Friday, August 17, 2007

Only Today

by Donna L. Watkins

What would life be like if all we had to think about was this day, even this very hour? No other long list of issues and tasks, but only what is before us at this very minute.

This Swamp Hibiscus flower you see in the photo only lives a day. But in that day it provides nectar for the hummingbirds and butterflies, pollen for the bees, and beauty to the eyes for all those who take a moment to look and see the detail of God's care for us. He knows the number of hairs on our head.

Do you know some people who seem to go through life one day at a time? There aren't many .. but they're out there. Those of us who are driven to plan it all out, get it all done, and make it all happen, live life too fast to take much notice of these few that lag behind the pace of the real world. If performance and completed tasks is the way we evaluate (should we say 'judge') the value of people, we will discard these kind of folks as simply lazy.

The nation of Israel was under slavery in Egypt and prayed for deliverance. They surely begged God for help throughout their hard days with the taskmasters. Did they feel God had abandoned them? Do you feel like God has abandoned you during the hard seasons of life? We lament .. "If only I could change my circumstances." It brings a feeling of powerlessness to our lives when we get into situations that we can't control.

Not being able to control our circumstances makes it real evident that we are not living a life of "walking by Faith and not by sight." Each generation is more and more challenged with living by Faith because the world brings about solutions and conveniences for problems we haven't even thought of yet. All of these solutions take many into debt thinking they are needs. The advertising campaigns are powerful and big business seems to be running the show. But that's another topic ... and that's not where I'm going right now.

I always like to know which way to go and when to turn. I like for things to run smoothly and when I hit the proverbial brick wall, I begin to doubt that I'm on the right path. But that's not the way God works. Life doesn't flow happily ever after like in the fairy tales. Adam and Eve had some bad circumstances and life has been that way ever since.

Brick walls are very useful tools for God to mold and shape our lives and character. Character is what allows us to live peaceful and joyful lives knowing that all is well within, regardless of how much of a mess we see without.

The devil keeps trying to deceive us into thinking there's a 'perfect' path out there.

God tells us we are loved and that He watches over us and guides us and there is no direction we can take without Him using the experience for good in our lives, IF we love the Lord. (Romans 8:28) We are called to bring about His purposes on the Earth. That can happen in our good and bad experiences, but mostly seems to happen from bad experiences.

Playgrounds are grand and retreats are necessary, but life is about living it well and as Christians we've been given the tools to do that, but we have to choose to use them.

Most days, it's just about taking one step at a time and focusing on that one instead of looking ahead for the footprints that aren't there yet. "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” Matthew 6:34b). Be honest! Doesn't most of your turmoil come from worrying about something that is not part of today? Either the past which is certainly silly since we cannot change it ... or the future, of which we must admit to ourselves we have no control over?

Matthew 6:34a says: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself." If you're one of those that says, "Well, somebody needs to be thinking about it!" this verse says "somebody" is. Tomorrow will worry about itself. You aren't assigned to the job.

We are to have faith and trust in God. Trust in our Heavenly Papa. That's hard to do when you had earthly parents and others that you trusted in that didn't do what was right for you. And now what? Do you accuse God of being the same? It's so easy for me to forget all about God's love and grumble about what He's not doing for me here and now. And the emphasis is definitely on 'now.'

Did He not say,

I will never leave you nor forsake you?
You are the apple of My eye and you are engraved on the palm of My hand.
I am for you and not against you?

Do we believe these things? What we believe creates the world around us. What we "see" by our attitudes and personalities makes it so. Haven't you ever been with somebody that is so totally negative they don't see the wonder around them. I've stood in gardens and by flowing streams with negative people and there is no peace to be found in them. Their thoughts and words are painting a different world around them than what I see there.

There must be something we believe about "life is hard" that makes it so. What we think is what we create. We're made in the image of God and God created it all with a few words. The words we're speaking to ourselves are also creating things into being. What are they creating in your life?

The Scripture above, "I will never leave you nor forsake you" is prefaced by very important thoughts and followed by empowering words. Let me give it to you in a form that includes, in parentheses, a deeper Greek meaning of the words:

Hebrews 13:5 - "Let your conversation (manner of life, behavior) be without covetousness (without love of money); and be content (to be satisfied) with such things as ye have (the things which are at present around one, namely, one's circumstances): for he hath said, I will never leave thee (never leave you helpless, never let you sink, never neglect you) nor forsake thee (desert, or abandon you in the midst of a hostile circumstance)."

And what follows that?

Hebrews 13:6 - "So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me."

Doesn't it just stir you to the bottom of your soul? We have a place to live where there is no fear. No fear of past failures making today a failure ... no fear of tomorrow because IF we believe and trust God today, our tomorrows will all be taken care of by His hand that has you engraved on it.

Do you really think you can do better than that? Sit back, soak up His Word, relax and take one moment at a time, unwashed by the past or possible future.

Nothing can satisfy the cry of a child of God but the Word of God! Keep it in you in thought, word and deeds. You'll be a whole lot kinder to yourself and those around you.

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