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Making Every Day Count – James 4:13-16

January 14, 2010

James 4:13-16 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. 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. (New American Standard Bible)

Absolutely every day without fail I am being challenged by what I am reading in the Word.  Like sandpaper on a rough piece of wood there is much that is catching and needing to be smoothed out.  Which is cool, I love that I am changing and becoming more of what God intends of me!  And this reading is no different, last night my wife and I were chatting about our big move to a new city in March, where we plan to live for about a year, where I will engage in new business!

This reading puts my life, my struggles my ambition, my numerous plans into perspective: You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Wow, in the scale of history, in God’s timing, I am but a vapor, which in the greek is atmis which literally means to exhale.  So I am like the air that leaves my mouth, that exists for the briefest of moments before disappearing..  I am but a brief breath in the grand scheme of things.

And in the face of this reality I find myself realising the need to live my life fully and completely for God. I just don’t have that long to make an impact on this world!  I see every day as an opportunity, every moment a chance to shine as a star in the universe (Philippians 2:15-16a).  When I feel tired and grumpy, or I find myself angry at someone, I need to view my life as fleeting and my focus as heavenward.  As James states: “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” My task is simply to do the Lord’s will, and this is a decision I make, an attitude, an approach to life.  I want to do the Lord’s will, and to do the Lord’s will I need to find out what His will is, and to do that I need to come into His presence – which is the theme of my walk at the moment – to be firmly in God’s presence. And this is achieved through reading the Bible, prayer and confessing my sin.  And not just bits here and there, but lots of Bible reading, prayer and confession.  To really embrace the practice of strengthening my faith!

I want to make every day count, to live every day for Jesus.  I want a life that is dedicated to serving Him completely. That is truly living.

God bless,

Rev Mark Brown

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Yahweh’s Yarn in a Year : 1 year Bible reading plan

The Portion for today: Matthew Chapters 3-4

Also I have set up a place on my FB page where your can discuss, make observations and ask questions about this reading.  Check it out by clicking here.

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  1. Sister Pam OP permalink

    “You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” Here are some words of truth. I used to work as an ICU nurse. Every day that I worked I cared for people whose lives had taken a dramatic, unanticipated change. Everything was hold on hold. Priorities were reestablished. It is a gift and blessing to reestablish priorities before we are forced into it.

  2. lupe meza permalink

    Yes we are just a vapor. Trusting the Lord for the day and the challenges that cross our life. May we realize this and continue in our efforts to do all He needs us to do “for such a time as this.” Thank you what a great teaching. Bless you Brother.

  3. Davilynn permalink

    WOW!!! How amazing God is! He speaks to us in so many things and ways. I just shared with someone about my plans for some things and God used you, brother to get me focused on what’s real and true.
    Thank you for being the target and the tool for God in sharing/teaching us.

  4. This is wonderful.Read in Genesis 2:6 when God was ready to form man,,But there went up a MIST from the earth,and watered the whole face of the ground.I think that mist is our life and I thank my Heavenly Father each day for mine.Thank you Mark

  5. Min. A. R. Lewis permalink

    Wow! Now this word should help us focus. To think that our life is just an exhale, is very sobering. We don’t have forever to get accomplished what God left us here on earth to do. If we don’t know what the will of God is for our life specifically, we need to hurry up and find out. We have been given gifts and talents for the purpose of ministering to others and winning the lost to Christ. We don’t want to be like the unfaithful, slothful one who hid his talent. I think about this a lot more now than in times past. As I get older, I realize that our lives has seasons and there are certain things we need to get done in that season. Once that season passes, it’s gone, along with a lot of missed opportunities. We truly cannot put off until tomorrow the things we need to be doing today. If we wait, it just might be too late.

  6. Connir Lovingood permalink

    In reading today’s passage, I find that I am going through a period of doing things my way. God wants us to do things His way, not ours. I am going through financial difficulty, as many people are these days. When ever I try to “plan” how I am going to take care of the issues that I face, the plan fails. God’s plan for each and every one of us is not futile. I find that by praying that I have the patience to wait out God’s plan for me, eventually my problems disappear. Actually, I’m am finding that in becoming closer to God that He has everything in control. The hardest thing is waiting for Him to make a move, in His time. I finally got it, He does indeed come through for me just in the-nick- of -time. He is indeed an on time God! I thank God every day for the very breath I take which brings me closer to Him. Each day also beings a new opportunity for me to testify for God. Every time I respond to these posts, I am testifying for God. I can do NOTHING without God.

    • Lucy permalink

      I can relate to this. I have experienced hardships, diminished friendships, financial difficulties, and medical problems. 2 years ago to this day I was released from the hospital after experiencing brain surgery, which was cancer. I have had to make a move in which I did not want to do, but I had to let go and let God take control. Since I have done this, I find myself more at peace with myself. It is funny how God works, but I certainly don’t question Him, He knows what is, was, and is meant to be. God is an awesome God. I can do all things thru Christ our Lord.

