Home » Tuesday: Planning Ahead    


Tuesday: Planning Ahead — 9 Comments

  1. Surely the basic way the spiritual or Christian forecast differs from the worldly or secular projection is in the role of the Omniscient (All Knowing) God in the planning. Not only is the Holy Spirit to be consulted in individual, family or group planning sessions, but the plans ought to keep heaven involved (Galatians 5:16).

    It is possible to commence a planning session with prayer and then proceed to make forecasts which revolve around the material enrichment of individuals or serve to exalt mankind or bring glory to the planners. In other words God’s blessing is sought, but His participation is not required (Isaiah 29:13).

    The awards ceremony may be organized simultaneously with the project. There are visions of the names of committee members etched in stone or on a plaque. The arm of flesh dominates and sight instead of faith is the principal or only driver (2 Corinthians 4:18).

    If plans are designed above all to glorify God (1 Corinthians 10:31) it is likely they will live on even if the lives of the planners are unexpectedly cut short or forgotten. As well the less plans depend on individual longevity the greater the role which might be found for God.

    We cannot know in advance the full breadth of God’s will, but if we plan on the basis of His already revealed will we are probably headed in the right direction and will be more open to correcting course as the Spirit leads, even if that means giving way to others.

  2. How to know God’s will in your life by Morris Venden

    Eight steps for those who have committed their life to the LORD

    Rom 12:1-2 – living sacrifice, know the will of God
    Phililppians 2:13 – to will & do in your lives
    DA 668 – identify his will with our will

    Do not depend on one step alone, create a Portfolio and put all info collected from each step into the Portfolio before you make a decision.

    Step 1
    Have no will of your own
    Negative – Balaam – Num 22-24
    Positive – Jesus – Mt 26:39

    Step 2
    Don’t depend on your feelings only
    2 Tim 1:7 – not spirit of fear
    John 10:4 – his sheep know His voice
    Diff between feelings & impression of HS
    According to Scripture?
    Guilt or Conviction
    Focus – glory to the LORD or me

    Step 3
    Consult God’s Word for principles and communication
    Ps 119:105 – lamp to my feet
    Ps 32:8 – I will instruct, teach & guide you
    2 Tim 3:16 – all Scripture profitable
    In your normal daily devotion you will find texts that apply specifically to your situation.
    Do not just open & point – Matt 27:5, Lu 10:37
    Browse and notice a highlighted passage

    Step 4
    Providential circumstances
    Deut 8:2 – remember how the Lord has led you
    How he has led you in the past, write down major events in your life
    Is this the next step towards a goal or maybe a change of goal
    Divine appointments (at the right time) people cross your path (woman at well) John 4
    God can turn trials into stepping stones to achieve his purpose (Joseph) Gen 37-47

    Step 5
    Consult Godly friends
    Eg Moses’ father in law, Ex 18:23,24

    Step 6
    Pray specifically for guidance
    James 1:5 – lack wisdom, ask
    Philip 4:6,7 – present requests, get peace
    Hezekiah – Isa 37:14-20
    Daniel 9:3-23 – God sent an angel to give him understanding

    Step 7
    Take sufficient time & consider all steps then make a decision and tell the LORD
    Moses & golden calf – Ex 32:26 – who is on the Lord’s side
    Joshua – Jos 24:15 – choose ye this day
    Elijah –1 Kings 18:21 – choose God or Baal
    Ps 95:7,8 – Today if you will hear His voice
    Matt 6:24, Rom 6:16 – cannot serve two masters

    Step 8
    Step out in faith (Jordan) and invite the LORD to stop you if you are wrong
    And watch for the swinging doors.
    Rev 3:7,8 – open/close doors
    Acts 16:6-10 – stopped – called
    Caleb – the journey with God in the wilderness is as important as reaching the Promised Land

    NB: God’s timing takes into consideration His plans for our whole life
    And our place in His plans for the Universe

    With thanks to George Mueller & Morris Venden

    • The way this is written, I take great exception to Step 1: "Have no will of your own."

      It is only by our will, i.e. the power of choice, that we can surrender ourselves to God. "Have no will of your own" sounds too much like there's no part for us to play, that we are passive in the process of salvation.

      The surrender of the soul to Christ is the work of the individual, and it depends on our will, our power of choice.

      Perhaps Venden did not mean it the way he wrote it, but perhaps this "Step 1" explains why some misunderstood Venden and made shipwreck of their lives. (I know of a few.)

      • I agree any writer may be misunderstood.

        These steps are for people who have already chosen to surrender their lives to God and have a decision to make, like for instance should I take this job offer, and would like to find out what God's will is in respect of this step in their lives.

