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The PlanUnlocking God's Financial Blessing for Your Life
By Meade W. Malone
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2011 Meade W. Malone
All right reserved.
Chapter One"For I know the plans I have for you ..."
—Jeremiah 29:11, NIV
One of my most prized discoveries as I read and meditated on the word of God is that God has a plan for my life. On reflection, the truth of this discovery is that God has a plan for each of our lives. If you let this thought sink in for a minute, if you meditate on it for a little while, you will see how truly liberating this truth is. The God who created the heavens and the earth, the God who made man, and the God who delivered the children of Israel from Egypt with a strong hand has taken the time to design a personalized plan for my life and your life.
Over time, as the Holy Spirit led me through the word of God, I have developed an appreciation of the characteristics of His master plan for each of our lives, the understanding of which forms the foundation for unlocking God's financial blessing for your life:
The plan was designed before the foundation of the world.
The plan is under God's protection.
The plan is detailed.
The plan makes provision for a work to be done.
The plan makes provision for all the resources necessary to accomplish it.
The Plan Was Designed before the Foundation of the World
In commissioning the prophet Jeremiah for his life's work, God said to him, "Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee" (Jer 1:5). When we further reflect on the word of God, which records that He "rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made" (Gen 2:2), we come to an enlightened understanding that God's plan for Jeremiah's life was made before the foundation of the world. Paul confirms this understanding in his letter in Ephesians, when he reveals that God "hath chosen us [in Christ] before the foundation of the world" and "predestined us according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will" (Eph 1:4, 11, NIV).
What has been even more amazing to discover is that God has recorded all the details of the plan. David, on reflecting on the awesomeness of God, said, "Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be" (Ps 139:16, NIV). I hope you are as excited as I am at the knowledge that the details of the plan are not to be written down or are about to be written down but that they were written down before the foundation of the earth. Think about it for a minute: before your mother and father ever met each other, God had already written down your name, the date of your birth, the first day of kindergarten ... In fact, God had written down that you would be reading this book today in the exact location you are reading it. It is no wonder David proclaimed, "Your (infinite) knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high above me, I cannot reach it" (Ps 139:6, AMP).
The Plan Is Under God's Protection
One of the characteristics I found particularly comforting about the plan is that it is divinely protected by God Himself. In the process of instructing his disciples, Jesus asked them this question: "Are not two sparrows sold for a cent?" Then He went on to inform them, "Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. So do not fear, you are more valuable than many sparrows" (Mat 10:29–31, NAS). I love this particular reference in scripture to God's divine protection because it makes clear that no matter how insignificant the detail of the plan may appear to be, or for whom the plan is designed, God is watching over it to make sure that it will be accomplished as He has ordained. His ability to do so is spoken of by Jesus himself when he said, "My Father ... is greater than all ..." (John 10:29).
Each of us reading this book should take comfort in the fact that the God who delivered the children of Israel from Egypt with a strong hand is overseeing every detail of the plan He has drawn up for our lives. Jesus has assured us that no devil in hell, no demon, no man, no woman, no sickness, no circumstance, visible or invisible, can stand in the way of God's plan, for He is greater and more powerful than all, individually or collectively.
The Plan Is Detailed
In the process of instructing his disciples on the meaning of discipleship, Jesus revealed, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Mat 10:30). I love the fact that this verse stands all by itself. Nothing is added. It should be a tremendous source of comfort to know that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob has taken the time not only to count but to number each strand of hair on your head. Each time you comb your hair and one strand drops out, God can tell you which number it is. It then does not take a great leap of faith to conclude that God has taken care of every detail of our lives in His plan.
Jesus reinforced this point in the Sermon on the Mount, when He made known to all gathered that their "heavenly Father already knows all your needs" (Mat 6:32, NLT). What is your need today—food, clothing, shelter? Whatever your individual needs are, take comfort in the fact that God knows all about them in detail and has made provision for them in His plan for your life.
