Nothing is by chance
9The person makes his plans, but god, the Lord, directs his life.
Brethren, if this verse were of human authorship, it would be nothing more than a simple popular saying. However, it is written in the Bible, which is written by human beings, but it is the word of God!
He says people make their plans. Yes, we must make our plans, for this is how we can act and seek the blessings of God we want. We must not fail to make plans, but rather submit them to God’s approval, for he is the one who directs our lives!
Do you believe that it is the Lord who directs your life? Those who answered “yes” will agree with the theme of our message today: Nothing is by chance!
Around this central theme that God is the lord of our life, let’s see some situations described in the Bible to illustrate and reference situations that we live in our daily lives
.The goal of today’s message is to bring peace to our hearts. It is to increase our trust in God and reinforce that His plans are perfect.
Maybe some of us are asking ourselves, “Why do I have to put up with these people around me?” “What am I doing wrong that I can’t get what I want?” “Where is God who does not help me in my affliction?”
Honestly, I don’t know if these questions will all be answered today, but at least we’ll see that it’s possible that such answers are in the Bible.
Philip was once participating with the other apostles in early church meetings. Everything was going well, but an angel of the Lord told him to go to a certain road in the south of the country. It was an almost deserted road, but Philip trusted, got ready and went there.
29 Then the Holy Spirit said to Philip:
“Get close to that carriage and accompany it.
30Philip ran near the carriage, and heard the clerk reading the book of the prophet Isaiah. Then he asked:
“Do you understand what you are reading?
Philip’s prayer life allowed him to hear the Holy Spirit confirm his mission: “come close…”. What would make no sense to an ordinary person became clear to the Lord’s servant when he saw that man read the scriptures, the book that spoke exactly of the Lamb of God!
And Philip fulfilled his mission. He explained the gospel to man to the point that he asked to be baptized immediately.
And now Philip? You’ve done what God told you, what’s next?
39 When they were coming out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord took Philip away. The clerk no longer saw Philip, but continued his journey, full of joy. 40 Philip suddenly found himself in the city of Nitrogen and went on a journey, proclaiming the gospel throughout the cities until he reached Caesarea.
After fulfilling His purpose in that place, He himself takes us to another.
The Christian’s life is never random. God sends us wherever He wants us to be. Trust in God reassures us when we know he is in charge. Prayer keeps our spiritual eyes open to see the task God has given us.
Brothers, give your best wherever you are. If you don’t see a mission from God for you in that place, say and trust. You may not be seeing the carriage!
It may be that You are sent by god. Sometimes we want to go to a certain place or do something, but god may not want us to do so, it is not in the plans of god.
Acts 9: 1-2
1 Meanwhile, Saul continued to threaten the followers of the Lord Jesus with death. He went to speak with the High Priest 2 and asked for letters of introduction to the synagogues in the city of Damascus. With these documents, Saul was able to arrest and take to Jerusalem the followers of the Way of the Lord who lived there, both men and women.
Note in this passage that Saul had a plan: a mission to hunt Christians. Today we know that this was not God’s plan, but Saul believed it was, he was raised and educated as a Jew and Jesus was rejected by the Jews. Saul’s thinking was reinforced when he requested and obtained letters of introduction with which he could arrest and take followers of the Way of the Lord to Jerusalem! Everything seemed to fit together perfectly.We are often mistaken too. We prepare everything and this “everything” works so well that we think this is our destiny. The Bible does not mention it, but I imagine that Saul was so blinded by his certainties that he did not pray for his mission. (This is a mistake he did not make a second time that we will see later.)
And then Saul continues with the letters full of certainties, but God has other plans for him. Plans he couldn’t even imagine. Jesus himself speaks to Saul and works on his conversion. He is miraculously blind for a few days and is miraculously healed again.
Acts 9: 19-20
19then he ate something and became strong as before.
Saul spent a few days with Jesus’ followers in Damascus. 20E immediately began to announce Jesus in the synagogues, saying:
– Jesus is the Son of God.
How good it is to be surprised by God’s plans, because they are always much better than ours! From persecutor to preacher.
Brothers, even if your heart is full of certainties, seek the guidance of our Lord and let yourself be surprised by Him.