  7. Lynn permalink

    i have learned to live each day as it comes. a few years back i was at the hospital having a stress test on my heart.because i can’t walk for long distances they gave me something thru an iv to stimulate my heart. it wasn’t even a full minute after that i couldn’t breathe and the next thing i was coming to in the emergency room. i had a bad reaction to the shot and had stopped breathing. thank God in His goodness allowed them to get me breathing again. it was my birthday that day and if not for God it would’ve been my last one.i have copd with emphzema and i depend on God for each breath i take. i don’t know when my condition can be aggravated and i can almost stop breathing so i treasure each moment i have. i take each day as it comes and celebrate Jesus . also,in the bible Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow as each day has its own troubles. we are not promised more days,but we have the present day to live to the fullest. so live,love,and laugh as much as you can today, and if you’re given another day thank God.

  8. oh Lord let your will be done in my life….
    thank u Mark
    may God bless u

  9. Cheryl permalink

    Pastor Mark, that was an amazing word. Our life is like a vapor, I am stuck right there…. WOW! How much more to be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds, that you may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2

  10. Amen .Our life is like a vapor, we need to reflect every sec of our day indeed and be transformed into His image

  11. Truly, this is an amazing reading. I thank God for His presence in my life and continue to pray for His direction.

  12. We have only one problem. God has absolutely no SENSE OF TIMING, i.e., neither yesterday, nor today, nor tomorrow! God is never late.

    TIME is a concept which belongs to man since his creation -not before. Therefore, if we cannot adapt to the concept of ETERNITY, here and now, let us come clean and blissfully forget about God and his will!

  13. Bob Willson permalink

    A great scripture to remember Mark, and thank you for a great perspective on this passage. This passage tells me to not take it for granted that we will be given a tomorrow. So we have to make the most of today. It also tells me I should focus on God’s will rather than my own. Don’t make my plans without making God the center of my plans and keep Him involved with decisions and plans.

    I was just thinking this morning during my prayer time, how amazing it would be if I could start fresh each day. To forgive the hurts of the day and forget them the next day. So everyone that hurt me the previous day would have a fresh start as well. Because many times people hurt us without thinking and deserve a fresh chance. And I also thought this morning that each day I would ask God what I could do that day to please Him. And so that’s what I requested today.

    Thank you for Journey Deeper Into God’s Word! I look forward to this each day!

  14. Aaron Bell permalink

    Amazing! This is quite surreal how you chose this topic to talk about. The past while Ive been seeking to do a year placement either to study or work in America. This would be before my final year at Uni. I asked myself this morning whether or not I know if this is what God wants me to do.
    This was great to read today and re-affirms the fact that I need to seek what God wants me to do in this situation…in all situations in fact!

  15. That made me take a pause and look at my life. I knew that scripture already but it really sank in this time. Stopping when i get frustrated, angry, sad Etc and remembering i am but a vapor and have not a long time on this earth to go about my Fathers business … I will apply this to my life. Thank you Mark. May God richly bless you and yours.

  16. Kim permalink

    Indeed, life is a vapor. In the past few days, one friend died suddenly with heart failure, and another friend got a notice that she has a cancer and she may not live more than a month. They both are pretty young (in their 60’s) and they were planning to do many things after their retirement. What a good reminder for us to live today and to live for God.

  17. Patsy Bond permalink

    Did I miss a daily reading? Genisis !-3, Joshua 1-5, Psalms 1-2, Job 1-2, Isaiah 1-6, Mathew 1-2, Romans 1-2, Genisis 4-7, Joshua 6-10, psalms 3-5, Job 3-4, Isaiah 7-11, Mathew 3-4. These are the readings I have. Today is the 14 th of January and I only have 13 readings. Did I miss one? I have checked every day.

    • Lydia Reyes permalink

      Patsy, I also have 13 readings and I checked everyday. I still think we are in the right track. Let everything that has breath, Praise the Lord.

  18. Jolene permalink

    Life is too short to worry about the small stuff. I thank God Our Father everyday for my blessings and for another day. Always tell your loved ones what they mean to you no matter what. Thank you also, Pastor Mark, for getting the knowledge of Our Jesus out there to save others. God is so Awesome! I am so blessed every day of my life. God Bless Everyone!

    • Did I miss something? Where did you find the (direct) “knowledge OF Jesus… to save others”? I have been looking for it all my life!

