Tuesday, January 5, 2016

God Has Plans

David concluded, "By the LORD's hand on me, He enabled me to understand everything in writing, all the details of the plan." Then David said to his son Solomon, "Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He won't leave you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the LORD's house is finished. (1 Chronicles 28:19-20)
Is goal planning Biblical?  You bet!  God has always given people plans to accomplish His task.  As a matter of fact, His methods are designed to be a part of His purpose in usBy applying the Biblical word for "plan" to goal setting, it's clear that God has plans and so do people.  God blesses righteous plans and blasts away ones that aren't so righteous!  Above all, goals and plans are subject to the will of God.
Don't discount goal planning as being "worldly!"  Not unless you want to discount God too.  But there are evil plans in this world and plans that are opposite to His will and moral will and these He will frustrate.  He frustrates the schemes of the crafty so that they achieve no success. (Job 5:12)  "Crafty" means the schemers, the self-centered and manipulators who use their schemes to capture people.  
God also warns those who plot in the darkness and who plan apart from His known will.  Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the LORD, who do their work in darkness and think, “Who sees us? Who will know?” (Isaiah 29:15)  Everyone can make plans.  Things we want desperately enough we will reason a way to get.  Unfortunately, most of such efforts are more scheming than goal setting.  “Woe to the obstinate children," declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin…” (Isaiah 30:1)
So what about our scheming to do what is wrong? Goal planning for unethical means is bad. So is planning goals that remove us from the mainstream of God's will for our lives.  Now be careful here.  God's river is big and wide.  I don't believe in a one-choice-or-you're-out narrow view of God's will for you.  I believe that for the Christian, God can redirect as well as direct our steps.  But there is a general direction and flow to the outcomes and we can observe it if we care to.
Proverbial Advice about Plans
The book of Proverbs, along with great advice for faith, business and life, brings counsel about planning:
  1. Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22) Don't plan in a vacuum, but run your plans and goals past people who want God’s best for your life.
  2. Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3) Pray, pray some more, and then pray again! Surround your goals and plans with prayer and ask the Lord to bless you in their doing.
  3. Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. (Proverbs 19:21) In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)  Ask God for wisdom as you plan and set goals.  Involve him every step of the way as you go along and chart your progress.  Don't be afraid to make mid-course corrections as necessary.
Scripture to Claim:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

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