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Facing Today

"And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem" Luke 9:51

As we enter Holy Week and look forward to celebrating Easter Sunday and the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should be filled with boldness, love, and joy. Boldness because of the merit Christ has given us, love because He suffered and died for us to pay our sin debt, and joy because we are so glad to be His, and to be free from the bondage of sin and worldliness. This threefold garment of God's grace should fit us to face life or death. It is true because Jesus Christ is our living Lord and Savior; so we are made more than conquerors through Him. We serve a risen Savior, we worship a living God, and we are indwelt with the healing, helping, spiritual fruit producing Holy Spirit.

One of our favorite hymns for the Easter celebration is "Because He Lives" written by Bill and Gloria Gaither. Even though the chorus emphasizes facing "tomorrow" because He lives, I say that we can also face "today" because He lives.

SPBC has been blessed to have several newborn babies born into the church family over the past several months and we're excited and thankful that several more are soon to be born. The second verse of "Because He Lives" establishes strength, hope and comfort for these babies and their families as they face tomorrow and today:

"How sweet to hold a newborn baby, and feel the pride, and joy he gives; But greater still the calm assurance, this child can face uncertain days because He lives." And life's chorus for all of us is:

        "Because He lives, I can face today,
         Because He lives all fear is gone;
         Because I know He holds the present
         And life is worth the living just because He lives."

It's good to know that in perilous and uncertain times, we have a pure and certain God. Life without God would be hard to face! A person without God is like a train without tracks, an airplane without wings, or a computer with no hard drive. Since Jesus came into our lives though, we have the wherewithal to deal with life on earth in a manner which glorifies our Heavenly Father. Now, dealing with life on earth is not a dance for the dainty; rather, it is more often down and dirty with many bumps and scars along the way. The believer must play the hand he or she is dealt while realizing there is a divine dignity beneath it all. The living God who loved us and chose us before He created this world has already written our life story.

"Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance werefashioned, when as yet there was none of them." Psalm 139:16

Christians must also remember that we are only passing through this world as we are predestined to Heaven and immortal glory where we will forever live with God. However, we must face the fact that life on earth is our assignment and God has given us this allotted span of time between two eternities to prove our faithfulness to Him and to shape and mold us into Christlikeness.

Since God is the author and the finisher of our faith according to Hebrews twelve, verse two, we ought to see each day as a gift from our creator and do all we possibly can to live it to the fullest manner so we may express our gratitude for the privilege to be alive and to enjoy God. Facing the day means we enter into that day, that we resolve to make the effort to accomplish our individual life task, and we do so empowered by the Holy Spirit Himself. We should not sweep our problems or challenges under a rug nor "table" our daily struggles. Of all the giants of life we face, today may be the tallest of them all. Like David facing Goliath, we must face today with a cause for Christ and a confidence in the God who delivered us yesterday. Facing tomorrow and forgetting yesterday will only weaken us to the task at hand - facing today. Notice this poem by an unknown author who emphasizes the importance of facing today.

Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry. Two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is yesterday with its mistakes and cares,
its faults and blunders, its aches and pains.
Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday.
We cannot undo a single act we performed.
We cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

The other day we should not worry about is tomorrow. With its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance.

Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.
Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will arise.
Until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.
This just leaves only one day.

Any person can fight the battles of just one day
. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those
two awful eternities yesterday and tomorrow
that we break down.

It is not the experience of today that drives people mad.
It is the remorse or bitterness
for something which happened yesterday
and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
Let us therefore live but one day at a time.

Today is here. It comes uninvited and brings with it many opportunities to magnify Godís grace as well as dampen divine influence in disgrace. Let's face it, one today is worth two tomorrows and ten yesterdays.

First, do something today you do not want to do, just for God.

Jesus faced His death as He set out to go to Jerusalem. If a person goes toward something, it means he or she faces it. The expression in our text verse means that He resolved to go and it implies that He was not appalled by the dangers that He was determined to brave all, and go up into the midst of His enemies - to die. We know that He stopped along the way and asked His Heavenly Father if there was some other way. Then He submitted to the will of God in it all. As the redeemed children of God, we can rejoice and weep as we worship and serve the Lord Jesus Christ for dying for us on Calvary's cross. Yet, Christ did not go to the cross for us, Christ went to the cross for God. We are the beneficiaries of Christ's perfect obedience to the Father's plan and will. How come we seem to draw back so easily and turn our faces another way from His service, when He steadfastly set His face against all opposition to go through with the work of our salvation?

Sometimes God wants His people to do something they may not want to do. He has every right to do so given He is the Lord of the universe and the King of kings. God told Abraham in Genesis to take his son whom he loved and kill him on the mountain for a sacrifice. God told the prophet Hosea in Hosea chapter two to marry a whore. Both Abraham and Hosea faced their dilemmas because they loved God so much and trusted Him enough to go against their feelings and do it just for God. I wonder how any of us would get along if we only did things we felt like doing. God has set the example and has also commanded us to love unconditionally. That's agape love. It's Calvary love, and it's looking at each of us squarely in the face today.

Though God hasn't called us to as severe a test as he did Abraham and Hosea, there is something today that we ought to do just for God, even though we may not feel like doing it. Maybe there is someone we ought to forgive whom we don't feel like forgiving or someone to visit whom we don't feel like visiting. Maybe there is a gift to give that we don't feel like giving. If we face today with the attitude of doing what we don't feel like doing just for God, then we know it's the right thing to do. And, if we can't put God in it, then we should not do it whether we feel like it or not!

