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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dreams or Plans?

You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You as I took shape in secret, carefully crafted in the heart of the earth before I was born from its womb.  You see all things; You saw me growing, changing in my mother’s womb; every detail of my life was already written in Your book; You established the length of my life before I ever tasted the sweetness of it. Your thoughts and plans are treasures to me, O God! I cherish each and every one of them! How grand in scope! How many in number!  If I could count each one of them, they would be more than all the grains of sand on earth. Their number is inconceivable!  Even when I wake up, I am still near to You.  (Psalm 139:16-18 VOICE)

Toby Mac posted a timeline picture sometime ago which simply read: "If today I lose my hope, God, please remind me that your plans are better than my dreams." It is a truly beautiful thing to have our dreams and God's plans perfectly align, but if anyone else is like me, there are times when my dreams are pretty big and my performance is pretty weak!  It may not be the dream was wrong, but the execution of the plan was because it was done in my power or at the wrong time in my life!  We might just think we have to abandon our dreams, but what may be the case is that God wants us to submit the fulfillment of those dreams to him.  A friend posted:  "Thank God we don't look like what we've been through". Boy howdy!  Isn't that the truth!  Some of us are so worried about the dream's fulfillment, we barely "get through" unscathed. We just trudge through even when the "signs" all seem to be saying "not yet" or "slow down" or even "caution, proceed at your own risk".  

God's plans for our lives are not hard to understand.  He plans good for us - not evil.  He desires growth for us - not death.  He positions us for greatness - not defeat.  There are times though, when we get so wrapped up in seeing our dreams come to fruition that we totally miss out on what God might have intended for our lives in the process.  I don't think God opposes any dreams of ours as long as they are not evil, won't bring death, and are not going to leave us devastated beyond recovery.  I think he might caution us to avoid a few pitfalls and remind us some of these "big dreams" are "okay", but they aren't as good as what he might have planned for us.  In essence, God is going to watch over us, but he won't oppose our determination to do things our way if that is what we choose.  This is why it is ever so important to be sure our dreams make sense in accordance with the plans God has for each of us.

Now, God's plans are not that hard to get to understand.  They can be discovered by reading the Word many times.  It is there where we find "patterns" of what God allows and blesses. We can discover what he disallows and will not sanction as "okay" for our lives.  It is there for the discovery, but we have to be willing to discover!  Some of us get so "bent" on our dreams we cannot think there might be anything other than those dreams.  We go head-long into places we might very well find ourselves regretting down the road, but trust me on this, God can even use our failed dreams to bring good into our lives.  In those failures, we can grow or we can shrivel up and die.  That is our choice.  We chose the way we went, but God can redeem something from the worst course we have chosen - even though we are a little battered from the journey!

I like that God reminds us nothing about our lives is hidden from him - from the moment we were more than a twinkle in our Dad's eye to the moment we breathe our last breath, he had his hand on us.  He didn't miss a beat - a cell's division - or a hair's loss.  He sees it all - knows the end from the beginning - and in it all works to bring good out of both the courses he planned and we walked, and those we dreamed and chose instead!  God's thoughts and plans for our lives are innumerable.  We can only grasp hold of a few at at time, but he has the "play book" of our lives right there in front of him.  He knows when we will follow his call to execute a certain "play", or when we will choose to run our own play despite his advice not to! 

"God's purpose is more important than our plans". (Myles Munroe)  Wouldn't it be nice if both were perfectly aligned, though?  The more we submit our dreams to him, allowing him to craft them into the purpose and plans he designs for us, the closer the two will become. It doesn't take much sometimes to make a dream a reality, a near-miss a success.  In fact, it might just take us bringing those things to Jesus, laying them at his feet, and then just waiting for him to give us the guidance we so desperately need.  Just sayin!