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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...




God Has a Plan for You

By Dorsey Ross
Aug. 15, 2010

Sunday, Jan. 16, 1977, was very cold and snowy in New York City. Dad was out driving the church van picking up people for morning service. Mom decided to stay home because, courtesy of me, she was beginning to have some labor pains. By the time Dad got home, it was clearly time to take Mom to the hospital.

Several hours later, after a difficult delivery, doctors were trying to determine what was wrong with me. My forehead was pushed outward, my eyes and nose were pushed back into my head, and my fingers and toes were fused together. I had no soft spot in my skull. Because the bones in my skull were already fused together, there was none of the natural room needed for my brain to grow. The doctors explained that my condition, known as Apert’s syndrome, would eventually halt my brain development. They advised my parents to put me into an institution.

But Dad and Mom believed God had a plan and purpose for my life. There would be no institution for me; there would always be a loving and spiritually nourishing home.

I soon underwent an operation to open my skull and allow my brain to grow. It was the first of many, and with each procedure little hope was offered to my parents. Long story short, 68 operations later I’m still here despite all the times my parents were told I wouldn’t make it. I’ve completed nine years of college despite predictions I would never make it in college. I am an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God despite people’s doubts that I could ever minister.

As I travel and tell others that with God all things are possible, my favorite verse to share is Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’” (NIV).

You matter to God.
There are times in our lives when we look around and wonder, Do I matter? We have dreams and visions of what we want to do in our lives, but we question and doubt whether we will be able to do those things. People may tell us that we won’t succeed, that we won’t make it in this life, perhaps even that we are useless, worthless, that we’re nothing.

God brought me through many life-threatening circumstances, but He chose not to erase all of the physical evidence of those circumstances. I’ve had people stare and point at me and call me a monster and a freak. I remember one Halloween when I was working in retail to support my ministry. One of the managers in our store came up to me and told me I wasn’t supposed to be wearing a mask during work hours. He thought the joke was so funny that he found me again during my break and repeated it.

We too easily allow the limitations placed on us by other people to keep us from seeing all that God has in store for us, all that He wants us to do for Him. Do you wonder if God can use you? Perhaps it’s not a physical limitation that has you concerned. Do you worry that your past sins will somehow hinder God’s love or care for you or somehow destroy your value to Him and His ability to use you?

No matter what sins we have committed, God loves us enough that He will forgive us. He loved us enough that He sent His only Son to die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16; Ephesians 2:14-16). If God believed that our past sins made it impossible for us to serve Him, then Jesus could not have used His disciples. Think of how Peter denied Jesus three times, or how Thomas doubted that Jesus rose again on the third day. And the same holds true for all of the heroes of the faith portrayed in Scripture. Saul of Tarsus was a murderer who wanted to kill all Christians. But when he was converted he became the apostle Paul, one of the greatest servants of God in the Bible.

No one is useless to God.
There are times when we wonder, What can God do with me? How can God use me?

We may look in the mirror and think we are too old to be used by God. Moses probably wondered the same thing. God called Moses through a burning bush to lead the Children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. Moses was called when he was 80 and didn’t finish his task until he died at 120.

Or do we look in the mirror and wonder if we are too young to be used by God? Did Mary wonder about that? She was very likely just a teenager when the angel told her she would bear a Son who would come to be the Savior of the world.

What if we have some form of disability? We believe God is leading us to do something, but we wonder if we have the knowledge, strength and determination to do it. The truth is, a disability is really no different from any other limited human ability. No matter how able or disabled we may be, God wants us to trust Him to bring about His abilities in our lives in service to Him. Young, old, able or disabled, each one of us must put our faith in God and allow Him to give us the strength, determination and hope that we need so that we do not rely on our own abilities.

Look at what Paul wrote to the Ephesian believers: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (3:20,21). God’s power at work within us allows us to move beyond all the limitations we might see in ourselves or that others might see in us. On the other hand, when we look to our own abilities and leave God out of the picture, we reverse that equation. Look at Jesus’ clear statement in John 15:5: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

Look at those two realities again. On the one hand, with God, you can accomplish more than you could even think to ask or imagine. On the other hand, without God, you can accomplish nothing of real value. Without His strength, without His love, without His power in our lives, we are incapable of doing what He has for us.

God will meet your needs.
Because God has a plan and purpose for your life, He is committed to providing for you everything that you need.

Matthew 6:25-34 and Luke 12:22-34 both record Jesus’ teaching on faith and His warning against worry. And Jesus clearly addressed some very natural worries — the safety of our lives, the food and clothing we need, the uncertainties of the future. Our Savior commands us not to worry about tomorrow. God’s Word echoes the Savior’s teaching. Philippians 4:6,7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Proverbs 3:5,6 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.”

Over and over again, God’s Word tells us to trust in God, not to worry, not to be anxious. Whatever you are dealing with today, do not be anxious, do not worry, do not fear. Trust in God. In prayer, ask God to take care of the situations that you are dealing with in your life. Then know that God will lead you through them.

Why? Because He has a plan and purpose for your life. Jeremiah proclaimed that promise some 2,600 years ago. It is just as true today.


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DORSEY ROSS is an ordained evangelist with the New York District of the Assemblies of God. For more information, visit dorseyrossministries.org.

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