Lesson 1: God Has a Plan

Focus Text: Jeremiah 29:11 The Living Bible (TLB): 
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

 

God Knows Who yOu Are

What do the following verses say about God’s knowledge of me from my beginning?

Genesis 1:26; 2:7  “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness....” “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Jeremiah 1:5 (KJV) “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee;and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee,and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Psalm 139:15-16 (NLT) “You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”

It is humbling to contemplate that the God who created the entire universe and spoke incredibly complex organisms into existence wanted to create us so that He might enjoy our fellowship.

We cannot begin to comprehend God's creative power. The most advanced scientific studies just begin to scratch the surface. We consider ourselves fortunate when we build new telescopes that reveal more of the universe, but we cannot adequately explain how it got there and what keeps it in balance.

The study of medicine has produced some understanding of how the body functions, but we cannot fully comprehend where the spark of life comes from or what makes a cut heal.

God understands all this; He designed human life and spoke it into existence. Of all His creation, He considers us the most special. God spoke the earth, the plants, and the animals into existence, but He stooped down and with His hands molded clay into the form of man and then breathed life into the clay. In addition to His personal touch, God chose to make us in His image, both in appearance and in character. He gave our first parents the ability to reason and love.

 

God Has a Plan for your Life and There is Hope for Restoration: 

Jeremiah 29:11 (TLB) “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 31:17 (KJV) “And there is hope in thine end, saith the Lord,that thy children shall come again to their own border.”

Joel 2:25 (KJV) “And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.”

 

God Will Guide You

What does God promise to do for me if I consent to His intervention in my life?

Psalm 25:9 (KJV) “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.”

Psalm 32:8 (KJV) “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.”

Exodus 15:16 (KJV) God says, “If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee."

The promise of immunity from Egypt’s diseases was given to the children of Israel soon after they left their captivity. Yet, this promise wasn’t based simply on supernatural intervention; it was based also, maybe even especially, on the natural laws of health. Many articles of food eaten freely by the heathen nations were forbidden to the Israelites. It was no arbitrary distinction that was made. The things prohibited for the Israelites were unwholesome and in order for them to maintain their good health through out their wilderness journey, they had to be obedient to the laws of diet and hygiene.

 

God’s Wish for yOur Physical Health

3John 2 (KJV) “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth."

We can see that God is not just concerned with the spiritual well being of His people but for their physical well being-their health as well.

Of course, this makes perfect sense that God would care about our physical health. After all, He created us as physical beings. Our bodies are wonderful gifts from a loving God who created us in His image and who wants us to enjoy our physical existence, at least as much as possible in this fallen world.

As David says, “Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments” (Psalm 119:73 KJV).

 

What is the difference between the path of Truth and the path of ignorance?

When Nina was growing up, she often wondered about all those "Thou shall not’s." She pictured God as a strict taskmaster, scolding anyone who appeared to be having a good time. As Nina matured and learned more about the love of God, she discovered that God was not trying to stop her from having fun; instead, He was protecting her from the painful reality of sin. When we sin, consequences always follow – disappointment, disillusionment, even despair. Sin’s consequences can also include sickness and disease. While not all disease is self-inflicted, some dangerous and harmful behaviors can result in serious illness and loss of health. Let’s take a look at a couple of examples.

A sexually promiscuous lifestyle dramatically increases the odds of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (STD) and AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). STDs lead to painful sores, certain types of cancer, infertility, nervous system disorders and other long-term conditions and are passed on to future partners. AIDS is a sobering example of how the sinful choices of a few people can impact the innocent through tainted blood and infected newborns.

Illegal drug abuse, smoking, and alcohol consumption produce lifelong harmful consequences. All are addictive, mind altering, body damaging substances that may shorten life, affect quality of life, and thus potentially limit opportunities to serve God. Some long-term damage of drug abuse includes nervous system disorders, loss of brain cells and memory, heart damage, and seizures. Smoking has been proven to cause emphysema and lung, mouth and throat cancers, yet people still choose to participate in this harmful behavior. Drinking alcohol can also lead to a dulling of the senses, malnutrition, loss of brain cells, liver disease, accidents and heart disease. None of these behaviors honor God, and all cause both short-term and lifelong harm to the body.

Proverbs 4:18-22 (KJV) “But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble. My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”

Ephesians 4:17-18 (KJV) “This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:”

When God gave us direction and laws for what is right and wrong, He did so not to bring bondage to legalism but to set us free from the consequences of sin. God designed the human body and knows what would be best for us. He outlined the best choices for us. When we choose to follow God’s guidelines and use our bodies as God intended, we avoid the negative consequences and resulting diseases. Fortunately, God has also created the body to rebuild and repair. He can heal our diseases and bring glory in our lives when we choose to follow Him.

Which lifestyle habits may be impairing my physical, mental, or spiritual health that I would like to commit to the keeping, guidance, and instruction of God? Be specific.

  • Diet
  • TV and Reading habits
  • Sleep Habits
  • Exercise 
  • Attitudes
  • Smoking and /or drinking
  • Other

Summary: God knows who we are. He made us and therefore He knows what is best for us. He is willing to instruct us so that we can live a healthier and abundant life.

What is our response? Can we trust God’s counsel for our health both spiritually and physically? Do we have confidence that God is willing and able to restore us back to good health according to His promise?

Challenge:

Are you willing to present your body as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God?
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