Tag Archive: plans

well if you know me a little bit, you know i am not a big fan of resolutions [nice-sounding generally-empty promises you make to yourself and keep for a week at the beginning of each year] but i did write a piece on new year’s evolutions once with the idea of putting things into play that will actually change you or your circumstances or community…

and being mid-way through the year is a great time to look back and do a bit of a stock take of the year and see how you are doing, rather than waiting for January 1 to try and get things changed up and different for the future. so how about it? grab a paper and pen and head down to a coffee shop for an hour or find a quiet spot in your house or drive somewhere naturey and give some time to looking back and seeing how you have done this year so far – in relationships, in achievements, in looking after the least of these and whatever else comes to mind.

here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

FORGIVE PEOPLE WHO HAVE HURT YOU – is there someone this year that did something to hurt you? a friendship that was broken? something that felt like a vicious backstab? someone you heard who was saying things about you behind your back? or maybe it was even longer ago than that… something you have been holding on to for a long time and just really need to let go of. my friend Lindsay has written a great blog post on the importance of forgiveness which is worth checking out. Even something that can seem as small as holding on to an offence that has been committed against you can be completely destructive to you and your relationships.

REACH OUT TO AT LEAST ONE PERSON CONSIDERED THE LEAST OF THESE – you definitely do not need to be a Christ follower to be doing this, but it is expected of people who call themselves Christ followers that you will be known by the love you have for each other and also that you will reach out to the least of these [not all of them, but at least start with one] – so is there someone in your life who is poor or broken or marginalised or lonely who you could reach out to in a way that will allow them to experience love and hope and improve their life? not just a handout or a conscience-easer, but a person or family or group of people that you are investing in to journey along with them. someone you could give a name to right now? and if not, now would be a good time to start looking around and asking who that person might be for you – might be a monetary thing but a more likely to be valuable thing would be one that involves time and energy

DO THE SIGNIFICANT PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE KNOW YOU LOVE THEM? i just heard of a friend of mine who recently left his job and this amazing celebration they threw for him in which people shared testimonies of what he meant to them and so on and while it sounded absolutely incredible, it made me think of a funeral – too often we wait til someone is gone or the situation changes or there is an official celebration like a birthday or wedding to let them know how important they are to us. But why wait for that? Maybe write down your ten favourite people in life right now and over the next month or so, find a creative way to let them know that you think they are special and you appreciate them. How about making sure that there is someone on that list you have never told? A parent or teacher, some leader from your present on your past, a mentor or a friend. And how about trying to identify someone in or around your life who you suspect might be lonely and come up with a creative way of celebrating them as a person? [i would love to hear stories of any of these things shared back here so please come and tell us how they went]

those are just three things but i imagine that is a good start and you also already know some of the other stuff in your life that you were hoping or intending to do at the start of this year that somehow got pushed to the side – or else can identify addictions [from substances as ‘innocent’ as coffee or sodas to more damaging ones like alcohol, cigarettes or drugs] or time wasters [television, hobbies, phone, games, music, sport – maybe not bad in themselves but when they start to take over any of them can be] or even so-called ministry stuff that is overwhelming you and causing you to not have enough time for God and people…

take this opportunity – Carp Diem – Fish this day! and make a change so that the second half of 2012 can be even more successful, life-giving and just generally full of good things, moments and people than the first half of it was.

[if this is something you take seriously in any way i would LOVE to hear about it and the changes you might make so feel free to comment here or even send me an email to brettfish@hotmail.com] ongoing life evaluations and changes can be completely life transformational.

continuing my journey of reading through the psalms at a leisurely pace, making some observations as i go along, inviting you to jump in to the comments section with a verse or idea or question or wrestle that possibly jumped out at you as you were reading this particular psalm:

for me it was verse 4 which immediately jumped out at me: ‘The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them.’

i remember reading an article in reader’s digest by kirk douglas of all people titled ‘You know how to make God laugh?’ and the answer was ‘Tell Him your plans!’

and it’s true. and reminds me as well of the story Jesus tells in Luke 12 of the rich fool who gets a good crop and responds by saying, ‘”What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.” And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”‘

But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich towards God.’ [Luke 12.16]

Another passage that comes to mind in terms of trusting own plans vs God’s is Proverbs 3.5-6 which says, ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.’ Which is good to view alongside the whole second half of Matthew 6, but specifically verse 33 which goes, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given you as well.’

We are invited to live life in relationship with God and hold our plans loosely before Him. This psalm gives a glimpse of those who try otherwise…

And then the second verse that stood out to me was verse 8 which says, “Ask of Me and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”

Which speaks to me of a God crying out for us to use our imagination and consider for a moment the resources available to us. Ephesians 3.20 reminds us that the God we serve is able to do “immeasurably more than all we hope or imagine” – Am i hoping and imagining big enough? God’s hoping and imagining for my life extends to nations and the ends of the earth. He is calling us to greater things [as defined by His kingdom, which is key]

so much more oozing out of such a short psalm, but those are two things i take from it today… what did you get?

[To continue on to Psalm 3, click here]

[To return to the start of this series on Psalms or some other Bible things, click here]

in terms of life catchup and our favourite question of ‘so what are you doing next year?’ which has suddenly become ‘so what are you doing this year?’ [wow, so quick] the answer is that my wife – the beautiful Val – is finishing up her thesis – handing in second draft this week and final draft second week of feb – and we are still waiting on God and trying to listen and hear what He has in store for us…

in fact from Friday to Thurs (being my birthday it will be nice to end off with some kind of meat appreciation feast) we are going to inviting some significant people in our lives (and anyone who wants to really, but we want people to be intentional) to join us in sending up prayers and listening for anything relating to God’s plan for us this year – i really have felt quite strongly that He has a plan and a leading for us specifically (rather than us just making a plan) and so we really want to give good time and attention to listening for that…

i am thinking of embarking on a Daniel type fast for the week (just fruit and vegetables and liquids) to assist my intentionality and if anyone wants to join me that would be more than welcome – so we’d love to hear if you are going to listen with us and any response or prompting you receive you can send to brettfish@hotmail.com – we are very excited because it is a great place of trust to be in – it does not come without nervousness and what-if-nothing-happens’ness especially because it is hard for a lot of people around us to believe that this is the way God is choosing to operate with us (and for val who is submitting to my ‘this is what i sense God saying’ more than having an equal sense of feeling God say that)

so ja, if you’re not going to join us for the week, it would be great if you could pause for a minute and invite God to speak directly into our lives in that way… thank you.

…til we hear anything else, we are staying at our place in Stellenbosch, helping lead the junior youth (Vybe) at Stellenbosch vineyard and trying our best to love God, love people, look after the needy and pursue life to the full…

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