Always Plan Ahead

“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.”

Jeremiah 29:11

Thank God He always plans ahead because often times in life we don't. Have you ever done something that you later regretted? If so, take these words to heart today, “You can’t change your past but God can change your future.” I am reminded this morning of one of my favorite verses in all the Bible found in 2 Corinthians 5:17, which says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” We don’t have to run from our past or try to bury it or even hide from it. What we need to do to move forward in life is to simply bring it to Jesus! Let God have your past in exchange for His glorious future.  

If you have ever walked onto a car dealership or into a store that sells high ticket items you most likely have confronted a salesperson who is skilled in the art of negotiation and is known within the sales industry as a “closer.” You most likely have heard the infamous words, “Have I got just the thing for you,” as they begin to ask questions about your hopes and dreams and how they can assist you in making them come true. They are called “closers” for a reason.  Most are trained or through time have acquired skills that make them good at getting you to buy something you really like and possibly want (I didn’t say need) and often times can’t afford. There is usually a sign posted on the wall of the finance department that says, “NO COOLING OFF PERIOD” which means as soon as the person behind the desk convinces you to sign on the dotted line and has separated you from your money there is NO turning back, no cooling off as it were. You are now the proud owner of whatever you just purchased forever.

Behavior scientists tell us that usually somewhere between 24 and 48 hours reality sets in and we realize we made a mistake and that we allowed our emotions to get the best of us. Sin has a way of doing that. We are drawn away the Bible says by the lust of our eyes, the lust of our flesh and the pride of life. All of us deal with regret in some fashion and form in our lifetime. It’s part of being human and why the gospel is so appealing to us if we are honest with ourselves.

I love the story in Jeremiah 29. Most people know it by heart or at least verse 11. It’s one thing for an individual to mess up and have regrets about the past, but how about an entire nation. Jeremiah was writing to the Jewish people who were in Babylon by the will of God, His judgment on Judah for their generations of rebellion against Him. In God’s plan they would be in Babylon a long time, so it was best for them to settle in and make the best of their lives and families there we read in verse 5. Talk about regretting the past or buyers remorse, the Jews in Babylon will be there for 70 years. 70 years to pay back the Lord for all the days they had skipped the Sabbath. Sin is pleasurable for a moment but the interest sin charges is a price no one can afford to pay.

True to His word, at the end of 70 years when the debt was paid, God freed the children of Israel to once again return to Jerusalem, back to Israel their true home. There was no undoing the past. The past is what it is. What they could do is what you and I can do too. We can look to God to fulfill His word to us as we look to Him. If God can take the mistakes of an entire nation and forgive and forget them and remind them in the process His thoughts towards them were never evil, never to harm them but rather to bless them and to give them a future and a hope. How much more then, can and does God want to remind you and I that His plans for our lives are never past tense but present and future tense. It does no good to look back, to say to ourselves, “woulda coulda shoulda” or “if if’s and but’s were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.”

Remember, “You can’t change your past but God can change your future.” God has a plan that includes you today, loved one. To tap into it as you tap into His Word. Read the stories, claim the promises in the Bible for your self. Walk with God by walking in His word, listen to His voice, obey His commands in the strength He provides. You can do all things through Christ who strengthen you! Yes, beloved on Jesus, no matter what, if your life is hidden in Christ Jesus and you are trusting Him, it’s safe to say, “the best is still yet to be!”

"Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

John 14:1-3  

Michael Osthimer





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