I’ll start my tunneling.

I was in the US Air Force for a few years.  During that time I was part of an airborne command post and part of our job was to plan.  We’d think about resource allocation and force projection, cumulative effect and massing of forces.  I have been a part of planning for small day-long skirmishes as well as weeks to months long major battles.  Yet during all my experience, never would I have come up with a plan like this one.  And had I been there, one of Joshua’s fighting leaders, I really wonder what my reaction would have been to these orders.  I believe the more experience and expertise in military matters I had, the more likely I would be to try to change or veto the plan.

But you know who would not have questioned it?  You know who would have said:  “Give me my place in line and on that seventh day; hear me shout!”?  A child; and probably the younger the better as long as they were old enough to understand the words.  I know for me and with my children, there was a time, if I had told them to go push against the house and move it over a few feet, they would have gone and started pushing.  Why?  Because they trusted me (I know you’re saying those poor children).  They trusted their father, and if the father said do it, then two things were certain.  One, it could be done.  Secondly, they better be the ones to do it.

Here I think is another crucial lesson to this incident.  God had shown that he did not need humans to destroy a city.  God was very much capable of doing it on His own.  So why bring His people into it?  I think it shows to His people, what they are capable of when they listen to Him.  If the plan had called for a conventional  siege or God said: “you come up with the plan”, then when it succeeded, we could take the credit for it.  But because the plan was so unusual and called for the focal point of the process to be the sacred ark and the priests, it showed that the plan was not of an earthly origin.  And the victory, which did happen, just as God said it would, could only be attributed to the most High God.  His people learned that nothing was impossible, even to bringing down walls with sound, if you will truly, completely follow God.  So they may sure seem foolish to the world.  Build an ark when there is not a cloud in the sky?  Face a giant with just a sling and a stone?  Boldly walk into a lion’s den?  Send Your Only Son to a place where You know and in fact it is Your Plan for Him to be killed?  Strange plans indeed, but look at me Dear Father, here I go, I’m marching.

There is no stopping God.  There is no stopping God’s people when they completely trust, follow and love Him.  The enemy, earthly and spiritual, will try to convince us that God’s plan is just too far fetched.  The enemy will try to tell us to rely on our own plan, our own wisdom.  God says:  look down, go find a child.  Watch the child go forth with determination on whatever task  they are given.  God tells us to go and do likewise.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we acknowledge that You and Your Plans are perfect and can not fail.  Yet we also confess that we too often doubt Your Plan.  We too often want to either modify your plan or disregard it altogether and substitute our own.  Forgive us Dear Father when we fail to follow you.  Grant us Dear Father the total faith like a child, trusting in Your Holy Guidance in our lives.  That in following You, no wall or obstacle will stand before us, no enemy will defeat us, no victory will elude us.  That in all things we will seek to live to the Glory of Your Holy Name.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen

“But God said to him, Fool!  This night your soul will be required of you.”  Luke 12:20

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Do not fear therefore….. Luke 12:7

” Now I don’t want you to be aware, brethren, that I often planned to come to you (but was hindered until now)..Romans 1:13

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.”  Matthew 7:34

The paradox of planning; especially for a Christian.  I am both an Air Force veteran as well as a veteran of management and training in large corporations, and in all those experiences, the mantra “failure to plan, is a plan for failure”, was a guiding principle.  And lest one think this is a diatribe against, planning, that is not the case.  Plans are useful and I truly believe God has a plan.  Well actually I believe, God has the plan.

So what is planning?  Is planning not the collection of thoughts and actions of today that are meant to bring about a positive outcome when the future becomes the present?  Does not a plan have a certain presupposition that, if successful, my do happens of today will bring about the should happens of tomorrow?  And thus, if we stop to consider those presuppositions, that is where the potential for eternal conflict lies.  First, is the realization that at some very basic level, these are my plans and my actions.  Those plans and actions are based on my perceptions and calculations on what actions will lead to what outcomes.  And if we think on this as a mathematical equation; my plans x my actions = my results.  Even if they turn out perfectly for me; truth in fact, they may have little if nothing to do with God’s plan.  Second, the process of planning has the underlying proposition that we can impact or control the future.  I have no argument that we have a capability to impact the future.  I get much more concerned with the thoughts of being able to control our future to any great extent.

And now the conflict rears it ugly head; at least for me.  I have my plan, something I really want to happen.  A future present, I want to achieve.  So I think mightily about what I need to do and I actually start doing it.  To add in some extra help, I even pray about it.  Maybe I even started off with a prayer.  A prayer for success of MY plan.  I look at it from every angle.  I put notes to myself about it.  It’s the first thing I think about in the morning and it’s the last thing on my mind as I go to sleep.  I even hope I dream about it.  And Oh, Oh sweet it will be when MY plan comes to fruition.  Kind of sounds like worship doesn’t it?  Kind of sounds like I hope my will, will be done?

And here’s the other aspect; the outcome.  If my plan comes about the way I had wanted; Yea ME!  Look how smart I am, look at my wisdom, my courage, my perseverance.  God it is so great that You showed the wisdom to agree with me in letting this happen!  If my plan does not come about as I wished.  God what is wrong with You?!  I prayed, I worked, I thought, I researched, How dare You come up with something different!

The word is called alignment.  There is a phrase, that I did not originate that is oft used:  “If you want to make God laugh, tell him Your plans.”  I think tears get shed as well.  Impact the future, control the future?  So should we plan.  I say yes, at least I do.  But the most that I can hope for, that I think we can hope, pray and strive for is that our plans are in alignment with God’s.  Think about your car’s alignment.  When your tires are aligned the car travels smoothly and straightly, with minimum effort to it’s desired destination.  If your tires are out of alignment, then the car wants to weave all over the place, and it can take effort, sometimes great effort to get it to where you want to go.  Finally I must forever understand, my plan will never be as complete, as thorough, as perfect as His plan.  When I neglect His plan and substitute my own instead, I might as well be bowing down to a golden calf.

Why should I trust God’s plan for my future?  For the simple reason that He has already been there.  He has already seen it and He is in control of it.  And, most importantly of all, that plan was conceived and will be carried out to its conclusion, in total Love.  That is a plan worth following.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we acknowledge the great paradox of our knowledge of the future and our desire to shape it.  We confess, that as we attempt to implement our imperfect plans, we neglect the plans You have put in place for us.  We also repent in the sin of claiming personal glory for our successful plans, instead of giving You the glory for Your blessings of our success.  Dear Lord, please remove the temptation for me to idolize and worship my plan.  Give me the wisdom to align, as best I can, my plan with Yours.  Give me the patience to understand when my plan does not come out as I had expected; that does not diminish Your plan for me.  Thank You Dear Father, for your Love, Mercy and Patience with us.  Thank you, Most Gracious Father, for including our salvation in Your plan, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  That in all things Your plan may be our highest goal and praise we pray.  In the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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