How can I apply this to my everyday living?
NKJV - 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.
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God spoke these words to the members of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin after they had been taken into captivity in Babylon, as God had warned them would happen because of their sin. Despite punishing them in this manner, however, God did not intend to totally abandon them or forget His promises to them, since it was still to be from the tribe of Judah that God's prophesied Messiah would eventually come. And, in fact, God did bring the people back to the land after a period of seventy years in exile. Although the words being asked about were spoken in the context of the specific circumstances of the Babylonian exile, they also represent a more general promise on the part of God to people all the way up to modern times for whom (although we are all estranged from God because of our sin) God eventually sent His Son Jesus as the Messiah, who lived a sinless life, died to satisfy God's justice for the sins of all humanity, and then rose again, so that all who place their faith in Christ's atoning death may have eternal life with God. Despite the inevitable difficulties and hardships that can arise in the course of our earthly lives (when, even as Christians, we (like the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) are in exile from our true eternal home in heaven), God makes a similar promise to us today, both in the words of Paul with respect to our earthly lives ("And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28)), and in the words of Jesus regarding the assurance of our possession of eternal life ("Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life." (John 6:47)). Speaking personally, I've found that truly believing -- not just in the abstract, but with as much confidence as I have in anything in this life -- that I am going to live FOREVER with God; that nothing happens to me without the permissive will of a God who loves me and wants me to become continually more like Jesus; and that God is capable of making even the worst events that can befall me to work for my good, makes a tremendous difference in the general perspective with which I approach life, and the joy and peace that I can have in day-to-day living, regardless of any momentary problems that may arise. I am motivated to always be looking for ways in which God intends what is happening right now to be for His glory and my benefit.
The Lord’s plans for us are nothing but good. The evil we experience doesn’t come from the Lord. It’s because we aren’t following God’s plans that most of us encounter evil. As we follow God’s plans for our lives, we can be assured of the outcome. There will be an expected future. The apostle Paul said that he knew when he came to the Romans, he would come in the fullness of God’s blessing (Romans 15:29). Those who seek God with all their hearts aren’t promised any problems, but they are promised victory and an expected end. This was spoken to people in exile. They were under the punishment of God, and yet He still had good plans for them that would cause them to prosper. This was manifested in the lives of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
God has a plan for everything, He knows the best for us. If we ask for something, He either says "Yes.", or "Not yet.", or "I have something better than that.". Proverbs 16:1 says, "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord." sometimes our decisions would mess up things we were supposed to do, so we just have to put our faith in Him, and follow what He says! God can help us through, if we just hold onto Him! :)
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