For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.Jeremiah 29:11 New Living Translation
The covid-19 has caused governments, organisations and individuals to change their plans, but has it caused God to change His plans? The answer is no.
God does not change His plans for anyone or for anything. God planned to bless Isaac but a famine arose in the land and Isaac thought about going down to Egypt. God knew Isaac’s intentions and told him to stay in the land of Gerar and “I will bless you”.
Did I hear that correctly? God was going to bless Isaac in a famine? God was going to bless Isaac in an uncertain time for those who depended on sowing and reaping? Yes.
The Bible records that Isaac obeyed God ,sowed seed as usual and God’s plan of good came to pass:
When Isaac planted his crops that year, he harvested a hundred times more grain than he planted, for the LORD blessed him.Genesis 26:12 New Living Translation
God did not change His plans of good for Isaac even though there was a famine and God will not change His plans of good for the Church as a body and His church as individuals even though there is a pandemic lurking around.
God is almighty and His might is not limited by the changes which occur in the world. His power can not be restricted by the dictates of earthly governments.
If God does not cancel His plans in a crisis then we should not cancel our trust in Him in a crisis. Let us continue to trust Him until we see His plans for us come to pass.
I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.Psalm 27:13 King James Version
Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see.Hebrews 11:1 New Living Translation
I am not a mother and it is not Mother’s Day. It is Good Friday but I want to salute all women because the experience of giving birth to a child is nothing to be taken lightly. Child birth is usually an experience of excruciating pain and trouble for the woman. When Judah was beseiged and taunted by the King of Assyria, King Hezekiah of Judah sent this message to the Prophet Isaiah:
This is what King Hezekiah says: Today is a day of trouble, insults, and disgrace. It is like when a child is ready to be born, but the mother has no strength to deliver the baby.Isaiah 37:3 New Living Translation
It was a day of trouble for Judah. The King of Assyria sent men to insult and disgrace Hezekiah and the entire nation of Judah. After experiencing trouble, insults and disgrace Hezekiah remembered child birth. he remembered the great trouble a woman experiences to give birth to a child, especially when that woman does not have the strength to push when it is time to push.
How is this relevant to Good Friday? Good Friday is the day we remember the suffering, the pain and the ultimate death of Jesus Christ on a wooden cross. Today is the day we remember how Jesus was insulted and disgraced. Today is the day we remember how the Son of God was treated like a criminal even though he was as innocent as a newborn baby.
However, Good Friday was not only a day of death. In the same way a woman has to experience pain to give birth to a child Jesus had to experience pain to give birth to something special.
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.Isaiah 53:5 New Living Translation
On Good Friday salvation for all mankind was born
On Good Friday a new way into God’s presence was born
Without Good Friday there would be no Christians. Jesus experienced the trouble, insults and disgrace so that mankind could be healed. Jesus experienced the excruciating pain and suffering so that human beings could become children of God through faith.
The world is experiencing a time of trouble. To some this trouble seems to be never ending. Today I want to encourage us to remember what Jesus experienced at the hands of the Roman soldiers. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that enabled us to become who we are. It was the sacrifice of Jesus that made the way possible for us to become children of faith.
Jesus overcame that time of trouble. As a child of faith you can overcome this time of trouble also.
HAVE A BLESSED GOOD FRIDAY!
Then he asked them, “Where is your faith?” The disciples were terrified and amazed. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “When he gives a command, even the wind and waves obey him!”Luke 8:25 New Living Translation
You have heard of fair-weather friends; friends which are only around when everything is going well. In spiritual matters there is a fair-weather faith; faith which is only around when everything is going well. Fair-weather faith is the worst kind of faith to have because it leaves you at the first sign of trouble. Fair-weather faith leaves you at the first sign of distress. Fair weather faith leaves you at the first sign of pain.
The children of Israel had fair-weather faith in the wilderness. When they did not see any water they complained to Moses about dying of thirst. When they did not see any food they complained to Moses about dying of hunger. When they heard of the high walls and the giants in the Promised Land they complained to Moses about bringing them out of Egypt to die.
God does not want our faith to change when the weather changes. God does not want our faith to change when our home environment changes. God does not want our faith to change when our work environment changes. God wants our faith to be steadfast and unmovable no matter what is happening around us.
