Daily D – Romans 1:10-12
One of the things I always pray for is the opportunity, God willing to come at last to see you. For I long to visit you so I can bring you some spiritual gift that will help you grow strong in the Lord. When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, but I also want to be encouraged by yours. ROMANS 1:10-12 (NLT)
Some people are better at planning ahead than others. Strategic planning is a discipline. It requires forethought. It knows the destination and the steps necessary to arrive there. Most of us are better at this than we think. For example, have you ever taken a vacation trip? If so, you have engaged in strategic planning.
You began with a mission: We are going to ___________! Whether it was Hawaii, Disneyland, or Graceland, you knew where you were going. You had a vision. You collected travel brochures or saved internet pages in a Travel folder in Evernote. You knew what it would look like when you got there. That compass and those travel brochures were what you needed to get started with your planning.
Then you thought about, or someone did, how much it was going to cost. You set some sort of budget. You gathered all your points, miles, and pennies and plotted out your spending on travel, meals, lodging, and sundry adventures.
Next, you decided what steps to take in what order. You knew when you would leave and when you would return. You decided where to stay and what to do. Your strategy was in place. Finally, you determined how this was going to add value to your life. You pondered how you would be different on the other side of the upcoming events. You knew you would stretch to new sizes and never return to who you were before your great adventure.
Paul was good at planning. While we do not know for sure when and where he wrote Romans, he most assuredly wrote it before Acts 28. It appears he may have written it while he was in Corinth four or five years before he made it to Rome. The appeal of the city was unmistakable. His original plan was to stop there on his way to Spain. He probably never made it to Spain, but it was not for lack of planning.
One of the reasons Paul wanted to go to Rome was because the faith of the Christians there was “being talked about all over the world,” (v. 8). Paul had been praying for those disciples day and night (v. 9). He wanted to visit them (v. 10). He wanted to do what he could to strengthen their faith (v. 11). He wanted to encourage them and be encouraged by them (v. 12). He had planned many times to go to Rome but was prevented from doing so (v. 13).
When we read Acts 28:15, we see a dream come true and fondest hopes fulfilled. Paul made it to Rome at last. “The brothers and sisters in Rome had heard we were coming, and they came to meet us at the Forum on the Appian Way. Others joined us at the Three Taverns. When Paul saw them, he was encouraged and thanked God.”
Several years before this most pleasant of surprises, Paul had written in Rom. 1:12 how he wanted to encourage them and be encouraged by them. This God dream came true and Paul stopped to thank God for answering his prayers so precisely and delightfully.
- Where do you want to go?
- What do you want to do?
- What do you want to learn?
- What do you want to achieve?
- What do you want to obtain?
These questions and categories help us create bucket lists that are not selfish in nature, but instead help us maximize our lives in a manner honoring to God and in service to others. Paul had a dream long before he had travel plans.
A good time to think and plan like this is at the end of vacation. My bride and I have been on vacation this week. She has only worked for about twenty hours instead of her normal sixty. The pandemic and planning for a new school year have interrupted every school administrator’s life. Plans are still forming regarding how to do school this fall and the start date is a little over a month away.
Now is a good time to think about where we want to go, what we want to do, what we want to learn, what we want to achieve, and what we want to obtain. These plans and dreams are not about spending money and buying t-shirts. These plans and dreams are about stretching to fit the God-sized life he wants for us.
Take some time to answer the questions above. Write at least five items for each question. Ask God to guide your dreams. Ask him to fulfill them in his way and in his timing. Trust him to build a bigger, better life for you than you could create for yourself. You will find yourself pleasantly, delightfully surprised by how he aligns resources to make his dreams for you come true.
I do not want you to live the life of your dreams. I want you to live the life of God’s dreams for you. His plans are always bigger, better, and more delightful than our own.
I will dream with God.
Our Father, we often ask you to direct our steps. Direct our thoughts, plans, and dreams as well. Show us what you want for us. Expand our horizons. Stretch us into all you desire for us. Maximize our lives. I cannot imagine anything better. Amen.
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Ruth 1:20, 21 “Don’t call me Naomi. Call me Mara,” she answered, “for the Almighty has made me very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since the LORD has opposed me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” (CSB)