Discerning the Times of God's Plan for You - Jeremiah 29:11

In this New Year period, among the believers, an often quoted verse of blessing is Jeremiah 29:11 [ESV] 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. However, if we study the context, there is much to be learned.
The Context:
Please read the whole chapter of Jeremiah 29. The letter was written to the people in exiles in Babylon. The good plan was for them to stay there, have families and build good businesses, for a period of 70 years. They are to pray for the city, their captors' city, to prosper that they may prosper with them! Their fate and their enemies are tied together by God's Will. There were different voices, especially those in Jerusalem that were not deported were preaching lies. They were the disobedient people against God and were cursed.  God's plan of blessings for the exiles was not to return home but stay. This is against the common understand that blessing is about staying home in the city of God. Eventually, after 70 years, this would be true. But for now, in this time and season, they are to stay and make a good living. Here are some key lessons for us:

Key Lessons:

  1. Discerning of the Times of God is Most Important
    Yes, the Israelites will return. But God's will for them then is to stay and prosper in exile in Babylon. Those that were in Jerusalem were disobedient and they were cursed.
  2. The seemingly wrong circumstances, in exiles, was actually God's plan for our good. Away from home is not a curse but a blessing.
  3. It is not where you are but are you obeying God wherever you are.
  4. The error is to ignore the seasons, the right timing, of God's plan.
    Yes, the Lord will bless you richly, but we must discern and follow His plan in the right time, place and with the right people.
Applications for Us in this End-Times
  1. Be Busy Till I come. Luke 19:13 ESV Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten minas, and said to them, ‘Engage in business until I come.’  It is common to hear sermons warning about the end-times and wanting us to be committed. But we are to be extremely careful not to be misled. Different people are called to do different things. Unless otherwise, continue to do what are doing, but with a new perspective if you have already not, of God's will and urgency.
  2. Relook at another frequently quoted verses Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV) 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make straight your paths.
    Such a verse can easily cause misunderstanding. We tend to make our plan first and try to get God to endorse it. The order should be seeking God first and then let Him guide us to make the plan. So NLT gets it better: 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. 6 Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
  3. If you find yourself now away from home. Do not be discouraged. God's plan is about living at the right place, time and people. 
Lim Liat (c) 2 Feb 2017


New Year Blessings From the Bible - One More Step

In the previous post, The New Year Wishes from the Bible - 9 Steps to a Fulfilled Life, the verses were taken from someone post. By googling for more posts, I can find more verses. So I add them to the existing mind-map. Many verses are repeats. But I found some verses can be grouped together under a new heading called "Let Your Light Shine". Living a meaningful Christian life is about testifying for God. So this added step brings us to "10 Steps to a Fulfilled Life".

The 10 Steps:

The Corresponding Bible Verses:

The full text:
If you find reading the mind-map difficult due to its size. Here is the text.

