For I Know The Plans I Have For You

 Jeremiah

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." 

God is a good, good father. It doesn’t matter that I don’t understand God’s plan, God is good and His plans are perfect and when we’re on the other side of the tapestry, we’re going to see that. But on this side, we have a choice to make. To live sullen and angry and seeking our own will, or to give up our own will and to go to God in surrendered prayer. And just to begin walking the path to light and allowing the light of the love of Jesus Christ to fill our lives utterly! 

If you are in a bad place right now and you don’t want to do 2017 like you did 2016, God will bring you out of that captivity if you will let Him! The way back and the way forward is wholehearted prayer! The more you and I recognize the depths of the world’s darkness and our need for God’s goodness, the more we will pray! 

Believers depend upon the will of God, not their own will. Everything depends on how you and I depend. You see, God’s desire is not to give us the glory of this world, or build up the glory of our name. God’s desire is to lead us into the glory of relationship with Him! God’s plan doesn’t serve my purposes -God’s plan serves His purposes!

1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” That word in Hebrew is ‘Segula’, it means what God treasures most! In all of the universe and all of the things that God created, you are the treasured possession of God! 

You are not rejected. You are not denied. You are not unacceptable. Your have not sinned so much that God will not come to you again. He is your Father and He wants to bring you into His arms and to wrap your life up in the light of His grace and His love! 

We are God’s special possession that we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness and into His wonderful light! (1 Peter 2:9)

Today for 2017, what I’m calling you to do is to get out of darkness and go into light through prayer! That’s going to be a choice every single day, whether it’s pornography, lust, food, whatever it is, there is deep darkness in all of us --but we don’t have to be dominated by it. 

God has a plan for a better life, a higher life, an eternal kind of life and you and I can stop depending upon ourselves. We can learn to live a life of dependent faithful prayer and we can walk a path that will fill not only our lives, but our world and our families with the light of Jesus Christ! -Dr. Drew Shofner

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God's dreams are not over for your life!

Psalm 18-19

The truth is, most of us believe we're dealing with a disappointed God who's angry instead of a loving father who's forgiving! No matter how old you are or how much you have failed, God's dreams are not over for your life! 

If you could only get a glimpse of how near God is to you, all the pain and loneliness that you may be feeling and carrying in your life would be overwhelmed and overcome by the nearness of the love and joy and peace of Jesus Christ.

He is a God of new beginnings, not only of second chances, but our God is a God of infinite grace for those who dare to believe in His goodness!

As we walk into the future, life doesn't have to get worse. Day by day, things can honestly move forward and get better because of Jesus, and why not experience the very best we can before we see Jesus face to face? - Dr. Drew Shofner

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Nothing is impossible with God!

Nothing is impossible with God

In Luke 18:27 Jesus replied, "What is impossible with man is possible with God." There are only two possibilities: This is either true, or the God of this book is not real! This is a belief that will change everything about your future!
 
What is impossible in the normal standard of human life, human intelligence, human ability, the laws of physics as they are normally understood and in the human physical realm--well, with God, it is quite possible!
 
Jeremiah 32:27 says "I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?" You and I need to memorize Luke 18:27 and Jeremiah 32:27 and we need to ask ourselves "Is anything too hard for me?" When we are hurting and when things are not going our way, "Is anything too hard for me?" is not a question because most of the time our eyes are not on the Lord. They're on our checkbook, they are on our relational problems, they are on our children, or our parents, our schoolwork or job, but they are not on the Lord! 
 
When we are faced with the impossible, we need to understand that what seems so life suckingly important in this moment is not more important than my personal relationship with Jesus. So that's what I'll prioritize, and as I do that, I will face this challenge knowing that nothing is impossible with God! I will hear God say to me, “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?"
 
The truth is, the God of the Bible, the God of creation, the God who began everything in an impossible way, began it all with a word! The Bible says that in the beginning, God spoke and because He spoke, the impossible happened--something was created from nothing! 
 
When Jesus came onto the scene as the very heart and face of God on planet earth, He did the impossible from the beginning: water becomes wine, the blind see, the lame walk. Those who had never seen a sunrise saw God's mercy and grace and the beauty of creation in the touch of Jesus! Those who had never heard the voices of their loved ones or the songs of God in worship, with a word, with a touch, with a smile--the cripple walk and dance! 
 
