We Know Not What Tomorrow Will Bring:

Are you a planner? Do you have next week all planned? Maybe you even have next month planned. Did you know that born again followers of Christ are not to plan their time the way they used to before they were saved? Why? Because Jesus paid a debt that no one is able to pay back. Jesus purchased your eternal soul with His blood, and He already has plans for you.

Podcast 51 Transcript

(This is a computer generated transcript of this podcast. This is NOT a typed transcript and it has not been edited. Expect grammatical and syntactical errors.)

Hello, and good day. I am B. R. Maul, and you are listening to the podcast Living God’s Way in an Ungodly World. Here is where we look at God’s word, and we use God’s word to direct us in what we should be doing as Christians. As a response to the world around us, what does living God’s way look like in this world that does not want God and does not want us Christians?

Because Christianity, of course, challenges the narrative of this world. And the world hates that, because all other religions are false. Jesus has made it clear that He is the way. There is no other way. And because of that, that is why Jesus, when He walked this earth, was crucified. Because even the Pharisees, those Jews who specifically should have known their Messiah, did not recognize Him.

And I’m sure that even for those who did, they didn’t want to lose what they had. And that was power. That was wealth. And to this day, we still see that, and it’s getting worse and worse. So here is where we come together, look at God’s word and learn from God’s word. Sometimes we’ll look at what others may have said but I spend very little time in my teaching outside of God’s word because God’s word stands alone.

Nothing is needed to support the Bible. The Bible is inerrant; it is written by the Holy Spirit through mankind, and in a way that we can’t explain it. There’s really no way for us to comprehend that. God doesn’t intend for us to be able to answer everything. There are things He has purposely kept from us.

In Proverbs 25:2, we are told that it is to the glory of God to conceal a matter To the glory of kings to search out a matter. So God has concealed certain things from us. But it is in our hearts to look for it. We want answers to our questions. Because we have a lot of questions.

Now we are still in the book of James. And today we are wrapping up chapter 4. Verses 13 through 17. These are four verses that I have committed to memory because it’s something that I struggled with immensely when I was younger and because of the way of the world it’s so ingrained in me to do things for a certain reason to prosper myself and to make my own plans that I have memorized these four verses and it helps. Every time we memorize verses in God’s word, it will only benefit us. It will never hurt us and it’s something that we can recall in order to guide us when we do forget. I say when because no matter how long you’ve been walking with the Lord you’re going to lose sight, you’re going to take your eyes off of Jesus, and even if it is for a moment, that is all it takes in order to lose sight of Him.

As usual I will read the verses and then I’ll back up and unpack those verses. James chapter 4 verses 13 through 17, New King James version.

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, 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. Instead, you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.

Here ends the reading. Heavenly Father, I ask you to guide me. Help me, Lord, to speak what you have taught me. And also Lord open the hearts of those who are listening. I pray Father that these words will help guide my brothers and sisters in the faith as they walk with You in this world. And for those who don’t know Your Son, Jesus, who are not born again, Lord, I pray that their hardness melts. And that through their pride or insecurities, these words will speak to them and lead them to Your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

The reason I like these verses is because so many of us have been brought up in the world believing a false narrative that the happiness of life is somehow found here and now. And what I mean by that is, in this lifetime. The world wants to show off the wealth, the spectacular places, things that mankind has accomplished in building things, the technology. The comforts of life. All of this can be very enticing. It’s evident pretty much everywhere we go, that the more money we have, the more wealth that we have, the more popularity, the more power that we have, well, the happier we’ll be. And we know that because that is how the world defines success. So with that, naturally, the world teaches how to obtain that, which I find to be rather crass because even though we are being taught that this is how you are happy keep in mind at the same time those who are in power, those who have influence, they themselves want to obtain more wealth, more riches, more popularity as in social media of our time and day and age more power. So the very people who are feeding us this information themselves want to obtain that. And so they will try to sell product. They’ll sell concepts, they’ll sell education, they’ll even sell status, whatever it takes. But they themselves want more power and they want your money. So if you think about it, the objective of those who are at the top of the game according to the world is to make sure that others don’t reach that level.

