It is said that a well- known evangelist was once preaching in Chicago on the first day of a series of Gospel meetings. At the end of the sermon, he felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to give people an opportunity to invite Jesus into their hearts. However, since the meetings were scheduled to go on for many days, he apparently decided to make that invitation the following day. That night, the great fire of Chicago swept through the town, causing much havoc, destruction and loss of lives. As a result, the evangelist decided that he would never again close a Gospel message without giving people an opportunity to invite Christ into their hearts and to receive His salvation and eternal life.
A lot can happen in one day! That may be why the TV series 24, was so popular.
Our sermon topic for today shows what I believe is a great stress-buster for handling life in today’s highly stressful environment. A lot of stress is caused by unfounded or maybe even real fears and anxieties that grip our hearts. That is possibly why the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 6:34 “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own”. That scripture brings me to our main thought for today’s message.
PROPOSITION – ‘Live one day at a time’, trusting God.
Today, I would like to share 4 thoughts around that simple, but meaningful topic of why we should ‘Live one day at a time’. They are:
1) Because We Can’t Control Tomorrow
Proverbs 27:1 says, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth”.
No one is assured of a tomorrow because God holds the times and seasons in His hand. Proverbs 16:9 tells us that “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”. That is why we need to commit our today and all our future plans into God’s hands. In fact, tomorrow will not dawn for you and for me, one day! I don’t want to sound morbid, but for thousands living today, tomorrow may not dawn!
ILLUSTRATION – One of the saddest days of my life was when two of my friends came to see me at the church office. After chatting for a while, they left to have lunch together. After lunch, they came to see me once again for another friendly chat after which we said our goodbyes. Imagine my shock when the mother of one of them called me 2 hours later to say that her son had suffered a heart attack and passed away into the arms of Jesus. Thankfully, he was assured of his eternity since he had placed his faith in Jesus!
James warns us in 4:13-17, that we should refrain from boasting or any form of arrogance when making plans for the future. It is significant that he is referring specifically to businessmen making plans for their targets and business expansion. He then draws the attention of readers to the uncertainty of life and the uncertainty of tomorrow. I guess that’s something along the lines of what Jesus Himself was saying in the parable of ‘The Rich Fool’, found in Luke 12:16-20. The man in this parable was arrogantly planning for major expansion and savings, purely for selfish reasons. “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry’ He said, with not a thought for either God, or his fellow-man. He received one of the strongest rebukes in the Bible as God said, “You fool”! He didn’t see tomorrow. Therefore, as James advises in James 4:15, let’s bring God into all our plans and pray for His will to be fulfilled in our plans for tomorrow. Only He can control our tomorrow. In Acts 18:21. Paul told the people of Ephesus, “I will come back if it is God’s will”.
What about your plans for tomorrow? Have you brought the Lord into them? Have you prayed for His will to prevail? Are you willing to let Him change your plans if needed? Of course, if God changes our plans, it will always be for our best. Only He has complete control of tomorrow.
2) Because There Is Enough Trouble For Today
In Matthew 6:34, Jesus said. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,… Each day has enough trouble of its own”.
Not only can’t we control tomorrow, but we do not know what may happen today. In fact, some of you going through severe crisis situations may dread the dawning of a new day. I once read that there are two possible ways people could wake up in the morning. One group cheerfully says, ‘Good morning, Lord”, while the other says, ‘Good Lord, its morning’! Therefore, let’s place our todays in God’s hands for He is always in control. We are then assured of His providence, protection and provision.
It is interesting that God identifies Himself in the scriptures in the present tense as, ‘I am’. He is therefore a God of the present; a God of today. Jesus endorsed that thought further with His many declarations of ‘I am’. Sadly, many people are either living with regret over the past or with anxiety over the future. For those living with regret over the past, Paul says in Philippians 3:13, ‘But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind….I press on..’, while for those worrying over their future he says, “Do not be anxious about anything” and then encourages us to trust in the power of praying to God (Philippians 4:6). Yes, each day has troubles of its own, but in Psalm 68:19, God is revealed as the Lord “Who daily bears our burdens” and Jesus, in the Lord’s Prayer, taught us to pray “Give us TODAY our DAILY bread” (Matthew 6:11).
