Volume. XXIV, No. 50
Sunday, 13 June 2010


Making Our Plans Gods Way


Introduction

Most people plan for their trips or holidays. Some people plan for their trips far in advance even 6 months before; yet there are others who never plan for their trip—they just hit the road or get on the airplane first and then decide what they are going to do later. It sounds kind of fun, but an unplanned trip or holiday might turn out to be a waste of time, money and energy. The Christian life is like a journey or like taking a trip with many challenges and unforseen obstacles along the road. It is important that we plan well with the help of the all-wise trip planner; otherwise, we would be wasting enormous amounts of time, resources and energy. With the bleak global economic outlook and political instability in the Asia-Pacific region, many people wonder what is going to happen in the future. Some of us probably begin to wonder, “What is going to happen to our future? What is going to happen to my children’s future? What would happen if I lost my job?” These are very real and serious concerns. And, with those concerns in mind, some of us may begin to say to ourselves: “I must plan to make sure that I could survive another economic crisis. I must plan to make sure that my children would have the money to go to schools or universities; I must plan to make sure that I do this and do that to secure my future retirement.” By the way, there s nothing wrong with making plans for your future, but there ought to be a difference between how a Christian plans for his future and how a non-Christian plan his. No born again Christian would argue that his future is in God’s hand. Nonetheless, this does not negate his responsibility to make plans for the future—God’s way! However, the problem is that many of us tend to make plans our ways, not His way! As Christians, we must not plan our future with God as an ‘after-thought,’ or as if He is not concerned or involved in any way: all our plans must be prefaced by prayer, seeking Him and His ways like a servant who constantly seeking His master’s will! The question is: how should a Christian plan his future God’s way? No doubt the Scripture gives us many principles and guidelines regarding this subject. But perhaps one of most provocative passages concerning this subject is recorded in James 4:15-17. So, let us consider what James has to say about making our plans.
Let us Plan our Future with God’s Sovereignty in Mind
James says in verse 15, “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” What is James saying? He is saying that this world is not a ‘closed system,’ but that it is all in God. The Lord who made the world is in the world, and constantly works in it according to His sovereign will. Contrast this to the view of an atheist, that this universe is as much a ‘closed system’ as the barrel of the ‘Australia Powerball Lottery’. The balls fall into the revolving barrel and round and round they bounce and turn. You see them through the transparent sides but you cannot influence the trajectory of one of them. You cannot will them to move your way. No force of wind, or magnetism, or air pressure, or human concentration, or anything at all can affect them—it is a totally closed system! And that is how an atheist views the world. He does not see the hands of God upholding the tiniest element in the universe and ruling and overruling the affairs of man. An atheist sees himself as the master of his own life—he does not want anybody to tell him what to do and is too proud to seek advice from anyone, even from an All-Wise God! But when a Christian plans for his future, he should allow God to plan by saying as James said, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (v.15) or “God willing…” Whenever we utter these words, we are actually making a statement of faith believing that God does ‘will’ according to His own pleasure and holy purpose. It is not simply a word of pious hope that things might work out, but it is a word of assurance that in our lives we are submitting to God\'s superior wisdom in our planning.
 
Let us Plan our Future with God’s Glory in Mind
In contrast to verse 15, James says in the following verse: “But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.” Man tends to look at what he has done or has and think it\'s so impressive and be boastful. Man loves to give himself credit for whatever success he has accomplished: it is just our sinful nature. When we boast of what God has enabled us to accomplish, we give ourselves the glory and are gratified with it and James says all such rejoicing in sinful. We often quote 1 Corinthians 10:31 to underscore that whatever a Christian does, he must do it for the glory of God. Many understand that this suggests that we must do everything at our level best to glorify God in various places of vocations and callings. But that is only half of the application. The other half of the application is that a Christian must also give God the credit for all the accomplishments that he achieves. If the chief end of man, as outlined in the ‘Westminster Confession of Faith Shorter Catechism’, is to glorify (Ps 86:9; Isa 60:21; Rom 11:36; I Cor 6:20; 10:31; Rev 4:11) and enjoying God forever (Ps 16:5-11; 144:15; Isa 12:2; Luke 2:10; Phil 4:4; Rev 21:3-4), then man must also give God the glory and enjoy Him in the planning of his future in the temporal life. Unfortunately, our non-Christian friends can never fathom nor to appreciate this profound truth and the enormous implications and impacts it could have upon their lives. A. J. P. Taylor, a great modern historian and an atheist, was asked “what did he think we are doing here on earth.” He replied, "I haven\'t the faintest idea. There\'s no purpose whatsoever. I\'ll tell you simply. We are here because of certain biological actions by our parents. That\'s it" (Sunday Telegraph, April 15, 1984). How tragic it is to think that the purpose of us being here on earth is simply the result of a biological action by our parents. Yet, that “despairing” and “depressing” view of life is being echoed by many more historians, politicians, educators, scientists, artists, movie producers and directors in our days. Suppose if there is no purpose whatsoever and life is a \'meaningless tragedy,\' why do people in the world still plan for their future? It would be meaningless for them to plan, but people in this world seem to be planning meaninglessly anyway. But God’s people should not live and plan their future with similar mentalities and philosophies.
 
