Hopefully Devoted: Today Time

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)

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I finally purchased my own copy of Jesus Calling. As I shopped at my nearby Christian bookstore, I spied it. I picked up the very nice leather-like bound copy and read the tag-line of the title: Enjoying Peace In His Presence. I was in the midst of a series of messages on “Continuing the Work of Jesus…Peacefully.” Knowing I needed to continue growing in peace and peacemaking, I laid my money down—and I haven’t regretted the decision.

I love how a phrase can cut straight to the struggle of my heart. This morning I found a nugget that stopped me. 

I designed time to be a protection for you.

I had been washing dishes, getting breakfast, and having a running dialogue with God about the frustration I was having with feeling excessive stress, and how it was impacting my commitment to healthy eating. 

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As I walked past the dining room table, I glanced down and saw the devotional. Picking it up, I turned to today, and there it was.

I designed time to be a protection for you.

I have a large new responsibility coming up next week. I’ve been feeling anxious. Doubting my ability. Performance anxiety. 

My head dropped. I was doing it again. Worrying about a tomorrow, about what might be, about things I have no control over. Frustrating myself today. Trampling all over my daily goals, commitments, and opportunities by stressing about tomorrow.

Time. Time is a gift from God. 

Provision. God provides for me on a “daily” basis. Only gather enough manna for today. Give me this day—today—my daily bread. Today is the day of salvation.

God, forgive me for failing to recognize you wise provision and creation. Especially, when it comes to time. Help me to trust you for all my tomorrows and to live more completely in my today. Thanks. Amen.

Wait…It’s Today

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24

 

“How many days till Christmas?”

Isn’t that a child’s #1 question this time of year?

Where would they ever get the idea to wish this day away and hope for one to come?

I’m going to wager a guess it might be from the adults around them. You know the folks who look forward to Friday, or teachers whose calendars mark the days until summer, or grandparents counting down to retirement.

 

We all do it. Maybe it helps to have a date out on the horizon to get through the pain, despair, loneliness, and drudgery of today.

But if tomorrow doesn’t come?

Do you know the day that matters most to God?

 

Give us this day…Today if you hear his voice…Today is the day of salvation.

You have today. Enjoy it. Revel in it. Live in it. Give thanks for it.

PRAYER: Thank you God for today. This day. Keep me here to live to your glory and honor. Amen

 

Today!

God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” Hebrews 4:7, NIV


I have been a procrastinator my whole life. I imagine if I checked with my mom she would tell me I was even late being born.
I wish I had a dollar for every time she would address my procrastinating with this bit of wisdom: Don’t put off ‘til tomorrow what you can do today. I remembered this as I read this passage in Hebrews.

Several times in scripture we are reminded that God’s word is today, now, this day. Our strength is being renewed day by day. The Israelites were fed manna daily in the wilderness. Jesus taught his disciples to ask for the daily bread and not worry about tomorrow because it has its own particular problems.


Just as clearly we then learn that Satan’s word is tomorrow. Moses asked when he wanted relief from the plague of frogs to which he surprisingly replied, “tomorrow.” Why wait? God can take care of it now? Makes no sense to me. So whether by procrastination, putting off until later, or worry about what tomorrow holds, Satan’s job seems to be to get us off focus of the present and presence of God in this moment right now.


As a counselor I encouraged families frustrated by negative behavior to consider that all behavior serves a purpose. This is even true of procrastination. Two primary purposes jump quickly to mind. First, we procrastinate or put off doing something in order to maintain control. I’m sure we’ve all seen how a three year old can dig in her heels in defiance. She doesn’t want to do whatever Mom wants. Even at her young age and diminutive stature she fights for some semblance of control. Sometimes it’s cute on a toddler—not so much on an adult.


The other purpose that procrastination serves is fear. I don’t do what I need to do because I’m afraid. Afraid I’ll fail. Afraid I won’t be perfect. Afraid I’ll disappoint. The way the twisted thinking goes is that if I don’t do anything then I can fail or disappoint. The problem with that is we don’t realize how often this disappoints those who are expecting us to do something. Bosses are frustrated when the job doesn’t get done. Teachers have little option but to fail us for not completing the assignment (or science fair project). And if I wait to the last minute and don’t have all I need to complete the task (whether it’s poster board or ingredients for class treats), then I can put the blame outside of myself. ..or at least try to.

While I am quick to assure others of this, I’m a little more reluctant to own it for myself. That doesn’t however make it any less true. I’m working to release my fears and my insane need to control everything. My family will tell you it’s been a series of pain-filled baby steps. It’s just not natural for me to surrender, not initially anyway. I know I will get there, but it’s a process for me. Thankfully God gives the strength to work on it each day, day by day, starting Today!