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“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” –Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJ)

Silent Prayer

Sometimes when we are on a road trip, I enjoy people watching as cars pass us by.  I like to see who is traveling, what is strapped on to the top or back of their vehicle and guess where they might be going or what they have just come from doing.  I usually wind of getting overwhelmed by my thoughts as I think about the fact that each passing car represents multiple lives that are filled with activity, challenges, hurts, disappointments, appointments, commitments, schedules, deadlines, etc.  On one such trip, as I was pondering all of the complexities of billions of people each on a path with responsibilities, dreams, plans, and pains, I thought about the reality that God keeps track of all of those individuals at all times.  My head could barely begin to hold the idea of the immensity, but God is intimately and with perfection, acquainted with each person’s ways. 

Yes, you are on God’s mind.  He is thinking about you.

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar, you discern my going out and my lying down, you are familiar with all my ways.” (Psalm 139:1-3)

And He has no trouble keeping any of it straight.  Anymore it seems I do well to know what day it is. 

Tuesday I forgot a meeting of the Teays Valley Ministerial Association for which I am the secretary.  Had I not received a call from one of the pastors ten minutes before the meeting started to tell me he wouldn’t be there, I wouldn’t have been there. 

We sent Hannah’s school pictures back in about a month ago with a note saying she would be retaking them on Wednesday, November 10th.  Hannah and I discussed a wardrobe change and how she might fix her hair.  Guess when I remembered picture retake day?  It dawned on me while sitting at my desk around 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, November the 10th.  I’m sure she’ll look lovely in the sweatshirt she wore with her hair matted down from her shower the night before.  Yeah, that will be money well-spent. 

The next day, Thursday, I was doing well just to remember Joshua had a dentist appointment.  I know it sounds strange, but we drive an hour and twenty minutes to the dentist because a really good friend of mine sees us for just what our insurance pays.  The operative word is “cheap.”  I knew Joshua was going to be there for about ninety minutes and that made sense.  He loves his sweets.  I figured she was going to be taking care of a mouth full of cavities.  The boy walked out with braces!  How could I not have known Josh was getting braces?  I’m sure the dentist mentioned it.  It just went right over my head.  It’s like once a certain amount of information gets inputted into my mind, there isn’t room for any more.

God isn’t like that.  He knows all of our thoughts and our comings and goings.  He even knows our unconscious thoughts which we aren’t fully aware of.  Going deeper still, He knows our intentions, our motives and our feelings.

I Chronicles 28:9 says, “For the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the imaginations of the thoughts.”

Psalm 44:21 says, “God knows the secrets of the heart.”

God does indeed know all of our thoughts- even our unconscious thoughts of which we are not fully aware. The danger lies in not realizing this as a fact.  We lose sight of the fact that God never loses sight of us.

Being thought about is such a comforting feeling.  As you know, I learned a few weeks ago that I have a tumor and am being referred to an oncologist.  My appointment is this week.  What a blessing to have so many people checking on me; letting me know I am in their thoughts and prayers.  I know how busy life is.  Your homes are just as busy as mine and that so many of you would take the time to let me know you are thinking about me is a great gift.

Multiply that by the reality that the God keeps planets spinning in orbit, controls the tides, winds and waves and all of the electrically charged particles of our world together.  That’s busy.  And yet, God is completely consumed with thoughts about each one of us.

Psalm 139:17-18 says, “How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.”

God isn’t absent-minded.  He never has “senior moments.”  While running the universe, He is all of the time focusing His thoughts on you.

He is so focused on you that before you ever even had a thought, He thought of you. Psalm 139 says He is our Creator.  His eyes saw our unformed bodies before we were even born.  He thought us up.  He wrote down plans for our lives, ordaining our steps before we ever learned to walk.  Like a master seamstress imagines what might be quilted or sewn, God dreamed up a pattern for each one of us in His mind and went to work knitting us together in our mother’s womb.  He thought up every part of us.

Think about it! He thought us first before He ever created us.  He saw us in His mind’s eye! With His thoughts, His Words, we were created! And remember, we were created in His image! (Genesis 1:26, 27) How wonderful it is that we are that important to God. When we are tempted to think wrong thoughts about ourselves, or each other, let’s remember we are all His precious, beloved creation.

If you can settle that you are of utmost importance to God, you won’t ever have to question what He is thinking about you. 