The Plan Makes Provision for a Work to Be Done
In Jeremiah 1, we read that when Jeremiah was still only a child, the word of God came to him and revealed his present and future work that had been ordained before he came out of his mother's womb (Jer 1:5). In God's overall master plan for humankind, He had carved out a work for Jeremiah as "a prophet unto the nations." What is wonderful to observe as you read about the commissioning of Jeremiah is God's assurance that He would be with him to guide him in the things he would say and to deliver him in the time of trouble. What is also worthy of note is the clarity of the job description given to Jeremiah: "See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant" (Jer 1:10). I believe that this clear sense of direction focused Jeremiah on the things that God ordained for him to do and helped him avoid straying from the path of grace and mercy set before him.
The Plan Has Made Provision for All the Resources Needed to Accomplish It
The book of First Chronicles records King David's desire to build a house to honor the name of the Lord. However, it was not God's Plan for David that he should build His house:
The word of the Lord came to me ... "Thou shall not build a house unto my name ... A son shall be born to thee, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies round about: for his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quietness unto Israel in his days. He shall build [a] house for my name ... (1 Chr 22:8–10).
What is important to note is that before Solomon was born ("a son shall be born"), God spoke to David and detailed to him the plan He had for his son Salomon, to "build [a] house [in His] name." I want you to understand that God does not plan anything or say anything that He cannot accomplish. We serve a God who cannot fail. The word of God tells us that He is watching over His word to perform it (Jer 1:12, NAS). In His plan for Solomon to build a house in His name, God made sure that all the resources necessary to accomplish it were put in place.
First Chronicles 22:14–15 provides an account of the provision David made for building the house of the Lord, including a "hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight ... timber also and stone ... workmen in abundance ... hewers and workers of stone and timber and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work." Indeed, all that was necessary to accomplish the plan God revealed for Solomon's life was put in place by David under the divine direction and protection of God. David acknowledged this truth before the congregation of the people when he said, "O Lord our God, all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy name, it is from Your hand, and all is Yours" (1 Chr 29:16, NAS).
I encourage you to let the knowledge that God's plan includes all the resources necessary to accomplish the work assigned to you be a source of comfort that leads to confident action. Whatever God's assignment for your life may be, move forward today in faith, knowing that God has set in place all the people, finances, and other resources necessary to successfully accomplish it. He did it for Solomon. He will do it for you.
My family was privileged to know Reverend Lester Bowers, who on occasion would tell the story of his call to ministry. His wife Patricia (Pat) Bowers recalled him telling her that he got up one Sunday morning and put on his church clothes, as was customary, and went to the great Ebenezer Methodist Church in Antigua, West Indies. That particular morning, he had planned to attend church with some of his friends, and when he arrived, they decided to sit in the balcony.
As he sat and participated in the service, Lester reflected on the fact that he was on the verge of beginning his journey to fulfilling what he thought was his lifelong ambition of becoming a lawyer. After all, he had been accepted to law school in England and was in the process of making final preparations to leave. As he reflected, something in the sermon being delivered by Reverend Neville Brodie grabbed hold of him and awakened a lingering desire to be a youth minister.
Somehow, this dialogue between Jesus and Simon Peter by the Lake of Galilee, taken from John 21: 15–17, NLT, came alive for Lester in a way that he had never experienced before:
"After breakfast Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?" "Yes, Lord" Peter replied, "you know I love you." "Then feed my lambs," Jesus told him. Jesus repeated the question: "Simon son of John, do you love me?" "Yes, Lord" Peter said, "you know I love you." "Then take care of my sheep," Jesus said. Once more he asked him, " Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you."
Jesus said, "Then feed my sheep."
It was as if Jesus was having a personal conversation with Lester. Jesus's piercing questions and direction to Simon Peter to "feed my sheep" gripped Lester's heart and wouldn't let it go. Jesus's words had sprung to life and added passion and purpose to Lester's desire to be a youth minister, and the road ahead for his life had become clear.
When the altar call was made, Lester was compelled to respond. He recalled that the walk down from the balcony to the altar seemed to last an eternity. That day, he was the only person who responded to the call, and all eyes and attention were on him. At the altar, he gave his life to Christ, and the journey to fulfilling God's plan for his life began.
Along the path of his journey, Lester attended the United Theological College of the West Indies and emerged as the Reverend Lester Bowers. Throughout the years that followed, this revered Methodist minister touched the lives of countless men, women, boys, and girls for Christ. Through the work God had ordained him to do as pastor, husband, counselor, accomplished tenor and friend, Lester radiated the light of Christ throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. Men saw his good works and gave praise unto Almighty God.
