Any plans for 2021? Tenuous, like smoke!

Plans already made for 2021 are uncertain.  We may think, 2020 was a unique year of unknowable and sudden interruption. Unlike any other year.

The Book of James 4:13-17 says in an extremely paraphrased Old Guy Version (OGV)…

Be careful when you say, “I’m travelling to another city.  It has been my dream to move to this city.  I am going there in 2021, get a nice house, and look for my dream job … or live off my 401k. Finally, I’m going to be happy” 

You are just like the smoke from a holiday fireplace fire that quickly goes away.

You should say, “What does the Lord want? I will serve the Lord and go where He calls me. Lord, how can I serve you in 2021?”

Instead, you boast.  You think you can depend on your plans and resources.  This type of living relies upon you and not God.  You are missing it entirely.  Living your dream will never bring peace.  

Seek the Lord and joyfully serve Him, He will bless your life beyond what you can imagine.

A more literal version of James 4:13-17 …

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. So for one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, for him it is sin. (NASB)

How many of us saw smoke in 2020? Our plans, gone!

My life in 2020: a years-long-planned vacation with my wife, trips to the Philippines and Russia, the vacation we did take cut short by a week, quarantined twice … and the list continues. All swirled away into the air.

For you too?!

Perhaps you can add illness, the passing of loved ones, and significant job change.  The message of James 4 is smoke … all our plans, in all years… are like smoke.  The reality of vapor in our thoughts and considered actions became more apparent in 2020. But smoke always hovers around us.

The solution.  God’s will cannot be thwarted or burned.  No smoke.

In 2019 I took one trip to the Philippines.  In 2020, I did not take a trip to the Philippines. In 2019, we held a First Steps conference with 50 church leaders when we visited. In 2020, two Zoom conferences with over 70 participants. In 2019, one planning session with the Filipino team while there, but in 2020, 7 planning sessions with Zoom.

Our mission to reach Asia with First Steps has accelerated. Seeing God in smoke, so essential for understanding 2020.

A passage that I memorized, over 40 years ago…

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. –James 1:2-1 (NASB)

I’m anticipating 2021.  A year God reveals His will because of our testing. They are not smoke. They won’t fade.

Peace! Despite fire.