Posted by: mikenicholsblog | October 12, 2017

plans and promises

Do you ever find that new circumstances come fast and furious, and are often unexpected?  As I sat down to write this article, I received a call that would potentially throw my week out of kilter (not a bad circumstance) and created scenarios I had absolutely not planned for this week. Why doesn’t God just accept my plans and let me work through each week as I have determined (never)?   To top it off, just a few minutes before the phone call, I had picked up a page torn from Oswald Chamber’s great devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  It said:

The circumstances of a saint’s life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can’t understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands.

You, like me, probably (and often) have conversations with God about life and circumstances. I certainly accept God’s sovereignty and over-riding direction for my weeks, but I still tend to have in the moment type lapses. One of the struggles we all face is communicating with God and telling Him how we think things ought to be for us without spending much time listening for the Spirit’s prompting in those moments. We even bargain and try to make deals with the Almighty, even though we wouldn’t admit it.

Have you ever said words like, “God, if you will just get me through this, I will________________.” Or maybe, “God, if you will just work me through this financial situation, I will never be in this position again. Please God!” We could all think back on a litany of promises we have made to God that we didn’t keep. Part of our problem is placing too much of the weight of our spiritual journey on our plans, promises and ability rather than on God’s Sovereignty, Promises and Ability. Just this week, while reading the book Divine Direction by Craig Groeshel, I was confronted with the bargaining we do with God.

In looking at our circumstances (often chaotic) and how we communicate with the God who ordains the circumstances in a Christ-follower’s life, let’s juxtapose these words from Divine Direction. “I don’t know about you, but most of the promises I’ve made to God didn’t stick. That’s because we’re not changed by the promises we make to God; we’re changed by believing the promises God makes to us.”

Think how your life would change if you simply and humbly believed and applied what He has already promised. For example, look at just two of His many promises.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6-7 (ESV)

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
James 4:7 (ESV)

Do you think for one moment any of us can overcome anxiety or resist Satan in our own strength or by making grand promises to our Lord?  Unequivocally, No! So, let’s stop living like we can. Let’s, together, begin laying down our plans and turn, instead, in the direction of His promises

Stop fighting the circumstances, yield to His providence, believe and apply His promises, and you will be changed!


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