  19. Life is but a vapor, It’s here then it is gone, Most people don’t think of it that way, Some days that are windy and cold, Seems like they are much longer. Tribulation will have it’s place in our life, Trust in GOD there’s is light at the end of the tunnel. Anything you do in life seek GOD first, Pray before
    leaving the house the highways are dangerous, We need GOD ever second of the day. I think it’s a sin to be depresed
    Don’t live like GOD don’t exist, Take it to the LORD IN Prayer

  20. thanks God because he use people like you pastor mark, it is true that every minute in everday lets offer praises and worship to the almighty God…dont waste our time to the worldly things.. i wlays pray to do the will of God for me and not on my own will… thanks Godbless

  21. Nicole permalink

    Remember, as we go through this life, as short as a breath, that maybe our biggest impact will be to do as 2 Tim 2:2 says: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.” When we multiply our faith, we multiply God’s impact in the world!

  22. Theresa Horton permalink

    Unbelievable how wonderful is God’s grace. I have felt a burden regarding issues that the Lord would have me work on this year, and am embarrassed to say that arrogance is one of them that seems to keeping coming up, in me, and then in response to me, all God’s messages are right there to help with changing. Deeper study of God’s word is changing me, and it feels so good! A man spoke to me out of the blue tonight, and he said almost these exact same words, and I immediately knew when he spoke to me that I had been blessed. Thank you God.

  23. peter john marcelo permalink


  24. Buck permalink

    Pastor Mark, bless you for being obedient to the Lord and posting God’s word with wisdom as you do. Brother James was right on, life is but vapor,Brother Sam Chan preached a message to some of us pastors at a conference years ago titled what are you doing with the dash of your life. He said he had left from a friends funeral and while walking from the cemetery he noticed the date of birth on a head stone then a – and the the date of passing, the Lord impressed on him the dash between the two dates. We walk in eternity present moving toward eternity future it’s a breath away are we prepared to meet God, what are we doing with the dash of our lives. Make every moment count for God, Pursue his divine purpose, we were created to worship him in every thing we do. Bring him pleasure, lead others to him. The time will come when we will step into eternity will we hear well done or depart from me. Live as though the next breath is the last give him glory and honor he’s worthy of all men’s praise II Cor 5:9,10. God bless you richly in all you do for the Lord Brother Mark and all your readers. Look up for your redemption draweth nigh, hallelujah.

  25. Ladele ibidun permalink

    What a wonderful oppourtinty journeyin deeper into Gods word.

  26. Rhonda Wagers permalink

    I really got a blessing out of this message. Thank you. I have been praying really hard for a while now to know God’s will in my life so that I can do it. I have been asking God to show me and or let me know what to do, then I will do it. I know that this is a lame excuse and used by so many others, but I don’t have the proper time I feel to really do the Bible study I need to be doing. I have three children and I teach 4th, 5th and 6th grade Science. As a teacher I go through about 75 kids a day and feel so physically tired at the end of the day that it’s all I can do to make sure a good supper is on the table, papers are graded and clothes are clean for the next school day. I have made a resolution with myself to do better at making the time to do what I know God wants me to do. I have asked for wisdom and I know that He is giving it to me. Your Journey Deeper into God’s Word has been very helpful. I have only known about your site for about a week now. I encourage you to keep up the good work in spreading God’s word and I would like to ask you for prayer for my own strength, wisdom and prayer for my family that God will knock very loud and clear at their hearts to entice them to want to be closer to Him as well. They are all saved, but I know that they have not been putting God first in their lives and this is a MUST. God is first in my life because I know that in the end this will be all that matters. Thank you for sharing God’s word and God Bless You.

  27. Alvert Johnson permalink

    Thank You for the Word once again Rev Mark.
    I recently gave my life to God and all these verses and teaching from You is really a great help for my Growth.

    Thank You very for taking out ur precious for Us All. 🙂

  28. Alvert Johnson permalink

    Thank You for the Word once again Rev Mark.
    I recently gave my life to God and all these verses and teaching from You is really a great help for my Growth.

    Thank You very Much for taking out ur precious Time for Us All.

  29. I appreciate what you bring to us in this post. I look to meditate on the readings during the day, and they caused me to see the little things we forget to thank God for giving us. Once again , thank you.

  30. Fredricke permalink

    I am encouraged by your writing concerning life. i have wrestled with life & the issues thereof, & I found out that if I just don’t give up in the process, reaping season comes (Gal.6:9) The challenge in that scripture is found in two words: well doing. I then have to examine my faults I know of, and then the Word of God unfolds more construction for my soul. We can never say we have arrived, because there will always be something God will challenge us in, & that is God’s way of informing me that:
    1.) I will always be in need of God, and life being a vapor indicates
    2.) I can NOT afford to get comfortable, in ANY position.
    I am not gonna give up, because there is no quit in me. But I do realize that in order to maintain, some priorities must be established, & maintained. Out.

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