Day 3:Peace in Planning

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:11 & Jeremiah 29:12-14

“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.”

 

Have you ever forgotten something you needed for school, let’s just say…. your homework! Do you remember that feeling of panic when you realized that you didn’t pick it up off the table and put it in your backpack?  Do you remember if your parents or grandparents reminded you to pack everything up?  Only if you had listened instead of playing that last level of Minecraft you would never have had to worry! Have you ever felt that overwhelming sense of relief and peace when you opened your folder and the homework you forgot to pack was miraculously there! Your parent or loved one saw that you had not prepared and packed it for you! They had a plan for your success, even when you didn’t.

In the book of Jeremiah, God’s people, the Israelites, had again and again ignored God’s warnings to stop their sinful ways and turn back to God, so God let them be captured by a foreign army and taken to Babylon to serve the government there.  They were without home, or family and felt lost, hurt and probably ashamed.  But God tells them in Jeremiah 29:11, that he has not forgotten them and that he has a plan for their lives.  They, like us, could choose to trust God or continue to be sad and defeated.  God tells them in verses 12-14 of that same chapter that if they will trust him, he will return them to the home and people that they love. God says:

“12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.[b] I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”

Knowing that God has a plan for us, even in bad situations, can bring us a feeling of peace in our lives. We like the exiles Jeremiah is talking to, must seek God in our lives with all our hearts. When we do, He will show us what we need to do.

God encourages us to plan, when you grow up, it is inevitable that we will have things happen along the way such as sickness or the loss of a job. We should be responsible and make sure that we save and plan to take care of our basic needs and responsibilities. We need to be prepared for those unexpected life events, if we fail to properly prepare, we will end up depending on others for our basic needs. Being prepared, having a plan, praying and trusting God can alleviate worry so that you may experience Christ’s peace in your finances and be free to worship and serve God. One of the best ways to plan your finances is to use a budget.

Around Christmas time we all tend to over spend on gifts and when we do it leaves us walking into the New Year with our heads down full of regret and debt! Let’s remember to stick to our budgets this year. If you or your family have no budget, plan to get on track as soon as possible to get your finances under control. At Camp Change this year we taught children how to prepare a simple budget and challenged them to take one home for their parents. This activity encouraged conversations about exactly how much it cost for each family to pay their bills and provide for the family’s basic needs. By discussing the family budget with children this can get them excited about ways to contribute by cutting cost, earning money, and learning to be responsible with the money they have earned.

Remember, as we plan and prepare, we must include God in the process. Making a plan is good, but praying and making sure that your plan is God’s plan is even better.

Prayer- God please help me to trust in your plan for my life.  Help me to seek you and what you would want when I plan for my future and finances.  Amen.

Activity- As a family prepare a Christmas budget. Decide how much you will spend on gifts and as a family hold each other accountable for staying within the budgeted amounts. It is so important that the adults in the home participate in this activity.

Challenge- I challenge you to create a monthly budget. If you already prepare a monthly budget take some time to sit down with your children and show them some of the items on the budget so that they can see and understand what it cost to run your families home. Remember, every family has a different situation and if you do not feel comfortable speaking to your child about the family budget please feel free to reach out to your pastor or a financial counselor to address your concerns.