Jeremiah 29:11 - God's Plans For Us Are Good; Giving Us Hope And A Future.
Jeremiah 29:11 - God's Plans For Us Are Good; Giving Us Hope And
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV) 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.
Hope (29:11-14). These are undoubtedly among the most comforting
verses in Scripture. The exiles in Babylon are to settle down and wait,
for God knows the plans He has for them, plans to give them a hope
and a future. In the O.T. "hope," either miqweh/tiqwah or yahal
invites us to look ahead in confident expectation. Each assumes a time
of waiting. But the latter especially reminds us that our future is
guaranteed by our personal relationship with God. Because He is our God, He
has plans for us. And those plans are good--both beautiful and
beneficial. Like the exiles, we may have to wait for God's plans for us to
bear fruit. But we can wait confidently, because our hope is in Him.
[Victor Bible Reader's Companion]
When Jeremiah uttered these words, he was reminding the
people of Judah about a key principle behind God's dealings with his
people in any era. It is a principle still very much at work today: God
wants to bless us, not harm us.
Whatever the circumstances of your life, whatever important
and life-changing decisions face you, remember that God is in
control of your future. He knows the plans he has for you, and they are
for your good. When you come to the crossroads and you have your
heart set on turning right, he may want you to turn left instead. You
must be open to God's leading in whatever direction he sees is best
for you. If you follow his leading, you will be in the center of his
will, fulfilling the purpose he has in mind. When you find yourself in
the midst of suffering and hardship, don't think his plans for you
have changed. God uses all things for the ultimate good of those who
love him. You might not understand his purpose in all things, but he
promises to be working for your good (Romans 8:28, July 24). You can be
confident that God will keep that promise. [The One Year Bible for New
Jeremiah urged the captives in Babylon to plan for a long
stay in Babylon. He encouraged them to continue with their lives and
to pray for the nation that had conquered them. God wanted them to
become productive citizens, praying for the nation's welfare. That way
their population could grow.
God did not forget his people, even though they were captives
in Babylon. If they would look for him wholeheartedly, they would
find him. The Lord's plans gave them a future and a hope - for good,
for prosperity, and, eventually, for return to the land of Judah.
These promises have given hope to millions of God's people in
various difficult circumstances. In times of trouble, it may appear as
though God has forgotten you. But if you seek him wholeheartedly, you
will find him. Neither a strange land, sorrow, persecution, nor
physical problems can break your fellowship with God. God may be
preparing you, as he did the people of Judah, for a new beginning with him
at the center. Pray diligently and move ahead, doing whatever you
can rather than giving up because of fear and uncertainty. [One Year
NLT SB re Jer. 29:4-14]
Jeremiah's friends, neighbors, and other fellow citizens were
a long way from home. Conquered by invaders, they lived in exile
in Babylon. In this set of prophecies, Jeremiah deals with lonely,
grief-stricken people. They want only to go back home to Jerusalem. Jeremiah
knows, however, that they will be in Babylon for a long time, so he
sends them a letter to help them get on with their lives.
We should not let our lives grind to a halt during troubled
times. In an unpleasant or distressing situation, we must accept what
we cannot change, adjust whatever we can, and get on with our
responsibilities. Some circumstances are unavoidable. Perhaps they aren't going to
change anytime soon, or there is no end in sight. God places us in
these circumstances for good reasons, either to discipline us or to
teach us a lesson.
When you enter times of trouble or sudden change, or when you
realize that your difficult circumstances aren't going to change, pray
often. Don't give in to fear or give up in discouragement; instead, do
what you can to fulfill your responsibilities. [The One Year Through
the Bible Devotional by Dave Veerman]
What an encouraging word this must have been to the
Israelites, who had just learned that they would be exiled to Babylon for
seventy years. When chaos and confusion were rampant, when their lives
had been turned upside down, this word of hope came to guide them
through their years of captivity. When our lives don't make sense and
our futures look hopeless, the profound truth in these verses gives
us a new perspective. God says, "I know the plans I have for you".
He's not hoping he can conjure something up, nor is he wringing his
hands and wondering what went wrong. His eternal plans for you and for
me were established before the foundation of the world, and nothing
can derail them.
What is the condition for God's plans being fulfilled in our
lives? This passage tells us to seek him earnestly--not halfheartedly,
not occasionally, but with all of our hearts. Through earnest prayer
we can expect to see his good plans for our future and our hope. In
the process, we can also expect to find God.
