Saturday, August 18, 2018

Live Today...

Recently, a friend shared her vision and dreams for the future, asking what she could do now to work toward them.  While setting goals and dreaming big are important, I was reminded of this passage from the book of James that says we must guard against failing to live well today.

Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13-17 ESV)

James, being James, didn't waste words. That's part of living for the dream--be yourself. God made you, you, so do it to the best of your ability.

More than that, he says don't make plans without consulting and incorporating God. Humility, dependence on God, is the bigger part of moving forward. "I'd like to do this or that, but only God knows" is very different than declaring, "I'm going to be this person and reach this goal."

And have you noticed that sometimes people with grandiose dreams get little done? They are so busy waiting for the right conditions that they fail to move forward or complete everyday tasks. Instead, God says (through James), if there's something you ought to do, git er done. Make your bed, read your Bible, pray--for yourself and others, be thankful, generous, and useful. Do what you can do. If you only have today, what will you do? How will you live it to God's glory given the resources, abilities, responsibilities, and opportunities God has placed in your life? All you have is this moment. Now. Today.

Based on God's principle of sowing and reaping, of giving much to those who have been faithful with little, it is doubtful that building the ark was Noah's first command. He practiced obedience, based on God's interaction with Adam and Eve, that continued generation after generation. He offered sacrifices, put God first in his daily life, and acknowledged His sovereignty--all of which led to distinct choices. A godly life, a blessed life, is the result of small, repeated, daily decisions that move us toward an unknown future. It may not look like "going to another town, spending a year there, buying, selling and making a profit, " but it will be a life that honors God, is unpredictable, rich, and blessed.

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In this, I am reminded of Demrie Bratt, who lived an extraordinary, though short, life to the glory of her Savior. The passage below is a picture of her life these last months as she battled cancer to the glory of God. Read here about her "Extraordinary Life." Friends and family are celebrating even as I write... Demrie said it well: God gives just enough grace... for today. It's what we've got.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:3-9)

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