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FIRST-PERSON: Facing your future

LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP)–“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans … to give you a future and a hope … You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest” (Jeremiah 29:11,13, LB).

No matter what the pollsters, pundits and prognosticators claim, no one can accurately predict all that is going to happen in the next 365 days. Our best forecasts are just educated guesses.

Changes in our society have not only increased in speed and intensity but also in their unpredictability. Doing business in this environment is what Michael Annison calls “Managing the Whirlwind.”

How can anyone succeed when the future is so uncertain?

The Bible suggests three timeless principles for facing your future:

INCLUDE GOD IN YOUR GOAL-SETTING. Frankly, it’s foolish to make plans without consulting God first. He’s the only one who knows the future — and he’s eager to guide you through it.

The Bible says, “We may make our plans, but God has the last word” (Proverbs 16:1). In other words, planning without praying is presumption. Start by praying, “God, what do YOU want me to do in 2003?”

LIVE ONE DAY AT A TIME. While you can plan for tomorrow, you can’t live it until it arrives. Most people spend so much time regretting the past and worrying about the future that they have no time to enjoy today.

The songwriter John Lennon once wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Decide to make the most of each moment this year. Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow — God will take care of your tomorrows. Live one day at a time” (Matthew 6:34).

DON’T PROCRASTINATE — DO IT NOW! “Don’t boast about what you’re going to do tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day may bring forth” (Proverbs 27:1).

Procrastinating is a subtle trap. It wastes today by postponing things until tomorrow. You promise yourself that you’ll do it “one of these days.” But “one of these days” is usually “none of these days.”

What did you plan to get done last year that you didn’t do? When do you intend to start working on it? Why not be purpose-driven in your life this coming year?

“Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act. Don’t say to your neighbor, ‘Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow,’ when you now have it with you” (Proverbs 3:27-28).
Warren is pastor of Saddleback Valley Community Church, Lake Forest, Calif.

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  • Rick Warren