What Are Your Plans for the New Year?

What Are Your Plans for the New YearDo you have plans for the year 2019? What are your plans? Perhaps you plan to get married, or continue your studies, or look for a different job, or buy a house, or travel abroad. Well, whatever your plans may be, as you plan, consider what God teaches us in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand (ESV).”  One version puts it this way: “People may plan all kinds of things, but the LORD’s will is going to be done.” There is one important lesson on planning that we can glean from this verse: Unless our plans are part of God’s eternal plan, they will not succeed.

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Before I elaborate this point, let me first clarify that Proverbs 19:21 does not discourage or forbid us to make plans. In fact, elsewhere in the Bible God calls us to plan for our future, “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance” (Prov. 21:5). Or another version translates this verse as follows, “Plan carefully and you will have plenty.” According to this verse we are to plan carefully, and yet as we make plans, let us realize that our plans are subordinate to God’s sovereign will. God’s eternal plan is supreme over all our plans. Therefore, not all that we plan will come to pass.

The word plans in Proverbs 19:21 comes from the Hebrew verb khawshab which means to think of something that you want to do: “Many are the plans in the mind of a man.” Plans are your thoughts—things that are going on in your mind—things that you intend to accomplish or acquire. In fact, in the original the word mind in Proverbs 19:21 can also be translated as heart. That’s why in the King James Version we read, “There are many devices [or plans] in a man’s heart.”

Heart is regarded as the center of your life. Your plans are what occupy the center of your life. These are the things that you care about, or motivate you to live. For instance, in the Parable of the Rich Fool, a parable which illustrates the sin of covetousness, we see the rich fool making plans—plans that occupy his entire life: “And he [the rich fool] said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry”’ (Luke 12:18-19).

The rich fool made selfish and greedy plans. Oh, but listen to what God says in Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.” The word purpose here comes from the Hebrew verb that means to determine. Before the foundation of the world God has already determined that which must happen. We call it his eternal decree or counsel.  Here’s the analogy: before the creation of the universe, the three persons of the trinity met to have a council meeting, as it were. In that meeting they made a plan—a perfect plan that must take place. Therefore; and here’s my point, unless our plans are part of God’s eternal plan, they will not succeed.

Let me ask you again, “Do you have plans for this year—plans that occupy your mind and heart? What are they?” Well, remember this: Before you were even born, God had already made a plan for you and unless your plans are compatible with his eternal plan, your plans will not prosper.

Maybe you plan to get married this year, have children, graduate from high school and go to college, and work, and buy a house. But at the beginning of this year, God may say to you, “This night your soul is required of you.” You might get sick and die before the year 2019 ends.

Please, don’t think that I’m trying to scare you. No! I’m simply telling you the truth, so that when you plan, you will commit your plans to the Lord. Because unless the Lord blesses your plans, they will fail. The rich fool did not commit his plans to God. He did not even involve God in his thoughts. He thought he was a wise planner. He indeed became wise in his own eyes. Well, the Bible says, “do not lean on your own understanding… In all your ways acknowledge [God]…Be not wise in your own eyes (Prov. 3:5-7). Are you a wise planner, or a foolish planner like the rich fool?

Learn to qualify your plans by saying, “If the Lord wills, I will live and do this or that” (James 4:15). Learn to pray like Jesus, “Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Luke 22:42). This ought to be our prayer as we plan, “Father, I desire your will to be done, not mine, because I know your will is always for my good and for the glory of your name.”

Whatever plans we have this year, let’s commit them to the Lord. Let’s humbly acknowledge that he is in control of all things. Someone notes, “Livingstone planned to go to China, but God led him to Africa, to be its missionary-statesman, general and explorer. Alexander Mackay prepared for work in Madagascar, but was directed to Uganda, to aid in founding one of the most remarkable missions in the world. Carey proposed to go to the South Sea, but was guided divinely to India, to give the Bible in their native tongue to its teeming millions.”

You see, God knows what is best for us. Thus, let’s learn to submit to his eternal, wise, perfect sovereign will. Remember, the best place to be is in the will of God. If you are doing the Lord’s will, wherever you are, you are in the best place. And remember, too, as someone has said, “the will of God will never lead you where the grace of God cannot keep you.”

Happy New Year!

Prov. 19.21

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New Year

3 Reminders as You Enter the New Year 2016

1. Don’t worry about the year 2016.

Don’t worry about what you will eat, drink, and wear this year. Your Father in heaven knows your needs. Instead of worrying, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and all your new yearneeds will be given to you according to his will (Matt. 6:33).

After all why worry about the unknown future of 2016 when you can pray. “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Yes, what will take place this year is not known to us, but for us believers in Christ, we know that God is causing all things to happen for his glory and for our good (Rom. 8:28-29). And the word good in this passage ultimately refers to our conformity to the image of Christ. The bitter events of 2016 will only make us better believers. Let us therefore welcome the New Year without fear.

 

2. Don’t boast about the year 2016.

Don’t brag about what you will do in 2016; you don’t know what will happen this year (Prov. 27:1). “You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

Don’t act as if you can control the future. You are not in control of everything. Don’t think that you can do and get whatever you want this year. You are not all-powerful. Don’t be overconfident about your future plans. You are not all-knowing. You don’t even know if you are still alive tomorrow. Thus learn to qualify your plans by saying, “If the Lord wills, I will live and do this or that” (James 4:15). Nevertheless, no matter what happens, God’s will is always best for us because he is all-wise and all-good.

 

3. Don’t waste the year 2016.

You waste this year when you use it only for your own pleasure. Remember the rich fool who said to his soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:19-20).

What a wasted life this rich fool had! He used his time, energy, and resources only for himself. With God’s help, let’s spend all the days of 2016 for God’s praise. Let’s also seize all God-given opportunities this year to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Remember, “Only one life, So soon it will pass, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” A life spent in the service of Christ is the most meaningful life that anyone can live in this world.

Have a blessed New Year!

New Year

3 Reminders as You Enter the New Year 2015

1. Don’t worry about the year 2015. happy-2015-new-year

Don’t worry about what you will eat, drink, and wear this year. Your Father in heaven knows your needs. Instead of worrying, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and all your needs will be given to you according to his will (Matt. 6:33).

After all why worry about the unknown future of 2015 when you can pray. “O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.” Yes, what will take place this year is not known to us, but for us believers in Christ, we know that God is causing all things to happen for his glory and for our good (Rom. 8:28-29). And the word good in this passage ultimately refers to our conformity to the image of Christ. The bitter events of 2015 will only make us better believers. Let us therefore welcome the New Year without fear.

 

2. Don’t boast about the year 2015.

Don’t brag about what you will do in 2015; you don’t know what will happen this year (Prov. 27:1). “You do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).

Don’t act as if you can control the future. You are not in control of everything. Don’t think that you can do and get whatever you want this year. You are not all-powerful. Don’t be overconfident about your future plans. You are not all-knowing. You don’t even know if you are still alive tomorrow. Thus learn to qualify your plans by saying, “If the Lord wills, I will live and do this or that” (James 4:15). Nevertheless, no matter what happens, God’s will is always best for us because he is all-wise and all-good.

 

3. Don’t waste the year 2015.

You waste this year when you use it only for your own pleasure. Remember the rich fool who said to his soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” (Luke 12:19-20).

What a wasted life this rich fool had! He used his time, energy, and resources only for himself. With God’s help, let’s spend all the days of 2015 for God’s praise. Let’s also seize all God-given opportunities this year to “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10). Remember, “Only one life, So soon it will pass, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” A life spent in the service of Christ is the most meaningful life that anyone can live in this world.

 

Have a blessed New Year!

New Year