You do not know what will happen tomorrow. James 4:14
Talk about bad timing! On September 16, 2008, The Wall Street Journal’s magazine, SmartMoney, featured a cover showing two chickens hatching. The accompanying words said: “Double Your Nest Egg: Now Is the Time to Jump Into Cheap Stocks.” On that same day, the stock market began its worse drop since the Great Depression, sending the nation into a deep recession on September 29 of that year that took years to overcome.
Someone said that timing is everything. Yet we don’t know what will happen later today, let alone tomorrow. But there is Someone who knows. The psalmist said, “My times are in Your hand” (Psalm 31:15).
The psalmist also said, “I will bless the Lord at all times” (34:1). And he said, “Trust in Him at all times” (62:8). We don’t know what tomorrow holds, and we don’t have the wisdom to exercise perfect timing in all the events of life. But God is the great Timekeeper. We can bless Him and trust in Him at all times. When you don’t know what to do, wait on the Lord and watch for Him to work. His timing is impeccable.
When you accept His schedule, you know for certain you will receive His very best blessings. Charles F. Stanley
29 God Willing – James 4:13-15 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies
Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor. Proverbs 12:24
It was the seventh-grader’s first cross-country meet, but she didn’t want to run. Although she’d been preparing for the event, she was afraid of doing poorly. Still, she started the race with everyone else. Later, one by one the other runners finished the two-mile course and crossed the finish line—everyone except the reluctant runner. Finally, her mom, who was watching for her daughter to finish, saw a lone figure in the distance. The mother went to the finish line, preparing to comfort a distraught competitor. Instead, when the young runner saw her mom, she exclaimed, “That was awesome!”
What can be awesome about finishing last? Finishing!
The girl had tried something difficult and had accomplished it! Scripture honors hard work and diligence, a concept often learned through sports or music or other things that require perseverance and effort.
Proverbs 12:24 says, “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor.” And later we read, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty” (14:23). These wise principles—not promises—can help us serve God well.
God’s plan for us always included work. Even before the fall, Adam was to “work [the Garden] and take care of it” (Genesis 2:15). And any effort we make should be done “with all [our] heart” (Colossians 3:23). Let’s work in the strength He gives us—and leave the results to Him.
Reflect & Pray
What are some areas where I can learn from this teenager to be diligent and persevere? How does doing my best and working hard honor God?
Heavenly Father, whatever it is You have asked me to do today—big or small—help me to do it.
Anyone who isn’t sure that Jesus is God and is worthy of worship should take a look at today’s passage. This heavenly scene opens with a dilemma—no one is found worthy to open the scroll in God’s right hand until the Lion of Judah, the root of David, appears as a Lamb standing as if slain.
This is none other than Jesus Christ, who offered Himself as a sacrifice for mankind’s sin. He took our sin upon Himself, suffered the punishment we deserved, and clothed us in His righteousness so that, through faith in Him, we could be reconciled to God. Now He stands in heaven, receiving praise and honor from all its inhabitants. He alone is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll, which contains God’s final plans for human history.
If the angels, the elders, and the four living creatures praise the Son and the Father with such reverence, awe, and exaltation, then we who are direct recipients of divine mercy and grace can, too. The citizens of heaven hold nothing back in their unceasing worship and adoration as they humbly bow before the throne.
Considering all that our triune God has done for us, praise should be our humble and joyful response. He delights in hearing our voices raised in adoration and worship as we declare that He is worthy of all honor.
Is God the focus of your thoughts and emotions as you join with fellow believers in exalting Him, or do you sing the words thoughtlessly or get caught up in an emotional experience? Although worship will be perfect only in heaven, let’s start practicing now.
“Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?. . . whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?” (Matthew 23:17, 19)
The temple was the center of the Old Covenant. The Levite’s income and temple’s upkeep were derived from an elaborate system of tithes and other offerings defined in Leviticus.
By the time the Lord Jesus entered His ministry on Earth, the regulations God initiated had been turned into an intricate web of demands designed to coerce people to give. Jesus confronted the leaders and exposed their wickedness.
- Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.”
- Matthew 23:27: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
- Luke 11:43: “Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets.”
- Luke 11:46: “Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.”
This kind of hypocrite seeks his name in a bulletin, a plaque on a wall, a brick in a walkway, or a wing in a hospital or museum, and is indifferent to the quiet background work of ministry that embraces judgment, mercy, and faith. The Lord regards the condition of the heart far more than the deed. HMM III
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
—1 Peter 5:8
As we move farther on and mount higher up in the Christian life we may expect to encounter greater difficulties in the way and meet increased hostility from the enemy of our souls….
Satan hates the true Christian for several reasons. One is that God loves him, and whatever is loved by God is sure to be hated by the devil. Another is that the Christian, being a child of God, bears a family resemblance to the Father and to the household of faith. Satan’s ancient jealousy has not abated nor his hatred for God diminished in the slightest. Whatever reminds him of God is without other reason the object of his malignant hate.
A third reason is that a true Christian is a former slave who has escaped from the galley, and Satan cannot forgive him for this affront. A fourth reason is that a praying Christian is a constant threat to the stability of Satan’s government. The Christian is a holy rebel loose in the world with access to the throne of God. Satan never knows from what direction the danger will come. TIC071
Lord, it’s not hard to see why Satan attacks. May I continue to be enough of a threat to him to merit his attention! Don’t ever let me become so anemic in my Christian walk that he doesn’t need to bother with me. Amen.
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the Kingdom of heaven.—Matthew 5:19.
The great sterling duties, the exact truth of word, the resolute refusal to countenance wrong, the command of temper, the mastery of indolence, the unstained purity, these, and such as these, form the character, and fashion our soul into instruments in God’s hands for high and heavenly purposes in His Providence. But the carefulness over details, the watchfulness against faults which we know to be faults, but which, notwithstanding, seem venial, the devout regularity and attention in our private prayers, the invariable good-humor of our manners, the seeking for occasions of kindness and unselfishness, the avoidance of little temptations, the care not to cause little annoyances and little troubles, to attend to all this for the sake of Christ our Master is the natural and fitting expression of a loving heart.
The sins by which God’s Spirit is ordinarily grieved are the sins of small things, laxities in keeping the temper, slight neglects of duty, sharpness of dealing.
“My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2Cor. 12:9
Our weakness should be prized as making room for divine strength. We might never have known the power of grace if we had not felt the weakness of nature. Blessed be the Lord for the thorn in the flesh, and the messenger of Satan, when they drive us to the strength of God.
This is a precious word from our Lord’s own lip. It has made the writer laugh for joy. God’s grace enough for me! I should think it is. Is not the sky enough for the bird, and the ocean enough for the fish? The All-Sufficient is sufficient for my largest want. He who is sufficient for earth and Heaven is certainly able to meet the case of one poor worm like me.
Let us, then, fall back upon our God and His grace. If He does not remove our grief He will enable us to bear it. His strength shall be poured into us till the worm shall thresh the mountains; and a nothing shall be victor over all the high and mighty ones. It is better for us to have God’s strength than our own; for if we were a thousand times as strong as we are, it would all amount to nothing in the face of the enemy; and if we could be weaker than we are, which is scarcely possible, yet we could do all things through Christ.