LORD, thank you that you have planned a future and a hope for
my life. Because of your power and your faithfulness, I know that
nothing in my life is outside your control. Help me to fully and
willingly submit to your will for my future. Draw me to look for you
earnestly and to pray wholeheartedly. May my hope be grounded in your
unchanging character. [Praying Through The Bible By Fuller]
At my father's house in the country, there is a little closet
near the chimney, where we keep the canes, or walking sticks, of
several generations of our family. During my visits to the old house, as
my father and I are going out for a walk, we often go to the cane
closet and pick out our sticks to suit the occasion. As we have done
this, I have frequently been reminded that the Word of God is a
During the war, when we were experiencing a time of
discouragement and impending danger, the verse "He will have no fear of bad
news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD" (Ps. 112:7) was a
staff to walk with on many dark days.
When our child died and we were left nearly brokenhearted, I
found another staff in the promise "Weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning" (Ps. 30:5).
When I was forced to be away from home for a year due to poor
health, not knowing if God would ever allow me to return to my home and
work again, I chose this staff, which has never failed: "For I know
the plans I have for you,....... plans to prosper you and not to harm
you, plans to give you hope and a future" Jer. 29:11).
In times of impending danger or doubt, when human judgment
seems to be of no value, I have found it easy to go forward with this
staff. "In quietness and trust is your strength" (Isa. 30:15). And in
emergencies, when there has been no time for deliberation or for action, this
staff has never failed me: "He that believeth shall not make haste"
(Isa. 28:16 KJV). Abbott Benjamin Vaughan, in The Outlook.
Martin Luther's wife said, "I would never have known the
meaning of various psalms, come to appreciate certain difficulties, or
known the inner workings of the soul; I would never have understood
the practice of the Christian life and work, if God had never
brought afflictions to my life." It is quite true that God's rod is like
a schoolteacher's pointer to a child, pointing out a letter so the
child will notice it. In this same way, God points out many valuable
lessons to us that we otherwise would never have learned. selected
God always sends His staff with His rod. [Streams In The
Desert By Cowman re Psa. 23:4]
When I first married, I never planned or expected to
experience divorce, but after twenty years of marriage, I became single
again. The words from Jeremiah 29:11 became my lifeline.
Then on July 19, 2002, I married my husband, Sonny, and our
combined four daughters took part in the ceremony. My beautiful
stepdaughter, Angie, read Jeremiah 29:11 that day. We couldn't have known that
two months later, at the age of nineteen, she would be killed in a
devastating car accident. Our hope for a happy future could have been
destroyed at that moment. Most marriages do not survive the death of a
child, and we'd barely had a chance to start our new life as a family.
But God's promise continues to hold us together. Hope has
helped our family deal with our grief at Angie's death, as well as with
a nineteen-month job loss for my husband and other crisis
situations over a short period of time. I can say with confidence, "God has
blessed us with abundant gifts and provided clear hope for even more in
Dawn Kinzer is an administrative assistant, aspiring author,
and worship-team vocalist and is a freelance writer for Heartbeat of
the Home, a radio ministry heard on twenty-five stations across the
U.S. [The One Year Bible Life Verse Devotional]
How could God have given me these two beautiful girls from
Korea to mother and then take me away from them? I thought as I was
wheeled into the operating room for my second open-heart surgery. My
sister had died as an infant because of a hole in her heart, and
doctors had missed the same life-threatening defect in me for twenty-two
years and then for fourteen more years between surgeries, when they
mistakenly believed that the hole in my heart had been fixed.
As my gurney hit the doors to the operating room, I squeezed
the hankie my mom had placed in my hand. Over and over, as IVs were
inserted into my hands and neck, I repeated the words of Jeremiah 29:1l.
The surgeon had told us there was a 50 percent chance of my
having a major stroke during my second surgery. But medical research
had recently discovered why many patients had major strokes within
months of an otherwise successful heart surgery: Tiny blood clots were
falling off the suture lines in the heart in the months it took for the
heart to heal. Because I was prescribed anticoagulant medication, I
didn't experience that major complication.
Doctors had made massive mistakes with my heart, but God had
monitored every heartbeat and had protected my life when I didn't even
know I needed protecting! All in his perfect timing.
