Today’s Scripture:  “13 Go to now, ye that say, To day or to-morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.15 For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:13-15

Introduction:

The last two messages we’ve talked about continual prayer, and I have really enjoyed those messages.  I know there are probably times when you think that I’m not really learning from my own messages, but the truth is I am not nor do I claim to be some kind of theologian who has this all figured out.  No, friends, I am learning daily just like you, and while some may feel that disqualifies me from writing like I do…the facts are…I write like I do because I know this is exactly what I’m called to do…and in a strange way it helps keep me surrendered to the Lord.

I finally have come to find out who is responsible for writing this devotional, and it’s a woman by the name of Cindy Beall.  I’ve really enjoyed this woman’s insight…and am thankful that she was willing to write this devotional.  If you want to check out more of her stuff then you can find it here:  http://cindybeall.com/.

So…today it looks like we’re going to be going in another direction with this series, and I’m really looking forward to what the Lord is going to say to us through this message.

Today’s Message:

When I was a child, I couldn’t wait to be a teenager. When I was a teenager, I couldn’t wait to go to college. When I was single, I couldn’t wait to get married. When I was in college preparing to be a schoolteacher, I couldn’t wait to get in the classroom. Eventually, my husband and I wanted to have children. Four years later, we had our first son. Five years after that, our second son joined us. I couldn’t wait for them. During our days of trying to become debt-free, I thought ahead to days of being generous to our church and to others. Cindy Beall “Living The Surrendered Life”

Can anyone else relate to this?  I know I can.  I can remember when I was a child not being able to wait until I was a teenager, and then from a teenager to a grown up.  Although if you ask some I’m still an almost 40-year-old teenager some times.  I can remember when I started working as a paperboy, and how that lead me to becoming interested in serving my country in the military…which eventually lead me to become a United States Marine.

I know what it’s like to not be able to wait until you find that one person in which you are wanting to spend the rest of your life with.  I know what it’s like to not be able to wait for that perfect job that doesn’t make work feel like a job, but something you enjoy doing.

However, I’m pretty sure I have an idea of the direction this message is going to go, and with that…today I am going to yield and follow the direction the writer and the Holy Ghost intended this message to go.

If I’m being completely honest with you, I’ve wished away many days in my life and in the lives of my sons. I’ve spent plenty of time complaining about the difficulties of life especially in regards to raising children. Oftentimes I have done my griping in the company of empty nesters. They graciously smile because they’ve been there. And because there is a part of each of them that would give anything to hold their children in their arms like they did years ago. They tell me, “Cindy, enjoy it. It goes by so quickly.”

Oh…if I am being completely honest also then I can admit that I have certainly wished and day-dreamed many a day away.  I’ve spent plenty of time not really appreciating what I had, and wanting more or better or what I perceived to be better than what I had.  I have that issue with vehicles some times.  I have always wanted a really cool truck, but I’ve never been able to afford one…and the vehicle I have no is just a small economy car that was given to me by my dad. Still I wish and day-dream about the day I have a nice four-wheel drive truck that has big tires on it, and a nice stereo system in it so I can rock out to my Jesus music in it.

But you know something…one of the greatest things I believe we can learn is to appreciate the blessings we have now.  Everyone is always talking about how we need to plan for tomorrow, and dream big…and I think that some times that robs us of the ability to look at where we are right now…you know…stop and smell the lilac bushes as well as stopping to smell the roses…and taking it a step further…being content to smell the lilac bushes while hoping someday they will become a rose garden.

My encouragement to you is to make the most of everyday. Don’t allow the discouragement of regret to rob you of today’s joy. Press on and receive God’s grace over any regret you may have in your life. And live today as a new day.

And there is the other side of this.  Regret.  The devil will use regret to kick your butt with condemnation because I believe that he knows that if he can get you to look at the steaming pile of mess your life used to be, and how horrible some of the things we did in our past was…then he can get us to a point where we see ourselves as unworthy…and when the devil gets us there…then he can really kick our butts.

