Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Best Laid Plans...

The Run

...sometimes just aren't meant to be.

Today's run didn't exactly go as planned, but it did go pretty well. I decided yesterday to try and hook back up with my old Tuesday/Thursday running group. They're a great bunch of folks, and stronger runners than I am, so running with them pushes me to get better. But I drove to the location where we always started and nobody was there. So I came home and ran one of my 6 mile routes from the house.

The run went well, not nearly as fast as yesterday, but still good. I averaged 10:14 minute miles, with every split no more than 13 seconds either side of that. If I could manage to keep mile splits that close for an entire marathon, I'd be tickled to death. Still, I was a long way off the 9:11 pace I ran yesterday that made me think I was ready to rejoin my friends. So maybe I wasn't as ready as I thought I was...

Storms are passing through tonight and the hourly forecast is calling for clearing skies and 500 by 5 AM. Looks like perfect running weather for tomorrow! Only 2 more days of Janathon

The Message

A lot of times we make plans, usually with the very best of intentions, that just don't work out. If we tell the truth, that's likely to set us off, make us angry. But sometimes, maybe not every time, but sometimes I think it's divine intervention to keep us from doing something that we're not supposed to do.
"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." -- Ephesians 2:10

God has a plan for us. He created us for a purpose. He knows all. He sees all. He controls all. He expects us to do good works, not so we'll be appreciated or praised, but to bring Him glory. He prepared all these good deeds in advance, for us to do, so that He will be glorified. But He gave us free will, and that's often what gets us off track.

We can choose to live for God, or we can choose not to. Just like we must choose to receive the gift of salvation, that free will allows us to follow God's calling or take our own path. I know because I'm one who took the long way, my own way. I first felt the calling to teach when I was 20 or 21, but I didn't want to teach. So I ran the other way and did just about everything else I could think of before I finally decided to heed that call. I was 38 when I landed my first teaching job. For 17 years I wandered the earth doing my will and avoiding God's will.

At times while I did my own thing, all seemed well. But no sense of contentment ever filled me, even when things were going smoothly. It didn't matter how much money I made. It wasn't enough. It didn't matter how good I did my job. I could do better. I was never satisfied and I could never find the peace it would take to just be happy with what I had.
"in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." -- Proverbs 3:6

That's because I was living for me and not for Jesus. I couldn't see the road I was supposed to take because I was out doing everything for me. I was living for me...when I was supposed to be living for Jesus.

It wasn't until I chose to change, decided to live according to His will, that I could see what I was supposed to do and see a way to accomplish it. Once I chose to devote my life to serving God, that crooked path I'd been following, so full of curves I could only see what was just in front of me, that crooked path straightened out. And suddenly, I could see exactly what God expected of me and how to work toward it. The twisting, curvy path I'd been following was all of a sudden straight.
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will." -- Romans 12:2

Before I decided to turn my life over to Jesus, to let Him lead me, I was conforming to the world. I was chasing money and possessions, things that the world tells us are important. The decision to turn loose and give God the reins transformed me, renewed my mind.

Today I thought I was ready to run with my friends. I thought that's what I was supposed to do. I drove to join them, testing what I thought was God's will for me this day. But they weren't there. In fact, nobody was there. So I turned and went home. Only after I ran did I realize that was God's way of keeping me from jumping in with the group before I was ready.

God has a good, pleasing, and perfect plan for each of our lives. It's a plan that goes along with His good, pleasing, and perfect will. If we set our sights on the Cross, make it our motivation for everything we do, that will shall be revealed to us.

So plan according to what you think He wants of you. If you're living for Jesus, He will reveal to you whether or not you're doing what God wants you to do. So plan, but be flexible, just in case you realize it's your plan you're working with and not His.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.


  1. John, Very good sermon. I wish I could convince all the youth I see everyday to take this advice . I lived a somewhat similar life , doing my will instead of God's. I never really thought about my teaching as part of God's will, well I suppose I did, but not like you just eloquently wrote it. If we could spoon feed some of these kids our experiences and help them avoid some pitfalls, it would save them a lot of time, that is valuable to them now and eternally.

    1. Thank you Sandra. And I think you're right, but I think that's also a part of why we're called to teach, because we have an opportunity to share our experiences, even our mistakes with our kids. God bless you ma'am!


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