My Answer to “Does God Have a Plan for My Life”?

March 31, 2010

Thanks for the conversation we have had on this. I know some of you have been threatened by even asking that question and others have enjoyed re-looking at your believe and substantiating the reasons as to why you believe what you believe in this area.

These days I find myself looking at both Hebrew and Greek texts to see what was the root words used as a number of our translations dont give the correct context when using a different word.

Psalm 37 :23-24 is an important text in this topic. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD and he delights in his ways. Though he fall, he shall not be totally cast down for the LORD upholds him with his hand”

 I come from the Calvanist camp and believe in the Doctrine of Providence, i.e. that God foreknows. 

“When we attribute foreknowledge to God, we mean that all things have ever been, and perpetually remain, before His eyes, so that to His knowledge nothing is future or past, but all things are present: and present in such a manner that He does not merely conceive of them from ideas formed in His mind, as things remembered by us appear present to our minds, but really beholds and sees them as if actually placed before Him. And this foreknowledge extends to the whole world and to all the creatures. Predestination we call the eternal decree of God, by which He hath determined in Himself what He would have to become of every individual of mankind. For they are not all created with a similar destiny; but eternal life is foreordained for some, and eternal damnation for others.”

God goes before his creation to prepare the way for which it is to go. Its not that we should go alone, He has been there before. The steps of the man are established by the LORD. He is also with us.  I don’t believe my life is predetermined, I don’t think God has set something before me tomorrow that he knows I am going to do or not do. I don’t think my life is set before me and I have to play the puppet role out. God is not a creature of time. He is not constraint by time. God sees my life and knows what I am going to do from the beginning to the end. Therefore he has a foreknowledge of what I am going to do, although I have not lived that life yet. He is the alpha and omega. When I was in my mother’s womb He knew all my days.  He is not going to determine my life and put barriers and boards where I cannot do anything but he knows my life before I was born. I believe I have free will but I believe God knows ahead of time my life. As I seek Him for the steps I should take, His Holy Spirit whispers in my conscious. Therefore I can see God with me day by day, opening the doors that I should go through, closing the doors I should not. Now I have a free will, I have choices to make. I believe He is with me in the present. I sure can see Him as I look back and thank him for his faithfulness and by faith I know He will lead me in the future. I notice it says He directs the steps of the godly. The godly are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, they are walking and talking with God.

God has thoughts about my life, they are good thoughts, thoughts for good not for evil. Does God allow suffering in my life. YES. God knew from the begining of my life that my son would die. Whilst I do not believe he originates suffering I do believe he controls suffering. He told Satan very clearly he could do xyz in Job’s life but not ABC. Why does God allow suffering? Oh boy, I have read 6 books already and I’m slowly getting my head around this one, but on a very personal level, I have to say he has used it in my life to reveal more of who he is to me, he has brought me to a place of total recognition of my inability but in his and  through his grace and mercy that allows my ability. I realise we have a distorted view of death as bad. Its not for the Christian who dies! It certainly sad but not bad for the Christians left behind because we have “hope”.

Jump Start

March 30, 2010

Im asking the LORD these days to re-ignite my fire. I need a jump-start. This putting one foot in front of the other is very tedious! We are looking forward to mid August when Akila will have finished University and we can see some next steps. We both know God has perfect timing and that process is very important. My frustration as a pragmatic is lack of patience. Its wonderful the day light is getting longer but it just gives more time for me to see the rain!!!! I know, move from Carlisle!

Books I am reading

March 29, 2010

I have become very interested in what people have to say about spiritual things when they have experienced what they are writting about. Interpretation of a theory can be very clinical and text book outside of experiece.

Jerry Sittser – A grace disguised and When God Doesnt answer your pray. Jerry lost his 4 year old daughter, wife and mother in the same car crash, by a drunk driver who did not go to prison. I read someone elses copy of A Grace Disguised very quickly and wanted to re-read.

Larry Crab – Shattered Dreams. I reading this for the second time. Brilliant.

Hannah Whithal Smith – “The Christians Secret of a Happy Life”. 1800 Quaker Recommended by a theologian to me

Harold Kushner- When Bad things happen to good people – A jewish Rabbi who lost his son.

Nicholas P. Wolterstorff – Lament for a Son – not a book about grief. This Yale professor used the writing of the book to grieve the loss of his son. What drew me to this man is the following quote  “I do not know the answer. In faith I live the question”

 Its good to read around the topic by people who are not placed in the same theological camp and from very different walks and times.

I want to bang heads together.

March 26, 2010

I am so sad of hearing either directly or indirectly from people who have decided no longer to go to Church. There are a multiple reasons for this and I can both empathise and sympathise. There is a clear principle to me, whilst God in principle can bless us and we can grow by ourselves in practice this is not the way He works. His principle and practice is via ‘the body’. That ‘body’ is sinful, selfish and leaking all over the place, but thats ‘the bride He has chosen. Its also awesome and there are some great people who are loving, godly and giving freely of their time. We as a family have been so blessed by ‘the body’ the last 7 months.

I have seen example after example of people who stop fellowship with other believers and then slowly ‘drift’. folks once we drift away we open ourselves up to all sorts of temptations and circumstances. I know its complex and due to sinful behaviour we can be terribly hurt by people we think should not hurt us. I have had to forgive wrongs done to me, very painful wrongs.

I know many churches are caught up on the ‘doing’ and its easy to become unbalanced in that area. You can sit there and feel so guilty that you are not involved to the same degree as others, or that you are not sharing your faith the same as others, or that you are told you are just a consumer. So why would you want to go and have that guilt every Sunday!

