VIDEO Leave Room for God

Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” James 4:15

How many times a day do we say or think, “I’m going to…”? When we say or think in declarative terms, it calls to mind the old joke, “If you want to make God laugh, just tell Him your plans.” That’s an overstatement, of course; God doesn’t laugh at His children, even when He can see the error of our ways. Instead, the saying suggests that we ought to remember a biblical truth: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Whether we remember every time to say it or think it, all our plans should be predicated by, “If the Lord wills.”

That was the apostle James’ advice in a parable he wrote to his readers (James 4:13-17). He wrote about people who planned to go to a city, start a business, and make money. James suggested, “Not so fast.” It is wiser to submit our plans to God and ask for His blessing and guidance since He has already planned our steps (Psalm 139:13-16).

Today, if you say or think, “I’m going to…,” remember to leave room for God in your planning. We plan, but He directs.

God has no problems, only plans. Corrie ten Boom

29 God Willing – James 4:13-15 – In Depth – Pastor Chuck Smith – Bible Studies

God’s Right Hand

I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13

I helped my elderly dog, Wilson, out to the grass and in the process, I released the leash of our younger dog, Coach, for just a minute. As I bent to pick up Coach’s lead, he spied a bunny. Off he went, ripping the leash from my right hand and corkscrewing my ring finger in the process. I fell to the grass and cried out in pain.

After returning from urgent care and learning I’d need surgery, I begged God for help. “I’m a writer! How will I type? What about my daily duties?” As God sometimes does, He spoke to me from my daily Bible reading. “For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13). I scanned the context, which indicated that God’s people in Judah, to whom Isaiah was communicating His message, enjoyed a special relationship with Him. He promised His presence, strength, and help through His own righteous standing, symbolized by His right hand (v. 10). Elsewhere in Scripture, God’s right hand is used to secure victories for His people (Psalm 17:7; 98:1).

During my weeks of recovery, I experienced encouragement from God as I learned to dictate on my computer and trained my left hand in household and grooming functions. From God’s righteous right hand to our broken and needy right hands, God promises to be with us and to help us.

By:  Elisa Morgan

Reflect & Pray

How do you need God’s help today? How have you experienced His help in the past?

Healing God, I need Your help! Please use Your righteous right hand to take hold of my broken, weary hands and help me, I pray.

Doubting God’s Goodness

Our humanity can make us question what good God is working in a certain situation, but through faith and obedience we will find it

Genesis 3:1-7

Living in this fallen world can make us question God’s goodness. We might wonder why He doesn’t always fix our problems and give us what we want. For example, when Eve listened to the serpent’s lies, she began to doubt that the Lord had made the right choice in forbidding her to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Why would He deprive her of wisdom and the enjoyment of such desirable food?

Our thoughts are similar to Eve’s when we don’t agree with the Lord about what’s best for us. From a human perspective, “good” refers to that which is enjoyable, comfortable, or profitable. But God has a much higher standard and is always working to achieve His purpose—developing Christlike character in His children.

Behind every restriction or commandment from the Lord is His loving care for His followers. He knows the consequences of sin and wants to deter us from choices that will wreck our lives. 

Eve and her husband Adam both learned through disobedience that God knows what’s best. 

We have the opportunity each day to discover His goodness by listening to His voice, obeying His commands, and trusting His wisdom. Whatever comes our way, we can know that He is working for both our temporal and eternal good.

The Lord Will Provide

“And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.” (Genesis 22:14)

Abraham had just passed the most severe of tests. He had been willing to offer up his beloved son Isaac as a sacrifice to the Lord. He must have wondered why God had asked him to slay the son of promise, through whom many descendants were promised, but he didn’t refuse or even question God. He was convinced that “God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). Yet, he must have been greatly relieved when God stopped him from slaying his son, and thankful indeed when he found that God had already provided a ram to be used as “a burnt offering in the stead of his son” (Genesis 22:13).

While journeying to the place of sacrifice, Abraham had said that “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” (v. 8). Appropriately, after the incident, Abraham named the mountain Jehovah [the Lord] Jireh [will provide].

In Hebrew there is not a specific verb form to designate the future tense, and so the word Jireh could easily be translated “is providing.” Actually, where the Lord’s provision is concerned, the tense makes little difference. The Creator of time (Genesis 1:1) stands outside of time. We may sometimes be frustrated and disturbed because we see only the present, and we don’t even see that very clearly. But God sees and answers in the proper time, perhaps later than we have asked, or perhaps, as in Abraham’s case, beforehand, providing the ram already caught in the thicket.

