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Jack Graham - Making the Most of Everyday

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    Jack Graham - Making the Most of Everyday
TOPICS: Songs of Encouragement

Someone said life is like a coin; you can spend it however you wish, but you can spend it only once. It's true. There are no do-overs for your days. Once you live your day, it's done. There are no mulligan's in life, just days. So Psalm 118, verse 24: You can always find it in Psalm 118. It's the song about your day, so it's Psalm 118:24. It's about your days and mine. "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it". How's your day? I read this week the diary of a dog: "8 o'clock : Oh boy, dog food; my favorite! 9:30: Oh boy, a car ride; my favorite! 10:40: Oh boy, a walk; my favorite! 11:30: Oh boy, more dog food, my favorite! 12 o'clock: Oh boy, the kids; my favorite! 1 o'clock: Oh boy, the yard; my favorite! 5:30: Oh boy, mom; my favorite! 6 o'clock: Oh boy, playing ball; my favorite! 8:30: Oh boy, sleeping in my master's bed; my favorite"! That's the diary of a dog. It's a dog day.

And then I read some excerpts from the diary of a cat, "Day 283 of my captivity: My capturers continue taunt me with bazaar dangling little objects. They dine lavishly on fresh meat while I'm forced to eat dry cereal. I'm sustained by the hope of escape and the mild satisfaction I derive from ruining a few pieces of furniture. Tomorrow I may eat another houseplant. I attempted to kill my captures this morning by weaving through their walking feet. Nearly succeeded. Must try this strategy at the top of the stairs. During a gathering of their accomplices they placed me in solitary confinement. I overheard my confinement was due to my power of allergies. Must learn what that means and how to use it to my advantage. I am convinced the other household captives are flunkies; perhaps snitches. The dog is routinely released and seems naively happy to return. He is, no doubt, a halfwit. The bird speaks with humans regularly. Must be an informant. I am certain he reports my every move. Due to his current placement in the metal cage, his safety is assured, but I can wait. It's only a matter of time".

So, are you having a cat day? Or you having a dog day? Life is so daily. But the Bible says, "As thy day so shall your strength be". And you can have a good day and add up enough good days in your life that you have a good life, a great life. "This is the day the Lord has made". How do we do that? How do we make our time meaningful and matter. Number one, and I would encourage you to write these things down: live the scriptures. Embrace each day as a gift from God. Welcome this day! Why? Because "This is the day the Lord has made". He is the dawn breaker and day maker. The Ancient of Days is the maker of our days. These are a gift from God! And with each day come the promises and the provisions and the possibilities of a life well lived, when we live in His plan and His purpose for each one of us. "THIS is the day the Lord has made"!

Now we would expect Sunday to be the gift of God. It's the Lord's day; it's the resurrection morning. We can say Easter Day, that's the day! "This is the day the Lord has made". Or maybe on a more personal level, you think about the great days, the good days of your life. Wedding day! May 22, 1970 for Deb and me. A great day! Or maybe your birthday, But it doesn't say this day or that day; it says this is the day, ordinary days. Bad days and blah days and boring days! Just days, sick days, tough days, Mondays and rainy days, all days belong to God! Because it's true, it's really true, it's not a cliché. If you know the Lord each day can be the best in your life for the rest of your life! It really can. Except for the fact that many of us, our days today are ruined because of two days, yesterday and some day.

Yesterday: Some people live with past sin and remorse and regret. They can't get passed their past. And the devil's always reminding us of our past and sometimes in our own minds we're replaying the recording again. Our minds are consumed. We can't get passed the past, our sin, our shame, our regret, our remorse! We live in the past and past sin. Some are chained in the grip of sin of the past! With impact, high, negative impact on your life today. Yet the Scripture says, 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sin He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness". No need to live in the past yesterday of sin and shame when you can live in the grace and the forgiveness of God. Others live with past sorrow, brokenness, even bitterness.

I know life can be hard and when we're talking about, you know, have a great day every day, it's not just chin up, it's not just cheer up! We all understand that there are some struggling days and some days filled with sorrow and tears and brokenness and heartache. Life can be hard, it is hard! And some bad things, man, have happened! But you can't live back there for the rest of your life, licking your wounds! Whining and crying about spilled milk! Somebody hurt you! You hurt yourself! Somebody left you! Someone died! But you can't, as a believer, live in sorrow and brokenness that becomes bitterness! You're hurts becoming your hang-ups for the rest of your life! You can't live there. That's yesterday. Yesterday's gone.