Another interesting situation is when we have a clear vision of what God wants us to do. In Acts 10: 9-16 Peter has a vision. He sees a sheet with several animals inside and God warns him not to consider what he has purified as impure. At this moment, some men arrived and knocked on the door of the house where Pedro was staying. These men asked for SimActs 10: 21-23
21Then Peter went down and said to the men,
– I am the person you are looking for. Why did you come here?
– We were sent by Commander Cornélio. He is a good man, he fears God and is highly respected by all Jews. An angel of God told him to ask you to come to his house so that he hears what you are going to say.
23Then Peter invited the men in, and took them there that night.
It is good to seek confirmation, just as Pedro did. God is the only omnipresent and omniscient being. When the history of men confirmed what Peter had heard in his vision, he was sure that it was a mission of the Holy Spirit.
And Peter was a simple man, a fisherman whose only source of knowledge was Jesus for his faith and prayer. Now Pedro sees himself as important, being sent by God for a mission with a high commander. Pedro could be proud of this status, but:
Acts 10: 19-20
19Peter was still thinking about the vision when the Holy Spirit said:
– Listen! There are three men looking for you. 20Now get ready, go down and go with them. Go easy because I told them to come here.
A clear order from the Holy Spirit! There was no reason for Peter to doubt, but Peter was a Jew and the men who sought him out were Gentiles. Pedro is characterized by history scholars as an impulsive man, who does not mediate his words and actions. But even with these characteristics and even though this vision is clear, it teaches us to be cautious. God does speak to us, but as the enemy also speaks, let’s see what we should do when we have a vision that we think is a revelation from God:
Acts 10: 25-26
25When Peter entered, Cornelius came to meet him, knelt and bowed his head before him. 26But Peter made him get up and said,
– Stand up, because I’m just a man like you.
Attention brothers: being sent by God for a mission does not make us better than anyone else! We can and must rejoice at being chosen, but it is important to maintain humility.
God is God, He puts us where he wants and with whom he wants. Humility is important both to recognize that God is the most important, as well as to be able to work as a team, if our Lord so puts us. Let’s look at the situation in Antioch:
Acts 13: 1-3
1 In the church at Antioch there were the following prophets and teachers: Barnabas; Simeon, called “the Negro”; Lucius, by Cyrene; Manaém, who had been brought up with Governor Herod and Saul. 2 Once, when they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said:
– Separate Barnabas and Saul for me to do the work to which I have called you.
3Then they fasted and prayed and laid hands on Barnabas and Saul. And they sent them on their mission.
Sometimes God places us with people so different that we feel out of place, as if we are not part of the group. Let’s look at this situation in detail:
Barnabas (“son of consolation”) was a peacemaker, he always appeased disputes between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians; was responsible for bringing Paul (or Saulo) to Antioch.
Simeon, also called “Niger” (“black”).
Lucius, little is known about him, except that he was from Cyrene, in North Africa
Manaém, probably a member of the court.
Saul (or Paul), a trained rabbi and Pharisee, became a great missionary and martyr to the Early Church.
These explanations were taken from the “Women’s Bible” in its explanatory notes. They give us an idea of the differences between missionaries in their original beliefs, character, skin color, social class, training, etc.
These men came from different religions, histories and traditions, but were united in their mission for Christ. Without humility, each would be seeking to impose himself on the others claiming to have received his mission from the Holy Spirit. In fact, they were all sent there by God, but they were all the same before Him.
I recommend reading Acts 16. This chapter tells us a sequence of directions given by the Holy Spirit to Paul and Silas. When Saul tried to hunt Christians, do you remember that I dared to say that he had not prayed? Well, here in Acts 16 the same Saul, now transformed into Paul by Jesus, was attentive to the Holy Spirit. The Bible describes to us that they could have regretted not going where they wanted to go, but instead they decided to obey God and many people, whole families, were saved.
Even in jail they remained happy and faithful to God, because they knew they were not there by chance, but by the Lord’s will. And even from there, they managed to preach the gospel.
This teaches us that we should not be sorry. Looking for a way out, fighting adversity, yes, we must act instead of accepting everything. But never regret, because in the life of a Christian, NOTHING IS BY CHANCE!
Let’s stand up to pray together:
God, lord of our lives, thank you for your message. The Lord has plans for each of us and has given us the right to choose so that we can prove to the Lord our faith and trust. God strengthens this faith and enables us to carry out his plans, which are much better than ours. May our lives be used only for your glory. Amen!