The path was not always easy; indeed, there were many obstacles and roadblocks along the way, but God made a way every time. Pat tells the story of his attendance at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. Lester was given the opportunity to work part time to earn the money needed to complete his studies. However, as a foreign student, he was prohibited from working without a work visa and was told that it would be almost impossible to get it in time to accept the job and complete his studies. But that did not stop Lester. He knew that he was at Emory for a purpose, and that the God he served was faithful to complete the good work He had started.
When Lester arrived at the visa office and began to tell his story, he discovered that the person in charge of the department was a woman who attended his church in Atlanta, Georgia. Within a week, he had his visa and was able to take up the offer of employment and complete his studies at Emory. As He promised Job, God was there to deliver Lester repeatedly.
From the day he responded to God's call at Ebenezer Methodist, Lester never varied from the path of grace and mercy that was set before him. As a result, he was able to successfully complete all the days written down in God's book for him. Even though he died a young man, the essence of who he was, the lingering effects of his good works, and the evidence of lives touched by the grace of God working through him, are still very much with us today. Like a seed planted in the ground, as they are watered by those left behind, they will continue to bear fruit to the glory of God the Father.
As we reflect on Lester's life, we see all the characteristics of God's plan in operation. I want to assure each person reading this book that the characteristics of God's plan outlined in this chapter apply to your life. You have a personalized plan designed by God before the foundation of the world. Your plan is under God's protection; your plan is detailed; your plan has in it a work that you have been uniquely created to accomplish; and finally, your plan has provision for all the resources necessary to successfully accomplish it.
The obligation of each person reading this book is to seek out the architect of the plan through the reading of His word. He has assured us that if we seek Him we shall find Him (Mat 7:7). Our key objective in meeting with Him should be to consider carefully those things He views as critical to the successful completion of your plan. The following chapters will focus you on those things that I believe God, the chief architect, will tell you as He details the plan He has uniquely designed for you and the road you must travel to accomplish it. May God bless you on your journey.
Chapter Two"Without me, you can do nothing"
In the final stages of fulfilling His divine purpose on Earth, Jesus reveals to His disciples an indisputable truth: "Without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). I cannot impress upon you enough how important it is that each of us settles this truth within his heart, mind, and soul. If you are going to successfully live out God's plan for your life, you will need His assistance and guidance. Why? Without him your enemies, seen and unseen, are simply too strong for you.
As the apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:12 reminds us, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." The Amplified Bible puts it this way:
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood (contending only with physical opponents) but against the despotisms, against the powers, against (the master spirits who are) the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
If we are going to complete the plan, we need God's help.
God himself confirmed to King David through the prophet Nathan: "I took thee (David) from the pasture, from following the flock, to be ruler over my people, Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth" (2 Sam 7:8–9, NAS). God was saying to David that he was successful because of his (God's) assistance and guidance. David's response should be our response: "Who am I, O Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" (2 Sam 7:18, NIV). In so doing, David acknowledged that without God on his side, none of what he had accomplished would have come to pass.
I was privileged to meet Bishop T. D. Jakes in April of 2007 in the British Virgin Islands. I had seen and listened to him at a distance, but up close two things stood out from our conversations: his humility and expressed recognition of the fact that had it not been for Jesus, he would not be where he is today. Bishop Jakes further acknowledged that if God gave it to him, He could take it away at any time. He served at the pleasure of the Lord. What I took away from this giant in the faith is that he conducted himself and his enterprise in a manner that gave full recognition to the importance of God's role and the need for His continued protection, guidance, and direction.
Excerpted from The Plan by Meade W. Malone Copyright © 2011 by Meade W. Malone. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
Chapter 1 "For I know the plans I have for you"....................1
Chapter 2 "Without me, you can do nothing"....................11
Chapter 3 "Will a man rob God?"....................19
Chapter 4 "I will open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing"....................31
Chapter 5 "He shall not destroy the fruit of your ground"....................41
Chapter 6 "Neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time"....................49
Chapter 7 Wait on the Lord....................67
Chapter 8 "I have finished the work which thou gavest Me to do"....................77
Chapter 9 Redeeming the time....................87
Chapter 10 Putting it all in perspective....................99