I was having a conversation with a Christian friend tonight about the trials we are both going through. As business owners, we are seeing some very tough times. I personally cannot seem to get off the ground and he cannot sustain consistent revenue. It would be easy for either of us to question God. We go to church, we read our Bible, we pray every day, and we live our lives for Jesus. Here is where I quote Jeremiah 29:11 (below). So why isn’t God hooking our businesses up? Well when it comes to Jeremiah 29:11, the translation that’s often quoted isn’t really accurate. Let me show you a comparison.
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. NIV 84
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. ESV
We all want to quote the NIV because it sounds so much better. “Plans to prosper”. Prosper relates to success which we relate to finances. The problem is, that that translation just isn’t accurate and gives us a false sense of who God is. God loves us and God provides for us. But providing doesn’t mean abundance of wealth when it comes to God. The better translation shows more accurately that God wants to give us peace and comfort in Him, in spite of what our success looks like.
Once I begin to understand who God really is, I see that His purpose is to show me that my life is amazing regardless of my success. And even greater, when I don’t have success and all the goodies that come with it I have more time to focus on Jesus. All my “stuff” used to bring me joy, now my Jesus brings me joy.
Without a doubt, I’m better off this way!
1 Comment | tags: better, christian, God, Jeremiah 29:11, Jesus, plans, prosper, trials | posted in Christianity
Last night I witnessed the sovereign work of God in what some wouldn’t ever really think twice about. An awesome worship session finishes, we all take our seats and listen to what at first seemed like a joke. “I was back stage thinking about how awful it would be if my message wasn’t on my iPad. Then to my horror I came out on stage and my message isn’t on my iPad”.
But it wasn’t a joke. The pastor was serious. He had studied the topic of guilt. He had prepared what I am sure was to be an awesome message on guilt. Everyone was there to hear about guilt. Number 7 in an 8 week series on important life changing topics couldn’t be preached. So now what? Does everyone just go home? Not hardly.
What transpired was exactly what God purposed well before the night got started. The pastor shared his heartfelt and powerful testimony. The crowd got something the didn’t expect. And when it came time to share the gospel, people made decisions to follow Jesus.
Too often we are so dependent on our finite minds and finite plans that we forget we serve an infinite God who does indeed “work ALL things together for good for those who love Him” (Rom 8:28). He doesn’t need a pastor’s message. He doesn’t need a church’s program. But He wants us to trust in Him. He wants us to quote Jeremiah 29:11 from the depths of our heart.
The next time you (and I) are frustrated because things aren’t working out like we had planned, just know that God’s plans are better.
Leave a comment | tags: christian, God, gospel, iPa, Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, sovereignty, trust | posted in Christianity