I Know the Thoughts

The title is based on the first four words from the verse below. The word ‘thoughts’ is translated as ‘plans’ in the ESV and the word in Hebrew means thoughts, plans or intentions.  

11 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 (NKJV)

Here I am focusing on the first four words, because as I have pointed out in the past, the full promise in the verse was not going to be fulfilled for 70 years and most of the hearers of Jeremiah’s proclamation would not live to see it come to pass. Hence my focus is on how we apply the first idea in the sentence to our lives.

            What we see here in the general sense is that the Lord thinks about us, He has plans for us. While they aren’t the same for each of us, they are for each of us. The Lord doesn’t devise evil for us. His desire is that we would encounter and experience His goodness and grace.  

            The word translated as thoughts/plans is also found in this verse in reference to the thoughts of the heart.

5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (ESV)

While this verse from Genesis is accurate it is reflective of what our thoughts or plans can produce, not the Lord’s thoughts and plans for us. We find His original thoughts and plans in Genesis and repeated in Psalms.

28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28 (NKJV)

6 You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet, Psalm 8:6 (NKJV)

Our Father’s plan is that we each take responsibility and exercise dominion. This starts with our own lives. It includes understanding the sphere of authority commensurate with our calling and gifting. For example, if we are called to intercession, we can exercise authority in the place of prayer for others. If we are called to teach or lead, we can exercise authority there, dominion really in each case. In doing so we need to be aware of our limits. Paul said he had been given a sphere of authority (2 Corinthians 10:12-16).

In keeping with our sphere of authority we need to be aware of how it operates. One of the primary gifts in my life is teaching. Yet I still need permission to teach others, whether that is being invited to speak to a group or one on one. For example, I play Pickleball and am fairly good at it. Yet when playing with someone who is just learning or less skilled if I see areas for improvement I try to remember to say, “Would you like some feedback on how you are playing?” If I try to offer tips without permission, whether they are accepted or rebuffed, I have gone beyond my sphere of authority.  

In each of our lives the Father has thoughts and plans for us. To see them realized we need to determine how to exercise the dominion He has given us within our sphere of authority.  

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I have been walking with Jesus since 1985. I am currently retired from my career in the helping professions but still focused on ministering to others. I completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in Apologetics in September 2020.

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