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  • Northwest Apostolic

James 4:13-17

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin”

James cautioned us on boasting about tomorrow. We do not know what tomorrow holds but we do know who holds tomorrow in his hands. I heard many years ago that if you want to make God laugh just tell him YOUR plans! James exhorted us to say, “If the Lord will” we will do such and such. Millions of people’s plans changed in a moment’s time during this pandemic. Anxiety has filled the air and many have been stricken by the unseen virus, the vast majority of them recovering and many do not even know they have it.

In times like these we all tend to reflect on our mortality especially when there is a tragic loss of one of our own loved ones or friends. James asked the question, “For what is your life”? He then answers it very succinctly: “It is even a vapour”. Another way of putting it is, “A flash in the pan”. It appears momentarily and then it vanishes away. Our life is displayed as the dash between the day we are born and the day we die. What is most important is what we do with the dash; the time God has allotted to us.

Jesus exhorted us in the Sermon on the Mount what our priority should be as pertaining to daily living in Math 6:25-34:

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof

Although we can learn from the past and have fond memories of things that have already been experienced and we can hope for tomorrow and plan as we should while making allowance for God to change our plans, what is most important for all of us is to seek first the kingdom of God today. We all have things we must do and rightfully so. At the forefront of it all needs to be an attitude and way of life that says, “God, what would you have me to do today”? We must live every day with a desire to please God in every way. Life can have a way of causing us to be anxious on the one hand or have our plans set in concrete that nothing is going to interrupt.

In the end life must be lived as we go along making allowances for the challenges we unexpectedly face. There is enough evil today that we must conquer without adding tomorrow’s evil to it. God knows what we have need of and he will supply all of our needs according to his riches in glory. As was talked about in a previous post Psalm 118:24 is a great verse that reminds us that:

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it”.

Our life’s journey will be the compilations of each and every day that we lived for God seeking his kingdom. Let’s make every day count. Time for us is as a vapor whereas eternity is forever and ever! Let’s make a difference today and a purchase a bright hope for tomorrow!

Pastor Ken Winkler

  • Northwest Apostolic

Psalm 91:1-2, “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him will I trust.”

During a great storm, the best place to be is under a shelter that protects you from that specific type of storm. A variety of structures could be used to shelter away from the storm, each have their own advantages.  One probably wouldn't shelter in a basement during a flood.  Nor would one choose to take cover in a camping trailer during the midst of a hurricane.  The storm dictates where you find shelter and refuge.  

In the spiritual realm, there is only one place to shelter during all of life's storms.  This shelter is a secret place, but it can be found by all.  It is in the shadow of One far bigger than any storm, yet the shadow is always nearby.  This shelter is the one who said "Peace be still," and his disciples marveled that even the winds and the sea obeyed Him.  He is the same who provided for the Widow of Zarephath when she thought the meal barrel was about dry.  Of course, He previously fed the Prophet Elijah with the ravens.  How could we forget how He protected an entire nation from the pursuit of the Egyptians?  He protected Israel with a pillar of the cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.  The Lord Jesus Christ is a great shelter, to be used for every area of life.

So when do we run for the shelter?  Should we wait until a storm of life so great demands exigency and urgency?  Would you stay in the basement as the waters begin to flood the room and wait until it's knee high? waist high? shoulder high?  Maybe stay in the camping trailer until the hurricane begins to violently shake it, and make a quick escape just before the trailer is picked up in the whirlwind?  Of course not, I speak facetiously to make a point.  This is a relationship with the One who casts a great shadow.  It is not a fire-escape religion.

I contend that we are to remain sheltered at all times!  Psalm 91 used the word "dwelleth."  That is present tense.  Not dwelt or will dwell - but "dwelleth."  Find your refuge and fortress in the Lord!  Make it a continual dwelling.  Trust in Him who will not leave you nor forsake you.  "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."  Isaiah 41:10

-Brother Michael

  • Northwest Apostolic

Psalm 118:21 -26 "I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD."

What a familiar verse of Scripture in Psalm 118:24, “This is the Day which the LORD hath Made…” We often only quote, or read one verse in a chapter, without reading the whole text. This is not necessarily a wrong practice, for the Apostles did this at times in the New Testament. However, we must keep in mind to read the whole chapter/book to try and understand the verse in context. The book of Psalms is one that has important verses sprinkled in the chapters. (We know that chapters and verses were added later). Psalms 118 is such a chapter.

Notice here in the verses selected for today’s devotional, verses 22-23 is a prophecy of the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself quoted this Psalm in Matthew 21:42, "Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?" Peter also referenced this Psalm in Acts 4:11 when preaching about Jesus, “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.“ (See also I Peter 2:6-8) Again Psalm 118:26 is referenced by the multitudes when Jesus made his Triumphal entry into Jerusalem prior to his crucifixion. (See Matthew 21:9) And Jesus himself uses this phrase from Psalms in Matthew 23:39 as He weeps over Jerusalem. 

This sprinkling of prophetic verses is common in Psalms and in other Old Testament books such as Isaiah. For the sake of this devotional it would not benefit us from continuing to list the many prophetic utterances listed in the Old Testament. However, it would seem that the prophets, psalmists, and writers did not fully know what they were writing. They were no doubt as confused in their day as we are sometimes confused in our day. The Old Testament saints did not have the joy of seeing through the lens of Calvary, and the Day of Pentecost, and the New Testament Church. It is interesting though, that nestled here in the midst of Messianic Prophecy the Psalmist (David I assume) writes a verse we quote so often in today’s church environment. “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.“ This Day!

No matter what Day it is, we can rest assured that the LORD made it. He knew about it before it happened and He knows how it will end. Each and every Day the LORD has formed and is in control. If He would touch a Psalmist to write about Himself in verses 22-23, (etc.) hundreds of years before the Day would happen, it should not surprise us then that this Day, our Day, was known long before it has taken place. The Savior has made this Day! Obviously, the Day we find ourselves in has many trials and struggles on different levels. The only way to Rejoice in the Day is to know the Lord made it and He is in control of it. Truly, the only way to Rejoice in the Day is to know and serve the “Creator” of the Day!

I Thessalonians 5:16, "Rejoice Evermore."    

- Brother Jordan

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