Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 12, 2012

What About Today?

March madness is now in full swing as conference tournaments come to a close and the lineup for the 2012 NCAA tournament brackets are revealed. Armchair athletes are printing their brackets and making their best guesses as to who will win each match and which team will ultimately be the final victor. As much as I enjoy the regular basketball season, it is this season of March madness to which I eagerly look forward. It is hard to not get caught up in all the excitement and the countdowns to the sweet sixteen, elite eight, final four, and finally the championship game. But in addition to the fun and excitement of these next few weeks, there is also a countering sense of upset and loss. This is because for every victory and shining moment, there must also be a defeat and a dashed dream for to have a winner, there must also be a loser.

 

For the last twenty years or so I have been a Duke Blue Devils fan. Being a “Devil” in primarily Tarheel territory has resulted in my being subject to lots of good-natured ribbing. During those years when they have less than a perfect season and struggle with their game, I find myself always looking forward to that next game. Maybe next time. If they don’t win the season championship, maybe they will win the ACC tournament. If they don’t win the tournament, perhaps they’ll make it to the sweet sixteen in the NCAA tournament – to the elite eight – or even the final four….on and on. There’s always that desire for one more win, one more victory, and if not this year – maybe next year!

 

I realize that in sports or in any competitive adventure, we naturally get caught up in this momentum to look forward to the next opportunity, yet this can also be true for life in general. We may not be out to prove our “stuff” or outwit an opponent, but we’re constantly looking forward to what is next – a day off or a weekend getaway, an excursion or a vacation, a new job or vocation. We move through various life stages, looking forward and reaching toward that next elusive step  – when I grow up, when I leave home, when I graduate from college, when I’m on my own, when I have a family, when I’m successful, when I’m rich, and even when I retire. But, what about today?

 

While I am a planner and I’m always looking forward to what’s next on the agenda, I know in my heart that tomorrow is not a promise, but I do have today. Just like the basketball team that isn’t invited to the big dance, sometimes my tomorrow doesn’t turn out as I hoped. My carefully orchestrated plans may never materialize. But as I get up each morning, I have the gift of a new day and what I do today can make all the difference in my life today and tomorrow.

 

The Scriptures help us know what we can do as we face each new day.

 

  • We can face the day with gladness. Charles Swindoll has stated  that life is 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we react to it. While we cannot choose the things that we may encounter each day, we can choose our attitude toward those things. The Psalmist tells us: “This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). While we may not be able to rejoice over our circumstances, we can rejoice in them because of our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
  • We can be thankful. “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night” (Psalm 92:1-2). Offering thanks does something to us. It changes our focus from us to our Lord. Instead of worrying over what we want or what we need, we turn our eyes to the Lord and see His love and faithfulness as He cares for us and supplies all of our needs. “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (1 Chronicles 16:34).
  • We can seek Christ and follow Him. There are many things in this world that clamor for our time and attention. Yet if we chase after the wrong things, we can lose everything that really matters. Jesus told His followers: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:23-25). The most important thing we can do every day is to commit ourselves to seeking Christ and asking for His direction and help. The psalmist declared: “O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water” (Psalm 63:1).

 

 

Just as there are teams out there who year after year give it all they have, but who never receive an invitation to the big dance, there are individuals – perhaps you or me – who may never experience the fulfillment of some of our most longed for and sought after dreams. Yet, God’s Word assures us that true success is not measured by what we attain in this world. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5). And this success is not something elusive that we must constantly try to achieve or earn. It is a free gift from God. “For by grace have you been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10).  Just think, Christ has already made us victorious. We just need to walk like the victors we are in Christ. When will we commit to truly seek and follow Christ as we face each new day? What about today?

 

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