Chip Morgan wrote the following, "The diagnosis of cancer last year drove home the truth of mortality as this reality changed my life. Characteristic self-confidence had to give way to dependence on God’s grace and daily provision. Every day became a fresh gift, as living moment by moment took on new meaning. After a while, living with cancer becomes a way of life. Yes, there are daily reminders like soreness at an old surgical site, or air hunger while throwing hoops with my teenage son, testing the one good lung. But you don’t dwell on these things. Hey, you’re alive and there is blue sky outside. Thank you Lord, for a fresh crisp breeze, bright sun, and another day to walk the dog. Daily blessing typically come through the good graces of family and friends. It’s been that way for years, but maybe I wasn’t really paying attention. What’s ahead? I don’t know. Take it a day at a time. After all, there are enough blessings to keep anyone fully occupied, if we look. It’s refreshing in a way not to have a five-year plan. Keeps me close to Him" (World Magazine, 2-3-2001, p. 37). As I read this article I thought, "What are simple, but great daily blessings that I am overlooking or taking for granted?"
At this point, one might object, "Not me, everyday I live with some bodily ache or pain and in addition, life is full of stressful confrontations and unpleasant situations". Yes, I might voice such a complaint, until I remember all the people who have departed from this life and were not saved. Whatever discomforts I experience today are nothing compared to the pain and agony being experienced by people who died outside of Christ, "For I am in agony in this flame" (Luke 16:24); "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Matthew 8:12); "They will be tormented day and night forever and ever" (Revelation 20:10). Compared to what the lost are presently experiencing, even our "worst" day, is a day that they would envy. Do we forget such simple and priceless comforts as a warm bed, clean clothes, a hot bath, a good meal, or an afternoon nap?
Daily Affection and Love
Remember, we are only married in this life (Matthew 22:30). Every day we have is one day nearer the time when death will sunder our marriage. We need to savor every day we have with our mates (Ecclesiastes 9:9). Once again, think about all the lost people who are suffering and who will never again receive any love, comfort or affection (Romans 2:8 "but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation"). Our society is so obsessed with lust, that such simple blessings as a kiss from our mate is viewed as nothing. How the people suffering in torment would long for a drop of cold water, and how much more, a hug, a kiss, and the touch of a loved one on their hand.
Daily Opportunities With Our Children
"A father once wrote in his diary, ‘Boring day, nothing much happened’. His son had written, ‘Best day of my life. Played basketball with Dad and took a long walk together.’ Could that have been me? What was I thinking? What else was so important? Must we endure disasters to keep priorities straight? No wonder God wants to get our attention" (World Magazine, p. 37). Sadly, we often make the same mistake. How many of us when we needed to take time out for some family need, said to ourselves, "Well, I didn’t get anything done today"? Especially, for parents who were not raised by Christian parents, the chance to raise your child in the manner that you would have loved to be raised is so meaningful. Every day we have opportunities to impart vital instruction that will help guide our children for their entire lives (Ephesians 6:4; Genesis 18:19). Every day we can say something that will really make a difference. We can give them so many advantages in facing temptation, in maturing, in discerning good and evil (Hebrews 5:14). We can offer them answers at the every moment in time that they are searching for an answer. Remember, every day is one less day that we have with our children. Families do not remain intact forever, and mom and dad will not be around forever. Each day is simply one day nearer to the time that we must say goodbye ("I shall go to him, but he will not return to me" 2 Samuel 12:23). Our children will grow old without us, but each day until our departure, we can model for them how a Christian deals with responsibility, family obligations, setbacks, bad news, age, and death.
Jesus taught His disciples to pray, "Give us this day our daily bread" (Matthew 6:11). I guess this was an uncommon expression even in the ancient world. It might be translated, "bread for the current day". Used in the morning, this petition would ask bread for the day just beginning. Used in the evening, it would pray for tomorrow’s bread. Thus we are to live one day at a time. Are we happy and satisfied with "daily bread"? Of course the word "bread" stands for all our physical needs. Fowler notes, "Our’s is a humble dependence upon God. It is for "bread" that we ask, not luxuries. What a rebuke is this of our constant struggle and straining after more and more" (p. 349). The expression "daily bread" also reminds us that life is extremely fragile. All are luxuries are meaningless if we don’t have food. Here is trust that cancels anxious worries about the distant and unknown future (Matthew 6:34; Psalm 127:2). We are also reminded here, that daily bread isn’t earned by mere hard work. Without God’s providential care and blessings of rain and sunshine, all of our work would be for naught.
It is so easy to be longing for really big ticket tems that we overlook simple, but very great blessings that happen today. How often do we thank God that we are able to afford the basket of groceries that we just purchased? The lunch that we just bought? Are we thankful that we are able to pay the mortgage this month, the gas bill and so on?
One Day Closer To Eternity
"And this do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed" (Romans 13:11). So many people feel that as time goes by the truths and events recorded in the Bible become less and less real or relevant, because we are so far removed from what happened in the First Century. People forget that every day that goes by we are closer and closer not only to the day of our own death (Hebrews 9:27), but the day when Jesus comes again. Today we are closer that we have ever been to the Second Coming, every day that clicks by just brings us that much closer to when Jesus returns. In fact, we are almost 2000 years closer to the Second Coming than were the apostles! (Acts 1:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 2 Peter 3:9-11). This should serve as tremendous motivation to live holy and upright lives, "Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!" (2 Peter 3:11-12). The word "looking for" is in the present tense, and means to "wait, look for, and expect" (Arndt p. 712). We are to be watchful and always prepared; in addition, Christians need to look forward to this day with eager anticipation (Philippians 3:20). The term "hastening" means "to desire earnestly" (Thayer p. 584); "strive for"(Arndt p. 762). "To urge on, to hasten; and then to hasten after anything, to wait with eager desire’" (Barnes p. 263). If anything, with each passing day, we should be that much more dedicated, for we are nearer to our eternal goal.
Another Day to Teach
"And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ" (Acts 5:42). "Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word" (Acts 8:4). "So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present" (Acts 17:17).
Today I can make a friend, or start a conversation that will lead to someone’s salvation. I have always been impressed by the statement that if each Christian just converted one person a year, then the congregation would double in size every year. Teaching just one person does seem like such a reasonable goal. Today, with the gospel message, I can completely change someone’s life for the better. I can alter the eternal destiny of a single individual or an entire family.
Another Day to Learn
"Like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation" (1 Peter 2:2). "But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14). "Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4).
Each new day brings another day to take time and study the Scriptures. Today brings with it another opportunity to grow and mature, another chance to build my faith (Romans 10:17), another opportunity to improve my skills in giving a reason for the hope that is within me(1 Peter 3:15). What insight am I going to gain today that I did not see yesterday? "Open my eyes, that I may behold wonderful things from Thy law" (Psalm 119:18).
Another Day to Change
"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). "Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as when they provoked Me…But encourage one another day after day, as long is it is still called ‘Today’, lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin" (Hebrews 3:7-8,13).
"Today" can be the beginning of a completely new life (Romans 6:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come"). No one is destined to end up lost or remain perpetually enslaved to sin or to a particular sin. No one has to remain spiritually weak, or apathetic. Whatever one did in the past does not have to competely determine the present or the future. One of the greatest blessings of "today" is the opportunity to change in my life whatever needs to be changed. I can change my mental perspective today. I can change my allegiance today. I can seek forgiveness and be forgiven today. I can remove all the guilt from the past today. I can go from being an enemy of God to a friend of God, today! I can completely change my eternal destiny today.
Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/503-644-9017