Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:13-17
Note on verses 13-16
It is good to make plans, but they will disappoint us if we leave God out of them. There is no point in making plans as though God does not exist, because the future is in his hands. What would you like to be doing 10 years from now? one year from now? tomorrow? How will you react if God steps in and rearranges your plans? Plan ahead, but ask for God’s guidance. Seek God’s will in your planning; he will never disappoint you.
Note on verse 14
Life is short no matter how many years we live. Don’t be deceived into thinking that you have lots of remaining time to live for Christ, to enjoy your loved ones, or to do what you know you should. Live for God today! Then, no matter when your life ends, you will have fulfilled God’s plan for you.
There is one more note, but I want to talk about this for a few minutes. I have such a strong desire to live daily, hourly for Christ, yet I fail miserably sometimes, especially in the realm of my husband and my marriage. There are so many verses in scripture that speak to this idea of living for God. I’ll list a couple of my favorites and as things pop into my head, I’ll write about them.
Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you…
Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act…
The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. HE delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will not fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand. Psalm 37:3-5, 7, 23-24
We gather our thoughts, but the Lord gives the right answer. Proverbs 16:1
Commit your work to the Lord, and then your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:3
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9
We may throw the dice, but the Lord determines how they fall. Proverbs 16:33
I suppose for me, it is clear…we should always default to the Lord with our plans, our questions, or wanderings. I believe this because regardless, as Proverbs has pointed out several times within the one chapter, it is the Lord that determines how our lives actually work out.
I think that it is these verses beyond any other, that is besides my all time favorite scripture – Psalm 139, that caught my attention so many years ago and made me to understand how intimately involved with each and everyone of our lives God really is and not only that, but wants to be. Psalm 139 states that God knew everything, every single day that was going to come before a single day had passed, before I was ever even thought of and conceived. Since I believe that the scriptures are true, then I must also believe that He cares so much for me that He directs my steps.
I have no desire to get into the freedom of choice verses pre-destination debate. To me it is simple, we are pre-destined, yet, God in His infinite, all knowing power, knows every choice that we will ever make and has planned for that and directs our steps, especially those who seek His will. To me it is simple, to some, even this would be arguable. Oh well.
I feel assured by these scriptures because I know that I am married to my husband, not because we sinned at one point, but because God has a greater plan for us. I feel assured that even though my marriage has been so rocky, that there is no mistake that I am married to my husband, that God’s direction led me to him and him to me. There are no coincidences in a believer’s life and all the seemingly disconnected events in each of our lives all add up to God having to take an intimate interest in each of our lives to bring us together. Of our own accord, we would never have chosen the other for a mate, we are that incompatible. Even my husband would tell you these things. Over the past several weeks to a month or so, my husband has been commenting on this very thing and I rejoice because I see his faith being strengthened by God and His marvelous work in our lives.
Many times over the past couple of years, even in my most unhappiest state of mind, when my husband asked me if I would marry him all over again, my steady answer has been, “yes, because I know that God brought us together and we are together for whatever reason He has in mind. He has a greater vision of His plan and I only have a small little piece of it. I would marry him again.” That answer was born out of the above verses. That answer has been the manifestation of the mainstay of my faith, that God is intimately involved in my life and cares very much about my everyday happenings, my thoughts, my emotions.
Now, as the time is ticking away down to July 24th, on some invisible clock within my mind, I feel a renewed pressure to get my business plans straight and start focusing on that. When the Lord placed on my heart this calling to write for other women like me, it was coupled with a vision for a business that would help support and promote my ministry and spread the Gospel. To be truthful, becoming a stay at home mom, scares the wits out of me. Since the time I was eligible to work, I have, including extracurricular activities and school. To simply stop and do nothing (I know mothers rarely do nothing) is scary to me. Staying at home is scary to me because I’m afraid I’ll go crazy. But, the Lord has given me a wide range of skill sets to utilize for His purpose and after so many years of floundering around trying to figure out what I wanted to do with them, I finally have direction and it is from the Lord.
So, the scripture from James is so timely and important to me today. As I start to write my business plan, including my 1, 2, 3 and 5 year vision, plus figuring out start-up costs, finding contacts and any and all help and advisers that I can, I must remember that I must always consult God first, even though He gave me the vision in the first place. For the past several days, the Lord has worked in my heart to get me going again, and last night I was woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep for 3 hours because of the influx of ideas that kept hounding my thoughts.
I need contacts of all sorts, especially in the creative realms. The Lord has perfectly situated me for most of them, but it never hurts to have more. So, I will be working in over time. At the birth of our next baby, I hope to have all the “homework” done and by the end of the year, I hope to be selling. And with that, I hope to be giving back to the ministry and to other charities. So, in a nutshell, I have a lot of work to do. My desire is that you pray for me that I would continue to be led by God and always keep Him in the forefront of all my plans and my number one top priority.
(I am sharing all this with you because, what God laid on my heart way back in November is all connected to my marriage, this vision, this calling and this business. Maybe someday I’ll write in-depth about it, we’ll see.)
Okay, back to the scriptures for today…Sometimes God’s assurance comes in the form of “Yes, I will be with you. Yes, the road will be rough. Yes, you will make it through.” Such is the case with me. Several months to almost a half year before we were married, that would also be before the birth of my oldest child and a time when my husband and I were barely talking, the Lord assured me in a dream that my life was about to change and that it would be one of the most difficult things that I have undergone in my life up to that point.
At first, I didn’t know what the dream meant, I just knew that it was one that was going to stick with me for a long time and that it was going to have a huge impact on my life and even my way of thinking. It has. Dreams are weird, so without going into the specifics, God let me know that my life was about to change drastically and that my life was going to be “swallowed up” that my life “was not my own anymore.” He was calling me on my promise to Him all those years ago when I told Him He could use me however was best for His plans. (Be careful what you promise God, He will expect you to do whatever you said you would do.)
Though times have been tough for me, sitting here, discussing these things, I am remembering so many things that I once always had before my eyes, God’s care and provision, God’s ultimate plan, God’s intimate involvement in my life, etc. and am ashamed at how I have been so rebellious. My desire is to once again give my entire life, my thoughts my heart and emotions to Him to use at His discretion. That means a re-commitment to my husband and my marriage.
At one time, the Lord really pressed upon me to love my husband unconditionally. At that time, no one knew that he was my child’s daddy. I worked so hard at that for so long and then just gave up. You have been brought in when I was lowest in that cycle and now I’m on the way back up. I desire once again to love my husband unconditionally. (To some, like my mother, I’m a gluten for punishment.) It may be punishment in this world, by the world’s standards, but it is a sweet sacrifice to the Lord and will be rewarded in eternity. But, I believe psalms promise, Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires. The Lord knows the desires of my heart. He knows I want a happy marriage, a giving, loving marriage. And He knows that my desire is to please Him by being a woman after His own heart.
With God’s help, I will be that woman. As long as my heart is right with Him and I put Him first in all my plans, He will make my plans succeed. Praise Him for His faithfulness.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
May God provide the increase.