How to Make God Laugh

Have you ever been on the beach when the morning mist is still thick and wet in the air? It seems so dense and impressive, muting colors and dampening sounds. Yet, give it until about 9:30 or 10 o’clock in the morning and the mist that was so present simply dissolves in the heat of the sun. That is the picture James paints for us to describe the temporal nature of life in the passage we’ll be reading this Sunday – James 4:13-17.

As you read these verses, do you think that James is anti-planning, or against establishing a for profit business? What can we understand his point to be about making plans?

Have you ever had great expectations about something you wanted to accomplish or experience, only to have it all fall through? What did you feel in those moments? How does Jame’s counsel help us to respond well to times of frustrated planning?

V17 almost seems out of place, until you put it in the context of the warning that life is short and planning in light of God’s purposes is vital. In light of how short life is, what is the message of v17 to you?

James pulls no punches, but that’s ok, nobody said maturity would come easily.  Looking forward to exploring this with you on Sunday…hope to see you then!

4 comments

  1. I like the comparison of going through our lives daily and taking a trip. How often have we changed our minds or directions in either. I would venture to say that happpens more often than not. And aren’t our plans for the day or trip really specific when we set out. Kind of like getting a “trip planner” from AAA. But the “trip planner” does not say on I-55 outside of somewhere we will run over a piece of metal and our tire will explode, or my daily plans yesterday at work did not involve the immediate needs of a client which involved half of the day, and backed me up on the projects I am currently working on. I wonder why that is? If we didn’t plan those changes, than I guess we don’t control them.

    In my walk with Jesus he has already told me that there is something to worry about on this journey. Both daily and the long trip I am taking to go home. He has explained to me just what some of the detours, road signs, etc will be, not all but some. Enough information that I should at least be aware and not surprised by any sudden changes. Kind of like the warning to the camper to be prepared for all weather types on your camping trip. How many go out unprepared and we read about either a rescue or a distater. If we are so lack in a camping trip, how easy going are we with our walk in life with the Lord?

    In V17 seems James is reminding us that the only good “trip planner” we have is the word of God. Since our destination is eternal life with Jesus, His words will not only warn us of the problems along the way, but how to deal with them so we can continue along the same road home. Sin is just a way of saying, “we done gone and changed direction”, and that direction will not get us where we want to go.

    Someone told me once, “If God is your co-pilot, change seats.”

    Looking forward to being there on sunday, at least that is my plan, but I could sleep late, get in an accident, well you know what I mean.

  2. I love that Spud..if God is your co-pilot change seats!!
    I don’t believe God is anti-planning or anti-business venturing. In fact He tells us that whatever we do we should do our best as if we are doing it for Him. In many jobs and life in general we have to do a bit of planning if not we would be irresponsible with the things and people God has entrusted to us. I think it is when those plans or dreams become idols to us and we grip them more tightly than our relationship with God and people that they become a problem. I believe we are to keep a loose hold on our plans and expectations. Submitting them first to God and then knowing that if it doesn’t turn out the way we expected then our all knowing God must have a better plan. We can’t “put all our eggs in one basket” so to speak. We don’t always have clear direction from God with business ventures or decisions we are in the midst of so we go, lead by His peace leaving the outcomes to Jesus. Then we aren’t so devastated when life takes a tough turn, we can trust Him to care for us no matter the circumstances.
    To me vs. 17 is multi-faceted. Knowing that we are not guaranteed tomorrow we are to live each day doing good. Like Spud said we have the bible that guides many of life’s decisions. The bottom line is, as Rob has said so many times, love God and love people. Don’t allow the pursuit of things or money consume our lives to the point of neglecting the weightier things, our relationships with family, church, community and our King. God put us here to love and serve Him and others. If we do this we can rest assured that we ARE fulfilling our divine destiny.

  3. Proverbs 16:9 says A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.
    I CLING to this pretty often. So much so that it’s a permanent fixture on my fridge. I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that I know what God’s plans are once he’s revealed a small piece of it. My heart is in the right place, or at least I think it is, and I run with whatever I think God has planned. I feel that small steering of my heart… His voice saying “Slow it down missy. You’re getting ahead of me. You think you know but you have no idea. Just sit back and let me do the the job of leading you like you asked me to in the first place.” Sometimes I relent and sit back. Sometimes I go full steam ahead because I’m flat out stubborn. Rob, you’ve said before that evil is when God is no longer present. Basically when we’ve kicked him out. We can love him and want with all of our hearts to follow him but sometimes we’re just stubborn. To me, those times that I go full steam ahead are evil. Even though I’m not running around murdering or stealing or doing anything corrupt, I’ve left God in the dust.

    Recently Matt and I have felt God leading us to move (not out of town, just closer to the beach area). It took a few days of adjusting to the thought, but once I did I went to work making lists of the things that need to be done to our house before we put it on the market and I started searching online for what houses are out there for us to buy. I felt that every time I looked for a house I took my eyes off of God. My heart was with him, but my eyes were on houses and needs and wants… Even though I felt that steering and the voice saying “slow it down” I kept on because ‘what’s the harm in looking at houses on the computer’. That right there… evil. I left him in the dust plain and simple.

    Matt is in Orlando right now with the Senior boys at Rock the Universe. The property HAS to be mowed. (If you’ve been here you know it’s big. It’s an almost all day thing so it’s not something you can really put off for later in the day.) No biggie. It’s something I do on a regular basis. Only this time it’s raining a little off and on and I had just put Brady to bed. Ooops… I need gas. I make arrangements for someone to be at the house and I go get gas just around the corner. I get back, start mowing and not 5 minutes into it the belt comes off. (This week the boys and I have been learning James 1:1-4 that we should ask God what he wants us to learn when there are obstacles in life.) I have no idea how to fix the belt but I know the lawn HAS to be mowed. I stop to pray and ask God what I can be learning from this obstacle, then I get on the ground and try to figure out how to fix the mower. I ended up with no idea how to fix it and swarmed by mosquitoes so I resolve to come inside and see what I can find on youtube about the problem. As soon as I have that idea it starts to POOR BUCKETS on my head. I park the tractor in the barn, head inside still thinking I’m going to look up the problem. As soon as I walk in the door… lightning. “Ok God. I get it. No mowing the lawn. What do you want me to do?” The second I’m done asking I get “Go to Wonderwhat” as my answer. So here I am.

    Big things, little things… it’s all relevant because it’s all life and it’s all an opportunity. Even though I try my best, sometimes I listen and sometimes I don’t. I guess all I can do is pray that I get a little wiser and better at listening and obeying each day.

  4. Go….do this, do that, keep moving. Make things happen now! This doesn’t feel right when things are still, That would mean I would have to let go of the mess in this world that I create. Oh yeah that’s what happens when I think I am in control and take the focus off of what God wants me to do. No, but wait I got this! I know what You want me to do, I get it, I understand, now let’s move, nope not yet. Stop. Wait. Listen stay in the moment and believe God is going to put me where He wants me. I will have everything in his time not mine.

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