Let us Plan our Future with God’s Expectations in Mind
With regard to making plans for our future, James concludes with this verse, “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” What is James saying here? This final verse is a warning against us not to take God out of our plans. If we try to cut God out, by either deliberate action or our unconscious inaction, the result is sin. It is interesting that James says, “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” God has told us that we ought to plan our future with His sovereignty and glory in mind, but He also expects us to plan our future with His expectations in mind. That is, His expectation for us to obey His commandment to do good, according to James in verse 17: “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” By the way, what is “to do good”? “To do good” may include but does not limit to giving to (Jas 2:15,16) and visiting the desperately poor or needy (Jas 1:27). The ultimate good that a Christian can do is to fulfill God’s will in and for him by trusting the Lord and be willing to submit to God’s guidance and leading every step of his way! Proverbs 3:5,6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” What does it mean to acknowledge God and be directed? A Christian must trust the Lord (not himself) and seek to acknowledge God by his constant submission and obedience when he makes plans for his future like a captain of the ship who relies on the light that comes from the light house in the dark night. Although the captain cannot see what is ahead of him, he can see the light that guides him and provides him direction for his ultimate destination.
 
In Conclusion
We may not know what lies ahead of us when we sail in the dark night of our life, but we do know that God always provides us directions as we make our way back to our heavenly home. God may not reveal to us what is going to happen one or five or ten years from now in the midst of seemingly ‘dark and foggy’ times, but we must acknowledge that we are not really the captain—Christ is the captain of our life (Heb 2:10; 12:2) and the great Shepherd of our souls (Heb 13:20)! But if we know that we are supposed to be guided but willfully ignore or despise His guidance and leading and “doeth it not” in what we are supposed to do, “it is sin,” or “we miss the mark,” James says (v.17). For, it is God’s expectation toward His people to fulfill His will, having diligently sought His will here on earth (Matt 6:10; Luke 11:2), until the day of His return.                                 
Ps Weng
 

More Lively Hope

 

Announcements

Announcements
*Kitchen Rosters: Team Leader: Bro Colin Gan. Next Lord’s Day: Team Leader: Dn Edwin D’Mello.
*A Warm Welcome to our pulpit: Rev Tim Meyer.
*Next Lord’s Day is our 24th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service. Please invite your family, relatives & friends to join us in this joyous occasion. Invites on the literature table.
*A Warm Sparks Thank You: The Sparks would like to express our warmest thanks to you for your kind & generous support for our fund raising events for the church’s new photocopier. It has been a joy for us in Sparks4Christ to be able to contribute to God’s Work in our small way. We seek to glorify God in what we do. By God’s grace the amount raised was $722.35, which is more than what we had hoped.
 
Looking Ahead
*Vacation Bible School, 12-16 July.
*ACM & Session Election, Sat 28 Aug.
 
Praise & Thanksgiving
1. Journey mercies: Rev Tim Meyer (Adl); Dn Edwin D’Mello (Bris); Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser (Noosa); Bro Joseph (S’pore) & Sis Ethel (Adl) Seow; Bro Jonathan Liao (Adl);& others who have travelled.
2. Church activities - over the past week.
3. Daily mercies, protection & guidance
4. Contribution to the Photocopier Fund by Sparks4Christ.
5. Safe arrival of baby boy (Stephen) for Bro John and Sis Josephine Wong on Mon, 7 June. Safe labour for Sis Josephine.
 
Prayer Items
1. Health & God’s healing - Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren; Dr SH Tow; Rev & Mrs James White; Preacher Zhang, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Colin Creaser, Makoto Kobayashi (JPN), Elton Law, Jonathan Liao, Len & Richard Pearson, Moses Tan (S’pore), & Fred Volvricht; Mr Swee Liang Ng; Grandpa Ki (S’pore); Auntie Oei; Sisters Lynette Booth, Mabella Booth, Annie D’Mello & her mother (Mumbai), Lydia Fan, Myung Ki (UK), Choon Fong Lee (KL); Fiona & Lehia Paauwe; Margaret, Dianne, & Sarah Pearson; Susan Veradi, Irena Kurek-Braden; & others in affliction.
2. God’s comfort: Mrs Angela Nguyen & family & others still in grief.
3. God’s guidance & help for Bro Richard Tee (Melb) & Sis Mag Yu (S’pore).
4. Healing & health - Bro Winston Selvanayagam
5. Cambodia Missions - Rev Stephen Choi & Ministry (Phnom Penh & Kandal Province)
6. Laos Missions - Bro Surish & ministry (Vientiane).
7. Bro Richie & Sis Myra Hornung - Missions work (Mindanao)
8. iSketch&Tell Studio - Pr H S Lim & his ministry in S’pore/Malaysia/Indonesia (June) & Adelaide (July).
9. IBPFM (USA) - Board, missionaries & funds.
10. Ps & Sis Ki & ministry in New Life BPC (Lond).
11. Ps & Sis Weng - ministry in Hope BPC.
12. Hopefuls in S’pore; In Kuching: Teo family.
13. Journey mercies: Rev Tim Meyer (Qld); Elder KH Koh; Dn Edwin D’Mello; Bro Colin & Sis Kathleen Creaser (Adl); Bro Jonathan Liao (Melb); Sis Sooi Chin Gong (Adl) & others travelling.
14. New organ (keyboard) for Sunday School - For God’s provision.
15. ACM & 6th Session Election on Sat, 28 August.
16. Job - Sisters Xandrea Cai, Marion Chan, Judy Li, Corinne Teng & Mag Yu (S’pore).
17. Good health in pregnancy - Sis Demelza Ting. 
18. 24th Anniversary Thanksgiving next week. Speaker: Elder KH Koh of Sydney BPC.
19. AFG Retreat this weekend - Speaker: Rev Tim Meyer (Qld), organisers & participants.
20. Candidates for Session 2010-2013: for God’s wisdom & guidance; For good testimony.
21. Street Evangelism - Salvation of those who received Gospel tracts.
22. School & Uni students sitting for their exams - for strength and stamina.

 

 

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PO Box 398, Fullarton, Adelaide, South Australia 5063