We can get into trouble if we simply try to assume we know what God is thinking about us or our situation.  “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8–9)

When someone can’t make up their mind about something, it may cause instability or anxiety for those around them.  God isn’t that way.  He says, “I know what I am thinking about you.”  He isn’t weighing pros and cons.  He isn’t thinking one thing one day and changing His mind the next.  God’s knowledge is perfect.  His understanding is infinite.  There is no hesitation in His mind about you or what you are in need of today.  His mind is made up.  So what is God thinking about you?

He thinks peaceful thoughts about us.

When you tell someone, “I’ll be thinking about you,” your words might deliver some comfort in the moment, but your thoughts about someone don’t really have any power to bring peace into someone’s lives.  Why is it significant that God’s thinks peaceful thoughts about us?

God’s actions are controlled by His thoughts.  Because He thinks we need peace, He has made a way for us to have peace.  He has acted on those thoughts by sending Christ to die on the cross for us.  We have peace with God through Jesus Christ and His blood, shed on the cross (Rom. 5:1).  We can have peace even in the midst of the storms of life because God is present with us through the power of the Holy Spirit and His presence brings peace (Gal. 5:22 and II Cor. 13:11).

Why didn’t God say, “I have thoughts of blessing for you or thoughts of prosperity to give you?  Rather, He said, “I’m thinking peaceful thoughts towards you.”  The thoughts are of peace because our greatest need isn’t for blessing or prosperity or any physical or tangible thing.  Our greatest need is for peace. 

God’s thoughts take the highest road.  They are focused on our highest good and the highest priority.  That’s why He is thinking about our need for peace.  In a world that is ever changing with consequences that are largely the result of human decisions, there is so much that will always remain outside of our control.  That’s why we need peace. More than a new car, home, a vacation, a spot on the team or a new relationship, we need peace.  God’s peace will sustain us through the ups and downs of life.

I can honestly say I am at peace about whatever my health situation turns out to be.  I haven’t had one sleepless night.  I haven’t lost any ability to focus on my work.  I haven’t even dealt with anxiety, fear or worry.  Part of that has to be the gift of God as the result of so many prayers.  However, the reality is that I TRUST GOD and that brings me peace.  Isaiah 26:3 – You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.  I can testify that I am experiencing perfect peace.

My mind is stayed on what He is thinking about me.  He says He thinks thoughts about me that include peace, a future and hope.  You know what that means?  I’m good to go.  If it’s cancer, I’m good to go.  If it’s surgery, I’m good to go.  If it’s “watch it and check it again in six months,” I’m good to go.  My circumstances don’t change God’s thoughts for one minute.

The reality is that:
Whether I live or die,
Whether I wake or sleep,
Whether upon the land,
Or on the stormy deep;
When ’tis serene and calm,
Or when the wild winds blow,
I shall not be afraid—
I am the Lord’s, I know.

Nothing shall separate
From His unbounded love,
Neither in depths below,
Nor in the heights above;
And in the years to come,
He will abide with me;
I am the Lord’s indeed,
For all eternity.

-Charles Naylor

Knowing and trusting those truths give me great peace.  But God’s thoughts mean nothing unless I place my TRUST in Him. 

He thinks about our future.

If you spend any time thinking about the future, you could come to some anxious conclusions.  Why?  Because you have no control over it and because you can’t see it from here.  You don’t know what the next day will bring let alone the next five to ten years. 

We see the moment, but God sees the end. We cannot see beyond the moment of the present, but God sees the end toward which He is directing all things. When God created Adam, God saw the end. When Adam fell, He saw the end. When Christ died, God saw the end. In the dark days before Christ returns, a world filled with sin and chaos, God sees the end. And in every moment in our life, God sees the end.  “The future is already history to our God!”-(Wise Words and Quotes)

The fact that God knows what will happen to us and that it doesn’t create any instability or uncertainty about what He thinks or what He desires to accomplish in our lives means our future is secure.  He isn’t somewhere having something revealed to Him about tomorrow and all of the sudden thinking, “I’d better derive a plan B.”

“We never need to worry about trusting an unknown future to a known God.” Corrie Ten Boom

Three years ago this past August, Joshua looked and me and said, “Mom, if you and Dad die, who will drive us around?”  I gave him some suggested names and that seemed to take care of his question.  He wasn’t asking, “How will I go on?  How will I eat or drink?  Who will buy me presents for Christmas and my birthday?  He didn’t need to know the details of what his future could look like.  He simply wanted to know who would be in charge of getting him from place to place.  He wanted to know that there would always be someone in charge to get him where he needed to be.  That is the kind of childlike faith we can express in our Heavenly Father. 