        If you read the story of Balaam which is referenced in the first step you will note that he really wanted to go and earn all that treasure and so although he kept asking God what he should do he wasn't really open to hearing what God was telling him.
        While the opposite was Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane where he didn't really want to drink the cup but He said 'not my will but they will be done'

  3. James 4:13 is certainly important to keep in mind. Things do indeed change rapidly and our finest plans can crumble overnight. On the other hand there is an interesting set of examples that Jesus gave concerning counting the cost of discipleship.

    For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it-- lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying,`This man began to build and was O not able to finish?' Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace (Lk. 14:28-32 NKJV)

    Who is it that does not first consider the most effective way to evangelize or what fool attempts to enter the ministry of the church without first knowing anything about it. The entire great controversy was laid out before anything was created - the cross was planned from the beginning. Likewise we are to plan to the best of our ability. A haphazard, unorganized effort in the Lord's work does not glorify God because it usually ends up being confusion to do so, "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace" (1 Cor. 14:33 NKJV).
    Organization takes planning as does our choice of education. There needs to be direction in our lives and that is something we cannot do effectively by flipping a coin. God gave us a mind far above that of animals to use for benefit. We still have to a large degree the image of God to create for His glory just as Jesus created for glory but we can't do that without making some plans or having at least some idea of what to do or what direction to go in.

    Whenever we make a choice whether we know it or not we are planning. To me that is the purpose for our lives - that is what worship is all about - a conscious, well thought out choice in a particular direction.

  4. Jut like when we talk about being judgmental and God asks off us to do some introspection, we are shamed to find how often we judge others--even without a second thought. The subconscious is how we can analyze our true character. Just like in our dreams, we have to keep an open-honest line of communication with God in order to surrender every part of our selves. Otherwise, before we know it, self's influence will creep back into our decision making.

    The world teaches us to fight for control of the future so that you don't end up at the bottom and without resources. However the difference between God and Satan, and is that God seeks to save ll; there is no survival of the fittest. So our view of the future should be different. We should not fear it so much, because it is not completely in our hands. It's not all on us. THANK the LORD! I think what the lesson pointed out about being flexible is the heart of the matter. Go with God's flow guys! (Proverbs 3:5)

    It will not be easy, depending on our character flaws, to go with God's flow, but that is how we can plan without fear. Plan with flexibility for God to work. Plan within God's will. God promises to reign in ALL of our thoughts. From the one hidden in that one dark corner to the one in the forefront of your mind. He can handle them all and praise God that he can!

  5. When it comes to planning I like the serenity prayer attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr:

    God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
    The courage to change the things I can,
    And the wisdom to know the difference.

    Maybe we should distinguish between what should be planed and what shouldn't. Certainly the parable about the rich man accumulating wealth is appropriate here:

    Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying,`What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said,`I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' But God said to him,`Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Lk. 12:16-21 NKJV).

    To me there is no doubt that when the planning is solely about self it is not the kind of planning God desires. There seems to be, however, a kind of planning that God not only indorses but actually expects us to have such as the use of our talents where we should invest them to His glory (Matt 25:14-30). In that parable Jesus is not talking only about money but also about all the gifts that come from God including time, education and mental abilities, health, etc.

    Ellen White also had a lot to say about planning:

    But if the officers of a conference bear successfully the burdens laid upon them, they must pray, they must believe, they must trust God to use them as His agents in keeping the churches of the conference in good working order. This is their part of the vineyard to cultivate. There must be far more personal responsibility, far more thinking and planning, far more mental power brought into the labor put forth for the Master. (Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p 498)
    The people of God must now awake and do their neglected work. Into our planning for this work, we must put all the powers of the mind. We should spare no effort to present the truth as it is in Jesus, so simply and yet so forcibly that minds will be strongly impressed. We must plan to work in a way that will consume as little means as possible; for the work must extend into the regions beyond. (Review & Herald, Dec. 15, 1910)
    Churches are to be organized and plans laid for work to be done by the members of the newly organized churches. (Letter 86, 1902)

    The one thing she seemed to be more against than anything else is when leaders try to micromanage those under them so that they are not allowed to think and plan for themselves and end up becoming mere robots of someone else's thinking. There is a whole section of her counsel on this in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers toward the end of chapter 11 linked here.

  6. I also think that we should not separate our lives into the secular and spiritual.
    Every goal should be spiritual.
    Every plan for the future should be made with a view to further Jesus' cause in the Great Controversy.

    Eg. Choosing to better oneself academically should be with a view not to have a comfortable life, but to be of even more service to others.

    This of course comes to the issue of motives which only Jesus can reveal and change.

  7. I enjoy very much all the comments, im in the position when my live is unstable,but I know He is with me all time. God is so good that send the msg when I need the most. God Bless you all!!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags allowed in your comment: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>