Then the LORD said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!Exodus 14:5 New Living Translation
What do we do when we are faced with an obstacle? Do we stop and complain? Do we blame someone else? Do we turn back? After the Israelites left Egypt they moving further and further away from their enemies. They were moving further and further away from the place which caused them and their ancestors distress and pain for more than 400 years. They did not complain to Moses or God until the Egyptians started to follow after them. They did not complain until they were faced with their enemies on one side and the Red Sea on the other. The children of Israel said:
“Why did you bring us out here to die in the wilderness? Weren’t there enough graves for us in Egypt? What have you done to us? Why did you make us leave Egypt?Exodus 14:10-11 New Living Translation
The children of Israel were caught between “a rock and a hard place” and they blamed Moses for their predicament. They were at a standstill. There was no other way they could go to escape the Egyptians. Moses tried to encourage the people with these words:
“Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the LORD rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The LORD himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.”Exodus 14:13-14 New Living Translation
Moses told the children of Israel to stand still but God told Moses to tell them to do something completely out of the ordinary:
Tell the people to get moving!Exodus 14:15
It was the will of God for the people to “get moving”. It was the plan of God for Israel to move forward. There are times when it is the will of God to stop and there are times when it is the will of God for us to move. However, we must always keep this overcoming secret in our minds:
God’s instructions to stop or to move do not depend on whether or not there are obstacles in front of us. God’s instructions to stop or to move depend on His will and His plan for us.Secrets of the Overcoming Life
Obstacles never prevented God from doing anything on the earth and they never will.
- The darkness in the beginning did not prevent God from saying “Let there be light”.
- The barrenness of Sarah’s womb did not prevent God from saying ”
Sarah, will have a son!” (Genesis 18:10)
- The power of death on the earth did not prevent God from saying ”
He [Jesus] will be killed, but three days later he will rise from the dead.” (Mark 9:31)
If God has not told us to stop then it is time to “Get Moving”. Whether we are faced with a Red Sea or a storm in the sea, it is time to “Get Moving”. God will move the Red Sea and God will calm the storm but we must decide to move forward. This is not the time to give up or to turn back. This is the time to stand strong in faith and move towards the Promised Land.
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.2 Timothy 2:15 New Living Translation
In the beginning God said:
Then God said, “Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came.” And that is what happened.Genesis 1:11 New Living Translation
God designed plants and trees to produce seeds which would produce other plants and trees. As human beings we expect an apple seed which is planted in the ground to grow into an apple tree. We expect the same result with other seeds. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.
God designed human beings to produce human beings which would produce other human beings. As human beings we expect children to grow into adults. God also expects the same result because that is the way He designed it.
God also designed human beings to produce spiritual fruit which would cause them to grow spiritually. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce spiritual fruit. God designed human beings to receive the Word of God in their hearts to produce faith. Faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ (Word of Salvation) produces salvation.
God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who believe in Christ. God expects the gospel of Jesus Christ to produce persons who grow into the image of Christ. God expects that result because that is the way He designed it. The Apostle Paul told the Church at Rome:
For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.Romans 8:29 New Living Translation
Are you a Christian? Then your spiritual growth was designed by God. Your spiritual growth was designed by God from the beginning of the world. A stove is designed to produce a flame or heat which can cook food. A fridge is designed to keep things cold. God expects you to grow spiritually. God expects you to grow and grow until you become like Christ. This is the expected end that God has designed for all Christians.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.Jeremiah 29:11 King James Version
For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me, not to do my own will.John 6:38 New Living Translation
What motivates you as a Christian? What motivates you to stay devoted to the Lord Jesus Christ? What motivates you to continue to follow God even in the midst of adversity?
We all need motivation at some point in time. We all need a desire to move forward; a desire to move forward which is present in the absence of strength; a desire to move forward which is present in the absence of encouragement. Motivation enables us to accomplish a task in spite of obstacles. Therefore, motivation is essential to living an overcoming life.
Motivation is essential to living an overcoming life!
Motivation was essential to the work of Christ in the earth. Jesus always had a reason for doing what He did:
- At 12 years old, He had a reason for being in the Temple even though His parents had left Jerusalem.
- At 30 years old he had a reason for going to John the Baptist to be baptised in water even though He had no sin.
What was Jesus’ Motivation?
Jesus was motivated by the Will of God. Jesus always wanted to do the will of God in every situation and in every season. When His parents asked Him why He had caused them to be searching all over Jerusalem for Him Jesus said:
“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”Luke 2:49 New Living Translation
When John the Baptist asked Him why He was coming to him for baptism Jesus said:
“It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.”Matthew 3:15 New Living Translation
Jesus always focused on doing the will of God. Jesus always wanted the will of God to be done in His life. Doing the will of God was always His reason for living. Motivation caused Jesus to live an overcoming life. God wants us to live an overcoming life but we need motivation. We need a reason to live an overcoming life. We need a reason to overcome obstacles. We need a reason to resist temptation. Jesus knew His motivation. As followers of Jesus we need to answer the question:
What is my Motivation?