There’s always a race, right, of who’s wealthier, who’s the most powerful. And that’s what the world looks at. That’s what the news wants to cover. Isn’t it interesting that the popularity does not rest in just what’s going on in the average neighborhood? How what the average person, as they would be labeled, is doing day to day. No, it’s what the rich and powerful are doing. God’s word tells us something different, beloved. God makes it very clear. He’s the one at the top. No one is ever going to be God. No one is ever going to be like God. So that isn’t the goal of those who are following His Son Jesus. Because God the Father has sacrificed His Son. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life, and so His blood was not tainted with sin, and so that sacrifice paid for all sin.

It was enough to pay for every single sin in the past, in the present, and yet to come from everyone. With that said, that doesn’t mean everyone is saved, because that is a gift. And that gift must be accepted. The way to accept that gift, which is eternal life because one’s sin debts are paid, is to be born again. So our physical bodies are operating, they are alive, and one is born again when they accept the gift of God. And that is believing in their heart that Jesus Christ died on the cross, paying their sins, and that their sins are now forgiven. And believing that God the Father raised the Son from the dead, then one is born again, and their spirit is instantly alive.

So why am I talking about all of this? Because the emphasis then, for those who are following God’s way, God’s way is different, totally different than the world’s way. Because once you’re born again, and as you walk with the Lord, and walking is reading His word, praying to Him each and every day. The more time you spend with the Lord, the more your eyes are open to the spiritual side. And He reveals to you the filthiness of the worldly side, things of the flesh. And so obtaining those things become less and less important until really they become unimportant to the born again believer. Because we can see that the things that God the Father offers us in eternity, life in His presence forever, being glorified, which is living without sin present anymore.

Now that’s truly hard to fathom. And I don’t think any one of us, ultimately, can wrap our mind completely around that. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay not knowing exactly what that’s going to be like. Why? Because my flesh, my sinful self, which is still present at this point, fogs all that up. But I have faith. I know that either when the Lord calls me home or He comes for His church, that then I will know. That’s all I need to know.

So let’s take a look at these verses now that we have a better understanding that the world’s notion is of the treasures here and now, things that can fade, things that can be stolen, things that the moths can devour and eat. Whereas treasures in heaven, to be living a sinless life in all eternity with no more pain, no more mental pain, physical pain, or spiritual pain. And to store our treasures in heaven by living a godly life. So let’s take a look at what James says then. Because James tells us to not do what so many of us have been taught to do.

Verse 13 he says, Come now, you who say, today or tomorrow we’ll go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit. Now, at first reading, it may not seem like there’s anything wrong with that. What’s wrong with saying, eh, today or tomorrow we’ll fly over to this country and we’ll buy a house there and then we’ll get a business going and we’ll make some money and get our profits because we know that we can sell this product or that service in this area and we’ll make some really good money and we’ll do that for a year or two.

I mean really, first reading that doesn’t seem so bad. Why doesn’t it seem that bad? In America, anyway, we are certainly taught at a young age that the goal is to learn as best we can become as smart as possible in school get the best grades, go on to the best colleges and pick the best professions and be good at it all. Become the best and by doing that you’ll make good money.

Right away we’re being taught to plan ahead. We are being taught to foresee as a child that make sure you get these really good grades, because this is going to help determine your future. So, do you see already what we’re doing wrong? We are thinking, if you do this, then that will happen. Now, that’s rather arrogant of us as people to be able to assume the future. That if we do this, that the future will bring that. Okay, how many people do you know that their life has worked out the exact way they planned? And if you’re honest and those around you are honest, the answer is a big, fat zero. The reason it’s a zero is because nothing will work as we planned. I should rephrase that some. It’s not that nothing works that we plan, but when we plan something without God, without His blessing, without His guidance, it will never come to fruition. You might say, well, we plan a trip all the time. And every year we go on that trip. Okay, I get that. But with that said, even thinking about that, that trip that you planned, you pay ahead for everything, is it the way you planned it in your mind?

When you get there, does it play out the way that you planned it in your mind? The way you planned it? Now, there are some things we have some control over. We can make a reservation a year out, for example, and we can pay money and put that reservation on hold, and so now we have that room, we have that flight. Ultimately, we can look to that date and say, this is what is going to happen on that date. Well, that is what we plan to happen. Now, first and foremost, think about this. Plans are often interrupted. The place that you even make a reservation may not even be there when that reservation time comes.

Or, maybe it’s as simple as the room that you thought you reserved, you didn’t get it. It’s actually something different. And in your mind, you may be looking at the brochure and in your mind you’re thinking, Oh, I’m going to get there and the weather is going to be great, we’re going to sit on the beach, we’re going to just enjoy the waves, and just have a good time.