Some live with past successes. It's all about what I used to be, what I used to do. I heard Christians talk about what they used to do for the Lord. "Oh back then I really served the Lord"! Or "Back then, those were the good ol' days"! Well, I liked the good ol' days. But I like today a lot better than the good ol' days. I like air conditioning. They didn't have that back in the good ol' days! I like playing my music on a device; not having to go find an LP and player somewhere. That's living in the past; that's yesterday. Yesterday's gone. In your own life yesterday's gone. You put it to bed when you went to sleep last night.

Then some people live in some day, and they're worrying about what could happen some day. Some are whining about the past, others are worrying about the future. Time to stop worrying! Because worrying will ruin your day today! It will suck the life out of your day, and of you. It can ruin relationships; it can ruin your business; it can ruin your body. All of us have troubles that face us in tomorrow. But we can't live there! Worrying about what could happen, what might happen, which typically doesn't happen! Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, "Therefore", take Jesus' word for it, "Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about it's own things. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble". You've got enough troubles today to deal with than to pile tomorrow on top of it!

Live in the present tense. Live in the present tense. Do you know why? Because that's where God lives! In the present tense. I saw this and wanted to share it with you: "I was regretting the past, fearing the future. Then suddenly I heard the Lord speaking. 'My name is I AM," He said. And He paused and waited, and continued. "When you live in the past with its mistakes and its regrets, it's hard because I'm not there. I am not I WAS. When you live in the future with its problems and fears, it is hard because I'm not there. My name is not I WILL BE. When you live in the moment, it is not hard because I am here. My name is I AM". Amen? Jesus is the Lord of every day of your life. He's got it; He's got you! And the God who is here today will be there for you tomorrow, the Great I AM, the enternal, self-existing One. It's His name. And of Jesus the Scripture says, "He is the same yesterday, today and forever".

So seize this day! Embrace this day! Expect great things from God this day! And that's by living in the present. And also by setting your priorities! If you're going to expend this day, and you will either use, abuse or waste this day. So if you're going to use this day for God's glory, you need to prioritize your time. If you don't, somebody else will, I promise you. So set your schedule each day according to God's priority. I wish I had the practical time to spend with you one this, but let me just say in view of a paragraph that begin each day with time alone with God. And it is in that time, that quiet time, that time alone with God that you ask Him for strength this day; that you pray for your family, your friends, your church today; that you pray in all the promises of God that you need for that day; that you trust in Him and receive strength for today.

And if you will begin your day and set the pace of your day, I've given you this acrostic before: P-A-C-E. I begin most days like this. Sometimes before I even get out of the bed. I lift my hands, that's praise, and praise God and give thanks and worship God. I turn my hands this way and simply say, "I accept from You, Lord, this new day. I embrace, I welcome this day. I receive Your forgiveness, Your blessing. My identity in Christ is in You". All those things that I need I receive from Him, I accept from Him. I turn my hands over, "I commit this day to You. My schedule, that problem, that possibility, that dream, that thing I must do that I don't want to do! I commit it to You, Lord! I need Your strength! I turn it over to You". And then my hands go wide and say, "Lord, I expect You to do great and mighty things in my life this day".

If you will begin each day and set the "pace" for your life by doing something like that, I guarantee you will have a good day because then it will be God's day! "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it". And one final thing: Embrace the day. Expect great things and entrust your day to God! And finally enjoy your day and celebrate your life. "This is the day the Lord has made; we will rejoice". Notice this is the congregation; you can say it personally, but here it's the we. There's so much strength in being together. We're saying it together. We're all living our days, we're all fighting our battles and carrying our burdens.

So we're saying it together. We're saying it ourselves, "This is the day the Lord has made". But make it the resolve of your own heart to rejoice. "I will rejoice and be glad in it"! It is a choice you make to rejoice. You can change your thoughts because our thoughts, according to Romans 12:2 are transformed by the Word of God. Your disposition, you can set your disposition for the day. In fact typically it happens in the first thirty minutes you're up, whether you're saying, "Good morning, Lord" or "Good lord, it's morning"! It's an old line but it still works! You can set the disposition of your day! You don't have to live in a perpetual bad mood, scowling and frowning through life! That's not becoming of a Christian.

