Our Plans Vs. God’s Will

March 23, 2020

Good day everyone!

   This is Facebook Live day 5 for our COVID – 19 Series – WELCOME.

Let’s start our time off with a few jokes –

  • Did you hear about the guy whose boss told him to have a good day, so he went home.
  • What do you call a boomerang that won’t come back? A stick.
  • A woman in labor suddenly shouted, “Shouldn’t! Wouldn’t! Couldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t! – “Don’t worry,” said the Doc. Those are just contractions.”

   What’s going on in our life today? Take a moment and type a comment in the comment section below. I’ll wait and see who responds.

Pause for Prayer: Do you have a prayer request for today? Send it to SLBC at our website, or respond below in the comments here on Facebook.

  • Church family
  • People traveling for work
  • Moms & Dads with their kids
  • Shut-ins
  • Neighbors
  • Police and first responders
  • Medical centers and hospitals
  • National leaders to get their act together

A Word from the LORD today – Our Plans Vs. God’s Will

Our word from the LORD will be found in James 4:13-17.

   I. We plan without God – v. 13 

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”;

   As I read that verse, I couldn’t help but to think of William Earnest Henley’s (1849-1903) famous poem: Invictus

 Out of the night that covers me,   
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,   
I thank whatever gods may be   
  For my unconquerable soul.   

In the fell clutch of circumstance 
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.   
Under the bludgeonings of chance   
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.   

Beyond this place of wrath and tears   
  Looms but the Horror of the shade, 
And yet the menace of the years   
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.   

It matters not how strait the gate,   
  How charged with punishments the scroll,   
I am the master of my fate:
  I am the captain of my soul.

   So many people think that they are in charge of their lives – they’re not.

   Have you ever noticed that some people are into chasing the almighty dollar – they live for profit. This verse seems to be speaking to merchants. Traveling salesmen. People who push products for a living. Sometimes people can get so busy chasing the almighty dollar that they forget the ALMIGHTY!

   Don’t plan your day without God. Put God front and center of your daily life.

   III. We presume about tomorrow – v. 14

14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Do you see the question in this verse? James asks, “For what is your life?” Think about that question for just a moment. What is your life? James answers his own question. He states.

  • It is a vapor that appears for a little time. (Vapor is a puff of steam).
  • It quickly vanishes away. I personally find it hard to believe that I’m 60 years old. Don’t blink your eyes or you’ll quickly be there too.

   Years ago someone said that the brevity of life could be the dash on the headstone between one’s birth, and one’s death. The dash is small compared to eternity.

One author penned, “James tells them that they had not factored into the equation the brevity and unpredictability of life. They could talk about one place, that city over there, and, before they could get there, end up in another place—eternity. They could talk about a period of time, this year or next, and, before that period began, find themselves in the realm of the timeless.

How easily we forget what life is like! It is a vapor! It is like the morning mist that lingers only in the early morning hours and vanishes when the sun rises. And when the sun rises, it doesn’t take long for the vapor to vanish!”[1]

   SLBC family – we need this Biblical perspective about our lives. We must begin to focus on what really matters in this life. Preparing for what lies ahead.

   It is possible that COVID-19 is a blessing in disguise. By that I mean is I possible that God wants to SLOW us down, so that we will actually contemplate what is really important in this life. So many people live as if they have a corner on life – they don’t.

   God help us to pause long enough during these days of social distancing and take inventory of what is really important in the days to come.

   Hint: People and God’s Word is the only things that last forever. 

   III. We pass over God’s Will – v. 15

15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”

   Can I ask you a question, and at the same time I am asking myself this question: Do I ever consider God’s Will for my daily life? Do I factor in that God has a will for my daily life? 

   How many of us really want God’s perspective on how we live every day?

  • Do we start our day with God on our minds?
  • Do we contemplate God through our day?
  • Do we bring our day to a close thinking about God?

   The point that James is making is that we are to live our daily lives in such a way that we don’t forget God. Keep God front and center in all of our decisions.

  • In light of COVID-19 what should your family do?
  • How many people do you feel comfortable to be around?
  • Will we let God use us to minister to others who might be afraid, fearful, or anxious?
  • Are we open to be the hands and feet of Jesus during this pandemic?

   Here is a suggestion: Begin to pray daily that God will reveal His will for you during this global COVID-19 Pandemic. God what is your will for my life? Speak to me.

   IV. We put forth arrogance and boasting – v. 16-17

16 But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil.

Have you ever met someone who seemed to have their lives all neatly wrapped up in a brightly covered package? They tell you their plans for the next decade, and lay it out like a road map. All the time you hear them say:

  • I am going to do this
  • I plan to take these steps
  • I will reach these goals
  • I’m going to push ahead

   Self-centered bragging must be replaced by God-honoring trust.[2]

   Yesterday in the Sunday sermon I spoke about Nebuchadnezzar’s pride. Well, this is what we have here in this verse as well – PRIDE.

   There are some people who live as if they don’t need God in their daily activities. I for one cannot think of not having God involved in my daily activities.

   You might think you have your life all wrapped up in a package, but if the truth be known, it’s a very small package.

   Boasting and arrogance is called EVIL. 

   V. We practice good and do it – v. 17 

17 Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.[3]

   We constantly have the tendency to make this life the main event and eternity a footnote. Eternity is the main event, and only a fool lives as if this life is all that there is.[4] Don’t live for the dot (the present), but for the line (eternity) writes Randy Alcorn.

   One author wrote, “Don’t count on your time. It is passing! Don’t count on your possessions. They will soon belong to someone else. Don’t count on your career. It will soon be over. But count on this: eternity is rapidly approaching, and only those who have taken refuge in Jesus Christ can face it.”[5]

  • What good is God asking you to do in light of COVID-19?
  • What good is God asking you to do in light of your Biblical understanding?
  • What good can you do in your community? Acts of kindness to neighbors.
  • What good can you do in your own life?
  • Will we live to do good?
   As your Pastor I want to encourage all of us to listen for the Holy Spirit to speak to our heart about any action on our part. Do what God tells you to do. If you know to do good, and you don’t do it, it is sin.   

[1] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (pp. 141–142). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[2] Blue, J. R. (1985). James. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 832). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[3] The New King James Version. (1982). (Jas 4:13–17). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (p. 142). Leominster: Day One Publications.

[5] Ellsworth, R. (2009). Opening up James (p. 142). Leominster: Day One Publications.