Tim’s Daily Bread Devotional 7.31.21

By July 31, 2021Daily Bread

Thank you for sharing this early moment of your day with me, with God, and with the thoughts and words of this reading that I hope you will carry with you throughout the coming day and night.

Today’s Scripture:

James 4:13-17 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
Boasting about Tomorrow

13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a town and spend a year there, doing business and making money.” 14 Yet you do not even know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wishes, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Anyone, then, who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, commits sin.

Tim’s Devotional Reflection for Today

“You do not even know what tomorrow will bring.”  Those words of James always ring true, but perhaps they ring louder in difficult, uncertain times.  During the global pandemic nearly everyone scrapped plans—in some cases plans made a year or two earlier with reservations made and deposits paid.  It brought home in dramatic ways what we already knew:  we do not know what tomorrow will bring.

Through my more than forty years of ministry as a pastor I have seen harsh reminders that the future is uncertain:  someone is killed in a car crash, another is diagnosed with a terminal illness, a financial “sure thing” falls through, a relationship ends in betrayal.  Too many times I have heard someone say, “I didn’t see it coming.”  We don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

Not only that, James reminds us poetically that our lives are brief: “you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  He then says, in effect, that we ought to add that phrase we sometimes add when talking about our plans: “God willing.”

So what do we do with this description of our reality?  It is the last sentence that stands out in relation to the uncertainty of the future and the brevity of our lives.  What do we do today, since today is the only day we can reasonably be sure we have?  We can put that into three simple words from verse seventeen:  the right thing.

There is a lot of theology woven into hymns. To enhance today’s reading, I recommend listening to “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home;

under the shadow of your throne
your saints have dwelt secure.
Sufficient is your arm alone,
and our defense is sure.

Before the hills in order stood,
or earth received its frame,
from everlasting you are God,
to endless years the same.

A thousand ages in your sight
are like an evening gone,
short as the watch that ends the night
before the rising sun.

Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
soon bears us all away.
We fly forgotten, as a dream
dies at the op’ning day.

O God, our help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
still be our guard while troubles last,
and our eternal home.

I hope you will take a few moments to let the words of this message and the emotion that always connects us to music connect with your soul. I am so grateful for you, for our church, and for the Love that will see us all through this very difficult time. Please stay safe and well and we’ll be together again in spirit tomorrow morning!

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Tim Bruster
Senior Pastor


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