God is a God who redefines reality. Jesus took what was little, with the lunch of a little boy offered up freely to him, and He took the loaves and the fishes and He did the impossible and He fed 5,000 people! And just to show that little, in the hands of God, is more than enough, there were 12 basketfuls left--that's impossible! Oh wait, nothing's impossible with God! Impossible futures are not impossible when we look up! -Dr. Drew Shofner

What we dare to imagine determines our future!

what we dare to imagine

I want us to imagine the road ahead because the truth is we need to redeem our imaginations! The word redeem is a critical word that has to do with 'buying back.' To redeem something means to turn it around, to make it right. It means for God to touch it and to move it from dark to light, from broken to whole, from bad to good.
 
We were created in the image of God and a part of the power of our image is the imagination. It is the ability to see, in our minds, possibilities and to act on those possibilities. The simple truth is most of us here have allowed our imaginations to be run by the destructive agenda of hell more than the redeeming agenda of heaven. Our imaginations become the playground of all kinds of fearful, lightless, lustful, hopeless and failure-filled futures all because we do not have a mind filled with Christ! 
 
In Isaiah 65:2, here is the heart of God saying "All day long I have held out my hand to an obstinate people who walk in ways not good, pursuing their imaginations." You and I pursue our imaginations all the time; it's how we live. But if we can redeem our imaginations and buy them back from hell, and see a future that is hopeful and touched by the hand of God; fear goes, peace comes, and the course of our actions are redirected!
 
1 Corinthians 2:16 says that when God redeems us, we have the mind of Christ. We get our minds back! Guys, I'm asking you in the name of Jesus to reclaim your imagination. It isn't the playground for pornography. It isn't the playground for fear to do its work. It isn't the playground for revenge or getting back at people. Our imagination is a part of our creation that ought to be redeemed. The imagination is the heart of our humanity, and we need to get it back. If we will reclaim our God given imaginations and allow God to use our imaginations seeing and building the Kingdom of God in our homes, in our communities, in our schools, in our church; everything changes!  -Dr. Drew Shofner

Touched by God.

Mark 1:41

Real faith imagines a future that is touched by God's hand in a way that changes it, redeems it, blesses it, protects it and makes it more than it ever could be! The hand of God throughout the Old Testament is incredibly powerful and the scripture says God stretched His hand out and when He does that –everything changes!

That is the whole image of the hand of God: It is power, it is change, and it is the ability to make the impossible possible. 

I want to share with you a story in Mark 1:40-41, where the imagination changed everything. When Jesus came down from the mountainside, just finishing the Sermon on the Mount, large crowds followed Him and a man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, "Lord if you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean."
 
Leprosy was the most horrible disease in the ancient world, it is a terrible disfiguring disease that made you socially unacceptable. Not only did you suffer the shame of being disfigured, you were spiritually and ceremonially unclean and could not worship. You lived life in shame, you lived life alone.
 
Jesus saw this leper and instead of running from Him like everyone else, the leper comes and kneels before Jesus and says "Lord if you are willing, you can make heal me and make me clean." 
 
This leper imagined a better life. This leper imagined the love of God. This leper imagined a healed future and a life that was restored to worship. This leper dared to imagine the good heart of God! 
 
He came, and he knelt and he asked for what he needed. I don't know what happened in the heart of Jesus as He saw how sin and disease had broken His beloved creation, but Jesus looked at him. "Moved with compassion Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I am willing,’ he said ‘Be healed!’" (Mark 1:41)
 
Around us there are people who are unacceptable to us and we don't see them! As we talk about the need in our area that is ten minutes away in Baltimore City, we are one sitcom away from being able to go and invest in a way that changes worlds! So, you and I can sit down and watch one more thirty minute show or we can get in our cars and drive some place meaningful and be Jesus!   
 
Faith imagines a future, not in the despair of hell, not overcome by death, or in a downward spiral due to sickness. No, faith imagines a future that is touched by the hand of God! Faith imagines a future where the hand of God is fully at work, fully in play, fully in charge, and then faith runs straight into the arms of Jesus!  -Dr. Drew Shofner

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