It should give us great comfort to know that God has the future under control.  The fact that He knows my future alleviates me of any responsibility to know about it.  With childlike faith, I can just walk with Him daily and He will get me where I need to be.  Details can be highly over rated.  You want to deal with stress and anxiety, know all of the details of what is ahead.   

We’ve told our kids that there are some things that aren’t age appropriate for them to know yet.  They can’t negotiate certain topics in their minds and they wouldn’t be ready to apply the knowledge or even have need of it.  We tell them we’ll be sure they know what they need to know when it is best for them to know it.  They trust that because we’re in front of them, we’re ahead of them in the process of life that our wisdom is superior and that we have great reasons for withholding certain information.

God knows we can only handle so much.  God has limited our knowledge of the future on purpose and for our benefit, so let Him handle the future and allow Him to dispense it to you as is needed.

Ultimately, God’s thoughts about my future mean nothing unless I place my future in His hands.

He thinks about giving us hope.

Hope is a wonderful motivator.  I’ve been walking about five days a week now for two months, basically ever since I was diagnosed with diabetes.  I lost eight pounds in the first month and since then, the scales haven’t moved.  Friday morning I was out walking when Thom left for work.  I said, “My sugar numbers aren’t coming down any lower and I’m not losing an ounce, but I’m not giving up.”  Why?  Because I have hope that consistently doing what I am supposed to do will yield the results I’ve been told to expect.  It is hope that the scales will one day move again that keeps me out there walking.  To quit walking would mean weight gain and an elevation in my sugars.  That would be the wrong direction completely.

You see it is hope that will keep us going even when we don’t see a change in our circumstances and it is hope that will keep us from turning and heading in the wrong direction.  That’s why God thinks about ways to give us hope.  He knows we need motivation to keep moving forward.

He had hope for you on His mind when He had the Scriptures written down.  “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Romans 15:4)

You want to get depressed and discouraged?  Get on the internet and google all of your problems.  If you want to have hope, however, turn to God’s Word and let it soak into your soul.

When you do, you’ll start to feel energized.  You’ll start to feel like getting up out of bed.  You’ll start to feel like pulling the blinds open to let the sun shine in.  You’ll feel like getting back in the race and walking into the future God has prepared for you.  It’s promised in God’s Word.  “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

The old sailor looked at the skies and saw a dark storm coming. As the sea became rough and choppy, the old sailor calmly lowered the heavy-chained anchor link by link, battened down the hatches and went to bed for the night.  He knew the storm would be rough. But he had faith in the grasp of the anchor. He knew his boat would be there in the morning.  That is hope.  It is an anchor for our souls.  “This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast” (Hebrews 6:29a).

From Parade magazine comes the story of self-made millionaire Eugene Land, who greatly changed the lives of a sixth-grade class in East Harlem. Mr. Lang had been asked to speak to a class of 59 sixth-graders. What could he say to inspire these students, most of whom would drop out of school? He wondered how he could get these predominantly minority children from poor homes even to look at him. Scrapping his notes, he decided to speak to them from his heart. “Stay in school,” he admonished, “and I’ll help pay the college tuition for every one of you.” At that moment the lives of these students changed. For the first time they had hope. Said one student, “I had something to look forward to, something waiting for me. It was a golden feeling.” Nearly 90 percent of that class went on to graduate from high school.

When you walk with God, you never walk without hope.  There is always something to look forward to.

All three of these things that God thinks about, peace, a future, and hope are intangibles.  You can’t drive them to work, show them to your friends, hang them around your neck or put them on your FB page, and yet without them life isn’t worth living.  God’s thoughts towards you are precious ones.

To choose worry and anxiety, to try to control and manipulate outcomes in our lives and to try to build our hope on our abilities or possessions, is really to say, “God, I don’t care what you think.”  Does what God thinks about your life matter to you?

Do you need peace today?  You can start by making peace with God if you don’t know Him.  You can receive His Holy Spirit and experience the peace that comes from having Him always present with you to comfort you and give you power.  Pray and ask God to see His thoughts of peace turned into action for your life.  Are you concerned about the future?  Does the unknown cause you worry or fear?  Are you willing to trust that God’s plan is best and that His plan includes a special future for you?  Pray and tell God His future is the future you want for yourself.  Do you feel like giving up?  Maybe you need some hope today.  Let the fact that if you’re in Christ you have something to look forward to.  Heaven is a reality and it is waiting for you and until then, you serve the God who has the power to change any circumstance at any moment.  He lives to love you and provide for your needs.  A miracle could be right around the corner.  Hope in God, you’ll not be disappointed.

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