  • New Year's Bible Verses - Live Life to the Full
    • - Read what Scripture tells us about God's promises and face the new year with hope!读圣经让我们认识神给我们的应许,使我们能充满希望的面对新的一年!
    • Our Lord wants us to seek out His will for our lives and to live life FULLY alive.我们的主希望我们去寻求他为我们的旨意,让我们能完全活着。
    • Stop Satan's goal in making you feel defeated and overcome, you can start this New Year renewed!战胜撒但要我们失败的目标,让我们更新了来过新年!
  • 1 God Did it for You - God Saved You
    • Psalm 98:1 Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.诗98:1 你们要向耶和华唱新歌,因为他行了奇妙的事;他的右手和他的圣臂,为他施行拯救。
    • Acts 3:19 “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”使徒行传 3:19   所以你们应当悔改归正,使你们的罪得着涂抹。 20   这样,那安乐的日子,必从主面前来到,并且他必把为你们预先选定的基督(耶稣)差来。
  • 2 Your New Self - Old is Gone - You're a New Creation
    • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!哥林多后5:17如果有人在基督里,他就是新造的人,旧事已经过去,你看,都变成新的了!
    • 1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,彼得前书 1:3   我们主耶稣基督的父 神是应当称颂的。他照着自己的大怜悯,借着耶稣基督从死人中复活,重生了我们,使我们有永活的盼望,
    • Ezekiel 11:19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.以西结 11: 19   “我要把一颗心赐给他们,把新的灵放在他们里面;我要从他们肉体中除掉石心,赐给他们肉心,
  • 3 Put on Your New Self - Your New Behavior
    • Colossians 3:9-10 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.歌罗西 3:9   不要彼此说谎,因为你们已经脱去了旧人和旧人的行为,
        10   穿上了新人。这新人照着他的创造者的形象渐渐更新,能够充分认识主。
    • Ephesians 4:22-24 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.以弗所 4:22   就要除去你们那照着从前生活方式而活的旧人。这旧人是随着迷惑人的私欲渐渐败坏的。    23   你们要把心灵更换一新,    24   并且穿上新人。这新人是照着 神的形象,在公义和真实的圣洁里创造的。
    • Phil. 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.”腓立比书 3: 13   弟兄们,我不以为自己已经得着了,我只有一件事,就是忘记背后,努力面前, 14   向着目标竭力追求,为要得着 神在基督耶稣里召我往上去得的奖赏。
  • 4 God will Bless You - Be assured
    • Deuteronomy 7:13 13 He will love you and bless you and increase your numbers. He will bless the fruit of your womb, the crops of your land—your grain, new wine and olive oil—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.申命记 7:13   他必爱你,赐福与你,使你人数增多,也必在他向你的列祖起誓应许给你的地上,赐福与你身所生的,你地所产的,使你的五谷、酒、油,以及牛犊和羊羔增产。
    • Isaiah 54:1-5 “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband,” says the LORD. 2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. 3 For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. 4 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood. 5 For your Maker is your husband— the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.以赛亚54:1   不能生育、没有生养过孩子的啊!你要欢呼。没有生产过的啊!你要发声欢呼,高声呼喊。因为弃妇比有夫之妇有更多儿子。这是耶和华说的。  2   要扩张你帐幕的地方,伸展你居所的幔子,不要限制;要拉长你的绳索,坚固你的橛子。   3   因为你要向南向北扩展,你的后裔必占有列国之地,又使荒废了的城镇有人居住。   4   不要惧怕,因为你必不致蒙羞;也不要抱愧,因为你必不致受辱,你必忘记你幼年时的羞愧,也不再记念你寡居时的耻辱。5   因为造你的,就是你的丈夫;万军之耶和华是他的名;救赎你的,就是以色列的圣者;他被称为全地的 神。
  • 5 God's Plan for You - A Good Future
    • Jeremiah 29:11 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.耶利米29:11   因我自己知道我为你们所定的计划,是使你们得平安,而不是遭受灾祸的计划;要赐给你们美好的前程和盼望。’这是耶和华的宣告。
    • Proverbs 23:18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.箴言23:18   因为万事必有结局,你的盼望也不会断绝。
    • Ps. 20:4 “May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.”诗篇 20:4   愿他照着你的心愿赏赐你,实现你的一切计划。
    • Ps. 65:11 "You crown the year with your goodness, and your paths drip with abundance."诗篇 65:11   你以恩典为年岁的冠冕,你的路径都滴下脂油,
  • 6 God is Doing a New Thing - The Impossible is made Possible
    神作一件新事 - 不可能变可能
    • Let Go of the Past放下过去
      • Isaiah 43:18-19 Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?以赛亚书 43:18   “你们不要怀念先前的事,也不要思念古时的事. 19   “看哪!我要作一件新的事;现在它要发生了,难道你们还不知道吗?我要在旷野开一条道路,在荒地开挖江河。
    • Isaiah 43:19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.以赛亚43:19   “看哪!我要作一件新的事;现在它要发生了,难道你们还不知道吗?我要在旷野开一条道路,在荒地开挖江河。
    • Revelation 21:5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”启示录21:5   坐在宝座上的那一位说:“看哪,我把一切都更新了!”又说:“你要写下来,因为这些话是可信的、真实的。”
  • 7 God's Love for you is renewed everyday - He is with you, always.
    • Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.耶利米哀歌 3:22   耶和华的慈爱永不断绝,他的怜悯永不止息。23   每天早晨都是新的;你的信实多么广大!
  • 8 Let your Light Shine 让你的光照亮他人
    • -Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."马太福音 5:14   你们是世上的光。建在山上的城是无法隐藏的;15   人点了灯,不会放在量器底下,而是放在灯台上,就照亮一家人。
    • -1 Peter 1:13 "Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."彼得前书 1:13   所以要准备好你们的心,警醒谨慎,专心盼望耶稣基督显现的时候所要带给你们的恩典。
    • -Galations 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law."加拉太书 5:22   但圣灵的果子是仁爱、喜乐、平安、忍耐、恩慈、良善、信实、 23   温柔、节制;这样的事,是没有律法禁止的。
    • God’s Timing等待神的时间
      • Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him (Psalm 37:7)诗篇37:7   你要在耶和华面前静默无声,耐心地等候他;不要因那凡事顺利的,和那恶谋得逞的,心怀不平。
  • 9 When the Going is Hard - Hope in the Lord - Be Strong
    • Romans 8:18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.罗马书8:18   我看现在的苦难,与将要向我们显出的荣耀,是无法相比的。
    • Psalm 31:23-24 Love the LORD, all his faithful people! The LORD preserves those who are true to him, but the proud he pays back in full. 24 Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the LORD.诗篇31:23   耶和华的众圣民哪!你们都要爱耶和华;耶和华保护诚实的人,却严厉地报应行事骄傲的人。24   所有仰望耶和华的人,你们都要刚强,坚固你们的心。
    • Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.罗马书5:5   盼望是不会令人蒙羞的,因为 神借着所赐给我们的圣灵,把他的爱浇灌在我们的心里。
    • Micah 7:7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.弥迦书 7:7   至于我,我却要仰望耶和华,我要等候那拯救我的 神;我的 神必应允我。
    • -Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”申命记 31:6   你们要坚强勇敢;不要害怕,也不要因他们畏惧,因为耶和华你的 神与你同去;他决不撇下你,也不离弃你。”
    • -Matthew 6:25 Worry Not ...Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?"马太福音6:25   所以我告诉你们,不要为生命忧虑吃什么喝什么,也不要为身体忧虑穿什么。难道生命不比食物重要吗?身体不比衣服重要吗? ...33   你们要先求他的国和他的义,这一切都必加给你们。
    • -2 Timothy 1:7 Fear Not … for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.提摩太后书 1:7   因为 神所赐给我们的,不是胆怯的灵,而是有能力、仁爱、自律的灵。
    • Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.箴言 3:5你要一心仰赖耶和华,不可倚靠自己的聪明;  6   在你一切所行的路上,都要承认他,他必使你的路径平坦正直。
  • 10 Even When Old - You can outdo your youth
    • Isaiah 40:30-31 Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 31 but those who hope in the LORDwill renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.以赛亚40:30   就是年轻人也会疲乏困倦,强壮的人也会全然跌倒。 31   但那些仰望耶和华的人,必重新得力;他们必像鹰一样展翅上腾;他们奔跑,也不困倦,他们行走,也不疲乏。
Lim Liat (c) 1 Feb 2017