"This is the day the Lord has made; rejoice and be glad in it". No whining. Get your thumb out of your mouth and stop sitting around waiting on happiness to come your way. Some people are thinking, "You know, I'm just going to sit here and wait and one of these days I'll be happy. When the kids start acting right, then I'll be happy. When my husband starts behaving himself, then I'll be happy. When I get that raise, I'll be happy. When I'm on vacation, oh, then I'll be happy". Stop sitting around waiting to be happy or for somebody else to make you happy. That's on you! "I will rejoice and be glad in it"! That's strength for the day.

The scripture says, "The joy of the Lord is my strength". You wonder why you're weary and wornout, burned out, broken down all the time! No joy, no happiness! So much negativity! Squeeze the life out of this day! Carpe diem! This is God's day! We can always rejoice in Jesus! You say, "Well, this is pie in the sky stuff, Jack. This is Pollyanna". No. You say, "You can't be happy all the time". Sure, you can! "Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say rejoice"! Paul didn't write that from a pulpit, but from prison. Jesus sang a song in the night on His way to the cross, Psalm 118. He was singing before dying. David wrote this in the desert along with other psalms. Paul and Silas sang in the prison songs of praise and led a pagan Philippian jailer to Jesus! Why? Because happiness is in the Lord!

Of course, we have terrible days! Of course, there are days when our heart is breaking! Of course, there are times when we are suffering! But the scripture says we have joy in our tribulation. Why? Because our happiness is not in our tribulation; it's not in our circumstances; it's not in what happens to us but it's in Him! It's in Jesus! And Peter who knew about trouble himself, was ultimately martyred, he was writing to a church that was persecuted. He said this is 1 Peter 1:8, talking about Jesus, "In whom having not seen, you love". I've never seen Jesus with physical eyes, but you're looking at a man who's not ashamed to say I love Jesus! I haven't seen Him! I will see Him! But until then I love Him! "Though now you do not see Him, yet believing (what?) you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory"! This is how to live every day, happy in Him, joyful in Jesus. Time matters today. Time is come today as we live it one day at a time. "Only one life, twill soon be past; And only what's done for Christ will last".

When Deb, my wife's father Doyle Peters was dying, such a great man. I only knew, I knew him less than two years. We got married as college students and he became ill with melanoma cancer. Great man! Ran a bus route for his church, First Baptist, Mineral Wells, Texas. He was from O'Brian, Texas and so when he showed up in Mineral Wells as a teenager, he had a big O on his letter jacket for O'Brian, so they started calling him opossum. So he became known later as Poss Peters. I loved him. Raised a great daughter; two great daughters. One of them my wife. But he's dying and he's between earth and heaven. He's comatose, in and out. But that day, the day that he died actually, before he slipped into eternity, he sat up and said, "Okay, boys, gather around. It's time for the lesson".

Now he taught eighth and nineth grade boys in Sunday School in his church. And you got to be a man to teach junior high boys. So he said, "Come on, boys," and he taught the lesson. We sat there and listened to him teach the lesson. Then when he got through teaching the lesson, he said, "Alright, let's sing a song"! And Poss began to sing, looking into eternity. "When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and time will be no more; when the morning breaks eternal bright and fair; when the saved of earth shall gather over on the other shore, when the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there".

He's there! The question is today, will you be there? Because it's what you do THIS day that will determine where you are THAT day! The Apostle Paul said, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day". It's THIS day and THAT day and I am going to ask you to do something today, THIS day, that you will be so glad that you will have done on THAT day when you stand before God and that is to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior. We've all sinned and broken God's commandments but you can't live in the past. God will take care of your past, your present, your future, give your sins to Him. Put your sins where God put his son, Jesus on the cross. He rose again!

Say, "Jesus, thank you for loving me, dying for me, I believe you rose again and I trust you to forgive me, to change me, to make me your child". Ask Christ into your life. THIS day, right now, you can't afford to procrastinate this, this is not something you can put off. Today is the day of salvation! Receive Christ, repent of your sins and receive Christ into your life and promise him to live, that you will live for him in the power of his Spirit everyday until THAT day, when he comes for you.
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