Saturday, 22 May 2010

The Present a.k.a Today

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 (NIV)

If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don't you think he'll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes. Matthew 6:30-34 (The Message)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith 2nd Timothy 4:7 (NIV)

'Surprise! You have a gift! If you're wondering what the special occasion is, it's called being alive, a fact that we too often and easily take for granted. Every day we open our eyes to God's present, the gift called 'Today.'. It is 24 hours, 1440 minutes, 86,400 seconds specially wrapped with God's love and His presence delivered to you daily! Yes daily! This gift called Today doesn't depend on you being good or bad, it's delivered to everyone who has and takes breath. It is often called the great equalizer because the same gift is given to rich and poor, male and female, educated and illiterate, tall and short...I'm sure you get the drift. The question is what will we do with our gift today?

Paul encourages us in Philippians 3:13-14 about how best we can make use of the present.

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Forgetting what is behind..(Yesterday)

This means letting go of yesterday, we may not forget events but we render the memories impotent to keep us trapped in yesterday. Paul understood about letting go of the past to enjoy the gift of the present. His yesterday had both the good and the bad, the beautiful and the ugly. He was in his own words 'circumsised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee: as for zeal persecuting the church; as for legalistic righteousness, faultless.' However, he also had a past he was not proud of as he also described himself as once being a 'blasphemer, persecutor and a violent man' and yet Paul says the one thing he does is to forget what lies behind.

'What lies behind you baby, Pain, betrayal, achievements, fame, notoriety, shame or sickness. Whatever it is, it's in yesterday. You can't go back in time and unravel the decisions, that you didn't pray enough, that you didn't hold on long enough...You have a new gift of today, what are you going to do with it? How will you press on towards the goal? Who will you call? Who will you forgive? What will you give up? What will you gain? It doesn't matter how far you feel the dream is from your reach. You get to that future one day at a time. Yesterday, you didn't pray or read your Bible, you didn't spend time with me. Today, you can pray and spend quality time with me (you know how much I enjoy those one on one moments!). Today you can apologise and ask for a clean slate with your friends. It's not about always doing everything right. Its about waking up, talking to Me and following My lead during the course of the day, celebrating the small achievements that are taking you in the right direction!'

Straining towards what is ahead, I press on (Today)

Those two words, straining and pressing indicate the exertion of force. It reminds me of being in the gym. No pain, no gain! To ever achieve anything of significance for God will exert strain, faith requires stretching beyond what one sees with the eyes of the flesh and pressing onwards irrespective of obstacles that may be standing in the way. It may be difficult, you may wonder how the mess can turn into a message, how the test can be turned into a testimony. God says, one day at a time, one right decision at a time. You can complete the vision, one task at a time, that bestseller, one chapter at a time (Amen!!). God said "If everyday, we lived God's day for us, at the end of your days we like Paul would be able to testify about having fought the good fight, having finished the race (which is a marathon and not a sprint by the way!!) and looking forward to our crown.
Do not worry  (Tomorrow)
Just like yesterday, tomorrow can also be a deterrent to us making the most of today. I used to say I'm a natural 'worrier' but I pray as I mature in Christ to take that ability to worry and convert it to an ability to meditate on the word of God. Rick Warren says if you can worry, you can meditate, worrying just means you meditate on problems! What does the future hold? Actually, our future is being played out by the decisions we make today but tomorrow is not in our grasp. There are so many things that could happen but we need to rest our hearts in the knowledge that we have a God who has all our tomorrows in His hands. Nothing takes Him by surprise and He's able to work everything (yes everything) the good, the bad and the ugly for our good as long as we are committed to loving Him and walking according to His purpose.I love The Message translation. Jesus says, "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes!"
Halleluyah! So today I'm stretching, warming up, decking on my running shoes and continuing with the marathon because I must make it to the finish line, so help me God! What about you?
Dear Father
Daddy I ask for the grace to let go of yesterday, to stop worrying about tomorrow and for strength to face what is on my plate today. In Jesus name. Amen.


jhazmyn said...

".You have a new gift of today, what are you going to do with it?"

That's such an important question...and asking ourselves this constantly, would put us in constant check and help us remain on track.

So many times we are more consumes by what we can get, as Tom tenney (God chasers) put it...are we seeking the heart of the king or the splendour of His kingdom, do we seek the bread or the bread giver...sometimes, being consumed by our lives is a sure sign that our focus is more on us, than it is on the Father....may I constantly learn to press on

Jaycee said...

I'm grateful for this day...this hour...this minute...this second. Because it is a gift.

Blowing Blessings Your Way said...

I once heard the word worry defined as a negative form of times I fine myself regretting things that I didn't or did do in the past and then I begin to get anxious about the future....but I thank God...because we have to take it one day at a time and strive to become better. Focusing more of the giver instead of the gifts! Its tough at times to trust God complete, but at the end of the day it brings about comfort!


I love the words of Paul, "this one thing I do... forgetting those things which are behind (in the past) and pressing on to those things which are before.." Pressing on should not be confused with worrying about them. Pressing on is moving forward in faith believing we have a God who holds tomorrow.

A songwriter said,

Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
One thing I know about tomorrow
I serve a God who knows tomorrow
And in Him I know
My tomorrow is secured.

Lord I thank you for this time, here and now and for what you are going to do in my tomorrow.

Thanks Zoe. A blessing you are and may you continue to be in Jesus' name.


Zoe Believer said...

@jhazmyn: We must indeed, this morning I literally had to live by these words, its so easy to fall back into yesterday, it takes a concious effort to stay in today!

@Jaycee: Yes it is,

@Blowing Blessings your way: Love that definition on worry, will add to my collection. We must learn from the past but not be trapped by it. God bless

@TheProf: Thank you so much, for the song and the prayer. All I can say is Amen

Tisha said...

"You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. "Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow".

Thanks zoe, i am fed up of focusing on yesterday and tomorrow and just for once in my life living in the present.

You are just a blessing, this is the word i need for now.