How often have we received an answer to prayer only to realize events had been set in motion long before we prayed? We should be aware of and thankful for God’s anticipation of our needs. “And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer” (Isaiah 65:24). JDM

Summation Of Praise

Let the exaltation of God be in their mouths and a two-edged sword in their hands, inflicting vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, binding their kings with chains and their dignitaries with iron shackles, carrying out the judgment decreed against them. This honor is for all His godly people. Hallelujah! (Psalm 149 vv. 6—9).

God calls on Israel not only to praise his name but also to execute vengeance on the nations. The Israelites were to worship him, yes, but they were also to stand up for God’s justice and to put down evil in the world. They would be praising with their mouths while brandishing a double-edged sword in their hands!

The psalmist gives us no romanticized view of God. He calls for the annihilation of heathen nations, for wicked kings to be fettered, and for his absolutely just sentence to be carried out. As his saints obey the Lord, they experience his glory.

What a study in contrasts—worship and vengeance, praise and power! If this seems strange, it may be because we are comfortable with double-mindedness. We want to be intimate with God while “cozying up” to evil on the side.

The Lord wants us to be “wise about what is good, yet innocent about what is evil” (Rom. 16:19). Were open to praising God, but were not as interested in balancing our worship with a holy hatred of sin. He calls us to praise and to prophesy. He needs some young Vance Havners who have the conviction to write and speak out against hypocrisy and evil. He needs worship leaders— praise spokesmen—but he also summons contemporary prophets—praise motivators—who will cry out against injustice and sin in our world.

Personal Prayer

May I have the inner strength not only to praise you, Lord, but to take a stand for righteousness in the circles where I live and work.

The Divine Design

His word runs swiftly.—Psalm 147:15

When we come to God’s Word, laying aside all preconceived ideas and depending entirely on the Holy Spirit to reveal its truth to us, we put ourselves in a position where the Holy Spirit can impress the truth of the Scriptures into our innermost being. There it takes root within us, and whenever we stand in need of a word with which to rebut the Devil, the Holy Spirit brings it to our remembrance.

And here’s the most wonderful thing—the Word of God on our lips will have the same effect upon the Devil as if he were hearing it from the lips of Jesus Himself! Every time we open the Bible, we must be careful to pray for the illumination of the Spirit so that we don’t finish up making the Bible say what we want it to say. When we receive that help, we are following the divine design—letting the Spirit bring home to our hearts the truth and meaning of His own Word.

This attitude of humility and receptivity gives the Holy Spirit the opportunity He needs to build the truth of the Word of God into our spirits. Approaching the Bible in this way, said the late J. B. Phillips, “is like rewiring a house where the electricity has not been turned off.” As we read the Scriptures, we are touching something that has a current of power flowing through its pages—a power not put there by any man. The Holy Spirit has gone into it, so is it any wonder that the Holy Spirit comes out of it?


My Father and my God, I know the Spirit dwells in Your Word. I come to ask that He might dwell also in me, to open up my whole being to the truth and power that lies in its inspired pages. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.

Further Study

Jn 14:26; 15:18-27; Lk 12:11-12; Rm 8:14

What did Jesus declare about the Holy Spirit’s ministry?

What promise did Jesus give to His disciples?

The Solitary Place

Isaiah 35:1

It would be my first holiday alone, following the death of my husband. “It will be a difficult Christmas,” my friends told me solemnly, causing me to approach Advent with a kind of dread.

My friends were right, of course. There would be no secretive plotting of the children’s gifts, no laughing over the tree that looked so perfect in the lot and so wretched in our living room. And on quiet evenings when the fire used to synchronize the tangled memories of a hectic day, I would know only the deafening roar of my solitary place.

Christmas seems to have been a solitary business for those involved in the first Advent. Consider Mary, alone with the poignant knowledge that her child, born of God, was destined to die. Consider the wise men, alone as they trudged across the desert without affirmation, and old Simeon, alone as he languished in the Temple, yearning to see the Christ before he died.

Each awaited Christmas in solitude of heart—the solitary place that begs all company but Christ. Each worshipped Him, accepting the miracle of the Incarnation, of God becoming flesh.

Martin Luther wrote, “Let him who cannot be alone beware of community. Alone you stood before God when He called you; alone you… had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God.”

If we attempt to substitute the so-called goodwill of Christmas, its mingled tradition and merriment, for the presence of God, we will only be more savagely aware of the emptiness of life. For without Him life is a desert and joy a series of mirages.

Why are the lonely more lonely at Christmas? Why are the despairing more desperate? Can it be that Christmas makes us more aware of our poverty without God? That all the merriment of friends and family, all the tinseled accompaniments fail to fill the void and leave us lonelier still? When holidays end, even though touched with human warmth, and no splendor has occurred in the soul, the end seems worse than the beginning.

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad… and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose” (Isaiah 35:1 KJV). No place is so solitary that God cannot fill it with Himself. Indeed, we come in our solitude and discover in Him everything.

Marlene Chase, Pictures from the Word