Well, that’s your plan. But how many vacations does somebody go to and they get sick. Maybe it’s food poisoning. Maybe a really bad sunburn. Maybe they stepped on a jellyfish. Maybe it’s just they drink too much and now suddenly they have a hangover and they’re not feeling good at all. Or, maybe it’s not sunny. Maybe it’s raining. Maybe what was supposed to be the time of year where there’s no hurricanes, there’s a hurricane sized storm. Maybe it’s not even the location, beloved. Maybe somebody you know passes away and now there’s a funeral, and you have to reschedule the entire trip.

And, every time somebody dies, they leave behind a schedule. And for some people who are really big schedulers, they may have trips planned out, weeks, months, years ahead. They may have a college that they’ve already put money down, because they’re going to go to that someday. There’s a lot of things that we plan and we just think, this is the way it’s going to work out.

But I beg to differ. Because James even says, whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. And we don’t. So to assume that that’s what you’re going to do, even just going on a trip, Yeah, this is what we’re going to do. Unless you have the blessings of God, and it’s the will of God that you do that, anything that we plan ourselves, odds are it just doesn’t work that way because we already have it in our head, in our mind, the way it should be. The way that we expect it to be. So if we’re not just going with God and living a life that says, Lord, whatever you present to me is good. Whatever you want me to do, I will do it. Wherever you want me to go, that’s where I’ll go.

When a child of God does not hang the expectation up next to that, well then think about that. Now you are going in the direction of God. You are living the way God is telling you to live, where to live, and what to do at that time and point in your life. It’s hard, isn’t it? It’s hard as a Christian to say, okay, I need to make sure that I am putting aside my plans, my expectations of those plans, and doing it God’s way.

Why? Because we do not know what tomorrow will bring. And if we’re expecting tomorrow to be bright and sunny because we have plans, and then that day doesn’t pan out the way we expected it, wow, we are going to live in misery. So we do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Hmm. So do you think that means that God doesn’t want us to plan anything at all? Maybe God just wants us to have no plans at all, no medical appointments, no plans for the summer, nothing. Well, that’s not biblical, beloved. We do make appointments. We have our annual checkups that we put down. And we do have the place that we like to travel to in summer, or maybe that winter vacation. We do plan where we’re going to hold Christmas celebration, birthday celebrations, where people are going to get married. We do plan. And when we plan, because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, we bring it to God. And we pray to God about it. And we know that whatever God says. is what we’re going to do.

What do I mean by that? For example, we may have that annual appointment, that medical appointment, and if we’re dead set on that is when it has to be because it is exactly one year from the other appointment and I want to know my health exactly one year out, and I’m just dead set on that’s the way it’s going to be, but then the Lord presents something to me.

Maybe something happens to somebody I know. And the Holy Spirit is telling me, Bruce, I want you to go, and I want you to minister to this person. Then that would be my duty to fulfill that the Lord has placed in my heart, and I may have that annual appointment. Well, the best thing to do then, if I’m going to be following the Lord, is cancel that appointment.

Why is that? In our life, we think, well, no, no, no, no, that’s disrupting my life. But I must remind you, and myself, that when we are born again, it’s no longer our life. We accepted the payment of Jesus Christ, and his blood has washed away our sins. The very act of doing that, you are calling him Lord. He is your Lord and Savior. He’s not just your Savior. He is your Lord and Savior. Savior saves us, but Lord commands us. And when our Lord tells us to do something, we need to do it because He can see better than we can. He knows that this is for His glory and He will use that to guide our lives because we don’t see the big picture.

We don’t see that that person that the Lord wants me or you to go visit is the very person that down the road after a string of events, perhaps they end up committing suicide or they make a decision based on what we did or didn’t do. Now, I firmly believe that God, when he wants something done, well, if we neglect the work, he’ll send somebody. But our decisions have consequences, and these consequences, beloved, we do not understand. It is way above our heads. And that is why, by faith, we walk with the Lord. And we do leave our time open and available. We may plan things, but he may say, that isn’t what I want. And he knows why. I mean, there’s thousands of reasons, it may even be for my own benefit that he wants me to cancel and not go to my annual appointment.

