Sunday Morning 1-13-2013

Posted by Sherry


AN OPTION FOR 2013
James 4:13-4:15 
CBC 1/13/2013 SM
INTRO: Some claimed 2012 was the last year on earth...wrong again
Bible claims that no man knows the day or the hour...right so far
People base their actions on their personal belief...fate, horoscope, psychic, crystal ball, follow the crowd, self-gratification or old faithful - “the way we’ve always done it”
Bible gives us another “option” (free choice ya know...)
James 4:13-15 (AMP) 13 Come now, you who say, Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a city and spend a year there and carry on our business and make money.
14 Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].
15 You ought instead to say, If the Lord is willing, we shall live and we shall do this or that [thing].

James gets right to the point. 

• SURRENDER

old adage—if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. 
James addresses this passage to people who seem to be doing just that. 
Their business plan was pretty good. 
They had everything figured out. 
They would choose when they would leave, 
where they would go, 
how long they would stay, 
what business would be conducted, 
and even how much profit they would earn.

James’ reply to them is simple: “How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow?” (vs. 14 NLT).

ILL: A while back, the Associated Press ran a story about Andre-Francois Raffray. Almost fifty years ago, at the age of forty-seven, he worked out a real estate deal with Jeanne Calment, who was ninety years old. He would pay her $500 each month until her death, in order to secure ownership of her apartment in Arles, France. That might seem strange to Americans, but this is actually a common practice in France, benefiting both buyers and retirees on a fixed income. Unfortunately for Raffray, Jeanne Calment had become the world's oldest living person. She lived to be 120, outliving Raffray, who died at the age of seventy-seven. He paid $184,000 for an apartment he never lived in. According to the contract, Raffray's survivors had to continue the payments until Mrs. Calment died.

Mr. Raffray thought he was looking to the future and making a shrewd investment. But, as it turned out, he had no idea what tomorrow would bring.

Neither do we.

Does this mean shouldn’t ever make any plans, just live by the seat of our pants? 
No. Of course, not. 
That would be irresponsible. 
But it does mean that we must always BE PREPARED to surrender our plans to God’s purposes. 
In Psalm 139, David writes, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (Psalm 139:6 NLT). 
You see, God has a perfect plan for our life. 
He mapped out our entire life before we were born. 
He see’s the future and knows what is best
He knows our weaknesses and the “exercises” of life we need to strengthen them
He set our potential at a certain point by His design.
Now, He gives us the opportunity to “live the dream” or “create a nightmare”
We make our plans with the leadership & guidance of the Holy Spirit
We only have that luxury when we accept His invitation for a personal relationship
Even with the “relationship” we have free choice & can go our own way & do our own thing...
If we want 2013 to be a success, then be prepared to surrender your plans to God’s purposes should we choose a direction that’s not on God’s flight plan for us.

• SAVOR

Savor each moment of 2013. 
Each moment is fleeting.
When it’s cold outside you can take a deep breath & as you exhale see a visible VAPOR
it doesn’t last long and then it disappears
 According to James, that’s our life: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (vs. 14 NIV).

The Psalmist wrote, “Show me, O Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life” (Psalm 39:4).

Benjamin Franklin said, “Do you love life? Then do not squander time, for time is the stuff that life is made of.”

Apostle Paul: “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NLT).

Psalmist defined a “fool” (Psalm 14:1 & 53:1) The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

 Make the most of every opportunity. 
Don’t squander time. 
Prioritize our days.

People Magazine article entitled “Dead Ahead” 
telling about a new clock that keeps track of how much time you have left to live.
It calculates an average life span of 75 years for men and 80 years for women. 
So you program your sex and age into the clock, and from then on it will tell you how much time you have left. 
7,665 days left for me...
some of you are on BORROWED TIME...

The truth is—WE don’t have a guarantee on any of those days. 
We don’t even have a guarantee on all of 2013. 
All we have for sure is this moment. 
Let’s make the most of today. 

• SEEK

Seek God’s heart and will for yourself in 2013. 
James tells us, “What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that’” (James 4:15 NLT). 
Paul says it too: “Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do” (Ephesians 5:17 NLT).

—how do I know what the Lord wants me to do in 2013? 
suggestions that will help guide us throughout the year.

#1: Search God’s Word!

God did put some things down in “black & white” 
(GENERAL CATEGORIES...)
what He wants us to do (tell the “good news”)
who He wants us to be (conformed into the image of His Son)
how He wants us to live (abundantly)
becoming more intimate in our relationship with Him
President Ronald Regan once said, “Within the covers of the Bible are the answers for all the problems men face.” 
And not only will we find the answers we need, but we’ll become better people in the pursuit. 
Biblical Instruction makes the best... 
husbands, 
the best moms and dads, 
the best employers, 
the best citizens… 
the Bible makes the best people in the world.

Paul came to the city of Berea. 
Bible says Berean Jews of more noble character than those in Thessalonica. 
Why is that? 
“For they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” (Acts 17:11 NIV). 
If you want to know what God’s BEST for you in 2013, start by examining the Scriptures every day.

Suggestion #2: Seek God’s will in prayer. 

Biblical & Godly Morals & Ethics will answer many of our “life questions”
Times we need a more “personal” answer
geographical location
stay there how long
what kind of business
can I make a profit and a living doing that?
expand the business this year?
try to have another baby?
career change?
right person to marry?
Probably not going to find these answers in Psalms or Proverbs...

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6 NASB). 

If we bring all of our questions to God before making any life-altering decisions, 
He will make the answers known for us.
TRY IT...WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE?

Suggestion #3: Apply the Greatest Commandment

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength” (Mark 12:30 NCV). 

No matter what else is going on in our lives, 
this has got to be what life is all about.
Who else “died” for you (literally?)
Who else put it in writing they are preparing a place for you (an eternal one...)
IMPORTANT: —is who you love and who loves you back!

Conclusion

What if Jesus really does return in 2013? 
What if this really was our last year on earth? 
Would you live your life differently? 
Would people notice the changes? 
What alterations would this knowledge have on our stress levels? 
our work schedule? 
our mood swings? 
our temper? 
Would we sleep better? 
Would we see sunsets differently?

Bottom-line, we don’t know when Christ will come 
and we don’t know when we will take our last breath. 
So as we stand at the threshold of a brand-new year, what are you living for? 
How can we make the most of the next 359 days.

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