Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The "Unchangeables" Part 1

We live in very uncertain times. The winds of change are blowing over many of us, and in some cases, they are producing some pretty far reaching ripples. Some of us have lost jobs, others of us have experienced major changes in our relationships and probably most of us have begun to see everything shake that can be shaken. There are things that we thought could never change that hardly look the same today as they did yesterday. In the midst of these changing seasons, I am very thankful for the Lord's "words in due season" that help us navigate through the uncertainty.

These "words in due season" are specific instructions or reminders from the Lord that apply to the place where we are currently in life. Thankfully, the Lord is faithful to give us these as we need them. The Lord can, and does, speak in a wide variety of ways, and one way is through the Bible. In the next several blog posts, I want to examine a handful of unchanging principles from the Bible that can be "words in due season" for us no matter where we are on our journey.

The first "unchangeable" I want to discuss is found in Jeremiah 29:11. In this verse, the Lord is the One talking, and this is what He says:

"For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord, "plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope."

It is an unchanging principle that the Lord's plans for us are good plans. That fact will never change. The Lord does not have any plans for you that involve harming us. Every plan He has is for our good and our future. I have noticed in my personal experience that I believe this is true for others, but I don't always really believe it applies to me and my life. I know He is going to send or help you identify the solution to your problem, but what if I have messed things up too bad for Him to be willing to help me? Does that kind of a thought sound familiar? It's not true. Let me say something very clearly: there is nothing we can do to mess things up so badly that the Lord can't fix them. We might think we can, and there are times when we might feel like we have. However, we are not more powerful than He is, are we? Sometimes we have more faith in our ability to mess things up than we do in His ability to redeem them. Worse yet, many times we have more faith in the enemy's ability to knock us off course than we do in the Lord's ability get us back on track.

Have seen any car commercials lately? These commercials don't show us a vehicle and tell us an upfront price to purchase it. Instead, they say things like this: "Come on down! You can get this brand new car for no money down! We'll even give you $5,000 cash back, and we'll pay off your trade, no matter how much you owe! You cannot be turned down - you do NOT want to miss this deal!" Just as soon as we think we have heard about a deal that we can't pass up, a very quiet and fast talking voice says this: "Only for approved credit, does not include tax, tag and title, offer not available in all states, see store for details . . ." In other words, the first guy makes you an offer you can't refuse, but the second guy follows with "what he just said really is not true."

I think some of us read Jeremiah 29:11 the same way. As we have seen, in this verse the Lord tells us about the plans He has for us. However, this is what many of us hear: "For I know the plans I have for you. They are good plans - plans to prosper you and not harm you. They are plans to give you a future and a hope . . . (now the quiet, fast talking voice comes on) none of this is true, however, if you have made a mistake or misunderstood something I have told you. You can forget about it if you are living near the end of this age because all the good plans are out the window then. Offer not valid because you are in the Great Recession and you pretty much have to be perfect for this to apply to you . . ." Does this ever happen to you, or is it just me? I think it is the case with of all of us at different times, but it simply is not true! That fast talking voice is a liar!

The plans the Lord has for us are good plans. He knew our entire life - the end from the beginning - even before He created us. He has solutions no matter how difficult the problems may seem, and He is not bound by our natural resources, who is in the White House or by our nation's economy. Furthermore, we can't mess any of it up so badly that He can't straighten it out, as long as we take our hands off of it and let Him have it back. This principle is unchangeable. It is a certain fact - no matter how uncertain the times are. Let us be encouraged and face our present season and all the seasons to come knowing that our Lord has our best at heart, and His love will never change. He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us. His plans are for a good future and a hope!