I wish I had answers and I dont. All I know is that God Blesses us when we are in fellowship with the Body and I believe  that means connecting into a local church. I just pain watching friends ‘drift’ and then end up where they shouldnt and want to bang some heads!

I would like to talk to you if you are in this circumstance or thinking about it. At the very least I can pray with you.

Why is difference such a threat?

March 24, 2010

Over the past 24 hours I have had a new friend staying with me. Peter has different coloured skin to me plus he has no hair! Unlike me his body is very lean and toned, I know, we sat in the spa! Peter’s family are originally from Jamaica.

We met briefly when Logos Hope was in London and some how ‘connected’. He has some very musically talented young people in his church and we planned to take several of them to Logos Hope in St Lucia last year. Then our families world changed, he continued with the plan but I dropped out.

We sat with Akila and Laura last night chatting around the supper table for 4 hours about many things. Peter comes from a life of gangs, crime, prison finds Jesus, becomes a missionary for several years, returns to the UK and plants a church and is now pastor of a thriving church. What a lovely chap and the girls enjoyed sharing and gleaning from his wisdom and input.

What I found sad during our time together is little comments from Peter that highlighted how we with a different colour skin, even those that share the same Christian belief, have treated others differently.

Why do we put people in boxes? Why do we elevate some people to stand on higher boxes? Why is one of the first questions we ask a stranger at a party “what do you do?”. Dependent on the answer, we formulate a sub-conscious caste system.

I felt very privileged to have Peter come all the way from London to stay with us, who are we? He has such a grasp of scripture, hunger for real and a passion for the Kingdom. I can learn much from him.

How do we break down the barriers that hinder us from partnering together with others for the common vision we share? The desire is there, but some how deep-rooted beliefs, perspectives and fears will manifest themselves in our behaviour

Does God have a plan for your life?

March 21, 2010

Just to provoke us all to think. We like to think God has a plan for our life. I am familiar with plans at work and usually they have lots of action points with people assigned to various tasks. Does God have a plan for us, a step by step sequential plan? He certainly has a purpose. I think the high volume sales of Rick Warens book Purpose Driven Life shows how each of us wants to connect with that purpose. He certainly is present and knows about our lives and nothing comes to us that has not paced through His hand but does He have a plan?

I sat there paralyzed

March 20, 2010

Early yesterday morning was already becoming hard for me to emotionally handle. Two new people were being shown around the office, who were transferring from another part of the organisation. I had met one of them a couple of years ago. As I was sitting there I could feel the emotion draining from me at the thought of having to say hello and make small talk. It had absolutely nothing to do with the people concerned. I am not in control, its not me going and introducing myself to them.  The emotional tank has various compartments I am discovering. There are compartments for immediate family, close family, special friends, friends, acquaintances and then strangers. All my emotion at this stage is being given to the first 3 compartments. My salvation was to escape for a while over to Asda supermarket. I dont want to appear rude but if I dont exit it feels like I would go into a panic attack. How bizarre is that for a character like me!

Then in the evening, working through emails, I read one that paralyzed me in the chair. I am speaking in a couple of months in the UK and the organizers are putting the publicity together. They wanted me to write a few lines about myself. This is the first time I have had to write publically to introduce myself. Only once since Mike moved on have I been confronted with the question, “do you have other children” whilst shopping with the girls. That was 3 weeks after and caught me off guard. This is 7 1/2 months later, so why would it paralyze me?  Why can I not just write, “Married with 2 daughters”?

  • Sub-consciouly I dont want to accept this new reality
  • I dont want to betray Mike
  • I do have 3 children, two are with me and 1 has gone on ahead
  • Its painful to write about my current family because it brings up all the hurt of loosing Mike
  • Im angry, I want to be able to write I have 3 kids
  • I miss him so terribly
  • The 3 lines I write cannot express who I am, its surface window dressing and I have no appetite for shopping!

Bitter Sweet Memories in your face

March 19, 2010

One of our many Bike rides


On Sunday I finally had the courage to bring Mike’s bike out of the shed, service it and go for a ride along the river. There are some hurdles I know I want to jump, but have delayed in doing that to avoid the pain of a bitter sweet emotion. Memories that are so happy clouded by the sadness that I can no longer experience them with Mike. Over the years our mountain bike riding was an exciting pastime. The National Trust created bike routes of competition standard within our area called “The 7 Staines”. Each of these have several routes from technically easy to you have to be insane! Mike and I enjoyed the ‘red’ route, one before insane. 

I had thought about selling his bike but decided against it as I knew in my heart I would like it for myself and be close to him when I went out. My friend John is an avid rider and I know will join me one day to yet again retrace old ground. 

This photo is a rare one that captured Mike after falling off. One of our favorite memories was of me going down a hill and my front wheel just stopped dead, I flew over the handle bars and face down into a muddy pool of water. My belly filthy with mud. Mike had a front row seat being close behind me!

Blessed are the meek

March 18, 2010

I am slowly working my way through the Sermon on the Mount. Looking at the verse Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. One commentator said this. The origin of gentle means domesticated strength like a trained horse. God wants to direct our strength not break it.

 We look so much at weakness and discard a potential strength, or we look at the person and cannot see the potential with some development. One chapter I am writing in Mike’s book is based on a quote from Drucker, “its not lack of ability but a lack of experience”. Kathy and I have recently enjoyed working our way through the book Strength Finder and its online 177 questions to discover our top 5 strengths.

Can you imagine what a team of meek people could do? A team of trained horses? Thats a team of meek not weak!

Akila’s Blogg

March 17, 2010

Please read Akila’s blogg from yesterday Its honest, raw and encouraging!

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