As we are busy with the hectic days around us, this week I was brought to think about the uncertainty of our lives. We make our plans, we schedule, we make arrangements and look to the future. The thing that came to my mind this week is something Jesus said in the “model” prayer, “Give us this day, our daily bread”. Our focus should be on ‘today’!!!
This was brought home to me in the circumstances of recent days. I have been working at the school for the last 2 ½ weeks as a 6th grade teacher. I was looking forward to some rest this coming week and getting some Christmas visits made, getting my large Christmas card list ready to mail, and maybe even to getting some holiday baking done. Well our plans were suddenly changed!! I got a call from my sister on Wednesday evening on the way to church and she was on her way to the hospital with an abscessed colon, which would require surgery. It was a very serious condition, even life-threatening.
Well, in one phone call our plans were changed and I knew we would need to go to Mississippi to care for my sister when she was released from the hospital. Well God was gracious to us and the surgery went well and didn’t require a colostomy, and for that we praise God!! We are now making arrangements to leave the middle of this week. Then as I was making some phone calls to extend Christmas greetings (as I won’t get that Christmas card list mailed out this year), I heard of a young woman in our community who went to bed as usual and in the morning her school-age son found her dead in the bed!!! “Take therefore no thought for tomorrow…….sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof”… Matthew 6:34
I just wanted to take a minute to remind us all that God in His grace grants each day and we are only given TODAY!!! As I quoted above Jesus reminded us in the prayer to remember to ask for “daily” bread. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come. I am to live in the here-and-now, yes but how am I to live? Hebrews 12:1+ comes to mind, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” As we walk from day to day our confidence is in Jesus and HIM alone. I can become distracted by the things of this world and forget that I am a soldier of the Cross. 2 Timothy 2:1-4 says “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.”
The question that I believe we need to consider this week – “Am I a soldier of the Cross? And if I am, am I being faithful to my Lord, my commander and chief, my GOD and KING? Am I ready to “…give an account to him that is ready to judge the quick (living) and the dead” 1 Peter 4:5. In 1 Peter 3:15 we’re also told “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear”. We need to be sure that we are prepared to meet our king should He call us into His presence or return for His church, as well as share while we are still here.
Is my mind occupied with the things of the world or the things of God? Am I feasting on His word? Hebrews 4:12-13 reminds us of our standard “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” We must be saturated with the Word of God to meet the hostility of the world and continue to stand fast. We are in enemy territory. Paul states this clearer than any other passage in Ephesians 6:10-18 “ Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” And I think that is a clear call for us to stand fast and continue to stand.
Are we ready to see our King—through the “valley of the shadow of death” Psalm 23:4, or in the clouds(1 Thess 4:17)? I pray that we will take this special time of year to assess our relationship with the Babe born in the manger and go to the cross and ask Him to search us. I’ll close with Psalm 139:23 “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” May God truly touch our hearts and minds to hear and respond to HIS voice and obey. His blessings on you this week.