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“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

“And God said to Moses ‘I AM WHO I AM'”………….  Exodus 3:14

“I am the resurrection and the life.”    John 11:25

 

We change.  Depending on our stage in life, physically we may be adding cells leading to growth in our systems like skeletal, muscular, etc.  In other cases we are losing cells (except in my case the cells around my middle…heavy sigh) faster than we are gaining them.  We may change through our experiences, adding to our wisdom or perhaps our cynicism depending on our point of view.  Our actions may change based on our access to resources to acquire things, to move and see things, to share things.  In so many ways; ways we want to, ways we don’t want to, ways we hope to, ways we fear, we change.

Because we change, our outlook is linear.  We think and act in terms of time.  We analyze and we plan.  As we look at today, we say today is largely based on what has happened prior to today to bring me here as well as a significant part of today should be spent planning to impact the “today” which will come tomorrow.  If we are not careful, the amount of time we focus today, in analyzing the previous todays, and the amount of time we focus today, on what the next day’s “today” should be like, will leave us precious little today to actually experience today (Sorry if you need to read that again and if it still makes no sense, write it off to a lack of my second cup of coffee).

So first, I am not stating that there is no value in contemplating the past or thinking about, even planning for the future.  I believe repentance demands that we look at our past actions to understand the nature and impact of our specific sins; thus allowing us to express,  both the sorrow in our confession and desire to change.  In fulfilling God’s plan, Solomon had to plan how to complete the temple, Paul had plans to go to Rome, Jesus Christ planned to go to Jerusalem.

Yet here is the mystery, at least for me.  God, and in God I mean God the Father, God the Son, Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit, exist in a realm where time, may not exist at all or if it does, is completely irrelevant.  In God’s first direct encounter with Moses; He states that He is the God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  Jesus Christ would later use this quote to show the Sadducees where they were wrong in saying there was no resurrection.  In naming those historical names He stated them in the present tense.  It also seems to me that in stating it in that way, He is also saying, I AM the same God.  It seems He was telling Moses; during a time, you would call the past, I AM, the exact same Perfect I AM that is before you today.  Jesus Christ stands before Mary, Martha, His disciples and others gathered at Lazarus’s tomb.  Jesus tells them that Lazarus will rise.  Martha believes Jesus, but she is thinking linearly.  She says:  “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (italics added).  Jesus does not mean it linearly.  “I AM  the resurrection and the life.”, Jesus responds (bold and italics added).  To punctuate his statement; He raises Lazarus right then and there.

Proverbs and Jesus Christ teach us, that while it is not a sin to plan, to be careful about how much worry and focus we put on our own plans.  Are we seeking in our plans and more importantly today; living to seek first the Kingdom of God.  It is often eloquently stated in the Psalms and Jesus teaches as well, not to dwell, especially concerning the pain and sinfulness of past.  For in believing in Him and following Him, today we are new and our past is forgiven and forgotten.

I certainly can’t grasp, let alone explain the mystery of I AM.  The ability to be eternally present, at every point in history, at exactly the same time (even words are inadequate to describe the concept…at least for me).  The power IS that God is  with me; ALWAYS.  Knowing that I am in a linear existence; His plans are set up that way.  There are people I am supposed to meet, places I will be and so many other things I can’t even begin to think about.  But and this is the important But, He knows, because He has been there.  For Him, what is now and what will be is a simultaneous existence.  And the Promise is the I AM.  I AM will never forsake you.  I AM will never stop loving you.  I AM is my resurrection; TODAY.

The world tells us we are a product of our past and our destiny is in the future.  The world wants to elevate the importance of me to the pinnacle, saying if I will study my past to learn from it and focus on planning my future, I will truly be successful.  Our Heavenly Father asks; Believe that I AM.  Yesterday, today and tomorrow, I AM the same I AM.  I Am the perfect Creator, I AM the perfect Sustainer, I AM the only Resurrection.  I AM Love.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father.  As I pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…..”, help me to see the “as it is in heaven” is eternal.  Guide me to an existence where I live, knowing that you are “I AM” even if I can’t understand it.  Lead me from the temptation, Heavenly Father, to stray from Your, I AM, to my own, I was and I will be.  Give me a humble spirit, that seeks to obey and constantly praises the relationship of I AM.  And thank you Most Gracious Heavenly Father, that through Your Mercy, Grace and Love, You have decided to be my I AM.  In the name of Jesus Christ I/we pray.

Amen

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