Maybe it’s got very little to do with what he wants me to minister to that person, maybe comforting them or just hearing them out and giving them that time. But at the same time, because he can do many, many things, right? He’s saving me from, I don’t know, maybe if I go, something else happens to me, whatever that might be. Why? Because I do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Then James asks us a really powerful question. For what is your life? And he goes straight on to answer it. It is but a vapor that appears a little time and then vanishes away. Wow. That can be bleak sounding, but it’s the truth. And I would say it only sounds bleak depending on your perspective.

I find great comfort in the fact that my life here, in this world, on this side of eternity is but a vapor. Because you know what? I’ve had plenty of pain in my life. I’ve seen death. I’ve been through things that I look back and it was only because God himself was holding my hand that I made it through.

I have felt physical pain, emotional pain, and I’m not alone in that. All of us, on some level, have gone through trials, have gone through hard times. And would you really want to live this way forever? When I read the Old Testament, before Noah’s flood, and people were living hundreds and hundreds of years, and by the way, that’s true. Don’t let anybody in this world or those who don’t understand God’s word tell you that that was just figure of speech or they just didn’t add up the years right, whatever. No, these people lived hundreds of years. Adam lived over 900 years. So I myself take comfort in that my life is but a vapor.

But what does that tell us? It’s a good reminder because our life here is short. We should not value it. Even Jesus says, if you are going to try to keep your life here, you will lose it. If you’re going to try to be the one who is in command of your life, try to obtain as much as you can, living here on earth to become as powerful, as rich, as popular as you can, because it’s your life.

In the end, you lose it. Somebody who is born again and continues to walk with the Lord, with the wisdom that they obtain, cannot live a life that way. Because it is misery when someone who is born again, who knows the goodness of God, who has tasted His grace and mercy, to go back to a lifestyle of just obtaining junk.

Cause ultimately, big fancy house, these nice vehicles, and the comforts that we have, eventually they all go away. And none of them will usher us into everlasting life. That only comes by Jesus. So James says, it appears for a little time, our life, and then vanishes away. But then he does tell us how we really should respond and live life.

Verse 15 reads, Instead you ought to say, If the Lord wills, we shall live, and do this or that. Now that sums it up. That’s great. That certainly sums up how Christian needs to live their life. First and foremost, look to the Lord. If the Lord wills. Lord, what is Your will for me? What is Your will for me and my family? Where were you have us? Lord, should I stay where I’m at right now? Do You want me to keep working the job that I’m at? Do You want me to keep doing what I’m doing with the time you have given me? And if He wills, we shall live! Think about that, beloved. First and foremost, we have to know if it’s even His will if we’re going to be around before we start making promises to people, because we don’t know if we’re going to be around, He may say, time’s up.

And in the meantime, we are packing up our family and we’re moving to a completely different location across the country, across the globe. All because we have our plans, and that we want to make more money because maybe this new job will pay me twice as much. I’ll have more authority, I’ll have a position that people will respect. Whatever it might be, but we go ahead and we move forward with that. We get situated, weeks, months, maybe even a few short years later, he calls us home. And then what happens is, if we’re not looking to Him, we miss out on all the blessings that He wants to bestow upon us when we do the work that He has given us to do.

Remember, He gives all of us spiritual gifts. So one of the things we are responsible for is to helping out brothers and sisters in the faith. Those in God’s family are your responsibility, are my responsibility, you’re my responsibility. I want people to write to me, to email me. Because when I can help somebody with a question, when I can help somebody with a dilemma or understanding what God is saying in a certain place in His word, Well, I am serving my brothers and sisters in the faith, just like you’re responsible for me. If you are born again, I am your brother, and someday in heaven, we’ll see each other. That’s pretty amazing thought. So there are things that we already know are in God’s will just by reading His word. And there are things that we can look at when somebody says, Hey, do you want to go do this? Well, we can know it’s not at His will.

And I won’t get into that today because we don’t have time. I’ve discussed it before, but for those who are in the Bible and know their Lord that they are following can identify that pretty easily. There are some things that are on the gray area that we might go, I don’t really know if the Lord wants me to or not.