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

One of the most popular words in America is "easy." If it's easy, we like it. If it's hard, we don't like it. Christians are not to go with the flow of the world, nor take the path of least resistance. Jesus never did and we never will if we're going to follow Him. God gives us something to do every day, if nothing else but to rejoice in it and be glad (even when we don't feel like rejoicing). When I was growing up, my mama insisted I eat everything on my plate. I learned that's easier to do when you eat the food you least like first. I have known a few people who ate their dessert first, but I never thought they were really satisfied after their meal.

Secondly, don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today.

I think Thomas Jefferson said that originally, but from Genesis to Revelation God was never pleased when His people procrastinated. Procrastination is the thief of time. The longer we put off something, the harder it is to do. The subtlety to that is that it's easier to resist at the beginning than at the end; take attending church for example. You feel the spirit prompting you to go and worship God, but it's easier to procrastinate and quench the spirit by putting it off until the "time is right." After several Sundays, procrastination becomes your religion and you feel you're as good or better than any of those "church folks." Whereas, if you had followed God's urging and not put off what you should have done, you would be a lot happier. The habit of always putting off an experience until you can meet its standards, or until the time is right, or until you know how to do it is one of the greatest ways to lose your joy. The really happy people are those who have broken the chains of procrastination. They are the ones who find satisfaction in doing the job at hand; facing their today with faith. Don't wait, the time will never be just right. It is alright to be deliberate at times, but once you know what's right, make up your mind to face it today.

What have you been postponing? As believers, we know the things we ought to do but we often don't do them; and, here's the kicker, we also know the things we shouldn't do and we do those things. Sometimes I wonder why I have wasted so much of my life procrastinating on the things I really want to change in my life.

"Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17

Indecision can keep us from faithfully facing today. It can cause us to put off for another time what we should do today. When the Lord Jesus called the Apostles, they left their fishing nets and their tax collector tables to face the "today" with the Lord. I remember visiting with the owner of a logging operation at a logging site one Tuesday several years ago. As we were talking, a pickup truck drove up and a man came over to the logging foreman to report for work. The foreman asked the man, "Where were you Monday?" To which the man replied, "Well, I'm not much of a "Monday Man." The foreman very matter-of-factly replied, "And I'm not much of a Tuesday man; find yourself another job." I felt sorry for the man as he walked away to get back into his truck. Yet the foreman had every right to do what he did. It is such a privilege to work in God's kingdom, but it's also so easy to try to make it fit our timetable. I fear our faithful, fatherly foreman may not be much of a "Tomorrow God" when our actions imply we're faithless, facers of today!

Lastly, Have a God Day.

Before you get out of bed, ask for God's help for the day. We cannot keep His commandments for even one day. We must have His divine assistance. We breathe His air and our every heartbeat depends upon His grace. If we carry Jesus Christ with us wherever we go, God will be with us; because, Christ is the only acceptable sacrifice to God. We can face today when we make each day a "God day" by trusting the Father. No matter our circumstances, we can face them today when we call upon the Lord.

"And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23:42,43

Perfectionism is a great deterrent to our facing today. If you think you have to get good enough to face today, you're going to have to wait a very long time. We are all imperfect, broken sinners desperately in need of God's love and forgiveness every day. We face today based on who God is, not on what we can or cannot do. God is not holding a performance camp. He, though, expects us to use what we have today. The guy with one talent thought the Lord would be more pleased if he buried his talent and not faced the day, but the Lord was very displeased, and took the talent from him because he was not willing to face the day with what God had given him.

Having a God day means that we live today realizing that God is enough. We face today with the attitude that we are going to love God and obey Him even if He chooses not to bless us. In the model prayer, Jesus teaches us that prayer is vital to our facing today when He says, "Give us this day, our daily bread." God fed the children of Israel in the wilderness with manna. But, the manna provided was for one day at a time (other than the day before the Sabbath). God supplies our every need; and, living with Him as the greatest goal of our every day, helps us to be sensitive to His every provision.

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19.

If we are going to face today, we have to get out of bed and get dressed. You can't very well face today in your pajamas. Get up and get some God on! Facing today means fighting for our faith and God provides the dress and armor required to handle the one who wants to spoil our day. Put on the new man, a belt of truth, cover your chest with His righteousness, slip on a pair of peaceful gospel shoes, hold up the shield of faith, cover your head with salvation, and draw the word of God for direction and protection.

Having a God day involves prioritizing our time so that God has first place in our day. Denying ourselves and surrendering our burdens to Him is often difficult, but at the end of the day it makes our day. Moses had a God day on Mount Sinai and his face shined. Spending time with God enables us to face our trials and troubles and to reflect the brightness of His presence so that our "today" is not wasted. By His Grace, He has allowed and enabled us in some way to glorify Him, which is the reason He gave us today in the first place. The neatest thing about having a God day is that we don't have to get everything done we thought we had to do in a day. One thing for sure though, is that we will always have enough time to do God's will in a day. God's grace is never wasted when we're having a God day. It is so true that yesterday is gone, tomorrow is not here yet, so today is all we have. Really, we have God and today too! What a reason to face today.

Brother Randy

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