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Has anyone ever quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to you? It's the Christian catch-all to say, "No matter what, God's got everything under control." I agree and disagree with this understanding and I'll tell you why. Yes, God is sovereign over all the activities of mankind from beginning to end. He knows everything that can and will happen. He carefully factored in every possible way humans would affect His plans (including our sin!). However, God will not make our choices for us. He does not pray our prayers. He's given everyone a measure of faith and it's our responsibility to place that faith in Him.
Imagine you've been told about an inheritance. Let's say someone deposited a million dollars into a bank account with your name on it. You keep hearing over and over again that you're wealthy. That's good news, right? But what if no one ever tells you which bank or the account number where the funds are located? Would you be okay with that? Or would you make every effort to find out those details? So, it is with knowing God has plans for us. We are meant to discover those things and cease living beneath our potential.
God certainly does have a plan for your life! But there's more: God wants us to ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK concerning these plans. He intends that we partner with Him to see these things come to pass. No one is here by accident. The Lord has a purpose in mind for every individual. Seeking God's will can be as simple as praying and asking: Am I living in the right place? Am I dating the right person? Am I a leader or an innovator? A teacher? A professional? A pastor? What can I do to bring You the most glory? Have faith that God has set you apart to do something for His Kingdom and then pursue His will above everything else.
For some, there's nothing more meaningful than to honor matriarchs and patriarchs by keeping traditions and inheriting their ways of life. In Scripture, the Lord commands His people to observe certain practices, remember significant events, and give children specific names (i.e. Passover, Joshua's memorial stones, Mary's and Joseph's dreams). The difference is while we pay tribute to the past, God's purpose is that generations keep covenant with Him.
Honoring traditions is not bad in and of itself. It's alright to name a child after someone in the family tree. It brings joy to our lives when we celebrate holidays, cook grandma's old recipes, and travel to memorable places. Traditions are unique identity markers etched in our memories and they provide a sense of security as we transition through life.
Traditions are problematic when sentimentalism overrides sensible decisions. It is not God's will that we pass down unhealthy disciplines, addictions, dysfunction, or cycles of trauma. In adulthood, going home for the holidays or taking advice from an authority figure should not cause stress or interfere with our ability to think for ourselves. When external family pressures become a source of internal heaviness and tension, it's time to break traditions. Give yourself permission to live outside the parameters of your ancestors. You are free to set your own boundaries and make your own choices without explanation or condemnation.
There's no nice way to say this: our feelings are liars, our emotions are messy, and if we're not careful, our own thoughts turn against us. Those who struggle in relationships, failing to develop trust in people, or they're constantly on the defensive, likely have unresolved identity/esteem issues. Many of us carry emotional wounds into adulthood. Since most people won't effectively deal with underlying problems, they perpetuate unhealthy cycles - starting and stopping projects, getting and quitting jobs, pulling and pushing others away - all the while claiming, "This is just who I am."
We also live in a merciless society that daily assaults us with messages telling us there's something wrong with who we are. We're too fat, too thin, too short, too tall, too uneducated, too privileged, on and on it goes. We can't get caught up caring too much about what others think. At the same time, how we think and feel about ourselves should become irrelevant over time. What I mean is, it's God's will that we see ourselves from His (eternal) perspective. He knows who we were, who we are, and who we're meant to become.
Thinking too highly or too lowly of ourselves are both rooted in pride. Once we understand that our lives are not about our likes/dislikes, preferences, and being first in line, then we can walk in a posture of humility (not humiliation!) and help others. A new identity is available for anyone who will put their faith in Jesus Christ. You are free to continue trying all the other methods, practices, and beliefs you think will bring desired results. When you realize these things only offer temporal relief without permanent resolution, God will still be waiting with open arms.
Americans are over-sexed and saturated in perversion. Gender ideologies, homosexuality, and queer theories are steadily becoming a major part of our politics, education, and entertainment. It can be difficult to escape the filth, but it's not impossible. One of the first things we must do is stop listening to lies and false narratives. Truth is not relative and it does not exist on a sliding scale. Truth is objective and eternal.
Sexual purity has never been popular at any point in world history, but it is in accordance with God's word and it's the safest way to live. Abstinence is 100% effective against STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and morning-after humiliation. Sexual sins are particularly dangerous and lethal to one's own body and soul. Sex outside monogamous, heterosexual marriage destroys our identity and sets us up for potentially life altering consequences. As individuals, we need to make wise, healthy choices if we want to restore morality in society.
All the pleasure that comes from sex was God's idea. Can you believe He designed our sex organs with muscles, blood vessels, and sensitive pressure points for the pure purpose of experiencing orgasms? Human sexuality is powerful, holy, and good when done God's way. If you were sexually abused, assaulted, or you struggle with sexual addiction, I pray you have the strength and courage to confront the situation. Seek the Lord for deliverance, go through professional counseling if needed, and surround yourself with trustworthy accountability partners who can help you overcome.
It's totally possible to walk in freedom and purity today!
Leaving a legacy for future generations is the obligation of all people. A generation can be different ages and stages of human existence, but it's also everyone alive on earth at the present time. It is irresponsible to live like there's no tomorrow, allowing the corruption of an ever-changing culture to manipulate our attitudes and mindset toward our destiny. As an individual or as a family, as neighbors and friends, we should always aim to practice acceptance, affirmation, accountability, and authority in our sphere of influence.
Remember to stop and pray for the children growing up in this hostile, perverted world. Little people are increasingly encountering the darkness permeating societies. To avoid a total loss of innocence, we must continue to advocate for the life of the unborn, for the protection of young ones, and those who've gone missing without a trace. The identity of a nation is marked by how it treats children and the defenseless.
Since humanity is connected, every individual's choices directly influences another. How parents live affects their children. How pastors live affects their congregation. How the government conducts its duties affects the entire nation. What we do in private eventually comes to light. What we see in the world today is a direct reflection of the good and evil in every human heart. God is the only One who knows how to successfully navigate the current pitfalls and landmines of the current generation. In Him, our lives are never wasted.
GOD LOVES YOU!!
He loves the good, the bad, the pretty, the ugly, the sane, the crazy, the nice, the mean, the poor, the rich, the handicap, the able, the sick, the healthy, the cool, the geek, the strong, the weak, the faithful, the unbeliever. There's no limit to God's love.
To say God loves everybody is a true statement, but it doesn't tell the whole story. We should not misunderstand these words to mean He loves sin or that He overlooks the bondage and issues in our lives. The cross reveals to us how God feels about evil and corruption. We come to the cross just as we are, but the empty tomb is why we live! Jesus Christ died and rose again for us to experience the freedom of living by the power of His Spirit in the eternal love of the Father.
If you are living with a fractured identity or wrestling with inner turmoil, there is wholeness and restoration available today. Stop blaming yourself for the past. Don't waste another moment of your life trying to fix every mistake. Stop picking old scabs and let them heal. If you have deeper issues, reach out to someone you trust. Find an advocate who won't judge or criticize, but one who is willing to do everything they can to help you find a better path forward.
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