REFLECTIONS FOR LIFE
Living During a Pandemic
Pastor Lou Gallo
August 23 2020
Our culture is over-stuffed with information – but many times it is starved for wisdom.
Proverbs is wisdom literature and is packed with practical advice for living.
Proverbs provides us with wisdom for everyday life.
However, Proverbs are NOT promises – they are guidelines for living.
For example; Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”
This is not a promise – but in general that’s the way life works. There are parents who have done all that they can do to train their children and still, sadly, they do not follow God and may never follow God.
Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”
This verse sets up a contrast between our plans and God’s plans.
The contrast is between what we plan and what actually happens. God is control of the latter.
There are three things I want us to consider as our plans for 2020 and now for August have changed.
The heart of a man plans his way – What are your desires, your mission, your purpose, etc. God has created us as intelligent beings.
We have the ability to imagine and to dream.
As Christians we can make plans to advance God’s kingdom in our hearts, homes, and the lives of others.
Planning our lives is not wrong, in fact, it’s wise. This verse doesn’t discourage planning; it in fact encourages it. This verse assumes that we will make plans.
Three building blocks to planning.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”
Delight: To find great pleasure in something.To have fulfillment in a person or thing. It is where we find our joy and comfort.
The first step of planning is to delight yourself in God.
Delight yourself in God’s ways, His will, Himself!
As you delight yourself in God – as He is the object and essence of your delight your desires will be in line with His ways and will.
Be diligent to plan – make goals. Attainable, Concrete, and with Time frame. Avoid putting off planning because of the uncertainty.
Psalm 37:5 says, “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”
Once you make a plan – commit to it. Devote it to the Lord. Trust the Lord with your plan.
Don’t put all your hopes in your plans.
Devote your plans to the Lord knowing this: THE LORD ESTABLISHES OUR STEPS!
“The heart of a man plans his way,
God’s way is a better way.
However, it’s easy to loose sight of that when there’s a turn of events in our lives – like a global pandemic!
We are exhorted in Galatians 5:25, “If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.” The key to keeping in step with the Spirit is found in the verse immediately before verse 25.
Galatians 5:24 says, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
As believers we have put our old passions to death.
We have new passions.
As believers we have put our old desires to death.
We have new desires.
Our passion is for Christ’s glory to be seen in us and through us!
Our desires are to do the will of God in all of our thoughts, words, and deeds!
If we keep in mind that God’s will and not our will is most important than we will embrace the twists and turns of life.
If our highest goal is HIS GLORY then we will want Him to establish our steps more than accomplishing OUR plans.
Three things to remember as the Lord establishes our steps.
Don’t let change surprise you.Life is full of surprises – don’t let them surprise you. Even regarding suffering. 1 Peter 4:12-13 gives us great advice, “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
Don’t hold on to your plans too tightly.
Jeremiah 10:23 says, “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.”
Be alert to the dangers of the three D’s when life doesn’t go the way you think or want it to go.
Guard yourself against:
Discouragement–“A loss of confidence or enthusiasm.”
Disappointment–“Sadness or displeasure caused by the non fulfillment of one's hopes or expectations.”
Psalm 16:8 says, “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.
Depression- Disappointment can lead to a low grade depression (I’m not talking about the serious kind of depression)
When our plans don’t work out and we see God has a different path for us it will cause us to be humble. He is the way maker – not us.
Remind yourself that God is sovereign. He has a plan for you. Sometime He reveals it by what doesn’t happen!
Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
God’s not limited by a pandemic! There’s no social distancing with God! He is near. The Bible says in Philippians 4:5b says, “The Lord is at hand.”
We can strategize about the future. We can make wise, godly plans but only God determines the future.
Humility acknowledges that we are dependent on God and that every plan of ours is to be laid at His all wise, powerful, loving, and good feet.
These turns of events are God’s mercy to us – they reveal our true hearts. When are plans come to nothing or don’t turn out the way we wanted they expose our true love.
Are you avoiding planning because of our current situation?
When our plans don’t work out, what do we think?
When things don’t go the way we want, how do we respond?
Do you see God working, even if your plans are not matching His plans?
Reflect on the words of the response song, “Way Maker.”
Answering these questions will help us understand our own hearts.
We pray that this exercise will strengthen your relationship with the Lord as you draw near with confidence.