Daily Devotional

Proverbs 16:1-3

The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. All the ways of a man are clean in his own sight, but the LORD weighs the motives. Commit your works to the LORD and your plans will be established.

Growing up I wanted to be a singer. The only problem: I didn’t sing well. In my last years of high school, I considered pursuing a career in law. In my first year of college I believed I was headed to be an elementary teacher while I was working in an ice-cream store. At the end of my second year I joined the U.S. Navy as a damage-controlman (i.e. firefighter). Later my job was changed to working in administration and legal affairs. Little did I know God was working His plan.
 I accepted Christ at 21, the day I finished my active naval service. I remember telling God, “I will do anything for You, except go in the ministry.” I think God laughed and said, “We’ll talk about that later, young man!”

I got married to a cop’s daughter and seriously considered becoming a deputy. God had a different plan for me in law enforcement. In the meantime, I manufactured ice cream and trained to manage a store.

Later, as I expressed a willingness to do some ministry, my plan was to train as a missionary to Asia. I graduated college with a degree in communications. I eventually decided to go to seminary where I told my advisors I would train to be a Christian missionary, educator, professor and counselor, but definitely not a pastor of a local church.  I was especially intimidated by the necessary studies in Greek and Hebrew.

Obviously, many of my plans did not come to pass. I am not a singer, lawyer, elementary teacher, firefighter, cop, store manager nor a full-time missionary; I am not even primarily a professor or counselor.

For over 50 years I have been what I never planned to be...a local church pastor. Like the apostle Paul I was “appointed” a preacher (cf. 2 Timothy 1:11). Along the way, that role has taken me to doctoral studies in pastoral counseling, start an international ministry, travel to over thirty countries (many in Asia), write books and study materials, and counsel countless people. And, to my surprise, in recent years, we started a ministry department to train police chaplains internationally. And yes, I even get to sing publicly...though I still sound best when drowned out by other singers. And, I still make the best milkshake this side of heaven!

I am so grateful God interrupted my many plans with His. Expect Him to do the same for you. If you trust your life to Him with all your heart and not insist on your own plans, He will make your paths straight (cf. Proverbs 3:5-6) and “your plans (i.e. His plan for you) will be established.” (cf. Proverbs 16:1-3). Along the way, He might even let you do many of the things you had planned and even more that are beyond your lifelong dreams. Do much so that you can proclaim with the apostle Paul, who was equally surprised at God’s perfect will for his life: Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).
"New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation"
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