Since that second surgery, we have also adopted two older
children from China who had been best friends in the orphanage. And their
mom? I'm still going strong. Were all these medical procedures and
mistakes actually part of God's plan? Some people may experience one
miracle in their lives, but for me it was one after another, with every
heartbeat! Doctors don't understand how a heart with such a huge hole in it
for all those years can still be beating. But I do.
Janice Asien LaRosa is a wife, mother, and writer and now
uses her voice and story to cry out for orphans in China who need
life-saving heart surgery. [The One Year Bible Life Verse Devotional]
Dread entered my soul - our financial situation required me
to return to work. After applying and being interviewed, I accepted
a position thirty minutes from our home. In my new workplace,
offensive language penetrated the air. I questioned God. Why did he choose
this anti-Christian atmosphere for me? That was the exact reason I
had feared returning to work. An outsider, I listened to the local
Christian radio station and read Christian books at work. I shared my
belief in God.
Three days after September 11, 2001, I started an accounting
job much closer to home with an increase in salary and benefits. But
more important and enriching than that, in my new work environment I
could pray with my colleagues for our country, for the families of
those who had lost loved ones, and for heavenly wisdom for our
leaders. It was then that I realized God's purpose in placing me in my
old job: I would never have been hired for my current position
without the experience I had gained there. God had a clear plan for my
welfare and future, and I should have known that all along. As I look
back, I see that God may even have used my words and actions at my
previous place of employment to bring a ray of hope to some of my
coworkers. I may never know. But God does. His plans never bring calamity;
they always bring hope.
Mara Kim, a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and
the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild, enjoys hiking,
reading, and spending time with her family. [The One Year Bible Life
I don't mind cleaning gutters. Yard work offers fresh air and
a little exercise, and from the top of an extension ladder you get
a different perspective on the world below. It's actually a
pleasant way to spend an afternoon - unless you fall and break your L1
vertebra. Which is exactly what I did on a sunny June day last year.
During the trauma, I told the paramedics, "Please save my
legs!" - in Russian. My son, Dmiitri, had to tell me to use English.
Cards, flowers, visiting friends, prayer, and God's grace helped me
through five days in the hospital, two weeks in a rehab facility, and
months of recuperation. The long-term prognosis was optimistic, but
uncertainty and intense discomfort remained. During my long recovery, I
confess to days on the edge of depression. During one of those times, a
former board chairman of Russian Ministries came to visit, prayed with
me, and left a card. For several days, I kept coming back to the
verse on that card. It was Jeremiah's words of encouragement to the
exiles from Judah held captive in Babylon.
At home several weeks later, I was back on my feet but
wearing a full body brace when another friend came to visit. This young
man handed me a travel coffee mug inscribed with the exact same
verse. That night, I took a marker and wrote Jeremiah 29:11 across the
front of my brace.
Looking back, God somehow used a broken back and a body brace
to help clarify future plans for Russian Ministries. We're newly
committed to training the next generation of Christian leaders in Russia
who very much need to know they have a future and a hope.
Sergey Rakhuba is vice president of ministries for Russian
Ministries and its Moscow affiliate, the Association for Spiritual Renewal.
[The One Year Bible Life Verse Devotional]
In July 1990, my big brother. Jim, bought me a student Bible
for my fourteenth birthday. In the front of the Bible he wrote the
words of Jeremiah 29:11-13 as a reminder to me that the Lord had a
plan for my life.
Now, at thirty, I am unwilling to part with that Bible - or
with the inscription in the front of it. Over the years it has often
reminded me whom I serve, what I stand for, and in whom I need to trust.
As an adult, every time I pull out my student Bible in a small
group or a Bible study, I get funny looks from those around me. Those
are the times when I'm privileged to tell others how my big brother,
who is a spiritual giant to me, gave me that Bible and how he has
always been around to remind me that God knows the plans he has for me,
plans to prosper me and not to harm me, plans to give me hope and a
Ann Hart (nee Goodmiller), wife, mother, and recruiter for
PeopleFind, is a living example, along with her brother and grandmother, of
how each generation of believers has an impact on the next. [The One
Year Bible Live Verse Devotional]
It had been too long since Horace Walpole had smiled. Too
long. Life for him had become as drab as the dreary weather in
England. Then, on a grim winter day in 1754, while he was reading a
Persian folktale, his smile returned. He wrote his longtime friend Sir
Horace Mann, an envoy of King George II, telling him of the "thrilling
approach to life" he had discovered from the folktale - how it had freed
him from his dark prison of gloom.
