There is something very interesting to observe in life and that is its ebb and flow. The change that occurs from day to day as well as from situation to situation. We all experience these but they are different for each person. They are bound in who they are, our upbringing, our expectations, and our decisions all are bound by our own unique situations.
We have heroes who are those we look up to who have gone before us. There are things we have done and experienced that have profound effects on how we see and respond to matters of life. Because, if you pause for the moment and think about it, it is always about life. Life this side of eternity. Every day we get up in the morning, do things all day, and then go back to bed all to be started over the next day.
There can be a redundancy to that routine especially when we are younger and “trying to get ahead”. That redundancy does change as we get older. There are things to do each day but they seem more varied and wide from the “same thing over and over”.
I know Elaine and I are just as busy as we have ever been but it varies every day. We aren’t doing the same thing over and over each day like we used to, but we are doing something every day. As I am writing this today, Elaine is preparing for a presentation she is doing this evening on witnessing to a child. She is training the “Encouragers” Ministry Team here at Northwest in Gainesville. We began training them over the last couple of months to handle decisions that come through the Sunday morning worship here at the church. This is vitally important in churches today. It is important to have people prepared to ask questions and know what to say to people no matter what decision they may be making. Certainly the most important is that of accepting Jesus Christ personally as Savior and Lord. There can be rededication of a believer. Someone who is already saved but needs to rededicate their life. They have gotten away from that daily relationship and are not as committed to the Lord as they were before. Then there is the believer who is changing church membership. Coming by a statement or by letter stating they know Christ as Lord and wish to unite with the church. Of course, those who are seeking prayer are all a part of what we are helping the Encouragers discern how to handle each situation.
When you consider the ebb and flow of life, you also find that in it are the moments of life that change us. As I shared with you in the previous paragraph, those decisions change a person's life. Whatever decision is made changes life. If our decisions are directed by God, then we can and should expect good things to happen. If our decisions are self-promoting then of course some but not all will bring about good things. Yet quite often they don’t, they bring despair.
We can always make choices to do what the Lord leads or we can go our own way. As I read Scripture each day I have been in the Old Testament. Reading the prophets and the historical accounts of God’s people and leaders and their abandonment of His truths to satisfy their own fleshly desires. Now don’t be critical of them and say “well they should have known better”, because we do the same thing and then wonder why things aren’t going well in our life.
Every one of us faces those times when, as we have spoken about recently, deal with right and wrong. We know what is right yet we don't do it. We may justify or even pray that the Lord forgive us because His Word says "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9 Somehow attempting to convince ourselves we are ok when nothing could be further from the truth.
My father used to say as he observed the things that were happening around him and even to him, "this life and one more". The matter is very clear, we live this life each day. Some days are better than others. We certainly have an impact on how our day goes and we already know that others can and often do impact us on any given day. So as the Scripture reminds us in Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.
In closing today I want to share something that was shared many years ago. I find this to be encouraging and profound.
Desiderata: Original Text
Desiderata is Latin for "Things to be Desired."
This is the original text from the book where Desiderata was first published.
“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
by Max Ehrmann ©1927
God bless and thank you for allowing me to share with you today "A thought to ponder".
In God's Grace,