Of plans and accomplishments

Have you made plans for the new year? Remember that God is a God of plans. His plans are to save all people. When you make your plans within this will of his for salvation, you are guaranteed success.

He did this so that now, through the church, he could let the rulers and authorities in heaven know his infinite wisdom. This was God’s plan for all of history which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord, Ephesians 3.10-11 GW.

• Many versions translate verse 11 more literally as God’s “eternal purpose.” If God purposes something, he carries it out through his plan. We may purpose something, but it may never get past the idea. For God, to purpose is to plan is to execute the plan. That’s why his thoughts (plans) are higher than ours, because his word (synonym for thoughts and plans) actually gets it done.

My plans aren’t your plans, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord, Isaiah 55.8 CEB.

Yes, he says that his word “does what I want, and accomplishes what I intend” Isaiah 55.10-11 CEB. So different from man’s thoughts, plans, promises, and hit-and-miss accomplishments! In that truth is our deep comfort and peace.

• Now that we’re almost past the first week of the year, perhaps the headiness of celebrations has passed and you can see more sharply now. Instead of resolutions for exercise and weight loss, consider spiritual fitness and loss of all that holds you back from sanctification and service to the Lord.

Training the body helps a little, but godly living helps in every way. Godly living has the promise of life now and in the world to come. This is a statement that can be trusted and deserves complete acceptance, 1 Timothy 4.8-9 GW.

• A story for you. Yesterday, the Missus and I lunched at a new spot on the south side of town, in a mall being built from an old factory. As we approached the scales to weigh our plates, I saw someone I knew, but hadn’t seen for a couple of years. “Alan!” I shouted. He came over and gave me a big hug, talked, hugged me again, talked more, hugged me again. (Brazilians are touchy-huggy, guys, too.) His wife had been behind me in the line, but we were all concentrating on food and hadn’t noticed each other.

Alan was my first trainer at CrossFit. He was more than helpful every step of the way for this novice. When their son was born, they came to our house and I said a special prayer for him. They stayed for our Sunday meeting that night.

I have his email address, and I often send out invitations and thoughts and Bible verses to people in my list. He’s been getting them and reading. Alan has been on my mind lately.

I immediately invited Alan and his family to our meeting. He had guests, so they couldn’t come yesterday. But the invitation has been renewed. The contact has been reacquired. The warmness of our friendship has remained. God has worked in this time. His plan is to save. So is ours. No opportunity can be lost.

• My theme for this year is “The Year of God.” In a few weeks, I’ll speak about the God of closeness or nearness. (Not a good translation, but you get the idea.) He brings us near to himself. By doing so, he brings us near to each other. He reconciles. He binds us to himself in love, and to each other. This movement that he accomplishes — something that we cannot do — is the essence of his plan of salvation. It happens in Christ, when we believe and obey. Have you? And have you planned to let God use you so that others can?

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