The ancient tale told of three princes from the island of
Ceylon who set out in pursuit of great treasures. They never found what
they were seeking, but en route they were repeatedly surprised by
delights they had never anticipated. While looking for one thing, they
The original name of Ceylon was Serendip, which explains the
title of the story: "The Three Princes of Serendip." From that,
Walpole coined the wonderful word serendipity. And from then on, his
most significant and valued experiences were those that happened to
him when he was least expecting them.
That "thrilling approach to life" is still a good one. People
go searching for things they think are important - wealth,
happiness, power. But sometimes as they search, they stumble into other
things much more vital to them - God, faith, family, friends, love,
peace, contentment, and joy.
At the end of life, they realize they didn't get what they
wanted, but they had, indeed, ended up with what they needed.
What are you pursuing in your life? When the time comes to
look back over your life, will it be what you thought you wanted, or
will it be what you really needed?
Father God, thank you for guiding us to the heavenly things
we truly need rather than to the earthly things we think we want.
You are merciful to us, Lord. Amen. [The One Year Devotional of Joy
and Laughter by Mary Hollingsworth re Mat. 6:19-20]
I was running errands with our three-year-old son, who was
happily chattering away in the backseat. Suddenly he announced, "I have
a great plan, Mama!"
Driving along, I humored him. "Okay, honey. What's your
"When we get home, you can give me some cookies," he said.
"And you'll say I can have them and not 'Wait till after dinner' -
but you be nice to me and let me eat them, okay?"
Trying not to laugh, I said, "Honey, I am being nice when I
say wait till after dinner, because if you eat cookies now, you'll
get a tummy ache and won't be hungry for your good food."
"But, Mom!" he wailed. "Don't say no! No is not my favorite!"
"I know you want some cookies," I assured him. "But trust me.
It's better to wait till after dinner."
More often than I would like to admit, God uses my kids'
antics to spotlight how I have been relating to him.
All too often in my prayers, I approach God with, "I have a
great plan!" Then I casually suggest to the sovereign God of the
universe how he could accomplish my plan. And say (or at least think),
"You be nice and don't say no, God. Because no is not my favorite."
But God, like a good parent, knows what is best for me.
Sometimes he says no to my plans, not because he is "not nice" but because
he has in mind something infinitely better for me. And his plans
are not just great - they're perfect. Jennifer Stair
God, help me to wait and seek what you have in store for me.
Instead of telling you my great plan, teach me to trust in your perfect
plan. Amen. [The One Year Devotional of Joy and Laughter by Mary
The natural inclination in Christian living is to act on the
impulse of a good idea. Not every good idea is from God. Sometimes good
ideas get in the way of God ideas.
Where does your inspiration come from? The vision of the
transfigured Christ inspired Peter: "O Lord, it is good for us to be here. If
you wish, I will put up three shelters - one for you, one for Moses
and one for Elijah" (Matthew 17:4). Our natural impulse is to do
something good for God and suggest it to Him.
The tendency of the well-meaning person is to prepare a plan
to do some good idea, and then pray, "Jesus, this is my plan. It is
a good plan. It hurts no one, and I want it to please You. Lord,
please bless my plan." It is plan, then pray.
So many of our ideas are impetuous. They are not what the
Lord wants to do. They do not resemble in any way the things which
concern Him. We have good ideas, but they are not God ideas. His agenda
and our agenda conflict. We want to build Him a shelter but that is
not what He wants.... When Peter, James, and John heard the voice of
the Lord . . . they abandoned their inventive-but-self-made idea.
The presence of the Lord magnified, and His holiness brought them to
their senses. Jesus gained their attention, not by subduing them with
a stem scolding, but by magnifying His presence until all the
genius of their human ideas was bleached out by His refulgent face.
When they abandoned their good idea and fell facedown before
the Lord, He could work with them again....
When you and I abandon our good idea and fall to our face
before me Lord, then He will come and touch us, too. When we pursue our
own plan He cannot use us. We must abandon our good idea and fall
facedown before Him. Then He will be able to use us again. Then He will
reveal what He is doing - a God idea.... It is pray, then plan. Through
prayer, Jesus instructs of His plan, a God idea.
Prayer removes the impulse of the good idea, the good idea
born of human ingenuity but not of God. Pray, then plan. It is the
habit of the surrendered saint. (From Walking with Christ in the
Details of Life by Patrick M. Morley) [Inspirational SB re Mat. 13:12]
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