What troubles are you facing today? What are you worrying about? A quick read through of Matthew 6:25-34, where Jesus speaks against worry, will act as a powerful faith booster and a stress-buster! A quote I read says, “Do not let the worries of tomorrow, affect your relationship with God today”.
ILLUSTRATION – Huge changes have happened in one day. In one day, Esau lost his birthright. In one day, a vicious persecutor named Saul was miraculously transformed and started his journey towards becoming the Apostle Paul. In one day, a young Hebrew beauty queen named Esther, became the first lady of a mighty empire, with a National holiday declared in her honor (Esther 2:17-18). In one day, a prisoner named Joseph, falsely accused and unjustly sentenced for attempted rape, became the second highest ruler of the Egyptian empire. In one day, the entire world was shaken by the events of 9/11, and in one day, the coastline of my Nation, Sri Lanka, was devastated by the Tsunami of 2004, resulting in severe infrastructure damage and the loss of around 40,000 lives.
Let’s place each day in God’s hands!
3) Because Today Will Never Come Back
A day that ends can never be reclaimed.
ILLUSTRATION – I read in a Men’s Devotional as to how we might react if our bank credits 86,400$ to our account every day; the catch being that the money has to be used up the same day. If not, it’s taken away. The process is then renewed the next day and every other day with 86,400$ being credited to our account daily. I’m sure most people would have no hesitation in using the money every day! Similarly, God blesses us with 86,400 seconds credited every day, which can never be reclaimed if not used! Let us therefore use the time wisely.
May we also not live either with wasted or lost opportunities. Let us ask, “Lord, what will You have me do today”? A quote I read says, “Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today”.
A few practical things I thought of while preparing this sermon that we could do daily, are listed below.
• Spending quality time in God’s presence
• Spending quality time with our spouse and children (Family)
• Vocally expressing and showing our love for them
• Making at least one person happy
• Not putting off giving a compliment or a helping hand to someone – Hebrews 3:13 says, “Encourage one another DAILY, as long as it is called TODAY…”
• Praying for a soul
• Living each day as if it were your last. One day, you will be right!
You are free to add to the list.
ILLUSTRATION – I would like to quote from the words of a Gospel song called ‘We Have This Moment’, recorded by the Gaither family.
Tender words, a gentle touch and a good cup of coffee,
And someone who loves me, and wants me to stay,
Hold them near, while they are here, don’t wait for tomorrow,
And look back and wish for today.
For we have this moment to hold in our hands,
And to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand,
Yesterday’s gone and tomorrow may never come,
But we have this moment today.
Let’s use our time profitably today to glorify the Lord. It can never be reclaimed!
4) Because God Will Meet Tomorrow’s Needs
This is so true if we are willing to give Him the first place in our lives. Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”. Our future is totally secure in Jesus!
For some reason however, most of the time, God doesn’t show us what tomorrow holds. Maybe it’s simply because He wants us to trust Him for tomorrow. One of the hymns my wife Regina and I chose for our wedding 11 years ago said;
Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand
But I know who holds tomorrow, and I know He holds my hand
If your life is in a mess and you have never invited the Lord Jesus into your heart as your Savior, why don’t you make that decision right now? Only He can bring true meaning and purpose to your life! Only He can cleanse and forgive you of sin, because He gave His precious life on a cross to bring salvation to all mankind. He can make your tomorrow secure!
CLOSING – A highly successful country songwriter by the name of Marijohn Wilkin drifted away from her faith after finding success. At a time of crisis and personal desperation, as the story goes, she stopped at a church for some counselling and prayer. The young Minister who was on duty had apparently asked her during the conversation, whether she had ever considered being thankful to God for her problems. As she went home and pondered over that statement, she began to play her piano and the words of a song came to her. Needing some help to complete the lyrics that she had written down, she approached Kris Kristofferson (of Why Me Lord fame) who helped her with some of the remaining words. The completed song goes like this.
I’m only human, I’m just a woman
Help me believe in what I could be, and all that I am
Show me the stairway, I have to climb
Lord for my sake, teach me to take, one day at a time.
One day at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking from you (Stories Behind 50 Southern Gospel Favorites)
Let’s learn to live “one day at a time”, completely trusting our Lord Jesus Christ!