And that’s the best time to then pray with others about that. If the Lord wills, we shall live and then do this or that. And this or that is whatever the Lord wants us to do. Because, beloved, it’s not about us trying to get things here. Money. Retirement. To try to get perfect physical health. To try to live longer. Whatever it might be. Our goals in life need to be in God’s will. And the more you know God, the more you will know His will. And if you even just ask Him, Lord, bend my will to Your will, He’ll do it. I remember learning that some time ago, it was quite some time ago, and I remember thinking, oof, boy, if I do that, I bet you he’s going to really give me some boring thing, or he’s going to want to ship me off round the world, oof, I don’t know if I want to do that.

But what I have learned in my walk with Him is that it’s just the opposite. He loves me so much. He loves you so much. He gives us all that we need to do all that he gives us to do. He doesn’t give us everything we need to do what we want to do. No, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. He has given us the grace that we need to get through this day. He will give us the tools, if we are in His will, to get our work done on this day. When we are in his will, doing what he has told us to do, it’s a whole different story. Instead of being happy, there’s joy. And joy, beloved, only comes from God. We get joy no other place.

James goes on in verse 16 to say, but now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. With the Holy Spirit working through us, we accomplish far more than a person can fathom. But we sit around and if we boast about it, well, that boasting is evil, and even if it is what the Lord wants us to do awe shouldn’t be boasting anyway, because we are to boast in Christ.

He gives us the ability to get through everything. Think about it. Your next breath. That was from Him. Your heart beating, that’s from Him. So we can’t even live without His will. And yet we can have the audacity to think, I’m going to do this or that without Him. Well, so I don’t take up too much time. I do want to go straight to verse 17. Therefore to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. So I’ll end with this, beloved. When we know that we should be doing something and we decide not to do it. That is a sin. Whatever the Lord is telling you to do, if you are a child of God, and you’re not doing it, that’s a sin.

Remember, Jesus paid your price. As a born again believer, you won’t stand in front of the white throne of judgment. No, you have Jesus Christ as your advocate. And so you won’t be tossed into everlasting death. So the price, if that’s even considered a price, that we pay, is doing His will. And I use that terminology reluctantly because paying a price has a negative connotation to it.

Being a servant of God. Serving Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior, that’s nothing negative about that at all. Just serving Him, living for Him each and every day. Not putting my own expectations. Oh, I should be doing this at this time in my life. Oh, I should have this by now. Oh, I should be whatever it might be, fill in the blank. No, by living a life of contentment. Saying thank you Lord for all that you have given me and doing what we know is right to do not filling our schedule with everything that we want to do. So then when the Lord says, oh, here’s something I want you to do and you look at your schedule and say, I don’t have time for that.

It saddens me how on a highway there can be who knows how many cars go past somebody before someone pulls over. Yeah, we have to be careful. We live in a time where things are becoming more violent. But that’s not for us to judge. The Lord will take care of us on that. If someone’s on the side of the road, most people don’t want to stop because they already have a schedule to keep. I need to get here. I’m going to be late for this or that. And meanwhile, the Holy Spirit is saying, I want you, I want you to help this person because this person doesn’t know Jesus Christ yet. And that act of kindness that you’re going to do for them, I’m going to use that, and I’m going to pull them closer so they may know Jesus Christ someday. So by not doing that, that’s a sin. I know what to do is right, but I’m deciding it’s my schedule. It’s my life.

With that, remember to spend that time daily with the Lord and pray to Him daily. Not because you have to, but you do need to. Well, what’s the difference? Well, have to is a legalistic approach. If you don’t read God’s word every day, if you don’t pray to Him every day, He’s going to love you less, And you might just lose your salvation. That’s false.

But need to do it is because it’s good for you, just like eating healthy food. You don’t have to eat healthy food, beloved. Eat all the junk food you want, but you’re not going to feel very good. You’re going to pay the consequence. You need to eat healthy food.

And the more healthy food you eat, the better you feel. Now that analogy still falls short, but it’s a quick one that came to my mind. So, yes, we need to open God’s word each and every day and pray to Him each day, walk with Him daily. Come together with brothers and sisters as often as you can. Weekly is the best. Everything we do that we keep weekly becomes a part of our life, becomes a part of who we are. And worship Him. Give Him all you got, beloved. He loves you so much. Sing out to Him. Pray to Him. Just take great comfort in listening to that sermon, that teaching. Do your acts of kindness, not because you have to, because you already know you’re going to heaven.

And until next time,

God bless.

Songs

“Heroes Inspire Hope” and “Mountainscape” by Humans Win

“Classical Guitar and String Quartet Slideshow Background” by Media Music Group