You know, the only time I look back today is to be reminded of where I was before I surrendered control of my life to the Lord, and now instead of regret I feel overwhelmed by how much God’s really done in my life.  I still have plenty in my life to surrender, and for the Lord to do in and through my life. However…I do know that God’s really done a wondrous work in my heart and in my life…and I also know that He’s not finished with me yet….and that gives me all the cause for optimism I need.

Make the most of every day is the absolute greatest wisdom that can be shared.  I have found that the greatest way I can keep from wishing for stuff I don’t have is to be grateful for the things I do have.  I have also found that the greatest way I can keep from getting into condemnation over the life I used to live is to look at where I am today.

The greatest thing that has helped me is to stop living in yesterday, and worrying about tomorrow…but to do the best I can to make the best of each and every day.  I’d like to encourage you to do the same.  Yesterday’s gone, and you cannot go back and fix what happened…you can only use yesterday’s experiences to learn from.  Tomorrow isn’t here yet, and while there are things you can do to prepare for tomorrow…worrying about what’s going to happen tomorrow is fruitless.

So…what’s left?  Two things.  Make the best of today…and seek first the kingdom of God.  You can surrender the hurts, disappointments, and maybe even the successes of yesterday.  After all…the successes we have are from the Lord.  I know whenever someone tells me that I’ve done something good…I find it hard to take the credit for it because within me dwells no good thing…except Jesus.  So…any good that comes from yesterday or even today…I don’t ever want to receive the glory…because it’s not mine it’s Gods.

The same with things that are coming up tomorrow.  I can have my work clothes set out, and the coffee maker set to brew my coffee so it’s ready when I’m on my way out the door…but even when I do all of that…the harsh truth is I may not even wake up to see tomorrow.  So, I have to surrender all of my tomorrow’s, my hopes, my dreams, and my ambitions to the Lord as well…and ask Him to give me His hopes, His dreams, and His ambitions for my life.

Which leads me back to today.  Have NO regrets…and make every moment count.  Don’t neglect to tell people you love them.  Don’t leave things you know God wants you to do undone.  Like the Tim McGraw song says…like each day like it’s your last…because in all reality…it just may be.

Listen…I’m certainly no expert, and I certainly haven’t perfected making the most of every day…doing everything God wants me to do in a day…and living each day like it’s my last.  I know that this is one of those things that I have to do…and work on daily…and also one of those areas that I can do nothing about apart from Christ.

Enjoy every belly laugh from those who are around you. Enjoy carefree days outside soaking in God’s creation. Because if you do, I can guarantee that the amount of regret that you live with will decrease each day.

I think I will close this message by writing down the quote that’s on my drink coaster…”Live life passionately…Laugh out loud…and Love unconditionally”.

Points for Pondering:

  • What are you wishing away?
  • Do you live with regret over anything in your life?

Be A Doer Not Just A Reader:

  • Spend some time asking God what He would have you to do redeem or “buy back” some of those days where you wish you could go back. Going forth, allow Him to help you make the most of each day you are given.

Conclusion & Prayer:

Making the most of each day you’re given…and going forth.  You know, I used to hate the old 12 step program’s cliché “One Day At A Time”, but now I guess I not only endorse it…but live my life that way…because in reality…no man can serve God putting his hand to the plow and looking back…and no man can do anything about tomorrow because it’s promised no one.

The Bible talks a lot about today being the most important day.  Today is the day of salvation.  Chose this day whom you will serve.  Give us this day our daily bread.  So…don’t live with the regrets of yesterday, don’t live with worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow…but make the best of what you can today…and the best way to do that…is to live each day as surrendered to the Lord as we can be…Amen?

Father God…there’s on simple request today…help me to make the most of every day…and more importantly how I can lay down more of myself so that you can use me more and more.  Forgive me for the things I take for granted, and for the times that I am not content with what You’ve given me…and help me to continue to learn to be content with such things as I have…I love You Lord…and bless You in Jesus name…Amen.